Thursday, November 20, 2014

Traditional Thanksgiving Procession at Wekiva Presbyterian Church

 In the photo, church member Martha Newhart, dressed as the famous Pilgrim, Priscilla Mullins

On Sunday November 23, the members of Wekiva Presbyterian Church will mark Thanksgiving by a visit from Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Bay Colony, inviting worshipers to gather in the spirit of the first thanksgiving. 

The procession of Pilgrims and Native Americans is led by Don Blackadar, dressed as and portraying the Pilgrim leader, William Bradford.  He will deliver the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, and then welcome a procession of people dressed in Pilgrim and Native American costume.

“The celebration evokes the earliest days of our nation”, says John Dalles, the church’s pastor.  “We look to those first 51 Pilgrims and their Native American friends who gathered in 1621, and remind ourselves that we have been richly blessed following their example.”

The Thanksgiving celebration is open to all who wish to attend, and will be presented at 8:30 and 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary of the church which is located at 211 Wekiva Springs Lane in Longwood.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Halloween is a favorite at our house, as we make it a family get together for supper night, and then we watch the little costumed trick or treat crowd as they visit our doorstep.

This year John had to work, but we managed to have everyone else for at least part of the evening.  Tara and Taylor came by, Taylor dressed as a little giraffe and Tara as the zookeeper!  Annie and Steven were with us, and Anne made the apple crisp to go with the main dish.

The main dish was requested by Papa -- Judy's famous maxed-out baked beans.  Yum!  Papa was feeling well enough to come over and have supper with us.  This is only his fourth or fifth outing out of the house since he got home from the hospital mid month in September.  Mimi and Papa both had a good time.  Mimi and Tara and Taylor did some "walking" exercises (no she is not walking yet but can she move when you have her hold your fingers--those toes were made for walking!),  Oh, I mean Taylor of course...

And Papa enjoyed having a bit of quality time with Brantley, here decked out in his Halloween collar!

Watson, the bulldog, is discovering what Brantley the yochon has known all along, that Halloween is a dog's favorite holiday.  They were sure that all of the little Frozen princesses, ghosts, goblins and  pirates were there just to see them!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anne and Steven - Their First House

Such an exciting month or so it  has been, since Anne and Steven bought their first house.  It is near us - we are glad to say - in fact we could walk there.  Not that we are going to, mind you, we will drive.

The house is a late 1950s ranch style house, and it is nestled among towering pines--so that you have the feeling that you are far off on some vacation retreat when you are there.  The street is a cul de sac, and they are at the end of it, so there is very little car traffic.  It is so peaceful.  Their street also borders a natural wooded area, and yes, they do see black bears in their yard.

They closed in mid September...  Here are a few photos from the day they got their key, and we are glad Mimi could be with them...

We have enjoyed helping them get the house in order so that they could move in.  All of the painting and other repairs are done to the extent that it is now home for them.

I made sure the drapes were up in the two spare bedrooms, one of which is a den with a sunny outlook and snazzy orange and grey decor.  Of course, you should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

Two weekends ago, Mimi and Papa came over for the afternoon, and they were pleased with the progress.  Papa likes the way that the recliner faces the big TV!  Mimi arranged Anne and Steven's flatware so it can be stored away till their first dinner party.

Nice to see the progress they have made in these moments from the past several weeks!

A Visit with Martin Luther...

From time to time, we have been blessed to have famous faithful people from past centuries come to speak with us in worship.

It all began in 20043, when we had a Visit from Fanny Crosby, the hymn writer…  Karen Greenawalt had invited all of the singers in "Ransomed" to a party at  her house where they were to come dressed as their favorite musician.  Judy and I were also invited and when Karen opened the door, she was dressed in a long black skirt, a long sleeved white blouse with a cameo at the neck, and tiny sunglasses.  "I bet you cannot guess who I am!" she said.  I answered, "Yes I can--you are Fanny Crosby, and Fanny has to come to church!"  I wrote a dialogue sermon that was liberally seasoned with Fanny's famous hymns, and the rest is history.
Over the years, we have seen other great figures here in our pulpit…  Other hymn writers such as Isaac Watts, Jane Laurie Borthwick, Lowell Mason and Charles Wesley.  Famous Americans such as Ceaser Rodney.  And some of the towering figures of the Reformation: John Calvin and John Knox.

This past Sunday, on Reformation Sunday, we had another illustrious figure from Church History who came and shared some of his life and ministry with us.  We listened to the man who many consider to have begun the Reformation itself.

His life is well known: a German friar, Catholic priest, professor of theology, and the leading figure of the Protestant Reformation.

He sought to make the church of his day more like the church he read about in the Bible, especially in the Book of Acts, and in the letters of Paul.  His many contributions to every branch of the Christian faith are universally recognized today. 
We hold Reformation Sunday on the Sunday nearest to Oct. 31st, which is the day when he sparked the Reformation by posting a long list of questions for debate on the church door at Wittenberg…propositions stated or put forward for consideration, to be discussed and proved or not...  

I mean of course Martin Luther.  Here is a photo of Dr. Luther, just before he spoke with the congregation. It was a great morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Seed...

"Pumpkin Seed" was one of the names of endearment that one of my great aunts gave me when I was an infant.  Not sure where it came from, but maybe part of the lingo that someone who graduated from high school in 1929 would have picked up from the popular culture of the day.

I like to bring those quaint names and phrases from the past into the present day, and so when Judy and I took Taylor to visit the Pumpkin Patch yesterday, the sound of Aunt Alisane saying that to me sort of echoed in my brain, and the result you can see here. 

The first photo is at the Pumpkin Patch, where Taylor found just the right setting to enjoy the sea of orange all around her.  We were the only customers at the moment, and the kindly man who helped us was getting as much joy out of the moment as we all were.

Then we picked out a pumpkin and took it home.  This was entirely Judy's idea--a great one as it turned out, since we hollowed out the pumpkin and then...  Well Taylor fit inside of it perfectly.

She did not exactly love the experience, but she tolerated it long enough for photo ops.  Judy's photos are better than mine of the in-the-pumpkin pose.  This is the best of mine. 

Is there something fun about Halloween in general?  Yes, and a first Halloween in particular, when you can make it as joyful as yesterday was.



Thou Spreadest A Table... Festival of Tables 2014

This evening is the 2014 Festival of Tables...

Our PW does such a great job of making a room come alive with wonderful table top treasures of all kinds.

I have been photographing and posting these events since they started, and just took some photos of this evening's tables. There are MORE tables yet to be decorated but I am going to post these as a preview of coming attractions.

Think about the many times in the Bible when table fellowship, and banquets great and dinner parties small figure in the lives of the faithful. Picture the moment in Psalm 23 when the Lord spreads a table before his flock, or that dinner at Emmaus where two of his followers had their eyes opened and they recognized him.  We meet Jesus at that table in the upper room, and we see him preparing a meal for his disciples along the seashore following the resurrection.  Meal upon meal, they prepare us for that great banquet in the church triumphant.

God is always inviting us to a table of fellowship, joy and discovery.  We are continuing in that tradition and we always trust that when two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, he is there in the midst of them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


When I mentioned to my dad that we were going to try to see part of the old Santa Fe Trail, being an old Kansas man himself, he said, "Are you going to see the sunflowers?"

Well, yes. We did see the sunflowers. They grow wild along the roads in Colorado. And whole the columbine is the state flower, I believe they are the flower dearest to Coloradians. The sunflower is the Kansas state flower and of course, the Old Santa Fe Trail crossed the center of Kansas, horizontally from east to west and then entered Colorado or what is now Oklahoma, and ended up in New Mexico.

This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future.

They were brought to the region and the story goes that the scouts who were preparing teh way for the pioneers, and who went on ahead to blaze the trail as soon as the spring thaw made the route passable, took with them sunflower seeds and scattered them along the route. Then when the settlers followed later in the season in their wagons, they had the trail marked for them by the sunflower blossoms.

So we were quite taken with the sunflowers when we saw a few of them...or a lot of them.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

We have been there before, but loved going there again, this time taking Judy's mother who had never seen it... The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. If you are travelling on busy I-25 between Denver and Pueblo, you will see the Garden of the Gods without even getting off the Interstate. It is that unusual and distinctive, with the great looming red rock formations. They are quite different in color from the rest of the surrounding landscape, whether it is the purple mountain majesties background of the Rockies (with Pike's Peak in the center of it all) or the green of the surrounding rolling foothills. Thewe are a few of the photos I made that day--and yes the colors were that vivid, I did not enhance them in any way.

Royal Gorge Reopens

A year after wildfires destroyed much of the area around Royal Gorge and closed it to visitors, the attraction reopened on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Just an hour or so westward into the mountains from Pueblo, the Royal Gorge is also sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas River. Judy and her Mom and I took the drive west on highway 50 to Canon City and then about 8 miles up and over the mountain trail to the Gorge.

The day was stunningly beautiful and the new visitors' center was well designed and welcoming.

The fires did not destroy the bridge, long touted as the highest suspension bridge in the world, dating back to 1929. We went across and back, and up to the overlook where we could see the entire bridge in all of its splendor.