Monday, December 12, 2011

Something to Think About This Week...

"Life is sentimental. Why should I be cold and hard about it? That's the main content. The biggest thing in people's lives is their loves and dreams and visions, you know."
-Jim Harrison, born in Grayling, Michigan in 1937

“I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.”
—Anne Tyler,born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I'm giving myself permission today to indulge in something that I have a great love for doing, and don't often find the time to do these days; writing!

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a dear, dear friend with whom I'd lost touch and speaking with her reminded my of why I have always enjoyed her company so much. Not only is she a strikingly beautiful woman inside and out, she always had a special gift of being able to describe places she'd been or people she had spent time with in amazing detail-so much so that I would feel like I was right there with her. She always did it in such a beautiful and eloquent way, sharing the most endearing and captive features about a particular individual, place or thing. I always cherished her special gift for this, and reminded myself constantly to make every effort to celebrate my friends, family and people I met and places I traveled to in the same manner at every opportunity.

Why? Well things can get so mundane, in our daily routines, overwhelming schedules and all we need to do. It helps to center oneself on what God really intended; for us to love and help each other and our neighbors and take time out to appreciate all that is good and right with this world.

Everything seems so hectic and rushed these days-it's so refreshing to take one minute to savor something-really enjoy it-something as simple as cuddling with one of your children or your significant other, (listening to an uplifting program on the radio-NPR has alot of those and I am especially enjoying a program called Midday Connection these days),enjoying a walk in the park with your dog or having lunch with someone whose company you enjoy. It is important to surround yourself with as much positive energy as you can and just as important to pass it on.
I always like to visualize a huge bubble I fill with a bunch of good karma that I gently send on its way to touch someone, often times quite unintentionally. I try to send one of these out daily, and I find that whatever I send out into the world always comes back two or three fold to me sometimes in a simple form, other times, in full fanfare. I don't do this expecting to receive anything; I do it because it feels right and I suppose it is one of the laws of the universe-you can't reap what you don't sow, right? It's just getting your mind to think in a more purposeful way-which is harder than you think, but so worth it if you can do it. I'm a Christian, so I know it is God's power that is behind all of this-but you can put your own spin on it.

Try sending a quick email (a hand written note would be spectacular, but do what you can) to someone you haven't talked to in a while and let them know you are thinking of them.
Another thing that always puts a smile on people's faces if you have the time is going anonymous,and putting a small treat on someone's doorstep. Try doing it when they aren't home, or at night-not too late, obviously and knock on their door or ring the bell. I know some of the neighbors on our street took part in this around Halloween and my children really enjoyed it. What surprised me most is that my kids took more pleasure in the giving than in the receiving.

There are so many ways to spread the love-I'm sure you can come up with tons of ideas on your own. Would love to hear your stories if you have time to share-but I completely understand time is at quite a premium these days.

Now go blow those bubbles!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I'm Listening to Now....One of the Most Fantastic Voices I've Ever Heard

An excerpt from her bio reads like this: "Growing up outside of Detroit in a family of musical evangelists, Worden studied multiple instruments (her father is an acclaimed accordionist and mother an organist). She became equally passionate about classical and Motown, later pursuing a degree in Opera at the University of North Texas where she wrote and recorded original material for the first time. After moving to New York by way of Moscow, Worden recorded three albums before joining the ranks of Sufjan Stevens‘ Illinoisemakers. She then expanded her musical education further by studying composition under Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), and turned out several scores for off-Broadway productions."

I hope you enjoy listening to her as much as I do! Again, I would have never known about this gal without the fantastic programming at NPR.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poem for Today

The Return of the Subjunctive
by Tamara Madison

Oh, the Subjunctive,
May it make its bold return!
May it ride back proud
In liveried coach,
May its two fine horses snort
And paw the ground,
And, escorted by its staunch
Attendants If and Whether,
May it descend in velvet cloak
And black-gloved hand
The lacquered steps of hope
And happenstance.
May it fix upon us its deep
Uncertain gaze!
I shall be there to greet it
Though my company
Be small and moody.
I shall beg it stay
And may its presence give
Some respite from the steely glare
Of Indicative, a mantle to shield us
From Passive's clammy chill.
May it light again the land
Between the world that was
And is, and that which still might be,
And may we tread again desire's
Leaf-dappled path
Of possibility.

"The Return of the Subjunctive" by Tamara Madison, from Wild Domestic. © Pearl Editions, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"A Wonderful Time"

I have a lovely book that was graciously lent to me by a dear friend, titled "A Wonderful Time" written by Slim Aarons. He was an American photographer noted for photographing socialites, jet-setters and celebrities. Upon a further search and ending up at Wikipedia, I found the following: "At 18 years old, Aarons enlisted in the U.S. Army, working as a photographer at West Point and later serving as a combat photographer in World War II and earning a Purple Heart. Aarons said that combat had taught him that the only beach worth landing on was "decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun."

After the war, Aarons moved to California and began photographing celebrities. In California, he shot his most praised photo, Kings of Hollywood, a 1957 New's Year's Eve photograph depicting Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart relaxing at a bar in full formal wear. Aaron's work appeared in Life, Town & Country and Holiday magazines.

Aarons never used a stylist, or a makeup artist.Aarons made his career out of what he called "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places." "I knew everyone," he said in an interview with The (London) Independent in 2002. "They would invite me to one of their parties because they knew I wouldn't hurt them. I was one of them." Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rear Window, whose main character is a photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is set in an apartment reputed to be based on Aarons's apartment. He died in 2006, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts."

Here are just a few of the fantastic photographs from his last book titled "A Wonderful Time."

Do you recognize this handsome young gentleman? You guessed right! Paul Newman.

A well to do man with horses....

When you thumb through the pages, you can almost imagine being there-I know I do! Something in my being just feels so strongly that I somehow should have been a part of that; like I really was there.

Here is a fantastic pic captured of a few Hollywood Icons enjoying a stolen moment:

And this is my very favorite: Robert Frost-

If you ever have a chance to peruse this book, I highly recommend it! It will surely give you respite from the daily grind, even if it is just fleeting.


A Beautiful Autumn Day

It's a gorgeous day here in Adams County, PA! I am enjoying Ella F. as I get in a quick post.
We are going to take a much deserved break this afternoon and head over to Hanover to check out the new Hobby Lobby. I am hoping to pick up some fabric to re-upholster my oversized ottoman. Maybe some lovely heavy brocade? Or an updated toile? Of course, anything that has red in it is an immediate favorite!
Will let you know what I discover....And, if I'm lucky, we'll get to stop in the New Oxford Coffee Company to enjoy some of the best apple cake you have ever tried! Don't forget to pare it up their Hot White Chocolate infused with a shot of raspberry syrup. Yum!
Also, wanted to share a few pics of the last week or so-there is always a beautiful rainbow somewhere after the rain!And of course, here's one of my beautiful girls-(I have three four-legged ones and two two-legged ones!) Hope you got that; you did? Good for you-I have a hard time keeping things straight myself most of the time!

Here's to a wonderful day and will catch up with our adventures soon. XOXO Andi

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yellow Hill Farm and Remembrance Day 9/11

Take a magical journey to Yellow Hill Farm...

Today is such an emotional day for everyone and there isn't much one can put into words that doesn't sound cliche. My kids are becoming young adults and I struggle with how to mark this anniversary. We will say prayers and reflect. I'll look back and think about how much has changed since that awful day and be thankful for this wonderful place we call home and being able to enjoy so many things that so many have sacrificed their lives for. And, of course, we will want to "do something" because that is how one heals, by moving forward and trying to help each other. It is a solemn day, but also a day to celebrate how wonderful America is, and how fortunate we are to have men and women who love this country so much, that they gave their lives for it, including those that woke up on September 11, 2001 and headed off to the airport or work in New York, and D.C.

I am reminded of this every day at my job, where I have the privilege of working in a place that spans over two and a half centuries and has quietly stood through many struggles for freedom and was here twenty years before the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787.
George Washington wrote in his farewell speech "...profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it." What powerful words to read;it's inspiration for all of us.

Don't you feel sometimes like you are just one person who deeply cares but as one indivual, how can you possibly make a difference? Even the smallest gestures can make a big impact. Today, the girls and I plan on going over to Yellow Hill Farm in Biglerville to pick raspberries, cut some gorgeous flowers from their beautiful garden and enjoy a homemade sundae. The farm will then make a donation to the fire department on our behalf to thank them for their continued service.

This will be the way we show support for the unselfish sacrifice of so many. Thank you, America.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Photo Essay of My Drive to Work One Morning

It was such a beautful morning I thought it would be fun to take some pics of my drive in to Fairfield. Forgive the blurriness as I was driving and shooting at the same time. It wasn't always the best picture, but nontheless, it gives you a sense of the beauty I am fortunate to experience.
Here's the Historic Round Barn....

the sunflower garden across the road from the barn...
a gorgeous old farm ...
and the breathtaking countryside with a view of the mountains in the background....

at the intersection in Cashtown...

the fog lifting off the mountains as the sun rises...

I realized how much I take for granted every day and thought it would be nice to capture the beauty of something as simple as a routine morning drive. I am truly blessed.

Only in Gettysburg....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Putting It All In Perspective

As much as I try to make each moment count, there are those times where I allow frustration to take over and I begin to sink into self pity. God has a great way of timing things, and as I was feeling sorry for myself about having to head off to work,(among other things), there was a piece that came on the radio. It was about young soldiers in Afghanistan coming home and the difficulties they were facing adjusting back to the routines of daily living. "I try to listen to my friends talk about their daily frustrations with car problems and what-not," he says," and I think to myself, you have no idea how lucky you are to be dealing with these things-I just had to pick up my buddy's body parts from a mine blast."

I'm not trying to minimalize what each of us is dealing with in our lives, but I thought it would be good to put it out there that we have alot to be thankful for, including these brave men and women that help to keep this country free.

On the way home the other night, I was lucky enough to pick up a broadcast from Paul Harvey about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. I highly recommend listening to this if you can find it-I managed to locate the piece in print-it is yet another overlooked sacrifice that so many have made for people like me so I can have all those wonderful choices and privileges I take advantage of every day. You can read it here.I suppose, as I write this, that I have it pretty good. God Bless America!
xxx Andi

Friday, July 1, 2011

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

While this has nothing to do with history, family or Gettysburg, I think it is still noteworthy to share. This girl has an amazing, powerful voice and the song lingers long after it's over. I've taken to listening to more NPR sorts of things, but every once in a while its refreshing to get caught up in a tune like this just for the sheer enjoyment. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thought for the Day....

From someone I admire intensely:

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Every time I feel like I just can't handle one more thing, I always think of her and what an incredible inspiration she is. My girls and I always say to each other when we are feeling down, "I bet Anne Frank would have given anything to be in our shoes."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yesterday the girls and I attended the funeral of my dear Uncle Al. This was their first time attending such an event. I was conflicted about if I should bring them or not, but after praying about it, I knew it was the right decision. While these things are always very sad and difficult, they are also part of life.

While they had only met their great uncle a couple of times, they were able to hear first-hand about how generous and kind he was from various family members who were eager to share their stories during this time.

These events are always bittersweet and the service was heartbreaking; it was a wonderful tribute to a man who was larger than life and a wonderful role model for everyone who knew him.

I am so thankful that I had the privilege of knowing him and I look forward to when I will see him again.

"Adieu dear comrade
Your mission is fulfill'd."

Adieu to a Soldier, Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass, 1892

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Roller Coaster of Youth

Ahhh, summer vacation and the promise of all things wonderful. Its a time for carving out some well deserved time to sit down and relax with a glass of something cool topped off with mint from the garden. Then, it's time for catching up on those books I've been yearning to read for weeks as I'm rushing to grab my car keys, out the door, heading off to work, to the barn, running errands-well,you know how it goes.

Here is what I'm enjoying today:
As part of the kids' end of year school celebration, there was a picnic at Hershey Park this past week. I had been feeling under the weather for a few days leading up to this and didn't really have a chance to get apprehensive about it or experience those butterflies-in my-stomach-the-night-before that I used to get when I was younger before something really special was about to happen.

When we arrived, it was so refreshing to be reminded through the eyes of my children just how wonderful it is to be a kid. The excitement in the air, the anticipation on their faces, oh, the prospect of wonderful things which this way come! Which is how things used to be before my adult mind took over and allowed me to only partake in practical things with calculated outcomes.

It's called growing up.

I had forgotten things like what it feels like to ride a roller coaster because I had convinced my adult self that I suffer from a mean case of motion sickness.

We surveyed the Storm Runner-a huge contraption of steel boasting what seemed like an infinite number of turns and twists complete with a couple of huge loops. My older daughter grabbed my hand and gleefully shouted, "You're mine right now, mom! Let's go!"

How could I say no to that beautiful face, full of youth, her whole life ahead of her-and mine, halfway gone? For a moment, I had nothing to lose-I was sixteen again-it was my last day of school-and I had the whole world ahead of me. Never mind I haven't ridden a roller coaster in about thirty years.

"Sure, why not!" I replied back, smiling, not giving a second thought to the fact that I am a middle aged woman, who is told by her husband all the time that she worries too much and that she needs to live a little. That day I gave in to the young girl inside me who wants so desperately to remember what it's like to feel free and well, young.Today, was the day to do just that.

I gave in to that unabashed surge of adrenaline and pure giddiness one gets as we settled in to the car and the safety bar clicked into place. The feeling of mock terror rushes over me that I used to feel, and glancing sideways at my daughter, we both realize this is it!-No turning back! as we are slowly pulled up the steep incline of track. Just as we reach the top, we're poised for a split second,balancing on the cusp of what is predictable and what will briefly become complete chaos. Memories suddenly flash before me; that thrilling feeling of full knowing what we were about to experience in a nano-second. WHOOSH! We are plummeting straight down at a dizzy speed, feeling the wind whipping at our faces. Screams of horror mixed with delight erupt uncontrollaby from our mouths while the force of gravity takes our breath away and we are catapulted to the next peak. Just as we think we've mastered this thing,our stomachs fly up in our throats as gravity pulls us into another free fall.

In thirty seconds, it's all over.

I turn to my daughter who is totally pumped up, full of excitement. "Let's do it again!" she says breathlessly. I look in her eyes and am taken aback by what a beautiful young woman she has become. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that I can share in this moment with her-her first roller coaster ride.

For a split second in her eyes I see myself staring back. At that very moment I made a silent promise to myself to never forget this. And I made sure to say "Thank you, Lord for this day."

Even if it was for a few fleeting seconds, I remember what it's like to be a kid. Heck, I'm thinking about maybe exploring the possiblity of going with the kids to a concert this summer!

"He remembered that she was pretty, and more, that she had a special grace in the intimacy of life. She had the secret of individuality which excites-and escapes." Joseph Conrad, Victory

XXO, Andi

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some of My Favorite Things....

Anytime I can combine two of my favorite things-(my kids and my horses are at the top of the list!) but after them, then there's poetry and music. Give me a good song, a lovely, well written poem, and I am in heaven.

Maybe I can take Dancer on a trail ride with my Ipod loaded up and a well-worn copy of Tennyson's Poetry?
The two of us can take a break and have a picnic under the shade of a beautiful tree in a grassy field somewhere....well, you get the idea!

Here's to a lovely Spring day! xoxo Andi

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just Sit There

"Often we tell ourselves, "Don't just sit there, do something!" But when we practice awareness, we discover something unusual. We discover that the opposite may be more helpful: "Don't just do something, sit there!" We must learn to stop from time to time in order to see clearly.

The foundation of happiness in mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy. If we are not aware that we are happy, we are not really happy. There are so many things that are enjoyable, but when we don't practice mindfulness, we don't appreciate them
." -an excerpt from "Aimlessness" by Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, April 1, 2011

In Honor of Spring, I Think?

Long Winter
by Tim Nolan

So much I've forgotten
the grass

the birds
the close insects

the shoot—the drip—
the spray of the sprinkler

the heat of the Sun

the impossible

the flush of your face
so much

the high noon
the high grass

the patio ice cubes
the barbeque

the buzz of them—
the insects

the weeds—the dear
weeds—that grow

like alien life forms—
all Dr. Suessy and odd—

here we go again¬—
we are turning around

again—this will all
happen over again—

and again—it will—

"Long Winter" by Timothy J. Nolan. Reprinted with permission of the author

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

I think I've Got It, Thanks to Thomas Jefferson,Tracy Porter and a Magpie

"I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give."
Thomas Jefferson to Alexander Donald, February 7, 1788
I recently read a lovely little book called "A Very Modest Cottage" depicting the true story of a lovely gal, Tereasa Surratt. In the words of one reviewer,"This is so much more than a story about a restoration project or a how-to manual. This is an uplifting and inspiring account of a journey to preserve a little piece of Americana, beloved childhood memories and a tribute to traditional... heritage. I found this book to be so enjoyable because there are so many stories within the larger context of the book... you can literally read or peruse this book over and over and each time find new insight into how collectively ordinary people can bring enrichment and beautification to the world in which we live."

My little house has always been an ongoing challenge for me; ranging from elation to wistfulness. My dear friends are always admonishing me about it. "You really need a larger house," they say. I usually smile and nod, quietly. Yes, sometimes it seems a bit small. It gets cluttered easily and the dust gathers faster than you can say "spring cleaning."

But, oh, how I love the challenge of making the most out of this space we call our home. In a day and age where everyone is living to excess and there are hardly anymore dinners around the table as a family, I am holding on to a time when things were simpler, less hurried, and yes,smaller. Like the Modest Cottage, our house is snack size in comparison to the super-sized structures out there these days and I enjoy trying to make sure each detail in our house is both purposeful, beautiful and meaningful, all at once.And it doesn't hurt to have a dog or two to add to the cuteness factor! I strive to teach my kids how to be happy with less and we all enjoy thinking outside the box when it comes to tackling ways to make our space more liveable, enjoyable and well, fun! I like tucking unexpected surprises in out of the way places and using objects in a myriad of ways.
One of my favorite accents is an embellished lampshade from Her Majesty Margo. Recently, Tracy Porter wrote "you are.....magpies and writers of your own dreams." I fancy myself like a magpie-these birds and I share an affinity for the same shiny things and I read somewhere that they often weave bits of shiny threads into their nest. Behold this fabulous front door which recently inspired me to rethink our entry way:As a start, my mom is always sending us the most beautiful cards, and, in being optimistic about welcoming spring, I just had to frame it and share it with the world by displaying it on our door, too. I know my husband thinks I am crazy for constantly changing colors, adding little trinkets here and there and re-arranging the furniture, but we have decided that it is the cheapest and best therapy for me to express myself! Being an artist, I have to do this or I will go crazy. So, for the time being, until another whim comes my way, just humor me, okay? (A little plaque I made out of bits of antique jewelry,some glittery buttons and unusual findings.)

Welcome to Magpie Fancy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day and Thank You, Nancy and Ron

"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress."

Ronald Reagan

I hardly ever watch tv, but when I have the opportunity, I like PBS. I was lucky enough to have a chance to catch Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime on PBS. I like Kennedy also, and even though he and Reagan were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, all they had to have in common was one thing: horses.
It couldn't hurt that I have always admired their wives' fashion, flair and poise, either.
I was in my twenties when Reagan was in office, going through lots of trials and tribulations of my own. My grandfather, who was a huge presence in my life, became ill and I was laid off from a job I thought I was going to have for many years to come. Things were changing way too much for my liking, and I was so absorbed in all of it that I never really focused on the White House during much of that time.

Almost twenty five years later, I am finally seeing what I missed all those years ago. And what strikes me the most after watching this documentary is the incredible love and intimacy that Ron and Nancy had for each other. You may not be a fan of either, but after watching this, it might leave you with a yearning for wanting to be loved like that. Nancy once said,“What can you say about a man, who on Mother’s Day sends flowers to his mother-in-law, with a note thanking her for making him the happiest man on Earth?” If you have an hour, I highly recommend taking the time to see this. You just might gain some valuable insights and even learn a thing or two.

"The Measure of Our Success"

I think one of the coolest things about cyber school is being able to learn along side my daughters every day. While I was physically present for my education, mentally, I was not around much. For me, this is a very special gift; a second chance for me to re-discover so many things I did not take the time to retain when I was younger.

I can't tell you how fascinating it is to hear about other people; the lives they led, their families, who they loved, and who loved them. It inspires me beyond words to hear about their legacies and their views of life.

One day, my oldest daughter was working on a unit about ethical appeal. She had to read a passage from "The Measure of Our Success" written by Marian Wright Edelman. I was so thrilled to see my daughter shared the same feelings with me upon completion of the reading. She smiled and told me that it made her want to work even harder on her schoolwork and harp lessons. (I have to confide I have a HUGE fear of what my children will have to deal in their lives if something should happen to me or Rick-after all, everything can be so unpredictable at best; we want to give them all the tools we can to be able to handle anything that challenges them.) I know they are strong, capable young women, but in many ways, today's world is so complicated compared to the past and I want them to be prepared. Enter Marian Wright Edelman. All I can say, is, what perfect timing and wise words for living life the way the good Lord intended. For the sake of keeping this post as short as possible, here is one of the most powerful pieces of literature you can share with any child; and again, THANK YOU, MARIAN!

Taken from "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours"

Six Lessons for Life

The first lesson is there is no free lunch.... Please don't feel entitled to anything you don't sweat and struggle for. Help our nation understand that it is not entitled to world leadership based on the past or on what we say rather than how well we perform and meet changing world needs....Remember not to be lazy. Do your homework. Pay attention to detail. Take care and pride in your work. Take the initiative in creating your own opportunity and do not wait around for other people to discover you or do you a favor. Don't assume a door is closed; push on it. Don't assume if it was closed yesterday that it is closed today. Don't ever stop learning and improving your mind. If you do, you're going to be left behind.

The second lesson is to assign yourself. My daddy couldn't stand to see us unengaged in constructive work. And he used to ask us when we had come home from school, "Did the teacher give you any homework?" If we'd say no, he'd say, "Well, assign yourself some." Don't wait around for your boss or your friends or teachers to direct you to do what you're able to figure out and do for yourself. And don't do just as little as you can to get by. And as you grow up and become citizens please don't be a political bystander and grumbler. I really hope every one of you will register to vote and vote every time. A democracy is not a spectator sport. And if you see a need, please don't ask, "Why somebody doesn't do something?" Ask "Why don't I do something?" Initiative and persistence are still the non-magic carpets to success for most of us.

The third lesson: Never work just for money. Money alone won't save your soul or build a decent family life or help you sleep at night. We're the richest nation on Earth, with the highest number of imprisoned people in the world. Our drug addictions and child poverty [rates] are among the highest in the industrialized world. So don't ever confuse wealth or fame with character. And don't tolerate or condone moral corruption, whatever it is and whether it is found in high or low places. Be honest and demand that those who represent you be honest. And don't ever confuse morality with legality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Martin Luther King told us, "everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal, but it was not moral." Don't give anybody the proxy for your conscience.

The fourth lesson: Don't be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized. An anonymous saying is, "If you don't want to be criticized, don't do anything, don't say anything and don't be anything." Don't be afraid of failing; it is the way you learn to do things right. Don't be afraid of falling down; just keep getting up. And don't wait for everybody to come along to get something done. It's always a few people who get things done and keep things going. Our country and our world desperately need more wise and courageous shepherds and fewer sheep who do not borrow from integrity to fund expediency.

Fifth lesson: : Take parenting and family life seriously, and insist that those you work for and who represent you do so....I hope you will stress family rituals and be moral examples for your children, because if you cut corners, they will, too. If you lie, they will, too.....If you tell racial or gender jokes or snicker at them, another generation will pass on the poison that our adult generaton still does not have the courage to stop doing.

Sixth Lesson: "Listen for the sound of the genuine" within yourself. "Small," Einstein said, "is the number of them who see with their own eyes and feel with their own heart." Try to be one of them. There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in [yourself]. And it is the only true guide [you] will ever have. If you cannot hear it in yourself, you will spend all of your life on the end of strings that somebody else pulls. Today, there are just so many noises and so many competing pulls on us. I hope that you'll find ways and times and spaces to be silent to listen to yourselves and to listen for other people.

Last lesson: Never think life is not worth living or that you can't make a difference. Never give up. I don't care how hard it gets, and it will get very hard sometimes. An old proverb says, "When you get to your wit's end, that's where God lives."

I hope you will share this with someone special today. XO Andi

Reprinted with permission from Glencoe Literature, "Reading with Purpose" Copyright 2007 McGraw Hill, Columbus,Ohio

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monuments of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry Company B "Adams County Cavalry" and "Bell's Cavalry"

The girls and I were headed to the barn one snowy day last week and I had an opportunity to take a picture of one of two monuments on Baltimore Pike (Route 97) that have always caught our eye, (they have horses on them, mom!) however the lighting or timing has never been good. This has always been a great way for our family to learn more about all the beautiful memorials in and around the battlefield and of course, about the battle itself. (Just don't remind them of how I pulled over randomly onto the shoulder to snap this shot-a little bold given there was hardly a shoulder at all thanks to the snow plows-thank God there was no traffic-I promise I wouldn't have done it otherwise, really) and decided now is as good a time as any to research a little more about them.
Here's what we discovered:

"Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as the "Adams County Cavalry" during Gettysburg and as "Bell's Cavalry" after the Campaign, has two monuments, both of which are within 30 yards of each other on the Baltimore Pike. They are on the east side of the road and in the area that was known as "McAllister's Field," about 200 yards south of Colgrove Avenue and across from Powers Hill.

The 21st was organized to serve six months, just prior to the battle, as part of the general militia mobilization to meet the threat of General Robert E. Lee's invasion of the State. It was recruited from volunteers who were already at Harrisburg for the purpose of mustering into a unit, and was made up of a small nucleus of veterans of the 21st Cavalry as well as militia-trained youngsters from the immediate boroughs surrounding Gettysburg. The unit was organized from the counties of Adams, Cumberland, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York. The members were mustered in at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, and in Philadelphia, on June 21, 1863. The commander of the Adams County Cavalry was Captain Robert Bell. On June 24, in Gettysburg, Major Granville O. Haller officially swore in the unit for State service for a term of six months. They became Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry in August.
Bell was born in Menallen Township in northern Adams County in 1830, descended from Scots-Irish settlers from the mid-1700's. Several of his ancestors had served during the Revolution. When Bell enlisted in his company in June of 1863, he was married to Abigail King, and was a farmer. He served through the war until July 1865 and returned to farming, also working as a cashier in Gettysburg's bank.
A citizen of Adams County, George W. Sandoe, enlisted in the Adams County Cavalry. However, his service would be short-lived. On the evening of June 25, 1863, the unit moved into town and picketed all the roads north, east, and south. Bell was given the assignment of moving west toward Chambersburg to reconnoiter as far as Cashtown. They then moved back into Gettysburg after spotting advanced Confederate Cavalry along the Chambersburg Pike. They posted videttes throughout the town on the morning of the 26th to cover all approaches. Accompanying Captain Bell was Major C.M. Knox, adjutant to Major Granville O. Haller, commanding officer of the District of Susquehanna. On Major Knox's request, most of Bell's cavalry company pulled back amid light skirmishing as the 26th Pennsylvania Militia also withdrew. The troopers successfully covered the flanks of the 26th Militia as that unit pulled back on the railroad grading through town. As elements of Confederate General Jubal Early's Division entered the town of Gettysburg, the first Confederate force to do so during the Campaign, one of Early's brigadiers, John B. Gordon, sent out pickets to patrol the roads radiating from the town to the south and east. In this vicinity were green troopers of the Adams County Cavalry, who had failed to get the order to pull back. Private Sandoe was posted on the Baltimore Pike near the Nathaniel Lightener home, sitting on his horse and talking with Daniel Lightener, son of Nathaniel. A scrub growth of bushes and trees blocked the view of Confederate pickets from Colonel Elijah White's 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry from them. The pickets ordered them to surrender. Sandoe's companions jumped their horses back over a fence and escaped. As Sandoe tried to do the same while firing, his horse stumbled and fell. Recovering, Sandoe spurred the horse, trying to escape, but was shot in the head and lay dying in the Pike, just two miles from his home. Just six days after enlisting in the Union Army, and only three days after being mustered in, Sandoe became the first Union casualty in the Gettysburg area during the Campaign. Thousands more would follow him just days later. Sandoe today is interred in the Mount Joy Church Cemetery in Mount Joy, Adams County, just south of Gettysburg.He is shown in the photograph taken soon after his wedding with his wife Anna Caskey Sandoe. This view was taken circa 1862 and is courtesy of Fred Hawthone.

Elizabeth Thorn, caretaker of Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery in her husband's absence, left an account from the trooper of White's Battalion who shot Sandoe. As the trooper afterward led Sandoe's horse toward the Cemetery, he was asked about the extra horse. "Yes," replied the Virginian, "the -- shot at me, but he did not hit me, and I shot him and blowed him down like nothing, and here I got his horse and he lays down the pike."

The strength of the Adams County Cavalry was 76. Sandoe was the one trooper killed, 9 were wounded, and two missing. The troopers carried Sharps and Burnside carbines, with Colt .44 revolvers.

Both of the monuments are located in the area where Sandoe was shot and killed. The monument above on the right was erected first, and is the State Memorial, using state appropriation in the amount of $1500. Atop the base is a highly polished granite ball inset with a sculpture of a mount's head. A year later, veterans of the unit erected the second monument, above left, atop a cluster of boulders slightly further south on the Pike. Funds for this monument were raised privately, the motivation likely being that this would allow officers of the unit to place their names on this monument (at the time, no names were permitted on state-appropriated monuments).

The first monument was dedicated on October 5, 1893, and was sculpted by Edwin Elwell. It is made of Connecticut granite. The second monument was dedicated on October 4, 1894, containing a sculpture of a horse's head inside a large horseshoe, and tells the story of Private Sandoe.

After the battle, in August, Bell's company was made Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry as was detailed as Provost Guard on the Gettysburg Battlefield. They were ordered to search for misappropriated government property under the direction of the quartermaster in town. Bell acted as Provost Marshal at Gettysburg until at least December, 1863, with his company performing the duties of military police and sentinels in the town and at Camp Letterman, the Federal hospital established north of town."
Courtesy of J. David Petruzzi from his website the Buford's Boys

What I'm Reading This Week....

Aaaah, the sun is shining, the wind is dying down, no work or appointments today-just helping the girls with their schoolwork. I think I will enjoy one of my very favorite things to do, READ! And because I can't bear to keep such fantastic literature to myself, I want to share an excerpt from Billy Collin's "The Trouble With Poetry"


I lie in a bedroom of a house
that was built in 1862, we were told-
the two windows still facing east
into the bright reveille of the sun.

The early birds are chirping,
and I think of those who have slept here before,
the family we bought the house from....

and the engineer they told us about
who lived here alone before them,
the one who built onto the back
of the house a large glassy room with wood beams.

I have an old photograph of the house
in blacck and white, a few small trees
and a curved dirt driveway,
but I do not know who lived here then.

So I go back to the Civil War
and to the farmer who built the house
and the rough stone walls
that encompass the house and run up into the woods.....

I love the feeling of having so many glorious books and not knowing which one to pick up first. May all of you experience this at least once in your life! Have a wonderful day XO, Andi

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jackson, Sir

General Stonewall Jackson was born on January 21, 1824. Born Thomas J. Jackson, he got the nickname "Stonewall" at the first battle of Bull Run. He was sitting calmly astride his horse when confederate General Bee shouted "Look men! There is Jackson standing like a stonewall! Let us determine to die here and we will conquer!"

Little Sorrel, his horse, was stuffed after his death and is on display at the VMI in Lexington, Virginia.

One of my favorite quotes is,"You may be whatever you resolve to be" (From Jackson's Personal Journal)

A Snowman's Folly

The Bitter End
by Daniel Anderson

Summoned from a fresh page
Of winter, and finished with a stovepipe hat,
The snowman started life in middle age,
Bald and running to fat.

In a corner of the yard
Beneath an ice-encrusted pine tree tassel,
Honor-bound and dauntless, he stood guard
Over the frozen castle

Built also by a child
On the unshovelled morning after the storm.
He lingers there, content to wait, in a mild
And vaguely human form,

Dissolving into the mud.
He's shed his scarf and dropped his walking cane,
Endured the soft and intermittent thud
Of January rain,

And still maintains his grinning
While comprehending nothing of his demise,
Not the dangling corncob nor the thinning
Sockets of his eyes.

He makes the slow return
From gutter stream through glittering brook to sea
With relatively small or no concern
For his own misery;

He's never been known to grouse
About warm weather or his loosening bones,
And all day long he's faced this lonely house
Cracking his smile of stones.

"The Bitter End" by Daniel Anderson, from January Rain.