On August 5, two winners were drawn from those who’d left comments below. The winners are Sheryl, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Grace of Jamestown, New York. Congratulations Sheryl and Grace! This contest is now closed. I’ll begin a new contest a week or so after I’m home from my book tour.
In the July issue of my newsletter, Plain News, I wrote about my latest trip to Pennsylvania and spending some of that time with Amish friends. For those of you who don’t receive my newsletter, I’m posting an excerpt below.
But first! It’s time to have another blog contest. The winner of the last blog contest, Nancy Capps, won an Amish-made wall hanging. Congratulations, Nancy! The contest this time is for an autographed copy of The Hope of Refuge. I’m very excited about my upcoming release, and if you read the excerpt from my newsletter, you’ll begin to see why.
New Yorker Cara Moore has nothing and is on the run. Young Amish woman Deborah Mast has everything and is on her way to the wedding altar. When their lives collide, neither one will be the same. Can the humility and faith of Ada save either of them?
For a chance to win an autographed copy of The Hope of Refuge, just leave a comment below.
From the yard of my closest Old Order Amish friend, I sipped a cup of coffee as I watched sunlight peek over the mountains and fill the valley. Along the creek banks of a nearby pasture, bands of mist rose like dancing trees and then disappeared into nothingness six or so feet from the ground. I’d never seen mist do such a jig. Sunlight sparkled off the dewy grass. The creek had overflowed its usual bounds because of abundant spring rains and ran wildly through the meadow. The steady clop of horses’ hoofs against the asphalt softened as the rigs pulled onto the gravel driveway.
It was a day I’d looked forward to for a year. The annual Amish school sale. It’s a bustling auction with at least four auctioneers selling various goods at different stations, two makeshift kitchens set up on the property, and several commercial-size grills filled with chicken.
The sales from this auction support Amish schools in the surrounding community. So on that beautiful spring day, many districts of Amish people attended the school sale, along with hundreds of English folk (also known as Englischers or non-Amish). A district has between eighteen to twenty-eight families. When the population grows to around twenty-five families, the Amish church leaders start looking into ways to divide that district—which involves several things, one of which is renovating a current structure or building a new one-room Amish schoolhouse.
On the day of this auction, there were probably a thousand people inside the warehouse-type building owned by an Amish family for the purpose of timber framing. This school sale is held each year on the day before Mother’s Day, which lends itself to a great gift-buying opportunity for Amish and English alike.
Most of my family was there, eating and drinking the homemade goods and bidding on things from hand–sewn, faceless dolls to wall hangings to king-size quilts.
I love these auctions!
When I finally tore myself away from my Amish friends a week later, I brought with me a beautiful Amish quilt for the quilt contest. The quilt was sewn by at least a dozen Amish women from that area. It’s gorgeous! So if you haven’t entered the Amish quilt contest yet, I encourage you to do so this time.
After the crowds had gone home, the cleanup began. The sun sank behind the mountains, and about the time dark settled over the land, everything was in order enough for supper to begin. About nine o’clock that night, amid soft conversations and bursts of laughter, my husband, youngest son, and I sat at the familiar old oak table and shared a meal with a group of very weary and content Amish folk. It was another great year of earning money to pay the schoolteachers from several districts in the area, and they were pleased.
The aromas, sights, and sounds of an Amish school sale are only one piece of the authentic Amish culture captured in my new book, The Hope of Refuge.
Excerpt from “Plain News July 2009.” The newsletter is free and is sent four times per year. To sign up to receive this free newsletter, go to: Plain News