About Patti Wade, Author

As a little girl my Daddy ignited my imagination and heart with fanciful stories he would make up on the spot to keep my sister and I entertained. With a soft voice, alternating tempo, and simple language, his creative way with words became the measuring rod for books we chose to read and love. With every story heard or read, we had to feel something. My love of writing echoes that of my father, a most wonderful writer himself. In every story is a testimony to God's grace and goodness despite my own flaws, fears, and failings. And the hope of every story is for the reader to catch a glimpse of the depth of love He has for each of us.

Common Ground


Every year seems to pass more quickly than the last…a by-product of aging.  Reading the posts and texts wishing Happy New Year to family, close friends, Facebook friends, and such, I started thinking about the different events we’ve all experienced over the course of a year and yet all that we have in common as we close out 2013 and ring in 2014.

Lessons learned is a common theme.  Whether good or bad has occurred, we’ve all learned something about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, our actions, reactions and behaviors, the people in our lives and our relationships with them.  We’ve learned what we can and can’t live with, what we will and won’t tolerate, what we choose and deny, and how it affects both us and others.  Be the lessons hard or filled with pleasant surprise, we’ve grown closer to knowing who we really are and how that knowledge can help us become who we want to be.  Our faith may have been tested, honed, and strengthened through trials we didn’t expect and we may still be in murky waters but somehow able to push through, moment by moment relying on God.

Hope for something better is another commonality.  The numbers that change the year whisper in our ears, “maybe this is the year…”  Hope renews and rises as we think through the possible paths and goals, the milestones we want to accomplish even if that means walking through a minefield.  Our dreams are suddenly more reachable than they were a few short hours ago and we’re energized to keep on moving forward, knowing it’s three steps backwards for every half step forward.  Alive with hope, we press on into the new year as if against a strong wind…determined, focused, our eyes squinted purposefully on the prize.

Renewed commitment to the Lord Jesus is another common theme for Christians.  We know that with God nothing is impossible and with Him we can do all things. I love these promises and believe them with my whole heart.  If it weren’t for my faith in Jesus, well, I just can’t imagine the whats and wheres and ifs.  This life is hard enough as it is…can’t imagine going through it without knowing God.

Wishing all who read this a 2014 filled with reliance on God’s promises…and if you are one who doesn’t know a relationship with the Lord as opposed to religion made up of rules and regulations and criticisms and judgments, I pray you find that this year and feel the freedoms that come with knowing Jesus as a your Father, Friend, Savior, Provider and Comforter.  This could be your best year yet.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”  Matthew 19:26  

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

Fall Potpourri


My door is open and every now and then a breeze tickles the wind chimes.  It’s getting there.  The nights with a little bit of a chill that begs for a sweater.  It’s like the air is clearer, crisper, cleaner.  Sigh.  I love fall.

My daughter wanted me to “make fall” in the house a couple of weeks ago when the weather was stubbornly hanging on to over 100 degree days with no nice dip at night.  In other words, we could still sweat at 10 p.m.  Ugh.   That just doesn’t say “fall” to me.  Pumpkins and flip flops shouldn’t mix.

It’s my favorite time of year and I generally go a little overboard with decor.  To me, fall is about harvest , colorful leaves, apple cider, pumpkin bread, homemade candy buckeyes, caramel dipped apples, soups simmered all day in the crock pot, and a visit to the State Fair.  As a child it meant hayrides to farms near my grandparent’s farm.   And fall must have cool weather –  not cold, but enough to raise a goose bump or two at night.  It demands  a light throw tossed over the sofa to cozy into when watching television.  It says time to start packing away the swimsuits and shorts and unpacking the three-quarter and long sleeves.  It says time to find the sweaters and get ready to layer with jackets and scarves.  It says okay to a new pair of boots and jeans.  And it promises open windows and doors and, soon, silenced air conditioners.  I really love fall.

For years I’ve had two giant storage tubs marked “FALL” where my collection of all things autumn are kept until October and November.  During the past year we’ve rearranged and rearranged and rearranged the rooms where those tubs are possibly stored and somehow, I’ve lost them.  I’m sure they’re buried behind the tubs marked “CHRISTMAS” but since those are quadruple stacked and barricaded by an assortment of items we need to donate, I can’t find them.  I did find the old tub we used when we had the business, though.  This one had the leaves and left over pieces that had come undone from whatever they used to be part of that we used to decorate fall tables for events.  Okay, says I, I can improvise.

Leaves on the chandelier over the dining tables, leaves on the book shelves, leaves over the entry mirror.  Pumpkin colored candles nesting in coffee beans.  And for the centerpiece on the fireplace, everything left in the box – squash in an assortment of shapes and sizes, a few stray leaves, and some fall colored glass garland pieces that had come loose from a longer version lost at some point.  Fall potpourri.  The living room said “fall” but the A/C was still running to keep up with the 100 degree days.

Grouse, grump.  Sweat a little longer.

I’m starting to feel it now though…that sneaking into cooler weather that promises the things that make me smile. Happy dance!  Wind chime tinkle!

Soon I’ll need a blanket on the bed.  Happy sigh.  I just love fall!

Fixed Motion


The little fishes are going nowhere.  Though it looks from a distance that they are traveling happily through the deep blue sea, they aren’t.  They aren’t even real.  They’re the workmanship of someone who knows how to sculpt metal to look like fish swimming in the ocean even though they’re are fixed in place.

Sometimes that happens to people.  We get fixed or stuck in a certain place yet we still move through life.  The thing that gets us stuck can be a circumstance like my friend who recently lost her husband, her house, her animals, and everything she knew as safe for the past 33 years.  Within a few months of her husband being diagnosed with cancer, poof, all gone. Though she had to keep moving through the daily tasks of living, work, health issues of her own, making decisions about where to live, for a while there she remained fixed in such deep grief that she wasn’t moving forward.  I can’t imagine her pain and still can’t but that she can smile and even joke now says she is somehow healing.  

Sometimes we’re stuck by our expectations like someone who moved miles away from friends to be near family and after getting into a house with a mortgage and other commitments realized that her ideals of what it would be like if she lived there were not the reality and she’d have been better off back where she was originally.  Moving forward was difficult, but when she started taking steps in a forward motion, she found peace.  

Sometimes we’re stuck by our feelings.  We can become so fixed on our feelings that we don’t take action to move ourselves out of the state we’re in toward something better.  We might be paralyzed by fear of something worse and choose to stay with what we know.  We might be consumed with anger, or pain, or hurt, or guilt, and if we let that go, we’ll have to deal with it so we hold on to it and, thus, not move forward.  We’re fixed in misery then.  

God knows we’d have those times in our lives, those times when we’d need Him so desperately because without Him, we’re just stuck there.  Two verses come to mind:  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10  The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9 

Instead of concentrating on those things that keep us in that place of misery, we can try to find the things for which we are thankful.  For me, that looks like a job that let’s me make the house payment, that I and the kids have a place to live, that the car hasn’t given out today, that my kids are alive and well and I have the privilege of being their mom one more day, and even that my drive to and from work was safe.  Sometimes I have to reach hard for those things to be thankful for and sometimes they are found in the mundane such as being able to find a parking spot rather than parking in the street because I’m so torn apart inside that I can’t think of anything else.  I try to start the day with thanks and I definitely end the day with thanks no matter how horrible I feel, how upset I may be, or what has happened that day.  I know I need to thank my God who sustains me through it all.  And by doing that, my thoughts shift from being fixed on my pain to being fixed on the awesomeness of Jesus and all He has done for me in countless ways so that even through this, I know I am in His hands. And that moves me forward one little step, one word of thanksgiving at a time, and some of the angst, some of the fear, some of the indecision, some of the grief, some of whatever the feelings are that bind me are replaced with peace.  Just that small step and I get a lift out of the bottom of the mud pit of life and back into motion again. 

     Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known      to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7



Chopped Obsession



It began when my daughter caught me sprawled on the couch, potato style, and said, “You should watch this show, Mom.”

Oh my goodness!  I want my own basket of oddly matched and unheard of foods to play with!  Chopped on the Food Network Channel is one of my new favorites and I want to be both the contestant running like crazy to get the plates up and the judge who gets to taste everything and critique the subtly of the flavors, the fresh presentations, the over or under use of salt, and how well the food has been transformed from its original state!  I never knew some of those edibles could be combined in such amazing ways!  I’m green with envy!

So I was trying to think of some really tricky combinations myself and what I’d do with them.

For my appetizer basket I find a can of sardines in oil, angel food cake, purple potatoes and Triple Sec.  Yikes!  I immediately think how terrible the sardines will taste with anything sweet and nothing can make the orange liqueur go with them, right?  So I hash up the potatoes and crumble in the angel food cake, add some cayenne pepper AND the liqueur to tame it.  You see where I’m going here…some latke’s.  Into the fryer with those and now I need to do something to transform those stupid little sardines so out comes the marscapone, some fresh dill, and black pepper.  I mush up the sardines into that mixture and the fishiness is still there…hmmm.  Salt.  Can’t forget to use the flat sea salt…don’t want points off for not enough salt.  Still something missing.  Wait for it…I see the bag of pork rinds on the kitchen shelf and bingo, crackle a few of those in.  I’ll need a sauce so I bring the Triple Sec to a boil, toss in a touch of sugar, and add some fresh orange peel, whole peppercorns and a dash of, can’t think of what so I skip it.  Time is now one minute and I need to plate!  I grab the curved square plates and center on the latke, dollop the sardine mixture, crackle some of that pork rind on top, drizzle on the sauce and top with tiny bits of dill I’ve finely chopped.  Viola!  Hands back!

My judges are Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and Maneet Chauhan, my favorites!

Host  Ted Allen says, “Chef Patti, explain your dish.”

If there is ever a time for me to use the Southern accent, this is it!

“Weeeeellll, my dish takes its inspiration from growing up eating sardines and crackers.  I’ve created an elevated version with a potato-angel food cake latke with a sardine and pork rind mousse drizzled with a peppercorn and orange liqueur sauce.  Y’all enjoy it, bless your hearts.”

Says Alex:  “I love that you brought your roots into it, but there doesn’t seem to be enough salt.” (Drat!)

Says Maneet:  “The presentation is very nice, and you have elevated it but I just don’t get the pork rinds.”  (Neither do I, but they were there!)

Says Marc:  “I like that you brought out the orange liqueur with the peppercorns.”  (He gets me!  He gets me!)

Host Ted Allen says:  “Thank you, Chef,” and moves on to the next contestant.

My competitors have created things I’ve never even heard of so I know my elevated sardine cracker hasn’t a chance of a love bug going solo in the summer.  (You actually have to be a Southerner to understand that one and it actually does refer to insects.)

We’re called back out and when Ted asks, “Who will be chopped?”  I start to get fidgety because I’m sure it’s me….but it’s not!

Oh my goodness!  Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!  I race to my little area and await the next basket unveiling, quivering with  excitement, or nervousness.  Probably nerves.

We’d all been asked why we want to win the $10,000.00 and I hadn’t even thought that far since for me it was the thrill of getting to open one of those mystery baskets and going at it.  Have no idea what I said but I hope it was good.

For our next basket, the entrée, we find dandelion greens, squirrel, Gruyère, and tabasco sauce.  I am ecstatic!  (And for those of you who would not, could not, do not and never have killed much less eaten squirrel, I apologize.  It was a staple in my granny’s kitchen back in Alabama but never fear, I haven’t had any in close to 38 years and don’t expect to ever again-besides, this is fiction.)  So, as all the other chefs are reeling in shock and can’t get the picture of this adorable little furry thing out of their heads, I’m mixing up the batter to fry.  I know exactly what I’m cooking…fried squirrel with gravy over cheese biscuits with dandelion and kale (they don’t have collards in the kitchen) sautéed in bacon.  Done and done!  Woo hoo!

Everyone else has gone a little nutsy with the squirrel (intentional pun there) so, again, I am not chopped!

Back to my next basket which is the dessert round.  I open it and find…

What?  What do I find in the mystery dessert basket?  I’ll try anything sent my way and let you know the results!




Wish I hadn’t done that


On a whim several weeks ago I painted this because 1) I love to paint, and 2) I wanted something to cover the gaping fireplace opening since my cats seem to think that fireplace and litter box have the same meaning on occasion.  Yes, bad cats!

Anyway, I did this and it was a happy thing because 1) I found a board, unused, that fit the exact area, and 2) the cats could no longer get into the fireplace, and 3) I love the ocean…or, to be really specific, being near the ocean as opposed to in or on it.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack watching The Abyss years ago, Jaws still haunts me,  and being seasick on Lake Powell one time (yes, on a lake!) sort of ended any desire that was really never there anyway of sailing the ocean blue.  Watching it, hearing it, smelling it, touching the edges, and enjoying everything else about it, however, is something I love.  Thus, my quickie version of the ocean to lighten and brighten the room and serve aforementioned purposes.

Last week I got a bugaboo about it and painted over it.


Not the same…which means I’ll have to paint over it again until I get it right and now we’re into something entirely not fun anymore because now it involves work and now it involves making corrections and, really, that’s just not as much fun.

Regrets are like that, though.  They result from doing something you wish you hadn’t done in the first place because if you hadn’t done it in the first place, well…

Regrets can also be because of something you wish you’d done and didn’t.  A whole ‘nother can of worms, as my Granny would say.

But since I’m talking about what I wish I hadn’t done, I thought of a few more wish I hadn’ts.

Wish I hadn’t said yes to so many cats…Miss Missy!

Wish I hadn’t gained back some of what I lost.

Wish I hadn’t said no to starting back to college four years ago…I’d be done by now if I had said yes.

Wish I hadn’t stopped writing for so long.

Wish I hadn’t stopped following my dreams.

Wish I hadn’t lost touch with so many people through the years.

Wish I hadn’t made as many mistakes through the years.

Wish I hadn’t forgotten how to just have fun and be myself.

I may be an old dog, er, cat, but still learning new tricks, still learning new ways to bless and be blessed.  God is good like that.  As long as we listen, He speaks, teaches, touches and brings joy, beauty, even from the ashes of our regrets.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)


Talking Textiles

Image I have a passion for fabric, pattern, color, lines and that may be why I love staging and redecorating.  (When I staged my mom’s house to be sold the realty people thought she’d brought in a pro but it was just little old me – and after being on the market for so long, the house sold in days! I’ve done this for several people and love it!  Can you tell I’m addicted to HGTV?)

Anyhow, when I look at a particular piece of furniture, a pattern or texture of fabric, I don’t see it separate, I see it in my own imaginary setting.  Here’s an insight into my crazy mind as I’m looking at each of these shower curtains…

The first pattern on the left with the line drawn floral says peaceful.  I can see it paired with paintings of birds and a nest of blue eggs as a decor.  It would be great with pewter fixtures.  Cream and blue linens are a must but black or charcoal could also be used.    

The second pattern has glittery dust that sparkles but its hard to see in the photo. The closed thistle pattern is elegant and the glitz begs for large crystal jars or footed glass bowls filled with spa items. I’d pair this with soft teal for a hint of relaxation or deep purple for a richer look.  

Third from the left combines leaf stamps to form scalloped diamonds and though it looks beige in the photo, it’s a taupe gray tone accented with toffee brown.  It’s muted and begs for paintings of coffee colored overlarge leaf silhouettes on parchment paper, polished bronze fixtures, and square glass jars rested in metal stands.  It will pair beautifully with sky blue and coffee linens.    

Third from the right says casual beachy and fun. The colors in the fabric can be blended and used as eclectic linen collection but baskets of sea glass or shells and a funky fish painting would take it to the sea.  Brushed nickel finishes for sure!

The blue and white, second from the right,  scream for milk glass jars, pure white linens, and a nature or garden painting with a weathered fence showing just to take the sterility out of it.  Add a pewter bucket filled with washcloths and clear vase of fresh greens.

The teal with orchid silhouette on the right can be a neutral paired with many colors.  Yellow or orange melon tones would make it playful while another neutral such as white, black or tan would make it more formal. If the playful colors were used I’d go with greens like green glass containers and add a painting blending all the colors.  If neutral, I’d want a polished nickel look for everything else and add a vase of bear grass and orchids.   

Can you see it?  

My daughter and I are giving her bathroom a mini make-over sans repainting and as I strolled through Target I was drawn to the shower curtains. Since it’s her bathroom I snapped this photo of several in colors she specified and sent them to her.   “Second from left” she texted.  I sent a close up.  “If you want it”.  I sent a close up of the third from left.  “Oooo…that’s the one!”   Although every one of these fabrics delivered a message, she found the one that was speaking to her.  And after watching the Pier 1 commercials where the inanimate objects talk to people, I know we aren’t the only ones who hear the textiles talking!  

The comforter is whispering my name and the cats are settling in to their places on the bed signalling my time to pray and listen to what God is saying. 


Safety Wire


I watched a demonstration of putting this safety wire through bolts to keep them from slipping or loosening during vibration.  It was really cool to see the funky pliers that I’m sure have an actual name do their work of twisting this thick wire together to strengthen its purpose.  These bolts go on airplanes and that’s not something we want to come loose a thousand feet up in the air.  Falling parts just don’t work for me.  I was fascinated by how hard it was to try to twist the thick wire by hand yet this tool did the trick in no time.  The students who were learning the art of this safety wiring were practicing again and again, cutting and puncturing their fingers again and again.  They were critiquing their work and coaching one another, cutting out what was bad and starting over from scratch.  There was a method that had to be followed to do it properly and they memorized it.  Their persistence to get it right and tight was dogged; there wasn’t another option.  It was either right and tight or wrong. No kinks and no extra wire.  No missing a step of the method.  They knew what they did made a future difference – safe or not safe.  Life or maybe not life.

As I watched I thought about the times in life that I wish I had been that dogged and persistent.  Times I wished I had realized that to keep on twisting a kinked wire weakened it. Times that I skipped a step and hoped it didn’t matter.  I didn’t make sure the bolts were tight and in the vibrations of life, they loosened.  A thousand feet up and out they came…and parts started falling.

As I thought of these things I also thought about how even though I hadn’t done my bit as well as I should, God did His.  He stretched out His arms and opened His hands to catch those falling parts, loose bolts, wires and all.


Amazing to me how people can go through this life with all the bangs and falls and not turn to the Lord.  He’s there, patient, waiting, ready…with outstretched arms and open hands.  Nail scarred hands.  Hands that did no wrong but took the fall for us all.  That’s a wow in my book.  And because that’s such a huge wow, it makes me sad to think of those who reject His gift.  And it makes me wonder why, why is it so hard for some to give their hearts to God?

I think the why is because we don’t want to accept that someone is sovereign over our lives,  that there is someone greater that we cannot control, that we can’t shape and mold to our own way of thinking, that we can’t influence and we can’t charm to get our own way.  God comes with boundaries and clear lines drawn in the sand and I think we feel that when we accept God we will feel compelled to bend and change our thoughts and actions, that we lose who we are, that we lose control over our own lives.  Flash – we don’t have it anyway.  We can make decisions and choices and try to control our own destiny but when it comes right down to it, we are at the mercy of things outside our scope of influence all the time.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean perfection or rose-strewn paths; there is hardship in our lives and pain and grief and sorrow and mistakes and mess ups.  We’re human. Being a Christian isn’t about rituals and rules, either; it’s about a relationship between God and the believer, a relationship based on faith, a relationship based on trust and love.  And it means when we haven’t tied the wire right, when we’ve let the bolts fly off, that His Word grounds us, His voice whispers words of forgiveness and hope, His peace fills our heart, His strength holds us up, His comfort never leaves us, and His hands catch us again and again when we fall.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33




Funny how we all have our own mental image when we think “home”.  It may be the place we now live, it may the place where we grew up, it may be a photograph from a magazine, or it may be something we conjure in our minds though we couldn’t put it on paper.  

Preston Steed’s Familiar Steps, the watercolor pictured above, is my comfort food type image of home.  I can stare at this picture and go back in time to the summers spent in the Deep South when we’d be at my grandparent’s home, a white clapboard on what used to be a clay dirt road smack in the middle of farmland.  Just up the road with only a field to separate the homes lived Earl and Lola May and their kids who were grown by the time I was young.  We could look out my grandmother’s kitchen window and see their house, and if the weather was pretty and I could find a reason I’d beg to race through the fields, or even go on the edge of the road if I was a having a scary day worried about snakes in the crops, to dance and play on the porch that looked just like this one.  The screen door was always unlocked and gauzy white curtains hung in the open front windows and blew in and out with the summer’s breeze.  Lola May and Dilane treated me like a little princess and if I was really lucky Earl would stop by and tease me into giggles.  There was always a dog or two and several cats around the porch and barn that welcomed me.  Many times the dogs from my grandparent’s farm or my uncle’s dogs would follow me up the road and join the fun.  

I don’t remember a lot about Lola May’s house but I do remember laying back on the counter while my hair was washed and oohed and aahed over by Dilane.  Lola May always made scratch biscuits and they were always wonderful.  

Years later when Lola May had passed and everyone in that family had moved on, Buck and Marilou came to live there.  By then the house was looking pretty dejected but nothing could wear down the joy and ease of a visit to Buck and Marilou.  With hands blackened by rolling his own cigarettes and speech impeded by a lack of teeth, Buck made merry out of anything and Marilou smiled on it all.  I was too old to race with the dogs up the road but I did by then drive into their yard where new old dogs graced the porch and wagged lazy tails at visitors.  Cats, unnamed, twisted in and out of the legs and begged for attention.  Rocking chairs and wooden crates dotted the front porch, the perfect place to shell peas and butterbeans and talk.  

No matter what they were doing, Buck and Marilou always welcomed visitors with smiles and hospitality.  They dropped everything to make whoever was there feel significant and appreciated.  

I drove by there not long ago and it all came rushing back and I wanted that house.  Well, not actually the house because it probably houses a million bugs and critters that I’d rather not know about.  I knew it wasn’t so much the house as the feeling I had being there…acceptance, love, family, warmth, contentment, safety, joy, community, belonging, happiness. I would have the same feeling at my Granny’s house, and my Grandmother’s house, and sometimes at other homes where I’d go with grandparents to visit. It was magical, that feeling, as if there was something bigger, greater, and beyond my knowledge that spread a net of “I belong here” over the places called home.

I still cry when I leave those places, cry like I did as a little girl when it was time to go back to wherever we lived because summer was over and school was starting and it was time to go home.  In my heart, that was home.  And though the house is still standing, as are the other little clapboard houses that bubbled with joy in those summers long ago, they are no longer home. The people I knew are all gone now. 

It’s funny that no matter how hard we try to make it so, home isn’t the building, isn’t the stuff inside, isn’t even the personal things that we hold dear.  It’s the people we love, those who make us feel loved, that make home home.  

I believe that Jesus will come and take us to the home he has prepared for us.  It will outshine any homes I’ve ever known and the feeling of belonging, of being really home, will be beyond my wildest dreams.  

Until that day comes, I will dream of little white houses with screen doors and front windows, stone steps that lead to front porches with rocking chairs, hear the mild chatter of dear old souls who want only to make others happy and spread goodwill, smell the earthy greenness of shelled peas, butterbeans and homemade biscuits fresh from the oven, and love every cat and dog I see because of the special feeling only they can bring.  And somehow I will try to give that feeling to my own kids even though there really is no comparison.   

Home.  There’s nothing like it.

My HB, can’t wait til you are home. 


No picture…there are too many I see on facebook and on the news and I couldn’t pick just one.  Each of them gave more of themselves, literally, than I’m sure any one of them expected.  I don’t think anyone goes into military service saying, “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna lose an arm and two legs next year.”

I subscribe to military feeds because I love the military, because I’m a military brat, because I’m a military mom, and because no matter what mess we may be in right now I’d still rather be in the USA than anywhere else because at this time we still enjoy and take for granted more freedoms than most have ever dreamed of having.  Because I subscribe to the feeds about our wounded warriors and severely wounded vets I see their photos every day and with the photos comes the story and with the story comes tears and awe.  

Awe that these oh-way-too-young-to-be-injured-like-this men and women are still giving.  They have lost arms or legs and sometimes all of them yet they are still giving with their time, talents, experiences, knowledge, compassion, encouragement, money, and everything they are and have to help and inspire others!  I’m wowed…bowled over.  What awesome people these military veterans are!  

And when I read what they have gone through, my own struggles seem smaller.  What they are accomplishing after their injuries is more than I think anyone ever thought possible.  

They are our heroes.

We may not all agree on politics and policies, we may not all agree on the where and whens and whys of this war, but we should all agree that those who are serving are worthy of our honor and esteem.  And when they come home visibly wounded, how can we not look upon them and see the best in who we are as a nation?  See that these are the men and women of courage who say, “I’ll go” and then give more to us, strangers, than many would even consider giving someone they do know.  

A few weeks ago we had lunch at a little diner and in walked an older man with Vietnam Veteran cap and another man probably in his fifties who appeared to be his son wearing a Navy shirt.  As we ate I watched the men talking and though I have no idea what they talked of, I noticed the crinkling of the older man’s eyes when he smiled.  I remember vividly how Vietnam Veteran’s were treated so badly, shamefully, upon their return.  I recall the name-calling and rudeness and horrible way people would spit on our soldiers.  Yet here was this beautiful man smiling kindly and proudly wearing his Vietnam Veteran cap.  I wanted to go hug him.   I kept thinking about the American attitude projected toward today’s military and hoping that the positive one, the one of thanks and gratitude, was the one that they would remember most.  

As we were leaving I stepped over and thanked him for serving and let him know their meal was covered.  He seemed absolutely stunned and couldn’t thank me enough.  I kept saying, “No, Sir, thank you.”   He was still trying to give more. 

As a nation we need to find and show a grateful heart for our service men and women.  What they do isn’t easy, isn’t fun, isn’t something that makes everyone jump up and down and yell “pick me”, the hours are brutal, the food is often rationed, the living conditions stink, it’s so dangerous that we’ve lost over 2,000 so far, and the pay really sucks; but they do it and for us. 

When I read of the insecurities they feel and the embarrassment they undergo because of the rudeness of those who stare or make ridicule of a prosthetic arm or leg, I want to write scathing, blazing, burning words to those who have caused our heroes to feel that way…but I pray instead.   

Let’s do better this time.  Let’s show them we have more to give, too, and let’s give it.    

In prayer for my son…

Solid Ground



I don’t live in a house with stairs.  Just never wanted a two or more story home and probably because heights bother me.  Ironically, my office is upstairs and I travel up and down the stairs a dozen times or so every day.  And everyone is now used to how I do this…holding the rail with my right hand (can’t do it with my left) and letting part of my arm touch the side of the wall as I step slowly and cautiously and carefully down each step.  I can’t let go until I’m at the very bottom…not even two or three steps up.  I have a crazy fear of falling and if I don’t mind my steps but look out instead of down at my feet I get dizzy and wobbly and am sure I will fall.  So I go slow, I say I’m sorry for being slow, I let faster stair descenders go ahead of me, and I come to a complete stop wherever I am on the stairs if I start to feel anxious or nervous.  I’m really fortunate these aren’t floating stairs because those are the worst for me since I can see through them to the ground below with every step I take.  My poor kids have been raised with helping Mom go down the stairs, waiting for Mom to catch up since she’s so slow coming down the stairs, and this even affects riding on the down going escalators.  I have no problem going up…it’s the down action that gives me the heebie-jeebies.  

My idiosyncrasy and/or phobia has encountered courtesy from everyone at work from colleagues to students, however.  They never rush me.  No one goes tearing around me but waits respectfully and patiently for me to stop and tell them to go around before I continue my descent.  Not one person has tried to scare me with a fake push or come up behind me and screamed or anything that would startle me.  In fact, they are usually quietly cheerful and smile when they see me coming down when they are going up and they cling to the left side of the stairwell so as not to jostle me.  I am amazed that something everyone could easily laugh about is treated kindly.  

 So, you might ask, why not take the elevator?  

Do you know this elevator?  It is S L O W.  I can get down the stairs faster at my snail speed than it takes to ride our sloth-like elevator!  It is the sloth box…oh….so….slow….!  I’ll only ride it when I have to carry a load down stairs because that’s something I just can’t do going downstairs.  If I can’t see my feet, I can’t go down. 

So…imagine what it was like for me as teenager when every other girl is prancing cutely up and down the bleachers and I’m clinging to wherever there is a rail…or begging someone to hold my hand and lead me up and down!   And now imagine the embarrassment of my kids as they have lead me up and down the bleachers!   “Come on, Grandma,” Sam would say.  But they never abandoned me no matter how embarrassing for them. 

So why am I afraid of heights?  I can’t say for sure but I recall the horror of being pushed as a kid from the high dive when I was taking swim lessons and the instructor swore they wouldn’t push me but did anyway.  They also had to rescue me.  And I also recall the horror of being tossed from an apartment balcony by someone on speed and landing in the hedges below, something that saved my life. I’m not sure if there were other incidents but those were apparently enough.  

Most people see their lives as stairs to climb to get to the top, to the goal.  I’m reversed.  I see the labor of going down one step at a time to get to solid ground.  And that solid ground is my relationship with Jesus, my faith, my unwavering belief in God and His goodness even if what’s happening hurts and makes no sense.  Just as I hold tightly to the rail of the stairs and make my way to solid ground one slow step at a time, He holds me through whatever I’m experiencing and gets me through it one step at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time, one verse at a time, one song at a time, one thought at a time, one hug at a time, one message at a time, and so on.  Just as a I watch my feet on the stairs going down, I have to keep my eyes on my Lord to stay on solid ground.    



Oops…wrong room!

I was going to write about something else but my friend Donna told me her “walked into the men’s room” at an Olive Garden story and that, of course, got me thinking!

As a mom of boys, I was leery of letting them go into the men’s room when they were old enough to go in there and do their business by themselves.  I would stand outside the men’s room door, shuffling Hannah and my purse between arms, and try to walk through the steps so I’d know if they should be out or not.  Now, when they were young, I’d march them into the ladies room and do my best to keep them from trying to peep under the door.  Aaron would always notice the feet and always say something about the person in the next stall, want to play with the toilet paper, want to take a bath in the sink, play with the hand dryer, etc.  Sam didn’t …he wanted to get in there and get out.

Anyhow, at one point I allowed the boys to go together to a public men’s room with the usual instructions:  Talk to no one, stay with each other, wash your hands and come straight out.  If anyone even looks at you funny or tries to “help you” or touch you, scream at the top of your lungs…I’ll come in and kill them…or something to that affect.

The boys had gone in and I was juggling Hannah at the doorway, listening for their voices since Aaron carried on a conversation nonstop.  I startled several men as they exited by being so near the door, but I didn’t care.  My babies were in there and this Mama Bear was on guard.

It suddenly got too quiet and it seemed to me they were taking longer than I thought it should have taken them.  I started thinking scary thoughts and before you could say boo, I had worked myself into a panic.

I pushed open the door a bit and hollered, “Aaron?  Sam?”


Now I’m panicked and ready to tear whoever is in that bathroom limb from limb if they are keeping my babies from answering me.

Securing Hannah on my hip and my purse on my shoulder, I called loudly “I’m coming in now!” and blasted into the men’s room startling the boys who were soaping their hands with the automatic soap dispenser while the water was going full blast.  I was so surprised they were okay that I said a bit harshly, “You have about 2 seconds to finish up and get out of here!”

About that time I heard a flush and a man came scurrying out saying, “Sorry, I thought it was the men’s room….” and hightailed it on out, leaving Hannah, the boys and I standing there in shock.

“Come on,” I whispered, “we need to leave…” just as another man walked in, stopped dead, stepped out to check out the men’s room door sign, peeked back in as I thrust the boys in front of me.  As we were leaving the man shook his head and said, “I hope you didn’t leave the seat down, lady.”

As if I would have even touched it!

Not Sure I Like the View


Although she’s probably contemplating which cat she wants to pounce next, she looks about as uncertain as I feel.  I thought I was somewhat computer savvy until today.  I just started more college classes, working on that Bachelors, and the first one I was assigned is a computer class using Windows 2010.  I think I’d rather clean toilets. 

Problem one is actually finding the shell program I’m supposed to be using.  The instructions to find it are vague and, after checking with classmates, I feel really, really stupid!  Worse, most of them said to complete it you need to have lots of screens open and go back and forth quickly!  I want a book.  I want paper.  Flipping back and forth between screens means I will somehow lose one of them and then get myself entirely confused and have to return to square one.  I know this from past experience…I’m the queen of closing the “window” I’m not supposed to close and frantically trying to figure out where it has gone and how I can retrieve it and if it has saved whatever I needed saved.  

Point, click…I’m great at that part.  I can even drag things.  The typing feature is my favorite, but when it comes to cascading files and double screen shots (that just sounds wrong somehow) I’m all toes…and these toes are not coordinated enough to dance much less keep up with all the hoopla going on on the desktop.

I did learn what a kernel was though.  And now I know what those thingies are on my workplace computer screen that I just love – Aero Pics!  Zoom, zoom.

I’m a cat geek, a cooking geek, a writing geek, a reading geek, a Jesus freak, but I’m just not a good computer geek.  Sigh.

I have to make files for fruits and veggies and put them in a folder now.  I need some Windex…anything to make this a little more clear! 





Click for Confusion


If my mom hadn’t told me her clicker story, I wouldn’t be telling mine.  

Hers is that she searched all over the parking lot for her car by clicking on the remote to get the horn to beep…but there was no answer.  She walked up and down the rows of the lot and clicked, becoming frustrated and then annoyed and finally panicked that her car had been stolen.  She pulled out her phone to call her grandson/my nephew to come and get her so they could report the car missing when she saw his car right in front of her and realized she had driven his car. 

My clicker incident occurred a few months back when I first started driving Sam’s Mustang every day after years of driving of my Durango.  The Durango, Sophie by name, is my baby, light silver just as I picked.  I love sitting up high first of all and the best part of is being able to lay down all the seats to drag home whatever I’ve found at a garage sale.  Sophie has transported bikes, dressers, futon frames, dog kennels, patio furniture and a treadmill, to name a few items.  Before they could drive, the kids did nothing but make fun of Sophie.  “Old lady car”, “stupid Durango”, and such.  Sam was the first to discover that Sophie has seat bellts for SEVEN people and learned to love her so much that at one point he traded me his Mustang to take Sophie back to the Marine base for a month or so.  I was happy to have her back for my shopping trips.  She knows the way to Ross and TJMaxx as well as she knows the way to the beaches in Southern California.  When Hannah started driving she swore she hated Sophie and had hissies every time I’d make her drive my Sophie, but lo and behold, after discovering she can comfortably ride all of her girl and guy friends along with the inordinate amount of things they seem to transport to school on their backs these days, her hissies are confined to when I need to “borrow” Sophie.  

In any event, I was still in I-drive-Sophie-my-Durango mindset when I came out of the mall one day and walked up to a light silver Durango and proceeded to click my remote. I walked all around it and clicked, not sure where the connection might be made, and clicked and clicked and clicked and…nothing.  People were passing me as they went to their own cars and one man commented it was probably the battery.  Having been through that once before I agreed and pulled on the door handle, knowing I would hear the long beep-beep-beep of the car arm but I had my key ready to unlock the door and jump in and start it so I wasn’t worried.  Until I looked at my key that was not the Durango key.  And then I saw the baby seat in the backseat of the Durango and I haven’t sported one of those in many, many moons,   And then I remembered…I was driving the Mustang…and the entire time the Durango that is NOT Sophie is sounding off…beep-beep-beep-intruder-beep-lady-beep-trying-beep-to-beep-steal-beep-me-beeeeep!  

As casually as I could I backed away as if I heard absolutely nothing and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the mad Durango having a conniption as it went from beep to RRRROOOOHRR-RRRRROOOOHRRR-RRRROOOOHRRR and Wee-HOO, Wee-HOO trying to scare the pants off me or have me arrested by mall security or something.  Stupid Durango. 

A little further up I spotted the Mustang, clicked it open, got in and sped away just as the unnamed and very whiny Durango started another series of Wee-Hoos.  

You would think I’d have learned, right?

Next time I was actually driving the Durango but as I came out to the car I whipped out the  remote and clicked and clicked and clicked and…nothing.  I cautiously looked inside to confirm I actually did have Sophie this time and, yep, there was my daughter’s school bag so I felt a whole lot better.  As I again paced around the vehicle clicking a guy asked what I was doing and I told him the clicker wasn’t working and he held out his hand to try it and said, “Are you sure this is the right one?”

At that second I realized I had stuffed the Durango key in my jeans pocket, had been clicking with Mustang remote, and, very red-faced, said I was born a natural blonde but trying to recover.  

He gave me his business card and beneath his name in bold black letters was “Behavior Modification Counselor”!  He was grinning like a Cheshire cat.  

Redder-faced, I thanked him, used the correct clicker to get in, started the car and almost backed into my shopping cart that was left full of purchases behind Sophie but I saw it in the rear-view mirror in the nick of time.  Talk about embarrassed!  


We should boycott those sneaky, confusing clickers and just use car keys, but as I, along with my mother, have become adept at providing parking lot entertainment we might as well keep it up.    





Rosie’s Little Red Dress Pin

The year my sister was dying as a result of a congenital heart defect that is common and successfully treated now with surgery, but then posed an enigma to physicians, she was given these little red dress pins from the American Heart Association.  Because the congenital heart defects wasn’t the mission of the American Heart Association and she had never received support from them, we felt a little funny about them, but then we looked at the dress.  It was flirty.  It was girly,  It was Rosie.  So we wear them proudly because though they are to raise awareness of women’s  heart health, to us, they raise awareness of adults with congenital heart defects and in particular, Rosie.

Like the little red dress, she had spunk and sass and a bit of a quirkiness to her sense of humor that made us laugh often.  A ride anywhere with her was sure to end in giggles because she could find humor in the most prosaic things and quick quips were spoken in the driest tone making the delivery of the message as funny as the message itself.  I don’t know if we’ve ever laughed as much since she’s been gone.  

She also carried herself with a confidence that is portrayed in that little red dress.  She had multiple scars from five open heart surgeries but a dipped neckline didn’t bother her.  She was proud of every one of them and never let it bother her when people stared and pointed and made negative comments.  Those were her scars of life.

So we’ll wear the little red dress pin and celebrate Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day by delivering heart pillows to pediatric patients, whether they be newborn or 36, like she was when she had her last open heart surgery.  We’ll wear red and “think Rosie”.  We’ll remember the grace and courage and spirit she showed even as her body, her heart, gave out.

Remembering Rosie.  Wearing red.  Feeling sassy through our sadness wearing the little red dress pin. 

God, let her know we love and miss her…we know she’s right there with you.  


Mind the Gap – DP Challenge



My house is littered with them…paperbacks, hardbacks…each one a treasure that I’ve read, enjoyed, read again…and, for some, again and again and again.  I love their tattered covers and weakened spines.  I love their dog eared pages and sometimes find a stain from my coffee or a crumb hidden between the pages.  They may have begun as pristine pages with a nice shiny cover but by the time I’ve invested days into reading them, my heart into the characters, my mind into the plot, and tucked them into purses and bags and laid them open face down on counters, they wear the signs of use.  They are my Velveteen Rabbits, each one made real by being loved.    

My Kindle, though convenient to lug around hundreds of books at a time, doesn’t have the appeal of holding the one book you’re currently reading and making that tangible connection to the printed page.  It’s almost like a connection to the characters within the book, and even to the author.  I can “feel” them better when I’m holding a book.  

And a bookstore?  Be it a new or used shop, I get a little zing of excitement when I have the time to browse, touch, open and read a few lines, check out the back cover, see if the title jumps out at me, discover more books by authors I’ve read and like or new authors I want to read, and enjoy the anticipation of discovery that comes from walking inside a bookstore and knowing that within each of these books is a carefully constructed, beginning, middle, and end, escape.  It may be a funny escape or introspective escape or even a trip down Cupid Lane or imaginary worlds, but whichever it is, I can go there by grasping the pages and opening that book and letting my eyes and mind hitch me to the magic carpet of that book.   The Kindle is flip, scroll, buy…and convenient but just doesn’t have the same appeal or sensation.

eBooks may be the way of the future, but the book hoarder that I am, I’ll continue to rummage used book racks and garage sales, I’ll continue to schlep into bookstores with New Release tables and, sometimes, authors who autograph their works/gifts.  It’s books for me, because without them, reading a good book just doesn’t seem real.   





Dog vs. Cat at the Pet Resort


When we went away for the holidays, Mac was treated to a stay at a pet “resort”.  When I say treated, I mean I got the only open kennel only after being put on a waiting list and that was sometime in November!  I’ve learned my lesson well, however.  No more waiting to book Mac’s vacation when we book ours.  

Anyhow, this wonderful place sent me pictures of Mac’s “holiday” with them from which I am to see my dog is alive, happy, healthy and enjoying himself.  He was walked and he had a ball thrown for him every day.  He got “couch time” to cuddle with someone. He was even pampered with a “Christmas dinner” of turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, carrots, peas, and pumpkin pie.  Since we were stuck at an airport for Christmas, the dog ate better that we did!   He was given a “well-behaved” report and before coming home enjoyed a spa day with bubble bath and the works.  I  hope they did the anal glands, too, as part of the works.

Okay, so I know what dogs get at one of these places.  What about cats?  Hmmm. So, what would my pictures of these kitties look like from a holiday at the pet resort?  Would they look as content as Mac? 

Let’s start with Mona….Image


She would have to have her own room, own food bowl, own water dish, own fancy schmancy little cushion to sit upon, room with a window to watch the birds outside, and be entirely separated including by smell from any other animals.  She hates them all.  

Then there’s Bop…ImageBop, or formally, Optimus Prime, would be bored in three seconds flat.  Been there, done that, seen that, ate that.  It’s a ball.  Oh joy.  Somebody go chase it.

They’d have more luck with Bett…Image


What is it?  What is it?  Can I have it?  Is it for me?  All would be great until someone else tried to play and then all “bets” (har-har) are off!  Bett is very possessive.

And then there’s Morgen…aka “The Piranha”…Image


I can see a lawsuit lurking…if not from the actual biting that really isn’t biting since he barely touches a human with his teeth, from the pickpocket propensity. (Notice the giant paws he is trying to grow into – the better to steal with, my dear.)

Naaaa…I just can’t see the cats having the same experience at a pet resort as Mac seems to be having. They are better off at home where they can scratch their own furniture, nap, zip at high speed through the house, nap curled up on the (my) cozy, comfy bed, play who gets to eat from the food dish first when a fresh scoop is added, nap, watch the birds from the window, nap, have a little wash here and there, nap.  Forget a dog’s life…it’s a cat’s life I want.  

And poor Mac still wishes he were a cat.  



Good God, Bad Things…And the Question That We Can’t Answer

No picture with this one…no one photo would fit because they come at us at different times in our lives, through different events and circumstances.  Sometimes we’re the children, the innocent ones, the ones who love them, are bound to them, the casualties of someone else’s mess.  Sometimes we’re the catalysts, those who cause the hurt and pain and horror that impacts and scars and burns deeply into the life of others.  Either way, there’s always that question that crops up somewhere.  “Why would a good and loving God let this happen?  I can’t believe in God because of this.”

There are so many things that happen in the world that shatter us, that freeze our faith wherever it is and cause us to keep it at a distance.  The senseless, unexplained things that happen seemingly at random.  It’s so hard to look kindly at others who aren’t there when we are because we wonder, why us?  What did we do?  Why aren’t we worth whatever they are?  Why is it easy for some and tremendously hard for others?

I don’t have a great answer. 

What I do have is personal experience with pain and trials and suffering.  And I have asked those questions.  And there have been times I’ve screamed at God in anger for what was happening because the hurt was so intense it seemed I wouldn’t recover.  

Somewhere between becoming a mother and growing my relationship with the Lord something hit me smack between the eyes.  We had Aaron and we had another child we were in the midst of adopting.  She was a year younger than he was but something in her young little life caused her to do very terrible things to Aaron.  One day I came home while my mother in law was babysitting them and this little girl was sitting on top of Aaron choking him and he was bleeding from having been repeatedly bitten on the face.  My mother in law was screaming while holding an empty pitcher, the contents of which she had dumped on the girl child hoping to shock her into stopping the assault.  Without a word, I immediately  wrapped her tightly with my arms and got her away from Aaron and into her room; I then examined Aaron and determined he would need stitches in his forehead.  My mother in law commented that she didn’t realize things could get this bad with this little girl, but she was proud of how I handled what needed to be handled.  

I think of that time as a one of hardship, pain and suffering, and going out of my comfort zone and into fire. Not being tough parents but making hard decisions that hurt everyone at the time and caused great emotion, but much later those decisions were seen to be spot on, to be exactly what was needed when it was needed even though they came with costs.  I know the Lord was with me, us, during that time, but everyone in our world looked at us askance, many even condemned us.  

It made the pain worse, so much so that sometimes I questioned it.  Why weren’t we good enough?  Should I, we, have just let one child beat the snot out of the other all the time?  What about if I let my kids go play in the street and then get mad at the cars that struck them because I didn’t set boundaries for where to play and step in to enforce them when needed?  Is it okay to let a child do whatever he or she wants without interference so long as they are happy doing it?  Here, Sally, of course you can put the fork in the outlet…you’re having fun.  None of us think that is in any way reasonable, right?

But we expect that of God.  We expect him to sit back and just smile on whatever choices we make and then make darn sure nothing happens to us when we stick that fork in the outlet.  And when it does, we get mad and we stop believing, stop having faith.  

Or maybe we were the innocent ones and other people were pushing the fork in the outlet, people we love and trust and look to protect us and care for us and treat us fair and right, but didn’t.   Where, oh God, were you then?  Why didn’t you swoop in and save us?  Why did you let us go through this?  Why, why, why?

That’s the hardest of all.  And I don’t know if we will ever find an answer this side of Heaven.

But I do know what we will find here on earth if we want it…we will find God was with us, we will find that nothing touched us without passing through Him because He gives us the tools we need to go through whatever it is…if we believe and turn to Him.  He is the comforter, the healer, the maker, the creator…and wants us to know we are loved through any and every circumstance. 

How?  How did God show me that when all the awful and terrible was happening?

Maybe it was the strength you had to go through it.  Maybe it was one kind soul who you could turn to.  Maybe it was a special animal that you whispered your hurts to.  Maybe it was a book that let you escape your world for an hour or two.  Maybe it was the something in your heart that kept telling you to go on, go on, you can do this.  Maybe it was anger, anger that you turned to determination, something good and useful and purposeful, to help you not be the person who hurts others like that.  

But you hold on to the anger with God and the disbelief because if you give even a tiny bit of your heart there, you’re afraid it’ll break again.   

Fear.  It’s fear that traps and holds us.  

What if the truth hurts more than what happened?  What if the truth is that whatever happened to hurt you really has nothing to do with you?  

When we made the hard decision to let this little girl go to another family, one thing kept running through my mind…this might not be about me, us.  This might be about her, her needs that we aren’t capable of meeting.  And though I was blasted, criticized, and  ostracized, this little girl went to a place where she got the help she needed, found the parents who could meet her where she was, and give her all she deserved.  It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about Aaron.  It wasn’t about us.  We were the fall out, as unfair as that was, but years later, it was good.  

Ah, you say, this isn’t the same as my hurts.  Hurt, pain, grief and suffering are still hurt, pain, grief and suffering.  It’s what we do with it, how we live with and through it, that makes us who we are.

Believing is a choice, too.  Believing and accepting God’s promises.  And when that happens, faith occurs.  Faith is believing in something we cannot see or touch, but life gives us experiences that, when lived in faith in Christ, crushes doubt.

We have a good God.  Bad things break our hearts, minds, bodies, families, marriages, homes, etc.  God is still God.  And He hasn’t given up on you. 





Oh, Donna!



The first thing I think I noticed was that she was smart…we both had really good grades.  Bonus was we lived in the same neighborhood and it was an easy trek from her house to mine and mine to hers.  She loved science fiction and fantasy, we both were avid readers, and she tolerated our house of cats.  We talked and talked about everything and spent oodles of time in my bedroom sharing secrets.  Her house always smelled of yummy food, something homemade and I remember lace.  Maybe doilies, not sure.  She was rather shy but had a quick wit and an incredible sense of humor and a huge smile.  

Right after our eighth grade graduation she moved away with her family and neither of us can remember how we lost touch, when the letter exchanges stopped.

A while back she sent me a message but her last name wasn’t there.  I made a guess and sent a message back, maybe six or eight weeks ago. Got a bit worried that I didn’t hear from her. Yesterday she found my message and we exchanged the basics.  

Today we called!

I feel as if for the first time since my friend Kim died (and it’s really odd, Donna, that your friend back there is named Kim – I met my Kim after my daughter was born, about 16 years ago), I actually have a girlfriend again!  Wow!  Praise God!  

I’m thinking about how time goes by and how what we think we know we don’t really know.  As we talked, both Donna and I found out things that were in our lives at the time that we either had never discussed or didn’t recall discussing.  Important things that shaped both of us to be the individuals we are today.  Funny how when you’re a kid you don’t see the whole picture.  Funnier still that when you do as an adult, things that you didn’t know made sense suddenly do.

I knew she was a responsible, good-hearted, kind, beautiful girl…I didn’t know where all the seriousness and responsibility came from until now.  

I knew she was an animal lover…somewhere in the box of photos is a picture of her and I holding our 4 week old kittens outside on the grass, grinning into the sunlight, and when I find it I will scan it in.  I didn’t know she would feel as I do…our pets are our furry babies.

I knew she was smart, smart, smart!  Loved that about her because sometimes being smart can be a stigma and with Donna I didn’t feel that.  I could get great grades and be proud of them, not try to hide them from everyone.  I just learned she graduated college with honors!  I’m so proud of her!

I knew she had a terrific imagination…I didn’t know she was a writer and edits books now!  

I knew I enjoyed our time together…and I’m so thankful we found each other again!  I feel like a kid who has an extra Christmas present and I’ve opened it and it’s the one thing I always wanted!  I feel extra blessed tonight!

I’ve written before about friends and reconnecting with old friends.  Amazing that those we meet and love as kids seem to stay deep in our hearts no matter how much time goes by. It’s as if a childhood feeling of familiarity is experienced but then there’s the part that’s made us who we are now and catching up is infused with a different type of curiosity than if you’ve just met someone…it’s like putting together the edges of a familiar puzzle but the middle pieces create a fuller picture now.  

I can’t wait to talk again…and it better be next week because I don’t want to wait another 40 years!  I can just hear Donny Osmond singing…”I met a girl, Donna was her name…”


Pickpocket Cat

ImageHe was such a baby when we got him, all of three weeks old, had to be bottle fed, had to have his little bottom wiped so he’d do his stuff.  Now he can’t even fit across the top of the box of tissues and that’s one of his favorite hang outs when I’m getting dressed in the morning.  Why?  So he can steal something!

“Morgen, that’s my make up brush!  No!”

“Morgen, give me that lip gloss tube!  No!”

Running through the house…”Morgen, that’s my contact lens case!  No!”

Running through the house…”Morgen, that’s my earpiece for the phone!  No!”

Running through the house…”Morgen, that’s my (fill in the blank because if he can grab it, he’s ran off with it).  No!”

He doesn’t limit his thieving habits to me, however.  He takes great delight in sneaking into Hannah’s room or bathroom and making off with something of hers just to hear her screech and chase him down.  Little bugger!  And he goes right back to do it again!

Lately, my purse has been his playground if left unzipped.  I followed a trail of items down the hall and then realized what the contents were and the hunt and chase began….”No, Morgen, NO!”  Everyday I have to make sure I’ve zipped all the pockets on my purse entirely closed because he’s learned he can reach a paw in and feel and pull until he snags something if it’s cracked open just a little.  I have a pickpocket cat.

He’s not quite a year old and truly is a rowdy teenager at this stage.  Wrestling the dog is one of his favorite past-times and stealing anything the dog has just makes it more fun!  Mac knows he has to inhale his treats or Morgen will, quick as lightening, snatch it with his hot little paws and pop it between his teeth and then the chase is on.  It’s not that he wants to eat it always, it’s just to steal it.

He normally has a running streak every evening and when he does this he makes a deep, guttural growly meowy sound totally unlike his usual squeaky high-pitched mew that any male cat would be ashamed to own.  He takes off at one end of the house and by the time he hits high speed he’s almost airborne and rockets toward the cat flap-door into the garage where he circles around bounding from shelf to box to whatever and then shoots back through the door, sometimes running smack into whichever cat, dog or person has come to see what the noise is about.  The sound of him hitting that door at full velocity might be similar to a vehicle crashing into the house.  I still jump up and go look.

Morgen has no boundaries when it comes to the other cats and has no problem inserting himself into any situation.  There may be several cats around me but when he wants attention he walks right over them to get it.

The personality of this not so little anymore cat is most endearing and, ahem, at times maddening.  But it’s that moment when he’s draped over my shoulder, head laying flat against me, little paws around me, eyes blinking his love, that melts me.

Sam called it when he first saw him, just days after Hannah brought him home.  “You lucky little kitten.  Your life is all set now.”

And he was right.