Friday, October 30, 2015

John 15:11 If you know anyone whom you would call “completely joyful”, the chances are that person knows the secret of John 15:11. Have the word of Christ in you and you will also know that kind of joy. This is a Wekivaword.

Psalm 24:1 Keeping in mind that the earth belongs to the Lord will help you keep things in perspective. Today, when what you experience is good, say thank you to God. When it is challenging, trust that God is helping you. This is a Wekivaword.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Blessing of the Animals...

On Sunday afternoon, we had a very nice event at the church, as we invited members and friends to bring their pets for the Blessing of the Animals.  The weather was breezy and had a touch of fall in the air, as people and their pets arrived between 2 and 3 p.m. for their blessings.

We had mostly dogs but also one cat and one ferret.  There are photos on the Wekiva Presbyterian Church Facebook page, for you to see:

Blessing of the Animals

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

28 2 Kings 18:5 Follow the example of King Hezekiah—trust in the Lord God. Hold fast to the Lord and do not cease to follow Him. Keep the commandments the Lord gave to Moses, and the Lord will be with you. This is a Wekivaword.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mark 1:40-42 – Jesus chooses to make people clean. If you have been wanting to start anew, to begin afresh, then there is no better way to do that than to come to Jesus and beg him to make you clean. This is a Wekivaword.
Psalm 81:7 – This psalm has it right. Sometimes we wait an awfully long time before we call to God for help. Why wait? God rescues us when we call to Him. So, call to Him. This is a Wekivaword.

A Visit with Aunt Shirley

From Montoursville, we drove west about four hours to Franklin, Pennsylvania, in order to see Aunt Shirley, who is my mom's brother's widow.  Uncle Jimmy died in 1998, and Aunt Shirley lived in their house in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, until this spring, when she left her home and moved to an assisted living community in Franklin, near her niece Joyce.  We planned ahead, and Aunt Shirley knew we were coming.  We had a lovely visit with her and with Joyce and her husband Gary, and Joyce's sister Jan, and Shirley's sister (Jan and Joyce's mother) Nancy.  Here is a photo Judy took of Shirley and me:

The day was blustery, but it was a warm and wonderful gathering.

Now, before we headed on our way, Joyce and Gary has some things from Uncle Jimmy's and Aunt Shirley's home, to give us.  These were mostly photos of our side of the family, things that held no specific memories for Joyce and Jan.  Even though we knew that Jim and Shirley were as we might say, pack rats, we had no idea how much they had saved down the years.  Here are a few photos of our trunk with the six boxes of photos and albums, and of our back seat, where we stowed our suitcases:

I am not sure if Judy is smiling because we managed to get it all in, or if she is waving her wrist to show me it is time to get going...!

Uncle Jimmy was an ordained minister; with the photos, they also gave me some of his stoles, which are worn but very special:

A Visit with Aunt Evie...

Among the good reasons why we made this trip to Pennsylvania, one of the best was that we planned a visit with Aunt Evie.  Evie lives in Montoursville, which is a very pleasant town in northeast Pennsylvania.  She has lived there or in Williamsport since 1998, because my cousin Pam and her husband Bill make their home in Williamsport.

But Evie did not always live in that part of PA.  For most of her life she lived in Pittsburgh, and in the 10 years that we were in Pittsburgh, Aunt Evie and Grandma Lucy were just five miles from our home.  That was so very special.  We were able to get together for holidays and ordinary days.  When John and then Anne were each born, they had a visit with Grandma and Evie on their way home from the hospital.  Those were treasured times.

We had a nice drive up the Susquehanna River and lunch with Pam and then a very pleasant visit with Aunt Evie, who did not know we were coming.  I think you can tell we were all savoring our time together...

“Always pray to have eyes to see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, and a soul that never loses faith in God.”

The Stouch Tavern: Yes, George Washington Did Sleep Here!

As we made our way from Easton westward through Pennsylvania, we "just happened" to drive through Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania.

This was for one particular reason.  We wanted to have lunch at the Stouch Tavern.  If you are anywhere in south central Pennsylvania, we highly recommend it.  We went particularly because it brought back fabulous memories of when Judy and I were engaged, and we had a celebratory meal there.

For many years, the Stouch Tavern was run by the Crumrines, who have now entered the Church Triumphant.  Their daughter is the executive manager to this day.  On that occasion 31 years ago when Judy and I were last there, we enjoyed their Chocolate Fudge Pie.  We enjoyed it so much, that Judy asked Mr. Crumrine if he would share the recipe, which he did, with the proviso that she never share it with anyone else.  He had developed it for the Hotel Hershey, we are told.  Then and there, he wrote it out for her on a paper napkin, which Judy has treasured ever since.

Did they have the Chocolate Fudge Pie on the menu on our return visit?  Did they ever!  We confess that we dove right in, and while we intended to photograph it as it was placed on our table, we forgot and so what we have instead is a photo of the slice of pie, half gone!

Judy has never divulged the recipe...  But I bet if you ask her very nicely, she will let you have a taste the next time she makes it.

Oh, we have other memories of the Stouch Tavern, stretching back to our friend Ernie Shaffer's cousins, Henry and Lenore Aul.  They first introduced our family to the Stouch Tavern, when they became our friends when they joined my home congregation, Highland Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  There were a number of "jaunts" from Lancaster to Womelsdorf over the years, and in one of those, Henry presented a drawing of the tavern to the Crumrines.  It is on the front cover of their menu to this day. Henry drew it from this back view of the tavern, which is very quaint indeed:

Henry, who was a noted landscape architect, also did a watercolor of the same view for me, which has been in every church office in my ministry.  I include it here, and as you can see, not much has changed since Henry painted it:

Such happy memories... And we made a new one as we drove across Pennsylvania last week!

A Celebration in Tatamy, Pennsylvania

This past week, Judy and I were in Pennsylvania, for the first time in a decade, in order to do some family and friends visiting.  We began in Easton, Pennsylvania, to share in the retirement celebrations of our dear friends Ernie and Bonnie Shaffer.  Ernie served the St. Peter's Church of Tatamy, PA, for all of his 33 years of ordained ministry.

 This is remarkable in any day and time.  Even more remarkable is that St. Peter's is Bonnie's home church, where she was baptized, confirmed, and married.  So as they bid farewell to the congregation on Ernie's last Sunday, it was an occasion filled with deep meaning.

We felt so fortunate to share in the weekend.  The church had a lovely retirement dinner, and the MC asked the minister friends of Ernie's to speak.  This was a bit of a surprise.  I had some good and true things to say about Ernie, and then confided in the congregation that ever since he went to serve them, Ernie and I had maintained a back and forth correspondence, first in the slow mail and then via email, lasting these 33 years.  I then said, "So I know just about everything about all of you!'  This brought gales of laughter, and then a kind of wondering look on many faces as if they were thinking, "So just what DOES he know...?"!  I followed that with a second comment, saying, "I have it on the best authority that once his retirement begins, Ernie will start writing, 'Parishioners I Have Known and Loved, Volume One'", which brought more laughter.  But then, during the cake and mingling time, not one but two of the church members came up to me, told me their name, and said, "Did Ernie tell you about me...?"

I was asked to share in Ernie's farewell Sunday's worship, which was a joy and honor.  We are wishing the Shaffers a wonderful next chapter in their lives, and their former congregation as well, as they move into the "what's next"...