Monday, August 31, 2015

Enough

This was written several weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. It never felt 'right' as a blog post but somehow, at the moment, it feels ok........

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O God. I feel a desperate ache for you in this dark, ridiculous hour of 2 a.m. I feel hopelessly overwhelmed with the feeling that I cannot be enough.

I cannot be enough for these children who's lives are in my hands to be molded and shaped for such a very short time. I cannot teach enough, train enough, love enough. I am so very flawed; so very selfish and prone to failure. My mouth says one thing and my actions preach another; my mind holds high ideals and my sharp tongue sends out a completely different message. I cannot, cannot be enough.

I cannot be enough for this man who's life I am pledged to share, in sickness and in health, prosperity and adversity, til death do us part. I cannot understand enough, support enough, love enough. My vision is constantly blurred by my own needs clamoring for attention, my desire to fill his needs hampered by my desperately selfish heart. I ache to lift the burdens; to somehow wave the magic wand and pay the bills and build the house and fix the job frustrations. But I cannot, cannot be enough.

In the quiet darkness of the morning, the tears stream and I can only beg you, God, to be enough.

Beg you to teach me selflessness and humility. Beg you to tame the tongue and prompt the apologies for my never ending flaws. Beg you to fill the gaps and take my fumbling, human efforts and make them be enough for this never ending job of molding young lives.

Beg you to clear away the cloudy visions of my needs and in their place shine your light of understanding and care for another. Beg you to teach me love; the servant kind. Beg you to be the burden lifter, the fixer, the dispeller of depression and frustration and me just a vessel in your hands for encouragement and love and supporting.

I confess I tremble to leave the "how" of it for you to decide. What if your idea of fixing is something way different than mine? Ahh. I must daily lay my people on your altar, it seems, as I read of cancer and accidents and disasters. Yet I cannot, cannot be enough, so what choice is there but to throw myself on your grace and allow you to be enough??

And truly, what other choice could I possibly want but to rest in that awe inspiring knowledge that You are, always and forever, Enough.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back To School

I don't think it has soaked into my brain yet that today was the first day of school. Feels totally unreal that this morning began an endless row of mornings prodding people to get up and get dressed and get their breakfast eaten and combing hair and tying shoes and making lunches and getting everyone out the door on time with no forgotten items left in our wake.

I enter this school year with a strange mixture of feelings. On the one hand I dread the adjustment. I wish I could fast forward two weeks to the time when early bed times are the norm and packing lunches has become routine and the morning schedule has fallen into somewhat of an orderly fashion. On the other hand I have this exhilerating feeling of "Yes! They're all going out the door and I'll have all these hours to do things!!"

It's a strange feeling to have only a two year old at home when you're used to five children and their noise and drama taking up every minute of every day. It's been a good summer, but sometimes the close quarters and the constant chaos leaves me feeling so used up that I almost forget that I *like* these people and enjoy spending time with them!

I remember when I was young and my mom would be getting ready to go away for the day and we were supposed to clean the house or whatever jobs she had assigned us to do while she was gone. We would putter around just waiting for her to head out the door, minds racing with all the things we planned to do as soon as she left. We could hardly wait for her to drive out the lane so we could dive into the work and maybe surprise her with some extra project she hadn't even told us to do.

That's how I feel about school starting this year.

I hope there are some more moms out there who understand what I am feeling. I must admit I feel a bit guilty putting my feelings out there. Like I should be sitting at home with kleenx in hand, thinking how sad it is to have only one who's not in school! It is kinda sad, don't get me wrong. And next week I'll probably be wishing for somebody to entertain the little guy so I can get something done or wishing somebody was around to wash the stack of dishes and run out and bring clothes in off the line. Right now though, I'll just be honest, I can't wait til they get out that door to see what all I can do with all those quiet hours of not settling fusses or answering questions or giving instructions! Come 3:00 I'll be eager to welcome the noise back to my world; to listen to their stories and hear what they learned and remember that, "Ahh, yes. I do like these people!"

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sugary Biscuits

A yummy little treat to share with you today, something my children call "sugary biscuits". My mom used to make them when I was a child, not sure if she made them up or got the recipe somewhere but we had them often with a hot drink for a light, Sunday morning breakfast. They've become a favorite around here too!

You'll need a 10ct tube (or 2 or 3) of bough ten biscuits, some butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and as many round pans as you have tubes of biscuits. Preheat your oven to 400 and place about 1 1/2 T of butter in each if your round pans (this recipe has no measurements, so do as you please). Place your pans in the oven and gather the rest of your ingredients and open your tubes if biscuits. When the butter in the pans is melted, remove them from the oven. Tip pans to spread butter evenly, then sprinkle brown sugar over the bottom of the pans (maybe close to 1/3 cup?) I like to use a fork to spread the brown sugar evenly. Next sprinkle cinnamon over the brown sugar, then place one tube of biscuits in each pan.



Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip immediately onto plates. Scrape pans and place excess sugary mixture on biscuits.



Announce how many biscuits each child is allowed to have before an argument ensues over dividing them out e.q.u.a.l.l.y.



If you really want to bring back Sunday morning childhood memories, have a cup of this along side your sugary biscuit.... if you get any, that is.....

PS. Just a little FYI: these books are still available. If you are interested in buying one, send $7 (includes shipping) to Bethany Eicher, 70174 Pennyroyal Rd, Freeport, OH 43973 and I will send a copy your way! If you are local to either me or my family in AR, you can get the book directly for $5. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Love Is Something Different

Life is a funny thing. It seems the minute we think it's all sunshine and toes in the sand, it does a backflip and we realize it's really dirty houses and children that somebody should do a better job training and a spouse who you know very well you couldn't live without even though some days make you question that solid knowledge.

I don't like to have my selfishness exposed. Oh, sure. I like to humbly confess my selfish heart and blab on about the work I want God to do. But to have my selfishness exposed in a blinding light right before my eyes? No thanks. Every instinct in me is to rise up and argue, "No, no. That's not me. Oh, I know I'm not perfect, but what you're saying? No, no. That's not me!"
But sometimes, in the dark of the night, in the middle of the argument, God has the grace to blind you with the light and you see that that really is you.

It really is you who hurts your children with your selfishness. You, who makes your husband feel that all he is good for is to keep you happy. You, who's selfishness keeps the friends at arms length in the "this is comfortable" zone.

Blinding light hurts. But then again, so does darkness.

I am in a love/hate relationship with facebook. I contemplate permanently severing the relationship almost daily. But sometimes I have to give it credit, and this quote I read last night was one of those times:

"The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you'll see their flaws. That's just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don't last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they're out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness sake. **Love is something different.** Love is choosing to serve someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind. Love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it's seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship."

Quite obviously, love is the opposite of selfishness. I want to learn that love, the kind that is something different.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's End of Summer Cram Time

I am sitting at the lake, soaking up the sunshine. Minnows nibble at my feet, children splash in the water around me. The woods lie cool and green and inviting across the water. My head wants to fall back against my chair and my eyes would feel best closed but little people require a watchful eye and treasures of shells and rocks must be duly inspected.

I should be at home, finishing up school sewing and cleaning my filthy stove (tomato juice will boil over while canning!) and countless other projects that responsible moms keep after. But it's the last week of summer vacation, and while my children can't wait to head out the door for school and I'm just as ready to send them, I suddenly find myself wanting to cram every possible summer activity that we didn't do enough of into this one week!

So, between days of doing sweet corn and school enrollment meetings to attend and cleaning jobs that still need to be done and the inevitable laundry and other activities that can't be ignored, I'm saying, "A day swimming? Yes!" "Stay all day? Why not?" "A day shopping? Sure!" "Library? Ok!" "Picnic? Of course!" "Lounge around in PJs half the day? No problem!" Because the end of such liberty is coming and oh, to squeeze out every last drop of opportunity as the countdown to school and schedules and early bedtimes and morning rushes out the door begin!

It seems only yesterday (or at the very least, last week), that I was writing about dreading the end of school http://bethany-aboutmyfathersbusiness.blogspot.com/2015/05/school-is-out.html?m=1 And now, here we are, summer almost gone and all those endless days of possibility and opportunity have disappeared into memories to be sorted through and looked at fondly (or not so fondly, as the case may be) as they take their place in the string of years passing by.

Dirty stoves will still be waiting to be cleaned tomorrow, and some days we have to be responsible adults and help with sweet corn and wash and fold the piles of laundry. But today the sand and water beckoned and I said, "Yes!" In spite of cloudy skies and a messy house and school dresses half finished on the sewing machine, I gathered towels and toys and snacks and lounged the day away with my toes in the sand and squeezed as many minutes into my fondmemoriesofsummer file as I possibly could.

Like the little boy who snuggles in my lap today and says, "Mmmm, I like you mamma!" will so quickly change into the lanky teenager who disdaines his mamma's hugs, so these days of sunshine and sand and innocence will disappear into other phases of life, never to return. And what, I wonder, will leave the biggest impact on these lives that are mine to mold today? As summer draws to a close, I feel an urgency to cram the "fond memories" file to bursting!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Picture Overload and New House Update

Life has been full to the brim lately. There's been a bunch of this going on this week

A lot of it went in the freezer but we sure enjoyed our share of it like this while it lasted! We also enjoyed a bit of this


And have the piles of sandy clothes and towels and sun kissed faces to prove it.

Someone wondered when I would be posting more pictures of the new house. This post is for you...



The roof got put on a while back, which changed the looks of things!


Most of the windows are in and when my dad was here he did a bunch of dirt work that changed the looks of things again. (That open space is not a garage. It will get filled in eventually - everyone asks.) :)

                  

               A view from the opposite side..


Our first outlet :) And the latest accomplishment.....





....the porch! A friend plans to come help put the porch roof on Saturday and then we'll be ready for shingles.

There's other buildings going up on the house site




I think the builders are as cute as the building!

Now that you are sufficiently updated and on picture overload, I shall run along and leave you in peace.






Monday, August 10, 2015

And the Winner is......

I had 24 of you who thought it would be interesting to read stories about my childhood :) I numbered your comments as they came in and got all fancy and used random.org to pick the winner. Turned out to be #4 which was "I would love to win this! I loved hearing your mom's stories about the earlier days of Shady Lawn!" ~ Joanna Miller Fisher. Jo is from my home church in AR, so I thought random.org picked pretty well! My sister, Rachel, will get your book to you, Jo. I hope you and your children enjoy it :)

And now for the rest of you who said you wanted to buy the book. I've decided that maybe a simpler way of doing it would be to have you mail me a check if you want a book and then I will send you your book. I'm new at this, sorry! So, if you would like to purchase "Grandma's Storybook of Memories", (which is a small book with stories my mom wrote years ago about our family to be used in the Calvary Messenger as children's stories) you can send a check for $7 (which includes shipping) to: Bethany Eicher, 70174 Pennyroyal Rd, Freeport, OH 43973 and I will get your copy in the mail to you!

Thanks, y'all, for playing along with me. I enjoyed your comments, especially those of you who shared your memories about my mom. I think my favorite was this one: "Oh, I would love to have this book. I remember when your mom was my S S teacher, way back in the day before quarterlies, she made a little book for each of us. I think it had the memory verse and the story for the day in it. I can't remember if she added to it each Sunday or if she had it all together before she gave it to us. She was one of my favorite teachers, but then she got married and moved far away!" Jo

Blessings on your week!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dear Mom

You should have been with us last night, mom. Should isn't even a good word really, but we wanted you there. I've had conflicting emotions all weekend with family members around. It sounds strange, but I've found myself trying to dredge up the sadness.

I've tried to imagine what it would be like if you were still here, mom. How you'd sit and read stories to the girls while grandpa helped Chris at the house. How we'd talk and look at pictures and talk some more. How you always enjoyed sitting on the sidelines and watching the games and activity of your family. How we counted on you just to be there with your smile and your simple presence.

Somehow all of my imagining never managed to bring up the sadness that I was expecting, mom. And I found myself wanting it; longing for it; needing it. I'm not ready for it to be gone. It's not supposed to be this way. I don't want it to feel normal to have my dad and sisters here by themselves!

The feelings did come, and with them the tears.

I know it's ok to let go of the past and allow the present to be normal. But sometimes tears are still the most cleansing and bring the most healing. Dads are wonderful, and sisters are the best, but sometimes?

Sometimes it's mom that we want and no amount of time and healing can ever erase that feeling completely, I don't think.

I miss you, mom.

Love, Bethany

Ps. To my sisters: I'm really sorry about the picture. I didn't plan to use it but it wanted to come in there, so I let it.





Tuesday, August 4, 2015

10 Minutes With God

It was a homework assignment, see, given by our Pastor one Sunday at the end of his sermon. He assigned us 10 Minutes sitting with God every day for the next week asking, "What do you want to say to me?" And it wasn't supposed to be 10 Minutes while driving or rocking the baby or in the bathroom... Wait. He didn't actually say the bathroom part. Probably nobody else would spend that much time in there anyway! Where was I again? Homework assignment, yes.

It was an inspiring sermon that Sunday. One that brought hope to my weary heart. I was intrigued by the idea of God wanting to be our lover and I felt excited about trying the homework assignment out. Could I actually have the self-discipline to make it happen? Would God actually talk to me?

Let me just tell you one thing: Try it.

I guess I will be completely honest here. I have always, always struggled with the whole Personal Devotions thing. It has always been held up there next to .... I can't even think of a good comparison .... Perfection? Holiness? Basically I have always thought of it in capital letters as the Holy Grail of Christianity. And I've never been able to reach that Holy Grail.

I used to try. Anymore? (I can't believe how hard this is to actually admit.) Anymore I really don't even try. Oh, every once in awhile a verse comes to my mind that I look up and I'll end up reading more verses, or maybe something will come up at church that I want to check out later or I'll read the Sunday school lesson before I'm sitting in class. But a regular, once a day Bible reading time? I don't have one.

You can all close your gaping mouths now and put your eyebrows back down where they belong. I am not trying to say whether I am in the right or in the wrong in this area, I just wanted to tell you about the homework assignment.

I will just say this: those 10 minutes I spent sitting with God every day that week and asking, "What do you want to say to me?" Did more for my soul than any daily Bible reading ever has.

God actually spoke to me. Some of the time I sat there and wondered, "Wait. Did I make that up?" But most of the time it was so clearly Him that I would get teary-eyed. I felt clearly that our conversations were personal, not something to make a blog post out of, but there is one little part that I do want to share because it is so exciting to me!

There was one thing said in the message that Sunday that stood out to me: The Bible is not The Way, a Person is The Way; Jesus Christ. I don't know if I can explain why that hit me so forcefully. It's about Him! What He did on the cross; the relationship He wants to have with me! And He drove that point home one day during one of our 10 minutes together.

I was sitting there in the stillness, waiting to hear what He wanted to tell me. It had been a rather good day and it really didn't seem to me like there would be anything for Him to say. And then He said, "Sometimes lovers just gaze in each other's eyes."

Wow. Did I make that up? No. I don't think I could have. Ok, yeah sometimes they do!

"And sometimes lovers give each other shoulder rubs."

I'm sure my mouth dropped open. You want to be that kind of a lover??

I still feel this awe and amazement just thinking about it. He wants to be my lover; THAT kind of a lover! Yes, we need the Bible, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." But Jesus is The Way. He wants to be our lover; our friend; our comrade. He wants to rub our shoulders and gaze in our eyes and give us knowing looks across the way.

He is THAT kind of a Lover.

Maybe you'd like to try it. Give yourself a homework assignment for one week and see what He wants to say to you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Something New

Contrary to what some may believe, the fact that a person has a blog does not mean they are knowledgeable about computers, the internet, or even blogs themselves. In other words, the fact one has a blog does not mean one is techy. Then again, maybe I am the disillusioned one who thinks they can have a blog and not be techy?

Whatever the case, here is the truth: I really don't know what I'm doing most of the time with blogs and internet and the techy world. I watch what other people do and I click on things and I try this and that and most of the time it seems to work out pretty well. I think.

Yesterday I did one of those "try it and see what happens" things and I now have a facebook page called About My Father's Business. I'm not sure how I feel about this. When I first started my blog, one of the things I liked about blogging was the fact that if people wanted to read what I wrote they could come and find me. I wasn't going to always be putting it in front of people's faces; if they wanted to read it, they could find it.

As time went on, I started sharing my links on facebook for the simple fact that a lot of people are like me - it's easier to find things all in one place than to hunt it down every time or figure out how else to do it. I also discovered people seemed to find it easier to comment on facebook than on my blog and I liked the feedback!

Well, I'm kind of funny about facebook. I know it's a very public place and who knows who all is seeing what, but I don't like having a bunch of people on my "friend" list that I don't even know or have never met. So, I decided to make a page for my blog on facebook and share my links there and make it separate from my personal profile.

I'm not really sure if I know what I'm doing with this, so keep that in mind :) I don't even know if I'll like it this way or not but I think I will. So, just letting you know: if you would like to follow my blog via facebook, if that would be easier for you or if you would be more likely to comment there ;) then follow the link and like my page. https://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/profile.php?id=513727925449471&refid=17&ref=bookmarks&_ft_=top_level_post_id.513818595440404&__tn__=C

Saturday, August 1, 2015

**500th Post Giveaway**

A little over 4 years ago, July 9, 2011 to be exact, I googled "starting a blog", and so began this little space called About My Father's Business. According to blogger, this will be the 500th time I've typed some words and hit "publish"; 500 posts. Wow!

I could wax all eloquent and nostalgic but I'm not going to. What I am going to do is: have a give-away! The truth is, I saw this mile marker coming up a while back and I've hardly been able to wait til I reached it. There may or may not have been some "this'll work for one" posts thrown in lately to speed up the process but be that as it may, here we are.

I have a special book to give away today, a book that you won't be able to find anywhere else. In fact, there is only a limited supply of this book and I happen to be the one in possession of it. One lucky person will receive a free copy, and to the rest of you privileged readers, I will offer the chance to buy a copy while my supply lasts.

Okay. I'm trying to make this sound all fancy and it's really not :) For many years my mom was the Junior Stories editor for the Calvary Messenger (a small, monthly publication sent out to various Mennonite churches) During the course of those years, there were often no stories sent in to be edited and so mom would write her own stories about the "Miller family" - better known as the Elmer Gingerich family.

Probably 5 or 6 years ago mom had the idea to compile her stories about our family and have a book made for each of us children. Well, time passed and somehow the project never got done. Before mom's 70th birthday my sister, Rachel, decided to make her dream come true. Five months later, mom was no longer with us and a few people saw the booklet Rachel had gotten printed and wondered if they could buy one? She decided to get it printed as a book and would have preferred to give them all away as gifts, but I offered to be her "sales-lady". :)

So, if any of you are interested in "Grandma's Storybook of Memories", leave me a comment and you just might get a free one! If you knew my mom, I would love to have you share a memory in your comment. If you would like to buy a copy of the book, you can order one from me for $5.00 plus shipping. There is a limited supply, but send your order to christopherbethany@juno.com and I'll be happy to send you a book while they last.

And to all you people who have joined me by reading along in this little space, thank you. You have blessed my life.

*This giveaway will be open for 10 days (August 10, 2015). You must have a US address I can send a book to in order to be eligible. Please include your email address so I can contact you!