Sunday, October 15, 2017


No grand adventures to share this weekend. I stayed close to home and checked a few items off my to-do list while fighting what feels like a possible case of sinusitis. Rachel helped me make two pies, one for my son whose birthday is today, and another for a sweet life-long friend who also happens to be the Cabinetmaker's cousin.

While the pies baked, Rachel and I took a short drive down to the lake. One the way back I stopped to take a couple of fallish photos. Love this fence! It catches my eye every time I drive past it but I'm usually alone and headed the opposite direction.

Apparently there was a Fall Festival at the Whiting Road Nature Preserve yesterday. Who knew? This guy was pointing the way into the parking area. We stopped just long enough to take a picture of his backside and headed back to Rachel's house before the pies burned up. I keep forgetting that I want to build a scarecrow. Maybe I can put it on the list for next weekend.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

I stole them.The photos. I don't get credit for anything more than that. If I get any credit at all...

It's hard to love photography and not be able to take pictures of the little people I spend my days with. I was in the kitchen at work when the building suddenly went silent. Everyone had gone outside except the cook, aka me. I decided to take a quick peek out the window to see where everyone had gone... They were out in the parking lot checking out some big trucks and talking to the firemen. So exciting! I was later informed, by one of my little friends, that one fire truck was red and the other one was green.

Another week is over. I cooked up ten thousand lunches and served ten million snacks. I passed out breakfasts and washed a bunch of dishes. I changed diapers, wiped noses, and held bottles. I gave out more hugs and kisses than I could count, and was blessed in return with smiles and occasionally obvious excitement over my presence. A few of those babies practically jumped out of the buggy when I came out of the kitchen and waved at them. Too funny. And the little people in this picture? They are full of questions and stories. They love if I draw for them or blow bubbles with my gum. The little boy with bright blue pants climbed up on my lap this morning to collect some loving and he only knows me as working in the kitchen.  It's really like the best job ever!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Wind

For I will restore health to you 
And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, 
Jeremiah 30:17a

I was looking at a few old blogs and came across this verse of scripture. It feels appropriate tonight, not just for me, but for my kids and the Cabinetmaker as well, because we all need our wounds to be healed.

Two years ago I wrote, "... the truth is we all have times when life knocks the wind out of us, throws us to the ground, and leaves us gasping for breath... " Sometimes I feel like I'm still gasping, and I know for certain other family members are as well.

I got the wind knocked out of me when I was a little girl. I'd climbed up a stump of a tree and landed flat on my back getting down. I lay there on the ground feeling like I was going to die. Not only did my back hurt, but sucking the breath back into my lungs was slow and painful. When I finally picked myself up off the ground and headed across the street to my own house, my mother seemed all too nonchalant about my ordeal. "You got the wind knocked out of you," she said. (I think she even smiled.) She may not have been worried, but I vowed than and there never to let it happen again. If only I could have been so successful with stubbed toes, splinters, and other things in life. But then again, it's exactly those things that make me who I am, isn't it?

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Playing in the Mud

It was an emotional week for me. Sometimes that happens. I needed an outlet, so I headed into Rochester yesterday afternoon and spent a few hours playing at the pottery studio. They say it's all about the practice, and open studio hours are limited. My only choice is Saturday afternoon since our class runs during the only evening open studio.

I threw about five or six vessels. One flopped, and one came home with me to dry because the guy who I share a shelf with is very prolific at throwing... I think he has almost 2/3 of the space. But I'm not complaining. (Okay, so maybe I am.) I think I might need to make sure I have room in my van Thursday night in case I need to bring any more home. Glazing starts soon so it's good I'll soon have some pieces to fire.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Watching My Steps

Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
Proverbs 2:11

I have been here in this little attic bedroom for 10 weeks. It's the bedroom I once shared with my sister, the one tucked under the roof of my childhood home. It's not a strange place, but it's a strange place to be. It feels very much like I dropped out of my own universe and into an alternate one. I should be home in a different bedroom, in the bed I've shared with my husband for two thirds my life and all of my adult years. I should be looking forward to quiet evenings at home and lazy weekends traipsing about with the Barefoot Lumberjack, but I am here instead...

I can't share our story, or how we ended up like this. I can only say that we are both wounded and bleeding. I would that time could heal the wounds. People tell me God can do the impossible, and I know in my heart that is true, but sometimes God's impossible is guiding us through to the other side of the unexpected, and He is doing that. I don't know today exactly what is on the other side, but I do know He is good and He loves each of us more than we could ever imagine.

I've been wading through the book of Proverbs, looking for answers and finding a lot of verses about wisdom, guidance, and following right paths. Nothing specific, just counsel to seek out God's will and not lean on my own understanding... Hard stuff because so little of where I'm at makes any sense to me, but He is showing me there is a purpose to all I am facing and the hard things He has urged me to do. Even if I don't understand. Even if others don't understand. And even if some of my own children don't understand.

Praying is hard. Reading my Bible is hard. Not because I am angry with God or feel abandoned, but because I am so tired spiritually. I'm still on the path, walking when I'm strong and being carried when I'm weak, growing stronger and not near as discouraged, thankful for my job, for friends and family, and this little room in the attic (because God provided long ago for this very day).

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Heart of Stone

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; 
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

I find myself sad tonight. There is no remedy, no way to fix everything that has gone wrong...only a dull and occasionally throbbing ache. I am okay, much better than I was two years ago and growing stronger. I just find that sometimes life is really hard.

On our Sunday outing we came upon some rocks stuck in the roots of a tree. One of those rocks was shaped like a heart. A heart of stone. Of course, had the heart caught in the root of the tree been soft, it would have been crushed and mangled long ago. It is possible the tree will win this battle yet and the stony heart will break, but only time will tell.

And why am I telling you this? I don't know. Perhaps it is because my mind is tumbling, and my thoughts jumbled. It's time for me to go to sleep so I can get up tomorrow and head off to love some little people and fix them (hopefully) yummy things to eat. Besides, it's raining and what better way to fall asleep than listening to the rain fall?

Monday, October 02, 2017

Gold in Them Thar Hills

Another couple pictures from yesterday, because we didn't spend the whole day in the woods. Naples, NY., like Naples, Italy, is known for grapes and wine. The Cabinetmaker took this photo for me (Hey, Tom, maybe I did have a barn photo... ) since he was in the passenger seat.

We headed down Italy Valley Rd but took a left down a seasonal use highway. It's going to be gorgeous when the leaves turn. Almost looks like a painting as it is!

Back to work today. A week ago it felt like July and now we're back to reality. I needed a jacket this morning. It was downright cold!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sleepy Day in Grimes Glen

It was an entirely too sleepy day. I shouldn't have been sleepy. It was a gorgeous day with perfect fall temperatures and we were outside. I'm not sure if lost sleep caught up with me (I was awake for 2 hours between Friday night and Saturday morning) or if my sinus issues were sapping my energy. (I stopped taking that Musinex too soon.) I didn't want to be sleepy, I just was.

In spite of being sleepy, the Barefoot Lumberjack and I took a ride to Naples, NY and went to Grimes Glen. I'd told him early on I didn't want to get my feet wet, so we didn't walk all the way back to the fancy waterfall, only as far as the first one. I should have brought my flip flops along. I intended to, but I didn't. I blame it on brain fog.

BL was trying out his new camera and I was trying out my old one. We managed to get a nice collection of pictures and it turned out to be a good day even if I did finally have to hand over the steering wheel and close my eyes for a bit. When I opened them we were at Wendy's and I got a "small chocolate Frosty, please" out of the deal, so all is well.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Banana Bread Miracle

There were not nearly enough animal crackers to feed 60 children, and way more quickly-over-ripening-bananas than they would ever eat. I'd already handed them out for breakfast and today was my last chance to use them before I had to throw them out. so I made a bold and daring suggestion. I could make banana bread for snack and use up a bunch.

Several hours later, when I cut the banana bread into pieces and set it on trays, I found myself 6 pieces short. I'd already set aside animal crackers for the babies and still didn't have enough bread. I needed to feed the toddlers all the way through the children
 who would arrive on the bus after school. I needed 54 servings and I had 48. I checked in with the site director to find out what to do. "There are 23 school age kids," I said. She looked slightly shocked. She thought the count was off, checked the list, and said, "No, there are 17," and just like that my dilemma was solved.

I felt God smile. He does that sometimes, you know. Funny thing is, as I write this I recall looking at those two pans of bread and thinking God was going to have to do a miracle if it was to feed everyone. A loaves and fishes kind of miracle. and what do you know? He did!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Eight Years

It's the annual "Dad Post" because I still love him as much as ever and miss him like crazy. Perhaps in some ways, I've missed him more this past year because I've felt so much like I need him to be here. I've needed his wisdom, his guidance, and his love. I've needed his arms around me and his prayers upholding me, but just when I find myself thinking I don't have those things anymore, I remember that love, wisdom, and prayers are timeless.

I still have my father's love. He poured so much love into my life that the well will never run dry. My dad taught us not only through his words, but by his actions as well. He was a man who said what he meant, and meant what he said. If I search my heart and listen closely, his wisdom is etched into my soul. And God, who lives outside of space and time, not only keeps our tears in a bottle, but he has a bowl filled with our prayers as well. He doesn't count prayers lifted on our behalf as "expired" when the intercessor passes on, and so I find great comfort in knowing that even though my parents are no longer physically here, I am still wrapped in their prayers and ever will be. And I am grateful.

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Hey, Cow!"

I took my camera along for the ride yesterday and, much to my brother's chagrin, came home with one prize photo. He doesn't care much for us stopping to take pictures, especially when I roll down the window and yell things like, "Hey, cow!"

ha ha!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Barber, Barber

Weekends are almost always busy and that is usually a good thing. Today, after church, Rachel and I went to visit our brother Tim. He's been back in his old house now for several weeks, back with the caretakers and residents who knew and loved him, and our parents, for many years. It's a beautiful thing.

Once in a great while either Rachel or I will take a picture along to jog old memories and help us find a connecting point with this aphasic brother of ours. Today I took a photograph of an illustration from an old children's book.

Barber, barber, shave a pig,
How many hairs will make a wig?
"Four and twenty, that's enough."
Give the poor barber a pinch of snuff.

The picture was one that Mom had often said Tim would stare at as a little boy. Today he glanced at it out of the corner of his eye, almost not wanting to take it all in at once... Rachel turned Dad's music on and soon this tender brother of ours was crying silently, sniffing here and there, trying to hold it together. Sometimes I feel bad when something I bring along evokes such strong emotion. I don't really want to make him cry, but it's good to know he feels deeply. There is a strange comfort in knowing we made a connection.

There were hugs at the door today when we said goodbye and when we pulled away in the car, he was looking out the window.

The Barn Collective

I've not been collecting too many barn pictures lately, but one of the barns out at the festival caught my eye yesterday. Broken in many ways, but still beautiful. Time has taken her original purpose and functionality, and left in their place a bit of peace and inner strength. There is a story here, if only one will take a moment to sit and listen...

Perhaps a history lesson, one of hard work and dedication. Of standing firm through wind and storms, of gently sheltering the young and vulnerable, of being a place of peace and safety. She has some battle wounds, I see, and a few of her windows are missing. Her paint is worn and yet she stands, still willing, and likely able, to render warmth and shelter when the winds of autumn blow and winter follows close behind with bitter blast and falling snow.

Visit the Barn Collective at Tom's.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Adventuring w/ Rachel (again)

In spite of my rough day yesterday, and feeling somewhat yucky this morning, I decided to venture out into the wide, wide world. My sister and I opted to experience The Purple Painted Lady Festival in Macedon, NY. She sure does know how to throw a party!

We waited in a very long line of traffic that stretched from Rt 31 all the way to the festival a mile and a half down the road. We may have been able to walk faster than we drove, but we stuck it out and enjoyed every minute. Have camera (with card and working batteries), will be happy.

There were tons of people at this shindig and lots of vendors selling their wares. We didn't buy a thing. Ha ha! But we did enjoy the sights and sounds. An art festival brings out all kinds of people and if I had my way, I'd just sit and take pictures of all the interesting characters that come along. Not sure where this guy came from or where he was headed, but he was in a hurry. You can't help but be amused by his outfit.

I saw a few people I knew. One lady sits ahead of us in church, another was a vendor (a longtime friend of mine, and her husband who shares my birth date), and then there was a special little red haired child I stopped to chat with. He looked confused at first, but then his face brightened and he showed me his cup of water and took a drink. It was one of my little friends from work. (I can't post him, so you get me and Rachel instead.)

I probably should have bought this rooster. He looks somewhat like Coq au Vin. Maybe the girls would have liked him, but I only snapped a photo on my way back to the car. It was a beautiful summer day, even if it is fall. A little too hot for jeans and sneakers. I wore my poor feet out wearing my flip flops last week... After a stop at our favorite ice cream shop, we headed home and I took a nice long nap. I'm feeling much better this evening than last night.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sinus of the Times

It was a beautiful morning, just a little fog here and there, perfect for snapping a picture or two on my way to work. I had my camera card inside the camera this time, but when I turned it on, a little red sign said, "Change the battery pack." Both my batteries were dead. So I did what any sensible person would do. I went to work without taking any pictures.

Today was rough. My body told me I needed to stay home (or go home) and sleep, but my mind said I had to be at work. Working in a daycare is a lot like being a mom. Somebody has to tend the little ones, and chances are those little ones with the green, runny noses, are probably the ones who got me sick in the first place. So there I was, putting on a "brave-ish" face on the outside, and wanting to collapse in a heap on the inside. I went to the drugstore on my lunch hour and came out with Musinex. The good kind.

I have already had a nap (around 6 o'clock) and now I am hoping to drink my lemon and honey tea and go to sleep for the night. I have things to do tomorrow and my camera battery is all charged up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Driving in the Fog

Getting up and going to work every day is a bit surreal. I realize there are people who might not understand this feeling I have, people who have always gotten up and headed off to work, but I have spent my entire life either working a part time job or babysitting in my own home. So, when I drive off into the fog early in the morning, it can literally feel a little bit like I'm dreaming. (It was gorgeous out there this morning. I intended to take a picture of the barn atop a hill, but alas! I had left my camera card home in the computer. So one from Monday instead, but no barn.)

Working in the kitchen is interesting. I hear the other teachers interacting with small children. Sometimes I grimace, and other times it's completely amusing. "Nathan Thomas! We do not eat paint!" Ha ha! When we are not even two years old we do. We also eat play dough, paste, and boogers. (Come on! Don't tell me you didn't.) And we put toys in our mouths, especially when they are shaped like spoons and forks, or are little and look like bugs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shooting to Win

Goals. That was last night's topic at CoDA...

I've never been much of a goal setter. Always thought of myself as a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of person, but as I looked backward over the past few years, I realized I'd actually set some goals and attained them. (I impress myself sometimes. :0) ) It's time to work on setting a few more goals, and God, always one step ahead of me, is helping with my list.

On Sunday morning, I filled out a card expressing my desire to join a church small group. I've missed my Tuesday morning Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study group and it's time to take a step of faith and venture out into the unknown once again. No more thinking about it, it's time for action. I'm taking the plunge even if it will initially interfere with CoDA.

And yes, the looking back...

* I am just three grandchildren away from accomplishing the mighty goal of remembering to buy a birthday gift (and get it there on time) for each and every one of my grandkids. I need to wrap Jakie's gift (the party is Sunday) but it's purchased and waiting, and then I will close up the deal with my October grandies. All three. It's been very satisfying to set an amount to spend and actually stick to it.

* My new job. I once felt like giving up at getting a job in a daycare center, but here I am, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, as well as baby hugger. (Still loving it.)

* Pottery classes (because I've always loved Clay...). The next one starts Thursday. Very cool. Now what will I do with all my creations?

New goal possibilities are germinating. I'm still turning over the soil and looking at seeds, but I'll let you know what I decide.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bits and Pieces

* Last Sunday, before visiting our brother, Rachel and I stopped at our favorite antique shop. I bought a pretty red pitcher. It weighs a ton, but I love it anyway. We're kind of sad Rustique's is closing. Maybe we'll have to find a new favorite place. I have a couple ideas.

* I am settling into my new work assignment. Kitchen work keeps me busy, makes me tired, and is wonderful all at once. The kids seem to like most of what I make, and even I am a little impressed by some of the results. The veggie lasagna was quite tasty in spite of the vegetables (carrots and celery cut up tiny) that some of the kids picked out and didn't eat. (Wish I had a picture of that lasagna...)

* I still have baby time at work, but much less of it. They get excited when they see me in the morning because it means breakfast is coming, and I still have a few hours to love on them between morning and late afternoon.

I can't remember half my week...

* Yesterday I went out gallivanting with my sister. We perused The Shop at West Ridge where the Beetles were playing on the PA system. I was battling the start of a migraine but found myself be-bopping down the aisles in spite of it all. In the end my headache disappeared and my eyes decided to cooperate. I decided dancing is good for the soul.

* After our fun in the shops, we headed back to the Memorial Art Gallery grounds where we were last weekend, to look at the Poet's Sidewalk. I read every square and snapped a photo of most.

* In the midst of our touring the sculpture garden, we were accosted by a woman who wanted to talk with us. She told us how difficult her life was, how God takes care of everything, and finally got around to asking if we could give her ten or twenty dollars for food. Of course, she didn't look poor... She was well dressed and clean, didn't appear ill, and was generally pleasant. We told her we didn't have any cash on on us, which was "mostly" true (I had seven dollars in my pocket...), and she went on to asking the next couple to enter the grounds before getting on a bus and heading off.

* We were taken in by the sculptures dotting the property surrounding the art gallery. A work called "Creation Myth" which was terribly enchanting. I have no clue as to the beliefs of the artist, but I know his work didn't just chance to evolve there in the middle of the city.

* Last evening, after rearranging a bit of furniture, I headed out to the store for a few items, and on the way back decided to give my son a call. We grabbed a burger together at Five Guys and had a nice chat.

* This morning I made it to church just in the nick of time, and then stayed for the second service as well. The same message all over again, except I was sitting by my daughter. And yes, it was just as good the second time around. Maybe I'll even go online and take it in for a third time. I think I hear God talking to me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Is the Coffee On?

I'm too tired to be awake, but haven't gone to sleep yet because I'm not ready for tomorrow yet. There just doesn't appear to be enough free and awake time in my week...

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Clothesline Art Festival

It was a last minute decision. I'd heard the Clothesline Art Festival was this past weekend and I'd never been, but going alone isn't much fun, so when Rachel called I said yes. Once we got there we had to pray for a parking spot, and after we found one we prayed she hadn't parked too close to the fire hydrant... (We did just fine.)

I was terribly distracted on the way to the entrance. Every few steps the sidewalk was speaking to me. I wanted to stop, read each square, and savor the message. But we hadn't come to read sidewalks, we'd come to look at art.

Multiple stands dotted the Memorial Art Gallery campus. I hadn't planned to pay for anything but the entrance fee, and then I saw The Wizard of Clay had a booth... With coffee mugs. Pretty ones. And I splurged. I couldn't help it. I love coffee mugs. And pottery. And it was blue.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Barn Collective

Every once in a great while I get a hankering for a good ol' fashioned fried cake and Schutt's Cider Mill has some of the best around. Whether they're plain, powdered, or covered with cinnamon sugar, they're impossible to resist. (Oh, my goodness!)

Across the street from the store/cider mill is the Schutt apple farm where stands this mighty fortress in all its aged splendor.

I must, one day, in my travels, when the leaves turn gold, take my camera along and ask to walk the farm road and take a photo or two. The roof is old and the board sides weathered to priceless perfection. I long to crawl through a back door and step back into time. I can smell the cow  manure already and I think I hear the farmer calling to his son at the other end of the barn. (I read a lot of books as a kid... Can you tell?)

Anyway, once the good Lord wields his autumn paintbrush, I shall wander over to Schutt's buy a box of assorted fried cakes and aim my camera in the direction of this beauty. And while I'm at it I'm going to imagine that farmer's wife ringing the dinner bell.

More fun stuff over at Tom's Barn Collective.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Triathlons and Russian Roulette

It was a short and very busy work week.

I arrive at work by 7:30 am in time to get breakfast going for our babies, wash them up when they start flinging Cheerios, and change anyone who pooped. I pass out hugs and kisses, and usually sit on the floor to read books and play with my little friends while they climb on my lap and fight over the best spot to sit. At 9 o'clock I head for the kitchen

The kitchen is now mine. This week I collected breakfast trays and bins, loaded the dishwasher, cooked lunch and passed it out. I made a valiant attempt to figure out how to cook what was on the menu, how much to cook, and how to get it all out on time. I gathered up the dishes and leftovers, reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, and tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to get the following morning's breakfast trays and present day afternoon snack ready before I had to be back in the infant room at 12:30 pm. to take a walk with the babies.

My break came from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. I usually try to catch ten to fifteen minutes of sleep if possible. At 2:30 pm I go back to the infant rooms to give Meg a break. When she comes back Amanda goes home and I head into her room until we are down to four babies at which time, if the kitchen is clean, I am free to go home. (We had a staff meeting thrown in for good measure this week and that night I didn't get home until 7:30 pm.) Next week I'm getting a half hour more to keep up with the kitchen duties. I think it just might work.

Have I told you that I like my job? I do. I've been struggling with some personal issues and find the love and hugs the little one share with me priceless. Staying busy does me a world of good and I am immensely grateful, even if I am tired. Keep me (and those I love) in your prayers. The water is getting choppy.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Just a Few

A few of my favorite shots from yesterday's picnic...

It's not the best place for chalk drawings, but they enjoy coloring the pavers just the same.

Clifford the Big Red Dog in Spanish. (Raul gave her just a little bit of help because even though he doesn't usually let on, he can speak and read Spanish.)

These two love each other. Cousins and best friends, just the way it should be, and Molly the scary Staffordshire as well, because the greatest kid photos always have a dog.

And there was cake and ice cram too because somebody turned two on Sunday.
And now, because I am exhausted from the weekend, I shall turn off my computer, turn on the fan, and close my eyes.

PS. My first day alone in the kitchen went pretty good even if I did have to share space with Rodney who was making a valiant attempt at fixing the leaky drain pipe. No one went hungry and I got out of work by 5 o'clock.