Wednesday, December 28, 2016

All Praise to God!

On our drive to court today for Chadd's sentencing I wondered what it would be like IF the other family would be forgiving and there could be healing and reconciliation.  I tried not to get my hopes up too far.  But moments before Georgia had shared that her Daily Devotional today had the title, Rising from the Wreck.  Really?  Friends sent us scriptures that were of comfort and hope.  Our attorney prayed an awesome prayer with the 20 something of us there to support Chadd and Chelsea.

In the courtroom the family had asked the Prosecutor to read a statement.  It was heartfelt and moved all of us.  I've often thought of the horror of that day for them.  To hear it in detail was a confirmation.
Tears flowed.  All over the courtroom.

Then it was time for the three of us who were speaking for Chadd to take our turns.  I have to say that all that I had prepared left my head as I listened as two of Chadd's friends went first.  I just had to pray that God would replace those words with what He wanted to have said.  My heart was pounding so hard that it kept getting out of rhythm and then would give a hard re-set beat.  I wondered if I was going to pass out.  But figured I just had to get through it the best I could.  Words came.  What I remember most were the intent and kind eyes of Judge R.  He didn't look away once!  I couldn't tell you most of what I said, but it was from my heart and I think it covered most of what I had wanted to say. Some that I hadn't planned too, I think.

Then Chadd's attorney spoke before Chadd, broken,  turned  to the family and told them how very sorry he was and that if there was anything he could have done after the fact to change it he would in a second!  There was a lot of weeping in that moment.

Judge R spoke.  He reviewed the epidemic problems with cell phone distractions these days.  It is so true!  I'm guilty!!  Although, much less so in the car since July 16, 2015.  My mantra now is, "Please put that cell phone in your glove compartment before you drive.".  I'm totally serious.  You may not even be touching the phone but if it causes you to crash even by you looking down at it for a couple of seconds you can be charged. This is what they say happened to Chadd since the text that had arrived before the accident was still unopened.   Anyway, the long and the short of the sentence was that Chadd will serve six months of house arrest, pay $6,700 in restitution plus some other amounts, complete 200 hours of community service and will be on probation for five years.  Mercy.  Grace.  And a testimony to Chadd's life of walking with the Lord and the support of a community.  The judge was pretty impressed with the amount of letters (60) of support written for Chadd.  He had never seen that many for one defendant before.

Here's the best part of the day as far as I am concerned.  Remember I was hoping for healing to begin?  One of the Kunkle family friends approached Chadd and his attorney to offer to go along when he does talks for teens or other groups about this experience to work together to keep this from happening to anyone else again.  She told him that the family doesn't hate him....they are seriously grieving though.  In fact, in their statement it said that Mr. Kunkle had forgiven Chadd before he died.
The family wants to meet with Chadd to work toward healing.  Prayers answered!!

Our prayers will continue for this process to go well, if the Lord allows it.

All Praise to Jesus.  He has carried us all the way to this point.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms During Christmas 2016

Our family had a blessed Christmas.  We enjoyed just being together.  Gifts were exchanged with more time being given to the ones that were put together with a personal touch, such as the calendars that Emily had made for the second year in a row.  Of course, she kind of had to.  We requested them.  Not that we don't enjoy the free calendars distributed by local merchants but nothing can compare to family photos.  2016, it turns out, was a rather significant year in the life of our family.  While we have all felt we were holding our breath this year it seems that really good stuff still happened.  Chelsea and Chadd were married, there was continued growth in careers for several in our midst, I survived a horrible illness that lasted most of the summer and we are eagerly anticipating the birth of Chelsea and Chadd's baby next Summer.

As we got closer to Christmas day I noticed the elf hat on a shelf in the garage.  One cannot do Christmas Day without the Elf Hat.  And so we grabbed it on the way out the door to Grandma Ruth's house where everyone gathered.  Mikey is our usual elf.  This year he had a mini me.  Well, at least as far as the elf ears were concerned.

Molly made the rounds.  She was on every one of the kids laps (except Chelsea's) as the morning went on.  Bandit enjoyed coming to Grandma's house too.  But she isn't quite as welcome on laps as Molly.  Nor does she tend to stay long if welcomed.

Chelsea and Chadd had purchased some treats at Central Market 
the day before.  On Christmas Eve Molly had eaten one and come
back for more but they wisely made her wait until Christmas Day for another.
It was time....

My "biggest" gift?  A new mailbox!  Our current "barn" mailbox is falling apart.  Mom got us a new one that will actually hold small boxes that currently have me running to the post office nearly daily.
During Spring and Fall I will be able to just pop them in the box and put the flag up and off they will go.  How sweet that will be!  Winter and Summer I won't do that because candles are so sensitive to extreme temperatures.

This year was a clothing year for Jonathan.  In a big way.  Poor guy.  Next year we will try to go back to fun stuff.  Chelsea and Chadd mostly got home decor and a few fun things on their list.  I gave Chadd a package of frozen summer sausage made in York.  It is something our family introduced him to that he loves.

I found some neat headbands for Emily that she seemed to like.  Mikey had asked for an accessory for his gun which was given from all of the parents and grandmoms.

All in all it didn't feel like an "over the top" was better than that.  Cozy, together, meaningful and sweet.  Christmas dinner was Roast and Ham with the trimmings.  Yum!  We had to meet up again later that evening to enjoy the apple and cherry pies that mom had made.  There was no room in our tummies immediately after dinner.

During the break in the late afternoon Warren and I had gone to the Harrisburg International Airport to pick up Pastor Mike and Jenny on their return from China.  What a trip they had.  Of course, Jenny was there for a less than wonderful reason as her father was dying when she arrived and had been buried when she returned.  We were so very thankful that Pastor Mike was able to get there before her father passed and then was able to spend time in Jenny's home country for a few weeks.  We missed them here, of course, but this was so important.  As they had been awake for a very, very long time Jenny slept on the way home but Mike shared much about their experiences.  We are looking forward to seeing more photos and hearing more.  But as for that day we were grateful for warmer temperatures and no precipitation.  There is nothing quite like going to an airport in a snowstorm to make you not want to repeat the experience.

And so you can see that we had a special Christmas Day.  I'll leave you with the reading with which we closed out our gift exchange time.   It comes from "The Singer" by Calvin Miller.  My Dad used to read this aloud to our family and so the words were familiar and poignant.  Mom read it this time.

“The Father and his Troubadour sat down Upon the outer rim of space. "And here, My Singer," said Earthmaker, "is the crown Of all my endless skies-the green, brown sphere Of all my hopes." He reached and took the round New planet down, and held it to his ear.
"They're crying, Troubadour," he said. "They cry So hopelessly." He gave the little ball Unto his Son, who also held it by His ear. "Year after weary year they all Keep crying. They seem born to weep then die. Our new man taught them crying in the Fall.
"It is a peaceless globe. Some are sincere In desperate desire to see her freed Of her absurdity. But war is here. Men die in conflict, bathed in blood and greed."
Then with his nail he scraped the atmosphere And both of them beheld the planet bleed.
Earthmaker set earth spinning on its way And said, "Give me your vast infinity My son; I'll wrap it in a bit of clay. Then enter Terra microscopically To love the little souls who weep away Their lives." "I will," I said, "set Terra free."
And then I fell asleep and all awareness fled. I felt my very being shrinking down. My vastness ebbed away. In dwindling dread, All size decayed. The universe around Drew back. I woke upon a tiny bed Of straw in one of Terra's smaller towns.
And now the great reduction has begun: Earthmaker and his Troubadour are one. And here's the new redeeming melody--The only song that can set Terra free."

― Calvin MillerThe Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict

How thankful we are that ONE so mighty would become one so small and grow to give his ALL for us.  To change our fate from one of destruction to one of LIFE and HOPE.  May we be reminded of this important piece to this human life we live.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Our Christmas Eve Service

Every year I ask for people to volunteer to participate in the Christmas Eve Service.
Each year the people come through.
I love how each year's program is somewhat different while
the structure remains the same.

Meaning we always read the same scriptures but may do that 
in a different manner.  Sometimes one person reads a long passage
or several people break it up into sections.
This year I thought it would be neat if we read it responsively.
This would allow for all of the congregation to remain
engaged in the Christmas story.
Loved it!

Another thing that always happens is the lighting of the final
Advent candle.
This year one of our elders and his wife did that for us.
Jon and Sue are such caring and sweet people.
We have known them for sixteen years now.
It is hard to believe how time flies.

As our children grow and some go off to college the ones who used to 
be too young to participate in a big way have become the ones to 
participate all through the service.
From solos, to violin duets, to vocal duets they really came 
through for us!

Our writer friends, Kelly and Pastor Jack both shared
words with us to draw us to the true reason for the season.

A young man composed music that was then played by others for one piece
while he recorded another piece and created a video display to go with it.
Unique for us but so special as this friend struggles with extreme pain
in his hands and is unable to play live.  He has a computer program that
allows him to make the music come to life.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the effort that went into the presentation
of both of his compositions.
Both by him and by the two musicians who learned and shared them with us.

Some time ago I had asked my friend, Susanna, if any of her younger children
would want to serve as greeters on this evening.
She was sure that at least two of them would want to.
And she was right about at least Josie.
While Susanna had forgotten temporarily about this possibility
Josie had not.
She took her place at the door and greeted folks as they came in
with her million dollar smile!
Oh yes, you may not know that Josie is recovering from major surgery
on her legs and ankles.
And yet....she wanted to serve.

I could go on and on.

Everyone has a friend, Deanna, who has not sung in public in
more than 25 years.  And yet, she and her daughter Sarah worked so hard and learned
Mary Did you Know?
They sang it soooo well.
Our Tuesday morning music lessons paid off.
Sadly, I boggled the accompaniment on that one.
But they were so gracious.
Next time we won't settle for changing an accompaniment we all dislike.
We will find one we love.

Sarah did a super job on Noel.
What can I say?
I'm so stinkin' proud of this girl and how far she has come
with her voice lessons.
She is in her happy place when she sings special music.

It is a time for mixing things up....
and yet keeping the familiar.
We decorated for this evening....since we aren't having services 
tomorrow I wanted it to be really special.
Deanna, some of her family, Karen A, and I met Thursday evening
and worked at creating simple beauty.
I had brought loads of stuff from home hoping that somehow
some of it would come together in a cohesive way.
Deanna is so good at that.

And so we used some of hers and some of mine
and came up with these pretty scenes.

The manger scene below has been put out at our church
for many, many years.
It was donated a long time ago.
I love to watch our young ones stop and look or 
touch the pieces as they absorb the story.

The candles were leftover from Chelsea's wedding in May.

Not the best photo of the garland but you can see that we added 
burlap, also leftover from the wedding, red berries and lights to plain greens.
We then hung snowflakes with fishing line for a bit of a floating effect.

I really enjoyed seeing this all come together.
Thankfully I had explained the look I wanted because Deanna was able 
to help it come to reality when I became overwhelmed because I had brought
so many things.

We missed our Pastor and his wife who will soon return from being with her family
as her father passed away recently.

"Our" college kids are back in town for Christmas so it was great to see them.

Light refreshments followed the service and no one seemed in a hurry to leave.
I finally asked someone who is often there until the end if they minded closing up.
They didn't mind.
So, we headed to mom's where we were going to open stockings tonight but 
with so many of our family missing (and as Chelsea and I were super tired) 
we decided to skip that particular 
tradition and just visited instead.

Hoping something about this post made sense.
My brain is done.
It was a super long day....but a good one.

I hope your family has a blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Moravian Love Feast

The town of Lititz is special.
From the beauty of the shops and homes
to the history found in the town itself.
The photos in this post are taken on the street as 
we walked to our destination.

One of the most historical sites is the Moravian church.

Warren's mother went to a Moravian church in York
all of her growing up years
and you may remember that we have attended the 
Christmas Services known as Love Feasts for many years.
While we haven't been to the church in York for several years
we have found the service in Lititz
 to be a fine substitute.
There are several differences but overall the feeling is the 
same and they do my favorite song so I'm good.
My favorite song is Morning Star.
It is sung antiphonally between children, the choir and the congregation.
We got a kick out of this Children's choir.  
Obviously some were quite bored.
They were so funny.
Wiggling, making faces and mussing up their hair.
But when it was time for them to sing they did quite well.

I am convinced that something funny happens
each year at this service, directly related to little old me.
This year was no exception. 
At the point in the service
where they were passing out the coffee and chocolate milk.
Warren handed  Mikey, Emily and I our mugs of milk but before he 
could get his own coffee the male server moved to the next row.
Warren cracked up giggling and didn't get the man's attention so I 
leaned forward and mentioned that Warren needed his coffee.
The server, with very dry humor,
 informed me that it wasn't going to happen.
Of course he popped back to us as soon as he was done at that row
and we were quietly amused.
Next thing you know we have enjoyed our Moravian coffee cake and
milk or coffee.
They returned to take our mugs back.
This time it was the man who had served the coffee and the 
woman who had served the coffee cakes.
As they took our mugs he told her that we were the trouble row.
We lost it ...quietly of course...for this is quite the 
solemn and serious worship event.

I'm sure he must have also been the usher the year I nearly dropped
the offering plate in the front of the church.
We were sitting right up front and I thought it would be a light
metal plate when instead it was very heavy real deal metal.
Near disaster!

You can dress me up....but....

Making friends wherever I go!

Speaking of that.
Late afternoon on Saturday Warren and I went to a surprise
25th anniversary party for some dear friends. 
Warren had been in their wedding.
We didn't know many of the others at the party but were perfectly
fine to enjoy our time together and then speak with 
our hosts.
Finally, as it was nearly time to leave we engaged in 
conversation with the couple at the next table.
We hit it off.
At least in our sense of humor 
and next thing we knew the 
entire room was wondering what had all four of us wiping tears because 
we were laughing so hard. 
I know, you want to know too.
But it would be too hard to recreate the conversation
that included leg climbing squirrels and flamingo mating season.
I'll leave it to your imagination.
Completely clean humor....
Hysterical, though.
It is way too fun when something like this happens.
Chemistry, I think they call it.

You would have thought that was enough for a day, right?
But no!
We went off to do some Christmas shopping and along the way
ran into some Amish friends at the Christian Bookstore.
I stood waiting for them to notice me after they were done 
at the check out.
He saw me first and his eyes got big but he was cool 
and waited for her to notice me.
He later said he was thinking, "This is going to be good!"
Well, it was a rather joyous greeting involving a hug and
much laughter which once again drew
the attention of all in earshot.
We chatted and chatted until we decided it just made sense 
to go for dinner.
Considering that Warren and I had just come from a party which involved 
food we weren't hungry but we did want our friends 
to get to eat
dinner and so we went.
And had second dinner.
Suffering for friendship, I tell ya!

As you may have gathered these have been full days
and you know we are under a bit of stress right now.
But God keeps providing friends, new and old, 
to give us a sense of peace, joy and laughter.

He is blessing us in this season.
Keep the prayers coming.
We need and appreciate every one!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Family....I Love Them!

December birthdays can be a pain.  Just ask Georgia.  Her birthday is the 29th.  Too soon after Christmas.  Everyone is kind of reeling from all of the Holiday stuff.  However, Chelsea was on top of scheduling Chadd's birthday dinner.  She did the near impossible.  She got all of us together on the same night.  Amazing!!

Having a large group at a restaurant is always a bit daunting so I called ahead.  I was told they don't do reservations or call ahead seating.  I told them just to consider it a heads up then that nine of us would be coming at 5:30.   And then we found this....on the table.

Okay then.

Our fabulous server made up for this little snafoo.
That and the food. 
We really do enjoy eating here.

As I said our server was great.  She was the one who took the picture of all of us after I had snapped a few and Chelsea had taken a few. She shooed us back to the table and insisted on doing it herself.  That is why I was laughing so hard.  Because she was a quiet young lady who had seemed quite reserved until she got stern with me to get me to get into the picture.  Tickled my funny bone.

About Chadd on his birthday.  
We love him so much.  
Happy Birthday to a very special young man!
A hard worker, great husband and 
genuinely caring soul.

Today Warren, Georgia and I went to York County to deliver a fundraiser
order to a Relay for Life Team from Chambersburg.
It is nearly midway for both of us.

Since Georgia and Warren are York natives...
and we had lived there for a while, we enjoy going back over
now and then.
We took back roads to see places we used to enjoy seeing
frequently.  This meant that we meandered up and down hills, 
around twisting turns and past many bodies of water.
At one point Georgia saw a pileated woodpecker and was very happy.
I loved seeing the familiar farms and all that goes with them.
Making me most happy are pretty fences, farm ponds
and animals silhouetted at the crest of a hill.
If there happens to be a barn with stone
I'm especially pleased.

As we drove we discussed memories from years gone by.
We even drove up to the house Georgia sold when she moved 
here nine years ago.
It was the first time she had been to see it in all of that time.
Amazingly it was unchanged.
The only notable change was how huge the pine tree in the front 
yard had grown.
We were in disbelief.
But that's what nine years can do.

We visited two family farm stores.
Twin Pines Farm Store and Ilyes Butcher Shop
These places have meat unlike anything you can find at 
a grocery store.  We miss it and consider it a real treat 
when someone has opportunity to get over there to pick some up.
I say it is unlike any you can get anywhere else and I mean it.
Each of these stores has their own recipes for these meats.
Summer Sausage, Sweet Stick, Snack Sticks and "Golden" Hot Dogs.
Mikey coined the term "golden hot dog" years ago because he says they 
are as valuable as gold.

On our way back into Lancaster County we crossed the Susquehanna River 
on Route 30.
I snapped this looking over at the Columbia bridge.
Such a pretty bridge.
And yes, that is ice on the river.

Well, there you have it.
Bits and pieces.

But you get the gist.
We are family.
And that is "golden".

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hi! And Bye! Quick Post on the run.

We need to get this sweet girl to a groomer.
But finding one and then getting her there 
this time of the year is just a bit more than I'm up to.

This morning I gave her a bath....
the photo above was not taken this morning.
She is quite a bit whiter now but still needs to go to get 
her paw fur trimmed, etc.
I have no idea what they do to make the fur fluffy and 
straight.  I'm actually envisioning a straightener of some sort
because when Molly came to us she was very fluffy and all of her 
now curly hair was straight. 
We have never had a dog that required this kind of care before
but our Molly is definitely worth it!!
She brings so much joy to our home.

Another thing that brings joy around here is music.
Three students were here today for four lessons.
Yep, you read that right.
First up was a piano lesson.
Then a voice lesson for one.
Then a voice lesson for two.
One person got two lessons.
And that wasn't a mistake.

This is making me pay more attention to the top of my 
piano.  Something I set up a long time ago and basically have forgotten about.
So this morning I lit the candle I poured into that holder some years ago.
Might as well enjoy it, right?

I started this post as I waited for supplies to be delivered so that I 
can make the final candles due for deliveries to go out Thursday and Friday.
Nearly as soon as I opened the page to write the doorbell rang 
and there were my tea light cups and fragrance oil.

So....I guess I'll be headed off to get to work.

Leaving you with a link to some of my voice student, Silas's, original music.
He is working so hard and I'm very pleased with him.
Just click on the photo above to enjoy two of his songs about winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hey There!

If every picture tells a story....
I wonder what one would make up about this one if they didn't know
the truth?

Here's the story as it really happened.
We had just watched the Sight and Sound Conservatory Class of 2016
graduate and stepped outside when I declared that we should 
get a "selfie".

To my surprise no one objected.
Although, Georgia did try to get out of it by offering to take a photo of the rest of us.
But we weren't having any of that!
So we all tried to shuffle into a spot...mostly in the back
which was where I would rather have been but I was holding the camera.
By the time we got everyone mostly in the frame I realized that the 
way I was holding my phone left me no options for pushing 
the button to take the picture.
Chadd to the rescue.
As we laughed at our predicament he reached up and pushed the button.
Teamwork, I tell ya!
And that there is the story.

Bet you thought it was going to be way more exciting, didn't you?
Well, it may not be a thrilling story it is still an important story.
One that says we are spending all the family time together we can squeeze in
right now and that we love each other dearly.

Earlier that day us gals of the family had gone out for lunch
at the Baker's Table.
I wish we had gotten a photo of us there but we were chattering
away so much that no one thought of it.
We had planned to go to a tea house but those plans 
were foiled when they were closed.
Oh well....we all really enjoy The Baker's Table.
I got fantastic quiche.
It is the same quiche that was served at our friends
 Lindsay and Joseph's
wedding reception a few years ago.
I've not forgotten it.
So melt in your mouth yummy!

This is what I did today..........

I made a bunch of these for a customer.
She chose the mugs,
I think she did a great job and those who will receive them 
will be thrilled.
Hot chocolate candles are fun to make once the marshmallows
are popped out of the mold.  
Back in the day when I made hundreds of these a year
my poor hands hurt so badly from pushing the 
hard rubber mold to release the marshmallows.
But they are soooo realistic that it is worth it.

The rest of this week is packed full of family, music, and candle stuff.
There are two friend events in the mix too. week I can get ready for Christmas.
Here's hoping!!
Otherwise that day will be "awkward".

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In The Final Weeks

I have really struggled with this candle season.  More than any other that I can remember.  I think it is simply that I'm still working my way back to strength from this past horrible summer.  At least I hope that is all it is.  I have hope because I recently became excited about making new candle designs for Spring and favors.  I'm also researching new retail locations in which to place the candles and I think if this slump were the real deal I wouldn't likely be doing that.

A leftover from the 2015 season.  I decided to enjoy it while I worked yesterday.

Perhaps once the stresses our family is enduring right now have passed my energy will return and I will get passionate about it once again.  But in the meanwhile I am slogging on.  Doing my best.  December 28th is a very important date for our family.  Your prayers are MUCH appreciated.

Tonight begins the first weekly rehearsal for our newly formed music team at church.  Our young people are fired up and willing to put in extra time to be fully prepared for worship on Sundays.  Normally we do a run through before everyone arrives on Sunday morning but this will take our preparedness to a whole new level.  That is sweet!!  Especially as we are adding new voices and instruments.

It is about to get very cold here!  It had to happen at some point.  I've been so happy to wear my flip flops off and on up until now.  I guess it will happen much less frequently now until late February or early March.  haha.  I love my flip flops!

Poor Molly got her foot caught in a crocheted afghan yesterday.  She cried and Bandit came running. She was jumping off my lap at the time so I was able to free her very quickly but she hobbled all day yesterday and spent the entire night on the recliner instead of sleeping with us.  This morning she is limping less but not very active.  I felt soooo badly for her.  Bandit must have turned the corner from adversary to friend because she stayed close to Molly yesterday.  They slept on the doggy bed in my workshop while I was there and then on  the couch head to head later in the day.

How are you doing with Christmas shopping?  Decorating?  I've barely begun.  But in a week or so I plan to give it an effort.  We have our lists and that makes things easier.  Warren has the Christmas decor down from the attic and waiting for us in the garage.  Initially the plan was to have the kids come and take what they wanted from it but so far that hasn't happened.  Maybe it will yet.....that would be great!

Today I'll be taking candles to the Lititz shop.  It was funny yesterday when the shop owner called and pre-sold a candle to a customer while I was on the phone with them.  Forcing me to make it and take it up there today.  But I don't mind.  She has a busy weekend coming up and I often stock weekly this time of the year.  I just shifted what I had planned to make yesterday afternoon.  For inquiring minds the scent is Christmas Tree.  Different from my normal balsam....this has higher notes that are bright and fresh.  It has been a real hit this year.  I'm considering making a complete switch but may just add it as an alternative to the signature scent.  Maybe one more year with both and  These are the crazy little details I bug my brain with.

O.k.  I need to go pour some bacon candles.  Yes, those were another request from my Lititz shop.  Definitely not my favorite but they make great gag gifts and so they sell.

Catch you soon.

Thanks for popping by!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I Got My Deer!! Or... He Got Me!!

While it is true that I passed Hunter's Safety as a teen I did not shoot this
deer.  I've never shot one and never hope to.
I come from a family of hunters and don't have issues with it at all.
Just don't want to be the one out there doing it myself.
However, someone shot AT this one just as dusk was settling 
in with rain and fog last evening and it came running into the 
road and directly into the driver's side of my van.

Warren has the gross photos.  I chose to just focus on this guy's
beauty.  He was a great buck.  I'm so sorry he lost his life in this way.

Here's the damage.
It was more caved in until Warren pulled it out 
so that it wasn't rubbing against the tire.
I wasn't sure I would be able to drive it home.

 I didn't see the deer coming.
So I was so shocked when I heard and felt the huge impact.
My heart was beating so hard!
But I did manage to stay calm so that was good.

Crazy thing was I had just come from the Chiropractor where I had 
gotten a much needed adjustment.
I'll be going back soon because I was so tense
I probably undid all the good things....

It took me a bit to get turned around and back to the scene.
In that time others had dealt with getting it off the road and had claimed
it for the meat or the rack.  I'm honestly not sure which but at least 
it isn't going completely to waste.

I hope to never have that experience again but was relieved that on the police report
the "other driver" is listed as deer.
No humans were hurt.
And that means EVERYTHING!!

When one stops to think what could have happened in that dark stormy 
weather with wet roads, heavy traffic and tons of fog
I consider that a blessing.
And that the deer hit where it did and not my window.
That would have been a completely different story.

I saw what that looks like when I was a dental assistant 
and we had a patient who suffered immensely after a deer came through her
windshield.  She was still removing glass from her skin a long time after.
And she had become addicted to the pain meds.
It is something I will never forget and therefore am so very 
thankful for how this particular event went down.

It was just another reminder to me that we never know what can happen 
in any given moment.
Some things are just not in our control.

Be careful out there, my Friends.

Ending with a bit of humor from the scene.

About 20 minutes after this happened a man showed up and introduced
himself as the farmer who, with hand sweeping said, "I'm the farmer
who owns ALL of this land.  We claimed another one that got hit
here recently."  The man who had claimed the deer stood up a bit
straighter and replied,
 "The deer wasn't on ALL of this land.
It was on the road!".

The tension was high in that moment
but the humor of that reply hit me this morning.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sweet Thanksgiving!

And it was great.

Allan and Bev came for Thanksgiving.
It happens every other year.
And this year they had much to share after their adventures
in Alaska.
Being caught up river in the wilderness after huge rains.
They were hours from being helicoptered out when 
their guides decided it was safe enough to float
down to civilization.
They brought pictures which were shown on Georgia's 
vintage home screen.

We ate a lot.
A lot of turkey, mashed potatoes and dressing.
The next day we ate a lot again.
Venison, Creamy Morel gravy and more mashed potatoes.
Allan is an amazing amateur chef!
I don't even care for venison or mushrooms and I 
very much enjoyed this meal.

All of our kids were able to join us on Thanksgiving Day.
We planned a later meal so that the couples could be with both 
families on the same day.

After we ate, Chelsea and Chadd gave 
Warren and I a Thanksgiving card.
That was unusual.
I opened it and read the card.
It was so nice.
There was a letter inside and so I read that....
It said such nice things about us as parents.
Then it said that we were going to be great
grandparents as well!

This is when I lost it in a huge scream!!
That brought the rest of the crew running to 
the sunroom where this was taking place.

I'm a grandma to an unseen speck.
I can't wait to see meet this wee one once he or she
has passed through speckdom to babyhood.

We are praying for a healthy pregnancy.
Can't take these things for granted.
These two have already quietly suffered one loss.
Feel free to pray with us.

Friday I volunteered to assist one of my shop owners
for her Grand Opening.
It was my job to run the photo booth.
It was surprisingly quite fun to take the photos of 
the shoppers who were willing.
So satisfying to get photos of mothers and daughters,
three generations, 
siblings and friends.
Of course I took the photos with their cameras so 
I don't have those pictures.

when Mom and Beverly came to pick me up
so we could do some shopping in quilt shops we took some 
photos of our own.

 I love the look on Mom's face.
She is a mischievous sort and this captures that about her.


I was so cold. 
Having been out there for a couple of hours....
but it was still so much fun!

We had a very fun afternoon.
A much needed break from candle making that has been 
happening around here.

I'll be working Christmas at Lime Valley from 9 am - Noon.
I always enjoy this show.
It is my third year to participate and it has been very good to me.

We are very blessed.
It is never boring but....
we are indeed blessed.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Blog Post in Which I Pull Photos From My Phone and Talk About Them

My would-be travel buddies.
They were begging to come with me today.
But it wasn't convenient.
This is pretty much what I go through every time I load the car
for candle deliveries.

On the floor are the empty boxes from the delivery 
to Blue Dandelions by Tiffany the day before.
I reuse my boxes....

Things are feeling a bit squeezy around here right now.
So much going on in the family including a broken wrist for Warren's Mom.
She got hurt at the horse rescue where she volunteers when a couple 
of horses decided they wanted in the barn when she was letting
another horse out.
I've been having issues with crazy arthritis or something that is killing
my neck and back. 
Hoping that lets up soon.

I'm teaching multiple music lessons each week.
Loving the results my students are getting from their 
hard work.

AND candle season is in full swing.
I've just about gotten rid of the first round of candle stock I made 
for the fundraisers and retail spaces. 
Now I'm working to do it all again because there are four more 
fundraiser events in the works as well as a craft show and 
some donations.

Even though the day was nice yesterday both cats were inside snoozing.
Molly's coloring kind of makes it all a cohesive look, don't you think?

Oh, that delightfully large super moon made it look like a snowy
evening without the snow.
At least in my opinion it seemed as if you could see 
so much around you like you can when there is a reflective
covering of snow on the ground.

My poor phone camera tried and tried to focus
but it never did get it.

Molly was sleeping so sweetly on Warren's lap (as usual)
the other evening.
Just had to take the picture.

And then there is this.
Occasionally making candles gets messy.
There happened to be a tiny crack in this clamshell that I didn't
notice before pouring the wax.
I have to say that I was so impressed when after posting this
photo on my Business Facebook page I was contacted
by my supplier offering a replacement.
My supplier is Fillmore Container in Leola and I couldn't
be happier with the service I've received by them 
over the years.
But that was an AA++ kind of moment!!
I highly recommend them for any of your jar needs.
For locals who do seasonal canning or for large scale production
of any kind of jarred product.
They can set you up!!

These things happen.
I don't get worked up about it but I really loved that personal service!

These pretties ship out today.
One pretty detail in a wedding.

I hit it big at Christopher and Banks this week.
70% off their clearance.
Loved this sweater and white shirt.
So I'm wearing it today to co-op.
Comfy and it didn't break the bank.

If you wonder why this is a big deal?
It's because I don't shop.
Especially now that Chelsea is married.
I only went along with her because she loved it so much.
I really don't.

However, I do LOVE a good sale!!

Oh well, there you have it.
With and without glasses.
Wish I could wear contact lenses but the eye doctor I go to 
attends our church and he told me I shouldn't.
He would know if I went behind his back and tried it anyway.

Have a great day!
I'm off to sing with my kiddos for the last time
in 2016.
Those ten weeks flew by!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Veteran Came Back Into Our Lives

Long, long ago in a town far away our boys went to elementary school briefly.  While there Jonathan made a friend named Adam.  This kid was so sweet and we had him in our home often.  Even after Jonathan left the local school to be home educated their friendship remained strong.

Then we moved to Lancaster County.  We only saw Adam a couple of times after that.  One of those times was at Hershey Park.  I looked for photos this morning to share with Adam on this special day.  That will make more sense in just a bit.  But this is the photo I sent to him today.

Adam in the center.
Chelsea, Jonathan and Myself on the right.

As so often happens life continues in parallel universes and we lost track 
of each other.  But last month Adam found us again.
By Facebook, of course!

While we had pretty much continued on a predictable and relatively quiet life path
Adam had not.   He joined the military at the age of 17!
He comes from a family who served.
It was all he wanted to do.
Adam became a medic.  Caring for the fallen.
In 2013 he became one of the fallen
while attempting to recover

Adam lost both legs.
He saved his own life by pulling tourniquets out of his vest and starting to put
them on his legs.  As God would have it a rescue helicopter landed nearly 
immediately because they were already responding to the same first blast
that Adam had responded to.

You know what?
Better than me trying to retell his story you could just read it here.
In Adam's own words.

What was so cool was that Adam wanted to reconnect.
To get together.
And within two weeks it happened.
He and his beautiful girlfriend came to visit.
We went to lunch and chatted easily.
I'm not surprised that this young boy I once knew grew into
this amazing man. 

Such a positive attitude.
I know a lot of credit goes to his parents who spent 
years with him at the hospital and in Physical Therapy.

But so much of it is just Adam.
Strong, resilient and holding onto an amazing sense of humor.

That made today a very, very special Veterans Day for me.
I've got one of "my kids" back in my life.

Adam Hartswick, Thank You so much, for all you have 
given for my freedom!!
Thank you for finding us!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Election: My Thoughts...Take Them or Leave Them

In the interest of marking significant events on this blog how in the world could I not post what I'm thinking about this election period and result here?  Now, I am doing this more so that I can go back and look at it later than so that you can get all inside my head and mad at me.  I'm open to respectful discussion at any time.  I get to be the judge of what is respectful.  :-)

Many of you know by now that I am a political junkie.  As a teenager I participated in local elections.  I campaigned for a dear friend and worked the polling places.  As a young mom I considered a run for the local school board.  A few years later after moving to Lancaster County, I again got into the political world for a season.  What I know about me and politics is that I can get lost in it.  It can be all consuming and I have to be very careful.  So....I try to retain some detachment from the process at this stage of my life.

This Presidential election has been unlike any we have seen before.  I have experienced all kinds of swings in my feelings as things have progressed.  I have marveled at how far afield our Country has gone....and then have been amazed that the remnant who remained are more than I would have guessed.

I have gone from confused as to whether Donald Trump was running as a joke or because he was serious.  Whether he got more than he bargained for when it started catching on for him.  How so many respected people could back THAT.  For his behavior and way of speech was over the top and very offensive to me.  I despised his bully persona.  I one hundred percent wanted just about anyone except him.  And there were SOOOOO many wonderful choices this time around.  In fact, I am convinced that this is how we came to elect Donald Trump.  The primary season was spread too thin.

I spent weeks so angry and frustrated at the media for falling for him.  It was like watching a train wreck....the more obnoxious he was the more they covered him.

And then it clicked.

Donald Trump is crazy like a fox.

He was putting on an act every time he stepped on stage.  He would run a mean and lean campaign by getting all the free coverage he wanted by putting up a caricature of himself.  Larger and meaner than life.  The big bully.  But underlying giving us pieces of his real vision.  I started hearing the vision through the smoke screen and it started to interest me.

Then he chose Mike Pence to run as his Vice President.  Turn up the volume again.  I became more curious.  Really?  This calm, respected and agreeable man had met with Donald Trump and agreed to potentially work side by side with him?  Mr. Pence has a wonderful reputation as a strong Believer.  So now we have Dr. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Governor Mike Pence and of lesser influence on me Sarah Palin all surrounding and supporting Donald Trump.  I had to pay attention.

The good news junkie that I am I have watched and read hundreds/thousands of hours of news from many sources all through this campaign.  There is a television in my candle workshop and it is nearly always streaming news. For the record, you can't believe all you hear.  lol

My stomach roiled in disgust when the video of Donald Trump talking in a terrible way about how he "got away" with things around women.  I was mad.  At him.  But I was also mad at those who were strategically bringing these things out of the vault of history in hopes of bringing him down.  We were on vacation in New York when a woman came on television to tell us about how a stranger on a plane came on to her.  I knew she was full of it when she said that it was o.k. while he was touching her "on top" but crossed the line when he moved down.  Excuse me???  Any woman who would be traumatized by this event would have been traumatized by any touch!!  The two men who have assaulted me never even touched me.  Their words and looks were enough to put fear into me. I have never forgotten it and I never will.  The stories of the 11 women who came forward were all regurgitations of what he had said in those stupid moments while trying to impress Billy Bush who was being just as ignorant.  I started thinking that if Donald Trump had been the aggressor he had pretended to be there would have been many lawsuits over the years.  The man is loaded!!  This had to be a smoke screen using his own testosterone against him.  Eleven years prior.  Nothing recent came to light.  I had to forgive when he expressed his regret.

I also looked at his family.  Carefully.  They are amazing people!!  His children are the most "unspoiled" rich people I've ever observed.  They all work very hard.  None of them will touch drugs thanks to Donald Trump's parenting style of talking about these things frequently.  Mr. Trump doesn't even drink alcohol due to family tragedy.  I respected both he and Milania for putting their youngest, Barron, first and making sure that he had a full time parent while the campaigning took place.  Family was obviously a very high priority for Donald Trump.  And it showed.

At the same time Hillary Clinton continued in her muck and mire following a pattern of disregard for the law.  Nothing, it seemed, had changed since she and President Clinton were in the White House the first time.  Voting for her was never an option.

So....the dilemma left to me was to figure out if I could vote for Donald Trump.  Many of my friends were telling me that as a Christian I couldn't.  However, I've never been one to follow the leader.  lol
Wait!  You tell me I must do what?  Well, I have to seek the Lord in it before following blindly.

After hours and hours of watching, listening and study into who Donald Trump has been I came to the conclusion that he is a man in process.  He is changing and growing.

The names he put forth for potential Supreme Court Justices were quality.  He had already chosen Mike Pence.  Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee were still with him.  Other Christian leaders began to speak highly of him after spending time with him.

He got that our businesses are overtaxed and over regulated.

He saw the oppression of drug addiction that has eaten away at the communities surrounding us. Lancaster County has lost sooooo many young lives just this year.

He understood that loving the refugee doesn't mean throwing wide the door....but welcoming those who pass our tests for being quality citizens.  His own wife has become a citizen here through the process and laws established for just such a thing.

He promised to work on our Health Care fiasco.

And so I became a Trump supporter.  Not a reluctant voter.  I bought in all the way.

On election day I hoped and prayed that others had seen through his "crazy" approach and would come out to vote.  When Warren went to the polling place at his usual time and reported lines across the parking lot I got excited!!  This was a first in our experience.  Then others started reporting the same things all across the State.  We had a chance of getting enough from the rural areas to counteract those from the cities who usually take the State into democrat status.  Mom and I dragged a tired Jonathan with us after a long night of working so he could place his vote.  He was sure it was a wasted effort since we are known as a very, very blue state.  But we assured him that it was worth the effort.  Imagine, then, our glee when we proved to be right.  All of those people coming out really pulled it off.  For now....Pennsylvania is RED.

The elation from the morning of thinking we had a chance faded into a heavy lump in my stomach as the day went by.  Could this really happen?  I mean, Mr. Trump really had NOT put his best foot forward through most of the campaign.  He was so often pulled off the important topics.  BUT, had he done enough?  Had others seen through all of that to his heart and real platform?

The results began to come in.  Shock seemed to be the response all around.  The commentators on every network looked like a huge tragedy was happening in front of their eyes.  But this was not a tragedy, in my opinion.  This was the very heart of America speaking.  We were pretty quiet for the most part in advance of this day.  But we were thinking, praying and many were making the choice to attend rallies.  Hearts were moved.  Hope was setting in.  Perhaps in this man we saw someone who would stand up to the rot and decay in Washington D.C.  He didn't make nice with anyone who he didn't agree with on either side of the aisle.  Trust me...I'm a registered Republican but I don't believe that label makes someone a good person or a worthy representative.  It is just a platform starting place.

I stayed up as this amazing thing happened.  Chatting online with friends who were also watching. Georgia came over to watch with us.  The poor lady tried to leave a few times before finally tearing herself away.  It was a Historic event for sure.

Mrs. Clinton chose not to come out and speak with her distraught supporters that night.  However she did eventually call Mr. Trump and concede.  I took some photos of the television as Mr. Trump and his exhausted family came out for the victory speech.  Loved that poor Barron who was nearly asleep on his feet at nearly 3 am.

Mike Pence may have been the number one reason I looked closer.

Mini Donald?

The victory speech was low key and respectful.
I fully expect this is what we will see from now on.
His visit to Mexico was a good example of what he 
might look like as President.

Those who were with Mr. Trump that night said he was somber.
The weight of the responsibilities began to settle in.

I'm looking forward to what is to come.
It won't be easy.
But I do believe this man loves his family and his country.
I'm praying he comes to love God, if he hasn't yet.
Reports are mixed on that.
He certainly has people around him that can answer
questions on that topic.

For those of my friends and family who are heart broken at this
turn of events I can say that I truly understand.
I felt those feelings four years ago.
I spent days in some amount of depression.
There is nothing more I can say than lets watch and see together.

And God Bless America!!
Land that I love!!