Jennifer Beckstrand

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A few weeks ago, I went to Disneyland with some of my grandchildren. We had an absolutely marvelous time. If you haven’t been to Disneyland, you most definitely must make plans to go. The park is clean and friendly, the rides are so fun, and the atmosphere is electric. One of the things I love about Disneyland is the attention to detail in every little space in the park. The bathrooms in the Star Wars section look like bathrooms you’d find on a rebel base. The bushes at “It’s a Small World” are sculpted into animal shapes. The actors are all dressed in themed costumes, and there is happy music playing wherever you go.


I kept telling my grandkids, “Just keep your eyes open. Look around, and you’ll see dozens of magical delights today.” I loved gazing around at the whole park while I was standing in line waiting for rides. It made me sad when I saw people staring at their phones when they could have been taking in one of the most amazing and visually stunning places in the world. I wanted to get on a soapbox and yell, “People, people, get off your phones and listen to the live band. Get off your phones and look at the intricate details on the ‘Small World’ ride. Get off your phones and notice the delight on your children’s faces.” You will be happy to know that I did none of these things. They probably would have kicked me out. You’ll also be happy to know that not everyone at the park was glued to their phones, but I sure felt sorry for the people who were.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I take more delight in the simple things than I used to. One of my favorite plants in my garden is the climbing rosebush that blooms every spring. I could just sit and gaze at that bush for hours. Maybe if we all took the time to just sit and look and notice, the world would be a happier place.

In His Amish Sweetheart, Austin Petersheim is like the phone addicts at Disneyland. He is looking for the perfect fraa, but doesn’t consider the girl right under his nose, his best friend, Hannah Yutzy. Will Hannah get tired of waiting for Austin to notice her? Will the twins be able to get Hannah and Austin together in spite of their clueless brother? Will the twins manage to stay out of trouble? Find out in His Amish Sweetheart, available June 28!