Why “Feathers and Dimes”?

“He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust:  his truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

 

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 I sit here on the first day of 2018 and feel vulnerable because I am about to share what is very precious to me…

Many people ask me why I have the name “Feathers and Dimes” for my blog, facebook page, Instagram page, etc..

I am hesitant to answer because I am afraid they will think I’m a bit crazy, a bit of a religious zealot, a bit out there.

But I’m not any of those things-I’m just a person who has noticed some things.

It all started many years ago, about 23 years ago to be exact. At least, that’s when I started to notice. I was a twenty something, living far from home, engaged to be married, starting my adult life. It was my Nana’s birthday, she had died several years earlier from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, and I was missing her something awful. I was missing my whole family, trying to establish a life for myself in a strange place. Trying to figure out who I was, where I was going, blah, blah, blah.  I was sitting out on my balcony that overlooked the water, reading my Daily Guidepost, a devotional book my mom had sent me to help ease me through this transition…it was a warm summer morning, with an ocean breeze and birds singing and sunlight warming my skin. It was beautiful and perfect, but I was in tears, covered in sadness and just wanting the comfort that I always found in my Nana’s presence.

And then it happened. A beautiful, white feather floated down from the sky and landed right in middle of the page I was reading.

Of course I looked up into the sky to see where it came from. Just blue sky and clouds. I stopped crying and started wondering.

My Nana…is it possible she knew what I was going through? Someone up there knew what I was going through and gave me this gift? I didn’t know, but I knew it was a wonderful coincidence.

Sometime later I spoke with my mom on the phone and told her what happened. I remember very clearly what she said.

“Oh yeah, that happens to me sometimes, but I find dimes.”

I have always felt that I helped my Nana somehow in her last day. In full blown Alzheimer’s, she no longer recognized anyone. She was just a shell of the wonderful, loving person she was. Alzheimer’s Disease stole my grandmother from us and she was “living” in a nursing home, needing full time care. My grandfather faithfully visited her every single day. But she didn’t know him, or any of us, anymore. She didn’t talk or laugh anymore. She was just there, in that awful hospital bed, repetitively crinkling the sheets and blankets in her hand. I had just returned from my junior year in college for the summer and went to visit her. She was moaning and groaning. My grandfather was there and I could see how hard it was for him to see her like that. I told him to go home and I would stay with her. I asked the nurses to check on her because she seemed to be in pain. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her, her vital signs were stable, and she couldn’t speak to tell us what was wrong. I remember how pissed off I was at God that my Nana was living like this. “How unfair, how awful, how unjust are you, God?” All these things I said as I “prayed” for my grandma.

I sat real close to her and laid my head on her shoulder. I whispered in her ear…”It’s Ok, Nana,” I told her. “It’s time. We will be OK. We will miss you, but it’s time for you to go.” I prayed for God to take her, I couldn’t bare this life for her. She deserved so much better.

I stayed with her a while longer and then I left…That night we got the phone call from the nursing home that they thought the end was near. We rushed there but she had already passed…my Nana was gone.

That feather on her birthday was the first of many, many feathers I find in my life. And since that moment when my mom told me she finds dimes, I find dimes also.  Times when I am scared, feel alone, worried. Times when I am celebrating something. Random times when I’m just going about my day.

Here are some examples:

  • My sister and I and my young niece were travelling via Amtrak to New Orleans to attend my oldest brother’s graduation from graduate school. We sat down in the dining car to eat dinner and stuck to the wall was a beautiful white feather.
  • I had just had my 20 week ultrasound with my youngest child, and they had told us he had a marker for Down’s Syndrome. I was an anxious mess. When I opened my front door the following morning, there was a nest of feathers stuck to my welcome mat.
  • I had a job interview that I bombed completely: I mean, I couldn’t have messed it up any more if I tried-I even showed up on the wrong day! Feeling very confused and very bad about myself, I stepped into the elevator and found a feather on the elevator floor. And then the janitor that was in the elevator with me began to sing my favorite hymnal.
  • Speaking of jobs, many years prior to the above incident, I was driving home from a job interview that would mean moving to another state. Talk about plans up in the air! A bird literally flew in my open car window and started fluttering all around, and in the chaos, left many feathers behind.
  • In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I watched my youngest, a budding guitarist, marvel at all the rock and roll paraphernalia. I was thinking how happy he looked. And there, in the middle of a huge exhibit, was a little, bright shining light. It was a dime.
  • I was having a particularly difficult day at work-I was near tears but was fighting it. Something caught my eye. There, by my foot underneath the desk, was a shiny, new dime.

I could honestly go on. But for a lot of the feathers and dimes that I have found, I have forgotten some of the stories behind them. I keep them all in two jars on my kitchen windowsill and I keep adding more feathers and more dimes as I find them. I also have them in my car, in my wallet, in my coat pockets. As I find them, I keep them.  I just know that this is more than just coincidence. I know that they are put in my path for a reason. Is it my grandmother, letting me know she is always with me? Is it a guardian angel or angels or guides? I am sometimes sure of it. Sometimes I think it is all part of the greater scheme of things I just don’t understand. Things I am not meant to comprehend. But I know now that when I get one of these “signs”, I don’t try to understand it, or make sense of it, or try to explain it.

I just say, “ I receive this.”

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So now you know. And you may think I’m a bit off my rocker.  And you may judge me. But that’s OK now. I feel this needs to be shared. And I think a lot of people have similar stories and I would love to hear them.

Peace and Love and Feathers and Dimes,

K

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Saying Good-bye To Bailey

 

 

Knowing

If I had known that on that day our time was near the end
I would have done things differently, my forever friend.
I would have stayed right next to you deep into the night
but I thought I’d see you in the early morning light.

And so I said “Good night” to you as I walked in through the door
never thinking of the time when I’d see you no more.
But if I had known that on that day our time was at the end
I would have done things so differently, my forever friend.

– Sally Evans (written for Shoo-Fly)

Two weeks ago, we had to say good-bye to a very loved family member named Bailey.

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We got her from a wonderful man named Al in North Carolina who owns and runs Trugrit Bull Mastiffs. His dogs are show dogs and champions, but we just wanted a loving, family pet and boy, did he deliver what we wanted.

She was born in January of 2007 and she came home to us in March of the same year. My boys were 5 and 3 years old at the time and I remember thinking she thought of them as her littermates.

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Here they are meeting her for the first time…

I am so sad that she is gone…

She was such a part of our everyday lives and now there is an emptiness and loneliness and an aching that hits me when I least expect it.

I am kind of surprised at how much this is hurting me. After all, she wasn’t my spouse, or my child, or one of my parents. I knew she had a life expectancy of 8-10 years. I’ve had dogs my whole life and had to say good-bye to all of them. Yet I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to her. She truly was, in my case, “woman’s best friend.” She was my whole family’s best friend.

She was there for birthdays…

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She was there for first days of school…

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She was part of every Christmas…

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And the boys always had to snuggle with her before bed…

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If we had a hockey tournament out of town, she went to my parents’ house and was treated like a queen and had their dog to play with…

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And she went on every vacation with us and even thought she could take over the driving…

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She watched as we left for school, or work, or practices, or just going to the grocery store…

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And she waited patiently until we came home…

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She was sweet and loving and loyal and true. She had a calm personality but was easily excited when family and friends came to visit. One of the things she always did when visitors she particularly liked came over, is find a sock from somewhere and offer it up to them; big, friendly tail wagging and knocking over things in her path.

She liked to play hide and seek with us in the house. We would hide and call out for her and she would search until she found each one of us in our hiding places. And then she would jump around with joy at having completed her task.

She loved to go for walks around the neighborhood and would prance and strut her stuff in her big, strong dog way. Strangers were always stopping us to ask about her and she always had a kiss and a wagging tail for them. I’m afraid she probably wasn’t a very good watchdog, I’d never seen her show any aggression toward any other dog or person. Instead, she just sniffed and wagged her tail at them. I’m sure if she felt we were ever in danger in any way, she would have been there to protect us.

She even knew how to tell time!-She ate at 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. every day and if I was even a little late, she followed me around with a little bark to let me know it was food time. She patiently waited for me to make the boys’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their lunches and drooled until I gave her a lick of the butter knife.

I can’t even look at peanut butter without getting teary for her.

Her most favorite thing, the thing she was best at, was loving us.

In our busy household, she was always a calming presence, always ready to be hugged and petted. They say petting an animal releases oxytocin into the brain, the feel-good hormone that calms and relaxes a person. Sitting with her, her head on my lap after a long day, was therapy for me.

If my youngest son had a bad day, Bailey was who he went to first, speaking softly to her. Her answer was always licks to the face and a head on his shoulder. Then he was ready to talk to us about what was bothering him.

I miss seeing them playing together in the yard.

If my oldest son was frightened by something, Bailey was there to comfort him also.  Her presence was reassuring as he learned to navigate some independence at home.

I miss seeing them rough-housing together.

She waited for my husband by the door to come home from work everyday, excited to see him, and that now the whole family was home together again.

I miss seeing her greeting him home.

I miss the everyday moments with Bailey.

Like walking into my bedroom and finding this…

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Or friendships being formed and secrets being shared, like this…

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We all grew up together as a family…IMG_1324

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And when our big, strong, mighty dog that loved with all her heart got sick and started to suffer without hope for recovery, we had to do what is the hardest thing to do…

We had to say good-bye.

All four of us held her and cried and told her how much we loved her as she left our world. She can now run free again, muscles rippling, sunlight gleaming on her soft coat. I know deep in my heart we did what was right and just for her. I could not let her suffer another minute.

But, oh, HOW I MISS HER!

We are slowly getting used to what is our new “normal.”

People ask me if we’ll get a dog again…

Not anytime soon, these hearts need time to heal, especially mine. Perhaps someday our home will be ready, but I really don’t know…she would be a very hard act to follow.

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Run Free, my big girl, until we

meet again!

In Peace and Tears,

Kathy

Valentine’s Projects Galore

The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.–jane austen

Oh my gosh! No quote could ever be more true to me! I do not pretend to not know how blessed I am to have three (3!) “hims” in my life…my husband, and my two boys.

Most days I take this all for granted. Don’t we all sometimes?

But with Valentine’s Day approaching and being the crafty little crafter I wish to be, I’ve been perusing the internet for heart themed ideas. There is no shortage, let me tell you, and it can become very overwhelming.

So I put together some projects and links that look interesting, fun and tasty.

But first off, a little something from the lyrical genius of Bruce Springsteen that will get you in the mood. This song is beautiful, the words ever so true if you want a long and lasting relationship.

Now that you’re in the mood, how about some food? (Rhyming unintentional).

In my household, pizza is ALWAYS welcome!

Noreen from Picture the Recipe came up with this very cute heart-shaped pizza.

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Cupcakes, pies and cookies are always welcome too!

Style Motivation has a bunch of recipes with beautiful pictures, but I like this one best!

20-Hart-Shaped-Food-Recipes-for-Sweet-Valentine-12Wouldn’t those be lovely to receive?


Ok…we need a pretty tablesetting…

Lemon Tree Creations came up with a tablescape I would definitely mimic.

Mason Jars Vintage Valentines? I'm in!

                    Mason Jars and Vintage Valentines? I’m in!


Printables! How could I forget the printables? There are so many wonderful graphic artists out there on the web that sometimes offer their printables for free! Yay!

Tatertots and Jello is one of my favorite blogs and this link will hook you up to some very cute projects and FREE  printables.

Like this one

from funky polkadot giraffe.

     from funky polkadot giraffe.


So now we have food, desserts, tablescape…what are we missing?  Hmmmm…..

VALENTINES!

(duh, me!)

Whipperberry came up with these very cute homemade Valentines that I think I will try.

Melted Crayon Hearts

       Melted Crayon Hearts


I hope I have left you with some Heart-sy Valentine-y ideas to try this year.

And if all else fails, Hallmark cards work for me!

Right, Babe?

(My husband knows from past experience what happens if I don’t get a Valentine’s card.)

Me without a Valentine's card...

Me without a Valentine’s card…

Love and Peace,

Kathy

For The Love of a Treehouse

When I was a kid, I longed for my own “‘space”.   Growing up, I lived in a small, three bedroom house with five other people-my parents, two brothers and my sister.  There was always a dog or two,  some hamsters, rabbit at one time, and even a cat for awhile.  The neighborhood was full of kids that were coming and going, neighbors that were like second parents to me, relatives visiting.  Very full of life and love and sometimes, drama.  With three siblings and their friends, there was always something cooking up, someone running in and out, adventures running amuck.  (Amuck?  Is that a word?)  Like the time my brothers set off smoke bombs in the kitchen…or when my sister decided to have a party when my parent’s were out of town and my grandfather came over to check on us…yeah, teenagers climbing out the second floor bedroom window always makes for good neighborhood conversation.  Good times… I miss those days.

I wanted a treehouse soooooo bad!  Someplace I could call my own.  A quiet place to escape. ( I’m sure my mom did too, at times).

Then I went off to college and had roommates to share a space with.  An itty-bitty room.  With strangers who became my friends. ( Well, one was a pain in the @ss & I was never so happy to see that semester of hell end.  C’mon!  Most of us have had one of those roommates.  It builds character and resiliency, right?)

A few years later, I got married, a few years after that, kids.  And here I am!  And while I am so happy with my own little house full of chaos and sometimes, drama, I still dream of my own little space.

Oh my!!!  Heavenly!  I might even invite my husband in for some wine and conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                                My kids could visit me in here!  They would love it!

                               How relaxing would it be to have something like this,  to have afternoon tea with my best girlfriends and just to shut the world out for awhile…And since I live in a house of males, I love the pink and white even more, even though I am not really a “pink and white” kinda female.

This, however, is my absolute FAVORITE!

Wouldn’t it be a dream to have an adult treehouse, to invite family and friends over for a relaxing evening in the tree?

OK, so it suddenly occured to me that I want all these “private” places to invite other people to come and enjoy them with me!  Because after all is said and done, I love the people I have chosen to surround myself with.  (I know, I didn’t choose my children per se, but I love them so much it’s scary and that’s a whole different subject.)

I hope you find a serene place when you need it.  I hope you find the right people to enrich your life.  I hope you can balance it all.

Peace!