Sunday, September 16, 2018

Drawing

Sometimes I have a bit of time to sit at work.It is at those times that I grab a piece of paper and some kind of writing utensil. Friday's sit with our three year old class during rest time produced this drawing. I think I connected with my dad in a whole new way. Ha ha! I was thinking about him as I drew and it shows in the result.


September gives and takes. Change is in the air, and there is very often an element that feels bittersweet. Sweet and sad, fresh and fragile... September has brought life, and whisked life away. It brings bright sunshine, blue skies, and a new spark of energy, and also the warning of the winter to come.  Half summer, half autumn, totally beautiful.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* Sorting. Today I was sorting. Sort of. It feels more like I was packing and moving, but what I moved will need to be sorted through again later. I only moved it from one house to another. He says he can't keep up with the house physically or financially, so he's fixing it up to sell...  I'm feeling numb today.

* I saw a few grandchildren and played "Stick People Wars" with the eldest. I lost. He obliterated every guy I drew.

* Kids ask questions I don't have the answers for... "Why don't you want to live here with Grandpa anymore?"  I can't even answer adults, much less children who love and adore their grandfather. I told him it was a long and complicated story. He's nine and confused. I'm confused sometimes and I know why. He'd never understand that there are moments when I desperately want to go home or that boundary issues create terribly complex problems. I don't have a good way to answer him. No way to tell him the truth without inflicting wounds. Instead he will continue to misunderstand my reasons. I pray one day he will trust I didn't do this maliciously or with ill intent.

*My attic bedroom, which was totally upended while we did the roof project and enlarged the back dormer, is slowly getting back to normal. My bed has been returned to its previous location, my dresser put back in its spot, and the wooden crates that hold and display my treasures have been hauled back out of the storage side of the attic.

*I hear funny things at work. Sometimes it is the children talking, and sometimes it's the teachers talking to the children. I laughed out loud in the kitchen on Friday but can't for the life of me remember what the teacher said to the little one. I remember who the child was, but that's about it. I'm going to need to write these things down.

* The weekend is half over. It was a productive day and that is good. Tomorrow my sister and I will go visit our brother. Maybe we will stop along the way for an ice cream. I want one with sprinkles. Please.



Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Clothesline Art Festival

Saturday was busy. It wasn't until I sat down a few hours into the afternoon that a Facebook post reminded me of the Clothesline Art Festival in the city of Rochester.It wasn't written specifically to me, but it could have been.

"I’m in Rochester, NY today at the Memorial Art Gallery Clothesline Festival . Booth number 634, 10am- 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and say hello!"

I'd been just down the bock an hour or two earlier and now my daughter's kindergarten BFF was letting Facebook know she was in town with her pottery...

We didn't make it back to Rochester on Saturday, but we did find our way up there on Sunday afternoon. It was a good outing for the two of us. We meandered through the Memorial Art Gallery grounds and checked out the booths as we made our way toward Hannah's.

Childhood friendships leave such sweet memories. I am blessed once again to watch this daughter reconnect with this special long ago friend. Of course, we each took home a bit of pottery, "for a kindergarten discount". Bethany bought a lidded dish, to keep her butter in, and I chose a little ring dish. I'm starting my collection slowly.
:0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Car Keys Gone AWOL

It was one of those mornings where I seemed to be doing all the usual things, but the clock was ticking faster than normal. I finally hurried out the door with my bags and breakfast only to find my car doors locked and my car key AWOL...

I used the code to open the garage door since the house was locked and the garage was my only way back inside. "My keys must be in my jacket pocket," I thought. I unfolded the stairs to my attic bedroom, climbed up, and looked around for my jacket. It wasn't there. I'd left it on the hook at the bottom of the stairs. Down I went. I folded the steps up again, put my jacket on, and reached into the pocket. My keys weren't there.

I turned a circle or two, checked all my pockets again, and racked my brain. My jeans! I'd changed my jeans! I unfolded the steps once again, climbed up, and found yesterday's trousers. There was the key. Down the steps I went, folding them up as I reached the bottom, and headed out the door to  my waiting bags, breakfast, and still locked car.

I left home later than ever before, drove a tad faster than usual, and arrived at work with a minute to spare because our time clock runs slow. I think it's to keep us from clocking out too soon at the end of the day.

And then... my little friend Parker deposited a portion of his Neocate filled stomach (he has allergies) onto my fresh clean shirt. I was plastered. Ha ha! But I still love him.

(I have no pictures of cars, keys, stairs, or work babies, so you get a few more pictures from my dance through the sunflowers.)

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Overcast, But Sunny Just the Same

Today was full but fun.

* I met with the therapist this morning. I always leave thinking. That is good.

* Met my friend Laura for breakfast. It was relaxing. We ate bacon, eggs, and toast with homemade raspberry jam.

* I decided to visit the local sunflower field even though I think $7 is too much for a wagon ride and the opportunity to take pictures. Cutting one's own flowers was extra. Pshh. (I secretly loved wandering about with my camera.

* Checked the shelves at the pottery studio for some of my finished (and unfinished) work. Had a woman ask, "Are you Martha?" and thought I might be in for a repeat of Friday morning... but she said she often picks up my work thinking it's her own until she reads my name on the bottom which looks very similar to her own handwriting.

* Stopped at Schutt's Apple Mill to grab a few fried cakes before the local population gets in a fried cake frenzy.

* Went grocery shopping with the lovely Bethany. It was very nice to be out with her. I miss hanging out with my kids.

* Back home I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, washed my bedroom floor, folded my clean laundry, and played with sunflower photos.

It was a good day.


Friday, September 07, 2018

I'll Meet You for Coffee

I slept terrible last night. There is a plethora of possible causes, but I'm not precisely sure which one was the root. Maybe my tangled up covers and achy back. At any rate, I slept little and stumbled out of bed thinking this might be a day when I actually needed a cup of coffee. I left home a little earlier than usual, early enough to stop along the way. I opted for the Dunkin Donuts closest to work. There was a long line of cars snaking all the way around the building. I mistakenly thought running inside might be faster than waiting in the drive-thru line...

The line inside was relatively short, but the people inside were ordering multiple boxes of Munchkins and fancy sandwiches. There were three people ahead of me. Behind me was a gentleman, and behind him a woman. The woman suddenly leaned forward and reached toward me. "I want to introduce myself," she said. "I'm Marcia. I know your daughter in law Leta..." My mind did a little spinning, "and I read your blog." (This has happened before. Once. About six and a half years ago.)

Marcia and I had a quick conversation. She seemed very nice and I'm glad she reached out to me. I was telling my favorite daughter in law about it this evening when she randomly stopped over to pick up an item my son had left here on Saturday. "It was appointed!" Leta said with a smile, and she told me how much she likes Marcia and how she thought we'd get along great. I asked her what Marcia's last name was but she didn't know. "She's in my phone as Marcia the Nanny," she told me. (Marcia nannies at a house that Leta cleans.)

I'm pretty sure I was well behaved while waiting in line at Dunkin, even though I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get to order my "medium coffee, half decaf, with cream and sugar", but I left wondering how many other people see me out in public and recognize me from my blog. It's kind of funny and a little intimidating all at the same time. Ha ha! And just now I'm wondering if I said please and thank you when I placed my order...

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Loving Me

Is it possible to love and see oneself as God sees? Could I ever become so childlike as to lose focus on my flaws and foibles? Our babies don't worry about such things as chunky thighs and double chins. They aren't embarrassed at crying in public or food on their shirts. They don't look in the mirror and think, "Ugh, I need to lose a few pounds!" They don't find fault with bulging backsides, bald noggins, or toothless grins... But us (me)? I look in the mirror and see all the imperfections that others rarely notice. I see the crooked smile, the pudgy nose, and puffy eyes. I cringe at the protruding belly and varicose veins... and I forget that God looks down and see me as His beloved child. He loves me right where I am, just how I am. Lord, help me to love me too.

It's been a long few years of growing. I can say that I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have been in a very long time. I see the imperfections, but they don't consume my thoughts. I'm learning to take better care of myself, to cut myself some slack, and realize that I am who God created me to be. I'm not perfect because He creates us perfectly imperfect. And that is perfectly okay! Ha ha!
:0)

Monday, September 03, 2018

Happy Birthday, Number Eight!

Eight is three! We had a nice little birthday celebration on the eve of her third birthday. She had a Mickey Mouse cake and got some really cool presents. Her mommy found her a Unicorn Princess dress! How cool is that?

Sunday, September 02, 2018

The Barn Collective

I had my camera along today as we drove the country roads with our brother, but I wasn't very much into stopping. We'd been on our ride, bought him the customary "small, chocolate Frosty, please", and returned him to the house. We were on our way home when a train passing blocked our way. Rather than wait, we continued on, down an unfamiliar road. I think we shall have to venture this direction again to see what becomes of this old, and apparently much loved structure.

I hope Tom's got the sprinkler running today. It's hot out there!

Snippets

Friday, August 31

 I had enough time to snuggle an under the weather toddler late this morning so the assistant toddler teacher could get lunch on the table for the others. That won't happen every day. I must remember to appreciate these special moments. ( I also snuggled an ailing baby this afternoon. He was the only one in the room so I let him sleep in my arms for 20 minutes before I put him in his crib.)

 Saturday, September 1

 I made a Lowes run for contractor's bags and a door knob this morning. On the way out of the store was a small child and his father. I did a double take and then called out, "Evan!" He turned around and I said to the daddy, "Is that Evan?" He said 'yes' but was looking very suspicious. (I wouldn't get very far trying to grab a four year old and running off with him... 😄) The daddy wanted to know how I knew Evan, and I said, "From daycare." So he looked at Evan and asked him if he knew me? Ha ha! The child affirmed our relationship, smiled at me, and gave me the biggest, longest hug ever! :D And then I saw them again in the store along with Mommy and big brother. (I love hugs!)
 
These little people fill my heart and my days. Work is good for me.


And this weekend there were grandchildren. Just a few. They fill my heart too.



Friday, August 31, 2018

Today's News

* Yesterday's truck, the one that didn't arrive at the daycare to replenish our food supply, was actually rescheduled,by the owner's wife, to arrive next week. It will all work out fine. Ground meat, for goulash, and bread for sandwiches, will be purchased at the store, but otherwise we will be fine. Milk and produce come on separate trucks.

* Our brother. We have good news today, at least for now. His move to the other home has been put on hold pending another evaluation by physical therapy. Our prayer now is that he is walking as well during that appointment as he was with Rachel yesterday. I am grateful for my sister Rachel and his advocate Meghan. They are fighting for him.

* And then there is the roof... The back porch is gone and the back portion of the roof has been stripped to the plywood. I was a t work all day and am incredibly grateful to all who helped! The dormer window that Dad installed over 50 years ago has been removed and the hole made bigger and wider. Tomorrow it will be framed out and sometime in early October, when it arrives, the new window will be installed.

I thought the dismantling of Dad's back porch would be harder, but I am remembering that a back porch my dad built is not the same as my dad. He isn't the things he built or owned. He was and is so very much more than things.
It is okay to feel a little sad, but I don't have to grieve.  In fact, I am relieved because I know the porch was just a future maintenance nightmare, one I wouldn't want to face. I am actually feeling pretty good about this whole project, even if they did snip a wire and cut out the power to everything but the kitchen. Hey, what better room to still have electric? Everything is back on now and we're ready for tomorrow.
 
(One of our helper grandsons.)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Chunks and Hunks

As opposed to bits and pieces...

* The food truck didn't come. We were supposed to get a huge order of supplies today, but the truck never showed up. No bread for sandwiches tomorrow. No giant cans of vegetables. (The kids will be so sad if they don't get their veggies. Ha ha)!) I talked to my boss at the end of the day. It was so busy that we never thought about the truck until the day was practically over. We are not out of food and the children won't go hungry. They just won't be eating chicken salad sandwiches.

* Our brother. This is a frustrating story. The state is looking to move him out of his present home, the one he moved into over 20 years ago. The new home is 45 minutes to an hour away from where he lives now. It is about 15 minutes closer for us, but we feel it is a very bad placement for him. We have expressed our views, but fear he will be moved in spite of our concerns. They say it is in his best interest as he is at risk for falls. He has recently been diagnosed with "a drug induced form of Parkinsonism" (I wonder how that could have happened...) but has been walking fine as far as we can tell.  The new home's residents are non ambulatory and what my sister has referred to as vegetative. Tim walks and is interactive. Prayers on his behalf are greatly appreciated. (I hope Priscilla will forgive my posting a picture taken just a couple weeks ago. .)

* Tomorrow begins the roof replacement. It leaks and it has to be done. Thankfully, this is a rather small house. James has agreed to do the job, but being Labor Day weekend, he is short of help. We have just one local son available to help, and perhaps a son in law or two, although maybe not.. Rounding up the family hasn't been easy the past year and a holiday/long weekend isn't helping. I know God will take care of it, but we are feeling overwhelmed and in need of a miracle.Prayers are appreciated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What's For Lunch?

Summer is winding down and so is the food supply at the daycare. Oh, we have plenty to eat, just not always exactly what is on the menu...

Monday was Mexican Chicken and Rice. That's what they ate. Never mind that they had the exact same thing on Friday when it was supposed to be Spanish Rice. Difference? Ground meat vs chopped chicken. They ate and were happy.

Tuesday was hot dog day. Or it was supposed to be. I counted the rolls on Monday afternoon and informed the powers that be we needed four more packages of rolls. The rolls showed up on Tuesday morning, but when I looked in the freezer for the hot dogs? Alas there were none! We had Wednesday's Macaroni and Cheese instead. The kids were happy and gobbled it all up!!!

Today was Wednesday. The hot dogs arrived in time for lunch, but the graham crackers listed for snack were missing in action. I had time and I had bananas. I whipped up a couple pans of banana bread and the kids were smiling when snack time rolled around.

The food truck comes tomorrow. Well, one of them, the one that brings canned goods, cereal, and crackers. When the older kids head back to school we'll get the menu back on track. Just another couple days...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Happy 84 in Heaven

Dear Mom,

Today was your birthday. I've been reflecting on your life, feeling a little sad about the ways we never connected, but blessed by the times and ways we did. It was as much my inability to scale the wall between us as it was yours, maybe mine even more so. Being I am a mom myself, I know you loved me through all of it even as your heart was aching. I hope you can forgive me for all the times I made you cry...

People say as we grow older we become more and more like our parents. I haven't always liked the idea, but that is only because I've often failed to see your beauty. I needed to back up a few paces and gaze upon a bigger picture, one with a clearer focus and better perspective. I've need to look at you from a different vantage point.

For years and years I watched you love people; big ones and little ones, those who belonged to you and those who didn't, the very young and the very old. You loved them all. Tomorrow I will enter classrooms full of children, I will gather toddlers into my arms and kiss their cheeks and foreheads. I will sniffle small ears and blow raspberries on little necks, and I will feel your presence with me. It's a funny thing to go about my day and feel as though you are literally living on inside of me.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for loving me when I didn't feel or act lovable. Thank you for praying for me, and thank you for being with me every day. Turning into you is a blessing.

Love,
Martha

The Barn Collective

I pass this old beauty every day on my way to work. Wild grape vines slowly consume abandoned buildings. What starts out appearing subtle and harmless, eventually results in total demise...

It works that way in life too. Little habits creep in barely noticed., intending to take us down. It's important to keep the weeds down and prevent trees from getting established too close to the foundation. We all need to create boundaries. They keep us safe.

Of course, boundaries really start within. The roof must be kept sealed so the water can't get in, a good coat of paint will prevent the exterior from rotting, and a good pair of clippers will keep the weeds from taking over.

Where am I going with all this? Be safe, establish good habits, and and don't let anyone else take you down.

It's not raining yet. Come on over to Tom's while the sun's still shining.




Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hop. Skip, Jump!

It's been a good week. I was feeling tired this afternoon when I suddenly realized that tomorrow is Friday! No wonder I'm tired. The week has flown by and I hardly noticed.

Hannah called me at work this afternoon wondering if I might care to keep an eye on a small child for the evening. Someone was hoping to get away for a bite to eat and a baseball game tonight. Of course I said yes. There are a few perks to having Mom living in one's home. Now that I'm no longer feeling  burned out and totally overwhelmed, I can function as Built-In Babysitter.

After he'd finished his pasta, and scarfed down a couple of Grandma's little cookies, Number Nine and I decided to take a walk around the block. Along the way there were storm sewers to peer into, leaves to collect, and bits of sand collected in the gutters that needed to be swished around. He walked, ran, hopped, skipped, and jumped. He walked holding my hand, alone on the gutter, and in the grass along the edge of the neighbors' yards. We saw trucks, cars, and Jeeps, a few "friends", and a barking dog or two.

When we arrived back home the were a couple of fuzzy seeds floating through the air. They needed to be chased and caught. Great Grandpa's rocks (the ones at the end of the driveway) needed to be stood on and jumped off, and there was Grandma's car that needed to be circled several times. He rubbed one hand on the side of it as he walked around and around. We played hide and seek around the car too and he can run fast! Finally, we went inside to wash his car blackened hand and find his toothbrush. There was a diaper change and the donning of jammies, we read several books, said a prayer, and I gave him a kiss or two. He turned on his own fan and the sound machine, then I helped him into his crib, covered him up, and put all his stuffed animals around him.

I hadn't been out of the room too long when he started to howl. I couldn't decide whether he was mad, hurt, or frightened... but when I heard him say "wah wah" I decided maybe he needed a drink. I turned on the hall light and opened the door. I gave him his cup, and in Number Nine fashion, he stopped crying, pointed, and very calmly said "Car." Yes, there it was on the floor, along with everything else that had been in the crib with him when I'd turned out the light and closed the door earlier. He was happy to have his water cup, his blanket, the car, and all his stuffed animals back in the crib, and this time when I said good night and closed the door there was no screaming or crying.

It was a good night. :0)

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Truth Is

The truth is that some mornings I wake up and want nothing more than to find myself at home, back in the days before the world I knew broke into a million pieces. I want to wake up in my room, in my own bed. I want to shower in my own bathroom, make breakfast in that beautiful kitchen, and sit out on the back porch while humming birds buzz and barn swallows fly like jet fighters in and out of the barn windows... I want lazy mornings, carefree afternoons, and evening walks through the orchard. 

Is it really my unwillingness to forgive that keeps me here? I've asked God hundreds of time to tell me what to do. It isn't that He has been totally silent... He did tell me to go last year, and He did cancel that appointment last Tuesday morning...  If I am honest, what I really want from God is something I can't have, something that would keep our hearts from breaking, but keep us from growing and learning to trust Him more as well.

The last few years have brought torrents of tears, leaps of faith, and more questions than answers. I don't know where God is taking me... or where He is taking us... but as difficult and painful a journey as it has been thus far, I hope the view at the end is breathtaking. (Is that selfish?)  It is my sincere prayer, that when the journey is done I will find all of my family there. I don't know how God will do it. I don't know how He can take all these broken shards and make them into something beautiful again? It might take a very long time...

Sunday, August 19, 2018

He Knows Our Hearts

I have to keep telling myself that God knows all about me, those I love, and what is going on in our lives. If He is listening when I tell my daughter I want a Speedy Gonzales glass, and gives me one two days later, then He knows all about our deepest pains and heartaches. So why do I keep doubting and questioning? ...

Yesterday morning I met with a former neighbor. Outside of Facebook we've never talked. He is a few years older than me and moved away when I was just starting school. He remembers my parents and my brothers. I remember his mom who was a friend of my mother, and his youngest brother who was two years older than me.

From my upstairs bedroom I can see Don's childhood home. The current neighbors have lived there since his family moved away in the early 70's. Their children grew up here too in this once upon a time close-knit and sometimes catty little neighborhood. I can still walk around the block and recall which neighbors lived in most of the houses, see the long ago faces of the kids who once lived here, and if I listen hard I can hear the voices of children long grown up, playing in the streets and yards.

Today the neighborhood is quiet. Here and there someone is out walking a dog or working in their yard, but most of the outside sounds are passing traffic, lawn mowers, or birds chirping. Many homes are occupied by senior citizens. Some of them raised their children here and stayed for the long haul, like my parents did, or they grew up here themselves. Today's children appear mostly nonexistent, and when they do come out of hiding, it is more unusual than the norm of yesteryear.

I'm feeling nostalgic. Can you tell?

The Barn Collective

It's not so much the barn that catches the eye as the silo in an evening gown.

 We were out for a ride this afternoon; three sisters with our big brother. He isn't a fan of our cameras. Maybe it's because he doesn't like photos, but I think the real reason is he doesn't like stopping along the way, especially when there is a Frosty waiting for him at the end.

This silo is literally wrapped in a tree hug. And here I thought "Tree Hugger" referred to people...

Make sure to stop by Tom's. I hear there's going to be a "Barn Dance".



Saturday, August 18, 2018

Be Anxious for Nothing

I slept in today until 7:30 am! Ya-hooooo!

Throughout the summer my daily work routine has included opening the four year old classroom. They are a trip. One small child, upon entering the room, announced it was "Happy Hannah Day!" This was reiterated several times during the course of the day. She is generally happy, if things go her way (ha ha!), but can be reduced to a puddle of tears when hurt or disappointed. Perhaps "Happy Hannah Day!" is her mother's way of reinforcing a good attitude. I think I like the idea.

I am feeling slightly tense and edgy. (Perhaps I need to declare this "Happy Martha Day!") It's been raining for days and the roof is somewhat unreliable. The water has leaked in here and there, never in a torrent, but dripping unexpectedly. I took out a loan for a new roof. That is just one of my stresses. It has to be done,  but I still feel anxious sometimes.

Finances are getting unpredictable. I've had to pick up my own health coverage and I'll be checking out car insurance soon too. These, along with financing a new roof, are fighting for space in my mind which they don't need to occupy. People say, "Where God guides, He provides." I'm holding on to that. He's never let me down yet.

I'm meeting an old "friend" for coffee after my appointment this morning, and then maybe I'll do some clay therapy. It's not a good day to visit fields of sunflowers. Too wet and soggy.

(That is Naughty Too. I like him.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Rainy Day

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

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

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

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

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

(No photos allowed so I have to draw the kiddos instead)
:0)

Monday, August 13, 2018

A God With Ears

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

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

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

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

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

August Picnic

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

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

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

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

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