Friday, September 29, 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
About the Book
Book: The Flower Quilter
Author: Mindy Steele
Genre: Amish/Christian Fiction
Release Date: September, 2023
Barbara Breaks from Amish Tradition to Express Her Artistry
Full of faith, hope, and romance, this new series takes you into the Heart of Amish country.
Barbara Schwartz was born into a family of quilters, but she would rather eat dirt than partake in another quilting frolic or sew on another binding. When her parents send her to Indiana to help her grandmother in her quilting shop, she finds herself amongst a very different community. It’s only one summer and then she will be back in Kentucky where she belongs.
Melvin Bontrager’s world stopped six years ago when his parents died. Now when his only means of providing for his widowed sister and niece is threatened, Melvin finds his landscaping business disappearing too. When spring delivers a newcomer who is immune to his salty moods, Melvin does something he has never done before, accepts help.
What blooms is the last thing Barbara ever expected, and everything Melvin could ever want.
The Flower Quilter found Barbara feeling like a misfit with her family of quilters. However, being sent to be with her grandparents in Shipshewana gave her an opportunity to discover where her true talent was at. Her initial meeting of Melvin was embarrassing and she did not want to see him again. But others had a different idea and she did appreciate the friendship of Sarah.
Steele penned this tale with creativity painting a picture of fabric quilts as well as the flower quilts. There are ups and downs, challenges and blessings, letting go of the past, location and the need to be with their families. How will the Lord lead them or will they remember a summer of creating beautiful flower quilts together?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publisher without any obligation to write a positive review. I have left my own thoughts.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Mindy Steele is the award-winning author and bestselling author of over a dozen novels and novellas in Christian fiction. Raised in Kentucky timber country, Steele has been writing since she could hold a crayon on the wall and lives in northeastern Kentucky—where many of her stories are set.
More from Mindy
The Story Behind the Story
I’ve connected with many wonderful readers since my debut in 2021 and while attending my first multi-author and reader event in Shipshewana, Indiana, I was blessed to finally meet many of them in person. I connected with my amazing assistant, my Mississippi fishing buddy, and the golden girls who have been with me from the beginning. God handpicked each of these women and I am so thankful he did.
I knew before leaving home I would not be writing about Shipshewana or the touristy areas considering I love our small rural communities, but you know what they say about thinking you know everything. . .
I was charmed at a little Bed and Breakfast and further charmed by Bridgett the owner. After touring the Amish Market and a few other memorable sites, my husband and I spent an afternoon with our dear friends Barb and Mel. Barb insisted I see her favorite place, the Krider Fair Gardens. Being a lover of flowers and gardening myself, I was entranced. I walked over every inch and stored its details in my heart. I even called my mother.
I quickly learned the quilt gardens were signature in Indiana, sprawling along the Pumkinvine Trail and covering multiple counties. From May to September, thousands come to photograph the designs that change each year. There is even an app for that now.
I had learned so much about Amish gardens and greenhouses from my neighbors who had family-owned greenhouses which I wrote about in An Amish Flower Farm.
It was also a no brainer that I would include quilting into the story. I love to quilt, much more than my dear sweet heroine needless to say.
I was especially happy to include the quilt shop, just a block down from The Blue Gate and the owner was thrilled her shop was the inspiration to Anna Beechy’s quilt shop.
Writing about two different Amish communities was a fun challenge made easy thanks to dear friends from both. Especially Anna Mae, the best garden tea maker north of Ohio who never let my questions bother her.
What was most memorable about writing this book over all others?
I had no desk!!!
I love writing about new things not explored yet, and well…my writer heart was ready to start before we even got home. Often, I let an idea percolate a few days, but this story unfolded like a favorite re-run and I knew all the words. It was time to get writing, but suddenly we had covid and hours turned to days and weeks. It was a scary time as my husband struggled with it terribly, but we got through and then Hurricane Ida struck the south and my husband was called up. I decided to travel with my husband and son to deliver Fema Relief.
My family needed me, and I needed to write this book!!! So, in pure Mindy fashion, I packed up my notepads, extra fine tip pens, and did both.
The draft of The Flower Quilter was written in the back of an old semi that leaked like a strainer as we delivered trailers and supplies from Kentucky to the hardest hit areas of Mississippi and Louisiana nonstop for nine days.
I hope to never try that again, but no matter what we encountered, those gardens of Indiana, keep popping up and adding a little sunshine to the chaos around me. God sure knows how to keep beauty in focus when everything gets turned upside down. He also knows how to take our worst traits and turn them into something remarkable.
I hope you love this story and my take on the gardens as much as I did. Thank you for being part of the tour!!! And may God bless and keep you!
lakesidelivingsite, September 26
The Avid Reader, September 27
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 27
Lighthouse Academy Blog, September 28 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Texas Book-aholic, September 28
She Lives To Read, September 29
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 30
Mary Hake, September 30
Connie’s History Classroom, October 1
Christina’s Corner, October 1
The Book Club Network, October 2
Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 3
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 4
Books I’ve Read, October 4
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 5
For Him and My Family, October 6
Elly Gilbert, October 6
Cover Lover Book Review, October 7
Simple Harvest Reads, October 8 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Holly’s Book Corner, October 9
Splashes of Joy, October 9
To celebrate her tour, Mindy is giving away the grand prize package a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Visiting a friend at his family gathering, a young grandson brought smiles to our faces by practicing his new skills in salesmanship. He was selling rocks packaged in plastic snack bags, freshly collected from the river running directly in front of us. His “bargain price” for these rocks was one dollar.
Unable to resist the dimples and charm of this young entrepreneur, the adults dug deep for small cash. As we produced dollar bills, we were quickly informed that his preferred currency was coin. Four shiny quarters were better than one piece of paper and one hundred pennies were even better! No one cheated the boy, but he would have gladly accepted any amount of change over a single paper bill. Chuckles and knowing looks were exchanged among the adults thinking, “Soon enough he’ll understand.”
Pondering the purchase of those river rocks, I thought of Christ’s broken body, payment for the debt of our sin. God sent His son Jesus to make change in our lives, in our brokenness...an exchange. The breaking of Him was for restoration of us.
Before his crucifixion, Jesus feeds thousands by breaking up a single lunch of bread and fishes into pieces. He prays blessing. He breaks. He restores. Many were fed with the pieces. And somehow there was excess where the whole seemed insufficient.
Then, the Gospel of Luke recounts the Last Supper in a way that paints the picture of this divine broken way. Jesus addresses the Apostles in Luke 22:19 (ESV):
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”
Jesus tears his dinner roll into pieces and hands those pieces to the Apostles. Did they remember serving up the bread and fish to the multitudes? Now Jesus is telling them to do likewise. Tearing and sharing and saying now you restore too. Jesus then submitted himself to being broken for the sake of wholeness offered to mankind.
If you tear God into one hundred pieces, is He still the almighty God? Yes, of course! Yet to those of us who receive His forgiveness, that broken body is priceless!
The hurts of this life have torn me to pieces. Perhaps you are torn up too. So, what if we stopped striving to pull ourselves together and, instead, we offer our fragments as a love offering for the restoration of broken relationships?
Forgiveness is about paying the bill of the hurt someone has inflicted upon you. Is there enough love within you to pay that debt? Or have the wounds drained us of the love God filled us with?
Relational injuries feel like the weight of worthless rocks, and giving love in exchange for them is irrational. But this is the call Christ gave to his followers – to love. Even our enemies.
The next time you find yourself digging deep for change, pause and be
reminded of how much love God has poured into you, and how much love you have to spend on others.
Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.
She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.
Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.
Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.
Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.
Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry.
Connect with Sharon:
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