Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Amish Way

I'm delighted to suggest a new book for those for love learning about the Amish. THE AMISH WAY: Patient Faith in a Perilous World is written by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher, whose earlier book about the tragedy at Nickel Mines school, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, was a national bestseller.

The Amish Way is a very readable and fascinating look at the distinctive practices of Amish spirituality. The authors discuss how Amish faith is connected to community, family, child rearing, home life, and a host of other topics. In our increasingly busy and fragmented world, I am constantly intrigued by the way everything in Amish life seems to be grounded in their faith. If you want to understand why the Amish can live as they do in the midst of contemporary culture, you won't find a better place to start than this book.

The authors draw on interviews with Amish individuals, Amish publications, and their own firsthand experiences in Amish communities. The book is filled with engaging anecdotes in which the Amish speak in their own words about their lives and their beliefs.

Jodi Picoult, author of Plain Truth, has this to say about The Amish Way: "With detailed personal anecdotes and explanations straight from the Amish themselves, The Amish Way illustrates the simplicity and grace with which the Amish live their lives, and proves that those of us who have our own questions with faith might well learn from their example."

In my own struggle to understand how God wants me to live, I find continuing encouragement in learning how others are answering this same question.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Delights

If it gets any prettier than these past few days in Pennsylvania, I don't know where it would be, but I'm sure we all think, wherever we are, that our autumn color is the best. We took a drive after church on Sunday to enjoy the colors. Just a short one, we thought, but ended up spending three hours! Around every bend in the road, we found something new to appreciate.

We happened upon a pumpkin festival at a little rural fire hall...pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins. They were serving lunch, so we had homemade bean soup and homemade barbecued ham sandwiches. So good! The fire companies in our area, all volunteer, do such a great job, and it takes constant fundraisers like this one to keep them going.

And speaking of pumpkins, here are a few of our grandkids enjoying a trip to the pumpkin patch. Georgia seems to have picked one as big as she is!

One of the things I enjoy most about fall is baking all my favorite apple treats. The orchards around here seem to have had a great year in spite of some worries early on about a late frost. So every week a new bag of apples appears on my kitchen counter, beckoning me to make something. After plenty of batches of apple sauce, this week I did my favorite Apple Walnut Cake recipe, and I thought you might like to try it.

Apple Walnut Cake

4 cups chopped apples 1/2 cup of oil 2 t each baking soda and cinnamon
2 cups sugar 2 t vanilla 1 t salt
2 eggs 2 cups flour 1 cup chopped walnuts
Combine apples with sugar and set aside. Beat eggs in oil and add vanilla. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add flour mixture and apple mixture to the oil. Stir in walnuts, making sure the batter is evenly moist. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
This is a lovely, dense cake that is very good topped with whipped cream or ice cream. It continues to get more moist as it sits.
I hope you'll take the time to enjoy the beauties of autumn, refreshing your spirit before another winter comes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Christmas in the Air

I'm delighted to recommend the latest book by veteran inspirational author and my dear friend, Irene Brand. Irene is a popular writer who has been writing Inspirational Fiction for twenty-five years. She's been involved in the start-up of several inspirational romance lines at different publishers, including Steeple Hill.

LOVE FINDS YOU UNDER THE MISTLETOE is the first anthology published by Summerside Press, and Irene's novella, "An Appalachian Christmas," shares the spotlight with a second Christmas novella in the two-for-one volume. In "An Appalachian Christmas" Irene returns to the beautiful mountain setting she knows so well and has used in many of her previous books. If you're looking for something to put you in the holiday mood, these two stories will definitely do it!

As an added benefit to her readers, Irene is providing a free e-book on her website, http://www.irenebrand.com/. CHRISTMAS: ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL is a lovely collection of quotes, family recipes, traditions, and memories. Just go to Irene's site and download your copy today.