Thursday, September 29, 2016

Is It Just Me
When summer makes its departure and autumn begins its journey, do you think that the sky takes on a different color. Much of the time, summer skies have a skim milk color, a see through white with a bluish cast. Even when it is blue, the sun seems to warm it. The clouds are either white or stormy black and float across the heavens in a myriad of shapes: fluffy fleeced gamboling sheep, wispy feather dusters, or flat, like they were spread out with a palette knife. The storm clouds are massive and wear black capes or cloaks of greenish gray.
When autumn comes, the heavens seem more cerulean or cobalt, deeper and richer hues than summer’s sun washed skies. It almost seems as if they are laying out road maps for the Canadian geese and the swans that will be winging their way high overhead. I always love to hear their honking, although it does leave me feeling a bit sad and lonesome. If I am outside, I always pause and watch their v-shaped formations wing their way to warmer climes.
The rain clouds today caused me to think of the heavy gray veils that spread over my house. The winds that pushed them into place and their color reminded me that it was definitely fall. The sounds of the wind and the hues of the clouds somehow seem different than the breezes and clouds of summer. They aren’t actually any more menacing than those of summer, but seem to be the harbingers of frost and snow that are sure to follow.

I shouldn’t complain or worry about the chill. Without the frost, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the wonderful displays of autumn leaves in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania as the foliage changes from summer’s green and explodes into orange, crimson, yellow, and gold.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autumn Chill
The bright sunny days of summer have somehow almost completely slipped away, yielding to slightly cooler days and even chillier nights. An extra blanket feels more comfortable when the window is cracked open in an otherwise stuffy bedroom. I haven’t yet decided to bring out the flannel sheets, but perhaps soon. Yesterday, I washed and dried my king sized, hand sewn patchwork quilt. It is in the tumbling block pattern and the material is of old double knit fabric. Almost every diamond shaped piece has a family story attached to it. Someone’s skirt, pants, shirt or blouse is recognizable by its color or the print pattern. Each block inspires a page in a book of memories.
The apples on the trees in the back yard need picked yet. I really don’t want to make applesauce, apple butter, or apple schnitz, but I’ve offered them to my kids and I have no takers. I may have to gather them in store the better ones and pare, slice and freeze some. It seems every time I try to downsize, I am compelled to collect and store something. Who says that a person can’t take something with them to the grave? I’m sure that I’ll find a way.
I have one room in my house that I say is decorated in the early depression style. There are old tools and enamel pots and pans hanging on the walls that are too good to throw away, but not the best or easiest to use for cooking or for work. I have several old photographs interspaced to keep that room from looking like a hoarder’s hideaway.
I have my firewood stacked and waiting to be hauled in and burned, but the chill hasn’t deepened enough yet. Soon the leaves will turn and it will be time to fry sausage for the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department’s Sausage and Buckwheat Festival. This year it will be held October, 14, 15, and 16. This will be the fortieth year I’ve helped, working my way up from dishwasher, to cake fryer, and finally to frying sausage.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Rights Without Responsibility
Through all of the generations of American history, her children have been blessed with inalienable rights. These rights that have been translated from the words and ideas found in the Bible and have been incorporated in the Constitution of the United States. Those rights and freedoms have been termed as God given rights, not rights that have conditions hung on them by mankind or governments.
Inalienable means something that is not transferable and that cannot be rightfully taken away and yet the government is ever increasingly attempting to whittle away at our Constitutional inalienable, God given rights. One of the reasons that they are doing this is many Americans over the years have accepted those rights and have not accepted the responsibilities that go along with those freedoms. They have accepted payoffs allowing the government to insidiously steal those rights from us. Like the Native Americans who sold the land that God gave them for a few trinkets: blankets, knives, axes, beads, pots, and mirrors, we are trading away our blessings for public housing, public welfare, and public perception instead of standing firm.

With rights comes responsibility which is more often than not in today’s society shirked. How can those rights be protected without our nation having a secure border, a national culture, a national language, or a strong military? How can we have safe zones when we are unwilling to protest them and keep them safe? How can we have our streets and homes as a refuge to raise our families when we constantly deride those who try to protect them and are at our beck and call when needed? How can we have a strong military when the government weakens them by cutting their salaries and limits their ability by imposing extreme laws of engagement? How can a government that continues to tax its citizens turn around and give that money to our enemies or line their own pockets by subterfuge or outright stealing? How can the younger generation hold out their hands for more and more free things and trading away the freedoms that allow them to speak, travel, and choose their life path, and yet not be willing to accept the responsibility to make the system better and to keep those freedoms intact?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Yesterday was the last day of summer and the first day of autumn. Those thoughts inspired me to write the following.

Made & Fade
Springtime pries green from winter’s frigid grip.
Snowy winter’s memories grow cold.
White blankets fade, expose brown patches,
Create crystal freshets and lush carpets.
Blossoms scent the path to summer seasons:
Picnics, fireworks, and pools entice.

The last day of summer
Teases with a sunny smile,
The gentle touch of warming breeze,
And the lingering fragrance of new-mown grass
Still linger as pleasantries of passing days.

Daylight grows shorter
The nighttime becomes cooler.
Morning’s dew changes to light hoary frost
Hints of seasons to come.

Foliage dulls and changes hues:
Green to reds, yellows and oranges.
Trees blaze in autumn garments.

Frost thickens, leaves stop holding hands
Then brown and brittle, they fall to earth.

Snow clad branches remain. Summer memories fade and grow cold.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

End Times
For years, I have heard people of the church saying, “The end times are near” and I have always thought that the United States would somehow be a bastion of freedom for the world until the end of times, but I believe America is farther down the line than I ever could have imagined. Our politicians have lost all common sense and have tried to legislate morality while allowing the morals of our country to decline to the point that the good things are now bad and vice versa.
Isaiah says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. It seems each day, I see more and more of this coming to fruition. There are misinterpretation of laws, judgments passed down by the courts, rules in our schools, and a moving away from biblical principles in our churches. I see America leaning on man’s “wisdom” and a shunning of God’s laws and wisdom. I see the educated elite striving for broad mindedness until they have become close to flat-headedness.
What has sent me down this road was the unveiling of the “Arch of Baal” in New York City. The worship of Baal, Bel, and Moloch were an ancient “religion” that included the sacrifice of children by the thousands and the lowest forms of debauchery imaginable. It was wanton depravity and libidinousness to the nth degree. This is the form of creature carnality and corruptness these “Enlightened ones” have erected and brought into a country founded on Christian principles.

Some folks in New York City complained about seeing a cross of melted and twisted beams found in the rubble at the site of the destroyed twin towers have now erected this heinous edifice to Baal with plans of creating statues of this god and placing them at the entrance of the arch. God help us. His judgment and punishment cannot be far off. With all of the floods, droughts, and earthquakes, I believe God is no longer blessing America and we are about to taste His wrath.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recently, I have been very concerned and upset with the candidates running for the Presidency of the United States of America. I have clashed heads with my friends because I find one candidate more repulsive than the other. I have wasted time sharing my views that have been turned aside by the concerns of the world and not focused on prayer.
I know that God is in control and whether or not I like it, He will choose the next President of America. God has raised up rulers and removed them. He has raised up countries and has laid waste to them. Proverbs 8:15 says, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
In Daniel 2:21 the Bible says, “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
All throughout the Word of God, the LORD shows the reasons for placing some rulers or keeping rulers in office. Sometimes it is to bless those who call on His name and sometimes it is to punish those who have Ignored Him. My time and energy has been focused on something I in my own strength can’t change. I have been ignoring my responsibility of praying for God’s will to be done and haven’t been concerned about my friends and neighbors need to understand their need to have an intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I need to share God in His love sent His Son to earth to carry each of our sins to the cross and to bear the pain and agony of the punishment for the sins we’ve committed.
Let this be my message to you, if I am less vocal and seemingly less concerned with the outcome of the election, it will be true; It will be replaced with concern about and prayers for my friends.

Friday, September 16, 2016

At our writers meeting at the Mt. Pleasant Public library, our first fifteen minutes or so, The leader of our group, Dr. Fred Adams usually will share some knowledge to make our writing better or to think in different ways as we write. Tonight, he spoke about one of the five senses that is often overlooked in the story lines. That is the sense of smell: aromas, scents, odors, or fragrances.
We shared thoughts on smells remind us of the different seasons, good smells, bad smells, and smells that conjure up images in our minds when we catch a whiff of them. We talked of unusual smells that we often overlook. The scent of rain when it hits a hot pavement or dusty a field, wood smoke or coal smoke, or the smell of hot brakes, diesel fumes, or car exhausts,
The talk about smells took a nostalgic turn when we mentioned the scent of the alcohol based ink from school and the mimeograph or the ditto machines, churning out the purple inked copies of schoolwork, tests, or information to take home to our parents. And in the same time era, the white mucilage based paste that made the tongue seem to go numb when it was tasted. I reminded them of the ozone smell of the “bumper cars” at the amusement parks and someone else shared the same smell from the old streetcars.
We were reminded of the smells of damp basements, dry dusty attics, and some of the foodstuffs as it cooked our homes. One gal even said she liked to smell snowflakes. Odors we didn’t like were newly laid asphalt, burned flesh, and garbage trucks in the summer.
We shared of how the smells of when we enter a doctor’s office or the hospital now, has changed from an pungent aroma of alcohol, antiseptic and medication to an area of almost no smell at all.

This season of autumn elicited scented thoughts of leaves, wet or burning, or turkeys roasting in the ovens, the spicy aromas of apple and pumpkin pies baking, and the mouthwatering aromas of soups simmering and waiting for families to come in out of the cold.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Blood Brothers

Christian men gather
Christ’s death and resurrection
make them blood brothers.

Last Friday evening and Saturday I was able to attend a weekend retreat for men. It was held as a way for men to gather and worship God and separate ourselves from the hustle and bustle of the world. It was a time to have fellowship with other like minded men and to rejuvenate and refresh away from the pressures of work and home life and to refocus on the worship and praise of the LORD Jehovah and his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Nearly seventy men gathered at the camp, seventeen were from our church or invited as friends.
The Servant’s Heart Camp Ministries is located in Ramey, Pennsylvania. The camp uses a small part of its 215 acre area with plans to expand and offer more in the future. The lodgings are well constructed cabins and comfortable beds. After we unpacked, we were oriented to the grounds and the activities that were available. There were times for shooting trap, handgun and 22 rifle shooting range, fishing, archery, hiking trails, and shooting a flintlock rifle. There was a chariot from which spears were tossed at targets, air cannons that shot tennis balls, and a blow gun target area. There was an obstacle course, bungee run, and by controlling a back hoe, the lifting of balls from posts without losing them. As always at camp, there was the campfire.
Mr. Alton Beal was the speaker at each session. His challenges presented to us were “being humble before God,” “Talking face to face with God,” and the “true worship of God.” His inspirational messages challenged us to do more in our lives to draw closer to God.
There were ladies there who spent most of the days in the trailer kitchen creating truly inspired meals with plenty for seconds. They even made rounds to the tables offering second helpings, thank you ladies for making the visit even more memorable.
The entire staff worked hard to make the stay a pleasant and challenging event. I listed many of the activities, but not all. Unless I would describe the rules and layout of the game, like OcDoBall, it would make no sense. I want to thank all for your concern for spreading the gospel with grace and generosity.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Luncheon with the Grande Dames

Wednesday was a day the retired nurses from Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania got together to eat lunch, catch up on things happening in our lives now, and swapping war stories from the front lines as we did our nursing tasks at the hospital. I call them the Grande Dames, because they are ladies with whom I grew older as I worked and became almost like family to me. They were the heart and soul of Frick Hospital.
Today’s luncheon was held at Sandhill Berries just outside of Mt. Pleasant. By a complete coincidence, several younger nurses that are still working at Frick decided to eat at the same time and the same place as our group. I was so happy to see the younger and older together, people that I really missed. It was the only thing that was bad about retiring. I wasn’t able to interact with these women who had become such a daily and intimate part of my life.
Being a nursing supervisor for nearly twenty-eight years, I was able to circulate throughout the entire hospital, meeting each nurse. Beyond that, I met almost every person from radiology, lab, maintenance, and security. When I retired, most of these ties were cut, leaving a large hole in my life. It was a true pleasure to be able to reforge those ties, even briefly. Just being surrounded with the familiar faces, slightly aged and voices that I was so used to hearing was an uplifting affair.
Often the work was exhausting and frustrating, but without these ladies, my job would have been so much more difficult. I want to thank you all for the memories that have etched themselves in my heart.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Things to Come

I was just looking at a postcard that was sent to my daughter, Amanda Yoder by her grandmother, Retha Morrison. Retha passed away ten years ago and passed a shoebox filled with postcards. I have tried to share them, one each morning on Facebook. This morning I shared a card that had a photo of a snow covered Mt. Leconte and in the foreground a blaze of color, autumn trees in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and it reminded me that were are on the cusp of the seasonal changes.
I do enjoy the fall colors and the flurry of activities associated with it. I am thankful for the beauty in the changing of the leaves and the many festivals celebrating the harvest and the bounty that the earth has provided. Apples hang thick on the trees this year and knowing the need to pick them soon to make apple pies, dry them to create and store schnitz, and to render them with spices into apple butter.
I will be in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania in October 14, and 15 frying sausage for the volunteer firemen celebrating their Buckwheat and Sausage Festival. Every year they serve old-fashioned buckwheat cakes with their slightly sour taste, fried to a lacy golden brown, pancakes, for those who don’t like the tang of the buckwheat cakes, whole hog sausage, fried potatoes, and apple sauce. The meal is truly a celebration of the harvest.
I have helped them celebrate for forty plus years, working my way up from washing dishes, to “baking” the cakes, and now to frying of the sausage. The work is demanding and sometimes stressful, but it is the camaraderie that keeps me going back, year after year.
The firemen also make and sell hand pressed apple cider, chopped and squeezed right before the customers’ eyes. A small area of arts and crafts surround the area selling, leather goods, kettle corn, jewelry, and hand crafted items of all sorts. The serving of the food starts at eleven a.m. and continues until seven p.m.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Challenge

Last night at church, we were challenged to recall some of the things that we are thankful for, either in the past or recently. Being thankful was only part of the sermon, the other part was to remember lest we forget and be ungrateful and complaining. I know I’ve shared things that I have been thankful for, but never given God the praise that He deserved. I want to remedy that right now.
One incident that came to mind was one summer evening I was walking from the Indian Head Community Center after a Friday night skating event to my grandparent Miner’s house. It was about one eighth of a mile journey. It was along Route 711 and there were no lights along the way except for an occasional passing car. The road passes between two high banks. Their tops were covered in mountain laurel and trees.
About halfway through the trip, I heard something moving in the thick brush and stones trickle down the bank. It was dark enough that I couldn’t see what caused the disturbance, but I wrapped the skate strings around my wrist and thought I could use them as a weapon if necessary. My youthful imagination thought of all kinds of frightening scenarios. Back then, there were still mountain lions and bears that were fairly common.
I made it safely to my grandparent’s house safely and thought no more of it, that is until my dad came home and announced, “Last night a pig was killed at Snuffy Gallentine’s place. It ate the pig’s innards. They saw bear tracks by the pen.”
I’m still not one hundred percent sure that it was the same animal that was on the bank, but Snuffy’s farm was located beside the Community Center. There are many other times I have remembered, but I want to thank God for his goodness and mercy in my life.

Friday, September 2, 2016

So Sorry

There have been times when I’ve misunderstood what someone said or did and I responded badly. I misinterpreted words or actions and because of that, I behaved like a fool. Some of them I have shared in past posts as my less than shining moments. Moments when I have been chagrined or completely embarrassed to the point I couldn’t explain or do more than to apologize and to say “I’m sorry.”
I am sure that I am not the only person who has “Foot in mouth” disease and because I am human, I will probably do it again unless I die in the next few seconds. SO, let me apologize for those moments in the past and for those I may commit in the future.
Now, let me get to the gist of my writing. Recently, a good friend sent me e-mails about her fall and injuries. She even sent a photo of her raccoon eyes. I thought that she was pranking me. Let me explain the reason. I sent her an e-mail just before she sent her e-mail about her fall and injuries. My e-mail was about something that I was writing and having concerns on how to finish. Right after that, her next e-mail to me was the description of her fall. She went into great detail and even sent the photos of her tumble.
Apparently, she was reading my e-mail about my unfinished project and before I could return an e-mail with sympathy and thought of get well, I got her mistimed e-mail saying only one word, “Gotcha.” I felt smug that I “almost fell for her joke.” That is until I went to the next writers meeting where I was chastised for thinking it was a joke.
I am all in with chastising myself for not attaching the Gotcha to the proper e-mail and again I have become the butt of the joke. I can only say that I am so very sorry, dear friend.