Gloria returns To Illinois


We are packing up, it’s time to head back home. I’m excited to go yet I can’t say that there are no mixed feelings to go with it. I will miss ‘our’ little cabin on the hill and the many friends and family in these rolling hills in Knox County. The sunrises beyond the valleys below will remain etched in my heart and mind.

Julia and I were having a discussion of the sadness we feel of leaving Ohio, yet how much we like home in Illinois. We came to the conclusion that when it comes down to the real deal, life is not about what we want, but what God designed us to do. The beautiful slant to that thought is that when we give our will to God, he gives us a desire to do what he has planned for us to do. Yes, that may take years depending on the intensity of the situation, but rest will come and even joy in adversity.

Summing up the last three weeks, there has been so much—so much relaxation, renewal, and time with loved ones. Yesterday, Julia, Hosanna, Mary, and I went to Mary’s friend Nettie’s house. We had a little ladies’ party in her white kitchen, with juice in dainty cups and chips and dip.

The tour through her house proved quite interesting.

You should have seen Julia’s eyes when she rounded the corner into Nettie’s library. Shelves were lined with books. As we browsed through them, she assured us that we were welcome to borrow any books we chose. “That’s what I have them for,” she explained. There were countless storybooks for children, adults, and everyone in between. There were many familiar titles and countless new ones. They all seemed to contain character-building material.

Fishing was among the highlights for the boys. Last night at Tobias’ house we caught around 30 bluegill. The evening was extra special with Daniel’s twin aunts and Grandpa Tobe along. At 90 years old he still enjoys fishing, the children were happy to help him put the worms on his hook. Thanks to Tobias for keeping everyone’s fishing lines going, which was its own job. His wife, Fannie, grilled chicken and hot dogs over a fire. Fresh veggies, fruit, and fiber balls finished off the picnic supper.

It was one of those times I tucked many special little memories deep into my heart, especially when three-year-old Joshua sat on his great-grandpa’s lap as they fished together. Joshua’s little curly head turned up to Grandpa with delight when they caught a fish. Whenever Grandpa would catch a fish and Joshua would be standing next to Grandpa, he would add that fish to his own tally of fish he claimed to have caught. In his mind, they were a team.

My heart melted, I truly treasure the reality that we’re still family even two years after Daniel went home to heaven. Certainly, we will miss them all this summer.

The children have also grown very fond of going down to Daniel’s uncle Eli and his wife to fetch fresh cow’s milk and yogurt. His dear wife is one of those rare gems that would never get upset but simply encourage others by quietly blooming. On our walk home from fetching milk one of the younger children and I were talking about her outstanding character. “Did you know that as you learn to surrender even at a young age, you can one day be as sweet as she?” I asked.

In a voice filled with awe, the response came, “Really?”

Good morning, this is two days later, we are back home in Southern Illinois. We received an amazing welcome. The garden was freshly tilled, the animals well attended, the yard and pastures freshly mowed, the house cleaned, and baskets of fresh fruit and other useful items setting on the kitchen table. What kindness! We feel very unworthy of the genuine care and support shown by all of you through these first years of having Daddy in heaven. May God bless you.

One day at Mary’s house Julia got an urge to bake cookies for some of our new friends. She chose her all time favorite Graham Cracker Cookies. We’ll pass them on for you to try for yourself. I have fond memories of my grandmother making these cookies. She really liked the recipe and would say, “They turn out perfect every time.”

These freeze well. If you like fresh cookies, form the dough into balls and freeze. When ready for fresh cookies, simply thaw the number of cookies you need and bake as usual. You will not only enjoy a warm cookie but also the aroma of freshly baked cookies in your kitchen.

Amish Graham Cracker Cookies

2 cups butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 ½ cups white sugar

4 eggs

4 cups flour

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chocolate chips (opt)

Cream together softened butter and sugar.

Add eggs, beat together until fluffy.

Add remaining ingredients.

Mix and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet by rounded spoon fulls.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned on bottom of cookie.

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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