Month: August 2008

  • Barkman Campout ’08


    Ahhhhh, it’s a lazy, rainy day. The kind of day where all I want to do is sit on the couch with a book and read away… Hopefully I’ll have a few moments like that today. Tropical Storm Fay is coming through today, and we are getting dumped with rain. That’s a new idea for this northern girl – I’m familiar with snowstorms and blizzards, but not tropical storms! We are far enough north that we aren’t in any danger from the storm [or so they say], but we just get a lot of rain and wind…

    Whenever it rains, I almost always take Zoe’ out under the umbrella and sing songs to her. One we always sing is “My Favorite Things,” and we sing about the raindrops and kittens and white dresses with sashes… I just love that song, it’s all so sweet. We sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and  about the old man who went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning. She loves it. We put our hands out from under the umbrella and feel the raindrops. It’s just so fun so show her all these “new” things, let her discover the world for the first time!






    It’s also a great day to catch up on everyone else’s fun posts! It takes me days to read everything when I’m gone for a while!

    Oh, and we finally have air conditioning again… After being without it for almost a week, we are some very grateful folks, I’ll tell you! It was pretty neat though, because although it’s been an extremely hot summer, the week our a/c went out was the coolest week out of the whole summer! The nights even cooled down for the first time, and although it was humid, we were able to survive in our house. So awesome how God does things like that… Any other week out of the summer and it would’ve been too hot to stay here. It was so humid in our house that week, that although we were able to make it, our piano went out of tune, some of my pictures fell off the walls because the cardboard backing buckled, my hair took 8 hours to air-dry, and our sheets and blankets smelled awful… Like I said, we were definitely a grateful folk to have our air conditioner working again! And our landlord put in a whole new unit, so hopefully that’ll also help with our electric bill ["light bill", like the southerners say. That was for you, Marylou Hershberger. ]


    Destination: Morgan County, Ohio


    And now, for the Campout pictures. Like I mentioned earlier, it was primitive camping. That is not my first choice of vacationing, but with this wonderful family, I would’ve camped for weeks! Okay, maybe not quite that long, but it was worth every minute of freezing at night. We had to suddenly acclimate to the frigid northern nights, and had I not had my personal heater [a.k.a. Husband] I wouldn’t have been able to make it in the tent!

    We had a wonderful time together… I am so blessed to be a part of this great family – who loves the Lord, and who is also ever so much fun to be with!

    We were welcomed to the campout with a lovely bouquet of flowers…


    And more flowers on the picnic table


    Our little shelter from the cold


    Zoe’ thought the tent was the coolest thing she had ever seen. She would crawl around that thing as fast as she could go, just grinning from ear to ear.


    She also had more attention that she knew what to do with. She got lots of pinches and squeezes from the uncles and cousins. :)



    All the cooking was done over an open fire. And when Gaylord & Celesta made doughnuts that way, I was thoroughly impressed.


    Gaylord soaking up Chloe’s affection


    Lots of campfire times – one of the many highlights of the weekend!




    These little boys were in the creek eeeaaaarrrrrlly in the morning – waaaayyyy before anyone else would be up and around. We could hear some of my Ohio cousins from our tent, “OOOOOOON-FA-SHTENDICH!! OON-FA-SHTENDICH NAH-HA-MOH!!” [or however you spell that in PA Dutch] as they’d discover crawdads and minnows. It was the funniest thing – after I got over being awakened at such an early hour!


    They were pretty proud of this one. Even though they were the ones who put the minnow in the claws.


    and this one is just for Christy - she looks as excited as can be as she cheers a water-balloon-toss :)


    and just some lovely faces…

    Darling Chloe


    Dear Victoria


    Wynn [affectionately known as "Wynnie the Pooh"]


    And my little Zoe’ – whose piggies never cease to get a giggle out of me. But Ben still says they look terrible.



    and lest he be offended by my calling him “lovely”, I will say this: “Check out my handsome bro!”


    The Annual Baseball Game. Which proved to be rather eventful.

    Ben at the bat.


    Claudia slugging the ball…


    …which led to this: an emergency room run for my dad!


    In diving for Claudia’s ball, he tripped on the uneven field and landed on his shoulder, thus resulting in a torn ligament… Poor dad will be in recovery for the next 6-8 weeks, followed by therapy!


    And my brother, David, got hit by a dear cousin who [blindfolded] thought David was the pinata!! He had an egg on his cheek that stuck out further than I’ve ever seen anything stick out…


    So now we’re back at home, after an exciting weekend in the hills of Ohio! Zoe’ must have gotten chilled at night, because she’s been fighting a cough and cold ever since we’re back. I’ve seen almost every hour on the clock the past few nights… We have been spending many hours reading books and looking at pictures of animals and saying all kinds of animal sounds… Hopefully we’re on the way out of this sickness though!

    A very happy weekend to you all!

  • For Ginny


    On the way to Ohio, I saw these places and couldn’t resist a picture for my friend, Ginny. I even begged Ben to turn the car around so I could take them back to her. :) Sooo, here are the life-long dreams that Ginny never told me she had: 


    or maybe this is more like it…


    isn’t that the cutest little floral shop ever??

    So – those are for you, Ginny.

  • … and He makes us beautiful


    [along with photo excepts of our last trip to PA - I'm still trying to play catchup from the past few months!]

    I was faced with a dose of something within the past few days that I hadn’t dealt with in a long time: inferiority. It was a huge thing to me as a teenager, but I thought I had grown some since then and it was a thing of the past. Not so, I discovered. The situation had nothing to do with how I was treated by other people, but suddenly I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone else. Satan was out with his Arrows. This was a bad attack.


    It had been a while since I felt that insignificant. Perhaps I had been relying on myself too much of late and God allowed me to experience a bit of actually being on my own, without feeling His needed security. If so, I repented before Him… And perhaps it was an attack of the Arrows.

    I think some of the most painful and believable attacks satan brings upon women are the lies that we have nothing to offer, we are not beautiful, we are not desireable, we are too much, we are not enough, we don’t measure up, we don’t have anything worthwhile to give to others, among many other things. These lies feel so real at times. But they are still just lies.


    Except from my journal following the situation:

    “I want to be so filled with You that “I” is not even thought of… So full of love for other people that I am not threatened by their beauty or creativity or by what they have to offer… So in tune with Your Spirit that I can sense when/if someone is hurting, and be able to care for them… So full of trust that I can be perfectly content with what You have chosen for me in life, not looking around in discontent and wanting someone else’s opportunities and gifts in life… So childlike that I can respond to You with perfect love, such faith, and utter joy, even as my precious daughter responds to me…


    “I want to be full of the Life You have meant for each child of God – to live in that freely… To be who You have created me to be: not who I think I should be or who someone else thinks I should be… To be real, honest, and vulnerable – with myself, my husband, my family, my friends…”


    Sometimes I feel the effects of a Broken World so much. So much that it is sometimes hard to remember that we are more than Broken. We are also Redeemed… and because we are made in the image of a Beautiful God, we are also Beautiful…


    I was reminded of that from Captiving,  by Eldredge…This didn’t talk about the exact thing I was feeling, but more generally to women.  And I was encouraged that even though we live in a fallen world, where we live daily with our own imperfections and the imperfections of others, we are still made in the image of God. An image that will one day [in Heaven] be perfect. But an image, that although imperfect now, still glorifies the God who created us…

    “Can there be any doubt that God wants to be sought after? The first and greatest of all commands is to love Him. To seek Him with all our heart. A woman longs to be sought after, too, with the whole heart of her pursuer. God longs to be desired. Just as a woman longs to be desired. this is not some weakness or insecurity on the part of a woman, that deep yearning to be desired. God feels the same way. Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Mary chose God, and Jesus said that was what He wanted…

    “Life changes dramatically when romance comes into our lives. Christianity changes dramatically when we discover that it, too, is a great romance. That God yearns to share a life of beauty, intimacy, and adventure with us. “I have loved you with an everlasting love” [Jer. 31:3]. This whole world was made for romance – the rivers and the glens, the meadows and the beaches. Flowers, music, a kiss. But we have a way of forgetting all that, losing ourselves in work and worry.

    “Eve – God’s message to the world in feminine form – invites us to romance. Through her, God makes romance a priority in the universe.

    “So God endows Woman with certain qualities that are essential to relationship, qualities that speak of God.

    “She is inviting. She is vulnerable. She is tender. She embodies mercy. She is also fierce and fiercely devoted. As the old saying goes, “Hell hath  no fury like a woman scorned.” That’s just how God acts when he isn’t chosen. “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affectionwith any other god!” A woman’s righteous jealousy speaks of the jealousy of God for us.

    “Tender and inviting, intimate and alluring, fiercely devoted. Oh yes, our God has a passionate, romantic heart. Just look at Eve…”

    This was a beautiful reminder to me… That we, despite our brokenness, are images of the God who created us. Beautiful images. How amazing that God can use something so broken and insignicant – and make us beautiful… Wow…


    more pictures from PA trip…

    Ben’s family was planning to go to Pennsylvania the same weekend as us, so us ladies drove up early in the week to make the most of our time together! We had such a fun trip up there, talking and laughing and singing…

    One day all the Yoder clan got together at a park, and I took these train pictures of Zoe’ there…

    I loved the contrast of colors…






    Such lucious eyes she has…


    our little family…


    Daddy and his Sweetest One [as we call her]


    Zoe’ and her cousin Mariana. They’re only 4 months apart! So neat – they’ll be great friends one day! Right now they’re too little to know it. :)


    Also Zoe’s cousin, and Mariana’s sister, Josephine. Such a darling girlie…


    One thing about going on a trip like that and seeing so many people is that I don’t get all the pictures I’d like! Thus I feel bad for posting some pictures of people and not others… So – forgive me, you without a picture! We had a lovely time with everyone…

    Ben with Princess Esther and Princess Zoe’ at dinner at Mark & Ruth’s house


    The Little Princesses again


    My brothers do such an awesome job taking care of Zoe’. She adores them and loves to be with them! David is pulling Zoe’ in a little wagon I bought up there at a garage sale for $3!! Oh-la-la!




    Tomorrow we embark on another trip. One that we are ridiculously excited about. My dad’s family’s annual Barkman Campout is this weekend! We have the grandest time you could ever imagine. And somehow, no running water, no electricity, cooking over an open fire, no fans to sleep with at night, all add to the experience of primitive camping! This is the Grand Reunion of all time, all seven brothers get together [we'll miss Aunt Sue and her family in Africa and El Salvador!] with spouses and children and great-grandchilden… There are cousins everywhere! Zoe’ is the first great-grandchild on both sides of my family, although there are cousins coming on the Barkman side, I’m happy to say!

    So I was busy baking and baking and baking today… Cookies and bars and bars and cookies. And my cookie baking skills definitely needed a rehabilitation course. I’m a little embaressed to admit it, but I haven’t baked cookies in months. Not sure why… But the first two pans turned out perfectly awful. And they were Ben’s favorite kind: Oatmeal Raisin. [Now, that is one thing I don't think I'll ever understand - his love of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I would choose Chocolate Chip, or White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, or Ginger Cookies with White Chocolate frosting, or... anything but Oatmeal Raisin]. When he came home from work and saw I was making them, he was almost giddy with excitement. So it was completely worth it to see the look of pure joy on his face. And to receive the lavish hugs and kisses he gave me for baking them. I think I should make them more often.

    Maybe next time they won’t be completely flattened on the cookie sheet. And maybe next time I’ll remember that  my brand new Pampered Chef baking sheets remain hotter than you can imagine for longer than you can imagine. And maybe next time I won’t be stopping every few minutes to nurse a new burn, or putting ice on a previous burn… 

    And we’re off to a Grand Hurrah! Have a lovely weekend, everyone!!


  • Ban on Baggy Pants

    Ludowici Bans Baggy Pants
    [excerpt from our local newspaper I applaud]

       “The Jesup City Commission has talked about it.
       The chairman of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners brought it up Monday.
       But the Ludowici City Council has actually prohibited it.

       A new city ordinance bans the wearing of pants below the waist in public.

       As of August 1, it is illegal for anyone in Ludowici to appear in public wearing pants below the waist and thus exposing the skin or undergarments.
       “It’s just an unsightly thing to see kids walking around with their underwear hanging out, “City Councilman… said. “It’s a big problem here. We’ve ha a number of parents complain about kids dressing that way, and we felt it was time to address it. “

       …Under the ordinance, any person convicted of violating the provision after issuance of a verbal warning shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100, plus up to eight hours of work on the streets of the city…

       …Wayne County chairman… said he considers the trend of sagging pants “indecent exposure.” “

    And I say “hurray!” to this new law! Baggy pants are an extreme irritation of mine, as I still love the old-fashioned dress-nicely motto, and I applaud this measure of decency in our nearby neighborhood!

  • Ben’s 28th


    My husband turned 28 this week! I remember when I first met him – I was 19, he was 22. And I thought 22 was soooo mature and so old. Now the years have flown by and he’s nearing 30!


    I am blessed with a wonderful man! He is a great leader in our home, is fun to live with, entertains me constantly with his jokes and stories, loves me faithfully, is a wonderful daddy…



    I made a dinner at home for his birthday… I set it up outside, and although it was a smokin’ day, I thought by evening it would cool off enough to eat out there…


    Ben was fine with eating outside (“You’re the one who minds the heat!” he said to me). But it seemed to grow hotter and hotter as the evening went by… At the end of our meal we noticed the butter was in a puddle  in the bottom of the dish! That was the end of eating outside for a long time! But we had a lovely meal together…

    Ben’s Requested Dinner
    [along with photos, since I'm on this food-picture-binge]


    Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chloe’s Raspberry Dressing ;)


    Biscuits and Jam


    and I tried something new – Grilled Salmon with a Mustard Dill Sauce


    The Salmon recipe I pulled off of Taste of Home, and although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting for an award-winning recipe, it was delicious.

    Ben also requested [coconut] Rice and Sweet Potato Souffle’



    After dinner we had a bit of time before Ben’s family and Eric & Linda came over for dessert. We thought it was time to take a few Daddy & Daughter pictures, all cozy on the coach…


    [notice the Ten in a Bed book? such a cute story/song...]


    The company came and we had a fun evening!



    We had pina coladas and cheesecake…

    Cheesecake with White Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Preserves



    After everyone left, we realized we had forgotten to take a picture together… So we used the self-timer.


    And just so ya know -  you can still be silly at 25 and 28. :)


    Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life!


    And now we’re off to enjoy a weekend – without air conditioning! Our unit went out yesterday, and although the landlord is replacing the 25-year-old present unit with a new one, it won’t be replaced until next week.  Wow.  Nothing like Georgia heat in the middle of the summer.

    Anyone have a spare bedroom we could stay in for the weekend??  jk.


  • Babies at the Beach


    The weather has been unbearably hot here in South. So hot, in fact, that unless you’re in water, there is no other good reason to be outside.  This summer I couldn’t believe how hot and humid it is (last summer we were in PA, so this is my first summer in the South). So I asked the other women I know around here what they do in the summer – surely they must just get used to it and be outside a lot, as I remember being outside all day long as a child and swimming every day? But no, almost each and every one who lives here has told me that in the summer, you and your children just stay inside. The combination of heat/humidity and BUGS like you wouldn’t believe force you inside all summer long, unless you have a pool to go to. [My husband is the exception. For some reason, he rarely gets bitten, and he seems to love to have rivetts of sweat run down his body. He's the exception. There aren't many people like him that I know of.]

    So, what to do when the baby is sooo much happier outside, but it’s too hot/humid, and she’ll be bitten every time within 10 minutes by fire ants, or mosquitos, or have about 20 gnats flying around her eyes??! I have been sooo clausterphobic inside these days! And since Walmart is the only shopping within an hour, there is no mall closeby to just go walk at…

    My friend, Linda, and I were talking, and trying desperately to figure out a place that we could at least go swimming. Get the babies (and us!) in some cool water, get out of the house a bit (and she’s living in a pull-behind camper until their house is finished being built!)… But alas, in all of the South as we know it there was no pool to be found that was either open or available for wanna-be swimmers such as us. We were desperate. And I was beginning to get grouchy from being inside sooooo much!

    We decided on the beach! Yes, it’s an hour drive, and yes, it was a little stretch for the babies to be in their seats in the middle of the day like that, but OH SO FUN when we were there!

    It was hot at the beach too, but there was a breeze, and the babies had ever so much fun!!

    Zoe’ and Roland – splashing and laughing and having a great time!


    The Little Man


    They had a blast eating sea shells. :)


    For some reason, the sand was very muddy that day… But Zoe’ thought it tasted perfectly fine anyway!


    I LOVE this picture. :)


    And this I had to put in just to show his adorable little tummy!



    Our afternoon was cut shorter than we expected because of a huge thunderstorm that rolled in very suddenly. If I would have known everything, I wouldn’t have been snapping pictures – I would have been running for the car! But I thought it was just a little rain shower…

    The wind was blowing the sand in cool patterns all over the beach. Reminded me of being in an airplane and and seeing the whispy clouds underneath me.

    Photo with grain texture


    Photo with play on the lighting (it was actually very dark and stormy looking)


    Linda and I ended up RUNNING to the little beach house and staying there for almost a half hour because of the thunderstorm!

    But what a fun day! Fun for babies, mothers, and friendships! And thank the Lord for lovely places to go to get wet in the heat of the summer…


    I’ve had a fettish for basil and new recipes of late – and after I uploaded these pictures I noticed other people do too! My latest new thing was making a grilled pizza… I had heard about these things but never tried them myself. My first attempt didn’t turn out perfect, in fact, part of the crust crumbled when I was turning it over on the grill, but it was absolutely DELISH!

    I used a Pampered Chef recipe, called Italian Grilled Pizza. Instead of the traditional pepperoni and pizza sauce, this called for olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh tomatoes, black olives, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. It was wonderful! Even Ben declared it a winner.He said it tasted very authentic Italian – and it does, with all those fresh ingredients… He’s such a brave husband, I’m constantly trying new recipes… Some are wonderful, and some, well, he doesn’t comment on much. :)

    Italian Grilled Pizza