On Facebook, I spotted my book, Wife on His Doorstep, on a nearly empty shelf in another author’s photo. That was incredibly exciting, because it looks like it was one book shy of being sold out in that particular Walmart, and that does my heart good! I hope everyone rushes out and snaps them up! 🙂
As always, I have giveaways going on on my Facebook page, and I hope you’ll come check them out! Starting June 1, I have a new giveaway with reader favorite Vannetta Chapman, and I’m giving you a sneak peek today!
The giveaway will include:
~a copy of my brand new release, The Preacher’s Daughter
~a copy of Vannetta Chapman’s Amish mystery, Dead Wrong
~plus a surprise knitted with love!
If you’d like to enter to win, come by my Facebook page and give my page a like! I’ll be posting this giveaway tomorrow morning!
On Facebook where I interact with some of my readers, I’ve been asked quite often about my own family history, and if it has affected my choice to write Amish stories. So today, I thought I’d give you a little view into the family I come from.
My father’s side of the family is Russian Mennonite. They came to Canada in 1925 from Russia. They were German speaking, and starting farming almost immediately–it was a life they already knew. In fact, their first house was a sod house (by the looks of some old pictures) and it was one room. My grandfather was 16 when he arrived in Canada, and had to start learning English by going to Grade One in school.
This is a picture from my grandfather and grandmother’s wedding in 1933. They’d upgraded to a wooden farm house–two stories! In eight short years, they’d worked their way up, and my grandfather had found a woman he loved.
My grandmother came from an incredibly conservative Mennonite community, while my grandfather was less so. They did end up buying a truck in later years (after my grandparents were married for a little while, I believe), and then eventually a car. A tractor was acquired for my grandfather’s farm, so they weren’t Amish or Old Order Mennnonite, but they did live very simply. There was no running water or electricity when they first started out.
My aunt who is in her eighties now tells stories about how her parents used to refer to the neighbours as the “English neighbours.” She’d assumed back then that they must have been from England, but I highly suspect they were called English in the same way that the Amish use the term–to describe their native language spoken at home. They were English speaking, while my grandfather’s home was German speaking.
By the time my dad was born (he was #11 out of 12 kids), his parents used low German as the language they spoke to each other, and the language they could use to keep secrets from the younger kids. My aunt who was #5 out of 12, spoke a lot more German.
My dad grew up on a farm. His father was multi-talented. He built their houses himself, kept a flourishing garden, and ran his own dairy farm. My grandmother, who took care of the kids and the house, was a tremendous cook, I’ve been told.
My father graduated from high school, and he was going on to become a computer technician. He’d certainly moved on to very modern goals. He even married a Catholic girl (my mother.) This was very shocking to his conservative mother. My grandmother wouldn’t attend the wedding–that was just a shade too far in her eyes. My mother would end up taking care of my grandmother for a few years before her death, though, which just goes to prove that it all worked out rather nicely after all.
There is still a great sense of respect for our family’s humble beginnings on Canadian soil, and for the communities of Anabaptist believers who keep to a strict, Plain faith. We still have some Russian money that was smuggled out of Russia when they left. It was absolutely worthless by the time it arrived in Canada, but it was preserved for the memories, and at first, possibly out of a loathing to literally throw money away. I’m glad they did keep it, though, because it is a part of our story.
So when you read my Amish stories, you’ll notice a theme of outsiders versus insiders, keeping a community safe by preserving tradition, and the curious gaze of the Amish, looking at the outside world around them. This all comes from my own family’s experience of preserving their Mennonite faith on the Canadian prairies. ❤
Knitting is turning into an incredibly relaxing hobby. It gives my fingers something to do, and there is just something so satisfying about creating something you can physically hold… and use to scrub the dishes. 😉
This is one of my newest dish cloths that I’m making. I’m not a skilled knitter, but I can make a square, and that’s all I need for these. I loving nothing more lately than hitting the craft store for a new skein of yarn. And this is my newest!
I use these dish cloths in my own kitchen, too! They work so nicely, and I like having some pretty colors at my kitchen sink. You can tell that I chose the peach and green yarn to match with my own kitchen.
I also knit these dish cloths for giveaways. When I say you’ll get a knitted surprise, expect one of these! 🙂 The wonderful thing about something personally knitted for you is that the person doing the knitting thought about you while she worked on it. And while I knit my dish cloths, unless I’m planning on using it in my own kitchen, I’m thinking about the winner of my next giveaway, and hoping they’ll enjoy it.
Speaking of giveaways, come by my Facebook page to see my latest giveaway with Amy Lillard! I always have a new one pinned to the top of my page. 🙂 It’s a great chance to win some free books, AND a knitted surprise!
In the meantime, don’t forget about my newest release, on the shelves now!
Pick it up at a bookstore or Walmart, or on Amazon!
This Spring Break, my husband took some time off of work, and we did a bunch of home renovations as a family. I’d been dying to fix things up a bit, but I tended to get voted down. No one really wanted to do it. So when I marched out to Home Depot and came home with a can of paint, I figured I could paint one wall a weekend, and get it all done myself in a couple of months. Luckily, Mr. Johns thought I was painting wrong, and decided to show me how to do it, which sped the process up considerably. 😉
We really got into it! We painted the entire apartment, including closet doors. We replaced another set of closet doors, and fixed up our kitchen a little, too. We definitely stayed busy, and the end result is just so nice and fresh! Don’t you love crawling into bed at night and smelling that faint, fresh paint smell? Heavenly!
My favourite little addition to our home is actually the cheapest. I bought some faux stained glass removable window film, and not only does it give me that little bit more privacy (because who wants to see me in my bathrobe if I forget to close the blinds?), but I love the colour, too! It just makes me feel happy, and being cooped up as we are in Canada right now with Covid regulations, that little extra bit of cheer inside is necessary.
And that is what we were up to! We’ve spruced up our home, and I’m just so pleased with it!
Here in Alberta, Canada, we are going back into a lockdown now, though, which means we’ll be spending a whole lot more time at home. I’m glad it’s a little cheerier here, because we’ll need it.
Don’t forget about my new releases hitting the shelves soon!
…my son just turned 13. I am the mother of a teenager! This is a big milestone for him, but for us as parents, too. We are now the parents of a teenager.
Granted, he’s seemed very teenager-ish for the last few months already. His voice is deep, he’s taller than me, and he wears the same clothing size as his father now, even if he isn’t quite as tall as his dad.
But my goodness–I’m the mother of a teenager!
Because of Covid, we couldn’t have a little family party like we normally do, but my mom and dad did drop off a homemade birthday cake. And it was delicious! Of course, there were presents, and we made a big deal about his special day.
It’s funny–when these milestones come along, the parents have a fair amount of adjusting to do, too. Where we live, a kid can get his learner’s licence at 14 and he can get a job, too, so we’ve got exactly one year until this kid is on the road and hopefully has a part time job, to boot.
And then there’s all the other teenaged stuff he’ll be doing as he gets older–girlfriends, high school. Can’t I slow this down?
You know what else I did this last week? I painted over this doodle he did when he was a toddler.
He was about three, and he was in this drawing on the wall phase that drove me nuts. Anyway, I asked him what he’d drawn and if I remember correctly, this is supposed to be a dog, even though it looks like a perfect duck. I couldn’t bring myself to scrub it off the wall, and so I’d kept it, until last weekend, that is. I finally let Mr. Johns paint over it.
It feels like yesterday he was a little guy who used to crawl into my lap for a cuddle, and now, he’s this great big kid who teases me by refusing to bend down so I can hug him.
So there you have it–I’m going through this whole identity crisis over here, realizing that my one and only child is growing up. But mostly, I’m so proud of him. He’s a really good kid with a big heart and a stubborn streak that might drive me up the wall, but will serve him well in adulthood.
He’s perfectly wonderful.
And while we’re here, don’t forget about my newest release! It’s on the shelves now!
I have a brand new giveaway on my Facebook page, and this one is a little bit different! Not only are we including a little surprise piece of knitting made by each of us, but instead of asking for Facebook follows, we’re asking those who enter the giveaway to follow us on Amazon. This giveaway with with the lovely Vannetta Chapman. She’s a big favorite Amish author who I’m sure needs no introduction for Amish fans, and you have a chance to win her newest upcoming release!
Do you follow any of your favorite authors on Amazon? I didn’t even know about it until recently, but it’s so handy! You get an email when they have new releases, and you’re kept up to date in a very unobtrusive way. I’m a new fan of the system. 🙂
On the front door of our apartment, I have a grape vine wreath that I like to redecorate for every season. It’s much easier than buying fully made wreaths that use up a lot of storage space when not on your door, and it’s fun to go shopping for my newest wreath foliage.
It was time to change the wreath up for spring! I thought the tulips were pretty.
And this is the finished product!
It’s not perfect, but this is what will greet the UPS and Amazon delivery people. And Mr. Johns when he gets home from work… 😉
Is anyone else sprucing things up for spring? It really does boost my spirits to get some color around here again!
Don’t forget about my newest release, on the shelves now!
It’s the best stove we’ve ever had. It has a blue ceramic coated oven, so it’s just so pretty! If we move house, I’m totally taking this stove with us!
So anyway, the time changed, as it does every spring, and the clocks in our phones and computers all leapt forward the way they’re supposed to. And when I wandered into my kitchen, the clock on the stove had adjusted, too!
I just love this stove! I thought to myself. What a great stove. I’m so glad we got it. No regrets there, seriously!
“Mr. Johns, did you notice that the stove clock is adjusted?” I asked him.
He gave me a funny look. “Yeah. I changed it.”
So maybe my stove is less impressive than I thought. 😉 But I do have a great husband. I should probably say how much I love him. No regrets in marrying him almost 16 years ago. Seriously.
*** Don’t forget about my newest release, on the shelves now!
I’m starting a brand new giveaway today on Facebook. This one is with the fabulous Barbara Cameron who is a bestselling Amish author with over 40 books out. This is a quick peek at the giveaway that will be posting in a few hours. You can enter to win all three books.
This giveaway will end March 17, when I’ll announce a winner. All you have to do is go over to my FB page and enter there! The giveaway post is always pinned to the top of the page, so check back often and enter to win.
Don’t forget that the first book in my THE INFAMOUS AMISH miniseries, THE PREACHER’S SON, is on the shelves now! If you haven’t picked it up yet, now is a great time to do it! I’m seeing a lot of 5 star reviews from readers who just loved it. THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER will be hitting the shelves in June of this year, and you can preorder it now to make sure you get it as soon as it releases.