Monday, April 30, 2012

More About Marbles

I bought a marble chute. Today Rocky and I played marbles. Hannah put the contraption together because I am just to scatterbrained at the moment to do it alone. (I could do it alone, given enough time, and provided I didn't have a two year old "helping" me, but such was not the case.) Anyway, it is fun. And now it is too late to blog and I must go to bed.

PS. My little friend Alex has a new sister!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pink or Blue?

We had a nice little party over at Bethany's house last night. There was a mystery to be solved and we were all there to find out the secret. Adam had the answer, and he shared it with Aunt Rachel who then baked a cake. Hannah and I decorated the cake, but didn't know the answer. (Do you know it is next to impossible to find neutral decorations for a baby cake? We had no time to waste and decided to make our own... with saltwater taffy I softened in the microwave.)

Bethany, the lover of parties, made little flags and blew up balloons for the occasion. She invited guests and bought ice cream. She colored plain white sugar pink and blue. She held a vote and each attendee picked a flag; pink for a girl baby and blue for a boy. Adam and Aunt Rachel's family abstained from voting, but Bethany gave them each a flag to wave. Her choice, of course. Bethany cut the cake as we waved our flags and cheered. Okay, so maybe we didn't really....

I hoped for pink... and prepared myself for blue....

In September we will welcome another little hockey player into the family, and Joshua will have a new baby brother. I do love little boys. Good thing.  :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Along Comes May

May promises to be wildly busy, and so I shall endeavor to savor the last few days of April.

May will bring...
1. A possible visit from an old friend. We're planning to make blueberry pie. :)
2. Physical therapy appointments for Mom. Twice a week for the next five weeks, at least that's the plan.
3. Gardening, the kind with green plants, not the "other" kind.
4. "Gardening," the kind with small life forms that are not green. :)
5. Wedding plans. We're kind of out of the loop being parents of the groom, but I'm sure there will be some planning on this end too... maybe.
6. A bridal shower to plan and help host. (Bethany is the real planner.)
7. A bridal shower to attend. (One planned by the bride's sister.)
8. Shopping for bridal shower gifts
9. The Ladies Banquet at church.
10. Mother's Day
11. A new baby sister for Alex and I still need to buy a baby gift.
12. A 50th Wedding anniversary party.
13. The Williamson Apple Blossom Festival? We've at least go to see the parade.

Hopefully, May will bring lots of sunshine and warm temperatures too. Days to play out in the yard with my little friends would be nice, along with visits from my grandkids, and maybe a cookout or two. Perhaps it will bring reconciliation. I can always hope.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crazy Times

Life gets crazy.

There was a time when the days slipped by in relative ease. I chased my own small children during the daylight hours, cooked supper for nine, and found myself wanting to fall asleep while getting my brood into bed for the night. It seemed like a big deal, and it was. It was an exhausting job, mentally taxing, physically draining, and tons of fun all wrapped up together. The entire family slept under one roof. I knew where my children were, who they were with, and most of what they were up to. There were tears and frustration, but there was laughter too.

I have found life doesn't get easier with time, it gets harder. Hopefully spiritual roots and family ties run deep and keep us anchored. If there is one thing I learned from my dad, it is to hang on to faith with all my might and trust that Jesus has me in the palm of His hand. The storm still beats against us and each day I find myself repeatedly giving my stressed out heart back to the Lord. I've not gone back to the chiropractor or taken ibuprofen for over a week now, but not because my back and neck don't threaten to tie themselves into knots. It has been my mind's diversion for so long that knotted muscles just happen automatically, but I'm treating them differently now, with prayer, and it's working, most of the time.

The sun came out for a while today, long enough to take two little ones out in the yard for a bit. Spring has not been deterred by the nor'easter that blew in Sunday night and into Monday. It is determined to arrive, even if it takes a fight to get here. After dinner the evening sun brushed the eastern sky and tree tops before sliding off into the west, and I remembered to thank the Artist for once again wielding His divine paintbrush. He is incredibly awesome!



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

O is for Oreo

"Cause a kid'll eat the middle of an Oreo first, and save the chocolate cookie outside for last."

O is for Oreo. The Oreo Cookie is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and that makes it a perfect candidate for the letter O!

Oreo has come a long way since its humble beginning in 1912. Or maybe it was not such a humble beginning... Oreo cookies, once known as the "Oreo Biscuit", were originally sold as an imitation of the Hydrox cookie which was made by Sunshine. (Sunshine made those yummy Vienna Fingers I loved so much too.) And here I always assumed Sunshine was the copycat.


When I was a kid (a mere 40 years ago), Oreo came in just one flavor, though I do remember the introduction of Double Stuf. Since then there have been all kinds of fun flavors and colors starting with the introduction of Double Stuf in 1975. We have been known to purchase Cool Mint Oreos, and on occasion the Golden variety. I really liked the Birthday Cake Oreos that came out in time for the 100th birthday celebration, and I will be on the lookout for more new flavors because I rather enjoyed the Berry Burst Ice Cream flavor too.

So Happy 100th Birthday to Oreo Cream Sandwich Cookies! 
Thanks for being part of our childhood and thanks for your participation in ABC Wednesday!!!

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

Haha! I found the Oreo song!!!


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Snowy Day

A nor'easter blew in last night bringing the dreaded white stuff to upstate New York. Snow on fruit tree blossoms is an apple farmer's nightmare and many orchards found themselves wrapped in a cold white blanket. The weather is fickle this year, more fickle than most. Friday we saw temperatures in the upper 70's. The warm air and sunshine teased the apple blossoms into full bloom, a deception not so unlike the Spider and the Fly. "Come into my parlor," said the spider to the fly, "Tis the prettiest little parlor that you ever did spy..." Only time will tell whether there will be an apple crop come September. I know there was no fly by the end of the poem.

Last night I lay in bed listening to the wind blow. It came in waves and sounded very much like perhaps we were staying in a seaside cottage with the ocean surf pounding on the shore. Here by the lake shore, we didn't get any snow, just a cold wintery rain. We enjoyed another fire in the wood stove and Hannah, along with two friends, mixed up a batch of peanut butter cookies which made the house smell yummy.

My back is feeling better today. Each time I find myself beginning to tense up, I remember to take a deep breath and give my anxieties back to the Lord. He handles them ever so much better than I do.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Flowers never worry, they just do whatever God tells them...

So, I have been thinking, reading, and praying. After my trip to the chiropractor last Wednesday, when he told me there was really nothing physically wrong with my neck,  I decided to research tension and back pain, and I have heard the Lord speak to my heart.

I already knew the pain was psycho- logically induced. The last two weeks have been tension packed culminating in a birthday party for my little grandson, Simon. Simon turned two on Monday and, though I desperately wanted to be there for his birthday, it also meant I would come face to face with my son who I hadn't seen since January. (No, we haven't yet been able to settle our differences. I don't know who hurts more, him or me.) We did go to the party and we did see Dave, but we didn't see much of him. By Monday the party was behind us and one might think the reason for all the stress should have dissipated, but it hadn't. The area between my shoulder blades was tied in knots. Nothing helped, not medicine, not heat, and not a visit to Dr. Matt and his neck snapping techniques.

I did a bit of research on line and found some books on psychologically and emotionally induced pain. I ordered two from the local library and began to read. Much of what I learned made sense, but coming from a Christian viewpoint, there was also information that conflicted with what I know to be true according to the Bible. I don't need to dig up past events and childhood hurts and emotions. God has already dealt with that. What I need is to realize and remember is "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) My heart and mind, when left to themselves, can create physical pain in my body, and this pain is debilitating even if there is no actual physical cause for it. It does, however, distract me from concentrating on whatever I am stressed over, and I should be giving all that to Jesus rather than tucking it away in my brain to come out as pain later, because it always does.

James turned on the television this morning, something highly unusual for a Sunday before church. He flipped through a few channels before settling on one. I listened to a somewhat familiar voice. In a way that only God can bring together, I was both amazed and amused to hear Charles Stanley speaking on anxiety. He even mentioned some of the very thoughts that have been in my mind the past few days. "Anxiety divides your mind," he said. Wasn't that book I was reading called "The Divided Mind"? Somebody knows what I'm going through. I love when God does that!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jumping Beans

It was an incredibly gorgeous day, but in spite of the sunshine, we spent the morning indoors listening to the whir of apple sprayers and the growls of the lawn mower. It was after 11 am before we ventured outside.

Alex decided to help Ben cut the grass and found a lawn mower more his size on the front porch of "Hannah's Place". He was happy to go back and forth from the swing set to the little house with his mower, keeping his eye on Ben who was down in the lower part of the yard with the lawn tractor. Thanks to them the yard is once again looking tame.


"Rocky" found a patch of dirt under the swings and kept herself happy getting dirt stuck under her fingernails. She sat there all the time Alex played with the toy mower and then some. I think this child would be in heaven if I actually got a sandbox. She is very content to sit and dig.

The mini trampoline was a hit today too. Even I took a turn or two bouncing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'll Take Another Cookie, Please

This post has very little to do with cookies, perhaps nothing at all. They just sound good right now, especially those Italian cookie cake kind, the pink and green ones... Maybe I have cookies on my mind because my son is getting married in seven weeks and cookies will be served after the ceremony. Coffee and cookies... yes, they sound good right now.

I have been to the chiropractor twice this week. He snapped me back in line and even gave me a turn in his fancy black massage chair, but the tension in my back and shoulders just sneaks back in again. There has been some relief as the pain now comes and goes randomly throughout the day rather than staying constant like it was on Monday. There is nothing wrong with my back or neck and I'm wearing just the shoes the doctor recommends. Perhaps I'm a little neurotic? And maybe that makes me perfectly normal too.

My little "flower garden" is about to be rearranged again. The end of April will bring about a few changes as we add a new "seedling", and say goodbye to a little "sprout" who will soon have a new little sister. Summer will find me watching over "flowers" of varied maturity, all of the "pink" variety. It will be a different kind of summer than I am accustomed to, but I think it will be fun, besides, I think maybe I need the distraction this kind of "gardening" provides.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sunshine



The breeze was crisp and cold, we needed warm jackets, and mittens might have been a plus. We headed off through the trees for a walk in the orchard. We took "Rocky" along. She picked up flowers and stones along the way, and enjoyed a piggy back ride home.





The apple blossoms are opening and soon the orchards will be full of bees. I think we shall not be walking in the orchard again until the bees are finished and gone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N is for Naughty

N is for naughty. The naughty Jasmine finds herself tied up these days. For a long time she has been able to come and go as she pleases without making too much a nuisance of herself. She has a special friend up the road, just over the hill, who she likes to visit. He lives alone and enjoys her company. She will be gone several days before wandering back home and then disappear again back to Martin's house for another couple of days. Such has been the routine for the past four years. However, age is creeping up on her and hopping along on three legs through thick grass has become increasingly difficult. She finds walking up the middle of the road much more convenient and this is where the naughty comes in.

A little over a week ago Jazz came quite close to being hauled off to the dog pound. Thankfully, by the time the dog warden arrived, she was safe inside the house with a guilty look on her face. The dog warden was not happy to come out in the middle of the night and leave without the prize. The following day, when my sister came out to visit Mom, she was kind enough to bring us a new dog collar and a 40 foot cable. Jazz has been tethered to the tree ever since, but her naughtiness continues. She has twice attempted to escape through the cat door in the middle of the night. (We once thought it was something wild trying to get in...) With every attempt, we lose another chunk of the wall. Now that really is naughty!

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Backpack

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

The load is heavy. I can tell by the pain that runs through my shoulders and down my neck and back. It's a traveling pain, settling in slightly different locations each day as I shift the burden from one side to the other. I know I should lighten the pack, but the funny thing is I'm not quite certain how to loosen the straps...

James made me an appointment with the chiropractor this afternoon. Probably the best part of the visit was when we talked about the pain being tension related and he offered to pray with me. I don't suppose most people get that out of a visit to the guy who is supposed to snap your neck, crack your bones, and put everything back in place. I wish I could say the tension miraculously melted away when the assistant hooked me up to the heat and stims, but I'm still hurting, probably because the problem is not really in my bones and muscles, but in my heart.

I am full of pain; the pain of unspoken disappointments, feelings of inadequacy, and probably a bit of anger. Those are the things I bury deep inside as I go about my life. They are the uglies, the feelings and issues I either don't know how to or don't want to deal with. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things." Thankfully, I have Someone who loves me, Someone who cares enough to give me a chiropractor who prays, and Someone who can loosen the straps of that heavy pack and help me unload the contents.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Too Much

There is just too much going on inside my little brain to keep up with, much less write about. I sit and try, but typically don't get too far...

Flowers are popping up all over my yard. The daffodils are fading, but the tulips are looking fine. Bethany planted these for me last fall.

Mom got her cast off this past Monday. Now she is sporting a nifty black brace instead and starts physical therapy on the 23rd of April. Twice a week for six weeks.

I found a surprise "spill garden" out back where Dave dumped his landscaping leftovers last year. A whole patch of Baby Blue Eyes! I think I like them.

I read a novel. Imagine that! "Left Neglected" borrowed from my cousin and thoroughly enjoyed. I can't remember the last fiction book I read from cover to cover.

Mom and I finished a puzzle together last night... or was it this morning? (My days are blurring together now...) It is so hard to watch her set pieces in obviously wrong places.

It has been a busy week of "gardening". I had two "flowers" four days. They provide a good distraction and plenty of opportunities for affection. What would I do without them?

Hannah and I happened down Ridge Road late this morning and spotted two small boys playing outside in the sunshine.We had to stop and give them big hugs and tell them how much we love them. Those little arms around my neck never felt better.

This evening we had a chance to stop over and visit James' Aunt Cindy who was in town for the vacation week.We've decided that next time she comes to town, we'll plan an evening visit over here. Maybe we'll have a family cookout.

It has been an entirely too emotional week. I have had a pair of leaky eyes... No big happenings or new news, just feeling sad. That is the way with women, I guess. Perhaps I am done for a while now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remembering Dad

Happy 80th Birthday, Dad. 
I miss you.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tulip Time

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 
Revelation 21:5

He even makes tulips new. This particular flower struggled through two very bad years. I was almost certain it could never recover, but He is a God of miracles, and He even cares for flowers. It's pretty again.

"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
Matthew 6:28

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

M is for Marbles

M is for Marbles. I'm sure I've lost a few through the years. I know this because I occasionally find them underneath and behind the furniture.

When we were kids we had a wonderful collection of marbles; swirls, solids, and even some clear ones. I have no idea where they came from, but we would sit and divide them up, picking our favorites one at a time from the pile between us. Then we would spend what seemed like hours rolling them across the carpet in our own version of the game, Marbles. If we were a good shot (or if we were lucky enough to be shooting at a carpet covered in them), we would hit one or several of either our own or our opponent's marbles and get to take them back to our own stock pile to shoot again and again.

Our marble collection disappeared one day. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I think it may have met a similar fate as our Game of Life. The Life game met it's demise when we argued over who would put it away and Mom decided she would. Whatever the case, I'll always miss those marbles. They were a whole lot prettier than the collection I have today. (And you thought I'd lost them all!)

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

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tree Hugging

I am a big fan of playing in the woods, so our walk though the trees yesterday was especially enjoyable. What could be better than fresh air, water, and wildlife? I'm not totally sure I qualify as a Tree Hugger, but I do love nature and being out in the wild, unless there are bears. I don't think I like bears... unless they are stuffed and sitting on a shelf.


This tree quickly caught our attention. From one side it looked like it had grown arms and was leaning on the fence, and from the other it appeared to be chewing it. Either way this tree was doing some hugging of it's own. I'm thinking the locals must have a name for it. I wonder what it might be?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter

It was a different kind of Easter. The family meal was small today... actually, the meal was not so small, it was the family. Just Ben, Hannah, James, and me. It felt weird...

We went to the early church service this morning, stayed for breakfast, and Sunday school. It was a gorgeous day, just the kind of day one always hopes for Easter. It would have been a wonderful day for an Easter egg hunt, but there were no small children to hunt them. James decided to go for a ride, but we left home without an idea of where to go. Not having a destination can be a problem. Not only is it frustrating for the driver, but it also means there are no directions to get wherever one finally decides they want to be... Somehow, after turning around close to a dozen times, we miraculously managed to find what we were looking for.

I think I would like to go back here someday and actually take a hike. We didn't walk very far, just far enough to find the old railroad tunnel under Interstate 90 that my father mentioned so many years ago in an old diary. He was just sixteen years old when he and his brother nearly had a fatal accident here. (See the story below) The Auburn Trail runs through private property and I found it to be quite pretty. Now that I know what I'm looking for, and where to find it, I think my sisters and I should go for a walk some day.

The Auburn Trail

An entry from my dad's diary...

"Sat. December 11, 1948- "This afternoon Arthur and I went out to Victor in the Model A and started home after dark. On our way home we decided to follow the unfinished Cloverleaf highway (dirt and high). We rode a few miles going about 50 or more when we came terribly near to going off a high drop-off onto a railroad track where they're going to put a bridge in. Arthur swerved the car around on two wheels, blew a front tire, crashed through a pile of iron bars and tore one running board in two. If we'd gone over the bank we wouldn't have had a chance. When we got home Mother, Dad, and I went to a show and saw "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid" and "A Southern Yankee".

Friday, April 06, 2012

Marbles and the Possibility of Losing Them

High on a shelf in my computer room lives a candle jar full of marbles. It does not come down to play very often and this for a couple of reasons. One is I am not a big fan of broken glass (in this case a candle jar...), and the other is that marbles roll across the floor into out of reach corners and tend to be very bad for unsuspecting vacuum cleaners. In spite of the reasons, I brought out the jar of marbles. Why? Well, because marbles are so much fun, of course!

A week or so ago I picked up two fresh clean swimming pool noodles. (I had to hide them because children so quickly find them wonderful for whacking things and each other with, but that is another story.) Yesterday both the noodles and the marbles came out to play. The noodles make wonderfully fun marble chutes, though I do wish they were a might longer and a bit more flexible. It's also a good idea to remove any "large" marbles from the collection as they are a little tough to get out once they are stuck an inch or two inside the noodle.

Although I laid carpet tubes across the floor in front of my couches, several marbles succeeded in breaching the the barrier anyway. Of course, this was made worse by Alex who decided to dump a cup of them under the couch.

I made a point to remember lost marbles can be seen as "jewels" and not a nuisance. I will smile as I collect them one by one over the next week or so, viewing them as little"blessings". If nothing else they are a reminder that my life is full of simple everyday gifts that I often take for granted.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

How Unusual

Have you ever met a random stranger in the store and found out they know you? Okay, so in the world of blogging, perhaps it isn't really so strange. There was that day in the hospital when my father was sick. I heard someone call my name and turned around to find a fellow blogger, a nurse in the hospital, right there in my dad's wing. She was godsend, literally. She prayed with me and for me, and I have often thanked God for the gift He gave me that day...

Then there was the time I pulled into the humane society parking lot and practically ran over another blogger friend. Of course, Carla wasn't just a blog friend, I had been to her wedding several years previous. Now living out of state, she was in town visiting family. It was a fun chance meeting.

I have met blog friend on purpose, and I have hoped to meet them by chance... hello, Della?... but today I met a new friend. I was shopping in Kohl's when she saw me. She was brave, brave enough to tell me she was my "blog stalker". She even knew my name. Funny thing is that it wasn't creepy or scary at all. She goes to a local church and knows some of my other friends, my hospital friend Stacy, and my longtime friend Heather.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

H is for Lunatic

H is for Lunatic.

Yesterday, in a comment to a friend, I mentioned how this week's ABC Wednesday would be the letter H. I went on to tell her how sometimes I "cheat" when it comes to posting. Little tricks like posting two letters at once (I did this just last week) in order to make up for lost ground (The perfectionist in me can not leave a letter undone...), or  using a name like Albuquerque for the letter Q.

My mind has been busy. Random thoughts wake in me up in the middle of the night to toss, turn, and pray for sleep's return. Somewhere in the midst of my jumbled thoughts and pressing obligations came "ABC Wednesday". If I could think ahead, I would be ready for today's posting. "H... H..., " I said in my mind.

I don't know how or why it happened, but I suddenly realized H comes directly after G in the alphabet and last week we completed the letter K. (Hadn't I just posted "Just Kidding")? I don't recall whether or not I bothered to come up with the correct letter for today's post, but I do know I found my self feeling slightly embarrassed and very blond. So, yes, H is for Lunatic.

You probably think I've completely lost it... Wait, was last night a full  moon? Nope, that's Friday.

To see the other participants in of ABC Wednesday Round 9, Click here.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Monday

Monday is my slower week day. I have just one small child and have had a partial rest over the weekend, mostly because I don't clean house on Sunday. It is my regroup and recoup day. Sometimes I even take a nap on Sunday and since yesterday was so dreary and gray, it was a good day to do so. Today the sun was bright, Alex was busy playing cars and trucks, and Hannah was folding laundry, so I figured it was the perfect time to attack the dust bunnies upstairs.

I have to be honest, I don't know how long it has been since I hauled my vacuum cleaner upstairs... Or maybe I do and just refuse to admit it... Vacuuming my bedroom and hallway was in the plan, but I decided to tackle the bathroom first and started with the floor. It doesn't get washed near as often as it did when I had a houseful of small boys, but every now and then I give it a good scrubbing. (I have to interrupt here and tell you how Ben had called soon after his arrival at work this morning to tell me how he had lost his wallet. He was fairly certain it was somewhere at home, maybe tucked down inside the couch cushions or dropped on a chair. I had looked around, even checked his bedroom, but didn't find it.) As I went along washing the bathroom floor, I slid the trash can and little stand next to the door over to wash underneath. As I did a wallet miraculously appeared. I found myself smiling and thought God must be smiling too. His timing is impeccable. Had I not chosen to wash the floor on this very morning, that wallet might have remained lost for quite some time leaving one increasingly frustrated young man.

I moved on to the bedroom and began the task of removing those fuzzy wads of dust that grow especially well on wooden floors underneath beds and dressers, and behind chairs. I found several small coins, a few random articles of clothing, a toy truck, and several miscellaneous items for the trash can. (I have to interrupt here and tell you that I had another phone call earlier, one from a friend who wanted to come for a visit. It's been a few weeks since we saw Vinnie and Nevaeh. He had left his jacket here, and I had an old aquarium and stand in my basement that their pet turtle was interested in.) My bedroom cleaning was cut short by the arrival of some favorite friends. I didn't mind, after all I had already sucked up most of the dust bunnies.

Later on James and I took a ride up to town while Hannah and Alex took naps. We delivered one lost wallet to Ben and enjoyed lunch together while we were at it. I think it turned out to be a very nice day.