Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Now starts the race to Christmas, but I'm hoping this year to enjoy a gentle stroll instead. I'm buying books for  my grandchildren (online, because the sticker shock hits different) and hoping to find a day in December to build graham cracker houses or decorate cookies with them. If we don't build or decorate before Christmas, there's always Christmas Day (or even Christmas Eve). Shoot, there's even New Year's for that matter. (I'm taking that weekend off...)

I'm not sure how festively decorated my house will be, but I do plan on getting a tree. Not only are they fun and festive, but the real ones smell so nice (and are a great playground for The Naughties).

I'm sure the four weeks (are there still four?) between now and Christmas would have been full even without me working, but I'm trying to see my days with G. as a break from the craziness that life can become. She sleeps the afternoon away and I have a few hours of quiet. Not a bad deal, really.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Posting Scripture

I was asked recently about the scriptures I post... It was mentioned that perhaps I wasn't actually living what I was posting. I bit my tongue. The suggestion was made that I was posting them only for me, as though they didn't apply to someone else. I said nothing.

The plain and simple truth is I am holding on with everything inside me. I had a daddy who lived his faith every day. He was the same man at home with his family as he was while sitting in a pew at church. In fact at his memorial service I said "...the greatest thing about my dad was his love for Jesus Christ and the gospel he lived from day to day. He was the same man at church as he was sitting at home on the back porch playing his banjo and harmonica." My dad has been gone for seven years, but he is my inspiration today, he is the reason I have hope. I saw Jesus modeled in my dad.

I don't take my faith lightly. It plays a part in all that I do, every decision that I make. It affects how I treat others and how I respond to what life throws my way. It doesn't make life necessarily easy. It's not a crutch. In fact sometimes it makes deciding what to do downright frustrating, but in spite of that, I know He loves me and He is there to catch me when I fall.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


A little bit of lovin' goes a long way.

When you've spent your entire life taking care of others, it can be a challenge to take care of yourself instead.

What would you like?
What do you need?
How do you feel?

I'm supposed to know the answers to those questions, but most of the time I honestly have no clue. Sometimes I have to start at the opposite end to figure out the answers.

What don't I like?
What don't I need?
How don't I feel?

Quite often (like most of the time), taking care of Martha feels selfish, but I'm working on it. Scripture tells us to love others as we love ourselves. It's a small word with a wealth of meaning...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

That Perfect Breakfast

Yesterday morning I met my friend Chris N. for breakfast at our favorite little diner up in town, and so I did not take time to sit and enjoy my usual after Thanksgiving breakfast of pumpkin pie and coffee. But that was yesterday. Today I had a lunch date with a different friend, my forever and a day friend Cindy, and although we met for an early lunch (it was 11 am), I did take the time to cut myself a slice of pie and enjoy it with my morning coffee. Oh, so yummy (and pretty too)!

Cindy and I sat and talked for a long time. She and I go back to infancy and our parents were friends before we were born. We haven't always spent a ton of time together, and we go long periods of time between visits, but there is an unmistakable bond that has stood the test of time. I love her and she loves me. As little girls we both had white hair and she was pretty sure we were actually sisters. I think we should have been.

Friday, November 25, 2016


It was cold, it was wet, and it was soggy, but the kids thought going outside was a good idea. First the boys, and finally the granddaughter. She'd been out all of five minutes when she was back in the house What happened? She fell into a burdock bush. (Fun times!) Poor thing... Her Aunt Bethany spent a considerable amount of time picking bits of stale "Velcro Plant" from her hair just before dinner and by the time they were done, both of them had microscopic bits of itchiness embedded in their clothing. Aub could not stand still and even Aunt Bethany had to trade in her dress pants for a pair of my pj's. Ah, the memories!

Looking for Forgiveness...

I'm not looking to be forgiven, but searching my own heart and soul to see if I have forgiven, or at the very least, if I am moving in that direction...

I found this online.

5 ways to tell if you’ve forgiven someone:

When the first thought you have about them is not the injury they caused in your life. You should be able to have normal thoughts about the person occasionally. Remember, you are dropping the right to get even, the grudge you held against them. (I do have normal thoughts.)
Ask yourself: Would you help them if you knew they were in trouble and you had the ability? Most likely, this is someone you once cared about…perhaps even loved. You would have assisted them if they needed help. While I’m not suggesting you would subject yourself to abuse or further harm, that you are obligated to help them, or even that you should, but would you in your heart want to see them prosper or see them come to harm? (I would help them.)
Can you think positive thoughts about this person? Again, you’ve likely been on positive terms with this person or in a close enough relationship for them to injure you to this extreme. Is there anything good you can come up with about them? If not, have your really forgiven them? (I can think positive thoughts.)
Do you still think of getting even with the person? There may be consequences that need to come for this person, and you may have to see them through to protect others, but does your heart want to hurt them? If so, would you call this forgiveness? (I don't want to get even.)
Have stopped looking for them to fail? If you have truly forgiven someone, then just like you would for anyone else, you would want them to succeed or at least do better in life. Forgiveness means you’ve stopped keeping a record of the person’s wrongs. (I never wanted them to fail.)

Every day is a struggle. There are days when forgiveness feels easy and natural, and there are other days when anxiety grips my chest and threatens to squeeze my heart out onto the floor. I'm in uncharted territory without much of a road map, learning as I go. The finish line is a long way off yet, there are more deep waters to pass through, and more mountains to climb. It's not an easy journey and I'm not entirely certain where the path is leading. I only know that I am moving forward, even if it is slowly.

(Sorry. This is another one of those posts that doesn't get comments. That's okay. Just throw up a prayer or two for wisdom on my part and the ability to recognize my surroundings. Thanks.)

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Ten adults, seven children, and way too much food. Why do we always think we need to double the recipe? ha ha! We have leftovers and there is pumpkin pie for morning. It was a good day, a noisy, rough and tumble Thanksgiving.

We rearranged the living room because Thanksgiving is a trial run for the following holidays. And we found that we could open up the  living room and fit everyone in one room. Maybe when Christmas comes we'll borrow Bethany's folding table and stretch it out even a little further.

The dust has settled, the chickens have gone home to roost (we let them out today for the first time since Saturday), and (most) of the dishes have been washed. Speaking of dishes, we broke out the good china today! Can't let it sit in that china cabinet forever, can we?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Pumpkin pie. Every Thanksgiving celebration must have pumpkin pie. Because leftover pumpkin pie is breakfast the morning after. (My pies are in the oven.)

I'm no longer watching The Trio on Thursday's so I am picking up a few extra hours at work. I'll be there every other weekend and 3 hours every other Monday evening, as well as my normal Tuesday and Wednesday. It's something extra. Not much, but something. On my way in to work today, I took a detour down Empire Boulevard and stopped at the south end of Irondequoit Bay to snap a few photos. This weathered old post caught my eye.

I've not seen anything snowy that I wanted a photo of, aside from the chicken coop, but the bay was pretty. There are just a few trees on the cliffs still sporting bronze foliage. And then there is the naked sycamore still hanging onto a few sparse leaves.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Welcome Wintery Wonderland

I did not take pictures of the foot of snow in the bottom of the chicken enclosure this morning. I did not take a picture of the poor little hen who was foolish enough to jump from the top nesting area and into the snowy bottom. My camera card is full, the new one is in my glove box. My camera battery is dead. (Both of which will be remedied soon...)

So the little hen who hopped into a foot of snow didn't know quite what to do. She didn't struggle or try to get away when I picked her up and set her back in the top with her friends. I think she was a little bit stunned. Ha ha! I dug the feed pan out of the snow, filled it, and put it up top along with a few apples. The Cabinet Maker and I cleaned out most of the snow and stapled some more cardboard to the sides of the enclosure. What a great way to welcome winter!

Speaking of winter, The Naughties found the bedroom door open and an unmade bed waiting. When I came out of the shower, there they were, side by side, one looking at me with a satisfied grin and the other was sprawled out on his side getting ready for a nap. I didn't take a picture... They were later evacuated by a middle aged man sporting a beard and mustache.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whiting Road and the Webster Park Trail

The weatherman says to expect snow on Sunday, but you'd never know it by today's weather. Sunshine and September temperatures! It was not a day to stay inside, so I connected with my friend Deb and we went for an afternoon walk in the woods. A different woods than I walked yesterday, but just as enchanting.

We couldn't have asked for a more magnificent autumn. No complaining when the snow flies now.

You Can't Make Old Friends

As I wandered the leaf strewn strip of woods by my childhood home yesterday, I reflected on the people and places that were a part of my early life. I literally spent hours in that little corner of trees and brush during my pre and early adolescence, along with scores of neighborhood children. The "dead end" was our favorite spot.

As a nine or ten year old I once went to the woods with a friend. There was a swampy spot not too far in where we caught polliwogs one year, and in the middle of this gigantic puddle was a bit of higher ground where a large tree grew. From the tree hung a thick vine. Being at the slightly daring age, I decided to swing across the small bit of water separating the tree's island from the rest of the world. It was okay but not very daring and so I got the notion to swing out over the larger puddle. Of course, as luck would have it, the vine snapped and I was deposited directly into the muddy puddle on my backside. The walk home was rather humiliating, although I don't recall anyone but a friend being present, and I was not fearful of my mother's reaction as she was most forgiving in times of embarrassment.

My first "boyfriend" was in third grade and his name was Joey. In the spring of 1973 we were playing at the edge of the woods when we accidentally discovered a nest of garter snakes. We returned multiple times on various days to Garter Snake Hill to catch a snake or two, carry them about and chase the older girls just to hear them scream.

Yesterday I stared up at trees that surely watched my friends and I play in their shelter 40-45 years ago. Some of them are now fallen heroes and some bear the scars of knife wounds where our jackknives carved initials in their tender bark. Here and there a rotted out stump was the only reminder of old growth, and the "crick" that Mom helped me cross on our way to visit friends, buried years ago in culverts underground, is long forgotten.

I I turned back toward "home" and rounded the corner, another couple of friends smiled down on me. They are old and ugly eye sores to many, and have long outlived their usefulness, but the Webster water tanks have been a landmark from the time I could focus my newborn eyes to peer out the living room window of my childhood home. One day one or the other of them be gone and I will miss them too.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Woods

I thought about staying close to home today, maybe walking to the end of the road and back, but found myself driving to Webster instead. I stopped to see my new grandson and his mommy and when they got tired, I walked down the street and around the corner to "the woods."

I grew up in the house where my daughter lives. My first memories of the woods involve my mother. She took me there once when I was very small. My brother played there as a little boy. Back then a few neighborhood moms thought it should be made into a park and so a road was cleared through the trees and a sign erected, "Milton R. Case Memorial Park." As a little girl I wasn't sure whether to be dismayed or amused at our woods being a park, but as time went on and not much changed, I decided it was nothing to worry about.

For a time a pair of covered picnic tables stood at a crossroads in the trees. They were soon christened the "PS" and became a hangout for local teens smoking pot. Eventually the tables were destroyed by vandals who chopped into them and tried to set them on fire.  All that remains now are the ends of the posts and beams, hidden in the fallen leaves. Had I not been looking for a sign of the old hangout, I'd have missed them altogether

The road we once road bikes upon was barely visible today, narrowed by time and awash in bronzed foliage. I breathed in the scent of autumn and was transported back to childhood days when the woods was full of children playing. I heard loud calls and squeals of laughter but, of course, the sound echoed only in my memory.

Today the woods were empty aside from a few squirrels and a lone woman swishing her way through dry, fallen leaves, gazing at bronzed and naked trees, and rustling through old memories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bits and Pieces

On Monday morning I received an email from my boss. She was looking for information on my flu shot. The one I didn't get... I told her I'd put it on my list of things to do that day. So I stopped at Walgreens, succumbed to the pressure, and was rewarded with a pretty red band-aid on my shoulder which scared the

Tuesday morning found me running a tad late and so I drove my vehicle down around the barn to let the chickens out on my way out of the driveway. I opened the door and they came pouring out. I filled their pan with feed and tossed some out into the grass, and looked in the coop to
see if I might need to collect an egg or two. All this gave Coq au Vin enough time to notice I was not carrying the customary stick (or camera). As he bravely strutted my direction, I grabbed the closest thing available, a jug with a few inches of water inside. I warned him of the impending shower, but he paid no mind and was rewarded with a splash on his pretty tail feathers as a result. While he regained his composure (and stupidity) I hopped into the van and drove off.

Today I left home in a world awash in sunshine. Since I'd left slightly early, I took my camera along and snapped a few pictures along the way. In spite of my lollygagging, I arrived a little bit early for my chiropractor appointment. The sun was shining bright when I went inside. When I came out 20 minutes later, there was not a ray of sun to be seen. All was overcast, but my headache was gone so all was well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Baby Snuggles

Between Ladies' Prayer and going to work, I stopped for a quick visit to my youngest daughter. I noticed a clean laundry collection and asked if she might like some help with folding. She smiled and we set to work. I had a chance to snuggle Number Nine. He looked over my shoulder at the curtains and blinked. I felt him relax and closed my eyes for just a second, soaked in the baby love, and remembered the days when my own children were so tiny. Except Ben. He wasn't ever so tiny. But he was just as snuggly.

PS. That's not me. (ha ha!) But it is a snuggle.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Gorgeous! The word for today. Had I known to plan ahead, I'd have tracked down a friend and gone gallivanting. Instead, I responded to an email from my boss and got a flu shot while out running errands. (I hate flu shots.) After bringing my groceries home, I took my camera for a walk around the back yard.

Our crab apple tree is covered with wrinkled, red fruits.

Wild grapes in the old hedgerow.

Apples on the ground. They're falling off the trees.

One of my followers.

Coq au Vin letting me know the yard belongs to him,

 Um, I don't think it will be safe to jump in the leaves this year...

Covered in gold. Money really does grow on trees.

The other follower. He jumped out when I opened the window to take chicken photos.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hey, Chicken!

The weekend is just about over. It was a good one as far as weekends go. We did a small bit of rearranging in the living room, the last of cleaning up after our spring kitchen remodel. Coat rack on the wall, a chair or two by the wood stove, and space for Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. Last night we had a family gathering in honor of Ben's 23rd birthday. It was a wild party. ha ha!

The chickens go to bed early these days. By five thirty they're all in the cage and heading up the ramp to the coop. This afternoon we stapled some cardboard on the northeast corner to block some of the winter winds, should that kind of weather ever catch up to us.

The girls aren't laying quite as many eggs these shorter days, but we get enough to get us by, and so far, still enough to share.

 Strange creatures. The hens like me, I think, so long as I don't try to touch them. :0)

I think Coq au Vin shall always eye me with suspicion. The feeling is mutual. I'm pretty sure he's an idiot.

But a nice looking one.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Bit of R & R

Deborah and I walked the old part of the cemetery on Thursday. We climbed up and down hills, stepped over broken stones, and stared up at gargantuan trees.

Cracked and broken headstones always make me sad. This entire row of stones lay face down on the ground, like pieces of an old sidewalk, under a bed of fallen leaves. Did they all fall at once? Why they fall in a row? Are they all part of the same family? Did they always do things together? Were they practical jokers?
I've probably said this before, but as a very small child I had unexplained attraction for cemeteries, especially on beautiful spring days when there was a funeral taking place. It looked like a party in a rock garden to me, a celebration, and I wanted to go. I think, in my early childhood mind, was the memory of a family gathering in a cemetery, perhaps my grandpa or my uncle. The sadness of loss was lost to my innocent mind, or maybe the hope of resurrection was so strong that I only picked up on that...

I stayed home yesterday aside from a quick run to buy a canister of oatmeal so I could make apple crisp. My daughter was here with her little one and I soaked in a few snuggles. I had supper in the oven on time and we actually ate at the table with a few of our kids. By the end of the day I was feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Today was the birthday, tomorrow is the family celebration. There will be dinner and pies and ice cream. There will be brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, his mom and dad, and maybe a friend or two if he brings them along.

He is loved beyond imagination and irreplaceable. I hope he knows it.