There's no place like home.

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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reflections on a week of service

Doug and I have been here for two weeks now and it has not only been an adventure but also a time of revelation.  

Doug, my mom, and I are sitting here watching Driving Miss Daisy and it struck me that this movie is a metaphor for my life right now.  As the deterioration of the main character's mind progresses I cannot help but compare her to my mother's deterioration.  In the past two weeks I have watched her cease to know who I am.  There is a spark in her eyes that tells me somewhere deep inside she understands that she is supposed to be close to me but that is as far as it goes this past couple of days.

Over these two weeks my mind and heart have turned down a road of transformation that I knew was coming but my personal map told me it was miles off yet.  This week my mother has become the child and is, by her actions, asking me to become the mother.  Everything that she must do she seems to need my approval for rather than the other way around.   Instead of giving me direction and example it is up to me to guide and care for her.



The pain around my heart is no longer one of worry and concern but grief and mourning.  It will take some time but my mother is going away.  Gradually she is fading and slipping away.  The childhood of old age is claiming her day by day.  She has abandoned the concerns of motherhood for the carefree imaginings of a return to her girlhood.  

Now it is up to me to tuck the memories of mother and become for her all the comfort that she will need until the end.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My new home!

Those of you who read this blog know that recently my husband and I packed up our belongings of 30 years and left New York State behind to live in the land of the Southern drawl and red soil.


My next immediate younger brother was generous enough to let us use one of his houses to make into our home.  I truly feel that since this place has already been a home, and a happy one at that, I could feel it welcoming us with open arms from the moment that we stepped across the threshold.


My next immediate older brother generously loaned us a car so that we could navigate the area and accomplish tasks that are inherent to getting moved in.  My wonderful husband has had two job interviews with Bostik and will learn next week if he has a job with them.


This is my kitchen.  Nice and big and welcoming to anyone who wishes to come south and enjoy a home cooked meal.  Just because I am away from the army doesn't mean I have forgotten how to cook for one.


This is the view out the back deck.  Late in the afternoon when the temps are warm enough and the sun is shining warmly we will take our books and coffee out here and enjoy the great outdoors.


The livingroom.  Yes the fireplace works.


The family room.  Doug likes this window to sit in and read in the morning.


The rest of the family room.  I think this move was meant to be since my quilt machine and frame fit so well into this house!


The sun room is perfect for a sewing room.  There is more light than I could have asked for.


The rest of the sun room.  The sun shines in here for most of the day and not only warms the room but makes sewing a pleasant experience indeed.  The view out the windows in of trees that are changing color more everyday which satisfies my need for the great outdoors.

All in all God is not only blessing our trip south but helping us to settle in and make this area our home.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

I love all of you out there....

you know who you are!

Here is the proof that I can indeed cook for less than an army.  That is enough for Doug, Mom, and myself with leftover for his lunch tomorrow.


I also managed an apple pie (Mom had a load of apples in her refrigerator that needed to be used pronto!)  There are also two loaves of bread in the oven right now.  Doug can eat homemade bread as fast as I can bake it!

One of the perks of Mom's condition...not remembering that she ate only an hour ago so she is usually anxiously awaiting her next meal.  I am totally flattered by her devotion to my cooking.  On the days when she is with us we manage to get three or four good meals into her.  She even raves over the muffins and bread that I leave at her house to eat when we are not there. This is the woman who used to never eat anything that I made!  Chalk this up to the positive side of dementia.

Anyway, the bread is about to come out and I need to do some serious sewing while Mom is napping.

The Simple Woman's Daybook 28 October 2013


Outside my window...it is gloomy and rainy.  I feel we have been transported back into the Autumn all over again.  When we left New York it was  gloriously golden and cool.  Here in the south the gold is a bit tarnished but still just as enjoyable.

I am thinking...about my lists.  We have been here a little over a week but there is still much to do in order to be fully settled in.

I am thankful for...all the love and support that my siblings have given to Doug and I.  Our move and transition have been made better because of their care.

From the kitchen...scalloped potatoes and ham is on the menu!

I am wearing...cozy jammies since there is still a chill on in the morning around here.

I am going...out to Liberty to pick up mom and bring her over to our house for the day.

I am reading...St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer

I am hoping...to come up with solutions to a couple of issues in the very near future.

I am hearing...the morning news on the TV, the furnace blowing nice warm air into the room, and Doug making "husband" noises while he reads his book.

Around the house...it is very quiet!  

One of my favorite things...a quick visit from my youngest brother Matthew this morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Doug has an onsite interview tomorrow morning, I pray that it results in a job.  Friday is a holy day so there will be mass and another brother will be coming in for a visit later this week.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

This is how I have been feeling since I came down here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook 14 October 2013


Outside my window...the skies are grey and gloomy.  Our stretch of glorious fall weather has come to a close.  The temperature is having all it can do to stay at 58 degrees and the mist in the air is doing its best to wash away the memories of the sunshine.

I am thinking...that it is on days such as this one that going south is a good thing..

I am thankful for...the long stretch of sunshine that we have enjoyed.  My husband and son have been able to accomplish so much around the farm that would have been next to impossible if it had been raining.

From the kitchen...I am sure that something delicious will be served.

I am wearing...flannel pants and a tee shirt.  Layn and I went pumpkin picking and both of us got really muddy!

I am going...to stay here for the rest of the day.  There is last minute laundry to do and some thoughts that need to be jotted down.  That and time with the littles after naps should about take up my day.

I am reading...Phillipa Gregory's, A Respectable Trade

I am hoping...that we can actually get underway tomorrow!

I am hearing...Ian explaining to his father his method for making hard cider, the bird in its cage pecking away at it's image in the mirror, and the crackle of the fire in the wood stove.

Around the house...the place is still looking like a storage facility!  I will not be the only one relieved when the truck comes and gets loaded.

One of my favorite things...spending time with my grandsons.

A few plans for the rest of the week...just get through today, that's about all the plans that I am making right now.

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you ...

Layn and I had an outing this morning.  Along with going to pick pumpkins we stopped at a local attraction to enjoy the sound of water going over Chittenango Falls.  I think he has another favorite place to go.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is going to be a selfish, whining, pity party post so beware



I hate good-byes.  Not like most people do. You know 'cause they make me sad for a little while but I'll get over it later when I am busy and I make new friends.  Not that kind of sad.  I get the, crying all over the place, I really don't make friends well, I feel sorry for me kind of sad when I say good-bye.

I said good-bye to some people this morning and all I can do is cry and think about all the ways that they have been important in my life.  Did I mention that I hate crying too?  Having a heart is a damn inconvenience!!!!  I liked it better when I was a grouchy, heartless, mean hag.  Growing a heart is a pain.

There, I feel kind of better.

Monday, October 7, 2013

God has a way

of warming us from the inside if we only allow it to happen.  There are times when even my insides are so shut up and cantankerous that His grace seems not to be able to penetrate.  Lately, however I have been actively trying to be open the whatever God sends in the way of encouragement because at times things have been changing so fast my life feels just like a snowball rolling down a mountain.  


I have found that if you stop, I mean really stop, and listen, look around and ask yourself what He's putting in your path the answers seem to come out of seemingly everyday occurrences and shining a new and glorious light on all of them.  The birth of a new grandson, for example, always wonderful, becomes virtually miraculous when viewed through the lens of the divine.



The love that seems to be innate between siblings is another blessing that shouldn't be taken for granted.  I have been asked more than once about Layn's reaction to his new brother.  Instead of simply answering that, "Of course he loves Christopher," all I have to do is see the smile on his face and the shine in his eyes and the truth of that statement is more than apparent.  


The thick mist and chill of a Saturday morning, rather than being an inconvenience, becomes a blessing and a chance for appreciation of the wonders of God's plan.  As I sat on the deck stamping the view on the canvas of my memory the intricacy of this spider's wed caught my eye.  Then not only one but countless others were revealed by the mist that was hanging on the threads that were hanging there.


Even the gnarled old Ash tree standing in the yard and the memories that it invokes is a blessing if I let it be so as I sat there.  The play of voices and scenes from the lives of my children rather than making me sad served to cement my connection to this place and help to make it possible to say good-bye.



A husband who freely and unselfconsciously crawls on the floor with his grandson and gets silly with Mr. Potato Head has to be one of the greatest ways that God reminds me of his hand in my life.  It is this kind of love that speaks most eloquently of God's complete giving to his creation.

Finally the gift of friends who surround us and intentionally blur the lines separating us are perhaps God's way of saying concretely that he is never far and we are never alone.

The Simple Woman's Daybook 7 October 2013


Outside my window...we are enjoying another spectacular fall day.  Temps are already in the low 70's with a brisk south wind blowing.  The leaves are coming off the trees in huge drifts with every gust of the wind.  Already the lawns are covered in a brightly hued carpet of golds, reds and oranges.

I am thinking...about all of the excitement that I missed last night.  The one night that I actually sleep there is a rollover accident on our road by our cow pasture.  Apparently someone was driving a bit too fast, started to go off the road in front of the house, over-corrected, and wound up on his side in the middle of the road.  The driver was no where to be found but all the cattle was present and accounted for! (Thanks be to God!)

I am thankful for...the wonderful brownies that a dear friend brought yesterday.  Mary they hit the spot for more than just me!

From the kitchen...there is, hopefully, leftover pasta from yesterday for supper.  If not I will have to be awfully clever and come up with something else.

I am wearing...shorts (in October!) and a pink tee.

I am going...to work hard to resist the urge to sit in the sun and soak up the fall day!  I really need to be packing.

I am reading...nothing and it is killing me.  A few more days and I will be south where I can laze around and do whatever I want, NOT!

I am hoping...that the next couple of days absolutely crawl by! I am not really ready to face the adventure that is to come.

I am hearing...Frank Sinatra's Duets album playing on the stereo, Layn out front playing with Archie, and MK taping bags closed.  The sound of the wind outside lifts up and carries all the other sounds of my along.

Around the house...ugg!!!  No one really wants to know.  My sewing room, or what was once my sewing room, looks just like a storage facility.  The living room looks like we are either moving in or out (you really cannot tell).  The laundry room looks like Mount Washmore erupted and there are rivers of dirty laundry oozing all over the place.  The kitchen is an absolute disaster!  There are clean dishes on the counter mingled with the dirty breakfast dishes.  The only bright spot in the place is Christopher peacefully sleeping on the changing table.

One of my favorite things...taking little bits of time out through the day to change Christopher and cuddle him before he has to nurse.  Those moments have always reminded me to slow down and savor what is important.  The older I get the longer those little bits of time get.

A few plans for the rest of the week...finish the packing, say my final good-byes to this home that has been mine for over 30 years, then pack the trailer and drive off into the sunrise!

Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...


 Little Layn Picasso helping his daddy painting the walls in the shop last week.

Every day Christopher becomes more awake and aware of his surroundings.  The changes happen so fast it is impossible not to marvel at this miracle that is human life.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My husband always says....

 God has his reasons.  Well my reply is usually something to the effect of, "Duh, really?"  When we were granted another week here that was his answer to me, as if I needed some kind of reassurance.  Well, now that the week is halfway gone I think I can pinpoint that reason.



How about 91 quarts of apple cider to can for a starter?

A little boy who needed consoling with a piece of Grandma's apple cake?


A new baby brother to love?


An unexpected visit from number 4 son, Jason?

Here it is only Wednesday and that is one heap of reasons not to have left for the southland quite yet.