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

09 December 2016

December Faves




It's Friday and time to reflect back on this week.....and what a busy one it was for us and I'm sure for you too!

Let's pause in the busyness of the Christmas prep and find FIVE of our FAVE things to praise God for.  I'm joining with others by linking up with Susanne.


  • CHRISTMAS MUSIC!  Last Sunday I loved being in church for the second Sunday of Advent and the Christmas songs that were sung in worship.  I'm so thankful for all kinds of Christmas music to help get us in the spirit of the season.




  • CHRISTMAS MOVIES! Claire and I (and sometimes Courtney and Dave) have been enjoying the past couple of weekends with our collection of Christmas movies.  We save our very fave for Christmas Eve after all 3 services, but enjoy the other classics throughout the month of December.  I'm thankful my family likes the old classics....they are awesome and so much better than the modern ones in my opinion. The one pictured above is my favorite and Claire likes to watch it first right after Thanksgiving.

  • JOB OFFER!  I'm super excited that on Tuesday,  I was offered a special education TA job for this place. I will be working specifically with a child with social/emotional/behavioral disorders. (I prayed, discussed with hubby and hemmed and hawed for one day before accepting the position). It is  every day, school calendar, plus the 6 week summer program. The hours were what drew me in:  8:30--1:30. I'm taking a pay cut as is special education preschool/prek and funded differently than public school but the center director is awesome and the staff in the classroom I will be in are wonderful.  I begin next Wednesday.  I'm thankful I get to keep my foot in special education and go back to working with prek kids. (I used to do master teaching at that level, different school but very similar to this one...I began my career teaching language disordered and social/emotionally disturbed preschoolers.)  Although the job ends in August and I will need to have another one lined up for Sept to help with college costs, I am very excited to work with this child. 
From the deck door Monday morning about 7:30 a.m.


The Mohawk River as seen from the  Bike Path Monday afternoon

  • PRODUCTIVE DAYS:  Monday we woke up to snow.  By mid-morning it was gone and the sun came out so I enjoyed a wonderful 2 mile walk along our town's bike path and the Mohawk River.  It was glorious.  I  got all of my shopping for Xmas done minus one gift and my oldest daughter and I had a lot of fun running errands one day when she got home from her shift at the arts store.  I actually had 3 good power walking days with a bit of running mixed in. 

  • TEA!  I know, I know, I'm really a coffee lover but once December gets here, I do enjoy a cup of steaming hot tea in the late evening before bed. I just discovered this lemon ginger one and I love it! It has to be steaming hot though for me to drink tea, unless it's a hot day and then I like it iced.  This tea also has probiotics to help support your digestive system.  It's just so comforting on some of these colder nights.  I'm thankful I found this!

That wraps up my week.

Today is my 57th birthday (!!).  And tonight my youngest is performing with another friend who is in her lyrical ballet class.  They are dancing to Home by Michael Buble at an arts center Xmas show.  Of course I will go watch the performance and then tomorrow morning my husband and I will celebrate my birthday by going out to breakfast.

Enjoy the third weekend of Advent!






02 December 2016

Thankful Faves

Friday.  The first one in December.  And a day to look back, share FIVE of our FAVE blessings from the past week.  I do this and then link up at Susanne's where you can find a list of bloggers sharing their blessings and giving thanks to God.


My five faves center around Thanksgiving and then some special moments from the week.

Claire and her Uncle Peter behind his house with Quetu, Claire's fave dog!
  • FAMILY!  I'm thankful that we had a lovely 4 day visit with Dave's side of the family for our traditional Thanksgiving holiday.  My oldest daughter couldn't get to MA until Thursday late morning due to working the night before and then she had to leave early Friday a.m. to get back (life in retail!) and 2 of our nieces had to work (one's in England and the other one is in the south).  Dave's oldest sister Karen couldn't make it from CA this year either.  There were only 14 of us around the table.  But it was a great time of food and fun.  Dave's brother Peter and his wife Kathy hosted. They live in the same town as Dave's parents.  Here are some fun photos from that day.
 Some of the Cousins! (4/7 of of the younger generation)
left to right:  Debi and Ronnie (Dave's sister Paula's kids)
and our two, Courtney and Claire

Claire (age 17) and her cousin Debi (age 15) hanging out at Uncle Pete and Aunt Kathy's
  • VACATION HIKE!  Dave's hometown features a very old bridge.  And for some reason, this year was the first I had heard of it!  I've known Dave for 29 years and we have been married for 26 and somehow this little nugget escaped me.  The bridge is known as Skim Milk Bridge and it is the oldest, still standing,original free standing (no concrete, etc) stone structure in the USA.  It was constructed around the mid-1700s most people believe. The hike in was more like a nice walk and only a half mile.  We extended our time with his brother and dog by walking another trail that connects making our outing a little less than 2 miles.  It was lovely and even my teenager agreed to go! I'm thankful it was a mild day and for the good time we had in the fresh air.

hiking selfie!

the Town River and Skim Milk Bridge

Dave on the bridge
a spot of color amidst t the browns


  • DECORATING!  I'm very thankful my oldest daughter volunteered to put the tree up again this year. We decided to put it in the family room  in front of the deck doors, rather than the living room. It's a lot of work but she loves it, is great at it, and has way more patience for this stuff than I do.  I did the rest of the house slowly throughout this past week but she had that tree up in less than an hour. There ARE perks to having your college grad still living at home. (she actually put most of the trees together in the art store where she works, too!)   Now...if she could just find a design job......
Courtney hard at work!


the finished product
(all us girls put the ornaments up)

  • PRAYER:  I'm thankful for the power of prayer.  I've had some situations to pray for, friends and family members to pray for.  I love seeing how God is answering each prayer and bringing peace while I wait for answers to some.  I can't imagine not talking to my Redeemer each and every day.

  • INTERVIEW!  I accepted an interview this week for a job in early childhood special education which is how I began my career.  The center was new to me, although it's been around for a number of years.  It's across the Hudson River but not a long drive at all and I loved taking the tour and then spending time in 2 out of the 3  classrooms.  After chatting with the director for quite some time, I discovered some things about the job that make me hesitant to take it, if it's offered to me (there are over 40 applicants!) but it was nice to be one of the ones chosen for an interview.  This is also something I am praying about.  I am going to "need" a job come September to help with college costs for this next daughter going off but I also do not want to "settle" for something that is geared to end in August.  Again, I can't imagine trying to make these decisions with out praying about them!
That wraps up my past week.

I hope you share at least one thing that blessed you....feel free to share in the comment section..I love hearing from you!

Have a blessed weekend!


30 November 2016

2016 Book Review #67: The Yellow House



This book was on the "new books" shelf at the town library and I loved the art work on the  cover as well as the little blurb on the jacket.  

What an excellent book and a quick read.

The author is new to me and this is her debut novel. I hope she writes more!

STORY SUMMARY

This is a work of fiction but it revolves around a very real time in Ireland.  It touches on the conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants back around World War I time.  It actually spans a period of years, from the time the main character is 8 years old, until she is about 29 years old.  I loved that we, the readers, get to see her grow up and change.

Eileen O'Neill is 8 years old.  Her brother Frankie is 9.  Her little sister, Lizzie, is just a toddler when the story begins.  They are the children of Tom and Mary O'Neill, known as Da and Ma to the children.  They also have a wonderful old Irish setter named Cuchulainn.  They live on a little farm spread out below the mountain known as Slieve Gullion, in the village of Glenlea, County Armagh, Ulster Province.

Eileen is a happy child whom her Da calls a "warrior" as she is feisty and bold.

It is summer and Da brings home buckets of yellow paint for the family to paint the house so it will shine for all to see.  He wants to celebrate the 100th anniversary of when his grandda had won the house in a game of cards from the very wealthy Sheridan family.  The Sheridan family are Quakers.  The O'Neill family is Catholic.  Everyone is having a great time painting the house.

But those happy, carefree days of summer turn into years of hardship.  Soon personal tragedies and civil war as well as devastating secrets, begin to seep into the O'Neill family.  Those things begin to tear the family apart.

Da is in jeopardy of losing his farm due to becoming too ill to work it.

Ma is pregnant again and has another boy whom they name Paddy.

Lizzie gets scarlet fever and dies.  At least that is what the hospital tells the family.  After Lizzie is gone, Ma loses her sanity and must be committed to the insane aslyum wing of the hospital.

  Just before all of that happens, Ma confesses that Frankie is not really Da's son and she takes him to live with her father, a gruff old man who is a poor farmer and who wants nothing to do with the family.  But he does take Frankie in. 

Eileen is alone with Paddy in the world as her grandfather does not want her.  She goes to live with close friends, the Mullins, who raise her and Paddy.  She misses her Yellow House and vows that one day everyone will be back in the house.  She is young and strong and gets a job at the local mill.

The mill is owned by the Sheridan family....the Quakers and the ones who used to own her childhood home.  She is 16 and can get a job there as they don't discriminate against Catholics.  They hire both Catholics and Protestants.  Eileen is often sharp-tongued and defiant and this often gets her in trouble.  However, she gets noticed by the son of the mill owner.  His name is Owen Sheridan and he is considered to be the "black sheep" of the Sheridan family.  He and Eileen begin a friendship.

Soon, the civil war in Ireland is overshadowed by the events in the world....World War 1 has begun. Eileen has political as well as personal conflicts to deal with and it is further enhanced by her friendship and subsequent marriage to James Conlon, the brother of her close friend Therese.  James is a warrior type too and is very passionate about the problems facing his beloved Ireland.  He will do whatever it costs including losing his life, to gain independence from England.  Because of many problems that weave their way into the marriage, including the birth of Eileen's first daughter, Aiofe (pronounced Ee F A), she finds herself drawn to the stable and caring Owen.

Owen believes that violence can never bring about peace.  And peace is what Eileen is craving.She faces almost losing her little house, almost losing her job, and utter betrayal THREE times by James. The final betrayal is when he takes away her little girl to be raised by his sister.  He then leaves to keep fighting.

Meanwhile, Owen and Eileen meet up again and he gets her the job back at the mill.  She then learns the real truth about Lizzie.  Owen promises he will help her.  She becomes pregnant by Owen and is soon considered an outcast among the villagers.  One night, James and his buddies try to  burn down the mill.  And in doing so, Eileen makes a choice to save it.  That same night she gives birth to her 2nd daughter. Much turmoil ensues once James is arrested.  Eileen now has other decisions to make.


Will she ever get her yellow house back?  Will peace find its way into her heart?

MY THOUGHTS

This book was beautifully written.  The history that goes along with the fiction part of the story is just enough to give you a taste of what life was like in that early part of the 20th century in Ireland.  It shows the prejudice not only of the two different classes, but of the two different faiths/religions.

Character development was superb. I loved each and every character introduced and there were many.  

There really is a mountain called Slieve Gullion and I have now added that to my bucket list of "want to see" places.

The author pulls a couple of surprises towards the end of the book which I thoroughly loved.  I don't want to spoil it for you so I won't reveal exactly what those are.  There are a couple of them.

The ending is exquisite and made tears form in my eyes.

This book is to be savored.  Here's a quote from the end of the book that I just loved: (it is Eileen's voice)

".....the seed had been planted.  Did I dare even think I could go back there?  Was the dream still alive?  Could I trust God this time? Had this been His mysterious way of answering my prayers, or were the evil ghosts still waiting for me?...." (pg 323, The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey, c.2009)
and this quote:

"I have drawn close to me those things that matter---love, family, and home.  I have left outside the borders anger, fear, and regret.....Now my warrior sleeps while wisdom stands watch. Wisdom is my new companion, a wisdom forged from the fires of battles fought and lost, and life lived.  And my dreamer lies awake, guarding memories past and memories yet to be born.  And so the summer has come again to Glenlea, and time hovers between day and night like a gift from heaven." (Epilogue, The Yellow House, c. 2009)

I liked that in the very end of the book, the author gives a little history lesson on Ireland and the conflicts there.  I only wish I had read that part first.  I learned a lot of facts about the civil war in Ireland.  Things I just never knew!


In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

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





26 November 2016

2016 Book Review #66: Breakdown

This book is the latest in the Alex Delaware mystery series by one of my fave authors.  Or at least he used to be a fave author...I have since discovered a few I prefer over this particular one.

I grabbed it when I saw it on the library shelf as there is usually a waiting list for his books.

I could have waited.

STORY SUMMARY

Alex Delaware, the psychologist who often works with one of LAPD's detective's Milo Sturgis, has met the emotionally/mentally fragile and beautiful actress, Zelda Chase.  He actually evaluated her five year old son Ovid, as a favor to a friend and colleague.

Several years later, when Ovid is 11 years old, Alex and Zelda meet again when she is committed to a psychiatric facility after a very odd psychotic episode in the Bel Air neighborhood of Hollywood.  Alex decides to turn to his detective friend Milo once again, to try and figure out where Ovid has disappeared to and why Zelda has become so unbalanced.  Her own psychiatrist has since died and Alex really knows nothing about Zelda or her family history and no one seems to know where her little boy is, now that she is detained in the facility.

Soon after Zelda is released from the center, she is found dead on the grounds of a huge estate in Bel Air.  Alex suspects foul play.  And sure enough, this death appears to be a homicide and not a suicide.

Meanwhile, other victims turn up in the same neighborhood.....they went from being missing persons to being found dead.  All were from poison!

As the investigation continues on, Milo and Alex soon uncover a bizarre betrayal of innocence, twisted family secrets and shattered dreams.

Will Alex find Ovid and if he does, what will be his state of mind??

MY THOUGHTS

Wow.  I was hugely disappointed in this story.  Usually I really enjoy the fast-paced mystery that  takes place in these books but this one just seemed to plod along for me.

I just couldn't really get into it but I kept at it to find out what happened to Ovid.

I'm glad I stuck with it but this was definitely not one of the better Delaware books, in my opinion.  The whole subject matter was creepy and icky and a bit hard to believe.  I did like that the perpetrator was someone I wasn't suspecting at first nor was it a character the reader would say was predictable.  

I loved finding out what happened with Ovid and actually the book started getting really good at about chapter 38.  There were 45 chapters total. The ending was awesome!

I think this is the first Delaware book that I just haven't thoroughly enjoyed.

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

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 7.





25 November 2016

Thanksgiving Faves

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, to all my blogger friends who live in the USA.



This is the day we take time out to give thanks for five of our faves from the past week.  I like this writing exercise because although we have one day set aside in our country to offer up thanks to God for giving us this great country, for what the Pilgrims did in settling here, etc., but the Bible says to give thanks daily.  In fact, it is how we should open up our prayer time.  Giving thanks to God for all the blessings and circumstances He brings into our lives. Please join in by linking up at Susanne's.

Because I am on vacation with my family at  my in-laws house in Plymouth County, MA, I am just going to list my five fave Scriptures that are based on thanksgiving along with some photos from around our home in eastern NYS.

  • I CHRONICLES 16:8



Our Thanksgiving Flag from the front porch
Sunday 20 November 2016
  • PSALM 100:4 "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

  • I THESSALONIANS 5:18



along the trail on Saturday morning's hike
on Peebles Island State Park
  • PSALM 136:1 "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever."


  • PSALM 106:1






I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, giving thanks to our Father for all things.




18 November 2016

Mid-November Faves


Wow...only 1 more month of autumn and then my baby will be turning 18 and all of her college applications will be done and sent.  Time is going by too fast!

Let's pause for this morning and take a moment to share FIVE of this past week's FAVES....the blessings that God brings and that we are thankful for.  I'm joining other ladies by linking up Susanne's blog.

photo taken by my husband Dave
  • OUTDOOR CHORES COMPLETED:  Last Saturday was a nice day so we figured we should put away the deck/backyard furniture, as well as begin burning some of the brush we have piled up from a small tree we removed a month ago. We burned quite a bit before dinner and this photo is when most of it was dying down.  It felt so good to get some leaves raked (we did 7 bags total and we still have the large maple to do once all the leaves have dropped). Our shed is now packed with the grill, some lawn furniture and odds and ends.  Deck chairs are folded and stacked in the corner of the deck and the front stoop rocker is covered and on the back deck. I'm thankful we took the day to get these winter preparations done!

  • SERMON SERIES:  Our pastor is preaching on the following Scripture and I love it.  He's taking apart each section and giving us a lot of "meat" to chew on each weekend.  I'm so thankful for him and our church and the fact that we learn something new every.single.week.  The passage we are studying is: 
                       "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~1 Thess.5: 16-18~

Courtney at lunch in Brattleboro, VT

photo used by permission from Courtney
  • ROAD TRIP!  Courtney had Tuesday off from work so she and I went to Vermont to hit up 2 of the artsy towns for a little Christmas shopping and lunch. We ate at this place and we both ordered the turkey/mozzarella/pesto panini. It was such a fun day. I'm thankful for the time I got to spend with my oldest girl.

  • OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD!  My youngest daughter still likes to fill the shoe-boxes for this ministry.  She asked me if we could go together Sunday afternoon to shop for a girl ages 10-13.  We had fun choosing things...I actually didn't need to do much except dig out my credit card because Claire knew exactly what she wanted to include.  We have been doing this as a family since 1995.  I love it.  I'm thankful my oldest continues to do it with all of her young adult friends, too. I'm very thankful for the ministry of Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child.  It's a blessing to be able to give.



  • COMPLETED CLASS!  For the last 8 Wednesday evenings, I've been in a class for women at my church.  We studied the above book and it was so dynamic and has really changed the way I approach prayer.  How wonderful this study was and how much deeper we could have gone if we had had more time each week to discuss the homework.  I just loved this study, Last night was our last class.  Because there were about 45-50 women who signed up, we were put into small groups of about 8-10 ladies each,  and the small group I was in decided we'd have a Xmas party in December. We also watched War Room together and a couple of us went out for pie and coffee afterwards. It was the first time I saw the movie and I loved it!! I loved meeting new ladies, both young and my age, and I hope to join in on the winter study after the holidays. I'm thankful I took a year off of leading my own so I can take one at church.
That wraps up my week......

.......let's continue to be in an attitude of gratitude each and every day.

Have a blessed weekend!