Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Splendor

Gotta love the fall colors.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Camera... New Start To The Blog

Got a new camers... a point-and-shoot... and plan to keep it with me to capture whatever pretty, interesting, maybe disturbing, things that I see as I go about my days. I'm not calling this a "365 Day Experiment." Just whatever, whenever. So enjoy!

I drove through Prendergast Cemetary in Jamestown and saw this pretty mix of hydrangeas and maple leaves. I love cemetaries.

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
-- William W. How

Monday, June 08, 2009

Get Off Your Knees And Pray

"It is not possible to stink at prayer... from God's perspective, He gladly receives our words and He sees our hearts. Any prayer is a gift to him, for it means we are talking to Him.

When we recognize God is always with us, every breath can be a prayer. Prayer is not just a few sentences we say to God while on our knees, but it is living out our on-going, every moment commitment to God -- hence the title: Get off your knees and pray!"
-- "Get Off Your Knees And Pray" by Sheila Walsh, italics mine

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Favorite Books By A Favorite Author

Don't you find it interesting to know what popular authors like to read? Here's John Grisham's list of the five best books of 2008:
  • Mark Twain by Ron Powers = ''An accessible and compelling biography of the great man.''
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell = ''A provocative look at who succeeds and why.''
  • The Second World War by John Keegan = ''A defining history of the war.''
  • Marathon Man by William Goldman = ''A book I reread to remind myself what great suspense should be.''
  • A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger = ''The true story of a sensational crime and a wrongful conviction.''

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 70 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 11

Good New Book

I really enjoy the author Alexander McCall Smith. He has written several series', including the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the Isabel Dalhousie mysteries, and the 44 Scotland Street series. Each story is full of interesting studies of character development. The mystery aspect of some of the books is light, focusing more on the characters and the development of the setting. Check them out for a taste of Africa or Scotland.

I'm thankful for:
-- discovering a good author who has written lots of books
-- time to read and the ability to get absorbed into a good book

Day 69 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 10

Fiery Lining

-- I'm thankful for the individual beauty of each sunset

Day 68 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 9

Mo's Watchful Eye

-- I'm thankful my cats like their kitty condo

Monday, March 09, 2009

Day 67 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 8

Coaster Daze

-- I'm thankful for interestingness

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Day 66 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 7

Highland Finery

The Tartan Ball was held last night at the Rainbow Gardens ballroom in Erie, PA. It was my first performance on tenor drum with the 96th Highlanders. It was fun! (I did discover that it takes a LONG time to get dressed into this gear: hose, flashing, kilt, sporran, shirt tie, vest, drum harness, hat, gillies, etc.)

-- I'm thankful for music of all kinds

New Look

Decided to freshen up the blog a bit. Do you like it?

Day 65 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 6

Turkey Trot

Saw a pair of these guys today. They are pretty slow so I was able to snap this pic before they got away. They are sure ugly birds, and I don't think they are very smart. One time I saw a flock standing on one side of a log, very perplexed on how to get to the other side. For some reason, jumping over hadn't occurred to them.

-- I'm thankful for surprising sights of nature

Day 64 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 5


This is a picture of snow melting. In order for this to happen, it has to be warm outside. Yes, it is! I brought back some warmer weather from AZ. Wheeeeeee!

-- I'm thankful for the impending change of seasons

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Day 63 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 4

Long Shadows

We’ve had sun consistently this week but it is still cold outside. At least we seem to be taking steps in the right direction. Come on, Spring – break through!

I have never been a fan of the author Anne Rice. I don’t consider vampires to be my genre of choice. However, I am intrigued by the recent news of her coming to faith in Christ. Today in Books & Culture magazine, I read a review of Anne’s new book, “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.” It looks intriguing – has anybody read it? Here’s what I learned about Anne:

  • Her daughter died of leukemia at age five

  • She went through a spell of heavy drinking

  • Her education was formulated at all-girls Catholic schools

  • She was named “Howard Allen” because her father wanted a son; she insisted on being called Anne but suffered gender identity issues

  • She abandoned her faith and “poured out the darkness and despair of an atheist” into 21 books, starting with “Interview With A Vampire”

  • While roaming the churches and cathedrals of Europe to research her vampire novels, she became convinced she was being pursued by something. “I was Christ haunted,” she says.

  • In 2002, she finally got the message, “Write for God.”

    I think I might like to read her latest book. Any other takers?

-- I'm thankful for interesting stories of conversion from unlikely sources

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Day 62 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 3

Mahjong Master

I love playing Mahjong on the computer and I think I'm pretty good at it. Imagine my surprise when, in AZ, I was taught to play the real game and discovered that it has NOTHING to do with the computer game except for the look of the tiles. It is quite puzzling that someone would create this computer game of the same name and have it be so dissimilar. Unfortunately, the real game is much harder than the computer version. I hope I'll get to play again one day so I can hone my skills.

On another note about games, has anyone ever played Mexican Train Dominos? Fun stuff!

-- I'm thankful for games and other activities that are fun and don't cost anything

Day 61 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 2

Sunbathing Beauty

Apparently I've brought the sun back from AZ.

-- I'm thankful for warm sun on cold days

Day 60 of 365 Day Experiment -- March 1

New Book

I've joined a group to discuss the book, "Resident Aliens: Life In The Christian Colony... A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture And Ministry For People Who Know That Something Is Wrong." After one chapter, I find it a bit tedious but I'm told it gets better. I'll let you know what I think once we're into it further.

I'm thankful for:
-- changes of plans
-- naps
-- leftovers

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Day 59 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 28

Cool Advertising

I wrote back on Day 13 about my favorite coffee shop in town and the vehicle they had for advertising it. I saw it today, uncovered of snow, and took the photo as promised. Had my hazlenut steamer... all is right with the world.

-- I'm thankful for sweet drinks

Day 58 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 27

Barrel Cactus In Bloom

Having to head home today is depressing. I know it will be cold and snowy, but this little hiatus will give me the energy to make it to spring. Thanks to L&S for this wonderful week. Thanks, God, for the sun and warm weather!

I'm thankful for:
-- chinese food
-- renewal
-- yellow

Day 57 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 26

Watch Out

Got 43 more geocaches today... life is good.

I'm thankful for:
-- good conversation
-- seasons

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 56 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 25

Desert Terrain

Another warm day in Phoenix with a nice long walk.

I'm thankful for:
-- cell phones
-- a heightened sense of awareness when danger might be present
-- lizards
-- photography

Day 55 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 24

Springtime Color

Today I got lots of scratches, a forehead cut on barbed wire, a bit of a sunburn, but grabbed 41 geocaches. It was great!
Great Cache Container

I'm thankful for:
-- colors
-- a change of scenery
-- the variety you see in nature
-- fun hobbies to occupy your time

Day 54 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 23

Here Comes The Sun

Long day of traveling today, but I got to experience a 70-degree change in temperature in one day. Love that! Hello Phoenix!

I'm thankful for:
-- sunshine
-- alarm clocks (when you set them properly)

Day 53 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 22

Pam, Pipe Major Of The 94th Highlanders

Thought for the day: "My suffering, like the suffering of Christ, is not only for me, but is part of God's plan to help other people. It gives me a reservoir of compassion." -- Bill McPhee

This statement stopped me short. Does it do the same for you? I didn't want to like this idea, but it is biblical. See 2 Cor. 1:3-4 "... the Father of compassion and the God of comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received..."

-- I think I'm thankful for pain

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 52 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 21

Current Weather

In two days, I'll be making a 50- to 60-degree jump in temperature as I travel to Phoenix. I can't wait!

-- I'm thankful for respites

Day 51 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 20

Jesus Mural

This startling mural appears on the side of a church in Findlay Lake, NY. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere which is why I describe it as startling. You probably can't read it, but the lower right corner says, "Jesus Loves You -- He Really Does."

-- I'm thankful for the ways Jesus jumps out at us in surprising places

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 50 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 19

Artwork By Drew

My nephew, just 4 years old, created this masterpiece. Can you see his signature in the corner? So cute! I don't know what this depicts so I need to ask him about it. I love that my mom mailed it to me.

-- I'm thankful for my niece, Morgan, and nephews Graham, Drew and Sam

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 18

Wegmans Low-Fat Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream

-- I'm thankful for ice cream. Actually, I'm thankful for dessert in general.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 17

Good TV In The House

I'll admit it -- I like American Idol. Simon, Paula, Kara and Randy keep my attention now until the end when the winner is crowned. I can't stand some of the 36 who remain, so we'll see how long they last.

I'm also partial to The Amazing Race, Survivor, and Top Chef, to name a few. See a pattern here? Can you say reality, which really isn't reality?

I'm thankful for:
-- living vicariously
-- meeting new people

Day 47 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 16

I Hate It When That Happens

Another nice drive today home from Rochester. Saw "Slumdog Millionaire." Wow -- a mesmerizing movie. Have you seen it?

One distressing thing: there are now as many commercials as there are previews before a movie starts. I don't like this.

I'm thankful for:
-- road trips
-- interesting landscapes
-- good movies that pull you in to a new world

Day 46 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 15

Going Nowhere Anytime Soon

Nice, sunny drive over to Rochester today. Good company, good times.

I'm thankful for:
-- aunts, uncles and cousins
-- mexican train dominos

Day 45 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 14

Tiny Visitors

It was warm today and it was the first time I recall hearing the chorus of feathered friends in a long time.

-- I'm thankful for the birds and their songs

Day 44 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 13

Driveway Snow Art

I was walking along well after dark and saw this silhouette on the ground.

-- I'm thankful for nature's surprises

Day 43 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 12

Nighttime Directions

I'm thankful for:
-- wildlife
-- stew

Day 42 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 11

Rich, the master of my coiffure

-- I'm thankful for people who make us look beautiful

Day 41 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 10

Just so-so today.

-- I'm thankful for the mundane sometimes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 40 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 9

Today's photo would have been of the beautiful full moon we had, complete with some wispy clouds and some tree branches in the foreground. However, my camera was dead. So please imagine this nice image in your mind...

-- I'm thankful for rechargeable batteries when they are charged.

Day 39 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 8

Have you ever been to a Chili Cook-Off? Participants make their best recipe so you end up with lots of varieties and flavors to try. We even had a "Chicken's Chili," which was actually chicken noodle soup. You vote for your favorite by donating money, which all goes for a good cause in the end. Good stuff, although I had some heartburn after the fact.

-- I'm thankful for inter-church fellowship

Day 38 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 7

I have spent quite a bit of time catching up on my 365 Day Experiment. Despite my review at the end of month one, I have not followed my own advice. I'm trying to recapture past days and it is hard. Going to Chicago threw me off a bit because I didn't have internet access for most of the trip. (Stayed in an expensive hotel, and yet they wanted to charge $10 for internet -- stink!) So I have no picture for today and don't remember what I was thinking about ...

Day 37 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 6

Isn't this a beautiful kitchen?

-- I was thankful to have the day off today to rest, read, watch TV, and not do much else.

Day 36 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 5

The Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. Beautiful building but a poor picture as we flew by it. I guess Chicago often looks like a blur when you are driving through?

-- I was thankful today to have some down time to think and reflect. I had been surrounded by lots of people all week and needed some space.

Day 35 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 4

Brad and John

These are two of my spiritual mentors (no snickering from those of you who know them). They have taught me much, challenged me, laughed with me, done God's work with me, and experienced pain with me. I'm proud to call them my friends and love it when I know I'll get to see them and talk to them. Thanks, guys, for all you've done for me!

I could kick myself for not taking another photo today of my good buddy, Bob. We had lunch and a great time catching up. He, too, has been an important person in my life for many years. We've talked and shared a lot, and he was the best gift from one of my previous jobs.

I am thankful for:
-- all of my friends, especially these guys. How could we go through life without the love and care of our friends? I am so blessed and glad for these connections.
-- deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza

Day 34 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 3

Here are about 40 folks from the Association of Covenant Camps & Conference Centers (ACCCC) having dinner together at the Ram Restaurant & Brewery. I spent 3 days with these good folks sharing ideas, being encouraged and challenged. They are great and I'm proud to call them my colleagues in ministry.

I'm thankful for:
-- my job and my connection to others who do something similar
-- further insights into who I am

Day 33 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 2

This is a blurry photo of a worship service at the Evangelical Covenant Church's Midwinter Conference. Reportedly over 1,000 people here, and the worship was AMAZING. Great music, good speakers, and such a good vibe in the place. Loved it!

So the Super Bowl was great, too, eh? Way to go Steelers!

I'm thankful for:
-- my denomination, which is vibrant and doing exciting things
-- the diversion of great sports on TV

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Day 32 of 365 Day Experiment -- February 1

Soldier Field in Chicago

I'm in Chi-Town for most of the week on business. I'm looking forward to some interesting places for photos, and the weather is warmer here! This was taken while driving down Lakeshore Drive at dusk, so it's the best I could do today.

I'm thankful for:
-- a change of scenery
-- big city life (it seems exciting)

Review of 365 Day Experiment

I have completed one month of my 365 Day Experiment. So far, I think it is going pretty well. It has made me be more cognizant of what I'm thankful for. I'm also oriented around finding a photo to take each day. Things I want to improve:
  • I need to do my posts each day so I can remember better what I've been thinking
  • I have not been journaling as much as I had planned so I want to step it up on the writing

So, I look forward to the review after month #2!

Day 31 of 365 Day Experiment -- January 31

Here's my hot ride to Chicago. Not. Wouldn't it be nice if rental car companies would usually run out of all models except for red mustangs?

-- I'm thanful for friends who are willing to shine light into a dark place in your life. Even when it hurts.

Day 30 of 365 Day Experiment -- January 30

Here's a dinner I really like:
  • A grilled, thin strip steak with Lawrey's seasoning
  • A few small white potatos with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and dried cilantro
  • Peas with a bit of butter

I'm thankful for sunshine

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 29 of 365 Day Experiment -- January 29

A poster I put together for promoting our summer camp program.

Today I've been reviewing summer employment applications and writing interview questions. That has led me to think about my past jobs and interviews. I've had some doozies! Check this out (names have been changed to protect the guilty)...

  • One interviewer introduced me to another employee and said, "This is Gina, and she is difficult." I felt so bad for Gina to be "outed" like that. But guess who my supervisor ended up being for that job? Yup -- Gina. And she was difficult!

  • This same interviewer described herself as "not sensitive." I know now that I should have asked what she meant by that statement. Instead, I assumed she meant that she had a thick skin and didn't let little things bother her. The truth was, she didn't have a caring bone in her body and made sure we all knew it.

  • Another interviewer opened the session by spending about 30 minutes telling me about the company and the job. When he finished, he said, "Do you have any questions for me?" He was clearly done with the interview. I had to say, "Would you like to know anything about me?"

-- I am thankful for all the jobs I've had, both good and very bad, because I've learned at least one thing from each of them. I know that I could never be as bad a manager as a couple of the ones I was subjected to. (Not the best sentence grammar, but you know what I mean.)