Tina Jo and Dr Morton’s Sale

Second Introduction of Christiana Jolene:

Hey- it’s me again Tina Jo (well my full name is Christiana Jolene) but my family saw to it that I end up with a nickname. Maybe you met me earlier? Apparently I’m a bit of a source of confusion… I am a fictional character created my friend (Kendra) to help tell about an event. In other words- it’s more fun to come up with the idea of being a lighthouse than to just post on here “We climbed Cape Hatteras. It is 208 feet tall and has 268 steps” And while a lot of the details are based on whatever Kendra has experienced recently- whenever I’m around- I’m only a story. No- Kendra missed helping in the pea patch because she was “working” by taking a group of ladies to the beach. No- her granddad is still living and never tended a lighthouse… So anyhow… I’m still trying to establish how to make clear to you my reader when truth stops and story starts… Sorry for the disillusion… Here goes attempt 2:

“In reality the community works on this project all year… But yesterday was show time. I guess this event means a lot to our family because one of my uncles was blessed with a special needs child and we know how valuable Dr Morton and his ministry is. We love little Bri and the sunshine she is.  But there is a lot that goes into her care.

Let me back up- in Lancaster Co- there is a Doctor who has given his life to minister to families with special needs children. He has done extensive research and has impacted countless lives by introducing different dietary plans, etc to help avoid worsening symptoms of these incredible people who God created. He has patients in 34 states and 14 countries- so he has obviously reached to more than just the conservative Anabaptist communities even though a large percentage of his patients would fall under that bracket. Because clinic costs only cover 1/3 of his costs- there are about 6 or 7 different benefit auctions scattered here and there to raise the remaining balance. And let me tell you- those auctions are something else!

My mom was on doughnut duty so she headed out early- and I tagged along to help out however. This is the 17th auction for our area- and you might say we’ve learned a few things. There is a drying rack that is soon well laden with doughnuts ready for breakfast- or to be boxed up and sold that way.


The food was amazing- a complete breakfast- eggs, ham, sausage, hash browns, bacon, pancakes…. A canoe was set up with a deluxe fruit and salad bar… There was a pizza shop and for lunch I tried some of the shrimp that is cooked with steam from an old steam engine… Wow!!!  I had signed up to help make soft pretzels- and we whipped through the dough until I was pretty sure I’d see pretzels in my sleep.


But the donations is what always boggles my mind. People donate anything. And this year was no different. Produce, handmade items (rugs, wooden bowls, lamps, corner cupboards, shelves, dresses, quilts)… They put together kits (e.g “surprise package for a family” or “blizzard night basket- fuzzy blanket, a candle, hot chocolate, coloring book…” or “ice cream toppings”) The baskets were beautiful and so many creative ideas… They buy new things- a little red wagon, a drill set, an air rifle. They donate services “2 hours with Martins Excavating”. We have 2 auctions going full tilt for almost 6 hours.

But then the most critical thing to make this work is- people come from all over and buy. I love watching the crowd and the variety of people who venture out in this rainy day to help support these families. And I think God smiles on our efforts. Because it’s really what it’s all about. Seeing that the Christian community is willing to sacrifice however and go the second mile to rally around these families with this incredible calling and support them. What a delightful way to ‘share one another’s burden’  Isn’t that what life is all about?”

Blessings as you support whichever ministry is on your heart. Today, mine is special needs children 🙂 -Tina Jo and her friend Ken

Bonus Pics:

When I headed out the door to the Morton Sale in Shippensburg, my mom’s words of advice were “buy something” so with checkbook in hand… I’m not much on bidding so I didn’t think there was a chance… But the quilts were not bringing enough. I’d hate to make a quilt for $300-$400… Soooo- “Was a quilt what you had in mind? Mother dear?” lol P.S the big Morton Sale is in Leola, Pa Sept 19. See you there? 🙂


And wheat harvest 2015 has provided some fun photo opportunities 🙂

IMG_3823-0 IMG_3822-0 IMG_3863-0



Be a lighthouse

Recently I made a new acquaintance. She reminds me of my sisters- full of energy and big ideas, with snappy brown eyes… I’m not really sure how old she is- 15 maybe? Or if she has siblings (but I think she does). And I really don’t know if we’ll meet again… I hope so- but only time will tell…  

(editor’s note: this is a fictional character that I’m hoping will help me pull random facts into my posting… In other words this is a rather wordy way for me to say- my work week took me to Outer Banks, NC and Cape Hatteras… So enjoy this for what it’s worth.)

Ladies and Gentleman- I present to you- Miss Chistianna Jolene 

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I felt like our pea patch stretched on to the ends of the earth. The main thing that helped my ambition level was the fact that I.love.peas. They may be my favorite vegetable. But in the back of my mind, the unspoken fact that you can purchase them at your local grocery store-was rearing its ugly head… But I ignored it and continued on.

I let my imagination take over. I do that occasionally. Suddenly the green vines in front of my turned into greenish waves and I was taking my spot as lifeguard at the ocean. I settled back in my seat and looked out over the scene in front of me. I love the water. The power of the ocean gets me every time. I think , that when I stand in front of the pounding, constant surf, I have the best grasp on how truly small man is and how big God is. My second favorite thing about the beach is the families. I love watching Moms and Dad taking time off to do nothing but enjoy being outside with their children. Sand castles are being constructed, football is being tossed, and there’s always that battle of the waves that needs some attention… So I settled in for a long, hot day. I do enjoy my job, and I know how important my presence is to all those parents. It’s good to know that if something would go wrong, that help is already here. “Excuse me a minute, that one little fellow is getting a-plenty far out”  I picked up my whistle and was preparing to whistle him in, when…


“So what are you thinking about” My mom’s voice interrupted my rescue and nearly gave me a heart attack…

“What makes you think I was thinking?” 😉

“My little dreamer” my mom always says “if you were a boy, we should’ve named you Joseph” And then we laugh because if anyone knows what an imagination is like, you might say that I get it honest.

So I caught her up to speed on my imagined beach rescue. She was quiet for a little and then said “Did you ever hear about my dad’s summer at the water?”

I hadn’t and for the next half a bushel of peas, I settled in for story time. My mom can tell a great story and I was transported back in time…


“I don’t know how old my dad was- but it was the summer after Granddad had broken his leg in a logging accident, and Dad needed to get away a little. Granddad was up and rolling again and Dad was at that critical point as a teenager- where he was faced with some life changing decisions… He always was fascinated by the ocean and read every book he could get his hands on-especially ones about daring sea rescues. So when Granddad ran into an old friend and discovered that he was tending a lighthouse- that seemed like the perfect fit.

That summer must’ve been something. Dad often talked about it. He lived with a fairly large family, with a big garden and their own milk cow. Every morning, 5 gallons of Kerosene (between 30-40 lbs) needed to be hauled up the flight of 268 stairs, and the brass at the top of the lighthouse was always in need of polishing. Yet somehow they still found time for a little surf fishing and a quick swim.

The lighthouse was placed at a critical point because the Gulf Stream ran fairly close to where the island was, so of course ships used it. But there is a sand bar underwater there that is forever changing- and thus caused a lot of headache for the crews. I think the watery graveyards around there had claimed 600 ships- as near as anybody knew…

Some evenings Dad would go out to the Lifeguard Station and listen to those hearty seamen swap tales. Apparently the unofficial motto of these everyday heroes was “The rules say you have to go out, they don’t say anything about coming back.”  Not too long before, they had been the ones who had discovered the mysterious Carroll M. Deering which was a ship that had run aground and when they arrived- they discovered the only living being on board to be a thin gray cat. The ship was in perfect order- beds were made, food was prepared- but the entire crew disappeared without a trace. And they never did find them. It was maybe pirates. Or the crew could’ve felt restless and joined up with another ship and disappeared… But nobody knows. Except that cat. And it refused to tell.

They were a team- the lighthouse and the lifesaving station… The keeper kept the light burning hoping to slim down their opportunity for rescues- but when that need arose- they’d embark without a backward glance.


The absolute highlight of the experience was at night. He’d climb those stairs, look out into the darkness,  watch those beams dancing across the water and think about the difference that one light was making. It must have been awesome up there. He always tried to describe it-that salty sea breezes against his face, the stars twinkling overhead, the sound of the night birds calling back and forth on the shore line…”

“How many people did he help rescue?” I wondered

“I guess we don’t know yet.”

Now that threw me for a loop- wasn’t this back in the ’20s?

“It was that summer that he decided to become a lighthouse. I don’t know if it was an idea from a sermon he heard while on the island, or if it was an inspiration from his favorite night post… But if I heard it once growing up- I heard it about 5,000 times… ‘There’s so much darkness and confusion around us,’ he’d say ‘Be there. Be constant. Allow the love of Christ to shine from you and reach people. Be a lighthouse!’ And that’s exactly how he lived his life.”

I wish I could’ve met him- my mom sure thinks highly of a man who was called home before I can remember…

Suddenly I realized that we had reached the end of the garden.. And I headed to the house with my bucket, and heart, full- determined to let my light shine.

Bonus Pics:

I think these are my favorites from Emily and Kerry’s engagement pics.. 🙂

IMG_3658 IMG_3657

The Plight of Sarita

Dear Sarita, (name changed to protect the innocent)


Sweet, little, dark-eyed child, You’re on my heart tonight. I guess we technically haven’t met. You sat on my sister’s lap and stared at the computer while we were face timing and I could understand with my limited Spanish that she was explaining to you that I was her sister and that we had a dog. But you were silent.

She told me your story though… Life is so not fair and you remind me of that. Born to a single mom, so poor you didn’t have any food and barely any clothes. Born HIV positive and if that isn’t enough- being tongue-tied to where you can’t talk. Ah little one- why would God allow such hard things? What is your future? Will you ever have a best friend that you can share secrets with? That you can giggle and just be silly girly self? Will you go to school and learn to read and discover a world beyond what you know? Will you give your life to Christ and allow your situation to teach you a compassion that challenges others? Will you be given a chance to live life at all, or will you be released from these hard circumstances while still in your innocence? But if time allows- with the handicap of not being able to speak- What future is there?


And then she told me something else- that generous friends had given her money and that she was hoping to check into your medical needs and the possibility of freeing you- to where you could make the words roll off your tongue instead of coming out in a blob… I hope your little sister makes you as proud as mine does me… I wonder  how much this procedure would cost? This gift of a more normal existence… And I pray for wisdom for those around you- that if it’s right- that you can get help…


Oh, Darling- God does make a way- there is hope. Your silent face on the other side of the screen is one in millions and millions of hurting people. I know that God has a plan for you- just as He does for all of us. And that He will bring it to pass…

Sweet dreams, Dear innocent child- May you feel His loving arms tonight- Kendra