Monday, August 24, 2020

Late Summer Sunsets

It's harder to think about going back to work on Monday than actually doing it. I had a good day and even worked a full day. Two of my little friends were back for the first time since March.

Tonight I took myself back down to the lake. I told Hannah I need to find a different place to go and she said, "Why?"

If I arrive at the park early enough, there are plenty of parking spaces and I have time to wander about with my camera looking for something interesting. I was not disappointed this evening.

I took a path along the far east shore to where the old break wall lies. There isn't really much of a beach, just a rocky bit of shore and water burped up by the waves.

I sat out on a rock by the pier for a bit and took some photos, then got bored and headed back toward the shore.

I heard music and found a young man playing an electric violin. I recognized him as the same student I saw at the canal last Tuesday when I had dinner with my friend Aimee. He is quite extraordinary!

Such a beautiful evening. So glad I didn't spend it moping about at home.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Here I Am

It's been an exhausting week; allergies, emotions, and a restless night to boot. I have the allergies under control again, at least as far as the throat and congestion. They're still making me sleepy, but maybe that's from taking the allergy medication twice a day instead of once. I think I'll drop it back down again this coming week and see if that helps.

I'm not sure if anything exciting happened. I didn't make any pie, but I did freeze one bag of elderberries and drop the other two off to a friend. Mid week I was given a personal sized elderberry pie and a jar of blueberry jam. A very sweet gift indeed.

Last night I took myself back to the lake for some evening pictures. The park was occupied, but not heavily populated when I arrived, but half and hour later the parking lot and shoreline filled with people. We were not disappointed. The sunset was spectacular.

Today I went to find my friend Gail at her cottage again, picked a few pieces of beach glass off the shore, and dipped my feet into the late summer, lake water. It was warm and wonderful. I am not ready for tomorrow to be Monday.

*Photos from last night's trip to Lake Ontario at Webster Park.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

A Pocketful of Lake Glass

Yesterday morning I found out it was the birthday of the friend I was planning to visit that very afternoon. Although we have been acquainted since childhood, our time together has been limited. I didn't want to arrive empty handed, but I had no clue what she might like either. I shot up another prayer. "Lord, please put in my mind something to buy that Gail would like," and then I went to Wegmans. I came out of the store with a package of fresh strawberries, a bag of salted caramel, dark chocolates, and two bottles of unsweetened black tea. Then I headed out to find my friend Gail at her cottage in Holland's Cove along the shore of Lake Ontario in Williamson.

I was on my way down Shepherd Rd when a text came over my phone. I pulled over to look and there was a message from my daughter Hannah. Someone in Williamson offering elderberries to the community. LOL! I sent the woman a message and went on my way to visit my friend.

Gail and I sat on her porch, ate strawberries, sipped tea, and talked. Thunder was already beginning to rumble in the distance when we took a walk down to the beach. It wasn't forecast to rain so we hoped we would be safe, but we weren't. Ha ha! With my pocket full of beach glass, we headed to the cover of a nearby cottage overhang. Thankfully, the rain didn't last long and we were able to resume our walk.

A few hours later I messaged the woman with the elderberries again and told her I was on my way. Along the back corner of her property, just outside the fence along a well loved park on the lake, was a drooping tree full of ripe fruits. She was giving them away. While she went back inside to cook supper, I snipped branches full of dark, black berries and set them in a paper bag. I couldn't help but smile on the way home. God sure does know how to give abundantly!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

LIttle Bits of Heaven

It's been a "God Week" in so many ways and I need to collect those bits and pieces before I forget and they are lost to the sands of time.

* I was alone on Sunday afternoon and took a ride to Williamson in search of elderberries. I have a friend looking to make a pie and thought maybe I could help. I know where some trees grow, but the people I knew no longer live there. Suffice it to say I did not find any, but I did throw up an out loud prayer. "Lord, can you help me find some elderberries?" I did this once before, years ago with raspberries. That time God smiled and gave me blackberries instead, all along the back corner of our property. I'd never known they were there. This time he answered too, through an online friend who told me her mother has some. They will be ripe in about two weeks.

* Tuesday evening, while Hannah was gone to work, I took a ride to Webster Park and walked along the shore of Lake Ontario. I sat on a log, looked through the pebbles along the beach, and made a small figure. My "Stone Age Boyfriend." He's a rocker, can you tell? As I stood back to take in the sunset, I heard a voice call my name (again, like on Saturday). There was my Divorce Care group friend Heather coming toward me. (She has been such a special gift.) We shared a hug (Yes, even in the midst of "the sickness" we need to the love and affection of friends.) and I was reminded again just how much my Father in heaven loves and cares for me.

* It was Thursday when I responded to a Facebook post and received a reply in the form of a private message from one of my coworkers who hasn't yet returned to work. We find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue yet were able to have a careful, loving conversation while taking a closer look at the other perspective. Neither one of us went away feeling hurt, invalidated, or rejected by the exchange, but quite the opposite. I listened and heard her perspective and found I could respect what she was feeling, and I felt heard and appreciated for mine. Listening with love is so important. (That is not us, just two friends on the shore.)

* I overslept Thursday morning and had 15 minutes to get ready for work. Ha ha! I skipped the shower and pulled my hair into a ponytail, washed my face, and made my coffee before heading out the door.

* Several times this week I've heard God's prompting to begin to put my story on paper. It is a story that needs to be shared in the proper circumstances, yet a story hard to pen. I believe God intends to redeem the broken pieces of our lives in beautiful ways. In my own times of deep despair, I longed for someone who understood the brokenness of my heart and, in His time God provided that friend. It is time for me too to be that friend to another broken mom and the only way she will find me is if I share. Please pray for me in this area as I need to be wise in the process, and thank you so much for your prayers.

* In times of great blessing, come times of defeat as well. An incident this morning has left me slightly off emotionally and the weekend has just begun. I've learned enough in the past five years to help me move beyond but not one of us has perfected this thing we call relationship and I know I have work to do too.

Monday, August 10, 2020

He Hears

Late in the afternoon, when my sister and I had rested up from our walk in the woods, had eaten our lunches, and lounged around checking Facebook and looking at my pictures, we took a ride to Scoops, got a couple of ice cream cones, and walked across the street to Canandaigua Lake. We sat on boulders under the shade of a tree on the lake shore, and when a nearby couple got off their bench to go, we assumed their seat.

Once our ice creams had been consumed, we walked along the path through the park. There were lots of people out enjoying the day; picnickers, boaters, folks in the water, and others like us, just strolling.

Priscilla's early morning walks often take her to Kershaw Park. She told me how she often sees friends and acquaintances, but on Saturday the grounds were full of strangers. As we walked we made conversation. At one point the subject of church came up and I mentioned Calvary Chapel of Webster, the church I went to with my family before I moved out of the house, the one with the Ladies' Prayer group I loved so much, and then the conversation went another direction.

We had passed the fenced-in park beach, the restrooms and bathhouse, and were almost to the edge of the park when I heard a voice call out, "Martha!" I turned to look and noticed a smiling, familiar looking blond woman, but she didn't appear to be looking for my attention. And then, there she was! The woman who had called my name, was hidden behind a pair of sunglasses, but coming toward me. It was Margie, the wife of Calvary Chapel Webster's pastor, Ray. She gave me a hug and asked how I was doing. Always loving, never unkind. And there was God, smiling down on both of us, even if I was the only one who knew. He was listening.

He's still listening, and He hears every word.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Into the Woods

Weekends without plans are counterproductive. Yesterday I connected with my sister Priscilla, who had mentioned needing a walk in the woods, and we made a plan to go hiking. She planned the destination and I drove the getaway car.

Although we met early, we didn't go far from home. In the town of Victor, NY, a short drive from Priscilla's house, is a place called Ganondagan State Historic Site. The Iroquois people once lived here, before the white man came. Ganondagan is their way of preserving a bit of their history. It is a beautiful place full of learning.

We took our shoes off to sit and listen, eyes closed, bare feet against the forest floor. Did you know it's hard to sit still? Priscilla, never being one to traipse about barefoot, put her shoes and socks back on before continuing down the trail. I, on the other hand, soaked in the different sensations of the changing path beneath my soles.

At the end of the "Earth is Our Mother Trail" (or the blue trail), we found Great Brook, a shallow creek with steps of waterfalls. If you think I kept my bare feet out of the water, you would be wrong. The woods and water take me back to being ten. I'm not as sure footed as I was as a child, but I don't like to hold that inner child deep inside if I can let her out to play.

It was a very nice morning. We both enjoyed ourselves very much.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Today Was Good

Today was a much better day than yesterday. I've been trying to catch up on my sleep, and I also asked several friends to pray. Prayer always helps. I was also told today that when my emotions are running wild, it's a good idea to slow down and pull out the acronym HALT and ask myself a few questions. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? Basic needs that aren't difficult to address if I stop to recognize what is throwing me off. It's about taking care of myself (again) so that I am in better shape to help others.

I continue to pour over vacation pictures. The camera was well worth the investment. I can't imagine going home without photographs. How disappointing would that be?

Here are a few favorites...

Number Nine (Idris) all smiles for the boat ride.

Number Eight (Jilly) giving her baby brother a little love.

Six (Austin) and Eight (Jilly) on the dock. (She's just a tad dramatic.)

My very own Numbers Four (Josiah) and One (Jim) out fishing in the paddle boat.

 Number 14 (Henry) snacks on Mom's arm. She's my very own Number Three (Bethany)

My beautiful favorite daughter in law (aren't they all?) Michele, and Number 11 (Parker)

Popsicles. The reward for sitting nice for pictures.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

I Must Tell Jesus

Exhaustion can wreak havoc on emotions and I am no exception to the rule. My vacation was phenomenal. It filled my mom heart and was such a blessing, but Monday hit hard. The adrenaline has worn off and I'm tired and weepy. This too shall pass...

At my morning request for prayer, a friend suggested looking up the old hymn, "I Must Tell Jesus."

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
  Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Exhaustion, especially mixed with words from people who mean well but aren't speaking to our situation, can leave my heart aching all over again. (It was a sermon on Youtube, not someone speaking to me directly.) I have wanted so much to DO the right thing, and struggled through the doing, and now I find myself not only wanting to do what is right, but to BE right as well. God has been there for me time and again. He has answered anguished cries and unimaginable questions, provided for my every need, and dried countless tears. I want answers not only for yesterday and today, but for tomorrow as well. God asks only that I trust Him in the moment. It sounds easy, but in reality it can feel utterly impossible.

There are no easy answers to extenuating circumstances, and there are many who will believe I have chosen a foolish or ungodly path. This too is hard, and my own pride wars within. I did not want a divorce. I did everything I could to be a godly wife and mom; prayer, submission, silence, ... denial... And in the end I walked away from everything I loved because I believe that is what God asked me to do. Many are the days I trust and believe, and then there are the days when doubts and questions fill my heart and mind, and I miss being home.

Crying is cleansing but leaves my eyes puffy and swollen, so I try not to do that too much. Tomorrow evening is my therapist appointment, and sometimes that is helpful. Especially if I cry... Mostly I covet the prayers of those who know and love me, prayers for direction and the peace that passes understanding. I find reading scripture difficult, but I know that is where the answers wait, so please pray He leads me to those verses. And thank you for loving me through everything.

Photograph of Otsego Lake in Gaylord, Michigan on Wednesday morning.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Michigan 2020

July 27-31, Gaylord, Michigan.

It was a beautiful vacation with half of my kids and grandchildren. We went to one of the few states our governor is not yet demanding we quarantine after visiting. There were family meals, campfires, boat rides, swimming, and even tubing on the Sturgeon River, for those not already hopelessly sunburned, and in possession of the right foot gear. (I had only sneakers and flip flops.)

On the first night my camera battery died and I learned my charger was not working. There was not a camera store within easy access, so I bought a whole new camera outfit at Walmart the following day. I'd thought it through the night before and had pretty much already made the decision before we ever went to the store. I have no regrets and lots of pictures.

Josiah rode with me and since I was doing all the driving, we left Sunday evening rather than wait until the wee hours of the morning. Of course we arrived too early to check in and decided to drive an hour north and do some exploring. We found the Mackinac Bridge to Michigan's upper peninsula, along with the meeting of Lakes Michigan and Huron. So beautiful! Next time I want more time to explore that area.

We spent most of our time at the house where the kids ran around and played in the water, and Adam rented pontoon boats two days in a row. I took pictures. Scads of them.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

What Happened?

Something strange happened to Blogger while I was away... Have I ever told you how I hate change? I feel lost and like I don't know what to do. What have they done to my "friend"? Who said they could do this?