Sunday, August 23, 2009

Out of Africa...

It is a lovely, rainy, misty, Sunday morning here and I am listening to the soundtrack from Out of Africa. It has to be one of my all time favorite movies. Not so much for parts of the story line, but for the expansive sceanery and the amazing musical score. Africa has always drawn me, as it did my mother. Thelma always longed to go to Africa to see the zebras. That's all, she just wanted to go and see the zebra's. It is a wish that was not fulfilled in her lifetime, but as is so often the case, it has been somewhat fulfilled in the lives of two of her grandchildren. I do not know if either my son Daniel or his twin sister, Jaime have viewed zebras while in Africa, but they have been there! This morning my son Daniel is in the heart of Africa, visiting Uganda for the second time doing humanitarian outreach work and my daughter Jaime lived in Egypt for almost a year working with a linguistics agency.
So what draws me to this dark continent, as it was once called in school books of long ago? I am not sure, only that I have always wanted to visit, to see the people, the lovely faces of the children, the land and its animals too, I suppose. But the stories I have read, often stories of survival and of the lives of people who went there early on, have always captivated me! Early missionaries and colonists worked tirelessly, persuing a passion for the seemingly impossible. In the book Out of Africa by Isak Dinsen, she speaks of having been mostly a 'mental traveler'. A mental traveler sums it up well for me, for up until now that is mostly what I have been when it comes to travel to foriegn lands. A mental traveler can go where ever she wishes and the pictures in the mind are free to be as beautiful as can be imagined. But there is another side to Africa that frightens me, it is the side of hunger, starvation, unimaginable poverty, sickness, revolution and war. Perhaps that is the Darkness that is referred to when many speak of this large continent. I am so glad that two of my children have gone and been willing to see and experience both sides of Africa. They have been willing to embrace its beauty and its poverty, its people and their heartbreak. A new generation is going to tackle what those of us who have only travel in our minds have yet to see. Photos of Uganda by Dan Ford so far without permission! :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

"A Life Lived Small but in a Big Way"

I want to take a moment and make a few comments about my friend Kathy Sutherland who passed away on the 4th of July this year!
Kathy's obituary cannot begin to let anyone know what she meant to the many lives she touched!
Read my thoughts following the obituary.
Name: Kathleen L. Sutherland
Date: November 22nd, 1946 - July 4th, 2009
Obituary: Kathleen L. Sutherland, 62, of Browns Mills, NJ, went on to her eternal reward on July 4, 2009, at Samaritan Hospice in Mt. Holly, NJ, after a valiant battle against cancer. She devoted her life to service at Lighthouse Christian School and then at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in the Food & Nutrition/Environmental Services Departments. Wife of the late James Sutherland, she is survived by her children, Kari Mauerman, Marissa Sheley, and Matthew Sutherland; her grandchildren Claire, Lucy, and Jack Mauerman; her sister, Marie Lehar; brothers, Edward “Skip” Kowal, Francis “Bud” Kowal, and Chris Kowal; and her mother, Elizabeth Kowal. She is also survived by several nieces and two sons-in-law. Friends and family are invited to celebrate her life on Thursday, July 9, at Lighthouse Tabernacle in Lumberton, NJ. A viewing will be held from 5-7pm with a service beginning at 7:15pm. Rev. AndrĂ© Mauerman will officiate. Interment will be held 10 am on Friday at the Mount Holly Cemetery. Family will greet friends following the burial at Lighthouse Tabernacle. Donations in memory of her life may be made to the Deborah Hospital Foundation, 20 Pine Mill Road, Browns Mills, NJ 08015. Arrangements under the direction of the Perinchief Chapels, Mt. Holly. (

When I first moved to New Jersey in 1986, I was a suddenly single mother of five children. I had been married for forever it seemed, but now I found myself in the new world of single parenthood. When I first started attending Lighthouse Tabernacle Church, Kathy was one of the first people who made me feel welcome. We both belonged to a great group of single women and Kath was often the voice of reason, like when some of us thought that doing something crazy would be fun! Nothing like watching a bunch of 30 and 40 year old women riding loudly in the back of someones pickup truck through the streets of Moorestown, NJ.. hmmm!
We worked together everyday for the three years that I taught at Lighthouse Christian School. Kathy had a gentle, quiet, strong presence that always amazed me! She had been widowed when her children were quite young and Kathy became my true mentor and friend. She was an amazing school secretary and touched so many young lives.
Kathy never appeared rattled, I never heard her complain about anything or anyone. She lived simply and gave her children a wonderful foundation of faith and a left them a legacy of love.
In recent years, we often joked about the fact that we rarely saw each other except in ICU waiting rooms and at the funerals of mutual friends. I could always make her laugh when I would remind her that the first letters of funeral spell FUN! (sorry-it is just how my brain works sometimes!)
By the time Kathy became ill, my family and I had relocated to North Carolina and so when I learned of Kathy's home going, I was unable to attend her funeral. But I do know this, we will get to see each other again one day in Heaven. There will be no sorrow, or tears or pain- only rejoicing before our Lord!
Thank you Kathy, for the example you set for me.
I will miss you and I will see you in a bit.

A Long Day's Journey ...

It has been exceedingly long since I blogged! No excuses really except perhaps a lack of bloggy focus :) But it has been a glorious summer and my mind,spirit, and heart are rested and well! Seems like a good time to replace fogginess with blogginess. I have decided to set apart the history posts on their own site and I will give you that information soon. I will be uploading some new fun pictures depicting the wonder of summer! So just what have you been up to?


Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Me Monday!

While enjoying the blogginess of others it is NOT possible that I have have not blogged since the beginning of January! No not me! I have been following a fun blog whose author always treats us to a "Not-me-Monday" post. She also asks us to join her in hosting our own "Not-me-Monday" post. So here I go ready or not!

Since I last joined you my friendly blog readers, the following has NOT happened to our family!

Our son-in-law was certainly NOT hit by a truck while training for a marathon! And of course since he was NOT hit by the truck -he did NOT have his elbow broken, followed by surgery with NOT 1 screw but 2 and 15 staples! NO not in our lifetime!

My precious husband who was out chopping wood for my fire-did NOT connect the axe and a large log to his large toe! NO NOT HIM! And the picture is a figment of your imagination!

Our 3rd daughter, who is expecting any minute certainly did NOT go into early labor only to be sent home from the hospital a few hours later! NO SHE DID NOT! And because she did not have the baby early, I MOST certainly will NOT be winging my way later this week to the windy city to witness the birth our 4th grandbaby! :)

On Valentine's Day my dear husband did NOT bring me a full giant heart full of yummy chocolates... and because he did not bring them I have not eaten my way into a chocolate stupor, NO NOT ME!

On this delightful 4 day holiday weekend I HAVE MOST CERTAINLY NOT AVOIDED GRADING PAPERS and doing LESSON PLANS! No not me!

I have not stayed up to late, I have not exhausted myself from hours on facebook,bloglines, and twitter! NOPE NOT me!

Having completed this assignment! I am now free to continue my NOT ME MONDAY PRESIDENTS DAY!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Horse Drawn Trolley Comes to Goldsboro

For the second year we were able to take our two oldest granddaughters, Anna Marion and Emma Grace, to ride the free horse-drawn trolley, and to see the lights in downtown Goldsboro. These are some bullet thoughts and a few shots from the night!
* DID WE MENTION COLD? ( well, cold by Goldsboro standards)




Saturday, January 3, 2009


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecc. 9:10

Hands have always fascinated me! I love the dimples in baby hands. I love watching young children use their hands to master the use of crayons and pencils. I love watching my husband's hands when he plays the piano. I remember holding my Uncle Harry's big, rough hands and coming to the realization that his hands were both rough and gentle at the same time. I remember playing with and pulling at the "chicken skin" on my grandmother's hands and thinking that surely I would NEVER get wrinkly skin like that! I would sit for hours and watch the blacksmith's hands as he would shoe our horses.

One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons from years ago was a strip about Hands. At the risk of causing Charles Schultz to spin in his grave I will attempt to do the strip justice. Charlie is walking along rather proud of himself and he holds his hands up, looks at them and declares that "these hands will do great things, these hands can save the world... etc." Well, you get the point. He continues with his dialogue about his hands when Lucy comes along, takes one look at his hands and says; "They have jelly on them!" Suddenly dejected, Charlie Brown walks away hands in pockets with his head down.

In the span of my life time my hands have washed thousands of dishes, washed cloth baby diapers using an old fashioned scrub board in a bathtub. These hands have used an old fashioned wringer washer, and have tried to send the hands through the wringer! These hands have kneaded bread, pulled weeds, "mucked" horse stalls, groomed horses, painted walls, cared for patients in hospitals, scrubbed floors by hand on hands and knees, these hands welded Zenith television chassis, played games, cared for children, have taught kindergardeners to write, cleaned factories and empty apartments and the list could go on and on.

Most of the time I can say that whatever my hands have found to do, I have done with all of my might. If hands could talk what a story they would tell. I would still love to learn American Sign Language which is an amazing use of the hands. I am sure there is still plenty let for my hands to do... but today I realized that I have "chicken skin" on my hands, my hands are now as old as my grandmother's were when I would pull on the loose skin on her hands.

But that is okay, these hands can still do great things, even if they have "chicken skin", even if they have jelly on them!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to the New Year!

Essayist John Burroughs once said "One resolution I have made and try always to keep is this: To Rise Above the Small Things~"

I think for the coming year this would be a wonderful resolution indeed.

When I began this blog almost a year ago, I could never have imagined how much would happen in that time. One of the things that slowed me down this year was that I often allowed the small things to consume my think time. And so for the coming year I, along with Burroughs, will attempt "To Rise Above the Small Things"!

What are the small things that keep you from rising?