A Simple Amish Christmasby Vannetta Chapman
Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness. She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and Annie has several important choices to make.
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A Simple Amish Christmas
By Vannetta Chapman
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2010 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania December 1, 2009, 6:55 a.m.
Annie Weaver threw her coat and scarf into her locker, slammed it shut, and twirled the lock—once, twice, three times as Jenny had shown her.
Turning to go, she nearly ran over her best friend.
"Tell me you are not headed out on the floor." Jenny's voice sounded like Annie's first-year teacher—stern and low and slightly disappointed. Sporting short blonde hair and a figure even slimmer than Annie's, Jenny looked nothing like an Amish schoolteacher.
"You are, aren't you?"
Blue eyes laughed at her, even as Annie tossed a panicked look at the clock—six fifty-seven a.m.
Annie's hand flew to the top of her head and met only a mass of curls. Searching, she found her nursing cap slid to the back and side of her head.
Looking down, she realized she'd left it—
Left them both in her locker.
As she turned and fumbled with the combination on her locker, Jenny re-pinned Annie's nursing cap firmly in place on the top of her long, chestnut hair.
"I'm running late," Annie explained.
Annie shook her head. "I was up early enough, but I made the mistake of turning on the radio. The music reminded me that it's December."
"They're already playing Christmas songs," Jenny fussed. "I still have leftover turkey in the fridge."
"When I heard the music I realized I hadn't written home this week. I thought I had enough time, but then a letter to my parents was followed by another to my schweschder." Annie's voice trailed off. How could she explain that the Christmas decorations popping up everywhere were making her homesick?
Garlands hung from the halls of her boarding house. Colorful displays crowded the store windows lining her walk to work. Lights blinked above the streets, and Santas rang bells at nearly every door.
She longed for the simple celebrations of home.
Annie grabbed her I.D. and stethoscope, allowing her fingers to brush over the engraving, marveling that it bore her initials.
She had actually earned her R.N. degree. One year she had studied and earned her high school equivalency, then for two years she had been enrolled in and graduated from the local nursing program.
Three years of living with her aenti.
Three years working among the Englisch.
Three years away from her family.
She spun around to face Jenny. "I shouldn't have spent so long writing my mamm and dat this morning, but ya—I was a little homesick because of the holidays."
"Your mother and dad will appreciate the letter. Why don't you stop by my place after your shift ends? I'll make baked ziti, a giant salad, and fresh rolls—your favorite meal."
Annie blinked through the tears that suddenly sprang to her eyes, accepted the hug Jenny offered, and hurried out to the floor, glancing again at the clock as she passed underneath it.
Only one minute late.
* * *
"Good morning, Annie." Jeffrey's voice was as sweet as shoofly pie, too sweet.
She'd been dodging his flirtations for weeks. Though he was a nice enough co-worker, his attention left her confused.
As did the smile he shot her way.
"Gudemariye," she mumbled, pretending to check her pocket for pen and stethoscope.
"Careful—you know I love it when you talk plain to me." Tall and redheaded, Jeffrey winked, then walked over to the copier machine.
"Don't tease her, Jeffrey." Shelly issued her command in a don't-mess-with-me voice. "Annie just arrived, and you know it takes her a few minutes to readjust to our ways."
Peering over her reading glasses, Shelly waited for Jeffrey to return his attention to his work, which he did. She was their shift supervisor, and she was the perfect mother hen. Dark ebony skin, tall and somewhat on the heavy side—no one doubted she could handle whatever presented on their floor.
She waved Annie toward the little boy in room 307. "Go on, honey. Kiptyn has been asking for you since his five a.m. check."
"Danki," Annie replied, glancing up at the status board. "I mean, thank you. I had hoped to check on him first. He rested well last night?"
"As well as can be expected." Shelly's face took on the protective look Annie had come to love so well over the past six months. "Remember, Annie, care for your patients, but don't let them break your heart."
"Ya. I know. You have warned me before." Annie smiled, felt in her pocket for the item that had arrived in the mail yesterday.
Christmas music played softly over the hospital sound system as she hurried down the hall toward Kiptyn's room.
She entered quietly.
The boy didn't seem to hear her over the buzzing and beeping of medical apparatus. An oxygen machine hummed beside his bed. A heart monitor beeped with the rhythm of his heart.
And cartoon characters fought to save the world on the television set.
Kiptyn didn't seem to notice any of it.
The eight-year-old boy sat staring at the wall. Annie could see, even from across the room, what an effort it was for him to breathe. She pulled in a deep breath, as if it would fill his lungs as well as her own, and cleared her throat, alerting him to her presence.
"Good morning, Mr. Kiptyn. It seems you are my first patient today. You must be very important indeed."
"Annie." The little boy's voice reminded her of a song, one that could tear at your heart while still making you smile. His blue eyes brightened as he struggled to sit up straighter in his bed.
But even from the doorway she could tell that the sixteen hours since she'd last seen him had taken their toll. The circles around his eyes were a bit darker, his skin even paler, and—though it didn't seem possible—she wondered if he might have dropped below the forty-four pounds she'd recorded yesterday.
"Let me help you, kind."
Moving efficiently to his side, she gently repositioned the pillows behind him with one hand and used the controls to adjust his bed with the other.
"What does kind mean? Is it an Amish word?"
"Ya. It means child. Sometimes I slip back into the plain language."
"I like when you speak Amish." Kiptyn rubbed his nose, knocking his oxygen plugs askew.
Annie reached forward and adjusted them, taking a moment to let her hand rest on the top of his shiny bald head.
She'd seen the pictures his mamm had brought, so she knew the boy had once had curly blond hair. Kiptyn's parents took turns staying with the child each night, then hurried off to their respective jobs early each day.
"Actually what my people speak is Dietsch."
Kiptyn laughed even as he fought for a full breath. "Don't you mean Dutch?"
"It's a type of Dutch," Annie agreed, slipping the blood pressure cuff over his small arm. "Actually Dietsch means Pennsylvania Dutch."
"'Will you teach me more Dietsch today?" Kiptyn asked.
"Do you remember what I taught you yesterday?" Annie took his pressure manually and noted the numbers on her chart.
The monitor could have done it electronically, but she'd noticed that he had begun bruising where the machine tightened the cuff around his arm. After speaking with Shelly, she'd received permission to take his pressure manually during the day.
Annie also felt a person's touch was more personal than a machine—anything to make his stay easier. It was her responsibility to care for these precious children.
"Gudemariye." Kiptyn said the word as if he were practicing for a presentation in front of a classroom.
"And good morning to you," Annie responded. She placed her stethoscope in her pocket, then tapped her chin, as if she were having trouble remembering any other words in her native tongue.
"I heard my parents talking last night. They thought I was asleep." Kiptyn's voice grew softer.
His hand crept out, and he traced the pattern of dark blue material on her sleeve, letting his fingers run down to her hand until it rested there on top of hers. "They're thinking about having another baby. Something about how a brother could help save me. How's that possible?"
"Perhaps you shouldn't be eavesdropping, boppli." Annie corrected him gently. She moved to check his IV drip.
"I'm not a baby, Annie." Kiptyn smiled up at her again. "You taught me that word on Monday. What I'd really like is to have a brother—someone I could play ball with when I'm well. Do you have a word for brother?"
Kiptyn's question caused a pressure to form around Annie's heart, and she felt as if tears were being wrung from it—tears she couldn't show this precious kind.
She sat gently on the side of the bed, taking the boy's hand in her own. Earlier in the week, the doctors had told Kiptyn's parents the chemotherapy wasn't effectively battling his cancer. They wanted to move on to a new experimental drug treatment, felt it was his only hope of survival.
"Ya, we have a word for brother. I have a brother, did you know that?"
"How old is he?"
"Twenty-two. He is a grown man." Annie hadn't been able to visit her family in the fall, and now for the second time since waking she was nearly overcome with homesickness. Adam would be married next year. She looked out the hospital window at the snow that had begun falling and thought of Leah, the pretty, slim girl who would soon be her schweschder.
"So how do you say it, Annie?" Coughing wracked his thin frame, and she reached forward to rub his chest. "How do you say brother?"
"Well, that's easy." Kiptyn laughed again and pulled in a deep breath. "Bruder. Sounds like our word."
"Ya, it does." Annie stood and started out of the room, had nearly reached the door when her hand brushed up against what was in her pocket. She turned back around.
"Kiptyn, remember when I asked you if it was all right to tell my onkel about you?"
"Your Onkel Eli, who builds things. Yeah, I remember."
"Well I wrote him, and he sent you something." She reached in her pocket, pulled out the wooden horse. It was handcrafted of maple wood and fit in her palm. The detail was exquisite. Walking back to Kiptyn's bed, she placed it on his tummy.
The boy reached out, picked it up, and studied it.
"Cool beans!" A smile covered Kiptyn's face, and for a moment he merely looked like a little boy instead of a cancer patient. "Could I write him and say thanks?"
"He'd like that, I'll—"
The door to Kiptyn's room burst open, and Shelly stepped through.
"Annie, could I speak with you in the hall, please?" It wasn't a question at all. The look on Shelly's face was somber, more so than Annie had ever seen before.
"Of course, I was finishing up here. Kiptyn, I'll check on you again a little later. Press your button if you need anything."
She followed Shelly into the hall, confusion and worry sending beads of sweat down the back of her neck. She suddenly wished she'd pulled her long, brown hair back into a clip, anything to help with the wave of heat washing over her.
Shelly turned as soon as Kiptyn's door closed, then reached out and placed a hand gently on Annie's shoulder.
"Annie, you have a phone call at the desk." Concern mingled with sympathy. "Sweetie, it's Vickie."
"Mrs. Brown? My landlady? I don't understand."
"She's calling about your father, Annie. There's been an accident."
Excerpted from A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman Copyright © 2010 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award winning member of Romance Writers of America and holds a B.A. and M.A. in English. She currently teaches in the Texas hill country, where she lives with her husband in the city of Austin. Visit her on the web at VannettaChapman.com.
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Annie Weaver couldn't seem to hold a job in her small Amish community and she refused every beau who wanted to court her. Her family sent her off to live with her aunt in the city for her rumschpringe - the time an Amish young person has before they officially join the church. She lives with her aunt in the city for three years, where she studies and becomes a registered nurse. She loves taking care of the children in the hospital, but yearns for home as bouts of homesickness take their toll on her. When she receives the call that her father has been injured and she is needed at home, she immediately returns. She fears that they may not accept her and the education that she's received, since it's against their Amish ways. Will her family and community understand that she's found what she believes God has called her to do? Will her church allow her to use her nursing skills to help those in need? When will she have the nerve to tell them? She's now twenty years old and many young ladies her age are already courting, married, and some even already have bopplin (babies). Even though she knows home is where she belongs, she feels a bit out of place at times; but all seems right with the world when she's helping those who need her. When Samuel Yoder, the man the Amish community goes to for their minor health needs, sees her as the flighty young girl who left years ago and doubts her ability to care for her father, she gets angry, but neglects to tell him she's a qualified nurse. Even though he only gives minor care and is quick to refer them to a medical doctor, he sees her as incapable of this task. He's cranky, stoic, and not pleasant to be around. He cut himself off from enjoying life when a tragedy stole his wife and young child from him in a buggy/car accident. But when Samuel sees Annie as all grown up, will his heart begin to thaw? Will God help him get past his misguided guilt and heal his damaged heart? What about David, the hired hand, who obviously has feelings for Annie as well? Annie has decisions to make. Will she be able to find the peace she is seeking back home in her community? Will she find the true love of her life? And will she find her answers in the simple Amish Christmas she's been longing for again? I invite you to visit the quaint Amish community in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, to find out the answers. This is a warm, loving community where one can clearly see God at work healing bodies, hearts, minds, and souls. I enjoyed reading this book and hope that Vannetta will be writing more about the characters introduced in this story.
A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS is simply delightful, and my first ever Amish read. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally read one but I'm certainly glad I did. I grew up watching LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and have always felt drawn to the "simple life". So why not the Amish. It's hard to believe this is Vannetta's first book, it's that well written. As an aspiring writer I found myself rereading several parts in hopes of the words sinking in enough to emulate later in my own writing. A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS is a sweet story with characters you'll love, and a plot that will keep you turning the pages. You feel as though you've entered into the world of the Amish. The glossary in the back was helpful, though it didn't take long to figure out the meaning of the words as you read along. The ending was uniquely amazing. I just LOVED what Vannetta did with it. It nearly took my breath away. It gives me goose bumps just to think of it. Vannetta Chapman is a name to look for in the future.
Im not big on romances so I have to say this was a sweet surprise.The characters were endearing and you fall in love with the comunity.Take a chance and read this lovely book.
This is my 2nd Amish read this week and have to say I loved it just as much. I have no clue what has taken me so long to try these types of books. Annie is a wonderful character, you fall in love with her, and then you want to know more. Will she find happiness now that she is back home from living with the English for a few years? Can she use her nursing skills to help the community? Better yet, can she find love. This is a must read.
I read an ARC of A Simple Amish Christmas, and was mesmerized by it! The storyline was believable and relatable. The characters were captivating and I appreciated the author's attention to detail as she described the feelings of each of them. A Simple Amish Christmas is an inspirational, heartwarming novel and through it, Vannetta Chapman truly brings alive the spirit of Christmas.
I. Loved. It. Wonderful story. Wonderful characters. Wonderful subject. Wonderful setting.
I really enjoyed this book. It helped me realize the blessings in my life.
The Amish have a lifestyle that is simple, but often things happen that throw this lifestyle upside down. Too often we think we have everything under control only to learn that we are not able to control anything. Christmas is just one of those times.
Love a good Christmas read, this one was great! Will read more from this author.
This is a touching love story. I love a book that can truly hold my interest without being vulgar. Thanks to the author.
My Amish roots reminded me of the blessings I received during my childhood, This book truly will bless you.
If you love Amish stories and romance, this is the book for you. It is a feel good story and I couldn't put it down. I read it in 2 days.
Very interesting book with likeable characters , but there were a lot of loose ends that were not tied at the end. Left me wondering, but not in a good way. Overall good read.
I really enjoyed it
Did I enjoy this book: When I started reading A Simple Amish Christmas, I kept asking myself if I had read it before. I didn’t remember it at all, but something kept nagging me about it. So, I checked Goodreads, and apparently I read it a few years ago. I really didn’t remember a thing about it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I am giving it the same rating as I did when I originally read it — 3 stars. A Simple Amish Christmas is a decent Amish fiction read. It has the girl coming home from her rumschpringe and deciding to join the church. I did like Annie’s wit and attitude. She isn’t one to let anyone walk over her or talk down to her. I did like how she kept her “secret” from the Amish “doc,” Samuel. Their chemistry was good. I enjoyed watching them interact. The story ends a bit too abruptly for me. I wanted a bit more resolution. I will have to search to see if there are any other books about Annie. Would I recommend it: If you like Amish fiction, then give this a go next Christmas. But I will say that I’ve read better books in this genre.
this is a good book about the Amish a true to life story. I would recommending reading it it was terrific.
A wonderbar Christmas story. I loved this book. I fell in love with this story and its characters. It wasn't just your typical Amish story. I would love to hear more about these characters and the sub characters. I will want to read this book again.
Vannetta puts so much “character” in her characters! I wasn’t surprised in the least when Annie immediately gave up her job and returned home when she heard of her father’s accident and that she was needed. I laughed and laughed at how Samuel treated her… having no idea that she was professionally trained, since she was too stubborn to admit to him that she knew exactly how to care for her father. Once the reader understands what is happening between Annie and Samuel, it’s easy to see why they both resist their feelings. And of course, there’s another suiter to take into consideration, who Annie seems pretty fond of. Which one will Annie choose? I’m continually amazed at how easily it is to picture what’s going on in my mind. And whether or not she’s writing about Annie and Samuel… or Annie working in the hospital, it seems perfectly normal and right. I don’t want to give away anything else, so I’ll let you read the book for yourself. But come back in a couple of days to read my review of the sequel, The Christmas Quilt. As a matter of fact, if you’re just now thinking of reading A Simple Amish Christmas and The Christmas Quilt, I have the happy news to share that both books are available and can be read one right after the other! When I read A Simple Amish Christmas, I had to wait three years for The Christmas Quilt to be published. A Simple Amish Christmas was the first novel I read by Vannetta Chapman. I actually began reading it on my iPhone after checking out a digital copy of the ebook from the public library… and I immediately fell in love with it! Now I have the paperback book plus the digital book (on my iPhone, iPad mini, laptop)… I want to be sure I have it handy so I can share it with others (or maybe the truth of it is that I just want to be able to read it anytime and anyplace I want). ** Here’s an interesting tidbit you might not know… A Simple Amish Christmas is the ninth book Vannetta wrote, but her first book to be published!
Much more than an Amish Christmas story Unsettled and unable to follow through with anything, Annie was sent to Philadelphia to live with Englisch relatives during her rumschpringe. While in the city she finished her education and became a registered nurse. When a buggy accident left her dat with both legs broken she immediately left for her Amish home to aid in nursing her dat back to health, her family unaware that she had become a nurse. Samuel Yoder, her dat's best friend and the "doctor" to the Amish community was gruff and mistrustful of Annie's skills as a caregiver, but Annie's change in character was about to open everyone's eyes. As in Vannetta Chapman's other Amish fiction stories the reader is immersed in the Amish culture and countryside. She paints a peaceful portrait of a hardworking farming community of close-knit godly people. The author has researched the Anabaptist culture closely and characterizes their lifestyle with integrity and intellect. Convincing characters are authentic and evolve naturally throughout the story, and the author has interwoven spiritual qualities throughout, enhancing a well-told story. Lessons in tolerance, consideration, forgiveness and grace flowed throughout this book and left me yearning for the simplicity the Amish personify. When family and friends asked why I was reading a Christmas book at this time of year I was a bit surprised because this story is so much more than just a Christmas story. It's a story of a people and the lifestyle they represent. I highly recommend this very touching story, at Christmastime or a 90-degree summer day! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author. In gratitude I have composed an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
I first read this as a library book I picked up because I was in the mood for some Amish fiction. Only later did I realize it was written by Vannetta Chapman - and promptly bought a copy for myself (it's THAT good). As usual, The characters in this story jump off the page and into your heart as they struggle with life's choices. Annie Weaver fulls pulled between her love of family and a career in nursing that the Amish cannot accept. Samuel Yoder battles grief as a widower, trying to accept the loss of his wife and daughter as God's will, yet also feeling somewhat responsible that he wasn't there to save them. Their common concern for Mr. Weaver's health brings these two together at first, but it is their strong personalities and chemistry that eventually cause them to fall in love. End of story? No - love means doing what is best for the other, and Samuel painfully realizes his age and history would be a burden to lively young Annie. *SPOILER ALERT: Married to an older Christian, I can personally understand the sacrifice Samuel is willing to make - and equally glad he didn't have to make it! You will love the ending to this book, and the fact that it isn't the end of the story. "The Christmas Quilt" goes on to describe the marriage and first child of this delightful couple. These book are great to read ANY time of year, not just at Christmas.
A Simple Amish Christmas By: Vannetta Chapman I am a big fan of Amish Fiction and Vannetta Chapman knows how to write them. She brings her characters out in a way that you feel like you are right there with them. We have a young Amish girl, Annie Weaver, who left home at an early age to go and live with her English aunt. She wants to further her education, get her GED, and be an RN. She is missing home and at 20-years old she decides to go back home. Will she be accepted back home with her education and will she be able to use it? There is an Amish farmer back home , could she find happiness after living among the English? You will love "A Simple Amish Christmas" and Annie with her new education. This is a good clean novel you do not want to miss out on.