Wanda’s Journal

Thankful Thoughts

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of the importance of being thankful. The trials we face on our earthly journey can sometimes tear us down, make us feel depressed, and cause negative thinking. Ephesians 5:20 reminds us to give thanks in all things unto God. While we may not feel thankful for the trials we face, we can offer thanks for the knowledge that God is always with us, helping us, and guiding us every day. He hears our prayers and understands our pain.
Negative thinking tears a person down, but giving praise, honor and thanks to the Lord lifts our spirits. Despite any unpleasant situations we may face, there is always something to be thankful for.
Today, as I sit at my computer, looking out my office window, I am thankful for the much-needed rain we have received this week. I’m also thankful for my family, whom I love so dearly. Most of all, I’m thankful that God loves me and always hears my prayers. What are you thankful for today?

The Joy of Helping

The Amish don’t have insurance, so when they get sick, lose a house or a barn, or someone in the family dies, they must rely on financial support from others. Often this is accomplished through a community benefit auction. My husband and I have attended several benefit auctions, and it’s always heart-warming to see the large crowd of Amish who come out in support of others in their community with a financial need.
In our world we hear a lot about ways to become rich so we can provide for our own needs. But the Bible clearly teaches that a Christian’s life should not be all about money. It should be about the richness of our relationship with the Lord. It should be about the joy of helping others with a need. Realizing the value of people we care about is more important than all the riches in the world. Acquiring worldly treasures won’t bring us happiness, and love is never afraid of giving too much. Is there someone you know who could use some help? Is there a way you or your church can help that person with food, clothing, or financial support?

Prayer Changes Things

The Amish pray before and after each meal, and many times throughout the day. They also pray several times during their church services. My husband and I witnessed this firsthand during an Amish wedding, and also when we attended an Amish church service. When it was time for prayer, everyone went down on their knees. It wasn’t a padded, carpeted floor we knelt on, either. It was a hard, cold, cement floor. I found it to be a very humbling experience.

In I Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to pray without ceasing. Although some prayers might not be answered in the way we would like, God answers according to His will. We should never quit praying, for there’s power in prayer. Each time we pray our faith will be strengthened. Whenever we pray God always hears. When we see Him answering our prayers and meeting our needs, our faith will be strengthened, and our hearts will be filled with gratitude.

Remember that prayer is nothing more than making your requests known to God. Just as a flower reaches for the sun, we should reach out to God and let His Son bathe our souls. Is there someone you know who needs prayer today? Would you include me and my family in your prayers — for good health, wisdom, strength, and the ability to discern God’s will in all things? If you have a prayer request, feel to share it so others can pray for you as well.


During one of our visits to an Amish schoolhouse in Indiana, my husband made some twisty balloon animals for the children. Since Richard has been blowing up balloons for a good many years, his lungs are strong and he rarely uses a pump. The children were impressed at how easy he made it look, and several of the boys wanted to try blowing up a balloon. After a few attempts, all except one of the red-faced boys gave up. The determined boy had a bit more patience than the others. He continued trying to blow up the balloon, until he ran out of air and passed out for a few seconds. Undaunted, and unhurt, he picked himself up and continued blowing until his balloon was fully inflated.

Seeing the patience of this young boy made me think of how easily some people give up when they’re faced with a challenge. Sometimes we give up praying because we don’t receive an answer quickly enough. God wants us to wait patiently for Him, and He wants us to pray and continually seek to do His will.

Are you faced with a challenge today that seems un-daunting? Ask the Lord for the courage and strength to keep going. Ask Him for an attitude of patience as you wait for answers from Him.

No Greater Gift

In August, my novel, The Gift, will be published.
It’s book 2 in my Prairie State Friends series,
and continues with the stories involving the friendship
of Elaine, Leah, and Priscilla. While this is a
fiction novel, it’s based on true-to-life
experiences involving long-lasting friendships
and how the Amish respond to one another.

There’s no greater gift than having a close friend.
It’s good to know you can count on them.
With a dear friend you can laugh and cry,
Knowing they won’t judge or ask why.
A friend gives and accepts advice,
There’s no greater gift than a friend for life.
A friend sticks closer than a brother,
Friends are always there for each other.
In the Bible we are told,
The gift of friendship is worth more than gold.

How has a special friend enriched your life?

The Power of Forgiveness

In my current work in progress, I deal in part with the topic of forgiveness. One thing I have learned over the years is that without forgiveness there is no emotional or spiritual healing. Even our physical bodies can be affected when we hold grudges or harbor ill feelings towards someone who has wronged us.

On October 2, 2006, a terrible tragedy that shocked the world occurred in a small Pennsylvania Amish community. An English man, who lived and worked in the area, entered an Amish schoolhouse and shot ten girls. Five were killed and five were seriously injured. Everyone in the community, the children’s families most of all, were stunned and deeply wounded by this senseless, unbelievable act. Instead of anger and retribution, however, the families of the dead and injured chose to forgive the man who had done the evil deed. A few days after the attack I was asked by a reporter if it was true that the Amish would really forgive the shooter, and if so, how could that be? I replied: “It is true that the Amish will forgive the man, but this kind of forgiveness only comes from God.”
The Amish community not only forgave the shooter, but they raised money to help the man’s wife and children through the ordeal. As surprising as it might have seemed to the world, half of the mourners at the gunman’s funeral were Amish. The Amish knew they had a choice to make. They could either harbor resentment or choose to forgive. They knew that without forgiveness, their hearts would never heal.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there something you need to seek forgiveness for? Why not do that today?

Grandma’s Quilt

My fascination with quilts began when my mother gave me the old patchwork quilt her mother had made over 90 years ago. As a child, I loved touching the oddly shaped velveteen patches, scattered among colorful cotton and pieces of woolen material. When my daughter got married I passed the quilt on to her. Although none of us had the privilege of meeting my grandmother, since she died when my mother was a girl, her legacy lives on through that beautiful patchwork quilt.

A lot of effort goes into making quilts, and the quilts I now have in my home give me a sense of joy and peace. I’ve mentioned them in several of my Amish-themed novels because I know how important quilts are to my Amish friends.

Do you own something special that was passed on to you from a family member? How has having that item affected your life?

Amish Values

In a recent interview I was asked what draws me to the Amish. My answer was that I am drawn to their strong, Christian values. Since my husband and I have many Amish friends, and have been able to spend a good deal of time with them, I’ve had the opportunity to observe these values. For my Amish friends, God comes first, and then their relationship with family. I have seen our Amish friends make sacrifices to help family members. I have witnessed the close fellowship and strong ties they have with family, which is something I think we all need and should cherish.

Now it’s your turn to answer the interviewer’s question: What draws you to the Amish?


On March 3, 2015 the first book in my new Prairie State Friends series will be published. I chose to write this series because I know the value of friendship. I appreciate the friends I’ve been blessed with, some whom I have known since I was a girl. Others are newer friends, but all are equally special. Some friends live near me, while others reside in other parts of the country. No matter where my friends live, I know I can count on them, if only to pray when I have a need.

A true friend is loyal, loving, encouraging, compassionate, understanding, and so much more. Those are the attributes of the three special friends in my 3-book series set in the Amish community of Arthur, Illinois.

In Proverbs 17:17 it says “A friend loveth at all times.” In the Book of John, chapter 15:12 we are told, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Is there a special friend in your life you wish to thank this week? What are some ways we can show our love and appreciation to our friends?

The Opposite of Worry

In my Simple Life devotional book, I share a story entitled “Going Nowhere.” It’s about a woman named Sylvia who worries all the time. Sylvia’s daughter reminds her that worrying will not prevent something from happening. She told her mother that “Worry is like rocking in a chair. It gives you something to do, but it never goes anywhere.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) offers a good alternative to worry. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

With worry comes stress, and stress can cause us to become sick. It’s like a vicious cycle. Prayer and faith are the opposite of worry; they bring the peace of God that help us relax and give our troubles to Him. There’s an old saying that’s helpful to remember whenever we begin to worry: “When worry knocks at the door, send faith to answer it, and you’ll find no one is there.”

Is there something or someone you’re worried about? Ask God to fill your heart and mind with peace as you give your concerns to Him.