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Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Featured Blog of the Week


http://eventing-a-gogo.blogspot.com/2009/12/does-this-saddle-come-with-seatbelt.html

If I was about 25 years younger, this would be Dancer and I. If you take a moment to read this gal's bio, you will notice striking similarities...Dancer is 8, and she's a mare, lol. While not a Holsteiner like Go-Go, I personally feel she can hold her own with those gorgeous thoroughbred features and beautiful strides.

I'm just an old lady who enjoys living out her life long dream of owning her own little piece of heaven-hence, a horse called Dancer who comes by that name honestly.

A Simple New Year Resolution

Something to Look Forward To

Well, its been a while since I've posted about her, so I might as well do some catching up!


Jackie as a book editor, many of them at Doubleday, will be the subject of a Doubleday book coming out in 2011.

Historian William Kuhn, who has written about British royalty and politics, is writing a biography, currently untitled, about the years that Kennedy worked in the publishing business, starting in 1975 with a brief time at Viking Press and then her 16 years at Doubleday, right up to her death in 1994.

Kennedy's authors ranged from celebrities Michael Jackson and Carly Simon to Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian novelist
“Her books were a way of revealing the experiences, recollections and passions of a lifetime; in the end she told her own story — her journey as a wife, a mother, ... armchair intellectual ....” Kuhn said in a statement issued .... by Doubleday.

“My book will mine this critical period in her life, the one in which she became the woman she'd always intended to be.”

Such a lovely way of putting things, don't you think?

It Sure is Pretty.....

A beautiful sight on the battlefield, but I am all ready looking forward to Spring.....
The Louisiana State Monument located on Seminary Ridge.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Past Two Weeks of My Life As a Poem

This is what happens when you listen to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac every day. I just love his voice. I thought it would be fun to write a post as if he would be reading it out loud. Here is my untrained attempt at poetry and prose, (don't forget-this is best read/interpreted using a "Garrison" voice):

As I Grow Older, I Realize the Importance of Savoring Moments

Time with my friends, spent on a chilly weekday afternoon in early December,
Eating gourmet sandwiches from a local deli
Chasing them down with lemonade followed by a square of home made maple nut fudge.
We talk about kitchen remodeling ,our pets, our horses and our children.

I am happy.

The weekend begins with Martha Stewart and crafting some pinecone elves,we bake scottish cookies and decorate the house for the holidays.

We unwrap the ornaments, some handmade, some fancy imported glass, all stored away for almost a year, hidden from the hustle and bustle of daily activities of all the time that has passed; the humid heat of the summer,that lovely trip to the beach,stolen moments toe dipping poolside at Mrs. Hauser's, leaf crunching in the autumn with the sun at our backs, all is now replaced with the chilled air and biting wind.

The next week arrives filled with the usual tasks at hand, things that must be completed for my job, deadlines that need to be met by 2:30pm on Friday afternoons. There always seems to be problems that must be solved,and in the middle of tests and grades, passing scores and phone conferences, I am reminded of what gifts I should be getting for loved ones and family....

Somehow, mid week, I find time to indulge in a lesson at the barn with a retired Peruvian Dressage Master named Fernando.
He tells me in a thick accent that if my mare was human she would be a party girl. I smile to myself; she was so reserved and quiet when I first got her. I remember reading somewhere that a person seems to gravitate towards animals that are a mirror image of themselves. I'm sure not a party girl, but

I am happy.

The snow comes on Saturday; steady, fluffy flakes that quickly accumulate to 24" of whiteness in our little corner of the world. My husband and I are blessed to be together that day, not separated by work. We snuggle together with our children and the dogs for a quiet afternoon of good movies and food.

In a rare moment of relaxation a sickening sound not unlike a freight train breaks our concentration.

It seems our normally unassuming furnace which is almost thirty years old has decided to protest, and coughs up various coils and metal springs, spewing water and God knows what-we are forced to deal quickly with this unwelcomed situation.

For a brief moment in time, we had been drawn in to a false sense of security, watching a movie about someone else's life, someone else's dreams. The harsh reality rushes in to remind me of my life here and now. In a moment I am reminded of how quickly things can change from good to bad, and vice versa..... I am reminded of how everything in this world is fleeting and temporary and that I need to focus what is for sure-and the only answer of course is

God.

I am reminded of what my ultimate priority is in life, and, as if to reinforce this lesson, when I call a neighbor to ask for a recommendation on a good heating contractor, he interrupts me and asks what the manufacturer of the boiler is. He arrives in ten minutes with something in his hands.

It is the exact part for my furnace.

We usher him in, unaware that we are witnessing a miracle-not truly comprehending what is happening, but hoping, wishing everything will be okay. He navigates his way down the narrow wooden steps to the basement, and he kneels down and surveys the boiler, asking for an adjustable wrench. On the cold concrete floor he sets to work quietly. For over an hour, he busily twists off bolts and drains the radiators in my hundred year old home, a man on a mission. His dad is a plumber, and he grew up helping his father on many jobs.

My best friend had rushed over earlier when she heard the news with space heaters to set up in the basement to ensure our water pipes wouldn't freeze. We hang back, holding our breath, our heads slightly bent over because of the low ceilings in our damp, cold cellar,looking on.

He is focused, and knows exactly how to accomplish the daunting task at hand. Watching him, my mind is swimming with thoughts-the cost of a new furnace, that Christmas is next week, how we have nothing yet to give my daughters on Christmas morning; my husband's health, my parent's relocating to South Carolina next year, and my grandmother, who has not been feeling well off and on for over a year. I think about how wonderful our Christmases used to be, when I was growing up, filled with laughter, accordian music and scottish jokes. We used to have so much fun. I think about how things are now, how much has changed, and how I long for the way things were. There's too much to do, too much to think about, sometimes my head just hurts thinking about it all.

My neighbor rises up from where he has been busy working, and with a smile on his face tells us that our furnace should be okay for a while.

Relief and gratitude wash over me as I whisper a thank you to God for watching over me and my family,taking care of us yet one more time.

And I am happy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter "C"

I must admit winter is not my favorite time of the year. The combination of weather and short days have a sneaky way of wreaking mental havoc on me; fortunately, this year the holidays have offered a much needed diversion.
My little sister always seems to know what inspires me and what to do to help me through the rough spots-she recently sent me one of those home decorating magazines filled with freshly painted rooms in bright, cheery colors, and fun ways to reinvent spaces in your home. It was from this source that I decided to tackle my china cabinet yesterday-a beautiful piece that my lovely little grandmother presented to me upon purchasing my first home; it's first home had been the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.
Pretty amazing when you think about it! (The treasures one can aquire during remodeling sessions!)

I rested on a page showcasing vignettes. Here is my most recent interpretation:
I just love the plates-thanks Ebay!
(I fell in love with these because they reminded me of my wedding invitation-I will have to dig out one to share-check back for this in a future posting.)
I love the idea of combining cherished objects and pictures to create a story. This ended up taking on a life of its own-it became sort of a "blue, silver, vintage Christmas story!"
I also finished up a painting for my dear little sister, who lives in Hilton Head. She had seen a painting in a gallery in Savannah she had fallen in love with; I wanted to try my hand at something similar-I have always leaned toward horses and the not-so-conventional paintings-(think Marc Chagall).I love the abstract and impressionism,but thought, "Why not?"
I suppose you could say my day had a theme-if you're into Sesame Street, it was brought to you by the letter "C". C for China Cabinets, Christmas and Crabs!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Morning Ritual

And I wake
It is dark and quiet
I tiptoe down the steps
to the kitchen
prepare my morning cup of coffee, let the dogs out
and I sit here in the silence
thinking about my life
what I have accomplished and where I am going
I reach up to the ceiling, hands outstretched
my eyes searching the white swirl pattern
and I silently whisper to God
please help me to be a good mother, I whisper
please help me to be a good wife
please bless my grandmother who is going to the doctors today
fill us with peace, Lord and forgive me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holy Cow!

A calf with a white marking on its forehead in the approximate shape of a cross was born last week at a dairy farm in Sterling, a small rustic town on the Rhode Island border. Owner Brad Davis tells a local television station he thinks the marking may be a message from above, though he's still trying to figure out what that message might be.

The mostly brown calf is half Jersey, half Holstein. Neighborhood children have named it Moses.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Picture of the Day

Some pics around town yesterday:
Leaving the bank a hawk touched down not 30 feet from us....what beauty right in the middle of town! His feathers didn't ruffle at all when we captured his regal perch on a local birdbath.We then decided to pay a chance visit to a favorite little shop of mine nestled on the back roads of Upper Adams County. Alas, it was closed. However, a bonus opportunity presented itself when we happened upon kindly Mr. Waggoner out for a Saturday afternoon ride.
Of course you know the wheels started turning in that brain of mine. I pulled over, introduced myself and told him how beautiful his horse was. I then asked him how hard it had been to train his sweet pony to drive-her name is "Little Girl" and she was 5.

He said he sent her to a an amish gentleman for a month and she came back ready to go! Hmmmm, Dancer, are you ready?

(On an interesting sidenote, it so turns out, he had purchased the cart from Mr. Hauser,the husband of a dear friend of mine- back in the 1980's.) What a small world!

We are constantly reminded of how our lives are intertwined with so many, aren't we? We are connected with the lives of others in some pretty fascinating ways.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anne Frank, Charles Laughton, and some personal insights this holiday season....


I thought I could get away without a visit to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day-but no such luck. Actually, it was a blessing in disguise, because I happened to have on NPR and they had a special Thanksgiving program. I don't think I have enjoyed a trip to the grocery store more than that day! I listened to a lovely passage from Anne Frank:
"I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains... My advice is : "Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!" I immediately became ashamed of myself reflecting on those moments of feeling pity for what I am dealing with in my life. I have so much compared to so many. My throat closed up in that funny way-(you know what I'm talking about!) listening to this, to hear the wisdom that was in this 13 year old girl; (my oldest daughter is almost the same age and I can't imagine her going through those horrors of what Anne had to experience-I thank God every day for this life we have.)

But oh, the incredible knowledge,that ability to see something beautiful in everything....and how she can just touch my heart in a way no one else will ever be able to....It was one of her wishes to keep on touching people's lives long after she was gone, and Anne, you have done that, and so much more. Thank you, my darling girl for all you have given all of us.....

I also listened to a very special story about an unforgettable journey of the spirit at Chartres Cathedral from Charles Laughton:
(To go directly to this passage, click on the arrow above to start the audio, then slide the bar to 36:00 minutes to listen to this fascinating story) this was taken from an out of print LP called "The Story Telling" from 1962 for which it won a Grammy. (If anyone locates a copy of this, I would love to know-)

His voice is amazing! I could listen to him speak all day and never get tired. His recital of an excerpt from Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums is beautiful:

"And finally the snow came, it came swirling my way, sending radiant white heralds thru which I saw the angel of light peep. And the wind rose; suddenly a green and rose rainbow shafted not 300 yards from my door, it came among steaming clouds, an orange sun turmoiling. The lake was milk white a mile below; it was just too crazy. Suddenly my shadow was ringed by the rainbow on the hilltop. A lovely haloed mystery, making me want to pray. And I said, "God, I love you." And I looked up to the sky and I really meant it. I have fallen in love with you God, take care of us all one way or the other."

Listening to Charles makes me yearn to go back to the 50's or 60's-where everything seemed to be in black and white, in a time that I envision in my mind as being much more innocent and polite than life as we know it today-its a place that was filled with glamour and dinner jackets and candlelight meals with dancing afterwards at the club to a 20 piece orchestra.....where there was romance and refinement and beautiful things just for the sake of being beautiful-his descriptions are so vivid you feel like you are right there, in the middle of it.

Just do yourself a favor and grab a cup of coffee (or a martini if its later in the day) and enjoy this-its one of my gifts to you this holiday season.

You will thank me-I promise!


(Of course after listening to this I then had to research the Chartres Cathedral, Etienne Houvet and Charles Lautner.) Just fascinating stuff......It makes you realize there is so much more to life than we think we know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Poem, Scottish Style


Some hae meat and canna eat, -
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.
~Robert Burns

A Face Only a Mother Could Love


How to teach your horse to give "kisses" part 1. It involves lots of peppermint candy treats.....So far, I've gotten lots of mud and slobber in my face but she is getting the idea pretty quick.

This is Dancer and I....

Did I fool you for just a second?

I would like to say this is a picture of me, but alas, I cannot take the credit....This is Jackie Kennedy and her horse, Sardar. (In persian, this name means "commander".) It is on my list of things to do before I die, though, to at least attempt a jump like this! I should be careful about what I wish for, shouldn't I? Because this might actually be the last thing I do before I die, LOL.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Magic Bus

Just one of the many cool sites I see when I'm on way to the barn.....

I'll take Howard over Edward any day.....


In this day and age of romance films that leave little to the imagination, its nice to enjoy a film like this.
Calamity Jane (Doris Day) is the tom-cowboy to end all tom-cowboys, known for her feisty attitude and tallish tales of fighting Indians. When saloon/theater owner Henry Miller (Paul Harvey) is faced with angry Deadwood residents because he tries to pass off a man in drag as the attractive New York actress he promised (he made the mistake based on the actor's name), "Calam" promises to go to "Chicagee" and bring back an actress all of the men are going gaga for because of her picture on cigarette cards.

Director David Butler's Calamity Jane delivers on many ends--it's a musical featuring catchy songs, many sung by one of the greatest songstresses of her era, Doris Day, and a few incredibly choreographed; it's a frequently hilarious comedy; it's suspenseful in quite a few scenes (usually through realistic dramatic tension); it's a beautifully shot western with fantastic sets; and in the end, it's a grand romance.

I'll take H0ward Keel over Edward any day....

Sharing a Poem

I listen to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac every morning on my public radio station: and wanted to share the poem for today. Parts of it aptly describe me and my daily trips to the barn......(but instead of being an old man, I'm an old woman; and instead of eighteen ewes it's one horse...everything else is almost an exact parallel to my life....) And, its one of the few times my day when I feel truly at peace and at my closest with God.

XI. by Wendell Berry

Though he was ill and in pain,
in disobedience to the instruction he
would have received if he had asked,
the old man got up from his bed,
dressed, and went to the barn.
The bare branches of winter had emerged
through the last leaf-colors of fall,
the loveliest of all, browns and yellows
delicate and nameless in the gray light
and the sifting rain. He put feed
in the troughs for eighteen ewe lambs,
sent the dog for them, and she
brought them. They came eager
to their feed, and he who felt
their hunger was by their feeding
eased. From no place in the time
of present places, within no boundary
nameable in human thought,
they had gathered once again,
the shepherd, his sheep, and his dog
with all the known and the unknown
round about to the heavens' limit.
Was this his stubbornness or bravado?
No. Only an ordinary act
of profoundest intimacy in a day
that might have been better. Still
the world persisted in its beauty,
he in his gratitude, and for this
he had most earnestly prayed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lincoln's Letter to a Boy


The boy, whose father was a journalist, had told all his friends he'd shaken Lincoln's hand. They didn't believe him and mocked George for claiming he'd met the man who was now president. So his teacher wrote a letter to the White House hoping to learn the truth.
The president responded in a brief note dated March 19 and sent to the boy in New York City.
"Whom it may concern, I did see and talk with master George Evans Patten, last May, at Springfield, Illinois. Respectfully, A Lincoln"
The Raab Collection expects to get about $60,000 for the letter, The Associated Press reported. This is the only know surviving letter Lincoln wrote to an individual child, according to the Philadelphia-based dealer.
However, Lincoln did write to a group of 195 children who sent him a petition in 1864, The Guardian reported.
The kids asked the president to free "all the slave children in this country."
On April 5, Lincoln replied.
"Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust that they will remember that God has, and that, as it seems, He wills to do it."
The letter sold last year for $3.4 million, a record for a manuscript in the U.S.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Only Known Photo Of President Lincoln at Gettysburg


It was on this day in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln got up in front of about 15,000 people seated at a new national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and delivered the Gettysburg Address.

It was a foggy, cold morning. Lincoln arrived about 10 a.m. Around noon, the sun came out as the crowds gathered on a hill overlooking the battlefield. A military band played, a local preacher offered a long prayer, and the headlining orator, Edward Everett, spoke for more than two hours. At that time, a two-hour speech was quite normal. Everett described the Battle of Gettysburg in great detail, and he brought the audience to tears more than once.

When Everett was finished, Lincoln got up and pulled his speech from his coat pocket. It consisted of 10 sentences, a total of 272 words. Lincoln did not mention any of the specifics of the war or any of the details of the battle of Gettysburg. He did not mention the North or the South. He did not mention slavery. Instead, he explained, in ordinary language, that our nation was founded on the idea that all men are created equal, and that we must continue to fight for that principle, in honor of those who have died fighting for it.

Unfortunately for Lincoln, the audience was distracted by a photographer setting up his camera, and by the time Lincoln had finished his speech and sat down the audience didn't even realize he had spoken. Lincoln was disappointed in his performance, but the next day Edward Everett told the president, "I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes." The speech was reprinted in newspapers around the country, and it went on to become one of the most important speeches in American history.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"That Strong, Sad Face..."


"I was in Richmond when my Soldier fought the awful battle of Five Forks, Richmond surrendered, and the surging sea of fire swept the city. News of the fate of Five Forks had reached us, and the city was full of rumors that General Pickett was killed. I did not believe them. I knew he would come back, he had told me so. But they were very anxious hours. The day after the fire, there was a sharp rap at the door. The servants had all run away. The city was full of northern troops, and my environment had not taught me to love them. The fate of other cities had awakened my fears for Richmond. With my baby on my arm, I answered the knock, opened the door and looked up at a tall, gaunt, sad-faced man in ill-fitting clothes who, with the accent of the North, asked:

"Is this George Pickett's place?"

"Yes, sir," I answered, "but he is not here."

"I know that, ma'am," he replied, "but I just wanted to see the place. I am Abraham Lincoln."

"The President!" I gasped.

The stranger shook his head and said, "No, ma'am; no, ma'am; just Abraham Lincoln; George's old friend."

"I am George Pickett's wife and this is his baby," was all I could say. I had never seen Mr. Lincoln but remembered the intense love and reverence with which my Soldier always spoke of him.

My baby pushed away from me and reached out his hands to Mr. Lincoln, who took him in his arms. As he did so an expression of rapt, almost divine, tenderness and love lighted up the sad face. It was a look that I have never seen on any other face. My baby opened his mouth wide and insisted upon giving his father's friend a dewy infantile kiss. As Mr. Lincoln gave the little one back to me, shaking his finger at him playfully, he said:

"Tell your father, the rascal, that I forgive him for the sake of that kiss and those bright eyes."

He turned and went down the steps, talking to himself, and passed out of my sight forever, but in my memory those intensely human eyes, that strong, sad face, have a perpetual abiding place-that face which puzzled all artists but revealed itself to the intuitions of a little child, causing it to hold out its hands to be taken and its lips to be kissed."

Sally Corbell Pickett, Wife of Major General George E. Pickett, April 1865
"The Heart of a Soldier, As Revealed in the Intimate Letters of Genl. George E. Pickett C.S.A."
Pickett, George Edward, 1825 -1875

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quote of the Day.....

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln

November 21, 5:30pm-A Very Special Event for the Whole Family



7th Annual Remembrance Illumination. Luminary candles are placed on each Civil War grave in Soldiers' National Cemetery as a testament to the sacrifices made here in 1863. 5:30 p.m.

For information, contact the Gettysburg Foundation at 717-338-1243.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I'm Listening to This Evening....

Pink Martini:
and their new release, "Splendor in the Grass"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Daily Dose of Inspiration

From Just Beautiful Things- a wonderful site that's well worth the visit to uplift your spirits! We all have a choice in how we deal with life, don't we? There will always be those out there who seem to enjoy it when we are down or distraught. I am making a conscious effort to deal with adversity in the most positive way I can-


 
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Can You Not Believe in God?

The view from my window on a plane to Houston last Thursday. All I could think was this is what it must look like from heaven-beautiful clouds and gorgeous blue sky....(the weather man said it was actually a huge storm coming in from the gulf.) I had never seen anything like it. I studied this scape for what seemed like miles and miles.

I had the privilege of going with my mom to the International Quilt Show in Houston, TX last week. We stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency:One could very easily get used to the opulent surroundings and exceptional service. (Not to mention Shula's Steak House) I wished my husband could have been there for that-the menu was handpainted on a Wilson Football and presented to us on a kick off tee.We spent three glorious days going through the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston visiting more than 950 booths offering antique and contemporary quilts, fabrics, books, notions, patterns, sewing machines, antiques, crafts, collectibles, and more! This quilt won the $10,000 prize-made by a very talented gal in Paducah, Kentucky.
Every quilt was a masterpiece and inspiration. Here are a few more I would like to share:


Our trip centered around my mom promoting her new book, Making More Needle-felting Magic: New Techniques, Creative Projects. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life and it was such a blessing to spend time with this woman who has so much talent. She can't help but inspire everyone she meets. Words just can't express her amazing gifts and how beautiful a person she is both inside and out. She made a presentation one afternoon to a large crowd, all were completely enamoured with her styles and techniques. It was an understatement to say I was so proud. To get a sampling of what I have enjoyed all my life, visit her blog . As part of the fun and to pique interest, I got to wear some of her creations during our visits to the show. This was a fabulous belt I paired with jeans and a t shirt that was an early birthday present: I got so many compliments on this fabulous purse...yet another early gift...
The most lovely thing about this whole experience was that I got to spend some much needed time with my mom. Even at 45 (yes, I will be 46 in less than two weeks but I will hang on to my youth as long as i can!!) I realize how much I love her and how important it is to spend time with her. I don't think anyone ever outgrows that. As I watch my own kids become young women, I have an AHA! moment every week-"So thats what she was trying to tell me all those years ago....".
I have lots of regrets in my life, but I think my biggest one is that I didn't listen more closely to my mom. Her advice and wisdom have proven more valuable than almost anything else I have ever received. I can only pray I will instill some of that in my kids and that they will listen alot sooner than I did :0)

Only in Our Town.....

The shuttles from parking to the Apple Harvest Festival at the South Mountain Fairgrounds...

November 11, 2009-Community Appreciation Day for Adams County, PA Residents with free admission to the Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience, 8am-5pm

Well, folks, its time for me to get back into the swing of things! A new job and lots of changes have held me back for most of the summer and the start of fall to posting here. Maybe the rainy weather this weekend is a blessing in disguise for me- (I would be out spending time with my horse right now if it wasn't). The kids are sleeping in late this morning and this has given me a chance to reflect on why I started this blog in the first place-to discover and learn about Gettysburg in my own way and at my own pace and document it all as I go.

Every so often I like to look at upcoming events that would be of interest to families-(I think its so important to experience as much as you can together). I know thats what helps me to stay young-seeing the world through my children's eyes. It also helps when you can do it for little or no cost!

Here's a nice little clip about the historical significance of the Cyclorama Painting at the Visitor's Center-(I know it really helps me to have some background about things when I go to visit them.) Don't forget to mark your calendars for November 11! See you there :0)

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Afternoon Trail Ride



A very elaborate staging for a favorite past time at our house.

Monday, September 21, 2009


My youngest and the pony she rides on, Peter Pan. Cute, huh?
An interesting tidbit to share about all of this is over the past weekend while I was organizing some things, I came across this little figurine E's godmother (and auntie!) had given her for her fifth birthday.

I think the resemblance is both amazing and uncanny! It was like this little piece was made just for her.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A challenge for you & a gorgeous September sky


I just started a new position today at a PA cyber charter school-its a very cool organization-one of the perks is being able to work mostly from a home office. I am so impressed and its only the first day! One of the master teachers giving the orientation this afternoon asked me to write my own personal "mission statement" for my new position. I wanted to share it with you:

"It is my wish.... to make a positive difference in each child's life I have the privilege of being a part of. I want to help students realize their goals using inspiration, creativity and help them to realize that someone cares, and that they are capable of wonderful things if they are willing to work hard."

Putting this together really challenged and inspired me. And, as I said to someone else-while it might not sound very original, it comes from the heart.

This week my challenge to you is to write your own mission statement-I believe this really helps to keep a focus on what you feel is important in your own life and helps you to stay on track when things seem to get a little crazy. Tuck it away in a drawer somewhere and pull it out occasionally to read. It might just be the thing you need to get yourself motivated.

Round 'Em Up!



My brave little nine year old and her "boy" friend ("he's a boy who is a friend, mom!" she insists) decided they would be very brave and try the Round 'Em Up Ride at the local Fireman's Fall Festival.

I still can't define the feeling I had while I was watching them-half absolute terror that the ride would come off its hinges while I helplessly looked on, and half giddy excitement-thinking back to when I was a kid (a long, long time ago and going on one of those rides for the first time myself.) I rationalized away the fears with the thoughts that everyone should experience at least one carnival ride in their lifetime. We all need to remember to have fun once in a while, just for the sake of having fun.

The next day, I emailed E's friend's mom with this video along with some pictures of them on some of the other rides that evening. She mischieviously wrote back with the comment that we should use the one of them on the Scrambler in the wedding invitation.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So This is Why I Love Animals So Much

Every once in a while I come across something and have what Oprah calls an "AHA" moment.

(Reprinted courtesy of ronhevener.com)


"Like many of you, I read as much as I can. And I talk with (and listen to) many good, intelligent thinkers -- specialists in their fields. Maybe because it's something that I appreciate and treasure, I pay close attention to people "of the land." No, they're not all farmers or lovers of the mountains and forests. But, they do seem to have a love of animals, and a respect for nature, in common.

I pay attention to the words of these people because theirs is a world -- and their knowledge is based on -- real and true things. It isn't based on man-made bricks and mortar and cement and glass and roads and billboards. What it's based on are natural things, very real things -- and emotionally true things. Having animals in your life -- and tuning in to them -- is the only way I have ever known to develop your own natural sensitivities and understanding of life and its "big picture."

Very few things in our lives are as reassuring as the living things we care for. By having them -- in order to feed, house and provide for them -- we are forced to structure and maintain a productive life of our own. By having them, we network with others of similar interests and feelings; people traveling on our own path. We realize that we're not alone. And we can talk freely about the emotional depths (and comedies) that our animals help us explore.

Any time you want to know "what's ahead," just take a look at the past. Learn from it. What you'll come away with are two basic things.......... First, you'll see that people and their animals make it through every adversity -- and every victory -- of Life. Second (and this is most important) you'll prove to yourself that no matter what dire forecast anyone has ever predicted (from Nostradamus to the Mayan calendar, to Y2K, to books of the most respected ancient and holy wisdom) that no one you know has ever seen "the end of the world." .... No matter how many hours, days or years of their lives they spent worrying about it.

The point? Love your animals. Love your life. Love yourself. And do whatever you can to spread the word."

Words to Live By

Where to begin?

The past month has been a whirlwind of activity and that has left me little time to do one of my very favorite things: share my observations regarding life as I know it and the beauty (or humor) in each moment when I really take the time to look.

I feel like my ability to write has been temporarily displaced somewhere and I am having trouble finding where I tucked it. So while I am searching for it, I will do what I'm sure others have done before me in similar situations and share lovely quotes I promised myself I would share with you someday.

"Find the joy inside yourself"

"Pursue Excellence"

"Refuse to dwell on the negative"


I hope you enjoy these jewels of wisdom while I continue to search for my groove.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Most Excellent Adventure

And the reason for the lull in posts is:

We had a "girls only" vacation visiting my beautiful sister, brother-in- law and their sweet new baby in South Carolina.
(The gal on the right looks exactly like my sister-I swear its her)
They live outside of Hilton Head in a really neat little town called Bluffton. Lets just say the minute we returned to G-burg I was on Craigslist taking a gander at homes for sale down there. It is such a cool, artsy place and so true how southerners make you feel right at home. Nothing was too much of a bother and everywhere you turned there were lovely sights to see. Check out the perfect rainbow we saw over their house-yes, folks, its true-everything is extra special down there!
Of course, it didn't start out that way. We thought Harrisburg International would be a great out of the way airport to get out of dodge. We got up at the ungodly hour of 3am to get ready-our goal was to be out by 4am to get to HIA by 5am to check in and catch our flight at 6:30am. I was so proud of myself-so organized and actually feeling awake and cognizant during this whole time. Rick volunteered to drive us-he was such a trooper. You know its true love when your husband volunteers to do something like this. (Probably because he was so excited he was going to get the whole house to himself for an entire week-no sharing bathrooms with girls, tripping over barbies, dirty underwear and spikey hair accessories...I'm sure it was a dream come true!) I made sure the girls typed out detailed instructions for the care of our "menagerie" while we were away:


Intstructions for taking care of the hermit crabs
1: feeed the hermit crabs the food is in the petco box I will put the petco box right next to the cage you can also feed them fruit or yogurt but I prefer you just to feed them regulaur hermit crab food
2: you will know if the hermit crab has changed shells don’t take any of them out they pinch and hard don’t take any of the empty out of the shells out they will change into them if you see al g in the cage please take out and throw it away if it starts to stink then a hermit crab has died don’t take it out we will that is not likely to happen though and please just move them from time to time if you cant find one there our 3 of them then one is probably buried himself
3: change there water use the tap drinking water then heat it up for 30 seconds and there is special water sitting in a measuring cup just take the old water and dump it out in the sink and then refill it just take the shell and scoop it out from the measuring cup that’s all
have a fun time love, e

(In addition to the crabs, there was a two page outline of how to care for Moose and Lilly, our mice which I will spare you. Secretly, I fully expected to come home to find some dead critters after such daunting instructions, but I was totally surprised! Everyone was alive and well, and none the worse for the wear.)

We arrived at the airport on time. Everything moved seamlessly as planned. The girls were very excited as this was the first time for E and the second time for M flying. We were ready to depart on our big adventure! We got to our gate and saw that everything was on time; they began calling the first class passengers to board.

It didn't fully register in my mind when the agent announced about 10 minutes into the boarding that there was a tiny maintenance issue which concerned the plane's instrument panel. Soon after, all the passengers who had been called to board were now being asked to get off the plane while this issue was being addressed.

I think this drawing of E's pretty much sums it up:
As does this:

Yes, folks, the flight was delayed 6 hours. Its the kind of thing you watch on television around the holidays, and you shake your head and say "Poor things!" You just never think it will happen to you. I guess the hold up was that a new instrument panel had to be flown up from Atlanta and the next plane that could bring it would not arrive until 11:30 a.m. Then, of course, the new part would have to be installed.

We made the most out of it. The girls have such sunny personalities and couldn't help but make friends with just about everyone on the flight-there was the young woman who had just finished her bar exams and was taking a long deserved respite in Florida before starting a new position with a law firm in Harrisburg in September. They also made fast friends with our pilot, who was extremely apologetic about the delay and insisted the girls make a visit to the cockpit complete with photo ops wearing his cap once we touched down in Atlanta.
While the second leg of our flight to Savannah from Atlanta was uneventful, there must have been a special aura surrounding us, as we had the privilege of meeting one of the nicest young soldiers; he was just starting his 30 day leave from Germany. He was so handsome and smart, with so many dreams and hopes for the future. We talked about everything under the sun during the flight and it made the girls and I feel so proud of our military and so honored to have these bright men and women sacrificing so much to protect us and our country. We touched down in Savannah rich with new friendships and email addresses and promises to keep in touch. The cool thing is the girls and I have been wanting to find a soldier pen pal for a long time, and who would have known it would just fall into our lap like that?

I guess its true what they say about making lemonade when life hands you a lemon.....We never would have made new friends if not for the delay.

Oh, I won't say too much about how Delta lost our luggage-I guess it had something to do with missing our original connecting flight. We did get it eventually, the second day of our vacation. At that point we didn't much care because we were having such a grand time with my sister, the baby and Dean. (Thank the Lord I made sure the girls packed a change of clothes in their carry on luggage. And, it sure pays that my sister and I wear the same size!)

I know this trip will certainly be one for our family history book-we will have lots of memories to look back on, cherish and laugh about!