Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good Tired

My first post I contemplated the distinction between a Diary/Journal and a Blog. I still think the line is blurred except in a Blog you leave out personal details or negative reactions to people and situations that are only for you to read. Tonight I thought " Do I write my thoughts in the iPad journal or my blog?" Blog won.

I can t remember being this exhausted since Christmas and my body aches. I have been pulling weeds on the Parking Parterre at the Farmhouse. Also cleaning Stink Bud residue from the porch and siding of the house. But it is a productive tired.

Tonight Hope arrives after many twists and turns to her first Jet Blue flight from Anchorage. What a dreadful trip. She chose Jet Blue because it flies to DULLES, unlike Alaska Airlines that goes to Reagan.

But there was a delay and cancellation in Boston and they said the flight would arrive 3 hours late to Reagan. Jim phoned Charles to get Hope at Reagan and meet him at Reston. Then Hope called because of another delay and said she was joining two other passengers to hire a taxi from Reagan to Dulles . . . so Charles was off the hook. Jim called Charles and Charles actually said he was disappointed.

Meanwhile I am hosting the last hike of the season up Hogback Mt Road tomorrow and then serving lunch. So cleaning the house has a dual incentive.

Finally figured out the menu today and ended up at Wegmans to find all the ingredients. Got back at Eight and had a disaster in frig and in kitchen . . . 

Blow up mattress in my sewing room. Hope will take my Volvo to Lynchburg tomorrow but will probably leave later...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lancaster. PA

On Wednesday Diane invited Sylvia and me 
to join her church and friends for a bus trip to Lancaster to see MOSES. 
The whole day was so much fun and the production was worth the expense of the trip.

Sylvia arranged to meet a friend from Virginia who now lives in
Lancaster. And she just happens to be a member of 
cousin Linda's church and part of Linda & Steve's small group. Remember, both Linda and Diane
were bridesmaids in our wedding!

I had heard of the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster. Just recently a relative 
who lives nearby visited us and gave us the MOSES brochure because she thought it 
was worth the effort to see it. At that point I already had my tickets.
 In 2002 my mother took a bus trip from Raleigh to see the production of Noah. This is the letter I wrote to her in 2002.

May 9, 2002

Dear Mom,
As you sit in the bus and drive through Lancaster, I want you to know how your family history and Daddy's family history interconnects AND connects with the history of Lancaster. 
The obvious connection is the years you lived on Elm Avenue when Vickie and I were born.  But YOU KNOW ME, I want to take you back 250 years!
In 1711 a group of Mennonites built homes by the Pequea Creek in Lancaster.  They arrived from Europe in 1709 and were the first white settlers in the area. The city of Lancaster did not exist. Hans Herr, whose house still stands and is restored, was in this first group. Worship services were held in his home. On cold nights the Conestoga Indians came inside and slept by the fire. 
In 1714 Martin Kendig, who had settled in Lancaster with this group, was sent back to Europe to help other Mennonites emigrate to Pennsylvania. Your ancestors Valentine Klemmer, Henry Funk, and Hans Detweiler were in the group that resulted from Martin Kendig's efforts.  In 1717 they were among the 30 families who emigrated to Philadelphia. Martin Kendig returned to the Colonies before the families arrived to secure land for some of them near Conestoga.  An agent of William Penn accompanied them to Conestoga and referred to them as "long bearded Switzers."
The Mennonites with Zurich ancestry, like Bishops Benedict Breckbill, Uhrich Burkholder, and Christian Schenk moved immediately to the land secured for them in Conestoga. Christian Schenk was one of Daddy's ancestors as was his wife, a sister of Benedict Brechbill.
Your ancestors remained in Germantown a few years before settling in Bucks County, and Philadelphia (now Montgomery) County. Bishop Valentine Klemmer was a weaver in Germantown (Philadelphia) before he moved to Milford Township, Bucks County, PA. There was frequent visitation between the Mennonite Communities in Germantown, Skippack, and Conestoga. Two or three times a year the Conestoga Mennonites loaded up their market wagons with furs from the friendly Conestoga Indians, wheat, butter, and hemp to make the two day trip to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia these items were sold and loaded onto ships bound for Europe. The Mennonites then bought things they needed and loaded those items onto the wagon for the return trip.
The seventy mile ride to Philadelphia could be treacherous, especially in wet weather, when the wagon wheels made huge ruts in the road. On one trip Bishop Burkholder's son fell from the wagon and was killed when the wagon ran over him.  Another time brushfires destroyed some of the wagons traveling from Conestoga. Although there were inns between Lancaster and Philadelphia, the Mennonites usually slept in or beside  their large wagons.  In Germantown they probably found lodging with their Mennonite brethren and former "ship mates" like our ancestor Valentine Klemmer.
When our ancestors moved from Germantown to Bucks County, they still had contact with the Conestoga Mennonites. Tradition says that our ancestor, Bishop Valentine Klemmer, died in Lancaster while on church related business and was buried there, possibly in Mellinger's Cemetery (1918 Lincoln Highway East).  It is likely that Valentine worshiped with the Conestoga Mennonites, including Daddy's ancestor Christian Schenk, in the Hans Herr house. In 1727 Christian Herr and others from Conestoga traveled to Skippack (Montgomery County) to sign the Mennonite Confession of faith that had been translated into English. Valentine Klemmer also signed that document. The Skippack Meetinghouse had just been completed and they most likely met in it. Valentine's son Henrich (your ancestor) was a stone mason and helped to construct the meetinghouse at Skippack.
In 1748 the very important book THE MARYR'S MIRROR was translated from Dutch to German and reprinted at the Ephrata Cloister. It was the largest book printed in colonial America and contains several thousand stories of the early Christian and Anabaptist martyrs. Our ancestor Henry Funk and his best friend Dielman Kolb traveled the 60 miles between (now) Montgomery County and Ephrata many times to oversee the translation of this important book.  One of the original copies can be seen in the Hans Herr house and was owned by Hans Herr.
         I know your tour does not plan to visit the Hans Herr House. Linda and I visited it last year and I
         think it should be on every tour of Lancaster.
So, now you know that our ancestors walked this area before the city of Lancaster ever existed.

PS  Most unusual is the connection of Hans Herr to the Deacon family from Grayling, the village on the Yukon River where Jim and Peter conducted the Vacation Bible School. Dolly Deacon, Henry' Deacon's wife, had an Athabascan mother and a Pennsylvania father. The father's name is Harry Gochnauer. He probably came up to Alaska in one of the gold rushes and stayed. Not only did his grandparents live next to the Nulls in Lancaster County (one of his relatives married one of Granddad's relatives), but he was a direct descendant of Bishop Hans Herr. I told the Deacons I had visited their ancestor's house in Pennsylvania and they were not impressed.
Bishop Hans Herr lived in this house but his son Christian was the one who built it in 1719.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Party in the Garden

I guess this is 'my' Garden Party. I am weeding the Parking Parterre and the Soccer Parterre at the Farmhouse. The Irises are blooming and the Peonies are ready to burst open. I started today by giving a tour of the garden at Oatlands to a very knowledgeable group and made a mess of the script. They asked such reasonable questions as the exact type of stone in the steps, exact names of plants, etc. I said I don't know or made a guess.

So I want to clean out the weeds by the stone wall and fix up the garden that someone else has worked hard to create. It is a shame to let the weeds dominate the space.

Weeds Dominating
Iris and Peonies and Crepe Myrtle dominating

Thrill, Fill, Spill

Garden Party with Church of Our Saviour Connections

Hickory House Farm during Land Trust of VA Garden Party

Hickory House Farm was part of an early land
grant to Lord Fairfax,which was subsequently
purchased by Leven Powell, the founder of
Middleburg. While none of the original buildings
survive, there still remain gravestones along the farm
road dating from the early 1800's. The fieldstone
house was built in the late 18th Century.


Col. Leven Powell, known as the 'founder' of Middleburg, was a member of
Virginia's House of Burgesses, served with General Washington at Valley Forge, and
represented Virginia at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
His connection to Church of Our Saviour at Oatlands is through 
his two great granddaughters.

Kate Powell Carter

One great granddaughter was the mistress of Oatlands Plantation, the wife of
George Carter II. Her name was Kate Powell Carter and the east window at
our (old) church is a memorial to her for essentially starting a congregation at the
Oatlands Plantation during the Civil War when families did not have
horses at their disposal to travel to Leesburg or Aldie on Sunday.

Selina "Nina" Powell Hepburn

A second great granddaughter of Leven Powell was Selina 'Nina' Lloyd Powell 
She was 3 years younger than her second cousin Kate and married the first
minister of Church of Our Saviour, the Rev. Sewell Hepburn.

Right out of Virginia Seminary in Alexandria and ordained to the priesthood in 1869, Mr. Hepburn was hired
to assist the St. James, Leesburg rector in managing Church of Our Saviour and
other missions in the area, including the mission that would become St. Peter's in

Sewell Hepburn lodged at the Oatlands Mansion when ministering in the
Goose Creek neighborhood and  married 'Nina' Powell in
April 1871, four months after he arrived in Loudoun County. She was a teacher
at the Arlington Institute with her parents and sisters. Sewell and Nina met at least
a year before his 'appointment' to Oatlands and she may have encouraged him to apply for the 
                  This is a photo of the Rev. Hepburn with his famous granddaughter,
actress Katherine Hepburn.

                 THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR by Augusta Adams 2001

“The earliest written records concerning the parish (Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands) 
date from the early 1870’s, when the Rev’d Sewall S. Hepburn received a call to assist 
the Rev’d Richard Terrell Davis, D.D., Rector of St. James Church, Leesburg. 
Mr. Hepburn, who from 1871 to 1875 rode circuit to various missions around Leesburg, 
giving the following account:

""Mrs. (Kate Powell) Carter was a near relative of Mrs. Hepburn and a woman of rare character. 
Through her zeal and wise planning, an abandoned blacksmith’s shop, just out of the lawn 
and near the overseer’s house, had been fitted up for a chapel, and here I was to have service 
once a month. It was the only organized 
religious gathering for the immediate community at that time, which was ‘the day of small things.’ 
It has since grown into a church located on the pike.

So, although it remains unlikely that the original provenances and location of the present 
“restored” cabin can be established with certainty, a log building had been converted into 
a chapel under the kind auspices of Kate Powell Carter, mistress of Oatlands Plantation, 

probably in the late 1860’s or early 1870’s. It is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Carter’s 
daily routine at Oatlands House would have included a regular time for prayers, to be attended 
by her family, visiting relatives and friends, and her household staff.  It is also reasonable to 
assume that these home observances, in the strong Virginia tradition, would have been based 
upon the  BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. In providing a chapel for the community, 
Mrs. Carter was both following strong precedents and fulfilling what she regarded as a religious obligation.

The Rev’d Mr. Hepborn…..arrived in Leesburg on the Saturday preceding the first Sunday 
in January 1871. He describes his duties:

My work lay around Leesburg, from the Potomac across the Short Hill range to the foothills 
of the Cotoctin and down to Goose Creek, bordering on Aldie. It coverered an area of about 
15 by 24 miles. In this I had three places to look after; Christ Church at Goresville (now Lucketts), 
Cotactin Union Church, near Hamilton, and Oatlands on the Pike to Aldie, near Goose Creek Mill. 
I was to keep each place open twice monthly,  take a night service twice montly in Leesburg, 
while the rector went on a mission - All those preaching points were missions that had been 
established by rectors of Shelbourn Parish, from the mother church in Leesburg. I was the 
first rector in charge of them as an independent work.

Oatlands is on the pike from Leesburg to Aldie, and borders Goose Creek.  It is one of the most 
valuable and attractive plantations of the many in Loudoun. It embraces twelve to fifteen hundred 
acres of unusually fine land. The family dwelling is one to please the most fastidious taste. 
The walk-in, terraced garden is . . . a charm. In the lawn, a grove of forest trees adds greatly 
to the attractiveness of the place.

Oatlands had not suffered materially the the war. it was still in good physical condition. 
The great retinue of servants had been depleted; still, there were enough to meet the demands 
of the place. The owner, Mr. George Carter, had inherited it from his father, who, with the 
display of good taste and the outlay of large sums of money had made it the place it is now.
My work here was most pleasant, made so, by the family owning the place. Oatlands became 
my headquarters when in the neighborhood. From there I radiated through the surrounding country.”

Donna Basinger’s Notes 2014

The Rev’d Sewell Hepburn, grandfather of actress Katherine Hepburn,  spent many nights as a 
guest at Oatlands while riding circuit to various Episcopal missions around Leesburg. 
The Oatlands congregation began meeting in the log cabin on the Plantation during the 
Civil War when Northern and Southern armies confiscated all the neighborhood horses and 
carriages and parishioners were unable to travel to Aldie or Leesburg for church services. 
Kate Powell Carter, mistress of Oatlands Plantation, graciously provided a chapel for the 
neighborhood.  After the war the Rev’d Richard Terrell Davis, rector of St. James Leesburg, 
visited the log cabin chapel regularly until he called the Rev’d Sewell Hepburn to assist him 
with the various missions around Leesburg. 

26 year old Rev’d Hepburn arrived in Leesburg in January of 1871 and immediately took 
charge of the congregation at Oatlands and was a guest at the Plantation.

Four months later, on April 13th, he married Kate Powell Carter’s second cousin, 28 year old 
Selina Lloyd Powell. They were married in Alexandria, Virginia where Selina was assisting 
her parents as a teacher at their Arlington Institute. It is likely they met when Sewell
attended he Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

In 1875 he left for another assignment, probably near his family home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

First service in brick church Easter April 1, 1877

Consecration of building August 21, 1878 by Bishop Francis W. Wittle.

East window of Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands is a memorial to Kate Powell Carter

Red Bud in bloom on April 27 during Historic Garden Week

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why do I feel so content?

The weather at the moment is divine. Not too hot or humid. With Jim in Wheaton I am on my own time schedule. . . which is erratic. Whereas Jim's daily schedule is absolutely predictable.

I just spent 3 hours pulling weeds under the Blue Cedar at the Farmhouse. And it was pleasurable! No bugs - no mosquitos and the blooming azalea and red maple are beautiful. I am on schedule according to my TO DO list. And tomorrow is a HIKE!

The highway sounds of Rt. 15 are actually comforting and musical.

And I am learning the script for the Oatlands Garden Tour with practice! I have done 3 tours and each one gets easier. And last night I started reading Edith Eustis's romantic novel MARION MANNING.
It was published the year before she bought Oatlands and began her Classical Revival Victorian Garden.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Will I go to Heaven?

I think there was a time, maybe 500 years ago, when everyone in the Western world asked this question. Death was ever present and the church was ever present! Not so today.

But in the last month the subject of Heaven has come up repeatedly. First, the grandson of a high school friend plays Colton Burpo in HEAVEN IS FOR REAL. Second, I keep watching advertisements for the movie. Third, my brother in law, whose heart recently stopped more than once, says he wants to see the movie! Finally, my niece's son (who is undergoing treatment for leukemia) asked her if he would go to heaven. She asked me how I would answer him.

Okay, here goes.

God created you and me, Peter, and wants us to live with him now and  forever in a perfect place. Wait! Something's wrong here. We can't even see God . . . and there is nothing perfect about this place! Everyday we see sickness, death, or hatred somewhere. And you have seen more sickness than most people your age. So what is wrong?

We can actually know what happened to mess things up and what will happen to make things right . . because God spoke to his servants who wrote God's WORD for us.  When we look at the Bible - God's Word - we have to remember that it answers the most important questions, but not every question we have. The Bible says that your question "Will I go to Heaven?" is one of the most important questions. God gives a very clear answer because he made us and he made Heaven.

Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory, honour and power, because you created all things, and by your decision they came to be.
Revelation 4:11

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

The mess this world is in is because of you and me. I think you are a good person, Peter,  and you probably think I am a good person. I actually think you are a pretty awesome person. But God has a different way of measuring GOOD. Instead of praising and thanking and obeying our Creator . . . and letting him be KING  - we say 'No' to him by not praising, thanking, and obeying him as KING. We do what we want, instead of what God wants. We pretend to be the king. That is what the Bible calls 'sin'.

All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory.
Romans 3:23

No-one is acceptable to God. No-one understands or searches for God. They have all turned away.
Romans 3:10-12

The Bible tells us that God hates sin and will not let us keep saying 'No' to him. He will not allow us to keep pretending to be our own king. One day he will show everyone that he is the only true KING. On that day, everyone who has been saying 'No' to him will be shut out of his perfect place - Heaven - forever. That is very sad news.

We will all die once, and then face judgement. 
Hebrews 9:27

But there is Good News. Because God is loving, he did something to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. He sent his own Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus didn't say 'No' to God and always did what God wanted him to. He didn't deserve to be punished like the rest of us.

But Jesus was punished. He was killed on a cross. God punished his own Son Jesus instead of us. Now we can be forgiven for saying 'No' to God. That means that we will be welcomed into his perfect place - Heaven - forever.

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him will have eternal life.
John 3:16

Christ died for sins once and for all. An innocent person died for the guilty, to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:18

Even though Jesus died, God brought him back to life again, and lots of people saw him and even touched him. Then Jesus left this world and went back to be with God, his Father. God made Jesus the king of the whole world.

One day Jesus will come back to our world and punish everyone who still says 'No' to God. But he will welcome his forgiven friends into his perfect place - Heaven - forever.

Everyone who trusts in the Son has eternal life. But everyone who rejects him will never share in that life.
John 3:36

When I was exactly your age, Peter, I said sorry to God. I asked him to forgive me for trying to be the king. I thanked him for sending his son Jesus to die and take the punishment for me. I told him I wanted to make Jesus the KING in my life.

Until I die I will have to ask God to help me live with Jesus as my king and to keep on forgiving me. BUT the Bible tells me that I am on my way to Heaven.

Are you?

1. God Rules.  The Bible tells us God created everything, including you and me, and He is in charge of everything.
Scripture – Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17
2. We Sinned.  We all choose to disobey God.  The Bible calls this sin.  Sin separates us from God and deserves God’s punishment of death.
Scripture – Romans 3:23, 6:23
3. God Provided.  God sent Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve.  It’s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own.  Jesus alone saves us.
Scripture – John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9
4. Jesus Gives.  He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again.  Because Jesus gave up His life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s family for eternity.
Scripture – Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 2:8-9
5. We Respond.  Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He’s already done on the cross.  Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus.  Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus.
Scripture – John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10, 13

Surprised by JOY ... and new colors

SURPRISED BY JOY is the title of

C. S. Lewis' partial autobiography describing his conversion to Christianity.

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.

This reminds me of the Adult Ed Class I taught at St. Francis, Macon GA on the Life of C. S. Lewis. Where have I placed those notes?

Anyway, this  April & May in the Cottage Rectory I am surprised by COLOR.

After church this morning I snapped these photos that show the red of the Japanese Maple, the white of the tulips and Dogwood Blossoms, and the pink of my azaleas.

Grape Hyacinth



Spring Beauty


My  tulip

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Louisa's Wedding

Right now Alex and Louisa Oates Campbell are enjoying their wedding reception at the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, CT. Jim is there and I would have joined him but . .

I am sitting in the Cottage Rectory listening to the stink bugs attack the screen and watching PRINCESS DIARIES for the very first time.  We both attended Louisa's parents' wedding  39 years ago!

I will drive to Raleigh to stay with my mother when Vickie and Gordon go to Wheaton for their 40th Reunion. The good news, and an answer to prayer, is that my mother is doing better and I am not needed immediately. The bad news is that I am not in Greenwich.

The good news, an answer to prayer, is that John Wilkins' heart is working and he is with us...and now at home.

The good news is that Hope's teaching job in Anchorage is secure or almost secure . . . .and that I
have been doing garden tours at Oatlands. . . .

The Wedding Parterre

Lawn Bowling

Mr. Carter's Smoke House  - Mrs. Eustis' Art Studio

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Full Circle

On Apr 16, 2014, at 1:31 AM, Carol & Jack wrote:

Hi Donna;
What precipitated the move from AK to VA after 23 years?   I assume it would have something to do with your husband's church position?

When and where did you move?  Do you have any family in the area?   How do you like it so far,etc. etc. etc?

I hope your move proves as successful as ours was out of California.  Of course, in our case, we did have a niece that we had visited a number of times before the move and knew that we liked the area so that we had an  advantage.  My older sister had moved here to an Assisted Living facility about a year before to be closer to her daughter, my niece.  However, my sister died  about 5 days after we arrived.

Would love to hear about how you are doing and a little about the area.


Dear Carol,

Our move from Anchorage, Alaska to Leesburg, Virginia in October did relate to my husband's church position. You are correct. We love Alaska and our Episcopal Church in Anchorage and had no desire to leave. The Episcopal church requires clergy to retire at 72. Jim is 67 and we assumed he would retire at 72 from our church in Anchorage. In May an Anglican Church (recently separated from the Episcopal Church over issues of theology and practice) 'called' Jim to serve their congregation. Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands is 40 miles west of Washington, DC. 

A little background - In 1974 when I met Jim, I was teaching school in Warrenton, Virginia,  not far from our new Anglican Church. The area is not unfamiliar. Our oldest son is a lawyer in DC, Jim's sister and family live nearby, and my mother and only sister live in Raleigh, NC - about 5 hours away.

The move to Alaska was a gift from God (although I did not see it that way in 1990) and the move to a wonderful congregation in a beautiful historic area - near family - is also a gift from from a very gracious God.

This blog is kind of my way to process the transition.

And it is nice to know you are happy in your new home and call it a successful move.