Friday, December 6, 2019

As A Middle Aged Mom

After a day of three children quizzing, a husband and son coaching quizzers, the youngest going to school as usual, the two middle ones going out for supper with their quiz team, the oldest being in charge of some youth plans, and the driver with the permit driving the rest of us to town, my mind went in the direction of this poem. Sometimes I'm pretty sure the diapers and night feeding had their own places where they were a breeze.......

* * * * * * * * *

As a Middle Aged Mom, 
My life is a breeze --
So much that there once was
Has passed into ease. 

No diapers, 
No nursing, 
No cries in the night. 
No feeding, 
No clothing, 
No soothing the fright.
No bathing, 
No teething, 
No toddlers who bite. 
No rocking, 
No bouncing, 
No settling at night. 

Of course there are new things, 
In Middle Aged life --
Five stages to mother;
One husband to 'wife'.

New scholars, 
New shavers, 
New youth out at night. 
New quizzers,
New freedoms, 
New drivers; what fright!
New thinkers,
New talkers, 
New questioning right. 
New dreamers,
New planners, 
New challenge alright. 

As a Middle Aged Mom, 
I have a suspicion.
This 'ease' that we speak of
Is false contradiction!

Calling Mom life a breeze, 
Is only to jest. 
How 'bout we embrace it, 
That each stage is best?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Of Thankfulness And People

A very, very long time ago -- back when I was a young thing on the youth committee -- I wrote a poem. As I recall, we had a Thanksgiving supper for our parents and planned a short program for afterward. I'm not sure how I got the job, much less the inspiration, but I wrote the following poem and doled out the parts to my group of fellow youth. Each narrator fit the description of the person in the part of the poem that they read. I came across it recently, and it made me laugh remembering. Thought I'd share it here this Thanksgiving week.....

      * * * * * * * * * *

Of Thankfulness And People

I've been listening to people, 
and what I hear is strange.
It seems they never like themselves, 
they always wish for change.

"I wish I was like Susan," 
I heard Rebekah say, 
"She always does the nicest things, 
helps others on their way!"

It seemed I'd no more turned around 
'til I heard Susan sigh,
"Rebekah always does things right, 
I guess I just won't try!"

The next complaint to reach my ears 
came from the lips of Jim,
"Don is so good at leading out, 
if only I were him!"

I looked at him in shocked surprise, 
for Don had just confided,
"Jim sure knows how to listen well,
sometimes I wish that I did!"

I looked around at others 
and scarce believed my ears.
It seemed they all would wish for change 
to be more like their peers --

"I wish that I would talk more." 
"I wish that I were quiet."
"If only I were bigger."
"I must go on a diet!"

Amazing this, the very thing 
that one would wish to change,
The other has and doesn't want, 
it all seems very strange!

The more I heard, the more I thought, 
and scratched my puzzled head.
"The things each has are very good, 
why wish for change?" I said.

I got my friends to help me think 
and figure this thing out,
Why people wish to change their ways 
and what it's all about.

"You know," said one, "If all were 'Dons' 
just visualize the mess -
"We'd end up in a sorry state of fighting, 
I would guess!"

"I'm glad there's 'Jims' to listen!"
" 'Rebekahs' sure are nice!"
"You know, I think each one of us 
adds our own bit of spice."

And there, I think, is when I saw 
what really is the key,
And that, my friend, is this, 
(and I'm quite sure that you'll agree).

It's when I learn to thank the Lord 
for just the way He made me,
And do the bit that I can do 
with each small gift He gave me.

It's when I learn to thank Him for 
the folks He's placed around, 
To do the things that I can't do
 that happiness is found!

I hope you'll find as we have found
 that this is really living,
We're ALL important and for that 
there should be great Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

An Un-typical Day

For one day, I gave eight children the pleasure of telling an adult how it's done. 

I sat in the big, important desk chair. 

Sixteen sets of eyes looked
 to me expectantly. 

I dug back in the archives of my 
Math Memory. 

I dusted off words like
"molecule" and "solar system".

I answered questions from people
 with waving hands. 

I read Charlotte's Web
and practiced my "Uncle" voice. 

I hung my coat on the hook on the wall. 

I carried my lunch like a child again. 

They called me Mrs. Eicher. 

I was a substitute. 

I was a substitute. 

They called me Mrs Eicher. 

I carried my lunch like a child again. 

I hung my coat on the hook on the wall. 

I read Charlotte's Web 
and practiced my "Uncle" voice. 

I answered questions from people
with waving hands. 

I dusted off words like
"molecule" and "solar system".

I dug back in the archives of my
Math Memory. 

Sixteen sets of eyes looked 
to me expectantly. 

For one day, I gave eight children the pleasure of telling an adult how it's done. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Yesterday it was 63 degrees and sunny most of the day. I hung out laundry and trimmed my mint patch and went on a walk with just a light jacket. This morning it was 27 degrees and my morning drive looked like this...

Hello Winter! 
I can't say that I'm ever ready for you
But I must admit, you are pretty.

It feels like a cozy, curl up with a blanket and a book kind of a day. Sadly, I don't have a book; maybe a nap would work too? I did listen to a book last week -- Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. It is a heartbreaking fictional story, based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals -- in which Georgia Tann, director of a Missouri based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. Be prepared to not be able to stop once you get started.

I don't really have anything thrilling or noteworthy to talk about but I thought I might just scribble down a few bits and pieces of general interest with no particular rhyme or reason.

* * * *

I like to sew. However, I don't particularly like to cut the items out that need to be sewed. Even more particularly, I don't like when it's been months since you've sewed a dress for a growing daughter and it's necessary to re-measure things and tweek patterns, etc. Worse yet is when you've done all of that, sewed the dress, and the try on session reveals that it just doesn't quite fit right. If there's anything I do hate about sewing, it's needing to rip things all apart and re-do them. Ask me why this is all fresh on my mind.... Sigh.

* * * *

Cooking is forever a thorn in my flesh. I complain about it way, way too much. In an effort to cut out my daily pleas for supper ideas, my longsuffering husband implemented a plan and exhorted me to stick with it.

He even printed me up
these nifty little lists

It actually really does help to have a plan, since the biggest part of my cooking struggle is deciding what to cook. My problem now is getting the children to fill out the list for me. It's actually rather funny. For all that my husband and I are opposites, in this area we are so much the same: we're terrible at sticking to any kind of a plan. When we come up with a new plan around here, pretty sure our children just smile because they know it won't last long.

* * * *

This fall our church started having "small groups" again. (We're split into groups of 4 or 5 families + some singles and each group does something together every other week or so.) I have really been enjoying our group. Our gatherings have been very informal with a small snack and lots of children playing loudly. What I have loved most though, is listening to each other briefly tell our life stories. I keep wondering to myself what would happen if we did this more? So much of who we are is shaped by our childhood, our family, the community we were raised in; things we often know very little about even after attending the same church for years. It's been so interesting and illuminating. 

* * * *

A blog that I follow recently wrote a post tilted Notes From An Untrendy Person. It made me chuckle and think of several pictures I snapped recently and sent to my sister. One of them was this one taken at our local Wal-Mart, with this message -- 

"And we used to hunt high and low 
for long socks!"

The other was a picture of a homemade baby dress some etsy shop was selling for forty dollars, made from the exact pattern I used for my own little girls back in the day. I'm not sure what I'm waiting on? Quite sure I have some of those vintage dresses stored away in a tote in the attic....

* * * *

I really should get off of this cozy chair and try to get something else accomplished. Besides, it's past lunch time and I'm hungry. Also, I need to decide -- if the sewing is this evening, and I take three children with me, do I stick to the meal plan for tonight or deviate to something more suitable for less people? I tell you, the need to eat is just a major complication in this life. 

Got any tidbits of life you'd like to share? I'd be happy to listen...

Monday, November 4, 2019

A Book Recommendation For Hank Fans

Do you know Hank? If so, this post is for you.

I didn't grow up on Hank the Cowdog. I think I may have heard of him before I got married but it wasn't until Isaac was around Charles' age that he became a permanent part of my life. When Chris discovered the row of audio books at the local library, it wasn't long until they began making a steady stream through our tape player.

I don't even know how to describe the books for those of you who aren't familiar with them? Back when my blog consisted of little snippets for blog posts, I wrote this little Hank bit about warm paws.  I roll my eyes over the silliness of the stories sometimes and I get weary of repeated listening but mostly, we all enjoy a good Hank The Cowdog story as a family. And, as Eicher tradition would have it, our children are experts at their own renditions of choice passages. The most hysterical to listen to are Isaac and Charles's. I will throw in this disclaimer here -- there is a bit of "language" included in the books that I am not overly fond of. As a whole, they are quite entertaining and wholesome.

Some time back, I listened to an interview of the author, John R. Erickson, and ever since then my fondness and appreciation of the Hank stories has increased. You can listen to the interview here. In my opinion, it would be hard to find a more humble, down to earth man than John R. Erickson.

Several months ago, I discovered that a new book was coming out titled "Finding Hank". The purpose of it was to give the author a chance to answer all the many questions he has received over the years about his writing. I decided it was a book this Hank loving household needed.

Our copy arrived in the mail last week and we have been thoroughly enjoying it. It is a lovely, hardcover book with lots of pictures and intriguing behind-the-scenes stories and facts. We've all spent lots of time looking through it and sharing the stories we've read. I love to watch Charles poring over the pictures.

These two pages are his favorite, with the pictures of the characters and the map showing all the places in the stories. 

 The book is divided into five sections, grouping the questions into different categories, which makes it easy to find any answers you might be looking for.

Probably a favorite section is part three, where John tells what inspired the characters and places in his books. There really were real life dogs that inspired "Hank" and "Drover" and many of the other characters were inspired by one or several people or animals the author knew.

If you have Hank the Cowdog fans in your life, this book is a must read!  You can buy it here or look it up on Amazon or in your local bookstore. I don't get anything out of this, I just thought you all should know.

One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from John's answer to the question, "Are you famous? Rich?"

"Am I rich? Hank has been a good dog and has brought me a comfortable standard of living, and I feel blessed for that. But what makes me rich is that I've been married to the same lady for fifty years, I've got three children and two dogs who like me, I have a clear conscience, and I sleep well at night. 

I'm doing what I want to do and I find meaning in it. Could a billion dollars bring something better than that? I doubt it."

Now that's the kind of attitude about life that I can get behind!

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Other Side Of The Camera

"There is nothing quite like the connection you share with siblings. Good times with these three over the weekend... remembering, laughing, making memories. I like us."

I spent the weekend with three of my siblings and shared those pictures and words on social media this morning. I wasn't going to but then I did anyway. 

They were true. 

We had a wonderful weekend. We talked and relaxed and laughed until we nearly cried. We did nothing and we did some sightseeing and we just enjoyed spending time with people who share our DNA and sense of humor. We ate and lounged and stayed up late and relished shedding all responsibilities. 

It is incredibly true that there is something about siblings that you will never quite find with somebody else. I am so very blessed to have a family who loves and cares about each other. 


It's also true that siblings and family are not all roses and sunshine. I've seen plenty of posts on social media just like the one I posted this morning that have left me feeling like my family must be lacking because, let's face it, there are hard things about family too. 

Sometimes the connection with siblings is painful. Sometimes there are things we don't agree with; things we wish we could change or fix. Sometimes we hurt each other or feel misunderstood. My family has a hard time getting things planned and sometimes the hassle feels like more drama than it's worth. 

My siblings and I are scattered farther apart geographically than we used to be. Since mom is gone, sometimes it's felt like we've drifted apart in other ways too. There have been times when it felt like the glue that held our family together was removed with her death and we struggled to hold together what we used to have. 

I love my family dearly. We share a connection and a heritage that I would never want to trade with anyone. Weekends like this past one make me deeply grateful for the way I was raised and the siblings God chose for me to share life with. 


I don't like to portray something that isn't the whole truth. It's too easy to show only the pretty side of the room and not turn the camera around and share the messy side as well. We hurt other people when we do that, leaving them feeling lacking and less than and not quite good enough. In the long run though, we hurt ourselves more than anyone.

And so, I wasn't going to post anything at all this morning, for that very reason. And then I did because, you know, that's just what you do. But then I felt compelled to turn the camera around and show the other side.....

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Bunny Trails And Bushes

I've been meaning to sit down and write this for days but it still feels like a lot of little bunny trails that may not connect very well. I'll try not to lose you in the bushes. 

Several weeks ago, Chris and I took a little weekend excursion. Thought I'd throw in a couple pictures of the beauty we took in....

This year our whole church has been reading through the chronological Bible. Every Sunday, the sermon and our Sunday school discussion comes from something in the past week's reading. It has been a really good experience; I'd recommend it to anyone! There's nothing quite like the whole lot of you reading exactly the same thing at the same time and having it crop up in day to day conversations. 

Last week we finally made it to the New Testament. What a flip of a light switch! It hit me like never before that the people Jesus came to in the gospels were those same people we had just laboriously read about in the prophets -- well, not literally the same people. But people with that same mindset; that same world view. No wonder it was so hard for them to get it!

Reading the New Testament after nine months in the Old is like chugging down clear, cold water on a blistering hot day. There's so much goodness there you can hardly taste it all properly but you keep gulping greedily and every so often some little nugget reaches out and snatches your attention, like this one in Luke 3 --

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” The crowds asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
Luke 3:7‭-‬11 NLT

For some reason John's response captivated me. I wonder if the crowds were caught off guard by it? I wonder if they expected something bigger, more eloquent -- share our food and clothes -- really, John?

Sometimes I make the Gospel so much more complicated than it is. 

All of this reminded me of a couple years ago when I spent a January writing about Treasure In Heaven. I took the time to go back and read those posts again, and my goodness. It's quite a feeling to be so convicted by your own words!

And then Matthew 7 came along...

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5 NLT 

Jesus fleshed it out a good bit more than John did, but it seems to me the bottom line is really -- Go get busy caring about other people. Stop nitpicking and judging and trying to prove how good you are. Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. And how do I do that? Start laying up some treasure in heaven!

This past week I determined to intentionally do just that. I chose to do at least one thing especially for my household, at least one thing especially to the household of faith, and at least one thing for someone or something outside of my little circle. It was so good for me. I want to take up the challenge to refocus once again and do it some more... and keep doing it... until it becomes a permanent part of my life. 

Those are my bunny trails. I hope if you got lost, you find an exit soon.