May 29, 2006

We left Saturday night for Vermont. Boy, they sure don’t call it the “Green Mountain State” for nothing. Talk about green. It’s all over the place! They say it’s just because it’s spring. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be in the fall! All those maples turning rich brilliant shades of red, some golden yellows mixed in…oh yeah. Sometimes I think it’s too bad we miss the foliage.

The way I figure it Vermont has green license plates because they need something green to look at in winter, when the snow is piled chest high. Ski country!

As Bonnie and I walked around Barre in the afternoon we saw lots of old houses, a monument to ‘Italian-American’ stone cutters, three pennies, a cool looking stream, several yard sales, and hippies. I guess there are a lot of granite quarries in and around Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, and many Italians came there to practice their stone cutting trade. Now I feel connected to Vermont. ;-) Ya know there are two kinds of people in this world…those who are Italian and those who wish they were. Hehe.

We hung out at the morning church during the afternoon. Some of us got out instruments and jammed. While I was putting my fiddle away I went to loosen the bow and ’pop’, all the hairs on the bow went limp! Turns out the brass shaft broke inside the bow and it was unfixable. We still had a concert to do! Praise the Lord I had with me another bow (also broken, but not totally broken). The bow survived the concert but I don’t want to practice with it now. I’d better get it fixed soon…we have to sing June 10th. But, all things considered I still think the night concert went better. We were warmed up and relaxed. The building we sang in was really old. We calculate the super wide boards on the floor had been growing for 85 years previous to installation. The church filled up and the folks who organized it thought they had set some kind of world record for attendance. :-) I’m so glad God’s word went out and people were blessed. We had a great time meeting folks afterward while eating ice cream. Strawberry ice cream on a warm night tastes great btw. (Dad said he only had vanilla by the time he got to it.)

We got back early this morning and got over to the cemetery to set up for the ceremonies. Dad decided not to use the new digital system. The threat of rain and lack of sleep contributed at that decision. J *yawn* It went smoothly and they invited us to do a song next year and of course set up for them again. :-)

I’ll leave you with some pictures of our Vermont adventure…

Did you know Vermont doesn’t allow billboards?

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Nice fog eh?

Green, green and more green!
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Flip flops and mountains…..
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How very Vermont.

A free concert AND ice cream!
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Can anyone guess which song we're playing here?
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For Memorial Day.
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Hope you all had a great weekend!

May 23, 2006

May 23 - A day in history.....

1785 : Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals

1957 : Victor Graham MacDonald was born

Happy Birthday Dad!!

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Wouldn’t you know birthday number 49 calls for three birthday cakes. :-) Not really. We just felt like making three. :D

Cake # 1 Toffee-Mocha Cream Torte
Three layers of mocha chocolate cake, whipped cream and crushed heath bars!
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Cake # 2 and #3
The one of the top is for the no-white sugar group - a fruit compote type with pineapple, mandarin oranges, crumbled cake, and bananas. Sweetened with honey and a small sprinkle of raw sugar. It was really good!!
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#3 is Italian cream cake.

May 19, 2006

Going to the nursing home and singing and playing for the residents is such a blessing. Once in a while you get a comment and you wonder ‘where did that come from?!’ lol

Yesterday at the nursing home I was informed that I’d better be careful that Hannah’s long hair didn’t choke her. This sweet old lady proceeded to tell me her former neighbor had nearly choked to death on her hair but they ‘caught her just in time’. (It’s unclear if the gal got hair down her throat or it wrapped around her neck. ??) I assured her I’d try to keep Hannah from choking. “You’d better’ was the reply. I’ve never worried about choking on my hair. The only time I can think of it being even close to strangling me is swimming without pulling it up or putting it in a braid. I do have personal experience that electric drills and long hair don’t mix. But that’s another story for another time…lol

Wednesday night we sang at church founded by Dwight L. Moody! Well, the original building burned back in 1970’s but they rebuilt on the same lot. It has an original foundation stone dated 1888.

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Pretty cool. Hannah actually got some pics of us singing. But, I can’t get them off the camera due to cord issues. :(

The acoustics were so so neat. A very ‘live’ room.

We had a great unexpected visit from our friend Mrs. M. She was on the way somewhere else. She saw the sign, stopped and stayed for the concert. :-) PTL for perfect timing!

Here are some other pics from Wednesday night……

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Matthew and Vincent

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Mom, Bonnie, Dad and Daniel (waaaay in the back)
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May 18, 2006

Today I found out that procrastination and collecting ‘junk’ can pay off. I say can because I know it doesn’t always. ;-) Someone gave me a window with six panes with fabric stretched across the back. It looked classic (I though) but ever since dad gave me hard time for accepting I felt like ‘duh what were you thinking? You have no place to display it and everyone else thinks it‘s ugly‘. (This is the junk part.) Sitting in my room collecting dust I knew I had to return it. The problem was I didn’t want to lug it down the street and explain why I didn’t want it. (That’s the procrastinating part.)

Tonight mom and I talked about the new blue bathroom color and how we need to make the room ‘open up’ a little. It was resembling an underwater sea cave by now and something needed to be done and soon! All of a sudden I said, ’We need a window in here!’. Of course. Just put a window in. Riiight. Wait, we can do that! We disused what on earth we would find or print to put in each pane. My thoughts flew to the tropical ocean calendar I had purchased with the intent of framing the pictures after the year was over. Some how it got wet and the corners had stuck together. Trimming the bad spots I figured I could eventually frame them, when I got around to it, had the time, and had the gumption, etc., etc.. (I guess that’s procrastination and junk saving all put together!) Soooo, we cut some pictures out and PTL, it turned out cool! Now we don’t have a underwater cave. We now have a tropical vacation spot to brush our teeth. :-)

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I’m not sure if this is enjoyable to read, but, we sure had fun putting the room together!

I have lots to blog about from yesterday and today, but we’re enforcing the 10:00 pm rule tonight.

…Till next time….

May 16, 2006

Mother's Day

The origins of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient Greece and their spring celebrations in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.

In 1600's England celebrated something called "Mothering Sunday" on the 4th Sunday of the month. The servants had that day off and were encouraged to travel to see and spend time with their mother. Sometimes they even brought a mothering cake to add a festive touch.

As Christianity spread the holiday was used to honor the
"Mother Church - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm"

That doesn't sound too swift!

This was combined with Mothering Sunday and people started honoring their own mothers as well has the church.

Julia Ward Howe (Battle Hymn's author) began to suggest celebrating Mother's Day in America back in 1872. Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, campaigned to make it a national holiday in 1907 and even convinced her late mother's church in Grafton, WV to observe on Mother's Day on the second Sunday of the month on the second annyversary of her death. In 1911, after Ana wrote petitioning pastors, business men, politicians, most of the country was celebrating Mother's Day. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother's Day a national holiday.

So today we have a commercialized Mother's Day. Everyone sends a Hallmark and buys flowers and other small gifts.

Thor Ramsey on the show 'Bananas' complained about Mother's Day cards. He waved his arms wildly in the shape of those elegant swirlly embelishments while saying 'to the best mother in the the world'. He stopped and said, "why can't they just say 'you did the best you could?' ". lol Ok, so maybe you had to be there....

In conclusion I believe my mom (and dad) should be honored everyday not just one or two days a year. Doesn't the Bible say 'Honor your father and mother'?

Prov 17:6

Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.


May 14, 2006

We did our annual Mothers Day concert at a local nursing home this afternoon.

The place packed out by 2:15pm even though when we arrived about an hour earlier we commented on how few people were there. All seats taken and overflow in the other room! Half the people in there couldn’t see us.

I couldn’t remember if the spot they had us sing in shrunk or we got bigger and brought more stuff! Strange how perspectives change as you get older... (LOL, inside joke.) I can clearly remember the ‘mountain’ in the backyard of our old church. Turns out it’s only a little hill….:(

So back to the concert. Considering we haven’t sung since April it went smoothly. *phew* I don’t think we forgot anything, even though there was momentary concern for the keyboard power supply and pedal. And I don’t think we missed too many words either! I absolutely refused to bounce on the “Smile” song even though I was being poked and nudged by people.

I don’t understand how I can play violin at home and then perform terribly in public! I have to get a strict rigid practice routine. Like no breakfast unless I've already practiced for 5 hours and no computer until I've done 10 hours each day. Haha, not really but I think I need more structure. I need fiddle to be like second nature…

Afterward we ate cream puffs *sigh* and drank strawberry punch. Oh my, I blew any resolve I had to eat less junk food. But, today is Sunday. Shouldn’t that be a feast day? I need to get on the NordicTrack or something….it’s been really damp, grey weather here. It’s been raining for almost a week and no end in sight. That's not very encouraging for exercise! Bonnie is such a trooper...rain, snow, sleet, mist, fog, hail(?), tornado (??) hurricane (????!) a running she will go.

We had a surprise visit from the Skinner family, our family friends we met years ago! Too bad they had to listen from another room; they couldn‘t see us very well from around the corner!

Here’s some of us and some of them -

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We also got to visit Big Bear and Betty Bear, our friends from New York.

Here is a very recent pic of us. It was taken probably less than two hours ago…if you go back in the archives you’ll find the family pic (minus dad) taken exactly one year ago on the same wall.

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I can’t believe how fast the guys are growing….lol….but Peter might be up on his toes. :-)

May 11, 2006

What would happen if the internet was taxed, regulated and under UN control? I would hope that would never be a reality. Please take note of this website which is trying to keep that from happening. Apparently the House of Representatives will vote any day on legislation that would be the first step toward government control, taxation, regulation and UN control of the internet.

May 08, 2006

We read this aloud Sunday. Kind of long but it's really really nice...
Photos taken 5/6/06.

A Meditation for the First of May

Isaac Watts

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What astonishing variety of artifices, what innumerable millions of
exquisite works, is the God of Nature engaged in every moment. How
gloriously are his all-pervading wisdom and power employed in this useful
season of the year, this spring of nature! What infinite myriads of
vegetable beings is he forming this very moment, in their roots and
branches, in their leaves and blossoms, their seeds and fruit! Some indeed
began to discover their bloom amidst the snows of January, or under the
rough cold blasts of March. Those flowers are withered and vanished in
April, and their seeds are now ripening to perfection. Others are showing
themselves this day in all their blooming pride and beauty; and while they
adorn the gardens and meadows, with gay and glowing colors, they promise
their fruits in the days of harvest. The whole nation of vegetables is
under the divine care and culture, his hand forms them day and night with
admirable skill and unceasing operation, according to the natures he first
gave them, and produces their buds and foliage, their flowery blossoms, and
rich fruit in their appointed months. Their progress in life is exceeding
swift at this season of the year; and their successive appearances, and
sweet changes of rainment are visible almost hourly.

But these creatures are of lower life, and give but feebler displays of
the Maker’s wisdom. Let us raise our contemplations another story, and
survey a nobler theatre of divine wonders. What endless armies of animals
is the hand of God molding and figuring this moment throughout his brutal
dominions! What immense flights of little birds are now fermenting in the
egg, heaving and growing towards shape and life! What vast flocks of
four-footed creatures, what droves of large cattle are now framed in their
early embryos, imprisoned in the dark cells of nature! and others perhaps
are moving toward liberty and just preparing to see the light.

What unknown myriads of insects in their various cradles and nesting
places are now working towards viatility and motion! and thousands with
their painted wings just beginning to unfurl and expand themselves into
fluttering and daylight; while other families of them have forsaken their
husky beds, and exult and glitter in the warm sun-beams!

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An exquisite world of wonders is complicated even in the body of every
little insect, an ant, a gnat, a mite, that is scarce visible to the naked
eye. Admirable engines! which a whole academy of philosophers could never
contrive; which the nation of poets hath neither arts nor colors to
describe: nor has a world of mechanics skill enough to frame the plainest,
or coarsest of them. Their nerves, their muscles, and the minute atoms
which compose the fluids fit to run in the little channels of their veins,
escape the notice of the most sagacious mathemetician, with all his aid of
glasses. The active powers and curiosity of human nature are limited in
their pursuit, and must be content to lie down in ignorance. "Hitherto
shall ye go, and no further."

It is a sublime and constant triumph over all the intellectual powers
of man, which the great God maintains every moment in these inimitable works
of nature, in these impenetrable recesses and mysteries of divine art. And
the month of May is the most shining season of this triumph. The flags and
banners of almighty wisdom are now displayed round half the globe, and the
other half waits the return of the sun, to spread the same triumph over the
southern world. This very sun in the firmament is God's prime minister in
this wondrous world of beings, and he works with sovereign vigor on the
surface of the earth, and spreads his influences deep under the clods to
every root and fiber, molding them into their proper forms, by divine
direction. There is not a plant, nor a leaf, nor one little branching
thread, above or beneath the ground, that escapes the eye or influence of
this beneficent star. An illustrious emblem of the omnipresence and
universal activity of the Creator.

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But has this all-wise Creator, this supreme Lord of all Nature, no
intellectual prime minister at all in these his dominions? Has he delegated
all his powers to that bulky globe of fire which we call the sun, that
inanimate and unthinking mass of matter? Is this huge burning and senseless
body commissioned to penetrate every dark cranny of nature either with it's
light or heat, and to animate every atom in the vegetable and animal
kingdoms; and yet no intellectual being, no spirit so much akin to God, as
to be favored with the like extensive vice-regency? Though the light of
reason does not tell his name, yet has not revelation informed us?

Yes, surely there is a man after God's own heart, the fairest image of
the creator, the nearest of kin to him, among all the works of his hands.
There is a man, and his name is Jesus, who holds most intimate and personal
union with the Godhead, in whom all divine wisdom dwells bodily, and to his
care has the Father committed all the infinite varieties of the vegetable
and animal world. By him are all these wonders produced in the course of
providence, as by an under-agent in the kingdom of nature. Is not the
government of heaven and earth put into his hands? Is he not made Lord of
principalities and powers, of men, of angels, and devils, and of all their
works? And can we think that he has been denied the government of the lower
parts of his Father’s workmanship? Does he not manage all things in the
world of grace? Surely then we may infer, he rules us wisely and as
spaciously in the upper and lower regions of creation, as an intellectual
and conscious instrument of the providence of his Father, God. "My Father
worketh hitherto, and I work. I and my Father are one. And every creature
which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are
in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honor,
and glory, and power, be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the
Lamb for ever and ever. Amen."

Republished May 1, 2006
Bill of Rights Bicentennial Committee
Concordville, PA

May 05, 2006

Back to serious..

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His place? He who has a clean heart, who does not life up His soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from God His Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Psalm 24:1-6 NIV

Seeking the face of God; what an awesome concept. This should be a reality for every Christian. Sadly, often we get distracted from our main objective here on earth and invest in things that do not have eternal value. How often time is given, effort spent, and support rallied for things which have no impact on the Kingdom of God. As an unbeliever has only to live for himself it's natural for him to live to fulfill his own cravings. But, as servants of the living God we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing in His sight. Seek Him! For those who seek Him will find Him.

I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:10 &11

May 02, 2006

On the lighter side...

looking for a cheap facelift??

Check this guy out....

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I suppose you get what you pay for? ;-)

May 01, 2006

So sorry if that last post came across as blunt. I couldn’t really get what I wanted down and that was the best I could do at the time! It seems I go through times of huge uncertainly about the future. Eventually anxiety starts in which leads to worry. See previous post!

Other times I rest very contently in the fact that my life, my future, being, and very breath are in the Lord’s hands. When I start seeing thing in perspective of eternity all my worries melt. Even though the circumstances may not change the burden is lifted! How great it is to serve the living God who hears!

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22