"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
~ Ephesians 4:2
Did you notice all the ways to demonstrate love in Ephesians 4:2? Being humble, gentle, and patient are noted . . . as are going even further by making allowances for, or overlooking, each other’s faults.
My two besties for decades, Martha and Pam, passed away last year, six months apart in April and October, respectively. I love thinking back to the countless shared lunches, shopping for Christmas, singing in harmony, picnicking on the Fourth, and spending time together with our families over the years. Among the many distinct and wonderful attributes of both Martha and Pam were humility, gentleness, and patience.
I’ll never forget Martha’s amazing patience and consideration toward me through thirty years of my writing deadlines. Whenever she’d call, she immediately asked if I was in the middle of writing. Never, ever did she want to disturb me, even though I was always happy to talk with her, no matter what I was doing.
One spring, some years ago now, Pam dropped everything at home to fly to Florida for the last half of my book tour, joining my tour manager and me in place of a publicist who was ill. In a very short time, Pam learned what was expected of her and did it with grace and humility. Being a book lover and former librarian, she enjoyed interacting with the hundreds of you readers who loved meeting her.
What if, like Martha and Pam, we, too, embraced humility and gentleness with our family and friends? And patience, as well, which may be the most challenging characteristic of the three mentioned in this scripture verse.
During this month when we celebrate love, romantic or otherwise, let’s not forget our supreme role model, our Savior Jesus. If we practice loving others the way He loves, then we can surely become an everyday blessing to people all year long, and not just on Valentine’s Day.
Always thankful for your loving support and encouragement,
1) The final proofing for The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook, 20th-Anniversary Edition, is nearly done. You will love the additional recipes and Amish sayings, kitchen tips, scripture verses, and.photographs from the Lewis Family Collection. This beautiful edition will be available this coming fall!
2) I’m already writing my fall 2025 book and loving everything about it. Hickory Hollow is the setting (surprised?), with Ella Mae Zook as one of the minor characters. I cannot wait to share more in the coming months!
3) During this month, my sister, Barbara, and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary with Amish Cheer cards! Look for special offers throughout all of February at: http://www.amishcheer.com. To get started we've enhanced our original "Simple Sentiments" cards by adding interior content pertaining to my featured photography. Enjoy!
"Live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
~ 2 Corinthians 13:11
Peace is highly sought after in our world and hard to come by for many, sad to say.?
My Amish friends seem to understand how to live in peace in their cloistered and close-knit community. They honor God and not just on Sundays. It is their way of life, integrated into the fabric of their faith, having received godly instruction as youngsters. The Amish people help and encourage each other on this earthly journey, adhering to the Ten Commandments and to the Old Ways of their church ordinances. They respect the Golden Rule, as well. (Matthew 7:12)
What about us, we who are not Amish? How do we open our hearts to peace in our busy, modern lives? Do we make time to incorporate personal and family devotions morning and evening? Do we teach the precepts of the most holy faith (Jude 1:20-21) to our children and grandchildren? And, most importantly, do we live in peace with our family members and all those around us? In short, does peace reign in our very souls, even in the midst of these chaotic times?
I will never forget the phone call from a hospice nurse telling me that my mother had passed away. I was extremely sad, even though she had suffered greatly and longed to be free of pain. And yet, after the initial sorrow overwhelmed me, there came a sweet sense of peace like the warming comfort of a quilt. My dear mother was gone from this world, yes, but she was also being welcomed by a host of loving family members who were waiting for her heavenly arrival...and by the Lord Jesus Himself.
Oh, I so welcomed that amazing peace from my heavenly Father, and began to make the necessary phone calls.
At Mother's funeral, I was blessed by that same peace, making it possible to share to a packed-out congregation my memories of being dearly loved by my godly mother who, along with Dad, instructed my younger sister, Barbara, and me in the ways of the Lord. (Barbara also spoke and even sang excerpts from two songs). I continue to be amazed at the sweet, settled peace within us both on that difficult day.
Now, looking ahead, I have entrusted this New Year to God's sovereign will as I move forward in His perfect peace.
I pray the very same for you.
1) The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook, 20th-Anniversary Edition, is steadily moving through the production schedule for a Fall 2024 release. Watch for the cover reveal, as well as preordering information.
2) Also, I am writing a new book. It is set in, where else?—Hickory Hollow! More news on that soon.
3) My sister and I have added a beautiful cardinal to our "Nature's Cheer" birthday card collection at: http://www.amishcheer.com I love having a new set of greeting cards to start off the New Year, and you will, too!
Thanks so much for all your thoughtful prayers and kind enthusiasm throughout the past year, dear friends. You are the most loyal readers a writer could ever dream of having.
"You make me glad by Your deeds, O LORD, I sing for joy at the works of Your hands."
~ Psalm 92:4
Do you have a heart of giving, friend? Are you a giver or a Grinch, well . . . a getter?
Every year, when the season of Advent comes around, where do any of us stand in either category? Are we eager to do special things for family and friends, as well as those in need? Or do we actually dread Christmas?
I remember the Christmas I was a college sophomore in Kansas, and my parents couldn't afford to bring me home. I was very sad, and so was my family back in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—such a long distance away.
After a few days of moping and feeling very sorry for myself, I decided I should attempt to make the best of my circumstances. So, with a lump in my throat, I went with my uncle and aunt to visit my grandmother and another aunt in Lawrence, Kansas, where I was surprised to discover more of my father's relatives coming, my Chicago uncle and aunt were also spending Christmas there, along with their adorable baby girl.
Now, going backward even further in time, I had always been one of the young girls helping in the church nursery, playing on the floor with the toddlers and—when I was younger still—sitting in a rocking chair to hold the tiniest infants. Helping with the little ones was sheer delight, and I often wondered how many children I might have when I was grown and married.
So, during that bittersweet Christmas far from home, I offered to help with my dimple-cheeked baby cousin, and my grandma said she’d never seen me smile so much. I helped her, too, in the kitchen by peeling pounds upon pounds of potatoes, setting the long table, and drying mountains of dishes as more and more of my father’s relatives began to arrive for the big day.
Even now, all these decades later, I remember that very different Christmas, special because I opened and extended my giving heart.
Not surprisingly, I wasn’t nearly as disappointed as I thought I’d be even though I missed my dear parents and my close younger sister, Barbara. And when the time came to return home after the second semester, oh, what a reunion it was!
This Christmas, what if we, all of us, had a heart of giving, perhaps even sacrificially, seeking out someone in need of a friend to help make their life happier, if not joyful, at this sometimes depressing season for so many? Sharing the gift of salvation, the reason Jesus came to earth that long-ago Christmas.
Wishing you great joy for this Advent season and always,
1) I have completed the initial proofing for The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook, 20th-Anniversary Edition, coming Fall 2024. More information about the release date, beautiful cover, and where to preorder will be shared in the months ahead.
2) My handcrafted Christmas cards are flying off the shelves, friends. Choose from three exciting and new Christmas cards from my sister, Barbara, and me at: http://www.amishcheer.com
Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer."
~ 1 Timothy 4:4-5
Recently Dave and I ventured out on a 30-day cross-country trip after a rather challenging summer. Along the way, we spent time with our precious twins and visited dear aunts and uncles we hadn't seen in years—one who turns 101 years old this January! Fond and happy memories were made with my wonderful cousins, too, some of whom seem more like siblings. I also had tea and delightful conversation with an Amish friend in Lancaster County, where I met with my helpful research consultants, as well. Dave enjoyed spending time with a college friend, the two of them playing piano and singing together, like old times. And in New England, Dave and I walked through brilliant leaves in woods and quaint little towns, ate delicious fresh seafood, and strolled along the rugged shoreline near Maine’s Nubble Lighthouse.
In short, we slowed down our days, slept deeply at night, and expanded our spare time to see and embrace God's creation everywhere. We lingered around the table listening to and sharing with some of our closest family members and friends. We encouraged each other and discussed the brevity of life here on earth, and also God’s purpose in our lives as we endeavor to make a difference for eternity. After our daily devotions, Dave and I thanked God for our health and His grace and direction. And we prayed for you, dear reader!
During the long drive back west toward home, we visited Dave’s childhood friend and his wife, as well as my long-time publishing friends. With gratitude, we sang songs of worship to pass the time in the car, sometimes with tears, ever grateful for this time of much-needed rest and refreshment from our Father’s hand.
As always, I enjoyed my Amish research in Lancaster County, grateful for the relaxed pace and looking forward to outlining another book soon.
When I was growing up, my pastor-father liked to have our family share around the Thanksgiving table the things we were most grateful for. All these years later, it is still a tradition in our home and my sister, Barbara’s, as well. Developing a thankful mindset fosters a focus on others and brings us happiness as a result.
Have you considered the many blessings in your life? One of my aunts will celebrate her 96th birthday this month, and she told me during our visit that she counts her blessings at night instead of sheep, praying for each family member until she falls asleep. I love this, don’t you? What a beautiful way to truly rest in the gifts our gracious Father bestows on us.
I’m sure you frequently reflect on the kindness and blessing of God in your life. We, too, set aside time to offer thanks during this season of Thanksgiving and always.
I pray your heart is filled with much gratitude for all He has done and is doing.
1) The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook, 20th-Anniversary Edition will release fall 2024. This very special edition includes never before published photos from the Lewis Family Collection, as well as additional Amish recipes for the modern cook, Amish sayings and wonderful-good kitchen tips!
2) It's not too early to order my handcrafted Christmas cards, new for 2023, friends. Order yours at http://www.amishcheer.com
Thanks very much for your thoughtful remarks about The Heirloom, my latest novel, as well as your reviews posted at Amazon.com adn GoodReads and BookBub. I truly appreciate you!