Hope fulfilled

Two weeks ago my friend Hope in Oregon posted a schedule for Renew ladies’ retreat in Brownsville, Oregon. It especially caught my eye because Shari Zook was the main speaker and I love Shari and would give a lot to hear her speak.

It feels like ages since I’ve gone to a ladies’ retreat. A glimmer of hope started inside me, but died quickly when I checked out the cost of flying from Grande Prairie to Portland. I gave up the idea.

But later I talked to God and Dan about my wish. If I could find a ticket under a much lower price, should I go? God and Dan said Sure.

Daily I checked Expedia and Google flights and Cheapoair and you name it. Daily I prayed. One night the ticket prices actually went lower than my set rate. But I decided that if I was supposed to go, the price would be there in the morning. It wasn’t.

I had pretty much given up. And I felt ok about it. Then last Tuesday Dan told me I should check Priceline tickets out of Fort St. John. He’d been doing some checking for me.

Oh joy and wonder! There was a really good price happening. I couldn’t choose the time of day I’d fly. But the rate was good.

Should I go for it? It seemed pretty obvious.

There was another little hurdle. With my friend Esther gone and some of my other Oregon friends now living in Madras, where would I stay? I know a lot of people in Oregon a little bit. But who did I know well enough to call and ask if I could stay overnight with them?

My sister Twila is going to be in Portland the weekend of the retreat and she mentioned to a friend that I was coming.

Wouldn’t you know? I got a message with an invitation to stay at someone’s place, someone that I don’t know well, but would love to know better.

So I get to go to Oregon! And the connections and timing are great! And I have a place to stay. And I get to see my sister.

This feels like it’s all about me, me, me. I felt a little bad telling my church friends this morning that I’m going. A lot of them haven’t been to a ladies’ retreat in ages either.

But I wanted to make this post about how God cares about those little prayers you pray, even though your faith might be small. I was holding this hope very loosely and giving it up often. And I’m just astounded that I got the desire of my heart. I think God loves to surprise us, just like we enjoy surprising each other.

Now if I can only decide what to wear…! I’m like a 16 year old.

Now to keep holding this trip loosely. All kinds of things can go wrong with Covid tests and flights right now. But I’m sooo excited! Maybe I’ll get to see a few of you next weekend?

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Our son in law loves this soft, comfortable spot by the stove.

This flower picture makes me very happy in January.

Happy Sunday!

A slice of my life from 11 years ago

July 11, 2010

The weather? Hot, sunny, and dry.

Marriage? It’s good. The children? They’re doing fine.

And the work around this place? It just never ends. Always, always there is something to do. Another load of laundry to bring in from the line. A sippy cup to fill. A spill to clean up. A bath to give. A question to answer. A screaming child to quiet. Jam to wipe off the wall. A library book to rescue from the floor. And always and always the food to prepare.

Sometimes it feels like I just muddle along all day. Tidying up and putting away. Wiping noses and high chairs and you know what else. Running to the hay field to pick up Dan and to my brother’s house for milk. Grabbing a few weeds when I get swiss chard from the garden. No sense of accomplishment at a job completed, finished, and put away. And that very muddling can depress me. Very easily. That’s when the funniness helps so much. When the craziness of life as a mom of six gets me through the tough and the mundane and the never-ending-ness.

These two, this Tillie girl and her brother Dre (Natalia & Andre, more correctly)-they add a lot of laughter to my muddling.

In church last Sunday Tillie wanted me to draw her an oval. There had been a discussion about nobody having perfectly round heads at home just previously and I whispered, “Circles work okay for heads, you know.” She responded with, “I’m not making a head, I’m making a toilet.” This is the girl who was running around with her face covered with cherry juice last night and saying, “Mom, I can run like a princess.” Which I discovered meant on her tiptoes. And she only now learned to blow her nose at 4 years. Along with that amazing accomplishment came the thought: “Maybe if I blow hard enough I can blow my cold out and it will go away.” (I wish, Miss.)And she’s the one whose cup of happiness was full when I went with her for a little walk in the bush in search of some bluebells. We finally found some, albeit drying up already. “Ohh…I’m so happy,” she breathed. “Tori sewed me a dress, Mom went for a walk with me, and I have a new purse. I’m really happy! But we do need rain. Lots of rain. But no thunder and lightning. That scares me.” And the new dress? She tells her dad that it needs a hem and a handle–the zipper, of course. And the dress is “too tall” for her (too long). But because it’s long she can of course be a princess. This miss was asking me how come flowerbeds are called beds. “Why? ‘Cause the flowers don’t sleep in them. They stand up. They really do whatever they want!”

Andre gets really, really frustrated over Lego. He told me the other day, “I’m making dis and it dis keeps broking!” He’s the guy who was pouring cup after cup of water on the cement pad outside the door this morning. When I asked him why, he answered in his little deadpan voice, “Mom, dat’s fo da bugs to come in and den dey will die.” (Drown, I guess.) One night when we had hot dogs for supper he surveyed the table and said happily, “Dose hotdogs look so yummy. I’m exciting about dat.” When his brother asked, “Can you get me a kleenex please?” this little guy said, “Cud (cuz) you have a bloody?” (Head shake) “Cud you have boogers?” Yup. Yeah, refined conversations our our specialty. Tonight we were eating steak outside and Andre was banging his plate. Natalia told him to stop and he told her it makes God happy when he does that. Then he pointed his face heavenward and said, “God, does that make You happy?” Whatever. I know. This stuff doesn’t sound as funny or cute to you as it does to me. But it sure helps in making it through a long and overwhelming day.

Then there’s a new game going on here that’s called “Hickory Nutfledge”. Do not ask me the origin of that name. But the gist of the game is to run past the oscillating fan without it blowing any air on you and yell “Hickory Nutfledge” as you pass. It all started with Bryant, who is 7.

Victoria (10) has always been curious. Today she asked me the meaning of propitiation while doing her Sunday school lesson. A few minutes later it was circumcision. And later in the day it was “What is ammonia?” Her favorite saying lately (from the Rose Wilder books by Roger Lea MacBride) is: ”What cannot be cured must be endured.” She loves that one. Victoria is also into speaking Openglopish. (Which is simply English with “op” before every vowel sound.) I’m kind of regretting telling her about it because it’s getting…well…annoying. Now I know a little bit of how my mom felt when my sisters and I spoke and sang that silly language all the time.

We’re listening to Huck Finn 24/7 on tape. (Bryant’s doings) I can’t believe my rather strict parents let me read that stuff. Huck went to church and they “spoke about brotherly love and other such tiresomeness” and somewhere along the line I heard a snatch today where he realized that whether choosing good or bad you usually end up with the same consequences and so resolved that from then on he would just do whatever “came the most natural”. The tall tales and the superstition are craziness itself. Twain must have been quite a character.

We had one little, two little, three little Indians running around today. Running Buffalo, Running Elk, and Princess Blue Water. (The garish wall hanging in the background is the blanket I hung over the sunroom door to try to keep the living room cooler.)

The bottoms of my feet (especially the heels) are so dry and cracked that Dan uses them for a scratching board when he gets an itch in bed. They are very ugly. I see ads with beautiful sandaled feet and foot lotions and I wonder what they would do with me if I went to get a pedicure. I paid the power bill at the bank this week and kept saying to myself, “Keep your heels down on your flip-flops, Luci! Don’t let people see them.” (What is the likelihood that anyone was looking at my feet? But I felt self-conscious, because I was especially observing feet that day and no one had heels that looked like mine.)

Then there’s the little menace and her shenanigans. The chief joy in her life at present is to eat tips off Crayola markers. She goes for them like candy. For real. Bites the tips right off and sucks out the dye. Not pleasing. Especially to Tillie, who colors all the time and loves her markers dearly. I bought her a new set recently because the tips were all going missing on the ones she had. The Menace has started in on the new set now. I have begun to punish her rather severely, but it is to no avail. She WILL eat a marker tip when she gets a chance. Jam is second only to markers.

Alec is driving mowing or baling hay all day/every day and he loves it. When I get grouchy about our lack of schedule and haphazard farm life this time of year, I really try to remember how glad I am to have a 12 year old son who has work that he enjoys that keeps him out of trouble. The dollars he gets paid are adding up and Dan just loves working with him.

And Dan? He’s keeping three employees busy at the sawmill and running the farm and studying for sermons and grilling steak. And when he comes into the house he has seven people telling him about Indians and princesses and the summer reading club at the library and the blinds that need to be hung in the sunroom.

I cannot wait to see my favorite sister on Wednesday. She and her family are coming all the way from Missouri and I haven’t seen her for over a year. I say “favorite” hesitantly because I have five sisters and I love them all, but I think they understand. This is the sister and I that were so close that when one of us needed to use the bathroom we automatically called the other one to come along for company. (Back when we were about 7 and 4.) We share a birthday and we’ve always been the best of friends. I know she is special because I spent a good ten minutes in Extra Foods the other day looking for just the right kind of coffee to serve Linda and Steve when they come. (They’re both fine coffee nuts.) I hope the Starbucks Latin America House Blend will please them. It cost $9.29 for a very small bag.

And that

Right there

Is a slice

Of my life.

Dear new pastor’s wife…

A new pastor’s wife wrote to me recently and asked if I would write a post about things I’ve learned as a pastor’s wife and things I wish I could tell my former self as a new minister’s wife.

Dan was ordained as minister in 2005. That’s 16 years ago. For some reason I don’t feel any more qualified to write on this subject than I did when I was 32 and pregnant with Baby #4 and feeling a little lost and a lot of teariness and overwhelm at the prospect of the years that likely stretched ahead of us in leading a church.

(But now I sound like the minister who gets up front and says he would just as soon be in the audience. I’m sure it’s true, but it’s his JOB, folks.)

I feel like our experience is a little different from a lot of pastor’s and their wives. Dan became leader in a church that had been leaderless for a few years and people were used to making their own way and figuring things out without going to pastor with every little need. They are a tough and resilient bunch and have been so accepting of us and our humanness.

It’s a small group of people and it’s led by the brotherhood. Dan and his co-minister definitely take the servant leader approach and it’s not a top-heavy enterprise. There are not church meetings many nights a week like some leaders experience.

However, it’s our JOB and privilege to pastor this beloved group of very human humans.

So out of my small experience, here are a few things I’ve learned or am working on learning:

Recognize that you will need others in your privilege of leading. It’s freeing to delegate and realize that you don’t have to be the head of everything. In our church there’s a lady who’s passionate about Bible study and often plans ladies’ Bible study groups. Someone else may be better than you at the charts and schedules that keep a church functioning. Let others exercise their gifts.

Be yourself. In what feels like a bold post, Shari Zook and I endeavoured to debunk the myth of the perfect pastor’s wife years ago. Neither of us feel that brave anymore, but I think you’ll get the point we’re trying to make.

Don’t expect that you’ll be more spiritual than your brothers and sisters. I wish I was, but I’m not. And it’s just as well. It would be so easy to be proud if I was.

Encourage your husband often. I heard one pastor say that after preaching a sermon, he feels like going into a dark room and pulling a blanket up around his head. There’s a lot of self doubt that happens surrounding studying and presenting a sermon and even if you don’t think he did the greatest, find something about it to compliment him on. Stand by him.

Care deeply for peoples hearts. That’s one area where you can’t go wrong. Make your home a warm and welcoming place. Take time for tea with the lady whose mental health you’re worried about. Care about the youth and notice the children.

If you are a people pleaser, resign. (Just kidding, of course.) But this has been the hardest lesson of all for me. Even today I’m smarting a little from a situation in which I worry someone isn’t pleased with a decision we’ve made. I want ALL people to like me at ALL times. They won’t. But don’t let those times make you bitter or prejudiced. Let Jesus keep your heart soft and your skin thick.

Be open and teachable.

Don’t expect your children to be perfect because you’re trying so hard to be perfect yourself.

Work in confidence. The church chose you and God chose you. Don’t second guess this. (I’ve done way too much of this and I wish I hadn’t.)

So many blessings to you, new pastor’s wife! It will be a lonely road sometimes. Take heart. Others are walking it too. Walk with Jesus-and the other things will fall into place.

Disclaimer: I hope this doesn’t feel trite and pat answered to those of you pastor’s wives who have battled very hard things. I think our ministry has been fairly easy in comparison to some. But it is not without its heartaches and disappointments.

Meet Heidi, @a_heidimarie

As promised, here is an interview with another popular Instagrammer, Heidi. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a Mennonite mom with 25,000 followers, here’s a little picture for you:

Heidi, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Heidi Swartzentruber.
I live in South Carolina with my handsome bearded husband, and four little boys plus a surprise little caboose of a baby girl.
I grew up the oldest of a family of 8, so I’ve always had a baby in my life, whether it’s been a sibling or my own child. I’ve always dreamt of being a mama and a homemaker, and to get to do so is a dream come true.
Some of my other loves are cooking new recipes, hosting friend dates, thrifting, photography, puzzling, graphic design, and vanilla breves.


How long have you had Instagram?
I’ve had an Instagram account since I was about 18- back when it was just photos of food and friends, and more a photo journal of sorts for users. It certainly has changed quite a bit since then.


What is your favorite thing about it?
Hands down, the connection with other women. As a stay-at-home wife and mama, I don’t get out much, and (while it can NEVER replace real life friendships) being able to connect with women virtually has been such a gift. I also love the creative aspect of it. I’ve always loved photography and videography as well as graphic design and writing, and I love the challenge of putting together a well thought out post, or engaging story. It gives me an outlet where I’d otherwise have none.


You probably started out small like we all did. Your content drew people in. Did it all just morph into something bigger, or was there a time when you made a conscious effort to draw a larger following?
It kind of happened by accident.
I have twins, and I remember one day when they were little thinking, “I’m going to make my Instagram account public and share my life, because there’s surely someone else out there like me who craves connection and is in the trenches of motherhood like me.” So, I did, and the people came.
Sometimes I wonder why, because I’m certainly no thought leader, and my life is certainly no grander than anyone else’s. But I’m truly honored by everyone who chooses to follow along.
My followers are special. They’re kind, and so encouraging, and I think that they bless me more than I can ever bless them.
All that to say, there are a few things I do now to encourage growth, but mostly it’s just been the snowball effect. The more you get, the more you get.
It’s not really something I’ve done.

My 15-year-old wonders how often you check your Instagram notifications.
I have my notifications turned off and try to only go on Instagram when my boys are playing nicely, or during quiet time, or after bedtime.
Another boundary I set is that I take almost every single weekend off. It gives me a break, helps me refocus, and spend extra intentional time with my family while my husband is home.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one a thousand times. How do you find the time?
I used to be able to reply to everyone’s DM or comment, but I now get so many it’s virtually impossible to do so. That’s been hard on me, because the point of Instagram for me is connection. But I do my best as I can and have had to learn which messages warrant a reply most and have learned tricks to help- such as answering the common questions in story Q and
A’s, or by creating highlights with info, or creating quick replies for the repeat questions.

I MUST create boundaries for myself because I could literally spend hours replying to messages.
My message request inbox is never empty, and while that used to drive me crazy, I’ve learned it’s how it must be.
I also do not scroll on Instagram.
My time is spent in DMs or creating stories or posts.
I have a few select friends whose posts and stories I make sure not to miss, and I’m very picky about who I follow. The rest are just as I have time.


Have you had a lot of criticism for the life you’ve chosen to live so openly?
On Instagram no, actually. Like I mentioned previously, my following is a very kind group of people. I know not everyone gets so lucky.
The most criticism I’ve received is actually from people who know me in real life. Not close friends- but acquaintances. And that’s the most hurtful.
It’s one thing to be criticized by a complete stranger, but quite another to be harshly criticized by someone who somewhat knows you personally.
Sometimes it IS constructive, and while I always want to be able to accept it gracefully, it’s usually coming from someone who completely misunderstands my intention or hasn’t taken the time to get to know me as a person.


How do you deal with the input of so many people into your life?
It’s still a work in progress, but I’m learning that everyone has opinions, and the ones that really matter are my husband’s, my family’s, my friends’, and my church’s.
I’m naturally a people pleaser, but my husband is not, which has been so good for me. He balances me so well and is my filter through which I run what I share on Instagram and what I don’t.
I do my best to be as real and as authentic as possible, but still respect my family’s privacy.
I don’t share my husband and my struggles or disagreements unless it’s after the fact, been resolved, and we both agree I can share it.

I also don’t share my children’s difficult, growing moments, and don’t share a photo or video if they ask me not to. The older they get, the less I share about them out of respect to them- so that’s why you’ll see a lot more of my baby then my six-year-old.

You inspire me with the joy you find in motherhood. I enjoy your writing gift. As I already told you, you are a light. I think one thing that holds me back from wholeheartedly following a page
like yours is that I wonder at the purpose of amassing more followers. I’d love to hear your reasons.

I appreciate your kind words, Luci!
To be honest, I also have moments where I wonder what the point of having a large public account is as well. And someday I may not have it anymore. It takes a lot of time and energyand can at times not be healthy to be that “known”.
But currently, I feel the Lord has given me this platform as a ministry. It’s a powerful way to encourage and reach other women, as well as to share the gospel.
I’ve had so many women share their hearts with me, prayed for many, and while I’m still young and inexperienced, encouraged them as best as I could.
I’ve also amassed a good bit of non Anabaptist followers who have said they’ve changed their mind about conservative Christians since following me and others like me, and have realized that we’re not just a “strange” group of people, but are human just like them, and are just doing our best to follow the Lord and the way He leads.
I’ve had young girls share with me how they never desired to be a mother, but since following me, have changed their perspective.
For now, I feel called to stay.
But if I stay merely to amass more followers, shame on me.
I then miss the entire point of having a platform.


What would you tell a 15 year old that aspires to have as many Instagram followers as you do
someday?

First of all, I would beg her to revisit that dream when she’s older. It can be a wonderful dream, but one that should be pursued after one is more stable and sure of who they are as a person.
There’s a lot of challenges and pressures that come with having a large Instagram account, and I know I certainty would not have been able to handle it without years of maturity, growth in my knowledge of the Lord and Scripture, and a husband ( or similar confidante) to be my sounding
board. I still struggle to know how to handle it all sometimes.
But if the Lord does give her the gift of a large public platform some day, I bless her in it, and encourage her to use it for His glory!
In a world that grows increasingly darker, people that love the Lord and live joyful Christian lives, shine ever brighter.

Feel free to add anything else you’d like my blog readers to know.
In the light of transparency, Instagram does also provide a means of significant income for me.
This has been such an unexpected blessing! I’m able to pay for our son’s school tuition, save up for future expenses, and use it to buy fun little extra things.
So Instagram, while primarily a ministry for me, is also a full time job of sorts. As much as it can be while also being a full time wife and mama.
I also have big dreams of publishing my own cookbook someday, and in the meantime, love sharing recipes with my audience. Cooking is such a labor of love, and if I can inspire someone to cook for their family and enjoy it, it makes me so very happy.

Lastly, thanks for being willing to listen to the perspective of an “Instagrammer”. It means a lot that you took the time to ask and to hear my side of things. It’s something that’s judged and misunderstood by many.

Thank you, Heidi, for taking time to help us see life from your point of view. I enjoyed my interactions with you.

Hello!

So I’m here at work on a quiet afternoon and I’m trying to figure out what to do with some free time. Usually there’s plenty to do, but sometimes after the main ladies go home at 1:00, I’m not sure what to “get at”, as Mom used to say.

I’m trying to work that fine line between being a friendly and too friendly salesperson. I don’t like it when salespeople are too intrusive or familiar. One thing about my job is that I see the same people often, so they really do become friends.

It feels like we are all weary these days, weary of masks and Covid and variants and divisive issues. Here’s me, trying to stay positive. With a mask under my chin, a pink dress because it feels like spring today after weeks of really cold weather, and a filter from Instagram that’s supposed be make me glow. But it doesn’t take care of dark circles or ugly lighting.

Weariness aside, I wrote about Sunday dinner on Sunday afternoon and posted it on Facebook. Here’s a description of meal prep at our house.

“It’s Saturday afternoon and Andre mixes up a chocolate cake. We get out my mom’s caramel sauce recipe and he stirs it up, cooking it carefully and watching the thermometer rise to 238 F.

I mix bread dough in my bread maker and let the rolls rise nice and high. Bread baking smells fill the kitchen and I chase away the kids who beg for a fresh roll and tell them they have to wait till tomorrow.

It’s Saturday night and Dan is rubbing cumin, paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder into his beef roast. He douses it with barbecue sauce and lets it sit overnight.

It’s Sunday morning and the roast goes into the oven. I fill a pot with water for cooking noodles and set another pot out for cooking vegetables.

We go to church on very snowy roads while the roast roasts.

Dan bastes his roast with barbecue sauce when we get home. It smells so good. I prepare the coffee. I cook mixed vegetables and heat water for noodles. The girls and Andre set the table and put away breakfast dishes. Tori reads to our guests’ little boys. The guys talk about weather and how they’d rather have -40 than +40.

I cut romaine and add cranberries and feta and pecans. Natalia adds butter, garlic salt, parsley, and Parmesan to the noodles. I add a dab of butter to the mixed vegetables. Dan carves the roast.

Andre pours water. I warm the basket of rolls in the microwave. Natalia helps me put everything into serving bowls. Dan calls everyone to the table. I turn on the cofee pot and put the caramel sauce on a back burner to warm. I sigh. We pray.

Sunday dinner is served.”

My shift is almost over and I need to go grocery shopping. Thank you for reading here. 😘

A baby, a hole, and a surgery

(Someone who reads my blog commented recently that they have a baby going for heart surgery and wanted to hear our heart surgery story. So I wrote one.)

Bryant Joseph was born on July 18, 2002. He was a 9 lb baby and the doctor told us when he was born that we had ourselves a little football player.

He was a pretty normal baby and we were the typical proud and exhausted parents. I did notice that he breathed heavily, especially when I nursed him. But he ate terribly fast and I thought that was why.

When Bryant was about two weeks old, his Martin grandparents came to visit from Wisconsin. They doted on him and his siblings. Grandma Martin was worried, though, about the heavy breathing. With her encouragement, I made an appointment with the doctor. Our family doctor was on holidays, so we saw a fill-in, Dr Kritzinger. He listened to Bryant’s heart and said immediately that he had a heart murmur. He sent us for more testing that revealed a VSD (ventricular septal defect), a birth defect of the heart in which there is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. . Sometimes these kinds of holes heal on their own, the doctors told us. They would wait a few months and see how he thrived.

Bryant was put on a medication that stimulated his heart to pump more vigorously and one that was a diuretic to help take fluid off.

He didn’t thrive well. After being such a big boy at birth, the pounds just didn’t add up very fast in the following months. He was a pale baby.

In December of 2002, we took our baby to Edmonton for a cardio-catheterization test to help determine the size of the hole in his heart. It was scary to see our 5 month old baby go under anesthesia, but he came through everything well and all he had to show for the whole ordeal was two little bandaids. They went up through his groin into his heart with spaghetti-sized catheters.

The doctor called us later to tell us that Bryant needed surgery. The pressures they measured should be 1:1. If a baby needs surgery, they are 2:1. Bryant’s ratio was 2.5:1

When Bryant was six months old, we took him to the cardio section of the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton for his surgery.

The surgery really didn’t take long. But though we were prepared, it still brought us to tears to see him sedated afterwards, with too many wires and tubes to count.

The surgeon said the surgery went well. The hole they patched was about the size of the surgeon’s littlest fingernail, which sounded fairly large (to us) in a heart the size of a baby fist. They sewed a piece of synthetic material over the little hole.

INCREDIBLE!!!

It took a few days for our baby to recuperate. We were treated with utmost respect and care. And thanks to Alberta Health Care, it didn’t cost us anything. We were even part of a program that paid for gas and some of our food and lodging while in Edmonton.

Bryant had always had a blue-grey touch to his skin. Even before he was out of the hospital, his colour changed to a pinker, healthier colour.

We were off to Belize three months later. It wasn’t a surgery that required a lot of follow-up. While it was a big deal to us, we realized after being in the hospital that it was a very minor surgery. There was a baby there whose heart was “full of holes”, as a nurse described it.

If Bryant had been born at another time in history, he would likely have been one of those babies who just faded away and passed away of a weak constitution.

Bryant is a strong and healthy 19 year old today. He has a scar from his incision, but no other effects. We are thankful to God the healer and to doctors who study hearts and to our province for excellent care.

Day 365

I feel like I should finish off the year with some kind of a bang, but I don’t have anything earthshaking.

The youth have a party tonight, but we’ll be here at home with the two youngest and my mom.

Our menagerie below.

I made lasagna soup this evening and everyone liked it. It was much easier than making lasagna, so I might be making it again. We ate it topped with provolone cheese, but it would be just as good with mozzarella, I think.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I want to keep growing in Jesus, reading good books, and serving others.

Dear Jesus,

It would be so nice to see Covid fade away in 2022. And I’d like You to see to it that all my children walk the straight and narrow this coming year. I’d like peace across the globe, Jesus. And in my heart, of course. I want the cold and hungry and sad to have warmth and food and comfort. Could you just set everything right in one fell swoop, Jesus?

But that doesn’t seem to be how You work. So I guess I’ll just ask You for patience and trust and more love–for you, for others. Thank you. You’re so good.

………………………………………………

Thanks once again for reading here this year. Happy New Year!

Day 364

It’s that hour before supper when it’s cooking away and you have a few moments. I made recado chicken and rice and beans for supper. Tillie is cutting cabbage for a lime cilantro cabbage salad.

I went for a walk at 4 pm and got Very Cold.

Our neighbour’s place looks so picturesque in the snow.

I’m joining the Daughters of Promise brighter winter reading challenge. Wish me luck. I don’t read like I used to, partly because I scroll too much, partly because medication makes my mind fuzzy and ADD.

Maybe I can spend the time I spent blogging to read. Then I can write and tell you about the wonderful things I’m learning.

A question someone asked today on Instagram: In 2021 I felt most like myself when _________?

I said I felt most like myself when I was volunteering at Networks/watching the sun set.

What made you feel most like yourself?

Dec 29

This morning I went to Joe and Lori Peachey’s house for tea with Lori’s mom, Brenda Weaver. I wanted a picture of her because some of you know her. But we had a lovely time and I forgot.

I came home and made sloppy joes for lunch.

We are really enjoying our holidays. The children are puzzling and playing games and reading and drawing. I did a little organizing in my sewing closet and spent time at Tori’s.

Tonight we went out for supper at Fixx. Friends gave us a gift card. We couldn’t all sit at one table (Covid restrictions), but it was fun anyway.

Fuzzy selfie in dark restaurant.

I had veal schnitzel and yam fries.

Life is good.

Day 362

I’m blank for writing ideas tonight, so I’ll just say hello and goodbye.

Today I listened to Austin Smucker’s captivating two hour story of being held hostage in Haiti and escaping. I can’t imagine how much having an experience like that would change your life.

Here’s the last of a winter sunset through a frosty window.

Almost every day that I’ve written I’ve wracked my brain for ways to connect to the audience here. And I’ve had lovely notes and comments from some of you. Thank you! I always wish I could have more discussion and feedback, but since I’m not willing to be brave and controversial, that doesn’t happen much. And I’m okay with that.

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