My Ohio Family

Growing up in southern Indiana meant traveling to Amish Country Ohio to see my mom’s family. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and of course Grandma and Grandpa Yoder. Growing up in Indiana also meant weekend visitors in the form of all those mentioned. Whether we were in Indiana or Ohio, when we were together we had a fine time that was not soon forgotten.

I have good memories of going to Ohio for weekends. There were always get-togethers in someone’s backyard, a cabin or a park. After much good food, the old(er) ones would sit and talk while the young ones played old gray wolf or kick the can. Cousins were the best playmates and after we had worn ourselves out we would lie in the grass and catch fireflies after dark.

As we got older, married, and moved around, our times together grew less. We got together on occasions, but it was never long enough. Talk kept circling about having an actual reunion, but it just never happened.

And then Tristan died.

Our cousins came through the line at his viewing and said, “We knew him, but we hadn’t seen him much the last few years, we feel like we really didn’t know him well anymore.” I hated that they missed that part of his life after spending so much time together growing up. They missed the years of him with his wife and kids and knowing his big heart and laughing conversations.

So, when I heard talk about getting together for a weekend, I was happy.
And a good weekend it was.

Yoder Reunion (1)

Yoder Reunion (2)

There was a host of conversations, catching up on life, renewing friendships, amazement at children grown up and new babies to meet.
Lots of memories were discussed and laughed over. Early morning wake up calls with Aunt Irene, sleeping in Grandma’s basement, cookie baking days, visiting Grandpa in the nursing home and much more. We listened to the Aunts and Uncles recall memories from when they were young and all that happened back in their days. The conversations were rich and full of life.

Yoder Reunion (3)

Yoder Reunion (4)

We have spread around from here to there across the globe so there were immediate families reuniting and much catching up to do. There were only a few missing and miss them we did.

Yoder Reunion (5)

The children had a blast. Train rides, bounce houses and games galore, they were never lacking for something to do.

Yoder Reunion (6)

Yoder Reunion (7)

Yoder Reunion (8)

Yoder Reunion (9)

Dave’s children went all out with the games. There was something for everyone and much, much laughter from everyone watching.

Yoder Reunion (10)

Yoder Reunion (11)

There were two teams and one person from each team competed against each other to see who completed each task the fastest.

Yoder Reunion (12)
The kids and big kids rolled and bounced around in these things for hours.
I heard tell that it made for some very sore muscles the next few days.

Yoder Reunion (13)

Yoder Reunion (14)

In between all the activities, there was a constant display of food. If there is one thing I missed from the Yoder gene pool, it would be the love of all things chocolate. Madison made chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with chocolate ganache. They were well received.

Yoder Reunion (15)

Yoder Reunion (16)

Family, the ones you grow up with, share laughter and sorrow, heart and soul, and a bond of memories. No matter where you live or how long it’s been, when you gather again, the bond is still there.

Yoder Reunion (17)

Version 3

On Saturday night we scrolled through a huge assortment of photos my cousin Melody put together. It spanned the time from Grandpa at CPS to the youngest of the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

Yoder Reunion (18)

Yoder Reunion (19)

Yoder Reunion (20)

It was a great weekend, but we missed Tristan fiercely. He would have loved it, the conversations, the games, reuniting with family and just being a part of it all. He would have been the first one up in the morning and the last one to bed at night, I am sure. I missed him all weekend.

If you have family, gather them together and spend time with each other.
They are a blessings many do not have.

Of Miller Camping

There are all kinds of Miller families in this world,
but there is only one of kind of these Millers.
These Millers do life well.

They cook with gusto.
Two girls and six boys in the family
and almost all of them love to cook.
When we get together, there is no end of food.
They inherited this love of cooking from their mom.
Sometimes its comfort food they call “Miller food.”
Sometimes its exotic things from other countries.
At any rate, there is always plenty and it’s always good

This gang can tell stories with the best of them.
Well, some of them can,
the others are generally part of the story being told.
Frequently you will hear one brother say,
“Hey, let’s tell (insert brother’s name) stories!”
Tall tales can be spun in no time at all and well told they will be.
Next year they are told again,Β  only a little better then before.

These Millers are self-proclaimed rednecks.
Old trucks and tractors, 4-wheelers,
dirt bikes, motorcycles and much more.
A ripped up shirt is a fine thing and a bandanna or a bill cap will work
to cover the facial features that rival Duck Dynasty.
There are boats, jet skies, kayaks, canoes or a plane.
How about a Miller-built raft that floats on metal barrels,
run with an outboard motor and even sports a live well.
If it can be built, they will build it,
whether it looks good or not,
they will proclaim it good and be quite proud of it.

These are people who care,
who invite you to be part of the family,
whether you are family or not.
A friendlier group you will not find,
they will pull you in and surround you.
Within minutes, they will be asking who you are related to,
who your parents are and your grandparents, and in no time at all,
they will either be related to you or know someone who is.

There are those who will tease you mercilessly, laughing all the while.
Some can talk like the wind, entertaining for hours.
You have the quiet ones in the background, picking up the slack.
There are the singers who will strum a guitar around the fire,
waiting for someone to sing with them.
Some are game-players, gathered around a picnic table for hours.
There may be laughing and talking over the game,
or a heated competition to win.
There are those who think deeply and bring thought provoking
conversations to the table.
And any one of them is ready and willing to lift a hand,
any time you need one.

This family has fun together and enjoys each other.
They don’t always agree, not by a long shot,
but they do life together quite well.


Every year for as many years as I’ve been around,
they’ve been gathering to camp for a weekend.
Lately it’s been Labor Day weekend on the farm.
It’s very much looked forward to by young and old alike.
To prove my point on friendliness,
I can’t remember a camping weekend in the last five or more years
that someone hasn’t brought a friend along to camp.

Miller Camping (1)
A few years ago they put in a pond
and it has gotten many, many hours of use since.

Miller Camping (2)

Every year the old red and white tent goes up.
Most years it drips rain on us, but this year was nice and hot.
We gather under it for the best of food and conversations.

Miller Camping (3)

Speaking of food, I mentioned that these guys like to cook.
Usually it isn’t something simple and
this year we had a menu of a wide variety.

Miller Camping (4)

The first night we had food from all the countries we represent.
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, and Brazil.

Miller Camping (5)

Sunday morning Grandma and some granddaughters made her specialty,
home-made donuts.
There are none better to be found.

Sunday lunch was Miller Soul food.
Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and noodles, salad and dessert.

Miller Camping (6)

Sunday evening was seafood, representing our Florida family members.
Sam brought a sword fish along and they grilled it.
It was quite delicious.

Miller Camping (16)
They also had bacon wrapped scallops
and an assortment of other things to go with it.

Monday morning was more comfort food of biscuits and gravy.

Monday afternoon our meal was southern redneck, Sackett style.
The Sacketts are characters in the Louis L’Amour books this gang has all read.
Not that I knew that, I had to ask since I’m not an original of the family!

Miller Camping (8)

Timmy took on the challenge of making root beer using dry ice.
I don’t think the Sackett’s had dry ice in their time,
but this worked and it was declared quite tasty.

Miller Camping (7)

For the main course of the Sackett meal, we had a hog.
It roasted since late Sunday night and
was a mighty fine piece of meat till it was done.

There really is more involved to our weekends then just food,
although that is a big part of it.

Miller Camping (9)

This year was Human Foosball.
Tim built a game and it was in use most of the time.

Miller Camping (10)
If you played with guys, you were likely to have
bumps and bruises of all shapes and sizes.
When the ladies or kids played, it was much calmer,
but just as much enjoyed.
At least I think so, I actually didn’t play
due to not having a desire to be kicked in the shin or hit with a ball.

Miller Camping (11)

Monday there was even a round of tournaments
which brought out the spectators.

Miller Camping (12)
The pond was put to use by the little kids and big ones.
They had tubes, boats, jet skies and the works out there.
You can see a bit of the previously mentioned raft here.

Miller Camping (13)

The little guys were water logged and sun burnt until the weekend was over.

Miller Camping (14)
And a few of them were well covered with mud.

Miller Camping (15)

These Millers are night owls, hanging out until all hours.
There will be good conversations, there is probably food,
and there may even be a Foosball game at 1am.

Now thatΒ  I’ve convinced you that you would rather like
to be part of this Miller clan,
you are welcome next year about this time, down on the farm.
We are always up for a friend or three to join us for some fun.
There will be good food, of that you can be sure.


A Gathering of Family

Β The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalms 16:6

Party  (1)

The past weekend we were to Indiana to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.
She turned 60 in Dec. and it wasn’t a good time for a party
with Dad’s broken leg and building the house.
So we decided to wait until Jan. when things slowed down and they had moved.
I invited all of her brothers and sisters and their spouses to come for a weekend
of being catered to and they came, for which we were thankful.

Party  (2)

Mom was born and raised in Holmes Co Ohio and moved to IN when she married.
All of her brothers and sisters still live there so it took time and effort on their part
to take a weekend and drive out to celebrate with her.
We tried to make it a weekend well worth their time,
I wanted it to be a time for them to enjoy each other and not have to work.
I hope we accomplished that.

Party  (3)

Party  (4)

It was a weekend full of a lot of things.
Reconnecting. Telling stories. Remembering.
Laughing till they cried.
Giving gifts.
Sharing their hearts. Quiet talks.
A meaningful church service.
Tears. And smiles.
I saw lots of smiles.
Smiles and laughter.
The kind that comes only from knowing someone well.
The kind that comes from being with family.

Party  (5)
{Dave & Emma}

Party  (6)
{Nick is 5 months younger then Kennedy and they are the same size}
{Ruby reads genealogy)

Party  (7)

We spent a lot of time cooking.
They spent a lot of time around the table.
It seemed the conversation flowed the best
when they were sitting with their coffee cups full.

Party  (8)

They brought 60 gifts for Mom.
Mom loves to give gifts,
so it was nice to see her get so many.

Party  (9)
{Sam, Ruby & Dontae}

Party  (10)

Lots of time spent talking.
And some listened.

Party  (11)

Saturday afternoon we took our children to different places
and came back to cook a Mexican meal.
We thought it would be quieter without all the littles running around
but the place was fairly rocking with noise all night long.

Party  (12)
{Maynard & Ruby}

Party  (13)

Her new coffee cup says,
“I don’t think I look 60 either!”

Party  (16)

I enjoyed sitting back and watching them,
seeing them interact with each other.
Listening to them tell stories of when they were young.
Remembering their 2 brothers that died young.
Recalling memories of their parents.
We laughed when they accused each other of things from growing up years,
digging deep for old stories.

They never made it to comfortable seats that night.
The stories and memories started and one just led to the other
and they stayed sitting at the table the entire evening.

Party  (14)

Party  (15)

They looked at old pictures.
That brought up more old memories
and the good times rolled on.

Party  (17)
It was so good to see them having fun together.

Party  (22)

Sunday morning coffee and chatting.

Party  (18)

The Yoder siblings (not in order of age, they say) πŸ™‚
Irene, Mark, Ruby, Sam, Marie, David, Sara

Party  (19)

With their spouses

Party  (20)
The sisters

Party  (21)

Sunday morning was a special time together.
We sang praises, shared, and learned from each other
and from Jesus.

Party  (23)

Party  (24)
One more meal and then goodbyes.
But not before they started planning the next get-together. πŸ™‚

When I talked to Mom later I mentioned that she looked forward to it for so long
and now it was over so quickly.
She said, “But it was such a good weekend that it’s ok.”
I was glad to hear that she enjoyed herself.

As I stood back and watched this family together, the verse at the top came to my mind
and I was reminded again of how much I have to be thankful for.
A goodly heritage is not to be taken lightly these days.
So many people have no idea what that is and I am blessed beyond measure with it.

I thought about my grandparents,
and how the choices they made years and years ago now effect me and my children.
It made me consider my choices and decisions
and think about how it will effect my future generations.
It made me thankful for a heritage rich in wisdom and right choices.
It encouraged me to keep going, keep trying and to not give up.
I feel blessed.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalms 16:6

Of Family

Family time. Reunion.
Fun. Laughing. Talking. Arguing.
Being with those who know you best.
That’s what this last weekend was.

We were together with my Dad’s family and had a grand time.
My aunt organized games, Olympics and all kinds of stuff to do.
I think the oldest to the youngest enjoyed it.
Well, among the youngest there may have been a bear or two that didn’t have a good day, but for the most part, we all had fun.

Have you ever went on a photo scavenger hunt?
We divided up into groups and each group had a paper with a list of photos and points to go with each one. Team with the most points, wins. We had 2 hours to go wherever we pleased, take photos from the list and be back to see who won and check out each others photos.

A few of the things listed to photograph were…
Your entire group jumping into the air… 400pts
(epic failure on our team! It’s a lot harder then it looks)
Picture of your entire group in a bathtub…200pts
A pyramid of 5 people…300pts
Buy $5 of gas.  A photo of the pump and a receipt…700pts
(these days, that is hard too!)

Entire team in front of an ice cream truck licking ice cream…1,500pts
Spell a word with your bodies…200pts

Team members being pushed in a shopping cart… 500pts per person.
(we just asked this random guy to push us) πŸ™‚
Team member leading another member crawling with a leash thru the store… 700pts
(trust me, we were not in the middle of the store for these photos) πŸ™‚

She had 20 things on the list and we missed one of the highest pointers.
Picture of someone inside a police car with handcuffs on… 1,500pts
A team member eating a doughnut with a policeman in uniform… 600pts
(where are the cops when you need them?) πŸ™‚

It was fun racing around town and finding all these things.
Try it sometime.

After lunch we had Stoll Olympics.
We all had to pin our Olympic tags on our clothes to show which team we were on.

We threaded a spoon on a string thru our clothes to the end of the line and then all the way back.
We emptied buckets of water with a sponge.
Threw all our shoes in a pile and raced to see who got theirs all back on first.

There were wheelbarrow races, much laughter and fun.

A side note, when you’re in the wheelbarrow and your husband is blindfolded, it doesn’t do any good to point and yell, “GO that way!!” πŸ™‚

The 2 little brown bears of the weekend.
Dakota was recovering from a 24 hr sickness and just wasn’t himself.
(not that he ever likes crowds of people)
Bryce was just being a normal 11 month old and wanted his mom.
We’ll blame it on his teeth. That can always be the problem till they get all their teeth. πŸ™‚

We ended the day celebrating 60 years with Dad.

Lots of cousins and friends came to join the family and I think he enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

It was a full fast and fun weekend but I’m glad we took the time to go.
Family time is always worth it.