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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mennonite History Day

Every year the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society sponsors Mennonite History Day. A speaker is scheduled and invitations are extended to Mennonite schools to participate. They register with the society and the secretary gives the speaker the schedule. 
I was the speaker eleven years ago and spoke in 32 schools. When they asked me to do it again this year I hesitated. It is a lot of work and I am eleven years older. They said there is a whole new crop of students now and I could just repeat what I did the first time. That took half the work out of it if I didn't need to make new talks. So I agreed but limited it to two schools per week. 
Eighteen schools registered and I began the tour on February 1. Now I'm at the end of the month and am half way through the list. Nine schools finished and nine more to go.
I have three topics and each one is modified so I can do it on three age levels: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The titles are Is Bigger Always Better?, What Can I Trust? and Who Is In Control? They are based on the life of my grandmother as told in my book Annie's Day of Light. I try to teach a spiritual lesson in each one, using things that happened in Annie's life and the world she lived in: World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. The answers to those questions in the titles are that bigger is not always better, God is the only One we can trust completely, and He is in control. I hope the children learn something that will steer them in the right direction in life.
I had a two-hour drive to the school where I spoke today. I went that far one other time but most of the schools are an hour or less. I meet a lot of people I would probably never meet otherwise. It's interesting work but I will be glad when I'm finished. It's really keeping this old lady stepping.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sausage, Noodles and Apples

I got this recipe from one of my daughters-in-law. It sounded like a strange combination but we only had to taste it once to know it's a winner. We're having it for supper tonight so I thought I'd share the recipe.

1/2 package wide noodles
4 apples
4 tbs. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (you can use regular sausage but it won't taste as good)

Cut sausage into small pieces and fry. Meanwhile, boil noodles until finished. Pare and cut apples into thin slices.
Melt 2 tbs. butter and place in 9x13 dish. Place half of the cooked, drained noodles in the dish, half of the sausage pieces, and half of the apple slices. Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle half of this mixture on the apples. Repeat layers. Dot with remaining butter.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until apples are soft.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Is a Verb

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and a day to express love. Stores are pushing us to do that with cards, flowers and chocolate. Somehow we have gotten the notion that romantic love is the epitome of love. It's not. That's one aspect of love but there's a whole lot more to  love than that. 
Love is a quality not limited to romantic relationships. It is needed every day of the year and by everyone, child, teenager, adult, single, or married. A person who is not loved by anyone or does not love anyone is severely handicapped and will suffer emotionally. We all need to love and be loved.
I grew up in a family that did not say "I love you" to each other. The only time I remember my mother saying those words to me was when she was on her deathbed. But I knew she loved me long before she said it. My family expressed love in actions rather than words. I knew my family cared and I could count on them to be there when I needed help. 
I don't need flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day to know my husband loves me. It's what he does all year that conveys the message. Without that, getting flowers and chocolate on that one day of the year would have no meaning. 
Young people who are looking for a life partner can mistake infatuation for love. True love does not come in a blinding flash that sets your heart racing and makes you tingle. It grows softly until one day you realize he/she has become part of your life and you will function more efficiently together than separately. This does not mean that there will be no heart-skipping moments, but that the relationship did not begin with and is not built on those emotions.
On their wedding day, a young couple typically is blind to the bumps and curves life will throw at them. They start out full of hope and happiness. But before long, life becomes reality as they pick up the responsibilities of maintaining a home. And if children are added to the mix it becomes more challenging. Unless love is the foundation of the marriage, it will begin to crack and crumble.
We had our share of bumps and curves in life but our love and commitment to each other carried us through. The hardest times made us cling together more tightly instead of breaking apart. The longer you live with a person the better you understand them. You learn how they will respond in a certain situation and what they are likely to say before the words are out of their mouth. You don't need the romantic dinners and flowers because you are comfortable and secure in your relationship. 

Love is a verb, not a noun. It's something you do, not what you say. And that is true whether you're married or single. Every person you know or meet is an opportunity to put love into action. Go ahead and show love on Valentine's Day, but don't miss the opportunities you have the other 364 days of the year. "To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth."