Monthly Archives: April 2006

CM and CMW


Daniel and Mary Ann at funeral

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.



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W-Quanson Cherry Tree-2


        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!”)

     W-Rach, Chris and Beeba      

      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.)



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Spring at Shady Acres


w-spring driveway

 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.

w-rach and beeba

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.) 

W-bleeding heart

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!



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spring, 2006001 

And the tulips keep on growing . . .




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Easter Story Cookies

The following is a recipe that I got nearly ten years ago.  I have used it over and over again with the children that have been a part of our family over the years.  Youngest Daughter and “our”  Hispanic children used to love to be involved with the making of the cookies. (I remember that one year, Vicente broke one of my wooden spoons while he was beating the pecans.)  Just this morning, Lupe, who is now 18 mentioned wistfully that we haven’t done this for a number of years.  I plan to do this tomorrow evening even if I have to do it all by myself.  I put markers in my bible with the references on them sticking out so that I can find each verse without having to spend time looking for them.  I hope that some of you will find this to be a blessing in your family.


To be made evening before Easter

You need:

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch Salt
1 cup sugar
Heavy duty baggie
Wooden spoon
Masking tape

Preheat oven to 300 (this is important — don’t wait ’til you’re half done with the recipe).

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.  Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. 
         Read John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.  Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. 
         Read John 19: 28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. 
         Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. 
         Read Luke 23:27.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.  Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us to know and belong to Him. 
         Read Ps. 34:8  and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.  Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.  
         Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. 
         Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.  Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. 
          Read Matt. 27:65-66.

GO TO BED!!!  Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.  Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. 
         Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. 
         Read Matt. 28:1-9.


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        This has been a sunny day.  The tulips in my barrel are starting to burst into color.  If they continue to grow and bloom, I shall have quite a spectacle!  It is chilly, though, and that isn’t quite so nice. 
       Yesterday, the hot water heater at church sprang a leak.  By the time it was discovered, there was 8″ of water in the basement.  We will have a big job to get it back into order.  Tomorrow night, we are getting together to tear up the carpet, rip out the cupboards and try to clean up.  The almost new fridge is ruined.  We were about an inch near the motors of the two furnaces, and they would have been gone as well.  Last night, MaryKayGirl’s husband went up late and was able to get the furnaces started, but sometime during the night, the breaker flipped, so we had a cold church this morning.  It didn’t take too long to warm up, though, and we had a good service this morning.  I’m so thankful that the warmth of the Holy Spirit isn’t chilled by the temperature in the sanctuary.
       I have been having a difficult time on Sunday mornings here in the last few weeks.  Last week, when my sweet Mama was called on to pray in Sunday school, I could hear my Daddy’s voice behind her words as familiar praise and petitions were given, and I thought for a while that I would need to leave class.  This morning, there was no one to sit in the spot that he always sat in, and the whole bench was even empty.  I could scarcely look in that direction without losing it.  I know it has to seem strange to my Brothers and Sisters in the church family, because it seems rather peculiar to me, too, but I guess this is one of the seasons of grief, and I am not going to try to squelch it.  
       You know, Xanga friends, this is Holy Week, and many of you (us) are coming to an Easter that is the first for us after losing people we love.  It is my prayer that sorrow will be the springboard to Hope, and that as we think of what the empty tomb means to those of us who love the Lord, it will have take on meaning like no other Easter.  

       Lift your glad voices in TRIUMPH on high,
       For Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die;
       Vain were the terrors that gathered around Him,
       And short the dominion of Death and the Grave.

       He burst from the fetters of darkness that bound Him,
       Resplendent in Glory to live and to save:
       Loud was the chorus of  angels on high,
       The Savior hath risen, and man shall not die.

       Glory to God, in full anthems of joy,
       The being He gave us, death cannot destroy:
       Sad were the life we may part with tomorrow,
       If tears were our birthright, and death were our end.

       But Jesus hath cheered the dark valley of sorrow,
       And bade us, immortal, to Heaven ascend:
       Lift then your voices in triumph on high,
       For Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die.
                                              ~Henry Ware


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    For those of you who received this as an e-mail, you will just need to skip re-reading this — But it is the story of my day–
     Sometimes it feels like these last fifteen weeks have been an eternity.  This week, while driving Mama home from a CAT scan, she suddenly said, “Sometimes I just feel like I HAVE to see your Daddy.  I just feel like I will look up and he will come walking in.” And the tears began to fall.  I said to her, “You know, Mama, I really do understand how that feels — not to the extent you do, I am sure, but there are times when I just feel almost desperate in my grief.  That it seems so unending, somehow.  But that has had its sweetness, too, because it turns my heart towards the hope we have, and towards the Father, and that ALWAYS helps me.”  And the good thing is, Mama has found that true, too.  
        Today she and I made the trip to University of Baltimore Hospital for a follow-up with her doctors.  The news is wonderful.  She is doing great.  Everything is as normal as it can be after an esophagectomy.  The four people most involved with her treatment all came in today.  Dr. Gamliel (the surgeon), Dr. Doyles (the Chemotherapist), Dr. Sumtha (the Radiologist) and Tiffany (the P.A. for her Radiation therapy).  Each one of them was more than ecstatic with her progress.  They don’t need to see her back for six months, and in another year, hope to go to once a year.  Dr. Gamliel has a special affection for her, and he keeps turning the praise for her success back to God.  He is Jewish, and has been almost reticent about talking about God, but today he said, “The longer I am in this business, the more religious I become.  I cannot take the credit for the healing.  That is from above.  And I can do the same thing for different people and it all works out differently.  I know that it is a higher power.”
        In the course of our conversation, I said to him, ” Who would have thought that she would do so well?  Isn’t it amazing, when you think about last year at this time and all she has been through?  I look at how great she is doing and I am so thankful!”
        He said, “You want to know who would have thought?”  He raised his hand towards Heaven.  “And I thought so, too.  I felt the fire when I first met you and I knew that you would do your part to get well.”
        And so, on a day like this, we really miss that Daddy.  He would have been driving around Baltimore, looking for a cheap parking place, striding down the sidewalk so fast that we could barely keep up, waiting impatiently in the waiting rooms while he felt that people were purposefully making him wait, and shuffling his feet in the presence of the doctors who were trying hard to help Mama, zipping out ahead of us to bring the car from where ever he had parked it, then sailing along in his precious car while we tried not to see the risks he took on I-695, I-97 and Route 50 and the bridge, and coming home to Yoder drive, pulling up and heading first of all to the mail box to see if the mail had gone, then trotting over the nursing home to see if there was any lunch left to bring over for him and Mama. We really do miss him so much.  But he would be so proud of Mama.  She grows stronger every day, and she is embracing life and the changes with courage.  She will always miss “her” Mark.  Dr. Gamliel told her today that losing him is really like an amputation.  He will never come back, and things will always be different, but she can cope, and she can learn to get along, and she can even enjoy living, but it will never be the same, and there are times when it will hurt.  And that is true.  All of us are finding it so.


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