Monday, November 14, 2011

A Mustard Seed Is All You Need

"A mustard seed said Jesus is the least of all the seeds. A mighty tree will grow...if a mustard seed you sow. Plant a mustard seed of faith, in the garden of your heart.
Plant a mustard seed of faith and it will grow."

This is my favorite song out of the Children's Harp. (The songbook for Sunday School).  I love the simple melody...the simple words...and yet the deep meaning behind those words. 

They are so encouraging to me.  A reminder that God really does not need me and my ideas and my opinions and my thoughts.  All He needs is my simple faith.  So simple that it is comparable to a mustard seed.  All He requires is a mustard seed of faith and He, alone, can give the increase.

How small is a mustard seed, you ask?

I too was curious so I Googled it. (I Google absolutely everything).

And this is what I found out:
  • There are many different kinds of mustard seeds
  • They are typically 1-2 mm in diameter
  • Only takes 3-10 days to germinate, if placed in a cold, moist soil.  (Sound familiar?  Cold and hard hearts???)
  • Grows into the largest of all garden plants

As most of my readers know, I am struggling with many things right now.  The number one question is "Why am I being asked to wait to move?  You told me almost 2 years ago to move...why am I still waiting?" 

I just have to remember that with God there is a purpose.  There is a reason.  I will someday understand, either on earth or in heaven.  But someday I will understand why I have been asked to wait.  And an answer to the reasons behind my many, many questions. 

When I Googled 'mustard seed' for pictures and information for this post, I came across this picture:

And it made me smile.

'Cause that's a pretty big tree.  A beautiful tree.  A strong tree.

And I realized that God can take a tiny seed of faith, one that is only 1mm in diameter, and create a large, strong, tree of faith for His children to rest under.  How amazing is that?

My dear readers, I understand that I am not the only one who has struggles.  Or stresses, or anxiety, or unanswered prayers.  But I do know that God will provide all our needs according to HIS riches in HIS time.  So keep on praying...keep on trusting...and keep having faith. Even if it is only the size of a mustard seed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Creamy Pear Pie

I love autumn.  I love the idea of being in the house baking all day.  I love baking foods that can only be made after harvest.  Apples, pears and pumpkin pies...spiced cookies...jellies and jams...pumpkin rolls.   I love the anticipation of baking for the holidays.  I just love this time of year.

My favorite pie to make is Creamy Pear Pie.  A recipe my aunt passed on to me a few years back.  It is such a wonderfully delicious pie.  One that is unique and tasty. 

Today I made two.  One for Riley's birthday dinner tomorrow night. And one for work on Monday.

Creamy Pear Pie
(Recipe for one 9" pie)

4 cups of cored, peeled and sliced pears

In a separate bowl, combine:

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour

Toss the sliced pears with sugar mixture

In a smaller bowl, mix:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Scrape into pear mixture and mix well.  Pour into 9" pie shell.

In a small bowl, mix:

1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Crumble topping mixture on top of pies

Bake at 400* for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350* and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the pears are tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life Isn't Fair

Life isn't fair.

And I'm glad.

Because if it were fair then things would be even worse than what they can sometimes be.

I have to admit that sometimes I complain, whine and grumble about my circumstances.  I am tired from being a single mom.  I am weary from writing essay after essay and doing power point after power point.  I am exhausted from working all day to come home to fussy kids.  The list could go on and on...

But time after time I must stop and remember how good I really do have it.

I recently started working at an orchard and some things were eye openers. 

I work with some people who are very hard workers.

One day while bagging apples, a young migrant girl who hardly speaks any English, stands up and says "America. America!!" with her hands raised in the air.  She was so excited to have made it to America that she could not contain her joy.

When was the last time I was thankful for living in this land?  The land of freedoms and opportunities.  When was the last time I was truly thankful that I can practice my religion in freedom without fear from authorities?  Oh we talk about it. But do we really, really appreciate it?  When was the last time I was thankful for the opportunity to choose my career and then have the ability to go on to further education to obtain my goals?  When was the last time I was thankful that my children are receiving an excellent education...for free?  When was the last time you were thankful to be living in America?

There is another migrant worker who works very hard. Day in and day out.  Always with a smile on his face. Always polite. Always kind.  Always willing to lend a hand.  One of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  The other day I found out that his wife and two children are left in his home country.  He is trying to get them work permits to come here but can't.  Instead he sends home almost his entire check to support them and lives on very little here.  He gets to see them once a year. If he is lucky.  And I complain because my kids are noisy and they fight? And I complain because I have to do this alone?  I'm sure he would love to hear his children's noisy clatter everyday.  Instead he sacrifices himself for them. 

Who am I to be complaining about my circumstances.  It is easy to look around and see those who have it much easier than I do, but where does that get me?  I should look around and see all of those who have it much harder than I do and count my blessings that I am the one who in truth has it so easy.

Who am I that God should have put me in this free nation, born into a Christian home?  Who am I that God should have given me the brain and intelligence to be able to go on to college and someday have a decent job?  Who am I that God should have blessed me with three amazing children?  Who am I that God should have blessed me with amazing friends and a helpful family?  Who am I that God should have provided good health for me and my children, when so many are suffering from horrible illnesses?  Who am I that God should have protected me through the abuse my ex-husband put me through?  Who am I that God called me as His own?  Who am I that Jesus Christ thought of me while He hung on the cross?  Who am I? 

In reality, I am nothing.  I am no more deserving of any good thing than the next person.  And yet God still gave me so many blessings.  And then I complain because my life isn't what I think it should be?  Wow. Have I got some nerve...

Next time you get in the depths of despair and can only see what you don't have...look around... and see how much worse others have it and then be thankful that life isn't fair.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Loneliness and Regret

I think that loneliness and regret are the two hardest emotions to deal with.

Loneliness can seep in and create a darkness that is suffocating.  The silence, the emptiness, the ache for another human to be there can be painful.  Physically painful. Loneliness is a hard emotion to handle.  Loneliness is a hard emotion to live with.

Regret is just as painful.  Only not the same.  Regret causes tears, sorrow, questioning.  Regret is a hard emotion to handle. Regret is a hard emotion to live with.

But combine the two?  And life is almost unbearable.  The weeping while questioning decisions that I made in my past haunt me.  The sorrow that I feel in knowing how my decisions not only affect me but others as well.  Namely my children.

Recently all my emotions came to a head.  The loneliness was choking me and the regret of past choices was causing such a physical ache that I almost couldn't handle it.

I would cry myself to sleep.  Then I would wake up with a sadness not knowing why...until I remembered.  Then the crying would begin again.  Throughout my day thoughts would come and go.  And tears would suddenly swell in my eyes and trickle down my face at the memories.

My early twenties were the hardest years of my life. I had many things going against me.  And through that  I made some very poor choices.  Choices I will regret until I die.  Some choices may seem unmentionable.  Yet I carry them within my heart everyday.  Some choices I could give good excuses for.  But in truth they are empty excuses.  I have only myself to blame.

Through my decisions I have hurt many people, and some of these people are still hurting.  Its hard to imagine when making decisions how that choice you make will affect that person and the rest of their life.  Its hard to imagine when you are young how your choices will affect your future. And your children.  My children beg me for a dad.  Yet because of my bad choices they are without one.

If I could go back I would.  The first thing I would do is to tell certain people how much I loved them and how much their presence in my life meant to me.  Maybe it would have changed the course of time. And maybe not. Maybe some would still be alive. And maybe not.   

While these thoughts of regret and loneliness have been swimming around in my head I have had healing. Through this healing I have come to understand that I may be suffering for the decisions now, but God can redeem.  And in time I believe He will.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Most of you who know me, know that I to bake.  All sorts of yummies and goodies and treats.

I thought it would be fun to have a weekly post, with the recipe and pictures of one of my latest baking adventure.

I'm starting this out out with a post about Rhianna's birthday cake.

Her birthday was almost three weeks ago, but there is a reason why it took me so long to do this post.

I had to get my nerve up to do it.  I am a perfectionist to the worst degree.  I expect perfection out of myself and nothing less.  It gets tiring 'cause I never can really ever obtain that.


The cake didn't turn out that great.  In fact it was pretty ugly.  But it was my very first cake that was a shape. And that is something to be proud of. Right?

And why should I be nervous about posting it?

You see.  There is a blog called cakewrecks.  I follow it daily for my daily dose of the giggles. It has pictures of goofy cakes that are messed up or ugly and they blog about them. 

I was terrified someone would take the picture of the cake I am about to blog about and put it on that blog. 

Then I figured, who cares, Rhianna loved it and that is all that matters.

So here goes.

My first attempt at a shaped cake.

 (Because I am a perfectionist I have to have an excuse when I do something that is not even remotely good)
I was very very tired when I did this cake.  I had only a hour to do this cake, using frosting that takes a half hour to make.  Did I mention I was very Very VERY tired when I made this cake? Because I was really Really REALLY tired when I made this cake.

Rhianna wanted a princess themed cake.  I decided it would be fun to do a crown cake.  Originally I was going to do sheet cakes and cut them in the shape of a crown and stack them. 

Then one day at work I saw an angel food cake and starting thinking....

Instead of a flat cake in the shape of a crown, I could do a 3-D look.  A round cake with the crown wrapped around it.

To start:

Next, I iced the cake with a fudge frosting for the fondant to have something to stick to. Rhianna couldn't decide between a white or a chocolate cake. So I made it both flavors (White cake~Chocolate frosting).

The best part about frosting a cake?  Licking the spoon!

Next step was to make the fondant.  (Sorry, recipe is a secret :o)

Then I kneaded the yellow into the fondant to color it the color of gold.  I rolled it out and cut it into the correct shape and size.  I carefully placed it around the cake, patching as I went.

Once the fondant was on the cake and I made a poor attempt of smoothing it, I colored the royal icing to make the gems. 

Rhianna, being the sweetie that she is, picked green for the color of the icing for her name. "'Cause green is Reagan's favorite color."

Rhianna was thrilled with her cake.  She said it was the most beautiful cake she had ever seen.  I realize that it is NOT the most beautiful cake that I have ever seen. But it is what it is.  It made my girlie smile and it doesn't get any better than that.

However, it does look like she is cringing here. Doesn't it? 

And there is my first attempt at a shaped cake.  I guess I can only get better from this point on!

At Rhianna's birthday party I had asked my four year old niece Molly to think of a shape she would like for her birthday cake 'cause I want to practice fun shaped cakes.  Her response?  "I'll take any shape but a rhombus".  I 'bout howled with laughter.

 *And please don't submit this to cakewrecks...I'd probably cry ;-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quiet Reflection

Sunday mornings I drop the kids off at church for Sunday School and I head back to the cemetery to have a chat with my dad.

 I haven't been doing this for that long of a time.  About a month ago it hit me that once I move, I won't be able to visit dad whenever I wanted. 

And to be totally honest, I didn't make it there as often as I would have liked.

So I decided that a Sunday morning routine was in order.

I have found that I start to look forward to our visits.  By Friday afternoon I look forward to the quiet time I have with my dad. 

I take a cup of coffee and sit at the foot of his gravestone and just chat.  I tell him what I'm sad about.  I tell him what I'm thankful for.  I update him on my week.  I ask him questions.  Questions that I would ask if he were alive.  I always, always tell him how much I miss him and I don't think I can go another day without him. 

Often I pray to my heavenly Father.  I ask Him for my needs and my desires.  Sometimes I ask Him if He is still there and if He still hears me.  Almost every single time, the clouds break open and the sun rays beam down upon me.  I know that someday, on earth or in heaven, all the desires of my heart will be fulfilled.

I love my weekly talks with my dad.  Its one things I will desperately miss when I'm moved.

A few weeks ago I noticed an older man from our church coming to visit his wife.  I don't know him all that well, but we have some connections.

Last week I waved as he drove by.  I knew that this was a hard place for him to come as well, yet he needed to come as badly as I did.  His wife died 6 months or so ago and he misses her and needs the time to reflect and remember.

After church last week, I went up to him and spoke with him a few minutes about our common meeting place.  He smiled with tears in his eyes and said "its hard to miss someone, isn't it?"

This morning was like other Sunday mornings. 

I dropped the children off for Sunday School and then headed back the long, private lane to our cemetery.

I walked through the wet, muddy grass to dad's resting place.  I squatted down in front of the stone.  Staring at the words "Our Loving Father" printed so clearly on the top.  As much as I want to fight it, tears come to my eyes and begin to fall down my cheeks.  I know I shouldn't be so surprised to see his name etched into the stone.  But every time I see it I gasp for breath.  "It can't be true" I think to myself. "I can't be sitting in front of my dad's grave.  This cannot be happening to me."  One would think that after ten years I would have come to accept this fact.  But I haven't yet.  The thought of it still stuns me and stabs my heart. 

As I sit in front of the marker, telling Dad about my week and the wonderful news that Tricia was being announced for peace at church.  I knew how happy he would be at this.  And I wanted to tell him.  As I sit there in the bitter cold, sipping my hot coffee, I see a truck pull in the lane.  It comes around the gravel drive and pulls up to my car.  The older gentleman steps out and begins to walk across the grass.  My dad was his great-nephew.  So he knows why I'm there.

He stands a few feet from me as I walk towards him.  He throws his arms around me and weeps on my shoulder.  He says "We are both here for the same reason aren't we?  We are here to remember and to reflect."  We both cry for a moment while we hold each other.  He then patted my arm and slowly turned to go.  He needed to visit his wife and knew I needed to finish talking to my dad. 

Later I saw him at church and he looked my way and smiled.  While I always knew we had familial connections, I never had a personal connection with him before.  Now I do.  And I'm thankful for that. 

Next week, on a Sunday morning, I'll expect to see him.  We'll probably stop for a moment and grieve together.  I'm thankful we will have each other on those mornings so it won't seem so empty and lonely. 

Pray for us both, won't you?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


About a year and a half ago I was meeting a friend at her house so we could take a trip to the shore for a photo shoot.  As we were about to leave she flipped on her Roomba (robot vacuum cleaner) and let it do the work while we soaked up the sun on the beach.  She raved at how wonderful it was and how it simplified her life.  I've always kept this thought tucked away in my brain...

This friend of mine is a busy lady. An busy lady who is amazing.  A wonderful wife and mom, nursing student, fabulous photographer, shopkeeper, and a caring friend. (Just to name a few).  I think there are weeks that we are neck in neck in equal hecti-ness but I  truly believe she has a busier life than me.  If this vacuum simplifies her life...then it is a must have for me.

Fast forward to last night.  I had a 30% off coupon for Kohls and was in dire need of a new vacuum.  So all three kids and I headed to the store for an adventure. 'Cause Kohls with three kids can only be described as that.   We checked out the vacuum's and I didn't like what I saw. For starters, you had to push all of them around the room tripping over a cord.  Then I noticed that the Roomba was marked down to a reasonable price, and combined with my 30% off, plus getting Kohls cash...well, I thought it was a no-brainer.

On the way home I kept saying how much I was going to love coming home to a clean house and how Betsy just loves her Roomba. My darling  Rhianna then proceeds to remind me of a sermon we had a few weeks ago about being careful about using the words love and hate.  We should reserve love for God and family and hate for the devil and not use them so carelessly with other things.  This is so true and I told her that was so...but I also told her that some Mommies are so busy that they would say that they really, Really, REALLY, like their robot vacuum. 

Tonight the kids dashed around the house getting everything picked up so that we could turn on the vacuum.  So much for my turning it on while I was at work. I guess if it gets them to clean up then....

We flipped it on and sat on the couch and watched it go after the dirt.  How's that for lazy?  I should've made us popcorn and it could have been our nightly entertainment.  Forget lazy, how's that for pathetic?

After seeing it do my work for me I have to admit.  I almost love it.  But realizing I shouldn't love my robot I decided to just really, Really, REALLY like it.  There may be a budding romance approaching. 

Now for a robot window washer and dishwasher unloader.  Who's with me?

Friday, September 16, 2011

While You're Still Six

I have this weird thing of always taking pictures of my kids on the day before their birthday.

I know its kinda backwards, but I have my reasons.

Rhianna turned 7 today.  I have a whole year of taking pictures of her when she is 7.  But yesterday I had my last chance to get pictures of her when she was still 6.  So that is what I did. 

I love this one...I know her face is fuzzy but its because she was giggling so hard.  And I love that sound.   

After the pictures we went inside and got ready for bed.  I tucked her in and told her I was going to finish her cookies for her school treat.  She wanted 'princess gowns for the girls and castles for the boys'.

By the time I finished up all my cookie orders along with her cookies it was well past 2 am.  I was insanely exhausted. For this wasn't the first night this week I saw 2 am.  

As I lay in bed I couldn't help thinking about my girlie.  I can't wait to see her future.  To see how she grows into a Godly, beautiful young woman.  But I can't help but mourn the passing time. It is going by so fast. She was born at 6:15 am so I knew that technically I had 4 more hours of her being 6.

I snuck out of bed and woke her up.  I told her to go to my bed.  When she groggily crawled in my bed I told her that I wanted to snuggle her while she was 6 and while she turned 7.  She smiled softly and as she snuggled me she said "Mommy. I love you so much."

This morning I drug myself out of bed.  Feeling every joint, every muscle and feeling sightly nauseous from exhaustion.  Knowing that I had another rigorous day ahead of me.  I wasn't sure if it had been worth it staying up that late the night before.

Rhianna went downstairs and peered into the box of cookies I had set aside for her.  She slightly gasped and said "Oh. Mommy.  They are so much more beautiful than I had hoped for."  Then I knew.  The exhaustion was completely worth hearing those words and seeing the joy on her face.

I have the sweetest daughter.Ever.  She has her moments, but she is always concerned for other people's feelings and their happiness.  She always wants to spread joy and love to those around her.  I'm so blessed to call her mine. 

I just hope she knows how special she is to me.  I just hope that for every time I fail her as a mother she remembers the times I tried to do what was right. 

I'm excited to experience '7' with her.  I had nothing but joy experiencing '6'.



I know its not technically a word but I cannot think of another word to describe my week. 

Last week I started a part-time/full-time job at an Orchard.  And I love it. 

I give school tours.  I pack fruit.  I box produce. I stock shelves.  I  And I love it.

The work is insanely  And I love it.

I come home absolutely whipped.

This week I am working 6 days. 

Along with:

An order of 45 dozen cookies.

An order of bread.

Cleaning a house. (not mine. sob)

Rhianna's birthday.

Which means:

A cake. (I'm making a crown shaped cake out of an angel food cake.  :o)

A party.

Something extra special. (I'm getting her balloons and flowers on my lunch to give her after school when she walks to the orchard...she will be so excited!)

Oh. Yeah.

And school.

Essays. Power points. Discussions. You get it.

I think there is something else that I had to do. Or maybe I already did it.  Or maybe I forgot what it was.  Humm?  Oh well. 

Needless to say I am so tired that I am nauseous and I even feel the joints in my toes. 

Tonight I didn't think I could go any further.  I just wanted to crawl in bed and sleep for at least 16 years. 

After dinner I told the kids that I was laying down on the couch and sleeping for awhile.  They each had two jobs. 

Riley had homework and needed to wash a load of towels for me.(Yes, I'm that mean.  My 8 year old can do my laundry :o) 

Rhianna needed to do her homework and unload the dishwasher.

Reagan had to clean his room and Rhianna's room (he trashed it last night). 

Me?  I was

I woke up about an hour later to hear my kids playing together in the basement.

I looked around and saw that the dishwasher was in fact empty and the dishes put away. 

I ran downstairs and took clean towels out of the dryer (the sweetie put them in the dryer for me too!!)

I headed upstairs and both bedrooms were spotless. 

Then it hit me. 

My kids are amazing.

Fantabulously amazing.  No. That's not a word either, but I think it should be.  And it should be reserved to describe how amazing my kids are.

I gave them a bedtime snack and they willingly went up to bed. 

They even stayed in bed and didn't come downstairs. Even once.

I realized how blessed I am to have these children.   While they can be such hard work and so difficult at times I have to realize how amazing they are.  There aren't too many 8 year olds that can and will wash a load of towels for his mom.  There isn't too many 6 year olds that can and will empty a dishwasher.  And there aren't too many 5 year olds that can clean two bedrooms ( Riley admitted to helping him.  Reagan is such a spoiled little guy...typical youngest :o) 

This children haven't really had the easiest life.  I just hope they grow up and not resent me for my bad choices and how they affected them but that they grow up and see that I did my best.  That I love 'em with all my heart.  That they truly are my most prized possessions and they are unbelievably special to me.

I couldn't do this without them.   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rip Tide

I remember sitting in 7th grade Science class studying geography and the like. 

I remember studying rip tides and the thought terrified me.  I imagined playing in the surf, close to shore and then all of a sudden, without warning, being swept out to sea.  I imagined the terror of being lost at sea forever.  Most likely my wild imagination made things worse for me but I will never forget my fear of rip tides. 

My fear came true.  I've experienced being drug back out to sea by a rip tide. 

I was paddling to shore.  I was so close to my destination.  It was within sight.  Almost within reach and all of a sudden I hit the current and was pushed back out to sea.

I still know my destination.  I still have faith that I am paddling in the right direction.  Things are just not going smoothly.  I'm experiencing some rough waters.  Some might call it a storm.

Through this storm I was feeling very alone.  God seemed to be so very far away.  I know in my head He is so close.  He is carrying me through this.  I know in my head He has a plan.  He will be glorified through me fighting this tide. 

But my heart?

My heart feels so alone.  But I'm trusting.  I'm patiently paddling my little boat.  I'm fighting for all I'm worth, knowing that someday I will come ashore and it will be wonderful.

Today, I was listening to a sermon.  The subject was 'storms of life'.  One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the disciples in the boat, on the Sea of Galilee.  The one where Jesus was tired and went to sleep and the storms came. 

The minister spoke on this story.  He said that Jesus told them before they got in the boat that they were going to the other side of the sea.  Jesus knew the storm was coming.  If He thought that the boat would sink and they would all die wouldn't He have said that they would make it to the other side?  No.  He said we are going to the other side.

The minister added "If God leads you somewhere, know that you will get there.  Even when a storm comes.  You will arrive."

Once they were in the boat, Jesus went to sleep.  It wasn't an accidental sleep.  It was planned rest.  God knew that Jesus would need to be asleep to test the disciples faith and strengthen it to make it stronger. 

Just like me.  Just like right now.  Jesus isn't 'asleep'.  But He is silent.  For the time.  I need to have faith that this quiet isn't accidental.  It is to strengthen me.  It is to make me stronger.  I need to stop fighting the storm myself and just rest in Him and wait it out.  I do not have the physical, emotional or mental strength to fight this storm.  I might as well rest next to Jesus while it roars around me. 

Can my readers pray for me?  Pray that I will keep peace, keep the strength, keep resting and waiting?  

Thursday, July 21, 2011



That is the only word I can think to use to sum up my feelings. 

I could use: stressed, excited, nervous, fearful

But anticipation seems to sum all of them up.

I have always been one to use analogies.

To explain things and teach others
(thanks Dad for teaching me this trick)

It even helps me understand myself when I am feeling overwhelmed.

And lately there has been plenty of feelings of overwhelmed.

Then this morning it hit me.

I know how to describe how I feel.

I am four years old.

There is a huge Christmas tree in my living room. Decorated to the hilt.

Underneath that tree is a gorgeous gift.  With my name on it.

My Father tells me it is mine.

My dream gift.  What I  have wanted for my entire life.

But I cannot open it until the special day.

But because I am only a young child, I cannot read a calendar.

I am clueless as to when Christmas is.

I have no idea if it is tomorrow or next week.

I know it must be soon.

But when?

Living in Connecticut has been a dream and desire of mine since I was a child.

It has always felt like home.

And will someday be my home.

My Father has wrapped this special gift up for me.

But it isn't quite time for me to open it and enjoy the bountiful gift.

I know the special day is coming soon.  I just am not sure when exactly.

The little girl in me keeps staring at the unopened gift...anxiously waiting for the day. anticipation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Lost is Found

I'm not sure if I can write this without crying.

I'm not even going to try.  I'm just going to let the tears fall as they come.

But the lost is found.

My dad and mom bought each of us kids a mountain bike when we were 14.

Biking was always an important part of our lives.  Especially of dad's life.

I remember going shopping for my bike with my dad.

We didn't get the bike until a few months after my 14th birthday because my day falls in the winter  months.

We went to a bicycle shop in Medina and roamed the store. 

I sat on so many bikes, trying to pick out the best one.

Dad gave his input and his advice.

After all, he loved to ride bike. 

Fast forward 7 years.

I was 21. 

I lost my father.

My best friend.


I moved out of the house in with some friends.

Taking my bike with me...or so I thought.

When I moved from those apartments I realized my bike was not in the garage like I thought it was.

I assumed it stolen.

For 10 years I have silently mourned the loss of my bike.  The bike that meant so much to me because Dad helped me pick it out.  Because I knew how much biking meant to him.


Fourth of July weekend my mom decides to clean out her little barn out back. 

My brother in law climbed up into the loft and found a pile of bikes.

My sister texted me this picture:

And I stared at it in silence.  And then tears began to stream down my face. 

My bike had been found.  It never was moved to Medina.  It never was stolen.  It was never lost.

I realize it is just a thing.  Just a piece of metal. But this bike holds so many memories for me. 

I felt like it was a little gift from my dad (again) after 10 years of being without him or the bike.

Tonight I was at moms and decided to check it out. 

I opened the little barn doors, anxious to see the bike. 

What I saw took my breath away.

There. Propped up in the back was my dad's bicycle. 

The one he rode to train.  The one he rode for Pedal to the Point.

For about 10 years my dad rode 150 miles in two days to support Multiple Sclerosis. 

Once I asked him why he would do this.

He stood there, with tears in his eyes, and said "I have two friends battling MS.  I don't know what else I can do to help them."  That was the heart of my dad.

On the bike I found a tag.  With a number on it.

I snagged it and took it with me.

I'm assuming this was from the year 2000.  The last year he rode for Pedal to the Point.

Pedal to the Point is always in August.

 And he died in March of 2001.

While my dad had his shortcomings and his failures, he was my hero. 

He is everything I hope to be someday. 

Everyone was his friend.  No one was a stranger.

He could make anyone feel special.  And important. 

He had so many qualities.  Qualities that I hope I can nurture.

I know he made his mistakes.  But I just want to remember his achievements for what they were and for who he really was.

I can't wait to get my bike to a bike shop and get it repaired.  

I can't wait to get on my bike and go for a long ride.  Alone.  

To ride fast and have the wind rush by me.

To remember. And smile.  And be thankful. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Funeral

Squirrel Saga: Part Two

As previously posted there was a squirrel in my wood stove. 

Being that I do NOT do wild creatures I made the choice to just let the thing die. 

I waited.

And waited.

And then decided, forget it.  The squirrel can go with the house.

'Cause I am way. ever. opening that stove. again.

Last weekend I had some friends in from CT and told my story.

Brad looked at me curiously and said..."Um. So.  What did you do with it?"

I looked back and said "Um. What do you mean?  Its still there. 'Cause I'm not touching it."

He smiled and then offered to get it out for me. 

I was worried it just might still be alive.

We prepared a box (casket??) prepared for the departed. 

As Brad cracked open the front of the stove and declared "YEP. Its dead."  (Lets just say it smelled. Slightly.  So when they said it was an airtight stove. They MEANT it!)

Riley did the honors of scooping it out of the stove while I stood and watched. 

I screamed. Literally.Screamed when I saw the thing. It was huge. As in the biggest.monsterous.giganitic squirrel I have ever.In my entire life.seen. 

Rhianna carried the closed 'casket' out to the back for the official burial.

The pallbearers following close behind:

Once they reached the burial plot, Rhianna set the coffin carefully into the hole that Brad so willingly dug:

Riley said a few words and sang a hymn about a squirrel falling down a chimney while Brad shed a few tears (or is he laughing??)

Final goodbye:

The tombstone:

After the service we went in the house for a funeral meal and to take the time to discuss our dearly? departed.

And so ends the saga of the squirrel. 

I hope that this is the one.and.only saga of a squirrel.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seriously. Squirrels??

Last Wednesday I heard a noise in my wood stove.  As we all know by now, I don't do wild animals in my house At.all.

And if you don't know this by now you can read about a previous encounter with a wild animal

Anyhow.  I heard a bit of scratching in my wood stove. Again.  I inwardly groaned at the idea of facing another wild creature.

I was keeping one of Rhianna's friends overnight and thankfully her mom and boyfriend pulled up to drop her off.  I asked him if he would be willing to check out the animal.

He grabbed a box and opened the side door to the wood stove.

Nothing happened.

He stuck his head in the door to see if he could see something hiding.  I was screeching in horror thinking something might jump out and attack him at any moment. 

Then Riley decided to peek in himself.  My heart skipped at least 3 beats.

He banged on the stove. Open and shut the damper. But nothing. Nothing appeared.

I was relieved...assuming it was a bat that flew up the chimney.

The next day (Thursday) I got a call from the realtor saying that I had a request for a showing on Saturday.  I, of course, was excited and also relieved that the animal was gone from the stove.

Friday morning comes around and I hear some serious scratching in the stove.  The thing actually started knocking on the doors like he was asking to be let out.  Are you kidding me? That door is staying tightly locked. Sorry mister.

I went to work and came home early evening to find the noise had only gotten worse.  Knowing that I had a showing the next day I was in a slight panic. 

Who does this happen to but me?  Who else finally gets a showing and then has something fall from the sky into their fireplace?

By Friday night it was quiet again.  I breathed a sigh of relief and assumed it was just a bat and flew out at dark.  I tiptoed over to the stove and made sure the damper was shut.tight.veryvery tight.

The next morning all was well.  The house was clean and the lawn mowed.  I felt pretty good about things. 

The showing was to be at noon and by 11:20 I was getting ready to get the kids rounded up to head out.  I had a few errands to run and needed to get a few things to the car.


At 11:24 am.

I heard it.

36 minutes until showtime and the crazy thing had to come to life and start spazing out again.

I called my brother for help.  I knew he wanted to open the stove just about as much as I wanted to but I had no idea who else to call.

My sweetheart of a brother came over and we formed a plan of attack.  We had a box covering the door ready to catch whatever was dancing in the stove.

We slowly creaked open the door. 



Nothing came out.

Jared peeked inside and saw something.  At first he thought it was a bird.  Then said "No. It's fluffy" 

He peeked a bit closer and said "It's a SQUIRREL! But its just about dead"

At this point it was 15 minutes to showtime.  I made a snap decision and figured that a noisy animal in a wood stove during a showing was much.much better than a loose squirrel during a showing. 

I slammed the door shut, locking it tightly, propping wood (and bricks) up against the stove.

We snuck out the back door at 11:55 while the realtor was pulling up front. 

As we left I told Riley to pray that they love the house and that God would strike that squirrel dead.immediately.

The showing went well.  They had looked at 9 homes and mine was in their top 3.  But in the end they chose another home.  Not sure if they heard anything in the stove...that was never mentioned. 

To be continued....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Land is in Sight

Remember one of my last posts about sailing and being lost at sea?


Well, you can find it here

I just wanted to give an update.

I'm still paddling in my kayak.

I'm still out in the ocean.

But guess what?

I have spotted land!

Last week I was sailing along, unsure of where I was going.  For all I knew I was paddling in circles. 

My arms were weary from paddling across the wide, wide ocean. 

I almost wanted to give up.

But Father God came and rescued me.

He gave me a gust of wind to push me along...not a teeny breeze that isn't felt until you look around and see the changes...and not such a huge gale force that it would slam me into shore...but the perfect strength.

A push that helped me see that land was, in fact, in sight.  That I had been headed in the right direction.  That all that paddling was paying off.

He gave me such a wonderful push that the rest of this week I have been able to rest my weary arms and just drift a bit.

Are you curious?

Are you wondering what happened?

It all started with a trip to Connecticut for a friend's wedding.  I knew that I had a potential interview, but nothing written in stone.
Tuesday morning the interview was confirmed for the next day at 2pm.

Then, Tuesday night I checked my emails to find an email from a friend in CT whose parents owned some apartments...would I be interested in looking at one?

Wednesday morning came around and I had the opportunity to tour the apartment.  It had everything I had on my 'need to have' list. 

They were:
In a specific town
Have its own laundry room
Large kitchen
Yard for kids to play in

Each 'requirement' was met. Only better than I could have dreamed.

What it also had that I wasn't expecting was an awesome price...with landlords that I know and trust. 

Wednesday afternoon came around.  I dropped the boys off at a friends house and headed into Hartford for the interview.

I ran through Dunkin Donuts and treated myself to a fun coffee (with whipped cream and caramel...of course).

I easily found my way to St. Francis in downtown. 

I was early so I sat in the car in the parking garage and read some verses.  I knew God was with me.

This place is huge.mammoth.massive.justplainexpansive. big.

I couldn't believe I was interviewing there.  It was, truly, a dream come true.

The manager came to the information desk to meet me. 

As we walked through the corridors, he talked a bit of his story and how he became successful at St. Francis.  He told me a bit of the institution and how it has expanded over the years. I was amazed at how easy he was to converse with and I felt as though we were on the same page.

We interviewed for a few minutes and then I was able to walk through the Emergency Department.  What an amazing and modern facility!  I was praying for the opportunity to work there.

After meeting some of the other registrars I was able to again sit down to finish up the interview.  We talked a bit...about my education and other work experiences.

What I did not expect came next:

I got the job.

Yes, you read right.


The manager was very encouraging and supportive.  He said that with my education and personal drive I will have many opportunities to grow within St. Francis.  He said all I have to do is to work hard, give it my all, and the promotions will come automatically.  I was speechless.  I think I may have even stared blankly for just a moment.

As he walked me back to the elevator to the parking garage, we visited some more.  He asked me my reasons for moving to CT.  I told him of the church I would be attending. I told him of the awesomeness of the support of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I told him that I just.simply.loved New England. I told him it was a childhood dream...and I thanked him for the opportunity to fulfill my dream.  I think he understood...he had told me his story about a young man who started at St. Francis decades ago with only a dream and some ambition. 

God is so good. God is so merciful. God wants to give us gifts.  All we have to do is ask and then trust He will give whatever is best for us.

So, here is where I am.  I'm once again at the stage of trusting and obeying with the faith that He will provide.

In 2 weeks human resources will contact me for another interview to verify things and set my salary/benefits.

In 2 weeks I have to let the family know if I am going to be able to take the apartment.

The next 2 weeks I will be praying that God will tell me what to do.

Please.please.please my dear readers, will you pray for me too? 

Here is where I still need to do a bit of paddling in my little boat on the ocean...

My house still hasn't sold. 
My house needs to sell.
But if it doesn't?  How can I turn down these opportunities.

I prayed about these decisions.  God spoke and told me that I had 2 weeks in regards to the job and in regards to the apartment. 

I guess I just need to listen to His word.

Listen. Be Still. Wait upon His timing.

After waking from a bit of a nap last evening, I woke to have this verse running through my head...what better answer do I need?

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint...Isaiah 40:31

Monday, June 6, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...Two in One

I missed last week's favorite things post.

So this weeks post will have two weeks full of favorite things!

My baby graduated preschool! 
It is bittersweet to think that I won't have anymore children in pre-school.
  I'm thankful they are growing. and maturing. 
But its going oh so fast.

We have had so much rain... 

But oh do we love to play in it!

I almost didn't add this as 'one of my favorite things'
'Cause at the time. It wasn't. Notsomuch.
In fact.
I screamed.
A lot.
(Just ask my kids)

 But now?
It's kinda cute.
Just don't tell my kids.
'Cause if they did it again?
I'd scream.

I taking pictures of my flowers after a rain shower.
I love how each and every droplet is so unique and beautiful.
How every petal is paper thin...
and yet held up through the downpour of rain.

And the sky?
The deep blue of the sky?

Summer Days are finally here.
And with them is laundry dried in the breeze.
There is no better way to end your day
 than to kneel down by a bed
 that has fresh linens that had been sun kissed. 
The whole room scented with an aroma
 that could never be captured in a bottle.

One last favorite.

Life doesn't get much better than this....