Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Rainy Day

I want to write, but I am tired and my thoughts are jumbled.

It was dark and deliciously dreary when my alarm went off this morning. I considered pulling the covers up to my ears and closing my eyes, but that was not an option, so I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs to the shower.

On my way out to the car I dropped my naked waffles in the driveway. There was no time to go back for more, so I plucked them from the pavement and popped them in the car. I made it all the way to the street at the bottom of the driveway before realizing I'd forgotten the two gallons of milk I'd bought for the daycare breakfast. I went back inside and retrieved them before setting out again.

It was sprinkling when I left Webster, but I drove into a torrential downpour midway to work. At one point I considered pulling over, but that would have rendered me late, so I kept driving, through puddles and pouring rain. Upon my arrival, I found my umbrella AWOL and so I was drenched by the deluge as I made my way across the parking lot. I arrived safe but dripping. (That silly umbrella was hiding in my glove compartment the entire time.)

I eventually dried out and it was a good day. As usual the little ones made sure I felt loved. Garrett sat on my lap while the four year old class watched an afternoon movie in lieu of playground time. When he got up, Hannah plopped herself down. She told me she loves hugs and that I'm her "best friend". "I love you most," she smiled. Nothing fills an empty heart quite like the love of a child... or two... or three. Ha ha!

(No photos allowed so I have to draw the kiddos instead)

Monday, August 13, 2018

A God With Ears

Last week I wished God would speak to me out of the clouds in a loud and unmistakable voice. I wanted an answer to one question in particular. I shot up a desperate prayer, not really expecting an answer. At least not one I could hear clearly... But God works in mysterious ways. He answers when we least expect Him to, and very often in ways so obvious that it is harder to doubt than to believe.

Life is full of struggles and we are in the midst of one. For the past three years I've repeatedly asked God for answers. I have doubted His answers, argued His answers, and been confused by His answers. I've found that God's answers can take me by surprise, and also found that often they don't make any sense to me. Why would He ask me to do something that seems so opposed to what I might have expected? What is He attempting to accomplish? I have to admit I often don't have a clue.

I'm trying to obey, but not in a blind kind of way that does what is expected simply because it's just that. I'm here in this attic bedroom not because I'm running, but because I'm trying to do what He says. I understand it confuses some people, and I guess that has to be okay for now. God is writing "Martha's Story". He has a reason for all I am going through. I only need to trust Him... and that's hard.

So yeah. Last week I tossed an anguished prayer heavenward. I said something like, "If you don't want this meeting to happen, could you stop it? Maybe make it so that I can't leave work for those few hours?" Today one of our assistant teachers came into work, walked into the director's office, said,"I quit!" and walked out again. That leaves us with growing numbers of children (We had 59 for lunch today, the most all summer.) and short staffed. When I asked my boss if I was still covered for tomorrow's meeting she gave me a blank stare. I took the whole fiasco as the answer to last week's prayer and told her not to worry about it.

I feel okay right now. It doesn't mean the struggles are over, but it does give me peace about where I am today. Mostly I am in awe of His ability to answer my pleas in such an incredible way. He hears my cries and for that alone I am blessed.

August Picnic

The Cabinet Maker decided to have a gathering. His garden is lush, growing, and prolific. He's been roasting peppers and picking tomatoes, and he wanted to share. We used to have gatherings like this, but it's been a long time.

There was chicken on the grill. Special chicken, marinated Puerto Rico style by a friend who ended up having to work. There is nothing in the world quite like Filipe's chicken. We had fruit, and beans, and potato salad, and corn, and salsa... So much yummy stuff!

The kids ran wild and I didn't have to worry about it. I've even given up (mostly) trying to keep track of toys that get dragged out of the house and into the yard.

Five of our seven were present, seven of our ten grand- children, along with significant others and several friends. It was a good day. I tried not to be a nuisance with my camera, but you know I can't just not take pictures.

It was a good day. I will admit that I was a little concerned for a bit, but everything turned out very nice. I even brought home a bag of fruit salad for lunch this afternoon. Oh yeah! So yummy!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Barn Collective

Yesterday morning's excursion took us to a farm, and where there are farms, there are bound to be barns.

Frederick Farms is just south of I-90 in Clifton Springs, NY. I haven't researched their history, but some of the buildings there are unique. Maybe someone out there knows what kind of place this was in the early 1900's... I haven't a clue but I still find it fascinating.

The farm offers hay rides through the sunflower field in the evening.

 Little out- buildings. The traffic is on I-90  directly behind the property.

 Holding the doors in place, I'm guessing. On a windy day, which it wasn't, those things can really get flapping.

We stopped to visit the goats and cows before leaving. (I like cows.) This one licked my shoulder while I was trying to take our picture.

Stop by Tom's and visit some more barns. I think he's having a cookout.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sunflower Morning

Saturday. And sunny. We left the house relatively early, headed for Clifton Springs and a giant field of sunflowers, all smiling.

Of all the flowers on the planet, sunflowers are the happiest!

Thursday, August 09, 2018


Yesterday morning was warm with patches of fog. I followed my friend Tahnya halfway to work, but lost track of her when I stopped to take a few pictures of an old barn. It was a beautiful morning, perfect for sitting out on the back steps with a cup of coffee... except I was drinking tea on my way to work instead. I believe in drinking deeply the unique beauty of each day.

Yesterday I was the lucky recipient of the "You get to go home early today award." I fed the children, cleaned up the mess, set out the afternoon snack, and rather than going on lunch, I headed home. My eyes were achy, presumably from the previous evening's torrent of tears. When two hours later they were still hurting, I realized I was dealing with a caffeine headache (was that coffee really half decaf?). I took some Excedrin and
 a short nap, before going to an afternoon meeting. Thankfully the headache subsided and I took in a little clay therapy in the evening. The studio was mostly quiet and that was good.

Life is still hard. No details, just another plea for prayer. God will know what to do.

And thanks.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Too Late

It's too late to blog. I need to sleep so I can get up and go to work in the morning, but here I am.

I tried navigating the NY State Health Insurance site, but there are questions I don't know how to answer. Ain't that always the way? Insurance, for all the what if's in life... Years ago people either died or didn't. And then they did anyway. (Did I tell you it's too late to blog?)

I found a sign on sale and thought it fit right in with my fluted bowls. I may not be baking pies these days, but I'm still fluting edges here and there. Just bought another 50 pounds of clay... I wonder what it will become?

And now I must lay down, hand my restless thoughts over to the One Who Cares for Me, close my eyes, and try to sleep.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Sunshiney (mostly) Day!

It was a good day. The sun was shining when I got up, there was a little bird chattering on top of my window, and I had time to relax before heading off to my morning counseling appointment.

Today my sister Rachel and I went to the city of Rochester's Park Avenue Festival. After driving in circles for 20 minutes just looking for a parking spot, we decided to fork out some money and pay for parking. $10. Ugh. But we split it between the two of us and didn't have to walk any farther than a block and we were there. (Edit- We parked on the front lawn of Francis Parker School Number 23. What a great school fundraiser!)

It was a beautiful day for a festival! (Haley, second cousin to my kids, is the owner of a brand new Bakery Bar on Park Avenue. She is on the far right, boyfriend in the middle, and his sister on the left.)

We met some super heroes...

There were tons of people and we only got caught in one ten minute downpour. Ha ha!

We saw unexpected friends, collected hugs, and took in the sights.

When we were done traipsing about, we headed back to Webster and split a burrito at Moe's.

Yup. It was a good day, even if I do look a bit bedraggled.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Many Adventures of Martha

I am still collecting missing key stories...

Monday evening I went to my new support group meeting. I stayed and talked for a while afterward so my run into Wegmans afterward was hurried. I was a bit distracted by the fellow who opened his car door just as I was pulling into the spot next to him, but it was an amused distraction, not an irritation. That, coupled with the fact that I'd already been in Walmart and not found what I was looking for, left me a little absent-minded.

I found the items needed, headed to the cashier, and then out the door. As I went I reached for my keys. They should have been in my pocket, but they weren't. I went back to the register, but no, they weren't there either. I prayed I hadn't locked them in the car. ... Again.

My prayers were answered when the car door opened easily, but my relief was squelched by the realization that I'd not only forgotten my keys, but I'd also left the car running. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be worried. I know I was embarrassed at the time, but it all seems terribly funny now.

On Tuesday evening I picked up my latest bowls from the pottery studio. I am pleased with the results this time. They're getting better.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* The old "witch's hat" water tank is gone. The world will never be the same. (I kid, a little... ) I was reminded this week of how when giving directions to our home, Mom would very often say, "By the water tanks." They truly were a Webster landmark and beacon of home. Nothing lasts forever, I get that. I know it had to come down for safety reasons, and I am good with that. It's just a different skyline than I've ever known.

* The rains of the past week stayed on outside of the house.  When my brother in law prayed on Sunday night, and asked for rain, which we desperately need, I asked specifically that God keep it out of the living room. I am blessed and relieved He heard my prayer. Now I pray He keeps it out until the end of August when we hope to put on a new roof.

* It was an exhausting week. Sometimes I sleep good and other times I don't. There are nights when my mind is quiet and settled, and nights when  it spins out of control. Sometimes I am thinking about how I will ever be able to maintain this home, sometimes it spins over the pains and sorrows of my children, and other times it is the relationship between the Cabinet Maker and me.

* I stopped out at The House yesterday afternoon. If we are ever to make any headway in our relationship we must learn to communicate. He's not good at it, and I'm not good at it, especially when it means being open, honest, and vulnerable with each other. We have so much to work through if we are ever to have that kind of relationship. It will require putting aside denial, making decisions (on both sides) to forgive, and listening to the Voice of God in how to move forward. Those things are hard when wounds are deep and bleeding.

 * This morning I got to church early, and as I sometimes do, I set my bag and Bible on a couple of the seats next to me, reserving four spots for my sister and her family. It wasn't until the screen in front showed less than two minutes before the start of the service that I remembered she had gone to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I spent the second hour serving in Sunday school, attended a volunteer meeting/luncheon after that, and left feeling totally exhausted. I took a three hour nap this afternoon.

* On Sunday night I never feel ready to go back to work, but somehow when Monday morning arrives, I find myself okay. The little ones will be looking for me as much as I look for them. Grilled cheese sandwiches are on the menu. About 50 of them. I'll take preparing grilled cheese over last Friday's chicken salad. At least most of them will actually eat it. I love chicken salad, the kids don't love it so much.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Crowded Brain

Too many thoughts makes a body tired.

The house, my parents' house, needs a new roof. It needed one last year but we managed to stop up the leak with a slathering of roofing tar. We slathered several spots, but where the water actually comes in is anybody's guess. We all know that even a good roof won't last forever and no amount of denial will keep the water out. The roof has to be replaced. The Cabinetmaker has said he is willing to help me with the labor if he can organize a team of helpers. I'll probably need to take out a loan to cover the cost of materials.

Rachel and I took our brother Tim out for a ride on Sunday. The state is looking to move him out of his longtime residence and into a different state home. A worker was really excited about a place that opened up a month or so ago. We were less than excited as it was even farther than we drive now. We talked to a few people recently and have decided to begin a search of our own. Perhaps we have options other than the state. Please pray that the right place opens up and we can move our brother closer to us.

One of my boys is on a two week "vacation" except it's not really a vacation. Momma's hearts are always hurting for their children and I have a passel. Now that they're grown up they have grown up problems, and if it isn't one that is hurting, it's another. (On a happy note, we're getting another grandson in November.)

Life trials continue. Prayers are appreciated in this area too. Thank you for loving both of us and keeping us in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Goodbye Old Friend

For the past twelve years my email has alerted me to new blog comments, but for some unknown reason they've stopped arriving in my inbox even though the setting remain the same. Disconcerting because occasionally a comment will pop up on an old post. How will I ever know now?

Life changes. It does. It's not the same as when I was a little girl, Not even the water tanks that welcomed me home for over 54 years are the same. One is gone. The final pieces came down this afternoon. I know it was necessary, but I still find it sad. It may have been an eyesore to some, and although I can't blame them for likely being glad to see it go, nothing said "home" quite like the Webster Water Towers standing side by side. (Second photo taken by a neighbor. I stole it from Facebook.)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Barn Collective

Am I too late?

My sister and I took our big brother for a ride through the countryside this afternoon. Pesky little sister that I am, I had my camera along.

Dog in the road. We had to turn around to catch his picture, and by then he'd turned around and headed the opposite direction himself. He thought we were a little loopy, I think. Ha ha!

We have to take a group photo every so often.

Hurry over to Tom's or you'll be late for supper!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Arriba Arriba

In years past I enjoyed a good neighborhood garage sale, but these days I'd rather peruse an old antique shop. I don't typically buy anything, I just look. Earlier this week I dropped (more like tossed) my new plastic "glass" in the driveway. It didn't shatter, because it's not glass, but it did have a crack from top to bottom. Sadness. I'd only had it a few weeks. It was a good run, I guess, and I drank lots of water during those hot, sticky days.

Early this week I told Hannah I was going to go in an antique store and buy myself one of those old Looney Tunes collectible glasses, the ones we got from Carroll's way back in the 70's. I specifically told her I wanted Speedy Gonzales. He can be tricky to find and costs a pretty penny, but he'd been my favorite before Mom and Dad bought new stoneware and packed all our old, mismatched dishes away and hauled them off to the Salvation Army. We had a decent, though incomplete, glass collection as kids. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester the Cat, Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote... They didn't keep a one so far as I recall.

A day or two after our conversation I was scrolling through Facebook when I came upon a friend who was purging her household and planning a garage sale. I flipped through her photos without anything catching my interest.; sleds, shoes, toys, glassware... Wait! What was that up there on the shelf? Speedy Gonzales! I think, perhaps, God was eavesdropping on our conversation.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Here I Am

It's hard to believe tomorrow is Friday already. It seems like yesterday was Sunday and my sister Priscilla, our friend Laura, and I were braving the heat and sunshine at the Corn Hill Festival in Rochester. Only Laura went home with a purchased treasure. I ate what little I bought, African Chicken and Rice, and a Sweet Potato Pie. It was exceptionally hot and my attire was not favorable as far as keeping me cool. In spite of my being overdressed, I did come home with a few nice photographs and a smile on my face.

This week had been entirely emotional, and those emotions have run the gamut from one end to the other. Did you know that change and growth can be painful? It can be, but in the midst of the pain is a sense of peace also. I can't explain other than to say, I know God is near in all of this. I am growing and I am changing as I learn. I could wish I'd known some of these things years ago, but God's timing is not like mine. He is the master and knows precisely when to add new ingredients to this project called "me." Even in times of sorrow there is peace and joy.

My sweet daughter turned 23 yesterday, and she was smiling. Her handsome husband took the day off to bless her, and they returned home in the evening with a peanut butter pie. (I have no photo of Hannah's pie, so you get my festival meal instead.) She is a peanut butter girl. I'd met up with my son Joe a little earlier and we were sharing a sub on the back porch when the peanut butter pie arrived. I had a small taste last night and a slightly bigger taste this evening. It is quite yummy in a peanut buttery kind of way.

The old water tank across the way continues to be dismantled a piece at a time. I'm capturing pictures as it disappears, finding myself fascinated and a wee bit nostalgic at the same time. I have at times been entirely too sentimental about inanimate objects and I am working on admitting it, and letting go. There is improvement in this area. (I think I hear GMJ cheering...)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* It was a slow week at work. I got to go home early twice due to low numbers. It means a slightly smaller paycheck, but I don't really mind too much. Chances are I'll make up for it in overtime eventually, or maybe I already have.

* Hannah and Sergio went out on Wednesday and I stayed home with Idris. We took a long walk, all the way to the village and back. On the way home we passed a young girl (with her mother) selling lemonade. It was hot and I had a few dollars in my pocket so I stopped to buy some. Fifty cents a cup. I gave her a dollar, let her make change, and then dropped the change back into her bowl as a donation. Made me think of my little grandson sitting out in the sun a week or two ago. He was selling lemonade too.

* On Friday, when I took the breakfast cart into the toddler room, my friend Addison came running. When I picked her up, she wrapped her little arms around me in a long, tight embrace. She's not quite two and she's a pistol, but she gives the best hugs! (That's my granddaughter there in the photo, not Addison. She's a cutie, a bit of a pistol, and I'm sure she gives pretty great hugs too, but she doesn't share them with me very often.)
* If I don't write it down, I probably won't remember it... I was thinking back on my week as I wrote this, but it was painfully obvious this evening when I forgot to show up at a dinner gathering. Actually, I'd written it down on Monday, tucked the address away in a safe place, and in the chaos and confusion of my mind, misplaced the information. Thankfully, one of the ladies called and delivered a gentle and loving reminder. I didn't make it for dinner, but I did arrive in time for dessert and prayer. I am blessed.

* I spent the morning at the pottery studio throwing and trimming. Trimmed right through the side of a pot. I guess that will happen once we get daring enough to push the limits. It's a learning experience. One of the instructors was there later, when I was throwing vessels, and gave me a few pointers. I am thankful.

* I was a bad, bad grandma this week and on a very hot afternoon, when Number Nine was filling his pool and watering the grass with the garden hose, I taught him how to get a drink.