Tuesday, January 31, 2012

7:15 a.m.

Aaron is scheduled for surgery on his upper arm this morning.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Friday evening, I was in the office surfing the Internet when Julie called from the living room. “Do you hear that strange noise?” 

The only noise I heard was Julie talking, and that’s not strange. 

“Can’t you hear that?” she asked. 

I employed my first problem solving strategy and ignored the problem in hopes that it would go away. 

It didn’t go away. 

“Arghh!” Julie yelled from the living room. “Amy, come save us. There’s a bat flying around the living room!” 

“What do you want me to do?” 

“You’re big and brave,” she yelled. “Get it out!” 

I am the older sister, and I am supposed to be big and brave when my brothers and sisters need help, so I walked down the hallway to the living room. 

Sure enough, a bat was swooping through the room while Julie sat on the couch with a blanket over her head. 

I employed my second problem solving strategy; I studied the problem and thought about a solution. I stood in the doorway and watched the bat swoop. 

Julie employed her problem solving strategy. She talked about the problem. Actually, she rambled. “It’s big and I don’t like bats and Amy, just get it out…” 

The bat swooped into the bedroom. 

“Brian,” Julie said, finally. “We need Brian. He can get the bat out.” 

“Then call him,” I said. “My phone’s in the bedroom with the bat.” 

Julie peeked out from her blanket and reached to the opposite side of the couch. She found her phone and immediately called our brother Brian. 

“Brian, we need you to come rescue us. There’s a bat and it’s huge,” she said. 

“No, it’s not,” I said. 

“It’s flying all over the house,” she said. 

“It’s in the bedroom,” I said. 

“Come get it out,” she said. 

Suddenly the bat swooped from the bedroom into the living room. Julie ducked under her blanket. The bat circled the kitchen and headed down the hallway past the bathroom to the office. I grabbed a mop and stood in the doorway of the hallway to keep the bat in the office until help arrived. 

The bat swooped around the tiny office and headed back down the hallway. Then it realized I was blocking the exit. It panicked and slipped into a crack between the bathroom doorjamb and the wall. It stayed there until Brian arrived, armed with a broom and a snow shovel. 

We explained the situation and Brian used a flashlight to peer into the crack. “Ah-hah!” he said. Julie yelped and ducked under the blanket. “It’s in there. How do we get it out?” 

We discussed our problem and various solutions, including duct tape. Finally, I employed my third problem solving strategy and googled “how to get a bat out of the house.” Critter Catchers Inc. suggested trapping a bat under a coffee can. If the bat was flying around the house, they said to “stay calm and attempt to steer the flying bat outside.” 

Our bat was not flying. It was hiding in a crack near the bathroom door. We decided to prod the bat until it flew out and then steer it out the front door. We opened the door. Then Brian grabbed a fire poker and handed me the snow shovel. Julie offered to share a blanket with me. 

“I’m not sharing a blanket with you,” I said. I didn’t want her to dive under the blanket and leave me with nothing. Instead I pulled my hoodie over my head and tightened the drawstrings. 

Julie returned to her corner of the couch. 

“I could take the pictures,” she said, when I commented that I couldn’t wave a snow shovel and take pictures at the same time. 

“I don’t need any pictures of the inside of a blanket,” I told her. “That’s the only thing you’ll see when the bat flies out.” When I have to act big and brave, I’m not always kind and gentle. 

We were ready. Brian had his poker, I had the snow shovel and Julie had a blanket. Brian poked inside the crack. 

The bat tweeted. Brian poked. The bat chattered. Brian poked. The bat squawked. 

Then, whoosh. “There it goes!” Brian yelled. 

Flop. The bat crashed on the living room floor. I covered it with the snow shovel. “Got it!” 

Brian guarded the bat while Julie peeked out from her blanket and I ran to the kitchen for a coffee can. Julie and I don’t drink coffee, so I found a bowl. Then I ran to the sunroom to find something to slip under the bowl. I returned with the piece of Formica Dad gave us to glue behind our laundry tub. 

Brian trapped the bat under the bowl, then slid the Formica under the bowl and lifted the bat, bowl and Formica and carried them outside. I closed the door, and Brian freed the wounded bat. 

“It’s gone,” we told Julie. “It won’t come back.” 

I didn’t tell her that according to my Google research it was a Big Brown Bat. Big Brown Bats live in colonies. Somewhere nearby live other bats, friends and brothers and uncles of the bat that had been flying in our house. 

“Go to bed and forget about the bat,” we told Julie. 

Julie slept fine all night. 

I may appear big and brave, but I admit I woke up a couple of times during the night. I pictured that bat swooping through the bedroom and I wiggled a little further under my blanket.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The mother who was scheduled to abort her baby yesterday decided to keep the baby. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Bread doesn't get eaten as fast at the Cookie House as at the House 'n Barn. Last week I made croutons. This week Julie made bread pudding.

Julie baked a pumpkin cake a couple of weeks ago. We're a little embarrassed to admit how many potlucks and get-to-gethers it has blessed. We still have two pieces in the refrigerator.

We've decided not to bake cake in 9x13" pans anymore.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love my job

Photo for illustrative purposes only. I don't normally wear a hat when I'm teaching, nor do I hold my hand at such an awkward angle. 
Two years ago, when I was in the midst of my substitute teaching career, I prayed that God would give me a job I loved, or help me to love the job I had.

In August, I began teaching ESL classes at SVSU. When my students are absorbed with a task or at the end of class when I am gathering up papers papers and shutting down equipment, I pause for a moment.  

"Thank you," I find myself praying. "I love this job!" 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

90th birthday

My parents with Aunt Gertrude at her 90th birthday party last Saturday.
Happy birthday Aunt Gertrude!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pray for an end

Sunday, around a hundred people gathered on the courthouse steps to pray for an end to abortion.
Sunday marked the thirty-nineth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. Since then an estimated fifty-two million babies have been killed.  

One baby is scheduled to be killed next Saturday. 

Please pray that this child's life, and the lives of millions of other unborn babies, will be spared.

Pray to end abortion.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


This day may our hearts be pure,
and our hands clean,

That our prayers bear the fragrance of lilacs in the spring,

Our songs echo Heaven's Holy, Holy, Holy ring,

And our lives all glory to our Lord and Savior bring.

May our worship be acceptable.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012


Two of my sisters and I ventured to the west side of the state last weekend. Betsy went to share about her recent trip half-way across the world; Julie went to socialize; I went to see the water.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012


One of the bedrooms upstairs in the Cookie House has a french door that leads to nowhere. From a real estate perspective, it's strange. But from a photographic perspective, it's wonderful!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together! ~anonymous

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lang girls

Carmen and the girls came over yesterday afternoon for a portrait session. Then they stayed for a visit. The afternoon proved more interesting than planned when their van got suck in my driveway. But, since we girls had baked cookies earlier, we had treats to offer to our menfolk when they came to the rescue. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taffy pull

We met at the Byler estate last Friday for a church fellowship. After scripture reading and prayer, we buttered our hands and pulled long strands of stubborn taffy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Halls of learning

It's the beginning of a new semester.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
Job 38:29 NIV

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Over Christmas break I baked bread and cookies, and rolled crust for chicken potpie, and even mixed a batch of spinach noodles. I hung pictures and arranged drawers and painted trim. We hosted family and friends for dinners and teas. 

I felt domesticated.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Naomi gave me a hat for Christmas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Drying rack

Cheap masquerades as eco-friendly.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012


My aunt in Louisiana sent me an email informing me that the stock of molasses cookies in her freezer, which she has been rationing for the past year, is nearly gone. I got the hint. 

Cooking baking has been on my to-do list for a couple of weeks. First I had to buy molasses. Then Judith gave me a bowl big enough to handle the recipe. Last Wednesday, I had a slow morning with my ESL calls to students in Korea, so I started mixing molasses, sugar and shortening... at six o'clock in the morning.  

Our friend Grace happened to be staying at the Cookie House for a couple of days on her way from Canada to Indiana. Later in the morning she rolled out of bed and popped in to the kitchen to witness my progress. "I don't usually make cookies at six o'clock in the morning," I confessed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I am making everything new!
Revelation 21.5 NIV