for Lizzie on her wedding day

from Guinever, sister of the bride.

The following was read at Dan and Elizabeth’s reception:

Elizabeth Joy Shofstahl, you were born when I was 12 years old, long after I had given up hope of ever having a sister. I’m so glad that God brought you into our family and that you are my sister.

It was apparent early on that the arts and crafts “gene” that I was lacking got added onto you. When I was away at college, you drew me a picture of a giraffe because that’s my favorite animal. And inside the belly of the giraffe was a baby giraffe. I still have that picture. (Isn’t it cute?)

A few years ago, I found a fabulous little art book for making animals and other designs out of leaves. I thought I could do projects with Alex and Caleb.

Then I thought, who am I kidding? I decided to give the book to you, Liz, and you could make things with the boys. But then you showed me a framed picture of a rooster you had made by gluing leaves onto paper and had given to dad. It looked like a piece of folk art that you’d find in a little out-of-the-way gift store. I was surprised that you already had the book. Then I was astounded that no, you didn’t have the book. You just saw the leaves and thought “rooster” and were able to put it on paper beautifully.

Speaking of roosters, if you’re rooster, you’d better behave when Liz is around. When my parents lived on a farm for a couple years, Liz raised chickens and if one of the young roosters pushed or shoved or didn’t go back into its pen when it was supposed to, Liz would slate it for the butcher. Yup, she ran a tight chicken coop.

Your artistic ability extends into the kitchen as well. Dad especially enjoys what he has nicknamed “Elizabethan pizza.” Each dessert is a work of art. Chocolate covered strawberries drizzled with white chocolate. Paper thin butterflies painted in intricate detail sticking out of pudding.

How many in this room have received a handmade card from Elizabeth? Or a bookmark made from pressed flowers?

I’ve watched you grow in to a godly, mature young woman with a sweet and gently spirit worthy of imitation. I am so excited for you as you enter marriage with Dan. Just a year ago, the desire of your heart was to someday be married and have a family and you wondered if and when the Lord would ever bring someone into your life.

In the wee hours of this morning when we probably should have been sleeping, Liz told me that four years ago she had started a journal to her future husband. The entries are quite sporadic–months, even a year apart. She read me a couple paragraphs from the final entry before that first contact from Dan. I have her permission to share it with you…

Just a little background first. She began by apologizing that she had not written in so long but it was hard to write to someone she didn’t know.Β  This is what Liz wrote in her journal

…and what if I do know you? But please, if I do know you, and you are interested in me, please tell me. I’m dying to know. Somehow I’m supposed to trust God in his timing and rest in Him…

Then about nine months ago, the Lord did just that–brought someone into your life. You called to let me know about Dan. You were about to meet him in person for the first time after having exchanged several e-mails and instant messages. I could see God at work in the beginning of your relationship. There is no other way that you and Dan, perhaps the shyest people who I know (at least around the opposite sex) would have gotten together any other way.

A chance meeting five years ago at a church in Pennsylvania was no chance. It was positively Providential. A catalyst. Dan was there for a conversation you were having with his sister and thought even then,

This is a girl I might like to know.

Then he recognized your profile 4 years later and contacted him. You remembered him also and the rest is history.

When my husband Todd and I were paging through the pictures of Dan on the computer that Liz had sent us, Todd said, “Hold on, go back to that one.”

There was a photo of Dan standing in the woods holding his semi-automatic. Todd said, “That’s a cool gun. Ask Liz when we can meet this guy so I can shoot his gun.”

Meanwhile, my brother Sam in Texas was looking at the same photo, wondering when the guys could get together and go shooting. I thought, “Welcome to the family!” And we hadn’t even met you yet, Dan.

As the weeks went by, your contact with Dan increased. When I talked with you on the phone, you were quiet and giggly and amazed at this wondrous thing called love. You were twitter-pated.

This week has been a whirlwind of activity. You’ve been making preparations for months. Preparing for a wedding reminds me of the preparations made during pregnancy. (for those of you who don’t know me, birth is my hobby. I attend births and teach childbirth classes and I’m always coming up with birth analogies.)

Anticipation, reading books, going to childbirth class, painting the nursery, etc. And for marriage, the same thing: anticipation, reading books, going to marriage counseling, working on your new house. First time parents prepare for labor and birth, but don’t necessarily prepare for actually adding a baby to the family.

It turns out, labor and birth are the easy part. The bringing up children is the hard part. In a similar way, the easy part is over for you. You’re married. Now comes the challenge –for better or for worse– of living life together “til death do you part.” I do think that you and Dan are well prepared!

Sixteen years ago, Bethie Joy, when our roles were reversed and I was the bride and you were the (junior) bridesmaid , the ladies at my bridal shower gave me their favorite recipes, including ones for happy marriage. There is one piece of advice that has stuck with me all these years. I think this keeps coming back to me because this is my struggle (or at least one of them.) I want to leave you with this secret for happy marriage that came from our cousin Lori after she had only been married two months.

Always, be content with the circumstances and husband God has given you, but never be content with the wife you are today. Keep growing and becoming a better and better wife to Dan. He will appreciate it and do the same for you.

I love you, Lizzie.

There’s a tradition after weddings to throw rice at the bride and groom as a sign of fertility. So, Lizzie, I’m throwing rice at you. May you and Dan be as fertile as Todd and I have been.

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WE’RE MARRIED!!!!!

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house project updated 9/6/08

In the first photo you see the front view of our house. This actually has not changed very much. You can see the stack of lumber on the porch. If you look really closely, you can also see the tree in the back yard right through the front right window. Pretty cool huh? πŸ™‚ Yes, how are you going to find our house? We’ll tell you that it’s right at the top of the hill at the blinking yellow light.

Here you see a rope and pulley. This was for letting down that branch that they cut piece by piece… I was not around to enjoy watching that part of this project.Β  Perhaps that was a good thing. Now with that branch gone, all is clear for building.

I really enjoyed being there last Saturday. I have confidence in the work that Dan and Jon are doing. It’s so exciting to see the progress and begin to see it looking more like a place where we can live. Dan Drost was there for a few hours helping carry debris out of the house and burning it. That’s one thing that amazes me, is the volume of material that is being discarded. There are piles everywhere.

Hey, I didn’t notice that rock on the ground to the right when I was taking the picture.

Why do I think this is such a cool picture?

D

Here is Dan’s Wallace and Gromit grin. πŸ˜€

I can’t wait to take down those icicle lights and clean that siding.

Our tree!Β Β Β Β  And… back entry way.

Dan, hard at work.

New / Old

Isn’t that awesome?

This is our mudroom and back door.

Kitchen and patio door. It’ll be a few more years down the road before we build the patio.

Here, you are standing in our kitchen, looking past our Laundry room and half bathroom into our front living room.

Our front door.

Welcome!

Our family room.

Hey, there’s my kitchen sink!! πŸ™‚

Here we are upstairs in the master bedroom.

This is our library/office and bathroom upstairs.

This is our master bath and walk in closet. Oh, and the other bedroom beyond that. πŸ˜‰

Another view of our library.

Dan is still at it.

The window on the right will be in our bathroom. The windows on the left are in the Library.

Thanks for all of your help Jon!!!

I decided that this was aΒ  hint that I should cause myself to be somewhere else.

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Announcing Our Engagement

We are so thankful to God for this wonderful gift.

Please pray for us as we prepare for marriage, that God will be glorified by our lives.

Daniel Shofstahl

&

Elizabeth Herrick

Our Big Day : 9/27/2008

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No End In Sight

Yes, this is just the beginning of making “our house” into “our home”.

We have two months (and counting down fast) and a lot of work to do to make this house “livable” by the time our wedding day arrives.

Our house is located right in town, not far from Dan’s business. He’s even talked about coming “home” to have lunch with me on occasion after we’re married. Doesn’t that sound nice? πŸ˜€

Dan has already gotten a lot of work done with theΒ  much appreciated help of some friends.

Here, you see a mere glimpse of what the house looks like right now.

The plans include demolition (gutting everything), replacing the electrical, duct work, and windows… insulating, and putting up new drywall. Of course all of you wonderful friends of ours who are “experienced” in this sort of thing understand that there is a lot more to it than I am letting on. πŸ™‚

I don’t have an updated picture yet of this project. But it’s actually almost completed from what I hear. The foundation had to be replaced in this corner of the house. Also a new drainage system installed.

This had to happen before any structural building could take place on these walls.

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Book Group


Frank & Cheryl, Dan & Liz

Frank, Cheryl, Dan, and Liz… Four singles on SGS started a book reading group of their own…


The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment By: Jeremiah Burroughs.

The sweet Christian fellowship that we have found is almost indescribable. Using the live voice chat on Skype, we read together an entire chapter and then discuss what we’ve read. Most often we’ll share what has convicted our heart during the reading. I can tell you that this book is very convicting. Burroughs does not “beat around the bush” as he addresses heart issues of discontentment. He brings us to Christ’s School of contentment and teaches us how to be satisfied in God’s disposal of our every condition. What is so amazing is when we find ourselves taking joy in God’s disposal. Wow! His will becomes our will. His desires become our desires. His glory becomes our delight. His promises become our source of peace and comfort. What a blessing to have brothers and sisters in Christ to walk this journey together.

The week of 4/12/08 – 4/19/08, We were blessed to meet face to face and fellowship together for a whole week.

Christian Contentment:

That sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.

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The Story Of How We Met

Early in 2006, two people sent me a link to the Sovereign Grace Singles web site.

First my pastor sent me a link, and then my daddy sent it.

My initial reaction was, “Are you kidding me?” but the fact that both my pastor and my daddy sent it to me sparked my interest. So, I followed the link. I browsed for a few minutes and moved on to other things. Somehow I started a habit of “browsing” SGS a few times a month. That sounds terrible doesn’t it? But it’s the truth.*shrug*

I was quite sure that I wouldn’t resort to advertising myself in such a way on the Internet. It was something I considered that I might do possibly when I’m in my 30s if I’m still single at that time. I’m glad that God had other plans. πŸ™‚

In July of 2006, I was given credit for a 6 month membership to SGS. So, I signed up and filled out my profile. (While all along, believing that I wouldn’t leave it there more than a week.)

I found that SGS is more than a place to find a spouse. SGS is a Christian community that fosters friendship, encouragement, edification, and spiritual growth flowing from the interaction with other Reformed Christian Singles all over the world. I highly recommend it. πŸ˜‰ I have met so many great people on there and Dean (founder of SGS) has developed many tools such as a live chat room and a discussion and prayer forum. Also posted on the site are many resources and articles. Some of the members have started book reading clubs using the live chat room. I can tell you from experience that the reading times are so much fun and beneficial.

A group of us had just started a new book in January 2008, that’s when things changed for me on SGS.

Dan signed up onto SGS January 3rd and sent me a message saying that he thought it was possible we had met once before. Yes indeed! Just a little over four years ago I had visited Geneva RP Church in Beaver Falls, PA when I was there for an RP Mission meeting. Wow! This guy remembered me!

I invited Dan to join our book group, (It was very convenient that we were starting a new book). He eagerly joined the group… and continued to send me Instant Messages… I continued to respond. πŸ˜‰

We talked about all kinds of things. We found (with delight) that we’re on the same page concerning nearly everything doctrinally. In fact, we have yet to find something we disagree on, (Well, anything of major importance that is.) We’ve even tried to find something to disagree on! πŸ™‚

Something that I’m so thankful for, is that we’ve sought to give God the glory in our relationship, we’ve been praying together right from the start. We’re so thankful that God has brought us together. We’re thankful for His timing in our lives, for He knows best. We’re thankful for the journey that God has brought each of us through, preparing us for a life together serving Him. God is so good!

Our first date was January 19th. We went to a coffee shop and talked for close to 5 hours, then we talked for another hour before Dan went home. We’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to see each other every week since then.

March 15, Dan asked me to marry him, and I said “Yes!” πŸ˜€

We are planning the wedding for September 27th, 2008.

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