Monthly Archives: June 2014

“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.

I love being a foster care provider for handicapped adults.  I love Nettie and Cecilia fiercely, protectively and I am so grateful that our family has had the opportunity to have them as part of our family.  And I will be forever grateful that our family had the chance to know and love and care for Old Gertrude.  (Some days I long to hear her funny sayings, to french braid that thin old hair, and fry up some scrapple for breakfast.)  I believe that the delight that I have enjoyed as a care provider is one of the ways that God has confirmed in my heart that it is what He wants me to do.

But I HATE the paperwork that goes with being a provider.  And over the last couple of years, there has been a gradual increase in the forms we need to file, the records we need to keep, and the deadlines that are imposed.  The thing is, I do like well kept records.  If I must  write a report every month on Cecilia and Nettie, saying what they did, how they participated, and what I did to help them realize their hopes and dreams, I try to make it complete.  And interesting.  Often my social reports are lengthy.

And then there are medication reports that detail the medications refilled, how many refills are left, and were they taken according to prescription.  Nettie takes 20 pills a day divided between five different times.  Cecilia takes 17, divided between three.  This has to all be accounted for.  And any doctor visits must be documented and a form signed by the doctor and turned in.  Anything having to do with the medical aspects of their care has to be carefully documented.  And rightly so.  At least, I guess.

And then there is the financial reports.  Every single penny must be accounted for, must be used for an acceptable expenditure and receipts must be provided.  A monthly bank statement must be filed for each individual.  Nothing belonging to one person can be on another receipt.  Nothing purchased along with family groceries is to be counted.  This is the report I labor over most of all because Nettie is always out of money at the end of the month.  Cecilia always has too much.  Sometimes I feel like my head is spinning round and round and round.

And then there is a compliance report that I need to file each month, too.  What is the water temperature?  When did I take it?  Is it between 110 and 115 degrees? Did I do the fire drill?  Are the fire extinguishers working?  Do I have disaster supplies?  Are exits clear of clutter?  Many other questions, including whether I got my paper work all in in a timely fashion and then a daily log as to whether my individuals spend part of every day in our home.  This one just became more compulsory because Medicaid has decided that they are not going to pay us unless we fill this particular sheet out and have it to their office by the 5th of the month for the previous month.

December was a really big month for me.  I labored long and hard over the reports because there were so many things going on.  I put all the reports except the compliance report (which gets faxed) in the same brown manila envelope, put the proper label on it and sent them to my case manager.  Whew!  That was done.  I was so pleased with the social reports because of the happy things that had gone on, but the financial records were a bit more challenging.  I was very relieved when everything was finally done.

A few months later I got a phone call from my case manager, asking me to please file my December paperwork.  I couldn’t believe my ears.

“We don’t have none of it,” said my case manager.

“But I did it,” I protested.  “I KNOW I did it!!!”

“Well, Ms. Yutzy, if you say you did it, I believe you,” she said.  “They’ll just have to figure it out.”

“Well, I KNOW I did it,” I said, more than a little perturbed.  (How could anyone lose my precious paperwork???)

My case manager knew that I was upset.  “Just don’t worry about it, Mrs. Yutzy.” she said matter of factly.  “I know it’s all gonna’ be alright.”

But about a month ago, she called me again.

“Ms. Yutzy, your paperwork hasn’t turned up.  Are you sure you sent it?”

“I’m SURE I sent it.  I have for my postage, and I remember printing that postage and getting the envelopes into the mail.”

“Well, we don’t have them, so what you’re gonna’ have to do is, you’re going to have get copies of the spending records and of the bank statement and send them in.”

“I don’t keep copies of that,” I said.  “I have so much paperwork that I just cannot make copies of everything.  I figured once I’ve sent it, then it is in your hands.”

“You don’t have copies?”  She asked, like she couldn’t believe it.  “Well, then you’re going to have to write a whole new one and just make up the receipts and I will sign off on them.  Just do it to the best of your ability.”

“I just can’t do that,” I said.  “I have no idea of what I spent that money on.  I did it once.  I shouldn’t have to do it again.”

“No, you shouldn’t.  But we must have something in the record.  Just do the best you can.”

I don’t know when anything has irritated me so completely nor frustrated me into such inertia.  I just didn’t want to do this.  I began thinking about things and trying to piece the month together somewhat.  I took both of my ladies into the bank so that we could get copies of the December bank statements.  When I saw the statements and pulled out a calendar, I began to have some hope.  But I still didn’t want to do it.  I was just so irritated with the whole mess.

Even more irritating to me was the fact that when I talked to my nurse, I discovered that someone had passed on to her ALL of the medical records for the month.  So someone had to have had my precious paperwork at some point to have turned over all the medical reporting from the month.

“Yes, Ms. Yutzy, it’s probably sitting on someone’s desk right now and someone will come across it.  But for now, we don’t have it and we have to satisfy the higher ups, so you still have to do it.  Just do the best you can.  Please.”

How I chafed!  How I grumbled!  How I procrastinated!  I was sick.  We had a family reunion.  It was difficult getting things in order afterwards.  I decided to make one more appeal.  I have a good friend in administration that I needed to discuss something else with, and so I called her and in the course of the conversation, bewailed my lack appreciation for what I was being made to do.

“Maybe you could do something for me,” I said hopefully.  “I just really don’t think it is at all fair for me to have to do this when I already did it and someone else is the one who messed up.”

“I know,” she said, “but I don’t think there is anything you can do.  I am sure you have to do it.  Sorry!’

Why this pushed me over the edge, I don’t know, but I had had enough.  I needed a word picture so that she would know how utterly unfair this was, how completely irritated I was and how I felt like I wasn’t really being heard.

“I’m telling you,” I said rather heatedly, “this makes me so cross I want to go into “J’s” office (head of financial records), lie down on the floor and KICK!”  That should show them.  A mental picture of unflappable Ms. Yutzy lying on the floor and kicking should for sure impress them with how aggravated I was.

There was silence.  Then:

“‘J’s’ father just passed away.  She won’t be in all week.”

Ouch.  Somewhere in my gut, I felt the old familiar “oh, no!  What have I done?  There goes the wind right out of my sails” feeling. I felt so ashamed of my rant, so sorry for “J” and her family.

There are things a whole lot more stressful, more important, more devastating than having to redo a month of paperwork.  Like losing a Daddy.  I had great cause to repent and wish that I could get my words back.  But they were out there.  I apologized and ended the conversation as quickly as possible.

The next day, in the flush of remorse, I got busy and worked on my paperwork and as of Saturday morning, it was all caught up.  It wasn’t quite as challenging as I thought it was going to be.  I put it out for the mail with an incredibly light heart.

In Sunday School this week, we were asked what one thing we would do differently this past week so that our lives would more accurately reflect the values of living in light of Eternity.  I immediately thought of those hasty words and realized that so often, out of a selfish heart, I say things that don’t really speak Jesus to those around me.  Sometimes the desire to be understood, or the desire to impress, or the desire to change the way something is going that makes things harder for me takes over and it feels like I need to use these words (that I really do love so much!) to make my point, convince my opponents, or somehow elevate my reputation.

And when I was reviewing that paragraph I was struck by how many personal pronouns were used, and how often the word “desire” popped up.  It can’t be all about Jesus when I want it all about me.

I’m not saying that Jesus wanted them to lose my paperwork.  And I believe that He understands that this isn’t much fun.  But —

I’m pretty sure that He stands ready to help me have the right attitude about it and that how I respond is always important to The Kingdom.

Because it really IS all about HIM.

My heart gives humbled praise.

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And now for another diversion . . .


Today is the 67th anniversary of my Aunt Orpha and her husband, Lloyd Gingerich.  My Sweet Mama and her boyfriend, a very young Mark Yoder, were their attendants.  This picture always makes me laugh.  Daddy looks like he really isn’t comfortable being too much involved in the wedding party.  But oh!  How I love the youth and the happiness and beauty of these two gals and the angular ruggedness of the guys.  Daddy was 17, Mama was 18.  Their wedding was a mere 28 months away.

Mama was here for lunch today, as it sometimes works out.  Josh and Lawina (Sarah Jane’s son) pick her up for church and then, whenever we can work it out, she comes home with us and then I take her home after lunch some time.  She was very sleepy today.  Looking at the picture of the four of them — thinking about how time just keeps marching on, and sometimes feeling really pensive about how things keep changing, makes me look for a bit of levity in my life.

And I got at least a diversion today. At my own expense.

The temps in Delaware have been borderline — almost too warm to not have AC on, but also almost cool enough that we want to try to make it without. Daniel’s sister is living in our yard right now in her motor home, and she HATES to be cold, so we have been erring on the side of natural ventilation here in the old farm house at Shady Acres since she does spend a good bit of time in the house.  This morning, I had toyed with the idea of asking Daniel to close up and start the AC because I knew the oven was going to be going the whole time we were at church.  But then I decided I could manage it.

Sunday Dinner at Shady Acres.  My Sweet Mama always had big Sunday Dinner for her family when we got home from church, so I guess it is in my genes.  And usually I like to go to church at least a bit prepared in case there is company that needs inviting home.  I’m not a stickler for having the house spotless, but I’ve learned that good food makes it less imperative that everything is in place.  Besides, if I wait until things are perfect, there is no company happening.  Ever.  So today, a pot roast was in the oven (complete with a good marrow bone for Mama to eat on piece of bread that I baked yesterday) and it was circled round with new red potatoes that Daniel had dug yesterday and his sister, Lena, had scrubbed carefully for us.  There were Lima Beans in the pressure cooker and Lena had made a blueberry crumble to eat with vanilla ice cream, so the lunch was pretty planned and ready to go.  Christina and Charis were coming and Grandma Yoder and, of course Lena.
We came in after church and the house was HOT.  I hustled about the kitchen with the many helping hands, and we got lunch on.  Just as we sat down, I said to myself, “I am going to get out of this dress before we eat.” and since it was all family, I put one of my housecoats on and was comfortable.  After lunch, Christina and Charis had a birthday party to go to, so while Mama slept on my chair, Lena and I cleaned up the kitchen.  And then it was time to take Mama home.
“Mama,” I asked her, “do you mind if drive you home in my housecoat?  I’m just going to take you and come right back.”
“I don’t mind a bit,” she said.  “Just be comfortable.”
“Sweetheart,” I entreated my long suffering spouse, “do you mind if I drive Mama home in my housecoat?  I don’t plan to stay.  Just going to take her and come right back.”
He looked like he didn’t even want to be bothered.  “I don’t care,” he said.  “Do what you want.  It doesn’t matter to me.”
“Don’t get stopped by the police,”  warned Lena.
“I shall try to be very law abiding,” I said.
And away we sailed to Greenwood.  Chatting away the eight mile road that goes past the graveyard where a stone marks the grave of my Daddy.  We came down that last stretch of road to the stop light at Route 13.  The traffic was heavy and it took two cycles before we could finally get through the light.  Sitting there, waiting for the light to change, my car made another one of its warning beeps that I still don’t always catch.  I looked down at the gauges and wondered again what was amiss.  And suddenly realized that this annoying beep was the low fuel warning.  Wait.  What???  I had NO FUEL.  As in the gauge was barely hanging on the underside of empty.
Now, my first reaction was to be very cross with my husband.  I had asked him to get gas last night when he went out late for milk.  The reason I knew we were going to soon need to fill up was that . . . well, um, IhadforgottentofillitupwhenIhadgottengroceriesintheafternoon.  But when I voiced my concern, he said he thought we would have enough for what we needed to do today and since the hour was late and he was exceedingly tired and he needed to preach this morning, he made the arbitrary decision that we didn’t need gas.
And now, here I was, on a Sunday, when we do not shop or buy gas as a matter of principal, and not only that — I was in my housecoat, for crying out loud, and I was most definitely almost out of gas.  I decided a call to a Certain Man was in order.  I was just wasting my time, though.  I know this guy pretty well, and I don’t know what I expected him to say any differently than he did.
“You are going to just have to stop and get some gas,” he said, matter of factly, but with a snicker in his voice.  “There is a gas station right there in Greenwood.”
“But I’m in my housecoat,” I wailed.  “Do you think that just MAYBE I can make it home on what I have in the tank?”
“Well, Hon,” he said, a little less patiently.  “What if you don’t?  It will be less conspicuous for you to pump gas in your housecoat than it will be for you to WALK in your house coat.”
WALK???  Who said anything about WALKING???  I was thinking he would come and rescue me if I ran out of gas.  This bore some consideration.
“What if I see someone I know?”  I asked a bit anxiously.  “With my luck, someone from church will have the same emergency I have and we will meet at the pumps.”
“So?  What’s wrong with that?  You will both be pumping gas on Sunday.”
“But they won’t be in their housecoat,” I said, still wailing a bit.
“Just go to the last bay, as far on the end as you can go.  You’ll be fine.”  And that was that.
So I delivered my Sweet Mama safely home, we listened to her phone messages and got her situated and I headed back out to the gas station.  In the very last bay, shielding all eyes from the east, was a large large SUV pulling a big motor home.  I sneaked my way into the other side of the bay and was glad to see that I was very protected from peering eyes on almost every count except for the family who was filling their SUV and enjoying ice cream in the warm, sunny afternoon.  They exchanged pleasantries, looked me over rather curiously, but I turned my back, attended to filling my gas tank and finished without any lingering whatsoever.  Over 19 gallons in my (approximately) 20 gallon tank.  I might have made it back to Milford, but it really was rather “iffy.”   I felt very contented.  Certain Man was right.  I would much rather have filled my tank in my housecoat than to have had to walk.
I wonder if he really would have made me walk.  I tend to think not — but I’m not in any mood to find out.

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June 23, 2014 · 12:17 am

Sweet Junie Summer Days

The days at Shady Acres have been flying by.  This weekend, a healthy portion of Certain Man’s extended family will be here for a Ralph and Sue Yutzy Family reunion.  Daniel has three sisters, one of which has never married.  His sister that is next in line has seven children, all married.  One of her sons has no children, one son has one child.  But the remaining five have 28 among them (and at least one more on the way).  His younger sister had four children — three of which are married.  Between the three that are married, there are 16 Grandchildren with another on the way.

Certain Man’s late brother, Joseph’s family, swells the numbers by Seven.

But then there is Certain Man and CMW.  We have four grandchildren.  Four.

This is by God’s divine plan.  If had been by the will of Grammy, there would certainly be a whole lot more.  And to be honest, if children would be born just because a couple desires children, there would be a whole lot more, too.  But these wonderful grandchildren of Certain Man and CMW are exceedingly precious in our sight. Oh!  How we love them.


Anyhow, with those who aren’t able to make it (Raph and Gina from our family, and a number of others in both Rachel and Ivan’s family and all of Ruth and Andrew’s family, we are looking at 50 who will descend upon us for a few days of family fun and fellowship. ( Just in case anyone wants to know the total number of great grandchildren, there are 55.  And most of them are under ten).  Such a golden, lovely resource!  Oh, how we love the children!

CMW has been planting flowers in the nooks and crannies around Shady Acres.  It has been a bit frustrating, as most of the pretty flowers need full sun,  But there is no such environment around the old farm house.  So She has planted suitable things (as well as unsuitable, I fear) and prays for blessing on her pretty-pretties.  She found a wonderful array of flowers at the Greenwood Mennonite School festival last weekend and almost all of them are planted.  A visit to a local greenhouse yielded a few more to gladden her heart.

Last evening, Nettie and CMW were on the patio planting and arranging and trying to make some order out of the individual plants.  Nettie enjoys plants and the outdoors.  She has been a bit on the miffed side ever since CM and CMW went to Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska a few weeks ago, but a few evenings on the patio “helping” has improved her mood considerably.

CMW always feels more than a little disquieted when Nettie is off her eggs.  I never know if she will decide that she needs to go to the police to confess something that she has decided she is responsible for, or if she will think she has an incurable disease, or if she will decide that we don’t want her anymore, or that if she would just find somewhere else to live, all the adult children of Certain Man and Certain Wife would come home with all the grandchildren to LIVE! (Help the poor and the needy!)  Even though these things are so preposterous, Nettie really does believe them to be true and it takes a great deal of emotional energy to help her over the bumps in the road to where she is able to function again with some degree of reality.

Anyhow.  Nettie has been suffering through a psychotic episode for the last few weeks, but helping to plant flowers, even though she is just sitting in the outdoor rocker, watching and giving some suggestions, has been helpful.  Last night we planted flowers until it was too dark to see. Nettie came happily into the house to get ready for bed.  CMW came into the house, too.  Wowser! Was she ever tired!  The kitchen still needed attention, and Cecilia and Nettie needed their bedtime meds.  The Monday laundry was winding down and CMW couldn’t understand why she felt so out of sorts.  It had been a good day.  Along about 10:30, Certain Man picked up the laundry that went up to the Master Bedroom and announced that he was heading for bed.  Again, CMW didn’t know why it affected her the way it did, but she suddenly felt very lonely and put upon.  Then help descended in the form of Middle Daughter and the kitchen got finished up and the evening work was finally finished.

CMW climbed the stairs to the room that is so comfy and a sure refuge in life’s storms.  She discovered CM to be so fast asleep that he never budged a bit when she came into the room.  He has been working so hard, too, trying to get ready for the weekend,  and she looked at his face, so exhausted and yet so peaceful and she prayed that she would not awaken him.  Once again, she thought of how grateful she is for a shower, a comfortable bed, a pillow to help with the knots in the neck, a husband that she trusts with no fear of abuse or intentional hurt.

It was a tough night — CMW woke this morning with a fever and aching all over.  Today has been a day to sit on the chair and sleep.  The thing is, CMW believes that this is a gift to her from her Heavenly Father.  There were so many things on the agenda for this week that she wasn’t sure how she would ever get things done and still get ready for the reunion.  Major things like a yearly home inspection, dentist appointment for Sweet Mama and a neurology appointment for Cecilia–all this week. When she read the thermometer this morning and it was at 101 degrees she decided that she would cancel everything.  And she did!  Without a single qualm.  Suddenly, even with the fever and all over aches, the week looked doable.  And she calls that an incredible gift.

And that is the news from Shady Acres where Certain Man has betaken himself to bed and CMW is about to follow.

My heart gives grateful praise.


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Petals on the Tablecloth

We came home from moving Youngest Daughter to Philadelphia on Saturday to find that Middle Daughter had picked peonies for the table.  They looked great there, and the aroma is heady.  Within a few days, the petals began to drop.  Once that happens, I’m often tempted to just be done with it all, and throw them out.  But life at Shady Acres in these past few weeks has made me think in terms of seeing beauty in the things that mark the end of things as we know it or want it.



The flowers of our lives add so much to the quality of of our days.  I stood on the front porch of my Sweet Mama’s house yesterday.  Mama has had a tough, tough Spring.  And the ongoing inconveniences of aging trouble her –as they do us all.  The day had been full of more unwanted interference and precautions.  It was just a hard day for her — and consequently, for me.  I took a moment to regroup on the front porch when I went out to retrieve the mail.  Bobby had given her a gorgeous hanging basket of lavender petunias for Mother’s day.  The day was sweetly cool and a breeze caught that incredibly sweet scent and tossed it around like the memories in my head of simpler days and happier times.  I felt a rush of childlike joy as the flowers danced in the lazy wind.  So blessed.

Last week, I worked at weeding the hedge row.  The peonies and roses were competing with wire grasses and a strange invasive weed and Delaware’s crazy chickweed.  The roses are so beautiful, but the thorns were unmerciful.  My arms were caught by their obscure menacing, and there are unsightly scratches and even gouges on my arm.  More than once I was surprised by a trickle of blood adding itself to the age spots on these arms of mine that no longer look “young.”

I mentioned moving Youngest Daughter.  I was going to chronicle this move, thinking we would make happy memories.  I got a good start:



. . .but I lost heart.  There is so much excitement with moving a child forward in life, knowing that plans are coming to fruition, and that God has been leading and directing and providing.

But there is a poignancy as well, and I have felt this niggling sadness hanging over my heart.

Shadows fall on brightest hours.

Thorns remain.

And the petals fall onto the tablecloth.

“Oh, Lord Jesus!  Let me remember the beauty.  Let Joy be a wellspring in my heart.”


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June 3, 2014 · 2:55 pm