Tuesday, February 28, 2017
An Amish Home
An Amish Home is a collection of four novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kathleen Fuller.
A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman
A Cup Half Full follows the story of Sarah and Abram Lantz. After a buggy accident leaves Sarah in a wheelchair she struggles to comes to terms with her new reality. Abram was driving the buggy at the time of the accident and blames himself for his wife's condition. Hoping to make things better and easier for Sarah, he completely remodels the house making it handicap accessible. You'd think Sarah would be happy that her husband went through all this trouble to accommodate her, but all she sees is a constant reminder of her limitations and how God took everything from her.
At first I found Sarah's attitude unbearable. I mean, here's her husband working, visiting her at the hospital and working to make their home better for her and she's just bitter. I couldn't understand it but as I thought about it I realized we're all a little like Sarah, or at least I am. I tend to get angry and blame God when things don't go my way or we're experiencing something that's really hard. I tend to ask "Why did you let this happen" instead of focusing on my blessings and seeing the cup as half full.
Abram is riddled with guilt. He blames himself for the accident even though he knows there was nothing he could have done to prevent it. He also makes some bad decision's to alleviate that guilt. Mainly borrowing money, more money that he could ever pay back. But he had to make the house accessible for Sarah, right? You have to admire Abram and his desire to take care of Sarah and make her happy, even if he doesn't make the best decisions.
Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston
Mia O'Conner grew up in the lap of luxury. She had everything a girl could possibly want, except love. When she falls in love with Chace and ends up pregnant she realizes how cold her parents can really be. When Mia refuses to have an abortion her parents insist she marry someone of her class who can provide for her and take care of her and the child. Love is the stuff of fairy tales right?
Mia refuses her parents and marries Chace. They had everything planned out and things were going according to plan until Kaitlyn is born early and has to spend time in the hospital. Things quickly go from bad to worse until they find themselves living in the Amish community of Isaac Allgyer, Chase's new boss. Chace knows it's not the life Mia is used to but he hopes that she loves him enough to weather life's storms.
I truly enjoyed Home Sweet Home, I thought it was neat how the main couple was English and the supporting couple was Amish. Mia has had a rough life and she struggles to adapt to a life of less. She loves Chace with all her heart but when life gets tough she's tempted to run back to mom and dad, even though both her parents have essentially disowned her, due to her marrying someone of a lower class,
Chace struggles with self worth. He grew up in the foster system and not all of his foster parents were loving and encouraging. He wants to be worthy of Mia and the family they've made but he seems to think he has to do it all on his own. If he makes one mistake he's quick to beat himself down mentally, almost to the point he can't dust himself off and try again.
Both Mia and Chace are young and on a journey of self discovery. Will they find themselves and God before it's too late?
A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid
Thomas and Noreen King lose everything in a devastating house fire. Nothing is saved except a tin box, that Thomas kept the letters Noreen wrote him, and a few scraps of their wedding quilt. It just isn't fair, of course life isn't fair, the Kings should know that better than anyone.
Fifteen years ago they were blissfully happy like most newlyweds but now they were almost like strangers. Noreen has been praying for God to heal her marriage, to make it better somehow but what she got was a pile of ashes. How would they recover? Will their marriage survive this?
Thomas loves Noreen with all his heart, but it seems like everything he says upsets her somehow. She either cries or gets angry. A man can't win for losing. It's been like this for sometime and he's been praying for God to heal his marriage because he's tried everything and come up empty. Maybe the house burning is a blessing in disguise. Maybe he and Noreen can rebuild their marriage as they rebuild their home.
When their money is stolen by vandals Thomas dreads having to tell Noreen that they may not get their happily ever after after all. But with God all things are possible! Their community rallies around the Kings determined to love them and help them any way they can.
This story made me cry. It caught me off guard. Noreen has experienced more than her fair share of pain and yet she continually prays for God to heal her marriage. I know the Amish marry for life so there's that, but it would've been easy for her to say I've done all I can do and throw her hands up and leave. I love how even when it was hard for both Thomas and Noreen that they never truly gave up. That as the secret, they both held a flicker of hope that God could and would heal their marriage.
Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller
This story was a little bit different for me but very interesting. Faith, a woman, loves woodworking. The Amish clearly frown upon this because they have chores set aside for women and men respectively. As long as Faith kept it a hobby her family was kind of okay with it, but her parents wouldn't hear of her selling anything she made.
Silas is Faith's ex-fiancee. They were supposed to be married until she ripped his heart out by telling him she just couldn't count on him. Okay, so he was a little flighty and forgetful, but it wasn't like he was doing in on purpose. She never gave him a chance to explain. Now, since his mom has been sick, he's left with the responsibility of running the family carpentry business, doing his best to be all the things he wasn't with him and Faith were together.
When both Silas and Faith are hired for the same carpentry job neither one is thrilled. Both hanging on to their own hurts of the past they at first refuse to even consider working together. But can they? If they combined forces they could build some beautiful cabinets and if they'd both let the old hurts go they could build more.
I truly enjoyed each of the four novellas in An Amish Home. The characters are so well developed I have to remind myself they aren't real! Each one now holds a special place in my heart and I can't wait for you to meet them. I hope you love them as much as I do!
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.