Monthly Archives: September 2009

Two Babies at Great Grandma’s House
And a baby dress for Ren Faire:


We went to Sweet Mama’s house for the usual Wednesday Outing.
Dorie came for a visit, and Charis and she had a good time playing.


Sweet Mama keeps M&M’s in a bowl, and they are always a hit.
One of Dorie’s first words was “Em-em!”


Charis hasn’t sampled them yet, but it won’t be long, I’m sure.
She is sitting alone now and does a pretty good job of it.
(She does get “tumbly” and has had some bumps,
but she is still doing really well for 5 months.)


Getting ready for the Ren faire. 

Beloved Son in Law and Eldest Daughter make a yearly trek to some Ren Faire.  Tomorrow afternoon, they and Middle Daughter are going just for the afternoon.  It is the first time in many a year that Youngest Daughter isn’t along.

Here are the four of them, two years ago.

And here is one of my Favoritest pictures of Youngest Daughter,
taken at the Ren Faire two years ago.

AAA-- RF 10


Back to this year’s plans  . . .


Auntie Beebs made a dress from a pattern that she and Charis’s Mommy bought. 
The dress is too big, but maybe it will fit our little munchkin another year!
(Besides, who gonna’ notice on a “lap baby’?


Here’s the finished product. 

Deborah also made four bibs to go with the outfit. 

Charis is in that “slobber, slobber, chew, chew, chew” stage right now.
Bibs are an integral part of any outfit.


The bibs are wonderful. 
If you compare the two pictures carefully,
you will see that the other picture of Charis
(in her Ren Faire dress) does not have the bib on it. 
This one does. 
Deborah slaved over those bibs almost longer than she did over the entire dress,
but was delighted when they finally came together. 
All of us are impressed with how everything turned out. 




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Autumn Days

I decided that it would not be good for me to just brood today. 
So I got busy and made some pie crusts:

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I have gotten alot of butternut squash out of Certain Man’s garden, and some of them were starting to look a little worse for wear.  So I brought in three of them and baked them:

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I scrub them really well, cut them in half, then put them cut side down on a buttered baking sheet.  I bake them at about 325 for maybe an hour or an hour and a half until they are done.  I let them cool just a little, and then scoop out the soft insides, and run them through my little food mill.  If the pulp appears to be really juicy, I put it into a strainer and let some of the juice run off.  I have a recipe for pumpkin pie from my Sweet Mama that I always make with butternut squash, and the recipe makes two pies.

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I have been decorating for Autumn, and burning nice smelling candles, but when pumpkin pies are baking, there is no use for candles that smell good.

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I am anxious for lunch tomorrow. 
My Sweet Mama is home from Pennsylvania
after being gone almost three weeks. 
Lem and Jessica are in Delaware for a wedding
and the table will be full.
Thank God for families and friends. 

But I have a Rachel shaped hole in my heart that isn’t much helped by pumpkin pie.
Or sweet smelling candles or busy hands.
Ah, my Rachel Janie, it is very empty without you!



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The house is very quiet.  Daniel left around 5:30am to take Rachel to meet her ride to Rosedale Bible College.  As I noted in my last post, our youngest birdie is leaving the nest.  Last night the family was all here for a couple of hours to just be together and it was LOUD and sweet and good.  My family is not known for their silence.  I am at a place in my life where my heart is more quiet than it has ever been, but I enjoy hearing the noise of our family as we go about living. 



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One of our evening activities was to draw names for Christmas.  Here, Rachel discovers that she has Jesse.


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Beebs was in charge of the name drawing.  She found Charis’s hat quite convenient.


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Charis — all dressed up to go to Grammy’s house and play with the Aunties and Uncles.


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Uncle Raph gets his hair pulled by Charis.



It was a very special evening.  Before we went our seperate ways for the night, our family prayed for Rachel.  All the guys had a blessing for her, (as well as Lem’s wife, Jessica) and it was precious to this Mama’s heart.  I listened to Jesse, Raph, Lem, Jessica and her Daddy pray for her and thought about how each of their words reflected the unique relationship they have with her.  She has been and is a blessing to our family in so many ways, and it is hard to think that this is the day we mark the beginning of her making life on her own.  I remember that when Lem left for college, I had a strong sense that he would never really be home to stay again.  And he wasn’t.  But are they ever?  Not really.


Daniel and I were married young, but we stretched having children over so many years and I keep telling myself that to have the last child off to college when I am 55 speaks of having our nest full for a very long time.  In fact, we began our parenting adventure when we took our first foster baby in December of 1975 and there has not been any time since then that we haven’t had “dependents” in our home.  You would think that after almost 34 years of parenting I would be good and ready for this day.  I’m NOT.


But time has a way of keeping its relentless march.  And even as the tears keep coming and coming, I think of how it would be to have young people with no dreams.  No sense of adventure.  No passion for life.  That would be alot harder on me than this is.  I would hate it!


And so, our girlie goes off — with her strength and dreams and foibles and follies and the things that really do make her Rachel Jane Yutzy.  And I will miss her every single day.  But I am so proud of her.  And I am thankful for the opportunities afforded her.  And I pray that all the blessings prayed for her last night will come to her, but even more, I pray that she will have a heart that seeks to know God and is faithful to His call upon her life.  As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing more important.  Lord Jesus, may it be so!


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Something new at Shady Acres

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It all started with a leak in the ceiling of our family room

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That was getting steadily worse.

It was right where the upstairs addition joined the roof, and Certain Man has been pondering and pondering what he wanted to do.

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You see, he had this plan to add a sun room to the house where part of the deck is.  I love the deck.  I love the birds and the trees and the outdoors that is right at my sliding glass door.  But I also saw the wisdom of a sun room, too.  Certain Man felt like if he was going to “tear into that roof” he might just as well go ahead with the sun room.  He kept thinking about my surgery coming up and the holidays and the grandbabies that we are hoping might start coming in droves (dream on!  — but we have made a start!)

And then Oldest Son had a need for work.  And Certain Man does love to give work to his children when there is work to be done.

So over the last couple of days, there has been lots of activity going on at Shady Acres.


First, consult was made with Certain Man’s nephew, shown here with his good wife, Stephanie and their two little boys, Carson and Nevin, who actually kinda feel like our grandsons.  (Though we needed them a whole lot more than they needed us.  I think there are probably no less than five couples who feel like they are grandparents to Carson and Nevin — but that’s another story.)  Certain Man only has two nephews who carry the Yutzy name, and Weston is one of them.  He, very conveniently is extremely adept at making prints, estimates and anything contruction-ish, and he procured a permit, advised Certain Man and Eldest Son, and has helped in many wonderful ways.

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There is much conferring on the cell phone with Certain Man

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Digging, measuring, tearing off the old deck and getting on with the business of building.

The Rowan Brothers are helping Eldest Son and they are making wonderful progress.

Tonight, my flower boxes are lined up along one of the remaining deck rails like this:

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The other side looks like this:

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I can’t tell you how heavy my heart is for my beautiful deck.  I have spent so many happy times there, and it has seen alot of living in these last (almost) 20 years.  But once again, for the joy set before me, I need to not regret or bewail what is changing, and embrace the new.  I think the new room will be a wonderful place and that it can be a blessing to our family as well as our friends.  (But the “old stick in the mud” part of me is uneasy!!!)

And there is another reason for me to be teary tonight.  Early tomorrow morning, my Littlest Birdie takes her hop out of the nest to college.  I know, I know!!!  She’s done lots of hopping about already, but this feels so final.  What will I do without her?  I do rely on her alot for running errands and such, but that isn’t what tears at my heart most.  I am so comforted by the person she is — her youth, her enthusiasm, her energy, her compassionate, servant’s heart — ah, my Rachel-girl.  How very, very much your Daddy and I will miss you.




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Esther and Her Girls

We had a nice time yesterday afternoon.  Friends from long ago stopped for lunch and a visit and it was so sweet.

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Soon after we moved to Delaware, Esther moved into the house trailer across the road from us with her four little girls.  I wish I had pictures from that time, but we hardly have any pictures (even of our children) during those years.  Anyhow, for those local (and maybe not so local) Esther is the daughter of Gid and Elizabeth Yoder who lived in Delaware (briefly) over twenty years ago.  (Wowser!  That makes me feel really old!)

We loved her and her little girls dearly, and have kept somewhat in contact.  And her girls grew up and got married and we haven’t actually seen them in years!  But Esther and her girls planned a “girls weekend” at Rehoboth last week, and so we were able to get together for lunch and the afternoon.  What a good time we had trying to catch up!

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Here they are, Ginny, Esther, Rachel and Summer.
The oldest daughter, Elizabeth, wasn’t along.

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This was the group that was here:
Esther, Ginny, Rachel and Summer
In the front is (from left to right) Lori (Ginny’s daughter) Molly and Maddie (Rachel’s) and Deborah and Abigail (Summer’s)

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Ginny and her daughter, Lori

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Rachel and Molly and Maddie

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Summer with Deborah and Abigail

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These girls have unbelievable voices.  One of the things I had asked was that they would have a song ready for me.  I wish that I could have recorded it, but it was rich and meaningful and the harmony was so tight.  Here are Ginny and Rachel, singing.  I could hardly get the picture taken, I was crying so hard.  There is a long, long story about these girls and the way their lives have been, but when they stand in my kitchen and sing songs about the grace of God and the hope of Heaven, it stirs me and reminds me that the age of miracles is not yet passed.  God is still the God of broken pieces and broken lives and He can make something beautiful and strong — if we only let him have the pieces. 

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The next generation has wonderful voices, too, and these little ones helped with the singing.  The family was quick to say that the missing sister and her ten year old daughter have the best voices, saying that “Dyall is incredible.  At ten she can do things with her voice that most adults only dream of.”  I’m sure she’s does fine, but these gals have nothing to apologize for, either.  They are just plain good!

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We have a big old tree in the circle in front of our house, and it is a popular place to take pictures.  Lori (10) got the bright idea to have her picture taken there, and she really started something!

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Molly (7) and (4) followed suit.

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And here is Deborah (4) and Abigail (3) in the same tree.  They were not so sure about how safe this was.  Our Deborah is behind them, holding them steady, but they still felt a little insecure.

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It was a great time, but all good things come to an end.  Here Ginny is making her departure, heading for Pennsylvania and her husband and home.  Soon after, Esther and the rest of the gals would head south for things waiting there.  It was a most pleasant time.  I’m so glad they let me know that they could stop for a visit.

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I feel sad tonight. 

A beloved Uncle wrote on our Wert family blog of yet another young person’s death among the children of their close friends.  In our extended family, we have experienced an unusual amount of tragedy and reversal and loss over these last months.  (We probably aren’t so different than other families, but it seems like it has been unusually much!)  And in the voices of my aunts and uncles and cousins on both sides of my family, it seems like I am hearing a heart sorrow and a soul weariness as they try to make sense of the events of this summer.  They are courageous.  They are strong.  They are mostly full of faith.  But it still hurts.
I read through the messages on our family e-mail groups this afternoon, and thought about how drastically our lives can turn in an instant, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a season, a year.  Sorrow, grief and pain will be what defines this summer for alot of us. 

The aforementioned uncle, in addition to dealing with a number of deaths this summer (the latest one is especially close to his heart) has also been hard hit with the diagnosis of Autism that was handed to a small grandson.   There are no easy answers for this.  I think of him and his family often — and pray. 

My Uncle Vernon and Aunt Freda are dealing with selling their home, cleaning it out, packing things for a retirement home, and it has been bittersweet, poignant and exhausting.  I watch them work bravely at making the adjustment and think how life has a way of progressing to places where the decisions we have to make are such mixed bags of grief and glory. 

I think of my cousin, Jon and how we don’t ever really plan for such an unexpected change as he has had to deal with, and how, though he is on uncharted territory, he is leaving a map for us that I believe will be useful to alot of us. 

I think of how our Wert Family was together the other week and I saw the faces of my beloved Aunties and Uncles after absences of much too long.  I found myself unduly startled to see them getting older.  I will always think of them as they were way back when I was a child — and when these imposters keep popping up in front of my face that have stolen the youth and the energy I want to scream “Halt!!!  Who goes there???”
And then I look in the mirror and see this almost 56 year old lady who has to struggle with almost everything she wants to do and once again, I come back to the premise that I believe with all my heart:  We are created to live forever.  “This isn’t me.” I want to insist.  “Someone came while I was busy living and changed the package.  I’m sure that if I look hard enough I will find the gal who can go on 5 hours of sleep and keep up with everything that needs doing.”  The only thing is, somewhere, even while I protest, I hear the hollow sound of my voice echoing into the corridors of eternity and I realize that most of what is gone is gone forever.  I can get new knees, and I can do any of a number of self improvement things, but anything I do is still only temporary. 

Sometimes I grieve over just how temporary.  Sometimes I rejoice. 
Today I’ve done my share of both.



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So today I saw the renown orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Wilson Choy.  And I am quite impressed with him and his manners and his knowledge and his experience and his track record.

He readily acknowledges that both knees need replacing.  That the right knee is in far worse shape than the left.  That it is time.


He won’t do them both at the same time.  I could not believe it when I heard it.  I was quite deflated and sad and of course, asked him why.  The reason is logical and it makes sense to us.  He said that he never does a double knee replacement on a person as young as I am who is in the health that I am in.  (Which is actually “good” — health, that is. . .)

“Older people have less ‘pain fibers’ and their muscles are not as strong or as resistant,” he explained.   “When a person who is as young as you does both knees at once, the result is never satisfactory.  We have found that there is no way to accomplish satisfactory rehabilitation, and you would end up with two stiff knees and that is what you already have — and what we want to get rid of.  We want fully functional knees when we are done with this surgery.  It is a hard haul for someone who is in your condition.  Our older patients come in, they get their knees replaced, they go to rehab and they are doing good in a few weeks.  It typically takes our younger people longer to rehabilitate — like three months– because they face more physical obstacles along the way.”  His voice softened and his eyes were kind.  “It isn’t easy.  You know that, don’t you?  You are in for a tough, difficult time.”

I wondered how he would choose which knee to do first.  He didn’t even ask me what I wanted.  “We are going to do the left knee,” he said.  “It is the better of the two, but it is hurting and I think we should get it done and that will give us a better situation for doing the one which will need more work.  The thing is we ARE going to do surgery.  My nurse will come in and we will nail down a date.” 

And so that is how my plans to have both of them done and get it over with went down the tube.  He doesn’t even have a slot for surgery until the 14th of December.  But guess what?  All of a sudden, it all seems to be for the best.  I don’t look forward to the next three months, but it will give me all sorts of opportunity to do some of the holiday things, get ready for Christmas, and ready my heart and my mind and even my body for surgery.  He is adamant that I need physical therapy three times a week for four or five weeks before surgery.  I suppose it means that Daniel and I won’t be doing the hiking next summer that I have been looking forward to, that there will be two recoveries instead of just one, and that I am going to just have to readjust my thinking, but our nurse daughter is greatly relieved. 

Today she said, “Mama, I didn’t really want to make too big a deal of it, but my one nursing instructor said that the only person she ever knew who died of a blood clot after a surgery was someone who had a double knee replacement.  I’ve been worried ever since you said that is what you were going to do, so this is a BIG relief to me.”

And so, once again what it really boils down to is that we are at least on our way to doing SOMETHING.  And I can trust the Heavenly Father to know what is best, and to do what is best. 

And I am quite content.



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My friend, Dave Hertzler, says that he isn’t sure that this is a fern.
Does anybody know what this plant is?
I’ve always called it an “Asparagus Fern” but I would like to know the real name.  It did grow these little flowers just this week:

There is just one little area that has them.

It gets very prickly when it dries out a little and sheds its little prickles all over the place.  I kept it over the winter, and cut it way back this spring.  I decided that if it lived over the summer without much attention, I might bring it back in this fall.  So, it did get fertilizer one time and I water it now and then.  But not often.

What can anyone tell me???


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Come for a visit to the yard at Shady Acres!

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The back yard. 
Certain Man has a leak in his roof above the deck
He has plans to repair it and change some things.
Stay tuned for progress reports. 

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One of the shrubs in the back yard is this Rose of Sharon

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Another shrub is a snowball bush


My Asparagus fern is Blooming!
I didn’t know they did that!

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My favorite container garden

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A coleus bloom from my favorite container garden

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A “whirlygig” flower from the same container

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Another container of which I am fond

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The blue Salvia are blooming

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More of the same

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A small pot into which I tucked some leftover Verbena

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Purple Verbena

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This is a very old container, and the flowers looked better earlier in the year
(even with a recent application of Miracle Gro)

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One of my fuschia flowers

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New Guinea Impatiens

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More New Guinea Impatiens

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Another container that has cockscomb, sweet potato vines and two colors of verbena

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The two colors of Verbena

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Last year, for Lem and Jessica’s wedding, I had lots of coral Verbena.
This is the only plant this year, but it is sturdily coming along.

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Vinca in a hanging pot

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Phlox in the side garden

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Some more Vinca by the walkway,


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My Friend, Ada, gave me this cheery, sturdy plant.

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It has bloomed its heart out for me.

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The oldest planter of all

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My sister, Sarah, gave this little statue to me several years ago

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These don’t look like much, but I am so pleased with them.
I got a whole lot of baskets of Vinca for three dollars each, and these two
looked so yellow and spindly when I got them, but they have filled out, gotten green
and are just plain nice to have!

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Another of my baskets.  This one is lopsided because
the other night when the youth group wanted to make ice cream,
I caught some of the Coleus with the hose and broke it off.
I was disappointed, but not devasted.

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I have another small pot that is one of my favorite, too.
It has this yellow cockscomb tucked into the back of it

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Then it has this begonia in it too, that is the main focus.

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It sits here on my old church bench and garners its share of comments.
I love this old yellow watering can.

Thanks for stopping by!
Come again –in person the next time.



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