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

22 July 2014

Summer Morning

So this morning...........such a hot, humid one!  Our local weather says it is going to be a day for central air.  I'm so thankful I have it in my car and in my home!!

On the way home this morning from my chiropractor appointment, I was feeling a bit discouraged...and a little anxious about this low back pain I've been experiencing off and on for the last month.  I know I have arthritis in my lower back and I know I have a disk that can bulge like it did 2 years ago.  I know this current problem is why I'm also being treated by him for the plantar faciitis.  I know this chiro team is a good one because they helped to get me pain free and doing awesome fitness workouts before.  But for some reason, this morning, I was most anxious and I don't get anxious all that often.  When I do, though, it can be crippling and all these negative thoughts start running through my mind.

To combat this, I turned on the Christian radio station and the following song is what I heard:







and I became undone.

I started to cry!!  In the car!!  While driving!!  I felt tears slipping out of my eyes and down my cheeks and I realized that even though I have been doing devotionals all summer and going to church quite regularly except when we were on vacation, that I have been holding on to this anxiety and not fully giving the worries and fears over to Christ.  He wants to take them from me, but He doesn't force us!!  We have to surrender....every part of our selves. 

Between dealing with menopausal issues and this back pain, I am a mess of negativity!

And God doesn't want that for me!

He wants us to abide in Him...to surrender ALL to Him...every sin, every thought, every anxiety, every pain, every joy, every triumph, every trial.

I started praying aloud in the car and a sense of peace came over me.......a confidence that the chiropractor does indeed know what he is doing, but that God is even bigger than Dr. N.

That the upcoming ultrasound I have is going to be ok.  That God will get me through that next week and that He has me in the Palm of His Hand.  He made my body, he made my mind, he made my heart.

I will continue to worship Him and press in and surrender each day...........surrender those thoughts that are negative and do no earthly good. 



 And trust Him.


20 July 2014

2014 Book Review #28: The Handmaid's Tale

My 21 year old, about to be a senior in college, recommended I read this book. She read it for a Women's Lit class last year.  It's a bit "science fiction" but it's more of a dystopian novel. In fact, let's pray the events portrayed in this book just never happen....let's pray our government never gets to this point. This is also a bit of a feminist novel....and a little creepy.

But..the story just unfolds and although bizarre, I was drawn in. I figured out almost right away (with no help from Courtney) about the names given the women. I won't tell you as I don't want to ruin the plot line for you. At that point, I was totally creeped out.

STORY SUMMARY

Offred lives in the Republic of Gilead.  She is a Handmaid.  She remembers the years before being a Handmaid...the years with her husband Luke and their little girl. These memories are interspersed throughout the story.

She is allowed to leave the home of the Commander and his Wife only once a day and only to go to the market to buy food.  The markets are only identified by signs, not words, because now, women are no longer allowed to read.  
Once a month, she has to lie on her back and hope that the Commander will get her pregnant.  It is her job.  In this age of declining births, it is the Handmaids' duties...and they are only valued for their ovaries.  All of them hope and pray they are viable.  She used to have a real job, with real money of her own, and access to knowledge, education, news.  All of that is now gone.  She makes friends with other Handmaids. But are they really friends?  She learns that one friend, from her other life, is also a Handmaid. But this friend "escapes". How?? And will Offred be able to escape??

MY THOUGHTS

Wow.  That's all. When I got to the end of this book, all I said was Wow.  And I was stunned by the ending.  I can't tell you how it ends.  But you will be stunned.

I loved that there were historical notes by the author in the back.  They were fiction, as well. 

It is a brilliant piece of literary art.

In my opinion, this book is only appropriate for ages 18 and older (due to the plot line and disturbing scenes). I've heard it is a movie. I hope it's rated R at least.

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



18 July 2014

Mid-July Faves

It's the middle of July!

I am loving the streak of amazingly awesome summer weather we are having here in eastern New York.  The days this week have been beautiful minus the first 2 which were so humid!  We have now been home from our Boston vacation for almost 2 weeks so the faves I'm going to share here are from the last 10 days.....I'm linking up over at Susanne's with other women who share 5 faves/blessings from the past week....how about joining in and leaving a fave in the comment box?

FIVE FAVES


NYC Corps de Ballet
"Union Jack" Ballet
photo courtesy of rpwenzel

Wendy Whalen and Craig Hall
"After the Rain" Ballet
NYC Principal Dancers

photo courtesy of The Saratogian
  • NYCBALLET!  Last week, the NYCBallet was in town again (Saratoga Springs) at this place. Each year they open the Classical Arts Summer Season in our area and we LOVE it. Claire and I have a free lawn pass for any classical concert so we used that twice last week.  (they were only here for 5 nights and several nights were repeat performances).  We chose opening night (Tuesday) and the final (Gala) night (Saturday the 12th) because it was Wendy Whalen's final performance with NYCB at SPAC.  She is always mesmerizing.  The Pas de Deux she performed (see photo above) was one we had seen her do before...and it never gets old. It is truly exquisite.  She had the body type Balanchine loved and she is a favorite of Claire and I.  SPAC did a wonderful tribute to her, too.  The final performance was "Union Jack" an hour long ballet that pays tribute to England.  It was our first time seeing it and it was fantastic.  The above photo is the final scene (fireworks on the lawn followed). Claire and I had such a marvelous time...even though the weather was very hot and humid and the first night it rained!  We are looking forward to 2 weeks from now when we see the most famous ballet company in the world:  the Bolshoi Ballet.  (and yes, we have actual indoor tickets for that!!).  It's a blessing to live so close to Saratoga and enjoy the Classical season.
Courtney on her birthday1
  • 21!!  Last week, our oldest daughter turned 21!!  I can't believe it. It was a bittersweet moment seeing her open her gift (a book she saw in the Museum of Fine Art, Boston). ( I happened to find it online for less than half the cost of the museum price!) She is so grown up and independent...it makes me happy to know she is a kind, compassionate, smart, and fun young lady.  We are thankful she has made good choices with friendships, guys, college studies, etc. We made a special dinner and pina coladas (her request) for her when she got home from work that evening. It was a lot of fun!  She is truly a  blessing!


  • FLOWERS!  Our little wildflower "garden" that I planted in last year's tomato container is really blooming all of a sudden.  The flowers look so pretty and I love sitting out there with my morning coffee and my Bible and just relaxing in the morning sunshine.  Flowers are truly a blessing!

  • "THANK YOU" One evening last week we were all sitting having dinner together...it was a late one and I had grilled chicken and made some of the fave dishes the girls like.  Courtney, on her way past me after clearing her spot, said very  close to my ear "Great dinner mommy, thank you".  Oh how this made my day!!  Sometimes, it's the little things!!


  • GOOD TALKS  This past week was full of appointments for my youngest (oral surgeon consult about wisdom teeth) and my self (yearly ob/gyn physical, and 2 chiropractor appointments...the back pain and heel pain is starting to ease up more and more each day, thankfully), and ballet classes for Claire. (thankfully, the last one was yesterday until Sept1).  I felt like I was so busy and a little concerned with something my doctor was telling me.  So I asked my husband for his ear one evening and just talked to him about some of my feelings.  It was great and we ended the day in prayer.  We are trying to pray more together (we pray separately usually) these days.  I feel blessed when we do.
That wraps it up for me.  I hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather where you are.  

Enjoy the weekend!!


16 July 2014

What are We Choosing?

I've just started reading through the Psalms again, this time using the Soul Care Bible (NKJV).

I'm savoring these Scriptures written by David...........and all the feelings that he portrays in his writings.

Psalm 6 is the one I'm meditating on today and the above verse really stood out to me.....here's the Scripture in its entirety:


"..let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;  let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You."

Um...I don't know about you, but when I'm dealing with some kind of physical issue, I don't tend to be joyful.  These last 3 weeks I've been dealing with plantar faciitis due to a back problem.  Dancing with my husband tweaked my back (mid and lower parts of my spine have signs of degenerative disk disease and arthritis) and I've been less than joyful.  In fact, my oldest daughter says I've been downright grumpy!

And I don't want to be this way!!  So..this Scripture was really convicting to me today.  It was a busy one.....an early morning physical, ballet class for the teen, a chiropractor appt, another ballet class for the teen, and I had to get an early dinner ready so she could have protein before class.  Fitting in some yoga stretches in there, too, left me feeling grumpy and rushed.  So the first thing I did this afternoon, after making a strong mug of blueberry coffee and praising God for the gorgeous sun, pretty flowers, and dry air on my deck, I turned to my next Psalm.

and I sat and meditated.....drinking in the sun, the fresh breeze, the sound of silence............



And was convicted by that verse.

God wants us to praise Him!!  Not just on Sunday mornings but all the time....we are to give praise (and thanks!) to our Savior!

and trust.  Why am I fretting about my back??  God provided me with an excellent chiropractor who incorporates all the latest core fitness treatment into my regimen.  This place was totally a "God thing"....recommended by more than one church friend.  They got rid of my horrible sciatica 2 summers ago....and taught me what and what not to do.  I trust these doctors.....do I trust them more than GOD???

He has shown Himself to be faithful in my life.....He has this!!

So, a repentant heart sat on the deck, seeking His forgiveness for not simply trusting and rejoicing.

I love God. I talk about how He moves in our lives all the time...to other family members, to friends, to my small group.

And because I love Him I need to be joyful in Him.

Being joyful has no room for fretting.

I can choose which attitude to have as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning......

and as a mom, I set the tone in the home!!

Am I going to choose joyfulness or fretfulness?

Which will you choose??






14 July 2014

2014 Book Review #27: Still Life with Bread Crumbs


I finished this book over the weekend and although I have read 3 other books by this author and loved them, this was one that I can't say I "loved".

But....it was well written.  She is an excellent writer.  I used to read her newspaper column years ago when she was a journalist for the NY times. I always really enjoyed her articles.

STORY SUMMARY

Rebecca Winter is a famous photographer whose career is currently at a standstill.  She is divorced and has a young adult son, Ben who continues to live in NYC.  Her parents are still living and well into their 80's;  her mom (Bebe Winter) is in a nursing home for people with memory loss. Her relationship with her mother has never been the "warm and fuzzy" kind.

Rebecca has recently fled Manhattan for the rural parts of upstate NY.  She is renting a small cabin in the woods and one day she meets a roofer in the woods, named Jim Bates.  She soon discovers that life is sometimes different and that it isn't always what it seems to be when she's looking through a camera lens.

She finds a series of white crosses and other mementos placed throughout the woods while on hikes. She begins to take photos of them and soon a gallery wants them for an exhibit.

BUT...why does Jim get upset over this?? 

Will Jim and Rebecca ever fix their friendship??

MY THOUGHTS

This story was good, but the way the plot was written seemed so disjointed to me. I understand that the author was using the voice of Rebecca as though she was thinking out loud.  But it tended to be all over the place and I didn't like that style.

On a literary level though, this book is excellently written. The use of language is exquisite as well as the descriptions throughout the book.

It is a quick moving story of love, and the life of a woman.  A woman who realizes that her life is like a story.....with many layers and levels...and can be more exciting than she ever could have imagined.  There are some very funny sections to this book and I loved those!  I definitely felt for Rebecca and could relate to her relationship (a strained one) with her mother, as mine was often strained with mine.  One does learn to move on and appreciate the things that are common among you as women.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this an 8.



13 July 2014

Weekly Dinner Plan

I like gazing at the daisies along the neighbor's fence in my backyard.....I planted a bunch of wildflower seeds and the daisies are especially pretty....so simple......

unlike my thought processes for dinner menus.  I'm getting kind of tired of cooking dinner every night...you know??  If I was single, I'd probably live on salad, fruit and bread. Seriously. It's no longer simple...and I'd rather be sitting on my deck reading my book.

But....with a husband, college girl and teen girl, I have to have dinner planned.  The teen does about 3 ballet classes a week...this week she has 4....and she burns through calories like crazy and is always hungry!

The college girl has weird work hours this summer...sometimes she needs to eat dinner at 3 in the afternoon and sometimes she doesn't get it until 9:30 pm...it makes life interesting in my kitchen.

And on hiking or kayaking days, if we don't go out for a meal afterwards, I need to come home and prepare something for my husband and I...or let the crockpot do the work (which I enjoy!).

So...I decided Sunday afternoons, like today when it is raining, will be a good time to go through my recipes and begin to make a weekly dinner plan like I used to do.

SUNDAY:  Claire has a Youth Group Summer Party thing at church so the rest of us are going out to Panera's for a late dinner.

MONDAY:  Rigatoni with Meat Sauce; Spinach Salad; Fresh Fruit Platter

TUESDAY:  Grilled Salmon; Garlic and Basil Cous-Cous; 3 Bean Salad; Brownie Sundaes

WEDNESDAY: Grilled BBQ Chicken; Panzanella Salad; Steamed Mix Veggies (left over cous cous for the girls as they don't care for panzanella); Melon Salad

THURSDAY:  BLT Wraps; Tortilla Chips; Berries and cool whip (real bacon for everyone.....except me....I will only eat turkey bacon)

FRIDAY:  Chef Salad; Garlic Bread; out for frozen yogurt and a possible game of mini golf.

SATURDAY:  Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes; raw Veggie platter; ice cream/almond ice cream


and tomorrow I need to stock up my kitchen and fridge!!



I had a relative ask me once why I bother posting a menu for our family....who cares?  well, this blog is also a journal so I can refer back to it and not waste paper!! 

What kinds of foods are YOU cooking up this week??