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The Christmas Prayer

{September 2018}

Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.

Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart? Find out in this historical Christmas-themed novella.

September 30, 2018

Joyful Hearts

Every time my husband and I have been invited into an Amish home for supper we’ve enjoyed the light banter, joke-telling, and laughter that accompanies the meal. Recently, we visited some Amish friends in Ohio, and the joyful sound of laughter could be heard all evening as we talked, shared a meal, and sang several songs.
Having grown up in a house where laughter was scarce, I find it refreshing to be with people who like to laugh and have a good time. In fact, I often look for things to smile and laugh about, knowing that focusing on the positive is good for me emotionally as well as physically.
There are times when I might not feel joyful, but if I remind myself to look around, there’s always something to smile about—-a frisky animal, like the squirrel or rabbit who often visit our yard, singing birds, flowers in bloom, tress turning color in the fall, and children at play.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 17:22 that a merry heart is good medicine. Just like the birds that sing in my yard, our Amish friends know how to share their joy with others. A joyful heart is pleasing to the Lord, and it’s an added benefit to know that it’s good for you too. What are some things that bring a smile to your face?