Monday, October 10, 2016

College Visit

Today we visited Grove City College with our youngest daughter. It was a beautiful sunny fall day with a bit of chill in the air. It was a much nicer tour than we got two years ago with our older daughter. It really is one of the most beautiful college campuses I've ever been on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Sadness at My School

I just couldn't bear to write this last night. When I arrived at school yesterday morning, staff members received news that once again a student passed away the night before. Two different students, two separate incidences, 5 days apart.

This time, the student was a senior. It was quite unexpected and shocking. The cause of death has not been revealed to us. Yesterday we were told that an autopsy would be performed.

Please pray for our students, his parents and his siblings.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Path of Pain and Forgiveness



I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting this past year about my life, and I believe that I have come to peace with painful events of the past. Today I stumbled upon a poem by Amy Carmichael which explains my journey during the past 29 years pretty accurately.

I have come to the conclusion that the illness I suffered in college was planned by the Lord and that the subsequent events that followed this illness were all supposed to happen. It all went down according to the plan. This idea was first presented to me by a Christian psychologist that I went to see about 15 years ago. I thought that sounded impossible to be true and so I rejected her words. Consequently I wrestled with pain and unforgiveness for several more years. I reasoned that something so wrong and terrible couldn't possibly be part of God's plan for me. However, I have come full circle. By saying that it was all a mistake and that it wasn't supposed to happen implies that it somehow slipped by God, that He was asleep on the job, or that He really isn't in control of the world. If He is in control, but I still think that it was all terrible, then I am forced to believe that God is actually quite cruel.

No. I believe that God is good and that He is in control. I believe that we are given trials to develop our faith and character. It sounds so cliche...but I see its truth in my life. I believe there are certain paths that we are destined for....but I also believe that the Lord gives us choices along that path. I don't profess to have it all figured out. There is a certain mystery to it all. This is where true faith develops. I'll never totally understand the answer to, "Why did that need to happen?" Accepting that I won't understand it during this lifetime and deciding that it is okay that I don't understand has helped.

The other "aha moment" that brought about this change was learning to see my mother as human. One who makes mistakes. I recognize that she carried a tremendous amount of pain in her heart about things that happened in her life too. She was also someone who was good. She was a godly woman who was mostly a blessing to me. I was far more blessed by her than the opposite....but Satan wants to cloud my memory regarding her. I am also a human who make mistakes. God's grace is sufficient enough to cover my own sin. He has forgiven me and He has forgiven her. For me to not forgive her (or anyone else) is to have the arrogance to believe that I know better than God does. That is just more sin on my part.

This past winter, I went to Prayer Central at my church. It is a room that you can go to after any of the services to ask for prayer. I went there to ask for prayer regarding my unforgiveness towards my mother. I didn't tell them my entire story, but I told them that I felt very angry towards my mother because 28 years earlier, she had hurt me very deeply. It took me several years to put all of the pieces together in order to figure out what happened all those years ago. So I went to Prayer Central and told the woman there that I needed help getting past this. It seemed to me that this was the last ugly black talon that Satan had my heart pierced with. This woman prayed for me. She prayed that the Lord would help me get to the point of acceptance...that I would look back on my life and see this as something that just simply happened, and that I would no longer have the bondage of anger that came with it. I thought to myself, "Yes, Lord. This is what I want...to see it as something that simply happened...without all of the anger about it."

I believe that I have finally reached this point. I am not fool enough to believe that the enemy won't attack again, but he has lost this battle. I shared this, because I know there are many people who have hurts and anger over things that happened to them that were not entirely fair. I hope I can encourage at least one other person to find acceptance for what happened to them and to be able to forgive those who wronged them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sad Day at Wayne

This morning I got to work to find out that one of our students died early this morning from injuries sustained in a car crash last night. He was a junior...age 17. He was 2 months younger than my own daughter. I'm heartbroken for his family. He was new to our district. I don't know if he had any siblings, but I only saw his mom listed as a parent. He was driving the car that crashed. No one else was in the car at the time and no other vehicles were involved.

I just talked to this student last week when he came into our library and signed out a book. I remember our short and seemingly insignificant conversation. You just never know when you will talk to someone for the last time. It's a reminder that the way we treat one another is so important. I'm glad my last conversation with him was not scolding him for something really trivial. I try not to do that with students anyway, but sometimes I've disappointed myself. This is a good reminder regarding that. Librarians can have a reputation for being crabby. I try to break that stereotype all the time.

Upon hearing the news, I immediately went into our circulation system, marked the book as lost, and removed the fine. I just don't want an overdue reminder or bill to be accidentally sent to his mom. Who cares about a book in light of this tragedy?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Beaver Camp Fun-Summer of 2016



This is the camp my daughter worked at this summer. Check her out at 1:38-1:43. She's also at 2:38-2:40...and a few other minor appearances that are quick. I'm really grateful for this camp. My kids went here as campers and 2 of them have worked here. Beaver Camp has made a profound impact on them spiritually.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The CBS Question that Stopped Me in My Tracks

This post was originally created on February 12, 2016...but I kept it as a draft. I think it is very insightful and that is why I'm publishing it today. I had published it one time before...but changed my mind. Besides that, it was buried in the archives where no one was likely to read it and comment. As the Lord gives me these insightful truths, it brings leaps of healing. I hope it can help and inspire someone else.


I wrote this post over a month ago...but was too self conscious to post it. I don't like people to know my personal struggles. I've been thinking about this post...especially since the anniversary of this loss is rolling closer. February is a difficult month for me. I struggle with Valentine's Day. I even told my husband once that I hate Valentine's Day and that I don't want to celebrate it. Buy me chocolate and flowers on any other day of the year....but don't buy it on that day. He hasn't always listened to this advice.

Anyway...in my quest to be more honest about myself, I've decided to post it after all.
.........

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

.....

For personal thought: which of the previously mentioned offerings would most involve genuine sacrifice on your part? Why? (Community Bible Study, Study guide for the book of Mark. Page 170)

The offerings mentioned:
  • a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17....the verse written out above in red)
  • praise (Hebrew 13:15-16)
  • mercy and acknowledgment of God (Hosea 6:6)
  • our bodies and mind (Romans 12:1-2)

I stared at the question for several minutes while I considered each one of the choices, trying to decide what my answer would be.  I came to the first choice: the broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. "Well...I've gotten that one down," I thought to myself. I was about to look at the next choice when a second thought came into my mind. "But do you? Do you really have that one down?" I stopped and thought about it. I decided that I don't have that one down at all.

That one seems to be giving me the most difficulty. It seems like I actually hold onto my broken heart and my broken spirit. When I sense it slipping away...I grip it a little tighter...being afraid to let it go. I can't seem to sacrifice it entirely. Or is it that I won't sacrifice it? Perhaps I am afraid of losing the little bit I have left of something long ago lost. Really? Is that it? I can tell myself that this is foolish and faulty thinking. Do I really want this pain in my life? No! I hate it!

Then why can't I get rid of it? Why can't I just sacrifice it and be done with it? I know it is wrong...and yet I hold onto it. I can't...or won't really let it go. How do I put something on the alter that I have held onto for so long? There have been times when I've thought it is gone...but then there it is, back in my grip again. Must it always be a continual sacrifice? Again and again? Can't I just sacrifice it once and for all? Why must I see it once again in my possession?

I don't seem to have this one down at all.

"Oh, Heavenly Father. I sacrifice it to you. I lay it on the alter! I don't want it anymore!  It is yours."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On Being Wounded

I have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia series on audio. I read it aloud to the kids when they were little...and decided it was time for someone to read it to me.

I've always known about the Christian symbolism in the book, but somehow it has hit me anew while listening to The Horse and His Boy. There is one part of the book where a lion attacks Aravis while she is riding on Hwin. She ends up with scratches from the lion's claws down her back. She is laid up with these wounds for some time afterwards. Later on in the book, Shasta discovers that it was Aslan who wounded Aravis. He asks Aslan why he would do such a thing. Aslan answers that he will only tell Shasta his own story, not Aravis's story.

I have a story. I have been wounded. As I look back at my life, I see indications that the Lord knew what was going to happen to me all along. He knows my story even better than I do. I couldn't prevent my deep wounds from happening even though it seemed as though I should have been able to. I wanted to set the record straight with those who misunderstood me, but the Lord would not allow me to. He closed the doors time and time again and sometimes didn't open the doors at all.

 I really believe that He wounded me. I have gotten into discussions about this very topic in the past with people who disagree. They would say, "Oh no. The Lord never wounds, but he only allows us to be wounded." I disagree because the scriptures mention that the Lord afflicts. (Psalm 119:75) Besides that, if He doesn't do it...then is He asleep on the job when it happens? Does He hire the devil to do his dirty work? Is He actually a cruel God who stands by and watches us get hurt without coming to our defense? No! Of course not.

God is good. He is just. He has purposes that we don't understand. It really was His plan that I be terribly misunderstood and consequently rejected by people I loved deeply. I don't know if I'll ever understand the reasons why on this side of eternity. I am coming closer than ever to being totally at peace about this. I know the truth is that it was supposed to happen.

Here is a quote that I love from the book. It occurs while Shasta is speaking to a mysterious traveling companion after getting lost in a fog. He concludes that he is the most unlucky boy. This is what Aslan says to him:

"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."

He has greater purposes for the "misfortunes" that we encounter during our lives. He is working in ways that we are not aware of. I'm getting closer. Yes...I am.

I only now ask for your prayers that the ruminating about it would stop. It sounds easy to others to simpy stop thinking about it...but it isn't easy. It is like my thoughts automatically gravitate towards this deep groove running through my mind. I would appreciate your prayers about this.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Beautiful Children

It has been a while since I have been here. Allen and Audra are home from college. In June, Audra will be going to Beaver Camp up in the Adirondacks. She will spend the summer working as a life guard and camp counselor. Allen had planned on going to Colorado to work on maintaining trails in the Rockies, but his plans have changed. Instead, he will be staying here for the summer. He already has gotten a job with a landscaping company. He will start on June 1st. In the meantime, he has gone up to Beaver Camp to work for a few days. This coming weekend he will be driving to NC to join his ultimate frisbee team in a tournament. Next week, his girlfriend is coming here for a visit. She lives outside of Chicago. Alicia and I haven't met her yet. Jamie met her when he went to IWU to pick up Audra.

This weekend was Alicia's junior prom. This is my favorite picture of all!


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Winter Hike 2016

Every year my husband and son, along with Ed (a family friend) go on a winter hike in the Adirondack Mountains.
Allen is now up to 42 high peaks. Only 4 more to go to become a 46er! Jamie is up to 9 high peaks.


They hiked 2 high peaks. Tabletop and Colden.


Here are Allen and Jamie on Mt Colden. Allen has hiked to the top of this mountain before, so only added one new high peak on this trip. Both Jamie and Ed added two. That is Mt. Marcy in the background.  They had a great time. I picked them up from the thruway exit on Monday night around 7:30. I'm proud of them!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Devotional Blog

You should check out my devotional blog. Click on the butterfly in the margin on the right. It is so much better than the fluff I write on this blog.

Friday, February 19, 2016

And now, the 2016 list of 51 things you might not know about me

I can't get motivated to work on the story I started.

I just found this old post and decided to try it again. So here we go again....51 things about me that three people will read. And 2 out of 3 people who read my blog are my sisters...so it will be very boring for them.
  1. I feel things so deeply that my heart still aches even years later.
  2. I wish that wasn't the case....but I suppose that it makes me much more sensitive to the feelings of others.
  3. I remember details of events that happened as far back as my childhood.
  4. I'm usually good at and have an innate sense of direction...except for when I don't.
  5. Consequently, I don't fear getting lost...even if I am driving somewhere that I have never been to.
  6. In college, during my undergrad, I studied mathematics...which was a totally wrong major for me. During this time, I figured out that I really wasn't a mathematician. Rather, I was a person who was fairly good at memorizing formulas and then plugging in numbers to get an answer. (Okay...maybe I was a little better than that, but not much)
  7. I was very stressed out about #6, but I was suffering from a mental illness and surviving that took all of my energy. I had nothing left to figure out a better major.
  8. I cannot figure out how I passed some of the classes I took during that dark period of time...particularly during the spring of 87. I am positive that I should have failed my linear algebra class.
  9. I am melancholic and I hate it! 
  10. I'm a pretty good cook. I have even made up recipes that have turned out to be delicious.
  11. I've never been much of a baker. I leave that to Martha.
  12. I miss being a stay at home mom.
  13. But I DO love my job and I feel very blessed to have found something that fits me so well.
  14. I hate the television show: Shark Tank. (It's on right now.) My husband loves it. I think I hate it because I know that if I ever was on that show, I would be chewed up and spit out by the millionaires on the panel. Especially by "Mr Wonderful" who I can't stand because he is so mean!
  15. I can't eat very creamy food....which makes me sad because I love ice cream.
  16. I have given up eating meat that comes from animals that walk on four legs.
  17. I take 150 mg of bupropion daily. If I don't take it, I turn into a depressed recluse.
  18. I shouldn't write a list of 51 things when I am in a melancholic mood.
  19. On the last list I wrote, in 2006...For #32, I wrote "I won't go to a high school reunion." Well...I went to one this past summer and I had fun!
  20. I can speak and understand some Spanish, but I am not fluent.
  21. I really want another dog. I think it would be therapeutic for me.
  22. I married someone who is not a dog person! This is very frustrating to me!
  23. In spite of #6 above, I had absolutely no trouble subbing for a geometry class at Pal-Mac HS two years ago and even went over a proof with them on the board.
  24. I subbed for a trigonometry class next and couldn't remember a thing! I was useless!
  25. I always wanted to be in a musical during HS, but never did it. I was finally in a major production when I was 29. I was in the chorus. My husband had the lead.
  26. I can't go anywhere with my husband where he does not run into someone he knows. I sometimes get annoyed by this.
  27. I love Nicciolata. It is the best. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out. I suggest that you buy a jar and enjoy a spoonful from time to time.
  28. I love Mexican food.
  29. My hair is curly. It never was curly until I was in my 30s. I like it.
  30. The problem with having curly hair (and being the only one in the family with curly hair) is that if someone finds it in the food, you can't pretend it isn't yours.
  31. I suffer from insomnia very often. 
  32. Luckily I have learned to function fairly well on little sleep...which is interesting considering that on my list in 2006, I claim to absolutely need 8 hours of sleep. I've adapted out of necessity.
  33. I hate chocolate bars with coconut in them. Coconut does not belong in any candy!
  34. When presented with a box of chocolates, I usually end up with the one with coconut in it or something just as gross.
  35. I think that all of the chocolates in a box of chocolates should have caramel in them. Don't waste my time with all the others.
  36. My life verse is Job 23:10. 
  37. I sometimes stalk people on the Internet. I'm admitting this because I am fairly sure that most people do this from time to time.
  38. I wonder if anyone ever stalks me on me Internet.
  39. I sometimes Google myself to see what comes up.
  40. I wish I was more adventurous. I'm a bit envious of people who are. You would think that I could just make myself be more adventurous, but I can't seem to successfully do that. I'm very cautious. It is my downfall.
  41. I would like to go to Europe. I never expected to reach age 49 without ever getting there yet.
  42. I DID make it to South America and I'd like to go again.
  43. I can't wear high heeled shoes. It's that trick toe again. (See #20 from 2006) I even have trouble with some flat ones. The cuter and more feminine the shoe, the less likely I am able to wear it without trouble.
  44. I am doomed to wear old lady shoes some day.
  45. I learned to cook simply by watching my mother in the kitchen. When I got married, there were things that I had never made before, but I made them just as if I had because I had watched my mother do it hundreds of times.
  46. My kids never wanted to spend any time with me in the kitchen. This made me sad while they were growing up because I always thought cooking would be an activity I shared with them. I'm worried that they won't know how to cook when they need to some day.
  47. When I was graduating from high school, several people suggested that I study library science because I worked at our town's public library. I thought they were crazy! I swore that I would never do it.
  48. Becoming a librarian was a very good decision for me. It fits me very well and I am very happy in this profession.
  49. I'm still surprised and amused that I have a masters degree and career in my middle age. I never would have dreamed that I would accomplish that. Wow! Who knew?
  50. I have tinnitus. In both ears. It usually doesn't bother me until I am in a quiet room. Recently, I've started going to sleep with white noise playing. It helps a lot. I put it on a timer that is timed to turn off two hours after it starts.
  51. I typically play ocean waves as my white noise. it in no way makes me think or even imagine that I'm on a beach.
And that, my friends, is my 2016 list of 51 things you didn't know about me! Ten years after the other one! So much has changed in 10 years...but I would say that the old list is still about 84% true. I'm still somewhat of a math geek (but not a true mathematician) in that I actually went through the list, counted the number of things that are no longer true, and figured that percentage out.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Do Angels Ever Sit on Bladders?...A Camping Story

When I was a child, we used to go camping as a family. We camped in a Bethany trailer camper, which was really a tent on wheels. I have lovingly stolen the picture below from my sister Martha's blog. I don't feel guilty, because it is really my father's photo...as he was the one who took it.


I am the little girl in the red. Martha is the little girl on the far left, and the other child is my sister Rachel. That is my mother with us.

I'm not sure what year it was, but it was an unseasonably cold summer night. I was about 7 I think. We were camping and getting ready to snuggle into our sleeping bags for the night. It was so chilly that my father had brought along a small kerosene space heater. He put it on the floor of the camper so it would generate some heat for us and we went to bed.

It was the middle of the night when I woke up with a very full bladder. I didn't want to get up. It was cold, I just wanted to sleep,...and besides that, the camp bath building was a hike down dark, scary trails. I didn't want to wake either of my parents up. I tried to ignore the sensation. It didn't get any better, that's for sure. I finally decided that I would need to get up and make the necessary trip to the camp bathroom. I climbed out of my sleeping bag and then over the top of my sleeping sister Martha. I made it to the floor of the camper. Everyone else was fast asleep. It was then that I noticed that my sister's pillow had fallen down. I picked it up and tossed it back onto the sleeping platform that she and I shared. I started looking for my shoes and thinking about waking up one of my parents so I wouldn't have to walk alone in the dark.

Suddenly I noticed that while I still had to go to the bathroom, the physical discomfort didn't seem nearly as bad as it had when I had first woken up out of a deep sleep. I didn't think I really needed to bother with the trip after all. I was sure I could hold it until morning, so I left my shoes where they were and once again climbed up over my still sleeping sister, and settled into my sleeping bag. I was comfortably dreaming in no time.

The next morning, we were all up and getting ready to start a new day. Mom started rolling up the sleeping bags and setting up the table that folded down into a sleeping platform. Dad was out starting a fire so breakfast could be cooked, and coffee made for him and Mom. Suddenly, I heard Mom gasp in alarm and ask, "What happened to this?! Who did this!?" She was holding up the pillow I had picked up in the middle of the night. It had dark brown scorch marks on it. I still remember that they were in the shape of the mesh covering that formed the top of the space heater. I was a little afraid to answer her. I thought maybe I had done something wrong.

"Who put this up here?" She asked again. Martha acknowledged that it was her pillow, but she didn't know what had happened to it. I finally fessed up. I told her how I had gotten up in the middle of the night because I had to go to the bathroom really really bad. I told her how I had seen the pillow and knew it had fallen.I just put it back up onto the platform, tossing it toward the end of our sleeping bags...where our short little bodies couldn't reach.

I'll never forget what my mother said next. "Priscilla, that was an angel who woke you up! If you hadn't picked this pillow up, it would have soon burst into flames and we would have all died in a fire!" This left such a big impression on me. A guardian angel had woken me up in the middle of the night. God had used me to save my family from an impending disaster.

Years later while I was in college, I tried to relay this story to some friends. They missed the point and focused on the notion that an angel supposedly had made me feel as though I had to go to the bathroom urgently. They poked fun about it. They made my story seem silly. I don't even think I ended up telling them the rest of it. They had made me feel foolish.

Who's to say that the Lord wouldn't ever send an angel to make a little girl feel like she must get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night in order to save her and her family from certain calamity? Why not?

(Post Script: that was the end of using space heaters in the camper)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Shocked





Every once in awhile I think about an old friend I haven't seen in years and wonder how they are doing. Today I thought about my friend, Jack. I haven't seen him in years. I had googled him about 3 or 4 years ago and discovered that he was working for Google out in California. I wasn't entirely surprised since he was a genius with mathematics and science. When I was friends with him he was a graduate student at the University of Rochester. You can read about some of the programming he wrote that most of use pretty much everyday here. I had also enjoyed reading his humorous blog.

This afternoon, I Googled him again to see what he's up to. I ended up finding his obituary! He passed away on January 7th of 2015. I am so shocked and saddened by this. I am sad for his wife and two kids. Right now, his kids are only 14 and 11. Jack had leukemia.

It's weird how you hardly think of someone except in passing for years and then when you learn about them passing away, suddenly every conversation you had with them seems to come alive in your memory. I remember even getting angry at him about something and giving him a piece of my mind once. He actually was a great guy and friend.

I went out on two dates with Jack during the period of time that I had asked the Lord to not allow me to steadily date someone until it was the person I was supposed to marry. One of the dates was to the Lilac Festival in Rochester. Even though I grew up in the Rochester area, that was the one and only time I ever went to it. I think I will try to change that this coming May. I remembered that I have these snapshots of that day. Jack took the first picture and a stranger took the second.

I think the last time I saw Jack was at my wedding.

Later: you absolutely must click on the link to Jack's blog. It is hysterical. In spite of the dreadfully sad news, he has gotten me laughing until I have cried.