4

Friendship

We had tiny hands
And little feet
And dreams that dwarfed us both

We hugged. We laughed. We held hands.
Walking from dawn to dusk
Friends forever we said

Forever doesn’t last
When you are no longer
Small with tiny hands and little feet

Too many grown-ups
Rush against the end
Of something, somewhere

There is no time to laugh
And giggle
And believe in forever

Not now. Grow up.
Get a job.
Quit acting like a kid.

3

Too Many Hurricanes

img_6784Today I am sitting in the calm watching the wrath of Hurricane Florence bear down on the coast of North Carolina. This is my state and it is gutting to watch another disaster unfurl before my eyes. Especially knowing I have someone I care so much for sitting in Wilmington weathering the storm alone.

I despise hurricanes. I never knew anything about them until my husband and I started dating in 1995.

I was living in Maine at the time and he came up to do some ‘leaf peeping’ in October – prime for autumnal color. We stopped for a late lunch at the Black Pearl in Rockland – a cozy seaside restaurant. The deck was closed in with heavy plastic and the waves were whipping over the seawall. Everyone was busy securing boats and anything capable of being blown around. After asking a few questions, we realized these waves were remnants of Hurricane Opal, an extremely devastating hurricane that had made its way all the way from the Gulf Coast to Canada.

Fast forward almost a year, we planned an amazing wedding in Charleston, SC with a honeymoon to follow in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That was before Hurricane Fran was predicted to hit Charleston. I will not go into the details of the havoc that caused on our preparations – another post for another day – but anything non-essential like wedding plans came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, the storm made a turn and eventually made landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina. We dodged a bullet on that one but with hurricanes, not everyone is spared. North Carolina was hit hard.

Things were pretty calm for us personally until 1999 when Hurricane Floyd was threatening Florida. That was the first and last time we fell for the suggestion of duct taping your windows. It does nothing for you and it is a mess to clean up. The storm again turned, hit the Bahamas and up the east coast of the states before making landfall in Cape Fear, North Carolina. Eastern North Carolina had been hit just weeks earlier by Hurricane Dennis.

Fast forward to 2004. We purchased a house in the beautiful community of Winter Park, Florida. The house was very modern with a flat roof and windows everywhere. We knew the roof would need to be replaced soon but we were so much in love with this house! It was our dream home.

August rolled around and Hurricane Charley came into the picture. Unfortunately, the track changed rather quickly and we had less than half a day to prepare. There was barely time to get water, gas and food before the storm was on its way. The eye of the storm passed directly over us. It was surreal. We were without power for 7 days. Destruction was everywhere. All the roads to our neighborhood were completely blocked.

After going through Charley weeks earlier, we were concerned when Hurricane Frances came on the horizon. We were fortunate enough to find some blue board to put on the big windows in the house. It was dark and depressing and we paced the floor worrying about the roof that needed to be replaced. Thank the Lord, we made it through with no roof damage.

But Mother Nature wasn’t done yet. Hurricane Jeanne also came through that year. We left the house boarded up for two months. We had some minor damage with fencing and trees and of course loss of power during those three storms that year, but we had come out unscathed. It was a frightening time. A lot of people moved out of Florida that year.

We eventually retired to our beloved North Carolina and were finally away from hurricanes or so we thought. Last year Hurricane Irma was looming and our children and new granddaughter were in the path of the storm. So many people were being evacuated that roads were clogged and gas was hard to come by. People who tried to evacuate often turned around and returned to Florida. They made the very hard decision to stay. The fear of being stranded on the highway with a newborn and two cats will make you consider all options.

We stayed on the phone with them all night. These storms that come in the dark of night take a toll on your nerves. But God watched over them through the storm. They were blessed. We were blessed. They made it through the most frightening night of their lives with no damage and no loss of power. We all went to bed around 5:00 am when the worst of the storm had passed.

Now we watch and wait for the remnants of Hurricane Florence to arrive here. The waiting is so hard, but we are not in the worst of it. So many people are already experiencing the wrath of such a storm. We have good friends and family scattered throughout the Carolinas. It is hard to wait, knowing the power is out and will likely be out for weeks. We just pray and pray and pray that everyone makes it through okay.

I joke with my husband that had I not met him I am not sure I would have this on-again off-again relationships with hurricanes. They have become a big part of the story of our lives. We have been fortunate through it all and we always have a tale to tell. And truthfully, I don’t blame him totally! ūüôā

I am constantly praying for everyone’s safety and that the storm will soon pass for all of us. Stay safe. Stay diligent.

6

Hello, God. It’s me, Margaret.

I come to you a tired and weary child.

As we come to terms with the end of Rosie’s life, today¬†we are handed another challenge.¬† I know you will not give us more than we can bear, but sometimes Lord we just need a helping hand.

My sister, BJ, is a four-year survivor of kidney cancer.¬† She bravely underwent surgery 4 years ago and had her kidney and her adrenal gland removed.¬† Today, the doctor told her that her other adrenal gland is enlarged.¬† The doctor is scheduling her for a CT scan and a biopsy.¬† Barb has been so strong for Rosie.¬† She made countless trips to help her as she underwent treatment.¬† She wanted to just rest for a while.¬† She wanted time to grieve for our sister.¬† Now, we¬† know she will not rest until she knows the truth.¬† It is so hard because I know she is so scared and she’s angry.¬† Our family has been through so much already.

So, to you God, please raise BJ up.  Giver her strength.  Give her the faith and the hope to believe in a positive outcome.  Our family is strong and our faith is strong.  We will be there with hearts full of prayer and ALL THE HOPE IN THE WORLD.

To all my friends who have held us up over these last months, please, take our other hand.  We need your prayers and your support once again.  We do not choose to go to battle again and we ask that you remember us all in your prayers.  We will do what we need to do.

Sometimes being strong is the most difficult thing we are asked to do.  But when you have a sister like, BJ, being strong and having faith is easy.

Barb, hang in there.  I love you to the moon and back again.  We will get through this, I promise.

“..If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” [Mt:17:20]

0

Contemplation

I love this quote: 

“We are wide-eyed in contemplating the possibility that life may exist elsewhere in the universe, but we wear blinders when contemplating the possibilities of life on earth.”
~Norman Cousins

Wow.  Life on earth.  So much to complain about.  So much to disagree with.  So much to get enraged at.

I’ve started to take a different path.¬† I want to see the possibility rather than illuminate the impossibility.¬† We spend so much time shining a light on all that is wrong that we miss the little things that are within our grasp.

I am thankful for so many small things.¬† I’m glad that I have known the smell of honeysuckle.¬† I may never smell¬†it again, but that fragrance will linger a lifetime.¬† I have tasted chinkapins.¬† I hear they may make a comeback.¬† For that I am forever grateful.¬† I have swung on grape vines.¬† I have listened to tall tales and legends that set a curious young mind on fire.¬† I have caught lightening bugs.¬†¬† I have seen the northern lights.¬† I have stood atop of Jungfrau.¬† I watched my grandfather fix a lock with graphite he squeezed from an old plastic bottle.¬† Oh, I have been amazed.

I have laid on my back and watched the stars.   I miss my stars.  I know they are out there, but so well hidden in the light pollution where I live.  I wish my students could see the stars like I have seen them.   They cannot imagine what lies out there beyond their line of sight.

I have dreamed a million dreams.¬† Some came true, others I let go of.¬†¬† Who knows, maybe¬†they were really someone else’s dreams all along.

I have been afraid and I have overcome fear.¬† I have believed when I wasn’t sure there was much reason to believe in anything.¬† I have prayed¬†and I know God was listening.

Today I sat with little thoughts.  They surrounded me like good friends.  I found comfort there.

I hope you do, too.

0

Reflections in a Pool of Hope

Today was a day filled with reflections.  Wonderment of the mere presence of life.

If you remain open to the possibility of a brighter tomorrow, the doors will fling open and hope will come pouring in.  Sometimes the human side of us resists, fearing what else we may be throttled with when the world comes tumbling in.  Today I challenged myself and dared to believe there is hope. 

There were no photographs in my class today.  Just reflections about Bella and Virginia.  Reflections on lives well lived, lives that touched thousands, and a beautiful picture of hope painted with laughter and tears.  The only teachers in the classroom today were my dear friends and I must say they did a remarkable job.  Each one of my students was captivated in a special way.  It made me smile to know their legacy lives within each one of us.

Godspeed my dear friends.   I love you to the moon.

‚ÄúTell me who you love, and I‚Äôll tell you who you are.‚ÄĚ
Creole Proverb

0

In Search of Signs of Life

To say the last few days have been difficult would be an understatement.¬† So many questions that will never be answered.¬† So many people feeling the same pain in different ways.¬† I’m not sure how¬†or why it happens, but tragedy often brings us back together.

If I have learned nothing else from this life, I have learned that there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.  It is often difficult to see especially when we are in pain.  Today I walked outside with tears and anger raging inside me.  I went in search of signs of life.  As much as I resisted, I saw life beginning everywhere around me.  Even in the midst of life that was ending, new life was struggling to break free.  I think that is what we have difficulty understanding. It seems impossible to see the new beginning when we lose someone we love.    Life changes, it moves forward and we must believe there is a extreme value in moving through our pain and being born into a new purpose.

Today in heaven, the angels are wearing boas.  That makes me smile.

Bella, this one’s for you.

DSC_9741