Hubby and I are on a quest of sorts… We are in the process of finding our forever after home. Being a military couple, we have had our share of moving. Granted, we were at one place for almost 28 years, but, we did have one move during that time. This is hopefully the last time we utter that four letter word. It is a painful word and one we dread. MOVE, is a mighty word. It makes me tired just looking at it. But, move, we will be doing this year. Where? That is our question also. This week, in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary, we have set out to start our quest for this home. Today, we drove around the upstate part of South Carolina. As we drove around I thought of what I was seeing out the window. (Now, mind you, I gave in and actually had two glasses of a forbidden substance for me… I caved and had sweet tea) Some of my readers, well, one in particular (you know who you are! wink, wink…) know the effects of sweet tea, me and a closed in-car. I begin to bounce off the seat, and I start to talk, fast. I start to laugh at anything, and I make off-hand remarks. Hubby threatened to put me in the back with the dog and have him be his navigator, but he didn’t follow through on his threats. What we did see was beautiful countryside. Rolling hills, fields, small towns, and many interesting homes. We saw some lovely large churches, and some cute little churches that looked welcoming. There were cemetaries everywhere. We commented that either there were many cemetaries in the area, or we kept going around a very large area of tombstones and we were seeing it from different angles. Several places were burned. They looked like chimney fires. One that struck me was a burnt pile of debris. There was a man sitting by the ruins. He was looking out over the site. My heart was touched as I thought (and obviously am still thinking) about him. The day was filled for me in silent prayer. Prayer for that man. Prayer for the area. Most of all, prayer that we will, Lord willing find the place He wants us to land. A place to put down roots that need a place to grow. A place that is not a temporary fix, but a place to grow old in. A place to see not only the landscape mature, but see us, as a couple, a family mature and age. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit. DAF
We live in an area surrounded by oak trees and pine trees. The ice storm a couple of weeks ago brought down several pine branches which were hauled away last week.
This week hubby and I started yard work. He went and mowed the first of the weeds at the beginning of the week. I said weeds, as the grass is still dormant, but the weeds are tenacious and they pop up quickly. We raked some leftover pine needles and boughs and swept the front of the house gutters and the driveway. We were pleased at our work.
By Thursday, however, we looked outside once more and realized there was still much to do. Yesterday we dodged cold rain spurts and started raking the leaves in the back and side yards. We finished raking late yesterday afternoon. The yard looked better with several piles of leaves resting along the yard. We bagged some of the piles and the rest we left for today.
This morning I started raking the piles together while hubby started to burn them. I know this is controversial, but it is a something that is done here in our area. The southern California part of me was hesitant at first. But, soon, our roots started to show. After all, we are from hearty stock of Pennsylvania and there we burn debris.
So, with hose on the ready we had a small bonfire in our backyard. The fire mound was never higher than two feet in height and the flames were never high at all. After three hours we are back inside. The ash is in the ash can cooling. The site of the fire is standing in water and mud. The backyard looks wonderful. And, hubby and I? We are a bit tired. But waiting for part two today when a neighbor is coming over to help remove a fallen tree that has been there since we moved.
Hubby still cannot do much with his shoulder and so it has been an adventure of care and caution for us. We are a good team in yard work though, and I know that this evening we will crawl into our seats and sit not wanting to move a muscle!
The weather is beautiful today and it feels like spring here. We are ready for the next season, the yard is clear and we can see the grass waking up and turning green. Hope you have a touch of spring where you are today. DAF
31 Days Observing
There are ponds all over the low country. It seems that most neighborhoods have at least one pond. Our first house had a beautiful pond in the back yard. It was a graceful looking pond. It butted up to the marsh and there were lovely pines and palmetto trees and marsh grasses. A pathway led around the pond and the neighborhood children were often seen playing in the area. Yes, we had the occasional alligator or two or three, but it was a genteel pond. It was clean, manicured and a delight to look at.
Now, the pond at our current house is unsophisticated. It is a deep narrow pond. It looks like a drainage ditch, if truth be told. It is unkempt. A large growth of brush is at one end of the pond. It is never cut, or at least has never been cut since we have lived here. The mowers come in, circle the pond and leave. A sign on the other side of the pond says, ‘Do not feed alligator. Do not throw anything into the water.’ Wise words considering there are three resident alligators living there.
Weekly, one of the neighbors and his children come to feed the alligators. They throw bread into the pond, like they are feeding ducks. Also, weekly there is a bottle or two floating in the pond. Hubby has bravely pulled out several containers since we have moved in.
This pond is different from the one we had the pleasure of living by before. I look at the pond daily, in fact, several times a day. I have enjoyed watching the gators and the birds that come by for visits.
In looking the past couple days, I have seen beauty appear at this pond. At first, it was the cattail opening up that caught my eye. They were by the thick brush at the one end of the pond. Yesterday I saw yellow at each end of the pond and there were yellow daisy like flowers blooming. The pond is coming alive with color and texture. It is amazing to me, as this was the last place I had expected to see beauty in this neighborhood.
My observation is simple today. When we least expect it and in places we think are void of beauty, beauty will appear. I need to keep my eyes truly open to see the beauty that I may miss in expecting the normal.
Thanks for stopping by today, DAF
Walking the dog this morning the nursery rhyme, “To Market, to market” came into my mind. I remembered the past couple weeks of bouncing Little Man on my knees and repeating this rhyme to him. The last line, home again, home again, jiggety-jig stuck in my mind.
It was a beautiful fall morning and my first thought was one of sadness of being home and back into the normal routine. I stopped myself.
I was not going to be sad. The morning was glorious with the crisp feel in the air and the bright autumn sun in the morning sky.
Plus, I had a delightful weekend. Friday as I kissed Little Man good-bye and hugged and kissed my dear son-in-law good-bye, I started a short road trip with a friend from elementary school.
We talked ourselves hoarse on the trip from D.C. to Charleston. We caught up on what was happening with my family and her family, all seven siblings. We strolled down memory lane and talked about ‘bucket lists’. This weekend we visited some beaches and went to The Taste of Charleston at a local plantation. We ate for a few hours, literally. The food was incredible, the weather divine, and the company was so enjoyable. We checked something off my friend’s bucket list in going to the food event.
It was a fun weekend, and although I am missing my Little Man, I am content with the weekend I have had. I am blessed with a friend from my childhood, that we have shared our lives together. We remember the little stories and the big stories of each other’s life. We added another chapter to our memory books and that is a wonderful thing to have happen.
Thanks for stopping by… DAF
We live in South Carolina. That is not news, really. South Carolina is a beautiful state, and here in the low country we have beautiful waterways and marshes that are set around our landscape. Most housing areas contain at least one pond. These ponds always come with a warning, “Alligators may live here. No pets. No swimming.” Seems logical, I think.
As I wrote before, the sign by the pond that is about 10 feet from the side of our house reads differently. It says, “Do not feed the alligator. Do not throw anything into pond.” We didn’t notice this sign until AFTER we signed our lease. Yes, I did learn my lesson…. look closer to your environs. (Duh!)
The other night, dear hubby and I were eating our dinner. The eat-in area of our kitchen has two windows, each facing a different view. Hubby’s view is out towards the wooded area behind our house. My view is the pond. We sat eating and carrying on a conversation, it was a nice time. During a break in conversation though, something caught my eye in the pond. It was not one of the turtles frolicking around. It was not one of the beautiful birds that stand by the ponds. No, this creature had a big (and I mean big) smile. His nose was pretty pointed and he was at least 5 feet long. A gator!!! Now, this is not the first alligator I have seen. We had them visit our backyard in the other house a couple of times. They are majestic creatures.
The difference, and this is a big one, is that the pond in the other house was at least 20 to 25 feet away from our house. An alligator could come up to our yard in the former place and it was a safe distance to watch and admire. I saw this guy’s eyes and his scales and I have to say, I was startled.
Being married to a big kid, my hubby immediately went out to look at this creature. Fortunately, by time hubby made it outside our dear amphibian creature had gone underwater. Hubby, like a true little boy, was disappointed. He came back into the house, finished his dinner and questioned me over and over about where in the pond I saw this creature.
Now, we haven’t actually seen him again, but I have had it explained to me that these creatures feed (turtles are their favorite food) and then go to the bottom of the pond and wait until they are hungry again. Although their brain is small, they are aware of everything going on outside of the pond and they wait and calculate their attack. So, the trick is to not do something at the same time every day, which fortunately, we don’t.
When I look outside now, I see the pond. I see the birds around the water and I still see one or two turtles (we used to have several). It looks peaceful, calm. Just below the surface, though, is danger.
How often in our daily lives is danger lurking just below the surface and we are not aware of it? Yes, I can be startled and frightened of this big, yet to be made handbag or shoes (I know, peta would not like that, it was an attempt at a joke…) . I can avoid going outside and definitely avoid walking on that side of the house. I even look out before heading to the porch and once on the porch I look under the cars (sort of like checking under the bed for monsters before going to sleep). But, the truth of it all is, there is danger everywhere, and we are just not aware of it.
I had posted on Facebook about the alligator and got several comments. The best was from our dear friends out in San Diego. He was joking about said alligator and how he was not scared at all about the gator in MY backyard. My point about danger everywhere came back home late last night, when, not being able to sleep, I got up and went back online. There, on my Facebook page was a picture from a friend who rents a room from my friend I just mentioned. This picture was of a visitor in THEIR backyard. It was a picture of a rattlesnake. Yes, danger is below the surface everywhere.
And, although Luke 10:19 says, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” (New Living Translation) I will not purposely step on a snake (or scorpion). I will, though, trust that I will be safe from the danger lurking just below the surface as I continue to trust and follow the Lord and use my common sense.
Thanks for stopping by today. DAF
Sometimes clever posts escape me. I go about my week looking at everything with potential blog post eyes. Sometimes little things happen and I know that what just happened will make great posts. I love those opportunities.
The past couple days I have wanted to write. My heart desire was to sit down and compose something, anything. I signed onto my blog and just stared at it. Nothing, absolutely nothing happened. I clicked off and went back to other things.
I read a post last night about how we tend to write about outstanding things in our life. We leave the mundane things alone. It was an excellent post and it got me thinking. As bloggers we tend to write about things that we think others will enjoy. We want to entertain, minister to, and inspire others. It is a noble cause for certain. I know I am inspired by many of the blogs I read.
But, the clever has escaped me. So, for today, a dose of my reality is what I write about. It is humid here. Tropical storm Andrea just went through. The front yard is soggy, so is the back yard for that matter. Walking the dog is a chore in this humidity, even he is balking at the heat.
I did a couple of loads of laundry today and even enjoyed folding it for a change. I usually dislike the folding process. But, today, it is all cleaned, folded and put away properly.
The dishwasher is the only noise in the background as I write this and hubby is researching routers online.
Nothing clever, nothing exciting, Just a glimpse into the ordinary-ness that besets us all.
I really, really hope that today has been more exciting for you. Please comment and let me know that there is life beyond laundry and dishes!
I close thanking our Lord for the mundane though. It is a gift from Him to us. He gives us ordinary days as a blessing. There is nothing major happening now. We have a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, clothes to launder. He has given us a day that is not exciting. I think too often we forget that the ordinary is truly extraordinary.
Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit. DAF
About a week ago I called a friend of mine in San Diego. I called to give her our new address and phone number, since I hadn’t talked with her for a while.
As I was about to begin telling her about our move, she said, are you settled? This caused me to question how she knew what was going on. She just laughed and said, ‘your blog’. I had totally forgotten that she knew about my blog.
She then told me that she missed reading my posts and had hoped all was going well. I filled her in and we continued our conversation. It was wonderful. In the course of the conversation, she said that reading my blog was like walking around the lake with me. Now, to most of you, this makes no sense, but, to me, it made me cry.
This friend I met years ago, before her youngest was born and he is now out of college and starting his life as an adult. That’s how many years it has been. We had a friendship that started slowly, and grew over the years. She ended up moving fairly close to our place in California. About a five-minute drive from one another.
In between our houses is a lake. Not a massive one, in fact most of the people here on the east coast would call it a pond. But, for San Diego standards, it is a lake. Around this lake is a walking path with the signs so common to the area, “Rattlesnakes in the area. Caution when walking off the path” , sort of like the signs here in Charleston by the ponds, “alligators may live here. No swimming or pets allowed.” Both signs cause me to say, “Well, duh!” But, I digress.
We would meet often at the lake between our houses. We would set a time, and meet in the parking lot. Greeting each other with a hug and locking our cars, we would head to the path. We would fall into step and begin talking. We would talk about everything possible. How our days were going, how our kids were, how her job was, how school was, how my hubby was driving me crazy. Nothing was off-limits. We had days where we would laugh continuously and days where the tears fell and our hearts would break for one another.
Most of the time we really didn’t notice our surroundings, that was not the point. We connected with one another, held each other up in hard times and always prayed for each other.
There are geese at this pond. These, she does not like, nor trust. Squirrels aren’t high on a likeable list either, they are quick and can startle. One season we saw a black swan at the lake. It was beautiful. We did stop and marvel at this. It was unique and beautiful. Like the times we shared together. Unique and beautiful.
This friend of mine is incredible. She has survived a brain tumor. As a single mother, she put herself through college and graduated with honors. She cares about people in a way that truly impresses me. She works hard and never gives up. Most of all, she loves the Lord and is one of the first to draw me away from the edge with words of encouragement and exhortation.
I know, that if she is reading this, she will laugh a little and in her mind argue points that I have said. But, that is okay. That’s what friends do.
After talking with her, I was determined to give her a stroll back in time, a walk once more around the lake together. I miss those times. They were times of refreshment for me. I would laugh when she would move to the other side to avoid walking by a goose. I would laugh harder when a squirrel would race down a tree and dash across the path in front of us, making her squeal in shock and almost jumping into my arms!
A couple of times a week we would walk around the lake for two or three laps. It was our exercise time as well as our talking time. It made us feel good to have that exercise. We would talk about how good we felt about exercise as we would head to a local restaurant and have breakfast, or head to the local coffee shop and have tea and cookies…. you know you always need to replenish yourself after exercising….
So, today, thank you for joining me at the lake in my memory. So glad you stopped by. DAF
As a child I often sat on my bed in northwestern Pennsylvania dreaming of growing up and moving to California. I dreamed of sunny beaches and big houses and being rich enough to flourish there. I don’t know why I ever thought of that, but I did. I guess it didn’t help with the Mommas and the Pappas song, California Dreamin, which I loved.
Some years later, married, living in Maine, my hubby got orders for San Diego, CA. Was I excited? No, not really. I loved Maine. I loved our little house, I loved seeing the changing seasons and the snow. But, when Uncle (Sam) says to move, you move.
We moved to San Diego and ended up staying there for twenty-seven years. We bought a home with a wonderful view of the Pacific and enjoyed gorgeous sunsets daily. But, it did not feel like home to me. We raised our girls there. We created memories there, but it was not home to us.
For several years I told my hubby, ‘I would love to live anywhere, EAST of the Mississippi’. I didn’t care if it was mid-Atlantic, south or north, just so it was east.
When we finally did move to South Carolina, I was thrilled. We fell in love with the low country. We fell in love with the people here. It felt like home to us.
We still love this area. It is fun to explore and discover things about our new home. We still feel like newcomers even though it is our fourth year here.
Today it is raining again. It has rained for the past couple days. Rain doesn’t bother me at all. It makes things green. But, tonight, as I was walking our dear puppy for his last walk for the day, I was having second thoughts on rain. It is really dark out tonight. I don’t know if it is a new moon, or if the rain clouds are shielding the moon from our view. But, it is dark. So dark, you cannot see the standing water on the roads and sidewalks. Walking out to the street for our walk, it felt like I was stepping onto sponges instead of our front yard. I managed to avoid the running water by our curb, but soon realized it was a loosing battle to avoid all the water.
So, now here I sit, about to go get into some dry jammies and slippers. My feet are soaked and my living room smells like wet dog. I think I really have discovered why they call this the Low country… 😉
Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you! DAF
Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.
This is today’s Daily Prompt. At first I wasn’t going to write on it. I have a beautiful view that I thought I actually saw each day. But, while waiting for my coffee this morning, I stood at my patio door and looked out to my back yard.
At first, it looked the same. Deck with winter dirty furniture on it. Dormant grass, leafless trees and the pond. I stood and actually started to see what I was looking at. There is a difference, you know.
The pond was still. No ripples, no currents. No fish jumping, or turtles swimming, nothing. Still as the glass I was looking through. The morning sun reflected on the water. The brown, dry reeds on the other side of the pond swayed almost without causing notice. I looked at their reflection in the pond. The sun made the dry brown reeds look golden when their image reflected on the still water. They were very pretty. So pretty, I thought I might venture over and walk around by them. That is the marsh side of the pond. I have been over there a few times, but haven’t ventured over there recently. It was tempting.
I stood and looked at the beauty of my yard. I didn’t notice the deck needed cleaned. I didn’t notice the window also needed cleaning. I just saw an invitation from nature to come and visit.
As my alloted minute was about to end, a great grey heron flew from the corner of the pond and soared between the houses. What an excellent end to a minute.
As I drank my coffee, I returned to the window. It was such a pleasant experience, I thought I would continue.
Shortly after coffee this morning, we ventured out to walk our puppy. Hubby and I took a longer walk today, which suited me just fine. I was in the mood to get out into this beckoning nature I had witnessed.
We left the quiet of the house and heard the stillness of nature. Well, not really. The air was alive with the sound of birds chirping and calling out to one another. Crows were perched in leafless trees cawing to one another. There was the distant sound of traffic on the interstate. Squirrels jumped from tree to tree, busy in their days. There was life to the nature I quietly viewed.
As I sit and write this, the wind has picked up just a bit. The reeds across the pond are dancing now and the pond is full of ripples. The reflections are broken up and longer. The marsh seems alive. Not quiet like this morning.
Still, there is an invitation to come and visit. To be in the midst of the palette given to us by our Creator. He leads us beside still waters. He restores our soul. He paints the sky with colors so vivid we stand in awe of them. He created the life that is not still, the squirrels, the birds, the herons, and the snakes living in the marsh across the pond.
I am grateful that I stopped today and looked beyond my boundaries. I am glad I actually saw what was in front of me. Too often, I think, we do not see the beauty and the joy and the invitations issued to us by what surrounds us. I hope that this is not just a short, quick lesson for me. I hope that I actually stop to look at what is in front of me from now on.
Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your visit. DAF
Yesterday was my niece’s third wedding anniversary. She was the second of the next generation to marry. (our youngest was the first and her love story is written about here:(“https://dearanonymousfriend.wordpress.com” title=”Once Upon a Time”>)
My niece first saw her future husband in the elevator of the building where they both worked. She referred to him as her ‘tall, dark, and handsome’. She still does. They were married in January (obviously since yesterday was their anniversary) in Indianapolis, IN. A very cold day with a few reminders of snow. She was oblivious to the cold though, as was he, they were too consumed with being married.
Saturday, my dear hubby and I are going to a wedding. We are pretty excited about it as it is our first southern wedding. The ceremony is in a church built in the 1700’s. When we first arrived here in the low country, we visited this church to see if it would be where we attended. It feels like history. Sitting there, a few years back, I looked up at the open balcony of the church. It reminded me of an old movie and my mind wandered to think of who has sat in the pews in the church, what they were doing for this country and what they were thinking. It is an incredible church. The reception is downtown Charleston. I have wanted to go to either a reception or a wedding at this hall as it was to be where our oldest was to be married before her engagement was broken. The hall is almost as old as the church and it too screams of history. I don’t know this couple’s love story, but I will be a part of it. We will be there as they say ‘I do’.
Nestled between these two days is our 38th anniversary. Tomorrow will be our anniversary. 38 years is a long time! But, our story started some 43 years ago. Yes, I was a mere child. Okay, I was in high school. We were friends before we started dating. We would talk to each other in the hall and during the summer of 1971 when he was working landscaping the school grounds (it was a new school, its first graduating class was 1968), and I was taking an art class. He would allow me access to the closed off courtyards so I could sketch things other students couldn’t get to. That was the summer we really got to know one another.
In September of 1971, we went on our first date. To the bowling alley, three games. Big date! I won one game, he won two. No, I didn’t let him win, I just am not a good bowler. He then took me home. Rod Stewart’s, “Maggie May” played on the radio. He was the first guy to ever kiss me on a first date. I thought he was fresh, pushy and was determined it was only going to be a one date thing. Yeh, right.
We dated for the next two years. As it goes in young romances, we fought, we broke up, we made up, we repeated this action, several times. He graduated in 1972. I graduated in 1973. We both went to work as neither of us could afford college and our parents weren’t the type to help us out. I made more money in my job than he did in his. This did not go over well. We fought, we broke up, and we were determined not to get back together.
We didn’t for a couple of months. I went out with my sisters one Friday night. When we returned, my disgruntled father looked at me, told me that my dear hubby had called several times for me. He then informed me that I was going to receive a call in the next few minutes and I would take it. I would also go out if he asked. I never crossed my father. So, the call came, a dinner invitation for the following Monday was issued and like the obedient daughter I was, I accepted.
Monday came. I went to work. I came home and ate a full meal. I got ready to go out. We went to a steakhouse and I ordered a very small salad and a soft drink. Yes, I am obedient, but you can’t make me do something I don’t want to do. I didn’t want to have a meal with this guy!
During dinner he told me he had joined the navy. He asked if I would date him until he left. It was eight weeks away. What’s eight weeks? Sure. No problem.
Those eight weeks changed my life. I went from a high school infatuation to actually falling for this guy. He left for the navy in late November. He was allowed to come home from boot camp at Christmas. That Christmas we got engaged. We were engaged for the next year plus a couple of weeks.
No one gave us long. Six months was the longest bet, I believe. We have surpassed that time by 37 and a half years.
Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Have I had my regrets? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Depends on what day you are talking to me.
But, when I look at this man, a little heavier, a little grayer, a bit slower in motion, I feel at home. When we hug each other, there is still a part of me that is a teenager and my heart flutters just a little. (Of course when that happens, I sometimes wonder if it is the high blood pressure, or just excitement).
We are familiar with each other. I know a hot compress helps his headaches. He knows to go out to the garage and tread quietly when I am starting to slam doors. I know he likes crusty rustic bread for his sandwiches. He knows I like onions. We know we will disagree about our dog. I spoil him and he treats him like the animal he is (the dog, not my hubby).
Since he got sick though, I have thought long and hard about him. A few weeks ago I realized that it has been a while since I actually thought of this man. I have cared for him. I have lived with him. But, I hadn’t thought of our love story. The long love story that we are daily living. I was coming home from picking some things up at the store. I was thinking of my hubby. I was praying for him, and I came to realize that although my faith and security is with our Lord, my hubby is my earthly human security. My hubby is home. In his arms I can relax.
I may struggle and argue and go through fight number 650, the one that goes this way, then that way and ends this way… (When you have been together as long as we have even fights become familiar). But, if I did not have my hubby life would not be the same. I would still look out at the pond in my yard, I would still see the sky and the sun, but I know it would not be as lovely or alive, for a part of my heart would be missing.
Love stories are wonderful things. It is fun to watch young couples meet, fall in love, get married. Romantic comedies are great movies to watch and dream about. But, my love story is at least 43 years in the making. It has been a comedy of errors, and it has been a silent movie at times. When it is all done and gone, though, I pray that my love story will serve as an example of true love, true commitment. I pray that when my family looks on our lives that they will smile and know that the foundation they had for love is a strong one, a sturdy one, that although there were cracks in it, it did not falter.
So, happy anniversary to my hubby and to me. I hope there is a love story for you to think about today. Thanks for stopping by. DAF