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

03 July 2015

Sharing a Hike Faves

I'm actually on my way to Chatham (Cape Cod), MA right now so my Friday Fave Fives is going to be via photos of a hike I did with 2 other hiking buddies up Poke O Moonshine Mountain.  That is the mountain that is very near where the 2 escapees were running around after breaking out of prison. Thankfully, they are no longer on the loose!  HUGE thanks go to the NYS Police,  Forest Rangers, local Adirondack police, and the many prayers that went up for everyone's safety and peace of mind. We discovered the next day that we were about 20 miles from a cabin in which the criminals had been hiding out in!  Those of us who hike, can now breathe a sigh of relief that the only thing we need to watch out for this summer are bears. (and I have NEVER seen one on a trail...just their "scat"...and if you don't know that word, look it up!).

Sharing FIVE of my FAVE photos from that day and linking up with Susanne from Living to Tell the Story blog.  

POKE O MOONSHINE HIKE HIGHLIGHTS (we also explored the Adirondack ghost town of Tahawus (a.k.a. Adirondac) after our hike as it was only an hour south of the trail and right on the way home)



"Indian Paintbrush"
wildflowers found in the ADKs


from the summit looking out over
the Taylor Pond Wild Forest region of the Eastern Adirondacks
with the High Peaks of the Adirondacks in the background
and the Adirondack Northway winding through the wilderness


Poke O Moonshine's Fire Tower!
the 19th fire tower summit I have climbed!
(only 4 more to go to complete The Challenge!)


Home where Teddy Roosevelt was staying
when he learned the news that President McKinley had been shot!
This is one of the houses in the "ghost town" of Adirondac/Tahawus
I LOVED seeing this...had heard this history all of my life
 and was finally standing on these grounds


Hudson River near its starting point!
Wild, beautiful, clean, isolated.
The Hudson is 315 miles long
and flows into the Atlantic once it reaches NYC
which is about 4 hours and 39 minutes south of this photo!




That wraps up my faves for the week.  I will be back in two weeks and look forward to reading everyone's faves then.

Happy Weekend and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO MY FELLOW USA FRIENDS!




















30 June 2015

25 Years

Today, 30 June 2015 marks my 25th wedding anniversary.

What is traditionally known as the "silver anniversary".  Is that because we all have silver in our hair once we reach 25 years??!  (ok, well we got married when I was 30 and he was a month away from turning 25 so yeah.....I definitely have some silver. But I still color my hair so you can't see it!  haha...I  told my daughters that when I am 70 I will then let the silver take over!)


Seriously, though.  25 years is like.....a long time.

30 June 1990
and it is only by the grace of God that marriages can last this long.

Good communication, choosing our battles, kissing before bed each night and every morning, praying together (although this doesn't happen nearly often enough for me), talking about the Word together, attending church together, raising and disciplining the children together, playing together/vacationing together, date nights, projects, ministry duties together, and our own circle of friends......and the list goes on.  ALL of these things help support a solid marriage foundation.

The theme of our wedding was "Married for Life.....Friends for Eternity"

I'm currently finishing up the book You and Me Forever:  Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan (he is the author of Crazy Love which was excellent as is this book)

One thing I've really let sink in to my soul...in to my heart...that the book brings out is that we need intimacy with our Savior.....to be intimate with others.  That we all have a plan and a purpose that God put in us.  That we need to embrace that!  That we need to be close to Christ before we can even think about making a marriage work well.  That our marriages are often the picture of God and His Church that non-believers see.  That we need to represent Him well.

To have a healthy, thriving marriage means to seek God and His righteousness, first!

and that we need to show love the way Jesus showed love.

Here's to another 25 years.......

by the grace of God.



29 June 2015

Daybook for Last Monday in June

Joining in with other friends for this writing exercise
 hosted by Peggy.

FOR TODAY 29 JUNE

Outside my window - it's a little chilly and cloudy, although the sun keeps breaking through even though there was a light misty rain falling. Temps are in the high 60's.

I am wearing:  black capri pants, a black/white flowered shirt, silver hoop earrings, 3 alex and ani bracelets ("tree of life, bicycle, dragonfly), tangerine polish on my bare toes

I am thinking - about all the items I need to get checked off the "prepare for vacation" list.

I am praising God for - my husband and the 25 years we have had as husband and wife (tomorrow is our 25th anniversary!!)

I am in prayer for -  a few close friends who have some monetary issues, illness, and a prodigal child they are dealing with.

I am thankful for - the cooler temperatures as we finish up re-painting our shed.

From the kitchen - dinner tonight:  grilled honey mustard chicken, roasted sweet potato wedges, steamed peas,cucumber salad, watermelon.

I am creating - a photo book of my daughter's graduation from college.

I am going to be - cleaning, packing for our Cape Cod vacation, running errands, helping to strip old paint and slap on new paint (shed)

I am excited that - my husband and I will be alone in a rented cottage on Cape Cod for 4 days before our daughters join us!

I am hoping (trusting) that - my daughters will be safe on the highways this upcoming week

I am looking forward to - our vacation alone AND with our 2 daughters, exploring a new to us part of Cape Cod and re-visiting some fave spots

I am learning -to just lay everything at the feet of Jesus BEFORE trying to do things on my own!

I am reading - I'm finishing up You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, beginning a personal devotional book titled Restless (because you were made for more) and just beginning a library book titled Descent about a family of hikers.

One of my favorite things - listening to Vivaldi as I clean the kitchen

A few plans for the rest of the week - groceries for the cottage, putting stops on the newspaper and mail, finishing up the packing, dinner out tomorrow evening as we celebrate 25 yrs of marriage, finishing up the shed project

A favorite quote for the day -





A favorite Scripture thought:


A picture thought:


Have a wonderful week!!



2015 Book Review #20: Chasing Fireflies

I've just finished another really good book by an author I discovered back in the early spring....I happened to see this title on the town library shelf and thought it was catchy.  It was. It was hard to put this book down each night and get to bed!
  
STORY SUMMARY


Chase Walker doesn't know his real name.  He doesn't know how he came to be a foster child and then adopted by Willie (Liam) McFarland and his wife Lorna. They live in Georgia on land nicknamed "the Zuta" and there's an entire back story about the McFarland clan.  I don't want to go into it here because it would take too long for a book review AND I don't want to ruin the experience for you...there are a lot of suspenseful parts, mysterious parts, and various nuances regarding the back story.  Every couple of chapters goes back in time to either Chase first becoming a part of the McFarland family or about Willie and Jack. (willie's brother)


Learning the truth about who he is, is like chasing fireflies on a summer's night.
It can be elusive.


Chase lives on a boat but is often at "Unc" and Lorna's (Unc is a nickname for Willie).  Chase's other uncle (Jack,whom Willie rarely speaks to) is named Jack and has a daughter named Tommye.  Tommye is home from LA where she was doing adult movies and acquired HIV and is dying.  Tommye and Chase have always had a very special relationship.  We soon learn that her big brother, when they were small children, committed suicide and both children were victims of incest by Jack, their father.  Willie and Jack don't speak much nor even act like brothers because of something in their past.  Their father died, Willie's wife was killed and a bit later his little boy was killed.  Yet, we don't know the details at the time this part of the back-story is told.  Willie was accused of stealing from the community bank and put in prison yet he never served his full term. We don't know the "whys" of that either although we do learn that he is NOT the one who stole all the bank bonds.  Willie is a peacemaker, yet we don't know why.


Chase is a journalist who soon learns that the local hospital has a young boy who was found on some railroad tracks.  Apparently his mother or guardian.....a young woman....was found dead in the car that a train crashed into.  She pushed the boy out of the car just in time before the train hit.  He is mute (voice box was damaged by physical abuse) and is a fantastic, gifted artist who writes and draws to communicate.  Willie brings the boy home to be a foster father to him as per the court ruling since no relatives come to claim the boy.  He is a victim of severe emotional and physical abuse.

Just who is this little boy??  Will he ever talk aloud?

And will Chase ever learn the truth about himself??

Read the story to find out!


MY THOUGHTS

Another good page-turner and tear-jerker.

One thing I didn't like about this story was the topic of incest.....just very disturbing and yet I know this does go on all over the United States.  It can be difficult to read about though. Thankfully, the author just touched on it briefly and did a very good job in telling this back story so that you understand the life of Tommye.

  He does a great job with writing descriptives about each character without that part of the story getting bogged down.  I also like how he catches the reader up with the back-story of the character without taking too much time away, or ruining the flow, of the main plot line.

The one thing that was just not well researched was that the author spoke of Chase and Unc catching fireflies on Xmas Eve.  Fireflies, from my own curiosity and research on the internet (I checked five different sources), only show up in the  late spring/summer time!  So....that was just inaccurate information although it made for a nice touch to the story as he used fireflies in an analogy.  It's just odd that he chose Xmas Eve and not summer time. Little things like that bug me (No pun intended!!).

Overall, this was a great story.  It speaks of family love, of betrayals, of trials and triumphs, of friendship, of orphans and abandonment, loss, adoption.  In fact, each character in this book is "abandoned" in some way.  I will leave it up to you to figure out how.

The title is very symbolic and I loved all the sayings that Uncle Willie expresses to Chase, Tommye and the little boy who comes to be named Sketch.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book:


"Identity does not grow out of action until it has taken root in belonging." (Chasing Fireflies, c.2007 pg.233)
"He said he gave up what he couldn't keep to gain what he couldn't lose."  (on speaking about missionary Jim Elliot; Chasing Fireflies c.2007, pg.260)
Now, that above quote originally by Jim Elliot (for those of you who don't know Jim's story, Hollywood made an excellent movie based on his life called "End of the Spear" and just last week his wife, Elisabeth Elliot, died.  He was bringing the gospel to the Huaroni native tribes of Ecuador when he was killed by some of the tribesmen.)  The actual quote he wrote in his journal before he died is this:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose"

This quote is actually based on something the preacher Philip Henry spoke of back in the 1600s, England.

You might also have read (highly recommend!) or heard of the book by his wife, Elisabeth Elliot, Through the Gates of Splendor, which is the story of the life and death of Jim).

Another quote from the book that I really liked was this one:


"Don Quixote saw things as God intended them, not as what they'd become. He said, " 'I come in a world of iron, to make a world of gold.'" (Chasing Fireflies c.2007, pg.302)
There were many profound thoughts, mainly from the character Willie/Liam but those are the ones that really stuck with me.

The ending of the book went just as I predicted.  I had figured out just exactly who Chase's father might be and I wasn't surprised.  The way it all played out though was brilliant.  What bothered me was that Jack was never really brought back in the end to "get his due" but I think that was the point of the story.......I don't want to say too much to ruin it for you.  The entire ending is sad, happy, bittersweet, forgiving, and loving.  A range of emotions went through me as I read the conclusion.  It is very powerful and the lessons taught in this book are subtle...the love of God is brought out in such a way that the general public would not consider this a "Christian book".  It is quite well done without being sappy.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to content and mature themes although the writing itself could be read by a child in junior high).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.





27 June 2015

Spiced Carrots and Butternut Squash

Do you need some fresh veggie recipes for summer meals?

I'm always looking for them....for ones that are quick and easy!

I recently discovered this recipe via my Simple and Delicious magazine and thought I'd share it with you all.  It's a slow-cooker recipe which is perfect for days that I go hiking or take my teen daughter and her friends to the lake.  I can have this simmer all afternoon and just toss some bison burgers on the grill once we are home.   Delish!!


SPICED CARROTS AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH


5 large carrots, cut into 1/2 in. pieces

2 c. cubed, peeled butternut squash
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder



  • Place carrots and squash in slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients; drizzle over the veggies and toss to coat.
  • Cook, covered, on low for 4-5 hours (or on simmer for 6-7 hours) until veggies are tender.  
  • Gently stir before serving.



PLEASE NOTE:  the original recipe from Simple and Delicious calls for a 1/2 tsp of salt. I never add salt to my recipes, other than a dash.  Recipes rarely need salt!

TIPS:  prepare this in the morning before leaving for work or a beach day at the lake.
Serve with grilled tilapia, bison burgers, or chicken.  Add some fresh fruit of melon and berries and you have a very simple and healthful dinner!

Refrigerate any leftovers and serve the next day over jasmine rice for lunch!

ENJOY!!



26 June 2015

END OF SCHOOL YEAR FAVES

Happy Summer, everyone!!

I am so happy the Summer season is upon us.  My last day with the kindergartners was Wednesday and my teenager's last day was Tuesday.  We are very happy to be on summer vacation now until September 10!! Our high school has graduation tomorrow morning and we know a few teens who will be graduating. The end of the school year is about as busy as the holiday season around here! But......I was able to find FIVE FAVES from this past week among the busy days and evenings, and I'm sharing them by linking up with Susanne, who is our gracious hostess. 

FIVE FAVES

image courtesy of Sake website
  • FATHER'S DAY!  Last Sunday, besides being the first day of Summer/Summer Solstice, was also the day we give honor to the fathers.  I made reservations for the 4 of us at this Japanese restaurant where we had so much fun watching the chef do his thing as he prepared 4 hibachi dinners for us.  Dave chose the Hibachi Salmon and Scallops, the girls had Hibachi Salmon/Steak and I had Hibachi Chicken.  It was so much fun and Dave loved that the girls are now willing to eat Japanese food.  It was a fun and relaxing Father's Day for him.  We ended the day by going back out for our fave frozen yogurt after a very relaxing afternoon. I also called my dad (and Dave called his) to chat with him for a little while. He is doing well but is very forgetful.  All in all, it was a great father's day for the dads in my life and I thank them for all that they do!

Evening Sunset
  • EVENING COLORS!  Monday evening was simply perfect.  The weather was cool, the daylight long due to summer finally being here, and the humidity was super low so we had all the windows open for sleeping.  I was sitting on my swing with a book and iPad and snapped this photo when I saw the moon come out. It was about 8:50 pm. It's not the greatest quality since it's with my iPad but but the swirls of pink, purple and blue were stunning to me.  I think it's such a blessing to live in the Northeast where we have these amazing sunsets even here in suburbia.
from the K class:  Megan, Alexis, Sam, Cecilia,
Kameron, Dylan, Christian, Jacoby,
Madison, Isabelle, Colin, Jillian, Ben, Tytus,
Leah, Taylor, Benjamin, Demetri, Johnny, Oliver
  • CLASS GIFT! At our class party this week, the room parents gave me a gift from the entire class of students!  (very generous of them since I really only work closely with the 9 special needs children.  The other 11 were gen ed kids who don't have special needs although I do help them out at times, too and lead large group activities from time to time during the week).  The gift bag included a gift card to T*rget, a beautiful beach towel, with a matching insulated drink cup, and a copy of a fave magazine.  Another student got me the little bamboo plant you see in the photo.  It was very generous of these parents to do this.  I felt very honored.  I thank God for my job!
flowers from Sam

  • GIFTS and FLOWERS!  Oh my goodness.  Wednesday was the last day of school for our district and many students brought me gifts! The teacher I work with bought me a beautiful pot of mums which I have on my deck and neglected to get a photo of...they are a light purple in a pink pot.  He also gave me a gift certificate to the movies and a very generous cash gift.  I felt a bit overwhelmed with his generosity.  One student, an adorable little boy, gave me these flowers and a nice card he handmade; and two of the little girls gave me a gift certificate to the local mall, and to the tea shoppe I love.  Two of the special needs boys I worked with all year gave me a gift certificate to a local grocer and to a local department store.  I felt very blessed indeed.  It was all very unexpected.  We have some very generous parents in our school district.  

Alexis having fun on the bars

Ben loves to climb!
  • LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN!  Because our public school district has a policy of not allowing us to post faces on non-school websites,  I can only show you these 2 adorable 6- year- olds who were literally the only 2 who didn't "pose" for my iPad. Our kindergarten class went outdoors for the first hour of the day on Wednesday, before their ice cream party, and we had a blast.  It was the perfect early summer day. No humidity, blue sky with white puffy clouds, full sun, nice breeze.  The kids were so much fun to play with! I have thoroughly loved this class...from all the gen ed kids to all 9 of our special needs kids who made so much progress since September.  Happily, all 20 are going on to first grade, minus one boy who will be in a self contained classroom for part of the day and pushing into kindergarten again for some parts of his day.  I think this has been my favorite class to work with in the 8 years I have now been at the school.  The end of the year for a teacher is always a bit bittersweet. I'm thankful to have known these precious children...this class will always hold a special  place in my heart.
BONUS FAVE:  SO GRATEFUL to GOD that the brake job I badly needed done yesterday only included the front pads and rotors.  The back brakes are perfectly fine.  Which is a real blessing for us as the front brakes were over a third of my paycheck.  But they are done, and the dealer threw in a free car wash for me!!  Now...I have to start saving for 4 new tires before August.....it's always something.  I'm just happy I have saved up some money this year.  

SECOND BONUS:  HIKING POKE O MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN!  You can read about that here Next Friday, because I will be traveling for our 25th Anniversary out to Cape Cod, my FFF will be FIVE of my FAVE photos from that hiking trip.  Please do pray that the FBI, NYS Police and local ADK rangers will find those escapees!! We hiked in the next town over to where they broke out of prison and this past week we discovered that they had been in a cabin just a few miles from where we were hiking!!! God's protection.......

Did you have some faves from your week? What are they?  

HAPPY WEEKEND!