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

20 August 2014

lazy days


we all long for them..........

                     we all need them.............

                                     do we all take them?

I'm reflecting on lazy days........especially lazy summer days............

you know the ones..........

where you feel the sun on your shoulders

the wind ruffling the water be it lake or sea........


Northhampton Beach State Park
Great Sacandaga Resevoir
Southern ADKs
19 August

your limbs loose and your mind at ease

 your soul listening, waiting.............

for what?  your mind is full of

new directions?  new schedules?  new ministry opportunities?

maybe a physical move or job change?

maybe an emotional battle yearning to be won and set loose?

new ways to deal with your teens or trying toddlers?

concerns or stress over college kids, future career, student debt, tuition costs, lack of finances........

prodigal children or special needs challenges......

marital strife or missing friendships?

what is your mind reeling with................

what is your soul longing for?

and............

can you completely let your mind, heart, body and soul rest?


I've been talking with friends this summer because I'm home from work in the months of July and August.  I like to connect with my friends as I have time to really listen and chat.

And in doing so, I have learned that many of my friends are dealing with some issues mentioned above......or other things not listed.....

and I've realized that I, too, have struggled with just simply resting in God.........

in waiting on Him....in talking with Him..........

oh yes, prayer happens every day.......but have I really spent a significant time emotionally connecting with my Redeemer-Friend like I do my earthly friends?

Have I allowed my self to be so absorbed in the intimacy of the Father to hear that still, small Voice or are my prayer times rushed with pleas and quick praise?

I'm finding that these last days of summer vacation are ones I want to savor......

with the Savior.........

some alone time.......

some time spent being lazy......doing nothing yet doing everything in my power to connect with my Friend.......the One who is always there.....always listening, always guiding, always teaching............

We need to have these lazy days.........these "Sabbaths"........

to just sit.............


and savor...........

Let's purpose together to savor these last days of summer..........and to be lazy in the Lord...........

.........to let loose our thoughts, plans, actions......

and just be.

With Him.





15 August 2014

Due to traveling today and tomorrow.......I will not be participating in this week's FFF but I will be back next week!

It's that time of summer.......moving our oldest daughter back on campus......for her final year......

Oh how this is a bittersweet time for me......

Dave can't join us this year due to being at the Global Leadership Summit .......

So Claire and I are driving out to Boston while Courtney drives her car.......both vehicles are loaded.....

And when we get back to our eastern part of NYS, we will have only 2 weeks of summer vacation left!!!


around our house, we are savoring these last days .....and saying Hello to new changes.......


Have a great weekend!!!

14 August 2014

2014 Book Review #32: Sweetest Hallelujah

Wow.....just...wow.

This book!!  I read this book in a week and it's excellent.

It's one of those books that leave you wanting more....you want to know what happens to Billie......how does her life turn out??  Does she survive the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi as the adopted daughter of a white, widowed woman??

This book tugs at your heart-strings and makes you laugh, sigh, cry, and applaud. I've read some very  good books this past year....this is one of the best.....higher than a "10".

STORY SUMMARY

Betty Jewel Hughes was once a well-known and successful jazz singer in Memphis.  She was married to the once famous...and still rather legendary blues trumpet player, Saint. Sadly, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol and ended up in prison.  Betty Jewel made a life for her self after finding out she was pregnant and alone in the world, other than for her mama, Queen. She gave up her dream of becoming a real jazz star to move home with Queen and raise her little girl, Billie, in Shakerag, Mississippi.

The story opens in 1955 and takes place during that spring and summer. Billie is now 10 years old and her mama is dying of cancer.  Queen, being in her 80s and not all that good physically either, is the only family member who would be there for Billie when Betty Jewel passes on.

Betty Jewel decides to take out a "wanted" ad for a loving mother to adopt Billie after she is dead.  This is unthinkable. But....is it??

On the other side of town....the "white" side, Cassie Malone is a grieving widow.  Her husband Joe, also a blues musician from a wealthy and privileged family, is dead.  Cassie works part time at the local daily paper, The Bugle.  She is drawn to Betty Jewel because of the want ad.

She soon meets and develops a friendship with Betty Jewel.  This is unheard of while racial tensions are developing all across the south, particularly in their area of Mississippi.  Their bond of friendship is actually forbidden...but that doesn't stop these feisty women!

One day Billie overhears a conversation about her daddy so she sets off to look for him..........no one knows where she is gone.  Betty Jewel, her 2 friends Sudie and Merry Lynn, and her mother, Queen, along with Cassie and the rest of the Shakerag community begin a search party for Billie.  Her little friend Lucy is found sleeping near Gum Pond with Billie's beloved doll. The adults find out that Billie has set off for Memphis to find Saint, whom she believes is her daddy..the one she has never met.

Betty Jewel and Cassie set out in Cassie's car to find Billie.  They speak of many things and it is at this point that Cassie realizes just how much she loves this woman and her little girl and the other people of Shakerag.....despite the racial tensions.

Billie is found safe......and soon discovers who her actual father is.  It is surprising.......(I don't want to reveal it here in case you decide to read the book).  And yet, it brings another layer to the love the women have for each other.

As Betty Jewel is dying, Cassie promises her she will adopt Billie. Neither woman ever imagined what they would find in each other...the gifts each woman possesses, the grit and determination to do right by Billie, and the transformative power of friendship.

MY THOUGHTS

This book drew me right in.  I think it 's because I have always loved stories that bring whites and blacks together.  I have always been drawn to stories that involve friendships between the two races....and typically look for books set in the Civil War era.  I was happy to see this book was set a little later...in the mid-1950s about 4 years before I was born.  It was such an important time in history, in the southern USA.

The friendship of Betty Jewel and Cassie. It just amazes you.  It is so important to look past life circumstances and skin color.  It really is...and this book does a marvelous job of showing how important and vital good friendships are in our lives...it also shows the importance of honesty and being vulnerable with family and friends.

The book's underlying theme, to me, is that hope can prevail during terrible trials.  One of my favorite quotes in the book was also found on the back cover of the  book. It is this:

"the simple gestures----water when you're faint, blankets when you're cold, a hand when your'e falling---tell of friendships so strong they could withstand anything, even long-held secrets....."

If you like fiction based on history, and you like a good family saga.....this is the book for you!

And another great quote, from the thoughts of Cassie:

"sometimes life can surprise you in ways you least expect"

This book made me cry...the funeral scene is especially poignant....and when Billie discovers her dead mama lying next to her in the morning, you, too, like Billie, might want to scream.  But...she was a courageous woman...she loved with all her heart.  I hope I can do as well in my life with my daughters as this character was portrayed to do.

I have looked up the author and based on the reviews I've read, I am going to be looking for her other books in our town library.  She is excellent!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 12 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 14.



13 August 2014

SUPER EASY AND QUICK BLT WRAPS



Having guests for lunch?

Need a quick, easy summer dinner idea?

I found this recipe in the latest Simple and Delicious magazine and tweaked it a little bit to fit in more veggies.  Print in italics are my additions.  Print in regular bold red is the original recipe. Recipe is for a family of 4.....2 wraps per person.  Double the ingredients to make more.

BLT WRAPS

8 flour tortillas, room temp
(I use whole grain or multi grain tortillas)
16 bacon slices, cooked
4 c. chopped lettuce
(I use romaine or green leaf)
2 c. chopped tomatoes
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. ranch salad dressing
(I use bacon ranch dressing, skipping the bacon usually for my self although my husband and daughters still eat bacon)
1 c. chopped red and/or green peppers
1/4 c. chopped red onion 

  • Place 2 pieces of cooked bacon across the middle of each tortilla.
  • Top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and if desired, the other veggies.
  • Drizzle with the salad dressing.
  • Fold bottom and sides of each tortilla over the filling and roll up.
SERVE WITH COLESLAW OR A MELON SALAD; Salt Free Pretzels



ENJOY!


as with all recipes under the "faithfixes" label, you DO have permission to copy this post.



12 August 2014

2014 Book Review #31: Simple Prayers of Faith

I received this book from my sister Joy at Christmas.

It's a great gift!! It is pocket-sized and has  prayers with Scriptures and quotes based on various topics.

It's like a mini-devotional book.  I would come home from work and just sit and read an entry before working on dinner or prepping for my own small group study.  This summer I was able to finish the book and I really treasure it.  I typically pass on books like this but I think I'm going to keep this one.  It makes a great resource for adding to your own small group discussions.  

There are topics like shining our light in the world, sharing the gospel with others, knowing God's Voice, God's purposes and plans for your life, humility, faith, grace.

The book is perfect for a very quick devotion but because each entry doesn't have much Scripture....it's best to keep reading in your Bible or look up the Scripture and read the rest of the chapter, etc. 

This book is appropriate for ages 12 and older.

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



11 August 2014

it's a faith walk




the trail about a half mile in from trailhead up Wakely Mountain
9 August 2014

At first it looks easy.  There's even a couple of little well-made and well-maintained wooden bridges spanning the creek.  No rock hopping here!  Just a nice, wide woods trail.

and then..............

photo courtesy of Cheryl A. Blask



after the first two miles of a well worn, fairly straight trail that was more like a walk in the woods and only took an hour to do....................we come to this:
looking down the first section of the last mile
Wakely Mountain/Central ADKs

(photo courtesy of Richard Fey)
a relentless, steep, and vertical climb. For a mile.  On rock.  Slippery, wet in spots, with flat sections that don't even last for a full minute.  The trail twists and turns.  We climb on hands and knees in one spot.  We need help.  We hold onto the pine boughs leaning over the edge. We pray for a breeze.  We pause to drink.  We don't pause to take photos because if we pause we might fall down, exhaustion and pain permeating to our very fingertips and toes.

And I'm worried I won't make it.  I need to do this trail!! It's on the Fire-tower Challenge.  It's one of the highest peaks on the challenge (3,744 feet!). If I do this, I'll only have 6 more in the ADKS to climb.....the thoughts just kept swirling through my brain as my feet kept climbing...and aching........

I was with some amazing hiking partners.  Husband Dave couldn't go with me on Saturday so I met my friend, along with 2 members of her hiking group.  One was a man who lives up in that area and is a good hiker.  A woman whom I met that day because she joined my friend's group, was wearing jeans and flip flops. Clearly not an experienced hiker even though she said she is.  Most mountain hikers know NOT to wear jeans and ONLY hiking boots or high quality sneakers on a trail.  It was going to be a long day.........

3 miles up.

3 miles back.  and dealing with plantar fasciitis. And more than 2 trail books that say this is a strenuous, difficult hike.  Am I crazy???

Yup.  I'm a goal chaser and mountain lover.  The only reasons for hiking with a foot issue like that.  I knew I would be in pain coming down but I think I was  hoping for a miracle.  It didn't come.

Rather, what came, was discouragement and weariness.

I loved the hike...it was a lot of laughter, a lot of grunt work, a lot of water consumed, a lot of groaning with cries of "when does this trail end?" to "Oh my goodness, look at this gorgeous view"! 

 It was the disappointment in how slow I had to climb/walk/crawl.

It was the weariness of dealing with chronic pain for the last 6 weeks.

It was the frustration that my faith is low and the the fact that I am forgetting Who made my body....Who designed us......Who made the mountains, the falls, the woods, the stream, the pines............

And so this morning, I turned a page in my little prayer book I have and saw the Scripture from 2 Samuel 22: 32-34

"For who is God, but the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God? The God who has girded me with strength has opened wide my path.  He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights."
photo courtesy of google images

God can give us strength when we feel like we're failing.......be it physically or emotionally.....He gives strength.  

God is there for us.  Trying to do life with out Him, at least for me, is like trying to tackle those giant slabs of granite and that almost vertical trail.  It's rough.  It's sometimes disastrous....one little slip of the foot and down you'll go..........slippery mud, loose leaves, hand over hand and crawling up granite on your knees......trudging along with one foot in front of the other....barely able to enjoy the wooded sights because to look anywhere but on that trail could mean certain disaster.

But.....although we plod on, we can know that God is there for us.  My friends were there for me......they patiently waited..they hiked slow, too....they didn't mind...we knew it was all about the experience.....

and I did have the faith that I would make it....painful as it was............frustrating as it was..........


 Me and friend Cherystarting the last mile of the trail up Wakely Mt
(photo courtesy of Richard Fey)


it's like our spiritual journey through life......  

our faith, when we live by it, can be like the well-kept trail....it can be a smooth walk....there WILL be trials, no doubt...but we can rest in that assurance that God is there.....to strengthen our souls....to guide us. He will make our steps sure.  He will help us reach our goals!

Fire tower on summit of Wakely Mt!
We don't always know why God has us where He does....why we walk a certain path on this journey called life.....His ways are not our ways.......

but when we allow God to breathe in us........and guide us on our life journey.............that journey, although difficult at times, will have a great reward in the end...........

view from the fire tower
photo courtesy of Richard Fey


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, not are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  ~Isaiah 55:8 & 9~



Keep walking..........in faith........... 


and enjoy the journey!