Eicher family continues to pray for healing

It is now 25 days since sister Susan has been in the hospital. She seems to be losing out fast. She is back on the ventilator and had another surgery due to more bleeding. This time it was what the doctors thought could be an aneurysm in her lungs. All the bleeding has taken a toll on her body. Her organs are slowly losing out. There is so little doctors can do when she is even too weak for any transplants. Like one of the doctors said, “Pray for us so we know what to do next.”

Tomorrow her doctors want to have a family meeting with Susan’s six siblings. We already know it won’t be good news, so we turn to God. He is our greatest power and comfort right now.

Sister Verena and daughter Verena came home for a few days from staying with my Aunt Caroline, Cousin David, and his wife Karen. They appreciated the hospitality and help they received. Monday both Verenas headed back to Indianapolis and are staying in a motel not too far from the hospital. They get a taxi to and from the hospital—this gets expensive but trips to and from Michigan add up faster. Aunt Caroline, 88, needs David there to help her, so this will work better, and it will mean David doesn’t have an hour to drive every day. Daughter Verena enjoyed helping care for Aunt Caroline and putting puzzles together on days when Cousin David took sister Verena to be with Susan.

I want to make a correction. Uncle Jr. turned 91 this month (not 90). My dad would have turned 90 next month if he were still here. Our prayers are with Uncle Jr. and family as they grieve the loss of Aunt Shirley. A private family service was held for Shirley last week.

Sunday, January 24, was daughter Susan’s 25th birthday and also sister Liz’s 52nd birthday. Our family gathered here for a birthday supper in honor of daughter Susan. It wasn’t a happy birthday, but Susan puts up a brave front when she’s around others. It’s not so good when nighttime comes and her dear husband Mose is not there. May God continue to be her comfort as we take one day at a time.

We started a 1,000-piece puzzle recently. On Sunday night, daughter Susan and sister Verena worked on it after supper. Both are hurting in different ways. Sister Susan’s dog Daisy died since Susan has been in the hospital. Then yesterday morning Mose and Susan’s only horse died. This was the horse daughter Susan drove all the time. We will give her our horse, Mighty. Mighty was trained by my brother Amos, and we bought him from Amos. Susan needs a safe horse to drive with her two little ones. January 31 will be three years since brother Amos died. We miss him!

Another community in Michigan suffered a recent tragedy, as a family’s horse spooked that never spooked before as they passed their neighbor, who was going very slowly in his truck, pulling a trailer with a skid loader on it. The lady, Barbara, 39, who was killed was a cousin to daughter Elizabeth’s pen pal. Barbara leaves behind to mourn her husband and 6 children ages 3 months to 7 years old. The family had just left home and weren’t very far, and having a safe horse they never thought of it spooking and flipping the buggy, somehow throwing the family in all directions. They think the mother hit her head on the skid loader bucket, causing a head injury. She died not too long after arriving at the hospital. Other than minor bumps and bruises, the rest of the family is okay. Another hurting family with nothing left to do but turn to God in their sorrow. The tragedy wasn’t anyone’s fault, and I’m sure they passed this neighbor often and all went well. God is in control and makes no mistakes, but it leaves us with many questions.

Our family again wants to thank all the readers for your support. We feel so grateful that we have so much love shown to us. Right now we try to take one day at a time and let God in control. Pray for us! God’s blessings!

Crustless Spinach Quiche

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1 cup eggs (3-6)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped and blanched
1 small onion, diced
5 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10-inch quiche pan with cooking spray. Beat cream cheese. Add milk, eggs, and pepper, beating until smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese, spinach, broccoli, onion, and mushrooms and pour into the quiche pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eicher family celebrates Jennifer’s third birthday

Supper is being made on the grill, which gives me time to write this column. It’s just daughter Loretta and the boys home again, so our table seems empty. Daughter Lovina is at daughter Susan’s house this week.

Daughter Verena and sister Verena headed out for Indianapolis, IN, this morning. Yesterday the doctors said only one visitor a day is allowed now for sister Susan at the hospital.

Cousin David and his wife Karen and Aunt Caroline graciously offered their home for Verena and Verena to stay in. During the day cousin David will drive sister Verena to the hospital to visit sister Susan. Daughter Verena will stay with Aunt Caroline, who needs someone to help her out. They live in Lafayette, IN, an hour away from the hospital.

This morning we received the sad news that Aunt Shirley from Lafeyette, IN, passed away. Our sympathy goes to Uncle (Albert) Jr. and his family. Uncle Jr. is 90 or almost 90 and is the oldest of my dad’s 12 siblings. My dad was the second oldest of the 13 children. Uncle Andy was the third child in the family (Aunt Caroline’s husband), and he passed away a few years ago.

Our beef is cut up, bagged, and either in the freezer or canned and in the basement. We made and bagged over 300 hamburger patties. We sliced and froze steaks. And, of course, we are enjoying making what we call Rare Beef. We slice the tenderest part of the steak really thin, put salt and pepper on it, and deep fat fry it very quickly on each side. If your oil (we use olive oil) is hot enough it should be done all the way through and be very tender to eat.

Friday, January 15th, our family took supper in for granddaughter Jennifer’s third birthday. A good friend of theirs brought an ice cream cake for her, and daughter Elizabeth brought cupcakes. I made a pasta casserole and took a salad and ice cream. With everything that was brought in we had more than plenty. We all tried to brace up and be happy for Jennifer, in spite of the fact that Mose wasn’t there to help her blow out her candles. Jennifer told Susan that morning that she knows Daddy will come home on her birthday and bring her a present. She said if he doesn’t, she is getting a driver (an Amish driver) to go get him. She seems to still think her Daddy is coming home someday.

Saturday sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, brother Albert and Sarah and daughter Sylvia came to Michigan for the weekend. They stayed with sister Verena so daughter Verena could come home for the night. It felt good to have Verena home and to just spend the night together catching up.

Sunday morning Joe and I, daughter Verena, sons Benjamin, Joseph, and Kevin and a few friends of theirs went to sister Verena’s house and had brunch with all of them. I made two breakfast omelets to add to the menu of biscuits and gravy, potatoes, etc.

Daughters Loretta and Lovina went to church with their special friends Dustin and Daniel. Dustin and Daniel’s brother Clint and his wife Hannah were hosting services at a neighbor’s place.

Sister Susan was off the ventilator earlier this week but still on oxygen. We could talk to her over the phone on Sunday. Her voice is very weak, and she has a long road ahead.

Tuesday night (January 19) at 10:00 p.m., the doctor called sister Verena to let her know that they are putting sister Susan on the ventilator again. Susan’s lungs are not too well, and she has a lot of mucus in her airways. They will be sedating her again since they are putting her on the ventilator again. Please pray for her and for all of us. God’s blessings to all!

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or your choice), divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30-35 minutes, or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell pepper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Gratitude for support as medical concerns continue

Another week has gone by. We have a big beef carcass hanging in our pole barn needing to be cut up and packaged for our freezer. We raised it, so it was a project we knew we would need to get done during these cold months.

Our minds are far from our work, but life goes on. Daughter Susan and children are coping the best they can and miss their husband and daddy so much. Little Jennifer will be three on January 15th. She is very aware that her daddy still hasn’t come home and wants to be held and cuddled a lot. There is a void in their lives. Little Ryan gave Susan a scare when he had a seizure Sunday morning from a high fever. The doctor came, and Ryan has the start of bronchitis but is being treated with a nebulizer and is getting better every day.

Sister Emma and Jacob hosted church services at their house. I was unable to go as I felt daughter Susan needed my help with 1-year-old Ryan. She gets even more scared now when her little ones get sick.

Also, early Sunday morning I got a call from sister Susan’s doctor telling us she has been transferred to the Indianapolis University Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, as they weren’t equipped to care for her anymore. Now sister Verena isn’t allowed to visit her at all. It is so hard to have her 3 1/2 hours away and no one allowed to see her. She’s still not breathing on her own. Doctors did get the bleeding to stop again several times after she started bleeding again. All this has taken its toll on her body. She has been given many units of blood. She is still sedated at the time of this writing. Doctors tell us she is very ill but tell us no tumor or aneurysm was found and they are puzzled at where the bleeding is coming from. This is Day 11 and she’s been in three different hospitals. Please pray for her and also for my other sister, Verena. Sisters Verena and Susan were never married and live 1/2 a mile from us. They have lived together all their lives. Verena is really lost without Susan around. Also pray for the rest of us so God can give us the strength we need to help everyone. This week daughter Verena, 23, is staying with her aunt, my sister Verena. Daughter Lovina, 16, is staying with daughter Susan. My work isn’t getting done as fast but daughter Lorreta, 20, is doing the best she can to help. So is Kevin, 15, but he said his hands are getting too soft from washing dishes and helping with the laundry. His teasing and jokes keep our thoughts away from the grief at times. He misses Mose a lot as Mose always helped him to do things he can’t with his handicap. Kevin is good at hiding his pain.

As my boys (Benjamin, 21, and Joseph,18) walk out that door each morning around 4:30 a.m. I think more of the goodbyes we say on rushed mornings. We never know when it will be the last time we see a loved one. With sister Susan in the hospital so ill all we can do is turn to our Heavenly Father for help. Without comfort from Him where would we be.

I want to again thank readers for their outpouring of support. Daughter Susan and our family really appreciate all of you. Our church members have been such a support as well.

Monday daughter Susan and children were still here. She came here Sunday morning after Ryan had that seizure. Dan’s widow Jodi came over and we had coffee break together once again, talking about their husbands who were killed in the accident. Sharing memories helps them keep them alive in their hearts.

This morning I went through another stack of cards from readers. So many nice letters and cards supporting us!

Daughter Susan will have her 25th birthday on January 24th. Mose’s birthday would have been February 5th. They always shared their birthdays 11 days apart. Then when Jennifer was born January 15th they had another birthday close to theirs to celebrate. This year will be different. Let go—let God! I wish all of you good health and happiness and most of all God’s blessings.

 

Coffee and Cream Brownies

1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

1 tablespoon cream
1 level teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Glaze:

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup cream

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Cool slightly. In a small mixing bowl beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and stir in chocolate mixture. Add flour and baking soda. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool.

For filling, stir coffee granules into cream until dissolved. Add butter and powdered sugar, stirring until mixture is smooth. Spread over brownies.

In saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate chips and cream and stir until chocolate is melted. After cooling slightly, carefully spread over filling. Let stand 30 minutes or until glaze is set.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Medical concerns mount for Eicher family

A brand new year is before us. What does it hold for us? It is so good we don’t know our future.

Saturday we decided to wash our laundry and also daughter Susan’s. We have a heated basement with lines in it so it’s nice to dry clothes in these cold winter months. We weren’t started too long when my husband Joe came to tell me we had a call from sister Verena to ask if I could come right away to help with sister Susan. Sons Benjamin and Joseph went with me. Sisters Verena and Susan live just down the road from us. When we got there, Verena said Susan was having bad stomach pains. This had been bothering her quite some time already, but it was very bad to the point she could hardly walk. I asked her if it was okay if I called the ambulance to take her in to get help. She said it would cost too much but I told her that her life was worth far more than any amount of money. Susan was rushed to the hospital. Sister Verena and I went up with an Amish driver, following the ambulance. The doctors soon decided that she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital over an hour away. Verena was able to sit with her until the ambulance came to transfer her. I was so glad one of the nurses let me go in to say a few words to her. A COVID test was performed, which was negative. They told Verena if the test is negative she can sit with Susan. Sister Verena was told only she can visit Susan each day from noon to 8 p.m. Since it was after 8 by the time she was transferred, Verena and I came back home. Daughter Lovina, 16, went home with Verena for the night. Our daughter Verena was still staying with daughter Susan and children. Makes our house seem empty.

On Sunday sister Emma and Jacob went to the hospital with sister Verena so she could visit with Susan. Jacob and Emma couldn’t go in the hospital, so they had a long wait until Verena came out again.

They performed a CT scan and MRI, among other tests. Doctors said she was bleeding in her abdomen and suspected a tumor or a possible small aneurysm, but they said she was losing a lot of blood and had to give her blood.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, daughters Lovina and Verena were staying with sister Verena (daughter Susan and children stayed with us) when the doctor called to tell Verena to bring the family up as Susan is on life support and losing out fast. All my siblings and sister-in-law Nancy were contacted and rushed to the hospital. The six siblings were all allowed to go in to Susan. We talked and prayed with her, but she was sedated. It was still comforting to hold her hand and tell her we love her. The doctors told us to stay in the waiting room during the surgery (to try to stop the bleeding). They didn’t think she might survive the surgery. It was comforting for all of the siblings to be together. Daughter Verena and a few of the nephews were also along. We prayed, visited, and cried together, not knowing what we would find out. The doctor came out to let us know the surgery was over and she would have one again in a few days to take out the packs they put in her to stop the bleeding. The siblings all got to go see her for a few minutes and then we were told to go back home. The visiting went back to only sister Verena from noon to 8 p.m. each day. It was 7 a.m. when we arrived back home.

Today (Tuesday) they had surgery again and were able to stop the bleeding. The life support is still on her. Sister Verena goes to sit by her bed each day as is allowed. Then daughters Lovina and Verena take turns staying with sister Verena for the night. The other one stays with daughter Susan and children.

Daughters Elizabeth and Lovina and I assisted sister Emma in cleaning today as church services are set to be there Sunday, Lord willing! Thank you for all the prayers during this past month. God bless!

Shoestring Potato Pie

2 unbaked pie shells
potatoes, peeled and shredded
cubed ham or meat of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water (or more)

Fill pie shell heaping full with potatoes, ham, and seasonings. Add water and place second crust on top. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are done. Pie can be served with your choice of gravy.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eichers celebrate Christmas quietly this year

This column will wrap up my columns for 2020. We wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the new year 2021.

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and were all safe and healthy. Our Christmas was extra quiet and we really just appreciated the gift of having each other. Mose is missed so much that life right now doesn’t seem the same. Will we ever get over the grief? For Susan and her children, our hearts still ache even more. Reality is setting in and has taken its toll on her. She’s not ready to leave other than to come here once in a while. I have never gone through losing a life’s partner so I can’t imagine how much she aches if even I miss Mose so much as a son-in-law.

Two-year-old Jennifer asks every night when Daddy will come home. She wants him to rock her to sleep. How do you explain to her that he’s never coming back? I pray that God can give me the wisdom that I need to help my daughter and grandbabies. We keep reminding ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

Susan and our family are so very thankful for all the cards, gifts, and the prayers that are being said on our behalf. It does not bring Mose back, but it helps ease the burden. Please know it is all greatly appreciated. We can feel the support!

Sunday, December 27, was our youngest grandchild Allison’s first birthday. How can it be possible that sweet little Allison is already a year old? She is so petite but mighty. She’s walking everywhere and has the biggest smile. Her bight blue eyes twinkle with happiness, so sweet and innocent, and she doesn’t know the pain the rest of us are feeling.

 

Daughter Elizabeth made her a cake and also one for T.J., who turned 2 on December 17. That day was a visitation day for Mose, so T.J. didn’t really have much of a special birthday. Having cakes for both him and Allison made him smile. Although Allison has her daddy’s blue eyes, T.J. on the other hand looks so much like his daddy Tim but has brown eyes like his mother.

Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and her sweet little ones. We really miss having her here at home but are so glad she’s there to help Susan. Verena is a great listener and has been a comfort to Susan when she needs someone to vent to. May the good Lord bless her for putting others’ needs before her own. Of course, Jennifer and Ryan are glad to have her to cuddle with. It doesn’t replace their daddy but it gives them comfort.

Tomorrow the men and boys from our church district will cut wood for Susan’s stove. Hopefully it will be enough for the winter. A neighbor offered his woods to cut wood out of. So many kind deeds have been done for her. It does help to know others care and are praying for all of us. Let go and let God—that can be a challenge for us as humans sometimes so we continue to trust in God. God bless you!

Peanut Butter Eggs
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melting chocolate

Mix together everything except the melting chocolate until thoroughly blended. Shape into eggs or balls. Dip into melted chocolate. Place the eggs or balls on wax paper to harden.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

The Eicher family mourns a great loss

 This is one of the hardest columns I have ever had to write, so please bear with me.

Our hearts are still heavy with pain as we mourn for our dear son-in-law Mose. Mose was a kind, respectful man and a loving husband of 4 1/2 years to our daughter Susan. He was a great father to our two little grandchildren Jennifer, 2, and Ryan, almost 18 months.

We ask God so many questions. So many whys, but we already know God makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier though, so we want to fully put our trust in Him and let Him lead the way.

Mose and Dan, his driver, were on their way to work on December 9. Mose was only minutes away from home when they were struck head-on by an oncoming car that was on the wrong side of the road. This happened on the highway around a curve. We do not know why this young 19-year-old girl was on the wrong side of the road. Once again, we ask why. We leave it in God’s hands and try to brace ourselves for the heartaches the future holds. Two young children will grow up without their father. A young widow of 24 will do her best to raise these little ones on her own. Jennifer was a daddy’s girl, and most days would stand by the window waiting for him to come home from work. Now she keeps wondering if Daddy went deer hunting and when he’ll be back.

Susan does so well in front of others to hide the pain she is going through. Bedtime is really hard. Mose always helped her get the children to sleep at night. He was a great father!

Mose lost the battle from all his injuries in the accident on December 14. He was never conscious, so Susan’s last memory was the hug and kiss she had from him before he walked out the door that morning. She said he always told her to be careful and safe and that he loved her and the children.

The funeral was held here in our pole barn and Mose was buried in the new graveyard just down the road from us. We always wondered who would be the first to be buried there. Little did we know how close to us it would be.

Dan’s widow Jodi and his sister Lisa were here yesterday visiting. Before we knew it, hours went by. It helps to talk of memories, which is all they have left now too.

Daughter Verena went home with Susan and the children. She helps Susan with the children and is a great support as well. We miss having Verena at home, but they come here often. If they stay here for the night Susan and the children sleep with Verena in her bedroom.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim live only two miles from Susan so they go often as well. Our family goes to help and also Mose’s family. It’s good to have all this support. We appreciate all the prayers and help in any way that makes the burden easier to bear.

Since the accident our family had three birthdays which weren’t very happy. Daughter Verena turned 23 on December 10. Grandson Timothy (T.J.) turned 2 on December 17, and today is my husband Joe’s 52nd birthday. Happy birthday to all of them.

We do not know what the future holds but we know who holds it—God! His blessings be with all of you. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and treasure your family extra in this holiday.

Daughter Verena will make these cookies today with our grandchildren. They are our favorite cut-out cookie.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until a soft dough is formed. On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Frosting: Cream shortening, vanilla, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Gradually add milk and the remaining powdered sugar, beating constantly. Add more powdered sugar for desired consistency. Add food coloring if you like. Spread frosting on cookies and decorate with sprinkles and chocolate chips if desired. Let frosting set before storing.

Substitute for sour cream: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3/4 cup milk, 4 tablespoons butter. Melt the butter; add lemon juice and milk and let set for 5 or more 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 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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org 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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Christmas time treat recipes

Lovina Eicher’s son-in-law Mose was injured in a car accident on Wednesday, December 9. His injuries were severe, and he passed away the morning of December 14. Lovina asks readers to hold Susan and children Jennifer, age 2, and Ryan, age 1, in prayer. She writes, “Susan is a widow at age 24 but she says her years of marriage to Mose were the most wonderful years of her life. They were married four years in August.”

On the evening of the accident Lovina wrote: “… Susan and the children are staying with us… Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mose’s driver, Dan, who was killed instantly in the accident. Dan’s son drives my son Benjamin to work every day; daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin was Dan’s group leader at work. Dan was a great man to all who knew him. Let’s keep his family in our prayers as well. I haven’t heard how the girl is from the other car in this accident, but we want to lift her and her family up in our prayers too.”

Because of these events, this week’s column contains favorite recipes culled from two of Lovina’s cookbooks, Lovina’s Amish Kitchen and Amish Family Recipes. Please remember Mose, Susan, their two young children, and the larger family in prayer at this time.

PEANUT BRITTLE

My dad loved peanut brittle. My mom would always make it around the Christmas holiday.

2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup cold water
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a large baking sheet; set aside.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300°F, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.

Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto baking sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 12 x 14 inches in size. Allow to cool, then break candy into pieces.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

POPCORN BALLS

My mother would always make Popcorn Balls around Christmastime. I like to add the red and green food color when I make them during the holiday season to give them that Christmas look.

¼ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 cups popped popcorn, salted

Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add the baking soda and stir well.

Place popcorn in a large bowl and pour cooked mixture over popcorn, mixing well. Form into 3-inch balls and set on waxed paper to cool.

For color, a few drops of food color can be added to cooked mixture before pouring over popcorn.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

SNOWBALL COOKIES

I like to make these cookies around Christmastime, but they are good anytime of year. The nuts give them a nice crunchy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling cookies

Cream together butter, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add nuts. Slowly add flour until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Drop small scoops of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.

From Amish Family Recipes, © 2020 Herald Press

 

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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A week filled with family time and visiting

It is a Friday night and we had a nice, sunny day in the 60s. I spent the day with our children who have muscular dystrophy at their annual appointments in Ann Arbor. It was a long day, leaving home at 5:30 a.m. and returning at 3 p.m. It’s also a stressful, tiresome day for them to do all the testing, etc. It’s a two-hour drive each way so we hired a driver to take us.

My husband Joe mixed up 25 pounds of deer jerky yesterday and was putting it in the dehydrator today. Son-in-law Tim brought us a doe he shot. We were glad for the meat.

Joe is grilling chicken for our supper and I heated up leftover spaghetti and meatballs from last night to go with the chicken.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph will leave after supper. Benjamin will go spend the night at Mose and Susan’s and go deer hunting in the morning. Joseph will go to Tim and Elizabeth’s and go deer hunting with Tim.

Little granddaughter Allison (Tim and Elizabeth) is really walking everywhere now. She likes to sing the song “High Cotton,” and we just think it’s the cutest thing. She acts so much older than her age.

Last week we had pon hoss. Last winter we canned pork broth, so Joe opened up some broth, added flour, salt and pepper, and made pon hoss. Usually we only have that after butchering pork in the winter months. It made two cake pans of pon hoss, which was used up in a few meals. Of course, they wanted coffee soup with the pon hoss.

Joe hauled manure on the garden too. It seems he is getting lots of jobs done around here but there is only one problem—it doesn’t bring in a paycheck. It’s frustrating but we need to trust in God. He will help us through difficult times. We have so much to be thankful for.

Last Sunday we attended church at nephew Benjamin’s girlfriend’s (Crystal) house about 45 minutes from here. We went with sister Emma, Jacob and sons, sisters Verena and Susan, niece Emma, Menno and children, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. It was an enjoyable day meeting new people. We appreciated all the hospitality and am glad I got to talk with readers of this column! They have no idea how much their encouragement meant to me.

This is now Monday morning at 4:45 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are off to work.

Yesterday daughters Loretta and Lovina and son Joseph went to church with Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends) to their church district. (Our community has 15 church districts with each having an average of 20-plus families. When a district gets too big, they divide and a new set of ministers, a deacon and a bishop are ordained in whichever side needs a replacement. The dividing line is what determines which side you are going to go to.)

Sons Benjamin and Kevin and daughter Verena spent yesterday at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Joe and I were home alone so we decided after breakfast to go for a ride. We went to Mose and Susan’s house and enjoyed playing with Jennifer, 2, and Ryan, 1. Then we headed to Tim and Elizabeth’s house to enjoy some time with Abigail, 4, T.J., 23 months, and Allison, 10 1/2 months. They put out snacks such as venison jerky, popcorn, chips and salsa for us to enjoy before heading home the 6 1/2 miles. It was snowing but nothing stayed. Stay safe and healthy and God bless!

 

Turkey & Dressing Casserole

2 1/2 cups leftover dressing
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

Spread the dressing in the bottom of a two-quart casserole or 9×9 inch baking pan. Add the mushrooms in a layer, then the turkey. Combine the soup and sour cream and spread over the turkey layer. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Additional note: Leftover mashed potatoes can also be added or used to replace the sour cream and chicken soup. I sprinkle mixed vegetables on top and add cheese too.

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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.