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SPOTLIGHT
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A look back at the early years

Published on -8/19/2014, 9:01 AM

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Last weekend, we had the opportunity to host my husband Daniel's parents and siblings from Danville, Ohio. We always enjoy spending time together, but this was an extra treat since we had not seen them for quite some time.

While they were here, Daniel's brother John, who also lives in this community, discovered they have corn ready to be harvested. So we rolled up our sleeves and worked together. Many hands certainly made the work light. Before long, the task was completed with more than 40 quarts of corn in the freezer.

Our 2 ½ year-old daughter, Julia, loved all the action. Playing with her little cousins always is a highlight for her. All too soon, it was time for everyone to go back home again. Thankfully, we are blessed with good memories tucked away in safe keeping.

And speaking of memories, perhaps it would be interesting for you to join me in looking back through the past years to take a peek at Daniel's and my life during our growing up years?

On Aug. 28, 1988, Lydia Yoder beamed down at her newborn son. What a miracle and a gift from God. Daniel's mother proved to have an exceptional mother's heart filled with love and dedication. It soon was obvious he would have his daddy's curls, with Daniel's being a bit lighter -- a golden brown. His parents, Ephraim and Lydia, diligently taught their children the ways of the Lord and were an example of prayer and dedication to God.

With six brothers and a sister, life on a dairy farm didn't get boring. At 7 years old, Daniel was responsible to help with his part of milking cows by hand. Eventually, the farm was replaced with a pallet shop. He and the Yoder brothers pitched in, more determined to help Dad make a go of the business. They put their heart in it working swiftly and steadily.

Tobias, Daniel's oldest brother, owned a landscaping business. After his younger brothers were old enough to replace him at the pallet shop, he had the opportunity of helping Tobias with building retaining walls, patios and other landscaping. That was something he always enjoyed doing.

Meanwhile, 50 miles away, and a little more than a year after Daniel's birth, David and Dorcas Raber had a newborn daughter. Baby Gloria was born Nov. 12, 1989.

Our parents also did an outstanding job in caring for their children and teaching us about God and His word.

Javin, my big brother and hero, almost was a year older than me. Even though he was a boy and I a girl, we spent hours together playing. I became more involved in playing outside with him, and he even joined me in playing with dolls. Catching minnows and wading at a nearby creek was one of our favorite activities.

At 6 years old, I enjoyed the adventure of moving to Flat Rock, Ill. I knew all would be well as long as my parents and three brothers were with me. Upon arriving at our new home, items were unloaded, including a cage with our beloved pet. I can't even remember now whether it was a dog or a cat. Back then, it certainly was important to us. The cage door was opened, and it slipped out and dashed for the nearby woods. Javin and I were devastated, convinced it was gone for good. Dad tried to reassure us, telling us it'll come back. Of course what he said was true. Aren't dads always right?

The rest of my growing up years were spent here in Illinois, while Daniel's family lived in Ohio. The question keeps coming up: So where did you meet each other? Good question. How about saving that answer for next week?

This week, I'll include an old standby recipe my mother used quite a bit during my years at home. When we didn't know what else to make, we always could settle on "stuff." Even though it is not listed, imagination is perhaps the No. 1 ingredient in the recipe. Add or omit vegetables according to your taste. Sour cream or a soup can be used to replace gravy if desired. Vegetables can be sliced or diced. We usually make this with venison.

Stuff

Brown 1.5 pounds of hamburger, sausage or venison

Potatoes

Cabbage

Carrots

Peas

Onions

Cheese or gravy

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger. Layer raw veggies on top of meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread gravy or cheese over the top. Cover and simmer on low until veggies are tender.

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