Monthly Archives: August 2011

Remember this photo?

I posted this a few weeks ago around the time that I sent it into http://www.dearphotograph.com.

Dear Photograph,

The old swing is empty, but this Mama’s heart never is.

MaryAnn Yutzy

 

It’s been quite a while, and I decided that it had just not made the cut.   I know I’m prejudiced, but I was pretty sure that my photo was every bit as interesting as the next guys.  Today I got this message from the site director:

Hey MaryAnn,

Thanks so much for your photo!
I just posted it to the blog for today’s photo.
My Mom feels the exact same way about the photo.
Thanks again 🙂
Dear Photograph, The old swing is empty, but this Mama’s heart never is.

-MaryAnn Yutzy http://bit.ly/rkV4ni
-Taylor
– Show quoted text –


Taylor Jones


This is such a happy thing to have happen!
Thank you, Deborah-girl for encouraging me to submit this photo.

 

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Oh, those green beans!

The garden at Shady Acres (planted in a sunny spot) is quite an interesting undertaking to say the least.

Certain Man plants it.  Weeds it.  Sprays the bugs and digs the potatoes and picks up ground cherries.  He cheers on the asparagus and rhubarb, and he examines and exclaims over the carrots and carefully stakes up the tomatoes so that there is no problem when it comes to picking them.  He loves yellow summer squash and he picks those carefully and expertly.  He has been know to help pick up the butternut squash, but not because he likes to.  He does not pick beans.  Of any kind.  He does not cut asparagus, he does not usually pick tomatoes unless it is to eat one of his beautiful little ones on his way to the chicken house.  His involvement with the peppers is to the extent that he tells me when they need to be picked and how they are getting out of hand.

But he weeds and rotor-tills and strings up the wires and string for my beloved pole limas and usually his garden is picture perfect.

This year, most of the garden has been exactly right most of the time.  But the weeds got away from him in the potatoes and lima bean rows and it has been discouraging.  Especially since we aren’t getting enough lima beans to even bother with.  We can about throw the picking’s handful into a soup or eat them raw.  It’s been discouraging for Certain Man’s wife, too.

At the beginning of the summer, he decided that this year he was going to have a row of peas and a row of green beans.  I don’t often argue with him, but I REALLY didn’t want green beans (or peas, either, for that matter!) But he went ahead and got the seed and planted a row of green beans.  I was secretly just a little upset.  Green beans are not that expensive, people often have them for the taking, and besides.  I have to bend way over to pick those green beans and the hot sun and the way they hide is a great aggravation to this farm girl’s heart.  I just didn’t want to have them on my conscience.  Middle Daughter had pretty much said that she didn’t feel called to pick green beans for us, and I just knew I would be out there in that patch picking green beans and feeling misunderstood.

They didn’t come up!

I secretly rejoiced with exceeding great joy!

But then Certain Man came home one day with this lumpy envelope and when I investigated, I found it almost full of bean seeds.  “What’s this with these seeds?” I asked him.

“Oh, those,” he said.  “Gary said I ought to try them and he gave me that pack.”

“I don’t want green beans in our garden, Daniel.  They are hard to pick and Deborah said she would pick them last year and after a time or so of picking them, she got busy and I had to pick and they were nasty and I don’t want green beans in my garden.”

“I thought I might just try these and see,” he insisted.  “Gary says they are really nice green beans.  There aren’t all that many, and the first ones I planted never even came up.  It’s kinda’ late for them anyhow.  They probably won’t make much, but I’d sorta’ like to at least try them and see how they do.”

I could tell it wouldn’t do me any good to say any more, and I was gratified to see that lumpy envelope around for a very long time.  Long enough that I forgot about them.  Then one day, he mentioned that his green beans were up.

“Did you plant those beans that Gary gave you?” I asked.

“Yep!  And they came up good!”

Oh, well. 

We were working on Deborah’s library and he wasn’t spending much time in the garden and his weeds were fast taking over.  I decided that I wouldn’t worry too much about it.  With all those weeds out there, those beans didn’t stand much of a chance.  But then, his part of the work on Deborah’s project came to an end and he got after those weeds with a vengeance and since he started at the edge of the garden that everyone sees first, he weeded the row of marigolds that we plant next to the tomatoes to keep the bugs off.  Then he weeded his tomatoes, then his — you guessed it!  His bean row.  I came out one night to check on my pole limas and I saw a healthy row of green beans about 2/3 the length of the garden.  I decided that I was going to ignore them.

I fought the thistles and the butternut squash to go over my two rows of pole limas and got about a five gallon bucket on the first picking.  I was really worried, though, because there were no more viable pods hanging on the vines.  I proceeded to pray and sing over them, and tried to keep after the other garden things, but at least two weeks later I went over the patch again and got — two handfuls of shelled beans.  This made me a little cross.  Certain Man was steadily weeding the rows of pole limas, he was watering faithfully, he was doing all he could to help the pole limas grow, but it was all to no avail.  And I was still ignoring those green beans.  Occasionally, Certain Man would lament that “those green beans don’t seem to be making anything of themselves, either,”  but I was still not paying attention.  You see, I was afraid that if I looked at them and there were beans there, I would feel OBLIGATED to pick them. 

On Tuesday night, when the kids were here, I gone out with them and thought that I would work in the garden while they rode bikes and worked off some energy.  When they saw that I was in the garden, they all three came pounding across the grass and wanted to help.  They wanted to pick tomatoes and they were pulling the green ones off at an alarming rate.  I looked down and happened to see that there were quite a few green beans hanging on the first bush of the row, so I thought long and hard (at least five seconds) about asking them if they wanted to help pick the green beans and sure enough!  They did!

So we set to work with a 2½ gallon bucket and before I knew it, that bucket was getting full, and I hadn’t picked more than a fourth of the row.  Then the kids were tired of it already (they had worked under that scorching evening sun for at least ten minutes and it was getting to be to much for them, I guess).  So they went back to picking tomatoes and peppers that they threw all into the same bucket with the green beans.  I picked a few more green beans before LJ started sneezing and getting really, really tight in his chest, and we gave up gardening for the night.

I had this wonderful bucket, though, of the nicest green beans I have ever picked.  They were long and slender and crisp and green.  I looked at those green beans and after feeling so pleased with them, I felt heartsick at how many bushes that I hadn’t even touched, and how the week ahead was so very packed with lots and lots of stuff to do.  The evening got late before I could do anything with the nice bucket I had picked, so I decided that I would take the fresh green beans to my Sweet Mama’s house the next day and we would have them for lunch. I talked to Mama, and she seemed delighted to think that I would bring them.  I had also made Chicken-etti for the kids for supper (their favorite meal!) and Mama likes that, too, so we had our lunch all planned.

Oldest Daughter and Love Bug went along out to Sweet Mama’s that morning and while I worked on other things, Christina snapped those green beans and Mama fetched out some bacon and between the two of them, they made a big pot of fresh green beans and bacon.  Talk about good!  Those beans were wonderful.

But now I had a dilemma.  There were terribly many beans left out there, and I was coming down with the biggest guilt complex over them that I had experienced in a while.  But there was no time to pick those beans.  I came home from Sweet Mama’s and did some paperwork for the ladies, and then fed them and got ready for small group.  After small group, Certain Man and I remembered that his office was having breakfast the next morning and he had told them that I would make sausage gravy to send in.  They were celebrating Certain Man’s birthday and also the secretary’s and the gravy was by special request of the two birthday people.  The only trouble was, I was out of sausage.  So at eleven o’clock on Wednesday night, I made a mad dash for the grocery store for supplies.

And lest you think that Certain Man was just taking it easy through all this, HE WASN’T.  Our chickens went out on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and the hours and hours of work that lead up to that and then follow it are enough to keep two men busy.  And he almost always does it all by himself.  I really did not expect him to pick beans.  Even if it was something he did, which it isn’t, he wouldn’t have under these circumstances.  I did discuss their presence with him.

“Hey, Mr. Yutzy.  Did you know there are a WHOLE LOT of green beans out there?”

“They aren’t any good any more, though, are they?”

“They are beautiful, Daniel.  Just gorgeous!”

“I saw some time ago-” (probably when he was weeding) “that there were quite a few hanging on out there.  I just figured when no one picked them, that they were too hard.”

“Well, they aren’t.  And someone really needs to pick them.  I guess I will have to see what I can do.”  And then I made the mistake.  “I really didn’t want green beans in the garden.”

“Well,” he said darkly.  “I can take care of those green beans for you in about 15 minutes.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll just go out there and pull them all out and throw them over the fence to the cows.”

“Daniel, you can’t just throw those beans away.”

“Just watch me!”

“No, I don’t want you to throw them away.  I’ll try to do something with them.”  The thing is, I was pretty sure he had no intentions of throwing those beans over the fence.  (Though he has been known to do such things!)  I suspected that he was going to try to somehow pick them himself in his already overcrowded, over committed schedule.  He was so tired already that I was worried about him.  I decided to not say another word about picking green beans to him.

Thursday (that was yesterday) we were beginning to have lots of warnings concerning the hurricane that was coming and I began to realize that I needed to get as much garden produce off as possible.  I had an early appointment with Audrey in Dover, needed to pick up some material to make a trial dress for Love Bug for a wedding, and had a case manager coming for a home visit and Oldest Daughter was having a “31” party here in the evening.  There was going to be NO TIME to pick beans.  I really didn’t want to all that much, anyhow.

And to be honest, not only did I not WANT to, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t beneficial for a particular health issue that I’ve been dealing with.  When I had a hysterectomy a couple of months after I turned forty, and at the same time, they did an abdominal hernia repair and put in a stainless steel mesh, I thought it would solve all my problems in both departments.  And it seemed to be okay for a decade or so, but the last couple of years I’ve realized that I need some additional repair done.  And bending over, picking produce is not comfortable at all.  But I don’t like food to go to waste and I don’t like to complain.  AND, I kept remembering how wonderful those beans had tasted at my Sweet Mama’s table.  

So this morning, before it got too hot, I decided I would go out there and try to make short work of that bean row.  Of course, there is no such thing as short work in a bean patch.  I pondered the mysteries of gardening.  (Why are these beans doing so well in the same garden as the unproductive Limas?)  I prayed for grace under the hot sun.  I prayed for a breeze.  I prayed that the cloud cover would move over the sun.  I prayed that the sun could just go behind a cloud.  I stood up and looked at the long row.  I took off my glasses and wiped my sweaty face on my sleeve, and remembered that people on furosomide are not to be out in the sun.  And through it all, I picked green beans and picked green beans and picked green beans.  Oh, and I sang some of my favorite storm songs and thought about all the possibilities of the hurricane and looked at my tomato plants and decided that I should take all of the ripe tomatoes off before the storm and that made me think about the peppers and so I checked them and picked them, too.  Middle Daughter had been busy getting things put away before the storm, but she came out and helped me just when I thought I could not make it any longer and her good conversation and helping hands saw me through those last difficult moments.

Then Middle Daughter’s friend, Abi, came over and the two of them snapped the beans for me, and there is such a hearty, healthy amount.  I have a big pot of tomatoes cooked up, ready for juicing out, and those beans almost ready for the blancher and Certain Man and I got Shady Acres about as secure as we possibly could and it is all good.

I’m not ready to say that I am glad he planted all those green beans, and I think I will give away at least the next picking if there is anything left after IRENE makes her way across Delmarva, but I am so grateful for these beautiful green beans, and I suppose I will be even happier next winter.  Methinks I will cook up a pot of them tomorrow with some bacon to eat while we are weathering out the storm.

Good night, all. This gal is going to bed!

 

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My Three Little Kids

There has been a lot of water over the dam since I last wrote about my three kids.  Actually, it was July 22nd when I thought maybe this was one project that I was going to have to just let go.

But I got such good advice from my Xanga friends, and there was that Holy Spirit nudging that just wouldn’t stop.  So, even though I had no support from the kid’s mother when it came to taking Mya alone, I decided that unless she would let me take her alone for an evening, I wouldn’t have the three of them together here again.  The little ones tried mightily to change my mind, and the Mom wouldn’t answer my phone calls on the night I was to get her, and even took the kids and left the house because “It wasn’t fair for Mya to come and not the others.”  I decided that I could be stubborn, too, and I sent her word that I wanted to pick Mya up for the evening on Tuesday night and I would take her and do some school shopping.  And that, unless I could get that in before the next Thursday night, the kids wouldn’t be coming.  She finally agreed that I could take her, and I promised the other two that they would get their turn alone with me, too, if things could be worked out. 

What a blessing this strategy has proven to be.  Our church provided the money for school supplies and for one outfit a piece, and each kid got to do at least one thing special on our day out and got to choose where to eat lunch and then, if they were good, they got an ice cream cone on the way home.  They could not have been better.  Just perfect examples of decorum and co-operation. All three of them earned that ice cream cone fair and square.

I decided to do some specific behavior modification on the Thursday nights when the three of them are here, and that has been successful beyond what I had expected, too.  I’ve been trying to plan better, trying to free the evening up from anything but engaging them in activity — whether that is working in the garden, taking rides on the golf cart, and I have even managed to get them involved in READING to them — something they have not been very interested in before.  I have been careful in choosing the stories — keeping them short and exciting, and it was gratifying tonight for them to ask if they could have another one.   They have also become interested in stories from when I was a little girl that I can tell them on the way home.  Another positive in a time that often went to pieces.

Last Thursday, I had a very trying day, and even though I had told them earlier in the week that I thought they could come, I came early to the conclusion that I just couldn’t have them.  I tried to call the mom, but there was no answer, so I texted her that I wasn’t up to having them, but that we would pick them up on Sunday morning for Sunday School.  She didn’t get my message, and at 6 o’clock she and the three of them were on my doorstep.  I went out and their eyes were so pleading that I almost relented and let them stay, but I hadn’t made supper and I hadn’t planned any activities for the evening, and I decided that I just couldn’t do it. 

“I’m sorry, Dawn,” I said to their Mama.  “I’ve had a tough day today, with our daughter leaving for college and a whole lot of activity planned for the next couple days.  I would like to have them stay, but I just can’t.  I hate to disappoint them, but it just doesn’t suit for me to have them tonight.”

For once, she seemed okay with that, and even though I saw the hurt in the eyes of the kids, she herded them back into the car and left.  I wondered if they would come to Sunday school on Sunday, because she has sometimes said that if they don’t come on Thursday, they can’t come to church, but I decided to take the chance.  I really needed those Thursday evening hours, and even though I felt guilty, I knew it was what I had to do.

Sunday Morning, Daniel went to pick them up while I finished up the last minute things here at home.  He came back for me and the ladies, and as I got into the car, I said, “How’re my kids this morning?”

“Fine . . . um, Ms. Mary Ann.  We have something for you.”

“For me?  What do you have for me?”

The oldest fumbled with a homemade envelope in her hand and then thrust it in my direction.

“We wrote this for you,” they all chorused.  I pulled out a piece of notebook paper, crumbled and folded many times.  There was also a piece of notebook paper that had been carefully colored — one line pink, one line blue, one line pink, one line blue.  “Ms. Mary Ann, I colored that for you,” said Muffie proudly, “And Mya wrote the note ’cause we didn’t know how to write it.”

I unfolded the paper and looked at the smudged and penciled lines.  I suddenly could almost not read for the tears.

Dear Mrs. Maryann
do you know that we love you?  Cause you are the best person that we ever met.  And thankyou for taking us school shopping and taking us to eat lunch we really appreciate what you’ve done.  We really love to go to your church and your house on Thursday nights.
Love,
Mya, LJ and Muffie.

I am so grateful to God for His blessings to me, for giving me friends who give me advice when I need it that is workable and for giving me courage to try even when it seems so hopeless.  The three of them were here tonight because I have a conflict on Thursday night and the best gift of all for me was that when I realized that Thursday wasn’t going to work, I actually wanted to work something else out.  And they are still busy, and they still don’t tell the truth, and I keep finding things that I need to be firm about — but I see them actually making decisions to obey me when I say something — even turning around and coming back when they are on their way to disobey, and being kind to each other when issues come up that would have sparked familial war before.  I am so profoundly grateful.  It makes me feel like keeping on keeping on.

And on that note, this gal is getting herself off to bed.  Thank you, friends, for praying for Daniel and I and these three kids.  It has truly made all the difference.

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We finally had some rain while Rachel was home.

Our kids are sorta’ like their Mama.  If there is rain to be had, it is a wonderful day!

Christina and Rachel getting soaking wet in an afternoon shower.

Unfortunately, we took almost no pictures on the weekend. 
And Raph and Gina left on Sunday afternoon —
After which I realized that I hadn’t gotten a single picture of them.
This was a serious grief to this mother’s heart.

 

Sunday Evening, we had a Yoder family cookout.
We’ve had so many people in our pavilion for a number of different things
but I’ve never had my family.  It was time to remedy the situation.
When they agreed to gather at Shady Acres instead of Sweet Mama’s house
I was one tickled pink daughter/sister/auntie/momma/wife.

My sister, Sarah.  She and my younger sister, Alma, are my best friends.
When no one else understands me, and it feels like no one else cares,
Sarah and Alma are a place where I can crash with my tears and with my angst.
They don’t always agree with me, but they always love me.
I have so little time with them.  Maybe that is why they can still love me!

Queena and Ethan, our Wycliffe team of the family. 
They are raising support for their assignment in Asia.
We hope to have them around until next spring.

 


Sweet Mama and my youngest brother, Mark, Jr.
     

Yes, Markie, it is good to wipe your mouth after such big bites!

Here is my oldest brother, Clint, and his wife, Frieda.
They recently sold their home and are relocating to South Carolina.
It occurs to me that the times we have to be together like we’ve been
for all these years is fast coming to an end.
I believe that men need to follow God, and I believe that is what Clint
is doing . . . but I almost cannot stand to see them go.

 

This is Dorie — Ethan and Queena’s girlie.  She lights up our lives.
If you want to know what a three year old thinks, just have a little talk
with this young lady!

This is James, Dorie’s little brother.
I cannot look at this little fellow without a feeling
of extreme gratitude rising in my heart.
Because of a traumatic birth, and some unfortunate
happenings, the doctor told his family that he would probably
never be “normal” 
The outlook was the grimmest of the grim.
But God . . .
And that says it all.
Glory, Hallelujah!!!

 

Our family is blessed with an abundance of young people.

Maria (Slaubaugh) Swartentruber, Tim Yoder, Carmen Heatwole,
Rachel Yutzy, Holly Yoder.

These five have always been “best buddies” with Tim never acting
at all like he minded being the thorn among the roses. 
What a great time they had together this weekend with Rachel just home.

Carey and Maria, My beloved Certain Man (It was his birthday!)
and the side of Gabe Heatwole.

I even got in on some of the conversations.
Our daughter in law, Jessica, Gabe Heatwole, Joe Slaubaugh and Yours Truly.

 

Our son, Lem, his wife, Jessica and Gabe.

Jessica, Gabe and Joe.

 

And there was even a feisty game of rook going at one of the tables!
Daniel (though he wasn’t a part of it) Josh Slaubaugh (Though he is completely hidden!)
Mark Jr., Polly Yoder, and Lawina Slaubaugh.

 

                                 

Whether chomping on a big old carrot from Grandpa’s garden or spooning down the redi-whip on a plastic spoon,
She’s still the only grandbaby we got, and we think she’s wonderful!

 

And then on Monday evening, those of our immediate family that could make it, went to Olive Garden.
Missing were Raph and Gina and Deborah (who had to work). 

 

Rachel’s friend, Lara Shenk was along.

 

 

   

Rachel and her Daddy.
When we met her at the Rosedale International Center on Friday,
she hugged her Daddy like she would never let go.
“I’ve been waiting for this hug for nine months,” she said.
“There just was no man in Thailand that I could really hug,
and I just needed my Daddy!”

Daniel and two of his girls.
He would have been even happier if only Deborah would have been there!

 

There was lots of playing going on while we waited for a table.

 

Keeping Charis entertained was important.

 

But even so, the time got really long for a little girlie.

 

Charis and her Uncle Lem really have some good times!

 


Rach and her Brother, Lem with Lem’s wife, Jessica.

 

Lem’s educational expertise and his success since he is out of school
has been an incredible blessing to Rachel.  She called me on Monday night
nearly in tears from the wonder of it all. 
“Mom,” she said with her voice full of emotion, “There is nothing like having
a big brother pave the way for you!”

    

These two always have plenty to talk about.

 

As do these two.

 

Daniel thought it was a pretty good place to wait —
between two pretty, young women.

(That was okay by me.
I was busy chasing our grandbaby.
There are few things I enjoy more.)

 

. . . and there you have it! 
Just a few glimpses into our too short weekend.

 

 

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A Rambling account of just another day at Shady Acres . . .

It’s morning at Shady Acres.

I rolled over and glimpsed the clock and saw that it was reading 6:28 already.  I should have been up almost an hour.  But Certain Man had spent long hours in the chicken house last night trying to fix something that didn’t really appear to be broke.  It honestly felt like someone among the higher ups was trying to find fault somehow.  I mean, here is this guy who consistently finishes high in the settlements, has a beautiful flock of chickens almost ready for market, is running water through his medicator at the usual rate, and they think he has some waters that aren’t working? 

“Some sections aren’t getting water at all,” the big wig said while he solicitously touched my arm and looked concerned. (Well, actually, maybe “Big Wig” isn’t the proper terminology here.  He had his head shaved, shining in the afternoon sunlight while he stood on my back stoop.)

I was very surprised.  Chicken growers know that if the chickens aren’t getting water, they are not going to prosper.  Ours are doing fine.  I was at an advantage here, though I didn’t know it, because I hadn’t heard anything of the conversation that had been going on all afternoon between Certain Man and his Flock Supervisor.  The fellow on my doorstep was the supervisor’s supervisor, and sensing that I knew nothing about what was going on, was forced to reiterate his theories concerning our chicken house.

“I understand you have all new nipples in that house,” he said.  (DON’T HAVE A HERNIUM!  That is what those types of drinkers are called!)  “But there is some sort of black slimy deposit on them that isn’t letting the water get through on whole sections of the house.”

I will spare you all the things he said because it doesn’t make sense to people who aren’t chicken growers, except to say that I was genuinely concerned and puzzled about what and how, and asked a great deal of questions which he answered with great touching to my elbow and shoulder and assurances that they wanted to help and blah, blah, blah. 

(Do I look like the kind of woman that wants strange men compassionately touching me over chicken waterers????  Please.  Spare me!)

But anyhow, I eventually retrieved the business card from the guy and assured him that I would discuss it with my husband, and got shed of him.

However, when I called Certain Man to tell him of the visit, he was upset.  Not over the compassion of the guy, but the ludicrous assumptions that were made about his chicken house.  “I don’t understand, Hon,” he said vehemently.  “There is nothing wrong with our chickens.  And there can’t be “whole sections” out of water, or the chickens wouldn’t be doing so well..  It just feels like someone is trying to pick a bone about something.”

So the powers that be determined that it would be good for Certain Man to obtain large quantities of Ammonia, and that he needed to flush that through the lines, let it sit for two hours, then re-flush until the water was clear and see if that did the trick.  It was a big job.  Dollar Tree sells ammonia by the gallon, (for a dollar a gallon, no less!) so that was a nice break.  I picked up four gallons there after buying three gallons in the two quart containers at Food Lion, and Certain Man set to work. 

I had picked up our neighbor boy from Boys and Girls Club and on the way home he looked at me plaintively and said, “Miss Mary Ann, when we get home, can you make me grilled cheese sandwiches?”

“Cheese sandwiches???”  I ask him, smiling over my shoulder to where he sat on the seat behind me in the mini-van.  “You want two?”

“Yes, please,” he says quietly.  It’s the only thing I can get him to eat.  He refuses to eat almost every single thing I make, but I found out a few weeks ago that he LOVES toasted cheese sandwiches, and he has been going through my supply of homemade bread like a house afire.

“Well, Romy,” I say now.  “I think you can have two cheese sandwiches, but I am getting a little low on bread.”  Then thinking to myself, I said, “Maybe I should just make some tonight.”  And when I realized that Certain Man was going to be busy in the chicken house most of the evening, it seemed like it was a perfect opportunity.  I made Romy his two sandwiches, made Audrey a tomato sandwich and fed Linda her favorite supper of peanut butter and jelly.  Then I mixed up a batch of bread, and tried to keep myself occupied.  Oldest Daughter came down for a little with Love Bug and as she was leaving, we went out to try to find Certain Man so he could get his “grandbaby fix” but he was not readily available, so we came back to the house.  Romy went home, Christina and Charis went home, and I got the ladies to bed, and then it was full speed ahead to finish last things.  The bread was cool enough around midnight to cut, so I got that cut and into the bags, ready for the freezer.  Ten loaves.  Our supply for the next little while.  Then I tackled my (very!) messy kitchen.  I kept thinking that Certain Man would come in any time, but finally, around one o’clock, when the kitchen was all in order, I went out, got on the trusty golf cart and went searching.  I found him sitting on an overturned bucket at the feed bin end of the chicken house.  By the time I got to him, he was up, collecting all his buckets and ready to quit for the night.  He washed out his buckets, put them away, turned off lights in his shop and then we were finally actually finished with the first phase of the chicken water treatment.

It was almost two in the morning before we finally got to bed.  And the day just started too early. 

Somehow the clean kitchen was an encouragement to me, and the bread in the freezer gave me reassurance that I wouldn’t need to bake for a while.  And when the sisters and the Sweet Mama decided it was a good day to go to Dover shopping, guess who went, too?  Even though it was hard to put one foot in front of the other for part of the day, it was a wonderful time.

It’s all a matter of focusing on the blessings, isn’t it?

And so this long day passed.  Weariness is no stranger to me or Certain Man, and so we need to persevere, just waiting for the time when there will be no more partings, no more sicknes, no pain or death — or weariness. 

Even so, Lord Jesus, COME.


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Rachel headed out to college this morning, her old car loaded to the gills, and lots of last minute emergencies.  The old green car pulled out with almost all her earthly goods packed into the trunk and the back seat.  Her Daddy and I stood in the driveway, waving until the last sight of her disappeared.

My heart is so heavy.  I don’t think we ever make up for the days when a child is gone, and these days were so short — and honestly, so compromised by all the people she wanted to see.  We had some good, good times, but —

I feel so gypped.  But then, I know I’m not the only one.

Why can’t I stop crying? 

Maybe I will give myself this one day for tears, and then put my hand to the things I need to do.  There is another bridal shower, garden things that need attention, a house to clean, food to make for numerous things.  There is more than enough to occupy my heart — even though right now it feels like there is NO ROOM for anything in this old heart.

“Hold me, Jesus,
I’m shaking like a leaf.
You have been my King of my Glory. 
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace?”
rich mullins


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I know, I know.  It’s been a long time.  Rachel is home, and time is slipping through my fingers in unbelievable quantities.  There were so few days to begin with, and it seems like the coming morning is just too close.

I find myself doing such mindless things these days.  It is an escape, I understand that.  But it feels like I am just . . . waiting.  Waiting for the “second shoe to drop”  . . . waiting for “the axe to fall”  . . . waiting for this bittersweet wedge of time to edge on in to the pie of life.

HOWEVER—

Part of my silence was brought on by a disturbing situation with Xanga.  About two weeks ago, I was looking at “Top Blogs” to see if my latest posting had just happened to register there, and I saw a profile picture on one of the top blogs that was obvious blatant female nudity.  I usually just don’t peruse the blogs that I think would be offensive to me, but since this was a top blog, open to anyone who just might be looking through, I decided to check it out.’

I thought I would throw up.  I know that I am naive.  My kids think I’m an old prude.  That’s fine.  I’d just as soon they did.  But this was so offensive.  It WAS female nudity.  It was actually lesbian female nudity depicting sexual activity of every sort —  It was incredibly graphic, and pornographic.  I was so shaken up, I could hardly function.  I didn’t want to tell anybody about it because it wasn’t fit for anyone to see.  So I wrote a very shaken up letter to Xanga and asked them to please shut it down.  I was so upset I didn’t include the user name. This was Thursday afternoon. They wrote back to me on Friday — a very polite letter and asked for the user name.  I hadn’t written it down, and didn’t know it.  So I had to go back into my history to find it.  I wrote them again and gave the user name, gave some of the reasons why I was so upset, and asked them again to shut it down.  That was Friday, and the weekend was upon us when I wrote back to them, so it was Monday before I heard from them again. Their response:

Hi MaryAnn,

Thank you so much for reporting that site to us! We’ve shut it down for violating our terms of service.
I appreciate the time you took to report that account.

Yepper!  This was one grateful lady.  I finally felt like I could touch my computer again.

Before anyone jumps on my case about free press and all that — just let me say that I think it is wrong in ANY forum.  I have a right to feel that way.  But I also am not so stupid to know that there are people out there that want that sort of exposure and are going to find it somewhere.  This blog person has probably already established another site.  The thing that bothered me the most was the accessibility issue.  I have a filter on my computer to weed out such stuff and this got past it.  And when I say pornographic — I’m not talking “soft” porn.  I’m talking full pictures of women’s genitalia, lesbian sex between three women, fellatio, and even videos of sex between male and female.  I still feel sick when I think of it — and lest you think I spent time looking through this site — all of this was on the first page.  I have no idea what was beyond this. But literally ANYONE could have looked at that site — impressionable children, teenagers — and to be honest, I can’t really think of a good reason why anyone should look at something like that. 

This has greatly curtailed my interest in Xanga’s top blogs — as well as anyone who I don’t know on Xanga.  (In fact, if anyone asks to be my friend and I don’t know who they are, they can just forget it!)

I’ve thought a lot about how we decide what types of media we will be involved in, and what we will be party to.  I had made up my mind that if they didn’t shut down the site, I was going to close my Xanga account.  I am gratified that they chose to close it, but I’m concerned about the “in place” safeguards that not only allowed it to slip through, but made it one of the top blogs.  I was especially concerned when I went over to the “A” rated, “family friendly” top blogs and found it THERE!  C’mon, people!  What’s the criteria?

I have been one of the most grateful users of Xanga, and I have defended them to many, many people, but to be honest, I’m not so sure now.

What do you think? 

 

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