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

18 January 2019

Mid-January Faves

How is it mid-January already?

Didn't we just have the New Year occur?

The days sure do seem to be flying by this winter...maybe because here in eastern New York, we woke up to our first snow since November....although the days and nights have been pretty cold...and of course, we are now supposedly going to have a blizzard tomorrow night leading into Sunday...with VERY cold temps coming.......so......

Grab a cup of your fave hot beverage (mine is Cinnamon Shortbread Latte from St*rbucks) and reflect on the past week to find FIVE blessings that God brought into your life.  I'm sharing mine here and linking up at Susanne's site to join other writers in this weekly gratitude post.

  • TEST RESULTS!  I had my mammogram on Tuesday January 8th and received the test results this past Monday.  Everything is normal!  Praise God.  I choose to go every other year now to limit the exposure to radiation and since my mother or sisters have never had issues, my doc said this was perfectly acceptable. So...I'm thankful I don't need to go back until 2021!

  • MOVIE NIGHT!  Claire and I had a movie night on Sunday night.  Dave had to work all last weekend and was tired so he went to bed early.  Claire and I stayed up to watch this Netflix flick that people have been raving about.  It was so good!!  Odd, a bit disturbing, but really well done.  The ending was great.  Once it ended though, I had to look up what the author of the book intended.....the main theme is the "garrison mentality". Which makes sense. I don't want to give out many details in case you want to see it, but let's just say there were two spots where I had to close my eyes as it got a bit gory.  And it's definitely not for children under age 14 in my opinion.  I'm thankful that we had a fun evening together because this weekend she has to return to UNH.

  • PHYSICAL DONE!  On Saturday morning, I went over to my new doctor's office as she does Saturday physicals and had mine.  Everything checked out ok, although I do need to still  get my blood work done (Monday morning) and another little test to check something. (coveting your prayers!)  She's a wonderful doctor and I finally have had a complete physical.  (for the last couple of years, the doc I had just rushed through it which I do NOT like).  It looks like even though I will miss that doc who retired, I have found someone whom I will really connect with and who is excellent and thorough.  I'm thankful for good doctors!

  • PRAYER JOURNAL:  My oldest daughter Courtney got me the prayer journal pictured above, for Christmas and I've really been enjoying it every Sunday morning during my quiet time. It's a once a week thing and I look forward to it each week.  I'm thankful for a way to stay organized with my thoughts and prayer needs and I like the thought provoking questions each week.

Claire on Christmas morning 2018
  • GOOD NEWS!  Claire received an email yesterday from the University of New Hampshire saying they were allowing the students to move back in to the dorms tomorrow rather than Sunday, due to the impending blizzard that is supposed to hit the northeast. Claire has been on Christmas/Winter break since December 14 and today she just has to take her J Term online course exam and finish packing and then she can leave around 8:30 tomorrow morning.  Please keep her in prayer as she drives alone out of NY, across most of MA and up into NH.  I'm praying the storm stays behind her...at least until she arrives in Durham, can unpack her car, get it up to the lot where she parks, and get the shuttle back to her dorm.  I'm praying specifically that the bad weather stays away from the areas she has to drive tomorrow.  I'm just so thankful that the University decided to do this!!

 That wraps up my faves......I hope, if you are in the path of the snow storm, that you stay safe!

Happy Weekend!

15 January 2019

Can You Do It?

image courtesy of crosscards

Malachi spoke to the Israelites concerning their putting God last in their lives, or not at all!

Chapter 1 can be summarized by saying that our time, our talents (giftings) and our treasure (money or material goods) belong to God.  And He deserves the best of those things!

The people were not giving God the purest offerings.  They were leaving those for themselves.  God deserves our very best!

God deserves time with us.....He created us to be in fellowship....communion...with Him!   The way we do this looks a little different for each person.  Today it might be spending time in prayer...talking with Him.  It might be reading His Word and meditating on it and then sharing what you have gleaned from it with another person who needs to be encouraged, or comforted, or advised.

It means worshiping Him with a pure heart.

God also deserves our talents.  Using our giftings to help others is a way of glorifying the Lord!

God deserves our treasure.....Malachi speaks of this later, towards the end of the book, regarding our tithes.  We are to bring our first fruits to the Lord for His purposes.  We do this today by tithing 10% to our local church.  Of course,  generous giving  is one of the Fruits of the Spirit....when we give, we are blessed!  Sometimes, you might not have enough money from your paycheck after tithing to give to another ministry or organization.  But you can give of your time....by serving in a children's Sunday school class, by serving in the cafe, by volunteering to be a greeter, or usher, or intercessor. Maybe you are called to work with teens....maybe you are called to lead a small group.  Whatever it is, God will get the glory!

Much of Chapter 2 is about the marriage covenant.  God took marriage very seriously and instituted it to be a covenant that is not easily broken. He told the Israelites, through Malachi, that it is sacred!

The vows that we speak at a marriage alter are not to be taken lightly!

God demonstrated His own faithfulness of His covenant promises to Abraham and the Israelites and this shows us the importance of keeping our promises to each other.

God delights in us when we remain faithful to our marriage partner! He delights in us when we love each other. He delights in us when we raise our children to be devoted to Him.

(please note:  If you are in an abusive relationship, your first priority is to keep you and your children safe...I am not speaking of abuse at this time in this post...this is just meant to be a summary of what chapter 2 in Malachi is about)

Will you heed the warnings from Malachi and purpose in your heart to use your time, talents and treasures for the Lord and His plans?  

And will you love and honor your spouse and keep the vows of your marriage covenant?

Let's walk boldly forward.......

......By God's grace  and Christ's Strength, we can do this!

image courtesy of sermon quotes

13 January 2019

Are You Healthy?

Beginning around New Year's Day, I set a goal to read through the minor prophets of the Old Testament this winter.  Yes, I've read each and every book before. Yes, I've even read through the Bible chronologically. But did you know, that as Believers, God opens up our eyes to His treasures...His Words...every single time we open up our Bibles (whether it's a hard cover, soft cover, or electronic one)?  He has something new for us every.single.time. And I'm discovering some new insights with the re-reading of these minor prophets.  It helps, too, that I have research notes in the Bible I'm using:  The Soul Care Bible.....(New King James Version)

So I thought I'd turn my journal writing notes into blog posts to share with others who might be interested.  It's also a way for me to gather my notes for a future mini book I'm planning on (prayerfully) publishing. 

I started with Malachi.  It's the last book of the Old Testament.  I'm reading the minor prophets going backwards.

Malachi, to sum it up, is about our spiritual health.

This time of year, so many Americans seem to get obsessed with their physical health. Flu shots or no?  Antibiotics or let it run its course? Probiotics or yogurt? Lose weight, exercise more, give up refined sugars, give up beer. Pay exorbitant fees at the gym or buy a treadmill and weights to keep at home?  Plant-based or Keto? vegan or paleo? yoga or pilates? You get the idea.  Many of us schedule our annual physicals, blood work and mammograms around this time of year....a fresh start with the new calendar year. We are consumed with keeping our physical bodies fit. Some of us participate in word games and mental puzzles or read daily to keep our minds fit.
image courtesy of the m*nd quotes

But what about our spiritual health?

Are we as obsessed about getting fit spiritually as we are physically and/or mentally?

 God is reminding us, through his prophet Malachi, that spiritual soul/heart disease happens slowly but steadily.  and often deadly!

The Israelites at this time in history, had stopped seeking God. They were engaged with hypocrisy, idolatry, adultery, divorce, materialism, and apathy towards the Lord.  Hm...sounds like us today, right?  Malachi's job was to warn them.  He did this through thought-provoking questions to hopefully lead them to repentant hearts.  But they did not repent!

What happens when we stop seeking God?  We become apathetic, disheartened, and although we may appear to be "healthy" on the outside, doing all the "right religious things", our hearts are getting cold and hard on the inside.  This is called "soul neglect".  The symptoms become as obvious as physical symptoms do when you have physical heart neglect (fat in the middle of your body, sluggishness, clogged arteries, joint pain and breathing difficulties).

Let's purpose in our hearts to get fit!!  Yes...physical fitness is vital...but spiritual fitness is even more vital, I think, because our souls will go somewhere when we die. And we all will die one day no matter how physically fit we are.  Our bodies will either be buried or cremated.  But our souls will either go to heaven or hell.  You get to choose!

Are you choosing spiritual  health?? 

(This is an intro  to a series I'm writing based on the book of Malachi.  I hope you come back for more and feel free to comment!)


11 January 2019

Small Things Faves

Fridays are a great day to look back over the week and find the blessings, whether big or small.  Nothing earth shattering happened this past week.  But it's good to give thanks to the Lord and to look for blessings in each moment.  Susanne, from Living to Tell the Story helps us do that by having us link up and share FIVE of our FAVE blessings.  Here are mine...nothing big but just little things that made me smile!

Claire at the Russian Monastery/Russian History Foundation
Jordanville, NY (central New York State)
5 January
  • ROAD TRIP:  Claire and I had a road trip out to my hometown area last Saturday.  We wanted to view the exhibit (here in the USA for the very first time) from Moscow, Russia of the Romanov (Tsar Nicholas II) family's last days.  The exhibit was being held at the Russian History Foundation on the grounds of the Russian Monastery.  I found out about it from our weekend paper and since Claire is only here until January 20th and the exhibit is only here in the USA until March 8 we figured we'd better go before she heads back to the university.  What fun we had....the day started out with a freezing rain drizzle but quickly warmed up so we got there just as the sun came out and the skies turned blue.  It was a cold wind but it was a beautiful trip. The exhibit only took an hour and then we had permission to enter the church because we were wearing head scarves and skirts. I'm so thankful we had this time together.  She enjoyed reading all the exhibits in Russian and I was thankful for the English translation!  Here are a few highlights of the visit:
the 5 Romanov children and their signatures on a post card sent while they were in house arrest,
 a few months before they were executed.
It was one of the only times all 5 signatures ever appeared on a card at once.

Me on the front steps of the Russian Orthodox Church

the interior of the church
behind the gold gates is the temple curtain and only the head pastor walks through that way
similar to the Old  Testament Jewish Priest
We couldn't stay long as they were preparing the church for the Russian Christmas service that evening and the next day
(Russian Epiphany)

side view of the Russian Church

image courtesy of Amaz*n
  • FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT:  Saturday evening, after Claire and I returned home, we all sat together after dinner and watched a movie the girls love but which I had never seen.  I had bought it for Claire as a Christmas gift as she loves the Beatles! Of course, the music isn't quite as good as the Beatles but they actors did a pretty good job.  It was quite powerful actually...especially the parts showing the devastation of America's reaction to the Vietnam War.  I was just a child during that time but if I had been a teenager, I would def have rallied against that war!  The movie was actually very well done.  We had popcorn and herbal tea together and it was just a lovely way to spend a rainy evening.

image courtesy of The B*dy Shop
  • SATSUMA!  My oldest daughter gave me this shower gel for Christmas to match the perfume I bought last spring.  And funny, but my husband put little samples of it in my stocking!  ( a bar soap and small hand lotion).  This is my absolute fave scent (besides Happy by Clinique)...it smells like a freshly cut orange.  And it really does hydrate the dry winter skin!

  • RECORDS RELEASED:  My regular doctor, after having her for many years, retired in June. I needed to choose a new provider and found one that has Saturday hours and will do physicals up until 6 pm every day (and up until 4 pm on Saturdays!).  My records were released from the practice where I've been a patient since 1990 and sent in record time to the new place.  I'm thankful for this because at first the records department told me it could take up to 6 weeks!!  It only took 2 weeks!

image courtesy of St*rbucks
  • CINNAMON SHORTBREAD LATTE!  Yesterday, St*rbucks had a 50% off sale on all of the grande sized lattes and macchiotos.  I was supposed to meet a friend from church there anyways, so when I arrived and she wasn't there, I went ahead and ordered a grande Cinnamon Shortbread with Coconut Milk.  It's sooo good. and it was only $2.95 which is much more reasonable than their usual price for a latte.  My friend never did show up (she texted that she had forgotten!) but while I was in there, another VERY good friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in about 3 years, walked in and totally surprised me. Oh how wonderful it was to see her and get caught up a little bit on our lives.  We made plans to do dinner soon. There's nothing like old friends.......even when you don't see each other for a long time, you just pick right up where ya left off it seems like!  How I treasure this woman's friendship.

That wraps up my faves.....

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

08 January 2019

2019 Book Review #2: The Rain Watcher

One of my very fave authors is this French one and man can she write a work of fiction!

I've read 4 of her 5 works of fiction.  My fave was Sarah's Key and this one is my 2nd fave.


Linden Malegarde is in his late 30s and lives with his partner Sacha in San Francisco.  His parents, Lauren (in her 60s) and Paul Malegarde (about to turn 70) still live in his childhood home known as Venozan in the countryside of France.  His sister Tilia lives in London with her daughter (from her first marriage) Mistral (a teenager) and her 2nd husband Colin (who is an alcoholic).

The entire family, minus Sacha and Colin, per Lauren's request, are meeting together in Paris at a hotel, to celebrate the 70th birthday of Paul.

However, on the evening of his birthday dinner, in the middle of him giving a little family speech, he has a horrible stroke.  It leaves him in the hospital, unable to communicate verbally.  In fact, for most of that weekend, he is in a coma.

Paul has always been  the quiet head of the family.  He's an internationally known arborist who has always been obsessed with his trees, has always had a rather difficult relationship with his son, and does not know that Linden is gay.

Lauren, who is American born, is so set on the weekend being a success.
Tilia has always seemed so confident but Linden has never felt comfortable in his own skin, especially around his family.  He has always felt like an American in France, and a Frenchman in the United States.  However, Lindon is also internationally known....as a brilliant photographer.  But even so, he feels like he has disappointed his parents.

The entire family's secrets and fears begin to loosen as Paris...that glorious "City of Lights" faces a natural disaster:  the Seine is about to spill over and Paris faces a horrible flood much like the historic one in 1910.

Every member of the family will need to fight to keep the unity going against these tragic circumstances.


This book is deep and thought provoking regarding family ties and family issues.

I love the author's character development, as always, and I love the main themes of love and redemption.

The book begins in a journal style and the reader soon realizes that the author is Paul when he was younger, writing about an experience he had in his parents orchard when he was just 4 years old.  I don't want to reveal what he witnessed as I don't want to ruin the story for you.  But the book is divided into parts with each part being one long chapter.  Before each part, the story from the journal continues.  It is ended by Linden finding a treasure box with the writings in it.  And that is how the reader learns of the ending and of what Paul, as a very young child, remembers and why the linden tree is so important to him.

This book touches on the topics of homosexuality but in a very well done manner and not crass at all.  It touches on alcoholism, divorce, re-marriage, adultery,  and finding one's way in the world.  It also touches on the father-son relationship and on forgiveness.

There are a lot of descriptive scenes regarding the flood of Paris and it's different from her other books because she sets them in some kind of historical event. (ex. World War II in Sarah's Key).  This one is set in the present but is similar to an historic event....things going on in Paris are based on the flood of 1910.

This book is a gem.  I highly recommend it.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to mature content in some spots).

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

04 January 2019

New Year Faves

It's 2019!

I hope everyone had a wonderful start to the new year and that you can look back on the week (or the past year) and find at least FIVE blessings that God brought into your life.  We call these the Five Faves and Susanne is our gracious hostess for this weekly gratitude exercise.  Head to her site to learn more about it!

I ended the year with a hike, and began the year with a hike!  Both were in Capital Region (New York State)  state parks so were very easy trails. 

Ingrid, me, Anette
photo courtesy of Anette 

Lake Ann in Moreau Lake State Park
Wilton, NY
29 December
  • SATURDAY FUN!  On Saturday, the sun was shining a little and the temps were fairly mild for early winter in upstate NY so two of my hiking friends and I went on a state park hike.  The lake where we like to swim and kayak has a rather new section that the state acquired a few years ago.  I've hiked the 3 miles around the main lake (Lake Bonita) in this new section but I'd never done the trail to Lake Ann.  That trail was only 1.5 miles but first you have to hike about .9 miles in to the trail from the road, then another half mile on the main trail before this lake trail.  The lake was so pretty as you can see from the photo above.  The photos below show some of my fave scenes along the trail.  All in all, we hiked about 5.4 miles that day and it felt so good to get out in the fresh air and still have plenty of time in the afternoon to get stuff done around the house. Our goal was to do yet another trail off the main one, to a remote waterfalls but we never did find that particular trail.  So, we ended up just going to Lake Ann.  I'm so thankful for the mild weather we've been having and for a fun Saturday morning!
Partially frozen area of a swampy section near Lake Ann
Moreau Lake State Park 
Easy trail with no snow!
South-eastern Adirondacks
Moreau Lake State Park
Lean-to at Lake Ann with fireplace
bridge from trail over to Lake Ann
some icy spots on the trail here
  • WORSHIP AND PRAISE:  Our church had my favorite female worship leader on Sunday and she had an amazing set of songs for praise and worship. I just love when she leads (on her guitar) and her voice is fantastic.  The drummer is the son of a dear friend of ours from way back in the 1990s when we attended a different church. He was the worship leader there and now his son is one of our drummers.  It made my heart so happy to see him on stage drumming and worshipping the Lord.  And our pastor gave an amazing sermon to end our year long Luke series.  I'm so thankful for excellent praise and worship with a soul stirring sermon.

  • NEW YEAR'S EVE: Our oldest daughter was out with friends for the evening so it was just our youngest girl and Dave and I in the house for New Year's Eve.  We had been tossing around the idea of going to Boston for First Night like we did a few years ago but thankfully we decided to stay here in NY because it was pouring rain all night long!  We had fun re-watching this movie (one of my absolute fave classic books and musicals) and eating yummy salsa and chips plus some sweets and wine, then herbal teas.  Dave went to bed before the ball dropped and around 2 a.m. just as I was dropping off to sleep, I heard our oldest come in.  I'm thankful we all were safe that night.
Amanda (Ingrid's daughter), Ingrid, me, Anette, Darlene
photo courtesy of Amanda H
  • FIRST DAY HIKE! In New York state, on January 1, the state parks offer guided hikes and history tours, weather permitting.  Last year most of them were cancelled due to extreme cold weather.  This year was very mild although extremely windy.  As you can see from the photo we needed hats.  My friends and I decided to do one of the local state parks so we chose Peebles Island along with about 200 other people.  Because so many showed up, the guide split us into 8 groups.  Families with children went one way, people who didn't want the history talk went a different way and there were a couple of history tours.  We did a history tour and I learned alot about this park that Dave and I have hiked in for many years.  It was really fun!  As you can see by some of the photos, it is a beautiful place for an urban hike.  Most of the history revolves around the Revolutionary war era with the Mohicans having a settlement here as well and some industry in the 1800s.  We were standing, at one point, on an old Mohican settlement that I never knew about!  And the one road that went from Albany, NY to Montreal, Canada back in the 1700s went right through Peebles Island!  I'm thankful I had this morning hike time.  It was loads of fun and good exercise!
view of the Mohawk River from the perimeter  trail on Peebles Island
Cohoes, NY

a former Mohican Settlement was located here 

the Mohawk River along the perimeter trail
photo courtesy of Amanda H

  • WORD OF THE YEAR!  Over the weekend, I took an online quiz put out by the Christian company Dayspring. I found it via social media.  I answered a few questions and they gave me the word of the year "Delight" along with a Scripture verse.  I love it!  I was wondering too if I was going to keep this blog going.  It's now been 10 years since I first started blogging. It started out as a family journal and then a recipe collection and now it's a bit of everything.  My goal for 2019 is to write some devotional style posts based on my personal studying of the minor prophets along with wherever else the Lord has me. Of course I'm going to post some healthful recipes as well and continue to participate in the FFF!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

A bonus fave:  Claire heard from the University this past week and discovered she earned high honors for semester one of her 2nd year as a Russian and Sociology major with a minor in Dance/Ballet.  She earned a perfect 4.0!!  We're really proud of her, especially as she is in the Dance Company which requires 6 hours of rehearsals per week and she has an on campus job at 1.5-2 hours a day AND she volunteers with Alpha Phi Omega at Waysmeet, a local food pantry.  I'm very thankful she is doing well and seems to love what she's doing.