Saturday, January 30, 2010

Arctic Air

The last few days have been exceptionally cold. Though it is my preference to stay inside my nice cozy den when the temperatures are in the single digits, I put on my warm mittens and went out to face the world today. We were in dire need of a few essentials, like milk and toilet paper... The roads were clear and once the van warmed up the ride was quite pleasant.

I have not been taking many pictures lately so this evening I give you a couple of paintings done by my great Aunt Margaret, one of my father's artist aunts. They seemed fitting on such a cold and wintry day. Aunt Margaret is now about 96 years old. She has outlived all 10 of her brothers and sisters. I wish she was still able to converse and tell us about the days of her childhood, but age has taken its toll and her mind is no longer clear.

Time is a funny thing. When we are young it seems as though the world will continue to go on just as it is, that our friends and family will always be available, that the places we know and love will always remain. By the time we come to grips with reality, we have often lost our best opportunity to learn from those in whose steps we follow and to take in the beauty that surrounds us even if it is cold and wintry.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Paint and Pie, More Pie

I am making progress on my freezer and James is moving right along on our house projects. Today he sanded drywall, put in the sub-floor, and did some painting. He is doing a great job.

Outside the wind is relentless, the temperatures bitter and brutal. I decided to warm up the kitchen by making another pie, this time elderberry. Not quite so perfect as my last one, this one leaked, but still looking pretty good. On my way home from Ben's appointment this morning I picked up two half gallons (Yes! they really are half gallons!!!) of ice cream at the supermarket. I am not near out of berries but spring is still a long ways off. If I run out of fruit before summer, there's always lemon meringue.

Off to Work

My children are growing up. This week Ben got a job washing dishes in that "little diner" up in town, the one where his sister hangs out occasionally. Today he had the dreaded physical and we picked up a work permit at the high school afterward. All those years of washing dishes at home have paid off. Nothing like having a little experience (and a sister who is friends with the boss).

Hannah has been helping me out with the girls, Josh or Lucas if and when they come over, and little Vinnie who comes one afternoon a week. I agreed to pay her a little something for her efforts. Today she stayed here with Emma (and James) and played "Little People" and Playdough while I was gone with Ben. I hope she doesn't get too lonely without him around.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

I have been "cleaning" my freezer lately. Each day I take a little something out and cook it up into something yummy. I call this "cleaning" because it is food that has been hiding out in the basement, all but forgotten. I have made venison sausage chili, a stuffed and roasted turkey, and several pies. Last night I made another blueberry pie; very yummy in the middle of winter, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
My Darling has been busy working on a long avoided project, our downstairs laundry/powder room. We have long known it needed help. When our toilet tank cracked this fall we knew a remodel was not far off. On Tuesday James removed the fixtures and appliances and started gutting the little room, right down to the two by fours. Messy job. Down came the wallpaper, out came the drywall, into the trash went the yucky old insulation. Or what was left of it. We have decided that this little room with the low ceiling probably once served as the family woodshed. It even has a door which has been sided over on the outside. Now we pile the firewood on the back porch instead which works fairly well if one doesn't mind having it covered with snow.
Since work has been slow James has been able to dedicate most of his daytime hours this week to getting this little room not only taken apart, but put back together again. He is much better at getting projects finished than I am. Yesterday he worked on plumbing, this morning he started putting up the drywall and mudded it. Tomorrow he hopes to start painting. I will have a new laundry/powder room in no time! Pretty cool, huh? We have actually thought lately about moving, downsizing our house, paying off some bills, and having less to keep up with, but we're not really sure yet if that is our best option. Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeding the Monkeys

Lunchtime for little girls can prove to be a challenge. It seems there is always someone who doesn't like something. I have given up asking them what they would like and have instead taken to looking in the cupboard and putting together something that looks fun and at least remotely healthy. This week the mommies both brought a bag of groceries which makes the job just a little bit easier.

Today the girls ate pear flavored applesauce, macaroni and cheese, "Crunchies", and milk. Somehow I managed to color coordinate everything today; jungle monkey plates, green cups, and green applesauce. Yeah, most days I really do think this job is kind of fun. Maybe tomorrow I'll let them eat off the ladybug plates. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clothing Makes the Man

He's wearing a guitar!



Actually, that is not all he is wearing, it just appears that is all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookie Makers

I decided that I should put forth the effort to do something with Emma and Bella today rather than just let them go and play on their own. I thought they might enjoy helping me make some peanut butter cookies. I mixed the butter and peanut butter before they knew what I was up to, measured the sugars and set them aside, cracked an egg into a measuring cup, and measured the flour into a bowl.

The girls dumped and stirred. When their arms got tired, I stirred. I rolled little balls of dough, put them on the cookie sheets, and gave each girl a fork to criss-cross the cookies. Both girls were very happy with the results and each took home a plateful of cookies this afternoon. What do you bet they ask to make cookies again tomorrow?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If I Were A One-legged Pirate

Dressed in our jammies, snuggled up on the couch on a cold winter night, Dad read us The Golden Book of Poetry. This was one of my favorite selections.

I Were A One Legged Pirate
by Mildred Plew Meigs

If I were a one-legged pirate
Ga-lumping around on a peg,
I'd flourish my pistol and fire it;
Then, sure as my right wooden leg,
I'd buy me a three-decker galleon
With cannon to port and to lee,
And wearing the king's medallion,
I'd head for a tropical sea!
Roaring a rough Ha-ha! Ha-ho!
Roving the routes of old,
Over the billows we would go
Sweeping the seas for gold!
Plying the lane
Of the Spanish Main
For Gold! Gold! Gold!

If I were a one-legged pirate
Ga-lumping around after loot,
I'd flourish my pistol and fire it;
Then, sure as my red leather boot,
I'd buy me a three decker galleon
With cannon to thunder a mile,
And bucking the sea like a stallion,
I'd head for a tropical Isle!
Roaring a rough Ha-ha! Ha-ho!
Chanting a chantey bold,
Over the billows we would blow,
Sweeping the seas for gold!
Plying the lane
Of the Spanish Main
For Gold! Gold! Gold!

But since I was not born a pirate
Ga-lumping around on a stick;
And since my toy gun when I fire it
Gives out but a little toy click;
Pretending my boat is a galleon,
My pond is a tropical sea,
I'll play I'm an old rapscallion,
But really I won't hurt a flea.
Roaring my small Ha-ha! Ha-ho!
Saying I'm someone bold,
Over the duck pond I will go
Roving the routes of old;
Plying the pond
And the stream beyond
For Gold! Gold! Gold!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bear Hugs

I can almost smell the sweet scent of baby. I can almost hear his tiny sighs, and feel his warm little body in my arms all curled up in baby sleep. There is something about a brand new baby; soft, fragile, tender and sweet. Little eyes that struggle to see, tiny fingers clasping bigger ones, skinny little legs kicking involuntarily as he cries.

I recall being a brand new mommy and feeling suddenly very vulnerable, wondering how I would ever protect my tiny bundle from the wiles of the world. It's been over twenty-eight years since I first looked into the sweet, innocent face of my first newborn, but those feeling rush back all over again whenever I see a brand new baby.

This is my great nephew, Ethan. I may never get to hold him while he's tiny, in fact I have no guarantees that I will ever see him at all, but I can still love him. I can still pray for him. And, I can still think he's beautiful!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Babysitter Test 2

One of my "little darlings" brought two princess dresses today so that she and her friend could play dress-up. It had already been a rather loud kind of morning as these two small girls have only one volume to their voices. "You're too loud," I would say. They would look at me and continue on with their game, voices as loud and shrill as only the moment before.

Not long before lunch they decided to transform themselves into princesses. Bella wore the pink dress and Emma the blue. They twirled around, each exclaiming how beautiful they were, and spoke of who was going to marry who. (They don't quite understand that in order for a princess to marry, she must have a prince. They, in their little girl way, are not very fond of boys who only mean trouble for little girls...)

The princesses dined on grilled cheese and applesauce for lunch and afterward were busy picking up toys when one suddenly needed to go potty. I pulled her gorgeous gown up over head and sent her to the bathroom. No sooner had she closed the door than hideous screams emanated from the other side. I couldn't imagine what had happened but it sounded like she was in agony. I investigated. I found a crying child standing atop the step stool, pants around her knees, and a puddle on the floor. She was devastated.

While I knew her wet clothing needed to be removed, I knew not what to put on the child. I have no extra clothes for little girls and the extra pj's that once waited in my closet had been given to Josh for Christmas. She could not run about the house naked, nor could she sit in the bathroom until her clothes were clean and dry. I ran downstairs, threw her clothes into the washer along with whatever was left in my laundry tub and racked my brain for what to put on the child. The Princess dress. It was all that I had, it belonged to her and it would keep her covered while we read our stories and she took a nap.

Her mommy should be here soon and by then her clothes will be clean and dry. Another "Babysitter Test" passed! Phew!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Little Deaths"

Life requires countless "little deaths"- occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God. -Elisabeth Elliot

Something worth thinking about as God continues to pry my fingers from about that which holds me. What is it He is asking me to die to?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Passion And Purity

My husband and kids helped a friend pack her things the other day. She has, for many years, been an avid book collector and is dramatically thinning her collection in preparation for moving to a smaller home. She was kind enough to give James a few of her treasured books when he headed home. Last night I decided to read this one, "Passion and Purity" by Elisabeth Elliot. I have long known the story of her husband, Jim Elliot and the other missionaries to the Auca tribe in South America, but I have never read any of Elisabeth's books.

I must confess that years ago I would turn the radio off when Elisabeth came on. Her "black and white" way of thinking and talking turned me off. She had many good things to say, and much of it I very likely needed to hear, but my heart was hard and I didn't care to listen. I'm sure I could have been spared much agony and aggravation had I just taken the time to measure the words of one much older and wiser than myself, but I was not that smart. Hopefully it is not too late to learn.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Through My Father's Eyes

The past few weeks have brought some unfamiliar challenges. I am quite certain, once again, that brain work takes much more energy than physical exertion. It always leaves me tired. Too bad it doesn't burn calories in the same way...

This morning I came to the realization that I have forgotten to put back into the Father's hands what I am not meant to carry on my own. He can handle anything that comes my way. He has a plan. He will work ALL things for good to those who love Him. I don't need to worry and I don't need to try and figure it all out, I only need to trust Him.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, one of his main concerns was his four weekly nursing home services. Who would be willing to go into these places each week? Who would bring the love of Jesus and a little bit of cheer to these all but forgotten people? Dad had no choice but to leave it in his Father's hands. Since mid-September my dear husband has gathered a small band of people and gone into one of "Dad's" nursing homes. Nathan doesn't play the guitar quite like his grandpa, and James doesn't share the message in quite the same way, but they do manage to bring a little bit of sunshine and a ray of hope into the lives of some beautiful people, and those people look forward to the visit.

It has been four months and each Monday evening I have stayed here in the quiet of my own home, leaving the job of encouragement to my husband and others. I listened to James encourage Hannah to go along this evening. She was reluctant. I thought of my own father who would have been so blessed to know I was going along, but as yet I hadn't. I decided to ignore my own selfish heart and go along. It made my husband smile.

The nursing home residents were gathered in the living room, mostly women, with expectant looks in their eyes. I watched my daughter, Bethany, go around the room looking into smiling eyes, reaching for wrinkled hands, giving hugs and kisses to old ladies who wouldn't recall her name the following week. I had to smile myself and reach for a hand or two, to kiss a forehead, and think of my mom who so enjoyed this little task but was to frail to come out tonight. We sang a few songs, "Onward Christian Soldiers," "The Old Rugged Cross," but when we began to sing "I'll Fly Away" I found myself getting choked up. It so reminded me of my dad and how he had stood up there so many times singing this song to the people week after week. I found my foot tapping just like his. After James shared a few scriptures, we sang one more song and it was time for more hugs, handshakes, and words of encouragement. I went away blessed and wished I had taken my camera to get a picture of Bethany tucked into that couch with three old and smiling ladies. I couldn't help but feel I was seeing these people through my father's eyes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Waiting

We are awaiting the next snowstorm. In the meantime, temperatures have been "balmy" and our thick layer of "ground cover" is quickly disappearing. Snowmen are sprouting up in yards. I have only seen photos, since I have been home sleeping today, but whenever the snow turns packy, snowpeople appear so I am sure they are out there smiling their stony smiles and pointing carrot noses at onlookers.

Did I mention that I have been sleepy? More like "can't keep my eyes open!" Only half of my face is congested but my whole body is tired. I slept late (10 am), took an afternoon nap (1:15- 2:45 pm), and found myself laying down again around 5 pm. It's almost 10 pm now and I think I am ready to find my pj's and some warm covers. Maybe tomorrow I will have a little more energy. I sure hope so.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Down Day

Yesterday I was tired. I couldn't even muster up the energy to keep my eyes open and once I returned home from dropping children off at preschool, I went to sleep in my chair by the fire. A while later the couch seemed a better place to sleep and I did so until it was time to retrieve the girls and bring them home for lunch. I was quite certain sleep would be out of the question for the afternoon, but I found myself once again curled up in a ball with my eyes closed. By evening my muscles were feeling achy in addition to the sneezing and congestion that had been sneaking in. Ibuprofen is my friend today and though I am still sleepy and congested, at least I am not achy.

My mom went to visit her doctor this afternoon. She has been coughing and can't quite shake whatever has been ailing her. Rachel tells me she has bronchitis. Bronchitis and lung issues do not go well together, but the doctor gave her some medicine and hopefully she will be feeling like herself again in a few days. For now I am keeping my distance as I do not wish to bring a new illness into the mix.

The house has been quiet this evening. James is gone out with the kids and I am here alone, aside from my dogs who at times are quite obnoxiously loud.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hangovers

We are having a heatwave! I just checked the local temperature and it says 42 degrees F. Apparently the temperatures are forecast to be in the 30's and 40' for the next several days. Most likely the houses with "winter hangovers" will soon be relieved of their burdens. Good thing I took my camera along with me this morning. There were a good many snowflows like this in town.

Not much need for curtains when the windows are blocked by glaciers. It would be interesting to see how these curtains of snow form. I'm imagining when we get a heavy snow it just "flows" slowly off the roof. Had I been out for a walk I would have taken more pictures, but stopping along the side of busy roads lined with three foot snowbanks didn't seem terribly wise.

Most of the houses without "hangovers" are fringed with icicles, some reaching all the way from the roof to the ground! The sun was shining today and I had a good opportunity for capturing some great winter shots but I have been struggling with a cold, so I opted not to linger in the village and headed back toward home where I fell asleep in my blue chair.

Though Shelly's house has some pretty impressive icicles, they don't compare to some of the others I saw dangling from rooftops today. In another few days, much of the snow and ice will melt and we'll be ready for the next major snowstorm.

No Bella tomorrow, she has pneumonia. I have a suspicion that Emma may be cooking something too. They have been coughing, along with all the other preschoolers, since well before Christmas.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Welcome?

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11

In the quiet moments, I have been doing some soul searching. My mind repels sleep while struggling to find answers. Sometimes the answers to my questions appear obvious, and yet in the midst of trials, I find that answers are not always as black and white as I would like them to be. This is the stretching, growing time. These are the days when I must cry out to God for an answer and trust that even if He appears silent, He is there and He is working His purposes.

If my heart was hurting last week, this week it is broken. The world we live in is frighteningly dangerous and our children are under constant threat of the enemy who seeks to destroy them.

What is happening to our American youth? When little girls become not only the victims, but the perpetrators of vile acts how do we protect our own sons and daughters? How do we welcome a lost and dying world into our homes and churches when they are a determined poison to our families? How do we respond when they are set on a course to destroy? How do we love others and protect those in our care? What would Jesus do?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Muffins and Mittens

Hannah surprised me this afternoon when she showed me a boxed muffin mix and asked if she could make them. Cranberry orange! Although I have always enjoyed baking, it is not one of my dear daughter's favorite pastimes. I smiled and said, "Of course!" I love cranberry orange muffins.

My Darling surprised me the other day too. He made me a Mitten Tree for drying hats and coats by the wood stove. (I dressed it up for the photo.) This would have come in very handy a few years ago when my house was full of children who loved the snow, but I know it will still be helpful now as large gloves and mittens get wet too. I think it's a rather ingenious invention even if I did come up with it myself.

How Delightful!!!

Who woulda thunk? The city of Rochester is excited about the reopening of a favorite doughnut shop. When Crispy Creme moved in, along with Dunkin Donuts and Tim Horton's, Donuts Delight closed their doors. Today the Rochester icon reopened with some help from a friend. I can't wait to go back to the little place where my daddy used to buy donuts when I was a little girl. I wonder if those powdered jelly donuts taste as good as I remember?

(from the local newspaper...)

The doors didn't open until 6 a.m., but the line of Donuts Delite fans started at 4:30 a.m. today.

"I grew up coming here and couldn't wait until it reopened," said Kathy Tanchick, 61, of Henrietta. "This place is full of good memories. My dad used to bring me here for doughnuts and chocolate milk."

Donuts Delite opened in 1958 at its Culver Road and Empire Boulevard location, but closed in 2005 due to declining business. The building was almost torn down, but residents fought to keep it up.

Sam Fantauzzo, owner of Salvatore's Pizza, bought the building and restored it to as close to what it was when it opened, including tin ceilings and retro tables. The shop now is half Salvatore's Pizza and half Donuts Delite.

"I have seen customers today who have been coming here for 50 years," said Mike Mailey, whose grandfather started the business. "Sam deserves a lot of credit. He saved an era, a tradition. Rochester owes him a lot credit for that."

Mailey, who worked at Donuts Delite for 31 years and is the new manager, said workers made more than twice as many donuts Monday night as on a normal day, 350-400 dozen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shirt-Tale Relatives

The internet is an interesting tool. Just before Christmas I got a Facebook friend request from someone with the last name of Teal. She appeared to be collecting Teals as friends which I thought was kind of fun. Although Sarah and I don't appear to be related, I have since connected with a few other Teals, all from the same area of Ontario, Canada as my in laws. Today one of them and I made the connection and decided we are actually related after all.
It all goes back to the man who once lived in this small cabin and his brood of thirteen offspring. So, my new friends and my children actually do have the same German ancestors who once lived in the Hudson Valley in NY state. Since I had sent for a family history almost twenty years ago, it wasn't too hard to find the connection. It was almost too easy.

Send Thine Hand

Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood.
Psalm 144:7-8 (KJV)


Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood: That our sons [may be] as plants grown up in their youth; [that] our daughters [may be] as corner stones, polished [after] the similitude of a palace:
Psalm 144:11-12 (KJV)


This afternoon I took a phone call from a friend who gave me these verses of scripture. I thank God for those who pray for me and for my family, and who take the time to share scriptures that the Lord has given. She said she believed this was for me and I am blessed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

White as Snow

by Leon Olguin/ Kelly Willard
White as snow, white as snow
Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord, I know, Lord, I know
That I'm clean and forgiven

Through the power of Your blood
Through the wonder of Your love
Through faith in You
I know that I can be
White as snow

Though I am not a big fan of cold weather, there is an unmatched beauty in a snow covered landscape. Freshly fallen snow is nothing short of enchanting, especially deep, fresh snow.

The fence by Mom's driveway caught my eye this morning. The snow clung to the fence, yet drooped over the edges. I like to refer to it as a "winter hangover". There has been enough moisture to stick the snowflakes together, yet not enough to turn them into an icy crust.

I found these loops especially interesting. The snow has actually fallen off the fence railing and looks almost like a hanging ribbon. "The power of God..." He can take the tiniest of snowflakes, gather them together, and fashion incredible snow sculptures. If I'm willing to take a close look, I find that although snow is always cold, it is rarely boring.

A Christmas Carol

Before Christmas is too far behind us, a little Christmas carol. (Really I just don't want to wait another whole year to post this.) The little Christmas Tea at my brother's residence was without Christmas carols this year. Anyone know of a good way to learn harmonica? It's always been a dream of mine.



Whenever I visit my brother, I find myself studying his expression and wondering what he is really thinking...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Videos...

Now that James has replaced my CD drawer...

Allen, the first one is for you. I'm just sorry I don't have a better copy of the whole song.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Lies and Slander

You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Exodus 23:1


Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," but in our modern world of electronic technology a lie can travel to the moon and back before truth even has a chance to reach for its shoes.

Why would anyone circulate a lie in the cloak of confession?

My mind is spinning. My heart is heavy...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Raggedy Man

by James Whitcomb Riley

O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;

An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed - an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen - ef our hired girl says he can -
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. -
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

W'y, the Raggedy Man -he's ist so good,
He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;
An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
An' does most things 'at boys can't do. -
He clumbed clean up in our big tree
An' shooked a' apple down fer me -
An' 'nother 'n' too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann -
An' 'nuther 'n' too, fer The Raggedy Man. -
Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
An', rite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
Turn into me, er 'Lizabeth Ann!
Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man - one time, when he
Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
Air you go' to keep a fine store like his -
An' be a rich merchunt - an' wear fine clothes? -
Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
An' I says "'M go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

When I looked up the poem, I found it to be much longer than the version in our children's book of poetry so I only copied the verses I recall Dad reading. I think I know why he liked The Raggedy Man poem; I think it reminded him of his Grampa Shafer. It will forever remind me of sitting next to my own daddy on a cold winter night while he read us poems and stories before putting us to bed at night. "Hey, Rachel! Hold still and get your head out of the way!"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tired

There are days when being a parent is sheer joy and other times when the responsibility of offspring is nothing short of utter exhaustion. Gone are the days of babies and toddlers (yes, they are exhausting too). Now is the time where everything we ever hoped to teach our children is put to the test. Now is the time when bad choices, failures and setbacks cut like a knife. Now is the time when my heart aches to see my children shunned and discouraged. Now is the time when I want more than ever to see them succeed and hurt more than ever when it doesn't appear to be happening.

I tried to explain this to one of my children just the other day, but I know he really has no clue. He has no child of his own and therefore, how could I even hope to make him understand? How could I even begin to help him see that every action of the child, every unkind word or deed perpetrated by him or upon him is felt intensely by his parents. It is a love that even I, a mom, have difficulty comprehending.

God tapped on my shoulder, He whispered in my ear. Not literally, of course, but I felt and heard Him just the same. "Yes, being a parent is painful, but now you know and understand just a little bit better how I hurt for you..." Does God really hurt like this? Does He really understand? Does it make Him tired too?

My son, be wise, and make my heart glad,
That I may answer him who reproaches me.

Proverbs 27:11

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Snowy Deep

Yesterday I stayed inside and watched the snow fall from a warm, cozy house, but today I ventured out into the deep. Lake effect snow falls in "bands" and our little town has been blessed abundantly the last few days. I do think there is even more snow up in town, a few miles south, than here at home. At any rate, it is deep, but light and fluffy and therefore fairly easy to move.

This morning I dressed two little girls in jackets, boots, hats and mittens, piled them into the car, and set off for town where we picked up Colton before heading to preschool. I was late for Ladies' Prayer at church (again). I wore my boots too but remembered to tuck my slippers into my purse. I wore them at church...

Today I took my camera along too, just in case anything out there caught my eye. I didn't notice any "Christmas tree carcasses" (thanks, Priscilla), but found this vegetable stand amusing. They appear to be sold out... I purpose to enjoy the excitement of the season and make the best of whatever God blesses us with in the way of snow. Now I need to go check that wood stove and see if I should throw another log on the fire.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Lake Effect Snow and the Three Little Kittens

You may or may not have heard of "lake effect" snow. It's a pretty common term around the Great Lakes, so common that we often pay little attention when the words are used. It can mean nothing more than, "Hey, we might get a little snow" to "We will be literally buried in white stuff." We are thankful for snow tires and boots when the "snow machine" gets rolling. (Oh, and snow plows too!) Sure is pretty out there.

My cats have decided that being inside is rather nice and find all kinds of comfy hideouts, mostly upstairs where there is no rambunctious little dog, and no little girls to chase or try to pet them. Sofie has lost her place on the back of the couch as Oreo has decided to move in and doesn't prefer company.

If you are taking prayer requests, please pray for a local family who lost a 20 yr. old son suddenly to cardiac arrest at a New Year's Eve party. He was not long ago salutatorian of the graduating class and was a student at a prestigious college. The other day I mentioned how words can help to heal or destroy, and his family struggles with this issue now as unknowing people throw around ideas and accusations never realizing that his own father also suffered from a congenital heart defect and died very young near 17 years ago. (I happen to remember that day.) My heart is breaking for those who are left behind as I continue to pray the Lord teaches me to use my words carefully.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Journal

I wanted to share part of Dad's journal with you, but wasn't sure if my sisters would want to find the photo I posted without a warning, so I am linking to it here. I am blessed and hope it may bless you also.

Taming the Tongue

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:8

Extenuating circumstances have left me contemplating the power of the tongue and how quickly words can destroy character and reputation. Words can be a healing balm or a deadly poison. Once released, poisonous words seep deep into the heart and soul, set on a course to destroy. They can never be totally undone or erased no matter how sorry the speaker may be.

Words reveal the condition of the heart, as Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." The mouth is a leaky seal releasing the contents of the soul. Where the heart is given to God, blessings will come forth, but where lies and deceit reside, cursing will pour out.

As you may have guessed, we are struggling with the effects of an unbridled tongue and seeking the wisdom of God in how to deal with the situation. It would be easy, in some ways, to lash back, but that is not a real solution as we are not seeking to alienate, but restore. (At least that is what we want to want. The truth is, sometimes it is difficult to pray a blessing on those who hurt us. That is, none the less, what Jesus desires us to do, and we want to follow Him)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Saturday, January 02, 2010

An Early Birthday Party

Josiah's birthday is Monday and he will be twenty-two. Jim is heading back to Minnesota tomorrow morning and so last night Bethany decided we needed to celebrate today. (It was a surprise party for all of us.)
I made a pistachio cake with chocolate swirled throughout and and drizzled over the top. This is a cake we typically save for Christmas time and it was perfect for today's celebration at Mom's house.
This was our final gathering before Jim heads back toward Minnesota tomorrow morning and so, of course, I had to get a photo. Josh is missing as he was taking a nap, but it seems that someone is always absent when we try to get a group picture.

Friday, January 01, 2010

There is Nothing New

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

It has been an exceedingly long week and I am looking forward to Sunday when a new week begins and the old schedule resumes. In with the new, and back to the old. Kind of funny way to look at it, but the holidays have worn me out and left me longing for what often has seemed mundane and redundant. Next week I will drag myself out of bed before dawn, sit in my blue chair with a small child on my knee as I chase the sleep from my eyes, and venture out into the cold to nursery school twice a day three times a week.

I have made no New Year's resolutions this time around, but am eager for our church's annual fast to begin. I must have gained a hundred pounds in the past week. I need an escape from the cookies, cakes, and candies I had so carefully avoided throughout so much of the year but have fallen head over heels for since Christmas Eve. Coffee has crept back in also this past month and my night time sleep has been suffering for all the sugar and caffeine.

Ahh, maybe I do have a New Year's resolution and it just proves the fact that "there is nothing new under the sun"...