Sunday, June 27, 2010

Quote of the Day....

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Official!

I am honored to announce I have joined the staff at the Historic Fairfield Inn.

This beautiful home is located right on Main Street and was built in 1767 by Squire William Miller and his wife Isabella Henry Miller. The Inn was completely renovated to include large private bathrooms for each room. Some baths have old fashioned claw foot tubs and free standing showers while others have whirlpool tubs. The six suites and guest rooms are decorated with antiques, some with four-poster beds, others with private balconies overlooking the quaint, historic town of Fairfield. All of the guest rooms and suites have private baths, air-conditioning and cable television.

In addition, to compliment the Inn's fine accommodations, there is the Mansion House Restaurant (a favorite dining spot of President Eisenhower), and Squire Miller's Tavern serving a wide selection of classically prepared and artistically presented dishes. The hotel's two chefs and their team offer an imaginative menu of grilled and roasted game, pastas, seafood and mouth-watering steaks. The restaurant opens onto a delightful front porch perfect for spring through autumn dining; open log fires blaze in the hearths during the winter months. There is an inviting parlour for a quiet nightcap and a banquet salon for business meetings and exclusive receptions, luncheons and dinners.
Did you know the Inn holds the oldest Tavern License in Gettysburg and the surrounding area dating to 1786? It is the oldest, continuously operated Tavern in the area and one of only five serving since the 1700's in America.

A wonderful touch is the self guided tour which is open to the public. Joan and Sal (the owners) thoughtfully compiled this delightful journey which showcases the historic significance of many areas of the house. See where President & Mrs. Eisenhower enjoyed their dinners; you can see (or sleep) in the room General J.E.B. Stuart stayed in or where General Robert E. Lee ate, view the room where Statesman Patrick Henry (1736-99), famous for the quote: "Give me liberty or give me death" conducted meetings, as well as many other historically interesting sites and stories including the hidden Underground Railroad room.
Walking to the back of the home on the first floor and turning to the right there is also what used to be a courtyard (which has since been enclosed and is now another room and dining area); this is where generations of guests have been placing coins in the cracks of the "Wishing Walls". Similar to the idea of a "wishing well" or throwing a coin in a fountain, wishes are made with the hope that they'll come true-the tradition has continued through the entire place, as you travel to the second floor there is evidence of this above the entrance to the grand ballroom.

I would love to have you drop by for a visit sometime and maybe we can place a few coins in the wall together and make some wishes! See you soon!

Today Would Be a Good Day To...

One of the books I checked out this week was 365 Things to Do With Your Kids Before They're Too Old to Enjoy Them. I knew it was going to be good because as I thumbed through the pages, I rested on suggestion 104: "The next time your child asks you to come and see something right away, don't say you're busy, even if you are. Stop what you're doing and go see whatever it is your child is brimming over with enthusiasm about."I think we all need to do this more often. The time we have at this very moment, we will never have again. Try to remember that today on your journey.

Love, Andi

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Centered

Ah, beautiful Broadkill Beach, where we have been migrating every year for a week each June; kids and dogs in tow. This year, we were blessed with my grandmother and aunt for a couple of days. It's not often we get to spend time with them, and my grandmother's health has not been the best. We all just wanted to hug and touch her alot and tell her how much we love her. My aunt is equally as dear-she is so kind and thoughtful-it was all incredibly special and will make for some lovely memories for a long time to come.

Part of my time is spent catching up on reading material which has been piling up since Christmas, I'm embarrassed to say, but I am glad to report, I plowed through most of it. In these quiet moments, perusing through pages and pages of books and magazines, I am convinced that God is trying to send me a message. I promise to go into more detail in the coming days, but for now, I will leave you with a lovely passage from Hope Rising which I finally finished the last chapter of!

"...with the tenderness of an angel's kiss, I crooked my index finger and touched the space between her nostrils. It was as soft as a butterfly's wing. It was the first time that she came to me actually searching for the comfort of my hand. That moment flooded my heart with warmth. From then on, each day built upon the last. She allowed me to touch her muzzle, her cheek, her forehead-and finally her neck and body. Working with her was like stringing a precious necklace, one pearl at a time."
This was a much different account than the first time the author, Kim, had laid eyes on this little filly-"she was like every other child I'd ever known, starving for all of the physical and emotional sustenance that gives hope to live another day. Time for her was running out. Like a battered child, she wouldn't raise her head or even lift her eyes to look at me. My presence seemed to inspire only more fear in a heart that had already been tattered by more sorrow than she could bear....she reminded me of many of the children I work with-conditioned by long periods of rejection, they learn to fall back into the shadows, to say nothing, to think nothing, to be nothing.In full view of the world they gradually wither and disappear".

God spoke to me this week, and I actually took the time to listen. I vow to you Lord, I am going to try harder from now on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Long Ago, But Not Forgotten....

The High Tide at Gettysburg
by Will Henry Thompson

"A cloud possessed the hollow field,
The gathering battle's smoky shield:
Athwart the gloom the lightning flashed,
And through the cloud some horsemen dashed,
And from the heights the thunder pealed"

You can read the rest here.
Will Henry Thompson served in the Fourth Georgia and took part in Pickett's Charge on July 3, 1863

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Beautiful Sky and Babies Everywhere!

I have a thing for purple clouds and pink skies and lately, that's what we've been having in our part of town. I just had to share! I also can't resist showing you our little duck family that has decided to take up residence in our lilac bush. Mama proudly takes her babies out for a walk in the cool air of the evening, across the big expanse of field to the right of our house. I hold my breath every time I see them, praying that the neighborhood cat doesn't discover his next meal. I am also getting lots of extra gray hairs watching them waddle across the street to the neighbor's where there is a small fish pond. A couple years back, we had another pair of ducks who called our backyard home and to our shock and dismay, we discovered mama hit by a car one day. Nature can be so stressful-it's just one more delicate thing in the circle of life that we humans have disrupted in our ongoing development of the world around us-I just watched Avatar and am keenly more aware of how destructive and greedy mankind can be.

On a lighter note, my husband Rick pointed out some other special guests who have decided to call two of the trees in our yard home for a time. The girls cleverly named this one "Peaches"-can you figure out why? And this one Mabel, (although she should theoretically be named Maple-because of the maple tree, get it? Mabel sounded much cuter!) Actually, before I could capture Mabel on film, she flew away. But she is quite a beautiful little robin. I will be sure to share more pics with you as I find those perfect photo-op moments. Until then, happy trails!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tips for a Visit to the Battlefield....

Alfred R. Waud, artist of Harper’s Weekly, sketching on the Gettysburg battlefield. July, 1863

I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be there, I mean right there in the middle of it all, and undertake the incredible task of trying to express this part of the Civil War in such a way for those of us in coming generations to understand.
One can't help but be overcome with all that happened when you stand anywhere on the battlefield-each one of us chooses to comprehend it in our own way to help our minds to make sense of the magnitude of this page in time. The beauty mingled with such strong emotions that drove men to battle years before....
It's hard to say the best way to experience such history-if you are like me, it's hard for my brain to absorb all the details in a short period of time-I need to take it all in slowly and in a way that will resonate with me so I will be able to remember important details in the future-I want to know everything, but yet I realize the limitations of my mind and I try not to set such high expectations. It never ceases to amaze me when I am standing near people when I visit the Battlefield who can easily spout off a multitude of facts-I will never be able to do this. But, I feel that if you can interpret things in a way you can retain easily in your mind, do whatever works best for you.

For first time visitors, if you can muster up the admission fee, it's always great to visit the Vistor's Center on Baltimore Pike, route 97. I would recommend visiting before 10am (you also have the best chances of immediately booking a tour guide at this time, too) or swinging by after 4pm when it's quieter to plan your trip for the following day. The Visitor Center is open daily 8-6pm and summer months until 7pm. The info on admission can be viewed here. In addition, you can now book a tour guide online by clicking here.
Another suggestion for families with children is to print out some points of interest in advance-you can find some great suggestions to the bar on the right on my blog right here, and if you have your own car, you can have fun finding them at your own pace, as well as parking and seeking them out on foot. I like to give each of my kids a blank notebook, and I ask them to make journal entries-i.e. write about their emotions, their thoughts about what they are seeing, even a poem or what they are hearing or smelling, along with making sketches-nothing has to be perfect, and it's always fun to look back on what they logged at a later time.

I also like to pick one person that was involved with the battle and follow them as far as we can through the battlefield-some suggestions are Robert E. Lee, Lt. General James Longstreet, Major General George E. Pickett as well as Jennie Wade.
It's always a big hit to bring lunch or a snack-we always go to Subway or KFC (on route 30) across from the Walmart-it's relatively cheap), and have a picnic at Devil's Den, sitting on one of the huge rocks, taking in the spectacular views. Everyone loves exploring around this area-just remember to do your part and clean up afterwards!

The National Park tour roads are open from 6am until 10pm in the summer months and it is free to roam the park. For Park updates, visit their website. Just remember to be flexible, try to bring a hat or cap and drink plenty of water.

Don't forget to have fun and make your own artistic moments in history!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dear Dancer...

Well, girl, it's been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks. I traveled to Texas,came back to jump into work, and have been focusing on wrapping up the year with my students, as well as trying to rack my brain for ideas on how to keep the girls busy for the summer. School is out now, and we look forward to the fall and our first year of homeschooling with mixed emotions of relief and anxiety. I hope I do well by them, Dancer. I love them so much and want the world for them. I am hoping by doing this we can strengthen their foundation and reinforce all that is good and wonderful in this world. They are already such good kids, but I feel the strong need to get back to basics.

Anyway, we get ready to go away to Broadkill Beach next week-I feel pretty good leaving you because I know you are in the capable hands of my two best friends, Monica and Sharon. I desperately wish we could take you with us-it's always been a dream of mine to go horse back riding on the beach-splashing in the surf. I'm not sure you would enjoy all those flies, though. June can be a tough month for that.

I can't believe how fast the time passes-I am trying to focus more than ever on living in the moment and celebrating all that we are blessed with. I have a constant feeling that big changes are right around the corner-I am not good with change, but I am praying every day for the grace to handle all of it. My mom, the huge inspirational presence in my life that she is, has given me a mantra to repeat everyday: "with God all things are possible. ...." Philippians 4:13. I know this is true because of all the blessings I have been given.

After all, I have you, don't I? Looking forward to seeing you later today, my dear friend. I love you so much and can't wait to wrap my arms around your regal neck.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quote of the Day....

"There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make." Ted Kennedy