Back to school for the Yoders


By Gloria Yoder - The Amish Cook



School bells are ringing, or more accurately, they are about to ring for the first time in two and a half hours. It’s true; after a term of homeschooling, we are having school again in our little country school! A narrow strip of woods lies between the school and us. The children love the winding path down the ravine, across the bridge over the trickling stream, and back up the next hill to school.

A year ago, we were elated with the opportunity to spend more time together as a family through the privilege of homeschooling. It was a good year; not for a second have we regretted it. All those special moments of having Daddy take a turn in early morning hours to help with flash cards and math lessons before breakfast are tucked away, standing firm when we miss his stability and help. The children loved when Daniel took an interest in their lives, especially school work, with which they spent many hours.

Now, as we anticipate another term, we miss Daddy. It’s empty without him, yet as one of the children recently expressed, life has so much joy as God looks after us as a Father figure. How can such heartache and happiness coexist? I don’t know.

Yes, all of us are excited for the year ahead. We are grateful beyond mere words to the teachers who agreed to teach without knowing most of us. (In our tight-knit communities, this is a rare happening.)

I met the lower grade teacher this week. I do not doubt that it will be a blessed year. Her simple statement blessed me, “It won’t be perfect.” So absolutely true; I have yet to find a perfect person, so why expect perfect circumstances?

Don’t laugh at me, but I feel like I’m getting kind of old, sending three children off to school! My little Hosanna, short for her age and still the perfect size to scoop up and cuddle, is going off to first grade, and she is over the moon about it. I wish you could see her missing front tooth, sparkling hazel eyes, and curly brown hair that compliments her slightly tinted skin. I savor the stage, teeth will grow back, and first-grade innocence doesn’t last forever.

I stopped at school to visit the teachers yesterday and noticed Hosanna’s name chart on the wall, “Hosanna Yoder, Grade 1.” I blinked back the tears. Is it true?! Yes, the adoption finally went through… God knows the valleys her heart has passed through during those first years of her life. Those years I have clung to the promise in song, “There is only one Heart Healer, His heart was broken for you and for me, He is waiting now, with arms wide open…” After Daniel passed, I was awed to discover that he had sung this very song on his parents’ voicemail! I now claim it for all of us as we miss him so. We now have a much-improved version of listening to his songs. Simply dial (618) 469-3007. It will walk you through with absolute clarity and simplicity, and yes, it sounds just like him!

Austin, our second grader, also has a missing front tooth which can easily be seen with his wide smile. Everyone says he looks much like my younger brother Jeriah, our guest writer a week ago. I treasure the privilege I had of having taught him in first grade. Yet I’m so happy for him as he anticipates spending the term ahead in the same room as his cousin Mathias who is in Hosanna’s grade. The remaining six children in their classroom are all girls. Needless to say, we are all thankful for Mathias!

Everybody says Julia looks like her mom will be in fifth grade. Yes, that’s an upper grader for me. My firstborn is no more a baby. I love watching her blossom into a young lady and observing her precise ways, sensitivity, and empathy for others. She is eager for school and anticipating her golden birthday on September 11. (The year when your age matches the number on the calendar, so she’ll be 11 this year).

At 6:45, which is in 10 minutes, her alarm will beep, then there will be the excitement of getting everyone ready and sent off. This should give us enough time to have breakfast and devotions as a family and the children doing their basic morning jobs of washing dishes, sweeping the floor, and picking up toys.

School starts at 8:30, and it only takes a few minutes to walk to school, so the don’t need to leave until 8:15.

There goes the alarm, I had better be slipping on- I’ll leave you with our all-time favorite for school lunches.

These are so good; you can make a bunch ahead and freeze them. So take time today to save time tomorrow.

PIZZA POCKETS

• 2 tablespoons yeast

• 1 /2 cup warm water

• 3 /4 cup warm evaporated milk

• 1 /4 cup oil

• 1 egg

• 1 /4 cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 3 to 4 cups flour

• 1 pound sausage, beef, chicken chunks, or ham dices

• 1 cup pizza sauce

• Pepperoni

• Shredded cheese

• Onions

• Peppers

• Mushrooms

Instructions

POCKET: Dissolve yeast in water. Add the rest of ingredients adding flour last and let rise once, till double. Then roll dough thin. Let rise again about 10 minutes.

FILLING: Fry sausage and add pizza sauce. Load them with whatever topping ingredients you like (don’t stay limited to my list!) on half of dough circles. Fold in half and press shut. Coat outside with butter or oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Your homemade pizza pockets will come out crisp and delicious!

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By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook