Amish Cook

Leave ample room in a schedule


Why is it so easy to always be living on the last half of everything? Whether it’s the last half of energy, the last half of time, the last half of resources, we so naturally plan and do all we possibly can.

Recently my brother remarked about how much he enjoys life since he allows a margin with his plans and schedules and is no longer living with a time crunch every way he turns.

If someone else had told me, I would have been like, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.” Now hearing it from Micah grabbed my attention.

Micah is a jack of all trades, an inventor at heart, and has more ideas than anyone could ever count. As you can only imagine, time was the issue. Since he was always pursuing something, there was never enough time for everything.

When he stopped by our house last fall I asked how their moving preparations are coming along. I was stunned with his answer. This is what he said, “It’s coming along great. We are leaving the last days before the trip open for visiting with family and friends before heading for Alaska.”

He was living out of a completely new mindset of doing only what needs to be done, then spacing other things out in order of importance, leaving ample room between each project. If something unexpected turns up or goes wrong, it’s no big deal, there is time to spare.

My mind churns and turns. I think of Sunday mornings, and I see two scenes. I don’t like admitting that both have been our story.

The first scene is getting out of bed the same time as the children (telling myself that once the children sleep better, I’ll be up earlier) then I tell them I’ll be back as soon as I’ve fed, harnessed, and hitched up the horse. Coming back I quickly usher them all to the table for breakfast. (I have long ago discovered it’s not worth dressing little boys in white shirts before breakfast — unless they wear sweatshirt as a full-covering bib.) Sensing my urgency, they start teasing each other, just enough to see if they’ll get by. I read an article from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, while doing my best to keep everyone quiet and focused as they scrape the last of baked oatmeal from their bowls. After asking God to be with us thanking him for his loving provision we sing a song and everyone is dismissed.

All to soon the questions are fired, faster than I can keep up with, “Mom, is this the right dress? I can’t find my shoes, my one sock is missing.” About at that time there always seems to be one or two children that really needs my full attention. I haven’t had a chance to get ready for church myself.

I wonder how I got things in such a crunch at the first place?

I look at the clock, the hands are not slowing down a bit. This is where I’ve had to pause and gently say:“Look children, you all are much more important than getting to church on time. We’ll just take the morning as it comes.”

Scene two is what I enjoy. On those occasions I wish there were more Sunday mornings in a week.

First thing on my list is waking Julia so she’s on duty if one of the children awake before I return back to the house from getting the horse ready. Stepping out in the winter freshness I’m awed by splendor of the morning sunrise and quietness to pray. I brush our standard-bred while she eats her feed. Soon she’s hitched and ready to go. I tie her up in our front yard for easy access when we’re ready to leave. I step in the house and greet the children who have by now awakened. We gather at the table, sharing memories of Daddy and together marvel at the way God keeps caring for us, no matter how sad we are.

After devotions, I tell them that everyone may put a sticker on our chart as soon as they’ve done their assigned duty with the dishes. As they finish the dishes they head for the hall where I placed all the Sunday clothes on the proper hooks the evening before. Thanks to Austin for completing his Saturday evening job of placing all the shoes in a row with Sunday socks in the proper shoes. We sing as we go,and when we’re ready to head out the door we realize we have extra time on our hands.

I blink, how is it possible that the exact same things needed to be accomplished each time in order to go to church?

Micah, you are right and yes, you have motivated me to take the time to step back and reevaluate my busiest times.

Like a battery, we do last much longer if flowing from the first half, not waiting to be charged until we’re empty all the way. Maybe if we too, would more frequently stop, rest, and ask God to fill us and show us the way, we’d have more to give and would be drained less.

Okay, join our family on a Sunday morning (a relaxed one though) with baked oatmeal and fresh milk.

Baked Oatmeal (Fruit-Filled)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups oatmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

2 cups of pie filling, any kind

Spread pie filling in the bottom of a pan. In a large bowl, stir together all the other ingredients. Preheat oven. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Delicious with fruit or milk. Serves 7.


Gloria Yoder is an Amish house-wife in rural Illinois. She is the third writer of The Amish Cook column since its inception in 1991. Yoder can be reached by writing: The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042.


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