Monthly Archives: December 2008

RRS Thanksgiving weekend 042
Youngest Son and his Fair Wife came by this morning to say good-bye.  They are on their way back to Cedarville and her job and his school.  When I thought about the fact that Youngest Son had not had a single bite of Graham Streusel Cake all week, I got busy and made one for them.  When they came in, it was almost out of the oven, and Youngest Daughter had made a pot of Caramel Truffle Coffee.

After Christmas Trauma 001a

Jessica had a bad headache when they stopped.  We got her some
Excederin and Lem had some coffee cake and some coffee.  Certain Man stopped
in long enough to say a prayer over them and to eat a little cake and
then they and he were on their way.  I finally got the metal cake pan
cover and shut this cake up.  Every time I went by it, I could hear it
calling my name.  I said to Certain Man, “I am not going to eat one
piece of this cake.  And I need you to hold me accountable.”
  (He isn’t
much help in such situations, as he feels like I should know what I
should eat and he refuses to police such things.)

After Lem and Jess left for Ohio, and Certain Man headed out to his inspections, I got busy on my next project.

After Christmas Trauma 002a

I would have made them earlier, but the only person in this family who likes these besides me doesn’t live here any more (That would be Eldest Daughter).   And the persecution that I endure when I “stink up the house” to make pickled eggs (or red beet eggs, or whatever your neck of the woods calls them) is something to be reckoned with, indeed.
However, I had promised Oldest Daughter that I would make them for the Youth Group Fundraiser that is coming up at our church on New Year’s Eve, so I thought I had better get at it. 
So, now the eggs are pickling, and all I have to do is make a seafood chowder of some sort for that evening, and my part will be done.  Which reminds me.  Everyone is welcome!  If you look at my posting for New Year’s Eve a year ago, you will see that we really do have a great time.  So come on out and have some soup and salad and pickled eggs and whatever else might be available!

And now, it is back to that laundry room and some much needed “end of year” business.

Edit:  Recipe for Pickled (red beet) Eggs
two dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
4 (16 oz) cans of small, whole red beets
2 cups brown sugar
1½ cups vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. whole cloves
two inch stick cinnamon, crushed
In large saucepan, bring all the ingredients (except eggs) to a full rolling boil. 
Remove from heat, and add eggs.
Put into glass gallon jar with tight-fitting lid.
Refrigerate for a couple of days
(if you can bear to not eat them–I’ve already “tested” one
Serve and enjoy!

If you eat all the eggs and have some beets left, and want to make some more, just reheat the red beets to a boil and add a dab of vinegar and a little brown sugar and put in another batch.

Edit # 2
Graham Streusel Coffee Cake:
¾ Cup margerine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ Cup brown sugar
¾ cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1¼ tsp. Cinnamon
Mix together thoroughly, set aside.

1 yellow cake mix, any kind
¼ cup oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

I mix this batter together as the directions on the cake mix box says (usually for two minutes on medium speed).
Put half of the batter into a greased 9×13 pan.  Spread at least half (I usually spread about
¾ of the crumbs) over the layer of batter.  Spread the rest of the batter on top of the crumbs and then top with the remaining crumbs.  Bake at 350º for at least 40 minutes.  I often find it takes longer.  And I guess you saw that it had an icing on it.  Some people just put a glaze of some kind on it, but I melt a half a stick of margerine, put in at least two cups of powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and enough canned milk to make it spreadable.  I often put the icing into the microwave to warm it up so I can pour it over the warm cake.  It is one of my favorite coffee cakes, and my family loves it best warm. 


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What a wonderful time we’ve been having at Shady Acres!

Christmas RS 058

My girls and me at the Christmas Open house that our family had for the friends from Certain Man’s office.

Christmas RS 141
We have a shortage of boys at church,
so Rachel was King Herod in the
Nativity play at the annual church sing-along.

Christmas RS 128
Pretty much the best picture of the season
for Eldest Son and his gal.
They left this morning to spend some time with her family.

Christmas RS 110

Absolutely my favorite picture
of Eldest Daughter and Her Favorite!

Christmas RS 099
Middle Daughter is the great fixer of eye-glasses
that came out on the wrong side of an
“across the room” pitch.  No permanent damage.

Christmas RS 103
Eldest Son’s favorite gift,
(though it hurt Beloved Son-in-law’s heart to have to buy it!)

Christmas RS 089
Middle Daughter was also taking pictures1
(Which I have yet to see, but I am sure are better than mine!)

Christmas RS 095
Certain Man opening the present of interest of the night!

Christmas RS 097
Middle Daughter had his name —
and went way over the $30.00 limit
to purchase this Ship’s Clock
that he had been wanting for a very long time.
She found it at an antique mall and has had it in hiding for a very long time.
To say that he was pleased would be an understatement.
For those of you who know anything about a ship’s clock,
you will also agree that this is an understatement:
Some were a little annoyed when he chose
to run it all the way around
And let it boing out the time for each and every strike.
There is a reason that so little a clock
can be heard in all parts of a big ship.

Christmas RS 116
Youngest Son played his guitar for his Momma.

Christmas RS 118
These four entertained themselves by snapping pictures with Mom’s camera.

Some of the pictures really weren’t impressive:
Christmas RS 123

But some were hilarious!
Christmas RS 124

These happy days are passing so quickly.
And I feel almost devoid of cognitive thought
or creative energy.
I just want to savor these quickly passing days.

Sweet, Happy Days to all my Xanga Friends.


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Christmas Card and Letter, 2008

Some of you have already gotten this, some will still get it, and for some,
This is the only place you will see it.
So, here’s the most prevailing reason that I’ve neglected my Xanga Friends!

Christmas Card

Christmas, 2008
Shady Acres * 7484 Shawnee Road * Milford, DE 19963

Greetings to all of our friends and family members!
I’ve begun this letter numerous times in my head, as I usually do at this time of year, but couldn’t seem to come up with anything to my satisfaction.  You see, Dear Ones, that while we hope that you all enjoy reading our family letter, I also like to have fun writing it.  And sometimes, especially after a year as full as the one that is coming to a fast finish, it is difficult to come up with a story and format that is fresh and new and interesting enough to hold people’s attention!   And I do hope to hold your attention!  Our family certainly hasn’t been bored on this year’s journey!

There have been important milestones in the life of our family this year.  All of our children are now adults.  Rachel, our youngest, turned 18 in October.  Rachel, of the blueberry eyes and the tender heart is a lovely young lady who has weathered a tough year on many fronts.  She is a senior this year, and has her eyes set on a degree in social work so that she can help disadvantaged and abused children.  She was chosen as the female delegate from her class for a leadership conference this fall.  She stays busy with Quiz Team, basketball and is looking forward to being in the school play.  She hopes to attend Rosedale Bible College next fall, and just took her college boards.  She works hard at finding activities for the youth group at our church and is a willing helper to her dad and me.  She took on the same summer job that she had in 2007, but the dynamics were decidedly different.  Rachel learned some lessons in perseverance, faithfulness and even how seemingly small choices can affect families and friends in ripple effects that can make people miserable.  It seemed advantageous to keep this job as she has been faithfully saving money for a trip to Europe that she, her sister, Deborah, and a cousin, Holly Yoder are planning for next summer.  Quite honestly, Youngest Daughter’s year has been more one of planning and dreaming than seeing fulfillment, but God really does save the best for those who wait, and we believe that there are some wonderfully exciting things in store for this young woman.

Youngest Son, Lem, saw one of his biggest dreams come true this year when he married his lovely bride, Jessica Lee, on June 22nd.  It was a beautiful wedding as Lem and Jessica began their life together with the blessing of their family and friends.  They spent the summer in Delaware, with Lem working in construction.  In late August, they moved into married student housing in Cedarville, Ohio, and Jessica began a new job as a caseworker for Greene County Children’s Services, and Lem began his Senior year at Cedarville.   Lem just finished the first semester of his senior year, and has picked up some construction work in Columbus while they wait for Jessica’s Christmas break, when they plan to be home for a few days.  Lem is in the process of applying to graduate school and they hope they can relocate to the east for that.  We’ve enjoyed accounts of their little apartment being stuffed with friends and good times and good food, and are especially thankful for their commitment to the Lord Jesus and their determination to live as He would have them in a world that has gone so wrong.  We miss them intensely, but modern communication is a wonderful thing, and there is something really special about seeing a familiar number show up on our caller I.D. and hear Lem’s familiar voice say, “Hey, Mom, I’ve got a cooking question for you — “

There was a second wedding in our family this year!  Oldest Son, Raph, decided that a Yoder gal from Ohio was the perfect wife for him (and she didn’t seem to object any), so on a glorious Saturday in August,  Raph married his lovely bride, Regina.   They live a couple of miles from us in a rented mobile home that is on a wooded lot.  Their decision to not buy for now has seemed providential with the current housing trend, and they are content with their situation.  Raph is working in construction, and we are grateful that there has been enough work to keep his crew busy.  Regina continues to look for a full time job, but has had some on-line work at home that has been a blessing.  She has spent some happy times with the females of the Daniel Yutzy  crew – in Bible study, shopping, canning and cooking, decorating for Christmas, etc., and we enjoy her humor and easy laughter.  Raph is on the worship team at Cannon Mennonite Church, and they are anticipating being involved in the youth ministry there in the near future.  Raph’s drum set is still in our basement, but it is strange how many of the things that are so inherently masculine have greatly diminished in our household.  We miss these boys who have been such participant members of our household, but it is a joy to see the gladness in their eyes as they get on with the business of life and homes of their own.

Middle Daughter’s life continues to be one of the most interesting of all in our household.  She is never at a loss for things to do.  She has been employed at Bayhealth in Milford as an ICU nurse for a year and a half now, and there is never a lack of drama, excitement, life and death situations and the many things that Deborah literally thrives on.  She has proven herself to be a good nurse, but she has other interests that make it so she can never quite get done all that she wants to do.  She teaches the littlest people in Sunday School at our church and fiercely loves each of them .  She even managed a trip out of the United States this year when she accompanied our neighbor girl, Lupe Ruiz Monterroso to Guatemala.  Lupe, who has often been mentioned in these letters,  married a young man last December, and when he was arrested in January, and deported, Lupe made the decision to go to Guatemala to begin a new life there with him.   Deborah, with her savvy as a world traveler, enough Spanish to get by, and her love for Lupe and her family, was the first choice.  The days she spent there, the pictures she took, and the memories she brought back were an inestimable gift not only to Lupe and the extended family that she left stateside,  but to our family as well.  Deborah has been involved this year with Christmas preparations that have impacted people far beyond our family circle as she headed up the decorating of three trees for the Hospice parade of trees, helped to plan the Christmas program for our church, baked Christmas cookies for our family and friends and helped others decorate their homes for Christmas. She is quite involved in planning that Summer 2009 trip to Europe, and the excitement is contagious.   I’m convinced that every family should have a Deborah!

Eldest Daughter and Beloved Son in law are heading for ten years together as a married couple.  They have some of the most exciting news of all this year.  In the summer, after miles of paperwork, months of investigations and a multitude of prayers, Jesse and Christina were approved as adoptive parents and began their wait to be chosen.  What a cause for celebration! As Certain Man and I have watched our siblings become grandparents again and again and again, we are reminded that the desires of our hearts are nothing in comparison to the desires in the hearts of this young couple, and we continue to pray that God will be honored by their lives as a couple and that in His Providence, in His Way, in His timing, He would be honored to bless them with a child.  They live full and active lives, and a myriad of people depend on them for many different things.  Computer glitches, moving large and cumbersome items, encouraging faltering families, volunteering at the local thrift store, babysitting sweet (and sometimes otherwise) little boys, serving on the hospitality committee, accepting the new office of Church Coordinator, being the best Unix administrator any company could ever want to have, opening their home to people who need a place to find love, acceptance and safety, etc., etc., etc..  What would we ever do without them as a family, as a community, as a church?  I don’t know, but I really don’t want to find out.

Our family continues to be a huge source of delight, comfort and challenge to Daniel and me.  We enjoy these adult children so very much, and are so thankful for the people they have brought to share in our life as a family.  Our children are far from perfect, and so are we, but the people that have come into our family and taken us on as in-laws are so right for our children and bring us much joy.  The fact that they weren’t scared off by their initiations into the family shows much about their courage and flexibility!  We eagerly look forward to the times that we can spend together as a family.  In fact, the eight of them went off on a “sibling’s weekend” this fall just because they felt like they needed time to be together.  Daniel and I weren’t really invited, but that was just fine!  There is something intensely satisfying about seeing our children developing so strong a sense of family that they would sacrifice to be together.

Daniel continues to serve as the chairman of the Leadership Team at our church.  The team was made permanent in January, and Daniel has been encouraged and affirmed by the love and support of our congregation and the open and honest communication the team enjoys together.  We have had many, many happy times together as a congregation, and while I continue to dream big dreams for the church at the corner of Carpenter Bridge and Canterbury Roads, yet it is an incredible blessing to see that God is at work in the hearts and everyday lives of the people who meet together there.  Daniel continues to work for the State of Delaware as a plumbing inspector and for Allen’s Hatchery as a poultry farmer.  The days I love most, though, are the days he spends puttering around our farm, working in his garden, tinkering with his many clocks, scheming as to where he could maybe plant one more tree, and seeing after the needs of our family.

I am still caring for two ladies from the Department of Disabilities.  Cecelia has been with us for almost nine years.  Sometimes I think I may have figured her out a little bit – and then she surprises me with something totally unexpected.  Her blindness and inability to speak make for some pretty sophisticated guessing sometimes, but much of the time, I feel like I am just more or less winging it, and hoping that maybe (just maybe!) I have gotten it right.   The other individual, Nettie, is an incredible blessing to us as a family.  We all see her placement with our family as a “God-thing” and there is many a day when I really do wonder what I would ever do without her.   This summer, she watered flowers so consistently that they literally owed their lives to her.  She is good friends with the family dog, Shep, and the house cat, Tatters.  She makes sure that the bird feeders are kept clean and well stocked.  She is self-appointed mail and newspaper carrier, and always remembers that the trash needs to be gotten out on Tuesday morning.  When we think back to that July day when we almost said “NO!!!” without even asking our Heavenly Father what He thought, it is almost scary!  I believe that we are as good for her as she is for us, and that is how adult foster care is supposed to work.  We are not ignorant of the fact, though, that none of this is possible without God’s Grace and Provision for all of us!

Daniel and his sisters are in the middle of looking at some solutions for the care that their parents are needing at this juncture of their lives.  My Sweet Mama continues to do exceedingly well, and my brothers and sisters and I are amazed at her resilience and grace.  I am writing this on the 17th.  Tomorrow it will be three years since our Daddy made his “Heavenly Flight.”  Tonight I miss him with a deep and aching sorrow, and it feels like forever since I saw those smiley eyes.  As the years have passed, though, it seems more and more “right” that this “anniversary” should fall in this season of hope and promise.  For the Baby whose birth we celebrate really came to be the star in the Easter drama – when He died and rose again to bring to us the forgiveness of sins, and to make plain the Way to Heaven.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Do we believe?  Ah, Dear Friends, WE DO!  It is our prayer that you believe it, too!

Blessings to you and yours in this wondrous season!  If you are ever in our area, don’t hesitate to stop.  And if you should happen by our house during the next few weeks, you could see Daniel’s incredibly exquisite Christmas village, have some hot chocolate, and we could savor the conversation and friendship together.  That would be such a delight!

Affectionately yours,

~Daniel and Mary Ann and all the Offspringin’s


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I know that I have been very silent on here — I’m not mad, sad or (thankfully!) injured.  I’ve just been inordinately occupied!  Anyhow!  I wanted to make this announcement for our local friends:

Tonight at 7:00
There will be a 40+ voice choir
@ Laws Mennonite Church

4874 Carpenter Bridge Rd
Felton, DE 19943

(Our little country church @ the corner of Carpenter Bridge and Canterbury Roads)

The touring Chorus
 Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute
Is going to be there to give a program.
Everyone is welcome.
This group is exceptional, and if you enjoy acapella choral music, you will certainly enjoy this. 

As always, we will be honored to have YOU join us!


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Certain Man came home from his long weekend in Ohio.  He and two of his sisters and one brother in law did some monumental decision making.  He weathered it all very well.  In fact, he came home in surprisingly good humor. 

One of the things that has troubled the offsrpringin’s of Ralph Yutzy for a long time is that there are large pieces of their history that seem to have disappeared into oblivion.  There were no medical records, and the few family pictures that they did have, disappeared along the way.

This weekend they came into a marvelous find.  In an old desk, tucked back in a corner, they found a journal of their deceased mother’s that had each of their births recorded.  What they weighed.  Their childhood diseases.  It was a wondrous missing piece to a great puzzle.  (Interestingly enough, if they could have found this journal when Certain Man was found to be without a birth certificate back in 1969, they would have saved in incredible amount of trouble, legalities and Certain Man would be “Daniel R. Yutzy” instead of “Daniel Jay Yutzy.”)  This book was fascinating to say the least.

Also found were the pictures that they have all longed for so much.  Photo albums that went up to the time of their mother’s untimely death in May of 1958 when the children were 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11.  And slides of some of their more memorable times after their daddy remarried.  What a find!  What an incredible gift to the children.  And what a blessing to these adult children who have so much unresolved grief, and so many unanswered questions.

Certain Man brought two of his own pictures home to Delaware last night.  He pulled them out and put them on the counter.  I looked into his little boy face and wished that I could somehow make up some of the losses that he experienced through the years.  But even as I think that, I realize that the hard times have made him the man he is, and I am so grateful for the kind of husband he has been to me, and the kind of Dad he has been to our children.

I thought it would be interesting to show the two early ones — and then one taken at the wedding of Youngest Son last summer.

My Daniel as a boy
We aren’t sure when this was taken.
Probably around third grade.

My Daniel as a grad
This was his grad picture — 1971

My Daniel NOW
And this is him now.

I know that I look at him through the lenses of what we have been through together.
I know that I am prejudiced by the eyes of not only love but respect.
But I like how he looks now a whole lot better now than at any other time in his life.
And I am so glad to have him home to Shady Acres.


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A few pictures from the last ten days that you might enjoy!

Our family was together for a soup luncheon last Saturday.

TThanksgiving weekend 091
Here are my two very beloved sisters and myself.
I wish I were as photogenic as they are.
I was told I need to get in front of a mirror
and practice my smile.
(Do people really do that???  I guess they must.  I’ve been instructed more than once.!)

  TThanksgiving weekend 101 
Our Sweet Mama joined us for a picture.
Mark Yoder Sr.’s gals.
That’s the four of us! 
I’m often mistook for Mama’s sister.
That doesn’t usually happen to my sisters.
They look young enough that people know she is their mama.

One afternoon this week,
Eldest Daughter brought Littlest Babysat Boy.
He is “sweetness” and “boy” in an unpredictable package.
Nevin Reads 
I caught him “reading” this book. 
There were no pictures
or anything to really hold his attention.
He and his brother, Biggest Babysat Boy,
fill a very big place in my heart.
I love to have them come,
love when they climb up for a story,
love to talk to them.
I am so blessed to be their “Aunt Mary.”

Eldest Daughter, Middle Daughter
and one of our  Beloved Daughters in Law
Came this week to decorate three trees
for the Hospice Parade of Trees.
I caught this picture of Eldest Son’s Wife,
busy with one of the trees.
Gina and the tree
I love this picture of Regina.
It was such a happy afternoon.

Certain Man is on his way home from Ohio.
I have missed him excruciatingly!!!
There have been chicken house alarms.
There was a monumental feed spill.
I did something I almost never do.
I scrubbed the carpet in the living room.
I moved furniture all around.
I moved some out until after Christmas.
I am having trouble moving myself today,
But I am thoroughly pleased with my living room.

LR 3

LR 2

LR 1

I surely do hope to see some of you stopping by for a cup of hot chocolate and some conversation.


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Does it ever seem to you that there are twice as many things to do this month and half as much time?

This is no excuse for not updating, I know.
  I do find it a good REASON!

The Village is done!  Certain Man worked and worked:

Village 002

And the days kinda’ ran together last weekend.

Village 003

But finally, all the cords were run
And the houses were on the tables.

The moving

So he enlisted the help of Youngest Son and Beloved Son in law and the
three of them climbed under the tables and this is how they moved it
back into the corner–
(This is the picture that is acceptable for publishing on the web. 
The one that has the three of them shows the process the best, but it
is just a little too — ahem! —  Unflattering, I guess would be the word.)

Sometime after midnight (early Sunday morning, actually) the last figure was put into place and the village was done.
I waited until the next day to take pictures.

Village 005
This shows the south side — a wilderness area is on the right.

Village 005a
This is the middle of the table.
Usually, Certain Man has his train on this table.
But this year he wanted to do something different.

Village 008a
This is the view that is towards the east (more or less).
The corner is where the two tables meet.
The train track is right there long the front of the left table.

Village 009
Here the train track goes around the corner.
I wanted to show the train, but I don’t have a good picture of it right now.  You can see it a little bit up there in the third picture, but I will try to get a better one sometime during the season.
(But I’m not promising!)

So there it is  — in sections.
  It looks a whole lot better in one piece. 

Once again, the invitation is

“Come on over and see it!”
Almost the whole village:
CP 1

This is for you, Certain Man, so that you can show your family.  (I miss you!)


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