Penny the Traveling Clothespin Doll shares her adventures at home and abroad.
Oregon pinetree farm
Getting ready for a new travels
Learning to make India chapata
 
 

Hello Friends,

I’ve been missing here for a bit, but we are back! It is the beautiful autumn season here in Western New York, and I have some pictures to share.

Last week my parents made a visit to the splendor of Letchworth State Park and captured some glimpses of its colorful display.

Won’t you come along and see the falls with us?

We will head down this road to see what awaits….

These historic stone walls add such a loveliness to the view. Here is a grand old oak tree that has lived here for ages, overlooking these hillsides blanketed with color. I wonder what stories he could tell? Long ago this area belonged to the Seneca Indians. This park has a fascinating tribute to Mary Jemison who was captured by the Senecas when she was 12, and she chose to stay and adopt the Indian way of life, marry an Indian husband and raise her children here. This was her view back then.

This is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East” with the Genesee River flowing down the 17 miles of its length.

Come this way and we will see the Middle Falls, one of three major waterfalls nearby.

Here at the Middle Falls is a lovely picnic spot and close to the edge is where the water flows over. See below, there on your left is the cliff drop.

The water drops over 100 feet from here into the gorge below.

This Middle Falls is the widest of the falls, at nearly 300 feet wide.

This shot gives you a view of the picnic area we were just looking at. Zoom in on this next picture and you will see my dad still sitting there on his bench. 🙂

Notice the misty air that keeps these stones damp by the falls.

After soaking in the beauty here, let us hike up and see the Upper Falls.

Spanning the Upper Falls is a newly built arched trestle bridge. It replaces the previous bridges for the trains to cross over. This bridge is a total length of 963 feet across, and rests 235 feet above the River.

Let’s take a closer look.

These Upper Falls are so beautiful, its hard to guess that the drop here is only 70 feet.

These stone steps lead higher to the top of the Falls.

And here is where the water goes over. This Falls has such an interesting “S” shape, where you can see the top and the front of the falling water all at the same time.

And now for a close up view of the Trestle Bridge itself. And lest you think that is not very big, look close to see the “tiny” rail along the top.

As a farewell to the Letchworth Falls, here is one of the lovely little side falls, one among many that line this huge gorge.

“Someday when I grow up, I want to be a mighty waterfall too!!” says he.

Maybe this one is Penny’s favorite.

Here at home, Penny has a few autumn pictures of her own to share with you. The yellow leaves of our locust tree add a bit of bright beauty to this pile of dried leaves in our yard.

We have been busy with harvesting grapes and apples, raspberries and potatoes here on our farm.

Below she is riding the breezes in the branches of the tulip poplar tree, clinging to the seed pods left by the summer “tulip” blossoms. It was a windy day, I’m gad this shot is in clear focus. The cold winds are coming! Farewell to the glorious sunny autumn days, we have enjoyed you immensely!

On a rainy day, the dogs enjoyed a hike to the back fields. Just look at those happy smiles.

Ooo, running water to splash in! We love mud!!

Back indoors, we welcome this damp, chilly season with a steaming cup of hot tea. Here Penny is stirring sweet and creamy chocolate peppermint tea, yum, yum! Always surrounded by apples in this season. I love it!

Autumn days are celebrated with this autumn rag quilt I made years ago, so soft and warm, and my brand new pumpkin socks.

The cover photo of this post is of Penny on a big white pumpkin that I grew in our vegetable garden. Isn’t it beautiful?

Autumn is a season of abundance and gratitude. As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, lets get our “thanks – givers” warmed up. This is a great time to start a gratitude list, and keep adding snippets of things in your life that make it beautiful, and speak of God’s love to you in a thousand little ways.

Happy Easter, friends! Penny and I have been enjoying the New York spring coming on and doing a little happy crafting by making some quick newspaper daffodils for decorating with this Easter.

I found this video on YouTube, Easy Newspaper Flowers DIY .
We decided to try it out by making some bright yellow newspaper daffodils. Time to get out the paints and brushes, Penny!

We painted several yellow three petaled flower sets in various shades of yellow and orange. I cut them out, then layered four of these papers with a small circle in front for the center trumpet. A button in the center is held with a small wire folded back to poke through the layers holding them all together. The instructor said to crumple the paper roughly in your fist, then spread them out, and fluff out the layers. Hey, that doesn’t look too bad! What a fun project.

I recently colored this page with colored pencils to celebrate an Easter style bouquet. This is from one of my favorite adult coloring books , Its Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman. Several friends and I color a page weekly then send each other photos of our work. It has been a fun way to share some coloring time together, even from a distance.

The facing page has a quote from Scripture.

Thinking of the wonder of Easter, and how God so loved the world that He sent His Son – John 1:14 fits so well: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Then I added Psalm 8:4 “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visited him?” What a wonder. He came among us. His death, and the glory of His resurrection. Death could not hold Him down. And that same resurrection power is available for all who love and trust Him. Romans 8:11. Who can fathom it?

This week, I decided to experiment and make the traditional Easter Hot Cross Buns for my first time. These soft rolls have dried fruit and spices inside, with a frosting cross on top. These were a fun treat for our family. Its a keeper! I’ll be making them again in the future.

I’ll leave you with a little sunshine, some forsythia blossoms from out by the barn that I cut early and brought inside to brighten our table.

May you have the joy inside you of new life.

A gift from the Giver of Life this spring.

Scandanavian Tour
V
iolet visits Holland

You are invited to come along as we explore the beautiful, historic land of canals, wooden shoes, and windmills with Violet as our tour guide. Here she is, smiling in anticipation of visiting what she calls storybook land. Ready to go?

This past summer, Violet had the grand opportunity to travel through the Scandanavian countries and see fascinating historic places in this picturesque storybook land, hosted by her friend, Sue. She toured through five countries and saw a wide variety of sights. In this post, I’ll focus on Holland, and share the others with you soon.

Here she is reading up ahead of time on all that she will see and do. Hello Amsterdam!

Amsterdam is the capital city of Holland. It is a marshy, low land, below sea level and full of canals. Many buildings are built on stilts to hold them high and dry. So don’t be surprised when you see the buildings leaning a bit. Here is a pretty little sidewalk shop.

I found this map of Amsterdam showing how it is made up of many canals. I read that it has 165 canals that cover 60 miles of waterways! I wonder, are the canals named, liked streets?

Violet visited a park that was pretty and green. In one area a road goes over the park on a bridge, and Penny met this fun lad underneath, helping to hold up the road. Now she’s helping too.

Hey, come along and hop in, we are going to cruise on a canal!

Oh, the beauty of the water, the trees, and the historic buildings. How lovely!

Bicycles are a popular way of transportation here. They are found everywhere, even at the bottom of the canals. Whoops!

Sunshine and pretty boats and bridges.

In the picture above, I enjoy seeing all the colors and artistic shapes of the tall buildings. Also, I think that the red houseboat on the right looks really homey with its awning shade and pink flower pots. I found a video online that invites you to tour a houseboat on display, and thought I would share it here. How fascinating to see the possiblities of a floating house.

Holland is also famous for its traditional wooden shoes, or klompen.
“Wooden shoe wearers claim the shoes are warm in winter, cool in summer and provide support for good posture. The wood also absorbs perspiration so that the foot can breathe.” Here is an interesting page I found on Why walk on wooden shoes?

This clogs and cheese shop has a man making wooden shoes right here. How fascinating to watch! What an art!

The Zaanse Schans is a historic windmill park with many great old wooden windmils that were collected and brought here to preserve them. Several are still operating to grind spices, press oil, and saw wood.

These are the end of Violet’s pictures, but I’d like to add a little extra here.

When I think of Holland, I think of Corrie ten Boom. I have often read her book, The Hiding Place, that tells of her family’s watch shop in Haarlam and the work they did to protect and hide Jews during World War II. The price they paid was high, they endured arrest and cruel prison camps; but Corrie lived on to witness to the fact that God’s love is deeper than the world’s deepest darkness.

Below is the ten Boom house in Haarlam, just west of Amsterdam. They affectionately called it the Beje. A nickname short of the road’s real name, Barteljorisstraat.

The Beje

Barteljorisstraat 19
2011 RA Haarlem, Holland

When looking online for information about the ten Booms, I found this interesting blog post that tells an overview of their story and gives a tour of their home. The Corrie ten Boom house by Kevin & Amanda.

I was fascinated to find that their home itself has been preserved as a museum in tribute to the ten Boom family and at this site you can get lots more detail and even take a virtual tour.

One more quote from this humble, playful and loving woman.

Did you ever wonder, where do all those Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes go after being packed by so many generous folk each year?

We posted here about the shoebox Penny helped to pack last year: Packing a Shoebox With Love.

Then in November of last year, 2017, my clothespin doll, Violet, got to travel with our friends Don and Cindy, to visit the biggest Shoebox Packing Center in the country, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Would you like to see what they were up to?

occ logo

Volunteer at a Processing Center


“Millions of shoeboxes are collected during National Collection Week, the third week in November every year. Before these special gifts can bring hope and joy to children around the world, each one has to be carefully inspected and made ready for overseas shipment by volunteers like you. You can help prepare shoeboxes for delivery by volunteering at one of our eight processing centers across the United States. About 80,000 volunteers serve annually at our processing centers.”


Quoted from the Samaritan’s Purse website – here.

There is a long line waiting to get started today, come on in and see what happens here!

Once we check in, we get assigned to our station. There are 60 stations in this plant, with 12 volunteers working per station, 6 on each side of the bench.

Each shoebox that was packed, (maybe in your hometown) is brought here to be inspected. The inspectors open each box to see, first, if there are any forbidden items inside. See the list of “inappropriate” items hanging there to remind them? This list changes sometimes depending on which country these shoeboxes will be going to. Filler items piled in those center baskets are available to replace anything that must be removed. As far as possible, each box still contains what the giver meant it to.

Violet found a friend. ♥

Once each shoebox passes inspection and is ready to go, it is taped shut and bundled into the waiting cardboard boxes.

Very often throughout the day a moment of silence is taken to stop all labors and pray unitedly for the packages being sent from here right now.

Cindy wrote: 11/27/17   “Becky, the boxes today are going to the Ukraine and Africa, we have processed 45,000 boxes so far today. Violet is taking in all the experience with us.  This is an amazing project!!!”

Lunch Break. Taking a little rest.

Don is waiting with a tape gun where the cardboard boxes come down the conveyor belt to be piled into giant stacks.

Cindy helped to enter the tracking numbers for those who are following where their box is going in its travels.

The stacks of boxes are lifted by forklift and loaded onto semi trucks to move them on toward their final destinations.

A giant panel colorfully illustrates the travels of a shoebox.

Packing, Collection Centers, and then the Processing Center to prepare for shipping.

Worldwide Distribution, where leaders are trained to use “The Greatest Journey” and host outreach events where the Gospel is shared and the shoeboxes are handed out. Then this results in Discipleship and Multiplication – spreading the word and building churches.


The Greatest Journey

“After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited back to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Through this 12-lesson course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with friends and family. More than 14.9 million children have enrolled in this program since 2009.”

The Greatest Journey

The little fellow in this giant poster below is holding a copy of “The Greatest Journey.”

What a great privilege it was when Franklin Graham himself stopped by to personally thank the volunteers here. There was a little program presented with skits and special music for everyone to enjoy.


Violet is here in the stack of wrapped packages on display in front of the speaker’s podium. A close up shot…

And a disant shot, can you still see her?

Merry, Merry Christmas to all!!

The Samaritan’s Purse Headquarters is located in Boone, North Carolina. There is a processing center here, but it is not as large as the one in Charlotte.

Here Cindy met with a guard and a few other volunteers by the Christmas tree.

These ladies, once upon a time, were blessed to recieve a shoebox when they were young. Now that they are grown, they have come to help others recieve them too!

Their shirts are printed to tell where they were living when they got their shoebox!

Here are a few displays of distant countries where the shoeboxes go. Merry Christmas to many children in many places around the globe!

Cambodia
Thailand
Afghanistan

Violet’s trip also included a wonderful visit to the Billy Graham Library.

This barn is a tribute to Billy Graham’s early days growing up on a dairy farm. Violet got to make friends with “Bessie the Talking Cow” !!

Billy Graham’s pulpit.

These happy ladies work in the house; they enjoyed meeting Violet and hearing about her travels.

Here is where Billy Graham’s Bible is kept.

I’m guessing this must be Billy Graham’s father. Here is a neat article on him. Billy Graham’s Father and the Prayer Heard Around the World.

Our church, The Genesee Country Church, here in New York, is just beginning to do more with the Shoebox collecting. Last year individuals filled 138 shoeboxes. This year we hosted a big packing party in the gym and filled 236 boxes. We are thankful for Cindy and Lois who have organized so much, and their enthusiasm is spreading!

Here Don is helping in the corner of our gym where the boxes are brought and each is prayed for, that God would guide it and bless the special child who recieves it.

Even the littlest ones were thrilled to pack a box and pray over it.

Chosen, prepared and sent with love.

 

The colorful autumn days have come and gone so quickly this year.  We are now coated in heavy white snow, but here is a collection of autumn pictures from Penny’s adventures in the last month or so.  It is so fun to be reviewing these now.  Happy, thankful days.

 

 

Today, I’ll take you on one of my walks with Gracie out behind the farm.  We walked down this path, along with a little mud and a lot of sunshine.  We like to go exploring in the woods.  Anyone down inside this hollow log?  Hello??

 

 

A mossy log is so enchanting.  This is a good spot to sit, be quiet awhile, and think.

 

 

What a perfect shape and color of beauty.

 

 

Our dog, Gracie, loves to go for walks or fetch a ball.  Outdoors is her favorite place to be and her tail wags the entire time we are out walking.  So many things to explore and discover!

 

 

My brother grows lots of pumpkins, so we enjoy their cheery presence around the farm.

 

 

Here is one of the pallets where they sit for sale out by the road.

 

 

Rainy autumn days are delightful too, I like the character of the trunk of this maple tree contrasting with its golden leaves.

 

 

What is so fascinating about autumn puddles?  There is a restful stillness of leaves lying here.

 

 

Gentle rain patters on these red leaves.  Its almost like music to hear the rain fall.

 

 

Chilly days call for baking time; and so we’ll set about making pies.  Grab an apron, Penny!  Roll the dough!

 

 

This one is a cherry pie.  Dusty Penny stands back to survey her labors.  It is now ready for the oven.

 

 

The pumpkin pies will get an extra fancy touch of decoration this time, so we cut out leaves from the left over pie dough.  I must say, Penny, you are making quite a mess!

 

 

Oh, but isn’t it worth it?  Look at that beauty.

 

 

When all is finished and cleaned up, Penny gets to sample her very own mini piece of pumpkin pie.  Made from our very own pumpkins, I might add.  So yummy! (I ate some too.)

 

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with so many things to be grateful for.  Our God is good.  I have enjoyed reviewing Ann Voskamp’s popular book, One Thousand Gifts, during this season.  Don’t we often get stuck on our disappointments and stresses and forget to take time to focus on God’s goodness?   When we accept whatever He sends with open arms, it transforms our thinking.  May His love shine in your heart and bring joy and freedom today.