Sunday in Maine – Part 1

Sunday, December 31

After enjoying the morning worship service at Brunswick Church of the Brethren – near Wales, Maine – we had our Maine Christmas meal and celebration at Mark and Diane’s  house.

Dessert was a delicious cheese cake.

A slice displayed by Hannah

During the gift exchange, we learned that Nsimba likes peppermint candy canes.

Not sure what these two were looking at?

Playing “Now-You-Have-It-Now-You-Don’t” with items we brought.

After this we played the “Baby’s from the Bible” questionnaire that I made up for our Pennsylvania Christmas – then showed our family baby pictures where everyone tried to guess who they were.

I will show those pictures tomorrow night.

Christmas Day – Part 2

Monday Afternoon, December 25

A pretty decoration on the table.

Jesse wanted a picture next to Roy – with his shirt. 🙂

The dessert table

These peppermint candy spoons – made by Kristen – were for stirring coffee or tea.

Red velvet cake roll

Pumpkin cake roll

Singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus

Our afternoon craft was designing Christmas balls for next Christmas by removing the hanger attachment and dropping paint inside the ball and creating designs by moving the ball.

These were the same size balls we used for the sparkling cider for lunch – see previous post.

We dried the balls by placing them in a paper cup.

That was fun!

Jere and Kristen gave us gifts.

The guys got a measuring tape with a digital reading.

The girls got an insulated grocery bag and candy and nuts from Roy and Deb. Cerwin and I also got a beautiful wooden tray from Jere and Kristen.

These four played Qwirkle for quite a while.

I went out to the chicken pen with Jere when he gave them the turkey carcass – which they love.

Jere said it wouldn’t take them long to have it pecked clean. I think Colt wished that he could have some too. (He had his fill of skin and pieces from the ham and turkey.)

The nests were filled with eggs – just before the evening gathering.

Apparently a golf ball helps them know where to lay their eggs.

I don’t remember why we took these pictures.

Roy, Jared, and Jesse played an old computer game – which was new to them this Christmas. It was their family gift.


That was a fun Christmas Day.

Christmas Day – Part 1

Monday, December 25

We woke up to a pretty snow flurry.

Diane gave us come granola

Josiah and Diane joined us in two games of Qwirkle

The guys were the winners.

We were invited to Jere and Kristen’s for lunch. The ham was done in their smoker – and was delicious.

The turkey was roasted in the oven and was also delicious.

While waiting for the meal to be ready, Mark and Diane had a bit of face-time on their cell phones.

Kristen and Jere usually get to see Jana (via cell phone) on Fridays – her day off from serving with Youth With a Mission – but since it was Christmas, she was at a team leaders home and had access to Wi-Fi. However, they were not able to make the connection until later in the day – and I think it was only by messaging. I guess the ocean was too wide that day. 🙂

The beautiful table setting.

I liked these pretty table decorations…

…then learned that they were more than decorations. They were for the sparkling cider.

Lunch will soon be ready

Josh and Roy watching TV

Josiah on his cell phone and Lydia watching the meat carving.


Our family in the area who didn’t have other Christmas plans: Cerwin, Diane, Kristen, Jere, Roy, Jesse, Deb, Lydia, Josiah, and Josh.

Ian and Jared had their own table.

More tomorrow night.

Hershey Christmas Brunch – Part 3

Saturday Morning, December 23 – After the meal: visiting, games, and decorating gingerbread men

Jake visiting with great-grandma

Children in the gym

Benny, Lincoln, Elyse, Neil, Clair and a twin (I think Iris)


Roy and Josiah

Diane and Katie

Mike, Jake, and John

Steve, Tristan and Nancy

Dot and Chris

Melissa, Kristen, Kevin, Jere and Jason

Jamie and Ashlea

Deb, Jason, Sarah and Grandma Hershey

Nancy, Clair and Roy

Josh and Grandpa. Josh arrived after another Christmas breakfast – for his job.

Steve, Kevin, Dale and Kelci

Hope and Bella

Kylee and Miranda

Decorating gingerbread men

Elyse, Lucy, Lincoln, Heidi, Lindsey (hidden) and Bella

Lincoln, Elyse, Heidi, Lindsey, Bella, Emma, and Madelynn



Bella, Emma, Kate (Emma and Madelynn’s mother), Madelynn

Abby and Anthony


Abby and Anthony playing carpet ball

Vince and Hudson

Josiah and David

One of the ten-month-old twins with her momma – Jess.

Lucy enjoyed watching her try to walk,

Oh, what a fabulous morning. I hope I got all the names correct. 🙂

Hershey Christmas Brunch – Part 2

Saturday Morning, December 23 – Featuring the meal

The pictures were taken without flash – thus the soft focus on most of them. Flash can be quite bothersome when a lot of pictures are being taken.

Laura and Amy in the foreground helping their children.

A hot dip and mac and cheese.

Crackers and dip

Biscuits, creamed dry beef and quiche.

My oldest brother Dale talking to our sister, Nancy. Benny and Laura (with Hope on her back.

Becca helping Abe

Molly at the waffle bar

David and Hudson with Grandma Brenda.

Anthony checking out the yogurt parfait.

Ian putting syrup on his waffle

Lincoln making a waffle

He couldn’t close the lid so got a boost from his dad – Neil

Lincoln and Neil waiting for the light to come on while Jesse prepares to make a waffle

Deb with one of Rob and Jess’ twins. I think it may be Isla. While Roy photobombs the photo.

Chris and Josiah with Jeff partially hidden behind him.

Kevin with Clair (his dad)

Larry and Mother Hershey going through the food line while some in the background prepare waffles.

Notice Dot’s Christmas headdress (left). She was in a celebratory mood because she did not have to plan this meal – as in previous years. 🙂

The dessert bar

Enjoying brunch. There were about eighty people in the room – with about seventeen who were not able to attend.

I wish our parents could have been here to see how large their family has grown. Mother died in 1974 when there were only fourteen us (with two more on the way). Daddy died in 1997 when nobody under ten-and-a-half was here or those who joined the family through marriage since July of 1997.

I waited until last to go through the line – when Nathan decided to turn the camera on me.

This is about the time I noticed that he had my camera. 🙂

More tomorrow night

Hershey Christmas Brunch – Part 1

Saturday, December 23

We arrived early – when the “Hershey Christmas Committee” was preparing the Manheim Brethren in Christ Warehouse for our brunch.

The committee consisted of those who volunteered last Christmas – our Jere & Kristen and Marlin and Nancy’s (my sister) daughters and husbands: Larry & Karen, Jason & Melissa, Kevin & Amy, and Jared & Chelsey.

Melissa preparing fruit for the yogurt parfait.

Amy and their daughter Heidi preparing the yogurt cups. Amy’s husband, Kevin, walking in the background.

Kristen, Chelsey, Jared, and Karen decorating the main serving table.


A decoration on the main serving table.

Center of the main serving table.

The five couples did a fabulous job of organizing this brunch.

Karen and Chelsey

Jared lighting the candles

A delicious-looking dessert has arrived.

Jared and Ian helped me prepare the mocha punch.

A broader view of the room

Jesse and Kelci played carpet ball while their parents prepared the tables.

Our granddaughter Jenna arrived with a gift for Cerwin and me – a cookie mix for chocolate chip cookies.

The drink table

The mocha punch and coffee were our responsibility. Someone else brought the iced coffee.

The mocha punch was popular with this group – Jenna, Roy, Jordan, and Dustan. It must have been popular with a lot of others as well, because I made four batches throughout the morning – and everything was gone by the time we went home.

Just before 9:00 am family members began arriving: In the background Brenda and Clair are holding Rob and Jess’ twins Isla and Iris. Tristan and Jared closer to the camera.

Rob, Brenda, Clair (grandpa to the twins), and our daughter Deb.

Rob with one of the twins. I have not learned to tell them apart. 🙂

Brenda with a twin. Jess hugging one of her twin brothers. I think it is Neil because his son Lincoln is in front of him and his wife Hillary is next to him. (Sorry Hillary that I captured you with closed eyes.) Jere, Diane and Anthony on the right.

My three brothers are in this picture: Diane is talking to Dale. Clair is in the center back and Steve is to the right.

More tomorrow night.

Taking Gifts to Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services

Monday, December 18

You may remember this photo from our family Christmas on Sunday, December 3 – our family’s charity choice – in place of exchanging gifts this year.

Jeff and Chris where hoping to deliver the items, but their schedule was a bit hectic and busy, so they asked if we could do it. We happily agreed and packed the items in our trusty RAV4.

The clinic and pregnancy services are across the street from each other.

They were very appreciative of our gifts to them and graciously showed us the area where parents can choose items for their babies and young children. It was rewarding to be there.


From their website –

Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services is a gospel-sharing life-affirming ministry that serves women, men, and teens through sexual integrity education, unplanned pregnancy intervention, and post-abortion restoration. With five locations  in Columbia, Ephrata, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Millersville, SVPS is making a difference for life.


Their core values:

Pursue intimacy with God.

We pursue intimacy and alignment with God as foundational to all relationships, discernment, service, and fruitfulness.

Honor the sacredness of every individual.

We honor the sacredness of every human life, created in God’s image and for His glory.

Foster Christ-centered authentic relationships.

We foster authentic, growing relationships as essential to a healthy, fully-functioning body of Christ.

Discern God’s leading

We discern God’s heart and follow His superior direction, strategies, and timing.

Cultivate life-giving partnerships

We cultivate life-affirming, life-giving partnerships that bring unity, synergy, and effectiveness.

Steward God-given resources

We generously steward God-given wisdom, expertise and finances to serve and equip people and the Church at large.

Our Family Christmas – Part 2

Sunday, December 3

After the food and lunch tables were put away, Cerwin and I showed slides of each person as a baby.

We no longer exchange names and gifts, so I asked, “If you had this person’s name, who would you have had to buy a gift for?”

I am only going to show you two, because we want to also do this for our Maine Christmas. 🙂




Next we showed a series of slides – lots of them – when our children and grandchildren were much younger.

Here are a few.

Jeff trying to stay cool on a hot summer day.

Today he is 53; husband of Chris; father to Jordan, Nate, Jenna, Diana, and Gloria; father-in-law to Dustan; and the driver of a big rig.

Diane with a black eye from falling down barn steps while my parents were babysitting her. I was staining trim and doors at the house we were building. Fifty years later we still live in that house.

She is 51 (for a few more weeks); wife of Mark; mother to Elizabeth, Hannah, Josiah, Abigail, Elijah (who died at five months), Hezekiah, and Lydia; mother-in-law to Nsimba and Nathaniel; Grammy to Anthony: and caregiver for an elderly woman.

Jere had a tough day in school.

He is 48; husband of Kristen; father to Josh, Jana, Ian, Jared, and Jesse; and CEO of Lancaster DHIA.

Deb is 43; wife of Roy; caring friend to many (young and old) in her neighborhood; rescuer of baby animals; and owner of her own layout and design business – Basic Designs.


A sampling of other pictures…

Jere and Elizabeth

Jordan, Jenna, Diana, Josh, Gloria, Jana, Nate

Josh, Jenna, Lydia, Abby, and Josiah

Josh, Josiah, Jenna, Elizabeth, Hannah, Cerwin, Lydia, Abby, Hezekiah, Diane






Some of the grandchildren wanted me to keep on showing old pictures, but there were other things to do. 🙂


We like to do some kind of reminder of the real reason for Christmas – usually by having each one read a verse from Luke 2. This year we chose questions about babies and children of the Bible. Which seemed to be our theme for the day. 🙂

Each one was given a Bible verse and question. The rest of us were supposed to answer. I will give you only two as we also want to do this at our Christmas in Maine.

Answers at the end of this entry.

After the questions we played “Now-You-Have-It-Now-You-Don’t.

Each person got two numbers this year.

This was the choice of gifts that Cerwin and I purchased.

Jared (center with light pants) was the caller of numbers.

Jesse gathered the used numbers.

After your first number was called, the gift you chose went on the floor in front of your feet so others could steal it. After your second number was called, you chose the gift you wanted to keep and put it behind your feet or on your lap. Nobody could steal that one.


We stopped exchanging names and buying gifts for each other several years ago and began giving that same amount of money toward a charity.


This was the year for Jeff and Chris’ family to choose the charity. They chose Susquehanna Pregnancy Services. This has become a highlight of our Christmas.

Kristen gave each of the married women a container of Snow Man Soup – a delicious hot chocolate. I know it’s delicious because I had a cup yesterday.


In my mind it was the best Christmas ever. 🙂


Answers to the Bible questions. Ishmael and Hadassah

Our Family Christmas Lunch – Part 1

Sunday, December 3

We prepared the tables on Saturday

Diana and Gloria were two of the first to arrive – giving Grandpa time to ask them about their hunting experiences. Both shot a deer this year.

Jenna asked for a scissors because she noticed a few hairs that she missed when giving Dustan a haircut. 🙂

Time for lunch. We had haystacks – a very simple Christmas meal.

There were twenty-four at our table this year.

We have this meal in early December so that it will suit more of our family members.

Most of the locals were here – all but Donovan (who was at the cabin); and we missed our Maine family (Mark, Diane, Nsimba, Elizabeth, and Hannah); those in Tennessee (Hezekiah and Kayla – and Lydia, who was visiting them); and Jana who is in South Africa with YWAM. Twenty-four out of thirty-four was not bad for us.

Our cake

Continued tomorrow night.

Our Christmas Day

Sunday, December 25

It’s nice that Jere and Kristen like cooking and entertaining – and make sure each family member has a place for lunch on Christmas Day.

Jana made Grinch Punch. The red rim is sugar crystals.

Our name tags were made with Scrabble squares.

The coffee and dessert area

Pretty decorations

We took a few pictures while waiting on lunch to be finished.

Lunch is ready

The crew who enjoyed lunch

A popular gift at this house was drones. The boys each received one.

They had fun taking photos.

Because Josh and Allie were with her family on Christmas Eve, they had exchanged only one gift, so we enjoyed watching them open the rest of their gifts.

A housecoat for Jared

Allie had fun buying coffee cups. Josiah holding Deb’s cup.

Roy was amused by his. 🙂

Cerwin and I love our cups.

We watched everyone play with or enjoy their gifts, then stayed to watch the football game.

Oh, what a fun day!