Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Washington DC Youth Trip -- In The Words Of Andrew

After planning a nice while in advance to go to Washington DC with the youth group, we almost didn't make it. A governmental shutdown left us up in the air while politicians tried to find a way to get along. I was desperate to still go, so I watched the news pensively and caught myself cheering when the government reopened. Bit out of character for me.

We started out bright and early, a little after 6:00 AM when we all should have been catching up on sleep. There were 24 people, so we divided equally into two vans. Well, both vans had the same count, but that's about it. The people in my van were, well, a bit crazy sometimes.  There was just the right blend of personalities or something like that.  I sat between Jordan and Josiah, which was asking for trouble. It all started when the temperature in the van started to rise abnormally. I said I was hot and some people who don't have a good grasp of the English language thought I was describing myself. Some claimed all the moisture on the windows came from us guys in the back (Jason was with us too) but I don't think that's based on a true story. Everything went downhill from there. There was just too much hot air. Somehow the majority of the blame for all the hilarity landed on one poor person. I'm a nice guy, so I'll keep the person anonymous—don't want to embarrass anyone.

Anyway, we finally got down there and finally found a place to park. It seemed that police cars were everywhere and some of us were worried about bombs, believe it or not. Once we got out of the van around 9:10, things cooled down. It was just gorgeous outside, a perfect October morning with a slight chill and breeze that kept us moving. We were late for our scheduled tour of the Capitol but headed in that direction with hopes of still getting in. There was a marathon of sorts happening on one of the roads we had to cross so we had fun trying to find gaps and getting across without tripping anyone. Think we did it. We walked a little further and came to the Capitol. 

At the reflection pool in front of the capitol building
We stood outside for awhile looking up at the magnificent building. It's quite something to actually see it. Jesse went investigating to see if we could still get in and I think most of us were excited when he came back and told us we could in about ten minutes. We had to go through security and then got in a long, snaking line to get ready for the tour. We watched a 15 minute video about Congress and then were hooked up with a tour guide. I did have to laugh when I heard one of the guides call out “Cross Keys Academy” as we were finding our place.

Under the Rotunda...
Our tour guide couldn't have been better. He was a jovial fellow who made everything fun and cracked a few sly jokes. We all had headphones on so, you guessed it, we could hear him. It was fascinating to see all the architecture and artistry on the walls and ceilings. I think it was one of the highlights for a lot of us. When we were done, our guide told us we could leave feedback on the website.  If we liked it, his name was Don and if we didn't, his name was Fred. (names are changed to protect the innocent)

"Republican" and "Democrat"

The Magnificent Rotunda

Afterwards we headed towards our vans to eat lunch. I'm not sure what happened, but we basically ended up walking in a big circle trying to find one of the vans, which Joshua had to move because we were out of time.  The plan was to eat lunch close to the Monument, but the first parking space he found was all the way up at the Air & Space Museum... I liked the walk, though, going up close to the Washington Monument which was covered with scaffolding. There's something I've always loved about walking around DC, still not sure exactly why.

We ate lunch on the lawn in what they call the Mall, I believe. Around 1:00 we went into the Air and Space Museum. Here we were basically on our own, with the group breaking up as we all went various ways. I followed Jordan and Josiah around as I'm prone to do, along with Natalia, Bethany, Sara Ann, Linda, Jason, and Eli—hope I'm not forgetting anyone. It was a fun group and we leisurely strolled around reading the displays. One of my favorites was a video clip of the Blue Angels doing their jaw-dropping tricks. It's very neat, though I'm not sure I would want to try it myself. (Maybe Seth would?)

Jesse stressed that the IMAX was optional, but we all wanted to watch it and I think we were all glad we did. We watched To Fly. I think a few of the girls (and some others) screamed at various parts—can't blame them, really. It was surprising when we felt we were riding along in a car only to suddenly drop off a cliff.

In Eager anticipation of the coming iMax...  
"Brillant idea, why don't I just push it over?"
"hey Drew, come help me, this is harder then it looks... "
We headed for the vans around 4:00, without much switching. Sarah Petersheim somehow got in our van, so it seemed we would probably have a less exciting ride home. It didn't turn out that way, though, surprise, surprise. We had a grand time. It's hard to recreate such times on paper, especially when there are so many inside jokes and some things I don't want to bring up.

Outside of the Air & Space Museum
What Photographers do for pictures... 

Hi Jason... 

More Photographers
We all stopped for supper at Subway around 5:30. Jordan got the crazy idea that we should have a photo shoot where everyone was taking a picture of someone else...taking a picture of...someone else..taking a picture...of someone else...etc...etc. It was very funny. I think we all enjoyed our meal, even though some of us guys said a few things that didn't add to the enjoyment of our food—inside jokes again and some things I don't want to, well, never mind.

Yes, thats me, and Yes, I'm eating Subway... I would still like a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but they didn't have one close...:(

We got back to church a little after 7:30. We were all tired, but it was a wonderful day. I loved every minute of it.

I'm somewhat overwhelmed even now as I write by how blessed I am to have such a wonderful group of friends. Even as we had fun together, the spirit of the group was so refreshing. We are seeking to draw closer to the Lord and follow him wholeheartedly and this enables us to bond in a very special way. I want to thank everyone in the youth group for their part in making it a wonderful day.  

The Account of the day was written by Drew Barnard... if you have any complaints about it... I can get you his email address...   

For real, I'd love to hear from you... as always, comments are appreciated!!! 

Proverbs 21:1
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not for the Faint of Heart......

Last Saturday we had a HUGE chicken butchering party here at our house...   We had about 200 fowl to butcher, and somewhere around 50 people to help get the job done... so we each did 4 birds and we were done!!!  Ok, that wasn't quite the story, but we did have fun...  
For the record... a lot of these pictures were taken by either Sara Ann or Leah, and some others...  Thanks
 The dirty work down at the chicken shed
 Some of the girls decided they were each going to kill a chicken, so we all went down to witness the circus show.
Joshua, explaining how this is done
oops, it works better when they go in HEAD first :)

see Sara Ann, just like this :)
I wonder what she's chopping, and I bet its not firewood...  

Hows it going Linda? ...  "at least I didn't faint..."  Linda

The plucking station... 
Me and my Helpers... 

 In the garage cutting up chickens... fun fun

Are you Looking for something?

 I just love these pictures of Emily, hard at work...

A true "Before & After" picture... 

 And the Clean up...

"When they all work together, how happy "I" am (because then I don't have to muck out the chicken shed :)

Hard at it... 


Just a random photo that I thought was really cool!!!   I'm not sure who took the picture though....but will let you know when I find out... 
The Story of the day... 
In the process of cleaning out the chicken shed, one of the boys had killed a mouse, and promptly brought it up to scare show the group.   After the excitement died down a bit, Josiah gained control of the mouse, and while the girls tried to pose for a picture, he calmly walked around to the back of the group, and gave them a little a closer view of the mouse.. And as you see, they just LOVED it...    

Thank you to everyone that helped, it made for a fun day together...   A butchering day just isn't complete without.........yes, thats right, softball.  And we ended up playing for about 3 hours... fun fun!!!

Thanks for coming again... I'd love to hear from you all!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte...

Right here is one of the reasons I love fall...

(Disclaimer:  this is taken with a less then ideal picture taker thingy, so forgive the photography, also, my computer is in the shop at the moment getting some things rediscovered on it, but I hope to do another picture post before too much more time goes by...)

Oh, but there are many other reasons that this is my favorite season! 

1.  The beautiful fall days... I'm sure you all know exactly what I mean.
2.  The leaves... Of course a list like this wouldn't be complete without that, 
3.  The Harvest... I love seeing all of the things come in from the garden, getting canned, and stored away for the winter.  Unfortunately, I don't do near as much of this as I used to because of work, but it's definitely a reason I like fall.  
4.  Fall means Thanksgiving is soon upon us and Christmas is just around the corner.  Cheers!!! (I love Christmas music, and try to wait until after thanksgiving to listen to it, although I did cheat, and listened to some yesterday, and some more today :)
      This is definitely not a complete list, but some of the highlights.  And yes, fall is probably my favorite time of the year, but I always look forward to the change when the next one comes around.  I am very thankful for the variety, and for the faithfulness of my God!

So, what do you love about fall?  I'd love to hear from all of you!!!

   Genesis 8:22
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ricketts Glenn Adventure

Hello to all of you blog readers... Welcome back!  

Yes, I am still here, and there are several posts in the making, but one of the major problems I have with blogging is that it takes lot of a little four letter word...  T-I-M-E    But, thankfully, I've got a bit this afternoon, and am finally looking through and editing some of these pictures.  

    Last Saturday, us boys, along with a bunch of friends, went on an exciting adventure to Ricketts Glenn.  Ricketts Glen is a state park in northeastern PA.  It has a hiking trail loop following a creek with 22 (named) waterfalls, the tallest one, Ganoga, is 94 ft high.   And of course, with all of the waterfalls etc. it is a photographers paradise, and especially at this time of the year...
    The hike took 4 - 5 hours, and by the end we were ALL glad to settle in for the three hour drive home.   Here are several pictures...  
Hiking to the trail head

One of our lunch bearers...

 To all of you in Mexico, I know this isn't near as high as the one we went to, but at leasts its only 3 HOURS drive away and not 3 DAYS drive from where I live :)

I had blast experimenting with waterfall pictures... I didn't have a tripod, so I used rocks, or whatever else was available... I think this was taken at 1" shutter speed...for those of you that care :)

I love this picture, all except for that lovely purple dot in the middle... anyone know what it is, or what I should've done to fix it, or better yet, keep it from happening at all.

Yes, we are using the hats... Reynold, do we get an kickback for advertising here in the states?

yours truly... 
this is picture is part of Project Blue Hat... we are currently looking for more volunteers, so if you are interested, or have any questions... feel free to let me know (comments work really well :) hint hint

oh, yea...and we saw one of THESE things....
The Story:
     Several of us were hiking up the creek bed, and Josiah's standing there watching us, and all of sudden he says to Althea, rather calmly, "There's a snake behind you".  Of course, my first thought is, he's just trying to scare her.  But, I look up at him, and right away I knew he was wasn't teasing...my next plan of action is... FIND THE SNAKE, so I can run in the right(away) direction!!! (I hate snakes, just in case you didn't know).  But it was just a little (2 or 3 ft. long) one, and didn't look very dangerous, so I decided, instead of running, I'll just take some pictures.  I mean, why else am I carrying this camera all over the place :)  Unfortunately I didn't have my telephoto lens, so I couldn't get a really close up... The people on the opposite bank were saying it was a Rattlesnake, but I was pretty sure from my view (2 ft away), that it wasn't anything to dangerous, at least I hoped it wasn't

 I was also taking portraits for some of them... (for fun, and for practice)    remember, just $5.00 per picture

Ezra doing some more Advertising...  

Josiah telling "Herman" stories :)

The Crew...  
On the way home we were having a "battle" or rather a discussion about where to stop for some food. Van#1 want to stop at Sheetz for Pumpkin Pie Latte's and Burritos, and Van#2 just NEEDED to stop at Pizza Hut... And because we couldn't agree, we decided to shutdown the whole trip... oh, thats not based on a true story (not really anyway)... Instead, Van#1 went to Sheetz's and Van#2 went to (drum roll please)....Subway, yes, that's right...Subway... imagine eating a sub instead of drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte! 

To all of you Van#2 people, feel free to post your defense in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!!  
   Anyway, we had an awesome trip!  Thanks to Beka and Ada for getting it together.  
It was a blast being out in God's beautiful creation, and enjoying this best of all seasons! 

Please send me an email if you need help figuring out how to comment...  :)