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

22 September 2014

returning

Murphy Lake/Wilcox Lake Wilderness Region
Southern Adirondack Mts

I'm returning once again to a favorite hike...........Saturday, weather permitting, I will be hiking with a long-time friend from my childhood hometown, in one of my favorite regions of the Adirondacks.  It is remote, quiet, "the road less traveled" and just breathtakingly gorgeous on a crisp, autumn day.  


This will be the 9th or 10th time I'm hiking this trail. I first hiked it when I was single, back in the late 1980s.  It is where Dave and I first hiked once we got engaged. My friend, C has never hiked it.  I can't wait for her to see the beauty of the lakes.  I have another friend who hiked it with me last year (the day was very overcast and chilly and it was late in the autumn) who did NOT like the trail. She thought it was boring.  But, really, it is so remote and quiet that for me, it isn't "boring" but rather, a place to return to time and time again to "hear" God.  I hear His whispers in this place.  I sense His presence.  I know it sounds strange and to the world it would sound crazy.  But, since my spiritual temperament is "naturalist", it makes all the sense in the world that this setting is where I feel closest to my Father.  The quietness and easy trail make for a perfect setting of prayer and contemplation.  It isn't the kind of trail where you have to watch your every step.  It is almost like a stroll in the woods.....but it is a long stroll. The entire hike is 7.4 miles.  That's rather long for no summit experience.  The challenge is not in the climb...it doesn't climb much.  The challenge is in the remoteness...the fact that there aren't many hikers doing the trail......the solitude with no cell service.  The lakes that have never seen boats, only beavers and fish. Woods, the wonder of the loon's cry, the wonder of His Presence.........

Why am I returning this year??  I need to "feel" God in my life right now.  I know in my head He leads me.  I know in my heart, He loves me.

Yet, there have been challenges this month that hinder me from feeling totally free....it's hard to explain.

This afternoon, after work, I turned to Hosea 6:1-3.  

photo courtesy of google images

I read this Scripture and thought about how my husband, during his heart attack, was suffering with pain.  And then there was the pain of the wrist being cut open to run the wire to put in the stent for the artery that was blocked.  I marvel at how we sometimes have to go through pain to get to a true healing.  He will have a better heart because of a little pain.  He has to go through this healing process for his body to be right again.

And when we go through trials, we often face some pain......but the healing that results is so complete!  When we return to God.....when we look upon His Face and place our hands in His..........and allow Him to guide, teach, lead and love us.........

that is healing.

And in healing there is freedom.












19 September 2014

Mid-September Faves


I missed the FFF community last week!

But....it had been a hectic week and my husband came home from the hospital the afternoon of Friday the 12th.  He went in to the ER on Tuesday after work with a sudden heart attack.  And is now doing very well.  You can read about THAT event here.

This week, I'm joining in with other grateful people by linking up at Susanne's and sharing our FIVE FAVES from the past week.  Mine will include some from the pervious week as well.  How about joining in with us?

FIVE FAVES
Dave and I (mine is the green kayak)
 kayaking on Lake Algonquin
7 September
town beach picnic spot




Nort-heast  side of the lake
  • KAYAKING!  Sunday the 7th was a gorgeous day!  It was 74 degrees here in town so we decided, since we had gone to the Saturday evening church service, to kayak up in the south-central Adirondacks on one of my very favorite lakes in the mountains.  We arrived at about 11 a.m and had made a picnic lunch which we stored in my kayak. Dave's held the blanket and towels.  What a lovely day we had together. We did a lot of talking which we really needed.  And we dreamed of owning land/a home up there for the future.  The village of Wells, NY where the lake is located is one that I am very familiar with as I had extended family there growing up and we spent every summer of my childhood in that area.  It also has many hiking trails that I have completed.  It was a huge blessing to have this day to ourselves doing a fave activity and in the mountains!

Fruit Bouquet
  • GIFTS! Dave came home from the hospital last Friday around noon and later that day the doorbell rang and it was an edible gift bouquet.  FRUIT!  Lots of it!  From his company.  Many of his colleagues are Christians and his boss called me personally TWICE that week to tell me they were praying for him and that he would take care of everything for Dave regarding work, etc.  He even told me to contact him if we needed anything.  We also received several emails from my small group ladies and other church friends, as well as family members, along with a couple of cards from family and my co-workers, with comments about good health and recovery and prayers.  My neighbor/friend gave me the gift of picking up Claire from a ballet class so I could visit Dave in the hospital that evening....another church friend gave us the gift of treating Claire to dinner out and giving her rides to and from youth group so we didn't need to worry about me missing any time after work to spend at the hospital.  It is such a blessing to have these people in our lives.
photo courtesy of colonie library website
  • RESPITE:  Monday was a very nice, although cool, day.  I have 45 minutes for a lunch break at the elementary school, so I hopped in the car and drove to the town library which is only 4 minutes away from the school.  I had lunch there under the umbrella and spent the time reading. It was nice respite from the busy workday......and Monday was a busy one! What a blessing to have this pause in the middle of the day.

photo courtesy of amazon
  • SMALL GROUP!  The small group of moms that I lead started back up last Thursday.  How I love this ministry!  Small groups are very important in our church because we are a "mega-church". We have about 2100 people over 3 weekend services and we have 3 other campuses in the capital region of NYS.  It is a huge blessing.  But to get to know people and do life with them, one needs to find a small group.  I have 5 moms in the group so am looking for 2-3 more.  The above book is the one we are studying this year...and so far it is awesome!  It is probably the best study we have done in the last 3 years....this is the beginning of our 4th year.....and a couple of dear friends had to drop out and we will miss them, but God already brought one new mom to the group AND...she is someone I have known for years!!  Her family used to attend the same church my family attended for 15 years and she and her husband used to co-lead a couples group with us way back when my youngest was just a toddler.  It is a real blessing to facilitate this group.  I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do with us this year.

  • Comfort and Care:  God used so many friends to comfort and care for us these past 2 weeks.  The heart attack was so sudden that I didn't have time to ask anyone to pray until I was in the ER and Dave was being hooked up to the EKG. And like the type A teacher that I am, I started multi-tasking. I texted my pastor's wife first.  Then I texted my friend M who is gifted in the area of intercession and healing prayers.  I then called my sister Hope and she prayed on the phone.  Our pastor's wife got back to me within minutes saying she was praying and about an hour later, when we were in the cardiac care unit of the nearby hospital, she and Pastor walked in with a bag of snacks and water for me. They stayed for a little while and were there when the cardiologist came out to talk with me.  Their love and care was so evident.  I was overwhelmed.  Other church leaders called me, emailed and messaged me via Facebook.  So many people wanted to do practical things for us.  It has been a huge blessing and we are so thankful to have these leaders we can call friends.  We thank God for each one of them.
That wraps it up for me......I'm savoring these last days of summer and welcoming autumn this weekend.......

Have a restful, refreshing weekend!!


18 September 2014

2014 Book Review #35: The Orphans of Race Point

This took me longer than it should have to complete, but the last 2 weeks were crazy busy so I didn't get as much reading in as I've done over the summer.

This book was excellent and I loved all the characters. It's set on Cape Cod, mainly in Provincetown.  It's a fave town of mine on the Cape and I haven't been there in many years but reading about it, brought back many good memories.

STORY SUMMARY

In the small village of Provincetown, MA, families tend to be close.  Especially during the winter months when tourists are basically non-existent.

Nine year old Hallie Costa lives with her dad, Nick, in  Thorne House.  Her mother, Liz Cooper, died when she was younger.  Nick is the local doctor and believes in being a "free spirit".  Wolf, the unconventional artist, lives in a shack on the dunes and is one of Hallie's and Nick's closest friends.  Stuart and his partner are also neighbors. They all love Hallie and Nick.

Hallie is an extremely smart little girl who loves playing on the beach and going up to the "widow's walk" late at night to look out to sea.  

One autumn night, a horrible act of violence shatters the peaceful setting of Provincetown.  And all of a sudden, the lives of nine year old Hallie and nine year old Gus Silva are entwined.  Their friendship evolves into something stronger when they become teens.  But on Prom night, a fight occurs between another boy, Neil, and Gus.  And life changes drastically for Hallie and Gus. Their dreams of a life together, after high school, are destroyed.

Over the next 3 decades, Hallie and Gus wrestle with making separate lives.  Gus becomes a priest and works hard at finding inner peace with himself and God.  But that is all threatened when he meets a troubled woman who claims to be in an abusive marriage.  This awakens memories of his childhood that he has worked hard to forget.  He takes a chance at helping her and her little 6 year old daughter Mila hoping for a chance at redemption.  But it comes at a horrible and devastating price.  An unthinkable betrayal ensues, leaving Gus in prison. He is accused of murdering Ava, the abused woman!  And Hallie, married to a rich man from Boston, loses her baby in a sudden miscarriage while working with a patient.  She has taken over Nick's practice as he has recently died of cancer.  Her marriage falls apart after the miscarriage and Gus comes back into her life very unexpectedly.  Mila is now a troubled teen and reaches out to Hallie...........only to find out that things are not what they appear to be. Mila believes her mother is really still alive...and will stop at nothing to prove this to the people of Cape Cod and exonerate Gus.  Will she succeed??

MY THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed this secular fiction book.  I liked that there was some spirituality in it and I liked how the book celebrates faith, forgiveness, hope, and inner peace.  These are all redemptive qualities of Christianity and although not a "Christian fiction" book those points are brought out well by the author.

The setting description was such that I felt as though I was right back on Cape Cod even though it has been about 3 years since I have been on the Cape.  The character development was exquisite.....I felt like I would want to meet these people!  Hallie is brave, true and real.  Gus is a character you will just fall in love with and Neil......you will be very surprised at his role in everyone's lives.

I highly recommend this book if you like stories about hope and love, although it is not a romance novel.  

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.









15 September 2014

Heart Matters

as seen from my cell phone
15 September 2014
Peace.

like a river............

As I  power-walked along the Mohawk River tonight, in the north-western section of my town, I stopped to drink in the sights spread before me where the river view was opened up between late summer wildflowers and lush green bushes...........

I glimpsed the blue heron perched majestically on a lone rock in the shallows.........

I heard the cry of a jay, and the sounds of pounding feet behind me, as runners ran............

and I felt a bit of peace in this crazy, chaotic mess of a world.........my world that turned upside down in a matter of minutes just 6 days ago.............



photo courtesy of google images



my husband came in from work rather early on the 9th............

I had been home for about 45 minutes from the chiropractor appointment I had after teaching all day........and was cutting up veggies to roast, while the chicken was marinating for the grill.  Claire was in her room doing homework. Keep in mind that we have only been in school for 8 days as of today.......the 9th was only our 4th day of school so we weren't crazy busy yet............

I won't go into all the details......but the long story short is that he was having a heart attack after  thinking briefly it was heartburn.  I drove him to the nearest hospital about 8 miles across the Hudson River from our home in crazy rush-hour traffic. The strength and peace of God was all over me.  I was calm on the outside for him,  but my heart was pounding.  I could not believe this was a heart attack. Dave is 6 years younger than me and always has lower blood pressure and cholesterol than me!!  (overall numbers). How could this be happening??

I got him there in time, they did their thing to stabilize him and told me to follow the ambulance as they were transporting him to the cardiac care unit in a hospital just a few blocks away.  It was real. My husband of almost 25 years, whom I had been struggling with in previous days about a couple of issues cropping up in our marriage, was having a heart attack!  I could not lose him!! I texted our pastor's wife first asking her to pray.  I then texted 2 more friends and a sister.  I needed the prayer support to get started for him. And then I waited.

and waited............. 

the amazing thing?  Only 33 minutes from the time I drove him until we were in the cardiac care unit and he was getting a stent put in.  It happened that fast. To see the time frame, I kept the texts between my pastor's wife and I on my cell phone.  Dave came home at about 5:10 pm.  By 5:45 we were in the ER and he was having the EKG and taking the nitro.  My pastor's wife texted me just a couple of minutes before 6 that they were praying.  By the time I got over to the cardiac care unit, it was a little after 6 and they were doing the procedure.  By 7:15, Deb (the pastor's wife) had texted that she was bringing me some snacks.  I was doing ok............I hadn't cried.  I had stayed strong although my heart was still pounding and I just kept lifting him up to the Lord.   I texted one of my friends from small group so she could get the email prayer chain going in group.  I also contacted my sister and she prayed right over the phone.  Actually, I'm a little fuzzy on that...I think I did that while we were still in the ER.  At any rate, things happened fast.

And when I saw my pastor and his wife walking in to the waiting area, I just burst into tears.  It was finally sinking in that this was real. 

And it was sinking in to this sometimes oh so un-trusting heart, that these leaders loved us. They cared!   I had texted that she didn't have to bring me anything!!  And yet......there they were.  Church leaders in my past have not always been trustworthy.  They haven't always been safe. I have struggled with trusting church leadership for years...........but no more.........God showed me His Heart through these people.

What a blessing to have them by my side.  Shortly after they arrived, the cardiologist came in and explained what he had done for my husband. He found a 90% blockage in the "widow maker" artery of the heart so put in the stent after going in through Dave's wrist.  Technology is amazing!  He said some other things and I was so focused on his words that I didn't think to take notes...but Deb did for me and then texted them to me.  God is good.  He showed me this church 9 years ago...........and it was confirmed this past week that these leaders are the kind we want to do life with....these leaders and the other friends who helped pray for us and support us, and gave Claire dinner and rides to youth group functions this week, are the ones that are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They are the ones we feel safe with, the ones we can say are "like Christ"........are excellent role models and represent Jesus well............

I had a neighbor who picked up Claire from ballet one night so I could go be with Dave in the hospital (he was there for 3 nights) and another neighbor who mowed and weed-whacked our entire yard on Saturday, Dave's first day home.

With all of this...........and the Intercession Prayer team at church.......and the phone calls, emails, and texts of concern and care.........all of this, brought much peace to our hearts.

And regarding the work of our marriage.....the issues we are working on.........well, I had prayed to God that He would change Dave's heart on a couple of things.............it's funny about heart matters......the physical is so easily fixed sometimes............

and the spiritual/emotional is so fractured at times........yet, when it comes to heart matters..........I'll take working on the spiritual stuff over the sudden physical attacks, anytime!

I have a deep peace in knowing I married the right man...........

I have a deep peace in knowing I am in the right church, with the right leaders............

And I have a confidence that these heart matters............the physical and the emotional/spiritual, will be healed.............

God is Healer.  He gives us wisdom.  And knowledge. And truth.  And peace............

"the Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace."  ~Psalm 29:11~
The issues I'm working on in my marriage are not going to disappear overnight.  Marriage is work.  Recovering from a heart attack will take work on Dave's part, and support from me as his wife.  God is doing something with these matters of the heart........and not just the physical aspects.  The emotional intimacy................my feelings are twisted and jumbled and I hear words that I don't know I can trust........... yet one thing I do know.............

the peace of God is in my heart............and right now, that's what matters...........





13 September 2014

it's been a whirlwind of a week.............

hubby had heart attack............

he survived and is now at home.................

and I do want to share the story but rest is needed right now so..............

come on back sometime in the next few days.....

05 September 2014

Back to School Faves

So...my blog background now looks like autumn and even though it is technically still the summer season and it's about 90 degrees here today in eastern NY, I had to switch it up because this next month is going to be busy!!  I won't have a lot of extra time to work on this blog.

With that said, we wound down our summer vacation and I headed back to the elementary school on Wednesday.  Claire started classes for 10th grade on Thursday and today the group of kindergartners I will be assisting arrive.  We have 18 children in the class this year and 8 of them have special needs so will stay all day.  I will be working with all 8, along with another TA and the head teacher.  It is an inclusion kindergarten and I am so glad to be back in there after 3 years of doing 1st and 2nd grade.

Basically that was one of my faves from a couple weeks ago......here are FIVE FAVES from this past week of transitioning from vacation to work.


photo courtesy of control tower website
nd 
  • HOUSE-GUESTS:  My youngest aunt and uncle came up from Virginia to stay with us for 2 nights over Labor Day weekend.  They arrived on Friday and we had dinner on the deck followed by a bonfire and s'mores.  It was a lot of fun and perfect weather. The next day, Dave and I took them to the Cohoes Falls near our home and then out to lunch. They also joined us in a flat, easy hike in a local nature preserve.  We decided to relax on the deck and just talk and read until I grilled some chicken for dinner.  After dinner, we went to the above mini golf place and had a lot of fun.  Claire joined in for that and after we played a game, we stayed for yummy ice cream cones.  Probably my last soft serve for the year as now I will cut back on that dairy treat.  It was a really fun weekend with them.  The rest of the weekend, was relaxed and fairly quiet.  We did some projects around the house after church, and got organized for the new year. It's a blessing to have extended family stay with us and we don't get to do that when our oldest is home from college as then we don't have an extra room!  I love playing hostess.....and having friends and family over.

  • GOOD REPORT!  Whoo hoo!!  I received my letter from my primary care doctor and she said my overall cholesterol has come down 12 points with NO medication!  I changed some things in my daily diet, and added a few things and it worked!!  I still need to lower my bad cholesterol and continue to raise my good but the overall numbers are much better than last year's.  Glory to God!  It's a blessing to have these kinds of reports.


image courtesy of foodspotting website
  • HELPFUL CONVERSATION:  Since Tuesday was my last day of "free" days, I scheduled a couple of appointments for that day and one of them was with my pastor's wife.  She is an amazing woman of God. She is very wise and I trust her.  She is a safe person for me and I love how she gets me thinking.  I wanted to run a couple of things by her about some marriage stuff and needed her wisdom.  I'm so blessed to have a pastor's wife who takes time to meet and talk over drinks or lunch. The conversation was very helpful to me.  
Claire on her first morning of 10th grade
4 September 2014

12 hours later...all set for School Spirit Night at Youth Group
  • FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Claire went back yesterday for her first day of classes in 10th grade.  She has a very full schedule this year:  Honors Chemistry + Chem Lab, Honors Global History 2, Honors Algebra 2/Trig, AP English, Russian 3, Latin 1, Orchestra(violin), Yoga (for semester one P.E).  She has always wakes up independently with her alarm and just gets ready...I never have to prod....thank the Lord!  She reported that she had a great first day...and only a little bit of homework. Last evening, our church's youth group  had a "Rock your School" night...a school spirit night.  Claire invited one of her friends from down the street and the photo pictured above shows Claire in her tee shirt with the school's logo and mascot (a bison).  She pinned on her letter and pin (awarded for music in 8th grade) as she wants to sew it on to a school jacket.  It's a blessing to have a daughter so full of life and energy and all set to embrace everything God has in store for her this year.


  • GIFT!  For those of you familiar with the Love Languages, my primary one is gifts.  And look at this adorable pen and note that was left in the kindergarten classroom for me and my co-worker (the other TA in the room).  It's from our supervisor teacher from the last 3 years.  We no longer are on her team as we are back in kindergarten with a different supervisor, but she wanted us to be welcomed back.  And let's face it:  male teachers just don't think of these little things. (our supervising teacher is a male......a very good teacher but he definitely doesn't do these little things).  It made our day!  It's a blessing to have caring colleagues. 


That summarizes my week........by tonight I am going to be exhausted after meeting 18 five year olds and helping them adjust to kindergarten.......please keep me in prayer as I begin to work with 8 special needs kiddos in the upcoming weeks...that we will bond, and that trust will be formed so goals can be met!  

and how about joining in with your own five faves??  you can do so by linking up over at Susanne's site.

HAPPY WEEKEND!