Grateful for the time spent together

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Dear friends at all levels, thank you for all your love and support during these intense days and times. Children love to open the mail, we have been greatly blessed and touched by all of your contributions.

Surely, Daniel, the father of my six grandchildren was the love of my life, and on a deeper level than I could ever say. Never in a hundred years would I have chosen not to have it. I admit that there were times when I wondered what God had in store for him. Like the times he spoke so fondly of heaven, and how he longed to grow old, to get closer to heaven. Then there were those times when he said, “I want to stay here to take care of you all, but if God would take me home, He would most definitely take care of you all!” There is no doubt, I know he would take care of you! Yet I didn’t know, he didn’t know; certainly, for the deep love he had for each of us, he would have done everything in his power to stay with us.

There are so many things I would like to share with you all this morning, but for lack of space, “I’m going to choose several aspects, and then next week I’ll share more of the actual events of this one and only Monday.

You know how passionate he was about family and doing everything he could for his family in the years to come. Thus, his vision to plant more than 1,000 chestnut trees was born. Last fall was an all time blast as we all worked together as a family. But this spring, when Daniel bought a big tracked hoe, it was for our greatest pleasure, especially for the little boys. After several weeks of work on clearing the edge of our 85 acre woods, some progress could be seen, he was preparing for his small family to help him plant more chestnuts. But while he was working removing trees with his backhoe and chainsaw, there was a freak accident that got him stuck between a giant tree and the hoe.

There were few things we enjoyed more as a family, then just two days before going to be with Jesus, he took us all out to the chestnut field with our little antique tractor and a little trailer he had made. There were happy cries of joy as the children ran to and fro, putting extra ties on the tree shelters that had come loose and doing whatever was necessary to keep things in good order. Several times Daniel beamed at me where I was sitting on the trailer holding Joshua. He knew how much I appreciated those moments. “Life is almost too good!” I told him.

Now I watch so many little things we did as a family or discussed as a couple that I will always be grateful for, like our weekly date last week. Our usual 30 minute date, stretched out for more than double that time, as I sat on the floor at his feet, as he told me many things close to his heart and his vision of various aspects of life.

Then there was the devotion he shared on Sunday evening during our hymn singing (the day before he left for heaven). I could tell the subject on his heart was heavy on him as he told me what he was planning to share. “You know, in Jeremiah 17, verse 8, it talks about trees planted by the waters, and how they don’t shrivel up and dry up when their roots go deep into the rivers of water. And the verse just before that explains that trust and hope are what it takes to get those roots going deep…”

That night, just before the chanting started, he went to his office again and again, to pray and meditate. Half an hour after the beginning of the song, he got up. Looking at the people gathered there, I could see the conviction in his eyes and the passion in his heart. It came from deep within me. I listened intently, “…you know, I tried to come up with something like trusting in God, allowing our roots to go deep. There was nothing I could find that closely resembled the deep, absolute trust we can have in our Lord.

I didn’t think I would end up in a hospital in Evansville the next day, hanging between life and death. I hadn’t imagined how I would grasp these words. Even today, I am still little able to grasp the wonder of God’s provision, because we do just that: trust. His supply has no end.

Never in our lives have we cried so much and never seen him so faithful.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support – it all makes a difference! I leave you with Daniel’s favorite underground ham casserole. When our dear neighbors, who hosted the viewing with 850 people, and the funeral the next day with a count of 700. The underground ham casserole was one of the dishes served, I was filled with emotion. Imagine eating an underground ham casserole (which I called Daniel’s love language) without Daniel! But of course, it was also very soothing. The underground ham casserole is like a ham and mashed potato casserole, it is called “underground” because the ham is buried under a layer of mashed potatoes.

Yes, the children and I talk a lot about dad, writing down what he said and did on a special tablet, in memory of our beloved Daniel.

HAM AND POTATO CASSEROLE

2 cups diced ham

2 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup onion

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 can of mushroom soup*

1 cup melting cheese such as Velveeta

1/3 cup of milk

2 liters of mashed potatoes

1/2 bacon bits, opt

Instructions

1. Combine ham, butter, onions and Worcestershire sauce and sauté until onions are soft.

2. Place in a baking dish and spread evenly.

3. Heat soups, cheese and milk.

4. Pour over the ham. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Put the potatoes on the ham mixture.

6. Sprinkle with bacon bits and cook for another 20 minutes.

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

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