“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” - John 10:27
If you've ever gone hiking in a remote area, it's helpful to have a guide, or in my case a trailblazer, which is usually my husband, Dave.
The chances of getting lost can be pretty high without someone to follow, or a GPS in hand (if you're not too remote) or some good trail signage. Especially if you're like me and can't tell where you are unless Pikes Peak or another mountainous landmark is in view. Or, um...the sun?
How wonderful that our Shepherd Jesus knows each of us--everything about us. Isn't it a comfort to be thoroughly known and well-loved—and don't we long for that? Our Lord is our omniscient (all-knowing) Guide through life's journey. Whatever comes our way, He sees it first and helps us avoid the pitfalls ahead, if we're willing to follow and obey. Sometimes, He picks us up and carries us through rough waters. Now, that's an amazing tour guide, jah?
The theme of following and trusting our Savior is woven throughout my new novel, The Beginning, which releases September 7. And just a reminder, if you haven't seen this amazing BOGO (buy one, get one) presale offer, you can preorder it from Christianbook.com before September 6 in paperback, hardcover or large print and you will receive a FREE paperback copy of my novel, The Timepiece. (One per order, while supplies last.) Just to clarify: the free copy of The Timepiece will be added automatically to your purchase order for The Beginning, even though you won't see it in your cart or on your receipt.
I am over the moon about the launch for The Beginning, and praying that Susie Mast's story will touch your heart in new and profound ways, as it did mine while writing.
With summer winding down, comes the start of the school year and, eventually, the harvest, if you're a farming family. For those of us who love the baby farm animals, my sister, Barbara, and I have created five new Amish Cheer cards for your enjoyment, and to spread encouragement and cheer to friends and family—"Farm Friends" with "Adventures of Little Katie Lapp"—set in Lancaster County's Amish country (mini-stories on the back of the card). You can see more about these five new All-Occasion cards at: www.amishcheer.com.
I'm also busy with the launch for The Beginning, of course, while wrapping up the final chapters for my September 2022 novel, The Orchard, a stand-alone novel set in Bird-in-Hand, PA, in the heart of Amish farmland. I think you will fall in love with Ellie Hostetler and her twin, Evan, and their Old Order family in a way you never expected. Besides, what could possibly happen in their big orchard for the book to be titled that way? Okay, I'll share more later, after you've read The Beginning.
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” - I John 4:7
When I contemplate the verse in First John above—about loving others—the former schoolteacher in me thinks of three kinds of sharing:
First, I think of sharing the joyful events that come our way...and sharing others' joy, too. When we love, we readily rejoice with each other over many things: the birth of a new baby, a longed-for goal achieved, and fervent prayers answered. It is a giving and a receiving, the beautiful blessing of loving God's way.
Second, if we're paying attention, we will see opportunities to lighten another person's burden. Even the smallest amount of practical help, offered at just the right time, can make a huge difference for someone who is overwhelmed, sick, or struggling in other ways.
Lastly, you and I both know that in a single moment, a heartbreaking disappointment or an unbearable grief may happen to someone in our family or circle of friends, or even outside our comfort zone--to a stranger in need. So, sharing our time, energy, and sympathy may go a long, long way toward helping that person endure (even survive) a heavy burden.
Over the years, I have often blogged about making a difference in this dark, sad, and hostile world, encouraging others to shine Light and Truth in their small corner. If each of us did that with a quality of sincere love for one another, our heavenly Father's characteristics would be made visible for all to see. What better way to put God's great love on display!
Many blessings for this new month of August and always,
I'm so honored to partner with my publisher and Christianbook.com with a BOGO (buy one, get one) presale offer for The Beginning, my upcoming novel. If you preorder it from Christianbook.com before September 6 in paperback, hardcover, or large print, you will also receive a FREE paperback copy of my novel, The Timepiece. (One per order, while supplies last. To clarify: the free copy of The Timepiece will be added automatically to your purchase order for The Beginning, even though you won’t see it in your cart or on your receipt.)
Currently, I'm happily writing my stand-alone novel for September 2022, and I cannot wait for you to meet sweet Ellie Hostetler and her Old Order Amish family. But before that happens, of course, I'm busily promoting the delightful characters in The Beginning: tender-hearted Susie Mast, Del, Obie, Britta, and our beloved Ella Mae Zook!
As a thank you to our wonderful Amish Cheer card customers, my sister-partner, Barbara, and I are giving away 2 FREE handcrafted cards with a minimum $20 purchase through August 15, pictured below. Our brand new "Hydrangea" card is perfect for any variety of occasions, and I'm thrilled to have my photography featured, as well as a special except from The Beginning on the back of the card. See all of our Amish-themed, handmade cards at: www.amishcheer.com.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” - Acts 2:46-47
Nothing says summer like good food and good fellowship, jah?
As a young girl, I remember going to my Uncle Amos and Aunt Anna Jane Buchwalter's big stone house in Brownstown, PA, and having good fellowship with my mother's married brothers and sisters and all the many cousins.
The spread of food (everyone brought a favorite dish) was nothing less than impressive, and often I went in search of the peach crisp with real whipped cream first. Peaches have always "called" to me—peach jam and jelly on buttered toast, fresh peaches sliced or chopped over homemade ice cream, and frosty, thick peaches and cream milkshakes. Anything with peaches! (My Peach Delight recipe is found on page 16 of The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook.)
Are you seeing a theme here? Yes, to me there is definitely something enticing about fresh peaches!
Food and fellowship go hand-in-hand, and many of us have missed (craved?) those key components during the seemingly endless Covid-19 lockdowns. Delicious food is one thing, but sharing and eating ("breaking bread") with others makes it even better. And picnics under God's great canopy of sky and sun, well, that's the best! My mother used to say, "Food tastes better outside!" And I agree.
May your summer be filled with the joy of fellowship, tasty food, relaxing fun and the faith that firmly knits us together in the family of God.
This month I'm busy promoting my September 7 stand-alone novel, set in Hickory Hollow, The Beginning. Watch for an exciting announcement from me July 14 (soon!) regarding a special BOGO deal (Buy One, Get One). Also, I'm happy to report that I'm keeping my daily writing pace for my current draft for my Fall '22 novel.
I'm also working with my sister-partner, Barbara, on our new line of Amish Cheer cards: "Plain Pals," which are ready for your order. We ship immediately, as you may know if you're one of our loyal customers. See more at: www.amishcheer.com. Thanks so very much for making "Plain Pals" one of our most popular card lines, so far. Happy spreading cheer with us!
“A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the LORD is tender and kind to those who have respect for Him.”
- Psalm 103:13
When our kids were little, I loved to watch Dave build Legos with them on the floor or compose hilarious songs at the piano for each of our three J's (Julie, Janie and Jonathan). Dave had several nicknames for each child (and for me, as well).
He dove for pennies with them at the local pool, and in the wintertime made snow creatures in the front yard for all to see. He taught our children not to fear “owies”—they were “buddies,” he told them as he wiped away their tears—and he gave names to each new chicken pox that popped out on the kids' bodies, much to their amazement. That Christmas, he helped me take care of all three children when they came down with the pox, one kid every few days! I even wrote a funny children's book, The Chicken Pox Panic, inspired by that very interesting Christmas!
My husband has always been patient and kind, and not just around our children, but around pets, too. Currently, our grand-pups get very excited to see Dave coming to visit, knowing they'll get lots of attention and possibly a treat.
Dave enjoyed making ordinary days extra special back when we started homeschooling our twins. During recess, he taught them all of his fancy basketball moves, as well as how to ride bikes and to skate. He taught Julie piano, coaching her through the city-wide Sonatina Festival where she won a beautiful trophy.
He encouraged Janie and Jon to develop their artistic skills, and drilled them on consonant and vowel sounds every day after their special school, teaching them to read way past the level of comprehension their tutor said they would be capable of learning. He also taught Julie the multiplication tables by linking to memorable (and comical) things, and she remembers all the fun involved to this very day. No drudgery in our house when it came to math!
One of Dave's favorite things to do was to play tricks on the kids, making Easter and Christmas all the more exciting by hiding goodie baskets (think chocolate bunnies!) and Christmas stockings in the most unexpected places.
My husband's tender heart toward our three Js, and Ariel, our granddaughter, is a reflection of the heavenly Father's love for us all.
During this month of Father's Day, and always, I'm grateful for Dave's exceptionally caring ways and his devotion and love for God and for our family.
I pray you have special memories surrounding the fathers in your life, dear friend.
With blessings and gratitude,
The draft for my September 2022 novel is humming along beautifully, (may I say that?) and I'm excited to reveal the title later this summer. Stay tuned! I’m also excited to say that The Beginning is on track and on its way to the printer, ready for release day on September 7. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!
You will be so delighted with my new "Plain Pals" line of Amish Cheer cards (secure website: www.amishcheer.com) coming later this month. The Amish children from Old Windmill Farm in Lancaster County, PA featured are just adorable, you'll fall in love with them, too! Our Father’s Day card is perfect for this season as well.
Thanks for making these cards an encouragement to your family and friends—we appreciate your business!