Friday, October 9, 2015

Whispering to Horses

An old fence separates a modern community from their Amish neighbors, until a little boy opens the gate and breaks down barriers between them. Main characters, Matt and Eli, find friendship, hope, and a future through a mutual need, which creates an opportunity for them to learn to understand each other. Eli and his little sisters will touch your heart by Whispering to Horses.

My newest book is due to be released on November 2nd.

This short novel is about a man who doesn't like his Amish neighbors, that is, until he actually gets to know them.

Whispering to Horses is available for pre-order on Amazon by clicking the link below.

Amazon Link

Blogger Lue Shetler added this review below:

Being formerly Amish, there are certain things I look for in an Amish novel. In Whispering to Horses, Thomas Nye held my attention and did a wonderful job of bringing out the authenticity of farm life for an Amish family. An interesting and quick read about a young man, Matt, who comes back to his roots in Amish country and learns particular life lessons from a very mature youngster, Eli. The bond they form is heartwarming, sincere, and leaves one hoping these two will remain in each other’s lives for a very long time. There are interesting twists regarding Eli and his mother. I look forward to reading more about Eli’s mother, and how she finds peace and an end to the conflict she wrestles with deep within. Oh, and for you romantic types, there is a touch of romance. (wink, wink)
Lue Shetler, blogger, writer, formerly Amish.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall in Soybean Country

 Iowa farm fields are mostly covered with cornstalks, but soybeans are a close second! Many farmers, my brother-in-law included, rotate those two crops 50/50 because that is best for the soil. This farmland you see beyond my horses has been in our family for 97 years, and will be a "century farm" in 2018.
 When my wife's grandparents moved here, everyone in this area was still farming with horses, Amish or otherwise. Soybeans didn't become a cash crop until many years later. Back in those days farmers rotated corn with hay and oats. All of the field edges and rough areas were used as pasture in the summer, and cornstalks for winter grazing.

 I was laying on the ground to capture the photo you see above. My wife looked out of the kitchen window and, for a moment, wondered if I had been kicked by one of my horses.

That wouldn't be impossible, but these horses are about as gentle as can be. I trust them completely.

I added a photo of horses grazing near cornstalks on an Amish farm. This is a typical fall view in our part of the country as well.

If you enjoy my blog, consider reading one of my books.
(click on the link below)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Amish Babies

        Over the years, it has been common practice for Amish families to not mention that a baby is on the way. My wife and I have been close friends with an Amish couple for a long time. When we were having babies (we are past that stage now) it was something we talked about. The woman warned us that her mother would not like it if she new that we discussed pregnancy... that was just not a topic to be discussed. Of course, me and my big mouth, I forgot and said something one time. We were visiting and Grandma lived in a little house that was attached to the big farm house. She stopped in and talked with us for a few minutes and I was looking for a conversation piece. I mentioned, "It looks like your daughter will be going to the hospital any day now." She gave a blank expression and asked, "What?" I immediately knew I had blown it and fumbled with words to try and recover. Fortunately, she played dumb and let me off the hook.

        My wife's grandparents were Mennonites who lived in the heart of Amish country. Their Amish neighbors used to stop by often and borrow things or use the phone. Grandpa was not a hired driver, but all of his Amish neighbors knew they could stop in at any time of the night for a "baby run." When it was getting close to delivery time, they would stop in and warn him that they would be needing a driver coming up soon.

       One night my wife's grandparents woke to the sound of an Amishman's voice calling up their stairway. "Alvie, my wife is ready to go to the hospital now." Grandpa called down, "Okay, I'll be over as soon as I can get dressed!" He hurried downstairs, but the Amishman had gone on back home to help his wife out of the house. Grandpa drove to his Amish neighbor's, the one who had stopped by a few days before to arrange a ride, and everything was dark. Nobody seemed to be coming out of the house, so he knocked on the door. Grandpa asked, "Didn't you just stop in my home a few minutes ago, looking for a ride to the hospital?"
          "Not tonight!"
          "Well, someone did," Grandpa explained, "and whoever they are, they are waiting for me!"  His Amish neighbors discussed which other Amish couple might possibly need to go on a "baby run" soon, and sent Grandpa down the road. As he pulled into that drive he found an Amish couple anxiously awaiting his arrival. Apparently, the man had just assumed that Grandpa would recognize his voice and know why he stopped in, even though he hadn't made previous arrangements.

  Our whole family has enjoyed the retelling of this story many times.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We, like Sheep

 Sheep are so peaceful to watch. They look so soft and harmless as they float like clouds, grazing on green pastures. Sheep are not known for biting, kicking, or clawing, and are rather defenseless when a wolf or coyote gets in among them.
 My grandpa used to ask me, "If you have ten sheep in a pasture and one gets out, how many do you have?"

I was proud that I knew the answer, "Nine!"

He corrected me gently, "Nope, if one sheep gets out they all follow. The answer is zero."
The Bible says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray." Isaiah 53

We, like sheep, follow others to our own destruction. We look for greener pastures, even when we have all we need. We butt and push other sheep in our efforts to get what we want for ourselves. We tromp mud into clear streams of water, in order to get there ahead of other sheep. Sheep are harmless to other creatures but seem to have a knack for bullying each other and leading other sheep astray.

If you, like all of us other sheep, have lost your way, call out to the "Good Shepherd" Jesus Christ, He will bring you back into his fold and lead you beside still waters.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Horse Drawn Communities

Who would have ever thought, that in 2015 we would still have hundreds of horse drawn communities in the USA?

People often ask, "Why is everyone so fascinated with the Amish?" or "Why are there so many Amish novels?"

All you need to do is actually spend a little time visiting in one of these communities and you will have those questions answered.

First of all: In order to function and survive as a horse drawn community, there must be a very close knit group of extremely devoted people. Otherwise it would fall apart at the first streak of bad weather.

 Next: Horses are not that easy to use as your main source of transportation. Unless you have a lot of experience and patience it will end in disaster.

Another thing: The community must be living within close proximity with each other. You can only trot so many miles in one day.
My theory on why Amish are so successful surviving in this lifestyle:

Our Amish American's are not people who reverted back to old ways, they are a group that were living this way in the 1800's and just haven't changed much.

There is something special about this lifestyle. There are plenty of plain groups that have left "horse-power" behind, and many of those groups have kept old-fashioned values.

Nonetheless, horse drawn communities have a closeness and simpleness that can't be duplicated.

 There is something wonderful and intriguing about Amish life. Use of the horse seems to be central to keeping life slower paced, and somehow maintaining an old-fashioned existence.

My blogs give a glimpse into this world, however, if you really want to "feel" it you need to see it first hand.

I hope my novels are the next best thing to being there. Give Under the Heavens a try!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Easy as Pie

 I never knew my wife's grandmother, but I have benefited from her cooking and baking skills all of my married life.

Grandma Katie Kinsinger grew up Amish and became a Mennonite when she and John got married in 1918. Her daughters learned how to put on a great meal and back it up with amazing deserts.
  My wife didn't polish her skills until after we were married. Fortunately, her mother Ruby and Aunt Mildred were more than willing to share their secrets with her when she was ready to learn.

Mildred, Ruby, and my wife Shari, all three have had the ability to make pies that melt in your mouth. And the crust is never left on the plate. I don't know how, but their crust is so good you could eat it without filling!

Mildred and Ruby, have both gone to be with their Lord. As two of my favorite people I've ever known, I named and modeled characters in the Amish Horses Book Series after them.
 They, all three, have always taken extra care to make their pies beautiful, even though they know that we are going to devour these works of art.

They, all three, also are famous for apologizing about every item they bake. "Oh, did I put too much salt in that?" or "Sorry, the crust is a little crumbly." or "Oh dear, is it overdone?" Meanwhile, we are all perfectly quiet... unwilling to stop eating long enough to answer their ridiculous questions.
My wife often puts crumb topping on one pie, because like her mother and aunt before her, she is worried that someone may not like her two-crust pie. Oh well, I will clean up whatever is left over either way!

As far as I can tell, the only thing easy about pie is eating it. And that is VERY easy!
 Oh, by the way, don't bother to ask for the recipe, they are old family secrets. You young girls may have a chance to get in on it if you marry my son or one of my grandsons.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Amish Book Cover

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover... but, an interesting cover does stir a reader's appetite.
 There are several key ingredients to producing an eye catching cover for an Amish novel.

          First of all, you need a lovely actress and a fantastic photographer. It's helpful if you happen to have one of each as daughters. My oldest of four daughters, Robyn, has a photography business, and my youngest daughter, Natalie, agreed to stand in as my actress.

         It is also a good idea to include a horse or two if possible. That wasn't a problem, my own Percheron Draft horses also make lovely cover models. Karm and Coke were raised on an Amish farm and provided inspiration for the Amish Horses Book Series in the first place.

 When Natalie was a little girl she used to sit in my horse barn and read to me as I groomed horses. She graduated from the University of Iowa as a history major and is now a high school teacher.

Robyn, our photographer daughter, was born with artistic flair. She had already read Catbird Singing before the day of this photo shoot. I believe that knowledge of the story and characters helped her understand what we were looking for.

My daughters both grew up around draft horses and were raised in a community saturated with Amish culture.
Karm and Coke seem to enjoy being the center of attention.
  We discussed a few ideas for our cover photo and let my daughters and horses go to work. All of the ingredients came together in a perfect moment, capturing a scene from Catbird Singing, almost as though the characters had come to life. (horses are some of the main characters in the Amish Horses Series)

There were so many good pictures, but one of them stood out as the most special and it became the cover you see below.

In Catbird Singing, a certain Amish girl talks affectionately to horses and uses that as a way to communicate to main character, Lenny.

Check out my daughter's photography website

Did the cover photo stir your appetite to read an Amish novel?
Click on this link to order your own copy: Amish Horses Book Series