Shady Acres * 7484 Shawnee Road * Milford, DE 19963
And suddenly there was with the Angel, a multitude of the Heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke2:13,14 KJV
Dear Family and Friends everywhere,
This is a bright December day in Delaware. The temps this week have been more springlike than Christmasy – maybe that is why I am finding it hard to get this Christmas letter written. You know, the weather doesn’t change the fact that the season is here once again, and it is high time to undertake the writing of our Christmas Missive.
The year of 2007 has been somewhat normal at the Yutzy Household. “Normal” in that there were the usual amounts of activity, challenges, good times, milestones and disappointments. We are all getting older, but the Daddy and Momma at this house feel it the most with each passing year pushing us farther and farther away from being young. Having young adults living at home probably makes us feel our age more intently, but we are so thankful for our offspringin’s that are still living at home.
The Daddy at this house, sometimes known as Certain Man, wears many, many hats. He has now worked for the State of Delaware as a plumbing inspector for almost seven years. Along with those responsibilities, he’s been raising chickens, taking care of our needs as a family, and still serves as deacon for Laws Mennonite Church. There are many demands upon his talents and time, but he still found time to set up one of the most spectacular Christmas villages ever. His oldest sister, Lena, was with us over Thanksgiving and she was his right-hand helper this year. The two of them made a marathon of village building and were able to complete the task in two days. The result really is impressive. Stop and see it sometime if you are in the area!
Eldest Daughter, Christina, and Beloved Son-in-law, Jesse, are one of the bright lights in our family. They continue with the same jobs that I’ve told you about in the last few letters – Jesse as a key employee of Burris Logistics, and Christina as a babysitter for two precious little boys. In the past few months, Christina has been quite involved with a local drug and alcohol recovery house/thrift store enterprise. She volunteers her services there to help wherever needed in the thrift store, and organized/prodded our youth group into providing Thanksgiving dinner for the men who live at the recovery house. She has been active in helping to decorate for Christmas at both the house and store, and her gentle heart is touched by the gratefulness of these men who have had so little kindness in their lives. Jesse is amazing in his support and encouragement to her, and he continues to be an integral part of our family as a son and brother.
Middle Daughter, Deborah, (or Beebs, as she is affectionately called by people who love her) has had a year of great accomplishment. She is a Registered Nurse! Finally! She graduated from Beebe School of Nursing in May and is working in the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospital. She has had amazing opportunities, heartbreaking situations and miraculous interventions, and it is a never-ending source of wonder to see how God is at work in her life in so many different ways. She teaches the youngest children of our church in Sunday School, and enjoys engaging them in conversation and listening to their many concerns and prayer requests. Her presence at home makes it possible for me to have some much needed breaks, and we are glad that she has decided to live at home for now. She is in the process of signing up for classes that will turn her “RN” into a degree (BSN) in nursing, but the tug of the classroom seems to have lost its hold on her right now.
Eldest Son, Raph, spent the first five months of the year in Nepal with a REACH team under Rosedale Mennonite Missions. He came home in the late spring with stories that stirred our hearts and made us thankful for his willingness to go (he does not feel called by God to make trekking his life’s mission)– and glad for his safe return, too. Since home, he worked briefly for a company that manufactures counter tops, but eventually made his way back to the employer he had before going to Nepal. So he is back to building, repairing, remodeling houses, and seems content. Before going to Nepal he met a young lady from Holmes County, Ohio, (Regina Yoder) and the two of them corresponded while he was gone. Now that he is home, they are in a relationship (which must be somewhat serious because for the first time, I am allowed to mention this type of thing in the family Christmas letter.) His car that more or less sat idle while he was gone, has had its share of trauma since he is home. On a trip home from Ohio, it tangled with a guard rail and it was only by God’s grace that he and it were spared farther injury. Then just this week, on his way to his company’s Christmas dinner, a deer with suicidal tendencies flung itself in front of his car, and so there is another repair bill. The car has been accommodating of the many demands that Oldest Son puts upon it, and for that we are grateful, but it surely would be nice to not be on such a friendly basis with the body shop that is just around the corner.
Youngest Son, Lem, has been a man with an agenda this year. He is currently a junior at Cedarville University, pursuing a degree in social work, on his way to becoming a Marriage and Family counselor. Did someone say ‘Marriage’??? Yep, they surely did! On a beautiful, warm night in June, Lem proposed to the girl that he has loved for a long time, and she said “Yes!” Lord Willing, there will be a wedding on June 21, 2008, and Lem Yutzy and Jessica Lee will become husband and wife. There are many decisions ahead for this young couple. Jessica will be graduating from Messiah College in May with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Business Administration. They plan to live in Cedarville next year while Lem finishes his Bachelors, and plans from there are still being made. We love Jessica, and believe that she is God’s gift to Lem in so many ways, and are looking forward to seeing how God will use this couple for good in this world where there are so many hurting and troubled families.
Youngest Daughter, Rachel, had her first “real” job this summer. When the opportunity came up, we were almost certain that she would never be happy helping a local couple with their flower and vegetable gardening at their spacious country estate, but she was just as sure that she wanted to try. She did a great job, even though she may not have always been happy, and the couple was effusive in their encouragement and praise. Rachel learned so much as she weeded and deadheaded flowers and watered the drought-stricken gardens. There were times of discussion and new ideas and interesting happenings that gave her opportunities to speak her faith and opinions and she grew in confidence and grace. Joe and Sally have offered her the job again next summer, and at this point, it is her intention to return. Another high point of her summer was spending two weeks in Ohio at Choral Camp as a counselor. She plans to return there, too. She is a junior this year at Greenwood Mennonite School and stays very busy with studying and other school activities such as senate, quiz team, basketball, and as a teacher’s aide in the Kindergarten room once a week. In just a few days, she will have completed her first year of driving and the final restrictions on her driver’s license will be lifted. She is her daddy’s (usually) faithful “chicken picker-upper” and is a willing helper around the house, too. We enjoy this youngest offspringin’ intensely.
The two ladies who live at our house are the same that were here last year, and we are thankful for the blessing they have been to our family this year. Nettie came in the “middle of a muddle” in July of 2006, and there have been incredible miracles in her life and mind. It is something that the state of Delaware hoped would work out, but God’s incredible grace to us as a family, (and to Nettie and me in particular) in the daily care and medication management has been the only logical explanation for how well she has done. Paranoia and Schizophrenia can be an unpredictable mix in the best of situations, but to see how God has given us what we have needed when we needed it and to see how Nettie has tried so very hard has been a miracle of no small proportions. Cecilia has been here for almost eight years, and we are continually searching for ways to keep her comfortable and happy. Having neither words nor sight is a dreadful thing for anyone, and Cecilia must often feel frustrated with our haphazard guessing. She was moved to a less “busy” room at her center, and we believe that will be a blessing to her, but she hates change of any kind, so there have been some major upheavals for her to adjust to over this past year. Another plus for her was the provision of a wheel chair for her when she goes on excursions. As of yet, she still dislikes it greatly, but hopefully she can become acclimated to over time. We believe it could be a great freedom for her.
My Sweet Mama has had many stretching experiences over this past year, and we continue to be amazed at her resilience and health. She is doing very well physically, and is committed to coping with life as it is – without Daddy. She spent some time in Pennsylvania this summer with my second brother, Nelson, and also gone to North Carolina to spend time with Granddaughter, Shana and her family. This season is especially poignant for all of us, as we mark the second anniversary of Daddy’s Homegoing. One of Mama’s doctors told her, “It is like an amputation, Mrs. Yoder. You will adjust. You will be able to function. But you will always miss what has been taken from you.” And that is so true. We will just always miss him.
Life for the Momma at this house, often known as Certain Man’s Wife, has been a little like being on one of those bucking horses at the supermarket – lots of activity, but not getting anywhere fast. I managed to break my foot back at the end of September, and it has been very slow in healing, which is quite aggravating to me, indeed. I hope to see the doctor for the final time this coming week, and I surely am hoping for good news. I enjoy the gals at my Thursday Morning Bible Study and dearly love those in my Sunday School Class. There is always a lot to occupy my hands and heart, and I am grateful for the opportunities.
We have a spare room! If you would like to visit us, please call us and we will gladly make space for you. We are so thankful for the Friends and Family that God has blessed us with, and when we count our blessings this Holy Season, we remember you! May you and your family be the recipients of God’s best blessings in the year ahead.
Have a Blessed Christmas!
Daniel and Mary Ann Yutzy and family