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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good News

The most FAQ I'm asked is , "Are you writing another book?" I try to avoid a direct answer until the book is near completion because people expect to see it long before it is on the market. Today, I am finally ready to admit I've been writing another book.
I started researching a story nearly two years ago. I wrote a couple chapters late in the spring of 2009 but paused for summer. I dug into writing in earnest in the fall of 2009, paused again for the summer of 2010 and finished it in October. I had three options for publishing and there were pros and cons with each one. It was not easy to make the decision. After praying and consulting several other people, I decided to submit it to Christian Light Publications which has published four of my previous books.
Yesterday I was notified that the manuscript has been approved for publication and I will be receiving a contract in the mail in about a week. Then the work begins to turn the manuscript into a book. Based on past experience, I am not expecting it to happen in six weeks but hoping it will be released sometime in 2011.
As soon as I admit I am writing a book the next two FAQ are, "What is it about?" and "What is the title?" This one is a true story about a Stauffer boy who ran away and joined the army during the Civil War. Unless we change it (which has happened before) the title is Aaron's Civil War.
Having a manuscript accepted for publication is a satisfying feeling but it is also sort of a let-down because the fun is over. By the time a new book is published it's history for me and I need another story for the next fix.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ghost of Christmas

Christmas is almost over. I still have to clean up the basement from Saturday. Once that is finished I will consider Christmas 2010 is history. We made a lot of good memories again this year. We do give gifts to each of our children and grandchildren but maintain the one-gift policy we have always had. I don't think they would be any happier with six or more gifts than they are with one.
I had a lot of fun buying and filling purses for the seven-year-old girls, Kayla and Lauren. There was no doubt Kayla appreciated her purse. She carried it around all day. Later in the afternoon I heard her tell someone, "There's only two things missing, a credit card and a cell phone."

It is a blessing to have a family that can get together, have a good time without any arguments taking place during the day (even if there are differences in opinion), and all go home happy. As we were eating dinner I looked at all the faces around the table and said to Leroy, "It is so good to have all of them under our roof at the same time, but I sure am glad I don't have to feed all of them every day!" To see all of your children have become responsible adults, able to take care of themselves and the next generation, is one of the best old age benefits. And now I shall go in the basement and savor the memories while I deal with the ghost of Christmas past.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ancestor Tracking

Hunters are sometimes in dangerous positions when they are tracking game. Tracking ancestors is a time-consuming sport but I never thought of it as anything dangerous. Until Sunday.
In the process of trying to track down some unrecorded deeds, we went to a farm at Bowmansville. I did not know who the current owner of the farm is but knew it is the place Ulrich Burkholder purchased from Hans Musselman in 1764. The previous owner had all the deeds descending from Ulrich. I hoped the current owner would be able to tell me what happened to those deeds when the previous owner died in 2002.
As I feared, the owner, Karl Martin, told me the old deeds were sold on public sale. What a shame! I was a couple years too late. Karl had a few deeds he purchased at the sale but the oldest ones were not among them. He graciously called several people he thought might have an idea who bought the oldest deeds. We were told that one one Karl's neighbors had bought them. Karl called him and then handed the phone to me to tell him what I'm trying to find.
Before I finished my story the neighbor said, "Oh yes. I have them here somewhere but I mislaid them."
I jokingly said, "Well, shall I come look for them?"
He said, "Sure. Come on up. I'll put my vicious dog away and meet you at the end of the lane."
As it was now dark, two of Karl's boys went with us to show us the way. We followed the man in his long dirt lane and into his house.
I explained again what I wanted and he repeated that he has them but doesn't know where they are at the moment. His wife took my name and phone number so she can let me know if and when they find the deeds. Our host launched into a long discourse about various subjects without connecting the dots. The longer he talked the less I believed anything he said. He seemed to have a distaste for Mennonites. I was getting nervous and wondering how we are going to get out of there graciously. All of a sudden he stuck out his hand, said good by, and dismissed us. I was ready to go!
We took the Martin boys home and went in the house to give Karl a report on the visit. THEN we learned this neighbor is an eccentric guy who lives almost like a hermit on that hill. He does not trust anyone. Going up there without an invitation is running the risk of being shot, especially at night.
Although I didn't bag any game on my tracking adventure, I did escape without being harmed. Given the attitude the man has toward Mennonites, I'm not expecting a call from him. I suspect he wanted to see who I was before he remembers where the deeds are and he won't be looking too hard just to satisfy the curiosity of a ancestor tracking Mennonite. I hope next time I think twice before I make jokes about search and rescue missions. But wow! What an adventure!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Card

I sent out photo cards this year. For all my cyber friends who didn't get on by snail nail or email, here is yours.
Left side--Dale and Tawnya with their six children, Marcus (16) Austin (15) Dallas (13) Chenelle (12) Kayla (7) Justin (5)
Center left--Gene & Amy, Center back--Gerald Center front--Leroy & Romaine
Center right--Daryl & Velma, Right side--Richard & Cheryl Miller with their three children, Jeremy (17) Josh (15) Arianna (11)

The photo was taken at the springhouse on the Conrad Weiser Homestead about four miles from our house. If you don't know who Conrad Weiser was, click here and learn.
http://conradweiserhomestead.org/history.htm

Then click on the Virtual Tour link on the sidebar and take a tour of the buildings on the Homestead.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roses in December

Yesterday I finished my 63rd lap around the sun. No wonder I'm puffing to keep going! There have been some speed bumps along the way but in comparison to some people I've had a smooth ride. I have already lived longer than my father did and if I go beyond 66 I will outlive my mother too.
I spent the day in one of my favorite places---the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. It just happened to be my regular day to volunteer. I've never had a dull day there yet. One of the interesting events in the day was the donation of a Friendship quilt from the 1850s. It was all white with names and dates on the blocks. It was in very good condition and had been handed down through several generations of the family.
When Leroy came home he brought a dozen red roses. He forgot he gave me a dozen white roses for Valentine's day and said that will do for every event in the year. That's the advantage of having an older husband! I'll take another dozen. He can never go wrong with roses, especially roses in December!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Swiss Letter

I touched a piece of Switzerland yesterday!
My Burkholder ancestors immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1754. They were with a group of other Mennonites immigrating from the Jura Mountain area of Switzerland. Some of the group did not have the funds to pay their passage so they were loaned the money from the Poor Fund of the church in Switzerland. The letter listed the names of those who received aid and the amount they were given. It stipulated that the money was to repaid to the Poor Fund so it could be used as intended to aid poor members in Switzerland. The letter was addressed to the church leaders in Pennsylvania. An identical copy was made and kept in Switzerland. The letter and funds were entrusted to Ulrich Engel, the leader of the group of immigrants.
The poor immigrants who had received aid settled in Brecknock and Cumru Townships, adjoining townships in Lancaster and Berks counties. (The county line runs through Brecknock Township.) They worshipped with three congregations known as the Muddy Creek district. None of them had a meetinghouse at that time so all worship services were held in homes or in Christian Good's mill. In time, all three congregations built meetinghouses known today as Bowmansville, Gehmans, and Allegheny.
The deacons of the Muddy Creek district administered their own Poor Fund and kept account books (beginning in 1744) of the benevolence funds. The records include repayment of passage loans and assistance to pay them as well as records of other needy people who received aid for various reasons. The records were written in homemade books made of sheets of paper stitched together with thread and folded to form a small book.
The 1754 letter from Switzerland and the deacons' Account Books were passed from deacon to deacon of the Bowmansville church for about 200 years until someone finally realized they should be preserved at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.
Yesterday I opened the box that contains these valuable pieces of history and saw the original letter and record books. I actually touched something that came across the ocean on the ship with my ancestors! To prove I kid you not, here is the first page of the letter, written in German in Switzerland in 1754.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cracks

I came across Leonard Cohn's Anthem this morning. I'm not very good at abstract thinking so I've have been mulling over the lines, trying to figure out exactly what he is saying. Here are some excerpts:


The birds they sang at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be. . .
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.


I think what he's saying is that we live in an imperfect world and cannot expect a perfect life. But the imperfections and flaws in life are beneficial. There are lessons to be learned from
*the sadness that comes from disappointment
*the agony of defeat
*the solitude of isolation and loneliness
*the grief of death

There is a perfect world but we have to leave this one before we can enter into it. Meanwhile, I hope the cracks in your world bring light into your life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cyber Monday

Did you ever hear of Cyber Monday? I just learned about it this week.
I felt rather smug about my hassle-free online Black Friday purchase of a GPS. It was ordered on Friday and delivered on Monday. THEN I heard about Cyber Monday on the news. I did a little research and found out it is something that started about five years ago. Cyber Monday is for online shopping what Black Friday is for shopping in stores. Special deals are offered on Cyber Monday just like stores offer Black Friday deals.
Naturally, my next move was to go to the website where I had ordered the GPS and check if they were offering a Cyber Monday deal on the model of GPS I had just purchased. You guessed it! I could have gotten it for $7 less if I had waited until Monday to place the order. I paid seven bucks for a lesson in online shopping. In the future, if I want to make an online purchase for a Christmas gift I will wait until Cyber Monday.
My pain eased a bit last evening during a stop at a WalMart. Out of curiosity, we looked at their GPS prices. The model we bought online would have cost $70 more at WalMart. I guess I didn't lose too badly after all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Go To The Dogs

If a dog were your teacher you would earn stuff like . . .

*When a loved one comes home always run to greet them.
*Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
*Take naps and stretch before rising.
*Run, romp and play daily.
*Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
*Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
*On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
*On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
*When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
*No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.
*Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
*Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
*Be loyal.
*Never pretend to be something you are not.
*If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
*When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

Thanksgiving Day is over and the mad rush to Christmas has begun. The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. This year the Black Friday sales began before Thanksgiving but the biggest bargains were still reserved for THE day.
Those who enjoy being part of a crowd are welcome to indulge and savor the experience. According to the news reports, the crowds were lined up and snaked around some buildings for hours before the stores opened. I wouldn't go near a mall on Black Friday with a 20-ft. pole. I hate jostling crowds. Where the crowds are, I am not! I will do my Christmas shopping on a week day when the crowds are otherwise occupied.
We bought one Christmas gift though on Black Friday---by remote control. We had decided we will get a GPS which will do for a joint gift this year. We were watching the sales and saw a good one on Black Friday. But rather than battle the crowds we ordered it online, free shipping and no sales tax. That's my kind of Black Friday shopping!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Apple Butter

I have made Apple Butter many times but always baked it in the oven for three hours rather than doing it the old fashioned way in a copper kettle over a wood fire. I've seen it being done that way but never helped. As of today, that is no longer true.
My sister has a copper kettle and today we gathered at her house to try our hands at an old fahioned apple butter boil. The huge kettle would hold about thirty gallons of apples but we only made a small batch. We dumped in six gallons of applesauce and added sugar and cider. It has to be stirred constantly to keep it from burning on the bottom of the kettle. We took turns and here is proof that I took my turn stirring the pot.

The apple butter was finished sooner than we expected. That was probably because it was such a small batch and the fact that we started with applesauce instead of raw apples. In less than three hours it was time to stir in the spices and dip out the finished product. The yield was about three gallons so we each wound up with about half of the amount of applesauce we contributed. This is my favorite picture of the day. My sister is filling jars with apple butter while one of her grandsons takes care of the important detail of taste testing. I always said making apple butter by the oven method produces the same results as making it in a copper kettle but I will have to adjust my tune a little. The apple butter we made today has a little different twang than the stuff made in the oven. It's probably the wood smoke that does it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving List

A line of strong thunderstorms passed through at 2 a.m. and woke me up. As I lay in bed listening to the wind slamming the rain against the windows I began to realize how blessed I am. The roof on our house remained firmly attached and the only affect the storm had on me was to wake me up. I did not get wet or have to leave the safety and comfort of my bed. If I had been living in a plastic tent like some people in Haiti are doing, the story would have been quite different.
That thought led me to begin making a mental list of the things I am thankful for and too often take for granted. This list is by no means comprehensive or by order of importance, but here are some of the blessings on my Thanksgiving list.
*My heritage. I come from a long line of faithful Christians who passed on their faith from generation to generation and made it easy for me to know the Way, Truth, and Life.
*My husband. The fact that I married someone who fits me to a T is not to my credit.
*My children. There were times I despaired but they have all grown up to be respectable people who are friends with me and each other.
*My health. So far I have escaped the high blood pressure, diabeties, and cholestrol problems many people my age deal with. I only have scoliosis and rheumatoid arthritis. I have learned to live with the first and medication takes care of the second.
*My house. I have lived in the same house for 42 years. It is not fancy but it is quite comfortable. As indicated, the roof is tight and it adequately shelters me from all kinds of weather.
*My occupation. It has been a privilege to be a career homemaker. Moonlighting as a writer has provided the mental challenge which made life interesting.
*My friends. Every year when I send my Christmas mail I am reminded how many friends I have collected from near and far.
I could go on to list lots of specific "little" things like warm slippers in the winter, cold water on a hot day, etc. etc. etc. The things I could list are endless. It has been said that the two basic needs of every human being are something to do and someone to love. I have an abundance of both for which I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Word Puzzles

People who live with (or have lived with) writers know the truth and do not harbor any delusions about the glamorous life of a writer. My daughter is one of those. She knows writing is more prespiration than inspiration. She read Philip Roth’s description of writing in The Ghost Writer and sent it on to me because she knew I could identify with it. Here it is:

“I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence, then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then I have tea and turn the new sentence around. Then I read the two sentences over and turn them both around. Then I lie down on my sofa and think. Then I get up and throw them out and start from the beginning.”
Of course, some days are more productive than others. On a good day I may be able to write two whole pages---that you can read in five minutes. Other days are like the one above and everything that is written gets trashed in the end. I would never be able to support myself with writing because it takes too long for me to produce something. It is not something that happens magically and flows as naturally as it can be read. It's like putting a puzzle together. You have to turn the words this way and that until you find the proper fit. And that's what makes it fun!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Flour Power

I keep a little brush in the car because I never know when I will decide to stop at a cemetery. The brush helps remove moss on old stones and make them more readable. Two weeks ago I stopped at the Buch cemetery on my way to Lancaster. I needed more than a brush to be able to read the worn stones I wanted to see.
There are other methods of making a stone readable. Spraying with shaving cream and then wiping clean with the straight edge of a ruler will work but it is kind of messy and not cheap. Rubbing with chalk works but is slow. I decided to try another method someone recommended recently. I took a bag of flour with me yesterday and rubbed a handful on the stone. Viola! Quick, cheap, does not harm the stone or the environment, and it works! I'm sold! From now on I will keep a container of flour in the car with my brush.

Here is one of the stones before and after being rubbed with flour. The cemetery record (done in 1927) gives the death year of this person as 1814 and the age as 1 year 1 month 20 days. The flour clearly shows the year is 1847 and the age is 1 year 4 months 20 days.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Housecleaning

I just finished housecleaning my kitchen. I know a lot of people don't houseclean anymore but I still like the feeling of having everything in the room spotless. The kitchen is the big one and it has taken me all week to do the job. I started on Monday with the stove and refrigerator, went on to do another segment every day (cupboards, walls & windows, furniture), and finished with the floor today. We put a no-wax floor in but it still has to be stripped and polished occasionally. I've been putting it off the last couple years but decided to bite the bullet and do it this year.
My housecleaning has changed over the years as the family changed. When we had six children in the house, I housecleaned the whole place twice a year and, believe me!, it needed it. By the time the children started leaving my back could no longer take cleaning the entire house in six weeks. It wasn't getting as dirty anymore either so I changed the rules. I set up a cleaning schedule that began the end of August with the porch and patio. Then I cleaned one room per month until I finished in April or May. My back liked that better and getting over the place once in a year was enough.
Less dirt or not, it has always taken me at least a week to clean the kitchen. When I had three preschoolers underfoot it took me two weeks to get the job done. Now I have the place to myself but I move slower and it still takes me a week to do it. Next year, after more than 40 years of parenting, we'll become empty nesters. Then the whole upstairs will be guest rooms and won't need housecleaning anymore. I won't be complaining! I like the look and smell of an all-clean room but I don't mind cutting back some more. I'm not getting any younger.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Amish Way

So many books have been written about the Amish I didn't see the need for another one. But a new one, co-authored by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher, has just appeared on the market. The Amish Way is sort of a sequel to Amish Grace, published three years ago by the same authors after the murder of the Amish school girls at Nickel Mines.
The world was captivated with the story of the forgiveness of the Amish that followed the Nickel Mines tragedy. The authors of Amish Grace decided there was no book that fully explained the Amish history, beliefs, practices and affections. They decided to "listen more closely for the religious heartbeat that sustains their entire way of life," to examine, as the subtitle puts it, "Patient Faith in a Perilous World."
I have not read the book yet but have read some reviews of it. One review says the authors list the benefits of Amish life: security of faith, serenity, satisfaction and stability of community. They say the four costs of living the Amish way are surrender of self-determination, options, conveniences and privacy. Some of the things we can learn from them are the value of practices, patience, past and people.
The statement that gripped me most in this review says, "The authors make it clear the Amish insist on obeying the many biblical sayings that we conveniently play down, ignore or explain away."
That is a mouthful. Does the Bible say what it means and mean what it says? Then why don't we do what it says?
Amish are not the only born again Christians in the world and not all Amish are born again Christians. Whatever applications we make, our lifestyle should be based on the same biblical principles of the Amish way of life--faith, community, submission, and patience.
Too many Christians have compromised with or swallowed the world's philosophies, conveniently playing down, ignoring or explaining away what the Bible says. And what is the result? In plain words, if you live like the world you get the world's problems. You don't have to be Amish to live "the Amish way." Just read your Bible and do what it says.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Progress Report

About two years ago Leroy started collecting parts to build a scaled down model John Deere B. For awhile it was just a pile of parts and then it slowly began to take shape. He still has a long ways to go but it is actually starting to resemble a tractor now. He's how it looks at the moment. He has an engine to put in it when he gets that far. At the rate he's gone so far, it will probably take him another two years to finish it. But then, if he decides to retire it could go faster. At this point he's planning to keep on working at least part time a little longer. He's put so much time in this project I'm sure it will be an exciting day when it is finished and ready to take out for a drive. It's going to be a one-of-a-kind, that's for sure.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clean Up Our Act

We had another tour group at the historical society yesterday. The group is divided into four small groups which circlulate between three guides in the church, farm, and home sections. I put on my black Old Order Mennonite clothes and took our guests through the domestic portion of the museum.
One question that is asked frequently is if the black tie ribbons on my white cap mean I am married. They are usually surprised when I say, "No, it just means that I am over forty. " I never know what they will ask. Yesterday one of the ladies asked what is inside the pin cushions. That was one I've never been asked and had to say I did not know.
One of the men saw the wine set on display and said, "But the Mennonites and Amish don't drink, do they?" I had to be honest and admit some do. He said, "Well, maybe some of the Mennonites do, but NOT the Amish." What would you have said?
Later in the day I was working with one of the staff getting an arrowhead collection ready to be cataloged when she got a phone call. She came back and said, "The questions people ask!" The caller was a tourist who wanted to visit the Risser's Mennonite Church and wondered if the people there would be offended if they showed up in slacks. What would they think if they attended a service and found the women wearing slacks?
These two incidents made me think seriously about the difference between what we are and what the rest of the world expects of us. Although they may not do it themselves, people know we should not drink and women should wear skirts.
The Mennonite and Amish have been put on a pedestal and marketed to the world as a people who live an idyllic lifestyle. One tourist who visited the society was surprised to find the Amish country is not a vast farmland with only buggies on the road but crowded with the same commercialism they had at home. Amish do not live in a closeted community but between the Walmarts, McDonalds, Sheetz, etc. seen in any other part of the country.
Tourists are led to believe Mennonites and Amish are separate from the world and living on a higher plane of righteousness than other Christians. Not so! Mennonites and Amish are people just like everyone else. We deal with the same sin nature as our neighbors and are far from perfect. Some Mennonites have been so assimilated into the culture that they blend in and cannot be identified by their appearance. The tourist industry brings people from all parts of the world to our doors and provides an opportunity to share our faith. What does it do to our testimony when people find out we are not what they thought or know we should be?
We better clean up our act! Not just to protect our image but for our own good and for the generations that follow us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October

October is one of my favorite months because it is so beautiful. The blue skies are a perfect backdrop for the multi-colored leaves. Sometimes I wonder if the real reason the leaves turn red is because the trees are either embarrassed or terrified to see their leaves go and know they will have to stand naked in the snow all winter long.
After the heat of the summer, the cooler October air is invigorating. This year we were able to postpone the beginning of heating season until yesterday. We don't need much heat yet but the furnace ran a few times to take the chill out of the house. The oil tank was just filled and the price was a little "ouch!" but I will not complain. So many people in this world do not have the money or fuel to heat their homes. We have both and are blessed indeed.
Apples are in season in October and we eat lots of them. I have to be careful not to overload Leroy's lunch with apples. I've been guilty of giving him a raw apple, slice of apple pie, dish of applesauce, and bottle of cider---all in the same lunch. When that happens he says he has apple everything, even apple apples.
This week I've been working on giving the basement its annual housecleaning. The bugs and spiders that made themselves at home have all been evicted and it looks much better. I always think of that job as the first step in getting ready for Christmas. It's going to be here before we know what happened.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lovely Weekend

The weather this weekend was gorgeous and we were out there enjoying it. Somehow it seems a lot of festivals and outdoor events are always planned for September and October. We can't do all of them so we have to pick and choose.
The first one we went to on Saturday was the 200th anniversary of a local Reformed church. They are one of the few fortunate ones to have a surviving Dieffenbach organ. The Dieffenbachs were a family of organ builders from colonial times. I wanted to hear the organ but the recital was scheduled for 2 p.m. and we had other things to do at that time. At least I got to see the organ.

From there we went to the Prince Street Cafe in Lancaster for lunch with my sisters and then we all went to hear the Ephrata Cloister Chorus sing in the balconey of the Saal (church) at the Cloister. Their colonial style of slow, soft music is beautiful. I could have listened for an hour instead of the fifteen minutes they actually sang.

On Sunday we went to the Stauffer reunion near New Holland. Uncle Norman had a doll which belonged to his grandmother (Leroy's great-grandmother) Susanna Sensenich Stauffer. She was born in 1853 so the doll is probably 150 years old. The doll was passed on to Uncle Norman's wife, Susie, because she had the same name. She passed away a two years ago and he is going to pass it on to his daughter, Mary Elaine. He brought it for us to see before she comes from New Mexico to claim it.

On the way home from the reunion we stopped to see an old house on the north end of Bowmansville. This house was built by Christian and Judith (Weber) Musselman in 1813. It is now in the middle of a development but the developer is trying to find a buyer to restore it. He is an old friend of Leroy and schoolmate of mine so he told us we should help ourselves to a self-guided tour any time we like. I took lots of pictures while I had the opportunity. The section built in 1813 is on the right with a "dawdy house" addition on the left.

This house does not have a bathroom and a sink is the only running water in the house. It has a bare minimum of electric and no furnace. The plaster is falling off the walls and some of the windows are broken. It would take a lot of work to restore it but the walls and framework are solid and the developer is not going to allow it to be demolished. I thought the crowning feature inside the house is this old fireplace with bi-fold doors in the kitchen.

The developer is adding a garage and fixing up the dawdy end of the house to make a small apartment. He hopes that will make it more attractive for someone to buy the house and live in that end while they work at restoring the 1813 section. I hope he succeeds! The house could be made very nice by someone who knows how to do it. I hope someone rises to the challenge and preserves this place.





Friday, October 8, 2010

Native American Prayer

I came across this Native American Prayer this week. The theology may be questionable but I like the thought, especially since we had an unexpected death in the family two weeks ago.

I give you this one thought to keep---
I am with you still---I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone---
I am with you still---in each new dawn.
"Today thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)







Thursday, October 7, 2010

Facebook Warning

YOUR PHONE NUMBER MAY BE ON FACEBOOK! Go to the top right of your screen, click Account then Edit Friends. Go to the left side of your screen and click Phonebook. Everyone's phone numbers are now being published. Please let your friends know this is happening so they can remove their numbers by changing their privacy settings. To do that, Go to Privacy Settings-Phone-Customize setting-then select Only Me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Weekend to Remember

There are weekends and then there are WEEKENDS. The one we've just come through was in the latter category---a weekend to remember.
On Saturday it was one year that Gerald and Kelly had their first date. He bought a dozen roses at the flower shop which he told me were to celebrate the milestone in their lives. That seemed reasonable but my mother's intuition kicked in and I wondered if there was more behind the roses than he was telling me. About 8:30 in the evening I heard a car drive in and said to Leroy, "Somebody is here. Is it Gerald and Kelly? Do they have something to tell us?" It was and they did! They had just been engaged. Plans are still very fuzzy but they are thinking of having a summer wedding.
Even if this development was not totally unexpected, we turned a definite corner in life this weekend. We were able to keep our youngest fledgling in the nest much longer than many of our friends who have been empty nesters for years. But now we are about to join their ranks. He is 27 and it is time to let him go but we'll miss him. I had nine months to prepare for his coming and have about that long to prepare to let him go. We've been blessed to have children in the house more than 42 years but now we've come full circle and are coming back to where we started with a family of two. I never guessed the years would fly by so fast.
We wish Gerald and Kelly a long and happy marriage and God's richest blessing as they start their family of two.

Friday, October 1, 2010

High Self-esteem

I don't know about you but I always feel affirmed when I hear someone else say the same things I've been saying is true. I had one of those moments when I read a column in today's morning paper. The headline was "High self-esteem not a good trait for children to have."

Here are some excerpts:

"Research . . . has clearly shown that high self-esteem is closely associated with antisocial inclinations. . . I was not allowed to possess high self-esteem. When I had an outburst of high self-esteem, one of [my parents] would tell me I was acting too big for my britches and needed to size myself to the psychic garment in question before they were forced to lend me a literal hand.
Then there were those occasions when one or the other of them would say, "It would be good for you to always remember that no matter what you accomplish in this world, you are really just a little fish in a big pond."
Everyone in my generation heard these very healthy things from their parents. . . Research finds that the higher a person's self-regard, the lower his regard for others. . . People with high self-esteem want to be paid attention to and served. They believe in their entitlement. On the other hand, folks with high regard for others pay attention to otthers and look for opportunities to serve them.
It is inarguable that culture is best served, preserved and advanced by folks who fit into the latter category. Entitlements weaken, and a culture-wide entitlement mentality weakens the entire culture."
There is not one word in this article about the Bible but the ideas he is promoting are exactly what Jesus taught. The greatest people are those who serve, not those who are being served. Modern psychology has preached the self-esteem line so hard and so long that even gullible Christians have swallowed it. I acknowledge that it is damaging to a child to be physically or verbally abused. But that is another subject.
The goal in raising children is not to make them "feel good about themselves" but to teach them to be caring compassionate people who put the needs of others ahead of their own. "In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." That's the Biblical principle for self-esteem. The most humble are not only the greatest, they are also the happiest for happiness is the by-product of loving service.
J-esus first, Y-ourself last, and O-thers in between spells JOY.
High self-esteem is simply another label for plain old selfishness and pride.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weep With Those Who Weep

We tend to go through life assuming things will continue pretty much as they are until something unexpected suddenly happens. Then we are abruptly forced to take a reality check and are reminded that the only thing certain about life is that it will not continue as it is.
We bumped into one of those roadblocks on Friday night when we got a call at 10:30 p.m. that a 23-year-old nephew had died in an accident. He was alone and for some unknown reason his car crossed the road, went airborne, flew over a meadow fence, and nosedived into a signpost. He died instantly.
The accident happened just a short distance from the spot where our 18-year-old son died in an accident sixteen years ago. As soon as we could, we went to be with Leroy's sister and her husband because we knew all too well what they are and will be facing in the months and years to come. There is nothing we can do to put things back together but we went again yesterday just to be with them. They know we understand the shock and grief they are experiencing. They apologized for being so insensitive when our son died. No problem. I knew they just didn't understand. I didn't either until I was in those shoes.
One of the questions they asked yesterday is if they will always feel the way they do now. I assured them that the grief will soften around the edges with the passing of time and it will not always be such a sharp pain. But the empty spot will always be there and there will always be times when something will trigger the ache. Grief is not something you "get over" but you do learn to live with it.
How can you comfort a grieving person? Just be there to weep with those who weep. Continue to remember them in prayers and expressions of sympathy and caring long after the funeral is over. The day of the month the death occurred will be a fresh reminder every month for a least the first year. That's a good time to send a note or do something. The person's birthday and holidays are also good days to let them know you are remembering with them. Share memories of their loved one. Memories are treasures when they are all you have left. Don't be afraid to mention the person. You won't be reminding them or stirring up their grief; they are thinking about it anyway and it is a comfort to know you are thinking about it too.
At a time like this, people say a lot of nice things and quote verses you already know. I'm not saying there is no value in that but the words don't mean as much unless you know they have gone through the same thing. The most comforting thing that was ever said to me came from God Himself. One morning when I was crying (again!) God very clearly said to me, "I know how you feel. My Son died too." When it seems everyone has gone on with their life and forgotten, we can always turn to Someone who understands. God has been there. His Son died too. He understands!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Here I Go Again

After I finished transcribing and correcting the cemetery record for the neighboring Host church I said I will never tackle another one that large. I haven't, but somehow I got sucked into doing the cemetery at the Stauffer (Pike) Mennonite church at Hinkletown and it's going to come in second.
It started out innocently enough with taking photos of Leroy's ancestors and relatives who are buried there. Nearly half of his ancestors from the first six generations are in that cemetery. I also have some ancestors there, some of which are our common ancestors.
Anyway, I started adding those burials to the FindAGrave website. On my trips to the cemetery I shot photos of some of the interesting and German stones which I then added as well. By then I had several hundred burials and figured that must be about half of them. I decided I might as well barge ahead and do the whole cemetery.
I managed to get a copy of the cemetery record from one of the trustees which lists the burials by rows. But I soon discovered it was transcribed in 1992 and contained a lot of errors. Back to the drawing board! I wound up going to the cemetery and photographing every stone in each of the 29 rows. Since then I've slowly been working through it, using both the cemetery record and my photos.
Once again, it's turning out to be a bigger project than I thought when I started. At the moment the first 18 rows are completed and there are quite a few I entered earlier when I started hopscotching through the cemetery. There are currently 692 burials listed, so the final count could approach 1000. I'm not a quitter and I'm in it too deep to back out now. So here I go again!
If you are interested in the Pike cemetery, you can visit it here

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Kleenex Sign

I've known for over a year that I was heading for a point when I would have to make a difficult decision. It was easy to ignore as long as it was in the dim future. But now it is looming larger on the horizon and I will have to deal with it in the next month or two. How can I know what is the best choice?
Gideon put out a fleece and asked God for a sign. Zacharias found himself suddenly unable to speak when he asked for a sign. I'm fresh out of sheepskins and am not interested in being speechless. So I packed up my questions and went for a long walk. Somehow walking seems to help straighten out the kinks in my thinking.
I was not far down the road when I realized I could use a Kleenex. All my pockets were empty. I kept on going, sniffing and trying to make the best of a bad situation. And then! Believe it or not, there was a clean white Kleenex caught on the weeds beside the road. I grabbed it and used it, and a few steps further on I found another one.
The Kleenex did not give me the answer to the choice I must make but it did give me some reassurance that I need not rely on my own resources to make the decision. God provided a fresh Kleenex along the way when I needed it and one to spare. Surely He will show me which way to take when I stand at the fork of the road and the choice must be made. Whether it's a big decision or something as small as a Kleenex, what a comfort and blessing to know God is with me and will not let me down!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Wreath

If you're a Mennonite or have Mennonite roots, I'm sure you know what "The Mennonite Game" is. I played it on Friday when a couple dropped in to have me sign one of my books for them. In the 24 hours between his call and arrival I had forgotten his last name. As soon as he was inside the door I asked him what his last name is. He said "Hostetter" and the game began. We did not even try to figure out if we were related but it didn't take us long to place each other. I knew some of his cousins, he knew some of mine, and around we went talking freindschaft.
The more I study genealogy, the more I am convinced that all the Mennonites born or with roots in Lancaster County are related one way or another. The ten or more generations that have populated the area since the 1700s have intermarried repeatedly. Some family lines crisscross multiple times. Leroy and I have common ancestors in the Stauffer, Martin, Brubaker, Weaver, and other lines.
At the dinner table on Sunday we were discussing some unusual relations caused by the marriages between two families. Someone said, "That's not a family tree; it's a family wreath."
I have often said my family tree is not very interesting. My maternal grandmother was a Stauffer who married a Burkholder. My mother was a Burkholder who married a Burkholder. I was a Burkholder who married a Stauffer. Leroy was a third cousin to my mother through the Stauffers. That makes me a fourth cousin to my own children. I guess we don't have a family tree after all. We have a family wreath.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Birthday Boy

Gene turned 30 on August 30. Months ago we schemed with Amy to plan a party for today. I made an appointment with a photographer to take family pictures at a nearby park this morning. Taking family pictures would explain why Cheryl came for the weekend. Amy made arrangments with their small group to have a bike ride at a park near Reading this afternoon. They rode the trail and (surprise! surprise!) rode right in to the party.
The weather cooperated and gave us a perfect day for all the outdoor activities. It was neither too hot nor too cold. The wind was still and the sky was a lovely blue. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
It's two weeks after the fact, but Happy Birthday Gene!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One Shining Moment

I volunteer at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society every other Tuesday. For reasons I won't bore you by explaining, this time it was three weeks instead of two since I was there. I never know what I will be doing and no two days are alike.
Three weeks ago I had the most frustrating day ever. Someone had mailed in a request for a 14-page booklet and some old photos. The request was very specific as to where the material was supposed to be. Steve (one of the staff) had searched without success so he turned the job over to me. I searched about five hours in every imaginable place. Nothing. Finally we gave up.
I hadn't heard anything and wondered if the missing materials had ever been found. As soon as I got there today Steve said several of the staff had looked and it was still missing. He wanted me to have another go at it. He said he'll pay me double if I find it. (I am an unpaid volunteer. Double nothing. Ha!)
I painstakingly went through all the boxes again and was about to conclude it cannot be found---when! I opened a yellow envelope and there it was! The lost was found! At last!! Everyone cheered and I was proclaimed a hero. One shining moment of glory! I don't get many of those.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

His Glory Paints The Sky

When I stepped out of the house before 7 this morning I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous sky in the east. I went back in the house for my camera but the picture only captured a portion of the glory painted across the sky. As I stood there in awe I had to repeat what my little niece once said, "Good job, God!"


I returned the camera to the house and set off on my trail. Within a few minutes the clouds had dissipated and God's paint brush was creating a new scene on the canvas of the sky. As I walked I remembered a quote I read last week. "Nature speaks in a universal language declaring the existence of God."
No intelligent, thinking person can look at the immensity of the universe or the microscopic details and the precision with which everything works and coordinates and honestly deny the existence of God.
How can anyone believe the world just happened or evolved by itself? Suppose you put all the pieces of a watch in a box. How long would you have to shake the box to make all the pieces fall together into a working watch? And if it did happen after a hundred million years, you would still have to explain where the pieces came from and what shook the box. No intelligent person would believe a working watch can be made by shaking the pieces in a box. So why would anyone believe in the evolution of the universe?
George Wald, an evolutionist, states, "When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!" ("The Origin of Life," Scientific American, 191:48. May 1954).
In other words, "I do not want to believe in God, therefore I choose to believe something I know is scientifically impossible."
Why would anyone not want to believe in God? Because if I acknowledge that I am here by His design and creation, then I am accountable to Him. I do not want to be accountable to Him, so I will not believe in Him. What a delusion!
We do not destroy God or His claim on our lives by denying His existence. A day is coming when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Refusing to believe in God or acknowledge His Son as Lord only postpones the inevitable. You can live your life according to your own rules but you will not be excused from giving an account to God. We are His creation and the game of life is played by His rules. No exceptions. No escape. How much better to acknowledge His claim on my life now and then be able to face Him without fear when the day of reckoning arrives!

Friday, August 27, 2010

No Small Potatoes

The march toward fall continues. Our days are warm and bright but nights are cool. This morning it was down to 54. I took the window unit out of the bedroom today and cleaned those windows. I don't think we'll need AC anymore this year.
This week the sound of corn choppers was heard all day long as the fields were being stripped bare. Last evening Gene and Amy came over to help dig the potatoes. We got two (2) baskets! This is the smallest crop ever. I don't know what happened. There was enough rain and we kept the weeds down better than usual but they died off early and obviously quite a few did not produce a thing. I'm sure we won't go hungry this winter. We'll just have to buy our potatoes. Thankfully, that will not be the hardship it would have been thirty years ago when we had a family of boys to feed. We used to plant 50 pounds of potatoes then.
Gene was born on August 30, 1980. Digging potatoes around his birthday time is sort of a family tradition. I was in labor while Leroy and the children were digging the potatoes. I managed to wait until they finished and then we rushed to the hospital. That was no small potatoes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NEVER EVER GIVE UP IN LIFE

This is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seasons Come and Go

There is still a month of summer left on the calendar but those who have seen sixty years of seasons come and go can detect the approach of fall. The A/C in the bedroom has not been turned on for two weeks. This week the temperatures were in the sixties in the mornings with an early fog that burns off by 8:30 and allows the sun to warm the day to normal summer levels. The fog is just a gentle reminder that September is coming. Last week I saw a small flock of Canadian geese making a low pass over the field. It was just a test run but I know what is on their minds.
An early warm spell this spring pushed the season ahead two weeks and we've been ahead of the game all summer. Our first corn was ready in mid-July and peaches ripened by the end of July. The August canning rush was here before the month arrived.
With everything we had going on in May and June, it seemed the summer was half over before it began. The pace of other activities slowed just enough to allow for the annual canning ritual but even that was limited this year because I overdid it last year and need to use up the leftovers. I need to make one batch of pizza sauce yet and then canning season will be over for me. I do not need any pears and the grapes weren't sprayed so they retaliated by not producing anything. Canning usually stretches into September. I don't know when (if ever) I finished canning before the end of August.
Are all these signs of an early frost and a long winter ahead? I hope not. I wouldn't mind if this kind of weather lasted a couple more months. April, May, and October are my favorite months of the year. Spring and fall both have their own beauty but I think the spring months win because it is the beginning of more good things to come. October is bittersweet. We savor each lovely day because we know there will not be many more before the long cold winter sets in.
The older I get, the less I like winter. But I'm not that fed up with the season to be ready to join the snowbirds in Sarasota, Florida. That's too far from all the things and people I love. For me (and all my ancestors back to colonial days) the sun always rose and set in Pennsylvania. I'll stay here, thank you, and enjoy each season in its turn.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reunion

We had a great weekend in Ohio reconnecting with the tour group who went to Israel together in 2008. Of the 39 who were on the tour, 31 showed up for the reunion at the home of Dr. & Mrs. Nolan Byler in Ohio. They came from Ontario, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Those missing were two from Texas, four from Ontario, and two from Missouri.
The reunion began with supper on Friday evening and continued through Saturday. We looked at each other's pictures, sang from the song books we used on the tour, and had a time of sharing what has been happening in our lives in the past two years.

We were three of the fortunate couples who stayed in Nolan & Clara's lovely home overnight. He is a physician with a family practice smack in the middle of Amish country and still makes house calls (in this day and age!).

It was hot and humid in Ohio but Nolan's house has central air so the heat didn't bother us a bit. We were planning to drive down to our daughter Saturday night but she called and said their electric had gone off and it could be off quite some time because the problem was at the substation. We decided to stay at Nolan's another night rather than burden Cheryl with company under difficult circumstances. We went down in time for church Sunday morning and left right after lunch. We at least got to see them but it was short and sweet. The whole weekend was very relaxing and uplifting. I hope we can keep up the friendships we established on the trip and renewed this weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Turned the Corner

Gerald took his state test on Saturday, July 31, and passed. His official nursing license arrived in the mail yesterday. He is now a fully-licensed and practicing RN. This is not the end of the road. He has just reached the intersection and turned the corner onto the next road. He'll reach the next intersection when his six-month internship ends in December.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shirktown Threshers

Yesterday Leroy and Gene went to a threshing demonstration held at the Peter Martin log cabin. This demonstration, known as the Shirktown Threshers, used to be held on a farm but the location was changed this year. I was having company for supper so I didn't go along but it was a nice day and an estimated 1000 people showed up.
Naturally, there were several steam tractors and several types of threshing machines being demonstrated. There was also a line of tractors, old cars, and other things on display. The one that got Leroy's attention was this scale model 730 John Deere tractor and threshing machine made by Irvin Showalter of McVeytown, Pa.

The little threshing machine, powered by a belt connected to the tractor, actually worked but of course could only handle a handful of stalks at a time. Leroy is still working on his scale model John Deere B and every time he sees a finished one this size he gets excited. Someday he might be able to show off his own little tractor. It's coming along but there's a ways to go before it looks this good.








Saturday, August 7, 2010

Triple Treat Torte

I found a good dessert recipe that fits my style of cooking---quick, easy, and cheap. And it's good too. Try it.

Triple Treat Torte

1/2 c. margarine
1 c. flour
2/3 c. chopped roasted peanuts
Mix until crumbly and press into a 9 x 13 pan
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

Filling:
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. whipped topping
Mix all together and spread on cooled crust

Topping:
1 pkg (3.9 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
2 3/4 c. cold milk
Mix all together and spread over filling. When it is set, top with a layer of whipped topping and sprinkle with chopped peanuts or chocolate curls.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New and Improved Edition

Someone asked me recently what I look for when I do research in a cemetery. That's one of the things that makes looking at gravestones so interesting. You never know what you might find on them. Some give nothing more than the person's name and years of birth and death. But often a stone will give more detailed information. It might give you the names of a person's parents, a woman's maiden name, marriage date, name of a child who died young, number of children, family genealogy, or any number of variables.
Here are a few amusing stones I came across on the FindAGrave website.

John Denby DDS
"I'm filling my last cavity"
Bristol County, Rhode Island


Monroe county, Florida

Paul G. Lind (apparently a Scrabble fan)
Multnomah County, Oregon

Here are a few other unusual epitaphs of the famous and non-famous.
Arabella Young, 1771
Here lies as silent clay
Miss Arabella Young,
Who on the 21st of May
Began to hold her tongue.
(Hatfield, Massachusetts)
````
Grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania
Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp filled with
"R.E. Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid."
````
Alexander the Great
A tomb now suffices for him
whom the world was not enough
````
Quoth the Raven,"Nevermore."
Edgar Allan Poe
(Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery; Baltimore, Maryland)
````

...If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea....
Anne and Charles Lindbergh (Palapala Hoomu Congregational Cemetery; Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii)
````
And here is my favorite:
The Body of
B. Franklin, Printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its Contents turn out
And Stript of its Lettering & Guilding
Lies here. Food for Worms
For, it will as he believed
appear once more
In a new and more elegant Edition
corrected and improved
By the Author
Benjamin Franklin
(Christ Church Burial Grounds; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

I don't know if you have ever given any thought to what you would want on your memorial stone, but I have. The genealogist in me would want my maiden name included. And I want this verse which is my statement of faith. "But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Death is not the end of life. Our Lord Jesus Christ won the victory over death and because He lives I shall never die. I know without a doubt I shall reappear in a new and more elegant edition, corrected and improved by the Author. Thanks be to God who makes it possible!































Monday, August 2, 2010

Lost and Forgotten

I went back to a place yesterday that I used to visit as a girl and had not seen for close to fifty years. I don't know when or how I learned there was an old family cemetery on our neighbor's farm but I went there every spring to pick huge bunches of lily-of-the-valley that covered the cemetery. It was not very well maintained. I remember the groundhog holes and poison ivy in it as well as the lily-of-the-valley. But I liked to wander around in there reading the names and ages on the stones. I wondered about the lives of the people and why (especially the children) had died. (Yes, I was infected with the history bug when I was nine years old.)
I did not remember any of the names that were on the stones and decided after all these years it was time to pay another visit to the cemetery. What family had started that cemetery? How old was it?
Yesterday we were down that way for a reunion so we stopped at the farm and asked if we may walk back to see the cemetery. The farm is owned by the third generation of the Lauver family and the current owner is my second cousin. He told us how to find the cemetery which is now surrounded by corn. A few years ago he cut down the trees that used to be around it so if he had not told us where to go into the cornfield we would have had a hard time finding it.
The condition of the cemetery has not improved with the passage of fifty years. In fact, it is even worse than when I last saw it. The iron fence that surrounded it is still there but it has fallen over. The lily-of-the-valley has been choked out by the weeds. The groundhog holes are still there and more numerous than ever. The stones that are still standing are few and far between with no semblance of rows. Some of them are lying face down while others are leaning against the fence or half-buried in the ground.
We tromped down or pulled out weeds to be able to see the stones. Some of them are weathered smooth but others were still readable. I photographed fourteen stones, most of which are readable. I did not find any one predominant family name but an assortment of Becker, Hauck, Ressler, Sauter, and Fry names. The oldest one I found was John Sauter, born January 6, 1760, died December 10, 1811.
I satisfied a little of my curiosity about this old cemetery but there are still many unanswered questions. I still wonder who these people were, exactly where they lived, and who started the cemetery. Restoring the cemetery would yield more information but it would also be a tremendous amount of work. The owners of the farm said the last burial was done there in 1933 but there was no visible stone for a burial that recent. I couldn't help feeling sad for the people who lie here with stones saying "in memory of" but are lost and forgotten in history.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1728 Naturalization Petition

My historical research jaunts have taken me to Illinois, Georgia, and several other states. But I never went to the archives in Chester County which is only a hop and skip from Berks County. All of my ancestors settled in Lancaster County when they arrived in the 1700s and stayed there generation after generation until the 1960s when my parents made the big move to the next county. So, naturally, the majority of my family research has been done in Lancaster County and I just don't have much reason to go to Chester County.
Lancaster County was part of Chester County until 1729. I have to go back pretty far to find any of my ancestors in Chester County records. In 1728 more than 200 Germans met at Martin Mylin's house in the part of Chester County known as Conestoga. They signed a petition requesting permission to become naturalized citizens of Pennsylvania with full rights and privileges other citizens enjoyed. Although the rights they were after are not stated, their land was their life and wealth. They wanted to be able to sell the land they purchased and pass it on to their children.
The petition was notarized in (now) Lancaster County and sent to Chester County where the original document is retained. I have a copy of an article that was published in The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine in 1992 which lists the names of all the signers of this rare document. The original spelling and capitalization of the names has been preserved in the article.
Even if they are hard to read, I wanted to see the actual signatures on the petition. So today I made the trip across county lines to Chester County and got a copy of the petition. I have seen some of the signatures often enough on other documents that I recognized a few of them instantly. Others take a good bit of imagination to read. But by comparing the signatures with the list in the magazine article, I can decipher them.
I have not counted how many signatures of my ancestors are on it, but there are quite a few. Wendel Bauman, Hans Good, Hans Groff, George & Henry Weber, and others. I am delighted to have this many signatures on one document for cross reference. Here is a sample.


If you need an interpretation, the names are (from top down)

Hans Good [his mark: HG]
Gabriel Zimeman
Mathias Shyarmister [his mark: ma?]
Jacob Stauffer
Conrade Strickland [his mark: K]
Bendicte Knoll [his mark: B]
Peder Gut
Abraham Steiner

Oh yes! The petition was granted on February 14, 1729/30 and their lands were passed on to their posterity. They had no idea their signatures would be as valuable to some of their descendants 300 years later as their land was to the generation who inherited it from them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Lady With The Big Fat Purse

Did you ever have one of those moments when something from your dim past surfaced and you could remember some of it but not the whole thing?
I had one of those moments this week and it's driving me crazy trying to remember the rest of it. Maybe somebody can help me out. We used to say these lines:
"In came the doctor, in came the nurse, in came the lady with the big fat purse.
I don't want the doctor, I don't want the nurse, I don't want the lady with the big fat purse.
So out went the doctor, out went the nurse, out went the lady with the big fat purse."
When did we say these lines? Is it a rhyme we used when we were jumping rope? If so, how was it done? What was the rest of it? What does the lady with the big fat purse have to do with the doctor and nurse?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hall of Fame

Recently I met a lady whom I run into occassionally. She is a busy woman doing a lot of good things. Unfortunately, she seems to be more impressed with herself than I am. The more I see and hear from her the more unfavorable my impression becomes.
This got me to thinking about who the truly great women are that I have known. The following is not a complete list by any means but here are some of the women in my Hall of Fame.
The woman
* who was faithful to her marriage vows when her husband was not.
* who loved and cared for her mentally handicapped child as long as she lived.
* who was content to live in a place far from her family because her husband was called to serve there.
* who raised her family alone after her husband's death.
* who has enough education to be a college professor but continues to teach at a local Christian school.
* who never complains about the rough start she had in life.
* whose name is known across the country and travels a lot for speaking engagements but is still surprised by the attention she receives.
What is the common denominator that makes these women great? They have the heart of a servant. That, after all, is what Jesus said makes a person great. "He that will be greatest among you, let him be your servant."
An insecure woman needs to promote herself and make sure you know how great she is. And that is exactly what proves she is not as great as she thinks she is. A woman who is truly great does not have to make a lot of noise to let you know how great she is. Her actions speak for her without a word. Humble, modest women who serve others rather than self earn a place in God's Hall of Fame. Ultimately, that's what really matters.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Huck Finn Weekend

This was one of those weekends when there was more going on than we could possibly do. We had to pick and choose from the menu of activities, passing up some opportunities completely and getting only parts of others. We actually split up for the weekend. I went to my Burkholder reunion and did some other things alone while Leroy went rafting on the Juniata River with Dale and his boys.
A group of about 25 men and boys met at 6 a.m. Saturday and drove up to Thompsontown where they put their homemade rafts in the water.
Weather and water conditions were perfect and they had a great time.

They floated to an island below Millerstown and camped there for the night. Leroy had borrowed an air mattress and was quite comfortable while the others slept on the ground. Age has it's benefits!

After breakfast and a short worship service, they pushed off again and floated down to the Green Valley campground, below Newport.
Floating down the river on a homemade raft gives one a completely different view of life and the river. They saw some wildlife and birds you never see when you drive by the river on the road. Leroy got home around 4:30 Sunday afternoon. He really enjoyed the experience and spending the weekend with Dale and his boys. They made a memory that will last a long time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hidden Riches

The second edition of Hidden Riches hit the market last week. Here it is.

This was my first book, originally published in 1983. There were five printings before it went out of print three years ago. The main reason I wanted to let it go out of print was because new information was discovered in the 1990s which proved the story we had always been told about our Burkholder immigrant ancestors was not true. They never lived in Germany but immigrated directly from Switzerland. The parents' names were not Christian and Elizabeth but Ulrich and Barbara. The Burkholder widow and her six children settled at Bowmansville, not Groffdale.
After the book was out of print I kept getting calls from people asking where they can buy it. Early this year Faith Builders called asking if there was any way the book could be reprinted so they can incorporate it into the curriculum they are developing. I passed the request on to Christian Light and they decided to revive the book.
We decided to leave the story as it was written because making it historically accurate would have required rewriting the entire story. It didn't seem logical to me to print two different versions of the same story. So I wrote a new Preface for the book giving the accurate information and copies of some of the supporting documents. I ended by saying that although the story as it was written is not historically accurate for this particular family, the book can be read as historical fiction for it is typical of the experiences of many Mennonite immigrant families in colonial days.
Yesterday Leroy and I serviced the book racks in Cumberland County for Lantern Books and placed some copies of this book on each rack. It will be interesting to see next month how well it sold. Hidden Riches is now in its sixth printing and second edition. After I thought it was dead, it got a second chance at life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Correction

We had a nice visit with our guests last evening. My cogs were slipping though. They were not from Maine and Vermont but from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It was not two couples but a man and three women. Here they are.
L-R--Patty and John, his two sisters, Lorraine and Carol.

Carol has bought all my books and is the one who got her brother to search for me. They have Italian background and a different heritage from our German one. Carol brought me some cookies she baked from an old Italian family recipe. Of course, I deliberately cooked PA Dutch foods. Apple butter, chicken pot pie, brown butter, chow chow, ring bologna, and shoofly pie were all foreign to them, but they said they liked everything and proved it by taking second helpings. We now have friends in the New England states we can visit if we ever go that way.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New England Fans

We're having company for supper tonight. Yes, I know it's Monday. That's not the standard day to have company but this is not standard company either. Our guests will be a couple from Maine and one from Vermont--a brother and sister and their spouses.
The lady from Vermont bought some of my books when she was in Lancaster County on an earlier trip. Her brother managed to find me for her via the Internet. Now the four of them are in Lancaster County again and want to meet me during their visit. I invited them for supper and tonight seemed the best fit.
This kind of thing has happened before. I've had company from several states and met some interesting people through my books. I usually cook a PA Dutch supper for these visitors and will do so again. We'll have chicken pot pie, shoofly pie, and other traditional PA Dutch foods.
It is interesting to learn where some of my books have gone and meet some of the people whose lives have been touched by them.
I have some reservations about this group, however. They have been way too gushy about meeting me. I tried to tell them I am not a celebrity and they are welcome to come as friends but I'm afraid the message didn't get through. If there is anything I hate it is being fussed over because of my hobby. I write for the joy of it, not for fame or attention.
I also think they have some misconceptions about the idyllic life of Mennonites and Amish. They may be surprised to find how much our house is furnished like theirs, except for the absence of the TV and other electronic gadgets. From what they have said, they may ask a lot of questions. I'm not sure what I'm in for but pray I can be a gracious hostess and the right words will be put in my mouth when I need them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer pounced on us this week. If you've been hearing about the heat wave in the northeastern part of the country, it's not exaggerated. Yesterday it was 100 in the shade at 5 p.m. and the official temperature was 102. I was fortunate to be able to spend the day in the air conditioning at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.
Today is not much different. It is 98 at the moment and could nudge up a few more degrees before it starts to cool down a little for the night. Our house was built in 1968 when central air was a luxury only the rich could afford. We make do with a few window units in the bedrooms and my office. Since the rest of the house is so hot, I am spending the day in my office working on some projects on the computer.
The grass is turning brown and crunched under my feet when I went for the mail. The garden is still green, thanks to daily waterings with the hose. While we were on vacation Gene got more mulch than he needed for the potatoes so he spread the extra on the two rows of corn. We never mulched corn before but it must be making a difference. The corn in the garden is not curled like the corn in the field next to the garden.
We're hoping for rain and cooler temperatures by the weekend. If only we could bottle some of the excess heat and keep it until January!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Learning Experience

I have just learned an important lesson (I hope!). Let me start at the beginning.
We live near an old church with a history that dates back to 1727. The current building was constructed in 1775. It was founded as a German Reformed congregation by the first European settlers to come into this area. In 1869 the word German was dropped from the title of the church and it was simply a Reformed church. Several mergers in the history of the denominated changed its name to Evangelical and Reformed Church, United Church of Christ, and finally it became an independent congregation known simply as the Host Church.
The long history of this church next door, where many of our neighbors are or were members, has long intrigued me. Several years ago I purchased a book on the history of the church, published in 1975, which contains a long cemetery list. This list was not available anywhere online so I listed it on a website, offering to do look ups for people. I met some interesting people in the process and was actually able to help a few people find their ancestors. That was all the reward I needed.
Then I had another bright idea. I could (I thought) save myself the time it took to do look ups if I posted the actual cemetery list on another website called FindAGrave. It took me awhile to do it, but I told myself that I would save time in the end. I didn't know it, but that was only Stage One.
Stage Two began when a few people requested photos of the stones. I dutifully (and gladly) complied. But in the process I became aware that the cemetery record I had transcribed from the book was full of errors. One of the most glaring mistakes was listing women by their maiden rather than married names. This made it almost impossible to find a man's wife. Being a stickler for accuracy, I was embarrassed to have my name on something that was so full or errors.
Stage three began sometime this winter when I began revising and correcting the cemetery list. For months, I trotted down to the cemetery with my book, pencil, and camera to check stones and verify the names. I wondered what the caretaker of the cemetery thought of this screwball that kept wandering through the cemetery taking notes and pictures. Some weeks I went every couple days and other weeks I didn't have time at all for it. But I persisted.
Stage four was completed this week when I finally reached the Zimmermans. (Ever notice how the poor Zimmermans are doomed to be on the tail end of every alphabetical list?) The next job was proofreading which took me most of the week. About 10:30 this morning I finally finished the last stage. The list is as accurate and up to date as I can make it.
There are over 1900 names on the list so it was a large job with a sense of accomplishment to match. I found some missing women in the process of untangling the record which is gratifying to me. But the most important lesson I learned is to NEVER transcribe a cemetery record from a book. And I never will do it again. In fact, I don't think I will ever be so foolish as to tackle any cemetery that large, so help me God not to forget the lessons in this learning experience.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seven Men Who Rule The World From The Grave

There is a war going on in this world. It is a war of ideas. Satan has used many promoters of his ideas to conquer and deceive the world
Dave Breese of Hillsboro, Kansas, has written a most thought-provoking book, entitled Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave (Moody Press, 1990). The ideas of these men literally rule the world. Their concepts affect everyone, even if you do not believe them. You may never have to study Darwin, Marx, Wellhausen, Freud, Dewey, Keynes and Kierkegaard, but the principles these thinkers promoted are now affecting your life and may have insidiously infected your mind.

Darwin: Devolution into Depravity
Charles Darwin, as we all know, popularized the theory of evolution, and revolutionized modern science. How do his ideas rule from the grave? Instead of staying in science, the theory of evolution is now thought to apply to society at large. "Social Darwinism" is a foundational belief of our culture. This concept says that the social structure is engineered and controlled by impersonal forces, natural selection, and the survival of the fittest, rather than by a personal God. Society has become secularized, and God is resented and opposed at every opportunity. Along with this, Social Darwinism has overthrown the authority of the Bible, made religious belief pluralistic, and destroyed the family and morals. Social Darwinism says society is moving upward from a mean past to an improving future. Utopia, the Millennium, comes not by the Messiah but through biological evolution ever upward, from "slime to divine."
The fact is, Darwinism is not true, not in science, and not in society. Man is digressing instead of progressing, just has God said he would, II Timothy 3:13. "Social Darwinists" and psychologists think nothing of God's Word. Instead of evolving into a higher life form, mankind is devolving into the depths of depravity.

Marx: Discredited, But Socialism is Alive and Well
The ideas of Karl Marx ruling the world from the grave? This may sound preposterous since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. However, godless atheism produced in the wake of Communist revolutions in Russia and China has not been overthrown. Socialism and the welfare state is alive and well in Europe, North America and Australia and New Zealand. Marxism continues to have a profound influence on western intellectuals, who reject the Judaeo-Christian morality in favor of atheism.
Atheistic Communism (socialism) primarily is a denial that there is a just, holy, loving, and personal God who has created the universe and presides over its continuance. Communists are materialists, i.e., they believe that all is material, and deny the existence of the spiritual. They do not believe God is working out a purpose here below, but that history moves in a dialectic wave, and that state socialism is the wave of the future and will inevitably triumph. Marxism, a form of evolutionary dogma, says that history is determined by economics, and the revolution of the working class will thrust out the bourgeois (middle class) societies.
The revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989, which overthrew corrupt Communist governments, brought a shocking fact to light: Communist dictators live like kings all the while claiming to be promoting a "classless society"! Far from bringing about a utopia where the working man enjoys the fruits of his honest labor, fifty to seventy years of Communist government have proven Marxist socialism to be an utter failure. Without God Almighty, any human system results in misery and suffering!
And yet, the beat goes on! Rather than learning the lesson that state control by wicked men results in disastrous consequences, the governments of the western "democracies" continue the path toward more socialism, more government control, more corruption in high places, more crimes being committed in the name of the country! The ghost of Karl Marx continues to haunt the world.

Wellhausen: Higher Criticism, Religious Liberalism
Why is the so-called Christian religion today a shadow of its former self? Why has it rolled over and played dead to the ideas of Darwin and Marx? Why has religious liberalism done so much damage, in destroying belief in God and the authority of the Bible? Why has the Church of God been so damaged by religious liberalism? Up until the middle of the 19th Century, if a person in the West called himself "religious" it meant something. The Bible was held to be God's revelation of His will for mankind, the government was to be respected, and order in society was to be kept. Although human reason was admitted to be fallible, the Bible was held to be infallible.
Then, religious liberalism was born, and all that was changed. Julius Wellhausen, a German rationalist, Old Testament scholar, and theologian, declared that human reason was totally dependable and the Bible could not be seriously trusted. Moses, Wellhausen claimed, did not write the Torah. Rather than divine inspiration, the Old Testament was said to be a product of evolutionary thinking of several individuals (referred to as the Elohim, Jehovah, Priestly and Deuteronomy, or EJPD, sources). Wellhausen became a leader in a religious school of thought called "Higher Criticism." Basically, this consists in bringing Darwin's ideas of evolution into biblical scholarship. The result was that the Christian religion became a complex set of human rationalizations, rather than the simple truth of God. The Spirit of God was taken from the Bible. Ministers quoted everything but the Bible, and what part of the Gospel they had was gone.
Religious liberals spawned by Wellhausen and others accepted biological evolution as a fact. They carried evolution to a next rational step: Man's ideas have evolved upward from the primitive to the complex. And so, the religious liberal says that our ideas of God have evolved and are continuing to evolve. Religious change is the evolution of ideas, part of the natural order and survival of the fittest. We used to think of God as a judgmental ruler of the universe, but now know Him as a God of love. Hence, there is no sin of violation of God's law. To the liberal theologian, sin is only lack of maturity, lack of proper evolution. The answer to sin is not the redemption of Jesus Christ, but education, man directing and controlling his own evolution. As mankind in enlightened, we will do away with war, hatred, famine and greed.
In contrast to religious liberals who are always changing (evolving) their religious concepts, based upon scholarship and human rationalism, we believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, the deity of Messiah and His pre-millennial return. That makes us "fundamentalists" in the eyes of some.
It would be all well and good if these religious liberals and "Higher Critics" just followed their rationalistic theories to their logical conclusion and left organized religion, because according to them, the Bible is a sham anyway, and God is merely the "ground of our being." But that's not the way it works. Breese notes that liberals insist on calling themselves Christians, and are not apt to leave a church organization:
While denying the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the true nature of faith, and most of the other cardinal Christian doctrines, the liberals still want conservative Christians to think of them as "one of us." As a consequence, it is almost a rule of life that the liberals do not leave the visible church (Seven Men, p. 103).
Like a cancerous sore, liberals draw their strength by concessions made by conservatives, and labor subversively until they are the majority. Once this happens, they begin to exert their power to squeeze conservatives out of the church altogether.

Freud: Looking for the Truth Within
If we are indeed the product of evolution, and the Bible is the product of evolution, and state socialism is the wave of the future, we might as well look some place other than the Bible for the Truth. Why not look within ourselves? Enter Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. Freud is the fourth man whose ideas rule the world from the grave, as explained by Dave Breese.
The basis for Freudian thinking is the idea that the driving force behind all human action is the sexual instinct or urge. What we do, and the cause of our mental problems, stem from repressed sexual urges or desires. We need to talk about those repressed urges, and get them out in the open. The way to salvation is to be analyzed by a Freudian psychologist. Expressing contempt for all religion, which Freud saw as "mental infantilism" or "mass delusion," the essence of psychology is the belief that God does not intimately interact with man, and that there is a force, or libido, within mankind that, properly analyzed and controlled, will lead him to greater social progress. Freud opened the door for the New Age Movement, which insists that man can discover and control his own "life force" and obtain a utopia. The Freudian influence from 1890-1930 led to the permissive society, where sexual urges and wrong desires are not only talked about openly, but practiced without society's judgment. Christianity in general has moved along the Freudian path.
Freud's ideas were drawn from Hitler's favorite philosopher, Frederick Nitzche, who coined the phrase, "God is dead." His book, dictated by his demon named Zerethustra, was distributed to every German soldier in Hitler's army. Zerethrustra said (in part) "good is whatever gives you power; evil is weakness; Christianity is evil because it has compassion on the weak; your problem is a lack of self-love." Self-esteem and freedom from bondage are of primary importance in finding the truth within yourself.
No, the Truth is not within ourselves, as Freud and the New Age Movement claims. Truth is revealed from the Almighty Creator of mankind.

Dewey and Humanistic Education
If man is no longer a sinner and can find the truth within himself, then we need to be educated rather than regenerated. And, the church is right in switching from a message of salvation through the cleansing blood of Christ, to a message of salvation through the improvement of the social structure. Enter John Dewey and our liberal education system.
The missing dimension in Western thinking is the Christian viewpoint. Western man thinks about economics, politics, government, education and many other things without ever once asking, "What does God think about these things?" They never ask this question because they are not taught to think in our educational system. In fact, the foundation of our educational system, developed by John Dewey, is that there is no foundational truth. Nothing is settled, final and sure, but only subject to further research. Nothing is constant, given, or finally true, but rather all is pragmatic, adaptable, and subject to reinterpretation deemed appropriate to the time.
In a word, Dewey's educational philosophy can be summed up in one word: experience. Truth, he believed, was only found in experience. We must not concern ourselves with truth, but with meaning. What it means to you might be different than what it means to me. Final truth is illusory and we shouldn't bother finding the impossible. Dewey presided over a "vast emergence" of ideas in the Twentieth Century which revolutionized education. Rather than instilling morals in students, teachers were led to teach by experiment. "Progressive education" took over not only public schools, but also churches and most of religion.
Today, as the result of Dewey, most churches believe in progressive revelation. They pragmatically adapt doctrines to fit changing times. They are open to everything and every idea, except those who claim to have absolute truth as taught in the Bible! The moment Christianity agrees with Dewey, that there are many forms of truth, its cause is lost, and it can merely meander along with the relativists and mumble sweet nothings about God. Dewey has done his job in convincing Western man that God's Word is out of date, and evolving moral concepts and principles are "progressive." The fact is, Truth is once given, but many times forgotten and ignored, as men devoid of understanding throw it away.

Keynes: The Government is God
In Plato's Republic, the wise philosopher king ruled over his kingdom. And so it is today, with God dethroned from His rightful position of Lord and Master of our lives, the government is thought to be god. One man has had a profound influence on the development of our government economic system: John Maynard Keynes. In the wake of the devastating global depression of 1929 through the 1930s, economist Keynes came up with a recommendation to solve economic woes. His ideas were readily accepted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and formed the basis for socialistic governments around the world. To get the economy moving again, Keynes taught, it was the responsibility of government to create full employment, even if it had to borrow money and assume mounting debt to do so. Rather than get rid of the sins which cause economic depression, vanity, jealously, lust and greed, Keynes promoted the idea that government had all the answers. In the short term, Keynesian policies of excessive government spending and mounting public debt, appear to do some good. But in the long term, Keynesian economics only make worse the inevitable collapse of the whole nation. Keynes knew this, but did not care, for as he said, "In the long term, we are all dead."
In twenty years, no President and no Congress has even seriously promised to reduce the debt. "We owe it to ourselves!" some say, in a vain attempt to justify this flagrant spending frenzy. That is not true. The debt of the United States of America, the world's leading debtor nation, is funded by foreigners such as the Chinese. The colossal public debt is a giving away of our sovereignty, and the establishment of a one-world government and economic system, the Beast. God's economic system is not founded upon usury debt money. When the government becomes god, it opens itself up to satanic control in an increasingly vicious way.
Self-reliant pioneers who were our forbearers knew that government could not and should not do for them what they could do for themselves. They believed the Word of God is the foundation of knowledge. Modern religious hucksters follow Keynes. They spend other people's money to do what they think is best. These policies are spiritual economic disasters.

Kierkegaard: Confusion Everywhere
Finally, the seventh man whose ideas rule the world from the grave is a Danish philosopher few know much about, Soren Kierkegaard. During his short life (1813-1855), Kierkegaard's ideas did not gain much prevalence. About one hundred years after his death, his philosophy was re-discovered and quickly conquered the world. His mission was plain: "I conceived it as my task to create difficulties everywhere." He intended to create religious confusion, and he has. Breese correctly states, "It is doubtful that anyone perfectly understands Kierkegaard." On one page, he seemingly contradicts what he has said on the previous page.
Why did Kierkegaard take the religious world by storm? They needed his message. Religious liberals, unwilling to repent and obey the Bible, and abhorring the idea of Messiah's return to quell evil and rule the earth with a rod of iron, seized upon Kierkegaard's philosophy of existentialism. The essence of Kierkegaard is expressed in the title of one of his books, Truth is Subjectivity. The refusal to belong to any school of thought, repudiation of any body of beliefs whatever, that is the heart of existentialism. The only thing that is real is "the moment." If it feels right, do it, now! This is insanity dressed up in a tuxedo, yet existentialist philosophy is the base of every department of philosophy in every major university in Western civilization. Existentialism is not just another point of view, it is a denial of all points of view. There is no truth, no right or wrong, only the moment, without causes and consequences. Moral relativism and situation ethics are the harvest of Kierkegaard.
For the believer, the Bible is the inspired word of God. For the existentialist, the Bible becomes the word of God only when the believer experiences "inspiration" and "does his own thing." Rather than a reconciliation with the Almighty, salvation is merely an experience with Jesus. Illicit sexual relations are believed to be neither "right" or "wrong," but relative. Modern followers of Kierkegaard preach a doctrine of "fornication without tears."
Kierkegaard revolted against all religious doctrine. He put every doctrine on the table, subject to passionate, subjective picking and choosing. He renounced clear and distinct thinking altogether. The spirit of Kierkegaard is riding through churches today. We have confusion in more flavors than Baskin Robbins has ice cream. Too many are quite willing to throw out their beliefs and try something new. They are not founded on the Rock, the sure, unchanging Word of God.

Conclusion: We Must Defend the Truth
Dave Breese concludes that these seven men rule the world because they astutely gave people what they wanted to hear. There was no forceful rebuttal from those who believed in the Word of God. These seven men rule the world not through fair speeches but through the sustained impact of the printed page.
Let's not roll over and play dead. Unless we challenge the theories of Darwin, Marx, Wellhausen, Freud, Dewey, Keynes and Kierkegaard, their philosophies may yet undo us. We had better be able to defend ourselves against these "black belt" philosophical masters.