Fall Is In The Air

My White Dogwood Tree Oct 2013 It won’t be long until my Dogwood is this bright and colorful once again

Autumn. Don’t you just love the smell of the weather change? “Fall is in the air” my dad would say when the temperatures begin to change.

Although autumn doesn’t start until Sept 21, for me it starts with the first day of school. My children are grown now but it doesn’t stop me from feeling the excitement of seeing back to school supplies, children shopping for school clothes and the memory of a class room on that first day. Do you remember the smell of the first day of school?

With the coming of September I welcome the change from the slower pace of summer to the hustle and bustle of church and school activities.

It is interesting how each season has its own distinct qualities.

Winter is a time to curl up with good books in front of my fireplace (it is an electrical one but still a fireplace!) while enjoying a hot cup of British blends teas. Winter is also a good time to get caught up on all those sewing projects I have lying around. Who can resist that first snowfall that blankets our world?

Spring refreshes my world with hope as I watch earth’s slumber awaken with the signs of spring; new growth, spring flowers, baby bunnies and all of the birds returning from their southern journey. Spring is also the opportunity to indulge in spring cleaning as I clean out my closets and freshen up the house. Don’t you love the smell of the house that has just been scrubbed with Pine Sole as the window curtains flutter in the spring breeze?

Summer is set aside for vacations, working around the house and lazy days on the deck. The dog days of summer brings relaxation and enjoying good old-fashioned southern ice tea in front of my air conditioner. Who can remember laying down on the grass, watching the clouds float by and daydreaming of your future?

Oh but Autumn ~ my favorite time of year. The air is not only cooler after the lazy hot days of late summer, but it is brisk, fresh, and clean. Our mountains come alive in the colors of autumn, gold, russet, brown and orange. The smell of chalk boards and freshly copied paper from an old mimeograph machine permeates my mind. To this day I still enjoy buying new clothes in August and enjoy opening up a new notebook just waiting to be filled. Who remembers the anticipation of the first day of school?

Today as an adult my routine in Fall takes a different direction. Instead of getting ready for school, I prepare for committees and activities after a restful summer. My office is also busy as the committees of the Presbytery return from their summer breaks, new pastors move in and other pastors move on. The Presbyterian Church is also ready to start-up doing what they do best – helping others.

And that is where the next chapter in my life is taking me ~ helping others ~ as I anticipate the new challenges God has called me to.

I will be serving on a mission committee at church. We will have our first meeting next week as we find ways to help those in need both locally and in different parts of the world.

Then there is my term as the Historian for the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity. This year I will also serve not only as Historian but on their mission board. In addition I will also be undertaking the job of webmaster of their webpage. This is a story for a different time, because I did not see that one coming and walked right into volunteering to take over! But it is a challenge I welcome and will enjoy. I look forward to working with the person who set it up. (If you are reading this A.T. I thank you for this opportunity)

The biggest challenge has been to accept the responsibility of a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group leader. I have been in leadership for a few years but not as a group leader. We had our first class night and God has blessed me with a wonderful group of ladies. I look forward to not only seeing where God will lead me but where He will lead the class as we study about Moses together.

Regardless if I buy school supplies or office supplies or if I purchase clothes for work instead of for school I will always anticipate the new challenges that autumn brings.

What do you look forward to in autumn?

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How God Views Us

Patty B:

How God Views Us – as His Priceless Treasure, more valuable than any number of cows. He delights in us because we are His Redeemed Children… ” If you don’t know this already – accept it as truth, God LOVES you – you are important and valuable to God! “This gives us Godly Self-worth so there is no need for Worldly Self-esteem.

God sent His beloved one and only Son Jesus the Christ, a gift more precious than anything imaginable,

Originally posted on Freedomborn's Kingdom Garden:

Cow 33Cow 33A Story is told of a primitive culture where Brides were purchased from their Parents using cattle as an exchange medium.  An average Woman might merit the bride-price of two cows, an exceptional Woman

 might bring three; Cow 33Cow 33Cow 33

While a less desirable Woman’s family would receive one.

Cow 33

Into this Society, the Story goes, a rich and attractive Suitor came, looking for a Wife… 

 All the families paraded their eligible Daughters before him.  Everyone was surprised when he announced his intention to negotiate with the family of a young Woman who was unattractive and clumsy. 

 Perhaps it’s a bargain he’s after”, the Townspeople speculated, wondering if perhaps he would offer chickens instead of cows. 

  To everyone’s amazement, he offered the girl’s family six cows for their Daughter and quickly whisked her away for a long Honeymoon.

When they returned, months later, no one recognised the new Bride.  Gone were the…

View original 361 more words

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Favorite Children’s Song

Mannheim school 1For some reason this week – it is probably with school starting, that I was reminded of when I was in the First Grade and the first two songs I learned.  You can say they are my favorite because whenever I hear it I am transported back to the DOD (Dept of Defense) Mannheim Elementary School in Mannheim Germany where my father was stationed.

The two most things I enjoyed was learning to read and singing songs.

I can hear my mother as she sang with me.  To me she had the most beautiful voice in the world as I think of her singing German folk songs and the songs from the hit parade.

What is your favorite song from childhood? 

Frere Jacques

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Author: Unknown

London Bridge Is Falling Down

 

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Little League Baseball Unites The World

Carl StotzEvery year for two weeks children unite the world with a game called “Little League Baseball”.

It all started in 1938, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania when a young man by the name of Carl Stotz organized the first Little League Baseball League. In 1947 the first National Little League Tournament was held. The Maynard Midgets of Stotz’ hometown of Williamsport defeated a team from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to become the first Little League Tournament Champions. From there the series would change from a regional baseball league to include teams from all 50 American States, and eventually be televised on national TV. “By 1950, the first international Little Leagues had been established at either end of the Panama Canal and in Canada, prompting the National Tournament to be renamed the Little League Baseball® World Series.” 1 And in 1957 “Monterrey, Mexico, becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series”2.

LLBaseball

For two weeks out of the year we see cultural differences, hear foreign languages, and see the children of our future play together in a sport called Baseball. Year after year I watch the teams come together forming friendships and sharing an experience of a lifetime. I see firsthand the people of Williamsport and the surrounding communities welcoming the teams and their families.

We complain about the traffic, joke about not eating out at the local restaurants for 2 weeks and claim we will stay away from South Side (South Williamsport) where the games are now held. However by the end of July the town comes alive as the city plans for the teams arrival.

Before we know it, chairs start to line up on the parade route the night before as The Little League Grand Slam Parade begins and Williamsport welcomes the 16 teams.

Since 1975 when I moved to this area with my family, I have watched teams come from all over the world to participate in the Little League games. And during that time political and cultural differences are set aside as young boys and girls come together from as far away as Australia connecting the world by playing baseball.

Through the years teams from Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, South America, Africa and Russia to name a few, arrive in our little city. Those of us in the stands cheer and applaud the teams from abroad as if they were from our own hometowns. We do not see Asian, Mexican or Russians, we see young children coming together having fun and determined to do their best to win the championship title.

1408043155008-phxdc5-6gln00seb5k1k164ycsw-originalAs the world around us burns with unrest, these teams and their families show the world sportsmanship and team work. They show the world that people from different nationalities can indeed get along. So often I see the crowds stand up and applaud, supporting all the competing teams.

For two weeks in August the ball players, their families and the local community all come together as one.

There is a lesson to be learned from these two weeks– if those young ball players can bring the world together for two weeks out of the year why can’t world leaders find a common bond and come together the rest of the year? Can it be as simple as a baseball game?
Note: To find out which team will hold the 2014 Championship Title, you can watch the final game on Sunday August 24, 2014 on ESPN.

 

1http://www.littleleaguebiglegacy.com/Little_League_World_Series/About_the_Little_League_Baseball__World_Series.htm
2 http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/historyandmission/chronology.htm
For more information: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/about/worldserieshistory.htm http://www.northcentralpa.com/article/origin-little-league-baseball
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The Brave Scotsman ~ a short story

Hamish

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The Brave Scotsman

The sun was shining and not a cloud in the cool autumn sky as Hamish MacGinnis took his yearly walk to the old cemetery at the edge of the village. His steps were slow and no longer full of confidence. Every year rain or shine for the past 70 years he paid homage to the Memorial that sat in the middle of old worn headstones and tall weeds in the long forgotten cemetery.

He remembered the day he marched off in 1915 to fight in a war that was to end all wars. The flag of Scotland held high and songs of victory filled the air as the train pulled away.

As he neared the old battered train station, a train sounded in the distance. Old man MacGinnis was transported back to that day in 1915 when he boarded a train to an unknown future.

Flags were waving and crowds were cheering as the regiment boarded the train. Hamish held his Annie tight as her tears fell among the platform.

With shoulders bent and thoughts of Annie’s last embrace, Hamish went back inside where men were playing cards, laughing and joking about anything but what lay ahead of them.

Little Bobby MacTavish was the first of many to fall.

He remembered that day when he was marching with Bobby talking about home both laughing at the memories of boyhood shenanigans. Out of nowhere a bullet came and Bobby fell.

Gun fire erupted from both sides and then all was silent. The eerie stillness sunk deep into the souls of the men. Silence. A word they all yearned for yet feared. Hamish laid Bobby to rest on a muddy field, with a faded old ribbon attached to the picture of young woman who will be left to mourn the memory of a lost love.

Men came and went, killed in unknown valleys and farmlands, a long line of young men he was afraid to know yet would always remember the men who will forever lay in unmarked graves and on muddy fields.

Three years later he came home to the bands playing, men from other wars shaking his hand, young boys asking to see his medals and pretty young girls ready to offer up forbidden kisses.

A hero had returned home as a young woman waited, holding her breath until she held him in her arms and tears once again fell on the platform.

A hero, no longer a boy but a changed man who survived hell to come home to an unknown world, nothing seemed familiar yet everything was the same.

A hero, to be remembered for that fateful afternoon in a faraway village…

As the last of his childhood friends died on a cold winter night in 1917 – Hamish felt as if a bullet found the depths of his soul where darkness and hardness had now taken root. He fought and killed as if he were possessed by evil himself.

In the fall of 1918 they came upon what was left of a Belgium village. Only one building was left standing. As Hamish drew near he noticed a movement in a curtain, he signaled for his men to stop. Moving ever so slowly towards the building – a church, he steadied his rifle when a little head stared back at him. A child. Then another child stood up and looked out the window, then another in a doorway. The child in the doorway saw him and came forward – displaying the beauty of innocence, as he was reminded of another time in another life when innocence shone in the beauty of his love.

In that moment he saw the flash, heard the mortar as it found its target beyond the church. Hamish felt a stirring in his heart and called out to his men to save the children. Grabbing the child he ran towards the building. Risking their lives they found a child’s refuge in a battle-scarred church. The men held their ground while fighting erupted all around them. Mortars fell short and bullets missed their mark as men from the Kings Army protected dozens of children in an abandoned church.

As the battle came to a close and the Germans retreated, Hamish and his men left the church and was surprised at the destruction all around them but the church was left unharmed. A little girl reached out and put her hand in his, and as she smiled up at him  it was there that Hamish found the shattered pieces of his soul he thought long destroyed.

Dozens of lives were saved that afternoon. They were lives that grew up to become men and women who would also reach out to a new generation of innocence, protecting Jewish children from the storms of another war in a safe refuge of an old battle-scarred church.

He entered the cemetery with the memory of that day filling his heart and remembering that little girl whom many say he was a hero for saving. But it was that little girl who saved him when she reached for his hand.

Laying his poppies down at the memorial, he heard the voices once again from the past, all calling out to him. Then he saw his Annie, also reaching out to him telling him it is time to come home.

A warm Voice called out, “welcome home my brave Scotsman” and as Hamish looked up he saw a brilliance he could not explain and the Voice called out “well done faithful servant”. Soon he was surrounded by the thousands of souls that were saved because of one man’s heroism to save the beauty of innocence in a world gone mad.

In the midst of all those souls, one hand reached out….

Patty B.  August 2014
flanders_field

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Roots of Hope

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“The root of Jesse will spring up one who will arise to rule over the nations; in Him the Gentiles will hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:12-13

We however do not always overflow in hope. So often we place our hope and trust in what isn’t real. We read things, watch things and absorb so much “stuff” in our daily lives that we have somehow lost the hope of God that is deeply rooted in us.

So what is hope?? It is a desire for something good in the future and when we express hope, we are expressing uncertainty. But this is not the distinctive biblical meaning of hope. Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future, but with confidence Biblical Hope expects it to happen. What are the elements of this kind of hope?

~ Biblical Hope is faith that begins as a seed that is planted in us. It is a desire based on a promise from God. If we plant this seed into the soil of our hearts and if the soil is nourished, it will take root and bring forth a harvest of faith.

We must have hope to live in hope. To not have hope is to despair and in Christ, we are delivered from despair. How many of you are familiar with Anne of Green Gables? In the beginning of the movie, Anne laments that she is in the depths of despair. Her guardian Murilla Cuthbert quickly tells her that “to despair is to turn your back on God”. Whenever I remember that quote I always say to myself, “but to have hope is to embrace God”.

Hope is the seed that Jesus planted in us. Hope has been deeply rooted in us through the Holy Spirit and allows us to embrace God when we find ourselves in the “depths of despair”. When hope takes root and eventually blossoms, our despair will turn to hope. We will embrace the seed planted in us through God’s living and abiding Word. We will see our hope overflow – fresh and new every day.

~ Biblical Hope influences the way we live. What sustained Joseph through all the trials he experienced? He was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, lied about by Potiphar’s wife, unjustly thrown in prison. Many of you know the story. Life got pretty unfair for Joseph. What kept him going? What kept him faithful to God? HOPE gave Joseph revelation of what can be and Joseph grabbed hold of God’s plan for his life and hung on. What is God’s plan for your life and are you hanging on? There is nothing like fulfilling God’s plan for our life. God’s possibilities set before us are limitless!

~ Biblical Hope is heaven-sent. The hope that is not of this world will never disappoint you and can’t be taken away that is heaven-sent hope. Real hope is a gift from God. The words of the prophet Isaiah found their fulfillment in a babe born in a manger. Our hope was sent from heaven; real hope has a name; His name is Jesus! Jesus is our hope!

Hear the first verse of the hymn, “The Solid Rock” – “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

~ Biblical Hope must be received personally. Notice the words of the song do not say, “Our hope,” but “MY HOPE.” Until you and I choose to accept God’s gift of hope found only through His Son Jesus, we live in this world without hope.
God doesn’t give us an empty hope; our hope does indeed overflows! The supply of hope is not going to diminish or come up short. Heaven sent hope is always more than enough!

In verse 13 of the Romans passage, Paul says as we trust in the God of hope we will “overflow with hope” (NIV), in the Message bible it states, “God will fill us so full we “brim over with hope”.

Has life thrown you a curve-ball and struck you out?

Are you having a hard time finding any silver lining around all your grey clouds?

Has work become drudgery?

Do you have too much month left at the end of your money?

Trust God and allow Him to pour His hope into your life. God won’t just give you enough for today. God won’t leave you needing more. God will cause hope to overflow within your life as you become God’s Living Hope for the world to see. Again, from the Message translation, “We will brim over in Hope”.

When life confronts you with hard times you can either let your circumstances get you down or you can rise above the circumstances with Biblical HOPE. Let this hope give you the endurance and strength to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up; the hope that God offers will see you through!

May Biblical Hope take root in your soul ~

May it overflow in your life ~

And may the Living, Honest, Patient, Sustaining, and Eternal Hope you have found deeply nourish the lives you touch.

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Hope In Bloom ~ Roots of Hope

 

Hope In Bloom Flower arrangement of the Creation

Hope In Bloom
Flower arrangement of the Creation

In June I had a wonderful opportunity to help in the worship service for the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Trinity Women’s Gathering.  Women from 16 Presbyteries from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania joined together to worship, praise and serve our God.

The theme was “Hope In Bloom”.  There were 5 separate worship services; “Seeds of Hope”, “Roots of Hope”, “Sprouts of Hope”, “Nourishing Hope” and “Blossoms of Hope”

I did not realize all the preparations that went into creating such a program.  The Coordinating Team  met in September of 2013 and again in January 2014 to plan and organize the event for June.  In between those months I along with many women were working behind the scenes using our talents and gifts to bring this event together. 

One of my duties was to write a worship service for “Roots of Hope”. I have never accomplished anything like this before.  This was the first step out of my comfort zone, to write something that I would have to read in front of many women I did not know.  Forget what I said about the first step, because I did not step out of my comfort zone I jumped!

Here is part of my worship service.  The song “Sowing Seeds of Hope” was written by our Worship Coordinator, Mary McElroy – regrettably I do not have the words to it to share with you.

This morning we sang “Sowing Seeds of Hope”. Through those seeds God plants:

A Living Hope that takes root in the reality of the hardships of life and holds us close to God our Father.

An Honest Hope whose roots grow deep in our souls and keep us firmly planted in God’s unfailing promises.

A Patient Hope grown out of those little seeds that help us not to soar but to walk gently and without fainting.

A Sustaining Hope that brings God’s rest in our struggles and His peace in our storms.

And finally, an Eternal Hope that is only found in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Keeper of our Souls.

Hebrews 10:23 states: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” Let us sow the seeds of hope and allow our roots to grow deep so that we can remain firmly planted in God’s promise of His eternal hope for tomorrow, and the grace and peace of His presence today.

The closing song (A Firm Foundation) ~ along with the evening prayer with extinguishing the Christ Candle, wrote by our Worship Coordinator that I worked into the evening vespers.

Colossians 2:6-7 “Just as you received Christ Jesus as LORD, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Rooted in Christ! Now that is a firm foundation! As we extinguish the Christ candle, a symbol of Christ among us, may we stand firm in Christ as we take this light in our hearts to guard us through the night. Let the light shine through us and shower glimmers of HOPE along the way.

Let us pray;
Ever present God, walk with us into the night and hold us steady. Help us to visualize your nourishment coming to us through your strong roots. When we start to waver hold us close and show us new and fresh horizons. Guard our ways and keep us through the darkness that we may awake with the dawn ready to witness to your glory. Be with those we have left behind and hold them in the safety of your hands. Bring us peace as we go to rest that we may awake refreshed and enthusiastic about another day to serve you. Through Christ, our roots of hope we pray.
AMEN

I would also like to thank my spiritual director, Rev.Christine Woods-Henderson for helping me with wording and grammar for the opening and the devotion.  Tomorrow I will post the devotion.

May the roots of our faith that is found in Jesus Christ nourish you each and every day.

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Thunderstorms

storm clouds 1

 

 

 

 

 

Thunderstorms

It starts with a low rumble
As the sun shines brightly
Off in the distance clouds gather
First white, and then gray turning black
Ominous and foreboding
Rain pours down from the heavens
Darkness sets in
Wind blows and hail begins
Trees bent cowering in the storm
The clouds begin to scatter
First black, then gray then white
Foreboding replaced with stillness
Light shows the way
Rain turns to  mist as the rumble fades
Trees stand tall no longer afraid
As the thunderstorm goes its way
 
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Before and After

Patty B:

Here are my pictures before and after the painting. As you can see it looks like a different house all together. I am enjoying the new colors and the new lay out.

Originally posted on A Photo Journal Of Special Moments:

Our painting is done and everything is put back.  I wanted something totally different and neutral.

After much work I have a new color and new rooms.  Now I can rest and enjoy the new look. Until the next project that is.

The first set is the den and now my home office / sewing room.

Before

After

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

My living room.

Before

After

View original

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Fresh Color ~ Fresh Start

house_paint_sI decided to have my living room and den painted and to rearrange those rooms into a different look.  It has been years since my house had a make over and I decided this would be the year.

I need a fresh start.  I am unable to  move nor do I want to at this time. This became the opportunity for me change my life, starting with my home.

“There is a time to grieve and a time to dance” {Ecclesiastes 3:4}  There is indeed a time under each season for us to grow.  A time to grieve, a time to heal and a time to begin again.

Now is the time for me to dance ~ to heal ~ to begin again as I take that giant leap, moving ahead with my memories kept lovingly tucked in my heart while I lay the past to rest ~ tearing the past down and building up a new life.  {“A time to tear down and a time to build up” Ecclesiastes 3:3}

The problem is I am no longer 3o and definitely not 20! What was I thinking??!!

It all started with the decision to plant a few shrubs, a new picture or two and the rearranging of the upstairs so my daughter can have a “living room”.

Tom and I did most of the work ourselves over the years but then we were younger and more energetic.  So I decided to hire someone to do the painting for me. 

Sounded like a good idea until I realized I still needed to pack everything up and move furniture and boxes to the kitchen, my bedroom and upstairs.  

Since I had plenty of time from when I made the arrangements I kept putting it off and as most will laugh as you know the time is here before we know it.  I had procrastinated long enough, P-day is near (Paint Day!)

p2So for the next week or two I may be AWOL.  The painter comes Monday and since I am going a bit lighter it may take up to three 3 days to get enough coats to cover my nice deep country colors, not to mention patching up 20 years of holes from new pictures, rearranging and dogs eating my walls – yes you read right! 

And of coarse I need to put everything back.  Thankfully I do have help, my good friend will be stopping by to  help today or tomorrow and as my daughter said, we will end up talking and laughing while she does all the work!

During all my “projects” from my honey do list I have had many people help me out either doing it for me or by teaching me how to become a Mrs. Fix It.  My sister and brother in law have really stepped in and words cannot express how much I appreciate their help during this past year.

With mixed emotions I look forward to the day when I am done and have rearranged not only my living room and den but my life to be fresh and new.

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