Monthly Archives: January 2008


One word

Hundreds of mind sets

Thousands of opinions

Millions of people


One young husband of six weeks

Arrested, deported.

Hundreds of questions

Thousands of pieces of  broken hearts

Millions of tears.

And to me, there is still just one face

That says it all.


 My little Latin Lupe-Lou
May God hold you and your beloved
In His protecting hand.



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We remember . . .




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There has been a heartbreaking journey that has threaded its way through our lives as a community and as part of the greater Mennonite Church family.  It started on June 21, 2007 with a blog on a newly began site:

On that very first blog was the following picture:

Melanie 1

Melanie Miller.  Or “Mel,” as she is known to the people who love her.
  An unexpected twist to her young life has made all of us more aware of how quickly things can change — how precious is every single minute that we have.  In this picture, she was getting ready for surgery.  Many, many unknowns lay ahead.

To get the whole story, you need to go to the blog and read from beginning to end.

Tonight, on the latest blog, her daddy asked that we spread the word, publish the link.  The love and prayers of family and friends has been a source of strength for them, and they are so thankful for each and every person who has taken time to pray, to write a note, to visit, to care.

Please pray for Marty, Lori, Lauren, Joelle, Melanie, Cameron, and Jana.

Melanie 2
The Family
(This picture was taken about a week after her first surgery.)


And now, these short months later, this precious girlie is fighting for her life, but so loved and so held by that love and the love of The Father.  Please, pray for her and her family. 


This is one of the latest pictures on the blog.  Melanie is a very sick girl (though the last 24 hours have been a little better again).  We serve an incredible God.  Marty and Lori have blessed us with their confidence and trust that He loves them, He loves Mel, and He is worthy of our praise.  What a challenge they have been to me.  Everytime I read their blog I feel like I’m on Holy Ground.

Marty and Lori — We love you.  We’re praying.



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The Christmas Village is still up — as beautiful as ever.

But the time is coming for it to come down.

If you thought you would stop and see it and watch the train run around the track, better do it this week.

Certain Man is talking about taking it down this weekend.

Z-Village 12

Z-Village 4

Z-Village 15



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I couldn’t sleep last night.  This never happens to me.  Well, almost never.  But I had some of Chick-fil-A’s  wonderful sweet tea entirely too late last night and the caffeine in that stuff wouldn’t go away. 

Today was an unusual Thursday.  Usually we meet at a welcoming house up on Sandy Bend Road for Bible study, and the many children run and play while we ladies congregate around a big kitchen table and talk about Life and what God’s Word has to say to our lives right now.  There’s been lots of laughter, lots of tears, and I come away inspired by these young women who are King’s Daughters and want, with all their hearts, to please Him.  Right now we are studying a book on Hospitality that is stretching me in ways that sometimes causes me to squirm and re-evaluate some of the things I’ve always done, some of the things I want to do, and at other times, gives me affirmation that I feel I desperately need.

But today there was much sickness among the little people.  And our capable young babysitter was rather unavailable because her mother suspects that the two youngest of the brood of nine have whooping cough and is calling for a quarantine of the house.  This is one precious young mother that I don’t think I ever envy, and I especially don’t now.  Nine children in the house and whooping cough?  Dear Lord Jesus!  Have mercy!

So I got to stay home today.  I worked on laundry, I paid some bills, I cooked some chicken, I baked some bread. I “puttered around” and did homemaking kinds of things that do my heart good.  I had a chat with a neighbor and tonight had a significant talk with our “Little Latin Lupe Lou.”  Hispanic life in slower, lower Delaware is anything but “slower” (but it certainly is “lower.”)  My heart continues to break for the turns and twists of this young woman’s life. 

Tonight, there are a great many of things that wring my heart.  In our neighborhood right now there are several significantly ill people.  When I was thinking about what I could do, I felt so ashamed at how little I have cared for the physical needs of the people within sight of my windows.  People are literally dying. . . and some of them without the Hope of Heaven.

What was it that Jesus said? “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink;  I was a stranger, and ye took me in;  Naked, and ye clothed me, I was sick, and ye visited me;  I was in prison, and ye came unto me . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matt 25:35-36, 40b.  The thing that grabs me the most of this passage is the “shoe leather” Christianity.  There are needs in this old world.  God’s people have the wherewithal to meet those needs —  and in meeting some of those physical needs, the doors open for the Words of Life to be spoken.  How I pray that I do not fail God or these people whom He has put into my back yard.

I believe that I will sleep tonight.  There is much to accomplish yet tomorrow before the weekend and the many things that demand our attention, but this precious day was an incredible gift and for this, I give joyful praise!



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Saturday Morning at Shady Acres.   Eldest Son slept in, then came downstairs to wonder about whether or not his car was coming home from the body shop soon.  It was supposed to come today.  By lunch time.  He wanted to go to the bank.  Finally, he gave up and took the family mini-van to the bank.  And came home again to wonder aloud many times if his car was going to come home.

After much fussing around, in the early afternoon, he and his Dad took a ride down there and were able to come in on the final washing of his newly repainted and repaired car.  He was quite elated.  But he still had several hours before he needed to be anywhere, and he was bored. 

“Mom,” he said suddenly.  “I think I  would like to make some peanut butter pie.”  I must have looked at him askance because he hurried on, “I want to make it myself.  The time might come when I would be hungry for it and you might not be around, so I think I would like to learn to make it.  Everything.  Even the crust.”

This was not exactly what I had planned for this afternoon.  There was bookwork calling me, and other Saturday jobs, but I was rather pleased at this initiative, so I agreed that this would be a great time for him to learn to make peanut butter pie.  “Besides,” he added plaintively, “I am really hungry for peanut butter pie right now.  It has been a long time since we had it.”  I’ve been doing some pondering on that one, and I know we’ve had it since Thanksgiving.  But he didn’t get any at Christmas, so I suppose that has been a long time.

So we started with the crust.  I told him the ingredients and how much of everything, and he actually showed a good hand at this measuring and combining part of it.  “This is good,” I thought.  “I wonder if he will stick by it till the end.”  After cutting in the crisco and mixing the “wet stuff” together and then sprinkling the dough with it, he sat down to form his first ball of dough for rolling out:

AA-  The beginning
Here he is shaping the dough carefully in preparation for rolling it out.

AA-  The beginning 1
Here he spreads the plastic wrap carefully on the table.

AA-  The beginning 2
Rolling it out takes careful concentration, but with the help of a form and the help of motherly instructions, he actually did very well with the pie dough business.

AA-  The crust in the pan
Put it into the pan, smooth it down carefully.

AA-  The cutting
Then trim off the edges carefully with the knife.

I was sure I had a picture of his big fingers gingerly going around the pie crust, making almost perfect crimps, but I can’t find it.  One of the later pictures will show the crimps, though, and he did a great job!  After they were all crimped and pierced with a fork, he put the crusts into the oven and baked them.  They were gorgeous looking pie shells.

The next order of business was to make the peanut butter crumbs.  This was another step I neglected to catch on film.  Let’s just say that he made crumbs with vim and vigor!  Lots of them.  You see, my crust recipe makes crust for three to four pies.  He stretched it to four, and then decided that all four of them would be peanut butter.  This would take lots of custard and lots of crumbs.  So he got the crumbs made, and spread a layer in the bottom of each of his baked pie shells. 

Then it was time to make the custard.  This was where I figured he would wear down.  It takes time and patience to make a perfect custard.   But he measured the flour and salt and cornstarch and sugar, he separated a dozen eggs and mixed the yolks and a cup of milk with the dry ingredients while the milk came to a boil on the stove.  Then he mixed the hot milk into his egg mixture and then poured it all back into the sauce pan till it came to a nice boil. 

AA-  The stirring
He stirred it carefully and patiently and was soon rewarded with a beautiful, thick smooth custard. 

He turned off the heat and measured and added the vanilla and butter.  It looked wonderful and smelled even better.

AA-   Almost done
When everything was fully mixed, he poured it into the waiting pie shells.

Youngest Daughter, in Wal-Mart with her friends was able to procure some cool whip for the tops.  She and her friends came home to hang around and giggle and be impressed.  Eldest Son finally said that anyone who laughted at him couldn’t have any.  This caused even more merriment, but did not deter the chef..  Finally, when the pies had cooled sufficiently, the cool whip was applied:

AA-  Applying the cool whip

And after that,

AA-  Putting on the crumbs
The crumbs! 
(I know, it looks like he’s putting on Cool Whip, but it really is the crumbs!)

And then the pies were done.  They were far better looking peanut butter pies than I had ever made, and that is the honest truth.  I think Eldest Son was quite satisfied with his efforts.

AA-  Me and my pies
What do you think?  Aren’t they beautiful pies?
And doesn’t he look pleased with his accomplishment?
The only drawback is that now he thinks he is the boss of those pies.
So if you want a piece, you will have to ask him.
(And you can’t have any if you laugh at him!)
I heard him saying something about being able to eat them all himself, even if it took a couple of weeks. 
(I think he has some things to learn about the quality of old pie.)

Way to go, Raph!  I really am so proud of you!



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If you haven’t already done so, please go to:

to see a smiling Mark, Jr.

Safely home from the hospital.


While there, find out about another “homecoming”

For a two-year “Wanderer”

We’re so proud of you, Polly-Wolly.



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ZZ-- Evening At Mama's Mark and Polly 2

Final Update . . .

This is one last update.

        The surgery is over.  The appendix had not ruptured.  (The doctor did say,  “That was one rotton appendix!  It really needed to come out!”  They were able to do it by laparoscopic proceedure, everything went very well, and they are hoping to discharge him tomorrow afternoon.

        I am so thankful for all who prayed and for our Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayer.

        And now, I believe I will try to get some sleep.

Edit # 2

 Polly called and said that they took Mark to surgery around nine o’clock.  They told Polly not to expect any word at all before at least an hour.  That is if the appendix hasn’t sprung a leak or burst.  In which case, it will be much longer, and they told her that they will not come out and tell her.  She is just going to have to wait.  So.
        I told her to call me up until midnight, and I will pass it on. 
        Mark was in far better spirits.  Polly said that this is because he was sure that it was something far worse than appendicitis, and he was so relieved to know that it was “only” appendicitis that he was feeling quite light hearted, indeed.  We are all happier when Mark is happier!
And that is the truth!

 Mark is in the hospital, waiting to go to surgery.  They started an IV, he is getting medication through that, and he is feeling better.
The doctor said that he should/could/would
go to surgery around eight o’clock.  The Doctor said that the CAT Scan looked good — it did not appear that the appendix was ruptured.  He said there was a “stone” sitting in there somewhere.  I have never heard of that.  The surgery is planned to be laparoscopic, but if they get in there and there is any perforation, it will need to be otherwise. 
Please continue to pray!

Please Pray for my brother, Mark, Husband to Pollythepatchworker.

He has been ill since Saturday, and today went into the hospital.

They ordered a CAT scan and he has acute appendicitis.

He was so sick, that when the CAT scan was done, and they told him he could go home and they would call his doctor with the results, He did just that.

When they called him and told him that he had acute appendicitis they told him to stay at home and wait for a call from them because they didn’t have a bed.  Talk about frustration!!!

Well, now they have called and he is on his way to the hospital.  What the treatment plan will be, I don’t know.

And on top of that, he lost his wallet.  Though we who love him dearly are not surprised by this, it is another great inconvenience!!!  

Please, please, please pray for him, for Polly and for all their family.

I will try to update as there is news.


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It’s been a quiet week at Shady Acres, my home farm.  So far.

Yesterday I betook meself to the doctor — (Not my family doctor ) —  for the first yearly checkup that I have had for probably about ten years.  I can’t find my records — Dr. Han disappeared and all my records went into oblivion.  Of course it didn’t help that I waited so long to try to find them.  And put off going because it has been so long. 

Guess what!  I remember with great clarity a few other reasons why I put it off.  I know that at my age, I cannot afford to ignore — well — anything, I guess.  At least judging from all the papers and tests I have been ordered to get.  Everything seems to be fine, but I guess they want to make sure.  When an old friend died of ovarian cancer just before Thanksgiving, it caused me to ponder my negligence.

When trying to reconstruct my medical history, I had great reason to review God’s incredible goodness to our family.  I was especially reminded of how things could have been so different with the birth of Eldest Son.  Of course, this kind of doctor is always interested in birth stories — and to have a 9 lb. 12 oz baby  ten minutes after rupturing membranes in a labor bed with a labor that had been going nowhere is a bit unusual.  But the blessing of that was that he came so fast — because when he was held up, there was a triple cord wind around my fat blue baby.  Twice around his neck, then going around his torso under his arms.  He still spent three days in the ICU nursery, but he really was fine.  But if he hadn’t come so fast . . . Well, I am just so thankful he did.

I often look at my tall (6’6″) son, and think of how things could have been so different, except for the grace of God.   He wasn’t named “Raphael” (The LORD has Healed) on a whim.  There is no name that would have been more appropriate.


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