Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Post To End The Year

It's almost time to bid 2016 good-bye. I'm not good at looking back, giving 365 days a sweeping overview and concocting a tidy analysis of all that was, wasn't and might have been. I'm also not good at looking ahead and, as many do, choosing a word for the new year. It sounds so magical when others talk about it. I tried it once and come about March I couldn't even remember what the word had been.

So, I'm not really sure why I'm trying to write an end of the year post. Maybe because it seems like the thing to do? I would always want to be sure to do the expected thing, you know.

I did do a quick check back through the titles of my blog posts for 2016 to get an overview of my year. I give every post a label (or more often several labels), so I did a quick review of those too. In my reviewing I discovered that - not counting the labels in the January and June series - I used the labels "humour" and "tid bits" the most often at seven times a piece. "Grief" came in a close second at six. "Building" and "new house" fell low on the list with only two a piece which shows you .... well, if you take seven plus six and subtract two you'll see what it shows you.

Not Much.

Except that, if you knew much about 2016, you would realize that it was dotted with "building" and "new house" a lot more than twice a piece! I suppose what that really shows is that I get tired of talking about it. Or maybe, on a much deeper level, it had far less of an impact on my year than I would have thought.

On further consideration, I think I'll go with Not Much.

Looking ahead at 2017, I will leave you with two things. First of all, I don't have a word for the new year but this quote says a bit about the desire in my heart for the year ahead ----

-- Thomas Blake

I want to learn to draw more deeply from the source of all strength; to meet my days with my ear tuned to His voice.

Secondly, I am planning to do another series for the month of January. I'll be starting with the first post on Monday, so you can get ready to listen in and contribute all your valuable input in the next days and weeks.

Thank you to all of you who keep coming back here to read in my little corner. You bless my life, you really do.

Having said all of that, I shall hit publish and add the label "humour" to this post thereby giving it the highest usage of eight. I now feel that my year has been a success. Amen.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Winner!

Two days after I posted the birthday giveaway, I realized that I never said when I would select a winner. Whatever. I guess it didn't really matter, just bothered the perfectionist part of me a little.

I confess I wasn't especially into the birthday giveaway idea this year. Almost I skipped it. How long do you keep dragging up the subject, after all? And besides, my ideas for the package felt lame and pulled together at the last minute.

I guess I forgot how fun it is to read the comments that come in ... or maybe I was afraid there wouldn't be any this time. At any rate, y'all didn't let me down and I loved hearing the ways you are like your mom. Thank you so much for commenting and making my day!

It's always hard to pick a winner. I'm usually tempted to hand pick my favorite comment or the person I think "deserves" it the most. But I was a good girl and numbered my comments and used I commend them. I couldn't have picked better myself!

Years ago, on the day my mom turned 43, a baby girl named Kayla was born in our community. I don't know how old Kayla was when her mother began the tradition of giving a gift to her "twin" every year on December 13 but for years and years my mom received a birthday gift. I now own one of them!

I think it's very fitting that chose Kayla to be the giveaway winner this year! Kayla, send your address to and I will get the package sent your way.

Christmas vacation begins this afternoon and we are getting ready to settle in for a whole lot of no plans. ☻Whatever your plans are this Christmas, I hope you find the love of Jesus filling your heart. May the remembering of His coming to earth bring Hope and Joy and Life to you and yours.

Merry Christmas from the Eichers!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Birthday Giveaway!

On this day, seventy-three years ago, a baby girl was born. The youngest in a family of five, little Lavina took the spot of 'baby' in her family. Thirty-six years, one month and twenty-two days later, another little girl was born and little Bethany Ann took the spot of 'baby' as the youngest in her family of six. I don't know the numbers but I could actually back up and tell of another little girl born who took the spot of 'baby' in her family. That little girl was Katie, and she was Lavina's mother!

Lavina's first grade picture

As you may have figured out, Lavina was my mother and today she would have been 73. It was always special to me that my mom was also the 'baby' in her family. Probably mostly because I could count on her to stick up for me when it came to the "spoiled baby" conversations. I always loved to hear her come back to people who said that the baby in the family is always spoiled, "Well, it wasn't my fault!" she would tell them.☺

For the past two years since mom's death, I have done a little giveaway for her birthday. It's been a fun thing for me, especially getting comments from people I had no idea were reading my blog!

This year I am, again, filling a brown envelope and sending it to one lucky winner. Several of the things that will be included are ---

* A little collection of some of the articles mom wrote for a column in the Calvary Messenger that she edited for many years. It's nothing fancy but it's special to me.

* A Little Lavina paper doll for the little girl in your life who needs a gift from you. Or maybe to stick in your drawer for that special something for little people to play with when they come to your house.

* A CD with my daughter, Jasmine, playing on the piano. Again, it's nothing fancy or professional, just a recording we did ourselves and it has to be played on a computer. Mom always took an active interest in the things her grandchildren enjoyed, so it seems fitting to include this in the package.

* Anything else I decide to slip in the cracks!

For a chance at this birthday giveaway, leave me a comment telling something you share with your mom -- a character trait, a physical similarity, likes/dislikes, anything!

And, if your mother is still living, be sure to let her know how much you love her today!

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Stye, A Quilting and A Prayer

"Please God. Won't you please just heal this eye so that it's all better in the morning?"

It was the wee hours of the night, and the subtle pain I had felt in my eye the evening before was definitely worse. I had known it felt like a stye coming on but had desperately hoped I was wrong. Surely, surely God didn't want me to have a stye in my eye. I had an invitation to a quilting the next day!

This whole story may seem silly to you. A stye, a quilting and prayer? I mean, really.

You have to understand that I love to quilt. From as far back as I can remember, my mom quilted quilts for other people. As a little girl, I remember sitting with her at the quilt. She would give me a needle and a thread with no knot tied in the end and I would happily make stitches and pull them all the way through. Once, someone even put one of my doll quilts in the frame and let me "quilt". There's a picture in the family album to prove it. Sitting at a quilt, and stitching away, is one of the most enjoyable and therapeutic things in the world for me.

"I know you can heal eyes, God. Won't you please just heal it? Whatever you see is best God but I would really appreciate it if you would heal it."

Even in the wee hours I had the sense to add the 'not my will but yours' part of the prayer. I had so been looking forward to going to that quilting but I realized that God knew that. And he knew a lot more about everything else and I realized that too.

I woke up in the morning to a fat eye and a sinking heart.  I shot my friend a text saying I would see how it went and between fixing school lunches and urging people to keep moving, I retreated to my room for a quiet moment with God. I wanted to just sit on my bed and cry.

Ok, I did cry.

Then, as I prayed, something prompted me to say Thank You. Thank you? How do you say, "Thank you for this stye in my eye" when the very last thing you're feeling is gratefulness? Is it even worth saying the words when that's all they are, no true feeling behind them?

But I did. I said the words. And as I opened my mouth and said, "Thank you for this stye in my eye" I added something like "Because it gives you a bigger opportunity to show yourself strong and receive the glory." As the words came out, I suddenly realized this was more about me changing my attitude than anything else and I was amazed to feel a twinge of excitement rise up inside of me. How would He do it? What would bring Him the most glory?

I should explain that I can't really take the credit here. Many moons ago a speaker sowed the seeds in my mind and that morning they brought forth fruit. As clear as day, I can remember this speaker telling the story of Lazarus and how Jesus waiting, not going to him right away, created an opportunity for God to receive more glory by raising Lazarus from the dead, than if He had gone right away and just healed him.

God longs to show himself strong on our behalf but too often we're so busy trying to fix everything that we don't even give Him a chance. Don't waste good problems, the speaker said! Thank God for them and stand back to see how He will show Himself strong.

My eye was not miraculously healed after I said thank you. It did feel enough better that I was able to go to the quilting and have a good day. But my outlook on life, and my attitude about the stye in my eye was healed.

When I said Thank You, it was no longer about how things had to work out in order for me to be happy. It was about realizing that God had a bigger picture here and the stye in my eye was part of it. When I said, "Thank you God for this. Do your thing and be glorified," it allowed Him to do just that. And the main place that He did it was in my heart.

Monday, December 5, 2016

When The Sun Shines

When the sun shines
on a winter day in Ohio
you take note.
I'm not complaining
but there it is,
Winters in Ohio are Grey.

This afternoon the sun 
burst through the clouds 
and my heart sang.
 I grabbed my camera...uh, phone...
and started clicking, capturing random patches of light around the house.
I reveled in the bright rays 
contrasting with dark shadows
and the imagery took me to the 
One Who Is Light.

This is the result when the sun shines.....

"... I am the light of the world. 
whoever follows me 
will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

"Every good and perfect gift
is from above,
coming down from
 the Father of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change
 like shifting shadows." James 1:17

"But ye are a chosen people,
A royal priesthood,
A holy nation,
God's special possession,
that you may declare the praises 
of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." I Peter 2:9

"Your eye is the lamp of your body.
When your eyes are healthy,
your whole body also is full of light.
But when they are unhealthy,
your body also is full of darkness.
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness." Luke 11:34-35

"The light shines in darkness,
And the darkness has not 
overcome it." John 1:5

"The unfolding of your words
gives light.
It gives understanding
to the simple." Psalm 119:130

"... God is light;
in Him there is 
no darkness at all." 
I John 1:5

May your week be filled with light!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sisters By Choice

Sisters are one of life's sweetest gifts. And then there are sister-in-laws; sisters by choice, if you will. I am privileged to have four of them, three of whom live in Ohio.

This past weekend I spent time with the Ohio three over the Thanksgiving holidays. It hit me one evening as we sat together what a unique gift we four have been given.

We all grew up in different communities; several of us in different states. We have no blood relation to each other; we may not have even struck up a friendship had we met each other in a crowd. Our one common choice that brought us together was the decision to marry a son of Marvin and Janice Eicher. Our husbands had no sisters, so here we are, thrown into the role of sisters and the daughters that our mother-in-law never had.

We spent yesterday shopping together, along with our mother-in-law and the two oldest grandaughters. Sisters will always have the edge on the whole sister thing, since they grew up with you and know all your quirks inside and out. But sisters by choice are a pretty good lot to have too, at least mine are!

What a fun day yesterday was. We laughed together, exclaimed over each other's treasures and gave The Shoppers (you know, the ones who are always the last to make it to the check out line?) a hard time about always keeping the rest waiting. We disagreed on our taste in pictures and fabric and love of books. We told stories and made memories and learned to know each other just a little better.  At the end of the day we went home to the bond we all share -- a brother we call husband.

Those three will probably never know me quite like my sisters do. They didn't grow up with me and they don't know all the stories surrounding my childhood without having them repeated. I'll probably never be quite as free to be completely transparent with them as I am with my sisters. But we share a special bond that has formed a friendship and I am thankful for each one of my sisters by choice!


Quote of the day:
      I'm sitting on a chair, waiting for ... cough cough ... The Shoppers, when an older gentleman joins me on the chair to my left and says, "What are you doing sitting here? This is where the men sit!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve

It is 'Thanksgiving Eve' and the house is dark and silent, everyone cozy in their beds but me. The fridge is full of food prep for the morrow and the one day of the year when we specifically pause and take note of our blessings.

My heart isn't particularly overflowing at the moment. Not because I have no blessings, far from it! More because I haven't paused to specifically take note.

I was sitting here just now, relaxing in the stillness, and I came across something I wrote during the 500 Words for a week challenge titled "Blessings of four years with 7 people in 726 square feet". With a new house and twice that space just waiting around the corner out of my grasp, I must admit, 726 square feet is not a blessing I have been taking note of too much lately.

So, I thought it interesting that I should have happened upon my writing and that, just maybe, it was no strange coincidence that I should be reminded to take note of the blessing of 726 square feet on the eve of Thanksgiving. I remember a time when 726 square feet was, indeed, a huge blessing to be taken note of and one that I did not take lightly at all!

Five years and four months ago we packed up our belongings and moved our little family from Arkansas to Ohio. For one year we lived in with Chris' parents and then decided to renovate the shop building he had built before we were married. Four years and four months ago we dug our belongings out of dusty, dirty boxes and made these 726 square feet our home. It was amazing to have our own space once again. There was no need to stop and take note of the blessings, my heart was fairly bursting with them!

Time has a way of dulling our memories and I now take every square foot of the 726 for granted. In fact, most of the time lately I chafe at every one of them, knowing that three miles down the road is a house on the hill that promises so many more if only they would ever get completed. And so, tonight as I read over my list of blessings of living in this house, I decided it might be a good thing to stop and take note of, these 726 square feet we call home. Maybe you would like to hear them too...

1) Clean up takes so little time when there's so little space!

2) It cuts down on purchases dramatically. I have no room in my kitchen for all those extra gadgets so I'm not buying them! Same goes for furniture and decor and even, to some extent, clothes...

3) Nobody has the space to go off and do anything by themselves. We're all right here. Together. We hear everything, see everything, know everything...pretty much.

4) There is so much less to take care of. I'm convinced I am far less busy than other women partly because I live in such a small space.

5) It's a great place to teach contentment.

6) It gives an opportunity to cultivate creativity and finding unusual ways to make things work - all the clothes on hangers in the laundry room, bunk bed with full on the bottom and single on the top to accommodate three kids in one room, key board in our bedroom because there's no other space, plastic drawers under short hanging items...the list goes on and on.

7) The little perks - being able to reach anything in the fridge while staying seated at the table, having everything in the kitchen within two step's reach, not needing to gather hangers from hither and yon when doing laundry, and so forth and so on.

8) Hands on examples of the principles of simplicity and contentment lived out for our children in a way that would not have happened other wise.

9) Having only four windows makes the job of cleaning them quite simple (although they still don't get done very often, cough cough).

10) I've had a very valid excuse to not have company over .....wait..... Maybe not so much. I just thought 10 would look better than 9! 😄

Of course, for every pro I could probably name a con. But on this Thanksgiving Eve I am choosing to pause and take specific note of the blessings of 7 people in 726 square feet. The biggest blessing of all is a warm house and the 7 of us all here together and I am so very, very thankful for that!

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. May you find time to pause and take note tomorrow!

Friday, November 18, 2016


This is going to be a disjointed bit of hodge podge because that's all that is forthcoming from my brain these days. I thought it sounded more delicate to call it Potpourri......

I went shopping by myself yesterday and decided that maybe I could be a Shopper one of these days, when my children are all grown. I'm not one, see. I shop but I rarely Shop, if you know what I mean. I go to town, and go to two stores, and get the things on my list. Shoppers go to fifteen stores and get all the things on their list at discount prices, plus a lot of other things not on their list that I would never even think of looking for.

On second thought, I doubt I could ever be a Shopper. But it was fun to go to town by myself.

Sometimes I do get in a mood and I buy things like this --

Or this --

That I don't even know what I am going to do with. It's fun to shock my husband now and then. He's been known to require me to buy things on shopping trips.

I don't know why this thing grabbed my fancy but it did and here's where it sits at the moment.


Sometimes I come to the realization that I need people. I have this notion that I can do life very well alone, just me and my people under our little roof. But even loners get lonely and sometimes we have to force ourselves out of our holes and have someone over or go do that thing that takes us out of our comfort zone. We end up being better people for it, until we forget. Again.


Several weeks ago our church had communion. I was laying in bed the night before, trying to figure out what I was going to say the next morning when I needed to give my testimony. Often a certain verse immediately comes to mind or an experience or something but I felt completely blank. Just empty. As I lay there thinking, God seemed to say to me, "That's how I want you. I want you to need me."

He's been impressing that on me a lot lately. I would rather be a spring of life where the water continually bubbles up joyously or a river, that never runs dry. God seems to want me to be a water hose and I need Him to, minute by minute, supply the water running through me.


Can someone give me a recipe for keeping children from growing up?

This child here is just too cute and I cannot imagine life without him and his delightful imagination that makes me laugh or his cuddly, snuggly, kissy-ness.

But, oh yeah, it was fun to go shopping by myself.........


I have another question for you, and this one is serious. Can you live by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law? Or do you have to live by one or the other?


Recently I started a little "Five Minute Friday" page on Facebook. Every Thursday night I post a prompt and on Friday we set our timers and write on that prompt for five minutes, then share it with the group and share encouragement with each other. If you're on Facebook and would like to join us, we'd love to have you! Last week we wrote on "The Color Green". I'll wrap up this rambling potpourri with the little story I wrote about my Very Green Dress -----

Once upon a time, almost 17 years ago to be exact, I was a young girl getting ready to go to VA for a year of voluntary service at a home for handicapped children. I needed new clothes, so I went fabric shopping and one of the pieces I chose was a corduroy-like, Very Green piece. I made the dress and wore it happily...and quite often. Especially, I guess, on the occasions that my boyfriend came to visit me in VA. I rather liked the dress and it was new, so I happily showed up in Very Green.

Well, much later I found out that my boyfriend really did not like that Very Green dress!! Any green material, in our fifteen years of marriage, has to have the Very Green dress brought back up and talked about and made to sound worse and worse as the years go by! And so goes the story of the Very Green dress that came to mind when I thought of the color green...


A happy weekend to you all. May all your potpourri smell sweet.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Then Shall Live

There are a lot of words being thrown out there right now about our country and the election and all that goes with it. I'm not sure it's necessary to add any of mine to the masses. I am not a politician nor even interested in politics, as a general rule. Chris was looking at video clips about the election last night and I had to keep asking him who the people were, that's how much I've kept up with the news!

I don't have any great words of wisdom or prophecy about the future. I don't claim to believe anything about the election results except what I believed before them: God is in control.

The words of this song, by Gloria Gaither, seem like a good prayer for myself, and I will leave them for you to ponder.....

I Then Shall Live

I then shall live 
as one who's been forgiven;
I'll walk with joy
To know my debts are paid.
I know my name
Is clear before my Father;
I am His child,
And I am not afraid.
So greatly pardoned,
I'll forgive my brother;
The law of love
I gladly will obey.

I then shall live
As one who's learned compassion;
I've been so loved
That I'll risk loving too.
I know how fear
Builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see
Another's point of view.
And when relationships 
Demand commitment,
Then I'll be there
To care and follow through.

Your kingdom come
Around and through and in me;
Your pow'r and glory,
Let them shine through me.
Your hallowed name,
O may I bear with honor,
And may You feed
A hungry world through me.

The tune for this song is the same as "Be Still My Soul". You can listen to the song here

I Then Shall Live by Gloria Gaither Copyright © 1981 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at / Harry Fox   () All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Five Things That Make My Husband A Priority

I'm laughing to myself at my title. I am not a "Five things" or "Ten things" kind of person. For one thing, we all know there's not usually some secret formula with a certain number of steps that makes anything in life work perfectly. For another thing, I don't talk about this kind of stuff. I do not enjoy writing things that, in any way shape or form, make me out to be this person that has it all together and now I think I need to advise you. Don't enjoy it.


The other night Chris and I were talking about marriage - listening to a podcast on the subject together, actually. The speaker hit on the subject of us mothers and how we are so busy and exhausted and feel like we have nothing left to give at the end of the day when our husbands come home. (Yes, the speaker was a woman.) Right in the middle of that part, Chris shook his head and suddenly reached over and hit pause.

"Just hold it right there," he said. "That is not really the issue. The issue is that most women don't think it's necessary to make their husbands a priority. How many of those "exhausted" women would jump at the chance to go shopping with a friend? How many of them would have time for the neighbor lady or time to bake cookies for a church project? But when it's their husband, they are e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d and have nothing left to give; he doesn't even make it on their priority list."

I'm thinking he has a point.

Once upon a time I gave some Unsolicited Dating Advice. I emphasized that a dating couple should focus on becoming best of friends. Our best friends are pretty high on our priority list, right? They see us at our best - and our worst, for that matter - but we take time for them because we want to be with them; we like to be with them.

As newlyweds I'm pretty sure we would have all said our husband was our best friend. Then children came along and our responsibilities grew and our time shortened. It was easy to start thinking, "Well, my husband is my best friend, he can handle less attention," ...if we actually stopped to think that far. Most of the time we didn't even stop to think. Our husbands just got pushed to the back and the noisier, more pressing things took first place.

I think what is important in a dating relationship just might be doubly so in marriage. If I am concerned about obedience to the Lord and his plan for marriage, than one of my goals will be to respect my husband. And if my goal is to respect my husband, it is important - even necessary - to make my husband a priority!

All of this got me to thinking, what things do I do that make my husband a priority? I thought of a number of things that I try to do...and a number of things I could do so much better! Most of them seem small in and of themselves and I certainly don't always do them perfectly but I decided I'd share five with you. So, in no particular order, here are five things I thought of that I try to do to make my husband number one on my priority list:

No work after supper. This is something I remember being a goal my mom and dad tried to live by and I think I sort of subconsciously took it into my marriage. There are, of course, exceptions to this but as a rule I don't start any big projects after supper. When the children were small, Chris would often want me to come sit with him after supper and leave the dishes. That was a tough one for me but I'm glad for every time I did it. These days my children do supper clean up and you will often find me sitting on the couch with my husband's head in my lap being "lazy". ☺

Make food that he likes. My children know that when daddy is home for supper we rarely have soup or tortillas or homemade pizza. It's not that He would refuse to eat them, it's just that I know those aren't things he enjoys. After a long day at work I think he deserves to have food that he enjoys! I often ask him what he is hungry for and plan supper accordingly.

Be available. My husband is a spontaneous person, so maybe this applies more to me than other wives. I try really hard to be flexible and lay aside my neat little "planner" if I get a text asking me to run an errand or help with a project. When our children were little Chris had his own business. Many, many times I would pack everyone up and go hang out with him at the job. Sometimes I could help but mostly he just loved having us there! My work will always be there when I get back home but I never know how many days I will have with my husband.

Care about what he thinks. Maybe that sounds silly but too often I catch myself caring about what everyone else thinks and disregarding my husband.

Say yes in the bedroom. This one should probably be at the top of the list. It makes the prude-ish, Mennonite girl in me blush but I think it needs to be said. Think of the thing your husband does that makes you feel the most loved. That thing that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and close to his heart. That thing that connects you to him and makes you so thankful he is the one you get to do life with. What if he would tell you he is just too tired and exhausted to do that for you as often as you tell him that in the bedroom? Yeah. Changes the picture a bit, huh?

There's so much more that could be said! What things do you do that make your husband a priority? I'd love to hear from you....

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On Needing Each Other

Two long days of traveling and four days away total and I'm home again. Home to little arms squeezing my neck; home to piles of laundry and an empty fridge; home to fill the role of wife and mother once again.

It's hard to find words for the past four days. The short version is that my dad had open heart surgery on Monday to replace a valve. My siblings and I were all gathered for the occasion and he is doing well. The long version is full of many more emotions and feelings and details.

For some reason I've found it the easiest to remain silent on the subject. It's been a little much to process - heart surgery less than three months into a new marriage and a new chapter in our family's history. Quite frankly, I wasn't sure I could handle the sympathy and the questions and the pity. I don't understand either what God has in mind but I'll be fine, thank you very much or something along those lines.

But that isn't quite fair, because when you're sitting calmly in a waiting room with the knowledge that a surgeon's knife is splitting your father's breast bone, you are keenly aware that it's the prayers of all those people you didn't feel like talking to that are holding you up and carrying you along. And during that horribly long hour between the time the surgeon comes to tell you they are taking your father back into surgery and the time he returns to tell you all is well, it is - again - the prayers of many that allow you to find rest even when the knot in your stomach almost convinces you to get rid of that free continental breakfast.

We need each other, we do. Some of us think we would rather do it on our own and some of us try to find our strength in numbers. The truth is, none of us can make it on our own and most of all, we all need Him. Sometimes He is enough in the quiet corners of our own bedroom as we clutch His promises and find peace in trusting His sovereignty. Sometimes He shows himself in skin with hugs and food and text messages saying "I'm praying". Sometimes He even appears in the questions and the sympathy that we think we don't want because we need Him and we need each other.

I don't know what other surprises God has for my story. I do know that I am happy to trust it all to someone who sees a much bigger picture than I do. I can testify to the fact that when I am in the midst of hard, the 'something different' I claim to have in my life does make a difference and I am convinced part of that comes from the multitude of fellow believers who lift me up and carry me on even when I go silent and think I would rather just do it myself.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dear Mom

I was hurrying along through Aldi, list in hand, gathering up groceries as fast I could with four children in tow. This was the last store, and we were tired of shopping. Suddenly, there they were, Mom. Memories washed over me as I gazed at the pile of acorn squash with their sale price waving like a flag in my face.

Ahh, how you loved acorn squash, Mom. You would accept them happily from dear old 'Ervin Dorothy', who always seemed to end up with an abundance of them. We would all groan, knowing exactly what was coming next: acorn squash with meatloaf tucked inside was sure to be on the supper menu. We turned up our noses, even daddy, who willingly ate almost anything. The only redeeming factor was the meatloaf and even that could hardly make up for the stringy, yellowish-orange squash that also had to be eaten.

Standing there in the grocery store, memories flooding my mind, I hesitated only a second, Mom. Then I picked a pretty, green squash from the pile and added it to my cart, just for you....well, sort of.

Actually, your efforts to teach us to like all kinds of food paid off, Mom. Somewhere along the line I acquired a taste for acorn squash and the sight of them there on the pile made my mouth water. I would buy one, just for me.

The past week has been hectic, Mom, and the acorn squash lay neglected til I noticed, with alarm, it had developed a bad spot and needed to be used. I intended to fix it yesterday but time got away from me and I finally had to give it up. Today, though, I was determined.

I cut the bad part off and reduced my meal to half a squash - two halves would have been too much anyway. Then I scooped out the seeds, tucked some hamburger inside and popped it into the oven. As I scurried around finishing up other projects, I looked forward to my lunch. But I hadn't taken into account one thing, Mom. Or maybe it was several things.

I never asked you how to make acorn squash, for one thing. Then again, maybe the ones grown by your dear friend were just that much better than Aldi has to offer. Whatever the case, my lunch didn't turn out to be that great. I dabbed on the butter and sprinkled the salt but it still lacked the flavor my memory had envisioned. Quite possibly it should have been baked longer but I was in a hurry, so I ate the softest part and pitched the rest and thought of you, Mom. I'm sorry I didn't carry on the tradition of making my children learn to like all kinds of food but they were quite happy to hear I was buying the squash just for me!

Some things you just never forget and acorn squash will always make me think of you, Mom.

Love you,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Did He Do It?

I don't know if this fall is more gorgeous than usual or if I'm just taking more notice of it for some reason. Either way, it's been gorgeous. The weather has been absolutely perfect and the trees... I can't even describe the beauty.

Pictures don't really do it justice either but I'm going to give you a little peek at my drive to school this week...

Have you ever wondered if God cared about you? Somehow the fact that He would go to the bother of making trees look this beautiful for a few days in the Fall convinces me that He does.

Does the fact that a tree has beautiful leaves make it a better tree? Does it make the fruit it produces more tasty? Not really.
Why did God bother?

Maybe He was just having fun, 
who knows?
Maybe He hoped it would 
make us think of Him;
cause us to worship.

Maybe He wanted us to realize 
something about Him.
There's something special to me about serving a God who loves beauty.

Maybe He wanted to put an ache 
in our hearts for Heaven.
Can you imagine a place that is so much more beautiful than this?

Maybe He just wanted to 
brighten our days.
Stop and think about how dull 
and hopeless a black and white
 world would be!

Whatever the case, 
something inside of me aches
at the sheer, glorious beauty of it all.

And I worship 
with awe
at the feet of a Father
who creates such beauty
Just Because.


Had you been following me  this afternoon on winding 
little ol Pennyroyal Road, 
you might have wondered what ailed the crazy lady in the blue van who kept stopping in the middle of the road and sticking her phone out her van window every couple hundred yards.......

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If You Build Your Wife A House

If you build your wife a house, you will almost certainly need to buy some land.

And, if you need to buy some land, it follows that you will need to have lots of money.

If you do not have lots of money, you will search for something cheap.

And, if you search for something cheap, chances are, you'll buy a steep hill.

If you buy a steep hill, your wife will look at it skeptically and say, "Build a house here??"

And if your wife says, "Build a house here??" You will say, "Yes!" And proceed to make a lane.

If you proceed to make a lane, your wife will say, "How am I ever going to get up and down that thing in the winter time??!!"

If your wife says, "How am I ever going to get up and down that thing in the winter time??!!" You will say, "Oh, it's not that bad."

And if you say, "Oh, it's not that bad." Your wife will continue to insist quite firmly that it IS.

If your wife continues to insist that it IS, you will begin to check out concreting the lane and getting a fourwheel drive.

But, if you check out concreting the lane and getting a fourwheel drive, you will begin to wonder how you will afford building the house?

If you begin to wonder how you will afford building the house, you will shelve the lane and start building.

If you start building, your wife will look on and say, "I just can't even believe that we will ever actually live here."

If your wife gives such encouraging support, you will close your mouth and keep working.

And, if you close your mouth and keep working, your wife will look at the progress and say, "Wow. This is getting exciting!"

If your wife thinks it's getting exciting, you will smile and start putting up walls.

If you start putting up walls, chances are pretty good your wife will stop at the bathroom door and say, "Why in the world did we make this bathroom so tiny??"

If your wife fusses about the size of the bathroom, you will sigh and say, "So how should we have done it different?!"

And, if you say, "How should we have done it different?!" Your wife will look at your bedroom with disdain and say, "This bedroom is HUGE! We could have easily moved this wall over a foot and made the bathroom bigger!!"

If your wife says the bedroom is HUGE you will roll your eyes and say, "Just wait until you have everything in the room." And move on to the kitchen.

If you move on to the kitchen, you will need to decide on kitchen countertops.

If you're deciding on kitchen countertops, you will want good ones because you used to make and install countertops.

If you used to make and install countertops, you will search around for the best buy.

And, if you search around for the best buy, you will buy the material up, have them made and get them installed.

If you have them made and get them installed, your wife will walk in the house and try to look pleased and finally say, "That looks terrible with the cabinets! It doesn't go together at all."

If your wife says it looks terrible, you will try to show her it does match and tell her the flooring will tie it all together.

If you say the flooring will tie it all together, she will look at the flooring and say, "Why did we pick that? Now nothing goes together!!"

If your wife continues with this nonsense, you will sigh and keep slogging along on the job.

And, if you sigh and keep slogging along, things will get done slowly, bit by bit.

If things get done slowly, your wife will quietly get more and more discouraged and say things like, "I'm so tired of telling people the same old thing when they ask about the house!" and "We might as well just say we won't get in the house til spring and get it over with!"

If your wife begins to be so discouraging, you might say, "Hey, do you wanna just live in The Shack By The Road and forget it??"

And, if you ask her that question, your wife will say, "No. I really want to live in The House On The Hill."

If your wife says she wants to live in The House On The Hill, you will need to keep building the new house.

And, if you build your wife a house....

Friday, October 7, 2016

Love Is

Love, what is it? Is it feeling, emotion, fleeting, lasting, life-changing, easy, hard, deep, shallow......

What is love?

Love is starry eyes and racing heart. Love is blushing cheeks, quivering stomach, sweaty palms and flashing smile. Love is whispered words and  a soft, gentle touch. Love is roses and chocolates and gifts and surprises. Love is a tender kiss, a warm embrace, a squeeze of the hand, a long look across the room. Love is intimacy in it's purest form - consuming, passionate, exhilarating.

Love is all of this... but love is more.

Love is listening to another's heart; it is hearing the hurt and pain and responding with love and empathy; it is saving the answers and passing the kleenex and giving understanding. Love is an unexpected lunch date at McDonald's; it is a cold drink delivered on a hot day. Love is daily. It is packing lunches and doing laundry and cooking food and washes dishes and doing it all over again. Love is giving space when the going is tough; it is shoulder rubs and back rubs and foot massages and saying "I care"; it is making a favorite dessert or writing a note or simply sitting together. It is doing the little things.

Love is all of this... but love is more.

Love is picking up dirty socks and hanging up wet towels and fixing the bed. Love is wiping up spills and throwing away stray wrappers and popcans and cleaning the trash out of the car.  Love is quietly putting things away - shoes and clothes and books and papers and the milk. Love is dropping my schedule and helping even if my to do list remains undone. Love is biting back angry words and saying "I'm sorry" when they slip out unchecked. Love is admitting I was wrong and not adding the word "But...". Love is sacrificing my wants for another's needs, it is putting myself in another's shoes.

Love is all of this.... but love is more.

Love is opening my mouth when I would rather keep it closed; it is speaking the hard truth when I would much rather remain silent. Love is showing my support even when I fear for my reputation. Love is laying down my own preferences and accepting another's ideas. Love is praising the strengths and not gossiping about the weaknesses. Love is confronting wrong even though I would rather shove it under the rug.

Love is all of this... but love is more.

Love is a commitment; it is choosing fact over feeling, the high road over the emotional one. Love is forever. Love doesn't quit, depending on the circumstances. Love gets up and serves - today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Love is a Choice.

Love is all of this.... and it is probably more. Love is not the least, it is the greatest. Choose love; choose life; choose the greatest.

"And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love." I Cor 13:13 NIV


I am taking up a challenge to write 500 words a day for two weeks. I don't plan to post all those words here but this was the first day of the challenge and I thought I would share it. If you're interested in joining, check it out here!

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Full Run Down On My Baby Quilt Project

These days you can find a tutorial on pretty much anything. Who needs to ask grandma how to raise potatoes or patch jeans when you've got Google right at your fingertips? I could write an article on how social media is eliminating our need for relationships and, incidentally, I would be preaching to myself. To be honest though, I enjoy tutorials. Maybe it has something to do with the way I learn, I don't know, but I said I was going to give you the full run down on my project so here we go.

I think I told you how at the beginning of summer I had this big idea that I should piece quilts for the girl's beds? We actually went and chose fabric for Jasmine's quilt and one day after school started I sat down and marked off all the blocks. That's when another bright idea struck: wouldn't it be neat to make a baby quilt out of the leftover fabric to sell at our school auction?

I'll just tell you this right now, I get a lot of ideas but the amount of ideas that make it to completion is quite a bit smaller!

I confess, I really expected this idea to join the list of incompleted ones. For one thing, I've never pieced a quilt except for the simple nine patches I learned to sew on. And, since my mom didn't like to piece quilts, I kind of figured I might not enjoy it either. But I did it! And, biggest surprise of all - I enjoyed it.

Google was my friend for this project. If you want information on figuring sizes for the blocks and all the technical things, I found most of my information here and here. I was intrigued with the methods for sewing blocks together but maybe that's just because I knew so little about how you go about piecing quilts.

Before you start reading the rest of this, keep in mind that this was not a project I did in a day or even a week! I did a little at a time, pulling my stuff out when I'd finished my daily chores that I required myself to do first, doing the next step, then tucking it all away again.

I did things the old fashioned way. I made a square the size I wanted out of cardboard and used it for a pattern, traced all the blocks off and then cut them with good ol scissors. I'm thinking of investing in easier methods, maybe someone can give me a recommendation?

Once I had all my blocks cut out in nice, pretty stacks, I paired each colored square up with a white one and marked a line from corner to corner.

My next project was to sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side of all those lines.

Once that was done, I cut across all those diagonal lines. This left me with stacks of squares made out of a triangle of white and a triangle of grey or yellow.

Then I ironed. Put my ironing board down low, grabbed a chair, and ironed. My mom always said to iron your seams toward the darker fabric, so that's what I did.

I couldn't believe how much fun I was having. I felt sort of old lady-ish but maybe that's because I'm heading for forty and all but one of my children are in school and it's a whole new stage of life.

My next project was sewing all the yellow and white squares together and all the grey and white squares together.

Half of them needed to be sewed together pointing this way...

And half of them needed to be sewed together pointing this way. (The daisy fabric is in the grey stack in case you were wondering)

I wanted to use my fabric randomly but I did try to put a 'light' and a 'dark' of the yellows and greys together when I sewed these pairs. After those were all sewed it was time to iron again.

Now it was time to sew my pairs together to make blocks. This was fun because you could begin to see how the quilt would actually look.

More ironing once the blocks were sewed together. I used a little spray bottle with water as I ironed and my side kick thought that was fun ☺

Then came the fun of laying the blocks all out in rows and sewing them together. I tried to make sure no alike fabric was right beside each other but otherwise I didn't keep any sort of pattern.

It was fun, until I discovered I hadn't made enough blocks to make it big enough for a baby quilt! I almost changed my mind and turned it into a wall hanging but I ended up dragging the material back out and making some more blocks.

Once my rows were sewed together (and ironed once again), came the job of sewing the rows together and trying to line up all those seams.

It's not perfect but it actually turned out pretty well. Once more it was time for the iron and spray bottle and then came the part that I still think is the most fun - quilting it.

I used a big hoop since I don't have a quilt frame nor the space for one.

I had lots of help!

And last of all, since Mom wasn't here to call, my sister and Google helped me with the binding process. I'd helped with the hand sewing on the binding before but never actually sewed the binding into the quilt. I understand why my mom tried to not have to do that job when she quilted for people! Doing a baby quilt is one thing, a full sized quilt would be another story.

There it is, all done.

Mom always liked to see the back of a quilt and so do I!

And there you have it. Maybe when I'm truly an old lady I'll be the kind who makes quilts for all their children and grandchildren but I'm promising nothing.