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!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Beautiful and Special Weekend

My sister of the heart came to visit this weekend.

Shelley and I have
been friends since before we were each married.
We raised our kids side by side as neighbors.
I don't have any sisters so I claim Shelley.
I do have a sister in law whom I love dearly....this is not to exclude her in any way and
Shelley has a sister.... but she adds me in the sister of the heart category.

We talked until ....late...on Friday night/Saturday morning.
Then I got up early and made candles while everyone else in the house
slept in.  Crazy people!  Wasting daylight.

But when they did wake up it was a mad rush because at the last minute we were able
to get tickets to see Samson at 11 am.
Off we went.
I hadn't seen it since the employee premiere.
I didn't remember all there was to the show because of the big-ness of that night
and the many thoughts of "will this work" and "hope that stays up there".
When one's husband is in the technical area and a son is a rigger
you just kind of get caught up in those things the first time
you see the show.

So yesterday the message hit me a lot harder.
It's ALL about the grace.
God's Grace.
I seriously cried.
You can see that my eyes are still "messed up" in this photo.
Puffy face even.

But I just have to show you Shelley and Warren's mom, Georgia.

You know we are going through very hard times around here
and it was so very, very good to be reminded that grace 
is still a real thing.
Oh do we need it.
Every day....

After seeing the show we returned back to our house where Shelley and I spent the remainder of
the afternoon chilling, reading, napping and chatting.
Warren did something productive.
Couldn't tell you what it was...oh, wait!  He worked on a car.
That's what he did.

And then Shelley and I headed for the grocery store with hopes that an idea
for dinner would just jump out at us.
It didn't.
Well, not in the way we had hoped.
An idea of going out to eat jumped into our heads.
Both of our heads.
Felt it must have been meant to be.
So we got a few items and headed home to share the brilliance with Warren.
He agreed.
And so we went to C.R. Lapps.
It's a local place with great food and a pretty dining room.

It was the right thing to do.

In fact it was so right that after eating great meals
we left with two $5 pies and 5 quarts of free Chicken Pot Pie.
That's what happens when you listen to that little voice in your head 
at the grocery store!
Try it....or not. 
It might help if you are regulars there AND it is Saturday night AND
there is stuff they don't want to throw away.

Today was a good day at church.
Challenging but beautiful music....a good sermon.
A great time of prayer.

Then we met up with Chelsea and Chadd at Olive Garden.
The photos in this post were taken on our drive over.
I like it when Warren drives so I can snap pictures of the beauty
around us.  I don't like that he doesn't read my mind and slow down 
for every perfect shot. :-)
It is always wonderful to spend time with our kids.
Michael had popped in Friday evening 
so I got time with each of our three kids at some point
over the weekend.

Happy me.

This evening we headed over to Creekside Cottage for time around the fire.
With the storm chasing us home early last Sunday there were lots of hot dogs left.
The weather this evening was perfect for snuggling up to a campfire.
It was nippy!
But no last week.

Long time friends are pretty special.
So this weekend's theme was kind of about that.
First with Shelley.
A friendship of nearly 30 years.

With the Rabes and Pastor Mike.
Both Friendships of 15 -16 years.
Much changes and much stays the same.

There were some more recent friends there as well.
That's always nice!
Can one have too many friends?
I don't think so!
And besides, one of those friends, Jen, is so dear to me.
She is easy to like and full of wisdom.

Some of the newest and younger friends had their guitars 
with them tonight at the campfire.
We sang a bit.

And then the sleepy's started to set in.
I'm pretty sure they took longer than usual to set in because I had two glasses
of peach tea at Olive Garden.
I've been avoiding caffeine since the whole racing heart thing over the Summer.
But, man, I got a boost this afternoon.
I missed having that energy surge.
However, I'll still be very sparing when it comes to caffeine.

Driving around this weekend has been just so enjoyable....
with all of the color showing in the trees and bushes around.

It is more subtle around this one room schoolhouse but still so pretty.

Wouldn't you love to drive up that lane to your home?
I guess it depends on the home....but I'm imagining
something pretty special at the end of that driveway.

I asked Warren to go slowly so I could capture this tree without the 
telephone pole but there was someone behind us.
So....we got the pole.

Back to this evening.
It was still light when we arrived at Creekside Cottage.
Lindsay met us, on Sandy.
What a life, right?

Sandy was much more interested in the grass than she was in me.
But that's kind of to be expected.
Lindsay was kind enough to help Sandy "pose".
Beautiful young lady and her horse.

There are many things in this world to spend time thinking about.
Even worrying about when we allow it.
I wake up early with a lot of concerns on my mind.
But I refuse to just lay there and think about them.
It doesn't benefit anyone.
I get up and get busy.
At least I get my mind busy with a book or something.
And then there is prayer.
It changes things.
And so...the election is in that category.
Our children and their concerns are there too.
The health of those we love....yep, you guessed it.

And in the end it has to start and end in PRAISE!
Who am I to fear?
When HE has shown Himself to be so very faithful all through
these hard days, weeks, months and years.

I praise God for knowing and loving us...
for blessing us with friends.
And for people with talent to write shows such as Samson
that remind us that the author of Grace is still at work today.
Grace, Grace...God's Grace.
Grace that is Greater than all our sin!