If you really want to know… I’m a Cathodist

Best I can figure, I am a Cathodist Misallievangelical with close ties to the Baptist’s. However, I am mostly Catholic, then Methodist. The other two churches I elected to become a member of, I did so during my seeking years. I spent a few looking for a place where I would feel that I “fit in.”

My mom might disagree with me and say I am mostly Methodist, since I was born into a Methodist family, baptized as a baby in the Methodist Church and where I attended for the first twenty-two years of life. A good case, but so is the one that claims I am mostly Catholic. I had to earn it.

After attending weekly classes for a year after Dave and I were married, I passed the test that declared me to be Catholic. I probably had an advantage as well, since I had graduated from Cathedral High School. The church accepted my baptism as a baby but not my confirmation, which they call first communion. So I took part in a ceremony with a class of second graders in order for the Catholic church to recognize our union under God. Whew, we pulled it off – married by the Methodists AND approved by the Catholics. Both in-laws were in luck.

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We did about a decade of semi-faithful Catholicism before long days at the community park took over the time commitment. Before too long, though, we started going to a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church after a neighbor invited us. We loved it until they lost the pastor to a better town. Years later, a colleague invited us to an Evangelical Church, which we also loved, until the hour-long drive started to wear on us.

When my church-hopping escapades ended up at the Baptist Church, my enthusiasm to study the bible really took off. For I had never heard of the rapture before, in all of my almost 40 years in a handful of churches, some of which, I also taught Sunday School. I was also looking for where the bible says that I would go to hell if I were not baptized Baptist. What I found, was a little more shocking. And I was intrigued.

Before I get into all that, I just want to say – my goal is to share what I have been studying about the bible, nothing more. I do not care to try to convince anyone of anything. I would simply like to share some things I have discovered, in case others are searching like I was and struggling with a faith not making much sense. And if what I have to share, happens to add to your already sense-filled faith, well then that would be fine. The thing is, the bible was not written to not make sense. Man has made this so through the many translations. This will be in an upcoming post.

As far as my faith, it is overflowing. Because of this, I feel I can “fit in” just about anywhere, even when I don’t. As far as what to call me, should you have a need to label it, we’ll go with Cathodist. Predominantly Catholic and then Methodist. And because Cathodist sounds better than Metholic.

It was a good day to have a good day!

I almost started to wallow and wonder why I had forgotten to change my appointment for my semi-annual teeth cleaning, for who wants to go to the dentist on their birthday? I decided instead to be grateful that I can. I decided instead to call it a ‘celebrate me’ day. And after getting my teeth cleaned, I went to meet Tim Dorsey.

WAY out of my comfort zone I went – all the way down to Boynton Beach, by myself. South Congress Avenue, to be exact. It was so much out my zone, it took me ten u-turns to find the WXEL television station.

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So what was I doing at the WXEL’s television station for the afternoon? I was in the studio audience during the taping of their show “Between the covers,” which I found to be a very exciting and fun time. The people there at WXEL could not have been friendlier or more welcoming; they were great. It was a neat experience all around.

Tim Dorsey is the author whom host Ann Bocock interviewed for this show, which airs on Friday evenings at 5:30 on the local PBS station in the West Palm Beach area. Unaware that they would have books there for purchase, I bought mine at Barnes and Noble and in the future will be giving the public television station my business. Just saying. And while I’m at it, let me say that this author, Tim Dorsey, is a super funny guy. All twenty of his books are pretty funny too, according to the lady who sat next to me.

So the life-changing stuff for me is this – I decided to have a different attitude about my appointment and it worked. I had a wonderful time at the dentist today. Driving down to Boynton Beach, I told myself repeatedly that I was excited, not anxious or fearful about stepping way down south out of my box, into a studio, all by myself – and it worked. In hindsight, I was a little giddy and likely appeared over-exuberant. And I loved every minute of it!

On another note, the one that comes with, “Happy Birthday to you,” I would like to thank everyone who wished me well on Facebook as well as called, texted or emailed. I am so blessed to have such good peeps in my life. And thank you all for reading and following my blog. If you like it, please share! If you don’t, well share it anyway – it’s my birthday! 🙂

Reel Big Fish at the Fair

I think it is funny, how I had never heard of Reel Big Fish before exactly one month ago. On that day, December 26, 2016, we – me, Amanda and David – were driving the three hours from Ft. Myers to West Palm  when David asked if we wanted to listen to a CD he had. We said, “Sure,” and when it was over, agreed that we all liked it.

Three weeks ago when I was packing up stuff to send to Amanda, I saw the CD in the stack of stuff she had asked me to mail. I grabbed it and played it for Dave later that night. Although the genre is not his first choice (or even second or third), he enjoyed it well enough. They have some funny lyrics, and while reading them on the jacket cover, I noticed that the CD was from 1998. We were surprised we hadn’t heard of them since this was the type of music most of us mostly listened to back then.

Last week, we went to the fair, and not because I wanted to see the fair, but because I wanted to buy baby chickens there, as we had done a dozen years ago. We found out that baby chicks are no longer sold at the fair, which was sad to hear, and that the following week, Reel Big Fish would be playing. For some reason, this excited me. And since Dave’s been saying I need to get out more, I made the decision that we would be going back to see the band. We told David of the date and asked if he wanted to meet us there, which he did, and we all concurred that it was a good time.

The guys in the band are super funny. One of them was like, “Okay, we are going to sing the song that made us famous in the 90’s,” and upon hearing Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play… the crowd went wild, singing along and jumping up and down and I was like, “Oh, I didn’t know they sang this!” They would go on playing for a few minutes before whining to a halt and then say, “No, no, no… just kidding, that’s not our song,” then say whoever it was and then, “Now, this is the song that made us famous in the 90’s.” They went on like this with four or five songs. It was really funny. Every time, I looked at David for confirmation – is this really their song? And only on the last one did he nod his head yes, which they played all the way through, proving it was indeed their song. I knew it from back in the day and concluded they must have been a “one hit wonder” band I didn’t remember. I also found this odd, since they were so freaking funny.

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Amanda’s Visit at Christmas – Part 2

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In Part 1 of Amanda’s Visit at Christmas 2016, I left-off on Christmas day in Ft. Myers, and in case you missed it, this has become my favorite part of Christmas – when we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at Dave’s cousin’s house. She goes all-out, with a birthday cake and candles. I love it, even though I believe that this time of year was when Jesus was conceived, not born. Still, it is one of the best things I have ever seen.

Afterwards, we stopped by to see some friends of ours and by the time we got back to the condo, everyone was beyond ready for bed. The next morning, I drove Dave to the boat docked at the beach and the kids and I packed up my truck and headed home. Dave enjoyed a day by himself on the boat fishing. The three of us made plans for the following day to go out to dinner and then head downtown to see Sandi the Christmas tree, sculpted entirely out of sand.

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Choreographed to music, the lights danced around, blinked, and changed color quickly. It was pretty neat. Not missing a chance to capitalize, West Palm Beach made Sandi a star – she had trailer just like the movie stars and “Sandi Swag” was offered for sale.

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The following day, Amanda said goodbye to her dad, and she and I headed north. Because we needed to be at the Orlando airport at 6:00 in the morning, we decided to drive up and spend the night. We had planned on taking the long way and stopping in Sebring to see Jonathon, which we did, although we wound up taking the long, long… long, long way.

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In hindsight, I somewhat enjoyed it. I am glad to know where River Ranch is, and am happy I can say that I have driven through it. Even more so, I am glad to know that right down the road from it are fishing and boating communities. The best part though, and yes, I know this is just weird, but to be a little scared, driving in the pitch dark between Reedy Lake and Lake Arbuckle on a two-lane tiny road with no shoulder, well, I would have rather been with no one but Amanda, and since it was indeed her sitting next to me, well, in hindsight I can say it was a bit thrilling. My “drama-fix” for the year, perhaps.

I thought I knew where I was going and it was not until I saw signs for Ft. Drum that I realized something was wrong. “Ft. Drum!” I exclaimed, “we are going to pass Debbie’s house,” I told Amanda, “that’s not right!” After chatting for a few about our friend while I tried to decide what to do or where to pull over, Amanda pulled up the map on her phone. She showed me what it said. We determined that turning around was not the answer. So we took five hours to get to Sebring. They were also some of the best hours of conversation.

After having dinner with Jonathon, we continued north to Monroe’s on the Lake in Sanford, Florida. Unfortunately, I could not avoid I-4, although I would not have known that I wanted to until it was too late anyway. I-4 was under construction, bumpy with uneven pavement like I have never seen. The six lanes of highway twisted and turned and were as narrow as could be, and with semi’s barreling through the 60 mph zone going 80 while tourists slowed down to 40, trying to figure out where to go, it made for the worst experience on the road I have ever had. Amanda even groaned when she looked at the map and saw we had 20 more miles of it to go. Finally, we made it to our hotel a little before 11, and the first thing Amanda said was, “I see why dad choose this hotel!”

wp-1483449712211.jpegSituated on Lake Monroe in Sanford, Florida, this affordable hotel had a friendly staff and nice rooms. The room we were in on the second floor overlooking the pool was nice anyway, with a mini-fridge and wood (laminate) floor. The bed was comfy and had the type of pillow-top comforter that I love. Perhaps Dave figured, with a bass fish for an emblem, how can you go wrong? I am glad he wasn’t wrong.

In the morning I took Amanda to the airport and waited around, hoping to get a picture of her plane departing. Realizing it would be another 20 minutes or so, I decided to go back to the hotel, only 10 minutes away, and take them from there. Before leaving, I took a picture of the airport, where it appears that Allegiance Air has the place all to itself. The place that reminds me so much of middle-school pickup.wp-1483449362046.jpegBack at the hotel, I saw a plane take off at 7:20. I took a video and pretended that I knew it was Amanda’s plane. Then I set out to take photos of the scenery that surrounded me. wp-1483403287918.jpegThis would be a nice place to meet up with others, whatever the occasion. I believe they also have a banquet room, and this beautiful gazebo is in a nice yard area in between the hotel and lake. I also spotted a huge grill/smoker but do not know if this is available for guests or what the story is on that. Worth checking out though if you are looking for something like this and enjoy doing that sort of thing (like us).wp-1483403287927.jpeg

Amanda’s Visit at Christmas 2016

Three hours north and then a half hour west in the middle of nowhere, was about all I knew of the road trip I was taking to go get Amanda from the Sanford Airport. Although not in the middle of nowhere, much of the two-lane road ran right through the St. John’s River.

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And right through a fish camp.

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Arriving at the small airport just north of the Orlando International reminded me of middle-school pickup back in the day. Almost immediately, traffic came to a complete stop, where, for about ten minutes, I waited.

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Traffic started moving slowly and I inched my way closer and closer to the terminal. Then Amanda called, she had retrieved her luggage and was on the curb waiting. It was just like middle-school pickup.

The next day, back in our neck of the woods, I spotted a new sign I thought might interest someone:

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One day, Amanda and I went downtown to take Dave to lunch and to see the tree he had been telling us about.

Our tree at home is a bit less traditional. Dave did all the decorating and I love it. “Dreaming of a black-light Christmas” is our song this year!

Presenting the Raffey Family Christmas Tree of 2016:
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The “pilot” Blacklight Christmas

For Christmas, we went to Ft. Myers, where, Dave and John carried on Gus’ tradition of hosting a Prime Rib dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by opening presents. Fourteen people got their fill and there were leftovers. Costco came through once again.

Dave said Gus’ traditional grace, to which Jeff and I traditionally tacked-on, “Rub-a-dub dub, let’s eat this grub!”

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Then we opened presents. Here, Dave is reading the tag – To David From Santa. At some point, he looked at me, confused. “You sure this is for me?” “Yes, finish reading the tag,” I told him. Because you will always be David first here, he read. And our gift tags confirmed this.

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Santa got him cookies – Butter Pecan Meltaways – to be exact. In a round tin with the cookie maker’s name written across the top it and, “a bite above the rest,” I had to try one. The name of “David’s” was a plus.

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Man, am I glad that Dave does not enjoy them nearly as much as I do. We would have to fight over them. But as luck would have it, or his big, kind heart, he allowed me to eat almost the entire tin of cookies.

On Christmas Day, we did the traditional get-together at Dave’s cousin’s house. After lunch we played games and then sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

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The following day we came home and planned out Amanda’s last few days here.

To be continued…

Disney Virgin

What a delight it was, to see Amanda and Tony for the second time in six months! And to have Jonathon join us!

Dave and I don’t know which was more exciting – doing Disney again with the kids or seeing Tony experience it for the very first time. It can be overwhelming and even stressful for a first-timer to try to do Disney in one day (providing the goal is to go on as many rides as possible) and good thing, Tony, that you were with seasoned pro’s (assuming you wanted to go on as many rides as possible).

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Happy Birthday Dad!

For your birthday dad, you get to drive two and a half hours to come get us from the airport! (Thank you, by the way!) Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Birthday Dad!

The only reason Dave and I did not miss our flight that morning is because we were the only ones on it. We got lost trying to find the long-term parking lot at the Fort Lauderdale airport and wound up paying more for parking than we did our airline tickets combined. At any rate, I couldn’t imagine my dad driving to DFW for nothing. I suppose it could have been a good reminder that their cell phone doesn’t belong in the kitchen drawer, but thankfully, we made it. And like I said, we had the plane all to ourselves.

Dave knew exactly where we were as we were flying over this west coast spot. Not that I doubted him, but I thought it was pretty cool when I compared the photo with the map to check his accuracy. And right on, he was! The GPS on the photo verifies it as well. So honey, here you go, the award for knowing where you are!

We got to Hastings and my dad gave us a tour of his Okra project – a drought-resistant variety he had been working on. We were looking forward to some fried okra with dinner.

He informed us that they had planned to take us to a barbecue they had been invited to for dinner and they weren’t planning on cooking. I tried to hide my disappointment, knowing that my dad would go out of his way to make some if he knew, which he did. He made some fried okra and served it up as an appetizer before we left for the barbecue. That was my dad.

We then went to the strangest barbecue I have ever been to. All due to my expectations, of course.

FPL was hosting this “barbecue” for Cotton Electric customers in Jefferson County, Oklahoma, which I thought was pretty funny!

The following day, we drove two hours north to the buffalo ranch. That would be the Wichita Buffalo Company at Sandy Springs Farm, owned and operated by my dad’s cousin. It is truly a sight to see.

Dave says hi to the buffalo at Sandy Springs Farm

Later, we got a personal introduction to Stormy.

The following day started with a beautiful sunrise.

It was also the day of the Arnold and Hobbs family reunions. And as usual, you could find my dad at the dominoes table, along with his brothers.

I hung out some more with Stormy.

A great time was had by all.

On the way back to Hastings, we drove by a bunch of windmills.

The following day, we took Dave to the airport. I stayed for another two weeks.

We went to the Hastings Senior Citizens Center for lunch.