When I was young my sister’s and I would often lay on the ground and study the clouds. We would each see different things. The challenge was to get the others to see what you saw.

Later on, Dale and I would do the same with clouds. Looking at them and laughing how we each saw something so different.

I haven’t stopped to look at clouds in a while. Early this evening I was actually in a position to do so.

Above me, there were several different types of clouds. Suddenly I saw one cloud moving. It was if this cloud was moving in a crowd or down a road. At first I thought it looked like a circus train moving behind vehicles.

As I watched that cloud move, it occurred to me that it looked like a crown. The light shine behind it and into my mind came the song “The King is coming”.

The words echoed in my mind, The King is coming, the King is coming, I hear the trumpets sounding and now His face I see.”

The song continues and at the end it says, Praise God He is coming for me.

As I finish writing this, the evening clouds are forming and just a small patch of blue hangs in the sky. Someday I will be able to see the other side of the sky wrapped in my Savior’s arms.

One is Silver, The Other Gold

Years ago, I wrote a post on friendships. I based it on the old Girl Scout song, Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.

In it I talked about seasons of friendships, how sometimes they wane and sometimes they are a vital part of your life.

oAs we had recently moved to the east coast after many years on the west coast, I talked about my friends from there as golden friends and I pondered if the friends newly made would move from silver to gold.

This morning was Bible Study morning. As I looked around the room, in the back of my mind played that old girl scout song. It occurred to me that I no longer put people into categories. I no longer held people at arms’ length waiting to see how the relationship would play out. Having been burned by women in the past, I held people at a distance, not wanting to reveal much of me and therefore keeping myself shielded from possible harm.

Although, in theory, this is a good safety practice, it can also isolate you. Yes, I have had women that I thought were dear and close friends for years hug me only to realize they had a hidden dagger in their hand that was used to wound me. These wounds would be in words that tore me down and made me feel less than, or they would be instances of broken trusts, or just being left to ponder what I had done.

I don’t say this to elicit pity, I am just being honest. I could spend my time thinking of those times, and like an animal with a thorn in it’s paw, I could lick it until it was raw and growl at anyone approaching me to help heal the area. What I have learned through these situations is I have grown in each instance. It does make me cautious when choosing friends and I still hold much close to me, but, these circumstances have all produced growth within me.

The Lord heals the bumps and bruises we receive emotionally. By His Holy Spirit we are transformed and made whole. The Lord will slowly cause a recovery of my spirit and shortly after that, I can pray for those individuals regardless of the pain that was caused. I know this happens because, I pray for their health, for their well-being, instead of praying they meet a mac truck head on. (C’mon, we have all been there)

Friendship is such a gift. To meet someone and to allow them to touch your life is a treasure. Women need one another. Yes, we can talk soul-mates and best friends in husbands, but women need women. We sharpen each other. We laugh. We realize that what we experience is something we all at one time have experienced. We support one another.

The Bible study this morning was filled with women who are golden to me. They reflect the beauty of the Lord, they minister freely. They support freely. They lift one another up.

I am grateful for the golden gifts of friends.

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)

Be Quiet

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

Each Sunday morning our church is open for prayer before the service. Since Dale is on the worship team, and they practice before church, I naturally participate in the prayer time. It isn’t a structured prayer time, we have some of the classrooms open to use as a prayer room, or you can pray sitting in the sanctuary and listen to the practice at the same time.

I like to walk and pray. I need the movement and it keeps my mind alert. I was about to go my normal route today when I was stopped. Not by anyone, but by the voice I felt in my heart.

I felt like I was being told to sit down, and be quiet. Don’t say anything (that’s hard for me), but sit. I found a corner of one of my favorite rooms and sat still.

In the quiet a peace flowed over me. I had no great revelation. No angelic visitor. No thundering voice of God. Nothing dramatic. I sat in a chair in a corner of the room. I was still and I felt peace.

As I have mentioned before, and as anyone who knows me, it’s hard for me to be still. To just sit. I would love to say that I succeeded in being still for an hour just absorbing the quiet and peace, I would love to admit that, but I can’t. I think I sat for about 5 minutes. Those five minutes, though, exactly what I needed.

What God can accomplish in five minutes with someone who is willing to stop and listen is more than what any seminar or counselor can do in months. Sometimes we need to be told to “Be Quiet”.

In the Message the above scripture includes verses 8-10, as I read it, I knew what I needed today was to truly be quiet. Here it is,“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46:8-10 (MSG)

Sometimes we need to stop, not long, just long enough to be quiet before God.


I have heard this word all my life in different connotations. He/She is very humble. They had humble beginnings. They need to be humble(d). Each means something different. Each the same word, no difference in spelling or pronunciation.

Today, I read in 2 Chronicles 12:5-7 the following, Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.’ ” So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.” Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.” (NKJV)

Because the king humbled themselves and acknowledged the Lord, they were spared.

After reading this, I thought of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (NKJV)

The verse about the Lord healing our land is a common one. People use this scripture often. I have often said that prayer in this scripture is not enough, we must turn from our wicked ways. Today, I saw it in a different light. We must humble ourselves first. Synonyms for humble include, gentle, polite, respectful, deferential, and supplicatory. Then we pray, seeking God and turning from our wicked ways. If we do these things then God will act.

I was amazed at how the term humble spoke to me today. I see it often when I read, but it does not catch my attention as it this morning.

I have spent the past few minutes finding scriptures about humility, being humble and just the word humble. Below are some of the things I have found, which I will try to absorb deep within me. Ephesians 4:2, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (NLT)

Micah 6:8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NLT)

Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (NLT)

I Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” (NLT)

So, as I woke up as a grumpy bear, I will now spend the rest of the day pondering the word humble. I know there is a lesson in here for me.

The Lord’s Paintbrush

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” Genesis 8:22 (NLT)

Today Dale and I headed for the hills. Actually we drove to North Carolina to pick up some apples. It’s that season, after all.

As we drove towards Hendersonville, the Blue Ridge Mountains enveloped the landscape. I love mountains. They hold peace to me. I get very calm when heading there. Today was no exception.

The closer we got to the exit the richer the colors became. God has had His paintbrush out, dabbing a bit of yellow here and a bit of red there. The colors are not peak colors yet, but nonetheless, they were beautiful.

Looking out over Lake Lure, NC

We meandered today, we took our time, enjoying the company of each other and the day.

After apples, we headed to Lake Lure for lunch. Our restaurant over looked the lake and the mountains. It was a perfect day to dine alfresco, but we ate inside as our stomachs could not wait any longer for the outside and view.

The photos do not do justice to the view, but you get the idea. A beautiful fall day, filled with apples, food, great company and the artistry of our Creator, what could be better?

My Recipe Box

One of the first things I did after getting engaged to Dale was to visit his Mom holding a stack of index cards. I then went through her recipe box copying recipes from her.

A few months later, my sisters gave me a shower. They had a recipe box for me and it was filled with recipes from all my relatives and Dale’s relatives. Some just signed their names, some wrote little notes on the back and some added additional ideas for the recipe. It remains one of my most cherished gifts.

With the internet I now find I hardly go to my recipe box or my grange cookbook. I just go online, search for what I want to make and go from there. This evening, Dale had a men’s potluck. Today was one of those fall days where you long for the past. I woke up thinking how I would love to have spent the day in Old Town Alexandria, VA with my youngest. She’s lived in Charleston, SC for years now, but the thought of pushing a stroller and browsing through shops and sharing lunch like we did long ago, just sounded wonderful.

But, getting back to the potluck, I wanted to make something that had a history to it. I decided on homemade baked beans. I searched my recipe box (you knew it was going somewhere, right?). Inside were scraps of paper, worn notebook paper, deposit slips with recipes on the back and the usual recipe cards, many with different handwriting than mine.

The baked bean recipe is on a note size paper, the bottom a bit frayed and the sides of the paper bent in many directions. I remember when I wrote it down. I sat in the kitchen of my mother-in-law. I sat in a chair at the table and she dictated the recipe to me. It was from the woman who taught her how to cook. The recipe is close to 100 years old. When I taste them, I taste home and hear the echoes of family reunions in my mind.

After fixing the beans, I pulled out my grange cookbook. So many tried and true recipes in there for me. Today it was pumpkin cake for the guys. As I leafed through the pages of the cookbook, there were again pieces of paper thrust inside. There were notes scribbled on the pages, don’t use this temp, it will dry out. Add more sugar to this one. Don’t ever make this again. Things like that.

It was a nostalgic morning for me today. Some recipes were from our time in Japan. It was like I got them yesterday, I remember the first time I had the Korean beef and realized I hadn’t made it in years. There was a hobo sandwich recipe that my sister had sent me in a letter while we were overseas. Hobo sandwiches were made in the hospital cafeteria when she and I worked there before I was married. Several cheesecake recipes that I swore I would make often and now I just remember the person writing the recipe for me and forgot how the dessert tasted.

It was a wistful morning for me as my mind traveled back in time to people and places that once were home.

Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.” (NLT)

I never imagined all those years ago that my life would be so full. Eating is a part of life, it is a necessary thing for our bodies, but it is also a social event for us. Memories are made around food. People bond over food. Opening that recipe box today was like opening a scrapbook. With each bit of paper, with each signature, my life’s history opened up to me.

Anxiously Waiting

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

I love when we are expecting visitors. When my sisters and niece came to visit a few years ago, I was already watching for them minutes after they had left Charlotte, NC, which is an hour and half from our home.

When our daughters are coming in, I text them consistently asking where they are, just so I can picture in my mind how far they are in their trip. I usually want to have food ready for them when they arrive, so I finally ask them to let me know when they are a half hour away so I can make finishing touches on the food, and then I sit by a window waiting impatiently to see their car drive up our road. It’s not that I worry, no, I am just anxious to wrap my arms around them and make my mother’s heart happy.

When Dale was in the Navy and the ship was scheduled to come in, I would be one of the first ones to the dock, with the girls, waiting for my ship to come in. They would be in a battle group and the destroyers would come in together. Dale’s ship had markings on it that distinguished itself as the one I was looking for. I would watch the bay waiting to see it. Minutes passed like hours and often, since it was way before cell phones or computers we depended on a recorded message to give an approximate time of arrival. Often too, the time was delayed at the last minute and I would be stuck with two hungry children wanting to be home instead of on a windy pier.

Lately I have had the song “The King is Coming” going through my mind. Along with that oldie but goodie I have had “I’ll Fly Away” in my mind. I haven’t sung either in a very long time, but both make me so excited.

There is one arrival I am anxiously awaiting. I have been looking forward to this one since 1977. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NLT)

Today as I walked, I looked into the bright blue sky that was dotted by just a few clouds. It’s a glorious fall day out. I love these kind of days. The leaves are starting to turn yellow and red and enough leaves have fallen in the woods around our house that I could see a bit of the paths the deer walk.

This was a wonderful walk and I thought, the Lord could return today. We don’t know when He will arrive, don’t know the day, the hour or minute. Only our Father in Heaven knows. So, today, I realized that even for this event I am impatiently waiting. Wondering how close that trumpet will sound, how long until I can run to Jesus and throw my arms around Him making this heart of mine so very glad.

Stupid Cat

To those cat lovers of the world, please do not get offended. These are purely my opinions and thoughts. There is a point to all of this.

I do not like cats. Kittens are great, so cute, fluffy and playful. Harmless even. But kittens grow up to be cats. I used to think I loved cats. In fact, I wanted one. I then went to work for the Army Veterinary Corp while we lived in Japan. I was hired as a receptionist, and became a scrub nurse to the vets. I loved that job, except for the cats. I was bitten at least six or seven times a day by cats. After doing that for eighteen months, you can understand my dislike of cats. It’s just not fun to be bitten by them daily, plus, they make my eyes water and I sneeze.

A year ago we were quasi adopted by a cat. Living in the ‘country’ it’s great to have one to kill off the mice and the snakes. Dale had wanted an outdoor cat, so he was thrilled. Me? Not so much.

But we fed him and made certain there was an outdoor feeding station for when we were not home. We have a creek running through our property, so water is readily available.

He has never officially been named. After all, he has only quasi adopted us. A friend of mine named him Thaddeus after the role on The Chosen played by Giavani Cairo . On the show he is sometimes referred to by the cast and crew as Rad Thad (so I have read). I consider this cat to be Mad Thad. He also was named Sassy by our granddaughter this summer. Of course the cat nipped at our sweet granddaughter, did not break the skin, but caused a slight bruise. That in itself was enough for me to send the cat into the next country. But, not our granddaughter. A couple hours after being nipped, she drew him pictures and made a present to the cat. We overheard her tell the cat that she understood why she was nipped at, his paw got stuck in her dress and although she was trying to help him, the cat, in panic, nipped at her. Of course, that melted my heart.

We recently came back from visiting our granddaughter and there was no cat to be found. Dale was upset, me, I thought well, at least I don’t have to buy cat food. I am just being honest here, folks.

The cat was gone for a couple of weeks. Yes, I actually did pray for it. Last week as we were heading into town we were at a stop sign and I glanced across a busy road and mentioned to Dale that it looked like the cat. He rolled the window down and gave his usual call. The cat looked up and responded. I thought, he has found a home.

A little sadness crept in. Yes, I am not that hard hearted. For the next few days I looked in every ditch and in every yard to see if I saw him again. Yes, I did pray for his safety.

After a few days, there on our doorstep was the cat. We gave him food and water and I went and bought more food. The storm from hurricane Ian was approaching and supposed to hit us hard. We broke down, went to Target and bought a new cat bed, and a litter box for him. The day of the storm we got him on our screen porch so he could be out of harms way. He ignored the bed and curled up on our porch chairs and slept through the night. The next day was a beautiful day and once we figured out that it was okay to be out, we let the cat out.

The cat walked out of the screen porch and disappeared, not to be seen. We looked at each other and decided the cat was not be owned, or indebted to us.

Tonight, the cat reappeared, hungry. We fed him and he is now sleeping on our front porch like he owns the place.

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that we often treat God in a quasi fashion. He died on the cross for our sins. He suffered. He redeemed us. He feeds us through our pastors. He provides safety in storms. He gives us shelter. He gives us love and care when we let Him.

We are no different than Stupid Cat. He yearns for our love, our affection and meanwhile we lick our paws, sidle up to Him and then nip at Him when He tries to help us. The difference is, that although I could give up on the cat, the Lord will never give up on me.

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;  I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you.  I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:1-4 (NLT)

Gift of Friends

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

When Dale and I moved to the upstate of South Carolina, I was amazed at how many people had friends for decades. Families were close together and able to visit one another. People have family Sunday meals with one another. Friends go back to childhood in many cases.

I know such things exist, but basically being in military towns we often were the ones who were a bit different. Our family was distant. Old friends were distant. It was something we are used to.

Today we had ladies Bible Study at church. Afterwards we all went to lunch together. As I sat there I listened to conversations. There was history in each conversation. I loved that.

After leaving San Diego we struggled to feel like we belonged. We were used to our way of life. We had our church and church family. We were a tight knit family. We all knew each other’s history. We had seen the good side and the not so good side of each other. We knew one another and there was a history with us.

I had actually thought when we arrived here that the feeling of belonging would not happen again. I was settled in that thought. The Lord proved me wrong when we first walked into our church. I have never felt the love and acceptance so quickly as I did with this group of people.

So, today, as I listened to the other women talk, I realized that, although we have only been here eight years, I belonged. This group of women have held me up, made me laugh, given me joy, prayed for me and became an extended family to me.

I am so grateful for my friends here. They are truly a gift.

A Mother grows up

Mothers nurture, it’s an instinctive trait in most women. I know it was for me. When mothers are born, it is an unbelievable event. You look at the little baby in your arms and all of a sudden you are a mother badger. That has always been my animal of choice in describing my need to defend and protect my daughters.

As the children grow, which they do quickly, mothers lag behind. I know personally I have straggled behind, not willing to catch up. I have dragged my feet, declaring that I still need to be there for my daughters in all areas. Not necessary, really.

Yes, I know that I will always be Mom to them. I will be available for them if they truly need me.

This week as I started to send our youngest daughter an anniversary card I looked at the card. On the front is a lasso type rope around the words Happy Anniversary. I picked out the card because their wedding had sort of a cowboy theme underneath the southwestern beauty of their wedding. Mentally I looked at the card and knew it just happened a few months ago.

No, fourteen years ago this evening (October 2nd) we watched as our daughter went from Miss to Mrs.. It happened quickly and yet I could see the moment that she was no longer just ours, but his.

When I realized that it was their 14th anniversary I retrieved Dale’s and mine wedding book. Inside I have what we did for the first 20 anniversaries. I wrote just a few words each years as reminders. Under the year 14 for us, I wrote, Dale in Rhode Island, Cathi in San Diego. Dale and I recounted the events around our 14th anniversary. His Dad had passed away in early January that year. We went to Pennsylvania and hours after the funeral we drove Dale to Pittsburgh so he could fly to Rhode Island for a school for the Navy. I stayed with his Mom for a couple of days and flew home to our girls.

Looking on the list I noticed how many anniversaries he was somewhere and not together. Such is life as a Navy couple.

As Dale and I talked about our fourteenth anniversary, we talked about how old, wise and mature we were. Without noticing the proverbial brick landed on my head. A Mother grew up.

It hit me. The young woman that we watched 14 years ago is not the same woman she is now. She is a wife, a mother herself, half of a couple who have been through and survived much in this short time. My baby is grown up. It is now time for me to grow up.

I no longer need to fret over her. Yes, I can always love her and worry, but I no longer need to be that helicopter, wondering how she is, and what is going on. I can watch from a distance knowing she has this.

I once bemoaned the fact that the girls did not call daily. Dale looked at me as only a father and husband can and simply said, “Didn’t you raise them to be strong, independent women?” I answered that I did. He then said to me, “Then what’s the problem? You did well.”

So, as I start on this path of a grown up Mom, I look to our Lord. I have known their whole lives that I have only been blessed for a season with them, but our Lord is their Lord. He will be the One to guide and direct them. He provided strong men of God for my girls. He has blessed them in many ways. Now, this foot-dragging Mom is now getting out of the way, but not completely.