My favorite spot in our cabin is in front of the heater on my fuzzy carpet; I find it relaxing to watch wildlife in the woods right outside those double windows. There’s a squirrel nest that especially holds my attention. It’s way up in a hickory tree. I watch as the wind howls and blows over that nest. It’s situated on branches, not all that thick, looking less than safe or stable.
I look at it, again and again. Somehow that nest gives me a sense of being understood. Isn’t that how life is right now — set out on a limb, a 35 feet from the ground, enduring clouds, sun and rain? And you know, every day when I go back to the cabin for my time alone with God, that nest is still there! The branches hold that nest as sure as if it were concreted in. I ask myself, “Am I that concreted into trusting Jesus through storm and sun?”
Imagine the predators animals face each day and night, still they keep eating nuts, enjoying life and chasing each other up and down trees, when they fall, even a from high in a tree, they just curl in a ball, with their tail wrapped around themselves for protection. As they hit the ground, they jump up and keep right on going.
Then I watch the birds and marvel anew. They sing through it all. Do I sing on? I was touched by a song the school children sung in their Thanksgiving program. Their triumphant lines rung out, “I’m never gonna lose the song I sing…” I was awed. I have more questions, “What really will keep the song in my heart going no matter what?”
Crashed expectations rank at the top of what tries to snuff the song from my heart. That may include a death or death of a dream… we all have it in one form or another. And you know, before Daniel passed, he was the type who enjoyed singing. He was a strong believer that singing will lift any negative situation, no matter how your voice sounds. Many of his songs were sung by memory, others he just sang to the Lord with his own tunes, singing what happened to be on his heart just then.
Daniel’s love for singing filtered through to his children. Is there anything as sweet as a childish voice singing away, as if there were no problems left in the world?
When we are ready for our song after mealtime, 2-year-old Joshua’s request never fails to be, ‘Daddy!’ He prefers to be the one starting it and is thrilled whenever I give my consent for him stand to sing. Beaming he’ll stand up on his bar stool and point up toward heaven, singing with all he’s worth, “Praise Him for Daddy dear, Daddy dear, Daddy dear, praise Him for Daddy dear, praise ye the Lord.”
As I think of singing, sometimes I wish I could take a peek in those many years ago when King David was a shepherd boy in the pastures with his sheep, and harp in hand, singing his heart out. Wouldn’t that be worth taking in?
A while ago I was beyond blessed by a tidbit shared by Mrs. Kim from Wilmington, Ohio. Upon my request for ideas of helping children settle down at night, she shared how her mother would sit on the top of the stairs in the evening, singing as they drifted off to sleep. It clicked with me, it went in deep.
Needless to say, since that very day we have adopted a new routine for bedtime. Not only does it provide a security for the children, it also gives me the opportunity to worship our maker as well as go through songbooks I don’t use on regular basis.
The night I flipped through a songbook gifted to me by my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Beachy, it was like taking a stroll in years gone by. Why, warm memories flooded right back with the songs!
Sometimes before starting a song I’ll say something like, “At a school program, we children sang this when our theme was about heaven,” or “Daddy used to sing this when Julia was a baby.”
Well it’s bedtime and I feel like I’ve had a good old fashioned chat with you, my friends; if only I could press a button to un-mute your end!
I’ll close with a recipe for Russian Creme served yesterday at my sister’s baby shower. Not only was it pretty, but also delicious and refreshing. My sister Mary, who made it, switched out sugar for a natural sweet mix, so use what you like.
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, or whatever you choose
Mix heavy cream and cane sugar in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar is melted, but do not boil.
Mix tablespoon unflavored gelatin with cold water. Add to above mixture of cream and sugar, and heat until gelatin is dissolved, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Mix well. Cool a bit.
In the meanwhile, beat 8 oz softened cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix til smooth. Then slowly add above mixture.
Spread in a 9 x 9 inch pan. Chill then top with your choice of fresh fruit.
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