Thursday, December 31, 2009

Faith


Faith. Such a soft word with such a stron meaning. To the ear, "Faith" has a soft, gentle tone to it, but to my heart, "Faith" holds so much meaning and depth. To me, Faith means the truest and deepest trust and belief.

The meaning/definition of faith includes: Confidence, Trust, Belief which is not based on proof. Belief in Something, someone, anything, and loyalty.

It is my Faith, my trust, my belief in God that has carried my these last 19 years, through every trial and joy that has come my way. It is that same faith that I know will carry me through all the trials and joys to come.

Without God, I'm nothing. But with Him, I can withstand the most horrible of trials. God is faithful. I know He will always stand by me, no matter what.


~Written July 21, 2009, the day before I miscarried~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Creation Museum

Yesterday we had the exciting opportunity to go to the Creation Museum. The exhibits were very well done and lots of fun to see! :) I didn't get too many pictures on my camera (and I don't know how to get Scott's from his camera to my computer) but I did manage a few! :) Below is a poor picture of an exhibit right in the main entry:
The birds in the next to pictures are all Finches! They were so much fun to watch!




Here is a Chameleon that I could not seem to get a picture of without his tail glowing! :)


Oh, and did I mention that we got to go to the Grand Canyon?




Here is a SCARY dinosaur! :) No, it's not alive although it looked real enough to be. If you stood to his side and looked at his eye, it looked like he was watching you!



It was pretty cold out, but it didn't keep us from walking the garden, and going to the petting zoo. Here we are on our way back to the Museum (we were getting pretty cold by then!) :)


It was a great day! We ate lunch at "Noah's Cafe" (sorry, I didn't get a picture). Scott had a sandwich, and I had a wrap (all very good). After eating we went and spent quite a bit of time in the Bookstore (see Scott's Blog for a picture) and spent $110 on books, including Creation Evangelism for the New Millennium by Ken Ham, After the Flood by Bill Cooper, and Taking Back Astronomy by Jason Lisle. We got a couple more books and a DVD titled: State of the Nation with Ken Ham. It was done in July '09, and we are greatly looking forward to watching it! When our children are old enough to read, we want to have lots of good books available, and in the mean time it's always great to brush up on and learn new things! :)
One thing is for sure, we serve an Awesome, Incredible, Creator!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day (Better Late, Than Never :) )

Here is the promised post about Christmas day! :) I'm sorry that it is later than I had hoped, but I was not around much on Saturday and Sunday, and the one time that I did have time to do it, my computer was acting up. Oh well, here it is now. :)
I woke up around 7am (a rare thing) and kept trying to go back to sleep until when I looked at the clock at 7:40. It just so happened that Scott stirred at that moment, so I said "are you ready to get up?" He said he was, but of course it takes him much longer to actually wake up. I rubbed his back vigorously trying to get his blood flowing so he would get up faster (can you tell that I was "a little excited"? :) ). At 7:51 I came downstairs and got the Cinnamon Rolls out of the Fridge so they could "come to room temperature".
By 8:00 we were sitting down, getting ready to open our stockings together. :) After that we got out Scott's Bible and took turns reading the Christmas Story from Luke. Here is a picture of the tree (with our gifts under it) before we started unwrapping. :)
Here is a picture from just after we finished reading the Bible:
After opening our gifts:
Here is Scott unwrapping one of his Soundtrack
Here is me with my "loot" :)
Here is all of Scott's gifts:
Notice the book "Relic Quest"
The day we were leaving our good friends at www.homeschoolblogger.com/sevensisters Scott discovered this book on one of the shelves and picked it up. In the short time that was left before we had to leave, he was really enjoying the book, so I thought it would be a good Christmas gift for him. I was so delighted that I totally stumped as to what the "package" was. :) And he was even more surprised to open it and see that it was the book that he had been telling everyone about since he had first looked at it! :)
Here is the rest of my gifts:
I also got 2 books (not shown in picture): "Only Angels Have Wings" and "In The President's Secret Service". I have started both (what can I say, when I get more than one new book I want to read them all so badly, I just start them all at the same time! :) ), and am so far enjoying both very much! :)
Here is Scott enjoying one of his new gifts

Can anyone guess what "gift" this is?

Here is the breakfast table, after most of us had already sampled the Cinnamon Rolls (which came out PERFECT!). The Hashbrown casserole took longer to cook than I had anticipated, but it still came out perfect! Scott and I ate leftovers throughout the rest of the day!

One of the best parts of the entire day was that we got to talk to my family (and Scott's brother) "face-to-face" on Skype. For some reason it took us forever to set up Skype (should have done it a month ago), but we are so glad we finally did it! It made our Christmas! My sister and I got it figured out the night before, and my eyes welled up with tears when I first got to see them.

Although some aspects of todays technology, I don't believe are that great for us, I am very thankful that even though we are thousands of miles apart, we can still see and talk to our families. It's not as good as being in person, but it's better than nothing! :)

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas as well!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas


Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I am delighted to say that all my gifts are wrapped (some even under the tree as pictured above), I've helped frost LOTS of cookies, and I can't wait for tomorrow. The family we are staying with open their gifts on Christmas Eve, so we're doing that tomorrow night, and then Scott and I are exchanging gifts (and opening gifts from my family) and doing Stockings on Christmas morning. So, we get 2 days of Christmas! :) I am very excited for Scott to open his gifts, and after Christmas I'll have to do a post about our gifts! :) (As well as pictures! :) )
I know this is a short post, but I need to go do a little grocery shopping. In addition to the Cinnamon Rolls I'm making for Christmas morning, I'm going to make my own version of a Hashrown Casserole. :) I'm sure it will at least be eatable! :) I'll let you know how it turns out!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Presents

There are only 4 days left till Christmas!!!! Here is a picture as a result of my wrapping the other day. It's not all that I wrapped that day, and there are more done now, but it gives you an idea. :)



How is everyone else doing with there gifts? Any baking yet? I got my Mom's recipe for Cinnamon Rolls today which I will take up her tradition and be making them on Christmas Eve, for Christmas morning! Perhaps, if I remember to take a picture, I can post about them! :)


Friday, December 18, 2009

New Look

So, I just took a break in my wrapping and everything else I've been doing today, and gave my blog a makeover. How do you like it???? :)

7 DAYS



Can you believe it? Christmas is only 7 days away! I can't wait! The Lord is teaching me much, as always (see previous post here). Along with not eating from the bread of idleness God has been working in my heart on not just thinking about not being idle, but also on looking to see how I can put that into action, and specific ways. Yesterday morning I exercised for the first time in probably 6-8 weeks. It felt great to exercise (when has anyone ever been sorry that they exercised?) and it started me off on the right track for the rest of the day. You see, I started the morning with a great time with the Lord, and during that time, the Lord laid on my heart that I should exercise. So I did. Then, in the afternoon I had some time before we had to leave for a book signing, so I decided that instead of wasting my time on the computer or reading a book (reading is not a waste of time, but when you have other things that need to be done, you should do them), I would go up to our room and work on some organizing and straightening, which was much needed. I got the entire room in very good order just in time for us to leave! It always so rewarding when I do something worthwhile, get it done, and know that I used my time much better than I originally was going to! :)

So, this morning, I had my quiet time, exercised, am writing this post, and today's plans are to wrap Christmas gifts, possibly make some cookies, and watch a Christmas movie tonight. Oh, and if there's time, practice my guitar! :)
Note: The above picture is from Christmas morning, last year (2008)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is in 11 DAYS! Can you believe it? I can't wait! I love Christmas so much! Christmas trully is my favorite time of the year! I love the music, the baking, the movies, the attitude of giving that although is not present in everyone, is in most! I love thinking of good gifts to give to my family. I love the decorations! I could probably go on and on..... :) But I won't.

I thought I would try something. I'm going to share one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and then I'd love to hear all of your favorite traditions. How many of my blog visitors love Christmas as much as I do? Why? Or if you don't care for Christmas so much, why?

Okay, so me first: Two of my favorite Christmas traditions.....
1 ~ My Mom's Cinnamon Rolls (which I will unfortunately not get this year :( )
2 ~ Getting up in the morning, opening stockings, and presents, and just spending the day hanging out with family!
Okay, so maybe I'll do a third one ~ Singing Christmas carols/songs with my sisters!

Now it's your turn! Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas traditions are. Or just what your favorite thing about Christmas is.... :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Bread of Idleness



I know it's been a while since I shared something with you from my study on A Woman After God's Own Heart, but the truth is, over the last couple weeks, I haven't been doing that study much, as I was just doing some great reading in God's word and a lot of writing in my Prayer Journal. But today I went back to my study. Of course, not even a full minute went by before the Lord was taking me deep inside my heart to take take an honest look at myself.


The chapter I am on is A Heart That Watches Over The Home. Proverbs 14:23 says, "In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." (Penury = Extreme poverty or destitution)

There is profit in labour.

Proverbs 31:27 says, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

The Proverbs 31 woman, does not eat the bread of idleness.

From these two verses, we gather 2 very important pieces of wisdom, that go together. If there is profit in labour, than what is there in idleness? Nothing. Nothing at all. Think about it, what does our attitude become when we are idle? I know for me, I get a little miserable, and I have a pretty bad attitude toward everything and everyone around me. Sometimes it only shows itself in the most subtle of ways, but at other times, it is not so subtle.


In the chapter of Elizabeth George's book that I was studying today, she talks about how she applied this to her life, and is always busy, doing something, all day long. Yes, she would give herself time for a break, but she always knew what she was doing thereafter. One thing that really spoke to me, was how she said that when her girls were young, she worked hard to instill that principle in them. For example, they didn't watch TV unless they were doing something productive at the same time.

As I reflected on all the thoughts that came rushing to my mind, I remembered a time when I was always doing knitting or crocheting when I was watching something (I would even take it to the movie theater with me), because I could not justify spending a couple hours or so just sitting doing nothing, when I knew I could find something to do. I'm sorry to say that I've lost that principle, and I intend to get it back!

Elizabeth mentioned that as a result of the above, none of them derived much pleasure from watching TV. They could take it or leave it. That is how it should be. The TV is just an entertainment "gimmick" to keep us lazy, eating from the bread of idleness. As Christians, there is so much more to our lives. We have so much to live for, in Christ. We should not be able to be entertained by the TV for hours, doing nothing, without feeling very guilty. There is NO profit in idleness!!!!! This post is not all about the TV, that is just an example, and one that is very dominant in our culture. How many people do you know who have their TV on all day, and whenever their kids start to get in their way, they tell them to go watch a show or something? I know more than I should.


In addition to focusing on the fact that there is profit in labour (even if we don't always see it), we need to be working on eliminating idleness. I would like to share with you a list of "time robbers" that Elizabeth shared in her book:


  • Procrastination

  • Inadequate personal planning and scheduling

  • Interruptions by people without appointment (This includes interruptions by way of the telephone. And please note, your children are not interruptions - they are your greatest work and the best investment of your time)

  • Failure to delegate

  • Poor use of the telephone

  • Reading junk mail

  • Lack of concern for good time management

  • Unclear priorities

I encourage you, along with myself, to take a few minutes and examine areas in your daily life where there is idleness. Then, work on eliminating them. And remember, to trully eliminate something, even just to begin working on it, we must first take it to the Lord.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Trip So Far - In Pictures

We arrived safely in Sunman, IN at 7:30 last night after doing 2 book signings en route. We so enjoyed our stay at the Richardson's house! I've made new, dear, friends, and we can't wait to go back. I have taken lots of pictures since we left New Jersey, and so I thought I would do a post about our trip so far, in pictures! :) So, here we go:

We left New Jersey Wednesday morning at 9:00. As we were driving through Pennsylvania, we drove through several tunnels. Here is our view as we headed into the first or second one (I can't remember which one)


Here is our view, driving through the tunnel. Scott loves to drive through tunnels, but I have yet to experience it myself, so I just take his word for it, for now at least. :)



We arrived safely in Pennsylvania, however it was raining constantly. Here are a couple pictures from the concert.
Shane Barnard (Bethany Dillon's Husband)

Bethany Dillon, singing and playing. She and her Husband are very talented on the Guitar!


This was during the Intermission


After taking a nap when we first arrived at the Richardson's on Thursday, I taught the younger girls how to play Parcheesi and from that point on, when anyone had a free moment, Parcheesi was brought out. :)


On Saturday, I stayed "home" while Scott went back to the book signing he was at the night before. We played Apples to Apples (Bible Edition) and took lots of pictures :)


All my new, dear, friends!

I didn't get any pictures :( but, Susannah, Jessica, and I played Monopoly, and the game lasted a total of 6-8 hours. We had a blast playing!

Sitting around the dinner table, our last night there.


On our way to the second book signing on Sunday, waiting for a train to go by... :)

At Kelsie's!!!

Sunday was Scott's birthday, and Kelsie (and her family) helped me surprise him with a celebration after we got to their house. Scott had no idea. The poor guy, thought he wasn't getting a cake or anything other than birthday greetings, but "little, did he know." :)


That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!!!!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Drive from NJ to PA to IN


After a total of 14 hours on the road (including stops for fuel and a 1 hour stop for a nap), we arrived in Mentone, IN around 7:30 this morning. We drove the 6 ½ hours from New Jersey to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania for the Shane & Shane “Glory in the Highest” concert Wednesday night. Just before we arrived in Beaver Falls, we started toying with the idea of not staying the night in a hotel and driving straight through instead. I told Scott I was game to do whatever he was up to, and so after a few more quiet moments of thinking, he said “I think we’ll drive through the night.” So after the Concert, just before 11 o’clock (PM!) we headed back onto the highway.


The drive through Pennsylvania was uneventful for the most part, except for around 11 in the morning when after staying very close on our tail for quite some time, a very large 18-wheeler decided to pass us (we were in left-lane going at a decent speed). We had no problem with the truck passing us, but then, knowing that he was still beside us (he knew we had a trailer, and his cab had just passed the front of the car), at a high speed he started moving back into our lane, and he wasn’t even halfway past us yet. We hit the brakes, and the back end of the truck just barely missed us. I will admit that I had to work very hard, the rest of the trip to keep myself from getting nervous every time an 18-wheeler was passing us.
Scott's favorite part about driving through PA was that we got to drive through 5 tunnels (through mountains!). I have not yet gotten a chance to drive through a tunnel, but Scott says it's lots of fun! :)
We are very blessed to be staying with our new friends from the Seven Sisters blog. We are greatly enjoying our stay! Tomorrow I am looking forward to spending the entire day visiting while Scott goes back to the bookstore we were at tonight. We are going to try to not go to bed so late tonight as we did last night, but we plan on staying up late again tomorrow night! I so enjoy making new friends and getting to know other lovely Christian young ladies! I have been thanking the Lord this week for all the people that He has brought into my life and for new friends!!!!!!
(Above picture taken by my Husband at Harkness park in 2007)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Jersey

Wow, does time get away from me! I can't believe we're already about to leave New Jersey! It has been 5 days since we left our beloved Connecticut. I am pleased to announce that there were no tears. They came very close to breaking through, but I held them back and made it out the door without allowing them to fall. Albeit, the last 2 minutes of saying "goodbye" to my family was a bit "rushed" as my Sister put it, but I did not want to start crying when we were so close to the door. I hugged my parents one last time and almost broke down, but I smiled and said "see you soon." :) God definately knew what I was going to need, because as it turned out, at the time that we were ready to say goodbye to my family on Thanksgiving night, my 11 cousins, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, and Grandparents were all there and half of the family were watching a funny movie and everyone else was playing games, playing with toys, or whatever. It definately helped that everyone was a little distracted. 5 months isn't that long, and with the technology that we have, it is very easy to stay in touch with our loved ones. Besides, it is always better leaving everyone with cheerful attitudes than being emotional and all sad when there really is no need for it.

4:oo Friday morning came very quickly for me, but I was up and in the shower by 4:05. Scott was up and ready for the day by the time I was done and we got what little stuff was left all gathered up before taking a few minutes to eat breakfast and chat with his family before we left. However, being SO early in the morning and the fact that although my body was functioning, it wasn't fully awake, I was not able to eat more than a few bites of oatmeal before feeling a little sick. Scott went outside to hook up the trailer while I finished getting things ready, and we discovered that it was POURING outside! We said goodbye and made it to the book signing in Waterford safely, and by 2:45 we SOLD THEM OUT! We did take a long break mid-morning for some breakfast. :)

We arrived safely in New Jersey around 6:15, quite tired! :) The past 5 days have been great! Our Hostesses have been terrific, and we are so blessed to have been able to stay with them.

Tomorrow morning we'll be heading to Beaver Falls, PA and then on to IN on Thursday!

Over the past week I have been thinking about how blessed I am to have my Husband. I love him with my whole heart and can't thank the Lord enough for putting him in my life. I love watching and listening to Scott as he talks to different people about his book and I am so proud of him for following his dream. Back in the begining of our relationship we were researching the possibility of starting our own Publishing House and what that would mean for us. I am SO glad that I encouraged him to follow his dream and not to let anything deter him from doing what he needed to do even if it was a risk. To all you married women, I encourage you to take a moment and thank God for your Husband. And be specific! Don't just say "thank you Lord, for my Husband." Think about the things you appreciate about your husband and be specific in your prayer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Journey has begun!

Hey everyone, just a quick update today.

We arrived safely in New Jersey at 6:15 last night. Scott just updated on his blog, so go check it out here : Book Tour Begins.

I'll update with my own post soon! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving to all my Blog-readers! Yes, I know I'm a day early, but I won't get on tomorrow. My week is flying by, but I've gotten everything done so far that I need to get done. Tomorrow morning we'll finish up our packing and get the trailer all set up to go, so we can hook it up when we get home from my parents tomorrow night.
In all the bustle of cooking and visiting this weekend, remember to give thanks to God for the little things too. I challenge you to think of something you can be thankful for about every person you come in contact with tomorrow. God placed that person in your life, and although we are thankful for the people in our life, I know that I don't often take a moment to thank God for something specific about that person. So there is my challenge!
Many blessings to you all this holiday weekend, and just think, Christmas is in 1 month! :) I love the Holiday season!
Stay tuned for a post about our departure on our 5-month journey!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Once again I must apologize for letting so much time pass without a post. This past week has been crazy. However, this next week looks even crazier. Let me give you an idea:

Monday: Get up, throw my favorite Sweet Potato Stew recipe in the Crock-Pot,

Then off to a book signing at the East Hartford Library for several hours,

Get home in time to make Biscuits to go with Dinner as we have a get-together with some friends (last one before we leave).

Tuesday: Last cleaning job in the morning,

Have lunch with a friend (last time to see her),

Then on to visiting my Sister-in-Law (when you keep mentioning "we should get together sometime" and then 5 months go by and one of you is going to be out of state for 5 months, then you know you need to stop "putting off till tomorrow, what you can do today."),

Then a quick visit at other friends' house before heading home.

Wednesday: Packing,

Organizing,

Packing the Trailer,

Helping with Thanksgiving preparations,

Then dinner with both of our families

Thursday: Thanksgiving Day, Dinner at Scott's Parents with good friends, then Dessert and the evening at my Parents', before we say all of our "Goodbyes" :(

Friday: Up and at the Crystal Mall for a book signing at the CRAZY hour of 6am

After BS, onto New Jersey for 5 book signings from Saturday to Monday (heading to PA for a night on Wednesday, and then to IN on Thursday).


So there is a picture of the next week. If you could see our calender for the next 3 weeks, you be shocked! It is SO full! The amount of signings we have within short periods of time, I am certain will make us very thankful for a rest come Christmas day! :)


It has been a comfortable temperature here in CT during the day, the past several days, and we are very thankful for this beautiful weather! :) Of course, I know that if I were still 11, I'd be praying night and day for snow, but it is quite a different story now. :) I do like snow, it is very pretty, and it makes for some picturesque scenery. However, I personally prefer warmer weather. :)


Here is one of my favorite hymns:
I Need Thee Every Hour by Annie Hawks

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord; No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee;Every hour I need Thee; O bless me now, my Savior,I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby; Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain; Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will; And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One; O make me Thine indeed, Thou bless├Ęd Son.


(The above picture is from our trip to Niagara Falls in October)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Attitude and Challenges


I apologize to all my blog readers that it has been so long since I last posted. The past week and a half have been quite full and I have not spent a lot of time on the computer (which, contrary to what some believe, is not necessarily a bad thing).


Last Friday (November 6th) I took my sister Ice Skating to celebrate her 13th birthday (which isn't until December, but since I won't be here, we had to celebrate it early). We had a blast! There were a couple people on the rink when we got there, but they left while we were putting our skates on, and we had the whole rink to ourselves, the entire time we were there! We had such a great time!


Yesterday Scott spoke to over a hundred students (4-8th grade) at a school. As always, I was amazed at how good my husband is with kids and how well he spoke. I wasn't surprised, but once again, I thanked the Lord for giving me such a good man, for my Husband. I am truly blessed.


If anyone is interested in a 30-day challenge, I encourage you to go to the Revive Our Hearts website and consider taking 1, or maybe even 2 of the challenges there. I have taken the Husband Encouragement Challenge, and the Choosing Gratitude Challenge. Every day I get an email from both challenges with encouragement and goals/challenges for the day.


The Lord has been working in my heart on having an "Attitude of Gratitude." I have no idea how this all started, or even when. All I know is that the Lord has slowly been laying on my heart different things to think about or to work on, and it's brought me to where my goal is to have a thankful heart.


Here are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself to see where your attitude is at:


When something unexpected (or unplanned) happens, how do I respond? Am I able to switch gears, be flexible, and eagerly "go with the flow"? Or do I feel resentment or bitterness that my plans now have to be changed?


When a child breaks something (just by accident), that perhaps was even very dear to you, do you scold them and send them to their room after insisting they clean it up by themselves? Or do you bend over to help them, letting them know that it's okay, you understand it was just an accident, and it's not that important?


Our heart attitude effects how we respond. Look at how you respond to "big" things, and then you'll know how you're responding to little things. I've written more on attitudes here. I have found that it is very easy to let little things bother me, or to let my attitude be effected by the attitudes around me. So I have worked very hard on not being bothered by little things and not letting others determine what my attitude is going to be.


Therefore, one of the things the Lord has been teaching me, is that keeping my focus on Him and on being thankful, taking every situation (even the smallest ones) and finding something I can be thankful for, keeps my attitude, and my heart where it needs to be, with God on the throne!




Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blog Giveaway

There is a great giveaway going on over at Never A Dull Moment. Not only is it a great giveaway, but she has a great challenge also. I encourage you to go check it out! I know I'm going to accept her challenge.

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/neveradullmoment/

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Niagara Falls, NY


Finally, here is the long-awaited post...
Niagara Falls was BEAUTIFUL! We drove up to New York on Friday. The scenery on our way there was beautiful as well, even though it started raining at some point and rained the rest of the day. What a perfect time for travelling, this last month has been. As we've been travelling through Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York (which included parts of Pennsylvania as we crossed the border for awhile) we've travelled over many mountains and the trees are changing their colors. The bright Red, Yellow, Gold, Orange, Brick red/brown, and still Green leaves have made for very pleasant travelling. It is impossible to describe the beauty in all the scenery we've seen. We serve an AWESOME Creator!


(Notice the Falls directly to the left of the Rainbow, in the background)

Our original plan was to visit the Falls Friday evening when we got up there, but we got a later start in the morning than we had planned, and by the time we got to the area, it was almost dark and it was pouring. We spent the night in an "interesting" motel. :) It was pretty dingy but it was cheap, we were tired and we figured we'd stay at a nice hotel on Saturday night (which we did, and it had a heated pool and jacuzzi! :) ). So we decided that we'd go to bed early and get up to go to the falls for 8am. We didn't have to be at the book signing in Buffalo (20 minutes away) until Noon, so we had 4 hours!



On our way to the Falls we ate the rest of the fruit I had brought from the day before, and we figured we'd stop for breakfast after we had gotten our fill of the Falls. :) I brought my little "Point & Shoot" and Scott brought his nice Camera with all his nice lenses! Scott took a couple hundred pictures and they all are beautiful, but I haven't put any of those on my computer yet, so you'll have to be satisfied with the ones from my camera for now. Scott did post a few pic's on his blog though.


There was a constant rainbow the entire time we were there. And, you could see both ends of the Rainbow! It was breathtaking! :)


When we woke up in the morning, it was cloudy out and looked like it might start raining any minute, but nothing was going to stop us from going, so we headed out. As we started driving, the sun started breaking through the clouds, and by the time we parked our car, the sun was shining brightly and the clouds we starting to completely disappear. By the time we left it was cloudy again, but we felt so blessed that the Lord gave us bright blue skies, and let us see the Falls in all its splendor!


In this picture (below) you can see the mist rising up from the Falls behind me. When you walked down the "steps" in the second picture below, it was as if you were walking into the rain (but there were ZERO clouds in the sky), because of the mist.





We had to do a lot of walking to get to the "observation walks" (below) but I LOVED it! Because it had rained during the night, the Sun was shining through the trees, and you could smell the freshly fallen, damp leaves. I love that smell! Fall is my favorite season, and walking through the park that morning, I was reminded of all the reasons why I love it! :) We know our God is an awesome God and His creation is incredible, but we couldn't stop talking about it as we were walking to the Falls and then again on our way back to the car.


This was another "Fall" (or whatever you would call it) that you can see from where all the above pictures were taken.


Here's my handsome Husband doing one of his favorite things.... taking good pictures! (He's really good at doing it too! :) )



As for other news, we are completely out of the apartment. We gave the keys back yesterday. Our storage unit that seemed so big when we got it, is now completely stuffed! I still have some stuff to organize, here at my parents. Some of the things that I brought over here are stuff that I didn't have time to organize and consolodate before we left the apartment, so I will be working on that this week, as well as going through the stuff of mine that is still here from when I got married. It's great to be spending more time with my Family right now. I'm really going to miss them while we're gone, but I know it will go by quickly. :)

We are enjoying a quiet weekend, the only weekend for some time that we have had no book signings. We left it open because of the moving, and we're so glad we did! Not having the apartment now, is a relief because we're another big step closer to leaving for the tour. We're so excited! We can't wait! We leave in less than 4 weeks now.

I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Now here's a question for all my blog readers: What is the most beautiful place you've been to, or the most beautiful day you remember?

Leave a comment with your answer! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thorns & Roses


We had a great weekend in New York, and I promise, an update on the weekend (even if it is mostly pictures - which I have a lot of) is coming, but due to all that is going on this weekend (refer to my last post) I do not have the time yet to upload them all.


In the meantime, I came across this story on a blog that I am a frequent visitor of. It is well worth the read. Although there is still pain in my heart at times, from the moment my little one went to be with the Lord, I have been thankful for the thorns. And yes, although this story brought tears to my eyes at first, it also brought a smile at the end, because it's true.


********


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a "minor" automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son. She grieved over their loss.


Troubles had multiplied. Her husband's company "threatened" to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. "She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered. "For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her child's?"


"Good afternoon, can I help you?"


Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. "I . . . I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.


"For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," the clerk told her. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?"


"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."


Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."


Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer,


"Hi, Barbara, let me get your order." She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.


"Do you want these in a box?" asked the clerk.

Sandra watched - was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.


"Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said, as she gently tapped her chest.


Sandra stammered, "Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . . she left with no flowers!"


"That's right," said the clerk. "I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband," continued the clerk. "For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel."


"So what did you do?" asked Sandra."I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!' It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."


Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God."


Just then someone else walked in the shop.


"Hey, Phil!" the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man. "My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement . . twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.


"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?"


"Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced," Phil replied. "After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny there (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks for what that problem taught us."


As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"


"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life" Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too . . . fresh."


"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."


Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment."I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out."


I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."


"Thank you. What do I owe you?"


"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me."


The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first."


It read:


"My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns.I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."


Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.


"Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God."