As much as I love fall, I am always glad when Halloween is over and done with. When I was a little girl, we dressed up (sometimes even as witches or ghosts) and went door to door to collect candy. We carved pumpkins and enjoyed all the excitement of the season, including constructing our own haunted houses. However, as a teen and young adult, I began to see Halloween in a different way. There is always an obsession with death and gore surrounding this time of year. We decided we wanted something different for our kids and so never began the regular Halloween traditions.
In years past we have spent the evening of October 31st in a variety of ways. We have attended various church harvest parties, carved pumpkins at Grandma's, or stayed at home with a movie and popcorn. Sometimes we handed out candy and sometimes we turned off the lights and pretended we weren't home. Living out here on a country road we don't get many Trick-or-Treaters knocking at our door. Tonight I will probably take the kids to church were they are playing games and having treats. Tomorrow it will be November and instead of scary things, the stores will be full of Christmas decorations. Do you ever wonder what happened to Thanksgiving?
I has been an exhilerating and yet exausting two weeks. A couple of Mondays ago we were packing for our trip to New Mexico and this morning Grandmanita and Lee Anne left for Fort Erie and their eventual trip back to Nova Scotia.
We have been across the country and back, changed time zones twice and changed the clocks, celebrated three birthdays and a wedding, survived the drive down Sandia Peak, stayed up way too late, kept my sister's three kids for the weekend, and spent a few hours sitting in the doctor's office on Saturday. (James imbedded a quarter inch chisel into his hand. This included an x-ray, tetnas shot, and a round of antibiotics. Praise God there is no permanent damage.)Friday morning the kids had a chance to go out and play in the leaves, a favorite fall activity. I'm glad they had time for some fun outside before the wind and rain kicked up.
Yesterday after church we enjoyed a New Mexican dinner with our family, complete with chili con carne (I never call it that), green chile stew, and sopapillas. There were 20 people here and my allergies and the activity of the past couple weeks all caught up with me at once. I would have been so very disappointed not to have had the dinner but I was so very tired too.
Today the house is quiet and still. Ben and Hannah are busy with school work and Troy stayed home with his dad because his brother is sick. Maybe this afternoon I can go for a walk or catch up on some much needed sleep.
1. Never try to get through airport security wearing overalls. 2. Don't trust your kids to take vacation pictures. 3. Consuming beans, chile, eggs, and corn nuts on a daily basis just may upset the digestive system. 4. Souvenirs are usually made in China, Pakistan or India, anywhere but where you are. 5. Airlines still give out little bags of peanuts. 6. You can't take coffee on the airplane even if you just bought it there in the airport. 7. It's cold in New Mexico in October, at least colder than I expected it to be. 8. You probably should rent a car. 9. It's a good idea to have Triple A. 10. The airline sometimes checks baggage and "things" happen in your suitcase. (My jar of green chile sauce was all over my clothes.) 11. Postcards never reach their destination before you get home. 12. There's never enough time to do everything or see everyone. 13. I'm never really ready to go home.
We have been home for three days now. Life never slows down, it just keeps picking up speed.
Our plane landed in Buffalo at about 9:50 Tuesday evening and we arrived home somewhere around midnight. We took it easy on Wednesday, sleeping in and trying to relax, in order to recover from both the trip to New Mexico and the time change. Thursday morning Troy came back and, for the first time, I took him out to the grocery store with me. Sara and Alysa came off the bus at 3:45, Leslie came at 4 pm for piano lessons with Ben and Hannah, and Priscilla's kids came at about 5 o'clock to stay for the weekend. (Priscilla and Jamie are gone to Long Island for another wedding.) Lee Anne is restless and ready to head back to Nova Scotia and Grandmanita isn't quite sure what to do.
I'm not feeling stressed out or anything, I'm just not sure what to do next. My house needs to be vacuumed and dusted but I feel like taking a nap instead. Maybe a nice hot cup of coffee would help.
Bethany's birthday was this past Monday, October 23rd. I didn't get a chance to post her a birthday list, (She's now 21!) so, thirteen things about Bethany.
1. She's very forgiving. 2. She has a beautiful smile. 3. She has green eyes like her Grandmanita. 4. She's fearless, except for when she's scared. 5. She loves children. 6. Her best friends are Carissa and Elisabeth. 7. She cried when Dave spit on her toothbrush. 8. She calls her grandpa "Grampy". 9. She can carry a dozen plates of food at once and not spill a drop. 10. She's stunningly brilliant. 11. Coffee makes her hyper and then she can't stop talking. 12. She has been married to Adam for almost eleven months. 13. She loves to help people.
Well, we have had a beautiful wedding, a birthday party or two, and this morning we decided to see some sights on our last day here and headed up to Sandia Peak. The view is awesome up there, no matter which direction you look. From up there you can see the whole city.
The ride back down the mountain was a little too exciting as the truck had some problems and wanted to stall repeatedly. Unfortunately when the vehicle stalled we had neither power steering nor brakes. Not a good thing when you are driving down and around hairpin curves. Darius and Amanda were behind us and I think they were just a little on edge too. Long story but we made it to the bottom in one piece, stopped at a gas station and promptly stalled. We weren't even all the way in the parking space. Stacy, Jason's wife, had to come and rescue some of us (mostly women and children), James and Adam rode back with Darius, and a tow truck came for the Suburban. It was an experience to remember.
We fly back to Buffalo tomorrow. As always, there is much we didn't have time for but we are coming home with sunburned faces (happened today) and suitcases full of chile. I can't wait until next time! It's always hard to go back home and leave family behind.
Yesterday we took the opportunity to go out for a drive to the Jemez (hey-mez) Mountains while we had a chance. We stopped at Soda Dam and Battleship Rock, and walked back to see Jemez Falls. It was a beautiful day for a drive, not too hot and not too cold. On the way home we stopped in Santa Fe hoping to go to Loretto Chapel. There is a really cool story about the spiral staircase there. (You'll have to look it up.) Unfortunately it had close about a half hour before we arrived. Oh well..
Today we stuck closer to home. Soon we will be going to decorate the church for Kathy's wedding which is tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get to spend a little more time with the rest of the family than we have so far. It's been great visiting with Kim and Karl. We're staying at their house and feel very comfortable here. The fellowship is good.
Hello from New Mexico. We arrived late last night, very tired but safe. The veiw from the air was not very exciting, just clouds everywhere.
Kim is awesome, she makes the best breakfasts and the mountains aren't bad either. It's a little bit colder than we expected today. We're hoping things warm up tomorrow. Aunt Jeanne showed up at the airport last night and surprised all of us but Grandmanita. (These are all random thoughts as I am too scattered at the moment to write anything that makes much sense.)
Oh yes, the photo... we took a ride up by the tram and looked around a bit. Very nice, nothing like home. Maybe later I'll make a list of things we hope to do or actually accomplish. We're planning on filling up with as much chile as possible while we're here. Mmmmm...
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:8
This morning Hannah and I took Troy for one more walk before we leave for our vacation. I'm not sure what the weather will be like when we return and today was a beautiful day to walk.
I had to do a double-take and smile when I saw this little tree. It appears that it is a bit confused as to whether it is spring or fall. I see one little red apple, and otherwise it is covered with blossoms (which will never mature into fruit). I wonder if I am ever like that little tree, trying to do wonderful things that will never amount to anything because it isn't in God's time. Only by doing things in His time can what I do be truly fruitful. Ecc. 3:11
Today was Dave's birthday, so... 13 things about my son, Dave.
1. He has a tender heart and loves to help people.
2. He loves to cook and makes some yummy stuff!
3. He has a beautiful wife (my favorite daughter in law).
4. Dave is about 6' 1" tall.
5. When I close my eyes I can still hear his little boy laugh.
6. He love little kids.
7. He loves a good pot roast.
8. He enjoys working outside doing yard work.
9. He likes cats and has two.
10. He told me he wasn't going to smile when I took him for this picture, and he didn't.
11. He is a writer and a dreamer.
12. He used to fight with Bethany but now they are friends.
13. He survived a terrible car wreck 2 years ago, and God used that accident to change his life.
Today was a busy kind of day. I feel like I was able to get something accomplished and am satisfied with what was done. I had some time to play toys and read to Troy this morning. We didn't go for a walk as it was very cold and there were some other things calling for my attention.
I work best under pressure and as we will be leaving for New Mexico in just a few days, now seemed like a good time to work on the music boxes that I will be taking down with me. Today I painted the cover of this one and tomorrow I will stop at the ceramic store where they have wind up music boxes to put inside. I'm hoping to find some hymns to go along with the church pictures, maybe Amazing Grace or something like that.
Not only did I paint, but I also made an apple pie to send home with Troy's mom. I didn't have time to bake it before she came so she had the privilege of having the aroma of fresh baked pie filling her house. I would have made two, but I ran out of sugar. Grocery shopping is tomorrow so our pie is not far off. I can smell it baking already...
My sister in law called from New Mexico this morning to ask about the snowstorm we had last night. I looked out my windows at the green grass and bightly colored leaves still hanging on the trees. The sun was shining, yes, it was very cold, but I didn't see any snow. I thought maybe she was pulling my leg or misinformed, so I got online and checked the Rochester newspaper. Lo and behold, she was right! Buffalo and surrounding areas got anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow last night! Wow, another reason to be happy living here along the southern shore of a Great Lake and not on the eastern end of one. I'm just not quite ready for snow in October. It's about as weird as summer-like weather in January. (Yes, Shelly?) http://justseven.blogspot.com/2006/02/february.html
Well, rather than swiping someone else's photo of the Buffalo snow, I decided to post this little painting I finished up yesterday. It says the same thing. Winter, coming sooner than we had anticipated.
This morning I woke up to the sound of bagpipes. I knew immediately it wasn't the rapture. That should come with the sound of trumpets. So anyway,I jumped out of bed and looked out the window in time to see two elvish women dancing a jig in my driveway! My wonderful mother in law and my dear husband's sister have arrived from Nova Scotia. Okay, they weren't exactly dancing a jig... Actually, Lee Anne said she was plugging her ears. Maybe she doesn't care for loud bagpipe playing?
Ben, Hannah and I actually did get to go for our walk this afternoon. We walked farther than we have any other day and all had tired legs and feet by the time we got home an hour later. We walked out of one orchard and into the next where a man in a truck drove by, stopped, and asked us what we were doing (walking) and if we had a leash for the dog (no). I guess he was concerned about his pickers but I assured him the dog was used to seeing guys out in the orchard. She never pays much attention to them, just sniffs and walks on by. I like to have her with us because I know she would protect us if the need arose and besides she loves to walk too.
We took the camera along again today as the leaves are starting to change and it is so pretty. There are still apples out there, but the orchards are very much quieter than other years. Not near as many pickers, I guess. I've heard the immigration laws have made workers scarce in the orchards this year. Too soon the season will be over and the orchards will be ever so quiet. Then we'll sit in the house by the fire, sip hot apple cider, and wait until spring when the blossoms reappear.
Today was another gorgeous day. We haven't yet gone for a walk but I am still thinking about going.
I did this painting a year or so ago and sent it to my sister in law in New Mexico. I love doing these kind of pictures, they're so warm and full of color. They make me miss the days of visiting my great uncles and friends who lived on farms. Maybe that's why I still look around at what the Lord has blessed us with and continue to be amazed. It is a farm of sorts, minus the animals, complete with barns and apple trees. The first year we were here we had a pair of Muskovy ducks wandering around the backyard. They always made me smile. Sometimes I wish for some more ducks or maybe a few chickens or goats to make it even more farm-like here. I never really lived on a farm, but deep down inside I am a country girl. I can imagine the loft of this barn full of sweet smelling hay with kittens hiding in it. Cows are in the stalls waiting for the farmer to milk them and over there in that building to the side are the goats. They're the kind that chew on your shirt when you come out to visit them. Around the back is the hen house complete with a rooster or two to wake you up in the morning. Well, I think it sounds like fun anyway...
It has been a beautiful weekend, sunny blue skies and decent temperatures. The leaves are starting to turn and it's definitely looking fallish. The air is crisp and smells fresh.
This afternoon Hannah and I took Jasmine and went for a walk. It was good for her and I to spend a little alone time, we don't often get that. She had a chance to talk to me without everyone else interrupting and we got some exercise too. Very nice.
It has been a busy week but tomorrow is Columbus Day so we should have a little chance to catch up with ourselves before the action starts again. Troy will be back on Tuesday and we are looking forward to the arrival of Grandmanita and Lee Anne toward the later part of the week. They are driving down from Nova Scotia and will be flying down to New Mexico with us when we go to Albuquerque. We'll be missing the Balloon Festival by a few days but figure there should be a few ballons lingering in the sky long enough for us to enjoy. At least I'm hoping so.
Fridays are quickly becoming one of my busiest days. Bethany was here early this morning to get started on the barn sale she has been planning for the past couple of weeks. We had customers, we sold things, we have tons left, and we'll be here again tomorrow and next Friday and Saturday too. Troy arrived soon after Beth and thought we should spend time outside since that was where the action was. Actually, it has been a rather active week anyway, as Lydia and Daniel have been here since Wednesday morning. Their parents are down at the Castle retreat. Stephanie came over too since she had a day off school and was looking for some friends. After Troy went home, Sara and Alysa got off the school bus. James thought we should have some cookies, so I threw a batch in my Kitchen Aide mixer and while they were baking started some pizza dough. Dave, Leta and Megan were here for pizza as was Stephanie's father and Don who was working out in the shop. (Have I forgotten anyone?) Somewhere between the craziness, we were able to go for a walk. I think I should try out for Super Mom!
It's time for the church retreat to "the castle" in PA. For the past two years I have enjoyed driving down and spending some time on the mountain with the Lord. We sing together, eat together, study the Bible together, pray together, and get to know each other a little bit better too. On Friday afternoon, there are a few free hours to take a nap, go for a walk, or drive down to the town for the Apple Festival, which happens to be this weekend.
Last year my favorite daughter in law was able to go, which was a real blessing for both of us. God used this time in both of our lives to give us a closer relationship, not only with Him, but with each other too.
I love the retreat and always look forward to going, but it was not to be this year. God had different plans for me, so I am home. Instead of me going, my oldest son is there. He will have a wonderful time and get to know people from church in a new and closer way. Maybe I'll get to go again next year.
This has been a sad week. It's hard to think of fun things to write on a silly blog when there are so many people struggling in the world. Hearts are breaking everywhere for the Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and their tragic loss. I am amazed anew at the strength God gives when His people go through dark and terrible times. When I think of my own human heart and my own human weaknesses, I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to give this trial into the hands of a loving God and trust that He knows best. How would I be able to let go of my own sorrow should the Lord choose to let me endure such a loss. Only by His strength and power can anyone forgive and truly love at a time like this. I pray that God will be with these faithful souls, continue to give them peace, grant them the power to forgive and love, and the faith to believe in His promises. One day they will see their little girls again in a far better place.
Last Saturday I went to one of the farm stands and bought a bushel of apples. I like this particular stand because I can mix and match different kinds of apples to fill up the box. This time I bought 20 ounce, macintosh, macoun, and empires. The problem is that once I get them home I have a tough time distinguishing anything but the 20 ounce apples. Maybe next time I'll bring a divider to put in the middle if the box.
Of course not all apples look the same and there are some that I can manage to tell apart quite easily. Sunday James and I walked past a bunch of Red Delicious and Golden Delicious trees. Red Delicious are easy to tell because of their dark red color and unique shape. Golden Delicious taste much better than Red (in my opinion). Most of the time I walk past trees laden with apples and have no clue what kind they are or what they are good for; eating fresh, baking, sauce,...
I haven't had much time this week for baking but I love to make homemade apple sauce and eat it hot, bake fresh pies, apple kuchen, or cobbler, or just sit down and relax with a sweet, fresh juicy apple. Or even munch one while taking a stroll on a crisp autumn day.
1. I've had all four of my wisdom teeth removed but not all at once. 2. My pinky toes lay on their sides when I stand up. 3. I have 10 nephews, 8 nieces, and two great-nephews. 4. I usually wear blue jeans. 5. My hair is long. 6. I like to color. 7. I like antique furniture. 8. I love farms with or without animals. 9. I like country music even with a twang. 10. I shower daily. 11. Three cats live at my house. 12. I enjoy walking in the orchard. 13. I don't like mud. 14. I do like clay. (Figure that out. Isn't clay mud?) 15. I like things neat, clean, and organized which my husband finds extremely funny. 16. I have never been to Europe. 17. I don't like flying. 18. I prefer honey mustard sauce over barbeque. 19. Jon taught me how to draw cats. 20. I used to have a mouse named Elton. 21. My best bicycle was a green Schwinn with a banana seat. 22. We used to ride double and triple on our bikes. 23. We ended up crashing our bikes a lot. 24. I don't like green Necco wafers. Yuck! 25. I like my husband's beard and mustache. 26. I memorized the 23rd Psalm when I was in first grade. 27. Sometimes I like to mow the lawn. 28. My hands are starting to look like Mom's. 29. I once had a friend who wanted to take me to Ocean City, MD but I didn't get to go. 30. I rode the tram to Sandia Peak in Albuquerque ,NM. 31. I like pizza, but it doesn't like me. 32. I've never been to Boston in the fall. 33. I have changed thousands of diapers! (Think about it... ) 34. I went to Six Flags Over Texas in 1999. 35. I walked to school for three years. 36. I prefer a sharp pencil. 37. I like to sing but have a hard time reaching all the notes. 38. I'd like to write a children's book. 39. I wear my shoes most of the time. 40. I have glasses for reading. 41. I'm good at baby shower games and usually win a prize. 42. I don't like painting or papering walls. 43. I always lose when I play Scrabble with James. 44. I used to lead Cubbies in AWANA. 45. Sometimes I get laughing so hard I can't stop. 46. I once had a job at a grocery store. 47. I don't care much for TV. 48. On long trips I like to drive when it's dark. 49. I don't often drink soda. 50. As a child I loved playing dolls. 51. I don't tolerate the cold very well.
On Sunday afternoon James and I went for a walk. We followed the kids for a while and then turned down different road and into another farmer's orchard. This one was a little more overgrown, with longer grass and bigger trees. We passed a pond, trudged up the hill, walked though the grass, and crossed over a little bridge and through the woods. I can't remember when I last took so many walks in such a short period of time. My legs were tired and my feet achy when we got back to the house, but it was a good kind of tired and achy. I so enjoy these little walks we have been taking. There is something new to see and appreciate each and every day. I'm going to miss this when winter comes and the wind makes it too cold for an outdoor adventure.
Jasmine enjoys going for walks too. She tastes every puddle, eats an apple or two, runs through the grass and hides in the trees. When we pass the apple pickers, she stops to say hello and look in the open van doors. I think she's hoping to find a leftover burrito or maybe a cookie. She doesn't bark at the guys out there as she figures they belong out in the apple trees. Having just three legs doesn't slow her down, it just causes her to run sideways.
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.