Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept. 26, 2011- Gift List

1. The thu-thump of green nuts falling from weary walnut trees

2. That I wasn't under the tree

3. Hannah W. Smith

4. Dear sweet friends

5. Homemade mac and cheese

6. The many shades of gray

7. A future and a hope

8. 30 min. eating the 'ugliest frog'-(cleaning an area of the old house)

(Reading the book-"Eat That Frog"-Helps with procrastination and achieving set goals.)

9. 30 min. eating another 'ugly frog'-cleaning out back room closet

10. Susan's pleasant piano playing

11. Dogs drinking out of the entryway toilet

12. Mighty Merciful Men on their way home from work and our anticipation for their return

Sept.25, 2011-Gift List

1. The boys and their friends late night return to their mancave. Mosquito bites chasing them in from God's open room to the safety and dryness of their own.

2. Boys having church on front porch

3. Life still living

4. For His severe and tender mercies

5. Worship songs that heal the worshipper

6. Surrounding prayers

7. That there is no opposite of God. Satan is the opposite of Michael the Archangel. God is above all.

8. That Philip's 'broken' ankle was only swollen and sprained and that his 'dislocated' shoulder got 'relocated' again. (playing football)

9. For the hours spent picking chestnuts and processing them this afternoon with Suz and Phil.

10. For God's dare to "Trust Him."

11. For this quote I just read from John Foster in an old devotional book-..."Do not altogether turn away from sweet Hope, with her promises and smiles. Do not refuse to believe that this dark hour will pass away, and the heavens will shine again."

12. That the heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds understanding to his lips.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gift List #1-(New Hertzler Doings)

Today's thankful list. Today's Daily Dozen-would that be a good title?

I am thankful for....

1. Lone bird flying in gray morning fog

2. Red head boy home from college for the weekend,
clothes wet from morning farm chores

3. Photo of Jesus, brown eyes looking at me

4. 14 year old fingers playing a new song on the piano

5. Husband in farm boots running hard to take phone from my hands
when he realized his life long friend had experienced deep sorrow

6. Open windows, fall breeze, comforting sound of towels dancing to dry themselves

7.The kiss of God on my face when I smiled at Him just now

8. An idea for Sunday lunch

9. Big brothers playing Monopoly with younger sister

10. Pizza dough resting on counter, not made by me

11. Discovery of the grains infested with bugs and happy pigs turn loss into bacon

12. Junk aluminum turned into cash

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A New Kind of Hertzler Doings

Life has been a tad busy and my pathway to the computer is blocked by a queen sized bed so the writing has been slim. I've been reading a book called 'A Thousand Gifts' written by the same woman who writes 'a holy experience' on my sidebar-Ann Voskamp. To be honest, when I first started reading her book, I felt something unfamiliar. I felt jealousy. I wished I could write like her. My mother told me long ago that I was born without the jealous gene, so don't think that my lack of familiarity with that feeling makes me a spiritual giant or anything. If I was born without it, I did nothing to not receive it, just like I did nothing to receive naturally curly hair.

I didn't like that green eyed feeling so I went to Jesus and He said, "Pray for her." And as soon as I did, I became her friend, and felt proud of her, and now I want to take a road trip to visit her. Anyone who writes with such depth and beauty has been through deep pain, and I pray for her pain and her sensitive heart that receives both the ugly and the beautiful as gifts from His hands. I was struck by her insight about the 10 lepers who were all healed by Jesus, but only one came back to thank Him. Jesus said to that thankful one, 'Your faith has made you whole.' Jesus can and does heal us.

But a thankful faith can make us whole.

I want to be whole.

Lately, I've been thinking about three things.

1. Forgetting what is past and pressing forward to what is ahead.

2. Having courage.

3. And being thankful.

So for right now, I am not going to be writing about the daily doings of the Hertzler Family and just adding the three things I am thankful for at the end of each day.

I am going to write about what I am thankful for and 'the doings' will be mixed in with my thankful words. I've started my notebook and it lays open on my newly cleaned up desk.

Here's to "one thousand gifts." I accept the challenge to cultivate a thankful faith. Thank you, dear friend, Ann, for being here just when I need you most.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In One Week's Time

In one week's time,
our family experienced an earthquake,
a hurricane,
and a fire.

I think Elijah experienced all those things in one day.

He was running from trouble
and hid out in a cave.
Scared to death about the possibility
of dying.

"Elijah, what are you doing hiding in this cave?"
asked God.

"I have been hard at work for You
and I am the only one alive still working hard for You
and now they want to kill me too."

"Come outside the cave, Elijah," said God.

And strong wind came and beat upon the side of the mountain
and rocks were flying everywhere
before the Lord,
but the Lord wasn't in the strong wind.

And then, the earth shook,
and it was scary,
but God wasn't in the earthquake.

And then there was a fire,
and Elijah felt its heat,
but God wasn't in the fire.

And then, there was a still small voice
and Elijah came out of the cave
so he could hear it better.

"What are you doing here, Elijah?"
asked God.

And again,
Elijah told God how hard he had worked for him
and that because of his godly work,
there were those who wanted to kill him.

And God didn't tell him he was silly for being afraid.
He gave him jobs to do.
And Elijah did those jobs
and did more jobs for God after those jobs were finished.
In this world,
there will be hurricanes, earthquake, and fires.

We might not find God in the strong winds
and shaking ground and fires flames.

But we will find God
in the still small voice.

I couldn't see Him in the earthquake, hurricane, or fire.

But I heard His still small voice as I sat on a job box
in another building, watching the fire men do their work.
He said,
"Watch what I will do. Watch for the good I will bring
from this destruction."

One of my sons heard, "If God is for you,
who can be against you."
The thought came almost as soon
as he first saw the fire eating up
labor, sweat, hay, and equipment.

And another loved one, watching, with tears streaming down his face,
repented of having critical thoughts of others.
And surely,
in that repentance,
the still small voice of God was heard.

A fireman came and sat beside my daughter
and asked her how she was.
She said, "I don't know."
And he said, "I know how you feel.
I was about your age when our family
experienced a fire."

And again,
the still small voice of God,
spoke compassion and understanding
through the voice of one
who took time to care.

My friend and her husband came in the early hours
of the morning.
After awhile we went into the house
and she sat with me in the dark
and sometimes we talked
and sometimes we didn't
and in that dark and quiet
I heard His voice as well.

"I am not in the hurricane,
or the earthquake,
or the fire.
But I am with you
in the strong winds,
and the shaking grounds,
and the fires of this life.
I stand before you
and behind you
and hem you in on every side.
My hand of blessing covers your head.
Don't be afraid.
I have work for you to do."

There is a real temptation to stay in the cave and hide
from the enemy of my soul.

I am intimidated by the quake, wind, and fire.

I like being safe and invisible.

But just like water trumps fire,
so God's voice trumps fear.

I will come out of my cave
so I can hear Him better,
and I will trust and obey Him
even though I am afraid.

Hertzler Doings~Sept.5-11, 2011

Mon.-Overcast sky. Washed many loads of wash, cleaned up the house, and unpacked. Michael came home for supper and did his wash and retrieved his towel. He and Susan played Monopoly and we gave her suggestions for her audition tomorrow. I found the story he suggested on-line. The idea of the story is this. A miserly man wanted his wife to bury his money with him when she died. When he died, she put a shoebox into his coffin. Her friend was abhorred that she would bury his money with him. The wife said, "I am a good Christian and I cannot lie. I promised him. I deposited his money in my account and wrote him a check." Philip bought 30 head of cattle today. Phil's out working in the rain and lightning. ///I am thankful for the happy surprise of Michael's visit and his desire to spend time with Susan. I am thankful for a day to catch up. I am thankful for the resilient spirits God gives to the men around here. I am thankful for such an amazing week in Pa.

Tues.-The cattle were bawling all night long-missing their mama's. Little sleep. Fighting fears of future fires and horrible 'what if's.' The rain helped me relax and calm down. Water trumps fire. Had a great day with Susan. We ran out to Farmville for her first Biology course with Dr. T. and about 6 or 7 other homeschoolers. I ran some errands and came back to Faith Bible to observe the drama try-outs. We celebrated her first official day of school by going to the Japanese Restaurant at Sun Chase. After we put groceries away, we crashed in front of one of the free videos that were offered today on the back pew. (Stuart Little, Heidi with Shirley Temple, Pollyanna, Charlotte's Web, and Parent Trap.) I thought Micah would enjoy these. Phil and Susan had never seen Pollyanna. But they act like they have. The movie shaped my life growing up and has helped me to always try to find the good-play the glad game with life. ///I am thankful that I got to catch up with Judy at Walmart. I am thankful for this new segment of life-being involved with the Farmville homeschool co-op, renewing some old friendships and making new ones. I am thankful that Susan thoroughly enjoyed her day.

Wed.-Went to Appomattox Court House in the morning to pay court cost and plead guilty to an overdue inspection sticker. I just don't notice these things and Phil didn't either this time. Went to CCA and picked up a Latin book for Susan to review. Had a nice time visiting with Marcie. Picked up some groceries. Tried to catch up on blogging when I got home. Picked up Kelli S. on way to Women's Ministry meeting. She and Susan hung out and after the meeting, we met Michelle at the new frozen yogurt place-'flip flops'-right across from McD's. After saying good-bye to Michelle, the girls and I went back to church. There was an 'extravaganza' Royal Rangers and Missionettes award evening complete with roving lights and limos. Pastor Frank and Lisa officiated the evening and they reminded me of the host and hostess of the Miss America Pageant in 'Miss Congeniality.' I hope he eventually got to drive one of the limo's. It was alot of fun and I had to think about heaven and the awards that will be given to each person for their deeds. I liked the ending when confetti was puffed out over all of us on the ground floor and little lights were swirling over the ceiling of the sanctuary. Kelli, Susan, and I went to Walmart afterwards and then we took Kelli home before heading home ourselves.///I am thankful for a Children's Pastor who goes all out to honor what is important-the children and their efforts. I am thankful for dark chocolate frozen yogurt. I am thankful for Phil.

Thurs.-Last night I was honest with those who asked me how I was regarding the fire, etc. and I asked them to pray, because I wasn't sleeping. Fearful of another fire. Checking out noises. Not resting. And then, I bought more smoke alarms at Walmart to do my part. The boys didn't have one over in their room. And doing what I could in the natural, added to the prayers of the saints, well, I slept like a baby and I slept in as well. I feel like I could sleep all day. Having a hard time switching into the new school year schedule after the fire, and being away, and being exhausted, etc. Went to the chiro. Susan's been studying. We watched 'Heidi' over lunch. I made some English Toffee for the ladies meeting tomorrow eve. Caught up with 'Hertzler Doings' finally. Making a big pot of vegetable soup for supper and bagging some gift bags from donated gifts. Hoping to have a quiet time and do exercises before the day is over. Getting up late throws my schedule. Phil went to work without bandages for the first time since he got burned. He sounded so cheerful today. Has more work lined up with the Abbey. Janelle called. The decisions been made. She is homeschooling Micah-starting tomorrow. She came over to collect some books for him to read. He's going to be involved with a homeschool co-op every other week and I hope to have him a half a day a week. We'll watch Science videos and go to the river and read 'Little House on the Prairie' books. Everyone is excited about this in our family.///I am thankful for Micah's freedom from the chair and piles of paper work. I am thankful that the resulting situation will give me time with my favorite little man. I am thankful that he still tries to sit beside me on the easy chair, even though it's getting harder to fit because one of us is getting larger. I am thankful for the gaping hole in his mouth where his baby tooth once was. I am thankful that Naomi called.

Fri.-Another good night of sleep. Got up early and had time to read and exercise. Made a huge pot of vegetable soup using brussel sprouts, canned tomatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, celery, spinach, arugula, black eyed peas, turnips, potatoes, garlic, parsley, turnip greens, collards, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, kale, and I think that's it. Susan did her school work and made supper for Phil, Philip, Michael, Chace, and Eric. This will all go under 'cooking' under 'Home Ec. She made oven fried sliced potatoes, sausage biscuits from scratch, corn, sausage balls in a sweet and sour sauce, and candy bar cookies-chocolate chip cookie dough with candy bars from BB's cut up into it instead of chocolate chips. I missed out. Alli came over and we went to help set up for the "Girlfriends Expo" at church. Seventy some women came, bringing finger foods. We had four generations mingling with each other at the tables and questions to answer to promote understanding of the differences and similarities between the generations of Builders, Boomers, GenX-ers, and Millennials Lisa shared about how the WM group met and discussed the different generations and their needs and strengths and how we came up with the new name and focus for Women's Ministry. We had affinity group tables set up and the women browsed and signed up for the fall sessions. I am going to be involved with a book club discussion on 'A Thousand Gifts' on Wed. nights and on Wed. mornings I'll be a mentor mom for Mom's and More. The WM team had on their black tee shirts with the word 'Embrace' featured on the front and back. Alli designed them and they look sharp. The t-shirts are available for purchase for $15. Alli and I got home here around 11, just as Chace was bringing Michael back from catfishing. They remarked about Susan's great supper before they said 'good-night.' ///I am thankful for the women at New Life. I am thankful that Susan did a good job of cleaning up after supper. I am thankful for the mighty force of team work.

Sat.-Did the boys wash today since they didn't have time. Cleaned the house. Went to the Lapp wedding in the afternoon. It was good to see many of our Pa. friends. It was a beautiful wedding. Philip stayed until 1:00 in the morning, having fun with his friends and helping them to clean up. ///I am thankful for Philip's kind words to Susan today. "You are the kindest person I know and Jenny is the second. You should get to know her." Jenny's oldest brother got married today. I am thankful for the plane that flew over during the wedding. They were about 2 min. early and buzzed us during the prayer instead of the Recessional. I am thankful for the richness of our heritage and for the reminder to get together with our 'old' friends whenever the occasion arises.

Sun.-Happy 23rd Birthday to Philip! I made him a chocolate marvel cake yesterday with cut up snickers bars in between the layers. It's even better if it sits for a day. In church today, we honored the students of all ages, and also the first responders. Meredith's group was at church today and received a standing ovation. We remembered 9/11 and the lives that were lost and the reasons they were lost. We sang a song today that was new but it felt familiar. The words were, "Blow, Mighty Breath of God, Move upon this place..Move in power and grace..Let your wind blow...Let your fire fall.." And I thought about how the hurricane winds blew on our hay and the friction caused fire to burn up our hay barn. Everything that was wood, hay, and stubble, burned up. And everything of metal was not consumed. When we sing a song like this, we are asking God to blow His breath and create friction amidst the things in our lives that can be burned. And after the perishable is burned, the precious remains. We had no gold in our barn, but it is true, that the bent metal is going to be cashed in, and we will get some money back from what was not consumed. How much better it is when what remains after the fire of God is a faith made out of precious gold. After the first fire we had in November of last year, I thought, "First the natural, then the spiritual. I wonder what is going to happen." And now I wonder the same. Shaking. Wind. Fire. What can be shaken, will be shaken. What can be blown away, will be blown away. And what can be burned, will be burned. On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. Help us, God our Father. He is moved with compassion to remove the distractions from our lives so we can be close to Him and know His goodness and love. Because of the blood of Christ, we are separated from sin and from what is common, and that makes us holy. The shaking, blowing, and burning are sanctification's work, as God works in our lives practically, where we are positionally. Pastor Frank said it better than this but I am trying to convey some of his words. God loves us as much as He loves Jesus. His kingdom is a 'now' kingdom and He judges the things that are 'now' separating me from loving Him. The more we understand His love for us, the more we can love Him and love others. Just as the lovers in the book, 'Song of Solomon', were ravished with each others love, so Christ is overwhelmed with His love for us and the beauty He sees in us.

We got to hold little Hannah in church for awhile. She wanted Phil. Philip held her for a little while and I thought that was a nice birthday gift for him. He told Emma that he has no little girls to love him now. She said, "Well, come up here and Adi and I will love you." They called him today because it was his birthday. (Adi and Emma gave each other quite the hair cuts yesterday.) Susan got to hold Hannah too. Philip met with some of his Calvary friends for lunch and basketball. Michael went to the college luncheon and then to the guys house. Susan hung out with Kelly Gibbs and then went to the musical information meeting and human video and small groups. Phil's meeting her now at Calvary Chapel. Charity drives her there. So, Phil and I ate some vegetable soup and salad for lunch and made popcorn and watched 'The trail of the Pink Panther.' Then we took a nap and Freeman and Alli came and we almost missed them. The guys came back and so we got to have some of Philip's birthday cake and butterfinger ice cream. Susan will have to get some when she comes back. Freeman said that I could win prizes with this cake. I think the recipe already won prizes because it's from Taste of Home. Michael headed back to Liberty tonight and Philip headed to an early bedtime. ///I am thankful for another great night of sleep last night. We overslept in the morning and got to S.S. late. I am thankful for the church service this morning. I am thankful for the way God bends over backward to keep me from becoming discouraged every time I am headed in that direction.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hertzler Doings~Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2011

Mon.-I thought maybe I should stay home this week and not go to Pa. but Phil said, "Go. I won't even be here." And so we went and it was nice to get away from the smoldering fire that burned all last night. I kept looking out and seeing the orange flames. Before we pulled out to go, Phil said, "Don't hug me; I'll hug you." His burns are getting more defined and are worse than we first thought. The guys went to Richmond to work and some others checked on the fire for us during the day. Susan and I stopped at a mall and got some end of season buys from JCPenneys. We arrived at my friend, Diane H's around 3, just as we planned. They had to boil any water they used and their electricity was turned off deliberately for 2 hours later in the day. She made roasted vegetables tossed with pesto sauce and serve it over penne pasta. Also had crusty cheese bread, salad, tea, and tandy cakes. We laughed so hard we could barely breathe as Susan explained to Diane the difference between cows, heifers, steers, and bulls. I got some things straightened out in my own mind. They are all cows. Heifers are girl cows. Steers and bulls are boy cows but the bulls have more fun. Zach called as did Diane's mother and I talked with them both and they both said "I love you", etc. Zach is at main campus Penn State and is studying industrial engineering. Meg is finishing up two degrees and working on her masters all at the same time. Caleb is in 10th grade I think and gives us hugs when he leaves or goes to bed. ///I am thankful for the jacuzzi bathtub in Diane's master bathroom and that there was electricity to run it. I am thankful for the way Diane's mother makes me feel like a million bucks. So encouraging and full of praise. I am thankful for an inground pool and a cushy outdoor lounge chair and the way Diane tucked a blanket all around me and had me 'sleep' while she and Susan went inside and made supper.

Tues.-Woke up at 6 and came down and had coffee with Diane. This is a time we always look forward to and we quickly tell each other anything we want the other to know before anyone else wakes up. Meg joined us and then Susan, and we had bagels with all kinds of unusual cheese spreads and unique olives for breakfast. Diane helped Susan and I discern our personality types. Susan is choleric. I am melancholy with some sanguine but I am more phlegmatic than I earlier thought. I think it is the season of life. I'd rather have peace than be the life of the party. Diane and I have known each other before we had children. They came to the church our mother church planted in Downingtown and we've known each other's children all of our lives. We pick up where we left off since neither of us are phone people and neither of us make the other feel guilty for not keeping in better contact. Left Diane's and went to my mother's where Rosalee and Karen spent a few hours with us. That was nice. Susan and I headed for Morgantown and got a kidsized waffle cone at Rita's and then went to Jim and Deb's and visited awhile. Mom and Dad were at Bible Study. Went over to Joe and Karen's and played with Jonathan while they finished up their Bible Study. Jonathan is a people lover. He loves everyone at 7 months. He makes grunting sounds, lik he's clearing his throat. He looks like he is about to get his crawling act together.///I am thankful that I was in bed around 10. I am thankful for family and friends that are a permanent fixture in my heart. I am thankful that Phil seems to be doing okay.

Wed.-Spent the day with Naomi. Had good times with Ashley and Chrissy before heading to the outlets. Naomi has an anointing for shopping. Van Heusen had terrific sales. 70% off and then 30% off of that. I figured that was 100% off. She treated me to Red Robin where we got blue cheese burgers and endless fries. She took me to her counselling work center and showed me the offices. Lancaster County was really hit with this storm. Many are still out of electricity and some of the corn fields are laying flat down. Oh-first of all, Naomi bought humongous apple fritters and we had those with milk and took some into Mabe and his helper who were working on Zach's families roof in Lanc. City. Susan spent the day at Re-uzit with her Aunt Debra, Aunt Karen, and Teri M. She helped them make displays, etc. Debra had put back some things for both of us to try on and Susan found three pairs of jeans-(two aeropostale), a hat, shoes, etc. I went from Naomi's to Mother's and had a precious two hours alone with her. She's so beautiful. I stopped in to see Mom and Dad. Abby, Serena, and Michelle came up this week. Michelle is Karalee's wedding coordinator and the girls are having some time with mom and dad. I love mom's hair cut. She is just cute. Watched a little of America's Got Talent with Joe, Karen, and Jonathan. Talked with Phil. His burns are hurting him badly. I wish I was there to help him more.///I am thankful that Jonathan got his crawling act together today. I am thankful that although Joe's water was coming in brown today, they still have electricity. I am thankful that I feel so at home at Hertzler Hotel 8.

Thurs.-Susan and I stopped in to see Bev on our way to Mary W's. Susan loves to see everyone's surprise about how much she has grown. Mary served us tea and scones and then Susan watched a movie while Mary and I caught up on life, church, and her travels around the world, speaking to those who need hope. What a dear friend. Susan and I stopped in at BB's on the way home and stocked up on gum and hair products. Then we met Debra at Re-uzit where I tried on the pile of clothes she had put aside for me. She should be a personal shopper. I came away with several bags of clothing. Pearl had Bev and I over in the eve. around 7:30 and we had a great time, drinking tea, eating pretzels and watermelon, and sitting wrapped up with blankets on rocking chairs out on the front porch. Got home around 11.///I am thankful that as I sang, "Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me.." Jonathan hit his tupperware lid and container together in perfect rhythm. I am thankful that Phil's burned skin has come off and that he has a new layer of skin growing and that he is in less pain. I am thankful for dear, close friends and family.

Fri.-Busy day. Met Naomi at Yoder's and then went to her place to see her grandbaby. What a beautiful child. Naomi served us a delicious lunch of sandwiches, chips, and watermelon. Then we headed over to Anne's to see the new developments in her house and to snuggle with David. He slaps low five's and high five's and when he was going towards the stereo, she said, "No." He stopped. She said, "Come." And he scooted over the blanket and came to her. He's 7 months old too. Then we picked up mother and went to my sister Rosalee's. My brother, Abe, and his wife, Karen were there. Abie tore his Achilles tendon a day or two ago and has to wait two weeks for surgery due to medication in his system and his busy schedule. He was cheerful and talkative and we had a great time over pizza, reminiscing about family vacations, etc. Karen asked me which of my Hertzler sis-in-laws I am closest to and I had no idea. I said, "They are all so very wonderful. I like them all." Which is completely true. Got back to Hotel 8 around 9:15. Called Phil. He was making a list of losses from the fire to be able to hand in to the insurance adjuster. Burns are feeling better. It takes him a long time to dress them.///I am thankful for the curly haired blue-eyed little boy of God's redemptive work. I am thankful for go-getter babies and for snuggly babies and the way they are perfectly formed for the work God has for them. I am thankful for the effort my family took to get together with Susan and I this eve.

Sat.-Went with Debra to Weaver's Orchard to work on centerpieces for Karalee's wedding. Met Suzie-Brandon's girlfriend, and Luke, Katie's boyfriend. The orchard grove was all set up with a tent and tables. Chairs were lined up on the dock overlooking the lake/pond. Landscaping surrounded the wedding scene. Beautiful mums and other flowers. Came home and washed the car, rested, and got ready. Phil, Philip, and Michael got there around 4. They spent about an hour with Andy and Lucille. They have experienced 6 fires in their lifetime. I remember two of them vividly. My favorite parts about the wedding? The violin/guitar duet. Karalee, walking down the aisle with her proud papa, saying 'hi' to everyone as she floated down the stairs in her ivory strapless dream of a wedding dress, hair up with diamonds glittering in her dark tresses. Completely beautiful and at ease. Both fathers getting emotional during the parental blessing time. Brandon and Katie singing while Paul played. Linda's face, as she stood there in her classy navy blue, watching her loved ones drawing nearer. Little David reaching for Michael so he could get to me and chew on my necklace. Hugging Alli after not seeing her for 'such a long time.' Visiting with friends and family. Taking a family photo for Christmas in the dress up area.///I am thankful for the way Karalee wriggled with delight when Jeff described himself in his vows as her 'soon to be lover.' I am thankful for the purity of her expression and for the ripple of laughter that grew louder and louder as the observers 'caught' what happened. I am thankful for the delicious wedding fare-chicken cordon bleu, gourmet potatoes, corn?, green beans, salad, bread, pie, and ice cream. I am thankful for the floating candles in the pond and for children celebrating with sparklers after the sun went down.

Sun. Had a breakfast of coffee cake and fresh peaches at Joe and Karens. Went to mother's for church. Alli, Freeman, Philip, and Michael joined us. We asked mother if she had a sermon and she said, "No..!" and so Phil asked her if she had a verse and she said, "Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you." Perfect for all of us. We sang two Hertzler/Mast Christmas songs for her because I've always wanted her to hear them. "Glory be to God" and "There were shepherds abiding in the Fields." Then we sang Amazing Grace and Freeman led us in prayer. Too soon, we had to say Good-bye. We came back to Joe's and packed our things and went over to Jim and Deb's for a delicious lunch of burgers, hot dogs, salad, corn, butternut squash casserole, potato salad, apple crisp and ice cream, watermelon, salsa, chips, meadow tea, lemonade, etc. Tom's were all there and Paul's came a bit later. All there but Janelle and Micah and Jeff and Karalee. Charlie and Joyce brought Kelsey over and we took her home with us, leaving around 2:30. Michael and Philip left just a bit earlier and stopped in at Joanna Store, seeing the very person Michael had hoped to see on this trip up-Zach L. Meredith rode back home with Freeman and Alli. They checked out Cabela's before heading south. We got rather silly on the way home. Susan repeated, "I've been holdin' my love for a lo-o-ong time, Charlie." A quote from a movie that she and Phil have been making fun of ever since they heard it.///I am thankful that it only took us 5 1/2 hours to get home and we stopped several times. I am thankful that when I couldn't get settled in to sleeping, I just finally got up and checked emails, weather, facebook, etc. I am thankful for a wonderful week away. I am thankful to be home. The fire still smolders.