Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Weekend of Fun and Fellowship

This weekend was a blur of activity, but all good and rewarding. Friday evening we again hosted our small group Bible study for a meal and discussion, which is always a treat. The kids helped me to finish the flower beds by scattering mulch over the dirt and around the plants.

Saturday actually began calmly and slowly, which was very welcome since recent weeks have been rather hectic. We discovered that a pair of House Wrens have chosen to set up housekeeping in the little gourd hanging from our lamp post. We wired it securely to the post during one of their absences since we have seen it blow off in the wind in the past, and they continued to busily build their nest. Another Springtime discovery was that there is a young family of Cardinals in another tree, so we set a step-stool near it to facilitate observation.

In the evening we went with our friends, Dave and Sue Yoch, to meet an Amish family with whom they have been friends for a number of years. They met when Sue's sister was a Nurse at the Hospital and cared for the Riehl's eldest son after his appendectomy. Gideon and Malinda have reared four children thus far, and their youngest, Reuben, still lives at home. At 27, Reuben is clean shaven, wears "English" clothing, drives a car, and worships in a church that is more Mennonite than Amish.

Our evening was splendid. We began with a buggy ride while it was still light out, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Gideon enlisted the kids' help to get Maple, their Standardbred, brushed and harnessed. We were able to talk about a number of things during the drive- from keeping bugs out of one's teeth, to misconceptions people have about the Amish and "English" Christians when only learning about them from outsiders. Once the buggy ride was over Gideon saddled Maple for the kids to each have a ride.

Inside the house, Malinda served mint tea, made with the mint grown in her garden, while we visited. She shared her little photo album - that's right, photos!- of her Grandchildren, some of whom live in Kansas. They told us stories and answered lots of questions about how they live and what they believe. My heart overflowed when Gideon asserted that he was certain that driving a buggy was not how he would get into Heaven, but that Christ's death on the Cross in his place was his only hope. That led to such a rich and encouraging discussion of Spiritual matters and the beliefs that we share in common. We have no doubt that when we stand among the multitude before God's throne, worshiping Him for eternity, Gideon, Malinda and Reuben will be there with us!

One of their funniest stories had to be about their trip to Florida, when they also went down to Key West. People would turn and stare in amazement as they passed them in the street- one can expect to see a lot of things in Key West, but an Amish family?! They thought it was quite funny as well.

Sunday after church we went to have a backyard cookout with friends. Rob and Sue live quite a way South of us, yet still make the trek to our church- dedication in action! The Wisniewski's joined us as well which made for a busy bunch of kids. They all did their thing- hanging out and talking, while the grown ups (and I usually hesitate before assuming that I'm one...) visited on the back porch. The sun had come out and it was a perfect day.

Hop-a-long boys!

Always good food at a backyard BBQ!
Sue, Barbaranne, and Piper
The Grill-Meister, Rob
Manly men discussing Manly Things.
Sweet Kate- please don't fall!
Once home, Kate and Bekah went to youth group. At 8 pm they called to tell us they were on their way home and they had invited friends for a campfire and S'mores! College friends are beginning to trickle home now that the Semester is wrapping up, and it was time to do some catching up! So Jim and Isaac got the fire started, the girls stopped for marshmallows and other "nutritious snackage" and the evening went late into the night as we visited and laughed around the fire ring. Sorry, no photos for this, but much fun was had!

Monday evening was the Soup-er Bowl fundraising event for Opportunity House, a local outreach to the homeless and hungry in Reading. Erin had chosen to have her birthday party be part of this effort and she and her friends made bowls to donate. Michelle and Erin Bleacher joined us as we waited in line with hundreds of others for the doors to open! Bowls made throughout the area by High School and College students, as well as many workshops for others, were on display for choosing. For each ticket, we were allowed to take home one hand-made bowl. Hundreds of beautiful bowls + hundreds of people = very crowded conditions! It was like Christmas Eve at Wal Mart! But what a neat idea.

Once we found our bowls of choice, we made our way to a table, then chose samples of soups donated by area restaurants. So yummy, so many choices, so warm and filling! Even our little Vegetarians were satisfied. Isaac had put up a bit of a fuss about coming, but thanked me for making him before the night was over- there were strawberries and a chocolate fountain after all!


avalarue said...

Thank you for sharing! I thought of a word to describe you - indefatigueable. (Maybe I should check the spelling!) You truly amaze me. I hope you have a super-terrific Mother's Day on Sunday!

John Schuchman said...

Since I promised I would comment on your blog since I read it...here is proof

I'm glad my house was enjoyable.... I spent many long hours perfecting the lawn :P

I didn't know Mountain Dew,Pepsi,Doritos,Cheetos,and marshmallows are defined as "nutritious snackage", but I feel much better about eating/drinking them since they are ;)

"the evening went late into the night"
A little too late some might say....

I'm upset there were no photos of the fire adventures :(
Next time you will have to pull out your camera!

By the way....I'm pretty upset you used the word "Florida" to describe "down south" :P