Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So, Yeah...

A friend recently asked how I was doing when I find myself alone. I answered that I was doing okay, and honestly, I am doing alright. Most days. But there are moments when a deep sadness washes over and I find myself lonesome and brokenhearted. The best way to describe the situation is "It's hard." There isn't a whole lot more to say.

I'm looking at life from a totally different angle than before. A perspective I've never previously experienced has emerged and I don't know what to make of it. The spines on life's books are no longer visible and I can't tell one from another. One day I'll make my way around to the other side of the table and be able to discern the titles and positions again, but I haven't quite made my way down the aisle and around the corner yet. Honestly, sometimes it can be tough to let the present view out of my sight and so I stare at the vertical edge instead..

Tonight I am tired, but I am making progress. I may not always be certain of the destination, I may need to set up camp and sit for a day or two, but I do know I'm headed in the right direction even if the path is winding. I'm climbing the mountain and mostly grateful for the slow upward climb. A steep grade would be insurmountable, especially with loose rock and unfamiliar terrain to traverse. Sometimes I need to stop and rest, or tie my shoe laces again, but I am moving forward. Today I am here. Tomorrow may find me in a new location with fresh sights and new hope, or perhaps facing dark shadows and more heartache. I hope and pray it is the former. I don't think I can handle anything more.

Much of where life takes us is in the decisions we make and whether or not we choose wisely. Today, and most days, I am petrified of making those decisions. but I won't go forward without them. I have a scripture verse here in my room, one from the book of Proverbs. I posted it a few weeks back. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11. I pray God grants me both discretion and understanding. I really need both.

Bits and Pieces

* Still blogging, but unable to follow many of you. I find it sad after so many years of bloggy buddies, but at present I have great lack of concentration. The weeks tend to melt into each other lately... Seems I slide out of one and into the next without even noticing. I am grateful that going to work isn't terribly difficult.

* I've been practicing bravery and risk taking by ordering a new carpet for the back room here at my parents' house. (Or is it Hannah's house? Or maybe mine? Either way, it's getting a new carpet.) Maybe I'll post before and after pictures.

* This past Saturday evening I'd planned to meet a few CoDA friends at The Cheesecake Factory, but drove all the way there only to discover I'd left my wallet home. The old me might have given up and left in frustration and tears, but I had $8 in my pocket. Not quite enough for a Cheesecake Factory meal, but enough to buy a drink if that was my only option. My friends ended up covering for me and I experienced an unexpected Random Act of Kindness.

* Went to CoDA instead of the Monday night church women's group this week. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the groups exuberance and CoDA is really laid back and relaxed. It was a good choice this week.

* Sliced my finger open at work yesterday when I reached into my canvas bag for a spatula and came into direct contact with the blade of my Mandolin V-Cutter. I have a great pair of cut-resistant gloves I wear when cutting vegetables, but I wasn't wearing it to reach in the bag... Good thing I carry my own supply of band-aides. Taped myself back together right quick!

* I went to work as a bear today. It was an easy costume. Brown pants and sweater, and the bear mask I bought while out with my sister on Saturday. Loved the parade of costumed children Trick or Treating through the halls!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Barn Collective

I went out "antiquing" with my sister yesterday. It's really just a day spent together because I didn't buy anything, at least not anything much.

Our first stop was the Ontario Antique Mall in Canandaigua, NY. We wandered the aisles, took in the sights, and came upon a stack of bear masks. Of course I had to try one on. She laughed and took my picture, and then we decided to take a selfie of the two of us.

After spending who knows how long wending our way through items of yesteryear, we headed south through the city of Canandaigua and deep into Finger Lake Country. Destination, Wild Goose Chase Antiques, Pulteney, NY on the hill above Keuka Lake. (We hadn't brought our directions so it was a bit of a "wild goose chase" just finding it, but I remembered how to get there.)

This little place will be closed once November is upon us, so we got there just in time. Didn't purchase a thing, but had a drink of sweet cider and half a fried cake offered us by the proprietor. This is probably my favorite antique shop to wander. Atmosphere is everything and so I keep going back every now and again.

And there you have it. More barns over at Toms place.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Flower Pots, Gardens, and Punkin Patches,

Nothing cures the blues quite like little arms around my neck or a small head on my shoulder. God hardwired me to love and understand children. It's no wonder I had a passel of my own. It was simply meant to be. (Those are my first three. Two boys and a girl.)

I've done a lot of daycare in my years. Preschoolers are my favorite, so full of life, wonder, and curiosity. (We were feeding birds at Mendon Ponds.) They don't judge you by anything other than the love you share. If you love them, they will love you too.

Today was full of hugs, along with tears, boogers, and diaper changes. I have lots and lots of little friends who come to collect a hug when I stop in their classrooms to deliver meals and snacks. It takes such a small amount of effort to get down on their level, wrap them in my arms, and tell them I love them. Even children I've never spent the day with come to collect a little bit of love. It means so much to them, and it gets me through my day too. (Those two little guys are eight years old already!)

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could babysit at home again, but I know that's not to be. At least not for now. I am making a difference where I am and God has placed me there for reasons I don't completely understand. All I know is by the end of the day my heart is full.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bits and Pieces

Perhaps my favorite Facebook feature is the On This Day app. Status updates and pictures from the past...

* October 24, 2008 at 9:56am · is ready to enjoy the day.

* October 24, 2009 at 8:52pm · is baking pumpkin pies.

* October 24, 2010 at 8:32pm · Was that really the weekend? Is it over already?

* October 24, 2011 at 7:25pm · Is the room spinning or is it just my mind?

* October 24, 2012 at 7:00pm · Well, ya know what they say, the rubber doesn't fall far from the road.

* October 24, 2013 at 5:23pm · This is the time of day when I wish dinner was in the crock pot.

* October 24, 2014 at 8:36am · I would rather be one of many favorites, than to never be favorite at all.

* October 24, 2015 at 1:34pm · Loving my PBJ on salt rising bread from the Angelica Bakery.

* October 24, 2016 at 8:37am · For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I keep seeing it everywhere I turn.

Not sure how I've gotten through ten years of Facebook... I signed one because my oldest son had moved to Minnesota and if I could catch his Facebook blips every so often, this momma slept better at night. It isn't every day that I find a post from each and every year of the journey.

And today I linked to my blog post from one year ago today with this caption, "When God knows just what you need days ahead of time." It's hard remembering what took place just a few days after I posted that blog, and it makes me teary and thankful all at once.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Oh, Lord...

Being outside in the woods always takes me aback, leaving me deep in thought... It's happened ever since I was a little girl, and especially in the fall.
When through the woods, 
and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds 

sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, 

from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, 

and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Impressive is an understatement.

I could see myself as a child, wandering in and around those massive boulders, turning them into houses and castles, and although the terrain is certainly dangerous, it is also reminiscent of a place called Narnia. Or at least Imagination. In times past it must have been rife with children playing such hideous games as "Cowboys and Indians" or "Cops and Robbers." It'd be a perfectly splendid place for an imaginary shootout.

But I digress from my original thoughts which weren't so playful and fun... My heart is still aching as I move forward into an uncertain future.
My sister and I had no clue what we would see on Saturday's excursion, nor did we know what kind of terrain we would traverse or what we would find around the next curve or behind the next boulder. The future is always a bit uncertain, even in the most certain of times. I guess the best thing to do is to take one day at a time, get a sure footing, and keep my eyes on the path. And maybe take in the scenery as I go...

Oh, Lord, help me.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Barn Collective and Peavy Road

Our traipse about yesterday took us down to NY's southern tier, one of my favorite places in the whole world. On our way home again we purposely took Peavy Road, even though we haven't a clue where the family homestead once stood.

This is the farmhouse where my dad's grandparents once lived, up in the hills on Peavy Rd. One of his cousins confirmed it several years ago.

After taking a close look at the porch detail, I am certain this old photo of my dad as a little guy (probably around 1935) was taken at the same house. I'm guessing there were two porches and have found several old photographs of folks either on a porch like this or in front of one. I recall once reading how you could tell a lot about locations of old photos by little details the photographer wasn't paying attention to.

 Most of Peavy Road is still dirt, just like it must have been when my dad was a little boy.

There were several Amish farms dotting the landscape, two of them with For Sale signs out front. The barns are impressive.

I really want to get out of the car one day and ask to step inside a working barn. I'm not sure I'll ever be brave enough, but you never know what opportunity might arise.

And now, a Peavy Road Story...

Once upon a time two young boys decided to take an old horse cart for a ride down the big hill on the road at their grandparents farm. (It was a mile downhill to town.) The older one had the job of steering the cart, and the younger worked the "brakes" which was a large rock held against one of the wheels. They hadn't gone far when, as they began to pick up speed, they came to realize that the brake was not working. Thankfully, the older had the presence of mind to turn off the road and into a farmer's field and tragedy was averted.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Grand Adventure

It's nice to go exploring every so often. This morning my sister and I took off on an adventure. She was the driver and had printed up the directions to our final destination. I tried to help navigate but my mind was lost in a sinus fog and I'm afraid I wasn't much help. When she pulled over to look at her papers, I took pictures, because that's what I do best.

We didn't know it at the time, but the route she'd printed out would take us down some of the very same roads our dad had traveled with us when we were little girls and much to our delight, we found ourselves in the little town of Angelica, NY without even making it part of our plan. How cool is that? Of course we had to stop and look in a couple of the shops and drive by Great Grandma Shafer's house as well.

After our slight detour, we headed west on Interstate 86 to the town of Olean, NY and made our way through town. When Rachel slowed down and I saw something cool, I took a picture.

A little south of Olean is Rock City Park. We'd never been so it was new for both of us. We found it breathtakingly beautiful. I took ten thousand pictures.

I have suffered through much of this past week with what I think may heave been a sinus infection. My head and face no longer ache and throb, but I am congested and have laryngitis. (Did I actually spell that right on the first try?!) I'm taking Musinex, drinking hot tea, and trying to get enough rest, but it's still showing on my face.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


No grand adventures to share this weekend. I stayed close to home and checked a few items off my to-do list while fighting what feels like a possible case of sinusitis. Rachel helped me make two pies, one for my son whose birthday is today, and another for a sweet life-long friend who also happens to be the Cabinetmaker's cousin.

While the pies baked, Rachel and I took a short drive down to the lake. One the way back I stopped to take a couple of fallish photos. Love this fence! It catches my eye every time I drive past it but I'm usually alone and headed the opposite direction.

Apparently there was a Fall Festival at the Whiting Road Nature Preserve yesterday. Who knew? This guy was pointing the way into the parking area. We stopped just long enough to take a picture of his backside and headed back to Rachel's house before the pies burned up. I keep forgetting that I want to build a scarecrow. Maybe I can put it on the list for next weekend.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

I stole them.The photos. I don't get credit for anything more than that. If I get any credit at all...

It's hard to love photography and not be able to take pictures of the little people I spend my days with. I was in the kitchen at work when the building suddenly went silent. Everyone had gone outside except the cook, aka me. I decided to take a quick peek out the window to see where everyone had gone... They were out in the parking lot checking out some big trucks and talking to the firemen. So exciting! I was later informed, by one of my little friends, that one fire truck was red and the other one was green.

Another week is over. I cooked up ten thousand lunches and served ten million snacks. I passed out breakfasts and washed a bunch of dishes. I changed diapers, wiped noses, and held bottles. I gave out more hugs and kisses than I could count, and was blessed in return with smiles and occasionally obvious excitement over my presence. A few of those babies practically jumped out of the buggy when I came out of the kitchen and waved at them. Too funny. And the little people in this picture? They are full of questions and stories. They love if I draw for them or blow bubbles with my gum. The little boy with bright blue pants climbed up on my lap this morning to collect some loving and he only knows me as working in the kitchen.  It's really like the best job ever!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Wind

For I will restore health to you 
And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, 
Jeremiah 30:17a

I was looking at a few old blogs and came across this verse of scripture. It feels appropriate tonight, not just for me, but for my kids and the Cabinetmaker as well, because we all need our wounds to be healed.

Two years ago I wrote, "... the truth is we all have times when life knocks the wind out of us, throws us to the ground, and leaves us gasping for breath... " Sometimes I feel like I'm still gasping, and I know for certain other family members are as well.

I got the wind knocked out of me when I was a little girl. I'd climbed up a stump of a tree and landed flat on my back getting down. I lay there on the ground feeling like I was going to die. Not only did my back hurt, but sucking the breath back into my lungs was slow and painful. When I finally picked myself up off the ground and headed across the street to my own house, my mother seemed all too nonchalant about my ordeal. "You got the wind knocked out of you," she said. (I think she even smiled.) She may not have been worried, but I vowed than and there never to let it happen again. If only I could have been so successful with stubbed toes, splinters, and other things in life. But then again, it's exactly those things that make me who I am, isn't it?

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Playing in the Mud

It was an emotional week for me. Sometimes that happens. I needed an outlet, so I headed into Rochester yesterday afternoon and spent a few hours playing at the pottery studio. They say it's all about the practice, and open studio hours are limited. My only choice is Saturday afternoon since our class runs during the only evening open studio.

I threw about five or six vessels. One flopped, and one came home with me to dry because the guy who I share a shelf with is very prolific at throwing... I think he has almost 2/3 of the space. But I'm not complaining. (Okay, so maybe I am.) I think I might need to make sure I have room in my van Thursday night in case I need to bring any more home. Glazing starts soon so it's good I'll soon have some pieces to fire.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Watching My Steps

Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
Proverbs 2:11

I have been here in this little attic bedroom for 10 weeks. It's the bedroom I once shared with my sister, the one tucked under the roof of my childhood home. It's not a strange place, but it's a strange place to be. It feels very much like I dropped out of my own universe and into an alternate one. I should be home in a different bedroom, in the bed I've shared with my husband for two thirds my life and all of my adult years. I should be looking forward to quiet evenings at home and lazy weekends traipsing about with the Barefoot Lumberjack, but I am here instead...

I can't share our story, or how we ended up like this. I can only say that we are both wounded and bleeding. I would that time could heal the wounds. People tell me God can do the impossible, and I know in my heart that is true, but sometimes God's impossible is guiding us through to the other side of the unexpected, and He is doing that. I don't know today exactly what is on the other side, but I do know He is good and He loves each of us more than we could ever imagine.

I've been wading through the book of Proverbs, looking for answers and finding a lot of verses about wisdom, guidance, and following right paths. Nothing specific, just counsel to seek out God's will and not lean on my own understanding... Hard stuff because so little of where I'm at makes any sense to me, but He is showing me there is a purpose to all I am facing and the hard things He has urged me to do. Even if I don't understand. Even if others don't understand. And even if some of my own children don't understand.

Praying is hard. Reading my Bible is hard. Not because I am angry with God or feel abandoned, but because I am so tired spiritually. I'm still on the path, walking when I'm strong and being carried when I'm weak, growing stronger and not near as discouraged, thankful for my job, for friends and family, and this little room in the attic (because God provided long ago for this very day).

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Heart of Stone

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; 
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

I find myself sad tonight. There is no remedy, no way to fix everything that has gone wrong...only a dull and occasionally throbbing ache. I am okay, much better than I was two years ago and growing stronger. I just find that sometimes life is really hard.

On our Sunday outing we came upon some rocks stuck in the roots of a tree. One of those rocks was shaped like a heart. A heart of stone. Of course, had the heart caught in the root of the tree been soft, it would have been crushed and mangled long ago. It is possible the tree will win this battle yet and the stony heart will break, but only time will tell.

And why am I telling you this? I don't know. Perhaps it is because my mind is tumbling, and my thoughts jumbled. It's time for me to go to sleep so I can get up tomorrow and head off to love some little people and fix them (hopefully) yummy things to eat. Besides, it's raining and what better way to fall asleep than listening to the rain fall?

Monday, October 02, 2017

Gold in Them Thar Hills

Another couple pictures from yesterday, because we didn't spend the whole day in the woods. Naples, NY., like Naples, Italy, is known for grapes and wine. The Cabinetmaker took this photo for me (Hey, Tom, maybe I did have a barn photo... ) since he was in the passenger seat.

We headed down Italy Valley Rd but took a left down a seasonal use highway. It's going to be gorgeous when the leaves turn. Almost looks like a painting as it is!

Back to work today. A week ago it felt like July and now we're back to reality. I needed a jacket this morning. It was downright cold!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sleepy Day in Grimes Glen

It was an entirely too sleepy day. I shouldn't have been sleepy. It was a gorgeous day with perfect fall temperatures and we were outside. I'm not sure if lost sleep caught up with me (I was awake for 2 hours between Friday night and Saturday morning) or if my sinus issues were sapping my energy. (I stopped taking that Musinex too soon.) I didn't want to be sleepy, I just was.

In spite of being sleepy, the Barefoot Lumberjack and I took a ride to Naples, NY and went to Grimes Glen. I'd told him early on I didn't want to get my feet wet, so we didn't walk all the way back to the fancy waterfall, only as far as the first one. I should have brought my flip flops along. I intended to, but I didn't. I blame it on brain fog.

BL was trying out his new camera and I was trying out my old one. We managed to get a nice collection of pictures and it turned out to be a good day even if I did finally have to hand over the steering wheel and close my eyes for a bit. When I opened them we were at Wendy's and I got a "small chocolate Frosty, please" out of the deal, so all is well.