Monthly Archives: May 2015

My Sweet Mama

We take turns, sitting by her bed.  I trace the lines and think about the face that was so familiar to my young life. I never knew that she was considered a very beautiful woman until I was a teenager.  She was my Mama, and it didn’t matter what she looked like.

She gave me swing rides on busy mornings, sat on the steps and played dolly with me when I had no one to play with.  She tried to keep me neat and clean, but I had a penchant for dirt and for getting rips in my dresses.  I remember the time when I heard her say to Daddy one evening, “I think Mary Ann is finally growing up.  She isn’t ripping her dresses every day at school!”

She worked so hard.  There was a man she loved and a farm that they were working together, and she did anything that Mark Yoder, Sr. asked her to do.  She did anything that she thought would help him even at great cost to herself and her comfort.  She helped with the milking, fed chickens, gathered eggs, loaded and hauled one hundred pound burlap sacks of feed onto the wheelbarrow, as many as four and five at a time, and pushed them to the distant chicken house, emptied them into the feed cart and filled the hanging tube feeders down through the long house.  I remember when we got feed bins at the end of that house and how wonderful it was to pull that cart under the chute and watch the feed pour into the cart.  It seemed like luxury to her.

She did all that work outside and then came in and cooked for her family.  Three meals a day.  Every single day.  And Daddy liked real food, so she didn’t very often decide to “just slip by.”  She canned peaches and pears and applesauce and tomato juice and pickles and sometimes meat.  She froze huge quantities of corn, Delaware Lima Beans, and strawberry jam.  She began baking our own bread around the time I reached adolescence and the memories of the sight of those beautiful loaves and the smell of the farm kitchen inspire me still.  The smell of homemade bread still says “home” to me like no other smell.

She loved to sing, and she had a lovely soprano voice.  It was the time in the Mennonite church when forming a singing group was popular, and many people would sing in a specialized, privately arranged group.  She sang in a women’s sextet for a number of years, and they were good.  The ladies in that group had names that would be recognized in many communities.  Mama’s sister in law, Dottie Embleton Yoder, Dottie’s sister Tootie Embleton Miller Clegg, Rachel Swartzentruber Schlabach, Rachel’s sister, Vida Jane Swartzentruber Huber and  Maxine Mast Eash (along with Mama, Alene Wert Yoder) are the six that would have sung together the longest.  They were good!  Sometimes they would practice at our house, and we would need to go to bed early. What an incredible privilege to grow up hearing my Mama’s voice, singing in an a capella group in the living room below my room as I drifted off to sleep.

Beauty, music, good food, hard work.  And so much more.  All now brought to a halt by life and aging and this last insidious battle that she is fighting.  A fall.  A broken leg.  Surgery.  Pneumonia.  A heart attack.  And now an infection that has been hard to trace.  She is totally dependent for everything she needs.  The road ahead looks frightening and difficult.  She is 86 years old.  Often dogged by weariness in her life, she is even more exhausted and she struggles to breathe as her lungs fill more and more with fluid and the ravages of pneumonia.  The doctors and the nurses are so kind, and they jump to do what they can for her.  They are guarded in their prognosis.

For the first time in her life, she is talking about wanting to go home to Heaven.  She doesn’t want to leave the people who love her, and she really does care about the little ones who know and love her and want her to stay here.  But the tug of the eternal is all over her face and the weariness holds us at bay because she is too tired to really converse.

And so we, (I and my siblings and in laws and the next generation) sit by her bed.  We hold conferences with the (many) doctors and each other.  We adjust the pillow that gets so hot around her neck, give her sips of ice water, and rub her feet.  We call the nurse when the breathing gets so short she gets frantic and we call the nurse when she has other needs that we cannot meet.  We pray for her, speak to her of Heaven and those who are already there.  I print out pictures for her wall of happier times and I try to bring up the good, good memories of the many, many years we’ve shared together.

The last year has been especially difficult for her — and us.  She has felt her independence slipping away and she has battled fiercely against anything, ANYTHING, that she deemed an inroad on her life the way she knew it.  Oftentimes, that came out very differently than the Mama we’ve known, and it’s been difficult to discern what is actually best for her.  As a family, we’ve known that this injurious fall was probably what would happen, someday.  We hoped that it wouldn’t.  We knew the risks and wanted something different for her, but when all was said and done, we decided to allow Mama to decide on anything that she could.  And this is one battle that she won, by virtue only of being THE MAMA.

But now it seems as if the fight is gone.  To her, Heaven looks a whole lot better than rehab. How I wish it were possible to just bring her home to her house, her bird, her familiar kitchen.  But, at least for now, that isn’t possible.  We have hard decisions to make, for sure, and no solution is perfect.  The one thing I am so immensely grateful for is that the six adult children of Mark and Alene Yoder are solidly together in the decisions already made.  As Mama’s power of attorney, I’ve been blessed with the kind of support that many, many people only dream about.  It has made everything so much easier. How very much I love my three brothers and two sisters and their generous spouses.

And we will keep watch and do what we can for her, pleading for creature comforts, praying for spiritual comfort and rest.  She has been such a good Mama.  We’ve been blessed far beyond what we deserve, and this upheaval, though overwhelming, is not without the grace of our Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is neither surprised nor perplexed by the happenings of these last ten days.  And He has been gracious in His provision, tender in His care, and present with us, His children.

My heart gives grateful praise.

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To think it Happened in Wal-mart.

I had just found a cart that seemed to work okay and was heading into Wal-Mart to do some quick shopping.  I stopped to look at a display right inside the door beside Dunkin’ Donuts when a young man walked up and stood maybe six feet away from me.  He had a buzzed haircut, and was nice looking.

“Excuse me, miss,” he said.  My kids say I never know a stranger, and I smiled at him.  “Would you possibly have change for a twenty?”  He held a folded twenty dollar bill in his hand, “My nephew wants to play the arcade and it won’t take a twenty.  I’d pretty much settle for any kind of change — two tens, four fives or a mix.  I could stand in line, but I would like to not have to wait that long.”

I almost never carry change like that, but I was pretty sure that I had some this time.  Not a bunch, but probably at least a ten and two fives or something.  “I just might,” I said to him, digging for my wallet.  “Let me see.”  I scrounged  around in the depths of the big old purse that I had plunked into the seat of the cart.  I found it, peered inside, and sure enough, there were two tens.

“I do have it,!” I said triumphantly.  I handed him the two tens and he gave me the folded money.  And bee-lined it out the door.  H-m-m-m-m.  The arcade was in the other direction.  Oh, well, Maybe it wasn’t the Wal-mart Arcade.  I started to stuff the twenty into my wallet when I suddenly noticed that it felt strange. I unfolded the bill and saw that it was laminated on one side.  It looked mostly okay, but that lamination really bothered me.  The bill was extremely raggedy under the lamination.  I was immediately suspicious, but the young man was long gone.

I pushed my cart through the store having imaginary arguments and conversations with the young man.  Things I could have said or things I could have done.  I pretty much covered the gamut and still came up with the conclusion that  I had probably just been stiffed out of twenty bucks.  I thought momentarily about trying to use it to pay part of my bill at the checkout, but decided that it might be better to just take it into a bank.  I didn’t want to get arrested to for trying to pass a counterfeit bill.   I brought it home and showed it to whomever would look at it.  Almost no one was willing to state unequivocally one way or another  Then I showed it to my friend who works in the money center at Wal-mart, and told her my story.  Emma is a sharp cookie.  She would NEVER be stuck like that.  She held it in her hand, felt it, held it up to the light and finally said, “I’m sure it’s a fake, Mary Ann.  It doesn’t have a water mark.  And it doesn’t feel right, though it might be the tape they have on it.”

I decided that the next time I went to the bank, I would see what they had to say.

So today, on my way home from Sweet Mama’s house, I took my twenty dollar bill into the bank and told my story.

“It looks fine to me,” said the young teller.  “Someone probably just taped it because it is so ratty.”  She felt it, looked at it, and then called the other teller over.  “What do you think?” She asked the other gal,  “Is this real or is it fake?”

“It looks fine to me,too,” said the other teller, “but let me take it back to see what they say back there.  I’m pretty sure it is okay.  And if it is, we will trade you out a good one for this one and take this one out of circulation.”

For just a little bit, I felt relieved.  My faith in human nature was starting to revive.  I took care of some other business while I waited for the second teller to return.  Just as we were finishing up, she came back out, holding the twenty and looking apologetic.

“I’m so sorry,” she said.  “It isn’t legit.  And I’m also so sorry, but we can’t give it back to you.  When a counterfeit bill comes through, we are required by law to confiscate it and send it to the authorities.”  She showed me the back of the bill, then and two long brown marks crossed over the back of it.  “If it was good,” she said, “these marks would have instantly turned yellow, but they didn’t change at all.  I’m so sorry!”

“That’s fine,” I said, glad that I was given some time to suspect the truth.  “I was pretty sure that it wasn’t any good.  But I’m also pretty sure that I’ve given money to just as worthless a cause in other situations, and this will be okay.  It makes me sad, because of the deception and the dishonesty, but it is the way it is, and it will be okay.”

The teller murmured something about, “Never knowing, maybe it is being paid forward,” but I wasn’t sure how it applied in this situation.  I gathered my things and came on home.

I’ve been doing some thinking about that money the rest of this day.  Wondering what it was used for.  Sometimes wishing I knew — but usually glad I don’t.  And I don’t know,  Maybe it got used for something good and wholesome eventually.  I don’t know.  But I can hope.

But I also am choosing to  just let it go.  There were numerous places along the way where God could have raised a warning flag in my heart, or stopped me somehow, and He didn’t.  (Or, at least I didn’t hear Him– which, sadly might be more likely.)  So even though I am tempted to think of the good that I could have done with that twenty dollars, I am choosing not to even go there.  For one thing, I probably wouldn’t have specified it for “good.”  I’ve been known to use twenty dollars rather quickly in A.C. Moore or Barnes & Noble or Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.  And it is rather exciting to think about just where that money might be going and how God is going to use it.  Because I did pray for that young man and dedicated both him and the money to God  in those first minutes after the money was out of my hand, and I believe that God can use even desperate people and ill-gotten, misdirected money for His Glory. And I may as well trust Him.  I can’t really think of anything better to do.

And so,my heart will glory in a God who sees, who cares, and who tells us “not to trust in uncertain riches but gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17)  This is more than enough for me.

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Youngest Daughter Walks

Tomorrow, Youngest Daughter, Rachel​, Graduates from Bryn Mawr’s School of Social Work, Master’s Program in Philadelphia, PA.  It has been a long road that led to this day, and her Daddy and I are so proud of her.    She has worked hard.  She has persevered when it would have been easier to give up.  She has held on when it seemed that life would wrench her dreams from her hands.  She has believed when doubt and fear laughed in her face.   She has overcome reversals, bulimia, and being a pacifist in a Baptist College.  She has endured loneliness, heartache, and hours and days of wondering what would be next in her life.  Even now, the unknowns in Rachel’s future are far greater than the knowns.

But for every single negative in her life, Rachel has had positives.  She has traveled, she has received accolades and awards and positive reviews and opportunities that few girls in her situation have been given.  She has worked hard, yes!  But she has also been given much, and as her parents, it has been so exciting to see how God has intervened time and time again to give incredible, “best gifts” to this girlie that we have been privileged to parent.

And so, our youngest walks.  A new chapter in her life —  and ours.  And even though it is sometimes hard to see a chapter close, in this case, it is exhilarating, exciting and humbling to think about the story that is Rachel’s life.

“We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.  Trusting in His Holy Word.  He’s never failed us yet.”

He never will!

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The Feetwashing Tubs

When our church burned almost six months ago, one of the things that did not melt was our stack of tubs for feetwashing.

Our church family still practices feetwashing.  For those of you who are not acquainted with this tradition, it is usually held in connection with two of our communions a year, in keeping with the passage in John 13:4-17, where Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.  In verses 14 and 15, Jesus said, 14 “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. 15 I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.”  We have chosen to believe that there is value in taking these words literally and beautiful symbolism in this act of humility, servitude and vulnerability.  Many, many sermons have been preached on what this really means, and I have found it incredibly precious in different ways at different times,

That being said, as we were preparing for communion this spring, Certain Man was under the impression that the elders were planning for feetwashing, and as the deacon, it is his job to take care of the physical preparation for the celebration.  So he stopped one evening on his way home from work and looked for the stack of eight, gray Sterlite tubs that we use for feetwashing.  He found them, alright.  For some reason, they were not melted as were most plastics in the church that terrible morning.  But they were blackened by smoke and dirty from water.  He brought them home.

“Hon,” he said.  “Someone has to clean these up.”  (“Someone,” I took it to mean, was his wife.)  They sat on the cupboard in my laundry room and I looked at them with distaste and dread.  I really didn’t want to scrub them up, but communion was only a week away and I knew I didn’t have much time.

Then the Elders decided that, given the shortened time frame, Sunday school being such a big part of our Sunday morning service, and us not being in our own place, that they were going to forego the feetwashing part of our communion this time.  And I, glad for the reprieve, did not scrub the tubs up.  They sat on my counter sometimes, in my laundry sink sometimes, sometimes being moved so I could work in the area that they were, and for some reason, they did not get any cleaner.  They just sat there and waited.  I kept thinking that maybe someone would get tired of seeing them and would do something with them, but it did not seem to be the case.  Last night I looked at them again (probably for the hundredth time at least) and decided that I would do something with them.  TODAY!

So this morning I drew a big sink full of water with bleach, fetched myself a magic eraser and set to work.  I watched the black spots come off, saw the smooth clear gray come clearer and clearer as the black water was rinsed down the drain.  I thought about our church and about feetwashing and how the brothers and sisters there are such an integral part of who I am and what I do.  I prayed for Alex and Joey and wondered what they would do differently that December night if they could do things over.  I thought about redemption and how, even though it seems so simple, it is never easy, and how, even for them, there is Grace enough, if they would only choose it.

The last tub was especially covered in soot and grime.  I thought about how washing these feetwashing tubs was something that came down to me being willing to do it, and I prayed that in this washing, God would reckon it as a way that I washed the feet of my sisters and brothers.

I took the tubs out, stacked them on the steps to the upper deck to dry.  They were so common in the morning sun, but so glorious in my eyes.  Another thing set wrong by the arson was back to order.  Slowly, one step at a time, things are getting done– not only in the building, but in our hearts.

And I give grateful praise.

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Sunday Grumpies

This was the Sunday morning when I felt just plain grumpy.  It’s a ridiculously beautiful day.  I had a wonderful lesson for my little people at church.  I had made fairly good preparation.  We moved Youngest Daughter home from Philadelphia yesterday. Certain Man and I had a very nice afternoon together, walking by the water at Delaware City, stopping for a quick supper at Chick fil a, and coming home in good time after our Philadelphia run.  I was terribly tired last night, to the point of finally going to bed early and sleeping soundly most of the night.  But I woke up grumpy and irritated.

It shouldn’t have mattered that OGA was up and dressed by 6:30.  This was a good morning for her to do that, but she looks at me so reproachfully when things don’t move according to her schedule, and things did not move  according to her schedule  this morning.  And she didn’t like the music I put on for her.  I was in no mood to hear Johnny Cash or Conway Twitty or The Oak Ridge boys while I showered and dressed Blind Linda.  Usually I just keep the music off on Sunday mornings but this morning, I felt like my spirits could use some music, so the choice was classical.  She didn’t want that.  It didn’t have words.  After I left the room, she asked Deborah to change it.  Deborah, not knowing that I had chosen the station with intent this morning, called out to the kitchen that she was changing it for her.

“No, you’re not,” I said more sharply than I intended.  “I do not feel like hearing country music this morning.  I put that on on purpose.”

“But she doesn’t like it,” said my surprised Middle Daughter.  “It doesn’t have words.”

“I know it doesn’t,” I said testily.  “I don’t feel like hearing words.”

“Oh.  Okay, then!” Said Deborah, and went and told OGA that she wasn’t changing it after all.  Whereupon OGA came out to the kitchen to tell me that she wanted the channel changed.

“No, Audrey,” I said, again, more firmly than necessary, “I don’t want you to change it.  You can listen to that this morning.  I don’t feel like hearing Country.  You listened to that all day yesterday.  This is Sunday morning music.  You can listen to this for a change.”

She looked at me like I had just told her that I was withholding her daily sustenance.  Disgusted she went back into her room without another word.  I felt even more out of sorts.  Probably in part from the exchange immediately preceding this. (Which went like this:)

“Hon, we need to get the holders for the communion cups out here.”  It was Certain Man, helping to get stuff together for communion.

I looked at him blankly.  “Um.  I think those are up at church,” I said.

“We never kept them up there before,” he said emphatically.

“Yes, we have,” I said just as emphatically.  “I never thought to tell someone to get them, but I’m sure they are up there.”

“Hon, we always bring them home and wrap them in plastic and put them in there on the shelf.”

I knew they weren’t in there, but I went in to check anyhow.  ‘I think,” I said, “That I have been storing them up at church ever since I forgot them that time  and you had to run back for them.  But I never thought about it when we were getting things together.  I’m sorry.”

He came and looked  over my shoulder at the empty spot where they should would have been if they were there.  “Well, they certainly aren’t there.  I’m going to have to run up to church and see if I can find them.  Hard telling where they are.”

“Why don’t you ask Deborah.  She would know if they were up there.”

“She’s still sleeping.  I don’t want to wake her up.  I’m gonna’ go do my chores quick and then I will run up there and see.”

“Whatever you think, Daniel.”

That’s what he thought.  And he went out to check his chickens, feed his livestock and check on the general state of affairs at Shady Acres.  He came back in shortly.

“Is Deborah up?”

“I haven’t seen her yet.”

“Well, I’ve gotta get going.”

“Wake her up, Daniel.  I’m sure she would go with you”

“Hon, I can’t wait that long.  It will take her a good 20 minutes to get ready and I can’t wait that long!”

“I think she would throw things together in a hurry and go with you, Daniel.  She and Chris and Amy did the sorting up there after the fire, and I think she would know right where they were.  You could at least ask her if she knows where they are.”

I went back to my morning things, but noticed that he did go over and call quietly from the bottom of the stairs.  I heard them converse for a  bit and then he left, and Deborah came down to the  kitchen to help out with morning things.  She worked at ironing the linens for the communion table, talked to Audrey, and did any of a number of helpful things for me.

I got lunch into the oven and kept thinking about OGA, stewing in her room over the music.  I finally went in.

“Audrey, I am going to turn your music on, but I am closing the doors.”

She made little response except to acknowledge that she heard me and to act like it was about time I saw the light.  She said she didn’t care if I closed the doors.  And I did.  I did not slam them, but It was a pretty firm closure.

I went out to the kitchen to finish class and communion preparation.  Our lesson this morning was from the parable of the yeast.  How the Kingdom of Heaven is like the measures of leaven that the woman put into the dough and how it grew and grew and grew.  I had been looking forward to this lesson for some time.  I love working with yeast products, and it fell on communion Sunday, and there was this simple recipe for making bread in my teacher’s manual.  I had made arrangements to use the bread from the lesson for the communion celebration. I had made a batch ahead of time, and wasn’t very impressed with how it turned out.  However, it held promise, and I knew instinctively of some things that I could do to make it better.  It was imperative, though, that I make a batch ahead of time that would be for our communion service this morning, and then the children would make a batch in class that would be theirs to take home.  I stood at my kitchen counter and thought that it just wasn’t such a great idea.

“I don’t know about this,” I said to myself.  “I’m thinking that this is going to be  a hot mess.   The Sunday school room isn’t all that big.  There will be flour and water and who knows what else on the floor before I’m done and the kids will be dirty.  If I make this first batch at home and take it in, it’s liable not to turn out if I’m moving it around while it’s rising.  And how am I going to liken the Kingdom of Heaven to baking bread, anyhow?   Besides, what does the “Kingdom of Heaven” mean to these kids?  I am not sure they really are understanding what this is trying to say.  And I am using yeast when it should be unleavened bread.  And I don’t know how to make yeast bread out of Gluten-free flour, so what am I trying to do?  Someone is likely to feel left out or rejected or not part of the body.  This just feels like such a mess!”

I looked at my ingredients and kept plugging away.  Partly because I didn’t know what else to do.  Partly because I had promised the children.  Partly because it was too late to try to do something else.

And then, at the edge of my conscious thought, came that familiar nudging.  “It just might be a mess.  It might not turn out right.  But think about this.  The crucifixion, to borrow your vernacular, was a hot mess.  There was nothing predictable, easy, clean or orderly about it.  It was messy.  It was awful.  It was anything but nice. Somewhere, you’ve gotten this idea that communion has to be perfect, aesthetically pleasing, tasting just right, looking just right and unoffensive to anyone — particularly you!  That’s not how it was . . .you need to let this go.  Think of why you wanted to do this in the first place and remember that ‘nice and easy’ and ‘discipleship’ are not synonymous.”

It was a thoughtful Delaware Grammy that finished mixing up the bread, and got ready for church.  Certain Man found the cup holders and got home in plenty of time,  He loaded the van with the communion supplies, Sunday school supplies, checked to make sure everything was packed that was needed.  He was his usual pleasant and kind self.  Middle Daughter helped and encouraged and the rest of the morning went quietly along.

And things went well at church, too.  The Three Littles were their usual exuberant selves, and participated heartily and happily and even shared with each other. The bread baked beautifully golden and smelled wonderful, and the Kingdom of Heaven was talked about repeatedly as we mixed yeast, watched bread rise and repeatedly checked the baking process.  What a special time we had together.  How I love these three little people.  They make me laugh and they teach me things about human nature, and they cause me to dream dreams about what they will be someday and how they might change the world.  And they compel me to pray for them by the newness of their raw materials, the light of Heaven in their eyes and the prospect of the world that they will live in.  Charis, Katie and Judah:  You cannot imagine how much Jesus loves you.  How I pray that you catch just a glimpse of what you can do in this old world for Jesus’ sake.

And then our communion service was sweet and celebratory and the church family was so kind.  Not a single murmuring word against the leaven or the gluten.  We remembered our Lord’s death and celebrated the sacrifice that was made for us.  We celebrated our church family, and the love that holds us together, causes us to overlook the irritations, and even hears honest confessions of repentant hearts with reassurance and encouragement.

For this and so much more, my heart gives grateful praise

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As an Evening Proceeds

5:00 pm

Today I had to have a molar extracted.  This process went FAR BETTER than I expected, and I give thanks that I live in this era and that the time is now and not even the time of my childhood. The worst part of it was the shot.  The best part was that Dr. Otto Tidwell sings to his patients while doing procedures.  It is a most soothing and consolatory gesture.

“You’re doing very fine,” he sang.  “Hold very still, we are getting done.”  Anything he said to me was a quiet, musically framed intonation.   (He did stop and speak a few disquieting things in a normal tone to his nurse, but I tried not to listen because he wasn’t talking to me.)  Yesterday in my regular dentist’s office, Dr. Steward had told me about this peculiarity, and that it was an excellent diversion, but there was a whole lot more about the man than his singing prowess that inspired confidence.  I was particularly comforted by the fact that He has pulled over 160,000 teeth in his career.  Yes.  That!

But now?

Well, between a the roots coming out in three different pieces, an abscess that needed cleaning out, and some stitches, I suspect that the easy part really is over now, and that the rest of this might not be much fun.  Eldest Daughter, Christina​, (who was my kind and encouraging chauffeur) had Dr. Tidwell just a little over a week ago, (also for an extraction) and she was numb for 12 hours.  I’m less than two hours post and it is ANYTHING but numb. But ice and pain medication and Middle Daughter, Deborah​, as a willing and capable helper  — well, let’s just say that’s a pretty stellar health care package, and I’m looking forward to a quiet night.  (I can at least hope for such!)

Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers on my behalf. Having a tooth pulled feels like such a violation, and with this being the last molar I have on the upper right, it feels like a rather severe statement of my age.  Tonight I am feeling every one of my 61 years, six months and 15 days. I’m sorely tempted to huddle in my chair with my blanket and brood until I get to where I can just sleep these hours away.  But then I might miss something.  And these are exciting days at Shady Acres.

And even though it suddenly looks like it will be anything but quiet around here tonight (Deborah just got asked to work tonight because the on duty Hospice nurse just had a car accident) I think it is time to redirect my heart and choose offer some grateful praise.

8:15 pm
. . . And guess what else!?!?!  I got off my chair to help with supper, and suddenly felt absolutely wonderful.  So there has been no sitting on my chair tonight.  This has to be the easiest tooth extraction I have ever had!  I just cut our best cutting of asparagus out of the garden, and now want to package up some chicken for the freezer that we got in bulk.  Certain Man went to visit his friend, Gary Burlingame.  He has the day off tomorrow, and this gal is eagerly looking forward to a trip to the greenhouse, looking for tomatoes and other vegetables for the garden.  I just might get some hanging baskets of flowers for our pavilion.

What a wonderful day this has turned out to be!

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