Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finally Flowers

Some little spots of sunshine out in my yard. Note to self- must plant more crocus. I spent a little time outside raking leaves out of my flower gardens and soaking up some sunshine. The days are getting warmer and I am looking forward to gardens full of flowers and leaves on the trees.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Evening Sunshine

When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Luke 4:40

I glanced out the window this evening to see the sun shining golden rays on the fields and orchards. It was one of those fleeting moments so difficult to catch with a camera. I am looking forward to this weekend when the forecast calls for temperatures that will lure us from our houses out into the sunshine. Maybe I'll even find some new spring flowers sprouting in my garden.

The Secret Cave

Last Monday was my birthday and a small package arrived in the mail from NY City. Inside I found a short note and a CD of a children's opera written by my friend Judy. (I already have a copy of her children's book.) She suggested I familiarize myself with the story before listening to the music, so I found a library book and read the story.

Set in France during WWII, "Twenty and Ten" is about a group of French children who are spending their days in the care of a nun up in the mountains. In the course of the story they are asked to help hide a group of ten Jewish children also. The secret cave comes in very handy. "Twenty and Ten" is a story of bravery and steadfastness in the face of danger and adversity. I very much enjoyed the story and was encouraged by its message. Now I need to finish listening to the music my friend sent. Who knows? Maybe someone will decide it would be a good show to do with some local children.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Through the Fog

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22

Dark and dreary; it was a good morning for sleeping. The fog rolled in mid morning and settled upon us like cool, wet blanket. The orchard trees appeared ghostly and cold. It would have been a perfect afternoon for sleeping too had it not been for all the traffic through the house between the hours of 1 and 3 pm. Both Emma and I gave up on catching a nap though Bella was able to get one.

The fog has moved on now leaving behind a cover of gray clouds and wet pavement. My sleepiness lingers and a warm shower is in order. It is Monday and tonight the folks at the nursing home will be awaiting our arrival. How many names can I remember tonight? Emily, Betty, Adelle, Dee, Lucy, Edna, Janet, Nancy, Kathleen, Florence, Mary,...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Chicken Coop Oops

Six Months

It's hard to believe that we have been without Dad for six months already. Though I miss him every day and memories often put a lump in my throat, they still, more often than not, bring a smile to my face.

Life continues on and people and places change around us. It is the way of the world. We are here "but for a moment" and then pass on. I pray that I will learn the lessons God has for me along the way. I'm trying.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Running Around in Circles and Waiting Patiently

This morning I took Mom to have her taxes done. We appeared to be missing a couple of documents. I made a phone call from the library reception desk. The man on the other end wanted to talk to Mom. The librarian fretted over how long I would be "tying up the line". I hung up instead of getting Mom from the next room. We went to the bank. The bank said there weren't any documents for filing, not enough interest earned. We went home and called the first place back. Dad didn't withdraw money from the account so there was no document filed this year. (He always withdrew the money in December and wasn't here to do it this year.) We went back to the library to finish the tax return. We went to the town hall to file for a property tax rebate. I was missing another document (non-taxable income). We went back to the bank. We got nowhere. We went back home again. I felt impatient with the paperwork, but told Mom this is a learning process and once we know what we are doing things will be easier. I hope I am right.

The air is cold but the sun is shining and that is a good thing. My flowers are much more patient today than I. They are closed up tight to stay warm and wait silently, no whining or complaining, no feelings of irritation. They aren't worried about whether or not the sun will shine tomorrow. I am learning too, learning to wait and trust that God has everything under control. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble." Matthew 6:34

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daffodil Praise

Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
Psalm 28:2

It was bright and sunny yesterday but a cold wind stung my face and hands. My flower garden does not seem concerned over the weather. Fresh new shoots continue to stretch heavenward, reaching just a little higher each day. I couldn't help but think it appeared as though they were lifting holy hands to their God and Maker.

I am a rather private and reserved kind of person. I do not lift my hands in praise and worship during church. Though deep in my soul I want to, and I have done it, it is not my usual practice. It is my own pride that keeps my hands in my lap on Sunday morning and I am the one to suffer for it. Lord, forgive me. I want to praise You too.

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
1 Timothy 2:8

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Hundred Six

Today is my grandpa's birthday. We celebrated our birthdays together for most of my childhood (they're two days apart) though I wasn't always sure he knew it was my birthday too. (Silly child...) He's been gone for almost eleven years now but I can still close my eyes, imagine his "grandpa" smell, feel his arms wrapped tight around me, and hear him call me his "little rascal". And I still miss him.

I love you, Grandpa.
Happy Birthday!

Praise and Exaultation

For all people walk each in the name of his god, But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God Forever and ever.
Micah 4:5

Last night I picked up a new book, one my husband found in the bookstore at church. It's just a little book, "Continuous Revival: The Secret of Victorious Living" by Norman Grubb. The book caught James' eye because a friend of ours had known Norman Grubb personally. Clif had been encouraged by Norman, and we were encouraged by Clif.

I want to walk with Jesus. I can not go back to yesterday and walk there and I can not reach into tomorrow. I must reach out this moment and take my Savior's hand; only in this moment can I follow in His steps.

I am learning something new about keeping my focus on Him. There have been and will be moments when I glance away and sink beneath the waves as Peter did, but in that moment I must make the choice to turn back, to look into my Saviors face, to call His name. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Choice. He gives me the choice. He is always there waiting, waiting to walk with me if only I am willing to walk with Him.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot Potato

My chives are growing. They are small and tender. I hear them calling for baked potatoes, butter and sour cream.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Counting Down

This year I decided it was time to start counting birthdays backward, so rather than turning forty-six, I am going to be forty-four instead. In eight and a half years my son will have caught up with me and we will both be thirty-six. I figure that will be the time to have a great celebration. Maybe one day I will be young enough to once again play on the floor comfortably. Maybe my hip won't hurt when I get up to walk again. Maybe my eyes will focus properly! Yes, I am looking forward already to next year's birthday when I can plan on being forty-three!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Getting Along Without

I have found myself feeling emotional this past week or so. Lost sleep, raging hormones, and a change of seasons has left me feeling unexpectedly weepy. I miss my dad and so many things are bringing him into my thoughts. I sneaked into the attic bedroom while at Mom's house this afternoon, pulled some of Dad's clothes out of a box, put my face into them and took a deep breath. I wasn't alone long. I quickly put the boxes back in order, and went back downstairs.

I took Dad's diaries out of Mom's drawer, found the one I had been reading, took it out to the living room, and sat on the couch. I didn't read long. We had gathered for a family birthday and there was a lot of activity in the house. The kids were playing and Dave was cutting the cake. A birthday song was sung, and dessert was served. I tucked the little book back in its hiding place for another day.

My sisters have already celebrated a first birthday without Dad, now it is my turn. I'm not sure if it is my own birthday that is making me miss him so or the fact that his birthday will be here in just a few short weeks. It will be a year of firsts without my dad. I guess I can expect the tears to well up now and again. Maybe I just ought to keep one of his big red hankies in my purse for those teary occasions. I wonder if I might find one in those boxes upstairs?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Out and About

It was so nice out yesterday that I took the girls for a ride down to Irondequoit Bay to feed the birds before they take the bridge out for the summer. They had fun tossing bread to the ducks, geese, and swans and dipping the toes of their boots into the edge of the water. We ran out of crackers all too soon but a woman had been there just previous with a huge bag of bread and rolls so we picked a few of those off the beach and tossed them as well.

While Hannah and I kept an eye on the girls, Ben took a few pictures for me. Not only are there gulls and water birds, but a handful of pigeons were hanging around hoping for a morsel of bread too. I don't believe any of the birds were too hungry. They probably don't know what it's like to go without a meal.

After stopping to wash our hands we spent some time at a local playground. We crossed a footbridge over a creek to enter the park and I asked the girls if they thought a troll might live underneath. Bella smiled and said "Nooo!" but Emma suddenly became apprehensive. I'm happy to say we crossed the bridge safely and got to the field on the other side. The girls bounced from one piece of playground equipment to another, often losing each other in the process. Hannah kept her eye on one and I the other as they ran in opposite directions. One day we will have to pack a lunch and make a return trip.

The weather today was just as bright and sunny but quite a bit cooler.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do They Grow on Trees?

I saw a sign for sale at Goodwill the other day and felt myself smile. It said, "If idiots grew on trees, this would be an orchard." It might not be a very nice thing to say, but my smile wasn't because I am surrounded by idiots, it was because I am surrounded by orchards. I think I'll go back and get one of those signs just for the fun of it.

The robins are back so, even though we are expecting a possibility of snow next weekend, I know spring is on its way. This robin was not pleased that I was in the orchard and let me know so in no uncertain terms. I was skirting Teal Lake and had no choice but to walk under her tree.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh Chute!

Do you have a laundry chute? Was there a laundry chute in your childhood home? Do you have any good laundry chute stories?

When I was a small girl I had a good friend whose home was outfitted with a laundry chute. There were five children in Beth's family and I'm sure the laundry chute came in very handy. One day my friend and I discovered a wonderful game. It was somewhat similar to a game the children in my mother's daycare used to call "Garbage Truck". We found it great fun to drop stuffed animals, dolls, and blankets down the chute, run downstairs to retrieve them, and then drop them down all over again. Running up and down the stairs was good exercise and Beth's mom didn't seem to mind the game. It was one of our favorites. I do think I recall her father stepping out of his office on occasion to quiet the ruckus we were making. He was the minister at our church and his office was at the bottom of the stairs. All was well with the laundry chute game until one day we decided to put all of Beth's toys down the hole in the wall; stuffed animals, dolls, blankets, dishes, little people... whatever toys were in her bedroom. Evidently we overdid it that particular day because her mother was no longer amused and put a quick and sudden stop to the fun.

It's been forty years since we played the laundry chute game and the memory still brings a smile to my face. Beth's family moved away to Massachusetts when we were just six or seven. I went into the parsonage years later as a teenager, found myself glancing at the little door in the hallway wall, and imagined Beth's toys spilling out onto the floor.

I always secretly wished for a laundry chute.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going Green

I've not a lick O'Irish in me and yet there be a pot o' corned beef a simmerin' on the stove. I feergot to wear green but theer be two little lady leprechauns a resting in me living room who remembeered. They come home from preeschool wit pockets full o'gold coins! They say they found a leprechaun!

Tell me. Ist der a holiday vere de Dutch are honored?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Forgot...

Ever have your children say that? "I forgot..." Well, sometimes moms forget too. Nathan reminded me Sunday night that I had promised to make him a lemon meringue pie. I had forgotten... So yesterday I made two more pies, one for Nate and his friends at the apartment, and one for my people still here at home. I was told it was very good. I didn't eat any as I am once again attempting to go gluten free. I had tapioca pudding instead and it is one of my favorites.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Through the Window

Forty-five years ago another small child stood on this spot and looked out the window and into the world outside. Often my mother had left me there and gone off to find my severely autistic brother who had once again disappeared. She would leave me standing at the window to watch and wait. This was back in the days when that was perfectly acceptable and I would be watching when she returned.

Years ago there was always something going on outside; children playing in the street, dogs running through the neighbor's yard, or birds hopping about in the grass. The neighborhood is much quieter these days. There are still the occasional walkers, and birds still hop about on the lawn, but the children who once filled the streets are gone, grown up and moved away.

Do children still play in the street? I see them on occasion, but nothing like the days of childhood, before the advent of so many organized sports and computer games. Long before the wii was invented children actually played outside, even in wet, gloomy weather. Sometimes they still do. Lucas was watching Hannah, Audra, and Alicia play catch with a "ball" they made out of an old plastic container, some newspaper and tape.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Going Nowhere, Fast

The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever.
Psalm 29:10

I am quite certain that our house will not be selling anytime soon. No one in their right mind would really take a second look at a place with this kind of water issues. This does not throw me. I know God has a plan. We have a plan too, which includes trying to fix this water problem, but that plan can not be implemented right now. If only we were raising crawdads...

I have to smile a bit because we really do not know where we will go if our house does sell. Do we want it to sell? Does the water annoy us or amuse us? It isn't in our basement, just trapped in the lower lying area like water in a bowl, a big bowl, and unfortunately, it is here to stay until we get ready to pump it out again. Of course, maybe that is really a good thing. Who knows?

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It was a cold and rainy day in upstate New York. The sun did not peek through the clouds and rain pelted the windows. The good thing about spring rains is they wash away the remainder of lingering winter snows. The bad thing is the ever growing "puddle" in my backyard. It looks especially bad this year. I'm kind of missing the rock wall we had buried in the fall. It broke up the landscape and added some interest...

So anyway, I am dreaming of sunshine, warm weather, and green grass. I'm dreaming of flowers in my gardens, chairs on the back porch, and Jasmine tanning herself in the yard. (She's due home any day now...) I'm dreaming of cookouts, long walks, and no mud. I'm looking forward.

There is a "For Sale" sign in my front yard. I'm not sure any potential buyers will be interested in this kind of "waterfront" property... Anyone have a dinghy we could borrow? maybe I'll just stay...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Legal Documents

Sign on the dotted line... I met my sisters at Mom's house this morning and we signed legal papers; one set to give me power of attorney, another to make Rachel health care proxy, and a third to add all three of us to the deed to Mom's house. This bit of business had been weighing on my mind since soon after the holidays and I am glad to see the task accomplished. I'm sure it could save us all a lot of grief later on. I promised my dad that we would take care of Mom and want to see that we are able to accomplish the job.

One of the benefits of going to see Mom is getting to see my little grandson at the same time. He thinks having visitors is fun and likes the attention from us as well as we like it from him. He runs around the house, shows us his toys, points and grunts, and steps gingerly over his great grandma's oxygen hose as he goes along. He will be very good at jump rope one day as he is getting lots of practice.

Rachel did not stick around very long after the papers were signed as she had things to do. Priscilla and I visited with Mom for a bit while the girls chatted and Emma played with the Playmobil dolls and furniture. (Bella stayed home with her daddy today.) We decided to take the girls out to Moe's and get some lunch. Hannah and I shared a burrito while Emma had a quesadilla.

I returned home at about 1:30 pm, just in time to wash the dishes and run the vacuum cleaner before the realtor arrived at the house. We have decided to list our house for sale and see where the Lord will take us. Yes, we signed the papers... scary and not scary at the same time. It is not a snap decision but one we have agonized over and prayed about for many months. God does not speak in a loud, audible voice, so we must trust Him to work out the details as we go, to guide our steps, and light the way. I am not an adventurous person by nature. I like to know what is happening from day to day so this will be an exercise in faith for me. (Sure, go a head and pray that I can relax and enjoy the ride...)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stone Soup

It is a yearly project. Mrs. Kay reads the story and then the children get to make Stone Soup. She has kept the same stone for 28 years and it is still working! All the children were asked to bring in some kind of vegetable for the soup. There were carrots, potatoes, green beans, onions, celery, and snow peas! Mrs. Kay added some ground beef and macaronis and it was perfect. What a great soup! The best part is parents and babysitters are invited to join in for the meal. Bella asked for seconds.

Unfortunately, not all three and four year olds like soup. Emma was sure she didn't want any. The bread and butter looked much more interesting to her. She would have been content to forget the soup altogether, but Hannah had her taste it anyway. Colton didn't want his bowl anywhere close to him. He pushed it all the way to the other side of the table and filled up on bread and crackers.

It is a gorgeous day, close to sixty degrees and still sunny. The yard is wet and muddy. The driveway is wet and muddy. If I dared to send the kids outside, they would be wet and muddy. It seems almost a crime to keep them in on such a great day. It seems a crime to keep me in on such a nice day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Say Cheese!

These birds are not camera shy, especially if the photographer is holding a handful of bread. If you think geese are intimidating, you should meet these swans!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Just Imagine

Spring is making a valiant attempt at arrival. The skies have been sunny and clear for several days, the temperatures mild. The snow is melting and it was a wonderful day for a walk.

Since I was unable to take two sleeping, bootless girls out for a mud walk, I decided to go on an imaginary walk by myself. (Bear with me here. I don't get out much...) I pulled on my boots and jacket, and trudged through the thick, slushy snow in the back yard and made my way to the orchard road. The trees were naked and cold looking, and I could see all the way to the lake from the top of the hill.

The Canada geese had left web-footed footprints in the soggy ground near the snow-covered pond. Though I had previously heard loud honking, the flock was nowhere to be found, only scattered feathers and goose droppings in the mud and snow.

Down a row of apple trees I met a stranger. I know better than to walk in the orchard alone, so I asked if he would accompany me but he just stared and waved me on without saying a word. A rather cold fellow I decided.

Though the sun shone bright, there was still a bitter, cold wind blowing off Lake Ontario. My ears were starting to ache deep inside and I put my mittened hands over them to warm them up and turned for home.

I was glad to get back inside and sit by the wood stove with a cup of hot tea. The girls were just starting to stir. One of them opened her eyes and said, "Martha, I'm hungry."

Monday, March 08, 2010


I am feeling overwhelmed today...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Number Two

It was a beautiful day to go out; sunny and mild. I needed to stop at the bank and get groceries in Webster, so decided to make a quick run down to the Irondequoit Bay outlet before they pull the bridge out for the summer. I took some unwanted cereal along to feed the ravenous crowds.

Though I made several trips to the bay last winter, this was my first stop this year. Ben and Hannah stayed in the van while I got out and tossed old Cheerios to squawking seagulls and suspicious Canada geese. The swans didn't bother to climb out of the water today, but were more than happy to gobble up whatever I chose to share.

Maybe one day I will actually take those two little girls out to feed the birds, though sometimes the birds at the bay are slightly intimidating. Reminds me of that old Alfred Hitchcock movie every time as flocks of screaming seagulls fly overhead.

Friday, March 05, 2010

And a Dash of Drama

Along with small girls comes a little bit of drama. We had an episode yesterday on the way to school when M told B she was sick.
"No, you're not!" replied B.
"Yes, I am!" said M, "I fell off a ladder yesterday and now I am sick!"
"M's faking." B told me as I climbed into the van after buckling the little boy passenger into his seat.
"Is she?" I replied.
"Yeah," said B.
An argument ensued. By the time we drove down the street and around the corner, M was working up a rather healthy crop of tears. She scrunched up her face and poured on the drama. By the time I opened the door to unbuckle her, I'd seen enough. "Stop that crying right now!" I said. "You have nothing to cry about."
She looked surprised and attempted to stifle her now full force act. She sniffled as we walked toward the school and I took her hand. I think she had forgotten all about why she was crying in the first place and was now heartbroken over the fact that I had gotten after her. She continued to sniff and gulp air. Once she had her jacket off I took her in my arms and gave her a hug. "I still love you," I said, "Are you okay now?" She shook her head and held on. We sat for a little while until she collected herself and went off to play dollhouse with B.

Today we had another piece of drama. I wasn't watching but Ben says one tried to grab from the other. Loud "no's" were exchanged. One small child jumped up from the floor and threw her face into a pillow on the couch. Loud wailing followed. The other child cried quietly in the corner. They were no longer friends... but that was ten minutes ago, before I told the wailing child that she had cried long enough. Now they are friends again, playing toys and chatting happily.

Why do these exchanges amuse me so?

Far Away, in the Land of Enchantment...

Far away, in the Land of Enchantment a young couple is getting ready for a wedding. There has already been a bridal shower, a party or two, and a rehearsal. They have spent their last nights alone. Tonight they will be man and wife, Mr. and Mrs.

Here in the Land of Ice and Snow, the aunt, uncle, and cousins wish them a life filled with joy and blessings. Inside they wish New Mexico was not quite so far away. They wait (somewhat) impatiently for photos to appear online so they can smile along with all who were able to attend the ceremony.

We have missed many family occasions. Mandy was four before we got to meet her for the first time. Passels of children kept us from making the long trek cross country more than a time or two, but we are grateful for the few times we did have and wish her and Eric a wonderful wedding day! We love you!!!

PS. Aha! A picture!!! They haven't seen each other yet... I really do love the internet.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

War Paint and Tears

Josh came over. He played markers with Hannah. She drew him a nice picture and he colored it. Josh had a dot of marker on his cheek which he tried to "wipe off" with another marker. Looks a little bit like war paint to me. He even managed to get stripes on both cheeks. Pretty talented.

We went to Lukie's house. He was glad to see us and ran back and forth through the living room. He showed us his toys. He showed us the vacuum cleaner hose. His Grandma made a noise in the other end. Lukie didn't like it. He cried. (Isn't he cute?)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Pie for My Guy

We went to church in town on Sunday evening. They always have desserts. James had a piece of pie; lemon meringue. He likes lemon meringue.
I said, "If you want me to make one, just say so."
He said, "So."
"Tell me when," I said.
"When," said he.

This afternoon I gathered my pie making supplies and put on my cook's cap. I cooked up a beautiful pie. It came out of the oven looking like a winner; golden crust, lightly browned meringue. A prize winning pie? Maybe.

Sadly, an hour or so later, the meringue had shrunk and pulled away from the sides of the crust. (This always happens.) I looked up "shrinking meringue" and found that not enough sugar will cause the topping to shrink. Next time I will try adding an extra tablespoonful or two of sugar. The good news is, it tastes yummy either way.

A Little More of the Same and Then Some

I will likely continue doing the shuffle for many days to come. I am cleaning drawers and cabinets, peeking into closets, and filling boxes. "For everything a place, and everything in its place". If it has a place, that is. My goal is to greatly reduce the load and become more "fluid". (More on that another time...)

The bathroom projects are finally finished. We were temporarily slowed by our trip to California, but not much. It has been painting the cabinet doors that has really been the holdup. Now they are finished and hung, the towel hooks are installed, and all that is lacking is a home for a roll of toilet paper. Little detail. My husband did a beautiful job and I am blessed.

What will be next? I'm not sure. Big changes could be on the horizon. One never really knows, but as the pressures of life build, so does the desire to simplify. Where will the adventure take us? Only the Lord knows.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Do the Shuffle!

I could hear the music playing in my head as I moved things from here to there this morning. The photo albums came off the bookcase and went into the little dresser/commode in my bedroom. The framed pictures came out from behind the dresser doors when the albums went in. Some of the pictures went down to the bookcase and some went into a covered box under the dresser. (Do the shuffle!) I cleaned my upstairs hallway. The boxes of things to get rid of came down to the dining room. The pack and play crib went up to the hallway. (Do the shuffle!)

Bella and Emma were also doing the shuffle. They were shuffling toys around the house. The Beanie Babies came out of the baskets and went onto the floor. Toys were removed from the shelf and scattered across the rug. Books, almost all of them, graced the coffee table. Fisher Price people had been removed from the bucket and lay staring at the ceiling. The girls were busy and I was busy.

I had downsizing on my mind; sorting and selling, boxing and bagging, tossing and trading. We once again have too much stuff. It is time to clean out and thus I am shuffling things from here to there in a concerted effort to put away the things I want to keep and haul away those I can do without. It appears a monumental task. Anyone else up for doing the shuffle?