Monday, September 27, 2010


Jesus needed to get away from the Pharisees because they were making an issue of the number of disciples being baptized by John vs. Jesus and His disciples, so He left Judea and started towards Galilee. He had to travel through Samaria to get to Galilee. Samaria was about halfway between the two regions.

The Bible says, "He needed to go through Samaria," which was true.
I checked it out on the map.

He needed to go geographically.
He needed to go spiritually as well.

He needed to meet a woman who needed Him.
But first, He needed her.
He asked her for a drink as He waited by the well.
He was weary from His journey so He rested there
while His disciples went into the town to get some food.

You can read the story in the book of John, chapter four.

To make a long story short,
He was spiritually compelled to go
through Samaria to meet this particular woman
and meet her particular need.
No other man ever met her need before
and because of her testimony,
many more believed.

I needed to go to Walmart, the library, the UPS store, the bookstore, and the feed store. I was thinking about this story because I read it this morning.

Geographically, I needed to go to these places.
Physically, I needed people to do things for me at these places.
But spiritually, I thought about why I needed to go.

Perhaps someone in those places needed a drink of living water.
Perhaps someone needed a discerning word to bring to light
things hidden in darkness.

we need to go through Samaria to get to Galilee.

And every day,
there is a Samaritan woman at the well,
waiting to reap the fruit
of our need to travel through her town.

The wedding

Once upon a time, Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding feast. Mary, His mother was also there. They were all having a grand old time, celebrating, dancing, drinking wine and
suddenly, Mary noticed that they had run out of wine.

She nudged Jesus and said, 'They've run out of wine.' Jesus said, 'I can't do anything about it. It's not my time to do anything miraculous.' She disregarded Him and said to the servants, 'Whatever He tells you to do, do it.' Well, that put Him on the spot and perhaps out of respect to His mother and compassion for the family, He said to the servants, 'Fill the water pots with water.' There were six pots sitting there and they could hold 20-30 gallons of liquid a piece. Let's see...20x6=120...30x6=180...120-180 gallons of water! That would take some time to draw that much water from the well and they were in a hurry.

When they had filled the water pots to the brim they came back to Jesus and He said, 'Draw some out of the pots and take it to the master of the feast.' And that they did.

The master of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine and said,
'Usually, people give their guests the best wine first and after they have well drunk, they put out the cheaper wine, but you have saved your best wine for last!' And thus the reputation of the bride and groom and their families was saved. (Because 120-180 gallons of good wine is no small thing!)

This was just the beginning of signs with which Jesus manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:1-11)
Have you noticed in life that
"business as usual" is no longer working?

Look around you.

What used to work for producing income, doesn't anymore.
What used to work for growing the church, doesn't anymore.
What used to work for unifying your family, doesn't anymore.

It's a disconcerting wake-up call.

Wake up!
Wake up!
The wine's run out!

It is time to fill our lives up to the brim with Living Water.
It is time for Jesus to do something with the water in our vessel.

It is time for the Master of the Feast to take a taste test from the wine of our lives.

Will He say, "You've saved the best for last!"
or will He say, "It's business as usual. The inferior wine is being served."

How do we fill up the water pots of our lives with Living Water?

We read, meditate, and study His Word because we learn
to know Him in it because He is the Word of Life.

We talk to Him and listen to Him and live in the truth that He will never leave us or forsake us.

We keep ourselves in the love of God and stay in fellowship with other believers.

We pray in the Holy Ghost.

We do what Jesus says to do.

Because it's wedding time.
And the wine's run out.

And the Master of the Feast
needs to taste the wine
that Jesus has made
from the Living Water
contained in our vessels.

And regardless if our wine
is inferior or the best,
the guests are in need of our wine.

We who are the vessels
are also the guests
and we drink wine from one another.

What kind of wine will we offer one another?
What kind of wine will we drink?

Sarcasm in the Old Testament

Job's friends were telling him that he must have some awful secret sins or God wouldn't be punishing him the way he was and Job defended his own righteousness and they were horrified and rebuked him even further and then Job says, "No doubt you ARE the people and wisdom will die with you!"

I got a kick out of that. In other words, Job said, "You're the man and when you die, no one else will exist who knows anything at all!" And then he goes on to say that regardless of that 'fact', he's smart too and is not as stupid as they think.

You'll find all this in Job 12:1-3. It really is an amazing book. Job lost so much in 9 months time and then God restored back to him twice as much as he had before, AFTER he prayed for his lousy friends.

I can identify with Job.
I can identify with his lousy friends.
I can identify with the hopelessness of loss.
And I can identify with the surprise of joy.

Hertzler Doings~Sept. 27-Oct.3, 2010

Mon.-"Behold I will do something new among you..." Little sleep. Took Susan to school, went to Walmart, came back home, said good bye to Michael, did some reading, washing, exercising, book work. Went out to check into Baine's book credit program, sent Cutco knives back to be sharpened, got music and art books out of library, picked Susan up at school. Came home to baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes all ready to eat. Made broccoli and cheese. Warmed up chili. Made butter and sour cream. Perfect for a rainy day.

I am thankful for blueprint plans spread out all over the kitchen table.
I am thankful for the rain.
I am thankful for a daughter who does her homework without me telling her to.

Tues.-Not sleeping well. Woke up at 5:30 to get ready for school. Good day in school. We listened to "I know that my Redeemer Liveth" from Handel's Messiah. The words from this song are taken from the book of Job and Corinthians. I am reading through Job so I was telling the kids the story of Job and how he went through all those things in a space of 9 months. After his test was over and he prayed for his lousy friends, God restored double for all of his loss, and he lived a long, happy life. We talked about friendship and God's testing of our faith and how sometimes, we think that maybe we or others did something wrong when we go through a rough time, and that perhaps God is punishing us. I told them I had sung this song for a Fine Arts Festival in high school and one of the kids did his Simon imitation and pretended to be an insulting judge. It was a rather good imitation but I had to move things right along. They rested their heads on the table and endured nearly 6 minutes of soprano opera and I am not sure that anyone really enjoyed it.
I was thinking today of the power of words. If we speak words of a future and a hope to our students, how much easier it will be for them to attain that future and that hope.
Today I was talking with another teacher when they noticed a coyote on the field connected to our school. It seemed to hide in the bushes. Found out later it was in the news.

I am thankful for a chapel and a piano and a hymnbook.
I am thankful for the comfortable goodness of friendship.
I am thankful that Janelle and Micah came over tonight. Susan took pictures with her camera since Janelle's didn't work with the computer and now Janelle has the pictures she needs for the article being written about her. Did you know that 4-500 people check out her website daily? http://www.journey-through-grief/
Micah watched The Three Stooges. I love to hear his laughter. I had to be a beggar and go after him for kisses.
I am thankful that Christi is here, making soft pretzels with Philip.

Wed.-Music class went smoother with the extra helper and the clear definitions of responsibilities. One of the 2nd graders wanted to whistle 'Once in Royal David's City' and I said ok and he whistled it beautifully. The amazing thing was this. He drew in air and whistled 'backwards' for the whole song-no blowing out! That's hard to do. I tried and I can't do it. Raining. Alot. Went to church in eve. Met Lindsay and she took me over to the Student Lounge at Longwood where we met with two of the Chi Alpha girls, one of which will be in my small group.
I am thankful that Michael was coming home the same time we were getting on 460 and he turned around and caught up with us to say hello and then turned back home again.
I am thankful that Judy's surgery went better than expected and that we didn't come close to breaking out the banana split routine.
I am thankful for Phil.

Thurs.-Sang composer songs in chapel today. Read Job in my class room for awhile with a cup of coffee and banana chocolate chip muffins in hand. I wept with the rain for dear sweet Job. Rain. Rain. Rain. I love it. I had formed little playdough figures yesterday and dried them in the deyhydrator overnight and painted and sprayed them today. They are so adorable and I was thinking about how pleased I was with them and how that must be how God feels about us, His creation. My creations weren't perfect but I loved them because I made them. K-2 made them today too. We separated the girls and boys in K/1. Half of them went with Mrs. V, who read Robert McCloskey books to them and discussed a painting of a Hare-painted over 500 years ago. Next week, we'll switch the groups. This way, we can spend better quality time with the children. My day went so much better. Stopped for our weekly ice cream at Country Charm and bought a nice jacket for Susan at Millie's consignment shop. Susan made supper tonight. Homemade mac and cheese. I showed her the cheese sauce recipe in the Mennonite Cookbook.

I am thankful I have a daughter who sticks up for the under dog and I am thankful I have a wise husband who encourages her to do it in a 'more respectful way next time' and for his coaching on how to do so. I am thankful for fresh herbs, olive oil and homemade pesto sauce over pasta and that the chef was willing to share. I am thankful for the tiny little 4 year olds at school, who give a family like feeling to the whole school because they are so huggable.

Fri.-Nice day at home-cooking, cleaning, washing. Went to Spiggle's CCA's hot dog roast in eve. Philip and Michael were driving by Janelle's in the eve. and saw Micah sitting on the porch, so they stopped in and took him fishing. Philip and him had 5 sodas between them and Micah was getting hyper and had to pee off the boat, etc. They had fun talking to him like an adult. He was wondering why the guy wanted to sell his boat that the boys just bought and he said something like, "Maybe he needed the cash." Micah is 6.

I am thankful that the dessert I made-BTS cake-was a big hit tonight.
I am thankful for cool nights with windows open and for the necessary snuggling under the covers.
I am thankful for the Friday night Monk tradition.

Sat.-Went to church at 8. Bought our Farmville First t-shirts and helped ourselves to a free breakfast. Several hundred people came out to serve our community in various ways. We split up into teams and went our various ways. This is a list of things we did. Street cleaning, firewood delivery, window cleaning, giving of quarters at the laundromat, health screenings, diaper and coat give aways, free haircuts, and then a great deal was going on up at Haleys. There were inflatables for kids to play in, face painting, cotton candy, free hot dogs and water, clowns making balloon critters, etc. I know I am missing something. I was with Jess, Glenda, and Margaret at the laundromat on third street. We got to talk to a number of people and helped them pay for their wash. One lady went out and brought us a box of donuts. Several people came over when they left and shook our hands and thanked us. Some plan on visiting our church. I befriended several little girls and the one did her praise dance for me and the other sang a song she sings in choir..."God will do what He says He will do..." and I wonder if I will ever doubt that again hearing it the way I did from her sweet little lips and beautiful face. We went out to Haley's Auto Sales after we ran out of quarters and I picked up Susan, Haley, and Amy, and took them to Walmart where they bought colored hair spray and black nail polish. I am trying not to take it too seriously. Phil, Philip, and Freeman have all gone archery hunting some time today. Phil is out this eve. Michael is fishing. Chace is meeting him over at the lake. I automatically begin to make chocolate chip cookies when I hear that Chace is coming.
I am thankful for quarters and how it's the small things make people happy.
I am thankful for the gift Jess has with words.
I am thankful for her faith in God.

Sun.-Went to church outside today. Saw some folks I met yesterday. I waved vigorously at one and she tentatively waved back and when I got a chance to talk with her, I found out that she wasn't the person I thought she was. I asked her if she had a twin and she said no. Oh well. Gerald M., an evangelist, and his wife, Phyllis, shared with the church and the community the desire of God's heart for all to be saved. Quite a few people responded to the altar call. We had hamburgers and hotdogs, chips, cookies, and drinks for all who wanted them after the service.
I am thankful for Adi's pleasure in the paper boats, books, and airplanes, I made for her during the service. I am thankful for the great nap I had in the afternoon. I am thankful for the lives that were changed today.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Esther and Influence

Some of these Old Testament books are best read in one sitting. Nehemiah is one of those. So is Esther. I noticed in Esther that alot of people influenced other people to do good or bad things.
This is what I discovered in each chapter.


1-When Queen Vashti refused to be influenced by her intoxicated husband to show off her beauty to his intoxicated guests, his advisers closest to him influenced him to strike down the potential of other wives showing excessive contempt towards their husbands by advising him to remove QV as queen.
He did so. Does anyone ever feel sorry for poor Queen Vashti?

2-The King's servants influenced the appeased lonely king to look for a new virgin queen. Hegai, the king's eunuch and advisor to the young women who were being primed for queenship, influenced Esther to go before the king without alot of clutter and glitz (my interpretation) and to go into his presence with her own sweet smiling self and that sweet smiling self is what influenced the king to pick her as his new queen. (God also gave her favor and grace in his sight because He had this all worked out ahead of time.)

3-Haman influenced the king to agree to destroy a people by painting a threatening picture with evil words of God's chosen Jews.

4-Mordecai influenced Esther to go before the king to plead for the life of the Jews by using the influential words, "Perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this."

5-Haman's nasty wife fed into Haman's jealousy and influenced him to build gallows for which to hang the object of his wrath-Mordecai.

6-When the king asked Haman how to honor an important man, Haman influenced the king by telling him to honor the important man by putting on him the king's royal robe and letting him ride the king's horse, etc. and parade him on the streets and proclaim, "Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor." The king loved the idea and ordered Haman to do exactly as he said for Mordecai. (Which influenced Haman to develop a terrible case of the duldrums and overwhelming dread and probably a terrific migraine to boot. Also, it is safe to say that his wife was not exactly an influence of comfort in this alarming situation.)

7-Queen Esther's appeal for the life of her people influenced the king to sympathize with the Jews and be furious with Haman. Haman's posture towards the queen in his terror (he got a little too close for comfort) influenced the king to yell the words,"Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?" Which influenced the servants to cover Haman's face because they knew if was all over for him.

8-A eunuch influenced the king to hang Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Esther influenced the king to write a decree so that the Jews could defend themselves against the attacks of the enemy. The honoring of the Jews and the fear that accompanied that honoring influenced many non-Jews to become Jews rather quickly.

9-Mordecai's fame and power influenced those in leadership to help the Jews. Esther influenced the king to allow the Jews to fight again the next day and to hang Haman's 10 sons on the gallows.
Mordecai influenced the Jews to have these days--the days of their deliverance and victory--to be proclaimed as a national holiday as a celebration to influence them to remember that God gave them rest from their enemies and that their sorrow was turned into joy.

10-Mordecai, the Jew, was a man of great influence, second to King Ahasuerus, great among the Jews, well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.

Influence-"the power of persons or things to affect others"

Oh, that we would use the power of our influence for the glory of God and for the good of our fellow man.


I had some time at school last week and the book 'Nehemiah' was where my marker lay, so as I began to read, I decided to read the whole book, and then I decided to see what main idea I could extract from each chapter as advice to leaders since Nehemiah was a leader. Any similarities to any given situations are not intentional.


1-Confess personal and corporate sins.

2-Seek the well-being of the children of God.

3-Put your shoulder to the work of the Lord. Repair the gates and the walls.

4-Pray to God and set up a watch against the enemy day and night.

5.-Walk in the fear of God and do not enslave each other by selling each other out. Treat each other well because of the fear of God.

6.-When falsely accused, say what is true and ask God to strengthen your hands. Do not be afraid of false prophets nor respond to their manipulative words. If God has moved you to do a work, others will perceive that it is God's work and not yours. Some will like it; some won't.

7.-Put faithful men in charge. Let everyone be counted as important.

8.-Read the Word of God among the people of God. Help those listening understand the meaning. Worship and bless God for His word.

9.-Practice personal and corporate fasting; balance the time in a gathering between confession of sins, reading the word, and worship. Remind people of God's deliverance and faithfulness in the past.

10.-Covenant with God to keep His laws.

11.-Recognize that every individual is important in the work of God.

12.-Give corporate thanks to God for the accomplishment of any work He has done through your hands.

13.-Keep checking to make sure the house of God remains pure. Reassess your "Gates and Walls" and see if they need to be changed or fixed and if more help is needed to keep things in order. (Although Nehemiah demonstrated violence to the miserable offenders-cursing, striking, pulling out their hair!-I would not recommend this sort of discipline for the day and age we live in.)

Some observations:

It takes much energy to rebuild ruins and to keep the walls maintained and free from danger. It takes much watching and praying and every once in awhile, there will be great conflict to deal with. So deal with the conflict humbly and keep doing what you know is right and give God glory and don't wear yourself out by running around putting out little fires here and there, but keep the fire in the sanctuary well lit by honoring His Word and by worshipping Him.

While you are busy going about the business of the King, things may get out of hand when you are not looking. This happens easily. We may be happily doing God's work and all of a sudden realize that we should have been spending more time with our own families. But it is God's faithfulness that brings these things to light and He watches out for our blind sides and sends someone to bring attention to a wall or two that needs mending and places in our lives that need more help.

When you don't know what to do, do what you know to do, and God will show you the rest.

Never say Never?

We've all heard the saying, "Never say never."

But I've been noticing some really great ways to use that word.
How about....

He who believes in me will never thirst again.(Jesus)

He who believes in me will never die.(Jesus)

I have never seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging for bread.(The psalmist)

Love never fails.(Apostle Paul)

And my personal favorite-
Never will I leave you or forsake you.

So never say, 'Never say never'
because there are some very good times to say that word.

Hertzler Doings-Sept. 20-26, 2010

Mon.-"Everything you've waited for is standing here outside your door..." Rough night because I believed something to be true that was not at all. So sorry to have worried and now my lack of sleep may affect how I relate to others. Even if it was true, I shouldn't have worried about it. Washed clothes, visited work site next door, exercised, cleaned an area of my room. Phil's going to put book shelves in our bedroom which should really help my love of books problem. He took some out of the house they are renovating. Susan and Phil went catfishing in the eve. using chicken livers as bait. Michael's been out at Richmond working with Cutco all day and overnight. Philip is cleaning up after the party. After three days of junk food Michael was desperate for a salad this morning. Phil said to me today, "I have a problem...I miss Freeman." I had to think that 26 years is a long time to be together in the morning. Freeman used to get up early when he was in grade school and high school and make coffee for Phil. If one is going to have a problem, that's a good kind of problem to have.

I am thankful that Susan was excited all day because she knew her dad was taking her fishing tonight. (She caught the biggest catfish caught so far plus another big one. She wanted to let Phil pull it in since he didn't catch any but he wanted her to do the honors.) I am thankful that the guys have work next door and I get to see them more often.
I am thankful that Freeman stopped in and wanted to take some of Philip's chocolate birthday cake home for his Alli. He enjoyed it too. (Chocolate Marvel cake made with coffee and baby food prunes. It is a marvel, that's for sure.)

Tues.-"Living flame of love...come baptize us..." Susan was so happy on the way to school and talked about how much fun she had fishing with her dad last eve. Good day of school. Read from Rev. 19 where the words were taken for Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus". We stood as we listened to this majestic chorus instead of resting our heads on the table. Select Choir continues to thrill me with their quick learning ability and 3 part harmony. Looked for mugs at Salvation Army after school. They are disappearing around here. Susan got an ice cream cone. I stopped in to see Millie and also looked for a birthday book Michael wants at Baine's. Going to bed early tonight. Very tired all day.
Thankful for the sermon I found lying around and its teaching on Ruth and God's grace. The law was given so grace could be shown. I was thinking about that in regards to school. School rules are given to keep things in order and to show grace to offenders of the law. I am not sure if I am saying that right. But I am quite certain that the message of grace and kindness will be remembered much longer than the names of composers, Latin words, and History, etc.
Thankful for the book "What's so Amazing about Grace?" by Philip Yancey.
I am even thankful for the discomfort I feel as I read it and the sorrow I have that I am so often full of ungrace. I am thankful for the grace of God and the message of grace which is given to those of us who are most ungracious.

Wed.-"You are holy..." Walked into chapel after it was over in order to play the piano and as I stepped inside the door, I heard the 'trumpet' blow and my knees went weak and I nearly dropped. Mrs. H. , who was standing in the back with Mrs. S. and saw the whole thing, said that I got what I deserved for being a trouble maker. Dr. H. said I failed the sound check for the final trumpet call. I have plans for revenge. He said that this time he scared me innocently. He didn't know I was walking in when he decided to blow his nose, quite violently, I might add.

I was impressed with how quickly things were changed when I said that there were things that were not working for me in a classroom situation. Twice this week, things were changed rapidly when I said I wasn't happy. I am looking forward to a better week next week. If I just wanted to put time in and focus on classroom control it would be one thing. But I really do want the kids to have a chance to tell me about their lives. I want to relate to them; not control their behavior, although sometimes that would be nice. When I have a relationship with them, they want to behave. When I am relating to them, I am aware that there is nothing in the world more important than being with this child, these children, at this time.

In the eve. Missi and I went to Macado's for supper before youth group. It's been a long time since we've caught up with each other. Then Nanette and I went on a walk on High Trail. The wind was blowing the leaves all around and the pink moon was glowing ahead of us on the trail. Behind us, lightning was flashing, but neither of us were willing to run from the storm. It was wonderful. We got back to church in good time and sat in the car with our windows down. Our arms got wet from the dripping rain while we waited for Lindsay to show up with the girls. "I love you, Aunt Annette," sang two of the sweetest voices on earth.
I am thankful for those two little darlings.
I am thankful that Susan sang the whole way to church and the whole way back home.
I am thankful for old and new friends and the comfort and joy I find in both.
I am thankful that once a week, the teachers all bring part of a meal, and we eat the same food together at our table. I am thankful that someone else told me tonight that they share my blog with others and that they especially appreciate the sermon notes.

Thurs.-Made baker's clay ornaments in dehydrator last night and today the K-2 graders painted their apples, pumpkins, and leaves. I sprayed them with acrylic spray and will turn them into ribboned ornaments next week. One little boy told me that he was going to have a baby sister soon. I asked him how he felt about that and then told him that I thought he would make a wonderful big brother. This child is always writing love notes to his mother when he has a free moment in art class, but today, I got two little 'I love you' kinds of notes from him. I put them up on the art display strip. Worked on learning Christmas music during spare time. Came home and sat on my chair and couldn't move. Watched "Blank Check" with Susan and then got up and cleaned kitchen, did two loads of wash and was in bed by 9 and slept until 6:30 the next morning.

I am thankful that rough days make one look for possible solutions and solutions are given so there are fewer rough days. I am thankful for grace, understanding, and forgiveness. I am thankful for CCA. I am thankful for the realization that those who have melancholy tendencies in their personalities need some time alone and it they don't get it, their sleep is interrupted in order to have time to think, and then they can be a bit grumpy, due to lack of sleep and due to the need for time alone. ( I know that's true for me.)

Fri.-Vacation Day at home here with Alli. We sat and talked with a cup of tea, made oatmeal raisin cookies, took some over to Freeman at the neighbor and checked out the property, watched Monk and NCIS, made tortilla meat, and played Dutch Blitz later with Susan. Freeman came over for supper after work. He was outside and came into the house yelling. We ran outside and saw a beautiful eagle soaring over our property. He was there for quite awhile. A flock of buzzards flew above it, trying to imitate its majestic flight. Philip, Michael, and Travis went fishing. Phil went to Pa today to pick up an old chest of drawers he needed to get out of Anne's basement since she sold her house. He stopped in to visit my mother and also his parents. He left around 4 this morning and will be home later tonight. He's had some truck trouble. CJ called today. I've known her since I was 17 and she was 11. I was her counselor at camp. She might come visit tomorrow.

I am thankful that I didn't pull out in front of the car that was turning in PTRoad today. I would have been t-boned by the car on the other side of them that I couldn't see. I almost pulled out. Stopped just in time. Others would have been hurt and I wouldn't be here anymore. Then, a guy on the back road didn't even look as he pulled out of his lane and he stopped just in time so I didn't hit him. I am thankful for days of rest and a chance to catch up with Alli. I am thankful that the boy's friends feel at home here. I am thankful for the 'Just in Time's' in life.

Sat.-Day at home to catch up on wash, cleaning, and phone calls. CJ and I talked on the phone for nearly 2 hours and got on face book and connected with each other and two other camp counsellors as well. She discovered that we live 5 hours away from each other so decided to make the trip another day. Naomi and I caught up and plan to meet each other in Harrisonburg before long. It is significant to me that in the past week and a half I have heard from 3 different people that I haven't heard from in years. Finished 'What's so Amazing about Grace?' by Philip Yancey. It was not an easy read after all because I felt convicted the whole time I was reading it. And then, the reconnections with these friends... I needed to read the book before I reconnected with them. I need grace from others and I need to give grace a well.

Philip was around home today, vacuuming and cleaning out his car and truck. Phil and Freeman cut firewood for delivery to homes next weekend for Farmville First. Susan rested a lot today-not feeling so great. Cleaned her room and helped clean the house. Michael is in Richmond for more training. 1502 pfh.
I am thankful for the way God brings things around full circle.
I am thankful for the eagle and the way God has used its presence to encourage us when we need it.
I am thankful for the long talk with Mother on the phone and the 6 classic devotional books she sent home with Phil. She wanted to tell Susan that her dad told her that Susan is beautiful-inside and out.

Sun.-"Hallelujah...glory to God in the Highest." Good SS with Diana. I loved the new song we sang today with the words '..a Sacred Refuge is Your name..' We have a mandate to tell people how much God loves them. Next Saturday, we will tell the town of Farmville that God loves them as we do acts of service and speak words of life to those we meet-Farmville First. Sermon notes: 11 Cor. 5:18-21-Jesus intent in coming to this world was to reconcile the world back to God and now we also have this ministry of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ; resident representatives of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is important that we fear God and walk in awe of Him. When we do this, we will have fellowship with Him and with each other, and we will be faithful to Him as a result of that fear and fellowship. We are going to respond to God's word in proportion to how much we fear God. If you have an ear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. If you have eyes to see, see what God is doing. If you have a heart, feel His heartbeat. If you have a mind, understand His ways. If you have a voice, speak His words. Be His ambassador here on earth. Be His ears, His eyes, His heart, His mind, His voice. Represent Him.
Philip, Travis, and Michael made venison steak over a fire down at the river and hung out together for the rest of the day. (Christi was here in the eve. after a gathering at Fisher's.) We took it easy in the afternoon and went to a prayer meeting at the Daily Grind in the evening. We are praying, as a church, for our community, that God will break down racial barriers, religious barriers, and economic barriers. We are praying for other churches and pastors. We are asking God to heal marriages and homes. We are going to fast and pray that God will work in a mighty way in our community and we are hoping for a jump start this coming weekend as we serve our community on Saturday and have an outdoor service on Sunday with an evangelist who is known for his ability to share God's heart with those who do not yet know Him in such a way that they will want to know Him. We are expecting great things.
I am thankful for the rain. I love the pitter patter sound.
I am thankful for our church and for what God is going to do in this next year.
I am thankful that as we fear His name and fellowship with Him and with each other, we will experience the harvest of faithfulness, which will carry us through the pain of upheaval and rebuilding, and bring us over to the other side, where we will experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 that none should perish

The last thing Jesus did before He ascended to Heaven was to charge us to take the gospel to all nations and to make disciples and baptize them. And then He promised that He would be with us always, even until the end of the world as we know it.

Through the years, His followers have obeyed His charge in different ways and methods.

Our pastor shared something he heard from Elmer Townsend this past week.
Mr. Townsend surmised that the church in each decade has had its own method of bringing the gospel to its community and world.

The Emphasis:
In the 50's-Door to door evangelism
In the 60's-buses bringing people to church
In the 70's-the media; radio, TV broadcasting
In the 80's-the preacher
In the 90's-seeker friendly church
In 2000-worship
In 2010-Small group discipleship

I've been thinking about this.

Every method above can be found in the way Jesus did things. He sent His disciples out two by two, the multitudes came on foot or boat to be around Him,-oops, (He didn't exactly have mass media at His disposal); He was the preacher, the sinners loved to be around Him, and He would go off to worship and commune with His Father.

But I do think, that He used one method more consistently than any other.

He devoted His life to the twelve.

And He devoted more of His life to the inner three.

And it is because of those three and the additional eight-(I know; it doesn't add up)- that you and I know Him today.

If it wasn't for that small group, there would be no one going door to door or driving a bus or teaching on TV or preaching from a pulpit or "using any means" or worshipping God.

If it wasn't for Jesus and the towel He took up...
If it wasn't for Jesus and the cross He took up...
If it wasn't for Jesus and the company He took up...
We would not know Him today.

Being a part of a small group is a bit more scary then being part of a large church.
I've enjoyed being invisible and invulnerable.
But it's small group time and I can't hide anymore.
It's time to take up the towel, the cross, and the company.

Hertzler Doings-Sept. 23-19, 2010

Mon.-"I will arise when He calls my name..." Studied, blogged some back writings from my blog notebook, washed, exercised, etc. Picked up Susan from school. Went to Walmart. Susan made Philip a brownie, butter cream icing cake with lots of candy bars. Food coma. Went to church business meeting in eve. Phil went to neighborhood meeting regarding property adjoining other farm and zoning issues. Philip stayed home to be with Susan. Christi came over. They played Farkle. Susan came up from behind and won as usual. She is willing to take risks and in most cases, it pays off.
I am thankful that the kids and their friends are getting such joy out of fishing.
I am thankful that Christi got to pull a fish out the other night and that her legs were shaking from the rush of the victory after the battle.
I am thankful that God sees us through the light of His countenance.

Tues.-"I wanna be like you....I wanna walk like like you too." Great day at school. In music, we listened to Handel's 'Pastoral Symphony' and 'Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow, like unto His sorrow.' Read few verses in Is. 53 and talked about how Jesus knew more sorrow than anyone else, but He also experienced more joy than anyone else. Our soul, when expanded with sorrow like a balloon is expanded, is also then expanded to hold more joy. One of the 8th grade boys really got that. His face lit up and he exclaimed something like, "That's a great way of putting it!" Several kids threw up today and I almost joined the one. I must be an auditory learner or at least an auditory sympathizer. Practiced our composer songs for PTF meeting coming up and began working on Christmas songs. Select choir worked on "How great our Joy". Not only were most of them learning a new song, but they learned parts as well. The electric piano kicked into rap mode and we had fun adapting to the new style.
I am thankful that I got back in touch with a grade school/high school friend via facebook. She's got her own business blogsite and writes for architectural magazines. I'm so proud of her. We sang in a sextet together for years.
I am thankful that when I thanked one of the classes for helping me organize and staple Christmas music together, one of the rowdy boys said, "Of course we want to help you. You're the most awesomest teacher ever." I had to discipline him later but he knows I love him. He's always reminded me of Philip at that age.
I am thankful that I didn't hit those deer on 460 last night.
I am thankful for cool nights and warm days.

Wed. "Mozarts 40th Symphony"-drove me crazy all night long. It must stir up my brain and keep me from sleeping. Great day at school. Working on composer songs for PTF and also trying out different Christmas songs. Last week, I missed teaching school due to Alice's funeral so the 3/4th graders were full of backed up news they wanted to tell. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't just let them talk the whole class period once in awhile. Everyone needs to be heard. Brought Graham L. home with us and took him to Back to School night at Vertical Edge. (youth group) Met with Women's Ministry group to plan dinner/movie night and our fall conference. Bake Sale coming up in Nov. to help support the Dollar Project. Christmas caroling in December. Great time of prayer together. Met Judy at Macado's where she treated me to baked potato skins smothered in cheese and bacon. She ate one. I ate three. Then we both ordered a dessert that 4 people could have shared and I ate my whole sundae right down, which seemed like a good idea at the time. It was wonderful to catch up with Judy and I love watching the favor of God and man increase in her life. Went to back of church to see if I could find Lindsay and the girls but alas, they were not there. Went into the very dark sanctuary to pray until VE dismissed and I could have seriously scared the livin' daylights out of someone who came in with a flashlight. I held still so as not to alarm them but wished later I had growled and snarled a bit. Probably would have gotten a flashlight thrown at me. I recognized the voice-one of them anyway. Dropped Graham off at Pamplin Exxon where his dad met us. Michael's home. Maybe Philip will be able to sleep now. (He was.)
I am thankful for the good conversations I had today with others.
I am thankful that even though the ministry of condemnation brings death, so the ministry of reconciliation brings life.
I am thankful for those who go beyond being friendly to being a friend.

Thurs.-"Busy Little Bethlehem..Won't you let your Savior in..Don't you have a welcome for the King of Kings...Everything you're looking standing here outside your door...but everyone's too busy for the King of Kings." This is the 3rd and 4rth Christmas song. (one of them) I love this song. One of the teachers told a story in our meeting place in the hallway outside their doorways. She said that one of the boys asked,"Who in here's a Christian?" Brenley said, "Caleb, everyone in this school is a Christian!" "Well," said Caleb. "I'm looking for a Christian girl to marry." Brenley and Caleb are six years old. I have permission to tell this story from their mother's who are also their teachers. Taught art today. The same little boy who missed his art teacher the first week of school told me he missed her again today. Last time I said that I missed her too. This time, I tried to be more humble and asked, "What is it that you miss?" And he said he missed making a clay sculpture with feathers, etc. stuck in it. So, we're going to do that real soon. We made pictures today with crayon drawings and then painted over it.
I am thankful that Monk is on all day.
I am thankful that my parents made me practice the piano.
I am thankful that Thurs. is my Friday.

Fri.-"Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Glory to God in the highest.." 5/6 Christmas song. Michael has been promoted in Cutco because he has sold $20,000 worth of knives, kettles, etc. Spent some time out in Appomattox in the afternoon with a young friend. We had ice cream, french fries, went shopping, saw Mrs. D. at her new consignment shop, and read books at Baine's. I was reading "Owl Moon" and a middle age man at Baine's and his wife listened in. He said "Owl Moon" was his favorite children's book. We also read "The Biggest Bear", "Blueberry's For Sal", and "500 hats of Bartholomew C..." His little head started resting on my shoulder near the end of our reading. We went back to school after going through the car wash which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Went to Dianna's tonight for Dinner and a Movie with 30 other women from church. We made our taco salad supper together from start to finish and also made hot fudge cake and apple and cherry dump cake. We ate our supper and watched the movie, stopping part way to eat our dessert. It was a great time.

I was telling Phil that one of the parents at school were asking me if their child was bad/ disobedient. I told her that there is a difference between rebelliousness and childishness. I told her that her son was an independent thinker, etc. I was prattling happily along as we were getting ready for bed, and Phil sighed and said, "I should have had you for a teacher." That's one of my thankfulnesses for today.

I am also thankful that Phil's first grade teacher looked him up several years ago because she always thought he was such a good student and wanted to know what happened to him. He thought she was old when she taught him but she was in her 80's when she visited us down here. She held Susan's frog in her hands and we could see why she was such a good teacher because she was interested in everything.

I am thankful that someone at the party tonight told me that she enjoys "Hertzler's Doings" the most when she reads my blog and she also likes the blogging of the sermon notes. As weird as it feels to realize that people are actually reading what I write, I think I am secretly glad that they are. I worry sometimes that being a writer puts me in a perspective mode rather than an 'in the moment' mode. Being on the outside looking in can make me feel lonely sometimes. I should work on 'being in the moment' and then write about it later if I get a chance. Sometimes, I am writing in my head when I am in a situation. I "write" headlines for newspapers all the time.

Sat.-Cleaned house. Made some food. Steve and Dianna came to celebrate Phil's birthday. We had a supper of sandwiches and cole slaw, apple/blueberry crisp and vanilla ice cream. Dianna and I walked to the river and to my chapel.
I am thankful for simple birthday suppers.
I am thankful for dear, sweet friends.
I am thankful for the bright moon and how it's brilliance lit our path on the way back home.

Sun.-Happy Birthday to Michael-19-born 9/19/91- and Happy Birthday to Phil-born 9/19/56. When Michael was younger, he said to Phil, "Freeman got your middle name. Philip got your first name. And I got your birthday." (Susan said, after hearing this story from Phil, "And I got your nose." Which is true.) Michael was born after some 30 hours of labor. He was calm and strong and pushed his little newborn body off my chest to get a good look at me. I've enjoyed him from the beginning.
Went to church. Am loving our SS class. Worship words that jumped out at me-"Living flame of love..." Pastor Frank preached from Luke 19-the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus climbed a tree in order to not only see Jesus but to know Him. Zach was a chief tax collector in Jericho. He could add onto the Roman tax whatever he wanted. People hated him. Jesus saw him in the tree and called his name-"Zacchaeus"-which means 'holy' and 'righteous.' "I must be a guest in your house today," Jesus went on to say. Zacchaeus came down immediately and after spending some time with Jesus, his life and those lives around him, were forever transformed. So many things seem urgent in our busy lives, but the real urgency is in Christ's words. Today, is the day of salvation. Today, He wants to come to our house as a guest and transform our life. Religious people would want to put a stop to Jesus coming to the house of a sinner, but that IS why He came.
How do we get back the urgency Jesus has that the lost be saved today?
There are so many other things clamoring for our attention. His number one reason for coming is that none should perish. Why wouldn't that be our number one passion if we want to be like Jesus? We become judgmental, critical, and self-righteous if we lose our passion for the lost. Charles Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth, He will never save Him by a lie... Anything designed to serve an outward expression by an inward attitude can be dampened by hypocrisy."(Not sure if I have the second part of that quote right and I am not sure that I understand it, but I like it.)
To keep our fire of passion for the lost we must resurrect our prayer life. The words 'availeth much' means 'can change God's mind.' From now on, we are going to filter everything we do here at church through prayer.
How modest are my principles? It's not about me. Am I keeping myself checked by the Word of God? You do not know your own heart, let alone someone else's. "Search me O God, and know my heart."
How honest are my practices? Why does revival tarry? Draw a circle around you and pray for revival within this circle. God forgive us and cleanse us from the arrogant attitude that accompanies the words, "If you don't like it, you can leave."
Rested in afternoon. Phil read a book on the brain. I went to the river for lunch-the mosquitoes lunch that is. Came back after 30 min. Susan communicated with Makenzie. Freeman stopped in for a bit after being at the Chi Alpha retreat all weekend with Alli. The guys continued with Michael's 3 day birthday bash-Ben S., Erik, Chace, Jordan, Philip, and Michael held a halo party in the man cave. Plank's came over later in the eve. and we had hot dogs, s'mores, chocolate cake and ice cream, cole slaw, chips, baked beans, sauerkraut, etc. Zack, Christi, and Philip went to a Harvest gathering and Dave and Phil stayed by the fire and talked while Shirley and I walked to the river. She has never been there. Michael, Travis, and Jordan were down there trying to build a fire in the dark. Travis had some car trouble on the way to church this morning. It was a very pleasant evening of good sharing and promises to pray for one another.
I am thankful for my wonderful sister-in-law, Naomi. One day, she heard a voice calling, "Naomi, Naomi.." Two weeks later, we knew whose voice it was, for after an encounter with a drunk driver as she was walking on the sidewalk near her home, she was in the bosom of God. September 19, 1986. We remember you, Naomi. I can picture your face so much more clearly since I saw you in my dream.
I am thankful that Michael was born 5 years after that dreadful day and that my brother, who lost his wife, said, "At least something good has happened on this day."
I am thankful for this beautiful place of heaven on earth that God has given to us.

Monday, September 13, 2010


"Desire"-Webster's-"to wish or long for; crave; covet; to ask for; to request.."

When I think of the word 'desire', I feel a longing in my stomach
that feels like homesickness in my soul.
These verses help me wish for, long for, crave, covet, ask for,
and request to know the One who desires me.

Psalms 37:4-"Delight yourself also in the LORD,
and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

Psalms 38:9-"Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You."

Psalm 62:5-"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him."

Psalm 63:1,2-"O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You
in the sanctuary,
To see Your power
and Your glory."

Psalms 72:25,26~
"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth
that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."

Psalms 84:2
"My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God."

Psalms 107:9~
"For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul
with goodness."

And like the Greeks who came to Philip,
(recorded in John 12:21),
we too,
desire to see Jesus.

But what about His desire?

He desires that none should perish.
He desires that we be conformed into His image.
He desired the fellowship of the Passover feast
before He suffered.
He desires that we be with Him to behold the glory
which God has given Him.
He desires for us to walk with Him in the garden
and talk with Him there.
He desired to die for us
because His Father so loved the world,
that whoever believes in Him
might not perish,
but have everlasting life.

He desires to be our Desire-
the Desire of Nations
desires to be desired.

Oh, Desirer of my soul,
thank you for desiring me.
I desire You.

The Fullness of the Godhead

I've been noticing verses in the Bible that include all three persons represented in what we call 'The Trinity.' They are all three at work in our lives to give us everything we need to be close to them, to be comforted, and to love others. Enjoy the following verses with me. I will use the color yellow for God, the color purple for Jesus, and color blue for the Holy Spirit.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ephesians 2:18-"For through Him we both (Jew and Gentile)
have access by one Spirit to the Father."

Ephesians 3:14-21~"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

It takes my breath away.

And this verse is the one that made me start looking for the combination of the Trinity's work in our lives:

11 Corinthians 13:14~
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Amen."
Receive the fullness of their combined ministry.
Through Jesus, we have grace,
and through God, we have love,
and through the Holy Spirit,
we get to commune with all of them.

And because of their ministry to us
we have fellowship with each other.

Without their grace, love, and communion,
we would not have fellowship with them
or with each other.

Freely, we have received.
Freely, we give.

Love Never Fails

We say we love people
but I wonder if we only like people
until we are disillusioned with them.

If, after being disappointed in one
we used to like,
we continue to love them
because the love of God is shed abroad
in our hearts
and because we realize that the offending
party may be just as disillusioned with us
as we are of them-
it is then that we begin to understand
the true nature of love.

The closer we get to people
the greater the likelihood that we
will see who they really are and
the greater the likelihood that
they will see who we really are.

Oh, to live in the grace,
that loves people on the other side
of disillusionment
and disappointment.

For while we were yet sinners,
Christ loved us
and died for us.

And we are called to follow in His steps.
1 Cor. 13:4-8-
"Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity,
but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
love never fails.


If we love people,
that love will not fail us
even if they do.

If people love us,
that love will not fail them
even if we do.

Beloved, let us love one another
for love is of God
and whoever loves
is born of God.

Viewing Points

We should withhold making a final judgment
in any given situation
until we have heard all sides of the story.

We need to recognize,
that even then,
we see through a glass darkly,
and that God's perception of the matter
may be different than ours.

What To Do?

The book of Peter holds some good teaching on what to do if you are serving under a difficult authority. Some of his writings jumped out at me the other day.
1 Peter 2:18-"Servants, be submissive to your masters
with all fear,
not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh."


1 Peter 2:21-"For to this you were called,
because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving an example, that you should follow in His steps."

1 Peter 2:23-Revile not...commit yourself to Him who judges justly,
just like Jesus did when He was reviled and when He suffered.

1 Peter 4:8-Have fervent love for one another,
for love will cover a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:19-Commit your soul to Him in doing good.

1 Peter 5:6,7-Humble yourself and cast your care on Him.
You are not in this alone.

And hold onto this promise,

1 Peter 5:10,11~

"Now may the God of all grace,
who called us to His eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered a while,
perfect, estabish, strengthen,
and settle you.
To Him be glory and dominion
forever and ever. Amen."

A Hope Infusion

I picked up my little devotional book, "Daily Help" by Charles Spurgeon today. I read two writings that gave me such an infusion of hope that I want to share them with you here. It is good to be reminded of present hope and future hope all within minutes of each other.

"Why go I mourning?"-Psalm 42:9

"CANST thou answer this, believer?
Can't thou find any reason why thou art so
often mourning instead of rejoicing?
Why yield to gloomy anticipations?
Who told thee that the night would never end in day?
Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent
would proceed from frost to frost,
from snow and ice,
and hail, to deeper snow,
and yet more heavy tempest of despair?

Knowest thou not that day follows night,
that flood comes after ebb,
that spring and summer succeed to winter?

Hope thou then! for God fails thee not."

"WHO can lay anything to the charge of God's Elect?"

Most blessed challenge!
How unanswerable it is!
Every sin of the elect was laid upon
the great Champion
of our salvation,
and by atonement carried away.

There is no sin in God's book against His people.

When the guilt of sin was taken away,
the punishment of sin was removed.
For the Christian
there is no stroke from God's angry hand-
nay, not so much as a single frown of justice.

The believer may be chastised by his Father,
but God the Judge has nothing to say to the Christian,
except "I have absolved thee: thou art acquitted."

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I love these thoughts from Philip Yancey in his book,
"What's so Amazing about Grace?"
"...I know that my self-image at the end of the day depends largely on what kind of messages I have received from other people. Am I liked? Am I loved? I await the answers from my friends, my neighbors, my family--like a starving man, I await the answers.

...all too occasionally, I sense the truth of grace. There are times when I study the parables and grasp that they are about ME. I am the sheep the shepherd has left the flock to find, the prodigal for whom the father scans the horizon, the servant whose debt has been forgiven. I am the beloved of God. a seminar, Brennan Manning referred to Jesus' closest friend on earth, the disciple name John, identified in the Gospels as "the one Jesus loved." Manning said, "If John were to be asked, "What is your primary identify in life?" he would not reply, 'I am a disciple, an evangelist, an author of one of the four Gospels,' but rather, 'I am the one Jesus loves.'"

Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible's astounding words about God's love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?

Brennan Manning tells the story of an Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, "You must be very close to God." The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, 'Yes, he's very fond of me.'"
All too often, I allow how others look at me to determine who I think I am. If they smile at me and greet me, I think I must be Okay. If they ignore me or their voice is cold, then I think I must have done something wrong. I give people far more power than they would ever care to have. Most people have alot on their minds.

If I ignore someone because I am preoccupied, I would want that person to understand that I have something on my mind and that I didn't try to ignore them.

All too often, I negatively judge someone's actions toward me. And really, how a person looks at me or treats me tells more about them and what struggles they are going through then it does about me. Instead of thinking that they don't like me and instead of wracking my brain to think 'what have I done', why not give them the same benefit of the doubt I desire, and lift them and their burdens up to God in prayer?
Why don't I look at us both with the eyes of grace and think, "We are the ones Jesus loves?"

Friday, September 10, 2010


Several times a week, I have to turn the windows down when I am driving in the car with Susan. Something I say or some reaction I have to something she says sets her off and she begins her sound-barrier-breaking laughter that honestly hurts my ears in that small amount of space.

This week, I made a comment about how good of a driver I am which she found overwhelmingly hysterical. "You are a wild and crazy driver!" she hooted. I was somewhat insulted and told her so which only caused an increase in the volume of the sounds erupting from her mouth.

"Open your window and put your head out. You are hurting my ears!" I ordered, in a desperate attempt to ease the throbbing in my ear drums. She did so but the volume escalated even louder, if possible, since this mandate struck her funny bone as well.

I must remember to keep earplugs in the car. If she could put this sort of volume into her singing, she'd never need to use a microphone. Meanwhile, a merry heart does good like a medicine, and she seems rather happy and I feel pretty fine, except for that ringing in my ears.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hertzler Doings-Sept. 6-12, 2010

Mon.~Labor Day-No School- "Comfort Those Who Mourn in Zion." Picked up Susan from Streams where she spent the night. She and Kelli got lost in the woods but found a way out. Susan and I met Phil, Philip, Alli, and Freeman at Ray and Ruth's for a lunch of hamburgers with bacon, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, potato salad, Ruth's famous sweet tea (she grinds an entire lemon and puts it in the tea) , banana delight, vanilla pie and ice cream. Ruth made a birthday cake for Ray, Phil, and Philip. She sent two thirds of it home with us. It's chocolate and it's amazing. We hung out with them for awhile and then the guys had to go work on the farm and Freeman and Alli went home as well. Susan and I had driven separately from the guys, so we stayed longer. Ruth and I worked on cutting out names on her creative memory cricket machine. I mounted the K-2nd grade watercolor straw blowing art on pretty card stock and then we glued their names on the cards. They are just beautiful. I'll laminate them at school tomorrow, hole punch them, and hang them up with yarn in the hallway. Susan watched the rest of Hildago with Ray and she and I left after 6 some time.
I am thankful for friends who are like family. They want you to open the freezer and get your own ice or open the pill cabinet and get some ibprofen. Just being together is relaxing and there is no pressure. I am thankful for Ray and Ruth and that our friendship stays the same no matter how long its been since we've seen each other. I am thankful for the chance to see Freeman and Alli. I love to hear her talk about medical things. She's so smart. I am thankful for the hours that Ruth gave to me today as she worked on the art projects with me.

Tues.-"She's got a way about her...." Went to chapel today at school. I love the words that are spoken in chapel. There are no extra words. Besides the scriptures that are read, my favorite words are when Dr. Hubler says to the students, "The Lord be with you." And they say back, "And with thy spirit," and then he says, "Let us pray," and he does. Something in those words today reached into the sad areas of my soul. Sometimes, it's the kind words gently spoken that push me over the edge emotionally. Those are some of the kindest words I know. 'The Lord be with you. And with Thy spirit. Let us pray.'

I subbed for a 2nd grade class after Bible and taught several music classes today. I taught 2nd grade class again, later, and showed them how to do a cross word puzzle and they started to say, "I love doing cross word puzzles!" about half way through the process. In music class, we sang out of the 'Fun Song' book today and most of the kids got into it. I also played another of Handel's Messiah pieces-"For unto us a Child is born," after reading it first from Isaiah. They like to put their heads down and I turn the lights off and they just listen to the music without doing anything else. We had our first select choir practice today and we sang in 3 parts! Next week we need to start working on Christmas music.

We stopped at Janelle and Micah's on the way home and I took lots of pictures for an article that Jewel Sh~~ is writing about Janelle. She had an appt. with the vet afterwards for their new dog, Buddy, who has tapeworms. I think Janelle had read a bit too much about it on line and she was feeling a little creeped out. (Good News. The puppy has no fleas and he has received his first of two shots to get rid of the tapeworms. We are loving the puppy again.)
Phil and Philip are working on mowing the fields tonight. Phil also went to Alice C.'s viewing tonight.

I am thankful for the funny story a second grader told me today. I thought he said that he was happy because his dog began breathing for the first time last night. He had a stuffy nose and he actually said that his dog began breeding for the first time. He went into details that I cannot go into here but I was really blushing by the time he was finished and I was hoping that the little girl who appeared to be listening wasn't really taking it all in. (He has since been forbidden to talk about his dogs at school. His humble mother, who is also his teacher, told me so. She had heard the same detailed story from several different sources.)

I am thankful that the funeral home was packed with those whose lives had been impacted by Alice's life.
I am thankful that Michael came home a day early so he could attend the funeral tomorrow.
I am thankful for Susan's loud laughter while she's on the phone with Makenzie.
I am so thankful for Phil. The other night I told him that I write nice things about him on my blog. He said, "Oh, good." He sounded relieved, which struck me funny. Sometimes, he reads what I write if I ask him to. Sometimes, I write things that I worry might be taken offensively and he has always said after reading it, "What did you write? How could it be offensive? What you have written, you have written." So most of the time, I don't change anything.

Wed.-"Handel's Water Music"- Susan and I stayed home this morning and went with Michael to Alice Carneal's funeral at New Life. The kids told me that they had never been to a funeral that didn't involve a family member. I had not realized that. We sat in the balcony. I wasn't in Alice's inner circle of friends, but I am close to some who are, and I've been feeling so deeply for them. But today, my own loss hit me. I will really miss her. Even though our lives did not move in the same areas of influence, we really loved each other and would have been happy to be closer friends. In the casket, her hands were resting on an afghan she had been working on. It reminded me that we will never be finished with our work when it is time to go. Our inbox will never be empty. Lisa P. led the choir and church in some classic worship songs. "In Christ Alone," "Amazing Grace", "Shout to the Lord," "Turn Your eyes Upon Jesus," and maybe some others. Michael said it was the most meaningful worship service he's ever been in because of the 'classic' songs that were used. I heard his strong voice singing words I could not get out and I sang silently through him as his soaring baritone carried me into worship. "In Christ Alone" was especially meaningful to Susan. It was sung at Johnny's funeral. She remembers sitting on his lap when she was younger while he did some paperwork and he was singing that very song. Amanda, Alice's 16 year old daughter, shared a poem that her mother had written when her own mother had passed away when she was 15. Pastor Betty read the words that were written in the pamphlet and shared some memories. Pastor Frank prayed and spoke words of comfort to the family. He exhorted the church family to remember the Carneal family. 'Their family's normal life has been permanently altered even as we go back to our normal living. Don't forget to care for them in tangible ways in the weeks and months ahead.' Missi courageously sang a beautiful song with all of her strength and great love for Alice. A slide show of Alice's life was shown and it was very meaningful. I loved the picture of her and Charlie hugging, and Alice's foot was popped up. They looked so happy. Pastor Rob preached the sermon. He wore the tie he wore to Freeman and Alli's wedding because it is his 'celebration' tie. We are celebrating Alice's deliverance from sickness and pain. We are celebrating the fact that she is really alive now, with Jesus in Heaven, and waits to greet us at the gates. PR shared from Eph. 4:1-"Live a life worthy of your calling." What is your calling? We are called to be conformed to the likeness of God's Son. Our buckets of living water are to be so full that we splash Jesus on everyone we walk around. Jesus was the embodiment of love. So was Alice. Jesus was a servant leader. So was Alice. Jesus had sense of humor and was full of compassion. Just like Alice. PR shared that Alice desired that her extended family would have the opportunity to respond to the gift of salvation and several received that gift today. PR's final words were directed to Alice. He looked where she rested. He said something like, "So good-bye, dear, sweet friend...until tomorrow....". A group of young ladies carried out the bouquets of flowers that surrounded her coffin. I have never seen that done before. Most of those girls would have known Alice for most of their lives. It was very sweet. We headed towards home soon after the funeral. Susan said something interesting on the way home. She said something like, "Uncle Johnny and Miss Alice both loved God so much. They deserved this." I clarified. "They deserved to die and go to heaven?" "Yes," she replied. I think I like that point of view. Rested a bit and took a walk after we came home. I keep thinking about Alice and I am wondering about my own life. What kind of legacy would I leave if I died today?

Michael and Travis went fishing in the afternoon and Philip joined them later for catfishing down at the bridge. They had a great time.
I am thankful for Alice's life and that she is now free from pain.
I am thankful for the reminder to spend time with those who will weep at my funeral and at whose funeral I will weep.

I am thankful for the good time I had with Lindsay in the eve., walking around Longwood's campus. She showed me where everything was and I picked her brain about leading small groups. I am reading a book about small groups that I picked up years ago and it is the same one they use to train their leaders. F.A.T.-Good Leaders are Faithful, Available, and Teachable. Just a little note from that little book.

Thurs.-"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.." Went to school today. Prepared for art class and put up my music posters on the wall outside the room. Met Lisa H. at Baines for a wonderful two hour visit. I am always so encouraged when I am with her. Came back and taught art-K-2. We made thumb print pictures today. It was very much fun and they insisted on taking their pictures home, even though I wanted to hang them up. They said to do it again and that then I could keep those pictures. Susan and I got ice cream cones at Country Charm after school-her treat. Phil and Philip took Freeman's grill to work and they grilled burgers for lunch and after work, Philip and Freeman delivered the grill to its new home. Freeman came back here to pick up his car which Phil had driven home and I got some airblown kisses from Free as he drove off. Phil is at the neighbor's mowing hay and Susan will pick him up on the gator at dark. Michael is with Josh K. observing his Cutco presentation at a client's home. Philip is at Harvest YG Bible Study. Susan and I are watching an episode of Monk. I am cleaning up the kitchen and blogging during commercials. Yes, I am addicted to Monk. No, I am not sorry about it.

I am thankful for the fun time I had this morning talking with teachers in the hallway. We were laughing loudly and Dr. H. came around the corner and admonished us to make a bit less cackling noises please and to remember that this is a Christian Institution. He was being sarcastic. At least I think he was.
I am thankful for my time at Baine's with Lisa.
I am thankful that the rooster did not attack me on my walk to my cottage this eve. I picked up some rocks and was ready for war because he acted like it was all over for me. I threw them at him when I was safe from harm on the other side of the fence. I am scared of him until I feel safe and then I get mad.

Fri.-"And I will arise when He calls my more sorrow, no more pain.." "From life's first cry to final breath...Jesus commands my destiny.." Sleepless night, more or less. Uneasy. Desperate praying. Day at home to do wash, clean up house a bit, cook chicken potpie, watch Monk, get groceries, study, exercise, blog, etc. Got groceries before picking up Susan from school. Phil is working over at the neighbor's, mowing their fields for hay. Gil just came with nine Chi Alpha Students. They are walking down to the river. Michael and Philip took a load of sleeping bags, tents, firewood, food, etc. down to the campsite. The Chi Alpha group is sleeping there tonight. I hope the dogs stay with them. Gil knows about the bear but the students do not. He told me to pick them up around 10 in the morning. He said that when he pulls into our driveway, he feels like he's coming home. I would proudly claim him as a son any day and I do just that. Alli and Freeman stopped in to use the internet and say hi and then they drove down in the gator to the river. It got pretty dark and chilly while they were down there. Philip said that the girls were squealing,"Look at all the spiders! "

I am thankful that Alli and Freeman stopped by.
I am thankful that Michael received his laptop in the mail today. He bought it himself and is having so much fun figuring out all kinds of things to do on it.
I am thankful that Susan is having such a good year at school.
I am thankful that I could walk out to the end of the lane and back today. I am not nearly as tired as I was during the first two weeks of school. I think I was fighting allergies, or something, with my throat being so sore and with being too tired to do much of anything.
I am thankful that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

Sat.-"Happy Birthday"-9/11/88-Happy Birthday, Philip! Philip has always been quick. Quick to learn. Quick to be kind. Quick to reconcile. Quick to do a job. He was quick to be born as well. 5 hours I think it was.
Didn't sleep well and woke up early-Troubled and praying. Added 5 entries to my mother's blog.
The Chi Alpha group left soon after 10. They heard some deer in the night and Gil thinks a bear was sniffing around his tent.

Alli and Freeman stopped by to pick up the truck. Freeman came back later to go hunting and pick up his car. Michael sold the Cutco set that he needed to sell in order to win a 3 day trip to Canada/NY/Niagra Falls in Nov. He's pretty happy. Susan and I cleaned some of the house today. I also did some wash, mended 5 pairs of pants, (I hope they still fit their owners), made chili, baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, and salad for supper, took a walk, etc. Susan made peanut butter cookies for Philip. He is 'saving' his cake for when company can come. Travis came to fish with the boys in the afternoon as a sort of birthday present to Philip. Tom and Tommy came over with the little girls and they are watching the movie 'The Flintstones' with Susan. The Tom's are working on the hay harvest. Earlier today, I received a call from the Gridleys.(caller ID) The man on the phone asked if dinner was ready and I thought it was Jamie clowning around so I said sure come right over and here it was Uncle Ollie! (Phil's mother's brother) He came down with Johnny Fisher. Angie brought him over and also her daughter, Erin, and her little boy, Corbin. He is 6 and he and Micah are great friends. They go to the same school and they are neighbors so they carpool and ride bus together. I warned him about the rooster and he did get a bit of a fright. Stupid rooster. Phil's been working with the hay all day.
I am thankful that I will get to see Alli and Freeman 3 days in a row!
I am thankful for Philip and his life.
I am thankful for the names that were read at the 9/11 Memorial Service, and how significant it was to the mourners to have their loved one's name read outloud.
I am thankful for the prayer of blessing Gil prayed for our family and farm today with the others who came. I knew God heard him and will answer.

Sun.-"I will arise when He calls my more sorrow, no more pain..." Slept in until 8 and had to race around to get ready to go to church. We are enjoying our SS class with Dianna on Experiencing God. (Henry Blackbye) We looked at ways that God pursues us and discussed how Paul counted his past achievements and past failures as nothing, in comparison to knowing Christ and pursuing the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Found out in church today that 12 people accepted Christ at Alice's funeral and one of them was her brother, for whom she had prayed for 22 years. Pastor Frank spoke about the NT type of the OT burning bush. Just as Moses waited in the wilderness and needed the experience of the burning bush to receive the power of God and His mandate, so did the believers wait in the upper room until they received power from on high and cloven tongues of fire appeared on their heads They received His mandate and His promise that they would be witnesses. Jesus waited 30 years, and before He entered into His years of ministry, He too, went through a wilderness experience and came out of that time filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We, too, must learn to wait.

Came home and ate lunch and watched 'National Treasure.' Read for awhile outside and lazed the day away. I think that God did not just rest on the 7th day. I think maybe He created rest on the 7th day and I am so glad He did.

I am thankful for leftovers.
I am thankful for the new thoughts I am grasping on grace because of P.Yancey's book, "What's so Amazing About Grace?"
I am thankful that the very air in the church sanctuary seemed fresh and new and free today.
I am thankful for the security I have when I go around thinking, "I am the one Jesus loves and you are the one He loves as well.