Monday, March 31, 2014

The Very Sleepy Day

It was almost noon when I curled up on the couch, Oreo on the back of the cushion behind me. Not wanting to get up for a blanker, I dropped on of the decorative pillows atop my legs and closed my eyes. forty-five minutes later my sleep was disturbed by a ringing phone. (Isn't that always the way?) I didn't recognize the area code and decided not to answer, and whoever was on the other end opted not to leave a message.

This afternoon, Rachel and I headed out to visit our brother Tim. He was in good spirits this week. He didn't cry and didn't hit himself. He enjoyed his Frosty without having to worry about it being turned into a shake of another flavor. I enjoyed the ride and company while attempting to stay awake in the back seat, warmed by the sunshine and still feeling sleepy.

While we were out, Rachel gave me a few minutes to run into the credit union where I do my banking. I made a deposit into my account and then had a question for the teller. My mom's health insurance company issued a refund check for her last month's payment but it is written to "The Estate of..." Of course, since there has been no reason for Mom's will to go into probate, there is no account set up for her "estate". Tomorrow I shall make a second attempt, will in hand with my name as executor, and see if I can do it then. If not, I will need to send it back to the insurance company with a request that it be written to me. Silly little things that make life more complicated than necessary. I can't wait until all of this is settled and done.

By the way, a nice little cup of "mostly decaf" coffee on my return home, has done a very nice job of getting me through the evening with my eyes open.


My sister will be coming to take me out this afternoon. We are going to visit our brother again and take him out for a ride.

Yesterday's snow was sparkling like diamonds in the sunlight this morning. We are all looking for flowers by the end of March, not a snowstorm, but I still have to admit, there is something beautiful about sparkling snow. (Click on the photo and you will see what I mean.)

I am feeling utter fatigue this morning. Although the sun is bright and it's not yet noon, I think I shall curl up on the couch for a minute or two and see if I can catch a few winks of sleep. Perhaps after a nap I will be feeling better able to function.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

"You're breaking my heart." It was "somewhat" cute the first time, but manipulative just the same, and then her brother decided to try it out too. Children sure do have a vast array of tactics to play on the heartstrings of the adults in their lives. Just try to discipline a rambunctious youngster and he or she is sure to come up with a creative attempt to coerce you otherwise. Tearful pleas, negotiating, and angry threats. I've heard them all.

I learned much in the raising of my own children. I made plenty of mistakes, some of them out of sheer frustration, others out of complete exhaustion. I've found a simple "time out" chair to be quite effective (it doesn't leave welts...) as well as said child being left to cry it out, if my nerves (and those of others present) can handle it. One small child told me not so long ago, "I'll cry." I was unmoved and so he said, "I'll cry and get mad." I assured him the tactic would be ineffective and he didn't bother to try either one.

Disciplining children in crisis is hard. They are tired, they are frustrated and angry, and they are hurting emotionally. On top of that, they are little and naturally naughty. Consistency is of utmost importance and yet so hard to implement. I'm still searching for what works, especially for one soon to be four year old with a desperately hurting heart and bad attitude.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Down By the Bay

It was dark and dreary. Rain threatened. I grabbed several pairs of small mittens, a few extra hats, and my camera. We packed four small children into the van and headed toward Webster. One quick stop at Target on the way, to buy Cheerios for hungry birds and a bottle of Ibuprofen for My Darling. I left Hannah in the van with the kids and the radio. All was well.

While I traversed the aisles of Target my car battery was draining. I had turned the engine off and left not only the radio playing, but the lights on. Good thing for that cheap cell phone. I put in a call to Bethany who was out running errands with my favorite son in law and not far away. God worked out the details once again. I had pulled straight through the parking space and had the nose of my van facing the outer aisle, my daughter and her husband had a pair of jumper cables with them, and I had just bought snacks. I was blessed to be rescued. (Talk about Not-so-random-acts-of-kindness...)

When we finally arrived down at the bay, we discov- ered a huge pile of bread had been left in the parking lot. It wasn't quite the feeding frenzy I had imagined, but the kids still had fun. They tossed some bread to a few swans, poked at some dead fish, and climbed on rocks.

Even the seagulls were all but absent today. They normally fly overhead, squawk, fight, and multiply in rank as we toss them tidbits. That was not to be this morning. Thankfully, no one appeared bitterly disappointed that the birds weren't hungry.

Hannah and Bethany made a new game instead and tossed handfuls of Cheerios at each other and into the wind while Jakie popped handfuls into his mouth. The wind down by the lake was cold and fierce. Each child donned a hat upon getting out of the van and several small children opted for mittens after running about the beach for a bit. Even Hannah found a winter coat and knit hat necessary.

It was probably ten degrees warmer up at Bethany's house just above the bay, and a lot less windy!

Hey, how about those Cheerios?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Bit of Noise

Today we had a bit of noise... and running... and fighting... and crying. We watched Chip and Dale, who I keep referring to as Tom and Jerry, and we made macaroni and cheese. There were blocks and cars, graham crackers and Smarties, and silly games. In some ways I felt unproductive, especially after yesterday's cleaning episode (no deep cleaning today), but I think we managed to tread water and stay afloat.

The kids are still very pleased with their "fixed up" room and I even let them play up there for a little bit. I think tomorrow we may just venture down to Irondequoit Bay and feed the birds before the outlet bridge comes out for the summer. I've not taken the kids out much, so this will be a trial run. I hope the weather cooperates. The forecast is sending mixed signals. Rain, but warm. I think maybe we'll give it a go, after all, we're waterproof and I have a few umbrellas.

Winter just keeps hanging on, but I did see a few flowers sprouting in the garden just outside my back door. Maybe we will see snowdrops and daffodils this year after all.And, after feeding the birds all winter, I saw a pair of cardinals this morning. How cool is that?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Little Spring Cleaning

I stayed home today. Fancy that!

Nervous energy necessitated a project of some kind, so I took on one of the upstairs bedrooms that had been long neglected. Ben has been moving stuff out of his room for several weeks now. (He has an apartment.) There isn't much left that belongs to him except a few boxes of random stuff. His dresser is gone and his nightstand left Sunday. I figured it was a good time to drag my vacuum cleaner upstairs and help Dave by getting the room in order.

It didn't take too long to toss out some trash and throw a few odds and ends into the laundry basket. I picked up a few stray pieces of trash and vacuumed up a bit of dust. New sheets went onto Ben's old bed on one end of the room for Dave and Dave's old mattress and box springs were freshened up for a couple of small children. We moved the dresser full of kid clothes into the room where some of those boxes used to be and a shelf for Dave's things in the other side. A little nightstand was moved in from out in "Hannah's Place" and the runner rug that Aunt Margie gave me last week fit between the bed and the wall perfectly. I even moved a few toys in to make it more inviting, and when the kids came tonight they cheered. Their daddy smiled. He likes it too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

K is for caKe

K is for caKe, chocolate caKe.

I may be bending the rules this weeK, but you can't have caKe without the K and so this is my picK for this weeK. I had a birthday and thought perhaps I had missed out on chocolate caKe, but my daughter showed up with one at an impromptu birthday party on Sunday afternoon. How did she know chocolate was my favorite caKe?

For more ABC Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday Morning

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 
I Corinthians 13:1-8a

Monday, March 24, 2014

One Hundred Ten

I am a mere ten years away from the age my grandpa was when I made my appearance in this world. I almost arrived on his birthday, which was just two days after mine, but I chose Palm Sunday 1964 instead. We shared thirty-five birthdays before he passed on at the age of 95, and I still miss him, especially when our birthdays come around. It's hard to believe he'd be one hundred ten years old by now. Time goes faster all the time, and now I am sounding like those "old" people I once knew.

Time. It takes away those we love and makes heaven all the sweeter.


Feeling helpless once again. Grown up kids have grown up problems. Those problems make us tired, mostly because we don't know what to do, and turn us to prayer. Different child, different problem, same helpless feeling.

PS. Photo by Susan.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Big 5-0

It's been a wild weekend and in the midst of it all I had a birthday. I have successfully managed my way back to forty. Birthdays are more fun now that I've been counting backward for five years. Not sure how I'll handle it next time, but 39 sounds like a good age to end up.

Saturday morning I got up early and met my sister Priscilla for a pancake breakfast and maple sugaring demonstration at a "nearby" nature center. Hannah went along and we took our little friend Vinnie who stayed with us for the weekend. There is nothing quite so yummy on pancakes than real maple syrup.

Late in the afternoon James took me out to a movie and dinner. We saw "God's Not Dead" and ate a nice little Chinese restaurant. I thought that was it for the birthday celebration, but this afternoon my kids and sisters showed up for a party. The chocolate cake that was missing yesterday miraculously appeared with Bethany making my birthday complete.

This evening we took our small friend back home to his grandma. The house is quiet and the toys are temporarily put away...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Full House

The flower pot was full today. In all nine children passed through my doors today. Three were grandchildren, two were school bus kids, and one came late in the day to spend the weekend. In spite of a puking episode (or two), and the time when Hannah was peed on, it was a pretty good day. There is still something about a houseful of little people that is very satisfying, if not exhausting.

There were toys scattered from one end of the house to the other (the sweet child with the pink shirt is a dumper...) from eight o'clock in the morning until mid-afternoon, but we just stepped over and around them. Play food and dishes, Beanie Babies, Fisher-Price people, and books came out to play.

We fed breakfasts, lunches, and one supper. We didn't bother trying to spell names with crackers today, it was enough to search the cupboards for lunch items. Macaroni and cheese, sliced apples, and peanut butter crackers filled the bill.

A few children took naps today, but not all of them. Hannah, who was supposed to babysit tonight, had her plans changed when one small girl's tummy decided to be uncooperative.  Cleaning up a yucky mess is no one's favorite job, but if I think of it as another "Babysitter Test" it somehow becomes a little more tolerable.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

J is for ....

 J is for ...

I just can't think of anything to write about this week, at least nothing I want to share...

Okay, so now I am really late in posting, but now I have a word and photo for the letter J. We fed the kids Scrabble Cheezits for lunch today. J is for "Joshua" and it would have been for "Jakie" too, except that we couldn't find a second J. We changed Jakie's name to Scotty for lunch and he didn't even mind a bit.
We had six kids and all but one were my grand- children. I think we did pretty good spelling names with crackers even if we did have to stretch the truth a little. (Hannah called Jake "Scotty" before he was born so it was kind of truthful.)

 For more ABC Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mud Pies Baking

Since I have nothing better to post about today, and since my driveway is a muddy mess once again, and since I found this cool idea on Pinterest today, I give you "The Mud Kitchen".

When I was a five year old child, I had a friend who lived two doors away. I had a sandbox in my backyard and he had a mud hole. I have absolutely no memories of playing together in my sandbox, but I do have wonderful memories of stirring that mud hold with a nice long stick and making mud pies. Al and I spend many sunny, summer days baking together. The ingredients were simple; dirt and water. And you know? Our cakes and cookies turned out perfect every time!

So, back to today's discovery! The Mud Kitchen. It's a fancy backyard  mud hole. What I would have given to have one of those in my backyard when I was a kid! And look, you can even put plants underneath. Oh, yeah. I think that's cool.

(You're right, I never did grow up.)

PS. You should google "mud kitchen". There's all kinds!

Monday, March 17, 2014

No Shamrock Shake

This morning I dreamed of Shamrock shakes, but this afternoon I ended up with a small chocolate Frosty instead. (It's okay, I like Frostys too.)

Rachel and I went to visit our brother this afternoon. He seemed a little bit off when we took him out, but since he is nonverbal, it's hard to know what he is really thinking. The day was bright and sunny but cold. We drove down country roads past farms and hills just like we did two weeks ago. We thought about getting a Shamrock shake but while pulling into the McDonald's drive-thru Tim started to get upset. Thinking he might want a Frosty instead, we left McDonald's for the Wendy's directly across the street.

Rachel had her tablet with her and it has a trial version of the program "Tap to Talk". One of the pages is emotion choices. Rachel held it up and told him to pick the one that told how he was feeling. He chose "I am sad." Mom was his best friend and a constant source of love. His cries today were different than the cries of frustration I have heard in the past, and though it can be hard to differentiate emotion in one who is severely autistic, I believe he is grieving her death. Today we cried together.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Out to Lunch

Today we caught up with a friend from years ago. Roger is in town for some training with Xerox. We met him at his hotel this morning and went to church together in Webster. After church we planned to get lunch and spend some time visiting. The trick was finding a place to eat.

It was a little bit after one o'clock when we left the church. We decided to stop at a local Italian restaurant. The door was unlocked, but they were not open for lunch. They were hosting a baby shower. The Japanese restaurant a few door down wasn't open at all. Since Italian was still on our minds, we headed down by the bay and stopped at Basil's. They were serving brunch. The wait for three was about half an hour and they wanted the restaurant cleared out by three o'clock so they could get ready for the dinner hour... We began to wonder if we would find a place to eat at all.

We were looking for a place to eat that didn't have big screen TV's or overpowering music. It wasn't in our plan to fight technology in order to carry on a conversation with a friend we hadn't seen in 25 years, and since we knew Carrabba's to be more friendly to personal interaction, we headed there. We had eaten our appetizers, finished our meals, declined dessert, and had the check in hand when the waitress came over and said, "Wait a minute, I have something for you."

We didn't know quite what to think as we glanced around and wondered what in the world she might have. She returned a few minutes later with a plate of ice cream with a fancy glaze and candied walnuts, and three spoons. "This is from my friend Jared," she said, "He's the server with the spiky hair."

Talk about confused! We were full but didn't want to appear ungrateful to the mysterious Jared. We glanced around to see who this generous stranger might be and soon a spiky haired server showed up at our table. He was smiling. "I always watch to see if I see people I know," he told us, "and then I surprise them." James said his mind was spinning through all the people we knew wondering where to place the spiky haired young man before us, but I recognized him right away. We went to church with his family years ago, and he is the uncle of my little friend, Harper.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Muddy Waters

The weekend is half over already, unless I count Monday. Monday is kind of like a weekend for me.

It was a busy kind of day. I had the grand opportunity to play in the mud with my daughter as she and her friends helped L. with some clean up out on the farm. (I opted to visit the bank and make a deposit instead...) The snow that pummeled us in blizzard form just two days ago has been turned into soft, slushy mud by warmer temperatures, and there is no better place for mud than down on the farm. Good thing for mud boots. We are still hoping against hope that the horses will soon be home. (God does miracles and he's working on one here.)

For those who question my sanity regarding that silly fish of ours, I can assure you he was doing dandy when I took his picture yesterday afternoon. Why he likes to do the back float on occasion I do not know, but I do know he was fine and frisky when fed early this morning. Perhaps he should have gone into theater. He would have done well in "Finding Nemo" and surely would have earned himself a one way ticket to the ocean.

The wind is picking up outside tonight and it feeling cold again. I won't mind having a frozen driveway in the morning. It's a lot cleaner to walk on than today's mud was.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends (or at least making a valiant attempt)

I've made numerous phone calls, cancelled policies and subscriptions, and paid a few bills. There isn't much I haven't at least thought about. And then there are the seeming little things that will take a bit more time and thought if they are ever to be completed.

In a bag on the shelf of Mom's closet is an unfinished piece of handiwork. I had thought, when she moved in three and a half years ago, that maybe I could encourage her to complete the project and teach me to crochet in the process. I quickly discovered that was not to be. Mom's nimble fingers and quick eyes had grown tired. Her concentration had dwindled along with the desire and the afghan in the closet remains in the bag half finished. (It's supposed to look like this when it's done.)

Mom learned to crochet when I was in junior high school. She took a class at a local yarn shop and set the grand goal of making a detailed afghan. She didn't start out simple. No use wasting her time on that! She learned the stitches, counted and inspected her work regularly, and ripped out plenty of rows, and when she was finished she had a piece of work to be proud of.

Thirty years ago Mom gave me an afghan for my birthday. It remains a cherished possession and favorite gift. When my head throbs and my tummy hurts, I always have a tangible reminder of my Mom's love to keep me warm. My sisters have them too and I think Bethany might even have one. At one time she planned to make an afghan for each of her granddaughters, but she got tired before she reached her goal.

The three main panels of the afghan in the closet are finished. All that remains is for the pieces to be stitched together. It's as full of love and adoration as any of the other afghans, it just needs a little bit of love and assistance from someone else n order to be complete. The yarn is there and waiting, patient and still, for a pair of loving hands. I wonder whose they will be?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Little Bits and Pieces

Yesterday was hard. I packed away some bits and pieces... Clothes came off of hangers and went into boxes, I untangled old necklaces and strings of beads, I looked at photographs... Everywhere I look in my house I see my mom. Her room, her chair by the wood stove, a place at the table... By the time I went to bed at night, waves of sadness overtook me and the tears flowed unchecked. I woke up this morning looking like a pumpkin. There were bags under my eyes big enough to put groceries in.

Today I had a house full of small people. Two girls boarded the school bus at 10:15 am (There was a 2 hour delay due to weather conditions...) and another four played loud and long throughout the remainder of the day. I cleaned a green, crud-encrusted fishbowl. I'm not sure if the fish was appreciative, but he should be able to breathe again and the cats will have fresh water when they look for a drink. I bathed a dirty, long haired little dog who definitely didn't appreciate my efforts. She trembled the entire time I washed and combed her hair, however, she feels soft and clean, and has the added benefit of being able to see again since I also trimmed the hair on her head and face. If I wake up looking like a pumpkin again tomorrow, it will be due to dog hair.

PS. Hannah took this photo of Orville a week or so ago. He's a tricky little guy and has this game where he plays dead. He was quite alive, though quite possibly blind, when I cleaned his bowl this afternoon. Whether or not he survived the ordeal shall be established tomorrow, because I don't feel like getting up to check on him right now. My husband insists we should put him out of his misery, but I haven't heard him complain yet.

I is for Indian Village

I is for Indian Village.

It might be politically incorrect today, but that is what we called the little tract of houses where I grew up. There were four streets and they all had local Native American names; Pontiac, Seneca, Iroquois, and Mohawk. When someone asked me where I lived, I said, "In Indian Village," and they knew what I meant.

My parents bought their prefab war home on Mohawk Street in the summer of 1958. The houses were often referred to as "starter homes" because families were expected to eventually move on to something more grand and glorious, but I know of several neighbors who made the little houses their permanent dwellings. My parents were one of them. They stayed in their little house for over 50 years, turning it from a "cardboard box" into a home.

Much has changed over the years. I'm not sure if the little housing tract is still referred to as Indian Village or not. It's official name was the "Wilmorite Tract" but few ever called it that. In my heart, it will always be Indian Village and it will always bring back happy memories.

 For more ABC Wednesday, click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's a Blizzard Out There!

I slept in today for the first time in I can't remember. It was nice. I actually did get out of bed and look out the window at  8am and there was only a dusting of snow. I crawled back into bed and heard the wind start to pick up a little bit, but I closed my eyes and stayed put for another hour or so. When I got up, I found we were actually getting a snowstorm. (This is yesterday afternoon's picture.)

They say we had an official blizzard which means we had winds of at least 35 miles an hour for three hours or more. I didn't bother to go outside, but the news guy said the snow felt like needles hitting his face. Somewhere out there, there must have been significant snow accumulation, but like other times, most of our snow blew away or into drifts. The wind also played games with our wood stove and made the house smell like smoke. Now I am part sausage.

My niece wanted pictures of the blizzard, but it didn't look especially "blizzardy" here. I think a blizzard should have more snow than we had at our house and white out conditions. The snow should get deep and impassible. And, if you should venture out to milk the cow (or something akin to it), you should be sure to tie the end of a rope to the back door so as you can find your way back to the house once the milking is done.

School is on a 2 hour delay tomorrow. Guess I won't be sleeping in two days in a row.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Busy Before the Storm

It was a busy day and busy days are good. I went to Ladies' Prayer and Bible study this morning. It's always encouraging to be surrounded by friends, especially friends who pray for each other.

After Bible study I went to meet my mom's friend, Barb, for lunch. (Never pull your chin in while taking a photo... ick) We walked from her little cottage apartment in the senior center, over to a little cafe where we met her daughter. I have to say, I was blessed and I hope they were too. We shared some memories, some caregiver experiences (her husband has memory issues), and some hugs. At her home she showed me family photos and I met her Christmas kitten who keeps her husband company when she has to step out of the house.

Tonight I went to my dementia caregivers support group meeting. I felt like I needed to go back at least one more time and be with the group who have attempted to encourage and support me through the last two years. A couple of them in particular have become very special to me. It's a group I'm going to miss.

It looks like tomorrow will be a quiet day. School has been cancelled ahead of the impending snow storm. It's hard to believe that we will crawl into bed after a high of 54ºF and wake up to a blizzard. It still about 44ºF now, my driveway is a muddy mess, and the roads are clear and dry.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Sleepy Day

We are expecting a good old fashioned March snowstorm this week. March just wouldn't be March without a last winter punch. This year's late winter snowstorm is scheduled to arrive late Tuesday and on into Wednesday. After that the snow can melt and spring will be on it's way.

To- morrow, after Ladies' Prayer and Bible study, I have a lunch date with one of Mom's old friends. She knew my mom before I was born and my brother used to play with her little ones. They were the children who knocked on the door looking for my brother and when he wasn't home asked my mom if she could play instead.

Tonight I'll be taking that dose of Benadryl again before I go to bed, otherwise my mind just spins and I find myself tossing and turning the night away. Today I picked up some paperwork, paid the funeral home, and made some phone calls to get the process started on closing some accounts. It is pretty much up to me to settle Mom's estate. Maybe when I get some of those things settled my mind will be more at rest.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Gentle Waves

Waves. They have washed over more gently this time than at my father's passing, but I'm finding they can still catch me off guard. This morning at church an old friend of Mom gave me a hug. "I'm sorry I didn't make it to your mother's service," she said, and suddenly the tears welled up and there was a lump in my throat. Lois is the only real friend my mom had at our little church in Williamson. They go back farther than I can remember, back to a time when I was a little girl of three or four riding in the backseat of Lois' car on the way to Ladies' Bible study... Each Sunday for the three years Mom went to church with us, she would look for her friend Lois, a familiar face in a sea of strangers. No wonder the waves washed over me. I should have known they would.

We are doing well for the most part. As our assistant pastor said this morning, "As we grow older we learn to tie a knot in the end of our rope and hold on tight." We've been letting go of Mom a little at a time for the past 13 years. Seven years ago I wrote about saying goodbye never knowing what would lie between that time and today.

Please forgive the repeated Mom posts as I attempt to put my thoughts back in order.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Loud and Quiet

I woke this morning to the sound of children talking at the end of my bed. It is my assump- tion they were more interested in the cat by my feet than their grandmother, but my waking up did mean breakfast and I think they were happy about that too. Cereal choices were limited today, and since I didn't think they would appreciate full size old-fashioned Shredded Wheat biscuits, I gave them each a small bowl of Wegmans Honey Nut Squares. When their daddy got up he made scrambled eggs and cheese and bacon quesadillas.

My sister Priscilla stopped for a visit and a cup of coffee this morning. I drank green tea, but opted for a cup o' Joe late this afternoon. I've done well making the transition from coffee to tea and don't find myself craving those multiple cups of coffee every day, in fact, I find I actually prefer tea most of the time. At 1 pm I met My Darling at the bank and we went to Moe's for lunch.

Tonight the house is quiet aside from "Spiderman" on the television and my dad playing guitar and harmonica on the computer. His music is soothing and brings back a flood of memories. It's comforting to have him near.

I've set up a lunch date for next Tuesday with an old friend of my mom, and I'm hoping for a visit with my Aunt Barb too, maybe Monday. I'm not sure where this next phase of life will take me, and am uncertain as to whether to seek out new children to babysit. Perhaps getting kids on and off the school bus is more my speed right now. God knows and I'm not in any big hurry to run out ahead of His plan.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Kids and Plans

Life forces us back into the normal routine fairly quickly. Yesterday and today I had a houseful of noisy, boisterous children. They have no clue I am tired, nor do they understand why my patience so easily wears thin. They are just being kids, running, yelling, and bickering. Even "Lilo and Stitch" didn't keep them quiet for long.

For the last couple of months we have had small children overnight 3-4 nights each week and so even some of our evenings are crazier than that to which we are accustomed. Toys are perpetually scattered across the floor and there is constant chatter. I must often remind myself that these days are few and should be savored.. Tonight two small children "helped" their daddy wash dishes. By the time I grabbed my camera, one was down and crying. It was a moment missed.

I've decided to add visiting to my weekly routine. I have Monday's off, and both Tuesday and Wednesday only one small child keeps me company all day. For as long as I am able, I hope to plan one day each week to visit someone. I already have several people in mind and could probably come up with someone different to visit each and every week if I really put my mind to it. Imagine being able to touch and encourage fifty-two people in one year. Talk about random acts of kindness! What an opportunity!!! I'm already planning my visit for next week.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

One Week

We've reached the one week mark. One week ago the funeral director arrived and took my mother "home". That's what he called it. His voice was warm and kind. He wasn't taking her "away", he was taking her "home". He called me by name and spoke as though he knew me. He was nothing less than tender and sympathetic, and I felt as if we were friends. It was only later that day, while half asleep at my daughter's house, that I was running the events of the morning through my mind. I was thinking of the impending meeting to fill out paperwork when I realized that I did know the man who so gently took my mother's body "home" that morning. I didn't know his family owned the funeral home, because he isn't in our group for that reason. He is in the group for the same kind of love and support he offered to me last week. An understanding heart and a listening ear when time and age take their toll on those we love. He is a gift, the man who took my mother "home," and I am grateful to God for sending him. It so easily could have been someone else.

It's settling in now, the ache of her absence. Yesterday morning I glanced through the open doorway into her room and realized I was subconsciously looking for her. This morning I heard the squeal of a hearing aide, but it was really the squeak of the gate surrounding the wood stove. I'm almost dreading the day her hospital bed is moved out of her room. It's going to leave a hole. The layers are slowly being peeled away and I'm missing her more and more.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

H is for Hope

H is for Hope (and G is for Grandma).

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

Last year at this time I wrote a post on hands and hearts. The hands in the photo were my mom's. I am grateful for each and every picture I took of my mom. Although I miss her, and will for the rest of my life, I wouldn't wish her back. She's free and happy now with Jesus. It's where she wanted to be, and she left us the gift of shadows on the wall when heaven's door cracked open to let out a bit of light on Monday. She talked of going home, and saw relatives who had gone on before her. It was a little confusing at the time, and even a bit disconcerting, but on Thursday morning it all made sense. Today it gives us hope.

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Monday, March 03, 2014


It will be a long time before life feels "normal" again. Taking care of my mom for the past 3 1/2 years was probably the hardest job I ever had to do. I never realized how far short I would fall of being all I wanted to be. People keep telling me what a good job I've done, but deep inside I know my own failures. Thankfully, I have a Father in heaven who knows every thought and intent of my heart, and He is still beside me, comforting my sorrows and giving me strength.

The memorial service is over and cards of encouragement continue to appear in our mailboxes. Mom touched so many lives in her 79 years and was much loved. The church was full of friends and family who came to offer hugs and condolences. My aunt and uncle flew home from Florida on short notice, and our son and his family came from Minnesota too. Not only were we showered with love by those who came to support us at the service, but we were blessed beyond measure by the outpouring of love from a few quiet servants who never really knew my mom but came to prepare and serve a meal. One day I hope to join them in their ministry.

My sisters came today and we began the long and difficult process of sorting through Mom's things. We didn't get far, but didn't expect to. It will be a long time before everything is settled. Thankfully, we set much of the estate in order before Mom's passing and that will help in getting everything settled.

This afternoon we went to face the difficult task of telling our severely autistic brother that our mom has gone to be with Jesus. We picked him up at his home and drove down country roads past farms and woods as Dad played his guitar and harmonica on the radio. It seemed fitting that we were all in the car together, just the four of us. I'd been reluctant to go at first, but am so glad I did. It was right that we all be there and I'm looking forward to being there again.