Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Making The Bed

The supper dishes are done but my article for April isn't, so of course I have something else I need to blog about.

When I was young, my mother taught me to make a bed. There was only one right way to make a bed, like this. Lay down the spread, fold it back at the north end, lay two pillows down, cover the pillows with the folded-back spread.

About a month ago we bought a secondhand bed-in-a-bag set. It's pretty and all, but the spread just won't fit. It isn't nearly long enough to make a bed the proper way. And I know I don't have it turned the wrong way, because there's this piping all around except for one edge which of course would go at the head of the bed.

Yesterday I was leafing through the JCPenney catalog that came in the mail and I discovered something. NONE of the beds were made in the old way that Mom taught me. Instead, they all looked like this, with a vast army of pillows set up at the head, and the spread folded funny just to the south.

Is everyone making their beds like this, and I missed the memo? Or is this just the catalog way and no real people actually do it like that?

Help me out here if you know.

Just Friends

I have an article due today so of course I am motivated to post about something entirely different.

I learn a lot from talking with my big kids. Recently Matt introduced me to the term "Friend Zone." No guy wants to be in the Friend Zone, he said.

Basically, girls have a category of guys that they would date, and another category of guys who are friends. They talk with the friends, they like them, sometimes they even pour out their hearts to them about the jerks they date. But they don't date the friends because, theoretically, it would destroy a lovely friendship.

Matt says this drives guys nuts.

I also read, on the oh-so-informative internet, that girls tend to marry guys from the first list, who often turn out to be awful husbands, and 15 years down the road they think DUH, what was I thinking, I should have married Bob who was just a good friend.

(I also know a young man who would make an excellent husband for a fortunate young lady but unfortunately all the girls seem to see him as a nice "Bob" type who is just a good friend. I think that's sad.)

And today when I was browsing the internet instead of working on my article, I found this:

"Eventually, after a string of the most horrible boyfriends you can imagine, I sat down one day and made a list of the attributes of a good one. I was mortified to find out that the only person I knew who had everything I was looking for was my very longtime, very dorky, very just-a-friend friend, Jared. We have now been happily married for almost nine years." —Britt Reints, 29, Orlando, Fla.

I am very thankful that I had the sense to marry a guy who was way more nice than swashbuckling and cool.

Anne of Green Gables and Diana wanted to marry men who were wicked, and reform them, or else marry men who were good, but who could be wicked if they wanted to. But they ended up marrying Gilbert and Fred.

Good for them.

Quote of the Day:
"You can't date a guy just because you feel sorry for him!"
--a young lady I know

Sunday, March 29, 2009


"I wonder what would happen if I tried this" was Matt's mantra, back in the day. And then his brother Steven came along and it is downright uncanny how closely he follows in Matt's footsteps.

First comes the curious gleam in the eye at the sight of something that could possibly be tossed, ignited, bent, inserted, twisted, pulled, detonated, shot, or eaten. You can just see the wheels turning in the head--I wonder what would happen if I tried this.

And then he tries it. And more often than not, something is damaged, destroyed, or endangered in the process, at which point I pull out my lecture on A Little Bit of Common Sense, for Goodness Sakes, Is That Asking So Much?? and then I also make him pay for the damage, leading to envelopes in the desk drawer with such labels as Ceiling Replacement Fund.

This tendency reaches a fever pitch when boys are in the presence of their friends. We have had an extra boy in the house for over a week, while his parents are on a trip. Paul was gone for most of that time, and the combination nearly put me over the edge, the final straw being the ignited WD40 in the upstairs bedroom. By the mercy of God the house did not go up in flames, and the damage is limited to black marks that were not there before.

Matt assured me on the phone that it's all about trying to outdo each other when you're with a friend, rather than terrible gaps in our parenting.

I was sure things would improve once Paul got home.

Paul came home on a Monday evening and oh how happy and relieved I was to have him take things in hand and send the boys down the strait and narrow.

A few days later I was cooking some beans in the pressure cooker. Pressure cookers always make me nervous but I've gotten somewhat used to this one, and it was happily steaming away, the little jiggler on top rocking back and forth with little hisses of steam.

Paul came into the kitchen. As though propelled by an urge he wasn't even aware of, a remnant of boyish curiosity, he reached out and lifted the jiggler off the pressure cooker, which went PSSSHHHEEEWWWW!!!! with a very loud and angry hiss. Paul reacted with satisfaction rather than surprise or fear, and replaced the jiggler.

I thought, "I give up. I just give up."

Quote of the Day:
"Ben, I really don't like it when you do that Dad thing."
--Jenny, when Ben started pontificating about how she could remember to put her shoes away

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Post-Convention High

The convention kids just got home, still in dress clothes from the evening rally, with medals hanging from their necks and grins on their faces.

Lots to be proud of: Spencer won first place in scenic photography with a shot he took in Washington, D.C.; our school placed third in athletics overall, of course boosted by that basketball championship; the mixed quartet was fourth; the Pace Bowl team was third; and so on, a long list.

I am proudest of two awards: Ben, Stephie, and Preston placed first in the Bible Bowl, with no special preparation ahead of time, beating out a team that prepares extensively all year. And another team from our school--Steven, Isaiah, and Stephanie C, placed fourth.

And our school won second place in Christian Character.

Good stuff.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Emily discovered that HCI books has a small page just for her. See it here.

And I posted a few pictures of our Mom-n-Jenny day on Wednesday here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Largely due to the efforts of Miss Amy, our church school attended the regional ACE convention in Newberg, OR, this year.

Paul, Amy, and 12 teenagers have been at the convention since Tuesday. Another mom and I drove up for the day today to watch.

This is the sort of thing I wish I could have participated in as a teenager. Yes, there's lots of opportunity to shine in sports and music, but if you're not good at either you can compete in lots of other areas as well--trivia questions on science, English, and so on; Bible questions, photography, crafts, drama, radio drama, chess, and many more.

And the atmosphere is supportive and kind. If a bit unorganized and always behind schedule, causing my husband to mutter under his breath about how he would love to be in charge and whip things into shape, and we both know he would do very well at this, but we also both know he does not need one more thing to do.

The guys from our school won the basketball championship, under the coaching of Randy Smucker, who didn't let his impending wedding distract him from doing a professional job with these boys. Normally it about kills me to watch my children compete but since they kept winning it wasn't so bad. Steven had an amazing way of levitating off the ground and pulling balls out of the air; Ben had some good plays also; little Shane Baker dribbled with great skill, and they all worked as a team.

I also got to watch a few track and field events, chess and checker games, and my favorite--an all-star Pace Bowl game that included Ben and his friend Isaiah and had the kids answering questions from the ACE curriculum.

The courage award of the day goes to Stephanie C., who was the only girl signed up for the 1600 meter run, and she bravely ran all four laps around the track. Yes, she threw up in the restroom afterward, but she attempted and accomplished something hard. Good for her.

Quote of the Day:
"********** *** ********* ***** **** *******"
--Maria's and my nonstop but censored conversation, the whole hour and a half to Newberg and back

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daffy-down-dilly has come to town. . .

. . .in a yellow petticoat, and a green gown. --Mother Goose

Quote of the Day:
Jenny [after bugging Matt for half an hour]: Can I ask you just one more question?
Matt: Well, ok.
Jenny: How did the Egyptians build the pyramids?
Matt: [Sigh] Mom, I'm sorry for asking you why 118 times.*

*I kept track one day when he was three.


Emily is feeling a bit better today. Still too weak for comfort, but not quite so icky.

Improvement is good, even with disclaimers.

Quote of the Day:
Jenny: Matt, did you know I'm in fifth grade Paces?
Matt: I'm in 16th grade Paces!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

About Life

You know, when it comes down to it, life is just. . .life.

Betty Miller [you know, Lester Financial Guy's widow; if she's done a ladies' retreat at your church you are still doing Betty imitations ten years later] once said, at a ladies' retreat where she and I both spoke, that joy and sorrow travel on parallel tracks and arrive at the same time.

I would amend that to say that I seem to live where about a dozen tracks converge, and I have stuff coming at me all the time, from all directions. Wonderful stuff, terrible stuff, and in between, and I keep waiting for life to decide to be simply good or bad, but it won't cooperate.

So I finally finally came home from my travels, on a warm and sunny evening, and the daffodils are blooming like you never saw daffodils bloom in your life, and the grass is green and thick, and the cherry tree is blooming, and the children have grown another inch apiece it seems, except for Amy who doesn't grow any more but has more influence per cubic inch than most of us ever will.

But--is Amy so busy at school and helping me that she doesn't really have a life? And why is she so quiet? And is her heart being quietly broken by some anonymous young man but she won't talk about it?

Meanwhile in Colorado Emily got sick and has been down for almost a week, and I have a sick sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I am reliving the past year and a half in my mind, and what if this means Colorado isn't going to work for her, and we really don't have contingency plans for if she gets sick and stays sick, and sometimes I think the uncertainties and raised/dashed hopes of her life are going to drive me to insanity.

[But, as Emily herself said, going crazy is a lot harder than it sounds.]

But meanwhile I have children who are just plain thriving. Ben and Steven are entered in various events in next week's student convention--running, basketball, singing, trivia, and so on. And Jenny continues to grasp life with both hands, and she also figured out a way to put Cocoa the lamb on a leash and go on walks, and it is just cute.

But now Cocoa has diarrhea and I don't know what to do.

At the same time Matt is forevermore struggling with those engineering classes, and had to put off his graduation date because he couldn't swing the one class that's a prerequisite for four others, and it's offered winter term only. And with the economy like it is, he hasn't been able to find a part-time job in his field, so he may end up sacking seed again, which will surely be the ruination of his lungs and knees.

But meanwhile Matt has been asked to speak at a couple of church events lately, and did well, and it makes me happy to have him find his voice.

And Paul is doing well at his first week of meetings. It's not standing room only, or anything, but he seems to be well received.

But I miss him. And one son in particular needs a dad pretty badly right now.

And I just got done with the final final edits on Downstairs the Queen is Knitting, which is exciting. But the other two books are tanking on Amazon.

And so on, on a dozen different fronts.

Last night I called my brother Marcus, acknowledging the fact that his son would have been 26 the day before, had he lived, and I wish I could remember what Marcus told me, because it was very comforting, and it was along the lines of, "You know, life on this earth is just what it is." Oh dear, that doesn't make much sense, does it? Well, he said more than that but more than anything it was his simply understanding how tough it can be, particularly about Emily, that had me in tears.

Today it strikes me odd that my brother, who lost a son, was comforting me, whose problems are pretty mild in comparison. He certainly had the option of saying, "Hey, be glad you just have health issues to deal with. At least you can call her up every day and talk for a while." But he didn't say that. He just acknowledged that life comes at you from all directions with both good and bad, and it's not easy, and we have something a lot better to look forward to.

Quote of the Day:
"So, is this thing called a . . . crouton??"
--anonymous friend of Ben and Steven's, settling down on the futon

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too True for Comfort

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

The Lady Electrician

When I found my car battery stone dead in the PDX parking lot, I got help from a woman working on the ticket machines. The person she talked to told me to stay right there and wait for the white truck. So I did. And had an interesting conversation with the fixit woman.

She and her sister had worked at a glass factory for 20 years. When the machines broke down, they would call in the repairmen. Eventually they realized they were telling the repairmen how to fix the machines. "This is silly," they thought, so they both went back to school and became electricians. So now she works for the Port of Portland, and her duties include doing routine maintenance on the ticket machines.

The Port is laying people off, but she didn't think there was too much chance she would be laid off, because the ticket machines are where they make their money.

I thought all that was rather cool.

But one thing she said made me sad.

After she told me about her journey to becoming an electrician, she added, a bit sadly, "What I really wanted to do was stay home with my children. I have four. But I guess you can't do that in this day and age."

When I related this later to Amy, she said, "You should have said, 'Oh yes you can!'"

I said there was no point, because her children are all grown and why rub her nose in her regrets?

But to any young moms out there who think you have to bow to the culture and you can't stay home with your children in this day and age, I want to say, "Oh yes you can!"

Quote of the Day:
"I didn't think it would be interesting because it has this tannish yellow cover and this apple that looks like it's made out of toothpaste. [But] I don't know that I've ever read an author who was so Christian and yet so not annoying."
--Emily, who (surprise!) has strong opinions about books, on Howard Hendricks' The Seven Laws of the Teacher

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ohio: Connections, Identity, Exploring

One of the cool things about the Mennonite world is that it's large enough that you don't know everyone, but small enough that you can almost always make a connection.

I don't know what you'd do if you were Amish or Mennonite and didn't like connections. Leave, I guess.

So there I was, at the ladies' brunch at East Union, and at my table was Verda, who had been at Stirland Lake with us way back when we first went up North. And Verda's sister, whose son owns the house that Emily is living in in Colorado. And Verda's mom, with whom my dad boarded for three months back before he was married, and used their horse and buggy to go around the Plain City neighborhood selling Herald Press books.

See? If you didn't like connections, you'd run screaming from the room and the whole community.

I really enjoyed the different functions where I spoke. I'm used to those events. I had a harder time, a mini identity crisis in fact, with being The Special Meeting Speaker's Wife.

Ok, so I know what it's like from this end, and I have served supper to Speakers and their Wives on various occasions, and at times found the wives a bit humorless and intimidating, capable women who engaged in polite conversation and then leaped up from the table and bustled around to wash the dishes for me.

So it was very eye-opening to be on the other side of the picture. I found that you don't have much choice but to wade through polite conversation, that you have to get to know someone a bit before you know it's safe to have a sense of humor.

Of course I offered to do dishes, because I was trying to fit the Speaker's Wife mold, and blessings be on Elsie the hostess, who said, "Oh, I'm just going to leave the dishes till morning." Not because I got out of doing them, but because there was something liberating about hearing a Mennonite hostess say such a thing.

I could explore Northern Ohio for a month I think. I was a gushing tourist driving through Amish country, yapping about the buggies and the two-horse/one-bottom plows in the fields. Paul and I had a fun afternoon nosing around Wayne County, especially at Orrville, where we saw the Smuckers jam factory and went through the Simply Smuckers building. There they had every Smuckers product you can imagine and an information area besides. And it was an odd sensation to watch the information video and hear:

Quote of the Day:
"Our company's philosophy is best expressed by these words from Paul Smucker. . ."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back in Oregon

"Is this the first time you've flown alone?" a woman asked me. Another said, "Does it bother you to fly alone?"

I'm afraid I looked at them both like they were crazy. I have done lots of flying, and I think 90% of it is alone.

But now I am at home! Home, where Jenny hugs me and won't let go, where Hansie looks at me like I am something divine sent from the heavens. Home in Oregon, where the tulips I planted along the sidewalk are popping out of the ground like play-doh hairs out of the little people in the the kids' old barbershop set, and where things are green and beautiful.

Unlike Ohio.

I am sure Ohio has its beautiful times, but March is not one of them. And around Plain City everything is mowed short, across the fields and down the ditches and right up to the road. No wild flowers, no teasels, no fences, no fencerows with wild tangles of blackberry bushes and old apple trees and wild roses.

So the sequence was: I flew to Ohio last week and had a lunch event on Friday and a ladies' retreat on Friday and Saturday, then hung out with Brendan and Ruby on Sunday. Paul flew in Monday and we drove up to Leonard and Sharon's house. And Paul had two of his week of meetings and I had a ladies' brunch. And today I flew home.

Paul texted me at one airport or another today and asked if I took his comb. Oops. I had forgotten mine so I used his. And tossed it into my bag with all my other stuff. Not good for the Preacher not to have a comb.

Then I got to the airport and took the shuttle out to the red parking lot and found the Kia where Paul had left it on Monday. So far so good. but then the battery was absolutely stone dead. And the interior light was on "On."

The lady doing maintenance work on the ticket machines called for help and I waited about half an hour and then the truck came. Thankfully the weather was nice and I was soon on my way after that, but still I felt like the comb episode had been a hundred pence and the battery ten thousand talents in terms of relative things to forgive.

But of course we forgave each other without keeping such scores.

And now it's time to go to bed because Jenny is going to sleep with me and because I just told her, regarding this post:

Quote of the Day:
"I'm gonna finish it up before I'm done."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Letter from Hburg

Today's column mentions a bunch of people. Such as:
Hans Mast
Merry Yoder
Earl Kropf
Merle Burkholder
Bethany C.
Karen (R.)
Abraham McCullough
Justin Doutrich
Kay K.
John Smucker

Yeah, it's about Facebook.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ohio So Far

I told the ladies at the United Bethel retreat that if they write letters or blog posts, they should not only say what's been happening, but answer the question, So What?

I am going to disregard that advice and just tell you what's been happening, postponing the so what's until I've had more time to think.

I'm staying at my friend Mary's house. Mary used to do stuff with me when I was first in Oregon, teaching school. I think she helped me grow up. If there are ways I haven't grown up, it isn't her fault.

I came here with a bad cold. Flying made it hideously worse. Mary pumped me up with pills, drops, teas, and juices, and I got through my talks without losing my voice or coughing. Amazing.
Mary's perky friend Leona gave me a backrub to end all backrubs. I mean it was to die for.

Someone who should be a P.R. person for--I don't know--the Republican party or something--rounded up over 60 ladies to meet at a restaurant yesterday where I was going to speak. I think the main publicist was Janae, who used to teach at Kasabonika Lake, in the wilds of Ontario, under Paul's supervision.

Ruby D. and her friends put on an amazing retreat last night and today. From the food to the decorations to the organization to the general warm and welcoming atmosphere, it was a good place to be.

Oh, the connections.
Rosie, whom I met one time when she and I each had a two-year-old boy and a baby girl. I just remember that instant bond with someone in the same boat.
Alma, who was in the youth group with my brothers.
Laura, my brother's sister-in-law.
Priscilla, who was pregnant with twins at the mission staff orientation way back when.
Lory, who was Amy's friend at Bible school.
and lots more.

Good stuff.
But I am still trying to process all the so what's and what it all means.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Tomorrow morning I take off for Ohio.

I hope to meet a number of you on this trip.

You can pray that I get over my cold before I give my various talks.

Quote of the Day:
"Do you know what's proof of outdated Sweetheart things? When they say, 'Fax me.'"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hansie, Post-Surgery

Tumors and Such

Hansie is having surgery today. He developed a lump the size of a tennis ball on his shoulder. It's not cancer in the sense that it would eventually invade his body, but we were told it would keep growing if we didn't remove it.

I didn't think this was worthy of putting on the prayer chain but it is still kind of a big deal for us, and for him I'm sure, so if you don't mind saying a prayer for a huge old dog. . .

Did you ever notice that when someone has surgery for a lump or cyst or tumor, the report from the doctor always says the lump was the size of something, rather than so many centimeters in diameter?

Sometimes I think that on the windowsill of the operating room they must have a long line of common objects, from a grain of sand, up through a pencil eraser, a pea, a grape, a ping-pong ball, various other balls for various other sports, all the way up to a basketball, interspersed with various fruits.

Then after the tumor comes out they hold it up and make the official comparison that will go on the charts, out to the waiting family, and on to the church prayer chain.

Quote of the Day:
"Offensive, strongly disagree or disapprove"
--the reason someone chose for unsubscribing from the Shoe. I am trying not to obsess about this.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I just love romance.

If I had been born into a Fiddler on the Roof sort of life, I think I would have been Yenta the Matchmaker.

I have matched lots of couples in my head that actually ended up getting together later.

I am so glad it has all worked out for Paul's nephew Randy and Shelley from Iowa. Their courtship will be a story for the grandchildren on waiting for God to work it all out. And here they are.

Then there's the lady who lives down the road at the blueberry patch and who was married to Paul's dad's cousin until he died of cancer some years ago, and now she is dating again. Amy found this out the other day in the grocery store. "Isn't she like, ancient?" asked a ridiculous young person [whom I will not name] when I shared the happy news. Actually, she's 60, and I think if you are alone at 60 there's no reason why romance couldn't be even sweeter, in its way, than at 20.

As Paul's aunt Allene said when she married Rudy, the little things don't matter so much when you're this age.

I like married romance too, like Richard the visiting preacher telling us how crazy he is about his wife, and Paul the husband looking happy when I walk into the room.

Romance is good.

Quote of the Day: (speaking of romance...)
Jenny: Steven, do you wanna get a rooster?
Steven: Why?
Jenny: So you can have chicks!
Steven: I'll wait till I'm 18.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Something I Am Good At

Don't ever let me whine that I'm not good at anything because I am very good at barfing.

Some people [such as someone I'm married to] get sick on their stomachs and go to great groaning contortions to keep from throwing up. I don't get it. Just go get the job done; you'll feel much better, is my philosophy.

Last night I was at the kitchen table filling out the kids' student-convention forms, and I was hungry. So I ate a banana. I was still hungry. So I rummaged in the school-lunch-snacks bin and came up with Corn Nuts, which sounded nutritious because the only ingredients were corn, vegetable oil, and salt.

I did more paperwork and nibbled Corn Nuts. And then I began to have the distinct impression that maybe this snack was not such a good idea. But I finished the bag, of course, because I am a Yoder by birth.

All night long the banana and Corn Nuts fought in my stomach while wild dreams battled in my head. I woke up this morning thinking Man, if I didn't know better I'd think I had to throw up. I put some water on for tea. And then I went to the bathroom and threw up.

I am good at this--the little sharp intake of breath that brings it right up, keeping it out of my nose, making a quick, clean job of a very nasty business.

Quote of the Day:
"I'll take the triangle and you can have the trapezoid."
--Ben, cutting the last piece of cake for him and Jenny

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Book Review

Sometimes I like to go vanity Googling to see if there are any new reviews of my books out there or links to my blog or other such strokes.

Not sure if this is pride going before a fall or what, but today I found this book review, at least I think that's what it is:

Quote of the Day:
"I'm giving 5 star! Dorcas Smucker is an unique author, ingenuous and constructive. You can no higher than collect in the air where on earth you disappeared long-gone its sell-by date minus difficult going by the troop of inwardly benefaction of remembering a full prearranged of wanting piece of the scene of the legend. This is excessive for family who aren't whole bookworms and don't sit for hours reading at a incident. I identify near how she grab her manuscript launch accordingly that all chapter is different/not necessarily linked to the closing. All in all, a especially demure read! And congratulations, Dorcas! Farmers & Ranchers Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting:."

Trip Ideas

I've been busy recovering from the last trip and preparing for the one to Ohio next week, and suddenly I realized there's one trip I haven't planned yet and really really need to: Steven's "12 Trip," the traditional mother-child trip I take theoretically when the kids are 12 but it ends up being much later, usually.

Anyway. I think one reason I've put it off with Steven is that I don't know what to do with him. He would enjoy something like bungee jumping, bullriding, hunting, skydiving, whitewater rafting, shark fishing, the burning part of the Burning Man festival, that sort of thing, fueled by any food involving large amounts of beef or sugar.

We all know how excited I get about danger, heights, and getting cold and wet.

I would enjoy museums, garage sales, and afternoon tea.

If you have any ideas for something we could do together, please comment. It should be within 5 hours of home and involve a day trip or one overnight.

Quote of the Day:
Paul [at a revival meeting this week]: Everybody seems to like to sit in the back, so you should all make sure you come early and get the good seats.
Konrad K. [after church]: That was a very Paul-like thing to say.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Emily is moved in at Emilot, her "castle" in Colorado. And Paul and I are back home after driving for 22 hours straight. Paul the brilliant husband put an air mattress in the back of the van so if we weren't driving we could lie down and sleep.

Coming home is much more pleasant if Amy has been at home in the meantime. Just the fact that she made the kids spend five minutes a day picking up the living room makes such a difference.

It would be good not to ask me how I'm doing just now. "Mixed emotions" is a polite cliche that works pretty well in this case.

However. The heaviness of it all was balanced by calling Emily this morning as we drove across eastern Oregon, just at the right moment when there was a bit of cell phone service, and hearing her say that she's getting ready to go to work.

When you have seen your daughter sick for over a year, it is a fine and wonderful thing to know that she is getting up and getting dressed and headed out the door to a real job.

Work bestows dignity and worth, and you don't generally think about this until you can't work.

She's working at the thrift store in Canon City that helps to fund New Horizon Ministry's work with taking care of babies born to moms in prison. This week she works two hours a day, next week, God willing, more. And on up to five full days a week like a normal person.

The ache of leaving Emily was also balanced by the astonishing kindness and care of others. The day she was moving in, about four neighbors introduced themselves and offered to be there for her if she needs help. One neighbor offered marigold seeds. Numerous people at church told me they will try to watch out for her. Kay Knepp got a list of Emily's allergies and promptly put together a Sunday dinner that was safe for her to eat and marvelously delicious besides, and also said emphatically that Emily is part of the family and she can stop by anytime without calling first. Dallas and Travis Knepp hauled furniture and nearly performed miracles with carrying large furniture through small doors. Two strangers stopped to ask Emily if she needs help when she was riding her electric scooter to Knepps and got lost. The thrift-store supervisory team sat down with us and listened and spelled out how things would work. Various people in NHM came up with ideas of how Emily's talents could be used as soon as she feels able--in drama, mentoring younger girls, and more.

"Grateful" really can't describe how Paul and I feel about all this. It's like God uses his people to bathe a difficult situation in his amazing soothing grace.

On the way home, I was thinking back, mommishly, about Emily's childhood, from the time she was a baby on an Indian reservation and the Indian kids oohed and aahed over her "silver" eyes, to the years in Bud and Mary's house, when she manifested her dreamy imagination and quirky outlook on life, to the tough early-teen years and all the health issues, and the trials of the last year and a half.

"The story wasn't supposed to end like this," I thought tearfully. And immediately felt a correction from God--it isn't the end of the story; only the end of a chapter. The story is a long way from over.

Quote of the Day:
"But you know what they say, behind the open door is an uneven floor."
--Emily, on her Xanga, about moving to Colorado and Emilot. From this post.