Monthly Archives: May 2009











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Well, the rain came pouring down just as the fellows got most of the back roof off —

I really did pray and pray that the storm would hold off, but it didn’t.

In about a half an hour, 2.5 inches came pouring down, and into the garage, into the porch, in over the sliding glass doors and made a river across the floor of the dining room.  Copious amounts of thick, thirsty towels were called into service to stem the flow.

The fellows on the roof were drenched and they looked like wet rats.  (I caught a whiff of some of them, and they kinda’ smelled like that too.)

Anyhow, they are going to go back at it in the morning.  I am making warm cinnamon rolls for the brave souls that come early.  And there will be a good lunch for those who come later.

Wowser, I am ready to sleep a little.  It’s been a long day — doctor appointment for my Sweet Mama, a van needing to be picked up from the shop — finally repaired,  Nettie-girl needed her hearing aids fixed down in Millsboro, Rachel needed picked up from school, Deborah needed to go to work tonight, so she needed to sleep.  I capped four quarts of strawberries and got them sliced and into the freezer, then went up to Christina’s and capped and sliced four more quarts, made a hot milk sponge cake, and tried to comfort a very sorrowful grandbaby, came home, ate way too much strawberry shortcake, slept a little on my recliner, went out to the grocery store because I didn’t have bread flour for my cinnamon buns, came home and Youngest Son and The Girl with a Beautiful Heart came, so we visited a while, and then I worked at getting my cinnamon rolls mixed up, put groceries away and straightened my kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, and NOW I AM GOING TO BED.  I think it is just about time.

Oh, yes.  I need to do one more thing.  Youngest Daughter came home from her class trip full of wonderful tales of good times and glorious sights — but with a sunburn that is blistered with blisters the size of my thumb.  Literally.  And guess who gets to put aloe vera gel on those very ouchy shoulders?  You got it.  Yours truly.  So I guess I will do that and THEN I will go to bed.   

Oh, and one more thing.  Guess who didn’t get out to get her flowers from the Amish man?  Right again.  me.  Maybe some other time.  Sleep tight!


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“Let’s replace the roof” frolic —

Ever since Jesse and Christina moved into their house,
they have dealt with water problems.

“Coming through the roof when it rains”
“dripping on my head”
“gettin’ everything wet”
kinds of water problems.

Tomorrow evening the men and boys of our church are going to start tearing the shingles off in preparation for putting a new roof on for them on Saturday.  The leaks are pretty impressive, so the expectation is that there will need to be some repairing done when they get the shingles off.

The dumpster is already there, and the shingles are to be delivered tomorrow.  Ask THE FATHER for sunshiney weather and a cool breeze. 

Honestly, we can probably use anyone who wants to help.  There will be a meal provided on Saturday noon, and we also plan to have snacks and cold drinks available through out the evening tomorrow.

If you’d like to turn you hand at some old fashioned helping,
 we certainly won’t turn you away.
(And it might be nice to let me know.)

Oh, and here’s a picture of Certain Man, power washing our deck. 
It looks like it is brand new now that he is done. 
I am amazed at all the things this man does!


It pleases his orderly soul to see how the green and black come off,
leaving the bare wood behind.  It was a huge job, but so rewarding!


He moved his garden this year, and I think it looks wonderful,
considering this was pasture pretty much since we moved here
almost 20 years ago:

The frames you see in the background are for his tomatoes.  He saw
something like this at an Amish house, and has worked at refining it
and adapting it to fit his needs.  He lays wire fencing that he has cut
to appropriate widths down the “V” parts of the “Y’s” and then trains
his tomatoes up and out the fencing and the tomatoes hang down and
are easier to pick and never touch the ground.  He has made things so
much easier for me in the garden.


We haven’t planted our pole limas yet, but he said that I could have two
rows this year.  I hope we don’t run out of time, but even if we do, my
husband is still unbelievable in how he gardens.  He really doesn’t “owe”
me a thing!!!

I am really slow in getting anything done with my flower beds this year.
This bed is usually planted and carefully tended by now.  I still plan to
do something with it, but I haven’t decided what.  Yet. . .

And I haven’t gotten my hanging baskets for the pavilion — although,
if I have time, I think I will get them tomorrow.  I have found them
at an out of the way Amish greenhouse, and the owner made me a
great deal on 16 hanging baskets.  I wanted to go get them tonight,
but my knee wasn’t cooperating, so I decided that I might try to get
them tomorrow.  This is how the pavilion looks right now.
Hanging baskets make such a difference in how this building looks.
I am planning on purple and red Fuscia and New Guinea Impatiens
alternating in purple and red.

But there are some other flowers that are doing quite well.
This plucky little flower was given to me by our daughter in law’s mother,
Lynn, and I tucked it into the corner of a bed that I hope to have all
perennials in eventually.  I love it so much!  I tried to get a closer look at
it, but it just got fuzzy  — fuzzy-er, I guess I should say.

These climbing Hydrangeas are really getting out of hand.
Certain Man wants to get them trimmed back.  I think they would
do better with a lot more sun than they get.  So often the buds do
not even open, and I wonder if it isn’t because they don’t get
enough sunlight.

My dear friend, Ada, gave me a flat of pansies, and I love their
springy color against the bleakness that is left over from winter.

The weather has been rather cloudy and cool.
I suppose that we will enjoy these for a very short
while longer, and then we will need to take them out.

I do have the promise of some liles that are just about
to burst into bloom.
I bought these on sale at least three years ago, and
really wondered what would become of them.  It was
their incredible scent that attracted me.  They have come
back faithfully every year, just sitting in the same old pot.
I’m thinking of trying to find them a place in that
border bed that I want to be a perennial bed.  But
for now, it seems to be doing well right where they are.

And that’s it for tonight, folks!


And I hope you enjoyed the little tour around our yard.

p/s I haven’t heard anything really significant about my brother, excepting that  he was able to feed himself yesterday.  A first! 

Please continue to pray for Nel and Rose Yoder.
As you can imagine, every day brings its special challenges and victories.  
Don’t let go the prayer ropes!!! 



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We do have a new grandbaby! 
Just so you don’t forget,
here are some of my favorite new pictures of her!

Charis 3


Charis 6

Charis Nichole Bontrager

One of the best miracles our family has enjoyed.



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There is another story that I wanted to tell from our weekend with Nelson.

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Two days after Nel was moved to rehab, he kept feeling like something wasn’t right with his halo.  They would look at it and reassure him that it looked like everything was okay.  But Wednesday night (May 20th), after Rose had gone to her room for the night, the pin on the right side suddenly slipped.  I had thought that these pins actually went into the skull, but they don’t.  They are sharpened pieces of steel — sorta’ like very sharp nails, that are held to the skull by pressure.  Suddenly, the one slipped out of place, taking the skin above Nel’s eye with it.  The pain was unbelievable.  Nelson said that the sudden release from pressure was a terrible thumping noise, and the resulting sensation in his head and neck was felt like he had fallen out of bed on his head. 

Of course, that was when he went back to Geisinger Medical Center in the middle of the night and spent the night in the emergency room.  They numbed up the skin on his forehead, and replaced the spikes, but were unhappy with how it was, discussed the fact that the brackets had been put on “backwards” and took everything off again and turned the brackets around, and replaced the spikes to their satisfaction.  Nel was wishing that they would have put him out for that, but they didn’t think it was necessary, and so he was awake for everything.

No one can explain why it is that his breathing difficulties started then, but they did.  It was almost immediate with the trauma of the pins/spikes in the halo letting go.  But be that as it may, his chest was really hurting and he couldn’t get a deep breath, coupled with the fact that things in his back, neck and forehead were really throbbing.

When they finally got everything done, they decided to send him back to the rehab center.  Rose had ridden along, and they made her ride in the front of the ambulance.  There was an attendant in the back, but he was pretty much in his own world, doing his own thing, and Nel was on the stretcher.  He said that the pain was almost unbearable.  He was feeling every bump and it seemed the driver was finding every bump there was.  And he was feeling so very much alone.  In his pain-filled loneliness, he began to cry out to God.

“It was the strangest thing,” he said.  “I was lying there, and I saw God come through the roof of that ambulance with His arms outstretched to me.  He came down to where I was and He wrapped those arms around me and held me close to Himself.  And He had some things to say to me.  He said, ‘Nelson, I’m with you.  And I will never leave you.  I suffered alot for you.  I gave my life for you, and there are some things I’d like to say to you'”  Nelson said that he felt the Lord was asking him to be more ready to share what God has done for him, to be quicker to speak of God’s love for the people around him.  Some of those things are personal, between a man and his God, but the thing that blessed me most was that Nelson said, “I felt God’s arms around me all the way back to the rehab center, holding me tight.  I never felt another bump,”

God continues to meet us where our needs are.  I was talking to my orthopaedic guy today when I got my fourth Sinvisc shot in my knee.  I was telling him about the way things have gone with Nelson, and about the blood clots, and how things got missed on that first day.  He is a Christian and he is so interested in this whole situation, but when I told him about Nelson coughing up blood, and then there being “significant amounts” of blood clots in his lungs he shook his head and said, “He is so fortunate to be alive!”  Every now and then I take those things out to look at and thank God again for all His mercy to us.  

John Greenleaf Whittier said “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.”  I’m sure you will understand me when I say that it seems to me tonight that these are the words of hope and faith and healing.  We are so blessed.  When I think what might have been, all I feel is grateful praise.


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Trip to Pennsylvania


Last Saturday morning, we got on our way . . .
When our chickens went out so unexpectedly last week,
My husband, always so kind to me, and so understanding of my need to see my brother and my Sweet Mama’s deep, deep desire to go, said that he would take us the 200 miles to see Nel and Rose.

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Down the road we go!


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We passed the church on Shawnee Road that holds
a thousand memories for our family.
It is looking so pretty around there this spring.


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When we got into the Rehab Center, Nel was in Therapy.
He is still dependent on someone giving him a drink.
Rose is usually prepared, and is a cheerful helper.


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He sits up some.  One of the things that was bothering him
while we were there was that it was really hard for him to get
a deep breath.  Sunday, it was discovered that he had
“significant amounts” of blood clots in his lungs.  They did
immediate assessments, including ultra sounds of his legs, and everything came back negative for blood clots there, so the official report is “blood clots in the lungs as a result of body trauma and surgery,” and they are treating those aggressively.  He wasn’t allowed to do therapy yesterday or today, but hopefully tomorrow, it will get back to his usual routine.  Nel is making steady progress, and he doesn’t seem to lose a skill once he regains it.  However, when he isn’t in therapy, he doesn’t really do much progressing, and it troubles him.  He is constantly doing his self-imposed exercizes so that he doesn’t get tight and lose what he has already gained.  Determination has always been one of his defining characteristics.  (I did NOT say he is stubborn!!!)

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Yes, he can walk.  Quite well, indeed.  The CNA on our left and  Nel’s wife, Rose on the right, are there as precautionary measures.  He is never allowed to do anything alone at this point, and that is the best decision, for one little fall could undo everything!!!  But he enjoys walking, and whenever he can, he will choose walking over being pushed somewhere in his wheelchair.  The nurses love him to death.  They say, “He’s an incredible guy.  He is so patient, so grateful, so kind.  He is so easy to take care of and tries so hard.”  (What rehab nurse wouldn’t love a patient like that?)


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He has always been the smiley-est person.
Guess what!!!  He still smiles.  Alot.
He is so soft hearted, but so determined and courageous.
It was like being on holy ground.
I am so glad that we could go to see him.

There are so many stories from these last two weeks that I could tell, but the story that is the very best is that God has intervened time and time again to bring good out of bad.  The “weapons” that have been “formed against him” have not prospered, and for that we give grateful praise.

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This is my inimitable, versatile, compassionate, efficient, and Godly sister in law, Rose.  She is managing crisis after crisis, schedules and visitors and therapy and feedings and uncomfortable pillows and “should we?” or “Shouldn’t we?” kinds of things until it makes my head spin.  I know that God prepared her for this time, and she gives God the glory.  But it is an incredible blessing to see God at work in her life.  When you think of her, Pray for her, too.  She appreciates it so very much.


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Yesterday afternoon, Stuart and Delores Mast, along with my friend, Debbie Mast, stopped on their way home from a memorial service, and Stuart prayed for Nel —
A prayer full of hope and healing and the reminder that God is with us.  He never forsakes His OWN.  It was a distinct encouragement.

Later in the afternoon, one of Nel’s therapists, a young African American, came in and sat on the edge of Nel’s bed.  He was full of hope and laughter and optimism — and he obviously loved Nel dearly.  Suddenly, without warning, I heard music.  In a smooth baritone, the young man was singing.
“What a friend we have in Jesus.
All our sins and griefs to bear.”
His voice was like warm chocolate syrup, settling into the corners of a tummy; comforting and pleasant.  I was sitting behind him, and I could see Nel’s face, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks in a great stream.  And then I heard my brother’s voice, joining in.  Quavery at first, then gaining strength, he sang till the end of the song.
“What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer. . .
Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.”

The room was alive with the presence of the Lord.
Alive with the hope of healing.
Vibrant with love that was inescapeable.
You are probably going to get tired of me saying it.
And some of you will never understand.
But it was HOLY GROUND.
And God orchestrated that mere mortals
could be there, and be blessed.

Too soon, it was time for us to leave.

Nelson 019
How does a Mama tell a son so terribly injured
“good-by”?  It was hard, and there were tears.
But Mama is one brave lady.  She dreaded going so badly because she hated to see Nelson like this.  But she couldn’t stay away because — well, because she’s his mama, and she felt like he needed her.  I’m so glad we went.  It was a wonderful weekend, and it would be hard to say just how much it meant to to all of us. 

There is a long haul ahead, no doubt about it.
But there have been some precious, precious times between Nelson and his Heavenly Father, and Nel is confident of His care, provision and discipline.  His heart is so soft, and so eager to learn what God wants of him right along with the physical therapy he is getting.  So when you think of Nel, pray for his “spiritual therapy” as well as his Physical Therapy.  God is doing wonderful things in many, many lives.

In this time of a Severe Mercy,
There is cause for grateful praise!




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If  you are coming to the Baby shower on Friday night for Charis Bontrager, it would be good to let someone know.  You won’t reach anyone at Christina’s house, because Jesse is on a business trip to Florida and Christina and Charis went with him.  They plan to be home sometime on Thursday.  But you can call me, message me, leave me a comment, or head over there to and let her know.  THANKS!!!

In other news this week:

(Drum roll, please!!!!!) Eldest Son got a haircut.  Not a trim.  A REAL haircut.  He looks great!  I’ll love him no matter what, but some things just improve the scenery so much!!!

Brother Nelson got moved to rehab today!!!  I think we are in that “reality sinking in” stage right now.  He can use your prayers.

I got my third shot in my knee today, and it seems to be getting better and better.  I am so grateful.  Felt good enough to make some pies — even a ground cherry pie for that Good Husband of mine.  There was enough crust left to make a little one for Sweet Mama.  She likes pies of all sorts, and even ground cherry sounded good to her.  And there is that really sweet feeling of having some pie crusts in the freezer in the event I might need them.  I love to be just a little bit ahead.  I should bake some bread again.  This last batch went like wild fire!  I think I only have one loaf left in the freezer. 

Our chickens are going out tonight — a full week early!  I can’t help but think it is God’s provision for us.  It means that we should be able to take our Sweet Mama up to see Nelson this weekend after the baby shower.  Middle Daughter has the weekend off, so she said she is willing to help make it happen.  Wow!!!  I am praying that this will work out.

My girlies just did some “blitzing” for me, in preparation for getting the house cleaned tomorrow.  Nothing chirks me up like some helping hands from my own “in house” labor force;  It makes me feel so much like we just might make it through!  And now it is time to get off here and get some things done while they are off doing some of their own stuff for a bit.





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I just talked to Rose and she said that the doctors feel that it is time to move Nel to rehab.  What needs done now is best handled by rehab.  So tomorrow, they plan to make the transfer to the Gibson Rehab Center in Williamsport, PA.  I asked Rose this morning how Nel is handling things, and she said that he is feeling pretty negative.  It looks so big to him and every little thing takes so much effort.  But she said that she knew he needed her to be optimistic and encouraging and that she felt like it was important for her to be concientious about staying upbeat.  He doesn’t do well when she isn’t there, though, and that can be a tough place for a gal to be in. 
When I talked to her tonight she said that today was the most discouraging day for her so far.  It is the third day post surgery, so it seemed like Nel was having alot more pain, and consequently was using more of his allotted pain medication.  As a result, he was more groggy than usual, and that made that his movements were less  improved than they had hoped.  Rose knows that it is a natural reaction to where they are in the recovery process, and she is hanging in there, but she (and all of us) would like for there to be significant progress to report every day.  Logically speaking, that just cannot be.
However, for the doctors to decide that he is ready to move to rehab is a most reassuring development, and the fact that it is alot closer home for Rose is also a blessing.  She did share his address with me, and said that for now, it would be fine to send things either there or to the home address: 
Nelson Yoder
c/o Gibson Rehab Center
777 Rural Ave
Williamsport, PA 17701
Nelson Yoder
131 Nauvoo Road
Morris, PA  16938
As you all know, I was really discouraged this morning, after looking at the pictures on Joni’s site, and I shed quite a few tears.  I just couldn’t seem to get the images out of my mind, and I felt so bad for my brother.  Then our Deborah came home from working her night in ICU.  I said, “Come in here, Deborah, and look at these pictures.”   She came and I was lamenting, through tears, what I was seeing.
“Mom, you need to look at some other things,” she said firmly.
“Like what???” I said.  “He looks so helpless!!!”
“He is helpless!” she said, “But look at that strong chin.  He has such a good chin.  You can tell by looking at it that he isn’t carrying alot of extra weight.  Look at his muscles, the way his arms are so trim and muscular.  As a nurse, if this were my patient, I would be so optimistic.  This looks like a man who has been hurt, yes, but it looks like a man who is going to come through it okay.  He’s healthy.  He’s fit.  His spinal cord is intact.  He has so much going for him.   You need to look at the right things.”  She stopped and examined the picture a little closer.  “But they’ve got the leads on the wrong sides!!!”
Of course, that encouraged my heart.  Then something else came up that really set me back on my heels and caused me to consider how good we have it.  Across the field from our house are some good friends, Dr. Jose Guzman, and his nurse-wife, Kit.  When Dr. Guzman was a young man, he was married to another woman and they had a daughter.  Cristina (his daughter) has lived in an apartment in the barn behind Jose and Kit and life has been rather turbulent for her.  But then things seemed to settle down.  She got married, and life seemed to be going pretty well for her and her family.  Last Friday night, she was traveling with her three children up on Route 1 when she went off the side of the road, over corrected, rolled her SUV several times, and not having a seatbelt on, was partially ejected through the sun roof and died at the scene.  Her three children were injured, but they expect them all to recover.  (They were restrained.)  It is such an unfortunate thing.  I cannot imagine what Jose is feeling right now.  He and Kit have a daughter together that is probably 11 or 12, but he has tried so hard to help this oldest daughter, and I am sure that there has to be a thousand “If only’s” going through his head tonight.
Hearing this news changed the whole tenor of my day.  I suppose that we will always wish this hadn’t happened to Nel.  And I do not intend to spend much time looking at those pictures that give me a stomach ache.  But I do intend to recount our blessings and to be grateful for what we have.  So many blessings.  So much for which to give thanks! 
Blessings all around!


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I wish that I could say what is in my heart this morning in a way that wouldn’t detract at all from what God has done for our family this past week.  There have been so many miracles, and I am so grateful.

But nothing could have prepared me for the pictures over on Joni’s site.  I’m sure that Nel looks really good for what he’s been through, but I almost cannot bear to see my healthy, energetic, “can’t be stopped” brother looking like that.  I know that God’s grace is sufficient.  I know that the prognosis is alot better than we deserve, but I hate it so much.

Would you dear friends continue to pray for him and his family — and also for me that I can somehow stop these helpless tears and get on with the business of life and faith and doing the things that are best to do right now?  I’m not much help to him right now except to pray and be optimistic and encouraging, and there are so many things that need my attention otherwise — a new grandbaby, a baby shower, Youngest Daughter’s graduation and grad party, and then Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter’s departure for Europe — all within the next three weeks.

Thanks to all of you who have cared and prayed and been incredible support to us.  Please don’t stop now.



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For an update and PICTURES of Nelson, got to Joni Geissinger’s site:



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