Monday, June 28, 2010


This is Berlin at 8am on a Friday.... Tourists on the move

This is me at 8:15 on Friday....not so much on the move

The constant clouds and rain I will never get used too...
this many gorgeous flowers...
yeah, I can get used to that:)
There were "games afoot" in the field across from the office

ahhh... it's a tEnT!!

oh wait! it's a BARN!!
...oh the afternoon entertainment in Walnut Creek...

It was "Village Days" here in Walnut Creek all weekend
Cozy places to rest and read

Beautiful Inns with rooms waiting

Gift Shops with all kinds of fun stuff waiting to be bought and gifted

Bakeries filled to max with cookies, pies, breads...
you name it, they probably had it in here
...and best of all...

Lots and lots of fudge... with free samples:)
I must say though (and this is not just out of loyalty), it wasn't as good as Grandpa W's

This last weekend was full of new friends, new faces, different churches but good fellowship and most importantly, an awesome message from the Good Word! The sermon was on "Gratefulness" and the path to and away from such a state of mind. It was challenging, though-provoking, and convicting. Sad to say there are many days that I spend mired down in frustration and impatience, forgetting to stop and thank God for where I am in my life. The minister said; "Learn to be grateful in your singlehood..." OUCH! So I am learning, and re-learning. But I suppose that is the point to life, is actually living it each day for the Master.
As far as work is going, it is going well, and I really am grateful for that. Blood test results are coming in and I am moving ahead (finally after MUCH miscommunication and confusion with three doctors handing down different orders... what cHaOs!!) with interviews. This is the part where Brittle Hair Syndrom really hits home. What I am looking for now is any developmental, social and/or behavioral delays of the person with BHS. About half of the "kids" with BHS that I am studying are out of school, and becoming young adults with jobs, and wanting to move into relationships, etc. This is where the going really gets rough, becuase many of them are "slow" yet it isn't apparent until one gets to know them better. One of the girls I am working with had a boyfriend for awhile, but once he got to know her better and realized she wasn't a "perfect" girl (his words, not mine), the relationship was over. Her friends and sisters are getting married, having families, creating their lives, and she is stuck. We sat there on the porch, talked, cried, gave each other hugs and moved on with life for the time being. She needs prayer and lots of love. Her family is very supportive and does love her dearly. It was a vivid reminder that we ALL need prayer and support of those around us, and sometime it's okay to not be okay, because God's perfect, and that's what counts (her words, not mine).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Friends, Family and Faith

Good Morning

This last weekend I ended up in Greenville, OH with Grandpa & Grandma Flora. Beautiful drive down there, but a bit deserted at 11pm when one is returning home late Sunday evening. That aside, it was an awesome weekend filled with family, church and friends. Got to make some new friends, catch up with old friends, and take pictures of PEOPLE!! So here are a few snapshots from all the activities...

Yes, it really is that green...
No, it's not the tropics...
Yes, it feels like it is...


Power at Rest

U. Tim & A. Krysta's house in progress

Walls and Imagination

Dreams and Progress

many hands = light work and good times

a VERY determined individual
...he will go far...

Big, Chocolate Brown, Tired Eyes

Church Home (Bradford, OH)

singing friends

family:) and lunch friends

church friends AND family

working friends

bEaUtIfUl friends
"ahem"... my apologies to the rest of you...
this picture was taken for a certain someone:)

AWESOME friends

matchy-matchy friends

young friends

"...the firmament showeth HIS handiwork..."

Sorry that last picture is so far away. That's as close as I dare get without offending or sticking my foot in my mouth (something I practice quite frequently...). The horses here are amazing! Giant draft horses that pull and work together. It's a good lesson to me to learn to work with those around me, even though I may not want to sometimes. You get a lot more accomplished when differences are put aside and the focus is on a common goal.
Work has been just This week has been filled with endless paperwork and cleaning out of old files. It's a real chore for those of us who are not the world's organizers, but it must be done and done it shall be. Actually, it's been raining all week, so inside with a cup of coffee isn't so bad.
Also finished mapping family trees for all the kids with Brittle Hair Syndrome. They all track back to one man... Jacob Hochstetler... Born in 1704 in Switzerland. Listening to the stories about this man is fascinating.
Jacob had several children, most of which were sons. Not all of the children are recorded, because shortly after he, his wife and children moved to America, their cabin was attacked by Indians. The girls and mother were killed. Jacob and his sons were captured, and separated among different tribes. Jacob lived with the Indians, and gained their trust. He also went around biting his bullets in half in order to save some so that he could escape and survive. He did not plan to, and never did, use the bullets on his captors. They were for food only. Jacob did escape, and ended up back in Pennsylvania, floating down a river on a make-shift raft past Fort Recovery. By the time Jacob floated past the fort, he was so weak all he could do was raise his hand. The last meal he'd had was half of a dead opossum. A soldier spotted him, and took him in to rehabilitate in the fort. Jacob Hochstelter did rebuild a cabin, and again, Indians appeared. He gave them what food he had, and went out to talk to them. One of the braves looked up at him and said in perfect German... "My name is Christian Hochstetler"...
It was one of Jacob's sons.
Despite everything that happened to Jacob, his faith in God never wavered. And his love for all people never wavered, despite past offenses. He eventually found many of his sons by creating alliances with the same tribes that killed his wife and daughters, and went on to live and prosper among them. The Jacob Hochstetler descendants are many, and their faith in God is still alive and well today.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Finally, FINALLY, the sun appeared with those white, cotton-ball clouds

and I was stuck inside looking at this for 12 hours today...
But it was worth it. Mapping the geneology of a family is like walking through a framed house, and filling in the details with your own imagination. There were brothers who moved from Switzerland together; sisters from Europe who married those brothers and raised the first "Americans" for that branch of the family; fathers who tilled new soil and planted dreams for the next generations; mothers who lost not one, not two, but sometimes three or four children; grandparents who were faithful; children who are still faithful today.
Depite all that I began to form a fast addiction to these...

Therefore, in order to avoid such an addiction (although they are supposedly one of the "healthier" candies), I grabbed my camera and headed out for an hour of decompression by wandering around the few blocks that make up Walnut Creek, OH.

Most common form of transportation

Forgotten homes that still stand dignified and beautiful

I wonder how many fires have filled this chimney with smoke. The building that houses this chimney now also houses boxes and boxes of tax files for a couple of the local businesses. Wo to any auditor who may enter therein...

The one and only General Store: Schlabach's

My most favorite place in Walnut Creek.
It's a giant, messy, happy place full of good finds and old stories

"YOU ARE the light of the world..."

"Vanity, vanity; all is vanity sayeth the preacher..."
That aside, there are some lovely hats and cute purses just waiting to be shown off again.

Her tools
This wall reminds me of my mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who have taught me what being a good cook, and most important, what being a godly woman really means

His tools
And this wall reminds me of all the men in my life who are quite adept at patiently fixing what I insist on "fixing" myself, and not saying a word...

and at this point of the day this was all I wanted
...a big trunk to load some stuff in and head home to be with my family...
But I stayed, and went back to the office to round out my family trees, get ready for another home visit, and set up for a board meeting.
So far this week has been filled with the rest of the intial home visits, sending samples to London to be analyzed, organizing files, geneologies, and the endless paperwork of consent forms and learning how Windows of Hope Genetics Information Center operates. I am impressed, and humbled by their willingness to allow me in for a little while and help where I can. There has been an instant trust which I respect and am very grateful for. WHGIC is an organization that is run by an Amish board, for the Anabaptist people, to provide services for families with genetic disease. It is a nonprofit organization set up to further research and treatment for such genetic diseases.
Their goals and values are clear.
Love the Lord our God
Love one another.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Good Morning..GOOD BOOK..Good Coffee:)

...the BEST little cafe in town...
(good coffee there too)

...the gardens and flowers are really pretty this time of year...
must be because of all this...

So yes, it's raining a lot, but it hasn't been too humid and it makes for some beautiful sunsets!
Work this week has been crazy, but good. All told I will be working with 16 families and continually looking for more as per doctor's orders to "find as many as possible." It's been a real stretch just showing up at people's homes and having to explain who I am, what I'm doing and asking them to participate, while keeping graciousness and the love of the Lord first. The way of connection out here among the Amish is word of mouth. Case in point of the last family I just visited that was a "cousin of my wife's aunt's daughter-in-law who has a couple of children who are struggling in school and have the brittle hair..." Thanks to the Ohio Amish Directory (see above post) all I need is the name of the father and mother and then they are pretty easy to look up. The hard part is (as I said) just showing up... So far all of them have been eager to participate, want answers and what help we can give them for their kids. And between them feeding me (WOW are they ever GOOD cooks!!), trying to teach me Dutch, and me teaching them what little Spanish I know it's a pretty hilarious mix! We should be able to send all the gathered blood samples out to the lab in London, England the first of next week and start getting results the following two weeks. I'm not sure who's more excited... me or them!

...four hours later I determine that they are third cousins with double seconds and double firsts in the ancestry above them...*sigh*...mapping family trees gets really interesting in this part of the country...
After all day of that I wandered out into the semi-clogged streets of Walnut Creek to be a tourist

Was really tempted to buy one, but I didn't...

"Amish" dolls. The crack-up about this is that the way these dolls are dressed is NOT the way that the Amish dress most of the time. I'm not sure about Lancaster County, but in Holmes County black bonnets and black aprons are rarely seen. I am still debating about what to do for the weekend, and if I stay around here, it's off to Berlin and Charm for more "tourism" and exploring! All these little antique shops are VERY hard to walk away from without loading up the car with stuff that is old and beautiful! Oh and dad, I found the museums so one of the goals for the summer is to visit EVERY ONE of them and learn something. A lot of them are based around German culture and the migration of the Anabaptist people, so it should be really interesting (well, to be honest I've never found a museum that wasn't interesting). To all; hope and pray your weekend is filled with good times, good fellowship and good messages from the Word!