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

31 July 2015

End of July 2015 Faves

There's only about a month and a half of summer left!!  

July has gone by so fast.....but it's been packed of many memories and special blessings.  Here are a few from my week that I'm sharing by linking up at Susanne's site.

FIVE FAVES


 Beach & San'd bar at Moreau Lake
24 July 2015
  • LAKE DAY! Last Friday, Claire and one of her friends and I all headed to one of our favorite lakes just about 35 minutes north of us.  We were there only 2 hours as it started to rain but the view I had from my beach chair was peaceful (see above) and the ice cream on the way home was yummy.  It was a fun day.  It's a blessing to live so close to several good lakes.
my husband and my dad
from l-r:  my Aunt Ruth, Uncle Bruce,
my sister Hope and her husband Donny
my sister Joy
my youngest sister Jill and her youngest daughter Mady


Jill's oldest daughter Emma and Jill's husband Mike
  • FAMILY TIME:  I have 3 younger sisters and one of them (Hope) lives in the woods with her husband Donny.  My dad now lives there, too.  They live out in Central NY.  Dave and I attended Hope's annual family picnic last Saturday.  Everyone was there in our immediate family except my 2 daughters and my sister Joy's son.  It was a nice day, partly sunny, not too humid (yet!), and lots of good food and conversation. My favorite was my sister's broccoli salad....yummy!  Our aunt and uncle were there as well.  It is always good to see family!

  • NEW RECIPES:  This past weekend, in talking with my brother-in-law who is a total vegan now, I decided to see if I could go at least 3 days in a row with no meat.  And I did!  It's easy!! And I didn't miss eating meat with dinner at all!!  I had given up beef last summer and switched to bison due to the fact that bison are grass-fed only and are local AND are less in fat than poultry and cows.  So Monday-Wednesday I only made vegetarian meals for dinner.  My fave was the Rice Bowls I made.  YUMMY.....and they were a hit with everyone else in the family, too.  I've decided that I am only going to buy bison once every couple of months and only eat chicken once a week and fish twice a week.  I do still eat hard boiled eggs about once a week and on hiking days.  It's fun to look for more nutritious choices.


photo courtesy of yelp
 
  • BRUNCH:  My friend Monica and I decided to meet for an early brunch on Tuesday at the above tea shop in town.  I had a gift certificate from a student to use which made it extra special.  We both enjoyed the spinach and cheddar frittata, a sweet scone, and some fresh, local  berries.  I had the apple spice iced tea, too.  Delish!  It's important to me to get together with my friends over the summer as once I am back to work in September, the school year is much too busy for weekday get- togethers.  I treasure my friendships, and especially so when we are united in Christ.


  • LUNCH:  You are going to think all I did all week was eat!  But Thursday morning was so awfully hot and humid.....the humidity level in our town was at 77%!  So I decided to head to a favorite lake about 40 minutes east of us. A friend of mine who lives out that way said she'd be home so I could pop in to say hi.  Well, she invited me for lunch!  So after some quick chores around the house and an even quicker step aerobics routine in the basement, I headed out the door and up the mountain to her home.  What a lovely salad we shared and the sweet fellowship of catching up with what God is doing in our lives.  By the time I left her place, it was starting to rain so I never did make it to the lake for my alone time.  But the visit was so worth the drive!  I am blessed to have been this woman's friend, and she mine, for the last 27 years.
 

Those are the highlights of my week......it's been hazy, hot and very humid here with spots of rain here and there. I'm very thankful for our central air! But I do miss having the windows open to let in the fresh air!

 I'm praying it is cooler tomorrow as we head up to the north with our kayaks for the first time all summer!  It's going to be a family day and I am very happy about it.  Just the 4 of us.  Sand, sun, swimming, the kayaks, food, mini-golf and hopefully some good ice cream!

Whatever you have planned for the weekend, embrace each moment!

Blessings to you,













28 July 2015

Shining Glory

So I was reading in Isaiah this morning for my quiet time.  The house was so peaceful....Dave had just left for work, Claire was getting ready for work, and Courtney was sleeping.  I was in Chapter 61 but the last part of that chapter is what jumped out at me:

"for as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." ~Isaiah 61:11~ 
Those words first reminded me of the small rose bush Claire got me for Mother's Day this past spring.  It wasn't doing very well where I had transplanted it so I re-transplanted it in a small corner of our backyard.  The leaves are dying.  We have no idea why.  So here is this little plant with almost every leaf dead. Stuck in the dry, brown earth because we need rain.  And yet...there's the red blossom....this tiny rose opened up...showing the glory of God...the creator of all things.  This rose is blooming.....in a way, that is a picture of it "praising" the God who made it.  It's shining.....do we shine the way in the world?








And then I started reflecting on just what it means for "righteousness and praise to spring forth....."

We...the Believers, need to pursue righteousness and have a "song of praise" on our lips so a non-Believer will hear and see of His glory. That is one way we can shine.  The glory of God is all around us....from the tiniest bud on the branch to the majestic mountain top.

From the down and out poor homeless beggar to the lofty, wealthy king and queen on their thrones.

We see God in the things around us....in the people around us.....we are made in His Image.....

In nature we see His work.




it's time to praise Him with our lips and lives.

Let's spring forth like the summer flowers in bloom and praise His Name...and marvel at His wondrous work.





Super Simple Veggie Frittata

Have you discovered the Yummly app yet for your iPad or smartphone?

I discovered it about a year ago and love it.  So easy to use with thousands of recipes at your fingertips.

Here's one of my faves that I make for breakfast when we have guests or for a quick and light dinner.  After the recipe I give you some meal ideas for winter and summer.  


image courtesy of  tenbuckdinners website

MICROWAVE VEGGIE FRITTATA

1 Tbl butter
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh broccoli
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten

  • Place the butter in a glass pie plate and cover.
  • Microwave for about 25 seconds or until butter is melted.  Take a spatula and smooth the butter over the entire pie plate bottom.
  • Add the veggies and cook on high for 1 minute.
  • Add the cheese to top of veggies then pour the eggs over the top.
  • Sprinkle with a dash of ground black pepper if desired.
  • Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
  • Let stand for about 3 minutes.
  • Cut into wedges.
NOTE:  this recipe serves 4 people.  Just double the recipe for more and use 2 pie plates dividing up the ingredients.

MENU IDEAS

SUMMER:  In the summer months, I tend to make this for a quick, nutritious breakfast.  I pair it with fresh grapefruit or fresh melon salad which includes:  watermelon cut into chunks, Cantaloupe balled, honeydew melon cut into chunks, fresh raspberries and/or blueberries,  and a drizzle of grapefruit or orange juice over the entire bowl.  Stir and voila.....an easy, nutritious breakfast.

WINTER:  During the school year,  I tend to cook this on evenings when we have activities to rush to after dinner/work.

I make the recipe above plus include a tossed salad and garlic bread or honey biscuits.

PLEASE NOTE:  for those of you who eat pork:  you can also add in a half cup of chopped, cooked ham or a 1/4 c. of chopped cooked bacon.

ENJOY!!!!






As with all of the recipes under the "faithfixes" label, you do have permission to copy this post.



26 July 2015

2015 Book Review #25: Inside the O'Briens

I have now read all of Lisa Genova's novels.

And I have loved every.single.one.

My absolute fave was this one pictured above which is also her latest. Yup....Still Alice has slipped to 2nd place.  This one was just incredible from the opening line to the amazing ending.  She is a a very gifted author and if you haven't discovered her books yet, I highly recommend that you do, if you are a reader!

STORY SUMMARY

Living in Charlestown (a neighborhood in Boston) all of his life makes him a townie.  Joe O'Brien is married to Rosie, his high school sweetheart and they are good Irish Catholics.  Joe is a Boston police officer who is well respected, been with the force for years, a very devoted husband and father to 4 children.  JJ, his oldest, is married to Colleen and they are expecting their first baby.They have the flat above Joe and Rosie. JJ is a firefighter for the city of Boston. His son Patrick still lives at home and works in a local bar.  Meghan, is 22 and is part of the corps de ballet for the Boston Ballet and shares the upper flat with the baby of the family, 21 year old Katie who is a yoga teacher and dating a guy named Felix.  Felix is NOT Irish Catholic; in fact, he's Baptist, raised in Brooklyn and is considered a "toonie".  A person who lives in Charlestown but wasn't raised there.  Oh.  And he is also black.  Joe and Rosie do not yet know about Felix.

One day Joe has some movement issues.  He is unbalanced, is often forgetful and unorganized in his reports at work.  He also has begun to exhibit a very odd temper.....often very irritable, angry, and beginning to lash out physically and emotionally. He has moments of stumbling and even fell down while on the job.  For a little while, he thinks it is because of the stress of being a Boston cop and the aging process.  But he is only in his early 40's.  

He agrees to go with Rosie to see a neurologist.  And gets the diagnoses he does NOT suspect.  He has Huntington's Disease.  The cruelest disease known to mankind.

The disease is horrible.  It is a genetic,  neuro-degenerative disease with no effective treatment and no cure.  Every one of Joe's children has a 50% chance of having the mutant gene.  A simple blood test will determine their future.

JJ and Meghan get tested right away.  And yes...they both will acquire HD when they are anywhere between 35-45.  Sometimes symptoms begin earlier.  Because JJ has the gene, his unborn child has a 50% chance of inheriting HD as well.  Yet, he and Colleen choose to not abort the baby.  They will take the chance.

Patrick does not want to know if he has it or not.

And Katie?  She just can't decide.  In fact, she has the chance to move away from Charlestown and open up her own yoga studio, which is something she has always wanted to do. Yet...she is undecided about that, too.

Will she move to Portland, Oregon with Felix?  Will she decide to get the genetic test??

And what will happen with Joe and Rosie??

Read this incredibly moving story to find out.

MY THOUGHTS

Oh my goodness, I loved this.  I was a bit busy all week otherwise I would have finished this book in 2 days!

It is a wrenching, funny, sad, hilarious, thought-provoking, memorable story.

I fell in love with each and every character and Genova's character descriptions are perfect.  You feel like you know this family!

I love how Joe had to delve into this childhood AND come to terms with the disease to fully understand how his mother died.  

I love how he struggles with finding some kind of legacy to pass on to his children and grandchild other than the Huntington's.

I love how the author brought out the love of family and how love is more important than fear and that to embrace love and live in the moment is all that matters.

Although I am not a fan of Zen philosophy, I did enjoy all the quotes on Katie's bedroom wall and they fit in perfectly with her own struggles of whether or not to get tested.  I don't want to tell you the ending (or what she decides to do) as I don't want to be a spoiler.

The book did encourage me to look up some easy yoga exercises to add to my work-out routine and I love them!!

What was one of my favorite things was the description of Boston and Charlestown, Fenway, etc.  Because my own children and husband (and I!!) love the city of Boston and have been there so many times, it was fun to read about our beloved city.  And I could relate to the "townie" thing because that is how it is in the little central NY village I am from...AND how my husband's little village in Plymouth County MA is like.....you are a  townie if you are born and raised there.  But...like Katie, we wanted to move out. I totally understood her struggle to remain with family vs moving away.  Again, I won't tell you what she decides.

It was very interesting to read about this horrible disease and the effect it has on not just the person dealing with it, but on how it impacts family members, friends, and co-workers.  I appreciate the author for giving us, the readers, a glimpse into this issue and how we can monetarily help. (she gives a website at the end of how to donate to finding a cure).

There were MANY quotes from the book that jumped out at me but one of them is this:

"Lotus flowers blossom while rooted in mud, a reminder that beauty and grace can rise above something ugly." (Katie's thoughts about her reasoning for getting a lotus flower tattoo) pg.333, Inside the O'Briens, c. 2015

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to some content and language)

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





24 July 2015

Lazy Summer Days Faves

It's Friday and time to link up with other friends sharing Five Fave things from the past week.  We meet over at Susanne's site....how about joining us?

The week started out hazy, hot, and humid!!  But as I write this, the sun is shining in a deep blue sky and the temperatures are in the high 70s with NO humidity and a nice breeze coming through the open windows of my house.  I love it!

FIVE FAVES!

West Stony Creek Falls
north branch of the West Stony Creek
Northville/Placid Trail, Benson NY
Woods Lake
Benson, NY
  • REMOTE HIKE:  Sunday was hot and humid but a friend of mine and I decided to meet at the origin of the Northville/Placid trail and hike the first 1.4 miles in to the woods to the waterfalls on the West Stony Creek.  This is located in the Silver Lake Wilderness Region of the southern Adirondacks (about 80 min from my house) and is one of the most remote regions in the mountains.  We were the only people on the trail until we arrived at the falls and then 2 guys doing the entire trail (133 miles!!) passed us as we were eating a snack.  It was super humid and at 87 degrees I would have rather gone kayaking but I also wanted to hike this.  We put our feet into the creek to cool off and then after snapping some photos, hiked back to the cars, drove about a half mile south and then picked up a trail to Woods Lake.  The lake was gorgeous!  It's only a half mile in from the road.  Yet, because of all the pines, ceders and maples creating a dense forest, it felt as remote as where the waterfalls was.  A fun, but very hot, day!!


  • BRUNCH DATE:  One of the women from my Bible study small group met me for brunch on Tuesday.  What a great time of chatting and eating yummy omelettes.  It was just what I needed...she has 2 older boys and I wanted to get her perspective on a couple of things regarding parenting young adult children!  It's always good to have these close friends who come alongside you and encourage.  We pray for each other, too which is important.  I find it a huge blessing!


photo courtesy of the press reader/Troy Record
  • MOTHER-DAUGHTER DATE NIGHT:  I splurged on tickets for Claire and I to return to this place, located in Saratoga Spa State Park,  on Wednesday evening.  Each summer we splurge on one evening of amphitheater seating.  If we can't get tickets, we just use her free lawn pass (good until she graduates from hs).  It was fun to be going to see a ballet company we knew nothing about.  However, although the National Ballet of China had some simple, stark, beautiful sets, and elaborate costumes, the plot was very difficult to follow even with the synopsis.  And I've discovered I really don't care for modern ballet all that much...at least not the way the Chinese did it.  I do so love the Russian Ballet Companies and of course NYCB.  But Claire really enjoyed watching it and the place was packed.  During intermission there were fireworks to celebrate the 80th anniversary of this, which is also located in the Saratoga Spa State Park.  The weather was perfect because earlier in the day, the high humidity broke which was wonderful!  So all in all, it was a nice night out.
Good morning from my deck!

  • READING OUTSIDE:  I love to read about as much as I love to hike.  And I'm loving this lower humidity we've had since Wednesday morning!  All the windows of the house have been open and the breeze coming in is so nice. Our deck gets the morning sun so I enjoy sitting out there after my morning walk or in the afternoon when it's cool and shady.  I've been doing a lot of reading this summer.  There are so many good books in the town library!!

  • Smart Phone:  I finally joined the masses and have a smart phone.  I'm actually taking over my oldest daughter's as my husband got her a new upgrade for her birthday.  All hers needed was a new battery.  I won't use it for social media sites or games or any of that...I refuse!!  But I am sure going to like using it for the GPS because my old Garmin, in my car, needs an update and to update it is more than the cost of it!  How in the world did we all manage before all this technology??! :D
That wraps up my faves list......how about you? what are you enjoying about these lazy days of summer??





22 July 2015

2015 Book Review #24: You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity

I just finished a book I bought Dave for Christmas.  Yes, I started reading it over Winter Break.  No, I didn't finish it until this morning.  But I have also read novels, the Bible, a Bible study book, magazines, hiking books, etc.  And this book needed me to focus.  I did a lot of high lighting.  And nodding of the head.  And praying.  It's awesome.  I'm glad I savored each chapter.  In fact, I'm going to go back through the book and do some journaling about the parts I've highlighted!

SUMMARY
  The book is written by the author of Crazy Love (which I LOVED!) and his wife.  His wife takes part of the chapter for her thoughts.  Each chapter then has some questions for you to meditate on and perhaps journal about or discuss with your spouse or children.

The book talks about how we say in our marriage vows (many of us) "Until death do us part".  And that there are eternal rewards...or regrets...depending on how we actually conduct/spend our lives.

They talk about how it's great to not let things destroy your marriage but that we also can't let our marriage distract us from the greater things God has for us.  

When I first chose the book as a gift, I honestly thought it was going to be an actual marriage book to help your marriage or give you ideas on how to better communicate, serve God, etc.  I was NOT expecting that it is really about your marriage relationship with Christ.  We are the Bride!!  And I was so happy it was about this.  Because I needed the reminders in the book and I needed some of then new ways of thinking about my marriage that the authors point out.

God is a jealous God. He wants us to pursue Him first and most!  It is the first Great Commandment ("love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind")

The authors point out that love, laughter and intimacy were created for us to enjoy.  But that there is also a way to love our family in deeper ways without also ignoring heaven.  And that it comes down to our focus.

Here's a quote from the back of the book that I really like:

"Jesus was right.  We have it all backwards.  The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage."
Marriage is great.  But it is NOT forever. 

I learned something from every single chapter.  Here are the chapter titles:


  • The Secret to Happily Ever After
  • Marriage Isn't That Great
  • Pursue the Perfect Marriage
  • Learn to Fight Well
  • Don't Waste Your Marriage
  • Is There Hope for Us?
  • What's Really Best for the Kids?
  • The Amazing Race
and then a wonderful prayer that really spoke to me.  It brought tears to my eyes.

You will discover that the most important relationship we can ever have, is the one with God.  And that no marriage is complete with out God in it. You will learn the importance of serving God...together....and to have joy in your life....complete joy!  You will learn what is really what children need from their parents.  It isn't what you think!

Live out the gospel in your marriage.  It's the most important thing we can do for our family.

I firmly believe that this book should be required reading for any Christian engaged couple.  For any married couple, no matter how long you have been married or how long you have been a Believer/Christian.

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.









NOTE:  this book can be downloaded for free by going to www.youandmeforever.org