Friday, August 31, 2018

Eulogy for Kate Tallcott

Thirty-two years I knew you, Kate.  You were one of the best people I ever met. I never heard you say a bad word about anyone.  Knowing you made me a better person.

Your door was always opened to any who knocked; there was laughter in abundance.  Young people loved to hang out at your home.  For many a New Years Eve, you were the last stop at the end of one year and the starting place at the beginning of the next.

A guest never left your home empty-handed.  There was always something for a child or grandchild.  I still have the small wooden creche you gave to us one year.

You were there for our sacramental celebrations and you stood by praying as my parents lay dying.  You were so strong in your own personal pain and suffering and those trials in your life only magnified the amount of love you had to give.  In your weakest moments, you were often stronger than I. I'm going to miss you, Kate.  I am going to miss knowing that you are out there in the world somewhere.  

But, only hours after you passed, a young family here, in our new home in Missouri, had a little baby girl - Sophia.  I told her uncle to tell her that there was a brand new angel in heaven the day she was born and she would certainly find her, to watch over her.  She will find you, wee Sophia, because she loved babies more than anything else and Jesus will have a special job for her for eternity that will include watching over you.

Love you, my friend,
Annie

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Year Later

It's been a little over a year since we moved here and the "firsts" that came at me fast and furious have given way to a feeling of settling in and finding my comfort zone.  Last year we went to the Backyard BBQ and knew few people. This year we were working at the economic development booth with Mayor Sue. 

Attending city council meetings opened up doors to a lot avenues for community involvement and "getting to know you" opportunities. In between experiencing countless new life experiences I also joined a book club, a garden club, and the Lions Club.  I agreed to serve on the RSVP board; the pirate joined too as well as he joining the Salvation Army board. We both pushed for fundraising for the county GED program, with modest success. He joined American Legion and started attending two different morning prayer groups (at the Methodist Church and H.S. Smith Funeral Home). 

Change has loomed large over our household.  Don trucked forward with personal projects but overall for me it was a lot harder.  In recent  days I've thrown a bit of a pity party for myself as I struggled to put my old life behind me. Certain people in my immediate circle (yes, I actually made a circle of friends - no small feat at 70) will testify to that.   But I got through it and rediscovered, yet again, that life never, ever stands still. 

The thing that got me going in the right direction again was reactivating my daily prayer life. There's nothing like reconnecting with God's friendship to clear the cobwebs of confusion that can cloud the mind. Change is God's challenge to me to look forward, not backward. It's His challenge to me to keep the good memories of the past IN the past.  

Change is never easy, especially when it sneaks up on you. Today is certainly that kind of day. Today we learned, at church, that our much loved Fr. Jarek (our pastor of nine years) would not be returning to us now that his sabbatical is completed.  While we wish him well on the next path of his priesthood, we also know that our small Catholic community is in for a change.  Change will be harder for some than for others but it's our job as members of our parish community to help and support those who will have a hard time dealing with change.  It is also our job to welcome our new and young priest, Fr. Dominic, to the community since he was, no doubt, as surprised by the assignment as we were by the loss of Fr. Jarek. 

I've learned a lot about change this past year and I'm grateful to this man who had the wisdom to guide me back into my prayer life. It arrived just in time.

At this point now, California Girl will start appearing more intermittently.  The learning curve of small town living had peaked and I seemed to have landed in a comfort zone much to my liking.  The past is in the past and my present reality is finding a pace that is comfortable and keeps me moving forward and looking outward.  There will always be something for me to say and I won't be shy about sharing it here. You've all been so warm and kind since our arrival and that has made it very easy for me to find my place in the fabric of the community of Caruthersville.


Friday, August 3, 2018

Gratitude



Moving here
I was challenged
I was uncertain and anxious
People reached out
I reached back
Now I'm making a
Whole new life.

Keeping Watch - Twelve Days of Mary