Wednesday, July 28, 2010
"As I studied the story of the Israelites,
I had second thoughts about crystal-clear guidance.
It may serve some purpose-
it may, for example,
get a mob of just-freed slaves
across a hostile desert-
but it does not seem to encourage spiritual development.
for the Israelites it nearly eliminated
the need for faith at all;
clear guidance sucked away freedom,
making every choice a matter of obedience
rather than faith.
And in forty years of wilderness wanderings,
the Israelites flunked the obedience test so badly
that God was forced to start over with
a new generation.'
Philip Yancey spent two weeks reading through
the Bible from start to finish.
He wrote this book as a result of what
he discovered and also as a response to those
who shared with him their
own disappointment with God.
His writings are not a normal response
to one's confession of disappointment in God
and it won't leave more wounds in your heart
due to pat religious answers,
although it made me cry more than any book
I ever read before except maybe Isaiah.
I have read few books that I love as much as this one.
..."Who wouldn't have understood
if Christ wanted to travel a remote path
far from the tugs of the needy?
Yet all the way to the city that would scorn Him,
Jesus continued to minister, heal, and warn.
Because He simpy could not be less than who He was."
Jesus, be nothing less then who you are in my life.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
since He always lives to make intercession
for them." (Heb. 7:25)
Jesus didn't only die for us
and feel that that was enough,
but He knows how rugged life can be
and what an enemy we have
and so He continually cares
and intercedes for us.
This was taken from my mother's
Please enjoy the new entries I posted on
Monday, July 26, 2010
I think that the reason the body of Christ is lacking in maturity is because we want to be nice.
We think that if we hurt someone's feelings that we are being mean.
Sometimes, hurting someone's feelings is the nicest thing we can do.
I am not talking about giving people a piece of your mind.
I am talking about giving people a hand mirror so they can look at themselves
and see what others see.
I am talking about speaking the truth in love
and taking the risk of losing one's reputation for being kind.
Why do we want people to think we are nice, anyway?
Is it because we want them to like us?
If that is the case, then sometimes we are nice because we are selfish.
We don't want to rock the boat.
We want to keep the peace.
We want to be safe.
But the time is running out.
I am not sure if it's my time that's running out
or if it's the church's time that's running out
or if it's humanity's time that's running out.
I just know that I have to act now.
But I think you do too.
It's time to grow up.
It's time to be bold.
It's time to lay down our lives for each other
and speak the truth as best we know how
with all of the courage and love we can gather
from the Spirit of God living inside us.
I want to do this for you.
I want you to do this for me.
I feel like I've taken a high dive off a
'dare to tell the truth' cliff several times lately.
I am in deep and I am wet.
But my heart is pounding hard and I am alive-
not safe and not sorry.
"More faithful are the wounds of a friend
than the kisses of an enemy,"
said a wise man one day.
Tues.-'I can see a light in the darkness for the heart that holds on...' Sometimes I hear 'I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on...' Not sure which is the original writer's words but both are true. Over and over I hear Pastor Alvin's voice singing those words with passionate abandonment. Singing it in my head 24/7. Glorious rain today. Susan slept in until 3 this afternoon. You heard me right. Made chicken breasts, sloppy jo mix, turkey tortilla chili, beef tortilla chili, and blueberry cheese cake in preparation for wedding weekend. The guys were rained out at the job site. (Phil and Philip went back to work later.) Freeman went to work on his place. Philip and Michael worked on their room and rec room.
I am thankful for Susan's sleep.
She needed it.
I am thankful that Kelli is going to find an answer
and will feel better soon.
I am thankful that our little neighbor girl
I am thankful for the rain and the cooling down of the hot earth.
Wed.-Song in the morn.-"I can see a light that is shining for the heart that holds on..."
I got odds and ends done today-washing, cooking beans, harvesting beets, cleaning up outside, exercising, etc. Took Susan to church in eve. Went walking with Lindsay and Adi.
I am thankful that when our air conditioning is fixed, it will be so much cooler.
I am thankful that I had another vehicle to drive when I couldn't take the car because it looked like rain and the window doesn't go up.
I am thankful that I didn't have to go to Walmart because I didn't have anywhere to put groceries in the truck in case it rained.
I am thankful for the fun I had watching Lindsay do the hoola hoop game on her Wii.
I am thankful that I didn't injure myself too badly when I tried to do it too.
I am thankful that Emma turned 4 today.
I am thankful for Gil's sense of humor and that the coffee he drank tonight won't affect his sleep because he needs it. I am thankful that Lindsay will read this and laugh.
Thurs.-Took car to Davis. Gil picked Susan and I up and took us to house until Judy picked us up and took us back to Davis's. Car semi ready. Needs regulator for car window. I brought car back home and Judy came back with us and worked for a good 5 hours on sewing on family garments for wedding. She took Susan's dress in and then it was too tight so she had to let it out. She sewed one strap on and then we couldn't find the other so she made two new ones from the fabric of the shawl. Dear friend! She measured Phil and Freeman's pants and will get them back to us tomorrow.
I am thankful for the generosity of friends. Lindsay generously gave us her space. Judy gave us her time and talent. Judy acts mad when I want to figure out a way to pay her back. 'I thought you told me we're family,"she said. "Families do this for each other.
I am thankful for Phil's over the top handsomeness in his black shirt and black suit.
I am thankful that I have a barn to park the car under in case of rain.
Fri.-Air conditioner 'fixed' today. Cool air makes all the difference on my spirituality unfortunately. Needs a new element. Old one completely rusted with ice formed over it. Looks like something from a horror movie. Eldon and Sandy Stoltz~~~ and their daughter, Keri, came for lunch today after checking out the next door property. He is an architect and will be helping Phil to restore the house to it's original state. Michael came in and asked Phil to look at Sampson. His leg was all swollen. He was very thirsty but didn't want to eat or get up. Michael took him to the vet and Susan and I went to Appomattox to run errands. Michael called and told us it would be good to come to the animal hospital to say good bye to Sampson. Phil, Freeman, and Philip came soon afterwards and the six of us gathered around our old friend, weeping and saying our good-byes. Even the nurse cried as she asked Michael to sign release papers. Michael stayed with him for his final moments and brought him back home and buried him near the river he loved. Sampson was 13 years old. He lived 3 years longer than most boxers do. I think it was his love for us that kept him alive. The vet thinks he had a tumor and that it cut off the circulation to his leg. 13 years ago, I was taking Michael to swimming lessons and we stopped by a farm to check out their boxer puppies. Michael fell in love and with shining eyes he asked his daddy if he could have a puppy. His daddy wrote him a big one word answer-"Absolutely." And we have loved him ever since. We have a picture of him as a puppy, with Susan's pacifier in his mouth. Susan says that she has no memories without him; that he has always been there. We will miss him. I will miss his devoted adoration. He loved me unconditionally. Now I have another loved one to look forward to seeing in heaven. I have no doubt that he'll be there.
I am thankful for the kind nurses and vet who cared for Sampson and our family today.
I am thankful for the way Sampson taught me how to live.
I am thankful for the 13 years we had him.
Sat.-As I sat at my desk this morning, I watched Angel and Roxy sniffing the ground, picking up Sampson's scent, and looking all over for him. I feel sad for them. Went to Emma's 4th Birthday Party. Gil and Lindsay have taught their daughters how to share, be grateful, and to think. It's always a joy to see this family function. Went to Roses, Goodwill, and Walmart. Came home and Susan and I both so exhausted we did jobs like crazy on commercials and watched 3 Mystery Women shows on TV. I haven't been sleeping well for at least a month. It's starting to catch up.
I am thankful for the Bantons. I am thankful for the sound of abundance of rain. I am thankful that it didn't rain until we got home, since our back window is broken.
Sun.-Went to church. Some of the thoughts I came away with during and after the sermon were the following: Faith is believing in God even when He doesn't do the things you are believing Him for. Faith is being committed to God regardless of what you see or don't see. Faith continues going forward, believing in God, even during the mundane day to day activities of life. It takes more faith to believe that when I die, I will go to heaven, than it does to believe that God will heal me here and keep me from death. ~~~~~Walked to the river in the afternoon and visited Sampson's grave. Sat on the beach and threw stones in the river, naming my concerns as I cast my cares on Him. Visited my prayer chapel and regained some peace. Kelli and Susan are running around outside and Alli and Freeman also went to visit Sampson's grave. Phil, Susan, Kelli, and I visited Tom and Helen down at the river. They brought some guests and invited us to join them. We made pies with homemade bread and apple pie and cherry filling. We buttered the back sides of the bread and put the filling in and held them over the fire in iron sandwich skillets. So good, esp. when made with chips instead of bread. I am thankful for a day of rest. I am thankful for the friend who found me before church and told me that she's been praying for me all week. I am thankful for the break in the weather. I am thankful for Jesus and that the life which I now live in my flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am thankful that Phil and all of our children and their special friends, and Kelli, are all in the living room together. I love when the people I love are all together under one roof.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
when he was talking about leaving a legacy.
I forgot to enter it into my Sunday notes,
but then realized that it deserves it's own
distinctive place right here.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with the song still in them."
Don't let that be your legacy.
we're less likely to be offensive.
If we're offensive people
we're going to recognize an offense
because we recognize what somebody's
doing to us
because we try to do it to others.
Great peace have those who love Thy law
and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:?
Friday, July 23, 2010
Some people enter a room and you don't even know they did.
Others enter and inside they are proclaiming, "HERE I am!"
Still others enter and exude a confident composure
for they are proclaiming, "THERE you are!"
we want to be invisible.
we want to BE the party.
our selflessness shines secure,
and we are happy because we see people we love
and we genuinely want to know how they are.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
(Psalm 92:13-15) NKJV
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
It makes it hard to live in one place when half of your heart is in another.
I knew God would take care of them without me there, but it was still hard.
Then something happened to change all that.
Two things really.
Janelle and Micah moved down.
So now, three-eighths of the Hertzler family lives down here.
But the main thing that happened was this:
I took a little drive.
I drove down a rocky lane about 5 miles from here.
When I reached my destination,
I saw a trailer on 6 acres.
I saw Freeman and Alli's new home.
And something good happened inside me.
I realized anew that this is where we are supposed to be.
I realized that this will be the home for future generations
of our Hertler family.
I realized that my grandchildren will be born here.
And suddenly, miraculously really,
I wasn't homesick anymore,
and I am glad.
It's been a long, rough year.
I am looking forward to a better year ahead,
for my mother, my sister, my dear friend,
I am not worthy to wash Your feet.
I am not worthy to kiss Your dear face,
But I want to, I want to, I want to.
You are worthy to carry my sorrows.
You are worthy to wash my feet.
You are worthy to kiss my dear face,
And You want to, You want to, You want to.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I am thankful for a day to relax.
I am thankful that David was a man who pursued after God's heart, even though He made many mistakes. He never stopped wanting God. It's not about being perfect. Its about being intent on finding God. It's about making sure that God doesn't get lonely because YOU are around Him, and you are being His friend. P. Yancey says that 'Lusty King David' broke every rule except the one that says, "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."
I am thankful for Michael's success and all that he is learning in the process.
Tues.-Night Song-"Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades..." Phil slept until almost 8. He had been silage gassed yesterday as had Freeman. It made them funny in the head. Now they tell me. Ray, Freeman, and Phil working around the farm. Michael selling Cutco. He was out walking on the trail in town late last night with a guy friend. I gasped a little and he said, "Don't worry; I had my big knife." Good thing I just read 'Wild at Heart.' Susan and Makenzie helped with some jobs. I ran out to the chiropractor and stopped at Janelle's to clean out destructibles in her fridge. I know that's not the right word-destructibles...things that will rot before she gets back...what do you call them?! perishables!!! Thank you very much! Read about John the Baptist today. He said he was not worthy to carry Christ's sandals. If I remember correctly, sandals in that culture, when given to another to hold, have a deeper meaning. It has to do with making a covenant and the giving of authority. I don't think John was just talking about shoes.
Took Makenzie and Susan down to the river. They were upstream, screaming bloody murder, and I had to check on them to make sure everything was alright. Makenzie had perfected her scary smile and it made Susan scream. Here I thought it was the other way around. She flashed her new look at me and I had to scream, too. I sat down river right below the rapids so the minnows couldn't nibble at my feet. I read more of the book "Disappointment with God." I wish I had written this book. I found myself weeping for God. You have to read this book. It is an easy read, but it is deep. You'll love it.
The girls invited Meredith and Bethany over for a fireside supper. Bethany was busy with VBS but Mer came and they had a great time. Freeman spent the eve. at mystery drama practice and Michael had two Cutco appts. He is enjoying meeting new people and finding out about their lives. Philip is at camp. Phil is still working in the fields. He wears a straw hat for shade but his face is brown and his wrinkles are handsome.
I am thankful for another day of rest.
I am thankful for Philip Yancey's (Disappointment with God) ability to help me see things from God's perspective.
I am thankful for church leaders who prayed for a friend and her family today.
I am thankful for the calcium from Dr. F. that helps me sleep. I ran out of it and haven't been sleeping.
Wed.-Susan and Makenzie babysat for around 17 children today at the Daily Grind. I joined the Mom's and More group as a 'mentor mom' just for today. I was so impressed with these women and their depth in God and their deep hopes and needs. I took Mak and Susan to the new Mexican Restaurant on High Street. Then we picked up Kelli and went Putt-Putting. I won! Got some ice cream and/or slushies at the Dairy Queen and back to Walmart. Went to the theatre to see 'Inception.' It was an exciting movie but I have no idea what it meant and never gave the movie another thought. It reminded me that our culture says that there are no absolutes. It was a movie where dream and reality were all mixed up together and it was hard to tell what was what. I don't need to see it again. We went to McDonald's for a bit of supper and then back to Walmart. I was watching the girls for awhile and they didn't realize it. They had Makenzie in the cart and were making such a ruckus that half of the store was watching them. Then Susan ran over Kelli's foot. Kelli took aim at Susan's leg and yelled something at her and they were hysterically laughing and I wanted to bolt. An older gentleman said, "You look happy." Kelli said, "I am not happy! She just ran over my foot!" It had to hurt. She had little cotton shoes on and Makenzie was in the cart. She limped the whole way out to the car and I followed at a healthy distance. We bought crickets and I dropped the girls off at church and went back to Walmart for real this time.
I am thankful that I am still pretty good at miniature golfing.
I am thankful for the girls and that three is not a crowd in this case.
I am thankful for vanilla ice cream cones dipped in chocolate coating.
Thurs.-Took Makenzie to Madison Heights where we met Lynn and her friend Stephanie, at Walmart. Susan put Makenzie in the cart and they took Susan's school list and got almost of all if done in about 10 min. We ate together at the Sonic and then parted ways. Susan and I went to the mall where we looked in every store with shoes to try to find silver ones for the wedding. Just as we were ready to leave, we checked out a bridal store. The lady was so helpful and we found comfortable shoes that were dyeable. So, we bought them and Susan will pick them up on Saturday when she is out celebrating Makenzie's birthday with her family. I went to Dianna's in the eve. Steve and Phil were both busy with other things. It was good to catch up with her.
I am thankful that I don't live near the mall.
I am thankful that we found Susan shoes!
I am thankful that Makenzie is so precious to us that I have to cry when she leaves.
Fri.-Caught up on wash and some cleaning. Made some chicken breasts for sandwich meat. Susan and I went over to the new neighbors to introduce ourselves. We drove over on the gator. These folks are from California and this will be their vacation home. Wonderful people.
Susan and I got our hair cut in the afternoon and Freeman, Susan, Phil and I went to Freeman and Alli's kitchen shower in the eve. Had a blast! At one point, we dressed the bride and groom in toilet paper to get them ready for the wedding. Freeman looked like Lazarus. Alli looked like a bride. Michael is in Roanoke overnight at a Cutco Conference. He wore a suit. He was awarded a trophy. Philip got back from Kid's Camp and then went to Pa. with Christi's family. We haven't seen him at all.
I am thankful for the Leslies, Hannah, and Tommy, Pastor Betty and Patsy for throwing such a great shower for Freeman and Alli.
I am thankful for Alli's family and how easy they are to love.
I am thankful for Dianna, who talked me through an 'emotional meltdown' mid-day.
Sat.-Susan and I cleaned the house. I took her to CCA where we met Lynn and Makenzie around 2:00. Susan is going with them to Lynchburg for the night to celebrate Makenzie's 13th birthday. They will be going to the mall, the theatre, and to Logan's and will be hanging out at a motel for the night. All Makenzie wanted for her birthday was Susan. I went to Walmart and Krogers afterwards.Michael's been in Roanoke yesterday and overnight for a Cutco Conference. He won a big trophy and got to talk to some of the top guys and pick their brains. When Michael goes after something, he usually obtains it. He was so excited when he got home. We bought chicken bbq for supper from Trinity's building fund raiser. Our new neighbors came over and we had a wonderful time eating together. We used Michael's Cutco table knives to cut up our chicken. Kathy(neighbor) is involved in the drama dept. of her church. Knows all about musicals, backdrops, etc. This has been a mission field for her. Some of those in the dramas have started coming to their church. The kids have more fun being in the drama than hanging out at the local joint. Her husband, Tom, and her daughter, Kelly, and husband Dan, and their two girls, Sloane and Blythe were all delightful. We are looking forward to more times together with them. Kathy had told Michael earlier that this neighborhood was so friendly. Then she said, 'Well, actually, you are the only folks we've met in this neighborhood so far.' Made me realize that our family represents a community. Our family represents the church and/or school we attend. Our family represents the God we serve. Everyone living represents a much greater arena than just the space around them.
I am thankful that John Hertzler was in our lives for as long as he was.
I am thankful that on my posting on facebook-'In Loving Memory of John Hertzler-and his birthdate and his other date-July 24, 2005; that many people wrote their memories of him. I am thankful for the soul-filling pride I felt when I read them.
I am thankful for the return of the eagle. He showed himself the day we received the news about Johnny, and he showed himself again today. This time our new neighbor saw him too. Her family tried to tell her it was probably a vulture but she was quite sure it was an eagle.
Sunday-Great morning at church. Loved the song, 'How Great is our God'. Pastor Rob can preach, teach, and relate to people all at the same time. He mixes the power and goodness of God in His Word with the humanity of the people he loves and serves and he does it naturally, I think, and it is good. Today he preached on Leaving a Lion-killing Legacy for your Loved ones. His text was 11 Sam. 23:20-23. 'Live a life in such a way that it's worth telling stories about...Will your great-grandchildren know your name?" I haven't blogged a sermon for awhile due to an agonizing sort of paranoia that sets in after I do so, plus, I try to spend the time I'd spend on a sermon writing on my mother's blog, but today's sermon renders some space here because I have been working on killing lions and leaving a legacy so I will tuck it into my Sunday diary.
1-If you want to kill lions. you have to be willing to chase the lions. Lion chasers choose fear. Why? Because the scariest moments in our lives are usually the greatest moments of our lives. The cure for fear of failure? Failure. Let go of pride. Satan's main tactics are discouragement and fear. So often we play into his hand. (These are the lion's I must kill-discouragement and fear.) Lion chasing increases uncertainty but it also reduces regret. How many of you want to die with many regrets? 'I want to be an interesting old grandpa and I don't want to have to lie.' Lion Chasing will complicate your life. It will cost you something. It complicates our lives in the way it should, unlike sin, which complicates our lives in the way it shouldn't. Many times, we have brought upon ourselves the difficulties we face. Lion Chasers understand the butterfly affect. Sometimes it is the small things, the small acts of courage, that produce the greatest ripple affect.
2-If you want to kill lions you have to climb hills. If you want to increase your endurance physically, as in jogging, you have to climb hills. Then running on level ground seems much easier. We don't run our spiritual race with endurance because we are unwilling to run the hills. Spiritually speaking, what are our hills? Studying the Word of God, praying, fasting, meditating, serving, and other spiritual disciplines. Hills=Discipline. Discipline turns into desire eventually. Champions are not made in the ring; they are exposed there. Champions are made in the night when no one else is around to see them train. Adversity gives us opportunities to distinguish ourselves. Look at Corrie Ten Boom and Abe Lincoln. Their adversities defined them. It takes the heat of the fire to make the pottery of our lives durable. The more we grow, the bigger God gets. The bigger God gets, the smaller our lions become. Dreams are achieved one opportunity at a time. How often do we wait for the Big Opportunity to come along, and discard the little opportunities that come our way that would prepare us for the Big one? Be faithful in small things. Samuel was a boy servant. Elisha was an intern. Nehemiah was a cup bearer. He tasted wine for the king to make sure it wasn't poisoned. (The King trusted him not to poison it after he tasted it. He was the last person to handle the wine.) You can do nothing wrong so well that you do nothing right. We can stay safe and hidden so that we don't make mistakes with the talent God gave us, and therefore, do nothing right with that talent either.
3-If you want to kill lions you have to wear the right equipment. Wear the belt of truth-dig into the Word of God. Wear the Breastplate of righteousness and the Gospel of peace sandals, ready to go. Carry the shield of faith;raise a standard and put on the helmet of salvation which protects your mind. Wield The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. You are a carrier of the Sword when the Word of God exudes out of you.
Run the race with endurance because you are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, and (just as Jesus endured His race for the joy set before Him-(you were the joy set before Him) so we run the race for the joy set before us-(He is the joy set before us.))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our new neighbors, Dan and Kelly came to church. They really enjoyed it and felt at home. They're staying at a motel in town until their house gets ready. Phil and I went to CCA to meet Susan and Makenzie, Sam, and Lynn. She had a great time in Lynchburg yesterday and today. She went to the mall and picked up her silver shoes, saw a movie, ate at Logan's and at Cracker Barrel. Makenzie's cousin Caroline made it a threesome and they had fun. Freeman and Alli had BLT's ready for us when we got home. Susan and Phil took a nap. Alli and Freeman watched 'The Lord of the Rings.' Chase, Travis, and Jordan came and went swimming and fishing with Michael. Philip came home late afternoon. He had a wonderful time at camp and a great time with Christi at her family's reunion. We heard there were bad storms in Pa. Janelle and Micah, on their way back home here, encountered such bad rain that people were pulled off to the side of the road. I wish it would come down here.
I am thankful for a day of rest.
I am thankful for the refreshing service at church.
I am thankful for the courage God gives me to wait and the courage God gives me to act and the wisdom to know when to do either one.
I am thankful for Restorative Justice and that a heart that embraces can also wait and see if the depth of repentance reaches into the inner circle and bears fruit worthy of repentance. It can wait to see if the prodigal returned to make things right or if they returned because they had no where else to go or perhaps a bit of both. It can wait with hope and reservation. It is not in a hurry to make a judgment. It can wait.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
To read more of her notes, check out IBlieve-
the blogsite on the right.
Jesus told the disciples again about
His coming death and resurrection.
"But they didn't understand what He was saying,
and they were afraid to ask Him what He meant."
And when all this came to pass they
were totally unprepared
and floundered in their faith.
Do we set ourselves up for failure also
when we gloss over something in Scripture
instead of staying with it
until the Holy Spirit clarifies it for us?
I've made the baked potato salad recipe twice so far.
You have to taste it.
I used fresh white, red, and yellow potatoes just dug up from our garden
and cut the larger ones in pieces.
I also used garlic salt and dried onions instead of the shallots and scallions since
several people in our family are not liked by onions.
2 bags (24 oz.) Baby Red Potatoes-diced in 1 inch cubes
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
8 slices bacon or 1 bag bacon chips in
1 cup Mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
6 small scallions thinly sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar-shredded
1/ bunch fresh Italian Parsley-chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss diced potatoes in oil, salt, and pepper and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast 20-25 min. until tender and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Blend mayo, sour cream, green onions, shallots, bacon and cheese in a large bowl; Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss cooled potatoes with mayo mixture and parsley until combined.
Can be made a day ahead. I did not use parsley. I also tossed the warm potatoes in the mixture and ate it warm. It is like a cheesy potato casserole when it is warm.
Thank you Diane!
Friday, July 16, 2010
"Think glorious thoughts of God
and serve Him with
a quiet mind."
'And it is surely a fact that the more glorious
and more spacious our thoughts of Him are,
the greater the quietude and confidence
with which we do our detailed work will be.'
Monday, July 12, 2010
Christi came over in eve. and played Rook with Philip. Susan making plans with Makenzie about when she can come again. She was so worn out today that she slept over 3 hours back on my bed. Michael is showing off his Cutco scissors by making creative designs from the pennies he cuts up. I think he should make earrings on the spot for his customers out of shiny new pennies.
Freeman went to his place after work to paint. He is highly motivated. He is preparing for his bride.
I've been thinking alot today about God's 'No Fly Zones.' ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And I've been thinking about Restorative Justice.
What should we do when someone comes to their senses after reaping the unpleasant harvest brought about by their actions of betrayal and abandonment? What should we do when they want to come back? Do we open our arms and say that everything is fine? Or do we wait for their words, "I am not worthy to be here. What can I do to make things right?"
Can we crucify Christ again? What is the price of grace? What does it mean to forgive? What does it mean to restore? Where does justice begin? Where does justice end? Do love and trust have anything in common? Where does the burden of forgiveness lie? Who bears the burden to restore trust? What does restitution look like? How will we know that things are right?
Was his Christian behavior a lie before he returned to his sinful past? If we did not know him before, who are we being reconciled to? By their fruit you will know them, said Jesus. What kind of fruit was produced before? How long until this present tree will produce fruit we can judge?
Easy come, easy go. Easy come back, easy go away again. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to think. But I know I must be real, and not everyone is going to understand my unstretched arms and my feet that walk away.
There are those who willingly and mercifully surround this prodigal with their love and support. Just as I do not judge harshly their involvement in his life, I will trust that they will not judge harshly my hesitant confusion. It would be 'easier' on me if I just acted like everything was okay. It is much harder on me to be cautious and reserved and observant. Everyone's experience with the one in question has been different. Every one has a different story. But I hope we will have grace for one another's perspectives and with the personal ways we process this situation.
I, for one, must wait and see. The cost has been too high to pretend that it is not.
But as I wait to see those things which can be judged justly, I will embrace mercy and endeavor to walk humbly with God, for this is what He requires of me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I am thankful for Micah's happy involvement as I read Frances the Badger books to him today.
I am thankful that Susan got to catch up on some much needed sleep. I am thankful for the rain.
Tues.-Exhausted. Left eye still twitching. Processing many things. Brought some heartache with me back from Pa. Am also processing thoughts about forgiveness, tough love, redemption, restoration, etc. Am also sorry that I allowed myself to become a savior to someone and both of us are paying the price for that one.
Takes about 3 days of detoxing until I start feeling human again. I hope by Thursday, I'll recognize the feeling. Why do I do this to myself?
Cleaned my little prayer chapel. Just like our spirits that house the presence of God, my little house must be swept out periodically. A little mouse thinks he owns the place. A sparrow fell on my porch and died. Perhaps he was trying to get it and stunned himself on the window. I don't blame him for wanting in; God Spirit hovers there. If God mourns the sparrow that falls where no one sees, God carries my sorrows that He alone can see.
Oh God, help me judge justly without being judgmental.
Help me disengage from an unhealthy relationship without being mean.
Keep my heart simple. Keep my heart pure. Keep my heart.
I am thankful for a day at home and the chance to crash and burn.
I am thankful for good friends.
I am thankful for Phil on the tractor making silage and the kisses he blows me when he sees me on my gator.
Wed.-Song through the night-"This is Jesus in His glory...King of Heaven dying for me..."
Met Lynn and Makenzie at the Madison Heights Walmart today around 10:45. We'll have Makenzie for a week. Susan and Makenzie are so happy. They picked the rest of the corn in the garden. I made granola. Went to a women's meeting at 5. Visited Kim and ran errands in eve. while girls were at youth group. They both want to go to Ecuador after hearing the team share.
I am thankful that our air conditioning is working better.
I am thankful for the fun the girls had being independent of me in Walmart. They bought alot of food with Makenzie's money and had the time of their lives.
I am thankful for the women of our church.
I am thankful for the woodsy waft of patchouli that remains on me since Lisa S.'s hug.
The fragrance of our lives is about to blend. May it be a sweet smelling savor to you, O God.
Thurs.-Song-"Have Mercy on Me Oh God, according to Your steadfast love, according to Your great compassion, blot out my many transgressions, and wash away all mine iniquity, cleanse me from sin." (Steve and Annie Chapman's version) Met Gil's mom at Noah's Pet Shop and took Emma and Adi back home with me. Took them to the river in the afternoon. Makenzie and Susan helped me with them. They swam a bit and dug in the sand and filled buckets with sand and water. Emma almost fell asleep on my lap while I sat in my 'easy chair' in the river. Adi collected stones for us to write names on. "One for Emma, one for Adi, one for Daddy, one for Mommy, one for you, one for Chi Alpha, one for when Emma gets bigger..." Such smart little girls. They paint and play with play dough and enjoy their lives. Lindsay said that Emma screamed in excitement when she heard they were coming here. Gil and Lindsay are at a Chi Alpha Retreat in Phoenix. Lindsay is being asked to do more writing for Chi Alpha and I am so proud of her. (She called to check on them and Emma wouldn't talk to her and Lindsay was secure enough to know that that was a good sign. ) Micah and Janelle came over while we were getting cleaned up and all of the children enjoyed Emma's Tinkerbelle movie. I made a bed on the floor for them in our bedroom and they were asleep by 9:00 I think and slept through the night until 7:15 Fri. morn.
I am thankful that we had our children when I was younger. :)
I am thankful for our big bathtub and the scrubbing that Emma and Adi do with little scrub pads when they are taking a bath.
I am thankful for snugly wiggly clean little bodies and beautiful minds that comprehend the words I am reading to them.
I am thankful for Susan and Makenzie's help and for Susan's consistent good sense.
Fri.-Waking song-"To know, know, know Him...is to love, love, love Him, and I do, and I do, and I do..." How old is that song? We watched Tink again while eating breakfast on the sofa-fruit loops and cheese sticks and a nectarine. I just remembered that as Emma sat on the sofa yesterday due to a disciplinary action on Susan's part, she began to sigh and say, "I want Freeman." Reminded me of the time Helen disciplined Serena around that age and she looked out the window and cried, "I want Bubba." (Freeman) My mother always says that he has a gift of comfort.
Watched Tinkerbelle again. Emma fell asleep on a large sheet of paper she was drawing on. The marker was still in her hand when she was fully asleep. Michael snapped a picture and sent it to Lindsay in Phoenix.
I am not keeping up with the energy of these two little darlings. I must get in shape and soon!
I am thankful for the experience of these last few days and the renewed respect I have gained for mother's of young children.
I am thankful for the chance to snatch a few words of reading during my quick bathroom breaks.
I am thankful that I am 52 instead of 25.
Sat.-Gil and Lindsay came late morning and the girls were not particularly happy to see them. Their wise parents hung around for a bit and we caught up on news and inspirations. Christi made funnel cakes and went fishing later with Philip. Lindsay sat with me while I sewed and Gil rested on the easy chair. Phil and Tom worked on making silage until the heavens opened up. Then they came in for coffee and granola. Freeman worked on his house while the rest watched a movie or sold a knife. The girls helped me clean the house and we got things in shape in about an hours time. I made lots of taco meat for the weekend.
I read 'Wild at Heart' by John Eldredge this week. Even though I am not quite comfortable with what I wrote under Monday about Restorative Justice, I am even more uncomfortable not printing it. So, I will jump off the cliff and be the risk-taking (wo)man that John was talking about in his book and push the 'publish' button. What an inspiring book-Wild at Heart! Every male and female with the ability to read should read that book!
I am thankful for the downpour.
I am thankful for Lindsay.
I am thankful for Michael making popcorn and the movie night ahead.
Sun.-Phil and Michael drove to NC to see Phil's cousin Dennis. Uncle Milford and Aunt Ruth were down there and asked Phil to come down and visit. During church worship today, I think I heard God's voice telling me two different things. I felt Him say, "The light of the countenance of my face is upon you. Don't get distracted by anything else." I kept my focus on His face and I felt my face lighten from His light. And I also felt Him say, "Adapt." And that was a good answer for me. I don't have to change things. I must adapt and that was a relief, really.
I also realized that the whole Restorative Justice issue has nothing to do with whether or not I love this person or not because I do love him and I do want to believe the best. It has to do with what is right and what is just. It is always right to love. It is not always right to trust. For me, if I give you a hug or words of 'welcome back home', it means that I give you my trust. But I think I may need to change it to mean that I will love you even as I wait to see if I can trust you. And even though I still did not know what to do this morning, my feet were not in a hurry to run away. This is the reality of my story. I do not pretend to be right about it at all. I am writing no gospel here.
Went to church with Freeman. Philip took Makenzie and Susan. Some thoughts I came away with from the service: We are here to serve God's purposes. What little we have is more than most people have. Teaching was from 11 Thess. 2-Unrighteous deception occurs when we do not receive the love of the truth that we might be saved. Be watchful for the spirit of anti-christ which is preceded by a spirit of lethargy; an abandonment of faith. You are either rebelling, or obeying, or lukewarm. You cannot abandon what you don't already have. Beware of a spirit of deceit where the untruth begins to look like truth. Beware of a falling away of righteousness, where good is called evil and evil is called good. Good enough is not excellence. We will never have a passion for souls unless we have a conviction of sin. Live and serve as if He were coming back today. There is a huge gulf between condoning and condemning sin. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, hope, and healing.
After lunch, Freeman and Alli, Kelli, Makenzie, Susan, and I went to the river and sat in it and played for awhile. I stayed down about an hour longer and read Philip Yancey's book-"Disappointment with God." I like this book. He says that we need to think about how God feels. He quotes G.K. Chesterton as saying, "The central idea of the great part of the Old Testament may be called the idea of the loneliness of God." I accidentally dropped the book in the river and now it's a bit ripply. I bought it used at Reuzit in Morgantown so I don't feel so bad.
K, S, and M are making pork tenderloin on the grill. When I offered them rolls, they said, "We just want meat." Phil and Michael got home close to 5 and we all spent a relaxing eve. at home. The clouds are so beautiful in their height and threatening majesty. I love storms. I hope these clouds keep their obvious promise of wild things coming our way.
Christi, Philip, Susan, Makenzie, and Michael spent an hour or two on the front porch after Alli and Kelli went home. I heard lots of squeals and laughter.
I am thankful that if my brain doesn't turn off at night, that at least I have a brain.
I am thankful that morning will be here in a few hours.
I am thankful that I am ready to go back to sleep now.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
written by Amy Carmichael,
are a challenge
and a comfort to my soul
as I face an unpleasant situation
in my life just now.
I always try to learn something
and Amy's words
keep my spirit in check
and help me stay free
from a cynical attitude
and a hardened heart.
I slip into the place that can be filled
by Christ alone,
making myself the first necessity to
a soul instead of leading it to
fasten upon Him,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I fear to hold another to the highest
goal because it is so much easier
to avoid doing so,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I am afraid to speak the truth,
lest I lose affection,
or lest the one concerned should
say, "You do not understand,"
or because I fear to lose my
reputation for kindness;
if I put my own good name before
the other's highest good,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I cannot bear to be like the father
who did not soften the rigors of
the far country;
if, in this sense, I refuse to allow the
law of God (the way of the
transgressors is hard) to take effect,
because of the distress it causes me
to see that law in operation,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I deal with wrong for any other
reason than that implied in the words,
"From His right hand went a fiery
law for them. Yea, He loved the people";
if I can rebuke without a pang,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I am perturbed by the reproach and
misunderstanding that may follow action
taken for the good of souls for whom
I must give account;
if I cannot commit the matter and go
on in peace and in silence,
remembering Gethsemane and the
cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I cannot keep silence over a disappointing soul
(unless for the sake of that soul's good
or for the good of others it be necessary
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
I will stop there.
I am quite certain
that I have much to learn
of Calvary's love.
Please teach me, dear Jesus,
and please be merciful as You teach me.
I realize why I have so many books on the go.
I am reluctant to say good-bye to any of them.
But I finished Gretchen's book
because it was based on a 12 month project of hers,
and I needed to round off the months to an even dozen.
I loved what she wrote in her November month about 'the joyous ones.'
I read it at a timely time and desperately needed
the understanding words.
Maybe you'll like it too.
Here are some excerpts.
It looks like alot but it is really not more
than a full page in her book.
"...A prayer attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo includes the line
"shield your joyous ones.":
"Tend your sick ones, Lord Jesus Christ;
rest your weary ones; bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones; pity your afflicted ones;
shield your joyous ones.
And all for your love's sake."
At first, it struck me as odd that among prayers for the "dying" and "suffering" is a prayer for the "joyous." Why worry about the joyous ones?
Once I started trying to give positive reviews, though, I began to understand how much happiness I took from the joyous ones in my life-and how much effort it must take for them to be consistently good-tempered and positive.
It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.
We nonjoyous types suck energy and cheer from the joyous ones; we rely on them to buoy us with their good spirit and to cushion our agitation and anxiety. At the same time, because of a dark element in human nature, we're sometimes provoked to try to shake the enthusiastic, cheery folk out of their fog of illusion-to make them see that the play was stupid, the money was wasted, the meeting was pointless. Instead of shielding their joy, we blast it. Why is this? I have no idea. But that impulse is there."
She wrote some of this in her blog and got some responses.
"This entry almost made me cry. As one of the joyful ones, I agree wholeheartedly that it can be draining too, and it takes so little to show your appreciation."
And another response to her blog..."...I am also a joyous one. I choose to be. I choose it every day. I have recently gone through a traumatic breakup because my boyfriend SO couldn't stop blasting my joy. And yet also unrelentingly drawing upon it like a drowning person in a sea. I felt as if I was being pulled under more every day. I had to go or I wouldn't be able to breathe anymore..."
Gretchen continued..."These comments reminded me that the joy of the joyous ones wasn't inexhaustible or unconquerable. I started to make a real effort to use my good cheer to support the joyous ones I knew....."
She decided to play Pollyanna's 'glad game' and determine to make no negative comments for a solid week. She knew that she should 'act the way she wanted to feel' (one of her keys to happiness), and if she wanted to feel enthusiastic, warm, and accepting, she wasn't going to get there by constantly making sniping comments.
I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin's book.
It's a keeper so I won't be loaning mine out.
If you want to find out more about creating your
own happiness project, go to the Happiness Project
Toolbox Web site, http://www.happinessprojecttoolbox.com/
I especially enjoyed her 12 commandments
written on page 10 of her book,
and also 'The Secrets of Adulthood"
written on page 11.
I might have to start reading this book again
because I am not quite willing to let the
friendship I feel towards the book
and its author escape me.
I have become aware of my awakening thoughts
here of late.
Sometimes, I have a song on my mind
or a prevailing thought.
my thoughts were on quietness.
These are the thoughts
I gradually became aware of.
"Drop Thy still dews of quietness
til' all our strivings cease.
And in our ordered lives confess
the beauty of Thy peace."
(I think these were words on a plaque
in my childhood home, but I am not sure.)
"Let all the earth keep silent
so we may hear the whispers of God."
(by Ralph Waldo Emerson-I saw it painted on a
piece of board at Amish Originals)
In quietness and confidence shall
be your strength. (Is. 30:15)
(On postcard from Ferne K. on my
The Lord is in His Holy Temple
The Lord is in His Holy Temple
Let all the earth keep silence
Let all the earth keep silence
(Grade school song)
Be still and know that I am God.
Peace, be still.
If God gives us songs in the night,
it stands to reason
that we would still be hearing them
in the morning
if we listen in quietness.
Thank you God,
for the song in the night,
the quick breath of vision,
the balm for my soul.
Now may our God and Father Himself,
and our Lord Jesus Christ,
direct our way to you.
And may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love to one another
and to all,
just as we do to you,
so that He may establish your hearts
blameless in holiness
before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all His saints.
1 Thess. 5:23, 24~
Now may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful,
who also will do it.
11 Thess. 1:11,12~
...we pray...that our God
would count you worthy of this calling,
and fulfill all the good pleasure
of His goodness
and the work of faith with power,
that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
may be glorified in you,
and you in Him,
according to the grace of our God
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
11 Thess. 2:16,17~
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
and our God and Father,
who has loved us and given us
and good hope by grace,
comfort your hearts and establish you
in every good word and work.
*Consolation=comfort, solace, an easing
of grief or loneliness; relief
11 Thess. 3:5~
Now may the Lord direct your hearts
into the love of God
and into the patience of Christ.
Read, study, meditate, and pray these words
for yourself, your family, your church, your world.
How rich and full and deep they are.
I love how Paul says, "May the God of peace Himself,
May our God and Father Himself,
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself..."
It makes God personal.
I like that.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tues.-Woke up slowly in Caleb's darkened room. Had coffee and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Good talk with Diane. Swam some more and had an antipasto lunch at the table by the pool. (Oh, how I love Meghan.) Tearful farewells and I love you's.
Came back to Joe and Karen's. Susan went to be with Bradley. I went to be with Mother and Rosalee for about two hours before heading over to Naomi's for the eve. Naomi and I ate outside with the fan blowing. Mabe checked my oil for me. All the girls were home plus Zack. Christi asked, "Annette, do you like Tink?" I said, "I had so many animals growing up and they eventually died so now I am afraid to get attached to any animal, but I am attached to Angel and Sampson, but not Roxy." Tink is their teacup puppy. She licks my toes and I am not a big fan but she is a good distraction and she fulfilled and continues to fulfill her purpose in life with this dear family. My time with Naomi was too short. My wise and precious friend continues to drink from the cup that has been handed to her. I pray that the cup of blessing will soon overflow the cup of sorrow. *I am thankful for the way God redeems difficult situations. I am thankful for Steve and Mabe and they way they take care of my girlfriends. :) I am thankful for long term golden friendships.
Wed.-Woke up early and packed up. Left Hertzlerville at 7:01. Mom, Dad, and Bradley (10) came along back with us. We took their car to Schantz's. Janelle and Micah moved down this past Monday and her parents are helping her and they will take the Pa. Hertzler's back to their home on Sunday where they will pick up their car and drive home. Had a great trip. We listened to the Ingall Memoirs on tape some of the time. Stopped in at Phil's job in Appomattox. He is building the house he wants to build for me. It is terribly hot. Mom and Dad stayed with us for awhile and Phil took them over to Tom's where they will stay for two nights. *I am thankful for my wonderful in laws. I am thankful for my dear nephew Bradley. I might not give him back. I am thankful for the safe trip home. I am thankful that everyone was happy that we were back. I am thankful for home.
Thurs.-Brads, Susan, and I picked a bushel of green beans. They cleaned them while I tried to organize our lives once again. They went down to the river in the afternoon and after Janelle dropped off Micah, I took him down for several hours. I began to read John Eldredge's book, "Wild at Heart." Every woman who loves a man or has sons should read it. It's really good and it is freeing. Lindsay had just told me about it and I found it at Re-uzit Thrift Store in Morgantown this week. Micah enjoyed Three Stooges while Philip played cards with Susan and Bradley. Janelle's been running to town alot, getting things together for her house. Freeman is getting his things together too. Michael's been working on getting Cutco appointments. He is highly motivated. Phil is trying to salvage the dried up corn crop. He is making some silage while there is still green in the stalks. Please God, send the rain.
*I am thankful for Micah's tan little body and his very blond hair. I am thankful for Lindsay's phone call and the chance to catch up with her. I am thankful for the garden produce of sweet corn and tomatoes. I am thankful for the way Micah sat beside Phil on the sofa and for our son's happy words to Micah, "You come over whenever you want to. You come as much as you can. We are so glad that you are here."
Fri.-Went to the river with Brads and Susan. Mom and Dad here for supper and overnight until Sunday morn. I am thankful for the song I woke up to-"Hear Me Lord, and Be Merciful". Phil put music to that Psalm many years ago and Hopewell sang it as one of their worship songs. I am thankful that Tommy had time to play with Susan and Bradley. I am thankful for the supper of garden produce-tomatoes in our BLT's, green beans, zucchini, corn, and red potatoes.
Sat.-Song-"Hear me Lord." Mom and I played 'Scum' with Susan and Bradley. Mom would burst into full song while we were playing. She helped me cut out some material to make something
for a friend. I was looking for pictures of Freeman for the wedding. I found many of Johnny, and Mom and I picked up the cup of grief again and drank from its depths. Guys were chopping corn for silage. Took Mom, Dad, Susan, and Brads over to see Freeman and Alli's new place. It is going to be very nice. Just needs some paint and elbow grease.
Had a party for Freeman down at the river for his 26th birthday. Carl and Marcia, Janelle and Micah were there, as were all of Tom's, Mom, Dad, and Bradley, and the Bantons. We had hot dogs, sausages, cucumber salad, chips, tomatoes, onions, dill pickles, watermelon, grapes, carrots, s'mores, and pie and ice cream.
The cousins had fun swimming in the water and hanging out in our house and porch after they got back up.
I am thankful for Dad's words, as I drove him down early to the river, to watch the fire I had started. "This is beautiful...this place." and "You are married to a successful man." I am thankful for strawberry marshmallows which give a new twist to the basic s'more. I am thankful for my wonderful mother-in-law. Thankful for Phil's revelation-If we are judgmental of others, we may use up our storehouse of judgment and may be lacking in common sense and good judgment when we need it most. Thankful for Phil singing me to sleep.
Happiness is sitting on a big rock in the middle of the river with my future daughter-in-law, with two little darlings clambering around us, Emma and Adi, and the freedom to enjoy the moment without thinking we need to talk.
Sun.-Slept in again! Awaking song-"Blessed Quietness, Holy Quietness..." We all looked through little photo albums to find pictures of Freeman and had such a great time in the process. We were on our way to drop mom and dad off at Janelle's and had to stop to put the cows back in. Carl and Marcia took Mom, Dad, and Brads back to Pa. They will be home this eve. sometime. I had to cry when I said good bye to little Bradley. I told him he was sweet, but that he was a manly sweet, just like Jesus. We will see them again in about 28 days, which made the parting a bit easier. Went to church and was glad I did.
(Song I loved-'Jesus Paid it All') Pastor Frank preached about what we really should be rejoicing about-that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We should be spiritual and be filled with the Spirit in order to be a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. We should be submitted to one another. We should not be a runaway bride. He has made us worthy of His love.
~Communion-Remember, Examine, and Proclaim the Lord's death.
~Show who He is until He shows Himself to the world.
~If the blood of Christ cleansed Heaven, just think what it does for us.
~Jesus continually interrupted His ministry to the multitude to minister to the individual.
~In the Old Testament, when an clean person touched an unclean person, they became unclean. But under the New Law, Jesus, the clean, has touched us, the unclean, and now, we too are clean! Let it be so, Lord Jesus.
~Let us not just say we love Him, but prepare ourselves to be in His presence.)(We prepare ourselves to be in His Heavenly Presence by preparing to be in His presence now. We also prepare ourselves by being in His presence now.)
Brought Susan and Kelli back home with us. Freeman and Alli came later in the afternoon as did Philip, Michael and some of their friends. We watched 'America's Got Talent' and Phil read an Ernest Thompson Seaton book and took a nap. Janelle and Micah came over for a few hours. Phil reached for him when they were ready to leave and Micah gave him a big hug. Phil brought him to me and we had a nice big group hug. It was wonderful.
I am thankful for the good seed that fell on good soil this morning.
I am thankful that Mom, Dad, Bradley, and the Schantz's got home safely.
I am thankful that if I haven't had enough time to be alone, I cannot sleep, and therefore I have time alone to think and/or write which I am doing now.