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I love toast and tea. They’re my comfort food. Nothing is so yummy as hot toast with margarine melting on top and a sweet, steaming cup of tea.

It tastes like home and happy times.

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In life, we have so many choices, but every choice comes with limitations. You can’t have it all–at least not at the same time. When I chose to focus on a writing career years ago, I knew I wouldn’t have regular pay checks and that I’d have to squirrel away my earnings so that I could be prepared for the lean times, but I was willing to! I was willing to work part time at odd jobs to keep myself because I wanted to be a writer, and I was willing to take those chances.

But I learned a lot in those lean years about the true pleasures in life.

I remember sitting with my roommate in the house we were each renting rooms–a pot of tea in front of us, and a wheel of Camembert cheese on the kitchen table. I don’t think either of us expected to hit it off like we did. We came from different worlds, but we thoroughly entertained each other. We’d sit there drinking tea, eating cheese and talking for hours. She was a fellow artist with other priorities like I had, and she still has a warm place in my heart. While other people might have complained about that drip from the ceiling every time it rained, I kind of liked it–it gave me that Charles Dickens kind of feeling, where anything was possible from here. (I have a very melodramatic internal world.)

And those pots of tea we kept refilling, the wheel of cheese we nibbled off of, the little downtown market where we bought our fresh food and the booming thunder outside while our kitchen ceiling merrily dripped, have mingled together to be one of the sweetest memories I have from those starving artist years.

Even thinking of it now, I can’t help but smile. We’ve both moved on in our lives, moved up, but every once in a while we’ll message each other and say, “I miss our kitchen chats!” Because happiness–the real, deep kind–is most often linked to a pot of tea, a cozy day, and pleasant company.

We only pass through these years once, and there is no reason why we have to choke down bread and water when toast and tea are so easily made.

It’s all in your perspective… and the people around you.

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Have you picked up my Amish romance? It’s on the shelves now in Walmart, Target and bookstores everywhere.

The Bishop's Daughter MMIn this poignant, beautifully written novel, a faithful young Amish widow is reunited with her wayward first love . . .

As a bishop’s daughter and good Amish mother, widowed Sadie Hochstetler teaches her young son that God blesses those who try their best to please Him. But her brief marriage taught her that life is infinitely more complicated than that. Older, and serious, her late husband seemed a sensible choice—especially compared to Elijah Fisher, the spirited boy with whom she butted heads and hearts. Then Elijah abruptly left for the Englisher world, taking Sadie’s beloved brother along with him—a double betrayal she still strives to forgive. Especially now that Elijah has returned . . .

Elijah plans to stay in the Amish community only as long as he’s needed, helping his family and working for Sadie’s ailing father. The outside world has changed him, leading him to question rules and restrictions that others take on faith. Once, he’d been head over heels in love with the bishop’s daughter—a girl he was judged unworthy of courting. Nine years have changed so much between them. Yet something remains—a spark that, for all their differences, might light the way home again . . .