Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ice on the Hudson River

     On Saturday, Pat and I took a walk on the Poughkeepsie Riverfront.  The Hudson River was covered with huge chunks of ice.
Looking south toward the Mid Hudson Bridge.
     The Hudson was called the "river that flows two ways" by the Native Americans who lived in this area.
     The Hudson River is a tidal estuary.  The tidal current in the river was so strong that the ice moved up river from south to north, although the river flows north to south.
          "Out of the south comes the storm,
          And out of the north the cold.
My dashing husband.      
From the breath of God ice is made,And the expanse of the waters is frozen."   ~Job 37:9-10
      This view is looking to the north at the Walkway Over the Hudson.  The seagulls didn't seem to be bothered by the ice.
     Just looking at all of that ice makes me feel cold.  What is the weather like where you live?  Do you have lots of ice and snow or are you enjoying palm trees and umbrella drinks?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: The Antelope in the Living Room

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     I enjoyed Melanie Shankle’s first book, Sparkly Green Earrings so much that I knew I had to read her second book, The Antelope in the Living Room.  Oh my word!  Antelope had me poking my husband and reading him excerpts.   Antelope is now on his Kindle, too.
     I loved that this book was about marriage.  Melanie celebrates and appreciates the differences between husband and wife.
     Warning!  Do not read Antelope in public.  It will have you laughing out loud like I did while waiting for my husband at the doctors office.  We were there for the dreaded man cold.  Which as Melanie points out is “... the very worst of all the colds. It’s far superior and more serious than any type of flu a wife might contract. It requires chicken noodle soup in bed, lots of “poor baby,” and Xanax. Granted, the Xanax is for the caretaker, but you get my point.”
     I am looking forward to her next book!  If you have already read this book, what did you think about it?

PS:  I did not receive payment for this review.  My opinion about this book was given freely because I think that you will enjoy it as much as I did.  If you should click on the book picture and follow the link to Amazon and purchase something - anything while you are there,  I may make a small percentage of your purchase.  This will not cost you any additional money.  If you really want to be kind, treat yourself to a pair of diamond earrings!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Roofer's Apprentice

This is the house as it looks now 25+ years later.  I suspect that is the roof we added.

     When Pat and I had been married a few years, we lived in a small cape.  We had three young and energetic sons who caused a considerable amount of chaos.  This story is not about them, but I mention them so that you will understand the depth of my husband’s desperation.
     It was summer and Pat had been working at replacing the roof on our house.  It was Pat’s first roof and he worked hard. He stripped the old rotted plywood and shingles off and had taken the roof down to the rafters.  Pat and I were young and in love, and perhaps a little bit clueless. We joked about the new “skylights” and the open air feeling the house had.  Our neighbors shook their heads and warned us to finish quickly because we would be in a world of trouble if it rained.
     The sun did shine on us for almost a week.   Pat had been busy.  The new plywood and tar paper was on and he had started the shingles.  The back side of the roof was complete, but the front hadn’t been started.  Unfortunately, a storm was due to arrive in the evening and now the pressure to finish was on.  If we were to get the roof finished that day, it was clear that Pat needed help, my help.  And that is how I became a roofer’s apprentice.
     I shakily climbed the ladder to the sharply pitched roof.  Pat ordered me to sit down and for heaven’s sake, not move.  No problem there.  He scrambled back down the ladder for supplies.  I surveyed the distant ground below.  My boys played in the yard with the babysitter.  The roof was much higher from from up there than it had looked from below.  I considered how graceful clumsy I was and wondered if this was really the best idea.  Perhaps one of those blue tarps would suffice to keep out the rain.  To my great consternation, the ladder disappeared.  I heard some clanking and banging on the other side of the roof, but as obedient as ever, I did not move.  Finally, Pat came over the peak dragging a rope.  Not just any rope.  This rope was about four inches thick.  It could have been used to safely anchor the Queen Mary.  My beloved tied the rope firmly around my waist, leaving a long tail of it so that it could be adjusted as I moved up and down the front side of the roof.  The remainder of the rope lay heavily on the roof and trailed over the peak.  Pat had tied the other end to a large tree on the opposite side of our yard.  Take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous this looked.  I had a rope that looked like an anaconda wrapped around me with one end trailing off the edge of the side of the roof I stood on and the other end slithering over the peak and down the other side of the roof, from there the rope clotheslined it’s way over to a sturdy tree at the far edge of the yard.  There was no way I was going to be allowed to fall off the roof and leave Pat to raise our three terrors on his own.
     So we shingled and hammered, in those days before nail guns.  We made a pretty good team.  As the day went on, I became confident moving about the roof with my life line.  The only time that I slipped was when I tripped on the rope.  The last nails went in as the sky shadowed with gray storm clouds.
     That night we tucked our boys in bed as the rains poured down and the lightening flashed, and we celebrated the roof over our heads and the blessings that God so freely provided.
     The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?  One thing I ask from the Lord,
 this only do I seek: 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
  all the days of my life, 
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
 and to seek him in his temple.   ~Psalm 27: 1,4
     Isn’t that a wonderful thing?  To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life.
     All the days -

  • Even the ridiculous ones.
  • Even when the storms are coming and the pressure is on.  
  • Even when we are walking on a slippery slope.  
  • Even when the ground is no longer safely beneath our feet.  
  • Even when we come to the end of ourselves and the end of our rope.  
  • Even when we walk through the shadowed valley.  

     Surely, even then, goodness and mercy will follow and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fill My Cup


     A few weeks ago, Pat and I took a ride to Millerton to visit Harney’s Tea Shop.  Lest you think that Harney’s is a Victorian style tea house with lots of lace and delicate breakables, let me assure you it isn’t.  A man can feel comfortable and at home at Harney’s.
     I am a coffee-by-choice kind of girl, but thanks to my grandmother, I do appreciate a good cup of tea.  Pat has always preferred an occasional cup of Lipton’s over coffee in any form.  After visiting Harney’s, however, Pat has become a tea snob.
     Harney’s is a delightful place to while away an afternoon.  More than three hundred different teas line shelves to the ceiling in the tasting room.  The names of the teas were intriquing:  Florence, Midsummer Peach, African Autumn, Golden Monkey, and Malachi McCormack.  There were other teas from faraway lands that I couldn’t even begin to pronounce.
     A knowledgeable young lady offered us a sample of a Japanese green tea that she had just brewed.  It tasted just as horrible as I remembered from my eleventh grade social studies class.  Pat swigged it down in two gulps.  I sipped it politely and despaired that there wasn’t a nearby plant I could secretly pour it in.  Seeing my pursed lips and pained expression, the young lady took my cup and swiftly poured several loose teas on the counter for us to savor the aroma of.  They sure did smell delicious.  Pat zeroed in on one to try with the romantic name of Paris.  In the movie Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea,” and it was.   A few minutes later, a perfectly brewed sample of Paris was placed in our hands.  The fragrance that had attracted us to this tea filled the air around us.  Pat may have groaned with delight.  Even I had to admit that Paris was amazing.
     Pat and I enjoyed a delicious lunch in their cafe.  Then we selected some teas from their store;  Paris for Pat, Chocolate Mint for Patty, and Florence for my mother-in-law Florence, because who can resist a tea with their name on it?  Pat had to have the tea mug with the strainer, the perfect spoon to measure the loose tea with, and the timing instructions for brewing his perfect cup at home.  Pat has been continuously brewing tea since then. He reminds me of his father, Paddy, who always cheerily set a cup of tea before everyone that came to visit with love and acceptance.
     Have you ever been in hot water?  It may be the loss of a loved one, difficulties with a son or daughter, sickness, or trouble at work.  Do I become anxious and irritable or do I turn to God and allow His Presence in me to be revealed?     Hot water releases the taste and fragrance of the tea.  We should choose to let our trials make us better not bitter.
       Our relationship with Christ pours out and influences everyone around us.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…   ~2 Corinthians 2:14-16
     As we go through the week, may we be cups that overflow with the presence and aroma of Christ.

Pat has a new favorite travel mug for tea.  You can find it here.
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