Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tid Bits of Summer in Pictures

#1. The House On The Hill......
Work continues sporadically and I'm beginning to understand why one person who commented on my earlier post about house building said it will be interesting to hear all the lessons we learn while building a house (or something of that nature).

#2. It now looks like this....

#3. And we look like this....
I wish I had better pictures of that day. It was HOT and some people had almost as much black, tar-y paint on them as the basement walls did!

#4. All hands on deck! Need any walls put up? We can handle it!

#5. Then there was Mud and Stuck Skid Loaders...

# 6 and 7. But life is not all about building Houses On Hills. We had a day at the Columbus Zoo.... a Cold Day. Have you ever been cold at a zoo??? According to some people it's better than being hot at the zoo....

#8. What you do with your picnic tablecloth when you are Cold at the Zoo....

#9. Then we had cozy times on the floor...

#10. And stacks of library books...

#11. And object lessons for story at Summer Bible School (Meet Envious Emily, Angry Andy and Carl Christian. They can help you understand how what is inside of you will come out!)

#12. And last (but not at least) thanks to tedious scavangering of bushes and banks and braving tall weeds and briars, we have wild raspberry pie!

All in all Summer has been quite good to us.

Monday, June 29, 2015

11pm Mom Rambles

*Written several weeks ago; still true today.


When will I ever learn to simply wake this child up from his nap at the 1 - 1 1/2 hour mark?? Here I sit *again* at 10 til 11pm rocking hopefully, and the little eyes remain open and the little head continues to shift restlessly.....

Please don't tell me that a 26 month old should surely be trained to lay in his bed and go to sleep on his own by now, I know that. And all of my others went to sleep on their own at this age. It's one of the reasons I feel certain I should not be the mother of a large family. By the 10th one I would probably be diapering the 6 year old and rocking the last three to sleep every night! Then again, none of my others didn't sleep through the night til after they were 2 years old either, so maybe it's just the difference in children and someday this child will be a well adjusted, emotionally stable young man because his mother sacrificed so many late nights on the rocking chair. (One can make up whatever one wishes, I suppose. He might also be driving his wife crazy with his Night Owl tendencies; let's think of all the options while we're at it.)

Be that as it may, I suppose I shall just embrace the teaching of the elder women who love to tell the younger how much they will miss those days and how soon they will be past - "before you know it" - as they say. Come to think of it, I can't seem to recall ever hearing a grandmother lament, "If only I hadn't rocked my children so much!!"

Now that I've soothed my conscience sufficiently, and the child's eyes have actually drooped closed and the little body is laying heavily in my arms, I will bring this moral-less ramble to a close and join the rest of my slumbering family.

Ps. And, tomorrow I will endeavor to remember that, though the 3 hour nap is so nice in the moment, IT WILL NOT BE WORTH IT AT 11:00 pm!!! (Nor at 2:45 am when he is wide awake. Again.) Amen.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Impact on a Life

There were a host of them on the playground that day, children of all ages and sizes. I watched them, running here, jumping there - active, enthusiastic, energetic, busy little souls. And impressionable; so very very impressionable! Have you ever stopped to consider the many people and situations and circumstances that have impacted your life? Have you ever paused to reflect on what all it is, exactly, that has contributed to making you who you are?

My husband was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The first three years of his life were spent there amongst the friendly, down to earth people in the community where his dad taught school. One family, in particular, welcomed their little family with open arms. They became like second grandparents - babysitting their children, helping them with work projects, basically accepting them as one of their own.

Over the years that tie has not been broken. Several weeks ago a member of the family in Pennsylvania passed away and our little family made the 4 1/2 hour trek for the funeral. I watched with something of a quiet awe as my husband stepped back into a segment of his past. People he hadn't seen for 20+ years stopped to shake his hand and re-acquaint themselves with "Marvin's son". Stories and happenings that hadn't been spoken of or even thought of for years re-surfaced and memories were stirred. I marveled at the impact on the life of a young child!

Around the same time we traveled to Arkansas for a week end. We ended up spending every precious minute of our time with family, but I felt the tug of the places and people that impacted my early years. It was there that my impressionable, young mind was shaped and influenced, and no matter what other situations and circumstances come along in my life, nothing can ever change the impact of those years.

More recently yet, we were in Virginia to be part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Faith Mission Home. Fifteen years ago in March I arrived at Faith Mission, a shy bundle of nervous excitement and apprehension, to begin a year of voluntary service at the home for mentally handicaped children. My year of working amongst God's special children left it's mark, and as I sat at the reunion, amongst the crowd of over 700 people, I marveled at the impact of one place upon so many!

It was there that I watched the host of enthusiastic, busy little children. As I watched, I wondered,"What will it be that will impact all these impressionable little lives? Will it be somone new they meet this very week end who takes an interest in them? Will it be listening to the resident's program that will leave it's memorable mark?"

You never know what might leave it's mark on the impressionable young lives around you. The smile that you flashed someone's way, the swing rides you gave with the "under dogs" and "under cats", the story you took the time to read, the little hand that you stooped to shake, the testimony you gave of what God has done for you....... Whether we realize it or not, we are shaped by the people and circumstances we encounter along life's way. The smallest thing that you may have done without a thought might very well end up making an impact on some life!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Story # 5 Part Two

We're in the middle of our 5th "How we met" story. Read on to find out the rest of the story of how my Mom and Dad met........

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When I was 19, I was in my senior year in high school. We did a senior play, and I was assigned one of the main parts. In the play I had a wife and we were an older couple. In one scene, when the curtains opened, we were sitting on a bench and my wife was praying a long prayer while we had our heads bowed. After awhile, during her prayer, I started peeking around and she kept praying. Finally, I was obviously looking around and absorbed in what I was seeing and stretching my neck to see more things. In the mean time she finished praying without me noticing. She asked me a question and had to repeat it twice before I noticed she was now talking to me. I remember I said, "Oh I didn't know whether you were talking to me or to the Lord"! That night Lavina was in the audience. I noticed it and it didn't seem like it would have been normal for her to be there. Shipshewana High School was out of the way for Woodlawn people. As I thought about it, I remembered at our youth hymn sings when my eyes traveled around looking for her face, sometimes her eyes met mine. Was there something different in those dark brown eyes? How could I know? I could hardly dare imagine such a thing.

It turned out that Mel Shetler, the one who knew everything about girls because he was the kind of guy who could talk to any of them, was the key to the turn-around. I don't remember why we talked about it, but it was he who suggested that Lavina would probably not say no if I would ask her for a date again. Do you know how it is to be half way to heaven, but still be afraid to go there because you're not quite sure the road will actually end there? But there seemed to be some affirmation in those eyes. When I finally got the nerve to ask, she said yes and that evening I could tell that things had changed for her..... and I stepped out of the desert!

From that day on we began seeing each other more regularly.... regularly meaning about every other Sunday night. We saw each other Wednesday nights and other Sundays as well, but we did not spend time with each other. That was not the way it was done. We just smiled meaningful smiles at each other. It was a while before I took her home every Sunday night. I was almost 21 when one Sunday evening we were at her house again. We were talking seriously about the future when I asked the thousand dollar question...... "Will you be my wife"? She never hesitated. She said, "Yes", like she had practiced it before. Did you know there is more than one heaven?

In our next dates we worked at planning our wedding and setting a time. In those days, the United States draft was still in effect and every young man who was in good health was required by law to give two years of service in some branch of the armed forces. I received my draft notice as did others my age. Because I believed the Bible teaches Christians should not engage in killing and warfare, I was permitted to fill out a "conscientious objector" form. Conscientious objectors were allowed to serve the country in some alternative way. I chose to work for two years at Saint Luke's Hospital in Denver, Colorado where my older brother, Al, was already serving. The draft notice required me to be at some place of service by a certain date. Therefore, plans were made for our wedding to take place March 14, 1964 and my time of service would begin April 6, 1964...three weeks and a few days after the wedding.

Well, March 14 finally came, and while God and she and I thought we belonged together before this already, it wasn't the same kind of together we knew after that day. (The Bible talks of a third heaven!) We got married on Saturday and spent a few days on a simple honeymoon, then lived for part of a week with my parents and part of a week with her parents before we headed for Denver, Colorado.

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All because of that little story, there were six children born, the youngest of whom became Mrs. Bethany Eicher with a blog called About My Father's Business! It truly is amazing how God writes each of our stories with all their different details. If you've never written your story down, I'd encourage you to do so! There is something very special about reviewing the details in the story God wrote about you and your spouse, and someday your children will thank you for preserving it for them.

That's the end of Story Time in June! A big thank you to my writers for sharing and thank you readers for reading along. I hope you enjoyed it!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Best for Last: Story # 5 Part One

Last year, when I got the bright idea to get people to guest post for me in June, I asked my mom if she would write their "How we met" story for me. Mom enjoyed writing, and usually would have been happy to do that sort of thing but she told me for some reason it just didn't really 'grab' her, and declined. Little did I know that come June she would no longer be with us.....

This past Memorial Day my family got together in Arkansas. One of my sisters asked Daddy to share a bit of family history with us and wondered if he would write down the story of how he and Mom met? When a parent is suddenly gone, you realize how many stories and how much information disappears with them! Daddy agreed to do that, and he has also agreed to letting me share that story here and I am delighted! I'll give you the first part today, and the last part on Thursday.......

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I started attending the Woodlawn Amish Mennonite Church when I was 16 years of age. Before that I always attended the Amish church where my parents were members. My brother, Al, who was a year and 8 months older than I, was already attending there, so it was an easy adjustment for me. I could just be his shadow. The Woodlawn Church was fairly new at that time, but people were very friendly, and I soon had friends among the youth boys, even though I was very shy and quiet.

Because we lived a little ways from the Woodlawn Church, we picked up three Amish girls from another home who were also attending Woodlawn. Alma was one of those girls and I immediately thought she was a nice girl. It took awhile for me to have the courage to have a date because.... well, some things take awhile for shy boys. I had one date with Alma while I was still 16. It was a double date which means another couple was along and we played games and I enjoyed the evening. But I was aware that she had an eye on Ervin, another one of the youth boys. Maybe she didn't want an ex-Amish boy?

Just before I turned 17, one Sunday evening Mel Shetler got the notion some of us should have dates that evening. He got Ervin and Alma together and suggested he would ask Lavina and I should ask Orpha. I wasn't about to ask anybody, much less Orpha! But I said if he did the asking, and if I could have Lavina instead of Orpha, I might consent. Well, he was that kind of guy. He did the asking and we had a triple date. Lavina was the nice girl that had a birth mark on her right leg just above the ankle. That is about all I knew about her at that time. I had no particular attraction toward her at the time, but also no objection. We went to her parents place that night and took a boat ride on the river that ran along the back of her father's farm. Again, I enjoyed the evening and thought a little more favorably of the girl named Lavina. She had handled her part well in hosting the evening.

Over the next year we had a few more dates, maybe once every three months, just enough that she didn't have any other dates nor did I. I thought of her as mine. Somewhere about that time, one evening when we were alone, she told me she wished we would stop seeing each other. She told me frankly she did not have anything against me; she just wasn't ready to be thinking about a serious courting relationship with anybody. She was not saying she never would consider it, but not now. I wanted to believe her, but I wondered if it didn't have something to do with being an inadequate little Amish boy. I went home that night feeling very sad, probably a little like most martyrs feel. I still had my admiration for her, but I knew I was locked out now. I could not imagine myself ever getting up enough nerve to ask her again. Could you?

And so, the next period of time I lived in the desert. I don't really know how long it was, maybe a year and a half. I had two dates with other girls during that time. I would often see Lavina at Youth activities and wish I could talk to her even if it was just friendly talk, but I was too bashful. I was often jealous of other boys who were able to have lengthy casual conversations with her, especially Mel Shetler.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Story # 4

My fourth story is from a friend at church here at Antrim! Judith is a special lady, who has made me feel very welcome in Ohio. I got to help her set up a blog one day which you can check out at Oh Taste and See It was fun to have a story from someone who lives right here in my community....
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Our story isn't long or grand, but it shows that it takes just 2 people meeting at the right time and place, even in a remote area.

I, Judith, was living in Northwestern Ontario in a town called Sioux Lookout. I was teaching school there. In the summertime we had VBS for the children and we needed teachers to help us. They would come from various places; and during the summer of 1994, a group from Antrim, Ohio, came.

The group consisted of various youth, including a young man, named Titus. She didn’t notice much about him; he was rather quiet. Years later my mother reminded me, since I didn’t seem to remember, that I thought of him as a leader.

That fall, I stopped in at Antrim and spent some time with a friend, Alta, and the group that taught VBS met for supper. It seemed that that moment stirred his heart and he began to think of her.

Three years later, the summer of 1997, he came back to teach, knowing full well what was on his heart and with the intention of talking to this young lady. It didn't happen, she was NOT THERE. She was in Israel touring the land and sights there.

The next year he was not intending to join the sojourners northward, but we were in desperate need of teachers and Nate phoned this young man up and wondered if there would be a group from Antrim that would be willing to come and help out in Sioux or Hudson. So, he organized a group and made sure he was helping out in Sioux. 

He had much determination this year to make contact, but alas, either someone was present or there were simply too many ‘eyes and ears’ paying attention and that was not what he wanted!

So, homeward he went with his mission unaccomplished!
I was leaving Sioux that summer for a year with loosely held plans to return more permanently. The weekend my parents came to take me back to the states, I receive a phone call and as soon as I heard the voice on the other end, I knew what was coming! Call it a women’s sixth sense…

Yes, it was the quiet young man, stating his intentions.
Whew, talk about a shift in the plans and I barely knew this chap! At least he gave me time to consider and a month later when he phoned, I said I’d give it a-whirl. Well, not exactly my words, but yes, I agreed.
Several weeks later he came to Pennsylvania for our first date and wouldn’t you know, as we were going to the restaurant, there was a traffic jam which delayed us an hour! Oh my, first time. In a vehicle. For an hour. With nerves tight. Not a good time for a traffic jam! We made it and survived. I didn’t know if I would (I could barely eat my food… )
And the rest is history! We are now a family of 5 – him and her and 3 lively boys!

-Him, from Ohio,
-Her from Pennsylvania
-met in Northwestern Ontario; Sioux Lookout, Canada
- joined August 5, 2000 to sojourn together on this pathway of life
-we are currently residing in Antrim, Ohio

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Story #3

My third story comes to us from a Bible School friend of mine. Rachel and I attended Calvary Bible School together back in the days when I met my husband! We lost track of each other somewhat over the years until we discovered each other's blogs several years ago and renewed our friendship via the internet. Rachel is married to Craig and they have four beautiful children. I love reading about their adventures at Rachel generously agreed to share the story of how she and her husband met....

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How We Met

I don't remember how old I was when I first met Craig. Our parents have been family friends for as long as I can remember, as our mothers had worked and roomed together while in service. I do remember taking a trip "out west" over my 16th birthday, and an evening meal at Craig's family's home. That, I suppose, was when we officially "met".

Years passed. After four years in Kenya with my family, I was ready for something new! At age 21 I left home and traveled to a far away state called Kansas, to teach school. I had a few friends there, but it was a new community and church for me. After a few months, and many good times of hanging out with the local youth, I noticed Craig. He was cool. I liked him! But there is something about being four years older than this guy, when you are 21, and he is 17, that just doesn't make sense. So I talked myself out of it, and instead we became very good friends!

I lived there for a year, went back to Kenya for two years, then came back to Kansas to teach school again. Through these years, Craig was a fantastic friend. We hung out in the same groups. We liked the same activities. We shared a wry, crazy sense of humor. What's more--we liked each other! But not in any romantic way. More in a fun, completely wholesome, sort of way. Craig loved to tease me unmercifully. I spit back and tried to retaliate the best I could. We enjoyed long discussions in small groups on many varied subjects. We met in the same prayer group every Sunday morning. Through these years, one thing stands out to me. Craig treated me, always, with utmost respect. The result was a solid, clean friendship built on mutual trust and completely free from any regrets. It was good :)

I believe it was while Craig was on a four month stint in Liberia, that things, for me, began to change. I can't tell you why, but I began simply feeling a romantic attraction. I missed him terribly. Thing escalated in my heart until I finally wrote my dad and told him how I felt. He gave me understanding, calming advice to sit still and see what happens.

Craig came back. I was so excited to hang out with him again! But things were different. Very different. What had happened?! I watched our easy, comfortable, calm friendship melt away in the distance. In it's place? I had no idea what was going on. He seemed to be avoiding me! I missed hanging out with him. But was scared to death of him at the same time. This friendship was far to valuable to lose or ruin in any way. Yet, things were simply not the same any more.

I could write for hours. :) But I will spare you the myriad of strange, shocking, wild, delightful, and ultimately beyond amazing, pieces of the puzzle. In short, as I found out later,Craig finally quit trying to hide his attraction to me, and chased me hard. And terrified, I ran. I know, that doesn't make much sense. But then, are women supposed to make sense? Especially where the heart is concerned?

In the end, God turned my heart, and I allowed this finest of friendships to turn into a romance that is still the most living and incredible part of my life.

You could say we met slowly.

And that, my friends, was how it began.

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Thank you, Rachel! God bless you as you go about your days as wife and mother!!