Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1 and collect the clues through all 25 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top three grand prizes!
- The hunt BEGINS with stop #1 at Lisa Bergren’s site: http://www.lisatawnbergren.com
- Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
- There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt–you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/22 at midnight MST)! So take your time reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors and new books.
- Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the clue on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #25. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!
Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?
After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?
Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.
And now, a post from Cindy:
Texting Heart to Heart
It’s three AM on a chilly February night in 2016. I can’t sleep. I hear the soft, gentle snores of my husband and puppy, but those aren’t the things keeping me awake.
Across our small north Georgia town, my daughter-in-law Erin is awake too. Her husband—my middle son—is in the deep slumber that working long hours on his feet often brings, and her children, ages four and two, are also asleep.
In January, only a few weeks prior, their family’s bubble burst. You might know the bubble I mean: the zone people live in of “This can’t happen to me” and “Surely everything will work out,” but then it is happening and there’s no solution. Erin’s baby in-utero was diagnosed with a lethal form of dwarfism and passed away at twenty weeks along. It was world shattering and soul crushing for everyone, with reverberations all through our family.
In my fifties, I’m not a stranger to loss. The unexpected and too-early loss of my mother in her sixties broke my heart, and since then I’ve had to say good-bye to several family members and dear friends. But it can be so difficult to share the deep, disturbing aspects of these things. It’s intensely emotional, and societal expectations have trained us to feel embarrassed to openly show our feelings past the first week after a person’s death. Even then, it’s hard to put into words the intimate and intricate details of what the loss does to our mind, heart, and faith. Erin and I were also constricted by our introverted personalities—thinking and feeling a lot, sharing very little. Our safest, most rejuvenating space was alone with God. Still is.
So at three o’clock that morning, each of us was texting the other, and through those text bubbles we opened our hearts. In our separate, quiet, and peaceful homes, we could share through the tiny iMessage portal all the things that would have been impossible to say out loud. We could cry without inhibition or any perceived judgments. And the love, grief, and healing began pouring through.
That was the beginning of many weeks of sending texts. They offered us time to reflect and dig deep and answer from a place I’m not sure I knew existed before then. That time forever changed our relationship. We grew close, and every bit of those thoughts and emotions were built on honesty of how life really works and who we really are.
The negative effects of texting and email is a frequent topic in the news. Many fear the new generation being raised in an environment where smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous. But it’s less headline-grabbing to speak about the positive things these innovations bring to relationships.
One of the important aspects in Gathering the Threads is that Ariana refuses to give up her iPhone, even to her Daed or the bishop, and the results are damaging to many relationships in her community. Even though keeping the device goes against her spiritual authorities, Ariana believes that this forbidden piece of technology keeps her connected to her Englisch family, but even more important, it connects her to a part of herself she’s unwilling to give up.
You can see why texting means so much to me. Today, Erin and I don’t usually text about unbearable loss throughout the night. We do speak of Iris from time to time, and how much we miss her and all her potential. But more frequently we talk about Silas, her “rainbow baby” (a baby born after the loss of a baby), who was born around Christmas last year. We talk about the antics of her older kids and other normal, day-to-day stuff. We brainstorm and plot books, and all of that texting led to us writing a Christmas novella set in Asheville, North Carolina, which releases October 10.
But if either of us ever needs a safe and private way to talk, we reach out through texting—where no one can see our faces and we’re both free to take time to think, regroup, and share with complete honesty. And that is a wonder of technology that I’m deeply thankful for.
Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of twenty works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards.
Here’s the Stop #19 skinny:
Clue to write down: ABOUT THIS
Link to Stop #20, the Next Stop on the Loop: Cindy Woodsmall’s own site!
Thank you, Cindy! And now, to everyone who signs up for my newsletter, I’m sending the first chapter of Judah’s Wife so you can have a sneak peek! Enjoy! TWO of my new sign-ups will receive a free copy of Egypt’s Sister, so be sure to fill in the box for your mailing address! I’ll announce the winners on Oct. 23. Happy hunting!