Country Music Mourning and Singing

Wow, Country Music has taken a hit the last week. First Kenny Rogers, then Opry Member Jan Howard, and then the very shocking passing of Joe Diffie. Kenny was just iconic, and his music is timeless. My favorite Kenny song is “Coward of the County”, which I’m sure is not one of his more popular songs. I have seen Jan Howard a few times at the Opry. And Joe Diffie, there are no words there. I grew up listening to his songs. Through all these hard times I am glad the “Circle Will Not Be Broken” and the Opry is still going on. That is the one thing I look forward to on Saturday Nights right now.

What a Difference 30 Days Can Make

March 1st, I woke up to sun, warm temperatures, and the excitement of being on vacation. March 2nd was the start of my five days away from reality at “The Most Magical Place on Earth”. There was some tragedy while we were there, but my extent of news was news from the “little bubble” of Disney World. I never imagined March would end so differently than it started. Yes, the temperature is starting to rise, and the sun is shining more, and the flowers are in bloom here in Kentucky. But “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is closed and travel should not be done. My new reality is work Monday through Friday and home and in my PJ’s by 5:30. I’m trying to read as much as I can, as my reality escape, but I can only do that for so long. It’s amazing to me how things can change so drastically within one month.

The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma by Patricia Davids

With everything so crazy right now and everybody having to stay inside I’m sure more and more people are turning toward books as a source of entertainment and relaxation. I know I did over this past weekend. And let me tell you I found a good book to help escape from reality for a bit.

The Amish Teacher’s Dilemma by Patricia Davids was far more than I expected. It is part of a series but can be read as a stand alone. Although I plan on reading the books that came before it (should have a lot of free time on my hands). First the characters are the type of characters you can’t help but enjoy from the very beginning and the community is just amazing. I don’t know much about the Amish community but Ms. Davids’ helps the reader understand it a little more.

Ava is a new teacher moving to a new community and helping to open a new school. Willis is just trying to keep his business going while at the same time learning to adjust to raising his two brothers and sister. The four of them make some welcoming committee for the new teacher. I enjoyed every moment of them learning about each other, the good and the bad, and maybe even finding love along the way.

This was a great light read to escape from reality for just a bit. I can’t wait to read the first books and then for more, and all while learning more about the Amish Community.

Author bio & book description for THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA by Patricia Davids (Love Inspired)

About THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA: Taking a schoolteacher position in another district is just the change Amish spinster Eva Coblentz needs. And with her new neighbor, blacksmith Willis Gingrich, struggling to raise his three orphaned siblings, Eva is determined to help them heal. But when her relatives insist she come home, Eva must choose between the life she left…and the one she’s growing to love.

About PATRICIA DAVIDS: USA TODAY best-selling author Patricia Davids was born and raised in Kansas. After forty years as an NICU nurse, Pat switched careers to become an inspirational writer. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandchildren, traveling and playing with her dogs, who think fetch should be a twenty-four hour a day game. When not on the road or throwing a ball, Pat is happily dreaming up new stories.

Excerpt – THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA by Patricia Davids

Willis thought he had enough time to fix the new teacher’s chair, put four shoes on Jesse Crump’s buggy horse and get supper on the table by six o’clock. It was seven-thirty by the time he came in to find his family gathered around the kitchen table with a scowl on every face. Thankfully, he couldn’t see Bubble but he was sure she was scowling, too.

“I know I’m late. One of Jesse’s horses had a problem hoof and I had to make special shoes for him. I’ll fix us something to eat right away.”

He went to the refrigerator and opened the door. There wasn’t much to see. “I meant to set some hamburger out of the freezer to thaw this morning but forgot to do it.”

“You should leave yourself a note,” Harley said. He was paging through a magazine about horses. He was always reading. Willis fought down the stab of envy.

If Willis could write a note, then he’d be able to read one. He couldn’t do either. The most he could manage was to write his name. No one in New Covenant knew his shameful secret. Children as young as Maddie learned to read every day but he couldn’t. No matter how hard he’d tried. There was something wrong with him.

He hid his deficiency from everyone although it wasn’t easy. He’d been made a laughingstock by the one person he’d confided in years ago. He’d never been able to trust another person with his secret. The bitter memory wormed its way to the front of his mind.

He’d been twenty at the time and hopelessly in love with a non-Amish girl. She was the only person he had told that he couldn’t read. He hadn’t wanted to keep secrets from her. She claimed to love him, too. He had trusted her.

Later, when they were out with a bunch of her friends, she told everyone. They all laughed. He laughed, too, and pretended it didn’t matter but the hurt and shame had gone bone deep. He didn’t think anything could hurt worse than Dalene’s betrayal, but he’d been wrong. She and her friends had much more humiliation in store for him.

He pushed those memories back into the dark corner of his mind where they belonged. He had to find something to feed the children gathered at his table. “I guess I can scramble us some eggs.”

“Again?” Otto wrinkled his nose.

“Bubble says to be thankful we have chickens.” Maddie beamed a bright smile at Otto.

“Bubble can’t say anything because she isn’t real, stupid.” Otto pushed his plate away.

Willis rounded on him. “Never call your sister or anyone else stupid, Otto. You know better than that. Apologize or go to bed without supper.”

“Sorry,” Otto murmured. He didn’t sound apologetic.

A knock at the door stopped Willis from continuing the conversation. Who needed a blacksmith at this hour? He pulled open the door and took a step back. Eva Coblentz stood on his porch with a large basket over her arm.

She flashed a nervous grin. “I’m used to cooking for more than just myself and I made too much tonight. I thought perhaps you could make use of it for lunch tomorrow. It’s only chicken and dumplings.”

Willis was speechless. Maddie came to stand beside him. “Teacher, how nice to see you.”

Eva smiled at Maddie. “It’s nice to see you again, too. How is Bubble?”

Maddie stuck her tongue out at Otto. “She’s fine but kinda hungry. We haven’t had our supper yet. Willis had to give Jesse Crump special shoes so he was going to make scrambled eggs again, but Otto isn’t thankful for our chickens.”

Eva blinked her lovely green eyes. “I see.”

“Do you?” Willis couldn’t help smiling at her perplexed expression. “Then you’re ahead of me most of the time.”

Harley came to the door. “Let me help you with that.” He took the basket from her and carried it to the table. He began setting out the contents.

Otto pulled his plate back in front of him. “That smells great.”

Harley dished up his own and then passed the plastic bowls along. Willis thought his siblings were acting like starving animals. He could hardly blame them. He was going to have to learn to cook for more than himself. Normally, he didn’t care what he ate or when he ate it. That had changed when the children arrived, and change was something he didn’t handle well.

Eva folded her arms across her middle. “I will be going so you can enjoy your meal in peace. Have a wonderful night, everyone.”

He didn’t want her to go. He stepped out onto the porch and closed the door from the prying eyes of his family. “How’s your head?”

She touched it gingerly. “Better.”

“I fixed the chair. You won’t have to worry about tipping over again.”

“I appreciate that.” She turned to go.

“The school board hired me to supply and install the hardware in the new building. I’ll get the rest of the coat hooks, cabinets and drawer pulls installed tomorrow. Have you had your supper? You are welcome to join us.”

“I have eaten. Danki. Don’t forget to feed Bubble. She’s much too thin.”

Willis raked a hand through his hair. “I don’t know why Maddie makes things up.”

She gave him a soft, kind smile. “Don’t worry about it. A lot of children have imaginary friends.”

“Really?” He wanted to believe her. When she smiled he forgot his worries and his ignorance.

“Absolutely. She will outgrow her invisible friend someday soon. Until then, enjoy her imagination.”

“I reckon you have seen a lot of things like this in your teaching career.” It made him feel better to know Maddie wasn’t the only child who had a pretend companion.

“This will be my first year as a teacher. I was actually surprised that the position didn’t go to someone with more experience. Perhaps my enthusiasm won the school board over.”

“I think you were the only applicant.”

She laughed and clasped a hand over her heart. “You have returned my ego to its normal size. How can I ever thank you?”

He smiled along with her. “We are blessed to have you.”

She leaned toward him slightly. “We will have to wait until we have Bubble’s assessment of my teaching skills before jumping to any conclusions. Guten nacht, Willis Gingrich.”

“Good night, Teacher.”

She walked away into the darkness. He watched until he saw her enter her house across the way. There was something attractive about Eva Coblentz that had nothing to do with her face or her figure. She was the first woman in a long time who made him want to smile.

He went back inside the house. The children were still eating. He took his place at the head of the table, bowed his head for a silent prayer, then reached for a bread roll. It was still warm. He looked at Maddie. “What did you say to your teacher that made her bring food here tonight?”

Maddie shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.”

“You must have said something.” He took a bite of his roll.

Maddie had a whispered conversation with the empty chair next to her. She looked up and grinned at him. “Bubble says that she told teacher you need a wife who is a good cook.”

He started coughing. Otto pounded on his back while Harley rushed to give him a glass of water. When he could catch his breath, Willis stared at Maddie in shock. “Eva thinks I’m looking for a wife?”

Maddie nodded.

Willis hung his head. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was no way he could keep his secret from a wife. Even if he found the courage to reveal his handicap to a woman again, there was still one pressing reason he had to remain single.

Amish ministers and bishops were chosen by lot from the married men of the congregation. At baptism every Amish fellow vowed to accept the responsibility of becoming a minister of the faith if he should be chosen. What kind of preacher would he make if he couldn’t readthe Word of God? The humiliation didn’t bear thinking about. He would remain a single fellow his entire life. That was God’s plan for him.

He turned his attention back to Maddie. “You were wrong to tell your teacher that I’m looking for a wife. I’m not. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Maddie lifted both hands. “Just tell her you don’t want a wife. How hard can that be?”

The Most Magical Place (but not right now)

I am super sad that Disney World is closed right now. I get it but I hate that people can not escape from this reality right now in the Most Magical Place. I know it did wonders for me two weeks ago. It’s just strange to me that right now no rides are running, no shows are playing, and Main Street USA has nobody walking right down the middle. But most of all it saddens me that many people had to cancel or put on hold making wonderful family memories.

Reading During the Darkness

During these dark days ahead maybe I can at least make a hit to my “To Read Pile”. I am getting sick of the same old Hallmark Movies. I do have stuff I should be doing (at home) but reading sounds better. Now of course all reading will be done after I get home from work. Because for this Southern Belle there has been no altering to my daily schedule, but my evenings sure have been slaughtered.

First NASCAR Race in a While

I have not watched a NASCAR Race in a few years now. But Monday night after work and running some errands I sat down to watch a little bit of the Daytona 500. Of course by the time I turned it on it was late in the race and I got to see that last lap wreck coming to the checkered flag. I have never been a big Newman fan but in that moment when he took the lead I was rooting for him to pull off the win. And then he was flipping and skidding for what seemed like forever and I feared a repeat of nineteen years okay, I’m not going to lie. That crash left me shaking hoping for the best but fearing the worst. All night long I was afraid what news would come out of Daytona. So when I saw that video of him walking out of the hospital with his two girls just days after, it brought a tear to my eyes. For Ryan Newman, his girls, his family, his friends, his crew, and his fans I’m glad he is on the road to recovery.