Monthly Archives: May 2010

Me and my Sisters

 

I am guilty of stealing a picture — from my sister in law, Polly’s Xanga site.  But this is a very current picture of me and my two sisters.  And this weblog is about a very special day.  And I don’t have a picture that was taken today because I keep forgetting to take my camera and ask people to take our picture — but I digress.

My youngest sister, Alma, had a birthday on Saturday.  It was a busy time for all of us, and so we decided that we would go out today.  I had a gift certificate to “Where Pigs Fly” restaurant in Dover, and so we decided that we would all go there to celebrate.  We got a good start, and got to Ollie’s Bargain Mart and perused the many good bargains there and found some books that suited our fancies, and then headed on to Where Pigs Fly for a wonderful lunch together.  There was good conversation, laughter and a generally relaxed atmosphere.

And then we went to the Mall, where more bargains were procured at the semi-annual Clearance Sale at Yankee Candle, and also at the Boscov’s Department Store.  We stopped briefly at Auntie Anne’s pretzels and got a drink and some pretzel sticks, and then we headed for the great Sam’s Club.  Now Youngest Sister had been there earlier this week, and had taken a great deal of time to put a large amount of things to buy in her cart.  When she got up to the checkout, she produced her visa card to pay, and was told that she could not use visa at Sam’s Club.  It had to be Master Card or Discover or personal check.  None of which she had.  I have thought over this situation several times, and I promise you that I would have not just given up, but she was on a time schedule to get back to milk, and so she eventually walked away and left everything.  The checkout girl was not helpful at all, and the whole situation was frustrating indeed.  So on this day, she was going back to get all the things that she hadn’t been able to get on the previous visit.  Middle Sister and I also had things to get, but Youngest Sister had warned us that it was going to take her a long time, but promised to hurry.  So I kind of meandered about, and looked at things, got a few things and then, just as I was getting my last item, a 55 lb. bag of moisture control Miracle Grow Potting Soil, my cell phone rang, and behold, Middle Sister had completed her check out and was patiently waiting, and Youngest Sister was almost finished checking out.  So I heaved the big bag across the top of my cart and headed for the check out.  It stuck out in such a way that I had to be so careful not to assault other customers, but I finally found a relatively short checkout line, and got it onto the belt along with my other purchases.

About then, I saw Youngest Sister tromping across the eating area towards the counter where you order pizza or drinks or whatever.  “Do you want any water?” she asked as she passed by my line. 

“No, I’m fine,” I said, “but take my keys so you can go ahead and start loading.”  I willed  the fellow to hurry up so that I wouldn’t keep my sisters waiting.  After all, Youngest Sister had cows to milk again this evening, and it was getting on towards three o’clock.  About that time, my cell phone rang again and it was Certain Man, calling to see where I was, what was happening and was I about home yet and then he told me the chicken catching schedule for the next morning, and informed me of several other things that I absolutely couldn’t concentrate on.  Around the cell phone, I instructed the young black pleasant faced check out guy to just put it on my card.  He loaded the cart, handed me my sales receipt and membership card, and I headed for the door.  The 55 lb. bag of Miracle Grow made steering the cart just a little challenging, but as I came down the exit aisle, I saw both of my sisters, waiting for me.  They were ready to go, and started to push their carts towards the door.  That’s when I noticed that Youngest sister was having even more trouble with her cart than I was with mine, plus she had purchased one of those lovely big buckets that are so popular this year that have a handle that is all in one with the bucket and wheels that make it easy to move it around.  It is like a wheelbarrow of sorts, except it’s a bucket.  So she was trying to drag this on behind with one hand while pushing her cart with the other, and both items had wills of their own and were going in all directions.

Ever the one to fix things, (will I ever learn???) I reached behind me and caught the front of her cart while pushing mine in front of me.  She objected at first, but when her cart went off to the side again, she saw that there was an advantage in me pulling just a little from the front while she pushed.  My cart was behaving pretty well, but we did have some difficulty getting through the doors while they checked all our purchases.  Finally we were out into the hot sunshine and on our way to the van.  What a parade we must have seemed, and the carts didn’t want to behave, and the bucket sometimes went sideways, and we needed to stop and correct our course numerous times, but we finally got to the car.  Alma looked expectantly at me, then remembered that she had the keys, so she produced them and we began the job of loading.  Certain Man had thoughtfully removed the back seat before we left home, and that was a good thing.  Alma got herself up inside the van so she could arrange things in there.

Suddenly, across the parking lot I heard a commotion.  “Miss, —  Hey, Miss!”  It was the young man who had checked me out.  He came running across the parking lot carrying a purse.  “Hey, Miss!  Is this purse yours?”  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was mine.  It was gaping open, just as I must have left it on that little stand thingy that is at the checkout stations, but it was all intact, and I was one relieved lady.  I hadn’t missed it, and since Alma had the keys, I had missed the one thing that would have triggered looking for it.  I was so grateful, and tried to thank him properly, but he was on his way back to the store and his station before I could hardly assimilate what a gift he had given me.  Honestly, I have been in stores before where people left things and the checkout people act like trying to run after the customer to give them what was left behind was too much bother.  They would just turn it into the customer service department and forget it.  I am so glad that I had an energetic and willing person to expend the energy to come after me.  It would have been so disconcerting to have to go back to Dover to get my purse.

And then we came on home, the three of us.  All of us were tired to the bone.  No kidding.  Alma still had to chore, and I had some things to do, as did Sarah, but it was such a pleasant day, and we had such a good time.  My sisters and I used to try to go out once a month — that lasted about three months.  Maybe four.  The older I get the more I realize how much I like my sisters.  We honestly don’t get to see much of eachother.  We go to different churches, and we are all busy with our families.  But every now and then it happens and we get together and have a great time.  Even if we do seem to get ourselves into dilemmas and difficulties, it is still so much fun.

You want to know something interesting?  Probably neither of my sisters will read this post unless someone tells them, “Mary Ann was talking about you on her blog!”  It isn’t that they aren’t interested, but Sarah’s computer just doesn’t cooperate very well with anything she wants to do, and Alma, bless her heart, finds her computer more of a nusiance than anything else.  Which tells you how very different we really are in some things.  But in others — down in our hearts where it really counts, we are soul friends.

And I am so glad.

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Guess what, Dear Friends!

I can

SHOVEL MY GARDEN

and

IT DOESN’T HURT!!!

(at least it didn’t at the time . . . last night, trying to sleep it was a little different story, but anyhow–)

Do you know how long it has been since I could put a shovel to the ground, lean on it with either foot and not have pain?  or even have the strength to follow through?  I am so pleased this morning for this gift.

It’s a gorgeous day in Delaware.  The sun is shining, the birds are ecstatic, the grass needs mowing,

And the poultry alarm is going bonkers!!!

Certain Man had to make a flying trip home to save the situation.  One of our houses goes out tonight — at less than 7 weeks old.  That is really unusual.  The other one tomorrow night.  Certain Man isn’t a happy camper about the split nights.  He is alone at Kent County’s Plumbing Inspector Department, (colleague is out on an education week, and part timer is pretty much on his own schedule), and with the slight upturn in the building trade, inspections are up.  He has lots to do today.  Since he came home and took care of the alarm, there will be no lunch hour for him.  (He can eat on the run, and he will be okay.) 

I wanted to post a picture from my lunch out with my girlies:

This is Charis’ reaction to crab soup.

She wasn’t quite so against it by the time she had a few more bites.


The other thing that I wanted to share with you were some pictures from Youngest Son’s graduation.

He graduated from Bryn Mawr on May 16th with his Masters in Social Work.  He had gotten a job before he graduated that involves going into the ghetto and evaluating the status of people who are receiving assistance.  It is a heartbreaking job, and “No, Mom, it isn’t very safe . . .” but he is applying for some other jobs, and we are hopeful that there might be another position that will use the training that he has received in counseling.  Anyhow, just a pictorial update to keep you all entertained.

 

There are no males in the undergraduate program at Bryn Mawr, and out of the 124 graduate students, there were only 22 males.  So Lem was one of twenty two graduating that day with around 500 females (One graduation for the whole kit, kat and Kaboodle).  It was pretty exciting! This is Lem on the steps of the building where he has spent a lot of hours in the last year.  I think he is proclaiming his freedom!  Not only from the educational demands, but also, all that estrogen.

 

There is some female influence that he doesn’t get tired of, and that is his lovely wife, Jessica-


This day was an incredible milestone for them, and for their life together.

They have a friend that lives with them who shares rent and living expenses.  She is like a sister to them, and is an integral part of their lives (and consequently, ours).  Rachel Yoder graduated with Lem from Cedarville University last May, and moved to Philadelphia with them and also was in graduate school.  She graduated the day after Lem from UPenn.  Here are the three of them.


Celebrating!

Some random pictures:

Aren’t we a sorry looking crew!  (well, especially that poor soul in the front middle . . .) We had to park across campus and a shuttle bus picked us up and took us over to the graduation area.

 


Charis loves driving anywhere that she doesn’t need to be in a car seat.  And she didn’t have to be restrained in the shuttle, so she was showing off and enjoying the ride.

 

Once at the graduation area, there was a tent set up, and there was both inside and outside seating.  It was HOT in the sun, Cold in the shade, and hard to find a good place.  But it was beautiful.  What an incredible campus!

Jessica’s Mom and Dad are the couple that is sitting, properly and quietly.  The rest of our crew kinda took a long time to decide where to sit.  It really was a mess.  And the chairs weren’t the most comfortable for me.  Somehow the height was wrong for my knees, and it wasn’t exactly easy to sit.  But SIT, we did.  Eventually.

Here is a better picture of Jessica, Lem, Lynn and Larry.  It meant alot to us that Jessica’s Dad and Mom came to Lem’s grad.  It was the most gorgeous day, and I said to Certain Man, “Larry is the one who has sacrificed the most to be at grad today.  On this perfect weather day, I’m certain he would have much rather been out on his boat, but he gave it up to come.”  He has a lovely boat, and he works so hard all the time.  Saturdays and Sundays are his days to get away from it all.  Going to a graduation really wasn’t “getting away” at all.

And we got him all graduated, to our great delight!

 

 

Lem is totally in love with his little niece.  He takes every opportunity he has to develop relationship with her that is something of value to her . . .

. . . but he wasn’t going to let her go off with his diploma.  She tried hard, but he held tight.

 

Here’s our family — minus Raph and Gina, on the lawn after grad.  What a great day!

(But Raph and Gina — How very much we missed you!)

 

 

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I wanted to do a big blog about last week.  There really was something almost every day!  Monday we helped pack out the kitchen at Raph and Gina’s trailer — so much fun being together, so sad to think about what we were doing.  We had a good time, things went smoothly and the pizza was good for lunch.  The day was hard for all of us, though. 

Tuesday, I had a huge wash because I had let it go an extra day, and then I baked bread and baby sat for my grandbaby.  That’s fun stuff!

 

Ah, my sweet Charis Darlin’! 
I never knew I would love a grandbaby so much!

 

Wednesday, I had a doctor appointment for Linda which takes more effort than I care to admit, and then had prescriptions to fill.  I spent some of the day calling people to make sure they knew that we were cleaning the church in the evening in preparation for Josh and Lawina’s reception, and then went up to help clean.  Thanks to all of you who helped — a small but mighty crew and we got it done.  Stanley Steemer had come and cleaned the floors and they were absolutely gorgeous!  The trustees and the deacon finally solved and fixed the problem of the leak and the floor has been dry for over a week now, so that is wonderful, too.  The clean basement looked as good as new!  Hard job done, and this old lady was mighty tired.  Certain Man was, too.  We came home and crashed

Thursday morning, Raph and Gina pulled in around ten o’clock.  Their vehicles were packed to the brim, and they were ready to begin the trip to Ohio.  I looked at my tall son and his sweet wife, and thought that this “good-bye” was something I just could not do.  I had written Gina a letter and tucked it into a little red Bible, and had a letter for Raph, too.  We stood in the middle of the kitchen and Certain Man drew us all into a hug and he prayed for us and them and their future and their trip.  His voice was husky with unshed tears.  (There was nothing “unshed” about mine.)  Certain Man checked some things in his pickup that Raph was going to drive to Ohio, and then Gina got into her Jeep and Raph got into his Dad’s pickup and they were off.  I spent the day either in tears or on the verge.  I finally went and did some necessary shopping for the Wedding reception that was coming up on Saturday night, and so the long day passed.

Friday was our annual potato salad day at the house of my Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys. 

250 pounds of potatoes!  We make them all into potato salad for the annual festival at Central Christian School.  Potato salad is served with their famous barbecued chicken dinners, and Aunt Gladys’ recipe is famous for being THE BEST!!!  Over the years, we’ve worked at getting the proportions written down until we are able to be a fine running “potato salad making machine”.  And this is the truth!  When about a dozen people can come into a kitchen and take potatoes piled just like this and turn them into 55 gallons of potato salad less than four hours later– Well, I’d call that pretty good.  Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys cooked and peeled all the hardboiled eggs in the days just before, and cooked all the potatoes to perfection, and that is a good bit of the job right there.  If the potatoes aren’t cooked right it makes everything a mess!  This year they were as perfect as an old brown cooked potato can be.  We had wonderful help, and things got done.  What a wonderful day.  I didn’t take pictures of the process this time like usual because I left my camera behind and Deborah brought it when things were almost over.  I’m so sorry, because I like to show the pictures of everyone who helped.  Our crew this year was almost the very same as last year with one or two substitutions.  And so, we got by.

One of the highlights of Potato Salad day for me is seeing the quilt that my Aunt Gladys makes for the auction that is sold at the festival.  For years, she has made a quilt that usually brings the highest price and is so beautifully done.

Here it is!  The next day, her grandson, Jared, put the winning bid in and got it for some over $700.00, I believe.  The highest paid for a quilt that day, but still a steal.  I heard that most of the quilts brought under $300.00 that day.  The economy has hit the quilt business hard.   One of these years, I’m going to save up and I’m going to buy one of those quilts.  Of course, she has lots of grandsons (16, I believe and 6 granddaughters) and they are all hard working and determined.  They just might edge me out.  Some of them have already purchased their “grandma quilt” but there is quite a passel left that are still hopeful.  I hope Aunt Gladys can be around to make lots more quilts.  She did every single quilting stitch herself in this one.  Quite a lady, indeed.

After we finished the potato salad, Certain Man (who grated every single one of those potatoes himself with the help of the grater on my KitchenAid Mixer) and I took a gallon of the potato salad in to his office where he promptly “sold” the whole thing for a $20.00 donation.  Then we came home, and I put my feet up for a while.  Then later that evening, my good friend, Emma and I went up to church to decorate for Josh and Lawina’s wedding reception.  Things went well.  I love working with Emma.  She is such a faithful friend and a good, good help for things like this.  We finished up around 8:30 and called it a day.  A sweet, sweet day it was!

Saturday finally dawned, and I had Certain Man bring my big roaster up from the basement.  I had told my sister, Sarah, that I would make burger bean bake for Josh and Lawina’s reception, and had purchased the ingredients earlier in the week.  Certain Man looked at the bacon and hamburger frying and looked like he was debating whether he should say something or not.  He finally did.  “Hon, how much burger bean bake are you going to make?  I hope you aren’t planning to make too much.  So often we have so much left over after things like this and we hardly know what to do with it.”  I knew that what he was saying was true, but lately there have been some situations where gatherings have run out of food, and I really didn’t want that to happen.  I looked at all my cans of different beans and decided to use half of what I had purchased “for starters” and to see how things looked from there.  By the time I had the bacon and hamburger and the extras in using about half of what I had bought was about exactly right.  I stirred and tasted and used my good friend, Ethel Campbell’s recipe in our community’s red cookbook for most of what I put in until I was satisfied. 

 . . .  And I will be back — You can read this far for now.  Eldest Daughter wants to take me to lunch for a belated Mother’s Day treat, and I am going to go!  I have some more pictures, and a few more things to tell you, and then this past week will be documented, and it will be time to go on to other things.

Until then —

Mary Ann signing off

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What an incredible week!

It all started last Sunday night with a birthday party for one of our favorite people, Gary Burlingame.

 

 

Gary turned Seventy! We planned a party! We invited his sister, Elaine, and she came! We surprised him but good. Gary showed up an hour early for what he thought was a church cookout. The decorating committee hadn’t even been there yet! He meandered around outside, then came in and conveniently sat in the living room where he couldn’t really see the rest of the house.

Karen and James came in and set everything up — balloons, money train and all, and he never caught wind of anything. Kent and April brought the cake into the kitchen in a big white box and he never noticed. Of course, everyone was bringing food and such, so he wasn’t paying too much attention. Elaine came late so as not to spoil the surprise, and stayed out of sight until Daniel had led in prayer. Then Dave Hertzler started Happy Birthday, Ilva carried in the cake with Elaine following, and WOW! Did we ever surprise our Gary!!! I really wish someone would have had a camera ready, but even in this series of pictures, he hadn’t quite recovered.

This is the sweet little train that Karen set up and the church family helped to “decorate” for Gary.  She drew the tracks on newsprint, and filled in the landscape. The money that was given was rolled up in little tiny rolls and attached all over the train.

Gary couldn’t believe his eyes. It didn’t take him long to relieve the train of its cargo. He said he didn’t want it to be overloaded to the point of damage.  This might have been a legitimate concern.  I understand there was over $200.00 on there.

Gary, Karen and Elaine discussing the dynamics of surprising Gary. This was such great fun!

And there was other food as well — wonderful New Orleans sausage bisque there in the foreground made by Ruby really hit the spot on the cold, cold night, and there were so many other things, too. Ah, Church Family! What a great group you are! Thanks for making it such a memorable evening for Gary. For bringing such good food, for staying to help clean up, for your generous, open hearts. And Gary, just in case you didn’t know — We think you are wonderful!!!

. . . and that was just Sunday night —

Then there was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and another Sunday.  I will try to post more.  I just haven’t been able to keep up.

 

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The peonies are blooming.  This morning, I heard the driveway monitor go off three times and realized that Daniel was out picking peonies.  Sometimes he picks them to take to his office to put some color and scent there, but this morning, he was picking them for me.  He brought them in, a gathering of the three colors that grow at Shady Acres, and I found a vase to put them in, and set them in the middle of the dining room table.  As I was arranging them, I suddenly remembered another spring, eighteen years ago, and an incident that happened that I put into my journal.  I thought I would share it with you this morning.

Springtime Musings
May, 1992 

Her Daddy loves growing things.  Along our walk and hither and yon, he has planted peonies.  They grow on his mother’s grave and he loves their lavish colors and extavagant fragrance.

She is our youngest; twenty months of energy, smiles and personality.  Like her daddy, she loves growing things.  She has just discovered that peonies have flowers and flowers have smell.  I am working in the flower bed beside the house tonight, and she is fighting a losing battle with wanting to pick the posies.

The buds are nearly ready to burst.  The plants are loaded.  “One flower more or less won’t matter,” I tell myself as her little fingers begin to dismantle a bud.  She works industriously to free some petals and beaming, toddles over to me.  Proudly, she shows me her handful of crumpled flower petals, smells them with long, effusive breaths, and then holds them up for me to smell.

At first, I smell but sweaty baby hand, but then the haunting, lingering smell of spring peonies comes bravely through.

I watch her glowing face, think of our delight in this child, and think of my Heavenly Father.  Far better than I is He at seeing the beauty and smelling the fragrance in the broken petals I bring to him.  Some of it has been done in innocence, as my toddler’s joyous exploration of life reminds me.

But some of it has not been so innocent or carefree.  Yet this Father of Love can take what has been lost beyond repair and accept what brokenness I have to offer him, and love me and give me hope.  He smells the fragrance when others cannot.  His love for me transforms something worthless into a thing of great treasure.

 

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It’s been a stellar day at Shady Acres.  It all began with footsteps on the stairs at 6:45.  I was in the kitchen, making Certain Man his breakfast, and looked up to see the long tanned legs of Youngest Daughter come around the corner (the rest of her was attached — I just didn’t see it because of the overhead bar cabinet in our kitchen).

To say I was shocked is an understatement.  Certain Man, in cahoots with Eldest Daughter and Beloved Son in Law, had managed to get her into the house at 1:30 AM after I was asleep.  Sneaky Hobitses!!!  I lifted up my voice and wept!!!  Honestly!  I have been so homesick for her, and wished so much that we could be together as a family this weekend, but it didn’t look possible!  The story is a very long story as to how she got here, and how my husband arranged for this surprise, and I don’t think I will tell it at this point.  It has enough drama to be a CM/CMW story, so it just might happen someday.

Some of you are aware of the direction that our life as a family has taken over the last few weeks.  But some of you don’t, so I guess now is as good a time as any to clue you in.  Our Oldest Son, Raph, and his Ohio Heart Throb, Regina, are moving to Ohio next week.  The path that brought them to this decision has been covered in prayer at almost every turn, and Daniel and I are at peace with the decision.  We believe that this is what God has for them at this point, and we are in support of them and this decision that they have wrestled with pretty much ever since their marriage almost two years ago.

In these last few tumultuous weeks, I have been reminded so often of the time when Daniel and I moved to Delaware from Ohio.  I didn’t want to move to Delaware, and it was the most difficult thing I ever did.  Looking back, I know that it was part of God’s plans for us as a family, and I’m glad that I believed that God wouldn’t make a mistake in my life if my attitude was right towards my husband, but I thought that Daniel was making a terrible mistake. 

I remember talking to our pastor, Walter Beachy, one evening and trying to sort things out.  “I just don’t understand,” I said, rather forcefully, as I recall, “How something can be God’s will, and I HATE IT SO MUCH!” 

He didn’t cut me any slack.  “Oh,” he said, matter of factly. “That happens all the time!”  I suppose I suspected or even knew that, but I didn’t like it any better.  And it is a little the way I feel in this situation, too, except that I’m a little wiser and a lot older now, and I know that how I feel about doing something really has very little to do with whether I should do it or not.  (Except that sometimes the harder it is for me to do it, the “righter” it is.)

I am so proud of my tall son and his wife.  I believe that they will be used by God where ever He leads them.  I don’t know what is ahead, but I know them well enough to know that God will bring ministry opportunities to them that they will welcome and be involved in.  I know that it isn’t easy for them to pull up and leave, and it isn’t easy for Daniel and I either.  I’ve shed lots and lots of tears, and there have been times when it has been easy for me to ask hard questions of The Father.

“Would it have been so hard,” I asked Him the other morning, “to answer some of their most desperate prayers?  You, who made the world and everything in it, couldn’t you have sent a soul friend for Gina to ease the loneliness?  Couldn’t you have sent a job for Raph that was fulfilling and something he could have had a sense of future in?  Couldn’t you have given them both creative ideas for investing in the things that answers to prayer are made of?”  And I sobbed myself amost sick as I sat in my chair with my prayer journal and my faithful pen, scribbling page after page through hot, copious tears. 

I do not ever hear an audible voice in those times when I wrestle with God and the prayers I want Him to answer (in my time and in my way, no less!).  But He speaks peace to me through His Word, and in a persistent inner voice that speaks truth to me over and over again, and that was one morning when I felt to the depths of my being that God had some things for me to do in this situation and sitting on my chair and weeping wasn’t one of them.  Just as I felt those long ago days, that the best thing for me to do was to get on with the business at hand, so I have felt strongly that the things for me to do NOW are to be as optimistic and upbeat as possible, to help where ever I can, and whenever I can.  To bless and encourage and be happy and to believe in my heart that God has a plan in their lives for good that He is, even now, working out.  Step by step.  Moment by moment.  As the days have passed, I’ve become more and more convinced that this plan for them, though I do not like it especially, also is part of His Plan for Daniel and I as parents, too.

And I don’t want to miss the best part.  What is the best part?  The best part is finding what God wants me to do in a given situation and then doing it with all my might.  Even when I don’t like it.  I’ve found that when I do what I’m supposed to do, even when the only thing that may be motivating me at that particular moment is the fact that I know it is the right thing to do, makes for true joy.

And do you know what else?  I don’t want to miss the lesson.  Over the years. another thing I’ve learned is that when things come into my life that I truly think I cannot bear, there is an extra special lesson there somewhere, just waiting for me to discover it.  And the discovery is something that makes it not only bearable, but exciting.

So I look at this family that God has given to Daniel and I, and these next few weeks are fraught with change and uncertainty.  Youngest Son, Lem, graduates with his Masters on May 16th.  He has already started his new job in Philadelphia.  His wife, Jessica is beginning her graduate school while continuing her job at the Veterans Administration.  Raph and Gina leave for Ohio on May 13th.  Rachel finishes Rosedale May 22nd, and about ten days later, she and Deborah are taking a short trip to Guatemala to visit Lupé, her husband, Ervin, and their little girl, Kimberly Nichole.  And there are weddings and receptions and reunions and church events and newly bereaved neighbors and neighbors who are seriously ill, and the list goes on.  But even as the list goes on with its overwhelming properties, the Heavenly Father says that His Strength and His Grace are not only available, but have been scarcely tapped.


Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


And these words are not just for Raph and Gina.

They are for Daniel.

And Jesse and Christina and Charis.

They are for Deborah.

And (yes!) for Raph and Gina.

They are for Lem and Jessica

And for Rachel.

They are for Me.

. . . and I give grateful praise.

 

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