I have a faint memory from childhood of having juggling balls.  I remember looking at the direction book and practicing with them.  I think I was able to get up to three balls.  I was excited at what I could do, but when I tried the fourth ball, I became discouraged and quit.

Isn’t that how it is when we are trying something new or going through new experiences?   We step out confident, and then that fourth ball comes into play and all of a sudden we are all fingers and toes and can’t hold onto anything.

How did this memory come back to me, you ask?   Well, here is how it came back from the dark recesses of my mind.   That mind of mine is a scary thing, as I really don’t have to let you know.   I am certain you could perceive that from reading this blog!

Hubby and I are starting a new regiment in our old age.  We are watching what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat and along with that, we are exercising.   We had been faithfully walking until the rains hit starting a bit last week and continuing into this week.   Knowing we couldn’t afford to just go to Costco and walk around there to get in our steps and exercise, we pulled out our Wii system that had been packed away since before we moved.     Yes, we did move five years ago, but, let’s not get into that.

As we all know, Wii’s are those game systems that help you move.   I did the normal favorites of mine, finding out I am much more unbalanced and slower than the last time I used it.  Plus that Wii board groans when I step on it, which I personally think is very rude of it.    Anyhow, I am going off on a tangent…

One of the games is hitting soccer balls with your head while trying not to get hit by random objects, mostly shoes or stuffed animals.  I haven’t broken ten hits of the balls.  I have, however been hit many times by shoes and stuffed animals.  Each time you are hit with a shoe, the system makes a sound like a splat! The first time I played I was laughing so hard that there really was no way for me to hit the balls.   I played a few more times just to keep laughing at myself.

Last night as I lay in bed I thought of that game and being hit by the shoes.  That is when the memory of the juggling balls came to mind.   The shoes were virtual, they really didn’t hit you or hurt you, but I still remember the feeling of the juggling balls that dropped on my toes.  They fell with a thud and I felt each one on my feet.

As a child, I hurt each time I was hit by a flying ball.  It must have hurt if I can still remember the feeling.  That thought brought this thought to mind, as we get older, the things that are thrown at us can either continue to hurt or we can stand our ground and not have it affect us.

Juggling is not only about tossing balls into the air with a flourish, it is about concentration, ability, agility and confidence.  I confess I possess little of what I just wrote.   But, I do have the Lord on my side, who gives me all the concentration, ability, agility and confidence I need especially when life starts throwing not only balls, but random objects at me.  I may not hit all the balls with grace, but I am learning how to dodge those random objects thrown my way.  I may end up a bit bruised in the process, but, I am still standing and that my friends is victory.

Isaiah 43: 2 says: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.NLT

With having this assurance, I can stand, not only on that Wii board, but, in my daily routine and know that flying objects that appear out of nowhere trying to distract and discourage me won’t  overthrow me.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)



This week is Thanksgiving.  A time when we remember.  A time to point out things in our lives that we are grateful for.  A time to give thanks.

Many of the things we give thanks for are situations with family, friends, people.  Activities we may have had or shared experiences that have touched us somehow.  This time of year prompts us to think back, to reflect, and in reflection we respond with gratitude.

Each of us have certain things in our life that we hold on to.  Things become markers in our lives.  We keep them to remind ourselves.

Today I came in from church.  I came in through the garage and as I headed into the kitchen from the mud room I saw a blue leash hanging from one of the coat hooks.  I smiled to myself and took a breath, somehow arguing that is was now time to take that leash down.  It has sat idle for a year now.  Hanging there as a reminder.  I won the argument with myself and the leash still hangs in its spot.  It belongs there.

The leash is not the only marker I have in my home.  For most of the year I have a little ornament that hangs on my pie server in my dining room.  It’s a simple little ornament that says, “Friends are Forever”.  Most of the time I don’t even see it, it has just become a part of my dining room decor.  But, like the leash, it belongs there.

I have a mini Christmas stocking that looks like it has been through the wars.  It hasn’t, it is just old.  I got it the Christmas I was pregnant for the second time.  It hung beside the stocking belonging to my daughter.  It was full of hopes and dreams as I hung it in 1981.  It was the stocking for the child we lost just a few short days after Christmas.  A miscarriage, but somehow it was Tim’s stocking, the name we had picked out for that baby.  It now hangs each year on our tree, another marker of mine.

I have photos on my refrigerator.  They often times drive me to distraction because of the cluttered look they give my fridge, but each are markers for me.  People dear to me and reminders to pray for those in the pictures.

The markers in our life are important.  They become a landmark for the journey of our lives.  Most of the time we don’t see them.  They are there like stop signs and street signs.  We see them, but they do not stop the activities of our daily routine.  They do not cause us to cease our schedules to ponder them.  They are just there.

Until, that is, we do stop to look at them or touch them, or consciously think about them.  Today I thought about the leash.  A melancholy smile came to my face.  The leash that gave excitement to our Shugo.  The leash that held him at stay whenever another dog was walking in the other direction.  The leash that jingled when we went to the door and he would come running, tail wagging, and we waited for his house bark to go out for his walk.  It will remain there, because it belongs there.

The ornament on my pie holder will remain there, because, it reminds me of my friend Dawn.  My walking companion for years.  I will keep it there to remind me of the times we spent circling Chollas Lake, laughing , talking, crying and making certain the squirrels did not get her.  The strength we got from each other to get through her divorce, to get through my moving, to get through a rough day when walking was just not enough, but a piece of pie did help it just a bit more.

The mini stocking that makes me wonder who that child would be as an adult.  But, also knowing that the child born after the miscarriage has given me so many wonderful gifts that I can’t begin to write that all down.  A reminder that plans don’t always go the way you think, but our God is bigger and His way will give healing to broken hearts and bring us unexpected joys.

The pictures on the fridge, are a testament  of a life surrounded by people who have touched your life, some family, some neighbors, but all loved.

Markers are things we hold onto.  As I head into this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for much, but, I think that in this moment, right now, I am thankful for the markers in my life, for they anchor me to where I have been.  They are a foundation in my memory.  They stir my heart with recognition of a happy, full, and rewarding life.

What are some of the markers in your life?  I’d like to hear about them if you would like to share them.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all,  thank you for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)


A Walk on the Beach…

This afternoon, hubby and I headed out to do some errands and after finishing them up, we headed to the beach.  No, not to sit and sun, but to walk, and blow the stink off.

We walk on the beach often, it is a place that relaxes hubby and he unwinds.  This leads to great conversations that somehow don’t happen other places.

The sky was overcast when we arrived and the tide was out, which is our favorite time to walk there.  The huge expanse of sand that is firmer is easier to walk along.  We walked for about a mile.  The wind was brisk and I found myself wishing I had brought some gloves with me.

As we walked along, we saw some cute dogs with their owners.  They would bound over and we would love on them.  In the distance we saw a couple walking a puppy.  As we got a bit closer we realized it was a Shiba Inu, which is what we have.  The puppy was off leash and started to run towards us.  Of course, we encouraged him to keep running to us.  He arrived in a flurry of excitement, tail wagging, tongue lapping and jumping and nipping.  He was precious.  The couple rushed over, apologizing as they came.  Then they realized that we were loving our time with the puppy.  We looked up and told them what a beautiful shiba they had.  Immediately, we were friends.  They asked us so many questions about the breed and we talked for several minutes.  I should clarify, they talked with my hubby, me?  Well, I was too busy playing with the puppy.  I had forgotten how playful Shibas are when they are puppies.  I forgot how furry and soft and fun they are.  Our poor old pup is past the playful stage.  He sleeps most of the day and sometimes it is a chore to walk to the door to go on his walk.

On the way home I kept thinking of the puppy.  I also started thinking of how we are when we age. We don’t feel any different, but, we do start to move just a bit slower.  We don’t play as much as we used to.

We arrived home.  Came in, dropped the mail on the table and our dog came trotting out to meet us.  I looked down just as he dropped into his playful pose.  Nah, he isn’t as old as I think he is…

As I think about it now, there’s still some puppy in both of us.

Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

Could it be possibly be?

I really dislike warm weather.  I was excited to go to San Diego at first because I was leaving the 90 degree temps that are so common here in South Carolina in September.

I was excited until I realized that San Diego was hot also.

I felt like I couldn’t escape from the heat.  Upon returning to Charleston the temperatures were warm.  Not the 90’s, but high 80’s.  Yesterday I walked out of the house in the morning to walk our dog.  Opening the door, I was hit by warmth.  My immediate reaction was not positive (which fit in with my day yesterday).

Last night we had rain.  There was a bit of thunder with it also.  Hubby and I took our dog for his last walk last night and hubby remarked how much cooler it was.  We always disagree on the temperature, anything lower than 90 is cool to him.  Personally, the colder, the better.

This morning as I left the house for my morning walk, it was cooler!  I was so excited.  Maybe, possibly, summer is over?  After all, it is almost November.  The leaves are falling off some of the trees.  I think they are just done with the heat and have decided to commit suicide and leave the trees without changing any color.  (It’s hot, I’m done, good-bye cruel world!)

So, hopeful that the sun shining in the woods behind our home is a sign that it is now fall and soon the trees will be bare, I write about my favorite of seasons.  Fall, that season that says we survived the heat of summer.  Fall, that season that welcomes in the holidays.  Fall, that season where we can legally eat pumpkin pie and not be stared at for not eating berries.  Fall, that season that allows us to pull out sweaters and jeans and socks that cover the ankle.   Yes, I am excited.

Technically fall arrived a couple of weeks ago.  It says so on the calendars.  Also the stores are filled with Halloween, a bit of Thanksgiving and  Christmas.  The signs have all been here, except for the weather.  My sweatshirts are calling my name.  I hear them from the closet.  Now, if only this weather holds and gets a little colder…  Maybe, just maybe fall has arrived?

Thanks, DAF

July 3rd…

We are still in our hometown.  Writing has somehow been harder to do here.  The ideas do not flow as easily as they do when I am in my home and surroundings.

Today is the third of July.  It has been  40 years since I was in town for a fourth of July.  I thought of this while walking our dog this evening.

We actually have no plans for tomorrow.  Hubby will most likely continue to work on family business and I will cook something here and do what I have done for the past month while here.  Nothing exciting.

I had a conversation with an old friend this past week.  We got caught up on each other’s lives.  She looked at me and said that I had an exciting life.  Those words hit me.  I haven’t considered my life exciting.  It has just been my life.

So, this evening while walking our little pup, I thought about her words and how I have spent the last 40 fourth of Julys.  Here are some of the ways I have celebrated:

I have had a meal in the mess hall aboard a Coast Guard ship.

I have stood in water half way up my leg while wearing a winter coat watching a parade to celebrate America’s bi-centennial in Japan.  The reason for the water and the winter coat?  It was cold, damp and a typhoon was off the coast dumping rain and wind onshore.

I have gone on backyard picnics along the coast of Maine.

I have camped on the beach and climbed on top of WWII bunkers to watch fireworks in San Diego.

I have sat in a parking lot of a Target store to watch fireworks.

I have stood on my upstairs deck and watched fireworks.

I have been with family and watched them in the D.C. area.

I have gone on a lovely boat ride to watch fireworks shot off a battleship.

Tonight, the fireworks are going off as I write this.  We have not gone to watch them.  It is just one of those years.  We don’t need to see the sky lit up with different colors to know this country is worth celebrating.

This year, my patriotism as well as my faith is quiet.  It is not silent, but it is still.  There is a difference.  This year I feel like the two are intertwined a bit.  I know my Lord is a powerful and awesome God.  He has watched over this country since those rebels of so long ago drafted a declaration of Independence.   I am trusting in Him to keep this country safe and to have it remember it’s roots and beginnings.

So,  I close this post with the words of a song by Irving Berlin that makes me cry each time I hear it.

God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.”

Thanks for stopping by today, Happy Fourth of July!   DAF

Home smells….

As I have written, we are in our childhood hometown.  We have been here three weeks today.  The time here has been like a series of flashbacks in a bad movie…  Wherever I walk, drive, ride or roam, there are memories.  Some of them good ones too.

Today, as I was walking our puppy (yes, he is along for the trip), I went through all the flashbacks that sort of wait for me at each block, and noticed how I recognized the scents of the area.

Our city is famous for oil and petroleum products.  It is, after all, Oil City.  A few miles north is Titusville, where oil was discovered for production  purposes by Col. Edwin L. Drake.   So, an underlying smell in this city is oil, or petroleum.  I don’t think that scent is as strong as it was in my childhood when Pennzoil and Quaker State had refineries going all the time, along with a couple of other refineries, Wolf’s Head and Amalie.  But, still there is the faint smell of oil.

Add to this, a fragrance of the woods, the damp musty wood smell.  In the midst of those two heavy smells, the delicate smell of lilacs waft between.  It may sound confused and weird, but, to me, it is a comforting smell.

Woods surround the houses here.  I look through them and know my way around.  They do not look ominous, they look like home.

As I walked the dog, sniffing and looking, a verse of my favorite poem ran through my mind, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   But I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep,  And miles to go before I sleep.”  (Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost)

This time has made me realize that I have been shaped by this town.  Things I hold dear were knit within me as I grew up.  As I grew up and travelled, I feel like the Lord set within me certain things that have sealed who I am.  These things are my love of mountains and rivers.  The sound of wind through trees and the rustling of leaves on the trees and on the ground.  The draw of small towns over metropolitan areas and the quiet that comes when you look at the night sky and see lightning bugs blinking in the distance.

I know we won’t return to this town to live again, and I am fine with that, but, this extended time here has shown me that certain things are important to me, wherever I am.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

A Memory of My Dad…

I have several memories of my Dad, as we all do.  Some good, some not so great.  There is one memory that stands out to me this day.

I remember one Saturday night going to see the movie 101 Dalmatians which, having just looked it up, was released in 1961.  It must have been around Easter time as I remember wearing the short white coats that we got a few years in a row, along with the flowered headbands that we wore in place of a hat, which was required to be worn when attending mass.

We went to the movie at night and I remember sitting in the balcony area of the theater.  The steps leading up to the balcony were a big sweeping staircase and I always felt grand walking up and down them.

Anyhow, my sisters and I went to the movie with our folks, and then came home and most likely were sent to bed.  I don’t think I slept much that night, and I am certain my parents most likely wanted to put me up for adoption or leave me on the curb to see who would pick me up.  I think that because I remember my Dad coming into the bedroom and getting me ready to go to 5:30 a.m. mass.  It was still dark out and once again I had on my little white coat and headband.

We went to mass and afterward, instead of going straight home, he took me for a drive.  We drove up to the cemetery  where my Mother now rests and he parked the car.  We walked through a field that was roughly mowed and had just a few run down tombstones.  This, he told me was  Potter’s Field, a place where people were buried who didn’t have money or family.  I remember looking at the field with wonder.

We continued walking to the end of the field.  I never knew before this that there was a steep hill on the backside of the cemetery.  This overlooked the river.  The sun was about to rise fully and we stood there, just the two of us watching the sky turn brighter.  We listened to the birds waking up and we saw the flowers that were in bloom in early spring.

I have thought of this many times through the years.  It is just lately that I figured out that I must have been a pain throughout the night with not sleeping.  But, I remember that he was not angry with me, but took time to spend with me.  Most likely, it was my Mother who yelled at him  to do something with me so she could get some sleep and so could my sisters who shared a room with me, but to me, it was a special time with my Dad.

We did not have many moments like this, as life got in the way, but, today on Father’s Day, I choose to remember this and be grateful to the man who raised me as best he knew how.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

As It Was In The Days of Noah…

Yes, I know it is Easter time and Facebook and blogs are filled with words remembering the significance of this week.  Yes, I heartily agree with all of this, but, no, this is not a spiritual post.  Just a reference.

Noah built the ark, and the rains started.   Last night I was thinking of pulling out the plans for a boat, just didn’t know how quickly I could get it made.

The rains started yesterday afternoon, as expected.  The winds blew, the rains came and stayed.  It was cozy inside.  We donned our slickers and took the dog out a couple of times for a wet walk.

Last evening we looked at the pond.  It’s not a particularly lovely pond anyhow, more like a culvert with water in it.  There is an area of brush at one end of the pond, the brush stands at least ten feet in height.  Last evening the brush was half covered in water.  The pond was almost full.  The roads were full, as was our front yard.

Now, I know the house is raised just a bit for times like these.  I understand that.  My concern in all of this?  The three alligators who live in the pond.  Two of them are pretty little and I half expected to look out this morning to see them on my porch.

But, as the sun attempted to shine today, I looked out to puddles, a pond that had drained and no gators on my porch.  So, now we are waiting for the next round of storms and again we will watch the pond.

Have a great Easter weekend.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Winter Walking…

My mom died in 1966 in the fall.  That winter, walking to school was a chore.  My older sister at the time was a sophomore in high school, my younger sister was in fourth grade and I was in the sixth.

The three of us would walk together until my younger sister and I headed up a hill to our school and my older sister would continue to walk down to the high school.

I remember the walks to school, the early cold mornings, gray, icy, snowy.  I remember some of the conversations along the way.

It wasn’t until recently that I had a conversation with my older sister about those walks.  She mentioned that they were hard times for her.  She wanted to cheer us up as we walked.  She did a good job, since obviously, I don’t remember them being hard except for the cold weather.

One of the things she would do is sing.  The song that reminds me most of those times is ‘California Dreamin’ by the Mammas and the Pappas.  I hear that song today and I am transported to walking to school.  I can picture a bend in the road and I can remember every detail.

It’s amazing to me how music can transport you to times and seasons.  You feel, smell, think and remember with clarity where you were and what you were doing.  How you were feeling and what you were thinking.  I love that!

California Dreamin’ made me want to go to California.  I remember at that young age determining that I would make it one day across the country to that magical state.  I always pictured myself as a single girl in Los Angeles.  Living a glamor filled life and meeting one celebrity after another.

I did make it to California.  My first encounter to the state was San Francisco, where hubby and I spent four days before heading to Japan to live.  I fell in love with that city.  The hills, the water, the food.  I could still eat my way through San Francisco, enjoying each hill and view.

What I didn’t realize in my young dreaming days was that I would live in that magical state for almost 27 years.  It wouldn’t be a glamorous life as a single, but a loving life with children and a husband.  I saw some celebrities through the years and I met a baseball player who struck me dumb and all I could do was nod my head and smile.

While I had many adventures living there, I spend this winter day thankful for being where I am today.  I am thankful for my sister who kept her siblings going forward.  I am thankful for the memories that song gives me, how it ties my youthful past into my recent past.   I am thankful to be once more on the east coast of this great nation.

Music ties you to many things.   Thank you for talking a winter walk through my memories.  DAF


Yes, I know.  I know that I lived for almost 28 years in Southern California.  I know that I now live in South Carolina.  I know that both of those places are not known for their ‘winters’.    I know that.

There was a time though, that I lived in snow.  I was born in Oil City, PA.  A place in northwestern Pennsylvania.  It is situated in the foothills of the Allegheny mountains, part of the Appalachian chain.  It was cold there, still is.  Winter is part of my DNA.  I know it.  I remember the feel, the smell, the taste of the cold and I miss it.

I truly was one of those kids who walked almost a mile to school (high school it was a mile and half).  The bus routes just missed our home, so, we walked.

We walked uphill and downhill, and yes, that was each way.  Living in a hilly area you had to go up and down both ways to get anywhere.

When I was in school girls weren’t allowed to wear pants.  The nuns would allow us to wear our snowpants to school, but they were hung up in the cloak room as soon as we got there.  In my junior year of high school we were allowed to wear dress pants to school.  In my senior year we were allowed to wear jeans.  I think there were only two days where I did not put on my jeans that year.

So, yes, I can relate to the snow and the cold and the frigid air.  I remember it.  I can remember sitting in a classroom watching the weather turn bad.  It would be cold at lunch time and gray.  The gray would turn to rain and sleet and then snow.  We would leave the school and head home.  Some days the boots would be sitting warmly at home because they weren’t needed in the morning.  So, off  we would head down Seeley Avenue slipping and sliding.  This street would go down hill a ways and then climb up to another street, where we would cross over to.  Going uphill we would try to walk on the grassy part of the curb so we could keep our footing.  Heading across Cedar Avenue was easy.  It was straight. It was level.  It let you catch your breath.  We would then cut across the alley by the cemetery where it was normally oiled, in the snow it was mushy slush.  By this time your feet were soaked and felt like bricks to walk on.  Your knees were burning with the cold.  Your nose was running and your mittens were clumpy with chunks of snowy ice where you had put them down to pick yourself up from falling.

By time we got home we were ready for warmth.  We were ready for flannel pajamas.  But, more than anything we were ready to get our homework done and go back outside, this time for fun.

Yes, I may live where snow is a rare happening, but I remember and I miss the snow.   I lived in snow as an adult also, but that is another post.  Thanks for stopping by today, stay warm!  DAF