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What summer games are your favorite?: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 8/7/19

Hi, people! Can we believe it is August already? School starts up, for those who are going back, in a few short weeks. It’s time to get serious about getting things checked off the …

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What summer games are your favorite?: LaVonne Ackerman


Hi, people! Can we believe it is August already? School starts up, for those who are going back, in a few short weeks. It’s time to get serious about getting things checked off the “summer to-do” list! What is it that you want to do, and need to do?

I would like to do a picnic on the beach. There is something really satisfying about a sun warmed baggie of barbecue potato chips on a blanket, on the sand, at the beach!

Another must do: Play the Mexican Train domino game on that same beach blanket! What summer games do you like to play? Let me know your answer and I will share it with the readers!

Have a wonderful week.

Israel Trip, Day 5

Doc Jim Ayers surprised us with a luxury hotel stay at Grand Court Jerusalem, near the Old City, just a 22-minute walk from the Jaffa Gate, for our final days in Israel.

This place was beautiful with spacious rooms and wonderful buffet breakfasts and dinners! Thankfully, the daily tours offset the enormous variety of foods provided each day. I was smitten with the elaborate desserts!

On June 15, we trekked to the Southern District of Israel to see Masada. This is Herod the Great’s mountaintop fortress and palace built in 37-31 BCE. Few people climb the steps to the very top. We rode the cable car.

Words cannot describe this very unique archeological site, which wasn’t identified until 1838, and was not climbed until 1842, with an initial probe for excavation not happening until 1959. The view is amazing, especially the ones of the Dead Sea.

We also visited En Gedi (1 Samuel 23:14, 29). This is a beautiful place of refreshment and safety in a dry, hot, desolate land. Ayers talked about contrasts and irony.

This is near the cave where David was hiding from King Saul. He had the chance to kill the king, but he refused to do it. Saul was paranoid, and David was merciful. Saul was trying to find and kill David, but David wouldn’t harm Saul.

The Dead Sea looks beautiful and refreshing, yet it is so salty that nothing can live in it. The living water in En Gedi allows travelers to be refreshed.

Jesus said to love our enemies. David did not follow the counsel of his peers. He chose peace. Daily we make choices. We all fall short. We are all sinners. But we can be like David and choose peace, choose love.

We also must make decisions to choose places and opportunities of refreshment in our lives. We have physical and emotional tanks that need to be filled. People were created with the need for rest.

The Jewish people had a great reminder — the sabbath or “sha-bot” in which they could rest. Ayers reminded us that we need to make it a priority, being careful to find good refreshment in both people and opportunities.

David and his men lived in the beauty of the oasis caves. They took care of themselves. The prayer at this site: “Father, thank you for the lessons of David. Help us to make the right choices that reflect and honor You. Amen.”

Next stop, Qumran. This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947.

We heard the story about how a boy was looking for a lost goat and happened upon them. He was excited to find papyrus and leather. He took the leather to a shoemaker, a Christian, who realized what they were and the rest of the story is modern history.

Finally, we went to the spot where those who wanted to, could swim in the Dead Sea (Numbers 34:3,12). I got my hands wet, and that was enough for me! Several from our group floated in the salty slimy water. Others paid $5 for a camel ride. It was a beautiful hot afternoon (100 degrees).

After dinner, a few of us walked 15 minutes to the Damascus Gate of the Old City and enjoyed walking around the stone-covered walkways and narrow pathways.

We visited all of the quarters in the several times we hiked over: Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish. Everyone was happy to sell us their wares. More about that next week!


Happy 15th cake-and-ice cream day to Jason Grob of Lower Swatara Township on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Enjoy the sunshine, Jason!

Derrick Miller of Lower Swatara marks his birthday Aug. 7. If you see him on Wednesday, tell him happy 17th!

Happy landmark 21st legal-eagle birthday to Ashley Wynkoop of Lower Swatara on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Congrats, Ashley!

Maya Bayhart of Lower Swatara turns 17 on Aug. 7. Have a wonderful Wednesday, Maya!

Best wishes for a beautiful birthday are sent to Paul Cranes of Lower Swatara. Wishing you the best birthday yet on Thursday, Aug. 8!

Happy birthday to Jodi Lynn Harro. Enjoy the streamers and sprinkles Thursday, Aug. 8!

Welcome to 20, Gabrielle Smith! If you see her in Middletown on Thursday, Aug. 8, be sure to wish her a beautiful birthday!

Joseph Witters of Lower Swatara will hear the birthday song on Friday, Aug. 9. May the sound be beautiful to your ears, Joe!

Happy final teener birthday to Alyssa Bekelja of Highspire. Her big day is Friday, Aug. 9! Enjoy!

Mike Miller of Lower Swatara hits birthday No. 23 on Friday, Aug. 9. I hope it is fantastic!

Happy big-deal 18th birthday to Chris Reed of Middletown on Friday, Aug. 9. Congrats and enjoy it all weekend!

Madison Lewis of Lower Swatara marks her special 22nd super-duper dazzling birthday on Sunday, Aug. 11. May all good things come your way, Madison!

Caden Paul of Lower Swatara turns 15 on Aug. 11. I hope your Sunday is indeed, a happy birthday!

Happy very special golden Sunday birthday to Jaidyn Evans of Middletown. This sweet girl is 11 on Aug. 11! May the Lord richly bless you, Jaidyn!

Noah Zimmerman of Lower Swatara will observe his landmark 21st cake day on Monday, Aug. 12. Wishing you a beautiful and bright future, Noah!

Happy birthday and congrats to Katie Kennedy of Lower Swatara. She marks her super-special 21st cake day on Monday, Aug. 12.

Best wishes for a terrific birthday are sent to Pamela Etter of Elizabethtown on Tuesday. I hope 32 wonderful things happen on Aug. 13!

Cali Williams of Middletown marks her ninth cake and ice cream day on Tuesday, Aug. 13. May your day be full of love and blessings, Cali!


A very happy wedding anniversary greeting is sent to Mark and Deborah Etters of Lower Swatara Township on Wednesday, Aug. 7. These kids tied the knot 37 years ago! Congrats to you both.

Chilly Dilly Dip

1 1/3 c. sour cream

1 1/3 c. mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. parsley

2 Tbsp. minced onions or onion flakes

1 tsp. season salt

1 tsp. dill weed

1 round loaf rye or pumpernickel bread

Mix all ingredients well to make dip. Hollow out bread. Cut portions removed in squares for dipping. Serve dip in hollowed out bread. Dip is also great with vegetables.

Quote of the Week

“Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.” — Anonymous

Question of the Week

What is your favorite fruit, and why?

“Apples, because they are so juicy!” — Jonah Cooper, 5, Harrisburg.

“Apples. I don’t know why, but they’re my favorite.” — Simon Cooper, 2, Harrisburg.

“Banana, because it’s yummy!” — Luca Ryan, 5, West Hanover Township.

“Mango. It tastes so good.” — Stella Ryan, 8, West Hanover.

“Pineapples and strawberries! They’re so good for you.” — Robin Wood, New Jersey.

“Nectarines. When I was pregnant with both of my kids I craved them. Sometimes I would eat three or four a day. It brings back nice memories.” — Jenny Hammer, Hershey.

Proverb for the Week

A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul (18:7).

Reach LaVonne Ackerman at 717-649-7366 or by email at