Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Source of the BOOM and God's Protection!

In my last post I told you about the huge explosion our entire neighborhood heard and was quite shaken by.  Well, on Saturday, as Warren was working on a part of our yard that we rarely enter he found the source of that terrifying moment.  One of our huge Tulip Poplars had been struck by lightning.  Later would would find out that three trees were impacted but one huge one was split from top to bottom and yet still stood.  It looked deceptively fine.  But if you looked at it from the side you were able to notice bark strips missing and a crack.  These signs were on both sides of the tree leading us to believe that the crack went the entire width of this large trunk.

My heart sank.
This tree is so large that the only option we had 
was to call a Tree Service so that they could come and diagnose the damage 
and then if it needed to come down they would have the bucket truck to take the top off before dropping the tree.

Initially the soonest appointment was for today...just to get it looked at.
But, soon I got a call back that Dale (the owner of the tree service) would come by after he finished another job that very day!!
He came, looked and seemed somewhat concerned...but assured us that he felt it would hold on until he could get here later this week.

I prayed he was right.  
We really felt that the tree was majorly compromised.

Yesterday I received a call that he and his team could do the job a few days early.
I quickly agreed!

They came and were gone before I could even get home from my afternoon activities.
All that remained were a few pieces from the tree, as he had taken the trunk
as part of our payment, and his skid loader.
Pretty soon I saw Dale pull up to retrieve the skid loader and we got to chat.
He told me that this tree NEEDED to come down.
It was so split at the point of impact that when his team member reached it 
in the bucket truck he could put the entire chain saw blade down into it without touching anything.
That split went the entire length of the tree....although of course it wasn't as wide the whole way.

We are so very, very thankful that the tree stayed up when it was struck, 
that Dale was able to make us a priority in his otherwise very busy schedule
and that no one was injured.

Turns out that just moments before that huge lightning strike
Warren's mom, Georgia, was out in her hammock
just feet away.
She had just stepped back onto her porch when it hit.

Isn't God good?

Since bark came off two other nearby trees I'm not so 
sure Georgia might not have felt a jolt as she removed the metal hammock hooks
in those moments.

This is not something we wanted to have happen....
but if it had to it turned out as well as it possibly could.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just Stuff....Procrastinating on Work Tonight

I should be downstairs working.  Instead I'm sitting on the couch as Jeopardy is on the television. Tonight there are children competing.  They are smart.  No doubt...but missing some pretty easy questions from the Bible category, which makes me want to teach them.  Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess.

Speaking of teaching....September is coming which means I'll be back to teaching music once a week at our former homeschool co-op.  I'm so ready to see those kiddos again.  I'll miss the ones who moved up to the high school level.  But will welcome in the new ones from the younger grades. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm formulating class ideas and plans but haven't set down to put it into writing yet.  I feel a bit more prepared this year than last ....since I have a better idea of what is expected.

In the background I hear Warren working at removing a wall in the basement.  He is working on the bathroom down in the "flood zone".  This was actually in process before the flooding happened and is only now being revisited.  I don't know how many times we (he) moved the bathtub that was sitting there waiting to be installed over the week of the many mini floods.  I know I was climbing over it and other things to get to the "drain".  The drain was the toilet phlange.  Every time the water got high we opened that baby up and let the water run into the septic system.  That was scary because we were not sure if that would lead to the need to replace it or not but the water coming in had to be dealt with and we had no other options.  That won't be a problem again since we now have a pit with a pump in it.  Thank the Lord...and a loving family member who helped us make that happen.

Mini note on flood damaged toe....The new nail has grown enough that I could actually paint it this week.  :-)  Such a cute little nail.

I spent time with Chelsea and Chadd today.  It seems they take turns having good and bad days. Today was Chelsea's turn to have a bad, bad day.  It is good to see them support each other but hard that they have to.  Chadd continues to make good progress physically.  He is a very determined young man and other than continuing to worry me with his lack of appetite and weight loss is making excellent progress.  Please pray with me that he would be able to get back the muscle he has lost and that the new muscle that is being formed in his left leg will mature and grow nicely where it needs to.

I did something that makes me pretty frustrated with myself.  In trying to get a fundraiser flyer made up in time for a kick-off tomorrow night I used some photos that ended up looking terrible in print.  I tried to live with them...truly, I did.  But alas, they were just making me crazy.  And so, in spite of the money spent I reworked the entire flyer.  The other evening I was in my shop shooting new photos...and then editing...and asking my friend, Melissa, to look it over.  She made suggestions, I made those changes and more of my own and then reordered the flyers.  What a waste of the money spent on the first ones but I just couldn't bring myself to hand those out.  First impressions and all.  At least, I could put a rush on it and got the new ones today...just in time for tomorrow's meeting.  I cut that one pretty close.

We had a good scare here in the neighborhood last evening.  There were storms to the East but nothing here....except one HUGE lightning strike/thunder boom that went on and on.....
I heard from other neighbors that they, too, thought something had been struck right outside their homes.  This one was so big and shook the house so much that Jonathan came running up from the basement to see what was damaged. storm.  That was it.  Weird.  And that was after I had commented that it was eerie outside.  When I took the dogs out there was a swarm of huge dragonflies circling in the front yard with a flock of birds diving after them.  The air was so still and heavy.  I couldn't wait to get back inside.  Think sci-fi setting.  Stephen King style.  Spooky!!  So, just hours later BOOM!! with the huge bright flare of fiery lightning.   I just knew it.  Eerie.

On a brighter and final note...dinner tonight was kind of fun to make.  Chelsea and I decided that it should involve chicken and peaches.  She found a recipe on Pinterest with ginger, garlic and peaches that sounded like it would work.  And it did.  Not quite as much flavor infused in the chicken as I would have liked...perhaps next time I would cut the chicken into cubes rather than the larger pieces that we used tonight.  But overall the peaches were pretty amazing in it.  I like cooking with my girl.

I hope you are enjoying these last days of Summer.  It will be gone before we know it.  At our house we are not really trying to hang on to 2015.  It is welcome to pack it's bags and go... we are hoping for a brighter 2016.  One that includes happiness and a wedding.  Please Lord.  That would be pretty special....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Public Service Announcement

Dear Friends, 

If you need to purchase a medication 
check around to different pharmacies for pricing.

Recently Chadd needed a medication
and we were quoted two different prices at two pharmacies.

The first one said it would be $1,000 for a 30 day supply.
Costco charged $367 for the same prescription.

I'm sure there are other things that the first pharmacy 
would have better pricing on so I'm not calling 
them out.
The point is to do a little research.

Thanks to those who have given to his GoFundMe.
It is how we paid for this medication.

Always seeking to be wise and careful with your gifts.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Daily Grind

 We don't do lots of vacations.
We don't buy many new clothes.
Our cars are all vintage-ish.
Our home a mish-mash of well loved furnishings
and finishes.

But...we DO go to many cafes.
It is our splurge.
Chelsea and Chadd have a long term goal of opening a cafe.
It has a name already.
It has a purpose.
And so we find ourselves often at local cafes.
Watching, making note of what works, and what doesn't.
We enjoy the atmosphere.

Quarryville was so blessed when The Daily Grind
opened its doors.
They do a great job with the food, service and environment.
Lately we noticed beautiful fresh flowers on some of the tables
and Chelsea commented how much she likes them.

I saw later, on their Facebook page, that these bouquets are for sale
from Amish gardeners.
Great idea!
Makes the room bright and cheery while offering another service
to the guests of the cafe.

We still have our up and down days with all of the emotions
going with the accident.
This particular day was a harder day.
It is so normal and natural.
I'm so proud of Chels and Chadd for how they are handling things
that most people don't have to experience until much later in life...
if ever.

Thankfully we have such a wonderful place to visit.
With friendly people, good food and good drinks.
They don't mind if we are especially quiet.
They have loved on us all the way through since we would sometimes
make a quick stop on the way to the hospital.
I was especially thankful for the ability to get a custom (no bread)
breakfast that tasted amazing!!

If you are local, this is a place worth visiting.
The Daily Grind is in the former LifeSong Christian Bookstore Building.
My favorite lunch?
The Southwestern Wrap.

Have a beautiful day.
Whether it is your happiest or not, 
it can be just fine....
when you lean on Him.

From Psalm 4:

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


The weather has been simply beautiful in the mornings and so the dogs
are getting extra "outside" time.
They are only able to go out if we are with them since we don't have 
a play yard or invisible fence for them.
It always cracks me up, though, that I end up with two dogs and two cats
(sometimes three cats if the neighbor's Samson comes down to play).

Tidbit is almost always sitting at my feet just meowing at me.
After fifteen years you would think I would know what she was saying...
but I'm still clueless.

I was so amused by the straight tails in the air.
"Here we come, Mom!"

And then possibly some disdain.
"What do you want dog?"

Bandit was just behind me and as I turned I noticed the chickens
were looking pretty happy and wanted some attention as well.

That golden one is Mabel.
She is named after my great grandmother.
Mabel is the ticket to life for the others because I have declared
that they will go to auction when she passes......
she is the longest living chicken ever.
I am not so sure they haven't devised a scheme to make us think
she is still in the land of the living....
Nah, she is healthy, happy and I love her.

And then there is this random photo from the other evening.
Jonathan gives his little sister a comforting hug.

He may be big and she small 
but they both have gigantic hearts and they love each other
so much!

Of the furry and feathery kind...
and of the sibling kind.

It all adds to the tapestry of life.
Ours is quite beautiful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beginning to Move In

I really thought I would have been moved in to the new workshop by now but things have been just a bit busy around here... as you know.
However, the most healing thing for me is to work, work, work.
Probably because my work doesn't feel like working.  It is such a joy.  And so this week I have been making candles like crazy.  Filling orders and also making candles for the shops.  I'll be restocking Fresh Vintage by Amy this morning.  I am so blessed to be one of their candle makers!

It was also fun to paint the shelves on the walls in my new workspace.
This is such a small room that I knew I needed to use every possible inch in a productive way.
And so the shelves you see here over the counter are the candle cooling shelves.

When I pour a candle it just needs time to sit and cool before I can pour a second time for a nice smooth top.  These shelves will hold a lot of candles up and out of the way and that will allow me to have workspace to continue working, rather than holding up the process as happens now in my limited kitchen space.  My productivity level will be improved like crazy.

From a decorative point of view, these may be functional shelves with heavy metal rails but I used Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint on the wooden shelves themselves.
With a LARGE blue wax melter as a main item in the room it made sense to use blue
as my accent color in the workshop.
That melter will also make my productivity level be sweet.
I would bring it in from the garage and run a long extension cord across the kitchen and dining room during heavy candle making days but now it will be available all of the time.
No more long waits between every batch as the microwave heats one batter bowl at a time.
This is going to change things a whole big bunch!!

Looking back toward the door are the other main set of shelves. 
These will hold all of my many fragrance oils.

I began bringing them down and setting them up when Warren reminded me that he needs to screw the shelves to the supports first.  He was just waiting for me to get them painted.  So, I'll move these and let him do that and then continue the move in.
Hoping that is enough shelf space.  
If not I'll figure something out to add more shelves.

My legs are going to be in much better shape after this move.
My calves hurt so much from all of the trips ups and down
the stairs in the past couple of days.
Very cool side benefit.

I love the baskets to the right for the various lids.
I'll probably get some cute crocheted doilies at Goodwill to cover them to keep the dust off.
Seems like a good idea.

Up next we need to get a microwave, 
move the printer and desk into the room and clear out the kitchen 
and dining room of all things candle.  
That will be great!!

However, I have many orders to accomplish and so am still working in the kitchen until the moment I begin working down there.

I've talked about this so long I'm sure you may have thought it would never happen.
I've had my moments of doubt as well.

If you are brave enough to come to Lititz this Saturday for the huge Craft Festival you can find 
me at Back Home Again on Main Street.  I'll be working on the porch with their clearance items and my candles.  I would love to see you there.  I am offering special pricing for the day.

Chadd update:  The guy continues to impress us with his healing abilities.  There are some pretty serious concerns remaining and we continue to ask for your prayers that he doesn't get any of the complications that he has been warned about.  He is house bound except for doctor's appointments, by order of the doctor, which is a bit disappointing for Chelsea especially who hoped he would soon be at a point where she could take him out for a smoothie or something but it is understandable.
He's come a long way but still needs more time.
We can be so impatient sometimes.  :-)

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Sweetness of Fellowship

Chelsea and I had not been to our Worship Service at church since Chadd's accident until yesterday.  And what a Sunday it was for us to be there.  I'm sure at any other time it would have been just a regular Sunday but yesterday every scripture, discussion, song and the sermon ministered deeply.

During prayer time the prayer lifted up for us soaked into my bones with such a comforting sweetness.  We have been ministered to at the hospital in very real ways but this was its own kind of special.

After lunch together yet another special time of prayer.  I think I probably would say "The church that prays together, stays together".  There is a bonding of the heart that happens when people pray together.

The women moved me to tears with their love, concern and hugs.  I hurt for those who do not have this kind of fellowship.  They don't know what they are missing.

I am thankful for the blessing of church friends who know us so well.  Who don't need to hear every detail in order to care.  Who minister with a look, a touch on the shoulder or a hug.  For those who text us scripture when prompted by the Spirit so that it arrives just when needed.

Sometimes one can take church for granted.  But in times like these the fellowship is so sweet.

Later in the afternoon we went over to see Chadd.  He is continuing to struggle with the lung bruising and incision infection, which makes me sad.  He gets around the house on crutches but tires so very easily.  He is doing well overall but has far, far to go to get back to normal.  Please continue to pray for the pain. Considering all he has been through I'm sure his progress is great but it is still so hard to see him like this.

A passage that meant so much yesterday:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3-10

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Meeting Shelley

I have mentioned Shelley who was the first person on scene to help Chadd.
Due to a prior five car accident, which had called out our Fire Company, it took 
longer than usual for first responders to get onscene.

Shelley is a student midwife who was here in Lancaster County for
a month learning and practicing.
She and a fellow midwife were in just the right place at the right time.

As a former EMT Shelley jumped in and began talking to Chadd.
He was in so much pain and the details she shared with us are simply
too much to share here.
The most striking thing that I can share was that he was "a part of his car".
It was not good.

Lets not dwell on that stuff.
We are so thankful that all of that is behind him.
He is healing physically now.
It will be a long road but he is doing quite well, we think.

Since the beginning there has been an effort for us to meet Shelley.
She has been super busy delivering babies though.
Our time was ticking away.....
Shelley was heading back home yesterday.

In the morning I got a quick message on Facebook that said she had a very 
small window of time and if we could be there in about 30 - 40 minutes 
we could meet briefly.

There was no time to get Chadd there.....sadly.
We were just 10 minutes away so I hurried Chelsea and we made it
over to the place she was staying and studying.

We met the woman who comforted Chadd, 
held pressure on his torn artery
and who prayed with him.

Chelsea didn't say usual.
However, she was taking it all in and so, so thankful.

Shelley is a mom of three boys.
This was one of the things that kept her motivated to stay with Chadd
as she said she would want someone to do that if it had been one of her sons.

She also asked me to pass on the message to you that if you are ever in 
this position please respond.
Please reach out and care for anyone who needs it.
More people need to be willing to step out of their comfort zone for others.

Now, I agree, but I also think that God placed the person there for us who had
been an EMT, had medical training and the right personality to help Chadd.
Shelley was just that person.

We discussed what to do for Shelley and knew that there was nothing 
monetary that could measure up and so we went personal.

I made her a Fresh Baked Apple Pie soy candle with 
this special label.

She was so delighted to see Chadd in happier days.
Her memories of him were not happy.

It was a brief meeting but we managed to record a video from Shelley to Chadd.
He will see it when I see him again since it is on my phone.
That should make him anxious to see his future Mother in law, right?

We look forward to seeing this special lady again.
She loved Lancaster County and it will always be a part of her.
Hoping she'll come back again soon.

There are just not words to express
our gratitude.

And I have to mention that there were two other friends right on the scene
who have reached out to us.
I have not gotten permission from them to share here though
so for now they know who they are and I hope they understand
HOW much their caring and concern, actions performed
and prayers mean to us!!!