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! ❤

 

Mantra

I believe I have mentioned the word Perspective in at least one blog posting since August…If not, I know surely that it has come up in conversation with friends and family at least 100 times. I am choosing that as a sort of mantra or mission statement, if you will, for the year 2016, because with it, the world is seen through a new lens, more organically, less scripted and endowed with a much greater joy and zest after all, in the words of a favorite Carrie Underwood song: “This is just my temporary home…” We are not beings made for this Earth. No matter what you may or may not believe- time and time again the notion keeps returning to one centralized concept- There is so much more than just this time here to look forward to.

I have had such a wonderful 2016 so far, and if I were superstitious like my Irish ancestors are surely known for being- I would be “knocking wood,” however the last year of my life has taught me that I should run swiftly into tomorrow- no clothing set out, no concrete plans (except perhaps an appointment or a meeting or class), but instead, an ever unquenchable anticipation of whatever it may be that lay around the next corner. Life is so short, and at times so fleeting. I have been crudely reminded of that in the last month, and I know that those who are watching me from above – cherished souls lost to our Earthly world, are rejoicing! Awake! I approach a “milestone” birthday next month with no apprehension, no self-critical glaces, NO regrets! I am so thankful, envisioned, and blessed for every contact I have made – this year and throughout my life. My Facebook page may likely have the most diverse 500+ people on anyone’s page, and each one of them means something to me, is special to my life, and has had a hand in shaping who I have become- as well as helping me stand firm in the knowledge of where I am determined to go.

Education- and the dedication to ONE subject, ONE profession, and a lifetime of repetition has been a foothold that had eluded me for a long time. I obtained my Associate’s Degree in 2014 after attending school full-time and working part-time, keeping my marriage and my family center stage and raising our two fabulous sons. It was a feat that seemed so daunting on Day One, but as I held my Diploma in my hand, through the tears of joy I felt a pang….What next? I had wanted this 8×11 piece of cardstock paper with  the word DIPLOMA on it for so long, that I had failed to look past graduation. I spend the summer bettering myself, laughing with friends, camping, and losing in excess of 50 lbs. I was altered, that was not in question, however where was I going next? I know a lot of students and graduates feel this way. I entered my first college experience- straight out of High School with a thirst for knowledge, which has never abated :), but also with a major in English- which was putting me on the fast track for either a LOONNGGG College experience or the poorhouse ( as my Grandma Smith would have said.) I now look back at what has been tried, failed at, learned, and dreamed since those days and I wish, not to change  what happened to me throughtout my life thus far, but to have had the Perspective that I now cherish. I truly believe the power of the words on the sign that hangs above our bed: “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Happy 2016 My friends! I wish you all nothing but the best! Keep dreaming BIG!

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

Touched

IMG_20141015_071057

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!)

Family

IMG_20140725_152354I am so thankful to be sitting in my 165 year old dining room, feline companion purring on my lap, coffee in my hand as the heater hums gently in the background. Ahhh! We have had quite the weekend! Saturday dawned chilly and gray with the threat of rain or even…..snow. The brisk autumn winds rustling the leaves and scattering them in all directions. This being said, WE had a party to put on. An outdoor party and we needed to get to work!!!

As my husband kindled the remnants of the previous night’s fire in the outdoor fireplace, I moved swiftly around the house from task to task then off to the grocery store for those last minute items. Our boys are our whole life and we never spare an expense when it comes to celebrating all of the abundant joy they have brought into our lives. We were expecting 25 guests for a grand party that included an hour and a half of video gaming in a 46 foot long trailer that is set up to allow up to 30 to simultaneously play various video games. The favorite, of course, being Minecraft!

We also were planning to FEED this giant group of children, varying in age from 7 to 13. We decided on a barbeque, and my husband being the resident chef- got to work on marinating chicken, cooking hamburgers and hotdogs and whipping up our favorite recipe Amish macaroni salad  that is not only labor-intensive, but so delicious!  Add a sheet cake (half vanilla, half chocolate- of course!), candy corn, chips and dip and the “you -can’t – leave-a-party-without-it” goody bags and we were set to go!

Let me just say, I am so impressed that our dear friends, Tom Slatin and his gorgeous fiancée, Angie Conklin were willing to come and help us keep the peace, serve food, answer those endless questions, and keep these 25 kids on our 3 acres of property!! Thanks guys! You are the reason this post is entitled “Family.” Without their Auntie and Uncle to not only (Tom) snap amazing photos and Angie (everything else!!!), we would have surely been trampled!

All kidding aside, we had such a wonderful time in the brisk late afternoon watching all the smiles, hearing all the laughter, and being thankful- when we had a second!- for the life that we are so blessed to be able to provide for our sons. They have such great character and compassion and due to these qualities, have chosen an array of wonderful, silly, fun-loving and just plain awesome friends! As the dust settles on this year’s party, I am reflective of what it means to have all of these great things in our lives. I am humbled and grateful for the gifts that cannot be bought by money. The ones so brightly displayed this weekend being the gift of friendship, children’s giggles, and endless supplies of stories to hold us over until next year!!!