Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I need to rename my blog -- "The Infrequent Blogger." It seems that I'm posting only on holidays...Christmas and New Year's Eve!

Where did this year go? Are you asking yourself the same question?

It's good that we have a moment of reflection each year to re-evaluate our purpose and maybe throw out some of the things in our agenda that don't fit with what God would have us to do.

I'm in the process of sifting through priorities and asking God for wisdom. This will be a life-changing year in so many ways: a son who is getting married on May 30, 2010; my husband who is retiring and entering a new phase of his life; a book coming out in the spring (Moms of Sons), and working on another one (Coffee Lover's Devotions to Go).

It's been a year of travel with my dear friend, Kathy Pride and her mom, Val. What memories we've had along the way (and Austria was by far the best part of the "world" tour!).

To see the snow-covered alps greet us each morning was breathtaking. It made me want to re-think my career and become a travel writer. Then my knee gave out and I thought, "Maybe I should just sit still for a while." And while I was "sitting" my hubby's back gave out (just as he was recovering from surgery #2 for his broken hip). Two days before that we discussed retiring in Quito, Ecuador! There's something in my spirit that screams "adventure," but then reality sets in...we're not getting any younger!

I'm excited for 2010, but I'm also pausing to be grateful for the opportunities that God has given me in 2009 to minister, to travel, to write, and to do the things that I love the most. What a joy, what a privilege, and what an honor to be able to wake up every morning and know that I'm doing exactly what I've always wanted to do!

I want to leave you with a bit of wisdom for 2010. Remember to always have a "Plan B" -- just in case!

Wishing you a joyous and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Everyone is in bed and its 12:26 AM -- officially Christmas Day -- and here I am at the computer wishing my cyber friends Merry Christmas. We had a lovely Christmas Eve Service and a time of opening gifts at our home with family. I thought I would share with you in pictures our day because I'm just too exhausted to do much more. So Merry Christmas everyone and have a blessed day with your loved ones and family.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A White Christmas

The first time I saw a white Christmas was my freshman year at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. It actually started in October and lasted all the way through May!

My roommate who had lived in Spokane her entire life knew right away when the first snowflakes had fallen during the night. When snow blankets the ground, there's a peaceful silence. I can "hear" it now, but back then I had no idea what "Misty" was talking about. The thrill of seeing white-flocked pine trees, white sidewalks, and frosted windows is a sight I will never forget. It was a magical playground.

Having lived in tropical climates and snow-filled climates, I have to say I do love the snow from the inside out. The thrill of sledding, throw snowballs and making angels in the snow is now reserved for the neighbor kids (mostly!). But the joy of watching snow fall never ceases to amaze me. I still get excited when I hear the forecast -- "snow is on its way."

This weekend we are due for an arctic blast which promises snow (and more snow for Christmas. It's guaranteed to be a "White Christmas").

Maybe it's the fascination I had with snow globes when I was younger -- shaking it up and watching the flakes fall softly to the bottom of the globe and shaking it up again. The thrill of snow is still with me and I'm excited for a "White Christmas" once again.

Wishing all of you a White Christmas!

Joyfully His,

Monday, December 07, 2009

Springtime and Snowstorms

Springtime in winter is highly unusual -- especially on the East Coast. In fact, I can't ever remember cherry blossoms in December!

During the past week, we have had near record temperatures (in the 60's) and then snow on Saturday, December 6th. A collision of two seasons occurred and the poor trees simply got confused -- just like people.

Do we get out our mittens or do we break out the short sleeves?

Nature is a lot like life -- the good and the bad! This week was exactly one of those weeks...a collision of "springtime and snowstorms." Since I returned from Austria, I've been having knee problems -- enough that caused me to limp (not occasionally), but all the time. I sought out two different orthopedists and they both agreed that a bone scan was necessary.

As a cancer survivor, I'm familiar with the unfamiliar; comfortable with the uncomfortable, but "nuclear medicine" is not my favorite type of test (it involves radiation!). Needless to say after spending almost the entire morning in a scanning room, I was ready to leave.

When I left the health campus and walked into the parking lot, I couldn't help but notice a gorgeous pink cherry tree in full bloom. In December -- a cherry tree? It was just the sign I needed from God that everything was going to be okay. He gave me a different kind of tree thirteen years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer -- a pink dogwood tree.

I don't believe there are coincidences, just divine opportunities to watch God at work in our lives if we're attentive to His whispers. I was actually grumbling when I came out of the procedure, but I smiled when I glanced up and saw the delicate pink cherry blossoms. It's not every December that we receive blossoms and snowflakes in the same week, but God knew that I needed a sign from Him.

It's a busy time of year for all of us and especially in the Pombo Household: wedding preparations, holiday preparations, and medical tests (that I don't even want to think about). But when I see springtime in the midst of snowstorms, I'm reminded of who really is in control...the Creator of all seasons!

Blessings to all of you as you enjoy the beauty of springtime in winter!
Living Life Passionately,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day!

This was an amazing day: our son arrived safely from Cleveland with a few little "take-off" difficulties with the friendly skies, and Kim picked him up at the Baltimore Washington Airport just in time for a fabulous dinner at Kim's parent's home. I have to say it was the most amazing Thanksgiving Day dinner I have ever had and Sally (Kim's mom) pulled out all the stops. And it was the first time we saw Jon and Kim as the "engaged couple."

As a mom, I prayed for both my boys that they would find a loving wife and family; God answered my prayer. The first time you hold your child you have glimpses of what it might be like when they grow up, get engaged, married, and eventually have a family of their own (if they choose). It's hard to believe that 23, almost 24 years, have passed and we are standing on the threshold of seeing that happen (May 30, 2010). This has to be the best Thanksgiving Day of all -- to be part of such an amazing family and to see our "kids" so happy.

I hope your day was as special as mine. Oh, and I haven't forgotten about the book giveaway. I will pick a winner tomorrow, so be sure to leave a comment. Since "Black Friday" will find many of you in the shopping malls, I thought it would be the perfect time to pick a winner!

Blessings and Joy,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Writing, Weddings and Surprises!

We celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary at the Hotel Hershey on Saturday (November 14) in the land of chocolate. We spent the day at the Hershey Spa and ate chocolate in between our various "procedures." It was fun to see my hubby all wrapped up in a fluffy robe and slippers.

When we returned home after our spa experience, there was a package on the doorstep. My hubby turned to me and said, "Did you order more books?"

I flashed a smile, "Not that I can remember!" That was the truth.

They were from the Incredible Prayer series by Guideposts. I contributed a story during the summer; however, I never received a contract so I assumed my story didn't make it in the book.
I'm always amazed -- shocked really -- at the surprises the publishing industry has in store for their authors, "Miracle on Route 30" is one of my favorite stories and it found a home.

Since I received two books, complete with a bookmark and matching tote bag, I will be picking a winner next week. Just leave a comment and I will have my hubby draw a name.

That wasn't the only surprise waiting for us when we returned. That evening at 7:35 p.m., our son, Jon, called and said, "We're engaged!" He proposed at Pier W Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio (it has to go down as the most romantic proposal on record!). A May 30, 2010 wedding is planned. Kim and Jon have been dating for three years and we couldn't be more thrilled.

This past weekend held all of my favorite things and a few "unexpected" surprises. God is good and He does exceedingly more than we can think or imagine.

I will have a lot of great writing material in the next few months while I work on "Coffee Lover's Devotions to Go" -- I just might need a little more caffeine to keep me writing!

Living Life Passionately,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Apple Strudel

Someone recently asked me what my favorite part of the trip to Austria was and I blurted out, "Apple Strudel." No, it's not a's something to eat. And if I'm truly honest...I ate my way through that country. Instead of losing five pounds like I normally do on trips, I think I gained five. But it was worth every bite.

You cannot go to that part of Europe and not eat this traditional delicacy -- apple strudel.

If you visit the Schonbrunn Palace, you can actually see a strudel demonstration as part of your "classic" ticket admission. Because it was a cold, damp, and dreary day, there's nothing like a warm Austrian tea house to perk up your spirits.

As we walked into the seating area, we were given a bite-size portion of strudel (not nearly enough!), and then the demonstration began. One of our very own ladies on the tour, Deb, was chosen to participate in the strudel show. Afterwards Deb was given a "Certificate of Achievement," and I'm sure her name is written somewhere in the strudel history books.

Believe it or not, there's a hotline number you can call in case your strudel flops!

It was one of the highlights of the trip to see Deb covered in pastry dough and making strudel dough history at the same time.

Of course, all of that is to get you to buy something -- right? Because I travel light and I do mean light (only a backpack on wheels), I resisted the temptation and instead copied the recipe for all of you!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Home from Austria

While traveling through Austria for the past couple of weeks, I have been "unplugged." I have not read e-mail, blogged, or otherwise been in contact with the computer, except for a few short e-mail blasts to my hubby.

When I returned back home, 3,556 e-mails, awaited me! I nearly passed out. When all the spam was cleared out and the junk mail deleted, there were just a handful of "important" e-mails that needed my attention. Writing is like breathing for me. I can't go a day without putting my thoughts on paper, yet I found a serenity in not being attached to the computer.

Austria was glorious with its old-world charm, quaint tea houses, decadent chocolate cakes, pastries, palaces and museums, but it's the way of life in Europe that beckons me back "home" where I spent six years of my life (without a computer!). How is it that the rest of the world knows how to pace their lives?

On the flight home, I thought about what would change if I unplugged several times during the week -- away from the computer -- and just slow down the pace, Well, it happened for me! My knee gave out and forced me to put up my feet and rest.

Home from Austria is a transition and I'm making it slowly. I want to incorporate a little of Europe back into my life and welcome it into my soul again. It's okay to take some things out of your life and replace them with "things" that make you feel warm, comfortable, and peaceful. Give yourself the luxury of just "being" at home!

Living Life Passionately,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harvest Blessings

I love this time of year in Lancaster County when the crops are harvested, the pumpkins appear on everyone’s porch, the mums are in full bloom, and the October skies are filled with low-lying clouds. What a blessing to be able to take in the sights and smells of the earth before winter covers them up with a blanket of snow. It’s like springtime for just a little while before they begin the big sleep of winter.

On Sunday, I took in some of the harvest blessings, including a wedding that I happened on while walking around one of my favorite places – Donegal Presbyterian Church. The flower girls were making good use of their time while the others in the bridal party stood in line for their formal portrait. Children are good barometers of life; they grab at it every chance they get. Every day is a harvest blessing for them!

Take one day a week to enjoy your harvest blessings and learn to "play" again. If you have food, shelter, and work to do, you are blessed. Appreciate the little blessings of daily life and think about ways you can share harvest blessing with others.

“Happiness is not a possession…it is a state of mind.”

~ Daphne du Maurier

Living Life Passionately,

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Portrait for Life

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here and with it comes “Think Pink Photography” which “celebrates life and the cause” by offering complimentary portrait sessions for cancer survivors. Think Pink Photographers donate their time, their resources, and valuable expertise to support those going through the breast cancer journey.

I recently spoke with one of the Think Pink Photographers, Beth Cardwell, who donates a portion of the “would-be-session” fee to Think Pink’s partner, The Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation, "dedicated to providing programs and activities that unite both men and women in promoting education, increasing awareness, and providing support and resources for families who have been touched by breast cancer."

Beth Cardwell has not personally been touched by breast cancer, but she recently did a portrait for a woman who was diagnosed as terminal. As she spoke about this woman with young children, she was moved to tears. Breast cancer became “personal” to Beth that day.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Think Pink Photography, Beth Cardwell is offering breast cancer survivors a photo session and ten free prints. Cancer survivors must be within the first year of being diagnosed, which includes: those who are newly diagnosed, going through treatment, before mastectomy, those who are currently going through treatment, and those who have just finished treatment and have received a “clean bill of health.”

As a 13-year breast cancer survivor, I have to admit, the first year is the most difficult— filled with ups and downs, fears, frustrations, and wondering what the future holds. The closest I have come to describing that first year is like the poster of the kitten hanging by its claws on a tree limb. It’s a tenuous time. But time is the great healer and with each new day, you are one step closer to peace and healing.

Thankfully, Think Pink Photographers like Beth Cardwell are helping survivors heal by capturing that moment in a portrait for life!

Living Life Passionately,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything is Coming up "Pink"!

Everything is coming up pink? Have you noticed? It started last month with pink showing up in the form of soaps, brooms, shopping bags, combs, brushes, hairdryers, Kitchen Aid Appliances, candy, cereal, and -- of course -- roses!

Today is the official kick-off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my neighbor, Kim, did not forget. She e-mailed me and said, "I have something to bring over -- be sure you're home."

Ten minutes later, there she was standing in the doorway with a pink rose in her hand. Kim is like a daughter to me; in fact, she calls me her other "mama." It was just like her to remember the first day of PINK as well!

I have to admit, when I was diagnosed 13 years ago, I dreaded the month of October (the month of pink) because it was a painful reminder of the past. Today, it's a delightful reminder of the future...

Everything is coming up "pink"!

Living Life Passionately,

P.S. Anyone who leaves a comment to this post during the month of October, will be entered into a drawing to receive the book, Trading Ashes for Roses, Pink Ribbon Devotions to Go, and a pink rhinestone keychain!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Flying over the San Francisco Bay Area is one of my favorite treats -- especially from an aisle seat. The poor man sitting next to me -- by the window -- didn't stand a chance; in fact, I was waiting for him to switch seats with me because I kept leaning over to snap pictures while he was trying to sleep. The fog had rolled back revealing a panoramic view of the city; I even got a fuzzy picture of the Golden Gate Bridge (not pictured).

But as I eased back in my seat, I felt closer to the land than I did the blended into one until we were at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet.

What is it about flying that makes me feel close to God? It certainly isn't the inattentive flight attendants or the sometimes rude passengers; it's that feeling that I'm so small compared to God's greatness. Climbing to that high altitude doesn't come without some rough spots -- turbulence! You see, when you're flying at lower altitudes you experience it a lot more than at higher altitudes. But once above the clouds, it's smooth "sailing" -- most of the time.

I had to laugh when the captain announced, "We're heading into some 'weather'!" What he really meant to say was, "We have scattered thunderstorms and it's going to be a rough flight." Thankfully, most passengers missed that part and went on reading the New York Times, USA today or books on Kindle. But I was keenly aware of what the captain meant. It was going to be a rough flight for the next five hours.

Yes, I spilled coffee all over me (twice); dropped my laptop on the floor, and have sinus congestion and popping ears today, but we landed safely and the flying incident is a faint memory.

Turbulent "flying" doesn't just happen on airplanes; it happens on the ground as well. It's our eternal perspective that keeps us focused.

A friend reminded me of that today -- each day has enough trouble of its own, so keep "flying" -- don't look back and keep focused on the prize that lays before all of us!

Living Life Passionately,

Posted by Picasa