Thursday, April 30, 2009


and uncle

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


in Judith's flowerbed

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


...thus far has the Lord helped us
Aaron discovered a puddle of transmission fluid beneath the car when we stopped to refuel on our way home from Pennsylvania. Libby and I used the restrooms and purchased fudge sundaes while Aaron popped the hood and peered beneath the car. We were at the first rest area across the Ohio border--hundreds of miles from home. After consultation, prayer and two quarts of transmission fluid we ventured back to the turnpike hoping that the problem was caused by the warmth and the hills of Pennsylvania. Thus far did the Lord help us and the car exhibited no problems on the rest of the trip and we pulled into our driveway shortly after nine o'clock last night.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby & me

Photo credits: Judith & Libby Cook

Saturday, April 25, 2009

First home

Joel and Judith recently purchased their first home. It's a fixer-upper in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Aaron planned to take a break from his own house projects, to join his brother in kitchen renovations last weekend. But the trip was postponed until this weekend, and I was added to the party. Thursday evening Aaron crammed tools, including an air compressor and circular saw, in the trunk of my car. I reserved enough space in the back seat, beside the baggage and cooler, for Libby. We left Michigan early Friday morning and arrived at our destination in the afternoon after spending more hours in the car than is advisable for my mental health.

Lancaster County is beautiful, albeit crowded country. The buds on the trees are bursting into leaves and the fruit trees and crab apple trees are engulfed in white and pink. The smell of freshly mown grass mingles with the odor of freshly spread manure in country that seeks to balance subdivisions and family farms.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rainy day...

broken dryer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can't stay away

Friday I completed my student teaching. Over the past few months I've compiled a mental to-do list that begins with the words, "When I'm done student teaching, I'm going to..."

Monday morning I tackled the to-do list. Equipped with vacuum cleaner, a pail of sudsy water with rags, and window cleaner and paper towel I began the spring cleaning transformation in my room. I stripped the curtains from the windows and had Brian heave the bookshelf and night-stand away from the walls. I placed picture frames and doilies and candles and baby dolls on my bed. Just when I had achieved maximum disorder, I received a call from the school secretary asking if I could sub. So I abandoned the disaster zone and headed to school to teach Spanish and Physics. 

"Couldn't stay away, could you?" one of the teachers asked when she saw me later in the day.

I subbed again in the Spanish/Physics classroom on Tuesday. Then Wednesday I was back in "my" English classroom. Today I declined the opportunity to impersonate the Physical Education teacher at another school. 

I've changed the heading of my mental to-do list to, "When I'm not subbing, I'm going to..."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009


Logan wants to be a carpenter when he grows up. But he isn't waiting until he's grown up to learn about hammers, nails, saws and wood. This Spring he gave himself the assignment of building a structure in which to store his tools. First he sketched the proposed building on scrap paper. Dad and Aaron looked over the plans and gave advice and mini-lessons on rise-over-run. Logan calculated the amount of material he would need and purchased it from the store. Then he sawed and hammered and raised his structure. He stretched clear plastic across the top for a roof. For the final touch he painted the walls yellow and installed a hand-me-down door left from Aaron's remodeling project.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


He was God Almighty,
to be trusted and believed in
when there was no earthly reason to believe.
~A Greater Call by Harvey Yoder

Saturday, April 18, 2009


The window pattern frames Dan Durkee, PennView Public Relations Representative, as he waits for the choir to complete their concert Friday evening.

The Wesleyan Missionary Church building in Osseo reverberated with sound last night as the PennView Bible Institute Chapel Choir performed. Our beloved sister-of-the-sister-in-law Kathryn played violin in the orchestra and sang in the choir. PennView's student recruiter, a former member of our church, shouted praises while adjusting the controls on the sound board.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Last day

After sixty-five days of student teaching I am finally done. Today is my last day.

I've spent the past fourteen weeks with 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, attempting to teach them to find the surface area of a pyramid, trying to coerce them into reading Frankenstein, and convincing them to crop photos in the yearbook. Now I am done.

I will miss "my" students. I will miss the teachers. 
I will miss student teaching.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Asparagus is one of Dad's favorite foods. For years he eyed a wild asparagus plant in the fencerow. This year he transplanted the ancient vegetable while it was dormant. When Dad dug up the plant last Friday he discovered a mass of tangled of roots. There were so many that Dad ended up extending the asparagus bed. Now that the roots are adequately spaced in rows, Dad anticipates an abundant harvest of asparagus in a couple of years.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring cleaning

...even plants get dirty...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunrise service

Sunrise was at 6:58 a.m. Sunday and the township hall echoed with greetings of "He is Risen!" and the response, "He is Risen Indeed!"

Our church met at the township hall for our Sunrise Service. Though it was early in the morning, it wasn't as early as usual--this year we met at 7 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. A seven o'clock meeting was still plenty early enough for us to wake up to alarm clocks and for David to adjust the electric piano to one and a half steps lower than normal in anticipation of singing "He Lives!"

After the service we shared breakfast--a feast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, fruit, donuts, juice, coffee and tea--in the basement. In the hour after breakfast and before Sunday school, some of us girls walked the two miles from the township hall to the church building. The walk is a tradition with us. The exercise and fresh air ward of the lethargy that threatens to set in after a big meal--besides it gives us time to talk.

Brother Byler organized a men's quartet.

Sister Potteiger has a servant's heart and a grandmother's apron.

Kendra also has a servant's heart, but no apron.

Monday, April 13, 2009


It began as a bonfire to roast hot dogs and burn the brush pile in the fence row--it turned into a firefighting lesson. Saturday evening the wind carried the flames across the fence row to the dry, dead weeds in the filter strip. Libby and I sounded the alarm, and the impromptu firefighting crew grabbed shovels and boards and began beating the edges of the fire. The boys scrambled into the tractors and plowed around the edges of the advancing fire. Within minutes the flames were extinguished, leaving smoking and charred debris in the field.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


He is Risen!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Afikoman, the bread that represents Jesus, must be 
broken and hidden before it is returned and eaten

Passover is the celebration of freedom from bondage. For the Israelites, Passover signified freedom from the oppression they experienced for four hundred years in Egypt. During the tenth and final plague that claimed the life of every firstborn son in Egypt, the Angel of Death passed over the Israelite houses that had blood on the doorposts.

For Christians, Passover is a reminder of freedom from sin. Jesus is our Passover sacrifice and it is His blood that is applied to our lives to free us from bondage to sin and death. 

The table set with candles, Bibles and Haggadahs

Ten drops of grape juice represent the ten plagues on the Egyptians

May God bless the whole house of Israel with freedom.
May God destroy darkness and slavery everywhere...
Next year may we meet in the New Jerusalem!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Tuesday thirteen volunteers spent the day at Christian Resource International, packing boxes and sorting books. For the past fifty years CRI has been providing used Christian resources to Christians in third world countries, missionaries, and prison ministries in the United States. Individuals, church libraries and publishers donate books, audio/visual materials, homeschooling textbooks, tracks and other resources to the organization, which relies primarily on volunteers to prepare the materials for shipment overseas.
Our group repackaged an entire pallet of "Our Daily Breads." The publisher donated the devotional and energetic youth from our congregation stuffed the small booklets in boxes. In another room, the rest of our group packaged French and Spanish tracks destined for Haiti and Honduras. We ended the day sorting donated books and concealing the previous owner's personal information with stickers. Packing boxes presents the challenge of fitting the most "Daily Breads" in one box, but sorting books provides the amusement of reading titles aloud and occasionally peeking inside interesting books.

David and Brian work together to fit another
 "Our Daily Bread" in the box.

The pallet of "Our Daily Bread" booklets 
before the devotional was repackaged. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cupcake walk

With some sugar, flour, butter, cocoa and patience, Libby and Naomi created an edible flower-bed of cupcakes Saturday afternoon. Naomi helped me mix up the chocolate cake batter and spoon it into the muffin tins. Then she measured powdered sugar, shortening and butter for frosting while I dug my decorating tips and bags out of one of the kitchen cupboards. 

I completed a Wilton Cake Decorating coarse in high school but retired from cake decorating a few years later when my wrists began protesting. I was able to relive my old hobby Saturday afternoon as I tried to explain about frosting consistency and the correct amount of pressure. Through trial and error the girls produced a beautiful assortment of pastel colored, flowered cupcakes.

The cupcakes were the attraction at a cake walk Sunday afternoon after we shared a meal with our friends. We set the cupcakes around the table, one per place. Then in musical-chairs-style the participants marched around the table, scrambling to claim a chair and corresponding cupcake when the music ceased. There were plenty of chairs and cakes at our walk and everyone received a cupcake to either eat or take home.

Waiting for the cupcake walk to begin

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring break

Saturday afternoon instead of typing lesson plans, I read Circle of Love (Christian Light Publications)--a novel that that State of Michigan would never approve as part of their Curriculum. As I read I didn't have to justify it according to the High School Content Expectations; I didn't devise strategies to coerce a class of seventeen-year-olds to read it; I didn't think about quizzes and tests; I didn't design writing activities or ponder how to connect the theme of the novel to my students' lives. I simply read the book. Much as I love preparing lessons and teaching students, I cherished the opportunity to simply read for my own enjoyment.

It's Spring Break and I am treasuring the break.