Monday, April 30, 2012

What I Shared At Mother's Funeral

Mother was an avid reader.
She read for herself and also read to us children, many times for an hour
every night.
She read us Bible stories, The Little House Series, and other classics.
She'd read until her voice got hoarse and then one of us would jump up
and get her some water so she could read some more.

She wrote down poetic thoughts on little pieces of paper and
when they came together in the way she liked,
she sometimes sent the finished poem to Gospel Herald
or Purpose magazine.
The editors recognized her ability to capture beauty
in everyday life and many of her works were published.

She kept a diary of our family life and described
our childhood antics and words.
She called this diary, "All in a Day."

She also kept a Devotional Journal in which she recorded
her Biblical insights and favorite quotes
from other writers.

Several years ago, I began to blog portions of her
Devotional Journals, using her chosen pen name,

As a matter-of-fact, when I recently told my mother
that people from all around the world were reading her
writings that I had blogged,
she shook her head and said,
"I can't think of anything I have written
that anyone would want to read."

The first poem I'm going to read was written
about me when I was 3 or 4 years old
upon finding a purple weed in the asparagus patch.
It was published in The Gospel Herald, June 4, 1963.

You're just a lowly, common weed
Casting forth unwanted seed
But, then, one shining, golden hour
You changed into a lovely flower.
A little girl had chanced your way,
Stooped to touch you and to pray,
"Thank-you, God, for this flower I've found."
I felt I stood on holy ground.

Weed though you may be,
Henceforth I'll touch you

Our house isn't as big
As the one next door
We need paint on the walls
And rugs on the floor
But I am as rich as rich can be
I have a mother who reads to me.

We have a big yard
But it isn't as neat
As lots of the other lawns
On our street
But I am content as I can be
I have a mother who reads to me.

And we do not have
The best thing in clothes
The shirt that I'm wearing
Used to be Joe's
But I am as proud as I can be
I have a mother who reads to me.

Oh, we do not own
A shiny, new car
With push-button windows
And hydraulic power
But I am happy as I can be
I have a mother who reads to me.

Our trips never take us
Far out-of-the-way
My dad doesn't have his
vacations with pay
But I have trips across the sea
Since I have a mother who reads to me.

(Written in the 1950's)
Mother recently recited the following poem to Rosalee.


Oh, gathered clumps
Of the rainbow's hue;
Though it was enough,
He gave perfume, too.

(Published in Gospel Herald in the 1960's)
(When "Winter Storm" was published on the cover of Purpose magazine,
my Grandpa Diffy was really proud of Mother and her poem!
December 7, 1980)


Soft Snow Sifted Soundlessly
through Sodden Starless Skies
While Winter Winds Waited
till the Whiteness
was Wide and Deep.
Then Blew Boisterously
Billowing into Beauty
that Blotted out
old Ruts and Scars.
And my favorite.

Matthew 26:30

Wouldn't you like to have heard Him sing?
This man from Galilee,
The Creator of the universe,
The Master of land and sea,
Savior of the sick and sinful,
Bringing hope and harmony.
Wouldn't you like to have heard Him sing
That night before Calvary?
This poem was published in the Gospel Herald
in the 1960's.


A way of escape
When the burdens press
And the spirit grows heavy
With the strain and the stress?

A way of escape
When the heart freezes with fear
As we watch o'er a loved one
And death seems so near?

A way of escape
When temptations come fast
And we weaken and tremble
Beneath the strong blast?

Yes, He has promised.
Relax in His care.
In a way least expected
He'll answer your prayer.
Now I'd like to share some thoughts from her devotional journal.
Darkness and God
"The people stood afar off, while Moses drew near
to the thick darkness where God was." Ex. 20:21

What a contrast. And what courage Moses had.
I'm sure all his previous experiences with God
enabled him to do this.
God and darkness do not seem compatible.
How does this relate to those dark times in our lives?
Certainly, He is there, for one thing.

I would rather go into the darkness where God is
than to follow that 'angel of light' to where He is not.
In My Boat

The disciples were rowing the boat across the Sea of Galilee
and 'the sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.'

But when Jesus came to them,
walking on the rough sea,
and got into the boat with them,
'immediately the boat was at the land
to which they were going.'

What an experience that must have been.

From severe struggles to an instant arrival
at their destination.

And I wonder about that.

Does He do today for His disciples?

Or does He stay with us in the storm
till we reach our destination?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Catch up Thanksgivings

I've been forgetting to number and write down my thanksgivings list. From what I can figure, I am ready for number 763. I've got to crack down and keep record because Danielle is treating all those in the KNIT group who reach 1000 Thanks by the first of July to Sweet Frog frozen yogurt. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 763-I am thankful for all of the prayers that have been prayed for my family these past weeks. 764-I am thankful for the wonderful woman I've known all of my life-my mother. 765-I am thankful for the letters I wrote that she saved. Especially the few sentences written in 2007-"I pray that you will not die from this disease...that you will fall asleep in Him...and you will, at the right time, and not a moment sooner. So live and breathe and move and have your being in Him, because you will just go to sleep in one room, and wake up in another." 766-God answered that prayer. I am overwhelmingly thankful that He did. 767-For the verse mother had claimed for me, written in back of one of her journals, "Those who fear the Lord, receive from Him." 768-For Freedom in my soul 769-For the depth of those at church who have been through much recent suffering and for how very real they are. 770-Sunday Evening Popcorn 771-For flowers replanted from Mother's garden into mine. 772-For this Sabbath Rest 773-That Micah is running around, free from pain and disability 774-Getting to see Michael today for a few hours and falling asleep on the easy chair while he played the guitar. 775-Dictionaries and 776-The Strong's Concordance 777-Finding 'Blue Like Jazz' for 50 cents at Re-uzit. I've been wanting to read it. 778-For the books from Mother's library with her markings and exclamation points to glean from. 779-For her New King James Version Life Application Bible. I started at the beginning and am going to read everything she has marked and underlined. It makes her seem near. 780-For face book and the way it helps me keep in touch with friends like Gil and Lindsay and their two little girls.


I want to tell you about a scam that happened to one of Phil's relatives. I told this man that I wanted to write about it. Uncle P. got a phone call. The man on the line said that he was his grandson,(I'll call him 'Ryan') and that he was in jail in Bolivia, for getting into a car accident. He needed $2500 wired to him right away so he could post bail. He made it sound like he wasn't safe. Uncle P' said, jokingly, 'So you're doing the jail house rock,' and 'Ryan' said, "Grandpa, it's not funny." He also had told him not to let his parents know about this because he didn't want them to worry. So, the rest of the day, Uncle P. spent at two different places trying to send money to 'Ryan's' lawyer in Bolivia. Western Union refused to do it. They said that Uncle P. was being scammed. When the lawyer called back to see if the money had been sent, Uncle P. asked him lots of questions. After awhile, the 'lawyer' hung up. Then Uncle P. made some phone calls. He called his daughter and then his grandson, who was alive and well an hour away. 'How could I have been so foolish?' Uncle P. asked. I think it was because of two things. He was harmless as a dove and trustworthy. And he loved his grandson and was scared for him. Trust and Love-based-Fear. Some conniving person used those two human qualities and emotions to try to scam Phil's uncle. I wonder how many people they've scammed. I forgot to say that somehow, they got a recording of 'Ryan's' voice, and using a computer program, were able to sound just like him. So, be careful. It's a jungle out there. Be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, and if someone calls you with a wild story, call them on their cell to see if it's really them.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hertzler Doings~April 23-29, 2012

Mon.-Cleaned out Assisted Living Room. Everyone came back to Va. but me.

Tues.-Had breakfast with Mom and Dad. Worked on Carriage House with Rosalee. Had lunch with R. and Aunt Esther at Brickerville Restaurant. Spent afternoon with Aunt Esther at her apartment. Met Diane Horan for supper. Great day.

Wed.-Worked at carriage house with Rosalee. Lunch at Naomi's with Bev and Rosa too. Went to Anne and Dave's for supper. Little David gave me a good-bye kiss. Another great Day.

Thurs.-Worked all day and finished cleaning Mother's carriage house. Went to Rosalee's house. Benji, Mother's cat, let me hold him, and he nestled in and began to purr. I think I smelled like Mother after working at her place all day. Had supper with Mom and Dad and recorded a number of stories on the digital hand recorder.

Fri.-Breakfast with Debra. Visited with Dave and Elva and then Pearl and then back at Joe and Karen's to organize everything into my car. Had to cry when I said good-bye to little Jonathan. My little nephews grow up so quickly. Had a good trip and got home in 6 1/2 hours even with 4 stops.

Sat.-Unpacked and did wash most of the day. Freeman and Alli moved. Pig Roast out in Farmville to support African missions. Blogger erased everything I had written for this week so I condensed it and hope it will print now.

Sun.-Glad to be back at church. I have sensed such an urgency. Oh God, what do you want me to do with the life I have left to live? It must count! I must simplify whatever I have in my house, my soul, and my spirit. I must deepen my roots and make Him known. He lives in me and He must be free to express His love to others. Do people know how much He loves them after they've been with me? But I must be Mary in the midst of this urgency. I must sit at His feet and be still or I will chase others away from Him. I must choose the greater thing and He will take care of the rest. I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned.

The sermon was about loyalty. Would I be loyal to God and serve Him even if He would never answer another prayer? Would I love Him if He never showed me another good thing? It has been asked, "Where is the Lord of Elijah?" But we should ask, "Where are the Elijah's of the Lord?" Where are those who love straight and walk right? Where are those who are filled with the Holy Spirit; whose yes is yes and no is no? Where are those who speech is not a mixture of bitter and sweet; whose words flow with life and godliness? Where are those who would never say, "Don't do as I do; Do what I say?" Would God brag about me like He bragged about Job to Satan,"She is not serving me because I've made her rich. She is serving me because she is righteous and she loves me." Not that I'd want to be tested like Job, mind you.

It is important to be loyal to God and to truth. People can be sincere and loyal to a cause and/or a person and have their loyalty completely misplaced. That's why some people drank poisoned kool-aid. Loyalties to a person can lead to idolatry. And some people want your loyalty like they want to be worshipped. Then, it's time to pull back and regroup and refocus one's loyalty. That doesn't mean people or groups of people have to be perfect in order for us to be loyal to them. God is loyal to us and we're not perfect.

Well, I've gotten side-tracked from the real sermon but I've been thinking about loyalty for quite some time now. It's important to be loyal to God and family and then be very discerning as to who or what you are loyal to and if you stay loyal to God and your family, then you will know what things you should be loyal to.

The sermon was really about this man named Ittai who followed King David when he fled from his son Absolam.(11 Sam. 15) Ittai didn't need to be loyal to David. He was a paid fighter. He had 600 fighting men with him. David was loyal to Ittai as well and told him to take his men and to go back and serve under his son. He told him the truth and said that there would be no benefit from coming with him. But Ittai served the king even though the king was 'going down'.(Perhaps Ittai recognized the benefit of traveling with the ark of the covenant because he was from Gath. Obed-Edom had kept the ark in his house for 3 months and miracles and blessings flowed from the presence of God in his house. Obed-Edom lived in Gath.)

David took the ark with him but later sent it back with Zadok the priest saying, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: 'I have no delight in you,' here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him."Ittai showed loyalty to David. But David also showed loyalty to Ittai and his men. But what I love most is David's loyalty to God as seen in his words, "..let Him do to me as seems good to Him." That is trust. Loyalty is rooted in trust. To trust, one must know the object of trust. One must be worthy of another's trust. If I can trust you, I will be loyal to you.And it's generally a two-way street. Don't ask me to be loyal to you if you're not going to be loyal to me.

Jonathan's armor bearer was loyal to Jonathan, even though he could have died. But Jonathan was worthy of defense. Jonathan and his armor bearer had a relationship of trust. J's armor bearer trusted J's relationship with God. And J. had asked God for very clear direction. Jonathan was loyal to his armor bearer and his armor bearer knew it. Jonathan protected his armor bearer with his sword and his armor bearer shielded him with an armor. What kind of marriages would we have if we defended and shielded one another like this? What kind of relationships would we have in the body of Christ? What are the conditions of our agreements to loyalty?

Loyalties have to do with making a commitment. We can't give loyalty for the sake of loyalty alone or else it would be empty. Loyalty that is not reciprocal becomes slavery. You get beaten if you don't obey. Loyalty must be voluntary. It must be something you want to do. Being trapped, being ensnared, being manipulated, and allowing yourself to be so, is not loyalty.

David wrote about God's loyalty in the Psalms. God's faithfulness endures from generation to generation. What an example of loyalty and faithfulness to us. God is faithful to us even though we are not faithful to Him. This is part of His unchanging character. Loyalty can become a part of our character. Let not loyalty and faithfulness forsake us. Bind them around our neck and write them in the tablets of our heart.

Webster's definition of the word 'loyal' is the following: 1-faithful to one's sovereign, government,or state. 2. faithful to one's oath or obligations. 3-faithful to any person or thing conceived as deserving fidelity. 4-characterized by or showing faithfulness.

Like I said earlier, I've been thinking about loyalty for quite some time now. I feel guilty when I let a friendship go. I feel disloyal. I hate that feeling. But I also am loyal to my personal health. And some relationships become toxic and unhealthy. That's why truth must be the foundation of our loyalties. Because truth remains. People change. We change. We have to be careful about who or what receives our loyalty. Some people have been loyal and have had their wallet, faith,free-will, and/or personality stolen. You start talking about loyalty and they think they are going to be misused. Again.So, I think, if we want to have an armor bearer, we too, should be an armor bearer. If we want people to be loyal to us, we must be loyal to them also. Perhaps, I am wrong about this. Perhaps, I am not.
David wrote in the Psalms that the LORD GOD is our shield. God is our armor. And He bears us up on eagle's wings.

Heaven's Air

Written on January 21,2012~
But only printed now.

Heaven's air smells like a frosty winter afternoon
before the snow arrives...

Heaven's air smells like lilacs, purple violets,
the damp green moss of spring...

Heaven's air smells like wheat roasting on its stalk
on a hot summer day
mixed in with the heady fragrance of honeysuckle
down by the river...

Heaven's air smells like leaves burning
in the distance on a plaid flannel shirt
kind of evening...

To keep you here
where every breath
relies on that blessed noisy oxygen machine
or to let you go
so you can breathe
untangled heaven's air...

To keep you here to see our worried smiles
or to let you go
see His strong untroubled face...

To hear the beep of the thermometer,
the doorbell ringing,
the nice voice saying,
"It's time for your medicine,"
and at 7:00, your favorite game show-
'Jeopardy,' with closed caption
so you wouldn't miss anything...

...or to hear the cheers of family long gone,
and choirs singing,
and His dear sweet voice saying,
"I've been waiting for you.
Well-done, my daughter."

To keep you here where you are not certain
of your purpose, your significance,
your security...
...or to let you go
where all is well...?
On April 18, shortly after 4:00 in the morning,
Mother took her last breath of earthly air
and then,
her first breath of fresh, unhindered, heaven's air.

And all is well.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hertzler Doings~April 16-22, 2012

Mon.-"And now, let the weak say I am strong..." 1 Tim. 1:15,16~"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering and a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."

Alli came over today and sewed straps on to Susan's prom dress. She helped us plant a garden of green beans, beets, lettuce, spinach, yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Tomorrow, I will buy some tomato plants and get them into the ground. It's a nice sized doable garden. We've always planted gardens so big that we couldn't keep up with them.
CS materials ordered. Yippee! Doing lots of wash. Gathering some things together for a trip to Pa. Guys are working at O'Brien's and Happy Valley. Morris is planting seed corn. Seeds are miraculous.

I'm thinking about Jesus asleep in the boat. The storm was getting worse and worse and the disciples finally woke Him up. He calmed the storm and then asked, "Where is your faith?" What if Jesus was asking them why they didn't have faith to wake Him up BEFORE things got out of hand? Before they were terrified. Before there was a crisis? Why do we wait so long to ask Him for help? Could it be it's because we lack faith to believe He would help us even if things were not that bad? Do we cry for help from Him as a last resort instead of calling on Him as our first resort? Maybe,I don't believe that He cares about the little waves. Maybe, I don't ask for help because I don't want to seem like a wimp. I think I can handle this little crisis. I'll ask for help when things get much worse.
Do I believe that Jesus cares about me getting seasick or do I just believe He cares whether or not I drown? (I just read this to Ginger, who just called, and she said, that this is what we do with people, too. We don't ask for help until it's really bad.)
Unfortunately, we tend to compare our troubles with others. If we think we have more trouble than others, we tend not to help others out in their 'lesser' troubles. Or we think, "They are strong. They can handle it. It's not that big of a deal." Or, we can have many troubles, and yet think that others have it worse than us, and so we don't ask for help.
But 'troubles is troubles' and Jesus is in our boat, and we can wake Him up when the waves are splashing us a little bit and we're getting sea sick or we can wake Him up when we're about to drown.
I don't know about you, but I don't like being seasick. My mother used to say this about seasickness:"First you're afraid that you're going to drown and then you're afraid that you're not going to drown." And so, I am wondering, if our lack of faith reveals itself most when we wait too long to 'wake Jesus up.' Jesus, wake up! It's looking like it's going to storm!

Thankful for the conversation with Lindsay and for her help in getting a blog book printed from the blog I made from my mother's writings-I.B.Lieve.
Thankful for the warm windy day and for the trip down memory lane as I perused through all of our photo albums looking for pictures of a special someone.
Thankful for my cheerful husband.
Thankful that our friends defibulator went off and kept him from having a heart attack. He's on his way home from the hospital this eve. after having quite an experience at Disneyland-CA. during his 45th wedding anniversary celebration. We love you Tom and Kathy, Kelly and Dan, Sloane and Blythe. All will be well.

Tues.-"Give thanks with a grateful heart..." Went out to Farmville for homeschool co-op, Walmart, Sweet Frog, and B&M greenhouse plants. Visited Ginger and chased Ryder ("Miss Annette, are you going to chase me?") and ate G's delicious homemade chicken salad in pita bread. She also served her warm just-out-of-the-oven strawberry yogurt bundt cake. So good. She sent home a jar of strawberry freezer jam which I had to try out with toast after we came home. Susan and I planted at least 2 dozen tomato plants and some red pepper plants, parsley, and basil and some flowers. We planted some of the same over at Happy Valley so that when The Family comes to visit their vacation home, they can have fresh tomatoes in their own back yard. Speaking of those friends,- Tom, who did not have the heart attack, does not have kidney damage either. God healed him of that in this process. Dan called it 'your basic miracle.' Which I like. Sounds like faith to me.
Susan started halter training Lucy today. Lucy seems more like a pet dog than an angus calf. Susan was laying on the ground and Lucy was running around her. Lucy bumps into her and nudges her and sucks the heels of her feet. I went to the KNIT group tonight. The girls thanked me for being a Titus 2 woman, which made me feel funny, because I think I am their age. Came home and stayed up late face booking Lindsay and Ginger and I was getting a bit 'high' off of our conversation.

I'm thinking more about Jesus and the boat and the storm, etc. and His rebuke at the disciples lack of faith. Suppose your child was going through a very rough time but they kept it to themselves until they were backed up against a wall and there was no way out except to tell you about it. By then, the storm would be out of hand and you'd wonder, "Why didn't they tell me before it got this bad? Don't they trust me? I could have helped them. Where is their faith in me? Why did they doubt that my heart is full of love and goodness towards them?"

The other options as to why He rebuked their faithlessness would be that maybe they shouldn't have been scared no matter how bad things were because He was in their boat, howbeit, asleep. Or, maybe, He wished that they themselves had the faith to rebuke the winds and the waves and create peace out of chaos. But I really do think He meant, "Where is your faith in My goodness? Why didn't you wake me up sooner? Why did you wait until things were this bad? Why were you ashamed to ask for My help? Why did you think I needed sleep more than you needed My help."

I think we should learn to call on Him when we see the beginnings of the storm. We shouldn't wait until we are desperate and things are out of control. We should trouble Jesus with our troubles before our troubles trouble us.
Faith is calling things that are not as though they are.
Just like when Jesus said, "Peace, be still" before there was peace and stillness.

Faith is not calling things that are as though they are not.
We don't go around saying 'There's no storm," when 30 foot waves are crashing over the bow of our boat.
Faith is going to the peace maker so He can quiet your storm.
If you are sinking, don't pretend you are not.
That's not faith. That's denial.
True faith allows you to be real.

Wed.-"Still, still with Thee...when purple morning breaketh...When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee; Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight, Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee." My mother's favorite song. And she is with Him. Some time around 4 this morning, her breathing peacefully slowed to a stop. She's breathing heaven's air. When I spoke to her on the phone our last time, she said, "I wish you were here...." I didn't get to talk to her again because it was getting too hard for her to breathe and talk at the same time. But all day today, I hear her 'saying' those same words to me, only her voice has a song and a lilt to it and she's exclaiming, "I wish you were HERE!"
It was a busy day of phone calls, muscle therapy, and shopping for funeral clothes. We had tried to find something the other day but nothing was right. A lady at Dress Barn in Chesterfield asked if we needed help and I told her we needed clothes for a funeral and she was so kind and helped us find what we needed quickly. God bless Bonnie.
Michelle M. came over and spent some time with us in the eve. I caught up with face book messages. People are so kind. It's overwhelming.
I also worked out the printing of mother's blog with Lindsay. She sent all the info. to the blog book site and everything I blogged from mother's journals is being printed and bound into a paperback book. I will give one to each of our children and siblings.I want to keep on making blog books from her writings. A friend called, who knew about this project, and told me she wants to give me $100 towards this endeavor in honor of my mother. How kind she is.
In the evening, I found out I was one of the five winners of the Zondervan Mom's Devotional Bible writer's competition. Michael wondered what I would 'get' for winning. I said that I'd get a free mom's devo. Bible. He thought he should win one too since I wrote about him. I told him we'll buy him one.
Well, it's getting late. I've run the extremes of emotions today. Was it just this morning that I got that early morning call and my heart was pounding so badly I could hardly breathe?
I am so glad. I am so thankful He answered my prayers. When she would talk about her fear of dying, or should I say, the process of dying, I would say, "Mother, I am praying that He takes you peacefully in your sleep. I don't think you will struggle in the end." When Rosalee called this morning, she said, "God answered your prayer."

Today I have jumped up and down for joy and thanksgiving to God, who has given Mother her heart's desire. Today I have sobbed in His arms because He gave Mother her hearts desire. Good and holy God. Faithful, just, and true.

Thurs.-"Sometimes...I a motherless child..." That old spiritual was singing to me this morning. But I like another verse in 'Still, still with Thee' better. 'When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber. Its closing eyes look up to Thee in prayer; Sweet the repose beneath Thy wings o'er-shading. But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.' I listened to several versions of this song today sung by men's chorales. I have never heard a more beautiful song. Today was a day of many phone calls, plannings, packing, etc. I put together 6 of my favorite poems that mother wrote and will read them in the funeral service. Mickey, my neighbor, told me of a notary public just a few miles down the road. I didn't have to go the whole way to town to get the affadavit from Zondervan notarized. Saved me so much time. On Sunday, our pastor asked us to team up with another person in church, and call them every day, and be their armor bearer. My armor bearer has been doing more than her fair share. She's been calling and praying, and tonight, she brought us an amazing mexican meal. Thank you, Ginger. Also, today, Micah ended up in the ER and eventually the Richmond hospital via ambulance because they found fluid in his hips. They needed to drain it and make sure they were ready to take care of his hip if there was an infection. Pastor Josh took them a meal from Chick Filet while they were still at SouthSide. He said that Micah had never had 'Christian chicken' before. Micah pretended that the waffle fries were railroad tracks and then he ate like he's not had food for a long time. Janelle cancelled her involvement with a conference and we didn't get to have him here until tomorrow morning afterall. The guys have been turkey hunting, planting corn, doing some odd jobs. Susan watched over me all day, bringing me water and food, while I tried to get my act together. People have been so kind. Some times there are those who say that face book is of the devil. But this week, it has been an instrument of life and comfort to me. So many people have written kind and tender things about my mother and their thoughts toward us. I definitely feel part of a much larger community. And I wonder if I have been this kind to people when they've been in a similar situation. It makes me want to be more sensitive and giving. My cousin, Michael, had written some sweet things about his 'Aunt Beulah.' Right away, I thought, "I must tell her what he said." Mike's 3 year old little girl, also named 'Beulah' after my mother, said "Now there is only one Beulah..." Tonight, I hope to get more sleep. I fell asleep last night quickly, but woke up a few hours later, and I saw my mother's face through the different stages of life, and I saw her face as she looks now, and she was smiling and pink and glowing, vibrant and full of life. Today, I typed in her name on my laptop, and up came her obituary, and a beautiful picture of her, which was blown up from a photo I had taken of her and given to my sister several years ago. Besides the basics, there were some special things said of her. "Beulah was artistic, a poet, a lover of nature, an educator and perpetual student, and a Bible and C.S.Lewis scholar. She was the originator of Women's Retreats in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, which she helped plan for 25 years." I have a feeling, that after Mother saw Jesus, and Daddy, and her mama and papa, and Naomi and Abie, and her brother and his wife, and all of her friends, I bet she went and found C.S. No, let me change that. I bet he was waiting in line to greet her. He would have had to wait his turn because I am quite sure that Job and Joseph and Daniel would have come first. Oh, Mother. I miss you so. But, I don't wish you were here. Breathe! Breathe! Breathe...heaven's air! Thank you, dear sweet Mother, for being my dear, sweet Mother. Thank you, dear, sweet Jesus, for giving her to me.

Fri.-Sun.-Just lost everything I wrote a week after the facts.So now, I will contact Lindsay and ask for her help because blogger has switched its style on me again and I can't figure out how to do anything. I will catch up later. As for now, the most important thing is this: My mother is with God. And now she knows how much He's always loved her.

Okay. See if this works. Traveled to Pa. on Friday with Phil and Susan and settled in at Joe's by 9:30. Boys arrived at Grandpa's after midnight. Freeman and Alli went to Dave and Anne's.

Sat.-Met Rosalee at Witmer Heights around 11 to set up display tables. Mother had chosen an Amish casket-simple and finished with brass handles. It was classy. Rosalee helped me open it so I could see Mother. She looked beautiful in her pink dress;like herself yet not like herself. The soul is the light of the eyes and the eyes are the light of the body and with both of them gone, she was gone too. So many people came through the line, offering their love, memories, thanksgivings, and comfort regarding our mother. I took in their strength and gained joy as the day continued. I read six of Mother's poems and two of her writings during the service. It was a joy to do so; I was so proud of her. Rosalee gave a tribute to Mother and people cried. The service ended with a male choir recording of 'Still, Still with Thee' sung accappella. It was majestic and thrilling; like flying heavenward. At the graveside, we stood around and talked with our Landis and Diffenbach cousins and other family members and friends. We came back to the church for a meal and more memories.
I so appreciated the friends who came to support my siblings. And my friends, too-Teresa S. and Naomi G., her aunt. Mabe and Naomi. Mabe had buried his papa the day my mother died. He was a comforting kind of sad and it was good to be near him. Naomi teased David about how he'd ask her what the words meant in German class at LMH because he knew she knew Pennsylvania Dutch. Bev, Rosa, Shelly, Janet Z., and Tina F. came too. I will write more about the funeral later. It deserves its own place.
Micah came home from hospital. They drained the fluid off his hip and he is starting to feel better.

Sun.-Went to Hopewell and enjoyed the stirrings of revival and the reunion of many friends. Went to Mom and Dad's for a Hertzler gathering. Stayed all day. Uncle Paul and Aunt Rhoda came and he told the story of how he had been scammed. I want to write about that too. It is quite a story. I think of Uncle Paul every day because Phil looks like him and acts like him more and more every day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Thessalonian Theology

I have adopted my mother's way of reading the Bible. I read from the old testament, the new testament, and a psalm and proverb most days. But sometimes, I wonder if I am trying to cram in too much. I wonder what would happen if I just read one little chapter or one little verse and thought about it throughout the day. 'More' is not always about quantity. 'More' can be about quality also. The quality of what I absorb is more important than the quantity of what I absorb.

Anyway, today I got caught up in face book and reading my blog to my children and I lost my time for quiet study. I wrote something about Emma last evening which I just love and I keep reading it. So, because I have to go meet a friend in Appomattox for breakfast soon, I had time to only read one little chapter in Thessalonians. I hope I absorb these gems from 11 Thessalonians chapter 3, verses 1,3,5,12, and 16. Think about them with me.

"Pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified."

(The Word...running swiftly and glorified...what a great visual..)

"The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one."

(We waste so much energy trying to establish our ministry, our reputation, etc.
It is His work based on His faithfulness. We shouldn't make it hard for Him, though.)

"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ."

(God is love. Christ is patient. May our hearts be directed into their love and patience.)

"Work in quietness and eat your own bread."

(Enough said.)

"May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.
The Lord be with you all."

(Sounds a bit southern there at the end. ;)

What do these verses say about the Lord?

He answers prayer.
His Word runs.
His Word is glorified.
He is faithful.
He will establish us.
He will guard us from the evil one.
He will direct our hearts into His love and patience.
He will give us peace.
He will be with us.

What do these verses say about us?

We should pray for the bearers of the Word
and for the Word Itself.
We should work in quietness and eat our own food.

That's not such a bad deal, is it.

I want to receive what He gives with such grace.
I want to pray and work quietly and eat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Father's Gifts

My dad loved to give gifts.

I remember the year he gave my mother a music box for Christmas
and she opened it up and listened to its' melancholy tune for
a few brief moments and then quickly closed it,
because it made her cry.

I saw the familiar box when we were going through Mother's things
and I asked if I could have it.
"I remember when Daddy gave this to her," I told my sister.
She was glad that I wanted it but she warned me that it
was broken. I didn't care. If it played
'The Blue Danube Waltz' right then,
it would have made me cry too,
and there was enough of that going on already.

But tomorrow, I am going to take it to a jeweler
with the hopes he'll work his magic
and restore the blessed gift.

My dad was also generous with me.
If I was going out the door to spend some time with friends,
he would ask,"Do you have money in your wallet?"
If I said, "No," he would whip out a 10 dollar bill and give it to me,
saying,"You should always have money in case you need gas."

Sometimes, I would get up early,
and he would share a quarter of his scrambled egg
sandwich with me.
Sometimes, I would stay up late,
and he would share pieces of his sizzling broiled steak.
It paid to rise up early
and stay up late.
I liked being around this generous, cheerful man.

My Dad loved Christmas.
He gave great gifts.
Bikes, musical instruments, toys,
games, clothing, cash.

I thought of him today when I was reading about Caleb,
in the book of Joshua, chapter 15, verses 18 and 19.

Caleb had made an important announcement to the
male population of the children of Israel.
"He who attacks Kirjath Sepher (a city) and takes it,
to him I will give my daughter, Achsah,
as his wife."

Caleb had a brother, named Kenaz,
who had a son, Othniel.

Othniel 'took' Kirjath Sepher
so Achsah, became his wife.

I know. I know.
She was his first cousin.
I was telling this story to Susan
and she thought that was gross
and she continued the story by saying,
"And then they had retarded kids."

I tried to explain it scientifically...
blah, blah, blah,...environment was pure
back then...blah, blah, blah,...
but I think she was still grossed out.

Achy talked Othy into asking her father for a field.
And Caleb gave it to them.

Then she came to her father, riding a donkey.
She got down off the donkey
and her father asked,
"What do you wish?"
(It reminded me of my father's question,
"What do you need?")
So, Achsah answered,
"Give me a blessing;
since you have given me the land in the South,
give me also springs of water."

'So Caleb gave her the upper springs
and the lower springs.'

I read a number of verses today,
but that little one there
delights my soul.

What good is land if it has no water?

My friend, what 'land' has God given to you
for an inheritance?
Follow Achsah's lead, get off your 'donkey,'
and ask your Father for the blessing of springs of water.

Then your herds will have water to drink
and the seeds you plant will grow
and your sheep will have green pastures to graze in.

Keep it simple.
Pray, "Oh my Father,
you have given us this land.
Give us springs of water also."

Caleb was an earthly father.
And he gave good gifts to his daughter
in a culture that did not always
give an inheritance to its' daughters.

Jesus said it this way:
"If your son asks for bread from his father,
will his father give him a stone?
Or if he asks for fish,
will he give him a snake?
Or if he asks for an egg,
will he give him a scorpion?
If you then,
being evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask Him!"

If Caleb could give his daughter land
and then give her an additional gift of
water when she asked for it,
will not God our Father,
who has given us the land-
also give us upper and lower springs
as well?

Will He not give the Holy Spirit-
the well of Living Water
springing up into everlasting life,
flowing out of our innermost being-
to those who ask Him?

The land will yield its' increase
when there is abundance of water.

And Jesus simply says, "Ask."

Emma Loves

Emma is the daughter of my friend and 'daughter', Lindsay, who helps me with all of my computer illiteracy problems and with life in general. Emma is 6. She has a 4 year old sister, Adi. Gil is their father and he is like a son to me. He looks very much like my son, Philip, age 23, especially in his high school pictures. The other day, Philip said to me, "I miss my Emma so much." And he sighed with longing for his little dear. I talked with Lindsay that same day, and Emma was missing Philip especially that day as well. Lindsay decided to ask Emma "What is it that you love so much about Philip?" These were her answers.

I like his baby pigs.
I like Auntie Annette's toys.
Philip and me is going to get a horse.
Philip and me are going to drink coffee.
His beard is beautiful.
His pigs are cutie.
Mom and Dad pigs are my favorite.
We can make cookies together.
I will take Philip to the dairy bar at UCONN.
Because he is my favorite guy
and I'm in love with him.
(This statement was followed by tears.)

Then she drew a beautiful picture of Philip and her on their wedding day. They have big smiles on their faces and little hearts are floating around their heads and also around the heads of their two children, a boy and a girl, who are happily standing beside them.

Philip loved reading the above when it came in the mail the other day. He was going to take the masterpiece and tack it up in his room but I yelled, "Wait a minute! I'm framing that!" And he said, "Oh, good. I just didn't want it to get lost."

Emma is waiting to grow up a bit more in order to marry Philip.

She told me one time that when her hair is long like Rapunzel's,
then she will be Philip's bride.
Freeman remembers when Lindsay tried to explain
to Emma that Philip was also growing older
as she grows older and she looked at Lindsay
with the expression, "Silly Mama."

Emma's been dreaming about marrying Philip for half of her lifetime.

Philip is not sure how he is going to sneak in a marriage to some one else without Emma's knowing. We're hoping that in a year or two, she will understand better.

There are times when Gil or Lindsay feel compelled to tell Emma that it might not work out for her to marry Philip and her response is heartbreakingly pitiful and yet one cannot help but laugh.(Secretly, of course.) They have decided not to broach the subject again until their video camera is cued and running because as Chi Alpha missionaries, they look for ways to supplement their income, and winning the grand prize in America's Funniest Home Videos, just might be the ticket. They are not cruel people in any sense of the word. Afterall, Lindsay cries while she laughs when observing Emma's woe, even as she tries to comfort her. You never know. Winnings from the video could pay for a very nice wedding, and the video itself, could be great entertainment at the reception, especially if Emma gets her way.

Hertzler Doings-April 9-15,2012

Mon.-Ps. 149:5_"Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud for joy in their beds." My mother-in-law, Ginny, literally awakens the dawn with song. What a pleasure it is to wake up under her homemade quilt to the music of her singing. Phil bought a rotatiller and a weed whacker today. He ploughed up a little area of soil and mingled the foot of manure on top with the dirt underneath. Janelle and Micah came by to pick up Buddy and to discuss the making of a raised garden bed. Susan began Economics with Richard Mayberry. She read his first book already and gave us a well thought out book report as a summary. Eight more books to go. Michael picked up his friend, Jordan, and the guys were boys down at the river, building a dam, making a fire, and talking about life. Susan and I visited with Michael in the morning and he made a yellow cake for Alli's birthday in his Cutco cookware right on top of the stove. I iced it with white and chocolate icing and then we ate it because it didn't suit to get together that eve. and we didn't have the self-discipline to freeze it for later. The idea around here is that we can always make another one.
#734-737-Thankful for kids who like to cook and a mother-in-law who likes to sing and a husband who likes to dig around in the dirt and a daughter who has a business mind.

Tues.-Happy Birthday, Alli dearest! We are so thankful that you were born!!! Overslept. Mooing cows crying for their babies kept me awake again. Sat out with Michael in the morning while he played guitar. His guitar instructor said that his experience with piano for several years is the reason he is able to keep up with the other students in the class. The others are all worship majors. I can't believe how quickly he picks up things. He is picking out songs classical style both by sight and by sound. Went out to co-op today. Sat outside with Lori K. for a good hour. She pulled out a lawn chair and I sat it in and she sat in her 'trunk' and we gabbed away right their alongside N. Bridge Rd. in Farmville. Helped her set up for the cast party and we played some fun games with the kids. We're thinking about getting more involved next year by joining and helping out with the morning classes of history/literature. Susan and I went to Walmart after co-op. By the time we got home, Phil had already left for a meeting. Judy told me today how much Sammy Jo enjoys playing with Ryder in class at church. They are three years old, I think. Sammy Jo says, "I love his little chunky cheeks." Sammy Jo pretends that she's waiting on him; she brings him what she thinks he may need. Today, we got a special envelope in the mail. Lindsay recorded the things that Emma loves about Philip and why she wants to marry him. It deserves its own blog and Lindsay said I could, so just wait. It's a treasure. I bought a frame to house the precious paper.
738-I am thankful for friends who call and who answer the phone when I call.
739-I am thankful for little people who act more grown up than big people
with their sincere love and unoffensive ways.
740-I am thankful for the freedom to homeschool and for the precious new friendships for Susan and I.
741-I am thankful for the six year old who has wanted to marry my 23 year old for at least two years now. There is no way that girl is going to walk down the aisle as his little flower girl in waiting.

Wed.-Susan is working on getting Lucy, her calf, used to drinking milk from a bucket, rather than a bottle. Philip's calf caught on the first time he tried. But Lucy, loves to be bottle fed. She wants her mommy, Susan, to rub her back and straddle her while she feeds her. She likes the whole experience involved with the bottle. Susan came inside and wailed,"I feel like a terrible mother. Lucy's acting all stupid-like-"Maa. Maa.." I asked, "Do you feel like a terrible mother because she's acting stupid or because she's making you feel guilty?" "Because she's making me feel guilty!" "AHA!" I said. "I know someone else who does that really well!" She laughed and I laughed and as she closed my door she said, "If I could lock you in your own room, I would!" Later, I took her to Judy's to get her prom dress fitted and then I went to the muscle therapist and my foot is doing so much better! I can walk now without thinking about how I am going to take that next step. I am not staying awake for several hours a night wondering if it will be this week that I will have to admit to someone how bad it really is. I am so thankful.(742) This thankfulness could be its own 1,000 thanks. The inability to do a lot has helped me prioritize my life because I have had to. And now I know what I've always known. I want to be a wife. A Mother. A daughter. A sister. A friend. Nothing else really matters to me anymore. And I feel so free. I don't need to 'be' anything other than what and who I am. Later, we went to the thrift store in Amherst and Susan got quite a few clothes for $19. We came home and washed them and then I took her to Calvary for youth group. Phil worked late and I got to finally have some time to catch up on my blog. Unfortunately, I've been hitting something that keeps shrinking my page that I'm writing on and I can only see a line or two at a time and can't figure out how to go back and read it. So, I guess I'll print it now and see what happens.

Thurs.-11 Thess. 3:3-"But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one." Had fun reading 'Emma Loves' to the family this morning. Went out to Appomattox and met Doreen and Graham at Granny Bee's for a very good breakfast. I was impressed with the price, quality, and quantity. Doreen was working at Millie's store 'The Little Things in Life', a children's clothing consignment shop. Susan found several pairs of shorts and tops. I found a pair of shoes for Micah, a peach shirt, and two cosmetic bags. Doreen and I talked for awhile and Susan spent the day with Graham in town. She had a haircut appt. which they walked to and they had a chicken basket at Dairy Queen. She thinks they walked about 4 miles. Graham is such a good, trusted friend. He kept her in the inside as they walked along the road. I picked up some strawberry's at C&S and came home and sliced up 4 quarts of strawberries. I made an angel food cake for Alli's birthday party on Sunday and shortcake for supper. I split the strawberries and froze half of them to have with Alli's cake. Went back to Appomattox and picked up Susan and made a trip to Walmart. The guys were thrilled with the supper menu. We ate our fill of strawberry shortcake while we watched a few Three Stooges. Everyone so tired. Last night it was so cold that I slept with sweats and a hoodie on. Extra blanket as well. I would have started up the Hardy but couldn't find matches anywhere. Rats! I forgot to buy more at Walmart. Matches, big boxes of matches, disappear around here. I try to keep a private stash but to no avail.
744-I am thankful for Doreen. She said that she misses her 'thinking friend.' We are going to try to get together more often. She teaches at the school where I taught music and our children were in class together.
745-I am thankful for Judy and the way she gave us her time yesterday to work on Susan's prom dress.
746-I'm thankful for Sara's phone call yesterday, 'just so I can hear your voice.'
747-I'm thankful for May strawberries in April
748-I'm thankful for that sweet strawberry lady who is so kind year after year. Her brown lab sat beside her in her golf cart and you could tell that they were close buds.

Fri.-Read Matthew 5. Jesus completely upset that cultures way of thinking. If we take what He taught and applied it to our culture, it would completely upset ours as well. Tidied house. Exercised. Washed. Made mint tea. Made two chocolate cheese cakes for Alli's birthday luncheon this Sunday. I put 5 violets, a leaf, and a fragrant sprig of lily of the valley's in 3 tiny little blue bottles and spaced them around my centerpiece on our old (as-in-antique) dining room table. Prepared for the weekend. Looking forward to time with Phil and other friends.(Went to Richmond for a Cleansing Stream Retreat. It's been at least 10 years since we were involved with this ministry and it felt the same only better. Stayed at a motel nearby.)Susan went home with Freeman and Alli and he took her turkey hunting in the morning. Didn't shoot any this time.

Sat.-At Cleansing Stream Retreat from 7:45-6:30. Wonderful. Amazing. Healing. Thank you. Mother to LGH today with pf symptoms. Michael had his dorm and his sister dorm down at the pond. Susan and Philip were with them. They had 21 kids there and played games-Hands and had cops and robbers. Had a blast.

Sun.-11 Thess. 2:16,17; 3:3-"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,
comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. And the Lord is faithful who will establish you and guard you from the evil one." This verse has been getting my attention. It just about takes care of everything. After being at Cleansing Stream and dealing with the issues of this past year in a deep way and wanting so badly for others to experience healing and freedom, I 'take' this verse. I receive its truth. He has comforted us with His everlasting consolation and given us good hope-not just any old hope-good hope. And He will protect us from the evil one. I no longer feel detached. I no longer feel like I am on the outside looking in. There are many things about which I can say 'No longer'. While I was waiting in the Cleansing Stream prayer line,
I thought, "This must be what the blind man felt while he was waiting for Jesus to make His way to him. This must be how the leper felt. Jesus, ministering to the multitude, one by one. He's coming to me. I'm going to be healed. I'm going to be whole!" And I began to praise Him as if He had already healed me because I knew He would. I am so thankful. A new thing springs forth and we are aware of it.
After church, which was refreshing as well, we came home and had pizza and angel food cake, cool whip, strawberries, ice cream, and chocolate cheese cake to celebrate Alli's birthday. We watched a movie. The guys went out to Liberty-Michael to study and Philip to play volleyball. I took some pictures of Susan in the yellow hay in the late afternoon sun. Helped paint her fake nails in order to get used to fake nails for the prom. I contacted Aunt Esther and my cousin, Anita, to let them know about Mother.
749-That I am blessed beyond the curse.
750-That things we go through can become an anchor for our faith. If He can get us through this, He can get us through anything.
751-That the best way to become whole is to admit we are broken.
752-Cleansing Stream
753-The gift of heaven's air
754-that marriages that are like dead bones can have life breathed back into them
755-for friends whose lives are healthily entwined with ours
756-for my brother, Abe, and my sister, Rosalee, who take such good care of my mother. All of my siblings love and care for my mother. But Abie and Rosalee are the oldest and they have to be 'the oldest.'
757-for my armor bearer
758-For the sermon-1 Sam. 14-Jonathan's intiative to go up to the enemies camp, the loyalty of his armor bearer, his use of discernment, and his ability to identify his enemies. He climbed up the mountain and with the help of his armor bearer, destroyed 20 soldiers at an outpost, and the camp trembled and the enemies became disoriented and scattered and then they began to kill each other. They did more damage to each other than the Israelites did. So many times, we see the enemies camp, and we are afraid to face the 30,000 challenges with our one little sword. But, if we deal with that which is in front of us, and take the challenge, one 'uncircumcized enemy' at a time, God takes over, and fights for us, and our enemies may turn on themselves with the help of some supernatural trembling, and we may look around in wonder and realize that although we are a little battle weary and pressed down a little bit, we're not destroyed. Too often we give up right before the battle is won because we think we have 30,000 enemies to fight, and really, there are only 20, which isn't really all that difficult when you've got some righteous anger inside you and a loyal armor bearer at your side.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

She Sang He Sang

What Mary may have sung when faced with the empty tomb:

"It is Finished
It is done.
His body's broken,
His Spirit's gone.
How could they kill Him
God's only Son?
The battle's over
Darkness has won."

What Jesus may have sung to Mary when He found her weeping there:

"It is Finished
It is done!
The battle's over
The Victory's won!
Come see my triumph
Hell's demons run!
Death now is conquered,
Life has begun!"

I imagine her sadly singing at the tomb.
I imagine her beginning to sing her sad tune a second time.
"It is is done..."
I imagine Jesus' deep voice singing those same lines with her.
I imagine Mary turning around to see who is singing...
I imagine she likes His version a whole lot better than hers.

I imagine.

Words taken from 'You Were the Joy'-copyright 1996-Annette Hertzler

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hertzler Doings~April 2-8, 2012

Mon.-Started new schedule today. Susan is getting up earlier and we are getting more accomplished in our day. Alli and Susan did the Zumba videos and went for a walk. Then we watched 'The Three Muskateers.' Philip wanted to see it too, so we kept it, and watched it again in the eve. Susan and Alli went out to Farmville. Susan got our groceries and Alli got theirs. She delivered Susan and groceries back home. I made quick caramel popcorn and we ate it while we watched the movie. Take a stick of butter. Melt it. Add some brown sugar and maple syrup. Say, maybe a cup of brown sugar and a half a cup of maple syrup. Bring it to a boil. Boil slowly for 5 min. Add vanilla and a tiny bit of baking soda. Pour over popcorn. You can add peanut butter to the mix as well. The key is to let it simmer for 5 min. That will make it the right consistency once it hardens.

Tues.-#728-thankful for Roger's encouraging call expressing appreciation for our family.

#729-Catch up chat with Lindsay.
#730-People's votes and encouraging words regarding devotional.
#731-KNIT group in eve. Had to leave early. Upset stomach again.

Wild Warm Wind Whips Wimpy Winter's Weather aWay While Saucy Spring Sprinkles Soft Showers and Spreads Soothing Sunshine on Sensational Spicy forSythias.

#732-I put that on face book and Melva, Leon's mother, wrote, "Are these musings brought on by Spring fever?" I think they do seem a bit feverish sounding.
#733-Thankful for protection. A truck veered over to Phil's side of the road and his mirror whacked Phil's mirror, breaking it. About 45 min. after they were at the job the window banged like a gun and shattered.

Wed.-Lindsay fixed my blogger! Yippee! I go through withdrawal when I can't write. Get a little grumpy, I think. Went out to Farmville and delivered some eggs. Went to Belk's, Cato's, and then to Walmart. Susan took her prom dress (which had just arrived in mail box as we were leaving) into the Cato's changing room. She tried on some shoes to go with it but none fit. We saw Rosie and Jenny in the parking lot and they ended up taking Susan with them for the day. She borrowed some money from the car stash and they went to Goodwill and then to Calvary Chapel. We'll pick her up after youth group tonight. I went to my first session with a man I'll call Dennis. He does deep muscle massage and he worked with my neck and already I have less vertigo. He thinks it will go completely away. Also, worked on my foot and ankle and leg muscle and showed me several stretching exercises. When he said, "You will walk again," I wanted to lay my head down and sob. I have not been able to take a real walk since mid-November. Every step hurts. My calf muscle is pulling my heel up and not allowing my foot to hit the ground correctly. His wife was helping him by taking notes and he was testing the strength of my muscles and they both were exclaiming at times about the strength I had and they said that very few people did what I did the right way. I forget exactly what it was right now, but it is sure nice to hear some good news when you think you're all washed up.

Thurs.-Achievement tests for Susan in Language Arts. She made buttermint dough which she didn't like so I colored them and added Kool-Aid flavoring-grape to the purple, cherry to the pink, lemon to the yellow, and I kept the green as mint. The flavored ones taste like those extreme sweet and sour candies that sort of sizzle in your mouth. The consensus is that they taste like playdough, which makes sense, since I make playdough with Kool-aid powder and color it the flavor's color. Susan made supper. Grilled chicken and green beans and salad and homemade dressing. So good. I planted some pansies and seeds in the front flower garden that Meredith worked on for 7 hours while I was in Pa. If you ever need a landscaper, she's great. Oh, Susan made real peppermint patties dipped in dark chocolate, too. The best. It was a cold, rainy spring day.

Fri.-Good Friday. Not rainy like it usually is. Psalms 145-David's praise of God. The LORD is gracious, full of compassion, slow to anger, great in mercy, good to all. His tender mercies are over all His works. His dominion and kingdom endures forever. The LORD upholds all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. He gives us food. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. He is near to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fill the desire of those who fear Him. He also will hear their cry and save them. He will preserve all who love Him.
We read so fast. Sometimes, like when we come to the words in this Psalm, we should read slowly and think slowly and not hurry on to the next thing. I transplanted some irises growing along the lane. They never have bloomed because they have too much shade, so I moved about a third of them to the front garden. They will continue to multiply along the lane. But they'll bloom elsewhere. That sounds like a sermon plot but I don't have time to think about it. I've got sausage in the oven and pasta on the stove and peas in a kettle and a salad draining. My oldest brother sent me a quick e-mail about my devo for Zondervan publishing. I had miss-spelled a word-qick-instead of quick, and he wrote, "I was qick to vote. Actually I thought this was very good. Abe." I copied it and will keep it in my top drawer. Others have written words of encouragement. It means so much.

I did some wash today. Also, I headed down to the river to take pics of bluebells. I went down the lane to go in that way and again, I just wasn't thinking, and I got stuck in the creek with the gator. I had to walk around the meadow and back up the lane and climbed over the gate down from the other one, because that one is shocking with a vengeance. That's why I went a different way. Fortunately, Michael had come home a few hours earlier. He walked barefoot to the skid loader and led the way down the lane and through the meadow, and pushed me out. I got into the very muddy gator and continued down to the river. He was so pleasant about it and not put out about it at all. When I came back, I hosed down the gator and my shoes for a good 20 min. I'm washing my shoes and clothes in the washer as I write. The amazing, wonderful thing is this. I COULD walk!!! And yes, my feet are sore, but I could walk!! Susan mowed our lawn today and now she is mowing over at Happy Valley. She's been trying on her prom dress and showing her brothers and dad-three separate times now, and they tell her she's very pretty but then they say something like, "I-Yi-Yi". She put her converses on and she looks adorable with those black and white sneakers on. I think she is going to go with her high heeled black boots, however. Her dress is a silvery sage green with black etchings and sequins on the bodice. She has a slit that will be tacked down a bit and filmy material that flows over the dress. Where did the time go?
I talked with Mother in the eve. and she said, "I wish you lived here." I said, "I'm sorry." She said, "Oh, well..." I am looking forward to the day when we'll all be together in heaven's oxygen tank-less air. Breath of Heaven...hold us together until that hour.

Sat.-Ps. 147:7-"The LORD executes justice for the oppressed, and gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners." I am looking forward to justice. I am looking forward to having my soul fed. I am looking forward to freedom. It's a 'comin. What a great day was today. Freeman and Phil took Susan turkey hunting. They didn't get anything. I cleaned the house. Susan and Philip went out to Farmville to help set up for the egg drop. Michael stayed around here and helped Phil with some things. Michelle M. came around 2 with Maddie. We took a ride down to the river on the gator. Angel and Maddie came with us. It was good to have a boxer around again. It will be fun when Susan gets her boxer puppy in the second week of May. Will and Don came over too. Most of the Chi Alpha kids went home for Easter break. Philip made his famous chili over the fire. He puts in two bags of brown sugar in it. He made about 5 gallons total. I told him we should get t-shirts made. "Hertzler's Chili..." something or other. Maybe we could have some Banton ideas sent our way. I turned my back for a second and Michele was over on the far side of the lawn, shaking like a leaf. ;) Michael had a black snake draped in his hands. He had gone around the corner of the old house and there was the snake! He was draping it around his head and his shoulders and eventually, he put it in the rye field and then Michelle came back to us. Maddie and Angel began fighting not long afterward and we had to separate them. Later, the guys and Susan went over to fish at Happy Valley but they came back before too long because nothing was biting. Phil and I relaxed and read in the house. Michael is learning to play classical guitar. It is just beautiful. His interest gets Phil involved in playing and singing again. I love that. We are praying for the Rozier family, whose son, Hunter, is in Susan's drama group. He was in a serious accident on Monday.(Hit a tree with his vehicle.) He is in ICU with a fractured skull, punctured lung, broken ribs, broken nose and jaw, etc. They have him heavily sedated. He is one of the nicest young men in the world. Please pray for him. He is a Senior and is graduating this year.

Michael handed me an 8x10 certificate today. It says:
This is to certify that Michael Hertzler
has broken the bonds of earth and successfully
soloed at the Lynchburg Regional Airport.

It was signed by the Associate Dean and dated 3-26-12.

Today, I walked some more. Besides the exercises that I am doing every day to stretch my achilles tendon and other muscles, I am doing that yucky foot detox thing. Ever since I had the muscle massage, I am getting heavy metal material out of my body. Before it was more joint junk. I think this detoxing is helping me walk better. Dr. Forand had said that all the toxins in my body had settled in at my heel. This is more for my own records, so please don't read this. Thanks.

Michael has gotten my laptop working today. I couldn't use it all week. It kept saying, "Bad request" for anything I tried. I also don't have spell check or options to use italics, color, or enlarging letters on the laptop. So please forgive any miss-spellings. Like that word. How do you spell misspelled? Also, I can't save. I've been using our old computer this week but now that I am on the laptop, I can't save this, so I will print it now, before the week is up.

Sun.-"..a haven of rest for the beautiful heaven must be." I've been listening to the Gaither videos all week. They were in my mother's pile of things to give away and I jumped for them. No one else was around to compete with me, but I jumped anyway. I love them. There is a guy named David Ring, I think, who shared on their show. He was born with cerebral palsy and was orphaned at 14. He has quite a testimony. Then he began to sing, "What a day..that will be...when my Jesus I shall see..." I didn't realize that Philip was in the house when I first saw it and I 'let go' and he came to see if I was okay.
Woke up at 5:30 and we went down the road a mile to Walkers Presbyterian Church for their Easter Sunrise Service and breakfast. Mitch and Mickey had invited us. We had gone to their Thanksgiving service in the fall and it's been good to get to know their interim pastor and his wife as well as the others in the community. We had part of the service outside and the sunrise was beautiful. Then we went into the warmth. The pastor asked if anyone was brave enough to begin the hymn. There was no one there to play the piano. Phil looked at me and asked, "Can you play this?" I nodded. Phil spoke up and said, "I volunteer my wife to play this song." Everyone was happy about that. It was 'Lo, in the grave He lay." No sharps. No flats. And it was the younger children's favorite song at Easter when I taught last year. I was wearing Phil's big camouflage jacket with his license pinned on the back. At the end of the service, the pastor asked if I'd play another and so I flipped the page and there was, "Christ the Lord is risen today..." It was great fun and a great joy and everyone appreciated it so very much and I was offered a job at $100 a week just to play for Sunday mornings.I said that I was busy elsewhere on Sunday mornings but if they ever had special services or funerals, I'd be happy to play. We had a delicious breakfast. Biscuits, sausage gravy, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, tator tots, strawberries, watermelon, strawberry yogurt,cinnamon rolls, and coffee. And that's just what I ate. They also had grapes and cheese and donuts, etc.
Then we came home and got ready to go to New Life. It was so good to see Laurel and Ivan Henry. Michael came into the worship service and said that on his way to Calvary, he saw an elderly hitchhiker. He picked him up and he needed a ride into Farmville. Michael told him to have a happy Easter and then asked him if he knew what Easter was about and he didn't know anything about Easter. So, Michael told him about Jesus and took the dear old man to Him and the man wanted Him and received what He had to offer. What a thrill! Oh, Jesus. Help that dear old man to know you more and more every day. Help him lead the rest of his family to You. Help us know what else we can do.
The sermon was interesting. There were at least three kinds of people at the cross, just as there are three kinds of people at church. There are those who were forced to come, like Simon, who carried the cross for Christ. These folks stay in their bondage and don't voluntarily come to the place where they could hear the truth that could set them free. There are those who were fools, who linger too long between the space between believing in Christ and rejecting Him. They stay in the grave, locked in by the huge stone. And there are those who are forgiven. They want Jesus to come in any room that may have been locked in fear. They want to live a Resurrected Life. They don't want to live in bondage or fear.
After visiting for awhile, we came home and had some leftover chili and took a nap. The Fishers and clan put in at the river and went canoeing, kayaking, etc. It was fun to see Aaron, Thomas, Andrew, Matthew, Teresa, Kyle, and another relative. We invited them to stay but I think they had other plans and not all of their families were there. Bethany, Meredith, and Tommy came over with two baskets of plastic eggs filled with candy around 3:45. Susan and I took everyone and their eggs down to the river where we hid them for the little girls to hide. When the rest of the family came a short time later, we went back down to the river and Abby and Serena looked for the eggs for about half an hour. We came back up and had supper outside around a fire. Freeman and Alli came too. Helen made a ham, a carrot casserole, a salad, a peanut butter pie, mint tea, baked beans...I stuck with our original simple plan and brought the hot dogs,saukraut, paper goods, s'more fixing's, and Susan's eggs.I added chili to the menu as well. The kids played 'volleyball' and we had a good time visiting until some time after 9 I think. The night was so clear. It's been a blessed Easter from start to finish. The LORD is risen! The LORD is risen indeed!