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

19 May 2017

Busy Week Faves


What.a.week.

Busy busy busy but I'm taking the time to pause, and reflect back to find at least FIVE of my FAVE things from this insanely busy week.  I had quite forgotten just how busy life is at the end of a teenager's senior year.....only 6 more weeks until our "baby" graduates from high school.  Here's some blessings from the week that I'm sharing by linking up at Susanne's site.


Hudson River
 from the shores of the
 Papsacanee Nature Preserve
Schodack, NY
  • RAINY DAY HIKE:  I don't usually start out hiking in the rain....and Saturday was a downpour...but a good friend of mine from an old church many years ago, named Gerri, wanted to hike with me and we had to cancel our plans for going up to the high peaks area of the mountains due to the thunderstorms that were predicted.  We chose to explore 4 miles of a 6 mile trail system in a nature preserve just to the south of us across the river from Albany that neither one of us had been to before.  It is all flat and follows the shoreline for part of the hike.  Although it was a steady rain, we both had hooded rain jackets and wet weather hiking gear on.  It was chilly with temps only in the high 50s but it felt so good to get out and hike.  We made plans to hike again this weekend. But this time we are heading to a mountain!  I'm thankful for friends who like to hike and for old friends I've reconnected with.

Hibachi!
  • MOTHER'S DAY LUNCH!  On Sunday after church, my family took me out for hibachi at this local Japanese restaurant.  It's a bit pricey so we really only go on special occasions.  It had been a couple of years since we last went.  I had an amazing drink called the Pink Coconut Beach with the Chicken Hibachi and my oldest daughter had the same thing with a different mixed drink;   Dave had the Scallops hibachi; and Claire had the Vegetable Hibachi with Avocado Cucumber Sushi.  The miso soup is absolutely delicious there and the salads have a perfect ginger dressing that is light.  I'm thankful for the time we spent laughing and having fun together eating fantastic food.


Me with my oldest gal Courtney


  • GIFTS!  My oldest gal surprised me with a beautiful card and these two succulent plants for the new table on our deck.  The succulents are artificial which I love because I won't need to add another chore for her to do while the rest of us are in Italy....plants that don't need watering and look that good (already a couple of people have told me they thought they were real) are a fave with me.  (Of course I have real flowers in pots on my deck too all summer long but those aren't ready yet for photos). I'm so thankful for the thoughtfulness of my first born.


CLAIRE REBEKAH, age 18
SENIOR PICS!


  • SENIOR PICS!  So finally this can be checked off the list!  My daughters could finally sync their schedules on a sunny dry day and get Claire's senior pictures done.  My oldest was "hired" to do them to save me some money (yes, I am going to pay her something but not as much as a pro would charge) and Courtney does good work due to the photography course she did at college.  Here are two of the ones I really like. We have several more to go through before I start creating announcements. The high school requires a very formal portrait for the yearbook in which all the girls have to wear a black drape and honestly, the company that they use every year just isn't great with the quality.  It's ok for the yearbook but in my opinion, I like the more informal shots captured outdoors. I'm grateful this is now checked off the long "to do" list.



  • SUNSHINE AND WARMTH!  This week we enjoyed several days of beautiful sunshine and HIGH temps.....yesterday got up to 96!!  That is kind of unusual for eastern NY in May.  But I am NOT complaining...we turned on the central air for the afternoons/evening but only needed it for 2 days.  I'm not a fan of the central air but our upstairs gets very hot without it when the temps climb above 82.  I'm very thankful for the wonderful sunshine and glad the temps are returning to normal (70s).
That wraps up the week.

Tonight our youngest is off to the Senior Prom with a guy friend of hers.....and with another couple plus they are meeting several friends at the venue.  Because they have to drive about a half hour away on the very busy interstate, I am praying that the senior class stays safe!  It is a large class (a little over 440 seniors).  I'm hoping everyone stays safe, makes good choices, and drives carefully.

Enjoy the weekend!!




14 May 2017

To all the mothers in the blogging world.......

enjoy every moment of your day.....

embrace each child............

think on the memories made and the love shared............

and the blessing that children are..............














12 May 2017

Spring is in the Air Faves

Friday!

I'm actually writing up my FFF on Thursday evening because tomorrow morning I need to get to work early and then after work, I plan on going home, changing, and going bike riding.  So, reflecting back on the week so far I'm realizing I love that spring is in the air!  Here are FIVE of my FAVES that I'm sharing and linking up with Susanne's site.


  • HIKING!  Even though Sunday was mostly a rainy cloudy day (it had begun sunny!), I checked the weather for a hiking area a friend of mine wanted to go to and  the weather app said cloudy and dry so we went!  Here are some pics of our very short hike....it took longer to drive there (an hour and a half north-west) than it did to hike the 1.8 mile trail). The state created a new trail to these waterfalls about a year ago and although I've hiked over 10 times on that trail, I much preferred the new longer one.  It's a bit more interesting and we get to rock hop across the brook.  I'm thankful I got to squeeze in a hike.
The trail to Tenant Creek Falls
Southern ADKS

Tenant Creek Falls
town of Hope Falls, Southern Adirondacks
May 2017

  • COFFEE DATE:  I got to squeeze in a coffee date with my good friend from church last weekend...I'm so glad we finally could get together to catch up on each other's lives.  We have known each other for many years...as in more than 25 but we became close  friends about 4 years ago when she joined my small group.  I really love her quiet wisdom and I'm thankful for her spontaneity in just in hopping in my car for a coffee date or a quick walk on one of our many bike paths in our town.  

  • LAWN CARE!  I'm super thankful that my husband took care of the lawn between rain storms this past week.  I love how the bright green grass looks in the spring and with all the tulips and other spring flowers coming up, it just makes our home so pretty and well tended.  My husband works hard (mentally)  all day and for him to come home to do yard-work is a huge bonus.

  • SUNSHINE!  Thursday was finally a day of much warmer temps (74) and sunshine all day long!  At work, we were able to take the children outside for one hour....how wonderful it is when preschoolers can play outdoors.  And once my oldest gal Courtney was done with work earlier in the afternoon, she picked up my youngest from school and they finally were able to complete her senior pics in a small  park on the other side of town. I had hired Courtney to do Claire's pics since it would actually save me money and put her photography skills to good use.  I can't wait to see how they come out.  Graduation from high school is June 24th so we are winding down the school year!  Such a busy time is the end of the senior year!  I'm thankful this is one more task checked off the very long to do list.

  • SIGNS OF SPRING!  I love that yesterday was so nice out and after work I was able to change my clothes and just sit in the backyard swing for about 20 minutes of glorious rest in the sun.  I think I fell asleep for a few minutes too!  I had bought the little wooden bird-house at one of the "dollar stores" where I buy our paper products for the house and I ended up putting it in the pear tree which is getting tall!   This was my mother's day gift about 4 years ago.  In a few weeks, the tree will be full of white flowers.  I love all the signs of spring I see around my yard and I'm thankful my lilac bush survived the hard winter and the rainy storms we've had.
my pear tree and new bird house

my lilac bush!

that wraps up my week....how was yours? what blessings can you find among the spring busyness? Please do share in the comment section!

Happy Weekend!!


07 May 2017

2017 Book Review #15: The Tears of Dark Water


Wow.

What. a. story.

Discovered a new-to-me author and I'm hooked.  Now I am requesting his other novels from my town library.  This story was phenomenal.

STORY SUMMARY

The Parker family live in Maryland and are quite wealthy. They have a beautiful Cape Cod style home on the river and own boats.  Vanessa has her own medical practice and is a very busy doctor. Her husband Daniel is quite wealthy and is a power-broker in Washington, D.C.  They enjoy a very comfortable life-style and have one son named Quentin.  Quentin is struggling in high school and appears to be self-destructing due to drug usage. Daniel and Vanessa's marriage is also struggling and they seem to have lost their way in trying to salvage it.

 Daniel decides to explore a dream they have had for several years of sailing around the world.  The trip that he hopes with all of his heart will save his marriage and his son, might actually destroy them.  Vanessa doesn't want to leave her patients...nor can she....so it is just Daniel and Quentin who take off.

Meanwhile, in a land a half a world away from America, off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean, Ismail Adan Ibrahim is living a life of crime.  This is going against everything he was raised to believe and goes against his own true belief system.  He is very young.....yet he feels compelled to hijack ships for ransom in order to buy back his sister Yasmin who was kidnapped by the man who murdered their father and younger brother Yusef.  He will do anything...even murder...to get his sister back.

Paul Derrick is the FBI's top hostage negotiator.  He is excellent at his job and    actually likes it.  His twin sister Megan is a successful defense attorney in the Washington, D.C. area.  They are at the pinnacle of their careers and earned their way there through hard work, and a strong determination to succeed.  Paul is single and Megan is married to a man who has extramarital affairs with his graduate students from the college where he is a professor.  Megan knows this and yet keeps giving Simon chances to change.  The twins have deep-held secrets from their teenage years when their family suffered a horrible tragedy.  They are determined to rise above this and escape all of those memories.

Paul is soon sent to the Indian Ocean to handle a crisis hostage situation. Daniel and Quentin's sailboat has been overtaken by Somali pirates.....and Ismail is the leader.  What Paul doesn't realize is just how far this situation will take him and Megan into the past.....and he has no idea about the chances it will give them to redeem their futures.

MY THOUGHTS

This book  was powerful.  At first I thought it was going to be all about the Somali pirate situation that has gone on in the very real world but I soon figured out that it revolves more around the breakdown of Somalia and all of the social, religious, economic and moral issues facing that beautiful land.  This book taught me that the pirates often live a life of destruction due to desperation about things going on in their beloved country.

The book seems to center around the concepts of family, tragedy, rising above the horrible circumstances, guilt, forgiveness and love.  There is a lot of suspense in the story-line and that really pushes the story forward.

The way the character all join in and meet one another is just so well done.  There is even a bit of romance for all of you who like that in a book.

The author has a note at the back of the book that says after learning of the very real hostage situation in 2011 regarding 4 Americans who were kidnapped and killed by Somali pirates, he began to do some research.  This story is NOT a plot based on that real life event but he did get the idea to write about the pirates and Americans and the pulse of the plot beckons the reader to fully grasp the "whys" of what the pirates do.  He did use actual US government policies in his book and went over to Somali to do his research. He also interviewed many government officials including taking a tour of the FBI Academy and other government places.

This story really made me think about the good of a religion that we only hear the "bad" of....it made me realize that as an American, my heart does sometimes jump to conclusions (and sometimes I'm wrong about those conclusions),  about people who are worshiping God in a different way from me.

I was so impressed by this author's plot line, the development of the characters, and the fact that he touches on human rights issues, that I will be looking for his other two 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.



05 May 2017

First of May Faves

Wow!

We are well into spring and a new month already...I don't know about you but I need life to slow down for  a while.  I'm taking a coffee break from housework since I just  got home from work, and reflecting back on the week and all the special blessings that make my "favorites" list.  I'm starting this on Wednesday late afternoon because the next two days are busy, busy!!  Linking up with Susanne's site is a great way to share the blessings God brought, and to see what other participants  weeks were like. 

 How about sharing one thing that
 was special to you this week?  You can do so in the comment section at the end of the post.


FIVE FAVES
En Pointe in the Park

one of many sculptures throughout this National Historic Landmark Park

difficult ballet pose in the park


  • EARLY EVENING MOM-DAUGHTER DATE:  Claire needed to dash to Saratoga last Friday after school to pick up her two pairs of new pointe shoes for the upcoming annual Ballet show.  After we did this errand, she wanted to go to Congress Park and put on her old pointe shoes to pose for park photos. This seems to be "a thing" with some of the local ballerinas.  So we did that, walked around one section of the park we rarely visit and then went to buy some subs for dinner and took them to the State Park outside of the city. The weather was glorious!  Very warm and sunny. What a fun evening it was with my girl.....I'm treasuring every minute of the end of her senior year.


Loon Lake, Central Adirondack Mts
as seen from the summit of Stewart Mt



On the summit of Kipp Mt


on the trail to Palmer Pond

    Loon Lake from summit of Stewart Mt





    Trillium, an endangered wildflower in the Adirondack Mts
    the flower was just out....if you look closely you can see the dark purple bud.
    • HIKING!  FINALLY!  I finally had a free Saturday with somewhat decent weather (cloudy but warm) to get up to the central Adirondack Mountains and do some hiking. My friends from church (Scot and Diane) offered to drive and we met my other friend Cheryl there.  We  decided to hike trails we've never done before.  We did 3 out of the 8 required trails for the Chester Challenge.  This is a challenge of VERY EASY pond and mountain trails.  Both mountains were less than 2000 feet in elevation although Stewart Mt was quite steep at the very beginning.  And the trail to Palmer Pond was more like a walk on an old logging road.  We took lots of pictures.  Here are a few of my faves. I'm so thankful we had the day to hike!

    • GOOD REPORT:  Last week I got the results of my yearly blood work.  Everything is within normal limits, including the Vitamin D and my overall cholesterol went down!  My "bad" cholesterol went down by 11 points although I still want it to go down 11 more to fall within the better limits.  And my "good" cholesterol went up by 8 points so is now in a good spot although personally I would like to see it raised by another 10 points.  And my triglycerides, although not high last year, went down more and are well below the cut off mark.  This makes me so thankful because so many people I know have to be on a statin to lower theirs.  I've chosen to change foods, add foods, and do more cardio workouts to keep it at bay.  I love getting a good report!

    • CHERRY BLOSSOMS!  Our cherry trees have really bloomed this week, too. I just love the bright pink.  And in the tree closest to the road, I spied a mother mourning dove sitting on her nest.  Soon there will be baby birds chirping away. This pic was taken on a cloudy day so the colors aren't all that vibrant.  I'm thankful for all spring color!

    • CHECK!  I love getting things checked off my "to do" list and let me tell ya, this month and next we have a LOT on our list.  I forgot just how busy the end of the senior year is for a teenager. And she's an active one.....between clubs, youth group, Prom, AP exam, regular exams, another upcoming visit to UNH to set up her schedule, extra ballet rehearsals on the weekends to practice for the upcoming Dance Show, (because during the week they still have their 3 classes), and shopping for her dorm room, the list is getting longer and longer.  I was able to knock off 3 important things this week after work and I'm super thankful those things are done!!

    That wraps up my week......I hope you all have a restful weekend doing the things that bring a smile to your face and peace in your heart.





    28 April 2017

    BUSY WEEK FAVES

    Is it really Friday already??

    This has been a very busy week....back from spring break means back to work/school and the normal routine and wow....we hit the ground running Monday morning and haven't really slowed down yet.  But...the 4th quarter of school has just begun about 2 weeks ago and the final stretch for our youngest daughter is in sight.  Of course with that, come some pretty special blessings.

    I'm here to share FIVE of the blessings from the week and I do this by linking up at Susanne's where you, too, can share in FIVE of your FAVE things.





    • SPRING FLOWERS!  Our spring flowers opened up earlier this week.  How beautiful they all are.  I just love spring flowers and am very thankful for God creating them. 


    image courtesy of genius quotes
    • BIKE RIDE!  I finally got my bike tire fixed and off I went for a wonderful bike ride Saturday late afternoon.  It was just glorious......I didn't go far but the weather was just perfect for a quick spin before dinner.  I plan on doing a lot more of this once life slows down a little come summer. I"m thankful for a good bike and the good weather!

    • CONVERSATION:  Monday was our first day back after a week of spring break.  Our youngest daughter Claire, a senior, was having a somewhat rough day due to some peer pressure regarding the upcoming Prom.  Apparently her best friends made some plans for after prom that Claire was uncomfortable with.  Because of this, she wanted an alternative plan.  She and I got some iced drinks from $tarbucks after school and went to a little park where we chatted for about an hour.  Alot of stuff came out of this teen's mouth about friends, her walk with Christ, peer pressure, some gender identity issues a friend is facing, and thoughts about grades, expectations, etc.  I won't go into details to respect her privacy but let's just say I am so thankful this conversation took place.  I am very proud of the young woman she is becoming.


    • PROJECT COMPLETED!  I have saved many photos, both from us and from professional photographers, of Claire's ballet life.  She has taken classical ballet since age 4 and also did tap for 5 years, jazz for one, and lyrical ballet was added about 5 years ago.  She's been on pointe for 6 years and we have many photos, dance programs, etc.  So I decided for the last show, to present her with a scrapbook of all that I have saved.  I finally completed this project last week.  I will give it to her in June just before the final dance show. I'm so thankful I have this done and checked off the ever expanding "to do before high school graduation" list!
    image courtesy of Claire


    • HONORS GRADUATE!  Yesterday we found out that Claire is one of the honors graduates representing her school's class of 2017.  This means she is in the top 5% of her graduating class.  There are about 465 kids graduating from her high school this June.  We are super proud of her and so thankful for all of her hard work and perseverance.

    That wraps up my week.

    I am very happy to report that I will finally get to go hiking tomorrow for the first time since about February!  I'm starting a new hiking challenge and tomorrow's goal is to knock off 2 of the mountains on the challenge.  Both are considered easy so it should be a fun day that entails a small amount of work!

    Whatever your plans are for the weekend, I hope you find time to relax and re-charge.

    Blessings to you!