Tuesday, December 09, 2008

When the Soul Mends

We are all snowed in today. We didn't quite get the 14" of snow that was forecasted, but it's still coming down. Even Jesse stayed home from work today. I'm getting caught up on laundry, and he's getting caught up on stuff around the house. Mia is just enjoying a day off and watching the Santa Clause movies.
We have Christmas cookies in the house, but we'll see how long they last. Mom, Molly, Mia, Krissy, and I made peanut blossoms, gingerbread cookies, molasses cookies, and kringle on Saturday. The kringle makes for a perfect quick breakfast, it's like a large breakfast pastry filled with cherry pie filling. We make one of each household every year as a tribute to my Grandma Valley. Molly also decorated a gingerbread house, and this year it stayed up! Last year it collapsed shortly after completion to Molly's utter disgust. Making cookies with Mom is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Sometimes I have to stop and take a mental snapshot to keep with me, because no camera can capture the laughter and love in the room. The mood was a little subdued this year; Mom is mourning Dotty and was worried about the coming puppy. But Mia is starting to become more active in her participation. She unwrapped all of the kisses for the peanut blossoms, and helped me roll the dough into balls for them. She also helped Mom with the gingerbread cookies, at least as long her her attention allowed her to, then she performed somersaults all over the living room floor to burn off energy until Sophie arrived. Today's pics are all from Sunday's baking session.

When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall is the third and final book in the Sisters of the Quilt series, but no worries, you don't need to have read the first two books to jump into this compelling novel. Hannah Lapp Lawson left the Amish faith two years ago when her community shunned her after a tragedy. She lost everything: her family, her fiance Paul, and her plans for the future, and had to rebuild a life for herself in Ohio. She's just a few months away from her nursing degree and she's almost engaged to a terrific Englischer, Martin, when she receives a confused phone call from her sister Sarah insisting that she return home. Hannah goes home to find that Sarah is falling apart mentally and to help her, she needs to face all of the ghosts from her past, and that may jeopardize her future with Martin. Woodsmall packs an amazing amount of drama into this book dealing with Hannah, her brother, and her best friend. There are a lot of Christian fiction books praising the Amish lifestyle, Woodsmall bravely addresses the insularity and troubles that may face those in that faith. Hannah has to face the disapproval of her father, along with being shunned by much of her community, and the reader can't help but applaud her courage and ability to stand up for herself. I loved every twist and turn of this book, and I appreciated the way Woodsmall refused to make anyone a caricature. Even the antagonists' motives were understandable and she didn't take the easy way out by making anyone truly irredeemable. I just couldn't put this book down!

I'm giving away two copies of this book this week. If you'd like the chance to win, drop me an email before 10 pm on Thursday, Dec. 11th. I'll announce the winners here on Friday.