“Hope Walks” at Uprise

Many of you may have heard of “Cure International,”  an organization which brings hope and treatment for life saving conditions of under privileged children around the world. Recently their club foot division was given over to a whole new organization of its own called “Hope Walks.”  This past Friday I had the privilege of being a volunteer for Hope Walks at the Uprise music festival in Shippensburg, PA.  This annual event is well known to many church youth groups and to families who love contemporary Christian music.  It was a win, win for me for I love talking to people about a good cause and I love contemporary Christian music.  It was a great opportunity to introduce others to Hope Walks.

Hope Walks trains teams of Doctors and nurses in 16 countries to help parents of children born with club foot through a healing process by using a foot manipulation treatment that brings a crippled child to wellness. The treatment includes casting for several months soon after birth and takes about 4 or 5 years of wearing specially made braces that turn the feet outward to a normal position while the child is growing.  Most of this time the braces are worn at night.

At Uprise we invited attendees to paint the leather used to make the shoe part of the brace.  By hand painting simple designs on the soon to be braces we give encouragement to the children who must wear these for long periods of time.

Simple and varied are the numerous designs on these leathers. Also at our booth we gave out foot “tattoos,”  stickers and information on how your group could have a paint the shoes party.

The best news is that after receiving treatment the child is able to walk, run, and play like others. Teaching and spiritual counseling go hand in hand with the treatment where the trainers develop long term relationships with families.  For more information on “Hope Walks” check out their website at  hopewalks.org.  This process comes at a price of around 400 dollars for a treatment that takes years, but gives, what would have been a life long crippled child, hope for a normalized future.

It was our pleasure to be side by side to two other great organizations.  We shared space with the popular Christian Radio station wordfm.  We enjoyed getting to know their volunteers and those who stopped by were invited to pick up a wordfm sticker, hear about Hope Walks and paint while waiting in line to have a free photo taken.  What a fun way to work together.

Props were included with a star studded backdrop.

Thrivent Financial was our other “booth” neighbor. Their volunteers were busy playing games that could win you one of their famous “Live Generously t-shirts, a rain pauncho, or a fan that plugs into your cell phone to keep you cool. How cool is that??

Many visited the Turkey Hill Ice Cream stand for free samples right in front of the very large Holstein cow.

Entertainment comes from the main stage with music artists such as Sanctus Real, Zach Williams and comedian John Crist. Last and what everyone was waiting for was the band Skillet.  Chad Veach was the main speaker for the evening.

Church youth groups gather for lots of fun with friends and counselors. This one from Gettysburg First Baptist is perched on this amazing hill with a tarp for a carpet and a great view of all things happening.

Games and food abound in this happy crowd of lovely people.  I had a great time sharing and caring.  I hope many of you will care to share with “Hope Walks.”  Learn more at hopewalks.org

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Things to love about a Bed and Breakfast

via Things to love about a Bed and Breakfast

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Things to love about a Bed and Breakfast

The two years of planning the Alaska vacation is over. The time away has come and gone. We are home trying to catch up and continue on with more plans of moving out of the country and into town.  Alaska was great once again.  A lot of people have been there and have seen the majestic white capped mountains and breathtaking vastness.  A lot of folks go on the very popular cruises, a wonderful way to get luxury, rest and some land and some sea adventures.  We did that twice. This time we wanted something different.  We planned our own trip and skipped only the luxury.  It was my job to plan the itinerary and make the sleeping arrangements.  I have done some traveling in my lifetime and have loved staying in home run bed and breakfasts.  We were traveling with our son and daughter in law, their first trip to Alaska.  We wanted to cook and eat in for some of our meals.  I enjoyed the task of looking through the many places offered, spending a couple of hours a evening selecting, pricing, and wondering if everyone would like the one chosen.  So here are the ones we came up with and were not disappointed, what one may have lacked in one area, rose above in another. We loved them all.

The Cantwell cabin:

This was a cozy cabin, decorated with quilts.  It had everything we needed, two bedrooms, a kitchen and living space. We did enjoy the pretty quilts on our beds walls and couches.  We never met our hosts but she told us that she loves to make quilts and donates them to charity.

This cabin was just a little off the main highway and easy to miss, we did have to ask directions at a food mart and gas station who obviously had been asked  the same question before. The town of Cantwell, just 30 minutes from Danali Park, was also not on the main road even though the signs welcomed you to it and said come again when you passed it, with no town in sight.  It was a great place to spend the nights between our days in Talkeetna and Danali.

The Stellar lodge near Seward was our next destination.  I have to admit the price was so good on this one, I couldn’t turn it down.  It was more like a hotel room with two beds in one room and a shared bathroom two doors down.  It doesn’t sound that good, but we found it was absolutely no inconvenience.  We actually had two bathrooms shared by three rooms, but we rarely saw anyone around the times when we were there.  The place was beautiful and there was a small river right off the porch where the fish were jumping all over the place.

The name of the fast flowing stream was “Clear River” and it sure lived up to its name. Yeah, the guys loved the outdoors surrounding this place.

We stayed here two nights, ate out one night and did hamburgers on the grill the next night. Our hostess was amazing and she supplied tools and dishes and even insisted on washing them.  All we had to do was carry the stuff to her back porch. I cooked macaroni in a borrowed bowl in the microwave for a salad side dish. It was a delightful evening.

We enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of this b&b and basked in the sunlight till 10pm, twilight.

 

Believe it or not, we spent the next night on a ferry going to Kodiak. Leaving at 10:30 p.m. to arrive at 9 a.m. the next morning.  We had no beds.  We slept on chairs, just like a plane only bigger.

The moon was rising as we set sail.

We drove the car right onto the ferry, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.  We arrived at the terminal at 8 p.m. We got onto the boat about 9:30.  We did not get leaving until nearly 11:00.  Getting all the cars and trucks loaded was quite the task, but it can be done, only takes time.

Parking was tight.  We could not get into the car and had wait to do so till other cars moved when it was time to get off. While waiting we met a minister and his family who had been driving a u-haul and an SUV for the past 10 days from Austin Texas to pastor a church in Kodiak.  We had the pleasure of meeting them again in Kodiak and became face book friends.  You never know what can happen while you are waiting.

So we arrived in Kodiak pretty tired but happy that our next B&B host sent us an email, saying our room was ready, we could come in as soon as we got off the boat.  Happy news, as we were wondering if we would have to wait till 3 or so. Had that happened we might have been in the mood of the name of our waiting B&B,  “Grumpy Bear.”  I have to admit this was the one I was most concerned as to the condition of the place.  The add said “if you are looking for glitz and glamour don’t come here.”  Well obviously that was not what we were looking for, but it also said “this is a homey place that could use a couple of fix ups, as reflected in the price.” (not the exact quote)  The pictures looked nice enough, and there was a washer and drier. The price was within our budget.  Dick liked the chain saw carving of the bear and we went for it.  Turns out, that out of the four this was our very favorite place.  Let me show it to you, with all of its amenities.

And the photo bomber!!  Dick put his veterans hat on the bear’s head.

This whole house was ours for 4 days, 3 nights. Full kitchen with dinning for four. Living room with two couches and a large screen TV.

A fridge with and cupboard loaded with supplies and cooking needs.  This stop was right in the middle of our trip and just about the time laundry was essential.  There were two bathrooms and two full bedrooms upstairs.  A garbage disposal and a newer gas grill outside.  I’m thinking he did the “fix up” before we got there.

The place did have a “male hunting, fishing atmosphere.”  Perfect for us because our guys were fishing and we ate grilled fresh salmon two out of the three nights we stayed there.

I gotta say Dick was in his “happy place.” Again, Berry, who spells his name with an e, supplied all of our needs for cleaning and cooking the fish.  We truly enjoyed his place, we met him and he was a very helpful and friendly person, wished we could have stayed longer.  I would highly recommend this place for anyone, especially families or sportsmen, who would be in Kodiak.

The view just across the street was perfect as well. His friendly neighbors gave us access to a quiet beach below which you see in this and the featured image.

Time to move on to our last B&B, a quiet little place off the beaten path in Homer.  In fact it was called  “Trail Side Cabin.”

This cabin featured a bedroom on the far end, a kitchen in the middle and a living/bedroom at the entrance. The bed and a bathroom on the far end was an addition to an original small cabin before B&B days. You can see the loft ladder, which was locked, that was used for the bedroom in those days.

The living/bedroom was comfortable and usable as both with a TV and a dinning table for four.  This was taken early in the morning, but they did a good job of making it a living room in the daytime.

The nice part of this B&B was the location, just outside of the town and right next to the trail it was named for.  We walked the trail which was not as exciting as I had imagined, but it did have it nice parts.

We left the place as nice as we found it and the owner appreciated it as stated in her comments.  Another host that we did not get to meet, but enjoyed the eggs, muffins, condiments and coffee provided for us.  We ate well in the cabin here and tried to use up all that we had purchased.   We also enjoyed a great night out at “The Kannery,” a newer restaurant just outside of Homer with an ocean view.

I apologize for the extra long blog, but I hope you enjoyed the things to love about a Bed and Breakfast, a break from expensive hotels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Hershey it’s all about the kiss, and Milton of course

Hershey chocolate is known around the world, but perhaps loved the most by those who have visited the chocolate town and tasted its sweetness first hand. Sometimes or maybe in bygone days you could smell the rich milk chocolate as you drove through town. I recently spent a day with some school kids at the Hershey museum, and I do not recall having that thrill of the smell of chocolate.  Even though I live about an hour from the Hershey Kiss town and have been there many times, I had never been in this particular museum.  When taking out of town friends to Hershey, I preferred Chocolate World where you get a ride in an open cart that takes you through the chocolate making process and you end up with a free chocolate bar in a chocolate world gift shop.  This Hershey museum was different, but not in that respect. We still ended up in a chocolate world gift shop.

This was a day trip to help children learn about Milton Hershey himself and about the industrial city he built to house his factory workers.

This three dimensional mural shows him with children as he dedicated many of his millions to Hershey school for orphaned boys. His father traveled around much and by the time he was 13 he had attended 6 different schools.  Milton Hershey ‘s mother took him out of school after the fourth grade and got him a job as an apprentice for a printer.  Later he began a job making candy and learned the art of making caramels, fudge and peppermints. He enjoyed this job so much, he made the decision to make candy the rest of his life.

He failed many times, but the secret to his success is that he did not give up and kept coming back until he got it right.

Of course the milk for the milk chocolate had to come from Hershey farms scattered around the town. After his first success in making caramels, he sold the business and decided to make chocolates in the country.  He needed workers and a factory.  So he built a town to house the workers. People thought he was crazy, but it worked.

The coco beans came from the Caribbean Islands including Cuba.

How do you wrap a kiss was one of the first displays.  Hard to imagine women and boys wrapping individual Hershey kisses all day, but one day an employee had an idea, so says the display sign, and a kiss wrapping machine was invented. And here it is displayed below, the first candy kiss wrapping machine, invented in 1922, I presume.

The kisses were displayed on beautiful scenes like this one. How the times have changed. Makes you wonder just how many kisses you could get for 29 cents.

 

So what did the children learn from all this?  They were taken to a laboratory where they put on hair nets and aprons, washed their hands and learn the assembly line process.  When you do one thing over and over you become very good at doing that one thing and you can do it right, quickly. ( No one mentioned how boring that job could be.)

They lined up at their tables and each row had a job to do to make a candy bar that they got to take home.

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The instructor led them through the process of pouring the mold, adding the filler, and finishing the product.  Then came the labeling, wrapping and shipping process.

Later in videos they were reminded of the roller coasters in their favorite summer time amusement park.

We visited the snack bar and I sampled a dark chocolate milk shake. I watched her blend a lot of dark chocolate ice cream along with chunks of dark chocolate which did not blend smooth, but left you sucking up tiny bits of what felt like sand coming through the straw.  Just to say for 7 bucks I was not impressed.  I gave most of mine to the bus driver.  Seriously?? I guess I like a little more milk in my shake.

In and around the town the street lights are in the shape of wrapped and unwrapped candy kisses, after all in Hershey, It’s all about the kiss. Can you spot four of them?

 

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Here Comes Santa Claus

Santa Claus comes to town every Christmas, usually about a month before Christmas, with his jolly Ho, Ho, Ho, he frightens the daylights out of the very little ones and pleases the older child by listening and promising to bring the favorite gift.

But where did he come from?  How did he come to be not only a part of, but sometimes the main show at Christmas. If you said from The Night Before Christmas Story, you would be partially right.  In the famous poem the author mentions Saint Nicholas but, as the story went around the world and advertising began drawing images of the more or less mythical person described, the name Santa for Saint and Claus for Nicholas evolved.

Saint Nicholas was a real person who live centuries ago in what is now the country of Turkey.  His parents were wealthy and they took him for a trip around the world while he was quite young. The trip impressed him as he saw that many people suffered in poverty with few to help.  Shortly after the trip he was orphaned and was left with quite a bit of money.  It was then he began helping the poor.  He gave gifts in secret, he was wise beyond his years and became a priest at age 18.  In his 20’s  he became an archbishop, doing many wondrous works.  He was a Christ follower and a man of much prayer and fasting. He gave so much that soon his benevolence could no longer be kept a secret.  The most famous story is that of him secretly putting dowry money into the hanging stockings of three daughters of a once wealthy man who lost all he had. This father was beside himself not knowing what to do and decided he had to sell his daughters into slavery, then the money was provided and the girls were able to marry.  He was so grateful, he realized that he had committed a grave sin and asked forgiveness of God and became a believer.  Santa is a giver of gifts, he encourages children to, say their prayers and be good.  He spreads good will and cheer to all. In a way he emulates St Nicholas and I love to tell children and others that Santa is real, in the person of St Nicholas.

Before the popularity of this poem there was never a mention of Santa, gifts or St Nick, and if it wasn’t for this ancient man of God perhaps there never would have been a Santa.

Santa Claus comes to us on the eve of Christmas when the wondrous truth of Christmas unfolds. His eight tiny reindeer were also named in the original poem that was titled “A visit from St Nick. The poem was written in the early 1800’s.

 

.Do you recognize the “most famous reindeer of all?”

This shy little deer came along about a century later when cowboy, Gene Autry recorded the song that became a hit and remains popular today.  Rudolf, it seems, was born with this terrible shiny nose that kept him out of the loop with the other reindeer, until Santa rescued him by turning his shame into something beautiful to help guide the sleigh on a foggy night.  He became the leader and has continued to be hailed as a loved one because he made himself useful to Santa and the others.

I like this story because it reminds of us of what God can do for us. There is a very short and not often told story in the Bible that is much like this story of Rudolph. It’s actually almost hidden in I Chronicles chapter 4, verses 9 and 10. These two verses are all the Bible says about Jabez, the honorable brother, who, because his mother suffered loss or hurt before his birth, she named him Jabez which literally means “you will cause Pain.”  Because he was more honorable than his brothers we can assume that his brothers did not treat him so well, since he was born with this “curse” over him.  He obviously did not want to cause pain to others, and called out to the Lord asking God to bless him and help him not cause pain. He also prayed to be delivered from the evil one and asked if God would help him, help others by enlarging his territory. And do you know what happened?  “God granted his request.”  This story reminded me so much of the Rudolph story that I was able to write a song to the tune of Rudolph that tells the Jabez story.

Now you can go to this YouTube link and sing along as I got some of my young friends to help me sing it.  Go ahead sing it, It’s kind of fun, and remember we all suffer from things that happen to us over which we have no control.  As this season of Christmas comes to a close take a tip from Jabez and ask God to take away your burden and turn it into something good.

 

Preview YouTube video Jabez

Today, January 6th, is the day we celebrate the wise men reaching their destination, the season of Christmas is officially over, the New Year has begun and tomorrow, my tree comes down. May you know God’s blessings in 2019.
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Epiphany – the climax of the celebrations of Christmas

At one time Epiphany was celebrated as the beginning of the New Year, but today it denotes the end of the Christmas holiday season. On our calendar it falls on January 6th, the last day of the 12 days of Christmas.The word epiphany is defined as “an intuitive grasp of reality, usually through something simple, and striking, as an illuminating discovery.”  So it means to reveal or to show.

When the wise men completed their journey and located Jesus, an epiphany occurred. It is believed that by not going back to the king, after seeing Jesus, it was revealed to them that He was indeed the Christ, the Messiah, the promised one, the King and Savior of humanity.  In short, they recognized who Jesus was and is, and it changed their way of thinking and their path for life.  The story is found in the second chapter of Matthew and it tells us that after they saw the Christ Child they departed and went home a different way.  Because of this, at one time, it was the hope of a priest of the early church that Epiphany should be the celebrated Christian holiday rather than Christmas. We teach that everyone who is to become a Christian have this epiphany moment when they realize who Jesus is and accept Him as the One promised by God to save us from our sins. The thinking of this priest was that this epiphany moment in a persons life was more important than to celebrate the birth of the baby Savior, and in fact Epiphany Sunday is recognized and/or celebrated in many churches today.  This year it happens to fall of a Sunday.

Contrary to popular Nativity scenes the wise men did not appear until a year or two after the fact of Christ’s birth, but they are often placed in the same context as the shepherds worshiping Jesus.

My daughter came up with a solution to this problem.  She removes the wise men from the manger scene and puts them in a different part of the room.  As January 6th draws near, she moves the wise men closer to the manger scene.

So her nativity might look like this, until January 6th which is the day the arrival of the wise men is celebrated.

These men, whose journey began somewhere in Persia arrived at a house where Mary and Joseph were staying until they were told by an angel to take the baby and flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod.

The wise men are an important part of the Christmas story, they worshiped Him and brought Him gifts. We exchange and give gifts today in honor of these first gifts given to our Savior.

All of the things we have looked at in these blogs reveal the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate the fact that Jesus was born, came to earth through the womb of a virgin woman, leaving behind the glories of heaven to bring us out from under Satan’s rule and into a peace that passes all understanding.

And so the Christmas season ends and a New Year begins. I wish for all my readers a very happy and healthy new year and may your life honor the One whose birth we celebrate in the Season of Christmas, and may you recognize who Jesus is.

There is one aspect of Christmas that I have neglected to mention in these blogs.  But that is for another day, hopefully before the season of Christmas ends.

Where did he come from??  Tune in next time.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Celebration of Christmas is still going on

It’s nice to know that after the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas intermixed with the Sundays where we are expectantly waiting with joy of anticipation, that after the big day—- it’s not over.  In the 12 days following Christmas day we have time to reflect and give thanks each day for a particular gift that God has given us.  I am speaking of the 12 days of Christmas, but not necessarily of geese-a-laying or maids-a-milking.  Today we teach our children the ABC’s with things like A is apple, b for banana and c is for cat.  It is referred to as memorization by association.  Many years ago the Catholic Church taught their children and new converts a way to remember and give thanks to God for the gifts of the tenements of the faith of Christianity. Some even say it was a secret code as the church was enduring persecution.

What we know today as the song of The Twelve Days of Christmas was once a poem, and the poem became a song which without explanation became a silly song of a lover bestowing lavish gifts on his loved one.  I have even heard of some who have added up the cost of all the gifts mentioned and it was astronomical.  However this isn’t far off from the truth of the meaning of the song.

The True Love is speaking of God the Father of the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus the Son of God. The partridge is a ground bird who will cover her young and die to protect them.  A good picture of Jesus who covered our sin by dying for us on a tree.

Two turtle doves speaks of the two testaments of God’s Word, the Bible. The Old and The New tell us of God’s plan and is there for all who will read and believe.  Turtle doves were used by the poor as a sacrifice when they could not afford a lamb.

Three French Hens were used to describe the three virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, taught in I Corinthians ch 13.  French hens are said to be a very quiet, gentle and friendly hen.

Four calling birds are the four gospels calling out the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Five Golden Rings are the first five foundational books of the Bible, known as the five books of the Torah.  These books give the history of humanity’s sinful nature and of God’s response of grace to create a people who would bring forth a light to the world.

Six geese a-laying speak of the six days of creation, each egg representing a day that something new was made by the Creator and Sustainer of the world.

Seven swans a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Spirit found in II Cor 12:8-11 and Romans 12:6-6, an appropriate symbol for these gifts of grace as swans are considered among the most beautiful and graceful creatures on earth.

Eight maids-a-milking refers to Christ coming to serve the lost and the least as milk maids in the day this would have been written as a code, milk maids was the lowest of jobs to be had. Eight beatitudes give blessing to those in need listed in Matthew 5:3-10

Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22. Dancing denotes joy as does a life that produces these fruits from the Holy Spirit.

Ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.  In the day of Lords and servants, the lord was the judge and jury not always dealing justly.  The ten commandments give a clear understanding of right and wrong.

Eleven Pipers piping refer to the eleven faithful apostles, the disciples who followed Jesus after His death and resurrection. The twelfth apostle stopped following Christ just before His death.

Twelve drummers drumming are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s creed which is repeated over and over like drumming these points into our being.

Using these phrases you can sing This version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Try it, you’ll like it. There are several other versions like the Polish dinner, and the Hawaiian version, but this is version is the true meaning of the Twelve days and I for one think it should be sung as well.

This is the third celebration of Christmas, there is one more and I will post it before the end of the twelve days of Christmas. In the meantime thank God for the designated gift each of the twelve days.

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Tis the Season

The holiday season is normally thought to begin at Thanksgiving and concludes with New years, with Christmas in between.  Christmas to many means Christmas Eve and Christmas day with many previous days being devoted to shopping for gifts and preparing food. It’s during these days that we wish each other “Happy Holidays.”   I would like to suggest that Christmas is much more than another holiday crunched in between two others.  In fact I would say that Christmas is a season in and of itself, and Jesus is the reason for that season.   Christmas is a time of joy and celebration and actually there are four celebrations during the Christmas Season and the reason we say “Merry Christmas.”  Advent is the first of the four celebrations of Christmas.  Advent refers to the promise of coming, not only to the first coming of Jesus as a babe in a manger, but also to the promise of His second coming as the Mighty King. Advent begins the fourth week before Christmas Sunday, usually the last Sunday of November or as happened this year the first Sunday of December.   This first Sunday focuses on the promise and hope of His coming. “Come thou Long Expected Jesus” is a hymn often sung on this day.  As He was expected when He came the first time, He is expected to fulfill the promise of His second coming. The second Sunday is that of preparation, a need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive His gift of redemption and contemplate the meaning of this to each person who will receive it.  The third Sunday is that of rejoicing over this great gift and the fact that He came, leaving heaven to come and live as a man among men to show human kind the truth about God. The fourth Sunday focuses on love and adoration of the Savior of all who will accept Him.  The advent wreath features four candles in a circle, one lit for each Sunday, with a fifth candle in the middle lit on Christmas eve to signify the birth of the Christ Child.

There are many versions of the advent wreath, this one features the Nativity which is why I like it.

All of this leads up to the second celebration of Christmas which is the eve and the day of Christmas. The night before Christmas is celebrated with family gatherings.  When there is no one present except family a selfie saves the day, and when one family member is missing due to being in a different state, a face time phone call is just the ticket.

After dinner, a Christ mass which is the way Christmas was originally celebrated, or a Christmas Eve candle lighting worship service is enjoyed.

At home the tree is a delight and a wonder to the little ones.

And the gifts are waiting to bring delight and joy to everyone.

Christmas day for us is a flurry of visiting others and having guests in the evening. All surprises and secrets are revealed and the tree is devoid of the beauty of the wrapped presents, and the silence of Christmas night is upon us.

There are two more celebrations of Christmas, but that is for another day.  Join me in the next couple of days for more of Christmas.

This one can’t wait to get his hands on the star cookie, an addition to the usual “Grandma cookies.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ways we celebrate fall

Its November first and the season we have been waiting for has finally arrived.  Fall is here, and the leaves are now starting to change color.  We have had much rain in south central Pennsylvania in the recent months of late summer and early fall.  The change of seasons has been slow coming, but as I look back over the past two months I realize we have been celebrating fall in several ways.

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In September the sisters met at the cabin and made crafty fall creations.

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“Hello Fall” is now decorating our houses even though the grass still needed to be mowed the days were warm and rainy and the leaves were green and remained on the trees.

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In October we made apple butter in the huge copper kettle with family members and friends of all ages participating.  It was a warm, sunny, lovely day, enjoyed by about 80 people who shared the 88 quarts of the warm fresh sauce that will be eaten on toast, biscuits or warm baked bread all winter long.

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But today it looks like fall!  The maple tree has shed some of its leaves and the others are turning the colors of fall.

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The ones on the ground show even more color.  I really like the shades of purple in this display of nature’s art.

With November upon us we are planning for and waiting for the day we celebrate Thanksgiving.  And in my recent travels I happened to spy this guy, which set my plans in motion.

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Happy Fall everyone, it may be short, the winter celebrations are nudging us.

 

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High School Reunion Day

Celebrating a high school reunion provided a day filled with memories, friends and education. Even though this was a 55th class reunion, we are still learning.  Our day began at the Gettysburg visitor center, meeting and greeting and then to watch a Civil War film.  This day spent recalling Gettysburg history was very fitting since our class of 1963 was the centenial celebration of the 1863 war on the first three days of July of that year.

Later we viewed the Cyclorama painting of Pickets Charge.  I remembered seeing this painting in high school, but with a couple of million dollar refirbish job it looked brand new.  The thing that stuck in my head when viewing the painting years ago was that the artist did a self portrait of himself in the painting, instead of a signature. After the presentation that did not mention this, I asked one of the guides. He showed me where it was.  Dressed as a union soldier the Frenchman was standing against a tree holding an open sword across his knee.  Everyone around him was engaged in battle, he however, was just standing there as though he was an observer, which, I guess he was.

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Our next stop was the Dwight D Eisenhower farm.  It was a beautiful day and the first one we had in a couple of weeks, so it was a treat to be out and about.

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But first a peek inside at the home where the Eisenhowers lived in the 1960’s. The formal living room showcased gifts the Eisenhowers received from friends and heads of state all over the world.  I liked this unusal couch like piece of furniture that, we were told, Mamie liked as well.  Ike, as he was called considered the room to stuffy and preferred to spend time on the porch where he enjoyed painting.

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It was lovely outside and we walked the path where Ike liked to walk with his friends and every one that he invited to the farm.

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In the showbarn we saw pictures of Winston Churchhill and Charles DeGaul in the same place where we were standing.

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He was quite a golfer and had a putting green in his back yard.  The flag is that of a Four Star General.  We learned that one of our class mates was a caddie for the President on occassion when he golfed at the Gettysburg Country Club.

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We walked past the stables and googled eyed the old classic cars in the garage.  Among the golf carts and other classics was his presidential limosine Imperial.

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That evening we had dinner at the Dobbin House and a brunch on Sunday when our foriegn exchange student from Guatamala attended.

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She brought along a scrap book from her year in Gettysburg.  This picture of prom attendants was reinacted as both of them were at the brunch.

It was a great weekend.  I love our class reunions, I think the only one I missed was the 5th reunion as I was still out of town.  Now 55 has come and gone.  “How are you?”  Was a frequently asked question. The answer I liked the best was “I’m upright and thankful to be so.”  Yes! Yes I am.

 

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