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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wedding of the Year

Last evening we attended the wedding of my nephew, Hans Burkholder, and Sharon Nolt. They are both in their thirties and well-matched professional people. Hans is a surgeon in Alaska and Sharon manages a company on Wall Street in New York City. She grew up in Lancaster County where her family still lives so the wedding was held there in the Neffsville Mennonite Church.
It was a beautiful wedding, classy and yet simple with his father (my brother) officiating at the ceremony.

The reception was in the Palm Court of the Hilton Double Tree Resort (formerly Willow Valley) at Willow Street.

The meal was large and tasty. Instead of a wedding cake, they served two kinds of Whoopie Pies. That added a bit of a PA Dutch touch to the meal.
Hans and Sharon are honeymooning in Costa Rica. She is moving across the country to join him in Alaska. Hans has worked many long years to reach the place he is today. We didn't know if we would ever see this day, but now we have. The wisest man who ever lived said a good wife is worth more than rubies. Congratulations to Hans and his better-than-rubies wife!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Indian Summer

We had our first frost about ten days ago which ended the garden. The mums are still blooming nicely but all the other flowers are done for this year. The dahila bulbs are stored for the winter but we still need to dig the canas before the ground freezes. But this week the threat of frost and freezing seems to be somewhere off in the distant future as we enjoy a whole week of sunny warm Indian Summer weather.
We spent the weekend in Ohio with our daughter and her family. The drive across the mountains was lovely with bright sunshine bringing out the shimmering colors of the red, yellow, and orange leaves. Unfortunately, the Turnpike is not photo friendly so I could only admire the beauty of nature and savor each moment before it passed.
This morning I went out to try capture a little of the autumn around me before it fades. I'm not a great photographer and my pictures are never as good as the real thing, but here are a few.
Our house from across the field with the woods behind it.
Along the way.
A little frost doesn't faze these little beauties.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dead Sea Scrolls

The world debut exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times , was on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia from May 12-October 14. The exhibition was created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from the collections of the Israel National Treasures and produced by Discovery Times Square and The Franklin Institute.Gene and Amy took us to see it last night, the final day of the exhibition.
The exhibit featured one of the largest collections of the 2000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls ever displayed in North America as well as a three-ton stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It included more than 500 items from the biblical era on display alongside the famed scrolls, including many newly discovered Holy Land artifacts. Objects included remains of religious articles, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics.
Hailed as the most important archaeological find of the 20th century, the story behind the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is almost as interesting as the scrolls themselves.
The first cache of scrolls was discovered in 1947 when a Bedouin shepherd casually tossed a rock into a cave and heard a pot shatter. Over the next eight years, archaeologists excavated a series of caves and found thousands of parchment fragments that included the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible.
While the scribes of the scrolls are unknown, the ancient text shed light on the language used in the Bible, much of which remains unchanged to this day. 
The fragments of the scrolls were displayed inside a circular case. The place was very full and ringed with a line of people that inched forward slower than a snail's pace.


I was amazed at the precise hand lettering on the scrolls. The writing on several phylacteries was so tiny I and perfect it was unbelievable even though I was seeing it with my own eyes.

The men who copied these holy writings on scrolls took their work very seriously. The most complete scroll is the book of Isaiah. A comparison of this scroll with the book of Isaiah we have in our Bible showed only a few minor differences in punctuation. Here is tangible proof that the Word of God has not changed in 2000 years. The way people explain and interpret the Scriptures may change but God's Word has not and will never change. God said what He meant and meant what He said. It's a solid foundation we can build our lives and eternal destinies upon.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Walking a two-mile trail all summer has paid off. It helped me drop ten pounds and is a good time for meditation. I've come up with outlines for stories or figured out how to handle a Sunday school lesson I was scheduled to teach.
 The changing seasons adds some variety to the trail. In the spring even the first shoots of skunk cabbage are a welcome sight. Then we move on to little wildflowers and lime green baby leaves on the trees. This summer a bird flew above me, scolding as it chased me away from where I assume it had a nest. In the middle of summer I walk before the sun heats up the world, sometimes as early as 6:30. After school starts I wait until after 8:30 when the school buses have finished their morning rounds. The scenery along the trail is changing again as the leaves are beginning to color. Some fields have been harvested and the crops that are still standing have turned brown.
Every couple weeks I take a trash bag along and pick up the trash so at least that part of the roadside is free of litter. I don't walk in the winter months so in the spring I took a garbage bag to pick up the winter's trash. Since then a grocery bag has been big enough if I do it every couple weeks. I don't know who is tossing all that trash but it is amazing how much accumulates in a couple weeks.
As I walked this morning I spied something I thought was trash but it turned out to be a fallen leaf. That set my mind going. That leaf grew to hang on a tree, not lie on the ground. So why isn't it trash when it's not on a tree? What makes some things trash and others not?
The things I picked up as trash were made of glass, paper, metal, plastic, and Styrofoam. They are not biodegradable. Imagine what would happen if trees grew plastic leaves. How would we dispose of centuries of plastic leaves?
The things God made are designed to support biological life cycles and part of that includes being biodegradable. The leaf served its purpose while it was on the tree and when it falls to the ground it serves another purpose. We rake leaves on our lawns so they don't smother and kill the grass, but the leaves that fall on the forest floor compost and turn into rich dark soil.
It's been said that God doesn't make junk. He doesn't make trash either. Humans are the messy ones. We make things that aren't biodegradable and worse yet, toss them out the windows of our vehicles. I can't keep the whole township clean but I can keep my trail clean. And if you're nosey enough to look, I want you to know that's where the brown glass bottle in the junk barrel in my garage came from.