Friday, March 29, 2013

I'll leave you with this...

I won't have internet access for the next few days, so I'll leave you with three smiling faces until I return.  Happy trails.  :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Michigan bound

Not until Sunday but here's a summary of where I'll be for the first two weeks of April.

Sunday, March 31, Ardith and I will leave the Springfield area and head to Kalamazoo, MI for the night.  On Monday, we "all" meet in Saline, MI and split up to begin our visiting.  There will be a workers' meeting on Tuesday morning in Saline.  I don't know where all I'll be for visiting yet, of course, but I'll list the meetings I'm scheduled to be at below so you can follow along if you wish.

Wednesday, April 3 - Westland
Sunday, April 7 - Southfield
Wednesday, April 10 - Traverse City
Sunday, April 14 - Kalkaska

Looking forward to rich days ahead!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


This morning I got an e-mail with the news that Dennis Falb had passed away.  It's not a well-known name in many circles, but it's one I've known since I was a child.  Dennis labored in Illinois in the 1980's and possibly into the 1990's; I don't know exact dates.  He always loved to tell me about when he came to our house when I was a little girl.  He tried to make friends with me, and I would have none of it.  Finally he said, "That's okay.  I don't want you to sit on my lap anyway."  He would grin and get a twinkle in his eye as he recounted the next part.  "Before I knew it, there you were crawling up into my lap!"  And I considered him a friend ever since.  We'll miss him, but we wouldn't wish any less for him than what he's entered into now.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Official National Weather Service Figures

Decatur - 12 inches
Springfield - 18.5 inches

Today's profundity

Goldy told us at the lunch table today that we need both our young people and our old people.  "You can't stay young forever," she said.  "And you don't stay old very long either."  True enough, Goldy.

Made it!

Took the car for a test drive up the driveway and back.  No problem.  Doyle's a pro plower!

Final Results

Due to blowing and drifting, it's hard to know how much snow we actually got.  One report said 12 inches both in Decatur and Springfield.  That could be accurate I suppose.  Ardith had a good time getting the snow off the cars, but she had to take a few pictures first.  Doyle's spent a number of hours plowing.  Apparently there were lots of cars off the road yesterday, but fortunately we didn't have to be out in it.  Canceling Gospel Meeting turned out to be a very wise move.  Now we'll see how long the white stuff will last.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gospel Meeting cancelled

Before we left on Special Meeting rounds in mid-February, we scheduled a Gospel Meeting for March 24.  It would be our only Gospel Meeting between Special Meeting rounds (ours here in Illiana and two weeks in Michigan).  It sounded "way off in the future" back then.  Why by then, it would be spring - a whole new season!  Today is March 24.  Yes, it is officially spring.  However, rather than getting ready for Gospel Meeting, Ardith and I have been calling everyone who might have planned to come.  The meeting is cancelled due to snow.

Illinois weather in a nutshell



And it's still coming down!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tea with Goldy

This afternoon, I had tea with a 98-year-old lady.  She offered me a cookie, which I refused.  She had one and told me repeatedly how good it was.  Then she would say, "But I won't tempt you."  We sipped and chatted.  She asked about our meeting schedule.  We've been gone, so she's anxious for us to have Gospel Meetings close by again.  "It applies to everybody," she said.  "Whether you're 100 years old or 40, there's something for you.  It's because it's living."  That's why we keep going; this is the most worthwhile thing.  It's always nice to get "fresh" perspective.  That's one thing that tea with Goldy did for me today.

A little family history

Recently, I was looking at some old pictures and decided it might be kind of fun to add a little pictorial family history to my blog.  When I was at Mom and Dad's earlier this week, I took a few pictures of pictures for that purpose.  As it turns out, they didn't turn out very well, but I think you can get the idea.  No, we didn't change colors over the years; that's just lighting or something.  The other differences are more accurate.  While the pictures taken in no way reflect a complete history, the trip down memory lane was quite enjoyable.  Maybe you'll enjoy it too.

As you may have noticed, quite a few years have been skipped in several places.  My search for pictures was rather brief and haphazard.  I'll see what I can find next time I'm home.  

A Sweet Shop

If you ever want to know anything about raising honeybees, a good resource is Ron Shaw in Ashland, IL.  He's done it for several years now and has loads of fascinating information about bees and honey production.  Last night, he gave me a tour of his new "honey shop."  Here is a little look inside.

Bee homes

Ready for the bees to build out

A smoker

A "Wonder"ful performance

Last night, a small group of us went to see the Pleasant Plains High School performance of Alice in Wonderland.  Not too long ago, I had read a "Little Golden Book" version of the tale and had the thought, "I should read the actual book."  Likely, it would have helped if I had done so before last night.  However, the students did an excellent job.  The costumes and scenery props were amazing.  It was evident that a lot of hard work had gone in to pulling off this performance.  And even if you weren't able to "follow" exactly everything that happened, it was quite entertaining.  (And perhaps, if you were able to "follow" everything that happened, we should "wonder" about you?)

Leah, the sheep
Not a baaaaad job, my dear!  ;)
I LOVE the glasses!

How did such normal looking parents...?

Too bad Fleece wasn't along.  She would have enjoyed being with another sheep.

Gearing up for...


Well, Toto, we're not in Illinois anymore...


Isn't it just killing you???

I know my little sister is very happy about right now.  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I'm sitting here at my computer, staring at the picture I just posted to begin this blog entry and find that words escape me.  How do you use something so weak and limiting as words to commemorate a life, to describe what a person has meant to you, to make memories come alive?  

Lloyd knew how to put words together.  At the age of 95, he decided to record a few of his life's stories on paper.  In 2011, he published the book, Hard Times, Happy Memories.  When you read the book, you hear Lloyd.  Life is made up of both laughter and tears, and Lloyd's life was no exception.

I love Jesus' words to Peter in Mark 10, a promise to all those who would go forth to preach the Gospel that He brought.  "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."  I have appreciated this promise many times.  Though the verse doesn't say anything about grandfathers, I think the promise extends to them as well.  Lloyd was one of my adopted grandfathers, and I'm thankful that his actual grandchildren were willing to share him with me.  

When I was in the Quincy area a few years ago, we would see Lloyd often at our Gospel Meetings.  He was very hard of hearing, so his son found a way to plug a hearing device directly into our speaker. I still remember the first time Lloyd used it in a meeting.  It was like he came alive.  He could hear!  From then on, he would bring an 8 1/2 x 11 inch notebook to all the Gospel Meetings and take notes the entire time.  It was amazing!  He had heard the same story much longer than I had even been alive, and he was just as anxious to hear it then as he had been when he first heard it.  Since he could hear, it also enabled him to sing along with the hymns.  Of course, he wasn't much for carrying a tune, and he couldn't always hear quite well enough to stay right with us, but he sang with great enthusiasm.  He might not have exactly contributed to the quality of the singing, but he very definitely contributed to the spirit of the singing.  I loved to hear it.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Quincy area for our Special Meeting rounds.  I very definitely wanted a chance to see Lloyd.  He wasn't able to leave his little house anymore, so we went over to have a little visit with him before supper one evening.  In some ways, it was difficult to carry on a conversation with him, due to his hearing.  However, when my co-worker mentioned something spiritual, he said, "Those are the worthwhile things."  Those were more than just words.  They were words backed up by a life.  

There are a lot of people, including myself, who are going to miss Lloyd.  He was a wonderful father, grandfather, friend, brother in Christ, example, elder, the list goes on and on.  We could say many excellent things about Lloyd, and they would all be true.  There is, however, a "final" verse that comes to my mind now.  "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend."  (Is. 41:8)  God Himself called Abraham His friend.  And I believe with all my heart that God could call Lloyd Helmreich His friend.  And what greater testimony could a person have than that?

Fleece finds a new friend

This little giraffe was waiting for us in our hotel room in Quincy on Thursday night.  Fleece was a little wound up before bed time, so we had a chance to take a few pictures of play time.

Fleece takes a ride.

Looks like she's holding on for dear life.


She decides to play it safe and stay on the "ground."