Monday, November 20, 2017


My alarm is set for 5:50 am but I rarely get up before pushing the snooze button a time or two. This morning, however, it did not go off at all, and so I did not push the snooze or get up. When I finally looked at my clock and it said 6:50. I jumped out of bed! I had ten minutes to get ready for work. (And here I'd just been telling the Cabinet Maker how I'd not yet been late...)

I jumped out of bed, but it took my brain a minute to decide what to do. No time to shower or make coffee... I threw on some clothes, grabbed my hairbrush and allergy medicine, and hurried downstairs. There was half a cup of coffee in my French press and five inches of snow covering my car. (Thank you to my husband who not only changed my tires on Saturday, but bought me a new snow brush/ice scraper. I needed them today.) Under the heaped up snow was a thin layer of ice, as if waking up late wasn't enough.

I wasn't the only one running behind. Sergio's alarm didn't sound either and he was out brushing snow off his car too. I don't know whether or not he made it to work on time, but I punched in at 7:30 on the dot! How cool is that? And you know what? Tom probably does. There was scarcely any snow when I got there.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Can I Cry Now or Shall I Wait Until Tomorrow?

One of the hardest things in life is to watch someone you love struggle with the consequences of their own actions...

Many are the moments when emotions buried deep within rise to the surface. I don't always know how to respond to my own heart... Most often the need to cry is stifled and only a few tears leak through. The heart aches, but the  mind and body must keep moving forward. There is no time to wallow in sadness and sorrow even if it feels profoundly necessary.

I wish for this trial to be over, to have emerged unscathed on the other side, but the scars and scathings are what teach us life's biggest and most important lessons. They have the ability to create within a stronger, bolder sense of purpose and direction if not allowed to crush us completely. I am not crushed, but I feel the pressure, sometimes light and tolerable, and at other moments massive and unmanageable. The hardest thing is knowing that each and every member of my family is attempting to navigate their way through this mass of tangles.

The holiday season is beginning and this year, like several previous, we will be struggling to understand all that is before us. It's getting harder and harder to remember the days when family gatherings were filled with only love and laughter, when deep pain did not enter into the mix... I want those days back, except under the smiling, laughing exteriors lay a pain not all of us knew, and so I don't really want them back at all. It is my deepest hope that one day true and lasting healing will come and our family, though scarred from the battle, will be able to gather in love and harmony. It is a lot to ask and so simple at the same time.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Feeling Sad

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. ‘The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Undocumented immigration has names and faces. It hits too close to home because the orchards surrounding our homes and towns are full of people who come here looking for a better life and a chance at hope. They have wanted(and still want) a brighter future for themselves and their children. They want to live, to work, and to spend time with their families without fear of sudden imprisonment and deportation. I can not imagine living with that kind of fear day after day, but I know some who do, and some who have.

One of those I know has been sent home. No chance to hug his wife or children. No chance to hold his mother or shake his father's hand. No kiss on the cheek, no wave of the hand... No goodbyes, and certainly no "See you laters."

It's a whole lot harder when it touches the ones we love, and it's a whole lot harder when you know there wasn't any choice other than to be undocumented. When every avenue has been exhausted people resort to desperate measures, even if they know it comes with great risks. Sometimes hope is a carrot dangled just out of reach.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 
“He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 
“Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Not only do I miss taking pictures, but I miss blogging. Nothing proves this more than reading posts of the past. (Like this one and this one.) It's a different season. Some nights I sit and stare at the screen but instead of a smooth flow, the words are stuck in a bottleneck. Remember wanting to cry as a child, but rather than tears flowing a lump grew hard and painful in your throat? It's kind of like that...

I am making new discoveries about myself and those I love, struggling to heal and grow, and learning to live life differently from the past. It's almost like learning to play a new game, except it's real life instead.

"Are you afraid of silence?" he asked. I wasn't sure how to answer. I wanted to say no, but it wasn't totally true. Sometimes I find myself rambling in order to fill up the uncomfortable chasm of silence, but I'm not entirely certain if I am trying to relieve my own discomfort or the perceived discomfort of another party. Can I sit in the silence and hear what it is telling me? Can I let silence do its work?

He gave me a writing assignment two weeks ago. I didn't know why he suggested it, but I complied. I found the task interesting once I got started. Words and thoughts began to accumulate and I found myself begin to smile at the ease of their flow. Therapeutic, even though I didn't understand its purpose. Now that I understand, I read it in a new light and it is therapeutic all over again. Perhaps that is why I go back and reread blogs too. They give me a glimpse into my heart; my own thoughts teaching me about myself.

I am sad but not without joy, contemplative but not without hope. I am growing in ways I never imagined or would have chosen, but I know God has a plan and He is working it out in me and in the lives of those I love. Life will be different because God is in the business of change. I only need trust and keep stepping forward.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bits and Pieces

* "Trust."  That was the topic drawn from the box last night. Thought provoking... I searched "trust" on my own blog and came up with this old post. (here) It holds true today.

* My wheel thrown pottery class is almost done. Saturday I put the finishing touches on my last pieces to be fired. They will need to be glazed and then I can bring them home. What will I do next? I have an idea or two.

* I miss my camera. I take it to work with me, just in case I find anything interesting along the way, providing it's light enough out to capture an image, but using it isn't happening much. I am savoring the images of yesteryear that pop up on my computer..

* I am learning and growing. Learning and growing is hard.

* We have new carpet in the back room at Hannah's house. It's warm and cozy.

* It's almost Thanksgiving. We get an extra long weekend, and now that I've been at the daycare for six months, I get paid for it. (Watch me do a dance!) If I am approved, I will be taking the following Monday as well, because my Minnesota family will be here.

* It's cold outside.

* I have a Christmas tree in my room. Just because. And I like it.

* I smell something yummy baking. Except it's really just the empty bowl I ate my Pumpkin Spice Cheerios from. It's making me hungry again.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When Winter Kisses Autum

"When winter kisses autumn..." That's what Bethany called it.

We woke up to snow yesterday morning. And bitter cold. The temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight and left us scrambling for mittens and snow scrapers. I wanted my own photo memory but the back of my camera flashed "change battery pack" and I couldn't find the backup pack at the time, so I am stealing a picture from that sweet daughter of mine.

Today is Veteran's Day and also the 24th anniversary of my sweet, chubby cheeked baby's birth. He is all as sweet today as he was when he made his arrival, but not quite so chubby in the cheeks.  His apple pie is in the oven and the house smells yummy. Later today we will meet at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and I will buy him a dinner and deliver his pie. I pray he has a super, wonderful, fantastic kind of day.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Benjamin!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

You Can't Win Every Day

It was not a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day or anything, but I did burn the sauce at lunch time and that was not super terrific. It was not a winning lunch, but it was lunch none the less. I didn't hear anyone complain (through the closed kitchen door, exhaust fan running, water gushing...).  Early into the fiasco I decided not to panic. My only choice at saving the lunch was to get the meatballs out of the sauce before the taste of burnt tomatoes permeated everything. Perhaps I succeeded, or perhaps they didn't know the difference. One great failure out of the last couple months is  not so very bad, right?

The morning started cold and frosty. Had to let the engine run a little to defrost my windshield and took s few photos while I waited. And a few more on the way to work. They don't do the morning's beauty justice. It was a stunning ride to work. I try to soak it in as I drive.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Aren't They Grand?

I told you that Seven turned three, but did I tell you Nine is one? He loved his cake!

I posted the following on Facebook on October 14. It was a short lived anomaly.

One is nine. 
Two is eight 
Three is seven. 
Four is six. 
Five is five. 
Six is four. 
Seven is three. (Today) 
Eight is two. 
Nine will be one on the 27th. 

One is now ten and our grandchildren begin the ritual of flipping numbers again. Two will be nine in December and this sequence will never happen again quite like it did this year. (Perhaps I am the only one who found it amusing...) Little Wesley, Number Ten, throws the sequence off being just two months younger than Nine, but we don't want to trade him in or anything. He's pretty cool.

Nine had a great little birthday celebration for his first birthday on the 27th of October and had two birthday songs. One sung in English and another in Spanish. How cool is that?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Thankfulness 1

November 1- I am thankful for those crazy, naughty, noisy, sweet, and funny babies at work. I love them all! (Of course, I can't take pictures at work, so you get a couple of my crazy, naughty, noisy, sweet and funny grandchildren instead. Numbers Eight and Nine, in case you were wondering.)

These are the ages of the little ones in our infant rooms, anywhere from a few months to a year and a half. They require a large helping of patience, several doses of love and affection, with a generous sprinkling of humor. Mix in lots of patience and understanding and the result will be noting short of a treat. Those little people almost always leave me smiling even when they pitch their food on the floor, writhe in a fit of temper, or leave something ghastly on my clothing. I am wired to love little one. I simply can't help myself.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So, Yeah...

A friend recently asked how I was doing when I find myself alone. I answered that I was doing okay, and honestly, I am doing alright. Most days. But there are moments when a deep sadness washes over and I find myself lonesome and brokenhearted. The best way to describe the situation is "It's hard." There isn't a whole lot more to say.

I'm looking at life from a totally different angle than before. A perspective I've never previously experienced has emerged and I don't know what to make of it. The spines on life's books are no longer visible and I can't tell one from another. One day I'll make my way around to the other side of the table and be able to discern the titles and positions again, but I haven't quite made my way down the aisle and around the corner yet. Honestly, sometimes it can be tough to let the present view out of my sight and so I stare at the vertical edge instead..

Tonight I am tired, but I am making progress. I may not always be certain of the destination, I may need to set up camp and sit for a day or two, but I do know I'm headed in the right direction even if the path is winding. I'm climbing the mountain and mostly grateful for the slow upward climb. A steep grade would be insurmountable, especially with loose rock and unfamiliar terrain to traverse. Sometimes I need to stop and rest, or tie my shoe laces again, but I am moving forward. Today I am here. Tomorrow may find me in a new location with fresh sights and new hope, or perhaps facing dark shadows and more heartache. I hope and pray it is the former. I don't think I can handle anything more.

Much of where life takes us is in the decisions we make and whether or not we choose wisely. Today, and most days, I am petrified of making those decisions. but I won't go forward without them. I have a scripture verse here in my room, one from the book of Proverbs. I posted it a few weeks back. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11. I pray God grants me both discretion and understanding. I really need both.

Bits and Pieces

* Still blogging, but unable to follow many of you. I find it sad after so many years of bloggy buddies, but at present I have great lack of concentration. The weeks tend to melt into each other lately... Seems I slide out of one and into the next without even noticing. I am grateful that going to work isn't terribly difficult.

* I've been practicing bravery and risk taking by ordering a new carpet for the back room here at my parents' house. (Or is it Hannah's house? Or maybe mine? Either way, it's getting a new carpet.) Maybe I'll post before and after pictures.

* This past Saturday evening I'd planned to meet a few CoDA friends at The Cheesecake Factory, but drove all the way there only to discover I'd left my wallet home. The old me might have given up and left in frustration and tears, but I had $8 in my pocket. Not quite enough for a Cheesecake Factory meal, but enough to buy a drink if that was my only option. My friends ended up covering for me and I experienced an unexpected Random Act of Kindness.

* Went to CoDA instead of the Monday night church women's group this week. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the groups exuberance and CoDA is really laid back and relaxed. It was a good choice this week.

* Sliced my finger open at work yesterday when I reached into my canvas bag for a spatula and came into direct contact with the blade of my Mandolin V-Cutter. I have a great pair of cut-resistant gloves I wear when cutting vegetables, but I wasn't wearing it to reach in the bag... Good thing I carry my own supply of band-aides. Taped myself back together right quick!

* I went to work as a bear today. It was an easy costume. Brown pants and sweater, and the bear mask I bought while out with my sister on Saturday. Loved the parade of costumed children Trick or Treating through the halls!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Barn Collective

I went out "antiquing" with my sister yesterday. It's really just a day spent together because I didn't buy anything, at least not anything much.

Our first stop was the Ontario Antique Mall in Canandaigua, NY. We wandered the aisles, took in the sights, and came upon a stack of bear masks. Of course I had to try one on. She laughed and took my picture, and then we decided to take a selfie of the two of us.

After spending who knows how long wending our way through items of yesteryear, we headed south through the city of Canandaigua and deep into Finger Lake Country. Destination, Wild Goose Chase Antiques, Pulteney, NY on the hill above Keuka Lake. (We hadn't brought our directions so it was a bit of a "wild goose chase" just finding it, but I remembered how to get there.)

This little place will be closed once November is upon us, so we got there just in time. Didn't purchase a thing, but had a drink of sweet cider and half a fried cake offered us by the proprietor. This is probably my favorite antique shop to wander. Atmosphere is everything and so I keep going back every now and again.

And there you have it. More barns over at Toms place.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Flower Pots, Gardens, and Punkin Patches,

Nothing cures the blues quite like little arms around my neck or a small head on my shoulder. God hardwired me to love and understand children. It's no wonder I had a passel of my own. It was simply meant to be. (Those are my first three. Two boys and a girl.)

I've done a lot of daycare in my years. Preschoolers are my favorite, so full of life, wonder, and curiosity. (We were feeding birds at Mendon Ponds.) They don't judge you by anything other than the love you share. If you love them, they will love you too.

Today was full of hugs, along with tears, boogers, and diaper changes. I have lots and lots of little friends who come to collect a hug when I stop in their classrooms to deliver meals and snacks. It takes such a small amount of effort to get down on their level, wrap them in my arms, and tell them I love them. Even children I've never spent the day with come to collect a little bit of love. It means so much to them, and it gets me through my day too. (Those two little guys are eight years old already!)

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could babysit at home again, but I know that's not to be. At least not for now. I am making a difference where I am and God has placed me there for reasons I don't completely understand. All I know is by the end of the day my heart is full.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Perhaps my favorite Facebook feature is the On This Day app. Status updates and pictures from the past...

* October 24, 2008 at 9:56am · is ready to enjoy the day.

* October 24, 2009 at 8:52pm · is baking pumpkin pies.

* October 24, 2010 at 8:32pm · Was that really the weekend? Is it over already?

* October 24, 2011 at 7:25pm · Is the room spinning or is it just my mind?

* October 24, 2012 at 7:00pm · Well, ya know what they say, the rubber doesn't fall far from the road.

* October 24, 2013 at 5:23pm · This is the time of day when I wish dinner was in the crock pot.

* October 24, 2014 at 8:36am · I would rather be one of many favorites, than to never be favorite at all.

* October 24, 2015 at 1:34pm · Loving my PBJ on salt rising bread from the Angelica Bakery.

* October 24, 2016 at 8:37am · For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I keep seeing it everywhere I turn.

Not sure how I've gotten through ten years of Facebook... I signed one because my oldest son had moved to Minnesota and if I could catch his Facebook blips every so often, this momma slept better at night. It isn't every day that I find a post from each and every year of the journey.

And today I linked to my blog post from one year ago today with this caption, "When God knows just what you need days ahead of time." It's hard remembering what took place just a few days after I posted that blog, and it makes me teary and thankful all at once.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Oh, Lord...

Being outside in the woods always takes me aback, leaving me deep in thought... It's happened ever since I was a little girl, and especially in the fall.
When through the woods, 
and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds 

sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, 

from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, 

and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Impressive is an understatement.

I could see myself as a child, wandering in and around those massive boulders, turning them into houses and castles, and although the terrain is certainly dangerous, it is also reminiscent of a place called Narnia. Or at least Imagination. In times past it must have been rife with children playing such hideous games as "Cowboys and Indians" or "Cops and Robbers." It'd be a perfectly splendid place for an imaginary shootout.

But I digress from my original thoughts which weren't so playful and fun... My heart is still aching as I move forward into an uncertain future.
My sister and I had no clue what we would see on Saturday's excursion, no did we know what kind of terrain we would traverse or what we would find around the next curve or behind the next boulder. The future is always a bit uncertain, even in the certainest of times. I guess the best thing to do is to take one day at a time, get a sure footing, and keep my eyes on the path. And maybe take in the scenery as I go...

Oh, Lord, help me.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Barn Collective and Peavy Road

Our traipse about yesterday took us down to NY's southern tier, one of my favorite places in the whole world. On our way home again we purposely took Peavy Road, even though we haven't a clue where the family homestead once stood.

This is the farmhouse where my dad's grandparents once lived, up in the hills on Peavy Rd. One of his cousins confirmed it several years ago.

After taking a close look at the porch detail, I am certain this old photo of my dad as a little guy (probably around 1935) was taken at the same house. I'm guessing there were two porches and have found several old photographs of folks either on a porch like this or in front of one. I recall once reading how you could tell a lot about locations of old photos by little details the photographer wasn't paying attention to.

 Most of Peavy Road is still dirt, just like it must have been when my dad was a little boy.

There were several Amish farms dotting the landscape, two of them with For Sale signs out front. The barns are impressive.

I really want to get out of the car one day and ask to step inside a working barn. I'm not sure I'll ever be brave enough, but you never know what opportunity might arise.

And now, a Peavy Road Story...

Once upon a time two young boys decided to take an old horse cart for a ride down the big hill on the road at their grandparents farm. (It was a mile downhill to town.) The older one had the job of steering the cart, and the younger worked the "brakes" which was a large rock held against one of the wheels. They hadn't gone far when, as they began to pick up speed, they came to realize that the brake was not working. Thankfully, the older had the presence of mind to turn off the road and into a farmer's field and tragedy was averted.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Grand Adventure

It's nice to go exploring every so often. This morning my sister and I took off on an adventure. She was the driver and had printed up the directions to our final destination. I tried to help navigate but my mind was lost in a sinus fog and I'm afraid I wasn't much help. When she pulled over to look at her papers, I took pictures, because that's what I do best.

We didn't know it at the time, but the route she'd printed out would take us down some of the very same roads our dad had traveled with us when we were little girls and much to our delight, we found ourselves in the little town of Angelica, NY without even making it part of our plan. How cool is that? Of course we had to stop and look in a couple of the shops and drive by Great Grandma Shafer's house as well.

After our slight detour, we headed west on Interstate 86 to the town of Olean, NY and made our way through town. When Rachel slowed down and I saw something cool, I took a picture.

A little south of Olean is Rock City Park. We'd never been so it was new for both of us. We found it breathtakingly beautiful. I took ten thousand pictures.

I have suffered through much of this past week with what I think may heave been a sinus infection. My head and face no longer ache and throb, but I am congested and have laryngitis. (Did I actually spell that right on the first try?!) I'm taking Musinex, drinking hot tea, and trying to get enough rest, but it's still showing on my face.