Category Archives: Family and Friends

Pictures and stories of our dear family and friends

Chambersburg Time

We usually hang out in  Chambersburg, PA for a day or so at least once a year. You see, our dear nephew is also our doctor and we do our best to get in for a check-up annually. (We see others in his practice, but we still consider Mike to be our personal physician!). And annual check-ups aside, spending time with these guys is always fun! Of course, they are a busy family  – with school and homework and sports – but there was still plenty of time for games and conversations and giggles. Oh, and there was some pretty delicious food involved in these two days too!
We were even able join in some family devotions. That was a very sweet evening.
This year we had the added bonus of a visit from my sister, Joie,
and then I was able to visit with my college roommate, who had recently moved just a half hour from Chambersburg!
I love that we are still connected – and even if we don’t see each other very often, our friendship has stood the test of time! What a blessing!
So family and friends and more family – this was a very fine visit!
And yes – I did get in that check-up. In fact, Gary drove the rig to the office and we left to head to North Carolina right from the parking lot.

Tonight we are settled in at our October spot, but we leave on a road trip in the truck tomorrow. You can check out the details (if you’d like) over at the “Where are we now” page. If it gets quiet here for the next couple of weeks, I’m sure you’ll understand. At least part of that time will involve some very special grandboys!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Sabbath Rest – Dancing in the Minefields

I know it’s a bit of a departure of my usual Sabbath Rest song, but since today is both the Sabbath and our fifty-second wedding anniversary, it seemed only right to share this song (again) and reprise a blog post (with some adaptations)from a couple of years ago –

GarySteph Wedding
Fifty-two years ago, on a warm Friday evening, these two youngsters committed their lives and their love to each other. My brother-in-law, Fitz, gave us a ‘charge –
Gary & Stephanie, tonight is the beginning of a new way of life for both of you. Long awaited. No longer two separate individuals, but one family in Christ.

At 19 and 21 respectively, we thought we knew what marriage was all about.  Ah, sweet innocent youth! Little did we know what we were in for! I’m not going to kid you – not every moment of the last 52 years was easy. Or fun.  Some of it was downright hard. We raised three children, renovated a 100+ year old house and owned a small service business (part American dream and part  American nightmare.) But through all the years, through the good and the bad, the joy and the hard, the beauty and the ashes, God kept us together.  He never gave up on us, and we never gave up on each other.  Grace. His amazing grace is what has held us together these many years. And our prayer continues to be that His Grace will hold us fast in the years ahead!
Happy 50th52nd to my beloved!

This might be our theme song –

And we went dancing in the minefields [And there were OH-SO-MANY!]
We went sailing in the storms [Some doozies to be sure!]
And it was harder than we dreamed [Amen!]
But I believe that’s what the promise is for {Praise God!]

Dancing in the Minefields (by Andrew Peterson)

Well, I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
And everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway

We got the rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen fifty-two years ago

And we went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

Well “I do” are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another, I’ve heard
Is a good place to begin

‘Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storms
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose love’s chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

‘Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos
Baby, I can dance with you

So let’s go dancing in the minefields
Let’s go sailing in the storms
Oh, let’s go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors

Oh, let’s go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh, this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

Music video by Andrew Peterson performing Dancing In The Minefields (Official Music Video).

A Week In

And a lot to catch up on! Here’s a quick summary of our first week –
Monday –
As usual, we started with a jaunt to Lowes to pick up supplies for projects!
Don’t know exactly what all that is for, but I know the man has a plan. And I can respect that!
We unpacked, got settled, took naps, soaked in the cabin goodness.
Tuesday –
A perfect Vermont day – in which I must’ve done something, but apparently it wasn’t worth documenting with a photo. But I did catch a glimpse of one of Gary’s first projects-
Wednesday –
Another perfect Vermont day!
In the morning we got the floating dock over to the shore so Gary could re-work it to make it more stable. We know it needed work because as he attempted to get on it to pull up the ‘anchor’ (a 5 gal bucket filled with concrete), the entire thing tipped over ON HIM! He escaped injury (and even kept his glasses on his face!), but man – I wish someone had been videoing that!
My friend Lynne came in the afternoon for quick overnight visit – so lovely!
Thursday –
A beautiful day, where I got to sit and sew with Lynne and Gary worked on the new frame for the floating dock.
Friday –
Cool and rainy – and I’m sure we did something, but my camera is not giving me any clues.
Saturday –
Did some fun local activities with Chris in the morning (more on that later)
while Gary got an early start on burning the “Pit”.
We rounded out the day with a lovely afternoon spent with my brother and his wife.
It was one of those crazy Vermont summer days, where it’s hot and sunny one minute, and raining the next. But when all was said and done, it turned into quite a beautiful day!
Sunday –
Worship and a quiet Sabbath afternoon.
Monday (today!)
A misty morning that held great promise! Gary got the painting done on the floating dock
and later in the afternoon we took the riding mower for a little spa treatment. (Again – oh, for a video of he and I pushing it up the ramps to get it into the truck!). It sure came off easier!
Leftovers for dinner – and another early to bed (for Gary anyway) day is in the books.
It’s been a great (and full) first week. I enjoyed my little no-guilt break from blogging, but it feels good to be back. We’ll just have to see how the week goes!
Thanks for stoppin’ by! Hope you’ve had a good week too!

Monday Memories

I shared this memory over on the “Where are we now” page, but as I read over that post from nine years ago, I just couldn’t resist sharing it here also! My great niece, who was here just before us, is part of the fifth generation to come (as adults) and enjoy time here. There are now 40 (!!!) in that fifth generation – truly, I wonder if they knew…

Do you think they knew?
It was in October of 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, when my grandparents purchased 190 acres (+/- as the deed states) about 8 miles outside of town along the road to Wright’s Mountain. My grandfather was the town doctor with a young family and I’ve often wondered just how they were able scrape together the funds to not only purchase the land but then build this modest one room cabin during a time when his bills were as apt to be paid with live chickens and black raspberry jam as cold hard cash.
cabin 1938
But regardless of how it all happened,  I wonder if they knew the impact this little get-away would have on their descendants.
I’m pretty sure the cabin was not built as a vacation destination. Since I doubt that in the years preceding World War II there were many vacation days built into a country doctor’s life, I think the cabin, in its earliest years, was more a spot for an afternoon of quiet, or maybe even that safe place where my grandmother could take the kids for a break in the routine. Knowing my grandmother, she probably used it for parties too!
Fast forward to the 1950’s. Although as a family we ALWAYS came to Bradford for our vacation (last week in July/first week in August = Plant shutdown = two weeks in Bradford), we stayed at our grandparent’s house – the Big House in the middle of town (complete with the Doctor’s office and Nurse Cora) and later a small house just outside of town affectionately called The Little House. I think that four young children coupled with no electric, water that needed to be pumped by hand from the not-very-close-by well and the random cow plops that dotted our meadow and path to the pond made “cabin time” a bit more challenging during those years. (My grandparents leased out their property to a nearby farmer for his dry cows to roam. The cows did a great job of keeping down the undergrowth and added a bit of whimsy to the cabin ambiance, but you never knew when you might come across one of their deposits.) We were more apt to pile in the jeepster for an afternoon cabin excursion or maybe, as a special treat, an overnight camping adventure.
While it wasn’t the ultimate destination for our family vacation, it was still the highlight. It was the spot where I learned to swim, bait a hook, row a boat, enjoy fresh caught trout for breakfast and how to read by candlelight. Precious memories all. By the late 1960’s electricity had arrived and we began to stay at the cabin for longer stretches of time. Or maybe it was that my grandparents were getting older and the happy mayhem of our family (now full of teenagers) was best enjoyed by them visiting us at the cabin rather than us staying with them and just visiting the cabin. It’s hard to say. But by the early 70’s, as our generation was getting married and starting our families, the Cabin became the destination. We could hardly wait to introduce our little ones to the joys of the Cabin. (Difficulty of children napping in a one room cabin notwithstanding. At least there were no cow plops!)

Pond1981 PondLara1981

Along with being the vacation destination, over the years our little slice of Vermont heaven has also served as a honeymoon cabin, a retreat from the world cabin and a family gathering cabin.

1998 – The last summer my Dad (center) made it to the cabin.


2012 – the Cabin’s 75th Anniversary

This summer, along with the four of us “senior siblings”, six of the thirteen cousins and their families spent time at the cabin. Several others longed to be here but couldn’t make the logistics work. Hooks were baited, inner tubes were inflated, frogs were caught and books were read. Naps were taken and favorite spots were explored. Maybe even a party or two was enjoyed. And important moments like these were shared.

Grampy Doc and Lizzie > Dad and Mom > four siblings > 13 cousins > 29 (and counting) second cousins
I wonder if they knew…….

Mondays are for Memories

As I was thinking about doing a Mondays are for Memories post for today, I thought I would look back to the last time we stopped by here at High Braes – September 2010. It was just a quick overnight, and I documented it in a blog post called (wait for it) – Catchin’ Up. So apparently, I’ve been backlogged for a Very Long Time!
But anywho – here we go!
Catchin’ Up – September 2010

There is soooo much catching up I need to do. Bookkeeping, thank-you notes, journaling, blogging, bank statements, emails…..the list is long. Too long. But this post is about some catching up we were able to do as we traveled from Ontario to Ohio to meet that new grandson. Each night on the road we stopped and were able to catch up with old friends.
Monday night we stopped at a SOWER project in upstate NY –
and had a lovely evening catching up with the folks we worked with on our very first project six years ago. We’ve seen them a couple of times over the years, but not recently. It was great to enjoy a cup of coffee and some very good brownies with them and catch-up.
Tuesday morning we traveled to North Chili, NY (near Rochester) for a lovely afternoon and evening with SOWER friends, Dave and Edie. We worked with them on our third project, have seen them a couple of times since then and were delighted to be able to spend some time with them.
(That’s the Erie Canal they’re standing by. Did you know the Erie Canal is still a viable (363 mile) waterway that stretches from Albany, NY to Buffalo, NY? We were touring an historic canal barge – very cool!).
Wednesday we headed into Pennsylvania. Even though PA is where I grew up and raised my family, we were heading into totally new territory for us. My best friend from high school lives just outside of Mansfield, PA and since we hadn’t seen each other in 30+ years, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a little detour to catch up with her! We’d lost touch over the years and only recently “found” each other through the miracle of the internet (and a sweet mutual friend who had an old “where are they now” class list!).
Not only was Gail my best buddy in high school, she was also one of the two attendants in my wedding.
(This was a good summer for reconnecting with the wedding party for me. Back in July we spent a night at Deb’s house – remember?)
Deb and Me
Thursday morning we left Gail’s (with great hopes for staying in touch) and continued on to catch up with another SOWER couple that we had worked with a couple of times.
Green Isle GroupThey were also on that third project back in 2005 –
(that was our first “big” project – and it was lots of fun. Earlier this summer we had stopped to see another SOWER that we had met at that project, so you can tell it was a very special month!) We’re delighted to be working with them again this winter in Florida. Such a blessing it is to be part of the SOWER family!

By Friday morning we were heading to Ohio – and those grandbabies!!!!!!!
And although little Noah was (given the newness of his status – oh, and the fact he is a he) the star of the show –
we certainly had lots of fun with the girls (who actually knew we were there!).
Ohio Conrads 9_10-3_edited-1

And as startling as this may be, there are a bazillion other pictures of ALL the Conrads HERE if you’d like a peek!

Fair warning, there’s a lot of cuteness going on there!

So now it’s on to the rest of the catch-up. I think I’d better start with those thank-you notes! Or maybe the bank statement. Or maybe that new book……