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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cabin Weekend

For about thirty years my sisters and I went to the cabin to clean and open it for the season. We had a lot of good times at the cabin with our families but as time moved on and our families changed, we decided the time had come to let it go and sold it two years ago. We sisters had gone to the cabin every spring too long to break the habit. We decided we can still go to a cabin together by renting one. 
Last year we went to a cabin in Union County and it was wonderful. We could just relax and visit without having to work all day Saturday. Let someone else have the expense and upkeep of a cabin. Renting one for one weekend a year is a lot cheaper than owning your own. Besides, it was a lot more luxurious than our cabin had been. It had a dishwasher, air conditioning, and the works. We're old enough now to enjoy such luxuries (even though I don't have them at home). 
At the end of that weekend we thought of what we should have done. Instead of going the first weekend in June we should have gone the last weekend when our Canadian brother, Merle, would be here and both our brothers could go with us. 
Merle was scheduled to preach at our church in Myerstown on Sunday morning so we had to find a cabin that wasn't too far from church. We found one at Pine Grove and reserved it in January for the last weekend in June. It was great to have all five of us siblings together for a weekend.

This cabin is called Barnwood Lodge because it was built with wood the owner salvaged from a barn that was torn down. Most of the furniture was also repurposed but it was tastefully done. And again, there was central air, a dishwasher, and central vac, none of which I have at home. Cabins sure aren't what they used to be. I grew up with a cabin that had no electric, running water, or bathroom. We thought we really had something when we got electric in it!

There was plenty of time for round table discussions. Lots of stories and remember-whens.

On Saturday afternoon we hiked back an old railroad bed to Siegrist Reservoir.

 I sat and enjoyed the view while the rest of them walked back the trail to the river behind the dam.

We played lots of corn hole games. Carol got pretty good at it and threw all four bags in the hole at least four times.

We made mountain pies for supper. Nothing can beat the taste of food cooked over a wood fire. We were blessed with perfect weather for all these outdoor activities.

We all went to church Sunday morning and went back to the cabin for lunch and the afternoon. The weekend was such a success the consensus was that we would like to do it again next year. Why not? I think we just started a new version of a tradition.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Loyalty Test

My newest book is ready to go to the printer. At last! This one has been a long time coming. I had the idea for years to write a story about the effects the Revolutionary War had on the Mennonites and members of other peace churches. So many things happened to so many people I didn't know how to handle it. Who would be the main character? How could things that happened to other people be woven into the story? 
When I shared this idea and problem with my sister she immediately said the main character could be Christian Burkholder. Hmmmm. Good idea. Christian was a bishop during the war and an outstanding leader in the Mennonite church. In this office, he would have heard about things that happened to other people and in other areas. The tightly closed bud of the idea began to open and take shape.
My first book, Hidden Riches, told the story of Christian Burkholder emigrating with his family from Europe to Pennsylvania in 1754. Obviously, another book about Christian would be a sequel to Hidden Riches and published by the same publisher. I began scribbling. The first chapter intentionally overlaps with the last chapter of Hidden Riches, telling about Christian buying his Martyrs Mirror in 1761 and the last one is about the publishing of his Anrede book in 1804. 
My love of history ran away with me in the first draft. It was so top heavy with all the history that was so fascinating to me that it was more like a text book than a story. It would have bored the average story reader. So out came the surgical knife. Big portions and whole chapters were sliced out. It was painful but the story improved and I survived the surgery. 
After the manuscript was accepted by Christian Light Publications, the long wait for the finished product began. Editors went through it with a fine tooth comb and it moved to the graphics department where it languished in the backlog for months waiting its turn.
This week I got the proof copy to proofread one last time. It is now ready to go to the printer and should be on the market in four to six weeks. This is my tenth book but there is always a sense of satisfaction in seeing an idea come to fruition and holding the finished product. My hope and prayer is that Christian's example will be a tool to educate and encourage readers to hold fast to the faith passed down through the generations to us today.

click to enlarge

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What Goes Around

Fads are funny things. How do they develop? Who decides what's IN and when it's OUT? Some things move from fad to standard practice (like pants on women) and others fade out only to come around again in the next generation as something new.
For example, when I was a teenager we combed our hair over our ears and wore our buns low on our necks. The old ladies at church had their ears exposed and put their buns high on their heads with their coverings perched on top. When my daughter was a teenager she combed her hair like that and I told her it makes her look like an old lady. Now her daughter is a teenager and she combs her hair over her ears and wears her bun low on her neck like I did when I was a teenager. And my daughter tells her it makes her look like an old lady. I predict that by the time my granddaughter has a granddaughter the thing will circle around again.
Colors also come and go. In the 70s green and gold were the popular colors. Appliances even came in avocado green. In the 90s my daughter was a bridesmaid in a wedding. The wedding colors were peach and mint green and her bridesmaid dress was peach. Those were the popular colors at the time. Last fall her son was married and the wedding colors were--guess what?--peach and mint green. As mother of the groom she wore a dress in the same shade of peach as she had worn as a bridesmaid about twenty-six years earlier. 
I tried to think how many fads have I seen come and go and came up with a short list. I'm sure there were a lot more than I can think of at the moment. Younger people probably wouldn't even know what some of them are. And this doesn't even include words and phrases like "groovy" or "in the groove" that have come and gone.

Fads I have seen come and go:
black and white saddle shoes
bobby socks
poodle skirts
pop bead necklaces
fender skirts on cars
shoes with pointy toes
spike heels
mini skirt
paisley shirts for men
boat neckline
straight (tight) skirt
teased (beehive) hair on girls
flat top haircuts on boys
bell bottom pants
plaid pants for men
clunky square high heels on women's shoes
leisure suits
shift dresses
huge eyeglass lenses
pet rocks
8-track players

Some fads today include scarves, leggings, unnatural colors dyed in hair, tattoos and body piercings. Let me hasten to say that I don't know any self-respecting people in our circles who do the last three on that list and it remains to be seen how long they will last. But I do see scarves and leggings on our people. We have a church rule that men are not to wear neckties so how it is acceptable for women to hang things around their necks? It looks tacky to me, especially when they are big and puffy. One young woman who heard about the tights girls wore years ago said, "Oh! Leggings with feet." Yup. Leggings are nothing new, they just cut the feet off.  Maybe when the little girls who wear leggings today are grandmas someone will come up with a great idea and they'll say, "Those are just leggings with feet." What goes around comes around!
All you have to do is pull out your old pictures and you'll soon be saying "what were we thinking?" or "You can tell that was the 70s (or 80s or 90s)." We do well to consider what we accept before we jump on the bandwagon. It may just be a fad that someday we'll look back, wonder why we did that, and laugh at ourselves.