You Do, What You Must

They have names…for now. Hopefully once well they will find forever homes and of course their new family is free to give them a new name that fits their home. The black and white male, I’ve given the name of Moxie, because if anyone has it, this little beast does. He reminds me of Simba from Lion King in a way because of his kitten growl. And he does love to growl. Due to his small size though, its all bluff and bluster. The Tortie is Mojo, because she has this wonderful charm about her. She will hiss a bit, but then move in close for snuggles.

I had decided last night on the names after seeing them in a different post over on social media about two cats with those names being adopted. I looked up the meaning of the words which helped in the final decision. This is what I shared over on my social media page:

I think that I’m going to call the black and white kitten Moxie because it means: The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.Aggressive energy; initiative. Silly beast has a cute growl.

The Tortie I think Mojo because: An ability or quality that causes one to excel or have good luck. A magic charm. She just has a way to cause you to want to snuggle.

Its funny how much like human toddlers they are, especially when it comes to taking their medicine. If they could talk I know I’d be hearing, through gritted teeth, “I don’t need medicine”. I did however manage to give them the antibiotic and clean and medicate their eyes. Cleaned out their temporary home and had this bright idea. I still have left over puppy pads. I can line the kennel with those rather than only using newspaper. One sign the kittens are improving, Mojo decided she wanted to play with the edge of the pad that wasn’t flat on the floor. She also was doing her best to slip through the slight gap in the make shift kennel. (Two wire cat carriers zip tied together) This meant placing newspaper on top of that, and finding a couple kitten toys for them. One of those toys is the required bell in ball. If they play with that one, our official cat is going to hear and do her best to find out what or who is making that noise. So far none of the animal members of this family has realized we have visitors.

As I think of the kittens though, and my comment on how much like children they are, I have to consider, we are all to some degree that way. Something may be very good for us, whether it is for our physical, mental or emotional health, our social life or any other part of our life, but we resist. We struggle against the part we desperately dislike. We may have to change eating habits, giving up something we love for better physical health. We may have to distance ourselves from someone we are in any form of relationship with, for better mental health. We may have to leave our comfort zone, to see that life isn’t as scary as we make it out to be in our imagination.

With kittens and toddlers, we the big people, can eventually get our way and take care of what the young need. As the big people, we have to take care of ourselves. There may be a time when as those who took care of us when we were those toddlers who fought against what we needed, will need us to step up and take care of them. The rolls reversed.We need to do, what they did for us. When we came along, they sat aside many of the things they could have been doing, to take care of the family they have created. Now, as aging brings about limitations, we need to step up and take care of them, as they did us. It isn’t easy, taking care of others rarely is a simple task. It requires being there, it requires listening, helping when needed, it requires understanding and patience. Often, it requires a certain gentleness, but can also require on other occasions a toughness that may be difficult, but necessary. I had to hold the kittens tightly to give them the medicine, I’ve had to stand up and tell my dad, “do not, do that”. Both were not easy, both were necessary. But when you are taking care of them, you do what you must. When you are taking care of you, then too, you do what you must.

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The Kittens

I have good news, bad news, or maybe sad news. Two of the kittens have crossed the rainbow bridge. One of them was Tiny. I knew that all of the kittens were at risk, but I also realized that a couple of them were worse than the others. I was told that when they were examined that the vet tech had a very difficult time even hearing their heartbeat it was that low. They were also very light in weight. Holding them was almost as if one were holding a feather, if that much. One weighed 0.80 and the other weighed 0.90. Now what unit of measure that is, I have no idea.  As I told the gentleman who has and continues to help me with the cats here, while it is sad, it was not unexpected. I had thought it amazing they were still alive to begin with since their health was so poor when we found them. He did bring them back home though so that I could give them a burial near family.

The better news, is that two of them are home and doing so very much better. The kitten that I had called, the lighter one, is listed as a Dilute Tortoiseshell and is female. The black and white is a male. While they have a way to go, they do look somewhat better. The black and white kitten’s eyes are the worst. While one has opened more, the other is still badly matted with infection. The hope, is that once the infection is cleared, then his eyes will normalize and he too will be able to see. Right now, they are residing in the kennel/cage that was loaned me, that is set up in the bedroom that my son no longer uses. I was given the medications and wipes for their eyes. The black and white is a feisty little beast, letting his displeasure be known through kitten growls. Though he doesn’t fight being held. The Torte does hiss, but calms quickly once in hand and being snuggled.

I did not show any of the babies to their mom. She has stopped crying and looking for them. I feared that if she knew that any of her babies were inside, that she would be making her displeasure known about being separated. When I buried the two, I covered their grave in the hopes that nothing would disturb the grave.

My hope, is that once they are healthier, once they are bigger and have been spayed and neutered, I can find a good home for them. I’m working on the hope and belief that being inside, cared for, handled often that they will be really good pets for the right family.

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Lessons I am Being Taught

Our testing is ongoing.

I do recognize the fact I am being taught and tested. Life and the struggles that come with it are like the fire that purifies precious metals. It isn’t meant to be easy, as easy lessons are often quickly forgotten. While these are my thoughts and journey, it is also my hope that someone may find inspiration among the words.

I spend the greater amount of my time alone for the most part. I do have family members close by, but they have lives of their own. I do spend time with my parents, understanding and recognizing the gift and blessing it is for them to still be with us at their age. Otherwise, it is usually me and the dogs and cats. I am not intending to be singing a poor me song, because I see this as a lesson.

As a teen I did not date much. I ended up marrying the first man who said he loved me. A big mistake that set a series of issues in motion. But God, has a way of turning bad things into things of worth. For approximately five years of troubles and sorrows, I have a life time of lessons and understanding. While everyone’s journey is different, every storm has its own difficulties, my journey has given me an understanding of the underlying pain. I have dealt with domestic violence and I have been one to drink too much. Now, free of both but for the lessons learned.

Sitting here now, in the silence but for a radio playing softly and the birds singing in the woods out back, there is a contentment mixed in with the solitude. My life is in a ‘be still’ time, a time of learning, growth and understanding. A time of learning better patience, stronger compassion, a more precise understanding of what is going on around me. I understand too, that many of the things that tend to drag me down, are being shown to me. They are being brought out into the light so I can see, understand and remove the chaff from the wheat field of my life.

With every different moment and emotion, I am being taught.

When I see others able to go places and do things that are financially or in other ways, beyond me at the moment, I do envy them. I wanted to go see that artist in concert. I wanted to go to that ball game. I wanted to go to this or that event. Instead I sit and browse through the photos and wish. Envy, is wrong, it solves nothing. I can’t go back in time and change the circumstances that would allow me to attend. At the moment my finances aren’t about to change to allow my presence. I am being taught to be content with what I have and where I am able to go. A realization that major concerts are not where I need to be at this moment. For now, it is important that I learn to work through and rid myself of those jealous feelings.

Having taken early retirement, my finances are limited. Taking care of my folks means I can’t even take a part time job as I never know when there will be a need. Currently, I look at my house and the work that is needed. I don’t know what cost will be involved in the repairs, but I know it will take saving up before having it done. But, I have a home. It is safe. It is warm and dry. Within the walls are food, and hot showers. I have never wanted an overly large house, I am content here. I have listened to many others who are having worse issues. Whether it is with their home or neighbors or city limit restrictions and bills. I feel as if I am being taught and reminded that it could be worse. Just hang on, it will be all right.

Every once in a while my son will purchase a lottery ticket. The most he has ever won was around fifty dollars. Every time my mind wanders to what I would do if I won the lottery I also hear, “Child, do not seek earthly riches. Depend on and trust in me for your needs.” Winning a large lottery amount would take that away. I would be less inclined to lean on God and depend on winnings for my needs. Earthly riches are temporary, God is eternal.

I see the problems that people have in relationships. Whether it is romantic or among coworkers or friends. Society has become a battlefield in which we never know when one will blow up and a disagreement begin. Sitting out here feels to be a safe zone. I can sit here and watch, ready to offer a kind word, an encouraging word to the weary and battle scarred.

Often though, there are the emotions, the feelings of being forgotten. Those dark moments when you feel neglected because of the limited moments of visibility. Those moments when that part of you simply wants to feel recognized and remembered. The inner earthly child that wants to pout a bit, seeking what they feel was not given. Seeking a form of retribution for a perceived wrong. Even though I recognize and am thankful for the fact that by being laid off from where I once worked, God gifted me with the ability to take care of my parents, I still feel wronged. In my disappointment I would talk of giving them just short of thirty years of my life to be dumped like a day’s trash. So many times over the years I had been told I would have a job, only to find that to be a lie. Even as I feel less hurt, it is not fully healed and one of the lessons I am working through. Back in August, I received a lot of birthday wishes, but the one place I had hoped to see it mentioned, it went ignored. Even as I can give many reasons, even as I can say there is no going back and changing that, let it go. The inner child pouts which means the lessons continue.

I feel that I am learning. The fact that I can recognize that every event, each moment is a lesson affirms that to me. I do understand that as a sojourner in this life, every path, every hill and valley, every storm we face, is a lesson. With every wrong part of our being that we discard, we become better and more like Jesus the Christ, which is what we are supposed to be working toward. When we show peace over anger, love over hate, compassion over indifference, we are growing. We are becoming who we are meant to be. Though the journey is not an easy one, the lessons hard learned, in the end, the journey and results are worth the struggle. I know too, that I do not walk this journey alone. God walks with me every step of the way.

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Mediterranean Diet, Learning and Moving Forward

I need to go for groceries as its been over a week with the exception of pet food, which thanks to an amazing friend who blessed me with cat food, that is now covered for a good while. Its the people food that needs replenishing. Since I am needing, due to high HDL cholesterol levels, to adapt a healthier eating habit I am going to try the Mediterranean Diet. I needed however, to know how to go about this change. I did what I love doing, research.

I found another very interesting web site: https://www.mediterraneanliving.com/how-to-eat-mediterranean/  While the web site is a wealth of information on the lifestyle that is Mediterranean diet, it also include recipes. It will also if you request it, send you a diet food list. As it is,  I’ve spent the last hour or so, finding some really delicious sounding dishes. Many which my son will be glad to know do include meat. Just not the way he has become so habituated. Many of which are relatively simple without a long list of ingredients which I was glad to see.

I will admit that a large part of my problem, is that I have become lazy in many ways. In the way I cook and in my lack of exercise. Both of which will need to change if I want to stay off of medications. For the dietary side though, I needed to know what to purchase before I went in all excited and bought either too much, not enough or the wrong things completely. After printing out the list, this is not so much a restricted in what you eat as much as a way in which you eat. Yes, it does say step away from fast foods, processed foods, and high in sugar foods. But by now we all know those are bad for our health. The fact that so many of those foods trigger the feel good chemicals in our brain, causing an addiction and craving that we all too often readily give in.

What I am seeing with this style, is that it uses mostly fresh, natural ingredients with minimal processing. Yes, some more than others due to the ingredients and methods of preparation. The fact that spices play a large roll to me means that the dishes will definitely not be bland and will not make me feel as if I am on some diet of deprivation. It does mean fewer shove in the oven and go sit down meals, but that’s a good thing also. In fact, this looks to be a good adventure to head off into, better eating, better health. That’s a win win if you ask me.

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And The Word So Far

Not as easy as that.

I took mom to the doctor’s this morning to get her blood work done. While there I asked about the phone call. I was right, it was about the cholesterol. And yes, medication was mentioned. I told them that if the doctor was okay with it, I really wanted to try to start getting it done without the medication first. I specifically mentioned the Mediterranean Diet and exercise. She actually agreed with that plan and that she thought the doctor would also go along with it. Now I have to make this work.

I did go to the good stuff cheap store, and I did purchase a couple of books. Unfortunately, I didn’t look before bringing them home. The print is minuscule so trying to read these are going to be a nice challenge. Thankfully the most expensive was seven dollars instead of what ever price they covered. The Keto book was four instead of thirteen so, I’m not complaining too much. I’ll make them work. In the meantime I did more online research. Some of those recipes look really good. At some point this evening I will make out a meal plan, then plan the groceries I will need for that plan.

The gentleman came this morning and picked up the kittens. For those who missed it, all four of her litter did survive after all. My son helped me catch them yesterday and I kept them inside overnight. The gentleman agreed that they did really look badly in need of help. He took them to the clinic almost as soon as he left here. I wasn’t home when he called me about them. The clinic is sending medications for the kittens, and the man has something he is going to give me, along with a kennel to hold them in wile inside the house. I do have a room that is not used so they can and will be kept safely apart from the other household pets.

It looks as if it will be Thursday when he will bring them back home. Then, the work begins. They will their eyes soaked to clear the crud. They will need salve on their eyes and other antibiotics to clear the infection. He told me that one kitten was blind, but that the others have a chance of at least some sight abilities. I’m thinking…well hoping, that the light colored kitten will be able to see fairly well. Especially the way it acts.

Once we get the infection cleared and know who does and who does not have sight, I will be seeking out homes for them. I’m reasonably sure that after the amount of time they will be spending inside, they will be well tamed. Special needs maybe, but definitely not feral.

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Kittens in the House

After I spoke with the gentleman about getting help for the kittens he told me that he would take them to a local clinic if I could catch them. When my son finally got home from his weekend trip, he went under the house and discovered there were actually four kittens under the house.

One by one he passed them out to me through the hole in the foundation. All but one. One of the four has some vision and ran off out of reach under the house. I carried the box of three into the house and tried to figure out how to get number four. Finally I opened a can of chicken and divided it into several of the plates outside. I sat on the steps and waited. Obviously all of the cats knew something was going on and they were all on edge. I finally moved inside and began doing some things inside to give the cats time to become less nervous. I carried a bag of trash out past my son’s camper to the trailer and as I returned I told him what I had done. Both of us walked around the corner of the house to watch.

When the kitten finally came out and moved slightly away from the wall my son made his move. He managed to catch the kitten before it got back under the house and I carried it inside to join its siblings. When they were all together they have been very calm. When I placed a plate of food in the box they tore into it as if starved.

Currently they are safe in a larger container, lined with old towels and covered with a screen to keep them safely tucked inside. They are in a room that is not used, safely behind a closed door. If all goes without any problems the gentleman should be here tomorrow. He is bringing me something better to keep the kittens in, and maybe mom if I can get her inside. She won’t like it but it would also make it easier to get her fixed. I’m hoping I understood him correctly that he will take the kittens tomorrow, but it may be later in the week. Either way, I know they are safe inside and not at the mercies of any predator that may show or bad weather.

They may not be able to see, or see well, but they are all cute as can be.

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This Health Journey Chronicles

The journey begins. I saw on the blood test results that my cholesterol levels are high. The numbers show 274 when it should be under 200, the LDL at 185 when it should be under 100. Obviously they want to put me on medication. Stubbornly, I do not wish to be placed on medications. I have gone this long without, my desire is to remain that way. So, as I said, the journey to getting that lowered naturally has begun. Follow along with me if you dare- um care to.

After checking the test results and seeing the notation about medication I knew I was going to have to take action(s). The time for ignoring my physical well being was long past. First, was something I actually enjoy doing, research. What did I need to stop doing, and what did I need to incorporate into my adjusted lifestyle.

What are natural ways to lower the numbers? I found this website that offers information on cholesterol first and then methods of reducing the numbers. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lower-cholesterol#_noHeaderPrefixedContent   It also shows some factors that may cause high levels. I do have a family history, and I have been much too sedentary lately. I quit smoking over thirty years ago and drinking almost as long ago. The family history I can’t do anything about. I can however get up and as the song goes, ‘move it move it’. I can also work on my diet.

The exercise part is going to take my getting out of the habit of sitting mindlessly scrolling online sites. Sitting here waiting for phone calls that may or may not come from my parents who for those who don’t know I am helping in their care. While their health is relatively good, their age brings about limitations that where they need assistance. I am going to have to come up with a way to set time aside for exercise. There is a park not far from where I live that I can hike with Bella. It isn’t the mountain trails at the state park we love to hike, which is much more interesting and challenging, but it is closer making it the better option currently. I noticed a small trampoline down in my dad’s building. I think I’ll find out which relative that belongs to and see if I may borrow it for a while. I have fitness bands and weights that I purchased a while back. I’ve also heard that dancing is good exercise. Since my level of dancing is more erratic and without style and talent that will have to be done when there are no witnesses present.

I did not see where stress can cause raised levels but I think that finding ways to bring that under better control can only help. I have read that a purring cat helps with that, and I have plenty of those about.

The diet part is going to be the interesting challenge. A Mediterranean Diet is recommended. I have a bookshelf full of diet and recipe books, but not one for this particular diet. There are others though on eating healthy and healing powers of food that I will go through to begin. I also know where I can pay a visit to seek out a book for the Mediterranean Diet that won’t cost a small fortune. The same place I collected most of my library, where one finds good stuff cheap. Another interesting part is seeing my son’s reaction to the changes. He will have to remember though, I went vegetarian for him years ago in his quest to help his dad, he can do this for me. Otherwise he can prepare his own meals.

The above link also gives information on what can and should be incorporated into one’s diet to assist in bringing down numbers naturally. An online search brings up many routes of information to assist as well. The important thing, is actively taking that the steps needed to make the difference. I can sit and dream, wish and hope, but that won’t accomplish anything. As I said often after my husband passed and I faced the challenges of finding my way through becoming a widow, one day, one step, one breath at a time.

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A Sign of

My son is still in Talladega, Alabama. The NASCAR cup race was today so he will be headed home some time tomorrow. I called him when I got home from church, I’m not sure what had happened, but he had an attitude. I kept the conversation short. I saw no sense is allowing him to take out what ever set him off on me.

I spent the time before the race taking it easy, mindlessly scrolling online and half watching what ever it was showing on the television. My dad called and asked about the race and I told him when and what channel. I then began waiting myself for the race to come.

It has been a lot nicer today than the past few days. I wish it were warmer but at least the sun was out, and so were the dogs. Which is important.

When the race came on I only half paid attention. Then I suddenly realized they were down to the last forty laps, then the last couple. As I watched, my (and half the folks at the track) favorite driver, Chase Elliott made his move. He slid out of line, got a nice push and he was off and showing ’em how its done. At this point I’m pounding the desk and yelling at the television. I know, that there is no way I could be heard all the way to Alabama, but I’m yelling anyway. Poor Bella, she’s peering in the door looking at me as if she was wondering if she needed to go for help. When that number nine crossed the finish line I was cheering, then turned and told Bella everything was fine. She stood there for a few minutes more as if she didn’t believe me. She’s fine now.

I was sitting here later back to mindlessly scrolling when my son called. I was cautious as I wasn’t sure whether his mood had improved or not. It had, and he apologized over his earlier attitude. We even discussed some of what had brought it on. I told him about the kittens and trying to get them help. He, even in his most jaded, he has a place for animals within his heart. He even said that maybe, once the infection is taken care of we could find homes for them. It simply won’t be safe for them out in the back yard. I believe in the compassion of others when it comes to animals as someone contacted me offering cat food, if I wanted it. Absolutely.

┬áMy son and I chatted for a good while before he ended the call to go find something to eat. After ending the call, I once again reminded of how immature, and yet mature my son can be. But then, so can all the rest of us from time to time. Just as we have a tendency to worry…. I’ll be very glad when he’s home safe.

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Kittens in need (warning, photos show the kittens with matted, infected eyes)

I was sitting here, half listening to the race while struggling to stay awake. My lazy Sunday afternoon suddenly changed though thanks to a glance out the window.

Recently mother cat had brought two of four kittens out of hiding. The first time I saw these kittens all four had matted, infected eyes. When I handled them, mom cat moved them into hiding. I feared for their health, but not knowing where they were, my hands were tied. When the two appeared, their eyes still matted, though the lighter kittens appeared to have some sight. The Tiny one did not. It also would not eat anything. Then, the hurricane came through. I had not seen the tiny kitten since Thursday. Seeing it today and then realizing that there was a third kitten out there as well, had me up and headed out to check on them. Not only that, I carried another can of food out even though I had given the colony a can this morning. All the kittens, even Tiny, were eating. All the kittens, still have severely matted eyes. The latest outside appears to be fully blind. Sitting in the middle of the yard at one point fully lost with no idea which way to move.

Before the hurricane I had taken a photo of Tiny to the vet to see if there was anything that could be done. I was told that it was too bad for over the counter medicine and they would need to be seen. With a potential bill of anywhere from one hundred fifty, to three hundred dollars. And that was only one kitten. Now I have three in need. So, I updated the go fund me that I had never closed. It shows that the goal of five hundred was reached, but I was hoping to raise more for these babies. (I haven’t found yet where I can change the goal amount) I imagine it is too late to save their eyes, but I would like for them to be healthier in some form. Once healthy, I also hope to find them a home because it would be too risky for them to remain outside at the mercy of what ever enters the back yard. Following is the link to the gofundme page.

https://gofund.me/8ca0bbe7

I am also waiting to hear back from the gentleman to see about getting more cats taken care of, including the one down at my mother’s. If I do not hear from him early in the week, I will call him myself.

I understand that there are those who think that feral cats and kittens should be left to the mercies of nature. If they live, they live. If not, oh well. I know there are those who see cats, all cats, as a threat to nature. Knowing they hunt and  kill birds and small mammals excessively. That is one of the reasons I am attempting to take care of these and get them spayed, neutered and with their shots. If I keep them fed, they are less likely to hunt as much. Obviously, I am not an individual who wants to leave these to their fate. My upbringing instilled in me a caring for animals. We feed birds. We plant pollinator gardens. We’ve fed an injured dog until it was able to get up and go home. Where ever that was. We’ve fed squirrel, deer and fox. I’ve caught a horse running loose and returned it to where it belonged. Over the years we have rescued and found homes for animals that had been dumped and litters of kittens. Which brings me to now. I want to help, but I am limited in funds. So I updated the go fund me.

I know, realize and understand that currently there are bigger and more important needs out there. Parts of Florida and South Carolina were destroyed by Hurricane Ian. There are people in serious need. I would take nothing away from them. Help them first, if you have an extra dollar though and your heart leads, the kittens would greatly appreciate your help.

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My Morning After The Storm Called Ian

Yesterday was a day filled with possibilities and a strong potential for bad. While sadly there were many areas that were hit hard, I am thankful that we were not.

The first miracle yesterday was my son managing to leave early for his trip to Alabama. He had put off doing things like taking his clean clothes to the camper and filling the clean water tank. I did go out and help get the camper hooked up and do his pretrip check of making sure all lights were working and tires inflated properly. He checked the tires, I did the “Yep, lights are working”. I made him promise to call me often, got a hug and watched him pull away. All through a light, intermittent, falling rain.

I then came in and waited for my mother to call, which came moments after my son’s leaving. There is no missing the sounds his car makes, so she knew exactly when he left. We had our usual conversation and then I told her, several times, that every time my son called me, I would call her. She’s a worrier and has taught me well. Even though my son will at times, tell me I’ve surpassed the master.

After the call, I finished my own preparations for what could possibly come as the storm approached. A storm that was following eerily close to the track of Hurricane Hugo. I wasn’t alone when Hugo came through and I don’t recall being deeply afraid, as I alternately paced the floor peering out windows at the storm and then back to check on my infant son. Who slept through the entire storm. For Ian, I was going to be in the house alone, with a grumpy dog and a scared dog. At one point I did go outside and give the colony enough food that I thought they could finish before it became rain soaked. After they ate, I didn’t see them any more for the rest of the day. Smart cats. I did notice though that my son’s favorite of the colony was nowhere to be seen. He had somehow injured a back leg the day before and not moving much until he went somewhere to rest and heal up.

I then did something that is against my every rule of being home alone. I asked for prayers for my son on his trip. Something I would not have done but for the fact he was dragging that camper through high wind gusts and rain. Not that I’m a big deal in the online world, but it was my policy to not let many know I was here alone, with the dogs and..but I did, because of the circumstances. Many people responded to my request for which I am very grateful.

With everything that I could do accomplished, all that was left was sit here and wait.

The rain fell almost all day, varying in intensity. The winds, which was what worried me most, did the same. I would sit here trying to distract myself but would hear the winds intensity change. Looking out the windows I watched as the trees out back would swing and sway crazily. Acorns fell almost without ceasing and occasionally I would hear a limb come crashing down. Thankfully none of them were overly large. I will need to get the ladder and go up and check the roof but it needs to dry out a bit first.

My son and I have the life360 app on our phones. He hates it, accusing me of checking up on him which I don’t. But when he goes out on a journey alone, I do. I did check periodically to see his progress. I knew once he made it out of South Carolina he was in the clear. Though I did still check to see where he was for those times when my own mother would call asking.

I had the television on to keep up with weather reports on the storm. I saw early that the harder rain would reach us around noon. It was recommended if there was anything you needed to go out for, do it before then. I had nothing, so I was going nowhere if I could help it. The worst of the storm would arrive around four in the afternoon and hang around until ten or eleven. I was seeing the images, hearing the reports, I was trying to remain calm, even as my stress levels rose.

The human mind, is an amazing, incredible thing. It keeps the body functioning. It works the fight or flight button. With it we learn what we need to know to live, work and play. But for some of us, it has this unusually high anxiety mode that takes minor things and makes them major. It takes any situation and amplifies the possible bad results to the point the potential for good is not only overshadowed but buried. Add any level of post traumatic stress and you are facing a nightmare struggle. Hurricane Hugo had left me with a terror of high winds to the point that when the wind picked up in the slightest I was turning radios up loud to cover the sound and finding somewhere to hunker down where I felt safe.Thirty-three years later I have faced that and while I no longer go into hiding, I still hold concerns of the higher winds. Because I do know what they can cause. So I watched the trees and prayed the remained upright. I was also very glad that we had gotten rid of the big tree out front before this came along.

The second miracle. When my son called to let me know they had arrived I was relieved. They had little problems, that he admitted to, and were ready to get the camper set up. He did however tease me about how the weather was amazing there and asked exactly what I was dealing with here. He called one more time later, I know he was in a restaurant somewhere, just to check in and tease a bit more. Not cruel, I think it was also a way to make sure I was okay without admitting he was checking to make sure I was okay.

So I sat up until eleven last night. I watched various documentaries and old reruns. I listened to the rain and winds, even as it was too dark to see outside, I kept vigilant and ready. I wanted to be up in case there were any issues down at my parent’s place.

The third miracle, we never lost electricity or anything else. The storm was nowhere near as intense or dangerous as my mind built it up to be. As far as I have seen so far without doing a walk around, no trees fell here. The worst of the winds were on the eastern side of the track, away from us. I know that others did deal with issues from the storm where power or other services were lost. I know that trees did come down. But right here, we were safe and we are well.

My son has on a couple of occasions made a comment where he felt as if he was baby sitting me. (yes, that hurts) Yesterday and into last night, it was proven that I don’t need his babysitting. I had the almighty hand of God protecting us here, keeping us safe and sheltered from harm.

Even as I am so very grateful, I know that there are many others who are dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Florida was hit very hard, parts of it lies in ruin. Areas of South Carolina suffered from the storm that returned to hurricane strength. Laying a path of destruction in its wake. Today, people are looking at what is left, the work that is ahead of them, facing the reality that is nature’s power.

 For those of us seeing the reports of the destruction and wishing to help in some way, it is important that we take care. There are many out there who will readily take advantage of a caring heart. Do your research before blindly giving your hard earned money to an organization. This link offers ways to check on those seeking donations. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-tell-if-a-charity_b_9806518

One of the things that always happens, is that there will be those who collect not money, but needed items. Unless you know those collecting, do your research or donate to a group you know. Don’t allow a compassionate heart to overpower a cautious mind.

If possible and needed, help your neighbor. Clear away the debris, sweep out the mud, get your hands dirty and muscles sore. We may not always like each other, but when disaster strikes, we step up and help each other. I know there will be a call for people to go into areas worst hit to help with the clean up and then the rebuilding. You may not be able to swing a hammer, but handing out food to the hungry is also needed.

There is also, more importantly, the power of prayer. Seeking help and strength for those in need. Offering gratitude for those who made it with little or no problems. The greatest miracle, being able to show love and compassion in a time of need.

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