Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tradition, change, getting old

I am old.

I just got done writing a column for May about family traditions. Most people think you write a column from what you know, but the truth is that writing is a process of discovery. I find out all kinds of things about myself from writing.

Anyway. I realized that I like tradition. Me, who chafed at the bit about being Beachy Amish and all these idiotic traditions like solid color dresses that were not based on Scripture and didn't let you express your unique individuality. Well, if I needed to I could go back to wearing solid color cape dresses if that was where I felt like I was supposed to be. Not a big deal no more.

I like doing things because we've always done them like this. Birthday suppers, the fourth of July parade, hymns in church, taking turns making breakfast, watching movies with my sister. Traditions are good.

I try to keep up with the blogs of young people I know and am astonished sometimes at the energy and forward-thinking and strap on the sword and conquer the world stuff there. Well, good for them, but I am too tired for this. They get frustrated beyond enduring that the church rules say, among other things, no moustaches. It's all tradition and doesn't make sense and there's no Scripture to back it up and let's change it.

Well, I'm too tired to worry about church rules and change and conquering the world. Maybe when you've lost a nephew to suicide and nursed a daughter through a winter of West Nile Fever and adopted a child and watched your parents get old and coached your kids through teenage-hood and tried to keep a few lives around you from imploding, you just need a safe place to crash every Sunday, where things don't change and you feel something safe and solid beneath your feet.

I don't want to stagnate! the kids proclaim on their Xangas. I want life and fresh air and growth! I don't want to be complacent and old and tired.

Oh my. That's why I feel old. Complacent and stagnating sounds pretty attractive right now.

Quote of the Day:
(discussing tradition)
Emily: People have a fear of change!
Paul: No, it gives stability to life.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Jenny is 9

Jenny just had a birthday. Her gifts from her siblings seem to reflect her warrior-princess personality: a crown, a basketball jersey, and a pink polka-dotted basketball. She was thrilled.
Quote of the Day:
"Women should be rulers because they're more petique."
--Jenny. She made up the word petique--it means proper and nice.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Today in the paper there's an editorial piece by Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist writer and evolutionary biologist, about the "absurdity" of creationism and Intelligent Design. He goes into some complicated logic and all, and of course lost me not far into it, even though I made myself read the whole thing.

My reaction to his brilliant writing was ho-hum, yes, well.

In other words, he didn't change my mind a bit about the existence of God and His role in the beginnings of the universe.

I also realize that I could write to Mr. Dawkins and expound on what I believe, and why, and it wouldn't make the slightest dent in what he believes.

So my theory is that most of us believe what we believe for reasons other than sheer logic and persuasion. Experience, for instance. Those of us who have experienced God laugh at the idea of God not existing. Also, believing in God is one of those paradoxical things where you believe first and then suddenly your eyes are opened to all the evidence, afterwards. So the people who insist on evidence before believing may never believe.

I don't know of very many people who are persuaded by writing alone. One in particular does come to mind, a guy who is embarrassed about his Christian-hick past and is way too impressed with the culture of academia and its smooth self-confidence and patronising attitude.

Nor are we persuaded by the "other side" making our side look silly and stupid. I don't like creationist speakers who use this tactic, because the truth is that Darwinists can just as easily skew the details and make us look stupid.

So if anyone wants to venture an answer, my question is: have you changed your mind in your lifetime about the existence of God and his role in creation? And if so, what made you decide what you did?

Quote of the Day:
"They seem to have sort of an exciting life, even though they're married."
--Emily, about our friends Darren and Jennifer

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mormon, Menno, Muslim

I've been following the FLDS story in Texas with some interest as I'm sure many of you have as well. Even though their theology is so different from ours, there's an eerie sense of kinship with them on a number of levels--rural, big families, women in long dresses--and we can't forget those amazing poofs in their hair. Many of us have had our fears about our children being taken away because our beliefs were out of the mainstream, so this is a chilling factor as well. Not that I for one second defend the way these people treat women and children, God have mercy. I go around and around in my head--what exactly should the government have done here, and how and when and why, and would there have been some way to deal with it without the overblown Texas-government sort of tactics?

I also wish like crazy that these children could go to Amish/Mennonite foster homes. It seems the culture shock would be so much less and the kids would feel so much safer.

The FLDS practices also have some eerie correlations to Islam, with the older husbands/multiple wives, etc. This was an interesting article in a recent Yemen Times about an 8-year-old "wife," sent to me by my sister Rebecca whose friend works for the YT and got to meet this little girl after her ordeal. In fact the newspaper staff threw a party for her, with teddy bears and crayons and such.

It's a mixed-up world.

Quote of the Day:
"Americans will spend lots of money on a "green" dryer but they won't hang their clothes on the line."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hibernation Over

Spring had come to the forest.

Slowly the mother bear stretched, yawned, and emerged from her den. She sniffed the air and growled: dust and days' worth of overdone scrambled eggs, that's what it smelled like. She lumbered into the kitchen and looked around. Terrible! Empty plastic bags, dirty dishes, Sunday school quarterlies, greasy frying pans.

In the living room she slumped on the couch and shook her head at days of newspapers strewn all over, shoes, junk, dust, and dirt.

With a savage croak she summoned her cubs. Fearfully they slunk in, sensing that their carefree days in the forest glade were over. "Work time," she announced, brooking no opposition.

They stripped the bedroom, from curtains to mattress pad, and hauled it all to the laundry room. Dozens of random kleenexes went into the trash. Out came the dust rag and vacuum cleaner, away went the books and videos.

Then to the living room. Papers in the recycle box, shoes upstairs, vacuum the rug, move the chairs. Things looked much better already.

Off to the kitchen. Clear, wash, toss, wipe. The cubs began to slow down. One of them slowly put a tea bag into half of an eggshell and tried to fit the other half on top. A sharp growl in his ear brought him back up to speed. This was no time for foolishness.

Finally the floor was swept, the dishes were washed, a window was opened to freshen the air, and Mother Bear said they could all quit. She collapsed on the couch and coughed. The cubs scampered away.

Father Bear came home. He stopped inside the back door and his eyes lit up. "Hmmm!" he said, "I think someone is well again."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Pillow Ponderings

The fever is subsiding but I am still weak on my pins and the antibiotics are making me queasy so it's still lots of pillow time. In which I am thinking about that novel. And wondering: how do you handle the ugly stuff?

By ugly stuff, I mean the kinds of things that happen in a Mennonite church that shouldn't, seen from the perspective of a minister's wife, since she and her husband will be doing the premarital counselling, which she doesn't enjoy, because the starry-eyed couples gushing about communication always make her aware of the flaws in her own marriage.

One approach is the one we all seem to prefer: "Um, well, . . .hey, isn't that a ruby-throated hummingbird out by the fuchsias?"

Then there's the "bad things don't happen to Mennonites" oblivion. Recently I read reviews of a novel about the Amish written by an ex-Amish man, and one furious reviewer said, "This was a terribly inaccurate book! The Amish are gentle people and they would never behave this way--calling their children brats, of all things!" Hmmm, yes, well.

There's the dump-out-all-the-slop-for-the-world-to-see approach, favored by that gal from Iowa, Ruth Irene Garrett, who ran off with the driver for the Amish, the daughter of John somebody from the North district I think, whom Mom and Dad knew.

I guess this subject is on my mind because every now and then I get random emails from minister's wives around the country, and they haunt me. Some of our Mennonite churches are downright cruel to their ministers, the way we put lay people into this position and then expect them to work fulltime, be family men, and take on obscenely heavy loads with the church. And be constantly criticized besides.

On the other hand, we often don't have a good system of checks and balances for ministers, creating a wide-open opportunity for someone on a power kick, resulting in terrible silent helpless suffering in the pews because unless he's doing something really terrible, who can speak out against God's annointed who are in their position for life, like Supreme Court justices?

I do realize that for every church that expects the minister's wife to plan all the funeral meals, there's another church that supports the minister with a half-time salary, and for every dictator type who suddenly decides to announce on Sunday morning that sandals are no longer allowed in church, there's another who surrounds himself with men he's accountable to.

But back to my original question: how does one handle all this in a novel?? How much is too much? How do you reach some sort of resolution in the story when in real life there often isn't any until 30 years later?

Quote of the Day:
"Most church problems could be solved if one or two people would just die."
--my irreverent BIL Rod

Friday, April 18, 2008


Well, this flu I caught from Jenny turned into the most beastly sickness I've had in probably decades. After spending yesterday in a near-delirium at 104 degrees, my nice husband hauled me to the doctor this morning and got me an antibiotic. So now I have recovered enough to lie in bed with a laptop and catch up with the world just a bit.

I don't know if I want to know what the rest of the house looks like. I think the boys must feel like they have it made, spending hours on the computer listening to Odyssey or playing games on, and their mom can't holler at them to go do something productive even though that ridiculous bweet! bwing! is driving her crazy.

I think Paul is giving them a few hours' work at the warehouse this afternoon. This is good.

Emily is taking good care of me--tea trays and such.

Grandma brought supper in. God bless Grandma.

Prayers appreciated.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Novel Ideas

I had ordered three LM Montgomery books on Amazon to read on those long plane jaunts to and from Kenya. Since that didn't happen, but we did go camping and now I caught Jenny's flu, I've been devouring them: A Tangled Web, The Blue Castle, and Pat of Silver Bush.

Pat is fine, but not my favorite of Montgomery's. The Blue Castle is wonderful. And A Tangled Web is just a way way way out there fantabulistic book.

When I think about writing a novel, I always circle back to A Tangled Web. My idea, as I may have mentioned before, is to have a Mennonite wedding as the central event, and then have all these other stories woven spaghetti-like through the central tale.

(I do realize that me saying I want to write a book like ATW is like Jenny saying she wants to draw a picture like the Sistine Chapel ceiling.)

So now I'm in novel mode and I keep finding incidents that could possibly be woven into a story. Like: yesterday I was making a cake and discovered I was out of eggs. So I went out to the chicken house to look for some, and found 13 in the nests--because somebody whom we shall not name had "accidentally forgotten" as he says, to bring them in the night before. So I gathered up the hem of my skirt and put the eggs in it and turned to leave. But oops, I had locked myself in somehow. The only escape was out the little door the hens use to go into the pasture. So with a lapful of eggs I sat down on that awful floor and wiggled my way out, feet first, and didn't break any eggs, but just as my white knees were visible to the world, an old seed truck went rattling by on Substation Drive. I got my head out before it turned the corner and saw that it was ours. The big question: just who was driving and had witnessed my escape?? It was Paul, praise God, which I found out after I got myself out of the pasture after I couldn't open the gate and the story got yet more complicated.

Anyway, can't you just see that adapted for a novel? "Amanda" is helping her mom with the baking and has the escaping episode, and "John" who works in her dad's warehouse is the one driving the truck, and she hates him, or wait, she is a good Christian so she seethes with righteous indignation toward him because she's sure he's the one that pushed the ministers to combine the youth Sunday school classes into one after a glorious year of segregation, in which the girls could discuss anything they wanted and even have coffee at times, and she's sure that John just wanted a chance to make cow eyes at her on Sunday mornings, and impress her with his Bible knowledge, but she has no idea that it was actually the dark and brooding Michael that drives a straw truck for Derstines. Oh wait, I was using aliases here.

Then as I mentioned in my last post I met Matt's friend Peter Byler at church last Sunday. Peter is the kind of guy who would play Mr. Bingley in Pride and Prejudice--nice, smiling, congenial. Not brooding and mysterious like Darcy. Anyway, Peter has just produced a cd of his songs so I got a copy on Sunday and found it quite good. Well, Jenny has been sick with the flu and that cd lit her up like nothing else had done and she wanted me to play it again. And again. And again. The next day it was all she wanted to listen to. I finally scrounged a set of headphones to give the rest of us a break. She lies there with her red, watery eyes and scratchy voice and rapturously croaks along with her favorite phrases. The rest of us like Peter's cd as well, as I mentioned, but in moderation rather than 15 times in two days.

Ok, now surely this could also work in a romantic plotline when years from now "Sara" is a lovely girl of 20 and after being dreadfully hurt by the mysterious "Mitchell" that she fell in love with, she meets a nice congenial smiling man--maybe he's her music teacher at Bible school or something--and something healing stirs in her soul when she hears his voice, a whiff of forgotten music plays. . . . ok I can hear my daughters right now, Oh for goodness sakes Mom, he'd be way too OLD. Well, humph, Roger was 32 when Gay was 18 in A Tangled Web, and that all worked out for the best. And if I wrote about this I could make the sick daughter about 4 years older.

As you can see my fever is getting high so I'm off to bed. Add your plot ideas if you have any.

Note to Matt and other literalists: I am not trying to match Jenny with Pete Byler. I am talking about PLOT IDEAS for a NOVEL.

Quote of the Day:
"Did God create the mind of man, or the other way around?"
--Peter Byler, in one of his songs. Jenny asked me what this meant and thought it was very profound. See? Foreshadowing, or something useful.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April Column and Camping and SMBI Choir

Today's column is about the guilt-ridden lives of moms like me (but not of those super-confident sort of moms who know what they're doing.)

You can read it here.

One blessing that came out of our cancelled Kenya trip was three days at the coast in our pop-up tent trailer on what must have been the nicest days of the year--actually, the last time I remember it being this nice out there was about ten years ago. As always, I packed socks and leggings and hooded sweatshirts. Instead, we were out on the beach in short sleeves, getting sunburned. Lovely and relaxing. Emily made a movie.

Hearing the SMBI (Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute) Choir on the West Coast is as rare a treat as a warm day at the Oregon beach, so having them in church this morning was absolutely awesome. They had the entire 2-hour service and I could have listened a lot longer, especially to the selections from the Hallelujah Chorus. It was fun meeting a few of them--Matt's old BMA Bible School roommate Peter Byler who recently produced an excellent collection of his music on cd, Hannah S. who was at the Borderland Ladies Retreat in September, and even the famous Hans Mast, whom I met on the internet several years ago but never before in person. (He looks exactly like his picture.) (Not everyone does, you know.)

Quote of the Day:
"Bismuth?? Isn't that atomic number 83??"
--Ben, when he saw me packing meds for Kenya last week

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I was talking to Matt last night and found out of another layer in the exquisite timing of Tuesday morning. You might recall that Emily read Matt's post about violence in Kenya, then she informed me, and I called Paul, etc. just barely in time to stop the rolling ball.

Matt has a class from 8-10 a.m. on Tuesdays and that day the teacher let them out half an hour early. So he fired up his computer and read his Google News feed. And saw the item about Kenya, and posted it, thinking we had already left. Emily saw it about ten minutes later, and told me, etc etc.

Kind of goosebumpy to think of all the dominoes that had to fall in exactly the right order, at the right time.

My friend EG emailed: I have had a burning question that you haven’t addressed in your blog, and that is to ask how Steven is coping with all this. Surely he was excited beyond measure with the anticipation of returning to visit his homeland and his friends… I would think he would be rather devastated. He has probably been on my mind the most of all of you since finding out what all has happened this week. Poor fella.

Steven was very disappointed at first but seems to be ok now. He is still very Kenyan in the sense that he lives almost entirely in the moment and doesn't think ahead (planning, worrying, wondering, etc) or behind (regretting, pondering, grieving, etc). When the moment is past, it's gone.

Sometimes this drives me crazy and sometimes it's a blessing.

The tent trailer is hooked up to the van, the mayo and matches are packed, and we're off to the coast. Toodles.

Quote of the Day:
"If I ever meet a girl who can cook like that, I think I'll marry her on the spot."
--Matt, after his Aunt Bonnie made a Mexican supper for the youth group

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How We Are Coping

We still feel "at peace" about our decision to cancel our trip, even though that's a slightly dangerous theological board to step onto, like the girl I knew who was dating the wretchedly wrong man but just felt so "at peace" about it. Yes, well anyway. We think we made the right decision, not that it's easy.

Paul has been saying, "Oooo-kaaayy, now we're on our way to Amsterdam. . .now we're out on a canal boat. . . now we're headed for Nairobi." The best therapy for him is planning something new, so he's scheming for all of us to go to the coast for three days.
I have been sleeping a lot, and unpacking, and repacking for the coast, and watching Pride and Prejudice when I need a break. This means I come into the kitchen and proclaim, "Ah the shades of Pembehley to be thus polluted?" and the boys look at me like, "Mom??" Silliness is good therapy.
Emily will not be going on her trip to the Midwest, we decided. A great disappointment, and I think she's upstairs adding another couple of thousand words to her computer diary (which is already the size of five of my books).
The boys are making gliders out of the stack of styrofoam plates they had magic-markered in preparation for such a project with the orphan boys. Only they are embellishing them with tails and doubling them in size and making biplanes.
Jenny is fine today and making gliders with the boys, but she shed a bunch of tears yesterday, mostly because she wouldn't have that 36-hour birthday on our return day. She had me help her with an internet concordance and found a Bible verse that fit her feelings exactly:

Quote of the Day:
"My days are passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart."
Job 17:11

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Major! Change! In! Plans!

Our trip to Kenya has been cancelled.
Paul had promised the school board (since we were taking the seniors) that if things got violent in Kenya again, even up to the last minute, we would call off our trip.
Well, of all the bizarre things, an hour before we were to leave the house Emily checked Matt's Xanga and he, thinking we had already left, posted a link to a news site about renewed violence in Kenya and asked people to pray for us.
The coalition government is breaking down because they can't get on the same page regarding the cabinet. There have been large demonstrations in Nairobi and smaller ones elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in a very unusual development, the airline informed us yesterday that they have to change our return flight by one day and are offering a full refund on our tickets.
Paul called our wise Kenyan friend Vincent who advised us to cancel the trip.
So we did.
We caught Amy on her way to the Atlanta airport.
We also canceled Emily's flight to OKC for today but have not made final decisions regarding her plans.
As I'm sure you can understand, our heads are still spinning.
God moves in mysterious ways, I must say.

(If anyone tells me that all my micro-planning and OCD/spazzing-out preparations were all for naught I am going to have a violent demonstration of my own. . .burn a bike tire in the driveway or something.)

Quote of the Day:
"It helps me believe blogs are actually worth something once in a while."

Monday, April 07, 2008

An almost true story

Once upon a time there was a mom and she had a bunch of children. One day the whole family decided to take a trip to Kenya. The mom had to make sure everyone had packed enough clothes and find someone to take care of the animals and copy everybody's passports and pack enough food for the trip and make lists of emergency numbers and send them out to anyone who might need them, and much, much, more. Every day she grew more and more tired.

The day before they were scheduled to leave, the mom was so tired that she couldn't even walk.

"Mom, come in here and see what I did," her daughter called from the office, "I lined up all my pennies by what year they were made in."

Slowly, the mom crawled to the office to see the pennies, and then crawled back to finish her packing.

"Dorcas, are the 41 cent stamps the ones we need?" her husband called from the computer.

"Yes," said the tired mom in her tired voice.

"Mom, mom," said a frantic child running up to her, "I can't find my favorite shampoo. Why did you pack it already? Huh? Huh? Why did you pack it already? Can I just use conditioner? Will that work?"

"Dorcas, are the 41 cent stamps the ones we need?" called her husband again, because he was deaf in one ear and hadn't heard her the first time.

"YES" the mom yelled to her husband as loud as she could. But it was all too much for her, and her head exploded. The family had to go to Kenya without her. They forgot to pack peanut butter so they had to eat their bread plain, which is disgusting. They forgot to pack mosquito repellent, so they all had itchy mosquito bites all over them. They forgot to pack hand sanitizer, so they all got horrible diseases. All in all, the trip was a disaster, and everybody was sad and repentant that they hadn't done more to help their poor, tired, mom.

The End.

This is Emily writing this post. As you can see from the above almost true story, my Mom is much too tired and care worn to write a blog post. However, as my whole family (except me and Matt, which you should know if you have been reading her posts) is leaving tomorrow, an update should be administered.

So here is the update: Tomorrow, Paul, Dorcas, Amy, Ben, Steven, and Jenny (the family) along with Justin and Bethany (the seniors) will fly to Kenya. Everyone except Amy will fly from Portland to Amsterdam, and from there to Nairobi, Kenya. Since Amy is currently living in South Carolina, she will meet everyone else in Amsterdam and fly with them the rest of the way to Kenya.

Also tomorrow, I will drive up to Portland with the clan, but from there I will fly to Oklahoma to stay with my aunt and uncle. Then I will go to Kansas to stay with some friends of my Mom's friends.

So that is what is currently going on in the Smucker family. If you want to receive email updates from the Kenya bunch, email your request to Mom will also try to post the updates right here on her blog. If you want to pray for any member of our globe-trotting group, email your prayer request to Ha ha, just kidding, but we sure could use your prayers.

And I can't think of a quote of the day to use, but rest assured that the quotes in the almost true story are quite real.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Battling the Whinies

I feel like whining today, really whining, and fussing, like a three-year-old who got up too early and had too many Skittles and missed her nap and lost her favorite purse.

Let's see, Emily had a terrible week and I am sick and tired of dealing with her illness, and Steven broke his bedroom window and I am tired of trying to civilize those wild boys. Hmmm, what else? Oh, I'm tired of all these trip preparations, and my arm hurts because I got my tetanus shot yesterday.

Wow, I'm a good whiner.

Ok, before you all descend on my house and put me down for a nap, I will attempt to gird my loins and do battle with this malaise by naming some people that I'm grateful for:

Shelley, who has only a short precious weekend in Oregon and used a nice portion of it to come by and cheer Emily up and bring her two wonderful old hardcover books.

My sis Margaret, who sent a big package full of blue jeans in Ben's size and hot-weather dresses for Jenny and fun stuff for the long plane ride.

Paul, who fixes malfunctioning water softeners and broken windows, and who bought me a bouquet of lilies to give me strength for the journey.

Ben and Steven, who despite their Barbarian tendencies have spent their morning changing sheets, vacuuming, and gathering laundry and garbage.

Geneva, who calls and puts my life in perspective.

Rebecca, who forgives me if I forget to Skype at the appointed time and then, when I finally connect, listens to me with great empathy.

Lisa, the wonderful niece who has been coming by twice a week after school to clean light fixtures and ovens and bathrooms.

Bonnie, who made me that succulent dish of lasagna on Monday.

I could list a lot more, but I think the whinies have been conquered. Oh, one more:

Justin, who describes life in battle terms and expands my horizons.

Quote of the Day:
Jenny: What's the longest verse in the Bible?
Me: Esther 8:9
Ben: Esther ate nine what??

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Africa Decisions

A friend of mine who spent about 4 months in Nigeria with her family told me that women over 40 should not go to Africa.

I had just survived my own 3 1/2 months in Kenya and tended to agree with her, especially if you take a family. Africa slaps you around like not too many other things in life. There's the oppressive heat, for one thing, and the physical challenges of trying to care for and feed a family in an unfamiliar, 3rd-world setting. Worst is the barrage of suffering and grief you witness: abandoned babies, young boys sleeping on the street, beggars, countless AIDS funerals, injustice, corruption, and desperate poverty. And Africa brings out things in yourself and your marriage that you never knew were there, things you don't have to face if you always stay in Harrisburg.

But here I am, going back. Only for two weeks this time, and a lot better prepared on every front. In fact, I am squirreling away so much stuff that the children have a running joke going about every cookie I bake or garment I wash, "I suppose you're putting that away for Kenya."

I am starting to have serious questions about doing this again as an over-40 woman. All the realities should be easier this time around once I'm there, but I've decided that I can't handle all the decisions and details. Thank goodness Paul is taking care of the big stuff--tickets, schedules, rides. But I'm dealing with what do we need for food during that long layover in Amsterdam, and if we go on the boat ride there, what jackets do we all need, and are they clean. Oh, and I need to buy Ben some decent polos or nice t-shirts and should I get the men's small or the boys XL, and should we bother with shots, and which ones, and where, and where are all our immunization records, and oh, I should copy all our passports--one copy here with Paul's brother Steve and one in our luggage--but oops, Steven hasn't signed his yet, gotta have him do that after school. And who is going to care for the animals and do we have enough cat food on hand and oh, I can't forget to call and cancel the newspaper. And how many outfits do we each need and do the boys have any blue jeans that aren't holey and have they both outgrown their sandals from last summer? And do I have a copy of Amy's itinerary in my folder and should I get a wireless mouse for my laptop like Matt said or just pull one off the office computer?

This is the point where the power goes out in my brain and I can't think any more to save my life. I was not like this at 30. It's kind of scary.

Meanwhile, I am also working on a place for Emily, and after many emails and calls and a fleece-laid-out-and-wet-with-dew on Em's part, she is going on an adventure of her own, first to my brother's in Oklahoma, and then to Kansas to stay with friends (or friends-of-friends). She can go to school there (where the principal was in my youth group growing up) and stay with people who used to live in Kenya and know about health issues. Many thanks to everyone involved here, and also to everyone who emailed and said, Yes, send her here! She regrets that she can't visit each of you.

Break's over; time to go make more decisions. Is homemade play-doh too juvenile a project for teenaged orphans, and where is my recipe, and how should I transport the flour, or should I buy it there, and where is that email that says how many boys are there, and what ages, and what size t-shirts should I get for the tie-dye project?

Quote of the Day:
Me: (to my children) Please have children while I'm still young enough to be a fun grandma.
Unnamed child trying to be clever: Well, it's a little late now. . .

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Next Day

Ok, joke's over.
In case you didn't read yesterday's QOTD, that was an April Fools joke. The only problem is, there were probably a number of customers who didn't read it and promptly took me off their favorites or bookmarks list.
Serves me right, I guess.
But it was fun and much more successful than my usual attempts at fooling my family.
I wasn't expecting such heartfelt grief as expressed in the comments.
Thank you.
Sorry to have caused you grief and anguish.

Quote of the Day:
Ben: (to Steven) Do you have to ask why about everything?? 'Why are you laughing?' 'Why are you looking at me that way?'
Steven: Why are you asking?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Time Has Come

It has been a delightful journey, but life moves on, I keep getting busier, and it seems like the wisest move is to cut some things out. Including, regretfully, this blog. It has been wonderful getting to know so many of you, and I thank you for your interest and loyalty. Blessings to you all and I hope we meet again someday, somehow, somewhere.

Quote of the Day:
"April fools!"
(You didn't really think I could overcome my addiction to blogging that easily, did you??)