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?


  1. Donna McNatt says

    I have been blessed to have an Amish friend. I cherish getting to know her and their culture.

    • Karolyn Bunch says

      Wanda… I love all your book, I guess that’s why I have over 125..and I have read everyone of them and still finding more and ordering more….As for the AMISH’s the most beautiful way to live , dress, speak and most of all worship…Like I say I have all your books and have started on other Amish arthors…PLEASE ENTER ME IN YOUR NEXT BOOK GIVE AWAY SO I WILL HAVE ONE MORE BEAUTIFUL BOOK TO READ…Keep on smiling because that is my purpose on earth…

  2. It is always nice to be somewhere that you can feel the happiness and joy . I love reading your journals almost as much as i love reading your books .

  3. Monica pennypacker says

    I have many things that get me down in a day whether it be that my MS is acting up and i cant do the things i used to do or i just cant seem to get anything right that day. With my days never being easily planned out it can be rather stressful but when i am down my kids know how to pick me back up. It can be anything from them actually getting along and playing together or climbing up next to me wanting to cuddle and to have me read a story to them. I have bad days but there is always something that can pick me back up.

  4. I enjoy receiving your e-mails and reading your journals.. I also enjoy your books and can hardly wait until the next new release!

  5. Robin Blankenship says

    I totally understand, growing up there was not much laughter or closeness in my family. But I love being around it with my in laws. Sometimes it is hard to find the joy when I dwell on the past but then I think about what I have tried to do for my kids and I see that they are happy so I am happy.

  6. Andrea Nyers says

    What really makes my heart content and brings a smile to my face is when I have my children and their families all together under one roof for the holidays. Just watching everyone converse and laughing and getting along makes my heart happy and makes all the trials and tribulations of life worthwhile.

  7. Susan Campbell says

    What makes me happy is reading Amish books and passing them on to others that cannot afford to buy them.

  8. I love reading your journals and recipes! I’ll have to try out some in the next few weeks.

  9. Rebecca Booth says

    Through your journals and books, I can enjoy the simple and Christian way of living, and learn of the Amish way of cooking!

  10. susan smoaks says

    i enjoy your journals and your books. i love being grateful and having a joyful heart. it is awesome.

  11. Cindi Hoppes says

    How true what you wrote about laughter! My
    two little grandsons, make my heart merry, just
    being around them! Good friends have the same
    effect on me… Thank you for your inspiring
    journal entry.

  12. I enjoy hearing how you interact with Amish. I believe they have the best values in raising families.

  13. Susanne Collins says

    Family and good conversations bring a smile to my face. Us being our silly selves is always grand!

  14. Tammy Bogardus says

    Some things that bring a smile to my face…time with my family, fall leaves, watching the birds outside, time with my horses, coffee with a friend….the list goes on. My dad has always told me it’s good to stop and take time to enjoy what God has created. It’s so easy to just be “busy.” Wanda, your stories always bring a smile to my face!😊

  15. Winter Deanna says

    Laughter is indeed good for the soul. A smile can change the way we feel and the way someone that you share your smile with feels. One day I was in a department store and as I was paying for my merchandise, I noticed an older gentleman standing nearby. I looked up at him a gave him a smile. As I was leaving and passed by this man he said, excuse me but could I thank you for your smile? It’s the only one that I have gotten today. We can make a difference in someone’s life by just sharing a smile.

  16. Elaine M Jordan says

    Seeing my 4 kids, husband & precious Grandson enjoying life; brings a smile to my face!

  17. Sharon Merkel says

    I love reading your books. Keep writing.

    We go to Shipshewana several times a years and always enjoy our time spend there. You had a book signing there and I had my picture taken with you and your daughter-in-law.

    I love seeing pictures on your website and emails of Amish settings. Also, love getting new recipes.

    Keep doing what you are doing – we all love it…….

  18. Virginia Moore says

    I enjoy watching hummingbirds at our feeder, laugh when I see a squirrel in our outside window peaking in at us before he skampers off to someplace else and the laughter of a baby makes me laugh too!

  19. Alberta J Wells says

    I love reading your journal and your books..I have learned so much about the Amish. But one thing that sticks out in my mind, is the gathering at the dinner table and the joking and the laughter..Something that wasn’t shared in my childhood..So while reading that I can sit and smile with them.

  20. Elizabeth Gaasenbeek says

    We have a family country place surrounded by Amish neighbours we now consider friends and a few more like family. One family is very close to us and we stay in touch and when we spend time at our place, we share in meals and fun times with them. There’s never a dull moment and these times are special to us.

  21. Jenny-Lynn Fricke says

    Things that make me smile are my residents at the nursing home I work at. I work on a memory unit so some of the stories they tell are hilarious. I love when we joke around they are so fun to be around. They make me laugh everyday!

  22. toni coleman says

    Sitting on my porch, watching the birds and relaxing from the hustle and bustle is such a joy. Puppies playing makes me laugh too!

  23. Marsha Pray says

    Reminiscing with my sisters about growing up, remembering foods, chores and family get together’s. Love sharing these memories with my daughters

  24. I love having family together. Everybody was here for a big breakfast Saturday morning, which is something we do several times a year. We also have an annual picnic at a nearby park during the peak of fall colors. That’s coming up soon!

  25. Tiffani Caudle says

    Playing cards with my family and the conversations around the table and reading your wonderful books

  26. Linda k Smith says

    Family and friends are a great source of fun and laughter. We should all be blessed with a great sense of humor. Love your books and your aditude toward life. Thank you for being you. Blessings on all

  27. Denise Morin says

    The Amish truly know how to enjoy life; simplicity at its best! Families have lost the connection that they once had where they would sit at the table, enjoy a meal, each other’s company and laughter. Too much time is spent on electronics. I just purchased a large dining room table to accommodate my growing family and will instill in them the importance of “family time.” My love of cooking and family will hopefully be passed on to future generations.

  28. Yesterday we went apple-picking and enjoyed some fresh cider donuts. Seasonal traditions are great fun and make us all smile!

    My family lives far away but on Sundays we enjoy visiting and fellowship with our “church family” at coffee hour. My son has severe autism but he is beloved at our church with his winning smile and contagious laugh…it warms my heart to see him happy and accepted by our community!

    Among other things: Fresh flowers on the table, baking for coffee hour, helping with a church event, singing in the church choir, giving or receiving a thoughtful note, hiking, walks on the beach, gathering shells, sunsets, spring crocuses, fall leaves, first snow, summer rain…those wonderful intangibles that make a merry heart and life worth living!

  29. Amy Donahue says

    My daughter and my five crazy cats always make me smile 🙂

  30. Enjoying time with friends,knowing we’ll always be there for each other,Laughter,and enjoying your wonderful books,eating the great food we’ve eaten in the Amish Country, PS..We are Blessed to have a home with all the storms..Love verse Proverbs 17:22..

  31. Susan Wilfinger says

    Good morning Wanda, Answering your question if I would be able to live in an Amish community my answer is I really don’t think I could. I guess I’m to spoiled in the English world. What I like about the Amish is the way they live their lives. God first! I love how they take care of their elderly & how they help each other & their community if need be. They live a simple life but they also have a rough life at times. I just think they are wonderful people & the “Englishers” could learn alot from them. Have a great day & God bless!

  32. Sharing good times with my family brings a smile to my face. I love the holidays and seeing my kids enjoy themselves. I think one can find joy in some of the simplest things. That is something I have learned while getting older.

  33. sheri gros. says

    I always enjoy your emails. I find them very informative and enlightening. Hopefully,one day your tours will take you a little further south. Please continue writing your wonderful books.

  34. Melissa Carpenter says

    I love reading your books, journals and emails you write. My mom introduced me to you and I absolutely love them. I haven’t found a book yet that I don’t like. I have enjoyed every one I have read so far.

  35. Outside of my children, family and friends, I find happiness in the mountains. Overlooking their glorious sights not only makes me smile, but brings me such a sense of peace. And I thank God each and every time for giving us such beauty to admire.

  36. Paula Adams says

    Out of the blue I received an email from my son telling me that Ashley my daughter-in-law has decided that after almost 4 years that she is tired of being angry all of the time and that I can now see my 3 granddaughters whenever I want. They had the twins during this period. I’ve only seen them once for about an hour a few days after they turned 2. Part of me is so angry for several reasons. One, I have no idea why this happened in the first place and no one would tell me. Two, I missed holding the twins when they were babies and watching them grow like I did with Maddie. I am going to try my hardest to just move on forward and I can’t change the past and that is what my son wants too. He did try to fight for me but he didn’t want to ruin his marriage of it and I don’t want that either. So we are flying up to MA on Oct 17th for my niece’s wedding and Maddie is in the wedding party. We are there for a week and I plan to spend as much time as I can with them. We do have to go to Cape Cod for a day to visit my in-laws. I keep telling my husband he is so lucky to have them in his life still and he should call more often. I would do anything to be able to call my parents again but cancer took them away from us. We are part PA Dutch, one of out relatives left in the 1800’s sometimes and moved to MA. My Mom loved to try the Amish recipes.

    • I am sorry for all you have been through. I hope and pray things will go better between you and your daughter-in-law from now on.

  37. I love all your books. My mom introduced me to your books. In fact she is a part of the clipper clap book club you have. My goal is to own all your books. I love how their a read where I don’t want to put my book down.

  38. JAYNE HOMSHER says

    Wanda you are a writer I will never tire of as you take me through your life and the life around you in each story. I love Amish area here in Ohio and in Indiana. I will always cook with spirit in my kitchen and your recipes bring me into the desire to cook something special from your recipe selections. I wish you spirit and happiness to keep writing even more!

  39. Patricia A Duvall says

    I have always enjoyed visits to my old order amish chains in Holmes county ohio.

  40. Mary Roelke says

    Enjoying time with the grand & great grand kids. One granddaughter & I text Good morning to each other. She calls me G.,great grand kids call me GG. Seeing the innocent little faces when I see them in the a.m. as I cross them on their way into school.

  41. Joan Murray says

    I enjoy your books. I look forward to thew new ones. It reminds me of my childhood days living on the far.m Everything was so peaceful. All the neighbours helped one another. I went to a one room school house for grades one and two. In the early 1950s I lioved in a home with no indoor plumbing, the schol was the same.

  42. Enjoying time with family and friends makes me smile. Because we live far from family for my husband’s work, our dear neighbors have become like family to us. We often spend time together, going out to dinner or just enjoying good conversation. This couple is older than my husband and I, old enough to be our parents, but that doesn’t stop us from being friends! Instead, we have wonderful friends in them that share their wisdom with us as well. They are certainly a blessing to us!

  43. I really enjoy your books and look forward to a new one. Your books remind me of my childhood days living on the farm. Everyone helped one another. I went to a one room schoolhouse for grades one and two, until they built the big school. My home and the school had no indoor plumbing.
    Life was so simple and peaceful.

  44. Watching my sons play. I have a 9 and 7 year old. The youngest has Down syndrome, and the bond they share is so much deeper than most siblings.

  45. Catherine Lemanski says

    Thank you for this journal entry about finding joy in the smallest things. Lately I have been forgetting this but look forward to starting a joyful journal entry each day, like a thankful entry.

  46. Dawn Hedrick says

    I love the Amish simple way of life. I think I’d really love not being able to watch tv. What brings a smile to my face is or kids and grandkids. Also when we get to send the day with the member of our church and watching our kids doing their worship songs

  47. Irene Pinson says

    i love all of your books.

  48. Nancy Johnson says

    Some of the things that bring joy and peace into my life: family, church family, nice warm home, the ability to enjoy life especially after severe illness, the many blessings God has so graciously supplied, but most of all the privilege of living in a free country and being able to worship my Lord without persecution. God is unbelievably awesome!!

  49. Diann Larry says

    We have hosted many parties and dinners for our Christian church family and our friends and family.
    Always lots of laughter and games and good food. Many happy memories.

  50. Lynda Millerd says

    I’ve loved reading your books, emails and journal entries since I was introduced to them. Also, I always try to remember that there is always something to smile and be thankful for.

  51. I’ve visited the amish in Seymour, MO

  52. Dianna Neal says

    I love the times when our three sons and their families are with us for holidays, especially when all five of our grandchildren get to spend the night together with us. They all have a “sleep over” in the living room floor, and we hear giggles and laughs until very late in the night, but they all are awake very early the next morning . This is a time of memory making that will go with them throughout their lives. I also enjoy reading your books about the strong family ties of the Amish.

  53. A supper meal in an Amish home sounds like our church family when we get together!! I enjoy the simplicity of life of the Amish but honestly would not be able to live the life of the Amish.

  54. Things that bring joy to my life are: the animals playing outside, my children laughing and playing nicely together, our family playing a game together, and our extended family gathering together.

  55. I love many things…being with friends and family……grand children….and I really enjoy time down in my Craft Room, with moving into a new house recently and many obligations….its real hard to find time to get in my room and craft! I have a room where I can sew, quilt, make cards, tole paint and more….just need TIME to get in there….I also love reading….the time that I get to do that…sitting, calming taking time for ME….whooo hooo figure that one! haha

  56. Jan michelle Clark says

    Spending time with family and friends is always nice and gives
    you as the family or friends a chance to catch up with each other
    especially if you live a good distance from each other & aren’t
    able to get together very often the time together is precious
    and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

  57. I enjoy my garden and working in my potting shed. I always have a Amish audiobook reading to me as I do. Thank You so much for all the great books you write. They bring lots of joy and smiles to me.

  58. Patricia Sabin says

    I love being with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandsons! I also love to curl up on my couch with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and any of the books that you have written! There is nothing more contented or comfortable that reading one of your books! The only thing that is better is reading God’s Word daily! I so appreciate your writings and those of all the Christian Amish authors I read. They teach me so much about how to be grateful and forgiving! May God bless you as you continue to keep all your readers enthralled in your stories, Wanda!

  59. Mary L. Clark says

    Spending time with family and friends is always nice
    And it gives you as well as them a chance to catch up with each other
    Especially if you live a good distance from each other and don’t get
    A chance to see each other very often. Sometimes it’s difficult to
    Make time with family or friends that live near by since everyone is so busy.

  60. Linda L Rabe says

    I enjoy reading your books so very much. I always try your recipes. I do wish that the serving amount would be listed on them especially the casseroles. I always pass your books on to my family for reading and then get them back so I have them in my collection. I also collect them for the church library. Family and friends mean so much to me. Thank you for keeping us informed about the Amish faith.

  61. Beverly Duell-Moore says

    I think it would be hard to live the Amish life at my age now. Maybe if I had grown up without some of these things it would be easier. (We have a TV but I never watch it. There are much better things to do than sit and watch it.)
    I admire the
    Amish for their family values and making God the center of their homes.

  62. Thank you for your books, reading them allows me to see a different world, one where there is a simplicity and joy. For a long time the tv was my friend in the evenings and weekends, now I am learning to shut the tv off and read your books and other books like yours in the evening and it helps reduce my stress. So thank you for writing books about Amish life.

  63. Stacey donaldson says

    I feel down alot and when I read your books it helps me look at the world in a different way. I started to watch things and started noticing some funny antics of anals and birds especially. I have three I take care of. I watch and interact with them and they will do funny things to get my attention. When I am outside I tend to watch the birds and see the same things in them how they communicate with each other how they will take care of each other and even fight, but they still look out for each other. I feel that we as humans can do the same ,we can disagree but in the end we still must come together to support each other in all we do even if we don’t like what each other do. Look for joy in all that you do Gods creations do so we must also since we are his children also.

  64. Mildred Grassley says

    I love reading your journal and hearing all about your visits with the Amish. I read every Amish book that I can get through the library.

  65. Mary l. Clark says

    Spending time with family or friends is
    always nice and precious especially when
    the family or friends live far away .
    It’s not always easy to get together with
    family or friends that live nearby .
    We shouldn’t ever take the time for granted.

  66. Mary L. Clark says

    Spending time with family and friends is always nice And it gives you a chance to catch up with each other Especially if you live a good distance from each other and it’s not always easy to get together with family or friends that live nearby and we shouldn’t ever take it for granted.

  67. Mary Clark says

    Spending time with family and friends is always nice
    And it gives you as well as them a chance to catch up with
    Each other and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

  68. I find that reading a good story and being able to be in that story helps me to be joyful.

  69. Audrey Stewart says

    I have always been intrigued by the Amish. We have a small farmer’s market here and they sell Amish butters and jams. The things that make me smile the most are my cats. They are all I have. I shelter elderly cats and feed some feral colonies.

  70. Sondra Thatcher says

    I enjoy spending time with my granddaughters. I also enjoy my nightly walks with my daughter. Spending time with friends and family is the ultimate high for me.

  71. Mindy Anderson says

    I love that you right Amish baby oks with truth about their religion. I often times think they are my misunderstood. I admire their strong family values and unity in every book you right.

  72. My husband, my adult children and the birds and all critters large and small make me happy. I love the changing colors of fall and the smells. I love life.

  73. I grew up in a noisy happy household so when I hear or read about those that didn’t, I feel so bad for them. I know families that don’t laugh or have fun, My heart hurts for them 🙁 Mom and Dad are both long gone to heaven now but when us 7 kids all get together with our families we total about 135 or so, give or take a few, we about raise the rood with our noise level and fun we have.
    But, I agree that there is always something to smile about and look for the good in. Blessings, Wendy

  74. Mary Ritchie says

    I enjoy reading all your books
    The Amish fascinating way of live is great to read. You help me understand their way of life

  75. Mary Clark says

    Spending time with family and friends is precious
    And we shouldn’t ever take it for granted especially when
    We seldom have a chance to catch up with friends or family that
    Live a good distance from each other.

  76. Shari Stone says

    My husband and I visited the Amish in Lancaster PA for one of our wedding anniversaries, we had a mock Amish wedding and because we were just married were taken to my mock parents and had a dinner with a family in their home. It was so much joking and laughing going on with all of us they made us really feel like family.

  77. Flossie Stryker says

    I have met Wanda for the first time in Charm, Ohio. We had a time of signing books and pictures taken. Then we went into the barn and had supper made by the Amish family there. never had such a great meal. Then the Amish children sang for us. While sitting at the table we hooked up with 2 precious ladies. One has since passed away. the other one I still keep up with on facebook. Wonderful time also at the b and b we have stayed at sevral times now.

  78. Holly Nine says

    Your the first author I have read about the Amish. I feel like I know the characters. I admire the Amish because they are so obedient and strict. I love your journals they are thought provoking

  79. Kathy Marie Gerber says

    Laughing and singing are ways to bring joyfulness into my heart. I try to help others, but helping myself is good medicine too. Caring for myself helps me have energy to help others. Another joy is to talk with someone over tea and share lightly and wholeheartedly. The prayers of others help me feel loved and cared for. It just helps to know they are praying.

  80. I have always been a happy person. I get up and put a smile on my face-I think a positive attitude in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

    How lucky you are to get to visit your family and friends.

  81. Dianne Casey says

    I really like reading your newsletter and learning about the Amish way of life. It’s interesting to read about experience visiting Amish friends and how happy their family time is and that their life is not all work. There is a happy life without all the material possessions.

  82. It is so nice that you and your husband have so many Amish friends. I wish I knew some however I don’t live near any.

  83. Roberta McMahan says

    I really enjoy reading your newsletters and hearing all the fun things you have been up to with your Amish friends. I love your books I get loss in them.

  84. Melanie Jo Adams says

    Hi, Wanda. Coming from a Pennsylvania Dutch background, while not Amish, my family shared many of the traditional foods with the Amish. Unfortunately for me, I was shooed out of the kitchen as a child, and never really learned to make them myself. I’m thankful, however, for pleasant memories of chicken pot pie (without a crust, of course), pickled red beet eggs, freshly baked bread made from scratch, etc. These are memories I will always treasure fondly.

  85. Sandra Sills says

    I love hearing from you every month and love all your books. When I get the latest new book I read it and pass it on to one of my sisters. I love sharing.

  86. Sue Bennett says

    I just finished the Hope Jar. What another great read. With your writings it’s almost being part of the Amish family. The only thing I hate is to have to wait until next year for the Book 2. I thank God for your writings.

  87. I love having my family over for the holidays. It seems that is the only time we can all be together. The love I feel from all of loved ones is so special to me. Your books are the only ones I read now. I love the way you write and feelings that come through the pages. God Bless you and yours.

  88. Patti Bond says

    When I feel down in the dumps I pick up a good book to read to make me feel better. Also a nice sunny day and thinking about all the “good” things in my life.

  89. KAREN TACKETT says

    Things that make me smile takes me back a lot of years to riding horses, walking on stilts, playing with ducks in a swimming pool, playing cowgirl and loving Roy Rogers movies and my grandmother’s cooking! Oh how I wish I could cook like her!! Isn’t it funny what you think about when asked a question like this? I haven’t thought about those things in years but as I write about them I am smiling really big!! During these days I love watching the facial expressions of wee babies. You always wonder what they are thinking!! I do love to smile all the time with the Joy of Jesus. My heart smiles!

  90. Maryann Herbstreith says

    At this time my family is going through some very hard times. We all seem to be at different levels in our family Dynamics
    I have found my peace in reading your books. They keep me grounded I life. We move through our days so fast we do forget to stop and smile at the small things that God tries to show us.
    Thank you so much for bringing me back to enjoy the world that God has put us inv
    Please keep us in your prayers

  91. Amy Corkell says

    I love all of your books.. I just got done reading the hope jar and I’m totally hooked.. I couldnt put it down until I was done.. now I can’t wait until February when the next installment comes out.. keep up the good work!! Ur awesome!!

  92. Barbara Price says

    Laughter is good for the soul❤

  93. Donalene Poduska says

    I appreciate your sharing your knowledge about the Amish. I admire them for being able to live as they do. I read about the ladies who do the Amish dolls. Some years ago, I bought an Amish tree top from an acquaintance. It was small and on top of a 2′ tree. I also have a small Amish nativity. I like the idea of being “faceless.”

  94. Peggy J Moncus says

    I came from a very close loving family when I was little we got together every weekend at my great-grandparents home. We had so much fun , playing games going to the old country store, just good times. Today things are a little different because there aren’t many of the old ones are here anymore. My daddy is 92 years old and every Saturday I take him and mama to eat catfish since my husband died two years ago I try to do everything I can with them. My granddaughter are always around and they give me so much to be thankful for. I’ve never met any Amish people except in the books I read, I love everything about the Amish reading books about them brings me enjoyment and peaceful times.

  95. I enjoy being with my grandchildren. Even as they are growing up, I marvel at their personalities. I love going to the ocean and feeling the peace of surf and nature. I don’t laugh enough, but there’s always time to improve!

  96. Missy Canup says

    As I sit on my front porch right now in North Georgia, the cool evening Autumn air brings me much joy. As well as the sound of the birds around me, but I find my true joy in the Lord! Last week I was given a diagnosis of Lupus and even though that news was not good to me, I still know how sits on the throne and is still in the healing business! I serve a big big God who is still in control and to me that’s the greatest joy ever! Thank you for your emails, they are so much enjoyed! I truly am fascinated by the Amish and love learning more about their culture!

  97. Margaret Demick says

    Sun flowers, sunny days, ocean views, sunsets, Mountain view, hugs and kisses from those I love, pretty gardens and good books.

  98. Jeanette M Fallon says

    I try to keep a positive mindset and a smile on my face. This has such an impact on me. I know that a smile and a kind word does wonders to others.

    I smiled today at the bluejay stealing the nuts left out for the squirrels. They think they are sneaky but I watch as they swoop by with their stolen treasure.

    I smile when my grandchildren run to give me a hug. I can’t express the love I feel for them. They bring me joy and I enjoy every moment with them.

    I smile and Thank GOD that I met my husband. He brings me joy and I feel loved everyday. I am so fortunate that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

  99. Lisa Dannels says

    Laughter is indeed the best medicine!! Our gatherings with friends and family when I was growing up will always be most treasured. Every weekend or every other were spent with family and friends, cooking, playing games and laughing, It is so sad that life has become so fast paced, we have let our work and money become more important. I wish everyone would learn to slow down and remember what is important in life. We are never promised tomorrow so every day should be used to its fullest, spending time with our loved ones and saying what is on our heart.

  100. I just came back from a visit with my Amish friends in Ohio. I left flooded NC only to have more rain in Ohio and on my return trip back to NC it was raining again . I found the humor that my family teases me side splitting funny because it’s true. It rains everywhere I go!
    I find happiness in nature…the bees and butterflies enjoying my flowers, my precious grandson helping me fill bird feeders, or a hug from my little dachshund. Nature is often what I turned to to escape to read a book as being picked on was a part of my daily life as a child.

  101. Karen Santiago says

    I would love to have an Amish Friend as a Pen Pal..I love reading your Journal..I have read all your books and always look forward to the next one.

  102. I just came back from a visit with my Amish friends in Ohio. I left flooded NC only to have more rain in Ohio and on my return trip back to NC it was raining again . I found the humor that my family teases me side splitting funny because it’s true. It rains everywhere I go!
    I find happiness in nature…the bees and butterflies enjoying my flowers, my precious grandson helping me fill bird feeders, or a hug from my little dachshund. Nature is often what I turned to to escape life’s ups and downs and of course your booked are always close by.

  103. Karen Marie Hoth says

    I also grew up in a home that did not have much laughter. It is so good when one can laugh. It is good medicine for the soul. I have always admired the Amish. I grew up with an old order of Amish nearby. I marvel that they are so close and everyone pitches in. I have greatly enjoyed all your books and wish I had the money to get even more. It has been awhile since I have been able to read one. Being on social security only is so difficult trying to make ends meet. We also need more laughter in our lives.

  104. Cherese Akhavein says

    It’s wonderful to receive your monthly newsletter and read all about your interactions with your Amish friends. I look forward to learning something new every month along with finding out when your next book will be coming out.

  105. So many things make my heart sing — sunsets, little children, friendly neighbors, loving family, answered prayer, good books, sunshine, flowers, fall leaves, the kindness of others — my list could be endless. But one of my greatest joys is to be able to wake up each day and write Amish novels and spend time with my Amish friends. I also like to read Amish novels. I consider myself blessed.

  106. Roxanna Conner says

    My husband always knows when your books are coming out and buys them for me. They are usually sitting next to my chair when I get home. I cherish them as I read a chapter or two just before I go to sleep. I enjoy your newsletters as it has more information on the differences between the communities.

  107. Deborah Davis says

    What brings joy to my heart is my 4 boys. I was told I would never have kids so I have been blessed. I also love listening to babies laugh when they are giggling so hard. Can’t help but laugh and smile 😃

  108. We had a family reunion on 9-22-18 and by brother his wife, Son, daughter-in-law and 2 children came from N.C. for the week-end. Then my other brother and his wife from here in town came and then 2 of my cousins came by and everyone just wanted to sit on the back porch and tell funny things that happen over the years. We had a wonderful mother and we all enjoyed telling some of the things she would do and things she would say. And she had a saying for everthing. So we had a full week-end of laughter and love and just enjoying each other. My husband and I find something every day to laugh about.

  109. Cris Cawthon says

    Love your books. The joy of being comfortable around others, is the best atosmphere. Thank you for bringing, love, laughter, compassion, and peace to our lives, as we read your books.

  110. Heidi Story says

    Today I expressed my thanks and joy to the Lord for the fluffy clouds in a brilliant blue sky. For bringing hundreds of migrating Monarch butterflies to our farm for a feast of yellow flower pollen and a restful night clinging to Maple leaves. I thanked Him for my country home with friendly animals. I am so very blessed.

  111. Mary Preston says

    I grew up in a happy home full of laughter. As I type this I can here my children laughing and talking. That brings me great joy.

  112. Jackie Jones says

    A Christmas Prayer was awesome. Perfect to read in a day! Thank you for writing such awesome books. Looking forward to making the Lemon Shoofly Pie. God Bless YOu!

  113. Christa Metz says

    Thank you for this beautiful journal entry and reminder of having a joyful heart. Spending time with my family and enjoying God’s beautiful creation bring joy and a smile to my face 🙂

  114. Cheryl Castner says

    I also love those kinds of moments, and one comes to mind. Every summer, a couple from our church open their home for the annual Sunday School pool party. They provide pizza, and we all bring a side dish as well as what we want to drink. The kids enjoy the day in and out of the pool, while us adults sit around a large table on the deck (or at various other areas surrounding the pool) and just talk. We talk about life experiences, our church, God, the different things our church is doing in the community, and a host of other things. We often share family stories, as several of us are distantly related. It is always a joyful afternoon, with much laughter and fellowship!

  115. Robin Murray says

    Since losing my husband and best friend a year ago to lung cancer I’ve gained strength and laughter from our dogs and cats. A few months ago I had to let go of one of our dogs who had cancer also, she received chemo for 2 years. I didn’t realize how much I leaned on her quiet presence during the past year. She was a gentle soul. Our other dog and 2 cats have reminded me to laugh. Who can’t smile when a dog wants a belly rub and looks like she’s laughing or a cat who follows you till you finally sit down so they can sit too. A good church family, friends and my fur kids make me smile when I don’t feel like.

  116. I enjoy receiving your e-mails and reading your journals.. I also enjoy your books and can hardly wait until the next new release! Thank you, and God bless, Amy

  117. Rosemary Hefner says

    I just signed up for the e-mail and the journal entries. I have enjoyed your books for man years and got away from reading, until I bought a couple more of your more recent books. Now all I can think about is reading. I go to Barnes and Nobel and Walmart and buy books all the time.
    Thank you for all you do for the Amish. Rosemary

  118. Crissy Yoder Shamion says

    Love visiting with friends and family! Holiday season approaching and I love fall and winter!
    God Bless!

  119. I enjoy seeing the beautiful fall wildflower. Goldenrod is blooming now and the golden yellow flowers are like rays of sunshine. Fall bring pleasant weather after a hot summer and before the cold winter. God has blessed me in many ways/

  120. Martha Stover says

    Silly shared hoked with family or friends brings smiles and laughter to all of us when we gather together. Thanks for the reminder.

  121. Colleen J Graham says

    I don’t have any Amish friends but I do love reading your books about the Amish lifestyle. While they don’t have our modern conveniences and their lives are hard sometimes, they seem to live a much simpler life. I wish we could all live like them sometimes.

  122. Janet Estridge says

    A trip to the beach, books to read, time alone, just God & myself, will bring a smile to my face.

  123. chrissy morehouse says

    the one thing that brings a smile to my face is seeing my family and enjoying time with them/. I love to see each and every one of them . i love to see my nieces and nephews faces on christmas morning.easter or there birthday just to see there faces light up. they make my day . i just love them all my family is the most important thing to me .

  124. Ange Morris says

    Spending time with my family brings a smile to my face. I also enjoy my job working with 3 and 4 year olds.

  125. Jeanne Hoffer says

    I go to Lancaster County at least 6 times a year. Sometimes for a day and sometimes for many days. I am always relaxed when I”m there. I have never had the opportunity to have a meal with an Amish family but after reading your blogs and books, I have a much better idea I know how my own family is on a big holiday meal. We enjoy each other s company and there is a lot of laughing as well as delicious foods.. I very much enjoy your blogs and books. I cant count how many books I have read so far and I am always reading one of your books

  126. marge butler says

    Love to visit my local Amish businesses. Have purchased many furniture items which I know will last for many generations to come. Plus love the friendly chatter that we share. Got hooked on Amish fiction many yeas ago on a whim and have enjoyed it ever since. matter fact it is the only genre that I read. I pass my books onto a friend who then passes them onto young Amish girls. I am not sure I could live their lifestyle completely but could in some aspects maybe.

  127. My grandchildren ALWAYS bring a smile to my face…no matter what. Sometimes the 9 year olds get on my last thread. Then I remember what a gift they are and laugh because they are just learning and need some tender loving care to see through their mistake or attitude. I am blessed to have them in my life and honored that God placed them in my life to teach them His ways.

  128. marilyn hughes says

    I love to watch the birds, squirrels, and the 10 or 13 deer that come into our back yard.

  129. The Bible, reading, music, nature, special possessions, kindness

  130. Rachel Weinel says

    Rachel Weinel Says:
    Spending time with my daughter brings a smile to my face I do not get to see her often. Playing with my dog. Spending time with good friends. Sitting on my porch swing and listen to the birds singing. Cooking and trying new recipes in my kitchen. I love to cook and share my food and recipes with others.

  131. Denise Gardner says

    I am so thankful for you and all your inspirational writings. I thank you so much…

  132. Cynthia St. Germain says

    I think the Amish community has always fascinated me because they live such a simpler life. I don’t live near a community of Amish. But I have had a chance to get something from a friend in high school who went back to Pennsylvania to visit family and get me something

  133. Denise Smith says

    My greatest strength comes from God first, then my husband and family, including my best friend, Dodge (my cat) followed by books, making cards and scrapbooking. Those are the things that bring me up when I am down or having a less than good day.

  134. Patricia Rydberg says

    I recently visited an Amish home. I felt as if a load was released from my shoulders. The children were baling the hay. The mother was nursing her baby. The young children were full of antics. Chickens out back. Horse in the stable. More than all else a.calm peaceful nature.

  135. Mary Smrcka says

    I appreciate the Amish way of life. It gives me hope that we will get through this time .

  136. I love all your books and have and read every single one. Looking forward to getting more. So keep them coming.

  137. Nancy Campbell says

    I love all your books and have and read every single one. Looking forward to getting more. So keep them coming. I love the Bible reading and the different between the Amish and the English.

  138. I smile when I am talking on the phone with my friend. We do not get to see each other too often. We can talk for over an hour and catch up on what is going on in our lives. We have been friends since childhood.

  139. The thing that makes me smile is the season of Autumn I love the fresh,crisp air and the sound of crunching when I walk on the fallen leaves. The changing of the leaves to bright colors makes me happy.

  140. The thing that makes me smile is bird watching from my backyard window. The birds are so entertaining. I also smile when I see the moon,stars and some of the planets at night. Star gazing is so relaxing.

  141. Diane Brown says

    Love reading all your books. The Amish life has always fascinated me. Thank you for your weekly e-mails.

  142. Karolyn Bunch says

    The thing that makes me smile is to be able to buy all of your books..Also it warms my heart to have an Amish friend on FaceBook…I have over 125 of your books and I have read everyone of them..God put me her for a purpose and that is to make one person smile everyday, I just did it cause I made you smile…Can’t wait for my book to add to my treasures…

  143. I love each and every book that you have written and have read them all. Keep them coming. I like reading about the life of the Amish people.

  144. Nancy Campbell says

    The thing that makes me smile is seeing people of all ages running through life and not smelling the roses. That’s why I enjoy reading about the life of the Amish people. I love reading about the Amish way of life. I have every book you have written and I have read every one. Keep them coming.

  145. Smiles are easily brought on by the squirrels, deers, birds and my cats with their beauty and behavior. Even smiling while reading a wonderful Christian book, the sunrises, sunsets, stars, all of God’s beauty beside laughing with family and friends.

  146. Brenda Witt says

    The things that make me smile is knowing God, then the birth of my granddaughter, children playing outside, watching dogs play, sunsets, sunrises, the changing colors of leaves, and the Bible that tells us that God loves everyone and how to treat others and live according to his Word.

  147. Margaret Smith says

    Another wonderful post Wanda. Our three beautiful and precious Grandlittles are what make my whole face smile 😁 And, then thank God for my blessing of family♥️
    Many blessings to you and your family during this beautiful fall season 🍁🍂
    ~ Marge Smith ~

  148. I love to hear laughter in the home – something that is too often missing today. I love family time when we can eat together and laugh, watch our favorite show(s) together, play games, or just talk.

  149. Sarah Arnold says

    Laughter is good for the soul. I will tell you things that make me smile: reading a good book, watching my two year old play, watching my fourteen year old wrestle, listening to my husband tell me a good story, and listening to stories or sermons about the Lord. Thank you Wanda for giving me good books to read.

  150. Audrey Lawrence says

    Yes, a merry heart helps handle life;s situations better than any other option. This is Canadian Thanksgiving and we have so many blessings, despite life’s challenges, to be thankful for. My husband had a cornea transplant that didn’t work out and now he is newly and totally blind, so that takes up lots of time in getting him oriented. He misses his vision very much but enjoys sitting in our small cottage by the lake so we drove down to it.

    Once there, we had a huge tree go down on our power line (held up by two other trees in the way), but thank goodness, it didn’t break it as I was planning on cooking a small turkey there. I was not sure what to do, so asked my neighbour (Ralph) there. He said call Hydro and they came and got it down as well as another broken tree, Then, Ralph and his son came over and cut up the tree and split it for firewood for us! We were joking and laughing while I helped them stack the wood! He would not even take money for the gas for the chainsaw as he said he did it for my husband and to make sure we were ok as we are both seniors. he also said he knows how much I love to make fires in the fireplace.

    Thank you also for your lovely Amish stories! They do help to life the spirit when I read them! Happy American Thanksgiving in November!

  151. Brenda Witt says

    The thing that makes me smile is the birth of another granddaughter, spending time with my family. Reading a book has made me smile a couple of times.

  152. I have 4 grandsons, and another due on Thanksgiving Day! The oldest is 14, & a very talented musician, who loves puns! The 11 year old is gifted in art, and enjoys his stilts, and skateboarding! The 2½ yr old learns new things every day & it is refreshing to see things through his perspective! The youngest is 4 months old, and a miracle baby! 🙂

  153. Laughter is good medicine.

  154. My Grandmother recently passed away, a death I wasn’t prepared for and thought I was at peace with. Truth is, I don’t know that we ever have true peace with death. As I started reading your recent book, The Hope Jar, the prologue gripped me due to the death of her mother and the reason why she passed for it relates closely with my Grandmother’s death. Since my Grandmother’s death, I have great joy and inner peace recreating her famous Sunday breakfast’s, including homemade biscuits. Just today, I admired the beauty of a blue jay outside my kitchen window while smiling, thinking of my Grandmother and how much she loved nature. Lately, I take joy in the simplest parts of life, family time, cooking, baking, giving to others, sewing, just holding my daughter while she sleeps and kissing her on her forehead. I admire the Amish way of life and desire it’s simplicity, especially after reading The Healing Quilt.

  155. Jackie Tessnair says

    I have some health issues that hinders my joy sometimes but I try to find a way around it , I love reading, thrift shopping, spending time with my family, baking,watching wildlife and I can find joy in just about anything.

  156. Pauline Wilemon says

    I am very intrigued with the Amish and their simple way of life. I would love to spend a day with an Amish family and share in their experiences first hand. That would surely bring a smile to my face.

  157. Ann Austin says

    I have had a very difficult year, many problems, most out of my control have plagued me.
    One of things I have tried to ficuon to change my outlook is simple laughter. I love seeing the animals antics, and the children’s imaginations. It is a struggle to laugh some days, but if I look outward instead of inward it helps me take my focus off of my problems.
    I try and remember something easy instead of difficult. That helps ease my burdens.

  158. Joan E. Stirewalt says

    I am smiling when I can sit down and read a good book. I enjoy your Amish books and learning about the peace, laughter, and family of the Amish community. I also enjoy the recipes as growing up my Mom made many of the same recipes that are in the Amish cookbooks.

    I do not live close to my children so whenever I get a call from them, my heart is joyful.

    I enjoy the birds singing, the breezes of the trees, the beautiful flowers, and all of my friends. God is good and I praise Him for my blessings.

  159. Darlene Thomas-Burroughs says

    What makes me smile – When I see others doing a good deed for someone such as, opening a door, helping someone carry bags or load their car after grocery shopping. To see the dawning of a new day and for every blessing I receive from God is reason for me to smile.

    I laugh out loud at silly mistakes I make. I laugh when my family and I get together and re-visit childhood memories. I love to smile and laugh with others. As the saying goes, the more the merrier.

  160. Anna Hesser says

    I am now reading THE BELOVED CHRISTMAS QUILT and enjoying it very much. I am on the last story written by your granddaughter. Have a blessed day.

  161. Wanda,
    I just love reading your books and have read all of them.

  162. My grandchildren bring a smile to my face, I had four of them with me the weekend , the house was full of laughs, giggles, when they left on Monday I noticed how quite the house was, and missed them so much.

  163. Sharon Zmuda says

    Recently, I have spent time with my traveling friends. We have 88 year old that goes with us that still golfs and go bowling. We all laugh about how busy her calendar is. We all pray that we get to live that long and do the things we like to do at her age. We have a saying about her. If you meet her for the first time and are ow laughing within the first 15 minutes or find you don’t like her then we say it is not her but you that is missing the point. So yes to your letter that we enjoy being with her especially because with all the trouble in this world and deaths of friends of ours, I agree that laughter is the best medicine.

  164. Wanted to take time to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I enjoy your emails and site.

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