Archive for September, 2012

Fear Sat On My Cushion

Ten years ago this month the Beltway snipers created havoc and terror on the east coast and particularly in Virginia.  The Richmond Times ran a story about the ordeal today in the paper.  I was reminded of the stark fear that perched itself in my comfort zone.  I had written  my thoughts and decided to share them with you today.  Maybe you are dealing with a fearful and uncertain time in your life.  Let God speak peace to your heart today.  Blessings, Pat.

“Your children are not safe anywhere or at any place.”  (Beltway Sniper)

“I can not guarantee your children’s safety.” (Chief Moose)

Suddenly fear struck home.  I had been following the sniper’s reign of terror but it was up there, at least 90 minutes north of where we live.  Suddenly it was 40 minutes away in Ashland and then 25 minutes at a phone booth in Richmond.  As people began to talk I realized how close to home it really was; a youth girl from church was in Ashland and caught in the traffic jam on I-95, a customer was in the first car that the police stopped in front of the Ponderosa Steakhouse, an employee had eaten at the Cracker Barrel beside the steakhouse and had left just two minutes prior to the shooting.  These are people I know.  Terror was invading my comfort zone.

Fear took a grip.  I needed to go get groceries the following evening at our local Food Lion.  But the fear of “uncertainty” weighed heavier on the scale than “reality” that the sniper was striking close to major highways and intersections.  Just to be safe, I assured myself, I would stay home.  We wanted to attend a trade show in the Washington suburbs but just to be safe, we assured ourselves, we would stay home.

Why do bad things/circumstances happen?

Why do evil men reign?

Why does God allow injustice and suffering to happen to innocent people?

Habakkuk questioned “why” to the same questions.  Take a few minutes and read the short book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament.  It was a very difficult time in Judah’s history.  God answered Habakkuk’s cry with the most unlikely of answers.  “Look….watch-be utterly astounded!  For I will work a work in your days which you will not believe.” (Habakkuk 1:5)  God said a fierce and nasty nation was going to come against Judah, a time of great judgment. God said, “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the “just would live by HIS faith” (Habakkuk 2:4), and that “the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.”  Habakkuk fell on his knees and at the end of his prayer his body was trembling and shaking.  His lips were quivering and he sang a tremendous hymn of faith…

              “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stall….Yet I WILL rejoice in the Lord. I WILL joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord is my strength….”(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

My faith and trust in God is not based on the circumstances around me. I don’t know why the sniper was allowed his reign of terror.  There was one lone voice amidst all the noise and clamor from the wife of the man shot in Ashland.  She said, “Pray for the sniper.”  It is obvious the two previously unknown snipers do not know our loving God.  Now that we have gotten acquainted, let us pray for the salvation of these two men.  Maybe, just maybe, God will be able to work in the midst of a most unlikely situation.

October 27, 2002

Whats Time Is It?


It struck me today how many times a day I  ask the question, “What time is it?”  I am consumed with time. I am good at scheduling my day, planning for tomorrow and dreaming of the future. Time manages my day;  The clock tells me when to get up, eat, go to work, meet appointments and deadlines, place an order,  go home, fix supper, and go to bed.  We set alarms, timers and punch the time card. Quite often I catch myself coming to the door of my office and say as I look at the clock, “What time is it?” I am checking myself with how much time is left in the day and what needs to be done yet. If you don’t think time is important try oversleeping, let the kids miss the bus, get stuck in rush-hour traffic, take a wrong turn, be late for an appointment, have an unforeseen emergency, over-schedule your day or let someone who wants to talk or ask lots of questions call just as you are walking out the door. Yes, we live by the clock. At least I know I do.

Our lives are also a ticking clock.   The moment we are conceived the seconds start ticking. God knows the number of our days.   Each year I plan to have another birthday but I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I do not know the day or hour of my passing into eternity.  I do not know how close to midnight the hands on my life clock are. I do know at 60 years of age that they are significantly past the half-way mark. This stops me for a few minutes in my tracks!

  • Psalms 90:12  So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  • Psalms 39: 4-5 Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but a vapor. Selah.
  • James 4:14 …whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away.
  • Psalms 89:47-48 Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?

Most people have a sense that this world had a beginning and will not last forever.  One day the disciples asked Jesus, “And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”  Jesus talked extensively in Matthew 24 about the signs of the end of the world, the great tribulation, and His coming again. He told a parable about a fig tree and said, “when you see all these things, know that it (time) is near-at the door!”   In other words, it will be midnight on the clock.  He also said, “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, but only His Father (God).”  He warns us to watch, wait, be ready, be prepared, and expect His return.

What time is it: 11 o’clock, quarter till 12, 5 minutes to midnight? We do not know, but God has recorded in His Word many scriptures to help us discern the times.   Quite often I say, “it is getting late, I am going to bed.”  I am discerning the time  and know the day is done, it is time to rest. If we read The Word, we can gain wisdom in discerning  the times in which we live.  Most Biblical scholars agree we are close to midnight.  Jesus comforts us with these words, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

Just for fun… some “time” cliches that we use. If you think of some more send me a comment and I will add them.

  • A day late and an hour tardy.
  • A new day has dawned.
  • At a moment’s notice.
  • At the present moment.
  • At this time.
  • Be careful or time will catch up with you.
  • Beat the clock.
  • Behind the eight ball.
  • Can you steal a second?
  • Can you spare a moment? or Can I spare a moment of your time?
  • Cleaned my clock.
  • Countdown.
  • Don’t be late.
  • For a solid hour….
  • Hang on (hold on) a second.
  • If you can spare a minute.
  • If you have time left over…
  • In a split second.
  • I’m in a hurry and I don’t know why.
  • Just in the nick of time.
  • Make every second count.
  • Make the most of your time.
  • Not on my watch.
  • Out of time.
  • Race against time.
  • Redeem the time.
  • Running late.
  • Spend your time wisely.
  • Stall for time.
  • Take a minute.
  • The clock is ticking!
  • Time is moving on.
  • Time is on my side.
  • Time is passing.
  • Time is precious.
  • Time is racing by.
  • Time stands still.
  • Time will tell.
  • The early bird gets the worm.
  • The hour is getting late.
  • Wait a minute.
  • Wasting time.
  • Watch the time.
  • Where has time gone?

When We All Work Together

This past weekend we had a huge yard and bake sale as a fundraiser for our church building program. The gals in charge did a fabulous job coordinating the event which turned out to be massive as load after load after load of stuff came in. By the way, our homes are now all clutter-free!!!!  When the take-in from a yard sale is $4300+ dollars you know you have sold lots of “stuff”.  Oops…”treasures”!

It took quite a few evenings of pricing, sorting, cleaning, organizing, and boxing in preparation for the big sale. And then the frantic plea went out…..”we need help, lots of help to finish pricing and putting the goods out on Saturday morning at 6 AM”.  6 AM  is before the crack of dawn when most (some) of us are still asleep!!!

It was neat watching and helping it unfold. Like soldier ants going after food a steady stream of people; men, women and young adults, set up rows of tables, laid tarps on the ground, hung clothes on the racks,  and carried box after box out to be unpacked on the tables.

By 8 AM we were selling stuff to a steady crowd of bargain hunters.

Most of the volunteers stayed and helped with whatever needed to be done.  Fresh, hot, homemade doughnuts made on the premises were to die for and a huge hit.  The bake sale itself yielded $800.

And then it was over and cleanup began.

I, along with several others, worked at boxing the unsold clothing to be taken to Goodwill.  Glen and I were chatting about the day and I mentioned the huge amount of man-hours that went into the sale.

Glen said, “But you know, it was so neat watching people work together and we had fun doing it.”  As we chatted I realized how special it is to work together  for a common cause.  We could each have donated money and saved ourselves lots of work and time.  But we also would have missed a huge blessing.  As we worked we laughed, chatted, played a few tricks and had a grand time.  I will have to tell one on Glen…. he bought a pair of sassy, bright red boots with skinny high heels to take home to his wife as a gag gift.  It was fun and we laughed with him as we envisioned Carol in those boots!  The sale united us towards accomplishing a goal;  working together for a cause-our building project. It helped to make the church addition one that belongs to all of us. We have invested a part of ourselves in it.

I thought of the children’s song we sometimes sing…”When we all work together, together, together. When we all work together, how happy we’ll be….When your work is my work and our work is God’s work, when we all work together, how happy we’ll be.”

Evening on the Lawn-2012

God could not have given us a more perfect evening last night for our annual evening of gospel/bluegrass music on the lawn. The temperature was in the mid-70’s, no bugs were on their nightly scavenger hunt, and just before the sun set with a radiant and glorious display of yellow, orange and pink, the “glory rays” outline the clouds with a brilliant beauty that only God could create. I thought… wouldn’t the evening be perfect if Jesus stepped from behind those clouds! And guess what, one day He will!

Mark Templeton & Pocket Change were our featured band for the evening.  They are  very talented musicians and played a variety of different styles of music.  They even entertained us with their famous chicken rendition!

Our church, Powhatan Mennonite, sponsors this annual community event on our lawn.  We set up a tent for Bruster’s Ice-Cream, freshly popped corn and beverages.  People gather with blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy the music, food, fellowship and evening.

Mark is from High Point, North Carolina and the rest of the band is from Richmond and southern Virginia.

A special bonus treat for us is getting to interact with the band before and after the program.  After the program we enjoyed a supper of chili soup and corn bread as we unwound and reflected on the evening.  It was a good evening and one we will treasure the memory of.  Thanks again Mark, Glenn Ashwell, Ralph Clay, Ernie Power, and Russell Bonovitch.

More pictures from the evening….

Our Greeters

Dave and Nancy Moyer

Ed and Doris Ranck

Marie Landis and Justin Jones serving popcorn.

Mary Ann Davis and Marie Hertzler serving Bruster’s ice-cream.

Mike Wood (helped with parking), Pastor Tim Kennell and Pres Nowlin

The Comeaux family.

Bob and Margaret Estes

Lauren Tinner

We gave out some door prizes…

Kristen Broughton-winner of the bubbles!

Winner-Lauren Tinner

Winner of a CD from the band.

Lillian Hertzler-winner of the mum

Winner of homemade bread and jams.

Another winner of a CD from the band.

Billy Flippo-winner of fresh vegetables, salsa, jam & tea towels.

Bob Estes-winner of insulated cooler.

The setting sun was stunning. My camera did not pick up any of the brilliant orange, yellow and pink colors.

Family Get Together

Today my family had our annual Labor Day get together.  It is a special time to come together as family. Parents (Dwight and Fannie Heatwole), siblings (Pat Hertzler, Rich Heatwole, Ev Borntrager and Ed Heatwole) , spouses (Gene Hertzler, Marj Heatwole, Phil Borntrager and Eileen Heatwole),  grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  The family has grown to 48 plus 4 deceased (2 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren), and 3 are on the way!  My parents are still living; they are in their 80’s.  We are a blessed family!

This year we met at Richards lovely home in the valley.  They are home on a two-month leave from their work with We Care Prison ministry in  Alabama.

Daddy, mother, and us siblings, along with our spouses, met for breakfast this morning with the rest of the family joining mid-morning. It was a relaxing and fun day chatting, catching up, playing games, eating, and comparing our electronics-finding out who was using what app!

Here are some pictures from our day.

Richard cooking hamburgers on the grill.

Obe Hostetter and Marj Heatwole

Starting by the door and coming clock-wise: Mother, Gene & Pat Hertzler, Eileen & Ed Heatwole, Daddy, Ev Borntrager, and Rich Heatwole

Phil Borntrager

Ev Borntrager and Eileen Heatwole

Gene Hertzler

Richard was on his “soap-box”!

Evelyn’s grandson, David Nolt.

My granddaughters Emily Hertzler, Karla Hostetter and Lauren Hertzler.

Lauren Hertzler reading to Lincoln Heatwole

Marj holding granddaughter, Kyra Niess,  Heidi Nolt and Mother.

Krista Heatwole

Emily & Lauren Hertzler,  Karmen Arbogast

Karla Hostetter

Ryan Hostetter

Daddy and Ev

Ed and Eileen

Gene and Pat

Micah Heatwole

Austin Landis

Marj, Ev and Mother

At least I didn’t have the spoon in my mouth!

Jake and Kyra Niess

Brian and Donna Borntrager

Karla & Jill Hostetter and Lauren Hertzler playing a game.

Fun times and good memories!

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