Archive for September, 2013

Computer Saga Continues

How do I begin to write about this intriguing, complicated story!  This afternoon FedEx delivered a box from Husqvarna to us with our computer inside!  At first this was mind boggling beyond description. I had shipped the computer by UPS in a Purina egg basket display box and it is returned by FedEx in a Husqvarna box???!!!

Now we wanted some answers. UPS had told us several hours earlier that Integra (our computer software company) kept the box. Not true. They rejected the package because it was damaged and had been retaped shut and the box was empty–you could tell by lifting it. A search of UPS’s online tracking of our package showed it was being returned to shipper (us).  The vibes from UPS did not feel good. No good answers, conflicting information, and not a feeling of “we really care about your problem and are doing all we can do for you”.  They were very eager to compensate us for their evaluation of our lost…$100!

Our UPS driver told us that all “lost and found” items  immediately go to a big warehouse in Atlanta.  That raised big flags for us. We could visualize miles of rows of discarded items in never, never land. I wanted to fly to Atlanta and look for myself but of course that would probably never be allowed. UPS never asked us for a description of our computer or backup tape.  So how could they search for what was missing?  It gave me zero confidence in their system and their ability to search for or find our computer.

Suddenly today without  warning our computer arrives, bent and somewhat damaged but in one peice.  The big question was how in the world did a computer without our name on it make it back to us by FedEx? We still do not know all the answers. But this is what we do know…..

When I originally packaged the computer, I wrapped it in bubble wrap (the original box was long gone) and taped it securely around the computer.  We had a box we had received parts from Husqvarna in that was a good fit so while Tim, an employee, held the box I attempted to put the computer in it. The box split wide open. We found another slightly larger box-Purina box- and put everything in that box-including the split box as extra packing and filler for the larger box. Then we stuffed more packing around the computer and sealed it with packing tape.  And no, I did not put our name on the computer or insure it for extra. And yes, I put the backup tape in the same box as the computer. And yes, I have learned a few valuable lessons!

Whatever happened along the way we may never know but somehow our package became damaged.  Someone salvaged the computer and the split Husqvarna box with a still in tack FedEx shipping label to us from Husqvarna several weeks earlier.  They retaped the split box shut and shipped it to us with the already used label.

This afternoon we repackage the computer.  This time our name is on the computer and yes, it is insured.  The words “fragile, handle with care” are written all over the package.


With a prayer for safety, our computer is once again on it’s way to Integra.  Now, I have to pray that they can fix the computer and retrieve our information.  The backup tape has not been found.

And now I want to thank God for answering my prayer and for all of you who joined me in praying.  It seems to be only a “God-thing” that our computer made it’s way so quickly back to us.  It was not a twisted fate of luck. God had His hand on our computer. Right now I am not too worried about the next step. I really think they will be able to retrieve our information. After all, God already did what seemed like the impossible!

Praying for a Computer

I don’t know if you have ever prayed for a computer but right now I am.  Our computer is lost!  Yes, lost.

On Friday of last week our store computer developed a problem and we had to ship it to Connecticut to be fixed. Now this is out Point of Sale computer with all our inventory, prices, customer history, sales. etc.  An empty, damaged retaped box arrived at the destination.  Missing is the computer and the backup tape that was included.  UPS, HOW COULD YOU!  This is not funny and the offer of replacement value does not cut it.  What is missing is invaluable. 

This is a high blood pressure and ulcer situation!   This week we have been doing hand tickets and scrambling to find all the info and prices we need.  We have limped through and made it workable for the short-term.  But it has totally crippled the parts department as all the location of parts is in that computer.  We have drawers and drawers full of parts but need the information in that computer to find them.  It is not like my side of the store.

So, I am asking you to help me pray for my lost computer that it can be found in the “Overgoods” (lost & found) Department of a UPS location. UPS is searching but I am asking God in His all-knowing wisdom to help them find it.

Where’s My Joy?

A dear friend sat down beside me the other day and said, “You have been through quite a few hard things in your life. How have you kept your joy?”  The question stunned me.  This dear Christian friend is  bubbly, fun-loving and full of energy but deep inside she is hurting.  She is facing a difficult, painful situation that breaks a mom’s heart and is struggling to keep her head above water.   Her question was honest and sincere.  I heard her heart and felt her pain. For a few moments I couldn’t even speak.

I had no answer. In that moment anything I could think to say seemed trite.  How can you have joy when you are hurting so deeply and life just doesn’t seem fair?  How can you have joy when you are bone-tired and your neck and shoulders ache with tension? How can you have joy when you care so deeply for someone who is making unhealthy, unwise and sinful decisions? How can you have joy when it seems God isn’t answering your pleading on bended knee?

Sometimes we spout off easy, almost trite answers….. it is God. That may be true, but my friend is also a Christian with a deep, abiding faith and right now, she is not feeling joy.  She is trying to survive fear, anger, disappointment, and frustration.

This friend has been on my mind and this morning for my devotions I read Psalms 3.  The Psalmist, King David, was in a difficult, dangerous situation. He was fleeing for his life because his oldest son, Absalom, had won the support of his closest advisers and anointed himself king over Israel . David knew his life was in danger as Absalom would have to kill him in order to firmly secure the kingdom.  As David with his family and closest friends flee under cover of night he cries this prayer…..

But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame.[a]

I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me….[b] Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me. And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. I will cry to him, “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!” …..

For salvation comes from God. What joy he gives to all his people.

Joy?  Is David out of his mind?  If you read the scripture the people were weeping, barefoot, dressed in sackcloth and covered with ashes. This was a sign of deep sorrow and grief.  This man was just trying to make it through the night and keep his sanity.   I have been there and probably you have also.

In Psalms 30 David shares the blessedness of answered prayer.

I will exalt you, Lord,  for you lifted me out of the depths  and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

Lord my God, I called to you for help,  and you healed me.

You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;  you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;  praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,  but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning…….

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;  you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

My belated advice to my friend is to trust in the promises of God. God is with you. He is your peace in the storm.  He is your strength when you have none. He is your rock when your feet are sinking in quicksand.  Your sorrow will not last forever, joy will come in the morning.  In the meantime, determine to fill your mind and heart with scripture, the precious promises of God’s faithfulness, His love, His care for you and trust Him.  Believe in the goodness of  God.
God does not cause our trials, the difficult things that hit us like a furious storm.  Yes, God could have prevented it, but He also allows us to experience life and sometimes the brutal forces of evil.
And remember…..In the morning you will see the faithfulness  and mercy of God and joy will come.

Rocks and Lawn Mowers

When our lawn was mowed this past weekend, the mower  hit a rock and shot it  like a bullet into our bedroom, shattering the window into what seemed like a million pieces.


This was the culprit!


The rock fit perfectly into a 1/2 cup measure.

We were gone and I came home to tiny, tiny, pieces of glass all over my bed and almost the entire room.  I am still seeing small crystal size pieces in the carpet, even after a thorough sweeping.


The rock traveled 36 feet (I stepped it off) across the driveway and a strip of grass before hitting the window, breaking through a double pane glass and snapping 3 rows of mini-blind slats.  The rock was found in the corner of the bedroom, underneath the edge of the curtain- another 15 feet. It missed the chest of drawers, nightstand and a lamp, landing near a glass domed scales.  (The rock was hit between the two stacks of potting soil to the right of the propane tank-just above the duct tape on the window).

This is a pertinent reminder to be careful when mowing.  Never allow a child or adult to approach the mower while it is running, particularly from the side that expels the grass.  Our incident could have been lethal!

An Old Sofa



“The Couch Potatoes” (as they were affectionately dubbed!)

(Photo by Marilyn Durham)

This weekend was the sixth annual Robbie Green Memorial Softball Tournament in Powhatan. I asked Robbie’s older brother, Charlie Jr.  to tell me the story behind Robbie Green.  I remembered the accident happening but couldn’t remember all the details. Robbie was one of the Powhatan sheriff deputies and on September 20, 2006  he was killed while on duty.  His patrol car ran off the road while responding to back up deputies and state troopers in a vehicle pursuit. The driver had attempted to avoid a DUI check point by making a U-turn and leaving the area. The accident rocked the county.  This was the first and only time the county has lost a law enforcement officer while on duty.  He left behind a grieving wife and young son, Chaytor.  Just an interesting tidbit I learned today… Chaytor was baptized today.

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Robbie and his family loved softball and the following year a memorial tournament was held in his memory. It has become an annual event.


Somehow the tattered flag flying at the ball field seems an appropriate tribute to the fallen deputy.


Several days before the 3rd annual event, Robbie’s father, Charlie Green, died unexpectedly from a bout with pneumonia.  Mr Green was well-known and well-loved in Powhatan. He served on the Board of Supervisors and was very involved in athletics in Powhatan.  His obituary in the Richmond Times Dispatch read.... Mr. Green was a coach, league director, vice president, and president of 15 years with the Powhatan Youth Athletic Association Inc.. At his death, he was state director of Virginia Dixie Youth Baseball. After decades of work with others in the community, he recently saw the opening of an athletic complex at Powhatan’s Fighting Creek Park. 


Gene has played in three of the tournaments, twice as pitcher for the sheriff’s department team.


This year an interesting side-story developed that involves an old sofa.

Several of the local deputies were at the County Seat eating lunch when they spied a pickup pulling a trailer loaded with an old sofa go past the restaurant.  Deputy Daniel Dehart knew the guy and texted him asking where he was going with the sofa. The man replied that he was taking it to the dump.  Dehart wanted the sofa!  The “softball playing deputies” now had a clever, creative, team rallying idea up their sleeve.

The sofa became a fixture on the sidelines or in the dugout (depending on the field) for the sheriff’s team the duration of the tournament.





The word was…this was their “good luck” sofa. If they won they were storing it for next year and if they lost they were burning it.  This afternoon they lost!  They won 3 and lost 2 in the double elimination tournament.

 Rest in peace old sofa.

Several pictures from today…


Let’s play ball!




Celebrating a homerun!





The Scott Broughton family watching the game. Scott played for “The Band of Brothers” team.


The two final teams playing valiantly to the end.  Both teams were from the Farmville area. The “Band of Brothers” (in red) ended up playing 4 games back-to-back….5 plus hours to win!  Both teams were superior and both deserved to win. Congratulations to Band of Brothers for earning a title well-deserved!


A Unique Bridal Shower

I would not normally write about a bridal shower but Friday evening we had a very special, different and unique bridal shower at church for one of the upcoming brides, Marie Landis.  I decided to share a little bit about it as you gals out there might like the idea-I’m sure this will be of no interest to the guys!


The bride-to-be, Marie Landis, enjoying the evening.

The bridal shower invitation said to bring the gifts unwrapped but with our names clearly labeled on it.  Immediately I was in love with the idea. I really do not enjoy wrapping gifts and don’t have that professional touch that makes the gift look like a million dollars.  Also wrapping paper and especially the pre-made bows are expensive.  You can easily spend $5-10 dollars wrapping a gift to watch it become trash and worth 0 cents in a matter of seconds.

The gifts were displayed on  tables and the bride and guests browsed the tables, admiring the gifts.  You could look as much or little as you liked.





After a hilarious “most embarrassing” marriage episode shared by one of the ladies and prayer we were invited to refreshments. Chairs were set up in small circles where ladies could visit as they snacked on a delicious array of food.





A comforter for the new couple was in a quilting frame and everyone was encouraged to put in a least one knot.




Bertha  Schaefer helping her great-granddaughter put in  a knot.


Marie watching her future mother-in-law put her knot on the quilt.

By the time the evening was over, everyone was chattering about the the lovely, extra special evening.  I don’t know who’s idea it was to bring unwrapped gifts but it is an idea I hope becomes the norm!

Just a few other pictures of ladies having a good time.








I remember when….Our Faith Journey

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When Evelyn asked me to share “I remember when…. our spiritual heritage” I found myself trying to come up with a clever title such as “Give Me That Old Time Religion” but I found a richness of our heritage that goes much deeper than frivolous, cutesy sayings.  It is a “tried and true” faith with a solid foundation-rocks to stand on.  But, it still has to be our own.  We can not get to heaven on “the faith of our fathers”.

I am going to call this our “Faith Journey”.  The memories I share will be from the 1950’ and 60’s.

History gives us something to look back and reflect on. History gives us a second perspective on life events.  History gives us our story to share with our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  History shows us our journey; some of it is good, some of it is tough and some of it we prefer to hide or throw away. History can not be changed but we can change the outcome of the future.

I am going to try to reflect on memories of our family’s faith journey.  Obviously it is from my point of view and it may reflect differently for my siblings.

One of my very first memories and it had to be before I was four, was sitting in the dining room bay window at Penn Laird, looking at the clouds and thinking about Jesus coming back-wondering if He was going to step out from behind the beautiful, fluffy, white clouds. I would assume there was preaching about it that had touched my tender heart.  I have always had a love of prophecy and to this day enjoy studying and talking about it. I know Ed also shares that love and it often is a source of conversation for us.  On the farm at Edom we had a path to the barn though a field.  One time daddy mentioned that every morning as he went to the barn he would look up to see if the power line was in  place and then his gaze would go to the sky and he would wonder, “Is today the day?”

We were taught integrity, truthfulness and honesty. I remember finding a penny on the school bus and turning it in to the driver.  If we were caught saying an untruth the punishment was swift and we did not repeat the offense.

We were taught to guard our words. Unnecessary words were not allowed-not even “mercy, great day or goodness”.  I remember daddy telling us that when he was a little boy, one time he got something he was so proud of and he said, “hot dog” as he sat down under a tree. He was punished.  I am glad that today my conversation is not filled with unnecessary words.

Family devotions were an important part of breakfast-teaching us to start our day with God. We ate all three meals together, sitting down at the table as a family. For years we would sing a hymn-working our way through the Church Hymnal, then mother would read from a devotional book, daddy would read scripture and we would pray. This was not a fast-food meal!  If I remember correctly we were in our teens before the hymn was dropped.   At bedtime, mother had devotions with us kids again.  I remember when I told her I wanted to have my own and she was ok with it.

Church was the center of our life.  We went to church every time the doors were open-no questions asked, no discussion about it. And we were always early-the first ones there-at least 30 minutes early.  Besides church on Sunday morning we also went every Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Youth meetings were at least once a month.  I remember loving our church.  We attended Zion Hill, a small  church at the base of Little North Mountain behind Singers Glen,  and Glendon Blosser was our pastor. He was outgoing and we all loved him. His sermons were passionate and I remember at an early age that they spoke deep to my heart. I remember how he often told a story to go with his sermon.

Zion Hill-1969

(Picture was taken 1969)

I started teaching Sunday School and Bible School at an early age-when I was in the 8th grade. We also learned to lead singing at an early age. I remember round robin song services on Sunday evenings and topical programs where we as children often had to give a poem, or expound on a topic.  Once a year we had evangelistic meetings usually lasting for 2 weeks at a time.  The evangelist was usually a powerful speaker calling the people to repentance and holy living.

I remember enthusiastic, joyful, heartfelt, 4-part accapella singing. The church windows were open-we didn’t have air conditioning- and it was said that the Kislings that lived up on the hill could sometimes hear the singing and preaching.  We sang from the Church Hymnal and Life Song books.

Another memory that has deeply impacted my life…. Remember Ruby Knight and Elsie Donovan?   Each year the Sunday School superintendent would ask, “How many read the Bible through this year?” Those two ladies always did. I decided I wanted to be like them. I started reading my Bible so that I could raise my hand. This is a routine-habit-practice I have continued to this day. (I have read it through approximately 40 times).

I remember when the men sat on the right side of the church and the women on the left. I remember kneeling to pray.  I remember the church been respected as a place of reverence.  We were not allowed to run or play in the building.

We read books from the church library and had contest to see who could read the most. Teachers used flannel graph, film strips and hand-held pictures to tell their stories. There was no separate “children’s church” or nursery for the children.

 I remember mother telling mission flannel graph stories for children’s church (this was between Sunday School and preaching) to the children.  Daddy had his special little thing he liked to do for the children.  Occasionally he would hand out suckers!  He became known as the “Candy Man”.  He would put them in a little brown bag behind the pulpit and after church he would get it and hand them out.  I remember at Christmas time the Superintendents would hand out a bag of candy and one orange to each person. This was very special and super exciting. We could hardly wait for the service to be over to receive our coveted gift.

I remember canvassing the community, singing, handing out tracts and inviting people to church.

I remember the out-door Johnny houses!  For some strange reason as soon as we got to church after our 20 minute drive to church we had to go!

We did not have fellowship meals, bulletins or sharing time.  There could be as many as 3-4 Sunday School classes in the auditorium with curtains pulled between them.

I remember the local church’s connection to the broader district and conference churches and structure. This is different than it is today. Now the local church is almost an isolated unit to itself. We had Bishops and they had the ultimate say in the direction of the church.  As a family we attended many of the other local churches.  We always went to Weavers for district services on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. I loved to go and the see other young people.

Probably as I look back on that era of time in church history, the one word that would best describe it for me is “conviction”.  The plea was for the people of God to be faithful, to stand on their convictions, to be separate from the world, and to know what they believed.  I remember my heart pounding with conviction.  I remember prayer meetings where we prayed for the lost in the community.  I remember invitations to accept Christ, heads bowed in prayer as we sang the soul- stirring song “Just As I Am”.  We were asked to raise our hand, stand, or walk forward.  The decision was purposeful, and it was a public statement of our decision.

I keep thinking of the song “Give Me That Old Time Religion” which we occasionally sang…”It was good for Paul and Silas… it was good in the fiery furnace…. and it’s good enough for me.”  Each generation has its own opportunity to pass on to the next their faith stories; stories of God’s goodness, stories of mountain top experiences and dark valleys. It is so important to tell theses stories to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Each generation has its own history, and its own uniqueness.  We live in a totally different world now than we did “back-in-the-good-ole days” , but we are still people of faith and our God is still the same.  The words of the Psalmist still ring true, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalms 23)  Like a Good Shepherd, the same God still walks beside us.

Proverbs 30 talks about a generation of people that…

  • Curses their fathers
  • Does not bless their mothers
  • Does what is pure in their own eyes
  • Are not washed from its filthiness
  • Whose eyes are haughty and glances disdainful
  • Whose teeth are like swords

Psalms 45:17  talks about a different kind of generation of people.  A people that remembers God and praises His name.

            “I will remember your name to be remembered in all generations. Therefore the people shall praise you forever and forever.”

We can choose.   Joshua, the man God chose to lead the children of Israel after Moses death,  spoke pointedly when he said, “Choose today whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   (Joshua 24:15)  Our decisions will have a profound impact on the generations that follow. Which generation will you be?  What heritage will you choose to be remembered by?

My challenge today and to the next generation….claim the faith of your fathers and make it your own.  Pass on to your children the goodness of God. Praise the name of the Lord, remember Him and you will raise up godly offspring that honors and serves Him.

Heatwole Gathering-2013

This weekend was our annual Heatwole gathering-that is my siblings, offspring and parents. We had a great time at my sisters cabin at Sparkling Springs at the base of Little North Mountain behind Singers Glen, Virginia.

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My parents, Dwight and Fannie Heatwole


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Saturday Afternoon & Evening

We gathered on Saturday afternoon and had a wonderful picnic supper furnish by Phil and Evelyn Borntrager, our host this year.

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Daddy, Marj Heatwole and Eileen Heatwole

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Cheryl Yoder with her children…Max, Bo and Ariel

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This dear, sweet little Ariel is 8 months old and she is an SMA (Werdning Hoffman) baby which is the same disease as two of our children and little Truman Lane Heatwole who passed away last year.

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My brother, Ed Heatwole, and sister, Evelyn Borntrager, holding her granddaughter Julieanne.

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Lauren Hertzler and Karla Hostetter

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Cornhole game….Jeremy Yoder and Rich Heatwole

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Ryan Hostetter

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Ryan Hostetter

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Uncle Phil reading a bear story to the children and then then went on a “bear hunt”. It was great fun and they came back with two stuffed bears they found; one in a tree and the other in the bushes.

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Julieanne Nolt

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David Nolt and Bo & Max Yoder

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Children playing cards.

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Obe Hostetter, Rich Heatwole, Phil Borntrager and Calvin Nolt

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Marj Heatwole, Mother and Eileen Heatwole

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Brother Ed……Just can’t disconnect!

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Brother Rich

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Sunday morning mother fixed lunch for us siblings and our spouses. This was a special time together and mother served us a scrumptious egg casserole, sticky buns, cantelope, tomatoes, and sausage.

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Our Sunday Worship Service

We had our own worship service in the outdoor pavilion nestled among the cabins and trees. It was a special worship service.  Richard led us in singing several old hymns.

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Ed and Eileen read scripture.

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Evelyn had a children’s lesson about the shepherd who had 99 sheep and one was lost.

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The shepherd counted his sheep…95,96..97..98…99

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And he looked until he found the one that was lost!

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Uncle Charles (daddy’s brother) shared their personal tragedy;”Journey Through Grief” during the illness of Marlene and accidental death of their son Jay,

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Brian and Kerwin Borntrager led us in a medley of hymns…Oh Happy Day, When Peace Like A River, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, and Shall We Gather at the River.  This fit perfectly after Uncle Charles’ sharing and was very moving to me.

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Kerwins family singing “Alive, Alive”.

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I shared “I Remember…Our Faith Journey”.

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A very special treat for us as a family were the Aunts and Uncles-Daddy’s siblings-that joined us.

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Charles and Doris Heatwole

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John Reed

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Carolyn Reed

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Ruth Heatwole and I failed to get a picture of Liz Yoder.

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Great Aunt Nancy Heatwole (This would be my daddy’s aunt) also came.

And a few other random pictures….

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Brian and Donna Borntrager

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Donna and Evelyn Borntrager

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Rhonda Borntrager

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Obe Hostetter

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Gene and Pat Hertzler

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Rich Heatwole

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Jill Hostetter holding Macie Jo Landis, Kendra Landis and Lauren Hertzler

A spirited water balloon fight between the grandpa’s and their grandchildren.

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It was a fun and relaxing weekend and good to be with family.

God is good and we proclaim His faithfulness.

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