Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in the Rear View Mirror

You have a big windshield on the front of your car, and you have a small rear view mirror. The reason the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what has happened in your past is not nearly as important as what's in your future.  Although this is true, and I'm looking forward to what 2016 will bring, it is traditional to look back over the year as we approach the new year.  

In January we were able to see all of our grand kids.  Autumn, Rebekah and Elisabeth visited Papa and Grandma and brought along their American Girl dolls.  They enjoyed getting to take a ride in Papa Great's old car. 

 Later in the month we made a trip to Conroe to see our newest grand daughter, Cecily.  She had lots of fun with Grandma.

In February we spent the weekend with my sister Jeannie and her husband Dewey on Caddo Lake in Texas.  My daughter Cynda and her family came over from Louisiana to stay with us.  Caddo Lake is beautiful.

We went to the Mardi Gras parade in Jefferson, Texas.

In the spring we visited Mulberry Manor.  The girls love the animals there.  Daisy the miniature cow likes being around people and Elisabeth loves her chickens.

In April we made two trips to Eureka Springs.  The first was to attend a concert by Rebecca Loebe.  Her concert was a very intimate concert in an old church.

Here is a video from the concert.

Our second trip of the month to Eureka Springs was to spend the weekend with my sister and her husband.  We had a great time.

On Mother's Day weekend our family got together in Conroe, Texas for baby Cecily's dedication.

Everyone had a good time being together and we were all able to go out for Mother's Day lunch.

The Relay For Life of Polk County event was held at the end of May. Once again there was rain on the day of Relay, so the event was held in the CMA building.  We had over 20 inches of rain in the month of May.

For our anniversary we took a trip to Navoo, Illinois where several of my wife's ancestors had lived.  Her great great grandmother walked over 1,000 miles pulling a handcart when she emigrated to Salt Lake City.  While we were in Navoo we pulled a handcart similar to the one she pulled.

In July we made a trip to Colorado for a cousins reunion and spent a week with with Gina's brother Duane and his wife Betty.  We loved spending time at their cabin in Leadville.  Gina enjoyed fishing and caught some nice rainbow trout.

In August Gina helped put on the annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner for Relay For Life.  It is the number one party of the year in Mena.

In September over 160 young people from the Arkansas-Louisiana Pathfinder organization came from communities all over Arkansas and Louisiana to the Mena area to conduct a "Serve Others” Camporee. They camped at the Christian Motorcycle Association Iron Mountain Campground.  On Friday, September 25th, the Pathfinders performed various "Serving Others" activities in the Mena area.  On Saturday afternoon, September 26th, the young people went door to door throughout Mena collecting over 1500 items of canned food.

In October we spent time with my sister Jeannie and her family in Branson.  We spent the day together at Silver Dollar City

Our granddaughters came to Mena for Halloween.  Bekah had a good time carving pumpkins with Papa Great.

In November we spent a weekend in Bentonville, Arkansas and attended a Smokey and the Mirror concert. We were there for the lighting of the Bentonville square.

We spent Thanksgiving with my sister Jeannie and made a trip to St. Louis to see The Glow which is the Missouri Botanical Gardens lit up for Christmas.  It was beautiful.

Our immediate family was all together for Christmas this year.  We had a great Christmas, and my sister Carolyn planned a Christmas program for the Mena SDA Church service that our family participated in.

The year went out with a bang.  Sunday after Christmas we had two separate tornado warnings.  We all waited out the warnings in the hallway, our safest place,  After the tornado warnings the rains came; over 10 inches.  There was lots of flooding in the area.

2015 has been quite a ride but I am excited to see what 2016 will bring.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Top 10

2015 is almost over.  Here is a list of the top ten most viewed posts of 2015 on An Arkies Musings.  It is always interesting to me to see what topics other people are interested in.

The most viewed post from 2015 was Caddo Lake.  We spent a weekend in February in Uncertain, Texas on the shores of Caddo Lake.  It was so eerily beautiful and relaxing.  We rented a lovely house on the lake shore called Hoot n Holler.  Caddo Lake is on the border of northeast Texas and northwest Louisiana.  It includes one of the best examples in the southern United States of a mature bald cypress forest, and is one of the largest cypress forests in the world.  The moss-draped cypress groves are beautiful.  You can read the post here.

The second most viewed post was Rebecca Loebe.  In April my wife and I saw Rebecca Loebe in concert at Eureka House Concerts in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  We first saw Rebecca Loebe in concert at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The Eureka Springs concert was in a beautiful old church and there was a potluck before the concert. Rebecca Loebe is an amazing singer-songwriter, but the best thing about her concert was her ability to make you feel like she was just singing to some friends of hers and by the end of the evening you really felt like you knew her. You can read the post here.

He's Alive - a post from April 3, 2015 - was the third most viewed post of the year.  It is a condensed version of a sermon that I gave at the Mena Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  The sermon was inspired by a Don Fransisco song.   Don’s music often tells a story and “He’s Alive” is one of his best. It tells the story of the resurrection of Jesus from Peter’s point of view.  You can read the post here.

As born again Christians, people adopted into the family of God, we are called to form a new kind of community where people show each another the same grace we have received from God. My July 17, 2015 post titled Born Again made it to number 4 for the year.  You can read the post here.

In June of this year, the band Smokey and the Mirror had their album Thin Black Line removed from Spotify because too many of their fans were listening to the album too many times. I was one of those fans. I attended the Album Fundraiser Concert for this album.  My fifth most popular post of the year was the story of Smokey and the Mirror's dealing with Spotify.  You can read the post here.

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven".  My post titled Little Children was the sixth most read post of the year.  You can read the post here.

The seventh most read post of this year was The Effects of Epilepsy.  I had been contacted by and asked if I would share the article with my readers.  They had seen my post on Epilepsy and thought that it would be a great resource for An Arkie's Musings readers.  The article was written by Ann Pietrangelo and medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA
You can read the post here.

My eight year old granddaughter Rebekah loves to take photos.  On our trip to Jefferson, Texas, I let her use my camera one afternoon.  As a proud Papa I was impressed with the photos she took and wrote a blog post titled Young Photographer, sharing some of her photos. It became the eighth most read post of the year.  You can read the post and see her photos here.

Number nine for the year is a post from August 22, 2015 titled Pharisees. It is another condensed version of a sermon that I gave at the Mena Seventh-Day Adventist Church. You can read the post here.

The final post in the top ten of 2015 is from September 11, 2015 and is titled September 11.  Every year when September 11th comes again, emotions of Americans are heightened as we remember September 11, 2001. Most Americans can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center.  But this post is about September 11, 1857 which was the date of one of the worst massacres in American history.  You can read the post here.  

The post Strawberries and Rugs was one of my favorite of the year. The story was written by my daughter Cynda when she was in high school. My Uncle Lloyd Lawry saved the story and included it in a collection of family stories and writings of his own.  You can read the post here

I can't wait to see what adventures and experiences 2016 will bring.  I wonder what the top ten posts of 2016 will be.

You can read the Top 10 posts of 2014 here.

You can read the Top 10 posts of 2013 here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Mother's Christmas Program

While he was at a family reunion, my Dad was given a story written by my cousin, Toni Ehrhardt. The story takes place during the Great Depression and centers around two little girls. Here is a photo of those two little girls.

                                  IRENE AND HENRIETTA

Mother's Christmas Program
by Toni Ehrhardt

My mother,Irene Dannels Woolery was born in 1925 on a small farm near Altoona, Kansas. Times weren't easy at the Dannel's Place nor most other places for that matter. I remember my mother telling me that most of the time, the family had a nice Christmas dinner of baked chicken, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, hot rolls and pumpkin pie. Possibly, they had gingerbread, fudge and mady taff. I'm just guessing they had milk, water or home-made cider to drink.

For Christmas, the kids, (my mom and her sisters and brothers), usually got a nickel, an orange, and some gift my grandparents made for them. For example, my grandpa made little tractors out of spools and rubber bands and my grandma made rag dolls or teddy bears and made outfits for them.

The family went to cut down a Christmas tree and decorated their tree with popcorn, little ornaments they made at home, church, or school and possibly with little pieces of ribbon or bits of lace. They went to school and church programs and especially enjoyed those things as well as big family dinners with lots of cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Times, of course, got even rougher in the 1930's. I remember my mother telling me that my Grandma Zenella Reeve Dannels, had one dress and one pair of overalls. Naturally, the girls didn't have many clothes either but somewhere around 1939 when my mom was about 14, my grandma promised the girls (My mom, Irene and my aunt, Henrietta, who were still in school that she would make them both a nice Christmas dress for their Christmas program at Buffville School.

My mother always loved clothes and shoes, so she was in a rush to get home from school that day to see the dresses that my grandmother, an adequate and basic seamstress, had made for her and Etta. So the two girls hurried in on that cold Winter day anxious to see their new dresses.

The girls ran to my grandmother and asked, "Where are the dresses you made for us for the School Program? My grandmother replied, "I'm sorry, girls. I simply didn't have the time to make any dresses for you. You'll just have to do with your best dress this time. I'm sorry."

My Aunt Henrietta didn't get so upset but my mother was absolutely devastated. She had imagined a new red velvet dress and she was practically sick that my grandmother hadn't made dresses for them. She was mad too, because my grandmother had definitely promised the girls new dresses for this event, which was one of the most important programs of the season.

About that time, the girls heard a car coming and a car horn honking, honking, honking. They ran to see who it was because they weren't expecting anybody and they also had to hurry to get washed up and primped for the program. They were a little surprised to see their oldest brother, Walter Dannels, and his cute young wife, Stelline (Hoobler) Dannels, coming in the door carrying boxes.

"Are you two coming to our Christmas program?" my Mom asked.  "Sure are!" Walter said, grinning. "Now you two girls better hurry and get all fixed up so I won't be so embarrassed that you're my little sisters!" "Come on," Stelline told the two younger girls. "Now get in there and I'll help you fix your hair!"

All three of the girls crowded into the girls' bedroom and my Mom asked, "Hey, Stelline, what's in the box?"  "Never you mind. Just get your school clothes off and hang them up. And you need to hurry. I've made some sandwiches and cookies for us to eat".  Then Stelline started opening the boxes. She pulled out two of the prettiest dresses my Mom and Aunt Etta had ever seen.

"Oh, Stelline, Thank you! Thank you! We had no idea you were making us Christmas dresses! Oh, they're so pretty!"  "I just love mine, too. They are so cute and stylish. Thank you!"  "Now stop blubbering and get those dresses on," Walter hollered.

The two girls got the dresses on, and they fit perfectly. Stelline also whipped a comb and brush through their hair and sprayed on a tad of Evening in Paris perfume. "You two girls will be the belles of the ball" she told them smiling at their happy excited faces.

About that time my grandparents came in with some eggs and a milk pail to leave in the cellar. "You two girls sure look nice!" my Grandma said. "Wasn't it nice of Stelline to make your Christmas dresses when I really couldn't find the time."

My Grandpa Earl Dannels said, "You girls look dandy. I'm really going to feel proud tonight!" "Oh Stelline, you've made this the best Christmas Program ever!" the two girls said, smiling widely.


Note from Toni Ehrhardt: My Aunt Stelline (Hoobler) Dannels passed away in 1968, much too young. She had a special talent of looking at a dress and the person who wanted it and sewing it up in no time. Everything she made looked like it came from Vogue. She also was a very good cook. I remember especially that she made wonderful Turkey Pie. She is sadly missed by her children and family.

Stelline Elizabeth Hoobler was born November 30, 1916 in Jasper, Alabama and died May 13, 1968. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, El Centro, California . She married Walter Louis Dannels December 4, 1935 in Erie, Kansas. He was born April 24, 1914 in Altoona, Kansas and died August 19, 1998. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, El Centro, California.