Wanda’s Journal

The Sake of Convenience

In my recent novel, The Healing Jar, Jesse suffered a great loss when his wife died and he had trouble moving on. Although he still loved his deceased wife, and at first was not in love with Lenore, Jesse saw the need to move on for his daughter, Cindy’s sake. Jesse felt that Cindy needed a mother to care for her. He also needed someone to cook and keep house for him.

Can you understand Jesse’s indecision about marrying Lenore? Have you or someone you know been in a similar situation? How did you handle it? Would you marry someone for the sake of convenience if you did not feel any love for them?

Healing Help

In my novel, The Healing Jar (Book 3 in The Prayer Jars series), some of the characters are in need of emotional and spiritual healing that resulted from their past or present circumstances.
Is there something in your life that needs emotional or spiritual healing? Have you found answers or help by reading God’s Word. If so, what particular scripture verse or verses helped you the most?
The Bible is full of wisdom and direction for our lives. One of my favorites verses for emotional or spiritual healing is found in Psalm 147:3 (KJV): “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

Taste of the Valley

While visiting the town of Belleville, Pennsylvania this spring, I enjoyed eating at Taste of the Valley restaurant. This is the area where The Brides of the Big Valley novella collection is set, and there are some scenes in two of our stories that take place in the Taste of the Valley. We enjoyed eating there on two occasions, and my favorite selection was the Apple Roads salad.

We also had fun visiting with one of our Amish friends while we were in The Big Valley area, and we had the chance to stop by several Amish-owned shops.

If you have visited an Amish community, what is your favorite place to eat? If you have not had the opportunity to visit Amish country, where would you most like to go?

Acceptance

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Amish people I know, it’s their ability to accept things that happen to them as God’s will. Recently, one of our dear Amish friends was in a terrible accident, where her buggy got hit from behind. When the vehicle hit her, the impact was so great that it demolished the buggy, killed the horse, and injured my friend’s neck and spine. This sweet Amish lady kept an attitude of acceptance throughout her hospital stay, and is now at home recovering, where she is still keeping a positive attitude and a smile on her face. Some of her family and friends who have visited her say that when they leave this young woman’s home, they feel as though she has ministered to them, instead of the other way around. She even told one person I spoke with that if something good came out of her accident, it would be worth all the discomfort she’d been through.
Life isn’t always fair, but if we learn to appreciate what we have and trust God with our future, we’ll feel a sense of peace and acceptance. Remember this week to accept what you must and change what you can. Look to the future with a sense of hope and thank God for each new day. What do you have to thank God for today?

Trust

Are you a trusting person by nature, or is it something you’ve had to learn? Do you have a sixth sense about when you can trust another person?
The Amish are some of the most trusting people I know. They trust their horses to pull their buggies. They trust their older children to care for the younger ones. They trust God to provide for all of their needs.
When my husband and I visited an Amish schoolhouse for the first time, even though the teachers had never met us, they trusted us to come in peace. In fact, we were welcomed into their classroom.
The truth is, there are some people we cannot trust. However, God wants us to trust Him in all things. He is our fortress, our shelter in the time of storm. Are you able to lay your worries and cares aside and trust that the Lord will see you through anything life throws at you?
In Numbers 6:25 we are told that the Lord makes His face shine upon us. Knowing that God is always with us, and that His face is actually shining on us, should give a sense of security and trust, even in the most frightening circumstances. A calm mind and a confident heart are available to every believer. Ask God to teach you to trust Him more and help you to relax in Him. How have you learned to trust God in your life?

Helping Others

In my novel, A Cousin’s Challenge, which was set in Indiana, some people in Jolene’s family saw her deafness as a handicap.
One of the best ways to help others with physical limitations is by encouraging and allowing them to do as much as they can on their own. I knew a young woman once who had cerebral palsy. She wanted to teach a Sunday school class at our church, and so the men of the church carried her wheelchair to the basement every Sunday so she was able to teach her young students.

I have an Amish friend who is partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He doesn’t see himself as disabled and even holds down a fulltime job. Another Amish friend is blind, but she also has a job and it makes her feel useful, as well as providing additional income for her family.

From your personal experiences, what are some ways you have discovered that can help others who have physical limitations see that they can live useful lives?

The Importance of Sharing

The other day a young girl gave me a special dessert she had made. She and her mother had even altered the recipe to fit my gluten-free diet. The cake was delicious, and receiving it made me feel loved and appreciated. So today, I’d like to share a yummy recipe with you. It’s taken from my novel, Lydia’s Charm.

Do you have a special recipe you would like to share? Or perhaps just leave a comment about some special gift someone gave you recently and how it made you feel.

Lydia’s No-Crust Apple Pie

1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
2 medium apples, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat egg and add remaining ingredients; mix well. Spread into greased pie pan and bake for 30 minutes or until apples are soft.

Love is the Key

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, as well as my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. I’m reminded of a little song that my ventriloquist figure, Randy Right, sometimes sings when we are performing. It’s entitled “Love is the Key.” The words to the song go like this: Love, Love, Love is the Key. . . Love, Love, Love is the Key, The key for you and the key for me. . . Love, Love, Love is the Key.

How great would our world be if everyone loved each other and we showed it through our words and deeds? Although we have no control of how others treat us, we can control the way we treat each other. Are there some special ways you can show love to your family, friends, or even strangers?

Showing love to others can certainly be the key to happiness and peace.

Forgiveness

What would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?

In my novel, The Forgiving Jar, which releases next month, Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after Mama’s death that her grandparents were living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, and discovers they are Amish, Sara is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be her. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the imposter.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon, she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but when she is not totally honest with him, he pulls away from her.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the basement of her grandparents’ home that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

Has someone you know refused to forgive you for something you may have said or done to hurt them? Or is there someone who has hurt you in the past that you need to forgive? What better way to begin the New Year than to start it with a forgiving heart?

Christmas Traditions

At Christmastime, there are no decorated trees or blinking lights adorning Amish people’s homes. They do, however, make special cookies and candies as part of the holiday activity. Some Amish will string the Christmas cards they receive around a room in their home, or may set out some candles and greenery. The school children also put on a Christmas program for their friends and family at the schoolhouse, where they share poems, recitations, and songs. The scholars will often exchange gifts with others in their class. On Christmas morning, the Amish gather with their families for devotions, and then the children open their gifts. In the afternoon the Amish get together for a family meal. If Christmas Day falls near the end of the week, some church districts will hold their services on Christmas morning instead of the usual Sunday service.

In our “English” home we also have some special Christmas traditions. On Christmas Eve, after sharing a simple meal with some of our family members, we attend the candlelight service at our church, which includes singing Christmas Carols. When the service is over, we return to our son’s home to open gifts and enjoy some snacks or sweet treats. My husband and I usually host Christmas dinner in our home, and he enjoys cooking a turkey or ham. The decorations, tasty food, and gift-giving is secondary to the true meaning of Christmas, however. Focusing on the knowledge that God sent His only Son to earth as a gift for all who would believe on His name, is the best Christmas tradition of all.

What are some ways you and your family celebrate Christmas? Do you have any special traditions?