"You have shown me the path to life, and You make me glad by being near to me."
~ Psalm 16:11
I was nine years old when I first began writing stories, around the time I learned of my maternal grandmother Ada’s excruciating shunning. Being ousted from her Plain church community and the only people she’d ever known was heartbreaking. Her father warned that if she removed her prayer covering and wore a gold wedding band—forbidden for them—she was never to darken the door of their home again. Eventually, this led to the bishop putting her “off church” permanently.
As a child, I had no way of comprehending what this shunning meant to Grandma Ada and to our family. Years later, as a young woman—and a budding novelist—I was curious about the Lancaster County Amish and Mennonite traditions and lesser-known practices like shunnings, and I began to conduct extensive research. It was at that time my now-famous Old Order Amish protagonist, Katie Lapp, was birthed in my heart. You see, Grandma Ada’s sadness planted the seeds for Katie Lapp and my series "The Heritage of Lancaster County", starting with the first book, The Shunning, and its sequels, The Confession and The Reckoning. And now, out of that has come The Confession Musical, which is showing in movie theaters across the country on Presidents’ Day, February 20—for one night only.
(Go to ConfessionMusicalMovie.com for tickets, theater locations, and times.)
When I think of what my grandmother endured, my heart is tender, knowing I am truly a recipient of her brave move to follow the Lord’s call on her life to become a minister’s wife. And I am certain I would not be writing stories set in Amish farmland otherwise, for nearly thirty years now. Ada’s love for her husband and her dedication to the Savior transformed half of our family tree and, decades later, set me on a path of writing what became a new sub-genre: Amish fiction.
I often think of the above verse of Psalm 16, thankful for its confirmation on my life. There surely are similar verses in God’s Word that have encouraged you, as well, dear reader-friend.
During this month of the celebration of love that is Valentine’s Day, let’s extend our gratitude to the precious Lover of our souls, our Lord Jesus Christ, and spread His love and the Good News of salvation in this dark and needy world.
1) Be sure to order your tickets at FathomEvents.com to see The Confession Musical, a movie based on my Katie Lapp’s journey. The epic drama, the flow of scenes, and the soaring music will have you clapping right along with the live audience. I laughed so hard during “What a Mess” and brushed tears away at “Where You Are,” a deeply touching showstopper sung by Katie Lapp; her Amish mamma, Rebecca Lapp; and her birth mother, Laura Mayfield. The song “My Heart Has Found a Home” will echo in your mind long after the credits, as will the toe-tapping opening and finale, “Something ’Bout a Life That’s Plain.”
For sure and for certain, you must see this movie musical to discover just how wonderful it is!
2) To celebrate the third anniversary of Amish Cheer Cards, my sister, Barbara, and I are giving away one FREE card per week this month with each $25 purchase. Here’s a peek at our first free card, available February 1-7. Enjoy! Also, thanks very much for your thoughtful appreciation of our handcrafted, Amish-themed cards, friends! Happy Valentine's Day!