Friday, December 31, 2010


1. I stole a photo of Josh and his hot chocolate. He was just so pleased with those Sponge Bob mugs! (This next year, I resolve not to steal...?)

2. Patience... I resolve to continue working on that one.

3. I promise to water the "flowers" and treat them well.

4. I do not promise to have a cleaner, neater house, since I have come to believe the quest is certain to leave me only bitter and frustrated. Instead I resolve to continue seeing toys strewn across the floor as jewels.

5. I hope to one day this coming year purchase a camera of a little higher quality than my present one. But, I'm not making any promises.

6. I shall endeavor, once again, to lose the extra pounds I have put on since Hannah was born. Every time I lose a few they find me again and bring along a friend or two. Well, there's no more room in the house!

7. I will do my utmost to actually finish those books I got out of the church libraries (two different churches...), "Having a Mary Spirit" by Joanna Weaver, "Our Values: Stories and Wisdom" by Dale Evans, and "Tramp for the Lord" by Corrie ten Boom. This may require a little less time on Facebook...

8. I shall continue in my endeavor to meet my bloggie friends face to face. (How will I ever get to the Pacific North West if I can't even make it halfway to Syracuse?)

9. I shall sing more, grumble less... and buy my family earplugs. :0)

10. I shall pray for wisdom in how to bring a bit of joy and purpose back into my mother's life. Jigsaw puzzles, the daily newspaper, crosswords, and my blue chair just aren't doing it for her.

11. I must eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and take a walk each and every day... or at least think about it.

12. Deep inside I want to be like my father, who had the wonderful way of making everyone feel special. I want to have a world full of favorites, or at least people who think they are!

13. I shall purpose to sit on the couch more with my family (after exercising, of course) , play more games, and be a little more involved in what they love.

And that is it for today. Maybe I will stay up until midnight, maybe I will watch a movie with my family, maybe I will eat popcorn shrimp... and maybe I'll decide to hit the sack early, although that's doubtful.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Hannie Bannie

Hannah's back injury is now two weeks old. Since that time she has not only struggled with the pain of a compression fracture, but has also dealt with the aches, pains, and upset stomachs that come with taking pain medication and fighting stomach bugs and viruses. It is no understatement to say she is "sick of being sick." I was blessed to see her feeling like herself once again today.

I got up in time to meet Emma, but was soon informed that she was ill and would be staying home today. Mid-morning Hannah and I headed out to Webster together. First stop was the doctor's office in Webster to gather a doctor's signature for Bethany. There I talked with James' cousin Angel and kissed her forehead where she has a scar left by a "tennis racket wielding teenager" years ago. This has become a ritual for us, as each time we meet she tells the story of how I accidentally whacked her between the eyes over thirty years ago. (I think she really likes the kisses I started giving her a year or so ago.)

After a visit to the bank and a quick stop in BJ's Wholesale Club, Hannah and I hit the shopping plaza and visited Joanne Fabrics, Kohl's (I had Kohl's cash..), Target, Barnes and Noble, and Wegman's. From there we headed back toward home. The car wash line was much too long so the van is still covered with dirt and salt. I'll have it washed on a "not so beautiful" kind of day. I decided to stop in at the chiropractor's office and make Hannah an appointment. It was the lunch hour but they were in the office and were kind enough to talk with us for a few minutes and give her an appointment for next week.

In my ventures at the shopping center I came to the conclusion that one should make sure to save a couple hundred dollars or so to spend the week following Christmas. The sales are great and besides, it gives a good head start on the collection of gifts that will be needed next holiday season.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter X

X is for Xerox, "The Document Company."

It might not sound very exciting to you, and truthfully, I am not all that thrilled, but Xerox does start with "X" and since it is a local company, it fits well into my ABC theme. In my search for information I came across the saying "unduplicated success" which I am sure is their own play on being the manufacturer of copy machines.

I set out this morning with camera in tow and, on my way to pick up milk, took a very short detour down Salt Rd. to get my own picture of the Xerox Webster campus.

When I was a small girl in the 1970's most of my friends had a parent or two who worked at Xerox. It was the place that generated most traffic and likely brought in the most tax revenue. My dad did not work for Xerox but my Aunt Margie did and she used to save the "test papers" which could only be run through a copy machine once back then. We had a great supply of drawing paper.

I looked up the company's history and was surprised to find very little mention of the campus in Webster which must cover several hundred acres. Whatever the reason, Xerox employees now days are much more worried about getting a pink slip than those of my childhood ever were. The company is on shut-down this week and it looked like a ghost town.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Maybe Next Year...

The stockings were stuffed...

Thirteen ideas for next year. (Would somebody please remind to to look at this come August?)

1. Keep up with the lasagna and salad dinners for Christmas. It's perfect!
2. Never neglect the Christmas Eve service no matter how many things need to get accomplished before morning arrives.
3. Try wrapping those gifts before midnight Christmas Eve. It would be nice to see them under the tree for at least a day or two. Besides who needs the added pressure of having to wrap everything last minute?
4. Color coded storage boxes. I know the red and green plastic totes are probably gone from the stores by now, but they sure would make finding the Christmas stuff 100% easier.
5. If you plan to mail cards, stock up on stamps ahead of time, print a family photo from July, and get those babies going on one of those down days right after Thanksgiving.
6. Banker's boxes... This is a new idea for me and I'm not sure if I'll pull it off or not. I have a rather large and growing family which makes buying for Christmas a bit of a challenge. A bundle of bankers boxes, each with an individual name, could be a great place to collect random gifts throughout the year. Now where to store them?
7. Make cutout cookies a couple of times through the month of December and send them home with small friends who are more than willing to help eat and decorate.
8. Take some time away from work and the computer to watch a few of those holiday classics; "It's a Wonderful Life," "The Bishop's Wife," "A Muppet Christmas Carol,"...
9. Homemade mittens make great gifts. (Thanks, Andrea!)
10. Keep plenty of ones and spare change on hand so you can put something in the Red Kettle every time.
11. Get the tree early and decorate it with all the glee and excitement of a five year old.
12. Hang lights outside!
13. Make time to be in or attend a Christmas pageant or two and be sure to let it be known which holiday you wish your friends and neighbors to enjoy! "Merry Christmas!"

PS. Don't forget the family white elephant gift exchange. It's so much fun.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day

I have counted out Christmas guests a number of times and find myself still uncertain as to how many people we had in the house. I think it was 26. Nate and Sabrina weren't able to stay long (this will happen as one's children turn into adults...) so I grabbed a moment before dinner to take a group picture... or two.
It was a nice day even though I didn't find time to clean the house ahead of the party. Nobody cared or noticed anyway and I didn't have to stress at all over the mess. I guess there is a plus to everything.

We had more food to eat than we needed. Plenty of lasagna, heaps of salad, and enough cookies and junk to please any crowd. Dave and Leta brought cheese and crackers and I abandoned my gluten-free diet for the holidays. It will be my New Year's resolution, as usual, to clean up my act and feast upon salad and all stuff nutritious.

This past year gave us two new family members, Simon and Sabrina. Simon came to us in April and is a treasure. Rachel took some pictures of him giving me kisses, which I soaked up nicely. I do love baby kisses and he gives some good ones!

Sabrina will become an official family member next October when she and Nathan get married. They spend most of their time with her family at present, but maybe we can remedy that in the future. ;) We were blessed to have them for the time they were available and hope to include them in more of the festivities next year, even if I have to twist some arms.

James and I kept our gift giving simple this year, some of necessity and some because we simply ran out of time. We did, however, manage to have a great family grab bag type gift exchange. It has become one of the highlights of the day and I think we are getting better at it as the years go by. I found the gift aisle at the local drug store to be a great source of fun and interesting gifts.

The fish aquarium lamp was popular and switched owners several times before landing in Audra's lap. The barking clock, which I found amusing, was the first opened and remained in Alicia's possession the entire time. Oreos, bags of candy, and popcorn also appear to be coveted items. Josh, who chose for Adam, had his eyes set on a pair of Sponge Bob hot cocoa mugs much to his mother's dismay. I was pleased to see her find it amusing in spite of her distaste for the cartoon character. Josiah had his gifts stolen time after time before finally ending up with a cappuccino gift set which satisfied him well. I hope they are as good as they looked!

It was a wonderful day. Though I always find myself stressed and feeling unprepared, the day always turns out fun and special despite my mostly imagined shortcomings. I love having my family around and Christmas is a great time to fill up the house and spend the day together. Too bad the other part of my family, a gift to me from My Darling so many years ago, is so far away. I always miss them at Christmas time. Too bad also that I forgot to set out the toffee. Well, maybe it's good for Jim.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my much loved and treasured bloggy friends!

May you find the greatest gift of all in the love of the Savior born in a stable long ago.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Today I tried my hand at making fruitcake. The nice thing about making your own is that you get to decide what goes into it. Mine has dried currants, cranberries, apricots, golden raisins, dates, and walnuts. I decided the dried cherries were a little too pricey... I'm sure I will need a little practice before I get it just right, but my first batch turned out pretty good, even if I do say so myself! Thanks Kristen. :)

Last week, while the weather was cold and frosty, James and I made toffee. We only covered one side with chocolate and crushed walnuts this time. Don't they look yummy? Thanks, Wanda! (Aren't bloggy friends great?)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Whatever Shall I Do?

It was a short week and now the vacation begins. I'm sure it will fly by too and I will likely not accomplish everything my heart desires. All too soon Jim will be gone back to Minnesota and it will be 2011, but along with the new year will come the return of the little people I have come to love. (If you think I look miserable in the photo, it's only because the camera is pointed at me.) The house seems almost too quiet today.

I had hoped to go out shopping for the day, but my plans were thwarted by a mid morning piano lesson and a son who gets out of work a little after 3 pm. I did get to the bank though, and also went out to lunch with a couple of my wonderful kids. A third one took a lunch break from his job washing dishes and joined us. When he is finished at the diner, we'll head out to fight the thronging crowds. Tomorrow I plan to stay home, "Christmas-tize" the house, put together an lasagna, and do a little baking. Hopefully, I can get to the grocery store tonight and won't have to run out in the morning. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter W

W is for Webster, Williamson, and Wegmans.

I grew up in the town of Webster, NY. Webster is located 10-20 minutes east of Rochester, NY along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Signs welcoming visitors to town read "Welcome to Webster where life is worth living." (How's that for some W's?) . I checked Wikipedia and found some "notable" residents. I am not a TV watcher and have seen "Crossing Jordan" only a handful of times, so I had no idea one of the stars was from my hometown. I wouldn't know her in her role as DA Renee Walcott, nor could I pick Susan Gibney out of a crowd. I did however, at one point in time, know her younger brothers Pat and Tim. Lou Gramm, of Foreigner, lives in Webster, NY too though I have no clue where. (Okay, actually I do have a clue...) When my father was a boy, Webster was mostly farmland. My favorite childhood memories are of playing in a narrow strip of woods that ran between my parent's little neighborhood and what used to be the Junior High School. It was a great place to be a kid.

Now I live in Williamson, which is also along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, just a bit farther east. This little town, "The Core of Apple Country," remains mostly farm country; apple farms. Wikipedia doesn't list Williamson's notable people, but I happen to know that Diann Roffe, winner of a gold medal in skiing in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway is a former Williamson resident. (My son went to school with her brother.) I like it here. I like the apple orchards, the tractors rumbling down the roads, and the quiet country feeling. I also like that it is not too far away from Webster where I do most of my shopping.

And that brings me to Wegmans, which is my favorite place to grocery shop. They have everything I need and are much more pleasant than Walmart. Warm and welcoming, and what do you know? They even have a blog!

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Thoughts

The weekend is rapidly coming to a close. Part of me is ready for a new week and another part is in denial. I must admit that my internal struggle was interrupted by a bit of "other-centered" thoughts the past few days. (Why does it take such happenings to put life back into perspective?) Not only has my mind been on my own children with their injuries and illness, but I am also thinking of the little ones who have come into my care during the week, little ones who need love and tender care in the absence of their parents. I desperately wish to grow my garden just a little bit bigger. Maybe just one more "flower" or two...

Though I love and look forward to weekends, today I'm looking forward to Monday and the return of little people. I will probably never have a spotless house, will likely never sort through all those piles of stuff, and will always be a few steps behind when it comes to cleaning, but seeing their smiling faces and feeling those little arms about my neck makes everything better. Not every child has someone to love them while Mom and Dad work. I think that is sad.

PS. I think "Vinegar" wants to dip his cracker in my coffee cup.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out and About

Today we went out Christmas shopping. I took Ben, who was feeling somewhat nauseated, and Hannah, who was in pain but refused to complain. We didn't stay out too long and only went as far as Webster. I think that was almost too much for either one of them today. Ben worked a long shift washing dishes yesterday. Actually, it's been a long week of washing dishes... Hannah had a long night of pain from Thursday night to Friday morning, and a long day of visiting doctors yesterday. I think her pain medication was wearing off and though she said she was fine, her eyes told me a different story. She needed to go home to bed for a few hours.

Tonight is a birthday celebration for a very special two year old. It is Lucas' birthday! If he holds still long enough, maybe I'll get a few pictures.

Now for a cup of something hot to drink before the party begins...

Friday, December 17, 2010

For Everything a Place...

... but nothing quite where it should be.

Jello does not stay put on a warm and moving plate. Neither does the stuff in my house stay where it belongs. It rarely gets back to where it should be, and half the time no one is completely sure where it was supposed to be in the first place. When a clear space opens up, other belongings naturally ooze into the gap. Flat surfaces are meant for piling things, and corners are for stacking... Okay, so it's really not all THAT bad... I am exaggerating a little bit. I do have places for some things.

I had two "flowers" this morning. They decided to play People. No one put a people into his mouth and they had a great time putting a crowd of them down the trap door of the Little People castle. "Vinegar" dipped a Jenga block into my coffee before I could stop him, but otherwise all went well. I sat on the floor, chased "seedlings," and shared some clementines and pieces of banana with my friends.

Today I am feeling blessed. Hannah had an accident yesterday afternoon. She injured her back and was in great pain throughout the evening and into this morning. James took her to the doctor who prescribed some pain medication and sent her to a specialist. (Yes, it is that serious.) She will heal. She is walking and moving about. She is much loved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter V

V is for vacation.

In our family a vacation often means a family reunion and/or a special occasion. We don't often go too far on our own without a valid reason. One of our first real vacations was a family reunion in 1988 to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Finally someone lived close enough to reach and almost everyone was able to come.

Next was a plane trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1992. We bought seven plane tickets (they were half price) and took our five children to meet their aunts, uncles, and cousins. We stayed for three weeks, one with each of James' sisters, and it was one of the best vacations ever! Even Grandmanita came, all the way from Nova Scotia. None of us wanted to leave.

It was many years before we were able to meet up again, this time in 2002, a Christmas reunion in Boulder, Colorado. Finally everyone was there. We had ten new family members who we had never even met! We piled 33 people into one little house for an unforgettable Christmas! The two day drive across the country was well worth it. Though we could have done without the stomach virus that ravaged our party. In spite of it, we spent one wonderful day driving through the mountains, another enjoying Pearl Street, and several just basking in each other's company.

Our last gathering was in 2006, a wedding in Albuquerque, where we added a new family member, Uncle Mike, and met our newest nephew, Ashton. Going to New Mexico is a little bit like going home. We take in all the chile peppers, homemade tortillas, and tamales possible, and never skip out on a chance to take a drive up into the Sandia Mountains.

There have been other vacations as well like taking our son to college or delivering a cabinet to a relative out of state. We have had family come for weddings and even headed out to a special occasion or two ourselves. Just last week some family members were hatching a plan for a family reunion in our back yard, a tent city of sorts. I wonder if it will really happen?

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Arctic Chills

The arctic chill is upon us. It is 15 degrees with a wind chill just below zero. It is brutal. I have ventured out only to collect my mother's newspaper from the box out by the road, and to grab a few pieces of firewood.

Yesterday my little friend "Vinegar" came to visit us. My "Little Guy" was happy to have another small person in the house while the girls were at school. By the time the little "flowers" went home and "the garden" was quiet, I was feeling rather poorly, like someone was squeezing my middle and sending chills, aches, and pains down my legs and across my shoulders. James, not wanting to cancel the nursing home due to weather two weeks in a row, ventured out into the snow. I stayed home, filled the tub with hot water for a long soak, and crawled into my bed at 7:17 pm. I was awakened at midnight by James climbing out of bed. The power was out and he was off to check on my mother and her oxygen supply. Good thing she has an ample supply of large tanks. Having removed her hearing aides, she was rather loud with her instructions in the middle of the night. I went back to bed and left her to James.

The power was out until about 6:am. One of the days I am truly thankful for a wood stove and the layer of dust it generates. There was no school here today, but both my mommas had to go in to work, one in a neighboring school district.

All is quiet as everyone is napping. I have given up on the one I needed so desperately. Between barking dogs and my mother, who decided to load the wood stove, I have been wakened more time that I care to count. With little carpet and mostly wood floors, this house is not conducive to quiet naps anyway. One must be thoroughly drugged to sleep here during the daylight hours... or totally alone. There have been days when I was able to sleep, unfortunately, though I am terribly tired, this is not to be one of them.

I wonder when I will have a moment to sneak off to the grocery store.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Very Long Arms

One of the things I find interesting about the little church we have been attending is its heart for missions, especially the heart of the pastor. Eight months ago Pastor and his wife went to Ghana, Africa to visit a ministry the church had been supporting. A month or so later, Pastor went to Kenya. I have lost count of the visiting pastors and missionaries who have visited the church since May. They have come from across the United States and up to Alaska, from India, Africa, and Haiti. Today Pastor Alex shared his story. He had never seen snow before and loves it. He likes to sing and shared a few songs in his native tongue. On Tuesday he will begin his long journey home to Ghana. Still on my heart and in my prayers are Pastor Eliza and his beautiful wife who came from Haiti this fall. They had family working in the orchards here, came north with them from Florida, and stayed for several weeks. One evening Pastor Eliza shared a prayer in Creole. They returned to Haiti just in time for the cholera epidemic. I find myself intrigued by this small, old-fashioned church with some very long arms and a big heart.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

It's been a busy day! Good thing I went grocery shopping and did laundry yesterday. What happened today? Well, let's see...

1. Got up about 7 am and took my shower (but I didn't make my bed).
2. Made coffee for James and me.
3. Cooked scrambled eggs for Mom, Hannah, and me.
4. Looked at the computer...
5. Made frosting and decorated more cookies.
6. Washed the dishes.
7. Went to my brother Tim's Christmas Tea with my mom and sisters.
8. Stopped at the bank on our way to Newark. (This is a small upstate NY city nowhere near that international airport called "JFK.")
9. Stopped at the Dollar General on the way home and waited in line much too long to buy just aluminum foil.
10. Picked up a hitch hiker on the way home. It was Jasmine and she sporting a new bandanna from her friend Martin who she went to visit this morning.
11. Fixed up a plate of cookies and a Christmas card for Jasmine's friend.
12. Made a cookie plate delivery just down the road and over the hill.
13. Picked up a "forgotten" pumpkin pie for my friend Sally. (I was supposed to pick it up on my way home from my brother's place.)
14. Finally made it to church for an evening of gingerbread house decorating.

Needless to say, I did not clean my house today...

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Tonight I baked my second batch of cutout cookies. If I can find some powdered sugar and sprinkles maybe tomorrow I will sit down and frost cookies with my little people. The batch I baked on Monday is gone already and, unbelievably, I did not eat one. I have been tempted by both cookie and dough, but thus far have been able to resist. I pray I can hold out but I know it won't be easy. Thankfully, I found a recipe for gluten-free gingerbread cookies online and I think I just might have all the ingredients. (Yes, I am playing that gluten-free game again...)

Winter is putting us into the deep freeze. It is presently about 10 degrees Fahrenheit with fluffy white snow on the side. The remaining blades of grass poking through the snow disappeared sometime this afternoon. Jazz continues to struggle and is limping quite badly. She uses her nose as a fourth leg when needed and slipped on the bottom step coming inside this afternoon. I think she'll not be spending quite so much time out in the snow this winter. Maybe I need to get her a pair of doggie boots...

315'ers at Their Best

Be patient with the bars and screeching at the beginning (or forward through them) and you might just get a quick tour of Williamson and the town park... This was one of Josiah's projects for a college class.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sleeping on the Job

It's hard to belive the week is already half over. Monday was busy because there was no school here and we had two extra "flowers" to tend. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my day, I unfortunately ended it with a sinus headache. I took some Musinex and 2 Advil after supper, sat down to relax, and fell asleep instead. I had a couple friends join me.

Tuesday was cold and blustery, and I opted not to take my Little Guy out in the weather, thus I missed my weekly trip to Webster and Ladies' Prayer at Calvary Chapel. Instead I wandered about the house for a bit before taking some more Musinex and Advil and spent Tuesday morning much like I spent the night previous, asleep in the chair. My Little Guy played with Play-Do while Hannah did school work. Thankfully, I did not need any Advil today.

Winter has successfully enfolded us in its grasp. After three or four days straight of bitter wind, I have decided I am not in any hurry to dash out to the store after the house settles down in the evening. I hear we have sufficient snow accumulation in the area, but it seems most of ours has blown south a few miles. I can still see blades of grass sticking through the snow in my backyard. Jasmine, our three-legged dog, has thought it best to stick close to home lately. She is almost ten years old and struggles to maneuver without two front legs. She falls often and the trek to Martin's house must be too arduous in the snow and cold. She prefers the warm of the rug in front of the wood stove lately. Of course, I say that today, but I suppose she could decide to move back in with Martin tomorrow.

ABC Wednesday- Letter U

U is for Uncle. :)

I lay in bed last night trying to come up with a wonderful "U" word, but since I am mostly following a family theme, the best word I could come up with is "uncle." I do think uncle is a wonderful word. I counted and decided that my father had fifteen plus uncles. (Some of his aunts were married twice.) My mother (whose own mother was an only child) had five uncles. She has one uncle still living. He is 101 years old and lives in a nearby family owned nursing home. I had three uncles. One passed away when I was just a little girl, one I saw seldom, and the third is highly treasured. He is my mother's brother and was terribly sick earlier this year. He would have been a favorite uncle even if I'd had a dozen. Hooray for uncles!

And finally, "U" is for ukulele. This was most often referred to as a banjo-uke, a cross between the two instruments, I suppose. It belonged to my father and was given to him and my Uncle Art when they were teenagers. I don't know if my uncle ever learned to play it, but I know my dad had fun with it. I believe it was one of his prized possessions and that is why I love it too.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Garden Tending

The weather outside is frightful and God saw fit to bless us with a day off school. It is a parent conference day so the busyness was fully expected. Last night I stirred up some sugar cookie dough, and while the "flowers" played Play-Do, I rolled and cut cookies. I'm hoping we will have a little bit of time to decorate some this afternoon. Right now they are watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

My Little Guy had a wonderful time playing Play-Do today. He sat at the table for an hour, I think, just enjoying himself. He stayed when the others went off to do something else and was still there when they returned. Makes we wonder why I just keep it up in the cupboard and hardly ever take it out for them to play with. Maybe it's the mess? Today it seemed worth the trouble.

I have enjoyed so much having Troy and Tyler here. We just don't have enough conference days. And you know, I don't even really mind the fact that Hannah is really supposed to be the one watching them. I just like having them around. Kind of rounds out "the garden."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

Little by little, bit by bit...

We are sorting through belongings, packing boxes, and saying good bye. We are "letting go of things, and holding on to the memories." Actually, we are mostly packing things into boxes to store away, just in case... I find I am also sorting through feelings and emotions, slipping them into folders, and attempting to discard the hurts I find along the way. They litter the trail and block the path. They are obstacles which must be removed, obstacles I find impossible to discard on my own initiative. I need help from someone bigger and wiser than me. Sometimes I remember to cry out to Him, and other times I forget and attempt to make it on my own. I find the latter an exhausting exercise.

I have been slowly reading "Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us From the Inside Out" by Joanna Weaver and am amazed once again how God can address the needs of my heart and spirit from the pages of a book. I would never have picked the book up on my own, it was handed to me by a friend at my Tuesday Ladies' Prayer group. Somehow it made her think of me. I know it was really the Lord whispering in her ear, and I am grateful. One of the parts I loved was where she told of her grandmother's death. After the funeral, her brother, her sister, and herself sat down to talk and the brother apologized to his sisters for being Grandma Nora's favorite. The girls were both astounded as each one was sure that they had been the favored grandchild. Oh, to be the favorite! Or at least feel as if I were. Oh, to have my own children, grandchildren, and "flowers" each feel as though they were my favorite. I pray this is something the Lord can work into my heart and life, to make each person I meet feel so treasured that there is no question as to whether or not I love them.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Still in Love

This child looks a little bit different these days. He is taller and thinner. He isn't a baby anymore and he goes to school. But, he is still a sweetheart and doesn't mind snuggling up next to me or Hannah. He told me a secret yesterday. He whispered in my ear that he still has three blankets at home (I think he saw Ivy with hers) and when everyone was settled onto the couch to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, he asked if we still had "that white blanket." It was his favorite blanket to nap with for the few years he spent with me. It was upstairs and he was happy to hold it and relax a little bit for the movie. Yup. I'm still in love with him.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Little Excitement

I woke this morning feeling already defeated. Not the best way to start the day, and definitely not the way to start it out right. The problem is that I am too focused on what isn't getting done and not focused enough on what is getting accomplished.

The girls did not have school today and were happy to enjoy a day at Martha's. I threw in a load of laundry (which I should be folding...) and cleaned off one of my counter tops. This involved shaking the fire hazard of crumbs from the bottom of my toaster. How's that for something I don't do every day? Lucas and Simon showed up about 9:30 am and livened things up a bit. We fed them all lunch at noon. Lucas and Simon went home soon after lunch and at 12:45 pm another couple of boys arrived on the school bus and we enjoyed the afternoon with Tyler and Troy.

I did not vacuum today, but I did sweep the kitchen floor (and picked up the dirt pile too!), and I had spaghetti and meatballs on the table by a little after six. It's been a busy day. Maybe I'll decide to run the vacuum cleaner tomorrow, or maybe I'll just play blocks with Andrew and Vinnie.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Teal Lake?

It has been a long time since we've seen Teal Lake,... until today...

The day started off wet and rainy and we took our umbrellas out to wait for the bus. I must say we have been blessed with mild bus stop weather this year,... until today... I know we will eventually end up seeking cover in my van, especially when the wind turns cold and bitter, unless someone decided to build us a shelter.

So far this year we have managed to escape any significant snow accumulation,... until today... It started mid morning and fell in thick wet flakes. It would have been perfect for a snowball war, if I was still fifteen, but Bethany and I were making pies again. We had to use up the leftover apples.

It was also busy day. I finally found a few moments to sit down and suddenly heard a loud crash. Our Christmas tree had fallen over. There was nobody near i,t except Oreo who took off in the commotion. We had not even hung all the heavy ornaments on one side. In fact I was just thinking about "borrowing" some of Mom's decorations to liven it up a bit. Turns out the tree's trunk was cut at an angle and it just got tired of standing on one foot. (I only got one picture as My Darling did not find the whole episode quite as amusing as I did. He doesn't always appreciate my sense of humor...) Water trailed across the floor and ornaments were scattered on the carpet.

And last of all, I finally had a chance to see my hero, The Cat in the Hat. He came along while we were eating supper, stepped into the upturned hat, and attempted to make himself comfortable. Unfortunately, it was just a little bit small and he didn't stay around long. It started to tip over, like the tree, and he took off for another resting place.

ABC Wednesday- Letter T

T is for teal, which is either a color or a member of the duck family, unless it is one's last name.

I acquired the name Teal when, as a teenager, I married my husband. We have been together now for twenty-nine years, almost thirty. We have raised seven children on this journey and it has been quite the trip!

My husband's family can be traced to Ridgeway, Ontario where the Teal family grew and multiplied. Ours seems to be a branch now little known as my in laws moved from the area over fifty years ago. My father in law was in the US Air Force and my husband was born in Tokyo; Tachikawa Air Force Base. (It's true.)

There remains in Fort Erie a road by the name of Teal where my husband's grandparents had a farm. On the Garrison, I think, is a mostly neglected and all but abandoned cabin which was once the original "Teal House." It is now a museum on the Ridgeway Battlefield, but I think maybe only Teals and tired truckers ever bother to stop there anymore. It is never open when we stop by.

Here, at this house, we have Teal Lake. Well, we have it today anyway. It appears, uninvited, in the backyard during torrential downpours. Hopefully, it will be gone by tomorrow, but I doubt it. It's still raining.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!