Monday, August 29, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (335)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

Nature resembled a roller coaster this past week. Two major weather events in one week on the east coast. I'm not a fan of roller coasters: the slow-clacking climb, the stomach-heaving drop, the fast curves. No. I'm more of tilt-a-whirl girl. Spinning, laughing, out of breath, and a quick recovery.

Wildwood, NJ August 2011

I felt an earthquake whose epicenter was in Virginia while sitting at my desk at work (in Pennsylvania). The ground rolled beneath my feet. My computer screen shimmy-shaked and it took a few moments for my brain to acknowledge that it was an earthquake.

The main topic at work was Hurricane Irene scheduled to arrive on Saturday. I drove to the grocery store at 11:30 a.m to discover that almost all of the bottled water was gone. I purchased two small cases of water, two boxes of Wheat Thins, and two boxes of Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars. Strange shopping list right? I figured that if we lost power I wouldn't be able to cook anything, hence crackers and Nutri-Grain bars. I know myself well enough that I would not open a can of soup and eat it cold. You see, I cannot tolerate gazpacho.

After eating dinner, I discovered I'd won an e-book called Notes to Aspiring Writers from Kristen who blogs at Chasing Blue Skies. Yippee! I am so excited because it will be my first experience with an e-book. I'll be receiving it by email and can't wait! Notes to Aspiring Writers: Your Dream, God's Plan is written by Brooke McGlothlin. Thank you Kristen and Brooke!

Wonderful Husband and I started "battening down the hatches." We moved the potted geraniums off the front porch, the lounge chairs off the back patio and into the basement, the chairs on the patio into the garage and secured the BBQ grill with bungee cords. We finished by 10:00 a.m. when the first bit of rain began to fall. Irene hadn't arrived, it was just some rain from the west.

Irene arrived, cloaked in darkness with rain, rain, rain. 6.32 inches of rain, wind gusts at 40 mph (not hurricane force which is 74 and above), and tornado warnings.

Our neighbors lost part of their tree and our little "stick tree" that we planted five years ago was slightly injured. Wonderful Husband had to cut some broken branches from our little one. (Note: He's crouching down in this photo.)

Our basement is dry and we never lost electric power. You better believe that I'm thankful this week and I'm praying for all the east coasters that didn't fare as well. People who died, have homes or businesses that flooded, were hit by tornadoes....everyone who is suffering.

Lord, I pray for all people who are suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Please saturate them with Your comforting presence, love, and strength from this time forward. Thank you for the safe-keeping of the millions of others.  I had a calm spirit during the storm and know that I owe You my gratitude for whispering peace into my soul, and for Wonderful Husband's hugs. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

#335 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

335. God's loving arms protecting and guiding me through life's storms; the weather occurences, as well as relationships, circumstances, and situations. Thank you Lord!

Please visit A Holy Experience: Multitudes On Mondays, One Thousand Gifts.
Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Do you like roller coasters, tilt-a-whirls, or some other amusement park ride(s)?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Local Trip

Wonderful Husband and I traveled 4.6 miles to visit Solebury Orchards for the first time. Yes. We've lived here for 15 years and have never been to Solebury Orchards.

One of my fondest memories of my last job (at a local church) was a parishoner named Martha who brought large jars of Solebury Orchards Applesauce to all the employees every time she came into the office.

Solebury Orchards Market

I love a good sign because I'm a directionally challenged person!

Cutting garden!

Blackberries, not quite ripe. Do not pick.



We purchased a half peck of peaches and one quart of blueberries. My plan? Dinner consisting of blueberry pancakes with bacon (nature's candy). Blueberry Cobbler and after running out of that....Peach Cobbler.

If you are ever in Bucks County PA, visit Solebury Orchards! It was a wonderful hour of meandering and if you have more energy than us, you can check their website to see the availabilty of produce and pick your own!

Beautiful flowers along a brick walkway.

Now for the tough questions...On what TV show did which character call bacon, nature's candy?

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Tree

We have lived in our home for 15 years. When we moved in, we had little "stick trees" and we chose where they would be placed on our property. It seemed like we chose wisely since 15 years ago we were in the midst of a drought and were watering the trees carefully in order for them to have a chance of surviving.

Fast forward 15 years and we have an ash tree that looks like it is trying to "climb in" to our home through the upstairs window!

It provides wonderful shade for this section of the house and (in my opinion) cuts down on our air conditioner running more than in past years. But I had to call a tree service to cut some of the branches so that they wouldn't damage the soffits and gutter.

The tree service owner was wonderful and running two weeks behind. So once I signed the contract I would be placed on their schedule.

Where do I sign?

They did a great job!

I left the house one morning for work and came home to the completed job.

I wish that would happen with laundry and dishes!

A girl can dream...

Friday, August 19, 2011


I checked the weather forecast to see if Saturday was supposed to be sunny.

And the answer is...Yes. Yes it is. (Keeping my fingers crossed!)

I want to lay out and add to my slight tan and later travel with Wonderful Husband to Solebury Orchards to choose/purchase some peaches. I see a peach cobbler in our future and hope to share it with some neighbors with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum.

I am also realizing how many young(er) mom blogs I read. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good ones out there but I was reading about one that is having a scripture study and they determined that morning wasn't great for everyone because of "nursing mamas and mamas of bed wetters."

I don't fit into that category.

Remember? I have adult children.

I figure there must be empty nester blogs that I haven't found yet and think I'll do a little research to try and find them.

Any suggestions?

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (327-334)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

#327 - #334 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:
327. rain falling hard, pouring from the sky. The grass is greening up and the leaves on the trees are un-clenching.
328. Wonderful Husband and I deciding on vacation dates in North Carolina for October
329. extreme busy-ness at work that makes the hours speed by
330. our adult children and their hugs
331. being treated to a belated birthday dinner by Debbie and looking at her daughter's wedding pictures
332. receiving fresh-picked tomatoes from our neighbor's garden
333. being with four of my Bible Study Buddies for a Saturday morning breakfast
334. Scripture
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NLT)
Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (303-326)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

This is my Wildwood, New Jersey edition of the blessings we experienced during our day and a half trip. It was a fun and renewing get away!
#303 - #326 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

303. found a room at the Cape Cod Inn for Friday night. A bargain (for Wildwood). One block from the beach. Booyah!

304. Hooked on Books. Our tradition to stop by this second hand bookstore. My lucky day! Purchased Good Hope Road by Lisa Wingate (2003).

305. a day at the beach

306. the single prop airplanes with ad banners trailing behind. My favorite? "Bank in your bikini. Beneficial." It made me laugh since I don't own a bikini, I can't bank in one. You're welcome. :)

307. watching parasailing or are they called para-sailors? I don't have the courage to do it yet admire those who do!

Picture taken from our motel.

Oh no! Watch out for the building!
Please note: No para-sailors were hurt during this photo shoot!
308. a new can koozie with my initial stitched was meant to be mine. I'm spoiled because I don't like to touch cold Diet Coke cans anymore, I like koozies!

The wrapped version.

The in-use version.

309. hot sand under my flip flops and cold ocean water on my bare feet

310. a beach umbrella and its protection from the hot sun

311. napping on the beach

312. a delightful, cool, ocean breeze

313. people watching. The shore provides multi-generational fun. Fun for babies to elderly.

314. remembering to bring my visor

315. the helpful salesperson who went "the extra mile" to find a pair of tennis shoes in my size that felt good on my goofy feet from a store I'd never heard of (Peebles). They were having a buy one / get one half off sale. Purchased new sandals too.

316. walking to the boardwalk (in my new shoes). Two miles of lights, music, people, amusement rides and games on piers. Have you ever heard the recorded voice that says, "Watch the tram car please."???

317. standing in a line of 20+ people at Sam's Pizza Palace. The sign said "Since 1957." A tradition for us to have lunch or dinner there.

318. waking up early Saturday morning and enjoying the cool ocean breeze

319. Wonderful Husband walking with me to pick up bagels, cream cheese, coffee, and orange juice with ice. Does everything just taste better at the shore? Yes. Yes it does.

320. renting a bike and going for a ride on the boardwalk. On the way back I would stop and take a drink of water. (I don't drink and drive. Not coordinated enough!)

321. reading a sign above one of the shops: Funnel Cake-Hotdogs-Ice Cream. Are those the 3 major food groups I've dreamed about?

Was hoping that the blue sign that said, "Sugar Shack" would show up better.
Just the name made me happy!
322. seeing the joggers, walkers, and bikers on the boardwalk at 7:30 a.m.

323. sitting alone in the shade at the motel pool, the car being packed, and we'd checked out of the motel. Wonderful Husband went for a walk on the beach, our son swimming in the ocean one last time.

324. purchasing salt water taffy from James Candy Company and fudge from Douglass Fudge. Another tradition and both located on the boardwalk.

325. the exhausting fun we crammed into a day and a half, and arriving home safely

326. God, the Creator of all the beauty of the shore. Thank you Lord!

This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it...
Isaiah 42:5

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Day Off From Work

It's Friday and I'm taking a much needed break to go to "the shore" as Pennsylvanians call it. (I still call it the beach.)

We're off to Wildwood, New Jersey. Have you ever heard the song by Bobby Rydell?

I'll be slathering on the sunscreen and enjoying the sand, sun, and salty air! Yippee!

Monday, August 1, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (292-302)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...

This past week was filled with the wonderful news of our son getting a job and receiving the sad news of Charlotte's brother (David, 75 years old) dying in a car accident. My previous boss called and told me about a parishoner who had died too.

At first I started to define this week as full of death news. Yet in the midst of it, I see our daughter pregnant and growing with life. I heard an update on Terri's daughter-in-law's pregnancy too.

Lives ending and lives beginning.

I think about turning 50 years old this year and how every day seems like a gift. God blesses me and it is no coincidence that I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are in February of this year. It has encouraged me to actively seek, recognize, and name blessings every day and I am grateful in the discipline and practice.

#292 - #302 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

292. our son getting hired for a teaching position

293. making a list for our daughter's baby shower. Ordered the party invitations, thank you cards, plates and napkins. Monkey theme? Not a problem thanks to Traci at

294. our associate pastor sharing during his sermon that he is taking anti-anxiety meds after his parents' dying six months apart. I applaud his openness and courage and pray for God's healing for him.

295. daylilies. Driving to work already feeling tired and seeing their golden hues makes my eyes (and spirit) perk up.

296. beautiful sunsets

297. rain this week. God watering our lawn and trees for free!

298. meeting Barrie for iced coffee and sharing our lives and our faith

299. butterflies. (I hope to someday have my camera in hand to get a picture. This Photo Credit goes to Cherie at

300. attending David's funeral and being present for Charlotte during her time of mourning. Seeing Charlotte before the service and her introducing me to her 90 year old friend of the family, a lovely Mennonite woman, with the words, "Cindy is the one who recommended Ann Voskamp's book." Then Charlotte turned to me and saying, "We've been reading One Thousand Gifts and talking about it every night."

301. freshly baked banana nut bread (I love that the recipe's name is E-Z Banana Bread. So easy it doesn't even spell out the word! Ha!)

302. life

Waiting for the sun to set before the fireworks begin on July 2, 2011
Peddler's Village, Lahaska, PA

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?