Monday, January 30, 2006


I never met my great grandpa, Joe Shafer. He would have been at least 100 years old by the time I was born in 1964. He must have been about 70 when my dad came into this world back in '32. My dad's grandfather lived on a farm up in the hills of Allegany County in southern New York state. He raised horses, loved to work in his garden (Grandma said he "didn't know enough to come in out of the rain.") and he taught my dad how to play the harmonica. I guess that harmonica is one of his longest lasting legacies as my dad is still playing it nearly 70 years later. I can't imagine growing up in a house without a harmonica playing. I love great grandpa's raggedy old clothes, his hat, walking stick, and the hands that look so much like my own father's, but what I love the best is the smile on Grandpa's face. I smile myself every time I look at the picture and think about what it must have been like to raise eleven children up there in the hills without all the modern conveniences of today, no washer or dryer, no dishwasher, no indoor plumbing, no disposable diapers!!, and no TV to "settle the kids down for a bit". They worked hard, played hard, and lived what we would think of as a hard life, but Grandpa's smiling face makes me wish we could go back to that simpler time when there weren't quite so many things to distract us from "the finer things in life". "Thank you Grandpa for leaving us your smile and a little glimpse into your place in this world."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thirteen Things About My Kids

1. There are nine of them. Seven were born to us and the other two belong to us by marriage. We have Jim 3, Dave and Leta, Bethany and Adam, Josiah, Nathan, Benjamin, and Hannah. Wow! That’s a bunch of kids!
2. All of our kids live within 20 miles of us, so far. Although Jim went to college in Florida, he is now living and working nearby. That’s always nice. They can come visit us whenever they feel like it.
3. They are full of artisitic and musical talent. They play piano and guitar, sing and write songs, and tap and pound their feet constantly. They draw, design, build, and create. Now not everybody does all of these things, but they are a talented bunch anyway.
4. They are all going to Calvary Chapel where we have been attending for about the last three years. It’s great to see them all have a desire to know and serve the Lord. We pray they will continue to grow and be drawn closer and closer to Him.
5. The only two kids with brown eyes are the ones who have married our own children. The otehr all have blue or green eyes.
6. We had five boys born to us and two girls. Our second child, a son, is married and also our third, a daughter. The others, with the exception of our firstborn, aren’t old enough to get married anyway. (No, Joe. Eighteen is NOT old enough to get married!)
7. Most of them are messies. It is a tough job trying to get them to keep their rooms clean.
8. They love to watch me type on the computer and fix all my typos. They laugh because I mess up so much and write things like”tehm”, “teh”, misical, and “apratments”.Good thing I have all these living spell-checkers or I could send out some pretty embrassering stuff!
9. What else... hmmm... They write as crazy as I do. It’s just that I’m not usually watching them. (Right, Nate?) (Yep.)
10. They are all comedians. At least I think they are funny. James, my dear husband, often fails to see the humor in their words and actions. He is, of course, wiser than I as I would have a bunch of very foolish and uncontrollable kids on my hands if it were not for his intervention. We are working hard to turn them into decent law abiding citizens, with a healthy respect for their fellow human beings.
11. Wow, I’m up to eleven. This is getting to be a challange. Smart! They are all stunningly brilliant! They are so intelligent that they are almost as smart as their mom, but not quite.
12. They are couch potatoes. Just turn on the TV and put a video in the VCR and you’ll see what I mean. (No, Ben, you can’t watch “Larry Boy” again today.)
13. They were all born in New York state except for Jim 3 who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

An Old Photograph

My dad and an old friend back around 1935. He loved to visit his grandparents, aunts and uncles down in the sounthern tier of New York state. They had farms up in the hills and there were plenty of things for a boy to do.

Friday, January 20, 2006


It has been a sleepy week. I think I am drinking too much coffee because something is sucking up all of my energy (and giving me a headache). I know that I should give up the caffeine, but it is so nice to sit down and relax with a hot cup of French vanilla cappuccino, that I'm not sure I really want to give it up. Trading it in for a cup of ice water would definitely be more healthy, but certainly not as cozy.

This week I started reading through the book of Job. I have never found it to be an interesting book but this time I am finding it fascinating. Where it was all confusing to me before, it is finally making sense. Last night I didn't want to put it down. "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God." Job 19:25-26. How amazing that we equate suffering with God's anger when it can be just the opposite. Job was a more Godly man than any of his friends and yet he suffered terribly. His friends just didn't understand and we can be so like them. When people around me are suffering, do I ever stop to think that just maybe they are more godly than I am? Or do I just figure that they must have done something bad and are suffering the consequences. Lord, give me compassion for those around me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Jazz of Mine"

This is my dog, Jasmine. She was soaking up the sunshine this past summer, someting that can be almost non-existent here sometimes. Today, for example, it is about 9 am and it is dark and dreary outside, a good day to curl up on the couch, close to the fire, and read a good book until your eyes can't stay open any more. That is what "Jazz" usually does, aside from the book of course, and she isn't allowed on the couch either so she sleeps these days away on her bed next to the wood stove. When the weather isn't so dreary, she loves to run around outside on three legs. She lost one of them in an encounter with a car 4 years ago. She doesn't seem to mind too much, in fact I'm fairly certain she has forgotten all about ever having four legs. She still runs, jumps, and does summersaults. She can sit or lay down for a dog biscuit, but she does have a difficult time when it comes to "shake". We tell her she "doesn't have a leg to stand on" but actually she is doing pretty good! I think she is just thankful to have three good legs and to be alive. I wonder if I could be so gracious should God remove something so near and dear to my life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Getting Started

My name is Martha and I was born and raised in upstate NY. I live out in the country and am surrounded by apple orchards and farmland, no where near New York City, in fact I've never even been there. I have a wonderful husband and a whole bunch of great kids! I've never tried a Blog before and I'm not quite sure exactly how this will turn out. It looked like it might be fun, so here I am.