Cherishing the early years


Joshua is no longer a newborn, but still a little hero by all. At three months old, he loves to be a part of the action, and splashes smiles on whoever takes a minute to talk to him. His big blue eyes and beautiful cover of medium to dark wavy hair remind me a lot of Julia when she was a baby. This handsome little guy has added a rich dimension in our home in more ways than I could ever tell. Why, the other day, I laughingly told a sister at church, “If we keep enjoying each baby, more and more, I think we’ll need a dozen!” On a more serious note, there really is an awesome responsibility that goes with each child; having children simply has nothing to do with having things done the easy way. Let me hasten to add; I would never do without any of them. God has brought them to our hearts and home through foster care and biologically, and there is no way we’d want to do without any one of them.

Julia simply thrives in going to school, but then loves coming home to a baby brother, plus four more siblings to welcome her back. Recently I just laughed as she tried to get out the door to go to school, and there was another, and yet another set of little hands, reaching up, not letting her go until they had given their personal good-bye hug. She especially enjoys picking out clothes for Joshua to wear, then dressing him. One of her favorites is a little shirt that says, “New to the crew.”

At almost six years old, Austin is a big help for me around the house with his little siblings, including Joshua. Austin is full of questions, and I tell him that’s also one of the best ways to learn. He has a goal of learning new things every day. When he asked me exactly how electricity travels through wires to generate power, I told him he would need to ask daddy that question. The ultimate satisfaction for him is to teach mom new things. The other day I stood inside the window, holding Joshua, laughing as I watched Austin run around and around, chasing a goat that escaped from its pen. The scene was just too comical. Austin was determined not to be outdone by the frisky goat as it stayed just out of reach. After a while, Austin hollered for me to come and tie up the mischievous goat. As I ran down the steps to help him, he proudly asked, “You didn’t think I could catch her, did you?”

Hosanna is my little sunshine and has found much healing by loving her baby brother. I just marvel and praise God. When I asked Hosanna what I should tell you about her, she responded, “That I am going to call a driver to take us to Ohio!” She is over the moon about going to Ohio for Aunt Mary’s birthday in November. Daniel has already scheduled a driver, with a van, to take all eight of us on the trip.

Jesse is still our little outdoorsman. With his non-stop chatter and endless energy, there is never a dull moment when he’s around. I keep wondering how he’ll survive the winter ahead of us, but then, I’m so thankful for our basement where they can ride their scooters and bikes.

Elijah is pleased to have his little brother look like he did, two and a half years ago when he was a baby. Elijah can spend lots of time with blunt scissors, cutting papers into small pieces, then giving them to me as little presents. He also enjoys helping me in the kitchen, preparing food for the family. No job is too small, not to make him feel big.

Sometimes I discover myself clinging to these stages of having the children all so young, yet I’m so eager to watch them grow up. Yes, I want them to grow to be Godly examples and a blessing to others in this troubled nation. Then I shake my head and chuckle, wondering why I’m hanging onto these years while they’re still young. Finally, I decided to embrace the journey, one stage at a time.

I want to thank each of you for the blessings you all have been here in the Yoder household. Your prayers, support, and all the cards, and even gifts, have been a bright spot. As much as I would enjoy responding to each one personally, that has not happened, so I simply want to thank you from all of us! You have blessed us.

Now, I’d like to share a recipe with you that a lady in church used to make — a delicious casserole for us today. Yes, believe it or not, when I got up from taking a little nap, there was a pan of the most yummy-looking taco rice on the counter. I picked up the pan and found initials from a dear friend, Naomi, on it. Even though there was no one in the kitchen to hear me, I just said, “Well, bless her dear heart!”

Gloria’s Incredible Taco Rice

1 pound hamburger

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 package of taco seasoning

1 16-ounce chunk tomatoes

1 cup rice, uncooked

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheese

2 cups Bisquick mix

3/4 cup milk

Fry hamburger until browned, adding onions last minute of browning. Add taco seasoning and drained tomatoes.

Drain juice from tomatoes, add enough water to make 2 1/2 cups liquid.

Cook the rice in the tomato juice and water mixture. When the rice is soft, mix with hamburger mixture. Pour into 9-inch by 13-inch pan.

Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, and cheese, and spread over hamburger mixture.

Make a batter of Bisquick and milk, and pour over top of sour cream mixture.

Bake at 400degrees for 30 minutes. Yields 15 servings.

For an extra treat, serve a bit of salsa, chopped lettuce, ranch dressing, and tortilla chips on top of each serving.

Gloria Yoder

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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