Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 31: January 31, 2016 Right Now

January 31, 2016
Day 31 Right Now

Right now is the time. It is always right now. Right now I can pray. Right now I can receive more mercy. Even though I just did, right now I can ask for more wisdom. There is no waiting with Christianity. It is all about now, right now.

I do not have to wait till the morning. I do not have to wait till the afternoon or evening.  Right now Jesus will provide peace. Right now He will listen. It's never, ever later. I might have to wait for some answers but as soon as I prayed he heard me. Right now I can enter His presence.

Right now is Jesus time.
Right now He waits for you to say, Yes.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 30: January 30 Happy Birthday Christopher

January 30, 2016
Day 30 Happy Birthday Christopher

He sings. He laughs. He jokes. He talks. He roasts. He prays. He reads. He thinks. He writes songs. He writes. He listens. He wonders. He is joy. He is fun. He is careful. He is thoughtful. He loves his sisters. He loves his brothers. He loves his nephew. He loves his niece. He loves me and he loves his dad. What is most wonderful, he loves Jesus. He is our son, Christopher Burkholder. Life became a lot brighter when twenty-six years ago he shot into the world like a cannon ball.

Enjoy two of his originals. There is more, subscribe -

New Day- Chris's Original

Johnny Boy- Chris' Original
Subscribe to Christopher Burkholder -


Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 29: January 29, 2016 Who I Am

January 29, 2016
Day 29   Who I Am

An honest appraisal; My life has been more concerned about what I do than who I am. I want to show you my stuff, look at my credentials, maybe even touch some of my plaques, awards, recounting of trips, adventures, and passions (you will find little of this list in my possession- but I would want you to look at them if I had them). If you stick around long enough you will find me covertly weaving into our conversation my "doings," cause I am a sneaky one. But I know better. Vulnerability is living in the open. (caught up with this topic and Brene Brown- thanks Mary C.)

Even still, I will try to push my stuff in front of you so that it fits snuggly between me and you.  I want you and I to take time to go through my list of what I have done, together. I like to hide behind my accomplishments while I watch you grow impressed with each one. Or so I hope.

"What are you doing these days?" is a lovely question. It is a sure lead in to show n' tell for the mature and responsible. However, someone turned this all upside down and it didn't go so well for him. His revolutionary ways killed him or so it seems. But this was his choice. For me. And for you.

The burning question, at the end of it all is not what did I do for Him. The question is simply, does He know me. I might argue, but I did this, and I did that, and I did this. To think my Father Creator could respond, "I do not know you" is terrorizing. It is important to remember that anything I could possibly do, is not proof enough for the creator to know who I am. He will only know me through my relationship with Christ. For it all comes down to a relationship. The one who died became the way for me to be known by the Father I want to know me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 28: January 28, 2016 Details

January 28, 2016
Day 28 Details

The sun does not go through mass. It splashes past. A shadow is created. Why didn't God just do that? All we really need to be is a big ole hunk of mass. But instead He filled in all the details and we live life in high definition. Cheekbones, eyelashes, ears and eyes are all well defined. The mass takes on life. 

Details matter to God. He's all about the details. 

Add caption

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 27: January 27, 2016 Elva and Dave

January 27, 2016
Day 27 Elva and Dave

Lately, collecting data on Elva is where it has been. I have been visiting my in laws more days than not within the last number of weeks. This woman is the sickest, healthiest woman I know alive. She has more than nine lives scaring us each time she lands in the hospital. But she has proven time and time again, you can't put a good woman down, she ain't going no where. I'm convinced it's her husband. She adores him.

Dave and Elva have been married sixty years and they still laugh together, talk in a different language with one another and still share the same house. They have more stories than they remember, and this is a problem. Their memory ain't what it use to be; hence our increased visits. When asked by my father in law why I was coming,  I said, most sensitively, "because you are old." He stopped, and with his calculated way responded, "I guess you're right." What a pleasure it has been learning to know them over my thirty years of marriage, a complete pleasure.

"I really like being here," I said to them this past week. They both smiled. Their home is serene, calm, and full of hope. I was encouraging my mother in law to create a book to help her remember. In a pretense of offense she jutted out her lips and said, "Dave! She thinks I have a memory problem!" With his nonchalant way he replied, "I too."

Dad and I have been amassing Elva's data; quite the trove. We created a google account so that we can access her medical records. This is in hopes that it will be of help to Dad when asked questions at Doctors' offices. Today we went to a Diabetic doctor and after collecting, organizing and preparing for moments such as these, we were ready! I came with a Manila folder labeled "Elva's Medical Info." Totally impressive and quite a bit smug.

In the exam room I stood. The Dr. pointed to where I could sit, but no, I preferred standing, thank you. Medical information retains in my brain like water through a sieve. I just felt like I needed to be alert and on top of my A game.

The first question came as I was straightening the papers in the manila folder. "Elva, were you recently in the hospital?" Elva looks a bit confused, so I step in, "Yes, yes she was, just before Christmas." The Doctor goes on. "For what, Elva?" Elva looks at Dave, Dave looks at me, I look at Elva. Our look is universal; "I dunno." We do lose track, there have been a lot of hospital visits. Besides which my granddaughter was born in the midst of this. Ok, so on to the next question. She found the answer on her computer. Who knew.

The doctor begins to list her prescriptions at a pace as if we had a freakish ability to mentally do the medication checklist without notes. However, there is one medication that has no recall for me. We begin a back and forth dialogue and it is clear that I am in the wrong and the doctor is in the right. No shocker here. I begin to wonder what I have spent all my time on for the past number of weeks.  Was I in someone else's data trove??

After the third erroneous answer to the doctor's question,  I closed my folder and said, "I feel like I studied for the wrong test!"

I will keep trying, I will remain positive. I am just hoping my in laws survive my learning curve! Understanding diabetes is really difficult, it just seems so counterintuitive! But my plan is to continue to plow on and learn.

For now it is fun with her and my father in law. God has blessed me with them and they deserve so much!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day 26: January 26, 2016 Courageous Among Us

January 26, 2016
Day 26 Courageous Among Us

There are men and women in our midst making brave and courageous decisions. They walk tall. Their decisions have not been popular and are unable to be discussed. The exposure could bring serious harm beyond repair. They walk gently but knowingly while their knowledge makes them very, very sad. They never once imagined this, their hopes were high for continued relationships but instead the tide turned.

To the brave individuals in my life, thank you for the example you have set. Your decision was born out of a knowing that you were doing the right thing even though conventionally it seemed odd or wrong. Many see your decision as irresponsible, not grounded. But they are not privy to why you did what you did. But I know and I am proud. Everyone grows old but not everyone grows more wise or more sensitive.                                                                                                                  

Following truth is always on a narrow and empty path. And you, my friend, took the road less traveled.  Do not grow tired of traveling alone while doing good, it will go well with your soul. You are brave and courageous and that is exactly what you were called to be.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 25: January 25 - Cracking the Jar

January 25, 2016
Day 25  Cracking the Jar

Karalee and Jeff's sweet pea and Robyn and RJ's little man
Coming out of religiosity seems to be the theme with whom I find myself traveling. The whitewashed jar we are trapped inside is being broken. The discussions, the healing, and the moving toward the loving Father is breathtaking. There are no words for the reformation within our heart. Except praise and worship. The Holy Spirit is speaking and moving us out of religious comfort zones.

Religiosity is much about comfort, a cozy and familiar feel, a long standing arrangement. Following is about adventuring into unknown lands, uncharted territory, yet with a known Leader. Stepping through the shards of this clay jar, never fit for a human to live, is painful. We are shedding the lingo, the thought patterns, the judgments, and the look. Actually, hurling shards like an olympic discus throw is what we are doing. The "should" is replaced by simple conversations more interested in learning to know one another than to impress. Trapped in the jar? No. Instead, we find ourselves trapped in the Trinity.

The air inside the jar is stagnant and so the religious breath shallow, they love stale air. Religiosity is all about nostalgia, the way it use to be. There is a drive to "return to" the olden days. But the Leader, whom we follow, calls us on to new places.  Those of us coming out are in search of fresh air, differences of opinion, His thoughts and His ways. Is He not infinite, should not His thoughts be similar in scope?

The religious patronizingly place their hand on our arms and with that pseudo, lovingly glare, say, "Oh, now, you know that is so far off theologically." The streaming of information from the Father through the Spirit does not stop, never ending. The religious, however, are uncomfortable with the Holy Spirit's activity. And asking for Jesus to come into the room, well, that is taking it one step too far. Those of us following, we love far! Take us. We want more, and more, and more, and more......

Inside the jar is, quite frankly, inside the jar. No one has to really see what is going on. They are looking at the whitewash. We do not have to tell anyone. The religious keep tight lips. The followers come to Jesus like a child in all ways, especially with their need to express. Need I say more?

The meadow of grace is offensive to the religious, scary, even. They don't like to talk about it. The followers frolic, simply frolic in this expansive place of freedom.

To be a follower requires an excellent Leader to move about in this meadow.  Followers focus on the Leader, always. The religious have copious amounts of self-help christianeze books on how to lead. Followers reflect on where they were led. And when waiting to be led, guess what they are doing? Eating! Really good food! Food that nourishes more than mere bread. Beyond Wonder!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 24: January 24 Proposal: Retail Snow Grace

January 24, 2016
Day 24  Proposal: Retail Snow Grace

To the brick and mortar retail venues in areas affected by snowfall I am making a proposal. Moving forward, I propose we institute a new concept: Retail Snow Grace. This is how it works, when a town is alerted of a significant snow fall, all retail venues go on Retail Snow Grace Alert. In the alert mode thought patterns change and switch from profit to safety. King Money is pushed aside and the employees and potential consumers take the lead in priority. Of course there will be mistakes made along the way due to the erroneous prediction of the weatherman. You try your hand at predications. Hence the word, grace. Remember, profit's sitting in the back seat, we are concerned about lives.

This is how it would play out, for all practical purposes, for four significant players: the owner, the manager, the employees, and the consumer. First, the owner, as soon as the alert would be issued, would begin to think -employees are better alive than dead. He would then issue an emergency text message to the manager - "Please, make sure you have your phone fully charged so that you can see all my texts. I, in the meantime, will be glued to the weather station in order to be able to make wise decisions for the good people who work for us. Safety first! We want the First Responders to be able to stay home."

The manager upon reading this text would go into full weather alert mode and over the intercom would encourage all personnel. It would sound something like this: "Dear wonderful workers. We care about you. We want you to be really safe. We might be closing early so that you can go home before it gets too dangerous. So, prepare to close and only do what needs to be done. We want you to be safe."

The employees, indebted to the focus on their safety, would graciously and most happily go above and beyond the call to duty before they left for home. Word of mouth would spread and the stores with Retail Snow Grace interwoven in their DNA would become known. The consumers would soon begin to know which stores incorporate Retail Snow Grace and would learn to prepare accordingly.   My proposal puts people first and putting people first always fills a town with grace, and wonder.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 23: January 23, 2016 Guiltless Gift

January 23, 2016
Day 23 Guiltless Gift

The first snow day of the year and it falls on a Saturday. Last year I realized I do not like snow days. My anticipation brings me to a mountain top and the reality then pushes me over the edge. I imagine a leisurely day sitting by the coal stove drinking tea (after too much coffee) and reading any book I can find. The disappointment leaves me scrambling for good feels cause that ain't the way it often works. Instead, I am usually up and down helping someone find something or fixing food when I am not hungry. So when the impending snow storm became a household topic I regulated my expectations and decided to push that gauge down to ZERO anticipation. I was not going to be a sucker this time.

Good move on my part, today has been relaxing, refreshing, interesting, and full of many accomplishments. Note to self for next prophesied snowstorm: turn down that knob. It certainly helped this snow day. However, this comes a bit late in light of the fact that the amount of snow days I have lived through with children far exceeds the low temperatures I have endured. Today, the boys were at home. The state of PA declared a state of emergency and so we were homebound. Jesse desperately wanted to be somewhere else but it was not possible. Such a pain being the youngest.

Today, we read, we laughed, we worked and we caught up on some relaxation. These days are welcome to a busy schedule. Cancellations allow us to catch a breath, step back, and reflect. We do not have anything to do and it feels great. These days are guiltless gifts.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 22: January 22, 2016 Today

January 22, 2016
Day 22  Today

I try to write everyday. For me, today is still today, ok? Ok! Though it is 1 am, I am in the day I was in at midnight. It is all relative. But like I said, I try to write everyday. The writing experience is powerful. I type sometimes before I know what I am going to say. The words, however, come when I commit to type. It's kinda like the Israelites dipping their feet into the Red Sea before it parted.

Tonight, I am late to the typewriter. There will be little to no major parting of any Red Sea. And there are no regrets. We decided to go on Robyn's Amazon account, she told us we could, and watch The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Ann Hathaway. I found it to be nostalgically sad and tremendously wonderful all at the same time. Robert DeNiro looks like my Uncle Gary and IS my father. The suits, the ties, the hankies, all of it spoke of my neat and tidy poppa. Like my dad, DeNiro fosters relationships.

If you have not seen this movie, thank my daughter Robyn for the recommendation. It is a must see.

I try to write everyday and it is still today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 21: January 21, 2016 My Day

January 21, 2016 
Day 21 My Day

I consider myself one lucky gal. Wider School is a place of joy. Students are encouraged to think critically, to wonder, to ponder, and to not settle. This is not always easy when "school" has been structured in a certain way that when you swim upstream, you feel too different. This is not always easy when you want concrete results. Those students and parents who are with us at Wider are committed to not only the growth of their individual students but to the growth and development of the Wider endeavor. This has not been for everyone but for those we journey with we are ever grateful. We appreciate their commitment to the growth of the school.

Studying Latin is for some a useless endeavor but this "dead" language has so much to offer. The root words help a student to decode a new word they might stumble upon. The derivatives are numerous. The logic behind this language is so impressive and makes it easy to translate sooner than later. These students, seen below, are taking their latin test.

This year we asked Mary Burke to come and teach high school art. What a great idea that was. And I'm not sure how we decided what led us to do art but then again what happens at Wider is largely in part due to a "leading". The students pictured below are working on drawing a figure which is standing in the middle of their table. Mary is an exceptional teacher!

Primrose, our puppy, simply loves our human puppy, Sadie Lynne. A dog's got to sniff, what a dogs got to sniff. And Sadie has some really yummy smells going on.

Having Sadie present with us during class is distractingly wonderful.

The students created a brochure for their particular biome in Science Class. We are involved with creating a zoo that has unlimited funds. We will soon begin the process of model making. This project has some of these students ready to make a pact that when they are finished with college they want to reunite and "do this thing." On February 25th, we will be skyeping with Jodi Carrigan from ZooAtlanta who rehabilitated Ivan the gorilla featured in"The One and Only Ivan." We are pumped to be able to discuss all things Zoo with her. We are working on submitting some proposals to an actual zoo of the ideas we have created. I love this.

The students were to make brochures of their biome. We have decided to have three operational Biomes within our zoo. This is Reagan Sphar's forte, she created the following brochure.

The day was wonderful to be with these students of all ages. Nicole wanted to end the day at Barnes and Noble. And yes, I found everything I needed! Life is full and overflowing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 20: January 20, 2016 You Can Do All Things

January 20, 2016
Day 20 You Can Do All Things

You want to see justice prevail. 
You want to see wrongs right. 
You want to see freedom roll. 
You want to rescue the underdog. 

He died for justice to prevail.
He died to right the wrongs.
He died for freedom to roll.
He died to rescue the underdog.

He lives in you, so carry out justice.
He lives in you, so right the wrongs
He lives in you, so roll out freedom.
He lives in you, so rescue the underdog.

You are His hands.
You are His feet.
He is your head.
He is your peace.

You can do all things!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 19: January 19, 2016 Hot Air Pop Corn Popper

January 19, 2016
Day 19

What does a hot air pop corn popper have to do with coffee? Nothing. Oh, yes it does! Get a load of this. The hot air pop corn popper is what put Lynn Burkholder's coffee on the map. Seriously. It is. He began to roast in one of these and the coffee was delicious. He gave out samples freely and there began the community's obsession with his roasting ability.

John Faus was the first to order a pound of coffee and Lynn would pop away. It even smelled like burnt popcorn. I have grown to love and almost crave this intense smell. As more and more people began to order, the popcorn popper was pushed way past its limit. This didn't impede but rather fueled Lynn's progress. He loves problems. They are his addiction.

Finally, he had to do something about it. So, he thought, hey, I'm gonna build my own roaster. Yes, there are many models that he could have purchased over the internet. But that's not fun for a dreamer, building is. Voila! With help from a local steel fabricator a five pound roaster was built.

I know you. You want to try to roast your own beans. Well, do it! Go here DIY Coffee Roasting. Now, have you heard of Lynn's kicking Nitro? How much time do you have?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 18: January 18, 2016 Merle and Rita Nisely - The Coffee Snobs

January 18, 2016
Day 18

Merle and Rita
Merle and Rita Nisely, missionaries from the cold, most northern part of Ontario, came for dinner one night. What snobs! They brought their own coffee beans. What??? Ours weren't good enough???! Nope. Not one bean. Coffee grinder? Uh, ok. Whatevs. Um, will the blender work? Sure, this couple knew how to compensate. They had lived on an Indian Reservation in the wilds of the north, they excelled in "making do."

One sip of the black gold, was the beginning of the end! Hello excellence, good bye pathetic, mud tasting sludge. Here we come, snobbery!

Years later, I thought I had asked for coffee?! But instead, I spit the disgusting water back into my coffee cup. I quickly looked around, cause I was not at home. We were invited guests. Not cool, Lynne, not cool. I just took rudeness to a new level. My coffee palette was refined at this point and I thought for sure someone must have made a mistake. Nope, it was the Keurig machine. My heart broke for this family. Here, all along, I thought they were bright. Guess not. Oh, for shame. Though my start with Keurig coffee was really rough, we now sell some of the best Keurig coffee around! No joke.

Lynn and Merle, the night of our conversion, spoke of all things coffee. It is a really good thing there is about 1700 miles between us or we would be in direct competition with an amazing roaster! God is so good. However, doing business with Merle and Rita, now that would just be plain fun! We were ruined for the ordinary from that point on and little did we understand the significance of this night with these two fussy coffee drinkers.

I will continue to write of this coffee journey..... But in the meantime, check out Merle and Rita's main gig - Living Hope Native Ministries. They are true northern fishers of men.
Their true hope and desire has nothing to do with being snobs. But instead, they desire for all to come to the true and living God.

And go to their website Tibaagan Coffee- you will enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Day 17: January 17, 2016 Katie and Nick

January 17, 2016
Day 17 Katie and Nick

Katie texts: Hey there! So I'm at Nick's church this morning but was wondering what you guys are up to later if Nick and I were to come to Morgantown

Lynne texts: Up to you! Lunch?

Katie: Possibly! Gotta check with Nick to see if he is game to do it but I'm pretty sure he will be..

Katie: We'll be coming over! What time do you think you guys will get back? Should we bring something?

Lynne: Ice cubes cream

Katie: What does that even mean

Lynne: Ice cream

Katie: Okey dokey. What time are you guys getting back?

Lynne: In forty minutes.

 Katie and Nick came for lunch. They went home to Katie's home to get into comfy clothes. They came back and then watched a movie. We LOVE Katie and are really enjoying getting to know Nick! I love their laughter!

The next time we are gonna have a great salad! Hey, could you bring the carrots?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day 16: January 16, 2016 - Is it Worth the Pain

The third child, second daughter....crazy woman!
January 16, 2016
Day 16 Is it Worth the Pain

Robyn and I started a homeschool endeavor called the The Wider School. She is my oldest child and the oldest daughter. She sends me quality articles to read and mull over and her latest did not disappoint. She is one of those deep, yet practical, highly organized, woman in her late twenties. I would follow her into a mess anywhere. If there is order to be had, she's on it. The article swirls around this question, "Is it worth the pain?" She is encouraging me to process this in light of the Wider School endeavor, and I will, but immediately I thought of our Twin Valley Coffee company.

Is it worth giving up our December to serve coffee customers? Yes.
Is it worth giving up the ability to just hop in the car, on any given weekend, to do what we want in order to sell more coffee and toddies? Yes. We love it. Is it worth stopping the lawn mower after hours to serve a late coffee customer? Yes! We love to sell. And, c'mon, they need their coffee.

Is it worth the time we spend on the company and not home maintenance? Yes. We can always do the maintenance later. Is it worth the heated conversations discussing the business? Of course, growth is always good. Is it worth giving up significant vacation time because we have to hire folks to run the joint and money is tight? Yes, loss of significant vacation time is replaced with daily personal freedom. We are the bosses.

Living the way we do, trying to run Twin Valley Coffee Company IS worth the pain. Our family's path or trajectory is not predictable. You can't look at us and assume much of anything.  You can't study our habits or our patterns for a month, let alone a day, and be able to determine where we will be in five years. And, of course, this is exactly how we want to live, we like it this way. We love life, we love opportunities, we love spontaneity.

Even the most organized, most scheduled, highly driven older child in the family has a thirst for owning her own business while working a significant chunk of time for a company in Florida. Florida? See, I told you. We are full of surprises. Funny thing about this Twin Valley Coffee Company, though....we kinda need predictability. And so the probing question is, is the need for regularity worth the pain? Yes! Growing the company requires more scheduling.  It is worth the pain.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 15: January 15, 2016 - Coffee Cottage Part 3

January 15, 2016
Day 15 Coffee Cottage Part 3

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Who knew coffee was going to change the course of Lynn and Lynne's future. We had no idea. But if there is any hope of a retirement fund, it is coffee. If there is any hope of a savings fund, it is coffee. If there is any hope to pull us out of debt, it is coffee. This little bean has transformed our little family into a coffee cottage industry that has the potential to tug boat us up and out of rough waters.

The buzz begins with our morning cup and lasts the day as more and more people hear about Twin Valley Coffee company. The fierce loyalty is fierce. Veteran coffee customers in the Gazebo are our best sales representatives. If one of our veteran's is there when a new customer arrives, those of us behind the counter just mind our own business and let the veteran give their spiel. These men and women are ardent supporters.

Tomorrow Lynn is moving our cold brew operation to the newly rented space. This is a good firm step at streamlining, and also getting the heck out of our kitchen. No! I have not been nagging him. Yes! I have been making suggestions. Firm ones. Limitations make us work harder and especially smarter. The rented space is right down the road so it will not be difficult to manage going back and forth. We cannot and should not run out of cold brew. For it is like running out of anesthesia. Really not a good scene. Cold brew to many is like black gold.

We will continue this dip into the workings of Twin Valley Coffee Cottage Industry. Good night!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day 14: January 14, 2016 Twin Valley Coffee Cottage Part 2

January 14, 2016 Twin Valley Coffee Cottage Part 2
Day 14

Regularity bores Lynn and I. It makes us twitch. Nine to five, no can do. Our imagination dries up, real quick. Doing the same job everyday, oh boy. Switching things up, however, is what we love to do best. Fortunately for each other we are both wired the same way. Unfortunately for each other we are both wired the same way.

The coffee business is finally turning over a profitable leaf but not without some wise men and women providing us wise counsel. Like I tell customers all the time, we are just not the sharpest knives in the drawer, we need outside forces! There are two men, in particular, even with their ridiculously busy lives, who take the time to help direct us, the nonbusiness majors. We have a bit of a stretch ahead of us but we are motivated and excited.

The Coffee Gazebo is something undefinable, almost hard to for us to comprehend. Lynn and I shake our heads often repeating, "what is going on in this place?" The conversations, the stories, the connections, the broadened horizons, the new friends, it all happens under the dome.

Rob Hamm gave us some key components for this sweet spot. He worked for a local company that made them, and he kept this one in storage. Little did he know he would someday give it to us. We are forever grateful. These serendipitous events, receiving a gazebo, are evidence of someone smiling in our direction.

There is so much to say but so little bandwidth to work with. Good night for now and we will continue the dip into Twin Valley Coffee.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 13: January 13, 2016 - Twin Valley Coffee Cottage Industry: Part 1

January 13, 2016
Day 13 Twin Valley Coffee Cottage Industry: Part One

Jesse loves the company
Our Twin Valley Coffee Company is the most wonderful cottage industry in the area and I am thrilled to be a part of this endeavor. While studying the Industrial Revolution in Mr. Dean's sixth grade class it always made me sad that the cottage industries were disappearing with mechanization, capable of mass production, bullying it out of existence.

More, more, more, more meant less, less, less, family time. Maybe my view was too glamorous, of each home set up with a different specialization theme. But it certainly had me dreaming and interested. And little did that sixth grader know, sitting in that history class, that someday I would find myself in the best smelling, best tasting, superior coffee cottage industry.

Charming customers
My husband has been home ever since 1986. I giggle watching my friends experience their husbands home for the first time. It's kinda entertaining. Lynn and I have done this ever since we were married. He is always around the home. You would think we were farmers. Not so, though my Plant and Soil Science Degree from U.R.I would indicate that was where I was headed. Instead, we are "upstreamers" doing life the way we wanted to and kicking status quo in the dust. But, I always feel I must add, when I get on my high horse, we should have done some status quo. We have a ways out of our financial sludge, but we'll get there, we'll get there. This does not hamper our drive.

Nitro Toddies - Gorgeous when made
Lynn did not marry an accountant. He tried. Me, taking care of business? I dropped out of that West Chester University course. It was like trying to catch minnows, the numbers swam, away, all the time. Now, I do love making directional and visionary decisions for our company, but doing the books, well that's a whole different skill set. I do feel for him! I love listing the women he should have married and listening to him groan like he ate something gross. Awww... such a guy. He only has eyes for me.

One ride with the two of us in a car would have us pegged - we are definitely first born. We are assertive, we know where we want to go and we don't need your advice. Thank you. So, though we love each other passionately, we don't give each other much room. Who needs that? We love to dream, we love to talk about our dreams, and we love to plan out our dreams. And for the past, almost 30 years, we have loved waking up and doing life together.

I know, I diverge. You just want to hear about the Coffee Company. This is part one. A little dip into the beginnings of one of the best companies in the area. The service is exceptional, the product is out of the world, and the things in the works...........unparalleled belief! (whatever that means)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 12: January 12, 2016 - Wildlife at Hopewell Lake

January 12, 2016
Day 12  Wildlife at Hopewell Lake

Look for the "V" wake

Beavers, they are remarkable. I have been lucky enough to see them in the early morning hours while at French Creek this summer. Their blunt head, slightly above the surface of the water, moves at a smooth, calming pace. To me, these moments soar above any zoo experience. This is nature in full view, with kayak seating, better than drugs.

The beavers think otherwise and they let me know, "girl, keep your distance, we be working!" I have watched them slice through the water in the evening with a "v" wake widening behind them. They continue to communicate to me. "We are not digging your presence, human kayaker! You might want to pull out and go home to your humble human home." But I don't  because I know they will leave me alone and I know I will eventually leave them alone.

This summer while kayaking, one of my friends was bumped underneath her boat. I must admit we were flirting with beaver territory and we were close to trespassing. They have begun to set up a lodge at one of the islands and frankly, we were too close. Again, "ladies, we have a lodge here, can you please give us some respect?!" Though these creatures are shy they are good at keeping boundaries by communicating clearly with a slap of their very broad tails.

The bite mark - Beavers?

Beavers love soft plant foods. I noticed large chunks of lily pads teethed into. No mistaking who was chunking these. If soft food is available like lily pads and cattails, the beavers will cut down less trees. And they kinda chop a lot! On average per year, it is around 300 trees! They usually cut down trees about 200 feet from the water's edge. They are no dummies. What makes me laugh, it shouldn't, is that there is nothing instinctual to help them know which way the tree is going to fell. Therefore many trees fall right on them.

During the Fall, the children from Wider, a naturalist educator, and myself walked through some trails around Hopewell Lake. For some time I had not been back that way and to my surprise the small stream that I had kayaked up about ten years ago was now a big pond as a result of the beavers' dam work. The dam was impressive, twigs, branches, all piled up with enough strength to localize the water. You could hear the water rushing through the pile of sticks. It was extraordinary work! And all for what? Well, only the beavers know.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 11: January 11, 2016 - Eternity Eyes

January 11, 2016
Day 11 Eternity Eyes

Photo Credit: Melodee Stephens
Sunday afternoon, at 4 pm, we found ourselves hooping and hollering in the high school gymnasium at Jesse's basketball game. Driving to the game, the sky was dark and foreboding. However, at some point during the game, the most vibrant yellow, slightly orange, majorly golden light, was shining through the glass block windows near the top of the ceiling. I wanted to run outside and start shooting pictures. But, I was watching my son's game and he really likes for me to watch. So, I simply stayed put and only imagined.

Photo Credit: Emily Schwartz
Then the face book posts came and showed me exactly what I missed. Thank you, Melodee, Emily and Katie for capturing one of the most fantastical rainbows ever! Hope you don't mind me downloading your pictures and using them! All three of these pictures are amazing and speak spiritual truth to my soul. The middle of the rainbow, with the fresh glow, is the Kingdom of God on earth. What a beautiful glimpse of spiritual reality. I am fully in the kingdom while fully on the earth!

Photo Credit: Katie Schwartz
When I see the sign, the rainbow, I know that God is looking at it as well. He says, "When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth....This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth." My God looks at what I look at. This is a one on one with the Almighty with every rain storm the sun peeks through while the rain is still pouring. Too much for this little girl.

I use to think that the rainbow was created just to be the sign of the promise that God made between Him and all flesh. He was never going to destroy all life through a flood ever again and it was the rainbow that was a reminder to us and to Him. But I learned just recently, a rainbow had already existed in heaven. And this rainbow around the throne had the appearance of an emerald - how fitting to have the color green.

Not only was God giving himself a sign to remember His promise. But He was giving us a sign so that we, as well, would remember. And what He was using was something that He pulled from His throne room. This was not something created for the moment. This was a symbol that already had been created. He had looked at this rainbow with eternity eyes.

*scripture references as seen in order - Genesis 9 and Revelation 4