Authors: Barbara Cameron
The Heart’s Journey
Other books by the author
A Time to Love
, book one in the Quilts of Lancaster County series
A Time to Heal
, book two in the Quilts of Lancaster County series
A Time for Peace
, book three in the Quilts of Lancaster County series
Her Restless Heart
, book one in the Stitches in Time series
THE HEART’S JOURNEY
Stitches in Time Series
The Heart’s Journey
Copyright © 2012 Barbara Cameron
Published by Abingdon Press, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, posted on any website, or transmitted in any form or by any means—digital, electronic, scanning, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without written permission from the publisher, except for brief quotations in printed reviews and articles.
The persons and events portrayed in this work of fiction are the creations of the author, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Cataloging-in-Publication data has been requested with the Library of Congress
Printed in the United States of America
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 / 17 16 15 14 13 12
For domestic abuse counselors everywhere
Growing up, I loved books so much my family knew they could always find me up in my bunk bed, reading in my own sort of indoor tree house. I read everything—from Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems to real-life murder mysteries in
(Dad was alarmed when he found me reading those!)
So I love connecting with readers who make books necessary—and thus, my job! My dear editor, Ramona Richards, also loves books and helps me make mine better. I want to thank her for her dedication and, most especially, for squeezing out a little more time for me to polish a book when I need it. Thank you, Ramona!
Christian fiction readers are so wonderful! I want to thank them for buying my books. They write me and let me know that they’ve enjoyed my stories and the blogs I write about the Amish.
Judy Rehm is always a source of comfort and advice on all things and she was especially invaluable on this book. I don’t know what I would do without your listening ear and your comments on the manuscript.
I visited Pinecraft, a charming little neighborhood of Sarasota, Florida, a number of times at the invitation of Sherry Gore. Sherry lives in Pinecraft year-round and talked a lot about how many Amish and Mennonites visited Pinecraft in the winter, eager to escape the northern cold.
I got the idea to have my characters take a trip there, and Sherry and her friend, Katie Troyer, answered my questions. Sherry also gave me permission to use recipes from her cookbook,
Taste of Pinecraft: Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens.
Katie also features her wonderful photos on her blog. I especially love her photos of children. These two talented women are the unofficial ambassadors of Pinecraft who are letting others know about this delightful little winter hideaway for the Amish and Mennonites.
I save thanks to God for last only because it is a way for me to remember that He makes it
possible: books, special people to help me write them, and all those who read them. I am blessed.
he should be the happiest young woman in Paradise.
But Naomi dreaded being asked about her upcoming wedding. She feared she’d scream if one more person asked her about it.
Marriage in her Amish community was more traditional than an
marriage, to be sure. But she’d never thought she’d have to change so much to please the man she would soon marry.
Sighing, she set her quilting aside, got up, and walked over to look out the front window. Business had been brisk that morning at Stitches in Time, the shop where she worked with her grandmother and two cousins.
Stitches in time … and place: she and her two cousins were working together as they had played and studied together all their lives. Their wise grandmother had bought this place and they’d all fixed it up, and now they created items for sale. Naomi quilted, Mary Katherine was a master weaver, Anna knitted, and their grandmother, Leah, created little Amish dolls and other crafts. They were two generations of Amish women who were bound by strong threads to each other as well as to their creativity and their community.
Here in this shop crowded with colorful quilts and hand-knitted items, with fabrics galore and every single thing you could ever need to quilt or knit or sew … well, she should feel like she was in heaven—working on a quilt and helping customers at this very successful shop, with family members who loved her.
Instead, she felt more and more false, covering up how she felt, wearing a mask each day.
“Looking for someone?” her grandmother asked, smiling as she looked up from tallying the day’s receipts. “Is John coming to pick you up after work?”
Everyone thought it was a sign of his attachment, his devotion to her, that he came for her nearly every day after work. In fact, it was a way of keeping track of her, of making certain that she didn’t make other plans.
She’d become so cynical. It was enough to make her sigh but she noticed her grandmother was still watching her.
,” she said, pasting a smile on her face.
She walked back to sit and stitch on her quilt. Its bright, cheerful pattern of watermelon slices with little black ants marching across it should have propped up her sagging mood. Anna had already said it would be perfect for the summer window display with some props to make it look like it could be used for a picnic.
Off she’d gone to plan what she’d knit for the display, then badgered Mary Katherine and her grandmother for what they’d make.
Naomi glanced over at Mary Katherine when she heard quiet humming. “What are you making?”
“Some fabric for big floor pillows,” she said, looking up. “You don’t think this looks or feels too … rough or nubby, do you?”
“I think it looks really sturdy for a kid’s room or for outdoor use. The pillows’ll fly out of the shop.”
Nodding, Mary Katherine went back to weaving and humming, weaving and humming.
That was what a woman who was happily married and had recently celebrated her first anniversary looked like, Naomi thought. Happy, content. Dreamy. She and Jacob were a good match. They’d been friends since they were scholars in the same school, and when he’d thought he’d lose her to Daniel, a charming Amish Mennonite man from exotic-sounding Florida, well, Jacob had woken up and shown her he was the
And soon, Naomi would be marrying John. Two cousins married in two years.
Anna was still looking for the right man and enjoying flirting with several young men. The three of them were cousins who looked much alike with their oval faces and brown eyes. Well, Mary Katherine was taller and her hair was more auburn but they looked more like sisters than cousins.
However, Naomi mused, their personalities were so different. She’d often wished she was as outgoing and assertive as Anna or as creative as Mary Katherine, who’d even been invited to speak about her weaving skill at the local college of arts and design.
A shadow fell over her as her grandmother carried some bolts of fabric to the storage room. She heard her talking with Anna and then her cousin emerged, following Leah as she walked back to the cash register. Leah handed her a slip of paper and then opened the cash register and withdrew some money. Anna slipped out the shop door.
Then Leah went to stand at the shop window and she stood there for so long, staring out with an unreadable expression, that Naomi got up and walked over to her.
“Is anything wrong?”
“No, I just sent Anna for pizza for lunch. My treat.”
“And you’re watching to make sure she gets there?” Naomi asked, smiling indulgently.
“No,” Leah said, shaking her head and laughing. “Although Anna has been known to dilly-dally.”
Turning, Leah sighed. “I’m just feeling a little restless, maybe a little moody, that’s all. I have to confess, I’m not usually pessimistic, but I’m not looking forward to another winter here in Lancaster.”
“That’s a ways off, Grandmother.”
“I know. Just ignore me. Like I said, I’m a little restless and moody. This probably started it.” She held up a postcard of a scene in Florida. “Daniel’s mother is trying to get me to come down to Pinecraft for a visit.”
“Well, maybe you should this time. It’d do you some good. All you do is work here and at home.”
For the first time she noticed that her grandmother—just in her fifties—looked tired. Older.
Anna bustled in, carrying a pizza box that smelled of pepperoni. “Come on, everybody, let’s eat it before it gets cold.”
“Or before you eat it all,” Mary Katherine teased as she got up from her loom. “I’m starved. I’m so hungry all the time lately.” She stopped as she realized the three women were staring at her. “What?”
“All the time?” Leah asked, a hopeful note in her voice.
“I’ve been working a lot lately. It’s not easy juggling a job here and being a farm wife, you know. Sometimes I forget to eat.”
Anna shoved the pizza box at Naomi, who fumbled to catch it and winced as one of her wrists complained.
Walking over to Mary Katherine, Anna counted on the fingers of one hand. “You could be …” she trailed off meaningfully.
“Could be what?”
Anna patted her cheek. “Think about it,” she said. “You’re a bright girl.”
Mary Katherine followed her into the back room. “Oh, honestly, you all want me to have a
so badly that you started making comments a month after I was married.”
“It can happen that fast,” Naomi told her.
“Yes, and we know it can happen even before marriage, no matter what community people live in.”
Mary Katherine goggled at Anna’s words. “You’re not suggesting Jacob and I anticipated our vows, are you?”
“No, dear, although some of those looks the two of you exchanged when you thought no one was looking were quite sizzling.” Anna waved her hand as if she were overheated. “I wondered if flames would erupt.”
She took the pizza from Naomi and sailed toward the kitchen.
“Well, she’s certainly not moping around today,” Naomi remarked.
“She never is, especially this particular month,” Leah noted, jerking her head toward the calendar. “I don’t want to see her depressed but there’s such a thing as covering up your feelings that can be harmful. I’m hoping she’s not doing that.”
Frowning, she walked toward the back room. Naomi followed and helped get out plates and soft drinks.
She and Anna knew all about covering up their feelings, Naomi thought as she nibbled on her own piece of pizza and found it tasteless.
“Is something wrong with your pizza?” Mary Katherine asked.
“I’m just not very hungry today.” She pushed the box closer to her cousin, who took a third piece.
They chatted about the weather—it was the time of year between the too-brief Pennsylvania spring and the always-long summer that drew customers. They’d be returning after they enjoyed a big Amish lunch.
Mercifully, her wedding plans weren’t a topic of conversation today. She managed to force down a few bites of pizza, then covered what was left on her plate with her crumpled paper napkin. She rose and walked to the sink to wash her plate and place it in the drying rack.
“Done already?” Leah asked.
“I’m full. I’m going to get back to the quilt. I promised it to a customer by next week.”
She sat by herself and sewed on the wedding ring quilt and tried not to think of how one day she and other women would gather around the big quilting frame and stitch hers.
Someone knocked on the window and she jumped. She looked up and saw John staring at her through the glass. But instead of gesturing for her to open the door, which they’d locked so they could eat lunch, he waved carelessly and walked on.