Tag Archives: grateful praise

The Lows, The Highs.

This week has been a roller coaster for me.  Monday morning I was talking it over with Jesus, and telling Him how sad I felt.  And telling Him that I just wanted to undo the last fourteen months.  “I want Frieda back, whole and healthy and alive and HERE!  I want our church to not be burned.  I want Mama to not fall full on her face on a cold tile floor at our “borrowed” meeting place on a Sunday morning in February (a pivotal incident for embarrassment and infirmity in her life).  I don’t want to think about the health issues and infertility issues in my family that were exacerbated this year.   I don’t want Mama to fall in May and break her femur.  I don’t want her to have suffered those four weeks.  I don’t want her to have died.  I want her here, healthy and alive.  I don’t want Youngest Daughter, Rachel, to struggle to find a job for six months, with all sorts of reversals and setbacks and disappointments.  I don’t want Middle Daughter, Deborah, to be diagnosed with a genetic liver condition (http://www.alpha1.org/) that has given great cause for alarm.  I’m just so tired of everything! And I’m just so sad . . .”

And (Believe me!) there were a few other things in there that I “didn’t want” that can’t be said here.


Where do we go when life is too much for us?  How do we choose life and hope and peace when it seems like an exercise in futility?  What do we do when the people we love are hurting and struggling and doubting and failing? And what makes us think that it will ever be okay again?
Listen, dear friends!  Here is where I’ve chosen to focus:


Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19a

 

If there is anything that I’ve learned on this sojourn, it is that praise makes the darkest night navigable.  And while there may be all sorts of things that make me sad, I still need to choose that He does all things well, and that He is to be trusted.  It probably won’t ever all be “okay” again.  That’s what Heaven is for.

And if I can’t sink my “trembling soul” onto that immovable rock, then I’m pretty sure there’s no hope for this season of my life, this time, this place and my future mindsets.

The last few days have been better than that terrible Monday.  For every one of the “I wants” there have been blessings that I can choose to look at, be grateful for, and acknowledge God’s hand, working for our good.

I’m as convinced as ever that faith is the key to having a life focus that gives courage and hope.

It didn’t end at the Cross, and our Sunday’s coming!

My heart chooses grateful praise.

1 Comment

Filed under Dealing with Grief, Grief, My Life, Uncategorized

The siblings break bread

It is a Tuesday afternoon.  I stir the white sauce that is slowly thickening on my front burner.  On the back burner, a large kettle is beginning to simmer with carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and seasonings.  The shrimp is thawed in the over the sink mesh colander, waiting for its turn to be added to the chowder that I’m putting together for our evening meal.

I hear the door into the laundry room entry way open and feel a surge of anticipation.  He walks into the kitchen with that familiar tread.  My brother is here!  I put down the  scissors I am using to cut the shrimp and dry my hands.  He is not a hugger, but he doesn’t mind a hug sometimes and this is one time when I get away with it.  His smile is steady, but there is a quiet in his bearing that stabs my heart.  He has traveled many miles alone over the last thirteen months, and today was no different.  There are 600 long miles from his home in South Carolina to Shady Acres, and he has driven them repeatedly in the last year.

It isn’t long until the door opens again and in come Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys.  We had invited them to join us this evening. These two. Our Daddy’s brother and our Mama’s sister.  Their presence and persons comfort me like no one else can.  Their support and understanding and love have been inestimable, and in them are the tangible remembrances of the two who were our parents.  It feels so right to have them here.

The doors keep opening and shutting behind my beloved siblings and their spouses.  Bert and Sarah come, bringing tender and delicious homemade biscuits.  Alma comes with luscious looking pumpkin pies, lamenting the fact that Jerrel has a DFA meeting, and then Mark and Polly complete our circle, with Polly bringing a marvelous tossed salad to round our the simple meal.  There are beloved faces missing.  Nel and Rose are in Pennsylvania.  Frieda is in Heaven.  Daddy and Mama — I fight back a catch in my throat, and purposefully put it away. We will be glad for who we have in this place, at this time.  We gather around the long dining room table, ten of us at this gathering, and Uncle Jesse prays the blessing.

How many times did I hear Daddy’s voice, raised in prayer at a meal time?  It’s been a long time, but the words of my uncle’s prayer wrap themselves around me with familiarity and quiet comfort.  He thanks God for the food, for the opportunity to be together and prays for blessing on this time shared and for the ones who made the food. Around the table, the hands are joined and we listen to his quiet voice.

And then the “Amen” is said and the food is passed and the conversation weaves a pattern of memories and laughter and tears.  We share so much common ground with each other and with these two whose genetic heritage is the same as ours.  There are stories of Grandpa Dave, and the laughter is vibrant and genuine.  We ask questions and talk about our childhood.  We wonder how our daddy would have handled getting old and infirm and dependent and agreed that God was incredibly merciful to him and to us when He took him HOME.

We don’t speak much about our Sweet Mama.  The missing has settled into a deep and dark chasm for me and there are days when I feel like my heart will burst with all the things I need/want to tell her. I know she is safe.  I know she is happy.  I know that it really was God’s timing.  And I also know that it won’t always hurt this bad.  But it’s hard for me to talk about her without the tears.  At least for now.  And so we remember the good times, several “safe” things, and draw strength and comfort and courage from the time we spend in sweet, sweet fellowship.

All too soon, the night is over.  Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys have a somewhat long trek back to their home in Dover and it’s dark.  I worry about them heading off into the November cold, but they are cheerful, dispensing hugs and thank yous and beaming good will to us all.  My brothers and sisters and their spouses gather their leftover food and also depart.  Certain Man takes down the table, puts away chairs and helps to straighten the dining room while I load the dishwasher and put away leftover soup.. The neight has been exactly what I’ve needed.  When I kissed my auntie good by, I smelled the sweet smell of cologne and her cheek was so soft against mine.  It wasn’t my Mama’s signature Chantilly, but it was reminiscent of how important it always was to our Mama that she smelled good.  Oh, Mama!  How I miss you!

The years did pass so swiftly.  Sometimes it seems like Daddy and Mama have been gone forever.  This isn’t something new or unusual or peculiar to the children of Mark and Alene Yoder.  It’s just life.  We had excellent parents.  Truly the best!  Human, flawed, and with their own foibles and peculiarities and sometimes follies.  But so right for us.  So full of faith that they lived before us, and they loved us.  This night reminded us so much of our Daddy and Mama.  But for me, the one thing that shone the brightest though the presence of our precious Uncle and Auntie was the faith mixed with that unconditional love.  We were so blessed.  We are so blessed.  The gifts that we’ve been given through no effort of our own, are gifts that many, many people all over this world have not been privileged to have.

For the gifts of Heritage, warm memories, siblings that are good friends and an extended family who cares — for these good gifts, —

My heart gives humble, grateful praise.

2 Comments

Filed under Dealing with Grief, Family, home living, My Life

Sorting it All Out

My Daddy’s study.  Spiral notebooks of my Daddy’s careful sermon notes, reference books, history books, family pictures, boxes and boxes of correspondence, endless files of minutes from various local church and school committees as well as incredible amounts of detailed secretary’s notes that he took from conference committees through the 70’s and 80’s and beyond.  There were school yearbooks, conference reports, even private files that held the responses of church members dealing with church problems before Daniel and I were back from Ohio.  (I refused to read them, but rather discarded with abandonment and even a sense of having no right to know any of it when I would discover such incriminating evidence.  Did he have to keep this???  Was this something that would ever be necessary for posterity???)

When we left for Claytor Lake State Park in Virginia one Thursday afternoon in September, I was to the point of not wanting to go.  I was bone weary and soul depleted.  There had been incredible amounts of canning, bean picking, laundry, sorting, bill paying, estate work, State reports for OGA and BL to get into the proper persons, and the ordinary household chores that needed doing.  I had been determined that I was going to get it all done before we left, and I fell far short of my goal.  My sister in law, Rose, had done a lion’s share of the physical work at Mama’s house that week, but I felt the pull of all the essence of my parent’s home and their very lives being drained away by the decisions I was making concerning their “stuff” and nothing felt “right.”  It may be possible to read every card ever written to Mark Yoder over the course of his life, (including his teen years) but is that the proper use of time?  Do I take a year of my life to organize all the papers, all the files, all the notes, all the sermons, all the tax returns, all the medical and financial records just so they are organized?  And then what?  Who wants them?  I would like to know what is in all those pages and pages of information, but then what?  My siblings and I conferred (as well as the inlaws) and they all said the same thing:  Unless something is legally important, or specific to your particular family, Don’t Save It! (With the exception of Daddy’s sermon notes — those are in high demand among the grandsons.)

And so, I would run a perfunctory eye over files, riffle through committee notes, check the correspondence for personal letters from or to family members (and that alone was voluminous!) and then turn my head and put them in the large dumpster.  Over and over again my siblings would reassure me, “Mary Ann, we just can’t save everything!”  And they were right, of course, but it was still one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Late that Wednesday afternoon, I left My Sweet Mama’s house barely able to hold back the tears until I was in my car and out of the driveway.  Much of my time that afternoon had been spent going through cards, letters, birth announcements, engagement announcements and wedding invitations that had been sent to my grandparents, Michael and Alma Wert, from Daddy and Mama and my siblings and their families.  The years that were marked in that brown manilla envelope were full and exciting and so far gone.  I had read a letter that I had written to my grandparents while I awaited the birth of our third child, telling about five year old Christina and two year old Deborah and the excitement I felt over the new baby coming.  I held the birth announcement for that baby, and thought about Raphael, now older than I was when I wrote that letter.  I drove along the familiar road through the small town of Greenwood and tried to see through the tears.  I rounded the corner at 16 and 36 and came down the road towards Milford.  The brick church by the side of the road with the familiar cemetery was on the right and there were no cars in the parking lot.  I pulled my van up beside the steps going into the graveyard and stopped.

I had not been to Mama’s grave since the day we buried her except for the day we buried Uncle Eli.  In the days following Daddy’s death, I had stopped often, sometimes going in the dark, sometimes in the rain, usually in the winter cold, but always feeling such a need to somehow be where we had laid his mortal remains to rest.  I knew he wasn’t there, but the part of my Daddy that I could see and touch and talk to was down there — somewhere, and I felt like I could talk to him there.  And I would!  I always ended up with my heart turned toward my Heavenly Father and there was where I found comfort.  However, I always felt better after being there.  With Mama, it’s been different.  To think of her body being there — and knowing how she always wanted to be carefully dressed and combed and smelling good and attractive, and knowing how she hated being alone and cold — well, that has been a huge hurdle for me.  It’s just been easier not to go.  But on this day, I needed to be there, the place where we had laid her to rest, and I needed to tell her my heart, and to sob out the grief and heart pain and indecision and questioning that was eating away at my resolve to be strong and upbeat and cheerful. I traced her name against the hard stone, and thought about her life and the last weeks that took her away from us.  Even as I acknowledged that the Mama we knew had been starting to slip away, it was still this horrible, empty place in that house that was always so cheery and welcoming, and this horrible empty place in my heart where this woman, who gave me life so often gave me comfort or encouragement or just plain took my part — whether I was justified in “my part.”  Or not.

I finally pulled myself away.  There was so much yet to do.  The tears ran on and on down my face as I headed my mini-van out onto Shawnee Road and headed towards Shady Acres.  The sun was heading down the sky behind me and I felt keenly the weight of sorrow and grief and loss that seemed to be embodied in the discarding of the things that were important to the lives of my Precious Daddy and Sweet Mama.

The weeks have passed.   Almost six to be honest.  I haven’t been back to my Mama’s house since that day. It’s hard to go without one of my sisters with me and they have both had incredibly unpredictable weeks this last while.  And on days when it may have suited them, it didn’t suit me.  But this excuse has come to an end with the return of my brother, Nel and his good wife, Rose, for a few days.  Tomorrow, it looks like we go back to the fray.  And I will be glad to be there with good support and diversion and helping hands.

But I also dread it.  I keep thinking about that house — particularly that spot where her chair sat so that she could keep an eye on everything, and be a part of everything that went on in her big room that was so full of light.  Her bird that she loved, and that she pampered and talked to, is now here at Shady Acres in the care of Deborah.  I come down in the mornings sometimes and take off the polyester wrapping cloth of pale blues and white that Mama always used.  He looks up at me and chirps his questioning noise.

“Good morning, Pretty Bird,” I often say to him as he hops about in the cage she bought for him.  And then I often find myself saying, “Oh, Pretty Bird!  Do you miss her, too?  Do you miss her as much as I do?”  He’s just a bird, but his morning songs comfort me as I remember that last day, as she was sinking fast, how he burst into song on that long afternoon and sang and sang.  He — here at our house.  She — there in the sunny corner room at the Country Rest Home.  He doesn’t often sing in the afternoon, and Middle Daughter, noting the song, told me later that she felt certain that Grandma was about to head on HOME.

HOME.  That’s where she is.  She is safe.  She is happy.  She is with Jesus.  She is warm and comfortable and healthy.  She is where there is no night.  She is not lonely.  She has no need to cry.  She is never afraid.  She has no more pain.  She isn’t being bossed around.   She is beautiful.  She is alive.

The thing I miss most, of course, is the conversations I had with Mama.  Last week, I wrote a note to her, briefly touching on a number of subjects — things that I would develop into a longer conversation if she were here to participate.  This is what it said:

Ah, Mama.  I wish I could talk to you today!  The leaves are falling without changing much color this year, and the beans got froze out early.  I saw a robin and his mate at the outdoor bird watering station in the cold.  Doesn’t he know its time to fly south?  The hummingbirds are gone.  Aunt Gladys has two new great grandbabies, and they are both Naomi’s sons’ children, born less than forty hours apart.  The church building is coming along.  This morning, Daniel talked to the person who called 911 for us.  That was so interesting.  It seems impossible that a year ago, we were waiting for word of Frieda’s homegoing — and now you are there with her.  We couldn’t know how soon you would leave us, it’s true, but I’m so glad we didn’t.  I don’t know if I could have borne that.  Rachel finally found a job, and will be moving to Washington, D.C. next month.  She placed third in the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Work’s annual awards for Clinical Excellence. Our chickens are almost ready for market and we want to go to Ohio and see Raph and Gina and the boys.  We still aren’t finished cleaning out your house.  It’s mostly done, but I think I’m allergic to something in that house.  Everytime I go in, my eyes water and my nose runs . . .

So much to tell you, Mama.  And no more time.

The thing is, as I looked over this note, I realized something.  I was wrong about something.  That business about the leaves falling without changing colors.  That’s how it looked about ten days ago.  The leaves were falling off our trees and they were brown and green and nothing else.  But something happened on the way from then to now.  I’ve had the chance over the last three days to observe a number of woodlands and ponds and lakes — and the leaves are more beautiful than I have ever seen.  it has to be the prettiest display that Delaware has had for — well, maybe forever!  And I cannot get this off my mind.  I was so wrong about the leaves.  Maybe, just maybe I am wrong about this, too.  Maybe this grief that right now looks so dark and colorless and even “terminal” is going to surprise me someday with its color and life and beauty.

Maybe.  And not just “maybe.”

I have to believe that the word is more like “Probably.”

And for that hope, my heart gives grateful praise.

3 Comments

Filed under Dealing with Grief, Family, Family living, Grief, Heaven

CMW Looks for a Way

“I’m so proud of myself,” I announced to the general public of my kitchen, as I came out of the laundry room.  “General public” in this case was all of Certain Man and Youngest Daughter.

Youngest Daughter was mixing up a cold glass of Ovaltine and milk.  Certain Man was dishing himself a bowl of ice cream with some toppings.  I heard the p-f-f-f-f-f-f-t-t-t-t sound of the Redi-Whip can as he swirled a couple of rounds on top of his cold vanilla sweetness.  “Wonderful!” He said.  “What did you do?

“I did surgery on myself!” I announced triumphantly.  That stopped everything.

“What did you do???”

“I took that troublesome lump off the inside of my lip that I kept biting.”  I had the offensive tiny white piece in my between my thumb and forefinger.

This produced sounds of retching from Youngest Daughter, with great holdings of the stomach and strong statements as to the state of her health and why she would never be a surgeon and other strong verbalization of disapprobation.

“Hon!”  Said Certain Man.  “What in the world do you think you are doing?”

“I was tired of biting it all the time, so I took it off!”

“But how? You have a fit every time I try to do something even little, and then you go and do something like that!”

“I was careful,” I said, pulling my lip out.  “See!”

“But how did you do it?”  He looked askance at where the rather large skin tag had been.

At my last cleaning, I had asked my dentist about removing it, and he said it was a common thing and he didn’t seem to think I would want to spend the money to have it removed.  I have been troubled by it for years and would often peer in there to see if it was going away by itself (it wasn’t!) or getting larger (sometimes it seemed like it maybe was!).  I had tried various things over the last few months when it seemed that I was catching it over and over again and giving it a hearty bite when I was eating.  I’m not saying that I didn’t unknowingly “worry” it at night, but I truly seldom “bit my lip” in my waking hours (unless it was this accidental, excruciating move that caught me so unaware and sometimes made me want to cry!).  Over the last month, I’ve taken to giving it a good brushing with my toothbrush, followed by some good listerine mouthwash, and I thought it was actually doing better, but then, last week one day, I crunched down on it and we were pretty much back to square one.

Tonight, after putting the ladies to bed, I noticed that it was more tender than usual.  I explored it with my tongue and wondered again what I could do to get rid of it on my own.  I perched in front of the bathroom mirror where there was plenty of light and looked the situation over.  And had a sudden inspiration!

“I wonder what would happen if I took a length of dental floss and tied it around the base of that skin tag and pulled it really tight.”  There was a time, years back, when I had a large, blood filled skin tag on my leg and I tied a string around the base of that very tightly and it dropped off in a few days and I’ve never had a bit of trouble with it since.  I honestly didn’t think this thing through very carefully, but I got a piece of waxed dental floss and tried to loop it over the skin tag.  It slipped right off.

“Lord Jesus, maybe this isn’t going to work.  But if this is something I can do for myself, would you please help me?”

On the very next try, it looped over nicely and I pulled it tight.

Ouch!  That hurt.  Maybe I should just take it off.  But it wouldn’t come off.  It wasn’t as tight, but that dental floss was securely around it and wasn’t budging.  I looked at my poor skin tag and at the dental floss hanging out of my mouth and wondered if I could trim it off short and just leave it there for the night.  That didn’t seem like a good idea.  I thought of calling Middle Daughter, the nurse, but remembered that she isn’t fond of this sort of ministrations to family members.  Besides.  She would probably scold me.  I decided to pull it tight again.  I only got so far, and then it really hurt again.  I thought maybe I should just knot it, trim it off till morning and see what happened.  But I couldn’t get it to knot since the original crossover was behind the skin tag.  So I thought some more.  Looked at it some more.  Pulled it tight again until it hurt and then stopped.

I decided to bring it around to the front of the skin tag and see about knotting it there.  So I brought it around, crossed it over and pulled it tight again.  It still hurt but not quite as bad.  H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.  Maybe if I would pull it tighter by degrees, I could manage to actually squeeze it off.  I kept working at pulling it tighter and tighter until I finally could pull it no tighter.  The skin tag was pearly white against the pink skin, but no matter how hard I pulled on the ends of the dental floss, it wouldn’t cut through the connecting tissue.

I went and got a razor blade.  Everyone was absent from the kitchen and didn’t notice my goings and coming.  I went back to the bathroom mirror and assessed the situation.  A razor blade did not look like a good idea.  If I only had a sharp scissors!  No, wait.  Maybe I should put an ice cube in there to deaden anything that I might feel before I snipped.  Back to the kitchen to get an ice cube.  When I put that on the lip, I realized that things were not quite as “dead” as I thought.  I discarded the ice cube in the bathroom sink and thought about it.  I again pulled on the dental floss ends and didn’t feel any discomfort at all in the skin tag.  Then I remembered that OGA had a very sharp, little scissors in her top dresser drawer.  I fetched it out, sterilized it under the Instant Hot in the kitchen and went back to the bathroom mirror.

The two ends of the dental floss worked very well to pull the skin tag up and out from the rest of the lip.  I positioned the blades of the scissors as carefully as I could and “snip!” the skin tag was off.  No pain.  However, the dental floss was still firmly attached to the connecting material.  I hadn’t cut close enough!  So once again, I took my scissors and tried to actually get into the dental floss that was holding flast.

Success!  The dental floss came off, leaving a tight little “stitch” still in place.  There was no bleeding, just a smooth, clear place where the bothersome skin tag had been.  It was about then that I did my little victory dance, and went to the kitchen to make my proclamation.

Certain Man was looking at me dubiously.  “That still doesn’t sound good,” he said disapprovingly.

“Doesn’t it look okay?” I asked him.  “I mean, it isn’t bleeding at all, is it?”

“No,” he admitted, “It’s not bleeding, and it doesn’t look bad, but it could have been bad.”  He took his bowl of ice cream and went back to his chair.  I finished up a few things in the kitchen, and felt for changes on the inside of my lip.  Eventually the little “stitch” came out, but apparently it had stayed long enough to keep serious bleeding at bay.  If there was one thing that worried me, it was the way mouth injuries will bleed and bleed and bleed.  I seem to be spared that.

And now Certain Man went to bed.  He had an eventful night apart from his wife’s shenanigans.  The house is relatively quiet — and I will also head to bed. It’s been a good day for me, too, and I am very tired.

Tonight, I am thankful for a great many things.  I had lunch today with a woman whose heartache over her family was beyond my comprehension.  I give thanks for my good, good husband, our five terrific offspringin’s and their spouses and our grandchildren.  I’m grateful for my two sisters and three brothers and their families.  We really don’t realize how good we have it.  May I just say that the decision to follow Jesus is still the one thing that makes a difference in the lives of people?

I’m thankful for tomatoes.  And for canning jars and cookstoves and recipes and food for the winter.

I’m thankful for my kitchen that sees so much living and is so serviceable and handy and pleasant.

And I’m thankful that God sometimes chooses to honor the harebrained ideas of this Delaware Grammy with crazy exciting results and gives me so much joy on the journey.  And I’m especially thankful for a place inside my lip that is unfamiliarly smooth tonight and that, as of now, it really does not hurt.

My heart gives grateful praise.

2 Comments

Filed under Family living, Stories from the Household of CM & CMW

Clear Moon Sky and Thunderstorms

Saturday night was winding down.  Both Our Girl  Audrey and Blind Linda were in their beds for the night, Certain Man was finished with his Saturday catch-up work, took his shower, and called Oldest Son for his birthday.  The conversation was animated and going strong.  Middle Daughter was working a short shift for Hospice and Youngest Daughter had set forth to spend some time with Cousin Holly.  I looked at the grocery list still lying on my counter and decided that ten-thirty was almost too late to go get groceries — but not quite.

It had been one of those days when joy and sorrow had mixed their dregs to where the day was a diversified and wild contradiction of emotion. What I really wanted to do was sit on my chair by myself in the dark.  But that wouldn’t really help much.  I might as well go get groceries while I was able. At this time on a Saturday night, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to go and come.  I collected my list, my phone, my purse and money and set off.  I wanted to cry, but that would have to wait until I was on my way home.  I don’t think that Walmart is a very good place for a Christian woman to navigate late at night while crying her silly eyes out.  It doesn’t speak well for faith and grateful praise.

But I could talk to my Father.  I watched the full moon in a beautifully clear summer sky and thought about the song, “If He Hung the Moon.”  The chorus kept rolling about in my heart and I personalized it the way I often do when I need something to be all mine.

” . . . And if He hung the moon,
I know He will help me,
And if He holds the sparrow in flight,
He’ll hold me too,
Consider the lilies of the field,
How much more He loves me,
In the beginning of time, I was on His mind,
When He hung the moon.”
(words and music by Kirk Talley)

I pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store, took some deep breaths, and headed into the fray.  It was very empty, and the expedition went smoothly.  I had pretty much to restock, but in less than 45 minutes, I was done!  Whew!  Great feeling!  I loaded my car and headed towards Shady Acres.

There was that brilliant moon, still hanging high in the clear sky with a shoal of clouds just above the horizon.  It was breathtaking.  I wheeled around the corner and was watching the moon out of the corner of my eye when I saw a flash of light out on the right hand side of the vault of Heaven.  I jerked my head in that direction and was rewarded momentarily with a most spectacular lightning display.  There was this huge billow of  cumulous clouds, and the lightning was dancing from place to place among the various layers and openings and thunderheads.  There were jagged slashes and gentle lightings, but all was silent.  Whatever it was, it was too far away for me to hear anything.  But oh!  How impressive.  The thing that felt the most incongruous, yet divinely given, was the fact that the full moon in absolute, splendid glory, shone on without any mind to the competition going on in the same night sky.

My heart, my heart.  A broad expanse of a night sky right now, if truth be told.  And there are storms that rage — sometimes on the perimeters, sometimes obliterating the light.  And there have been days when I’ve begged for grace to just weather the storm, and wondered when the skies would clear enough to see anything except the rain.

But somewhere, the One Who Hung The Moon is watching over His Property.  And the moon is hanging steady somewhere off the edges of these storms.  Somewhere the skies are clear, the night is beautiful, and there is nothing out of His Control.

And there is one more thing.

Morning is coming!

For night skies, full hung moons, tumultuous thunderstorms, and mornings coming — but most of all, for Promises Kept —

My Heart gives Grateful Praise.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Life

Incredible!SweetCorn, Incredible Sadness

It was two of the kind of days that seldom come at the end of July.  Cool, breezy, and so nice for the jobs at hand.  We worked in the refreshing coolness on Friday, making short work of over 1200 ears of gorgeous Delaware Sweet Corn, named (appropriately) “Incredible!” by some foresightful agriculturalist.

“I don’t remember ever having this nice a day for doing corn,” I said repeatedly to my sometimes skeptical co-workers, members of my family that are suckers for this kind of punishment on an annual basis.  They would look thoughtful.  Some agreed and some did not.  But no one could dispute the fact that it was almost perfect..  We finished in good time and put things aside for the 750 ears that would be coming the next morning.

Saturday.  By 9:30, a familial crew descended upon the grounds of Shady Acres and we got those 750 ears done and all cleaned up by three o’clock.  It was, again, a wonderful day .  The weather was almost as wonderful as the day before, the company was good, and the camaraderie was so sweet. It felt really good to have the year’s supply of corn in the freezer.  Then everyone scattered — taking the freezer bags of corn home to their own freezers.

Certain  Man, who had been working on his sermon, came outside to do the final washing and put the pavilion and driveway back to order.  I carried the clean wash baskets, muck buckets, pans, knives and put them away.  The afternoon sunshine was dappling down through the shade in the side yard and the pavilion’s cement floor was clean and wet.
corn day clean up

There were loose ends in the house to round up, and there were several loads of laundry from the morning still hanging on the line, warm and dry from the long hours it had spent there.  I stirred around in my house, started a bleach load of laundry from the day’s gathering and loaded the dishwasher.  I put away the corn utensils, pots and pans and felt that deep, deep satisfaction of a good day’s work.  I still needed to retrieve my dry laundry and do some Saturday night straightening, but I kept landing on my chair and taking breaks.

A little before seven, the phone rang and it was Eldest Daughter.  “Mom, did you know that Lem and Jess are stopping on their way home from the beach?”

“I had texted him, Chris,” I said, “and asked if they were stopping.  I hadn’t heard back.  I decided they had just gone on home.  I might have missed something, though.  My phone was almost dead and I have it plugged in.  I may not have heard.”

“Well, he said that he told you guys that they were going to be there around eight.”

Certain Man picked up my phone from the phone booth where it was charging and said, “Oh, yes.  There is a message here.”  He read it.  “It says they are going to be here around eight.”

Around the phone receiver, I mouthed to him,”Tell them it will be fine!”  And then went back to Christina and learned that the Alexandria Yutzys were hoping for some burgers on the grill.  That was fine because there was still nothing decided upon for late Saturday Supper.  Eldest Daughter was making some zucchini bread, and we decided that she should bring that on down to the oven at Shady Acres to bake and add to the late night snack.

And so the happy evening passed.  Burgers and fresh tomatoes and lettuce and garden tea and other snacks pulled from the pantry mixed with the smell of baking zucchini bread and a pot of Dolcés Jamaican Me Crazy Coffee.  I looked at this small gathering and was grateful for the gifts of this day.  The conversation and laughter and stories and the smell of good coffee wrapped around me with the love of those gathered there and I counted blessings.

Then, in the middle of it all, the phone rang.  I was surprised to see the phone number of my sister in law, Polly Yoder, appear on the caller I.D., and even more surprised when I answered, and it was my brother, Mark, Jr. on the other end.

“Mary Ann!  How are you this evening?”  It was my brother’s voice, subdued but strong.

“I’m good!” I answered, feeling good to the core.  “How are you guys?”

It was Polly’s voice as well as Mark’s that answered.  “Well–”  “We aren’t so good–”  “We’re feeling kinda’ sad this evening.”  And I heard the tremble in one of the voices.

Bravely, one of them went on.  “We just left Jeremy and Cheryl’s.  They got the results of the testing for Jase.”  I felt my stomach tighten.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  “. . . and Jase is positive for SMA.”

SMA.  Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Our family already knew enough about this terrible genetic disorder. Jeremy and Cheryl’s sixteen month old daughter had the same disorder and, after brightening our lives for what seemed but a moment, flew home to Heaven one April night in 2014.  It is difficult to put into words how the days that marked her short live affected us all.  She had a smile that could light up a whole room, a deep affinity for her family that was a result of being known and loved and cherished and tenderly cared for all the days of her life.  Her short life spoke joy and value and God to us all.  It was the hardest of times.  But the valley was ablaze with GRACE and GLORY and HOPE.

Jeremy and Cheryl, their two sons, Max and Boaz, and Mark, Jr. and Polly and the rest of their family finished strong.  Their Anchor did not fail them.  And when we heard that there was another baby on the way, we all prayed for a healthy child.  It seemed like it would be the right reward for their faith and for their faithfulness in the storm that would have destroyed so many others. God gives good gifts to his children, doesn’t He?  He’s promised the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him, and delighting themselves in God has been the heart cry of this family.  I cannot erase the sounds of Cheryl’s voice, lifted in unmitigated praise and trustful relinquishment in a small church in Baltimore where we gathered to celebrate Ariel’s life.  There was a small white casket, and this brave young mother exalted a God who could do no wrong, who was worthy of our praise, even when we couldn’t understand.  Surely God would reward/honor that kind of faith.

He should, shouldn’t He?

He would, wouldn’t he?

Jase Marius was born exactly a month after his great grandmother went to Heaven.  July 16, 2015.  9 pounds, 9+ ounces. Beautiful. So incredibly beautiful.  I looked at his pictures, and searched for any clue of SMA.  I prayed that the testing, done once he was born, would come back totally clear.  I thought of all the things that would indicate it was okay. The truth is, SMA isn’t immediately evident, and all the looking to see signs that all is well in the first days of life won’t really reveal anything.  But I really thought it would be.  I thought it had to be.

But now, I couldn’t escape this report, these results.

Mark and Polly and I talked for a little bit.  The conversation around the table had stopped when my side of the conversation had indicated something was terribly wrong.

“Did somebody die?” Hissed Christina anxiously.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very anxious Charis hovering at my elbow, listening intently.  I shook my head, and tried to reassure them, but they knew that there was some sort of bad news.  My heart ached for Mark and Polly and their family.  My heart ached for this old world where the very state of being human begs for Redemption.  These disorders of genetic nature happen because we are a part of a world where things can go so wrong — Sometimes because of our sin, or because of our wrong choices, but often because we are mortals and subject to the laws and accidents of this natural world.

And now I sat, the reality of what this little guy and his family were facing, crashing over my heart while the tears streamed down my face.  But we have a six year old granddaughter.  She was obviously troubled by my distress.  She sidled up to me and threw her arms around my neck.  I took her on my lap and felt the warmth of her healthy body.

“Grammy — what will happen to the baby?”

“I don’t know, Charis, but I do know this, that his family will love him, and Jesus loves him and He can heal Jase.”  Her eyes were earnestly seeking mine.  “But Charis, if he does go to Heaven, just think about it!  Grandma Yoder will be waiting right there to just snatch him right up and hold him and squeeze him.  And that will be wonderful, too.”  I fought back the catch in my throat as I tried to think of hopeful words for her.

And so the evening passed.  Lem and Jess left for Alexandria, Charis went home with her Daddy and Mommy.  Certain Man went to bed so he could get up and finish his sermon.  I folded laundry, stirred about and thought and thought and thought.  And cried.  Deborah came home from Shakespeare in the Park and helped me clean the kitchen and we talked about life-important things.  Mostly about trusting God when things aren’t the way we want them to be.  About letting Him be God when it feels like everything is out of control.  About knowing that He is ruling and reigning and controlling, even when we hate what is going on.

After midnight, I climbed the steps to bed, took my shower, washed my hair, and finally slept.  The morning was here before I was ready.  I came downstairs to organize the morning, and it felt like a cloud was covering everything I did.  I stood at the counter, methodically counting meds and getting ready to get Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda up and ready for the day.

“Oh, Lord Jesus!” I was going over the same row for the umpteenth time. “This looks so big, so hard, so overwhelming.”  The tears kept falling and I felt so incredibly sad.  “I thought your promise was that this child would be okay!”  Somehow the words settled into my anxious heart.  “Okay???  Are you saying he isn’t ‘okay?'”  “I know, but we asked for health!  And you could have made it that Jase was born without SMA!”  Then the words from Jeremiah 1:5 kept coming insistently to my head.  They were so strong that I finally went and looked them up.  I heard what God was saying to Jeremiah and I knew that it was true for this much prayed for, much loved, much anticipated Jase Marius.

“Before I formed (Jase) in the womb, I knew (him). Before he was born, I set him apart for my holy purpose.”  Jeremiah 1:5 GW.  God’s purpose for Jeremiah was that he was to be a prophet.  What is God’s purpose for Jase?  I don’t know.  But I do know that God has a purpose for Jase.  And He will show us what that is.

The other verse that was cross referenced from this verse was this one: “I saw (Jase) before (he) was born. Every day of (his) life was recorded in (my) book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 NLT

God’s eyes are on this family for good.  He is neither surprised nor dismayed; neither stymied nor baffled.  This is hard.  We don’t understand. But He is God!  He has a plan.  He can be trusted. He is worthy of our praise.

And so, today, this heavy heart will choose to give HIM (grateful) praise.

3 Comments

Filed under Family

July 4, 1970

45 years ago, on a blistering Saturday in Delaware, a very young Clinton Yoder married an even younger Frieda Mishler.  Pictures of that day show a groom sweating so much that his hair is wet and not even properly in place. The bride is demure in a simple, long white dress There was no air conditioning in Greenwood Mennonite Church at that time.  I don’t remember much about that day except how hot it was.

These years have passed, as years are wont to do.  The young love gave way to carefully pondered choices that made for stability and strength and influence and opportunity.  Rocky at times?  Yes.  He was the proverbial stick in the mud and careful.  She was fire and adventure. But the bond they forged stood the tests of time and one hard day in late October, it finished strong.

Today he remembers.  This past week he has stirred around in his empty house and felt the sorrow heavy as his compounded grief settled hard on his heart.  Last night he went to his daughter’s house where he will be gathered to his family, loved on by the people who are his because of her, and they will talk of a Wife and a Mom and a Mimi whose first absence on this July 4th “Day of Celebration” will be keenly felt.

I don’t know why she had to go so soon.  I feel my brother’s sadness multiplied by the events of these past weeks, and hear a dirge rattling in my head that wants to quell the reminders of victory and joy and eternal life.

It’s not a blistering hot day Delaware today.  There is a promise of rain, and it feels like a good day to weep for losses and to do some serious grieving.  I sit at the counter in my well-lit kitchen, and talk to my sister and write and think and see the flowers outside my window moving in the breeze.  A Blue Jay lights on the woodpecker block and the blackbirds fight at the platform feeder.  I need to get groceries and the household is stirring around me.  Everyday banality in the face of grief that helps to occupy my hands and divert my heart.

There is so much to be grateful for in the mundane.

I will choose to be grateful, too, for the memories that comfort, the promises that sustain, and even the calamitous grief that won’t always hurt this much.  It is penance done for love.  And having someone to love is still a best gift.

My heart gives grateful praise.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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

2 Comments

Filed under Laws Mennonite Church

First Hummer and Thoughts of Grace

The wind is  blowing wild, wild.  The rain, like a cloud of mist from my spray bottle when I’m ironing, blows around the shed, into the garden and across the yard at Shady Acres.  I feel it smooth over my face as I scramble to cut the last few stalks of asparagus that can be called “ready.”

The house feels safe and dry and warm.  Blind Linda rocks to the gentle music of Fisher Prices “Baby’s First Hymns” in her chair and I call my Sweet Mama to see if it is raining there.  We chat about the surprise storm and then, suddenly–!

“Oh, there’s a hummingbird!”  My Mama’s voice is light and full of joy.

“Really???” I ask, almost enviously.  I’ve been looking for hummers for a couple of days, and even put two feeders up last evening, hoping to entice early scouts to our yard.

“Yes,” breathes my Sweet Mama.  “And I don’t have any food in mine yet.”

I come out of the study into the kitchen and mosey on over to the window.  At that very moment, a flash of green with a ruby red throat caught my eye as it made a dash for my most protected feeder on the deck.  I catch my breath.

“Mama!”  I say, almost unable to believe my eyes.  “I have one, too!  Just now!  It’s the first one I’ve seen this season!  I can’t believe it!  I am so happy!!!”

He darted around for a lengthy amount of time for such a flighty little bird.  He looked healthy and fit and ready for another summer.  I wonder how he likes this unpredictable weather, even while noting that it probably was somewhat the weather that drew him to a stable source of sustenance.  And I gave thanks for the unexpected gale.

The days since just before Easter have been tumultuous for this Delaware Grammy.  Just hard decisions to make, trying to please the right people while not making enemies of the ones who may or may not have the right to speak to the situation.  Wishing with all my heart to spend time with the Ohio grandchildren, but understanding that it just isn’t going to happen right now.  I’m feeling keenly some losses, and also feeling sad over choices made that were not mine to make, but never the less, are still heavy on my heart.  And there have been some difficult psychotic moments with OGA and some trying, anxious moments with BL.   More than once, it has felt like gale force winds and blinding rain. Today, at a funeral for an old lady that I barely knew, I found myself crying and knew it had nothing to do with the funeral and everything to do with how life is on several fronts right now.

I watched that little hummer at the feeder, blown by the wind, but seemingly indifferent to it, and realized again how it is really all good!  All these things that drive us to the stable source of soul sustenance are all good.  And I do not need to fret or worry or be dismayed.  The One who loves me and knows what I need is on the watch, and He will provide.

In my heart ring the lyrics of my Grandpa Dave Yoder’s favorite song:

  1. If, on a quiet sea,
    Toward Heav’n we calmly sail,
    With grateful hearts, O God, to Thee,
    We’ll own the fav’ring gale;
    With grateful hearts, O God, to Thee,
    We’ll own the fav’ring gale.
  2. But should the surges rise,
    And rest delay to come,
    Blest be the tempest, kind the storm,
    Which drives us nearer home;
    Blest be the tempest, kind the storm,
    Which drives us nearer home.
  3. Soon shall our doubts and fears
    All yield to Thy control;
    Thy tender mercies shall illume
    The midnight of the soul;
    Thy tender mercies shall illume
    The midnight of the soul.
  4. Teach us, in every state,
    To make Thy will our own;
    And when the joys of sense depart,
    To live by faith alone;
    And when the joys of sense depart,
    To live by faith alone.
    ~Lowell Mason

The sun is suddenly peeking out on this unpredictable day, and women I love are coming for our own small group while the men go to see Gary Burlingame.  There will be kind words, prayers and encouragement.

These days are made better by these glimpses of glory, touches of grace.

My heart gives grateful praise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spring has Sprung

IMG_0814

“Sum’ping happened to mine parrel . . .”

The squirrel is on the fruit and nut block again. I tap my fingernail against the glass. He looks briefly in my direction, then darts up the tree and out to the sunflower seed feeder. I give up on the window tapping and go to the sun room door and open it to encourage him to move on.  He flits about in the upper branches, scolding and watchful.  He makes me laugh and I go back inside.  I have a hard time being venomous with the squirrels.  26 years ago when we moved to Shady Acres, the name, though old and established, was a misnomer.  There was almost no shade.  There were no wild animals to be seen, either.  We moved from our house at the edge of the Andrewsville Woods and I missed the squirrels and birds and woodland fauna that surrounded our house there.  A tree farm in its earliest stages bordered our new property, and held some promise, and Certain Man wasted no time in planting trees wherever he could imagine one growing.  Over the years, the shade has made welcome inroads, the tree farm has been home to woodland creatures, and the squirrels are frequent visitors to the feeders and feeding stations around the yard.  Certain Man will shout and scold them sometimes, but he also loves the fact that the environment is hospitable to the creatures.

This was a rainy morning.  I took my camera and strolled about catching some pictures in the morning light.  There were raindrops on my tulips, glimmering jewel-like against the rich colors.

IMG_0817

And that whiskey half-barrel that has served me so well so many years really has given up the ghost.  Last year, it showed signs of great disrepair, but I decided that its dilapidated state only added to its beauty, and I carefully nursed it through another year.  I don’t think I can do that this year.

IMG_0812

All around the yard, there are signs of spring and new life.

IMG_0819

The tulips along the grape arbor are really putting on a show.

IMG_0820

The bluebirds are building their nest.

IMG_0821

As is some other bird in the blue spruce.  I haven’t figured out what kind of bird this is.  Usually a Mocker builds in this particular tree, but I don’t think this is a Mocker’s nest.  Too messy.

This afternoon, our trusty helper, Grant Miller, is mowing the lawn.  The smell of fresh cut grass is coming through the open window, and the birds are singing.  Certain Man is home from work and looking at a busy and full evening.  He has planted some of his vegetable garden, and there are some tender shoots making their way up.  I cut my first cutting of asparagus a few days ago and lo!  And behold!  There are bunches more to cut tonight. Certain Man just said that I had better get at it.  And so, I shall!  The evening of this wonderfully ordinary day is moving in, and I give grateful praise.

Leave a comment

Filed under home living