My Latest Trip to Pennsylvania

I arrived home late Tuesday after a wonderful trip to visit family in Pennsylvania. There’s never enough time to see as much of my loved ones as I want, so I often leave with my heart aching for more.
Sally (my step mom) was a constant help from the time my plane touched down in Harrisburg. She and my dad married about eight years ago, and she’s been a godsend. After the death of my mom, she helped our family move from simply coping into living abundantly again. Sally and I hadn’t spent a lot of time alone together before this last trip, but during the visit I learned what a remarkable woman she is. My mom was remarkable too. My dad has been very blessed.

Sally went with me to Hackman’s Bible Book Store on Thursday night, which was a two-hour drive from Harrisburg. I’m grateful for all those who came out to see me there. The author chat and autograph party were wonderful. I’ll not soon forget the amazing people I met that night. Thank you!
If the woman who came to Hackman’s from New York earlier in the day and wasn’t able to stay until I arrived would contact me, I have a small gift for you from one of my Amish friends.

On Friday, Sally and I went to one of my Amish friend’s home. Anna* and I only had a few hours to visit, and we were far from being ready to say good-bye when the time came. But we took comfort in the hope that I can return and stay a few days longer this spring.

On Saturday, the family and I celebrated my dad’s eightieth birthday. His birthday is the reason I went to Pennsylvania. My brother, my sister-in-law, and one of their adult children drove in from Alabama. By party time, all four siblings, plus Sally’s daughter and her family, were there. We had a great time. Sally’s daughter, son-in-law, and two teenage grandchildren were a joy to spend time with. Their presence added so much to the day’s festivities!

We sang “Happy Birthday” to my dad the way he taught us–all of us purposefully off key and quite loud about it.
My dad, who enjoys being sarcastically grumpy, was in for a big surprise. Every time he started grousing, we sang the entire song. We only needed to sing it about forty times while he opened presents. We laughed and sang until we were hoarse. He thought it was a riot, but he also joined in on the game by becoming flamboyantly careful. He’d start to open a present and then stop and ask, “Am I doing this right? I don’t want to do anything wrong. Please tell me now, before you start singing.”

Too bad we didn’t figure out the remedy for his biting sense of humor until he was eighty! 😉

Sally catered a meal so the workload would be light and we’d have the energy to enjoy one another. The plan worked great and also gave us a lot of food to use for Sunday’s main meal. We had such a great time, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

On Sunday mid-afternoon, my brother drove me to Frederick, Maryland, to meet up with my critique partner, Marci, who lives in Virginia. She and I spent the next two days working on her WIP (work in progress). She’s quite a writer, but she hasn’t turned anything in to a publisher yet. I’d tell you why, but . . . I can’t.
Marci and I have worked together for five years and she’s one of the greatest gifts to my life. When the Morning Comes is dedicated to her.

My time in Pennsylvania was refreshing, and I’m so glad I went. Now I’m behind with the rest of life and I feel the pressure of it. Still, that time was a treasure I’ll always remember.

*Names are always changed to assure privacy.


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