Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Here is Kate, the dachshund we had when we were kids. She was referred to in the last post. In front of the old stove was one of her favorite spots to be....that and right next to us if we were eating anything. She was a terrible beg! This was “her” rug. The picture is probably taken in the early 1980s, although it might have been earlier, judging from the old linoleum floor. I can’t remember what year Mom and Dad had carpet put in.

Those are my father’s boots there on the hearth...another familiar sight.

Thank goes to my sister, Martha for contributing the picture.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Poor Old Friend

A few weeks ago, I was driving down a road that I had never driven down before and I did a double take when I saw this sitting in somebody’s front yard. I had to turn around to make sure I saw correctly. My heart sank when I saw a familiar  “face” looking back at me. He was rusty and neglected looking, and it broke my heart.

When I got home, I immediately sent the photo to both my sisters. I knew they would understand. I asked my older sister if she had pictures of the wood-burning stove we grew up with.  I was happy when she sent the following pictures.

I have such fond memories of warming myself by this old friend during my growing up years. I slept in a room that used to be the attic. While it was insulated, it had no heat run and used to get quite chilly. Sometimes I would run downstairs on a frosty morning and dress for the day in front of this old stove. After an afternoon of ice-skating, sledding, or simply romping in the snow, I would come into the house with frozen toes and fingers. I remember leaving my snow covered boots, hat, scarf and mittens...and even my skates on occasion, on its hearth to defrost. I would lay on the rug in front of it, stretch out my feet and rest my frozen toes on my friend's "chin." He never minded.

I wish I had a picture of our dachshund. I could almost always count on finding her roasting herself in the heat of the old stove...sometimes splayed out on her back...basking in the warmth. 

So when I saw one of my old friend's cousins...just sitting out in a front yard, exposed to the elements of time and weather, I couldn't help but feel some sadness. I'm also glad to say that my older sister, my niece, and my niece's husband and baby all live in the house where my old friend still resides. He's still safe and loved.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Your Shoebox Gift(s) Have Shipped to....

This year when Jamie and I sent out 3 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, we elected to have the boxes tracked. I got an email saying that our boxes were shipped to the country of Togo.

Having a box tracked is a new option that I think it is very cool. Years ago, we would get a newsletter with a few pictures of children around the world opening their Christmas boxes. I was left to wonder where the boxes we sent ended up. Then, one year when I opened the newsletter I saw a picture of a girl in South Africa holding a shoe box with wrapping paper that was the exact same same wrapping paper I had used to wrap up one of the boxes we sent out. I like to think that the box actually was one of the ones we sent out. My husband, ever the very practical one, said, “Other people could have used the same wrapping paper.” Bah humbug! I was so pleased to see it and the joy on her face, that I cut out the picture and have carried it in my Bible ever since.

Here is the picture that still brings me joy whenever I look at it. The box I sent is the one that is wrapped in green and red plaid wrapping paper.

After taking the picture of the newsletter article I clipped out years ago and getting ready to post it here, I noticed the footnote on the bottom of the page in my Bible. Click on the picture to enlarge it and look at the footnote. 

If you go to this link, you can watch a series of videos of children around the world opening their gifts.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

I haven’t been so great about posting lately, but I at least wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a smaller gathering than other years for Thanksgiving, but it was nice just the same. We gathered at Jamie’s sister’s house. It was the year that her own children were somewhere else for the we only had 10.

It has been nice having all three of our children home again. Since they are all still single and relatively close to home, we don’t have to share them yet!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Empty Nest

Our latest news includes dropping off our youngest child at her college in western PA on Thursday morning. I am blessed by knowing that she is in a good place. Today is her first day of classes and I wonder how she is doing. It hasn't fully hit me yet that she is really gone because so often during the summer, she took off for days at a time to stay at her Aunt and Uncle's house over in Seneca County. I got used to the comings and goings. Any minute now she should barge in the front door with her older sister, both of them dumping their overnight bags in the entryway.

When we dropped her off. I couldn't help thinking about what my parents must have felt like when they drop me off at college 31 years ago. Their experience was quite different. My school was a secular university and the one Alicia is attending is a Christian one. While my parents were greeted with the similar scene of a very large number of other students moving in all at once, their move-in experience with me was devoid of "helping hands" and RAs who were going room to room to pray over the incoming freshmen. My parents had to come to terms with a very worldly environment and entrust me into the Lord's hands. There would be no reassuring speech from the college president that would be peppered with scripture throughout and then culminate with a prayer for both incoming students and their parents who were saying goodbye.

My roommate had arrived before me and had hung up posters of Bruce Springsteen all over her side of the room. That, in and of itself, wasn't terrible but included among those posters were ones depicting the importance of beer consumption and also one of nude downhill skiers. Although the nude skiers poster was in comic form, I knew my very conservative mother would be shocked (and she was). That sort of makes me chuckle now because that was so mild compared to what I was to face in the next several weeks. Suffice it to say that I had moved from my very conservative protective Christian home to a very secular university where virtually anything sinful was bound to go on. I do not remember my parents lingering much beyond the time it took to move me into my dorm. Maybe they took me out to lunch before saying goodbye...I'm not sure anymore. They were not invited to a speech given by the college president or to a welcome picnic following this speech, as we were. During the drive home, how did my parents feel? Did my mother feel like turning around and snatching me up in her protective arms? Did my father worry about the presence of men living on the floors above and below mine?

My husband and I helped Alicia move into an all women's dormitory, where signs are posted on the walls that stress the rule that no men are allowed into the dormitory (this did not include fathers and brothers assisting on move-in day). Thirty one years ago, my parents and I rubbed shoulders with young men who were also moving into the same dorm building. Although individual floors were designated "men's" and "women's"...there were no rules or hallway locks keeping anyone from either coming into other places unannounced, or even from staying the night there. (Rest assured we did have locks on our individual doors, which we used.) While helping me move in, instead of being greeted by a helpful crew of upper classmen called "helping hands," my parents and I struggled with boxes and packages on our own, and were given salutations of blaring hard rock music and bad language in the hallways and stairwells. When we interacted with my new roommate, it was readily apparent that she held a very different set of values than I or my family did. She also had a polar opposite personality than I did. That isn't entirely a bad thing since we all need to learn to interact with people who are very different than we are, but it caused a bit of anxiety for my parents and I. I was quiet and conservative and introverted. She was loud and crass and extroverted. I was the goody-goody...she wasn't, and didn't pretend to be. It was enough to set me and my parents on edge.

I understand that just because my daughter goes to a Christian college, it doesn't necessarily mean that all the students attending there will embrace Christianity and its values. However, I am reassured that the overall environment of this school is supportive of our values and many of the students will be as well. I will miss her, and wonder how she is doing. I will worry about her and hope that she is getting all the support she needs personally...but I am confident that she is in a good place. The support system there is strong, as long as she seeks it out if and when she needs it. Although we felt a bit melancholic, there was no agonizing as her father and I drove home that night.

I really admire my parents for their bravery. No...not bravery, but for their faith. Many years later I asked my father what they thought as they drove away from Potsdam State University all those years ago. His response was typical of him. It was one that demonstrated the deep faith my parents had in the Lord. He stated that he knew that I had a good head on my shoulders, that they had seen evidence of my personal decision for Christ, but most of all that they knew the Lord would be with me and watch over me, just as the scriptures promise. Transitioning to that school was very rough and proved to be a pivotol point in my faith for me. It still marks one of the most painful and spiritually trying times in my history, but my father was right. The Lord was with me....even in the depths of hell that I would later face as I wrestled with a serious depression and consequential brokenness.

Thirty one years ago my parents drove away from a much less than reassuring setting than Jamie and I drove away from this past Thursday afternoon. These memories and the legacy of the faith of my parents remind me that the Lord is faithful. He is with our daughter, just as he was with me...and he has been and is with my other children as well. He has been faithful all along and will continue to be.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Train Ride

Jamie and I took a day trip up to Old Forge on Saturday. It takes about three hours to drive there from our house, so we left early in the morning. Allen has been working at a camp up in the Adirondacks and he had Saturday off, so he met up with us. We were able to spend the day together. Allen is recovering from an infection and is generally exhausted from working at the camp, so he didn't want to do anything too strenuous. Therefore we did not go hiking, which is what we usually do. Instead, we took a scenic train ride, walked around Old Forge and then went to The Strand to see the movie Dunkirk. It was really good. I highly recommend it. The story is based on actual events during World War 2. We all enjoy history.

After we saw the movie, we went and ate at the Sisters Bistro. Jamie and I discovered that restaurant two summers ago and it has become a favorite. This was our third summer taking a day trip to Old Forge and our third time eating at this place. I highly recommend it. It was delicious!

Sometimes I wish I were a bit more like my sister, Martha...who totes her camera everywhere and documents everything so beautifully. I'm lucky if I remember to pull out my phone and take pictures at all. This is one of the few I took and it's not all that great.

We had a wonderful day. It was so nice to see Allen.