January 2014

January 2014

Hello Family,
You have brought us the gift of time, laughter, love and friendship – worth far more to us than anything you could put a bow on. You have given us your best; we treasure your friendship.

2014 has rolled in right behind 2013. What is on your 2014 agenda? What have you written down in your 2013 memory book?

Our days pass doing the mundane things of everyday living, but we find pleasure and savor the awesomeness even in the mundane. We are comfortable with the predictability of our lives thus far; grateful for our home, family, community, good health, serenity. Our faith allows us to take risks and provides adventure. We give ourselves a nudge to think beyond our particular pattern of thought, code, expectation or tradition, thereby allowing us to become all that we are created to be.

January has already reached the half way mark and I am feeling a little dismayed that I am so far behind; behind of my own agenda. It seemed like a good idea to get some semblance of order to my recipes. I received a Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding shower gift. It has served me well this past 50+ years and it is pretty beat up so, in my limited wisdom I decided to paste ring reinforcements on the loose leaf pages. When I got about ½ finished it became clear that if I continued this process the thickness of the ring holes would increase so that the binder would not close. So then I decided (because I can) “I will copy the pages and put them into a larger binder……. just in case any of our kids or grandkids would be interested in Grandma’s old cookbook.” Do you have any idea how many pages it takes to copy a 500 page book? Well 500 obviously – that is at least 2 trees plus a gallon of ink. I am more than half way through this disaster; I can’t quit now; it is on the agenda.

The sweater I started 2012 is now finished and hangs in the closet not yet worn because it needs to be made smaller; it is on the agenda.

I have discovered that I really like wondering around in the world of genealogy. Am presently working on the Aaron Yoder (Ray’s maternal grandfather) family. It is on the agenda. If anyone has data to add to the William and Mattie genealogy you can make additions at www.oswaldreunion.com/genealogy.

We are determined to navigate and become proficient in Windows 8. At the moment our emotions go from “I think I got this” to frustration when the computer does what I tell it to do instead of what I want it to do, but we are going to conquer it; it is on the agenda.

I, Ray, find that I can still do most of the things I’ve always done, but now I do fewer things and I do them slowly, in fact, very slowly.
I used to get upset that older people took so long to get out of our car, let alone up the 13 front steps of our house, and now it’s me who is just trying to get out of the car, while my grandkids are at the front door wondering what’s taking us so long. They can mow our lawn in about 15-20 minutes, whereas I spend some times, 2 days. My answer is that I do it properly and neatly.
Our back yard was flooded with robins this fall, so once again I kept the bird bath filled for their pleasure. To my surprise, they stood on the lip of the bird bath, not in it, and drank, while the rest of the hundred sat on the ground or in the crab apple tree waiting. Only about 8 could do that at one time, but when one had its’ fill and left another would take its’ place. No pushing or shoving, just patiently waiting their turn. Now if only people could do that. Interestingly enough, after about 5 days of drinking, they took turns hopping into the water and splashing. Were they trying to keep their drinking water clean?

Our to-do list, or as it is becoming, a to-do book, sadly doesn’t overly concern me for if I don’t get it done today maybe there won’t be a tomorrow and then I won’t ever have to do it. With age increasing, my desire to do it now, is decreasing. And I like it that way. It gives me a chance to read a book, observe the world that God made around me, and sit and think. Sometimes I even just sit. And I like it that way.

We are reflections of the people who came before us.

By actively cultivating positive emotions such as gratitude, optimism and forgiveness, we fundamentally change the way the brain works, expanding awareness, improving resilience and finding more creative solutions.

Ray and Betty Good

Spring is on the Way

Our cold spell has ended. The thermometer is reading above freezing temperatures during the day; freezing at night. Longer days and warm sun are causing the generous snow cover to melt, larger and larger patches of earth appear every day – no green yet, or dust or robins, however. The mini mountains of snow that heavy duty machines piled in parking lots and in yards where the city saw fit to blow street snow are diminishing to mere mini hills. The melting snow creates rivulets in interesting patterns through ice ending up in torrents of water rushing to gutters disappearing down grates into the sewer and wind creates amazing sculptures in the remaining snow. I got a new pair of comfortable rubber boots so I can walk and splash to my hearts’ content without getting wet feet. Will I ever grow up – I don’t think so, I think I don’t even want to. I am remembering the comment our neighbor made as we met on the sidewalk several weeks ago, each of us in our winter gear, shoveling snow in piles above our heads, “In two months’ time this will all be a memory”. Snow drifts prevents me from going to the clothes line and the greenhouse without navigating knee deep snow but in my mind I see bed clothes drying on the line and rhubarb and roses in the garden being motivated to poke through the earth as soon as they feel the warm sun. We are almost there!

A comforter story: Ray’s parents, Jason and Beulah Yoder/Good, were married December 24th, 1933. The story, as I understand it, goes that Jason’s sisters made a comforter for them from scraps they saved from their sewing projects, as a wedding gift. They likely made their own dresses as well as dresses for their daughters. The comforter has survived all these years and has ended up in our home. It is folded on to a quilt rack and sits in our living room. I look at it every day and I marvel at the pattern, the material, the colors and the even decorative stitching around every square. I wonder how did they determine what colors to put where, how did they decide the pattern, who wore the dresses the squares were saved from, where did they buy the material and how much did it cost? Ray remembers the comforter from home and that is was used only when someone was sick; that tells me that it was special to Mom and that she used it sparingly. Ray’s parents are no longer living, as are the makers of this comforter. They had no idea when they created the comforter that it would still bring comfort to family generations later.

Two quotes I read recently:
• We are reflections of the people who came before us.
Would that be why when I look at my Oswald first cousins I see our parents?

• God’s engagement in the world is not one of obligation or duty, but one of generosity and will. Flawed as we are, we are capable of great acts of compassion that we are not obliged to do. We are impelled, but not compelled. It is these moments when we perfectly fulfill the promise of being created in God’s image.

Thank-You for Loving Us – Take Care
Ray and Betty Good