While many are watching the groundhog’s prediction for either more winter or an early spring, here at the farm I am thinking about the original “Groundhog’s Day” — the celebration of Candlemas Day. Feb. 2 was the day to take down the Christmas decorations, have your candles blessed and observe the dedication of Jesus in the temple. There was also an old saying that judging by the way your candles burned one could tell if winter would linger or leave. Join me as I step into the past, making candles and embracing Candlemas.
Many of you know I love early American history, so when I discovered a scary story in Manchester, Vermont, I just couldn’t wait to share with you.
So join me at Old Stone Well Farm where I explore not only Colonial America’s views on Halloween, but vampires as well. Yes, you read correctly. Vampires. But that isn’t the only scary story I share. There is something that frightens me more than things that go bump in the night.
Pull up a chair and gather around the hearth. Bring your friends. Share. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to Old Stone Well Farm’s YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode.
Click on the video below…and remember, this year’s pumpkin message will be revealed as well — with a little help (more like a challenge) from the cows!
I just have to say how much I am enjoying my week’s staycation!
I am away from deadlines for the week and I didn’t realize how much I needed the space and freedom to be me — to create, to dream and to write on things that I am passionate about. I have even revisited a book had begun outlining some years ago — a scary tale of a young pastor in a rural area where old headstones introduce her to a family secret. (Cue eerie music, thunder and howling wind!)
But research on this book aside, this staycation has really been a blessing because those close to me have known that lately my creative spirit has been dampened. Better yet, I think the image of my creative spirit being suffocated is more appropriate. There have been so many changes in my “day job” that have been debilitating. Every idea and project now has many steps and countless meetings to go through before actually getting to the work. While these changes are not good or bad — they just are — I have been quietly observing how this “new way” of doing things is impacting creativity. I see it in the faces staring back at me in those Zoom boxes. Once passionate writers are now uncharacteristically glum. Once vocal writers are silenced. I know this too shall pass as change brings a season of transitions, but that’s another story for another day.
For today, I actually jumped out of bed at 5 a.m. filled with eager expectations for the day. After doing my chicken chores, I sipped my coffee and read the Bible. I then got to the gym where I realized how that time was a key role in having a healthy, positive outlook. It felt good to catch up with others, to laugh, to move our bodies to music and to work up a good sweat. And something amazing began happening as I pushed the lever up to increase the resistance on the bike during the spin class. I began having ideas — again. I began getting hopeful. I began dreaming. I began feeling like the old me, which was a wonderful feeling because she was missing for quite some time.
I know this staycation will come to an end and I will be back to a front row seat of a really bad play called “power plays and grabs.” I will be hearing the “dings” remind me that the next Zoom meeting will begin in 15 minutes (enough time to brush my hair and take off my chicken poop covered Mucks). I will be back to writing deadlines and spending many fitful nights worrying about the stories assigned that are MIA from writers who are AWOL.
Soon I will be back in the “real world.” But I wonder? Is there a better reality in which to live, work and play in than the one that masquerades as “real”?
I’ll continue to ponder, and as I do, I want to remind you that this Sunday, October 30, Old Stone Well Farm continues its Pumkinfest tradition, lighting the back hill with an inspirational message.
Welcome to a special midweek gathering at Old Stone Well Farm, where I have finally caught up with all my chores and rested from leading a women’s retreat followed by a Sunday in the pulpit.
Now it’s time to once again breathe in all the God moments, and today I share with you how I am observing Michaelmas this October.
Yes, the feast day of St. Michael is Sept. 29, but I like the idea of being mindful all throughout this month of how God’s angels are there for us. Frights and fears might abound, but God’s goodness shines.
Come! Join me. Click on the video below. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to this growing channel — and share with others. And let me know how you might weave in some Michaelmas celebrations this month! And who perhaps have been the angels in your life who have walked alongside you in trying times?
I am entering into the Lenten wilderness today with some trepidation, sadness and joy. The world is broken. Rev, the cat, is showing signs of decline. A dear friend’s father is in critical condition having suffered a stroke. Writer’s block stresses the already-stressful deadlines on my calendar. The list goes on. Yet amid it all, I hear the birds singing. And don’t laugh, but I know spring will burst with new life soon as last night there was that pungent smell of skunk in the air! The little critters are out and about as the weather begins to warm up ever so slightly.
This Lent is beginning with a strong sense of change on the horizon. I don’t know what that change is, but I’m standing here knowing I need to put just one foot forward in complete faith in God who leads me.
So today I decided to be kind to myself — to be gentle and reevaluate my to-do list. Today I decided to begin this season with a new Lent tradition that centers my spirit and helps me to set my eyes to the hills where the psalmist proclaims our help will come. And I share it with you.
How is your Lenten journey going to begin? Pull up a chair and join me here at the farm.
I’ve always embraced January as a month to challenge myself to step out from what I am comfortable with and dare to step onto a new path. And so, step with me!
Step out of the cold and the snow (if that is where you happen to be either physically or emotionally), and come share the warmth of my 18th-century home, Old Stone Well Farm, as we learn how to trust and be guided by the bright Epiphany light. Share with your friends. Watch with a cup a herbal tea. Take these minutes to watch the video. Think of it as my gift to you. A gift to enter into my 18th-century Vermont life.
An early Christmas treat. I’ve decided to share Old Stone Well Farm’s Christmas Eve’s video a day earlier, as I know December 24 and 25 can be quite busy with last-minute preparations.
I wanted to share this holy night with you, inviting you into my home and onto the snowy paths in Vermont to explore the Christmas story once again. And get a candle ready to light as we will be singing “Silent Night” in the snowy back pasture of the farm together. Old Stone Well Farm will return in 2022, as I will be taking some downtime during the Christmas season.
Till then, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. I can’t thank you enough for making Old Stone Well Farm Media & Ministry what it is today.
Remember to like on YouTube, subscribe and share with those who might be blessed by a Vermont Christmas.
Today is a special day at Old Stone Well Farm. Not only is it candle making day, as I make my beeswax candles for the upcoming Advent season, which begins here on Nov. 15 as I love observing Celtic Advent, but it is my ordination anniversary.
Fourteen years ago on Nov. 11 I was ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. As I make my candles, I reflect on the light of Christ that I have been called to in this world.
Watch the video because there is also a special gift I would love to share with you.
The wait is over. Today at the farm, I reveal the inspirational message carved into this year’s “Pumpkinfest for God” pumpkins — and it’s a message I believe we all need to hear.
But before we get to the pumpkins, I invite you in on one of my dreams that I have and share with you a wonderful farm my husband and I looked at in Pennsylvania. Yes, we took some days away the chickens in Vermont to catch our breaths.
I didn’t realize how much I needed this time until I was standing in the chilly wind, dreaming again and feeling God’s presence guiding me.
May this day you dream. May this day you feel excited about how God is leading you. May this day you know that with God all is well.
Let us now prepare for worship! Blessings, Pastor Donna
When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.