A Difficult Farewell

Life has been hectic and busy.  A number of things have been going on in my life and some I hope to write about. 

This post was written about 3 weeks ago when our Lab was put down due to failing health.  It was a very painful decision that took two weeks to decide, although we have known for some months before that the day was getting close. 

I did not post it at the time as it was too painful and my grief over her loss was too great.  I still get teary just thinking about Jenny, but it is getting better.  I mean, how do you not grieve over the loss of a much loved member of your family.

So it is that I am finally able to post this in honor of Jenny.  She is still loved and greatly missed.  Thanks for your understanding and allowing this dog lover to open her heart a little with words.

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It is raw, painful and hard.  Saying good bye to a much loved companion of over 13 years.  Yes, Jenny, our beautiful, sweet, yellow Labrador Retriever.  I use her full breed title, so often calling her a Lab, but for today she deserves the entire thing. 

One sometimes wonders how do you come to the decision to put a dog down?  Do we try to hang onto them for our sake or is it merciful to let them go before they are in too much pain.  So often we know in our heart that the time has come but we can’t let go.  We need one more day or week or hopefully a month with them.  We hope against hope that they will improve and maybe, just maybe we will get another year of their time.  It may seem selfish, but it is love that won’t let them go until it is all too clear that the time has come.  So it was with Jenny.

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Jenny was the second of the two Labs that we had.  She was sweet and beautiful.  Actually, she was one of the prettiest yellow labs I have ever seen.  She came from good breeding, hunting stock, but we just loved her as a family pet.  We seldom took her with us where people did not stop and comment on her looks.  She had beautiful confirmation for a Lab.  No skinny tail, the perfect height and those eyes that could melt any heart.  And her ears.  I loved her ears.  Soft as velvet.

She knew tricks.  She could bark at a command of the hand, twirl, sit, “high 5” and lay down.  All taught to her by her actual owner, my daughter Claire.  They were a pair.  Jenny sleeping with Claire on her bed from a pup, taking up most of the full size bed that Claire slept in when she lived at home. 

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She loved to play ball and every Christmas Claire would buy and wrap presents for her, putting them under the tree.  For years she would get a new collar and squeak toys for it was a holiday for the dogs too.  They were part of our family.

I know that one day we, as a family, will be able to look back and talk about Jenny and her funny ways.  Her little quirks, her sweet nature and how much we miss her.  But, for now, it is only through tears that we can speak her name. 

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I only hope that she knew, in some way, how much we loved her and will miss her.  She enriched our lives in a way nothing else could.  Other dogs will come into our lives but there will never be one that can take her place.  She was one of a kind.

So it is with great difficulty that we said our farewell and pray that one day we will see her again in heaven, tail wagging, no arthritis and a healthy body.  That is how I want to remember her.  Just as she was when I would look out the windows on the back of our house and see her, swimming, all alone in the pool, that I am sure she believed was built just for her. 

And, just as merciful as God is, I remembered this morning that last night in Texas there was a rainbow at about the time of Jenny’s passing in California.  Yes, God was taking care of you, sweet Jenny,  and giving me a sign again, that all was going to be okay.  For not one sparrow falls without His knowing. 

Jenny, I will forever miss you, sweet girl.  I’ll see you again, in heaven.

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Texas vs The Emerald City

“Oh Toto look!  It’s the Emerald City.  It is so beautiful and we are almost there!”  Dorothy begins to walk faster and faster, almost at a run.  She, with her little dog Toto running along side of her.  She had walked so far, feeling lost and frightened yet here, just as she crested the hill, she saw before her what appeared to be a sanctuary.  The Emerald City.

Okay, so this is not exactly how the scene plays in the Wizard of Oz, but it is how I imagined it yesterday morning. 

I have been, once again, in Texas.  The Houston area to be exact, and for this non-city girl, it can sometimes be a challenge.  I have had a difficult time finding places to walk that are safe. Just when I think I have found such a place I am warned by someone that it is not a good place for me to walk.  So, it comes to an end.

Although I could go to a gym, I would much prefer to walk outside with the birds and trees around me.  Soon enough it will be too hot to be able to do that during the day, at least when I am here in Texas.

There is a walking/biking trail that I have found that runs along the back side of a community college that is just down the street from Dale’s new apartment. 

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Zoey and I have been walking a portion of this path.  The path is on a slight rise with a drainage canal on one side and the road for the college parking lot on the other.  There are trees along the path in most of the section where I walk, a dirt path and green grass on the sides.  For the most part it is very pleasant.

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However, there is one part in the path where the college grounds stop but the path continues.  At this point there is an area that is overgrown with all kinds of brush and scrubby trees.  Next to that is a structure that is fenced with a high wooden fence and after that I can not tell what lies beyond.  Something scary and dangerous I am sure and I hear the warnings of locals telling me “it is not safe”. 

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The drainage canal continues on the opposite side and that is open with high power line towers running as far as the eye can see. 

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But inside all that growth on the other side of the path……………..well, who knows what is lurking inside!  So, I always stop just before that point and turn around going back to safer territory.  I turn, walking away with a little frustration because I want to go further, adding more “mileage” to my walk, but fear stops me.  I turn from the unknown and return to what is known and where I feel it to be safe.

Yesterday mid morning I was feeling a bit braver than usual and decided I would walk just a little beyond the scary part and see how that felt.  Zoey, my trusted walking companion, was with me and we ventured on.  To my surprise as I got just a little into the “scary zone” I could see what appeared to be concrete walks.  Then as I came over a little rise and around a bend there it was!  I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or how she must have felt when they first saw the Emerald City.  For what I saw was not scary at all!  In fact the scary part only lasted a very short distance!  It was the unknown that was scary.

As I rounded the bend the dirt path became concrete, really  nice concrete, with grass on either side and just as I got to the rise there it was.  A really nice large pond with houses around one side.  A concrete walking path went completely around the pond and I estimated that if I walk the concrete path it will add another mile to my walk.  How nice to walk around a large pond that is well cared for, has some water fowl to see and a nice even path for me to walk or jog on.  I was thrilled, excited and thankful.

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Today I went back to that spot and walked the pond, this time with my camera.  The part of the path that had been so scary was not scary at all for I knew what was waiting ahead for me.  And I thought……………………………

I thought how much this is like life. ( I love when God gives me a life lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay!)

We are so afraid to do or go where it is not comfortable, where we can not see around the bend.  It is scary and often times friends and well meaning people warn us that it is not safe, don’t venture beyond what we know or our self talk tells us to play it safe.  So, we get to a certain part in our life and then we turn around and stay there.  It is “safe”, or so we think.  We stay where it is comfortable, secure and predictable when all along if we had ventured out just a little bit further, hung on a little bit longer, we would have had something so much more.  Something so much better and bigger than what we had imagined.  And, I wondered how many times have I given up when just beyond my reach,at that moment, there was something really great for me to grasp if I had just gone a little further.

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I do believe that God gives us more than one opportunity to take the best that He wants for us.  That He can bring it back around in different ways for us to grab hold when we are ready.   Sometimes we have to take a different route to get there but He will eventually get us to the right place.  And how thankful I am for another life lesson that I can ponder and hopefully grow from.

              “She turned her can’ts into can’s and her dreams into plans”  Kobi Yamada

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Green Moths, Texas and Me

“Kathi, you need to get your camera and come see this”, Dale calls out to me as the house is waking up from a night’s sleep.  I do just that, as I have learned that when I hear that phrase, I am usually in for something good, a visual gift. 

To my delight on one of the screens of the screened in porch at his parent’s house was a beautiful, Texas size, green moth.  I clicked away, filling numerous frames on my digital card.   Going back into the house, I was delighted with my morning discovery, or should I say Dale’s morning discovery.  There is a silent “thanks God for that treat” as I set my camera on the kitchen counter and poured my first cup of coffee.

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Later in the day I decided to look at the pictures of the moth.  Settling on one to edit, I went to work.  There was not much to do; a little cropping, sharpening, and I darken the background.  Then words……..I wanted to add some words.  I settled on “With brave wings she flies”.

This morning I ventured out on a walk before getting consumed with the day.  Enjoying the morning sounds of country living is one of my favorite things.  In the distance a rooster crows, horses’ whinny, and the cows across the street are busy grazing with cow Egrets fast on their heels.  The sun is peaking in and out of the clouds and Zoey, our faithful Boxer, is zig-zagging in front of me to gather in the smorgasbord of smells.  Today I let her do as she pleases, not making her “heel” as we walk.  Another silent “thank you Lord for this morning” goes up to the heavens.

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My mind goes to the picture of the moth and I think about woman I know.  A close girlfriend who is struggling with some decisions that she knows will have a great impact on her life.  I imagine she is fearful of the unknown.  With brave wings she flies.

I have a daughter, my baby, who is currently studying overseas in a foreign country.  She went knowing no one and with little command of the language.  With brave wings she flies.

My mind then goes to my oldest daughter who is a new teacher.  She is working hard to teach children that are sometimes hard to teach.  They can be disrespectful, parents difficult, and she works long hours after school is out.  She works weekends, has events in the evening to attend for her students, travels for competitions with “her kids”, and often spends her own money, from a meager paycheck, to buy things for her classroom.  With brave wings she flies.

There is my daughter-in-law who is, along with my son, raising my first and only grandchild.   As with most toddlers she consumes nearly every minute of her mother’s time.  Their house is small, really small, yet I never hear them complain.  My daughter-in-law is completing her final semester of college and is often doing homework or studying for tests around nap and play times.  With brave wings she flies.

I think too of lady friends that I know who had husbands.  Those husbands decided they no longer wanted them for their wives and left.  They have struggled to make a way for themselves after being married for several decades.  Entering the world of singles at the age of 50 or more can be difficult and trying to support themselves can be stressful and hard.   I know, I am one of them.  With brave wings they fly.

The moth I photographed did not have smooth edges on its wings.  They were jagged and a little worn.  I imagine those tender, delicate wings were scared from battles fought yet it did not diminish its beauty.  That is how it is with the woman mentioned above.  They are each beautiful, and the battles that life throws their way only makes them more beautiful.  I hope the same can be said for me.

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Loosing Ones Life to Gain

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Genesis 32:24-26

The past four years I have been in school, the school of life.  It has been an intense program, accelerated by life events, each causing me to feel I have little control over the outcome.  So I wrestle.  It is hard to let go.

I sat at lunch recently with a couple of girlfriends.  We had not seen each other for some time, one I had not seen for probably over a year.  It was good to see them and it felt like “old times”.  It was comfortable, like putting on an old sweater and memories of our friendship rushed in to my mind.  I love these ladies and I love that we have a history.

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We were playing catch-up.  So much has happened in each of our lives over the past 5 years.  Our children are grown or nearly grown, each pursuing their educational dreams.  We are older, aches and pains come and go, Cancer was beaten and a marriage saved.  One marriage ended………. mine.

As we rushed to ask our questions of one another, ever on a time limit, we touched on the subject of our spiritual lives.  Each of us are Christians, each different in our walk but supportive just the same.  Each journey different.

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“I have had a hard time with God, I really am not sure just what all I believe anymore”, I share with my friends.  I am openly honest, the mask is off for a time.  Suzanne looks at me and I see in her eyes that she is saddened by my statement or perhaps it is because she has been there and knows the struggle is hard.  She knows the pain of it?  “I went through so much with the divorce and saw so much go against me, I just don’t know”, I finish my thought.  Tears rush to my eyes and I hear my voice change a bit.  Ugh, I don’t want to go there, I am able to squash them down and move to a different subject.  I have always had a very tender heart for God and it pains even me to question his goodness toward me.

_DSC1077It was just about five, maybe six years ago and Suzanne had shared with me that she had cancer and we hugged each other and cried.  Through our tears I shared with her how God loved her, that he wanted to have her come to him with her questions, hurts and sorrows.  That He wanted to have a personal relationship with her.  She was not sure, it had been some time since she had felt close to Him, I continued to assure her of his love.

Fast forward to me a few years later.  I am the one who questions when my world is rocked by a 30 year marriage that abruptly came to an end, and I wonder.  I wonder why, why would God allow this.  Yes, inside myself I know the answer, I guess I just want a better one, something different.

_DSC1306We each are given free will and my ex husband certainly had the free will to choose the life that he chose.  He chose to leave the family that he and I had created, he wanted a different life.

It was hard, really hard.  I remember in the early part of our divorce proceedings feeling as though I would not survive the pain of infidelity, court battles and attorneys.  I wondered what did I do to deserve all this pain.

_DSC1305Pruning is painful, I now know.  I see it all as pruning to make me better, stronger and hopefully bring me the life that is better for me.  For all that I am thankful and in nearly every way my life is so much better now.

But I still engage in this wrestling match.  It is easy for me to see God working in other people’s lives.  I see how He has blessed and cared for my daughters since their Dad  left.  They have been awarded scholarships and grants to help pay for college, jobs have come to help pay for extra expenses.  People have come along side to encourage and help guide, filling the gap.  Again, I am forever thankful.

_DSC1293For me God often seems silent.  Yes, He has taken care of me.  It may not have been in the way I would have liked for in many cases it did not come without a struggle and a certain amount of stress or pain.  But is it because of my attitude and expectations?  How I think things should be or look?  How that help would come?  Did I put God in a safe “box”?

In the early days of my divorce I spent hours reading my Bible, looking for answers.  It was the thing that kept me “going”, waking up each day and putting forth the effort to build a new life.  I felt some of those answers came and certainly strength was given.  

I recently read a blog written by a woman who reminded me that God tells us in the Bible that to “gain our life we must first lose it”.  Matthew 16:25.

For me it meant that I gave up nearly all.  Everything that I had hoped and dreamed for was taken in a two-year period, shattered before my eyes and what pride I had was gone.  However, as painful as that may have been, it made room for new dreams and perhaps these dreams are richer and deeper than the previous.  Maybe, just maybe, these dreams come from a more real me.  For certainly I am older and hopefully wiser.

And, I recently came to the conclusion that wrestling may actually be a good thing.  For by a willingness to wrestle, I am still alive spiritually.   I think it is okay to ask, maybe even demand answers to life’s questions.  After all, God is big enough to deal with them.  I may not get the answers when I want them…… the wrestling……. or I may not like the answer…… but when the answer comes it may cause me to see some things more clearly.  And, in God’s goodness toward me, I know from experience that He will only give me answers as I can handle them, and the information will only come as I can digest it.

I imagine God sitting in an overstuffed chair next to the fireplace in my living room.  There is a crackling fire that warms the room and he quietly waits.  It is here that I bring Him my heap of broken dreams, tears and yes…… my pride.  I lay it at his feet and looking into my eyes he says, “now Child, now we can start over.  The wrestling can stop.  We can finish what has already begun, your wonderful new life”.

_DSC1302flightlrAnd so it is.

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Love on the Lake

A perfect spring day, temperatures close to 70 degrees and I had been working outside.  The front lawn was mowed, my iris bed was now clean, free of leaves that I left to blanket them over the winter and I moved into the vegetable garden to do a little weeding.

My birthday, which was on Valentine’s Day, came and went.  A wonderful day that Dale made very special for me.  I was pampered in ways that happened very seldom in the past and I loved it.  My kids always worked hard to make it special for me but now they are grown and have spouses or “loves” of there own.  I don’t want them to spend Valentine’s Day with me when they have newer loves to do special things for.  So, having Dale in my life to make me feel loved and cherished was amazing.  He has a special way of doing that for me.  Every girl should be so blessed!

We have begun to make frequent visits to a small lake near my home.  It is a community lake with an abundance of water foul, turtles and birds.  There is a one mile walking path around the lake and we often walk the path, me with my camera, ready to stop for anything I see that might be of interest.

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About a month ago we visited and to our surprise there were 5 white swans on the lake.  I was extremely excited and snapped pictures until my card was full.  A couple of weeks later when we visited the swans were gone and I was greatly disappointed.  However, I knew that they would most likely not stay long but would be migrating to a distant location.

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A few days ago we ventured out to the lake again.  With great surprise and excitement we saw 3 of the 5 swans were on the lake.  They put on quite a show of flapping their wings, grooming and chasing off some Canadian Geese. 

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I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning as I clicked away, once again until my card was full and Dale waited patiently for me.  He is a good man as most people are quite bored with photographers as they photograph things that they like.  

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The lake was a flurry with activity as mating season seemed to be in full swing.  How appropriate for a month that is marketed as the month for love.  Funny.

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Since yesterday was busy we decided this afternoon to go back to the lake.  Dale worked all morning and I was working outside getting things tidy before we leave again for Texas in a few weeks.  At Dale’s suggestion we stopped and purchased a deli sandwich and a bottle of wine and headed out to the lake.  He told me perhaps we would see the swans again and I could take more pictures of those magnificent birds.  He would sit on one of the park benches and be happy for me to wander as long as I needed.

I packed up two wine glasses, an opener, grabbed my camera which already had my zoom lens on it, and off we went.  I was excited and happy to be getting back to the lake with my favorite guy.

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Once there, we found a great spot that was near the water’s edge and private.  While Dale opened the bottle of wine and poured us each a glass I unwrapped our sandwich, splitting it in half and handing him his portion.  We talked and ate and felt the warm sun reach deep into our bones.  What a perfect afternoon.  

There were some geese in the water very close to us, three turtles sunbathing on some rocks in the water and a very interesting bird that flew in to rest on the waters edge.  I grabbed my camera and turning it on as I picked it up I saw in the lower right corner where it tells me how many pictures I have left, was a big “E”.  This meant EMPTY.  I had forgotten to put a card in my camera!!!  

Talk about irritated with myself!  I had taken some pictures earlier in the morning and  taken the card out to look at the pictures on my computer.  I had not replaced the card and seldom take my camera bag with me when I am only going to the lake.  Ugh!

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Dale tried to encourage me to go back home and get a card but I would not as it would have taken too long.  Instead I chose to just relax and enjoy the lake, taking pictures with my minds eye.

I decided to walk around the lake.  Dale chose to stay behind.  He is in a wheel chair for another month while his legs heal from a fall and it is a lot of work for him to wheel around the lake.  I decided to take the walk alone.

As it always is, I saw things that I would have loved to have had my camera for.  Not having the weight of my camera in my hand felt odd and I fancied myself as an addict not having the drug that they needed.  

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Reaching the far end of the lake, two Canadian Geese flew over me, so close that it seemed if I had reached up and taken a little jump I might have touched them.  Click….. my minds camera takes pictures, one right after the other and all I have are mental pictures of how they looked.  About 20 steps further two more Canadian geese flew over me, this time just a bit higher and my minds lens opens and closes again, wishing I had a card in my head to record the sight.

I have never had large birds fly so close to me.  It was as if the sight was a gift for just me, not to be shared, and I am thankful.  It is amazing to me how nature can bring so much calm and peace to ones soul.  

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I arrive back at my starting point where Dale is patiently waiting, telling him of the geese and other sights that I saw.  We gather our things and head back home.  Tomorrow is another day and he suggests that we try again tomorrow.  The one good thing is the swans were not there today, if that is any consolation.  Tomorrow is another day and we will try again.  This time, I will be taking not one, but two cards for my camera!
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Are Those Candles or a Blow Torch on that Cake?

This month, February, is our BIG birthday month.  Dale, my two daughters, and I all have birthdays in February.  They are even different weeks so we are pretty much celebrating a birthday every week.

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When my kids were young, I would leave the dining room decorated for birthdays all month.  I mean, what was the point of decorating every week!  As the crepe paper streamers would start to sag and droop I would just move the tape up the wall to take up the slack.  I might refresh the balloons hanging from the middle of the light fixture as by the end of the month they were often starting to look a little deflated and wrinkled. Funny memory.

There was also the birthday tradition for the kids of buying one helium balloon for each year of age. The balloons were tied to their chair at the dinner table.   That was a fun tradition until they started to become teenagers and I decided I would rather spend $15.00 on something that was not going to be gone in a day or two.  So, for anyone thinking that it might be a fun tradition to start, I suggest you add a cap to the number of years.  Maybe tell your kids if they get too many balloons on their chair they will lift off and fly away!  But tell them that while they are still young and believe everything you say!

My birthday happens to fall on Valentine’s Day.  Ugh!  Now, not only is there the “Ahhh, you are a Valentine’s baby!”, nearly every time I show my driver’s license, but I have also heard “You must have been a sweet baby”.  Well, of course I was!!!  (smile)  And, to top it off I have always had to share my birthday with a holiday.  For those of you who also share your birthday with a holiday you know what I mean.  You always seem to miss out on one or the other.

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I do have some very fond memories of birthdays past.  When I was young I remember having a few birthday cakes that were in the shape of a heart.  My mom always bought a bakery cake for our birthdays.  I grew up in a fairly poor environment, although I didn’t realize then how much we actually lacked money.  So, a store-bought cake was really special.  Back when I was a kid, birthday parties were pretty simple.  There were no jump houses, no crafts were made and no clowns visited.  It was cake, ice cream and a few games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  I really don’t remember having any kid parties but my 87-year-old mother has some pictures to prove I did so I guess they actually happened.

As I became an adult and had children, yes there was a wedding in there, my kids kind of took on the role of making mom (me) feel special on her day.  My son Kyle was responsible for breakfast, Lora, my youngest had the job of fixing lunch and Claire, my oldest daughter/middle child had the responsibility of  dinner.  Back then, Claire was my little cook and she was great at it from an early age.  Lunch usually consisted of canned soup and a sandwich as Lora was young and that was what she could manage with some help from her siblings, Kyle was outstanding with fixing eggs.

But my most special memory of my kids preparing for my day was when I was able to spend the entire day, at their insistence, working on a scrapbook that I was making.  It was back in the day when I was doing such things and time for crafty activities was precious and often hard to find.  The thought of having an entire day to sit and work on a project was heaven!  

Another birthday that was really special was shortly after we moved to a house on acreage.  My cousin had loaned us one of his horses for a short time.  Sadly, she was so homesick for him that we had to send her back.  However, in the short time we had her we fell in love with Dottabar.  We were very sad at her departure and that year on my birthday the kids made me a birthday cake decorating it with a little plastic horse from Kyle’s Cowboys and Indians set, complete with plastic fencing and “Happy Birthday” written on the top of the cake.  

Last year was also really wonderful.  Dale took me to Carmel for the week-end and we relished in the beautiful scenery, climbed on the rocks at the oceans’ edge and took lots of pictures of waves and tide pools.  We even went down to the beach at nearly dark just to take pictures of the waves at night.  It was wonderful.

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So, here I am again, looking at another birthday in the very near future and being another year older.

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No one told me about the aches and pains that often accompany age and the frustration of not being able to do some of the things I used to do, like back bends and Chinese somersaults.  Okay, it has been a VERY long time since I could do either of those things but I still remember being able to do them when a kid!  But, I like to believe that with age also comes a supply of contentment.  There are so many things I no longer desire to own or be responsible for and relationships are more important to me than ever before.

Just yesterday I was out in my vegetable garden weeding, or trying to weed. I had my grand-daughter with me, who just turned 1. 

My grand-daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

My grand-daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

She is walking and is quite Miss Independence.  At one time I might have found it frustrating but now it is cute, her busyness to explore and how often she would fall, little hands trying to brush off the dirt and on she would go.  Concerned for her safety I decided to leave the garden and go for a walk with her on the property.  She will not hold my hand as we walk so instead I held onto the hood of her sweatshirt.  We would stop often as she would find little treasures to pick up off the ground, be it a leaf or a little stick that had fallen out of the near by oak tree.  She would make her little sounds of surprise as she would take a closer look and then her feet would get busy again, moving in another direction.  I am not sure I would have had the patience 27 years ago when so many other chores were left to be done.  I’m glad I no longer feel the need to be so productive but enjoy being productive in a different kind of way.

So, this year it is one more candle on the birthday cake to mark yet another year of my existence.  I am thankful for the additional candle and pray the coming year will be the best one yet!
And to those who don’t have birthdays on the 14th, Happy Valentine’s Day.  I hope you are able to spend it with those you love or make it a special day for someone you know. 

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Rainbows and Hope

“Some where over the rainbow,
Way up high………………….”

Or down low……….on a wall……….. in my shower……… on the floor……………….

Yes, I have a thing with rainbows.

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It all started about two and a half years ago.    Around that time I was going through a confusing time.  I had come through a very difficult and painful divorce, was healing well, but life was still hard.  There were things in my life that I was not happy with and I wondered when it would ever feel “normal” again.  Yes, I was discovering a new normal and was anxious to get everything in its place.

But, it actually goes back several years before that, now that I think about it.  One afternoon, the day before my oldest daughter was about to leave for college, we were out running errands wrapping things up for her to leave.  She began attending the local community college at 16, graduating high school early, and at nearly 19 she was heading out to attend a university some 500 miles from home.  My heart was sad and heavy.  This was my first of three children to move so far from the nest.

Claire and I were out and it was a stormy, rainy afternoon.  We had made a stop and as she was getting into the car, I happened to look over my shoulder out the driver’s side window.  There, to my surprise, was a very large brilliant rainbow that seemed to be right over us and coming out of no where.  The sun was not shinning but was behind dark rain clouds, yet there was this huge rainbow that was so bright it nearly took my breath away.  As I pointed it out to Claire I felt in my heart that it was a message from God that “everything was going to be okay”.  I felt a peace that I did not understand.  It did not remove my sadness over my baby girl leaving home but I knew it was the right thing for her and it would all be okay.

Now, we fast forward to the beginning of this blog.  To the time after my divorce.  Yes, again, I was wondering about life, about my life.  Things were not moving along as I had wanted or thought it should.  I was in a home that I had recently moved in to after selling the family home, and I was sad, frustrated and wondering where God was in all that was going on.

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I was taking a shower and had my head back rinsing my hair.  The hot water pouring down on me was soothing and I hoped it would wash away the confusion that seemed to fill my head.  My eyes were closed and I remember standing under the shower head wishing the hot water would never stop and asking God when this time would be over, would my life ever be better? Bringing my head forward and opening my eyes, there on the shower wall that I was facing, was a little rainbow.

To say I was surprised is an understatement!  I quickly looked around the shower and saw that there was not just one little rainbow in the shower but three.  I opened the glass door to look outside the shower, looking to see if there were rainbows anywhere else in the bathroom, but there were none.  Just in the shower, where I was!  And, the rainbows
were not on the shower wall opposite the bathroom window, which if they had been I might have dismissed it as being just a nice little coincidence.  They were in an odd place and just where I would see them upon opening my eyes.

Was this another sign from God telling me that my life was going to be okay?  I hoped so.

The next day I was again in my bathroom.  This time at the sink applying my make-up, getting ready for the day.  I looked down to remove something from my make-up bag when there in my sink was another rainbow.  A big smile came to my face and I looked around to see if there was a rainbow anywhere else in the bathroom.  No, again it was only where I was.  This time there were no rainbows in the shower, only in my sink.

This repeated itself the next day, however, this time on a wall in the bathroom .  Three days in a row as if God had to remind me over and over that all was going to be well.  I suppose sometimes I can be hard-headed.

Since that time rainbows will appear at odd times and usually just when I need them most.  Sometimes they are small and faint, easily missed if I am not looking.

Easily missed if not looking as this rainbow would be.

Easily missed if not looking as this rainbow would be.

Other times big and bold. I have seen them in the clouds on my way to the airport when I was sad to leave the man in my life, or while I am in the air on an airplane flying back to California from Texas. Even on the airport floor while waiting for my ride home.  I have seen them while on a walk and usually while I was thinking and trying to get answers to something about my life.  There were rainbows all over the floor and a wall in the veterinarians office one morning while we were there with Zoey our Boxer.

While walking around a pond this rainbow was discovered.

While walking around a pond this rainbow was discovered.

Most recently I was flying back from Texas with Dale.  He had been in an unfortunate accident and we were flying back to California to spend part of his recuperating time at my home.  The trip had been good but long and difficult.  He is in a wheel chair for another two months and we were lugging back too much luggage, were tired, and we still had a car to rent and a two-hour drive before being home.  Looking out the window of the train that was taking us from the airport terminal to the building where we were to rent a car was a big rainbow.  I pointed it out and with a smile said to Dale, “look”.  He smiled too and we both felt we were on the right road.

This rainbow thing has been infectious to some degree.  Recently on Facebook my youngest daughter who is out of the country attending college, wrote on my wall, “saw a rainbow today and thought of you”.  It made my heart smile.  Yes, even while she is now so far from home, I am still getting the message that all is well.

The sun was behind a roof and what an unusual and spectacular site!

The sun was behind a roof and what an unusual and spectacular site!

I believe there are signs everywhere for each of us.  Sometimes they are bold and “in your face”.  Other times they are but a whisper.  We are often too busy to notice but if we are still and willing to linger a while, we may see or hear them.  Here is to the stillness that we all need and the hope we may find there.

This one caused me to pull off to the shoulder while driving home.  Beautiful!

This one caused me to pull off to the shoulder while driving home. Beautiful!

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