Affirming August

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged in letter form 🙂 But here goes:

To our friends scattered to and fro,

Hello from Turleytown!         {Ok, so I’m still not used to writing that. Somehow Paradise Lane sounds much more picturesque.. And I refuse to change from Mountain Musings to Turleytown Trivia- even tho that may  be more accurate…}

Life continues to speed by around here. It’s hard to imagine that we are through August without hardly getting the chopper out of the shed! We did chop a bag at the home because the silage in our trenches is disappearing like ice on a warm day-but other than that, we wait with baited breath for the flurry to begin.


Lancaster Co, PA

Along with the ringing of school bells, came the parking of my vans. I am so excited! I’ve gotten in on so many neat things this summer, but enough is enough, and I’m beside myself to be at home and return to checking the crops with my dad and spending the  day roasting in the kitchen while canning with my mom and sisters. I’m sure I’ll be ready to travel again soon, but until then… 🙂


While checking our beans, we discovered a new weed creeping into our fields: Mare’s Tail. I don’t know if it’s as serious as our friends at the local seed and fertilizer made it out to be, but they said that it’s Round-Up resistant and spreads like wild fire- 1 plant today, 100 acres next year. Somebody tracked this weed seed for 300 miles on a strong wind, and says that it is worse than Johnson’s Grass was back its day. I don’t know, but just in case, we mixed up a backpack sprayer and spent a very warm afternoon wading through shoulder high beans-spot spraying. Since then, we notice Mare’s Tail everywhere. So if all of you within a 300 mile radius would kill the weeds in the ditches by your place,etc- we should be good! 🙂


(in case you don’t know what you should be annihilating- Mare’s Tail in all it’s glory)

I thought I wasn’t going to travel at all this week, UNTIL- we got an invitation from our soybean supplier to come for a low country boil out on the Northern Neck. What a feast.  All you can eat- shrimp, crabs, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes… Unbelievable! And what a gorgeous area!




As we traveled along, my mom pulled out a quote book and this quote continues to challenge me:

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well -Martin Luther King Jr

I hope that this can be said of my life- that whatever adventure I’m called to, that I do it with all of my might for God’s glory.

Blessing on your week,


Bonus Pics:

Mother grew a 52.2 lb watermelon and it was delicious! Thanks Em for the pic 🙂


Perks of riverland, Father needed help moving the spray crew from point A to point B, so while we waited, Em and I enjoyed the coolness of Middle River. (This was before the Mare’s Tail incident, lest I leave you under the impression that we swim while Father treks back and forth with a backpack sprayer in the blazing sun 😉 )


And I’ll leave you with a few shots of the beautiful Valley…



Around the World: Summary by the Wise Old Owl

Mr Blue Jay peered out into the sparkling snowy wilderness around the Great Tree, that held the bird feeder where he and Mrs were feasting on breakfast, his beady black eyes surveying the countryside. “You know, Mrs, there’s been something I’ve been pondering recently and today, I’ve decided that I’m absolutely right with my observations.”Mrs Blue Jay passed an adoring glance at her confident mate. ” Do tell, Mr Charming”

“I have decided that we are the best birds.”

She smiled and continued crunching on the bird seed provided by the farmer’s wife, so he continued: “We eat the best food- seeds that we find or are gifted to us- what if we had to eat –shiver– fish from a stream… Nope- instead we have every need and wish supplied- because we are happy to eat seeds (and occasionally the farm dog’s dog food)

And… We are the best color. With my blue coat I match the sky as I fly. No ugly brown or bright colors for me!

And-I hate to say this- but our voices are the perfect pitch.” he paused mid thought to glide through the air and shout a few “THIEF THIEF” s at the cat who was making its way to the barn.

“You see, a pitiful chirp wouldn’t have taught that cat a thing.” He explained as he landed back by the feeder.

His wife nodded in agreement. “I’ve never thought about it like that- but I believe you absolutely have a point.”

“May I ‘have a point’ too?” Mr Owl stuck his head out his bedroom door and then joined the Blue Jays on the tree.

The Blue Jay’s cast amused glances at each other- Mr Owl is rather groggy after a sleepless night of hunting and before he gets his coffee. His one ear looked like he had slept on it. He ruffled his feathers. “We- umm- weren’t trying to disturb you… Sure, present your case”

Mr Owl paused a little and began: “Who’s to decide who’s best? Suppose that we should all adapt to your way of life- what would the Eagle do trying to hang onto this bird feeder with his massive claws? or what if I’m right in hunting prey at night? How’s your night vision? or maybe the Baltimore Oriole builds the best nest- carefully knitting a sack nest hanging in a tree- what would the long legged Blue Heron do?


Or what if the Humming Birds thirst for nectar was preferable to catching rabbits- can you see the Red Tail Hawk hovering in front of each brilliant flower? Maybe the Canadian Goose’s trip to the Southland is the perfect winter getaway-what would a penguin do? I can see him now-waddling over hill and dale in his black tuxedo sweating like a racing mule… Tell me, friends, who is the perfect bird?”

The Blue Jays crunched their breakfast thoughtfully, so Mr Owl finished with one last remark. ” In the grand orchestra of the woodland- it takes all creatures to make the most melodious sound. I think if we were all cello, or all flutes, or trombones- the music wouldn’t be all that outstanding… It takes us all” and with that wise remark- He disappeared for another nap.

Mrs Jay looked adoringly once more at her confident mate. ” You sure know how to create conversation.”

He winked at her and said ” He does ‘have an excellent point’.”

And thus brings us to the end of our culture quest.

Except it doesn’t. Culture will surround us forever. Embrace it. Love how it makes a difference in who you are as an individual. Look for it in your friend or neighbor and realize how it makes a difference in their story. And most of all- allow others to be who they are meant to be. No culture is completely right. None are completely wrong. We need all instruments in this orchestra of life to create the fullest, most vibrant song…

In the end- it’s not our culture that’s going to matter- it’s where we stand before Our Loving Heavenly Father…

“All God’s Children singing glory, glory, He reigns, He reigns…”



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 🙂

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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 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.. 🙂

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