Monday, December 10, 2018

Hard Work

Some days I get to spend time with a few of my favorite little friends, and other days I just miss them. It's not because they aren't there, more than likely it's just because we don't end up in the same classroom at the same time. Missed my friend Jonah today, although he did make a brave effort to climb over the gate. (He knows I love him... Maybe Wednesday.)

My friend Parker was just getting ready to go home when I showed up in the infant room doorway. I felt a little bad for his daddy. Parker was pretty sure he needed to snuggle with me instead of go home. Ha ha! (And I get paid for this!)

Lunch was not well received. Most of it went into the trash. Spanish Rice with ground turkey is okay, but they really don't like it with chunks of white chicken breast. The tomatoes throw it all off. Today I stirred grated cheddar cheese into it, called it Cheesy Chicken and Rice, and hoped it would go over better. It didn't. I don't write the menu, I only implement it.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Barn Collective

Back in June I shared a special barn, one with a John Deere Green love letter painted on its white doors. It was in very poor condition, which was terribly apparent when I walked around the back side. Becky's youngest daughter prayed the old barn would be standing at her September wedding, and it was. Maybe it felt like a piece of her daddy remained...

But last Sunday afternoon the old barn heaved a heavy sigh, groaned, and collapsed. My dear friend Becky posted a picture on Facebook. "So the day has come.....and there was a great rumbling. And yes. She’s down. And yes I am crying."

I hate to end on a sad note, so I give you a peek at happier days, a picture of Becky and Al together and smiling. He's been gone for almost 14 years. Cancer took him, but Becky's love remains. I have to believe that someone will help her rescue those beautiful doors from the wreckage and when they do I'll post another update.

Visit the Barn Collective at Tom's. See you there.


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Bits and Pieces

Where do I start?

*  I burned a tray English muffin pizzas at work on Monday. Thought I'd turned the broiler off... Nope. A little plume of smoke was coming out of the vented back burner. Oops. Thankfully no alarms went off and I had an extra tray of pizzas waiting. Ha ha!

*  I stopped at the pottery studio on Tuesday and cut some slabs for another music box. On Thursday evening I put them together. Today I returned to put on a few finishing touches. Sometimes I run into friends. Today I saw my friend Myung who was in the hand building class I took the summer of 2017.

*  Friday afternoon I attempted to take care of some business at the DMV, but I messed up a vital document which must now be replaced before any action can be taken. I had everything necessary and still managed to make it a seeming wasted trip, and like many other DMV visits, I left wanting to cry. I also left wanting to berate myself for my stupidity. Instead I took it as an opportunity to "be kind to Martha." It wasn't intentional and everyone makes mistakes. I am still driving a legal vehicle. It's okay.

* My Monday night step study has finally reached Step Four, the searching and fearless moral inventory. We need to find accountability partners/ a sponsor... It's part of the process to find and ask someone to be those helpers and I find it impossibly difficult. I am ever so grateful for those who have stopped to think of me this week and send a note of encouragement my way. The finding of a sponsor may prove more difficult than the actual inventory, but I am looking.

*  Life is a continual day to day challenge. I work long days and endure too many sleepless nights. I am a mom with a broken heart, broken times seven, for each and every one of my children who are struggling. I pray they are able to take the pain in their hearts and lives and lay it at the feet of the only One who can heal their brokenness. I pray one day we all come out on the other side better than we are today.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Little Arms

It been a healing week of hugging little ones, and God hugs me back with the arms of small children. When little arms are wrapped around my neck I feel Him loving me.

I had time this week to sit with my toddler friends. Our infant numbers were low and so staff was been shuffled to keep the center running smoothly. The wonderful thing about the toddler room is these children were our babies not so long ago. They are used to climbing into my arms and they already know I love them. Sometimes they cry when I leave the room. (Breaks my heart!)

I've said it before, "Life is complicated," and it's true. I was telling a friend that I often wish I could go back in time and do things differently. They responded with, "You'd just have different problems." My friend is right. The best I can do is to let my experiences, good and bad, be teachers. I can grow through the pain, and hopefully one day use what I learn to help and encourage someone else, because even the toughest of problems aren't totally unique to me. There is always someone in a similar situation who needs a listening ear, and perhaps a shoulder to cry on.

I am learning and growing. It may be painful, but I know I will be okay. I have not been left alone, because Jesus isn't like that. He promised to be here always, and He is. He is with me. My biggest fears and heartaches are always for my children. I can't fix their brokenness or heal their wounds. I can't take away their pain or make the way forward easy, but I can cheer them on. I can set an example, and I can always, always love them. Sometimes that's all we really need, to be loved and encouraged.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Advent

I am certain the church we attended when I was a very little girl was one that celebrated Advent, the time leading up to Christmas. There was an aura of excitement surrounding the impending birth of the Christ child, one I haven't yet been able to recapture as an adult. Maybe because somewhere along the way we forgot to observe the preparation.

Last year I found some Advent calendars on clearance and was thrilled to find they weren't filled with cheap chocolate that would melt or go bad before the season came around again. We're three days in and I just opened my own. (I gave several others to my kids with kids.) I may not be keeping up like I intended, but I'm making progress.

Each little compartment in this calendar holds a tiny book, a piece of the Christmas story, and each one is an ornament as well. (How fun is that?) Maybe tomorrow I'll hang the first few on my little tree.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Barn Collective

 I'm cheating today. I found the link to this great story on Facebook just this evening. It's found on  John Kucko Digital (that's "cutch-ko"). Apparently he showcases an area farm or barn each Friday. (Who knew?) Very fascinating. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing.

November 28- "End of an Era: Happening right now—this 1890 barn is being leveled due to very poor condition. I have driven by this place here in WNY every day for the last 27 years. Something told me to stop on my way into work and actually take a few winter images. I was stunned to see guys tearing the barn down, had no idea this was going on. The property was recently in foreclosure and the new owner was told by the bank that the dilapidated barn had to be down by this Friday. Among the beautiful finds here—a stunning indoor wood silo (bottom right) which the owner will try and salvage. The stone foundation will be saved and a new barn will be built here, using a small portion of the wood from the old barn. This was a dairy farm in Penfield, NY back in the day and the barn had been neglected for decades. One can imagine how spectacular this was back in the late 1800’s. It’s sad to see this and makes me appreciate, even more, the barns of that era that remain intact."

November 29- "End of an Era (Part II): Happening now, this 1890 barn in Penfield, NY is being leveled due to major deterioration over the last few decades. First posted about this yesterday and heard from many of you. As you can see, much work has been done in the last 24 hours with more to go. The new owner acquired the foreclosed property and was told by the bank that the barn had to be gone by tomorrow. I have driven by this, once grand, dairy barn every day for the last 27 years and can vouch for how poor the condition was, a gaping hole in the roof for years didn’t help matters. The owner will re-purpose as much of the original wood as he can as he builds a new barn in the same spot, the stone foundation will remain. A hidden gem was discovered inside the structure that’s still standing, a wood silo which will be saved (will do separate post on silo, it’s amazing). It’s a sad reality with these barns when they’re ignored for years and, as noted yesterday, makes me appreciate—even more—the old barns still standing with their integrity intact."

November 29- "End of an Era (Part III): An absolutely amazing find in this 1890 barn here in WNY that is being leveled due to deterioration. Inside, a wooden silo was discovered—these are very rare anymore. I have talked with two local farmers, whose farms have been around for a combined 300 years, and both tell me this is extremely unusual. This silo was likely last used anywhere from 50-60 years ago, maybe longer. The silo had straw in it, which ended up preserving the wood—taking the moisture out of it. It was completely inside the barn structure, never visible from the outside. As noted in previous posts, this barn was once a dairy farm back in the day. The new owner took possession of this foreclosed property in Penfield, NY and will save the silo, sparing it from destruction. He is determined to salvage as much wood from the original barn as possible and use it to build a new barn on the original stone foundation. Per orders from the bank, the barn had to be taken down by the end of this week. I can attest that it was in awful shape, likely beyond repair. Amidst the rubble, a gem was unearthed and this silo will survive...and thrive. Very cool!"

Don't forget to stop by and visit Tom at The Barn Collective.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Work, Snow, and Deer on the Highway

I thoroughly enjoyed the long Thanksgiving holiday. It was a true long weekend and a much needed break from my usual daily routine. It was also good to get back to work again.

I'm not entirely sure when things just clicked into place for me, but sometime in the past year I began to feel much more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not fearful and uneasy at my job, and I get along, for the most part, with my coworkers. Some better than others, of course. And the little people look for me every day, even the naughty ones.

I talked with my son Jim in Minnesota on my lunch break Wednesday. I wanted to hear his voice and ask him about the new baby and so I called him. After I hung up I got the crazy idea to tell my boss I'd decided to go to Minnesota next week. I went in her office and said, "I decided to go to Minnesota next week." She knew I had a new grandbaby. She was also reeling from several lost employees. It was a terrible time for me to be asking for a vacation and I knew that. She stared at me but her expression never changed. I waited for her to say something, but only for a few seconds. I didn't really want to torment her... Ha ha! "Not really," I told her, "I'm not really going to Minnesota." She looked absolutely relieved and then said, "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO? GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK!?"

Wednesday morning brought a cute little snowstorm. Driving was just slightly treacherous. I drove slow and careful, and wouldn't you know it? Two deer ran out in front of me as I was making my way down a dark, snowy road. They are some crazy animals! I breathed a sigh of relief as they ran off into the woods.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Welcome to the World, Number 11

He made his arrival last evening. I'm not sure what time it was, but his daddy replied to my inquiring text with, "He's here!" That's all I wanted to know before I closed my eyes for the night. My little grandson was safely nestled in his parents' arms. I'd prayed all day long and my prayer had been answered.

Parker. His name is Parker. I have to post borrowed photos, beautiful borrowed photos, because he is too far away for me to visit right now. I am thankful for this internet connection that allows me to share in the celebration of his arrival. I heard my son cried. They waited so long and tried so hard for this child. Three tiny angels wait for them in heaven... and this little one is here. We are incredibly blessed! I can hardly wait until spring.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thinking Different

It's been an emotional day. They come in waves and today it just washed over me. I savored baby hugs and remembered to be grateful for the little ones who grace my days, and clothing, with slobbery kisses, boogers, and spit-up. Oh, the little arms wrapped around me and the little heads upon my shoulder! Such a healing balm!

I rearranged my room over vacation. The spindly headboard prohibited me from pushing the bed against the wall, and so I decided to think a little differently. I pulled the mattress off on the floor, took the frame apart, and turned the bed around. Once it was headed the opposite direction, I hauled the mattress back onto the frame. Now I can have the bed closer to the wall, and while the headboard is now the footboard, I'm liking the arrangement. It kind of cozy-like.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Night

It's Sunday night. I'd intended to visit the pottery studio today, but once I got home after church, I did not venture out again. It's been a nice long weekend and I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow. Back to my little friends. My friend Jojo is already looking for me. When his mommy told him tomorrow is a school day, he said my name "clear as day," she said. I do love that little guy!

I've had fun building marble chutes with Number Nine the past couple days. They aren't terribly stable, and the marbles are plastic, but they're still fun. I could sit and watch for  a very long time, especially if the marbles are glass. An old fashioned stress reliever of sorts. Maybe I need one in my bedroom, just for those desperate moments when I need a bit of "marble therapy." Ha ha!

And here is the wreath Tom and I made yesterday. It's brightening up our garage door and looking festive. I searched Hobby Lobby for a hanger yesterday and just missed the display by giving up and turning down another aisle. I wandered the store picking up several thing I didn't need and finally asked a young, handsome employee who was more than happy to help. (Thanks, Kyle.)

The Barn Collective

Sometimes I take Tom's advice and have my camera along for the ride. Two autumn barns, the first one the way home to Williamson a several weeks ago, and the other on my way back to Webster after church. Love the barns, love the colors!



Winter is settling in. Here's hoping for a few good weekends, camera in hand, to catch a few great winter barn photos.

Come on over to Tom's and have a cup of tea.

(Tom, I really had no idea what your place looked like when I invited everyone over for the barn dance. I was just having fun. Thank you for giving me a bit of your time yesterday, the wreath is beautiful!, and for all you words of encouragement and gentle rebukes these past couple of years. )

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving. Last night I made pumpkin pies... I stirred up our favorite pumpkin custard filling and poured it into frozen store bought shells. It felt a little like cheating, but the effort didn't generate undue stress and the result is quite tasty. I know this because I had a slice of pie for breakfast this morning, along with a nice little cup of coffee. (I'm trying the Oreo creamer...)

This will go down as "The Year Without Salads." as for some strange and suspicious reason the entire country has been advised to trash any and all Romaine lettuce. Is this some kind of secret, concerted effort to shut down the salad industry? Is every lettuce leaf contaminated with e-coli? Is the iceberg variety launching a campaign? What will happen if I eat it anyway, and why do I need to disinfect my refrigerator? That lettuce is in a bag. Is this some kind of weird test to see just how much control the media has over our lives?  Who knows...

Bethany and Adam are hosting this year. It is sure to be delicious and I will need to find some salads to eat between now and the New Year. Oh, wait!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* Winter arrived rather abruptly. Rather than gentle flurries, we had a winter storm warning Thursday evening, and a handful of school closings on Friday. I wonder if this means we'll have a deep, white Christmas.

* Number 11 is still tucked safely inside. He isn't really due for another week so there's no hurry for him to get here before Thanksgiving.

* There were several things I wanted to do this weekend that I didn't get to do. One was to make a Christmas wreath with a blogger friend. It kills me when I have to cancel an outing, and I'm still disappointed in not being able to be there. :(

* I stopped at the pottery studio after church this morning and found a couple of bowls on the glazed shelf. A few other projects are in the bisque kiln, and I hope to find them ready to glaze on Tuesday night. A piece of me wanted to hang out at the studio today, but another piece was not relaxed enough to sit, so I didn't stay.

* We are celebrating Thanksgiving at Bethany's house this year. I have to work Wednesday and so have opted to buy pie crusts and fill and bake them after work that evening. Trying to keep the stress level manageable...

* I'm ready to step into the Christmas season. My little tree is set up and lit, and I've collected up a few trinkets to pass along to my grandkids. Another attempt at keeping stress under control.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve

Seven, Nine, and Ten played together this evening. While Nine knows me well, I seldom see the other two. In spite of that, Little Number Ten did take a few minutes to sit on my lap for a bit of snuggling. I soaked it in, deep into my heart, because I want to remember the feeling of a small Number Ten in my arms.

Grandchild Eleven is due to arrive any day now. I am just waiting for the call. Another Minnesota grandson. I won't be there to witness his birth, visit him in the hospital, or hold him while he's newborn. It isn't likely I'll visit Minneapolis in the winter, but I am looking forward to spring and meeting this new grandson of mine. I am thankful for the internet and photographs, even though it isn't nearly the same as being there.

Number Twelve is on the way too. Our next grandbaby will make its arrival in early summer. I predict a girl because all family patterns will be shattered if it turns out to be a boy. This little one already has two big brothers, and our family pattern is boy, boy, girl. If that wasn't enough, we've established a bit of a grandchild pattern as well. So far it's gone like this- boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, boy, boy. So as you can plainly see, a girl is next in line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Snow


We woke up to snow covered roads and cars this morning. Good thing that snow brush/scraper was still between the back seats, because I needed it to clean all the snow off my vehicle and scrape the ice off the windshield. The roads were slick and I'm not entirely comfortable with my tires, but I managed to arrive at work on time and only did a little sliding in the circle of the parking lot.

I'm borrowing a picture tonight...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

*  It was an entirely too emotional weekend. It was also entirely too short.Weekends usually are too short. They are not always entirely too emotional.

* I set up my little Christmas tree on Sunday (or maybe it was Saturday...). Just because.

* I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I'm feeling very sleepy. I think the bitter, cold wind sucked all the energy right out of me.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Snow

I should have checked the forecast instead of leaving home without my sweatshirt layered under my jacket this morning. And I probably should start packing my gloves too.

Yesterday was not too bad...




But today was a little bit nippy. Pretty, but nippy. I decided to go back inside to the break room rather than shiver in my car.

Poo

 I have decided being mom to seven grown up kids is a harder job than being mom to seven not-grown-up kids. I keep misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misjudging actions and expectations. It never ends. It is, quite honestly, exhausting. Miscommunication is a lot like a pile of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk, the one never seen until it's too late. Hopefully I realize it's there before it gets tracked inside and is traced back to my shoes, but most likely I won't. Instead I'll be left feverishly attempting to get not only the stain, but also the stink, out of the carpet. Fun times. Not.

It's not the first time, just one in a never ending line.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Cookin'

This week I received a text from a former coworker telling me the daycare where she now works is looking for a cook. Apparently they are desperate to find one. They will pay up to $--/an hour which is a couple more dollars an hour than I am making now. The only problem is, I don't want a different job. I like the one I have.

A year and a half ago I was fearful and uncertain. I knew I loved working with children, but it was a strange, new environment. Not everyone was friendly and "official" daycare centers are run totally different than how I ran my little in-home daycare. So many rules and regulations to remember. So many records to keep. So many little faces. So many people watching and scrutinizing. I didn't apply at the center to be the cook, but God knew best, and guess who made the yummiest Curly Lasagna for lunch today?

Today I am comfortable at work. I spend up to 42 hours a week working there, plus 5 hours on lunch breaks, and another 5 hours driving there and home again. I look forward to seeing my little friends each day, and they look forward to seeing me. In an environment of almost constant change, I am now a constant, familiar face. I am making a difference one hug at a time and I'm not about to start all over again somewhere new, even if I do appreciate the offer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Into the Unknown...

I don't know exactly where I'm headed, but I know Who lights the path. It's not possible to see all the way down the road today because there are curves, hills, and obstacles blocking the view. I know that is intentional. Trusting God is about not being able to see too far ahead... and following anyway. It means following even when I know others will not understand, and even when I know they will misjudge me and my intentions. It means going where He leads even when it is hard and uncomfortable. It means I may not fully understand either.

When all is said and done, I pray my kids and grandkids will be able to trust my heart and the choices I am making. I pray they will know there are boundaries and consequences in life, and that upholding boundaries is often just as hard for the one upholding them. I pray we all remember that each of us reaps what we have sown. I pray they will know there is forgiveness, and deep and abiding love, even in the midst of pain and brokenness. I pray we will continue to heal as a family, because we are broken in so very many ways... And I pray the grace of God and his abiding love will shine through even in what feels like the darkest of days. I pray I do not let go of His Hand or wander from the path, and that He continues to carry me though times when I can't go on myself.

Life is fraught with pain, but there is also joy. I am thankful for those who have prayed, and continue to pray for each and every one of us. I am thankful for my new church and those who are loving and encouraging me, and I am thankful for our old church and those who surround the Cabinet Maker with love and prayers. I am thankful for my parents and their investment in our life, for the example they were, and the prayers they lifted heavenward for each of us. I am blessed and thankful that God loves me, James, and our children more than either of us ever could, and that He is with them, hearing our prayers and working on their behalf. I could wallow in regret over the past, but today I choose to be grateful for all the good in our lives rather than to focus on the ugly. I choose to let Jesus redeem what is broken in His time and His way, because His ways are better. Thank you to each and every one of you who is praying for us. We need those prayers more than you can imagine.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Can't Beat That!

It was crisp, cold, and sunny! A perfect autumn day. My friend Laura met me for church this morning and we went out to breakfast afterward. I had my favorite stuffed French toast at The Golden Boys diner and she had Eggs Benedict with home fries. It was a long, leisurely meal. Neither one of us was in a hurry and so we each just enjoyed the other's company and conversation.

After breakfast we donned our sneakers (tennis shoes) and warm jackets, and met Rachel for an autumn walk. I won't bother telling you how she said she'd meet us at Abraham Lincoln Park and then called to ask where we were when she was down the road at Lucien Morin Park... We decided to drive down the hill to the end of the bay and meet her there.

We climbed hills, walked the edge of small cliffs, and tripped over roots, taking in the beauty of late autumn with both eye and lens. I was surprised at how much energy I felt along the way. We'd walked quite a distance before deciding to turn around and go back the way we'd come, as the trail was not the looping kind.

The walk back was decidedly more strenuous, with more uphill climbs, and both Laura and I found ourselves talking less and breathing more. It was a wonderful afternoon. By the time I got home and sat on the couch for a bit, my eyes were heavy and all I wanted to do was tip over and close them for a bit. So I did.

The weekend is over already. Half of it was dark, dreary, and wet, but both days were full and satisfying. Tomorrow I will return to my job of loving little ones and doing my utmost to make their days a little brighter and a little yummier. And what do you know? It should be a tad lighter when I step out the door in the morning.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Just a Little More Rain

Still raining, at least most of the day. The fall colors are suddenly brilliant, albeit wet. Tomorrow is expected to be drier, but overcast. Overcast is good for pictures. Today was good too, as long as I stayed in the car.

For the second time in the past few months, I got up, showered, got ready, and headed off to the counselor only to realize, before going in the building, that my appointment wasn't until the following week. Silly me. Ah well, I was not embarrassed by actually going inside and waiting only to be told I wasn't in the computer.

I ran errands with Hannah this morning and paid off a chunk of my loan for the new roof. That feels good. I have a long way to go, but I know I'll get there. In the mean time I'm still enjoying the peace of mind I have every time it starts pouring. I can't imagine the mess we'd have in the living room if it hadn't been done. I thank God every time it rains.

I vacillated between taking a nap or going to the pottery studio this afternoon. The studio won and I went in for about an hour. Finished up a music box I've been working on. Maybe next time I'll get it into the kiln room. I'm hoping everything stays in place and the figure on the lid doesn't break. So far, so good.

While glancing at the work on the finished glaze shelf, I spotted a familiar looking piece. I knew it was missing but had begun to wonder if I'd taken it home before we tore the roof apart and perhaps it was lost in the attic. Nope. There it was sporting a different color than I'd remembered glazing it. That could account quite well for why I'd missed it every other time. Or maybe those pottery fairies really do exist and they just returned it to the shelf last night...
:0)

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Rain on My Roof

It's been raining for days. Pouring rain. It may be cold and wet outside, but our house is warm and dry. The roof doesn't leak and I can sleep tonight knowing there is no water dripping thought the beams and into the living room. The carpet will stay dry and I can rest easy listening to the drumming rain on the roof. If I am counting things to be thankful for this November, I will begin with my new roof, and continue with being thankful that God is providing.

I am hoping there will be a reprieve in the rain over the weekend. I want to go outside and play.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dress Up Day

Two posts because the other one was really last night's.

There was a lot of excitement at the daycare center today... and a little too much sugar, even though we tried to be healthy. The other baby teachers and I were a team today; the Three Blind Mice and the Farmer's Wife. It was simple. And I found out most of today's kids haven't a clue who the three blind mice are. Ha ha!

We had a very cute and cuddly dinosaur in the baby room. I left his tail intact, because I'm nice like that. :)

Moments

There are moments when I know what needs to be done and feel confident in moving forward... and there are times when every option leaves me feeling broken and fearful.

I want answers shouted from heaven. I want to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the choices I make will be right. But there are no thundering voices calling from heaven, and more often than not the shadows are frightening.

I fear taking scripture out of context. I fear misunderstanding answers. I fear growing old alone. And I fear ... I fear causing more pain than is being relieved. I fear hesitating and I fear running ahead. Scripture says, "Perfect love casts out fear," but I don't know how to make that happen. Fear is all around. It doesn't always consume my thoughts, but sometimes it's roaring leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I'm tired. I'm torn. I am broken. It's time to pick up the pieces. I'm praying that old and broken shards can be still beautiful.