Sunday, September 30, 2012


...the Lord has always used weak people who aspire to be used by an all-sufficient God! ~Greg Livingston

Saturday, September 29, 2012


This week the farmer harvested the field that borders two sides of my one-acre plot. I had a view good enough to make my brothers jealous.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Before my Dad blew out the candles on his cake last night, we lured everyone outside for a family picture. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mouse(less) Cookie house

Aunts in Arizona and anyone else opposed to pictures of rodents and stories of their demise should skip this post.

We had a mouse problem last week.

The Cookie House is an approximately one-hundred-year-old farmhouse, which sat empty for several years before we moved in. It's not surprising that we weren't the only creatures who found its shelter inviting.

But, Julie was disturbed with our uninvited guests.

So, we attempted to evict them. Last Thursday I caught two young mice under wastebaskets, much to the amazement of my brothers. The next morning two relatives of the incarcerated duo ventured onto the sticky traps that Julie had laid. We haven't seen any evidence of mice since, though we are still taking precautionary measures. 

I found that the mouse problem doesn't end with capturing the creatures. Neither the wastebasket method or the sticky traps lend for quick, easy disposal of the trespassers. 

Last Tuesday was one of those days I wished for a cat.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've been digging up 5-gallon bucketsful of daffodil bulbs. The flowers had overpopulated the flower garden so much that they no longer were blossoming at their potential. I plan to stick them in the ground again and expect lots of yellow flowers in the spring. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Starting with our own talents and interests is common but that is the way of the world--it's getting things backward... We must start with His concerns, whatever our gifts, wants and abilities... Our obligation is to seek the expansion of the knowledge of the glory of God and his kingdom... ~Ralph D. Winter

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Car show

Naomi, Lauren Mae and our friend Audrey met some of the ELP teachers and students at the car show last Saturday. I don't know enough about cars to be impressed with the show, but I do know my colors. So, I focused on colors.

The car show did provide an example to use later in the week when I was talking with my classes about word choice. "Glance" and "study" both are words that can describe looking at something. But there was a big difference between when I glanced at a car and the owner studied it. 

Naomi in a rearview mirror

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Apple harvest

One apple may not seem much. But, compared with zero apples, one apple is more than 100% increase.

I was ecstatic when I looked out the window the other morning and saw one lone apple shimmering with dew drops in the morning light.

After the frost this spring that destroyed most of Michigan's fruit crop, I thought the entire crop was ruined.

But, we harvested one apple.

Julie and I sliced that apple and ate half of it for dessert one day this week. We split the other half and took the slices in our lunches the next day.

The apple with perfect. It didn't have worms or bugs or scabs. The skin was a blend of red and yellow blush, which reflected the light after I rubbed the apple against my shirt. Inside the flesh was white and crisp. Even after sitting in my lunch cooler overnight it wasn't discolored by the air. The taste was just as pleasing as the appearance of the apple. It was crisp and juicy with the right blend of sweetness and tartness.

It was one perfect apple. We may not have harvested bushels of apples from our tree, but even though we only picked one apple, the crop was hardly a failure. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My spider plants have been procreative this summer. Anybody want to adopt a spider baby?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012


...our call to mission was more about obedience than geography. 
~Andrew Jones

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spaghetti sauce

Mom and I canned spaghetti sauce last week. It was a messy process.

First, we waded out in the field, in mud up to our ankles, to pick the tomatoes. The forecast called for more rain and we didn't want the tomatoes to rot on the vine.

If that wasn't muddy enough, one of Brian's kids sized me up as a playmate and jumped on my back--not once but twice. My siblings were quite amused by the muddy hoof-prints on my back.

From there we hauled the tomatoes up to the house were I sprayed them with the garden hose before lugging them into the house for a more thorough washing. Then we cored and quartered them and ground them up with cloves of garlic, pounds of onions and fresh herbs.

By then the messiest part was done, though you might not believe it if you look at the stovetop. I left two batches simmering on the stove and, borrowing a canner, I took one batch to the Cookie House to cook down on my stove. In our respective kitchens, Mom and I ladled the spaghetti sauce into jars and processed it in canners. My batch yielded eighteen pints, which should last me well through the winter. 

It was a lot of work--from growing the tomatoes and herbs to carrying the jars of spaghetti sauce down to the shelves in the basement. But, homemade spaghetti sauce is just so much better than what they sell at the store that it was worth the work and the mess to be able to open jars of spaghetti sauce all winter long. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

A good day when your pitas puff.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Never concede to doing something so small that it could be accomplished in your lifetime. Be a part of something that began before you were born and will continue onward toward the fulfillment of all that God has purposed to accomplish. ~Ralph Winters

Saturday, September 8, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I covered part of a shift at the farmers' market while Julie attended a baby shower. I got a call as I was getting ready to drive to town.

"They're almost out of corn at the market," I was informed. "So, we're picking more for you to take up. Just pull out to the patch when you get here and we'll load you up."

They did load me up.

Bushels of corn on the seats, bushels of corn between the seats, bushels on corn in the back, bushels of corn on top of bushels of corn. The Beachy Buggy was full of corn.

"I'll never come home," I groaned. "I'll be stuck there selling corn for hours."

I was amazed at how much corn Naomi and I sold. "It's four for a dollar," we'd say. "Just picked this morning." Then someone would stop and buy a couple of ears and someone else would buy half a dozen. 

We didn't sell out, but we did sell a lot. It might have helped that we threw in a couple of extra ears whenever someone bought a dozen.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Wild garlic

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

100 years

This past weekend our church, along with friends, relatives, former church members and pastors, celebrated 100 years of God's faithfulness to the Bethel Brethren in Christ Church.

The church first started with a Sunday school, which met in a schoolhouse in Porter township. Soon a couple of families came from Ohio to begin the church. The actual building was moved to the site from the thumb of Michigan and dedicated in 1915. Since then many people have called Bethel Merrill their home church. None of the current members are related to the original members of the church, but several of their descendants came for the day to help us celebrate and to share their memories of the Bethel Brethren in Christ Church. 

After Sunday school and the morning service, in which Jon and Becky Winger, current missionaries and grandson of a former pastor, shared, we gathered at the Porter Township Hall for dinner before returning to the church building for an afternoon service. We served a meal consisting of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn on the cob, salad, rolls with butter and jelly. For dessert we had various sweets including birthday cake, homemade pies and cookies and mocha punch. 

A book of sermon notes compiled by Henry Schneider, one of the first pastors at the church, who later became a bishop. Schneider built the barn on the corner of Laporte and Seven Mile Roads to be used as a meeting place for the Brethren in Christ General Conference in 1929. Words painted above the doors of the barn still read "Holiness Unto the Lord."

"God's timeline in our lives" Rev. Dwayne Potteiger

"Encouragement in the Church" Rev. Mervin Potteiger
"Greetings" Bishop John Zuck

"Greetings from Carland Zion BIC" Rev. Eric Stanton

"A brief history of Bethel Merrill BIC" Leon Cook

"Home and the church" Bruce Byler

"Bethel Merrill board members today" Brian Cook

"Working with local churches" Rev. John Forsee

"The next 100 years" Rev. Jimmy Lang
Open mic time

Open mic time

Open mic time

Open mic time