I’ve been visiting Shipshewana for a few years now. My first Amish mystery series, which includes Falling to Pieces, was set in the town and so it seemed a natural place to go and learn about the Amish.
In the town of Shipshe is a quilt shop called, Lolly’s Fabrics. It’s owned by Kris Stutzman, a woman who was raised Amish and is now Mennonite.
Kris is a wonderful person—friendly, kind, talented, and willing to answer my questions. Often when I’m writing about Shipshe and I need to confirm some detail in my story, I will send an email to Kris. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll ask her husband!
One day we were talking about babies and the prevalence of home births in the region. I asked Kris if they have a birthing center, and she said, “Ya, we do. But many call it the Stop and Drop – because the ladies wait until the last minute to go to the center, and then they want to leave as soon as the child is born.”
That was the kernel I needed to write the story An Unexpected Blessing. I could absolutely envision a middle-aged woman in a buggy, in a snowstorm, hurrying to the “Stop and Drop” to give birth. I fully remember worrying that I wouldn’t make it to the hospital when my son was being born—and we had a car and only a few miles to drive.
An Unexpected Blessing is really the story of how God has a plan for each of us. Even when that plan seems ridiculous, even when we laugh and think, “Can you be serious,” even then God keeps us in the palm of his hand. I hope that you will enjoy this story, and if you’re ever in Shipshewana, stop by and say hello to Kris. You can tell her I sent you!
Vannetta Chapman writes fiction full of GRACE. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. Her latest novella, An Unexpected Blessing, is included in the An Amish Cradle collection, which hit shelves February 10th.
Purchase Vannetta’s books here.