There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sorting it all out.

The Crosby, Stills and Nash song, "Wasted on the Way," has been going through my head a lot lately.
y "Wasted On The …"
"Wasted On The Way"

[Intro. (Acoustic Guitar and Electric Piano)]

Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be

I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did

And there's so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

[Instrumental (Fiddle)]

Oh, when you were young
Did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve

Look around you know
You must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved

So much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

So much love to make up everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Let the water come and carry us away

I know that the older I get the more feelings of regret fill my heart.  Not necessarily the things that I have done but more the things I should have done.  Sins of commission are sins and once forgiven I try to forget them but sins of omission are another thing.  "So much love to make up everywhere you turn. Love we have wasted on the way." Those are the biggies.  This past Valentine's day my youngest brother lost his wife to an 8 year battle with cancer.  That incident, though I wasn't there to witness it, has left a huge hole in my heart.  I did not know Jennette that well and still I feel I knew her. She was good.  Good in a way I always thought I could never be and yet I wonder if I had gotten to know her better would I have become good?
There are other things that are beginning to make these lyrics so significant that would fill pages and pages unto a thick volume.  So many changes in the past year that are difficult to wrap the mind around let alone the heart.

My son and daughter-in-law are going to be parents for a third time this summer.  Sharing the wonder of Kim's burgeoning pregnancy with Annie and Kaycie fills me with such love and wonder myself.  Though I had 7 pregnancies of my own seeing this through these young eyes makes all things new again.

Being witness to my daughter's life adventures is another thing that fills me. A change of career, moving from her lifetime home, and her daily appreciation for her siblings, nieces, and nephews have only enhanced her maturity and love for life.

I am continually inspired by her generosity towards other, patience in the face of frustration, and steadfastness make me strive to be the same.

Though my heart aches to hold these grand-babies, enjoying the privilege of their lives and smiles fills me in ways I cannot describe.  I rejoice each day in the wonder of technology that lets us share over the miles.

The mother-hearts that beat in my daughters-in-law, Maryanne and Kathleen, is continually evidenced to me by their sharing of the daily joys and wonders of Edmund's and Evie's exploration of the world around them.  Only a mother's heart knows.

Growing and changing, that's what this world is all about.
This grandma treasures every smile, tear, squeal, and new word that shows how blessed we are to share the lives of these little ones.

New lives being added to this family, that is what faith and hope are all about.  

Daddies who love God, count their blessings, and trust in Him who showers them all upon us are the kind who inspire the same in their children.  Being silly doesn't hurt either.

The writings of this son are another blessing in my life that gives me inspiration and a sense of wonder.  In the heart of a mother her children never really grow up and so I am continually amazed that this little boy is so brilliant.

  Creation becomes new and wonderful when it is seen all over again through the eyes of these little ones.

This little boy, who I love in a most special way, who made me a grandma has cast me onto this journey and I will always thank him for that blessing.  God is good, too good really for us mere mortals.  He doesn't have to bless us, he does because of love.

Enough randomness and disjointed thoughts.  Blessings are to be counted, appreciated, and then cast onto those who surround us. They aren't meant to be kept or hoarded.  Like smoke they disappear in a wisp if we try to hold onto them.  But, like smoke, they spread out and cover all they touch if we let them go.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wasted On The Way 1982

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

They say home is where the heart is

If I had a heart here is where it would dwell. Though it is said that our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord, my heart if I had one, would only be able to contemplate that truth when it was resting here.  
I used to yearn to travel, to see the wonders of God's creation, to spread my wings and fly now I know that I wasn't meant for that kind of life.  My soul is an oak tree with deep roots, made of hard wood, meant to dwell where I was planted until the day that the wood cutter's ax comes to harvest me.
This place, ordinary in the best of ways, contains my memories, hopes, wishes and dreams. The people who dwell here and those who have come before are the arrows that point me in the direction of my ultimate home, heaven.

The leaves changing in the fall, the snow that blankets the land, and the earth that brings forth God's bounty in the summer are the balm and dressing for the hurts of my heart (if I had one) and my soul. It is here, in this place, where I can do the most good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Summer, fall, making memories and getting my life back on track.

This summer/fall has been different, eventful, and a major growing experience for yours truly.  In the past 6 weeks I have gone back to work, gotten my training for my CNA certification, lived without internet (not really a big deal), and learned a lot about myself and my capabilities.

My little garden provide a lot of therapy, food, and education all summer long.  Last week MK got it all cleared and buttoned up for the winter.  

We have a little teddy bear helping with the wood for the furnace.  Playing on the wood pile is a big part of making us warm in the coming months.

Cousins came together and spent a lot of time learning and growing.  They have taught grandma the important lesson of letting it go and soaking in all the laughter.

Grandpa and Layn fed apples to the piglets.  Grandma took in all the joy of watching those two together.  Little boy laughter and endless questions have punctuated our days.

Campfires on chilly evenings provide time for prayer and slowing down.  I love the thought of my prayers and the smoke rising together into heaven.
I am not good at selfies but this is me in a uniform once again.  I love the time at work learning from the old people and helping them to be comfortable.

Some mornings you just have to throw a jacket on over your nightie and slip into you boots and take a long walk.

We are glad to have done this today too.  Later on the sky opened up and it rained cats and dogs.  

The most important part of the day turns out to be pictures with the geraniums.  This look of wonder and content makes everything worth the doing.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Just another day in paradise

The tenor of my days, of my whole life it seems, is a song written with a healthy spattering of sharps and flats.  The sweet chirping and chatter of little voices is the undertone that carries the song from morning into night.  While the bass accents of husband and son keeps the tune from being too high and airy by adding their rumbles to give the whole song the push that sends it into eternity.
Loads of stone taken from the fields may be heavy and seem a daunting task at first until two little boys are added to the load.  Their voices and enthusiasm seem to make everything possible and the job almost seems to do itself.

Tractors and their rumbles remind us that without a healthy rhythm to carry the day along our lives would seem far too flat.

Punctuate it all with little boys and little girls having a good time.

And grandpa's being silly and giving rides and the tune is well rounded and one that will stick in your head and heart long after the silliness goes to bed.

Of course no song would be complete without a little experimentation and what could be better than some spirited little boy pretend and an awesome weapon.

For nap times and prayer times lets add a walk in the wood complete with birdsong and the sighing of the wind in the trees.

Plant all those things in some fertile soil.

And up will sprout healthy little boys

With lots of energy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finding healing in growing

One of the most persistent things that I missed while down south was the color green.  By those who don't know it is often assumed that because of the warm weather the south land is automatically green and lush all year long.  This is simply not true.  I discovered that, except in the mountains, where we lived green was prevalent in the spring and fall when the temperatures were more moderate and there was more frequent rainfall.  Otherwise the most prevalent color was brown.  How I longed to be home where, though you pay the price for all this green in sub-zero temperatures, long spring, summers, and autumns are lush and green.

When we got back these are the sights that greeted us. Because Ian had to have a big digger come in and put in a drain away from the house piles of dirt and stone sat by the former gardens and dared anyone who had the energy and imagination to restore that area back to its former beauty.

Enter the woman who is starved for green, hard work, and home!!!!!!

Little by little with lots of help the piles have been smoothed out. The weeds have been banished to the compost bins, and the perennials are being encouraged to flourish.

MK built this wall around the horse radish and tiger lilies and tucked the gladiolus bulbs into the earth to await their time for blooming.

On Mother's Day the fountain got it's annual dose of bubble solution and Layn got his chance to play in the water.  

Already the beds are free of weeds, there are piles of fresh topsoil and horse manure for renewing the earth, and the palates have been readied for the strawberry plants.

The hostas around the deck and the hydrangeas are looking lush and the garden furniture has been invitingly placed so that visitors to the garden can enjoy the view.

Even the early crops of lettuce and spinach in the cold frames have greened up and are inviting passersby to take a taste of the coming warm weather.
Once the ground dries out a little from the latest round of showers it will be time to tuck in seeds, mulch the walk-ways, and pull up a chair to watch things grow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The more things change

I recently read an article about the lives of mothers who are raising all boys.  The author wrote with a touch of whimsy and a spirit of camaraderie with other women who spent their days in the unique atmosphere that boys create in a home.

As I read my mind went back to my children's growing up years.  Though I don't technically fit into the group, I have one daughter along with five sons, there is so much about raising boys that resonates and can be summed up in a few short phrases.  
Boys and trees. Not their mere presence in life but rather the challenge that they present.  My son, Adam (above), is 29 and he still cannot ignore a good climbing tree.  Never could and probably never will.

Boys and chainsaws.  My husband is running a chainsaw to do some tree trimming here and we had all we could to keep Layn at a safe distance.  Notice that the photographer (me) was at a more than safe distance.  As long as I have known Doug the fact of a chainsaw in his hands has spelled doom for any stray branch, limb, twig, dead tree, whatever he may deem cuttable that enters into his sight. The younger generation is just as susceptible. 

Boys and large equipment!  My husband may be a man, look like a man, act like a man, and speak like a man but put him near a truck, tractor, loader, or any other kind of large equipment and he is all there!  I didn't have to ask him twice or even finish my sentence when I asked him about pushing up a load of horse manure for the garden.  He even graciously left me with the first bucket load full!

Boys and water! 'Nuff said!  All through their growing us years I cannot remember a time that I didn't pack a change of clothes for the whole crew whenever we went anywhere where water figured into the equation.

Boys and old plain old dirt!  I have shoveled it, swept it, scraped it, changed diapers full of it, and rinsed it down countless drains.  The beauty of all these experiences is that I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Monday, May 18, 2015

C'mon to my house

Since returning to Upstate New York life has been going at breakneck speed and it's just the way I like it. I am a firm believer in having children play a large part in my daily life.  Even now that I am a grandmother I find that being around Layn Christopher on a daily basis helps to keep my mind active and helps me sleep better at night because I am tired from moving and serving my family rather than from being bored and looking for things to do with my time.
Last week I had a whirlwind trip to Tacoma, WA to see my new granddaughter, Evie for the first time and to witness her birth into the Catholic Church.  

I was also able to spend time with Adam and Maryanne and to celebrate the upcoming birth of another Kraeger grandchild.

Ian, as the godfather extraordinaire was also present and what a pleasure to be with my sons as they caught up on all their news.  

Uncle Adam took this opportunity to get in a little future daddy practice with his niece. Miss Evie surely loves to be with her daddy and uncles.

On the home front my heart is full of the little things that make up our day to day life. Such as Layn's stone skipping lessons courtesy of his grandpa.  

Layn's imagination grows by leaps and bounds. Sunday afternoon he spent a large part of his time with a corn stalk "sword" patrolling and protecting his family from such dangers as dragons and shotguns.

Watching the neighbor disc and plant his corn is always an important aspect of a farm boy's life.  I'm not sure that this job can be properly done without a little boy spending some time watching.
Uncle Ian keeping Evie happy before the start of her special ceremony.

Ryan and Kathleen renewing their own baptismal vows.

Uncle Ian and Auntie Danica vowing to renounce Satan on behalf of little Evelyn Therese.

Probably my favorite picture from the whole trip. The feelings of pride that I experience when I see my grandchildren brought to the altar of God is something that cannot be expressed in words. May the Lord bless and keep Miss Evie. May He make His face to shine upon her and give her peace.