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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reiff Ancestors

A few weeks ago I came across a Reiff in my ancestral line. That was one I had not traced before and of course my nose itched to learn more. This week I pieced together information I had from various reliable sources and now have the line back to Hans Ryff who was born about 1528 in Switzerland.
Hans Ryffe and several generations after him lived at Wadenswil, Switzerland, which is the same area in which my Weaver ancestors lived. Hans Heinrich Ryff (known as Heinrich), who was born in 1622, was the first generation known to be Anabaptist. In January 1673, Heinrich, now 51 years of age, "secretly left the village" and escaped with his family to the Palatinate, Germany, where by 1680, he was living in the Ibersheim area. This is the same village in Germany where the Stauffers. The spelling of the surname was changed from Ryff to Reiff in Germany.
Abraham Reiff (grandson of Heinrich), who was born in Ibersheim about 1696, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719. He first lived in Montgomery County but then moved on to Chester County and finally to Lancaster County where he died in Upper Leacock Township.
After three generations of Abrahams, my line follows a daughter, Anna Reiff, who married Christian Horst. In the next generation the name became Nolt, and two generations later it changed again to Burkholder.
I am in the 15th generation descended from Hans Ryff in Switzerland, making this one of the longest lines I have worked out in my genealogy. I am in the 16th generation of Stauffers and 22nd generation of Baumans. Most of my other lines I have traced are at least ten or twelve generations. That is why it is so frustrating for me to be able to go back only seven generations in my Powell line. That tiny bit of English in me is proving much more difficult to document than the dozen Swiss/German lines I have traced. On the other hand, some of the things I have found about the Powells make me wonder if I really want to know more about them. They certainly are more colorful than my steady, stolid Swiss/German ancestors!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Memories to Treasure

We had an interesting weekend with company that stretched into Monday afternoon. My brother Merle and his family came from Canada, arriving about 10:30 Saturday evening and were here overnight. On Sunday morning he preached at our church.
Other visitors at church were my sisters, Betty Ann and Carol, who brought with them four friends from Switzerland. They were Mr. & Mrs. Paul Wittwer, their son Hannes, and Susan who is the sister of Mrs. Wittwer. (Susan is missing from this picture but is in the back row on the next one.)

We met the Wittwers in 1997 when we were in Switzerland. They lived at Steinburg which was the property where several generations of our Burkholder ancestors lived in the 1600s and until it was confiscated from them in the early 1700s because they were Anabaptists. From there the Burkholders moved to the Jura Mountains and then immigrated to PA in 1754. We found Steinburg in 1997 and then knocked on the Wittwer's door to ask what they could tell us about the property. We were total strangers to each other but quickly found we were simply friends that had never met before. They were very friendly and accommodating.
Betty Ann & Marvin took another group over in 1999 and spent time with the Wittwers again. When we learned they were coming here to visit, we invited all the people who had been in both groups to come here for lunch on Sunday. What was even more amazing was the fact that Merle and Edith were planning to be here the same Sunday. I was glad every one of our 1997 family tour group was here.

After the photo session the Wittwers said they would like us to sing together. So we sat on our patio and sang familiar songs by memory. We sang the same songs but they sang in German and we in English. We were an international group from three countries, but the faith we have in common binds us together in heart and soul. A foretaste of heaven! "Every nation and kindred and people and tribe . . . "
Merle had three meetings crammed into today. He left the house at 5:30 this morning for the first one and got back around 4 p.m. They left as soon afterward as they could because they have a six-hour drive to northwestern PA where they must be by bedtime. We looked forward to this weekend a long time and now have the memories to treasure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What We Believe

Yesterday I listened on-line to a great topic by Frank Peretti entitled What We Believe. If you have a cable or DSL connection, you can listen to it by clicking on this link and then on Play Audio.

Frank Peretti has a unique style of public speaking. He has a comical way of expressing his thoughts decorated with his own sound effects. But the truths he presents are right on target.
Listen and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Trash or Treasure?

Anybody want a free table and six chairs? We set this breakfast set out this morning with a FREE sign in hopes our trash will be a treasure for someone else. If there are no takers the question will be answered and it will go in the trash.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

250th Anniversary

The Little Swatara Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 250th anniversary this weekend. Four small congregations in this area joined to form the Little Swatara Church in 1964. We went for part of the celebration this afternoon. They had a German service at 2 p.m. After that we went on a mini-tour of a couple of the old Brethren buildings. The oldest one is Merkeys which was built in 1848. (They met in homes for the first hundred years.)

On the way back we stopped at the Little Swatara Church again to see the old cars and tractors on display. If I ever had a car just for fun I would want one of these little darlings. It's a 1918 Tin Lizzie.

Monday, June 11, 2007

All At Once

Our whole tribe gets together each summer for a weekend or at least a day trip to a place nearby. This weekend we did a bigger trip (for most of us) than usual. Leroy and I met Gerald near Hershey after he got off work at 3:30 on Friday and headed west. I had reserved five rooms at a Days Inn at New Stanton for all of us. It was not the best motel experience due to a storm that knocked out the power before we arrived. It came on partially around midnight and we were thankful we could at least get lukewarm showers Saturday morning.
We left the motel a little before 9 and drove to Pittsburgh where we met Cheryl and her family at the Carneige Science Center at 10. They had the short trip this time (for a change) because Pittsburgh is about an hour and a half from their home in Ohio.
We had reserved group tickets to go into Sports Works, the Science Center, and the Imax Deep Sea film. We went into Sports Works first and all but a few of us ladies and children were there until lunch time. As you can see, the place is more of a guy thing.

We had taken our own lunch along which we ate at tables inside the Science Center. Right after lunch we saw the film and then were in the Science Center until 5 pm. They have a lot of hands-on things to do which demonstrate how the principles of science and laws of nature work. This is Marcus operating a solar powered car.

I came out of there amazed at the vastness of the universe and how intricately everything is made. It takes more faith to believe the world evolved on its own that it does to believe it was created by God.
Cheryl and Richard picked up 8 pizzas on the way back to their house. It was kinda cold till we all got there, but we ate it anyway. Then everybody started the bath routine and finding a place to settle for the night. We and Daryls went over to Richard's parents to sleep. There just was not enough floor space for everyone to sleep at Cheryl's house. Cheryl and Richard slept in the sleeper bunk of his truck and the boys had a tent in the back yard.
We and Daryls went back to Cheryl's house for breakfast with the rest of the bunch and then went to their church. Richard was an usher Sunday morning so he reserved the back two benches on each side for our tribe. We filled about 3 1/2 benches. We had lunch at their house, including two freezers of homemade ice cream which we totally licked up. Then it was time to load up and head home. Before leaving, we gathered on the front porch of Cheryl's house to take a picture. You know the old worn-out saying, "Come to visit us but don't all come at once." Well, we did all go at once--all 26 of us. And here's proof.

We pretty much packed out the Miller house, but that just added to the fun. I think this will go down in the books as one of the best Family Trips we have ever taken.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Personality Types

Yesterday I came across Gary Smalley's description of personality types. I know I heard this before but I had forgotten it. These are easier for me to identify with than the Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic descriptions of personality types.
Here is a description of the four personality types based on Gary Smalley's writings:

Lion-Take charge. Do it now. This personality likes to lead. The lion is good at making decisions and is very goal-oriented. They enjoy challenges, difficult assignments, and opportunity for advancement. Because lions are thinking of the goal, they can step on people to reach it. Lions can be very aggressive and competitive. Lions must learn not to be too bossy or to take charge in other's affairs. Biblical Example: Paul

Otter- Laid back. Carefree. Otters are very social creatures. Otter personalities love people. They enjoy being popular and influencing and motivating others. Otters can sometimes be hurt when people do not like them. Otter personalities usually have lots of friends, but not deep relationships. They love to goof-off. (They are notorious for messy rooms.) Otters like to hurry and finish jobs. (Jobs are not often done well.) The otter personality is like Tigger in Winnie The Pooh. Biblical Example: Peter

Golden Retriever-Caring. Concerned about feelings. Good at making friends. Very loyal. Retriever personalities do not like big changes. They look for security. Can be very sensitive. Very caring. Has deep relationships, but usually only a couple of close friends. Wants to be loved by everyone. Looks for appreciation. Works best in a limited situation with a steady work pattern. Biblical Example: Abraham

Beaver- Busy. Organized. Pays attention to details. Think that there is a right way to do everything and they want to do it exact that way. Beaver personalities are very creative. They desire to solve everything. Desire to take their time and do it right. Beavers do not like sudden changes. They need reassurance. Biblical Example: Moses

It did not take me long to decide in which category I belong! But I know people often don't see themselves the way other people see them, so I asked Leroy which he thinks I am. After about 10 seconds of thought he came up with the same answer I had. I'm a Beaver. Busy--I always have more ideas for things to do than there is time to get done. Organized--My spices are arranged alphabetically on the shelf. Pays attention to details--socks are hung on the line in pairs with all the heels pointing south. Need reassurance--I needed to hear the one who knows me best verify that I am a Beaver!
Which one are you--Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, or Beaver?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Everything's Coming Up Roses

My roses are blooming. There they are in all their glory.

Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. (Veronica A. Shoffstall)

Monday, June 4, 2007

All Things Come To Those Who Wait

"All things come to he who waits." Who said that? Violet Fane (1843-1905) used the idea in her poem Tout vient ß qui sait attendre, but did not coin the phrase.
'Ah, all things come to those who wait,'
(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
'They come, but often come too late.'

I am happy to report that one of the things on our "someday" list got done before it was too late for me to see and enjoy it.
The A-frame cabin Daddy built was finished on his 60th birthday, in 1984. He died a little over two years later and ownership was transferred to his children. We made some improvements over the years; the most major one being remodeling the dressing room. That included putting new vinyl on the floor and sheeting the walls with a washable wall board. The greatest improvement was a shower.
We got the idea how to make that shower when we were visiting Leroy's uncle in Belize in 2002. Since our cabin has no running water (unless you run up from the spring with the water bucket) the shower is a pipeless bucket-and-rope version. A bucket with a shower head attached to the bottom is tied to a rope that runs over an overhead pulley. To use the shower, you must lower the bucket, fill it with water, hoist it back up, and flip the valve to let the water come through the shower head. But you better pick a short song to sing in the shower because when the bucket is empty your shower is over.
Anyway, one of the things we often talked about (but never did) was finishing the inside walls and ceiling. The walls were still bare stud walls---which made it easy to string up new lights or receptacles but cleaning more difficult. Finally, on Labor Day last year we spent the long weekend putting insulation in the two end walls (one in the living room and the other in the kitchen) and installing drywall. It did not stay warm long enough to get the spackling all done last fall, so we let it go until this spring.
We spent this weekend at the cabin with my two sisters and the job was finally finished by applying a coat of soft beige paint. It looks wonderful! Now I am dreaming of finishing the side walls. But the men who would have to do the work are not as enthused as I am.
Oh well. All things come to those who wait.