Friday, November 30, 2018

Work, Snow, and Deer on the Highway

I thoroughly enjoyed the long Thanksgiving holiday. It was a true long weekend and a much needed break from my usual daily routine. It was also good to get back to work again.

I'm not entirely sure when things just clicked into place for me, but sometime in the past year I began to feel much more comfortable in my own skin. I'm not fearful and uneasy at my job, and I get along, for the most part, with my coworkers. Some better than others, of course. And the little people look for me every day, even the naughty ones.

I talked with my son Jim in Minnesota on my lunch break Wednesday. I wanted to hear his voice and ask him about the new baby and so I called him. After I hung up I got the crazy idea to tell my boss I'd decided to go to Minnesota next week. I went in her office and said, "I decided to go to Minnesota next week." She knew I had a new grandbaby. She was also reeling from several lost employees. It was a terrible time for me to be asking for a vacation and I knew that. She stared at me but her expression never changed. I waited for her to say something, but only for a few seconds. I didn't really want to torment her... Ha ha! "Not really," I told her, "I'm not really going to Minnesota." She looked absolutely relieved and then said, "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO? GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK!?"

Wednesday morning brought a cute little snowstorm. Driving was just slightly treacherous. I drove slow and careful, and wouldn't you know it? Two deer ran out in front of me as I was making my way down a dark, snowy road. They are some crazy animals! I breathed a sigh of relief as they ran off into the woods.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Welcome to the World, Number 11

He made his arrival last evening. I'm not sure what time it was, but his daddy replied to my inquiring text with, "He's here!" That's all I wanted to know before I closed my eyes for the night. My little grandson was safely nestled in his parents' arms. I'd prayed all day long and my prayer had been answered.

Parker. His name is Parker. I have to post borrowed photos, beautiful borrowed photos, because he is too far away for me to visit right now. I am thankful for this internet connection that allows me to share in the celebration of his arrival. I heard my son cried. They waited so long and tried so hard for this child. Three tiny angels wait for them in heaven... and this little one is here. We are incredibly blessed! I can hardly wait until spring.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thinking Different

It's been an emotional day. They come in waves and today it just washed over me. I savored baby hugs and remembered to be grateful for the little ones who grace my days, and clothing, with slobbery kisses, boogers, and spit-up. Oh, the little arms wrapped around me and the little heads upon my shoulder! Such a healing balm!

I rearranged my room over vacation. The spindly headboard prohibited me from pushing the bed against the wall, and so I decided to think a little differently. I pulled the mattress off on the floor, took the frame apart, and turned the bed around. Once it was headed the opposite direction, I hauled the mattress back onto the frame. Now I can have the bed closer to the wall, and while the headboard is now the footboard, I'm liking the arrangement. It kind of cozy-like.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Night

It's Sunday night. I'd intended to visit the pottery studio today, but once I got home after church, I did not venture out again. It's been a nice long weekend and I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow. Back to my little friends. My friend Jojo is already looking for me. When his mommy told him tomorrow is a school day, he said my name "clear as day," she said. I do love that little guy!

I've had fun building marble chutes with Number Nine the past couple days. They aren't terribly stable, and the marbles are plastic, but they're still fun. I could sit and watch for  a very long time, especially if the marbles are glass. An old fashioned stress reliever of sorts. Maybe I need one in my bedroom, just for those desperate moments when I need a bit of "marble therapy." Ha ha!

And here is the wreath Tom and I made yesterday. It's brightening up our garage door and looking festive. I searched Hobby Lobby for a hanger yesterday and just missed the display by giving up and turning down another aisle. I wandered the store picking up several thing I didn't need and finally asked a young, handsome employee who was more than happy to help. (Thanks, Kyle.)

The Barn Collective

Sometimes I take Tom's advice and have my camera along for the ride. Two autumn barns, the first one the way home to Williamson a several weeks ago, and the other on my way back to Webster after church. Love the barns, love the colors!

Winter is settling in. Here's hoping for a few good weekends, camera in hand, to catch a few great winter barn photos.

Come on over to Tom's and have a cup of tea.

(Tom, I really had no idea what your place looked like when I invited everyone over for the barn dance. I was just having fun. Thank you for giving me a bit of your time yesterday, the wreath is beautiful!, and for all you words of encouragement and gentle rebukes these past couple of years. )

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving. Last night I made pumpkin pies... I stirred up our favorite pumpkin custard filling and poured it into frozen store bought shells. It felt a little like cheating, but the effort didn't generate undue stress and the result is quite tasty. I know this because I had a slice of pie for breakfast this morning, along with a nice little cup of coffee. (I'm trying the Oreo creamer...)

This will go down as "The Year Without Salads." as for some strange and suspicious reason the entire country has been advised to trash any and all Romaine lettuce. Is this some kind of secret, concerted effort to shut down the salad industry? Is every lettuce leaf contaminated with e-coli? Is the iceberg variety launching a campaign? What will happen if I eat it anyway, and why do I need to disinfect my refrigerator? That lettuce is in a bag. Is this some kind of weird test to see just how much control the media has over our lives?  Who knows...

Bethany and Adam are hosting this year. It is sure to be delicious and I will need to find some salads to eat between now and the New Year. Oh, wait!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bits and Pieces

* Winter arrived rather abruptly. Rather than gentle flurries, we had a winter storm warning Thursday evening, and a handful of school closings on Friday. I wonder if this means we'll have a deep, white Christmas.

* Number 11 is still tucked safely inside. He isn't really due for another week so there's no hurry for him to get here before Thanksgiving.

* There were several things I wanted to do this weekend that I didn't get to do. One was to make a Christmas wreath with a blogger friend. It kills me when I have to cancel an outing, and I'm still disappointed in not being able to be there. :(

* I stopped at the pottery studio after church this morning and found a couple of bowls on the glazed shelf. A few other projects are in the bisque kiln, and I hope to find them ready to glaze on Tuesday night. A piece of me wanted to hang out at the studio today, but another piece was not relaxed enough to sit, so I didn't stay.

* We are celebrating Thanksgiving at Bethany's house this year. I have to work Wednesday and so have opted to buy pie crusts and fill and bake them after work that evening. Trying to keep the stress level manageable...

* I'm ready to step into the Christmas season. My little tree is set up and lit, and I've collected up a few trinkets to pass along to my grandkids. Another attempt at keeping stress under control.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve

Seven, Nine, and Ten played together this evening. While Nine knows me well, I seldom see the other two. In spite of that, Little Number Ten did take a few minutes to sit on my lap for a bit of snuggling. I soaked it in, deep into my heart, because I want to remember the feeling of a small Number Ten in my arms.

Grandchild Eleven is due to arrive any day now. I am just waiting for the call. Another Minnesota grandson. I won't be there to witness his birth, visit him in the hospital, or hold him while he's newborn. It isn't likely I'll visit Minneapolis in the winter, but I am looking forward to spring and meeting this new grandson of mine. I am thankful for the internet and photographs, even though it isn't nearly the same as being there.

Number Twelve is on the way too. Our next grandbaby will make its arrival in early summer. I predict a girl because all family patterns will be shattered if it turns out to be a boy. This little one already has two big brothers, and our family pattern is boy, boy, girl. If that wasn't enough, we've established a bit of a grandchild pattern as well. So far it's gone like this- boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, boy, boy. So as you can plainly see, a girl is next in line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


We woke up to snow covered roads and cars this morning. Good thing that snow brush/scraper was still between the back seats, because I needed it to clean all the snow off my vehicle and scrape the ice off the windshield. The roads were slick and I'm not entirely comfortable with my tires, but I managed to arrive at work on time and only did a little sliding in the circle of the parking lot.

I'm borrowing a picture tonight...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

*  It was an entirely too emotional weekend. It was also entirely too short.Weekends usually are too short. They are not always entirely too emotional.

* I set up my little Christmas tree on Sunday (or maybe it was Saturday...). Just because.

* I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I'm feeling very sleepy. I think the bitter, cold wind sucked all the energy right out of me.

Friday, November 09, 2018


I should have checked the forecast instead of leaving home without my sweatshirt layered under my jacket this morning. And I probably should start packing my gloves too.

Yesterday was not too bad...

But today was a little bit nippy. Pretty, but nippy. I decided to go back inside to the break room rather than shiver in my car.


 I have decided being mom to seven grown up kids is a harder job than being mom to seven not-grown-up kids. I keep misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misjudging actions and expectations. It never ends. It is, quite honestly, exhausting. Miscommunication is a lot like a pile of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk, the one never seen until it's too late. Hopefully I realize it's there before it gets tracked inside and is traced back to my shoes, but most likely I won't. Instead I'll be left feverishly attempting to get not only the stain, but also the stink, out of the carpet. Fun times. Not.

It's not the first time, just one in a never ending line.

Thursday, November 08, 2018


This week I received a text from a former coworker telling me the daycare where she now works is looking for a cook. Apparently they are desperate to find one. They will pay up to $--/an hour which is a couple more dollars an hour than I am making now. The only problem is, I don't want a different job. I like the one I have.

A year and a half ago I was fearful and uncertain. I knew I loved working with children, but it was a strange, new environment. Not everyone was friendly and "official" daycare centers are run totally different than how I ran my little in-home daycare. So many rules and regulations to remember. So many records to keep. So many little faces. So many people watching and scrutinizing. I didn't apply at the center to be the cook, but God knew best, and guess who made the yummiest Curly Lasagna for lunch today?

Today I am comfortable at work. I spend up to 42 hours a week working there, plus 5 hours on lunch breaks, and another 5 hours driving there and home again. I look forward to seeing my little friends each day, and they look forward to seeing me. In an environment of almost constant change, I am now a constant, familiar face. I am making a difference one hug at a time and I'm not about to start all over again somewhere new, even if I do appreciate the offer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Into the Unknown...

I don't know exactly where I'm headed, but I know Who lights the path. It's not possible to see all the way down the road today because there are curves, hills, and obstacles blocking the view. I know that is intentional. Trusting God is about not being able to see too far ahead... and following anyway. It means following even when I know others will not understand, and even when I know they will misjudge me and my intentions. It means going where He leads even when it is hard and uncomfortable. It means I may not fully understand either.

When all is said and done, I pray my kids and grandkids will be able to trust my heart and the choices I am making. I pray they will know there are boundaries and consequences in life, and that upholding boundaries is often just as hard for the one upholding them. I pray we all remember that each of us reaps what we have sown. I pray they will know there is forgiveness, and deep and abiding love, even in the midst of pain and brokenness. I pray we will continue to heal as a family, because we are broken in so very many ways... And I pray the grace of God and his abiding love will shine through even in what feels like the darkest of days. I pray I do not let go of His Hand or wander from the path, and that He continues to carry me though times when I can't go on myself.

Life is fraught with pain, but there is also joy. I am thankful for those who have prayed, and continue to pray for each and every one of us. I am thankful for my new church and those who are loving and encouraging me, and I am thankful for our old church and those who surround the Cabinet Maker with love and prayers. I am thankful for my parents and their investment in our life, for the example they were, and the prayers they lifted heavenward for each of us. I am blessed and thankful that God loves me, James, and our children more than either of us ever could, and that He is with them, hearing our prayers and working on their behalf. I could wallow in regret over the past, but today I choose to be grateful for all the good in our lives rather than to focus on the ugly. I choose to let Jesus redeem what is broken in His time and His way, because His ways are better. Thank you to each and every one of you who is praying for us. We need those prayers more than you can imagine.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Can't Beat That!

It was crisp, cold, and sunny! A perfect autumn day. My friend Laura met me for church this morning and we went out to breakfast afterward. I had my favorite stuffed French toast at The Golden Boys diner and she had Eggs Benedict with home fries. It was a long, leisurely meal. Neither one of us was in a hurry and so we each just enjoyed the other's company and conversation.

After breakfast we donned our sneakers (tennis shoes) and warm jackets, and met Rachel for an autumn walk. I won't bother telling you how she said she'd meet us at Abraham Lincoln Park and then called to ask where we were when she was down the road at Lucien Morin Park... We decided to drive down the hill to the end of the bay and meet her there.

We climbed hills, walked the edge of small cliffs, and tripped over roots, taking in the beauty of late autumn with both eye and lens. I was surprised at how much energy I felt along the way. We'd walked quite a distance before deciding to turn around and go back the way we'd come, as the trail was not the looping kind.

The walk back was decidedly more strenuous, with more uphill climbs, and both Laura and I found ourselves talking less and breathing more. It was a wonderful afternoon. By the time I got home and sat on the couch for a bit, my eyes were heavy and all I wanted to do was tip over and close them for a bit. So I did.

The weekend is over already. Half of it was dark, dreary, and wet, but both days were full and satisfying. Tomorrow I will return to my job of loving little ones and doing my utmost to make their days a little brighter and a little yummier. And what do you know? It should be a tad lighter when I step out the door in the morning.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Just a Little More Rain

Still raining, at least most of the day. The fall colors are suddenly brilliant, albeit wet. Tomorrow is expected to be drier, but overcast. Overcast is good for pictures. Today was good too, as long as I stayed in the car.

For the second time in the past few months, I got up, showered, got ready, and headed off to the counselor only to realize, before going in the building, that my appointment wasn't until the following week. Silly me. Ah well, I was not embarrassed by actually going inside and waiting only to be told I wasn't in the computer.

I ran errands with Hannah this morning and paid off a chunk of my loan for the new roof. That feels good. I have a long way to go, but I know I'll get there. In the mean time I'm still enjoying the peace of mind I have every time it starts pouring. I can't imagine the mess we'd have in the living room if it hadn't been done. I thank God every time it rains.

I vacillated between taking a nap or going to the pottery studio this afternoon. The studio won and I went in for about an hour. Finished up a music box I've been working on. Maybe next time I'll get it into the kiln room. I'm hoping everything stays in place and the figure on the lid doesn't break. So far, so good.

While glancing at the work on the finished glaze shelf, I spotted a familiar looking piece. I knew it was missing but had begun to wonder if I'd taken it home before we tore the roof apart and perhaps it was lost in the attic. Nope. There it was sporting a different color than I'd remembered glazing it. That could account quite well for why I'd missed it every other time. Or maybe those pottery fairies really do exist and they just returned it to the shelf last night...

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Rain on My Roof

It's been raining for days. Pouring rain. It may be cold and wet outside, but our house is warm and dry. The roof doesn't leak and I can sleep tonight knowing there is no water dripping thought the beams and into the living room. The carpet will stay dry and I can rest easy listening to the drumming rain on the roof. If I am counting things to be thankful for this November, I will begin with my new roof, and continue with being thankful that God is providing.

I am hoping there will be a reprieve in the rain over the weekend. I want to go outside and play.