Saturday Evening in ACE Hardware.

It was Saturday evening.  I had a prescription to pick up for BL, and the pharmacy was closing at 5.  I decided that it was high time to run by and fetch it when the clock in our kitchen said 4:37 or some such unbelievable time.  The day had been shortened by computer projects that I felt needed doing and food prep for the morrow when we were expecting dinner guests and working on projects for my Sunday school class of intermediates.

“I’d better be going,” I said to Certain Man, collapsed on his favorite chair in the living room.  He had worked hard in the morning, and now his Beloved Buckeyes were playing and there was no telling what he might miss if he didn’t watch!  I truly don’t mind.  If ever a man “earns” the right to watch a football game, it’s that man of mine!

He looked up briefly.  “I’m gonna be right here.  I don’t have anywhere else to go today except the chicken house.”

“That’s good,” I said, “but Linda has been fed and pottied and she is in her chair listening to music, so she should be fine until I get back.”

“Whatever,” he commented briefly, smiled at me and went back to his game.  And I went out the door.

I happen to love Kent Pharmacy here in Milford.  It opened beside ACE Hardware, and has a gift shop on one side that is interesting and unique.  Melissa and Doug toys for children, books and décor and games and cards and baby items and journals and – you name it!  Going in there intrigues me, and when I pick up prescriptions, even if there is only a short time, I like detour over there and peruse the shelves and selections.  I was talking to Youngest Daughter when I pulled in, so I continued the conversation while I looked about the store.  Suddenly I realized that one of the managers was giving a worker the freedom to leave and they would close up because “it’s just about time!”  In which case, I hurried my paltry selections to the counter, and checked out.  Mike, the usual manager and my friend was not there.  The assistant manager went to the window and unplugged the “Open” sign.  I felt a little disgruntled and put upon.  I really had planned to be out of there before closing.

“It’s only 4:58!” I sniffed, as I left the store and got into my car. “I’m pretty sure that Mike would not approve of this!”  I thought about it some more and decided that the pharmacist needed to be home for something urgent as did the staff, and that I would just let it go.  At least I got the much needed prescription.  That felt really good! No worries about how to procure a script when the pharmacy is closed and I’m too late, (once again!) and feeling so desperate and helpless.  Oh, well, there were several errands yet to run, I might just as well get on with it.

I ran the minivan through the parking lot, over to ACE Hardware, parked and trundled myself inside.  It was a gorgeous day, and I hesitated a minute right inside the door to ponder whether I needed a cart or not.  I decided I did.  In the distance I heard a somewhat familiar voice, “Hey, there, Ms. Mary Ann!”  I jerked my head around and there was a tall black guy with a most familiar face.  “How are you doin’?”

My mind scrambled for how I knew him, and then the young man beside him turned and I saw his face.  It was Sensei and Jeffy.  My heart nearly stopped.  Jeff was taller – probably taller than I am, and built like a linebacker.  I fumbled with the straps on my purse while I was getting a cart, but couldn’t take my eyes off of Jeff.

“Come over here,” I said to him across the space.  “Can I please have a hug?”

He looked uncertain, and looked at Sensei for direction.

“Go on over there,” I heard his stepdad say.  “Go on over there to Ms. Mary Ann!’

He came hesitantly, like he didn’t quite trust me, and then he was in a tight hug like he was eight years old instead of the standoffish 14 or 15 he must be by now.  I could feel him hug me back – a little tenuously, but then, yes! Just a bit!  (I didn’t even think of the fact that I might be embarrassing him.  Poor Jeff.  I’m pretty sure he isn’t accustomed to being hugged by old ladies in public, no matter what the history is.)

In the back of my consciousness, I heard a voice saying, “Yes, that’s Mrs. Yutzy!  That’s her!”  I looked behind me to see a neighbor couple making their way towards me across the front of the store.  I knew I needed to acknowledge them, but there was Jeff!  I wanted to talk to him!

“Oh, Jeff!  I’ve missed you so much!  How are you doing?  Do you still live at the same old place?  What are you doing?  Are you playing football this year?”  The questions tumbled out as fast as I could form them.  There were thousands that I couldn’t begin to ask.  The neighbor couple pushed in and I spoke to them briefly and asked if I could please talk to Sensei and Jeff – and that I would just be a minute.  And they were gracious.

I turned back to Jeff and tried to pick up the conversation, but the window felt closed.  “How are you doing, Jeff?  How is the rest of your family?”

Of course these kids are always “fine,” and I had to be okay with that.  I looked at his eyes, tried to catch a glimpse of the little boy I once knew so well and loved, but there was nothing there to remind me of the fire that once betrayed his inner torment.  It was hard for him to meet my eyes.  He seemed unwilling to engage in more conversation, but his stepfather wanted my number before they left (because he had lost it, he said) and then they were gone.

Seeing that they were leaving, my neighbors, who are my friends, eagerly stepped up and their presence and words drew my attention away from the two departing figures, one of which was carrying a part of my heart, though he was totally unaware.

It’s a funny thing, how a conversation can cover the gamut of life in its importance to another person and how hard it can be to listen when your mind is fresh from a chance encounter with a person who dropped mysteriously out of your life years ago, and now suddenly reappears, awaking memories and emotions that you had forgotten were even there.  That was the case in this moment, and I forced myself into the present, into the words and facial expressions of my friends, reminding myself that I didn’t have to agree to be gracious; didn’t have to convince them of my opinion when it clashed with theirs in ways I view important; didn’t have to even nod my head when my heart was shouting “No!!!” I can, however, be accepting of them as people.  I can remember that it is their life experiences that have brought them to where they are.  I can smile.  I can listen.  I can engage on common ground. I can extend grace where the ground is so uneven, I will trip if I’m not watching.

And so, while my heart was following a big, disheveled teenager to God knows where, I brought myself back into this moment, this place – at the front doors of ACE Hardware on a Saturday afternoon in early November.  This is where I’m called right now.  This is what I must do.  A long time ago I chose to believe that God had impressed upon my heart that He would bring into my life the people whose lives He wanted to touch through my insignificant basket of five small loaves and two small fishes, and while I will humbly admit that I do not always want to be involved, don’t always want to share, and sometimes I would rather it be this person instead of that person, yet I serve an incredibly magnificent God, and He has never failed me.  I do not get it right all the time.  I do not even pretend to get it right half the time, but I am going to keep trying with what I’ve got in my basket.

I don’t know what is in your basket.  I don’t know what God has called you to give, to do or where to go, but this I do know.  I’ve not been called to tell you what your calling is, nor do I want to.  I only know that my hands are full enough with what I feel are my opportunities that I cannot waste emotional energy or time on the bickering or counterclaims or the lingering political raucous clamoring.  So please don’t ask me what I think.  Please don’t try to draw me in.  I will never be deliberately rude or dishonest, but I will be very quiet.  For some, that’s not acceptable – or even Christian!

And to that I have only this to say:

I forgive you for feeling that way.
Please forgive me for feeling the way I do.

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HOME

Daniel and I got home late Sunday night from yet another trip.  This time, we were in the Finger Lakes Region of New York at a VRBO “big house” with Daniel’s siblings in our first ever Yutzy Sibling Gathering of its kind.  Daniel’s sisters, Lena, Rachel, and Ruth were there, as were Rachel’s husband, Ivan, and Ruth’s husband, Andrew.  Daniel’s late brother, Joseph’s widow, Ruby, was also there along with Daniel and me.  Eight of us in the house at Martin Retreat.  (https://www.vrbo.com/916045)

The house was spacious and beautiful and tastefully decorated.  It sported five bathrooms, two gas fireplaces, a huge sunken living room, plus a large kitchen and dining area.  It easily could sleep twenty people, and it also had a large, large room that could serve as a chapel, a banquet hall or a recreation room.  Stashed in a corner storage space were tables and chairs.  We discussed what in the world that room had been before a Horning Mennonite couple bought the property some years ago and renovated it.  (Maybe, we thought, a large swimming pool?)

Martin Retreat Big Room

The grounds were grand, too, with a pond, a gazebo, outdoor picnic area with a grill and grass and trees and flowers and landscaping. It was such a pleasant, restful place to be.  Even though it rained all weekend, we had a relaxing and special time together, and that was what we were hoping for, after all. (But with no Wifi, no TV, and sometimes spotty phone reception?  Yes!  It was peaceful!)

We spent the two days eating, laughing, playing games, looking at pictures, talking, and (of course) eating some more.  Then, on Sunday afternoon, we loaded up, said good-byes, and traveled home.  Daniel drove the whole way, capably bringing us the winding, mountainous roads from Skuse, New York, nearly 400 miles to our familiar, flat, Delaware farm.  It was wonderful to see home again.  We came into the farmhouse at Shady Acres and smelled the familiar smells of our house, saw the faces we love, heard the familiar voices, and we were truly home.

We got a good night’s rest in our own bed and in the early morning pre-alarm slumber, a dream about My Sweet Mama disturbed my peaceful dozing and woke me straight up.  I lay there in the warmth of our bed and realized afresh the wonder of being home.  It isn’t just the familiarity of everything, but the state of being that settles into my heart.  I’m home.  I feel safe here, surrounded by love and the ordinary things of life.  There are exquisite delights here, too.  A fire in the pellet stove, my fading fall flowers outside, and the trees that are losing their leaves, waving happily in the fall breezes, my chair that has long since ceased to be new, shelter, food, my laptop that is finally working right again, our own food in the fridge, our own sheets, towels and blankets.  The people that I love best.

And so, I thought about home and stretched the edges of my soul out to enjoy this moment, this time –!

And just as quickly, I felt that soul tug that reminded me about another HOME.  One that I profess to be looking forward to, and about which I often feel a strange, mystic curiosity.  I was suddenly struck by the whole idea of what it was like to come home Sunday night and wondered about the parallels to my Heavenly HOME.

What will it be like when I step into the place we call “Heaven?”  Will it fill my senses with the familiar?  Will I feel at home?  I so often struggle when I’m in a strange place with feeling out of sorts, not quite right, and that, no matter how wonderful the sights, how good the food, how comfortable the accommodations or how royal the treatment, it isn’t home.  One of the things that makes being away bearable is to at least have people around me that I know and love;  but even that can be as fickle as the insecurities I feel about whether they really know me and still love me.  Or not.  Is it sacrilege for me to hope that, along with seeing my Blessed Redeemer, arriving in Heaven will be more about a sense of coming HOME than anything else?  The sights that bedazzle, all the glories, all the streets of gold and gates of pearl, all that is wondrous to behold, somehow seem less attractive than just being HOME.

HOME – with people I know and love and that I know love me.  HOME – where there are no dark unfamiliar rooms to struggle through (on my way to a strange bathroom in the middle of the night) and where I won’t wake up in the morning wondering where I am.  HOME – where there are familiar sights and scents, where the memories aren’t painful and separation, disappointment, reversal and loss are non-existent.  Where sin, selfishness, divorce or death will not disturb the peace of being HOME.

How I love this earthly place that Daniel and I call home.  Shady Acres.  There really is no place on earth that I would rather be.  But even this place has things that I wish it didn’t.  There are some painful memories.  There have been days of disappointment and misunderstanding and chaos and reversal.  There has been sin and selfishness and grief to mar the landscape of our lives.  But with all of that, it is still home and it is ours and I love it so.  It feels even dearer to me when I’ve been gone awhile and come back to the familiar space that houses far more of my life’s memories than any other place.

I wonder if that is how it will be when I reach that other HOME.  If maybe, perchance, it will feel like I’m getting back from a long journey, and that I will find myself to be exactly where I wanted to be.  The One I Love Best – The One Who Loved Me Enough to Give His Life for Me, will be there to welcome me HOME, not as a guest, not as a stranger, but as a member of The Family.  The people, the sights, the sounds, even the smell of Heaven just might be even more familiar and welcome to this life weary traveler than our beloved Shady Acres could ever be.

I do not have a “death wish.”  I truly do love the people in my life and I love living.  But when I think about Heaven, and that this sometimes restless and often pensive soul of mine will neither fidget nor lament ever again — well, that’s worth pondering.

Take notice, my brothers and sisters.  Think about that HOME!  Think about all the comforts of home here and imagine HOME without any of the negatives and all of the positives and so much more!  Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for us.  He’s expecting us.  He wants us there.  Not because we are perfect or even because we are (as most people think they are) “at least marginally good.”  He wants us because we belong to Him.  We are a part of His Family, and He wants us there, with Him.

Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

This, I believe.

And my heart gives grateful praise.

 

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End of Summer

It was freezing in the bean patch on Monday.  The wind was blowing through the vines, and my stiff fingers scrambled to find ANY beans that would be worth picking or shelling.  As I’ve noted before, beans are precious this year, and it was tempting to pick everything, even the ones that showed as big as a pencil eraser when held against the late October sun.  It was getting colder and colder as the sun slid behind the barn and I finished the last plant, gave the patch a final check and, shivering, picked up my bucket of beans and headed to the house.  I set the bucket in the laundry room, and got the early evening work done.  We were invited to Jesse and Christina’s house for supper. Those beans were going to have to wait.

It was a pleasant evening in the “Big Bontrager House On Shawnee Road.”  Christina had made taco soup and provided all the amenities – chips, sour cream, cheese and the ever present hot sauce for Jesse.  The food was hot and comforting, and the company pleasant.  Charis found a little green inchworm making its way across my blouse and there was some excitement until it was dispatched.  The evening was peaceful, though.  We finished supper, cleared the table and Christina dumped a 500 piece puzzle on the table.  We had a great time trying to piece it all together.  We finished it before leaving for home!

When we got home, all I wanted to do was collapse in my chair, but Certain Man picked up a flat cake pan, pulled the bucket of beans up close to his family room recliner, and set to work, throwing the empty shells into a trash can that he had appropriated for the job.

“Oh, Daniel!’ I said mournfully, looking at that bucket of beans. “I was thinking of just letting those until tomorrow.”

“Might as well get ’em done,” he said, in his best matter of fact tone.  I knew he didn’t feel like shelling beans.  His shoulder hurt from where he had pulled a muscle and then worked it too hard in his chicken house.  The more I demurred, the more determined he became.  “You don’t have to help me,” he said, shelling away.  “I’ll be just fine.”

Yes. I did.

I got my own flat pan and pulled up a chair and set to work.  It was slow, and the beans were mostly little.  Certain Man mentioned the smallness and the difficulty with which he got them out.  “And it’s hard not to break them,” he said, and it was the truth!

We worked our way through that bucket, and I gathered our two pans into a plastic bag and weighed it.  Not quite two pounds from a big bucket.  I sighed, and put them into the fridge to await the final picking of our second patch that is out behind the chicken house.

Tuesday was warmer, and I was itching to get out there into the patch and get my last picking done.  The day was full with shopping for Operation Christmas Child, catching up from all the many things that always go on around here, talking to friends and trying not to fall asleep on my feet.  (It’s been extremely short on sleep around here!)  Finally, around 4 pm, I got out to my back bean patch.  The beans were hanging thick in places, but the story was pretty much the same.  Lots of bean pods, but almost no beans in them. This back patch was an extreme disappointment all summer, but in the last month it perked up, and looked promising.  I kept hoping that a frost would hold off until I got the most I possibly could get, but that train had already left the station!  On two different mornings, Certain Man had gone out and sprayed everything down, but the frost was severe, and the damage was beyond the point of spraying vegetation off before the sun hit it to save them from being killed off by the frost.

However, it was warmer and I was working against a deadline, so I picked away, being somewhat more discretionary about the size of the beans that went into my trusty bucket.  I finished shortly before five o’clock and drove the golf cart and my generous half bucket of beans up to the farmhouse.  Sister in law, Lena, attacked that bucket of beans while I got some supper around, and the evening filled up quickly.  Our granddaughter, Charis, was with us for supper while her parents were looking at some furniture.  Deborah was working a 16 hour shift.  There was a puzzle on the sun room table calling the names of people who shall remain anonymous, and before all was said and done, Certain Man pitched in and helped Lena finish the beans.  She was suffering from some serious back pain that nothing seemed to alleviate, and I was relieved to see that they were finished.  I put the two nights’ worth together in a gallon sized bag and decided to do them after things settled down.

It had been a long day, and I was weary.  I looked at my kitchen that was in a state of minor disarray, and wondered if I should just let everything and do the beans, but knew I needed the counter space to work on as well as the sink areas to cool the beans once they had been blanched.  So I loaded the dishwasher, washed up some stray things that didn’t really fit into the dishwasher, and started in on the beans.  I hauled my big pot from the lazy Susan, and filled it a little over half with water and put it on my “fast boil” burner.  I washed and sorted the beans, and finally had them in my big strainer, ready to dump into my pot of boiling water.

Life just happens sometimes.  And it isn’t always easy or nice, or organized or explicable.  This was one of those times.  I hauled my big strainer up over my rapidly boiling water to dump it in and suddenly, like someone grabbed the tip and sent it flying, my trusty strainer let me down.  I’ve used it all summer without needing to take much notice, but it must have just “had enough” because it somehow reached out and grabbed the edge of that kettle, and the next sound I heard was lima beans, bouncing all over the kitchen floor, rolling in all directions and sounding like a sudden downpour of rain.  I quickly righted the oblong strainer and set it down on its legs.  I looked into the big pot and saw one (1) lonely bean swimming around in the boiling water.  I looked at that floor where lima beans were scattered from Linda’s chair to the laundry room door, under the stove and under the refrigerator, and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

“Well!  This is a fine kettle of fish,” I said to myself ruefully.  “What in the world am I going to do?”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was no way that I was ever going to throw them away.  So the only other option was to sweep them up carefully, wash them thoroughly, and go through them with a persnickety look and salvage them.  So I got my trusty Stanley broom and swept everything up into a dustpan, dumped them into a second strainer where I proceeded to wash and wash, and then gave them all a stern looking over, picking over, and finally got them into the kettle and blanched.  I took them out and cooled them and got them into bags for the freezer.  I had three more for my seasonal collection of lima beans.  I wrote, “End of the Season-2018” on the three bags, and looked at the tiny beans inside and wondered how I would use them. Oh, well.  I wrote “3 bags” up on my calendar on October 23rd, and tallied up the seasonal totals. My final count for the summer was 36 bags.  They probably averaged about 16 ounces a piece, and I needed to be content. (I have friends ask, “How many cups does 16 ounces equal?”  I would estimate almost 3 cups.  But not quite.)

I took my tired self to bed and fell fast asleep.  I wouldn’t need to think about picking any more beans this whole season.  No more picking, no more shelling, no more washing, blanching, cooling, packaging or freezing.

On more than one count, my heart gives grateful praise.

 

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Birthday Musings – A Best Gift

It’s been an eventful two weeks in the lives of this Delaware Grammy and her family.  There have been incredible answers to prayer, as well as challenging things to countenance.

Two weeks ago today (Tuesday, October 2nd) we had a mind-boggling answer to prayer when there was a meeting in Ohio regarding the life plans for our foster grandbaby, “BabySweete.”  Five times, she was to be placed in a kinship placement, and five times the plan was changed.  That morning, as I was praying, I felt an incredible sense of peace as I thought about the coming meeting.  (What is there about Tuesday morning prayer times?  If you read my post from September 28th, there was another momentous prayer time when I did NOT feel exactly peaceful!  But this time it was different.)

“Lord Jesus,” I wrote in my prayer journal, “Now it’s Tuesday and I do not feel panic, and for that, I praise you.  You are the God who cares, who knows.  You are the God who sees and oversees.  You are the God who controls and reigns and is the Blessed,  Highest Authority– And you will do what is right, in your way and in your time.  May all of us who love BabySweete hold onto that reality.  We do not know the future — but that doesn’t keep us from loving now!  And so we beg, we entreat, we pray for your Holy Spirit to be present in the room today where strangers to BabySweete will determine her life course.  May we not see it as “strangers” but rather a team of people, gathering with factual information, directed by an Unseen Force.  May we see it as where decisions will be made that will be best for BabySweete, as well as her whole family, Lord Jesus.  Thank you that you are a big enough and wise enough God that what is best for BabySweete will not contradict what is best for everyone concerned.  How very much we need you today!”

The morning passed, and there finally was a text from our daughter in law, Regina. I was in the kitchen, freezing beans or something or other when this text came through:

“They are keeping BabySweete with us and filing for permanent custody!”

What a flood of relief and delight swept over me as I shrieked and laughed and cried and even might have done some dancing!   I was too happy to think straight!  And no, this isn’t the end pf the conflict, but it certainly is a good beginning place for Raph and Gina.  Our collective family continues to PRAY, and that is still a “Best Gift!”

The story grows long, and I’m very sleepy.  I’m going to bed.  So this is segment one of my birthday musings, and I will add more later!

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Borax Ant Poison Mixture

 

½ cup sugar

1 ½ tablespoons Borax

1 ½ cups warm water

Instructions:
1.  Mix the Borax and sugar together until well combined.

2.  Add the mixture to your warm water and mix constantly until the powder has been completely dissolved.

(Use only what you need for the next step and store the rest in a jar or container for future use. It is important that you clearly label the jar and keep it out of reach of children.)

3.  Some people saturate cotton balls and put them into the path of the ants.  I prefer cutting index cards into squares of about 1½” and putting a small amount of the mixture on it and setting it into the path of the ants.  Sometimes I have even put a drop or two of the mixture on the counter in an out of the way place and left it for a day or so.  The ants go right after it and then they disappear in a few days.  This picture was taken within a half an hour after we put some out in Christina’s kitchen last night after the movers had left.  Charis and I had put several little stations out, and this one was the most popular, with “customers” within two or three minutes.  This picture is enlarged 5X at least.  These ants were really tiny.

Deborah's Ants

 

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Tuesday Morning Comfort

I came down to my chair this morning for my usual quiet time, and thought about this day, and what was supposed to be happening on this day (Our Babysweete was to be moved to her “permanent” home)and felt again the fascination I felt this week about how God works in each of us in different ways, knows our thoughts and knows what we need, and supplies those needs in ways that go beyond what we would expect.

That was exactly what happened on Tuesday morning.  Listen, dear friends, to yet another regaling of provision given this Delaware Grammy in an hour of great need.

Tuesday morning I came downstairs, took note of the fact that it was Tuesday already and Friday was coming!  I thought about our precious little Babysweete and grabbed my prayer journal and a pen to write a lament to the Father about the whole situation and to BEG Him to “PLEASE, DO SOMETHING!!!”  As my hand opened my  prayer journal I felt a soft, insistent urging in my heart. 

“Read today’s Bible Reading before you write.”

I didn’t want to.  I wanted to put all my raw emotions down, and I explained that to The Father, but the Insistent Voice would not be stilled.  “Read today’s Bible Reading FIRST!  Then you can write all you want.”

I reluctantly put my journal and pen back onto the blanket chest beside my chair and pulled my tattered Grace for the Moment Daily Bible onto my lap.  I opened the pages and looked again at the dogeared index card that marked my place.  The #1 item was “Babysweete’s Future.”  The card sticks out over the top of the pages, and every time I pick up the Bible, I see those words and think,  “Lord Jesus, what is to become of our baby-girl?”

Tuesday morning, the index card was stuck at September 25th.  It was a long reading.  I may have sighed a bit, but dug in and started to read.  The Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 41 and 42.  How I love Isaiah!  And before long, I had an incredible sense of the comforting presence of the LORD.  This particular devotional Bible is the New Century Version, (my favorite translation). and the words sifted into the cracks of my soul and I was suddenly at peace.  I read and reread some of the verses, then finished my Bible reading, and then picked up my prayer journal and began to write.

******

Father God,
The days of this week are slipping by with the quiet swiftness of Autumn coming on.  It’s Tuesday, and Fridays a’comin!  Friday.  The day once again designated as Babysweete’s departure day– I had meant to come here and spread my heart before you once again; my tears and words and open hands begging for one more miracle, one more stay, one more chance at keeping in our family this precious baby girl that is so loved by Raph and Gina and Si and Liam and Frankie . . . (and us all!)   I had pulled up my prayer journal, chose a pen, when there was a check in my spirit.  “Read your Bible reading for today, FIRST!”

I argued, Father God – You know that, but then I laid my prayer journal and my burning words aside to read from Your Word, and it has brought me comfort and peace.

Isaiah 41:4 & 10.
Who caused this to happen?
    Who has controlled history since the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the one. I was here at the beginning,
    and I will be here when all things are finished.

“So don’t worry, because I am with you.
    Don’t be afraid, because I am your God.
I will make you strong and will help you;
    I will support you with my right hand that saves you.”

Isaiah 42:3 & 4
He will not break a crushed blade of grass
    or put out even a weak flame.
He will truly bring justice;
He will not lose hope or give up
until he brings justice to the world.
    And people far away will trust his teachings.”

Lord Jesus, for all my heart burdens, for our family, (especially Babysweete and Raph and Gina’s family, but also for all of these ones that I love) and for all the other heartaches that call my attention away from you, may I choose to remember that YOU HAVE THIS!  You will bring justice, you will not lose hope and You will not give up!”

****

I had no promise as to how this thing was all going to turn out (and honestly, still don’t) but I did know one thing.  God had this whole thing in His care.  I sat in the quiet room and once again placed this burden at the foot of the cross. I would have loved to just sit there a while longer, but it was time to get Blind Linda up and ready for her bus, and there were a hundred other things calling my name.  The day passed quickly and before I knew  it, it was almost 4:00 pm, and I was in the kitchen, working on the bushel of apples that I was making into applesauce.  It had been a long day, and this Delaware Grammy was plodding.  I heard my phone beep in my pocket.  I wearily picked it up, but felt all the sadness slip away when I read:

Babysweete won’t be leaving Friday . . . ”

Rivers of joy swelled up inside of me and started spilling over my cheeks.  I stood in my kitchen and gave humble, grateful praise for yet another answer to our prayers.  Listen, my friends.  The story isn’t over yet (and I know that even better than I wish I did)  but one day at a time, one step at a time, God has intervened, proven that He is the Master of the Timing, the Blessed Controller of All Things, and “even if – – -“ I intend to trust Him.

Our hearts give humble, grateful praise.

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Rain Gutter Woes

It was hot and dry for a long time this summer.  One day, coming in from outdoors, Certain Man remarked to me that the leaves were already falling — and it was only August!  Well, yes, it did seem as if the leaves were falling in great number, but I didn’t know what to do about it, so I listened and noted — but I didn’t run out there with anything to paste them up there more securely.

So we drifted into September, and suddenly, we were slammed with a whole lot of rain.  It came down in torrents, and it came shooting out over the gutters that are along the roof above our back decks, and that resulted in water seeping into our usually fairly dry basement.

Certain Man did not like it.  Not one little bit.  And one afternoon, when there was an especially loud thunderstorm going on, he announced, “I need to get up there and clean those gutters, or we are going to have a flood in the basement.”

I was not impressed with this endeavor.  Not one little bit.  “Daniel, you can’t go out in this thunderstorm and clean gutters!”

His reply?  The usual.  “Watch me!”

“But Sweetheart, it’s not safe.  You could get struck by lightening!”

“You don’t get struck by lightening if you aren’t the tallest thing in the area!” he said jauntily.

“You KNOW that’s not true!  If you are up on a metal ladder, dripping wet, you could be a target as sure as anything!  Please don’t!”

“Hon, you have to understand!  It’s a whole lot easier to clean gutters when it’s pouring down rain because the tide carries everything down the gutter to where you are and you can just lift it right out of the way.  It’s as easy as all get out!”

I said some more things that fell on deaf ears, but then he turned and seemed to head in a different direction than indicated for going out to clean gutters and I thought he was going to heed my advice.  Alas, that must have been a ploy to distract me.

Outside the storm raged on, but I thought all was well until I looked out the patio door and caught sight of him perched high on his ladder, happily cleaning gutters.  The lightning was bright, the thunder was loud and I went to the door to remonstrate gently.

“Daniel Yutzy, what do you think you are doing???  You are going to get yourself killed!  Get down right now!  For cryin’ out loud!  What in the world are you thinking?!?!?”

I caught sight of his face through the downpour and he was ginning, scooping out leaves and sticks and dirt from the offending gutters with great glee.  It was almost disgusting if I hadn’t been so frightened!  And the rain was coming in the patio door.  He wasn’t listening to me.  A sudden flash of lightning, followed by an immediate clap of thunder made me cringe.  I shut the patio door against the summer storm, and tried not to look.  He came down off his ladder to carry it to the other porch deck, and I saw him through the deluge as he came around the corner of the deck and propped it up against the siding. And then he came in, wet as a mongrel pup in a waterfall, and a sight to behold.

“Whew,” I said.  “You got done just in time!”

“I didn’t get done,” he said shortly.   “I quit!”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  “You quit???”

“Yep!” He said in his offhanded, careless way.  “I quit!  That last lightning strike was a little too close for comfort, so I decided to get down!”

I did not dance a jig or even allow myself a triumphant fist pump.  What did it matter as long as he was safely down and inside where he would be warm and dry?  So I gave silent thanks and did not celebrate too overly much.

The gutters got cleaned out another day.  And the next time it rained, Certain Man called attention to the  fact that no gutter was overflowing.  I noticed, and thanked him for a job well done.

The rain continues day after day and as those gutters do their job, my heart gives quiet, humble praise.  Not just for the gutters, but also that Certain Man is safe yet again when it seems as if it could have been so different.

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