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23 January 2012

The Beauty of the Amish...

*Your hostess for this Clash is Delia Latham

Peacefulness. Simplicity. Integrity. Godliness.

How can one not think along those lines when thinking about the Amish? Although I am admittedly not overly familiar with the lifestyle, I know just enough to want to know more. Their ideals appeal to me.

And not only to me...Amish romance has taken the world of Christian fiction by storm. I'd say that's an indication that something about this quiet way of life touches a chord in lots of readers.

I'm excited and honored to host an Amish Clash as my first clash of 2012.

We have a couple of wonderful excerpts for you to consider. Which of them do you like best? Both are posted below for your reading pleasure. (Don't forget to vote when you've finished reading.)

Excerpt A

Katie Ann reached into the drawer of the end table next to the couch and pulled out the letter she’d received two weeks ago. She knew it would upset her stomach to read it—as it had a dozen times already—but she unfolded it anyway. She couldn’t imagine why her husband’s mistress, Lucy Turner, was planning to travel all the way to Colorado to see her. She took a deep breath and read the letter again.

Dear Katie Ann,
I hope this letter finds you well. I heard from some of our mutual acquaintances here in Lancaster County that you had a healthy baby boy and named him Jonas. Congratulations to you. A baby is such a miracle from God.

Katie Ann rolled her eyes, the way she always did at Lucy’s mention of God. A good, godly woman wouldn’t get involved with another woman’s husband. Although she knew good and well that it took two for such deception. She let out a heavy sigh and continued reading.

I’m sure that I am the last person you want to hear from, and I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to meet with you. I know it is awkward, but I have something important to discuss, and it’s too much to say in a letter, or even over the phone. As soon as I can arrange to be off work, I will be traveling to Colorado. I hope that you can find time to meet with me to discuss this urgent matter. I thought it might be easiest for you if you knew in advance that I’m coming.
All the best to you and your new little one,
Lucy Turner

Katie Ann folded the piece of paper and put it back in the drawer, determined not to let thoughts of Lucy ruin this day. But as she crossed through the living room toward the kitchen, she couldn’t help but wonder exactly when Lucy was going to show up on her doorstep. And what she wanted.

Katie Ann poured a large bag of M&Ms into a Tupperware bowl, then put the container next to the other food she would be carting to the Detweilers’ house. Both the candy and container were a gift for the bride and groom. It was traditional to place a fun and edible gift on the eck, something that held special meaning between the giver and the recipient. Katie Ann guessed that lots of people would choose M&Ms, though. It was no secret that the candy was Emily’s favorite.

She couldn’t believe that the wedding was tomorrow. It seemed like just yesterday her husband’s nephew David was a young boy, but tomorrow he would marry Emily in front of a hundred friends and family. A small crowd for an Amish wedding. She recalled the nearly four hundred guests at her own wedding, but she quickly brushed the memory aside as she snapped the lid closed on the bowl.

Excerpt B

"Why are you here? With these quilts?"
“I’m bringing them to you.”
Callie took a step backwards, bumped into Max and nearly tripped.
The woman moved forward as if to help, but Callie shook her head. “I’m fine.”
“I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m Deborah Yoder—”
It was habit for Callie to shake hands. “Callie Harper. Listen, Miss—”
“Miss Yoder.” Callie pulled in a deep breath, tried to think clearly, but she hadn’t had coffee in, well in days and a headache throbbed in her temples.
“Call me Deborah, please. We’re not very formal in Shipshewana. The thing is I had an agreement with Daisy to sell quilts I made. I don’t make them alone of course—two friends and I make them.”
Callie shifted from one slipper-clad foot to the other. “Deborah, I don’t know what arrangement you had with my aunt, but Daisy's Quilt Store is closed.”
They both turned to stare at the little shop. Unread newspapers lined the walk. Weeds fought with flowers for space in the beds, and the weeds were definitely winning. Mud from recent rains splattered the front windows, and yellowed APRIL SPRING SALE flyers remained in the display case outside the door.
Daisy's Quilt Store was definitely closed.
“This all must be very difficult for you,” Deborah said softly.
Tears stung Callie’s eyes. She blinked rapidly, shifted the quilts so she could maintain a better grip on Max’s leash, though he had decided to lie down at her feet, in the shade of the raspberry awnings and study the two women.
Callie glanced again at the stack of quilts and noticed a diamond-in-a-square pattern, solid dark blue surrounded by purple and bordered in black. It reminded her so much of a quilt which once covered her mother’s bed. A deep ache started from somewhere in the middle of her chest, and she thought she might drop to the pavement right beside Max.
“Are you all right?” Deborah moved forward, reached out, and touched her arm.
“I’m, I’m fine. I was wondering, what do you call this, this pattern?”
Deborah smiled, pulled the strings from her kapp back behind her shoulders. “It’s called a medallion quilt. I’ll tell you about it, but let’s go inside first. I think you could maybe use a cup of tea or some kaffi. You looked a bit pale there for a minute.”
Callie hesitated, then realized she was standing outside in her gown, and Main Street traffic was beginning to pick up.
“All right. I suppose we could go inside long enough to straighten this out.”
Walking into the back door, she looked longingly at the stairs that led up to the apartment, but instead she continued down the hallway, led Deborah through the side door, then through the storage room into the shop.
Fifteen minutes and one cup of tea. Let the woman have her say, then she’d send her back outside to her buggy, and she’d send all the quilts with her.

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