Archive for December, 2012

Goodbye 2012

365 days ago we were preparing to welcome in a new year. Out with the old, in with the new! Each year we hope and pray it will be a good year, maybe even a better year than than the last.  The end of a year gives us a chance to pause and reflect on our struggles, challenges, accomplishments,  joys and sorrows as we ponder the past. A new year fills us with hope as we anticipate the future and the new opportunities that are waiting to be discovered.  Personally I like new year’s resolutions. It means I have paused and evaluated where I am at and what I am doing. It means I have resolved to do some things differently, make some changes and set some new goals.

As I reflect on this past year, I remember….

  • …the life and death of our 4-1/2 month old great-nephew, little Truman Heatwole.  He died from the same  genetic disorder, Werdnig-Hoffman Disease,  as  two of our children. More can be read in my “Truman” blog.  It made me pause and ponder life, death, and eternity.  Maybe this year I can write some about our experience with our children.
  • …extended family get-to-gathers.  The Heatwole family (my family) enjoyed a family gathering over Labor Day. It is fun getting together with my parents who are in their 80’s, siblings, nieces and nephews and now the “greats”-the next generation.  Our family of six has grown to an ever- expanding family of 47.
  • …starting this blog.  A friend (Karen Estep)  kept encouraging me to start a blog with the assurance that she would read it!   It was something I had considered briefly but just didn’t seem to have the motivation to start even though I love to write and frequently put my thoughts on paper. I never thought anyone would want to “follow” what I wrote or would be interested in what made my life tick.  Because of  her generous compliments, I ventured into the blogging world and became “hooked” before I knew it.  It has been a fun adventure this year.  I am humbled and amazed when I look at the stats and see that I have written 75 posts and have had  27,000 hits  in my first year from dozens of countries around the world.  Thanks to all my blogging fans!
  • …participating in the local farmers market.  It was work but it was also fun to be a part of the “shop local” movement by selling our  farm produced Angus beef and fresh brown eggs, along with the friendship cakes that I make.
  • …the gift of family and the  “specialness” of our own children and grandchildren. We loved their visits, phone calls and friendship.  To be called “mom” is an honor and privilege I cherish.  To be called “grandma”  is simply divine!
  • …the treasure of walking with my husband as we help, encourage, and support his 94-year old parents. I love my in-laws and it has been very special to share this past year with them.
  • …reading my Bible through from beginning to end in chronological order.  I was challenged as a young adolescence to read my Bible every year. I have done this approx. 40 times.  My faith journey is precious to me and I love to incorporate faith in my writings.  I enjoy reading, studying and teaching The Word.  It has been a privilege and joy to be a part of the teaching team in the ladies Sunday School class at our church.
  • …taking pictures; hundreds and hundreds of pictures documenting my canning procedures for my blogs, flowers, farm happenings, sunsets, sunrises, family, business and church events.  Sometimes I think my camera is permanently attached!
  • …the tragic, sudden death of Gene’s older brother, Oliver Jr.  This was a difficult time for the Hertzler family but also a special time of experiencing love from extended Hertzler cousins and family.  Again it makes one pause and reflect on God, life, faith,  choices, and death.  Again we were reminded of the frailty of life and the permanence of eternity.

2013.  The future looks uncertain and there are enough economical, political, and moral woes to make me fear.  Only God knows the future. Only God can grant us another day or another year.  I am reminded that it is in God I put my trust.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I can have hope, whether for another day, another year, or for an eternity with Him.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I can face uncertain times without fear.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I can survive tragic events and experience peace.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I can enjoy good gifts with gratitude for His gracious goodness.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I can have faith for the journey and strength for the day.

2013.  I know in my journey with God I will find grace in the midst of my struggles.

2013. I know in my journey with God I have found forgiveness of sin because of His Son Jesus, and have been adopted into His family.  I can called Him “Father”.

2013.  On my journey this coming year, I anticipate seeing and experiencing God at work.

“In God’s presence is fullness of  joy”.

Psalms 16:11


I couldn’t share this “piggy-bank” gift idea until after Christmas since they were gifts for my grandchildren.



Here is the story behind their “piggy-banks” (money-jugs).

This past spring at our Fun Day on the Farm, Ryan (who is 6) saw a customer pay for their purchase with a $100 bill. He was instantly hooked.  He became obsessed with wanting a $100 dollar bill,  even begging for one from what he thought was his sympathetic,  “soft-hearted” grandma.  He fretted about what he could make and sell at the next Fun Day so he could have one of those coveted $100 bills!  His obsession was so intense in the following days that his parents finally had to forbid him to talk about it.

But Ryan has not forgotten and sometimes will mention that he is still trying to think of something he can make and sell to earn money. He is highly motivated with “earning” money so he can spend it on his beloved legos.

This summer when Karla and Ryan were at the farm they found lots of things in the farm store they wanted to buy but didn’t have enough money to do so. Finally I made them a “Christmas Wish List” paper and told them to write down what they wanted for Christmas.

Karlas Christmas List-2012

1) lego’s-restrant, stable (for horses) and a petacure place

2) Beverly Clearly books

3) horses for me! (real ones)

4) pretend horses from Grandma Hurzlers farm.

5) A night gown for Saly. (doll)

6)  D.S

7)  Games for D.S  like Mareoi

8) MONEY!!!!!!!!! Check 999,999 or less to 90 dollars



Ryans Christmas List-2012



X Box

Legos Bookxs

100 Dolr

Motor Scooter


Check as  ahaf to pay for thae 16 logos


Through the fall and winter, money continued to be high on their Christmas list so I decided money they would get but I wanted a creative way to do it!   One day a customer came in the store and handed me a cardboard box with 4 empty one gallon glass vinegar jugs. (Remember those old-fashion jugs?) He said, “I figured maybe you could do something with these or know of someone who can.”  They sat in the store for weeks while I wondered what in the world I was going to do with them.   One day the idea hit me-money jugs for the grandkids!  I have a friend (Sheila Schaefer) who very creatively painted their names on the jugs for me.

I put $20 worth of coins in each jug.  I told them that when they get $100 worth of change I will match it and then they have to put the $200 in their savings accounts for college.  (They are not allowed to let anyone “stuff” their jugs-they have to save or earn the money).  After that their parents can set the rules for their money.

When I was a little girl I received a glass bear “piggy-bank” which still sits on my dresser. It stays full of change  I “find” in  pockets, the washing machine or left laying on the dresser.  Periodically I use the collection for “Penny Power” at church or some other worthy project.

Pat's Piggy

This is one of my childhood treasures. The right hand toe has broken out and I have to put quarters in the bottom or the smaller change will fall out.  Hopefully these jugs will become treasures and hold memories of a special Christmas that they can share with their children.

Chip Beef and Swiss Dip

If you would like a cracker dip for Christmas day you may want to try this one.  I found a recipe and played with it some as I didn’t care for the original.  I made this today and it was a hit.  Enjoy!



In a small mixing bowl, beat until smooth:

  • 1- 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise  (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)

Stir in:

  • 1-4.5 oz. jar of chip (dried) beef, chopped fine
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) Swiss cheese, grated
  • 2 T. Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T. Green Pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Put in ungreased baking bowl or pie plate.

Top with 1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs (I used Ritz Crackers) tossed with 1 T. melted butter.

Bake uncovered, at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until bubbly and heated thoroughly.

Serve with crackers of your choice. I used Wheat Thins.

Yield: 3 cups

Note: Can be made several days ahead of time and baked just before serving.

Memorial Service for Oliver Jr.

Pictures of family and friends at the memorial service today.


Harry Hertzler (96) and Dad (Oliver) Hertzler (94) greeting each other.  Harry lives in PA and Dad lives in Newport News and neither travel any more so this was a very special treat to see each other.


Left side of table: Tony Hertzler and Lillian Hertzler

Right side: Ivan Lehman, Bobby Hertzler and Marie Hertzler


Grandpa (Oliver) Hertzler and his great-granddaughter, Karla Hostetter.


Gene Hertzler and his first cousin, Kenny Brunk.


Joe and Norma Hertzler


1st cousins: Sidney Wenger and Shirley Brunk Coberly.


Wayne Steiner and Kenny Brunk


Helen and Louis Burkholder, Lloyd Weaver and Ted Yoder.


Our dear friend, Dan Althouse.


Judy Humphrey and Ron Moyer


Dorcas & Wally Schaefer and Jill Hostetter.


Tony Hertzler and Sidney Wenger.


David Hertzler and Pat Hertzler.


Pastor Tim Kennell and Ivan Lehman.


Dwight Burkholder, Helen & Lewis Burkholder and Lloyd Weaver.


Bob Hertzler (right) and his two sons, Bobby (center) and Tony (left).


Judy Humphrey, Jill Hostetter and Marie Hertzler.


Karla Hostetter making cards for her great-grandpa and grandpa.  She has a sensitive and caring heart.


The twins!

Kenny is a twin to Kathy Brunk Stoltzfus and Daddy is a twin to Osie Ziegler.


The cane-walkers!!!

Memorial Service-Oliver Jr. December 15,2012

We had Aunt Osie “skyped” into the service so she could hear it.  Then daddy was able to talk to his beloved twin.

They talked about seeing each other in glory and then daddy spontaneously sang a song about heaven to her and Harry chimed in. It was precious.

There has been a request for the powerpoint pictures we showed of Oliver Jr.

Oliver Jr-8 month

8 months

Oliver & Judy-little

Mama Oliver & Judy-1948

Mama with children-1950

1950: Mama holding Gene, Judy & Oliver Jr.

3 children-winter 1950

1950: Gene, Judy & Oliver Jr.

Oliver & Judy-Aug 1948

Oliver & Judy-Jan 1947

Oliver and Judy

Family 1950

1950: Mama holding Gene, Daddy

Judy and Oliver Jr.

3 children riding on load of hay

Oliver, Gene & Judy on load of hay

Oliver school pic

School picture. He attended Warwick River Mennonite School

Oliver -6th grade

6th Grade

Oliver Jr-school pic

3 children-April 1957

Easter: April 1957

Oliver & Gene

Oliver and Gene

Let's play ball

GeneJudyOliver-Easter 1964

Easter 1964: Gene, Judy & Oliver Jr.

Oliver Jr-1965

1965: Leaving for IW Service in Richmond.

Oliver Jr

Judy Oliver Gene-1970

1970: Judy, Gene & Oliver Jr.

Oliver & Lana Wedding-April 1969

April 1969: Wedding of Lana Wills & Oliver Hertzler Jr.

Oliver & Lana-Christmas 1970

Christmas 1970

Family withgrandma Hertzler -1975

Family with Grandma Hertzler, 1975

Pat & Gene Hertzler, Oliver Jr. Mama (Anna Mae) Hertzler

Daddy (Oliver Sr.), Grandma, Judy & Ann Malinda Humphrey

Oliver drove Purina truck

His first truck driving job.

Oliver Jr-tractor trailer

Occupation: Long-distance truck driver.

Oliver Jr family-March 1987

March 1987: Oliver, Lana & Wendell

Oliver Jr.-June 1997

June 1997

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I could not make a good chewy chocolate chip cookie. I tried and tried but they would not turn out like my mothers. I used her recipe exactly even buying her brand of flour (Robin Hood) which is not available in our area.  They still would not turn out. Mine would be either thin and crispy or thick and cakey. Even though they were my husband’s favorite cookie, I finally gave up and said I couldn’t do it.

This year (40 years later!!!)  I decided I was going to learn to make a good cookie. I went on the internet and researched how to make a “chewy” chocolate chip cookie. I tried several recipes and finally found one that works for me.  I found it in the June/July 2012 issue of Taste of Home magazine.  It was submitted by Irene Yeh from Mequon, Wisconsin.

Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a mixing bowl combine and cream until light and fluffy:

  • 1 cup soften butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Beat in

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well:

  • 2-2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Stir in:

  • 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional-I do not use.)

Either shape the dough into balls or dip with cookie scoop and place in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper or parchment paper.  Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. (See note below)

To bake, remove dough balls from refrigerator 30 mins. before baking.  Place dough balls 3 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets or sheets sprayed with Pam. Slightly push an indentation in the center of each ball with your thumb.

Bake at 400 degrees (I use 375 degrees)  for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. They will darken after baking and you do not want to overbake. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from baking sheets.

Yield: 2-3 dozen

I like to double the recipe.

Note:  One hint I read on the internet suggested that chilling the dough before baking resets the butter, helping the cookie to keep it’s shape during the baking process. By the time the butter melts in the dough the cookie has begun to set. I really believe this is the secret I have been looking for!  However, I must say that mother does not do that!

Monster Cookies


This is one of our favorite cookie recipes. I always feel like it is a little healthier as it takes no flour, only oatmeal.  Because Gene is pre-diabetic I also cut back on the sugar. I will put in ( ) what I do.

In a large bowl (use large tuperware bowl):

  •  6 Eggs
  • 2 sticks or 1 c. butter, soften
  • 2 c. brown sugar (1 c. brown sugar plus 1/2 c. brown sugar Splenda. You can play with ratio even more if you like)
  • 2 c. white sugar (2 c. Splenda)

Beat until well mixed and stir in:

  • 28 oz. jar smooth peanut butter (can use crunchy)
  • 4 tsp. soda
  • 2 T. Light Karo syrup
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 9 c. Minute oatmeal  (Note: a 1 lb. 2 oz can is 7 cups)
  • 1 c. M & M’s
  • 1 c. Peanut M & M’s
  • 1 c. Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 12-14 dozen.  These cookies freeze well.



Today was an overcast, warm, foggy, misty, moist day.  We really didn’t think it was going to rain and the forecast only predicted a 30% chance.   5 PM and all was ready. All the props were in place and all the last minute details were attended too. Even the pigeons were on their loft. 45 minutes and my crew of  actors would arrive. Count down had begun! The only thing left to do was start the bonfire for the shepherds.  I was sitting in my lazy boy chair with my feet propped up relaxing for a few minutes after a bowl of chili soup and cornbread.  The phone rang and the voice on the other end wondered what we were going to do since it was raining.  Raining?  I jumped up and went outside. The very, very, light mist was becoming a steady, light rain.

What do we do? Will the rain stop?  The first quick order of business was to cover the sound equipment,  hay wagon and other items that could not get wet.  Decisions had to be made quickly as some of the actors live 30-45 minutes away.  Things such as safety on the roof  and for the horses had to be taken into consideration.  Will people come or will they assume we aren’t having it?  A quick glance at the weather radar and it just showed light mist in the forecast.  It was a hard call but the biggest concern was the equipment and hay that could not get wet.   Nativity cancelled!

Over 2000 years ago heaven rendezvoused with earth.  There was no rain date, no looking at the weather radar, no sound equipment to protect, no bonfire to start.  The shepherds did not rehearse their trek to Bethlehem and no one had marked the upcoming event on their calendar. Joseph and a very pregnant Mary were on a lonely, difficult journey to pay their taxes in Bethlehem which was bustling with other out-of-town guests.   Joseph knew “the time” was pressing and it was urgent that he find shelter for the night and a place for Mary to rest. Shepherds were in the fields protecting their sheep.  Heaven was astir.  The Son of God had mysteriously disappeared  and a multitude of angels were preparing for their divine mission.

“And when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman….”

Galatians 4:4a

In the stillness of the night….Nativity happened!!

My Garden

I like a pretty garden. There is something very satisfying about a well maintained garden with straight, weed-free, and mulched rows.  A well maintained garden will yield  bigger, better, healthier fruit. A well maintained garden will yield a bountiful harvest.  A well maintained garden is inviting and a delight to work in.  A well maintained garden means that someone has been hard at work;  sweating, planting, hoeing, tilling, pulling weeds, spraying for bugs, and fertilizing.

Weeds. Those nasty, uninvited, unproductive, useless plants that spring up overnight, grow 4 times as fast as vegetables, thrive in wet or dry conditions and will overtake a garden if left unattended.  Weeds. Thistles. Briers…one of the curses of the fall when Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3: 17-19).

My life is like a garden. I have spent a lot of time and effort planting seeds of kindness, joy, love, good deeds, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  I have faithfully sprinkled it with prayer and mulched it with the Word of God.  I have harvested good fruit. I have also pulled many weeds, heaping them on piles and burning them at the cross of Jesus Christ.

But the weeds in my garden are a constant challenge. Just when I let down my guard and relax, a root of bitterness, a sprig of doubt, a clump of unkind words, or a brier of selfishness will shoot up and catch me off guard.  The thorny weeds are especially difficult to pull and control. I have pulled weeds of gossip, hate, revenge,  and  impure thoughts.  And there in the midst of my manicured garden a new crop of weeds will appear again and again and again.  The weeds look innocent enough at the beginning and sometimes I even mistake them for a good plant, but left unattended they can  crowd out the vegetables, send down deep, hard-to-pull roots and develop prickly thorns.

I want my life to be a well-manicured garden of faith.  I want my heart to be free of sin and watered with the goodness of God’s abundant grace.  I want a bountiful harvest of good fruit.  I want my words, my thoughts and my conduct to be pure, holy and honorable. At the end of my life I want to hear the words, “well-done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23) But until then, I’m just gonna have to keep pullin’ those weeds.

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