It WASN’T supposed to rain today. I get so tired and down when it rains. It’s hard too when you have no where to take your energy filled tots either – its not like I have a desk to chill at. Though they love to watch the rain and look with the magnifying glasses. So maybe this “rainy day won’t get me down…”

….We’ll see.

Take Care,

Be blessed and be a blessing....

I have so much to be thankful for. I really do. God has blessed me beyond wordsbeyond all that I could ask or imagine. I could never keep it all to myself – like Abram I need to share the blessings that have been given me. To give back, be a blessing, be an inspiration to those who are in need. Those who have done for me – I know that people have been on their knees praying for me this past year – I know the Lord has heard your prayers, He has carried me and I know He will bless you richly. So,I say THANK YOU for being a blessing in my life and may God continue to bless you abundantly.

I love mail. Email and snail mail (except bills – no one like those). And even more I love sending cards – I truly do and this pack is perfect – it comes at just the right time for me to reflect on the past year’s blessings and look forward to the blessings that are to come. There are so many people who have been a blessing in my life and I need to let them know that I am also praying and thinking of them daily.  God has made something beautiful out of such horrible circumstances. It will be so awesome to share things like grace, hope, thanks and just pure joy with those who have lifted me up this past year in my struggles.

Pens and stamps ready to share the love, grace and JOY!

So be blessed, be inspired, share the joy – be a blessing visit the Dayspring Online Store. And be sure to check out (In) Courage and the Inspired Daily Deals.

FTC Disclosure: I selected and was provided with the Holley Gerth Hope & Encouragement Pack from Dayspring, free of charge for review. These opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Dayspring in any way.

This giveaway has now ended – and the WINNER IS Beth Vogt. Thank you so much for your comments and tweets!

Now for the giveaway:
For a chance to win a $20 coupon code to Dayspring Online store, just do one of these things:

1) Comment below  – Share one blessing in your life from this past year.

2) Tweet this giveaway, be sure to stop by at the (in)courage site and remember to use the @ShariCakes so it will get back to me and you can be sure you’re entered.

Be blessed and Be a Blessing…#GIVEAWAY #indeals @incourage @ShariCakes

This giveaway will run from Saturday, January 21 thru Saturday, January 28th, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST. And the Dayspring Coupon code is good until December 31st, 2012.

Please be sure to leave me contact info (email) so I can get your code to you.

Thanks again for reading. Be inspired, share your blessings and CHOOSE JOY!

Many blessings as always,

Last year my good friend, Amy (@Backseatwriter) wrote her One Word 2011 post for New Year’s Day. I didn’t. I wrote a post, yes, reflecting on my year past and the things I hoped to change in Reflections: A Year Past and A Year Ahead. In my post I had hoped that my 2011 would be brighter and filled with less of the stress, anxiety, negativity, pain and bitterness that overshadowed 2010 .It seemed each day was filled with dread – dread of each day at work, more bad news, more ho hum days, grim, grey and faithless. Looking back on my 2010 reflections, I suppose “trust” should’ve been my One Word 2011.

Not that 2011 was uneventful, no it was filled with a lot of events. Unbelievable events, uncertainty, and many questions filled 2011.  I claimed faith and trust in my Savior at the beginning of the year:

“And though it seems cold and solitary – my Saviour walks with me.
This year, this journey – I have no idea what lies ahead on this road.
I have to take it and I have to rely on my faith and communion with my God to make the journey…

I know that I will look and I will see the miracles, the grace, the joys and the hope.
Through the hard times and the pain – I will still see Him and I will rejoice.
I know I won’t understand everything but I haven’t given up and I know I am not ready to.
During this “new year” I am determined to rely on my faith and my God to guide my steps.

I am hoping and praying for a better year or a better way to handle what comes.
I truly hope and pray for a blessed 2011!”

I had no idea that I would have to trust God – I said I would trust Him and He guided me through life changing emotional pain, emergency surgery, cancer, medical bills, more surgery, renewed faith, relationships and He is still holding my hand. As of December 19th – my health is still of concern to my doctors, I am ending 2011 with uncertainty, about my health and wellness.

So this year I am claiming my “health” – yes, my physical, emotional and spiritual health. I am claiming it in the name of God. I feel like my trust came with faith and my health will come with happiness and abundance. No matter how dark the days seem, I have this irrepressible hope that remains. So I claim my health and happiness and my faith, trust and hope shall remain as I enter this year of uncertainty.

I claim my health for 2012. What are you claiming for this coming year? What is your ONE WORD 2012?

Have a blessed New Year! In Jesus’ name! May He bless you always!

So I’ve been a little down lately.  Things just aren’t going my way and I am getting disenchanted. I haven’t been very focused and just blah about being home after this surgery. And then, when I felt like all the pieces were falling apart – the best thing happened.

Don’t make fun — I LOVE fruits and vegetables — an awesome {huge} fruit basket came with well wishes from our neighbor.

Hallelujah for fruit and “the fruits of the Spirit“.

So folks this is the last of my posts on Irene. Our parks have dried up and the over flowing creeks and rivers have receded. But in the hours after the storm left our area and continued north (unfortunately), our local Fish Hatchery was met with quite a muddy, murky, wet mess…

Low lying fish pods over flowed and some fishies got away.

And here is the video of our Little Lehigh Creek at the Fish Hatchery – turned raging river. I’d say about 8 feet over its normal levels….

Stay dry and safe…

So before Irene, we prepared a bit. Since in the back of my mind I knew we would have hot water and such, if the power went out, I figured we’d buy food and clear the patio a bit to avoid damage.

We prepared pretty well…

In our efforts to prepare…there is always this black cloud that likes to hang around and just reek havoc. My sister thought we’d clear the small plants and put them on the inside patio—and then it happened. She screamed, “Ewww. I smell skunk all over this potted plant.” I was like what? How and Why? I ran out and she ran in (the house) big mistake. Because if anyone knows about skunk it permeates the house in minutes. As I ran out I could smell it and I saw the dog. Yes, my ultra hairy, WHITE Samoyed rubbing her face in skunky grass. Gross!!! “Stop that! Stop that right now!!! I screamed. But it was too late. The dog was gross and skunky. I removed the plant and went to look up some kind of de- skunking solution. And I found one – apparently tomato juice is kind of a wives tale.

Here on How to Get Rid of Things – I found a vinegar/peroxide, baking soda and dish soap mix. Now in my defense it didn’t say how to mix it and I was skeptical (because it did cross my mind for a milli-second that this is the same mixture used in science class for volcanoes) but panicked and I put the mixture in a gallon jug and shook it to mix it. BIG MISTAKE as the jug began to swell I acted quickly to undo the top.  BAM the lid shot off and the vinegar mixture geysered up to the high ceiling we have in the kitchen. And all over the cabinets and the TV… was broke before the electric went out.

So now the whole house smells like skunk and vinegar. So as the mixture drips from the ceiling we manage to get it into a basin (which BTW I would recommend you use to mix the explosive combo). We wash the dogs face and head and try to regroup. I sprayed the house with a vinegar and water mixture to neutralize the skunk and it worked. I think the dog is going to need another vinegar wash down but all in all it seems to have settled and dissipated. I brushed/combed her out again yesterday and she is looking pretty good….

...except those brown spots on her legs.

So we survived before Irene and after. Stay tuned for the last edition – photo essay of after Irene “Parts Underwater”.

Have a skunk free day!

So I said I wouldn’t or wasn’t going to do a post about this but..I have to. So I was well (kinda) prepared for this hurricane. Yes, we had a mild earthquake here on Tuesday, August 23rd and we had a Hurricane  Sat/Sun, August 27th/28th. See, we don’t see much around this area in the respect of major weather catastrophes – lots of snow and heavy winds but not Category 4 & 5 Hurricanes. However, our eastern neighbors by the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers see flooding an awful lot and it is serious. So this was a big event for an area that usually sees normal weather patterns.

Anyway, I figured on we’d get heavy winds, rain and some fallen branches but not huge flooding. So we had candles, food, water the normal. I was prepared…

…I have spiffy rain boots…

…Okay so I wasn’t totally prepared for what actually happened. I was a little nervous but not so worried. I figured we’d lose power (we lost it a about a year and a half ago during a windy thunderstorm – and we were in the dark for 5/6 hours).  Any way the heavy rains came around 9:30pm, (I think).  So I showered and washed/dried a load of laundry. Why? I don’t know but it was a good thing I did. Because around 12:30am flicker-flicker-dark. Yup we were in the dark. No power – no electric, no hot water cut off.

So we lit the candles – I called and reported the outage, shut off my phone and went to sleep tried to sleep. I slept little until 7:30 am –  we still had no power but the storm had settled to just random rain and wind. I tried to call the power company again for updated and was met with over loaded call volumes and disconnected. So sitting wondering when power would come back we roughed it again… we are fortunate to have a wood stove. So it comes in handy when we need essential things like food and… water...

...we made coffee....


...and kept water and coffee hot, through the afternoon.

So, we had food and hot water for dishes and stuff. We were just without communications and the cell towers had to be a bit discombobulated because I had a rough time sending texts and making calls.

We decided to take a walk/drive. We walked the block and noticed a local store pitching ice (because they had no power and things were melting) so we scored $1/a bag of ice. We got the car and headed to see the small strip of Chestnut Street in Emmaus. Everything was totally out all the traffic lights running on generators. We headed back home and put all our perishable foods on ice. We were now 12 hours without power.  And wondering when things would be back to normal.

We sat by the radio and played games, waiting.

Nearly, the whole 10+ block grid of Emmaus was out of power…this was huge. Surrounding boroughs and townships had power. Grocery stores and Wal-Mart also had power – however, the usually short trip took longer because of winds, downed trees and creek flooding in roadways. My mother, brother and niece took a trip out to Home Depot and then Wal-Mart for supplies – kerosene for lamps and batteries and a much needed… cell phone charger. For updates on news etc.

They came back just as my frustration had peaked…. I was getting so annoyed that my phone was unable to show any of the local news apps and the local AM stations were NOT doing a better job of covering updates on the storm and power outages. I found out from a friend in the next town over that the Gov was going to be speaking and that the local stations were telling folks to go online for updates. UM, HELLO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE WITHOUT POWER. There is no way to get updates other than radio…which by the way did not stop “omega three capsule broadcasting” to let folks hear the Governors news conference. So I left to go to my dad’s who had power to charge my phone in the event that we were again without power. However, out power came on and stayed on YAY!!! (at about 3:15pm). So grateful that we made it through. It could have been worse, MUCH MUCH worse.

Sure we had an exhausting day. We suffered only minor setbacks and annoyances. We had more resources than most in a situation like this…

...very little damage. Just twigs and branches to clean up.

We had some minor water on our porch.


...these handy, dandy lanterns from the Dollar Tree. 'Cause when you gotta go...

…even in the dark…we managed to improvise. We made it through. I am still thinking and praying for our neighbors and neighboring states who are without power, have damage and flood water damage. Praying that help is on the way and where it is needed.

Stay tuned for Part II as I ventured around yesterday to parts “underwater”. And now I am signing off as I have just received a call from the power company that we will lose power again at 4:30 for two-hours for repair to the local substation this time I am prepared. 🙂

Blessings and Prayers,

Yeah, today I’m not going to write about hurricane Irene or the health issues that have overshadowed the past four months of my life. I’d like to take another peek at some of the cute, fun and happy moments shared this summer.

As seen in the latest Wordless Wednesday post, Savannah is a water dog or something like that. She enjoys splashing around.

Savannah loves her pool...

...and barking for more water.

Kitty has some other plans…you’ve seen he loves to play and get into things. He still enjoys paper balls and plastic balls.

...And snoozing cutely.

And well enough about the pets. I was determined to spite the rain that I was going to go to the beach and relax. Well I made it there twice but all in all it is one of my favorite places to be. It is so calming (even with kids randomly screaming and having sand wars next to you), the crashing waves and sounds of the water are so calming, that you literally get lost in place and time. Just like the waves “of grace” wash away the junk that clutters your life. The reminders of renewal, change and sanctity that the beach offers helps so much.

Sorry, no videos of Irene, just slightly hazardous and powerful waves at Island Beach State Park, NJ – August 7th, 2011.

It’s been a fun summer and there are more stories to follow. But for now signing off and getting ready to prepare for a maybe hazardous storm ahead. Be prepared, be safe and brave the storm ahead.

In this not so “Wordless Wednesday” – I am facing surgery. As most of you read this I will be in the hospital and possibly still in surgery. I know that I am very blessed and loved, to spite the circumstances before me. It has been a rough road since my initial surgery in April – which discovered a carcinoid tumor and cells. As I was refered to doctors and then eventually facing the treatment ahead – a right hemicolectomy to remove part of my colon, any remaining cells and lymph nodes – I have had a lot of time to think and pray. I have accepted my situation and I know I am not alone.  I have some wonderful friends and family.

Romans 8:26-28
26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and thoughts and I will be home soon (I hope).

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