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More Birthday Wishes from Lovina’s Children

To mark Lovina’s 52nd birthday on May 22, each of her children have contributed these short reflections in her honor. Last week we shared the first half of them, and this week we’re sharing the second half.

Benjamin, 23

As a young boy, I would scare Mom a lot and find it funny. I would crawl out the upstairs window onto the roof and run around until Mom would see me. She would be relieved once she had me inside the window. I didn’t realize the danger back then. Mom was worried I would hurt myself. Our pony Stormy was a real calm pony, and I would climb on his back with just a halter on and tie baler twine to the halter for lines. It scared Mom every time.

Mom makes sure to stay up until all her children are home safely. She has done a lot for me in my life. Mom doesn’t have much gray hair, but I’m sure I caused a lot of what she does have. I’m blessed to have her as my mom. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Loretta, 22    

I’m going to write to honor my mom’s 52nd birthday. I just hope I look as good as her at that age.

I thank God that he blessed me with an encouraging, supportive mom. One thing I know I miss since leaving home is her garden meals, especially waking up on a Saturday smelling bacon—just a great way to wake up. I know her cooking is one thing I try to copy, but it just doesn’t seem to taste like Mom’s. And it isn’t as good if I have to make it. Haha! I know when I was a little girl, I would stand behind Mom’s office chair while she would write her columns or whatever she was writing at the time and pick on a small birth mark on her neck.  I would ask her why it doesn’t come off. There were times us children took turns massaging Mom and Dad’s feet. Mom and Dad would bribe us with a dollar if we did, and I tried to get enough so I could buy something at the store.

One thing I always remember is the first time Mom found out we had muscular dystrophy. Mom cried when the doctors told her—that’s something a mother doesn’t want to hear, but she never gives up on us children. I’d say she was the reason I didn’t give up. Now I’m married with an amazing husband and baby boy. I’m so proud to have a mother like her to show me the steps in life, and I’d say she did really good because I like to think I’m pretty cool. Haha! I have to brag on myself sometimes because nobody else does. Haha, just kidding.

Happy 52nd birthday, Mom. I love you so much.

Joseph, 20

When we all still lived under the same roof and before anyone was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, I remember Dad and Mom playing kickball with all of us children. Mom would have a team and Dad would have a team.

I always look forward to suppers because Mom always makes a good meal. It is a treat to have after a hard day of work. I always enjoy it even more through the summer because Mom makes some fresh meals out of the garden.

Mom will always pack my lunch, although I tell her I can pack my lunch myself. I like how she doesn’t let me go to work on an empty stomach. I don’t think anyone could make a better Saturday morning breakfast than Mom.

She is a good reader and has a great way of explaining the Bible to us. She always teaches us how to keep everything organized and clean. Mom is always really energetic, and she is the best mom. She has a sense of humor that a lot of people don’t see. Playing games is much more fun with Mom playing—she likes to try to add rules to the game to help her team win. She is very competitive in a game, which makes it more fun. Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

Lovina, 19

One of the funniest things that I remember Mom always doing when we were younger is answering her own questions. “Lovina, are the windows open?” And before I even get a chance to answer, “Yeah, they are,” she’d ask me, “Hey what time is it?” Meanwhile she’s looking at the clock, and then she’d say, “Quarter after 5,” and go back to whatever she was doing.

I think I was just there for support.

I love how Mom pushes me to be the better version of myself. She taught me how to be organized, how to save money, how to sew my own dresses, how to cook and can. How to be respectful, how to turn to God.

Although being named after Mom was Dad’s idea and not hers, I’m glad I got the name I did. Sharing her name is one of the things I’m proud of, even though we both answer when someone says, “Lovina.” I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her, and I’m so thankful to have a mom like her. Happy Birthday, Mom! Hope you have a great one! Love you always!

Kevin, 17

I want to thank my mom for being there for me and helping me out with my disability. I appreciate her support.

Mom makes the best food, and I’m always glad when Joseph doesn’t eat all the food Mom packs in his lunch because I’m more than willing to eat it.  Playing marble chase is one of our favorite games to play. Mom never likes sitting beside me in the game because I always send her marbles home. I am probably the hardest of her children to wake up in the mornings. So Mom, thanks for always putting up with me. I will always love you!


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina’s Children Wish Her a Happy Birthday!

To mark Lovina’s 52nd birthday on May 22, each of her children have contributed these short reflections in her honor. We’re sharing the first half of them today, and will share the second half next week.

Elizabeth, 28

There are many stories I could write about my mom. I’ll try to keep it short.

As a school-age child, I remember coming home from school eager to tell Mom all about my day. I’m sure at times those silly school stories were a bit boring for her, but she listened with open ears.

I remember helping Mom mow lawn. We would both use a self-propelled walk behind lawnmower. I enjoyed it! I have always liked mowing lawns, so I didn’t consider it “work.” I remember laughing, trying to keep up with Mom.

When age “sweet 16” came for me, I was overly excited. As most young Amish girls are at that age, I was filled with anticipation about the next step in life. After Tim would bring me home from Saturday evenings at the youth center, or from Sunday night singings (as we call it), wedding dinners, etc., I loved to tell Mom the stories of my evening.

Mom and I (and my siblings) have become best of friends over the years of us growing up. As we continue to move on with our lives, Mom is there with us each step of the way. She always has advice and love to give us, and I know she prays for us always.

Now, being the mother of four children, I realize the love, patience, and many prayers it takes to raise a child. My mom is a strong woman! She conquered many challenges that came her way—not just in motherhood, but in life itself. She is a true inspiration and a wonderful loving mom/grandma!

Mom, I hope you have a wonderful 52nd birthday! We love you!

Susan, 27

To this day I still ask Mom how to do some of the canning or sewing, and I’m married with children. Moms never stop being a mom. She was a good teacher if we listened. Some of us could be a little hard-headed…like me when she tried to teach me how to sew. Now I wish I would have listened. There are a lot of memories with Mom. One memory I have is when Mom sang with all of us girls. She taught us how to sing praise to God. I also recall waking up in the morning and hearing Mom singing in the kitchen while preparing breakfast. The house would smell like bacon. I would lay there just listening to Mom. I love to hear her sing.

Happy 52nd birthday, Mom. May God bless you. Love you.

Verena, 25

Monday, May 22 is my mom’s birthday, so I had all my siblings write a story they remember with her or just write something in honor of her birthday.

I have many, many stories I could write down, but I would never get done. I want to thank my mom for being my biggest support—she is always there for me and the rest of her children. Which I know we all appreciate very much!

I remember the days that Mom would put all five of us girls’ hair up for us. Having our long hair combed would sometimes make us say “oww” from a tangle. Dad would always sit there and ask us, “What kind of bird are you?” Mom would tug at our hair a little and we’d say, “Oww” (Owl). Ha!

Mom used to play kickball with us when we were all younger.  Every time it was her turn to kick the ball, I would run in the house and go upstairs and hide because I worried she’d hurt herself. I always looked up to her, and I still do, so I never liked to see mom hurt or do anything that could get her hurt. The reason I worried so much about her playing kickball was because she did get a blood clot when the ball hit one of her veins one of the times.

Living on my own is a good experience. I see how often I depended on my mom, and I still do. When I dealt with my brain injury, it was very scary to me, and I remember how Mom and my sister Susan were my biggest comforters.

I thank God every day for giving me such a great mom. I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said she had no plans, but she deserves to have a good birthday and every birthday should be celebrated. The plans as of right now are to gather at Dad and Mom’s on Monday night to have a birthday supper for her.

Happy 52nd birthday to Mom! I love you.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Keeps Busy with Deer Jerky and Snack Sticks

It is a nice sunny day on this first day of March. We had a mild February, and now I wonder if March will make up for it with snow. The temperature is mid 40s already before noon.

I am having a hard time sitting down to write this column with too much work waiting on me. We worked until 9:30 p.m. last night mixing several batches of deer jerky and snack sticks. The snack sticks took so long to stuff in the casings. And of course something goes wrong when you want to hurry—the stuffer quit working, and our other stuffer doesn’t have the tube size for snack sticks, so we ended up using brat-sized casings for the rest of the snack sticks. We mixed 25 pounds of snack sticks that are ready for the smoker now. We still have 44 pounds of jerky to put in the 10-tray dehydrator, so it will take time and a few days to do it all. Fourteen pounds of that jerky is for Dustin and Loretta. That should wrap up the venison for this winter. We are waiting to butcher a beef until we get a colder week to chill it. What a relief it will be when it’s all done and in the freezers. And what a blessing to be able to do all that for another year ahead.

We washed all the dishes up and the slicer, stuffer, and grinder, which all takes time. After getting done late and getting to bed later, I was ready for a nap after the boys and Joe left for work.

Then I made a dessert to take to the viewing visitation of Chris, an older man in our church district. Chris and his wife Katie were in Pinecraft, Florida, for a while this winter already. Chris had a stroke while they were in Florida and then later died there.

Our church members will all take supper in tonight and then sing for the family as people walk through the viewing/visitation. It makes it so nice to have the support of the church, family, and friends when you lose a loved one.

I am writing while holding grandson Denzel. He will be eight months old next week. He sure brings a lot of sunshine to our days. He is amazed at my moving pen, but I’m sure my editors will see the consequences of my messy writing.

This is now even later and Denzel is sleeping. He wasn’t quiet just watching the pen—he decided he should move the pen with his hand.

Before we leave tonight, I need to go to town to pick up Loretta’s prescription. She still needs a blood thinner shot every day, and she is out of them. Dustin is working 45 minutes away at a construction job and won’t be home in time to go get the prescription before they leave to go to the viewing tonight.

Son-in-law Ervin is finally getting relief after going to the doctor for his cough he’s had a while. He has bronchitis, so the doctor prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler, and it seems to be helping.

Sister Verena is staying at sister Emma’s this week. She also is battling a cough. Emma is a good nurse and sounds like she (Verena) is getting a lot better. I will sign off on this as I have so much on my agenda for today. Unfortunately, my work doesn’t run away. Haha!

I will share a recipe for Butterscotch Pie. Brother Amos always loved Butterscotch Pie. Rest in peace, dear brother.

God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Pie
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 pint water
1/4 teaspoon soda
3 pints milk
6 tablespoons cook-type clear jel (slightly heaping)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pre-baked 9-inch pie crusts

Brown the butter and sugar together in a saucepan. Then add the pint of water and cook until all sugar lumps are dissolved. Add soda and then 2 1/2 pints milk. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and mix with clear jel. Bring remaining mixture to a boil and then add clear jel mixture along with the rest of the milk. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla. Pour into pie crusts and let cool. Makes three 9-inch pies.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Susan and Ervin Get Married

I am Lovina’s “English” friend Ruth, and I had the opportunity to help Lovina the week of Susan and Ervin’s wedding by taking photos of the wedding prep, running a few last-minute errands, and also attending the wedding on Friday, December 30. Typically, Amish weddings are held in the shed (pole barn) of the bride’s parents’ house, but with it being winter Susan and Ervin decided to use the CYC (Community Youth Center), which is a beautiful building that is used primarily for the youth to gather on Saturday nights for social activities but is also available for the Amish community to use for special events. It has two large rooms (the size of a gym) plus a fully furnished kitchen. This building has solar power, and the kitchen even has electrical outlets, which are not allowed in Amish homes even if they have solar but are allowed in the CYC building. The one large room was set up for the wedding ceremony and the other large room was set up for the noon meal after the wedding.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the wedding, friends, family, and church members came to the CYC to set up for the wedding, to prepare food for the noon meal, and to support Susan and Ervin. More folks gathered early Friday to start the cooking for the meal.  Each morning when Lovina and I arrived for the preparation, Susan and Ervin and the children were there before everyone else to get started on that day’s list, and they were the last to leave each afternoon. They greeted everyone as they came in with smiles and words of gratitude for the help given. Many of you know Susan lost her husband Mose about two years ago, and Ervin lost his wife Sarah a few months before Mose passed. What I found so endearing was that both Sarah’s and Mose’s families were not only supportive of the marriage but came to help with the wedding prep. On the day of the wedding Omer and Rose (Sarah’s parents) and William and Rosanna (Mose’s parents) were seated at the head tables with the family. Susan and Ervin also were intentional about honoring and acknowledging Sarah and Mose as they started their new journey as husband and wife.

A typical Amish wedding ceremony goes from about 9:00 a.m. until noon. It includes preaching by a number of local ministers, some singing, and finally the pronouncing of the couple as married near the end of the service. Before the service begins, the couple and their witnesses sit near the door where people come in and greet all guests as they arrive. Then they go to a private room to meet with the Ministers, the Bishop, and a deacon to receive advice on having a good marriage and to pray. They are then seated in special chairs in the middle of the room where the wedding is. The bride and her witness sit across from the groom and his witness.  After the ceremony there is typically a noon meal, a 5:00 p.m. meal, and a meal with the youth at 7:00 p.m. Susan and Ervin only had a noon meal and limited the guests to family, church members, and some close friends. Even with cutting back, there were still about 425–450 people there.  Typically everyone sits down and table waiters pass food to everyone, but only the head table and immediate family was served this way. Everyone else walked through a buffet line to get their food. It was done very efficiently and we were all served quickly.

A beautiful wedding cake to celebrate the marriage of Susan and Ervin. Photo credit: Ruth Boss

Susan chose jewel tones of burgundy, purple, red, and green for the wedding. The cooks wore hunter green, family wore burgundy, Susan, her and Ervin’s children, and the mothers wore purple, and Ervin wore a black suit and a white shirt. Susan’s cape and apron were white, as were Verena and Sarah’s, who were witnesses. Susan chose sister Verena and brother Kevin as her witnesses, and Ervin chose his brother Nelson and his wife Sarah as his.

The décor was red and white with Christmas-themed touches of evergreen, pine, poinsettias, and candles. The “Eck,” or corner table, where they sat was set beautifully with china, special glasses, and candles. Lovina will write more about the wedding in upcoming columns.

My impression of the week and the wedding was that Susan and Ervin are loved and supported by their families and community, and that was shown by the gifts of time and words of encouragement they received. It was clear that Ervin and Susan love each other and love their children, both their own and each other’s. May God continue to bless them richly as they begin their new life together and may their home be filled with love and laughter.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Helping the Newlyweds and Enjoying Family Time

The temperature is staying in the low 60’s today. Leaves are falling and it’s a typical fall day. Yesterday the mercury almost reached 80 degrees, and it was a lovely day with the laundry drying very well.

I’m frying chicken for our supper tonight. Daughter Lovina is washing potatoes for steamed potatoes as well. Dustin and Loretta will join us for supper. Our house is empty without Loretta here anymore. I am glad she’s close by so we can help her. It’s hard to believe half of our eight children aren’t at home anymore.

Friday night, sons Benjamin and Kevin went to a wedding. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina went to their special friends’ house leaving just Joe and me at home. We decided to go to daughter Susan’s house for supper. We picked up sister Verena, and then daughter Elizabeth, Tim and the children also came.

Daughter Verena made supper for all of us. She made chicken casserole and apple cobbler which was delicious. It was enjoyable spending time with the grandchildren. It seemed like over the wedding we didn’t get much time to spend with them. Abigail is really enjoying school. She stayed the night with Jennifer so they were excited for their sleepover. There is still such an empty spot when we go there. It seems like Mose should be coming back from hunting and telling us about the big buck he saw.

Tim and Elizabeth bought a surrey (a two seated buggy) for their family. There will also be more room for them if they want to pick up daughters Verena and Susan to go somewhere. It seems like short years ago when we drove a surrey and had eight children with us. Life goes on and time brings so many changes…some happy, some sad.

Dustin’s birthday was October 8th so his mom and dad made supper at their house in honor of his birthday. Saturday night our family gathered at Dustin and Loretta’s house in honor of his birthday. Daughter Susan and I helped Loretta during the day with her cleaning and washing and putting away wedding gifts/dishes. One other day my sister Verena and I also helped Loretta with getting her house organized with all the new gifts they received.

It will be easier for Loretta once their house is more handicap accessible, but it all takes time and money. Nothing is cheap anymore. Starting out as a young couple takes a lot. I remember when we were first married, how one thing after another came up. And when you buy an older farmhouse you always have repairs.

What matters most is making a house a home and enjoying each other’s company. Dustin is a good son-in-law and seems like a son to me. He is a great husband to Loretta, and he says she is a great wife to him. May God always be the center of their marriage. What a blessing when you gain a son instead of lose a daughter. Dustin and Loretta appreciate all the good wishes from you readers. I am trying to talk them into writing the column next week.

A special reminder of the day, this matrimony piece made for Dustin and Loretta was part of their wedding decorations.

Loretta is having fun cooking for her and Dustin but tells me my recipes are much too big. I am having trouble downsizing with my meals so I need to learn to adjust as well.

God bless all of you and keep us in your prayers as we travel into the unknown future.

Chicken Casserole

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 (7 ounce) package macaroni, cooked
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and cover with buttered bread or cracker crumbs or croutons. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.


Updates from a family friend

My name is Ruth and I am a long time “English” friend of Lovina.  She asked me to write the column this week because she is busy preparing for the wedding of her daughter Loretta and Dustin this Friday. The wedding will start about 9:00 a.m. and they will be married about 11:30 a.m. After the wedding a noon meal will be served. They are expecting 450-500 people for the noon meal.  Some guests will stay for the afternoon to visit and catch up, and more guests will arrive for the 5:30 pm meal. They will be ready to serve about 600 again for this meal. In the early evening the youth will gather, and they will be served a hot meal also.

The cook wagon and refrigerated wagon were delivered on Saturday, and all the tables were set up in the pole barn and set with dishes and silverware. Long plastic tablecloths were placed over the set tables to keep them clean.

Early in the week Lovina went to get groceries for the wedding. She had already been stocking up on the staples like flour, sugar, butter, etc. but most groceries need be bought fresh the week of the wedding. Just a few of the items shopped for were 400 pounds of potatoes, 20 gallons of milk, 40 heads of lettuce, 48 loaves of bread, 50 containers of whipped topping, 8 watermelons, 10 cantaloupe, and 10 bunches of celery. On Tuesday a couple of women came and cut up and toasted all the bread for the dressing. Loretta and Dustin requested that cupcakes be served as one of the desserts, so the women baked some of the cupcakes also. In total they plan on baking, frosting, and decorating over 600 cupcakes. Other desserts on the menu will be cherry pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and caramel pudding.

On Wednesday more women came and baked the cherry pies. The onions, carrots, and celery for the dressing were chopped, bagged, and labeled. They baked the rest of the cupcakes, and some were frosted and decorated. The frosting is a delicious light chocolate, and the decorations are little multicolored sprinkles in the shape of leaves.

The three head cooks for the wedding are sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and Barbara, who is a neighbor and friend who goes to the same church. As the women arrive the head cooks give them their job for the morning, and they all quickly go about their tasks. As the women work together there is conversation and laughter as they catch up on news of family, church, and community.  Baked goodies have been brought in for morning coffee time, and casseroles and salads brought in by the women helping are shared at lunch time.

Loretta chose a fall theme for her wedding which is appropriate as the leaves are beginning to turn and pumpkins and mums can be seen on front porches. Loretta’s tables have tablecloths of yellow and red and orange, fall leaf garland is strung around the windows in the shed, and colored leaves are sprinkled down the middle of the tables. There is a chill in the early morning air but the weather this week promises to be warm and sunny during the day, which is a welcome change from the rainy days and cooler temperatures we had last week.

Dustin is putting the finishing touches on his pole barn across the street from Lovina’s. The siding is on, the concrete floor is poured, and the windows and doors are installed. Dustin is hoping to complete some work on the eaves before Friday. His pole barn is where the wedding will be held, and after the wedding the family and friends will walk across the street to Joe and Lovina’s for the noon meal.

Festive fall table decorations prepared for Loretta and Dustin’s wedding. Photo provided.

There are special touches in the decorations that honor and remember the loved ones who have passed. There are three wooden candle holders that each have an engraving with the names of Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob on them.  A deer that Mose shot is mounted on a special board that Emma’s son Jacob cut, finished, and engraved in his honor.  They will be missed terribly at this special celebration. As an outsider I can see that the hurt is still present but alongside the pain there is acceptance and peace. There are smiles and laughter as they share precious memories and there is special focus on making the day special for Loretta and Dustin.  May God bless this special couple as they begin their journey as husband and wife.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.


The first tastes of spring

We are having cooler weather again this week. On Monday it was rainy, and yesterday was cloudy. At least today the sun is shining at times.

Son Joseph, 18, is home today. He has been busy outside cleaning the yard and filling in dirt on the low spots before we roll the yard.

We had success with our garage sale last week, but we still have some things left. I want to take it to a thrift store, or the free store, or give it to someone who can use it. It was time consuming to have the sale but makes more space now in my storage areas.

Our rhubarb is plentiful, so I have made quite a few rhubarb custard pies. We are also enjoying asparagus from the garden.

My husband Joe planted some more vegetables in the garden on Saturday: lettuce, radishes, peas, and corn.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I am blessed to have 8 wonderful children who call me Mother: Elizabeth, 26, Susan, 25, Verena, 23, Benjamin, 21, Loretta, 20, Joseph, 18, Lovina, 16, and Kevin, 15. I thank God for their love, and I hope I will always be a good example to them. It takes daily prayers to raise a family. I also have 5 precious grandchildren who call me Grandma: Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, Timothy (T.J.), 2, Ryan, 21 months, and Allison, 16 months.

Father’s Day will be hard on daughter Susan, to have 2 little children who won’t have a father to give their love to. Mose would buy a flower for the children to give to Susan on Mother’s Day. May God continue to guide her and comfort her. Let us remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

On Sunday we had communion services at our neighbors’ home. Daughter Susan and children and sister Verena were here for the night on Saturday and went to church with us.

Ryan was so excited to have a little black hat to wear to church. When we came to church, he thought he could wear it during the service, so it took a little persuading to get him to hang it up until afterward.

Sister Verena and daughter Susan and children stayed overnight again Sunday night. When Ryan woke up Monday morning Joe had left for work already. Ryan went to our bedroom, to Joe’s side of the bed, asking where Grandpa was. I told him he was working. He then pointed to the cabinet on the wall where Joe keeps his hat and asked for Joe’s hat. He thought he should have both his and Grandpa’s hat, but I told Ryan we need to leave it there for when we go to church again. Such sweet little angels. What do they have to see in the future?

I answered all the reader mail now. I want to again thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It is all greatly appreciated. May God bless all of you!

I will share the recipe for asparagus shepherd’s pie this week for those of you who love asparagus. We had asparagus last night just fried in butter.

Take care! Until next week…God bless!

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie
6 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken or asparagus soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes in water until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain grease. Stir in soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water until crisp and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and layer over beef mixture. Drain the potatoes and mash, adding milk, butter, and salt. Spread mashed potatoes over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Community support in a time of heavy loss

This week’s column is written by a close friend of the family.

As many of you already know, Lovina’s son-in-law, Mose, who is married to daughter Susan, was in a serious car accident in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 9. On Monday, December 14, Mose passed away as a result of his injuries. Mose was on his way to work with his friend and co-worker Dan, who was his driver. Another vehicle crossed the center line and hit them head on. Dan was killed instantly. Both men loved hunting and fishing and enjoyed swapping stories on their drive to and from work. The Eichers ask for prayers for Dan’s wife Jodi and their children, grandchildren, and extended family.

Mose is the son of William and Rosanna Bontrager and comes from a large family consisting of six brothers and six sisters. Mose was the seventh born, which puts him right in the middle of the family.

Today (December 16) marks one week since the crash and the family is preparing for his viewing and funeral. The viewing will be held in Joe and Lovina’s pole barn starting this afternoon into evening and will continue all day Thursday. On Friday, the funeral will be held in the pole barn followed by his burial in a nearby Amish cemetery.

Buggies lined the yard as the community gathered to mourn. Photo provided.

Within hours of the news of Mose passing was announced, church friends and family began to arrive to help with the preparations for the viewing and funeral. Men and women arrived to help clean the pole barn, house, and basement. Meals were dropped off and friends stopped by to offer words of comfort. The church wagon that holds the benches was dropped off as well as a cook wagon and cooler wagon. Two of the church women took charge of planning the meals that the family would need during the week, as well as the funeral lunch. Slips of paper with food assignments were made up and placed in a jar. As people stopped to offer their condolences they would take these slips, and will then make the breads, salads, jellos or other items that will be served at the lunch. The Amish community is caring and supportive and quickly responds when needs arise.

I had the opportunity to visit with the Eichers yesterday and they shared some sweet memories of Mose with me. Susan and Mose were married for four years and had dated for four-and-a-half years before that. They have two children, Jenny who will be 3 in January and Ryan who is 17 months. Susan told me she is feels blessed to have had Mose for all the years they had together and wouldn’t change a thing. She is grateful to have the children and will share many memories of him with them as they grow up.

Mose was a kind, generous and hard-working man. He recently took on a large house remodel project which he nearly completed. He was particularly good at fixing engines and at 10 years old he took his first engine apart. While that project did not result in a running engine it did start him down a path of many successful engine repairs. Mose was a happy, good natured person who some might describe as quiet, but those who knew him well could tell you that he loved to talk about his family and would jump at the opportunity to have a conversation about hunting or fishing.

Mose was a man of faith and he and Susan loved reading the Bible together on Sundays. Susan said if there was something she didn’t understand he would take the time to explain what it meant. She said they always prayed together in the morning. If they had a particularly busy morning and they missed their prayer time together they would both promise to pray separately. Mose made teaching his faith to his children a priority and would often talk to the children about Jesus. The family draws great comfort knowing that he is with Jesus and that they will see him again someday.

This is an unbelievable grief that is borne with the support of many, but it is still a heavy grief. Mose was loved deeply by Susan and his children. She and her family are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the readers and especially for the prayers offered on their behalf. She asks that you continue to pray for them in the weeks and months ahead as they adjust to life without their precious Mose.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now online. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Giving thanks together even in hard times

Lovina’s husband, Joe, grilled their turkey this Thanksgiving. Photo provided.

Thanksgiving Day was not too eventful for us this year. My husband Joe put a turkey on the grill, and we relaxed and took the day off. Let us pray next year will be different. I decided to ask each of my children to write what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful to be the mother of my eight wonderful children. They grew up too fast. I am also thankful for my husband Joe, and my five grandchildren who have given Joe and me so much joy.

My husband Joe says he’s thankful for a loving wife, a supportive church, his family, and most of all God’s love for us!

Daughter Elizabeth: I’m thankful for food, family, friends, and faith. I’m thankful for my husband Tim and wonderful children Abigail, Timothy, and Allison. They are a gift from God. There is so much to be thankful for.

Son-in-law Tim: I’m thankful for my beautiful wife and our life together. I’m thankful for my precious children and that they are healthy. I’m thankful for my job so that I can provide for my family.

Abigail, age 4: I’m thankful for food and drinks and horses and butterflies. I’m thankful for church and books. I’m thankful for Daddy and Mom and T.J. and Allison. (Daughter Elizabeth says Abigail had a long, long list so she shortened it up, but Abigail also said she’s thankful for the little kids and pointed at T.J. and Allison).

Timothy (T.J.), 23 months: When asked what he’s thankful for said deer – buck and puppy.

Allison, 11 months, doesn’t say many words but she’s happiest when she’s breastfeeding and being held by her mother.

Daughter Susan: I’m thankful for our Heavenly Father who keeps His protecting hand over us. For the faith we can hold on to. I’m thankful for a great and loving husband and for our two most precious blessings we have—our children Jennifer and Ryan. I’m also thankful for my parents, brothers and sisters, and for having food to eat and a roof over our heads.

Son-in-law Mose: I’m thankful for my sweet wife and children, and for a place to live.

Jennifer, 2: Jesus, Dad, Mom, brother Ryan, her toys and candy. (Jennifer loves candy.)

Ryan, 16 months, doesn’t understand what we mean but he likes to talk about deer and spreads his hands to show how big it was. He loves scooting around on his little toy scooter.

Verena, 22: I am thankful for a home to live in as there are many without a home. Too often I take it for granted to have a roof over my head. God be with the ones who do not have that opportunity.

Dad and Mom have been my biggest support and made life as easy as they could for us children. I am thankful for my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews.

I am thankful my parents taught me about God and taught me to pray to Him. I have learned that faith, love, family, and friends are very important to me. I am thankful Jesus died on the cross so that we can be saved from sin. I am thankful we have stayed healthy so far through the year of COVID-19. To those of you affected I pray you will recover, and that peace will be back to our world. May God be with all of you.

Benjamin, 21: I am thankful for my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and God. I am thankful to have a job I like, for my friends, and for good health.

Loretta, 20: I am thankful for parents who helped me grow to learn to respect everyone. Too often we see the bad and don’t see the good in others. I am very thankful to have my wonderful and supportive boyfriend Dustin who has helped me in so many ways. I am thankful for God, Jesus Christ, family, friends, and a home to come home to. I so often take life for granted. Life is too short to sit back and complain. Enjoy and be thankful for what you have. God bless everyone!

Joseph, 18: I am thankful for my family who have supported me and loved me as much as I love them. I’m thankful for my job. It teaches me to appreciate my good health to be able to climb and do the construction work I do. I’m also thankful for a good home to live in, but most of all for God and Jesus who died so we can be saved from our sins.

Lovina, 16: Although this year has been a long year with all that is going on with COVID-19, I am still thankful for so much. I’m very thankful for my family (even though my brothers can be a lot to deal with sometimes, ha ha).  I’m also thankful for my amazing boyfriend Daniel who is gladly willing to put up with me. I know I can be a handful at times, ha ha. God blesses us with things to be thankful for every day. I hope everyone had a great and safe Thanksgiving.

Kevin, 15: I’m thankful for food, family, a place to live, and for my cousin Steven. Most of all, I’m thankful for God. I am thankful to still be able to walk.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

How to cook for a wedding crowd

A guest post from Lovina’s English (non-Amish) friend Ruth Boss.

This week Lovina is busy with preparations for niece Elizabeth and Manuel’s Friday wedding, so she has asked me to share about the work being done in the days before the wedding. The wedding wagons arrived last week, so Saturday the tables were all set up in the barn and the china, silverware, and glasses were all set. The wedding wagons include a cook wagon that has two sinks, five stoves, and all the cookware needed to prepare for a large gathering. There is a refrigerated wagon and a wagon that has two self-contained washrooms. The church bench wagon supplied the benches for the dinner tables, and another church’s bench wagon was borrowed to set up benches in the barn of neighbors Andrew and Laura, where the actual ceremony will be held.

Wednesday morning it was raining heavily when the women arrived to start the cooking. On the wall inside of the cook wagon was a list of jobs to be done for that day. Each woman chose a job and quickly went to work. Bread was cubed and baked for dressing, and potatoes, carrots, and onions were chopped for the dressing also. Rhubarb was chopped for pies and jam, pie dough crust was mixed, and chocolate and vanilla cakes were baked in round pans. The women enjoy conversation while they work, catching up on things like family activities, gardening, and church events. They speak in Dutch (high German) but politely switch to English when I am in the conversation. There is a good amount of laughter and teasing, especially with Lovina’s sisters. There was even a little Amish “dancing” when a little mouse decided to make an appearance in the cook wagon in the middle of the food prep.


Lovina, sister Liz, and neighbor Laura are the head cooks for the wedding. After the menu is decided the head cooks determine how much food is needed and make a large grocery list. They help schedule the women who come to do the food prep and assign coffee time treats, lunch casseroles, salads, and desserts for the meals they share on workdays. The quantity of food that needs to be prepared to make 1,000 meals seems overwhelming to an outsider, but they make it seem easy and the work goes along quite seamlessly. If one person steps away from washing dishes to get finished pies from the oven, another quickly steps in and takes over the dishes. There is a quiet and simple cadence to their work, which is consistent with their lifestyle.

Thursday morning began with a good storm, but by mid-morning the sun was shining. The pie crusts were made, pie fillings were prepared, and all the pies were baked. The pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, and cherry pie all baking at once make a delightful medley of aromas. The bread dough was also mixed, and after rising it was made into small loaves and baked. The fresh-bread smell is as mouthwatering as the pies! Outside the cook wagon the strawberries, grapes, and blueberries are being washed for the fruit salad. Yesterday’s cakes are being frosted, and the orange cheesecake dessert is being assembled.

The men set up the tent outside the barn, and tables and benches were set to accommodate all the guests. In the house the young girls are playing with the small children and the house is getting a good once-over. Windows are being shined, floors swept and mopped, and furniture polished. Next week, Lovina will share more about the special wedding day.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.