August 12, 2011

Going “Home”

Category: News — Ira @ 6:41 pm

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Daviess County. The land of my father’s blood.
And my mother’s. The land that harbored in its
soil the hidden saga of my family’s history…

Ira Wagler: Growing Up Amish
___________________________

I haven’t really spent that much time there. Probably less than three years, total, when you combine all my numerous and sporadic stints in the area. And three years ain’t a whole lot. Not when my fiftieth birthday looms ever imminent.

But in a deep and undeniable sense, Daviess County is home. My ancestral home. The place that holds so much of my family’s history. The place that harbors more Waglers than any other area in the world, probably. And from my mother’s side, the Yoders (a far more common Amish surname, in most communities). The place where the vast sprawling web of relatives, most of them strangers to me, were born and where they have lived and forged the great untold stories of their own. Stories I will never fully know.

It’s a distinct place, certainly. A land of rolling hills and narrow graveled roads, dotted here and there with ancient graveyards. With its own very unique Amish culture, a very unique Amish people. A land that reflects the woven tapestry of their lives, like they were spread in vivid colors on some great Renaissance painting. The faces of the men, angular, sharp, intelligent. Broad, flat and plain. And the women standing silently by, hunched and tired, their wrinkled faces speaking the tales they cannot form in words, and perhaps not even in their minds. Tales known only in their hearts. The mothers of sons strong and confident. And daughters, lithe and tall and vibrantly beautiful.

They’ve been there in Daviess all their lives, all of them. Their faces reflect the steady slog of decades of generational toil, the waves of experience that mirror all of life. And simple unquestioning acceptance of all that life might hold. The plower plowing. The sower sowing. The reaper reaping. Until the end of each individual journey, or until the end of time.

Those are the faces of Daviess, the land of my father’s blood.

I wonder sometimes, how it would have been, had he not decided to leave. Unilaterally, like he did. To take his fledgling family and strike out for unknown lands. For a better place. I don’t know how that would have worked out, to have been raised in Daviess. Or who I would have turned out to be. In a sense, I’ve always been kind of thankful that he left. Not because I think ill of Daviess, far from it. I am very proud of my roots. But because of the wanderlust that simmered in my father, my sheltered Amish world was flung open far wider than it ever could have been, had he stayed.

Had he not left, his children probably would have. So he made that difficult choice for us. So we didn’t have to. Or then again, maybe not. Maybe we would have stayed. Who can tell? All of this is mere speculation. Fascinating to consider, at least to me. But speculation, nonetheless.

I headed out Thursday morning, August 4th. My good friend, Glen Graber, founder of Graber Post Buildings, had arranged for a two-day book signing. For Friday and Saturday, August 5th and 6th. Always vastly optimistic, Glen had contacted Tyndale and purchased several hundred copies of my book. Friday’s signing would be in the foyer of his business. Saturday’s would be at a large local Amish-themed restaurant, The Gasthof. And since neither place stocked my book, well, in the future they would. Because there was no way Glen was getting rid of them all at the signings.

I love Big Blue, my truck. But not for long trips like this. Guzzles way too much fuel. Plus, I don’t want to rack up the miles. So I rented a little mid-sized vehicle from my friends at Enterprise. They’ve supplied a lot of vehicles for my various wanderings in the past. This time, they came up with a Dodge Caliber. Cool little car, kind of bullet-shaped, a rumrunner’s car, complete with satellite radio.

It’s a long slog to Daviess, from Lancaster, PA. And tiring. A good 12-hour trip. Two people could run right through. And one person could, too. I’ve done it in the past. But this time, I figured not to push things. I stopped around Indianapolis that evening. Get some rest. Head on in Friday morning.

I arrived at Graber Post around 10:30 or so. I walked in, and things were bustling. Graber Post is one of, if not the, largest supplier of pole building materials in the country. I had not visited the place for five or six years. It had expanded. Vastly. I walked up to the receptionist and introduced myself. She smiled. Oh, yes. They were expecting me. And then two guys walked into the foyer, carrying a folding table. They were setting up for my book signing.

From the second floor offices, my friend Glen hollered down. Come on up. I walked into his office and we chatted for a few minutes. Then I went back downstairs, to help the guys set up. In short order, we had the table, complete with burgundy cover, loaded with my books. On the front foyer window, two massive posters announced the book signing to all who walked in.

And as soon as we were set up, they came. Mostly employees, at least early on. Many already had their copies. I smiled and talked and signed books. Around 12:30. my nephew John Wagler and my brother Nathan pulled in. They had traveled from Bloomfield, Iowa, to attend. John had stopped at Worthington, IN, some 40 miles north, and picked up his sister Mary Ann, and her husband Jason Stutzman. The four of them walked in smiling, and I greeted them joyfully. A small family reunion, that’s what we had there.

Promptly at 1, my aunt and uncles arrived. Mom’s siblings. I had asked Glen to invite them. He did. Personally. Sarah and Ben and William (and Mom) are the only surviving members of Mom’s family. Sarah and William (or Bill, as he is known), have lost their spouses. Ben is battling cancer that almost took him last winter in Florida.

I don’t know them that well. Never have. And in recent years, I have struggled with the reasons why. They were cut off from my family. Because they were not Amish. So in some small way, at my little book signing, I wanted to honor them. And they came.


My kin arriving. From R. Uncle Ben (seated), Aunt Sarah, Uncle Bill

I met them, along with Nathan and John. We had set up some comfortable, cushioned chairs, behind the table, right beside mine. We helped them in, and seated them. And there they sat, as people drifted in and out. They smiled. Chatted. Visited with the customers. I beamed with pride. They had come to honor me. I was honored instead by their presence.


First books signed. Mary Ann (my niece) and Jason Stutzman

And the hours passed. People came and went. Introduced themselves, a lot of them, as old acquaintances I had not seen in decades. I smiled and admitted I had no clue. They smiled back and gave me their books to sign. And by 4 PM, I had signed 101 books. And then it was over.


Gift from my blog fan and friend, Beth Russo, who drove over
from St. Louis with her husband, Scot. Uh, I’m not a Cards fan,
Beth, but thanks for the lovely T-shirt.


The end of Friday’s signing. Nathan and Ira

Nathan and John and I helped dismantle the table and the displays. And then we headed out to Glen’s farm, and the cabin where he houses his guests. Glen and his friend “Goody” had been busy for a few hours. Cooking and concocting various delicious mixes. Fresh salsa, very mild, they claimed, but a bit spicy to my taste. But oh so delectable.

We sat around and chilled, while Glen stirred some kind of meat on the stove. Goody, who lives next door and plays the role of caretaker when not at his full-time job, offered to take my relatives on a tour of the “farm,” which is actually a wildlife sanctuary, at least until opening day of hunting season. I had toured the place before, so I stayed behind with Glen while the others took off with Goody on some sort of Obama-approved battery powered vehicle that can claw up and down the hills.

They returned, and we sat down to a delicious feast. Glen and Goody can cook, I’ll give them that. After dinner, my old friend Ron (Ritter) Stoll dropped by with a friend, and we sat around and chilled some more.

And we rehashed all the old stories about Daviess. The history, the people, their quirks, the church spats and splits, and the wild Amish Daviess youth of the past. Crazy, unrecorded stories. Daviess, Glen and Ritter claimed, did not deserve its sordid reputation. And in the next breath, off they rolled, recounting some wild tale so fantastic that it could only be true. I’ve never heard such stories in any other Amish community. Some day, someone will have to write a book, based solely on Daviess and its history. It’s all just flat out fascinating. And somewhat disturbing, much of it.

Nathan, John and I slept in the cabin that night. The next morning, we headed out to a special place, a place we wanted to tour before the 12 Noon book signing at The Gasthof. The farm on which my mother was born and raised. A few miles north and east of Montgomery.

Through a mutual friend, I had asked permission to come and tour the place. The farm’s two small houses are currently occupied by two Amish families. Young couples, with small children. One couple lives in the original house, recently remodeled. The other couple lives in the “Daudy house,” which was erected some decades ago for my grandfather, John Yoder. I may have been on the farm as a child with my parents. I can’t remember. But most likely I was not, because my father shunned my mother’s family. Because they had left the Amish church. That side of the family was off-limits to us.

The farm consisted of a rather small set of buildings. Set on a hill. A ramshackle old barn. An old milk house. A tiny feed shed. A newer machinery shop. And of course, the main house, complete with a water pump out front, the same one my mother would have used as a child.


My mother’s childhood home. “Daudy” house on left.

The skies wept with rain that morning. Which was significant and profoundly symbolic, perhaps. But it sure made it awfully unhandy, to really check out the place.

We walked into the house, wide-eyed. The small living room, complete with the original trim around windows and doors. The room in which my parents would have sat, on their dates. We walked up into the unremodeled upstairs rooms. Where the children would have slept. Unchanged, the rooms were, since that time. Small, impossibly crowded for six or seven siblings. But that’s the way they would have lived, seventy-five years ago.


Living room, which we figure was a courting room for our parents.

It was impossible to absorb the enormity of it all in a few short minutes. We walked through the house and the outbuildings, took pictures, and chatted with our hosts. It was a fine and shining moment, one that we will always treasure.

The rain drizzled steadily, so it was over all too soon. And so we headed over to The Gasthof a bit early. The huge restaurant where I first worked as a waiter more than twenty years ago. Now returning with my book. A homecoming of sorts.

We lugged in a case of books and set up at a very nice spot just inside the main entrance. And soon the people came, and milled about. Amish. Beachy Amish. Mennonites. English. More people than I could have dared to hope would show up. Old friends. The Wagler family, the people who gave me shelter and support all those years ago. Dean Wagler and his wife Wanda walked in. Dean looked a bit dubious at the fact that I’d written about him in the book. Even one of the old gang of six showed up. Vern Herschberger drove up from his home in Tennessee for the signing. He tried to sidle past the table, but I recognized him and yelled his name. We had not seen each other in 30 years. We shook hands and hugged, reconnecting like old true friends.


Characters from the book. From L, Wanda and Dean Wagler,
Vern Herschberger, Ira, Nathan

It was a grand old time. And all too soon, it too was all over. John, Nathan, Vern and I grabbed a quick bite from the Gasthof’s well stocked buffet. Chatted about old times, rehashed old memories. And then we all headed out for our respective homes. I drove four hours to the Dayton, Ohio, area before stopping at a Holiday Inn for the night.

As a son of a son of Daviess, going “home” was all I could have imagined. And more.

A few words on how the book is moving out there. I’m getting a lot of emails from readers all across the country. Sporadically. Some days one. Some days five. And I mean from all across the country. California. Idaho. Louisiana. Montana. The eastern seaboard. And many points between. Even one or two from my old Aylmer haunts in Ontario. They bought the book at Walmart or Costco, a lot of them. On a whim. And they had been moved enough to go to my site, find my contact information, and write me. I’m always grateful and flattered. I try to respond with a short message to each one, but I am falling behind even on that.

The book has been out for right at six weeks. The Tyndale people have been quite vague about the number published, and so forth. Because it takes a few months for real numbers, real sales, to shake out. Then a few weeks ago, Growing Up Amish came in at #45 on the August ECPA’s Christian Bestsellers List (ECPA=Evangelical Christian Publishers Association). The Top 50 books make the list. Obviously a big thrill for me. I’m honored and, yeah, a bit humbled.

But then, two days ago, something far larger came down, something just flat out wild. On Wednesday evening, I had just arrived home from work when my phone rang. It was Carol Traver of Tyndale. Throughout the entire writing and editing and publishing process, I can almost count on one hand the number of times I got a call from Carol. I mean, she’s the senior nonfiction acquisition editor at Tyndale. So when she calls, there must be something really big coming down. Either some dreadful disaster (Your book’s not selling. Sorry, Bud.), or some fantastic milestone.

It was something really big. A fantastic milestone. This Sunday, Growing Up Amish will debut at #31 on the New York Times eBook bestseller list. In the nonfiction category, of course. The top 35 make this list. So I just barely squeaked in, toward the bottom.

I probably haven’t really absorbed it yet. Not fully. It’ll take a while, I think. My book will be listed in The New York Times. The Holy Grail. At least for authors. Any way you look at it, that is rarefied air for a hick country ex-Amish redneck. It just is. Ain’t no other way to put it. But the journey never stops, it just veers onto different paths. And right now, I’m enjoying the ride on this path.

This blog, along with all its faithful readers, is one reason the book is where it is. Or that it even exists at all. Thanks for your support, all of you. And now, let’s get the real print copy of the book on the real New York Times bestseller list. Hey, what chance was there of even getting to this point? With all of you out there spreading the word, one more distant mountain can be conquered.

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(33 Comments) »

  1. Sounds like the Daviess trip was a roaring success. I really wish I would have made the trip with Nate and John, but oh well, some other time. Congratulations on #31 on the Times Ebook list. No one knows where the top is.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — August 12, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  2. Congratulations!! We are heading to Lancaster Co. the 1st week of September, would like to meet you and get my book signed…do you have any book signings that week???

    Comment by Connie French — August 12, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  3. Great story as always, congratulations on the milestones.

    Comment by Steve Beiler — August 12, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  4. Maybe my hormones are out of balance, if I have any, but tonight reading this blog makes my tears push out of my eye sockets. I sure wish I would know what the Aylmer people are saying.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — August 12, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  5. It’s great that you could go see your mom’s old home place.
    When we missed you at Graber’s we joked about looking for a blue truck… no wonder we didn’t see one! ha
    I love how you describe the people of Daviess County.

    The next person I want to meet is Katie up there- she’s always got something interesting to say!

    Comment by Anita B — August 12, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  6. OK, all I read was blah, blah, “I met Beth Russo,”…blah, blah, “I LOVE the Cardinals!” – was there more there?? :) Now that you mention your truck, I do remember looking for that in the parking lot – that’s too funny. I think it was nice how even though we were all there to see YOU, you seemed to make everyone there feel so welcome and that you were happy to see US. Your family is priceless – so friendly and supportive – and I think you know how blessed you are. Sounds like a very full, fun, memorable weekend. BTW, congrats on the NYT! Sounds like you need an agent/business manager…I’m extremely expensive but I’ll do it. Go Cards! Great post – I love reading about your parents like that. You did what so many would love to do – go into an old house that you or someone you knew lived in. Very cool.

    Comment by Beth Russo — August 13, 2011 @ 12:32 am

  7. Oh I wish I’d known you were in Iowa, I’d love to meet you! Haven’t scraped up enough pennies to buy your book yet, but it’s on my Amazon wish list. Soon, I hope! Maybe next time you’re out here I’ll get you to autograph it.

    Ira’s response: Fear not, Deb. I was in Daviess County, Indiana. I will be in Davis County, Iowa (Bloomfield) during Thanksgiving week. I’ll be very happy to sign your book then.

    Comment by Deb — August 13, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  8. ‘Obama-approved’ is it? My what a slam!

    Comment by jason yutzy — August 13, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  9. Congratulations (Best selling author) Ira!

    I’ve said all along, your book will reach outside of our circles. I prophesied that it would be on the NYT best seller’s list. You have made me a prophet! I predict that it will end up near the top (It has the potential to be #1)! Congratulations!

    BTW who are these Cardinals you talk about?

    Comment by John Schmid — August 13, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  10. I love that you were able to visit your mom’s farm. That’s pretty special.

    I’m also glad that you are not the forlorn lonely author sitting idly at his book signing table. You are having a blast, I can tell!

    Congrats on the NYT #31 (and rising).

    Comment by Lil — August 14, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  11. Congrats Ira on making #31 on the list. You must be walking in a cloud right now :)

    I enjoyed hearing about the farm & your visit (and the photos!)

    It must be great to reconnect the way you have been these past few weeks. Nice to see the book bringing everyone together.

    Much happiness to you!

    Comment by DJ — August 15, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  12. Congrats on the success of your book! I own a copy, but have not read it yet. [I’m reading Saloma Furlong’s book right now!] I was also born in Daviess County, and lived there for my first four years. [my 50th b-day is well in the rear-view mirror though!] I’m enjoying your blog, and I look forward to reading your book! I am very happy for your success, and I wish you all the best as you climb up into the 20s, teens, 10s, etc.!

    Comment by Char — August 17, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  13. Thank you for such a wonderful book! It was difficult to put it down once I got started! I am now going through all your blogs, etc. I love your writing style! Congratulations on your book climbing towards the top of the bestseller list – I have no doubt it will get to the top in no time! Glad you were able to visit your parent’s old homeplace – sounds like a wonderful thing to be able to do.

    We visited Lancaster, PA two years ago and did all the tours. Really enjoyed it. Your book helped put many things in perspective for us! God bless you and your family!!

    Comment by Lisa Welch — August 17, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  14. I recently bought your book at the Super Wal-Mart in Germantown, WI. I fully enjoyed your book. It was really hard to put it down once I got started. In fact, I read it in 2 days. Like your writing style; very informative, witty and humorous at times. The book made me laugh and cry. I have no doubt your book will climb higher towards the top of the bestseller list. Thanks for sharing what life was like “Growing Up Amish”. So glad you were able to visit your parents old homestead while you were in the area.

    Hope you will do some more writing. Is there a chance you will be in the Milwaukee area? Would love to get my book signed. Thanks again for a great book. God Bless and God Speed.

    Comment by Sue Dittmar — August 18, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  15. Congratulations! You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Joanne Eash — August 19, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  16. Wish I knew you were staying in Dayton for a night! I live about half hour away and would have loved to meet you. My wife and mom have read my copy of your book and both loved it.

    (Your Elmo blogs are my personal favorite as I was at Cookeville once with my wife to attend her friend’s wedding.)

    Comment by Aaron — August 19, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  17. Glad your book is doing well. I learned about this site from the book jacket. Your book is a pleasure to read. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the Amish, but all the novels and non fiction I had were written from the women’s perspective. When I saw your book advertised in a book club mailer, I was eager to read something written from a man’s perspective.

    Comment by Paula S. — August 19, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

  18. Read your book and found your blog. It really makes me think about how my children must feel growing up in a nondenominational church that proclaims they are the only path. We have thought to switch churches but the hold is so tight. Your bravery inspires me to focus on a relationship with the Creator and less about the rules of a church.

    Comment by LeAnne — August 21, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  19. Ah, interesting about the Yoder farm visit. Next time you visit Ind., you may want to go by Mom & Dad’s first home, the old Arthur Hay-Hay (Wagler) farm. The original barns were still there last year, abandoned and growing up in weeds, the milk house door flapping in the wind, and all.

    The next-door neighbor there, Scrooge Bogy (Wilmer Knepp), still recalls that Dad would come up after supper in the winter sometimes, and give him hints on an ongoing checker game.

    Comment by Grandpa Jess From SC — August 21, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  20. Ira,

    Wow, kudos on making the NY Times e-book bestseller list.

    Perhaps Tyndale will place a full page splash ad in the Amish-Mennonite weekly, “The Budget”! Or would the rippling effect be too controversial?

    “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Eccl 3.1

    Comment by e. s. gingerich — August 22, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  21. I have now read your book! It was a fascinating, riveting read – I could not put it down! I’m hoping you’ll write the sequel and catch us up on the past 20 years!! Well done, and thank you for sharing of yourself – I know that wasn’t easy to do. Best wishes.

    Char [born in Daviess County in the late 50’s]

    Comment by Char — August 23, 2011 @ 8:32 am

  22. Happy Birthday, Ira!

    Comment by Char — August 24, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  23. Amish Memories. I’m very interested in the insignificant-seeming recollections of your early youth. Perhaps, even before you developed a wandering heart. Hope you’ll start jotting them down, and thinking on the little details before you fall asleep. The memories will soon come flooding back and people will pay to read of them.

    Comment by Tammy — August 25, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  24. Ira, My Book Club is reading your book this month and next. We meet on September 15 to discuss what we have read. My opinion: Great writing and so very honest. It would have been such a wonderful pleasure to have befriended you during your dark period. We (Book Club members) are not Amish but are familiar with the fine families and their work at Ethridge, TN. I have recorded music of Mennonites ~ Beautiful! In the church in which we belong, we sing accapella. Thank you for Growing Up Amish

    Comment by Peggy J. Simpson — August 28, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  25. Hello Ira,

    Well, with great trepidation and morbid curiosity, I finally read your book. You see, I have read just about every Amish fiction book available, as it has been my great escape from this crazy world we live in. I did not want my fantasy shattered.

    I grew up with a very abusive father, a loving, but absent workaholic mother, and my sanity was always my horses. At age 58, with 2 rods and 16 screws in my back, I still ride and can’t imagine my life without my beloved horses. Perhaps it has something to do with my fascination of the Amish.

    Your book was extremely good – couldn’t put it down until I was finished. Laughed and cried through it. I live in California and can’t wait to visit some of the Amish communities one day! Within the past year I’ve lost my best friend, watched my younger brother die in the hospital, and have struggled with my faith. Most importantly, your book helped me in that area most of all.

    God bless you.

    Comment by Kathryn Stewart — August 31, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  26. But you and I both know you can’t go home again :-)

    Comment by LeRoy — September 1, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  27. Saw a review of your bk., in Des Moines, Ia..Register..Got it right away, I read it.. My 12 yr old grandson is reading it also. I’m an avid bk reader. I grew, up with Quaker/Friends beginning’s..So, I truly understand you growing up Amish & breaking away..I truly believe you took after your Father with his writings, for the Amish paper. Do you believe not?

    It made me sad, to see you married & divorced.. that was the saddest part of your life!! For you so deserve to be happy. The world sometimes takes us astray, tho..I’m 68, have 3 sons..& been married 48 yrs..a lot of religion is mixed in..But wish for the simpler times, a lot of the times, nowadays..I, was told by my Grandmother, I was going to hell, many times, by dancing, playing card games, & the list goes, on & on..So very sad..!

    Be proud of yourself.. You should be honored to have your book go so far.. & help so many.. May God bless you & yours..

    Comment by June DeLighte Wilbur — September 9, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  28. Ira- Thank you so much for this book. My father grew up in Daviess County, and what you have given me, a small bit of understanding of what he went through when he left, is a priceless gift.

    I am just a few weeks late to be able to meet you at Glen’s place, but I’m glad you were able to go back and visit. I’m glad to read the blog and see the photos, and I’m happy to say I’m a new follower.

    Thanks again for giving me a wonderful insight into my father’s life.

    Comment by Dee Lengacher Fulford — September 19, 2011 @ 8:33 am

  29. Ira,

    Didn’t know that you were in Daviess County for a book signing!!! Bummed! Was it advertised? I am not around the Menno/Amish haunts too often to hear the news that way. I also didn’t realize that your parents were from DC (until I read the book). I am going to pass it along to my dad- who I know will find it interesting. His family came here from ND in the 40’s-they were Menno though.

    I also didn’t know of the “wildness” attributed to the Amish and youth in this area. I went to ONE Amish party back in the day and swore myself to never return to one— it scared me to death (I am serious).

    I am not done with your book yet, but can hardly put it down! Congrats on the eBook list! I am pleased to say that I knew you back in the Gasthof days- 20 years ago!

    Comment by Lisa K — September 24, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  30. Ira,
    Congratulations on the success of your book.I greatly enjoyed reading such a fine book.Thank you for sharing your life and your thoughts with us.I look forward to a sequel.
    Peace be with you.

    Comment by Eileen Clark — June 14, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  31. Wow! Such wonderful praises from your readers. You have really touched many lives by telling your story. That’s awesome!

    When you wrote that your mother’s side of the family was rejected by your father a sadness swept over me. Talk about abandonment issues. And how terribly painful it must have been for your mom. I can’t even imagine living in a culture that “drops” human beings so easily. Well, I’m sure it isn’t easy. But it’s still done. It just seems so very cruel.

    There was a time in my life when I had to put distance between myself and my family while I learned how to live an emotionally healthy life. I remember driving by my mom’s house feeling nothing but pain and sorrow and indescribable lonliness. I would have loved more than anything to run through her back door and hug her til she made it all better. But I knew she wasn’t able to make it all better and I had to grow up, stop needing my mom’s approval so much. I truly felt like an orphan and it was gut-wrenching. Those were the most desolate days of my life. I was in my 20’s.

    The Bible says God puts the lonely in families which He definitely did in my case. First, with those I hardly knew but who carried me through some difficult times. Second, after He healed many areas in my life and built up my spiritual and emotional muscles, He put me back with my biological family. It was uncomfortable at first, standing my ground, not buying into the lies. But as time passed the love for my family had grown so deep and so strong. I had a counselor who said, “We teach people how to treat us.” I had to do this with my family. Oh, how I thank my wonderful Papa for His love and healing! I never would have guessed it could be this good.

    Comment by Francine — December 5, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  32. Ira,
    If you ever plan a trip to Daviess County again we would love to have an event with you scheduled so you can have a book signing and so we can all meet you! Local authors are few and far between!

    Comment by Samantha Bobbitt — February 26, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  33. Not Amish = cut off family ties? When love is absent, twisted theology is present. Always challenge the “given” wisdom.

    Comment by Sho — December 4, 2018 @ 4:45 am

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