Thursday, November 30, 2017

That Pottery Class

After work I went back to the pottery studio to find my pieces. I had a hard time finding them. It's a look and look kind of game. Find something vaguely familiar looking and turn it over to check for a name. I almost gave up before I hit gold. Seven smallish bowls of varying sizes and shades. (There are nine here because I found two on Monday.)

Throwing is a challenge and glazing is another. I did mostly okay. I am satisfied with the results.

 They're signed and dated. (Next time I might give them numbers.)

I had a little trouble with two of them dripping. I find that a bit sad.

The next class is in January. Perhaps if I am a very good girl Santa will bless me with the funds for another go at it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Golden Christmas

My digestive system is in rebellion. Too many mornings of eating toast, too many pieces of pizza over vacation, and not enough fresh fruits and veggies. Last night I went to Wegmans to find a few healthier options. On my way out I took notice of the Christmas lights strung in the trees, trees still full of golden leaves. I regretted not having my camera along... This evening, though I needed nary a thing from Weggies, I went back. This time I purposely took my camera along. So pretty, and I'm sure fleeting. Those leaves surely won't hang around long.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Long Road

Twice now I've received private messages from acquaintances who apparently want to help me see the error of my ways. The first was fairly certain I was a "grudge bearer" and the second, though kinder and gentler than the first, mentioned in a round about way, that I could be feeling sorry for myself. "Check your heart," she said. If only it were so simple. Perhaps I do feel sorry for myself  sometimes, but that is not why I am here in this little attic bedroom.

It's complicated. I told the first friend that she really didn't know my family well enough to offer her observations. The second I told that it wasn't about feeling sorry for myself. I also said I can't tell her the reasons, but I do appreciate her prayers. I know there are plenty of other well-intentioned people who are sure they know what I should be doing, but they do not live in my skin or wear my shoes. They have not lived my life, they do not love the Cabinetmaker or my children like I do, and they do not know them as I either. They are not really qualified to know the cries of my heart, and truthfully, sometimes discerning my heart is difficult for me. Thankfully, God knows.

I hope you are not reading anger and frustration in my words. I am not angry or frustrated with these people. They mean well, and I know that. Perhaps once upon a time I thought I had the answers to the problems others face, but the plain and simple truth is, I don't. I don't know all the facts and I must leave them to work it out between themselves and God. I wish God was working faster, making the picture clearer sooner, but He isn't. His timing is perfect, He knows where we are going, and He has not left us to wander alone even if there are moments if feels that way.

I am very slowly coming to realize that what I really want most of all, will never happen. Not so long ago I heard myself say, "Lord, when is everything going to be okay again?" and the answer followed close behind. "Martha, everything never was okay..." I have not given up hope that one day God will make things okay for me. I don't know when that will be or what it will look like, but I do know He will be there.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Barn Collective

Back to Angelica, NY. I don't know the location of the first photo. I think it's where my grandma grew up. I'm not sure whether or not they lived on Peavy Rd when she was a little girl, but it was somewhere up in the hills.

The house in this next photo looks like the Peavy Rd house to me, the one where they took photos of family sitting on the front porch. It was the place my dad visited when he was a little boy and has long since succumbed to the elements of time. I don't even know where it once stood and Peavy Rd. isn't telling.

More barns at Tom's.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dark and Sleepy

They say it's darkest just before the dawn. Perhaps that is so.

I spent most of yesterday in bed. At one point I popped my camera card into my camera and grabbed a pair of socks, but I just couldn't bring myself to go outside, and climbed back into bed instead. The Cabinetmaker came over and brought me NyQuil and chicken soup. We cried together. Healing comes slowly and a little at a time...

Today I'm feeling better. I got up and met my kiddos for a counseling session. Afterward I came home and took a nap. It's rainy and the house is quiet. I have no idea where most of my family is. I ate a bowl of cereal and may decide to take another nap... There is nothing like sickness to help make up for being sleep deprived. ha ha!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. The food was good and for the first time in forever, my kids did all the work, but it wasn't the kind of celebration I'd been looking forward to early in the year... I hate the brokenness but I don't know how to get back to it not being so. Will we ever be okay?

Today, when I should have been eating pumpkin pie for breakfast, I have been sick in bed. Bad headache, queasy stomach, and stuffy head. These are the days when being a coffee drinker is a curse. I made a cup of tea this morning and hoped it would prevent a caffeine headache on top of whatever it is I'm already fighting, but it is impossible to tell if it helped or not. At noon I swallowed half an Excedrin and when I am done posting my grandkid photos, I am going back to sleep.

It's an entirely gorgeous late autumn day outside. It would have been a good day for a stroll in the little strip of woods we played in a little people. Maybe I'll feel better in an hour or two and venture outside.

Monday, November 20, 2017


My alarm is set for 5:50 am but I rarely get up before pushing the snooze button a time or two. This morning, however, it did not go off at all, and so I did not push the snooze or get up. When I finally looked at my clock and it said 6:50. I jumped out of bed! I had ten minutes to get ready for work. (And here I'd just been telling the Cabinet Maker how I'd not yet been late...)

I jumped out of bed, but it took my brain a minute to decide what to do. No time to shower or make coffee... I threw on some clothes, grabbed my hairbrush and allergy medicine, and hurried downstairs. There was half a cup of coffee in my French press and five inches of snow covering my car. (Thank you to my husband who not only changed my tires on Saturday, but bought me a new snow brush/ice scraper. I needed them today.) Under the heaped up snow was a thin layer of ice, as if waking up late wasn't enough.

I wasn't the only one running behind. Sergio's alarm didn't sound either and he was out brushing snow off his car too. I don't know whether or not he made it to work on time, but I punched in at 7:30 on the dot! How cool is that? And you know what? Tom probably does. There was scarcely any snow when I got there.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Can I Cry Now or Shall I Wait Until Tomorrow?

One of the hardest things in life is to watch someone you love struggle with the consequences of their own actions...

Many are the moments when emotions buried deep within rise to the surface. I don't always know how to respond to my own heart... Most often the need to cry is stifled and only a few tears leak through. The heart aches, but the  mind and body must keep moving forward. There is no time to wallow in sadness and sorrow even if it feels profoundly necessary.

I wish for this trial to be over, to have emerged unscathed on the other side, but the scars and scathings are what teach us life's biggest and most important lessons. They have the ability to create within a stronger, bolder sense of purpose and direction if not allowed to crush us completely. I am not crushed, but I feel the pressure, sometimes light and tolerable, and at other moments massive and unmanageable. The hardest thing is knowing that each and every member of my family is attempting to navigate their way through this mass of tangles.

The holiday season is beginning and this year, like several previous, we will be struggling to understand all that is before us. It's getting harder and harder to remember the days when family gatherings were filled with only love and laughter, when deep pain did not enter into the mix... I want those days back, except under the smiling, laughing exteriors lay a pain not all of us knew, and so I don't really want them back at all. It is my deepest hope that one day true and lasting healing will come and our family, though scarred from the battle, will be able to gather in love and harmony. It is a lot to ask and so simple at the same time.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Feeling Sad

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. ‘The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Undocumented immigration has names and faces. It hits too close to home because the orchards surrounding our homes and towns are full of people who come here looking for a better life and a chance at hope. They have wanted(and still want) a brighter future for themselves and their children. They want to live, to work, and to spend time with their families without fear of sudden imprisonment and deportation. I can not imagine living with that kind of fear day after day, but I know some who do, and some who have.

One of those I know has been sent home. No chance to hug his wife or children. No chance to hold his mother or shake his father's hand. No kiss on the cheek, no wave of the hand... No goodbyes, and certainly no "See you laters."

It's a whole lot harder when it touches the ones we love, and it's a whole lot harder when you know there wasn't any choice other than to be undocumented. When every avenue has been exhausted people resort to desperate measures, even if they know it comes with great risks. Sometimes hope is a carrot dangled just out of reach.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 
“He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 
“Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Not only do I miss taking pictures, but I miss blogging. Nothing proves this more than reading posts of the past. (Like this one and this one.) It's a different season. Some nights I sit and stare at the screen but instead of a smooth flow, the words are stuck in a bottleneck. Remember wanting to cry as a child, but rather than tears flowing a lump grew hard and painful in your throat? It's kind of like that...

I am making new discoveries about myself and those I love, struggling to heal and grow, and learning to live life differently from the past. It's almost like learning to play a new game, except it's real life instead.

"Are you afraid of silence?" he asked. I wasn't sure how to answer. I wanted to say no, but it wasn't totally true. Sometimes I find myself rambling in order to fill up the uncomfortable chasm of silence, but I'm not entirely certain if I am trying to relieve my own discomfort or the perceived discomfort of another party. Can I sit in the silence and hear what it is telling me? Can I let silence do its work?

He gave me a writing assignment two weeks ago. I didn't know why he suggested it, but I complied. I found the task interesting once I got started. Words and thoughts began to accumulate and I found myself begin to smile at the ease of their flow. Therapeutic, even though I didn't understand its purpose. Now that I understand, I read it in a new light and it is therapeutic all over again. Perhaps that is why I go back and reread blogs too. They give me a glimpse into my heart; my own thoughts teaching me about myself.

I am sad but not without joy, contemplative but not without hope. I am growing in ways I never imagined or would have chosen, but I know God has a plan and He is working it out in me and in the lives of those I love. Life will be different because God is in the business of change. I only need trust and keep stepping forward.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bits and Pieces

* "Trust."  That was the topic drawn from the box last night. Thought provoking... I searched "trust" on my own blog and came up with this old post. (here) It holds true today.

* My wheel thrown pottery class is almost done. Saturday I put the finishing touches on my last pieces to be fired. They will need to be glazed and then I can bring them home. What will I do next? I have an idea or two.

* I miss my camera. I take it to work with me, just in case I find anything interesting along the way, providing it's light enough out to capture an image, but using it isn't happening much. I am savoring the images of yesteryear that pop up on my computer..

* I am learning and growing. Learning and growing is hard.

* We have new carpet in the back room at Hannah's house. It's warm and cozy.

* It's almost Thanksgiving. We get an extra long weekend, and now that I've been at the daycare for six months, I get paid for it. (Watch me do a dance!) If I am approved, I will be taking the following Monday as well, because my Minnesota family will be here.

* It's cold outside.

* I have a Christmas tree in my room. Just because. And I like it.

* I smell something yummy baking. Except it's really just the empty bowl I ate my Pumpkin Spice Cheerios from. It's making me hungry again.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When Winter Kisses Autum

"When winter kisses autumn..." That's what Bethany called it.

We woke up to snow yesterday morning. And bitter cold. The temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight and left us scrambling for mittens and snow scrapers. I wanted my own photo memory but the back of my camera flashed "change battery pack" and I couldn't find the backup pack at the time, so I am stealing a picture from that sweet daughter of mine.

Today is Veteran's Day and also the 24th anniversary of my sweet, chubby cheeked baby's birth. He is all as sweet today as he was when he made his arrival, but not quite so chubby in the cheeks.  His apple pie is in the oven and the house smells yummy. Later today we will meet at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and I will buy him a dinner and deliver his pie. I pray he has a super, wonderful, fantastic kind of day.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Benjamin!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

You Can't Win Every Day

It was not a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day or anything, but I did burn the sauce at lunch time and that was not super terrific. It was not a winning lunch, but it was lunch none the less. I didn't hear anyone complain (through the closed kitchen door, exhaust fan running, water gushing...).  Early into the fiasco I decided not to panic. My only choice at saving the lunch was to get the meatballs out of the sauce before the taste of burnt tomatoes permeated everything. Perhaps I succeeded, or perhaps they didn't know the difference. One great failure out of the last couple months is  not so very bad, right?

The morning started cold and frosty. Had to let the engine run a little to defrost my windshield and took s few photos while I waited. And a few more on the way to work. They don't do the morning's beauty justice. It was a stunning ride to work. I try to soak it in as I drive.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Aren't They Grand?

I told you that Seven turned three, but did I tell you Nine is one? He loved his cake!

I posted the following on Facebook on October 14. It was a short lived anomaly.

One is nine. 
Two is eight 
Three is seven. 
Four is six. 
Five is five. 
Six is four. 
Seven is three. (Today) 
Eight is two. 
Nine will be one on the 27th. 

One is now ten and our grandchildren begin the ritual of flipping numbers again. Two will be nine in December and this sequence will never happen again quite like it did this year. (Perhaps I am the only one who found it amusing...) Little Wesley, Number Ten, throws the sequence off being just two months younger than Nine, but we don't want to trade him in or anything. He's pretty cool.

Nine had a great little birthday celebration for his first birthday on the 27th of October and had two birthday songs. One sung in English and another in Spanish. How cool is that?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Thankfulness 1

November 1- I am thankful for those crazy, naughty, noisy, sweet, and funny babies at work. I love them all! (Of course, I can't take pictures at work, so you get a couple of my crazy, naughty, noisy, sweet and funny grandchildren instead. Numbers Eight and Nine, in case you were wondering.)

These are the ages of the little ones in our infant rooms, anywhere from a few months to a year and a half. They require a large helping of patience, several doses of love and affection, with a generous sprinkling of humor. Mix in lots of patience and understanding and the result will be noting short of a treat. Those little people almost always leave me smiling even when they pitch their food on the floor, writhe in a fit of temper, or leave something ghastly on my clothing. I am wired to love little one. I simply can't help myself.