Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 15 Travel Journal:

I cannot believe it has been five days since I have last posted an update! My, has time flown by! After three days of cool rainy weather we had a beautiful weekend. On Saturday, while waiting for my sister Marsha and her hubby to arrive at our mother’s, I had walked to the little lake that is in our mother’s housing community and enjoyed the peaceful water, sunshine, and beautiful greenery surrounding the lake. I sat there contemplating the splendor and geological diversity of America. Each state has a unique beauty all of its own. As Jim and I travel back and forth the 14 miles from our campground to my mother’s home I am amazed how meticulously manicured each lawn, and farm is kept. It does not matter if the home is large or small, everyone keeps their lawn and home beautifully maintained. The Amish farms are free of all the trappings of the modern world. They are simple, yet eye-catching farms. This morning a beautiful doe was standing in a recently plowed field, as she saw our car approach she turned and leaped gracefully away from any danger that she had perceived. The Pennsylvania Dutch country is a beautiful mix of the old ways of 300 years ago and new modern age of technology. I am truly at awe of its beauty.

Later Saturday afternoon Marsha and Mike had arrived at moms. It had been 6 years since I had seen Mike and about 4 years since I had seen Marsha! It was so wonderful seeing them once again. Mom of course was ecstatic to have her girls together with her once again.

On Sunday, we all traveled 2 hours to a quaint little town in northern Pennsylvania, called Benton. This was the “final” resting place of our stepfather, Chris. We had a beautiful graveside service for Chris. There were 25 family members paying their respects. As we all greeted one another we commented how it is a shame that it takes something like a death to bring family together once again. Such a shame that distance and busyness keeps us away from one another. Makes one rethink their priorities. It has also placed an ache within my heart for reconnecting with my family once again. I have been away from home 29 years of our 35 years of marriage! The greatest distance being these past 20 years. I have so many extended family members that have had an intricate part in my upbringing, as well as a step-family I have missed getting to know. The 25 family members at the service was just a fraction of extended family that I have.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. I don’t think we could have asked for a more perfect day. Mother held up wonderfully. Many of the family members shared their fondest memories of Chris. We all laughed and cried. We sang Chris’s favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, Mike gave the Eulogy, and Jim gave the message of hope, encouragement, and peace.

After the graveside service, we all traveled a little ways to the little town of Benton to the restaurant called, “The Old Filling Station”. Amazingly, this restaurant was originally the house of the doctor who brought my mother into the world! We had a lovely meal, but most of all great fellowship, though all too short!

Yes, God is truly good and gracious. When I think of the vast diversity of the states that we have been through the past couple of weeks, as well as the countryside of this far state, I think to myself that only a supreme being (God) could have created something so majestic and beautiful as this great state of Pennsylvania.

Only a good and gracious God would be able to bring joy in the midst of mourning. Yes, it was a beautiful weekend regardless of the reason for our being in Benton. We truly appreciate your prayers and encouragement during this most difficult time. They are truly heartfelt.

May God’s blessings continue to shine upon you and your family.

For more information on the gorgeous Pennsylvania Dutch area, please click here:


Denise said...

I am so glad that you are getting to spend time with your family my friend, love you.

Cathryn said...

Awe Michele. It has been way way too long. I'm so sorry for your loss. I was surprised to get on this morning (3:00 a.m.) and read the news of your step father. I am thankful for his testimony. I am thanful that he came into your mom's life and made such a difference after the life she had had before. Praise the Lord for it. You are loved, Cathryn in Kentucky

Saleslady371 said...

It sounds like the Lord is present in a mighty way. What a wonderful graveside service you guys had. I'm sure the comfort you and your sister bring you mom is the biggest blessing.

The countryside you described is inviting! I hope you will share more of your travels.

Debbie Petras said...

Michele, may the Lord comfort you and your family during this time. I am so glad you have this time though with them. I follow Marsha's blog too. Say hi to her. It's good to spend time with your sister, especially if you haven't had that opportunity recently. I miss mine too. The beauty of this part of the country is unique and so unlike Phoenix. Enjoy the cooler temperatures while you can.

Jennifer said...

I sounds like you are having a wonderful time with your family. I love reading about all your adventures and travels...makes me feel like I am right there with you.

Have a wonderful time, my friend!