Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE

Simon Graber lumbered across the kitchen floor with the air of a man in complete control of his world. As bishop of Cherry Grove, Kentucky, it was best to always remain confident.

Kaffi in hand, he sat at the table and stared blankly at the steaming bowl of oatmeal. Perhaps his cooking skills did need tuning as his 'sohn' insisted. In the next room, sixteen-year-old Michael still slept. Simon didn't mind indulging him on occasion. After all, Michael worked as hard as most men already, helping with the horses and working on his onkel Ervin's construction crew.

Pushing the overdone bowl aside, Simon opened his Bible and began feeding his soul instead. Reading the Lord's words was better taken in morning hours with kaffi anyway. It was one habit that was new, for his late wife, Lizzy, had always insisted kaffi only forced one's head to think, and all thinking should be done without stimulants.

"If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." Simon inhaled a long breath as he read the words of 1 Timothy. He hadn't desired being a minister at the young age of thirty-two—or, better yet, a bishop just five short years later during a six-hour spring communion service. Lizzy had fretted terribly about how their life would change, but Simon ministered to others humbly, welcoming a life of service.

He recalled the day Bishop Menno Hershberger decided to suddenly move to Indiana. Simon had known a new bishop would be chosen from the deacons and ministers already serving, but he never expected drawing the lot twice so soon. Furthermore, he never expected God would place him as head of the church just months before losing his family.
 
Closing his eyes, he could see young William and baby Claire. Both had the look of their mamm, with Simon's deep blue eyes.

If only he had insisted Lizzy stay home and not travel with the group to attend a quilting frolic.

If only he'd insisted William and Claire stay with his sister. If only they had all been wearing their seat belts.

If only the driver hadn't fallen into a fit of coughs, losing control of the van.

Opening his eyes, Simon wiped away the unbidden tear. He had long put away the questions and what-ifs. God had given him a family for a time, and for that Simon was grateful. He reined in his focus to the words before him. It was best not to dwell. God had allotted him a few scant memories, and he would hold tight to them.

The brown mission-style wall clock chimed, reminding Simon of the hour. He raised his head and glanced across the table. Twelve years gone, and he still had the habit of expecting to see Lizzy seated across from him, listening. She had been a great support in helping him sort his thoughts.

Right now Simon's thoughts were as scattered as a needle on the compass Michael always carried in his pocket. It had not escaped him that Mahone Miller still reeked of tobacco, though claiming he had smashed the horrid habit months ago. His chewing of matchsticks didn't mask the smell one bit.

Simon was also worried that yet another family had fallen ill. A summer's cold that seemed to linger longer than it should. If it was the flu, as some whispered, it was a mighty rough one, keeping so many laid up for days as it had. If there was only more he could do aside from prayer.
 
Jah, Lizzy's advice would be welcomed right now, just as it would have been when visiting the Glicks last evening. Lizzy would have instructed him on how important it was to decline any offer of lemonade Betty Marie made.

Lizzy would have certainly known how to deter young Matthias Martin from his current plans. Fish farming wasn't farming. Simon shook his head as he stared at the empty chair. Without his fraa, Simon was drinking sour lemonade and watching a young man pour all his hard-earned money into...catfish.
...

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Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE

Simon Graber lumbered across the kitchen floor with the air of a man in complete control of his world. As bishop of Cherry Grove, Kentucky, it was best to always remain confident.

Kaffi in hand, he sat at the table and stared blankly at the steaming bowl of oatmeal. Perhaps his cooking skills did need tuning as his 'sohn' insisted. In the next room, sixteen-year-old Michael still slept. Simon didn't mind indulging him on occasion. After all, Michael worked as hard as most men already, helping with the horses and working on his onkel Ervin's construction crew.

Pushing the overdone bowl aside, Simon opened his Bible and began feeding his soul instead. Reading the Lord's words was better taken in morning hours with kaffi anyway. It was one habit that was new, for his late wife, Lizzy, had always insisted kaffi only forced one's head to think, and all thinking should be done without stimulants.

"If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work." Simon inhaled a long breath as he read the words of 1 Timothy. He hadn't desired being a minister at the young age of thirty-two—or, better yet, a bishop just five short years later during a six-hour spring communion service. Lizzy had fretted terribly about how their life would change, but Simon ministered to others humbly, welcoming a life of service.

He recalled the day Bishop Menno Hershberger decided to suddenly move to Indiana. Simon had known a new bishop would be chosen from the deacons and ministers already serving, but he never expected drawing the lot twice so soon. Furthermore, he never expected God would place him as head of the church just months before losing his family.
 
Closing his eyes, he could see young William and baby Claire. Both had the look of their mamm, with Simon's deep blue eyes.

If only he had insisted Lizzy stay home and not travel with the group to attend a quilting frolic.

If only he'd insisted William and Claire stay with his sister. If only they had all been wearing their seat belts.

If only the driver hadn't fallen into a fit of coughs, losing control of the van.

Opening his eyes, Simon wiped away the unbidden tear. He had long put away the questions and what-ifs. God had given him a family for a time, and for that Simon was grateful. He reined in his focus to the words before him. It was best not to dwell. God had allotted him a few scant memories, and he would hold tight to them.

The brown mission-style wall clock chimed, reminding Simon of the hour. He raised his head and glanced across the table. Twelve years gone, and he still had the habit of expecting to see Lizzy seated across from him, listening. She had been a great support in helping him sort his thoughts.

Right now Simon's thoughts were as scattered as a needle on the compass Michael always carried in his pocket. It had not escaped him that Mahone Miller still reeked of tobacco, though claiming he had smashed the horrid habit months ago. His chewing of matchsticks didn't mask the smell one bit.

Simon was also worried that yet another family had fallen ill. A summer's cold that seemed to linger longer than it should. If it was the flu, as some whispered, it was a mighty rough one, keeping so many laid up for days as it had. If there was only more he could do aside from prayer.
 
Jah, Lizzy's advice would be welcomed right now, just as it would have been when visiting the Glicks last evening. Lizzy would have instructed him on how important it was to decline any offer of lemonade Betty Marie made.

Lizzy would have certainly known how to deter young Matthias Martin from his current plans. Fish farming wasn't farming. Simon shook his head as he stared at the empty chair. Without his fraa, Simon was drinking sour lemonade and watching a young man pour all his hard-earned money into...catfish.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...