Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me... Let me be singing when the evening comes!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dusty Keys and Good Excuses

Seeing that it has now been almost 10 months since my last blog entry I'm almost embarrassed to come back! The best excuse for "blog neglect" that I can come up with? 
Not sure if that is a good excuse or not but it's the truth. When I wrote my last blog on July 18th I was just at the beginning of a dating relationship that would end with "Will you...?" and start something else with "I do!" 

I wasn't trying to be sneaky or anything.... I would have posted about it sometime but I ended up having some computer difficulties (as in I wrote blogs and then the computer wouldn't post them!) and then life got... well... a little busy.

Though I'm not going to go into the whole story right now (if you're curious check out this link to see our wedding website), I did want to "touch base" and give an answer to the question everyone asks a new bride:


Drum roll please..........

May I present MRS. Karl Hertzler

{Say what????}

Yep, that's right (and NO he did NOT take MY name)! I got lucky and snagged a guy with the same last name - No name change for me!

But beyond the silliness with the name-thing, I have been blessed with a husband who is better than I ever could have imagined! We have a snug little house which we are making into a home and I am excited to get back on here and share bits of life with you! 

For now, I'll leave you with a picture of the happy couple on our wedding day:
And this song by Don Moen:
"God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in the heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

If you're walking through the valleys
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear, He will guide you
He will keep you safe and sound
He has promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you, and His word is true

We are sinners and so unworthy
Still for us He chose to die
Filled us with His Holy Spirit
Now we can stand and testify
That His love is everlasting
And His mercies, they will never end

Though I may not understand
All the plans you have for me
My life is in your hands
And through the eyes of faith
I can clearly see that

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in the heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Good and Gracious

This week I have been overwhelmed by how good our God is! Yes, there is His fearsome side - demanding justice and perfection - but for the Creator of the universe and Lord of all to pay attention to the tiny details in MY life???  WOW! Talk about an overwhelming feeling of unworthiness and gratitude!

This morning, as I was basking in the thought of His lovingkindness I read Psalm 107:
1Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty, Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces.
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 16 For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two.
17 Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.
23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters,
24 They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
26 They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.
29 He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.
30 Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.
31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.
33 He turns rivers into a wilderness, And the watersprings into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into barrenness, For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into watersprings.
36 There He makes the hungry dwell, That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards, That they may yield a fruitful harvest.
38 He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; And He does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;
41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock.
42 The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.(NKJV)

"Oh Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow       May richer, fuller be.
"O Light that foll'west all my way, I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day May brighter, fairer be.
"O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.
"O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be!"
(hymn lyrics by: George Mattheson)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jesus Calling

While visiting for my sister's high school graduation, my grandparents recommended a daily devotional book by Sarah Young titled "Jesus Calling." They loaned us their copy and I have been so encouraged and challenged by the Biblical truths declared in each daily paragraph. Today's (June 11th) came from Isaiah 12:2 and Romans 8:6:

Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your 
Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your 
energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and 
singing My Song. The battle for control of your mind 
is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable 
to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in
guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness
in yourself since I am using it to draw you closer to Me.
Your constant need for Me creates an intimacy that is 
well worth the effort. You are not alone in this struggle 
for your mind. My Spirit living within you is ever ready 
to help in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind;
He will bless you with Life and Peace.

Our church is in the midst of 52 days of combined, purposeful prayer for our church, homes, community, etc. This devotional reading goes along so well with what I have felt led to pray for myself, my immediate family, and my church family; that Christ would control what we think, say, and do. What does a life controlled by Christ look like? What would YOURS look like if you "invested your energy in trusting Him and singing His Song?"

I love the words to this old hymn written by Kate B. Wilkinson sometime before 1913:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Monday, May 6, 2013


The older I get the more confidence I think I should have. The reality is that I seem to question myself all the more as time goes on. Questions about life, my plans, my world view, myself.... 

So many things can make us question: why? when? where? what? how?
It can be as simple as an off-handed remark in a passing conversation or understanding a different way of life; realizing something you've never seen clearly before; a caring question or friendly chat; for the first time understanding something you've heard all your life; any kind of change.... 
The list is endless. 

Life it just full of questions that need answers and often there are more of the former than the later.  That is a confidence killer: not knowing the answer. If I dwell on what I don't know I start getting a bit panic-y. It's hard making decisions in this state and there are decisions to be made every day.

I'm not talking about the "big" decisions so much as the "small" ones. Those that shape character: the good fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When I am focusing on questions without answers my fruit is "stunted" in a way. For example, think about how hard it is to be joyful when you're worried....

This line of thought brought to mind the song Maria sings in "The Sound of Music":
"What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
...Oh I must stop these doubts all these worries!
If I don't I just know I'll turn back.
I must dream of the things I am seeking - 
I am seeking the courage I lack.
The courage to serve them with reliance.
Face my mistakes without defiance.
Show them I'm worthy and while I show them, I'll show me..."

The song shows that a change came when Maria stopped mulling over what she 
didn't know and began stating what she did:
"I have confidence in sunshine, 
I have confidence in rain,
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!"

Confidence means to be "self-assured, to feel or show certainty about something, secure, positive, safe."  So what is it I am confident in? 

"I am CONVINCED [to be completely certain about something] that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from GOD'S LOVE. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from THE LOVE OF GOD THAT IS REVEALED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD." 
(Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

The best picture of confidence I can think of is a child that runs and jumps off a platform into your arms. They didn't stop to wonder IF, HOW, WHEN, WHERE ... With complete joy they are living life, confident

"He is jealous for me. If love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
All of a sudden I am UNAWARE of these AFFLICTIONS
ECLIPSED BY GLORY and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how GREAT Your affections are for me

Oh How He Loves Us!

We are His portion and He is our prize 
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking

Then heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
That He Loves ME!"
("How He Loves" by: David Crowder)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Back In The Saddle

Oops! I was doing so well with my 2013 resolution to blog more. Ah well, I do have some valid excuses: I was out of state the beginning of March and over Easter (hopefully you will read more about that soon) which was lovely but travel does make life busier! And I WAS still writing. A recent aquiantance (i.e. last summer) asked me if I would write an article (see link at bottom) for a website he manages called "The Breed's Hill Institute; Articles, News, History and Education about The Revolutionary War and America's Founding."

He said I could pick any subject from the 18th century to research and write about. And so I would like to introduce you to Miss Sybil Ludington; a 16 year old girl who many have named as "the female Paul Revere."  This is Berton Braley's clever take on Longfellow's poem:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of a lovely feminine Paul Revere
Who rode an equally famous ride
Through a different part of the countryside,
Where Sybil Ludington’s name recalls
A ride as daring as that of Paul’s.

In April, Seventeen Seventy-Seven,
A smoky glow in the eastern heaven
(A fiery herald of war and slaughter)
Came to the eyes of the Colonel’s daughter.
“Danbury’s burning,” she cried aloud.
The Colonel answered, “‘T is but a cloud,
A cloud reflecting the campfires’ red,
So hush you, Sybil, and go to bed.”

“I hear the sound of the cannon drumming”
“‘T is only the wind in the treetops humming!
So go to bed, as a young lass ought,
And give the matter no further thought.”
Young Sybil sighed as she turned to go,
“Still, Danbury’s burning–that I know.”

Sound of a horseman riding hard
Clatter of hoofs in the manoryard
Feet on the steps and a knock resounding
As a fist struck wood with a mighty pounding.
The doors flung open, a voice is heard,
“Danbury’s burning–I rode with word;
Fully half of the town is gone
And the British–the British are coming on.
Send a messenger, get our men!”
His message finished the horseman then
Staggered wearily to a chair
And fell exhausted in slumber there.

The Colonel muttered, “And who, my friend,
Is the messenger I can send?
Your strength is spent and you cannot ride
And, then, you know not the countryside;
I cannot go for my duty’s clear;
When my men come in they must find me here;
There’s devil a man on the place tonight
To warn my troopers to come–and fight.
Then, who is my messenger to be?”
Said Sybil Ludington, “You have me.”

“You!” said the Colonel, and grimly smiled,
“You!” My daughter, you’re just a child!”
“Child!” cried Sybil. “Why I’m sixteen!
My mind’s alert and my senses keen,
I know where the trails and the roadways are
And I can gallop as fast and as far
As any masculine rider can.
You want a messenger? I’m your man!”

The Colonel’s heart was aglow with pride.
“: Spoke like a soldier. Ride, girl, ride
Ride like the devil; ride like sin;
Summon my slumbering troopers in.
I know when duty is to be done
That I can depend on a Ludington!”

So over the trails to the towns and farms
Sybil delivered the call to arms.
Riding swiftly without a stop
Except to rap with a riding crop
On the soldiers’ doors, with a sharp tattoo
And a high-pitched feminine halloo.
“Up! up there, soldier. You’re needed, come!
The British are marching!” and the drum
Of her horse’s feet as she rode apace
To bring more men to the meeting place.

Sybil grew weary and faint and drowsing,
Here limbs were aching, but still she rode
Until she finished her task of rousing
Each sleeping soldier from his abode,
Showing her father, by work well done,
The he could depend on a Ludington.

Dawn in the skies with its tints of pearl
And the lass who rode in a soldier’s stead
Turned home, only a tired girl
Thinking of breakfast and then of bed
With never a dream that her ride would be
A glorious legend of history;
Nor that posterity’s hand would mark
Each trail she rode through the inky dark,
Each path to figure in song and story
As a splendid, glamorous path of glory–
To prove, as long as the ages run,
That “you can depend on a Ludington.”

Such is the legend of Sybil’s ride
To summon the men from the countryside
A true tale, making her title clear
As a lovely feminine Paul Revere!
Follow the link below to read the article and learn more about this brave young lady.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask The One Who Knows

 Words I heard on the way to work this morning (from a song off the Franz Family's "Who At My Door Is Standing" CD) coupled with pictures I found online:

  Jesus I am thankful for all You've given me
And I'm asking for Your help Lord to be all You'd have me be

With an humble voice I cry out from a world filled with pain
Please help me see the sunshine and look beyond the rain

I'm asking You 'cause You know how to heal a heart and clear the doubt
You can take away the hurt and make it all work out
I'm asking You 'cause You know how


May I always be aware of the blessings that You bring
And may You always be the reason I lift my voice and sing

Teach me faith and guide me and show me how to stand
Through trying times that face me Lord I know You can

 ("I'm Asking You" by: Shawn Lane)

This last picture is by artist Kelly O'Neill. This is what she shares about the story behind "Mine for a Moment." After losing a close friend, she "was struggling to balance loving fiercely with a willingness to let go." GOD showed her this picture in her mind, and she painted it. "...a little girl was playing in the field with her father. He had just let go of her hand, and she was running away, but smiling back at him. I knew that this image represented the attitude I was to have about the people I treasure most in my life."   (Information from another person's blog.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unfading Roses

Nanny, PopPop, Mom, and Me; 4 generations!

My great-grandmother, Katie Rice Syphard Shantz, was born September 17, 1918. Early this morning, Feburary 21, 2013, she passed away.  Being her first great-grandchild I realize how incredibly blessed I was to have known her so well and to have so many wonderful memories.

Nanny, Mom, and Great-PopPop (He passed away before I was born)

Just a few things that come to mind when I think of Nanny:

✥ She was my great-grandmother/babysitter/friend.
✥ She was the one who came closest to spoiling us. 
✥ She enjoyed taking us shopping and giving gifts.
✥ You had to be careful what you said you liked because she would buy it for you!
✥ I remember taking summer naps on the carpeted floor of her air conditioned appartment.
✥ My first sleep-over (all by myself, just for fun) was with her.
✥ As a little girl I was facinated by the fact that she had false teeth and would take them out at night.
✥ Her favorite color was red. 
✥ She used to tell me about a red coat she had when she was a girl.
✥ She loved seeing cardinals and butterflies.
✥ A box of crayons and coloring book would keep us entertained for hours.
✥ I blame my love of Peanut M&Ms and York Peppermint Patties on her. She always had them in the pantry.
✥ She liked taking long walks and pretty flowers
✥ She liked good eating:
homemade cookies & veggie soup/chicken nuggets/hot dogs/French fries 
✥ Ice cream was a staple:
butter pecan/peach/black cherry/whipped cream in a can and marachino cherries.
✥ She would find the biggest potato chips in the bag and give them to us.
✥ We watched TV at her house since we didn't have cable: 
Waltons/Flinstons/Jetsons/Scooby-Doo/Dr. Quinn/
Lawrence Welk Show
✥ She loved animals, especially baby animals, chicken, and geese.
✥ She made scrap books for her great-grandchildren. 
✥She would page through magazines looking for cute things to cut out.
✥ She loved babies; holding and playing with them.
✥ She thought a dog licking your face was just horrible.
✥ She taught us the saying: "Beans, beans the musical fruit…" and thought "tooting" was hilarious!
✥ She loved her family.

A picture from mom's photo album of a very young Katie Shantz

She struggled with Altzhiemers for more than a decade and it was hard knowing she didn't remember any of us. She was so loved and we will miss her so much, but I am glad that she no longer has to deal with physical ailments. It makes me happy to think that she is able to enjoy things again, that she is with Jesus, and there will never again be pain in her life.


She probably would have liked to hear the Cathedrals sing this song:

"I am going to a city,
Where the streets with gold are laid,
Where the tree of life is blooming,
And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season;
Soon their beauty is decayed.
I am going to a city,
Where the roses never fade."

Written by Elsie Osborn, Jack Osborn, Jim Miller