Blessing Our Preachers ~ Part 5

Wednesday Evening, April 12

Cerwin, Carl, Nancy, Broc, Braden, Bonnie, and Steve

We were pleased to get our favorite table (Table 25) at Brickerville House Restaurant when we blessed Carl and Nancy Groff with a restaurant meal – and their choice of a family from our church that they would like to get to know better – Steve and Bonnie Ressler and their sons Broc and Braden.

We had a great evening discussing jobs, family, and dirt bike racing. ūüôā

I enjoy the red beet salad at this restaurant.

Cerwin and I both got Hog Maw РPennsylvania Dutch for stuffed pig stomach. These were stuffed with sausage and potatoes. We obviously did not get the entire stomach, but slices of it.

You can buy pig stomachs in certain grocery stores in our area and stuff them with your choice of items – usually sausage and potatoes. Some people add carrots, onions, or cabbage.

My mother used to promise a pig stomach meal to Cerwin whenever she had a job for him to do – especially working on her propane gas stove. ūüôā

Broc and Braden ordered hamburgers that were quite large. We were all wondering how they were going to open their mouths wide enough to take the first bite.

It was a delicious, delightful evening.


If you need to be refreshed on the previous four posts on blessing our preachers. Go to the top of this page and enter¬†the word “preachers” in the search area – then hit enter.

Blessing Our Preachers – Part 4

Thursday Evening, March 23

We were seated in the Garden Room at Brickerville House Restaurant on the evening we blessed Marv and Sue Shenk (back left and right). We chose Brian and Amy Heisey as a family from our church that we would like to know better.

Clockwise – left to right: Marv, Brian, Amy, Berwyn, Andrea, me, Amanda, and Sue.

Marv and Sue own a peach orchard, so we learned more about the work involved with that. One interesting thing Marv said is that when he and their son, Doug, prune trees, Doug always does the south side of the trees and Marv always trims the north side. He is not sure why, but it is how they always do it.

Sue and I learned that we both got very involved in our heritage with or My this past winter. We both traced family back to Germany and Switzerland during the time when our ancestors were being jailed and persecuted.

Amy enjoys reading and homeschooling their children and grew up on a farm in Illinois. She and Brian met in Bible school. Amanda said she would rather cook than clean. Andrea and Berwyn quietly listened to our chatter while coloring their placemats.

Brian works for Martin Appliance and enjoys repairing appliances and most mechanical things that need fixed. He told a funny story of needing a part for their home air conditioner.

He was pleased to find just what he needed on EBay. I think it was the next day when one of his coworkers asked how he wanted his air conditioner part¬†shipped. It was coming from a Martin Appliance warehouse. ūüôā

They have two older children and have named all the boys with a name beginning with the letter B and all the girls with the letter A Рmaybe because it matches their names РBrian and Amy.

We all exclaimed over Marv¬†and Sue’s¬†delicious-looking chicken pies.


Oh, what a delightful way to spend an evening.


If you do not know or remember why we are blessing our nine preachers, enter the word preacher in the search section on the top right of this entry. It should bring up the three previous evenings we spent with preachers and other couples from our church.

Blessing Our Preachers ~ Part 3

Thursday Evening, March 9

We enjoyed the beautiful sunset as we drove to Brickerville House Family Restaurant to bless another preacher and his wife.

If you missed the reason we are doing this, enter the word “preacher” in the search box at the top right of this entry. Hit enter and read my first two entries on this series.

One thing I like about Brickerville House for our “blessing meals” is that it easy to reserve a specific table in a quiet area of the restaurant.

We were pleased to arrange this meal to bless Jim and Faye Myer (left) and when we asked them to choose a couple from church who they would like to learn to know better, they chose Steve and Emily Alwine.

We had a great evening, talking about our lives, enjoying supper – and discussing¬†hearing aids. Steve and Cerwin wear¬†hearing aids and Faye thinks Jim needs one. ūüôā

Jim knows the owner of the restaurant, so we enjoyed talking with him a bit, especially about the interesting history. He said there is an area in the basement where horses used to be stabled – back in the day when travelers used horses.


Doing these “blessing our preacher meals” is so delightful for us.

Blessing our Preachers ~ Part 2

Monday, February 20

You may remember that Cerwin and I joined many others in our church congregation who are doing something special in 2017 to bless our preachers.

We have chosen to take each preacher and his wife out for supper, and asked them to choose another couple from church that they do not know real well.

This time it was Luther and Joann Patches Рcenter Рand they chose Jeff & Juanita Crouse as the couple they would like to have with us for supper.

We had a great time getting to know each person a bit better and hearing about the passions of their hearts.

We were at Lititz Family Cupboard.

A Year of Blessing

Tuesday, January 31

Three young couples from our church felt led to challenge the people of our congregation РWhite Oak Church of the Brethren Рto spend 2017 in blessing our preachers.

Cerwin and I knew immediately that we wanted to participate by choosing a specific week to pray for each of our nine preachers and their wife by signing up on the online spreadsheet.

The second part of “Operation Bless” was choosing a month to bless each¬†preacher and his¬†wife.

That is how we found ourselves traveling to Oregon Dairy on Monday evening during a pretty sunset.

The first preacher on the spreadsheet was Sam Cassel and his wife, Miriam.

When we talked to them the other¬†Sunday morning, and told them our plan to take each preacher and his wife out for a meal and have them choose another couple from church – that they don’t know very well – to go along.

Miriam chose Oregon Dairy as her restaurant of choice. They told us to choose the other couple.

Because she has Parkinson’s Disease, we had offered to take a meal to their house, but she chose to go to a restaurant.

Sam and Miriam are on the right. (Our waitress took the pictures for me.)

Our congregation is fairly large, so it is easy to¬†never get to know some¬†people.¬†Vernon and Jeana Martin (left) are one of those couples. I didn’t even know their names when I talked to Jeana on Sunday morning. ūüôā

Vernon owns his own excavating company, so this was a good week for them to go out for supper. Winter is not always busy for excavators. Jeana and I discovered that we have a lot in common. Cooking is not one of our favorite things to do and we enjoy counted cross stitch. Cerwin and Vernon enjoyed talking about some of their hunting experiences.

Of course we all talked about children and grandchildren.

My supper was lobster stew in a bread bowl. Yum!

We had a great evening – learning about each other. We¬†were still there when most of the other diners had gone¬†home. ūüôā

It was interesting to¬†learn¬†about Sam and Miriam’s challenges¬†in living with her¬†Parkinson’s Disease and¬†fun to hear¬†some of¬†Sam’s experiences in¬†learning to cook. (Ask him about making lemon sponge pie.)

They are certainly living their journey with grace.

Sam is retired from preaching, but fills in for someone now and then or takes a turn in preaching during a specific series.

My coconut cream pie.

Our plan was to bless Sam and Miriam and learn to know Vernon and Jeana, but I think we were the most blessed.

Ladies Fellowship ~ Part 3

Saturday, January 21

Jess introduced and prayed for Barb and Joan before they spoke to us on the subject: Joy? In This Mess!

Joan (the younger sister) spoke first – giving us many reasons to smile.

She and Barb took turns throughout the morning as they shared subjects like: Joy in the Mundane, Joy in Hard Places, Joy in Sorrow, Spreading Joy.

Joy is a deep abiding presence.

Learning to laugh at ourselves.

She¬†shared the funniest story of the day when she recalled a time when one of her children answered the phone and handed it to her saying, “It’s Dad.”

Joan though it strange that he was calling, since he had just left the house for a hunting trip. She answered with some sweet Рhusband/wife Рtalk.

There was a long silence – then¬†a young, single man from their church responded, “No one ever talked to me like that.” ūüôā

She said they still laugh about it now and then.

Remember God’s faithfulness.

Focus on Joy

Comparison is a joy robber: If only I had what she has. If only my children were as well behaved as hers. If only…if only.

This picture was put on the screen to make us smile.

At first I thought it was from a mission trip to a first nations reserve in Canada in the ’80s when Joan was with our team, but mine is a bit different.

Pain is not the enemy of Joy.

Enjoy laughter


A skit about listening to negative or positive input with Anna, Joan, and Ruthie.

Every now and then Barb entered the room “singing in the rain.”

They closed the skit by joining in a song about “singing in the rain.”

Spreading Joy does not require money.

Choose “front row joy.”

The last subject was Joy in Sorrow

During this section she shared the story of a man who was a refiner of silver.

When the man was asked how he knew when the silver is finished, he said, “When I can see my reflection in it.”

That what God wants from us. He wants to see His reflection in us.

They closed by praying a prayer of joy and blessing on the ladies in the audience.

Kim made a few closing remarks before dismissing us.

It was a fabulous morning. Thanks to the committee, cooks, and Barb and Joan.

We were treated like queens.

Ladies Fellowship ~ Part 2

Saturday, January 21

Registration with Bev and Kim

Welcome and instructions by Bev

Prayer for the brunch

Eggs and ham

Following the meal, Linnea led us in singing several songs.

Joanna knew¬†she should¬†stop singing and smile just in case it showed up on my¬†blog. ūüôā

Jess introduced the last song in preparation for our speakers.

More tomorrow night

Ladies Fellowship ~ Part 1

Saturday, January 21

I looked forward to this day – to fellowship with other ladies – and to hear what Barb and Joan (sisters) had to say. They were in the youth group when we were youth advisors back in the ’80s.

This is what greeted the ladies as we arrived at the door of the church – fellowship hall entrance.

The next decoration was inside – next to the fellowship hall.

I like to photograph this day to honor the ladies of our church – for their hard work and creative skills.

The fellowship hall looked beautiful and spring-like – refreshing in midwinter.

Someone spent a lot of time designing napkins.

Each placesetting included a flower seed packet and a journal.

If I understood correctly, Joan provided and probably decorated the cover of the journals.

In the kitchen I found Laura talking to Martha and Brenda who were washing dishes. Martha is grandmother to Laura and mother in-law-¬†to Brenda. Martha is also mother to¬†Barb and Joan (today’s speakers).

Amy was filling pitchers with water.

Scones ready to be served.

Brenda and Laura preparing buffet tables.

Kate placing lemon curd on the table.

Brenda placing serving spoons.

Yogurt, granola, and fruit


Lemon curd

Things to add to baked oatmeal.

Those who prepared the food: Andi, Kate, Brenda, Laura, and Amy.

Brenda is my sister-in-law (my youngest brother’s wife), Andi, Kate, and Laura are her daughters, and Amy is the daughter of my sister, Nancy.

Also, Brenda is a sister to Barb and Joan (the speakers).

Window decorations

Helpers poured water as ladies began to arrive.

Kathy and Heidi at the coffee/tea table.

Pastry to go with the coffee

Church cookbooks were for sale.

Registration table

More tomorrow night.

The Baptism of Jared, Jesse, and James

Sunday, December 4

I like saying those three names because it sounds like a listing of disciples. Jared, Jesse, and James. ūüôā

Some of our family waiting for the baptism: Jana, Allie, Josh, Sam, Deb, Roy, Ian and two of our preachers, Luther and Dave. Dave was welcoming everyone.

More family members

Opening Prayer


Our minister, Merv Groff, did the baptizing.


The other young man being baptized was James Martin.

Closing Prayer

James with his parents Gloria and Dustin.

Our grandsons Jesse and Jared with their parents, Kristen and Jere

We closed by singing:

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
And live rejoicing every day:
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away!

An Amazing Week with Ian, Jared, and Jesse

October 22-30

We have been in charge of caring for these three grandchildren many times during their lifetime, but none of them ever turned out quite like this time. ūüôā

jeres-boys-1I asked the boys (left to right: Jared, Jesse, and Ian) to pose for a picture this morning before church Рto send to their parents who are on a working/vacation in Chile.

jeres-boys-2Cerwin took this one while I was taking a cell phone picture for Jere and Kristen.

jeres-boys-3The early part of the week was fairly routine – like taking them to their house to feed and water the chickens and gather eggs.








jeres-boys-11We enjoyed the flowers Jere brought – along with the boys clothing, food, and schedule on Friday, October 21..



jeres-boys-14Jared and Ian sharpened their hunting skills by shooting BB pellets at pesky squirrels and blackbirds.

jeres-boys-15Jesse works on his reading skills a bit each day.

jeres-boys-16They had a lot of fun with our great-grandson, Anthony, (their cousin-once-removed) on Tuesday evening when Nate and Abby went out for supper with friends.

jeres-boys-17A cell phone picture to send to his grandma Diane in Maine. It is so much fun having him stay with us on occasion. He makes me smile – and sometimes laugh.


jeres-boys-19On Wednesday evening Jesse and I went to Manheim Central Middle School to pick up Ian after band practice. Jesse was playing a game on his Tablet.

jeres-boys-20I enjoyed the sky and fall beauty around me.

jeres-boys-21Band practice is over


jeres-boys-23On Thursday evening Jesse made buttered noodles and hot dogs for supper.

jeres-boys-24Jared created this design with magnets we keep for the children who visit us.


jeres-boys-26Jesse likes to make rows with the dominos.


jeres-boys-28He is quite satisfied with himself when it works and they all fall – like dominos should.

jeres-boys-29Ian likes to make anything he can fry in our new frying pan – eggs, chicken patties, and home fries.

Doesn’t that seem like a fairly ordinary week of caring for young boys?


The unusual part of our week began on Friday evening when we went to church for the beginning of our revival meetings. We went early for the prayer meeting that opened our ten-day series of meetings. Unbeknownst to us, it was during this prayer time that Jared knew it was time for him to make a decision to follow Jesus.

When prayer service was over, we went to the sanctuary and joined the others in singing. During the first song Jesse leaned over to me and whispered – I am feeling in my heart that Jesus wants me to make a decision to follow Him.

Because I wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing, I suggested that we call his parents when we got home from church.

Then when the sermon was over, and the visiting minister requested a song of invitation, Jesse was quite uncomfortable and asked me again if he could stand for Jesus. I told him that was up to him. About that time Jared stood to his feet to publically confess that he wanted to be a follower of Jesus.

Our congregation¬†believes that it is important to¬†make¬†a public decision when responding to the call of God in our lives in order to “put down a stake” in our¬†spiritual journey and tell others about our choice to follow Christ.

When he saw Jared stand to his feet, Jesse was quite uncomfortable, but I suggested that he should wait to talk to his parents. Oh, my, what a decision for a grandma.

jeres-boys-30After we got home they¬†called their parents in Chile – who were anxiously waiting for the call –¬†because Ian had texted them about Jared’s decision. This is when Jere and Kristen were praying with the boys. (I love modern technology.)

Ian made this decision on the same day – four years earlier.

Then I told them about Jesse’s desire to accept Jesus into his heart and told them it had nothing to do with Jared’s decision, but that God’s call to Jesse happened before Jared made his decision public.

They confirmed that Jesse knew what he was doing and encouraged him to publicly invite Christ into his heart.

jeres-boys-31Jesse made his¬†decision to follow Christ this morning during the morning worship service. (I apologize for the blurred cell phone picture. I only took one picture so I wouldn’t disturb the meeting with two of our preachers – Ron and David.)

Ron and David did a fabulous job of asking Jesse to read scripture and confirm his decision to follow Christ. The preachers who talked to Jared – in the same room were David and Jon (no picture). I was also impressed with the way in which they used this time to “put down a stake” in this early part of his walk with¬†Christ.

jeres-boys-32Cerwin took this picture of Jesse responding to one of Ron’s questions. Jared, Ian, and their sister, Jana, were also in the room.


My heart is bursting with joy and gratefulness to God for allowing us to be part of this experience for Jared and Jesse.