One of my father's cousins passed away last week. Yesterday Mom and Dad went to the funeral service. Janice was the family historian and had traced the family line back to three seperate Mayflower passengers and countless other individuals. With her departure we have lost a living connection to our ancestory, another individual with a wealth of stories and information. Janice was always somewhat reluctant to share her collection of family history. She spent hours traveling and researching and I suppose a good amount of money sending for public records and certificates, but if I could find something to share with her, maybe a copy of an old photograph or a small amount of money, she would often share with me the information I was seeking.
The photo above is one she probably would have loved to have, nine of her grandparent's eleven children. Her mother, Maude, was the eldest girl, seen here holding her baby brother, Joe. My grandmother, Florence, is standing next to her. Of all these children, only the three little girls in the front are still living, the older two suffering from the effects of an aging mind. Only Aunt Margaret still has clear thoughts and she is now 93 years old. Aunt Helen and Aunt Harriet are now 95 and 97. (I thinking someone in this family should have had a child named Methusela.)
Well, this week has been anything but what I had expected. I thought I was going to have a rather quiet week but instead I have been busy away from home. Monday I spent the day out near the hospital, stopping at a couple of stores, sitting in the hospital, and waiting to hear news on our friend. Tuesday morning I went to Ladies' Prayer and then out to hospital with James to make a visit. Tuesday evening was our family bible study. This morning I took my van in for an oil change and then, around noon, headed over to Bethany's house for a visit. On the way home we stopped at the hardware store, the grocery store, and another shop to pick up a bike rim for Ben's bike (it won't fit). When I got home I leaned my seat back and took a half hour nap in the van! Then I made supper ( fried pepper, tomato and cheese sandwiches) and we went to church. Tomorrow I will have two little boys at my house for the day. I haven't had a chance to clean since Sunday before Mom's birthday party so I'll have to make a quick run through the house with the vacuum cleaner in the morning. I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Must be time for bed.
A couple of years ago we had the Invasion of the Ladybugs. This year it is a Complete Monarchy. I have seen these beautiful butterlies flutter past my van countless times this month. Everytime I drive down the road, there they are. On Sunday morning when we left for church there were dozens of them flying around our birch tree. It was like watching a flock of tiny birds. Tonight we watched them out the dining room window as we ate our supper and, although I knew it was getting dark, I just had to snap a few pictures. James has told me that some pictures can never really be captured with a camera, they are meant to be treasured in our minds. This is definitely one of them!
I looked up monarch butterflies and found this- "Each adult butterfly lives only about four to five weeks. But one of the many wonders of the Monarchs is the annual creation of a unique "Methuselah generation." As autumn approaches in their sites of migratory origin, a very special generation of butterflies is born. Unlike their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents -- all of whom had ephemeral lives measured only in weeks -- these migratory butterflies survive seven or eight months. In human terms, given our average life span of 75 years, this would be like having children who lived to be 525 years old!" http://www.worldwildlife.org/monarchs/
I was reminded today that I am bought with a price, I am not my own, and neither is my time. My plans for today included staying home, doing some cleaning, a little laundry, some general straightening up, and maybe pulling out our school books and making some plans for next week. I also need to rewrite Nathan's final quarter report from last year. But these were not to be today as the Lord had different plans for me.
Today I gave a friend a ride to the emergency department (he wasn't feeling well) and told him I would come back in a couple of hours to see how he was doing. When I returned they had moved him into the trauma unit because he was having a heart attack!
These incidents have a way of making step back and ask "how willing am I to drop everything and change my plans (without grumbling) when the Lord calls?" I have tendency to forget that life is temporary whether it regards me or someone else. Today I pray that I would be more willing to give my life to the Lord and follow where He leads.
Today is my mom's birthday and tomorrow we will celebrate with a birthday lunch. Sad to say, I did not wish her a Happy Birthday today as I have been so distracted with getting ready for tomorrow. I hope she will forgive me.
One of the most special things about my mom is her love for children, both her own and others. For many, many years her house was bustling with activity. She babysat full time until just six years ago. She played with the kids, read stories to them, kissed their "boo boos", and loved them. She is a wonderful example of Jesus to me.
My house at 1:30, Sunday afternoon. Rachel is bringing a gluten free carrot cake. I need 2 people to bring corn (how about you, Jim?) and someone to make a regular carrot cake. Anything else you want to bring would also be helpful, just let me know what it is. I'm planning to have chicken and maybe potatoes or something like that.
Last week I finally put in an order for our school books and along with them I ordered a couple of others, "Secret Keeper- The Delicate Power of Modesty" and "Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America". The first is written by a woman and the second by a man. I have found both, while somewhat distressing, to be quite eye opening. Sometimes while reading I have felt defensive although I'm not always sure why. I have much more of a tendancy to keep myself covered than most women so my own defensiveness is somewhat surprising even to myself. Could it be that deep down inside I have never really delt with the heart of the issue either?
Today Ben helped me make another pie. I peeled and sliced up peaches (Hannah washed them) and he mixed up the crust. Now it is in the oven baking. Soon the house will be filled the irresistible aroma of fresh peach pie. The elderberries weren't too difficult for me to refuse, but peaches... ?
The old gramma and the little girl were a lifetime apart in age. Gramma was nearly 85 and the little one probably just three years old. The little girl felt like a stranger to Gramma, there were so many years and such a world of difference between them. But Gramma had been a little girl once, and not so long ago from her perspective. Yes, she had raised eleven children of her own and watched several of her grandchildren grow into parents themselves, but she could remember being a little girl too. The years flew by and this new little girl grew. She raised a family and watched as one by one her own little ones started to grow up and move out on their own. Now, at 42 years, she has lived out almost half of her Gramma's life, Gramma lived to be nearly 95.
With the passing of time Gramma becomes more of a friend than an old lady who I never really felt I knew. Maybe someday, in heaven, we can sit down together and see that we weren't really that much different after all.
My neighbor, Bob, has elderberry trees growing in his yard. Each summer he brings us a nice big bag of berries and we make elderberry pie. My father loves it, Aunt Margie loves it, our friend, Don, loves it. My husband seems to like it and the kids don't mind it either. Elderberry pie is not my favorite. I think the fresh berries taste like grass and I am not impressed by the flavor of the pie either. I used to eat it anyway and then one day I asked myself, "Why are you eating this? You don't even like it. Why would you consume all those extra calories in a food you don't enjoy?" This year I'll just respect those elderberries from a distance and save myself for apple pie.
It is a beautiful August day. The air is a little cooler yet still warm enough to feel like summer. Thus begins my very favorite time of year. I love the crispness of a cool breeze and being able to wear long sleeves without feeling hot. The colors will soon begin to change from the greens of summer to the golden soft browns and oranges of autumn as the Lord wields his master paintbrush once again. September is just around the corner, a time for a final round of picnics, outdoor gatherings, and maybe a bonfire. The workers will be out picking apples in the orchards and we'll be buying cider and making pies. Take a deep breath. Can you smell it in the air?
Prayer changes things, especially our hearts and attitudes. When I really started praying several years ago, I never dreamed there was so much gunk buried deep inside of me, I just knew there were times when I felt really yucky and wasn't sure why. I prayed that God would scrape out those dirty corners of my heart and make me clean, that he would pry open my clenched fist and take away those things I held so tightly but couldn't seem to let go. It was a teary, painful process which isn't yet finished, but at least the work has begun. Why do I hold on so fiercely to ideas, attitudes, and actions that only hurt me or those I love? I'm so glad Christ died to pay the penalty for my sin and that He rose again so that I can have new life in Him! I am a work in progress; as long as I am willing, He can mold and shape my life to honor Him.
September is fast approaching and with it some schedule changes for me. I will have a two year old in my house on a regular basis for the first time in nearly 10 years. (Hannah is eleven.) With babysitting comes a responsibility to stay home, play toys, read books, and make sure naps are taken on time. I will also need to keep my house clean and safe for a little one. I think God may be answering some of my many prayers in ways that I had not fully anticipated. I need to stay home and although caring for a small child requires more time and energy, I recall a time, somewhat faded in my memory, when dinner was on the table every night and my bathrooms were nearly always clean. Back then I had time to sit on the floor and build block towers, dance around the living room, and go for long slow walks around the block or to the library. I read books to little people and took a nap while they slept. I bought groceries and got my allergy shots in the evening after supper. I didn't have a computer and, come to think of it, for a long time we didn't have a television. I gave baths every morning before school and washed bedsheets every day. I had a house full of children and got so much more accomplished then than I seem to now. I'm looking forward to watching God change my heart and life once again. I'm so glad He isn't finished with me yet!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
This is a good verse for me today as I am feeling slightly stressed out. Another clue that I also need to "simplify". As much as I know this, actually attempting to do it is stressful also.
It's an erie feeling... well okay, so it was just a visit to Fort Erie. Bethany, Ben, Hannah and I took a ride to Fort Erie, Ontario on Friday. We got there at about noon and were able to visit with Grandmanita and Gail as well as take a drive around and visit some historical places. First we went to the Fort Erie cemetery where some relatives are buried and then we went to lunch at Gail's favorite place, the May Wah Chinese restaurant. After lunch we headed over to the Old Fort where Gail sneaked us in the back door. Actually, her husband is very involved in the history of the fort so she got us in for free. How cool is that? We watched a musket demonstration, toured the old fort, and heard how "bad" the Yanks were in the war. On the other side of the Niagara River the Brits were the good guys and the Yanks were the enemy. Here at home it's a slightly different story... Anyway, from the fort we decided to go and find the old Teal house on the Ridgeway battlefield. It's now a museum (which was closed) that dates back to 1866 and a different war in Canada. We like to stop because the house belonged, at one time, to James' ancestors.
Next we took a drive down Teal Rd. which is where Grandpa Jim grew up. The old farmhouse and barn have been gone for several years, and it's just a dirt road, but it still says "Teal". (That's a name, not a color.) From there we found Grandma and Grandpa Teal's old church and their graves out in the churchyard.
After that there was just one thing to do before meeting up with Grandma and Gail again... find some mint chocolate Aero bars for James. This took a little looking around and I finally asked a woman who worked in Walmart. She directed me to a store across the street from where Nanny's house used to be, right where James bought them years ago.
After another short visit and delicious dinner, we finally headed back across the Peace Bridge for home. A wonderfully "Erie" day.
We are running a little low on groceries, so I let Alysa make herself some peanutbutter crackers for lunch. Good thing the jar was almost empty! I think she got a little carried away with the experience, don't you?
At about midnight last night, Grandmanita and her friend, Debbie blew in from the east. After a brief sleep on the couches, a quick breakfast of bacon and eggs, a short walk around the yard, and a few clicks of the camera, they were off again. Grandma made a valient effort to slow Debbie's attempts at departure but finally gave up and climbed into the car. She is now flying westward (in a car) to visit her friend, Gail, while Debbie goes on to her brother's wedding. I'm not quite certain how Anita convinced Debbie to drive around the south side of Lake Ontario and through New York but... I'm glad she did.
Today we went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center with Bethany. There was a lot of cool stuff to look at, mastadon skeletons, bugs and butterflies, area history, and "how the earth was formed". One of my favorite displays was this chair. It's perfect for making my big kids little again!
James and I spent our weekend at The Quiet Place down in the Finger Lakes. Our kids had given us a weekend getaway for our 25th anniversary back and June and this was it. A wonderful weekend away.
We arrived on Friday afternoon and opened the door to a wonderful couple of days away. We had time to talk together, pray together, and just plain be together. No phone calls (well, almost none), no computer, nothing calling our attention away. We went out for a ride on Saturday morning and visited The Wizard of Clay pottery studio (really cool), took a drive down to Naples,and then went back up to Canandaigua for lunch at Mac's Philly Steaks.
Back at the cabin, I was reading on one end of the couch and James was dozing on the other when we heard a rather loud- BOOM! James opened his eyes and said "What was that?" I had no clue so we got up and had a look around. A few moments later the cabin phone rang. Seems that the neighbor's grandson had a birthday and they were celebrating with cannon fire. Eric was all apologies but we just laughed it off. Not every guest at the Quiet Place gets a phone call and most who hear the cannon are warned because it is a holiday weekend. It made the stay all the more memorable... well, that and the jacuzzi!
This afternoon James and I are taking a break. Our kids bought us a weekend away for our anniversary (back in June) and this is it. We aren't going far but we will be away and alone. Thankfully the weather has cooled down and right now it is a very comfortable 75 degrees. It feels great! Of course "Teal Lake" has also returned (we just had it pumped out!) and a few ducks have decided they might move in too. It was bound to happen... I think while James and I are gone we should go shopping for a canoe, or at least a paddle boat.
Today was another ferociously hot day. While the kids were at VBS I decided that after I picked them up we should head someplace cool for a while, so we met James and Nathan for lunch at DeBella's and had subs. The restaurant was wonderfully cool after spending the morning in my hot house. The thermostat on my dining room wall was still reading 83 degrees this morning and I had no idea of how to cool the house down. Should I open the windows and hope for a breeze or close them and try to keep today's heat out? I opted to close the windows and go out for several hours. It is supposed to cool off tonight but along with the cooler air will come more rain and thunderstorms. We're trying so hard to keep that big puddle from collecting in the back yard but it just doesn't want to stay away. I'm beginning to think we should just dig a pond and stock it with fish!
I thought it interesting that our weather here today is so very much like Florida's...
Rochester, NY 14600Last Updated: 08/01/06 16:16:15 EST
Local Weather: Current Conditions 94°FMostly Sunny Real Feel: 100°F (38°C) Relative Humidity: 51% Barometer: 29.86"Hg (F) Wind: SW at 16 mph (26 kph) Visibility: 9 miles (14 km) Sunrise: 6:02am Sunset: 8:31pm
Orlando, FL 32801Last Updated: 08/01/06 16:30:52 EST
Local Weather: Current Conditions 94°FPartly Sunny Real Feel: 103°F (39°C) Relative Humidity: 42% Barometer: 30.10"Hg (F) Wind: N at 3 mph (5 kph) Visibility: 10 miles (16 km) Sunrise: 6:48am Sunset: 8:16pm
Melting, melting! Remember the witch from the Wizard of Oz? I wonder if this is how she felt...
We are now experiencing the heat wave that hit the midwest last week. It is definately very warm and with all the rain that we have had this summer, it's very humid too. It's a "stay in the house and sit in front of the fan" kind of day. We don't have an air conditioner and I'm not feeling quite like walking around in the store or sitting in the library, so here I am with the fan. It feels really good on my feet!
But.. come to think of it, I need to have something to feed people for supper tonight. Maybe I need to make a trip to the store after all... (and maybe I'll buy some popsicles!)
I am a work in the hands of the Master Potter. I pray that His fingerprints are all over me as I walk through this life. This is my journey. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.
I am mom to seven beautiful grown ups and grandma to ten beautiful grandchildren.