"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

21 October 2014

A Way Through

So, over Columbus Day weekend, my good friend Carla and I did a hike up this mountain.

It was a great hike and I was so happy to share the day and the trail with my friend/sister-in-Christ.

Towards the beginning of the trail, after we signed in at the trail register, there was an older man with a chainsaw.  I asked if he was working for the NYS Environmental Conservation Dept. He said no, he was a camper (we had seen his and his wife's camper on the way in) and likes to "give back" to the Adirdondack Mountains by doing things that are needed on the trails.  

The log pictured above was lying across the trail and he was sawing it...he said that by the time we were done with our climb, we wouldn't have to walk over the log....it would be split in two.  

I appreciate that camper.  There is a lot of "blow-down" in the mountains . (blow-down refers to significant damage due to storms that occur in the mountains/woods...when large trees and branches block the trail) And the NYS workers can't always get to every trail, especially the more remote ones.  Sometimes the various hiking clubs do maintenance work but again, it is rare for every single trail to be completely free of  blow-down.

On the way back down the trail, and upon coming to the log, here is what we saw:

trail up Vanderwhacker Mt
Central Adirondacks

A clear path through the forest!  The Vanderwhacker Mt Wild Forest is beautiful.  And very remote.  There are a lot of forest paths that are full of downed trees and branches. Even the brook we had to cross was tricky as at a couple of points, the bridge was washed away or there was no bridge so we had to rock-hop.  

This log reminded me of when obstacles come on our life journey.  Perhaps there are numerous trials you are facing.....hindering your faith walk, or making you stumble.........and as Christians we are not exempt from the storms of life!

How do we walk through it?  How do we walk through those times of uncertainty and the storms that life brings?

I look back on my life and at age 54 I can see where God's Hand has been....on my walk, my husband's walk, my 2 daughters' walk........

I think of the storm raging in my soul when things just weren't right in a church we were in.....when  I think back to that time, I wish I had handled things a little differently yet I see where God had us.....He allowed us to feel certain things for our own growth.......although it felt like we were stumbling along with all of these roadblocks, He was actually preparing us to be in a better place......and He was showing us His faithfulness in providing to us a healthy, new church.  That is just one example of many, where we walked (as a family) through a rough time...along a rough trail...only to find a clear outcome.

Do you turn to God when you are faced with obstacles??  It is through Christ that we gain our strength...........

our strength to keep going............

to make a way through............

19 October 2014

Speaking Life!

photo courtesy of pinterest
On Thursday evening, the small group I facilitate had our 4th meeting of the school year.  

We are studying The Power of a Praying Parent (the updated edition) and it is quite powerful! (no pun intended!)

Because I had 2 women missing that evening, I summarize on here so they can "catch up" with the discussion/information.  (Of course, I won't be writing about personal anecdotes or specific issues that the moms brought up, due to privacy concerns......but sometimes I have a mom who gives permission to use her story, etc.)  

This week we did the chapter entitled "Learning to Speak Life" and most of the discussion centered around how we as moms can speak life to our teens/college young adults and how to help our teens speak their own words of "life" vs negative thoughts/speech or ungodly speech.

We opened with a time of worship by praying for a specific concern regarding two of the moms and by listening/watching Toby Mac's song "Speak Life".  It was excellent!  Very good lyrics for our discussion. 

 We then played a ball of yarn "Web" game....we had to toss a ball of yarn to another person, speak words of life (encouragement, something positive) to that person, and then pull the string tight.  That person then chose to toss it to another person, until each person said and had spoken to them, words of life.  We saw the web design it made and I reminded the moms that if these were tangled with good words of life, can they imagine how tangled up their heartstrings would be with negative words that impact their child's heart, mind, and soul??  Many of the moms were very touched by the words spoken to them.

Summary of Chapter 16 

By teaching/training and role modeling that God's Word is Truth, and by having a real love for God, along with a spirit-filled heart, it will be easier as  we grow to speak words of life/truth.  All of these things help lead us to words that speak life.  Speaking life is simply stating truth, wrapped in love, and focusing on the positive.

For example:  a teen girl who says she is ugly has a root issue of low self esteem so as moms we want to focus on the fact/truth, that God made her. He doesn't make mistakes.  He created her in His image and she is fearfully and wonderfully made.

photo courtesy of praise 4 website

We can then point out her strengths such as she is strong, muscular, smart, funny, kind, caring, honest, etc.  Whatever your teen's strengths are, choose to speak them.....help her/him to know that God made them for a purpose and a plan and she has giftings and talents.  This carries over to when they speak about negative things that are not just physical traits.  For example, if they fail a test and are "down in the dumps" about it or feel "dumb", point out the areas where they are doing well, academically and think about getting a tutor or providing them with extra help so they really see that you care and take their education seriously.  These are just brief examples of things we discussed.  There are also cases of bullying, negative self-talk, or negative talk of others.  All of these things are not of God.  Help your teen to turn things around by making positive statements and teaching God's Scriptures.

We need to be asking ourselves if what we or our teens are saying line up with TRUTH.  Is the negative thought based on fact or is it their interpretation of things?  Teens still need us to help sort this out......sometimes college-aged kids need this as well. Other questions to consider are:  will this matter in 5 years?
Is thinking/speaking this way helping or hurting my personal goals/my faith/spiritual development.

We discussed how negative emotions are OK!! Our emotions, all of them...both positive and negative, are given to us by God! He is the Creator of all things!

Some negative emotions that teens (or parents!) face are:  guilt, sadness, depression, anger, shame, embarrassment, stress, being upset with no known reason, being upset for someone else or something that was done to them.

We do need to feel all of our emotions for healthy growth.  However, it is our job as parents to help our children sort through and work out those negative emotions.  What we (and they) need to focus on is channeling those negative thoughts into positive thoughts and positive ways of dealing with them.  For instance, when we are angry, the Bible tells us NOT to sin. We can feel something and not sin with/in it.  State the feeling to your  teen ("I see that you are feeling angry...is that true?") and wait for them to respond.  "you can feel angry...it is ok." (too many of us grew up in Christian homes/families/churches where we were told it is NOT ok to be angry, depressed, etc.....that is NOT TRUTH!!).  Jesus felt angry at times...Jesus was sad at times.  God was angry often at His chosen people! Our role as praying moms is to encourage our children to take an active, positive approach to their feelings....have them journal, or work-out, or talk to someone they trust.  Sometimes teens need to talk to a respected and trusted person who is NOT their parent. Make sure you are providing those opportunities. I know for my own oldest daughter, she often turned to one of her youth group leaders......she turned to me and my husband as well, but there were times when she preferred to share with a church leader...this is normal!!  Encourage it!! (make sure you already know the leader well...and trust him/her....it is best that if you have a son, he talks with a male leader if a 1:1 situation, and if a daughter, a female.).

We never know the impact our words will have on our teenagers and young adult children.  We need to remember that all of our words...every.single.one, will someday be judged by God!

Encourage your child to "be real" with you and allow her/him to be open and honest.  Make sure as a parent that you are open and honest with them, too.....and give them real life experiences that you have gone through, depending on their maturity level, etc.  

Pray positive words and Scriptures over your child and WITH your child!  Too often we neglect this area.

Pray often for your teenager to keep his heart pure.......and pray for your child's salvation in Christ, if they haven't already made their own decision to follow Him.

If your teen is the one doing the negative talk about someone else, help lead them to confession and repentance before God.  This is very important!  Help them to think of positive things to say or ways to solve whatever the problem is.

Most of us shared small anecdotes of times we've heard our teens either speaking negative words about themselves or others.  I gave the example of how my own 2 daughters tend to have very high self-esteem...sometimes TOO high.....my youngest especially, is given a lot of praise and positive feedback from her ballet instructors, other parents, teachers, relatives, for her ballet performances.  She knows she is the most advanced student in the troupe because she is told this often by the headmistress of the studio.  However, I have caught her saying things like "I don't need to do that, I already know it" or "I know I"m the best at the academy...." and other prideful things.  This too is just as much of a sin as the negative comments.  I have to remind her that her gifting of dance and grace is from GOD!  And that she needs to be careful of not being/sounding prideful.  We've been teaching her that pride goeth before a fall (destruction) according to the Scriptures and that she needs to be thankful for her gifting and remain humble before the Lord and others. This area has improved, thankfully.

We had one mom give an account of something negative that turned out to have a positive outcome!  I can't go into details here as I didn't get her permission to write about it, but please know that GOD MOVES IN MIRACULOUS WAYS!

Our words are very powerful.......for the good and for the bad.  If we are keeping a guard on our mouths, our children will see that model and will tend to be more careful with their own speech.
Never give up praying for your teenager and college kids.......our prayers and our positive words speak life.

At the end of the discussion, we took each other's prayer requests, writing them down for the week, and then we had the drawing for the free giveaway.  Our winner was Hope M.....she won a dark chocolate caramel candy stick, a coupon for a free cup of coffee at the Grace Fellowship/Latham cafe, and a mini bottle of Bath and Body Works Country Chic lotion all tied with an autumnal ribbon.

I hope to see everyone from group at our next meeting in 2 weeks.......and in the month of December, we will be having another free giveaway that you won't want to miss!

have a blessed day!!

17 October 2014

Mid-October Faves

Look at the title!  It's mid-October already!  How does this happen?

I'm looking ahead at the calender that is rapidly filling up as we approach mid-autumn and the holiday season, yet I'm savoring these last warm days of early autumn and lingering with the many memories I've made in the last 4 months.........am sharing 5 of them here because I'm participating with others who link up at Susanne's and list blessings God has brought into our lives.  I love looking back at the week and finding Five Faves.

photo courtesy of the saratoga dance website
  • DAUGHTER DATE!  On Saturday, Claire (the 15 yr old) and I had a mom-daughter date.  She had a 11:30 a.m. pointe shoe fitting at this place and it only took about an hour for her to find the next pair of pointe shoes.  She's on her 8th pair.  She dances 3 times a week so they wear out quickly.  I think I know why ballerinas are poor!  But...we were fortunate because the pair that fit the best this time were under $100 so we bought them and then did some Christmas shopping for the ballet teachers.  I got that done!  We then walked around downtown and had lunch outdoors at this fave place. I had the apple and cheddar grilled sandwich and she had chicken.  We shared the sweet potato fries and blueberry sauce. It was fun to people watch because Saratoga was quite lively with all sorts of tourists for Columbus Day weekend, a food fest, and leaf-peeping.  We then did a bit more Xmas shopping at a bookstore we like. It was a blessing to have the afternoon together.

  • WORK-OUT DATE:  I normally wouldn't call this a date but...Dave really wanted me to go with him to the new gym we joined.  And the blessing is that membership is free!  It's located in the same building as several of our doctors/eye doctor/pediatrician so, because we have doctors in that medical arts building, we can join the gym for free!!  It's small but it has everything.....and very neat, clean shower/locker areas.  There were only 3 other people there working out late Saturday afternoon so I got on the treadmill and did a little over a mile going uphill to prep for Monday's hike.  Dave got his work out in, and we talked so it was great.  After working out, we came home to cook dinner.....it was a great Saturday together! I'm not normally a gym person...I much prefer doing my biking and walking outside, but it was important to Dave so I did it.  I'll most likely save the gym though for those cold winter days! The blessing, besides the work-out and time together, is that he could cancel his gym membership at the chain place and now we will save $10 a month!

  • DAY WITH DAD:  Sunday was a day to drive out to the central part of NY and visit my dad.  He is getting frail.......he will be 83 in January and really misses my mom.  I don't think he has really grieved all that "well"....if you know what I mean.  He is facing a move from the home he has lived in for the last 30+ years and I know it is a bit difficult for him.  Dave and I took him out for an early dinner and we really enjoyed our day with him.  It's a blessing to be able to visit him every couple of months.  It's hard to see him getting frail.

First mile of trail up Vanderwhacker Mt

the Vanderwhacker Mountain Fire Tower
13 October

View from the fire tower looking north to the High Peaks
Vanderwhacker Mt/ North-Central ADKS

  • HIKING DAY!  Monday was a holiday for all public schools and most agencies in NYS.....due to Columbus Day...so my friend Carla and I hiked one of the mountains I have left on the Fire Tower Challenge.  This one is very remote, very similar to the ones I did in August but less steep.  It was a round trip of about 7 miles.  What a great day I had!  I had NO pain in my foot (I wrapped the arch with rock tape) and NO back pain. AMAZING!  Although it was overcast, and the leaves are a little past peak color up there, it was still a glorious hike and it didn't rain! I now only have FIVE firetower peaks left in the Adirondacks to do, and only 2 more in the Catskills!!  Hopefully by the end of next summer, I will have completed the challenge!
painting by Deborah Fast
  • AN ADIRONDACK PAINTING!  A good friend of mine, Deborah, painted this for me!  She and I have been friends since childhood. Her parents raised her in the same church and schools that I went to and our families did many things together over the years.  I am also good friends with her older sister Diane. They both graduated from our hometown high school a few years ahead of me. We reconnected several years ago and last summer we were able to hike together when Deb visited NY (she now lives in TN with her husband).  This bridge shows the beginning of a trail that I have always wanted to do but it is a 10 mile round trip hike so I  haven't done it yet.  BUT..to the right of the bridge, there is another trail that leads to 3 beautiful waterfalls...we only got to hike to the first one and tried to bushwhack to the other ones but we didn't have any luck. At any rate, Deb took photos and then painted this picture for me from her photo.  She knows it is one of my fave areas of the Adirondacks (the Wilcox Lake Wilderness Region) so I was thrilled and totally surprised when her sister gave this to me the other day.  I had been at my dad's with my husband and Diane met us there to surprise me. I do plan on getting it framed and for now it is on a shelf leaning against the wall in my family room. I'm so thankful for good friends who appreciate hiking and the woods!

That wraps up my faves........there were other little blessings too, like very warm, mild weather all week and steaming mugs of morning coffee, ice cold lemonade for dinner, cold apple cider, cool, fresh sheets on the bed at night, and kindergarten students who worked well this week!

What were some of your blessings this week?  Please feel free to share!

Have a happy, restful weekend!

13 October 2014


i hiked.

with NO pain.

and with a good pace.

Climbed about 3 miles in 2 hours.  It was steep.  But I was steady.

and look at this view....too bad it was cloudy....but it didn't rain.

and i had no pain. 

a little over 6 miles total......we think....2 different pedometers showed 2 different totals...one showed 7.9 and one showed 7.2 and the guidebooks say 5 miles....so...who knows?  I only know it was glorious....a fantastic workout and beautiful, fairly well maintained trail.........

and now....only 5 more Adirondack fire tower mountains left to climb and 2 Catskills mountains left and then my challenge is DONE!  It's been 10 years in the making......so many memories..so many good climbs.....most in the last 4 years.....I am blessed.


another blog post with a spiritual lesson is coming...but.....tonight....i'm tired....a good tired.....

and back to work tomorrow.........

this day was memorable.

things I'm adding to the thousand gifts list:

no rain

no pain

an excellent hiking buddy and good friend

yummy snacks

cold water

hot coffee

challenging trail

beautiful wilderness

pretty peak





the high peaks of the Adirondacks
from the firetower on the summit of Vanderwhacker Mountain
13 October 2014

10 October 2014

Autumn Faves

What a busy week!!

But..here in the USA most of us have Monday off to celebrate Columbus Day.....which gives us a nice, 3-day weekend! and guess what I plan on doing!!

Although I had a busy week with something every night after work/dinner, I found some blessings in the busy-ness.

Join in with me and other writers as we link up at Susanne's and share our FIVE FAVE things/moments from the past week.


photo courtesy of the Gordon College FB page
  • PARENTS WEEKEND/HOMECOMING/125th ANNIVERSARY:  Last weekend we traveled to the north shore of Boston to visit our oldest daughter on campus.  We were finally able to meet all of her roommates except for one who was away for the weekend.....(2 we had already met).  The apt looked great, Courtney looked great, and the activities were fun, although it was a misty rain all day. Dave and I attended the parents breakfast reception at the president's home across the road from the main campus.  It was lovely and we ran into a friend's husband who is the vice president of communications for the college. It was great to talk with him. We had lunch with Courtney and went to the art exhibit with her and just hung out until dinner time.  She had evening plans so we went out to dinner with some friends I reconnected with in the last couple of years.  They have 3 children and 2 of them are now at the college, too.  What a fun weekend and it was such a blessing to hug our princess this weekend!!  We ended the weekend by going to the church she attends while away from home.  It is so hard to believe she is in her last year at Gordon!

  • CONNECTIONS!  While at the college Saturday afternoon, I met up with a friend I used to share an apartment with when we were both getting our masters degrees here in Albany.  Her husband is the person I mentioned above that we ran into at the breakfast. Her kids had plans that evening too on campus, so the 4 of us, plus our 15 year old daughters made plans to meet at this restaurant for dinner later that evening. When we got there, it was Dave and I plus Claire, my friend Debbie and her husband Rick plus their teen girl Jessie, and Rick's sister plus her 2 teen girls.  What a blast we had!!  The cocktail I ordered was so refreshing and the food was outstanding. We had no room for dessert....although the teens sure ate enough food plus dessert for all of us!  We laughed, reminisced, joked and Rick filled us in on just what exactly is going on with the college and all the negative publicity that the city of Boston is doing.  It really helped set our minds at ease to learn what is truth and what is bad publicity and false information.  Gordon is taking a stand and we are behind them all the way.  It was a blessing to have this time together.

  • NEW GROUP!  Well, this is insane to me because I already lead my own small group. And I am BUSY with it.  I really didn't want to JOIN one!!  BUT...I've been praying for a couple of years now for my husband to become active in a church small group.  He finally joined one this past week!!  And really wanted me to go with him.  The leaders are a couple I know well because the wife is in MY group!  Her name is Hope and her husband's name is Dave. (and um yeah...we've had some laughs over that since I'm Faith and my husband is Dave). Anyways, since their group meets on the off weeks from MY group (different night) and it was my ONLY free night with NO running around after dinner, at first I didn't really want to join. It's not a couples group (there are a couple of singles in it) but since I saw how important this was to Dave, I checked it out Tuesday evening. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID!!  The group is quite diverse and it is going to be great.  We are doing a study that other new small groups are doing about "community" and "doing life together" which our very large church is always preaching about.  So......it looks like 2 times a month I'll be in this small group and trying to keep up on the homework as well as prepping for my own group. Please pray!! :)  and what a blessing to have this time with my husband and other people we hadn't met yet in our 8 years at Grace Fellowship.  
photo courtesy of hunter's ridge website
  • STEAMING COFFEE!  Since I've been getting to bed rather late this past week, and have to be up by 5:30, I have been very thankful for steaming hot coffee in the morning.  I typically have a large mug and then a half before leaving for work, and bring a travel mug full for morning time in the kindergarten.  This week, because I had 2 evenings where I knew I was going to be out late, I made a steaming mug in our Keurig as soon as I got home from work.  It really perks me up and is comforting and relaxing and gets me in a very good mood.  I love coffee and consider it a huge blessing to have an auto set feature to wake up to the scent, and a Keurig for just making one cup later in the day with many flavorful options.  It's definitely my most fave hot beverage.

photo courtesy of google images
  • POWER WALKING!  This makes my fave list because I've been able to do 3 good work-outs this week after work.  I am SO thankful for this!!  I have really needed the work out to prepare for an upcoming hike I have planned as well as to boost my mood and energy levels.  Plus, I like the challenge of trying to do a mile in 15 minutes.  I'm not there yet unless I run.  I don't run based on what the chiropractor said it would do to my foot...I don't want to aggravate the fascia bone since the fasciitis is almost completely healed.  So....I've been able to walk a 1.4 mile walk in about 31 minutes.  One day I did 1.3 in 24 minutes!  I was very thankful for that!  It's a blessing to be able to work-out without having to go to a gym..the weather has been wonderful.
That wraps up my week.....if you live here in the States and have Monday off...ENJOY!!  and my other blogger friends....have a great weekend!!

07 October 2014

Swedish Apple Pie

photo courtesy of google images

I love picking apples....my 15 year old daughter, Claire, and I went apple picking a couple of weeks ago on a balmy, late summer Sunday in September and came home with MANY Cortland apples...which are perfect for baking.  Apple picking is something we did often when the girls were little and we hadn't been in a long time....so...it was on Claire's bucket list for autumn.  We went a couple of weeks early as our autumn is very busy.

So.....on Sunday evening, while laundry was whirring away and we were going through mail, etc. from being away all weekend, I decided to make Swedish Apple Pie which is a fave because it is crust-less!!  I don't make good pie crust...it is never flaky!!  I do cheat for my homemade chicken pot pie and buy a name brand pie crust.....but I really don't bake crusts.  I figure that's what good bakeries are for!

This recipe has been requested by several friends.......enjoy!!


peeled and sliced apples, about 6-8 large apples
1 TBL cinnamon
1/2 TBl sugar
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) of margarine, melted
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • Fill a lightly greased pie plate with the apples, about 2/3 full.
  • Sprinkle with the cinnamon and the 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
  • In a small bowl, add all the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour over the apples. You will need to use a spatula to help the mixture cover all the apples.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • serve warm.
NOTE:  you can add nutmeg to the ingredients like I do....it gives it an extra autumn flavored kick.

Serve with vanilla ice cream (optional) or slices of thick cheddar cheese.

Keep leftovers in fridge and warm in microwave for about 20 seconds per slice.

What is one of YOUR favorite apple recipes for autumn??  

as with all the recipes on this blog site, and with the faithfixes label, you DO have permission to copy this page.