Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Folding Up 2019

I'm spending this New Year's Eve alone. I did get an invitation to Ovid from my sister Priscilla, but the weather looked formidable and my body was tired and achy. Inside I desperately wanted to go, but instead I took two ibuprofen, bought myself a coffee, and headed for home. I could have gone out to Williamson with Hannah and Sergio, she offered, but somehow I felt the need to stay here. My thoughts have vacillated between worry that being alone might make me weepy, and feeling confidently okay with the solitude. Reality has been a little of both, and that's okay.

2019 will be forever remembered as the year I pushed our divorce through. We started mediation with the county in May of 2018, but I honestly didn't have the strength to go through with finality until this past summer. It was something I had to do, not something I wanted.

Ours are issues shrouded in secrecy. I have carried shame on all sides, shame that is not mine to carry, and I have kept secrets too, but my arms are tired... There have been not only boundary crossings, but fences shredded, ... and family members along with them. Abuse is ugly and I am finally drawing the line. Maybe in many ways it's too late, but I still have to do it. It is imperative. And it has been excruciating.

Thankfully, I have a God and Savior who has never left me alone. He has not only preserved my parents' home as a refuge for me, but He gave me a song to drive the point home (Who You Say I Am). He has answered my prayers, lavished affection upon me in the form of little children, and provided for all my needs. My heart aches, but I know He loves me. He loves all of us.

It has been a hard year, but a good year as well. I am finding a new freedom in being me, and I'm learning to love the me I am.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Welcome, Number 13!

He's here! Becoming a grandma is amazing each and every time. Minnesota feels far away tonight...

Welcome to the world, Jonah. I can't wait to meet you.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

And So It Was Christmas

It came. Christmas came. And it was nice.

I attended the Christmas Eve service at my own church this year. My son Joe came along, and my son Ben met us there. After the service my daughter Bethany found us in the church foyer. She had been there too. Had Number Nine not been running a low grade fever after his nap, Hannah and Sergio might have come along. Even the thought of having four of my seven there makes me feel blessed.

Less than two weeks ago I was worried about being alone on Christmas, but God had other plans. He intended this to be the gathering spot today. I thought maybe the house was too small for the entire family, and then I remembered days of childhood when the house was filled to overflowing, and so we filled it up again.

I brought all my Christmas decorations back downstairs and stretched the dining room enough to fit four extra table leaves. The afternoon was spent conversing, playing video games, and eating goodies and appetizers. Toward dinner time Sergio's family came and we shared a meal of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and bread. There were twenty for dinner, although two small boys decided not to eat. We even had leftovers.

After dinner there was pie. If there is pie, it must be eaten... And then, when some of the company had said their goodbyes and headed out the door, the rest of us settled down in the living room to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol; Beth and Josh, Josiah, Ben, Hannah and Sergio, me, and James. And it was nice.

Monday, December 23, 2019

So Yeah...

Quite often I start to write and the effort comes to nothing. The past weekend a persistent headache dogged my days rendering my thoughts jumbled and tired. I even went to sleep in the backseat of my sister's car on our visit to see our brother Tim. Back home I flopped over on the couch and slept some more. The suspected headache inducer? A favorite flavored coffee. I get a headache every time I drink it but it's taken this long, and a suggestion from a friend, to help me realize the throbbing of my head likely has little to do with caffeine, or the lack thereof, and most probably some other random ingredient. Thankfully, the headache has subsided.

On Saturday I was introduced to a short essay called "Welcome to Holland." It was written by a woman trying to help others understand what it is like to raise a child with Down's Syndrome, but the friend who shared with me was sharing for different, but similar purpose. Life doesn't always bring about the result we have planned, but that does not mean we can not find joy in where we find ourselves. I am chewing, chewing, chewing...

An long time friend invited me to a gingerbread house building party on Sunday afternoon. I cheated and took a pre-built kit from Walmart and added my own touches. It was a pleasant afternoon getting reacquainted with her daughter and meeting several new people. I left my house there for her to enjoy and brought home pictures instead.

I went to work late this morning and came home early. This is the way of the daycare during the holidays. The weather is almost balmy. If I had a dog and an orchard nearby, I just might go for a walk.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Snowy Roads and a Late Start

I woke up on time this morning, but somehow left the house later than usual. It was just a few minutes later, but the roads were snow covered and it was still dark. I swept the snow off my already warmed up car, headed out and immediately caught two red lights. About five minutes into my drive I came up behind a CDS Monarch van traveling anywhere between 20 and 30 miles an hour. I prayed it wouldn't turn from Plank Rd onto Salt, but it did. I hoped against the odds that it would turn onto Atlantic Avenue, but it didn't. I was quite relieved when it finally turned onto Penfield Rd. and was going the opposite direction than me.

I made decent time driving down Gananda Parkway, and a good portion of the way down Canandaigua Rd as well, but just before I reached the junction with 31F another very cautious driver blocked my way. I was slightly impatient, but only because I knew I was destined to be late for work, and I hate being late. I realize there are a myriad of reasons for drivers to travel under the speed limit, especially in poor weather conditions. Tires and experience in the snow are just two of them.

I waited, mumbling a little bit under my breath, as I waited for Mr Sporty-Looking Car to cross the intersection. He was so very careful about crossing that I knew the double hill ahead might pose a challenge for him (or her). The brake lights lit up multiple times on the way down the hill and I couldn't help thinking how he was going to need that momentum to climb the hill on the other side... I was not wrong. He was losing speed as he went. "Don't slow down!" I instructed, but he paid me no mind.

Not far from the crest of the hill his tires began to spin and he came to a stop. I had to think fast as I did not have any way to help and did not want to become stuck on the hill myself. I peered into the darkness to his left and prayed no one was coming up the road on the other side, then I drove on past as did at least two people behind me. A short distance down the road I passed a semi headed his direction, flashed a warning with my high beams, and continued on to work. I was seven minutes late.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Little Christmas, Perhaps

Another weekend is coming to an end. Less than two weeks' time remains until Christmas. Today found me more than a bit terrified of the holiday that in the past has meant so much to us as a family. There have been difficult Christmases in the past, but this one was feeling difficult in an entirely new way. Friends have begun to ask what I'm doing, and I had no answer. Who would pick up the reins and host our family Christmas?

In all honesty, I had begun to think all of my kids had plans that simply didn't include me, and then another thought occurred. Maybe they didn't know what to do either. With the farm sold our usual gathering place is non-existent. Bethany hosted Thanksgiving and she is tired and pregnant, two of my boys are single and living in apartments, another is going to his in laws (I assume). Jim lives out of state, and Hannah may be going out of state. (She won't know for another few days.) That leave one other son with a very small dwelling, or James, whose apartment probably can't accommodate the whole family. Perhaps I wasn't being left out at all. Maybe nobody knew what to do... So today, while a friend at church prayed for me to connect with my two single boys, I connected with the whole family instead.

I am formulating a plan, simple plan. Maybe simple foods and a movie, or a puzzle for those so inclined. And those Christmas books I haven't yet wrapped for the grandkids. I don't want any of my family to spend Christmas alone, and I don't want to be alone either.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Dark, frigid mornings result in an overwhelming desire to delay dragging myself out of bed and down to the shower. As much as I love my job, and deem it worthy of every effort, I long for more than long days in a daycare center and busy weekends...

Last night found me at the pottery studio once again. There I found two friends, both glazing their work, and I had come to do the same. I glazed several figures I'd sculpted before Thanksgiving. On the finished glaze shelf was a piece glazed a week ago. I was less than pleased with how the glaze fired and found myself inspired to call it "Disappointment". In reality, disappointment is an understatement. Devastated is more accurate descriptor, though that has nothing to do with the glaze.

Someone who loves me relayed their hope that I would be able to find my "new normal" but I had just endured a weekend of emotional upheaval and the exchange was too much to bear. I couldn't stop the torrent of tears. My heart was broken all over again. If I had only myself to think of the pain might still be unbearable, but I have seven children, five with spouses, and a dozen (and more) grandchildren. How and where do I find a "new" normal when I'm not even sure what normal is?

On the other side of darkness is the light. When I came to live with my daughter and her family in my childhood home, I felt alone and out of place. It's taken two years, a few pieces of heirloom furniture, and some bright autumn colors to lure me out of hiding. I don't spend every evening alone in my attic bedroom anymore, conversation with Sergio comes easier, and the place I've always known as home feels like it again.

I don't know if life will ever feel normal. Then again, perhaps there is an adventure awaiting. Maybe. Well, .... there could be.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

See My Muscles?

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Isn't that what they say?

It was a rough couple of weeks. Run-ins with friends and family, communication gaps, and "normal" everyday stress. Tears were abundant for a stretch of time, angry words spewed forth, and exhaustion ensued, yet through all of this God has never left my side. Not even for a minute. He still has me exactly where He wants me and once I make it to the other side, I actually feel stronger than when I went into the trial. I know there will be more struggles to come, more hard times to endure, and more tears, but I know His hand will still be holding me.

I practiced a bit of "retail therapy" these past couple of weeks... You might think I'm shopping for my grandkids, but I'm not. They have everything they need and I either don't know what they want, or can't afford it. I am taking care of Martha and I only feel a little selfish.

I am running sleep deprived, mostly because I stay up too late at night, but also because I slept so very little one night this past week. I had a phone call to make and the knowledge of that necessity was stressing me out. I didn't toss and turn thinking about that in particular, or even wake up with it consuming my thoughts, but the tightening of my stomach clued me in to the reality. Realizing the problem helped me sleep a bit better from Tuesday into Wednesday, and on Wednesday I placed the call. It was stressful, but not as stressful as I had imagined.

I have decided most weekends are far too short. Ha ha! What am I talking about? I love my job! I just don't want to get out of bed in the morning.

Thursday, December 05, 2019


Wanting to write and finding words to pen are two entirely different things.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

That is That

Saturday I had plans. I was overwhelmed. I changed my plans. I felt bad backing out. I hate cancelling. But I had to do it. :(

My boss sent me a text mid morning. Her boyfriend was advising I get my snow tires put on my car as soon as possible. (I've been carrying them around in my car since the early November snowfall.) I got it done and the icy snow of today didn't keep me home from church this morning or away from a funeral this afternoon. We're expecting m ore snow overnight. I will extra grateful for snow tires on my way to work tomorrow morning, and my boss will be happy I have them too.

Last night I had some visitors. I haven't seen my friend Lori in many, many years. She was in town for the day and was able to make a short stop with her husband last night.What a blessing it is to reconnect with old friends!

The long weekend is over. It's back to work and my little friends tomorrow. What could be better (aside from staying home some more)?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

At this moment last Sunday feels like a millennia away even though it's been less than a week. Honestly, on the Friday following Thanksgiving, everything feels a millennia away. Friends were scheduled to visit, but early this afternoon they cancelled due to a family emergency. I had a headache and decided to drink a glass of water, take some ibuprofen, and lay down for a nap, and that's okay.

The past week has been laced with emotional episodes. God knows I can't just sit home for a day... (*cough, cough*) I'm coming to a realization here... Could it be God just wanted me to stay home today? And do nothing? Do you think He would mind if I sneak out tonight for a little while? Or should I take a melatonin and go to bed early?

Thanksgiving was loud and busy, just like one would expect when the house is full of children. We had all the best vegetable dishes (green bean casserole, candied carrots, sweet and sour red cabbage, squash, sweet potatoes) save one. There was no corn casserole this year. (Yes, I noticed.) Seven grandkids bounced about the kitchen and another, a little more grown up now, hung around to watch football with the guys. I forgot to take pictures until dinner was over and by then the kids had disappeared downstairs to the basement.

It seemed the day flew by much too fast. I ate way too much, even went off my new "eating plan" for the day, and went home uncomfortably full. (That is not my belly.)

 I did not-much-of-anything today, but I do have plans for tomorrow. Another friend is supposed to visit in the afternoon. I haven't seen her for years. Once upon a time her two year old and I were the best of friends. Now he's nineteen years old.

It's been a week of hard lessons. There have been tears, but through it all I know God is working something bigger than I can see or understand. He is good and I am thankful.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Every Day's an Adventure

I went out the door this morning only to discover my car was deader than a door nail. Had to open the door with my key, and then found the driver's side was the only door I could unlock. The battery was so dead that the power locks wouldn't work. I might have a jumper cable in the back of the car, but if I do it is buried underneath my snow tires (Nope, they're not on the car yet.) which were locked in the back of the car. I am grateful for my son in law who came out to help me jump start my vehicle with his own jumper cables. What would I do without him? (Probably miss church while waiting for Triple A to show up.)

I knew the battery probably wouldn't be charged well enough by the time I got to church, but I parked anyway and went inside, already late for the service. Probably should have backed into the space or pulled all the way through... When I came out to start it up after church it went "rrr" when I turned the key, but the battery didn't have enough juice to turn the engine over. I can't say I was terribly surprised, just somewhat inconvenienced.

My sister Rachel and her husband were still at church in a class. I knew Dave could help me when Sunday school was over, so I went back inside. I don't know the mind of God or what He is up to, but things did not go well inside... Or maybe they went exactly as they were supposed to. I guess only time will tell...

The perfect storm had been brewing. It started last Sunday when the leader who asked me to leave the CR Step Study back in April interrupted my conversation with a former CoDA friend, sent her to do a job, and then gave me a trite apology. Storm clouds gathered yesterday morning when I met an old homeschooling mom friend for lunch. She mentioned possibly going to Celebrate Recovery and I told her not to go to the one at my church. Thunder rumbled when a short time later I ran into one of my former CR Step Study members in the grocery store and felt the all too familiar unease that often comes when I stop to talk with someone from the group. A stiff wind blew this morning when I returned to the church lobby and ran into the CR leader again. She gave me another apology for interrupting last week and said "I didn't realize you were deep in conversation," but her apology sounded far from sincere.

I'm not even sure how it happened, but all the pent up anger over what happened back in April and the distance I now feel from former friends came rushing out. "I'm sorry you feel that way," she said and I found myself feeling invalidated and even more angry. There were words. Loud words.

The storm has dissipated now, although I still hear thunder in the distance. The air feels cold and damp. I know God is still here beside me and that He loves me. Maybe there is something for which I need to ask His forgiveness in all of this, but tonight I don't know what it is. I only know He put me exactly where He wanted me to be. He let things appear a little out of control, and then put a familiar person there to help settle my heart and thoughts. This person listened to my heart's cry and said, "I wish I knew what to say..." and you know, that meant a lot because she took the time to listen even though she didn't know how to help.

And then Rachel and Dave came out of Sunday school. Dave helped me jump start my car and we stopped at Walmart and bought the very last battery that fit my car and he changed it for me while Rachel and I went to visit our Brother Tim.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Bits and Pieces

It's late and I have to get up early again tomorrow, but it's been a week since I've posted anything so here I am.

* After not spending any time at the pottery studio for several weeks, I have now been thrice in less than one. I met a friend there on Friday evening and spent 3 hours playing with the clay I'd wedged up two weeks ago. I'm sculpting figures again. On Monday I stopped quick to uncover my work so it could dry completely, and tonight I made a return trip to play in the mud some more. My friend Myung was there again, and some other familiar faces as well. It was nice to see my friend Ginger who I haven't seen there in a very long time. In January I start a new hand building class and will make some more friends.

* I was slightly under the weather this past weekend, and after meeting my friend Laura for breakfast after church on Sunday morning, I went home to take a nap. I slept a whole 2 1/2 hours and then went to bed early to boot. I was asleep well before Idris. And then I beat him into bed again on Monday night. By Tuesday morning I was feeling all rested and well again.

*  I finished reading a book on Friday night. It took me a couple of weeks, but I can finally say I read the book I bought over a year ago and left on my shelf. It was just too much information to absorb at the time. The Body Keeps the Score is not an especially easy read, but it is full of fascinating information. I'm still digesting much of it, and starting a new book as well. Going with something different this time, but yet another book I purchased and left (mostly) unread. Desiring God by John Piper was recommended by a friend years ago. Perhaps my concentration has been off for that long...? Anyway, I am making a valiant attempt to use some of my downtime at work in a more constructive manner. While babies sleep, if they sleep, and all sleep at once, I read.

* Hannah and I took Idris down to the bay to feed the birds just before dark on Saturday evening. No bread, just a bag of canned corn. The seagulls were happy with our offering and the child was thrilled to feed the birds. I was happy to take pictures of my grandson and his mom doing what I used to do with my kids not so very long ago.

* The past couple weeks have been emotional. The book I read was difficult in ways I wasn't expecting. Although I am in a healthier spot emotionally than I was a few years back, I can still find the wind knocked out of me every once in a while. Sometimes the drive to work is teary as I continue to work through hard stuff and as I watch my family work through hard stuff as well.

* Thanksgiving is almost here. Bethany is hosting as well as Sabrina. I will be taking pumpkin pies to Beth's house and eating dinner there, and making a visit to Nate and Sabrina later in the evening. I am looking forward to the long weekend off work. Four day weekends are unheard of at the daycare, unless it's Thanksgiving, which makes Thanksgiving a little like Christmas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces because that's all I can do tonight.

* It's been a cold, snowy run of days. Last night I went home feeling slightly off, climbed the steps early, and turned the light out before 8 pm. I must have needed the rest because aside from getting up to use the bathroom, I slept all night.

* "Weird." That was the topic of conversation in the kitchen at work today, and I said, "Life feels weird. Not here at work, but outside of here life feels weird." And Kristie said, "It won't always feel that way." Perhaps one day life will normalize, but that day is hard to imagine. It seems as if life will always and forever be weird.

* The "D" Word. I thought it would never apply to me, but here it is stuck on my coat. "Divorced" I always thought it an ugly word, and in so many ways it is, but it feels all the uglier because I always hear my mother's words echoing through my thoughts. "God hates divorce." But does he? Is it divorce itself God hates? Or is it the events that lead us to divorce? I pushed it through, and life is weird. *sigh*

* Little arms reaching. Lots of them. They are looking for hugs. All those little arms, and how can I say no? They need hugs and I need them too. "Me! Me!" called one small child as she put her arms in the air. They are hungry for not only the food I bring, but the love. Oh, how I hate telling them I have to go make lunch or wash the dishes.

* The house was quiet and empty when I came home tonight. I considered going out to the pottery studio, but stayed here instead. I found a message from a pottery friend on Facebook. Someone looking to know when I might be there as she doesn't like to be there all alone on the weekend. And then, I signed up for another hand building class because I do not like being alone either. Friday nights from January through March. Eight weeks of mud therapy. Just what I need.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Short Day

It was a short day at work, but not necessarily because of the weather.

Monday, Veteran's Day, and a snowstorm combined for a rather slow day at the daycare. We had a grand total of about 25 children, less than half our usual amount, and it was hot dog day. I went from worrying we wouldn't have enough hot dogs (there were forty) to having more than enough. We could have fed the entire staff and all the kids.

By 12:30 pm I had already cleaned up lunch, loaded the dishwasher, and set out afternoon snacks. Before punching out for the day I gave the two remaining baby teachers a potty break. I left my garbage bag in the trash can with the idea it might be needed since the center wouldn't close for another 5 1/2 hours. Then I set out for home, just as the snow storm started to churn.

At home I emptied the back of my car and lugged my snow tires out of the garage. They are now ballast in the rear end of my vehicle awaiting a break in the storm so they can replace my all season tires. It's nasty driving tonight and likely won't be any better tomorrow morning, but it's still a tad early, according to my BIL, for snow tires. I made it to the chiropractor's office and back tonight. It was good practice for tomorrow's early commute.

PS. Happy 26th to Ben! I love you to the moon and back!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Going to Bed Now

I took my camera along on the drive to work Friday morning and wasn't disappointed. The snow, which had enveloped the world Thursday, was waiting.  The winter-kissed autumn. It was waiting. God saved it for me. :0)

Today is Saturday. I did something different this morning. I dropped my darling daughter off at work and spent the morning with my sweet, "Honey Child," grandson. We had a strawberry/banana smoothie for breakfast and I cleaned the kitchen while he played cars and begged me to play along.

When the kitchen was clean there was laundry to be folded, and stuffed animals to feed. (We found the play food and dishes in the attic where Mommy stashed them one day after he and Jilly played Scatter the Dishes Everywhere.)

I was served ice cream, pancakes, a burger and fries, and a soda. Clear warning was given that my burger was very hot and I must be careful. The animals watched with hungry eyes.

At lunch time I warmed up a leftover daycare English muffin pizza. A real one. I don't always bring food home, but I couldn't stand to throw them out yesterday.

Multiple TicTacs were handed out in the course of the day, one for each time he peed on the potty. (He got three when he pooped.) There were no accidents and I only asked once if he had to go. He was doing a little dancing. But he didn't have to go.

 Tonight I am downstairs, mostly because I am too tired to go upstairs... Hannah and I took Idris out to Christkindl Market in Canandaigua. A brisk walk from the car, and back again, along with some teeth-chattering moments whenever we stepped outside the heated tents, and another freezing walk from the car up Main Street to Simply Crepes, and back again, left all of us feeling weather worn upon our return home. It was a lovely evening.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* Monday was the day I thought I'd slept through Megan's lunch break just to realize I'd never turned the alarm clock in my car back an hour.

* Tuesday morning I climbed into the shower smiling inside because it was already Wednesday... except that it wasn't. My mind caught up with that mistake long before I stepped out of the shower. I have to admit I was a tad disappointed, but only for a moment. I'm not really looking for time to go faster. It's already too fast.

* Wednesday evening I took in a bit of mud therapy. I actually went to the pottery studio and got my hands dirty. I didn't make anything, but I did wedge up a bit of repurposed clay that had been sitting in my bedroom for far too long. It will be ready for me next time.

* Something didn't smell quite right when I climbed into my car this morning. The tea I'd made had a minty aroma and Constant Comment is not mint at all. It was too late to run inside for a different kind so I drank Sleepy Time tea on the way to work. Ha ha! Good thing we have a big pot of coffee in the break room.

* Tonight I enjoyed the company of a few of my kids. We made black bean burgers and, in honor of Ben's up and coming birthday, had a bit of ice cream cake and sang the birthday song. I was blessed to see three of my boys sit on the couch and smile at childhood memories brought back by a cartoon video one of them brought to share.

* Our first snow arrived late this morning as I was visiting the three year old class at the daycare. My friend Addison looked out the window and said it looked like it was snowing. Sure enough! The rain was turning to snow. By the time I went home several hours later the golden world of autumn had been kissed by winter. I didn't have my camera along but I soaked in every beautiful scene along the way.

Monday, November 04, 2019

It's About Time

Keys and clocks. They make life interesting...

I have managed to keep track of my keys since last Monday. No major incidents despite letting Idris carry them around the block on our walk the night before Halloween. Just imagine them being dropped down a storm sewer... or lost in a pile of leaves. Thankfully, that did not happen. So far, so good on the keys.

Sometimes I catch a few minutes of sleep on my lunch break. I keep an alarm clock in my car because once I fell asleep and woke up ten minutes after my break ended. They wondered what had happened to me but in actuality I'd never left the parking lot. Today I turned on my alarm, read a few paragraphs in my book, and then closed my eyes. I was having a dream and woke suddenly. I glanced down at my clock and it read 2:58. Adrenaline shot through my system as I jolted upright! How could I have slept an entire hour and a half? Why didn't my alarm go off? Why didn't someone come outside to find me? Where was Megan? She should have been going on break at 2 pm... And then I looked at my phone... It wasn't even 2 o'clock yet. I'd just forgotten to turn my alarm clock back an hour. I back walked across the parking lot to the building, my heart still pounding.

Daylight Saving Time is over for another year and we are back to Standard Time. This is what the world would look like if we never played "Change the Clocks." Yup, it's getting dark early.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Warming Things Up


We've talked for a while now about how the back room is so dark. It didn't feel dark when I was a child, and even then it had barn boards on the wall. I love the barn boards and really didn't want to take them down. What was so different now from when I was a child? Was it that the trees outside had grown so much taller? Why, although it helped, did the light colored carpet not brighten things up?

On Sunday Rachel and I took our usual drive down back country roads to visit our brother Tim. The sky was overcast, the sun hidden behind a thick layer of cloud, and yet along the way brightly colored leaves lit up the scene. Carpets of gold covered front lawns, fiery torches of red and orange adorned the woods, and it seemed as though the sun was out when in fact it was not... And then I realized something. Perhaps there was a reason for our mother's love of orange and gold.

Dad picked dark colors; barn boards, wood tones, and brown paint. Mom warmed the rooms with colors of autumn. I had resisted "Mom's colors," picking neutral tones instead, while Hannah leaned toward blues and browns. We weren't creating a warm environment at all. My encounter with God's Autumn Paintbrush inspired me to experiment and so I went in search of something to test my theory.

 I bought some orange and yellow pillows at Walmart, and a big bouquet of fake, fall flowers at Hobby Lobby. Just those few items made the room smile. Tonight I perused the aisles at Home Goods and returned with a few more finds. I took the plain beige sheet off the futon and tossed a gold throw over the back. Then I hung a sunflower painting on the wall (It's still in its packaging.), and placed a bright yellow vase on the table. And of course, I turned on all the lights.

It feels like home again. I like it.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Best Candy Ever!

We were MnM's this time. The first photo I wasn't quite ready for, and the second is blurry but I love the little sloth photo bomber. Shhh! Don't tell anyone she's there and maybe they won't notice.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Little Punkins

I received some fabulous hugs from my little friends today. They fill my cup each morning and I am so blessed to have them in my life. My heart hurts when they are sad, especially when one of them is having a difficult time adjusting. So many little people are hurting deep inside but don't have the words or knowledge to share their pain. Sometimes all they can do is cry, and the best I can do is hold them and tell them they are loved. Putting them down and walking away is hard, but I trust that every little word, every smile I give, and every hug will make a difference. I pray deep down inside they will know and remember they are loved.

Tonight our own little guy was having a rough moment. Mom and Dad had run out for a short bit and he was distressed. Nothing I tried worked, so I put his sweatshirt on him and took him out for a walk around the block.
It was a little after 5 pm and overcast. He rustled through piles of leaves and looked at Halloween decorations. We stopped to chat with out backyard neighbor who has the blowup motorcycle guys and by the time we returned home he had regained his composure.

Our Jack O'Lantern pumpkins were waiting for us in the driveway by the side of the house. Idris helped me unlock the door and we carried those pumpkins inside for a bath in the kitchen sink. When Mommy came home we had fun carving them.  Daddy had to run an errand and missed out on the fun, but there are still two pumpkins waiting for him and mommy.

 I hope one day Idris will look back and enjoy the memories of these days as much as my sisters and I still hold the memories of doing things like this with our parents. I love it all, right down to the smell of the pumpkin with a burning candle inside. All those yummy feelings come rushing back and I am a child again...

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bits and Pieces

* This past weekend was rough. Both my women's groups were cancelled the two weeks prior and spent way too many evenings home alone. By Friday evening I was emotionally drained. I should have followed through with my original evening plan to visit the pottery studio, but there were no parking places left on the side street and Monroe Avenue is torn up due to construction.

* I had no Saturday plans, but it was a gorgeous autumn day. My sister Rachel agreed to go out with me for a couple hours even though it was her anniversary. We drove out Lake Rd toward Sodus and along the way I felt the need to drive through the orchard. She asked if we were trespassing and I said, "Yes." She said, "Will we get in trouble?" and I answered, "I never have before." I soaked it in and let it heal a little piece of my heart.

* At Beechwood State Park we ran into some friends of mine and I wasn't even surprised to see them there. They were coming out and we were going in. As we trudged toward the lake, I think Rachel wondered where in the world I was taking her, how far we would walk, and how long it would be until we turned around and headed home.

* I zigzagged down country roads coming home and passed a familiar looking fellow along the way. I rolled down the window to say hello and found that it was not my friend keyRandy from the nursing home, but his partner Dan. He suggested stopping by the house, but Rachel was ready to go home. Maybe I'll stop by next time.

* Sunday was church and Sunday school, a visit to our brother Tim, and a ghost birthday party for Number Nine who just turned three.

* Today I was careful to keep track of my car keys, but even so they were not in my pocket when I walked into the chiropractor's office. I didn't notice until I was on my way back to the room. After I was hooked up to the tens unit, he ran outside to see if he could find them. He found in the ignition with the car doors unlocked. I am totally and hopelessly blond.

* The doctor asked what I was doing this evening and I had no plans. At his suggestion, I stopped on the way home for a few pumpkins to carve into Jack O'Lanterns. It would have been a splendid activity this evening, but Hannah was working. Maybe we can do it tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2019


One of the hardest things is knowing he's lonely too, and still standing my ground...

There are broken pieces inside of me that I am struggling to put back together. Rebuilding is hard. I miss having friends to hang out with and find that I don't know how to make that happen. I know what I'm supposed to do, but the doing feels overwhelming, and it feels like I haven't had a good hard laugh in a long time.

I took the picture from Pinterest. Broken pieces put back together in a new and beautiful order. It didn't happen overnight, and I'm sure they didn't put themselves back together. I am moving forward, I am okay, and God hasn't left me to do this alone.