Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Mom

My husband is gone this week, Mom. Any idea why that's been making me think of you?

Chris went off to Arkansas this week on a work adventure with his buddy from Horton's Countertops days. I'm happy he had a chance to get away and do something out of the ordinary. At the same time, I'm missing him dreadfully and it's made me go back in time and wonder how it was for you, Mom.

Your husband was a preacher. All the years of my life were interspersed with occasional weeks and weekends when Daddy would be gone. A lot of my memories of those times are vague; I was the youngest and everything happened before I was born (or so I used to think). Most vivid in my mind are the many, many weeks Daddy spent an hour away from home, teaching classes at Calvary Bible School.

This week I've been trying to imagine what those weeks were really like for you, Mom. Calvary Bible School landed in the middle of winter. In Arkansas, this could mean many things -- moderate weather, freezing temperatures, sunshine or maybe an ice storm. Back in those days there were cows to be checked on and a whole broiler house full of chickens to keep fed and alive. Way back in the day there were also pigs, I believe, who managed to make as much nuisance of themselves as possible when the man of the house was away. Inevitably, when Daddy was away, the cows would find their way through the fence or the feeders in the chicken house would decide to malfunction or the ice on the pond would need to be chopped so the cows would have water or a vehicle would refuse to start. Indeed, it seemed the whole farm was just waiting for the handyman to depart to spring any number of catastrophes on the poor wife left behind.

The thing is, Mom, I have good memories of those weeks! You used to let us take turns sleeping with you and do special things together those weeks when Daddy was gone. I have nothing but good memories of those days and I've been marveling this week at how much that fact reflects on the kind of Mom you were.

Daddy was not just a text away back then. In fact, you couldn't even count on the fact that you could get through if you tried to call him at any given time. You had children to care for -- to make sure they got to school and to settle disagreements between and to feed and keep happy. You had double the work and worry with your husband gone. I'm sure you felt lonely some days and misunderstood. I bet you looked at all the other wives who's husbands never taught at CBS and wondered what they had to complain about? I know you were just as human as anybody else, Mom, and there were times when those weeks without your man at home were just plain hard.

Maybe time dims the memories, but when I look back those days are filled with cozy times together and a mother who loved us and made us feel special. This week I'm the mom. I don't have any chickens or cows, much less pigs. It's not snowy nor icy and my husband is a text or phone call away at pretty much any given moment. I realize now the effort you put forth, Mom, to make good memories for us those weeks when Daddy was gone. I know now that you weren't necessarily having as much fun as we were. And, I for sure know that letting us take turns sleeping with you was most certainly not for your sake!

Thanks Mom.

Love, Bethany

PS. I'm trying to make good memories this week but, I confess, I'm drawing the line at letting anyone share my bed.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How Romantic Is Your Marriage?

The two of us sat together companionably in our silent house. The clocks ticked, the air conditioner hummed, and slowly the stress of the day ebbed away. All five children had been invited away for an evening of games and pizza with the aunt and uncle and here we were, all set for a romantic evening.

Shall I describe the scene for you?

We sat together companionably, yes. Him on one side of the table in his dirty work clothes, eyes fixed on the laptop, right hand busily clicking and doing whatever you do in the fascinating computer game he was playing. I sat on the other side, feet up on a chair, mouth full, busily scarfing down the sub sandwich he had brought me -- the entire footlong length of it.

Sandwich gone, I scootched a chair up next to his and lazily scrolled through Facebook on my phone. "Suppose I would write about this," I grinned to myself. "How many shocked and appalled readers would I have? Does anybody else in the world do such unromantic things when they're given a chance for an evening alone? Granted, we're spoiled with willing 'babysitters' nearly any time we want one but are we odd? Should I feel slighted?"

He glanced at me with a sheepish grin, "I'm just going to finish this," he told me. "It won't take very long."

"That's fine," I assured him. "I'm not even feeling bad."

"And I'm not," I realized with a bit of surprise, as I leaned my elbows on the table and watched a game that made about as much sense to me as handing a pattern and a piece of material would to a man. And I found this discovery to be interesting. "There was a time when I would have been feeling bad," I mused to myself, absentmindedly checking through my email. We've never been the romantic candle lit dinner or fancy restaurant type; our romance has always been the kind found in small things and ordinary days. But I had to admit, there would have been a time that I would have chafed at sitting together doing this. "It's called mature romance," I decided, as I scratched his back and ran my fingers through his hair. "We're completely comfortable with who we are and what the other one needs and who cares about all the things you might think you should do when you have a chance for an evening alone?"

Because, did I tell you what kind of a day it was? Let me tell you.

It was one of a string of days where summer had returned with a vengeance, as if determined to get as much 90 degree weather in as it possibly could with October looming on the horizon. I had spent the day turning two bushels of apples into applesauce by myself. My feet ached and my back ached and all I had eaten the entire day was yogurt and granola for breakfast and about a third of Charles' piece of pizza somewhere in the lunch time vicinity. Basically, I was exhausted and starving.

Chris had spent the day in and out of the cool Tire Shop office and 90 degree out of doors/bay listening to customers who complained about the price of tires or insisted that all four of their tires must be put on so that the letters on the wheels are at the top. He had dealt with employees who needed a course on work ethics and customers who couldn't make up their minds and people calling who needed immediate favors. Basically, he was exhausted and in need of some mindless activity.

Eventually the game ended and he headed for the shower, throwing back over his shoulder with a grin, "Now that's my idea of a good time - you, sitting there beside me, watching me play." I laughed and knew with certainty that I didn't feel one bit slighted.

"And maybe I will write about it after all," I decided, as I threw away the subway trash and went on to spend the rest of our evening in less mature romantic activities.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dear Mom

I made applesauce today, Mom -- delicious tangy-sweet sauce from bags of big, beautiful, spot-free apples. It made me think of you.

You taught me many things, Mom. Most of the time I go along living my life, oblivious to the many ways you influenced me. Once in awhile something like a bag of shiny, beautiful apples will look me in the face and make me stop and think.

All the years that I was a part of your life, you lived in Arkansas, Mom. While being from the south is, without question, superior in many regards, easy access to fresh fruits and luscious gardens isn't one of them. You loved to garden and toiled tirelessly in spite of inevitable drought, poor soil and pesky bugs. You canned and froze and served fresh, and not once did we ever go hungry.

But this is what I learned from you, Mom -- you made do with what you had. If the corn produced little (as often was the case) but the green beans were prolific; we ate green beans. If an early frost nipped the peach trees we did without peaches. Because strawberries were expensive and blackberries were free, we spread our bread with blackberry jelly. I don't remember you ever once making a batch of strawberry jam, are you sure you were a true Mennonite, Mom?

English peas didn't do well, so we ate purple hull peas and zipper peas and lima beans. My brothers will testify to gaining pill swallowing skills because of the need to consume those loathsome limas. We ate okra because it grew and pears from the old pear tree on the odd years that it produced. On those years we were all expected to try new things like pear butter and pear and pineapple jam because -- you know, free food.

You were always willing to use what was available, Mom. When Ervin Dorothy had squash, you canned it. When someone offered you peaches from their scrubby little trees, you froze them. If there were strawberries available, we enjoyed them. And when it was time to can applesauce, you never stressed over Jonathons or Cortlands or Golden Delicious or Ginger Golds. You didn't insist on brown sauce or pale yellow or pink; you took what was available. I will never forget the year of the ugly red apples and the tasteless pink sauce.

It was me who needed apples that year, Mom, and me who had no money for being choosy. When a church lady's neighbor offered apples, free for the taking, we took them. We loaded up baskets and buckets of the spotted, red things and you came over to lend a hand. They sure weren't the prettiest apples nor the biggest. But we cut and snipped and cooked and when the applesauce came forth all pink and tasteless, you cheerfully added sugar and cinnamon and whatever else we could think of and called it good.

Today I thought of you, Mom, as I sliced up my beautiful, spot-free apples. As the sauce came out, all golden and tangy-sweet, I remembered. And I thanked God for a mother like you who taught me to make do with what you have. I also breathed a quiet thank you that this year it was shiny Ginger Golds.

                        Love, Bethany

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Months That Start With 'S' and Other Wisdom

Writing is a strange and uncooperative thing. Some days it just wants to come, and so I let it; other days, the more I look inside, the more it isn't there. It hasn't been there for quite some time now and it's bothering me greatly.

One can only have so many Tid-bits and Random Picture posts. There are only so many opportunities to host giveaways. I have no new recipes to share. The more I try to manufacture inspiration, the more there is nothing. And, might I add, that is the exact time when all the other writers I know seem to be starting new projects or writing eloquent words being shared by multiple people; coincidence much?

My mind feels dry. Dry as.... well....

Dry as the leaves falling, crunchy, from the trees.
Dry as the sun on a day without a breeze.
Dry as the dirt 'round the plant with curling leaves.
Dry as the throat gripped in fear's tightest squeeze.

Dry as the wind blowing sun's hottest glare.
Dry as the towels hung in summer's stifling air.
Dry as the earth in a desert bright and bare.
Dry as the soul burdened low with every care.

Dry as the grass withered brown in Summer's heat.
Dry as the skin worn and rough on barefoot feet.
Dry as the lips cracked by fever's steady beat.
Dry as the heart scorched by silence and defeat........

This mournful bit came forth one day and I shelved it in disgust. Pathetic. Not even true. In fact, I had someone tell me recently, "Your life sounds so easy and fun!"

Today I finally discovered the reason: it must be something about the atmospheric pressure in the months starting with 'S'! One year ago on this very day I wrote, "I confess to feeling really dry lately; brittle in places."

Alrighty then.

Now that I have that figured out, I can relax and stop trying so hard. Eventually the atmospheric pressure will change, another month will appear and I'll wonder what was so bothersome about it all. And if it doesn't? Well, then I'll go on with my fun and easy life and be happy.

My fingers bear the battlescars of quilting these days. I've been listening to the Bible as I sit and stitch, started in at the beginning and have gotten through to the building of the tabernacle. I'm always just amazed when I read/hear about Pharoah. Seriously, was the man insane? How could your heart be that hard? By the time it came to the tenth plague, did he really think the firstborns wouldn't be killed? What was he thinking??

And then the children of Israel. Honestly, people! You walked through the Red Sea on dry land. A short two months later, how could you really think God would let you starve to death when he parted the waters for you and swallowed the Egyptians up after you had all walked through?

I was discussing these things with my children one day after school and my daughter said, "But how did you feel when we moved to Ohio and had no house? How could you have wondered if God knew what he was doing??" Wellllll. You know, God hadn't done anything as big for me as parting the Red Sea!

Children are pretty good at putting us in our places.

I guess it's mostly being able to look back on the whole picture that makes me judge the Israelites so harshly. I suppose, after all, my doubt and questioning of what God is doing would look pretty silly too if I could see the big picture. I reckon a lack of inspiration and a drought in spirit is a small thing in the grand scheme of a life story.

Happy weekend to all of you. Go enjoy your life (fun and easy or otherwise) and rest in the arms of a Father who deals in big pictures.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Giveaway Results and Other Tid-bits

Giveaways are fun. There's always this happy little thrill of surprise as I watch all the comments come rolling in. I know by now that they will but it's still so much fun.

The time is here to announce a winner and I've got a happy little surprise for you, this time. I decided to buy a copy of Anything But Simple myself and give away TWO books instead of one! So, without further ado -- Winner #1 is Katrina, who commented: "I enjoy reading your blog and would be delighted to win this book."  Winner #2 is Jessica, who commented: "Hi Bethany,
You don't know me, but I've been one of your quiet readers for quite a while. ☺ Don't give up your book dream; you have a wonderful way with words, too! Please enter me in your drawing... Thanks!"

Congratulations ladies! I'll be contacting you via email so we can get your books on their way. Happy reading and thanks for commenting.


Just a few pictures of life these days to finish this up.....

I've got a quilt in at my house, the first of three for my girl's beds, and I can't tell you how much fun I'm having! It also makes me miss my Mom. Quilting and Mom just go together and it's funny what triggers grief.

Charles likes to play with my pins, sticking them into the quilt and calling them "snakes",  for whatever reason, and looking underneath to see all the "pokes".

Lillian turned eight and was quite pleased with the doll sized garment bag and hangers she had been hoping for.

The weather has taken a definite turn towards fall and in the spirit of acceptance and resignation, we had a little "hot drink party" one evening.

I have to concede that the cool, crisp mornings are beautiful but Oh, Summer! Missing you already.

And with that, I will run along. The ever looming what-to-make-for-supper question must soon be answered........

Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: Anything But Simple

Somewhere in the dark, hidden corners of my heart hovers a dream. Occasionally I allow it to surface -- the secret, improbable idea that I could write a book. That someday, magically, I could have the ability to paint pictures and draw images and weave words that would carry a reader through page after page. That somehow I could acquire the determination to accomplish such a monumental feat.

Then, I read books like Anything But Simple by Lucinda J Miller, and I shake my head decidedly. I am quite content to write little blog posts and let others accomplish the monumental feats.

I've been reading Luci's blog for quite some time. I've enjoyed reading about her life, her dreams, her stories. More than a tiny, hovering dream, Luci has had a passionate desire to write a book. The burning intent for her words? To capture life as she has experienced it.

Luci grew up in a small, Mennonite community in rural Wisconsin. To grow up Mennonite is to be set apart from the world at large for life. The best way I can think of to describe this odd phenomenon is to imagine being born Russian and living in America. You can learn to speak English fluently, dress American, eat American, adopt the customs and the thoughts and the ways of Americans but you will always be a Russian. So it is to be born Mennonite.

As God so often seems to enjoy doing, in an odd twist of circumstances, Anything But Simple is not the book Luci first dreamed of writing. However, I think it captures the burning intent she so longed for: life as she has experienced it.

Luci is a very gifted writer. Not only does she weave stories and ideas for the reader to ponder and digest, she infuses emotion and layers of feelings into her words. As you read about her childhood, her family, her dreams, her struggles -- you are there. You feel the painful shyness of the little girl who cannot bring herself to mention needing a bathroom; the sensitivity of the lonely teen who is sure they are not only different, but alien; the growing awareness as an adult of two worlds and the struggle to navigate through both.

In the telling of her life as a Mennonite, Luci pours out her heart openly and honestly. There is no catching the high points of the Mennonite world and exaggerating them, no unrealistic portrayal of how Mennonites think they should look. What Luci shares is reality and the reality is that while she was born a Mennonite and will always be set apart from the world at large, she was also born a sinner with a heart no less in need of a Saviour - no less bent toward sin - than any other person ever born.

When I contacted Luci with an offer to do a book review and giveaway on my blog, she graciously accepted my offer and sent me an autographed copy of Anything But Simple and the chance for one of my readers to win a copy of their own! Her books are available on Amazon and Menno Media or you can contact Luci through her blog to purchase an autographed copy.

For a chance to win your free copy, leave me a comment and be sure to include an e-mail address where I can contact you. This giveaway will close one week from today and is open to only US mailing addresses.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Recipe For Lunch Packing Moms

I don't really enjoy cooking and my blog is anything but a food blog but occasionally circumstances call for desperate measures. Back to school and packing four lunches a day is cause for talking about food and sharing recipes! Today I am shamelessly copying a fellow blogger and passing on a great lunch box idea for you all. If you want professional pictures, check out her post about packing lunches. If all you want is the recipe because you're desperate for something quick you can grab out of the freezer in the rush of a school morning, read on.

These things don't have an official name. I'm calling them 'Pizza Pockets' but you can take them, customize them, and give them your own name!

I took our favorite stromboli dough recipe:

1 T yeast
1 C warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C vegetable oil
3 C flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, then add other ingredients. Let rise five minutes.

(I love that it only has to rise for five minutes - anything quicker is better when you don't really like to cook!)

I doubled the recipe and rolled half of it out in a big rectangle. Next I cut it into twenty square-ish squares with a pizza cutter.

Since I have about as many preferences for ingredients as I do children (you probably don't have this problem, so no need to dwell on my issues), I did some squares with cheddar cheese and ham, some with cheddar cheese and pepperoni, and some with mozzarella, ham and pepperoni. You could add whatever you like!

(Have fun trying to keep the different kinds separated once they're closed. I lined them up on the pans carefully and used a toothpick to mark my row.)

Then I folded the corners in and pinched them closed and baked them at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I repeated the process with the second half of the dough giving me forty cute, little lunch life-savers.

I melted some butter and added a little garlic salt and oregano to it and brushed the tops when they came out of the oven. They looked so irresistible that Charles and I had a couple for lunch with pizza sauce for dipping. Yum.

After they cooled, I bagged them up in labeled bags (God forbid the pepperoni hater should end up with the ham hater's Pizza Pocket!) and stuck them away in the freezer.

I've been feeling like super mom all day!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Vacation 2017

This post is mostly providing myself with a little picture diary of our trip. All I had for a camera was my cell phone, so I definitely have no spectacular photography to show off! Chris is a master trip planner and he did a super good job lining up all the details for our trip ahead of time and adjusting our days as we went to make it all go smoothly.

Day 1 - Travel 12 hours to friends in Leon, Iowa. Discover a new era in travel where mom sits in the front seat the whole 12 hours (in fact, the entire trip)!! Read Miss Buncle's Book aloud from start to finish because every time you stop someone begs for more. Eat supper with Arlyn and Sue Kauffman and family and spend the night at Marvin and Rosanna Kauffman's place.

Our rig for the week

Day 2 - Enjoy breakfast and stimulating conversations. Depart for DeSmet, South Dakota. Arrive Monday evening and run into church friends who were traveling nearly the same path we were! (No picture to prove it but it happened) Visit downtown DeSmet and the graveyard.

Windmills that signal the west... We had fun looking for gravestones of the Ingalls family and other people in Laura's books.

Day 3 - Tour Laura's houses and school. Surveyor's house and DeSmet school are original buildings. Visit homestead and enjoy all the hands on activities.

Comparison pic from three years ago when we were in DeSmet

Day 4 - Head toward Mt Rushmore. Visit the Badlands. Take a small hike because Miss Drama isn't feeling well. Arrive at Mt Rushmore. Enjoy supper in motel room by our chef. (Who knew you could have chicken and mashed potatoes in your motel room?) Drive up to Mt Rushmore to see the lights.

Gorgeous sunflower fields enroute

Terrible pictures but it was really cool in the dark!

Day 5 - Visit Mt Rushmore. Amazing, amazing place. Switch up planned activities for the sake of the sickly and drive through Custer Park. Totally worth it for the breathtaking scenery!

We saw buffalo, prairie dogs, antelope amazing rocks and scenery and drove through tiny tunnels...

Day 6 - Head to Rapid City, South Dakota "The City of Presidents" and walk through 12 blocks, I believe it was, meeting all the Presidents. Fun!

On to Storybook Island where we saw "The Three Men In The Tub", "The Cat In The Hat", "The Pumpkin Shell" and lots of other fun storybook scenes/characters.

Drive on to Deadwood and watch a shooting reenactment. Leave Charles and I at the motel while the rest tour the town and take in the evening's activities - including the mock trial of Jack McCall and Jennifer helping serve on the jury. They had a grand time!

Day 7 - Traveling, with stops along the Oregon Trail ---

Oregon Trail Ruts. Amazing to see the path made through the rocks by so many wagons passing through!

Register Cliff. Landmark on the travelers way with thousands of names carved in it's side.

Chimney Rock. A spectacular landmark that could be seen for two days when traveling by wagon. Amazing.

These flowers were everywhere.
I want some.

Day 8 - Head to Kalona, Iowa and spend the evening/night with Elam and Loretta Stoltzfoos. Lovely time.

Day 9 - Leave at 6:00 for New Bloomfield, Missouri to be near the center of totality and view the eclipse. I have no good pictures of the eclipse, sadly. The experience was absolutely amazing and one that is hard to describe with words or pictures!

Watching the people was almost as interesting as the eclipse. The man on the lower right amused me greatly.

This is how we travelled -
racing games on the laptop and Play House/School/Hospital on the iPad were main activities with Adventures In Odyssey, a biography of Ulysses Grant on CD and various other books, games and snacks in between.

Arrive home at 12:15 a.m.

Day 10 - First Day Of School! No picture to prove that either but it was and now vacation is over and it's back to school and a new schedule.

The End

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Are Vacations Overrated?

I'm  not sure why I always feel the need to get defensive about Vacations. Probably because I'm still trying to decide if Vacations are overrated. I'm talking -- take off for a week, travel to far away places, sight see and sleep in motel kind of vacations. I grew up without them and turned out pretty well, I'd say. My husband managed to become an amazing man in spite of no Vacations as well. I've always held tightly to the idea that it's really the little things that create some of the best memories -- playing Whistle Wink or Wave with my siblings in the gathering twilight, sitting around the popcorn bowl on a Sunday evening, talking at the supper table long after the food has disappeared, riding on the back of the truck down bumpy roads for a picnic at the White River...

I married a man who shares my ideas of making memories with little things. But, he is also a man who loves history and stories and giving his children opportunities to travel and make that history and those stories come to life. Our biggest venture to date has been the trip we took three years ago to see all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's little houses. This year, the solar eclipse on August 21 was the catalyst for another big adventure. Chris always vowed he wouldn't miss a chance to see a solar eclipse, so plans began to take a vacation over that time. What started as a small, weekend trip turned into a nine day excursion and returning home late the night before school started!

There were many moments in the past nine plus days when I really felt Vacations are highly overrated. Packing up a family of seven for nine days away from home is not for the faint of heart. We did not take a motor home nor a maxi van. In fact, we rented a vehicle that turned out to have less space than our mini van. Lets just say my minimalist and organizational skills were stretched a good bit and, to be honest, I had a hard time mustering up much excitement about the whole thing. Children have no respect for the hard work a Vacation takes. They wake up all groggy in the morning and look expectantly at their parents and ask, "Where are we going today?" They ask thoughtless questions like - "Is this all we're doing?" "Why do we have to walk so far??" "Do we have to eat chicken again?"

It was four nights into our trip, driving up to Mt Rushmore in the dark with the lights of the town blinking brightly in the distance, when I squeezed Chris' hand and whispered, "Maybe it really is worth it all."

I don't know if I can explain what prompted that feeling. The children were mimicking favorite stories and there was a level of camaraderie and closeness that just squeezed my mother heart. I had watched my oldest swing the youngest up onto his shoulders when short little legs got tired; seen the big girl give the younger sisters the best seats; observed the close bond the five of them share. Do not get me wrong here. I'd heard plenty of, "Make him stop!" "It's my turn!" "Why do you always have to....?" kinds of stuff, too. We don't have angels for children, trust me. The Drama Queen had totally frustrated me with her 'when I don't feel good I'm dying' routine; the fifteen year old had not acted the way I thought a fifteen year old should act..... but in the dark, closeness of the vehicle with the glow of the lights in the distance and someone wondering how many of them were street lights and how many were buildings and how it would look if it were only street lights.... Somehow with the sharing of laughter and stories and memories, I felt the irreplaceable bond of family and how special it is to share the big moments of adventure together.

I believe there is a balance between thinking we must have Vacations and always staying home because it would be terrible to "waste" all that money. I'm reminded of John Piper's practical questions about money, particularly this one: Is it an occasional, expensive nonessential that would say an extraordinary 'I love you'? This trip was certainly occasional, expensive and nonessential but I'm embracing the experience as the extraordinary 'I Love You' that it was.

Vacations are definitely overrated but they are also so much fun! I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend quality family time enjoying some of the amazing sights of this world God created and watching history come alive before our eyes.

All that being said.......

Just call me Duffy.


Pictures coming soon... sometime after I emerge from the piles of laundry and back to school adjustments...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dear Mom

It's late and I am tired. Tears wet my cheeks; my heart is sad and weary. I just want to ask ---

What is Heaven like, Mom?

When your sister stepped through the pearly gates yesterday, were you there to give her a hug? Are you both young again and full of energy? Are you walking arm and arm, exploring the beauties of heaven?
Tonight, I'm just wondering ---

What is Heaven like, Mom?

Can you see us down here, struggling to make decisions? Do you see as God does, the beginning from the end? Does it all make sense now, the questions and the imperfections of this old world?

I wonder, really wonder ---

What is Heaven like, Mom?

Will it matter, in the grand scheme of things, how much work I got done this week? Will it matter if my girls have new school dresses and how much corn I have in the freezer? Will it matter that I couldn't make it to my aunt's funeral?

In the whirl of all the going and doing, I'd just like to ask ---

What is Heaven like, Mom?

Can you see my angel baby? Walk and talk with all your old friends who went before you? Hug your granddaughter who lived here only a few short days? Is sitting at Jesus' feet, gazing into His face, enough?

I really have no idea, I just wonder ---

What is Heaven like, Mom?

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." I Corinthians 13:12

I miss you Mom. Can't wait to join you up there!

Even so come Lord Jesus........

Love, Bethany

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happenings, Pictures and Tid Bits

Green beans are bubbling away in the canners and I'm sitting with my feet propped up, looking back through pictures and getting ready to tell you all the tid bits. Aren't you excited?

I refuse to tell you that school starts in three weeks. The list of things to be accomplished between now and then will not be mentioned either. Going over it all will neither diminish it's length nor stretch the weeks. What I will tell you about is how lovely this summer has been! Granted, someone seems to have stolen at least a month from this season - why do they do that, I wonder? But while it lasted it has been one glorious, luxurious stretch in the beautiful, yellow sunshine.

We haven't done a lot of big things this summer and we haven't been overly busy either - saved it all for the last three weeks of vacation. You should try it someday; adrenaline rush and all that...

Bits of summer in pictures:

Time spent at the lake is always worth the effort to make it happen!

We put peaches in the freezer;
Peaches and more peaches.
And we enjoyed lots of them fresh!

I enjoyed helping with VBS for a week.
I had the privilege of 15-20 minutes each night telling a Bible story and teaching a verse. Making verse posters and coming up with illustrations for stories was fun.

Somehow the sight of 25-28 energetic 6-8 year olds looking up at me with their sweet, innocent (albeit mischievous) faces squeezed my heart harder than I expected. The night I told my mom's old flannelgraph story "He Took My Whipping", I don't think I was the only one with tears in my eyes.

At the last minute, I ran to town for Dollar Tree New Testaments and suckers and my girls helped me wrap up a little gift for each.
It was an exhausting, fulfilling week.

I don't have a garden but we've managed to enjoy some yummy fresh produce anyway.

Our neighbor lady offered me free choosing in her sprawling flower beds. We spent most of a day digging and pulling and tucking plants into the ground. We have lots of dreams for the future, for now we'll see how many plants survive the moving and work on our dreams bit by bit.
 "If they die you can always come back for more," the neighbor told me cheerfully! I'm in love with the steps Jasmine dug out of the bank.

We're all into plants around here, and the fun of starting new ones.

Then there's just the random things -
"Playing Chess", an evening walk, Jasmine's art, Jennifer's teepee...

And there's this book.
I cannot remember where I heard about it but it was a very
 interesting read.

I feel like I have been rather lazy this summer. There are many projects I could have gotten done if I would have made them a priority. I'm telling myself I've been 'savoring' and, as they say, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it!"

How has your summer been?