Monthly Archives: July 2011

They aren’t so hungry these days.  Mom has a job, and the food stamps got upped, too.

They still want to come, and they want to play, and sometimes they are really off the wall.

They ride the bikes and riding toys that are in the shed around and around, crash into each other, scream and fight and lie and sometimes steal.

They tell tall tales of imagined adventure and conflict.

I look into their beautiful faces and wonder if Jesus will ever be given a chance to make a difference in their lives.

Things were strange last night.  I picked them up around six, and brought them here and they wanted to ride bikes while I got supper on.  I suddenly realized that the six year old was sprawled out on the area rug in the sunroom, just as peaceful as could be, and the ten year old was beside her.  Muffy, the little one, seemed to be enjoying the cool, and since it was so hot outside, I didn’t blame her a single bit.  I went in and talked to her, and she smiled peacefully at me, but didn’t much engage in conversation.  I thought Mya seemed a little over solicitous as she hovered around.  And as the evening progressed, it was apparent that there was something really different about Muffy.  She just wanted to sleep.

Then Mya came out to the kitchen and said, “The reason Muffy is so sleepy is that she was really, really out of control at home, and Mom thought she needed to calm down so she gave her her sleeping medicine before she came.”

I must have looked puzzled because she hastened to explain, “LJ and Muffy both need sleeping medicine so they can sleep.  Mom told her to try not to sleep here, but I guess she can’t help it.”

It was that way all evening.  None of the usual things that interested her could attract her attention.  She slept on the floor, she slept on the wing chair, she slept on my recliner, and she almost slept on the golf cart ride that I made her go on just before I took them home.  I had hoped that the fresh evening air, the excitement of the meadow and the evening sounds and colors would rouse her a bit, but nothing diverted her from that deep, deep need to sleep.

Finally, a little after nine, I packed them all up and took them home.  My “easiest” night with them had quickly turned into my most troubling.  My heart, heavy in my chest became hot tears on the way home.  What is there in these children’s lives that makes it impossible for a six year old and an eight year old to not be able to sleep? 

I asked Muffy in one of the moments I had alone with her if there was something bothering her.  “No,” she said in her little girl voice.  She insisted that she wasn’t having nightmares, didn’t have anything that was making her sad, etc., but something is so amiss.  Medication for ADHD in the morning, medication to sleep at night . . . 

What will this lead to?

Where will it end?

God help the children! 

And we can leave our porch lights on for a murdered child in Florida (and we SHOULD care about this) but we cannot be bothered with the children on our doorsteps.
God help His People to see what we can do to make a difference.

Right here. 

Right now.



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Here We Sit With Our Red Faces . . .

So Certain Man and his wife have been rather running on the smatterings of almost no energy since the departure of Marty and Diane Wenger yesterday morning.  We had had a wonderful July 4th picnic, but the older we get, the longer it takes to recuperate.  There was the usual work for Certain Man, and small mountains of laundry — sheets and towels and regular family laundry to do, as well as getting picnic things washed up and put away.  Yesterday was a day when there was almost NO REST for the weary. 

And today has been a busy day.  Romey, the neighbor boy was here, and Mama needed a prescription, and it was my regular day to go to her house to do bookwork.  I felt all day like I could hardly go another step, but there was always something else that kept me going.  And then, too, all day long I’ve been thinking in terms of Small Group.  Middle Daughter, home for the day, had picked up the living room, straightened the house and worked on the last few loads of laundry left over from yesterday.  Then this afternoon, I realized that my dryer was not behaving, so I got my stick of great length, put  a plastic drum liner down on the ground, and crawled part ways under the deck, and poked around in there for some great expenditure of energy that I didn’t have, trying to get it to shorten its four hour drying cycle into something more acceptable.  Then I got supper over early for a change, and made apple crisp and got the questions ready for the DVD — and nobody came and nobody came and nobody came.

“This is really strange,” I thought.  “I know that our group is often a little tardy in coming, but this is REALLY late, even for them!” 

Certain Man was out and about, fixing a water line in the chicken house, and finally, I decided to check the bulletin.

“Maybe,” I thought, “there was something in there about not having small group since there was a visiting speaker on Sunday, and the picnic on Monday.”  So I went back into my e-mails, and found Sunday’s bulletin, and lo!  And behold!  There WASN’T small group.  Nope.  There was PRAYER MEETING AT CHURCH!!!  In charge of Dave Hertzler.  At 7:00.  Oh, dear.  And it was now 7:30.  I went out and found Certain Man coming in, all confused as to why no one was here yet.

“I kept watching,” he said, “to see if anyone was here, but nobody came.  I couldn’t figure it out!  Finally decided that I better come in and find out what was going on!”

“There’s no small group!”  I told him, and filled in the details.

Talk about embarrassment!  We honestly don’t believe in just “missing” prayer meeting.  Middle Daughter thinks it’s the funniest thing of all time.  She has laughed and laughed at these two “old people.” 

“NOT FUNNY!!!” I tell her.

She is not convinced. 

And now I will tell you what I think.  I think maybe, just MAYBE I needed this quiet evening at home.  I am sorry I missed going to church but maybe that is better than going and sleeping through the service.

Sweet dreams, dear friends.  I’m going to try to make up for some of the sleep I lost.


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Oh, Dear!


I had a comment from @earthmechanic wondering if I hadn’t gotten my Aunt Orpha and My Sweet Mama mixed around when I labeled this picture in my Reunion post.  Lo, and behold!  I HAD!!!  So, just in case some of you were thoroughly confused, and others of you too polite to tell me and (and probably others of you that never even noticed) — HERE is the corrected list with the same picture — and I still think it is the rightest of right pictures.  I fiercely love these eight people — especially the one all the way to the end on the right in the front row, but every single one of the others, for sure.




My Sweet Mama’s siblings are all still living.
In fact, the only one missing from even the spouses is my Daddy.
In the back, from left to right:
Aunt Gladys (Married to Jesse Yoder) Dover, DE
Aunt Alma Jean (Married to Harvey Yoder) Harrisonburg, VA
Aunt Freda (Married to Vernon Zehr) Greenwood, DE
Aunt Ruth Ann (Married to Allan Shirk) Lancaster, PA
Front Row, Same direction:
Uncle Lloyd (Married to Beverly Shriner) Gap, PA
Uncle Harold (Married to Mary Hepner) Lititz, PA
Aunt Orpha (Married to Lloyd Gingrich) Richfield, PA
My Sweet Mama (Married to the late Mark Yoder, Sr.) Greenwood, DE


(Thank you, Merle.  I sincerely appreciate it!)



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Annual 4th of July picnic at Shady Acres.

Come on over, and we will have us some
and fellowship.
2:30 starts the festivities
supper after 5:30
then we’ll all help to churn the ice cream.
Bring extra clothes for the kids
because there WILL be water.

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Family Reunion

Thursday, Certain Man gave me an incredible gift.

It all started when I saw in an e-mail to our family google group that I was going to drive Mama, Aunt Freda and Uncle Vernon, Aunt Gladys and Uncle Jesse up to a Lauver (my maternal grandmother’s family) Reunion that was being held on June 30th at Landis Homes in Lititz, PA.  I had told Mama that I was planning to go and take her, but I hadn’t been pre-informed about the passengers.  I decided that it would be just fine, though.  I am not particularly fond of driving,  but I CAN do it, and have had reasonable experience with short day trip kinds of things.  The thought of being with those five wonderful people was especially inviting, so the plans were made.

Now Uncle Vernon has some good days and some bad days.  He is battling an especially unpredictable liver disease, and the last few weeks have been a bit more challenging, so he decided that he would just stay home.  I really hated that he wasn’t going.  He is an encourager by gifting and a kind and thoughtful man.  We would have been blessed to have him along, but of course, we understood.

But that left an empty seat in the mini van, and it suddenly dawned on my fur brain that maybe — just maybe — Certain Man could be prevailed upon to drive this motley crew.  He has a few vacation days rattling around, and he guards them zealously, but he happens to like my relatives pretty well, and he likes to drive, so MAYBE?!?!?!?!?!? 

He said that he could!!!!!!!!!! Glory Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

Family reunions are wonderful things, and spirits were high as we started off.



Certain Man and Uncle Jesse in the front.  (MAN power!)   Sweet Mama and Aunt Gladys in the middle two seats
(SISTER power!)

And Aunt Freda occupied the seat beside me:


The back seat was just plain POWER!
(We could “boss” from back there!)

Here are my favorite pictures from the day:

My Sweet Mama is the “secret-est tellin’ woman” and she dearly loves her older brother, Harold Wert.
I don’t know who they were discussing, but I think it had something to do with a “couple they weren’t quite sure who they were” business.


My Aunt Mary (Uncle Harold’s wife) is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia or some other tragic disease.
She and my Sweet Mama were always best friends, and the disease hasn’t taken that away.
I am so thankful to God for good memories.
These two have some memories together that are really great!

Glen and Emma (Bender) Myers.
Emma (Mama’s cousin) helped out at our house when I was a toddler and my little brother, Mark, jr., was born.

I remember their wedding day.  And that was 50 years ago this summer.
For those of you who may wonder how this family is part of my mother’s family —
My Grandmother Wert, Alma Lauver, was a sister to Esther (Lauver) Bender,
who married my Grandmother (Savilla Bender) Yoder’s brother, Nevin. 
(This is one family that showed up at the reunions on my mother’s side and on my father’s side.)

Mary Lou (Lauver) Blank, cousin to Mama and her siblings, suffers from Parkinsons, but has a sweet, gentle and joyful spirit.




My Uncle Jesse, with Mama’s cousin, Paul Bender, and his wife Ginny and one of their sisters in law

Nevin James Bender and his brother, Paul, sit together, watching the all the people.


Another brother of Paul and Nevin James, this is Don Bender talking to my uncle, Harvey Yoder,
who is married to my mother’s sister, Alma Jean.
I heard the comment on Thursday that Don looks like his father, Uncle Nevin Bender.
(What do those of you who knew Uncle Nevin think?)

This is my Uncle, Allan Shirk, with his grandson, Ethan.


This is a cousin of mine that I honestly hardly know.
She is Uncle Allan and Aunt Ruth’ Ann’s daughter, Melissa,
talking with Uncle Jesse.
  She is also Ethan’s mama.  She and her husband recently moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania,

seeking greater opportunities for their only child, Ethan who is autistic.
And the whole family is pleased with the progress that he is making. 


Uncle Allen talks with Certain Man as they both take a much deserved break.


My cousin, Barb Gingrich, looks over the shoulder of her mother, my Aunt Orpha (Gingrich),
who is looking at a photo album with my Aunt Mary. 
The gal in the white blouse is my cousin Jeanne Witmer, whose husband died of cancer 16 months ago.
Next to her is my aunt, Freda Zehr.


My Sweet Mama’s siblings are all still living.
In fact, the only one missing from even the spouses is my Daddy.
In the back, from left to right:
Aunt Gladys (Married to Jesse Yoder) Dover, DE
Aunt Alma Jean (Married to Harvey Yoder) Harrisonburg, VA
Aunt Freda (Married to Vernon Zehr) Greenwood, DE
Aunt Ruth Ann (Married to Allan Shirk) Lancaster, PA
Front Row, Same direction:
Uncle Lloyd (Married to Beverly Shriner) Gap, PA
Uncle Harold (Married to Mary Hepner) Lititz, PA
My Sweet Mama (Married to the late Mark Yoder, Sr.) Greenwood, DE
Aunt Orpha (Married to Lloyd Gingerich) Richfield, PA

It was truly a great time together, and well worth our time to go.

On the way home, after dropping off Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys in Dover, our trusty mini-van developed some problems.  Certain Man couldn’t get it to shift into third gear.  We had just been talking about it on the way up to the reunion — how much we liked it, how the transmission had been replaced some time ago, and how it had almost 250,000 miles on it.  And, how thankful we have been for this trusty servant. Certain Man towed it into the transmission shop this afternoon, and we shall see what is wrong and how much it will take to fix it.





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