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Meeting a new friend ... a famous artist: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 10/9/19

Hello, folks. I have to share with you how I met an inspirational person recently.

How often do you turn around to meet and greet the person sitting behind you after a church service? Try it. You …

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Meeting a new friend ... a famous artist: LaVonne Ackerman


Hello, folks. I have to share with you how I met an inspirational person recently.

How often do you turn around to meet and greet the person sitting behind you after a church service? Try it. You may be surprised.

My husband and I, along with friend Robin Wood, recently met Kathleen, who is also brand new to the area. We got to chatting and learned where she lived. We told her we often ride bikes on her road. She invited us to stop over at her new address, anytime.

Sweet, right?

This is exciting for me because she is an accomplished artist. This isn’t something I realized right away as she is humble and unassuming. In fact, I didn’t even realize the level of her successes and popularity until I Googled her for this column.

Kathleen Denis. Her work can be found all over the world as home decor items, gift products, dishes, kitchen accessories, wallpaper and paintings. This beautiful woman paints gorgeous watercolors and oils!

You only need to look at her work for a few seconds to fall in love with it. I love her use of lighting and setting choices. Her colors are clean and bright. Her art draws you into the scene — very inviting, very comfortable, very beachy!

Kathleen and her husband, Jeff, recently moved to nearby Palm Beach Shores from the Florida Keys. They are unpacking and settling into their new place. They are open, kind and full of hospitality.

We dropped in on her one day. We enjoyed sharing stories and learning more about her journey. As a “parting gift,” she gave us packages of paper cups and napkins. The daisy floral design is hers. Nice.

I believe Kathleen is a delight to God when she is painting. We all have gifts from the Lord. I hope you are inspired to use yours. For me, I have been enjoying watercolors and drawing.

Have a wonderful week, and take sometime to do what you were created to do!


Happy birthday to Karlee Deibler of Lower Swatara Township on Wednesday, Oct. 9. I hope 23 fantastic things happen on your glitter-and-sparkles day!

Here is a shout-out to Deb Turner of Lower Swatara on Thursday, Oct. 10. Wishing you a day full of sunshine, Deb!

Abrielle Spagnolo of Lower Swatara marks her 19th happy birthday final teener cake day Friday, Oct. 11. Many good wishes to you!

Happy Sweet 16 beep-beep-honk day to Rylee Barnes of Lower Swatara on Friday, Oct. 11. Enjoy lots of cake and be safe!

Wishing Don Sipe of Lower Swatara a remarkable Oct. 12 cake-and-ice cream day Saturday!

Best wishes for a super special Saturday, Oct. 12, to Samuel Turns of Middletown.

Blake Jacoby of Lower Swatara celebrates his cake day No. 20 on Saturday, Oct. 12. Congrats, and have a wonderful birthday weekend!

Best wishes for a high-five fun birthday to Andy Saltzer of Lower Swatara on Saturday, Oct. 12. Enjoy!

Happy 14th birthday to Michael Keating of Lower Swatara on Sunday, Oct. 13. Hope your weekend is extra fun!

Alexandre Pryor, grandson, celebrates his honk-beep-honk day Sunday, Oct. 13. Sending lots of love to this sweet 16-year-old in Carlisle. Happy birthday!

Many blessings and beautiful birthday wishes to Leah Courts of Middletown on Monday, Oct. 14. Congrats on being 10!

Bernie Sobotka of Lower Swatara observes his frosty-filled cake day Monday, Oct. 14. Have a marvelous birthday week, Bernie!

Happy birthday to Betty Hile of Lower Swatara on Oct. 14. May your Monday be just how you like it!

Here is a shout-out to Carol Harvey of Lower Swatara on Monday, Oct. 14! Wishing you the best birthday yet, with loads of cake and your favorite ice cream!

Alex Velez of Lower Swatara celebrates his 23rd confetti-popping day Monday, Oct. 14. Have a blast, Alex!

Megan Hartwell of Lower Swatara will hear the birthday song Oct. 14. I hope 24 magnificent things happen Monday!

Happy over-the-top birthday to Susan Wagner of Lower Swatara on Oct. 15. May God’s grace especially fill you on Tuesday, beautiful lady!

Wishing Jerry Walck of Lower Swatara a razzle-dazzle kind of birthday Tuesday, Oct. 15. Enjoy!

Joseph Spagnolo Sr. of Lower Swatara observes his rootin’-tootin’ big bash birthday Tuesday, Oct. 15. Enjoy!


Happy wedding anniversary to John and Terrie Frailey of Lower Swatara Township on Oct. 10. They celebrate 38 years together on Thursday. Congrats!

Happy 32nd romantic holiday to Brian and Kim Kennedy of Lower Swatara as they celebrate their anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Michael and Erin Guy of Lower Swatara celebrate 22 years of wedded bliss on Friday, Oct. 11. Best wishes for a beautiful anniversary weekend!

Congratulations to George and Judy Kostoff of Lower Swatara on their 44th wedding anniversary. They celebrate on Friday, Oct. 11. May God richly bless you both!

Kevin and Anne Coughlin of Lower Swatara observe their 36th hearts-and-flowers day Tuesday, Oct. 15. Enjoy it all week!

Cozy Broccoli Casserole

2 boxes frozen chopped broccoli

1 1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese

1/2 lb. butter

40 Ritz crackers, crushed

Cook broccoli and drain; reserve 1/2 cup liquid. Add cut up cheese and 1/4 lb. butter to liquid. Melt in pan. Add broccoli. Place in casserole. Melt remainder of butter and mix with crushed crackers.

Cover casserole with Ritz mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Note: May substitute cauliflower or one box of each.

Dinner is served

A roast pork community dinner will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14 (or until sold out) at Evangelical United Methodist Church, 157 E. Water St., Middletown.

Dinner includes scalloped potatoes, green beans, applesauce, beverage and seasonal desserts.  You may dine in or take out.

A cost is involved. Everyone is welcome (a handicapped entrance is available). For more information, call 717-944-6181.

Ebenezer church happenings

Mark your calendars for Thursday, Oct. 17.

All are invited to Fall Festival from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 890 Ebenezer Road, Lower Swatara Township. Trunk or Treat begins at 6:30 p.m.

Come help decorate the church at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.

The child care Christmas dinner will be held at Calvary UMC at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, and the Christmas Eve service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24.

Quote of the Week

“I won’t be happy until we have every boy in America between the ages of six and sixteen wearing a glove and swinging a bat.” Babe Ruth, American Professional Baseball Player.

Question of the Week

Who is your favorite athlete, ever and why?

“Josh Gibson. He played baseball from 1930 to 46. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. This wasn’t an easy thing as they didn’t treat minorities well.” — Logan Benner, 13, Royalton.

“Dorothy Hamill, because I enjoy watching ice skating and she is a great skater.” — Louisa Morgan, Londonderry Township.

“Drew Brees. He is super cool and he doesn’t sweat the small stuff.” — Jenny Hammer, Hershey.

“Carson Wentz. He plays for God’s glory.” — Jon Benkovic, 8, Lower Paxton Township.

“Wilma Rudolph. She showed so much determination.” — Anna Benkovic, 10, Lower Paxton.

“NaVorro Bowman. No words needed.” — Will Benkovic, 16, Lower Paxton.

Proverb for the Week

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out (10:9).

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