Catalyst

Hello everyone!

I am so happy to have the chance to tap out a message today about how our family has been doing lately! Hot coffee in hand, wishing for sunshine but unfortunately it is a rainy, grey, Fall day.

Our Autumn here in beautiful New York State has been abound with glorious colors painted by the Lord himself! I marvel at the beauty of Fall- it almost feels like driving through a movie set. So beautiful, everywhere you look.

That being said, our family was hit by a small setback, if you will, on October 8, 2016. We were driving in a parking lot near our home, when out of nowhere a large pick-up truck slammed into our cute little Chevy Malibu on the passenger side. So scary! With both airbags deployed, and pinned by the other vehicle from exiting the car, I felt fear and anger of the likes I have not felt in a long time. Fortunately, our guardian angels were working overtime that morning, and Ryan, Carter, and I are recovering from our injuries, but not seriously harmed. Our car, however, was totaled! It really baffles me that this man could have been going SO FAST in a parking lot as to total our car- I have a great capacity for forgiveness, but I do not think I will ever understand. I hope he learned a lesson that day- the injuries could have been a lot worse.

With that being said, going through a situation of this type can be daunting! Ryan has been such a trooper- riffling through the paperwork for medical, making the necessary calls about the other car, and securing himself a new car. He is very happy with the 2011 Chevy Malibu that we purchased to replace the car,  but oh, what a nightmare all the details are!

Getting back into the swing of things! I hope everyone is happy and well! Enjoy Fall in it’s splendor before the majesty is gone!

Amy 🙂

Fresh and Free

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Good afternoon!
This has to be one one if my very favorite days of the year, as well as one the most bittersweet. Our wonderful, mischievous, sweet boys are finishing their last day of school. It always heralds a sigh of relief from them ( and ME!,) as well as serving as a reminder of the all too swift passage of time. We delight in all of the time we are now able to spend with Carter, who will enter the Eighth Grade next year, and Brady, who will enter the Fifth Grade. To see that in print is truly baffling to me, however, we long ago embraced the knowledge that we should squeeze the enjoyment out of each and every day. They are only young for such a short time.
So- WELCOME SUMMER and more time to make posts here, and share of our adventures with all of you! First stop– The Raquette Lake region of the Adirondack Mountains later this week!

Thank you sincerely for your readership! We look forward to an incredible SUMMER!

Amy 🙂

Crossroads

ourloves

Bald Mountain, Old Forge, New York October 2012 🙂

 

It is a beautiful, sunshine-filled Sunday afternoon as I tap this out to share how life has been treating all of us- with all of YOU. 🙂 Our little family has been very busy the last few weeks- the boys both conquered their New York State testing! YAY! Projects for school came due, meetings, piano lessons, and time spent with friends and family.

I have entitled this posting: Crossroads, because that is where I find myself at this point in time. I have vital, difficult decisions to make, and research to do regarding where to move next on my journey towards my degree in Human Services/ Social Work. I have been doing an INSANE amount of reading, listening to folks on the phone and via email trying to convince me that THEIR college is the right fit for me. I have yet to discover ONE that my heart- which has the blessing of being led by our Lord, has heard “the call” for. I just can’t seem to make the edges fit.  I will not rest until I have secured my spot at a school that meets the needs of me, and my personal situation- a Mother and Wife, first and foremost. That means a TON to me! Some of you will understand that, others will not…. it is not for me to explain. My heart is leading the way.

Our home is brimming with happy memories being made all the time, as folks who have come into our lives: through our wonderful church family or otherwise, have warmed our doorstep and shared meals and time with us lately that we are so grateful for. Nadine is so humble, kind, and sweet. She would never take credit for any of the great things she has done, and continues to do, in our lives that make every day just that much sunnier. I  hope that I bring as much joy to your life as you have to mine! You are quickly becoming a most treasured friend, and for that I am so blessed. Thank you! 🙂

Ryan and the boys and I look forward with great anticipation to the coming months of mild weather and an abundance of outdoor activities. Nothing makes us happier than being together as a family and being able to breathe the fresh air on a hike or outside working on a project. As the school year winds down now, jeans and sweatshirts are being happily replaced with shorts and polos- as the boys enjoy the time with their friends and classmates. It is so hard to believe that they will be 10 and 13 in just a few months!

I will keep you all posted on my educational journey. I have had success in following what feels “right” in  my heart in the past, and, as I stated, I rely on that compass once more as I decide where to continue on this quest. I feel deep in my heart that I just have to let things happen as they will. Stress and worry never help a situation. Sooo… stress and worry, I will not. 🙂

Please enjoy this time with your families as our side of the world blossoms into Spring! Wish me luck if you are inclined- that I may share good news soon about my upcoming plans! Blessings to all!!

Amy 🙂

Gifts

Christmas2015

Family Photo December 2015- Credit: Bea Photography (Owner- Chelsea Hover)

 

There are so many milestones in my life that relate to the month of February and Valentine’s Day. We all have the childhood memories of sweet candy hearts and valentines, prettily made envelopes taped to the side of your 3rd grade desk, enjoying the fun of a holiday party in your school classroom- never thinking that the day would come when this day would mean more than just love notes and candy.

On Valentine’s Day 2003, my husband, Ryan, and I had been married just one and a half months. Hopelessly in love, we stared down at a small plastic stick, and learned the news that would change our lives foreverin the most wondrous, frightening, joyous, and permanent way possible! Carter Ryan Findore was going to make his debut in October of 2003 and we could not have been more excited! That Valentine’s Day will probably never be surpassed by any future February the 14ths. This day in history, my dream to become a Mommy came true. 🙂

Valentine’s Day in our home consists of a variety of fruits and sweet confections and a warm pot of chocolate fondue- normally enjoyed over a card game or board game of the children’s choosing. We are pretty simple in that respect. We do not battle crowds and reservations in order to enjoy a “Sweetheart Valentine’s Day,” we celebrate with our boys, the two sweetest gifts we have ever received.

In addition, a milestone Birthday approaches for me in just a few short days. I thought, years ago, that I would already have a bomb shelter type area ready and prepared by now, for this specific event. I will be turning 40! Ah, 40 is FABULOUS is what I hear, and I truthfully HAVE always felt that age is just a number. I feel 25, though I may not be up to competing with the 25 year-olds in the next 5k 🙂 No matter! I have all I have ever wanted and more, by my side every day. The best friends a girl could ask for, a 13 year marriage that has seen me through some of the greatest and hardest times one can go through, and two glorious sons- Carter age 12 and Brady age 9- who delight and amaze me as each day comes. Enjoy the weekend and the holiday with your families. Love is the greatest gift of all, and you may learn that you discover it where you least expected!

Amy 🙂

Thank you to all who read faithfully and have been such a great support to me on this journey. I am inspired daily by the experiences that I am blessed to have with each one of you! ❤

 

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 🙂

 

Presence

kissesfrombooHi all!

Our home has been bustling with activity in the last few weeks. I am so glad that I have grabbed the chance to give a few updates and perhaps a bit of advice. This time of year is treasured by many- culture aside- for varied reasons. I love the feel of the season; the ringing of the Salvation Army bellhttps://afindore2.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/kissesfromboo.jpg?w=1462, great coffee brewing in the coffee shop I frequent- Cup O’ Jo on Front if you are from my area- best coffee and nicest people in town, and just an overall feel that I get that makes my heart feel 7 years old again.

I love shopping for our sons each year but I find that as they get older, it gets so much more difficult. Not to WOW them- they are very appreciative young men- but to find that “just right” gift. Traditions run very deep in my family and it was that way with my own family growing up. Tonight, we had the pleasure of a free hour together to decorate the Christmas tree. This is something that has always delighted me and that youthful innocence, thankfully, has never gone away. We take the time to look over each carefully wrapped ornament and, as was always common in our home growing up, I like to discuss where we got each one, who made it, or what it’s signifigance is. The kids love this. My husband usually falls asleep on the couch. 🙂 It was not part of his upbringing, but he is too kind to leave us there to do it…he sticks with us. He is a keeper!

We are also extremely blessed by the extraordinary talents that our friends who we consider family possess. My little sis, Chelsea Hover, is a great photographer, as is my dear friend Tom Slatin. Chelsea is only in her early 20’s, and has a very accomplished photography business with many repeat clients. She has been taking our portraits for almost 4 years now. She came to our home late this afternoon to shoot our photographs to be included in our annual Christmas card. I can’t thank her enough for her time. 🙂

As you share traditions with your families this year and I can tell you this: a drive to see all the lights is in our very near future, keep in mind those less fortunate and give if you are able to food pantries and clothing banks. I find it is best and most satisfying to give locally. I have yet to buy the groceries of the person in front of me in line, but I look forward to the day when I am able to do so. I am very active with my church, and the satisfaction of a job done for others is like nothing else. Each Sunday, a beautiful service comes together in perfect harmony. If you are local to Binghamton, Northpointe Church is a wondrous place to be, filled with people who only wish to create bonds of friendship and further their understanding of the Lord.

Have a wonderful evening- tuck yourself in tight!

In light of a recent  loss in our community of a loving, devoted Dr. and Firefighter at the tender age of 39, I ask you all to say a prayer for the Daggy family. Dr. Daggy left behind his wife, a young son, and 7 week old twins. It is truly heartbreaking.

Hold those you love close- You have today- enjoy your blessings!

Be well,

Amy 🙂

 

 

 

 

Pieces

The weekend has sprung upon us, and the boys and I could not be happier to lounge on a bean bag, rake leaves, or get warm and toasty nearby a late October fire. There just seem to be days in our lives when everything seems right in the world. This happens to be one of those days. I am a creative type, so there is always the longing to: well, post a blog, capture some great shots of nature or my children, archive some of my thoughts in my journal, or create on of the 1,000 recipes that I have “saved for later” on my Facebook account that look completely yummy, but I know we have to wait for later.

Life really is like a puzzle. I don’t know how you believe, evolution/creationism, however, isn’t it sometimes like someone had hold of all the fragments of our life and just tossed them over their shoulder; leaving us to put the pieces back together? I think so. I won’t tell you what to believe or even share my beliefs right now. I just feel like there are certain days when, similar to finding a lucky penny, you stumble upon a piece that fits. Those are the great days. The memorable days. The days you wish you were having when you find yourself in line at Wal-Mart, behind a woman with three screaming children, as you hold a bottle of water and a box of Tylenol. Nothing is ever perfect, and as you get older, you glean the value of a just plain great day.

Perhaps I found a piece today that fits. No forcing that’s cheating! Memories are our brain’s breathtaking photo album; one I never want to lose sight of. Have a Happy Halloween weekend with your families. Have moments. Live. Find joy!

~Amy

carter halloween 2015 Photo of my wonderful Carter 2015. A.L. Findore