Friday, January 31, 2014

So cute!

 Grandma Ruth took Chelsea, Johnny and I to a very sweet cafe this afternoon for lunch.
There are a series of large buildings that used to be a cork factory 
in the city of Lancaster.

Chelsea and I just loved almost everything about this place.
We really studied the decor, the menu and the layout of both the 
common space and the work space.

It seemed to be very well thought out and it is spotlessly clean.

As you probably remember, I love pretty glassware.
These cake servers were stacked in the window
and that blue one, 
which happens to be a square, 
caught my eye.

I told Chelsea to feel free to mention it to Warren. 

Last evening was an all family dinner at Grandma Georgia's house.
We introduced Johnny to Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Potpie.
It was so delicious!
We also had corn that we had frozen at the end of the summer.
There is nothing to compare!
So fresh and sweet!

It was fun to have Mikey and Emily with us.
They are such a fun couple.
Emily is so funny and loves to pick on Warren...
which totally makes us laugh.
There aren't too many who really feel comfortable picking on him
but this one does and it is so cute!

It is such a blessing to have both of our Moms 
fully integrated into our lives.

They share so much with us.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fun Weekend

Where to begin?  Yikes!  This was a very full weekend.  Friday night we cleaned at the church.  Mrs. Rabe, Rachel, Lindsay and I were able to clear a bunch of stuff out of the upstairs storage room.  We had a great time doing it too.  Others were painting, cleaning marks off walls and dusting.  Some of the men put baseboard on in the sanctuary which was the completion of our wall removal expansion project.  I love seeing all of the busy hands of the church.  Even the younger ones were armed with sponges and cleaning solution to scrub walls.  Teens were vacuuming and everyone was doing it with happy hearts and smiling faces.

Our reward for the hard work was some music time.  Some of the young people blessed me by playing and singing some praise and worship with me.  There is little else I would rather do than enjoy an evening of music.  Harmonies, guitar chords and enthusiasm for good lyrics and pretty melodies.

Saturday found us driving through light snow to Ephrata for our friend Nicholas' basketball game.  If I am correct it was his last home game and Chelsea thought it sounded like a fun activity as well as getting to see our friends, the Barrs.  You've seen them on this blog before.  We really enjoy their family.

Nicholas is number 41 and is about to receive the ball.
He is a great basketball player and we really enjoyed watching him 
help his team win.

After the game Chelsea and Johnny got their picture 
taken with Nicholas. 
I'm thinking Nick should sign this one.
It could be worth something some day...
after Nick perfects the dunk.
He's almost got it!

It began snowing...for we left the game and only got worse while we ate
a late lunch at Applebees.
So the roads were a bit "iffy" for about half of our ride home....
but all of a sudden the sun came out and the snow on the roads melted. 
We had a perfectly fine rest of the day which was great 
because it allowed Georgia to keep some important plans
for the evening in York.
Plans she had initially cancelled because of the snow and came with us
to Nick's game so her day was a full one as well.

The rest of us came home and eventually watched a movie together.
Walk the Line.
It is one our favorite movies.
The story of Johnny and June Carter Cash.

Sunday, of course, was Worship time.
We had a good service  with an excellent message from Pastor Mike
about Trusting through the hard times.
He is preaching from the book of John and was talking about 
how Jesus prepared his Disciples for the hard hours and days that were just 
before them in the time of His death.
He knew there would be betrayal, fear and disappointments.
But, he assured them that this would not last.
He would rise again.
And He did!

We came back to a wonderful dinner at Grandma Ruth's.
She makes the best roast pork chops.
Hands down!

And then enjoyed long conversations.
Great conversations.

Our evening activity was cookie baking and another movie.
While You Were Sleeping.
Our friend, Hannah, joined us for both of these and 
we had a very good time.
I had forgotten some of the crudeness that is in it
but I still love the movie. 
Forgive me.

I have to say that we love Johnny.
He is just a wonderful young man.
No matter what the outcome between he and Chelsea we know
that we will be delighted to call him a forever friend.

Now I should go and start breakfast.
Have a wonderful day!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Absolutely Cold but Beautiful Day in DC

One day while the kiddos were a lot younger and studying history in school one of them asked what the DC stood for in Washington DC.  Without missing a beat I said, 'Da Capitol!  We all laughed and discussed that it really is District of Columbia but forever more it shall be Washington 'Da Capitol for this family.  Yesterday Warren, Chelsea and I drove down to this lovely "little" town to meet Johnny and do some sight seeing before bringing him back with us for a visit.

The weather was beautiful....however....the temps were quite chilly.  We parked and walked, 

and walked 

and walked 

until we were just about completely frozen and stepped into the Art Museum - East Building, which happens to be closed for renovations.  We were, however, able to enjoy the lobby areas and chat a bit while we warmed up.  

Warren took this picture of a sculpture that freaked Chelsea out.  I wanted her to stand with it for a picture but she quite refused.  

Well, it is interesting....

While in the art museum I snapped this picture of the happy couple.
It was fun to see them meet up after more than a month
of settling in back in their respective homes.
Who knows what God has planned but we are open to whatever it is....

Just sayin' though....Denmark is a long ways away.

Then we went to the museum of Natural History.
Don't even get me started on the philosophy of this place...
but I knew that going in.  
I do love all of the animals to be found there.
So, we enjoyed that.

Of course I was attracted to the Australian display since that is where
Chelsea and Johnny met while she was at her YWAM DTS.

Next up, 
Warren who is totally my knight in shining armor walked and walked
and walked back to get the van and pull it closer so that the rest of 
us could escape being completely frozen for a second time.
What a dear man!

While he did that Chelsea, Johnny and I went to the American History Museum.
It is one that Warren and I will return to since by the time he came 
back we had kind of seen it.
Johnny was still on Denmark time so it was getting quite 
late for him.  We decided to do the rest of our tour from the van.
It was great.

We saw so much of Washington yesterday that I've never seen before.
And then ended with this beautiful sunset over the water
near the memorials.

Of all of the amazing man made things we observed and enjoyed yesterday...
none could top this artistry by our Heavenly Creator.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Candle Making on a Snowy Day

I haven't given myself a whole day to make candles since Chelsea came home.  We've been running here and there and when we aren't running she has been baking (in "my" candle kitchen).  Perfecting recipes for the cafe she would like to own one day.  Don't worry, we aren't eating everything that she bakes.  Warren takes what is left after we sample to work and his co-workers enjoy it very much.  Or....if we are close to Sunday she takes it to church and shares.  On this past Sunday she took Orange Cranberry Bars with incredible Orange Icing.  Yum.  They came out so well.  We put them on the "Cafe" list.  Then she made chocolate peanut butter bars.  They were also delicious and disappeared quickly.  Today we must send in the Peanut butter chocolate chip bars that she made yesterday.  Sigh...see what I mean.  But  even with that I got a full day of candle making and label design in.

 These were designed by me to coordinate with the invitations
that were sent out for the shower.

 These are now packaged and ready to ship out today along with 
their gray candles with yellow owl counterparts.

 After several tries the customer settled on the very first elephant that she had seen.
It is the one on the left and is mighty cute.
She was just kind of hoping that we could find an upturned trunk to indicate good luck.
It made for a very fun day of creativity and chatter.

Today I'll need to finish filling the orders that are in the waiting and then get some more cleaning done.
Johnny is flying in from Denmark today and we are scheduled to pick him up tomorrow after he gets a good night's sleep.  Such a smart young man.  To know that he'll need sleep to deal with this family.

We got so much snow yesterday, and yet it is hard to tell exactly how much that was because it blew so much.  When it became apparent that Warren would not be home before dark fell I knew I had a job
to do that I had hoped would fall to him. 
You see, the light had burned out in the chicken "hut". 
The day before while I was out with the dogs Mabel and company
had complained to me.
Did you know that chickens will actually tell you when they need something?
Oh yes.  Their survival instinct is strong and they figure out that you have the power to do things for them.
So, anyway, realizing that Warren would not be home in time to change the bulb
I called him.  This is when I realized that the future of chickenhood is in danger.
You see, in order to serve as a warmer the light bulb has to be incandescent.
The government has just made it illegal to make incandescent bulbs.
What will the chickens do?
Warren was concerned that we might not have any more in the house.
But, alas, a box was found in the garage that he purchased (and forgot about) 
for such a time as this.
I put on Jonathan's size 14 boots and shoveled through drifts to get up to those 
chickens.  I saved their little lives, I tell you, when I unscrewed the very dead and cold 
light bulb and screwed in the new, warm light.
Happy chickens.
May Mabel live another three years!
(Not likely)
But the health and well being of the entire flock rests on her very life.
For it has been determined that the rest of them will likely go to auction
when Mabel passes on.
We'll see. 
We really do like having the chickens.
Sort of.

It was a relief when (much later)  all of our family members were safely tucked back into 
this cozy house..... that was Chelsea's assessment when she returned.
Made me smile.
She said she had forgotten how cozy our house was.
As usual the worst part of the journey for Warren and Mikey 
was our road.  It just doesn't get a lot of attention but then in defense of our township
they had plowed not too long before Warren got home but it drifted shut again.
Nonetheless, they got in and all was well.

Have a super day!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What's New?

Well, since you asked.  What's new is that I'm up to my ears in ....wait!  That's not new.  I'm always up to my ears in something.  It is how I like it.  But over the last weeks I felt led to get involved in not one, but two local ladies Bible Studies.  They are affiliated and are both called Change of Pace.  One meets in Southern Lancaster County, where I live...the other meets in Central Lancaster County, where I play.  Seriously, that is where everything is.  We go up there to Target, Ruby Tuesday, Chick-fil-a, Sight and's all up there.  Well, this second study is actually the same one I took in the Fall.  It is the Real Body Revolution class.  We have sweet little memory verses that help us keep on track and tons of great materials to help us learn about eating for our health...not our scale.  I'm sure I'll write more about that as it goes on...but I've already reaped so much benefit from this information that I will ever be grateful for this class.  Just ask any of my doctors.  I am WAY healthier now than just 8 months ago.  The cardiologist decided he doesn't need to see me for a whole year!  Yay!

The other study is on Gideon.  It is a video series by Priscilla Shirer.  With just the introductory week done I can tell you that if I learn nothing else it was good enough.  It would take too long to tell you the impact from this past week, but it was huge.  It is ongoing and one of these days you are likely to learn about it.  For now, I am just living in the imaginary chalk circle in which I pray that revival begins and that it starts inside the circle.  Let me be so on fire for our Lord that He shines through me.

This is the long awaited week in which Johnny comes from Denmark.  I hope he can live with lots of pet hair, because between our house and Mom's, where he will actually stay, we have six animals who are full time shedders.  Ugghhh.....  I've been trying to get rid of all of it...but it is definitely a losing battle.  He will just have to live as we do.  I did, however, find a cleaning product company that is making my life soooo much easier when it comes to cleaning.  AND there are no chemicals used in the process.  Have you heard of Norwex?  Their basic products are super effective microfibers in which most have silver woven in.  The importance of the silver?  It purifies whatever it is in so after I am done cleaning I rinse out the cloth and hang it.  As it dries the silver destroys any germs I might have cleaned up!  Hurray!!  I went a little nuts when I first got them on Wednesday.  I cleaned windows, the dining room hanging light, the ceiling fan in the kitchen and the outside of most of my cupboards.  Someone came to the door so I stopped mid process.  I really should finish that up.  My favorite so far?  The dusting glove.  My hand is so big that I'm really efficient! lol  Seriously I can cover a lot of territory...and because it is a glove I can also get into the tiny spaces to get them clean as well.  The spindles on the stair banister were a piece of cake.  The dirt gets picked up and washed away...not just pushed around.  Good, good products!   They are not inexpensive but the three main pieces I have so far cost less than having someone come to clean and I totally enjoyed using them!

Infomercial over.  In interest of full disclosure...I didn't get anything for writing about them.  I paid full retail...and I don't mind one bit.

Today I am planning to run candles to two of my retail shops.  Fresh Spring fragrances.  Mmmm.....It will be here before we know it.

O.k.  Gotta run.
Hope you have a perfectly wonderful day.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Hello!  It is me.  The one who is sitting so comfy on our new (to us) love seat.  It is sage green with pillows galore.  It is warm and cozy.  Jonathan said right away that it was probably a bad idea to get a comfy couch....and he just might be right.  But in the meantime I'm writing to you to get to stay here a bit longer.

I have enjoyed having Chelsea at home, so much!  We are visiting all of her favorite cafe's.  Turns out that everyone who told us that returning from a long term mission trip has its ups and downs was very right.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to walk this road with her.  She learned so much and is still processing much of it.  However, getting reports from the cafe ministry in Thailand about lives that began through her team's obedient service....has cheered her up greatly.  At least one girl from the Red Light District in Chiang Mai has left her former life in the bars and is now 
working at the Cafe where Chelsea sang. 

Another upcoming event in her life that is bringing joy is the visit of one of her friends from YWAM.  His name is Johnny and he is from Denmark.  It is kind of a big deal to have a young man come to visit but after Warren and I have been getting to know him, long distance, we are all very much looking forward to his visit.  We have had many conversations with him and find Johnny to be a very sincere believer with a heart to serve the Lord.  This weekend he will be doing outreach in a large city in Denmark.  
It is tricky for Chelsea and Johnny to enter into this visit with hopes of a longer term relationship but with uncertainty about what the Lord has for each of them.  
They would certainly appreciate your prayers for God's leading.  
We know that He does all things well.  

Jonathan is doing so much better these days after his spinal injections.  He has been taking it easy as per the doctor's orders, and so hasn't tested it under harsh circumstances, but overall he has much freer movement and considerably less pain.  We are so thankful.  The doctor has offered a second set of injections if Jonathan feels he needs them.  At this point Jonathan doesn't feel the need.  Rejoicing!  It makes going to work as a security guard much more enjoyable as well.  It is easier to make your rounds when each step isn't filled with stabbing pain.

Michael is seriously involved with a lovely girl.  Emily is so sweet and beautiful, yet feisty enough to deal with Mikey. He has a pretty lively personality and needs someone to challenge him.  Emily does that.  It is so great to see how much he loves and respects her.  Best of all is that they both love Jesus so much.  So many things can be worked out and worked through when Jesus is at the center of a relationship.  
These past few weeks of changeover at the theater has Mikey working in the rigging department.  Usually he is moving sets during shows....but they all take on other responsibilities during the time when the shows are in transition.  It turns out they are using him as a climber.  He is tethered and climbs to many high places in the theater.  It is right up his alley.  Dangerous....hard.....mentally and physically challenging.  We are thankful for the healing in his collar bone that has allowed him this ability which he enjoys so much.

Warren is working weird hours.  Of course we expect this during the changeover period.  The next show, which will open in March, is Moses.  It is going to be out of this world.  But in order for the rest of us to enjoy it there must be a time to build it.  This is keeping hundreds of people busy, busy, busy over these weeks.  It is such an honor to be a theater family.  Enjoying the creativity and the reward of seeing Christ change lives through the stories on the stage.  You know how we read that the Word will not return void?  Well, it is very true.  People come and watch these shows and the testimonies are amazing.  More than just "nice show"...they are often more like, "My husband and I decided to stay together after" or "I recommitted my life to Christ after".  Yep, that's what all of the hard work and long hours are all about.  
Good stuff and saved souls.

Our mothers are just wrapping up a two week mission journey to Peru.  God has blessed them so much.  Story after story of opportunities to share.  Terri Roberts, the mother of the man who committed the Amish Schoolhouse shooting, is one of the four who are speaking.  Her testimony has made an impact.  Ladies have been saved and others are more committed to serve the Lord.  One young lady who was struggling with Anorexia came to her and said that she was sure that God would be with her in this struggle if He could bring Terri through such a horrible tragedy.
  Praise God!
I think that Terri would say that God continues to bring her through........

Mom and Georgia have had opportunities to share with many ladies.  Through their testimonies,
translated by Luisa who organized this trip,
and in other ways.
They also helped with a children's event.
I hear that those kiddos were amazingly energetic.
I'm not surprised and just found it amusing for some reason.  

Well, I really should get on with some other things.  I have one dog asking to go outside and  I should figure out what I can make for dinner that will be good "whenever" Warren gets home.  It was great to get to go to brunch with him today after he worked until the wee hours this morning and got a bit of rest.  I know what a truly blessed woman I am to have such a loving and hard worker for my husband.  I praise God for him and his love of Jesus which shows in all aspects of his life.  We will celebrate 25 years of marriage in March.  Wow...and cool!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

When that Still Small Voice Feels Like a Billy Club

I accepted Jesus as my Savior as a young girl.
I've walked with Him with varying closeness
over these many years.
Sometimes I tend to forget that one has to work
at any relationship and I get into things of 
daily life and remember this friend
best on Sundays.
Other times He is so close that I can't imagine
those desert times.

I can recall from nearly the very beginning
of this journey hearing His still small voice
urging me to do this or that.
Sometimes it was an apology that needed 
to be made.
Other times a testimony He wanted shared
either privately or in a church service.

I've come to recognize and value His nudges,
whispers and even pushes
when I'm too stubborn to respond immediately.

Lately there have been a couple of occasions
to do things that were way, way out of my comfort zone
and yet I had little doubt that God was prompting me 
to do them.

In those moments 
my heart thudded....seriously...
had you been sitting beside me you might have 
even heard it or 
seen the collar of my blouse 

I felt that this most important organ
 might come right out of my chest.
In either of the two most recent cases I'm thinking of 
normally they wouldn't have shaken me up at all.
A.  I'm not afraid of public speaking, as was the 
situation in the first case.
B.  I love sticking my nose in other people's business, 
as was the case in the second situation.

I felt overwhelmingly in both moments that what I had to do and 
say was about WAY more than me or any influence I had.

Praise God for those times that He gives us the billy club
treatment to press us out of the comfort of our 
own desires and strengths.

In each of these cases the outcome was of Him.
It is the only way that it can be explained.

Oh, and lest you think that He only tells me to 
"do things"?
Most often it is a whisper to stay still, 
keep my mouth shut 
and watch Him work.

Sometimes that is more comfy....
sometimes it is NOT.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Turkey Is In the Oven....

I know, 
you are thinking that I have lost my mind, right?
Turkey is not New Year's Fare...
especially in South Central Pennsylvania.

It shook Chelsea up a bit to see it out
thawing yesterday as well.
She commented that I was cooking
for the wrong Holiday.

But never fear.
The turkey is in the oven but the pork and sauerkraut 
is in the crock pot.

I've determined to work my way through the stash
of meat in the big freezer over the next few months
so that we can get a side of grass fed,
hormone free beef.

I've been getting organic chicken at Costco
and am happy to continue doing that 
but we are going to transition our beef source
from the grocery store to the farm.

There have been some hiccups in my 
healthy eating plan in the past 
couple of weeks 
but I am very ready and excited to get back 
on track.
I've not lost all control.....
even in the craziness and excess of 
Thanksgiving and Christmas I have made 
many better choices.

I'm so blessed to have this information
placed in my life at the time I was desperate to hear it.
I'll be retaking my healthy foods class
beginning in January.
I hope that, since my candle order load
will theoretically be lighter,
I can spend more time on the homework
and doing research.

In the meantime....
we will have baked turkey for many ready to put 
together meals.

And that left a lot more space in the freezer......
On our way to our side of beef!

What are you specifically choosing to do 
differently in 2014?