Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sending Christmas Cheer

Cheers to Our Wonderful Friends & Family!

Kevin and I are celebrating another year of being beloved children of the Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.

We continue in the same jobs, thankful for employment. Kevin helps clear the air at the air-compressor company as many fellow employees air their complaints. As always Kevin puts on no airs, but has plenty of opportunities to breathe grace and peace into his work place.

Several positions have been cut or eliminated at Goshen College, but my hours have actually increased slightly as I take on more responsibilities from another job that was cut
here in the library. I'm responsible to keep our student
workers all on the same page, throw the book at delinquent patrons and look for novel ways to promote our services. Periodically, I process interlibrary loan requests.

Jill & Elle Schrock

Josh is a sales rep for a printing company in OK and provides TLC for his two beautiful daughters, Jill (9) & Elle (7). During my visit with them in July we baked favorite family recipes, sewed doll clothes and decorated pottery pieces at the Purple Glaze.

Rebecca Hochstetler

Dan and Kris gave us another grandbaby April 30 when Rebecca was born. Dan works as a mason,
while Kris is a stay-at-home mom. Aubrey (6) started Kindergarten this Fall and Shawn (3) attends nursery school.
They are now proud owners
of a home
north of Goshen.

Shawn & Aubrey Hochstetler

Jodi and Emmanuel added to our bunch with little Dominic born, Nov. 21, in Pensacola, FL. I was privileged to watch his arrival and kept his big brother, Ian (2), occupied during the week of waiting for baby to come and the ensuing week
of transition a newborn brings. Kevin joined us
the second week. Eman works as a BMW
mechanic and Jodi is full-time at home.

Ian & Dominic Ringer

Austin graduated from Asbury University in May and is now located in Valparaiso, IN where he works at Starbucks and enjoys fellowship at the Bethel Church in town. He's renting with two other guys and hoping for an eventual social work job.

Amanda and AJ live in Elkhart and parent Auron (3) and Elika, another newborn this year, born August 27. AJ works at a shipping company, while pursing criminal law courses on line. Amanda mothers full-time at home.

Auron & Elika Bumgardner

Kevin and I enjoy the fellowship at Zion Chapel and serve in several ministries. We are excited about the Peacemaker training we have received through Peacemakers Ministry and are on a team that provides conflict solutions coaching and mediation. It's a new venture for our church and we're hoping to grow in our skills and opportunities. God's heart is for reconciliation and He's demonstrated His love for us through the Gospel, even while we were yet sinners. What a message to change the hearts in conflict all around us! We the most forgiven, can be the most forgiving.

Other significant happenings this year: Allen & Doris Schrock celebrating their 60th anniversary at a family gathering this summer, attending the Peacemaker conference in Washington DC in Oct., and the all the fabulous moments with many of you at our home or yours, or through virtual visits online.

We cheer you on in all your endeavors and send you blessings of His Peace and Joy, and His Comforting presence in the hardships we all encounter.

Our love to you,
Kevin and Ruth

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Things We Do For Our Kids

Well, I went down to My BMV (that just makes me feel warm all over, like they want me to know it's a place I can be proud of, like my home, my community, my country...) to get some info about what I needed to grab a registration for a car my son had just bought hisself in another state.
Now my BMV ain't known for it's friendly clerks and fast service, so I decided to stop by before work to get her done. I could have waited until the night they stay open later, but this was kind of urgent. I didn't want my son driving around without proof that he didn't steal that car. I knew I needed to fill out some forms, and one of them would get me some kind of power, like them rich lawyers have, but I wanted to find out what I needed for sure.
I only had to stand in line about 15 mins and the lady told me what I needed to bring in; about 4 things and my son would need to print them off the internet and mail them to me. She said all this without even smiling so I knew we were into some serious business. I strutted out of there feeling pretty smart and called my son.
When those papers came in the mail, I marched back into my BMV to finish the job. The same lady looked at what I had, the attorney paper and the form the police had filled out. Again, without smiling, she said what I had was good, but I needed the title to the car. I felt so stupid. I forgot to tell my son to send the title. Slowly, I felt the air leak out of my confidence.
About a week later I went back. The attorney power paper said something about needing to be notarized, but in the fine print it also said the Bureau might be able to do it there. I was a little nervous about that, but the lady had looked at it last time and had never said anything about notarizing. Well, wouldn't you know it, out of all the other ladies there I got Ms. Stone Face again. I thought maybe that was good cause she would remember what I was trying to do. If she remembered me, she didn't let on and as she read them papers real good, I got that nervous feeling that you get at the dentist office or when you start a new job and don't know what everybody else knows.
Finally, she said she was sorry but the attorney paper need to be notarized. I asked if they could do it there, but she said my son had to do it. I must have looked like a dog with its tail between its legs when I left there that day.
My son paid $18.30 to overnight another form to me that had that official pimply feeling seal on it. By now I was a nervous wreck about going back to that place. I must have checked that I had all the forms together and with me about 4 or 5 times the night before the next morning I went back. I prayed I wouldn't get Stone Face again, but someone who would give me a little support and encouragement and maybe give me my pride back.
I sat in front of a different woman this time and as I showed her the papers she actually began to start typing information. Then came the questions. "What color is the car?" I've never seen it, but she says it's important so I call the son up and he tells me it's white. "Did he pay sales tax when he bought it?" Another phone call, but it didn't really matter. If he did he needs a bill of sale as proof which I sure don't have. I guess it's good the place wasn't busy as my son and I kept the cell phone buzzing. It seems the only friendly in this lady was the smile. She didn't respond to any of my attempts at humor or conversation.
Done at last, free at last, I took the new license plate and the registration straight to the Post Office. I filled out one of those Express Mail forms, paid the overnight fee to have it arrive l day later. It seems some zip codes are not close enough to airports to get it the next day. (You'd think there would be a discount for that).
My son did get his stuff right on time and I am now an expert on getting a registration for someone out of state who asks me to sign that form to do that dirty lawyer work. I says to the last lady at My BMV that there should be a list somewheres of the steps you need to take and each piece of darn paper you need to get the job done. She just smiled.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 14th Anniversary

She set the GPS to Logan, O. and the trip away from the family reunion was underway. How refreshing to travel scenic routes rather than the monotonous freeway! Time was not a great factor, so the pace allowed for frequent stops, enjoying the route. Humorously, one potty-break came soon after a sign for Pee Run Rd. They crossed the Cheat Mountains in West Virginia and she read to him while he focused on driving.
'Destination on left' was announced several hours later and the car was unloaded at the hotel. It wasn't a fancy place to stay, but the money saved went towards the gourmet meal at the log-cabin restaurant later that evening. They spoke of years gone by and dreamed about the future again. Sleep came easy that night after bellies full of food and wine.
Plans to hike the State Park the next day were slightly foiled with rainy weather, but they plowed on over the 4 mile trail anyway. Wet and tired, the anticipated long trip to home seemed formidable. But again, the things to see along the non-highway roads, coupled with snacks to munch on and an inspiring time of voicing prayers for the children, made the time pass rather quickly.
Thankful to be home, they unpacked the car, showered and crawled into bed, the oh, so familiar bed. And that's how the celebration went. They are blessed to have each other and to know God is directing their steps and that each year is a gift from Him.

Families: you can't choose them, but you don't want to lose them!

This weekend, the Showalter family converged in VA for a memorable reunion. While we had plenty of time to sit and relax as a group, we also perused the new store my dad and step-mom volunteer time to. There among the second-hand items we all found a treasure or two. The same outing took us to a farmer's market where we lollied through antiques, a favorite past-time of my sister and her husband.
Back at the house we spread out to visit in smaller groups. Some found conversation around building a puzzle, a group hovered around the Showalter geneology book where Grandpa was sharing stories, and competition mounted among the gaggle playing the family game of Scrabble.
In the background Peeka, short for Peeka Boo, was squawking in his bird cage, hoping someone would pay him mind. His moment came when all gathered around his perch to hear him whistle his repertoire of tunes and imitate Roy's electric razor.
The next day we filled in a whole pew in Dad's church and had a meaningful visit to Mom's gravesite, coincidentally on her birthday! After a scrumptious meal, embellished with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini from family gardens, we played some rousing rounds of Dictionary, another tradition we enjoy. Dad makes up the zanniest definitions, while Libby and John seem most adept at making associations with the unfamiliar words that were chosen from the Dictionary. Note: new word I tucked away in my vocabuary was hugger-mugger. Bet you don't know what that means!
Departures and goodbyes were said with some tears and much thanksgiving for the time together. Until we meet again, we'll stay in touch by phone and email. My family, you're the best!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kiss it Good-bye

I've recently been introduced to author Wayne Cordeiro. After reading his book, The Divine Mentor, I want to try keeping a journal using his style. He has a Bible reading plan and suggests writing a response journal at the end of each reading. The entry would follow the acrostic SOAP which stands for Scripture (reference), Observation, Application, and Prayer. Here is my first entry.
Scripture: Lu. 14:33
Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple.

In the verses before this one, Jesus had been sharing illustrations of things that can keep us from following him, actually make it impossible to follow him. They include family we need to let go of, refusing to deny ourselves or let go of self, and plans that we would be foolish to go ahead with. A plan to build needs careful calculation before you start so you are not embarrassed by lack of funds before you finish. A decision to go to war only makes sense if you are in the better position for winning; if not you should call a truce. In these cases the letting go is of a new house dream and a glorious victory, both very dear plans to people.

This reading fits in very well with the teaching I received in Peacemaker Ministries about idols in our lives. Idols are wants or needs we turn into demands that when unmet cause us bitterness and resentment. They can keep us from peace and joy and quickly become our master. How foolish for someone to go ahead and finance that new house without the income to support it or to boast about success of any kind, without the means to carry it out. Isn't that behavior showing a idolatrous mentality? I will push ahead for what I want or deserve, no matter the consequences. Bringing it closer to home for me, what about the times I am preoccupied with assessing or controlling relationships that are dear to me? My thoughts reel dizzily in the spin cycle; thoughts like- have I given enough? Am I loved like I want to be loved?

Jesus, help me to be willing to kiss the dearest things to me goodbye. I don't want to hold onto anything that would cause interference in my communication with the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean those I love will receive less of me, but they'll have the healthy, undivided me who is perfectly balanced in You.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday thoughts that linger

Sunday, Bill Fuller shared at Zion. He has a passion for drawing people to Jesus and seeing them become followers. One of the ministries he's implemented at his church is the Red Bag Ministry. Several of us at Zion were in training on Sat. to understand how the ministry works and is carried out. Baisically, every Sunday now, there will be an invitation given at the end of the service for anyone who wants to begin a journey of following Jesus Christ to come up after the meeting and pick up a red bag. A trainee will ask anyone who takes a bag whether they can unpack the bag with them. Inside the bag are tools to help share the story of God's salvation love work through Jesus, a Bible to get them started on their journey and information of how to connect with the community at Zion.
Bill's sermon shared many inspiring stories of lives changed. He also shared a media clip of John Ortberg sharing on the status of many Christians in America. There's a progression path to Jesus of starting as strangers, then moving to admirers and then followers. Many though, after becoming admirers, end up being users. They use Jesus as a entrance requirement into heaven and then live as they please, with a flair for looking like a submitted Christian. There is a big difference between admirers and followers.
God is doing a good work of messing with our hearts and setting us up to fish for people.

Lord, for me it starts with asking you again, for a heart that sees people as you do, to have your love and passion for those who do not yet know the joy I share with you. My heart is yours. Lead me and I will follow.

A wonderful man!

What a guy I'm married to! I came home from work yesterday and he was preparing to mow the lawn, which is more like a lush green carpet, due to his TLC. I prepared to wash dishes from the night before. He advised me to wait until later when he could help me. I didn't want him to have to do that so I proceeded to start the task, talking about the events of my day. Rather than interrupt me to go outside he picked up a towel, listened and wiped dishes! (he did get the lawn mowed eventually)
Later that night he retired to bed before I did, and when I got there he had propped up the pillows in my favorite way so I could do a little reading before turning out the light.
And that's just one little segment of a day in the life of being married to Kevin.

Thank you, Father, for a Godly man who is truly a gift from you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I came home from work one day and discovered that we had had visitors while we were away. Written to Amanda in an email.

Gma and the Three Bums

So I was returning home from work yesterday and perfected my close
-shave- pull-up-alongside- the- mailbox-routine to collect the mail and
paper before heading into the garage. The mailbox was
uncharacteristically empty, and I suspected someone had been there ahead
of me. Since there weren't any vehicles in the drive I thought it might
have been the daughter who works in town, but I didn't notice any
telling evidence after a quick overview of the kitchen and DR. I looked
for a stack of mail, then noticed an Ibuprofen bottle on the counter,
but still wasn't sure if that had been left there from earlier in the
morning or from the night before. I stepped into the DR. A Ha!
Someone had been playing on my floor and left a black beanie baby bear
lying there, and as I turned towards the counter I saw another beanie
baby bear reclining in the corner under the desk. I was at the counter
now. A Ha! Someone had been using my pen and paper and left two
notes! I explained the situation to Papa when he came in. He opened
the closet to throw away some trash. A Ha! Someone had left a Little
Caesar's box in the garbage! Much later that evening I went upstairs to
settle Shayla down for the night. A Ha! Someone had turned down the
covers and moved the pillows on the bed! From the notes, I deducted
that someones had been in my house and it was you and that little
precocious 2-year-old-grandson of ours who can-already-write-sentences
and the big Bum (just a play on your last name, no negative connotations
intended). :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Discovery

Today I found a woman who I had never heard of before. She has a great ministry. I'm including one quote from her that I really like. She also has a video clip on Y tube entitled, The Invisible Woman.

"We live in a world of great beauty
and enormous pain.
I like to write about the strange way
they come together
on the shores of hope."

Thank you, Lord, for words of encouragement today. I found it here and in the message of a friend on Facebook and unexpectedly from my boss. I breathe in your grace today. How awesome is your name.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From the Pleasures of God by John Piper

He says the literal translation of Ps 23:6 is "Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life." John shares an illustration from a teacher who explained it in this way.
"God is like a highway patrolman pursuing you down the interstate with lights flashing and siren blaring to get you to stop--not to give you a ticket , but to give you a message so good it couldn't wait till you get home. God loves to show mercy...His anger must be released by a stiff safety lock, but his mercy has a hair trigger....The point is the contrast between the sluggishness of his anger and the effusiveness of his love."

"God is a mountain stream, not a watering trough. He delights to overflow-to give and give and give! And therefore the gospel is the good new that God does not need a bucket brigade; he wants people who will drink. The qualification for receiving his kingdom is not strength but thirst."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First or Center?

Something I heard and am pondering today. Is Christ first in my life or center of my life? If I consider Him first, I may spend time with Him first thing in the morning and then cross Him off my list. If He is center, He is with my through my day. I am aware of His presence, desires and guidance. He stays at the center of all my day.