Vannetta Chapman's Blog
March 8, 2014
For the month of March we are focusing on books! I am an avid reader, and I think most of you are too. Below I’m going to share 3 of the books I’ve read recently. In the COMMENTS section (button is near the title of the blog) feel free to share something you’ve read recently. I’m sure others would be interested.
Year of Plenty. I don’t read many nonfiction books, but I really enjoyed this one. It’s the story of a Presbyterian preacher and his family. They decide to change some of their consumer habits. Their motto becomes – buy it used, buy it local, use homemade or use home grown. It’s a fun story and it definitely caused me to pause and reconsider some of my habits.
The Book Thief. This is one of the best written books I’ve read in several years. It’s the story of a young German girl during the Hitler years. Not necessarily a “Christian” book, it still does a wonderful job of showing the trials and triumphs of that time period.
These are just 3 of the books I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks. I’d love to hear what you’re reading.
March 5, 2014
I enjoy the season leading up to Easter. It’s a special time of year in the life of any Christian. It’s a time when we stop and consider the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for you and for me.
Usually during Lent I try to think of something to give up – like chocolate or television. This year, I think I’m going to borrow an idea from my friend, Shelley Shepard Gray.
Looking for something to give up for Lent?
Give up resentment and become more forgiving.
Give up hatred and return good for evil.
Give up complaining and be more grateful.
Give up pessimism and become more hopeful.
Give up worry and become more trusting.
Give up anger and become more patient.
Give up pettiness and become more noble.
Give up gloom and become more joyful.
Give up doubt and turn to God.
Not a bad list, which includes many things I could work on. If you’d like more information about Lent, this article is informative. I pray that each of you will have a special Lenten season as we make our way toward the cross.
p.s. – our winner for Kelly Irvin’s book was Melanie Backus. Thank you all for entering! We’ll continue our discussion of BOOKS this Saturday.
Want to give up something for Lent? Let's start with "resentment" …
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) March 5, 2014
March 1, 2014
For the month of March our blog focus is going to be BOOKS. We’re very fortunate to have my friend and talented author, Kelly Irvin, stop by. She wanted to share with us a little about her latest release and then offer a give-away.
Have you ever done something, however inadvertently, that led to disaster? If you didn’t mean to do it, are you to blame for the consequences of your actions? That’s the issue I tussled with as I wrote Love Redeemed. Phoebe and Michael are at that sweet place in their fledgling relationship where every encounter is full of lovely anticipation and discovery. Then they make a split second decision that results in a tragedy that reverberates through both of their families. Love Redeemed is a love story, but more than that, it’s a story of forgiveness. The Amish are greatly respected for their stoic, biblically based, determination to forgive. Seventy times seven. But my imagination and my heart say that it can’t always be easy. Phoebe and Michael are forgiven by their families, but they have to learn to forgive themselves and to understand just how deep and wide God’s grace and mercy are before they can mend their relationship.
The scripture for this book is one of my very favorite because I’ve so often needed it in my scruffy life: Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19
These verses are the seeds planted in Love Redeemed. It’s comforting to know they apply to all of us in every circumstance. Phoebe and Michael discover they need only rely on God to bring joy from the darkness. As do we all.
Here’s a little about Kelly’s newest release:
Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she’s earned a break…and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They’ll find ways to spend time together—she’s certain of it—and their romance will have time to blossom.
But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they can be forgiven not just by their community, but by God.
A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.
Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time. To learn more about her work, visit www.kellyirvin.com.
Now let’s have a give-away. Do you have a question for Kelly? Leave a comment or question below, along with your email address, and you will be entered.
February 26, 2014
Midweek Inspiration, Loving Others
Last Sunday, my pastor showed a video about loving others. The scripture verse we focused on was Matthew 5:43-44. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He showed us this little video that I wanted to share with you.
Kind of tough words to hear, but they’re also words of help and love and grace.
And sometimes, they’re words that we all need to pay attention to. SOMETIMES loving others can free us up, get rid of the stuff we’re carrying around and help us to live that “abundant life.”
I hope that this week, you are enjoying that life — and if you have any of those rocks you’re carrying around, I pray that you are using them to build a bridge.
February 21, 2014
Last week I shared some of the most frequent questions I hear regarding this Amish. I have a few more that I’d like to share today. Remember, these answers are based on my experience–yours might be different as practices differ between communities.
Is it true that the Amish only study and teach certain parts of the Bible? I haven’t actually attended an Amish church, but I can tell you that I’ve met with several bishops as well as church members. They use the same Bible we do, although it is often in German. Some of the younger Amish now use Bibles with parallel text–one in Englisch and one in German. Other than that, it’s exactly the same Bible you and I use.
Does almost every state have Amish communities and if so how can you find out about them in your own state? You can see numbers for each state here, and you can see a United States map with numbers of Amish settlements here.
Are there any mail order sites available for those who could never travel to communities to buy Amish dolls and quilts? I have ordered from Amishstuffstores, Lolly’s Fabrics (you need to call to order), Rebecca Haarer (call to order), and Down A Country Road. If anyone knows of additional places, please list them in the comments section!
What kind of services are done for funerals in the Amish way of life? As you can imagine, Amish funerals are simpler. In fact, often the body is returned to the home after being cared for by the local mortician. They use plain wood coffins, and the line of buggies can often stretch for miles. You can read more about Amish funerals here.
I’ve seen in pictures of Amish having cluttered bookcases (never a bad thing!); what sort of fiction books are allowed? I don’t know if it’s a question of what is allowed. It’s more a matter of how much free time is in each day (not much) and how much extra income there is to be spend on books (again, not much). I was surprised to see so many Amish visiting the library when I was in Sugar Creek, OH. I also visited with a lovely Amish woman who had a bookcase full of Karen Kingsbury books. I’d say it varies from person to person.
I know most Amish hang their laundry outside to dry. My question is “Don’t they have to rewash things often due to outside dirt, such as bird droppings”? I hang my clothes on the line, and I haven’t had this problem. I think the important thing would be to have your clothesline away from the trees.
Thank you all for your questions. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you what I know. Next month we will be covering BOOKS, and we’ll start with a special post and giveaway by my friend, Kelly Irvin.
ps – A Promise for Miriam is on sale for $10 for a few more days (through Feb. 28), when ordered from me personally. Click here and use the BUY NOW button.
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) February 21, 2014
February 19, 2014
Midweek Inspiration, Joy
I’m currently working on my contribution to An Amish Cradle. My story will be about an Amish woman and man who have been married for over twenty years when their life takes an unexpected turn. Isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes? But we can trust that God is always there at those turns with us.
My focus verse for this novella is –
“The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.”
Just looking at this picture of spring in Shipshewana fills me with joy. I’m sort of ready for spring! My prayer is that this week, you experience God’s joy.
How about some mid-week JOY? http://t.co/QvFKpq0wJB
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) February 19, 2014
February 14, 2014
Frequently Asked Questions About the Amish
We have been focusing on the background of the Amish this month and general information about them. I thought that this week and next week, I’d answer some FAQ. Remember, these answers are based on my experience–yours might be different and certainly some of what you read will come from a different perspective.
Do the Amish try to justify their use of phones, electricity, cars out of their house instead of inside of their house and transportation when needed for longer distances? Each community decides how much technology to “allow” and this becomes their Ordnung, or unwritten rules. The local bishop then helps to implement those rules. Exceptions are allowed when it’s deemed good and necessary for the community (for example, a midwife carrying a pager or cell phone). The Amish I’ve spoken with have stressed that the main point is the health of the community and the well-being of the family. For instance, a phone in the house is a constant disruption and they wouldn’t allow that, but a phone in a workshop might be necessary for business.
What is the difference between the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish? Pennsylvania Dutch actually refers to a dialect that most Amish speak – it comes from early German settlers in the Pennsylvania area.
Do the Amish participate in athletic sports programs between schools? No, at least not in the communities that I’ve visited. Amish do play volleyball, baseball or softball, and even ice hokey – but it is less competitive. For instance, they usually do not keep score.
Do the Amish use lots of butter in their cooking? I believe they do! The Amish are much like my grandmother–they think fresh, rich butter is good for you! Not too long ago I read, “Ask an Amish person if they prefer butter over margarine and they mighty reply — I trust a cow more than a chemist.” Plus many Amish own a dairy cow, so they can get milk and butter for free.
Are rings exchanged at wedding services? No. The Amish do not wear jewelry of any sort.
I’ll have more FAQ next week. If there’s anything you’d like to know, leave it in the COMMENT section (button is next to the title of this blog). Also, check out my piece on the Amish fiction blog where I answered a few additional questions.
ps – A Promise for Miriam is on sale for $10 this month, only when ordered from me personally. Click here and use the BUY NOW button.
DO the Amish exchange wedding rings?
FAQ about the Amish.
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) February 14, 2014
February 13, 2014
Many of you have already seen pictures of Phoebe on Facebook, but for the rest of you I wanted to share the newest member of our family.
Phoebe was a shelter dog. She’s a 3 year old lab mix. She has hip displaysia, but so far it’s not a problem.
We’re so excited to have her as a part of our family. She’s a big old sweetheart, loves to take walks, and is learning to get along with our cats. Isn’t it amazing how much love a shelter animal can bring into your life?
I hope that you are all having a blessed week.
February 7, 2014
Photo by Liz Vander Lee
Amish, Children, and Education
Last week we talked about some of the common history that Amish share with Anabaptists, Mennonites and Hutterites. Today we’re going to talk about Amish children. I’m including items I’ve learned from research, speaking with Amish families, and visiting Amish communities. Please remember that communities do differ and your experience might be different than mine.
Amish families often have many children, mainly because they do not practice birth control. They feel that children are a gift from the Lord. The average number of children is 7.
Amish have more twins than any other segment of the population. They also experience a degree of metabolic and genetic disorders due to the fact that they have descended from a small gene pool (200 families).
Many Amish choose to have their children at home or in birthing centers rather than a hospital. Amish do go to a hospital if there are complications with the pregnancy or the birth.
Amish tend to “spoil” their children less than the Englisch culture–especially in regard to purchasing items for them. However, Amish parents love their children very much. They just express it in different ways, mainly by spending time with them and teaching them skills passed down from generation to generation.
Amish children only go to school through 8th grade. I did come across one report that said Amish 8th graders score on level with Englisch 12th graders in reading, writing, and math.
The Amish are allowed to take their children out of school after 8th grade if they attend public schools. Amish schools do not extend past 8th grade. Until 1972 parents were fined, imprisoned, and tried for this. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Amish parents (Wisconsin vs Yoder).
After they “finish school,” Amish teens spend several years as an apprentice in the field of their choice–woodworker, farmer, buggy maker, ferrier, etc. If they find that a trade is a good fit for them, they will continue to work in it. They might try several apprenticeships before they find the right job for them.
In regard to education, Amish teachers do not receive any formal training – however, they serve as an apprentice under an experienced teacher. Sometimes a Mennonite man or woman will teach at an Amish school, and they would have a high school degree and possibly collegiate training as well.
Again, please remember this is what my research and experience has shown. What I’ve shared may or may not be the same for a community near you. Next week I’ll attempt to answer some of the questions you all have sent me.
Amish, their children, and education.
Facts vs fiction.
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) February 7, 2014
February 5, 2014
Midweek Inspiration – Watoto Choir
Last week my church had the pleasure of hosting the Watoto Choir. This is a children’s choir from Africa. What a delight they were! They shared the message of Christ through song and testimony, and one of their themes was “We are not forgotten.” Sometimes we need to hear that – and to hear it from the mouths of these children, all of whom are abandoned and/or orphans, was stirring indeed.
As I was listening to them, I was reminded again of what a mighty God we serve. To think that these children, all the way from Africa, all the way from a life of disease and isolation and poverty, would come to America and encourage me. THAT is amazing indeed.
Blessings to you this week,
Have you heard WATOTO?
What a blessing … http://t.co/0A6xascuGb
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) February 5, 2014