Monthly Archives: March 2006

Good Friday Morning —

Eldest Son’s Girlfriend is coming —

Chicken cooking on the stove —

Double Layer Chocolate Cake baking —

Gaither Music playing with Jessy Dixon dancing in the images of my mind —

Flowers blooming, there’s a bouquet on the dining room table shining yellow and white —

Five hardy red geraniums from Pepper’s Greenhouse that called my name sitting in the sunshine  (“It might be too early,” cautions Mr. Pepper’s Greenhouse.  “If they freeze, they die!”)  I need to watch them carefully. 

And in my heart, there is such joy and grief all intertwined.  How can life be so good when people are sad, when I am missing Youngest Son so much, when it seems like forever since I’ve heard my Daddy’s voice?  But there is this well-spring of joy.  Look outside, Friends, and tell me again about how the Dead shall be raised, incorruptible.  This mortal shall put on immortality, and Death will be swallowed up in victory!!!  YES!!!

I look outside — and I BELIEVE.  Thank God, through Jesus Christ, we have the promise that Easter is FOR REAL!  The thing that makes my heart so quiet with awe is that the reality of the Resurrection will be/is greater than that of death. 



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       I know that it looks random, but my tulips are actually coming up!!!!   And here is the proof!  Now there are a whole lot of little shoots that aren’t very visible on this picture, but they are there, nonetheless.  I counted 15 that are actually through the ground.  I am just so pleased.  The other containers have some up, too and out in the grape arbor row, there are a scattering up, here and there.  Maybe I will have some flowers yet.
       Yesterday I bought some lily of the valley for Middle Daughter.  She has had a penchant for these “fairy flowers” since she was very small.  Since they were selling 25 roots for $7.47, I bought 3 bags.  I heard Middle Daughter tell someone, “When Mom decides to do something, she really does it.”  Was it too much to buy 75 roots?  Youngest Sister looked askance when I was telling her about it tonight.  Maybe I need to rethink.
       I have tried and tried to get a picture of my daffodils to upload, and it just doesn’t want to do it!  So, I will try another post to see if that helps.   
Another try did not help, so I guess I will let it go!

Now 7:30. and it is DARK and COLD and I am TIRED–  HOWEVER~

The Lily of the Valley are all planted!!! Thanks to the good help of Middle Daughter. And the color of the tulips??? I bought a package of “Holland’s Best Variegated,” if I remember correctly. It is supposed to be a “profusion of color” — You know, all the things that they say to get you to buy the package of bulbs — which, incidently, was JUST ONE BAG!!! (Thank you very much, Lord, for a moment of sanity while at the Sam’s Club!).  Whew, it is time for a shower and to work on this week’s Bible Study.  I am very grateful for my warm house.



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      There is a house that I pass on the way into Milford (on Old Shawnee Road) that Certain Man and I once looked at with some interest in buying.  It was coming up for public auction, and we took a tour to see just what would be needed to get it into living condition.
      It was in terrible shape.  The man of the house had passed away, and his wife, devastated and unable to cope had literally walked away, leaving laundry on the line, lots and lots of cats in the house, and food in the freezer.  Eventually the electric was turned off, and the weeds grew up around what had once been a nice ranch style house in a nice section of town.  I think it had been unoccupied for seven years.  When we went through, the ravages of disrepair and neglect were almost unbelievable.
      We did not buy it.  It went far higher on the public auction than we thought it would, but actually, we did not even go to the auction.  We wouldn’t have known where to start.
       That was over two years ago.  And progress has been slow.  But someone bought it who is making it over in beautiful little increments and it has the look of a beloved home in the making.  Tonight when I went by, there were lights on and the progress of clean, smooth walls with color on them and clean windows drew my heart towards it.  I just wish I could see the inside now.  I wonder what it looks like.  I wonder about this family that has taken this old, damaged house and made it into a thing of beauty and life.
      Coming on home, pondering the things about houses and homes, Middle Daughter beside me calls my attention to the sunset.  It was gorgeous colors of pink and blue and the sun was a crimson slice on the horizon.  As we watched, the colors wove around and changed and only became more beautiful.
      Suddenly, I felt the sting of tears.  And I thought about another home that I know so little about, but that I’ve heard is so beautiful.  It was like the colors and the light from that home were shining through the window, beckoning my thoughts and my heart to think about what it must be like there, wondering about the people who live there, and wishing I could see more.  There are people that I love, living there, and their old bodies, so full of illness and falling into disrepair here have been made new, and there is love and light and beauty.  My  Daddy, Grandparents, and some of our babies are there, and many friends, all brought safely home by The Father, through the work of His Son, Jesus, whose presence in that place makes it HOME.  
      And I want to go there.

Oh, Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah Land,
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away, across the sea
Where mansions are prepared for me,
And view the shining Glory Shore–
My Heaven, My Home forevermore.
~Author Unknown


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   The last few days have been a bit hectic.  First — thanks for all the well wishes and prayers on my behalf.  The tooth is much better, and I am so thankful!

     My Sweet Mama had cataract surgery on Wednesday.  It was something to be able to watch the procedure on closed circuit television.  What a miracle!  It was awesome!  The surgery turned out just as they had hoped, and she came home about a half an hour after they finished.  We made two trips to Lewes yesterday — the first for her post-op checkup, and the second to get a plain lens fitted into her glasses so that she could see better.  It was greatly unhandy that she could scarcely see with her glasses out of her left eye and couldn’t see without her glasses out of the right.  But we got that taken care of, and she is doing so well.  We hope to do the other eye in about a month.  My Sweet Mama is just such a brave, beautiful, plucky lady. 

     Today, I took Oldest Daughter, Youngest Daughter and Youngest Son’s Girl Jess to Lewes (again!) and we went to Beebe School of Nursing and picked up Middle Daughter for lunch.  What a hoot!  We just plain had fun.  And to make it even more enjoyable (and unbelievable) I looked up right after we ordered our food at Bob Evans, and this car pulled up in the parking lot and a man got out that looked just like my Uncle Lloyd Wert (Mama’s youngest brother) from Pennsylvania.  While my head was processing that, the other door came open and the man that stepped out on that side looked like another uncle, Al Shirk (who is married to Mama’s youngest sister, Aunt Ruth Ann).  I looked extra hard, then, and sure enough!  It was them!  At the Bob Evans in Lewes, DE!!!  I could not believe it!!!  They were at the beach to see about a place to rent for one of the families for a week or two this summer.  What a special blessing from my Heavenly Father.  It was just so good to see them! 

     When lunch was over, we took Middle Daughter back to school, flew to two stores where the soccer shoes and stockings were that Youngest Daughter “needed” for soccer season, and found exactly what she had in mind for the season.  The biggest miracle of was that Youngest Daughter was able to make up her mind, without any of her usual dilly-dallying and we accomplished this task in about a half an hour.  I have seen her take longer than that to decide what she is going to wear!  Another miracle of no less importance was that the shoes she wanted were on sale for less than $25.00!!!  I didn’t know they made shoes for that price anymore!!!  And they were the right color, the right size, and for now, they even smell good.  (History tells me that this is noteworthy.  I am almost certain that her shoes from last year are in tatters because of the atmosphere in her gym bag . . .)

     And then we got back to Milford around 2:00.  All of us were so glad that it didn’t take any longer than it did.  I dropped Eldest Daughter off to pick up her car, dropped Youngest Daughter off at home, dropped Girl Jess off at her house, picked up Blind Linda at Sweet Mama’s house, went to the bank, picked up stamps at the post office for Middle Sister who had surgery today, delivered some eggs to Friend Karen at the Spanish Bookstore, and then came home.  What an incredibly satisfying day.  It was just so sweet in every way. 

     Now I need to make some Chicken-etti for the music boosters spaghetti supper tomorrow night, and I think I will call it a day.  What do you all think?  Is that enough activity for one day?  I’m sure I could think of more things to do if I tried, but I am not going to try very hard.


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     Today was the day that my dentist that specializes in root canals was to finish what he started almost two weeks ago.  The problem was that the tooth he had started was now feeling fine, and a molar on the other side has been giving me fits.  Last week there was this large, tender bump on my gum that radiated pain up to my eye, and I knew that disaster loomed on the horizon.
     So I sterilized me a big old needle and punched it into that lump.  It went in like it was really going to open something up, but it really didn’t help.  Nothing drained out.  The lump stayed large and tender.  I was discouraged, to say the least.  Especially when this huge canker sore developed where I had inserted that big old (sterilized) needle.
     So I took antibiotics all weekend and held on to my sanity with some pain killer and some warm water flushes, knowing that I was going to see the dentist today and he had said that he would see what he could do about it.
      Today, Eldest Daughter and Middle Daughter went forth with me to the place of torture and they dropped me off at the door and went on to seek things like hair nets and hair pins at the Amish store, and also to see if Byler’s had replenished their stock of cookie dough that tastes homemade.
      The first thing I noticed when on “the rack” was that the tray was already arrayed with the instruments of torture.  They were expecting me!!!  Needles of various lengths and some that were even crooked sat there in readiness.  And I related my tale of woe and asked if there was something they could do with the now troublesome tooth on the other side.  The dentist was sick.  Behind his mask he coughed and snorted and did not smile much.  He is kind, and he does not hurt me much (usually).  The “torture” is the basic principle of the thing, but he really wasn’t looking for extra work today.
      And he looked carefully at the ailing tooth, checked the area about it with concern and then said that it could not be worked on today.  It was too swollen and infected.  He would need to prescribe better and stronger antibiotics than were being used, and hopefully it would “settle down.”
     “Could you just open it so that it could drain?”  Asked this hapless victim.
     “There is no way for me to numb it so that I wouldn’t hurt you.” he said, and that pretty much closed the issue as far as he was concerned.  He is acquainted with my dismal past, and is determined not to hurt me.  I thought about that big, old (sterilized) needle and my hapless stabbing about on my own, and really didn’t think he would hurt me any more than I had hurt myself, but decided not to press the poor sick man beyond his endurance.
     So he finished up the root canal that he had started ten days ago, and it feels a bit tender, but like it will eventually be fine.  And he gave me a prescription for seven days of Clandamyacin (or some such strange antibiotic) and set me free.  And deducted $100.00 off of my co-pay because I am so beautiful.  And it was only 30 minutes after I had gotten there.
      Now, then, where were Eldest Daughter and Middle Daughter?  They were just then getting to Byler’s.  So I decided that I would walk down State Street in Dover until such a time as they could come to pick me up.  It felt warm in the sunshine and the houses were close enough that the wind wasn’t blowing too much.  I had a short sleeved jacket over my denim dress, and thought that I would be just fine.  And so I commenced to walk.
      And the wind picked up speed, and the sidewalk stretched out, and the afternoon sun seemed to get thinner with every step, but I trudged bravely (albeit, coldly) on.  After about four tenths of a mile of pounding the pavement, I looked up and there was the familiar white van, pulling to a stop right at the edge of street, stopping traffic, and opening the door to let me in.  It looked like an inviting miracle, for the spur on my right heel was beginning to complain, and the arthritis in my left ankle was fussing, too.  But that root canal didn’t hurt!  No siree, it was still so numb that my nose felt funny.  The ailing tooth on the other side wasn’t exactly happy, but it wasn’t unbearable.  However, it was a great relief to come on home and to find some pain killer and to have Middle Daughter pick up the prescription and to just vegetate at home.
       And then Eldest Son returned home from his travels afar (He went to see that young lady in Ohio) and things slowly returned to normal at Shady Acres.  The laundry is mostly finished and the house is mostly straightened and people are quieting down for the night.  Maybe tomorrow everything will feel better and even that tooth will have “settled down.”  I think I will betake myself to bed and see what the morning will bring.


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      If you all go over to Jesses_girl’s website, you will find some pictures and a story there of an accident that Middle Sister’s Middle Daughter was involved in on Tuesday night.  It was quite a miracle that Maria climbed out of the twisted metal without significant injury.  
      This whole episode has helped a rather difficult week turn around for me in a strange and timely way . . . It seems like I have missed my Daddy more this week than any other with a grief that is more “helpless.”  Not that I didn’t believe in Heaven, or doubt that we will see him again, but more that he is so gone, and I have thought that I had to see him.  Monday was a particularly teary day, when it felt like I could not stop crying.  Tuesday wasn’t a whole lot better.  I did the things I had to do, but squeezed in between it all were buckets and buckets of tears.
     But then the accident happened, and on Wednesday morning, I stopped in at Middle Sister’s house on my way to Mama’s and saw the mangled remains of what had been the nicest car that Bert and Sarah had ever owned.  I hugged Maria (gently — she was really sore) and marveled at her lack of cuts and even bruises.  Back on the road again, as I was praying about the accident, and thanking God for His protection over Maria, I had to think about how it would have impacted our family if Maria had died in that mishap. 
      And that brought back the memory of the night that Daddy died, and of what it was like to stand at the bedside of a Saint that was dying.  I thought about seeing him go into eternity with a smile on his face, with a life well lived, with his life’s work well done.  That really was GLORY!  And I will always be thankful that I and my siblings had that opportunity.  But to have to say good-bye to another family member —  one who was young and full of promise, and to have her go in such a violent and unexpected way, that would have been a thousand times harder.  I know that Maria loves the Lord Jesus.  I know that she would have been in Heaven.  But it would have been a different grief entirely.  And thinking about the contrast refocused my thoughts to those of thankfulness instead of such deep, deep grief. 
       So, I’m so sorry for the totaled car.  I’m so sorry that Uncle Bert’s don’t have comprehensive insurance, and I am sorry that Maria had to have such a traumatic experience.  But I am glad for the assurance that God isn’t finished with her yet. 
     I think that I will always miss Daddy, and I know that I am not done with tears yet, but I am thankful for the reminder that our Daddy’s going was timely, and that the Mercy that spared Maria’s life is the same Mercy that took Daddy home, and allowed us the privilege to watch that sweet, sweet smile that told of unseen glory.  Praise be to God for His goodness to us!


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       Blind Linda, who has lived with us for over six years, is a St. Patricks Day baby.  She was born in 1949, one of a set of premature twins.  Her sister died, and Linda was one of the first babies to be in an incubator.  They didn’t know that too high a concentration of oxygen would destroy the eyes and affect the brain.  So, though Linda lived, she has been blind pretty much since birth, and was early diagnosed as profoundly mentally retarded.
       After having her for these years, I am pretty certain that she is not as retarded as she is autistic.  She would speak some in the first years of her life, but now she never speaks.
      A wondrous thing happened this morning, though. 
      When I get her up in the mornings, I always sing a song to her.  “Get up, get out of bed, come on, you sleepy head, don’t you know the sun is shining? It’s time for you to rise, the sun is in the skies, don’t you know the sun is shining?” 
      For the last year or so, she has sometimes just hummed along with me when she is in a really good mood.  Just a sort of  “m-m-m-m-m-m” in a happy sort of way.  But this morning, one phrase into the song, I remembered it was her birthday, and said, “Oh, Linda, I just remembered, it’s your birthday!”  So I switched gears and sang, “Happy birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Linda, Happy Birthday to you!”
      As soon as I started with the first “Happy Birthday to you,”  I became aware that Linda was helping me sing.  “Ha-a-a-a-a-”  She said through the first “Happy Birthday to you.”  Then “Ha-a-a-a-a” again through the second phrase. I’m certainly not a trained musician, but it sounded like she was in tune!  By this time we had traversed the distance between her bed and the potty, and I was ecstatic.  I didn’t break stride or stop singing, but I was grinning from ear to ear.  Suddenly, she seemed to realize what she was doing and stopped abruptly, clamped her mouth down in that determined, stubborn way of hers, and would not budge to open her mouth again. 
      But it didn’t matter on bitty bit to me.  I had heard what I had heard, and it was like the Hallelujah Chorus to my ears.  I don’t think she will ever really speak again, but every now and then there is this spark that tells me that somewhere behind these sightless eyes and silent tongue there is a personality and spirit that is as individually a PERSON as any of us are.  
      “Happy Birthday to you!
       Happy Birthday to you!
       Happy Birthday, Dear Linda,
       Happy Birthday to you!”


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