A Foggy Drive

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DSC_6480It was an icy, foggy afternoon – when we left the house to visit Cerwin’s mother.

DSC_6486I thought you may enjoy traveling with us.

DSC_6488Fog makes everything look so different.

DSC_6489

DSC_6493

DSC_6491

DSC_6494

DSC_6496

DSC_6497

DSC_6499

DSC_6500We don’t often see a big rig in our local village.

DSC_6501

DSC_6503

DSC_6505

DSC_6508

DSC_6509

DSC_6510

DSC_6514

DSC_6517Flags hung limp as there was not even a small breeze.

DSC_6519

DSC_6520

DSC_6523

DSC_6525I love a foggy day.

The Sky & The Neighbor’s Cows

Wednesday, October 8 & Thursday, October 9

1 (1)We woke up to a beautiful sunrise on Wednesday, October 8.

Can you tell that I am back to regular posting – and catching up with October photos? 🙂

1 (2)

1aI love morning fog.

1aa

1aaa (1)Later in the day we enjoyed seeing a beautiful blue sky with a few clouds sprinkled here and there.

1aaa (2)

1b (1)A local business asked if it would be possible to use some of my cow and harvest photos for their website and maybe for a calendar.

1b (2)I looked through my photos from the past few years, then took several more to add to the collection.

2 (1)

2 (2)

2 (3)

2 (4)

3 (1)When I noticed these cows in a neighbor’s meadow, I stopped the car and got out – getting their attention.

3 (2)

4 (1)

4 (3)

4 (4)

4 (5)

4 (7)

4 (8)The closer I got to them, the closer they came to the fence.

4 (8a)

4 (9)I wasn’t their only subject of curiosity – these two cows were in a meadow on the other side of the road.

4bMy favorite cow photos were of this one.

5

6

Fog ~ Dirt ~ Fall Sunset

The last few days of September.

1 (1)A foggy, fall morning.

1 (4)

1 (6)

2 (1)Cerwin ordered a load of topsoil to fill in a low area in our yard.

2 (2)

2 (4)

2 (6)Then he borrowed my brothers’ skid loader to level it.

~~~

It was not enough, so he ordered a partial load the next day. Then it rained, then he was busy, then it rained, then it rained. So there is still a pile of dirt in our yard. 🙂

3 (1)We have been having some beautiful fall evenings.

3 (2)

3 (3)

3 (5)

3 (6)

3 (7)

4 (2)I love a beautiful, fall sunset.

Day-By-Day ~ Last Week

I am going to post more pictures than usual tonight to bring you up to date in our lives.

1The chapel for Pass Lake, Ontario, is coming along nicely ~ thanks to a great crew of workers.

1aThe paneling is finished.

1b (1)Monday and Tuesday: At our house – the Daryl Bollinger Company did a great job of installing fascia and soffet in the spouting/roof area of our house. They also installed a gutter guard in the spouting (to keep leaves and sticks from getting inside).

Now no more painting under the roof, and hopefully Cerwin will not have to get on the roof to clean out the spouting. 🙂

1b (2)Tuesday: It was a beautiful, foggy morning as I traveled to and from the post office.

1b (3)Tuesday and Wednesday: Jesse and Gloria got to spend time at our house.

1b (4)Wednesday was Jesse’s first experience at helping to label the Highway News. Behind him is Alex, a next-door-neighbor who came with his grandma.

1b (5)At the other table was Gloria, Mary (Alex’s grandma), Julia, Glen, and Cerwin.

1cThat evening Gloria’s friend Ashlea came to spend the night ~ and brought a cake she had decorated in cake-decorating-class.

It’s fun for me that my sister and I have granddaughters who are good friends.

2 (1)Great job Ashlea.

2 (3)Jesse

Friday Evening: Jere’s invited us for supper.

While we waited for supper the boys showed us the boats they made with Legos.

2 (2) Ian

2 (4)Jared

2 (6)Ian showed us his new glasses.

He usually wears contacts, but at times needs glasses and his old ones were getting too small.

2 (5)It was fun having Lydia (from Maine) join us. She is in Pennsylvania for BBI (Brethren Bible Institute) next week.

2 (8)Jere grilled the chicken and steak to perfection!

2 (7)

2 (9)Jesse, Irene (exchange student from Spain), Jared, Kristen, Josh, and Jere.

2aOur dessert was ice cream and s’mores.

Jared was roasting mine ~ and I told him that I like them melted the whole way through.

24-7-16-14  HN, Jere's (14)Oh my. It was perfect!

26-7-16-14  HN, Jere's (16)  He also made a good one for himself.

27-7-16-14  HN, Jere's (17)After supper Jesse decided to go for a swim.

28-7-16-14  HN, Jere's (18)

29-7-16-14  HN, Jere's (19)

30-7-19-14 Daylily (1)Saturday: I spend the day working in the flowerbeds, so our yard would look nice for the weekend.

32-7-19-14 Daylily (3)The daylilies were so pretty.

31-7-19-14 Daylily (2)

33-7-19-14 Daylily (4)

34-7-19-14 Daylily (5)

36-7-20-14 Pavilion (2)Sunday lunch: Cerwin and I had the pavilion ready, the tables set, and the doggie fire ready for the Hershey Reunion a few minutes before everyone arrived.

35-7-20-14 Pavilion (1)Since we had a bit of time, I told Cerwin that I want to take a picture of him showing how tall the corn in beside the pavilion.

37-7-20-14 Pavilion (3)Our sister-in-law Brenda brought a delicious taco salad.

38-7-20-14 Pavilion (5)Dave and two of his and Laura’s boys (Caleb & Benny) roasting hot dogs.

41-7-20-14 Pavilion (8)It was a small group for the Hershey’s (maybe 35 or 40) but it was a perfect day for a family get-together and we had fun visiting aunts, uncles, and cousins.

40-7-20-14 Pavilion (7)Victoria and Emma in the sand and Kelci in the background.

39-7-20-14 Pavilion (6)Regan and Jake.

~~~

After the Hershey’s left, we refreshed the table cloths and prepared for our Sunday school picnic.

42-7-20-14 Pavilion (9)It was a great evening of eating and visiting.

~~~

That brings you up to last night ~ and we have big travel plans for tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Don’t You Wish We Could Always Know The End Of The Story?

Image

I began working on bulk mailings in 1977.

  • The Northeast Region was new then, and Director Melvin Mast and his wife, Joyce, were preparing to mail newsletters by using a bulk permit.
  • My first job in their office was to organize addresses – on typed labels – in alphabetical order.
  • On my first day in the office, the addresses were on stacks of paper in various kinds of handwriting.

That is the bulk of what I did as I volunteered several hours – one day a week – for ten years: add new addresses, remove old ones, then retype everything every-so-often when the labels were too messy.

  • I did other things as needed, but the addresses were my responsibility.
  • When we did early bulk mailings, I sorted newsletters by zip code – in large paper bags. 🙂
  • There was always a table full of volunteers labeling the newsletters and bringing them to me.
  • Our daughter Deb was of preschool age at the time and usually went with me. I think her first office job was bringing labeled newsletters from the table to my bench of zip-code-organized bags.

DSC_3372If I could have looked ahead and seen through the fog to where I am today in doing bulk mailings, I am sure I would have said, “No. I would rather do something easier.”

As I thought about that today, it reminded me of life and how many times we wish we could see through the fog of life and know the end of the story.

My bulk mailing knowledge was stretched in 1987 when TFC went from typewriter to computer.

  • My boss, Joyce, did not like or trust computers.
  • Though I was a bit scared, I decided to accept the challenge and went to Ohio, where TFC’s headquarters were then located – to learn the approved database for TFC.

That is when I began working in the office two days a week – one volunteer and the other for pay. (I needed some income to cover the cost of travel as it was a one-hour drive each way.)

  • By this time Diane was married, the boys were out of school and working, and Deb was a teenager.

DSC_3374Then in 1989 Melvin became very ill from cancer, and Cerwin and I were invited by the ministry to oversee the Northeast Region. (He died in early 1990.)

  • We resisted for many weeks, but God eventually made it clear to us that this is the path He wanted us to travel.
  • My faith and bulk mailing knowledge was again stretched, but I eventually saw through the fog and settled into a routine.

After the region and our mailing list grew, I also began mailing newsletters for our region’s staff – and bulk mailing became a bit overwhelming.

DSC_3373One day a Pitney Bowes representative came to my home/office and explained how nice it would be for me if we used SmartMailer for bulk mailings. 🙂 Though it sounded nice, I tuned her out until she mentioned that I would no longer have to rubber band the bundles of sorted newsletters.

  • My hands were sore from just having spent eight hours rubber banding the newsletters that twenty-plus volunteers had labled for me the day before.

She had my attention and later that day I explained this fabulous opportunity to Cerwin and our advisors, and because our region had funds available at the time, we purchased the software.

  • It was one of the best decisions we ever made for our office.

Again I was muddling through a fog of new things. But eventually the sun came out and things became routine again – until TFC, the Post Office, or Pitney Bowes updated or changed things. 🙂

Sometime – about 2005/2006 – after a series of brainstorming meetings – a TFC leadership team concluded that it would be wise to erase the regional lines and have ministry directors instead of regional directors.

Cerwin became Director of Chapel Construction and I became Director of Staff Communications.

  • This is when I was grateful for the SmartMailer software, because I would now be doing the layout and design, printing, and bulk mailing for staff newsletters; and mailing the prayer calendar and individual Highway News.

Late last summer I began receiving information that the Post Office was making a major change to bulk mailings, as all reports would have to be submitted online by January 26, 2014.

  • I tried to follow the detailed instructions from Pitney Bowes and the Post Office and made partial progress, but my submission never worked, so I let it go for awhile, mostly because we spent so much time traveling in October, November, and December.

DSC_3405This week – after life began to return to normal, and my partial retirement (I no longer help with the layout and design of ministry newsletters) seems to be in effect – I began working on the online submission with the goal of having it completed by the end of this week.

  • Finally, my test mailing went through on Tuesday afternoon, and I received an email from the Post Office that the submission was successful!
  • On Wednesday I prepared the Highway News labels and submitted the report to the Post Office. Yes! It looked good.

On Thursday our friends John, Arlene, Josh, and Janessa came to help label the Highway News, and by 11:30 we had the 16 mailing bags loaded and ready for the Post Office.

  • Cerwin put the bags on the dock and the postmaster took my reports – pleased that everything worked for me.
  • A few minutes later – after we were almost through Lititz – the postmaster called to say the submitted report did not work on his end. 🙁
  • We had to go back to the post office.

He took me to his computer where we tried to figure out what was wrong. We found nothing, so the bags had to be loaded back into our RAV4. He gave me a submitted cover report from someone else whose submitted reports were working.

  • When I got home I double-checked the fields in my SmartMailer and found nothing wrong, so I called the lady whose reports worked. However, we could not generate the report I needed, and concluded that it was because I had to date it for Friday.
  • Maybe the report would show up Friday morning.
  • It didn’t!

I called PostalOne this morning – the part of the Post Office responsible for these submitted reports. She couldn’t find anything wrong, and said since I was using full-service, I would not have any reports to print. Everything was submitted online. (The other lady was not using full-service.)

  • Cerwin and I went back to the Post Office, and Mike and I went over my newly submitted report to see if there was something we missed.
  • We found something that wasn’t checked – which eliminated one error report. But there were two, and he still could not submit my report. 🙁

Our decision: he would research the error code with a state post office and I would call Pitney Bowes.

  • I prayed, asking God to let me get through to Pitney Bowes and get a rep who understood what was going on. (I had talked to someone earlier in the process.)
  • I got right through, and on the other end of the line was a wonderful guy named Steve. When I told him the error report at the Post Office, he said, “I know your problem.”

DSC_3407That was the best news I heard since noon yesterday!

The problem was a glitch in Pitney Bowes software. He fixed it remotely and asked me to run the mailing list through the software and submit it again.

I called Mike at the post office – and it worked!

  • I do wish I had known about the glitch before.
  • It sure would have made this process a lot easier.
  • However, life is not always easy.

But the sunset did look especially pretty tonight.

Reminders of My Childhood

When I walked outside this morning, this scene took me back to my early teen years when I enjoyed reading Harold Bell Wright books.

1   I loved how he described the light coming through the trees in the Ozarks.

He described it so well that I could almost see it and feel it.

2After school Ian could hardly wait to show me the cow he drew today.

I used to love drawing when I was his age.

3

4A noisy, rainy thunderstorm came through our area just before suppertime.

Sometimes I miss my dad during an evening thunderstorm.

He loved to sit on the porch during a summer rain – especially after the storm had passed.

5Afterward there was another “Harold Bell Wright moment” when the mist came up through the trees in the woodland and mountains behind us.

Morning Fog

I am glad that we live in the country so nobody can see me walking around our yard in the early morning – in my house coat – taking pictures. 🙂

DSC_5966The moon was still bright when I went outside.

DSC_5971The grass was damp and cool to my bare feet and the air was heavy with dew.

DSC_5979

DSC_5967

DSC_5977

DSC_5975

DSC_5976

DSC_5986

DSC_5980

DSC_5989

DSC_5993

DSC_5987

DSC_5985

DSC_5982

DSC_5996

DSC_5995

DSC_5994

DSC_5970As day dawned the lighting and fog quickly changed.

DSC_5968

DSC_5981

DSC_5991It was delightful to be outside at daybreak.