Monday, March 30, 2009

Get Moving

James and I spent the weekend helping some friends move. It was a good exercise in flexibility and a good exercise in giving also. We were blessed with beautiful warm, dry weather which has now moved on out of the area. Today is gray, overcast and feeling slightly winter-like. I inhaled more than my fair share of dust over the weekend, because moving is just that kind of a job, and have consumed large amounts of decongestants and antihisitmines in a concerted effort to fend off sinus headaches. So far, in spite of feeling rather sluggish and achy, I am doing okay.

Moving others is always an encouragement to clean out my own "stash of trash" so I have been sorting through old papers and finding things to get rid of. The computer room is looking pretty good right now and I'm happy to report that all the dust bunnies have been chased out of the room. I've sent out an email of "used school books" and hope to trim the collection a bit more before trashing the remainder of the lot. Maybe one day I'll actually find the time to clean out my closet...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Patience and Flexibility

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4

God is teaching me patience and flexibility, or at least I think that is the goal. I must admit I wish it wasn't such a tediously trying process. It would be so much easier if I could just open my mouth and swallow it rather than have it worked into my life a little bit at a time. So often I want to run off and do my own thing. I don't especially desire to put the wants and needs of others above my own, and I certainly don't wish to be "inconvenienced" by the unpredictable schedules of those around me. I want to know what is going on and I don't want the itinerary changed, but God, in His wisdom, has another plan, a plan to mould and shape me into His image. It is not my job to fight and resist, rather to become soft and pliable in His hand. He is the Master. He knows what is best.

So today the sun shines and, while I would have preferred to go off galavanting, I am here at home where God wants me to be. Why He wants me here I do not know, but I do know He wants me to accept what I have and be content. Ben and Hannah are out raking the yard and am about to continue the quest to clear out the dust bunnies that have multiplied under and behind the furniture during the winter. All this has absolutely nothing to do with the photo unless you stop to consider that not all of life is "smooth sailing". Storms and trials are a must if I am to become more like Jesus. Maybe one day I will feel such a calm in the mist of the crashing waves that I too will have the peace to sleep through the storm.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Making a Connection

Computers and the World Wide Web have made connecting with friends an interesting venture. Many years ago a family friend gave this note of encouragement and vintage coin to our childhood neighbor. At the time Lisa was just a little girl and the friend an adult. This month she found the note and coin in an old jewelry box and made contact with my sisters and I on Facebook (resulting in my post on Family Ties). Well, I got curious where our old friend disappeared to. The last time we knew of his whereabouts he was in Florida planning to buy a sailboat, but I also knew he had family in the Minneapolis area. I started a search which led me to Classmates.com where I typed up an email only to have it ask me to become a "gold member" in order for my friend to read my email. Baaa! Evidently Classmates is pretty good at coercing people to send them money because they sent him an email notifying him of a message from "Martha T." Finally having an unusual first name has payed off! He didn't pay to receive the message either, instead, after trying to remember our last name, he looked us up in the phone book online. Yesterday I got a phone call from the Philippines where my friend has lived for the past four years. We had a wonderful conversation and when I asked if the call was costing him an arm and a leg, I heard him smile as he said, "Well, it's cheaper than flying."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fuzzy Stuff

After a busy day yesterday, I was up early this morning to run out to the store before picking up Lucas for the afternoon. Unfortunately after giving my fuzzy little dog a haircut yesterday afternoon, I am feeling rather spacey and head achy today. (This happens when people with dog allergies inhale doggy fur, and a lack of night time sleep exacerbates the problem.) Luckily, I have an ample supply of decongestants in my cupboard and should be breathing easy soon. In the meantime a cup of green tea with honey and a nap on the couch are in order. By the way, Sofie's haircut is looking rather cute and all it cost was an hour or so of time and a day or two of sinus pressure. No time to complain, there will be grandbabies here again tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet Forgiveness

On Tuesday mornings I go to Ladies' Prayer and Bible study at church. Today's plan was to pick Bethany up in town and take her along while her car was in the shop, then return afterward to pick up Troy from preschool. There was also the possibility of a friend coming over for lunch after the study. My day's plans were thwarted when in my haste to get out the door I discovered that my car keys were not on the counter. I had the sinking feeling they were in my husband's coat pocket so I made a quick phone call which confirmed my suspicion. I felt the frustration creep in. I wanted to be angry but I knew that James had not purposely taken my keys. For some reason God saw fit to keep me home today and although I hate having my plans rearranged, it is much easier to just accept the fact and get over it. After talking with Bethany, who will be here soon for Troy's car seat, I think we have worked out how to accomplish today's necessary tasks. Maybe Josh will stay here to play while Beth's car in in the garage and Troy will arrive here with Bethany after school is out. I called the church secretary with my prayer request and also my dear husband to tell him I love him and it really is okay. Another test of forgiveness...

So anyway, yesterday we took a ride out to get some maple syrup. The little store was packed with a group on a field trip, so we looked at the animals (two goats, two sheep, a bunny rabbit, and several ducks and chickens), and then, because we were freezing, decided to walk down to the sugar shack where the sweet steam from boiling sap makes the air smell like pancakes. Mr. Everson welcomed us in, told us a little about the syrup making process, and showed us his barrels of maple syrup waiting to be bottled. The cold nights this March have made it a good year for collecting sap. We purchased a half gallon of syrup for ourselves and a small bottle for Troy's daddy (His birthday is tomorrow...), some maple cream for toast, and a package of maple sugar candy. Yummy! It was a bright sunny day, perfect for a ride through the countryside.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Forgiveness

"But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Mark 11:26
There are times in life when God calls us to forgive; not to forgive just once, but to forgive repeatedly. Often a new day brings a renewed need to forgive as old offenses return to torment the heart and soul once again. When the hurt cuts deep and my heart is bleeding, I run to Jesus. He not only understands my pain, but He forgives me for repeated offenses and calls me to do the same.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family Ties

Today is the first day of spring. Although we woke up to snow on the ground, spring is still in the air. I even saw some crocuses popping out of the ground. Soon it will be time for bare feet and playgrounds...

One spring, back when I was a little girl, just five years old, a new family moved into the house two doors down. They had three children, a girl about 7, a boy of 5, and a one year old baby girl. My earliest memories are the boy and I riding circles in the street on our tricycles. That summer Al and I picked flowers in the back yard for his "mummy", cooked mudpies in a spot of dirt, and shared a good many afternoons driving our tricycles through the back yard where he was confined to play. In the fall we started kindergarten and our mothers became close friends. They shared coffee in the afternoon while their little girls played together and I'm sure shared a good many secrets as women often do. There were pets in the house two doors down; first a shaggy dog named Laddie, and later a white German shepherd named Bianca and a black and brown collie named Ace of Spades. Al and I not only went to kindergarten together but first and second grades too. We shared the same bus stop and when the roll was called at school my name always followed his. His father had a wonderful voice and often played the organ and sang. I loved to listen. In June of 1972 my mother's friend died tragically and suddenly. It was a terribly sad day etched forever in my memory. Without their mother to care for them the family was packed up and moved to Canada where they lived with relatives for the next two years before returning to the neighborhood home. By then circumstances had changed somewhat and the children were discouraged from spending too much time at our house, but our friendships had been forged in steel and nothing ever stopped Angel, Al, or myself from being together. I have so many good memories; 4-square in the street, hide and go seek in the dark, campfires in our backyard, walks about town, and late night knocks on my bedroom window. In August of 1979 a cousin came to visit my friends and ended up staying indefinitely. Eventually he and I were married and the friends two doors down became family. As a child I'd never known her as "Aunt" Sharon, but I had known her, and my husband never did. Now sometimes when I look at my daughter or see her smile, I catch a little glimpse of Aunt Sharon in her lovely face, and once in a great while I have to smile myself when I notice my son reminding me a little bit of Al.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday...


Today was Thursday. Thursday has become my busy day. Both Josh and Lucas come to visit and on normal weeks I pick Troy up from preschool at noon. Next week I will add something new; Creative Writing Class for Ben and Hannah. It should be interesting working out the drop off and pick up details...
Lucas is growing fast. He is much stronger and bright-eyed than just a few weeks ago. He loves my ceiling fan and smiles at it numerous times throughout the day. He is full of smiles and cooing and loves to be held. He wiggles the entire time he drinks his bottle so there is no putting him down and propping it up, instead the grandmother sits and holds it for him, and she doesn't mind.
Josh is full of ideas and keeps us entertained with his funniness. This morning he was on Hannah's lap and leaned over so tenderly to give her a kiss on the nose. It was really all so sweet until he sneezed mid-kiss. It sent me into gales of laughter. He is saying a lot of words for an almost 17 month old boy. I am looking toward warmer, drier weather when I can take the little ones out for a walk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Looking for Leprechans

I fully expected to catch myself a leprechan this evening. Unfortunately his mother's plans were changed when the daddy didn't have to go to class tonight. (That's okay, it was the daddy's birthday...) I did however find that a leprechan of some kind or other left his hat hanging on a chair in my kichen. He must have smelled the corned beef simmering in the crockpot, but he didn't bother to show up for supper. Too bad cause we had plenty to share.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Out and About

Troy is not here this week. The college his dad works at is closed for spring break. It was a beautiful day for a ride in the sunshine so Ben, Hannah and I decided to go to the mall. I checked out a cool toy store and decided to buy something. I'm still a kid at heart, I love toys, and I have little grandsons, so I bought some Cutting Food to play with Josh. Sara and Alysa checked it out after school and it passed the kid test. (I knew it would.) I hope Josh likes it too. He should be here tomorrow night and we'll check it out.
I rarely ever go to the mall and I didn't have much to spend, but there was something I wanted to find in JC Penney. I wasn't sure which department to look in so I wandered through the women's department, into the men's and on into housewares. As I went I looked at the salespeople and listened for a familiar voice. I rounded the corner into home furnishings and heard the voice I was searching for. It was my cousin, Diana. We both smiled, gave each other a hug, and chatted for a little bit between customers. She doesn't live too far from me but I rarely see my cousins so it was fun to fnd her there.
On the way home we stopped at Wendy's for some lunch. Lunch at Wendy's is pretty standard when we head out to the mall. I had a Chicken BLT salad and a drink. Ben chose a Number 6 meal, Spicy Chicken, and Hannah went for the dollar menu, a bacon cheeseburger, fries and vanilla Frosty. I taught her well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Scripture

O LORD God of hosts, Who [is] mighty like You, O LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.
Psalm 89:8-9

Living by the lake is an adventure. Although my boating excursions are now but distant memories, the water side remains fresh and ever calling. Some of my favorite Bible stories are those of Jesus out on the sea with His disciples. Lake Ontario helps draw a realistic picture in my mind when it comes to storm clouds billowing up over the water or the waves foaming angrily at the shore. Boating usually results in my getting seasick making it necessary to lie down in the bottom of the boat and close my eyes. I don't suppose Jesus got seasick even if he was asleep on a pillow in the bottom of the boat. My poor swimming skills keep me ever respectful of the danger of deep water and without a life preserver I'm never quite at ease. I'm thankful for my heavenly life preserver, the one who can still the waves with a simple command and keep me safe in His hand.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Stuff about the Birds

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:26
Another trip down to the bay. We didn't have any bread for the birds this time, just a camera to take a few photos. These must be the best fed birds in the area as there is always someone there with a loaf of bread or a bucket of corn. As I watched this woman feed the swans and geese, I couldn't help but think of the scripture that tells of God taking care of even the birds. They aren't a bit worried about the economy or if anyone will show up tomorrow with something to eat. Can I trust Him like the birds do? Of course I can, but will I?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stuff

It's been a tired kind of week. I'm not quite sure why unless it's the time change. I should be adjusted by now, but I still feel slightly thrown off. I've decided that my hair needs to be pinned back in order to look decent and I really should used the blow dryer if I am going to keep it tame. Today it is a bit on the wild side. I still think it needs to be "fixed" but I'm not sure who will do the fixing or when.

Both my little grandsons were here today. Pretty special! There are toys scattered around the house, hiding under the furniture, just like the "old days". Troy has gotten out the plastic sailboats in hopes of sailing them on Teal Lake but the wind is a bit too stiff for me this week. Maybe we'll go out sailing next week if we get a warm day.

I need to make a grocery store run again. I've pretty much run out of salad which I am getting slightly tired of. It's been two weeks and I have lost just five pounds. I think the bit of being gluten-free has made the bigger difference in my old jeans fitting. Maybe I can stick with being gluten-free this time. And, I'm not done eating salad either even if I did enjoy two gluten-free waffles this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Naughty Dogs and Tossed Salad

Jasmine decided to return home this afternoon. When I came back from picking Troy up from preschool, there she was sitting in the yard. Where does she go and who does she see? I have no clue, but this time around I didn't spend any time worrying about where she was or if she would come back. I am happy she's here but I'm not holding my breath thinking that she won't try this again. She is just plain naughty!

For the past couple weeks I have been rearranging my eating habits again. I hate to see the scale continue to creep upward and I know that cutting gluten out of my diet is to my advantage, so almost two weeks ago I stopped eating breads, cereals, potatoes, rice, chips, and sugars. I stopped drinking coffee and started drinking green tea with honey instead. I have lost several pounds and am able to wear jeans that have long lain unworn in my dresser drawers. I am enjoying lots of vegetables, big salads, scrambled eggs, lean meats, cheeses, and an occasional banana or bowl of applesauce. So far, so good...

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Winter is Past

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over [and] gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land;
Solomon's Song of Songs 2:11-12

Although the rain is not yet over and gone, I am hopeful that the winter is past. I have heard the singing of birds more often and have even seen a robin hopping about in my yard. The ducks and geese are again considering the backyard as a possible home and voice their opinion as to my presence when I go out to look at them. These Canada geese have not been tamed and taught to eat bread from our hands like those down at Irondequoit Bay, instead they are fearful and fly off when I appear. That is okay with me, I really do not want them setting up permanent residence in my yard. I much prefer to visit them at the lake. I do, however, enjoy their honking as they fly overhead. They are another sure sign of spring.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Soggy Weekend

Late yesterday morning Hannah and I headed out to Webster. Ben was gone to help James on a job and we were alone so we decided to do some shopping and stop to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Years ago I stopped at my parent's home often but now my visits are few and sporadic. I thought it was time we stopped by.

I had an interesting photo opportunity on the way to Mom's, a woman out walking four Dalmations, but I was too chicken to stop and ask if I could take her picture and not determined enough to sneak one. It did make me smile though and maybe one day I'll see her out walking again on a sunny day and feel more brave.
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The snow has melted and the water was slowly seeping away. The backyard lake was just a few puddles scattered here and there. I thought the ducks and geese were out of luck if they had picked our backyard as a home, but I was wrong. The rain started falling yesterday afternoon, on into the night and this morning we are once again the not so proud owners of a small lake. As the draining process begins again, the ducks and geese are smiling.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Fickle Month of March

If not for a very small child in my care today, I would have gone out for a walk in the wonderfully warm weather; it was around 60 degrees! Instead I stayed in, read books to Troy, baked some yummy chocolate chip cookies, and held a bottle for a hungry Lucas. I did, however, step outside into the balmy temperatures this afternoon to take a look around the yard and to call my three-legged dog who has once again gone missing. I let her out this morning and she hasn't returned. (She is nothing short of annoying!) Our backyard "lake" is draining nicely. I don't think the ducks will be moving in this year. I found some flowers beginning to sprout in my gardens. The crocuses are pushing their way up into the sunshine and so are these little snowdrops. I guess spring is on it's way afterall!

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Story Books

It is a good day for baking cookies. We have lots of milk in the fridge and nothing tastes better for a snack than milk and cookies. In the past two weeks I have made double batches of both peanut butter and molasses cookies. Both batches disappeared very quickly and without much help from me. I indulged in just one peanut butter cookie and had not even a bite of my very favorite molasses. I have determined to change my eating habits, but I still love to bake and watch my friends and family enjoy the results.
It is also a good day for reading stories. Troy has already had me read Huge Harold. Bill Peet is one of our best loved authors. He has written so many wonderful children's books and the pictures he drew for them are classic. I think maybe after lunch we will read a few more stories, maybe the one about Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure. If only I could find some crocodile tears, like Hubert, I could make my hair grow faster too. Next week I will visit the library and find some more Bill Peet books, maybe Jennifer and Josephine or Smokey.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Lucas didn't stay today, but was here long enough for some cousin time with Josh. James took my van keys to work this morning. I borrowed Bethany's rental car when she went to work. Josh went with me to pick Troy up from preschool and the three of us enjoyed lunch at The Candy Kitchen. Troy and Josh shared a kid's meal of apple sauce, grilled cheese, chips and chocolate milk. Josh smiled all the way home from lunch because he had a friend in the backseat with him. It was cute. Today was a beautiful day. I tied Sofie outside on her leash for a little while. When I returned to check on her, I found that her collar had come undone and she wasn't tied at all. Thankfully she was still there. I'm tired of cheap dog collars. Tonight I am tired. Probably from all that stressing over my hair.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-- 1 Peter 3:3
I am posting an old photograph this morning. Fourteen years ago I had short hair, but my husband loves it long and so I have let it grow. The problem is in knowing what to do with long hair. I tie it back; that is the only thing I know how to do. Yesterday I thought it would be nice to have it trimmed up a bit; cut the layers back, and give it a fresh look. I have decided that even some experienced hairdressers truly do not know how to cut hair. I can't go back and complain to someone I have known since high school, even if we never were best friends. I will have to deal with the bad cut, and it is bad, and wait for my hair to grow. I have never been good at the "grin and bear it" thing, at least not when it comes to my hair. On the positive side, I have been losing some weight. Maybe I can deal with the hair better if I am not also dealing with a double chin...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Bad Hair Day

Hannah and I got up a little early this morning and headed out to Webster for some shopping. We stopped in Walmart first for cat food, laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste and other various and sundry items. From Walmart we went to Wegman's for a few grocery items and then stopped for gas before going to Dave's house to pick up Lucas. We still had a little over an hour before noon, when I have to get Troy from preschool, so I thought maybe I could squeeze in a haircut. I've been wanting to get it cut for weeks now. (The top photo is from a week or so ago. It's my wild hair.)

The shop wasn't too busy but the hairdressers weren't in much of a hurry either. By the time I got in the chair it was 11:15. Not too bad, but I am a little indecisive when it comes to what I want done with my hair. We decided on trimming up the layers (what little there were...), taking a little off the length, and cutting my "bangs". We chatted away as she cut. I watched the clock and eventually became a bit concerned at the time. It was apparent the cut would not be done soon enough for me to pick Troy up on time. Since I know the hairdresser from high school we decided that I would take my half-cut hair, run back to town, and retrieve Troy (Hannah went in to get him), and then I would return and have my haircut finished. Of course, by the time we returned Lucas had decided he was hungry, so I made him a bottle, and Hannah took Troy into the grocery store to find him a yogurt and some pretzels.

Finally my hair was done, I paid for the cut and we headed home. I don't like my hair. It looks chopped. I wet it down and blew it dry. I sprayed it with a half gallon of "Instant Freeze". I am afraid to go near the wood stove. I think it looks a little better but now I can't relax. If I lay down or lean my head back with hair this crunchy, it might break off.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Bad Biting Birds

video

Yesterday afternoon was cold and brisk, but the sun was shining, so we decided to go for a ride along the lake. I stuffed the last few slices from a loaf of bread into my coat pocket, just in case we should happen upon any hungry birds. James had not been down to feed the birds at the bay, so we decided it was a good place to stop. The wind was bitter and the birds were biting. The swans fascinate me, even if they are intimidating. There is something exciting about the threatening way they look me in the eye, as if they are about to attack. They are the least intimidated of all the water foul at the bay and think nothing of walking right up next to us. I wounder how swan tastes?

Rather than heading back toward home we drove further along the lake toward Charlotte (pronounced Shar-lot) and the "Port of Rochester". I am looking forward to returning to these places when the weather warms up in a few weeks. By April we'll have to take the long way around as the bridge at the bay outlet will be removed for the summer. Maybe one day we'll take a tour of the Charlotte Lighthouse. That's it in yesterday's photo.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Scripture


I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20