Announcing Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons. A visual devotional from the heartland.

Friends, I am THRILLED to introduce to you a brand new project I’ve been working on with my incredible photographer cousin, Ross T. Waitt:

Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons. A visual devotional from the heartland.

Available now exclusively at amazon.com in 184 full-color pages, this promises to be a keepsake and treasure of a book to record thoughts, prayers, poetry, or prose inspired by bucolic, rural beauty.

Here’s a synopsis:

Seldom are the opportunities we can be still and recognize the goodness of God in the midst of our busy lives. Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons offers individuals and small groups the opportunity to do just that in a unique and inspiring, photographic journaling devotional from the heartland.

Over 75 breathtaking images from debut photographer Ross T. Waitt are paired with Bible verses and writing prompts which cover topics like anxiety and doubt, joy and restoration. Waitt’s bucolic images from his small, family-run dairy farm, The Dandy Breeze Dairy in central Indiana, capture brilliantly what few of us have the opportunity to slow down and see firsthand: that there truly is a season for everything and that God is right there with us in the midst.

Other features include plenty of space for journaling, and a section to record prayer requests and answers throughout the year. Morning by Morning: Finding Peace in All Seasons is for readers, writers, and photography lovers of all ages searching for more of God’s presence in the big and little things in life, and everything in between.

I hope you’ll consider ordering today!

Ross T. Waitt is a lifelong resident of rural Indiana. A graduate of Herron School of Art and Design, he has been interested in photography for most of his life, particularly in capturing the quiet moments that happen around us every day. Designer and editor Amy K. Sorrells is the author of Before I Saw You, Lead Me Home, and other highly acclaimed novels, and a contributing author in multiple non-fiction collaborations.

Quarantine journals: April 30

When I was younger, I had a terrifying, recurrent dream. I can’t recall the circumstances, only that we were standing in a line at a school waiting for MREs, our only source of food. It was the sort of dream where your conscious is telling you in the midst that “it’s only a dream,” but you are so scared that you fight your way awake in the middle of the night.

This morning I drove by a local elementary school, and I was struck by how much it looks like the one in that old dream.

I know, it’s ridiculous, right?

We’re going to make it through this, right?

Some moments of my day, usually when I’m building or painting something, I don’t think about the virus. I don’t think about my patients at the hospital who were sick and anxious enough without COVID-19 to worry about. I don’t think about how so many of us are months, or weeks, or even days, of needing help to pay bills and get food.

But many moments–too many moments–I do think about it.

I wonder if my grandparents and great-grandparents felt like they were free-falling when the Great Depression hit. Because that’s how I feel–like I’m free falling. Like I’m in a dream and I know I’m in a dream, only this time, I can’t make myself wake up. I can’t make it go away.

I want to be able to get my nails done again. I want to get back to the treasured Saturday morning breakfasts out with my husband. I want to hug my patient who just received devastating news. I want to hug my friends again. I want to know that we aren’t headed toward bread lines and MREs and another Great Depression and things won’t get so bad that we’ll have to sell our house or go bankrupt or lose everything but the shirts on our backs.

I had anxiety and PTSD before all this, and I just wish it would all go away.

Now, I’m fully aware that a lot of the things I listed above are #firstworldproblems. By and large my family and I are doing okay. But everything is relative for everyone. A crisis to one person might appear as a blessing to another. We can’t judge the things that make each of us unravel.

We can only acknowledge that we are, each of us, unraveling about something in the midst of this madness.

So what can we do?

There are the obvious: acknowledge that your hurt and worry are real, and more importantly, valid. Seek mental help–most doctors are taking virtual visits, if not seeing serious cases in person. Do things–even one thing–to take care of your soul, whether putting up a bird house, reading a long-neglected book, trying a hobby you’ve been putting off, taking a bubble bath by candlelight.

One thing is for sure: We are not all in this together.

Some are suffering significantly more than others. Many–too many–are dying.

But we are all in this with God.

He has not changed.

He has not left us.

He has seen us through wars and famines and plagues. He has never promised us escape from these challenges, but He has promised us victory over them–either here on earth or in Heaven.

“…fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

The other day, I had the privilege of being at my cousins’ dairy farm when they opened the north pasture to grazing for the first time this season.

The gate opened, and the pretty jersey cows with their big, brown, puppy dog eyes just stood there, blinking, ankle deep in muck.

“Go on now,” the farmer hollered, encouraging them.

Still, they stood there and stared.

It’s as if they’d forgotten all the springs before and the freedom and sweet, honey taste of the emerald green pasture.

“Go out before them, walk all the way back over the bend of the hill,” my farmer cousin said to me.

The cows blinked some more, postures guarded, as they watched me walk farther and farther out into the pasture, my legs shin deep in the lush, green grass.

But then slowly, one by one, they walked toward the pasture.

They picked up their pace, little by little, until one, and then another, started to run–skip, really–their impossibly enormous frames light with glee when they finally realized what the farmer was offering them.

Freedom.

Honey sweet nourishment.

Goodness.

Love.

It was a Malachi 4:2 sort of day:

But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”

The sort of day the Lord has in store for each of us, when this winter, this virus, this season lifts.

Be safe, dear friends.

Know you are loved and beloved.

Know that you are not alone.


 Lead Me Home is a novel inspired by my cousins’ dairy farm. It’s a story of two families and a town faced with immeasurable loss,  and how they find hope in the midst of it. You might like to give it a try, if you’re looking for the same:

Quarantine journals: April 5

312,245 cases

8,503 deaths

15,021 recovered

*****

I remember

the Sunday school teacher handing out branches,

thick, green leaves rustling like crinoline as we

held back our glee about going to Big Church and

singing and waving for the grown ups

HOSANNA!

How long ago this was, how long ago it seems

we went to church at all.

How hard to find a way to praise this day

when the worst is coming.

Is this how Jesus felt inside as the palm branches waved

in Jerusalem? He knew

His doom awaited.

But still He rode.

Because He also knew the way the story ends.

And so we sing

hosanna

in small voices that tremble.

hosanna.

hosanna.

hosanna.

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!””
‭‭John‬ ‭12:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬