Inspired

 

lifeWow! The mild months that are normally cold and brutal in this part of the world have been just flying by! I have logged a great deal of information onto paper in order to keep an accurate track of the many joys and blessings that we have been privy to. (I have, unfortunately, found that my mind is just too cluttered lately to keep it all in line. :)) One thing you will always, I hope, note in my writing- the message that I hope to send out to the world- is positivity. Sure, there have been FAR too many moments when it felt like the sun had gone out. For a moment. But, I choose to look for the lesson in every situation.

My hard-working husband is on the go, seemingly nonstop, as he was promoted to Sergeant recently and is enjoying the new challenges that have arisen. The gorgeous area where we live is now starting to come alive with robins, tiny scurrying critters, and warmer breezes as we prepare for Spring to make her grand appearance. True to New York State style- a snowstorm-our area’s ONLY real storm to speak of this winter, is predicted for Sunday into Monday ( March 20-21; The first day of Spring.) For those of us who have lived their entire lives in New York State, this comes as absolutely NO surprise.

Bonds of friendship are being strengthened all the time as we thoroughly enjoy every moment that we are able to spend with our friends, family, and church family. We are truly SO very blessed to have been given the suggestion to visit Northpointe Church in September of 2013. We are ALL four forever changed by the love and kindness and kinship that have been shared and shown to us. Remarkable! If you are local to Binghamton you are missing out if you are not attending there! I was so blessed today to be invited into the home of a wonderful friend of mine met through Northpointe. What a relaxing and enjoyable conversation we had- it felt like 5 minutes, and I then look at the time to discover we had been conversing for over 2 hours! We both agreed that THAT is the mark of a great friendship combination. We share a lot of common bonds and I came away feeling- well, as the title says: Inspired! When your soul meets another like it, you cannot help but come away with the feeling that “Yeah, everything is alright in the world today.” The feeling hasn’t left me, hours later.

No one says life is ever going to predictable, and really- would we want it to be? I know all too well from first hand  experience that life can throw us some nasty curveballs. Loss and fear creep into my thoughts occasionally, usually late at night. The kids are asleep and I am left to read, think, channel surf. I usually find myself doing a combination of thinking and praying. I wonder? Does God hear unspoken prayers? I think he does. I have begun to pray aloud a whole lot more lately. The sudden losses of so many wonderful entertainers, the unrest that surrounds the state of our Country, the downright deplorable behavior that the men and woman who are campaigning to be President of our Country routinely engage in, as well as the loss of two great people in my own life have gotten my thinker really tuned-in to how I am feeling.

I may have mentioned that I am studying to attain my Master’s of Social Work. I look forward with uncontainable excitement to the day that I will sit across from my first client in my new role as a Therapist. I find the greatest joy in life, besides my family and friends, in helping others and listening to people tell me about themselves. There is so much perspective to be gained from looking outside yourself and listening to people. Everyone has a story to share- although some individuals may not feel like their story is worth telling (they always are!) I had a chance to do that today with my great friend, and she was right in tune with me, listening, encouraging, appreciating everything I had to share. Rare? Yes, very. Gratifying? Yes. Yes!

I hope everyone is well, happy and pursing their dreams! I live now by the mantra that, to paraphrase loosely, if you find a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life! Thanks for the love and support shown to my blog by everyone! It makes me smile to know that I can share this journey called Life with all of you!

Fondly,

Amy 🙂

Remembrance

beautifulsoulIt never fails to amaze me how quickly time passes by, friends become closer or drift away entirely, and the items and people we once found so sacred, are now gone or reside on another level. I had always been under the impression that one needed to know someone completely – inside and out, up and down- in order to really know they were someone you wanted to devote your time or even your life, to. I feel silly saying such, as my wonderful husband and I met, dated, and married in just five months and one day! 🙂 Thirteen plus years later, the love that united us in the beginning has only grown stronger, kinder, more understanding, and has held us together when the whole world around us was falling apart. Soul Mates absolutely DO exist- I know, I have found more than one kindred spirit in my lifetime, and they are individuals who have changed my life in such a positive way, I am certain I would not be who I am today without that connection.

On Monday, I stood holding the shaking hand of one of those kindred spirits as we said our final farewell to her beloved Father, who had passed January 28, 2016- very suddenly. I am not able to spend every afternoon chatting over coffee with Angie, but I sure wish we were able- she and Tom live a couple hours away, but I do believe that absence does make the heart grow fonder. I could not wait to get to her side on Monday, yet I am so deeply saddened that this was the reason we were able to grab a few hours together. I would do anything for a friend, and Angie is not just ANY friend. She is my sister- a friendship that was completely unexpected or foreseen, yet has blessed the hearts and lives of our family in so many wondrous ways. Oh the ache I felt to hold her and hug her when I heard the news that Thursday. That is probably one of the hardest things about them living out of our area. Family, school, and obligations at home kept us from being with them when we wanted to be-  immediately!!!!

With the utmost respect to her privacy, as she is not a “social media” type of person, that is all I will say about that. Just remember this: Friends who will be there for you through the thick and the thin are few and far between. I am blessed beyond measure to have many who I know I can call on in any type of situation. (One I have only met recently, but who has demonstrated what a true friend is- David Doyle! 🙂 ) I still have much hope in my heart that 2016 is going to be a good year with many treasured memories yet to be made. Attending such services only stands to remind us how fragile life really is. Hold tight to your children, your spouse, your friends- the world is an amazing place to live in, yet can also be so confusing and cold. Seek the sun. Seek hope and give of yourself to others without thinking of what you may gain. In truth- you gain everything!

Have a wonderful Wednesday- Halfway to the weekend!

Blessings!

Amy 🙂

The Ides of my life

Hello everyone!

I hope that each and every one of you had a fantastic and memorable Christmas! Our little family had probably the greatest one ever. If you reference the title of this post and do a little research, you will find the signifigance. This year 2015, has been both the happiest year of my life and the most challenging, terrifying, and difficult- at the same time.

I have struggled personally, emotionally, as well as spiritually; on January 5, 2015, as Brady and I ate breakfast at 7:20 in the morning and were preparing him for his school day, a massive three section part of a large pine on our property came crashing down onto our home. Singly the most frightening sound I have ever heard in my life. The process of removal began immediately in zero or below temperatures by my husband, our friend, Bill Humphrey- who with one call was here in minutes and returned each day for many days to come. We can never thank you enough, Bill!!! Our neighbor, Tim Horrigan, whose home was damaged by the high winds that day as well, came rushing over, too. When inspections were all said and done, we submitted a claim to our insurance company for a roughly $23,000 loss. We were so blessed that no windows blew out, nor was there any severe structural damage that would have caused us to have to leave our home for a time. For that fact, we are forever thankful.  I won’t, however, forget the horrible feeling I would get whenever I would walk by our kitchen window that overlooks our patio. I prayed for the snow to stay forever- and last winter, it felt at points like it might- I just could not bear to look at the tangled pile of metal and wood that was once our side lawn. It was functioning at that point as a graveyard for what was destroyed from the collapse of the tree. Repairs were complete in early June- we had to wait for Spring, it IS New York, and we went about the job of replacing the “stuff” that was destroyed outside. ( Lawnmowers, Barbeque grills, Patio furniture, etc.)

Right around this time, I finally started to feel so much better emotionally, and enrolled myself in school- online through Kaplan University- to complete my Bachelor’s Degree. I had graduated in May 2014 with my Associate’s from SUNY Broome in Health Sciences. My passion for helping others and pushing on towards my MSW and a career as a Therapist was back on track!!

Fast forward to Mid November- Ryan and I come downstairs one very early morning to find that our heat is not working. He had to leave for work right away, so we decided we would deal with it later, and moved on with our day. I returned home later that afternoon and ventured down to our basement to discover: our furnace and the floor around it covered in fuel oil. I knew that this was big trouble. I won’t subject my readers to all the daily struggles that the next TWO weeks without heat or hot water put on my family, but as you may be able to imagine, it was just short of a nightmare. We finally were given the thumbs up that our new furnace was completely installed and operational and we were ecstatic!! We had persevered once again, as a fearsome foursome, and not unlike Memorial weekend when temperatures dropped to 30 degrees, we had weathered the storm!!!

Ryan and I were trudging right along with our classes, just as our bright, sweet boys are with their schooling, as we are both online students. Ryan has maintained straight A’s since he returned to school last fall. He has just completed his third semester attending full time. He is truly inspiring, as this past semester, he tackled 16 credits, all while working full-time and maintaining his Air National Guard career. ( He just entered his 17th year of service.)

I definitely did not have a course in mind for where this post would go as I sat down yesterday to begin it. All I had was the title that I thought was fitting for what I mentioned has been easily the most challenging year of my life. Before I began to write this, I carefully dressed in my favorite black dress, sometimes worn to weddings and parties. However, yesterday I put it on to go to the funeral of a dear friend of myself and Ryan. Ron was a unique and charismatic individual, who had the ease to be able to start up an interesting conversation with anyone he happened to meet. I won’t forget the first time I met him, outside on my own back lawn on a beautiful Autumn Saturday in 2009. It was Carter’s 6th Birthday and he was bringing his daughter, Gia, to the party. I was taken aback a bit, usually it is the Moms that shuffle the kids around, but Ron was not your ordinary Dad. He shook my hand firmly, being a retired Corrections Officer and avid sportsman, he was in very good shape. I remember inviting him back to enjoy the party and was surprised to hear him tell me, Yes, he would be back, he was going to go home and pick up the rest of the clan! He was serious- and what a wonderful family he had with his wife, Sonja, and their now 8 children. I have lost friends and loved ones before, and I am always left with the feeling that I am being directed to examine my OWN life. As a popular song’s lyrics say: “We are not promised tomorrow.” I am proud to call Sonja and her children our friends and will be there for them every way I can in the months and years to come.

I would like to say I held it together yesterday, but that would be a lie. Our Pastor is so happy to welcome this family into our church, and being a father of five, he stood before these glorious children, tears brimming and gave them some fatherly advice- care for one another, forgive one another, be there for each other throughout this, and in life, and help your Mom. I expected nothing less from the caring, Godly man Kenny is. Then….The kilt-wearing bagpiper appeared and the haunting sound of Amazing Grace filled every space in our church. I looked to my husband, who on my right was holding Ron and Sonja’s sleeping 23 month old daughter, Mila. Tears streamed down his strong, normally stoic face. This was just not fair- but we must not despair, but know in our hearts that this gentle, life-loving man who we were blessed to call “friend” was now with our Lord and would be in our hearts forever.

Rest in Peace, Ron. I hope you are riding the shiniest Harley in the sky!

Amy 🙂

 

Touched

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Today has been a wonderful day for our family and I don’t mean anything in particular. When you have been through all of the ups and downs that our family has, you definitely learn to savor the small things in life. My husband is my rock, and whenever I manage to get myself really worked up over something-  ( ME? NEVER! 😉 He manages to pull me back from the brink and has been known to say: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all small stuff.” Mind you, I have no idea if I am committing a copyright infringement with that manta, but it is one from his arsenal, and it most often works for me. \

Life really IS, I feel, meant to be savored- each moment like a new flavor of ice cream. However, as we all know, that is not always easy, possible, or even desired by some. For us, it is the ONLY way that we have gotten this far in our marriage and as a family. We cheer the LOUDEST when our child scores a goal in a game (throat hoarse kind of loud), we throw our hands up on rollercoasters, run in the rain- jumping in puddles, and smile when we feel like crying, because after all, we are not in control of what is to come. I was delighted to be a part of a special tribute to a couple who have done so much to enrich our church family, and it got me thinking: we really need to not just savor the moments in our lives. We need to show our gratitude to the people, too, without whom these memories would not be possible. I truly subscribe to the notion that the more good you put out into the world, the more comes back to you. I don’t quantify it, such as three-fold, or however. I just feel that if you are smiling at cashiers, stooping down to help someone pick up the contents of their spilled purse, or giving to your church- you are paying it forward and in turn you will feel the love come through to you in another way, at another time.

We all need each other, and I know so many richly talented people, that I cannot help but feel enormously blessed. I love walking out of the doors of our wonderful church in the morning with a sense that 1) I witnessed greatness and learned so many new things and 2) That I cannot WAIT until next Sunday to gather again with my friends and family there. In closing, I wish everyone a great week! Be generous with your kindnesses- you never know when that love will be given back to you.

~Amy

Photo credit: A.L.Findore 2014 ( One of the most beautiful pre-sunrise skies ever!)

Fall Friday

It has already been such a positive experience with my blog, and although I don’t get the chance to send out a post every day,  well…if you read my last posting, you may see why! It is with a very grateful heart that I can say that today was a fun, relaxing day spent enjoying the Triple Cities Area of New York where my family lives with two friends who we feel like we could sit and talk our lives away with. These are the days that I cherish and Thank God for the gift of their friendship and the caring way that they help tote our kids along, taking time out of their busy schedule to make friendship and memories a priority.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. It is not a religious belief, it is a belief down deep in my core. There just has to be some meaning to this journey we call life, and I chose to believe that there is a divine plan. That is not to say that this plan does not take into account decisions that we make that may alter its course, because I feel it does. However, stretch your mind if you will, perhaps that plan is not rigid, however it will send that event or person back to you again, if you missed them the first time. I could get really philosophical on you, but I have been out in the beautiful fall breeze all day; leaves skipping along the sidewalks, shoppers peaking in windows, hot cups of coffee softly clinking upon saucers, and I just want to give my mind a chance to absorb the truly beautiful experience it is to spend time with our dear, inspiring, generous friends.

We always enjoy laughing the day away with you~ and can’t wait for our next adventure! They say that the best things in life are free. They weren’t kidding folks, True kindness and friendship doesn’t have to cost you anything. That is good for me, because Brady just took my last quarter to buy a gumball! IMG_20140620_080629

~A