June Bryan Belfie's Blog

June 15, 2016

When our children were young, we lived in a stone home built in 1758 in Westtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is less than an hour from Center City, Philadelphia. The county is similar to Lancaster County with rolling hills, small towns, and fertile farmland. Many Amish live tucked away in the countryside alongside their English neighbors.

Our second son lives only a couple miles from where he was raised and he and his wife have a lovely property where they're raising their two young daughters.

While visiting this past week-end, we shopped at an amazing Amish grocery store, located at Routes 202 and 926 in Westtown. Normally, I won't buy store desserts, since they're usually disappointing, but oh my! The fresh donuts were the best ever! The crumb cakes had more crumb topping than cake! and the tea biscuits were packed with fresh raisins. The building used to be a regular market, so there is  large square-footage and Amish people run their own stands. I'll post some pictures. Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture Back home. These lasted all of five minutes!! My  granddaughter, Ashley, helped.

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Published on June 15, 2016 04:51 • 23 views

June 2, 2016

   As I sat on a metal bench, shaded by an overhanging roof at a ride in Disneyland, I observed the wonderful kaleidoscope of humanity. I watched as several young parents proudly pushed their infants in strollers past the entranceway to the ride. Then there were elderly people and others with physical disabilities being escorted in wheelchairs. Every age was represented. I observed fair-skinned Scandinavians pass by as well as rich chocolate-skinned African-Americans and families from every Asian nation as they meandered along the walkways. Yes, in addition to Broadway and Kennedy Airport, this was a fantastic place to ‘people watch.’

Waiting for my loved ones to exit the ride at Disney’s Fantasyland, I had ample time to observe and ponder the lives of my fellow human beings. Unbeknownst to us, we had picked one of the park’s busiest days. It was the Thursday before Easter and Spring break, which enticed thousands to make their way to Florida. 

People from all walks of life and all countries of the world, having saved religiously for months—maybe years—for this occasion, were fulfilling their “parental duty” by providing their off-spring with the life-time experience of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck land.

Why were there so few happy expressions? Where was the promised joy – the fulfillment of the ‘happiness’ ads? Instead of laughter and smiles, I saw harried, tired parents, exhausted toddlers—some with tear-stained faces—walking as if half-comatose. There was a strange atmosphere as I watched the never-ending line of bodies weaving a course along the ribboned mazes – back and forth – leading to their next event. I made the comparison to the long waits in our airports to get through security. Here, all we received for an hour’s wait was five minutes of entertainment. 

A large, extremely over-weight man in his early forties sat across from me also observing the scene. He reached continuously for something edible out of a medium sized paper bag and sat – chewing – crunching – staring.
A young woman sat on the next bench for nearly half an hour watching over two strollers with sleeping children while others in her party made their way through the aisles for the brief ride awaiting them. Her countenance displayed only boredom. Her family and friends returned without comment. One of the fathers checked his colorful map and decided on the next hour’s wait for the next five minutes of ‘fun’ and they all moved on.

Eventually my family, consisting of my husband, son, daughter and three grandchildren returned, and we did what so many others do. We planned the next hike. We were determined to have fun. We had to. The cost demanded it!
The heat bounced from the pavements and the sun relentlessly reminded us of our physical discomfort. Our clothes clung to our bodies. Temperatures were soaring as our happy dispositions faltered. Our ten-year-old granddaughter was flushed and became faint from the heat. We found a fountain and splashed water over her brow and head and found a patch of shade with a bench. Our son felt queasy and our older granddaughter took Tylenol for a headache. I was exhausted.

We managed to find lunch in a crowded family restaurant though the cacophony of voices drowned out any hope of conversation. As soon as we finished our mediocre lunch, we found space alongside the curb where hundreds of other ticket holders were priming themselves for the Disney Parade.

Finally, the music came closer and we watched as high school bands from around the country led the way—marching in their heavy woolen uniforms in the 90-degree heat—perspiring and flushed. Dancers and characters out of storybooks and Disney movies danced along the roadway, flashing glued-on smiles and white teeth at the waiting crowds. What had sounded so glamorous to these young people before arriving, had become routine and monotonous.
We spent more money in the souvenir shops and then proceeded on our way down the main street. The masses of people began thinning down as the afternoon progressed. First it was barely noticeable, but then we could see some pavement under our feet and the air became fresher, as breezes cooled our tired bodies. Something magical was happening. It was as if Disney had turned on air conditioning.

Lights appeared all about us. The man-made lakes glimmered as God-made ducks sailed silently across the water forming dark banners as they skimmed across to the island surrounding the façade of the castle, which was suddenly highlighted by spot-lights.  

Headaches and fatigue dissipated as cameras started clicking. Smiles, laughter and family jokes lightened the early evening and fond memories were being created.

Yes, our new generation had reached its right of passage. And in decades to come our grandchildren will tell of their wonderful adventures in Fantasyland when life temporarily became magical.
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Published on June 02, 2016 07:54 • 28 views

February 22, 2016

The most frequent question I get when speaking with a group about my books, is how did you begin writing? At first, I stumbled somewhat, trying to recall when I had an epiphany about devoting much of my time and life to the creative process of writing. Truthfully, I've always loved to express myself through the written word.

Even as a child, I was the kid on the block who wrote the plays we performed for our audiences consisting of adoring parents and friends on hot summer nights. At camp, after lights out, the group of young campers sat around my bunk as I scared the wits out of them with my 'scary' tales conjured up in my overactive mind. My first short story was written when I was about five. It was about my cat, who talked to me. In English, of course.

Then during a holiday dinner, when surrounded by my five adult children and their families, I was coerced into writing the stories of our adventures owning a country inn in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. After all, I was the one with time on my hands. (According to the kids.) We'd spent eleven years and there were many amusing tales to be told. I spent about six months organizing the chapters, writing and re-writing our amusing (to us) stories of life as innkeepers. This became the book, "Inn Sane," which I ended up self-publishing. It started out to be just for the family to enjoy, but became much more. I recently updated it by adding an epilogue and changing a few of the photos.

I had so much fun writing it, that I took classes in creative writing while staying in Florida during winters. I also began the Julia Series, which remained on my hard drive for a couple years. After about fifteen novels, I pulled Julia out and re-wrote the three books, improving them and editing. They are my favorite books, but I'm known more for my Amish series, which have been best sellers.

I'll get back to you in time and tell you some other tidbits about the writing world. Though it involves work--far more than people realize--it is a great joy to entertain others. My Christian faith is an integral part of my writing and my desire is to enrich my stories with the truth of my Savior and his love for his people. A seed planted perhaps. My greatest joy is to hear from my readers and know in some small way I've been able to touch their hearts and minds and encourage them through their times of trials, just as my characters have dealt with their struggles.
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Published on February 22, 2016 22:44 • 76 views

May 6, 2014

Picture After a brutal winter, the trees are bursting through --  a reminder of the promise of new life. We spent a good part of the winter in Florida, which is a true blessing since I hate being cold. In spite of the reprieve from winter, I was homesick for the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. This is a view from my front door taken in early May. Picture This is the view from my bedroom window - taken early in May (the same day) around six in the morning.
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Published on May 06, 2014 03:20 • 19 views
Picture After a brutal winter, the trees are bursting through --  a reminder of the promise of new life. We spent a good part of the winter in Florida, which is a true blessing since I hate being cold. In spite of the reprieve from winter, I was homesick for the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. This is a view from my front door taken in early May. Picture This is the view from my bedroom window - taken early in May (the same day) around six in the morning.
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Published on May 06, 2014 03:20 • 54 views

January 25, 2014

I hate to be cold. Of course, I hate to be too hot, too. Give me temps between 70 and 75 and you'll see one happy lady. The landscape when covered in snow is breathtaking. If only it snowed in the summer. 

          This is a shot taken from out my kitchen window. Our creator is fantastic! Picture This picture below is a shot of my bedroom window taken one frosty morning in January of this year. It brought back memories of Disney's Fantasia. Remember when the skaters cracked the ice? Picture One more picture from a December sunset in my hometown in Pennsylvania. Picture
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Published on January 25, 2014 05:44 • 52 views

June 27, 2013

Picture No longer Spring, my hubby and I enjoy these spectacular roses and gardens during our coffee break. The peonies are a thing of the past, their gorgeous blooms trampled by heavy rains, but their lush foliage continues to provide beauty to God's gardens.

I hope you are enjoying your summer and fulfilling your dreams. May and June are my favorite months. Lots of sunshine and colorful gardens. For me, as a writer, it's truly an inspirational time of the year.

I haven't been posting lately. Forgive me for ignoring my site, but I have spent my time writing a new book -- a follow-up of the 3-book Amish Series.  Yesterday I added "The End," followed by a drawn out sigh of relief. However, it is far from the end, more like the beginning. For now the 'work' begins. I love writing fresh work. My creative spirit expands as my characters take off in unexpected directions. They become alive to me and on paper. The first edit pulls me down to reality, and I cut and paste, delete, switch tenses, and get rid of all the redundant phrases. 

The next time through, I look for discrepancies in the time line, character depictions, and a multitude of other  areas that could create problems for the reader. 

Writing is fun. I thank God everyday for the talent he's given me to write from a Christian perspective and stay true to my beliefs. But writing is also work -- and can be draining. 

My new book is called, Waiting for Belinda. You will still be in touch with our friends from Lancaster County who we met in Ruth's Dilemma, Emma's Choice , and Katie's Discovery, but now we slip over to Holmes County, Ohio,    where we are introduced to Belinda, Gabe's niece, who is causing grief to her Amish parents as she uses her time of Rumschpringe to try her wings. Her adventures continue as she spends time in Pennsylvania, creating problems, not only for her family, but for herself as well. You'll love her, want to strangle her, and everything in between as she discovers who she is and what she wants to become. 

My books are wholesome enough for young adults, but interesting enough for all ages. (Even men enjoy them, though I've been sworn to secrecy by some)

I hope to have Waiting for Belinda available this summer. Jah, that would be ever so nice.
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Published on June 27, 2013 07:25 • 75 views

April 22, 2013

It's so nice to be back in Pennsylvania after wintering in Florida. While I love the warmth and sun of the southern state, I miss the deciduous trees and spring flowers so abundant in our northern haven. My husband and I live in a small town in central Pennsylvania and are privileged to have the best of both worlds - winter in Florida and summer in PA. 
Suitcases are unpacked and I'm ready to return to the real world. I'm excited as I work on ideas for a new Amish book, which will keep some of my friends and family from the "Zook Sisters of Lancaster County," as it adds new characters and fresh romance.
Before I begin the draft, I'm working on a series of "Julia," a young woman who discovers love in a far away country, but finds herself thwarted by a domineering mother and... Well, I'll tell you more when it's ready to publish. 
I hope some of you will follow my blog and correspond with me. I love to hear from my readers. 
Blessings,     June
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Published on April 22, 2013 14:17 • 55 views

November 7, 2012

Yesterday America spoke. Obama will be the executive chief and president of these United States for another term. For many, those who voted for him, it is a victory. For those of us who follow politics closely, it is tragic. We may never be able to come back - fiscally or morally - to be the great nation we once were. 

As the populace increases its dependence on government to provide, the size and power of the government increases. History will repeat itself. the seduction of socialism is powerful, but the end result is always the same. What sounds enticing in theory, turns out to be impractical. The only people who benefit are the leaders who indulge themselves and take from the people. Anyone who has lived under the scourge of true socialism/communism will warn you of the slippery slope we find ourselves on. Weaken the military and leave yourself open to threats and domination from outside forces. Obama plans to do just that, decimating the forces that keep us free.

Personal responsibility is at an all time low. People were warned about the storm Sandy, yet many did not even bother to purchase extra water or batteries, expecting the government to be there in their time of need. Even mandatory evacuation was ignored by some. Yes, we need help during natural tragedies, but the logistics sometimes make it difficult to be on site immediately. We must try to foresee our own needs to prevent further suffering. People tend to live from paycheck to paycheck, or welfare check to welfare check. We can learn to live without all the goodies.

Stories of those on long-term unemployment abound, noting their unwillingness to accept jobs as long as they receive checks from the government. Sometimes it doesn't pay them to return to the workforce since child care is expensive and then they wouldn't qualify for some of their other benefits such as medical assistance and food stamps. Can you blame them when the government makes it difficult to wean off of dependency. 

Many of the schools are so miserable, even if you make it through high school, you may not be trained to do anything constructive. That is a true problem, but unions have put the teacher first in many instances. Romney wanted school choice. He wanted to encourage people to get off welfare and be productive members of society. He offered a fresh start. Free enterprise systems can only survive if people are willing to work and be part of the solution. We can not sustain the excessive spending in Washington much longer. Our debt is going to swallow us and we will be another Greece - rioting, unable to fulfill the promises of the earlier generations.

The left-wing Democrats want control and they're getting it. Our freedoms are being jeopardized. Obomacare will cripple us further. Note that our politicians do not live by the same standards as they expect us to live. They will always have excellent medical care and pensions. What other group of people has the ability to give itself raises, vacation time, and benefits?

Can we get through four more years with Obama at the helm? Yes. Will it be the same country we remember growing up in? No. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be wary of the media, which has an agenda. I believe they are responsible for this election ending as it did. Where was the coverage on Libya? On Fast and Furious? On the excessive spending of the first family? On the outrageous health bill? On the consequences of disallowing private religious groups to determine their own health policies for their employees? Missing in action on all counts.

 Check your facts and stand up for your beliefs and rights. We can not sleep. And get on your knees and pray to God to forgive this nation for its sins. IIChron: 7:14
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Published on November 07, 2012 10:03 • 44 views

October 7, 2012

My letter to the editor: Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania - October 4, 2012

  Wake up America, you are being deceived by
  the very people who should be informing you. For years I've watched as the
  media becomes more biased with each election. It is the media that now
  determines the election outcome. Instead of being the watchdog for the people
  it has become a lackey for its party of choice, whom it got elected in the
  first place. Think of it. On the one hand we had a war hero, public servant,
  known for honesty and patriotism running for the presidency and on the other
  hand - a man with no history, glib, but a record so vague as to be laughable.
  Yet he was raised on a pedestal. Here was the man who would bring change; turn
Washington around and bring transparency to the American people so they would see
everything that went on and be part of the process. And a black man at that. All
the talk of racism and hatred would be dispelled by a man who would be a salve
for the nation's past ills - a leader who would take away the divisions and
bring us together. He would look out for each of the citizens. And what did we

A partisan of the far left. We should have known. Look at his background,
those who formed his early belief system, the socialistic friends in academia,
his church, his background in Chicagopolitics. What did America
expect? Do you know how many were killed by the extraordinary program, Fast
and Furious,
that allowed guns to be purchased in the US to be given to the drug lords in Mexico
and actually orchestrated by  the American government? Did you hear about that on NBC or read
 about it in the New York Times? Did you hear about the number of bundlers and heavy donors to
 Obama that got special treatment and millions of dollars from the stimulus that we, the tax-payer
 paid for?  Remember Solyndra?

What about the fact that Obama took time out for "The View" and other foolish programs rather
than meet face-to-face with leaders attending the UN? A requested meeting with Netanyahu
was rejected - our president was too busy to meet with the Israeli prime
minister. In fact, for the first time in two decades, a USpresident did
not meet with any leaders. Is it because the world is so calm? How many mid-east
countries are burning our flag shouting "death to America" right
at this moment? What about the four patriots murdered in the vicious attack on
our consulate? Make no doubt about it. It was an act of terrorism on 9-11 and
everyone - everyone knew it! But after gloating at the Democratic convention
about Osama being dead and Al Qaeda being insignificant, how could the
administration come out and admit their policy failures. Osama is dead because
for years Americahad been working toward that end. Our intelligence community
spent years working on the plan to remove that man. Obama gave the final okay,
but it wasn't his life at risk. No, but as soon as it was accomplished, the
White House leaked sensitive material, causing undo threats to our intelligence
community. Why? For his next election. So he'd look good as a world leader.
He is weak, our world standing has been significantly reduced and yet he still
has approval ratings that are astounding for the damage he's caused.

The day after the tragedy in Libya, the president took off to Vegas for a fundraiser!
Can you imagine how Bush would have been vilified if he had done something
like that? I'm sick of not being told the truth. Sick of lies. Sick of the destruction
to our great country. Where are the investigative reporters? They got rid of Nixon
and there were not four dead people involved in Watergate. Security was lacking.
You don't need the FBI to tell you that. There are four caskets that prove it.

Now the media is determined to get Obama re-elected. Go onto the Drudge Report
where you can investigate on your own. You can read newspapers from around
the world. Please, educate yourself. There has never been a more important election.


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Published on October 07, 2012 12:39 • 26 views