Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter G

G is for Grandpa and garden

(I hope you will forgive me for repeating a past blog. It's been a long day. The children I babysit arrived here at seven this morning, my oldest grandchild has been staying overnight since Friday, and my other two grandsons were here for the evening. I am exhausted!)

July 22, 2009

Mr. McGregor's Change of Heart

"Now, my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor." (from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter)

Did I mention that my father and his garden remind me of Mr. McGregor and Peter Rabbit? It's just a little garden, tucked between the next door fence and the side of Dad's house. The side toward the road is enclosed by a four foot stockade fence. On the backyard side is a wire fence and a wooden gate. Scattered along the wire fence are moth pellets, to keep the rabbits out. Hmm... not working.

The other day Dad went out to look at his garden and whom should he meet but Peter Rabbit! He was nibbling on some beet greens. "Scram!" shouted Mr. McGreg... I mean Dad.

Peter took off running but evidently had forgotten the way back to the gate. He ran straight for the fence, probably because there was no tool shed to hide in. He was quite certain he was home free until he discovered that although his front end fit through the wire fence rather easily, his back end was stuck fast. His fat little hopping legs and hips were entirely too wide.

Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by Dad. (Mr. McGregor's wife had put Peter's father into a pie, and I'm pretty sure Peter thought Dad had the same idea.) The poor little bunny was much too frightened to back out of the fence the way he had gone in (this part of the story reminds me a bit of Pooh Bear) and it was impossible for him to pass through going forward.

In Dad's younger days he had been a hunter. He's hunted down and eaten all kinds of critters; frogs, turtle, squirrels, rabbit... I wonder if it ever crossed his mind that he could have a free meal? Evidently he has become rather fond of the little creatures that visit and live in his yard, because rather than fetch himself a meal, he headed to the garage for a pair of wire cutters.

Peter screamed and hollered when Dad touched him, but took of like a shot as soon as his back legs were free. Peter never stopped running or looked behind him till he got home to wherever it is he lives. I don't suppose he had bread and milk and blackberries for supper! Probably a dose of chamomile tea instead.

After watching Peter run across the yard, Dad turned back to look at his garden and there sat Peter's cousin, Little Benjamin Bunny. "Scram!" shouted Dad, and Little Benjamin took off like a shot. Lucky for him he was smaller than Peter!

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

Losing My Marbles

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

If you are familiar with the game of Chinese Checkers, you will understand that in the middle of the game one can feel slightly overwhelmed and helpless, especially if there are more than two colors moving across the board. There is little place to go and a move, even in the right direction, won't get you very far. The best laid plans often come to naught and thinking ahead often appears fruitless. I find this a little bit like life. Here in the middle, I am never quite sure what to expect or what tomorrow may bring, but I know the One who does. I know He is with me. He has the game strategy planned out and no move from the opposition leaves Him surprised or wondering what to do. He is teaching me patience, and I think maybe I am finally starting to learn. So long as I keep moving forward I will eventually reach the goal and all my marbles will be right where they belong. At least I hope so.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Out For a Ride

Summer is winding down. Soon September will be upon us and autumn will settle in. Fall brings mixed emotions this year and a reminder of God's enduring love.

Today we took Josh and went to the beach at Fair Haven. We are not your typical beach bums, dressed in our street clothes, but we enjoy putting our feet in the surf and walking along the water's edge. Josh played in both the sand and surf and enjoyed himself completely. Too bad we didn't bring sand buckets and shovels. That would have been fun!

We took a long walk out the pier which gave us a wonderful view of the shoreline, but my camera batteries had died back at the beach so I didn't get any pictures. There were boats coming into and going out of the bay making me quietly hope once again to go out on the water one day.

We stopped for a Frosty before heading back for home. It was a nice afternoon and my feet are tired. I didn't drink any coffee today so I am hoping for a good night's sleep.

PS. Uncle Chuck had his heart shocked back into a normal rhythm early this week and is doing great. He and Aunt Mary were over to visit Mom this afternoon.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Using Your Head

We had a birthday gathering for Mom's 76th birthday on Thursday evening. We enjoyed gluten free carrot cake and ice cream with the family and I was privileged to take my nieces home for the night.
The girls have a game they like to play with Hannah which involves sticking a word or phrase on each others foreheads. Then they ask yes or no questions until they finally come up with who or what they are. It looks like fun but I haven't been invited to play yet. I don't know who won. I had Ben take this photo as we were on our way to meet Priscilla for our walk yesterday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Corbett's Glen

Priscilla and I teamed up for an afternoon walk in Corbett's Glen. It was a nice day, my feet are tired, and I think I'll sleep well tonight. The glen would be a nice place to visit when the leaves turn colors in a month or so. I have one week left before school starts. I'm hoping to have a little fun with my last days of summer and this was a good start.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Firemen Don't Have Blankets."

This little boy has a "cozy, cozy" to help him sleep when he gets tired. He doesn't drag it around with him, but sometimes his mom lets him have it in the car, especially on long dark drives home in the night. The other day he didn't need it because, "Firemen don't have blankets." And he's serious too.

Josh is coming to stay overnight tomorrow. I'm sure his blanket will arrive too, whether he is a fireman or not, because he is going to stay for several days and it might just get cold and lonesome at night. I am looking forward to having some fun with my grandson before sending him on to his Grandma Jo next week. Stay tuned!

AADD and a Special Delivery.

There times when I seriously question my own sanity. I am pretty sure that I have something called Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD), or I would if there was such a thing. I think it comes from endless years of having my thoughts and conversations interrupted by children and everyday life. Anyway, after running a few errands with Hannah and Emma this morning, we stopped in Wegman's for a few grocery items; lettuce, sour cream, taco seasoning, sugar, and ice cream. (It's Mom's birthday...) Rather than take the ice cream all the way home just to drag it out again tonight, I decided to put it in Mom's freezer. When We arrived at Mom's house I found my purse missing! I knew exactly where it was... It was in the little grocery cart I had put in the cart return back in the grocery store parking lot. I raced back to the store just in time to see the boys bringing in a whole slew of carts none of which contained a purse. Next stop, Customer Service. "This is a bummer!" said Emma and I had to agree. I was blessed (and relieved) to find that someone had indeed returned my purse to the store. I suppose I have stumbled upon one very good reason for storing my car keys in my purse rather than my pants pocket. I won't be able to drive away without my purse.

Did I tell you that I was expecting? Well, yes it was a baby I was waiting for. She arrived in the mail today, naked, wrapped in newspaper, and sealed in a cardboard box. Emma was quite happy with her appearance and right away decided we should get out the big box of baby clothes and dress her up. The new baby, dressed in pink, will make a good friend for my other doll. I expect them to have many grand adventures together this year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Busy, and I Liked It!

My house is slightly out of order. It's not broken or anything, just needs to be straightened up a bit. There are toys on the floor, dish
es in the sink, and pillows and blankets on the couch. I should probably run the vacuum cleaner and start some dinner too. It looks like I did little aside from rearranging a few pieces of furniture, but really I was busy. And I liked it.

Emma came to play and so did Lucas and Simon. I spent quite a bit of time pushing Lucas in the swing. The higher he went the more he liked it! Although the photo is of Bethany, I pulled small children in the wagon too. Down the driveway one way, across the front of the yard, and up the other end of the driveway. Sure beats a gym membership!

Josh decided to stay, eat lunch, and play while his mommy took Ben to his math class in Sodus. I fed everyone peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, applesauce, and grapes for lunch, and while Lucas unsuccessfully attempted to take a nap, Simon drank his bottle. James worked in the shop, I chased children, and maybe I actually got a workout for once. I'd like to think so.

Yes, it was a good day for me and I think Emma liked having the boys around to play with too even if she didn't get much of a turn on the swing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's Going On

Activity in the orchard is picking up. We haven't been walking lately as James dropped a rather heavy toolbox base on his foot a few weeks ago. We think he probably broke a toe. It has gone through a variety of pretty and not so pretty colors. He buddy taped it and has been hobbling around ever since. I think our walks may possibly resume soon. At least I'm hoping so. I think his foot is finally beginning to feel better.

The nights have been cool and before we know it fall will be here, my favorite time of year. Soon my "nursery" will be full of tender, young "plants" and school will begin. I'm looking forward to a new season.

I heard my Uncle Chuck might be back in the hospital. He has had a rough time ever since being so sick in May. Mom's birthday is Thursday, her first without Dad. Please remember these two precious family members in your prayers. Thank you.

ABC Wednesday- Letter F

F is for faith and family. (I'm onto a family theme now and figure I'll keep with it as long as I can...)

Faith. I've not known life any other way. My parents always lived their faith. It wasn't something they put on Sunday morning and left in the closet for the rest of the week. Faith is the glue that held our family together and continues to do so. Throughout my father's illness I often returned to the realization that he was living to the end what he had taught us through the years. Faith without works (the day to day living out of one's belief) is dead. James 2:26, and yet even though my father's body is now dead, his faith lives on. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

Speaking of family, this is mine. Well, my kids anyway. They love to have fun and, I think, have become friends though the process of time. I pray that faith will keep them together also. I think they are fabulous!

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rounding the Bend

Life is a circle of sorts. We are born needing the help of others and one day, if we live long enough, we find ourselves in that position once again...

My brain is tired from thinking and I have come to the conclusion that actually doing something is probably much less exhausting than endlessly mulling over the options. (Quite honestly, I want to spin the clock backward, to have both my parents in the little house in Webster, and to know that everything is right again, but that is not to be.) We can only move forward, going back is not allowed and so we round the bend.

Though my mother is far from "helpless," it is clear to us that she is in need of help. We all want to help her, to show her our love, to give back just a small portion of what she and Dad gave to us through the years. The task of moving her seems insurmountable, not because she is difficult to move, but because moving her means moving a lifetime of memories also. What do we with a house full of memories?

Here at our house we have cleaned out "the room." It needs a carpet, a window shade, and some doors for privacy... Will she be willing to come? Can she navigate the steps to take a shower several times each week? Will we need to put a shower in "the room" instead? What of her belongings do we move in? Will she be happy here? Does she know how much we love her and count this a privilege?

Yes, life is a journey full of twists, turns, and sudden stops . There are bumps and bruises along the way and unexpected detours. Sometimes I feel a little lost in unfamiliar territory but I am not alone. God has given me a Guidebook and fellow travelers to help me along the way. I'm so glad I'm not in this alone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Double Trouble and A Loud Whistling Noise

There was really no trouble, just two small boys looking to have some fun. I think Lucas was pleasantly surprised to find a friend at Grandma's house, though sharing the car might have been pushing it a little...

What Lucas really wanted to do was get that little green piece of grass he picked to whistle like Aunt Hannah. He held it up to his mouth and made a noise that sounded slightly like a baby elephant. His little friend was oblivious to his efforts.

Thankfully, Lucas is too little to realize it wasn't working. He wasn't mad or frustrated in the least. He continued to play the game and make elephant noises. It is quite possible I am the only one who actually noticed his efforts.

Hannah, on the other hand, can make that blade of grass scream!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Bit of Hope

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

My husband's alarm goes off a bit earlier than I choose to rise in the morning. I lay in bed this morning listening to the voice on the other side of the radio. It was David Jeremiah preaching on hope. I have been pondering it all day long.


Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

How do I pass hope on to those around me, those whose lives touch mine? I will be thinking on this for some time to come.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter E

E is for Eddie and Eddie.

These are my mother's parents, the grandparents I never had the chance to know. Her name was Edna and his Edward. They met at Christian Endeavor and were married sometime in the 1920's. She had been an only child, and he one of six. Together they had four children, three little girls and a boy.

I know little about my grandma except that she was a well behaved child who seldom needed discipline. She was not only an only child, but had no first cousins either. She owned a copy of the book "The Poor Little Rich Girl" and Mom often thought it may have personified her mother. When she died at the age of 33, she left behind a well worn and marked Bible.

Grandpa raised his four children with the help of extended family. His own mother moved in to the little house and the children were surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived in the same neighborhood. Grandpa was a practical joker and people watcher. He loved his children and was a strict disciplinarian. Though stories about her momma, who died when Mom was just five, are few, many are the stories she has told about her dad. He loved onion sandwiches, and used to feed me tiny bits of mustard or pickle juice on the tip of a spoon when I was a baby and laugh at the funny faces I made. Grandpa died of a heart attack when I was just 20 months old.

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

Imagine my surprise when I won a Blog of Note award for last week's entry! Thank you everyone!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bargain Hunter

Hannah and I went out to Webster last week. It was just the two of us and Emma, so I asked Hannah where she wanted to go. She suggested Volunteers of America. After looking around and purchasing a nice hardcover "Curious George" book, we moved on to Goodwill and had a look around there. We were almost ready to go when I chanced to glance at the children's book shelf.

Lo and behold, a book caught my eye! Without so much as a second thought, I snatched it up. I almost wish I could have seen the expression on my own face. I'm sure it reflected both disbelief and determination. It is not often one finds a very favorite book on the self of a second hand shop, especially not one highly sought after, out of print, and typically quite expensive. I looked down at the sticker in the bottom corner of the book. Ninety-nine cents!

I realize this book is considered "politically incorrect" by some, but I don't quite know the reason. If culture is to be celebrated, then this book is certainly part of the party! We went through several copies when we were children and, I will admit, it did have to be put on the shelf when my brother turned into Brer Rabbit, but it was one of our favorites to have Dad read at bedtime...

"Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummick, he did, but Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'...

A few years ago I borrowed my sister's copy of Disney's Uncle Remus Stories and read them to my kids, and one day my sweet niece decided it was time to take their book home again. I set out to find my own copy and searched the pages of ebay for a good deal. It took a long time but I finally found a copy and won the auction at a price I could afford. I think I paid around $25 to $30. I checked ebay again today. Yup, they're still going for close to $100!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Corn Cob Dolls

I made a decision. I know some of you are amazed because I really am very indecisive in many instances. Indecisiveness is quite possibly the reason for my lack of enthusiasm and also why I am slow to accomplish any great and wondrous feats. In spite of my shortcoming, I decided that I should attempt to gather my family for dinner once a month. Last night the gang arrived to eat and play together. We had a group of fifteen including my mom and our little ones.

Summer in upstate NY means sweet corn, lots of it. The more corn on the cob we can get our hands on, the better. I have eaten corn on the cob in other locations, but rarely is it the wonderfully sweet treat that we know around here. One ear is never quite enough. Slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt, it is almost good enough to be dessert. Of course we cooked chicken on the grill, enjoyed baked beans, and mashed potatoes as well. After dinner there was ice cream and elderberry pie for those who wanted it. It turned out to be a nice evening.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coloring Books

She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors;
Psalm 45:14

Yesterday, while out running errands, Em and I took a minute to stop in the Dollar Tree and look for some coloring books. We found some she really liked and left the store with several Strawberry Shortcake books and one Sesame Street book. I think she has colored at least a dozen pictures of dancing darlings in pretty dresses in the last two days. She is doing a great job!

I've noticed a new box of crayons and a fresh coloring book have a way of magically transporting me back in time...

I am once again a little girl of eight or nine. My sisters and I have gathered around the dining room table, new coloring books spread before us. We take turns pawing through the old fruitcake tin of crayons in the center of the table, each new color bringing a new breath of life to the black and white drawings. I choose some of my favorite colors; orange-red, green-blue, and orange yellow. (These days they have fancier names like scarlet, teal, and dandelion.) On the best nights Mom and Dad will sit beside us and take a book too, encouraging our efforts by word and example. Mom's pictures are bright and beautiful, while Dad turns simple crayons into paintbrushes.

Hannah and I thumbed through fresh new coloring books. Strawberry Shortcake and her friends smiled at us, each one begging for a bit of color. I had purchased several new boxes of crayons to go along with the books. I never color a picture without thinking of my dad. As I layer the colors, add highlights, and redden the cheeks of smiling children, I see my father doing the same. Even my own children have the tendency to turn their colorings into a painted masterpieces. I think I may be making a return trip for more new crayons and coloring books before I know it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter D

D is for Dads and daughters, both of which I find delightful.

(I can not keep my eyes open with a flash, so you will need to forgive me for the photo. I tried, I really did... )
I am convinced I had one of the best dad's the world ever had to offer. He loved each and every one of us unconditionally and showed it in more ways than I can share here. His music kept us singing, his drawing kept us smiling, and his stories never failed to make us laugh. His love of faith and family is a lasting tribute to the man God made him. I am humbled to be called his daughter and inspired by his example.

I have two beautiful daughters. They were born nearly ten years apart with three brothers in between. Bethany prayed earnestly for a little sister and found herself in tears when her brother Benjamin was born. (She recovered quickly...) I'm sure she first felt God had let her down, but 20 months later a little sister came into our home, and Bethany's heartfelt child-like prayer was answered. Hannah loved to play with dolls as a little girl, attempted almost anything her older brothers tried, and grew faster than any child I have ever known. She is a blessing.

While Hannah completed our family, Bethany came into the world making us a family of five. For many years she was surrounded completely by brothers. No wonder she prayed for a sister! Bethany is competitive in a different way than her sister. She never cared much to play with dolls, but loved to run and play with her brothers, visit with friends, and help around the house. She does well at most anything she puts her heart and mind to and is an inspiration to many. She loves people and serving others, and does it with a smile. I think maybe she is a bit like her grandpa that way.

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

Monday, August 09, 2010

Time Heals All Wounds?

My burn is healing. Ugly and wrinkled as it is, it is looking better each day and I fear breaking the blister less and less. I even slept without worrying last night. I've been putting Bacitracin on the open wound and leaving the blister to the air. So far it appears to be working. Why the rest of my hand is looking so scaly is another good question. Guess I need to drink several gallons of water. I look dehydrated.

They say time heals all wounds and in some ways the statement is very true, but wounds often either leave scars or impressions that are with us for a lifetime. In another few weeks my father's cancer diagnosis will be a year old. This has left a wound that continues to weep. It is nothing I fret over continuously and I have no regrets, I only miss my dad. His passing has left a hole that, plain and simple, can not be filled by any other human being. There is much that he left behind and yet much has been lost with his passing. As a family we continue to work through decisions without Dad's counsel and input. There are so many things I want to ask him, so many things we neglected to discuss not realizing our time was to be cut short.

Dave and Leta will soon begin the search for new living quarters, and this will leave us to decide again what is best for Mom. Everyone seems to have a slightly different perspective on the question leaving us at times in a quandary. Or maybe it is just me that feels this way...

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Show Goes On!

Last night I went to a show. I was invited because I am "The Grandma". Ben and Hannah went with me because they are the uncle and aunt. There was singing and dancing, there was wiggling and waiting. There was one small participant who I couldn't keep my eyes off. The leader of the show called him "Romeo" but he looked very much like Josh to me.

I especially liked the tap dancing. We were told that "Romeo" "did not have a conscience" and that the job of the young lady to his left was to provide him with one. (Aren't those tap shoes special? I think "Romeo's" Uncle Ben was just slightly jealous. He's wanted to try tap dancing ever since being introduced to Shirley Temple years ago...)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Not For the Squeamish

I slept with my hand in a bucket of cold water last night. By the time 2 am. rolled around, I was finally able to take it out of the water and sleep without any searing pain. The part where the skin peeled is just a first degree burn and, although it is weepy, it doesn't hurt much. All that ice water last night was really good for it, I guess. There will be no kisses from Momma on this boo boo! I put some burn ointment on earlier today and again this afternoon, but have since heard that burns heal faster if you can just let the air do its job. I have not been to the doctor and don't plan to go unless it starts looking infected. Looks like I won't be washing dishes for quite some time.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

my right hand man

i cooked supper. i made rice. i got a nasty steam burn on my right hand when i opened the lid and attempted to turn the burner off at the same time.... my hand is soaking in cold water. i have taken ibuprofen, i have gauze and antibiotic ointment on hand. well, not literally on my hand but available. i think i may be taking a forced vacation. good thing i have a family to help me.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter C

C is for Cousin Camp.

I grew up with several cousins near to my age and we had a lot of fun together, so I like to see my own kids spend time with their cousins. A few times my sisters and I have planned a Cousin Camp for our children. It's really not much more than a sleep over and pool party at Aunt Rachel's house, but it has turned into a rather nice memory. I wonder if we'll have a chance to do it again this year? I hope the kids aren't too big for it yet!

My mom grew up with her cousins and they played together almost every day. (That's Mom with her tongue hanging out and her sister has a matching dress.)

My father had forty-six first cousins scattered mostly across New York State. Many of them lived on farms and they had huge family gatherings at Uncle Leo's house in Angelica, NY. (Dad's the little guy with his hands on his knees and his brother is standing.)

Cousins, they're like friends that last a lifetime.

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

Vacation Bible School

I survived my second day of Vacation Bible School. Josh stayed overnight so he could go along for a second day and Emma is still trying to decide whether or not she likes this "new school." She is often unsure about new songs and games. If she isn't familiar with something, it makes her uncomfortable. She likes to be the one who knows.

My job at VBS is to help keep track of the Juniors. These are the kids entering grades 5-7 and today we had thirty-one of them. (Just a small group...) They have been well behaved so far. I follow along from place to place and keep a watchful eye. I count students when we get back to make sure no one is missing, and after the Bible story, it is my job to share the plan of salvation. God has been good and so far I have not been totally blank or tongue tied. I'm pretty sure that could happen any day now...

Oh yeah! I went out shopping again tonight and stopped back in Goodwill. I found a couple more denim dresses. They're in my washing machine right now.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Traveling Along

I gave a bag of dresses away not long ago. I never wore them and thought it would be nice to pass them along to someone who might put them to good use. This week I dug deep into my closet and found my favorite denim dress, the one I wore to the beach in Florida a few years back. If ever I loved a dress, this was the one, and that is why it remained in my closet when the others moved on. It was the perfect dress for VBS this morning and felt like I had taken an old friend along.

This evening I took my "old friend" to the nursing home. I was surprised by the attention the dear thing gained. The ladies all told me how lovely I looked and what a pretty dress I was wearing. Some of them reached out to touch the soft denim when I stopped to say hello. It made me smile and wonder why I had left this "old friend" to hang alone in my closet for so many years.

Now, I wonder what I will wear to VBS tomorrow...