Copperas Stone


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After the overlook, we made our way to Trough Creek state park and explored.  First up was the Copperas Rock.


Your eyes are not deceiving you, the rock is a copper color.  This is due to the minerals in the rock.  Pretty neat.

BTW, Trough Creek state park is beautiful, in case you haven’t figured that out already.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing pictures from our time there.


Preach It!!!


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Ok, so here’s just a piece of the silly humor that I like.  We were walking along the little trail from the parking lot to the overlook and I saw a garbage can.  Yet, the garbage can looked unique.  Being a seminarian, I couldn’t help but convert the garbage can into something else – a pulpit.  It just looked perfect.


How about we do a catchy caption contest.  There are no prizes – except my eternal gratitude that you have a sense of humor also.  What do you think the caption should be on the picture?




We rented a cabin in the woods near Lake Raystown.  I’ve been told that it is the largest inland lake in Pennsylvania.  It’s shaped like a snake, yet has the beauty of a butterfly.

During out time there, we made our way to an overlook to enjoy the beauty.


There is some interesting history behind the lake.  We’ve heard stories that at the bottom of the lake is a town that was taken over by the Army Corp of Engineers in order to make the lake what it is today.  At the one end of the lake is a dam, which holds the millions of gallons of water.  I don’t know if the story is true, but I do know this – on a beautiful day, this view is gorgeous.


Every once in a while it’s wonderful to sit back and enjoy what the senses allow us to take in.


I finally figured out this election…

It dawned on me just a couple of days ago.  This is the election where we settle.  We settle for mediocre, or worse.  It’s like a person who is addicted to some drug that they know is not good for them.  We settle for crappy jobs, because at least we can pay our bills, meanwhile our lives are rotting away inside.  We settle for terrible relationships, all the while we are miserable.  We settle for mediocre food, because you know, we have to fill our bellies with something.  We settle for crappy TV, in the name of needing to be entertained.  We settle.

Doesn’t that just sound awful?  I hope so.  I hope it makes you recoil.

How else to describe the life of so many mediocre people living mediocre lives and resigning themselves to their mediocre existence.  We’ve settled.  Why should we expect anything different from our politics?

What does it mean to settle?  We give up.

You can add more to the definition, but really, it comes down to that.  When we settle, we determine that this is the best we can ever hope for.  How pathetic.

Settling take no vision.  Settling takes no ideals or beliefs.  Settling takes no courage.  Settling takes no responsibility.  Settling means handing in our humanity to be the dog hoping for some scraps of food from the table.  Settling means we believe we are victims and have no control whatsoever over our lives or anything around us.

And that’s what this election has turned into.

Aren’t you tired of settling?  I’m sick of it.  I refuse to settle.

In our Gospel reading this past Sunday, we read about the persistent widow.  She keeps bothering the unjust judge until he finally gives her what she wants.  Except our English translations really don’t give this passage justice.  The Greek word that is used for “bothering” can actually be translated as tormenting or keep slapping in the face.  This woman that Jesus was talking about was in the judge’s face continuously badgering him without stopping.  She was humiliating him in public.  That’s why he gave her what she sought.

You can choose to settle for the choices offered. Or you can torment those who offer these choices and those that go along with these choices.  Writing in a candidate is enough to torment most people who have sold their soul to the two parties.  They will pull out all the stops to guilt you into voting for their mediocre candidate.  They will use fear.  They will use anger.  They will claim that your vote doesn’t matter and in the same breath claim that it does because your vote is actually a vote for someone you didn’t vote for.

I challenge you to be a tormentor this election.  Especially if you claim to believe in some kind of ideals or beliefs about what government should be about.  Either that or put those beliefs away – they were worthless to you when you needed them most.

Be a tormentor if you are sick of settling for mediocre politics and politicians.  Be a tormentor in this mediocre system where we are given mediocre choices.  The only way it is going to change is enough people torment the system.




A new adventure – starting with some bugs


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In June we took a week away from our routines, rented a cabin in the woods, and spent time together as a family.  It was a great time.

When you go to a new location, you notice the small things.  In our case, it was the insects and critters that called the cabin their home too.

Some were larger than others.


Some where well hidden.


Some things were just plain interesting, even if oh so ordinary.


And some were large in their smallness.


When you go to a cabin, life is different.  The best part…


I’ve been working on the rail road…


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After watching the hewing of logs, we went over to the last stop on our time at the living history days of the Allegheny Portage Rail Road – the quarry.

At the quarry, we learned about how the stones were carves and made ready for the rail road.


And then #3 got to participate in making a stone ready.  He was talked into being the guy who held the chisel.


Yes, this was actually a job.  Let’s just say, this type of work would never pass safety regulations today.  That’s because the other guy would be using the hammer to come down on the chisel.  He told us that accidents could happen, but they weren’t as often as you’d think.  Regardless, #3 held on as the guy cocked his hands back and let her rip.


No worries, he didn’t actually go at full force or even come all the way down for that matter.  But it was enough for #3 to realize that this was not the job for him.

Thank goodness that we aren’t in the 1830’s.

Up next: we take some time away to be at a cabin in the woods.

Hewing logs the old fashioned way


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One of the more interesting things to watch was the hewing of a log that was to be used for the railroad ties.  You want to talk about hard work?  This is it.  Imagine chopping wood and essentially carving a log into a square day after day, for about $.25 a day.  Remember, this was the 1830’s.  It typically took an average worker about 15 minutes to hew one side of a log, which means that they could hew anywhere from 8-12 logs a day depending on long they worked.  The longer they worked, the more logs they hewed.  The incentive to work longer and hew more logs was that they would keep their job.  Work less and hew fewer logs, then you’d be out of job and the next guy waiting in line would take over.


Fun and Games


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After learning how to make rope, we stopped back at the Lemon house and learned about the games that children in the 1830’s played.  The girls had a blast playing this:


The best part about it was watching the smiles on their faces as they played with something that didn’t involve a screen.


They got really good at the game too and enjoyed it.  And because of that, we all enjoyed it.