Busy Family Time!

Dear Reader, sorry for not posting at my regular time. We’ve been busy with family and I’ve gotten lost in my Kindle books.

In my last random post on early August happenings, I told you of my nephew and his friend visiting from Virginia. Last weekend, we met my sister in Carlisle, PA, at the Lindt chocolate factory outlet to deliver the boys to her. Did you know there are about twenty-seven varieties of their bonbons and they frequently add a new combination? We’ve purchased and tasted each one of them now, gotten to sample the new double chocolate and the mango ones, having shopped there both weekends.

From Carlisle, we traveled to the Pittsburg area to spend a few days with our son Harold’s family. We got to go to Owen’s team’s summer playoff game, which they won. The next day, we took the two boys to IKEA to buy furniture. We got six cubes John put together for a bookshelf and bought two more drawer units to use as end tables in our living room. The ever-creative John has used several drawer units and two butcher block counter tops for the top, so he has a desk/work area in his “man cave” almost as long as his room is wide. He found his hunting clothes store well in the drawers, as well as his office supplies. We took the boys to Mission BBQ for lunch after they had helped us search with the computer at the IKEA kiosk for what Grandpa was looking for. It was a good meal together in a veteran-owned restaurant. It’s more fun eating with the grandsons now they’re old enough to enjoy ‘regular’ food!

Our son Chris’ family from Vermont came to spend a long weekend with us. We had one day in between visiting and being visited to get our traveling things put away and bedrooms ready for those coming. It is nice to see the grand-girls growing up and we are able to do more things with them. The ten-year-old taught me how to play the Trash card game, which is a kind of double solitaire, and we played Candy Land with the five-year-old. This little girl is horse crazy! I bought several horse books at our library book sale to give to her and she loved flipping through the pages and carrying them around. John’s sister and brother-in-law came for dinner and we all enjoyed a dinner which included brined, grilled corn on the cob; the five-year-old especially loved the corn! We loaded everyone up with garden produce as they were leaving. I picked beets last evening and canned them today. It’s satisfying seeing ten pints of beets on my counter. Praise God from whom all blessings flow; what bounty to share with others and more than fill our own household’s needs for the winter.

Amish Love Divine Boxset: Bumper Amish Romance - 33 Book Box Set by [Emma Cartwright]

As for the books I’ve been spending time on, they read like popcorn! These 33 Amish love stories by Emma Cartwright were short and impactful; giving me food for relationship ideas and more Insite into Amish life in various communities and how one from the ‘Englischer’ world can become part of it. Each of these only took a couple hours to read and I recommend them if you like to concentrate on a section of society.

Blackwater Ranch

I have spent the last two weeks vicariously becoming part of the Harding family and Blackwater Ranch, a six book series created by Mandi Blake. She set this series in Wyoming. The stories follow the family as the six Harding boys [three sons and a nephew] each find a wife. It’s heart wrenching and heartwarming as you meet each well-developed character and see how their unique circumstances; both the young men and the women who come into the story line up with each other and fulfill the needs of each other when each thought no one ever could. Mandi Blake knows how to weave in the hard, honest work on the vast ranch, the perils of broken families and broken bodies that are reconciled with love and community at the ranch and in the small town of Blackwater. I highly recommend this six-book set if you like good, clean, exciting love stories with heartbreaks, reunions, and celebrations, with saving the ranch for future generations and Christian living at the core.

With all this reading, my husband wonders if I’ll get anything done this summer. I will admit it’s kept me busy several evenings when I could have gotten things done… like this blog post! Life goes by while you’re spending time on other things, I guess.

The Reset: Returning to the Heart of Worship and a Life of Undivided Devotion

The ‘serious’ reading I am currently using as a devotional is THE RESET by Jeremy Riddle; not to be confused with RESET by Bob Sorge. I am working on chapter seven and today’s topic is: “As Goes Worship, So Goes The Church” Worship songs are culture carriers and influencers; always a forerunner to culture shifts in the church. Half-truths, the devil’s beloved method of leading us astray, water down the message of truth in God’s Word. It divides God’s love from His truth, His goodness from His holiness. This is where we become ‘seeker-sensitive’ and breed ‘sloppy agape’, displeasing our Lord.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; [Hebrews 4:12] For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Are we ready to submit anew to the Word’s authority and hold fast to the Word of God without shame and declare His Truth boldly? The Church of Christ is being called higher; to come into the fullness of what the Lord has for us in this new era! I close with this photo from the Pittsburgh area. My grandson wondered why I was taking pictures out the window as we drove; I can’t pass up capturing God’s messages in the clouds!

Shalom my dear ones!

Early August Thoughts

Sunset on a Lake Ontario harbor amid California fires

Welcome to another week of gathering my thoughts. I think I mentioned my nephew and his friend visiting from Virginia. We took them to my friend’s home on the edge of Lake Ontario, bringing pie and whipped cream to share before we sat on her deck to watch the sunset. This is what we saw through the haze that is caused by the smoke from the California fires. It really shows me how inter-connected our nation truly is.

We got to Robert G. Whele New York State park to take the boys fishing a couple afternoons ago. Did I mention 14 & 15-year-olds rarely see the morning hours? Well, the waves were crashing and the water too riled up for the fish to bite, but a good chance to practice casting and pulling seaweed off their lines. Daniel enjoyed taking a picture of the dog cemetery; Mr. Whele bred champion Elehw dogs, Whele spelled backward. We treated Ethan and Daniel to ice cream cones at the Henderson Trolly afterward and all had a good time!

Here are some photos… notice the new bathroom sign the state erected?

This is a baby robin that spent some time with us after supper yesterday. The boys named it Onion because it nestled amid the onions drying on our deck railing. It disappeared before we got back from the sunset, so we hope it got back to its momma. This is about the third set of babies from the nest in our yard this year. What good things God blesses us to see in His creation, up-close and personal!

Here’s some more summer photos from our family.

Our granddaughter were caught getting along, our grandson caught with his new glasses while snuggling with Mom, and a beautiful drive in the country. Oh, and my husband wanted a photo of my short haircut!

The garden is continuing to bless us with produce. I thought I bought Cubanelle peppers, which are sweet, and we planted Hungarian Sweet peppers and bell peppers. Imagine my surprise when I cut up the red one I thought was an immature bell pepper and got a jolt of heat! Apparently, the plants I bought marked Cubanelle are actually Pepper Seeds – Hot – Large Red Cherry Hot. Oh, our cucumbers are doing well; two of our friends’ cukes are not producing at all!

I’d best get this ready to post and wake the boys up to visit my friend Peg and see her peacocks, horses, chickens and gardens before we take them home tomorrow. I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and growing deeper in your relationship with the God who made us!

One last thought:

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Look up, your salvation is near; even on the way!