Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Farmer's Inn

A popular Inn opened for the season just down the road from us. I visited it a few times when Jerry and I would come up for a long weekend. On a beautiful spring day we drove over to enjoy a meal. The slide show is from their website.

Located a few minutes from Clear Creek State Park, and down the road from Cook's Forest State Park, it's a well know establishment that offers food, a small zoo, golf, play areas for children and on this lovely day the goats were showing off their newborns!

As always, I had my camera with me. Hope you enjoy the snaps!

The spring season started a little late for me. Daffodils are only now blooming. They were in beautiful form as we went to church on Easter Sunday morning.

While out snapping the daffodils I found these three turkeys practicing their fanfare!

We'll visit The Farmers Inn during the spring and summer. A few years ago they had a bear, but I must admit, he didn't look very happy to be there. Advanced in age. In a rut. But, a bear is a bear. 

Our new driveway up to the front porch is now complete. They put down fine gravel over the limestone on Monday. The worker said it would harden and be similar to concrete. As I mentioned on Facebook, it has been a long four months of snow, rain and mud walking down to the vehicles. It's so nice to be able to walk down the porch steps and have the vehicles right there! 

I read a short work on "The Power of Humanity: Why Women Need Their Girlfriends" by Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis.  It speaks for itself. "Our girlfriends can't save us, for only God can do that, but girlfriends can help make a tragedy bearable. They can read our mind and our emotions, intuitively recognize what needs to be done--then do it. They can listen, empathize and show compassion. They can be used by God to comfort us and provide a timely shoulder to cry on."

I do write a lot about girlfriends. I think one reason may be that I don't have family members close by, like my sister who lives in Oklahoma, or my estranged daughter who lives in Florida. Their presence is missed.

Relations in my family have not been good through the years. So I've built my life around friends. It's been a good relationship all these years, but at special occasion times, like Easter, a side of me hurts for not having family members near. I am thankful and grateful for the joy I receive from my friends, and will always carry them close to my heart.

If you are fortunate to have close family members to enjoy, say a special thanksgiving today for those people.

And if you're like me, with little or no family around you, thank God for bringing you into His family and fulfilling a need that we all have.

And now a thought to leave you with . . .

"If we are involved in doing what we were put on earth to do, a joyful heart is almost guaranteed--even in the midst of deepest difficulties."
Thomas Kinkade, Lightposts for Living

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


"A hymnal is typically a hard bound book containing a lifetime of testimonies and worship, held sacred by those who use it for praise and community. Although the songs are far-reaching and serve as the soundtrack of the lives of so many church-goers, they are in no way common, but reverent works of art." DeWayne Hamby, BackHome Magazine

This week as so many people go to church to celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus, take a moment and really listen to and think about the words you sing.

Don't just read the words off the screen at the front of the sanctuary. Perhaps this week you could pick up the hymnal and really look at the words you are singing for this special celebration.

The above quote really tells it like it is. Many songs are written from a heart that is bursting to tell their story. What God has done for them. How He answered prayer. When He comforted them.

My heart soars as I sing the songs of God. I see the words. I feel the words. And I may be the only one in the sanctuary that sings from the hymnal each week. I wouldn't change it for the world.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my new pastor sings a cappella each week to open the service. It is a beautiful experience as I truly listen to the words and hear them sung from someone who believes them and stands tall for Christ.

Words are very important. This is an important week. Take time to look at those words. Your eyes may be opened to riches you've only dreamed about.

“Songs and hymns refresh the body. Hymns invoke the spirit to rise to its maker for strength. When we live in a day without a hymn or a song, we disregard the essence of the day”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Welcome to the Barn

“A farmer, as one of his farmer correspondents once wrote to Liberty Hyde Bailey, is "a dispenser of the 'Mysteries of God.'" Wendell Berry


                                                                   Big Maple Farm

I invited myself to a barn. Not something I do every day. Or once a year! But I did it! And you're invited inside!

If you've read my posts very long you know I have a special affinity to lambs. Back in Maryland I had a favorite field I'd go to every March to snap to my heart's content. And a few years ago, a special friend from church contacted a client and asked if I could come see their lambs. I went to that barn twice and enjoyed walking among sheep and lambs and getting some great snaps!

But here I am in PA. Where are the sheep farms? I'd do what any reasonable person did. I looked up sheep farms in Brookville. I found two, both about an hour away near Ridgway.

Now comes the scary part. I called and asked if I could come see their lambs and take pictures. There was only a brief description of the farm on the internet, but it also said they had fall harvest days. So I thought if they do that, maybe they don't mind people coming to the farm.

I spoke to the mother of the farmer first, who then gave me the number of her son, Ray. And Ray said yes! So off we went on a cold, windy and soon to be wet morning to visit lambs.

Ray met us as we drove in and spent an hour talking with us, educating us on their farm operations, and seeming to be enjoying himself.

                                                 Come on it!

 It was dark in the barn. (I think most barns are like that.) So that means I didn't get good snaps. For some reason my flash wouldn't go off, so I confess the pictures aren't great. But we did have fun.

Jerry and Ray learned they both hated computers!

Momma looks like she's in dream land! All is well.

They have 3 horses, a miniature horse, a goat, chickens, including a rooster, rabbits, lots of cats, and sheep. And during the month of March, many little lambs brightening the barn.

His father started with a dairy farm in the 60s, and when he retired Ray brought on sheep. Then Ray's daughter, Amanda, went into business and started Big Maple Farm's Natural Therapies and brought in the other animals. So now there are two separate farms running at Big Maple.

                                             Ray said this one is the leader of the pack.

Ray has a full time job but said he could never give up sheep farming. It's a part of him. The work is hard; the pay is like the lottery, sometimes good, sometimes bad.

                                                         This one was 2 days old.

I took a picture of their sign out front when we left. I was about 50 yards away and didn't see that the sign was one-sided. :) Oh, the joy of Photoshop! Turned that sign right around.

Ray invited us back in the fall when the colors are alive. I told him I just might take him up on that.

I sure enjoyed my trip to the barn. We even stopped at a country store on the way home and I got 2 ice cream sandwiches! Hope you enjoyed your trip to the barn!

I was taking some snaps through the rails and caught this 4 day old one climbing on her mother's back.

“Men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Small Town Living Again

"If you approach each new person in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter."
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

This delightful painting was a gift from my neighbor, Norma.

I can't believe what happened. Jerry and I went down and met one of our neighbors, who lives at the end of our driveway. Jerry had seen her twice at the mailbox. Because of the cold, rain, snow and mud, not to mention settling in and being overwhelmed, I hadn't walked down to introduce myself yet.

It was a beautiful warm afternoon last Friday, giving us a glimpse of spring, and I decided to meet our neighbor that day. Her name is Norma, and she lives with her two boys. Her boys are on the small size, a pug and a little dachshund. I was happy to tell her about my two girls.

Norma was an outdoors women who loved to fish and hunt deer. She scaled the fish herself and gutted the deer! A happy women, probably about our age.

She decided to take on a new hobby since it was getting difficult for her to be out and about. She's into crafts and crocheting, etc. And last year she started painting. And what a painter she is!

And as I learn what folks do in small towns, she offered me one of her paintings. What a treasure!

I put the picture on the wall with my wildflower canvas that I love so much.

It was a delightful visit we shared on a beautiful spring afternoon. And these folk here in Brookville, PA are introducing me to a new way of life.

Just a note about a special blessing I receive every Sunday morning. After the opening prayer during worship service, our new pastor sings a cappella every week. Meaningful words that prepare my heart for worship. It's been quite a treat. In all my years of being around pastors, and I've been around a lot in my 38 years of being a Christian, plus working 16 years at the convention, I've never known a pastor to open worship this way. It is a special delight that I look forward to every week.

At my new church, the first person I asked at church didn't appear interested to get together and visit. But I won't give up. I know God will provide a friend for me to enjoy.

I've already had one friend from Maryland come to visit, and two others are coming my way in a few weeks. And I'll meet another half way soon too. What a difference a friend makes!

"Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life.  Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend." Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Small Town Living

This lovely snap from Deb Campbell Wildlife and Nature Photography Facebook page reminds us that Spring has arrived and soon we'll be enjoying the beautiful creation as it awakes from it's winter's sleep.

I'm learning a lot about small town living. The other day a strange man came to our front door. He was elderly. When I opened the door he asked if I was Carol Mc Griffin.

He pulled out an envelope and said, "You sent a note to my wife." I recognized the envelope. I asked him to come in.

He pulled out two pictures from a shopping bag. "I wanted to bring these over so you can see who you wrote too," he said. "I wanted to know who wrote the note. I asked the secretary at church if she knew who it was?"

                      This enjoyable snap is by Pamela Davis. A fun snap of the welcome of Spring!

I've written many a note through my life, but no one has come to my home to see who I was. This is the country. They do things different here.

Jerry arrived home as we were talking, and the man stayed for an hour chatting. He was 80. He said he would come again and sit on the porch for awhile, and I know he will do it.

Things really are different in small towns. I've noticed it repeatedly as I go to town and interact with folks. They appear happier. They tip their hat, say hello or nod their head.

I've had to learn to be more open. To expect a hello. To offer one myself.

Looks like I have a lot to learn about small town living. I hope I can do it justice!

This dreamy snap comes from Peaceful Moments for Women Facebook page. I can just smile and dream away!


My Savoir First of All
Fanny Crosby 1820-1915

"When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home,
But I long to meet my Savior first of all."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Big Storm

“Snow is falling outside and all is peaceful and still. In such moments it is possible to believe that the world could still be good.”                                                                      Richard Paul Evans, Grace

Today is my birthday, and I got the greatest birthday present! A blizzard. Now I know many of you think I'm crazy, but, that's ok. Sunshine and blue skies. Warm temperatures and gentle breezes. Ocean and swimming pools.

I love mountains and streams, and flowers in the valley. And a spring day is a delight. But a snow storm has its own beauty uncomparable in my eyes.

When I was a child, playing in the snow was fun. School was out. A happy time building snowman and snow castles. Snowball fights.

When I was a young woman, snow meant a free day from work. An unexpected day on the calendar to do whatever I wanted. Be lazy. Drink hot chocolate.

“Close your eyes. Hear the silent snow. Listen to your soul speak.”
A.D. Posey

And over the years snow has an even more special attraction. It's beauty. It's sound. The description God uses to tell me my sins are as white as snow.

I've shared this poem before, but I love to read it again and again. It reminds me of a snowstorm that arrived without notice. I awoke one morning to find a blizzard outside. No warning from the weather station. I opened my back door, and then I heard it. Snow. This is how it sounded to me:

 "When I opened the back door I heard it
I was amazed at the sound
A whisper different from wind
Yet, precise; like nothing else I've ever heard
Snow falling from the heavens
My heart rested and listened
I couldn't keep away from my back door
I heard snow falling and thanked God."
Feburary 16, 2003
    Sunday morning, 7 a.m.

That image always comes up in my mind when I read God's Word about snow. Every time I ask God to forgive my sin, my mind travels to me opening the back door and seeing the blizzard in all it's glory.

There's a hymn that shares similar thoughts.

White As Snow
by Jon Foreman

"Have mercy on me, oh God  According to Your unfailing love
According to Your great compassion  Blot out my transgressions

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation

The sacrifices of our God  Are a broken and contrite heart
Against you and you alone have I sinned

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation

Wash me white as snow  And I will be made whole
Wash me white as snow

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation"

Isaiah 1:18

"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,' Says the LORD, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land'"

If you're in the Northeast and buried under a ton of snow, take a few minutes to look at it through God's eyes. Pure. White. Clean. Sparkling. Now imagine, that's how God see's you after He washes you white as snow.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”     ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Thank you friends for the cards and good wishes. The joy of being a friend. And, happy birthday to me!