Jump to content
ElmiraTelegram.com

Linda Roorda

Subscriber
  • Content count

    22
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Linda Roorda

  1. Gift Wrapped

    “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”* We love that old song and the memories it stirs. But what does Christmas look like? Along with hopes for the proverbial white Christmas, we each have special ways to remember and celebrate this joyous holiday. Lights are strung to outline houses, bushes and trees, and even vehicles! Christmas trees of real or faux evergreen in varying sizes are put up inside the house. Then we choose white lights, mixed colors, or a single-color theme. And we add decorations and bows, candles, poinsettias and more to bring a festive holiday look to our homes. There are as many ways to decorate as we are different and unique! But then there’s the other part… shopping! It can either be fun or a chore... yet, there’s something in the busy, frenzied pace that belies the true peace of Christmas. I confess to not liking the commercialization that starts barely after Thanksgiving is over, if not earlier. I don’t like hectic shopping, looking for just the right gift by trekking from store to store for hours on end, and waiting in long lines that go on forever. And we especially don’t care to be among rushing crowds that push and shove and grab… we’ve all heard about those examples which, thankfully, I’ve not personally witnessed. The deals may be hard to beat, but… that ambience leaves a bit to be desired. I prefer leisurely shopping trips, listening to Christmas music playing in the background with list in hand because I’m not good at off-the-cuff gift decisions. I enjoy gazing at the fancy decorations and gift ideas on display, giving smiles to other shoppers, and watching the faces of little kids light up at the sights. But shh!! I have to admit I’ve taken advantage of online shopping and actually prefer it now. Yes, me! Someone who could never imagine she’d ever do that! Oh, and let’s not forget the best part of Christmas… all those gift-wrapped packages under the tree! They hold hidden treasures for loved ones and friends, secrets known only to the giver. Giving a gift is exciting, really the best part! As the recipient unwraps their gift, they tend to take on the bright glow of joy... and treasure the gift wrapped with love from your heart to theirs. I’m sure some of my other favorite Christmas memories are yours, too… like Christmas Eve candlelight services, caroling with friends to greet those who are housebound, memories of Christmas Day morning worship services of my childhood, and the happy gatherings of family and friends. All of which brings me to contemplate the treasured gift we celebrate on this special day - a baby born a long time ago. Seemingly no different than any other infant… except that this one was born in a stable, amongst the cattle, donkeys, cats and mice… a baby whose birth was announced by angels to lowly dirty shepherds living out in the fields… a baby whose life still holds special meaning for us today. To an astonished young woman, the blessed virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel had appeared with this message: “’Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “’Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’” Luke 1:29-32 NIV In due time, Mary’s little baby was born… in a stable, there being no room in the inn at Bethlehem. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone ‘round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not! For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’” Luke 2:8-14 That birth announcement must have been so exciting, yet very humbling, to have seen and heard! How awesome to consider that God sent us His love as a tiny infant, gift wrapped in swaddling clothes. The baby Jesus - Emmanuel, God with us… the one who walked this earth on His journey to a cross… He’s the gift of salvation for us to unwrap and treasure. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Merry Christmas to each of you! Gift Wrapped Linda A. Roorda In wintry stillness there’s a peace I find While the world’s a’bustle with its fast-paced voice Midst a din that beckons in all directions To draw me away from peaceful reflection. ~ From frenzied crowds to pushy shoppers There’s a greed we find in ego’s actions. May we bless instead by giving of self For within each heart we hold the treasure. ~ Yet it seems we rush from here to there Exhaustion filling our stressed-out lives. Did we accomplish what needed doing Or merely deplete our dignity’s calm? ~ May even we with our lists so long Take time to ponder and remember why The reason for joy in this season of cheer Is gift wrapped in peace and given with love. ~ In celebration our voices are joined Recalling a birth from long, long ago Announced to shepherds by angels on high “Glory to God…and on earth peace to all.” ~ For with the birth of baby Jesus We gaze in awe on the promised One Messiah, Savior, and Light of the world The Prince of Peace for our seeking hearts. ~ Most holy of nights when God came to earth To share Himself, gift wrapped and swaddled With an invitation that we would unwrap His gift encased in salvation’s love. ~~ 12/05/16 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. *Written by Meredith Willson in 1951, sung by many, hits by Perry Como and Bing Cosby in 1951. Original blog post at: https://poeticdevotionsblog.wordpress.com/
  2. Gift Wrapped

    LOL - that's quite ok Ann I do that too! and I remember all that too. Hope you got your gifts all wrapped perfectly
  3. Your Family Tree #2

    Growing up knowing that my dad was a first-generation American born to 1920s Dutch immigrants, I’ve always been partial to all things Dutch. Then, researching my mom’s ancestors, and discovering the several nationalities in her lineage along with New Netherlands’ Dutch and their part in building America, has been even more of a treasure. So, why is genealogy so important to us? Put another way, why is history important? To quote David McCullough in the Reader’s Digest, December 2002, author of John Adams and 1776: “The best way to know where the country is going is to know where we’ve been…But why bother about history anyway? …that’s done with, junk for the trash heap. Why history? Because it shows us how to behave. [It] teaches and reinforces what we believe in, what we stand for. History is about life – human nature, the human condition and all its trials and failings and noblest achievements… Everything we have, all our good institutions, our laws, our music, art and poetry, our freedoms, everything is because somebody went before us and did the hard work… faced the storms, made the sacrifices, kept the faith… If we deny our children that enjoyment [of historical story telling]… then we’re cheating them out of a full life.” We cannot walk in our ancestors’ shoes; we can only imagine the way their life was from recorded history. And, though their life seems from a simpler time, it was much more difficult in so many ways. We can also look back with knowledge gained from their experiences, both good and bad. With stoic determination, our ancestors left families and homes behind to sail across an ocean with hopes of building a better life in a new country, tame the wilderness, and push back the western frontier. Typically, they never again saw the “old country” or family left behind. How easy it is for us just to hop in the car for a visit to relatives, or take a flight to faraway places! We have no idea what hardships our ancestors truly faced. As you research, consider the reasons your ancestors left behind all they knew. This will give you a better appreciation for the people and their times. We know the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in 1620 seeking religious freedom. In 1609, sailing for the Netherlands, Henry Hudson explored the Atlantic coastline and river which bears his name, looking for the Northwest Passage. Soon after, the Dutch built their vast empire, establishing a presence in New Amsterdam and New Netherlands that helped create New York what it is today, especially the city and eastern half of the state. But, few realize it was the Dutch influence on our early legal and governmental systems, the city’s early design, free trade, individual rights, religious liberty, and language that made New Amsterdam/New York City a world hub well before the 1664 British takeover. A must read is the excellent book by Russell Shorto, “The Island at the Center of the World“, to understand the influence and legacy of that little Dutch colony. The idea of a district attorney or public prosecutor began as the Dutch Schout (Scout). A home’s front stoep/stoop or step often held hearings to settle neighborhood disputes. Baas/boss is Dutch, koekjes/cookies are Dutch, and even our Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch Sint Nicklaas. New York City’s Bowery district was part of Pieter Stuyvesant’s bouwerij, the farm cared for by my ancestor, Pieter Claesz/Claesen Wijkoff (Wyckoff). Pieter sailed October 8, 1636 from Texel, Netherlands as a teen to work on the Rensselaerswyck plantation. Owned by Dutch financier, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, it was located where the city stands today. Pieter’s house, now the Wyckoff House Museum at Clarendon Road, Brooklyn, built c.1652, displays a collection of early Dutch artifacts reflecting New Amsterdam’s history. Guns at New Amsterdam Fort formed the battery on Manhattan, today’s Battery Park. Wall Street was de wal, a row of palisades erected to protect the burgeoning town against Indian raids. Brooklyn was Breuckelen or broken land; Harlem was Nieuw Haarlem named for the city in the province of Friesland; Flushing was Vlissingen. Albany, founded by early Dutch, is the oldest continuous settlement in the original 13 colonies. The Hudson valley region up through the Mohawk River and Schenectady was settled by early Dutch before other nationalities arrived to claim their place in history. Searching for your ancestors will help show when, where and how your family fits into this country. We are a nation built by immigrants of various ethnic backgrounds seeking a better way of life. Essentially, there were four major waves of immigrants to our American shores over the last several centuries. Colonial immigration, begun in the early 17th century, peaked just before the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775. The second wave began in the 1820s, lasting until the depression of the 1870s. The greatest influx of immigrants came in the third wave from the 1880s through the early 1920s (with my and my husband’s Dutch immigrants arriving in the early to mid 1920s), while the fourth, and continuing, wave is said to have begun about 1965. Our ancestors immigrated for religious, economic and political reasons. They sought to enjoy our government-protected freedoms, to escape wars and famines and diseases, to own land, and to seek employment opportunities to provide a better way of life for their families. Ultimately, we were melded together to form a blend of cultures and ethnicities which have become uniquely American. Our next segment will begin to look at specifics on how and where to search for your elusive ancestors. And with this article, I hope to begin a schedule of posting on or about the 15th of every month. "Homespun Ancestors is written by Linda Roorda. To see more, visit her site HERE
  4. Your Family Tree # 1

    Welcome to the world of genealogy research where your ancestors come alive! It’s exciting to put names, faces, and personalities to your family’s past. Here, we’ll delve into clues to find those whose genes flow through your veins, and who contributed their part to who you’ve become today. But, I need to warn you – it’s addicting! I used this poem, Dear Ancestor, in the 600+ page manuscript I wrote of my mother’s ancestral history: Your tombstone stands among the rest, Neglected and alone. The name and date are chiseled out On polished, marbled stone. It reaches out to all who care It is too late to mourn. You did not know that I exist You died and I was born. Yet each of us are cells of you In flesh, in blood, in bone. Our blood contracts and beats a pulse Entirely not our own. Dear Ancestor, the place you filled One hundred years ago Spreads out among the ones you left Who would have loved you so. I wonder if you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew That someday I would find this spot, And come to visit you. By: Walter Butler Palmer (1868-1932), written in 1906 Several years ago I gave a two-part seminar for the Spencer (New York) Historical Society on researching ancestors. In this column, I’d like to revisit that arena because you may be beginning your research journey, may have hit a brick wall or two or more, or maybe just want to find a little more information on your elusive ancestors. The key to starting a study of your family’s history is through personal research of family records, census records, church records, cemetery records, and war records, etc. This series was originally published biweekly in the former local newspaper, “Broader View Weekly.” My intention is to expand the articles and provide interesting historical backgrounds. Many of you know I also wrote other personal interest/interview articles for that paper, and began a blog, “Life on the Homestead”. When the “Broader View” paper closed, my “Homestead” blog was previously included on the Elmira Telegram website, and was written by researching various aspects pertinent to our early 19th century American history and way of life. I may even decide to intersperse a few of those articles in my new blog here. To introduce my genealogy work and credentials, I researched and documented both of my mother’s parents back to the early 1600s Dutch of New Amsterdam and the greater New Netherlands, including founders of New York City and the Albany and Schenectady area. Along the way, a few French, Belgian and English folk became part of my family with their own fascinating histories. My lines also include numerous 1710 German/Swiss Palatine immigrants documented from church records in Germany and Switzerland as researched and published by Henry Z. Jones, Jr., and the ca. 1718-1720 Scots-Irish immigrants to Massachusetts Colony, founders of the Londonderry, New Hampshire region. Among various genealogy reference books, there are two books in my personal library which were invaluable to my early research: “The Palatine Families of New York, 1710, Vols. I and II” by Henry Z. Jones, Jr., and the incomparable background history of the Palatines and their travails in “Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration” by Walter Allen Knittle, Ph.D. I am not a professional genealogist, but a hobby researcher who loves history. I had no prior training, but learned along the way with the help of kind strangers met on my journey. Several even turned out to be distant cousins with whom I continue to maintain a close friendship. My quest began with my mother’s family tree in hand. Though I never saw the actual tree (which now belongs to one of my cousins), it hung on the wall in my maternal Tillapaugh family farmhouse in Carlisle, Schoharie County, New York. In 1969, my Mom carefully copied down all the names from the tree for my first Bible. Then, in 1998, I purchased a book on my paternal Dutch Visscher genealogy from a distant relative who works at The Hague’s genealogy center. I also have “The Dallenbachs in America” which documents my maternal Swiss Dallenbach/Tillapaugh ancestry. It includes a photo showing my mom’s parents at the 1910 Tillapaugh Reunion on the Hutton Homestead, settled in the early 19th century. My mother’s two oldest brothers inherited this dairy farm, and my cousins continue to run it. But, it was another item which actually launched my deeper research. In 1999, a photo was offered on the Schoharie County Genweb email site noting these words penciled on the back: “First Tillapaugh Reunion July 1910, Hutton Homestead.” As noted above, my uncles inherited this farm from our Hutton ancestors, and my cousins still farm it today. Informing the seller (a professor and antique enthusiast) of my immediate family ties to the photo (showing my grandparents and paternal great-grandparents), he offered it for my purchase, and I was determined to learn more about my ancestors. And part of that photo is featured above as my header image. Out of my several years of extensive research and documentation came three articles published in the “New York Genealogical and Biographical Record” (NYGBR), which are in Elmira’s Steele Library Genealogy Section. You can also find the NYGBR in Cornell University’s genealogy library, or other libraries with such holdings. If there is no viable genealogy library near you, you local library can obtain various books and journals for you through the inter-library loan system. My first article was titled, “Which Elizabeth Van Dyck Married John Hutton?” (NYGBR REC.135:31 – REC indicates the volume, followed by the page on which the article appears). It documented use of the Dutch naming pattern to clarify which of three Elizabeth Van Dycks married the shipwright John Hutton, not the goldsmith, of the same name. They were all of New York City and documented in records of the late 1600s and early 1700s. Though this naming pattern is endemic to the Dutch, other ethnic groups used a similar pattern, but not as consistently or as extensively over the centuries as the Dutch. They faithfully followed a pattern of naming the first two sons after the children’s grandfathers, and the first two daughters after the grandmothers. Thereafter, children were named after the respective great-grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, or even the baptism sponsors. I absolutely enjoy mapping families using this naming pattern in the online baptismal records of the early Dutch Reformed Churches of New York City, Albany and Schenectady. My second article, “The Family of John Hutton and Elizabeth Van Dyck,” (REC.136:45; 136:135; and 136:193) again used the Dutch naming pattern to determine that Elizabeth Deline Hutton’s parents most probably were William and Ariantje Deline. I could not accept that a prior researcher had published as fact (and believed by multiple genealogists with whom I was in contact) that she was the daughter of 63-year-old Margrietje Clute Deline, a woman who was more likely Elizabeth Deline’s grandmother. Margrietje would’ve held a world record for sure if that were true! This article delineated John Hutton’s descendants (some not previously documented in this family), including my ancestors who settled on the above-noted Hutton Homestead in Carlisle, New York in the early 19thcentury. My research article also corrected other mistakes in lineage, and corrected wrong Revolutionary War data chiseled onto my ancestor’s tall obelisk monument. There were two Lt. Timothy Huttons, my ancestor and his younger nephew. I proved the military data on the monument is actually that of the younger Lt. Tim Hutton. Oh, but it pays off to do your own thorough research! My third article, “The McNeill Family of Carlisle, Schoharie County,” (REC.139:123; 139:217; 139:313) documented the descendants of John McNeill, mariner, of Boston [Massachusetts] and New Boston [New Hampshire]. John’s wife, Hannah Caldwell McNeill, died (presumably) soon after childbirth, while John likely died at sea as per estate records purchased (no cemetery record available). This left their only son, John Caldwell McNeill, an orphan, raised by his mother’s parents in and around Londonderry, New Hampshire. About 1795, John C. removed his family to Carlisle, NY. The McNeills had never been documented as a family, and I knew of only one son, my ancestor, Jesse. But, piece by piece, a family was built from John C.’s Revolutionary War pension file (which only had an affidavit by son Jesse, no other children’s names), census records, cemetery stones, other family war pension files, obituaries, historical society data, out-of-state historical books the local Spencer Library graciously ordered for me, and from other descendants who replied to data I posted online. Unfortunately, I know nothing about one daughter, and only the nickname of one other daughter. Again, there is no substitute for the hard work of personal research and documentation; but, making friends with researchers of the same lines, and sharing data, goes a long way to helping you find your ancestors! It is my hope to inspire you by providing valuable tips on researching your ancestors in future articles. But, again, fair warning – it’s extremely addicting! "Homespun Ancestors is written by Linda Roorda. To see more, visit her site HERE
  5. Rejected

    Have you known what it’s like to be rejected? To feel the pain of mocking ridicule? We hear the news about our nation’s youth who shoot and kill their peers, or even commit suicide because their peers have mocked and bullied them, physically or verbally abused them, or said hateful nasty words to them, and it breaks our hearts. Yet, haven’t we said things at times that we regret… words which have hurt someone else… perhaps in retaliation for how deeply we were hurt? Sadly, my husband felt the sting of rejection and mocking while growing up. Being legally blind, Ed had to get really close to read any print. In seventh grade, he would have his head bashed into his locker by big strong black guys from the football team… until his brother, Marv, stepped in. Since their lockers were side by side, Marv would walk ahead of Ed and work the combination on the lock so that when Ed got there, all he had to do was take hold of the handle and open his locker. Brotherly teamwork! Kids can be so cruel to each other. It’s a difficult and painful subject for all of us. But we need to look deep into our own hearts to see our own prejudices, our failings, our pride… and the hurtful words that erupt from the depths of our pain at times. It’s not a shameful thing to admit and apologize for our wrongs, and then to ask for forgiveness. It heals the wounds and restores relationships. Back when we were dating, Ed shared his story of rejection with me. He loved sports, especially football, and dreamed of making the team. Out to practice he went every evening with his brother – after late afternoon milking chores, that is. On the day positions and uniforms were handed out, Marv made the team but Ed did not. Talk about disappointment! No one in football management had the courage to tell Ed he would not be allowed to play football. Not one of the main coaches he’d worked with had the guts to tell him after all the time he’d faithfully spent practicing. But who did? The assistant JV football coach (who also happened to be the swim team coach) told him he couldn’t play due to the risks of injury. Talk about “passing the buck”! So, since he loved to swim, Ed decided to try out for the swim team. Again, he went through all the rigors of practice, while making sure he also did his fair share of barn chores, of course. When the list was posted of those who made the team, Ed once again found his name missing. Feeling totally dejected, he turned to walk away… just as the team’s former manager told Ed the coach wanted to see him in the office. That was when the swimming coach offered the manager’s position to Ed, plus all the swim time he wanted at practice… with one catch. Because of his poor vision, he would not be able to participate in swim meets for fear he might stray from his lane and either hurt himself or someone else. Being a strong farm lad of nearly his final 6 feet 7 inches, Ed had a powerful fast stroke, could stay under water a long time, swam like a pro, and never strayed from his lane in practice. But, graciously accepting the position of Equipment Manager and Scorekeeper for home meets, he did an excellent job for the team which went on to win Section 9 championship two years in a row for their high school in Orange County, New York. Which brings us full circle… and to our Lord who never rejects us. Just as Moses told Joshua and the Israelites that God would go with them into the Promised Land, we, too, can “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:7) We can face those who mock us. We can stand up to bullies and move forward with our head held high. Because when we come to God in our failures and rejections, He welcomes us, and walks beside us. He’s there to help us find a better way or give us a better friend when we face ridicule and rejection. He will forgive our own wrongs and heal our deep wounds, allowing us to go and do likewise… to offer love and healing to those we have hurt, and to those who have offended us. But, forgiveness does not mean returning to a bullying or harmful relationship unless the offender truly recognizes their wrongs and mends their ways. Don’t take revenge… turn that rejection into something good, and bless the offender instead! Rejected Linda A. Roorda Why’dja pick him? We don’t want her! Not on our team! We want to win! To feel the pain rejection brings Is to know I don’t fit, and I’m not wanted. ~ But let me show you what I can do Tho I may not be the same as you. I have feelings and cry the pain All I ever want is just to belong. ~ I want to be liked for who I am Not just to be what you want me to be. Walk in my shoes, understand my hurt. See from your soul, care from your heart. ~ Why do you mock? What troubles you? Is there a pain down deep in your soul? Does it feel good to harm another? Someone imperfect, someone unlike you? ~ Then take your hurt, your sorrow and pain Turn it for good, to others show love That within your heart healing may be found Resting in grace, God’s goodness to share. ~~ 11/21/13 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. "Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE
  6. The Eyes Of A Child

    I think that we, as adults, have forgotten how to view life through the eyes of a child. Their wide-eyed innocence and purity comes to us like a breath of fresh air… like a flower opening its beauty to the sun’s warm rays. But, as adults, we sometimes become hardened by the realities of a harsh world. The evening news on Christmas Day 2014 (as told in Huffington Post, “Prankster Gives Homeless man $100…”) showed a brief documentary of what one homeless man did when given a $100 bill by the commentator, Josh Paler Lin. Standing at the side of a highway with a cardboard sign, the poor man must have felt like Lin was his savior when he was handed that much money! He was reluctant at first to take it, but then gladly accepted the free gift and walked away. From a distance, the cameraman inconspicuously trailed the homeless man as he took the money and walked into town. There, the man promptly entered a liquor store… exiting with two large and heavy bags. The assumption spoken in the video was that the money had been used by the homeless man to buy an awful lot of alcohol. I will admit that I, too, had felt great disappointment as I watched the man enter the liquor store. I, too, made an assumption by association. But, as the cameraman and Lin continued to follow the homeless man without his knowledge, the gentleman walked directly to a nearby park, set his bags down, and began to pull out packages… which he handed to others sitting around at picnic tables. And what was he handing out? Food. After watching for just a little bit longer, Lin went over to speak with the homeless man. Lin explained what he was doing in his documentary, pointing out the cameraman a short distance away, and then asked the homeless man to explain what he had just done with his $100 bill. I was impressed and teary-eyed to see a youthful Lin, with hair dyed both blond and black, tell the older man he owed him an apology for his wrong assumptions. They hugged as the younger man shared he assumed the older man had come out of the store carrying two bags full of liquor. Instead, he had learned a valuable lesson from this selfless, older man who carried all his worldly possessions in a bag… and who thought of the needs of others before his own. “You just touched my heart,” Lin told him. It was then the homeless man told Lin: “There’s a lot of people that are just victims of circumstance, and they didn’t go homeless because they’re lazy… There’s a lot of good people that are homeless.” And I was reminded of this poem I had written a few weeks earlier. May I have the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child, coming to the Lord with a simple child-like faith as I put my trust in His great love. For as Jesus said, “…I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven… And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matt. 18:3,5) With a child-like faith, may I show the world around me the same love the Lord has lavished upon me, a sinner, in need of a Savior…. quite like the homeless man in our story. It was his simple and generous love for his friends which allowed him to share the food he’d bought with the gift he’d been given. He hoarded neither the money nor the food. And in this, I learned a valuable lesson and must ask myself, “Would I have been so generous?” For isn’t that why Jesus humbled himself to be born into this world of sin, a world far different from the glories of His heavenly home… to share His generosity by coming to us as a newborn babe, to view this world from our perspective, and to save us from ourselves? Thank you, Lord, for loving me so much that you saw my world through the eyes of a little child so long ago. Wishing each of you, my readers, a Merry and Blessed Christmas!! The Eyes of a Child Linda A. Roorda Through the open eyes of a little child We see our Lord without the blinders To know His love as gentle as a lamb And feel His arms envelope with peace. ~ The tender faith of one so young Is a gift from God through eyes without fear A simple trust with expectant hope Holding out hands for others to lead. ~ No guile is found within this wee soul Whose love is pure like a heart of gold Who freely gives to others in need That all may praise and bless His name. ~ Untainted youth by worldly vices Pure and trusting are innocent minds With hearts that see the best in us all And faith that hopes with unfailing love. ~ To tenderly hold the hands of a child And feel secure, encompassed by love, To view the world through innocent eyes Is to see the best in all whom we meet. ~ For judging others is not their concern They simply believe that all will be well And though their pride may rear its revolt How willing are they to forgive when wronged. ~ Their trusting heart accepts our reproof When patience is taught by living examples For character grows with perseverance As praises true will confidence build. ~ What would we see through the eyes of a child Is it pure love that encompasses all? Is it a trust in those who provide? And through such faith do our eyes open wide? ~ Faith to trust Him who holds us through storms A trusting belief in His loving heart And with this love to simply accept He knows what’s best as He leads the way. ~ With eyes of a child may we see our Lord The giver of life, bestower of gifts The One who guides with a Shepherd’s voice Who lay down His life that we might live. ~~ 12/02/14 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author. "Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE
  7. The Pruning

    Pruning is vital. It cleans out dead branches on a bush or tree. It clears out heavy overgrowth. Pruning is a necessary step for fruit trees and grapevines, enabling them to produce a bountiful crop of top-quality fruit. Pruning also helps plants put more energy into growing and showing off their abundance of gorgeous flowers. For those unfamiliar with the process, pruning helps a plant maintain optimum health. While dead branches, or an excessive amount, choke out the sun from reaching the inner depths, pruning opens up the heart of a plant. Removing or trimming back branches allows the sun’s rays to reach down inside the heart of the plant in order to revitalize the entire plant. It may seem harsh when beginning drastic cuts; but, when the task is done, we have a much healthier plant. Without pruning, any flowering or fruiting plant, vine or tree can revert to a more wild state, putting its energy into unnecessary overgrowth. With pruning, the focus is on nutrition, feeding and nurturing the plant so it produces the best flowers and fruit. Admittedly, I have failed to prune many plants over the years and have ended up with a messy overgrowth that is now a challenge of where to begin. And so it is with us. We need pruning… of our thoughts, words and deeds… a pruning of our heart and soul. With the trimming away of unhealthy vices, we are more open and receptive to change… change which brings out the best in us. As Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2) We need pruning to let the Son’s light enter the depths of our heart in order to revitalize us as we begin producing our fruit of the Spirit – “…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) We’re all branches in the tree of humanity, bearing fruit of various kinds. We each have something special to contribute to this world around us. Created unique, we’re endowed with individual gifts and talents. But, we often need pruning to clear away the destructive debris in our lives. We need pruning to allow the Son’s rays a chance to enter the depths of our heart… to cleanse and renew… to revitalize us… so that we can shine our fruit, our blessings, out into the world. And since God made each of us a unique one-of-a-kind creation, it brings joy to share our special gifts with our family, friends, and others beyond our close circle. In so doing, we bless them in ways we can’t imagine, so that they in turn are encouraged to use their gifts to bless someone else. The Pruning Linda A. Roorda He takes out his shears and sharpens the blades Ready to trim overgrown chaos. He eyes the tree, knows which branch must go, Which limbs need space as he trims and shapes. ~ Decisions thus made to remove dead growth Prune overcrowding and bring in the sun. Yet not unlike my life’s debris trimmed When clutter is cleared, opened for the Son. ~ Bearing bad fruit shows a branch gone wild And bearing none how stagnant we are, What benefit then to remain untrimmed For lack of growth cannot show God’s love. ~ But if we abide as a branch alive Bearing our fruit for the world to see The evidence speaks our soul’s depth of love That we will prove the Father’s commands. ~ Abiding in love just as He loves us No greater gift has one for another For You, Lord, above have chosen us That we may bear fruit in lasting tribute. ~ Inevitable change without and within As time marches forth on its forever path But what of our heart when the depth is exposed Are we bitter in change or more gentle and kind? ~~ 09/12/13 All rights reserved. "Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE
  8. Holiday Music In Colonial America

    If there’s anything that exemplifies the Christmas season, it’s the music. The familiar faith-based carols and popular melodies embody the meaning of a beloved holiday as well as add to our joyous spirits. But Christmas music back in the early days of America wasn’t what we think of today. Obviously, there were no radios for listening to popular tunes, and there were no records, cassettes, CDs or MP3s to buy. And, if anyone was dreaming of a white Christmas, it certainly wasn’t with a popular tune! It was simply the beauty of a night made more silent by the pristine-white ground cover, and the time it took to harness the horse and ready the sleigh for a trip thru the woods and over the river to Grandma’s welcoming arms. It’s hard to believe now, but centuries ago the singing of Christmas carols was officially banned from the medieval church! Undeterred, hearty souls who loved to sing songs of their faith went door to door, singing to their friends. That is, until Oliver Cromwell put a ban on this activity in 17th century England. Even the early American Puritans did not celebrate Christmas, and William Bradford ordered those slackers back to work who dared to celebrate – after all, Christmas was not a holiday… yet, anyway! It wasn’t until 1870 that we Americans officially recognized Christmas as a “Federal” holiday. Prior to that, festivities began to be popular about 1840; previously, celebrations were considered “unchristian.” In all fairness to the Puritans, they believed every day was to be lived for God. Their common adage held that “they for whom all days are holy can have no holiday.” This belief was based on not finding Scriptural support for any holy day other than the Sabbath, though they definitely found other reasons to enjoy hearty celebrations. Biblically, early Christians were encouraged to “speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:19 NIV) So, it’s really no wonder songs of joy have been in the hearts of those who celebrated Christmas over the centuries, including our ancestors. In the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps the oldest Christmas song was written by St. Hilary of Poitiers in the early 4th century. The Latin “Jesus refulsit omnium” or “Jesus illuminates all” is believed to have been written by St. Hilary in 336 AD for the first Christmas celebration. Aurelius Prudentius, a Christian poet also of the Roman Catholic Church, wrote “Corde natus ex Parentis” (i.e. Of the Father’s Love Begotten”), a 4th century hymn, not a Christmas carol per se`. A few years later in 354 AD, the Roman Catholic Church drew up a list of bishops, with a note for 336 AD: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae.” (i.e. December 25, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.) Thus, December 25, 336 is believed to be the “first recorded celebration of Christmas” (i.e. Christ’s mass) even though no one knows the actual date of Jesus’ birth. In the early 13th century, Italy’s St. Francis of Assisi used live “Nativity Plays” with singing of carols to revive a Christmas spirit among his parishioners. As Christianity spread, the Roman Catholic Church began singing “Angel’s Hymns” at the Christmas mass, and other churches followed the example across Europe. Over time, new carols were written with Scripture-based themes, and traveling minstrels shared the music on their travels. Though once banned, the old carols regained popularity as common folk sang privately or in special bands for Christmas Eve services. Eventually, Christmas carols were welcomed in the church worship service, and continue to thrive today not only in our many church hymn books, but have also been made popular via modern media. Most carols we sing today are only a few centuries old, written in the 18th and 19th centuries, while many newer carols and popular songs were written in the latter 19th through the 20th centuries, with even newer and more contemporary Christmas music written in the mid-20th century through this current 21st century. With carols being songs expressing our joy, and knowing their origins, they are especially meaningful to us as we sing our favorites during the Advent and joyous Christmas season. Only one verse is shared of each song except the last two; you will easily find the balance in your hymnbook or in an online search. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – a long-time favorite, it’s a song of the medieval era, perhaps written in the 9th century by a monk or nun. John Mason Neale, an Anglican priest of the early 19th century in the Madeira Islands near Africa, translated this Latin poem from an ancient book of poetry and hymns he had discovered. Neale is believed to have used musical accompaniment from a 15th century funeral hymn of French Franciscan nuns, as per a manuscript at the National Library of Paris. The tune we still sing today is based on the ancient “plainsong” rhythmic style. There are eight or nine original verses, but the typical church hymnal uses five. Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to you, O Israel! God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – though the composer of both this carol and the tune are unknown, it has been sung in churches as far back as the 16th century. First published in 1827 or 1833 (source difference), it was traditionally sung in the streets of London by watchmen and among revelers in taverns. In fact, Charles Dickens referenced it in “A Christmas Carol.” When Ebenezer Scrooge heard this song being joyfully sung in the street, something he could not abide, he threatened to hit the singer with a ruler! It has been popularized by numerous 20th century recordings. Originally, there were eight verses. God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day; To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. Refrain: O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy; O tidings of comfort and joy. Joy to the World – this favorite carol by Isaac Watts was published in 1719 in his book, “The Psalms of David.” Based on his paraphrase of Psalm 98, it does not reference the traditional Christmas story found in Luke 2. Though not being written for Christmas per se`, it celebrates Christ’s coming again as all earth rejoices – completing the reason for His humble birth in Bethlehem. There are four verses to this very joyful and beloved carol. Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – one of over 6000 hymns written by Britain’s prolific hymnist, Charles Wesley, this carol was penned in 1739 as a poem of ten verses. An original line, “Glory to the newborn King” was later changed by Wesley’s student, George Whitfield, to “Glory to the King of kings.” That change led to a rift between the two men with Whitfield eliminating some of the verses, yet this carol is considered one of the richest theological assets to the church hymnal. Its melody was written by Felix Mendelssohn, a familiar name as musician and composer. Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King.” Angels We Have Heard on High – this popular nativity carol originated in 18th century France among the people who truly love to sing their “Chants de Noel” or Christmas carols. The title is taken directly from Scripture, Luke 2:14, using Latin for the chorus: “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (i.e. Glory to God in the highest). The carol entirely references Luke 2:6-20, and was first published in North America for the Diocese of Quebec in the “Nouveau recueil de cantiques” (i.e. New Hymnal) of 1819. It was first published in the Methodist hymnal in 1935. There were four original verses. Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains, And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains. Refrain: Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo! Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! or Silent Night, Holy Night! – the simple yet elegant words to this beloved carol were written as a poem in 1816 by Joseph Mohr, Catholic priest at Mariapfarr. Two years later, Mohr had become priest for St. Nicholas’ Church at Oberndorf in the beautiful Austrian Alps. When the organ broke just before Christmas, Mohr took his poem to the organist, Franz Gruber, asking him to write an easy tune for singing with guitar. Gruber then composed the organ accompaniment several years later. But, if it were not for the organ repairman taking a copy of the song with him and sharing it with others, one of our favorite carols might have remained a seldom heard Austrian folksong. In 1859 or 1863, Mohr’s original poem of six verses was translated from German into the familiar English version by an Episcopal priest, John Freeman Young – verses 1, 6, 2 being what we sing today. Read more history at Stille Nacht Gesellschaft. This carol was sung during a WW I truce between American and German troops. Men climbed out of battlefield trenches to celebrate their beloved holiday together, while the war carried on as usual the next day. The Austrian von Trapp family (of The Sound of Music fame) included this carol in their singing tours, helping to popularize it in the U.S. after they had escaped the Nazi regime during WW II. Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and Child. Holy Infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace. Cantique de Noel, or O Holy Night – my absolute favorite, this poem was written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, priest in a small French town, for mass that Christmas Eve. His friend, Adolphe Charles Adams, was asked by Cappeau to write the musical score. Unfortunately, learning that Cappeau was a socialist and Adams was a Jew, the church leaders banned the song, proclaiming it was not appropriate for worship services. Fortunately for us, the parishioners loved the song so much they sang it anyway! John Sullivan Dwight, an abolitionist, was deeply moved by the phrase, “chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His Name all oppression shall cease,” and published the song in his American magazine during the Civil War. Across the sea, O Holy Night was sung by a French soldier on Christmas Eve in 1871 during war between France and Germany. Climbing out of the trenches and walking onto the battlefield alone, the brave young man began singing, “Minuit, Chretiens, c’est l’heure solennelle ou L’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’a nous,” the first line in French. Then, a German soldier climbed out of his foxhole to sing another carol, “Vom Himmel noch, da komm’ ich her. Ich bring’ euch gute neue Mar, Der guten Mar bring’ ich so viel, Davon ich sing’n und sagen will.” “From heaven to earth I come” is a carol written in 1534 by the reformationist, Martin Luther. Feeling the bon homme of Christmas, fighting ceased for 24 hours, with the French church subsequently welcoming this beautiful and popular carol in their worship services. O holy night! The stars are brightly shining It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Refrain: Fall on your knees Oh hear the angel voices Oh night divine Oh night when Christ was born Oh night divine Oh night divine What Child is This? – this poem was written by William C. Dix in 1865 (1837-1898), an Anglican layman born in England, who lived and worked in Glasgow, Scotland. It is believed the hymn was written to fit the tune of Greensleeves, a traditional English melody which dates to the 16th century. Shakespeare actually referred to this particular tune in his play, “Merry Wives of Windsor.” Though Dix references the traditional Nativity scene of Luke 2:8-16, the original poem entitled, “The Manger Throne,” also refers to Christ’s later suffering on the cross. What Child is this who, laid to rest On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? (The following section of this first verse is used as chorus for each subsequent stanza): This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing; Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – In 1861, tragedy struck America’s beloved poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha.” In July, the flame from a candle ignited his wife’s dress. She ran to her husband’s study where he tried to put out the flames with a small rug and then by wrapping his arms around her. She died the next morning, but his face was so injured he could not attend her funeral. After their eldest son went off to war, Lt. Charles Longfellow was nearly paralyzed by a bullet passing between his shoulder blades in November 1863. Traveling to Charley’s side, a still grieving widowed father sat down Christmas Day 1863 and wrote this poem from personal anguish, yet with a heart of hope as the church bells rang out… for God is not dead! Peace on earth, good will to men. Longfellow’s original poem: I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet, The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along, The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound, The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men! It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn, The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” – traditionally thought to have been written by Martin Luther in the 16th century, it first appeared in a Lutheran Church hymn book in 1885. It is now believed the song was not written by Luther, but was a song published anonymously in the Lutheran children’s songbook and given the title of Luther’s Cradle Song. The third verse was written by Dr. John T. McFarland, a Sunday School superintendent. Long considered a child’s hymn, and perhaps the best well known, it captures our hearts with its simplicity. Christmas is not about the gold, glitter and gifts. It’s the story about God humbly coming to earth as a newborn baby for our redemption. His earthly parents found no room of comfort in the inn for the birth of their first child. Instead, baby Jesus was born in a stable, surrounded by cattle, donkeys, and likely cats, mice and other animals, and was laid to rest upon a humble bed of hay in a manger, a feed trough. (Luke 2:1-7) Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes; I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray; Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there. May each of you and your families be blessed with a most wonderful Merry Christmas!
  9. Thankful Hearts

    We have so much to be thankful for, and not just at Thanksgiving. But, it does seem like this is an especially appropriate season to say, “Thank you, Lord, for the bountiful blessings you’ve showered upon us.” Autumn has not been my favorite time of the year, but the leaves do put on a colorful and gorgeous display before they slowly drop to the ground. They’ve fluttered and swayed all spring and summer, and provided welcome shade to protect us from the sun’s heat. Now, they are abruptly wrenched from the branches they have clutched so tightly as the cold north winds pass by. And they flutter down to replenish the soil… in the never-ending cycle of life. Just as the leaves have slowly changed with the season, so, too, have the birds. Come early August, their joyful twittering has begun to lessen. By the end of the month and into early September, most of them have felt that inner urge to pack their suitcases for flying on to their southern homes. Birds migrating south, and birds who remain here over the winter, stop in for a bite at our 24-hour cafe, or eat the berries still on trees, bushes and vines. They sing, but it’s not the same as when they serenaded us during the warm weather while raising their families. With the air becoming crisp and cold, frost settles on everything, followed by the first sparkling snowflakes gently fluttering down. Some of our birds find cozy shelters inside the evergreens, a reprieve from the raw elements. Even some critters of the field and forest have begun to contemplate the best hibernation dens while others simply seek nightly shelter from prying eyes. Slowly these seasonal changes creep upon all of us, and we sense the changes within ourselves. We harvest the last of the veggies and fruits in our gardens, and bring crops in from the field for the livestock. Then, while getting ready to settle in for the coming long winter months, we pick up those projects we set aside for a “rainy” day. As we begin to slow down in this season of change, what better time to contemplate and take stock of our blessings in abundance. With thankful hearts, we praise God for all this and so much more. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! Thankful Hearts Linda A. Roorda The carefree days of summer have passed As another year of memories ends With grateful praises offered anew Our thankful hearts share bounty blest. ~ The birds have hushed their lilting songs Bright colored flowers have faded away The trees have lost their brilliant hues And the sky with clouds is looming dark. ~ The somber heavens lie cold and gray O’er gardens bare of blooms that died As leafless trees hold quiet birds, With tinge of smoke on chilly breeze. ~ This silence brings quiet reflection A time to gently contemplate All the dreams we still hold dear A time of peace and time of blessing. ~ For in this season we find a rest To slow our feet and nourish our soul To strengthen bonds and to friends draw near Showering love from grateful hearts. ~ Then blest are we when to our Lord Praise we bring for all that’s ours Of friends and family, and harvest bounty Blessings abound in thankful hearts. ~~ 11/05/12 All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission of author.
  10. Festival Of Trees In Wellsboro This Weekend

    My friends make and sell wreaths in many shapes, sizes and decorations. I've never been but seeing their photos and hearing they enjoy it a lot speaks well for the event. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
×