...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


I remember being a child and looking at the world as a world of limits.

As I grew, I realized my limits were not necessarily limits at all. That beyond the door was another world. Beyond my house were other homes. Beyond my family were not only other relatives but other people as well. It's amazing to me how we think we always have limits until we discover there is a world beyond.

I love that scientists are discovering each day new worlds beyond what we ever thought was possible. As I was reading through my grandson's anatomy textbook, I was amazed at how our perspectives have changed in just the short time that I have been out of school.

Who ever thought that each cell in our body carried DNA that was unique just to us?

Who ever realized the animal kingdoms in the sea would include microscopic creatures that never have seen the light of day?

Unfortunately as we age, we sometimes forget the world we may live in is very different across the globe. Even in our own communities we see differences of people groups, personalities, and perspectives. It is amazing to think that we all live in such a small world when you see it from the perspective of an astronaut in space or a satellite sailing through the galaxies.

We used to think the world was huge! Now we know better. Some think we can't make an impact on this world. We should know better now that we have a few experiences to look back on.

Now that we are older and hopefully wiser, I would think we realize we are a very small part of what is out there, we should, one would hope, want to work together to help each other. Not take away from each other. Not to abuse one another. Not to have and look down on the have nots. Not to criticize one for their own opinion and outlook, but to try to see from one another's shoes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone should respect each other's opinion. But today we seem to still want to be the one who shouts loudest. We still want to be right without hearing what the others are saying.

When will we learn that we all leave the same way we came in...with nothing.

We all live in the same small world. We need to learn to listen to each other and help each other to see the other's perspective. Then and only then will be able to work together to make a difference.

Reflections of a first time visit to the Apple Store.

This blog was written a long time ago, but for some reason never posted...never to waste a heartfelt story...

Image result for first iphone 3gSo my nephew hooked me up with my first IPhone...okay an older model (3GS) but still an IPHONE!!!...loved it and was still learning features...then while bike riding with my grandson over Christmas vacation it fell out of my pocket and I didn't notice until we were quite a ways down the road. Actually it was the moment I went to take a picture of some beautiful cattle down the road and around the corner from my grandson's home. I reached in my pocket and it no phone!

So Asher and I turned around and headed back over the road we had just come down. We kept thinking of where it might be. "It's probably in the road," Asher kept suggesting. I prayed it wasn't in the road as several cars had passed us on our ride. I didn't hold out much hope for a phone 'in the road'.

I suggested it was probably in the yard and fell out when I first got on the bike while trying to pedal uphill. That was the safer bet for the phone anyway.

So we rode carefully back towards home, keeping a vigilant eye out for the missing phone. Just as I was sure we either missed it on the shoulder or silently rejoiced that it MUST be in the yard, I spotted it. There it lay, right smack dab in the middle of the other lane looking lonely and forlorn. "There it is!" I shouted to Asher and we carefully crossed the road (I know his mom and dad will be reading this.) and I picked it up. Looking non the worse-for-wear, I stuffed it in my pocket, this time snuggly zipping the pocket it was in and we headed toward home. As we approached the house we decided to continue on our ride out in the other direction. After a fun ride down hill, encouraging Asher to keep pedaling hard to try to make it up the other hill, we stopped and rested at the top. At this point, with temperatures and sun starting to dip, we decided to turn around and head back to home.

Once home I realized I didn't check the phone to see if it worked. And to my dismay, it didn't. Surely a phone that hadn't cracked the screen...had no obvious damage that a car tire would inflict, must be just jostled enough to loosen the battery...Surely...one could hope!?!

Bryan (my son, Asher's dad) looked it over. This was an act of pure love at this point, because Bryan is clearly not a MAC man! He faithfully checked it over as best he could and suggested I take it to an Apple Store when we get home.

I was slowly losing hope...I wanted that phone FOR our trip home. But I had to put on my big girl pants and face the fact that we had traveled many times without cell phones and this would just be another one of those times.

So we did.

And we didn't miss it much.

Finally the day came when we were heading close enough to the closest Apple Store that we could take it in. In the meantime I was having thoughts of money wasted interspersed with thoughts that at least I hadn't paid $400 for it like I hear lots of people have done.

So we arrived at our first Apple Store at Crossgates Mall in Albany, NY. We were greeted by a happy go lucky fella with a bright red shirt and a calculator like badge hanging around his neck and earplugs. We said hi to each other and then I guess my confused looked clued him in that we needed help. To his request to help us, I told him this was our first time and I had no idea what to do. He chuckled and asked what our problem was. After asking if we had backed up the phone recently, I started to laugh. "I am still learning how to use this thing, I have hardly any contacts, pictures or anything else worth backing up." He politely smiled and pointed to another young fellow a few tables over and said that he would be able to help us, just wait in line. So we went over and two other people were ahead of us.

The fun thing about an Apple Store (of course this may be true of all electronics stores, but this was our FIRST experience with one and with Apple), Apple Store Crossgates Mall
 is that every gadget they sell is on display for anyone (and I do mean anyone) can play with. The other fun is watching the activity in such a store. There are islands of activity...the IPAD island, the IPHONE 5 Island, the laptop and the music islands...Then there is the Genius Bar. At some point we noticed the King of the islands walking through the store with purpose and occasionally talking to himself. Every once in a while, he was move other subjects around or ask his followers to assists those that seemed lost.

Just as I was about to pack up and head out. It was our turn! One of the King's Soldiers carrying his shield and wearing a badge calculator thingy, came over to us and asked what we needed. I shared my story and he tapped on his shield and then another subject came over and asked more questions, took my phone and pressed some of the same buttons I had pressed (but in a different sequence) and waited...and waited. Then, he said he would have to take it in the back and asked us to sign something on his shield with my finger and off he went into one of two doors that led to no man's land.

It was eerily like taking one of our kids to the hospital when they were little...doc asks questions, looks the baby over, brings in some paperwork to sign, then goes off to do whatever is needed. However when he returned he did not have good news. The baby died. But unlike our kids, he was willing to replace it with another twin! So we did more finger signing (is this what signing in blood was like in the dark ages???) and waited and waited and waited...similar to emergency rooms in the US right?

Image result for first iphone 4However, the two 'doctors' came out of the back room --- never a good sign. The bad news was...the twin was dead too. What!?! But the good news was that they could replace it with a new and improved big brother! Imagine if this kind of stuff went on in our hospitals...So after signing even more shields with our fingers. We held in our arms a beautiful new older model, but newer than our old cell phone...the IPhone 4!!!

We were surprised and happy with our new addition and raced right upstairs to get his brain working with the ATT gods and now our new little one sits happily watching us as he charges up on desk.

All in all a great experience...as we walked away with what appears to be a new Iphone 4 or maybe ever slightly used and refurbished to look new and it didn't cost a penny! When did that ever happen at the hospital?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Church Time

If anyone had ever told me that I would one day spend hours in church and actually enjoy it, I would have said they were NUTS!
Image result for church time
When I was a kid I was forced to go to Catholic church, pretty much every Sunday. Boring! Was all I remember of the early years. I would stare at the statues, be transfixed by the candle flames, wonder how the people knew when to stand up, sit down, kneel, stand, sit!!! Then there was communion, what was the priest drinking and why didn't he share? All the rules, no fish on Friday, getting dressed up for Easter, confession, memorizing prayer and praying the rosary....so much to remember!
Image result for catholicThen in elementary school it was a Godsend to get to leave school to attend church classes at the church near the school during 'Release Time'. But that was the ONLY thing good about church as far as I was concerned.

In my teen years, things changed, the rules change but church became a little more exciting. New priest, young priest, good-looking priest that played and guitar and could sing!!! In English!!! But still it was boring to sit there and wait for it all to end.

Then in my 20's I was invited to another church -- was it a cult?!? It was Jim's cousin that invited me. So I decided it couldn't be all bad. It was around the corner from where we lived and I wanted so desperately to meet people. I was home with a baby at the time and felt so isolated. So I went. As soon as I heard they needed help in the Nursery, I signed up. Anything had to be better than sitting through boring sermons. I remember my first Sunday, in the sanctuary, a lady sang a song during communion. Out of tune does not begin to describe it...so that with what I expected of another boring service pushed me to look elsewhere in the church to 'participate.' After a few weeks in the nursery, a very wise mom suggested I should go upstairs to hear the teaching rather than taking care of children. "After all you are home all day with your baby, you should get to meet some other adults." So grudgingly I went back to the sanctuary.

After a few weeks there, I started to wonder...how does this guy (the Pastor) know this stuff about me? How does he know what I did this week, yesterday, what my thoughts were! HOW? As I started to really listen, I started to really hear. Little did I know the Holy Spirit was using this man to reach out to me. Slowly I began to hear not only what Christ did, but why he did it and how it related to me! How his blood shed on the cross was graciously given for me. How being the Perfect Sacrifice, his death and resurrection provided the way for me to access heaven and Father God!
Image result for bible
As the years went by I learned more and more. I went to church services, Bible studies, women's ministries, then women's retreats and on and on. I began to study the Bible on my own and in different Bible studies. Soon I was remembering parts of scripture and began sharing it with others. I became disillusioned by many churches because they seemed in competition with each other. The pastors criticized other pastors, and numbers seemed more important than peoples souls. So I visited many churches and struggled to find one I could grow in and do ministry in. Some were too far away, some were too basic, some were way too weird. Others were too Catholic-like and steeped in rituals, others were not teaching the Bible at all!! So I continued to study on my own and was actually being fed by two or three churches on television. These pastors were teaching the same things I was reading in the Bible. They answered a lot of questions that most pastors I met, could not answer. So I settled into watching them, attending Bible study with friends and reading and praying on my own.

Image result for child of godThen through a new ministry, I found myself visiting churches again. As God has a sense of humor. I walked through the doors of the church building I attended back in my 20's. A church that I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. And the place I worked at for 11 years.

This 'new to me' church was lively. Praise and worship was just that. The teaching was solid and totally biblical, no heavy reliance on commentaries and other books. They had basic Bible teaching with some strong lessons on Grace, God's love, God's sacrifice, God's forgiveness and His plan for our lives. It has been several years now and while I continue to go to outside Bible studies and read the Word on my own (as I suggest EVERYONE does), I love being the Grand Ma, the Great Aunt, the quiet observer and helper at this 'new' church. It is a blessing to me to bless the next generation. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Just a few gray hair comments...

It has come to my attention on several occasions that people are making judgements about me based on my gray hair. I just laugh because:

#1 They obviously have not taken the time to get to KNOW me
#2 I have had some FUN interactions with the some very nice people because of my gray hair
#3 I doubt these judgmental folks could keep up with me and my day-to-day activities -- just ask some of the people who volunteer with me!

I started to turn gray in my 20's. Appalled, I decided to 'frost' my hair to hide the gray. After years of torturing myself, I decided to stop and just let nature take its course. After attending a 50 year wedding anniversary party for relatives, I saw a picture of myself and I thought EGAADS, I look as if I am 50!!! I was 42 at the time.

So I decided to try again to experiment and dye my hair with a temporary hair dye. No one noticed. Hmmmm. Then someone suggested I go to a hair stylist and get a professional dye job and cut. I did and suddenly everyone was commenting on how great I looked, but no one seemed to know why. So I chalked it up to good job from my hair stylist and kept the look going. When my job changed, I really had to decide if the shampoo, dye and cut was really worth the $$$. So I went back to dying my hair myself, after all it was easier to dye the whole head than frosting it.

At this time, my hair seemed to grow faster between dye jobs and I ended up half the month with the inevitable skunk line on my head. NOT a look I was going for. I also began a quest to eat healthier, get more active, losing weight -- all things to IMPROVE my health. I also began hearing of people having allergic reactions to hair dye and started to think about what I was doing as I soaked my head in chemicals twice a month to maintain a fake appearance. So I began contemplating going completely gray again to see what it would look like. I did have some moral support and someone who actually was going to go through it with me. (She chickened out.)

So I began the process of painfully growing out my gray...can we say EPIC skunk line?!?

Thankfully, God blessed me with a beautiful head of hair and a really nice shade of gray and NOT those kinky uncontrollable gray hairs that my brother warned me about!

 

I started to get compliments on how great my hair looked. Young and older men offered me assistance when I was struggling to carry groceries or pick up a heavy load. Comments like "you shouldn't be doing that" amused me because I knew it was coming from the perspective of 'we can't let this old lady do this!!!'

I am currently on a business trip of sorts and the attention I am getting is so amazing. Young women are offering to help me so I don't "have to walk that far" and offer me the bus schedule. They are astounded when I come back with my filled backpack and I tell them I decided to walk. All the hispanic men sharing breakfast with me say "Good morning" or teasingly say "You don't want to get in the elevator with us, go ahead" and then hold the door, move aside to let me get my breakfast or on the elevator. I LOVE IT!

I am also glad to see I am up with the times:  It's hot to go gray.

I volunteer at our local Love INC ministry almost daily since I was let go from work. But the guys and gals who work with me know -- I am strong physically and emotionally. They rush to help me, but have learned, I can tow the line when needed. Once last week I was helping two men carry a large cabinet when I stated, "I can feel the back going." They both looked at each other and tried to wrestle the cabinet out of my hands. When I realized what they were thinking I told them "the back of the cabinet, NOT MY back!!!) Both breathed a sign of relief and we continued to load the cabinet into the shed. I just had to chuckle!

I keep telling people..."The experts tell us to lift weights as we age. So I am lifting weight!!!" Now let's get her done and stop judging!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blue Sparrow Dreams

This morning I awoke from a dream...

I dreamed I had gone into the garage of our home that is attached to the house and can be entered into from the kitchen. When I opened the door I noticed a beautiful blue bird that looked more like a sparrow flitting around trying to get out. I wanted to catch him as he was so beautiful and unlike any sparrow I had seen before. Knowing I couldn't keep him, I caught him and took him to the back door of the garage and set him free.

When I came back into the kitchen I noticed another blue sparrowlike bird inside my house! This one was not flitting, but was struggling to fly and I could see that while he was not hurt, he was in desperate need of some help. Since I had no idea how long this bird had been in my house or what was wrong, I knew I couldn't set him free the way he was. I went to get a old birdcage that I had and put  the bird into it. Here he was safe from hurting himself and I had an opportunity to look at him closer.

Photo credit to Richard Shears
http://richardshears.com/2009/10/16/blue-sparrow/

His wings were not broken, yet he struggled to fly. Every time he landed his feet could not hold him and he tipped over onto his chest. He look so small and weak. In the cage were a few items that I had not removed and before I knew it the bird was pecking at what appeared to be a small toy. I looked closer and saw a small plaster animal that must have either been stored in the cage or dropped in by one of the kids. The bird feverishly pecked at the object and then would spit out the pieces. I realized he must be starved so I went and got some birdseed from the garage and placed it in the cage along with a small bowl of water. The bird ate and drank and became more alive before my eyes.

I wanted to keep the bird because he was so unique and beautiful, but I knew I could not. I would free him once his strength returned and he was able to fly safely.

I have had many dreams, but this time I asked the Lord to provide an interpretation and He gave it...

The house was not my own, but His church. Some people get trapped inside and stay within the walls of the church that they believe they are no longer able to escape to fly freely as He had designed. They just stay because they can't find their way out or become accustomed to where they are. Others are poisoned by what they are feeding on or are being starved altogether from what is being taught.

We as believers need to feed on the True WORD of God, the Living Word, His Manna for us. We also need to share what we have learned as we have the seed to give others life, health, and freedom.

As I have been on an intense journey over the past two years, learning much more of what the Lord wants me to do in my life, I have lacked the confidence to think I had much to share. This dream has taught me that what I have could be just the food some need to survive. I must share it and not just store it up!

By the way, Blue Sparrows are out there. They are very rare and many do not even know they exist! They have been spotted in Australia and in Texas, USA. See the link under the photo.










Sunday, July 13, 2014

A view from the hammock...

 As I sat in my hammock today, I was asking God what He wanted me to do. Lately I have been very involved in starting a ministry to organize the churches in the area to meet needs that are not being met and coordinating our resources.

While doing that He has brought me into a lot of churches and introduced me to new people. I can only fathom that this means I am about to enter the next step of my faith walk with Him.

As I questioned what all this means, I was heard His voice (internally, not audibly) say look out there. What do you see?

I answered, "I see your beautiful creation. I see the field, the trees the mountains. I see the birds flying through and chipmunks running around. I see your provision for them."

"Look closer, and tell me again. What do you see?"

So I stared out across the field, over the beautiful high grasses blowing in the wind. The trees with their green leaves were fluttering in the breezes and occasionally bending with the more forceful gusts.

"What am I supposed to see?" I asked myself. I had the impression I was missing something. Something I that was so obvious it would have bit me if it had teeth (as my dad used to say.)

"I have created most of the world like this." I heard the Lord say. "You will see it repeated in many areas of my creation, in life, in the spiritual and the natural. Keep looking."

Then it hit me. I was looking at various stages of life in the grass, the field, the trees and the mountains in the distance.

Just as there were levels to the grass, height to the trees and mountains, so are their various levels and heights to the things around us.


 Looking closely at the grass, I saw many different varieties of growth. Clover, rye grass, weeds, blue grass, and more. These gasses grew daily, were cut down weekly, dried out from time to time, and sometimes died off for a period or forever.

Then I looked at the field and saw the higher growth that was some of the very same grasses we had in the lawn, but were allowed to grow to their full potential. To bud and flower and go to seed. Occasionally they to may be cut or dryout or died off.

I noticed the trees on the edge of the field, standing proud and graceful watching over the grasses of the field and reaching higher to the heavens. Some would flower, some would change color, and some would die off if not cut down by men or lightning.

Then there were the mountains in the distance, made up of trees and grasses and having their own purpose in breaking the winds that blew through the valleys and redirecting it. By causing changes in elevations that brought temperature changes and caused storms to escalate or dispel their violence around them.

I noticed that all these parts of nature while rooted in the same earth, did not move about as the animals and people. They were stuck in their places just doing their best to be who they were. Never once moving under their own power. Just stuck.

"That's what some people are too," I heard the Lord say, "they don't care to grow closer to me. They allow others to cut them down and make decisions for them. Then there are some that grow for a while and get stuck at one level in life. Others grow to a point they feel they can point the way for those behind or below them. But they are all stuck. They are all part of my creation, but they are stuck. Look again." He said.

So I looked up over the field and at this precise moment I saw a flock of birds in perfect unison, swoop into the field, down into the grasses and then in one graceful movement, fly across the field happily chirping and enjoying their freedom.

"Now what do you choose to be?" he asked.

"Oh, this is easy! I want to be as the birds!" And then I thought how the birds never has to worry about a home, it's food, or fear the weather. The only thing the bird has to fear is it's enemy. The thief who tries to steal their eggs or babies possibly destroying it's home in the process. But even then while they do make a racket if they are aware of the thief in their midst, once the crisis is over, they don't fret about it. They rebuild and move on.

Freedom I have through Christ. Provision I have through God. Direction I have through the Holy Spirit. If I trust in these three, I have nothing to fear. Fear comes from not trusting. Fear comes from trusting in the thief and giving him more power than he deserves. Fear is why we get stuck.
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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grandma Faye's Lasagna Recipe


This was a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was growing up. After sitting down with her as she made it to get the recipe, I enjoyed making for my own family. It became a favorite for them as well. Everyone raves over how delicious it is and I have never seen one with these ingredients.

So for my niece and nephew and three sons and their families...Mangia!

Serve with garlic bread and salad for a delicious meal!

Allow plenty of time to let the sauce and meats cook down.(3 hrs. at least)
Baking time, once assembled, is another hour.

2  T Olive oil (1 for sauce, 1 for noodle water)
3  lbs. chuck steak
3  lbs. pork loin ends or country ribs
1  lbs lamb loin end can take the place of 1 lb. of pork loin end (lamb adds flavor)
1  lg onion
3  cloves fresh garlic
1  T garlic salt
1  T Italian Seasoning
1  T crushed basil (dry)
1  T  Oregano (dry)
3  28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
3  small cans tomato paste
3  lbs. lasagna noodles (regular, not the no-cook kind)
3  lbs. of ricotta cheese (low-fat or regular)
2  lbs. mozzarella cheese, 1/4" sliced or shredded* (lowfat and low salt if you can get it)
   *Don't buy shredded, it's coated with stuff to keep it from sticking together.
Cooking spray

In a large saucepan add olive oil and heat to brown meats. Remove browned meats from pan and slightly brown the onions. Add garlic - cook 1-2 minutes, but don't burn. Stir constantly. Add back the meats and add tomatoes and tomato paste and all seasonings. Stir. Bring to boil and then simmer for three hours or until meat fall off the bones.

Remove meat from sauce to a large bowl and allow to cool.
In the meantime, start a large pot of water to cook the lasagna noodles.

In a separate bowl put in the ricotta cheese and stir in a small amount of sauce (no meat) to make a smooth consistency - Not too much! You don't want runny cheese. Set aside.

Remove the bones and fat from the meat and discard. Break up all the meats into small pieces (they should just pull apart) and put back in the bowl.

Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the water for the noodles. (You can add 1 tsp. of salt to the water if desired.) Bring water to a boil and add noodles one pound a time...Reduce heat to a slow boil. (Cook one pound then remove to colander carefully with tongs. Use the same water to cook the next pound and repeat.) This keeps the noodles from over-cooking and sticking together. As one pound cooks you can start assembling the lasagna.

As the noodles finish cooking and cool enough to handle, start to assemble the lasagna.
Use a large roasting pan or two 13" x 9" pans.

Add a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan to give the noodles a base to sit in.
Layer each item in the pan in this order:
Noodles, overlapping the sides a very small amount.
Meat - 1/2 the amount
Ricotta - 1/2 the amount
Mozzarella less than 1/2 as you need some for the top
Sauce divide for three layers
Repeat these layers
Top with noodles, cover with sauce and add mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray so cheese doesn't stick.
Carefully cover with aluminum foil but don't let the foil sit on the sauce or it will corrode!
Try to make a cover with the aluminum foil so it doesn't touch the cheese or the sauce and you will be golden!


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes.**
Let it set for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
(Good time to heat up some garlic bread!)
** For day ahead. You can cool and refrigerate overnight.
Reheat at 250 degrees for one hour.