Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mother's of Young Children

When my son was small, I had this poem copied and printed, framed it, and put it by my bed. I'd like to share it with young moms. (If anyone knows the author's identity, please let me know so I can give credit.) No truer words about motherhood have EVER been written.


My hands were busy through the day.
I didn’t have much time to play.
The little games you asked to do,
I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
but when you'd bring your picture book
and ask me, please, to share your fun,
I say "a little later, Son."

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
and hear your prayers, turn out the light
then tiptoe softly by your door.
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past,
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side,
his precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
there are no children's games to play.
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands, once busy, now lie still.
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
the little things you asked me to do.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Life in a Nutshell

As I was looking over my profile page on my Facebook account this morning, I realized there were a lot of things about me missing. I haven't added any of my interests, favorite movies, TV shows, books, or anything else that makes me who I am. I have my mom listed as my mom, and I listed my brother, sister, husband and two kids, but what about Dad? Since he went to heaven last year, I'd forgotten to add him. So I corrected that, and then, to let people know where he was, I listed he was in heaven since May 2009.

I was thinking: so much is on that short list, yet it is basically my life in a nutshell. All the people I've loved, relationships, events, memories happy and sad...and it fit on the side of a facebook page.

When my son's dad died (Jim Brown), I remember the day I had to go down to his office and clean out his things. He'd worked for Mansfield City schools over 15 years--his entire working career, yet when his co-worker brought his things to my car, it all fit in two small boxes. I looked at those boxes and memories of late nights working from home to fix people's problems, the hours he spent trying to figure out what program had crashed and why, scheduling headaches, grade cards, valedictorians, and all the minute details computer managers handle flashed across my mind. All that work...all that frustration...and it fit into these two little card board boxes.

Someone told me that when a co-worker dies, over time, it's like a finger is dipped into a bucket of water and then removed: no evidence is left behind they were ever there.

This taught me something. Work is necessary and work is often fulfilling, but work is never as important as relationships. Relationships with co-workers, relationships with friends, family, and church family is most important. And relationship with God tops the list.

Life lessons can't be described in nutshells since they create who we are. I learned that day with the boxes how I should live with the people I love. How have you learned to put your relationships in proper order?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Andrea Bocelli and Assorted Other Thoughts

I'm not much of an opera fan even though I love music. For some reason, the opera-style voice sounds "fake" to me. I thought it was just my inexperience talking until my high school music teacher admitted she felt the same way. Hmm. But the minute I heard Andrea Bocelli's voice, I melted into a puddle. He has a wonderful style. I love listening to him. Except when he sings opera. Well, I can't change that personal preference, I guess. (Can't win 'em all, Andrea.)

I've been struggling lately with more blood sugar issues and migraines. Sometimes, I think I've completely forgotten what feeling well feels like. I hate that. But when I do have a good day, and more than four hours of sleep, I am elated! I wake up all smiles and am acutely aware of great health. I suppose that's a good pay-off.

NaNoWriMo is coming and I am not ready. The silly thing is that I'm not going to be working on a new project but will be attempting to finish last year's WIP. So all the preliminary work is ready: outline, characters, story line, etc. But I really should read the story again, don't you think--just so I refresh myself about what was written 12 months ago??

Winter is sneaking up on me. I feel it and smell it's nasty breath. If it weren't for Christmas, I'd fall into depths of depression with that willful weather wolf crouching just ahead.

I read all the time how Thanksgiving is some people's favorite holiday. It's not mine. It's a lot of work if you're hosting the big feast and I really dislike that gamey turkey taste I get after one bite of the designated holiday bird. I do, however, like the desserts, but having diabetes really puts a crimp in my dessert eating style. Oh well. It's all about planning...if I eat this and don't eat that, THEN I can have that pie. (Cream pie, please, not orangey punkin stuff or eggy custard pie. Eww.)

I have other thoughts in my noggin, of course, but my fingers want to go to bed. The rest of me wants to also. Thanks for reading my rambling and random ideas.

How about you? What thoughts are rattling 'round in your noggin tonight?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Good is the Church...Really?

Readers may glance at the title of this post and think: Well, we know she'll never say anything negative so that title is just a teaser. Or readers may say: How dare she even suggest there's something wrong with the church!

I guess I feel both ways. There is something wrong with the church, and there's nothing wrong with the church. I have times when I think about the church. A lot. Sometimes I shake my head at something bad that happens in the church. Sometimes I get misty-eyed about something good that happens in the church. A few things of both kinds have happened to me.

I've been the recipient of a minister's confession that he doesn't want a mentally ill person messing up the new white caddy that "his" church bought him. That made me sick to my stomach-literally.

I've known people who played church very nicely, and then went home and did despicable, evil things to their families.

In the past, church family from various churches have told me off, told me I'm weak, told me how to grieve, and told me I'm being punished by God because I've had two husband's with cancer.

I've seen a lot, too. I've seen manifestations from God that have mirror images performed by those who listen to Satan, and then attempt to imitate God's wonderful ways.

I've been told by a well-meaning 6th grade Sunday school teacher I'd go to hell if I kept chewing gum in church.

And folks who make it their business to check out how many times I showed up in church. Just punching a church time clock every Sunday appeared to be their criteria for good Christian living.

So the church isn't perfect. It holds swindlers and cheats, gossips and brow beaters among it's folds. Like most flocks of sheep, sometimes we don't smell so good.

But I've also seen a miracle healing or two. Or more.

And I've known sweet ladies who gave and gave and then gave some more and never asked for anything for themselves.

As a child I was ministered to by my pastor who sat t by my bedside, long into the night, reading a story book to me as I recovered from surgery.

And the pastor who talked to my late husband about things in heaven when hope was over for this world gave comfort like I'd never known before.

Then there was the family who'd lost a son too early in his life. They insisted on serving my family the funeral dinner when we were grieving our lost loved one. They knew what it was like. And they gave out of a heart of compassion.

How about all the Sunday school teachers who gave hugs and comfort? Who taught hope and Christ's love?

Oh boy, and the moms who made cookies and punch for VBS, and taught stories and made crafts. They loved it, though it wore them down.

I've seen people open their hearts and their checkbooks to help others, more times than I can count.

So what good is the church?

It shows love and hate.

Bitterness and compassion.

God's forgiveness and Satan's condemnation.

And all the things and emotions that make people bad, good, ugly, and holy.

And underneath it all, is Christ and His GRACE.

We only have to look at the church to see proof Christ is needed, and proof Christ was given. The church is a microcosm of the world's people.

Maybe the best thing about the church is this: it is an example of all things hoped for and all things covered by Jesus' grace.

It is an example of, and a history of, us.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (The Message)
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pardon My Slump

This has been the long, hot summer for me. Very long. Very hot. Very lethargic. Only now have the temps begun to be in the normal summer range and not the skull-charring 90's they've been the last few weeks. (Hey, this is Ohio; it's not supposed to compete with the arid, scorching West.)

Seems that when the summer temps began to soar, my writing urge began to dwindle. It trickled, like a creek bed under the relentless Mr. Sol until, finally, nothing even remotely refreshing was moving from my brain to the laptop. The Slump was on.

It's not over, either, but I'm trying to prime the pump, so-to-speak. I hate this slump. It's the longest one I've ever had. And worse, it has come with friends. It brought Ms. Despair, Mr. You-Are-Boring, and Miss Pack-It-In along to help me stay slumped and miserable.

But I have a ray of hope, slim as it may be: I read my Powerful Odor of Mendacity manuscript, and I was cracking myself up. I actually had to convince myself I'd even wrote it--it was THAT good. Excuse the bragging, but I have to give in to a smidgen of self-praise just to hold on to the hope that The Slump will end--one of these days.

I was worried, at first, but now I've become eerily content to ride it out (or maybe I'm just still lethargic.) I have faith The Slump will pass, and until then, I'll keep priming.

Friday, August 20, 2010

He's...He's Getting Ready to DRIVE

I just waved good-bye to my son. He is going with his dad to the Driver's License Bureau to take his written test to obtain his driving permit. Yikes! When did he become old enough? I've already blogged about how quickly he grew up, and now, I'll have proof he is no longer my little boy.

If he passes his written test, this will be a huge step forward for him. He has Asperger's Syndrome and doing anything of this magnitude is a big deal for him. It's been a bit of a struggle to get him to this point. And actually driving will be another huge step. He is reluctant and worried. But one thing I've learned about my son is he has a great ability to push onward, and once he makes up his mind to do something, he will follow through beautifully. I have no doubts he will learn to drive well.

I'm just not gonna be the one to teach him, okay? That journey will fall to his dad...after all, I've done the home educating...right? Fair is fair.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Neighborhood Caliopy

I'm beginning to spend time re-acquainting myself with the main character and settings which are part of my second book titled The Powerful Odor of Mendacity. I love the story, characters, and time period I'm writing about.

I recently wrote a short story for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge and the theme was "hear". I decided to use the setting from my second book to launch my story. This story will be modified, possibly expanded, and added to the book. I want to post it to give my potential readers a taste of what's in store in my second book. I hope you enjoy it! (By the way, I won fourth place!)

Neighborhood Calliope
By Dee Yoder
07/10/10 ~4th Place

I lean my head out the window and watch curiously as Henry’s mom, barefoot, chases him down the street. She is screaming at the top of her lungs while waving a neon orange Hot Wheels track. Henry, his blond hair bouncing with each step, glances over his shoulder. His wide grin belies any fear of his mom and her weapon.

“Henry! You stop right now, you little brat! If I catch you, so help me, you’ll know you’ve been caught! Do you hear me? Stop! Now!”

Her cigarette-touched voice croaks out the last word as Henry leads the parade through a couple of driveways before doubling back to his own yard. Just as he approaches the front door of his house, he pretends to stumble over a rock, allowing his mom to set upon him with orange-blurred blows. He guffaws with each whack, as though the flopping race track rains love taps against his head and ears. They chase into the house and silence returns to the street. I wait a second or two and then give up; there will not be any more excitement from their side of the road.

Later, summer puts away her heat and shakes the cool out of the day as night approaches. I shoogle into my p.j.s and pull the light blanket off my pillow. I sigh as my head rustles against the scent of lemony clean sheets, and my eyes grow drowsy as my ears tune themselves into the night frogs’ choir. Their bee-rup bee-rup song signals my brain that all is well. Muscles put away their desire to tense and stretch, tense and stretch, as my body lets go of its daily plan. I drift into surrendered sleep.

Suddenly, angry shouts snap my brain to attention as adrenaline calls the troops to order along my unseen nerve highway. I sit up, barely breathing, heart pounding, as I listen for the source of the din. My ears scan the air waves until they pinpoint the recognizable sounds of the neighbors’ voices.

“Why do you always let him come home like this? Every ding-dang night he plows in here, drunk as a skunk, hollering and stumbling—stinkin’ up the house. I’m sick of it! You hear me? Sick of it!”

A crash of breaking glass accompanies the roiling angry words. I jump.

I peel the covers back slowly and crabwalk my way to the window, keeping low so my reconnaissance remains undetected. I peek over the sill, the gentle night breeze blowing filmy curtains against my face. I huff the fluff away and eye the neighbors’ kitchen window. It is lit with yellow light and the light flows out of the window to spill its weak color over the darkened drive that separates our houses. I shiver as I spy an ominous shadow looming large in the kitchen next door. The shadow lurches jerkily as other shadows join it, wrestling together with grunts and groans and slaps. Shrill cries and sad sobs accompany the dreary sight. My knees shake.

A woman begins to keen.

“It’s the war, Philip! You know it is,” she wails. “That stinking jungle and those bombs—shaking him all night long--he weren’t like this before he went over there!”

“I don’t care anymore what his excuse is. It’s got to stop! You hear me? I can’t stand it no more! I can’t take it!” and a man’s gravelly voice launches into loud sobs.

Silence walks in and sits down at their table. I almost think I can hear the trio breathing. My heart beats in pity and sends out its own waves of sound. The thuds hurt, they are so hard against my chest. I feel prickles of tears crowd the edges of my eyes. Despair seeps out of their open window and snakes its way to where I’m hiding. It joins hands with my soul’s sorrow, settling a dark cloud, heavy and thick, over me. My body trembles under the weight.

“Jesus, You know their pain. You know what poor Alan has suffered in Viet Nam. Bring them comfort, Lord.”

My ears cock and turn toward my parents’ bedroom. The whispered prayer is barely heard and my ears fine-tune to catch the meaning. “Love them, Jesus. Love them.”

The prayer stops. Hope and peace sprinkle their cures over my spirit. I sigh and lift my hand toward the neighbors’ kitchen.

“Jesus, love them,” I echo as I fling imaginary grace against their window panes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shake Me to Wake Me!

"Shake Me To Wake Me"
by Steve Camp

I was born in a religious town
That had a very good name
Everybody wore their faith around
Like a ball and chain
People living so carefully
Trying to keep the image clean
But underneath all the sanctity
Things were not what they seemed, oh no

Salvation was nice and neat
It had four little laws
And that arrangement was fine with me
Cause it didn't really cost nothin'
But something that I read in my bible one day
Really shook my world
Jesus was talking 'bout Pharisees
He was talking 'bout me
So I fell to my knees and said

Shake me to wake me
I've been living too long in this fantasy
Shake me to wake me
Got to strip this man of mediocrity

Sometimes, when my heart is proud
I get full of myself
Self-righteousness will bring you down
I ain't better than nobody else
Other times, I drink the wine of complacency
I get comfortable, lackadaisical, so cynical
So I call to my Lord and say

Shake me to wake me
I've been living too long within this fantasy
Shake me to wake me
You've got to strip this man of mediocrity

You were born in a religious town
That had a very good name
You were wearing your faith around
Like a ball and chain
You've been living so carefully
Trying to keep the image clean
But Jesus is talking 'bout Pharisees
About you and me
You better fall to your knees and say

Shake me to wake me,
I've been living too long within this fantasy
Shake me to wake me
You've got to strip this man of mediocrity
Shake me to wake me
I've been living too long within this fantasy
Shake me to wake me
I been sleeping too long, put some fire in me

Put some fire in me
Oh, you got to shake me
Oh, you got to wake me, Lord
Lost in a fantasy

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wasn't It Yesterday When They Were Small?

"Sunrise, sunset...sunrise, sunset...quickly fly the years." That line comes from the song "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. I sang it, along with my sister, at a friend's wedding many, many years ago. But today I'm remembering it because my son is soon going to be 18. I can't help thinking of the yesterdays when he was little...and we did a lot of complaining as parents, when we stepped on LEGO blocks or I had to clear Hot Wheels cars off my kitchen island yet AGAIN before I could cook.

I remember turning to my husband, at one point after a tirade about little toys under foot, and saying: "You know, one of these days we're going to miss these little cars." But even as I said it, I wasn't sure that day would ever come. And yet--mysteriously, it did.

Being the parent of one, I knew from the start that everything I did as a mom was for the last time. When I put away the crib, it was for the last time. When I gave that final little boy bath, it was for the last time. When I let him dress alone, helping him choose was for the last time. So knowing this, I haven't been completely caught off guard as my son grew up. And yet...there's no way to prepare for the last times of childhood.

It can be imagined, but never known until I look back one day and say to myself "Hmmm...he hasn't had his LEGOS out at all today." Then that day grows to several weeks and then months and then years.

Never is the bittersweet moments and milestones of being a mom ever more present than when childhood waves goodbye and goes out the door for the last time. I feel sad, and a bit glad, but mostly shocked that time has not warned me it was tick tick ticking away while I worked or cooked or cleaned or gardened. And there's no bargaining with time to bring back some of those days that seemed so routine, but have instead, been discovered too late, to be a treasure that was not even recognized in the moment.

Sigh. And that is why it is so much fun to think about being a grandmother someday. Then, I assure myself, I will fully recognize and acknowledge the unstoppable power of time. And I will sit and ponder and play with and treasure my grandkids. I will never again take time for granted for now I know how quickly childhood races into the future and disappears. And I will savor each minute.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer, Summer Everywhere! Except in the Stores

Summer is passing swiftly. When I see things in the stores that signal fall, school clothes and supplies, Thanksgiving items, fall foliage decor, I get antsy. It means the long, slow days of summer are beginning to fade. How can it happen so quickly? For those of us who live in areas where climate changes, the dark, dreary days of winter are never far from our minds. We are always looking for signs of the end of warmth and the beginning of cold.

I haven't seen changing leaves yet, but it's enough just to see the stores changing out their merchandise. Ugh. I don't want to be reminded! I want to sit on my porch and watch the fireflies come out. I want to smell the flowers and the fresh, warm air. I want summer to last, well, forever...except for two weeks before and a week after Christmas. If snow happened three weeks a year, I'd be a very happy camper.

In the mean time, bring on the sunshine and the flowers!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Transcripts and Edits and Newsletters...Oh My!

I should be used to the summer pile up by now, but somehow, it always takes me by surprise. I can't seem to erase the romantic notion that once school is over every year, and summer is here, my work load will ease. Riiiight. Dream on, Dee. I think I can blame my die-hard idea of summer "freedom" on those halcyon days of youth when the end of school signaled total kid irresponsibility.

Every summer has its own stack of "must dos" and mine this year include edits to my book, The Miting, pulling out old grade cards to create those all-important transcripts as my son nears the end of his homeschool career, and making sure I gather the materials needed to have a newsletter ready by its deadline. Somehow, I thought I'd have more time.

But never mind. I can still enjoy my summer. I can take time to sit on the back porch swing and watch the fireflies rise from their cool hiding places as dusk falls. I can mosey out to the little garden and pick some onions or pull a few weeds and encourage the tomatoes to turn red. I can spy on the hummingbirds from my front window as they steal nectar from the sweet flowers nodding in their beds. And I can still feel a twinge of excitement when I hear the ice cream truck's song from far off. Summer is still here! Work has not stolen all my time...yet. Happy summer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Little Garden is Growing!

My tiny garden is growing! We've been having hot weather here in Ohio and that has spurred the tomato plant growth. I already have a few green onions to pull and the peppers are looking nice and strong. It's amazing what the right combination of elements can do for a garden. No wedding needs done yet, so I'm at the perfect place: not too much work and lots of results.

Now, if only I could get to that place in my life! I know God must sometimes wonder when I'm going to settle in and let Him shine in my soul...water my seeds with kindness and His word...and show some results from having just the right elements nourishing my spirit. It doesn't take much, but it does take a little consistent time. I have to let my soul rest, be nourished and warmed before I have the strength to help others. I pray I make the time to let the Master Gardner work in my life today!

I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
The Message, Isaiah 58:11-12

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Little Corner of the World

I nearly got lost making way to this blog...it's been so long since I stopped in here! Today I wandered outside (yes, really!) and tilled the soil in my teeny tiny garden. It's a raised bed and has room for a couple of tomato plants, a few green pepper plants, a couple of rows of onions and a few little herb plants. I love it!

I used to fight the hard clay dirt of the yard in a much bigger space, but I finally had enough of that futile work. A few years ago, my hubby built a raised bed and we filled it full of nice, loamy earth. Its rich and fluffy soil gives me a great yield for such a small space. I can fence it in to keep the bunnies out and still lean over to tend the plants. Did I tell you I love it??

I always laugh when I place the tomato cages carefully over the tiny tomato plants. I mean, it reminds me of the song "High Hopes". The cages tower over the puny plants, but the tomatoes get to have the last laugh. By the end of July, they look like cousins of the giant Venus flytrap from the "Little Shop of Horrors". I would never lie down amongst them for fear they'd engulf me with their tendrils and shoots.

I'm happy to pluck the first fruits of the tomatoes, but by the time fall approaches, I'm ready to murder the monster plants. How DO those botanical wonders create SO many darn tomatoes??? For that reason, I limited myself to TWO tomato plants this year. I know I'll still have plenty of red orbs to eat and cook with and plenty to freeze for cold winter chilis and stews.

Speaking of monster plants, I made the sign of the cross as I passed the zucchinis at the nursery today. I have never planted zucchinis or squash or egg plant. Those things make no secret of their diabolical plans to take over the earth...I just wish other gardeners would do the same. Why help those treacherous veggies accomplish their goal of total world domination? *Shudder*

Anyway, it was a good day. I'm whipped, but glad I can look out my window and see that beautiful patch of dirt. And soon, there WILL be fresh veggies to pluck and devour 'cause I have hiiiiigh hopes...I have hiiigh hopes...I have high apple pie in the skyyyyy hopes...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Halfway to Normal

Well, I think I got halfway over the writer's block. I wrote a Faithwriters Challenge entry first time in...uh..months??) and a Zest post written. I hope that counts with my Muse. I hope she hasn't packed up her bags and taken off for greener pastures yet.

I have edits to do, too. I'm about halfway through the Amish novel with the edits. I finished Chapter 8 and have 8 more chapters to go. Wheee!

Lessee...I'm more than halfway through homeschool with my son...so that means I'm halfway back to normal. I think.

But I still feel foggish. I still feel like I'm only using half my brain. I wonder if I'll wake up some day and feel fully THERE? Anyone know if that happens when you're past fifty? Give me some hope!

Anyway, here's hoping for a better week, writing/editing wise. If you're feeling like me, we gotta keep hanging in there! We can't give over to the delicious need for sleep and laziness...and staring at the TV with our jaws slack. We gotta get up and get at 'em. Right? Anyone with me? Hello...oh well. Rats. Time for a nap.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What Is WRONG With Me?

I don't know if I have true writer's block, but I have something wrong with me. There's a heavy fog settled over the writing part of my brain. Nothing goes in and nothing comes out. Can you tell?

I haven't written much on my blog or anywhere else for that matter. I'm doing okay with editing my novel, but that's about it.

So...have you experienced this kind of writing drought before? What did you do to get over the block? I think I need to make myself DO something...but I have no idea what...and if I did know, I'm not sure I could DO it. I'm open to suggestions!

In the mean time, I might go read some blogs...another long neglected activity...but that's another problem for another day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A bunch of random things are rolling around in my head. It's a been a couple of busy weeks at my house. Here's a few of my random thoughts:

Facebook is wonderful for reuniting old friendships! I "found" a couple of old friends from my single years and it was a happy surprise to get to visit with them again. I can't wait to renew our ties--even if it is just on the pages of Facebook.

I hosted a bridal shower for my adopted ex-Amish daughter, Rachel. It was fun! Many of the attendees were also ex-Amish and it was interesting to notice the way they interact and the way they have a naive expectation about all English events. They don't always know exactly what will happen, but they always laugh and have fun. Ladies can, when they get together, really let down their hair when they want to.

I get upset when my friends and family get taken in by medical quackery. I think it just happened to some of my friends. Just so you know: "Iridology" is not a recognized science, and once you understand how the body works, and that the iris DOES NOT CHANGE, you will know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to read people's illnesses by mapping the iris. Impossible!

I have been editing my Amish novel. It is slow going since I have a: gotten bogged down in the process, and b: gotten bored with my own writing. Many knowledgeable writers and editors have assured me this is "normal". But what a bummer. I took a week off last week and am back at it again. I did well last night and managed to wrestle edits out of 1 1/2 chapters. Onward!

Spring has truly sprung in Ohio and the daffodils are strutting their stuff. It is beautiful. I love that fresh renewed smell in the world outside my window right now!

There are many other random thoughts still in my head, but I have to get myself back to work. Until the next time: Happy Spring!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Know How You Feel

One day, when my late husband was drawing closer and closer to death, I was watching him and our son playing in the living room. Our little boy was just shy of three year's old, and he was oblivious to the inevitable future without his daddy. But I was seeing their play and hearing their laughter and watching my once healthy husband stretch out skinny arms to hold his son.

Suddenly, tears came and I had to work hard to choke back a long, heart-rending sob. I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't sit by and watch this cruel destruction of our once happy family. I hurried from the room to hide my over-whelming emotions from both of them. I didn't want to ruin their most precious moment. Who knew, after all, how many fun moments were left?

I went to the bedroom I shared with this wonderful husband and father and began to make the bed. I struggled to control myself, but halfway around the bed, an enormous weakness hit me at the knees and I sank to the floor. I pressed my face into the blankets to keep my cries from reaching the living room and I finally let my fears and anger out to God.

I cried over and over again "Why, Lord? I see You're going to take Jim home soon. But why? Why destroy me and my son? Don't You know how much this will hurt my little boy? Don't You know how much You're tearing my heart out? Why?" The dam broke and all the repressed emotions rushed to the surface. My heart broke in two. My spirit and courage flagged and I was a spent being.

And then, He spoke to my heart.

"Dee, I know how you feel. I know. I gave up my own Son so that you will see Jim again someday. I gave Him up so you will never say good-bye to your loved ones again."

He reminded me that His heart broke in two the day he turned His back on His own Son. The day He let His Son know sin. The day the veil was torn and all of humanity was set free for the asking. The day His Son bled. Cried. Pleaded for mercy. The day humanity mocked and flogged and pierced His Son's frail flesh. In that moment, I knew He knew my pain. That moment changed me.

Today we remember Christ's sacrifice. Today we say thank you. Today we remember that our Father knows...He knows...and He understands.

When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ's cross. Colossians 2:14 The Message

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stylish Blog Award

Thanks to my dear friend, Sara, I have a new award for my blog: Stylish blog Award.

Thanks, Sara! With this award I'm supposed to tell five fun things about myself. Hmmm...fun things? Um...well, here goes:

1. I LOVE to watch old black and white games shows--or just about any old black and white TV show from the 50's and 60s'. It reminds me of my youth and some kind of innocence that was in life then. TV was never raunchy and you had to mind your p's and q's (no swearing on the air!). Men wore suits or tuxes and women wore evening gowns for TV appearances. Wow.

2. I prefer to eat crunchy foods. Mushy or smooshy foods (I call them non-violent) are no fun to eat and tend to make me gag. Especially hot cereals. UGH. Exceptions: cake of any kind.

3. I like to paint with watercolors. But I'm not very good. I wish I were a better painter.

4. I never realized how many books I made as a child until my son and I went through my school record book the other day. Out fell numerous little homemade books that spanned my school years. One was even sewn together to create a bound edge. Hmm. Guess the writing bug was in me early. I'd kind of forgotten about that.

5. I like politics more than I should. It gets me steamed up, though, so I avoid it these days. I like my opponents to play fair, but when they get all hoity-toity about their views, like theirs are FAR more urbane and "tolerant", I either want to laugh or punch them in the nose. Ha!

I'm supposed to pass this award on to five other bloggers, but I know how busy many of you are. So, if you love to blog, consider yourself "knighted" with the Stylish blog award. Please feel free to accept this award for yourself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Clean Desk

I cleaned off my desk last night. I even got the vacuum cleaner out and swept the carpet in my study. I've been working on a book proposal all weekend and to tell you the truth, it got quite messy in that room, especially around the chair area. It's hard to believe all the crumbs and papers that can accumulate while a person is working diligently.

The book proposal is in so there's nothing else to do for that but wait. I'm ready to move on to other projects, but first I just HAD to get some of the clutter and mess under control. It's lovely to walk in here now and see clean space! I even gave The Beast a quick dusting.

As I cleaned, I talked to the Lord. I let Him know that I'm aware how much I need to be reminded to trust Him with all my work. There's nothing like hashing things over with Him. He listens, but also I have a sense of peace that He is looking out for me.

When I made a decision to serve Him all those long years ago as an 18 year old, I had a distinct impression that His call to me was simply: "Am I for you and you for Me?" That was it. Nothing profound or theologically deep, but the tug at my heart was strong and immediate. In fact, that phrase kept popping into my head and I couldn't ignore it.

When I said "Yes, Lord. I'm for You and You're for me" I had no idea how many roads we'd travel together. Some were hard roads and my heart was torn out and stomped on by life circumstances. But he has always been faithful. In fact the best part is, and always will be: He is FOR me.

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute—
you're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
Psalm 139:7-11, The Message

Monday, March 1, 2010

Removing a Blog From My List--Why?

WARNING: This post will annoy fawning Englishers who love the Amish from the outside but don't care one whit for their souls. Read on at your own risk.

I've had a blog on my reading list for quite some time. The person who writes the blog is ex-Amish. Since she is using anecdotal stories about her childhood years growing up Amish, she has a huge following. She caters to those who don't want to hear the WHOLE truth about the Amish: those English who only believe good things come from the Amish culture, and any negative MUST be just sour grapes.

I understand her motivation, but she sometimes rankles me with her pure and sweet stuff day in and day out. I wondered: "If it was SO wonderful to be Amish, why did she leave?" I searched her old posts looking for her explanation for why she left. I could find nothing to tell the reader why. I finally emailed and asked her that question. She told me it would be in her future stories, but she wouldn't share it until then.

I got the impression that she is stringing along her readers...keeping them from knowing the reason why so they would keep reading. Very clever. But it kind of made me feel queasy. Not exactly honest, if you ask me. In the mean time, day after day, Pollyanna stories roll forth from this blog. And the English lap it up like sweet kool-aid.

Today I read her post from a few days back about how a man came to her family when they were Amish and "used" them for an article. He surreptitiously photographed her father--in the whole and not just his hands--as was promised, and then published the photos. Her father took the opportunity to teach his children to never trust someone who wanted to interview them unless they knew the person. You can imagine how UPSET this bloggers followers were after hearing that awful tale of betrayal. The comments they left were filled with sympathy for the Amish and anger toward the deceitful journalist.

Here's where my mouth dropped open: she then POSTED the pictures herself! I know she is ex-Amish now, but if it was an offense then, why isn't it an offense now? This is the kind of two-sided thinking that drives me crazy about the Amish. The rules are there, but when it comes to gaining something from the English, all rules are breakable. And guess what? Her followers didn't seem to notice that SHE did to her family just what the journalist had done years ago.

I feel this writer uses her audience, and their ignorance, to gain her own status. I finally just decided to stop advertising her blog on my own blog. She will lose nothing from not being on my little blog, but it makes me feel better that I'm not sending readers to her sugar fest anymore. By the way, she doesn't post her name either. (Mystery AND Amish love feast rolled into one.)

I have learned from my ex-Amish friends that there IS good in the Amish world, and their quaint lifestyle is amusing and curious, but like all people groups, THERE IS BAD, TOO! Many of the Amish groups do not preach the Gospel at all...they preach rules and obedience. Even their "forgiveness" is mandated, whether they mean it or not...whether they deal with their hurts or not...whether they continue to use and abuse or not. I am not spewing sour grapes here, but I am speaking from a broken heart. This group of people DESERVES to know the Gospel as much as any other group, and our blindness to their spiritual needs just keeps them further and further away from salvation.

Again, I am not speaking against the Amish, I am speaking to those English who want to only know the cute and entertaining side of the Amish world. Wake up! Many of those wonderful people will die and not see heaven because we don't care enough to bring them the life-saving Gospel of Christ. If good works alone got us to heaven, then why did Christ come to die on the cross? Don't assume that ALL of the Amish know Christ...don't assume that their bishops all preach the Gospel...don't assume that they are all Christians. Don't assume.

The fields are ripe to harvest: will you be simply another fawning Enlisher, or will you pray for the salvation of the Amish? And when you pray, ask the Lord if He wants to send YOU to help minister to the Amish. Mission fields surround us right here in the United States. You can help this beloved people hear the Gospel.

To learn more about the Amish, how to help spread the Gospel, and to hear and read personal testimonies about life as an Amish person, please go to Mission to Amish People.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gummy Vitamins, Safflower Oil...A Health Mish Mash

I've taken multivitamins for a few years now, and one of the major troubles I've had with them is how HUGE they are. I have problems swallowing pills that big, so I've tried other things: chewables for kids and chewables for adults. With the chewables, the trouble was the taste. They are sooooo sour, it would make my cheeks ache when I chewed them. I'd sometimes skip them just to save myself the misery. But guess what? I found GUMMY vitamins, and they are YUMMY. They have no yucky after-taste and they taste like candy. Now that's a good for me kind of "pill" I can swallow.

I was also thinking about the safflower oil. I'm still using it, but I haven't checked the ol' waist measurement to see if anything is happening. It really doesn't appear that it is since my clothes still fit the same: tight. But, I'm keeping to it and hope it helps in some way. Eventually.

I'm also still taming The Beast (aka treadmill). I try to walk on that thing at least three times a week for thirty minutes, but it is boring and tedious. I can stay on longer, and in a happier mood, if I listen to Sarah Groves while I walk, but I think I sound funny to my family when I do that. I wear my headphones, and sing along in harmony. But they only hear my part. He he he. I figure, if I have to suffer, they can, too.

One more thing: I'm getting a new glucose meter! Hoo boy, you might be thinking, this gal has nothing exciting in her life if that makes her happy. But if you saw my dinosaur of a meter, you'd know how glad I am. The old one is at least fifty feet wide and seventy feet long. Okay, so I exaggerate, but listen, the new one is promised to be small and compact--and--it self loads! Wooie.

So that's all my health news for now. I promise to keep you updated...I know you can hardly wait.

Friday, February 19, 2010

ACORN at My Door?

I was concerned when I read that the group ACORN had been chosen to help with the 2010 census. I wasn't too keen on giving my personal info to that group. To find out if this was still a possibility, in light of the groups troubles last year, I wrote my representative, Jim Jordan. Here is his thoughtful and in-depth reply:

February 12, 2010

Dear Ms. Yoder:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). This organization has flaunted American election law and used taxpayer dollars for illicit purposes. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me, and I welcome the opportunity to provide you with an update.

For years, ACORN has been criticized for being complicit in voter fraud, particularly in the last Presidential election. But they have never truly been punished. Those of us who believe the right to vote is sacred, and free-and-fair elections guarantee our most basic American freedoms, recognize that systematic voter fraud committed by members of ACORN and their leadership causes our whole democracy to suffer.

ACORN's roots are deeply planted in radical socialism. The group's history is one of irresponsible and untrustworthy behavior, including corruption, embezzlement, cover-ups, and misuse of taxpayer funds. Their most recent scandal was revealed by two student-aged investigative reporters who used undercover video to expose ACORN workers providing advice on how to avoid federal tax laws in order to run a prostitution ring from an ACORN-sponsored home.

Since the release of these eye-opening tapes, the U.S. Census has cut ties with ACORN, and both the U.S. House and Senate have taken action to strip federal funding from ACORN in current appropriations bills. Congressman Darrell Issa, the top-ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Congressman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee have both announced plans for an investigation into ACORN's corruption.

In other legislative efforts, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has proposed a bill to prohibit the distribution of taxpayer dollars to any individual or organization that is under indictment for violation under federal or state law for election fraud. Along with Congresswoman Bachmann, Congressman John Boehner of Ohio has led the effort to block all government funds to ACORN until federal investigations are complete. As a supporter of this effort, I have become a co-sponsor of the bill and will continue working toward its adoption.

Our assessment of the current situation is that, while all of the efforts to de-fund ACORN are welcome, it is imperative that we continue to keep a watchful eye to make sure the politicians in Washington D.C. don't somehow sneak the money back into the bills. Remember, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrat leadership has ignored or outright defended ACORN through all of their previous scandals, only recently buckling to public pressure to act once the undercover investigative videotapes were released.

As your Congressman, I will make sure that I do everything necessary to protect our freedom to vote in an untainted and impartial election. Be assured that as the continuing investigation into ACORN progresses, I will make sure to closely monitor the situation.

I hope you will find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any other concerns or questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at (202) 225-2676, or by e-mail through our website at http://jordan.house.gov.

Sincerely,Jim JordanMember of Congress

Jim Jordan
Member of Congress

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Humble Pie and Ice Cream

I have a friend who recently went through some tough times. She had to eat a little humble pie, as she called it. It was hard on her, and as is true of all of us, caused her emotional pain and a little embarrassment, too. Who hasn’t been there?

What struck me about my friend’s attitude was the statement she made after all the stress had settled. She wrote: " the beauty of Christianity and fellow Christians-in the world when we eat humble pie, people want to keep dishing it out to you-but our brothers and sisters in the Lord, want to take your "humble pie" and give you ice cream instead".

I love that! I think it shows a heart that is willing to learn and grow from mistakes, and more than that, a heart that understands the beauty of forgiveness.

It made me think of myself. Have I been willing to serve those who’ve "wronged" me the ice cream of forgiveness after they’ve had to eat a slice of humble pie? Or do I continue to want to serve up pie until my own feelings of retribution and revenge have been satisfied?

I want to be a servant who dishes out ice cream. How about you? Here's a parable Jesus told us about forgiveness:

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"

Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

"The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

"The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!'

"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt.

And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."

Matthew 18:21-32 (The Message)

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Tawt I Taw a...Robin?

There's snow everywhere...I mean EVERYWHERE. It's hard to believe that spring might be anywhere near Ohio right now. So imagine my surprise when I THOUGHT I saw a robin today in the huge old tree across the street! Wow. I ran to get the binoculars, but by the time I got back, the elusive robin was gone--if that was indeed what it was.

Even if it wasn't really a robin, it did give me hope that perhaps robins are on their way...maybe they've filed their flight patterns already and are thinking they might as well head north since there's snow in the south anyway.

I have to have hope, y'know. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to crawl under the covers and hibernate for six more weeks.

Happy spring! Soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The New Fridge is Here

Well, it's here! And guess what? I LOVE it! Tons more space for storing foods. I love the freezer on the bottom because now I don't have dark recesses for the fridge part that I have to bend in half to see. You wouldn't believe some of the things I found WAY back in that section of my old fridge.

Habits are hard to break, though, so I still tend to walk to the fridge and try to grab the door handle on the left, where my old fridge opened. But I'm getting used to the new appliance and liking how quiet it is and especially all the lights! I can SEE in my freezer--actually SEE. What an awesome concept.

I'm a happy camper--and pleased with my new kitchen appliance. It may be the ONLY new thing I get this year, but it's a good one.