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

02 October 2015

Fall Faves

This week flew by!  

School has now been in session for 2 full weeks yet it seems (at times) like 2 full months.  Life is busy again............

Let's take a moment out of the week to reflect back on the various things/events that God brought to us, and find FIVE of the FAVES........those of us who do this, link up over at Susanne's site.  Feel free to join in!  


Murphy Lake from the lean-to

Murphy Lake
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, Southern Adirondacks
26 Sept 2015
  • HIKING!  Of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without a hike!  Last Saturday I led a group of beginner hikers (friends from church) along one of my favorite trails.  It is a 3.8 miles trail past 3 beautiful deep woods lakes.  The photos are of the last lake on the trail where we sat and ate lunch before heading back down the trail to the cars.  The colors are JUST beginning to show up in the southern Adirondacks so in another week, a bunch of us are heading further north where hopefully, the colors will be more vibrant.  Because it has been such a warm, mild autumn so far, we don't have the blaze of colors yet.  What a fun day it was though with friends! I'm thankful for this group of friends.
photo courtesy of sweet tooth sweet life website
  • DINNER OUT!  Because my husband had to work at the Saturday evening church service, he wasn't able to hike that day, so he joined me and another couple who had hiked, for dinner out after the church service. Our friends Scot and Diane told us about this bistro/pub located in the city of Troy across the river from us so we decided to meet them there.  Excellent food and fellowship! And inexpensive!!  Certain cocktails were only $4.00 that evening! I'm thankful for these friends and this time we had.  It made for a perfect ending to a great day.
image courtesy of triplethescraps website
  • FAVE HYMN:  at the end of the worship service in church on Sunday, we sang this traditional hymn.....it has always been a favorite of mine.  How amazing it is to hear about 1200 congregants with uplifted voices singing praises to our God.  It brought tears to my eyes  to know just how great our God really is.  I'm so thankful for these timeless hymns.  There is nothing like them!

  • COCKTAILS BY THE FIRE!  My neighbor and I finally got together for a bonfire and cocktail. My family had no plans for Friday evening as my husband was tired, my oldest was out with friends, and my youngest had an audition the next day so wanted to be in bed early.  Melissa invited me over and we had the perfect night for it. I made a rum and coke while she had some red wine.  The fire felt so good as there was an early autumn nip in the air.  We chatted about so much and we really needed that time....I'm so thankful for our friendship and that we are next door neighbors!

Courtney baking
the end result!
  • APPLE PIE!  Courtney and I decided, after church on Sunday, to bake an apple pie together.  What fun it was and oh how yummy!!  I'm not a huge pie fan but at least once a year, I do like to eat a piece of apple pie. We used some of the apples from the apple orchard we visited. I'm thankful for my daughter's help and love having her at home (and yes, she is still looking for a design job!!)


DANCE AUDITION!  Claire and two other friends from pointe class went to an audition with this place near us and......they all made the dance company!!  We are so excited for them!!  They will be performing the Russian dance from Nutcracker in December at 3 different performances.  What a great opportunity this is for them.....to study under former NYCBallet instructors at the beautiful studios in Saratoga.  They have rehearsals every Saturday though from now until mid-December so she will be very busy.

That wraps up my week.....those are just some highlights of course!  I'm also thankful for my husband's help with Claire's physics homework and project, for my oldest daughter and some of the housework she is helping with, for my small group and the power of prayer.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

30 September 2015

Stay Refreshed!

image courtesy of extension.org
This week I have been reading various Scripture passages about the Sovereignty of God.  This morning I was in Deuteronomy 31:30-32:4.  Here are the verses that jumped out at me:

"I proclaim the name of the Lord.  Ascribe greatness to our God.  He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice, righteous and upright is He." ~Deuteronomy 32:3&4~ 
The devotional (from Women  of Faith Devotional Bible, NKJV) then went on to say that this is from the song that Moses sang.....He led them in music!  He was also their leader in other ways of course, but to help remind them of God's faithfulness and power, he set those truths to music.

Moses is reminding the people of Israel...and reminding us today...that if we give God first place in our lives....if we allow  the Word of God to take precedence in our day, then we will be refreshed.  Just like a glass of ice cold water refreshes us on a hot day or when we are particularly thirsty, so too will the Word of God refresh us.

Let's not forget what God has done for us!

Let's remember His faithfulness to us....His mercy....His grace...and His power!

Let's drink of the Living Water that He freely offers us!!

And stay refreshed!

27 September 2015

2015 Book Review #35: The Same Sky

I discovered a new author this past week.

And she is excellent!!


The book opens with the voice of 12 year old Carla, a little girl born and raised in Honduras.  Carla's mother left for America when Carla was just 5 years old.  She left Carla and her  twin toddler brothers, Carlos and Junior, in the care of an elderly grandmother.  Grandmother died when Carla was about 7 years old. Before she died, Carlos was whisked away in a car.....Carla and Junior had no idea where he went.  After Grandmother died, Carla was left to care for her, self and Junior.  She had to scrounge with her friend Humberto in the town dump for food.  She was all alone and could no longer attend school.  Junior began sniffing glue and running wild.  What was she to do??

In the second chapter, we hear from Alice.  Alice lives with her husband Jake, in Austin, Texas.  They have been trying for years to have a baby, with no success.  They were just about to adopt a baby named Mitchell when the birth mother changed her mind.  They are both devastated and dealing with their grief.  They own and operate  an outstanding Texas BBQ restaurant that makes them a little bit "famous".  Alice is originally from Colorado where her dad and sister Jane live.  Jane is married to Dennis and has 3 little boys.  Alice and Jane's mother died of cancer when they were younger.

Every other chapter is Carla's story.  She ends up escaping with Junior to make her way to America and her mother.  Will she make it??  What happens to her on "the beast" (the train from Honduras to Mexico??) What happens when she finds her mother....and then discovers she is pregnant at age 13??  What happens to her baby??

The chapters about Alice focus on their grief for Mitchell being taken back by his birth mother, and about Alice mentoring a teen named Evian who is neglected by her mother and a bit on the "wild side".  She and Jake make their way through their grief and their marital struggles to discovering that God does have a purpose and plan for them.  


I loved this book because I had read that the author researched immigrant children by going to shelters throughout Texas and California to learn about these childrens' lives.

I love how real both main characters were!  I felt like I could adopt Carla and her little brother.  I wanted to befriend Alice.

I found my self cheering when Carla made it safely across the river between Mexico and Texas.  I found myself crying when she was raped on the train and felt so ashamed and wanted to gather her in my arms and whisper to her that it was not her fault.

Oh, I can't say enough good about this story.  It is very moving.  And the way that Carla's and Alice's lives connect at the end is just spell-binding.

The only negative thing I can find to say about the book is how sometimes the Lord's name was spoken as a swear word.  That bothers me.  I find it very unnecessary.

I am going to look for this author's other novels.

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 a 10.

25 September 2015

Early Autumn Faves

The season of Autumn is here!!  It arrived on Wednesday and because it was also a Jewish holiday, the school district was closed so I didn't have to go to work.  That was a bonus!

Let's take some time to look back on the week and find FIVE FAVE moments that filled us with thankfulness.  Then head over to Susanne's site to link up!


Claire, age 16
  • PASSED!  Claire passed her NYS Road Test on Saturday afternoon!  I was so excited because this means she can now drive her self to her ballet classes and youth group.  In the photo above, this was her first time pulling out of the driveway by herself for her Tuesday evening classes.  I'm so thankful!  (she will only have a junior license though as she is only 16 so has to be home by 9 pm...thankfully, all of her classes get out at 8 pm!)
Faith's youngest sister Jill
  • 40th CELEBRATION:  My youngest sister Jill turned 40 last week and her husband gave her a birthday party and invited all of us plus my other 2 sisters and a bunch of friends and some of her in-laws.  What a fun Saturday evening that was!  She is holding up a mug I gave her that says "keep calm, it's your 40th birthday".  I also got her a basket of "how to survive your 40s" gifts...all fun stuff.  She seemed to love it!  I'm thankful when the family can do these kinds of events.

Claire (age 16), Courtney (age 22), me
  • APPLE PICKING!  On Wednesday, we had no school due to a Jewish holiday so since my oldest still doesn't have a job, she thought we should all go apple picking. It was the perfect choice for the first day of autumn!  What fun we had!  We usually go to a particular orchard about 20 minutes from our home, just to the north of us, but we decided to go to one we hadn't been to in years......it's about 40 minutes southwest of us.  What a great day it was for apple picking!  This is where we went. We picked Empires and Galas.  YUMMY!  We also ate a late lunch in the cafe...they have great sandwiches...and....we  bought a dozen apple cider donuts which had just come out of the oven to bring home to Dave.  I'm thankful for the time I had with my girls.
along my bike route in town

  • BIKING:  Sunday afternoon, after church and some housework, I decided to go on a 5 mile bike ride.  It was a glorious late summer day.  The temps were in the high 60s/low70s which in my opinion are perfect for biking or hiking.  No one else wanted to join me, so I went by myself and thoroughly loved it.  There's something about riding around my suburban town that is so nice....even though I DO have to watch out for the many pot holes that still haven't been fixed from last winter.  Sticking to just a bike path gets so boring!  It's just a straight path.  But the riding around town is so interesting.  I saw several people out on bikes and running.  I'm thankful for weekends to do the things I enjoy.

  • BLOOMED AGAIN!  Over the weekend, neither of these plants had flowers on them so I left them and decided to clean up the deck and front stoop on the day off.  Well, when I went out there on Wednesday afternoon to do so, the blooms were back!!  It was the strangest thing!  but I am thankful to see these summer blooms lingering......I'm going to keep these going as long as I can and maybe once the pumpkins are added next week, they will still be in bloom.

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, here in eastern NY.  I hope wherever you are, that you are enjoying a wonderful autumn weekend, too!

22 September 2015

2015 Book Review #34: Flesh and Blood

I have been reading the Dr Kay Scarpetta series of mysteries since they first came out way back in 1990.  I was hooked.  The author also wrote an autobiography about Ruth Bell Graham which I own and loved reading!  It was excellent...all about how Ruth met Billy Graham and their life together.

The  fictional series of Scarpetta is more psychological thriller and mystery.  Yet the reader ends up thinking Kay is a real person.  In my opinion, that is a one sign of an excellent author.

This latest novel, though, wasn't one of my faves.  But the ending was a total shock and I'm already looking forward to the next one.


The story opens in Cambridge, MA where Kay and Wesley Benton (her FBI husband) are about to leave for a birthday vacation in Florida at a condo Benton bought.  Kay is the Chief Medical Examiner for Boston and has also worked for the FBI.  Her husband is the world-renowned FBI profiler.  Both of them have worked on some difficult cases in the last 20 years or more.

It's a sunny, hot day in June and they have been informed that Obama is in town so traffic is going to be a nightmare what with all the extra security.  While they are about to have brunch outside, she notices 7 pennies on a wall behind their house.  Why are they all dated 1981 and are shiny like brand-new??  While she is thinking about this, Pete Marino calls her (he is a detective) and tells her that there's been a homicide....a music teacher who was shot while unloading his groceries....about 5 minutes away from her house.  No one saw or heard a thing.

For obvious reasons, the Florida vacation must take a backseat and she and Benton become ensnared at solving this homicide.  The only incriminating evidence they can find are fragments of copper.  Is this homicide linked to the mysterious pennies found on their wall??

Other recent deaths in MA and NJ begin to point towards a serial killer.  But none of the victims have anything in common and there isn't a pattern to determine where and when the killer will strike next.

Scarpetta and Benton end up off the coast in Florida where they discover yet more clues while diving ...and comes face to face with the shocking news that could implicate her genius niece Lucy....her very own flesh and blood.


I was totally driven in the beginning of the story to read this latest Scarpetta novel.  Yet by the middle of the book, I started to get bored.  It was a bit too technical (talking about rifles, technology of the latest bullets, etc.) and seemed to get bogged down.

BUT...in the true fashion of this particular author, she had me, the reader, on the edge of my seat by the beginning of the ending.  She revealed who the killer was and it was truly shocking!  It is a character from 13 years ago whom we all know was dead!! (and it's all I will say so I don't spoil it for you).

From the beginning, I was drawn in to those pennies......and yet, those didn't really come up again in the story and I was disappointed that they didn't end up playing a bigger role.

I loved that, as usual, all the characters appear real and like always, a new reader of Scarpetta books, would get a bit of "back story" linking them all together in that way that the author is so creative with doing.

I loved the fast-pace at the end but overall this wasn't one of my fave books from the series.  The ending is brilliant and will lead me to look for her next book to find out what happens.

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.

20 September 2015

Finding the Way

Have you ever hiked on a trail in the woods when you know the destination is a mountain summit, yet the trail twists and turns with switchbacks or re-routes and suddenly you don't see the trail blazes on the tree??

That's happened to me several times in the last few years.  The Adirondacks was hard hit by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and I have seen some devastating results from that storm that blew in that late summer.  Lots of blowdown.  Lots of trails and bridges over creeks re-routed and re-built.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and a friend of ours and I were hiking a tall mountain that had some re-routes.  And blazes were few and far between.  My husband was leading that day and I'm rather glad he was.  He set a good pace when the trail was flat (just towards the beginning) and slowed down as the trail became more obscure and steep.  In fact, some of it was total rock scrambles.  If you don't have experience on these kinds of trails, it can be difficult as you climb, to determine which way to go.  This climb came back to my mind this week as I read my morning devotions.  I was in Ezra 8 when the second part of verse 22 jumped out at me:

and then the Scripture goes on to say:

"so we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer." ~Ezra 8:23~
The devotional in my Bible that went along with these Scriptures stated that it is so easy to say that God is in control of our lives when we are on that "mountain-top" experience.  It is sometimes so much harder for us when we are facing difficult paths.  Yet for those of us who cling to God, cry out His name and grasp a hold of him through prayer, we can remain at peace knowing He is in control.

It is our job as Believers to pray and humble our selves to seek His Face and ask Him to show us His plans and purposes.  To ask Him to show us the way.

I actually became a bit nervous on this trail at one point because of how steep it was and how hot and humid the weather was.  My friend seemed to be struggling with some heat exhaustion and we were the only ones hiking that trail that day.  Yes, we had signed in to the trail register but we had seen no other human being other than a father and son leaving the trail as we were beginning.  They had spent the night in the High Peaks wilderness after hiking one of the taller peaks near that same trail-head.  I wasn't worried about being the only people on the mountain that day.  It's kind of exciting.  I was nervous because of how far in to the wilderness we were and with a few trail blazes missing we really had to watch ahead of us. Would we find our way??

I prayed inside my head asking God to give us guidance and help us conquer this mountain trail.  He did.  But more importantly, He reminded me this week that just like on that trail, when we were a bit unsure at times of where to place our feet, we are sometimes like that on our life journey.  We don't know which way to turn....which path to follow....where to place our feet.
 Dave Hiking up Mount Adams
High Peaks Wilderness Region

Yet He does show us the way when we seek Him.

Finding our way in the world is challenging at times.  Clinging to the Rock that is higher than we are, gives us the stability to remain steady.

Praying and humbling ourselves before our merciful God will guide us.

Are you finding the way today??