Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Crowned by God's Goodness

Rowan, who was napping during the picture taking                                                                                      Thanksgiving 2015
Picture from left to right: Kristina, Rebecca, Dan, Austin, Ashley, Shawn, Josh, Kira, Kevin, Ian, Ruth, Jodi, Dominic, Emmanuel, Elle, Jill, Aubrey, Noah 

You crown the year with your goodness; your carts overflow with abundance. Ps. 65:11

Greetings!  Remembering 2015 and God's goodness!

Job Cart
Kevin and I are thankful for the jobs that continue to provide income and just enough challenge to make each day unique and filled with opportunities to spread the goodness. Kevin finds his service job at Tri-State frustrating at times, yet familiar and he appreciates friendship with certain co-workers.  My job at Goshen College is perhaps the most enjoyable, presently, as in any of the past 8 years I've been there.  The library has had a change of leadership and new, younger staff have been added that make for a work day that can be fun and a little crazy. (Visit the Harold and Wilma Good Library page on Facebook if you want to see some of our shenanigans)  I also appreciate relationships with the student workers I manage.

Family Cart 
Wonderful family visits marked the year. February found us in VA enjoying time with Amanda and family and a well-timed connection with my sister and husband who were in the area for business.  Rather than a break from winter weather as we traveled south, a winter storm hit the coast and everything shut down for a couple of days. We enjoyed meeting Amanda's youngest, Zane, born January 9th and of course lots of games and activities with Auron (8) and Elika (5).

July set a record for days with adult kids and grandkids. Josh, Kira and Brayden(15) visited here the July 4th week, and besides all the local places they wanted to experience, we all took in a Detroit Tigers game and crossed over the Canadian border to eat dinner in Windsor, Ontario. Josh and Kira enjoy jobs that allow them to work from home, or wherever their travels lead them.

Jodi and her three lively boys, Ian(7), Dominic(5) and Noah(1), were here the middle of July, with Emmanuel joining us near the end of their stay. We made many happy memories together; Fair visits, crafts, park picnics, shopping, games and more!

The day they headed back to Florida, Amanda and her three energetic kids, Auron(8), Elika(5) and Zane(almost 1) joined us for two more weeks of activities and playtime. AJ arrived for a few days before the crew returned home to VA.

Austin and Ashley live in Cleveland, so they and our youngest grand baby, Rowan(6mos), were able to join our gatherings several times. And of course our local family, Dan and Kristina, Aubrey(11), Shawn(8) and Rebecca(5), dropped in, too.

Showalter & Hochstetler Cart
On the road again to VA in October for my brother Paul's son Andrew's wedding.  It was a great time with my siblings and Dad and Lena, who are in good health and enjoying life. From there we traveled three more hours to the coast to take in another visit with Amanda and family.

Kevin's dad struggles with Parkinson and other maladies.  His mom stays healthy and continues to host some of us from time to time for a birthday dinner or snacks.  They still live independently, as Kevin and his sisters provide a lot of assistance for doctor visits, home chores and meals.

Health Cart
In March I was scheduled for a heart procedure to correct an occasional arrhythmia.  No arrhythmia could be found so the surgery was not completed.  I have been doing well since and believe God is healing me. We both are thankful for good health, other than the normal complaints that aging brings. (Anyone else avoiding trifocals and hanging on to 5 or more pairs of eyeglass readers? Or not able to move sprightly off the sofa after watching a movie? )

Thanksgiving Cart
All our gang shared Thanksgiving together here except the Bumgardners, and Bray and Cody, Kira's sons.
We missed you!
What a time of feasting, fun and a busy household!  We are so thankful in times like these for our big house that was able to host all of the out-of-towners.  Josh's girls, Jill(14) and Elle(12), were along for this visit.  Papa and I took them to see Mary Poppins as an early Christmas gift.  In fact, almost all our Christmas gifts were handed out early this year which saved postage and made for a less harried December.


Church Cart
Harvest Community adjusts to a new pastor.  Our former pastor stepped down after 35 years and Jeremy Gwaltney is now filling the position.  He and his wife with their 4 young children hail from North Carolina. The transition is going well and we continue to be grateful for our friends and community at Harvest. I still serve as church librarian and Kevin heads a hospitality team.  We carry a passion for step-families and peacemaking and offer help as needed.

Friend Cart
You all fit in here!  And yes, our friend cart overflows with abundance. We love and appreciate you and your presence in our lives.  As we face uncertain days in our nation and the world, let us be diligent in praying for  and encouraging one another.

You're a good good father
It's who you are, It's who you are
Its who you are
And I'm love by you
It's who I am, It's who I am
It's who I am x 2

Listen Here
Good, Good Father

No matter what we face or how difficult our life on earth, this is always true:  God is Good! May the Prince of Peace comfort you with His presence and daily define His call to follow Him.

Kevin and Ruth 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thanks for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a week long celebration this year as some of our precious family arrived the Sunday before the holiday.  For hubby and me the celebration began with preparation, weeks before the out-of-staters arrived--the cleaning, the baking, the special requests for each one's favorite foods, the toys and activities to fit each age group, the Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to go back with them, and our hearts ready to enjoy each unique personality and presence.

The five early travelers from Florida managed to sneak in beautifully between snowy roads and enough snow left for the kids to take the sled out.  Their presence and help before the big day event was like opening the one gift allowed on Christmas Eve, satisfying, but heightening the anticipation of the more-to-come excitement.

Thanksgiving Eve brought in two more carloads of sweet faces to kiss, bags to deposit in the bedrooms not yet taken, baby gear and toys, and teen's back pockets bulging with electronics. Malteses, Cozette and Neo, also bounded in to add to our joyous mix.

Day one and two were all about the food.  Engineers in the kitchen chugged through recipes while I conducted the transport of ingredients to each creation station, helping to keep things on track for the scrumptious spread of food the holiday requires. Last minute prep for a Thanksgiving feast is quite the feat and only the chef in charge feels the pressure.  In the midst of those moments I also tried to gather the gaggle of relatives together for a family photo shoot. How great to have a son-in-law who is a photographer! The weather cooperated fantastically to take the shots outside.  New-fangled technology allowed Emmanuel to set up his camera on a chosen spot and sync it with his phone app so he could leisurely walk into his place in the picture while we all hoped to smile at the same moment he made the camera wink at us.

As we next took our places around the long table set up in the spacious garage, we offered a psalm and thanksgiving to the God who has given us such rich bounty to enjoy and share. The serving dishes quickly emptied.  Everyone helped with clean up before the trytophan set in; it wasn't long before adults were draped over easy chairs in lazy conversations.

Our togetherness continued throughout the weekend--Black Friday shopping, football games for some and plenty of card games.  Then grand kid time of course, with stories, Racko games and holding babies.

The Florida entourage left Saturday morning.  Papa and I took the teen grands to see Mary Poppins; an early Christmas gift to them. By mid-morning Sunday the last carload had driven away and hubby and I breathed in the quiet.  As I gathered up towels, and sheets off of beds, I made a pile of things left behind-one lone black sock, one boy hoodie and one husband ring.

Memories will linger; it was a celebration to hold dear.


Father, thank you for creating family.  What the enemy has worked hard to destroy through internal dysfunction and discord, or brokenness, or by trying to replace sacred components with unholy substitutes, you continue to heal, restore, renew and reward the families who seek after you. Our times together confirm your work in us and assures that your faithfulness to family continues to all generations.

But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—  Psalms 103:17