Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas will be different this year. After we celebrated Christmas last year we packed and moved all of our (Christmas) stuff to PA anticipating selling our house and getting moved. Well, it didn't happen that way and so we are celebrating Christmas without all the trappings this year. Josh and us are going to Raleigh to celebrate with Chris, Holly and our grand children. Than back to Sheboygan to celebrate with Brent & Tracy and Andrei our grandson in Sheboygan.

We didn't get our house put on the market until mid July and the city decided to dig up 6th Street and they worked on it until the end of August. We had an "Open House", mid September and had several people walk through but by than the economy had gone sour and our house didn't sell. Its not like we have a "starter" home.

God gave me a promise several years ago and now I need to live out these promises. It's one thing to tell others how to live and another to live it our myself! "Do not be afraid; I will lead you into green pastures; trust and you will see the glory of God." So that's what I cling to regardless of what's going "out there".

As a child growing up we always celebrated Christmas. When I was very young my grandmother lived next door and we'd go to her house and she would give us small gifts. I remember getting a dainty hanky. Way back in those days (before kleenix was invented) using hankies was a daily part of life. To have a pretty hanky to use was special.

For several years my parents would give us an orange on our plates at the table. We'd set a plate on the table before we'd go to bed. Our parents would give us an orange. We'd receive one gift each and my dad would hide it. It was fun playing "hide and seek" looking for it. I soon learned to ask for things that would last and last. I enjoyed coloring books and treasured coloring the pages. Soon I started asking for chalk and a blackboard, that would last even longer than the coloring book.

Mom and my older sisters would bake cookies and make candy, yummy! I have always loved Christmas and having family get together.

Ed and I made some great family traditions which I love and hope to continue to celebrate for years to come. God has been good, we have 3 great children, with 2 married to wonderful people! We have a great family and I am grateful to God for all his blessings in my life!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baking Bread

So how has retirement been so far? I am keeping busy as you can see. I have been baking all the bread we eat. I am cooking up a storm too. Today I baked rolls. Not how I started baking bread, but the new way is the best! After they came out with bread machines, I told my family I wasn't interested. Finally one year I said OK and started using the bread machine. We must have continued to gain weight because I got rid of it. :-) Now I started up again.

I bought this bread machine from the church rummage sale several years ago for two dollars and it didn't have the recipe book along so I have been going online to find recipes. I think I have finally fine tuned this one recipe. My husband wants more grain in the bread so I'll experiment with that too.

I am going back to my Amish days and cooking from "scratch". Fortunately my husband enjoys soups which is easy to make and have on hand. I made a pot of soup this week; Zesty Vegetable Soup. I didn't like it too much, it had a clear broth base and I prefer a tomato base for my soups.

Growing up we baked a batch of bread every week, or maybe every 5 days? I can't remember for sure. But with our large family a little bread machine wouldn't begin to make enough. We had this huge pan and I think we used at least a quart of water for starters. (I use 1 1/4 cup water). It would be an all day process! Summer and winter! I got sick and tired of kneading the dough! It was a big batch and my mom had me start baking early on, I could have been 7 or 8 years old. I was always interested in whatever they were cooking so I got put to work. It was fun when I started but after awhile it got pretty boring and repetitive! We baked at least 6 or 7 loaves of bread each week.

So what do I do as a mom? I didn't make my children help me in the kitchen. When Holly was growing up I told her she should never tell anyone that her mother grew up Amish! Because I didn't make her cook or sew. But the good daughter that she was told me that she had more important things to do with her life, like study and play the piano! She has turned out to be a good cook and she's a great mother too.

For lunch today I made Enchiladas. Yummy! Let me know if you want the recipe and I'll send it out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Living a life that makes a difference

Ed and I took a trip to PA this month and I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sisters. (The Amish & English). They have their own families so they pick a date in the fall to get together. It so happened that I emailed Liz and ask her if they had a date picked out yet. Since I haven't been available to celebrate with them, she doesn't check with me. So this picture was taken several decades ago but to show you how mixed up we are. 8 out of 12 were at my sister Anna's house this fall. The day was interesting - my oldest sister said that since "the English" don't bring things to do with their hands, she decided to be like us and not do anything, just sit and visit. I have needle work I wanted to finish up but forgot to take it along. We had a nice quiet, interesting afternoon visiting with each other. Families are gifts from God!

Ed and I had a big surprise last Sunday, we had a lunch planned with the Sonnentag's and Kramers, but what they didn't tell us was that they invited Dennis & Joanne Willcott to lunch too. Dennis was a board member and Joanne helped me with Missionettes and Bible Studies. So we had a fun reunion. They moved to PA in the 90's job related and now are back in Wisconsin. Life has interesting turns of events. They moved back home to Wisconsin and we are planning to move home, back to PA. (I wish we would have taken a picture).

Another big event in my life this week was joining the modern age and signing up for Face Book. So I have all these friends out there. This should be more fun! Brent our son tries to keep Ed and I current with all that's going on out there in cyber space. :-) It takes time for me to adjust and change . . . but its coming along! From Amish with no modern gadgets to computers and online . . . .

So next week Ed and I get to travel to CA and enjoy a week of vacation with the Assistant Superintendents of the Assemblies of God. Ed has had this title for several years now which gives him meetings to attend in Waupaca monthly. Our life has slowed down considerably which is nice. We get to enjoy and experience life as it comes down the road. I am looking for a job, partime hopefully. While we are here in Wisconsin, I would be happy to work full time. Especially with the holidays that would be exciting to be in the excitement of things.

Things will be different this year. In years gone by we were serving the church and working with them and now whatever God brings into our lives. My devotional today give talked about how to make life meaningful 1) How to line up our priorities, 2) Lighten up your attitude, 3) Look up to God. This is what I am working on in my life - honoring God in everything that I do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

God's Promises

Years ago my father in law was visiting us in Sheboygan. We were having a conversation at our kitchen table, just him and I. He was trying to decide what to do with the family farm. He purchased this farm from his parents years ago. I never met his parents, just his brothers and sisters. Anyway, he asked if I wanted to live in Transfer when we retired. Well, I was only fifty that year and the "r" word was not in my vocabulary! I felt indignant thinking about retirement at that time. Realizing that retirement was something that I would need to think about in the future and make adjustments for.

God gave me Jeremiah 29:11 years ago; for I know the plans I have for you. . .plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I go back from here and read verse 10 . . . when seventy years are completed . . . I will come to you . . .and bring you back to this place. We are waiting for our house to sell before we can go back. :-)

I am living out that life right now. My husband retired after 29 years of ministry here in Sheboygan. I am very thankful that God allowed us to stay put for these many years! Its not that usual for a pastor to only pastor 2 churches in his lifetime! (We still have many more years left?!) So I don't know if this will be the only churches . . .

I am finding life interesting. . . I need to find a job to pay for my health insurance. Its interesting that we bought into a life that spends money for "just in case" . . . but that is how we live life today. Its not that I am against it either. The Amish way is that when disaster strikes a family the community get together and either take an offering or have an auction.

Several years my oldest sister and her husband had an auction to sell their machinery they didn't use anymore and their children didn't want. The food service they used donated their profits to a local Amish family that had something tragic happen in their home. I don't remember the details anymore.

The community I grew up in Lawrence County PA has a very large group of Amish. They have taken families and moved from there to go and establish other communities in other states. I had uncles when I was still Amish move to Michigan. I don't remember any details anymore.

Anytime I want to remember things I ask my older sisters for information. I think my husband gets a kick out of having these Amish as relatives . . .

My parents have been gone for a long time now and I was never "shunned" so they can (are allowed) to do business with me.

In thinking about my parents, when they passed away in the early nineties. When a person is "shunned" by the Amish they aren't allowed to be buried in an Amish cemetary. When my dad passed away they let it be known to us that he could be buried inside the fence. I didn't realize I had such deep feelings but my answer back to them through my sister Emma; they shunned him since the early sixties, I did not want him buried in their cemetary! So both my parents are buried in a Mennonite cemetary. (Is this really better?) Anyway, that's what we did.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Canning . . .

Canning. I am canning tomatoes today. A friend gave us tomatoes to can. The only problem I had with canning today - I looked in my cupboard for canning jars . . . I took them to PA! I have been reading about freezing tomatoes; so that's what I decided to do with them today. I'll let you know if I like to use frozen tomatoes in our soup.

My growing up years, this was a very important part of life. Canning. We spent hours picking and preparing both fruit and vegetables. We had a huge garden. My mom always said that we would never go hungry. We might not enjoy what was served but something tasty was on the table. Mom would stew tomatoes and we would put it on potatoes. We would make a gravy with the tomatoes. I have never made it again after I left home. I don't ever want to taste it again either. :-) Now I love stewed tomatoes, sometimes I have a real craving for them.

We would have rows and rows of canned product. I grumbled in those days! When I got married I told my mother that I had no intentions of canning. Soon after we got married she brought tomatoes to our apartment with some jars to help me get started. I did can what she brought to me that day but that's all I canned that summer.

My family would can our meat too. I must not have helped with this because I was in school. The Amish can meat in the winter because they don't have refrigeration. I only remember butchering a pig once. I know we must have butchered cows too but I don't remember anything about it.

Ed and I went off to Rhode Island a year after we were married; Ed attended Zion Bible Institute and I got a job. We were allowed to eat in the Bible School's cafeteria whenever we wanted too. (Or needed too). After the first year in Rhode Island, we went back to Transfer for the summer; Ed had taken a leave of absence from his job so he had a good job that summer. I started canning and canned whatever anyone would let me can and took it back to RI! We loved and ate everything we took back with us. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs so I would can hot peppers to help spice up the sandwiches. One batch I didn't wear gloves, I burned my hands badly! Yikes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Retirement. Interesting word. I have been BUSY! I attended pastor's wives retreat in Waupaca. Came home to Sheboygan for the weekend. On Monday my husband and I drove back to Waupaca for what the Assemblies call Keenager Kamp at Spencer Lake. They asked my husband to teach a workshop on Tuesday titled "Grandparenting". I couldn't imagine what the retreat would be like but I actually enjoyed myself. The people weren't all really old. I got to connect with some old friends of ours. We did come home Tuesday night to get ready for our weekend.

We had a garage sale today, its been years since we did a garage sale. We met some interesting people. Sunday we are having an open house with an ad in the Press. So hopefully someone will choose to buy this house!

One comment on Amish retirement . . . the dad sells his farm to someone in the family that chooses to be a farmer. They build a doty house and the parent can help out on the farm whenever they want. We are planning to build a doty house in Transfer on my husbands family farm. Does that count?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Story about Dolls

When I was growing up I loved to play dolls. For some reason I don't remember ever owning a doll of my own. Wierd! It doesn't make sense to me at all. From what I do remember . . . my mother decided to make dolls for Christmas one year. I must have already been in school? Martha, one of my older sisters made the dolls, they were pretty modern with movable arms and legs. Up to that time the dolls must have had the arms sticking out wide. Hard to dress and play with.

Anyway, Amish dolls don't have any facial features or hair. They are made out of cloth. These dolls were made out of white muslin type of cotton material. I loved to play dolls, somehow I must have talked my younger sisters out of allowing me to use one of their dolls. I loved playing with them. (Didn't I already mention that several times?)

I do remember being a favorite to an English couple that lived in Pulaski. They were friends of my parents. My dad might have built a house for them too. For some reason I can't remember their names. But they must have felt sorry for us because our dolls didn't have faces, so they brought a modern, plastic doll for me to play with. My mother must have been wise, she let me play with that doll for the day, but after I went to bed, I never saw the doll again.

I started "giving my testimony" to churches in the area and sometimes I would tell my doll story, so I now have several sets of dolls. One type of doll we never had as children were boy dolls, so now I have boy dolls too.

A really funny story about Amish dolls; (not really funny at all) my husband started selling them on the internet. We went to my sister Anna's house and we bought some to sell on our drive to NYC to help our youngest son, Josh move there for graduate school at Columbia University. Anyway, somehow it worked out the entire time we were moving his stuff into his apartment someone stayed at the van at all times. We kept the box of dolls in the van, we might even have placed them on the drivers seat? We left my bag of sheets and maybe some other odd stuff. Holly was living in Delaware and had come along for the trip.

Josh's roommates hadn't arrived yet so we spent at least a day touring the city. Anyway, I went out to the van to get our sheets when it got to be bedtime, I found the sheets strewn all over the floor of the van and my cutesy polka dotted bag was gone! I was really upset thinking that one of us had done it. But after awhile we realized that we were robbed. So someone (Josh?) made jokes that they heard people walking the streets trying to sell Amish dolls. You needed to be there to enjoy the joke.

Anyway, I think that this will be interesting moving back to PA. When Ed and I got married, our first apartment was in Hubbard Ohio. After Bible School and our first church we lived in Transfer around a year. So this will be another adventure!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Contemplating Turning 60 Years Old...

When I turned 16 years of age, my parents sold the family farm. This was the house I was born in! We actually moved on my 16th birthday. Now I've turned 60 years of age and my husband and I are moving out of Sheboygan this fall, out of a house we have lived in for 26 years! I have had a good life up to now so I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to live in this house! We bought it in hard times, and now we need to sell it in not such a great time (for sellers). But God helped us before and I believe He will help us again! I will always remember these events in my life.

Way back as a teenager, I was only beginning my adventures with God. I left home for Bible College that fall, which has changed my life forever. I went to Philadelphia my first summer and worked for Teen Challenge. I was right off the farm and went right into the heart of a city! Wow! Being shy and not really knowing much about the world, I would follow others around and pray for them as they would share Christ. One of my friends loved to visit Temple University right up the street from where Teen Challenge was located on Broad Street. I loved everything about getting out and about. My room at the end of the summer was on the fifth floor with no elevator, so I would count the stairs. I soon learned not to forget a hanky or the little stuff! I remember ministering at the Coffee House on a Friday night. One thing I knew back than for sure; Legalism! Christian women wore no make up! :-) One of the people were talking to me and started on make up, why Christians didn't wear make up. But I was firm knowing that would be one thing I would not do!

After I graduated from Bible College I realized that I couldn't do small talk with anyone outside of the church so I ask God to help me not be a freak. I worked on learning to socialize and getting along with people. Than I became a pastor's wife and thought, what should that look like . . . and becoming a mom I had no more time to worry about such small stuff! I am so grateful to God for the life he has allowed me to lead! I am grateful for the traveling I have done, my husband and I have done, and what God will allow in the future!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Having a Happy Family Day

We had our family over for Sunday dinner after Church. I dug out our toys left over from when our children were growing up. Josh had a big set of a Brio train set. He's showing his nephews how to set it up.

Too bad we had so much snow and ice this winter! Our last winter in snowy, Wisconsin hopefully! The roads were awful and now they have many potholes too. This winter was like the early eighty's when we had the Antarctic winds blow and lots of snow and ice. My father-in-law visited and complained about how awful the roads were. So we got one last blast from the past.

While Holly was visiting from NC, she left balmy weather, one night we had around five degrees overnight and it was really cold another night too. Poor Lincoln couldn't play outside because everything was icy, including the snow. So in desperation we took Lincoln to the mall and also he played at church. One nice sunny day, we played on the parking lot at church. Lincoln found some water from melting snow and splashed to his hearts content while his grandmother froze. I would have done anything because they came to visit us. Thank you to both Holly and Josh for leaving the comfort of home and traveling to Sheboygan.

Remembering . . .

From one generation to the next, that's where we are now. My father-in-law passed away a year ago March 4th. One day we are the child and the next thing you know your parents have passed away and you are the "older" ones.

My husband inherited his family farm in Transfer, PA. Its all official now. We are planning to build a house on the farm where the barn sat. Josh our youngest son is an architect working in NYC designed our house. My oldest brother-in-law with his Amish crew plans to build this house. One of my nephews with his Amish crew plans to finish the house. I don't have a picture of the house at this time but hopefully I can post it at a later date.

My family were all together last weekend in Sheboygan. Most likely Holly's last time to visit Sheboygan since we plan to move at the end of summer. Holly is expecting her second baby right around the beginning of August and we should have our farewell soon afterwards.

Anyway, Holly flew to Sheboygan with her son Lincoln to meet his new cousin that Brent & Tracy are adopting from Russia. (I wanted to post a picture but I guess I don't know how to get it). Anyway, Andrei arrived to Sheboygan just in time to celebrate his 7th birthday, December 21, than he celebrated Christmas with Tracy's family, the Bloks, Christmas Eve and than the Homer family on Christmas day. It was really nice to have a child to celebrate Christmas with.

So we enjoyed a long weekend with the "cousins" playing together. As grandparents, this is the height of happiness. I have many pictures of my family getting together having fun with my parents sitting in the background looking on. Yikes! I still want to be part of the fun!!! Hope that I feel that way for a long time!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Here are my younger sisters sitting in front of my brother's Steve's house in PA. You can see our mother sitting in the background watching all of our goings on. (Can you guess us?)

I try to stay in touch with my family communicating with them several times a year. Family are important to me and staying in contact helps to know what's going on with them. With all the modern gadgets now, its rather easy to stay in touch.
My Amish family . . . well now that's another story. Mail and if they call me is the only way to stay in touch. Since this is a new year and another set of birthdays coming up. Two of my older sisters have a birthday coming up along with my oldest brother in law.

I was just remembering my strict upbringing and thinking about ministry. My dad was called by God to be a minister. The Amish select their ministers by "casting lots". They take the eligible men and seat them in order on a bench at their church service and place a piece of paper in the song book. They pass out the song books and the man with the paper is their next minister. My dad heard God calling his name and he received the book with the paper. When he became a bishop, they used the same system. My dad heard God call his name again.

My memory of dad becoming a bishop was this. I was told to wear my cap when I went out to play. I hated this on my head and would take it off as soon as I went outside. So then I started getting spanked and after awhile I must have seen that fighting this was totally useless.

Our family also starting having prayer time together in the mornings. This was hard because the prayers came from a German prayer book. They weren't all that long but sort of annoying at first. Not that we had much of a choice in the matter!

I love my family and I am looking forward to the day when we will live closer to them.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas is over for another year

Christmas has come and gone, now the Christmas stuff needs to be put away for another year. Thinking back to my childhood, life was so much simpler. We didn't put up any type of decorations in or outside, we did give & receive gifts and had homemade cookies and homemake candies. I was so happy when I got to help with the baking.

Right after we were first married I made all my childhood sweets. Only after several years of gaining weight realizing that I also ate all of it and have cut down on all those sweets! Even after I got old enough to bake and cook, there were so many of us that one or two rounds of passing out the goodies, they would be gone. So my mom and older sisters would hide them. When I would come home from school, my favorite part of the day would be to "hunt for them and sneak a piece".

It'll take me several days to get everything put away here and order brought back to our home. Compared to my upbringing I now live an extravagant life. As a child we daily had to sweep and dust, one of our early morning jobs. Daily chores. Coming from a large family, everyone had a job.

For example, making a meal, washing dishes, drying and putting them away, clearing the table. I never had to do all of that until I got married. I was exhausted the first year of our marriage because I had to get used to doing everything. It was always wonderful when my husband volunteered to help. We didn't have a dish washer either so if the dishes didn't get put away after getting washed, they sat on the counter. Yikes! God bless the inventors of dishwashers!