Friday, May 31, 2013

Tidbits and Bidtits (Is that a bad word?)

I am ready for a quiet, relaxed weekend. Thunderstorms are in the forecast for the entire weekend. I'm not sure how much outdoor activity I will enjoy while Mom is gone to Rachel's house, but I intend to make the best of it. I have an umbrella (somewhere) and some waterproof shoes. I won't be out traipsing about in any electrical storms, but if there happens to be a good "walking-in rain", I will be ready. And, I'll be ready if I have to make any mad dashes from the car to the grocery store too.

It was a hot few days. We didn't do a ton of playing out int he hot, humid sunshine, but spent an hour or so outside after the school bus returned in the afternoon. Yesterday we ate ice cream sandwiches and blew bubbles. The previous post shows how The Littlest One reacted to the floating wonders. I'm not sure if she was afraid of one landing on her head or popping in her face. Either way, she warmed up to the idea eventually and found the bubbles fun.

Today Rocky made soup in one of our ride on toys. She had a nice stick for stirring her stew of grass, leaves, and maple helicopters sprinkled with a generous portion of dirt. I couldn't wash her face without taking a picture or two first. She looks cute in dirt, I think. When her daddy came she was still sporting fresh earth and he said it looked like bath night. Hannah got to do the honors since she was babysitting for the evening.

Tomorrow is June, and though it's not official, I'm counting it as the beginning of summer. It sure feels like it!

Scary Bubbles

Sometimes, my perspective becomes skewed and things look worse than they really are. Closing my eyes, pulling my head down, and curling up into a ball won't make anything go away, and maybe, just maybe, that scary thing could be fun if I'd only open my eyes and enjoy it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thoughts on Caregiving...

- Caregivers aren't perfect. We fail on a regular and daily basis.
- It is fairly easy to be patient for several hours, or even a few day, but even the saintliest of caregivers have bad days.
- Caregivers already know when we've failed. We don't need you or anyone else to call on the phone or send a note  "laying us out in lavender."
- Primary caregivers don't go home and leave the care to someone else (like a nursing home). We are responsible 24/7.
- We live with constant guilt; guilt at needing time off, guilt at words misspoken, guilt at eyes rolled, and guilt at not always providing care with a smile and a bright attitude.
- Caregivers often hold the title of Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy as well as Caregiver.
- Caregivers are required to learn a myriad of new skills. We have to deal with things like eyeglasses, hearing aides, false teeth, blood sugar tests, dietary restrictions, medications, oxygen machines, wheelchairs and walkers, monthly blood draws, and toileting or bathing issues.
- Caregivers get frazzled. It's a mind thing. The mind is never at rest when someone is either home alone, needing a meal, or sitting alone in their room doing word search puzzles for hour on end.
-Caregivers need to vent, especially when dealing with dementia and memory issues. We deeply love those we care for, but are often left trying to figure out just who this stranger that used to be Mom is. It is difficult to wrap our minds around the confusion, forgetfulness, and repeated questions. We're trying to be patient, but it's just plain hard.
- It's nice to have people stop, acknowledge, and say hello to our loved ones when we are out (like to church), but please remember that caregivers also need a hello and word of encouragement. It can make our day a whole lot brighter if you also smile at us, give a hug, or ask, "How are you doing?"
- Caregivers often feel as though they have no choice but to be the caregiver. We have been dealt this hand and must now play it out.
- Caregivers need time off, but we will most likely not want to ask for your help, unless we are desperate. If we get to the point of saying "I need...", it's because we do. Please don't make us feel more guilty for admitting to it, and please don't feel bad for our loved one if we choose respite for a week or two. They'll be okay.
- Perhaps one of the hardest things for a caregiver, is the guilt of looking toward the day when the job is done.It's a horrible feeling.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

T is for Thursday Thirteen

T is for Thursday Thirteen, and so I am linking my ABC Wednesday to it.

My Darling and I went out for a ride on Sunday afternoon. I had my camera along and was on the lookout for something that started with the letter T. I saw three tractors sitting in a row, each one a different model and a different color, but we drove by too fast for a photo. I saw trucks, big trucks, and trailers. Behind one house was a tower of tires. We crossed the railroad tracks and spotted a train. In Canandaigua, we stopped for a taco.

We traveled south to Keuka Lake where we trekked up a creek which was nothing more than a trickle. By the time we reached the falls I discovered a desperate need for a toilet.  In my hurry to reach the bottom again, I got my toes in the water. (It felt kind of nice.)

The only photo I have for T is the trickle through the trees. Did I tell you it said "No Trespassing"?

For more ABC Wednesday posts, click here.
For Thursday Thirteen, click here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Pretty Cool Waterfall

It did not feel like a holiday weekend. I didn't go to any Memorial Day parades, and we didn't have or go to any picnics. Instead we stayed home Monday, did normal everyday things, and planted some more of our garden. In the evening I cooked Italian sausage on the grill. It felt like something was missing. I think it was my kids.

Sunday afternoon after church James and I went out for a ride. Since north is not an option (due to one very large lake), we drove south, toward some different lakes, and ended up down by the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in last June on our getaway.

Adjacent to the B&B is a creek that runs down through a glen to Keuka Lake. Somewhere up there is a waterfall. We didn't hike back far enough to see it last year and therefore decided to make a second attempt. Since the creek wasn't flowing very fast, we were able to walk the creekbed without much difficulty. Much of the rock surrounding the creek is shale. Sometimes big sheets of it make up the bed of the creek, the edges often rounded smooth by raging water, which on our visit was more of a trickle.

It was a perfect day for hiking, not too hot and not too cold. In places the rocks were covered with a slippery, mossy seaweed. I nearly went on my butt more than once, but thankfully got nothing more than a wet foot. Actually, I got two wet feet and an "almost" wet pair of pants. The feet were wet with creek water, but the pants? Well, let's just say I drank a little too much coffee on the ride down. I made it up the creek alright, but on the way back my steps were a bit more... bouncy. (I should have named this post "Up the Creek Without a Piddle"...) I was not brave enough to hide behind a rock or tree and therefore toughed it out on the way down. I was more than "relieved" to find a public restroom at a local winery when we drove up into the hills.

James was ahead of me for most of the trek. It's not because I couldn't keep up, but more because I was carrying my camera and had to document our hike... or at least his. That's him up ahead hoping to see the waterfall around the next corner. We were told last year by the B&B owner's son that we'd stopped our walk just shy of the falls, so this year we pressed on until the end.

Finally, around another bend in the creek, we found it. The water was just a trickle coming down the rocks. We were able to climb halfway up, about to the flat spot, but the rocks being slippery and us being no longer so nimble, we decided to head back down rather than risk life and limb, as well as bladder control. I never could have held it together had I slid and bounced down to the base. Of course, then no one would have been the wiser since I would have been totally drenched, not to mention bruised from head to toe.

Check this picture of the waterfall when the creek is actually flowing. Wouldn't you know it! There's a second waterfall up above the first one. Look at this!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Little Bits and Pieces (or More on Memorial Day)

Because it's still Memorial Day, and because this was shared with me, I am sharing too. What a treasure this post card must have been to Aunt Hattie. It was given to her by her son George prior to him shipping out to France to serve in WW 1. He was killed in France that same year.

This is what I think about the Flag and it is one of the principle reasons I am ready to fight today. Have no fear but what we do for God is with us forever.


Momentos. Little bits and pieces of our lives that "live" on after we are gone that bring us back and make us matter once again. Now I have a tangible Memorial Day connection through my grandma's cousin George.

Thank you to Ondra's dad, Fred, for sharing this with me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day weekend, a day to remember those men and women who paid the ultimate price while serving our country. Memorial Day is often confused with Veteran's Day, which is meant to honor all who serve and have served, whether they died or lived to return home again. I will admit I have often melded the two days of remembrance into one, neglecting to specifically remember the fallen. Perhaps that is because my personal circle is too small. I know many who have served, but none who died while serving our country.

Packed away in an old box in the corner of my closet is a stack of old photographs. Some are curled and faded from the years. In one box is a photograph of an old woman sitting by a white marble cross in a graveyard full of marble crosses. I recognize her face from another photo and know her to be my father's Great Aunt Hattie. Other than the fact that she was my great grandfather's older sister, I knew little of this woman. Her photos led me to believe she was a rather unhappy individual. I'd never seen a photo of her smiling, only the sad cemetery photo and two others of her squinting into the sun while standing by her brother. (He wasn't smiling either, but I knew him to be happy. I have other pictures of him.)

A month or so ago, I learned the story behind the cemetery full of crosses and the sad woman seated amongst them. Aunt Hattie Shafer Willis was a Gold Star Mother of World War I. Her son, Sergeant  George M. Willis, was killed in action during a battle in farway France.

During the first World War, a flag with a gold star identified families who had lost soldiers. Grieving women were “Gold Star” mothers and widows. Between 1930 and 1933, the United States government took 6,654 Gold Star pilgrims to visit their sons’ and husbands’ graves in American cemeteries in Belgium, England, and France...
In the 1930s, when mothers had heroic stature in the eyes of the nation, the government took thousands of them on trips across the ocean to visit cemeteries in Europe. (

I was blessed to find a smiling photo of Aunt Hattie on her own memorial web page. I see a familiarity in her face now, a little bit of my own grandma looking back at me, and maybe a little bit of my dad who looked so much like Hattie's father, Garrett Shafer. I have a renewed respect and understanding for this woman. This Memorial Day I take my hat off to all the moms and dads out there who have watched their sons and daughters march off to war, never knowing if and when they will return.

Thank you, Aunt Hattie, for being one of those Gold Star Mothers. And thank you, Uncle George, for giving your life to preserve our freedom.

(And thank you, Ondra and Lisa, for sharing your great grandma's story with me.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Left Speechless

Sometimes I am left speechless... almost. When I feel at a loss for words, sometimes I am able to write instead. Here I am trying it out.

My oldest son called from Minnesota this evening. We made small talk for a minute and then he asked to talk to his grandma. He said he realized he hadn't talked to her since the wedding, and thought it would be a good idea to call her. I turned the phone to speaker (so she can hear) and told her it was Jimmy.

"Jimmy..." she repeated as though she was confused.

Jim said hello on the other end while his grandma continued to search her memory banks for who was on the other end of the phone. "It's your grandson, " he said.

"My grandson... " she answered, still unsure. "Who are your parents?" she asked him.

My heart sank, but the voice on the other end of the line remained steady. I wondered what he was thinking as he struggled to hold a conversation with the woman he shared a home with from the time he graduated from college in 2004 until he moved to Minnesota five and half years ago. She finally got it, and then went to extremes to let him know she understood who he was and how much she loves him. And then, she rather abruptly ended the conversation by saying she didn't want to run up his phone bill. He said it was okay, but she was intent on saying goodbye, told him it was nice talking, and ended the call.

I am left reeling once again.

On a bright note, my Aunt Margie came to visit today. Mom, so far, always knows who she is and is always glad for the visit.

PS. Don't miss my original post for today. It's about my grandchildren who came to visit for a few hours.

Puddle of Mush

There couldn't be anything sweeter than a granddaughter. She can melt my heart faster than any of the boys and that just doesn't seem fair, but I can't help it. There is just something about that little face. Maybe she looks too much like my own dear Hannah, or my sisters, or even me. I'm not really sure, but I do think she's adorable.

It isn't that I don't like little boys. I had five of my own and they were all just as adorable as my grandsons. They're full of spunk and mischief, and say plenty of silly things. Today Lucas wanted a "Girl Cheese Sandwich", and Simon thought we should wave at the "Martin Band" as he walked by waving a flag. Little Aubrey has but to look at me... *sigh*

It was a busy, busy afternoon. My Darling took his first daughter in law out to lunch and Hannah and I played with the kids. For the first time in months and months we had a houseful. Five at once! It was loud and chaotic but I scarcely noticed. You should see the "jewels" scattered across my living room!

* toys

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

S is for Suppose

S is for suppose. (I am supposed to write something before today is over and I'm having a tough time coming up with something... S is for something...)

We had a day of sunshine and showers. It was hot and humid and we spent most of the day inside. I didn't get much cleaning done, and I didn't bake anything. I did do some laundry, wash some dishes, and get a decent dinner on the table. That's something... I suppose. :)

For more ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No Two Days Alike

Today was very different from yesterday, with the exception of still feeling totally tired. I am afraid to watch television for fear I will be "out like a light" in five minutes. I don't want to fall asleep on the couch, but neither do I wish to climb into my bed, sleep for an hour, and then stay awake for the rest of the night. So, I am waiting it out with toothpicks holding my eyelids open. It's almost 8 o'clock. If I can make until 9:30 pm, I will be happy to brush my teeth and slide myself under the covers. Maybe tomorrow will find me feeling more alert. Then again, maybe I won't be fully charged again until my allergies calm down.

Tomorrow will be a clean-the-house-because-it's-been-neglected-far-too-long kind of day. We'll have two little ones to keep and eye on, and we're expecting some rain and thunderstorms, so it might be a good day to stay inside and play catch up with housework. Maybe I'll even bake something. You never know, it could happen. And maybe I'll find the time to take an afternoon nap when the little girls settle down for an hour or so.

The yard, aside from the far east and far west sides, is looking pretty good. By the time it stops raining in a few days, we'll be ready to start mowing all over again. Maybe if we could get all of our lawn mowers going at once, along with a weed whacker, we could actually get it all done at once. Didn't I tell you I like to dream? :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rolling in the Grass

There is a reason I did not add "Mow the whole yard in one day" to my list of fancy schmancy summertime things to do. In spite of that little fact, I made a valiant attempt to cut as much grass today as humanly possible. My efforts were thwarted several times, once by a ride on mower that first ran out of gas, and then, after I'd dumped all the remaining gasoline in the little red gas can into its tank, the crazy machine decided not to run at all. I went to the barn and picked out a walk behind mower instead, pulled the string, and started off.

The thing about springtime grass is that it grows at an alarming rate. With three and a half acres of grass to our names, you might say that it often "gets away from us". We could probably run all of our mowers nonstop and just about keep up with the growth. Anyhow, it was still early in the day and I was feeling motivated, so back and forth I went across a small section of lawn with my whirring machine. Then, wouldn't you know it? My push mower ran out of gas too, and off I went to the gas station.

I started the day collecting large amounts of grass in the handy-dandy bag that hangs on the back of the push mower, emptying it into a large wheelbarrow every two or three minutes (literally). On my way to dump the first of my clippings behind the barn, I discovered one of my two wheelbarrow tires was flat. Who made that law that says, "If anything can go wrong, it will" anyway? Good thing this wheelbarrow has two tires.

Did I tell you we have a BIG yard? Well, thankfully I had someone who also decided to pull a walk behind mower out of the barn and help me out a bit. Together James and I managed to mow a large portion of this "sprawling estate" and I am happy to report it is looking much tamer, though not thoroughly domesticated. I am totally exhausted. Is it bedtime yet?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Gardener

We've been working on our garden. With Hannah's help, we built raised beds and the plants are finally finding their way into the soil. Tonight James and I set out pepper plants, a whole bunch of them. We like peppers. I called him Mr. McGregor, but I think perhaps "Peter Piper" might be more fitting even if we don't plan on pickling any peppers.

Our garden is over-sized this year, not just the two "square-foot" gardens that have kept me happy the past few years. Gardening always brings back memories of Dad and his weedless backyard garden. After working a long day, he would come home and "unwind" by working in the garden where his little girls helped him plant seeds and set vegetable plants, and eventually collect the harvest.

I fear I'm not quite the gardener that my father was, and I'm probably not the gardener that my husband can be either. James has much gentler hands when it comes to tender plants. I am anxious to see what kind of garden this will turn out to be, and envision many summer evenings spent there. I think we're going to have some mighty fine meals in a couple of months.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adding to My List

I did not put "Attend a concert" on my summer list. None the less, that is our plan for this evening. My Darling called this morning and said, "How would you like to go to a concert tonight?" and so I got online and bought the tickets. We're going to hear Mark Schultz.

I also added two more ideas, "Ride a rollercoaster" and "Take a pottery class". I no longer have my entire life ahead of me (I can tell because I just looked over my shoulder...), so I figure I'd better get some of this done now lest it turn into an actual Bucket List. I did a bit of looking around online and found that pottery classes can be pretty pricey... Better make that one a matter of prayer. At least wine tasting is typically free. And maybe, just maybe, I'd like to eat some watermelon... and some strawberries... and some peaches...

PS. It would be really cool to take another ride on that ship in my header photo... *sigh*

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Plans

My son says my list of summer plans shouldn't be called a "Bucket List". I guess that's because a true bucket list, when complete, gives you permission to die, and that is not part of my plan, at least not yet. Perhaps one of you has a fancy shmancy name for the kind of list I'm making, something more fun than "check list".

So anyway, here is my preliminary list of "Things to Do This Summer". We'll make it thirteen things cause it's more cool that way, and besides, that make this post a Thursday Thirteen and you can play the game too. :)

Things to Do This Summer

1. Go to a ball game
2. Hit the beach
3. Camp out over night
4. Go fishing
5. Take a boat ride
6. Visit a waterfall
7.  Have a picnic
8. Go horseback riding
9. Meet a friend for breakfast
10. Buy an ice cream cone
11. Go for a bike ride
12. Play miniature golf
13. Take a hike or two... or three

Some of my ideas are simple, some sound more simple than they really are, and some are simple but haven't happened in years, like the boat ride and ball game. Others might have already happened, but I plan on doing again, like buying an ice cream cone. Anyone want to come along?

R is for Arrrr!

R is for Arrr! That's pirate talk.

I really don't have much to say about pirates, I'm pretty sure they're nasty, smelly creatures, and I've heard they're downright mean! But playing pirates? Well, that sounds like a fun thing to do! I'm fixing to cook up a nice pirate party for my grandkids this summer, a party complete with a Jolly Roger and plenty of stolen loot too! I can hardly wait to watch them walk the plank!!!

PS. These are my adorable pirate nephews a few years ago. Dont'cha just love those beards? Arrrr!

For more ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dork Day

Have you ever had one those days when no matter who you are with or what you do, you end up feeling like a dork? That was me today. Thankfully, I spent the morning and early part of the afternoon with two of my favorite ladies, my own daughters, who hopefully love me in spite of the fact that I am often a dork.

Today really wasn't all that much different than any other day. I wore my regular clothes and did my hair in the regular way. I said and did "normal" things, nothing wildly out of the ordinary, except that I wore my invisible "Dork Hat", the one that makes me afraid I've said or done something really... dorky. The Dork Hat drops onto my head on those days when I am especially tired and a bit out of sorts, sometimes hormonal, but I don't think that was today's problem... unless they're residual hormones...

Whatever the problem was, I knocked that hat right off my head as soon as I felt it drop. (Hannah and I had gone to Bethany's house late this morning with a mission to make chocolate pie for the dear girl who cut my hair last month. The pie making was a success and I miraculously found Amanda home when I stopped to make the delivery. I caught her by surprise, a good surprise.) So anyway, when that hat dropped onto my head, Hannah and I were on the way home. I was feeling overly drowsy (she was driving) and decided to take a nap as soon as I got home. It's usually a good cure for feeling dorky.

Help in the Battle

Mother's Day is behind us for another year... or is that Mother's Day is a year ahead? Either way it won't be back until next year and in between now and then is another whole year to love, cherish, and encourage the mothers in our lives, whether they be our own or the mom of someone else. We moms know that we could all use a bit of encouragement now and then, and I don't know where I would be in this journey of motherhood without my fellow moms who love and encourage me. Just last week I had a friend say that God has a hold on a particular child of mine, and He isn't letting go. It was just what I needed to hear at that particular moment because, even though deep inside moms never give up, I was feeling discouraged and defeated.

There is a Bible story where during a certain battle, as long as Moses kept his arms raised, Joshua and  the children of Israel prevailed, but when he lowered them, the enemy prevailed. I don't know if you have ever tried to keep your arms raised for an extended period of time (we did it in Sunday school once), but it isn't long before your arms and shoulders ache. Thankfully, Moses was provided a support system. But Moses' hands [became] heavy; so they took a stone and put [it] under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Exodus 17:12-13

Moms are a lot like Moses (and Joshua). We need help from our friends; friends who will support our arms when we become weary in the battle. Rather than gawk at those who are struggling, we would do good to lend words of encouragement, acts of love, and a whole lot of prayer. We can't fight the battle alone. We need each other for support.

PS. I stole a picture from my beautiful daughter. :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Birthday Party

Yesterday my Aunt Margie celebrated her 80th birthday. My cousins couldn't let the occasion slip by without a party, and so today we gathered with friends and family for a celebration. It was a very nice party. I took advantage of the occasion to get a picture of my mom with both her brother and her sister.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Margie!

Mother's Day

I've decided Mother's Day is not one of my favorite holidays. Once upon a time it was, but it isn't anymore. I could do without Mother's Day. It only leaves me feeling incomplete, confused, and missing my mom.

In spite of my "bad attitude" con- cerning this holiday set aside to honor mothers, I am grateful to have had a mother, and I am thankful for all the wonderful childhood memories that go along with being her child; walks through the woods, the reading of stories, the baking of cakes and cookies, and songs sung. I am honored to have been a mother, complete with a house full of wildly screaming children, ruckus laughter, and revolting midnight messes.

I miss the family gatherings we enjoyed just a few years back. I hate that my children can't get along and simply love and accept each other for who they are in spite of the differences between them. I long to have them all in one photograph again, making silly faces and acting all goofy. I pray that one day we can come together as a family and be a family once again. Until then Mother's Day will always bring a pang of sadness to this momma's heart.

PS. Although it looks from these two pictures as though they were all little at once, Josiah was likely either just born or not quite here yet when the top photo was taken. Jim, my oldest, was nearly 14 when Hannah was born.)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Sunshine and Rain (or the lack of it)

Dark clouds filled the western sky this morning. I secretly resigned myself to rain and breathed a sigh of relief. I could stay inside with no regrets, no small child begging to play outside, no wondering what to do with the baby who came to stay for the day, but somehow, though the sky threatened repeatedly, the rain never came. I stayed inside anyway and baked a loaf of gluten free sandwich bread and made a wedding card, a very late one, for my son and his new bride, and I took a nap while my two little ones slept.

Tuesday afternoon Rocky and I took a short walk back into the orchard. She was carrying a handful of drooping dandelions and insisted that I hold her wrist as we walked so that I wouldn't "run away and get lost". I held her "hand" for most of our walk but eventually decided to cut the string. I didn't run off and neither did she, and we managed to make it back home without any major incidents.

Although the rain never arrived, a cool mist did roll in off the lake this afternoon, shrouding the orchard in a thick fog. It really is a pretty sight on an otherwise crisp and sunny afternoon. It was one of those afternoons where the lake, which on other sunny days appears sapphire on the horizon, disappears altogether. (The pictures are from earlier this week.)

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

This Side of the Grass

I took Mom to see Dr. Lerner again today. He gave her an updated eyeglass prescription and told her he wanted to see her again in six months. Then he said he would want to see her again a year after that if he was "still on this side of the grass". I couldn't help but laugh because I'd never heard it put that way before. "Every two days, every two weeks, every two months..." he said. Every day is a gift, especially when a 94th birthday is just around the corner.
"How's Martha?" he asked my mother, his back toward me.

"I'm good," I answered, and he turned around.

"I remember you from when you were a little girl," he said.

I knew he remembered, and he knew I knew. He was the one who did my eye surgery so many years ago when I was so small, probably just three or four years old. I'd seen him in my early twenties when my eyes were driving me batty. He had been at the memorial service for my grandfather in 1999, and again made an appearance when my father died ten years later in 2009. Back then I blogged, "I saw him right away when he entered the church cafe and went to greet him. He held my hand, spoke kind words and lingered long. I felt the tenderness in his touch. Known for being harsh and gruff, there was no sign of anything but gentleness and sympathy."

Today he gave me a hug and kissed my cheek as I hugged him back. There is a good possibility I may never see him again, and it almost felt like a final goodbye. It almost makes me sad, but then again, he doesn't appear to be headed off the scene anytime soon. Last night I came upon a quote, "I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair." - Alfred Lord Tennyson. I think this fits my friend Dr. Lerner quite well, and I hope when we return to his office next fall that he will still be "on this side of the grass".

PS. How do you like my bucketful of deadheaded daffodils?

Q is for Quiver

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So [are] the children of one's youth. Happy [is] the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:4-5

Q is for quiver. A quiver is a container for arrows, bolts, or darts (or to shake or move with a slight trembling motion).

My husband and I had what you might call "a quiverful" of children, just seven (see my blog address...) We both endured and enjoyed many years of little people running, screaming, laughing, terrorizing, and making our house and lives full of action and activity. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there were days I honestly wanted to put them all in the deep freeze so I could get a few days rest. (I guess you could say I quivered at my quiverful...)

I've heard it said that different folks have quivers of different sizes. That makes sense to me. I have friends with far more children than us, and obviously, have plenty of friends with far fewer. I even have friends who have no children of their own, yet make a profound impact on the children of others. I think it must take a pretty special person to invest so much time solely in the lives of other people's children and to love them as though they were their own.

For more ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The To Do List

Tonight when I crawl into bed, I can be thankful for the gift of today's "to do" list. I made cookies and packed them into a box headed for Chicago. I wrote thank you notes and mailed them. I did laundry and actually put clothes away, and I filled a bag destined for Goodwill. (It's in my van.) We had dinner on time, and after supper went out back and worked on our vegetable garden together.

It was another gorgeous day and when I headed up to the post office, I took my camera along. A week of warm weather brings about abundant change. The orchards, cherry and apple, are coming to life. The blossoms don't last long so we must drink in the scene while it lasts.

My animals have been loving springtime too. I think my cats even like flowers, especially Oreo.

For those who might wonder, it was a better day. :)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

On Coming Home

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Coming home from vacation has been tough for me. The lifting of emotional and mental stresses was so profound, that working back into the groove of "normal" life has proven to be a challenge. You just might say I've been a little bit on the cranky side. (Okay, I've been a lot on the cranky side... ) Quite honestly, I could have stayed away for weeks and been perfectly content. This is me being honest. I'm having a hard time with this season of life and I often find myself feeling panicky.

They say one day it will will be worth it all, but it's hard to see that day from here. Instead I live with unspoken thoughts, fears, and feelings, and find myself searching desperately for an escape hatch that doesn't exist.

What I really need to do is pick up my 1000 Gifts Journal again. I need to list all those seeming insignificant blessings that God sprinkles into each and every day of my life; cherry trees in bloom, sunlight on barn boards, and green chile powder. I need a tangible record of God's hand in my life; faces on tree trunks, a yard full of tulips, a Minnesota wedding, and meeting my friend Kristina.

If I am honest, I am more than blessed. I have every reason in the world to be grateful, and should be ashamed that I am often not.This is a God-given struggle I face. He knows what is best for me and through all of the difficulty, He is still there (another reason to be thankful). He knows what I need, and He will provide a time of escape.

Another blessing? The lesson of my favorite tulip. If God cares so much for flowers, He must love me too. The tulip I feared might never recover is beautiful again! Perhaps there is hope for me too. :)

PS. Click on that tree photo and check out his face.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Minnesota (Part Four)

Just for fun, some random pictures...