Forever Yours , HOPE

Rabbit Trails INC.bunny7

FOREVER YOURS, HOPE.beautiful kat2

I will never forget the arduous day that changed my life forever. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, late in the month of June. I drove from Irvine California to Laguna Niguel to visit my folks just like I did a few times each week. I loved going to parents lovely home. Every time I’d open their front door, I would always get that same warm, gregarious feeling.allabaster2 I don’t know if it was because of all the heavenly and familiar aromas cooking and simmering in my mom’s kitchen, (her legendary shriharbormp creole with a ‘southern touch,’ savory brisket stewing together with red potatoes,carrots and onions or  her scrumptious, (secret sauce,)  spaghetti and mouthwatering, “seconds please,”  beef stroganoff.)  Perhaps it was the buoyant and content sounds of laughter, a favorite television show playing,  melodic music wafting from my fathers study upstairs or the voices of one of my 6 siblings, harbor10conversing over a cup of freshly brewed chicory coffee with my mom and dad. All I know is I always got so excited knowing I was going  to my ‘second home.’ I headed upstairs to see my mom as I knew she would be resting. merriment14 Her cozy, southern style, beautiful bedroom had become “the gathering place” for our family since she had been recovering from her illness. Being a southerner and a connoisseur of coastal, daunting yet thrilling, summer lightning storms, (  Southern California did not offer that amenity very often,) :)  she always  asked me to put her “Thunderstorm tape” in her boom box beside her bed …she played it over and over again, as it soothed her body and soul. :-OS ( Twenty-two years later, I find myself listening to that same tape, feeling its magical comfort  each time.)  :-OS Everyday, she looked like a radiant angel, in her pretty nightgown and matching robe, always smiling as she greeted us and asked us about our day… You see, my mom’s whole life was about her family and she was ALWAYS interested in every detail of our lives…each one of us could talk to her about ‘anything,’ and WE DID! :) Even our friends felt the same way!

My dad met me on the stair landing, where he stopped me and spoke the very words my heart had dreaded and feared the most.

“Susan, after your mom’s appointment today, her doctor told me that her cancer has returned and has spread throughout her body. He doesn’t expect her to live beyond six to eight weeks time, though they are going to run more tests.”

All of the hope, faith and confidence I had clung to that her cancer was  healed and gone, deserted  me. I felt as if the wind was knocked out from under my feet, and I truly  believe it was at that moment, that God Himself, filled me with His strength and grace. His arms were holding me on that stairway as I didn’t collapse or run out of the house, screaming in despair.  Without preparation, notice and totally unexpected, I was just told that the best friend I had ever had in my life was going to die. I was flooded with so many fearful and angst emotions. A deep sadness overcame me and I felt that a part of me inside was beginning to die as well. The HOPE was gone. I don’t remember what I said to her that day, (as she had not been told yet.)  I don’t even remember driving home…

merriment13My husband Kit held me close as I shared the news with him that evening. He tried so vehemently to comfort me in every way he knew how, but his loving arms and kind, compassionate, words could not penetrate the pain in my soul. Oh, the awful painI never knew a heart could hold something so massive.


The warm summer days passed. All I remember is  that I was merely functioning. Although brideI was a new bride and should have been feeling blissful joy, and pure felicity with Kit, the man that I had always dreamed of being married to, I felt lifeless. Going to visit my mom , with the knowledge that this time she was not going to recover, I felt empty, helpless, dismayed, fearful and my heart was overwhelmed with anguish, especially because she had not yet been told the full truth. ( Amongst my melange of multifarious emotions,  I TREASURED every moment spent with her, holding on so tightly to everything she said, her smile, touch, the scent of her favorite perfume that she wore everyday, (Carolina Herrera,) not wanting to miss out on even  one moment of the precious time we had left with her.)  I remember the afternoon I sat in my grandmother’s old rocker, caddy-cornered to my mom’s bed. She was sitting up that day, her animated, beautiful brown eyes filled with excitement as she spoke to me in her sweet southern accent about us returning to her home town in South Carolina the upcoming fall.

“Susan, won’t it be wonderful to visit Marion and see all of our cousins this autumn?harbor2 The fall leaves will be so beautiful with bursts of reds, amber and yellows, and the air will be harbor1so crisp and cold. Maybe we’ll get a few thunderstorms while we’re there?  We can drive down to Pawley’s Island and Murrel’s Inlet, see the Spanish moss on the huge old oak trees and eat as much fresh crab and shrimp from the inlet waters as we want.”

My heart was breaking inside as she spoke these words for I knew that this trip would never be. How I hid my pain from her that day, I will never know. (She knew me so well.)

I begged the Lord not to take my mom. I prayed like I had never prayed before for a miracle… (I believed with the faith of a child that God could do anything and I ached for Him to intervene in this paralyzing news my heart kept trying to reject.merriment1 The heaviness in my soul would not lift for somehow,  I knew in my heart, that this time, her cancer was not going to be healed, the way it was the year before or in the way we expected .  I had a knowing, deep down, that the Lord was going to take her home to be with Him and that would be her healing. At other times, when my mom was ill and I felt the fear that the Lord was going to take her home, (her cancer when it first  arrived, and the 90% blockage in the major artery to her heart), He would always assure my heart that it was not her time. This time, He was silent.

My visits to see my mom were much more frequent and more difficult, (yet in a  strange way, a bit  freeing,) now that my dad and the doctors had shared with her how progressively her cancer had returned, spreading throughout her body and that unless God gave us all a miracle, she was not going to live much longer. One of the hardest days of my life, yet now one of my most cherished, was the day my mom and I sat together on her bed talking.IMG_0272  With her captivating and warm smile, ( almost as if she was reliving time, 24 years earlier,)  she told me that she wanted me to have her grandmother’s Haviland rose china, because when I was a little girl, I admired and reveled in its beautiful roses, each time she took it out for special occasions. She cried as she shared how hard it was for her to know that she would never meet my children.merriment18 She and I had always talked about the day that Kit and I would have a little baby girl …’Kathryn Anne’, (named after her of course.)  :-OS She told me that she was so happy for me that God had brought Kit into my life, that he was a great man and that she  truly adored him, and knew I would always be taken care of. Lastly, we both acknowledged that God had given us a bond like no other and what a wondrous and special  blessing it was in both of our lives. Our tears at that moment were endless as we embraced and held each other, allowing our selves to feel the pain and fear of her death, our loss and having to say goodbye,  together.

One evening in the midst of all of the disquieting and daunting  pain and sorrow, Kit asked me to take a drive and get out for a little bit with him. (He is always so thoughtful.) We decided to drive down to Dana Point Harbor. (The place we met, courted, fell in love, and got married, so YOU KNOW it brought great comfort every time we visited it’s maritime charm .)  Upon arriving to this quaint port side community, we drove up to the marina . harbor5There before us were an abundance of admiral boats, tied up at the docks, bobbing up and down from the strong wind and choppy waters. The harbor was astir and alive with all of the summer visitors, bright lights and the sound of musical bands that often entertained during the summer season. I needed and longed for a quiet place where Kit and I could be alone. Kit drove further down the road, and we arrived to the jetty.  This long strand of jagged rocks with the ocean waves  calmly caressing their intricate banks, was perfect.  Kit and I were the only people sitting upon the serene and quiet quai that evening. It truly was the place my soul needed.harbor9 Kit held me so tight as we sat there in silence. It was a bit chilly with the  cool wind blowing off of the ocean,  but we did not care. Together with Kit, yet so terribly alone in my despondency, I looked out into the vast ocean, the grey, damp fog and the darkness. It was then, I cried out to God.


“I need you Lord so much! Please will you speak to my breaking heart.”

Loosing my mother, my dearest friend in life for 33 years was the hardest thing the Lord had ever asked my family or I  to walk through. harbor15 I was so frightened and terrified,  of what life would be like without her. Outside of Him and His power and grace, there was no way that I could go through letting her go. I absolutely, no matter how hard I tried to muster up the faith and BELIEVE we would all be OK without her,  could not surrender her to God.

As we continued to sit on the jetty looking out into the ocean, I saw two brilliant lights together out at sea, looking as if they were floating in mid air. They were the lights upon the main masts of two boats traveling side by side.two lights The darkness and fog hid their forms so that all I could see, were two shining lights nestled together. Suddenly, one of the lights disappeared. I found myself surprisingly impelled to look for the lost light. I searched everywhere to find it, but it was no where to be found. I only beheld the one light.  I felt a stabbing pain in my heart, as the lost light reminded me that soon, my mom would be gone and the ‘fearless duo’ and best friends we had always been throughout my entire life, would no longer exist. In this uncertain and capricious world, she would no longer be beside me to share my heart, laugh, cry and pray with. I would be without her presence for evermore. I became overwhelmed with a sense of devastation and fear, in an even greater amount than I had been feeling since my dad told me the news. I began to speak to the Lord again;

“Why God are you allowing me to feel this horrible pain as I am crying out to you? Where are you Lord? I felt chilled to the bone and so alone… It seemed like God was silent.

The fog began rolling in, becoming more dense.  As I looked out to sea, I could barely see any light at all as the heavy mist continued to thicken. I stopped searching for either light for awhile, very aware of my despairing emotions, until in a sudden moment, I looked up to my left and there to my surprise, adjoined to the shore line, were the two lights together again, beaming ever so brightly. merriment4It was at that moment that a peace, (I had not felt in weeks,) permeated my soul…  I Knew it was Gods presence and I felt the Lord begin to show me and minister to me in a way that changed everything…

This is what I believe He was speaking to my spirit;

” Susan, look. Now the two lights are together again, safely arriving to the shoreline. It was but for a SEASON that you did not see your light that you thought was lost out at sea. Like the fog, hiding from your sight the glowing light out in the ocean, the light was still there….you just could not see it… so it is with your mom’s parting.merriment5 Your mom is only switching places, she will still continue to live, only she will be with me in a new place. It will only be a season of time before you see her again. And Susan, oh what a glorious time of reunion the two of you will have together in heaven.”

With this new revelation, and the peace that had laid rest upon my soul,  my heart felt so much lighter. My spirit embraced a hope it had not known. I felt a new strength to face my days ahead, as hard as they may be. I thanked God over and over for ministering to me as He did, and enjoyed the  HOPE and peace that continued to fill my soul, praying it would never go away.

I  do not believe that it was a coincidence that Kit and I drove to the harbor that particular evening or that God used the ‘lights’ to set my heart free from it’s hopelessness.snomen 19 He knew that I could not bare to loose my closet friend, my mom. Gently, He showed me a new perspective, His perspective and through His mercy, power, grace and kindness, I was able to begin to let her go, with the knowledge that one day, she and I would be together again, and at that time, we would never have to say goodbye again.


It was but a few weeks later when we were all called to my parents home in Laguna Niguel. The day was August 14th, a Wednesday morning that will always be engraved upon my heart. The hospice nurse said that for all purposes, my mom should have died in the midnight hours, but she would not give up, and continued to fight for her life. It was not until the last of her seven children arrived to her bed side, and she had the opportunity to partake in her goodbyes, that she was free to “let us go.”  I remember when all  of us arrived that morning to the house, my father told us, that it was very important that  we each  let my mom know that it was OKAY for her to go. (She needed to hear those words.)   Because of the revelation and HOPE the Lord had given me that night at the harbor, I was ready and able to do just that, truly LET HER GO.

As she and I looked at each other, we both knew with confidence (and I spoke it as she could not) that our goodbye was but only for a season of time and not forever. I told her how much I loved her and would miss her beyond what my words could express, but for her, it would feel like only seconds when we’d all be together again…her yes smiled.  She took her last breath after the last of her seven children said their goodbyes. My father was holding her, and we, her devoted and adoring children, surrounded her as she was laying in her beautiful bed . What a wonderful gift that God gave us all to be with her, as well as with one another, as He took our beloved mother to be with Him.merriment6 She was no longer in pain or sick with cancer, but free and full of joy, already having a marvelous reunion with the Lord, her mother, her little girl,( my twin, Kathy,) her grand parents and all of her loved ones that had gone before her.


I will never forget how God rescued me that chilly summer night… His peace, loving words and the HOPE He bestowed upon my soul and spirit was undeniable.harbor6 His  Hope changed everything. The days were not easy, as grief never is, but there did come a day, I was free of the devastating pain, and instead of that heaviness and mourning, my  heart began to fill up once again with joy and happiness and a grateful heart that I was given such a beautiful gift and stupendous mother and friend  for 33 years of my life. I knew  in my spirit that she was not “gone”, she was alive, just in a different place.I think of her every day, always with a humongous smile or tears of joy, I miss her augustly, but I am assured and looking forward to that reunion day that God so graciously showed me. His wondrous gift of Hope…


Hope never fails…Hope changes everything…Hope is not a word, Hope is God and a very real gift to us, His kids.

***Be sure to check out the “<- older posts” below, to read more Rabbit Trails vignettes. A song that touched my heart, reminding me of MY MOMS LOVE! ENJOY!

 PHOTOGRAPHS: In scrolling over any photo or graphic, it will display where the picture  originated from.


Chapter 29 ” Be Still and Know that I am God.”

be still 725We awoke in a  beautiful  southern, 4-poster bed with the morning light of the sun beaming through our window… The enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee, wafting from the kitchen evoked familiar feelings of being home . Suddenly, we heard the  heartwarming sound of little feet running  down the stairs,( surprisingly stopping at our door,)  as  Mikes youngest son, Julian, was trying ever- so quietly to take a sneak peak at his new house guests. Yesthe  vote  was unanimous. Mike hagraham6007d convinced  his little boys Julian, Joshua  and  Tyler  that Grantham  was  indeed  a very loving, friendly “large breed ” puppy and not a wild, black bear from the deep woods adjacent   to  their  home. :-OS This  beautiful  family  of  five, welcomed us into their home  with  such love and  grace.  Kit and I  could not say  thank  you enough  to them or  the  Lord.


be still501Have you ever loved a place where you have lived or visited , that holds so many nostalgic memories that just thinking about it, fills your heart with such an excitement, enchantment,  and utter contentment? That was South Carolina for me. My heart was overflowing with so many felicitous tokens of pure joy this special place had graced me with since a young girl. My first memories being when I was 12 years old and my younger brother Patrick and I, flew back from Southern California with my mom for a summer vacation. We were in awe with the canopy of antiquated oak trees, dreamily framing the streets and riverbanks, their long beards of Spanish moss, swaying softly, in the soothing breezes that graced the Carolina’s damp, salty air. Meeting all our many cousins was a hoot. (As they say in the south.) Each one, in their own unique way, reminded me of one of Dorthea Benton Frank’s (an exemplary Southern author,)  beloved characters in her novellas, stepping off the page an coming to real life.  As they introduced themselves, I was enamored with their charm, humor and warm hearts  as they spoke with their endearing southern drawls. Immediately I realized why my mom loved the south and ‘her people’ so much.  I didn’t know such a land existed. We  fell head over heals  in love with Charleston…be still500a city embodied with a magnificently unique charm and rich history.   As we walked it’s cobblestone streets, (eating our decadent praline ice cream cones,) each home was more breathtaking than the one before with their stoic antebellum architecture, chiseled wrought Iron gates, bold, majestic columns, and pristine landscaped yards. ( One could easily lose themselves in this intoxicating city’s hypnotic and spellbinding  terrain itself.)  We’d   spend weeks at the beach with our cousins, our temporary abode nestled right on the water..spending many a day and night at the fun zone on the sandy dunes, walking the beach, body surfing , hunting for shells and telling ghost stories of the inlets, as we breathed in the unique and sublime fragrances of the briny water. An endless pan of freshly baked peach cobbler filled the beach house with a heavenly aroma.(My cousins love to cook.) Sun-burnt and tired from all of the days escapades,  my younger cousins and I would turn in early.  I remember listening intently to applesmy mom and all her cousins gathered together, (the sisters she never had,) as they’d  sit up all night long talking about their many adventures of growing up together as children, teenagers and young adults on Pawley’s Island and Murrels Inlet. I’d never heard so many mischievous tales about my mom, or beheld her so free and happy as I did those evenings. My mind  was so entertained, I would fight to stay awake, until my eyelids could no longer stay open.  My deep love for this state caused me to return in my early twenties where I spent 5 of the happiest years of my life.

Galvanized by sentimental memories of  my many years spent in this hauntingly beautiful and magical land, (that always seemed to be untouched by time,) I had a strong faith that it could truly be a place for Kit, Graham and I to settle for awhile. My hope was that Kit would fall in love with my family , all the many places that captivated my heart and the scrumptious southern cuisine, causing him to feel a happiness and sense of belonging I knew we both needed. We knew that it would not be the land that God would settle and plant us upon… It was more of a resting place, along the way on our journey to the Kings Tavern. One  thing we did know for sure was that we all felt like we could finally exhale.    We were surrounded by people who loved us and had so graciously  opened their hearts and home to us at this time in our lives.  We felt accepted and the freedom, (for awhile) to take a breath and rest.


Grace105Our first month in the Carolinas was filled to overflowing with love, big welcoming hugs and appreciably  active schedules.  I liken  our emotions to those of being on an extended vacation. Our days were so busy being wined and dined at my family’s favorite southern eateries, enjoying home cooked meals with our cousins, while they shared their humorous, dramatic and inspiring stories.  I took Kit and Graham to all my landmarks of joy, (the quaint boutiques at Myrtle Beach, the historic, breathtaking plantations at Pawleys Island and Murrels Inlet’s enchanting  marshes.) It felt good to begin making  new memories together. We were all taken aback  with the unassuming beauty and peacefulness of  the Carolina coast, the summoning salt creeks,be still105  the grandiose architecture that resplendently reclaimed the past as well as an entire new cuisine we were so intensively enjoying. Kit fell in love with the Carolina’s version of homemade PEE-CAN pie, (a la mode of course,) :-OS


be still701Our life was truly  blessed staying in this grandiose southern home with Mike, Ellie and the boys. Each day held many inspiriting  chats over never ending cups of coffee, taking the kids to the Y’ to go swimming, trips to the enlivening farmers market where Kit and I were introduced to boiled p-nuts and southern authentic  Ginger-ale with REAL ginger. (The kind that makes your throat feel like its on fire.)    :-OS   We never got tired of  playing the  infamous Nintendo Video games with Tyler, watching movies, (over and over again,) with Julian and Joshua, and (our favorite) sitting down to scrumptious southern meals with all the family each evening. (Ellie’s cooking was heavenly,) and we truly felt a part of their  family.

Living with little ones, was undoubtedly another gift from God. Their  unbridled excitement, innocence and passion for life was contagious. Our time spent with them brought the ‘little kid’ alive inside of us, bringing new hope and a refreshing simplicity to our complex lives.  (All three of them absolutely adored Graham and he certainly ate up all the extra attention.)  In honor of America’s birthday, we celebrated the 4th of July sitting comfortably upon our on high back rockers on the raised verandah,  (eating our boiled p-nuts with  ice cold glasses of sweet tea,)  watching the boys excitement and jovial spirits. (Their favorite event of the night was lighting as many sparklers as their precious  hearts desired.)  Mike was a night owl…he worked at his job long hours,Grace100 so Kit Graham and I looked forward to spending the evenings with him after all the boys and Ellie went to bed. It was during this time that the three of us shared intimately about the Lord and what He was doing within our lives,  watched a new movie   together, ( one we’d not seen with the kids,)  listen to a concert or just reminisced and laughed together. Mike’s love for the Lord, sense of humor and the ability to entertain and bring laughter made the three of us feel right at home. (I keep waiting to hear that he has his own late night show like Jimmy Fallon…yes, he is that good!)  :-OS


As our weeks in South Carolina turned into a month, I could tell by Kits countenance and  the things he was not saying, that even though he was eminently blessed to witness my excitement being in my beloved south and he adored my family, (and they him,)   it was not where he wanted to live. He  truly was making a sacrifice for me to see if in deed, the dream within my heart would be fulfilled. Yes, we had prayed and it seem to be the ideal place in ourEnjoy Lichnos campsite, Greece decision making of where to go as we left Milford, but I think Kit , if not for Graham and I, coupled with his faith that God had opened this door for us,  would have pitched a tent in Milford and continued to look for a job so he could stay in Delaware. (Not something he’d ask Graham and I to do.)


be still700As every vacation must come to an end, so did our feelings of being on a whirl wind ‘holiday.’ Everyone who had been ‘showing us the town,’ had busy lives to get back to… thus Kit and I began to realize that the life we so desired to have (until God brought about His promise and call), if it was going to be in the Carolinas, needed to begin through prayer, hearing God’s direction,focusing on getting jobs, and finding a home.We spent many a day alone as Ellie and the kids were enjoying their summer vacation to the fullest, going to the beach, swimming at the Y or off on day trips. Kit, Graham and I had the house to ourselves…So we’d make another pot of coffee, settle into their riveting, 14 foot high ceiling living room ,  put on our favorite worship CD’s and began to worship, praise and seek God. We longed to hear His heart, enter into His presence and join in His sweet peace. Perhaps it was our amalgam of diverse emotions that kept us from hearing direct instructions during this time, or maybe God was being quite on purpose, allowing us to be renewed in His peace and calm.  We were still unsure  exactly what He wanted us to do next, thus we ventured out in faith to look for a job.



be still 8

“Those anxious moments before your name called for ‘the big’ interview.”

LOOKING FOR A JOB! Who in this world enjoys job hunting and interviewing for employment, raise your hand.  :-OS Still very unsure of ourselves, what we were doing and could commit to, Kit and I did not know what kind of job to apply for. Through my cousins and their friends, two jobs came up that seemed perfect. We were on  hold to hear and in the mean time,  a miracle happened. Our unemployment checks that we so desperately tried to obtain in Connecticut finally came through. The representative at the DOES office in DC told us that because of a mistake  our place of employment had made in DC, there was a hold up, but not any longer…we were thrilled and thanked God for His graciousness.

Knowing we would still be “close neighbors” Mike offered Kit , Graham and I their 2 bedroom apartment  on the back of their property free of charge. It was where he and Ellie stayed when Tyler was born.They’d  bought their antebellum home and had it moved to his ample lot of land in the bucolic countryside .The 2 years they renovated their historic home, the apartment became their temporary dwelling place.

Upon seeing this little apartment for the first time, I tried my hardest to imagine what it could look like With no residents for quite some time, It was damp, moldy, dark and only had one window,( that being if you left the front door open .) There was no heat or air conditioning…It just needed some TLC and occupants to bring it alive.  :-OS Yes, it would be a lot of work, but it was such a wonderful, generous offer and a part of me jumped at the the challenge it embodied. We definitely took their gracious proposition before the Lord.


IMG_0270I bet you already know that my “excitement gauge” was a lot higher than Kits when we heard from the Lord that it was a “GO” and we accepted Mike and Ellie’s offer. The next six weeks were spent airing out our soon to be  temporary haven,   scrubbing, cleaning and painting as well as numerous trips to our storage to decide what we could fit into its newly brightened ‘Magnolia Ivory’  walls. It was like Christmas time, opening all of our  sealed boxes, seeing things I’d forgotten we even still 712 My joy was overflowing as I beheld  my great grandmothers Limoges china, the elfin wreaths that brought so much color to our last home and I can’t forget about Cornelius,my year 21 year old teddy bear. AH the comforts of home.  :-OS   Kit would have to remind me at the storage facility  that we were on a time frame so no lolly gagging and looking through every box, oohing and awing. :-OS I have to admit,  It was yet another great distraction and relief of the suppressed emotions within our hearts, where deep down, there was still a disquieting thought…one we could not make go away or deny, no matter how hard we tried. It was that question, “What in the world are we doing Lord?” It feels like we are moving farther away from our hearts desire in Connecticut.”  We just kept giving those emotions and thoughts to Jesus, TRUSTING HIM to guide us and have it all make sense one day.


apples3The other blessing of getting this little place was that it was autumn on the east coast. If you have never visited The Carolinas, Virginia, New England or Delaware in the fall, you definitely need to add that to your bucket list.Our home began to transpire into a magical little cottage. With only the one window , the Lord gave me such creative ideas to create windows , with paned mirrors, which added light and charm. Our southern Rice bed fit perfectly in our bedroom, Kit had his office all set up and we made the living room into both our family room and dining room. It was cozy, and seeing all of our things again after 10 months was more comfort than I could bare in one still 710 Kit was starting to smile and Graham was more than pleased with the brick flooring as he loved the coolness it brought to his body as the sultry summer of the Carolinas was still lingering.We celebrated our new place as well as the arrival of autumn and all its glory, .buying apple cinnamon scented candles and as many chubby pumpkins as our our home could hold. I delightfully set our table with a fall flare and all three of us took in every early  morning chilly breeze as it welcomed our front door with its hopeful essence.    Kit and I had more fun going to the Piggly Wiggly, (yes it truly does exist,) :-OS to buy groceries to stock up our little haven. We unpacked our cookbooks  and felt the “inner chef” joy coming out again as we created some of our favorite , familiar meals. (I could not make those delicious southern meals like Ellie and her  mom so you can be sure we took them up on every invitation  for a  family dinner or gala.)

Grace110Every day our cell phone rang and Kit and I would look at each other with a smile and say “I bet its Tina.” She called us continuously to pray for us, see if we needed anything and to ask us how we were doing. She was still being our “mom friend” from Delaware, (even though we were 600 miles apart.)  :-OS   Only God knew what a comfort she was to us. We were invited two separate times to come back to visit in Delaware. Once by Tina and the other by Vito, both making our eyes well up as they told us how very much they missed us… With each invitation came the same words; “Don’t worry about any expenses as it is our treat…just pack Graham up in the jeep and come!” We were so grateful to God for their love and friendship.   be still 311Thus we made two trips in the fall to Milford and if I had to chose one word to best describe our days spent with our newly found family,  it would be,  REFRESHING!   Tina would invite all of our Milford friends over to her home, where  we would have times of worship, prayer, delicious meals and amazing fellowship.We would spend hours out on Mark and Tina’s screened in porch chatting away as we enjoyed  the grandiose fall foliage, angelic baby deer eating the corn Tina had placed in the meadow , the playful, rambunctious  squirrels, adorable bunnies and the gifts of a few thunder storms  amongst  our endless cups of Starbucks coffee. (Tina and Mark always served  the best.) When we’d pack up to head back to South Carolina, we would all feel so sad, not wanting to say goodbye… What was wrong with this picture?

be still 737 November arrived with a sigh of relief. We had survived not one, but two menacing events. First an unexpected flood! Neither Kit or I had ever experienced flooding in the states we had lived in so we followed Mikes protocol and helped him  bail out water, build trenches  and hastily moved all of our valuables to the far end of the apartment. Nothing was damaged, (Praise the Lord,) and I even think some great bonding occurred between Mike and Kit during our high waters adventures, (which was a blessing for sure.)  Our second haphazard? An invasion of the Terrestrial Invertebrates. ***** (See footnote.)  45 days (yes I was counting,) of natures critters, of every shape and size, evading upon our peace, nerves and new abode. (I suppose I purposefully had forgotten about the bugs of the south.) Our visitors? Everything from gargantuan spiders to their itty-bitty cousins, the states name sake, Palmetto bug, (looked exactly like an Arizona sewer roach to me, except it could fly,) Herculean, black  cluster flies in our shower, green reptile looking creatures with dark beady eyes, snakes outside our front door and a family of partying mice, rendezvousing  in Kits study, midnight sharp every every evening. We knew that one day, all this unwelcomed angst would make us smile…and we appreciated more than words could express when our days were back to  normal. :-OS

be still 16For Thanksgiving, we joined Mike, Ellie and the boys with her extended family out in the country for a fabulous Southern gathering, great music and a   potpourri  of  savory southern cuisine that made everyone forget about their waistlines as we went for seconds and thirds,( and that was before dessert.) This gala’s grand finale was a hayridebe still 13 along the pastoral and rustic terrain. It was so cold that kit and I cheated and rode in the heated monster truck’s cabby with Mike as he hauled the straw  filled wagon.  (I have to admit I was a little temped to climb in back as  everyone was having the time of their lives, laughing, cheering and I think I  even heard a Christmas carol or two.) :-OS     Kit and I felt tremendously welcomed, just as if we were a part of this immense, lovable family.

It was also the month that something happened within my heart that I totally did not expect nor did I know exactly how to handle.  I will begin sharing with two quotes (by two talented writers) who can say it much better than I.  Owens Lee Pomeroy summed it up as   Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect! ” And Bill Vaughn’s-version made me laugh, but also made me sad…It’s never safe to be nostalgic about something until you’re absolutely certain there’s no chance of its coming back. “

I have never thought of this word and its meaning in the same way again.

No one could have ever told me that the dream I had carried within my heart since a child, was not real. In the Lords tender love and  grace, He granted me this dream to know its validity and show me the depths of my soul.

be still 309Now that we had our own place to live, with all of our belongings returned to us and were living amongst people I adored, in a land I cherished, the fulfillment I believed would fill my heart, never came.  In fact, there was an emptiness that I tried to avoid as well as deny… After packing up our jeep for the day, Graham, Kit and I would head to Murrels inlet…(One of my favorite  places in all the world.) Suddenly, it was as if I had put a new pair of glasses on,  and someone turned off the music in my heart  that always played so resonantly when I had come for visits or spent the day with my mom there as she pointed out all of her old stomping grounds. We took a trip to my mom’s home town and drove by our old house. It’s new owners had changed everything. The gorgeous Ranch Style home my father had built for my  mom, with its  Southern California, galvanic flower garden amongst the sylvan charm of the rustic woods was no longer alive and flourishing. In its place was the same stylish brick and Nantucket blue wood, but it was void of any evidence that our family had ever lived there. It only made me try harder to recapture what I was looking so hard to find. Kit, (the wonderful husband  that he is,) took me wherever I wanted to go, but it no longer mattered where we went as what I was really looking for, was the same JOY that filled my heart when my mom was alive orbe still when Patrick and I would walk the deserted shores of Myrtle beach for hours in the winter , talking about any and everything. The YMCA, the place I had spent 3 wondrous  years of my life working with children had also been revolutionized. When I toured it with Ellie, the rooms I had remembered sharing so many happy memories in with all the kids and my coworkers no longer existed. The magic of South Carolina (for me) was gone and no matter how hard I tried to make it reappear, it never did  I began trying to build new memories with Kit and Grantham , but  that as well, was to no avail, partly because Kit’s heart was not in the Carolina’s and I wanted him to be happy and fulfilled. (Graham absolutely hated the humidity and heat, but his home has always been and forever will be “US”.) :-OS

The truth was my dream was built upon my yesteryear’s in a place that would only stay that way in the memories within my heart. I did not have the ability to make it all fit together again, still305 I liken it to a bright kaleidoscopic photograph…our memories are always in vivid color…their attachments to our hearts are REAL and filled with genuine passion and sensations, but the emotions that brought them forth, sustained and kept them alive within our soul, were created at the time of the events, influenced by people, their presence and the precious moments accompanied by a unique place and time. When we revisit those places, and try to bring about the original photo, it has become black and white, shadow-like,  void of the radiant color it once contained. Always within our hearts, it will be in vivid color…but not so in reality.

After sharing my new found revelation with Kit, I called our pastor, mentor and dear friend Vito in Delaware to ask him my big question.

” Vito, you don’t think that God would allow Kit and I to come to South Carolina, get all our things from Maryland, put them in storage here, take this little apartment and fix it all up, only to show us that  living in South Carolina is not really the dream in my heart that I thought it was, and that our hearts desire is to go back to Milford, do you?”   I could hear and see his smile over the phone lines as I heard him softly speak; “Yes, I do,”

be still 1000Kit and I sat on the couch, in our newly painted apartment, trying to weigh out all of the positives and negatives of our new dilemma. My first quest was facing the burst bubble of my dream along with all the mixed emotions that accompanied it…disillusionment, sadness, guilt and weariness. Kit never had a bubble inside of him to burst, but he did feel the hurt in my heart and was very supportive. We had a million questions for God and even if He had begun to speak to our hearts at this moment in time,  we couldn’t have heard Him clearly as we were flooded by an overload of  feelings…surely blocking our spiritual ear-gates.  The one thing we knew for certain was that God knew this was going to happen long before we did and He  always comes to the rescue when our lives hit a crossroad that we are unable to fix, figure out or mend ourselves.

In the days that followed, after feeling a bit more free in our minds and spirits, we knew it was time to begin seeking God with all of our questions, fears and confusion.

be still 19Well, it didn’t take long, for He was ready to begin sharing His heart…perhaps He was waiting for the time I was no longer looking through my romantic colored glasses of the past, trying so hard to recreate what I longed for to comfort my heart in the midst of a vulnerable season in our lives.

This is what we believe the Lord said to our spirits;

“Yes, I did allow you to come back to South Carolina and do all that you have done to make the dream you felt was in your heart to come forth.  My heart is for you to return to Milford as I have plans for you there, but you are not going just yet, as I have things to do here in South Carolina in your lives as well.  You will come full circle in my time.”


He  also revealed to us that we were not to be seeking employment in South Carolina and that He would provide for our every need.  He told Kit to begin building from scratch a computer program for something He had for him in the future, and that I was to write.He did not tell us when we would be leaving or how. Both Kit and I felt a peace as well as a release as  we  now knew why this beautiful cherished place within my heart was not meeting the expectations I had hoped to be filled . We had not taken a wrong turn, we were in Gods will and He had everything under control. His mercy, grace and love amazed us beyond words.

be still 610The Lord began taking us into abe still 615 time in the spirit that would absolutely blow us away. Our time of praise and worship on Sundays in our little haven turned into a daily adventure. We could hardly wait for breakfast to be over so we could begin our cherished time with Jesus. We weren’t even counting the hours. We just stayed in a wondrous place with the Lord, basking in His presence. Our feelings of being lost dissipated. We felt safe, grounded and knew we were right where He wanted us to be. I don’t have to tell you that there is nothing like the security of being a child again, knowing your dad is the God of everything and that you are centered in the very palm of his hand with no worries of tomorrow. He had to bring kit and I to that  arduous place of truly being still 604 Not just still physically but emotionally and spiritually with a quieted mind. Every distraction, fear and anxiety quieted, as we waited upon His presence and the very thoughts of his heart. Without even asking Him, He reassured the questions He knew were lurking deep within our hearts. He reminded us  about all that He had told us in Connecticut regarding our Journey and His promise. “My delay is not a denial and that we would see many a miracle.” He had become our daily manna, our provider in every way. He was assurance and our peace.

When we  would start to feel angst, asking Him questions about Milford, the timing, and the hows, the peace seem to lessen within our souls…He wanted our focus to be upon Himself  trusting Him alone, with all the details. (Hard to do sometimes if your a ‘planner’ at heart.)

So, Kit , Graham and I, (the three musketeers) peaceably stayed on in our 2 bedroom home, spending wonderful times with the Lord,  enjoying South Carolina for what it was in reality and of course seeing my family as often as we could. We were so grateful to God for his grace, saving power and unchanging love for us.

Are you wondering if we ever bugged the Lord about the details and  asked Him when we could tell our friends and family we were going? Yes, of course we did…Did he tell us…NO!  It was a learning process…and we were just so thankful we had thick warm blankets, space heaters, food in our fridge, our belongings, each other and a God that was our dad…His unfailing love and His mercies new every morning…and nightly I would thank Him for His big heart of love to let me give my dream  a try…real or not.  :-OS (I thanked Kit and Graham as well .)


Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

be still 23

When you are in the awesome presence of God, filled with His amazing peace, not because you have all the answers, but just because He is present, it is a glorious place to be. We learned how to be emptied and  be truly still before the Lord. It was then our souls were renewed in our knowing that He alone is God, in control of everything in our lives, big or small.

In closing, take a look and listen at a wonderful song.

Be Still and know that He is God is one of my favorite songs by the artist Steven Curtis Chapman…I was so thrilled to find a new version he came out with, introducing his son Caleb…the two of them together are fabulous and this song is not only a lifter of the spirit but a great inspiration and reminder that when we do become still within our spirits  and reflect upon God and enter His presence… He changes everything. Enjoy!


***** If you would like to read more (in detail,) about our 45 day bug trial, be sure to go to Rabbit Trails and read “Our Carolina Bug Story.” :-OS

PHOTOGRAPHS: If you scroll over any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.