Monthly Archives: January 2007

She would have liked it.  The service she so carefully planned.  We all did our best, and I could almost see her peering over the edge of Glory saying, “You’d better get it RIGHT!”  (We tried, Dear Friend, we tried!)

I have been trying to remember how it was that we became friends.  There were so many years of laughter and suppers out and confidences shared and good, good times. 

 I remember one time while Certain Man was still a self employed plumber that we girls, Ethel and I, decided to go out for lunch together.  This was something we never did without our husbands, but we felt like doing something different for a change, so we made our plans and were amused at our husbands’ exaggeratedly aggrieved airs.  They made some mention of having a secret of their own, but these fellows often made such statements that were intended to arouse curiosity.  We settled ourselves comfortably in the restaurant of our choice on this particular day, and had just gotten our salads, when who should come down the aisle but our two men.  We were both surprised, but even more astonished when they continued past our table, on around the restaurant to a table on the other side.  (The had gotten the hostess to take them on this deliberate parade around the restaurant)   There they ate their lunch with the highest, mightiest air imaginable.  We thought maybe they came to be nice to us (NOPE!)  or to pay our lunch for us.  (They didn’t.)  We thought maybe they wanted us to come join them.  (Negatory!)  Something!!! We could hardly believe that they were miffed about us going out without them.  (They were!)  We secretly thought it was pretty funny, but I suppose you could say the guys won that one.  We never did that again.

The road was not all easy.  We didn’t always understand each other, and sometimes, understanding,  chose different ways of responding.  I am so thankful for these last few years when we could reconnect, forgive each other, learn to extend grace to each other, and there, found a friendship that was was rich and full and rewarding.

Ah, my Ethel Friend.  You were a friend that sharpened me as iron sharpens iron.  You made me think, you made me go back again and again to God’s Holy Word to see just what it REALLY said.  You were full of courage, you didn’t ever consider anything more important than TRUTH, and you were never afraid of confrontation.  I can truly say that I do not remember a time when you were cowed by what people thought.

You were strong.  You were consistent.  You were beautiful.  You loved JR and John and Brian and Evanna and Brianna and Briar with a love that sought their good, knew them intrinsically, and in the harsh, heartbreaking knowledge of your soon homegoing,  equipped them for life without you, and made incredible memories.

Today, surrounded by so many people whom you loved and who loved you, I find my heart so numb.  The busy-ness of these last few days was easier for me than the waiting of the last few weeks.  There was finally something to DO besides wait.  But in that busy-ness, I feel a numbness, a sense of the surreal.  Right now, I am so thankful that you are done with this old world and its heartache and pain and suffering and disappointment and grief and loss.  But there will be a time — No, there will be many times when I will look for that smile, when I will listen for that inimitable voice that so often said, “Yes, but, Mary Ann——-!!!!”  and I will miss the friendship of a gal whose very difference from me gave me reason to love her.

I’ll see you in The Morning!


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 . . . And so, she’s finally HOME!

Ethel, my comrade, friend, buddy and pal —

How very much I shall miss you!



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Be careful out there!!!!

Wreck 2


Route 36 is really slick!  You all be careful!!!!

This is what just happened in our front yard.

(Nobody is hurt.  Thank God!)

(And it isn’t our vehicle.  Thank God!)

(But I feel really sorry for the nice young man who was driving this pickup — he was on his way to work, and a patch of black ice surprised him.)


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Our Family had a wedding!!!!

Joni Alene Slaubaugh married Daniel Geissinger
(Honestly, Joni!  What kind of name is that?!?!?!)

JW Dan and Joni

The day was cold, but that didn’t dampen any of the spirits, for sure!

JW Dan's Grandpa preachesJW Repeating the Vows

Dan’s Grandpa, Adam Espenshade, brought the message, and Joni’s pastor, John David Swartzentruber perfomed the ceremony.

JW Dan and Joni 3

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Geissinger

JW Cutting the cake     JW Cutting the cake 2

The cake was cut and sweetly fed . . .

JW The receptionJW The reception 3

In a most tastefully decorated “Barn.”

JW The reception 4

Dan is a train enthusiast, and so the decorations were centered around that theme

JW The Reception 2 JW The reception 1

Around the centerpieces were small trains, and these little wooden train whistles. 
(Since there were no glasses to tap, the whistles served as the irritating call for a kiss!)

Some of these pictures were taken by Ashley Copenhaver.  Some were my own,  (and I honestly do not know whose were who at this point.  If it is a good picture, it was Ashley’s.  Otherwise, blame me.)

Here are a few family pictures.  I seem to have missed out on the ones I really wanted — of Sarah and Bert’s family.  So these will have to do.

JW Watching and waiting JW Joe and his sweet gal

The Bride’s Sister with her Mom and Dad.  Joni’s brother Joe with his gal, Tasha

JW Edie JW Joni and her brothers

Little sister, Edie has a pensive moment, while Joni poses with her brothers.

JW Mama and the couple

I don’t know what was so funnny, but I love this picture of my Mom with Joni and Dan.

Faces in the Crowd

JW  Jerrel and Alma JW Queena

JW MIke JW Lauren

JW Beloved Son in Law  JW Uncle Nelson with Jadon


JW Heidi and Uncle Mark


JW Bert and Maria


JW  Josh and Maria

JW  Elmer Bug eyed

“If I can survive this, I’m quite sure, I can survive anything!!!”







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Some pictures from Raph’s Trek!

He said he would send some and he did!!!

(Well, two, that is . . .)

Web Bokhara, Itrek 1



Web Trekking-Langtang 077 2

(But he didn’t give me any explanations, so you all will just have to enjoy the scenery and imagine where they are and what they are doing.).



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   God Will Take Care of You

  Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
  God will take care of you;
  beneath his wings of love abide,
  God will take care of you.

  God will take care of you,
  through every day, o’er all the way;
  he will take care of you,
  God will take care of you.

  Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
  God will take care of you;
  when dangers fierce your path assail,
  God will take care of you.

  All you may need he will provide,
  God will take care of you;
  nothing you ask will be denied,
  God will take care of you.

  No matter what may be the test,
  God will take care of you;
  lean, weary one, upon his breast,
  God will take care of you.

Civilla D. Martin 1904

Last night, our family enjoyed a long, long call from Eldest Son.  He is really doing fine, and even though he is somewhat homesick, and even though it seems like a long time until he can come home, yet he says, “I know that this is an experience I will look back on and always be thankful that I did it.  I know this where I am supposed to be.” 

This morning, Gokum’s husband led the above song during our church’s worship time, and I thought about how I can trust an eternal, all wise, loving Heavenly Father with this son that I miss so much.  “Through days of toil, when heart doth fail, God will take care f you.  When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you!”

And then, in Sunday School, my friend, Thisisloretta, brought the most incredibly encouraging “show and tell” in the form of a little ty “prayer bear” whose name was “Hope.”  Her grandson had given it to her for Christmas, and the story behind the bear, and the story of Loretta’s journey gave me renewed vision as Loretta reminded us again that our only real hope lies in prayer.

It’s been a bit of a tough week.  There has not been a single time when I felt caught up, and even though life goes on in situations like this, it isn’t very comfortable for me.  And then, at the wedding the other day, things were going along quite well, and then, suddenly, there was this big picture of Daddy and Mama and Joni — lifesize on the screen, and I was overwhelmed with this deep, deep longing to just talk to Daddy again.  It just seems like it has been SO LONG!

I’ve had such a sense lately of the reality of him being alive somewhere.  Those streets of gold?  He’s THERE!  The Crystal Sea?  He’s sat beside it.  That City Foursquare?  It’s no mystery to him anymore.  The Face of Jesus?  Ah, he’s looked into those eyes of love and heard the words, “Well done!” and known the joy of being HOME and being FREE.  For so many long months, he just felt so gone.  And now the grief is different some how.  The memories are softer, more comforting, and though I find myself missing him suddenly, and unexpectedly, that terrible dull ache is not so ever-present.  And I really can think of him in specifics when I read what is written to us about Heaven in God’s Holy Word.  It is a welcome gift.

Tonight, thinking of this old world, and the things that I cannot change, I find myself with the tears streaming down my face, dripping off my chin.  I do miss my dad.  I miss my sons.  And I feel so sad for my friend Organic_Survivor and her family.  If any of you reading here haven’t been keeping up, please check in at and whisper a prayer for all of them keeping careful watch there these long, long hard days. 

 JR, you and your family are never far from our hearts and from our minds and from our prayers.

“No matter what may be the test . . . “

Lord Jesus, may we be found faithful!


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News from a distant land

Hey Momma,

  I just returned from two weeks of torture that i don’t think i would wish on my enemies. I hate trekking. It only took me until about noon on the first day to realize why. We were climbing and climbing and i couldn’t breathe and my legs were shot and all i wanted to do was jump off a cliff so wouldn’t have to walk anymore. We climbed from 6,600 feet to 13,000 feet in the first two days. Torture. One the nepali guys looked at me and Asks “It like punishment?” I was like yeah!. I hated it. But i made it through and i took some decent pics and saw some amazing sights but i’m glad that its over. I forgot to bring the snail mail address but you don’t need to send me any thing cause i’m not going to be here in kathmandu that much more over the next 4 1/2 months. And i found an internet cafe that i can call home from and it’s not that expensive. 
So i will try to call sometime before the end of the month.

  . . .  Time can’t go fast enough for me.

  So we are going to be here in Kathmandu for the next couple of weeks and then we go vacation. Todd Is coming at the end of the month so that’s exciting.

  Well i was going to send some pics but i couldn’t get them to work so maybe next time when i have more time.  Love you and miss you everyone for that matter. Talk to ya later mom.  Love Raph




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Certain Man, being the “tree” man that he is, always buys a real live Christmas tree for outside.  On Saturday, He decided that it was time to plant it out in the Christmas tree row.  This is how he goes about such an operation:

Planting the Christmas tree 1

He carefully hooks his loader to it and carries it to where he wants it planted.

Planting the Christmas tree 2

And it eventually gets into his row.

Yesterday, I was putting away Christmas decorations:

putting away Christmas 2

The three Snowmen in the center were Old Gertrude’s and she loved them dearly.

putting away Christmas

 On the spur of the moment, I decided that I should set up one of our small lightweight tables to bring “stuff” to so I could organize it and put it away properly.  I was feeling just a bit upset with my lack of progress, and so I was visciously slamming down the legs and then I upended the thing — (just a little table, 2X4 and plastic, for pete’s sake!) and it came down, and caught my pinkie between itself and the laundry hamper that just happened to be in the way.

putting away Christmas 3

Oh, my!  Did it ever hurt.  I grabbed my pinkie in true Yutzy fashion (They declare that direct pressure on any pinch, burn or bump will lessen bruising and pain) and tried to not weep.  I did lean over in great turmoil and stood up and bobbed about, but the pain was invincible! And after several long seconds of this, I opened my hand and there was copious amounts of blood there.  And it really, really hurt.  And the fingernail is loose-ish at the bottom and the finger is purple round about and I have great throbbings therein.  I suppose that I shall lose that nail.  With any good favor, it will slide off silently some day and that will be that.  I am not holding my breath.


In other news, Certain Man and I got to go away for the afternoon yesterday.  We went to Rehoboth;

  Sand and Sea    Fence and sand and sea

 walked on the boardwalk, (Which was practically deserted!)

Almost empty boardwalk

discussed the many things heavy on our hearts and stopped at the Cracker Barrel for an early Supper.

Cracker Barrel

  It was a mavelous time (Except that my poor finger throbbed most of the time).

Today I have two sick ladies.  Cecilia has a fever of 101º and Nettie girl has one of 101.4º  –  so they are both home!

Must run — there is laundry to do and house to straighten, and not enough time!


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There is food to be put away, and many other things to do.  In a little over an hour, our small group will be meeting here, and I am so not ready.  We had a carry-in at church today, and I came home with extra food.  For some reason, there was lots and lots of food.  (And now the hard part is getting it all away — I do not like putting leftover food away.)

This is a very abbreviated post.  I have not been feeling very interesting, and when I have stuff to write I have been too busy.  Maybe I can do more later.

Blessings for a great week!


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Scenes from the weekend . . .

It was quite a weekend!  Lem and Jessica were home for the last few days before going back to college, and we decided to take the family to the new steakhouse in Camden, DE.  We had tried once before, and the wait had been too long, so we thought we would get there before four o’clock in the afternoon, and maybe we wouldn’t have to wait quite so long.  Well, we got there and we had a grand time waiting:

These are the faces of waiting:

A -- Debs, Jessica, Rach

Deborah and Jessica and Rachel, sit on the bench and wait.

A -- But Chris, you don't understand

Certain Man explains something to Eldest Daughter . . . and waits

A -- Rachel and her daddy

Youngest Daughter was chilly.  She finds an armstrong heater while she waits.


A -- Beeba

Middle Daughter almost never “just waits.”

A -- Jesse

Don’t let this angelic look fool you for a minute.  Beloved Son in Law is thinking about stealing the sign he’s leaning on while he waits.  (It WAS very conveniently loose!)

A -- Lem and Jessica

Youngest Son and Girl Jess are very hungry, but still smiling (and waiting!)

A --  CM & CMW

Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife wait and hold down the bench, too.

A -- Jesse, Lem and Jessica

Beloved Son in Law and Youngest Son solve some of the most pressing political issues while Girl Jess listens in.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, they called our number.  But when we got into the restaurant, they were seating us at two separate tables.  And their only solutiion (Although we had waited that long because we were a party of eight) was to say that we would have to wait a long, long time to get a table together.  Youngest Son pulled out his cell phone, called Lone Star Steak House in Dover, explained our problem, and was told, “Come straight up here.  I will set the table now, and seat you when you get here.”  So we all piled back into the van, went on up to Dover and had a simply wonderful time — and the manager gave us a free appetizer as well!  The food was wonderful, the service was wonderful, and we didn’t WAIT.

We came home to play a came of “True Colors”

A-- game

Eldest Daughter’s find at “God’s Way to Recovery” Thrift Store

A -- Lem plays Colors

(Some of us had more interest in this game than others did!)

Yesterday we had some dinner guests, and I got to do one of my favoritest things of all:

A -- Aunt Mary and Nevin

I had bought this “Mammals” book for Nevin’s big brother, Carson, a long time ago.  The animals intrigue the little guys, and we can spend hours looking at it. 

(My other favorite little guy was dodging the camera just off to my right, and none of the pictures with him turned out very well.)   

What a great weekend!  And now it is back to the regular schedule —

Which, quite truthfully, I am more than ready for!



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