Monthly Archives: September 2006

Friday Musings

Riding in the car on this golden, golden day.
Clouds sailing high, and breezes just perfect.
I remember last year at this time, and find a catch in my throat.
(Where are all these tears coming from?)

Last year, we were on our way to the wedding of a precious nephew.
Daddy was preaching the sermon, and he was doing so well healthwise. 
He and Mama rode with us in our van.  What wonderful memories!
(“I wanna sit where you wanna sit!”)

Last week, one of Daddy’s friends died. 
One of the last memories I have of him and Ivan was at church.
He and Ivan, two very sick men.  Standing in the foyer.  Heads bowed.  Praying together.
(Oh, Daddy were you there to welcome him home?)

This morning, in far away Florida, Uncle Monroe died.
We knew it was coming, and this week has been long.
Long because of his suffering.  Long because of our sadness.
(Dear Florida Family, how very much your courage has blessed me from afar!)

Our Sweet Mama is grieving so hard.  I see the pain in her eyes.
I hear the sorrow in her voice when I talk to her on the phone.
She took flowers to Daddy’s grave this week for the first time.
(“He isn’t there!” she says, and she is more real than I am.)

“Last year at this time. . . ”  I’ve said it so often.  Remembering things this whole year long.
Today, thinking ahead, I realize just how much I hate to see this year end.
It feels like he isn’t quite so gone when I can say, “Last year at this time. . . “
(Is this year even a minute to you, Daddy Dear?)

I feel so “left behind” today. Like I am missing out on something really important.
The “Song of the Redeemed” has been singing in my heart for many a year.
But somewhere, there’s a harmony to that song being sung that I can’t quite hear.
(I wonder if my Daddy is singing tenor?)

It feels like a long, long time since I’ve seen my Daddy’s face.
And it feels like a hundred years since I heard my Daddy’ voice.
And it seems like a thousand years since I got that last hug.
(How can these days be so interminable in their brevity?) 

And so, I know that there will be days like this.
There will be days when I will remember him and smile.
And there will be days like to day when I will just miss him.
(The good part is, I’m really not missing out on anything there! Heaven Waits!)

And some sweet day, we’ll all be going home!



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If you all want to know
where I’ve been the last two days, go on over to and you can see
the whole sordid tale
(including some not so flattering pictures, I fear!)
  I forgot my camera
(and nearly my head, if the tale were to be told!)
so Polly gets the honor of chronicling the trip!


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Lord of many blessings,

Here I raise my grateful praise —

For Golden Autumn Days.

For a Washing Machine that works.

For MERCY from a case manager over clerical errors.

For MERCY from a pharmacy when insurance wouldn’t cover Nettie’s much needed meds.

For a Husband whose words and hands and actions speak LOVE.

For Offspringin’s whose respect is more than I deserve.

For this big old farmhouse that has been home for seventeen years.

For the Love of a Sweet Mama whose presence blesses and encourages me.

 For our Church Family.  For Sins Forgiven.  For the Eternal Hope of Heaven.

Oh, Lord Jesus.
So many things to be thankful for!
So few words to adequately express my praise.
May you be pleased to inhabit the praise of your handmaiden.
And may you be pleased to live in my heart.


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Samuel John, September 19, 1976

Thirty years ago today.

Eighteen hours of labor,

Then merciful darkness.

But they took you away,

And I never even knew

What color your eyes were.

Have you met your Grandpa?

Do babies grow up in Heaven?

Will you know me and Daddy

When we get there?

Child of our broken dreams,

You know better than we do,

(Because your knowlege is perfect)

The plan that gave and took away.

And it is wise and right and good.

Today I think of you and believe

That this was really best.

These thirty years have proved it so.


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WCS-Happy Birthday, Aunt Dottie

Grammadottie had a birthday!  And our women’s group at church celebrated!

(She’s had a tough year, but she’s doing great.  We’re so glad you belong to us!)

Happy Birthday from all of us in Xanga land! 

(And welcome to the Xanga family)


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*Cousins’ Sleepover*

We came together, after looking forward to this night for so long . . .

CSO - Velma, Judy, Gloria, Amy, Lucy

Velma Magill, Judy Stroop, Gloria Diener, Amy Herr and Lucy Yoder

There were 16 of us here.  When it all began, there were 60 first cousins.  28 of us were female, 32 were the other kind.  But we lost four of the boys, and so, that makes us pretty much even.  28 of both! 


CSO - Naomi, Alma, Sarah

Naomi Miller, Alma Heatwole, Sarah Slaubaugh

 The evening was pretty much the kind of thing that Yoders love (and that lots of other people seem to find threatening)  Laughter, tears, stories, memories, a devotional, and then time for every single one of us to share where we are in our lives right now, and how we are coping with the packages that life has handed us.  We were supposed to bring something that symbolized who we are, or where we found ourselves right now, and those objects were left on the coffee table and it was left open for people to pick up the different items with the understanding that it would remind us to pray for eachother. 

CSO - Lucy, Amy, Susie, Melanie

Lucy Yoder, Amy Herr, Karen Miller, Melanie Ressler.

What an incredible blessing this time was to each of us!  If there was any one thing that seemed to be mentioned over and over again as the night progressed and the morning came, it was that this time was appreciated more than any other activity. 

CSO - Judy, Joanie, Gloria

Judy Morgan, Joanie Mills, Gloria Diener


CSO - Ilva and Shirley

Ilva Hertzler, Shirley Miller  (The two cousins whose pictures didn’t make it on here were Donna Jones and yours truly.  If you are counting, I think that really does make 16!)

Ilva was the one who hatched the idea of a cousins’ sleepover, more than a year ago.  Ilva loves slumber parties, and she is always trying to coerce people into coming to one that she is either planning or thinking about maybe having sometime, somewhere.  This was one that finally came together, and all of the gals who came agreed that it was over much too soon, that they would never have wanted to miss it, and that we needed to do it again.

To my dear cousins —

I’ve known your names and your faces for as long as I can remember.
Tonight I know  part of your life stories.  Some of your sorrows.  Some of your triumphs.  Some of your failures.  I know your hearts in a way that I have never been privileged to know before.  And I cry for the broken hearts, broken relationships, broken children, broken dreams, broken bodies.

But I salute your bravery, your resilience, your love.

And I bow in awe before your faith.  We really do have a treasure in earthen vessels.  No one knows better than we do how imperfect we are.  But we also know that we have a Great Savior.  And we have learned to trust HIM! 

How my heart sings to know this to be true! 


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Certain Man got awake in the wee hours of a rainy September Morning and decided that it was time to go home.  All the way home, the cell phone kept ringing and ringing.  His beloved Aunt Lula was dying and the extended family was keeping watch in rural Plain City, Ohio.  He was often pensive, often uncertain as to how the next few days would pan out. He had missed the funeral of his Old Order Amish aunt, Alma Kauffman, less than two weeks before, and though there was really almost no way that he could have gone, the regret that he voiced over and over again was a wrenching in my heart as I realized how much he had given up.  “Lord Jesus, please, could you make a way for him to go to this time?”

We pulled into our driveway on Wednesday afternoon around 12:30, and it was so good to be home in Milford, DE once again.  Home looked so good to both of us, and Certain Man commented about the roses that had come out just since we left.  We (mostly HE) got the car unloaded, and the mail gone through.  The phone rang again, several times, and then the call came.  Aunt Lula had taken her final journey about an hour after we got home.

I wondered what I could say about Aunt Lula that would really say what she was like.  We saw her less than a month ago, stopping by her house on our way to bring Lem home from REACH.  She was not feeling good, but she was upbeat, optimistic and glad to see us.  She was in the final stages of Ovarian Cancer, and she sat on the couch in her house and spoke freely of her soon homegoing.  When I hugged her good-bye I said, “Aunt Lula, when you see my Daddy, tell him I love him and that I miss him.”  She laughed her inimitable laugh.  I could see in her eyes that she really didn’t think she would be thinking about earthly messages when she reached the other side.

Tonight she is there.  In the presence of Jesus.  She has left behind that pain filled body, the inconveniences of pain and morphine and bedpans and hovering relatives.  When she visited our family a few years ago, she stayed at Jess and Chris’s house.  Christina told me that she heard her in the bathroom one day, just talking to herself and laughing over her own private jokes.  That was the way she was, always laughing, always so full of joy.  I thought about her winging her way home yesterday, and could almost hear her chuckle with delight at what was waiting for her there.

Certain Man is on his way to his family.  He was able to get a reservation out of Philadelphia this afternoon at a reasonable price, and he and his oldest sister, Lena, were supposed to arrive in Columbus around the same time.  They were going to rent a car together and go to Plain City this evening.  CM’s flight got cancelled then, because of bad weather, but he caught another flight out, sat in New York City for four hours, but should be on the ground in Columbus, even as I write this.  I haven’t heard because his cell phone was nearly out of battery and he had packed his charger in the luggage that he checked.  Hopefully I will hear soon. 

Tomorrow he will spend at his parents’ house.  His Father has some things that he wants Certain Man to do.  Ralph, (His father) has gotten increasingly feeble over the last year.  He falls often, and is sometimes confused and even incontinent.  His wife has a difficult row to hoe, and the children have tried repeatedly to put into place some things to help ease the load but have been met with resistance.  They may not really understand what it is that will help most, but they have tried hard and they all wish there was a way to connect with their father in meaningful ways.  The extended family has frequently offered grace to these children– first when their mother died when they were all very young (ages 2-11) and then as the years passed and they grew into young adults.  They feel keenly the loss of their Aunts and Uncles, and I am not surprised when the funerals draw them back like magnets to connect with other family members and to remember the days when a smiley, compassionate Aunt Lula helped to care for her grief-stricken brother’s five motherless youngsters.

And now I just talked to him.  He just landed in Columbus, found Lena, and is looking for his luggage.  And I am going to bed.  These days that he is gone hold lots to keep my mind off of missing him so much.  The house is almost never empty, and tomorrow is a Female Yoder Cousin’s sleepover, and I have looked forward to that for a very long time.  I promise you that Certain Man will not be sorry he missed it.  Probably I won’t be sorry he missed it, either.



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We’re Home!


And we had a great time!


But Home is truly


Home Sweet Home!!!


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On this gorgeous Autumn Day,


Just me and my Best Friend —


We’re going away . . .


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Sweetest Picture —

Uncle Lloyd with his grandkids

I have an Uncle.  His name is Lloyd Gingerich.  (He married my mother’s sister who is just older than my sweet Mama.  That’s how I got him as an uncle)   He is 82.  He is funny and active and smart and a big tease.  He and Aunt Orpha have 7 children.  Their youngest, Marie, was born when Uncle Lloyd was almost 43.  She didn’t get married until her late 30’s.  She and her husband Kirk Vredevelt have two of the cutest little people you ever laid eyes on.  Tonight on our family forum (the Wertlink) we got this picture of him holding Henry and Elizabeth.
It made me smile.
Maybe it will make you smile, too!

“. . . Blessing unto the third and fourth generations those who fear Him. . . “


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