Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Living Like The Amish: Interviews With Three "English" Families PART I

Many people are obsessed with the Amish.
I know at one time I was as well, and to a degree I still am.
But my perception  has changed with experience.

It started a long time ago when my family went to an Amish-held auction (no, it's not a place where you can buy Amish children, but a place where you can buy things from the Amish). I was eleven years old and enthralled to be surrounded by so many Amish. I loved the cockscomb flowers they sold everywhere. I bought a whole box for $2 and dried them for seeds so I could plant my own.
But then I experienced my first reality shock concerning the Amish.
I had assumed since they lived a simpler life everything about them was completely old-fashioned and natural.
Imagine my horror when I saw Amish walking around with soda cans and store-bought ice cream.

"Mom," I said. "He's drinking soda!" 


Left to right, back row: Jonny, Jonathan (Dad).
Front row: Jacob, Keturah, Rebekah (Mom), Jonah (on Mom's lap), Joash (in front of Mom), Bekah Jo, Jerushah (sitting), Jesse, and Josiah.

During my years living with the Amish I learned a lot about them. As individuals. As a culture. And about their history. Recently I was surprised to discover I know more about their history than many of them do.

Most know they descended from Menno Simons, who the Mennonites are named after. But very few realize that the Amish broke off from the Mennonites in the early 1900s when Jakob Ammann decided the Mennonites were becoming too worldly as they were allowing electricity into their homes.

Many of the Amish don't know that their head covering was adapted from the Quakers (originally the women would wear straw hats). Most of them don't know that at one time the women wore plain clothes of the day and that their wedding rings were cut out of thimbles (now all jewelry is taboo).

Above all, many of the Amish don't realize why they left the Catholic Church with Menno Simons. Menno Simons was determined to teach all men to follow God's word rather than man's tradition. And maybe it's good they don't know the truth of their origins . . . for if they did, how would they be able to remain in their traditions, rarely actually studying the word of God?

Because of living with the Amish I can't stand most Amish fiction (Beverly Lewis is better than most, but still included). Because . . . most of it is false.

Last year I had the honor of meeting the Harrison family. After a few minutes of talking to the Harrison daughters I learned they had lived with the Amish.

"Really? So have I! We should do a collaborative interview with our families!" 

Sadly, the Harrison girls weren't able to do the interview, but their Mom was, along with another family and many of my siblings. Even so I must credit Molly and Megan Harrison for the original inspiration to do this collaborative interview.





The interviewed: 
The Richards family have seven children. They lived with the Amish for six months in 2011. Tammy, the mother, and her oldest daughter, Alexa Smith, are interviewed below. Alexa was fifteen when they lived with the Amish. The Richards lived in an Amish house a field away from ours and Alexa became one of my best friends.


The Harrison family have five children. I interviewed the mother of the family, Erin. She blogs at Keeper of the Homestead. They lived with the Amish for a year in 2013.


The Lamb family have eleven children.
I interviewed some of my siblings: 
Jonathan who was twelve to fifteen (now twenty-one)
Jerushah who was ten to thirteen (now nineteen)
Jesse who was nine to twelve (now eighteen)
Bekah Jo who was seven to ten (now sixteen)
Josiah who was six to nine (now fifteen)
Joash who was two to five (now eleven)
I thought Joash was too young to remember much, but he insisted that he remembered so, I let him participate. I also have an interview of my mom, Rebekah, and myself. (Yes, I interviewed myself). 
I was thirteen to sixteen while we lived with the Amish.

We lived with the Amish in Missouri for nearly two and a half years, 2010-2012.

Harrison family: Amish days. 
In a brief paragraph, please tell us a little about you and your family. 
Rebekah Lamb: I am a wife and a mom of eleven children. I am a food blogger at Lots a Little Lambs. I love to cook and create recipes. I used to love to sew and still do at times. We homeschool and live on a small farm in Montana. Most of all, I hope that I serve God in all that I do.

Tammy Richards: We are a Christian, homeschooling family of nine. We don't have television, though we do watch some movies. We enjoy cooking from scratch. We garden and raise chickens. We enjoy helping people. We like simple things and enjoy being out in nature.

Erin Harrison: I've been married twenty years and have five beautiful children.We were raised in the city, but decided to move "back to the land" about fifteen years ago and began homesteading and teaching other city people how to do it.
We did this with our children because we believe it's important to give children responsibilities and teach them skills that have been lost to the ages. The homesteading lifestyle gives them work ethics and teaches them to survive without money.
Besides being Christian, this is our life.

Alexa Smith (22): I am the oldest of seven children, have been married a little over a year and have a newborn son. We are currently living in a small cabin on my parent’s property with our three dogs. I worked at a local florist for about a year and a half, until I had my son, now I stay home with him.

Jerushah Lamb (19): I have ten siblings, at the time I had eight. I'm the third eldest, the second oldest girl. I was ten-thirteen.


Josiah Lamb (15): I have ten siblings and I have a hat.

Bekah Jo Lamb (16): There are thirteen in our family. I am the fifth oldest.

Jonathan (Jonny) Lamb (21): I am twenty-one years old and the second eldest of eleven siblings (eldest boy though). My favorite things to do are working with horses and gardening. Presently, I work at a place where I build green houses. 

Jesse Lamb (18): I have ten siblings. My dad has his own roofing business so we move a lot. 

Joash Lamb (11): I am one of eleven children. There are five girls and six boys. 

Keturah Lamb (22): I own this blog, Keturah's Korner. I love writing, but I clean houses during the day as I believe writers shouldn't starve. (I still live with my parents, and they would be happy for me to not work and still eat, but I love working). I like people most of the time and almost always dream of when I may next sleep.



Richards children, left to right: Alexa, Gideon, Brandon, Caleb (please ignore his hands, because they know not what they do), Hope, Iris, Faith. 
Why did you decide to live with the Amish?
Rebekah: My husband came home one day after picking up milk and probably produce and etc. My family had known this group since I was a kid. My dad had been their 'doctor'. My husband had also known some of these people, as their driver (our matchmaker!) had sometimes stopped by my husband's parents' house while driving them to spend the night . . . and for a hot meal! We had just recently re-connected with them after moving about an hour away. John told me they had offered us a place! The rent was cheap! We were living in a trailer house with nine kids and not a lot of acreage.

Tammy: We had been getting milk from the Amish for some time and had gotten to know some of them. There was a house we would drive by that wasn't being used. I thought it was beautiful and it bothered me that it wasn't being used. We wanted to sell our house and knew it would sell better if we weren't in it. I asked JJ to inquire about renting the place we kept driving by. We liked the idea of having room and having a simpler lifestyle.

Erin: I was not raised in a Christian home, but grew up in a rough environment. It was not a good lifestyle. For me, I partly wanted to raise my children around a purer, more conservative atmosphere. 
It's always been a dream of mine to live like "Little House on the Prairie" where all the women wore dresses and aprons and I felt called to homemaking and how the Amish women center their lives around such a lifestyle, unlike the rest of the world.
The Amish are not born again. By living with them and like them, I was able to better reach them.

Alexa: Technically, I didn’t. Dad and Mom were trying to sell our house (a bit hard with nine people living and homeschooling in a three bedroom, one bath house) so they asked if we could rent one of the empty houses to live in.

JerushahWe lived in a trailer house and he found a house that was nice and big.

Josiah: It wasn't my choice.

Bekah Jo: N/A

Jonny: They were friends of our parents and we like the sort of lifestyle where you don't have to depend on all the different conveniences.

Jesse I decided to live with the Amish because my parents said that we were moving.

Joash: I did not. My mom and dad did.

Keturah: As the rest of my siblings cleverly point out, it wasn't really our decision, but our parents'. Even so, my parents did talk with us to ask us what we thought. We had little acreage and lived in a small  mobile home, so the idea of moving into a large Amish house pleased us.

Erin Harrison

What were your first thoughts or reactions upon hearing that you would move?

Rebekah: It was a dream come true! I had always pined for a simpler lifestyle. Recently, my husband had started taking work away from home. This, I thought, would be a lifestyle we could do together. I had the idea in my head that we would work side by side with each other and the kids. We would grow our own food. The girls and I would bake, sew, can . . . things we already did . . . and learn new stuff. John and the boys would work with horses. All the things we had dreamed of would now be possible. And it would be a wholesome lifestyle for our kids.

TammyI was thrilled when the Amish agreed to let us rent! It was fun to walk through the place and clean it up.

ErinI was elated . . . so very excited. I felt it was the best thing in my life when they said they would rent to us — I was going to be right in the heart of the community! And I'd be able to drive the horse and buggy to all their events of canning and cleaning. I tried to get my kids into their school but they didn't allow that.


Alexa: "Seriously? Ok, this should be interesting. Why?"

JerushahHe told us we were moving and we were all excited to move. And I loved moving also.

Josiah: I can't remember. 

Bekah JoWhen I heard we were moving I was very excited.

Jonny: I was super excited and couldn't wait. 

Jesse: I always liked to move so I was happy.

Joash: I don't know.

Keturah: I never enjoyed moving except this one time. We were only moving about a half hour away so I wouldn't have to find new friends — in fact we were moving closer to where most of my friends now lived! I was a bit sad to be leaving an elderly couple that lived down the road from us — we would help them with their garden and they grew the best okra! Overall I was ready to have "my own selfish" room, as my mom named it years before when we said we wished for our own rooms. It would be the first time I'd have my own room since before I could remember.

Lamb kids: Amish days

How long did you live with the Amish?
Rebekah: About two and a half years. We moved there in January of 2010. We moved away in September of 2012

TammyWe were there about six months — spring, summer and fall.

ErinOne year almost exactly, but I knew them for ten years before that. We were very close — I had basically lived among them for all that time before, and had dressed completely Amish for three years before that.

AlexaAbout six months.

JerushahWe lived there for three years.

JosiahThree years.

Bekah JoWe lived with the Amish for three years.

JonnyWe lived with them about three years.

JesseWe lived with the Amish for three years.

JoashAbout three years.

KeturahWe say three years, but it was closer to two and a half.


Enjoying this? On Saturday I'll post PART II, and next Wednesday PART III will publish. Meanwhile, let me know what your thoughts! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Through The Pages: Author Interview


Interview with Annie Twitchell: 
I don’t really know how I first met Annie Twitchell (may have been through a writing or knitting group) but the first time I remember bookmarking her into my memory was when one of my best friends told me, “I’m beta reading this awesome retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.” Intrigued, I messaged Annie and asked if I might beta read, too. Ever since I’ve never been able to turn down the chance to read something of hers. Today I’d love to welcome Annie to Keturah’s Korner. 
We'd met on Ravelry! In two of my knitting groups, and in that one writing group. I was so tickled to find you other places online!


Tell us about Through The Pages and why it’s so special to YOU!
Through the Pages was written, almost as a dare, for my mom's birthday. When I finished up the release of one of my books last August, I asked God what I should write next. He told me I should write a book for my mom. For her birthday this year. I had just under a year in which to brainstorm, create, write, edit, revise, edit, revise, and publish a novel — without anyone in my family, or in fact anyone, knowing what I was up to. I picked a group of girls who helped me beta read and kept my secret for me, and on August 5th, 2018, I gave my mom my first novel. (As a side note: my younger brother doesn't trust me anymore. If I can keep a whole novel a secret for so long, what else do I have up my sleeve?) 


Briefly, tell us about your other books.
  • The Christmas Ladder: a short story based on events in my own family history. 
  • Spinner of Secrets: the aforementioned Rumpelstiltskin retelling. It's much more along the lines of the original Brothers' Grimm, not a cute and fluffy Disney story. 
  • Jump: The Things I Remind Myself: my first poetry collection. 
  • The Ocean and I: sort of a journal, with photos and poems from my stay on the coast last summer. 
  • No Dragons, Please!: a children's short story I wrote and illustrated for my youngest brother.
  •  The Witch of Belle Isle: a Snow White inspired story set in the American Civil War. My first real foray into historical fantasy.


Have you written other novels? What made this one your first to finish/ publish. 
I have a number of them in process, but this was the first I've finished a first draft on. I had to do it quickly, because I had such a firm deadline. I wasn't sure I could, but my team of beta readers helped so much, and my editor was amazing. And I did it! I was able to order copies of the final paperback in time for my mom's birthday.


Do you have plans for any other novels?
Lots of plans. I'm currently working on a contemporary adult novel, and a duo of YA urban fantasy novels.


What makes you so excited about this book? 
Through the Pages speaks about life, love, and finding who you are. One of the things that I learned from this novel was that I want to live such a life that when I leave this world, I don't have regrets. I want to make my mark, and do wild and crazy things. I want to explore, and I want to be at home. I want to live in such a way that at the end of my life I can look back at this painting I've made and say, this is good.


Is there anything drawn from life that made Through The Pages real to you?
Many, many things. For one, I've done a bit of elder care, where I lived for a short time with my best friend's grandfather and took care of him. That experience definitely impacted Misty and Gamma Irene and how they interacted. Another thing is my mother's love of books, and my own adoration of old books. Not just old stories: old books. I have four old, worn copies of Jane Eyre, and I love each one for different reasons.


If only one of your characters could come alive and be your best friend, which one would you choose and why?
It's a toss-up between them, but if I really had to chose, I'd have to say Gamma Irene. She's spunky, bright, wise, and doesn't take any nonsense from anyone. I think I'd love to go and sit in her library and drink tea with her — under the condition that I don't spill any tea on the books — pet her cats, wander her garden, and listen to the stories she has to tell about her life.


Why do you write? And read?
I write because I have too many stories to tell, and I'm not very comfortable using my voice to tell them, so I use my fingers. And I write because sometimes that's the only thing to do. And because I love it. I've always loved to write. I read to learn, to lose myself, to be challenged, and to be comforted.


Something that has been on your heart that is NON-WRITING related?
We've had some interesting family events this summer, and some startling things, and while I can't share a lot, it's been really cool and awe-inspiring watching everything fall into place.


Introverted or extroverted? And what do you think about that sort of personality stuff?
I'm an introvert who likes people. I think that a lot of the personality tests and stuff can be helpful as a starting place, but then you need to just go exploring and spend time with whoever you're trying to identify, whether it's a character or yourself.


Why should people read Through The Pages?
Ideally, because the cover and description interest them. I would recommend it to people who are trying to figure out their place in this world, and to people who want a sweet, real story. There are some hard moments — I laughed, but I also cried — but that's part of what makes it so real.


What advice do you wish to give away?
It's okay to mess up. Just take a deep breath, shake yourself off, own up to your mistakes, and move on. We're only human. Don't let the fear of failing keep you from doing what you want to do.


Thank you so much for joining me today! Be blessed, Annie! And may your book be loved by all!
Thank you for having me, Keturah!









Synopsis: 
Spring will always follow Winter. 

Misty doesn't know who she is. Nineteen years old, she's trapped inside who she has been, with no idea who she could be. 

When she goes to Mill's End to take care of her stubborn, book-loving grandmother, she finds herself torn between past and present. The answer to who she is lies hidden in her grandmother's library. Her path to find herself takes her through the fading pages of dusty books and the memories of a woman who has lived a full life. It is up to Misty to write the final chapter to the dearest story of them all. 




About the Author: Annie Louise Twitchell is a homeschool graduate who is obsessed with dragons and fairy tales. She enjoys reading, writing, poetry, and many forms of art. When she’s not writing, she can often be found reading out loud to her cat, rabbit, and houseplants, or wandering barefoot in the area around her Western Maine home. In addition to seven published works, she has several poetry awards and pieces in four anthologies.









Connect: 



I had the honor of beta reading this book months ago. And I loved it. You can find my review on Goodreads.


Wasn't this fun getting to know Annie a little? Or maybe you know her better than I do . . . it's so funny to think of all the connections I've made through Ravelry, an online knitting community. Have you been there and made friends? Have you read any of Annie's stories? And do you plan to find a copy of Annie's Through The Pages? Because you really should!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Lawrence Children: Chapter 12

Hello, Life




The mystery was over, but all the Lawrences' problems were not.
The very next day, during lunch, Lucy heard a wagon. Immediately her heart jumped with fear. The children were at school (or should be). Vern was in the mines. It wasn't time for Tom and Mary to bring milk – why would anybody be coming?
Lucy searched the room for Julie. Her little sister was sitting by the fireplace playing with the rag doll they had found in the mine's secret room. Lucy wiped her hands on her apron and walked to the door, trying to calm her fear.
She didn't recognize the small buggy. But when it drew even closer she knew them to be some of the women from church.
Lucy drew in a quick and painful breath.
This could not be good – and she was all alone. There was no possible way she could go get Vern.
“Hello, Lucy!” One of the women in the buggy waved. Lucy recognized the woman to be Delta, a well known lady from the church whose husband had recently retired from the Revenue.
Lucy forced herself to return the wave. No sense expecting bad before it actually happened. “Hello!”
Three women jumped out of the buggy, tying their horse beside the barn. Lucy did not know who the other two were. They walked toward the house, where Lucy still stood outside the door.
“How are you doing, dear?” Mrs Delta asked.
Lucy didn't like the woman's tone, but she smiled anyways, “I am good. I was just fixing a light lunch for Julie and I. Please, come in, and I'll set some extra plates.”
“Oh, you don't need to do that.” But all three women pushed past Lucy into the house and sat themselves at her table.
They wouldn't have dared to act so forward and confident had she been older, or had she been her mother.
Lucy pushed her frustrations aside, and followed the women inside.
One of the women noticed Julie sitting on the floor. She stood up from the table and quickly walked to Julie scooping up the toddler into her arms much too roughly.
Julie cried out and Lucy winced.
Julie cradled her sprained wrist.
“Oh, what's the matter?” the woman cooed as she looked at Julie's arm.
Lucy didn't know what to do. Everyone was looking at her. “She… fell.” There was no reason to volunteer extra information and say how or where. “Her wrist is sprained, but not badly.”
“Oh, poor baby!”
Lucy felt nervous.
She set the table, cutting into a fresh loaf of bread. She added some more water and salt to the stew and found a jar of preserves. There was still some butter left from the last batch she had made.
For an improvised meal, Lucy was happy with her results. But she couldn't make her nervousness dissipate.
The women didn't say anything at first. The one held Julie tightly. Lucy watched, uncomfortable. She could tell Julie wanted to escape. But the woman would not let her go.
Lucy let the church women bless the meal. They ate, silently, as Lucy kept her eyes on her baby sister.
Finally one of the women spoke, “Lucy, I'm sure you must wonder why we are here.”
Lucy nodded, keeping her words inside. How she wanted to say, Not as much as I want you to not be here.
“To be honest, we are concerned about your welfare – all of you.”
“There is no need for concern,” Lucy didn't look at the woman as she spoke, but Julie. “We are doing quite well.”
“I'm sure you are doing the utmost best you can. But that's not always enough,” said the woman that held Julie. She looked down at Julie and smiled. “Babies need mothers.”
“We all need a lot of things,” Lucy replied. “But sometimes God sees best to give us otherwise.”
The woman continued smiling, “Or puts people in our lives to help us receive what we need.”
“I don't think I understand,” though Lucy was sure she understood all too well.
“What we are saying – our motive for coming here,” the third woman said, “Was to help. We have been searching for families to help out with your situation. I'm sure Vern will be happy to continue here, but you and the others need parents who can overlook your education and growth.”
Lucy felt trapped in fear. Her voice was lost. She couldn't move, couldn't say a word. She wasn't strong enough to stop these women...she would fail all her family in the end.
“We have already found a home for Julie and Fred-O. Mrs Smith here has agreed to take both of them and -”
The woman's words drowned out as Lucy watched the other woman smile and pat Julie's head. As if she already owned her baby sister. What right did these women have? To barge into her home and tell her she was not doing a good enough job just because she was 15? Her fear was replaced by anger.
“-and we already have several other willing families for the rest of you -”
Lucy rose up and calmly said, “Absolutely not.” She surprised even herself.
One would have thought Lucy had yelled at the women, the way they looked at her. Their faces showed shock and displeasure. As if she had wronged them, or acted disrespectfully.
“Now, Lucy. Be reasonable-”
“No, I will not.” Lucy walked around the table and reached out for Julie.
Julie reached her hands up to Lucy.
Mrs Smith held tightly to Julie, not willing to give her up.
Lucy reached down and grabbed a hold of her sister.
Mrs Smith acted as if she were not going to let go. There was a moment of tension. Lucy sent up a silent prayer – she did not want to fight over her sister. But she would do what she had to do.
The woman let Julie go, surprising Lucy. She hugged her sister, making her relief hide.
“I appreciate your concern,” Lucy said. “But it is not needed.”
“Now, Lucy -”
“I am serious,” Lucy interrupted once more. “We have done quite well these last months. We shall continue to do well.”
“But it is not healthy to live on your own.”
“There are many things that are not considered healthy, but God has willed this. And don't tell me that He has sent you to make this better. Because those words are simply personal opinion that violate my family's privacy. I will not hear them.” Lucy felt braver as she spoke.
“You need to be in school. In church.”
“I do school. And I think we are all very aware of what my father thought of your church. And I am starting to form a like opinion.”
“Excuse me?” all three women blinked, as if terribly offended.
Lucy tried to be respectful, but it was hard being a young girl standing up to three do-gooder women. “I mean that a church was not designed to control, but love and support.”
“I think you misunderstand -”
“I am sorry to keep interrupting,” though Lucy did not sincerely mean her apology. “I assure you my parents taught me correct etiquette toward my elders. And I hope you will excuse me as I say, I do understand. Too well. I do not mind if you come with gifts of sympathy – though those are not needed. Or come for a meal, like you did today, for company and neighborly love and support. But I will not have you controlling my family's lives.”
Lucy felt as if all breath were drawn from herself.
All three women looked at her hard. Mrs Delta opened her mouth as if to say more. But instead she said, “I am sorry, Lucy. I can see you are doing much better than we thought. You make very good bread.”
She didn't feel quite ready to breath yet, but she forced a smile, “Thank you.”
Mrs Delta took another slice of the homemade bread, spreading both butter and preserves on it.
Mrs Smith stared hard at Julie. She did not seem so easily resigned.
Lucy sat at the table once more, Julie on her own lap this time.
The rest of the meal felt strained, but at least there was no more talk about the unpleasant topic of their interfering in her life. Even though all three women looked angry and unconvinced Lucy hoped they would realize there was nothing they could do.

Vern laughed so hard he choked on his bread.
Everyone stared at him, not able to laugh any more as they watched him cough.
“Bring him something to drink!” Noah said to Ann.
Ann quickly left the table and filled a metal mug with milk.
“Here,” Ann said.
Vern took the cup, but he wasn't able to drink from it yet.
Finally, the bread dislodged from his throat and he gulped the whole cup of milk down without a breath. “Oh,” he said at last. “I wish I could have seen their faces!”
“They looked almost as funny as you did,” Lucy said.
Everyone laughed once more, Vern the loudest of all.
“I haven't laughed so much in so long,” he finally said. “Worth the choking.”
Ann laughed, “Laughter isn't supposed to make you die, but like a medicine heal you. I think you read that in Proverbs the other day.”
“That I did,” Vern laughed once more. “I guess laughter isn't worth dying over, but worth having so that one might not die!”
“Exactly,” Ann smiled.
Vern smiled – how happy Ann looked. Was it the mystery? Or times like tonight that had healed her emptiness? Or all of it?
He looked around the table at his siblings. Lucy smiling, content as she helped Julie eat. Fred-O grinning – just like his old self. Noah smiling over something clever. Ann looking satisfied.
And himself? Laughing even though life was hard. As hard as choking over his bread had been. Some things – like their parents' deaths, would never get better. Yet they were learning to live life.
And live it strong.
Even nosy church women couldn't take their life away.
They were a strong, happy family.
“Do you think they'll come back?” Noah asked. “It seems too easy for them to just give up.”
“They sure seemed scared off,” Lucy said, as if hoping to convince herself, too.
“From what I heard I'd assume they were scared off,” Vern said. “They thought they could come and make Lucy do what they wanted – they weren't expecting to make the acquaintance of a tough Lawrence.” Vern nodded to himself.
His siblings had all proved their strength. Of course they would have to continue on – a process that is ongoing is never easy. But small victories like what they had experienced today were just what they needed – a hope to see that continuing on was worth doing.
Life was worth it, because they were together and they had everything they needed.


This is the last installment of the mystery. I hope you enjoyed it - I would love to hear how you liked the whole story! Next month I will be sharing some fun details and behind the scene facts. And talking about the next serial!!! So keep an eye out for that post :) 


Father Tells a Story posted 10/9/17
No More Good-nights posted 11/13/17
Lucy Learns to Live posted 12/11/17
Never Know, Noah posted 1/8/18
Grandpa's Mystery  posted 2/12/18
Ann Finds Answers posted 3/12/18
Vern Lead's An Adventure posted 4/9/18
A Friendly Visit posted 5/14/18
A Real Clue? posted 6/11/18
Fred-O is Frightened  posted 7/9/18
Good Job, Julie! posted 8/13/18
Hello, Life posted 9/10/18

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Calling Vs Commanded




While cleaning awhile back the thoughts in this meme stumbled into my mind.
And so I posted them on fb.

I was slightly surprised at the variety of responses I received.

A strong Christian woman who is active in knowing what's happening around her agreed.
A bisexual Liberal agreed.
A wife of a military man agreed. 
A few other people agreed. 
But many, many, many Christian authors disagreed

The people with voices were the ones that said, "No, politics don't matter. And sharing our opinion doesn't help."

"Then . . . why do you write???"

I'm starting to realize is politics is a very distracting word.

To many it means FIGHTING ANGRILY AND FORCIBLY OVER THINGS THAT DON'T REALLY MATTER.

But that's not real politics.
Politics is the all the little things that connect citizens and a country together as a whole unit. Politics is the science behind the laws, the beliefs behind the government, the culture of our environment.

Politics is who we are. And it is VERY VERY VERY VERY important. If you aren't "into it" that doesn't mean you get to live easier. It means someone else gets to decide how you live. And by "not being into it" you have forfeited your rights, and and all.

Let me clarify "being into it" for a moment. I don't mean obsess over politics. I don't mean forcing your friends and neighbors to believe what you believe. I mean KNOW what's happening outside of your home and care enough for your neighbor even if he lives states away.

Often people use the excuse, "I'm not into politics" to not care what's happening in the rest of the world. And that is not morally right. I'll get to why in a second.
Those sort of people are often reacting against the extreme, where people are so obsessed in politics they can't actually love anyone because their political beliefs are their gods.

Political or religious beliefs (to me these are one and the same) should never replace our faith in God. He comes first.

And just as our beliefs shouldn't replace our faith, our faith should produce what we believe: works of righteousness.

So . . . how do you "be into politics" in a righteous manner?

And . . . aren't we to not be of this world, only in it?

And what about the passage in Romans that says to obey the authority of the land?

These are huge questions that deserve answers.
And so I will answer each one separately.

How do you "be into politics" in a righteous manner? And how can I even help?
It's all about LOVING and KNOWING. We don't have to have war. We don't have to have weapons (I'm not advocating give away your guns. I'm very pro-gun). We don't have to cause physical or verbal violence. We don't need to shed blood and we don't need to yell at anyone.

"Being into politics" is being aware and caring about everyone outside of yourself.

It's teaching yourself that the news doesn't have to be boring.

It's learning to not focus only on the depressing, but finding and achieving and celebrating goals. Don't let politics depress you. Be thankful for what is good and let God lead you in the rest. But never, never, never let politics BORE or DEPRESS you.

Evil has a way of succeeding best in the dark where no one can see or hear or know what he is doing. So shed light. Be aware. Share with others. Care enough to know and half of the problems won't be able to spread.

Does this work?

Just google about the Bundies and Hammonds, small individuals that were wrongly imprisoned by the government. Did anyone have to shoot up the police to free the men? No. Did anyone have to kill anyone? No. But people banded together and became aware. They shared, "Have you heard - ?"

People knew.

Evil people of power could not hide their deeds.

Small innocents were released.

Love and know. That's what you can do.

Be aware and care. Don't yell and argue.

Aren't we to not be of this world, only in it? 
First, the Bible doesn't exactly say this . . . at least not the way people like to think when it comes to politics.

It says don't be conformed to the ways of the world, but be transformed according to God's ways. Romans 12:2.

We are told to not love the world. 1 John 2:15.

And Yeshuah states His kingdom is not of this world, but of Heaven. John 18:36.

Yet, none of this is contradictions to His commandments to love and care for others and the Earth.

This world he's talking doesn't mean quite what we're thinking. It means do not follow the ways of Satan. Do not commit sin. Do not follow selfish desires.

If we were to follow "be in the world but not of it" to the extend people like to take it for politics we'd have to do several other things:

Dress completely different, even as far as making our own clothing. 
Eating in different locations, not mingling in fast food places or restaurants, from unbelievers. 
Only shopping at established Christian stores. 
Adapting a different language, especially when it came to slang and such.

The thing is there are many Christians that do follow by some or all of those previous points. Because they too have missed the point of what it means to not be of this world.

We live on Earth, like it or not. But we do not have to become like those that follow Satan's lusts.

But caring and being aware is not of the world or of the Devil.

The Devil does not care.
The world does not love.
Ignorance is bliss only to the foolish.

So don't choose ignorance in the name of, "Separation."

Romans 13 says to obey the authorities of the land. This means we shouldn't be caught up in politics. 
So, I'm assuming that means you don't vote? And that's probably why you see no point in reading the constitution, something written by those that rebelled against the authorities? And do you pray for an end to abortion? But there's really nothing you can do . . . because protesting is a sign of not submitting completely.
You pray. But does your prayers show faith in works?

Let's read Romans 13.

Here's what it says:

It tells us to obey the higher powers. Because . . . all power is of God. And those that have power from Him are not set up to terrorize good but to terrorize evil. These ruling powers are ministers from God to help us and exact revenge upon evil. It is good for us to support such powers. And it is good to be submissive to such powers. 

Nothing in this says not to love or care or be aware or know. None of this says to NOT stand against evil. None of this says to be subjected to that which is evil. None of this says to obey blindly. We are not told to refrain from voting, from sharing the truth.

And if we read on, starting in verse 8 we are again told to love, "Owe no man anything but love. For love fulfills the law."

Real politics is about loving others and standing up for others: the unborn, the prisoner, the homeless, the outsider, the insider, EVERYONE.

How many remember this verse in Hebrews 13:3 "Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body."

I really love the book of Judges in the Bible. Not only are the stories fascinating . . . there are so many stories of people standing up and loving and caring and spreading awareness when no one else would.

Will you be one of those who will care?
Will you love as Yeshua asked?

"It's good for you, Keturah. Politics is your calling."

NO. IT'S. NOT. 

There's a huge difference between a calling and a commandment.

Are some called to love and some called to hate?
Are some called to visit those in prison and some called to sit and watch tv instead?
Are some called to study the word of God while others just attend Sunday morning services?
Are some called to know and some called to be dumb?
Are some called to serve others and some called to serve self?
Are some called to act and some called to pretend?
Are some called to use their voice for good and others called to create fantasy(sorry for using this word negatively). 

You tell me. Called or commanded, which is it?




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

WORTH OF A KING: Book Review and GIVEAWAY!





The Worth of a King Blog Tour
Book Description:
Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.
Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.
The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.



My Thoughts: 
This book surprised me, and pleasantly so.
I'd heard at one time Jack was co-writing this book. I'm sad she wasn't able to finish doing so (she and Kendra would have made an AMAZING team). But even so, Kendra did awesome!

The romance was great — not too much, yet sweet and cute and unique. Loved the many unique cultures Kendra built. Loved her characters, loved the setting, loved the traditions. And Kendra wove in theme so artfully! And SO LOVED THE ZOVORDIANS. 

I really loved the Choosing, when a princess flaunts around her many "suitors" and chooses one to become her husband. One of my favorite scenes in the book was when Nadilynn, a young friend of Obsidia's, chooses her own husband. Nadilynn was such a fun character. She reminded me so much of one of my dear friends, named Amber. Naive, hyper, and altogether sweet, she was a favorite. 

Readers of Water Princess, Fire Prince will be pleased at some characters that show in this book (I won't give away spoilers). 

I loved the relationship between Adrian and Jerolin, brothers and friends. And at times I was so reminded of some of Jack's WWII stories. 

Kendra did fantastic with writing a non-groan Christian fantasy. 

At times the characters' conversations felt stilted and the plot seemed to stray. But for the most part I really enjoyed it, and read it all in one sitting (about seven hours long), taking a break only to find some supper. The story started just a little slow, and I was really confuse as to why the princess was okay with the man that killed her father (I hadn't read the back cover synopsis). But once I got into the story that soon became clear. 

There were so many scenes I loved, and just few that felt out of place. Over all I really enjoyed reading this book and think anyone that loves Christian Fantasy should definitely find a copy of The Worth of A King. 

Overall, I give this book ★★★★☆ 4.5 stars

Content: There was some magic for those who have a problem with that. Romance was appropriate for all ages. Some war, and some graphic violence/ death. But again, again good. I'd give content a whole five stars :D 




Author Bio:
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. "Finish your story, Kendra," is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that glorify God and His Word. 
Find her online at: 
Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 










 Want to follow the rest of the tour? Here's the schedule. 









Are you excited to read this book? And have you read any other books by Kendra? 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

New Blog On Earth




So, one of my best friends finally started a blog.
After I pestered her for MONTHS AND BEYOND.

It's not your normal run-of-the mill blog.

It's only for contests and challenges — meaning she hosts prompts contests and challenges and you get to create ANY KIND OF ART YOU WANT.

Stories? ✔
Poems? ✔
Drawings? ✔
Paintings? ✔
Embroidery? ✔
Knitting? ✔
Carving? ✔

Use your imaginations and your fingers and it counts!

So, what are you waiting for? This blog is FOR YOUR INSPIRATION.

And I may have something over there waiting already  . . . yes, I won the first contest with a poem. And though I think Lauren hyped it up a bit, I do really like it myself.

To read my poem, Split, Not Broken check out Lauren's blog! And make sure to follow and participate

And that's it for this lovely Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Writer's Tag



- link back to the person who created the tag -

- thank the person who tagged you - Thanks, Gray

- share the tag graphic (optional, optional! I know it won't go with everyone's blog design) -

- tag eleven bloggers –



(pen)Name:
Keturah Abigail Lamb is my real name. I like to sign my art with KAL . . . I have a special way to do, too ;)


Nicknames:
The main one is Tury. When I was little people would ask my if I had a nickname. I told them and they'd call me Terry which for some reason I hated so much. So I started saying, "No, I don't. My name is Keturah."
But then people were like, "I'll just give you a nickname."
So, I have quite a few of those now, the main ones being Kat and Ketty.
People also wrongly call me Katherine and Katrina.


Birthday:
July 17, 1996.


Hair color and length:
Dark brown, past my waist.


Eye color: 
Weird colors . . . mostly hazel, sometimes brown.


Braces/piercings/tattoos: 
Nope, though I'd love a ruby nose ring


Righty or lefty: 
I'm right handed, though I use my left hip to carry things more than I use my right hip. And I like to try to use my left hand for things, too. Just to make it feel equal ;)


Ethnicity:
Who knows, lol?? Sometimes I say mutt. ;D But we're Caucasian, but we have some native american blood and some German and possibly Jewish, too.


First novel written: 
I wrote so much trash when I was little, haha. I remember two books I was working on for awhile. One was a historical about a large family moving to New York. Two of the older sisters went to work for a hotel that ended up kidnapping them. The rest of the story was about the girls trying to escape and the family along with a ranch hand that liked one of the girls trying to find them. I never finished the story.

Another one I started and never finished was about this girl that married a guy, but two weeks after their honey moon he disappears.
They had eloped, so she couldn't go live with her family. So she goes to live with his family. They own a small Christian bookstore, so she works for them while her baby grows inside. And then she starts realizing that her husband's family may not be all they seem to be . . . did her husband die? Was he kidnapped . . . by them? Or did he actually leave her?


First novel completed:
The first one I finished was a novel I call Perfect. I had a dream and the story was born. It's about this young woman named Cassie. She has a great life, a great fiancee, and attends a great non-denominational church. But . . . things aren't as perfect as she wants them. All of those irritations are clouded over when tragedy strikes. Bitterness and hate began to consume her. She yearns or perfect peace - but is she willing to let go of her feelings?

The book about the girl whose husband went missing I may end up rewriting and finishing as sequel to Perfect, about Cassie's best friend Amanda as they would fit together, with some changes, really nicely.


Award for writing: 
- I won a story contest on a knitting sight at Ravelry.com called Two Wishes.

Image created by Lauren Grinder

- I won $10 once for a 250 word flash fiction I wrote here. I've won another time and received a few honorable mentions there, too.
- I won a short story contest for my story My Cleaning Girl
If you read any of these I'd like to know what you think ;)  


First publication: 
I had a poem accepted by an Amish magazine several years ago, but not sure if they published it. Also, I have had many things accepted by online magazines.

But as for print publications . . . I have three short stories nearly published! One is already out on the market:

My story is #10 or eleven and is titled Unerella. It is a retelling of Cinderella — but from the perspective of another girl that attended the ball :) You can buy the e-book here. The print copy should release soon.




Conference:
I went to Realm Makers last year and plan to go to AFCW this fall.


Query/Pitch:
Taylor Ibori wants a better life - one where his thoughts are his own, and no one else's. But as life gives him everything he's always wanted Taylor begins to realize that something is still wrong. ~  A Series of Thoughts Book #3

Estella yearns to marry the boy she grew up with and obey her uncle's wishes all at once. But which must she choose when her uncle requests her to attend the Pharaoh’s banquet? ~ The Fur Slipper

A young prince and princess honour their parents and country at all costs, even to themselves and never lose faith in what is true or good. ~ A Story Concerning Unselfish People

Cassie Kendrick craves perfection – in others as much as herself. But as her life crumbles will she have the strength to stand and let God put the pieces back together, perfectly? ~ Perfect


Novel (that you wrote): 
My current favorite novel is my most recent, Let Me Meet Death Dancing. 


Image created by Beatriz Jacob


Genre:
And that novel is YA


Author:
I can't pick one favorite author. Some of my favorite authors are listed on the right side bar of the web version of the blog.


Writing Music:
I listen to nothing on some days and anything on other days. Words or no words, happy and depressing. Just whatever I feel like.


Time To Write: 
Early morning 6am.


Writing Snack/Drink:
Water ;)


Movie:
Writer's don't have time to watch movies. Jk . . . kinda ;) Lately I'm making my way through Once Upon A Time. My favorite tv shows are BBC Sherlock Holmes and Unfortunate Events. I love Pixar cartoons and movies with action and plot and great characters and concepts.


Writing Memory: 
Ten years old, laying out on the trampoline, writing and illustrating short stories for friends to read.


Childhood Book:
Caterpillar Green, Boxcar Children, Narnia.


Reading:
At the time of writing this I'm currently reading a nonfiction called Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien


Writing: 
Many short stories and working on rewrites of A Series Of Thoughts 


Listening to:
The fan in my sister's room, I guess.


Watching: 
Once Upon A Time. 


Learning:
German and theology interests, currently.


Want To Be Published: 
You're asking a writer if they want to be published . . . ? Of course I do!


Indie or Traditional:
Traditional, please ;D


Wildest Goal: 
Um everything I work toward? Lol. I'll pick one . . . to have my book on the front window of Barnes and Noble. That would be amazing.

Eleven bloggers: 
Ivie
Alexa
Erudessa
Leah
Jessi
Jonathan
Abi
Becca 
Hannah
Arielle
and #11 is YOU


Hope you all enjoyed this post! I know I enjoyed participating in this tag! There were some really fun questions :) If you'd like to answer some of the questions about yourself in the comments feel free to do so! 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Obsolete Orphans




A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS fan fiction
*spoiler alert*
this is set after the end of the last book
read to be satisfied, unless you'd rather stay depressed in ignorance 


Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire had been rowing for hours, baby Beatrice sitting between the three of them. Long ago the boat’s sails had been torn by terrible winds, hence they were forced to use the last of their strength to paddle. 

But they weren’t thinking of how their arms ached, or even of how they’d love a good meal put inside their stomachs.  No. All they could see was the house before them. 

Baby Beatrice pointed, her other hand grabbing Violet's arm. She babbled, “Blah?” 

Sunny understood the baby the best, having just recently exited babyhood herself. But Sunny did not answer the baby, for she did not know what to make of the sight before her.

“It looks like Aunt Josephine’s house,” Klaus whispered, adjusting his glasses. 

“But... we saw it destroyed.” Violet whispered. 

 The boat hit against the shore. All four children jumped to the sand, and walked slowly.   As they neared the house they heard voices. 

Familiar voices. 

Uncle Monty.
Aunt Josephine.
The Quagmire Triplets.
Jerome Squalor.
Charles.
Hector and Hal.
Fiona and Fernald.
Captain Widdershins.

And there were more people, too. 

One man had the children’s full focus: a mysterious man, half hid in the shadows of the other people. But his coat and hat made him look suspiciously important. 

“Aren't you all are dead or missing,” Sunny said loudly. 

All the adults saw the children. 

The mysterious man stepped out of the shadows. “Hello, children. My name in Lemony. You are safe now . . . I have just published your last memoir.” 

“Published our memoir?” Klaus questioned. 

“We aren’t dead,” Violet said. 

The man called Lemony smiled, “But the world believes you are. You are safe.” 

But they barely heard what he said, for at that moment two more people stepped out of the house. Bertrand and Beatrice Baudelaire. 

I hope you enjoyed this short ending for Unfortunate Events. I know this series isn't for everyone, but I really loved the books, the humor, the characters. I loved everything . . . though only because I imagined this sort of thing happening next. 

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