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Monday, August 28, 2006

Dollhouse!

I have a house full of girls today. Allen is outnumbered. A woman from my church called me last week and asked if I could watch her daughter today...and then last night another friend called me and asked the same favor. Sure, why not? The more, the merrier! And so I have 4 girls here and they are playing girl things. Girl girl girl! They spent hours playing dollhouse. It was fun listening to the conversations between the dolls and the drama. They asked if they could please use a large plastic mixing bowl and fill it with water to pretend it's a pool. And then they wanted a small one for a hot-tub. They commenced to have a pool party. Audra is so funny because she was pretending one of the dolls had just moved here from England and she was talking the doll in an "English" accent. I put quotes around that of course...because it didn't quite sound English to me...but it was cute! (I'm not sure how she came up with this idea, Nixter...but I knew you'd get a kick out of that) It was quite the pool party...complete with "mom" calling the kids out of the pool because the hotdogs were ready.

This all brings back wonderful memories of my own childhood, playing with my sisters and some of the girls my mom babysat...and a few neighbor friends. We played with the Fisher-Price Little People...which are no longer manufactured. (atleast not like the ones we played with). Some of the most fun was building the houses. We had a huge box of blocks and we could build the most wonderful houses. Here at my house, we have 2 dollhouses, but the girls always build additions onto them because the houses are really not big enough to suit them.

So today is a "messy house day." I've been stepping over dolls throughout the house. For a while they were playing "school bus run"...and so there were small piles of dolls...usually 2-3 each gathered at various bus stops throughout the downstairs.

So what is Allen doing during all of this? Why being a boy of course. He amused himself for a little bit by annoying them. Boys don't know how to play dollhouse. They are always exploding things!!!! (Or putting cows in the living rooms or in the beds...various things to get a reaction) I finally suggested to him that he watch one of his nature videos. This ought to occupy him for the time being anyway!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New York State Fair


On Friday we went to the fair out near Syracuse. I particularly enjoyed looking at the livestock...perhaps because I had always secretly wished to live on a farm as a kid. I just enjoyed watching these kids taking such time and effort to show their cows and horses...grooming them and polishing their hooves! Never seen such clean cows! Our kids got to bottle-feed a calf. I do not have a dependable camera...thus missing this great photo opportunity. (Sorry, Shelly! I know this is just killing you!) I would have rather posted that picture here. I googled photos from the fair and considered stealing one for my post...but I felt too guilty to do it.

My great grandfather was an excellent horseman and raised several of them. Here he is pictured with one. Great Grandpa refused to learn how to drive an automobile. He prefered the horse and buggy. He was born in 1862. I never met him, but have heard many stories about him. I've also been told by my father that this man was a man of faith. So....I get to meet him some day in heaven! I look forward to meeting him and also my mother's parents and sister.

Will you be there? Who do you look forward to meeting? (besides Jesus!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Today my mother turns 72 years young! I talked to her on the phone today. She told me Dad is taking her out to dinner tonight...she wasn't sure where.

Tomorrow we will have a celebration for her at Martha's house. I have baked a blueberry/peach cobbler. I got the recipe off the internet and I think there was a misprint on it. I'm not sure if I fixed it properly...so don't get your hopes up just incase it turns out to be a flop. Mom happens to be glucose intolerant...so she is lucky enough not to have to sample my blunder. Rachel is making a gluten-free carrot cake which is delicious!

Anyway! Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hi everyone!

Been crazily busy this week and hardly time to blog! I promise to come back more regularly next week! My love to all!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Little girls and tea parties

This morning Alicia told me she would like to have "tea" with me. So I poured her a cup of "tea" in her favorite little teacup. It is a yellow flowered teacup that has a butterfly on it for a handle. What she was really drinking was apple cider...while I had a cup of coffee. Last week she had a little friend over and they played dress up. They both dressed in gowns out of Alicia's dress-up box and wore tiaras on their heads. They got out the tea set and had "tea" out on the front porch together...(that day the "tea" was really water).

What is it about little girls and tea (or big girls for that matter)? Here is a picture of my mother having "tea" with her sister and cousin in about 1938. (Mom is the little blond girl and Aunt Margie is to her right)

Chickadees




I have been having a wonderful time painting chickadees. They are one of my favorite little birds. They are so cute and quite social.

I had a special gift from the Lord the other day. I was painting in my "studio" (lots of laughs) and the windows were open and I heard a chickadee singing to me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

She Wore Platform Shoes and Drove a Gold Beetle

It was the 1970's. Her name was Sue. My mother called her Sues. I thought she was the coolest. She dated my older brother for a while...and even after their romance ended, she still came by the house. This time to visit my mother. My mother took her under her wing so to speak. Sue was a pretty emotionally damaged young woman. (Her mother had committed suicide when Sue was in her early teens.) My mother became a second mother to her. She would talk for hours with Mom; drinking coffee and smoking. Sometimes she would cry on Mom's shoulder. Mom loved and encouraged her. She also loved Mom back...sometimes driving her to stores or to a doctor's appointment. One time she drove to my school to pick me up at the nurse's office becaue I was sick. (Dad worked and my mother never had a driver's liscence)

I liked her a lot. I was young...probably only about 7 or 8. I thought Sue was pretty. She was nice and paid attention to me and my sisters. She always signed her name with a little picture of a bear. She wore really cool platform shoes...and she drove the coolest gold volkswagon. Once in a while she gave me a ride in it. I always planned on having a car just like it when I grew up. She smoked. I remember trying to convince her to quit. I encouraged her to chew gum instead. When she came over for a visit, I would pester her with questions about her progress in quitting. I probably drove her crazy, but eventually she did quit, I'm pretty pleased to say! She told me that chewing gum helped.

She was crazy about my brother Dan and I often wondered why he had broken it off with her. But she married Mike...and I think it was a much better fit. After she and Mike got married, I remember visiting her at their new apartment in Penfield and seeing her new baby boy. Later she had a girl. A few years after my brother passed away, she and Mike had another baby boy, which they named Daniel...after my brother.

Sue eventually worked through the pain of her life and came to know the Lord. I think my mother was largely instrumental in this. You know why? Because Jesus stuck out of my mother. That's why. I know Sue still lives in Webster...and I wonder how she's doing. I haven't seen her in about 14 years. Maybe I'll look her up and ask her if I can come over for coffee (without the cigarettes!).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Spiritual Blahs?


I must admit that I have been having the spiritual blahs lately. I feel a bit ashamed admitting it. I just can't get into it lately. I know God is real and that I am His child, but I just don't seem to be getting anywhere. I trudged my way through Colossians this summer and now I'm trying to figure out what to do next. My mind wanders while I pray or when I read scripture. Worse yet, I feel no joy in it. It's like so much work. I am thankful for the above verse. I know he won't give up on me!

Do you ever get the spiritual blahs? If so, what do you do about it?

What do you see?

Stare at the center dots for about 30-40 seconds. Then look at a wall or solid white or light-colored surface. What do you see?
Check out http://www.gregshead.net/2006/08/illusions.html for more cool illusions!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Have You Read This?


Have you read the Mitford Series? It is just such a relaxing and fun read. I feel at home in Mitford somehow. Anyway...if you haven't read it, I suggest that you do.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is Jesus Sticking out of You?

Yesterday Randy Snavely preached at our church. It was an awsome sermon! At one point he told a story about a little boy who asked a preacher a question. He said, "How big is Jesus?" The preacher answered and said, "Well...I imagine that he was a pretty good sized man, being a carpenter and all." The little boy answered and said, "That's what I figured. So don't you think that if someone my size asks Jesus in my heart that He would stick out just a little?"

So...does Jesus stick out of you? Is it obvious to people around you that Jesus is in your heart? Jesus should never be so small that you can "hide him in your heart."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back to the Basics

Yesterday I took the kids to the dentist. There was a mennonite boy waiting in the lobby for members of his family to come out of the examining room. He had a hat similar to the one shown here...except that the mennonite men and boys in our area wear black straw hats without a ribbon. He observed my children quietly. I couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking. I watched as the family came out...two women in dresses and caps...holding a baby and another boy about aged 8. They sat in the waiting room for awhile...quietly chatting in their Pennsylvania Dutch. After speaking to the dentist, they left without fanfare...probably to resume activities at their farm on a dirt backroad. I couldn't help but envy them a little for their simple livestyles. They are hardworking citizens of our community and quiet...they aren't distracted by computers, television and the technology of today. They rise up with the sun and go to bed at its setting. I was looking at this boy and thinking he probably works hard on his family's farm...while I can barely get my children to do a sink full of dishes without a fight.

I returned home and began the busy task of fixing dinner. I had the kids each pick up 10 things to help straighten out the house. I felt myself getting frustrated at seeing so much stuff. Toys and gadgets everywhere. Too much stuff! I thought again about that Mennonite family and wondered what their house looks like. I'm sure they have far fewer things. The basics. Instead of sitting on the computer in their spare time...they play a game of checkers or write a letter to a relative in Pennsylvania or Indiana. I often long for a simpler lifestye. Sometimes I imagine getting rid of everything extra, selling the house and moving to a log cabin and living off the land. I probably wouldn't last 2 weeks...but its a dream just the same. And then in the next moment I catch myself wanting things. A new camera with all the gadgets to download pictures quickly. New living room furniture. Siding for the house and new porches. A nicer car (no rust!!!). A new pair of black dress shoes. Art classes. The list never seems to end.

I woke up in the middle of the night worrying. Our front porch is literally falling off the house and needs to be rebuilt. How are we going to afford that? Should I just get a job and give up the painting? God, will you help me learn more business savy so I can be more successful? Our health insurance is dropping Jamie and I as of September 1st. What are we going to do? How can I get a job and still take care of our home and children? I won't take them to daycare!...

This morning I found myself going over the same things and thinking about the Mennonites. I felt short-tempered and frustrated. "I've got to get back the the basics," I thought as I grabbed my Bible...which had lain neglected for a few days. "God, what are you trying to teach me? What am I doing wrong?" I opened to the following passage:

Colossians 3:1-3
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Lord, Help me to set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. Help me to do what you have called me to do and be content with what you have blessed me with. Forgive me for being frustrated and angry and worried. I know you promise to take care of my needs. Amen

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hot Dogs and New Sneakers


My two older children went camping overnight with a family from our church. This family conveniently has a boy my son's age and a girl my daughter's age. This left Alicia as an only child again. She and I walked downtown to Ken's Hotdog Stand for lunch. I was going to grab my camera to document this...but I forgot it. Anyway...as usual, Zweigle's makes a good hotdog. If you've never heard of them it's because Zweigle's is a local brand. Rochester does have a few gems other than Kodak film.

We took advantage of the fact that we left the dog home and browsed in some shops before heading over to Murphy's garage to pick up the minivan that was being inspected. (it passed!) This evening Jamie was out golfing, so it was just the two of us for dinner. Alicia wants fish...she gets fish! Being an only child does have its advantages.

We then headed over to the Finger Lakes Outlet Center to buy Alicia a new pair of sneakers (tennis shoes for you foreigners). It's so exciting to get new sneakers as a kid (or as an adult come to think of it). Don't you remember feeling like you could run so much faster and jump so much higher with new sneakers on? And they are so clean!!!

Jamie's sister, Linda lives right near the Outlet Center so we surprised her with a visit. I think we really made her day! Surprise visits are cool. I don't get many. These days everyone is afraid of imposing. Everyone calls ahead. When I was a kid, it seemed like we always had drop in visitors. I don't remember too many people calling ahead. They just dropped in and my mother would make some coffee and sit and talk with them for hours. Of course...we were almost always home. I'm almost always home too, but no one drops by. I've been feeling a bit lonely and wish someone would just drop by. I'll put the coffee on!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Al and Arlene


Here's a picture of a cute couple I know. My parents. They just recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. I'm pretty proud of them. Oh...they weren't perfect. Who is? But they did a pretty good job raising me right and I hope I do as many things right raising my kids as they did. They loved the Lord and took us to church every week. I don't really remember a week going by without them taking us to church on a Sunday morning (unless you count church being cancelled on the account of a blizzard). They also loved each other and did a fine job demonstrating what a marriage ought to be. In sickness and in health. They are getting older. Mom's on oxygen 24 hours a day because her diaphram doesn't function well. She landed in the hospital a couple of times in the last few years...giving us all a scare. Dad was found right next to her, visiting, holding her hand, adjusting her pillow...making sure she was getting the care she needed.

I'm very blessed to be married to a terrific guy as well. He's already been there for me in bad times. A few years ago I suffered from terrible clinical depression. Although I was very difficult to love during that time, he didn't give up on me. Many times after a day at work, he would come home and take care of me and the kids. He stuck it out with me and I am forever grateful for that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Books this Summer

I've read quite a few books in the last few months. Here's a list of what I can remember anyway (including children's chapter books that I've read with my children).

Treasures of the Snow
Leap of Faith
Where the Heart Is
Homer Price
Fame
Forgiven
Reunion
The Debt
The Note
House
The Martyr's song
Redwall
Heart of a Lion
No Woman So Fair
School Days

I liked most of them...but I didn't care for House or The Martyr's Song and probably wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Birthday in 1966

Here's my sister Martha celebrating her birthday in 1966. Little did she know that approximately nine months from then, she would be joined by a baby sister. Perhaps my parents did a little celebrating of their own that night? LOL! This just struck me as funny, so I thought I'd add it here.

Got Anything to Read?

Haven't been blogging lately. It was too hot to go in the room my computer was in! Been reading instead. Got any suggestions of good books? I prefer novels. Anyone?

Oh...and good news. My camera works again. But I still want a new one.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alicia wants ice-cream


You will all have to forgive me for not blogging lately. It is very hot...and my computer is in the hottest room of the house. It is about 98 degrees outside and this room is 88 degrees!!!! Of course everything is sticky as well!!!! I would love to put a lovely picture up of myself sweating and being miserable...but of course I can't because I ruined our camera. No, it still has not recovered.

I'm sorry for the sarcasm...I couldn't help myself.

Alicia is an only child because our other children are off at camp. I hope they are having a wonderful time and learning about what it means to walk with Jesus and that they are inspired to do that! Alicia and I went on a date last night to Eddy O'Brien's...which is a wonderful place to eat here in town. Afterwards, we walked to the town fountain...and Alicia took off her shoes and walked in it. She convinced me to do the same. I figured, why not?

Alicia has been begging me for ice-cream for about an hour now. Maybe it's time to break down and get some!