Anna’s Healing is a story about a miracle. So I thought that today I would ask you, do you believe in miracles?
Some of us might have experienced miracles in our life. Some have prayed for miracles that never happened. And others aren’t sure about this whole idea of God reaching down and changing something important, just for us.
When I began writing Anna’s Healing (which is now available everywhere books are sold), I wanted to address this important topic. After all, we’re a highly advanced, technological society. But what about our faith? Do we still believe that God can heal? And if so, why are some people healed but other people aren’t? These are all tough questions. If you read Anna’s Healing, you’ll understand my beliefs on the topic, as a writer’s beliefs always come through.
But for today, I’m wondering about you.
Do you believe in miracles?
ps – be sure and check out my HOME page for information about new give-aways.
I’m so excited to introduce you to the “people” in Anna’s Healing. This book will release on October 1. So who are these people? I’m glad you asked!
Anna Schwartz is 24 years old, Amish, and new to the Plain community of Cody’s Creek, OK. Anna agreed to live with her aunt and uncle for a year because she was at loose ends in
Goshen, IN. She’s a little overweight, a little shy, and not particularly good at things like cooking or quilting.
Jacob Graber is 26 and he’s a wanderer. Though he loves his family and his Amish faith, he enjoys traveling from place to place, finding work for a while and then moving on. That’s his plan when he lands in Cody’s Creek–to find some work and then move on. But maybe God has a different plan for Jacob.
Chloe Roberts is 32 and she’s a reporter for the Mayes County Chronicle. When her boss sends her to do a piece on Amish produce stands, she doesn’t know that she’s about to meet a lifetime friend, and that her own faith and beliefs are about to be severely challenged.
Ruth Schwartz is Anna’s grandmother, her mammi. She’s 89 years old, shrinking, and wears large glasses that make her look like an owl. Mammi is a giant in the faith. When Anna suffers a catastrophic injury, Mammi never doubts that God cares for her granddaughter.
That’s a few of the stars in this story. Anna’s Healing is the first book in my Plain & Simple Miracles collection–three independent stories of love and family and Amish community. Each story tells of the miracles that can happen when lives are lived in service to God and to one another.
Do you have a question about this book? Leave me a comment, and I’ll be happy to answer it.
This week I’m attending the ACFW Writers’ Conference. I’ll share about that on next Saturday’s post, and hopefully I will have some fun pictures. In the meantime, today I wanted to share with you two more street team members.
Favorite Football Team (It is Football season, after all!) Dallas Cowboys. I’m a huge Romo fan.
Most important quality in a friend? I think the most important attribute would be honesty.
Cook in or eat out? If I am cooking I prefer eating out. Actually I enjoy home-cooking.
How many children do you have? I have three children. 2 sons, Wes and Derek ages 31 and 29. And a daughter, Tori who is 25. I also have 3 stepchildren. 2 stepdaughters and 1 stepson. We are the modern day Brady bunch clan.
What is your favorite scripture verse? Proverbs 3:5
[image error]Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Favorite Football Team My Favorite football team is The Dallas Cowboys!
Most important quality in a friend? My Friend needs to be there no matter What!
Cook in or eat out? Most of the time we eat in.
How many children do you have? have 2 boys.
What is your favorite scripture verse? My Verse is “I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength” Eph 4:13
My street team has been a wonderful help to me this year. Remember, we’ll be putting out a call for the 2016 team in a few months, so stay tuned.
Anna’s Healing and Project Linus
Wow! Anna’s Healing is shipping to a store near you and will be available everywhere by October 1. I’m pretty excited. But I’m even more excited to tell you about Project Linus, which greatly influenced the writing of this book. One of the PL coordinators, graciously offered to answer a few questions for me. Thank you, Melissa E. Later this month, we’ll be giving away some great PL stuff, and we’ll also provide a link where you can purchase Anna’s Healing and have a portion of the proceeds go to PL. Now for our interview:
1) How long have you been a coordinator?
I have been the coordinator for almost 2 years. I started as the chapter coordinator in October 2013. During that time our chapter has donated over 4,000 blankets to local hospitals and agencies! Whew! I think that is an amazing number and speaks volumes about how generous our community is.
2) What do the duties of a coordinator entail?
This might vary by chapter, but for me the main duty is to collect the blankets and to check every one to make sure it meets the PL standards – basically no pins were left in them, the blanket doesn’t smell of smoke and the blanket is of good quality. I then have a wonderful volunteer (my Mom) who sews a PL label on all of the blankets. When I get the blankets back from her, I sort them all by size and then we deliver them to the local hospitals and agencies. We sort them according to size because we have some agencies like Nurses for Newborns that mainly need baby sized blankets and then other agencies like Hospice Advantage that primarily need blankets for older children – they run a grief support program for children who have lost a family member. There are a lot of agencies that take both such as Cardinal Glennon and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Aside from that, my duties include answering inquiries from potential volunteers via email and phone. I also organize 2 Make a Blanket Day events a year. Those are community events where people can come in to work on blankets and drop off completed blankets. I also try to keep our webpage and facebook page updated on a regular basis.
Our chapter also has drop off sites throughout St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Those are at the homes of volunteers who accept blankets and make it very convenient for people to find a drop off location that is convenient for them. When these volunteers receive donations, they thing bring those to me for distribution.
3) How did you become involved with PL?
Well, this is kind of a funny story. I have always loved to sew. Before I started quilting, I primarily did counted cross stitch. When I was getting married several years ago and we were decorating our home, my husband suggested that maybe we had enough counted cross stitch pictures for our walls. I had no intention of not continuing to sew though so I remembered that when I was in 5th grade I had made a counted cross stitch afghan for kids with either cancer or AIDS and I thought I could do that again. I basically googled charities that accept blankets and have been sewing for Project Linus ever since. I really connected with the Project Linus mission and history. My husband is a very key piece of our success. He does the majority of our deliveries – thankfully he has a very large vehicle that can hold a lot of blankets!
4) Can you give me one specific incident of helping a child that stands out for you?
Unfortunately, we do not get to give the blankets directly to the child. The nurses and caseworkers get to do that though. I do occasionally receive thank you notes though and the story of Reese really touched my heart. I am attaching a flyer that I made up for a Make a Blanket Day event (with the parents permission) that tells a little bit about her story. The picture is after her emergency trip. To add a little to that story, she did not actually receive a blanket from my chapter. We are the closest chapter to where she lives, but on the day of the accident the weather was so bad that they could not fly her in to a St. Louis hospital and had to go to Peoria instead. The Mom did something special for the hospital in Peoria and then wanted to give back to the local PL chapter.
My husband does have some favorite places that he likes to delivery blankets to though. He absolutely loves the people at the Ronald McDonald House and Nurses for Newborns. They are so grateful for the blankets!
5) How can people help/become involved with PL?
The best way to help is to make blankets. We can never have enough blankets! Unfortunately, there are always children that need comfort and to know there are people that care about them. I would suggest starting by going to the Project Linus website and finding out if there is a chapter close by. You can then email the local chapter coordinator to introduce yourself and to get on their email distribution list for updates on chapter activities and events. You can also inquire as to if the chapter has guidelines or if they have any specific needs that you can help address. For example, sometimes our chapter will need more blankets for boys or baby sized blankets instead of bigger blankets. Other than that, just make blankets!
My prayer is that this Labor Day weekend will be a restful and safe one. I would love to hear what job you have (or had). I’ll start–I worked as an office manager for 10 years, a stay-at-home mom for 5, and a teacher for 15. I’ve been a full time writer for the past 5. All were great jobs, and I appreciate that the Lord led me to them. How about you? It always amazes me to hear what profession people have. Leave a comment below, and Happy Labor Day.
ps – If you’re participating in the Crafting UFO challenge, our number for September is 10. I’ve pinned my August projects here.
Shipshewana Corn Maze
I’m writing this blog on August 28th, and I’m dreaming about fall! The temperature here in central Texas has hung around 100 for the past … 60 days or so. Last night at 9 pm it was still 90! I’m not complaining. I love Texas, but I find myself daydreaming about fall. So I thought we’d share some fun fall spots, and you can comment with places you like to visit and/or things you like to do.
along the Pumpkinvine Trail near Middlebury, IN
I’ve also been down the Pumpkinvine Trail a few times. I’ve even ridden bikes there, but never in the fall. I think it would be lovely! You can catch the trail in several spots–including Middlebury and Shipshewana.
I’ve been to Lancaster, PA but not in the fall. Their Harvest Days look like a lot of fun!
Now it’s your turn. What’s one of your favorite things to do in the fall? It can be a place you like to visit, or something you enjoy doing in your own hometown. Tell us about it!
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) August 28, 2015
I’m so excited about the release of my new collection: Plain and Simple Miracles. These stories are very near and dear to me. Brian’s Choice (a novella) is already available, and Anna’s Healing (a full length novel) will begin shipping in a few weeks. So I thought now would be a good time to DEBUNK some of the myths surrounding the Amish.
My first Amish book released in 2010. I’ve visited communities in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma since then. I’ve walked through barns, shared meals, and visited schoolhouses. Here are a few of the myths I’ve learned are not true–at least not in the places I’ve been.
That’s just a few of the myths I’ve found are not true. What about you? Do you have a question about the Amish? Or do you have a myth that you can bust? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy August. Many of you are headed back to school–teachers, administrators, aides, office workers, maintenance folks. As a retired teacher, I want you to know that we appreciate you! If you’re not headed back to school, but you know someone who is, tell them THANK YOU.
Now to introduce you to 2 more of my street team members. Also at the end of this blog is an audio book give-away, so please read to the bottom!
Now for our give-away! A Simple Amish Christmas has released in audio format, and I have some free codes to give away. This was my very first book. It released in 2010 and is still one of my bestsellers. It’s guaranteed to cool you off while you listen! I will give away one copy for every 25 comments I receive – please share this blog with a friend, on email, twitter (click button below), or Facebook, then leave a comment that you did so. You’ll be entered to win!
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) August 14, 2015
Which means I’m writing a lot, and I’m also crafting a lot. Did you finish your July UFO? I’ve pinned mine to my 2015 UFO Challenge Board. This is the first thing I’ve ever had professionally quilted. It’s supposed to be a twin size quilt, though you can see I made it a little small. I had a “layer cake” which I just loved and I decided to make it from that. If I were to do so again, and I probably will, I’d add more border so that it’s a little wider. But it’s a fun project and the pattern is free. In fact, there are a lot of free patterns on the Moda site. I looked through them until I found a very simple one.
By the way, if you need a break from your sewing, Brian’s Choice released on the first of this month. I hope you’ll check it out. It’s in ebook only since it’s a novella (70 pages), and the price is $2.99
Now back to those UFO projects. If you haven’t started with us, it’s never too late. Just find a project that is only partially finished it, and commit to doing so during the month of August. If you have been following along, I hope you’re enjoying it and please do go post your pictures to my pinterest page. Send me an email if you’d like me to add your name to people who can pin on the board. And remember, projects can be any kind it doesn’t have to be quilting. — Our number for August is #2.
I’m so excited to announce the release of Brian’s Choice and introduce you to the community of Cody’s Creek, Oklahoma.
I travelled to the Amish community of Chouteau before I began writing this series. It’s located 40 minutes to the east of Tulsa, a straight shot down US-412. Chateau was originally named Cody’s Creek.
One thing that makes this community unique is the fact that the Amish use tractors. You can read about that in more details here. It comes down to the fact that the farmland has a lot of clay in it–so the Amish settlements there had to make the decision to use tractors or move. Some moved, and some stayed and forged a life out of the difficult farming conditions.
When I read about this, different articles stated that the tractors were only used in the fields–and I suppose at one time that was true. But now they’re used for practically any errand. You’ll see trucks like this one, with a pick-up bed behind it (for carrying groceries or passengers), and a canopy over it to protect the driver from the sun. We saw them everywhere! The traditional buggies are still used on Sundays and for funerals and weddings. And the Amish in Chouteau are still every bit as “Amish” as other communities–they wear the traditional dress, worship the same, have no electricity in their homes, and dedicate their selves to living a Plain life.
Why tractors but not cars? One Amish person told me that you’re not going to drive a tractor into Tulsa. It will get you the three or four miles into town, to work or pick up supplies. Tractors are a compromise that allow these Amish families to earn a living off the land, but they are not ready to trade in their buggies for an automobile.
I very much enjoyed writing this series, which focuses on #plainmiracles. We’ll be having give-aways on both my Facebook page, twitter and instagram, so please find us there. Brian’s Choice addresses the miracle of forgiveness-one that I think we have all experienced. I hope that the story blesses your heart.
ps – if you’re participating in our Crafting 2015 UFO challenge, the number for August is 2. Next week on this blog we’ll check in and see how everyone is doing and I’ll post my latest quilting attempt.
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