God

Remembering…

Dad and Fritzi

Yesterday, we made the journey to Jamestown for a memorial service for my dad. A sad occasion but we also had to be concerned about the lake effect snow warnings that flashed on signs as we made our way along I86. There were threats of up to 8 inches of snow likely to fall but we figured if the weather got as bad as predicted, we would just stay overnight.

We wound up traveling several  miles behind a strange getup…it was a snowplow with a “trailer” that was pulled behind that could actually be swung out to the plow’s right side and take up the entire two lanes of traffic, plowing and spreading whatever blend of magical potient that removed the snow from the highway’s surface. This contraption slowed us down a good ten minutes and made me fret we would enter the service late.  Thankfully, the trailer slowly backed off from the plow and pulled in behind it, allowing traffic to regain speed.

We arrived at the church with a few minutes to spare, enabling us to exchange a few hugs and words of condolence from cousins we had not seen since the last funeral.  Sad, but true…

The service went well…the pastor was so wonderful! Carly’s girls, Sarah and Erin, sang Amazing Grace, a’cappella and in harmony, perfectly! I wish I would have videotaped it….I read a tribute I had written the day Dad passed. I had felt the inkling to write it before he passed. Perhaps an unction from the Lord to do this.

For those who couldn’t be there, here is the content.

My name is Kae Manelick Catalano and I am Harry’s favorite daughter. Oh, I am Harry’s only daughter.

I think most all of us have heard the words of Ecclesiasties, chapter 3.

To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Futter we read A time to weep and a time to laugh: a time to mourn and a time to dance. And verses 12 and 13 say I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

My father,  Harry, did indeed enjoy the good of all his labor. He was a man who worked hard all his life. He was a man who deeply loved his family….if we ever needed help, he was always there. Dad loved working with his hands and always had a building project, or so it seemed. Although he wasn’t especially fond of farming, I remember the large gardens he planted in Youngsville and every spring he began working flowerbeds around the house that always produced abundant blossoms. He loved nature and his backyard was a sanctuary for birds… he was excited when tiny hummingbirds would return to his feeder each spring.

One of the most outstanding characteristics about Harry, though, was how I would best describe him. Harry was a man of integrity. He was honest, straightforward,and if he said he was going to do something, he always followed through.  These traits were not only evident to us, his family, but others saw them as well. As such, his employer,  MRC/SKF, requested that he serve as a loan officer at the credit union. He felt honored and accepted the position, spending lunchtimes meeting with the other officers. He was proud of Mom when she completed college and became a registered nurse and he supported us kids in our pursuits. He was a man of integrity.

I believe my dad’s parting words would be accept Jesus, follow God’s commandments, love your family, love your neighbor, and enjoy the good of your labor,  for it is the gift of God.

After the service, a luncheon was served in the parlour. It was wonderful talking to relatives and hearing stories about Dad.

We began heading home at about 3 and happily traveled dry roads. The dreaded snow never fell and we grateful for a wonderful day, remembering a terrific man.

A Busy Weekend!

It was a busy weekend with much to do, but actually, it was a busy week!

I mentioned previously that we attended a Passover Seder on Tuesday evening.  We also attended another one on Saturday evening.  Our friends, Bill and Carolyn had decided to have two Seders instead of one because they wanted to have music and there isn’t quite enough space to have tables set up and also music equipment. Carolyn is part of the music group, along with Sue and Mark. Bill does all of the food….the man is an amazing chef!

I forgot my camera on Tuesday, but I did grab the camera bag on Saturday!  There was a lovely group of people in attendance.

Our host and hostess, Bill and Carolyn as Carolyn lights the candles.

There were four young adults who just added so much to the event.  They were awesome!

The purpose of the Passover Seder is to remember how God delivered and saved His Chosen People (Israel) from bondage when they were in Egypt.  This is a retelling of the Book of Exodus, relating the hardening of Pharoah’s heart and how God used plagues to finally get Pharoah to release the Israelites.  The final plague was when God instructed the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and paint the sides and top of their doorposts in the blood of the lamb so he would pass over their homes as He passed through and killed the firstborn of the Egyptians.

One fact that I forgot to mention is that Bill was diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung on Monday morning.  The Seders were important to him, so he carried on with his preparations….and both Seders, even though he was not up to snuff!

The Passover story takes awhile to recount, and as it is told, participants eat various “elements” such as bitter herbs (parsley dipped in salt water),  hard boiled egg, horseradish, lettuce, and *delicious* Charoset (which is apples diced into pieces, with walnuts, raisins, spices, and honey mixed in).  After the story was told, Bill served up a most wonderful meal beginning with his homemade matzah ball soup, followed by roast turkey, mashed potatoes, his homemade matzah (unleavened bread), stir-fried vegetables, and Kugel.  Believe me, no one goes home feeling hungry after this feast!

We had such a delightful evening, and after folks left, the young adults and the music group hung out and played and sang music for quite awhile.  It was a memorable night and one filled with good fun and fellowship! We really appreciate all the work Bill and Carolyn put into these Seders, and also the effort put into Tuesday nights as well when they host a dinner and music practice!

Last night….

Mark and I traveled to Rochester to see a band I have been wild about ever since I first heard them!  The name of the group is Rend Collective Experiment and they are all the way from Northern Ireland! The concert was held in Chili at a church called The Father’s House.  We had never visited this church before, but it is rather large!

The concert was held with a large amount of seating, but people were seated in other areas as well with large screens so they could see the concert.  Because Mark is in a wheelchair, they had him cut to the front of the line. Wow!  The people working as ushers and security were so tremendously nice. It was an awesome experience the whole way around. We were allowed to go into the room before others so we wouldn’t get stampeded when the doors were opened for seating.  Oh, and this concert was free!

There were two acts that opened the evening.  The first was a band called Bellarive…I had never heard of them before. They were lively and full of energy. A young girl seated in front of us told her friends the lead singer looked like Johnny Depp in The Pirates of the Caribbean and I guess he did!

The second act was a young woman by the name of Audrey Assad.  She is amazing!  I didn’t hear her name when she introduced herself, but once she began singing, I knew right away who she was…her voice is beyond incredible and her range is awesome!

It seemed like forever before Rend Collective Experiment finally took the stage but the wait was well worth it! We were warned they were going to “get all Irish on us” and teach us all about shenanigans and shindigs.  This group is so good and they certainly didn’t disappoint.  I was “warned” beforehand by security that they didn’t want any “professional photos” taken and I made it clear I am not pro!  Even with my telephoto lens with huge glass, it was challenging getting any photos of this group!  Consider photographing Mexican Jumping Beans in a very dark room…..

Here are some photos.  ( The group consists of four men and a woman who is married to one of the fellows)

What a great opportunity this was to hear a fabulous concert!

Would You Believe It?

Since I missed yesterday, I figured I would take the liberty of showing some flower photos I took a while back.  I found some wild Asters growing down at the bottom of our driveway and began photographing them.  They were so pretty!  As I enlarged the photos, I began to see that each flower had its own “personna”!  They were so cool to look inside and no two were exactly alike!

I was so impressed! When I see all the variety and colors and shapes and everyrthing surrounding me, I cannot help but think just how big and amazing our God is!

Random Thoughts…

Mark had a doctor appointment yesterday, so we had to run to Canandaigua. In a world in which doctoring has become an “industry” as opposed to a “profession”, it really is wonderful to visit with our doctor.  This of Medicine Woman!

The doctor told us a story about a patient who came in one day with his daughter, who had an ear infection.  The doctor, in looking at the father, discerned that he might be sick.  He was sent to another doctor for a specific procedure, who then sent him to a surgeon who discovered he had cancer.  Although this (young) man’s outlook is grim, the doctor told us she had done something totally against all of her medical training….she had gone with her intuition.

As the doctor told us this story, I felt compelled to tell her about that still small voice with which God so often speaks.  When we seem to know something that doesn’t make sense, or even comes out of the blue,  I believe God is telling us something that we need to know.  All we need to do is listen!

We shared more things that were on our minds and the doctor told us a story that revolutionized her professor’s life. The man, teaching a class of interns, asked if they could improve a patient’s outcome, with a treatment that cost nothing, but had positive results, would they do it?  The entire class answered affirmatively.

The professor went on to explain his experiment he had carried out.  He scientifically and methodically chose patients who were in the ICU.  He had a group of people who would pray for certain patients.  The praying people did not know who they were praying for, nor their conditions.  No one knew any of this, except for the Atheist  man conducting the test.

When the results were in, the man came to a firm belief in God.  The dramatic outcomes of the group of patients who were prayed for was startling. Yes, there were patients who passed away in the group being prayed for, but there were also some turn of events that had no logical explanation.

I love hearing stories like this and I think we could have gone on and on!  We and the doctor talked for a long time and at one point, she said she loves when we come in, as she feels like she has gotten a “warm hug” and, she said, she doesn’t get those often in her line of business!

One other thing that was awesome was when she asked how we could see this world and not believe in God!  I then told her about how Mark had made that same comment to an eye doctor years ago as he looked at a diagram of the human eye and the doctor responded that he did not believe in God.  It turns out our doctor goes to that same eye doctor, and in going through some difficult times, the eye doctor told our doctor he was getting some counseling from his pastor!

We have all heard the expression “God works in mysterious ways” and we cannot deny that.  What we say or do today can have a profound outcome on another’s life, wittingly or unwittingly!

After our visit with the doctor, we stopped by the new True Value Hardware store in Canandaigua,  We are so happy to have this new store, as hardware stores seem to have become a thing of the past!  But, what was even better was the fact that as I went into this store, I was amazed at the amount of goods made in the USA! Like many others, I have become so unhappy with the number of items at stores with tiny stickers on them, reading “Made in China”.

I had originally gone into the store to buy a new hummingbird feeder.  I had a large one for many years, but it finally broke.  I wanted a very small feeder, as we really don’t get many hummingbirds at our feeders.  If the sugar water sits in the sun too long, it will actually grow mold.  I constantly am changing out the mix so this doesn’t happen. Instead of throwing out a huge amount of food, I would rather have a small feeder and have to make up batches more frequently.

Looking around the store, I found an 8 ounce feeder that is US made.  The price was $9.99 and Mark looked online and discovered that was a good price.  He also found a coupon for a purchase over $25.00.  I browsed back to the seasonal aisles, as I had seen some flip flops that had caught my eye.

Although these flip flops are not as “cushy” as Crocs, they are made of a lightweight material.  Their price is $19.99, which is a good bit cheaper than Crocs as well.  Not *only* that, but these Sloggers are US made! I wore them all afternoon yesterday and I really like them!  I am flip flops all summer long….I get so uncomfortable in the heat of summer and wearing a regular shoe is out of the question!

I took my two items to the register.  The girl there told me if I signed up for a rewards card, I would get $5.00 off my next purchase.  I bought the feeder, then bought the flip flops separately, saving $5.00.   Wow, i am so impressed!  I like this store!

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, kicking off the summer season.  We plan to hang around the house and open the pool and do some odd jobs at the house.  We do want to go camping next week, too.

Michelle has completed her year at Rochester Institute of Technology! It seems to have gone by so fast!  She did well, maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  At the end, she was stressed out.  The school, set up in “quarters” as opposed to “semesters” , is intense and students either love it or leave and go elsewhere.  The quarters are intense and requirements are high.

Michelle has to work a total of two quarters (20 weeks) to complete her requirements for graduation at RIT.  She decided to apply to three different companies….she was offered a job at all three.  In talking with us, she is thinking she will take this summer off and relax and then possibly work at least one quarter next fall.  We have assured her she needn’t hurry, as she could graduate at age 20, two years sooner than more people!

Well, the sun is shining and I think I will enjoy a bit of it!  It has been so overcast the past couple of days!

The Days Just Slip Away!

I cannot believe I have once again allowed this blog to get behind, but I have! It seems like each day brings on more tasks and we are always going upwards! (as in pushing a very large boulder uphill!)

Today, Mark had a dental cleaning appoinment late this morning.  After the appointment, we drove down to Hornell to get the snowmobiles registered.  It is always so much easier to go to the Hornell office, as Canandaigua requires one to go to three different clerks before getting out the door.  The system sounds good, but when going, it is wise to pack a lunch!  Okay, slight exaggeration, but I don’t like waiting in line for hours…and yes, it really is hours!

After visiting the DMV,  we were off to get a late lunch.  We had a tremendous lunch at a Chinese restaurant there and then we were off again…this time to the home of my Amish friend and her husband.  Mark has been trying to help them in negotiating with the hospital for their baby daughter’s care.

If I may rant for a bit…

We are asked to be *tolerant* as far as skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.  Why, then, are the Amish treated like second rate citizens?  Let me make note that an organization that works with Amish and Mennonites has tried to negotiate with the hospital to no avail.  It is a known fact that hospitals charge well above the actual cost of services and goods provided.  The company that tried to do the negotiating offered a higher amount than Medicaid would pay, and they were turned down.  The hospital  never even came back with a counter offer.

My heart aches for my friends. They don’t have a third of a million dollars for their bill.  Why is the hospital being so stubborn!  Well,  my friends have begun making small payments to the hospital and as long as they are paying something, I hope that will keep the wolves at bay.  Why would the hospital have turned down a large lump sum only to be given a small amount each month?  In all actuality, the amount will take probably more than a lifetime to pay off.

Well, sorry to rant, but I feel so helpless! 

Tis the night before the night before Christmas!  Is everyone ready?  I feel like I am behind, but I will leave it at that.  I am tired of feeling like Christmas has to be perfect.  After all, the perfect Christmas gift was offered to all mankind in the form of a precious baby, and He is the best gift of all!

For the Beauty of the Earth

Isaiah 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Every spring, as all the Bristolwood awakens from winter’s slumber,  this verse from Isaiah comes to mind. Seeing the brilliant green leaves unfolding,  looking so similar to fingers and open hands reaching for the sky,  I can easily envision the branches “clapping their hands”.  This is such a joyful verse!

This afternoon,  I sat bedside,  looking out the window and admiring the blue skies and sunshine.  It was then that my wonderful Christmas Cactus once again caught my attention.  Christmas Cacti have those pretty flowers with the pink “spike” in the center…forgive me for long ago forgetting my science lessons in botany in which plant part names were fleeting at best!

I love Christmas Cactus plants so much just because they are so colorful!  Their flowers seem quite abundant with little care or fuss.  The flowers always appear,  the weight of the flower pulling the branch downward, giving the plant a “fountainlike” appearance.

But today, as I looked at the plant,  I smiled as I noted one flower; instead of looking down,  this glorious flower had its little face pointed heavenward!

joyful christmas cactus.small

If you have read here for any length of time,  you realize that my imagination causes me to ponder many times,  leading me into some abstract areas!  As I looked more closely at the flower,  I couldn’t help but be fascinated at the sparkly white flower with its pink “rim”.  The white brought to mind being “clothed in righteousness”…. Seeing the flower standing so boldly, looking heavenward, it seemed to not care what the other flowers thought about it.  Very profound.

And so,  I end this post being thankful for the beauty that surrounds us.  Beauty can be found everywhere…we need only spot it!

glad tidings cactus.small

Thankfulness

My friend Terri offered a challenge to her Facebook friends.  Here in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day on  the fourth Thursday in the month of November.  This year,  it will be on the 26th. Terri suggested each day until Thanksgiving,  we write something for which we are thankful.

I love Terri’s suggestion, and thought I would try to write a blog post each day,  naming something for which I am thankful.  We are all so blessed in more ways than we can even imagine, and I thought it might be fun to add a photo as well! 

Today,  I am thankful for each day I am given.  This daywas an exceptionally beautiful day, even with quite a chill in the air!  When I took the Scotties out this morning, we were greeted by a world shrouded in a heavy frost.  In looking up into the sky,  the stars were magical!  Each was so pronounced and  just almost took my breath away!

This evening, as the sun set over the hills to the west,  the pastel watercolors splashed against the canvas were nothing less than incredible!

pastel watercolor skies.small

Thank you, Lord, for this day and each day we are given!

Psalm 118:26   This is the day that the Lord has made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it.

Our Lady of Victory Basilica

As Mark and I pulled into the botanical gardens,  my eye caught sight of a most spectacular church…

I toured the gardens, thinking whenI was done, I really needed to check out the church;  I had been to the gardens more than once or twice, but somehow, I missed this! The funniest part was that as Mark sat in the parking lot, *he* noticed the church, too, and asked if I needed to check it out!

After taking many photos of the church exterior, my interest really piqued!  After all, this is unlike any other church…or building for that matter…..found in Buffalo!

almost breathtaking.small

the sign sums it up.small

this church is nearly a block big.small

At this point, I will interject that a comprehensive history and tour of both inside and outside the basilica can be found here:

http://olv-bvs.org/ourladyofvictory/Basilica/Welcome.html

I just have to note on the statue below. (I found this info on the link above)  This basilica was the dream of a priest named Father Baker.  He wanted to build this edifice and worked to get the funding for it.  The two large statues were created in Italy of marble and one was to feature a nun, representing the sisters who worked at the various facilities there. The other was to feature a priest.  When the new statue arrived and was unveiled, Father Baker was most upset to find HE was the “brother” represented!  After some hot words  from the priest, he finally conceded….

beautiful adornments.small

so amazing.small

impressive structure.small

My very favorite part of this church is the four giant copper angels, facing north, south, east, and west.

love those heralding angels.small

one last glimpse at the enormity.small

It would be interesting to see the inside of this church. From the photos given on the link I provided,  it looks like it would be an awesome sight!