Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Recipe And A Luncheon

I had several requests for the recipe for the crumb cake I talked about in my last post, so I decided to just post it here on the blog. I'm not a foodie nor a cook so recipes posted here are few and far between; enjoy!

Cherry Crumb Cake

1 Cup sugar
2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Cup softened butter
1 egg
1 Can cherry pie filling (or filling of your choice)

Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.

Cut in butter

Add egg and mix to crumbs

Place half of crumb mixture in a greased 9x9 pan (I always use this small rectangular pan because it has a lid)

Spread filling over crumbs

Place remaining crumbs over top.

Bake at 350 for 30 min or until lightly browned.

Best eaten warm and yummy served with ice cream!


A lunch invitation today gave me the perfect opportunity to make this dessert again and take the pictures. A sweet lady from church invited all of us ladies who have bid our mothers farewell here on earth to gather at her house.

Our hostess provided a main dish salad and the rest of us brought a side in memory of our mom. Her beautiful backyard was the perfect setting for the lovely little oasis she prepared for us.

I didn't take pictures of the food nor record the conversations but both were equally delightful! There is nothing like shared food and laughter mixed with sentimental memories to brighten the day and make one's heart lighter.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dear Mom

I don't talk about it as much as I used to, Mom, but I still think of you. In the ordinary, everyday activities of life one thing or another will spark a memory and I'll think of you....

I think of you when I sit on my lovely porch, enjoying the woods and the breeze and the quiet. You always loved porches and decks and dreamed of one on the back of your house where no one could see you relaxing. I'd love to let you relax on mine.

I think of you when I make sugary biscuits and serve them up on a Sunday morning to children who came straight from bed to snatch them up and eat them. Just like I used to back when I wasn't the mom who got up early and slaved away in the kitchen before the rest of the household stirred.

I think of you when I make tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches on your Belizean camal. (If you've never tried sprinkling Italian seasoning and garlic salt on your cheese sandwiches before grilling, you should try it. Yum.)

I think of you when we have visitors who exclaim over my shelves and I tell them, "These gold dishes were my grandma's, then my mom's, and now mine." (The ones on the lower right.)

I think of you when there are piles of dishes and it's really one of the children's turn to wash them but I feel sorry for them and do it instead. I learned that from you, Mom.

I think of you when we carry our supper outside and eat it in the cool, evening breeze. It reminds me of our old picnic table and spraying 'Off' to discourage the bugs and swatting the cats away as we enjoyed supper outside because you liked to make our eyes sparkle, just because.

I think of you when Jennifer begs to plant a little garden - even if it's late; even if it's rocky and weedy and all we have is a hoe and a shovel. You gave me a love for gardening, Mom, and I just can't say no.

I think of you when my girls drag their mattresses out on the porch on a warm summer night. As I help them set up their cozy beds and roast marshmallows over candles I remember how much you loved to sleep outside, Mom. You would have loved to hear about their "camp out".

I think of you when I stir up this crumb cake. I wonder how many, many tin foil pans you filled with this delicacy to give to a family who had lost a loved one or needed a little cheering? Now it's my go to dessert when I need to make a meal for a family with a new baby, and I always think of you when I make it, Mom. (This particular pan was just for us, and disappeared in one day!)

I think of you, too, when I hear of your sister who is suffering from cancer. As much as I miss you, Mom. As much as the everyday things in life bring up memories and I think of you and wish I could talk to you again to tell you things or ask you questions. As much as I pause sometimes, with tears in my eyes, and wonder what life would be like if you were still here, there is no way I could wish you back. No way I could wish a different way for you to go; no way I could wish for you the hardships of sickness and old age and pain on this earth in exchange for the glory you are experiencing.

So, when the 101 things come along that remind me of you, I will remember with a smile and a tear and treasure the memories.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Pictures of June

Story time is over for this year. I could have gone on listening for awhile yet but more stories mean more story tellers and those are a little hard to come by. I'm thinking I should start taking volunteers now for next year, anyone interested?

It's a cloudy, rainy morning in Ohio - perfect for leaving the curtains closed and finding a cozy blanket. Unfortunately I should clean my house instead. Not only that, I have a 7 year old with a bad attitude about said cleaning and somebody needs to set a good example for her. Any volunteers for that?

Since I should be cleaning and setting good examples, I'll just finish off here quickly with some random pictures of life in June.

It is so much fun to have a daughter old enough to brainstorm with, especially when she's the kind who has great determination and makes more things happen than I ever would!

One day we got inspired to make something for the porch. We both get great satisfaction out of using things we have laying around to make something pretty. She set right to work painting the "window looking thing" that came with the hot water heater and hunting up chunks of wood to set our pallet on. If only you could have seen us lugging those things!

Next up was making these cute balls she's been wanting to try ever since Aunt Rach said it could be done.

We spent a bunch of time on those but it sure was fun!

One night the girls decided to drag their mattresses out on the porch and sleep outside. They fixed it up all cozy, complete with s'mores and a CD player to listen to Laura and Mary stories. Charles joined them and amazingly enough they lasted the whole night!

Summer time is here with it's dirty feet

And visits to the lake.

Jasmine and Jennifer have been scouring the woods for wild raspberries.

 They come in, all hot and triumphant, and Charles digs in without hesitation.

The raspberry lovers in the family are easy to please. They would just as soon have "raspberry stuff" than any fancy pie or cobbler. Stir this stuff into ice cream or yogurt or just enjoy it plain, yum.

Jennifer has managed to talk me into a little garden after all. We hacked out a spot amongst the weeds and rocks and planted some seeds, late as it is. Her starry eyes were enough, whether anything grows or not.

And now, I really must run along and be a good example. Life is about more than just the things that make pretty pictures. Those are fun to look at but life needs the added spice of work and bad attitudes to adjust and the daily grind of real-ness to make it complete. So.... Rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

A blessed weekend to you all!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Story #3

Will and Rosina Schmucker

“I don't like squishy food,” I said, over my first meal in the dining room at Calvary Bible School. “When I was a little girl, I once sat at the table for over two hours refusing to eat my soup. The soup had horrible slimy lumps in it that made me feel like choking.”

Will, the young man across the table, grinned a little to himself. I don't like strange food textures, either, he thought, and took a second look at this interesting, blue-eyed girl. Right away he knew that he wanted to get to know me better. For him, it was practically love at first sight.

I was oblivious to his interest, but CBS came as a shock to me in other ways. My youth was not the carefree, happy time that many people experience. Just when I should have been partying with friends, exulting in my new driver's license, and enjoying a new job, I was completely overwhelmed with the most painful season of my life—losing my hearing. While my peers went out for ice cream on summer evenings, my life revolved around surgeries and doctor appointments. Often I skipped social activities because of intense physical and emotional pain. As a result, when I did go with the youth group, I went as an Invisible Woman, the ghost who glided in and out without notice. Many times I would slink home from the volleyball game and bury my sorrows in the pages of a book about apologetics or church history.

However, at Bible School I somehow came out of the woodwork. I was starving to know more about God in both my head and heart, and others in my classes had the same desire. For the first time in years, I began to feel validated and acknowledged as a person, and Will was part of this journey. We took many of the same classes, and I felt a spiritual connection almost immediately. When he spoke up in class, his words resonated with me. I didn't realize it then, but he says now that he often tried to sit near me in class.

The second term I spent at Bible School, I was asked to participate in a panel discussion/debate with six others, including Will. We all met in a classroom to go over our material, and usually ended up on a wonderful theological tangent. I loved the mental stimulation and camaraderie! Through our times in a small group, I began to notice Will more. He was intelligent, kind, and quirky, and I hoped I could get to know him better.

That summer, as I walked through Dad's sweet corn fields picking corn for market, I thought a lot about Will.

A year or so later, I finally gave up the idea. I liked Will and the other fine young men I met at CBS, but my personal life was still so shattered from losses and difficult relationships, that I didn't have a strong sense of identity. I didn't think I had anything to offer a good man.

Over several years, I saw Will occasionally. He came to Pennsylvania for my sister's wedding (he actually came to see me, although I was still ignorant about this). I visited my sister in Kansas a few times, and usually saw him briefly then. One Sunday in Kansas, Will's sister invited me to hang out with a group of friends at her house. Sitting at the table with our popcorn, the banter turned into a jolly discussion about magazines. I sarcastically informed the group that I learned from Young Companions (an Amish magazine for youth) how to tell if a boy really likes you. Will's heart leaped to his throat as I glibly went on to say, “If you are at a singing and a boy looks up and smiles at you, you know he likes you.” You have to know the magazine to get the joke, but my friends all laughed, especially Will's sister who knew more than I did of the developments.

A few weeks after I got home from that trip, my dad cornered me in the living room. “I need to talk to you,” he said. Oh no, what did I do wrong?! I worried. I couldn't give it much thought because I had to dash off to Girl's Club to teach my class of teenagers. In fact, I didn't have time to talk to Dad until the next day.

The next morning I dropped onto the couch by Dad. “Someone wants to date you,” Dad said. I nearly had a heart attack! For a minute, I held my breath. A nice girl has to consider any reasonably nice boy who has prayed about a relationship, whether or not she really likes him. I always feared that in the unlikely circumstance that someone would waltz into my life, I wouldn't even like him.

“It's Will,” Dad said, and relief whooshed over me. I was totally surprised but utterly thankful that this was a man I found likeable. Over the next days, I escaped to the creek running through our woods, taking time to pray and think and journal.

When I prayed, I giggled. Was I praying for God's will, or His Will?

Because I still hadn't pulled myself together very well from my traumatic teenage years, and also because I was on the verge of beginning nursing school, it was very hard for me to make a big decision like this. I made the mistake of telling two of my best friends about Will's request, and they were horrified that I would consider getting married. I was just starting down the shining trail of becoming a missionary nurse, and no way should I ruin that by dating some boy!

“I guess I have to say no,” I thought sadly after talking with my friends. The next morning, I cried as I swept the kitchen floor. Mom saw my sadness and ferreted out the reason. She then gave me the most empowering advice I've ever received. “Maybe you do have something in your heart for him,” she said. “Do what your heart wants to do.”

To make a long story short, the next two years were spent building a relationship with Will. Later I asked him, “What attracted you to me?” He said, “Well obviously there was a spiritual connection. You were smart, sweet, and beautiful (blush!), but you were also needy. I didn't want a girl who never needed me.”

Will and I both loved the outdoors, so we spent hours hiking nature trails or rambling through graveyards in the snow. We rode horses through the fields of Kansas, waded in the river, and explored museums. We went to our friend's weddings and laughed ourselves silly. And always, we talked.

Will was someone who knew more about theology and the world in general than I did, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I couldn't help but remember sitting in Sunday School and hearing the teacher talk about women needing to be quiet in church. The teacher stressed the importance of women asking their husbands questions at home. “Well then,” I thought rather bitterly. “My husband better know something!” This man was perfectly capable of engaging in the discussions that I wanted to bring up!

We dated, and slowly my identity was pieced back together, both through God's healing and through Will's love.

And so it happened, that in a moonlit wood in Pennsylvania, Will asked me to marry him.

I said yes, and we were married on a beautiful day in October. My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life.

Through my love story, I learned that my mom sometimes has better advice than my friends. I learned that following my heart is more important than doing what I think is socially acceptable. I learned that I don't need to be perfect to be loved—that need can be endearing instead of repulsive. And I learned that love is beautiful and healing.


Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, Rosina! I have been so challenged by you and Will's heart for the people around you. May God bless you with many more years together!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Story #3: Introduction

It's early Sunday morning and the house is still, save for my potatoes boiling merrily on the stove. Making 10 pounds of mashed potatoes for the Father's Day lunch at church is one of those assignments that makes me breathe a little prayer; He can turn my cooking flops into edible things, you know. I'm also asking Him for inspiration while I carefully watch my kettles -- potatoes will boil over!

"I need an introduction post written for tomorrow, Lord, and I have no creative ideas for writing it. It's another one of those 'I've never met this lady/ I stumbled upon her blog by clicking a comment/ I recognized who's daughter she was' kind of connections and that sounds boring by now."

Quite simply, when I stumbled upon her blog, I recognized Rosina because I went to Calvary Bible School with her siblings and my parents knew hers. I actually have a faint recollection of visiting the Harold Dean Miller family when I was a very small child. The memory is made more clear because of an old photo I remember from the visit; Rosina was the baby I believe.

I have been following Rosina's blog Arabah Rejoice for several years now. Over the course of time we've learned to know each other a bit by sharing blog comments and several emails, as well as practicing our writing together in the little Five Minute Friday group. Anyone who can turn the writing prompt of "Cheese" into a lump-in-the-throat read definitely has a gift!

Rosina is passionate about Delivering Babies, Hearing God's Voice, and Reaching the World around her. I know no better way to describe her writing than to say she has a depth of soul that is rarely seen and it shines through in the words she shares. While pain is never the chosen way, it's presence can do beautiful things in a soft, broken heart. Rosina's story includes pain and her writing reflects the beautiful refining of her soul.

Rosina has been kind enough to share with me the story of how she met her husband, Will. It includes connections at Calvary Bible School, which makes me smile and think of my own story... which is very different from their's, of course, except for that one connection. And now I shall end this introduction, as the potatoes have been mashed and eaten long ago and that is all I have to say.

Story coming tomorrow...

        Bring your own tissues.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Story #2

Ryan and Shari Zook and family

He was a strikingly intelligent and handsome nineteen-year-old with big glasses.

I was a sweet sixteen-year-old with big glasses.

Our match, as you might say, was made in China.

Actually, this story has nothing to do with glasses, except for the fact that the first time he noticed me (really noticed me) was when mine got knocked off my face by my brother’s spike in a volleyball game. I picked myself up off the gym floor and hid most of my embarrassment. The word “gracious” came into his mind, and lingered there.

Hm. That girl over there.


But I had noticed him a couple of weeks before that. He was singing in a choir program.

I was sitting there enjoying the music, when a male solo began. I looked for the singer, listening intently to that smooth and beautiful voice. I looked and looked, but the choral crowd was large and he was standing unobtrusively in the middle. When I couldn’t find him, an odd picture came into my mind of a glorious man singing in another room, joyous and solitary, his voice being piped into the auditorium.

But I was wrong, and suddenly at the end I found him after all. He had those big glasses.


When the next Bible school term started (I was arriving for it; he was staying) and we had a chance to meet properly, he was out of commission for a few days due to sickness, and he kept to his dorm. We prayed for “Ryan Zook” to recover, whoever that was.

When he finally came around, he was cuter than I’d thought. He was also crazy smart, and he read the best books, and asked the best questions. I’d never had so much fun talking with a boy – in a group with other students, of course – mostly. We talked about benign but strangely telling topics like class material, philosophical dilemmas, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I had just discovered the series and flown through it, head over heels in love with that other world, but uncertain about a few key ideas in the story. He was cooler, deep and insightful and unafraid.

We found many opportunities to talk.

I suppose it was a strange method of courting, but it worked for us. By the time the term ended I was secretly, madly in love with him – a crush that lasted for an entire year, almost without contact – a new record for this butterfly girl. He was everything I wanted. But I would never have hinted at that, and many times I despaired of him entirely. He was level-headed and enigmatic. Just when I thought I knew him, he’d surprise me and puzzle me and seem farther away than ever.

He knew better than to rob the cradle.

I didn’t know I was already inside his heart to stay.


We saw each other a weekend or two per year from that time on. Gradually I changed my word for him from “love” to “respect.” I finished high school, had other crushes, made silly mistakes, tended my baby brother, nurtured my passion for Jesus, worked at various day jobs, and grew up.

Three and a half years after our first meeting, Ryan was driving through my area and decided, on a whim, to stop by my house and say hello. I was nineteen now; he was twenty-two, and trying to figure out how to reintroduce himself into my world. My family knew him – I had an older brother his age and a little brother who’d loved him – it wouldn’t be that odd. Except that in a strange twist of fate, I was spending the weekend in Canada on a trip with my father. When Ryan knocked on the door at lunchtime, my somewhat flustered mother invited him in and offered food, which was already in the making and happened to be, of all things, cold milk soup with fruit – utterly delicious, but never in Coblentz history shared with a non-family guest. She is still apologizing. But he was not looking to find fault.

It is a little clumsy trying to stage a meeting with a girl whose paths don’t often cross with yours.


A month or so afterward, our paths did meet – at a summer reunion of Bible school alumni from all over the country. I arrived with my family. Ryan drove out with a friend or two. He ran into a boy from my church, and they fell to talking.

Hey, Joe! Good to see you!

Well Ryan Zook! How’s it going?

They chatted for a while.

Then Ryan asked if Joe had come down with a group (no ulterior motives or undue interest going on here, I’m sure), and Joe smiled and said no, he and Shari came down together. Ryan’s hopes began to crash and burn around him. Driving as a couple was just not done in those days, unless –

I haven’t heard the news, he said. Are you guys dating, or –

Yeah. Engaged, actually. Joe was proud and bashful.

Ryan swallowed hard and made himself smile. He thought to himself how long it had been since he’d seen this girl, how little he knew of her. Is that right? he said. Well, congratulations to you. He’s been proud ever since that he offered his congratulations before asking his last question calmly, tossing it off as a matter of course.

You mean Shari Coblentz?

Joe looked startled, and then laughed.

No, no! Sherri MILLER!


I confess it: I’ve always been grateful to Joe for his naivetĂ©. I’m privately certain that this fear-of-God moment is what tipped the scale. The next day Ryan asked my father for permission to date me, and he’s been taking me out ever since.

He still asks the best questions, and he is a glorious man.


Loved the story and the love that shines through their relationship, even when you only know them through blogging. I wonder who's The Boss this month? 😉Thanks so much, Shari, for sharing your story with me!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Story #2: Introduction

Once upon a time -- three years ago maybe, three and a half? -- I stumbled upon a blog. I have tried my best to remember how I found it. Did somebody share a link somewhere? Did I click on the author's name in the comments on someone else's blog? I believe it was the former but I am not certain. All I do know, is that when I discovered the goldmine, I stayed.

I spent ...well... way too much time going back through the archives the other day, trying to remember when I first started reading. I found my first comment in May of 2014 and that's about as close as I'll get, I suppose. Not that it matters, really. It just would have helped to make this little intro post more interesting and complete, which would satisfy a particular something in my writer heart.

Nevertheless, once upon a time I stumbled upon a blog. The author was a certain Shari Zook who, I eventually put together, was the daughter of the famous John Coblentz. My parents knew John Coblentz, see; these kinds of connections are important, you know.

Shari immediately swept me in with her Confessions of a Woman Learning to Live. I dug back through the archives and played catch up and then eagerly received each new post. I alternately laughed and cried. I applauded her authenticity and stood in awe of her deep thoughts, around which I often struggled to wrap my small brain. I stole her birthday ideas and heatedly hashed her singlehood and marriage ideals with the man at my house. I ached at her losses and rejoiced with her gain.

I've never met Shari in person; she probably has no idea I've felt all these things about her writing. Blogs are an illusory way to form "friendships"; if the bond formed through words can even be given that title. I've always imagined Shari as older and wiser and just a bit above attainable to a shy, backwoods girl from Arkansas. In my searching back through the archives the other day, it dawned on me suddenly that I am, in fact, older than she. That doesn't prove the other sentiments false but it does show how imaginations can go wrong.

Shari very graciously agreed to share with me the story of how she met her husband, Ryan. I am honored to have her here and I hope you will hop over to her blog and enjoy her refreshing honesty and candid take on life. Story coming tomorrow......

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Story #1

Ken and Danette Martin

How does a shy girl from the backwoods of Wisconsin end up marrying a witty fellow from a well-populated region of Southern Ontario, Canada? We say it’s a mystery, agreeing with Solomon in his description of “the way of a man with a maid”, and that it is “a thing too wonderful” for us – it had to be God-orchestrated!

Even before the two of us met, I had heard a little about Ken’s family from my dad since both he and Ken’s dad were ministers and their paths had crossed on numerous church-related occasions. The summer I was 17, I went with my family to weekend meetings held at Ken’s home church area near Waterloo, Ontario. Evidently Ken and I met there for the first time at a get-acquainted social for the youth one evening after the church service (likely on his 17th birthday). We don’t clearly remember it, but we signed each other’s papers during a Name Bingo game. Since that was back in the era I saved everything, I was able to come across my paper with Ken’s signature some years later.

The winter before those summer meetings in Ontario, both Ken and I had been to Maranatha Bible School (Lansing, Minnesota) as students, albeit different terms. The winter following, we both attended MBS but managed to miss each other again; Ken went the first six weeks and I went the last six. We now joke about the way it seems that the next winter I decided “enough of this avoiding each other” and I signed up for all 12 weeks of MBS 1984. Ken was there for the last six weeks that year. During the first three weeks that we were actually at Bible School at the same time, we weren’t together a whole lot. I thought Ken was just one of the many in a passel of Canadians that attended MBS that term, and he thought of me as just one of the Schrock twins, either Danette or Annette.

The final 3-week term that year, though, was when we began to take note of each other. We ended up taking the same three classes, so we experienced the same teachers and study material. Sometimes in the smaller classes, we’d sit in desks near each other and chat a bit. It dawned on me one day that Ken knew which one of the Schrock twins was Danette, and that fact was significant to me. He cared enough to learn to tell us apart! Did it mean anything?

When the students began the end-of-term ritual of exchanging photos of themselves, Ken requested one of me, as well as one of Annette. Since my twin and I had depleted our stacks of photos in a prior term, I had nothing to give Ken but a promise to mail him a picture of me after I got home. At home after Bible School, Annette and I got more photo reprints and sent them to our friends. In most cases, we’d both send a photo and one of us would write a friendly little note. I specified that I wanted to address the envelope and write the note when we sent pics to Ken. And, I included in the customary “Keep Christ #1”-type blurb written on the back of my photo for Ken: “May God bless your future.” These were little details that were significant to Ken much the same as I had taken notice of Ken’s ability to tell us twins apart.

That summer, we saw each other again at a mutual friend’s wedding in Missouri. Annette and I were waitresses at the wedding reception and we talked with Ken and his brother Steve very briefly when we served their table. Ken’s carload had been planning to leave the area right after the reception and travel to Indiana to take in the last services of the Midwest Fellowship Meetings in session there that weekend, but car trouble changed those plans. Ken couldn’t get the replacement part for his car until Monday so he and his passengers were at the same church as I was on Sunday morning. That gave the two of us more chance to visit. During the after-church fellowship meal, we talked together long enough to tell each other our Bible School plans for the next winter.

Every summer at some point Ken needed to discuss with his dad and brothers the question of who should go to Bible School for which terms. It always took some juggling of schedule to accommodate his dad’s teaching, the boys’ preferences as students and the farm/orchard responsibilities at home. Ken wanted to go for a term that included a choir program, but he didn’t know if he could convince his brothers to allow for that when they had similar wishes.

I told Ken that I would be going to Mountain View, Arkansas to teach school that fall, coming home to Hayward, Wisconsin to be with my family for Christmas vacation, and then going from there to attend Maranatha for the first three weeks. Inwardly, Ken perked up at this news. Earlier, when he had somehow gotten word of my upcoming teaching position, he’d just assumed that I wouldn’t be able to take time off for being a student myself.

After the fellowship meal that Sunday on the Missouri wedding weekend, the youth played volleyball, but I didn’t join in because I had a very sore toe. The inexplicable pain had increased with the walking I had done while serving at the reception the day before. When I got back home and was limping around, one of my aunts teased me by saying that it all came of chasing out-of-state fellows. My twin nudged me later and said, “Hmph, it’s more like an out-of-country fellow!”

The morning after Ken got home from the Missouri trip, his dad told him at the breakfast table that they really needed to decide who is going to MBS for which term. “I’m going to teach second term, and Steve is going to graduate fourth term…I’m sorry, but I think I can let you off work for only one term, and it will have to be the first term…” Normally, Ken would’ve balked at readily agreeing to this plan, at least without due debate, but since he had just learned that his favorite Schrock twin would be going first term, he quickly consented with an “okay, Dad – no problem” attitude.

We hadn’t gotten very far into that first term at MBS 1985 together until Ken knew for sure that he wanted to start a dating relationship with me and I was quite certain that he had a special interest in me. So when he came over to me in the library corner early one morning, I was pretty sure what he was after before he started speaking.

Back in those years at Maranatha, there were 10-minute outdoor walks and 20-minute chapel talks allowed as opportunities for guys and girls to get to know each other a little better apart from all the group activities and goings-on at Bible School. Ken wanted to ask me to go on a walk with him, but how could he find a time and place to ask me privately, when they were always people around every minute of the day? One morning he got ready for breakfast earlier than usual so he went into the library to do some homework before the breakfast bell. As he entered the library he noticed I was sitting in the area of the room that had been sectioned off as work space for yearbook staffers. He went to a table in the main part of the library and sat down with his books, to study. He couldn’t focus on his studies, though. He thought, “Here’s my perfect chance to ask Danette alone. Likely it’s now or never.”

He got up and walked over to me in my corner and asked me if I’d consider going on a walk with him that afternoon. For me, it hadn’t been a falling in love at first sight kind of feeling with Ken, but I thought that maybe I was headed toward a growing in love kind of feeling for him. I knew by this time that he was a steady, solid-character sort of person who valued many of the same things I did, and I knew that I wanted to get to know him better, so I said yes. Our first walk together was kind of awkward and scary, but exciting at the same time.

When Ken asked me to go on another walk with him soon after that, I said I’d rather not, without really explaining my reason: I felt swamped with homework assignments. Ken was afraid that my apparent disinterest meant I didn’t really like him after all. He felt so relieved and happy when later he asked me to sit with him at the farewell banquet of that term, and I consented with no hesitation.

Before we parted ways that final weekend of first term, we decided we’d continue to communicate via letters and phone calls. Since the mail service between Arkansas and Ontario wasn’t exactly speedy, and because we waited to write until it was in answer to a letter we’d received from the other, the space between those first letters was very long – several weeks, for sure. The phone calls between the US and Canada weren’t exactly cheap, either. Ken called me about once a month for the first while.

We saw each other next at the summer Midwest Meetings in Indiana that July. To this day we don’t exactly know what to say was our first date. Was it that first walk together on the village streets of Lansing, Minnesota during Maranatha Bible School 1985, was it when we attended the first term banquet as a couple that year or was it when we visited my uncle and aunt one evening after the aforementioned meetings (the first time we drove together somewhere in Ken’s car)?

Our relationship continued to develop steadily over the next few years. We got engaged in March of 1988 and were married on October 22 of that year. From the time we went on that first walk at MBS to the time we walked down the wedding aisle as Mr. & Mrs. Ken Martin, 3 years and 9 months had elapsed. So ours was a lengthy courtship while maneuvering the bumps and hazards of a long-distance relationship. It’s been worth every effort and we have many pleasant memories of that time in our lives. As my mom used to say, “All good things take time.” It did take time, and it’s been very good.

Ken and Danette with their family


Thank you so much, Danette, for sharing your story with us. Wishing you many more years of good things!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Story #1: Introduction

Years and years ago - 32 years in August, to be exact - a shy little six year old girl went off to enter the big, wide world of first grade. Along with her two brothers, she attended a small, church school about twenty-five minutes from her home. Her teacher's name was Sister Marcile and her brother's teacher - the one with the puffs of hair over her ears and the cool glasses, which she pretended to imitate in her play by turning her sunglasses upside down - was Sister Schrock.

It's funny, the little things that stick in your mind from when you were six. I was the first grader back then and my first story for this June of story time is Sister Schrock's.

Danette was one of those special teachers who not only left an impression on her students but also formed friendships with parents. For years, she and my mom exchanged Christmas mail, bringing each other up to date year after year with the news of their families. I remember the year my parents stayed with Ken and Danette while attending the annual minister's meetings and the stories they brought home about all the apples on Martin's Family Fruit Farm.

About a year and a half ago, when I was doing my second birthday giveaway in honor of my mom, who should I discover in my comment section but Danette Schrock Martin?! That comment was the beginning of a re-connection between the shy little first grader and her brother's teacher. Since then, Danette has continued to bless me with her comments on my blog and I have enjoyed following her "attempt to write a thousand words a day by posting a photo daily" at Dani's Daily Thousand.

I will be back tomorrow with the story of how Danette met her husband, Ken.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Leaks From My Heart and Story Time

My heart is full these days. It would seem appropriate to relieve some of the fullness on paper, lest it burst, but I'm not sure what to leak out? Do you really want to hear me raving about this man who's turning 40 today?

How he stands by the van to open my door and looks at me like this as I come walking up because he's crazy like that and I love it?

How he keeps me flexible by planning vacations and disclosing the details with a text at 3:43 p.m. that says, "2 nights. Leave in the morning by 8."?

Visiting Niagara Falls

See the Maid of the Mist?

Visiting Almanzo's childhood home

The Wilder's large barns

The fairgrounds where Almanzo took 
his prize winning pumpkin

How he cares more about spending time with his wife and children than adding to his bank account and proves it with actions, large and small?

Venturing off course to take time to throw rocks and wade in the lake just because

Noticing the trucker 
with the sense of humor

I think you might get tired of me leaking all the mushy things in my heart about the man turning 40.

Instead, I could just talk about the man I'll be celebrating 16 years of marriage with tomorrow.

How his black and white take on life brings clarity to my colored view; how his spontaneity mixes with my predictability to produce a measure of sanity; how his make-the-most-of-every-moment balances my worry-about-every-moment.... I could also talk about the many ways these differences drive me crazy but now you are all getting bored and wondering where you could find some more interesting material.

Good news for you, it's June! And that means story time on this blog. If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain. This will be the fourth year I am using our anniversary month to share "How We Met" stories. Each year I ask several ladies to share with me the story of how they met their spouse and then I share them here.

If you've never gone back and relived the memories and details of how you and your spouse met, maybe this month will inspire you to do so. I promise it will be a worthwhile venture!

This June I have several stories lined up to share with you again. In the mean time, you can go read our story here and you can catch up on the stories from 2014, 2015, and 2016. Happy reading!