About ten years ago my friend Judy wrote a children's book. Her sister Nancy did the illustrations. Every time I read it I have to smile because this picture looks so much like I remember Judy. My copy of the book is signed by the illustrator but not the author. I bought it from Nancy on Amazon.com. Maybe someday I will have it autographed by my friend too.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
Prayers are not always answered in the way we would hope. Sometimes a situation seems distant and far off until a friend's tragedy jars us back to reality. How is it that God has knit the body of Christ together in such a way that another's tragedy hits so close to one's own heart? Today my heart is heavy for our pastor and his family. He is on his way home to Philadelphia to be with his nieces and nephew who lost a brother in an unexpected turn of events. We had prayed the past few months for this particular nephew who was recently released from prison, and his sudden death jolts us awake from sleep. The legacy he leaves is marred and tarnished; the world is happy to see him gone, but left behind are hurting souls who desperately need to know the love and forgiveness of Christ and a God who wants so much to save them. Left behind is an uncle who shared the gospel and had hopes that his nephew would surrender his life to Jesus. Left behind are tears and sorrow, but through it all there is a Father in heaven who cares deeply and knows each heart. He doesn't make mistakes. He knows the future before the event occurs and nothing takes Him by surprise. I know He answers prayer and in Him there is always hope, even in the saddest of situations, but it still makes my heart cry.
You are a Holy God, An all consuming fire
You're robed in majesty, Bright shining as the sun
Your ways are not our ways, Your thoughts are high above
You are the fountain Lord, Of mercy truth and love (and we cry)
Tonight I am feeling tired and achy. Maybe after some ibuprophen, a warm bath, and some comfy jammies I will feel better. Tomorrow is another day. I intend to get a good night's sleep and have a productive Thursday. Maybe we'll bake some more cookies; the double batch of peanut butter ones we baked on Monday has been devoured. I was a good girl and only ate one. Funny but the milk seems to have disappeared along with the cookies.
I don't want to make it sound like I had a bad day, actually my day was very nice. I had some great "Grandma time" with Lucas and Rachel came to visit for a little while. We had to laugh at the baby who found the ceiling fan to be very entertaining. He looked up at it and smiled several times during the day. Who can ever know what a two month old finds so wonderful about a ceiling fan? I had to wonder if God ever watches me, shakes his head, laughs and says, "Now why does she find that so interesting?"
President's Week is over and the kids are back to school. Troy showed up bright and early this morning. I decided to get something accomplished today and had everyone bring their sheets and blankets downstairs where I tossed them, one bed at a time, into my machines. After five loads of washing and drying, we all have clean beds, even the boys! I also set about to mop the kitchen floor. Although I know this is not a waste of time, it is not a job I look forward to. My linoleum is old and full of dents, dings and gouges. I often feel like a good washing won't help but it always looks better when it's all said and done.
Troy and I drew some pictures together this morning; cars, trucks and animals. He found my filling of vehicles with furry friends quite amusing. We even tied a dog to the roof of an automobile. Our other morning activity was baking peanut butter cookies. I don't do much baking anymore but I knew Troy would like it. He helped dump ingredients and turned the handle on my sifter. Once I rolled the dough into balls, he criss crossed every cookie. He was very pleased with himself and took a dozen cookies home to share with his family.
Being a grandparent can be a busy job. Not only are there small children who need tending, but there are adult children who need assistance. Dave and Leta have had some car trouble, so on Thursday morning I picked up Dave and the baby at their house and dropped Dave off at work before returning home with the baby. (Leta was working.) Yesterday I dropped two girls (Hannah and Sara) off at church for the Junior's Winter Retreat and returned home with Lucas. Lucas was returned to Mom and Dad for the evening, aound six o'clock, and I picked up some Chinese food on the way home. This morning Bethany called. It was her turn to watch Lucas during the retreat, but she and Adam were stranded up in town with a broken down vehicle. I went up town to retrieve Beth and Josh, took them to church where we collected the baby, and then went to Wegmans because Josh was out of diapers. Lucas stayed with Aunt Bethany for the afternoon where he produced four stinky diapers while I was home in my quiet house taking a nap on the couch. Soon Bethany will arrive with the little bundle who James and I will return to his adoring parents when we go to get Hannah from church.
The other day James and I were talking and realized that if our children all had children when we did, we would have fifteen grandchildren by now! And I thought the past few days were busy!
I have had a different kind of week and enjoyed it very much. Although there is no school and Troy has not been here, my house has been full of children since Tuesday. I had both my grandsons here today and Sara and Alysa. Little Lucas is cousin to each of the others and though Sara and Alysa aren't actually Josh's cousins, they like to refer to him that way. He's like family to them and they are like family to us. The girls are very kind to the little ones and love to take a turn holding the baby. Today they shared some time giving him his bottle.
I can't say my house has been spotless, there have been "jewels" scattered across each room most every day, but I have to smile when I recall the years not so long ago when my house was decorated with toys every day. I thought my kids might never grow up; now I know how fast it actually happens. I don't want to miss one day enjoying these little people.
No school this week. After Ladies' prayer and Bible study, I took the kids (Ben, Hannah, Sara, and Alysa) down to Irondequoit Bay to feed the birds. Aside from the few pieces that Sara and Alysa ate, the birds consumed a whole loaf of sandwich white bread. They were hungry.
These geese look like regular farm geese. I don't know if they are a domesticated breed or indigenous to the area. I like them. They are prettier to me than the Canada geese.
The seagulls are noisy, grabby birds but not typically frightening, the swans on the other hand are quite intimidating. One was close enough that I thought he might try to take a piece out of me. I was wearing my winter jacket and didn't think it would hurt (although it might...) but I didn't want to lose my cool and make a fool out of myself by screaming or jumping around like an idiot. I backed off and tossed him some crumbs.
The seagulls are still walking around on what little ice is left near the shore. They put up a fuss and make all kinds of noise when there is food around. My favorite thing is to catch a photo of them in flight. With the wind blowing a little bit today, they were able to hover in the air quite nicely.
The Canada geese will hang out here at the shore for the entire year. As long as there is food and plenty of room to build a nest, they will stay. I've been hearing their calls the past few mornings when I am waking up. Spring can't be too far off when the geese are flying.
I missed getting a picture of the mallard ducks. They are a little more timid, I guess, than the other water foul and stay in a section of water where they are protected and things are a bit more calm. For the price of a loaf of bread we enjoyed a little time at the bay. The girls thought it was fun even if the swans were scary.
Today our country "observes" George Washington's birthday, whatever that means. Usually it means the banks and libraries are closed as well as schools, but other than that I'm not sure anything special happens in too many places. I just happened to have, in my collection, a photograph of young George and thought today the perfect time to post it. As you can see he has a cherry branch in his clutches.
This was actually one of the neighbor boys when my brother was small and next door to our house grew a cherry tree. Each summer we would pick the sour cherries and eat them or try to sell them door to door. Once in a while Mom would decide to bake them into a pie. One year, I think I was in junior high, I was up in the tree and decided to jump on one of the branches. It couldn't handle the stress and the whole thing snapped off leaving a gapping hole. For several days I was known to my brother by the name George.
Following are a few quotes from our first President and founding father, George Washington-
"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."
"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace."
Ben, Hannah, and I went out for another ride this afternoon. We stopped in Target to pay my bill and grab a few things then wandered around in Kohl's for a while. Afterward we decided to make a return trip to Webster Park. Following a week of warm, rainy weather, we knew the shore would look drastically different from Monday. Much of the snow and ice has melted away and in places the shoreline is now visible, but great chucks of fringed ice remain glued to the breakwater. Farther down Lake Road, just over the bay outlet bridge, we stopped to check out the pier at Irondequoit Bay. I was surprised to see a man in a black wetsuit hop out of a car with a boogie board under his arm. He seemed almost in a hurry as he strode across the sidewalk and down to the water's edge. He placed the board into the frigid water, climbed on, and paddled away toward the the lake.
I really wanted to go out to the end of the pier, but the wind was bitter, my hood wouldn't stay on, and my face was frozen. Ben and Hannah did have winter jackets with them but, of course, had left them in the van. (Can you tell they're still best friends?) We made it out as far as the bend in the sidewalk, turned around, and ran halfway back. A large population of water foul congregates on the bay side of the road. Photographers find it fascinating and so do bird watchers. We hadn't brought along any bread for the birds, but there was someone there who did. She sat up on a rock, put a piece of bread in the palm of her hand, and held it up for the birds. Every once in a while one brave gull would swoop down and grab the prize. For those who weren't so bold, she tossed chunks of bread onto the rocks or ice. Something else out on the ice caught our eyes this afternoon, a couple of emergency workers practicing an ice/water rescue. I'm sure they were dressed warm and waterproof, and know what they are doing, but it still looks scary to me. After a week of temperatures in the 50's or above the ice is extremely dangerous. There were no ice fishermen to be seen.
This is a painting done by my grandmother. I asked my dad if he had any information on it but he had little to offer aside from the fact that it once hung in my grandparent's kitchen and he had always liked it. He once told my grandpa that he wanted to have it someday, but Grandpa didn't remember and gave it to one of my cousins. John did offer to give it back to my father, but Dad said no, he was happy to have it in the hands of someone who cared. So, it is still in the family, well loved and taken care of, and my cousin was kind enough to take a picture and email it to me. There are two other paintings as well but this is definitely the prettiest. Grandma didn't consider herself to be the artist that her two sisters were, but I think she did a wonderful job.
It's definitely one of those Winnie the Pooh days; blustery is almost an understatement. Between the melting snow and driving rain, we have collected up quite the backyard puddle. The consolation is in knowing there is now a working drain and once the present water table drops, our backyard lake will disappear.
It has been a busy kind of day, not only do I have Troy, but I also have two small grandsons. I'm back to the days of diapers and bottles. My floors are decorated with toys; cars, plastic farm animals, play dishes, and Fisher Price toys. Ben is reading a story to Troy and Lucas is asleep on my lap. Josh is taking his nap and the kitchen is waiting to be cleaned up from lunch. If I didn't have to check on the fire I'd just stay here with this warm cozy baby asleep on my lap.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.Galatians 2:20
Tuesday mornings is Ladies' prayer at church. We gather together to pray for various things including friends, family, our church members and pastors, and the nation. A few weeks ago I decided to get back into the habit of meeting with the women for prayer. This morning I arrived just in time for the closing prayer... The time had been changed to 9 am rather than 10, and I had missed the announcement in the bulletin. I was disappointed at being too late for prayer, but I was not too late for Bible study, which just started up again today. We are going through the book of Galatians.
Although time was short after the study, I was already in Webster and in need of groceries, so I decided to take a run through Wegmans. I had about fifteen minutes to rush through the store and fill my cart with necessary items. (Kind of like being on a game show...) By the time I reached the checkout, the clock read 11:40 am. YIKES! I had to be back in Williamson to get Troy from preschool by noon and I knew by looking at the lines that I'd never make it. By some stroke of luck (or the grace of God, see Galatians), a new register opened up and I was the first to go through. I had just the right amount of cash in hand when it came time to pay and afterward flew out the door to my van, raced down the highway, and arrived to get Troy before the teachers locked him in for the night. On the way home I asked him if he thought I had forgotten him, but he just smiled and said "no".
The sunlight streammed through my windows this morning. It was too nice to stay inside. Cold enough for ice to be frozen and warm enough to enjoy the weather. I called my friend Sherri and we agreed to meet at the park for a walk. It didn't take long for Troy and Caleb, who know each other from church, to take off laughing and sliding across the frozen ground. It also didn't take long for them to find out that under the ice was a rather large puddle of water. No need to worry, it wasn't deep, just wet.
Issac came along on his sled. He seemed happy to slide along over the ice and snow and managed to stay in the sled in spite of Sherri's fear that he might flip homself out. He flashed plenty of smiles and didn't complain even when the snow, unbeknowst to us, began to collect on the seat behind him.
We couldn't go home without visiting the lake side of the park. There has been quite a melt off in the past few days but the shoreline still looks like a foreign land. If I was still a little girl I would imagine I was in Antarctica living on an iceflow by the edge of the sea. Troy and Caleb not only had fun sliding down the icy slopes but also found a snow cave to play in. By the time we left for home, they were both wet from tromping through puddles.
The seagulls were enjoying their ride on the floating ice paddies. We didn't feed any this trip and they never even acknowledged our presence.
It was a fun couple of hours and I think both boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I did too, even if I did have to wash Troys jacket and snowpants when we returned home.
Last Sunday I stayed home from church. My head was heavy and my eyes ached; instead of getting dressed and making my way out the door, I grabbed my pillow and headed for the couch. This Sunday my husband stayed home, drank a pot of tea and kept the box of Kleenex company.
Although my kids sat in our usual spot, I decided to do something different and sat next to my parents who go to the same church as us. The sermon had hardly begun when I had this longing to lean over and whisper in Mom's ear. "Do you have any Lifesavers?" Of course, I didn't really do it; it was just an old memory coming back to me in a moment of familiarity. I popped a stick of gum into my mouth instead. About five minutes later Mom leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Would you like a mint?" There it was, a Pep-O-Mint Lifesaver! It didn't pop out of a roll like they did when I was a little girl sitting in church on Sunday mornings, instead this was a giant sized mint wrapped in a little cellophane package. I felt a smile creep onto my face as I exchanged the stick of gum for a childhood memory. I have to wonder if God ever smiles at those little events, especially when He sees us smiling too.
I enjoyed this morning's message. I am always amazed that God knows just the issues I am dealing with and sends the words I need to learn and grow in Him.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I gave in; I took Hannah and Troy out for a ride along the lake. We stopped at Webster Park again but went as far as the Port of Rochester before turning around and heading back for home.
It was quiet and lonely at the park with lots of rabbit tracks in the snow, but no people.
We walked out on the pier which is covered with ice and feels rather treacherous. I found my snow boots to be as slippery on the ice as my sneakers. The light at the end of the pier was dressed for winter.
Although we drove through Durand Eastman Park and as far as the Genesee River, we did not stop or get out of the van along the way. Instead, we turned back toward home and stopped by Irondiquoit Bay to feed the seagulls. As soon as they realized we had bread, we were surrounded.
The bread was gone all too soon and it was time to find some lunch. (Sherri, we need to make some plans.)
It's cold outside and the house can be drafty. Not only does the glass door open directly to the outside, but the cat door is broken and has only one covering. Sometimes that cold "giraffe" sneaks right around the corner and into my living room. I always thought giraffes were warm weather animals but here they always show up in the winter.
I'm still thinking about making my way down to the lake at some point, but the gray skies and cold keep pushing me back inside. I do wish I was more of a winter person... Hannah says, "Let's go." Maybe I'll find that extra layer to put under my jeans and shake the dust off my boots. Now to figure out where to go...
PS. My dilapidated giraffe was a project I did in high school.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Although winter may be long and uncomfortable, God has given it a beauty all its own. I don't often get down to the lake, especially in the winter, but when I do, I find the ice sculptures enchanting. We are expecting some warmer temperatures this weekend, so if I am going to get some good icy photos, I will have to make a return trip in the very near future. Maybe tomorrow? Uh, maybe not tomorrow. Tomorrow is supposed to be very cold. Maybe I'll try it Friday instead.
My mittens have arrived. They are warm, cozy, soft aplaca yarn. I love them!
My friend Andrea called Saturday afternoon and said she would be able to deliver my mittens after supper. Around seven o'clock she and her husband arrived at the door. Years ago James worked with Lee at a cabinet shop in Rochester and Andrea homeschooled her children a few years back. We invited them in and had a very nice visit over tea and a cinnamon streusel loaf I had baked.
In the course of our visit Andrea asked if I had ever read "Hinds' Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard. I smiled and said, "Yes." It seems Andrea had wanted to read the book but couldn't find her copy. She had looked high and low throughout her house, but to no avail. Well, about twelve years ago, when I was facing an emotional struggle, one of the women I knew had given me this little book to read. It was tucked away in my upstairs closet. We went up to find it and I handed it to Andrea. Inside the front cover was Andrea's name. She had forgotten all about ever having given me the book. We laughed about it and she tucked it into her purse to take home. And, before they left, a couple jars of apple butter found their way out of the jelly cabinet and into Lee's possesion. It was a nice evening with friends.
James and I went out for a drive this afternoon. The sun was shining and the lake looked so blue that we decided to drive along Lake Rd toward Webster. It was a gorgeous day to check out the snow and ice down at the beach; warm enough to be comfortable and cold enough to not be soggy.
On our way down Lake Road, I thought of my friend Sherri who has been loving the lake shore this winter. I was snapping a photo when I heard a familiar voice call out. It was Sherri and her son Caleb out to see the snow and ice too. What a fun meeting!
I found the gulls out on the ice interesting. They were quite content to sit or sleep on the balls of ice and snow on the water's edge. They were too far out for me to get a good close up. I must remember to save those old bread crusts so we can feed them if I should decide to go back to the lake.
Troy is 4 1/2. This morning he asked me for a piece of paper, found himself a pencil, and settled in at the table to draw a picture. Several minutes later he came to me with his drawing. I have to admit I wasn't quite sure what to say. I don't ever want to make a budding artist feel foolish or let him know I have no clue as to what he has drawn. I saw some big googly eyes and smiling faces and so commented to him on that. He smiled and looked at the drawing. He hadn't been drawing faces at all. The problem was I had been looking at the picture from the wrong perspective. When I turned it over, I saw the drawing in a whole new way.
I have recently been discussing some Bible issues with a friend. We both agree that only one of us can be right and therefore have also agreed, once again, not to discuss the issues. I must admit, it is a hard thing to avoid, but I will do my best because I really do love her and I value the friendship we have built through the years. I know she will likely read this, I post it here only because it is one of the many thoughts I have had swirling through my mind this past weekend and this is where I often post my ponderings. The discussion has sent me back to the pages of scripture, back to prayer, and back to checking my motives for sharing my faith.
Funny thing about Troy's drawing, the first time I looked at it I didn't see cars at all, just circles and lines. Right side up the cars are obvious, but now, even when it's turned upside down, I still see cars. I guess the Bible can be that way too. No matter which way I turn it, I still see Jesus, God come in the form of a man.