In The Middle

It’s been ten years now since we moved from the east coast to The Middle. All but the last four and a half years were in the South Kansas City area and the current in a quaint town about an hour outside of KC.

I finally feel at home. The USA is vast, miles wise and cultural wise. I grew up on the east coastThe Jersey Shore – Bruce Springsteen Country – New York City influence. Then I found myself in Southern California, Dude! Then back to the east coast and beach living.

Now let me tell you about The Middle from a Jersey State of Mind. The people are amazing. They are so kind and friendly. They love home cooking and that suits me fine, well, except for the red barbecue sauce, no thank you. I can handle a little but I think they go too far. Being from New Jersey, when you are invited to a barbecue that is exactly what it is. The grills come out and the food goes on. Here…..well, it’s a bit different. Smokers are in and lots of red sauce. I do like smoked meats, I have to say that, and now I will move along.

Sarcasm is different, well it is just plain scarce. If you are born and raised in New Jersey then sarcasm is part of your DNA. I have learned to hold the tongue and move on, well most of the time. I recently watched a certain series on NETFLIX that made me melt and feel all warm and cozy. No, it wasn’t Heartland, it was one that I will not recommend. It was one that made me feel as if I went back to my childhood and the sarcasm was tossed around like piles of fall leaves in the hands of children. It was harsh and rough and I laughed out loud a lot!

Moving along. My husband gets speaking engagements at churches from time to time. They vary in their denominational ties. Yesterday we went to a small mid-western town a fairly short distance from our town. It was a gorgeous spring morning, the hills spotted with cattle and their new offspring. We are in beef country. We have been to this church before but this time it was different for me.

The service began with an elderly gentleman and his electric guitar. They had trouble working the overhead projector and microphone but chuckled their way through it. I was taken back in time. The old-time religion/pentecostal tunes came forth easily for him and the people. Not easy for me but I sat and joined in anyway. I thought of simpler times and Johnny Cash. It was beautiful.

The feeling of a child not knowing much but wanting to learn came over me. I realized that at my ripe age I really knew so little about life. I wanted to sit at the feet of these men and women and hear their stories. The stories of days gone by, of farming hardships and joys and losses and great successes. Of perspectives that are so different and holier than mine.

I just felt these people have watched many sunrises and sunsets on countless disappointments and countless times they rose again wearing garments radiant with hope. What a special place, The Heartland of America. A place where pioneers of yesteryear passed through or settled here perhaps because they just couldn’t go any further. A strong and steadfast people.

I like to think that I am made of some of this grit. After all, it’s been said of New Jersey that “only the strong survive” – I should know, I actually have the T-shirt.

If you haven’t traveled various parts of this country get out and do it. The various cultures in the USA are amazing and all have wonderful stories of their past and new beginnings. And food! Various kinds of food!

Enjoy!

Cate B

A New Thing

As a child I was encouraged to be creative……sort of encouraged. My mom was a creative person, but her way of encouraging me was to have me watch John Gnagyour version of Bob Ross. She bought pads and pencils and I was left to figure out if I was able to draw or not. That didn’t last long. I learned to sew and knit very basic. I learned to bake and cook and listen to music while singing my heart out in my room. No verbal encouragement came so I gave up very easily.

But you cannot throw away the creative juices that lie within you. They may lay dormant but they are always there waiting to spring forth when given just a hint of watering and sunlight.

So I have blossomed into a rather good crocheter and baker. But I get antsy. I recently couldn’t ignore the voice that kept gently bidding me to jump in deeper to the creativity. Then, through people I highly respect, I answered with a big YES.

Being a person who just loves my friendship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, I felt a strong tug to paint. But not paint precise images (thank God) but to paint colours.  I just love colours. I am drawn to colourful things and they speak to me and actually bring out feelings and senses that otherwise just stay hidden.

So now begins a new journey. I started painting in a freeform-type of artistry. Whatever happens with this journey will definitely be a learning experience. At first I absolutely hated what I produced. But I kept them and am moving forward. I figure I will be the first one to get anything out my art simply because I need to see it in a new perspective – as God sees it. I think He likes what I produce, therefore, I need to like it too.

I even show my pieces to people. That is a new thing for me. I often ask why I couldn’t just crochet and give it away (I still crochet and bake – try and stop me!) But I know that this is the medium I am to do now. So here ya go, Dear Readers, a glimpse of my new thing…….

 

Enjoy!

Cate B

No. 1

I have long enjoyed the book series by Alexander McCall Smith about Mma Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  I normally like a bit more intrigue and adventure in a book but the characters that Mr. Smith developed are irresistible.  They are so delightful that you could actually picture yourself knowing them or desiring to know them in real life.

My son contacted me about Mr. Smith’s upcoming talk at a Library near by. So, I signed myself and my husband up and invited us to eat dinner at my son’s house with the family.  I didn’t get nervous until we actually started to get in the car. I know, there is no need to be nervous at a talk and book signing. But I was.

I adorned myself in my map of Edinburgh scarf – since I knew he was connected to the University of Edinburgh and lived in that wonderful city – and imagined talking to him. I then decided just to buy the book and have him sign it and listen to his talk. Simple.

But, having our own trip to Scotland last year and very fresh in my head, when I handed him my newly purchased book I let out a speed talk that even marveled my mind. Something like this: “I’m wearing my Edinburgh scarf we were there for Christmas and New Years and even marched on Hogmanay and our son just got his Masters from the University-Edinburgh and blah, blah, blah”. He actually managed to follow my rambling and interjected comments. I was thrilled, especially to get to tell my son over there that Alexander McCall Smith congratulated him.

I got my breath back once I sat in my seat, thinking of how goofy that was and… he was wearing a kilt!

Anyway, what a delightfully funny and kind man. My husband and I laughed out loud totally taken into his stories. He is as delightful as the characters he created. Thank you, Alexander McCall Smith, cheers to you and your writings.

Here are some poorly taken photos (with my iphone and star-struck hands)…..

Read his books and have a great day.

Cate B

Happy Days

I haven’t posted in a while. But here I am, posting.

Yesterday, I set up a web page for my husband. I already had one on another host site and decided to move it to WordPress. They actually have a handy dandy way of doing that now. A click here, a click there and BAM!, it’s done. Then you just have to tweek a few things.

Well, the import was easy. For a person born in the fifties, that is 1950s, AKA, The Happy Days, I have somewhat of a grip on techie things. At least compared to some of my peers. But over the last six months I have noticed an incredible advancement in the cyber-space world.

Understand, I love advancing. I love the computer thing even though that was almost syfy in my youth. I do not speak the techie lingo but I was still able to figure things out. Until yesterday.

After two to three hours of googling and reading great info in another foreign language – at least to me it was foreign – I sought help from WordPress. After going through lists of possible solutions, which is difficult if you don’t speak computerese, I found a person to chat with.

I fell in love. I have no idea if this person was male or female but by the end of our time together I promised them a fresh pie if they ever came to my town. They not only walked me through the steps but they actually understood what I wanted to do and were able to tell me in my language. Geniuses! I can’t say enough about them.

I have told my husband many times to please learn how to do the basics. I tell some friends the same thing who want nothing to do with computer stuff. But, in all reality, it is not going away. Well, unless we lose all power and zombie creatures come and take over the world as we know it. Don’t be afraid. Really. It’s hard to us, but how can we even begin to speak into our grand children if we are closed to the world they live in. Let them teach you.

Don’t get old. Take it from this Grandma – you CAN do it!

Enjoy!

Cate B

 

 

 

Spring Is In the Air

It is finally warm outside here, in The Middle. Buds are on the trees and some have blossoms. Birds are singing and nesting and flying north once again.

I have longed for this. Winter lasted a long time this year and kept coming back every now and then. I do believe it is finally gone.

I sat outside for a couple of hours this morning just soaking up the sun and vitamin D. I love it. The breeze and the bright blue sky brings hope on its’ wings.

Here are some photos I grabbed….. go ahead and click on each one…….

Enjoy!

Cate B

A Castle and a Stone – Part X – MY Scottish Journey

Our final full day in Scotland landed on a Sunday. Perfect. We woke up and my daughter-in-law served up her daily cup of coffee and we prepared for the day.

This day was packed with sites and emotions. I hate saying goodbye to my kids. I was relieved and thankful to have been a part of their daily life in a foreign land. I knew they were safe and extremely happy. But I was holding back tears all day. I miss them. And I fell in love with Scotland, as I knew I would.

This morning we attended a traditional Anglican Church. I admit that it has been a while since I worshipped in this way. A flood of memories of my very young Catholic days came back to me. I confess that I looked around several times for nuns. I had a fear of them as a child. Go ahead and laugh at me, I’m laughing. It was totally irrational. I almost decided not to partake of communion due to my irrational fears from childhood. Silly. I went forward and followed my son and daughter as what to do. Again, I confess that the moment I should have been reflecting on Jesus and what He did for me on the cross, I was focused on the “bread” and how it wasn’t the kind that instantly melted in your mouth but rather the kind from my childhood that sticks  to the roof of your mouth and the tiny bit of wine the priest offered me didn’t help to unstick it. I had thoughts of grabbing his arm and taking a larger chug. Once back in my seat I was able to be thankful and hold back the laughter of how silly I was. I did enjoy the service.

From there we sent our daughter on ahead to purchase pasties for lunch. We met up with her on The Royal Mile and sat on a bench and partook of their deliciousness.

Onward we trudged to the Edinburgh Castle. I was so excited to go there because the real Stone of Destiny was on display there.

This castle is intact and functioning. Soldiers live there and it is like a village within the walls. The view is spectacular and overlooks the city and the Firth of Forth. Enjoy these pics…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Queen Margaret, of Scotland, later St. Margaret, was a woman of prayer and benevolence. Her son built her a chapel within the castle walls…….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We finally did see The Stone of Destiny. It was in a room, guarded, enclosed within glass and no pictures could be taken. But I saw it and it was wonderful!

Time for TEA!

 

 

And on our way….

a happy bunch
I need a castle 😉
my kids
From there, weary and sad and happy, we trudged back to the flat knowing that early in the morning we would bid a “see ya later” to the kids but also looking forward to seeing our pups and our bed.

My advice to all…. visit Scotland or whatever land you dream about. It is worth the money and the emotion and it is pure joy.

Enjoy!

Cate B

The Beach – Part IX – MY Scottish Journey

We hopped yet another train from Waverley Station, Edinburgh, Scotland. This one was a day trip, just a short distance north-east to the lovely beach town of North Berwick, Scotland.

As we alighted the train an excitement met me, face-to-face. I love beach towns. The more quaint, the better. As we walked down the hill, yes, another hill, lovely cottages and homes greeted us. Narrow street and sidewalks beckoned to me to keep going, the best is yet to come.

 

 

 

We entered the town center and I drank in the small businesses that wore the garments of charm. The sidewalk and street became even more narrow as we walked on

We turned left and could see the Firth of Forth ahead of us, calling my name. The colored homes, all stuck together as if one, put a smile in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then at last…. the beach! The tide was out and the view was magnificent. Oh how I love to walk near water. The wind was blowing hard and the air was so delicious to breathe in and drink of.

 

and more…..

 

and then…….

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We enjoyed a lunch in a local pub – fish and chips for me…..

 

I was in heaven. What a wonderful time at the beach! The big rock off in the distance is home to Puffins, aka Tommie Noddies, in the warmer months.

The song of the sea was singing to me that day. I would pack up and move to this great town if I could. This was a highlight to my trip to Scotland. I am smiling as I type these words. I hope you can feel my delight as I did. And, if you find yourself in Scotland, you must go to North Berwick. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cate B

Random Photos – Part VIII – MY Scottish Journey

If it weren’t for my son’s beautiful mind and determination we may not have made this journey to Scotland. He is presently finishing up his Masters program at the University of Edinburgh.

Childbearing does pay off eventually. If it weren’t for my kids and their dreams we may very well still be, well, who knows where and perhaps not seen or experienced all we have. I love my kids and am very proud of all they have accomplished and for what their future holds.

So here are some random photos in Edinburgh and the area around the university…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy! Next post will be on one of my FAVORITE places – North Berwick, Scotland – a Day at the Beach.

Cate B

Hogmanay – MY Scottish Journey Part VII

Before we even boarded a plane for Scotland, my son asked if we wanted to join them in the New Years celebration on The Royal Mile – Hogmanay We were clueless as to what that was, but as soon as he said it was walking with torches lit up we were in. He went ahead and purchased the tickets.

It is a Scottish tradition to do this walk on The Royal Mile just before New Years. It’s part of the celebration to bring in the New Year.  I confess that I thought I would be in the midst of heavy drinking and rowdy crowds. It was the opposite. So peaceful and happiness on all the faces. Once again Scotland surprised me with the kindness of the people.

We took our torch in hand and marched down past the Queen’s Palace and enjoyed the festivities of the evening. From there we kept walking behind the palace and up the hill toward our flat.

It was a great experience. Please enjoy some of the pics of that evening….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And when the pipers got in the groove….. very moving….

Enjoy!

Cate B

My Irish Eyes Were Smilin’

I posted this back in 2013. Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!

Let's Have Another Piece of Pie

When_Irish_Eyes_Are_Smiling-large

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. So to celebrate I made up a few “Irish Blessings”. Total fun – I love the Irish!

This one is Irish/Scottish:
“May the wee bairns of the loch be ever with you
and may the wee folk of the clover
never darken the doors of your emerald hut”

“May the cry of the banshee never drift across the waters
and darken the gates of your shamrock garden”

“May the potatoes of your field forever fill your bellies
and may your grains produce much stout”

“May the lucky stars and rainbow marshmallows
forever fall into your pot o’ gold each mornin'”

Be blessed and always remember to laugh 😀

cate

View original post

%d bloggers like this: