Monthly Archives: July 2006

You’ve seen our little row of pole limas in a previous post —

 pole limas

They have finally started to get big enough to eat.  The other night, I picked enough to have about a cup–

(I know, I know.  —But I really did want to pick them and cook them and eat them — so I cooked them up with some left over ham, and Certain Man had them for lunch, and I got a taste of them.  Yummy!)

Tonight I went out, and there were a few more.  I stood there in the evening coolness and picked my Pole Limas and thought about my Daddy.  Last Summer, he was busy with the big patch of lima beans that he and Mark, Jr. always grew.  They did splendidly, and we all received from the bounty.  I have one bag left in my freezer, and I cannot bear to cook them. 
They are a tangible link to this Daddy that I miss so much. 

I wonder what he’s growing in Heaven . . .


Pole limas 1

I came into the house and put my little bit of beans on to cook while I cut up some tomatoes that needed cooking.  I made those beans exactly the way Daddy loved them.  Cooked with some butter, salt and a dash of Sweet and Low in more water than usual.  When they were just tender, I added some regular coffee creamer to them, and they would have made him smile. 
But when my own Certain Man came in and saw them on the stove, it didn’t take him long to have some, and they made him smile, too. 

The smiles of two good, good men.

One smiles in my memory.  The other smiles in my kitchen.

How much better could it be?

Lord Jesus, for golden memories of lima beans and summer days;
For the love of two men who love you first and most;
For the extravagant benevolence you have given to me —
Gifts too numerous to count . . .
I give you praise this day.


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My Poor, Sad, Youngest Daughter!!!


Poor Rachel w2

It’s red, and it itches and it burns and it isn’t very pretty, either!!!

Even the doctor doesn’t know for sure, but it seems that she has either ingested or inhaled or gotten too close to something that really doesn’t agree with her.  We’ve thought and thought and thought and thought, but, alas, we cannot think of a single thing that could have caused this. 
Maybe. . . 
(How sad would that be?)

Get better quick, girlie. It’s no fun being drugged up with benedryl.



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This morning, on the Bender Forum, my friend and second cousin, Louise Digennaro wrote a posting that included the following poem.  Louise’s Mother, Rachel Schlabach went to Heaven a week after Daddy, and for all of us who are missing loved ones this morning, I know this poem will strike a responsive chord.

from Streams in the Desert  (Author Unknown)


If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back-

‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;

And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,

Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.


Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;

Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;

That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,

He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.


Oh friend, call back and tell me for I cannot see your face;

They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;

But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,

And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.


But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,

And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky-

If you have gone a little way ahead, oh friend, call back-

‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stormy track.


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Nine years ago . . . .

Yoder Breakfast

On Wednesday mornings, various of the males of the Yoder family get together for breakfast.  Some time ago, our cousin, Joe Bontrager and his fair wife, Gloria, hatched a plan to have us all come to Uncle Eli’s house in celebration of the 88th birthday of both Aunt Ruth (July 16th) and Uncle Eli (July 20th) on the Wednesday that fell between those two days.  Another milestone celebrated in April was their 65th wedding anniversary.

Breakfast --   Mom and Uncle Eli's best

Uncle Eli and Aunt Ruth at the breakfast table, talking to my sweet Mama.

 Breakfast --  Chris, Esther and Ilva

I don’t remember what was funny, but here the second and third generations enjoy a chuckle. (Or is it third and fourth?  Someone help me here!)
Christina Bontrager, Esther Leese, Ilva Hertzler

 Breakfast --  gloria, frieda, chris
For all I know, this could have been the same chuckle, because this was the other side of the table.
Gloria Bontrager, Frieda Yoder, Christina Bontrager

 Breakfast --  Joan
I hate it that Joan had her eyes closed on this picture because she looked so GOOD this morning.
(Oh, well, she still looks good, even with her eyes closed!)
You can just see Esther over there to the left, and Gloria sneaked in here beside her daughter, Sherrie, and then, of course, it’s Joan Mills

 Breakfast --  Joe, Dave, Aunt Dottie
In Uncle Eli’s sunny dining room, left to right was Dave Hertzler in the blue shirt.  Next is Joe Bontrager (Celebrating his birthday, too. 60 years!  I don’t see how anyone who looks so young could be sixty!  It must be Gloria’s good care.) There is an empty chair there beside Aunt Dottie.  Uncle John had just gone into the kitchen to pass on greetings from Uncle David to those congregating there.  And at the end is Aunt Dottie.

 Breakfast --  Kathy, Clint and Mom
Ken’s youthful wife, Kathy, sitting beside my brother, Clint.  Mama was getting ready to leave to go to our house to do CORN (of all things!) so she was saying her goodbyes.  I understand that Clint’s behavior went slightly downhill after she left.  Maybe she should have stayed and kept an eye on him.

Breakfast --  table talk
It is my understanding that that misbehavior was egged on by the young man on your right, Ken Yoder, hisself.  Yes, sir!  He is talking to Uncle Daniel, very sedately and calmly.  But don’t let that fool you. We of the family all know that genial, engaging exterior is but temporary.  But what would we do without Ken???  Smile less, I am sure, but maybe worry less, too.  Beside Uncle Daniel is Uncle Jesse and then Aunt Gladys.

Breakfast --  lucy, joan, ilva
One last picture of the kitchen gals.  I am including this one because I believe it is the only one that captured Lucy.  She looked great, too.  So perky and trim.  Here the cousins, Ilva, Joan and Lucy enjoy the “after breakfast” conversation.  It was a sweet time, and we missed those who couldn’t be there.  Maybe next time???
(I surely hope so!)

        And then it was time to get home and get on that last day of corn.  But the good time gave me energy and the memories made my heart light as I went back home to the job that was waiting.  I am so thankful for my aunts and uncles and cousins and the in laws that have come into our family.  I am thankful for the fourth generation of young people that are coming on, many of them committed Christians, and concerned about living the life of the Lord Jesus to the world around us.
I confess that I missed my Daddy very much that morning.  He loved getting people together for Wednesday morning breakfasts, and he reveled in being in the presence of his brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces.  I came down the road to Shady Acres and cried some tears for what was missing there that day.   But while that almost kept me away, I am glad that I went.  The memories of him are sweet, and being with our family brings them back with new clarity.  And that is a good gift.  Thank-you, my family.


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 3,416 ears of corn went through the cookers at Shady Acres between Monday Morning and Wednesday afternoon.  I haven’t begun to think about the output — but it was probably at least 300 quarts and was for the benefit of nearly a dozen households.

 First, there is the picking, but I didn’t get any pictures of that.  But thanks to all who picked — Mark Jr., Alma, Bert, Joe, Elmer.  That is one of the hardest jobs of all.

corn days --  we husk 5 

This was the last day, and there wasn’t as much corn on this day.  Notice the optimism on the faces!
This is Middle Daughter, who is an optimistic help at the beginning and a bossy slave driver of a cooking supervisor by the end of a long day.  (Love you, Deborah, and so thankful for your help!)


 corn days --  we husk 4

Deborah and her two youngest cousins, Elmer and Edie, who were her slaves in the process.

corn days --  we husk 3

Elmer  worked very hard for a nine year old boy.  He made many a load lighter.

 corn days --  we husk

This is my Sweet Mama who lent a willing hand even when she was almost too tired to put one foot in front of the other.  You will almost never see her in a t-shirt, so note how pretty she is in this Choral Camp tee.

 After Husking, there is the cutting/washing/silking to do.  The first day of corn, we did 728 ears for Gokum and Gracegiven.  We got 80 pints and 27 quarts.  A good day!

 corn days --   we cut

Gokum came back to help every single day.  What would we have done without her? 
Thanks, Ilva!!!  How very precious are the friends who stick by us

 corn days --   we cut 3

This was another job that Mama helped with faithfully.  Her back really let her know that she had been doing stuff she wasn’t quite accustomed to doing, but she was such a good sport

 corn days --  we wash 4

Edie kept her fingers busy and wet with the washing/silking procedure.  She was another faithful helper.

 corn days --  and wash

Jesses_girl was always my “water baby.”  When she was a little girl, she could occupy herself for long periods of time with pouring water from one container to another until the water was gone — usually over the front of her little frock and all over the ground.  She is still one of our best water people when it comes to this procedure.  She sticks to this wet messy job until it is done, though she sighs often.

 corn days --  We work

This is Gokum, Jesse_girl and me, cutting the corn off and packing it.  Here the true picture of our activities breaks down, because I didn’t get any pictures of the cooking or the cutting off procedure that involved five cutters and two cookers and four cooling stations.  Our temperatures were unbelievable with the heat index over a 100 degrees.  Most of the time, we were HOT, sticky, HOT, wet, HOT, and with corn all over our hands and clothes.  I just didn’t really want to handle my digital camera with those sorts of conditions, so before I knew it, everything was cleaned up and I didn’t have the pictures of the hardest parts of all.  But I promise you, I am not going to do another day of corn just so I can get a picture of it all.  You’ll have to wait for next year. The thing that troubles me most is that there are no pictures of Sarah, Alma, Bert, Josh, Liz W., Joni, Queena, Ethan, Dave Hertzler, Ed, Beloved Son in Law, and Certain Man.  Each of these lent hands in the process, and Sarah and Alma were pretty much the ones who most deserve a picture — So, So Sorry, Sisters of Mine.  You gals are pretty much my cohorts in this yearly insanity. 

Eventually there was reason to rejoice.  We were done!

 corn days --  April

Gracegiven’s smiley face pretty much says what we all felt.

(When I spell checked this posting, the spell checker wanted to change “smiley” to “smelly!”  I had to wonder if that wouldn’t have been an appropriate adjective for most of our persons.  Thank God for “smiley” faces when we all had worked hard enough to be “smelly!!!”)

Thank God for a great crop, but thank God, it’s finally in the freezer!

corn days --  we sleep

This little lady, Gracegiven’s precious little Victoria, endured her first corn day with aplomb and grace.  She smiled and watched and eventually conked out in the pack’n play without disrupting the process more than minimal maintenance.  We all were envying her this carefree nap, but after being so good, she certainly deserved it!

For the Yoders who are looking for pictures of the Yoder Breakfast on Wednesday morning —
Hopefully tomorrow!


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May I remind all my

fellow laborers that

food to put in the freezer

 is an incredible


Thank you, Lord!!!


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 Yesterday was so sweet. 

Dick, Jean and us

Daniel and I on the left, Dick and Jean (Witmer) Stauffer
 on the right. Good times.

Daniel and I went to Lancaster for the day to have some stress-less time together.  (We were in need of quiet time to talk and to relax!)  About 8:30, I thought about the fact that Gary Burlingame had given us a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel for our anniversary, and we planned to use it at Lancaster’s Cracker Barrel.  I had learned to know a gal from Lititz that graduated with some of my cousins from Lancaster Mennonite High School, and we had some very common threads running through our lives.  On impulse, I e-mailed her and asked if there was any way that she and her husband could meet us there for lunch.  She called back while we were already on our way to Lancaster, and God made a way for them and us to meet for a most enjoyable time.  

Later that night I commented this to Jean on her Blog site (

“. . . What a precious, unexpected blessing to meet the Stauffers face to face, and to talk foster care and broken hearts and uncertain futures and great kids with the perspective of having the same FATHER.  Thank you so much for making the effort to join us today.  It meant a great deal to us. . . ” 


From lunch at Cracker Barrel that got over inordinately late, we drove to Denver, PA to see our friends, Bev Martin and her parents, Ted and Jean.  A friend of hers also joined us for the late afternoon and evening together.  And I forgot to take pictures, so I dug some out from last fall when Bev’s daughter got married in the garden that is carefully tended by Bev’s energetic Mom and Dad.  So these pictures were taken last fall, but you can still get an idea of the lovely setting.

Bev and Daniel 9-05 

This is Bev with Daniel last September. 

 Bev's Mom's Garden gazebo

There is this lovely Gazebo up the little hill.  This is where we grilled hamburgers, made s’mores and visited.

 Bev's Mom's garden

The garden is a many splendored thing.  I have never seen anything like it on a private property.  It is just incredible!  And one elderly couple has done it all.  Bev’s Mom designed and laid the many stone paths and built the pond and the stream that leads into it.  She and her husband fashioned a pump system that pumps water up the hill, and then it goes down over this water fall into another pool, then overflows onto another water fall and then cascades into a huge pond — which she also fashioned and has stocked with lots and lots of hungry goldfish.

Bev's Mom's Garden 2 

This is the upper water fall

Bev's Mom and Daniel

This is Bev’s Mom and Daniel talking by the fish pond.  Being there was just so relaxing.  Bev’s parents had another engagement last evening, and left around 6:15, but we and Bev and her friend enjoyed the evening until around 9:00, when we left for home.  Pulled in around 11:55, and called it a day!


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Praise the LORD! The foot is not fractured! She has to do some exercises that the doctor gave her, and take it easy for the next week. (Which is going to be hard for her!) However, she should be fine. Keep on praying, and thanks for all the prayers already sent up on her behalf.

Deborah for BEG, who is in PA on an outing with Certain Man.


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 July 14, 1973

the two of us

Greenwood Mennonite Church
Who could ever have believed what our life together would be like?

This is Daniel’s Uncle Walter, preaching and preaching and preaching.  (He didn’t believe in a short wedding “meditation” back then).  I am showing this picture because I think alot of you will see the back of people you know and love — and many, many who have gone on to Heaven. 

Walter preaching 

And the vows were spoken

The vows are spoken

The Ministers

Walter, John and Uncle Jesse  

Walter Beachy, John Mishler, Jesse Yoder

Our Ushers

Our ushers 

Leslie Yoder, Mark, Jr., Keith Beachy, Vernon Hostetler 

One of our guest receivers

Alma Jean 
. . . my little Sister, Alma Jean

Our Singers

Our Singers 

Shirley Yoder, Gladys Yoder, Rose Yoder, Velma Magill
Jonathan Yoder, David Yoder, Paul Yoder, David Hertzler
(These are old pictures.  I wish you could see them better!)

And we had table servers

Our Servers 

Front: Emma Lou Beachy, Lois Byler, Ellen Layman, Marlene Troyer, Martha Helmuth, Boni Helmuth
Back: Susan Grove, Debbie Kramer, Karen Yoder, Steve Miller
(Some of these gals are married, and I don’t know what their last names are now!  Isn’t it funny how people are good enough friends to be a part of your wedding and then you lose contact with them?  If any of you in this picture read this posting, I’d sure be glad to hear from you!)

This is the wedding party

wedding party 2 

Ilva Hertzler (my cousin),  Ruth Yutzy (Daniel’s Sister), Sarah Yoder (my sister) were the bridesmaids.
Joseph Yutzy (Daniel’s Brother), Nel Yoder (my brother) and Dennis Yutzy (Daniel’s friend) were groomsmen.

I’m so glad for pictures, otherwise I don’t think I would remember anything about this day.  It went past in a great haze, and when I look at the pictures, then I remember all the good, good moments.

 Ilva's favorite

Here that gal we know as “gokum” and I share a reflective moment.  This is one of my favorite pictures of her.


I gave them all away 

And this is one of my favorite pictures of Daniel.  Sometimes when I go to weddings today, I am amazed at the expense that people go to when they gift their attendants.  We just didn’t know better, I guess, but it really wasn’t common to give large gifts.  Daniel had bought nice pens for his groomsmen, and in this picture he is showing me that he really had passed them all out.

It is hard to believe how young our parents looked, isn’t it?
Daddy was only 43 and Mama 44 when we were married.  I can scarcely believe how young he and Mama look in these pictures

Parents and couple 
Ralph and Sue look a whole lot younger, too.

And then there was a reception.  We had opted for a very small wedding cake with sheet cakes for the rest of the crowd.  It was the way we wanted it, and it was just fine for us. We picked the flowers for our wedding the morning of the wedding and we used the fresh roses to decorate the cake.

At the reception


reception table

Daddy and Mama with the Strites
Here my parents visit with Lewis and Anna May Strite, parents of Ruth Ann Strite, a Pen Pal that I had gotten through the Reader’s Write of the old Sunday School paper, “Words of Cheer.”  Ruth Ann was there somewhere, but I never got a picture of her.  We seldom see eachother, but still correspond at Christmas.

walking out 

On and On we walk together —


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Raph's hair

From this — in the summer of 2004


To this:

RAph's buzz 2 

as of tonight–

My Son, My Son.

What next???

He certainly keeps me guessing!


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