Celebrating seasons of life


It’s downright cold outside — the perfect weather for sipping lattes, snuggling in soft blankets and watching the gentle flicker of a candle.

Each year as spring arrives, I wonder how I could ever have been eager for winter, but here I am again. There’s something about knowing your garden and yard work is done for another winter that makes one feel relaxed. And all the pre-annual flowers, trees and grass are patiently waiting to show their character and color until my favorite season rolls around and the sun warms them once more.

That reminds me of seasons in life. Does your life, too, hold various stages and seasons? Do we have a choice of any value besides looking to our savior each step of the way?

Despite the extra work of getting everyone dressed warmly to go outside, I love watching the children breathe in the fresh, crisp air and come in with pink cheeks and broad smiles.

They love bundling up, especially wearing gloves. They wanted to start wearing gloves even before it was cold. I told them once their coats, shoes, stocking caps and scarves are placed in their little stalls each time they come in, they can wear gloves any time they please.

Picture our little entrance with a row of seven stalls along one side. It works perfectly until coats tumble off the hooks or the boots and shoes fail to find their place beside each other under their assigned stall. With six children, in no time it can look like a disaster.

Recently I did some basic math in my head. If we each wear shoes and socks, a sweater and a scarf, that means having an additional 42 pieces of clothes to have clean and ready to go and put away upon arriving home. I keep reminding myself that when I train them to be organized, I’m not only doing it for them but also their families or friends in the future.

Several weeks ago, I moved my clothes one notch over into Daniel’s section to give Joshua his slot. It does seem crude to go on with life without caring for Daniel like I found so much joy in it, yet trying to keep everything the same will not work forever. I know Daniel would smile and say, “Of course, you use my spot! It’s all just so temporary til you get here to heaven!”

Now talking of chilly days, I know most of you probably enjoy walking into a heated garage to jump into your vehicle to go where you need to go and not even have to get cold wherever you want to go. I’m happy for you, yet I would love to invite you to join the children and me as we bundle up and climb onto our open cruiser for a crisp drive! The children love going on drives, especially in this cold weather which gets Sapphire, our large standard-bred mare, going at extra speeds.

Though we also have other enclosed buggies, the open cruiser remains our favorite, which easily holds a dozen or more people. Bring an extra blanket to ward off the wind. Since Daniel is not here to help me hitch up Sapphire, I harness her, tie her to the hitching post, pull the wagon up and fasten the straps. Julia and Austin both enjoy driving horses, but with the amount of zip Sapphire shows, I’m the one who drives her.

You may sit up front or join the children in the back on the two seats facing each other. On super chilly drives on the way home from an evening hymn singing, it’s not unusual for Julia to sit between the two seats on the floor with the youngest children to be entirely out of the wind.

What is better than coming home to a cozy warm house, enjoying a mug of spiced cider and lighting a candle? No, life is not perfect, and it is hard, but it is okay to open our hands to simple blessings and receive them as gifts.

Winding up, we’ll top off our chat with a yummy recipe shared by a friend whose husband passed away when she had five young children. It may be a perfect pick for your Thanksgiving table!

Homemade Pupkin Torte

Pumpkin torte

24 graham crackers, crushed

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

8 ounces cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

Mix crackers, sugar and butter and put in a 9×13 inch pan. Top with last three ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Second part

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teapsoon salt

3 eggs, separated

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups pumpkin

1 tablespoon gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

Cook sugar, salt, egg yolks, milk, cinnamon and pumpkin until thickened. Then add gelatin soaked in hot water mixture and set aside to cool. When cooled, beat the egg whites and add to pumpkin mixture. Pour this on top of cooled crust. Let stand in refrigerator a few hours and top with whipped topping.


Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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