Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tonight, the littlest one of the Ohio Grandsons is home from the hospital.  The family is together under one roof, and the Sugarcreek Yutzy Gang is attempting some normalcy, though it has yet to be seen just what that looks like.

Youngest Daughter put in her appearance today.  Home for Spring break.  How I love the way Spring break breaks into the winter months that can be long and dreary.  Many plans for the week ahead.  But lots to do besides.  I’m so glad she is home.

There is much for which to be grateful at the chicken farm on Shawnee Road.  There was a short in one of the plugs on the one feed line in house 3.  A foot of charred ceiling is all there was (in addition to the burnt electrical cord).   I told Certain Man that we must be supposed to raise chickens for a while yet.  That could have been so different!  And those sick chickens that were dying by the hundreds actually just missed average by a fraction of a percent.  No, the check isn’t as good as it usually is, but it still made the Farm Credit payment with some to spare.  So grateful!

I’ve thought of other things that I so often take for granted.  My washer and dryer work.  My kitchen range and oven works.  Certain Man laid by a great supply of pellets this fall and we are warm and cozy.  Old Faithful, our mini-van, has continued to run like a top.  At almost 275,000 miles, I thank God for this servant who has far exceeded our expectations.  I have family who love me and tell me so.

I would be lying to say that everything is okay with life here.  It isn’t.  But there are blessings that are without number.  God is not only alive, He is not silent.  The things that disturb, the things that trouble are not mine to fix.  Let’s remember to pray for those we love.  It is still a best gift.  God’s word tells us that prayer moves the hand of God, and that He inhabits the Praise of His People.  

Prayer and Praise, Praise and Prayer.  Besides God’s word, the mightiest weapons.  All three are the most neglected.  Christians are fighting about so many things today, and we forget that our best weapons are at our fingertips and within our hearts.  Let’s be people who are known for being like Jesus.  And let’s be mighty in His Power, grateful, joyful, people of His Word.

Let’s be people of the Cross, and may the whole world notice.

 

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Okay, so I know that I’ve (maybe!) been more than a little stressed these days, what with funerals and grandbabies and hospitals and chickens coming and now catching a little bit of the bug that’s going around, but today made me know that I have got to gather my wits around me and pay attention.

I have this sore throat and stuffy nose. (But not that horrible cough.  So far.  Thank God!) I got up this morning feeling more ragged around the edges than I have for a long time.  So I sat on my chair in the sunshine and slept and then moseyed about, getting my ladies up, combing my hair, and just really not doing much.  Had some unexpected company, which was delightful, and finally, after one o’clock this afternoon, I bestirred myself to get dressed in a skirt and top to run up to Shawnee Country Store to pick up some lunch for the family.

It was a bit chilly out, so I grabbed one of my shortest jackets and threw it on, and headed out the door.  When I got to Shawnee Country Store, the order wasn’t quite ready yet, so i meandered about the store and then waited in the aisle by the cash register until things were done.  It’s always a mixed up mess when I get things for everyone because Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda all need separate checks, and it seems like there is always a line when we are getting everything separated and into their proper receipts.  But we finally got that done and I got the different bags and headed home.

I parceled out the things for everyone except Blind Linda, and then I took off my coat before cutting her stuff into small bite size pieces.  Suddenly something really looked strange with my skirt.  I looked at it carefully, and here, in my haste, I had it turned exactly halfway around when I put it on.  There was this big, long, gaping pocket right in front in the middle, kinda looking like a careless male’s X-Y-Z situation.  I was embarrassed to see that, but when I thought about the fact that a similar situation had also occurred in (ahem!) the rear, I was mortified.  Especially when I realized that there had been no coverage from that “shortest jacket” business.

But that wasn’t the only faux pas.  A bare fifteen minutes later, I was on my chair, eating my half sub when I saw Eldest Daughter looking at me the way my daddy always looked at me when I wasn’t sitting like a lady.  I couldn’t figure out what she meant.  My skirt was properly over my knees.  I wasn’t sitting across from a male, anyhow.  What was the big deal?   Then she hissed, “Mom, your shirt!”

Oh, dear.  Somehow my old red shirt, once so highly favored by yours truly, had betrayed me.  It had rolled up somehow, and there, as bare as could be was a most unattractive roll of tummy showing.  I grabbed the offending hem and yanked it down, again almost unable to believe that I didn’t feel the fresh air blowing where it never does.  I just could not believe that I hadn’t noticed!

I often say that when I have a stuffy nose, I can’t think. (My brain needs air!)   Now it appears that not only can I not think, I cannot see or hear.

 

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I’m baking bread this morning.  There is something so therapeutic for me in the mixing, kneading, shaping, and baking of this almost twenty pounds of bread dough.  I needed (no pun intended, I NEEDED) it desperately this morning.  The sky was bright when I began my task, not at all the kind of weather that I like for baking bread.  I decided that the rainy day was in my heart and maybe things would be okay.  

Out in Holmes County, Ohio, the youngest Grandson is in the hospital with pneumonia and RSV.  Just another confusing chapter in the life of three little boys.  The two oldest call him “Baby” and they love him deeply.

“Come home!” The three year old orders his mommy sternly.  “Come home!”  

Regina longs to do just that, but it will be another day at least.  The hospital ran some tests, there are some things needing to be watched a bit yet.  And then, as if having one in the hospital and two at home and Daddy at work and Grandma Yoder filling in, Regina is coming down with something.  Probably the same thing the little guy has, but it really isn’t convenient.  She sat most of the afternoon yesterday on a hard chair in the emergency room holding a sick little boy, and it would not be surprising if she was achy, but now she has a sore throat in addition to being achy, and she really doesn’t feel good.

But then I think about the word “convenient” and remember that “Our ways are not God’s ways, neither are our thoughts His Thoughts,” and it actually stirred this rivulet of hope and excitement somewhere inside.  In the chapter of life that is right now, God has his hand, and He is writing the story.  Who can even imagine what we might see when we look back some day to this time and this place?  So much to think and pray about, hope and watch for.

When I went to mix up the bread a few hours ago, I only had a fraction of the amount of bread flour that I needed.  It made me feel like not even attempting to make bread, but I had unbleached on the shelf, so I decided to use that.  (I used to always use plain old unbleached flour for bread until I thought that I discovered that bread flour works best.  And it probably does.)  Then, I put the second oven load of bread in on the wrong temperature.  I came back when the ten minute buzzer rang to find that it was set on the second temperature setting instead of the first.  Oh, NO!  I decided to just bake it straight through on 375 and see what happened.

Well, the one thing that happened is that those five loves have “blowouts” on the sides.  But I solved a mystery for me with that discovery.  I could never figure out why some people’s bread always broke apart along the side while they were baking.  I’m guessing it comes from not putting into a hot enough oven to kill the yeast straight off. because I never have that problem, and the only thing I did differently was to not start it in a very hot oven for ten minutes.  They still look good, and I am just about ready to cut it and put it in the freezer, so I will soon find out about texture and softness.

 

I looked at the ten loaves of bread on the cooling rack and thought about life and especially life right now.  It feels sometimes like this situation with Raph and Gina and the boys is a little like my bread baking today.

The ingredients for a healthy family are there, at least in part.  Add to the right “bread flour” the stuff that feels like it just isn’t quite ideal, and it could make a person not even feel like trying. And then, even if it would be okay, what about the wrong temperature, the things that can make things just not turn out right?  The best intentions and even experience and knowledge don’t always translate into success.  Now does it?

But there were prayers that went into this batch of bread and it is sitting out there on my cupboard looking like we just might be able to eat it.  Actually looks pretty good.  I suspect that it will be a staple in more than one meal and we will give thanks over the broken bread and the life it gives.

And this family, this little family.  Lord Jesus, the road is broken and things are not easy.  There is laying down of lives and not taking them up again.  There are unknown factors and confusion and little boy hurt.  There is change on every hand, not only for the boys but for a couple who have had just two adults to think about for almost five years.  And there is a thousand unknowns — at least to these humans who already fiercely love these three little boys.

How grateful I am that you know the end from the beginning.  That through all of this you are writing a story.  It is good, it will be good, and even, Lord Jesus, though I may not always feel it, it has ALREADY BEEN GOOD.  May we never forget that we do not need to fear the future because not only do you know it, you are already there!  Already there, in and through all the unknowns that we could fear so much.  You have a plan.  May we embrace that plan without rancor or regret or resistance.  

And may these little guys read our hearts and know that it is all okay.

 

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