Monthly Archives: August 2006

  pretty flowers

The rising wind caught one of my flower boxes and dumped my beautiful begonias on their heads under the weight of the box and the dirt.  I came home from my Mama’s house and found the chaos.  I looked at the strewn dirt and broken stems and battered flower petals.  I thought about the broken things in our lives that we have pretty much given our hearts to, and how sometimes it looks like there is nothing worth salvaging.  I wanted to cry.

more un pretty flowers

And then I remembered another flower box earlier this summer that pretty much the same thing happen to it.  It wasn’t as big as this one, and maybe not as heavy.  But I put the flowers back in as best I could and gave it some careful watching.  And trusted my Heavenly Father.  It grew back as pretty as ever.  I probably couldn’t tell you if I had to which one had suffered the trauma. 

Un pretty flowers

So I picked up these plants as carefully as possible, and laid them up on the table.  I reassembled the planter and carefully replanted the flowers and dirt and added some fresh dirt.   There is a storm moving in tonight, and after that is over, I will snip and reshape and see what happens.  The plants are healthy, just injured.  Maybe Autumn will bear new flowers.

“. . . If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders, I know my brother that He will carry you.

If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders, I know, my sister, that He will carry you . . .”

(By the way — a new song is playing)



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I gave up myself;
You gave me
And Love, like I never
Have known.
And now, though my heart
Has learned of
Your Cross,
I know I’ll not travel
Though disciplined now,
I’ve found in
Your Cross
The freedom my heart long
Has sought.
Not license for
Pleasure or
“Guaranteed Rights,”
But Power to be as
I ought.


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Eldest Son

          It was the hottest day of the year.
         The Yoder sisters and some of their offspringin’s and some of their friends were doing corn.
         Eldest Son had been working in the scorching sun until he was almost wobbling, and had come home and gone to the shower and was now hanging around the action without getting his hands dirty.
          “Uh, Mama,” he said hesitantly. I looked in his direction, not really able to think much beyond what was at hand. (Namely an unnecessarily large amount of corn. Maybe he wanted to help.) (Ha, ha!!!)

         “Uh, Mama. I’ve been thinking. I just might do something life changing.”
          This was certainly a most fractious time to be talking about life changing events. Maybe he was trying to catch me off guard. “Oh, no.” I thought bleakly. ” Maybe –“
          “Son! Are you going to get an earring????”
          “No, Mama. More life changing than that!”
          “You’re not getting a tattoo are you?” (I had temporarily forgotten that he hates tattoos).
          There was an instant “No, Mama. Not an earring. Not a tattoo. More life changing than any of those.”

          I looked up momentarily at this tall son, and then back at the bowl in front of me. A big fan was moving the hot July air in patterns that weren’t helping much, and my hands were sticky. I was weary beyond all reason, and was really not having many original inspirations. I had not the slightest idea of what he was going to do. I didn’t know if I wanted to know what he was going to do. I hadn’t been hearing much about the motorcycle here of late, and he wasn’t dating anyone. He didn’t want to go to college. What was there left to do that would be life changing?

          He took advantage of my silence by saying, “I am thinking of going into REACH.”

          There was immediate response from various family members around the work site. Much affirmation, much joy. Much surprise. I could see that his eyes were searching my face for some clue as to what I was thinking. What was I thinking? I hardly knew myself. Mostly a sense of joy, though, was permeating my very soul. It has been my prayer for a good while now that this Eldest Son would find his “Life Passion” (as Youngest Son calls it). I was surprised, but not unduly. I knew that ever since his grandpa had died, his grandma had been filling in the gap with daily prayers for the future of her grandchildren, and that she had spent many a prayer and many a tear on this particular offspringin’.

          It is many papers, many letters, and many, many prayers later. But not nearly enough days.

          This morning he left for his three month training session in Columbus. Following that, if plans carry, he is going to Nepal for six months.

          This morning, several minutes after six o’clock, we stood in the kitchen. He hates good-byes almost as much as I do. He took me in his strong arms, and bent over just enough to kiss my forehead.

          “Good-bye, Mama.”

          “Good-bye, Son. Be a Man. Remember, we don’t know how soon The Morning.”

          He looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”

          “I mean that we do not know when we’re going to Heaven. We don’t know how soon The Morning. Be a Faithful disciple.”

          “You got it, Mama. I will!”

           And then, he was gone. How well will he remember? It is not for me to worry about, but his Daddy and I will pray that he will be strong, that he will be faithful, that he will live with a constant awareness of the Presence of Jesus, that he will show the way to Life by how he lives.

          He’s our Gentle Giant, and we shall miss him so very much, but it feels so right.

          Be strong, My Son. Be Faithful. We do not know how soon The Morning.

          I love you!


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Certain Man’s Wife and the Snake

Certain Man’s Wife and snakes are best separated by a long distance. She does not like them. In fact, she cannot even think of them as “useful” in her most optimistic moments. There is a good reason for this. Whenever the subject of snakes comes up, it so happens that she is reminded of one of her lesser “shining” moments of parenting.

Back in the late seventies, Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife were foster parents to three boys. Zion was ten, Blandon was four and David was two. (All unrelated. Zion was white, Blandon was bi-racial and David was black.) They also had two little girls of their own — Eldest Daughter was four and Middle Daughter who was a very wee girlie. That made the number of youngin’s five, and quite honestly, for the most part, things went pretty smoothly.

“For the most part, I said. The middle foster child, Blandon, had been abused and had life pretty tough. The only thing was, the longer he was in the home of CM and CMW, the more sympathy CMW had for his poor mother. She would never have been abusive to him, knowing what he had been through, but there were days when CMW thought dismally that, if she had been his mother, and not had the resources for life and help that were available to her, she might have pulled his hair out in patches, too. He was a beautiful child, but he was so naughty. And he lied and lied and lied and lied. The one thing that was helpful was that whenever he lied, he would pull his mouth around his teeth into this wide-eyed, surprised kind of look, and that was pretty much a clue for CMW to not believe whatever wild tale was forthcoming. (Tell-tale face)

On one particular morning, CMW was busy with household things, cleaning and such, and Blandon and Eldest Daughter were playing outside. They pretty much knew their boundaries, so CMW wasn’t surprised to see them running around the front side of the house and having themselves a grand old time. Suddenly, Blandon was in the house, with Eldest Daughter trotting on behind.

“Mom! We saw a snake out there!” Puffed Blandon. (Tell-tale face)

“You what?”

“We saw a snake outside. It really was a snake.” (TTF)

“Blandon, are you sure?”

“Yep, we both saw it, didn’t we, Christy?”

Eldest Daughter was markedly lacking in proper frantic actions, but she nodded assent. “Yeah, we saw a snake out there.”

“Yep, we really did, Mom. It was really, really big! It was this long!!!” And he made a motion about as far as his hands could go (followed by his tell-tale face).

“Listen, Blandon. I don’t even want to hear it. There was no snake out there.”

“Yes, there was! There really was a snake!” (TTF)

Eldest Daughter nodded her head beside him.

“Where was it, Christina?”

“I don’t know, Mama.”

“Blandon, where was this snake?”

“Well, it was outside somewhere, I’m not sure, but we saw it, and it really was a snake!” (TTF)

CMW was feeling pretty impatient with him by now. She had lived in Ohio for almost ten years, and really doesn’t think she had ever seen a snake in any of her yards during that time.

“Blandon, you need to tell the truth. Why do you always lie to me? Christy are you SURE you guys saw a snake?”

By this time Eldest Daughter was beginning to recant. Since then she has protested that CMW always thought that she wasn’t telling the truth so that sometimes she would lie just to get done with the inquisition. CMW resents that accusation. She does not think she did this, but out of fairness to Eldest Daughter, this bit of history needs to be included because Eldest Daughter was definitely distancing herself from Blandon about now and coming around to pretty much saying that she wasn’t sure.

“I’m not sure, Mama. Maybe we didn’t see a snake.”

“Yes, we did. We saw a snake! It was a great BIG snake!”

CMW decided that she had just about had enough.

“Blandon. That’s enough. You go back to your room and sit on your bed until you can tell the truth.”

“Mom –!”

“Blandon!” Said CMW, sternly. “That’s enough! Now go!”

He trudged back the hall to his room, and Eldest Daughter began playing on the living room floor. CMW tried to think what she had been doing, and found it hard to collect her thoughts. She noticed what time it was and thought that probably the mail had gone, and so decided to make a quick trip to the mail box.

“Christy, I am going to run get the mail,” she told Eldest Daughter. “I’ll be right back.”

“Okay, Mama. I’ll be alright.”

CMW opened the front door and stepped out into the sunshine. It was a cool morning, but the sun was shining on the front stoop and the cement blocks beside the front door. She took a step over the ledge –.

And almost put her foot down on a SNAKE!

It was sunning itself in the morning sun that was streaming down in front of the little gray house. She looked down and was so surprised she could have gone sprawling. (Knowing her recent history, it is surprising she didn’t!) She looked down at that critter and wished with all her might that she wasn’t seeing what she was seeing. (Why did God put that snake right there???)

CMW poked her head back into the house. “Blandon. Come here!”

He came out, probably wondering what accusations would be hurled at him now.

“Blandon. Is this the snake you saw?”

“Yes, that’s it. Yes, Mom, that’s it. That’s IT!!!”

CMW looked at that little garter snake and thought many self-justifying thoughts. It wasn’t great big. It was very, very small. But in her heart, she knew that she hadn’t been fair to one little boy, either. So she duly apologized and set him free from his confinement and went to get the mail. She did not disturb that snake. It had caused enough trouble for one day. If it wanted to sit on the front stoop and sun himself, that was alright by her. She had better things to do than chase a harmless garter snake. And she was getting on with them right away!


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(New Music)

First day of School, 2006 fence row 

It’s the first day of school. 
Along the fence row, my roses are bravely blooming and behind them, the Crepe Myrtle is showing off.
How did this summer pass so swiftly? 
Did I get anything important done this summer???


First day of School, 2006

Rachel isn’t really ready for school to start, but she had a great summer. 
I am quite sure that no other child of ours
did so much,
traveled so many miles
or had so much fun
as she did this summer.

First day of School, 2006 waiting for the bus

Against the almost autumn eastern sky, she awaits the big yellow beast that is due any minute.
Ah, my Rachel-girl.  As quickly as the summer has flown by, it seems as if your life is slipping by with a speed that almost takes my breath away.  Before I know it, you will be all grown up.  I used to complain that I was “running out of baby” . . .   Today I lament that I am running out of TIME.


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Them there people 

We had the distinct pleasure of having Eldest Son’s friends here for the night.  There was a Chorus program at Greenwood Mennonite Church, and there were people in the Chorus that Eldest Son is quite fond of, indeed, having made their acquaintance at Sharon Mennonite Bible School back in 2000.
This is Cindy and Charles Fox from Lancaster, PA, to the left.
Angelo Yoder from Partridge, Kansas, on the right. 
And that other fellow in the middle??? 
Well, I guess that Certain Man and I will claim him.  He is Raph Yutzy from Milford, DE.
(Oh, and one more thing — that pretty little Cindy girl and her husband are expecting a baby in nine weeks!!!)



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Five days with Lem 3 

We took a trip to fetch Youngest Son Home.
This was the misty valley, taken from THE GAP.


Five days with Lem 5

And Youngest Son barely stayed still long enough for a picture.
This was the only one I have of him all by himself!
(And it isn’t too flattering!)

Five days with Lem 1

Our Family made a trek to Red Lobster on Tuesday night for Supper.
Monday was Certain Man’s Birthday, and he loves seafood.
On the way home, these three crowded into the back of Beloved Son in Law’s Car.
Youngest Son, His Girlfriend, and Eldest Son
(Lem, Jessica, Raph)

Five days with Lem 2

And then we came home to a family game of Shang-hai. 
Eldest Son was especially  verbal and viscious!
(Can’t you tell?)

Five days with Lem 9

Beloved Son in Law was forced to stand to get perspective on things!


Five days with Lem 6

Does he think that just because he is going away he has executive privilege?

Five days with Lem 4

Oh, well.  Not everyone can win!!!
(I was sitting across the table from this crew.  Youngest Son was beside me.  I should have moved so that I could have gotten some pictures of him.  He wasn’t necessarily behaving so well either!)

And now, For an Update on the “hole in my roof”
(“There’s a hole in my roof-
It’s the TRUTH!
I wouldn’t spoof. . . “)


I have some new lights!  Certain Man called for assistance, and 
Uncle Jesse came on Thursday and put them right in for me, and I think they are beautiful!

My poor kitchen  new lights

Now, if we can just get a drywall guy to come and repair the hole,
we will be in business!!!


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I’m working on some pictures from the past few days — hope to post them later! 

And today has been a most profitable day with important things getting done — so that is a praise!!!

And I have great friends who pray for me and encourage me and remind me of what is really important!

Thanks to all of you!


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Youngest Son is on his way to the wedding and then to college.  Five days just wasn’t long enough.  I never got to have a good talk with him.  What is in his heart?  Where will these days take him?  In my heart, I hear the call for relinquishment.  I gave him birth.  Can I give him wings?

Middle Daughter has started back to school at Beebe School of Nursing.  Her car, wrecked a year ago, is still not fixed.  “Maybe another week or two.”  (For what it’s worth, there are some repairs that are not safely trusted to Polytech’s Auto Repair Shop.)  She cheerfully drives a borrowed clunker, but what a glad day it will be when her beautiful little black Volkswagon is back in operation

Youngest Daughter is starting back to school in one week.  The summer has been too short, and it seems like it cannot be time for this to happen.  She has had quite a busy, exciting summer, and there are good, good memories, but there just wasn’t enough time to do everything.

Oldest Son is preparing for his great trek into the unknown.  Exciting ministry offers coupled with the prospect of the training of the next few months have made him anxious to be done with “this part of his life” and to get on with the next stage.  Tomorrow is his last day of work before leaving.  Then we have a week to prepare.  Lots and lots of things to get done.  And so many things that I’d like to say before he goes.  Will he hear?  Probably.  Will he listen?  I hope.

Cecilia has come down with a miserable case of shingles.  Cecilia, who on the best of days, can be challenging, is really causing me to cry out to my Heavenly Father for grace.  I don’t blame her for being a bit troublesome.  Shingles is a miserable disease, and I know she is uncomfortable. And when you can’t see and you don’t talk, it has to be frustrating.   We waited in the walk-in clinic today (her doctor is out of town) so that the State could have an “official” diagnosis on a piece of paper.  And of all the things that Linda hates to do, waiting is the hardest.  Especially in public places where there are people watching.  Today she threw her shoes while I was signing her in, pulled up her shirt, coughed and burped loudly and snorted about.  Now she has a Darvocet in her to help with the pain, and she is sitting quietly.  Nettie, bless her heart, has been co-operative, helpful and kind.  I’m sure it isn’t easy for her, either.

To be honest, I am so very tired.  And on days when the good-byes are so fresh as well as so pending, I long to see my Daddy’s face and hear his comforting words.


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We got home on Friday night after traveling over a thousand miles in about 36 hours, and sitting through re-entry stuff at Rosedale Bible Institute.  My poor tailbone had an ache that I decided to label

But Certain Man’s and my Youngest Son is home for just a brief time — He leaves again on Wednesday morning to go to Ryan Kauffman and Sabrina Beachy’s wedding in Indiana.  From there, he heads to Cedarville College for his sophmore year. 
How very much we are treasuring these days!

And then, in less than two weeks, Eldest Son leaves for Discipleship Training in Columbus for three months before leaving for a six month term in Nepal.
While we treasure the days, we also count them. 
How very much I will miss this
Eldest Son!

And all of these things are contigient upon one thing.


If you see me and there is something glaringly amiss, do not panic.   (It is all part of the shell-shock!)


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