A Morning at Character Café — featuring Ivy from A Brighter Dawn

Oh, Ivy.  I didn’t expect you would be up to dropping by Character Café for a while.  I cannot tell you how sorry I am for your loss.

Thank you, Amy.  It is all still surreal.  I cannot wrap my head around the fact that my parents are gone.

As I began reading your story, I felt an instant connection.  First of all, your gram’s cuckoo clock.  I don’t know how many times I was woken up by my own Grammy’s cuckoo during sleepovers.  But I loved it. But then, I love anything whimsical, and Grammy’s cuckoo was magic to me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see our clock as magic.  And to think that my last night with my parents, I threw my sandal at a family heirloom, the clock.  Well, I’m having a very hard time forgiving myself for a few things that happened that night.

I think it’s hard not to have regrets when our loved ones pass.  We always wish we had spent more meaningful times with them and dwell on the moments when we weren’t at our best.  I know it isn’t easy, but try to focus on the good memories and know your parents knew you loved them.

You’re right, Amy.  It isn’t easy.  But, to change the subject, how else did you feel a connection to me?

I know what it is like to grow up in a church that sets you apart from others your age. And the frustration of not knowing exactly how you fit in.  I had the same struggle when I was in college. I notice that you still aren’t wearing a prayer covering.  And are you still dating Alec?

Yes.  But I’ve been noticing lately that when I need to study, he wants to go for a drive.  When I need time with my family, he questions my commitment to our relationship.  When I tell him our relationship is getting too physical, he implies I’m too prudish and modest. 

I have to be honest; he sounds insensitive and pushy.  And right now, especially, you need a good listener and support through your grief.  What do you think you are going to do?

I don’t know.  I am trying to process all the changes.  Not sure I am ready to make more.  Do you know I just met my Amish grandparents for the first time, my father’s parents?  They were driven all the way to Oregon from Pennsylvania in a van.  It’s hard to get a read on them.  I mean, what must they be thinking? We live on a fifteen-acre Christmas tree farm, and they think it’s idolatry to even celebrate with a Christmas tree. 

I’m sure if you were already feeling a disconnect with your Mennonite family and church, you are feeling even more awkward with your father’s parents.  But do you think you could stop worrying about being judged and just open yourself to their love?

I’m going to try.  Especially since it looks like my sisters and I will spend the summer with them in Pennsylvania.  I don’t know why, but Gram insisted.  At least I will still get to travel to Germany with my German class at the end of the summer.  And it turns out I have an ancestor named Clare who visited Germany in 1937.  I guess she had an eventful time while there.  I’m excited to learn more about her during our drive across the country. 

I hope you have a pleasant drive and find comfort and hope for your future during your time in Pennsylvania and your trip to Germany.  I can’t wait to learn if Clare’s story parallels your own in any way.  I also hope you get answers about what really happened in the car incident that cost your parents’ lives.  It’s hard to believe your sister was driving carelessly – if anything, I thought she was a timid driver.  And it sounds like your father met with a very tough character not long before their car went off the road. 

Thanks, Amy.  Yes.  I think there was foul play involved.  But I’m not sure if anyone believes me.  Unfortunately, my sister doesn’t remember anything – it’s like she blacked out.

What a shame.

Yes. Before I go, I’d like to order a few things from your menu that remind me of my mother.  In fact, the last meal she prepared was a cheese potato casserole, so I’d like to try your breakfast version.

It is so good. We use Lil’ Luna’s recipe: https://lilluna.com/cheesy-potato-breakfast-casserole/ And see, you are already starting to focus on some of the pleasant memories.  Is there a drink that also reminds you of your mother? 

Yes!  The Almond Apple Delight Tea sounds like something my mother would have loved.  She had so many apple specialties.  I suppose it reminded her of her former life in Pennsylvania.  I just wish I had thought to ask her more about her old life being Amish. 

We order the tea from The Teasmith. You will love it.  https://www.theteasmith.com/products/almond-apple-delight-tisane-fruit-tea.html  I am so glad you are going to have a couple of months to learn more about your parents’ roots.  Soak it all in.  And don’t forget to turn to your Heavenly Father for comfort, okay?

I won’t.  I can’t get my father’s favorite scripture from Romans 8 out of my head:  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities… shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  I hope by the end of the summer I will be persuaded that strongly of God’s love.

I hope so too, Ivy.

Ivy Zimmerman is successfully navigating her life as a young Mennonite woman, one generation removed from her parents’ Old Order Amish upbringing. But when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, Ivy’s way of life is upended. As she deals with her grief, her younger sisters’ needs, the relationship with her boyfriend, and her Dawdi and Mammi’s strict rules, Ivy finds solace in both an upcoming trip to Germany for an international Mennonite youth gathering and in her great-great-aunt’s story about Clare Simons, another young woman who visited Germany in the late 1930s.

As Ivy grows suspicious that her parents’ deaths weren’t, in fact, an accident, she gains courage from what she learns of Clare’s time in pre-World War II Germany. With the encouragement and inspiration of the women who have gone before her, Ivy seeks justice for her parents, her sisters, and herself.

Here is the link to read Ivy’s story for yourself: https://www.amazon.com/Brighter-Dawn-Amish-Memories-Book/dp/B0BVDLNWQN/

To celebrate her tour, Leslie is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Brighter Dawn and one $15 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 23

Lakesidelivingsite, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Cover Lover Book Review, April 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 26

Lighthouse Academy Blog, April 27 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Connie’s History Classroom, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 28

Vicky Sluiter, April 28

She Lives To Read, April 29

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, April 30 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, April 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 2

Mornings at Character Cafe, May 2

Bigreadersite, May 3

Bliss, Books & Jewels, May 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 5

For Him and My Family, May 5

Splashes of Joy, May 6

Pause for Tales, May 6

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