Saturday, April 28, 2012


April in Pennsylvania.

I've been in the City of Brotherly Love this week for a convention. And that's a whole 'nother blog post.

But back to April in Pennsylvania.

When my mother was alive, this was a favorite time of year for me to visit her for a few days of R&R. Their little house on the side of the mountain would be looking its best in the spring sunshine, with bright yellow daffodils starring the creek bank and gorgeous lilac bushes in full bloom. With the soft air, the morning bird song, and the heady fragrance of the lilacs, it was a rich feast for the senses -- a good time to kick back on her porch, talk about everything and nothing, and simply let the cares of the world go by. I think she took some pride in helping me relax as my schedule got busier and busier. I savored the quietness of her house, the long walks, and the tranquil pace.

The springtime setting brought home to me in later years just how very far she and I had come in our relationship. My once cool and distant mother blossomed and warmed as she grew older, and I remain forever grateful for the redemption of that situation.
I miss her terribly, although I know that the beauty she experiences now in Heaven is so much more than what we shared here in the spring. I look forward to our reunion one day.

May your own relationships be full of grace.

- Catherine

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It was an afternoon from, well, hell.

Drifting away on a sea of nitrous, I squirmed only slightly when the dentist injected the anesthetic in my jaw. "I'll be back in just a few minutes," he promised.

"I have to pee," was my only thought.

Then I turned my attention to the TV over my head. I'd selected HGTV, as is usual when I'm in the dentist's chair. Unfortunately there followed a depressing episode of Property Virgins.

You know, where the would-be first-time homebuyers come away empty handed.

Continuing to drift, I vaguely registered the start of a second episode of Property Virgins.

Then I fell asleep, waking just as the episode ended - once again a loser ending wth the homebuyers coming up empty.


Depressing run of episodes.

The third episode starts and still no sign of my dentist. I feel as though the anesthetic is starting to wear off, and this worries me.

I am a terrible patient and have truly appreciated this dentists's concern and care. (Read: nitrous and hefty anesthetic.)

I've lost track of time, but I know I've been in the chair for a good long while before my dentist returns.

Re-numbing is necessary by now, so more injections follow. I squirm again. These hurt worse than the first batch.

Injections are followed by another voyage on the nitrous ocean.

My dentist, God love him, says little, except for the necessaries, before he starts working. So I don't - at this point on time -  know that what I thought was  a tiny filling falling out of my head, ended up being the tip of a veritable iceberg of an ancient, mercury-laden filling from childhood. It all had to come out and be refilled with a resin substance that is much stronger and not as lethal as the old one.

Two and a half hours later, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY have to pee. And I am $254.00 poorer. And the new filling is good for the rest of my life.

And my jaw is sore this evening, giving me permission for a glass of wine.

May YOUR dentist appointments be brief and painless.

- Catherine

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sketches from the Sea - Part 3

Hesitantly, I pushed off the catamaran's stairs and into the blue water off Roatan island. I'd never snorkeled before. Never worn fins on my feet. Never worn a mask that cut off my breathing. Never breathed through a tube in my mouth.

I'd expressed my concerns to one of the guys on the boat crew a few minutes earlier, and he kindly showed me how to tighten my mask and work my snorkel. Then he said, "This is the perfect opportunity for you to learn to snorkel. We'll be out there with you, watching out for you."

I breathed a sigh of relief -- through my snorkel -- and headed forward on the boat with the others.

The water was refreshing in the heat of the tropical sunshine. I swam out a bit from the boat in order to get a feeling for the fins.

And then I put my face in the water.

When snorkeling, the clear colors in the water just explode in your sight, with bright fish swimming below! It's like being on the inside of an aquarium!  I marveled at it all -- at the view, at how fast the fins could propel me, and at the circumstances that found me in this place at this moment.

Tim, meanwhile, was enjoying his first snorkel too, for which I thanked God. I had dithered all winter about whether we should go on the scheduled cruise to the Caribbean or whether we should cancel the booking. Tim's been so sick with the treatment for Hepatitis C, and his energy level, even on a good day, is pretty low.

But as we both swam around in the ocean, I was convinced that we'd done the right thing. Tim was tired at the end of the day, but we'd had such a marvelous experience of God's creation that his spirits were truly lifted high!

And that's how the whole cruise seemed to us. Beautiful sunshine, gorgeous oceans, brilliant blue skies and serene moonlit nights -- a true feast of the natural world that God made for all of us.

Can't believe it's already over, but we look forward eagerly to the next!

- Catherine