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“The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foe, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:1-4

This afternoon, as I write, the clouds have taken over. But we had sunshine most of the day. It was really nice, just chill, but very tolerable. I’d rather have 20 degrees with sunshine than 40 degrees with clouds and rain.

Too bad I couldn’t take advantage of the sunshine this morning and do some laundry. But the morning passed so quickly. Anyway, I did all the laundry yesterday except for the sheets used by our grandchildren Sunday night.

We had quite the weekend. I knew our daughter Cindy and Freeman Miller and all theirs from Dale were coming. Also, granddaughter Mary Lorene, Mikel and little Alex of Medina, N.Y.

What I didn’t know was what the children were planning behind our backs. The stinkers!

Son-in-law Lloyd left a message late Friday evening; I didn’t get it until early Saturday. He said someone will be picking us up Saturday afternoon around 1 p.m., and we should wear good clothes.

OK, but? Surely, we aren’t going out for lunch. It’s kind of late for that, and too early for supper, so?

Well, turns out Lloyd picked us up, and we went toward the Miltons’. Lloyd figured we’d stop and see if “they are ready so we can go together.”

He went in, and, no, they aren’t ready, but we shall just go in to wait. I was so clueless, and yet, I saw they had put up rope to tie up horses. What? Oh, well.

We went in, then they say, “Happy Anniversary!” Well! They had invited family and friends. All our grandchildren were present. We were overwhelmed.

When I wanted to eat ice cream, Jane cautioned me, “You might not want to eat too much. The day isn’t over yet.” What?

Granddaughter Margaret told me they were leaving. I asked them if they were then coming to our house for supper. She then got this funny look on her face, then Rachel told me we were all going to Yoder’s for supper.

The whole kit and caboodle? Yep! Everyone. There were 40 of us. Five generations were present. It was so special that all the grandchildren were there. Well, one of the granddaughters had an obligation she felt she had to keep.

We were all together on Sunday for dinner at Lloyd’s. They outdid themselves in planning this memorable day.

We had a delicious dinner of fried chicken (deep-fried in the turkey fryer), mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. We sang, played games, ate snacks and had a good time.

Mikel, Mary Lorene and little Alex spent Sunday evening with us. They slept at our house and left for home Monday morning. Too bad little Alex is young enough that he won’t remember having a pillow fight with his great-grandpa. But grandpa remembers. It was a memory maker.

Monday morning, I looked at the house and wondered, do I want to clean it up? Or leave it a while yet to soak up memories?

Actually, I didn’t know where to start. I had mounds of towels to wash but knew I couldn’t get done before I needed to go get Erwin. So I thought I’d start with the bathrooms. It didn’t look favorable to dry things outside anyway.

So I worked my way through, picking up toys, putting things to rights.

Then I realized, if I hurry, I can still get the floors mopped before I have to leave. So I got that done. It was really nice coming home to a cleaned house.

The suns broke through the clouds enough that it convinced me to do laundry instead of lunch. I hung out the towels and my cleaning rags. That is all I had room for on the patio. I was so glad I hung those out. They dried, smelled so fresh and were so soft.

I had taken down my inside lines so our long-legged grandsons wouldn’t have to walk so “stooped.”

In closing, a major problem facing families is that ovens are self-cleaning, but children are not!

I think this stew would make a good winter evening meal.

Cider beef stew

Servings: 4.

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pound stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup apple cider

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 celery rib, chopped

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, sliced or chopped

In a large bowl or bag, combine flour, salt and pepper; add beef; toss to coat.

In a saucepan, brown beef in oil. Add cider, water, vinegar and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until meat is tender.

Add carrots, celery, potato and onion; return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

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