Gary

On Wednesday, August 24th my husband suddenly passed away.  He was only 63 years old.  Much too young to die.  He was such a wonderful husband, father, uncle, grandfather and friend.  We would have been married 41 years next month.  I am still at the point where I know that he is gone in my head, but it hasn’t hit my heart yet.  I know that might be a rough ride, but God will get me through it.

Right now I have my three kids with me and their spouses.  They have been here every day helping me get things done around the house.  As wonderful as my husband was, he did procrastinate.  So I appreciate Stephen, Joe and Bud taking care of the overgrown yard.  He was also a pack rat.  But these two things I knew about when I said yes, so unless it got out of control we did fine.

My daughter in law Karina couldn’t come to help as she had only had her surgery for the cervical cancer a week before.  She feels terrible as she and Gary really had a good relationship and used to tease her about her Yankees.  And she would come right back at him about the Phillies.

Each of my kids were special to Gary and they had their own unique relationship with him as they do with me.  Gary and Bud’s were best friends.  They spoke on the phone daily and sometimes more. They had their love of baseball and card collecting.  That love was started when Bud was about 8 years old. Gary coached him in soccer, baseball, basketball, and roller hockey.  Even though Bud has lived far from us, they only continued to get closer.

Karina and Bud gave us our second granddaughter.  I am so blessed that we got to spend so much time with the baby when we were in Florida.  She won’t remember, but we have pictures to show her. And they are so good about face timing us so we got to see Bella in real time.

Kelly and Joe gave us three beautiful grandchildren.  Three years ago they moved down here to NC. That made us so very happy to have them close to us.  Kelly is our first.  She had her dad wrapped around her little finger from the get go.  She wanted to be a Brownie but there was no leader.  Gary became a girl scout so that she could be a brownie.  Then she wanted to play basketball but there wasn’t another coach to take a second team.  Gary became her basketball coach.  They would go to the Phillies games together and he patiently walked around the top of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia every time they went.  Gary continued to coach Kelly the whole time she played CYO basketball, soccer, and softball.  Kelly and her dad were close.

Andrew who is 12, has red hair and is just as sweet as can be.  He and his Pop Pop would spend hours here writing dialogue for Andrew’s imaginary productions.  Andrew has Asperger’s and he is so very smart.  They also designed shopping centers and malls.  He’s also a wiz with the computer.

Aidan who is 10 years old is a real charmer and has the greatest sense of humor.  He is sweet and very loving.  But he can be a terror too. 🙂  Now Pop Pop and Aidan did different things together. They would go metal detecting, build 3-D puzzles or just sit and Aidan would explain about his interests.

Alannah who is 8 years old is our dancer.  She competes too.  She so pretty, another red head.  Gary would sit there and drink make believe tea for hours, or play memory games with her.  Of course they read many a book together too.

At Christmas time he would make gingerbread houses with the kids.  He loved those kids so much. They brought him so much joy.

Samantha is our baby.  Now as much as Kelly had her dad wrapped around her finger, Sam made Kelly look like an amateur.  I was working evenings or nights as this point.  I couldn’t believe what she got away with.  Kelly would say teasingly that Sam was the princess.  And I would answer but you are the queen.  She is also our brain child.  She is so smart.  All of the kids are smart just in different ways.  Samantha and her dad were close.

We have been blessed with good children who have grown into wonderful adults.  Gary was so very proud of each and every one of them.  He also had a good relationship with their spouses.  I have mentioned my quilt guild.  Well he was loved by all of the women there.  He took care of a lot of their sewing machines.  He always had notions with him.  And he was our official cutter for out outreach workshops.  I always teased him that he had a cult of quilters that followed him.  LOL  Gary was just that type of guy.  Nothing was too much for him.  He would do anything for you if it was possible for him to do it.  He could drive me right up the wall sometimes, but he was my friend, my husband, and my life.  

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Everything Happens For A Reason

I was supposed to be at my quilt guild’s outreach workshop today working on quilts for our local fire department.  However, last night our well pump stopped working.  Because there are no lights where the well is, we were unable to do anything about it last night.  So, my plans had to change.  My mom always said that “Everything happens for a reason.”  Mom really believed this and through the years I grew to believe it too.  I saw the blessings that came from these unexpected things.

This made me think about some of the things in my life that I tried to plan.  I can remember wanting to go to a specific event and a family commitment prevented me from going with my friends.  Later I learned that my friends found themselves in some sort of trouble.  I was sorry for them, but so relieved I was not with them.

I had my first child at the age of 20.  My plan was to have four children before the age of 30.  There are 10 years between my fist and second child.  Well, apparently my plan was not what God had planned for me.  I had my four children, but on His timetable.

Learning to live happily with God’s plan for us is difficult sometimes.  We are always in a hurry for what we want and often unhappy when things don’t turn out our way.  It’s important for us to trust in God and His plan.  Learning to follow God’s will is important for us to have a good relationship with Him.

“. . . it is presumptuous in me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done.”

― Teresa of Ávila, Interior Castle

God bless!

Everything Happens For A Reason

After spending yesterday preparing for my guild’s outreach workshop today, I discovered that our well pump stopped working last night.  Our well is located on the side of our property.  Since there is no light out there, we could do nothing.  So I had to call my co-chair to let her know she would be on her own today.  I hate to miss these workshops.  The plan was to work on the firehouse quilts.  We are almost finished with them.

So, it looks like today I will be hanging around the house waiting for the well man.  I hope that it’s nothing serious and can be taken care of today.  Living without water is quite difficult.  You don’t realize how much we take for granted.  It ‘s an eye opener.  Maybe I’ll be able to get some sewing done.

On Sunday we visited with my daughter for her birthday.  We had such a nice time with Sam and Stephen.  When we got to her house, her old roommate from college was there.  It was such a nice surprise to see him.

I’ve also been working on our family tree.  It’s amazing to find our ancestors and see pictures and documents from them.  I can spend all day searching through documents and records.

Have a good day.

Are You An Olympian?

I would like to share something I read today. 

I find Summer Olympics fascinating. The raw strength, precision, and determination on display is awe inspiring. When I see the swimmers stretch their bodies to the breaking point, when I see the gymnasts’ power and precision (watching the floor exercises of the two Americans last night…the sheer strength and precision, the boom of their well planted landings were awesome), when I see all of this on display, knowing the half of the things they do would land me in an emergency room and/or traction, I see years of dedication that finally pays off as they take the podium.

It gets me to thinking (yeah..I know…shocker) how every person has it within them to rise to some similar greatness. Very few can rise physically to the standards we see in these Olympians. However, we can rise to greatness in other fields and disciplines of life if we are focused and perseverant. Many do not rise to such heights because they lack the discipline to do so. If you have had chance to watch the Paralympics or Special Olympics, we again see persons who do not let the disabilities they have by birth or accident inhibit them from being as great as they can be. They also show the discipline and grit necessary to move beyond the mediocrity of low expectations.

Greatness takes discipline. In Catholicism, we refer to these disciplines as the virtues. The practice of the disciplines of the virtues helps us to grow to greatness that transforms us in every aspect of our lives. God gives us His help through grace. He is like those great coaches who teach, provoke greatness, and give everything necessary for success. Like great coaches, he doesn’t do the exercise for us, we have to choose to do so. He sent His Son, to show us the ‘routine’…the exercise of virtue in perfection. Through this, we have access to what we could not get on our own.

Olympians endure pain, sacrifice, and suffering to hone their abilities. Do we? In order to grow in Christ, do we endure the pain of rejection of this world, do we make the sacrifices necessary to grow in faith, are we willing to suffer and give up everything so as to gain a crown not fashioned by human hands? Will we take unpopular stances in this world? Will we stick out? Those unwilling to do so, who move with the herd of this society hellbent on its own destruction, accept the comfort of mediocrity as the participation trophy instead of doing the hard work to get the gold.

The Olympics do not hand out medals for mediocrity or participation awards for simply showing up. Can we expect heaven by phoning it in…by accepting spiritual mediocrity? Spiritual mediocrity causes spiritual atrophy, which leads to spiritual death and eternal condemnation. While we cannot work ourselves in heaven, we do show God through our dedication, discipline, and obedience, our desire for the spiritual gold medal of eternal relationship with Him.

So, how are you going to do the thing necessary for the gold today? How will you use the discipline of the virtues to hone your skill at being the best Christian you can be by the grace of God? With what will you feed your body, soul, and mind? It matters. It matters for now and for eternity.


Fr. Bill Peckman

Happy Birthday Samantha

Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday.  She turned 33 today.  I can’t believe it.  She is a Winnie the Pooh fan.   Where does the time go?  I’m not getting any older.  Sam is a wonderful daughter and friend.  She’s beautiful, smart, and fun.  I am so blessed to have her in my world.

She and her husband are spending this evening with friends.  They are going to an escape room.  One of those places where you have to solve a mystery to get out of the room.  It sounds like fun.

I’m excited about the Bristol race tonight.  It’s a short track and usually a lot of fun to watch.  And I am hoping that Kasey has a good race tonight.  He really needs a win.

Heading out, I have errands to run.  Keep cool.

Friday Reviews

Candle in the Darkness (Refiner's Fire Book, #1)Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline Fletcher lives in the city of Richmond, Virginia with wealthy parents. Her father owns slaves and as Caroline begins to question the morality of owning them her mother dies after yet another still birth. Her aunt from Philadelphia takes her back home with her and Caroline stays with her for two years. While in the north, she meets Robert who is quickly taken with Caroline. He takes her to abolitionist lectures which increase her desire to do something for the slaves.

After returning to Richmond she meets Charles, they fall in love and plan their wedding. Three weeks before their wedding the Civil War begins. She is torn between her belief that owning slaves is immoral and her home in the south. She and Charles don’t see the war the same way. Five years after her engagement, the war ends. Charles cannot accept the things she has done throughout the war, even though she has nursed him back to health. His family and he dismiss her from their lives leaving Caroline alone with only her slaves who have only ever showed her love.

This is a story about love and hate, slavery and freedom, faith in God and the choices that must be made during this terrible time in our history. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.

Out of a Dream (Sandy Cove #1)Out of a Dream by Rosemary Hines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in the Sandy Cove series by Rosemary Hines. Michelle and Steve have moved into their first home in Portland. Steve is working many hours at the law office he is a junior partner in. Michelle feels alone and isolated having left her family and friends in Southern California. She meets Monica at yoga, and they become friends. The yoga instructor introduces them to tarot cards and then to an owner of a bookstore. Michelle and Monica sign up for a class taught by the very handsome and charismatic Trevor who sets his sights on Michelle. She attends a seminar with him deluding herself that they are just friends. She definitely feels this attraction to him. She is lonely with Steve working so hard, but she loves her husband. Trevor makes his move and kisses Michelle. Michelle pulls away and from that point it is never spoken about again.

Michelle’s father has attempted suicide. He is unsuccessful, and winds up in the ICU with multiple brain injuries. Michelle goes to the hospital with the rest of the family and it is there that she sees that the New Age spirituality that she has been studying does not give her the strength she gets from God. I enjoyed this book very much.

Butterfly GardenButterfly Garden by Annette Blair

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sara is a midwife in and Ohio Amish community. She is called to her friend Abby’s home to deliver her fourth baby. When she arrives Adam, Abby’s husband is waiting for her on the front porch. He gives her a hard time when she tells him he is killing his wife having babies so close together. He finally lets her in to go to Abby, and discovers Abby is dead and the baby is wrapped up and in the cradle by the bed. Sara lifts the sheets and discovers that Abby had bled to death.

Adam is filled with demons from his abusive childhood and tells Sara she must take his children. She fights him on this, but relents. She falls in love with the girls. The time for her to return the girls to their father is pushed back until the time when Adam falls from a tree and injures himself. Sara moves into his house to nurse him back to health. Adam begins to fall in love with Sara, but he denies what he is feeling. The Bishop gets involved and the outcome of their hearing is that they must marry. They fall madly in love with each other and Adam learns that he can love without being abusive like his father.

I enjoyed this book, however, there are some scenes which are more adult that most of the book.

Life in the Iron MillsLife in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short story about one man’s life in the iron mill town in Virginia. It’s a little difficult to read, but I found it interesting and it gives the reader much to think about.

15th Affair15th Affair by James Patterson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Yuki, the Women’s Murder Club,  find themselves involved in solving the murder of four people at the Four Seasons Hotel. Lindsay’s husband Joe disappears. While doing surveillance on one of the murdered man’s house, Lindsay sees her husband go past the same house and is caught on the video recording. A 777 was hit by a missile when approaching the airport and it exploded killing everyone in the plane and two people on the ground and traumatizing all the kids in the schools in the explosion site.

This is not just about the murders at the Four Seasons, it’s bigger. CIA is involved and Lindsay discovers that Joe has been working for the CIA since the time their daughter was born. Lindsay is devastated that Joe has been lying to her. The spies are from the Chinese government and one of the CIA agents is changing sides. In the end she is caught and dealt with. Joe sends Lindsay home and he goes back to the CIA headquarters. When he goes home to see Lindsay and Julie, he is not asked to stay.

I really liked the book, but there isn’t much that James Patterson writes that I don’t like. I give it 4.5 stars.

Wild Wednesday

Red Fox

This is the red fox.  We have had one living on our property for a few years.  Although, we haven’t seen him in a while.  They are hard to spot as they like to do most of their foraging at night.  That’s why we were so surprised that our little red fox walked right passes us one afternoon.  He just ignored us.  And he often would wonder into the front of our property on his way to the other side of the woods.  I love living in the country, I get to see a lot of  critters.  🙂

Well I have almost met my reading challenge of 100 books for the year.  I have completed 89 books and I am actually on my 90th now.  I think that it’s safe to say I’ll get to my goal.  I haven’t been doing much of anything but reading.  I told hubby today that I have to get my but in gear.  I have quilts to make for Christmas for my grandchildren.  And it’s already August!  Then there is my challenge quilt due in November.  Think I’ll get it all done?

Have a good day and keep your eye out for a red fox.