Friday, October 21, 2016

Clouds and Thick Darkness

A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Zephaniah  1:15b

Taken out of context, just for today. Because it is dark, gloomy, and raining buckets. A perfectly splendid day to stay inside, curled up under a blanket with a good book (or a computer), a hot drink, and a cat or two. 

However, I've already been to Webster and back. Saw my favorite chiropractor, stopped at the store on the way home, and am now enjoying the smell of chicken roasting in my oven. It's a good day for chicken soup, I think, and so that is my plan. It probably won't go together until after our visit to my brother Tim, but at least I have a plan, which is more than I can say for most nights lately

"It's a good day to be a duck." That's what my mother would say. I'm not sure how the chickens feel about all this rain, but I did let them out to wander about under the shed roof of the barn. Maybe they'll find some fat, juicy worms.

It's about time to winterize the coop, I guess. I'm thankful it's already somewhat protected by being built under the back portion of the barn. Now for some cardboard insulation along the exposed sides, a heat lamp water heater, and some extra straw. Maybe even a heat lamp up inside the nesting box area. And maybe I should locate my snow boots in case I have to ford a blizzard to get down there once the snow starts falling. Shoot! Today I'm thinking a pair of hip-waders might come in handy too.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Well, that was one extremely long, loud day. I guess we all have our breaking point and today mine was exceeded. Thankfully, the quiet has settled back in, I have managed to pull my living room back into some semblance of order, and have a chance to sit down before running out later tonight. (Insert heavy sigh here.)

The end of October is fast approaching and our trees are finally beginning to blush and shed their leaves. My youngest daughter is due to have her first child in a week, October 27, so we will very soon be welcoming another grandson into our lives. I am both nervous and excited. The thought of my girls going through labor and delivery is always scary, but I am looking forward to snuggling a new little bundle in my arms. Hurry up, Number Nine!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Marching Band, Grandpa, and a Parade

I don't like posting from work but it's quiet at the moment and I have the time. It was hard to be here yesterday when it was so very gorgeous outside, but I was blessed by the opportunity to take my friend out in the courtyard to soak up some sunshine and breathe the fresh air. There are plenty of others who had to stay in all day, so I  am thankful.

While enjoying the weather we were serenaded by a marching band in the auditorium. The volume outside was perfect. Not too loud and not too quiet. We both enjoyed the concert. At one point G. leaned forward and called softly, "Grandpa.... Grandpa..."

Not knowing exactly how to respond, but thinking that grandpa's are often tired, I responded with, "I think Grandpa's sleeping." It seemed to satisfy her at the moment. A little while later she told me she wanted to go see if we could find Grandpa in (or at) the parade and her looking for him made better sense.

Late in the afternoon, when we were back inside, we had a visit from an adorable Cairn Terrier puppy who sat on G's lap and gave her kisses. It turned out to be a good day.

Today I managed to lock the key to my vehicle inside on the floor of the passenger side where I'd apparently dropped it.. No chiropractor appointment for me this morning. I was only a half hour late to work, thanks to the diligent efforts of James, who left work and came to my rescue. I'll have to reschedule the appointment, I guess.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Slumped Over

It isn't that nothing is going on, it's just that my words are at a bottleneck. The thoughts are bouncing, but not flowing out in an orderly fashion...

My sister Rachel and I went out photo hunting on Friday afternoon. We started off at Webster Park but didn't find ourselves overly impressed.

 There still wasn't much color up close to Lake Ontario last weekend, but it should be looking gorgeous by this next one.

We ended up at Mount Hope Cemetery where the leaves were mostly green and still holding fast to their moorings.

On our way back toward home we took a detour to Corbett's Glen.

I walked about my own yard late Friday afternoon and found a bit of color popping out on the sassafras trees. I also found The Grandfather's wooden cart left out at the corner of the orchard by a mischievous child or two. By the look of the cement blocks they'd collected, I'd say they were planning some type of construction project.

Apples. Autumn doesn't happen here without apples. The trees are still loaded and there is music in the orchard.

We had The Trio for a few hours yesterday afternoon, so we  loaded them up and took them to the fish hatchery in Powder Mills Park.  For a quarter they got a handful of fish food and the excitement of feeding some brown trout.

After we ran out of quarters (not really) we took them over to Power's Farm Market to run through their totally awesome cornstalk tepee, look at the animals, long for a wagon ride but not get one, and eat a yummy pumpkin fried cake. It was a good afternoon.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Seven is Two

Happy Birthday, Number Seven! 

Now you are two. Every year goes by faster than the one before. In no time at all you will be a big brother. Can't wait for you birthday party next weekend. It's gonna be great!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


My walking partner, actually my sister Rachel, and I have differing schedules and so we have not been walking together lately. Yesterday I left home early and walked around Central Park of Webster (better known as North Ponds) by myself. Two laps = two miles. I didn't have time for three.

The colors are slow to change this year and many trees remain green. Not sure if that's good, bad, or indifferent, but that's the way it is. We probably won't get a chance to rake the leaves into great fluffy piles before the snow flies, but it isn't the first time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I'm not sure if we're already "broken" when we come into this world. I know we're flawed and sinful, but brokenness, I think, comes along the way. I've heard it said unless one experiences pain, it is literally impossible to empathize with those who are hurting. In many respects, our brokenness is a gift.

"We are all broken, that's how the light gets in."

We must be broken in some aspect in order for the Light to shine through to the emptiness that so often exists on our inside. How would we know we were empty unless the Light shined in to show us? And what good is a dark and empty room?

"Light only shines through broken vessels."

Sometimes the Light shines through to the inside, showing a need, and sometimes it shines from the inside, through the cracks, lighting up not only the inside of the individual carrying the flame, but the entire room as well... In either case brokenness is essential.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lunch in Buffalo

Yesterday I took a ride to meet my friend Patricia for lunch. I drove from Rochester to Buffalo, she drove from Erie, PA to Buffalo, and we met up at Cracker Barrel which is a very nice place for lunch. (They have fried okra...)

It was a beautiful day, a nice lunch, and a wonderful meeting. Since I had all afternoon, and she would be meeting her brother later, we took a little stroll through a nearby Salvation Army Store and a walk about the incredible sculptures outside The Garden Place Hotel just off Thu-way Exit 49 near the Buffalo Airport. Wow! Pretty impressive.

I loved "Lunch on Top of a Skyscraper" as much as I loved the statues of the children playing and took a bazillion pictures. (Please forgive another rash of photos.)

One of the residents at the nursing home where I sit was a former steel worker. I'll have to ask his wife if he ever ate lunch on top of a skyscraper.

Loved the boots, especially the pair with holes in the bottom.

Looks like a game of Follow the Leader...

 Love the detail!

Giving little sister a boost, I think. Reminds me of when we would pick up our own baby sister.
I hope he doesn't drop her.

 Toy airplane. Remember when all the noise and motion came from us? No mechanical parts or batteries?

Even though they're all metal and fiberglass, these kids were having a great time. Almost makes me want to go play in the woods. Okay, it really does.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Pie Making Day!

I really should open a bakery, even if it's a seasonal adventure.

Beth and Adam came over with the kids this afternoon and after eating lunch together, Beth and I set up baking in the kitchen. We put together six apple pies, a far cry from our record of 18 six years ago, but an accomplishment none the less.

I love apple pie, but I've learned through the years that apple pie packs on the pounds, so I'm trying to go easy on my pie consumption. I ate a tiny piece of the pointed end and a small spoonful of ice cream. It was scrumptious!

Tomorrow I will pack up my extra pies and make a few special deliveries. I'm pretty sure I can find them all a home.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Coq au Vin

Goofy rooster!

I let the chickens out to wander the yard before we left on our Adventure Thursday morning and they continued their roaming after our return. On one of my trips back outside to retrieve belongings from my van, that silly rooster decided to follow me onto the back porch and threaten my existence. (He really is an idiot...) He was between me and the picnic table when he jumped off the ground, puffed up his feathers, and made a fool of himself. I plucked a small log from the woodpile outside the back door and turned to face him. He took one look at the chunk of wood in my hand and hopped into the air again. This time in an effort to get off of the porch and away from me as quickly as possible. Ha ha! I'm not sure why he runs from the guys and thinks I'm an easy target. He obviously doesn't know who owns the soup pot.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Grand(kid) Adventure

Yesterday was wildly successful!

We didn't go on many field trips this summer, but after pending the lovely days of Tuesday and Wednesday cooped up inside the nursing home with my friend, I knew I couldn't spend another gorgeous summer-like day inside. We had to go out and I knew just where. The Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds Park! I filled seven ziplock bags with sunflower seeds and we set off on a Grand(kid) Adventure. Uncle Joe came along and we met Aunt Bethany on the way.

There is nothing in all the world quite like the tiny claws of a small song bird clutching one's finger, except perhaps the first moment they fly directly toward one's face en route to the fingertips.

I am incredibly blessed each and every time I am able to share this experience with someone I love and I was not disappointed yesterday. These kids are hooked!

I'd originally intended to walk the trail, but after two hours we'd barely stepped out on the trail. If walking isn't your thing, the birds don't mind meeting you at the starting point. (This is Bethany.)

One of our nature lovers... Grandchild Number Two. I had no doubt this child would be enthralled and I was right.

I was unsure how Simon would respond. I knew he would love the adventure of being in the woods, but I wasn't certain if he would be patient and quiet enough to entice a bird into his hand, but the birds were very cooperative yesterday and he caught the "bug" too. He was just as pleased to have a bird land on his fingers as his brother and sister.

And then I have a nature lover of my own. Bugs, birds, and history. Joe could have stayed all day and we almost did. We arrived at noon and didn't go home until 3:30 pm.

It was so much fun and so satisfying that I'm almost ready for winter. But not quite.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Planning an Adventure

I spent the last two gorgeous sunny days sitting inside with my friend at work. Tomorrow is forecast to be an equally beautiful day. I'm planning an adventure with my trio of grandchildren; an outing to feed the birds. I'm hoping at least one of them will be patient enough to entice a chickadee to eat out of his/her hand.

Wish me luck tomorrow, because unless I find an available friend, it's looking like I'll be at it alone. If all else fails we'll have a nice walk in the woods and maybe we'll discover where the wood fairies live. Could be an interesting day...

American Adventure

Remember the car show I went to a couple weeks ago?  (this one) Well, the organizer and owner of East Coast Hot Rod is a friend and he, along with another friend, are on an American Adventure. I don't know much about the race but John and Alan have participated for several years now. The other day my husband made a donation so John could upgrade to a different car, and we somehow got named as THE sponsor. Hey, that's cool.

So, John brought the car over to show us on Sunday afternoon. James got a ride, but I was content to just take pictures. Nice, eh?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

A Battle Lost

It's one of those sad kind of weeks. There will be two funerals, one for our friend Doug and one for the 21 year old daughter of a friend and former church member. DeAnna was in the teen group at church with my two youngest children. Heroine stole her away much too young.

It's been a years long fight for this young woman, and not a secret struggle. She'd been to rehab, had long stints of being clean, and relapses. She'd made at least two narrow escapes. In the end the monster of drug addiction won the battle for her life. She wasn't any older than Hannah.

Please pray for the family left behind, her parents and an older sister. I can only imagine the ache inside.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Hearing His Voice

Yesterday Rachel and I went to feed the chickadees and take pictures on the Bird Song Trail at Mendon Ponds. Today we went to a women's conference at her church.

It feels like it's been a long time since I heard God talking to me. I often know what I should be hearing and sometimes I know what I should be doing, but actually "hearing" Him speak? That hasn't happened in quite some time. Until today. I heard Him today. And I realized I've been hearing him before today too, I just wasn't certain exactly what He was saying.

Each morning I check my "On This Day" app on Facebook. It was a quick check this morning. Just a few minutes to see this post from six years ago. "The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong.... We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength." -Oswald Chambers.  I considered sharing, but I was in a hurry and I didn't. I was amazed to hear one of the speakers read the entire devotional when she shared. Had the part about "descending the mountain" not caught my attention earlier, I'd have missed hearing it altogether.

Then there was my sister, who leaned over and whispered something about the painful experiences of life changing us for the better. And she hadn't read my blog from yesterday... The first two speakers had both faced the terribly painful life experience of losing a child. The agony of loss and the faithfulness of Christ had brought them out today to share the gift of hope with the rest of us. Grief has left these gentle mothers soft and tender. (Angie Smith, and Mindy Sauer)

Perhaps not finally, I also heard God's still soft voice in the mention of Romans 8:37, which I had left in response to a friend's request for a favorite scripture verse just yesterday. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

I should have taken notes at the conference today, but I was too busy listening, wiping tears from my eyes, and trying to tuck some treasures away in my heart. I'm sure there are pieces I missed or have already forgotten, but I also know that God repeats Himself more than once when He wants us to hear His voice. I'm already wondering what He'll have to say tomorrow.

Friday, September 30, 2016


As September slips away, I am once again grateful, not only for all it has given, but that which it has taken as well, because in the losing there is often great gain.

My heart is fuller for the gift of children. September made me a mom, blessed me with two beautiful grandchildren, and gave me a second son in law.

September left us grieving us on 9-11, and my heart aching as it ushered my dad into eternity in 2009. It also left it softer and more tender. More aware.

How does a heart that has never grieved find compassion for the hurting? How does a soul who has never been ill find love and understanding for those who are sick?

September has brought both heartache and pain, and joy and gladness, and I am forever grateful.

Farewell to another sweet September...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pretty Stones and Apple Pies

I wasn't entirely sure I wanted a gray and drizzly day, but it turned out to be a good one in spite of the lack of sunshine and blue skies. I got up just a little late, but Uncle Joe and Grandpa were downstairs to keep an eye on The Trio while I took a quick shower. While I sipped my morning brew and scrolled Facebook, I made the wonderful discovery that today is National Coffee Day. What could be better on a gray autumn day than coffee? Pie, maybe?

I sent the kids out to find "pretty stones" in the driveway and they returned a little while later with pockets bulging. They didn't know I'd purchased two lovely bags of polished rocks from the Dollar Tree and scattered them about on Saturday afternoon. They were quite delighted by their find and spent a bit of time sitting at the table sorting and classifying. A successful plan implemented. I must remember this trick next summer.

While the grandkids looked at their treasures, I started about baking. First a loaf of banana bread. Aubrey opted to help. She wore an apron, chopped walnuts, and stirred the batter. Once the bread was in the oven, I started on pies. "What do you love doing so much you'd do it for free?" (A line from a movie we recently watched.) Perhaps my answer is baking pies. I was blessed to discover my apple peeler/corer/slicer hiding in the cabinet with my pots and pans. It made short work of what is the longest, most tedious part of apple pies, and the kids loved eating the "apple ropes" that piled up on the table when I turned the crank.

There are now five apple pies cooling on the counter, just waiting for someone to love them. At least two have homes (well, three if I count the one that's staying here... ) and I am conjuring up recipients for the others