"As a deer gets thirsty for the streams of water, I truly am thirsty for You, my God."
~ Psalms 42:1
June is the month for strawberries! As a young girl, I enjoyed picking and eating them, sometimes right from the berry patch. And who doesn't love a delicious homemade shortcake drenched with glistening red strawberries and piled on top with oodles of real whipped cream! My mother enjoyed making this dessert when I was growing up, and we often celebrated her June 28th birthday with this special treat.
When I was young, June was also the month for books, the ones that were not required reading during the school year. I remember falling in love with the old classics (The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter immediately come to mind) at the historic public library in downtown Lancaster, where my mother often took me and my sister, Barbara, on Saturdays. Ah, the amazing smell of that grand place. Its high ceiling and ornate detailing initially commanded my attention, but only for a moment, because the books inside were always my priority.
Books rescued me when my mother was so ill with terminal cancer. They took me far away from the sadness, and fear, of losing her. And they gave me hope, especially when I saw myself in fictional characters who struggled with impending loss of one kind or another. Some books made me think about places I wanted to travel to when I grew up; others grounded me right where I was, encouraging me to see the beauty of Amish farmland in front of my nose. I learned that, what I was feeling, others felt, too: I was not alone. Books have such wonderful power!
My parents also taught me as a little child to love God's Word. The Old Testament showed me the stalwart and courageous, yet flawed, leaders of the faith who looked ahead to Christ's coming and to the Cross. And the New Testament taught me that Jesus knows and understands the things all of us grapple with, and that He loves us far beyond what we can ever comprehend.
When my father preached in his pulpit on Sundays, I took many notes—some of which I still have to this day, pressed into the pages of my very first Bible. God's Word assured me that I wasn't alone in my yearnings. No one was perfect: Others had sinned and needed God's saving grace, too. It taught me that my thirsty heart—like the deer longing for streams of water in Psalms 42:1 (my first-ever favorite verse)—could be fully satisfied in Christ.
June is also the month I was baptized in the vast Susquehanna River at the age of twelve. It was fitting that my pastor-father did the baptizing—on a Father's Day of truest joy!
I wish a very happy Father's Day to all the dads and to those who step in and take the role of a father in all the ways that matter.
1) I'm delighted to share that my upcoming novel, The Orchard, has gone to the printer for a September 6 release.
2) My return to Hickory Hollow—and Ella Mae Zook as a viewpoint character—has been so enjoyable as I write my Fall 2023 stand-alone novel, The Heirloom. Stay tuned for more tidbits about this.
3) "The Bridges of Lancaster County" Amish Cheer cards are ready for ordering, friends! There has been a strong interest in the idyllic covered bridges in my beloved Lancaster County, so now you can share these pretty cards with your friends and family. They are blank inside, allowing you to use them for many different occasions.
Also, two Father's Day cards are still available, but only through June 12. Don't miss out on these bright and cheerful greetings! Order at our secure website: amishcheer.com
As always, thanks so much for your interest in my novels and my Amish Cheer cards. I appreciate you very much, dear friends!