Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Missing the man, grateful for the legacy he left.

He's not here in person, but I can still listen to him play and sing on his back porch where he loved to sit with Mom, his instruments, or a cup of coffee.   

The Barn Collective

" 'Billy Bob loves Charlene' in John Deere Green..."

In this case "Becky loves Al." I'd guess it's been painted there for about fifteen years now. I remember when the paint was drying... so to speak. I've seen barns with other messages, but this one is special.

It's in rough shape. Trees came up on opposing corners eventually squeezing the life out of it and rendering it unsafe. You wouldn't know from the front, but I took a walk around the back side...

Someone (Al) tried to save it years ago. He built a concrete block support under the beam. That and the doors (where Becky painted her John Deere Green message) have provided just enough strength to keep her standing. How long the old barn will last is anybody's guess.

For now Becky's John Deere Green love story remains. A tribute to the man she once loved and still loves today.

It's gonna be a scorcher today. Come on over to Tom's for a tall glass of ice cold lemonade.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Weekend Thus Far

Yesterday I went home from work an hour early. I arrived home as my daughter was going out. After staring at my computer for a while, I decided it was way too nice out to stay in. I called a friend who I haven't seen in a while and we went out for an ice cream cone. While waiting for our cones, another friend appeared in the line behind us. We had a great time catching up and visiting while we ate our ice cream.

As we sat there a small child arrived with her daddy. One of our daycare kids. I called hello to her. She looked at  me and said, "You're the one who makes our food." :0)  This afternoon I saw another of our little ones in Target. After saying hello to her, she looked at her mom and whispered, "I think that's Miss Martha."  Ha ha!

I had an appointment this morning with the counselor and afterward drove out to Avon, NY to the Western NY Pottery Festival. I went alone, because I wanted to go and the friends who thought they might meet were were unable to attend. It was okay. I went alone and enjoyed myself. I even ran into the same two friends from the studio who I'd seen back in May when my daughter and I went out together.

It's been a good weekend. I've randomly met up with several friends while shopping and the weather has been gorgeous. There's a former Dallas Cowboy/ Miami Dolphin speaking at church tomorrow along with a car show and hotdog bar. They go all out for Father's Day, I guess... I'm looking forward to what the day will bring and taking my camera along.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Maybe I'll Go on Vacation...

I finally figured out my employer's vacation policy. Had to ask repeatedly, and look at the employee handbook myself, but I've got it now. I have four paid vacation days this year. Now I need to figure out the best way to utilize them. Do I break them up into snippets? Take two here and two there? Or do I take them all at once? I'm still thinking about it. Funny thing is I feel more relaxed just knowing.

It's been a good week. I'm learning how to recognize my feelings for what they are, breathe through them, and come out okay on the other side.

I'm still soaking in the beauty of each day, I'm simply not able to capture it as often as I have in the past. It wouldn't do to tell my boss I was late to work because I had to stop and photograph those calves following their mothers through the pasture in the early morning dew, but I do smile as I drive by. That has to count for something. I'm counting gifts even if I'm not assigning them numbers.

* cows and calves in the morning dew
* weeds
* pottery, even the ones I forgot to cover. (They dried out and went into the reclaim bucket.)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Lookin' Up

I went in Old Navy a few weeks back and found a shirt I couldn't go home without. It's not the best picture of me, I was having an emotional weekend, but I decided it would do.

My people weren't home on Sunday when I returned from church and the lonely waves started to wash over me. I started to talk to myself out loud. "Well, Martha, what are you going to do about it?" "I'm going to stop and buy myself a coffee," I said, "And I'm going to the pottery studio for a bit of Mud Therapy. And maybe after that I'll take a walk with my sister." Then I did just that and it turned out to be a good day after all.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Barn Collective

A couple more barns from our drive last Sunday afternoon.

I have to admit it was the truck that really caught my eye, but without the shelter of the barn, I probably wouldn't have taken the picture.

This second barn is a beauty, and I love the old, green shutters opposite the rolling door at the bottom.

I love old barns. See some more and share your photos at Tom's Barn Collective.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Bits and Pieces

Random bits of my life

* Road rage. Had a fellow "wave" violently at me and call me pretty names the other day as I turned the corner into our little neighborhood, Can't imagine what terrible infraction I could have committed between there and the stop light three tenths of a mile back.

* The lights went out at work one day this week. Although there are flood lights in the classrooms, the two rooms without windows to the outside have no backup lighting, therefore both the restroom and the kitchen were dark. Thankfully the lunch was prepared and all the plates, cups, napkins, and flatware were already counted and waiting on the counter. The only thing I had to do in the dark was dish up goulash and vegetables.

* The Cabinetmaker drove to Nova Scotia this week to visit his mom. It was a surprise to her. I'm glad he was able to go, but I'm still finding myself emotional. We'd long talked of going together...

* Yesterday afternoon I left work an hour and 45 minutes early, stopped to visit my friend Deborah, and then drove out to Williamson to pick up some mail left for me. I probably should change the mailing address on a few things, but I'm dragging my feet.

* Took a few photos while the Naughties followed me around, meowed, and got under my feet. I love them.

* Today I went for a morning drive with my sister. Nowhere special, just out and about.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Choose Wisely

I found Sunday morning's message intriguing, like God got together with Pastor Rob and told him all the things I've been thinking the few days previous... It was almost like he was talking about Martha. Well, he was. He was talking about Mary and Martha. There were many things he said that resonated with me, some of them simply words I'd been thinking on.

I posted this quote on Facebook and got a little backlash. "The life that you have is the life you have chosen."  One person sternly disagreed, another said it was how rumors got started, because I'd posted without context. I'd also mentioned I was still "chewing" on it. Recall that several months ago I wrote a series of blogs on choices...

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

I'm still wrestling with choices.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Barn Collective

The barn caught my eye first.

We were out for a ride with our brother, and taking different route from where we've traveled the past few years. It was just off the beaten path, but not far off.

It's a peony farm! (here) There were rows upon rows of bright smiling peonies. How fun is that?

I have more photos, but my computer and the photo editor haven't been getting along proper lately. It's kind of driving me crazy. Come visit Tom at The Barn Collective and get in out of the rain.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Baby Steps

Moving forward can appear slow and tedious, but when I turn around and see how far I've traveled, the road feels a little bit more smooth and sure. I've been watching little ones learn to walk this year. The babies who started with us back in August and September are standing on their own and will soon take off unassisted. It's amazing to watch. What was once impossible becomes unstoppable. It's part of the program.

When I met with my friend the other day, it was my intention to hear her complaint, not to air mine. While validating previous her dissatisfaction, I did make a feeble attempt explain a small piece of why I'd not met up with her expectations, but I did not in any way try to set in place the boundaries I should have erected/upheld years ago. They were completely absent at the time, and though she should have known better, the fault for them not being in place was mine, not hers. Along with seeing where I failed her, is seeing where I shortchanged myself. My fear of rocking boats not only destroyed my relationship with her, but it left me wounded as well.

I am not here to tell you I have learned the lesson. Rather I am telling you I am in the class. I am learning, attempting to practice, and will hopefully one day have a better grip on the skill set. I know there will be times when I fail, especially when I am tired and overwhelmed, but I am making progress and moving toward the goal.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Taking a Step or Two

It's past time for me to have turned out the light and settled down to sleep. I suppose one of my shortfalls is not taking care of myself by going to bed earlier and getting adequate rest. maybe that's why I take a nap on my lunch hour.

This past weekend I stopped to talk to someone who several years ago was not happy with me. I saw this person almost every day but never asked what was wrong. Consequently, I wasn't aware of why they were upset and was never able to do my part to remedy the situation. The fault was not mine alone. This person didn't approach me either. We just went on and on knowing something was amiss but never communicating with each other. Here we are years later and it is quite obvious to me they are still angry. At least I now know why. I have owned my side of the disparity. It is all I can do.

I am fearful and anxious when it comes to conflict. Rather than meet it head on and get it resolved, I have a tendency to avoid getting things out in the open. This is a terrible weakness that only leaves both myself and others wounded and wondering what went wrong. I know it's something I need to work on and I am trying, but it's so very hard. Next to impossible. At least it feels that way. I'm a little bit amazed that I actually stopped and talked with this individual. It was scary, uncomfortable, and painful as well, but most of it could have been avoided had I learned how to speak up and ask questions long ago. (Deep breath.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back to Work Now

Back to work this morning after a long weekend. Funny how "long weekends" always feel too short. Ha ha! I had to shuffle this week's menu around a bit. Can't serve potatoes or cantaloupe if the produce man hasn't made a delivery yet. The children all got fed. I made sure of that.

One of the sweetest things at work is to hear last year's babies say my name. Little Charlie walked by on his way outside this afternoon, stopped when he saw me in the baby room, and said, "Hi, Martha."  (Oh, my heart!) It always catches me by surprise the first time they say it. And the babies, who gaze into our faces and smile. When I am struggling to smile, nothing brings relief like a hug from one of our little people.

We didn't have a big family picnic for the holiday weekend this time. All these changes are hard for my mind and emotions to handle. I keep thinking someone will pick up the slack when it comes to these occasions... but really I need to adjust my own thought patterns.

Learning and growing are hard. I'm working on that 4th step. The one that talks about a making a "searching and fearless moral inventory." I need to remember, while searching our my flaws and foibles, that God has also woven into my character strengths and talents. If I fail to do so life can feel to big to carry. But the little ones. The little ones who climb into my arms and wrap themselves around my heart.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Barn Collective

Two of the barns I pass each day on my way to work and home again. One barn is old and weathered, ignored and unused. It always catches my eye. I'm sure it sheltered a herd of cows in days gone by. Maybe it still does and I just haven't been looking close enough.

The second looks like someone's little piece of "Heaven on Earth." I often admire it from a distance as I travel home at night, planning to one day stop and take a picture. I finally did.

Come visit Tom and the rest of us at The Barn Collective. We're having a Ho-Down!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bits and Pieces

The weeks fly by...

* I'm going bananas at work. There are way too many of them. They're ripening before the kids eat them, and I can only make so many batches of banana bread. (We're out of flour... and freezer space.) There was half a case left yesterday and more bananas will arrive on Tuesday, so I brought a dozen home. Maybe we'll have banana bread here.

* I went to the pottery studio Thursday evening and found my friend Ginger from my winter class. She was there last Thursday too. A smiling face and words of encouragement mean so much. I thought maybe we could encourage each other. This week I trimmed two bowls, glazed two bowls, and brought two bowls home. The fluted one has an "S" crack on the bottom but it's pretty as long as it isn't turned over. One day I'll buy a Dremel tool and some grinding bits to soften sharp edges.

* Mornings have been gorgeous this week. It's a lovely time of year and I am tempted to stop for photos along the way to work... Mostly I soak in every bit of beauty I see and tuck it away in my mind instead. Occasionally I grab a photo on my way to the car. Yes, I even love the water tanks. They're old friends.

* Speaking of old friends, I learned someone close to me, who always believed he had dual citizenship, may not be an American after all. It appears US military bases are not "American soil" and his report of birth abroad does not have the raised seal of the American Consulate. I'm not sure how one can live an entire lifetime never being made aware of this, but I'm sure he's not alone in the quandary. A recent passport application revealed his paperwork wasn't in order. That's cool. (Not.) Now he's suddenly a Canadian without a Canadian birth certificate in hand, and maybe an illegal alien? Life is full of surprises.

* I'm having a lazy morning. Still in bed but needing to get up and get the day started. This is a rare luxury in a presently busy life so I'm soaking it in a little.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Posts have been sparse lately... I miss the years of posting daily. It's not that nothing happens, but by the time I get home I'm too tired to remember the interesting ones. Perhaps if I had one of those fancy, schmancy smart phones I'd be posting on my lunch hour, but I have a not so very fancy flip phone instead. It doesn't have an internet connection, but the price is right and it keeps me out of trouble.

I spend most lunch breaks in my car. Sometimes I listen to the radio. Often I take a nap, which is why I have a handy, dandy little alarm clock in my vehicle. Since my camera was along for the ride today, I took a picture of the lunch hour scenery. The playground was quiet because the little darlings were resting.

It's been another emotional week. Not entirely sure what's throwing me off (though I have an idea or two), but it seems everyone at work is struggling this week. No one was here when I got home this evening so I called my sister to see if she might be going for a walk this evening. She invited me for salad and a burger, and then we took a nice long walk around the neighborhood. I am grateful for her friendship as it keeps me from isolating, which is very bad to do if one is struggling emotionally. I think I shall visit the pottery studio tomorrow and find my friend Ginger.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Apple Blossom Parade 2018

This weekend included a bit of rain and a parade. It's Apple Blossom time at home...

I'm still finding it fascination to sit where the parade comes down the street directly across from where we're sitting and then turns in front of us. Especially interesting are the Towpath Volunteers. The happy character in the yellow belt is my grandson, Number 2. We were a scraggly looking bunch out there. Ha ha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

This Week

Not much has been happening outside of work, but that's okay right now. After drinking an early evening cup of coffee followed by an ice cream sundae (with strawberries, hot fudge, peanuts, Reece's chocolate.peanut butter shell, Cool Whip, with a cherry on top), it's no surprise I was awake past midnight on Sunday and into Monday morning. Now I'm playing catch-up and endeavoring to turn the light and computer off by 10:30 pm.

I've had some incredibly awesome hugs from little people this week. Some of those children wrap their little arms around my neck, their chubby little legs around my waist, and hang on for all they're worth. Yeah. It's absolutely wonderful. That's why I go back day after day. For the hugs. Of course, I wouldn't get near so many if I hadn't invested in them in the first place. I hug those babies until they're big enough to hug back, and then I hug them some more. It's a pretty great job.

Oh yeah!I had some great news yesterday. Grandbaby Number 11 is on the way! Due in November. In Minnesota. I'd heard about the pregnancy way back at my birthday in March, but there was no public announcement until yesterday. We are still praying for the safe arrival of this new little one as we breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice in a healthy pregnancy. I might have to take a little vacation toward the end of the year...

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

I had a secret fear this Mother's Day. An irrational fear perhaps. I tried to squelch the feelings, but, instead they it left me feeling impatient and short tempered as the day grew closer.

My own mother is not here to celebrate the day. That in itself might leave me teary, but what was really eating away at my emotions was the underlying fear that my own children might let Mother's Day slide by without taking a little bit of time to remember how much I love and care for each one of them. I know they are busy with their own lives. I know some of them are mothers, are married to mothers, or have mothers in law to visit. I get that. Perhaps that is what made me insecure and impatient, because I desperately want to know that as much as I want to be here for each one of them, I need to know they are there for me too. They didn't disappoint me. I heard from each and every one, a couple through Facebook, a few who visited, and one who couldn't be here but called me on the phone. I am eternally grateful for each sweet soul who calls me "Mom." What would I ever do without them?

The Barn Collective

My daughter and I took a drive down through the hills between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. Part of what Tom calls "Barn Heaven." I couldn't pass this up without stopping for a picture. Talk about a barn! Wow!!!

What a gorgeous drive, even though the day was gray and overcast. I could have stopped over and over again, but we had a destination in mind and needed to get there before supper time. :0)

Visit the Barn Collective and have a cup of tea for Mother's Day. Hope yours is happy.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Date With My Daughter

Last Sunday after church I found a note in my Facebook messages. It was a personal invitation to the First Annual Finger Lakes Pottery Tour near Ithaca, NY. It was relatively short notice on a busy kind of weekend, but I didn't have any plans for Saturday. After thinking about it for a few days, I shot my eldest daughter a message of my own. I sent a copy of the invite while admitting that she was probably already busy... I was pleasantly surprised when she accepted my offer of a day trip.

Trumansburg is about  2 hours away. We'd hoped for a bright sunny day for our outing, but we got a gray and dreary day instead. On top of that it was cold and we hadn't bothered to wear warm jackets. Refusing to allow rain and chills to dampen our spirits, we determined to enjoy our day together. And we did. Thoroughly.

We found our potter friend dressed for the weather and smiling. Although she'd sent the invitation, she was still surprised to see us there. Once upon a time, more than 20 years ago, she was my daughter's best friend. Not only were they friends as little girls, but they share the exact same birthday. It was so fun to witness their reunion.

We mulled over the pottery, mostly hers, and each of us chose a mug as a treasure to take home. We planned to buy one for each other, but Hannah had a different plan. "I'd like to gift them to you," she said. We were speechless for a second, but in the end we accepted her kind offer, and then picked out something else to buy ourselves.

It was a beautiful day in spite of the weather. Not only did Bethany reconnect with her old friend, but I saw two of my friends from the pottery studio, and we stopped to look at a waterfall or two before heading back through "Barn Heaven" toward home.

I hope we can go back again one day this summer when the weather is warm and sunny so we can meander about some more. 

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Weekend's End

It's Sunday evening and the house is mostly quiet. I'm doing laundry and just a minute or two ago heard a small animal scamper across the roof above my head. Probably a squirrel. In years gone by a cat would stare into the back dormer and meow, or crawl onto the edge of the open window over the driveway and ask to come inside. No cats live here now.

Weather wise it's been a gorgeous weekend. Emotionally, I am drained. If it were possible, I'd pluck myself from this present life and drop myself into a different one, one without so many hurts and questions. There would be different pains in a different life, but maybe the answers would be clearer... Then again, maybe not.
(old photo alert)
I am hurting. I am angry. I feel helpless. I hate being hurt. I hate seeing others hurt. I hate feeling like I am hurting those I love. I miss my kids, my grandchildren, and my home. I miss my cats, my chickens, and the apple orchard. I miss the Barefoot Lumberjack. I miss having a general sense of where life was taking me. Instead there are no easy answers and I am exhausted looking for them.

I have a warm and cozy place to live, but it is just an attic bedroom. I have a job that provides for me, but the little arms around my neck are not those of my grandchildren. I have friends, but I don't know who to call when I am alone. My mom in law doesn't answer my messages and my own parents are gone. I am more than blessed, but I am still lonely, and we are far from having worked through our difficulties. God is here and He provides, but today I couldn't help but think of a story I heard years ago. It relates, in a small way, to my perspective of where we are.  I know the Cabinetmaker doesn't share my view, and that is okay because I have  my own things to work through. I am doing so in the best way I know and God hears my cry. I know He's listening, holding me, and taking me where He wants me to be. I trust Him, but I still ache and that ache leaves me tired and emotionally drained. I am looking forward to little arms around my neck tomorrow. Those little ones put back into my soul what gives me life and hope.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Cinco De Mayo

This morning we met Laura for breakfast. No food pictures, just one of us smiling.

I made a quick visit to the pottery studio. It was good that I went today, but I'm considering freeing up my Saturdays and making semi regular evening visits once or twice a week while the weather is nice. Today I flopped two bowls and glazed four others. I don't mind flopping a few. It's a good learning experience.

Took a walk with Rachel this afternoon and did a little shopping. I found a shirt at Old Navy that says "Keep Looking Up" on the front, so I bought it. :0) The evening I took a drive home to Williamson. The chicken flock is quite thin. We are down to two. Although they are few in number, the coop needed to be cleaned, so The Cabinetmaker and I found some shovels and a wheelbarrow and set to work. Tomorrow the girls will be blessed with clean straw. For tonight they are blessed with a clean floor. Since he's been out of town and has nothing but eggs in the house, we went to Yia Yia's for dinner. (We had ice cream.)