Monday, July 14, 2014

South Heidelberg Township's 100th Anniversary Worship Service and Peach Festival

On August 24th, South Heidelberg Township in Berks County, PA, along with Green Terrace Mennonite Church and Hillside Christian Church will be getting together at Hillside Christian Church and having a worship service and peach festival in celebration of 100 years of South Heidelberg Township. The event is open to the public. Officials from South Heidelberg Township approached our congregation at Green Terrace a while ago about this, and plans are in progress. Apparently, Green Terrace and Hillside are the only two churches within the municipality of South Heidelberg Township. We are looking forward to a good time, and we hope that the local community comes out. Here is a link to a .PDF flyer for the event:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Closing 2013 and Looking to 2014

This is going to be mostly a picture post to share the different ways we celebrated Christmas.  I realized that there were many more pictures I should have taken, so this is only a partial representation.  There will also be some snow pictures: of which there has been plenty of opportunities so far this winter!

The Reason we celebrate: JESUS!

My blooming Christmas cactus

Some inside decorations including our Christmas tree and a few favorite ornaments.

Here is my shot at a 'Pinterest inspired' wreath for our newly painted front door.  I think it turned out better than I thought it would... thankfully!

Our house also gets lit up, and it seems to glow even brighter in the new fallen snow this past Friday.

This is one of the many Christmas dinners that we had over the period of one week - it was the only gathering where someone actually thought to take a group picture before people started leaving. :-)  It is a picture of my mom's family with her parents (front center) and her siblings and the cousins, along with the first great-grandchild.

And a beautiful, colorful sunset to end this picture post.  It was neat to see how God designed this last snowfall with all of the drifts that appeared the next morning.
May God grant us the grace for all that is coming our way in 2014, and may we be thankful for each new day and every blessing He decides to give to us!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A polar bear in a snow storm eating vanilla ice cream

I'm going to give Amy some competition. Here's the latest and greatest work of art here. I call it, "A polar bear in a snow storm eating vanilla ice cream." My canvas is the side of the house. It was neglected for way too long by the former owner of this house. We were hoping to have all of this covered by now in new fascia, soffit, drip edge, a new roof, and new spouting, but it hasn't happened. I don't want to let this old weathered wood go another winter without at least painting it. So here we go....

Friday, August 16, 2013

Niagara Falls

We took a vacation this week to the Niagara Falls. We got Kelly a new passport, and made reservations at the Diplomat Inn on the Canadian side for 3 nights. It was an excellent vacation, and we had a good relaxing time. We did do quite a bit of walking on Wednesday, around town on the Canadian side, down to the falls, across the bridge to the New York side, over to Goat Island, back to the Canadian side, and back into town to the Diplomat Inn. I'm guessing maybe 6-7 miles. We would not have been able to slow down and enjoy the view, or get many of the pictures we did, if we would have covered that area in a car and kept moving.

We drove down to Niagara on the Lake, near the end of the Niagara River at Lake Ontario. That is a beautiful little town this time of year. Everywhere you go, there are flowers planted, just like in the town of Niagara, but without all of the noise and tourist trap racket. The drive along the river down to Niagara on the River is very scenic too, with all kinds of vineyards, big fancy houses, and amazing views of the Niagara Gorge. Knowing what we know now, if we had stayed another day, we might have just spent some time either hiking or biking the trails close to the river. You can walk right up to the edge of the river and the whirlpool, and there are trails all over the place on the Canadian side.

We rode the Maid of the Mist, walked up onto the Hurricane Deck, went up into the Skylon Tower, walked across the Rainbow Bridge, walked all over Goat Island and the Three Sisters Islands, saw the Imax movie, and rode on the Whirlpool Jet Boat through class 5 rapids down stream from the falls. The jet boats are aluminum and have 3 turbo diesel engines, producing a combined 1,500 horsepower. They can stop and start, and accelerate with ease going against the current in the middle of a class 5 rapid. They can spin around and do crazy stuff in the middle of the big whirlpool that sucks big logs to the bottom. The one thing they must not do though, is go into a class 6 rapid. Rapids are classified on a scale of 1 to 6. Class 1 is hardly noticeable, and you could float through it on an inner tube. They took us up to a class 6 rapid in the Niagara Gorge, at the entrance to the whirlpool, and showed it to us, but told us that the U.S. and Canadian governments have both outlawed it to attempt navigating that rapid. It is simply too dangerous, even for a 1,500 horsepower jet-ski. That rapid is 300 ft. deep, and has all of the water from the falls flowing through it. Years ago, before the hydroelectric plants were built, they were even bigger, and the owner of the first Maid of the Mist (then a steam boat) navigated down the river from the falls towards Lake Ontario. And survived.

Class 6 rapids, 300 ft. deep.

Another view of those class 6 rapids.
Just up the river from the Class 6 rapids and the whirlpool.
Each of these boats cost about $1.5 million, and they have 14 of them total, not all here.
Keep scrolling down...
A view of the American Falls from the Skylon Tower.

A view of the Canadian Falls from the Skylon Tower.

My beautiful wife with some Canadian flowers....

...and again.

The Hurricane Deck under the Bridal Veil Falls.

A view from walking across the Rainbow Bridge.

Some rapids just up the river from the Canadian falls,
as viewed from Goat Island, New York.

The Canadian Falls, viewed from the edge in New York.

Some flowers on the New York side.

Three C9 Cat Diesels in the jet boat. :-)


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Would You Pay $25?

What a title...!  I will show you a picture of what I am referring to, as it looked about two weeks ago.  I found this piece of furniture at Re-Uzit Furniture Store in Ephrata.  It sat in our living room for probably half a year until I had time to turn it into the piece I knew was under all that mess.  Here it is in all it's former 'glory'.
I really don't even know what to call it, but the dimensions of this piece were perfect and I could envision it being a nice place for our stereo, but only with some major changes.
As seen in this picture, it looks like some major scratches on the top.  Actually, these were only through the top very thin layer of dull brown paint of some sort.  I could see that there was still nice wood grain underneath that was covered by a ligher stain.
My first cosmetic change was to remove the two drawers in the center and their support to make room for a basket to sit in their place.  It looks much better already!
Fast forward about five months or so and I finally have time and beautiful weather outside to tackle the next steps of the project.  In that five months, I had done my research.  I found a low-odor paint/varnish stripper that worked so well.  First, I took the piece outside (with help) and then partly disassembled it.
The doors came off and their handles were also removed in hopes of finding something I liked a little better.  Next came my other major change I had been planning and picturing....
Chopping off the legs to about half their height!  So just a small bunny trail here - at the beginning of this project, Gerald made sure that I knew that this was 'my project'.  I assured him I understood and kind of looked forward to the challenge, having a finished idea in my head, knowing it would look great.  Back on track - this is one step that he did help me with.  I got the first one marked and sawed off by myself, but I must have looked like I was struggling because he decided to help me with the other three legs.  Anyways, after that, it became my project again. 
Here are the doors with a second coat of stripper on them.  The first application of stripper made the brown, dull paint bubble right away.  I had done a second coat to make sure that the first layer of stain and varnish also came with it.
This shows one of the sides after one coat of stripper and it is easy to see that it needed another one to get down to the bare wood.
Well, here are the doors after everything has been removed.  Quite a difference and it made me excited because I could see even better now how this was going to be a useful and great looking piece of furniture.
Well, here it is - after several busy, back breaking days of sanding, staining twice, wiping off the excess, waiting out the drying time and then adding a polyeurathane shiny finish.  The new door pulls blend in better and  make it look updated. I neglected to take pictures during the staining process because I was in a little bit of a time crunch, and I would also forget to do so.
You can see upclose how dark I made the wood again, but it is a nice rich stain, not dull paint.
I also love the new height for the space and the use of placing the stereo on top now blends in well with the rest of the room.
The scratches on the top went away completely, and I was left with a great piece of wood on the top.
I ended up not putting anything on top of this for a week because of the finish still being tacky.  But yesterday, after a week of drying time, it was ready!
This is how this great piece is being used in our house and I am very glad that I spent the $25 and I know that Gerald is too!