Friday, January 30, 2009

An Old Fashioned Snow Storm

I love family history, especially when stories accompany the pictures! This is borrowed from a family member. Her grandmother painted the picture and this is the story that inspired this painting, in Aunt Harriet's own words:
"I remember a snow storm that caused the one room school house to be closed early. School had been in session only two hours when the skies darkened. The snow was coming thick and fast, which made outside visibility almost nil. Our teacher asked us to close our books as there wasn't enough light by which to read comfortably. There was an urgent knock on the door, and Arthur John Weir burst into the room. He had come on horseback to warn us of the fierce storm that was already upon us. All parents had been warned and were on their way to pick up their children. Dad arrived last as he had the farthest to come. He waited until all the rest were in their sleighs. Then the teacher locked up the school house and rode with us to her boarding place a half-mile away.

The storm was relentless. It was a lark for we children as we snuggled into the soft, sweet smelling straw, with plenty of blankets to keep us warm. We were unaware of Dad's concern. The snow was up to the horses bellies before we got home, a condition that was dangerous to the horses. Going was slow. We finally drove onto our barn floor. Full of energy, we struggled through the heavy wet snow but took time to pelt each other with soft snowballs. When Mother opened the door, warm steam poured out from the kitchen along with the tantalizing odor of freshly made fried cakes. Quickly hanging our wet coats and hats on our own special pegs, we were allowed to enjoy the delicious fried cakes along with the dinner pail lunch.

Dad brushed snow from the horses and put a blanket on each one before coming in. Mother waited to have her lunch of sandwiches, fragrant hot coffee, and warm fried cakes with Dad. As they ate, I heard him tell Mother that he was relieved that the horses were unharmed by the experience. Sometimes in deep snow they will cork their legs, being injured by their own shoes scraping their legs."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Post #2

It's been a snowy kind of day. Nate left for work this morning but didn't arrive before sliding off the road and into the ditch. He called his dad who decided they needed a tow truck to pull the car out. Everything looked okay and once the car was free Nate conitnued on his way. Sliding into the snowbank can be a good way to learn some lessons about driving in the snow. I've been there and done that several times. Sometimes it is funny and other times it's downright frustrating.

The mid-week church service has been cancelled and so we will be staying in tonight. My trip out today was to pick Troy up from preschool. I passed a pickup truck with its front wheels stuck in the side of a driveway. I felt bad driving past without helping, but not knowing how to drive a standard there was little I could do.

My mittens did not arrive today as my friend Andrea was not keen on the idea of driving in this kind of snow. I think she was wise to stay home. The mittens will arrive another day.

A Bit Puzzled

The "dead of winter" has arrived; it is cold, it is snowy, it is time to do great inside projects. Last week I started to make a puzzle. The first one is being completed as a trial. I'm not sure whether I should paint first and cut later, or cut first and paint later. It's quite obvious that I did not use an original drawing and so selling this one is pretty much out of the question, but I do love coloring books when it comes to pictures for children. I don't know that I will ever sell toys anyway so I suppose coloring book pictures are fine to use. (If anyone out there loves to draw and has any kid pictures I can use, send them this way. I have a whole stack of boards to paint.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Post #2- Cold Winds

We woke up to a very cold morning but as the day progressed the temperatures warmed a bit. My house even got so warm inside that taking the trash out to the toter was a welcomed job.

This morning I headed out to Ladies' prayer at church. A few years ago it was a regular practice but since watching Troy, I have kind of fallen out of the habit. I thought it a good time to go back. I have plenty to pray about and I could use the company in the process.

I decided to stop by the boatlaunch on my way to the church. The lake was looking cold and icy, not quite the kind of beach for dipping one's toes in the water. There were a couple of brave fishermen with their poles in the water and several ducks who didn't mind getting their toes wet. I didn't even get out of the van, I didn't have time, and besides I wasn't feeling very brave. My new mittens are coming tomorrow, maybe after that I will be bold enough to brave the bitter winds...

The Salt Mine

One weekend in July of 1975 a 25 year old ex-marine attended a gospel meeting in an old barn in rural western NY. The speaker that evening shared a salvation message and the young man went away touched by the Lord. He couldn't shake the conviction deep in his heart and the following Monday at work he surrendered his life to Jesus.

As the years passed and the Holy Spirit worked in the man's heart, he grew. In 1977 he and his wife opened their home to a Bible study led by a man named Bil. This group grew to become a small church fellowship and later was forced to move from their small meeting place due to large numbers. By the mid-90's the young man was given responsibility for the pastorate at a small church upstate NY.

Although the "The Salt Mine" and its founders appear to be gone, its memory and ministry are still affecting lives not far from where it once operated. Occasionally the Pastor will mention how God used a little place called "The Salt Mine" to touch his heart and lead him to the cross. There, surrounded by people who maybe never knew, are a few of us who remember an old barn on the end of State Rd and the family who ministered there.
(The founder's, by the way, are not gone although the ministry closed it's doors years ago. It was a labor of love that is still producing results today.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The Matchless Name
Oh, the matchless name of Jesus
Great Redeemer, Savior, Friend,
Humble Servant, Lord of Glory
He who died and rose again.

Oh, the matchless name of Jesus
Name above all other names.
Oh, the matchless name of Jesus,
Yesterday, today the same,
Yesterday, today the same.

Sometimes it is the simplest of songs that touch my heart. It is nearly six o'clock, almost time to go back to church for the evening service. Nathan and his friends usually lead worship on Sunday nights. Although part of me would like to stay home and in out of the cold, another part longs to be at church. Kind of hard to explain...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Standing for Something

I wanted to post the video but the embedding is disabled. Here is the link. I'm not certain everyone knows what they stand for but before trouble comes along, we all need to make some decisions. Our children's future depends on it.

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

1 Corinthians 13:16

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I'm not quite sure what I want to write today, so many thoughts are swirling through my mind. We are barely three days into the new administration and already the pot is being stirred in a way I had not anticipated. Along with questions come answers people don't want to hear. Why am I not excited and optimistic over the coming change? Well, for one I'm not sure the change promised is the change I am looking for. All my anxieties, arguments and answers matter little to most who ask. What they see they like, and they are astonished that my perspective could be anything other than their own.

Last night my Bible reading was 2 Chronicles 29-30. Hezekiah became king of Judah, cleansed the temple and re instituted the Passover. When all was ready he sent out a proclamation and invited all of Israel to return to the Lord and this was the response, "So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulon; but they laughed at them and mocked them," vs 10. Sad...

On a side note, each of the little ones pictured in yesterday's post has a black grandfather and a biracial parent.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Not So Black and White World

There has been much talk of race this past year
and while I am thrilled that legislated racism has been drastically reduced in the past 40 years, I am still a bit confused as to what is black and what is white. Is black the color of one's own skin or the color of his/ her grandparent's skin? What makes one black and another white or Asian?
I could almost forget that President Obama was black if I wasn't constantly reminded. Forgetting doesn't mean I don't know, it simply means it doesn't matter... or does it? If it does matter, why? If our great country is coming to terms with racism and everyone is on equal ground then why are we constantly reminded of what race someone is or isn't? Or is it only when a particular point of view is being advocated that color becomes important? I'm really curious.
All the children pictured here are beautiful. (Please forgive me for borrowing...). Can you tell which are black and which are white? Or are you a little colorblind like me?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

This day America makes history. Never in my life have I seen a President Elect crowned in such a manner. I fear for the future of this once great country.

Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.
Judges 10:3

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Reprieve

We are getting a little reprieve from the bitter cold. Since there is no school today the kids thought it would be fun to go sledding. Since I am a wimpy "stick in the mud" I did not think it would be fun. This afternoon I am thankful that Nathan has license and can take Ben and Hannah up to Herbert's Hill for some fun in the snow. Sometimes I have braved the elements and gone along, but not today.
I found a "grandmother" to make me some mittens. Yeah! She promises they will be toasty warm and last me many years. I can't wait to get them. They will be of brown alpaca yarn and sound just wonderful. (Thanks to Shelly for suggesting I call Andrea.) I'm sure there is plenty of winter left for me to enjoy them.
The pictures are from our Saturday drive down to the pier at Sodus Point. Of course we wouldn't dare venture out on the pier with it ice covered but it was pretty to look at. The few trees down there looked cold and barren but beautiful. You could almost believe that was sand on a Pensacola beach rather than snow in a NY winter.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Frozen Sodus Point

Jim is excited about 20°F! Now if only I had a ski hill...

Kristina is going to try to start the car- it is 18 degrees!

People in Minnesota are happy about the 20 degree weather. I'm sure it's headed this way. It should be here any minute now, we're up to 15 degrees! But then again, it is four o'clock, about time for the temperatures to start dropping for the night.

James and I took a ride down to Sodus Point. Lake Ontario doesn't freeze over here. Only the lake shore really freezes into anything solid, that and the bays. There were several ice fishermen out there with their little tents. We used to know one guy who drank milkshakes while he was ice fishing while everyone else drank coffee. Me, I think I'll leave the ice fishing to somebody else and I'll stay here by the fire.

Only One

It is only one degree outside. They say warmer weather is on the way, in fact the actual temperatures are supposed to rise throughout the day. As the temps rise so will the windspeed making the temperatures continue to feel just like the do right now. Brrrrr!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Looks Can Be Deceiving

It was looking quite nice outside today; the sun was shining, everything was clean and bright, but I knew better. Although I thought it would be a splendid day to get some icy lake photos, I dared not venture out into the cold. The windchill was really more brutal than anything I wanted to face, besides, my van is covered in snow. I stayed inside instead and baked a batch of Honey Raisin Bran muffins from a box mix and I ate one. I took a few photos out the window and vacuumed the floors. I cleaned the kitchen at least twice and washed up the dishes to boot. I looked at the computer for a mere moment... and now it is once again time to feed the dogs. I should be painting or scrapbooking or baking or something... Does anybody want to come over?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Arctic Blast

It's here, the arctic blast. I'm sure it has mellowed some as Minneapolis appears to be quite a bit colder than Rochester, but it is still very cold.

I had a very unproductive day, one where I had not planned anything and therefore nothing much happened. It would have been a great day to bake, but since we are still on the "fast" it seems rather pointless. Maybe I will bake something tomorrow in spite of it. I'm sure Ben and Hannah wouldn't mind. They like cookies and banana bread.

We have been enjoying a nice variety of veggies the past couple of weeks; sweet potatoes, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, sweet peppers, salads and fixin's. We aren't losing any weight, at least nothing significant, after all we've also been enjoying extra virgin olive oil, whole grain breads, and too many nuts and dried fruits. I'm thinking next week I may add eggs in to my diet. They're sounding really good right now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby, It's Cold!!!

This is good weather for staying home where it is warm and cozy. The arctic cold front has moved in and it is bitterly cold outside. Sure do wish I had a nice pair of thick homemade mittens. Does anyone have a Grandma I could borrow? My fleece gloves just don't do the job 'cause fingers need fingers to help keep each other warm.

I'd really like to stay home inside my warm house tonight rather than venture out to church in the fridgid cold, but Sundays and Wednesday evenings are when I get to hold my newest baby. He still likes to sleep all curled up in a ball with his little hands up close to his face. He looks quite a bit more like my babies than Josh did but I do see Alysa in there too. (She is his cousin.) It will be fun to see how he develops and who he looks like a year from now. Either way he's a cutie.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Can I Have Some Gum?

There is a good reason why long haired little dogs should not chew gum or try to blow bubbles. It gets stuck in their mustaches!

Happy Birthday, Kimberley!

Many years have passed since this photograph was taken. The little boy in your arms turned into my nephew when I married your brother and you became my sister in law. Since that time Jason has grown up and now has little boys of his own. We've added several children to our own collections and many of them are grown up too, but we haven't changed a bit... Where have the years gone?

I have often wished we didn't live so far apart. What fun we could have had homeschooling our passels of children, but God did not see fit to have that happen. Instead He has given us a sprinkling of times together; Indiana 1988, Albuquerque 1992, Boulder 2002, and Albuquerque 2006. I am so looking forward to the next reunion!

Thank you for your friendship and encouragement through the years.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Going Nuts

Have no fear, we are getting plenty of protein. We are not only eating lots of fruits and veggies, but we've gone a little nutty in the process. We have raw almonds and cashews on hand, some roasted peanuts, and two jars of natural peanut butter. The peanut butter goes great on celery or that yummy whole grain bread, which is also packed with protein. We've also polished of a container of mixed raw nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, and macadamia nuts) and raisins. We won't likely lose much weight eating dried cranberries, banana chips, and raisins but maybe we'll be fooled into thinking we're healthier. The key here is practicing self control, bringing those fleshly desires under subjection and saying no to our wants for a time. My biggest challenge in the whole thing remains drinking enough water.

That's Sno' Way to Be

The sun is bright and cheery, the temperature brisk. I sent Ben and Hannah out for a walk with my camera but opted to stay inside myself. I made James some lunch (tomato, lettuce, sprouts and avacado on whole grain bread) and set out to dust and vacuum the living room. It's a job that is never completely finished in this particular house. I'm not sure if it is the size of the rooms or the fact that we have wood floors and a wood burning stove. It seems as though there is no end of dust and dirt. The fight is long and the battle makes me weary but I continue to press on.

The weather is forecast to get colder and snowier as the week progresses. It will be good weather to stay inside where it's warm and work on unfinished paint projects. Last week I completed a set of three cats I started a year ago. This barn is another unfinished work. I'm not quite sure what to put in the foreground, maybe a fence and some old, dry weeds. I'm also still working on the wisemen to a final Nativity puzzle I began last January. I spent the better part of an hour looking for the pattern before I located it in a stack of magazines.

A cup of coffee sure sounds nice right now...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Supper Time

Making supper in the evenings has been so easy the past week. I fix a nice salad, cook up a vegetable, and set the whole grain bread and butter on the table. I have found the "Spring Mix" at Wegman's to be well worth the cost as it lasted the better half of last week and then some. Clean up is minimal and I'm liking this. I might never want to go back to the old way of cooking.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Josh spent the day with me yesterday while Bethany and Hannah went to the Outlet Mall with some friends. It was just James, Ben, Josh and me. I found that after a period of time I am not quite sure how to entertain the little guy and he is quite busy with exploring and getting into things. (All completely normal for a boy his age...) Once I asked Ben what he was doing and he answered, "Oh, he's probably washing the window on the back door." Right, with his tongue... Later I went to find him and discovered he was standing on the bottom step looking upstairs where Ben had gone. (It's time to put up that gate! Actually, it's past time...) He did take a nice nap, ate half a package of crackers, and enjoyed playing Little People with his grandmother. He played with his uncle Ben and let us know that the wood stove is "hot". He inspected the pan cupboard and decided to rearrange some of its contents. He found an old teapot cover which he dunked up and down in the dog water until a kind old lady took it away. When his mom returned he was sitting on my lap enjoying a bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal. I really need to baby proof my house but I'm not quite sure how.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Are You Hungry?

Since last January when I stupidly fed Jasmine a venison bone which got stuck in her intestines, we have been mixing a spoonful of canned dog food in with the dry when we feed her. It was originally to make sure she kept eating, now it is because she would be severely disappointed if we didn't. Unfortunately, this practice has created an obnoxious couple of dogs twice a day. No sooner do I arrive downstairs in the morning than I am greeted by staring, hopeful puppy dog eyes. They don't give up until they have been fed. Around four in the afternoon the process repeats itself and I don't feed them until five. Today, because of a little snowstorm which turned the afternoon unusually dark, the begging started around three thirty. I long for the days when I filled Jazzy's dish, she ate whenever she felt like it, and I only had to make sure the dish wasn't left empty, but I fear those days are gone. Our dogs are not so much different than us. Give me a little bit of sugar in the morning and I want to eat it all day long. I've actually been enjoying this "fast". I've not been too hungry, yet I've cut out all the bad stuff I've always had such a difficult time resisting. The headaches are finally gone and I'm feeling pretty good.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gone to Pot(ty)

My daughter is disappointed in my lack of enthusiasm over Josh's use of the potty. She has been able to get him to go pee on the toilet several times, often three times in one day. While this is all very impressive for a 14 month old boy, I still lack the excitement my daughter had hoped to receive.
I must say that potty training has never been one of my favorite tasks and I am ever so thankful for the invention of diapers, especially disposable ones. I have also used cloth and found them great for saving money and quite effective also. Diapers, whether disposable or cloth, do a wonderful job of containing the mess and make clean up a relatively easy chore. The cost of using them has certainly been worthwhile in my opinion.
However, there comes a time in the life of every child when diapers must be set aside and underwear introduced. Some children are thrilled to now be counted a "big kid" and are as eager as Mom to get the job accomplished. Other boys and girls would rather not have their comfortable lives interrupted by inconvenience of having to use the toilet. No amount of bribing, pleading, or shaming produces positive results. Some parents even resort to corporal punishment in order that the mess be delivered in the prescribed location. I once had my sweet two year old, on the advice of a friend, rinse his own poopy undies in the toilet. Fortunately, he was as appalled as I and the event was never repeated.
As much as I would like to share my daughter's pleasure in potty training her son, I know he is a very long way from being able to use the bathroom independently. It is totally up to his mom to decide when he should need to go and even if he is aware, his ability to convey the need is limited.
In my first ten years of being a mom I potty trained four children. Each one was approximately two years old. Daytime training, though not without it's challenges, was relatively easy. Night training however was, well, a nightmare. Because my children were small and did not wake up dry, I kept them in a diaper at night. This is where I fear many parents make a mistake. When the diapers go, I now believe they should go altogether.
Between my fourth and fifth children I took on a couple of babysitting jobs. I found parents who work full time to be somewhat more relaxed in the area of toilet training. Both families I babysat for chose to wait until their children were very close to three. Both children trained in a very short span of time and both children were dry day and night. I decided then that my fifth child would wait to potty train until three years old. It worked like a charm!
So, why am I not excited? Likely because I see a very long and frustrating road ahead for both my daughter and my grandson. Potty training will happen one day, maybe well before he is three years old, but there are so many wonderful events and opportunities to enjoy between now and when that really needs to occur. I hope she doesn't miss the wonder of a one year old in the quest for being diaper free.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Do Something, Fast!

The holidays are over and it's time to stop eating garbage. Bethany called on Saturday afternoon to ask me about the "Daniel Fast" and what we are allowed to eat. It's really more about changing dietary habits and allowing our bodies a chance to throw off so many of the toxins we've built up over time than not eating. If we coose to participate in the fast we can still eat but we are cutting certain things out of our diets. I told her that we are eating fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. "No milk?" she asked.

"It's really your choice," I said, "but there are reasons for cutting milk out of the diet too."

"Oh," she replied, "So, it's kind of like becoming a vegan for a few weeks."

I guess that's it, becoming a vegan for a few weeks,.. but really it's more about excercising the practice of self-control. Not eating those foods that so entice me and learning to say no to my mouth and stomach will help strengthen my resolve when it comes to saying no in other areas of my life. Isn't it kind of funny that food is what got the human race into trouble in the Garden of Eden and we still have such a hard time resisting today? And, of course, fasting wouldn't be fasting if there wasn't a time to seek God in prayer and reading His word. As we fast we look to Him to provide direction, encouragement, and salvation. He is in the business of answering prayers.

So, I did have a whopping headache last night, for anyone who may be curious, but I'm feeling better today. I'm still drinking tea (no sugar), feasting on fruit, crunching carrot and celery sticks, and popping walnuts and almonds here and there. I'm feeling okay and even made a very nice vegetable soup last night with no beef or chicken stock. Two days down 19 more to go!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Twenty-One Gun Salute

Candles, why do I always forget the candles? How can a birthday be celebrated if there are no candles to blow out? Isn't that the whole reason we have birthdays, so we can blow out the candles? What kind of a mother forgets the birthday candles?

Yesterday we had a gathering for Josiah's 21st birthday. We thought it would be fun to make some traditional New Mexican foods and cooked up a nice big pot of posole which never "popped". It still hasn't and I'm not quite sure what we'll end up doing with it. Good thing we had a good backup plan. We had pulled pork sandwiches with Uncle Ralph's barbeque sauce. I made a cherry cheese pie and we sang the birthday song for our very favorite Josiah who once was just a small boy and now is an official grownup. I wish I was better at planning celebrations but by the time I figure all this out, I will likely be too old to get it all together anyway. I hope my people will forgive me in this area of weakness...


Friday, January 02, 2009

The Lazy Blogger

The crazy holiday season has left me feeling like a lazy blogger. I have been distracted by a multitude of things including Facebook. My sisters and I have connected with some second cousins and have had some fun trading pictures and photographs. My grandma, who I am almost certain is the baby in the previous post, was one of eleven children. The family lived on a farm in southern NY. I'm sure the boys and men spent many hours toiling in the fields, planting, tending, and harvesting crops. Somewhere along the way several of the daughters learned to draw and paint. They have left behind a multitude of paintings. Many of Aunt Harriet's paintings depict her childhood memories of life on the farm.

This hay wagon reminds me of a story my father tells of when he was a boy visiting his uncle's farm. They were on a hayride up in the hills one day, my father sitting on the hay, his legs dangling down over the back of the wagon. "A thought went through my mind," he says, "Get your legs up on top of this wagon." Just after he pulled his legs up a vehicle came speeding up over the hill, crashing into the back of the wagon. Hay and people flew in all directions. One of the horses was killed, but miraculously, everyone else surived. "I wouldn't be here today," says Dad, "Had the Lord not told me to pull my legs up into the wagon. I would have been dragged underneath and killed." I guess Aunt Harriet painted pictures that bring back a multitude of memeories and likely tell a multitude of stories.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year and a Spot of Tea

A brand new year, a fresh start. I decided to give up coffee this year. It lasted until I smelled a pot brewing late this afternoon. I decided to try again tomorrow...

This morning I told Ben my New Year's resolution- I've decided not to drink, smoke, or swear. He laughed. "I've decided not to rob any banks or steal any cars" he quipped. I don't suppose we'll have too much trouble keeping these resolutions. I don't drink or smoke anyway and since I was raised in a home devoid of cursing, it has never become a problem for me. Hopefully, my son is not in the habit of stealing and therefore will not have any trouble keeping his resolution either.

Seriously though, I do intend to give up coffee, at least my regular everyday habit. It may be replaced by tea eventually but I won't turn down a good hot cup 'o joe if a good friend makes an offer. Our church fast starts on Monday. Pray for me as I really do need to make some dietary changes and implement some kind of exercise regimine. I have little grandsons to keep up with and I need to lose a few pounds in order to do that.

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year and is looking forward to many great days ahead!