Monday, June 30, 2008

Friends and Family = Wealth

I am a rich, rich woman.

Not in the sense of money...
I am ok with that.

I have the best friends and family
one could ask for. Last evening was
the second Sunday in a row spent with
two other families and our parents.
This time we were at Creekside Cottage.
Last week we were right here at Hospitality Lane.

Three generations talking, laughing
and sharing a meal. Bliss!!!

Our oldest son, Jonathan, always loved
to get our entire family together when
he was young. The Grandparents, the Aunts,
Uncles and cousins.
It was comforting to him when we were
all in the same place. That is kind of how
I felt last evening. As if this is how it was
meant to be. Family and friends together...

Grandpa Bob

Miss Becca

The younger children enjoyed playing in the creek...

Chelsea riding Lindsay's horse, Sandy, while Grandma Ruth watches. Grandma Ruth should have ridden the horse. She needs to prepare for her mule ride into the Grand Canyon this fall. I would never even think of riding a mule down a steep narrow path to the floor of the canyon....but my Mom is going to do it!

Mikey rides Sandy...Do you think we could convince him this would be better than a motorcycle? Mommy does not like the idea of a motorcycle!

Sneaky shot of Warren through the deck

As if it is part of the strategy the kids waited until after we had eaten our fill of Yummy grilled meats and potato salad, chicken noodle soup and brownies then agreed to a re-match of the Ultimate Frisbee game from last week at our place. The Dad's were ready! There was talk at church yesterday morning from Carl about his excitement to get back to the game. I think in this picture, taken earlier in the evening, you can see him plotting his moves and strategy. Can't you see it?

They played until it was too dark to see the neon pink frisbee. We, in the cheering section, were being chewed on by the many mosquitos. It was time to call it a night.

Thank you to our friends at Creekside Cottage for your hospitality and friendship. To the others who joined are very special to us and we are glad to get to know you better.

Dear Reader, I truly hope that your family has opportunities to fellowship in such a rich and meaningful way.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


The great hymns of the faith seem
old and dull to some.

Indeed there are many hymns where the
whole message of the hymn is wrapped up
and superseded by the droll music
associated with it.

As a pianist and worship leader there are
many times when I just have to question
what a person was thinking when they
composed a certain hymn as it is neither
enjoyable to play or to sing.

These are best just left alone in the
hymnal for some more daring person to
use. A song which uses timing that is
uncomfortable for the congregation, words
or notes that are not easily translated for
congregational singing should not be used.

However, that being said, there are a wealth
of great songs and hymns available for our use
today. I wonder how many of us appreciate
the value of song. It is a great way to
memorize scripture. There are so many songs
based on entire passages which when put to music
return to our thoughts many times.

There are songs of encouragement, songs of joy,
spirituals, reverence. You name it and there
is a song for the occasion.

I would encourage you to take some time and
reflect on the words of your favorite hymn or
worship song today...


Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Mommy Moment

Drumroll Please...

My youngest began her first job today....

That is it...

Short and sweet!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summertime with Norman Rockwell

Fisherman's Paradise by Norman Rockwell
Fisherman's Paradise

I love Norman Rockwell's work.
You've seen that before.

I thought I would reminisce a little
about time with my Grandad and the
whole family as we would spend time
in Western, PA...
fishin' in the summertime.

I could put my own worms on the hook!
Grubs too!
Not sure I could do it today....

We would pile into the car...
more people than seat belts, most
of the time, and head off for
Tamarack Lake. I couldn't get
there without a map now.

It would be early evening because
the fish bite best around dusk...
so do the mosquitoes!

The ride in the car was a noisy
but harmonious one as you never,
ever went anywhere in the car with
Grandad without harmony.

The rowboat was waiting at the dock and
there would be a bit of a struggle as
we chose who would go out in the boat
and who would start their adventure lakeside.
Fish Finders by Norman Rockwell
Fish Finders

Gone Fishing by Norman Rockwell
Gone Fishing

I imagine Grandad looked a little more like this on the days
he went fishing by himself. No pipe...but this
looks an awful lot like my Grandad. His shirts were
always mint green and he always wore suspenders.

You never fished at the point you parked your
car. The fishing was better on the other
side of the lake. Always! The fishing by the
car was the last thing you did before you left.
Kind of a "just in case" there were still fish

So, there we would be: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins,
Moms, Dads, Grandma and Grandad all headed out
with lawn chairs, fishing poles, bait boxes and
a whole head full of imagination. We would hike
over the dam and around the lake until we were at
the exact spot where the fish were biting this
evening. It was better not to question it.
It just was the spot!
Adventurers Between Adventures by Norman Rockwell
Adventurers Between Adventures

At least one time this was an opportunity for
some contemplation by my very young brother.
He was riding on my Dad's shoulders when
out of the blue his voice popped up,
"Right is right, right Dad?
And wrong is wrong, right Dad?"

You never know what these little ones are thinking
or where it might be expressed.

Soon we would be reeling in perch and bluegill.
Exclamations over each and every one. A competition
as to who could catch the most and the biggest.

Finally, the sun would sink and we would make that
trek back around over the dam to the car. The trip
home was a lot like the ride there...albeit a bit more
subdued, still filled with songs in harmony
and the satisfaction of knowing there would be fresh
fish for breakfast.
Going and Coming by Norman Rockwell
Going and Coming

I still don't like to eat fish.
Sorry Grandad...Grandma...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Book Club

We had seven ladies out to the book club last evening. We finished discussing the book, Safely Home. What a great book and what a discussion. It was very good.

I know these pictures say you can look inside. You can...if you go to my Amazon link and search for these titles. You can read some of each book there.

We have chosen our next few books. In two weeks we will discuss Tony Dungy's Quiet Strength. He is a football coach and this is his story. It is a bit of a change from the novel.

We plan to read The Shack. It comes highly recommended. Also coming up is a book by Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice.

Up until now, it is just people from our church but we are going to advertise more aggressively now that we know what we are doing. Hopefully some people that attended the former book club at our library will come out.

Just a quick update on the pain. It seems it is going to be with me forever. I went to my family doctor on Tuesday. He said he believes that there are more adhesions. He has set me up on a pain management plan. If that manages the pain I guess there is nothing else to do. If not...I will go back to my surgeon and request another ultrasound to see if I have formed another cyst already.

It would seem that I will be out "running" a large part of today. So I hope your day is good and I'll be back here tomorrow, hopefully.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Memory Lane

I am currently previewing a book for the Book Club.
It is The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
While I am conflicted about whether or not this
is a good second book for the club, due to the
very graphic nature of the text, it is a very
well written and heart wrenching account of this
woman's early life.

This got me thinking about my childhood.
It was so sweet in comparison.

Our family has always been very close
and I did not have to worry about alcoholism,
rape, physical abuse or any of those things.

The closest I got to an alcoholic was a neighbor
man who would stop in to see "The Preacher", my Dad,
on his way home from the bar every now and then.
We learned from him that the abuse of alcohol is
a very ugly thing. It has never crossed my mind
to follow in those footsteps. It was always an
adventure when this man came to call.

My memories involve things like learning to swim
in Penn's Creek on hot summer days.

Sometimes if it was extremely hot
our whole family would pile into
the car with provisions for a picnic and drive up the
mountains to a park called Tall Timbers. The trees
were indeed very tall. The mountain stream was so
cold our feet and legs would sting. There was a
wall of rock that my brother always wanted to climb.
Idyllic. Truly.

Since my Dad was a Pastor, Monday was his day off.
He would spend many Mondays standing in Penn's Creek
as it flowed behind our home casting and recasting
his fly rod. He would bring home beautiful rainbow
trout which we would eagerly watch him clean.
I never learned to love the taste, however.

Every spring the wild strawberries would ripen up
in the woods behind our parsonage. I could not
wait to go out and fill a tiny bowl with these
tart treats.

All summer we were busy in the woods building
forts. I am not sure we ever finished one...

In the winter the little swamp between us and the
creek would freeze over. My brother and I would
head there with our skates and ice skate between the
catty-9-tails and elderberry bushes that stuck up.
It was a bit of a maze.

There was a large row of maple trees across the street.
Every fall the leaves would fall and my brother and I would
take our rakes and make paths through the fallen leaves.
We enjoyed running through these paths faster and faster
until we just could not do it any longer.

There were the skinned knees and lost layers of toes as
we had minor accidents on our bikes...we lived next to the
church and we would ride as fast as we could around and around it.
Occasionally the gravel along the edge of the road would slide under
our tires and down we would go.

I remember so many wonderful things about growing up in that
country environment in a home filled with love and support.
It makes me ever so grateful for the privilege I have been
blessed with.

As a Pastor's child there were positives and negatives...
of course...But as Garry and Ruth's child.
I was truly blessed!

Hmmm, maybe we should use this book for the club.

It certainly has made me reflective and grateful!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Controversial Post - The Family-Integrated Church

Here goes...

Let me just point out that I am
aware that many will not agree with
the positions I am about to take in
this post.

I am sorry.

You can feel free to disagree with
me as long as you are respectful in
doing so.

I want to tell you about my feelings
about the Family-Integrated Church.

To do that, I need to define what it is.

The Family-Integrated Church operates
differently than most modern churches today.

In a Family-Integrated Church you will not
find long halls of Sunday School classrooms,
you won't find Children's Church and there is
no Youth Group.

There are none of these things in a
Family-Integrated Church.

There is a reason.

In the Family-Integrated church the children
remain with the parents through the entire
Sunday School and Worship Time. The information
shared is designed to be understood, to a certain
degree by all ages. What is not understood is to
be explained at home during the week. Church is meant
to be the "jumping off" point for family discussion
and study throughout the week.

Those of us who have felt ourselves called to
worship in this way are enjoying the following

1. After church discussion is relevant to the entire
family because we all heard the same things.

2. The Dads are the primary spiritual leaders and remain
so since that authority is not handed off to Teachers and
Youth Leaders at Church.

3. The youth of the church begin to participate and grow
in responsibility in the congregation and therefore do not
desire to leave as they grow older and have that option.

4. The generations do activities together so that you have
the older mentoring the younger... and the younger encouraging the

5. The parent who wishes to remain in the service with their child
does not have to feel badly or peer pressured into placing that
child into a nursery with strangers or potentially sick children.
(Personal note: Every week we would seem to pick up something
from church when the kids were babies.)

6. The fellowship in the church is balanced. It is family centered.
The nights out running are cut significantly because events are scheduled
to include the entire family not just one here and another there.

7. Singles in the church have an instant family...or several. We make it a priority to include the singles into the family activities and at meals in our homes.

8. Broken families have support and love. The whole families come along beside and include those who need some gaps filled in. (Another personal note: As our church has made this decision there was resistance and fear from some who did not see themselves worshiping as a whole family...due to a spouse not attending or being a broken home...these individuals and families have been encouraged to let us come along beside them and encourage, uplift and mentor where it is needed. This is what the Body of Christ is all about! Jesus ministered to all kinds of families and He showed a lot of LOVE for the children.)

These are just a few practical ways that the Family-Integrated Church makes sense in today's hurried, tense, fractured family society. I know that it is not popular. All you have to do is look at Vision Forum's Family Integrated web site to see that most of these churches are quite small and far between. I think this is changing. Over the past few years I have been struck by how business-like most churches have become. In the quest to bring in the multitudes they have compromised and have lost the ability to truly disciple and care about those that come in. The sermons are often feel good messages that do not require a Bible.

I am painting with a wide brush, I know.

Your church may not be like that.
Not all large churches are.

However, I have been observing.

I have been listening to those around me.

We have been praying and seeking God's face for His will for our family. This is how He has led us. I hope that if you are struggling with any of these issues you would seek the Lord's Will for you and that you would find it.

Just as we homeschool and know it is for us...I do not pretend to think that everyone should homeschool. I also know that not every Christian would be content
in a Family-Integrated Church.

Those who are called to this, though,
need to know that it is available to them.

That is my sole purpose in writing this post.

If you have been longing for something different,
it may be a God-placed longing in your life.
Seek. Pray. Act.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ollie's Garden Tour

Hello, I am Oliver.
My humans call me humiliating!

I was asked by the Mommy Human to show you
around the flower beds.

Come you remember when this human showed you her new flower bed that looked like this?

It has grown a little bit!

I have heard the Mommy human threaten the young humans about not trampling this flower bed when they play ultimate frisbee. It seemed to work...I think it adds extra difficulty to their game...maybe they don't mind so much. What do you think?

Let me show you Mikey's garden. Last time the Mommy Human showed it to you there were no flowers on the hydrangea. Look at it now!

This rose isn't too bad...

Do you see the yellow coreopsis?
Watch me freak out the human!

For some reason when I roll on the flowers
she gets all bent out of shape!

O.k. time to go to the front flower bed.
Shh..I think there are a few weeds here
so the human only took close-ups.
I'm just saying...

Well, that's about it for the front flower beds.
The Mommy Human has asked me to apologize for something
she calls "blurry" in some of the photos.

I need a nap!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've been thinking...

You who know me are groaning...

But really, these are my thoughts this morning.

I love to create. I love to design.
A lot of times I love the things that I create.
However, every time I see flaws in the things
I have created.

God does it differently.

He created the universe, the day and night,
the plants, the animals, he created man.

HE saw that it was good!

Isn't that cool?

HE was pleased by HIS creation.
See how many times this passage says this?

Love it!

Genesis 1
The History of Creation
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The moral of this story?
Be glad that God is your Creator...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Church Project Photos

I intend to put a pretty wide ribbon behind these plaques to tie them together
and give this a more cohesive look.
I may darken the color on each plaque a bit to help it
to blend into the fabric better.
I'm not sure about that yet...
I'll see what the ribbon does for it first.

I found the frame in a clearance section at
Kirklands. It had held a mirror but that had
broken during shipment to the store so I was
able to get the frame for $25. I then found this
fabric for $3.49 per yard. It is good upholstery
material. We had it just plain for the first two
weeks. When I saw these plaques this week I thought
maybe we could do something with them here.
We will see.
Note: Clicking on these pictures will enlarge them. It is worth it.

Remember these posts?

This is a picture I took last night.
Both posts have been re-worked.
They are not perfect but are certainly more
friendly than they were before.

I found this Walk by Faith stick-on while
we were at Shady Maple this week. It represents
exactly what we are doing here at the church.
It is all by Faith!!!! Pastor Mike had picked up
this picture at the local Goodwill and we thought
the path reminds us that we are all "Walking by Faith...
not by sight".

We finally got the reception area painted.
The walls were so dirty. This green turned out
pretty well and while I know border is not for
everyone, it takes some of the commercial feel
out of this space.


Well, I am off to do some candle business. I have a couple of fundraisers on your day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nature's Joy

The trees whisper with secrets,
The wind tells a tale all its own,
The ground holds the mystery of days gone by,
while we trod the grass we've sown.

The birds sing their songs of joy,
The geese honking in their flight,
The sky is endless as it soars,
we seek to look beyond our sight.

The Word was spoken, all appeared,
The trees respendent in their green,
The animals in furry splendor knew,
Creator God had caused this scene.

The peace that settled in the land,
The beauty that grew and delighted there,
The groan as man and woman failed,
...what a guilt the two did share.

The curse that came to us that day,
The pain and suffering that we must bear,
The Creator God who loves us so,
provided reconciliation with much care.

The Babe was born one troubled eve,
The parents weary and oh, so alone,
The barn was filled with furry beasts,
To welcome the One who would atone.

The people rushing to and fro,
The harried crowds and angry young,
The hurting, longing young and old,
seek the secrets whispered not by tongue.

The woman in her home so lost,
The man at work with money lust,
The children playing in the yard,
wonder at the they trust?

The rocks and trees are screaming,
The ground holds the mystery so grand,
The wind still whispers, "HE did this!",
evidenced by the works of His own hand.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Treasured Day with Family

When Warren and I were married there was one couple who were our best friends, bar none. Tim and Lee were it. Warren and Tim had grown up together and it was only by the Grace of God that both guys married crazy women who absolutely read each other's minds and got along so well. So many times you hear about best friends whose friendship goes in the tank when they get married. Not so in this case.

We lived in different parts of the state of Pa, however, before long we had all migrated to York County where we spent some great years as best of friends. We had our children at the same time and joined together to torment Tim's younger brother and his fiance as they got married by making a video for their reception. That was a true adventure that even sent Jonathan to the doctor as he got burned on a spot light. Explaining that one to the pediatrician was not fun.
But the video was hysterical!!!

In the Spring of 1993 there was a huge blizzard. We lived in a house that had only electric heat so we piled our little family into our four wheel drive truck and drove the few miles to Tim and Lee's house, (they had a wood stove), where we got snowed in for three days. It was crazy. If we had stayed at home we would have been out the next day. Tim and Lee lived on a culdesack and it took days to get plowed out. Memories...many, many memories.

Finally, Warren and I moved to Centre County, PA and before we knew it Tim and Lee had moved to Florida. Might as well be the other side of the planet for all we hear from each other...but the love and friendship continues and it is so sweet when we occasionally get together. The kids all act like they have just seen each other last week. A lovely thing, really!

This was some of the fun we had with these cousins today...

Lunch at Shady Maple Smorgasbord. Yum! Today was Tim's birthday so he got to eat free. This is a picture of Tim and Warren in the gift shop talking away as they wait patiently for the rest of us to wrap up the shopping.

So serious, aren't they?

We then brought them through the winding back roads and past a gazillion Amish farms to our stomping grounds in Southern Lancaster County. We enjoyed a much appreciated time of conversation and then before we knew it they had to head on out. As everyone prepared to leave it occurred to us that we needed to get some pictures of these kids as they are growing up and even some of us as we...oh I might as well say it...are growing too...just differently!

The second cousins...

Lee...being goofy.

Tim's parents...Jim and Betty! Love them!!!

The next generation of silliness among cousins.

It was a great day.

Last but not least let me introduce you to this man...

I do not know who he is...

Just let me say that if you go to a smorgasbord
and fall asleep in a chair anywhere near me you
are in danger of becoming "Uncle Bill" for the sake
of a picture.

You should have seen that shock and
amazement from the entire family as I just announced
that I was going to take a picture of "Uncle Bill" and
snapped this, while the others were asking, "Who is Uncle Bill?".
I thought my Mom was going to die of
embarrassment... or of laughing too hard.
Lee wanted to
get her picture taken with the sleeping "Uncle Bill"
...however he stirred when my
flash went off. Good thing too.
I didn't think he was looking too good
and was glad he was still in the land
of the living!!!
The best response came from the teens. They were amazed
that their mothers would behave in so shocking a manner.


It is probably for the best that I am in PA and
Lee is in Florida most of the time. Better for
those around us, anyway...

So, as you can see we had a full and fun day.

I will go to sleep now and will be busily making
portfolios tomorrow. Back to the land of responsibility
and of being a grown-up. Sigh...I'll be back when that chore is