Slumber parties, grief and prayers


“Mom, may we have a slumber party?”

“Perhaps sometime when you won’t have school the next morning.” It was an easy answer.

Time and again the subject would pop up. This afternoon, which was on a Friday, it came up again. “Mom, may we have a slumber party tonight?”

Now I’m not that young anymore and I’m a mom day and night, sun or rain. Slumber parties no longer hold their appeal, crashing out at night feels only too good.

Now viewing it through their eyes, I told them I would be happy to help them make it work out for tonight, providing we have a conservative curfew. The next day we’ll reevaluate everything and take it from there on doing it again, or staying up later.

You know how it goes, Hosanna, Jesse and Elijah started getting the slightest whiffs of Julia and Austin doing something different. Instantly they were all sold on it.

Taking the older ones aside I explained that we’ll get ready for bed a bit earlier than usual, then after Bible story and prayer the younger ones can join them for a while then head for bed, leaving the oldest ones to play games. While they enjoy interacting with their younger siblings it’s a treat for them to play on an 8 and 11 year-old level without distractions.

Now as I write, I hear the happy chatter of all six children downstairs having their ‘slumber party’ and snacking.

Jesse had asked me about what snack they’ll have. I asked him if he was planning on a snack. He got this incredulous look and said, “A slumber party — of course there’s always snacks at a party!” Dear Jesse, he can always eat; amazing how much food our 5-year-old boys can consume. But then, that’s okay, they are getting ready to be men.

Hosanna, who loves serving others, was appointed the task of preparing snacks. The supper dishes were washed, I didn’t feel like doing more so I handed her a stack of Styrofoam bowls and told her she can slice apples and then place apples and Bugles in bowls. Soon I heard her going down the basement steps and announcing, “Here comes the snack lady!”

We’ll see how it goes, I won’t bother going to bed before they are tucked in, I’ll just relish a few quiet moments to get in touch with you.

Yesterday as I was going through mail sent by many of you friends, I so wished I could personally respond to each of you. Since it is not possible I decided to pray especially for each of you who have reached out to us over the course of the past year since Daniel went home to Heaven. Surely you have been a tremendous bright spot in our lives. Sometimes when I’m feeling lonely I walk out our driveway to the mailbox and many times I find encouragement waiting for me there. God bless you!!

Hi, I’m back again. It’s Saturday at noon. The slumber party was a treat for all, until some gears got shifted and little boys began crying for Daddy. Holding two of them in my arms I rocked, prayed, sang and talked to them. Comfort seemed out of sight as tears poured incessantly.

The older ones took turns caring for Joshua while I kept rocking and praying. They both wanted to listen to Daddy’s songs which he sung on his parents’ voice mail the weeks before he passed. In a jiffy we dialed the song-line (618-469-3007). They each clutched a phone and listened to Daddy’s strong voice as more tears flowed.

In my heart I knew God would heal their hearts, yet how I ache for them at these times.

Finally at 11 p.m. they were all sound asleep and with a grateful heart I too, fell into a peaceful slumber.

This morning as I held a little lad on my lap I mentioned something about last night being difficult. He was not ready to talk about it, so I silently lifted him to God in prayer once more.

That is when the phone rang; it was my sister-in-law who wanted to tell me how she and her husband had been praying together before he left for the day. In his prayer he again prayed for our children; at that instant the sun broke through the solid gray sky and shone brightly in their faces. They looked up in wonder, surely the Lord heard.

From several hundred miles away they had no idea how grief had been hitting harder for all of us, God knew.

Now for a recipe. Before my Grandma passed she made scalloped potatoes many times when her children and grandchildren came to their house. Since she did not have an exact recipe but dumped and tasted til it was just right, I cannot give you a recipe precisely like hers. Instead we’ll do one similar to hers that we have used many times for gatherings.

Editor’s Note: Gloria notes that she makes her own homemade soups and ranch dressing for the recipe below, but store-bought versions work fine too!

Potato ranch casserole

1 lbs. Diced ham or browned hamburger

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 quarts cooked and shredded potatoes

1 cup sour cream

1 cup Ranch dressing

½ pound mozzarella cheese (or any kind of your choice)

½ pound bacon, fried and crumbled

Mix all but last two ingredients together. Place in a roaster, bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle bacon and cheese on top, return to oven until cheese has melted.

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

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