Thursday, October 27, 2011

And the Winner is...

Thanks for leaving comments on the Her Safari post! The winner of the Starbucks Coffee Gift Card is...Rae! Congrats! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Curious About the Amish? Read This Review!

I just read an awesome review by Tim Challies of Ira Wagler's book, Growing Up Amish. If you are curious about the Amish, I highly recommend you read Tim's review AND Ira Wagler's book! Both bring insights into this lifestyle that are awesome and rare.To read both, just click the red links on their names. To buy Ira's book, just click the red link of his title.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Her Safari by Lisa Mikitarian: A Great Book!

Les, our driver has just pulled the bus up to Dee Yoder's Blog in Ohio, our next stop on the blog tour for Her Safari, by Lisa Mikitarian. Mari’s cranking out the caramel macchiatos as fast as her machine will allow. The caffeine is perking up the gang. We have the latest scoop from Lisa, herself!

First let me tell you about this wonderful collection of short stories: HER SAFARI - Snapshots Along the Way
Life is a mix of love, humor, faith, ingenuity, and tragedy—sometimes all in the same day! No matter how different we are as individuals, our lives are made up of seasons, circumstances, and turning points. In Her Safari, you'll find women of varying ages and backgrounds—each at a life juncture—some more critical than others.

Among them is a single woman who distrusts men, yet flirts with her doctor while under the influence of Percocet; a wife who considers divorcing her husband over Christmas d├ęcor; and a widow who's ready for bridge but not community living.

Despite their differences, whatever leg of the safari these women are on, and however successful they are in navigating the conflict in their lives, one thing becomes clear—most are genuinely doing the best they can. This captivating collection makes a wonderful gift for women of all ages.

On this stop of the blog tour, I thought it would be fun to find out what’s currently happening in Lisa’s writing cave where you will also find her dog, Dorian Gray, playing the role of Lisa’s muse.

If you haven’t visited Lisa and Maddie’s Connecting Now blog, you are in for a real treat.
Lisa talks about Connecting Now:
"It’s an offbeat advice blog called Connecting Now. My publisher told me I had to have a blog, so I thought long and hard about something I could keep up and enjoy. I didn’t feel under pressure to have all the right answers because one—it’s offbeat, and two—the Readers chime in.
While at the Faithwriter’s conference, I asked my oldest, Madeline, if she would sub for me on the blog. She did; everyone loved her, and when I returned, the masses demanded she stay—especially Timmy Boyle. The rest is, as they say, history. The blog is approaching its second birthday, and looking back, there’s no way I could have kept it up without her.

People write to us about all sorts of things—some utterly ridiculous (we love those), and some profoundly serious—we love those, too, though a few have been heartbreaking. Often our Readers have better advice than we have—and we’re a-okay with that because the blog reflects our belief that no man is an island, that God created us in communion for a reason—to help one another out."

Her Safari is a huge success and Lisa gracefully reveals what we can look forward to in the near future:

Lisa and Maddie
 “Heart of my heart.”~Lisa Mikitarian

"Maddie and I are currently editing our novel The Devil to Pay. It’s set in a time where a DNA scan can tell parents about their child’s complete genetic make-up in utero. That scan is referred to as the Projections. The Projections include a four-gene combination which predicts the likelihood of a person accepting the Creator.

The story opens with the main character discovering she’s pregnant and that her own Projections are a complete forgery bought by her parents. The novel asks questions like: Can we ever thwart the will of God? How much knowledge about ourselves is too much?

I’d also like to put together one more collection of short stories from the male perspective called That’s What He Said. For some weird reason, I love writing from the male POV."

Thank you, Lisa. Can’t wait to read The Devil’s Play and That’s What He Said.

How can you order Her Safari, by Lisa Mikitarian? To purchase Her Safari, click here. Remember to check out the fabulous gift basket available. Lisa has partnered with Heart of God International Ministries, so that they’ll receive the proceeds from books bought on their behalf. If you wish to benefit HGIM with your purchase, there’s a special button on the Her Safari publishers site at the check out (HGIM).

If you leave a comment on this blog post, you are automatically entered to win a $5 Starbucks card! Check back—The winner will be drawn and announced on October 27th.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Posting at Jewels of Encouragement Today!

I'm posting today at Jewels of Encouragement! I hope you get the chance to pop over and read, and get a sneak peak at who I used to be. ( ;

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

God Looks at the Heart

A couple of years ago, we were privileged to witness the first of several weddings of two of our former-Amish friends. The bride was beautiful and the groom was handsome. They began their service with their pastor asking the wedding guests to give the bride and groom the best present ever: a heart that is turned to Jesus!

It was very unusual, but very touching, since this couple knew there would be many former-Amish friends attending the wedding who needed to hear the gospel and may not have not yet given their heart to the Lord.

It's funny, but when I saw the bride, gorgeous and shining in her white satin with sprinkles of sequins and bows, I thought about how I'd not recognized her once when I saw her in her Amish clothing. She looked so different. My brain super-imposed more than just clothing on her and I didn't recognize the person hidden beneath the Amish Ordnung's rules of dress.

One former-Amish friend said since she has been wearing her Englisher clothes, she walks among her Amish neighbors at farmer's markets and they don't even know her. While she shops, she is careful not speak to the Amish vendors too much for fear they will recognize the hint of Pennsylvania Dutch accent that still remains in her speech. But it is evident her outward change in appearance has shadowed her true identity to those who used to know her.

When we look first at the outward garb of people, we often see what our brain thinks it will see: Amish clothing brings images of purity and simplicity. The more I know the former Amish, the more I realize the Amish world is often complicated and filled with layer-upon-layer of issues that sometimes create chaos in this simple seeming lifestyle.

We have to learn to not let the outwardly appearance of order and plain living in this multifaceted culture blind us to the needs of the people who are donning the apparel. The Amish are humans beings with all the foibles and troubles the human race encompasses. Their souls ache for unity with their Maker, just as any person's soul does.

The best thing we can do for the Amish is to support them in prayer and be a friend when they are in need. As Believers let's be open to offering the bread of life and living water for parched Amish souls, just the same as we would to anyone else who shows signs of spiritual hunger and thirst.

We need to remind ourselves of God's words to us about judging others (good or bad) only by appearance:

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

John 7:24
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." (Jesus' advice to the Jews with Him at the Temple)

Galatians 2:6
As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message.

Colossians 2:23
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

And finally, let's consider how our Lord Jesus, the Coming Messiah, was described in Isaiah 53:2:

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Nothing in His appearance that we should desire him. That speaks volumes about human ability (or lack thereof) to know the heart, the soul, the spirit, and even the deity of our Savior, simply by outward appearance alone.

Let's purpose to see each person as God sees them: souls that need to be reconciled to Him. Let's open our eyes to what may lie behind the simple dress of the Amish and be willing to bring the Good News to them, as we would to any neighbor or friend.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Heart's Dee-Light!

The name of my blog fits right in with the title of my post today because I'm thinking of a group of people who ARE my heart's delight: my former Amish friends. They are truly a treasure.

I smile when I hear about their accomplishments. I cry when I hear they're sad or feeling rejected. I cheer when one of them goes after a big dream, and I want to hug them all when I see how stoic they are in the face of much trouble.

There is nothing that pleases my heart more than when one of my friends makes me laugh--makes me proud--makes me know Who made them.

To all my former Amish friends: you inspire me! What a blessing to have each one of you in my life! Here are just a few of them: