Tag Archives: family

Js in My Life

The last fews days have taken me into remembering. Remembering times of community with great people. Times where you feel like your family grew to Walton-size or Osmond-size.

Times when you felt like you belonged to a family that you always wanted yours to be.

Accepted. Loved. Known.

The first memory was triggered by a dear friend, J, who sends me a text every morning before I even open my eyes. Her encouraging words come over the ocean and into The Middle from Puerto Rico. They are missed some days since the hurricane hit them. But the latest word is that they expect electricity within the week!

A couple of days ago she wrote of a lady she met about thirty years ago and how they walked the sandy barrens of the Jersey Shore together talking of anything that popped into their head.

That was ME.  Me and J walking and talking. We did it as often as we could. Then other times she would come over and we’d talk some more. Then, she would come over with her husband or we would go to their home and talk some more and EAT. Oh the rice with the pigeon peas and whatever was in the fridge and her rice pudding!!!

We are family. We moved and then she moved to Puerto Rico.

I remembered another time in a small-is town in San Diego County, California. It was higher up than sea level and pushed against Palomar Mountain. A great town.

We attended a church in that town that understood community. We all didn’t think alike or dress alike or look alike. But we loved well. We would have parties where we brought tons of food and played innocent games that brought laughter and joy.

We prayed for each other when life hit hard on our families. We dropped off surprise gifts at door steps and continued to love each other.

We let each other be who we were.

Acceptance. Loved. Known.

I’ve lived several places since then and have felt loved on different levels. But I haven’t had a J to walk with me and talk with me out in nature. A J to know my heart and thoughts and accept me for who I am, flaws and all. A J to tell me I can do it as she looks into my eyes or tells me that the blow that just hit sucks but offers me her hand to get me back up.

True, deep friendship.

I do have close friends. My husband is one. There are a couple of other “Js” in my life. But none live physically near me. I feel them but none can look me in the eye and see me and walk in the woods with me. Most of that is due to work schedules. More women work these days than they did thirty years ago. I get that. And I don’t expect gals to come knocking on my door tomorrow to go for a walk.

The “Js” in my life came about unexpectedly. I didn’t see them coming  or ask for them. God set me up. He’s good at that.

Some of my blogging friends are “Js”. I’ve got one in California that I look forward to seeing someday and one in Pakistan that I know we would have a blast walking and talking.

I guess what this post is about is my reflections and a bit of hope for you all. Have you made room for friendships and family that goes deep into your heart and soul? In this age of social media we tend to not look into each other’s eyes.  We see words on a page that are hard to interpret.

Take the time for friendships. Deep friendships. Be a friend.

These remembrances make me feel warm and cozy. Priceless.



Cate B



Always A Mom

I am a grandma five times now plus one great grandson. Not too bad. I love it. But I will always be a mom.

In the back corner of my mind I thought that once the kids grew into adulthood and had their own families going, when their careers and schooling and such were all in tact, well, I thought somewhere in the crevices of my brain that I would be done being a mom.

Silly, I know. Because I think I am more a mom now than ever. What I mean by a “mom” is that my heart is bigger and more soft and vulnerable than when I spent many hours feeding, cleaning, burping, guiding, etc.

Now I have more time to look at what my children have become and are still growing into who they are. I give myself and my husband a great big pat on the back for who these kids are. And who their kids are becoming.

But as I watch, I cry. I cry tears of joy and silly sadness. One of my boys and his lovely wife is moving to the UK in just a few weeks! The UK!!! I live in the USA!!!

The good things are……. they will be there for a year (could be longer, who knows?). The better thing is that this is a dream come true for our son and his wife…..an opportunity to study at the University of Edinburg!

The BEST thing is that my husband and I will take our dream trip this Christmas and spend two glorious weeks in Scotland and a bit of Ireland! I’m beside myself with excitement! The child rearing years have paid off.

Then why the sadness you ask? Just knowing they are not and hour and a half away makes me cry a little. I actually feel a little lost. I go through that with our oldest and his family being twenty hours away by car.

I’ll make it. I couldn’t be more proud of all my kids.

But being a mom is hard.

Cate B

Here is a “seed” a friend sent me… my first spending money:

Who Are you?

After posting Love is the Key on January 19th of this year, it still stands. I just love my dogs.

Maybe they have replaced caring for my granddaughters full time. LOL I do call Teddy Roosevelt (the pup) Penny June (the girl) from time to time. I have even called Penny Teddy, oops.

It must be the mothering thing. It just doesn’t go away as time goes by, it changes. I like that. After all, as we grow out of childhood into adulthood and the decades that entails, we don’t go away…..we change. We evolve. We grow.

We are still there – or here. I know for me, my whole life has grown and changed and evolved. Some of us “find ourselves” at a young age. Some never lost ourselves so therefore, didn’t have to find ourselves. Some of us, like me, did not grow up in an environment that knew myself. But I found me along the way and I love me.

Did you follow that paragraph? I hope so. The bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. I’ve heard countless times that it refers to faith and spiritual things. I believe it goes deeper than that.

If you have five children you cannot raise all five the same way. You have five different people in your care and all five are individual personalities. I believe that as parents we need to purposely find out who each one is and help them along the way to see who they are and who they will become. Then they won’t have to go on that journey of discovering who they are. They won’t lose themselves in life and then have to find themselves.

Wow. That almost twisted my head. I had two cups of coffee this morning and then a noon latte.

So, back to my dogs….. Teddy Roosevelt is just about five months old now and has already outgrown his brother George Bailey. The games continue….

Teddy Roosevelt


George Bailey after Penny June put party hat on his head


Cate B


Life is Beautiful

We moved to this lovely mid-west town, affectionately known as The Burg, two and a half years ago. Little did we know that we would fall in love with this town and it’s people.

Sure, it has it’s frustrations like all relationships, but the people here and the countryside puts you right back into perspective.

Shortly before we moved here we met a great couple that were part of us feeling at home. We became fast friends.

Early in our relationship we found that the wife, Shirley, had been battling cancer. We became fast warriors in prayers of complete recovery.

Complete recovery can have perspectives just like a painting. We never seem to see all the outcome or the image at once. Some see victory on earth, some see the battle and the hard work associated with it, and some see the victory being the dance and the songs in the courts of Heaven.

As humans we would like the earthly answer. It’s where we are now. So many have overcome the ravages of cancer and some the overcoming came too early and continues in eternity with no more pain.

That was our Shirley. I had plans with our friendship. We were going to tramp through woods and see wildlife. She was going to feed them as I took pictures. I chuckle as I write this. Not to mention her husband and her children and grand children had plans of a future together.

We just don’t know. As a Christian I believe in healing. I’ve seen healing. I believe we can, scripture says, raise the dead. But sometimes that terrible, yet beautiful, mystery of our God takes us to where we  humans do not want to go. Death.

If we could just step back and see our life here, on this earth, is a part of the picture. Our lives continue into eternity. It hurts to lose. I know this.

As painful as it is I get to still be a part of the earthly tribe. The parts of Shirley that still live one. The heart of her husband that beats with joy, though pained, and a giving heart so big. Her daughter carries her mother’s heart for her own children and husband that shines with faith and love so deep for so many. Her son carries her creativity in levels that go so deep I am sure Shirley is rejoicing over them! And those grand children! An amazing legacy!


That brings me to the images I want to share. There is a property in Russellville, MO that has been in Shirley’s family for quite a while. It is beautiful! If you go there and sit on the front porch with her son and his wife you feel completely at home.

There is a peace there and a piece there of Shirley’s inheritance that I cannot find words for. There is hope there. There is vision for the future there.

A vision to help those who have struggled to come and farm and learn and use their talents to make their life better. A vision of hope for the hopeless.

As this project develops I will write more about it. But right now I honor Shirley and her inheritance. It is so wonderful to see that it never ends when our pained and broken bodies fail and leave this earth. Life does go on. History teaches us that. Memories are like gold and seeing someone living on in the hearts and talents and actions of those still here is priceless.

In the old barns they found the original tools for farming – made of wood!


Cate B

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tell Me A Story

I love stories. I especially love stories told to me by the person who experienced it. I feel I’m invited into a part of them that normally may not come out in a conversation or a moment in their presence.

This happened to me this week. My husband and I went for a drive into the country and decided we would go t0 Lilac Lane Bulk Foods.

I love this store. It is owned and operated by an Amish family. Leonard is the young man you will find in the store most of the time. He is welcoming and friendly and laughs when I tell him something funny.

They have amazing prices on bulk foods from flours to spices and local honey. And when they have fresh baked cinnamon buns, well, let’s just say it’s all I can do not to buy them all and freeze them.

On cloudy days it can be a bit dim inside due to the fact that there are no electric lights. Just windows and I do believe a skylight. A wood burning furnace heats the store in the winter and you can hear the slight sound of a generator powering the small refrigerated section for eggs and cheeses.

This particular day had a sweetness to it. Leonard handed me a flyer to give to a friend of mine who was interested in visiting.

When I read his newsletter I read one of those stories. The warm kind we all have inside of us. A memory, the sweet kind. As I read I pictured vividly bits of his childhood and his home where he is now.

Here is what I read…..

“Have you ever wondered why we chose the name that we did for our store??? Well, when I was a boy, the small farm at Arthur, Illinois where I grew up had lots of old fashioned flowers and shrubs, including pink, lavender and white lilacs They had been there for a long time.

When my family made the move out here to Missouri, 15 years ago, I found it hard to leave the lilacs so I brought 10 cuttings along. Sadly only one survived and it si now doing well at my parent’s place where I planted it.

Five years ago, when visiting the old home place in Illinois, the owner gave me permission to take lilac clippings and so I gladly took 17 of them. This time, much to my surprise, they all survived!!! They are now all in a row bordering the driveway to the store; hence the name “Lilac Lane”….. “


Isn’t it great to hear of his childhood and fondness for the flowers? And even more special was reading how he was able to bring them back and after perseverance bring them to life. A special memory of his childhood and for his children and eventually for theirs.

Everyone has a story. Those precious memories planted deep inside that pop up when a slight breeze blows or a fragrance of something wonderful drifts by. I know you’re thinking of your stories. I am thinking of mine.


cate b