Prepared for a cottage vacation



The above view is a good summary of what I expect of my 10 or so days at the cottage this summer.  Taken from the hammock where I read, read, read, it looks over the water where I swim, swim, swim and when conditions are right – Windy, mais pas TROP venteuse – I set out on my Laser sailboat.

Today, I am all packed, as when I did the wash yesterday I assembled the appropriate clothes directly into my suitcase.  I kept telling myself that this year I will keep my expectations of what I am going to do at the cottage simple – besides the above, we’ll be eating, running or walking a lot (1/2 marathon to prepare for this fall) and after expending all that energy, sleeping so soundly, like only the cottage environment allows me to do.

Other years I may have included non-traditional cottage tasks, which strangely, I never accomplished.  Some of them:  Learning another language, making speakers – an alternative sound system for my truck, doing calling for an August market (this year it is Sept. 10); so many projects / so little time – the cottage is not conducive for THAT!

It is always a pleasure to make the 6-8 hour drive to the cottage.  Because of the anticipation.  Passing familiar places that you just see once a year.  Much of the route is itself cottage country.  Once past Ottawa we’ll be passing lakes on the left and the right, past Round Lake (Camp Mishewah – camp of my youth), through Algonquin Park, and stopping to provision along the way (but not over-doing the food purchases this year).

And arriving – unloading the trunk – it is all going to be in the car trunk this year – but for the canoe paddle which must go in the back seat. It will be such a quick unload; and then we’ll put clothes in a drawer and pull out one of three bathing suits and swim in the lake – just for fun – we’ll leave the laps of exercise up and down the shore for tomorrow.

To throw you off my trail a bit...
To throw you off my trail a bit…

Bees welcome here

Butterfly on salvia sauge flower


There are small things that make me disproportionately happy.  A bee, whether bumbly or the honey-making variety, checking out the flowers in my garden pollinates satisfaction in my soul, and it has come to be one of the goals of my gardening.

The bee magnet of my garden, without contest is the salvia sauge.  At the peak of its flowering, perhaps mid-June, the small violet flowers – last year more toward purple, this year closer to blue – are beautiful to look at.  It is a beauty whose glory lies in the collectivity.  Go to the Mandevilla flower if you want a solo star, but the bees and the butterflies won’t come for these more tropical blooms, they come to work on the small, grouped flowers of the salvia sauge.

Today, they are a month past their prime, but they are more than a fleeting attraction for these industrious insects, they are a regular stop on the bee tour of the neighbourhood.  I could run to get a camera, because at the moment that I am writing, past 4 pm, a honey bee works at the white flowers of my prolific genoa basil plants.  If this is not enough, a bumble bee now works the salvia sauge and makes passing acquaintance with the basil, as well.

God has ordained Sundays as my day of rest.  As an adult, I acknowledge my need for a day set apart unto the Lord.  God is not a man that he should slumber…

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more.

Ps. 121: 4-8 ESV

Secret Sabbaths in Aargau TSB04

In Ted’s Sunday blog 02, I started exploring my ancestors on the Dettweiler (Dätwyler) side, based on documentation that I photographed of geneological records kept by the Swiss Reformed Church in Schoeftland starting in the year 1624 and my memories and photos of exploring Witwill and Staffelbach, Aargau (where the Dätwylers lived until the early 18th century).

Today, in preparing this Ted’s Sunday Blog on what a Sunday would have been like for Melchior & Maria, or for son, Samuel, I browsed pages in the Mennonite encyclopedia, read in French in the online Swiss Historical Encyclopedia and found other articles on the Ausbund (one of the earliest hymnals used by Anabaptists in Switzerland and in America).  Did Mennonites have a Bible?  Probably.  By the time of Melchior & Maria, the Luther (German) Bible had been available for over 100 years.  But let’s leave all that aside and contemplate what meeting in secret does to your faith.

Why did Swiss Anabaptists need to meet in secret?

The Swiss movement of the Anabaptists (a name their persecutors gave to them) began in 1525 in Zurich.  At the beginning of the movement, there were many of the Anabaptist leaders who were imprisoned or executed by drowning or asked to recant their beliefs under duress.  The last execution of an Anabaptist leader in Switzerland took place in 1571 in the canton of Bern, when Hans Haslibacher was beheaded.  In September of that year, Haslibacher’s son, though being of the Swiss Reformed faith, was fined heavily just for harbouring his father, a preacher who had been active in the faith since 1532.

Our family is fortunate to have been living in one of the last known areas in Switzerland where Mennonites were actively proselytizing.  A large number of Anabaptists left Switzerland in mass emigrations in 1711.  That probably included Samuel and Maria and their 12 year old son.

Anabaptists, because of the continued persecution that made it illegal to listen to Anabaptist teaching, met in secret in the wooded hills or in caves.  I saw one cave with a rock overhang at only a short distance from Wittwil.  I could imagine that such a cave could be used quite well for worship and teaching, allowing shelter from the rain and an acoustic environment for the singing and speaking.  Surely meeting in secret was never something done out of habit or duty.  The hymns that were likely sung were written by earlier Anabaptists during their times of imprisonment.  No doubt this would lead these secret followers to count the cost of their discipleship.  The bonds of fellowship with others would of necessity be tight as each one who gathered would be liable to arrest if their membership in this group was made known to authorities.  Personally, I have always appreciated church buildings that are bright with natural lighting.  This may be inherited from my spiritual ancestors who met in broad daylight in forests and caves.

In my era, many of my generation who grew up in churches that were active in spreading the good news of Jesus have now toned down the way they share their faith with others.  I want to continue to strongly identify with evangelicals even when we are accused of being simplistic in the beliefs we espouse.  Is Jesus really the answer for everyone?  Somewhere in our family history in Switzerland, another risked their life to spread what they believed to my family.  What a ride that put them on.

Leaving Switzerland before that country was formerly organized as a confederation, we arrived in America before that country had its formative revolution against the British.  Then in 1810, while Canada was still a British colony, soon to be at war (War of 1812), Rudolph Dettweiler moves with other settlers from Pennsylvania to German Company Tract land in Waterloo Township bringing his not-quite 3 year-old son, Rudolph.  All of this movement was largely for religious freedoms, including freedom of conscience with regards to war.

Now let’s go back to Europe where this faith was formed:  If Melchior & Maria were exposed to Anabaptist teaching in 1668 when their son, Samuel, was born they must have kept it secret by continuing to frequent the Swiss Reformed church where their marriage and the birth of their children, and their own births were recorded by the priest.  Perhaps living at a distance from the Reformed Church meant they could do that without being noticed, or it is possible that the conversion to the Anabaptist faith did not happen until their son’s generation.  Samuel married a Maria Dudli some time before 1699 when their son, Melchior, was born.  It is this Melchior who travels with others to America, landing according to ship records in Philadelphia in 1736.  Since we don’t have a birth record for Maria Dudli (a possible sign that her parents identified with the Anabaptists) she may well be the link to the Anabaptist teaching that lead our family to identify with Mennonites, ultimately to leave Switzerland because of religious persecution (probably to Alsace) and then to become fully identified with Mennonites when their son emigrates to Pennsylvania.

That is a capsule history of my Dettweiler roots, as contemplated on a Sunday afternoon.




I was busy

If it happens occasionally that I miss a Ted’s Sunday Blog posting, at least I should have a good excuse.  Below, please find my short photo essay excuse for why I missed posting a Sunday Blog on Sunday, July 3, 2016.  More photos at the Jireh Gospel Choir Facebook page (click the second image to go to that page).

Ted with Jireh at Montreal Jazz Festival 2016
If you dress me up, I am quite comfortable on stage (back stage at FIJM).
Bringing it! Click image above to see a collection of Jireh pics at Montreal Jazz Festival 2016. 

Taking our bows at FIJM
Taking our bows before the immense crowd. What a concert experience!