Tag Archives: hope

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

The Journey Begins Part I My Scottish Journey

I have always had a love for  Scotland. I think it began deep inside from my ancestors, I’m convinced of that, or I choose to believe that.

My mother’s grandfather came from Paisley, Scotland when he was a young boy. I never knew him but the few times she mentioned him it was always in a fond voice.

My mother also kept me enshrouded in plaid. I love plaid. I am still attracted to all things plaid.

Many years ago a friend introduced me to the Scottish author George MacDonald. The first book I read was The Lost Princess – a fairy tale. I fell in love with this man’s writing and how he lived his life. Looking for images for this post brought up books of his that I have not read or heard of. A new quest is at hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day, in a small mountain town in Southern California, this wife and mother was engrossed in yet another tale of The Scottish Highlands and deep characters, when I had to set book aside and load the four kids into the car with husband and head down the mountain to do grocery shopping.

As my husband navigated down the winding highway I was lost on the moor and the heather  hills. I actually said to myself, “I wonder when I will see the heather in Scotland”.

After parking the car I grabbed a cart and headed into the market. I came to an abrupt stop right inside the door. There, spread out on a long table and hard to miss, was a radiant display of Heather in full bloom. The sign on the table shouted my name: “SCOTTISH HEATHER”.

Who needs food? I grabbed a plant and proudly placed it in the cart. Was that a gift from God? I believe it was. I felt like He was giving me a glimpse of my dream trip that was sure to come.

The kids are all grown and have families of their own now. Every now and then I wondered when we would see Scotland. Then it happened. August of 2017 our middle son and his wife packed up and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for him to pursue his passion at the University of Edinburgh.

When our son was accepted we talked and decided we would come and visit. We chose to spend Christmas and New Years there. They agreed and we booked the tickets. I was beside myself with excitement and trepidation. Being a person full of imagination and creativity, I tend to be a bit dramatic – at least to me I am. Probably to others also, but I try to keep most of it to myself.

However, I have never taken my life’s journey lightly. What I mean by that is that I tend to, and I plan to, glean all I possibly can from this life. If it’s a move across town or country or a new job then why am I here? What can I learn from the process of this journey?

And what a journey it was. I hope to convey to you, Dear Reader, a land seen through the eyes of a hopeful dreamer and therefore, you can step out and into your dreams, whatever they be. Life is too short to sit and wonder or to dream and not grab the pot of heather placed right in front of you. Go further. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there. But it does matter that you get there.

Get ready for Part II of My Scottish Journey……….

Enjoy!

Cate B

SaveSave

Temporary

Here we are in a New Year, 2018, and things did not start out as they usually do in my life.

That can be good. But what usually happens is, my husband and I look into our future and talk and pray about what may be or what is in store for us.

This end of 2017 was different. First of all, we were in Edinburgh, Scotland. A dream trip. Three glorious weeks in a land that has been in our hearts for a very long time and three glorious weeks in the home and presence of our middle son and his wife – who just happen to live there for a season.

We did not get back to our home in the USA until the 8th of January. And we even came home with jet lag and a virus, so to bed we went.

By the time we recovered I felt that I needed to enter the New Year again. Can I have a do-over?

Now that I’m almost completely over this annoying sinus-type virus, I am beginning to reflect more on our trip and on this New Year. You see, three and a half years ago we moved to The Burg, a small mid-western town about an hour outside of Kansas City.

Rural. Farms all around us. Quiet. The town has a University smack dab in the middle of it. A USAF Base is just a few miles away. Plenty of activity, yet plenty of quiet. The best of both. And only a quick forty-five to sixty minute drive to “the city”.

We moved here temporarily while our other son and wife attended the University and we cared for our grand daughters while they were in class. A wonderful gift to be a part of their formative years. A bond with those girls that cannot be broken.

We rented this little house temporarily. It is small. It is neglected. It is challenging. It is a home.

Our son and daughter moved back to Kansas City and we decided to stay in this great little town. We have made precious, life-long friends and love the area. But the house. We really need to move to a better dwelling. We have goals and visions for the future and it does not include this little neglected building.

I have a friend who lives on an island. She sends me a text of encouraging words and prayers every day. She told me, just yesterday, when I told her of our need for a different house, “Not good. Always feeling transient.” She is praying for us.

Her statement,  “Not good. Always feeling transient”, took me into a reflective place. For three years I have felt transient. Knowing this house was temporary, yet never seeming to be moving on. It is not good. She is right. The definition of transient is this:

tran·sient
ˈtranSHənt,ˈtranzēənt
adjective
  1. 1.
    lasting only for a short time; impermanent.
    “a transient cold spell”
    synonyms: transitory, temporary, short-lived, short-term, ephemeral, impermanent, brief, short, momentary, fleeting, passing, here today and gone tomorrow;

    This explains a lot of my wandering in my head about where we will live. But as I wander over the last three years I always come back to this town. I just need to feel grounded, no longer transient, no longer temporary.

    I do hope this is the year to find that perfect dwelling. We’re not set on buying or renting or whatever. However it comes to us it just needs to be home. A solid, grounded home.

    He will not forget me and He will not leave me out of his plans for me and my desires on this earth.

    “I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29 The Message

    My son and I with our matching University of Edinburgh tartan scarves in front of his flat in Edinburgh, Scotland. You can see Arthur’s Seat in the back ground.

    Enjoy!

    Cate B

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.

 

Enjoy.

Cate B

 

Sit

The Header for this page says this: “Sometimes life cries out for a nice break from the daily routine …… a pie break, so to speak. A time to sit, to listen, to reflect. To taste the sweetness of life.”

Every now and then I read those words and reflect.

You see, part of my personality is such that I just love to have the appearance of moving forward. I cannot stand the same-old, same-old. It’s like sitting still, in a broader sense of the term. I like movement. I like progress.

This is one of the reasons I like to move furniture around in the rooms of my home.  I use to do it often but now I’ve learned to slow it down a bit and enjoy the moments.

I said above, “the appearance” of moving forward. Sometimes life looks like we are getting no where fast. Life seems to have paused and is waiting for the finger from the sky to hit that play button so we can move on. Waiting. That is one the the hardest things for me to do. Wait.

But in the waiting so much can happen. In that pause mode the universe is still going forward. Life round us keeps moving, time keeps ticking by. The seasons keep on changing and we are still here waiting.

So as I reflect here, with my proverbial slice of pie and a cup of coffee and a keyboard, I realize how good the waiting is. I can use this waiting time to see how far I have come and to turn and see where I want to go. It is a time to build strength for the journey of life that lies ahead.

I can also use this time to sort out my ever changing “to do list” of life. That list in my head of all I want to accomplish, which can be overwhelming since most of those things are things I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Sifting. Sifting and sorting is good.

But the waiting still sucks. There, I said it. It can really suck when you’re like me, not good at it. So, to those of you like me, I can tell you to take the time to breathe and reflect, to sort and sift, look behind and definitely look forward. There is strength in the waiting. There is hope in the things to come.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31

Enjoy!

Cate B

Friendship

Friendship is good. We all need to have friends and especially the ones that “get us”. Those kindred spirits. The ones where a spoken word sometimes isn’t necessary, they just know.

There are so many levels of friendship.  Some refer to you as their best friend but you hardly know them and somehow they think they know you. Some are just acquaintances and some are those Facebook “friends” that you accepted their friend request but still have to wonder who they are when they appear in your newsfeed..

But those kindle spirits. Those people. The ones that just understand your words and hear your heart. Those are the ones we cherish so much and feel such a loss when they are gone.

This past week I lost two of them.  Not to arguments or disagreements, but to life on this earth. These two left us for the arms of Jesus. They are truly the lucky ones and no more earthly pain for them. This makes me very glad because of my faith, I know I will see them again. But they left a hole in my heart here on earth.

Susan Irene Fox, a fellow blogger, is gone from us and greatly missed – her smile and melodic voice, both in words and on Skype. A true kindred spirit even though we never met in physically proximity the love and friendship was there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there is Sandi.  I met Sandi many years ago, MANY. She was a single mom of several kids…… Her smile lit up a room and a neighborhood. We were instant friends – kindred spirits.

Sandi’s journey in life wasn’t easy. But she always kept smiling. Her love for God and family was endless. She was full of hope.  She spent the last several years of life in sickness. Weak, but her spirit was strong. The morning of the pending solar eclipse she went home to her beloved God and I know she is dancing again.  Some say she caused the eclipse – LOL

She is greatly missed. But I am blessed abundantly for having known her and laughed and cried with her and saw many answered prayers for us both because of our prayers together.

Sandi and Me – 2007 California

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I love you girls and see ya later!

Cate B