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!