Monday, March 16, 2015


Hope you don't mind my being on here this week.  This weekend we are celebrating my Mother and Step-Father's 25th Wedding Anniversary here.  We will celebrate it bigger when they get up north later this year, but it was 25 years this weekend that they married.  They don't want a big party up north, but we will see about that.  Here we are having some local friends of theirs including Elmer and Anna, Albert and Olive.  Anna and Olive made a great dinner and cake.

I guess Elmer told you about my Father passing away in the barn leaving my Mother alone to raise ten children. I and my family lived out of state as did Elmer and his family.  We both moved back to Pennsylvania where my Mother lived because I knew she would need our help.  Also, I guess Elmer told you that about a year later Amos (my step-father) bought the farm next to my Mother's.  He was widowed and had moved into the area to be closer to relatives helping him raise his five children.  Mother was helping him by doing the cooking and baking, cleaning, sewing and more.

After a few years Amos' family was invited for dinner once in a while.  Then it became once a week.  Then it became two or three times a week.  A few times Mother and Amos got family sitters and went out to eat by themselves.  Finally one evening all of his family and our family were invited for dinner when they announced they were getting married.  My wife and I were very happy as were some of the older brothers and sisters.  Some of the younger ones were not.

Being a Bishop, I have seen times when it is hard for two widowed families with children when parents get married.  This children think the step parent is replacing the parent they lost.   All the rules and regulations in the house change.  Someone is going to take all the parents attention.  All sorts of things came up.

Now, I look back on Amos.  He united two families with a total of fifteen children.  A year or two later he and my Mother had another child.  Amos said they had to make a even number of children.  We are not suppose to have pride.  But I have to give Amos credit for taking on such a big family.

Before they married, they had a Father night.  After dinner all of us children told about out Father.  We could say anything we wanted.  Amos wanted to know about our Father.  A few nights later we had a Mother night where his children could tell anything they wanted about their Mom.  Amos said he was going to be the step-father not replacing our father.  He wanted us to keep the memories of our Father and if we wanted to speak or say something about him to feel free.  Like wise our Mother was not replacing his children's Mother.  His children could talk about their mother anytime.  We were not ordered to call our step-father Father.  All he asked was that we call him Amos.  If we decided to call him Father that was fine, but no one was ordered to.  Like wise with my Mother.

When it came to living his children wanted to stay in their homes.  My brother and sisters wanted to stay in theirs.  Mother didn't care if they sold her farm as it bothered her that our Father died in that barn.  So they decided to sell both farms and buy another one.  They ended up buying land and building a new house.  The house was not Amos' house or Fannie's house but their house.

The evening after they married, they had all of us over to the new house.  Amos and my Mother stood side by side and said we are all one family.  There are no your family or my family.  We are one family.  There are no favorites.  Everyone is equal.  No matter what happens - we are family.

Amos saw that we kept that, too.  He worked the farm and an outside job to make enough money to support the family.  My brother and sisters plus Elmer and myself helped on the farm when needed. It seemed he worked morning to night.

One of my little brother's ran away.  As a little child, he wanted to test to see if he was really loved so he ran away to see if our family would come after him.  Amos spent most of the night looking for him.  He found him in a barn at a friends home.  Mother said if she had found him, she would have paddled his bottom right there.  Not Amos.  After my brother explained why he ran away, Amos asked him if they proved they loved him.  My brother said yes.  Amos didn't paddle him.

When any of the children were sick, he and my Mother were up all night taking care of them.  Then he would go to work in the morning.  When the washer couldn't work anymore and was passed being fixed again, Amos took on a third job to pay for a new one.

He made sure every one of us was at church.  Also made sure we had Bible readings and prayer.  Even though, we did not live in the same home he did, he always told us the importance of reading the Bible and praying to the Lord.

During teen years for the younger ones, he had hired a driver to take him to parties or places that the young folks should not be at and bring them home.   One of my sisters ran away and he hired a driver to take him to get her.  He told her if you are going to leave, tell us, just don't sneak out of the house.  Later one of my brothers left.  He was gone for two years.  Amos kept telling us to pray.  We did.  One afternoon, Mother was out and Amos got the call at the shanty.  My brother wanted to come home, but was afraid.  Amos called him back and told him he would send the money and meet him at the bus station when he came home.  When everyone came for dinner, he told us that the Prodigal Son was coming home.  My Mother almost passed out.  He said he wanted him treated equal when he came home.  Asked my Mother to make his favorite dinner that night.  When the bus came in Amos was there.  What he and my brother talked about on the way home is between them.  After all the hugging when my brother came home, he was treated like the rest of us.  Mother did cook his favorite dinner.

When I became Bishop, I was in shock and felt that I couldn't do the job.  When we got to my parents, Amos put his arm around me and told me that I was the one for the job.  The Lord had selected me because He knew I could do it.  I was not to be afraid or doubt.   The Lord knows what He is doing.  Whenever I have a problem or am not sure - I remember his words.

Didn't mean to go on so.  Just wanted you to know how special our step-father is.  We have called him Father for a long time now.  Even today he doesn't want us to forget our natural father or natural mother.  We are all one family.

My Mother always said that she could not have gotten through the rest of her life especially taking care of the children, if the Lord ad not provided Amos.  Amos says he could not have gotten through the rest of his life if the Lord had not provided Fannie.

I am happy that they spend most of their time at Pinecraft.  They deserve it.  Both have worked hard all their lives.  To this day if anyone of us needed one parent or both, all we have to do is call - they would be there. Thank you for these parents, Lord.

Happy 25th to My Mother and Father,

Please ask Elmer, Anna, and Olive questions.  They are running out of ideas to write posts about.


Anonymous said...

It is nice to hear from Eli! His step father is a good man, and I am glad that Eli's family has him.


Vickie said...

This was extremely interesting. So heart warming. Thank you Bishop Eli.

Angela Tucker said...

Good morning, Marilyn. What an amazing story! Please tell Bishop Eli thank you for sharing. I came from a blended family and it was extremely difficult. I think if the same guidelines had been applied of no "mine and yours", things would have been different.

Tom said...

Family is the most important thing in your life! Tom The Backroads Traveller

Anonymous said...

Please ask them to tell more about Pinecraft.

Please ask Elmer, Anna, and Bishop Eli to tell about living without electricity.

Also ask Anna and Olive to tell about their clothing rules.

Hearing about Bishop Eli's parents anniversary party back in NY.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Everyone,
I over slept this morning. Will see that Bishop Eli gets your messages. Also thank you for the questions. They want more.


littlemancat said...

Thanks to Bishop Eli for his very interesting writing. If I can think of post topics, I'll do a comment.
Anonymous had some good ideas. I know I have questions, just can't come up with them now. :-)

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Mary,
I will give your message to Bishop Eli. Please leave questions at anytime. People run out of topics to write about that they think would interest us. Sometimes they don't realize that things that are every day to them is interesting to us.


dynnamae n said...

What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. It really shows how the parents allowed and wanted God's help with all their decisions. All those children were surely blessed by their parents marriage. Thank you Bishop, for sharing this with us.

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Dynnamae n,

I will see that Bishop Eli gets your message. His post was very touching and that he felt that way about his step-father.


Michelle said...

Thank you, Eli for sharing your family's story. Happy Anniversary to Amos and Fannie.

I have a question about the paint colors. It was mentioned that it would be okay to paint the bathroom the mint green color at Grandfather Albert and Grandmother Olive's home in Pinecraft, but not in the north. Why is that?


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bishop, for telling us about your step-father+Mom. In His wisdom the Lord provided for both families. A very Happy Anniversary to them! May the Lord continue to bless all of your huge family, Carol

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Michelle,
I will see that Bishop Eli gets your message. As for the reason they can have paint colors in Pinecraft that can't have up north, I'not touching that. I will let Elmer or Bishop Eli answer that.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Carol,
I will see that Bishop Eli gets your message. God has done great work with Bishop Eli's parents and family.

Blessing to you and yours,

Lily said...

Anonymous had some good ideas. I'd like to add hearing more about Jean's children. Children change so quickly.

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Lily,
I am glad you said that. Jean thought maybe she was talking about her children too much and people might not be interested.


kymber said...

Mairlyn - please tell Bishop Eli how very much i enjoyed reading about his family and his wonderful parents. and have him pass on congratulations to his Mother and Father for being together this last 25 years.

i am interested in all of the questions the others have already asked and i would also like to know why they can have green paint in pinecraft but not back home. in addition, i enjoy reading about everyone's families, kids, grandkids and how everyone is doing. make sure to let everyone know that we all are interested in learning everything! and you are right that they must think that telling about their daily lives might seem boring to them but certainly not to all of us.

your friend,

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Kymber,
I will see that Bishop Eli gets your message. Also, will see his parents get your congratulations.

Thank you, I will see that they get your message on posts. Like we said, they don't think we would be interested in a lot of the things they do. I will see they get your message there, too.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mrs. Fannie and Mr. Amos for 25 years.
I have a strange question for all of them. Are there any Amish/Old Order Mennonites in the Southern USA? I would also be interested in a little more genealogy background of their ancestors. (Not too far back!)I think a lot of them settled in the Northern US states because the weather is more like Germany, Switzerland and such, but I'm not sure. My own family came from Europe as Methodists due to religious persecution as a way to break away from the tenets of Anglican Church or Roman Catholic Church at that time.
So sorry for the long post.
Carol in SC

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Carol in SC,
I will see that Bishop Eli and his parents get your message. Also will ask them for more geneology. Will ask if there are any Mennonites or Amish in the South. I know there are Mennonites in Florida because when I lived there, but they are not Old Order Mennonite. The ones I knew dressed like we do, drive cars, etc. You wouldn't know they were Mennonites unless you saw their church.


Ingrid said...

Please tell bishop Eli that we are happy to hear fom him at any time,this was a very touching post.So happy to hear how they handled the combining of family and treating everyone the same.Starting in a house that was new to them all was a great idea. Beeing an only child myself i can only imagine what it would be like to have that many brothers and sisters.
Please tell Bishop ELi to tell his parents Congratulations and Best wishes for many more happy years together.
Will try to think of some questions,but everything others have mentioned would be of interest.

Wendy said...

Hi Marilyn

It sounds like Amos and his wife had a lot of Wisdom in dealing with such a large family. So often there is a lot of unhappiness in Blended Families

I too would like to hear more of Jean's family as well as Elmer's
Would like to hear more of Olive growing up years and if Martha could tell us what is like to be the wife of a Bishop (That is if she has time)
Also enjoyed the Bishops being on here today as well
I Live in Canada and was wondering if there are Amish here as well

Take Care

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Ingrid,
Will see that Bishop Eli and his parents get your messages. Ask any questions when you think of them.

My best friend, was an only child, too.
She has two sons and daughter in laws plus 4 grandchildren.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Wendy,
I will see that Bishop Eli and his parents get your messages. Will also see that they get your questions.

We have to keep those questions coming in. As I said, they don't know what to talk about in their posts.


Willow's Quiet Corner said...

I really enjoyed Bishop Eli's family story. That was quite an accomplishment to blend that many kids all together!

Congratulations to Fanny and Amos!

I agree with all the other suggestions for future posts. I'm also curious with all the spring cleaning they do, do they use regular store bought cleaning products or do they have some tips and tricks using other items they mix themselves?

Anonymous said...

Hello. I enjoy reading your blog. I would like to ask if the womenfolk have ever wanted to wear slacks instead of being required to wear dresses all the time. In particular, in the winter, when it is colder. Are the women allowed to wear tights?

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Willow's Quiet Corner,

Will see that Bishop Eli and his parents get your message.

Funny you should ask about their cleaning products as Anna was talking to me about putting a post on cleaning products they make at home. It probably won't be until after Easter, but there is one coming.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Anonymous,
I will put your question before the ladies. Sure one of them will answer it for you.