Monthly Archives: April 2006
When there is heartache-
And nothing I have done has caused it,
And there is nothing I can do to fix it-
Then, Lord Jesus, let me be found faithful in my trust.
When it seems like illness and death and broken hearts and broken people
Are all I can see or hear or think about.
And my tears seem but an impotent, selfish release,
Then, Lord Jesus, let your strength be glorified in my weakness.
When dreams lie twisted, broken, and in grave disarray.
And understanding what went wrong is elusive and unsatisfactory.
And the tears of other’s anguish and grief and hurt wrench my own heart,
Then, Lord Jesus, may your peace bring hope anew.
I am eagerly awaiting the return of Certain Man. His flight was to have landed in Baltimore at 10:45 pm, and then he will be on his way home, Lord Willing. From all reports, he and his sisters had a profitable time in Ohio. And I am so grateful.
This is Daniel’s father, on the steps of their house in Plain City, Ohio. Autumn, 2005
Daniel and his Mom getting ready to load his Dad into the car. They have already loaded his beloved scooter. This picture was taken at the same time as the previous one.
This is not a family member. It is, in fact, one of the famous troublemakers that is even now, residing (at least partially) in our freezer. The trouble I had this weekend came from a relative of this one that was much, much smaller. I wonder what sort of injuries I might have sustained if I had tangled with this critter.
The final chicken check has been made, the cows have been fed, the other animals have been checked, and I am about ready to call it a night. (I don’t know if I can sleep, though. It’s funny how family things can keep a Mama’s heart awake and pondering when she should be asleep. Which is why I am boring all of you to death with this trivia!)
On another note, there was an accident tonight just down from our house. A fellow that appeared to be intoxicated ran into the back end of someone else. Then decided it would be better to flee than to face the music. Middle Daughter, home with Linda, received a phone call from out neighbor who warned her to lock the doors as the aforementioned person was making his getaway across our lawn, headed towards the barn and chicken houses.
Alas, I missed all this action as I was attending a Pampered Chef party with Eldest Daughter. When we came home there were many police cars and lots of activity going on. I was informed that they had caught the fugitive (or it may have been one of those nights when the chickens did not need checking!) but there was much excitement to recount. Beloved Son in Law, who was here working on the computer, had taken it upon himself to make a quick check of the outbuildings for me before I got home, and pronounced everything clear. So I really did not feel scared to do the evening chores and checks even though it was dark. (I did wonder what would happen if an intoxicated person got tangled up in our electric fence. Do you think it would sober him up? Would we be liable somehow if we hadn’t posted signs warning of the electric fence? Could someone be seriously injured in this manner?)
Oh, yes, one more thing — my “pitchfork injuries” are doing a whole lot better. Thanks for asking! (I am not going to post a picture, though. My Sweet Mama thought the last one was a little bit indecent.)
The weekend has gone well. I thank all who worried for me. I am so very tired, but last night after I went to bed, I got to thinking. I was so tired I could not sleep, and so I was shifting around and thinking about Monday when my husband would be home. I was thinking that I am so glad the chickens aren’t my responsibility most of the time, as well as the running of the farm . . .
You local people probably know where this is heading, but sharply into my tired brain came the picture of Connie and the fact that she has all of the responsibility now that her Daniel is gone, and for her, there is no thinking about tomorrow when he will be back. I had spent the day yesterday missing my Dad so much, and thinking about how much I depend on my Daniel for strength and how when he is gone, I struggle to stay on an even keel. I had cried a good part of the afternoon, and all I wanted to do was curl up on my chair with a book and forget about everything. What ever would I do if I were in her shoes?
We really are such selfish, self-pitying people. I certainly needed a good jolt out of my rut!
Connie, there are many, many prayers going up for you, and I pray that the God of all Comfort will become more real to you than the very air you breathe and that you will daily feel the love and support of people around you even as you feel the presence of God.
Now it came to pass that Certain Man called his wife to the barn to instruct her how to feed the animals that he houses there. He told her about the chickens and how to check and water them. (The feeding is automated). He told her that he gives the barn cats but one feeding a day, and showed her where the food was kept and what bowl to use. And he reminded her that she needed to check on the water pail that he has for the use of the dog. And he had filled the auto feed dog bin, so she would not need to worry about that.
And then it was time for the animals of the bovine description. Certain Man has the usual four. The big ones with horns are about a year and a half old. The younger variety are but a couple months. The older ones are docile, having been parted from their manhood in a most timely fashion after the shenanigans of some of the previous tenants of the barn. The younger ones have not fully learned the way of the barn yet, and do not always cooperate fully with the one who feeds them. This is usually Certain Man.
But Certain Man needed CMW to know about how to perform daily chores as there were some times when he needed to be absent. So on the eve of one such absence, he gave her a CRASH COURSE. And CMW dutifully wrote down all the things he said.
“Give each of the big ones a half a scoop of Sweet Stock. They work out for themselves who goes in which station, so just dump it down in front of the stanchion.. Split a half a scoop of sweet stock between the two little ones.” He paused with a hint of aggravation. “And here is where you might have trouble. The little white one always wants to go into a stall with the little black one. And then he crowds the black one out.”
He reached around behind him to where a rather new pitchfork was leaned against the wall. “So usually I just get this pitchfork . . .” He brought it around for CMW to see. She was perplexed. She could not imagine her gentle husband sticking his little bull calf with a pitchfork.
“I turn it around like this,” he said, turning the tines towards him with the handle sticking out. “And I reach over the barrier like this and just sort of poke him a little until he gets the idea and then he goes over to the other side and eats what he is supposed to eat. The handle is long enough for me to reach him quite easily, and that pretty much straightens him out. Usually the white one eats on the left, and the black one on the right.”
That looked easy enough to CMW, and she rehearsed the steps in her mind. “Dump the feed . . . make sure each is in the proper stall . . . and if he isn’t poke him with the handle of the pitchfork until he goes into his own stall.”
So this morning, Certain Man’s Wife went out there and fed all the animals. And she had a little bit of trouble getting all the steers and calves into their rightful place, but she got out the pitch fork and poked with the handle and eventually everything resolved itself, and each animal ate in his respective stall. It really wasn’t too hard.
Tonight when she went in to feed them, not an animal was in sight, so she banged the gate loudly to announce her presence, and dropped the metal lid down with a kershlam! when she was feeding the sweet stock. Suddenly, around the corner, full speed ahead came the four galloping bovines. The little black one went straight to his stall. Both of the big ones got into the same stall, and the little white went took over the entire empty stall belonging to one of the big ones.
“Boo!” said CMW, waving her hands. “Get on out of there. You don’t belong there. Get on over to your own stall.” The white calf moved back ever so imperceptibly, and watched this strange woman. Aha! The pitchfork. That was what was needed. CMW retrieved it from the wall. She turned it around backwards and went after the little white calf. “Move it!” she ordered, attempting to poke it. It sidestepped neatly and still looked at her. “Go! This isn’t your stall! Get out! Get out!” The little white calf retreated to the back of the stall and one of the big ones inched his way in to the feeding station.
“That’ll do it,” exalted CMW as she set down her pitchfork and headed to the door. There was a sudden, hurried movement from the far stall as the big steer moved out and the little white calf moved forward to take control of the sweet stock again. CMW went back, picked up her pitchfork and attempted to convince the little one to move back. He did keep moving back, a little at a time, managing to stay out of the reach of the pitchfork handle. About this time, CMW was wondering how much damage the tines would do to the impudent rascal, but she stretched ever farther over the barrier, trying to get a solid whack or poke or SOMETHING that would convince him to go back where he belonged.
Certain Man’s wife was trying to steady herself with one hand and hold the pitchfork in the other. She had her right hand firmly grasped around the neck of the fork while she flailed helplessly in the direction of the disobedient calf. Alas and Alack, the tines were pointed toward her and on one particularly hefty swing that went sailing about with out making contact with the calf, the tines went up while the handle went down and the tines made solid contact with the arm of CMW just above the elbow. CMW thought that it didn’t feel too good, but she saw that the calf was making a few delicate steps in the right direction and adjusted her swing towards him. Again, it did not make contact, but it must have seemed menacing to the little white calf because he turned and left the stall amid made some tentative steps in the right direction.
CMW took this opportunity to gingerly rub the smarting area where the tines had hit and came up with a bloody hand. She craned her neck around to try to see the back of her upper arm, but there was no way she could see how much damage it had done. But it did kinda’ hurt! As she wiped her arm with her other hand, she realized that it was not much more than a surface wound, and would be better “before a kitty laid an egg.” (Old family comfort phrase). The little white calf was still somewhat wary,but when CMW left the area, he trotted right on up into his rightful place and ate his supper like a good boy.
Will he remember tomorrow? Who knows? Probably not. But CMW still has that pitchfork; and this time, should there be such a dilemma, she will be more careful to get those tines in the right direction.
I don’t want to forget your face . . .
I will never forget your heart!
Four months are gone.
Who would have known
How much we miss this man?
So many days
We always marked
By song and food and words.
New Years day, Valentines.
Church meeting times.
Winter Bible School.
Every Single Sunday.
Good Friday’s dearth.
Glad Easter’s Morn.
Our Family gathered in.
And birthdays, too.
No cards to mark our days.
Daddy’s strong sons
Cleaned and put up
Purple Martin houses.
Came back on time.
Built their nests. Mama cried.
The lima Beans
His straw hat on the shelf.
Of who he was
Sits quietly in our hearts.
Four Months Are Gone.
How could we’ve known
How much we’d miss this man?
This is Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife.
I love this picture of Daniel. And I know it isn’t the best picture of me, but it was taken at the meal following Daddy’s funeral on December 22, 2005, and I feel like it almost embodies what that day was like for me. It was a day that was filled with the conflict of life and death, triumph and loss, victory and defeat, joy and sorrow. I felt such a dichotomy in my soul, and my husband was a tower of strength for me. I drew from his strength that day and even more in these days that have followed.
We are far from perfect, and our family is far from perfect. But he has been so good for me, such an encourager, such a good friend, such a stabilizing force in my often capricious emotions. I could not be who I am or do what I do without his energizing support. I thank God for this gift to me and our children.
This is our side yard — with our Kwansan Cherry Tree in full bloom. It looks better in full sun, but the evening shadows were moving in when I took this picture. (Youngest Son, some of these pictures are especially for you — these flowers will be gone when you and your team come home in two weeks.) OOPS!!! that would be three weeks. (“Don’t rush me, you’ll cause me to fall!”)
These are our three daughters, (Blueberryeyes, Jesses_girl and Piecesofrainbows) getting ready to go out to supper at the new Appleby’s that just opened in Milford. Beloved Son in Law was working late, so they decided to go without him. Eldest Son decided to join them after they left, or I might have gotten a picture of him on here, too. (Sorry ’bout that, Stayingfocused — maybe next time I can catch him.)
Spring is coming to Shady Acres. Yesterday, Certain Man began to mulch the hedge roses that line our fence. Last year, he bought me the arbor so that I could get into the front yard without going out to the road to get around the fence. We are still looking for roses or something that will climb over the arbor and go with the hedge roses. In between the hedge roses, there are peonies. These extravagant flowers grow on his mother’s grave, and he has always been partial to them. I am anxious for their fragrant, showy blooms, and from the looks of the buds, it won’t be long.
This is Rach and Beeba. They are my “outdoorsy” girls. I will never forget a day, soon after we moved to Shady Acres, when Beeba (Deborah) was probably 10 or 11. She always climbed to the very top of our huge (30 feet tall) Magnolia tree, and would look out over the country side. A perfect stranger pulled into my driveway one day, rung my doorbell with great urgency, and asked me breathlessly, “Do you know that you have a child in the very top of your Magnolia? I was coming down the road and I happened to look up and there was this head sticking out of the very top!!! Don’t you think you should make her get down?” I did traverse out there and speak to my daughter, but she was safe enough, and it was a great way to get away from life. (Something she has always seemed to need more than the other children, I might add.)
This picture does not really do justice to Certain Man’s one Bleeding Heart plant. He has a number of them in the front garden, and they act like they are in a race with eachother. (For those of you who remember the “Lily of the Valley” escapade, this is the garden where we planted a whole bunch of Lily of the Valley roots — one for each stone, all the way around the garden which has 50 some of the stones that you see there in the foreground. Alot of them are growing, but you can’t see them in this picture.) The Bleeding Hearts could not be more beautiful this year, and they remind me that there are many, many hearts that are hurting in this old world, and hurting hearts can be “showy” in their own ways. But “bleeding hearts” (of the human variety) have an incredible attraction as they allow God to turn the sorrow into fragrance and beauty. . .
I just want to say again: I believe in The Resurrection that we give lip service to today. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead, conqueror over death and the grave, victorious over the scheme of Satan to wreck God’s plan. I believe that in His sinless life, and His death and resurrection, lies my hope of Eternal Life. He died so that I could be forgiven–reconciled to a Holy God. I believe in Heaven, and that we will live there forever and never get done exploring the wonders there. And I believe that this Jesus really is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.
What an incredible HOPE!