Sunday, October 30, 2022

I Stayed Home (Mostly)

It was a fresh, crisp autumn day, the kind where in previous years I have taken off for the woods, gone for a long drive, or perused a seasonal antique shop one last time until next year, but yesterday I chose not to wander far or long. I took a quick trip to Old Navy and Wegmans, but otherwise stayed home. We cleaned up the garage, washed and folded laundry, drank coffee, and I made stuffed shells for dinner. I purposed to set aside the anxious spirit that calls me to stay busy and enjoyed the day at home.

Late last night I pulled up Youtube and let a playlist of contemporary Christian music fill the darkness... It's been months since I soaked it in, the kind of music that makes me close my eyes, breathe deep, and raise my hands... I'm not always sure if it's a balm or a burning... I finally know, after a lifetime of not understanding, why so many wounded individuals spurn Christianity. I've been awakened to the ugly side of organized religion, the kind that ignores the injured in favor of aiding and abetting the perpetrators. They call it grace, "Amazing Grace" even... We all need grace... even perpetrators... and this is where things get messy, complicated and confusing... Those who do everything to keep the faith and hold life together, who completely spend ourselves in the process, are tossed aside as unworthy... We are left broken, wondering what else we could have done, while the others are lauded as heroes...

Am I bitter? I suppose that all depends on your interpretation, which I've found to be another curious piece of present Christianity... The injured, the reeling, those who've had the breath literally knocked out of their soul are labeled "bitter" while the offender is credited with having been "redeemed." Bitter has a completely negative connotation, and yet we are forced to swallow the bitter pill, to take the bitter medicine, and expected not to grimace or recoil...

"Changed and different..."  The church so often gives this credit to offenders, and a huge piece of me understands the premise, after all I grew up hearing the message. I haven't a clue as to whether or not he's changed, but there is no doubt today that I am changed and different. Is this no less a work of God and His redeeming power? It's playing now... "I'm no longer a slave to fear..." He has freed me to become the woman He always intended me to be. The bitter medicine is doing the work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

If You Really Have to Know... October 26, 2009 (and today)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:55 am  (5:10 am. Yesterday it was 6:34 and I was already 4 minutes late for work.)

2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare (medium rare)

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Um, I think it was Marley and Me (The one about CS Lewis, "The Most Reluctant Convert")

4. What is your favorite TV show? I don't watch it (I don't know what's on TV anymore.)

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I haven't a clue! (New Hampshire, or maybe Vermont)

6. What did you have for breakfast? Pumpkin pie (raisin bran and almond milk)

7. What is your favorite cuisine? I really do like Mexican (Mexican)

8. What foods do you dislike? Anything yucky ;) (Must think on this...)

9. Favorite Place to Eat? My blue chair (I hope you didn't mean a restaurant… okay, I really enjoy going to the Rheinblick in Canandaigua)  (Someplace with friends)

10. Favorite dressing? Ranch or Italian (probably ranch)

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Ford Windstar (Subaru Forester)

12. What are your favorite clothes? Blue jeans and a sweatshirt (blue jeans and a sleeveless top)

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Not sure… (The Dolomites)

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Oh, come on! Just fill it up all the way! (1/2 full, please!)

15. Where would you want to retire? At this rate I don't think I'll ever get the chance (the mountains)

16. Favorite time of day? A little morning, a little night (early morning, if I can drag myself out of bed)

17. Where were you born? Genesee Hospital, Rochester, NY (some things don't change)

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Can't I just do something else? (figure skating)

19. Who do you think will not tag you back? I don't think anyone will (We're not playing tag.)

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? nobody (What kind of tag is this?)

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? I haven't even finished, why would I have tagged anyone? (Go ahead and play the game if you like.)

22. Bird watcher? sometimes (If I can spot them, I take their picture.)

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Both, or is it neither? (It depends on when you make the coffee.)

24. Do you have any pets? 1 ½ dogs, 3 cats (One cat and a couple of grandchildren)

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Other than Leta expecting? nope (I'm going to Florida in December.)

26. What did you want to be when you were little? (a mom)

27. What is your best childhood memory? At the moment anything having to do with my dad. (Playing in the woods.)

28. Are you a cat or dog person? cat (cat... I guess.)

29. Are you married? yes (Not anymore)

30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, until I take it off  (yes)

31. Been in a car accident? No (no)

32. Any pet peeves? (Anything having to do with marriage. I'm working on it though... the attitude, that is, not the marriage.)

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Pepperoni, cheese and black olives (same, with banana peppers)

34. Favorite Flower? Sweet peas and daisies (always sweet peas and daisies, and zinnias too)

35. Favorite ice cream? vanilla  (soft serve twist)

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? taco bell (the sub shop at Wegmans)

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 0 (none)

38. From whom did you get your last email? Facebook (Who knows? It's mostly junk mail.)

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Would I still have to pay the bill? (Hm... probably either Lowes or the furniture store)

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? (I went to the Flower City Pottery Invitational, and bought some pricey pottery)

41. Like your job? Most of the time (I do, but it's become increasingly stressful.)

42. Broccoli? Yes, with cheese sauce, please  (roasted, steamed, and raw)

43. What was your favorite vacation? New Mexico in 1992 and then Colorado in 2002 (Jackson, NH 2021)

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? James, and after 30 years, we decided we don't like Maria's Mexican Restaurant anymore. (my friend Chris Nagel at Mama Lor's)

45. What are you listening to right now? My dad singing (the fan)

46. What is your favorite color? blue (exciting)  (still blue, dark blue)

47. How many tattoos do you have? I'll let you guess… (I have one in my mind...)

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz? Not sure, at least Barb (none)

49. What time did you finish this? 5 pm on the dot (9:12 pm)

50. Coffee Drinker? With some French vanilla (every morning, with some yummy creamer)


Ain't That Fancy?

We have a new sidewalk/ sitting area. I don't know if it's big enough to be called a patio... but it sure is pretty! And to think all I needed to do was order a load of crushed stone! Now we're talking a small patio set, a table and a couple of chairs. And of course we'll need a potted plant or two come spring.

My son in law and his brothers are absolutely amazing!

Sunday, October 23, 2022


Headaches have become an almost every weekend occurrence, most likely brought on by the stress of the past week and the pressures of whatever weekend I am facing. I attempted to walk off last Saturday's headache by heading to the woods with my camera, but I came out with a headache of either the same or greater intensity. Being calm on the outside does not produce peace and rest when my insides are churning. (Thankfully, I did not have a headache today.)

If last Saturday I was an emotion- ally tense and vulner- able mess, today I was far from it. The headache and emotional upheaval of last weekend produced some changes this week. I made some plans to reduce a bit of stress. I ordered a load of crushed stone for our unfinished front walkway, made a plan to purchase a bit of insulation for my attic whose 70 year old insulation is tired and drooping, and decided once again to "eat the elephant one bite at a time." 

I was blessed this week with a visit to my therapist's office on Wednes- day, dinner with a friend on Thursday, the return of "Man Hater's Club" (pottery night with my cousins), and a absolutely gorgeous autumn woods walk with a childhood friend this morning. Hannah made an apple pie this afternoon and two of my boys came for a visit. It was a fabulous day! Tomorrow after church I will stop by the Flower City Pottery Invitational after church and make a visit to my beautiful Bethany who has a birthday tomorrow. Maybe I'll even pick up something special for dessert.

I'm slowly, ever so slowly, learning what makes Martha tick, slowly learning to be compassionate with myself. It's almost disappointing to have all of this dawn on me so late in life... but then again, maybe it's happening exactly on time.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

The Weekend Recovery Program

Last week was a little rough. From the pounding headache and queasy stomach of Sunday morning to a few dramatic episodes at work, I was more than ready for a little time off to settle my soul. 

A very young baby demands a lot of time and attention. Two small babies require twice as much, and even if I can settle myself into position to feed two hungry infants at the same time, it is quite literally impossible to hold three bottles at once. It is also impossible to clean up mammoth puddles of spit up without sending the feeding infants into squalling fits when their bottles, and their bodies, are no longer in feeding position. I have four infants daily and though our routine is somewhat established, it is still a work in progress. 

Thursday was picture day and it totally threw me for a loop... I literally felt myself start to twitch. Not sure that's ever happened before. I'd already asked for help with my babies several times, but either no one was listening or no one cared, and then I was chided for having "an attitude." Honestly, I'm not sure how I kept from spontaneously combusting. Thankfully, this does not happen on a regular basis.

Friday I was given some relief from the Infant Room and provided lunch breaks for coworkers. I went outside with the Older Toddlers, took my own break, sat with sleeping Younger Toddlers, sat for an hour with the infants, and finally went back to the older toddler room. The day provided several opportunities to interact with my previous infants who are now "waddlers" in the Young Toddler room. Occasionally one of our new teachers likes to steer them away from me, preventing any interaction. No hugs, just tears from the little ones I spent eleven months loving and nurturing. I have no intention of interrupting class activities, but neither do I intend to send my little girls the message that they don't matter, that I've traded them in or abandoned them, or that I don't love them anymore. When they see me and ask for a hug, whether that be with newly found words (Bennett says "hug,") or tears (that's Mara), I will be there to hug them, kiss their foreheads and tell them I love them. How can I not? (I had a slight altercation with said new teacher. Ugh.)

Life has dished up some mighty fine dishes of drama these past few years. I went home from work in tears on Friday, partly from the altercation and partly from something else deep within my own heart and soul. If dealing with our own childhood pain is necessary to healing, then I have some work to do loving the infant, toddler Martha within. I'm not entirely certain how that is accomplished. 

My grown up heart and mind knows I was loved. It knows my parents were embroiled in a heart wrenching trial even before my arrival. As a mom I understand how difficult it can be to meet the emotional needs of every child all the time. I'm not angry and there is no blame, but there remains a pain inside I can't yet name or soothe. I am on a journey to comfort the infant/very small child I used to be. She needs a hug, a kiss on the forehead, and a reminder that she has always been and always will be loved.

Oh, yes! The weekend. My lovely Bethany and I took four children to find the fairy houses and feed the birds at Mendon Ponds. Hannah and Sergio were gone to a wedding and I had the boys for the day. Today my friend Laura and I went out for breakfast after church, and then we drove down to Naples, NY to look in a few shops and buy a grape pie. Both days were lovely.