Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent 2

Today is a mild November day. It is a great time to venture out but after church, I just feel like staying at home and catching up with my blog....at least that was the plan. A lot has happened since my last post a few months ago.

For the first time in over 26 years, I attended the Gettysburg College Christmas Concert on Saturday evening (December 7). It was great music. I heard Ralph Vaughn Williams', "Hodie" for the first time (in my memory). I am definitely going to purchase a recording of the work. I'm glad that Tom Jolin e-mailed and asked me to go along with him and his wife. Unfortunately, she was on call for several births and decided remain home. This afternoon I attended, for the first time, the Gettysburg Civic Chorus Christmas concert. It was a good concert, however, I could not help but look at the audience. Most of the people were senior citizens. Will there be music lovers in numbers to attend such concerts in this season or any other time of the year? While I enjoy the traditional carols, it was good to hear pieces composed in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Last weekend at this time I was on my way from New York. More precisely I was in Alexandria having lunch with Patricia Pasqual with whom I drove from NY. This has become a holiday travel tradition. I pick her up from her family home in Jamaica, Queens and we venture on I-95. This past trip was uneventful (we beat the traffic).

Last Saturday, November 28, was my birthday. With Jeanie, Robert, and Pat, my birthday treat was dinner at Caffè Taci, on E. 54th Street in Manhattan with the Opera Nights at Papillon Restaurant. There were great singers and arias for us diners. With dessert came the singing of "Happy Birthday." I remembered that I had my iPhone and recorded it. What a great 68th birthday!



Sunday, September 27, 2015

A good weekend

It was a great weekend with installation of Bishop Matthew Riegel of the West Virginia/Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America a former student at Gettysburg Seminary. I left Friday afternoon with Dr. Crump and Pr. Herr (that is another story). That evening, Bill Ridenhour arranged the dinner at a local restaurant with great conversation and good food. At the installation, it was interesting to see so many former students participating....the years go by so quickly.
This morning's guest preacher at St. James (Gettysburg) was the Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann. Excellent as well as passionate sermon!...This evening was "A Dylan Thomas Evening" with the poet Tony Curtis of Wales. In addition, the Gettysburg College Camerata/the Sunderman Woodwind Quintet/Elizabeth Asmus performed. A marvelous cultural evening!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Musical Weekend

This was an interesting weekend. For the first time I attended the Gettysburg Brass Festival. While there were a number of events, I attended the following: Thursday - Adams County Community Band, Gettysburg Big Band; Friday - Antebellum Marine Band, Lancers Senior Drum and Bugle Corps; Saturday - Atlantic Brass Band and Athena Brass Band. The Athena Brass Band is an all female brass band composed of women from the military as well as various professions who come from around the country to produce great music.

While I am familiar with orchestral and choral music, the brass repertoire is new to me. Thanks to Tom Jolin, local folk musician and fellow St. James Lutheran Church member, who invited me to attend the festival. This event will certainly be on my agenda next year.

I have to admit that through my post-surgery recovery period I have come to appreciate the events that take place in Gettysburg during the summer months. One of the benefits of retiring in a college and seminary town is the availability of quality music and lecture events for free or minimal cost.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday 2015

This was a glorious Easter for me. One month ago (March 5) I had open-heart surgery.  On April 5, this Easter Sunday, I was worshipping at St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. While at worship I could not help but think that one month ago at the same time I was undergoing the surgery and in the hands of the medical personnel at York Hospital. Today, I was so thankful to be in the community of believers with my sister and brother-in-law singing, hearing, and reflecting on the audible and visible Word. Each day I feel better, different, and experience my body recovering. I am thankful for the prayers from family and friends.

Christ is risen....He is risen, indeed!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Family and Friends

One of the benefits of being hospitalized is time for reflection. For me, the role of family has been important for recuperation. It is the feeling of belonging. Although I have not lived close to family for decades, I have seen or talked with various strands of the family over the years. During my illness, I have received calls from family wishing me a good recuperation and telling me that they are keeping me in their prayers. This afternoon, my cousin Larry who lives in Philadelphia, came to spend the afternoon. The last time we spent time together was in May 2014 when he, Debra and I were in Paris, France. Larry and I discussed the importance of family that nurtured us.

I have also found that my friends, near and far, have been so supportive. Again, like my family, they have wished me well during my recuperation. Charles and Carolyn of Cleveland, OH have called  to check on my every evening. On Sunday evening, Thelma Williams who is the musician at Advent Lutheran in Cleveland, called. I was thinking about the concerts she put together for the annual Choir Concert when I served Advent. One of the pieces was "Jesus Christ is the Way." During rehab I would remember the words to help calm me. Music is an important part of the ministry of the church.

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150, 6)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Home, at last!

This is my first Sunday home since my ordeal with my heart. On March 25, Brooks Schramm picked me up from the ManorCare rehab and brought me home. I was never so happy to be in my home again. Although I didn't want to go to do the rehab, I can say that it was helpful in returning home. While I am walking slowly, I can get around the house and go up and down the stairs. Psychologically, I feel a lot better. The most difficult part of my return is to know that I am dependent on family and friends to get things done. That is different for me. On Friday, Pat Pasqual came up from Alexandria and brought several items that she had cooked. On Saturday, my sister and Robert arrived from New York. The Payne-Pasqual team got to work on the kitchen. Hilda was supposed to come and clean on Friday morning, however, I didn't hear the bell when she arrived at the house at 9 AM. She will come on Tuesday.

Today is Palm Sunday. Pat left at about 8:30 AM. Jeanie, Robert and I went to Christ Chapel, Gettysburg College. It was good to be with the young people. This Holy Week is particularly special for me. I began the heart issue at the beginning of Lent and now I return home a few days before Passion Sunday.  Resurrection gives humankind hope; it will be paramount in my reflections and reading this week.

Tomorrow, I will begin dialysis at the Littlestown facility. Dr. G transferred me to Dr. Ayola. That will save a lot of time and gas. Going to York Hospital is 32 miles from Gettysburg....Littlestown is only 7 miles away...a big difference. My time will change, too. rather than the first thing in the morning (6:30 AM), I will be in Littlestown in the early evening (5:30 PM). Crump and Schramm have scheduled themselves to taking me to and from Littlestown.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Setback?

I have just returned from dialysis. With the other treatments I returned upbeat, this time, I'm down. Dr. G...., the nephrologist indicated that my kidneys have not kicked in as yet. I think he saw that I was upset and said that "You knew you were at stage 4." I responded by saying the issue was that I wanted to return home and thought that I would be able to continue treatments at the Littlestown dialysis center. That will take place but he still wants to monitor me at York hospital. That means that I am still in ManorCare Rehab. I just have to admit that I am angry and disappointed. I thought at least I would be transferred. He asked me about my output of urine and I said that I was urinating. I think I'll keep track on my own. The 24 hour test of urine last week indicated that my kidney's were functioning at about 15%. I certainly would like that to improve but that would be a miracle. I just have to be reminded of God's promise to be with us and specifically me. I haven't lot faith our God of Promise. Lord, have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord, have mercy!