Returning to the Island

Front CoverEighteen months ago, I introduced many readers to Chincoteague Island, a place long-known and loved by many in the Mid-Atlantic area. The response to the award-winning novel was overwhelming, and I fell in love with the characters as much as my readers did. In less than a month, on June 15, the sequel to Island of Miracles will be released. In this darker story, we learn that promises are like castles made of sand…

Kayla believed Zach was the man to repair her heart and her family. Zach believed Kayla was the woman to repair his soul. But Zach’s secrets are too big, his guilt too heavy, for him to keep his promises. He needs to get out now before he causes Kayla more heartache than the young widow has already endured.

There’s nothing like a crisis to bring two people together, and suddenly, the idyllic island off the Mid-Atlantic coast has those in spades. A serial killer has found his way into paradise, bringing Zach’s former life close to home, and Kayla is facing a health scare that is every woman’s worse nightmare. Will the tragedies they face pull them apart or bring them closer to fulfilling their promises to each other?

It’s a race for time that pits the island against an unthinkable evil and Kayla against her own body. I’ve had a few people ask why this had to happen? Why turn a beautiful haven into a house of horror? The reasons are both complex and simple. Unfortunately, we live in a world where even the safest places–schools, hospitals, movie theaters, our homes–are no longer safe. We also live in a world where we are confronted, sometimes on a daily basis, by sins of the past. For Zach and Kayla, each trying to overcome the horrors of their past, life on island is ideal. Surrounded by friends and family, nothing can take away their happiness. But every one of us knows that happiness can be destroyed by demons that attack from both the inside and outside at the most unexpected times.

Of course, Island of Promise isn’t a horror story, and it isn’t a harrowing roller coaster of suspense. At its heart, it’s a story of community and family and the ties that bind them together, a story of a mother’s unfailing love for her children, a story of redemption, and a story of love conquering all. 

I hope this book serves as a reminder that the one thing we can always expect is the unexpected. Bad things happen, but good things can come of them if we choose to have faith in the promise of the future. As a visitor to the island says in chapter fifteen, “A glass is an empty vessel until you fill it with water, or coffee, or whiskey, or whatever else you want to put into it. And then it’s full, full of something life-giving. And that’s how I felt. Empty until I found something to fill me up….Find the thing that fills you up. And cherish it with all your heart.”

I welcome you all back to Chincoteague Island for the second installment in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy. I hope you’ll come on over and stay for a while. The ice cream is cold, the oysters are hot, and the community is holding its arms open for you.

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available to pre-order.

What I was writing about this time last year:  Mothers, Daughters, and Memories

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores. 

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

I Was a Free-Range Kid

I’ll never forget it. I was six years old, a new first-grader, when I found out that a girl in my class lived in my own neighborhood. For kids or parents of private school lineage, you know that’s a big deal. Often, my classmates, at the Catholic school I attended, lived as far as thirty minutes away from me (my daughters have friends who live over an hour from us as our school is the only Catholic high school in nine counties). To have a friend just three blocks away was a dream come true. I can still picture the houses, cars, dogs, and yards that flew by as I raced my little, purple bike down the sidewalk. Down one street, past an intersection, turn right, almost to the end of the block, and there it was. And there I was, almost every day thereafter. Without my parents. Without a cell phone. Without a tacking device. Take that in for a moment. I was a six-year-old, on the street alone, and it was glorious.

I had to be home by 5:00 for our family dinner, but otherwise, the world was my oyster. I could walk or ride to Laura’s house. I could go all the way to the park on the other side of the neighborhood. I could, when they were older, go with my younger brothers up into the woods that were behind our house and spend hours riding our bikes up and down the tall, gravel hill that seemed to appear out of nowhere. In the summer, we stayed out all day long, from sunup until dinner at 5:00, and then we were out again. Blackberry picking, treehouse building, street hockey, downhill bike racing–the possibilities were endless! Twilight evenings and dark nights were filled with firefly catching and flashlight tag. Oh, what a wonderful time it was. 

This morning, CBS news played a story that I loved. Utah has now passed a free-range parenting law that allows kids to walk to school, go to the park, and play in their neighborhood, unsupervised, without parents being prosecuted. The law is the first in the nation, with Colorado and New Jersey hoping to follow. These laws were prompted by a case in Maryland when a mother was arrested for allowing her two children, ages six and ten, to walk to school together. She fought the charges and was eventually exonerated. And well she should have been! 

Look, I understand the fears. I have found myself just as guilty as the next overprotective parent when it comes to my kids’ safety. When my girls were in elementary school, I allowed them free-range throughout our small town, as long as they took walkie talkies with them to let me know when they reached their destination, or, if they were out riding their bikes, to just check in every now and then. Yes, I feared that something could happen to them, but we wanted our children to have the freedom to come and go, to explore the outdoors, and to stay out late into the night with their friends, enjoying the freedom of a summer night. They spent hours playing man hunt (flashlight tag without the flashlights – a kind of hide and seek in the dark) or out crabbing in a skiff or riding bikes to a friend’s house the next town over. Morgan, left to her own devices one afternoon, taught herself how to ride a two-wheeler! 

Morgan rides.JPG
A free-range girl on the go!

I heard a story, when my girls were little, about a woman whose next door neighbor called the police because the woman’s child was playing in their yard unsupervised. The mother said that she was washing dishes at a sink with a large window and could see her child the entire time. I say, so what? What if she left the sink to go switch her laundry? What if she went down the hall to make her bed? Yes, we live in a world of school shootings and kidnappings, but kids are kids. They aren’t meant to be caged inside a house like animals in a zoo. And they aren’t meant to be watched 24/7 like a science experiment (at least until they’re teenagers). Things have gotten so ridiculous that there’s even a website now that helps parents navigate their state laws so they know at what age they are allowed to stop hovering over their children!

I’m in love with the Utah law. I hope it leads to many more like it. Even better, I hope it leads to fewer laws regulating at what age a kid is allowed to be a kid. Being free-range seems to be all the rage right now when it comes to chickens. Can’t we extend some of that freedom to our kids?

IMG_0616 2.JPG
Crabbing “without a net”

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available to pre-order.

What I was writing about this time last year:  Five Things Mother Taught Me

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores. 

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

The Rhythm of Life

In my Wednesday morning cardio class, we always begin with music that has a slow beat. Over the course of 45 minutes, the music gets faster as the beat increases. Our breathing becomes strained, heartbeats race, and movements grow more rapid as our instructor calls out the steps in that day’s routine. The class flies by, with a short break here and there to get a drink and take a breath, then resuming at a faster speed, all of our thoughts and efforts focused on the precision of steps, proper breathing, and keeping up with the pace of the music, until we welcome the cool down with its smaller, slower movements and calming breaths.

This morning, it occurred to me what a perfect metaphor the class is for life. We start out slow, unsteady, unsure of what lies ahead, focussing on learning our steps and finding the right beat. The majority of our lives are spent running the race, fighting for our breath, making our movements in the world larger, faster, more meaningful. And then, in the blink of an eye, we’re forced to live at a less hectic pace, find a slower rhythm, breathe a little easier, knowing we made it all the way through and have come out stronger, smarter, and more aware of the person we have become. But have we?

I’m reminded of a waterfall–a gentle river that lazily rolls along until it picks up speed, rushing and turning, breathing in leaves and twigs, pebbles and debris, until it plunges off the edge in a torrent of energy, ending its journey when its furthest ripples become a calm and placid pool. We are like the water, swept up in a life over which we have little control, unable to stop the swirling chaos as it gathers our time, our energy, and our very being and rushes toward the precipice, falling into serenity at the end of the journey. Has the water changed? Has it grown? Has it found its own rhythm, told its own story? Have we?

As my youngest prepares for her senior year of high school and my oldest begins talking about a future wedding (no, she is not engaged, but she’s a gal in her twenties with a super guy at her side), I am beginning to feel the rhythm of my life start to slow. I’m no longer running the roads every day, driving my little girls to and from school. My school volunteer commitments are narrowing down, and I’m focussing more on my writing and less on homework and class parties and play dates. The loss of my father-in-law has also really put things in perspective for me. I made a vow to spend more time with my parents. I don’t have to be home every day to cook dinner or tuck my almost-adult youngest child in bed, so a night or two at mom and dad’s is not only possible, it’s a blessing and a joy. And it makes we wonder what I’ve missed along the way. Did I always stop when I needed to so that I could take a breath, smell the roses? Have I led my own life or allowed the constant push and pull of commitments and the ways of the world to dictate what I did and who I’ve become?

Yes, I’m still a long way from the end of the cool-down (at least, I hope I am), but I’m seeing the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead as I readjust my steps and take deeper breaths. Life is such a beautiful gift, and it saddens me that it goes by so quickly while we are all moving to an accelerated beat. I pray that my own girls can live their lives at a nice steady speed, enjoying a healthy life while, at the same time, keeping up with the demanding pace of this modern life. I’m sure there is a healthy balance in there somewhere. They just need to find the right music and remember that no matter how long a person is on earth, life is short. Don’t forget to take a deep breath, slow down, and always look for the rainbows that bend over the rushing waters of life. Let them be a reminder to you that it’s okay to stop and take a breath as often as needed or desired.

The Rhythm of Life.jpg

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available to pre-order.

What I was writing about this time last year:  Eight Books You’ve Never Heard of for the Summer of 2017.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores. 

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

 

I Didn’t Know I Needed You…

We’ve all heard the phrases, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” and “You don’t know you need something until after you’ve gotten rid of it.” I’ve said both of those many times, myself. But recently, it occurred to me that it’s also true that you often didn’t know you needed something until you have it. No, I don’t mean all that stuff they sell on HSN or on infomercials (though I use my veggie chopper at least weekly). In fact, you can’t buy the thing I acquired and now can’t live without, but my life has never been the same since the day I received that call.

A little over two years ago, I entered a lottery on the radio. I told my husband about it, assuring him I would never be picked. He hoped I wouldn’t. Those who were chosen would be able to go to the Holy Land, and the cost was not insignificant. Knowing I had little to no chance of being chosen, and even less chance of being able to pay for the two of us to go, I quickly forgot about it. Until the day I got the call.

Did that person really just say that I was among the lucky ones? Am I really being given this opportunity to go to the Holy Land? If only…

I knew the cost was high, and I knew that Ken would never be able to take off, and completely unplug, for ten days. I told him, with a fair amount of trepidation, certain he would say it was not possible. And at first, he did. He knew he couldn’t go, but maybe we could find a way to pay for me to go and take a friend. But before I left the room, he said, “Wait. Where exactly would we be going?” I checked my email, and the official itinerary had arrived as promised. Within no time, Ken and I were booked to leave in eight short weeks, with a group of strangers, on the trip of a lifetime.Smithsonian Mag - The Search for Jesus

Two years later, I’ve traveled to Texas three times to see friends we met on that trip. Ken met up with friends in California. We’ve visited New York countless times and gotten together in Annapolis, Philadelphia, and Boston. We’ve attended funerals and birthday parties, gone to women’s conferences and retreats, sang karaoke, and celebrated my book releases.

This past weekend, we attended a weekend-long celebration in Dallas where the son of one of the couples was confirmed. I can’t remember the last time either Ken or I spent an entire weekend doing nothing but having fun with friends. When we said goodbye, there were no tears. Instead, we hugged and said, “See you in August if not sooner.”  IMG_0176.jpg

On the plane ride home, I sat and thought about the way my life was forever changed in the Holy Land. First, there was the awesome knowledge that I was walking in the footsteps of God. There was the profound experience of sharing this for the first time with a group of people who shared my faith. And there was a mingling of hearts and souls that bound us together in an inexplicable way. 

From phone calls and visits to texts and facebook messages, not a day goes by that I don’t communicate, in some way, with multiple people I met on that trip. They are not just friends. They are as much family to me as my own flesh and blood. I cannot imagine life without them. And as that thought hit me at 38,000 feet above the ground, I realized that I might never have known before how much I needed these people in my life, but now, I can’t ever imagine my life without them.  In much the same way, I believe there are many out there in need of something, and they have no clue what that something is. Over and over, I’ve heard people say that they didn’t know they needed God until they found him. He is there, waiting to be found, and He is a friend who never fails, never falters, never turns His back on those who love Him. Even more than my pilgrim family, God is a a shelter, a treasure, an elixir of life. Once you have found Him, you will realize that it was He that you needed all along.DSC08415.jpg

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available to pre-order.

What I was writing about this time last year:  Do You Believe in Miracles?

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores. 

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

The Blank Page

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 10.55.07 AM.png

Some days are like this. I sit and stare at a blank page. It mocks me, telling me that I have nothing of interest to say, that my words don’t matter, that my thoughts are inconsequential. It forces me to blink several times, looking away from the glare that stares back. I find myself seeking solace in other people’s words – on the Internet, in books, on the phone. My own words have failed me. They hide behind the cobwebs in the recesses of my mind. The harder I look for them, the more they shrink away, like a childish game of hide and seek.

download

And when I find them, they take off running, a marathon of thoughts riddled with leaps and hurdles that only I can overtake. I reach for them, trying to harness their energy before letting it explode onto the page. And when the explosion takes place, letters, words, thoughts, dialogues, settings, characters, and ultimately a plot are unleashed, a seismic wave of ideas that leave me breathless. I can’t stop it, can’t roll it back, can’t contain the beast that it becomes. For days, weeks, months, I become a slave to the words that fill the once-blank pages. Clothes go unwashed, dinners go uncooked. My fingers fly fast along the keys until, at last, a solitary tear falls. I know that I have reached the end of the story, the end of the words.

And then I am back at the beginning. Looming in front of me is a blank page. My head pounds as the taunting grows louder. “Write,” it screams at me. And so, with fingers pressed to the keys, I close my eyes, return to the game of hide and seek, and draw my characters into the open once again. 

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, will be available to pre-order on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

d54030eee1decdaa2da1fe862e5315b0

What I was writing about this time last year:  Do You Believe in Miracles?

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores. 

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

 

The Family Table

IMG_1972.jpegYears ago, my mother wrote an article for a magazine about her grandmother’s kitchen table. The sturdy, wooden table, made by my great-grandfather, was used in their home for many years. When my mother’s sister married, the table found a new home in her house where it still sits today. Every scratch, every dent, every mark on the table tells a story. My mother remembers it as the place where all news was shared–both good and bad. It was where my great-grandmother sat each morning and said her daily prayers. It was the site of many rousing card games as well as where weddings, funerals, and other family events were planned. It was the one piece of furniture that truly evoked, and still evokes, the true meaning of a home–a place where everyone gathers to share the best and worst moments in life.

Over the past several months, we have been remodeling our kitchen. Like my mother’s house, and my aunt’s house, the kitchen always seems to be the place where people gather in our home. It’s where meals are shared, plans are made, discussions are had, birthday candles are blown out, homework is done, and games are played. As the years have gone by, and my children have grown, we have gone through four different kitchen tables, each one larger in size than the one before and none of them really to my liking. I was always searching for something more–for a table that was more than a piece of furniture. I wanted all of us to be able to walk into the room, see the table, and know that we are home.

As our kitchen cabinets were removed, the floor replaced, and the walls painted, Ken and I searched and searched for the perfect table. He thought I was out of my mind, but I had a very clear picture in my head of what I wanted. I wanted the Walton’s table, the Braverman’s table, and the Reagan’s table. I wanted a table that can seat all five of us, and any family or friends who are visiting us. I wanted there to be room to spare for future spouses and future children. I was looking for a table that will bring us together even when we live miles apart.

Enter, Etsy. For hours, I poured over pictures of tables, contacted carpenters, and laid out my case to Ken that the bigger the table, the better. We went back and forth on the reasons why my dream table was just not a reasonable one, but my mind was made up. I knew I had to have a very long table that will last for generations and be a welcoming refuge at which to share a cup of tea, a meal, a conversation, and a lot of love. When Ken reluctantly gave in, he told me that he hoped we didn’t regret buying the custom-made ten-foot table. My heart soared. 

Once it was in the house, we both agreed that there can be no more perfect table than this for our home. That was confirmed on Easter and again this past Sunday as we celebrated three family birthdays. My girls laugh at me when I tell them that I plan on having family dinners every Sunday that they and their families are expected to attend, but I know that deep down, we all believe what my mother’s family knew those many years ago–there is nothing that says home, and no furniture that says love, like the family table.

0a13c197de1fb84a321bfac20a9e13a0

 

What I was writing about this time last year:  The Top Ten Reasons Easter is Irrelevant

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)

Following The Heart

I feel like I’ve been down this road before. I’ve walked across the campuses of over a dozen colleges and universities, and every time was a different experience. The first several visits were with a prospective student who knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t want, exactly what questions she had, and exactly what kind of experience she wanted to have during her first four years of freedom (yes, a first-born indeed). Four years later, visiting colleges was an entirely different ball game. Each tour ended with the questions, “Did you like it, Mom? Do you think I will like it here?” Each tentative step across a quad, each glance into a classroom, held a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Two years later, enter child number three. 

IMG_7309.jpeg
All of our college tours have been in the pouring down rain, but we did have a sunny stop at the Flight 93 Memorial.

“I don’t really care where I go,” and “I just want a degree, so the campus doesn’t matter,” are often heard statements as we drive hundreds of miles over the course of this week. It’s not a lack of interest or an attempt to put off the future. Morgan simply wants to be a nurse. Period. She doesn’t care where or how she gets there as long as she knows that the school she chooses will give her a good background and a solid career. She’s always been that kind of child– five going on ten, ten going on twenty, seventeen going on thirty. Her life has been carefully laid out and planned, step by step, since she was a toddler. This is the child who has always wanted to get married and have four children. This is the child who knows what kind of house she wants, what kind of school her children will attend, and exactly what kind of family pet they will have. She is a child who always dressed as some kind of medical profession for Halloween by her own choice. She has always known that helping others in a medical capacity is her calling. She just didn’t know what that specific calling was going to be.

I’ve mentioned many times that this past holiday season was a rough one for us and that Morgan spent countless hours tending her grandfather in his final weeks. She fed him, gave him medicine, helped dress and bathe him, and did whatever else was necessary to keep him comfortable. By the time her Poppy was called home, Morgan knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt what she wanted to do. She knew that nursing is her calling, and we all know she will be passionate about the care she gives. 

That’s why I find myself in Pittsburgh tonight, the second night in a hotel that is sandwiched between numerous top-notch nursing schools. And that’s why Morgan finds herself actually caring, for the first time, about where she’s going to attend college. Does she want to go to the #2 or the #7 school in the nation for nursing? They’re great schools that are highly competitive, but have many students fighting for the best clinical assignments. Does she want to go to a tiny, relatively new college that ranked much lower but still has a fabulous program and can promise high scholarships and guaranteed career placement? Does she want an inner-city experience, a suburb experience, or rural experience? Does she want a Catholic college, like her sisters, or a state school? There’s much to love about every place we tour.

There is one thing I know for sure. Wherever Morgan goes, she is going to make one heck of a nurse. And she’s going to let her faith guide her in making the right decisions. How wonderful it was to hear her ask the Dean of Admissions, “How often is Mass offered on campus?” That one question, more than any others, let me know that she has her priorities in order. I have to believe that everything else will fall into place. 

Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Did you hear Amy’s guest appearance on Danielle Bean’s Girlfriends Podcast? Check it out

What I was writing about this time last year:  A Love Without End

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines,  and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)