Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gems from My Mother's Journal

My mother writes quotes she likes in the back of each journal.
Here are some from her brown 1998-2000 journal.

"In music's sweet harmony, I have all the proof I need of God."(Pat Conray)

"Do we receive Scripture by faith or do we receive it just as a good word?"(radio)

"Sympathy is your pain in my heart."(anonymous child-(God's Abundance-Miller))

"For nails would not have held the God Man fast to the Cross had not love held Him there."(from "A Book of Days"~Wright)

"Paul never in his life forgot the sheer lunatic joy and astonishment of that moment. He was blind as a bat for three days afterwards, but he made it to Damascus anyway and was baptized on the spot. He was never the same again, and neither, in a way, was the world."(Frederick Buechner)

"It was not God's intention for Adam to be humanly alone, even if he was spiritually fulfilled. Even though Adam had an unhindered relationship to the fulness of God, there was a sense in which he was not complete without a trusted relationship to another human being."
(Joseph Stowell, "Coming Home")

G.K.Chesterton was asked by a reporter, "What would you do if the risen Christ were at this very moment standing behind you?"
Chesterton looked the reporter squarely in the eye and said, "He is."

Freeman's Archives~Take Fourteen~age 3

Freeman put his cap on and said, "I look perfect."

Freeman saw rabbit guts. "This looks terrible," he exclaimed.

Everytime we've prayed lately, Freeman adds,"By the power of your blood and your death on the cross."
I asked him who taught him that prayer and he said, "Ollie did."
Ollie is Phil's mother's brother; Freeman's Great Uncle Ollie. We lived on his property and saw him often.

I was eating a Bing Cherry.
Freeman cried, "Don't eat him, he's bleeding!"
He had a pained expression on his face.

Freeman-"Mommy, you're my best friend."

Freeman, snuggling, stroking my face, "I love you, Mom. You're beautiful. "

Freeman looking at a picture,"That man is chewing on Jesus' robe."
The man was kissing Jesus' robe.

September,1987~(One year after my brother Abe's wife passed away.)

Me~"We need to pray for Uncle Abie. He misses Aunt Naomi."
Freeman~"Aunt Naomi's alive!"
Me~"She is! Where is she?"
Free~"In Heaven!"
Me~"Who with?"
Me~"What's she doing?"
Free~"Planting seeds with Him."

Freeman~"I want Sarah to come here. Sarah misses me."

Free~"Doesn't Merle have a car?"
We often saw Merle jogging.

Freeman~"There's somethin' that got me a spankin'...those white things." (He had covered the living room with styrofoam peanuts)

Freeman's Archives~Take thirteen~age 24

I went to Bible Study Wed. night.
I am feeling pretty relaxed there.
I got wrapped up in a pretty quilt and stretched out on the sofa.
Steve took a picture of me with his camera and sent it to Freeman.
He texted,"Your mama."
Freeman texted back, " The only reason that quilt looks as good as it does is because my mama is wrapped up in it."
Wasn't that sweet?
Steve wrote back and said,"Your mama says,'That's my baby.'"

Book Report~Luke

Author: Luke
Time: 59-70 A.D.
Theme: Jesus the Savior of the World

Luke purposed to give '"an orderly account" " of all that Jesus began both to do and teach."'
Luke stressed that Jesus was not only the Jew's Messiah, but He was the Savior of the whole world.
Church tradition says that Luke was a physician and a close associate of Paul. It is thought that he also wrote the book of Acts.

One time I read through Luke and noted all the physician-type words he used.
Here are some:

orderly account
conceive in your womb
full time came for her to be delivered
with child
brought forth her firstborn Son
days of her purification
Those who are sick, need a physician...

Luke was obviously an intelligent man.
He believed in Jesus Christ and wanted all peoples-Greek, Jew, Samaritans, the rich, the poor, the outcasts, etc. ,
to believe in Him also, and to know Him as Savior, Messiah, and Lord.

Book Report~Galatians

Author: Paul
Date: 55-56 A.D.
Theme: Justification by faith alone

There were legalists in the church (Judaizers) who were teaching that upholding Old Testament laws were necessary as well as belief in Christ. They accused Paul of making the gospel more attractive through compromising the enforcement of O.T. laws, especially for the new Gentile believers.
Paul encouraged the believers to be free through faith in Christ and to use their newfound freedom to live a life of righteousness in Christ.

Key verses:
Gal. 2:16~Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Christ
Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in
Christ and not by the works of the law;
for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Gal. 2:20, 21~ I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law,
then Christ died in vain.

Gal. 3:13,14~ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us
(for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")
that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus,
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Gal. 5:1, 13~Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,
and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage...
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty;
only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.

Gal.5:22,23~ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Gal. 6:14~ But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world had been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Book Report~Ephesians

Author: Paul
Date: 60,61 A.D.
Theme: The Glorious Church

Paul wrote to the Ephesians while imprisoned in Rome.
Jesus addressed the Ephesians when He gave messages to John recorded in Revelation.
Jesus rebuked them for leaving their first love and praised them for not putting up with evil.
(See Rev.2:1-7)

Paul explains what the purpose of the church is.
The bottom line is this:
The purpose of the church is to be a dwelling place for God here on earth.
He wants to express Himself in all His fullness on the earth through the church.
He does this by giving us gifts, which we are to use in order to help each other to grow to maturity.
He wants us to be a stable, unified church, resistant to the winds of opposing doctrine, and full of love for each other. He wants us to be equipped, mature, and victorious over evil through His Son, Jesus Christ.
This is all for the praise of His glory.
He is committed to build a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle.

Just as our body is the temple of the Living God,
so His church body is the temple of the Living God.

We are His dwelling place here on earth.

I love Ephesians.
Because of who we are in Christ, we do the things that portray His nature.
We don't do those things to earn a position in Christ.
We have the position; we have been forgiven; therefore, we act in this way.

Eph. 2:20b-22~...Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
in whom the whole building, being fitted together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together
for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Eph. 3:9,10~...and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery,
which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God
who created all things through Jesus Christ;
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God
might be made known by the church to the
principalities and powers in the heavenly places,...

Eph. 4:11-16~...And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets,
some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature
of the fullness of Christ;
that we should no longer be children,
tossed to and from and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,
in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
but, speaking the truth in love,
may grow up in all things unto Him
who is the head-Christ-
from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which
every part does its share,
causes growth of the body for
the edifying of itself in love.

He has given us gifts to edify the body. We use them to bless the body.
We have children's programs, and S.S. programs and Bible Studies, and Youth group.
We do those things to edify the body; to bring it to a place of maturity.
We do this so Christ can have a healthy body to live in on the earth.
He wants to show His glory through the church.
If He is able to show His glory through and in a healthy church, others will want to be a part of what is happening.

Having a holy place for God to dwell is our motive, our focus, and our goal.

If we build it, they will come.
If He is among us, they will come.
If we are an Honor to His name, they will come.
The lost will come and be found and will grow up in a healthy family.
And Christ is the head of this home.

This one's for me

Last week, my first-grade student, Justin, drew a picture of his brother's gravestone on one side of a paper and a living, breathing, swimming, fishing brother on the other side. I wrote about it in "Woeful Heart," just a few writings ago. I had wanted to keep this picture but he wanted to take it to the gravesite.

This week, Justin drew a colorful picture of ski-jets. As he left the classroom, he handed it to me and said, "This one's for you."

I have it pinned up on my classroom wall.

Book Report~The Canaan Creed

"The Canaan Creed" by L.P. Hoffman

My husband read this book at 12:00 noon one day last week.
This is unheard of.
His boots were on.
His cap was on.
He was dressed for work; but he was reading.
He finished it.
He described the book as 'fun'.
I wouldn't describe it as 'fun.'
It made my heart pound.
But Phil can watch CSI and I can't be in the same room while it is on.
Just the accompanying music freaks me out.
So, in comparison to CSI, "The Canaan Creed" was 'fun.'

L.P. is a personal friend of mine.
She wrote this book to explain and perhaps expose radical environmentalism.
She understands Wyoming, politics, and human nature.
I don't want to tell you too much.
But it is a book I would read again tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I promised someone else my copy.
She wants to use it for her book club.
If you want to order a book, it costs about $15.70.
I can help you get a copy if you want one.
I am so proud of L.P.Hoffman.
You go girl!

P.S. I literally hid this book from Phil under my pillow so he couldn't start it until I was finished. He knew it and said that he had another book he had to finish first anyway. It is still unfinished.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bless the LORD and Vice Versa

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.
The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion! Ps. 134:2,3

Imagine blessing Him with uplifted hands in our church service
and feeling the pressure of Hands on our hands.
We open our eyes and He is standing there,
blessing us with His presence, love, acceptance,
and freedom from sin and shame.

What can we possible bless Him with?
What does He want from us?
He has everything.
We have nothing.
He is everything.
We are nothing.

Perhaps that is why we worship-
Because He has and is everything.
We worship Him and bless Him for being Who He is.

Perhaps, in turn, He blesses us
because of who we are. 
We bless Him
for being God and He blesses us
because we are His own.

Perhaps, He also blesses us because of Who He is.
He is Love and so He loves us.

I like to think of Him
standing in front of me
while I raise my hands,
worshiping Him.
I like to think of His hands of my hands
or His hands on my head,
blessing me in Zion,
as I bless Him in the sanctuary.

That is why I don't sing too loudly
or shout so He can hear.
That is why I don't jump or
raise my hands too high.
He is so near.
I don't want to hurt His ears.
I don't want to tramp on His feet.
I don't want to smack Him in the face.
I worship gently and deeply
for He is near.

"Let all the earth keep silence,
so we may hear the whispers of God."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Jesus promised that He would not leave us comfortless. He promised to send us another comforter, the Holy Spirit. He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. We cannot find His physical body here, but He is closer to us than He could be if He was still with us in body. He is within and He is our comfort. He is our Comforter.

My physical heart is within me. It keeps me alive. I don't think about it much. I just live. My living gives life to others. I don't have to try hard to be alive. I just let me heart do its work.

Even so, Christ, through the Holy Spirit is within me. He keeps me alive. I don't think about it much. I just live. His life in me gives life to others. I don't have to try hard to comfort others. I just let The Comforter do His work.

It takes more effort to hold back the flow of God than it does to let Him flow. We think we cannot do it. We think we don't have what it takes to help another. So, we shut down His flow. We think it is ours. We think it is our energy. But it's not.

We do not stop the beating of our heart around those who need us.
Why do we stop the flow of the Comforter to those who need us?
Why not let His heart beat within us?
Why not let His mercy flow?

From My Kitchen Wall~2008

Drop thy still dews of quietness
'Til all our stivings cease.
Take from our souls the
strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace. ( J.G.Whittier)

Romans 5:17~
...those who receive
abundance of grace and of
the gift of righteousness
will reign in life
through the One,
Christ Jesus.

"God is never so far off~~
He is within.
Our spirits are the homes
He holds most dear."~
(Royal Messages of Cheer and Comfort~1909)

Jesus did not say He was the
true oak or olive or cedar,
but the "true vine."
It is the only tree that is tied to a stake,
and that bleeds to bless. (S.M. Zevemer)

Psalm 84:5..."in whose hearts are the
highways to Zion."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Glimpses of Family History by Truman Hertzler~#3

When Levi's family, my grandfather, left Tennessee or was it Virgina, they put their furniture on a railroad car. Grandma Katie baked a large can full of cookies and put it on with the furniture. But, Fred Stoltzfus, Grandma Katie's nephew, got on the car and ate all those cookies. At this time, Fred's mother wasn't living, and I guess he looked out for himself.

I remember some of the chairs we had around our kitchen table. One time, Aunt Mae or somebody like Aunt Mae said that they were their Tennessee parlor chairs. But, at the time, as I recall, to me, they were old-fashioned in the wrong sense of the word. At that time, for the most part, things that were old-fashioned were considered second-rate.

When the family got here to Summit Level Farm, the buildings were in pretty good repair. One of the buildings had a corncrib on one side and pig pens on the other. At that time, I suppose the average weight for a pig to be butchered would have been between 350 and 400 pounds. They didn't know about feed conversion but they knew it cost money to buy young pigs and the bigger they got, the more they got out of them. These days we know that if a pig reaches 250 pounds, from then on, the profitable feed conversion goes down. Meat quality would go down too.

All of the uncles would come together for butchering. They would usually butcher four to six pigs. One of the jobs for the ladies was extracting the leaf lard from the innards of the pig, which was done in the kitchen. I could hardly stand the strong smell of the intestines. One time Anna Yoder, who was often rather sassy with me, knew how I couldn't stand that odor, and she helped me put my coat on so I could go outside. In those days, lard was an important part of the diet.

Daddy had a 22 rifle and he shot the pigs. One time, we butchered at Uncle Milford's and they only had two pigs. That seemed strange to me-only two pigs! They butchered the pigs in what they called "Country Style." They didn't split the backbone and make pork chops. They took out the tenderloin in one piece and they cut the backbone out and cooked it in sections. They were brought to the table in sections and people would eat the meat off the sections of backbone. I didn't like meat much anyway, but my little sister, Martha, really liked it. They called that bone meat.

The uncles knew how to butcher. Uncle Gene had been a professional butcher. They made lots of scrapple. One time, the men who helped Uncle Jake butcher, asked him if he wanted lots of scrapple or if he wanted it rich. In other words, how much corn meal should we add. But he said, "I want lots of it and rich."

We always made souse for Grandma. That was pickled pigs foot jelly.
We didn't have it much on our table. I never learned to eat fish and oysters. Daddy said, "That was because we couldn't afford to buy that when you were small. The only extra we bought, other than what we raised, was jellybeans at Easter." At Stiteler's store, they had black ones available, but I liked the colored ones better.

One of the remembrances I have of my mother was being with her in a market when she bought spinach. I didn't like spinach.

There was a lady who came to our farm with a horse and wagon with yard goods and also finished garments. She opened up a little boy's suit that was my size-shirt, pants, and a tie. It looked so nice to me. I remember how my mother looked at it and I am sure she wanted to buy it for me but she knew we couldn't afford it. The lady folded it up and put it back in her wagon. But sometime later, I came into the kitchen, and mother had a little pair of dungarees warming on the oven door. I was so happy to know they were mine. She smiled and said that I could put them on right away, which I gladly did.

I always treasured what other people told me about my mother. A lady who spoke highly of her was Oliver Shenk's mother from Ohio. Some said she had no faults. Many members of Grandpa Shenk's family used to get together at the Shenk home in Denbigh. Oliver Shenk's mother said that a number of them were cooking on the stove at the same time, and somebody pushed aside the kettle my mother had put on the stove, and she accepted it quite patiently. At Uncle Ray and Aunt Clara's 50th wedding anniversary, Mrs. Jacob Shenk from Harrisonburg, told me that my mother had introduced her to my mother's cousin, Jacob Shenk, and later they were married. One of the best things was what Bishop Truman Brunk said of my mother years after she died. They had been in the same age group at the Denbigh Mennonite Church. He said, " She was a peach of a girl and a real saint."

She was frail of health in her youth, and asked to be anointed with oil. She envisioned having a mission outreach at Newport News and gave a dollar to the ministers for that. The church was established. As far as I know, it is still there.

I remember my brother Paul, 2 1/2 years old, and I, four years old, had to take an afternoon nap, which we didn't like. There were some chocolate covered pills on the mantel above the fireplace in the bedroom. I had Paul help me pull the bed over to the mantel and I got down the pills. I sucked the chocolate off mine, and spit out the pill. Paul chewed his down. I remember the lady that was helping my mother tried to make us swallow raw eggs so we would vomit. I really didn't need to because I hadn't swallowed the pills and I suppose it was too late for Paul. They took Paul to the hospital, but he died. Later, I asked my mother, "What's Paul doing up in heaven?" She said with a smile, and she always smiled, "I guess he's singing." Even though I got the pills down, nobody ever laid the blame on me, to my knowledge, for his death.

Not long before my mother's death, which occurred in May, she set me on a little child's chair we had, and read me the Easter story. The name "Barabbas" stuck in my mind. I didn't remember hearing it before. I guess I didn't get much from the story except that, but somehow, I remember my mother's care in doing that.

My mother died from pneumonia. As I have the story, she planted some strawberries in wet weather. After she was bedfast, a lady was staying here with her, and I think my father was staying up with her the night she died. But I suppose, he thought it was safe to get some sleep and went upstairs to bed. I suppose that the lady saw that my mother was near death. She called my father, and he hurried down, but my mother was gone.

Our family was always close to Uncle Paul Sauder's family in New Holland. Aunt Alice was my mother's younger sister. My father asked Uncle Paul to tell us that mama was gone. He said it was one of the hardest things he ever did. I remember it as a sort of belabored situation which didn't seem any use to me. He said, "Your mother looks as though she's sleeping." My father had Uncle Paul speak to us to shield us from the shock, I guess. Of course, we knew our mother was gone. I was five years old. Dan was nine, Kit was seven, and Martha was one. Near the time of her death, my mother gave birth to a baby girl, who also died, and was buried out of sight in the same casket with my mother.

My father gave himself for his children and wanted to spare us grief. He lived by principles. I think it would have been good if he had cried with us. I remember how he cried at the grave which was the only time I saw him cry. At a funeral of someone who was not so close to us, he cried, but I think he was remembering my mother's death.

Many years later, on one occasion, he said, "I gave myself for my children," and shed tears as he said it. He never remarried.

Immediately, after my mother's death, Aunt Mae Hershey came and took care of us for awhile. Her ideas of child discipline were a little different from my mother's. She gave us food once between breakfast and lunch and once between lunch and supper. I was used to asking my mother for food when I was hungry. I was irked at Aunt Mae's schedule.

Later on, Lydia Stoltzfus, a maiden lady from Conestoga congregation, came and took care of us for some time. I remember her reading stories to us and she talked about the 'House Amish' which was a new term to me. But she evidently remembered when the 'House Amish' and the 'Church Amish' separated. The Conestoga Church we went to was the 'Church Amish.'

Then, Mary Yoder, from Denbigh, came and took care of us for over a year. She was a daughter of my father's cousin, Irene, who was a daughter of Grandpa Levi's brother Isaac-one of the founders of the Denbigh Mennonite community.

Kathryn Mast came to be our housekeeper in 1937. My mother passed away in 1935. Kathryn stayed with us until 1965.

To be continued...


Monday, February 23, 2009

Freeman's Archives~Take Twelve~3 1/2 yrs old

Me-"I like you so much."
Freeman-"Thank-you! I like you so much mom!" (3 1/2 yrs old)

Me-"You are so sweet. You are so precious."

"Gabe is wonderful." (our dog)

Freeman-about his S.S. papers~"Got these from department Sunday School."

I put my hand on my pillow. Free yells, "That's my mouse! Don't squish it!" We weren't even pretending anything. I stuck 'it' down his PJ's and he was upset. He reached in and tried to get him out.

Freeman~"Don't touch the shells. It's dangerous."

Freeman-chiding~"Annette, eat your Cheerios. They're good; they're not yuck."

Freeman burped long and loud~"Hear that?
That's a cow saying 'mooo' "

Freeman introduced me to Vernon Stoltzfus~"This is my son, Annette."

Kel Zook said to Freeman,"You're a funny guy."
Freeman said,"My mommy's a funny woman."

Me~"I'd like a hug. I wonder if I could find someone to give me a hug." I looked under a chair. Freeman said, " 'bout me?"
He gave me a hug. Freeman~"The cat wants a hug too."(It was a ceramic door prop cat)
I said,"I like to hug you better. You're soft."
Freeman smiles, "Thank-you."

"Ladies and Gentlemen and cookies and 'nanas and rice pudding.." He stood behind the baby piano like he was announcing something.

"I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up. Sarah's the mommy in my house."

Next day-"I'm gonna be a shepherd when I grow up. Remember that?"

I was singing Vernon and Melissa's wedding song,"I'll believe and hope and trust in you..."
Freeman says,"Are you singing that at me?"
"Yes, I am."
"Don't trust in me. Don't trust in me."
"Whom shall I trust?"
"Jesus. Jesus...and Sarah."


The other day, I went to my chapel to pray. I was fighting panic in regard to a situation we are facing. Immediately, I thought of reading Psalms 74. These are some of the words I read.

"Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old..."
"The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary..."
"O God, how long will the adversary reproach?..."
"Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast! Do not forget the life of Your poor forever."
"Have respect to the covenant;...Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!"
"Let the poor and needy praise your name.."
"Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;..."

As I read these words, I felt encouraged to pray for the Body of Christ, especially at New Life.
What if
when I feel overwhelmed in the area of finances, I pray for all those who are also feeling overwhelmed in the area of finances?
What if when I feel worried about a child or a parent, I pray for all those who are worried about a child or a parent? God knows who they are.
What if when my marriage is facing the enemy's assault, I pray for all those whose marriages are facing assault?
And so I prayed for the congregation we are planted in with the words of this psalm.
May all of us who are poor and needy praise your name.
Deliver us with your own right hand from the damage of our adversary.

I left my chapel with peace in my heart.
I do not face any trial as a lone wolf.
Surely others are facing the same trials.
When I prayed for those in our body,
I prayed for myself as part of that body.
And suddenly, my burden was lifted and my trials were not random oppressions.
Surely God will plead His own cause, as verse 22 states.
And as He pleads His own cause, He will be pleading for my cause,
because I am His and He is mine, just as when I plead for your cause,
I am also pleading for mine.
And instead of feeling alienated with fear and doubt,
I am comforted with the presence of His people and His love.
Because I am sure He will take care of you and answer my prayers for you,
I am sure He will take care of me and answer His own prayers for us all.

Feb. 20-22, 2009~Hertzler Doings

Mom, Dad, and Micah, left our place around 9 on Friday morn. to spend the weekend with Tom's. The cow bones stayed here and I will need to dispose of them. On Friday eve., Phil, Michael, Susan and I went to Cornerstone Christian Academy to help with their pancake supper fundraiser event. It was great. There was a live Country/Bluegrass band made up of local talent. Phil made pancake batter in the kitchen and Michael made pancakes. Susan cleaned up her desk and classroom and I sold raffle tickets and took lots of pictures with the school camera. The place was packed with community and school folks all endeavoring to help make the school succeed. We are grateful to be connected with these dear, good people.

Susan spent the night with Hannah and they brought her back on Sat. around noon. We cleaned the house and prepared Sunday's lunch. In the evening, we went over to Tom and Helen's for a Pizza night. Helen makes the best pizza. We checked into Johnny's face book that a friend started up for the friends and family of John Hertzler. People write in their memories and their thoughts about his death. Quite a few photos of him are posted as well. It is always bittersweet to revisit his life and the pain of not having him.

On Sunday we went to church. Gil and Lindsay dedicated Adi. She went right to Pastor Frank when he held out his arms to her. He wished he could go somewhere and just snuggle with her; she was so warm and friendly. But I got to hold her and she fell asleep in my arms. There is nothing more wonderful than holding a sleeping baby in one's arms while worshiping God. Gil and Lindsay and the girls came to our house for lunch and we hung out together for the afternoon and then met in the back row of church to watch the movie, "Fireproof." Our church is being pro-active in giving support to marriages in all stages of growth and/or deterioration. It is a big challenge to provide help to so many people. I think the reason God hates divorce so much is because marriage is a symbol of His covenant with the church. His prayer for the church is that they would be one with Him and one with each other. Divorce is just the opposite of the answer of His prayer for the church.


Satiate-Webster's definition- "to supply with something to excess; to satisfy to the full"

The sponge was 'satiated' with water. It was dripping wet.

Jer. 31:14~"I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,
says the LORD."

Jer. 31:25~"For I have satiated the weary soul,
and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."

Verses I love from Jeremiah 31.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb.16-20, 2009~Hertzler Doings

Feb.16-Mom and Dad Hertzler and our nephew, Micah, arrived here Monday afternoon around 4:30. They came bearing gifts of food; frozen homegrown limas, raspberries, and chicken, plus produce, cereal, and maple syrup. Micah, five, brought along a "To-Do" list.

Micah's List:

~Play dinosaurs with Tommy
~Check bunnies with Susan
~Ride gator with Aunt Annette
~Play with Abby and Serena
~Eat Aunt Helen's pepperoni pizza
~Give out Valentine's
~Watch Three Stooges with Uncle Phil
~Help Susan with Easter Eggs

Micah and Uncle Phil watched Three Stooges every day. I told Phil that he's getting soft in his old age. Micah was jumping with excitement on the sofa, and Phil didn't say a word.

Feb.17~Freeman was preparing to preach his first sermon since school at Chi Alpha this night. Grandpa wanted to go hear him but Freeman said it would make him too nervous if we came. Even though he didn't feel like the sermon was coming together, he said that he was told by others that it was good, and he decided to trust their judgment.

Susan and Grandma formed buttercream and coconut eggs while Micah painted hardboiled eggs with food coloring. We went out to town to run errands and stopped in to see Gil and Lindsay. Mom and Dad were really impressed with this couple as well they should be. We decided not to set Dad up with his own blogsite at this time, but to write his stories on my blogsite. I will call him and get his and mom's stories over speaker phone and type as they speak. Lindsay was going to set him up with his own blogsite and she still will if we ever decide to take this route.

Dad and I traversed Walmart together and Mom, Susan, and Micah went their own way together. We came home and I made bread and Micah and Susan watched a movie and Mom took a short nap. I took a walk and visited my chapel. Later, I took Micah, Mom, and Susan for a ride in the gator and we visited my sweet sanctuary and also went down to the river. We built a little fire and roasted some marshmellows.

Feb.18~We woke up to sleet and freezing rain but since the temperature was 38 degrees, school was not delayed. It was hard to go back to school after our winter breather from Friday-Tuesday. Pastor Perkins, an associate of Dr. Hubler's, was working with him at school. He visited our 5/6 grade music class and gave them helpful and fun advice on how to sing better. It is always good for the young men to be instructed by a man who enjoys singing. Michael had his first driver's ed. class after school. He felt dizzy when he got out of the car. He was in the back seat while another student driver drove on back roads.
We had a turkey dinner that eve. and played Pick-One while the boy cousins watched Three Stooges and did wild cousin boy things with Micah.

Feb. 19~I blogged a story from Mom and Dad's bank of memories on the blogsite today. I'm very excited about getting these stories recorded. I took Micah down to a meadow where we dump dead cows. He hummed happily as he collected many bones and he wanted to get the whole cow skeleton put together. I discouraged him from collecting so many bones and he said, "But Aunt Annette, I want to be a scientist when I grow up." We have about 10 large cow bones out the back door here. Mom moved the car so he wouldn't see them when they left. We are hoping he will forget about them because we are not sure if Micah's mother wants to set up a museum in their house.
We watched more Three Stooges in the eve.

Feb.20~Mom, Dad, and Micah left around 9:00 to go to spend the next few days with Tom and Helen and their family. Micah couldn't wait to go play with Abby and Serena. We will go over there tomorrow night for Pizza. Tonight, we are going to help out with the Pancake Supper at school.

Glimpses of Family History by Truman Hertzler~#2

Phil requested the following story from his father.

Uncle Gene was an enterprising man.
He was Levi's second son which made him my father's brother.
He went with his cousin, Levi Yoder, to Slidell, Louisiana, where they worked as butchers. Levi was also just as hard-working as Gene. I suppose it was through Uncle Christ that Gene got a farm in Michigan.
He did alot of hard work there building the farmstead.

He would come home to Tennessee for the winter. One time as he was coming through Detroit, he saw a line of people along the street, and assumed they were lining up for free soup. He got in the line to get some soup, but as he got to the end, he found that Henry Ford sitting there recruiting workers for his car factory. When he sat down, Henry Ford said to him, "Well, what can you do?"
He answered with a certain amount of self-respect, "I can hitch up a six horse team as fast as anybody."
Henry responded, "You're not far from a fool."
Uncle Gene's quick reply was, " About three feet."
This evidently impressed Henry Ford and he said, " I want you to build generators for me. We're going to have to put self-starters on these cars for the women. "
So Uncle Gene worked for Henry Ford that winter.

Later, Uncle Truman, Levi's oldest son, and his wife, Kathryn, came to visit Uncle Gene on his farm and stayed there for awhile.
The flu epidemic occurred during this time and they all got it.
When they were trying to decide which one of them was the least stricken and could go to the barn to do the chores, Uncle Gene lowered his temperature on the thermometer so it would look like he wasn't as bad off as the others, and he went to the barn. But, Aunt Kathryn told me that he was so tired that he stopped to rest on his way to the barn.

I believe Uncle Gene went to Michigan full of self-confidence, gladly doing his own cooking and washing as well as the farm work, but after enjoying Aunt Kathryn's cooking and not having to mix that in with the farm work, he probably became aware that having a wife was a pretty good idea. He went back to Tennessee and found a young lady named Roxy Buffalo. To the best of my understanding, the name Buffalo was given to her father, because as a Cherokee baby, he was left on a doorstep wrapped in a buffalo robe.

Uncle Gene and Aunt Roxy went to Michigan. Aunt Roxy was startled when the neighbors came around the house and shot off their deer guns, which was their way of welcoming a new bride. They lived in Michigan for a number of years and had two little girls, but the Michigan winters were hard for Aunt Roxy. They sold out and moved to Pennsylvania near to where other family members lived.

Uncle Gene said to his wife and daughters, " I don't think it would be good for you to join the Amish-Mennonite Church. Just go to a church near to where we live. " So they went to the Ebenezer Church near their home. Uncle Gene was actually a member of the Amish church and his family was hoping that he would connect with their denomination, but Uncle Gene just went to church with his family, and did not formally join that church.

Uncle Milford, his youngest brother, remarked, "Everywhere Gene went, people liked to do things for him. " He rented a farm from a man named Lohr and they became friends. Mr. Lohr lived in a section of the farmhouse but we didn't see much of him when we visited Uncle Gene's. When it came time for Mr. Lohr to dispose of his farm, he wanted to will it to Uncle Gene, but his lawyer said that the family wouldn't be happy with that, so the farm was sold and Uncle Gene's family moved to another farm near Pine Swamp E.C. Church, and the family attended there.

They were always friends of the pastors who were rotated every five years in that denomination, but one pastor named John Bixler, somehow stayed longer and they became dear friends with him. When their daughter, Norma, got married, Pastor Bixler performed the ceremony.

This farm belonged to a Philadelphia lawyer named Baker, who grew up as a farm boy and liked to come and help at thrashing time. He would work hard pitching sheaves and get pretty stiff after doing the work he wasn't used to. Uncle Genes were good friends of the Bakers.

I guess the Baker farm was sold and Uncle Gene finally bought a farm near Pottstown. He became friends with the owner of the farm next to him and they worked together. One Sunday, our family and Pastor John Bixler visited them there.

One time, my father asked Pastor John Bixler to go with him to visit a neighbor on his deathbed, and they led him to the Lord. I was away at the time. It was probably when I was in PAX Service. (PAX is Latin for 'peace', but that's another story.) Pastor Bixler told me this after my father's death.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Micah's Story

My nephew Micah is going to tell a story. He is 5 years old.
He's been listening and watching as Grandma and Grandpa Hertzler have been dictating stories to me. Now it is his turn.

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. And this is horrible! There were 100 big bad wolves. They had a secret plan. They lived in trees and made tunnels, and they digged and they digged until they got under the floor in the pigs house. They scratched and scratched at the floor and they checked if the pig was there. And if he was there they'd go boomaboomaboom and run back through the tunnel to their trees. And if they weren't there, they'd go back into their trees and wait for the pigs in their tunnels.
Then they made themselves camouflaged and turned on the lights. They made themselves camouflaged with sticks and leaves and then they'd come to the pigs house. And I'll tell you what they did. When the pigs came, they couldn't see them because they looked like sticks and leaves. So, what they did, ....the wolf knew it was a pig but the pig didn't know it was a wolf-a big bad wolf. They had a machine that chops up the pigs. There were chain saws going down on the pigs, cutting and cutting. If the pigs escaped, they couldn't have a feast. There was lots and lots of meat . Most of all, they liked their bones. At the end of the story, it's a pretty good one.
If they pulled one the string, it made the machine go, and at the end of the machine was an oven! Did you know that they put duck tape to the pig and taped it on in the legs and the arms together? And there was a flat thing that can move and carry the pigs along to the oven. And the chainsaws chopped up the pigs.
Well, the good thing is that the big bad wolf didn't know that the little pig had a pocketknife in his pocket. Guess what? Guess how old he was? He was like six. And the wolf was 100 and there was 100 wolves.
Somehow, the little pig escaped and he also cutted off one of the bricks to the oven and it fell down . He cutted the arm part off and the neck part off and he made the thing flip around and he cut off all the chainsaws. And he cut off part of the wolves ear too when they were having a fight.

The wolf was sorry for wanting to eat the pig and the pig and the wolf became friends and they lived happily ever after.

Micah made this story up as I was typing it. Good job, Micah! Thanks for the happy ending.

Woeful Heart

Yesterday, in first grade music class, I was helping the children understand the meanings of the words in 'Fairest Lord Jesus.' "What does woeful heart mean?" I asked. They took a few guesses and none of them came close. I looked at Justin and said gently, "Justin knows what it means to have a woeful heart. He had a brother who died." Justin said, " means sad."
"Yes, that's what woeful means. Very, very sad," I said. Another little boy in the room challenged Justin and said, "Your brother did not die." Justin got angry and emotional and said, "Yes, he did!" I too, joined in, and corrected the little boy. Then that same little boy told a sad story about his own grandfather's death.
Justin seemed very upset and I told him I was sorry for bringing it up...that I hadn't meant to make him sad. He said, "I am not upset that you talked about it... I am upset that he said that my brother didn't die." I asked the other little boy to come over and said to him, "Would you tell Justin that you are sorry that his brother died." Readily, he said, "I am sorry that your brother died." Relief flooded Justin's face. I then asked Justin to say to the little boy, "I am sorry that your grandpa died." He did so. "Thank-you," said the little boy.

Something good happened for Justin. I gave the students time to draw a picture with crayons while I let them come up one at a time to explore the piano. Justin showed me the picture he drew. On one side of the paper, he drew his brother's gravestone, with his brother's name etched on the surface. On the other side, he drew a picture of his brother swimming and fishing. I asked, "Was your brother an outdoorsman?" "You could say that," said Justin.
"What are you going to do with your picture," I asked.
"I'm going to take it to where he is buried," he said.

I was worried that I had opened a can of worms with all this.
But, Justin's face was shining, and he seemed truly happy.
Maybe we are too careful when we don't talk about another's loss.
Maybe it was good to remember his brother.
Maybe it was good to hear someone say,"I'm sorry your brother died."
Maybe it was good to hear someone say, "I know you understand what it means to have a woeful heart."

I am still unsure about how this will turn out or if it will be understood.
But, I do know this.
Justin's woeful heart had some healing that day.

And isn't that what the song says?
.." Fairest Lord Jesus...Who makes the woeful heart to sing..."

Childhood Memories by Ginny Hertzler

I will be writing some of my mother-in-law's memories in my blog. She is married to Truman Hertzler. I will type as she speaks.

As I was growing up I always remembered my grandparents living at the other end of our house. I spent alot of time with them and they were always very kind to me. My grandfather raised dogs to sell and some of the dogs were shipped in boxes that he made and were sent by train to many places, including Maine. He raised big black Newfoundland dogs and English Shepherds. The nation was recovering from The Great Depression and my grandparents experienced a major financial loss. Raising dogs helped with their finances. I also remember him raising rabbits for the use of their fur.

When I was five years old, (1938) he gave me one of his little, cute English Shepherd puppies. He specifically told me this was my dog to care for, but I was to share him with my older brothers, Milford and Ollie, and my sister, Miriam. This dog gave me lots of joy and playtime. I would take this dog with me and walk out the farm lane and wait for my brothers and sister to come home from school, and then we would walk in the lane together.

On one particular day, I think I left early to meet my brothers and sister, and after waiting awhile, I decided to start walking to school with my puppy. I just had a string for a leash. As we were walking on the main highway, the puppy would stop each time a car came and I was so afraid someone would stop and pick us up. But I kept going, thinking that I would soon meet them.

I walked the whole way to school. It would have been almost a mile. I knocked on the school door and when the teacher came and saw I had a puppy, she asked my older brother, Milford, to tie the puppy to a post. The puppy barked so much, disrupting her classes, that she asked Milford to put the puppy in the coal shed, farther away from the school building. I went inside and listened to the school children recite their lessons.

All the children were happy to see the puppy as they left school. He was now black from being in the coal shed. I walked home with my brothers and sister. I don't have any memory of what my mother might have said to me but I was sure glad to be home.

Glimpses of Family History by Truman Hertzler

I've asked my father-in-law to share stories about our family history. I am hoping to make his stories a regular feature in my blog. I will type as he speaks.

I believe that one of the main blessings that shaped our family was Tennessee John's desire to live according to the Bible rather than Amish Ordnung.(order) This is my understanding of Tennessee John. Many people have said many things, but this is my understanding of his heart's desire. More directly, touching our lives, was Grandpa Levi Hertzler's desire to find a good farm near an Amish church where God was working.

The Amish church at Long Green, Maryland, experienced some kind of disruption and many of the church members left. Levi was visiting Amish communities and came upon a place near Topeka, Indiana, called the Hawpatch where the soil was black and deep. He decided this was where he wanted to live. But, he evidently had some wanderlust left and went to visit the Amish community of Concord, TN. There he met Katie Stoltzfus, Tennessee John's grandaughter. They got married and he wanted to move to the Hawpatch, but, their group was small, and they insisited that he stay there.

Grandpa Levi was a congenial man and he complied with their wishes.
There was not alot of paying jobs available in those days. He tried running a sawmill, which was accepted by the community and they brought their logs to him. But they paid him by leaving a percentage of the sawed lumber for which he didn't have sale. He raised produce and sold it in the community, but this was not a twelve month job. When the Rural Free Delivery was inacted by Congress, he had the opportunity to become a mail carrier. Each man had to stake out his own route, and having had the produce business, he knew the community and he was able to do that, and was accepted for the job.
Mail carriers were required to wear a coat and tie which his generation of Amish had not done, but, he said, "The Lord would understand."

He liked the people, and they liked him, and he would stop and talk. He drove a horse and buggy through the summertime. Tennessee winter's were cold and wet and the mud in the road sometimes got deep, and he would ride a horse instead of driving his horse and buggy. Sometimes, when he wasn't feeling so well, his son, Melvin, took the route. But the people said that they didn't like that young fellow. He didn't stop and talk.

One of the pillars in the Amish community was John Summer Stoltzfus, Katie's father. Uncle Milford said of him, "He told those Ridger's what he thought and they liked him." He was a merry man. Aunt Ida idolized him as a girl. Aunt Lizzie, one time, was staying with Levi and Katie's family in the winter, and I would say that Aunt Lizzie was not careful to do everything that other's wanted her to do, and to the best of my understanding, she over-fired the stove one night, and set the house on fire. The family escaped with not a whole lot. I remember Grandma saying that she had a jar of pennies, which of course, was not destroyed. It might be interesting to add that a fire insurance salesman had approached Grandpa Levi some time before and Levi was not impressed and to act cute, he said to the man, "Well, what do you do if you don't have a fire?" As far as I know, they didn't have insurance.

Levi's father-in-law, John Summer Stoltzfus, was an enterprising man. He was put under the ban in Lancaster County and I never heard what for. (They practiced a pretty severe ban where the individual under the ban was not to live with their spouse. ) He helped elect Abraham Lincoln and he helped with the Underground Railroad. This may have been to his discredit in the eyes of the Amish leadership.

Tennessee John and his extended family left Lancaster County without him because he was under the ban. But, he found other railroad connections and was waiting for them on the platform when they got there. Apparently, they forgot about the ban and didn't practice it in Tennessee. I think this is one of the reasons Tennessee John went to Tennessee; to get rid of the binding Ordnung. There have been many opinions about this. I can't remember what Aunt Mae said, but Daddy said that Tennessee John wanted to get his boys out of the beer joints.
When Levi and Katie's house burned down, they were welcomed into the home of Katie's parent's.

Aunt Ida, Levi and Katie's second daughter, idolized her grandfather, John S. Stoltzfus. She told how she got some little chicks and spread her skirt over them like a hen. But, when she got up, the chicks were dead. Her grandfather said to her mother, "Don't you punish her."

One time when a PA. bishop was with the church for the communion service, Tennessee John's son, Gideon, I think, was preaching according to the Amish practice; one hour on types and shadows of Jesus and His ministry from the Old Testament and I don't recall what the other two hours were to contain, but halfway through, John Summers got his cane and said," If he wants to stay here that long, that's alright with me, but I'm going home," and he walked out. Aunt Mae, the oldest daughter, was ashamed, but Aunt Ida was proud. (She later named her first son, John Stoltzfus Powell. John was not proud of the name Stoltzfus until later in life.)

John Summers Stoltzus was married to Tennessee John's daughter, Betsy. Their children were Levi, Christ, Katie, Mary, and Elizabeth, called Lizzie. Christ was a very enterprising man. His father left a thousand dollars to each of his children when he died. Christ seemed to assume responsibility for Katie's money. He invested it in a farm in Michigan. We have a picture of Levi and Katie with Mary and Lizzie in Goshen, Indiana, when Levi and Katie were traveling to Michigan to see this farm.( Mary was matron at the girl's dorm at Goshen College and Lizzie worked in a printing house as a proof reader. ) But, Christ saw another opportunity, and said that it was too cold in Michigan, and sold the farm, and invested the money in property in what is now Wichita, Kansas. But, before they got there, he changed his mind and invested it in a property called Richneck, now part of Newport News, Virginia. There were no buildings on this property so the family lived in the Denbigh Hotel nearby. We have a picture of Levi's son, Melvin, my father, leaning against a pile of wood eating his lunch, which his father, Levi, had brought to him where he was clearing land. They lived in the Denbigh Mennonite Community for two years.

As the Amish do, they visited their cousins in Morgantown, Pa. They would have traveled by train to Elverson. Levi's cousin, Henry Hertzler, was married to Katie's cousin, Lefina Mast. She was a sister to Phil's mom's grandpa, David Mast. They were grandchildren of Tennessee John through his daughter, Rebecca, who was married to
John M. Mast, a good pillar in the Conestoga Amish Church.

I suppose Henry asked Levi where he was living and what it was like and I suppose when he said that they have this property to clear that has no buildings that Christ had bought for them, Henry said to Levi, "There are farms for sale up here. Come up and buy one. I'll loan you the money." I suspect that he was feeling generous because of a blessing that had come his way when a man named Jake Zook had willed him a sizable piece of property. Henry's father's family had given Jake Zook a home when he was old. He willed a third of his property to Henry and I suppose the rest to Henry's father.
Evidently, his relationship with his sisters lacked enthusiasm because he willed them each a dollar, but they had to come to Morgantown to get it. It has not been recorded where he got his money but rumor has it he was a pirate. That's what Elmer Hertzler told me. Truth is stranger than fiction.

There were three farms for sale in the area and Levi told Melvin to choose one. He chose Summit Level Farm; he said, "I want a big place."
There were fence rows to clear and he liked work. They bought the farm in 1920.

In Newport News, the Calvary sold some of their horses, and Levi bought a black horse, which they called, "Mike." He was a kindly horse and I rode him to hook off hay. He was hooked to a rope and on the other end was a hay fork, which was thrust into a load of loose hay, and lifted up to the track overhead and dropped in the haymow.

Melvin took three horses from Denbigh; I suppose it was Mike, Monk, and Major. Monk was short for "Monkey," a Palomino draft horse of the Belgium breed. I never saw another Palomino draft horse. He took them from Denbigh to Old Point Comfort, and got on the ferry to Baltimore, which traveled overnight. Traveling the next day, he got near to Oxford, where they put his horses in a stable, and gave him a place to sleep overnight. (Once when we were traveling, he pointed that farm out to me.) The next day, I assume he got to Elverson.

Summit Level Farm was a nice place and the buildings were in good shape. We have a picture of some of the family standing in front of the house. Grandpa is there with his arms folded with a look of satisfaction on his face. It must have been gratifying to him to have found the farm he was looking for where God was working at a church nearby. This was what he had set out to do when he left Long Green. This was his contribution to his family. And I think it must have been a satisfaction to have done it without any help from his energetic brother-in-law, Christ. I never sensed any hint from anybody that Grandpa Levi was irked at the way his brother-in-law moved them around. Christ later moved to the Elverson area, and bought a farm where he and his brother, Levi, and Levi's family and Macy(Mary) and Lizzie lived. I think Levi's wife had died before this move. Macy and Lizzie looked out for his children. Levi was married to a Detweiler. I think she was the daughter of the Mennonite preacher who came to shepherd the flock after Tennessee John was gone.

Aunt Mae said, "He (Detweiler) tried to make Mennonites out of us and everybody left." They were Old Order Amish but they didn't dress like it. They didn't have a dress code. Apparently, they all absorbed varying degrees of the southern culture. Uncle Truman and Uncle Gene used the term 'n-----', but my father never allowed us to use it. I never sensed any race prejudice in my father. Aunt Mae went to Goshen College and met Tobias K. Hershey there. He came to Tennessee and one time he was walking on the road with Uncle Truman. They met a black man and Uncle T.K. said to him, "Good-morning." The black man just about fell over and as soon as they got out of earshot, Uncle Truman said to him emphatically, " Tobias! Don't do that!" (White people were not supposed to greet the blacks.)

To Be Continued...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feb. 12-15, 2009~Hertzler Doings

I've been working on losing weight with the Christian Care Insurance Company. I've been reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book-"Eat to Live". He recommends eating 1 lb. of fresh greens and 1 lb. of cooked greens a day, 5 fruits, beans, and grains. I've been walking a fast mile and tracking my heart rate. Angela, our consultant, gives helpful advice. So far, our family has lost a good 60-70 lbs. since September. I have lost the least. I am growing sprouts in a gallon jar and lettuce in a window box. It's neat to see the spindly plants follow the sun. We are making plans to build a greenhouse on one side of our house. I can't wait to grow greens year round.

I've called Phil's dad(and mom) every day since I left on Monday. I didn't call Sat.or Sun. but I gave him an assignment for Sat. on Friday. I've been giving him typing lessons over the phone. They are coming down tomorrow for a week and are bringing my Micah with them. On Tues., we will go see Lindsay and she is going to set Truman up with a blogsite. I am so excited and I think he is too. Even if he can't type smoothly right away, I can call him and break into his site and type his story for him via speaker phone.

Carleen picked up Michael at school on Thursday afternoon and took him to Chace's New Life basketball game in Lynchburg. Then she took them to Liberty University to experience 'College for a weekend.' They had a great time. Michael is interested in their aviation program. On Sat. they walked all over Lynchburg. He was scaring me with their stories about crossing traffic and some other things they were doing that I think they could get in trouble for. He said that their cafeteria was like 'little Shady Maples.' We picked them up Sat. night and brought Chace home with us and took him to church on Sunday.

Michael and Susan have off school from Friday-Tuesday of this week. Susan and I cleaned house and she got started on her Easter eggs. Justin Weaver and his little boy, Daniel, were here to visit on Sat. He came bearing gifts of 3 gallons of fresh apple cider and at least 2 baskets of apples. Justin and Freeman have been friends since babies. Actually, in pre-school, they fought like cats and dogs. When Justin pulled away on Sat. eve., Freeman said, "There goes one of my dearest friends." Justin is Phil's first cousins' son and his mother is a sister to Phil's brother Paul's wife, Linda. :)

On Sat. eve, Valentine's Day, Phil and I went to Trinity for their Valentine Banquet. We've made it a tradition. We sat with Ray and Ruth, of course, and Johnny and Miriam Miller, and Al and Elisabeth Buzik. We had the rowdiest table. The youth group was raising funds for a missions trip and we gave donations towards their kitty. We had salad, barbequed chicken, stuffed baked potatoes, green beans, ice cream, brownies, and apple pie. Not all of us had dessert.
We played some crazy games which had our table laughing so loud that we attracted the youth leaders over to see what was going on. For one game, we had to write two true things and one false thing about ourselves, read them outloud, and have the others guess which one was false. Phil said that he didn't kiss his wife until he was married. Johnny Miller was sure that was false but Ruthie figured it out that I wasn't his wife until we were married. I said that I shave my husband's legs and they guessed right away that that was false. I also said that I sing my husband to sleep. That was false as well. I broke the rules a little bit, but it was worth it.
We played a game in which the couples sat in chairs with their backs against each other and each person had one of their spouses' shoes. When the questions were asked, each person lifted the shoe that represented the answer to the question. The couple with the most unified answers, won. It was a close race. For example, they were asked, "Which of you is the most intelligent.?" That was interesting. I think it would have been the most intelligent to raise the other person's shoe, but not everyone did that. We had such a great time. I love this church and the people there. It's like going back home or something.

On Sunday, we went to church. I got to hold Sammy Jo and at one point, I was holding Adison and Sammy Jo. They made perfect greeters out in the lobby. Our Pastor preached on the reasons we have to rejoice. I took alot of notes. I think I will summarize his sermon by mixing his notes with what I got out of it. Here goes.

If we knew how valuable we are...if we knew the treasure we have within...if we remembered who saved us and the fact that others prayed for us to bring us into the kingdom...we would know that we are priests...and like the priests in the O.T. who had to start carrying the ark of the covenant across a massive waterway in the midst of flood season....we would step in and keep walking, believing that God would part the waters for us even if we're up to our necks in floodwaters...because we're waiting for the next 'priest', who is helping to carry the ark, to get their feet wet, so the waters will part...We would know that it is better to be up to our necks in floodwaters than to be refusing to get our feet wet...We would know that we shouldn't hold up the works by our disobedience...

Our Obedience + His fullness of Time= a work of God that we have never seen before.

As we walk in one accord and enjoy how we are fit together in the body...
As we walk in the light so the treasure within can be revealed more and more...
As we carry our priesthood with dignity and maintain His holiness within..
As the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost...
As we revere the treasure within as the priest revered the ark of the covenant...
As we walk in obedience and get our feet wet and go in deeper rather than standing on the bank where it is safe and dry...
As we hold on and refuse to give up...

As we do these things out of the life of God within us ...the life of God within will keep us safe in Christ Jesus, and will part the waters for us, and we will cross over on dry land, and inherit our Promised Land.

This is a group effort.
We cannot do this alone.
I need you.
You need me.
We need God.
And maybe, He needs us. He usually does what He does through obedient, available, imperfect people. Sometimes, He intervenes and does things all by Himself.
But sometimes He uses people.
He tells us to "Take off the grave clothes..."
He tells us to "Take up our bed and walk..."
He tells us to "Put on the full armor of God..."
He tells us to "Love one another as I have loved you..."

Why would He tell us to do these things if He was a one man show?
He wants to show His manifold wisdom through the church.
He wants to reveal Himself through the church.
I am special to God and everyone else is just as special as I am.
It's time to live like we believe it.

Oh, I got carried away with my own sermon on the sermon.

We ate lunch at church and then headed over to Gil and Lindsay's and had a delightful afternoon celebrating Adi's first birthday with friends and family. Lindsay made a most delicious cake and I ate it and ate Adi's too. They sat her on the table and let her dig into her cake with her little fingers. She was a bit tentative at first but then she got into it. For some reason she started sneezing. Maybe she's allergic to birthday cake. Nobody seemed to care. Gil and Lindsay are doing such a great job raising their girls. I never feel uneasy about their parenting.
We came home and Phil went for a walk. I started working on Adi's birthday gift. I am making her a towel wrap using a large bath towel and a hand towel, ribbons, buttons, and fabric glue. I made one for Emma's first birthday and she plays with it alot. Lindsay wants me to make her one out of a beach towel and that I will do for her belated birthday gift.

Tomorrow, Phil's parents are coming. I couldn't ask for better in-laws.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Psalm of Comfort~#16~Ps. 116

I was struck by some of the characteristics of God sung in this psalm.

~He hears our voice and our supplications
~He inclines His ear to us
~He is gracious and righteous and merciful
~He saves us
~He preserves the simple
~He deals bountifully with us
~He delivers our soul from death
~The death of His saints is precious to Him
~He has loosed our bonds

To think that He inclines His ear to us. We don't have to shout to get His attention. He bends down with His ear toward us so He can hear our whispers and our groanings which cannot be uttered.
What a wonderful God He is.

Book Report~Genesis

Tradition says that Moses wrote Genesis around 1440 B.C.
He most likely wrote it sometime in the 40 years he spent in the wilderness.
Genesis tells the story of the beginning of the world.
We read about Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and all the others that were involved in their lives.

I find that I cry alot while I read Genesis.

And this is why:
Gen. 3:9~Poor God. He made Adam and Eve to pour out His love on them and to receive their love back. After they had eaten the forbidden fruit, their eyes were open to the knowledge of evil. Before that, they had only known good. And now, they knew they were naked and they hid from God instead of coming to meet Him in the garden. And this is the sad cry of God. "Where are you?" and later.."What have you done?" Oh, I never want Him to cry over me like this. How prideful of me to think that He never has.

Gen. 4:10~Poor dear God. There are now just four measley people on earth and Cain goes and kills his brother Abel in a jealous fit. God required blood in the sacrifices offered Him. Abel sacrificed accordingly but Cain brought in some of his nicest produce. Uh-oh. God wasn't happy with him. So Cain killed Abel. That should fix things. Again, God cries out, "Where is your brother? What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground." And God has to deal with Cain and sends him away from the presence of the Lord. So, God loses the fellowship of another of His own. Cain marries a wife...oops...maybe there were more than four...Where did she come from anyway?..I am distracting myself. Anyway, it's sad.

Gen. 37:30~This is just wrong. Joseph's brothers had taken Joe's beautiful coat that Jacob had made special for him. They killed a baby goat and dipped his coat in the blood and tore it up and brought it to Jacob and asked innocently if this was Joseph's coat. Of course, he recognized it as his favorite son's coat and he cries, "The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?" I feel so sorry for Jacob. He is not one of my favorites, but I can weep with him here.

Gen. 42:21~Joseph's brothers are standing before him in Egypt and he is letting them feel some of his pain. He is probably testing them. He puts them in prison and let's them out with the command to bring their youngest brother back with them the next time they come. He hears them say, "We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us." It makes us think back to the time that they put Joseph in the well with the intent of leaving him to die there. They ate the lunch he brought them while he cried out in anguish until he was hoarse...until he could cry no more. He was hungry and thirsty and very, very scared. Dear Joseph. I weep for you.

Gen. 43:30~The brothers had brought Benjamin back to Egypt with them. Joseph saw him and it says, "Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep..." He must have missed Benjamin the most throughout all those years in the prison and in the palace.

I like Joseph. He was faithful in adversity and he was faithful in prosperity.
The only thing I would 'change about him' would be the impulsiveness with which he shared his dreams. But, if he had not done that, his brothers would not have hated him. And if they had not hated him, they would not have sold him. And if they had not sold him, he wouldn't have made it to Egypt where he saved their lives and the lives of those whose posterity would usher in Jesus Christ.
Joseph said to his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not fear. I will provide for you and your little ones."

Joseph saw things from God's perspective. He knew how to make the best of bad situations. He was full of integrity in the midst of temptation and adverse circumstances. And he was humble. He did not think that he should take the place of God and judge his brothers. He is one of the golden men. He shines like a star in the universe. He is another than I can't wait to meet.