Amish Seeds of Change:3-Book Boxed Set

By: Rachel Stoltzfus


Struggle. Resentment. Love.

Amish teen, Emma Lapp has had a lifelong struggle with weight. Worse, Jacob, the man she wants desperately to court with only sees her as a friend. Caught between the loving excess of her mother's care and the desire to make a change, Emma feels overlooked and left behind. But when a terrible accident forces Emma to face hard truths about herself and her relationship with her sister, will this be enough for Emma to seize her dreams?





CHAPTER 1


Emma Lapp struggled hard to pull her skirt around her waist so she could pin it securely closed. Exhaling and holding the skirt with one hand, she swiped at perspiration on her forehead with the other. Looking down, she made sure the skirt was still closed as she stabbed the straight pin into the fabric. Quickly, she directed the pin back out so it would hold her skirt closed, then she grabbed a second pin and put it in, facing the opposite direction. I really need to lose this fat! Getting dressed would be so much faster and easier. Better yet, maybe we should start using snaps. They don’t show on the outside of our clothes.

Again, Emma swiped at the perspiration shining on her round, gentle face. Combing her hair, she prayed the pins would hold. She held her breath as she styled her hair into a loose bun, and then set her prayer cap on her head. Nodding, she hurried downstairs. “Mam, what do you need help with?”

“Girl, what took you so long? I’m nearly done with breakfast preparations. Make sure the biscuits are done and pull them from the oven, please. Oh, and I have already packed your lunch. It’s in the refrigerator, ready to go.”

Emma’s heart fell. She had hoped to make it downstairs early enough that she could pack her own lunch for work. Knowing her mam, she had packed the fat and carbohydrate heavy but delicious meatloaf from the night before, along with other foods. “Denki, Mam.” She would just eat a portion of each of the foods. Maybe then she could lose a few ounces.

Emma had been a normal-sized baby at birth. But, even before she began to walk and run around, she was a plump child. The pounds didn’t melt off as she began walking and running—instead, they continued to creep onto her short frame. By the time she was ten, she was much larger than her friends and classmates. She took little comfort in the fact that her parents and siblings were also rounded. As she became a young woman, her doctor’s warnings to her and her parents mainly focused on her obesity. Mr. and Mrs. Lapp, Emma is obese. If she and you begin to do something about it now, she can lose that weight and be much healthier. But the doctor’s words fell on deaf ears. But Emma heard them, and she worried about her health.

By the time she was twenty, she noticed that her knees ached if she had been standing or walking for a long time. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with asthma. Her ear, nose and throat specialist told her parents that her condition was related to her excess weight. Still, her mam continued to cook heavy foods, and Emma couldn’t help that she loved the foods her mam made. She had finally hit on the strategy of eating only half of what her mam packed for her lunch. Tomorrow, I’ll get up extra-early so I can be dressed and downstairs before Mam makes my breakfast. I’ll pack vegetables, a salad and some fruit.

Barbara Anderson, Emma’s older sister, came bustling into the house. “Gut morning, everyone! Emma, I needed to let you know that I’ll need you to watch the kinder on Saturday. I’ll be at a frolic for most of the day.”

“Barbara, I’m sorry, but I’m scheduled to work at the bakery that day. And it’s too late for me to ask for that day off. Maybe, if you had told me last Saturday, I could have let my boss know.”

Barbara always forgot about Emma’s scheduling requirements. Letting out a huff of exasperation, she spoke. “Well, I suppose I’ll have to ask Abby then.”

Emma closed her eyes as her practiced hands quickly removed the hot biscuits from the baking sheet to the paper towel-lined bowl. She inhaled three times, forcing back the words she really wanted to say. “Well, I would love to watch them. But I do have to respect what my boss tells me. She needs to know when we need to have time off so she has adequate coverage for the bakery.” Feeling the familiar tightness in her airways, she pulled her inhaler out of her skirt pocket and took two quick puffs. She set the bowl onto the table and gave fast kisses to her beloved niece and two nephews. “Aren’t you about to be late for school? Give grandma hugs and get going!”

“It’s up to me to give them that direction,” Barbara nearly growled as she spoke to Emma. Grabbing her children’s shoulders, she directed them to her mam, then out the door.

Emma sighed, relieved that her touchy older sister was gone. Then, she tensed up as Barbara popped her head back in. “Well, do you think you can watch them the Saturday after, then?”

“Barbara! I have already asked for that day off so I can go to that frolic. Nee.”

The door closed with a sharp snap, fairly communicating Barbara’s irritation.

***

Emma walked as quickly as she could, swinging her laden lunch bucket at her side. She made sure to breathe evenly and slowly so she wouldn’t have another asthma attack. By the time she had walked the half-mile to the Amish Sweets Shop, she was once again perspiring and breathing hard. She kept her mouth closed so she wouldn’t breathe in dust. “Gut morning!” She hurried to the kitchen, where she set her lunch into the refrigerator, then, in the small bathroom, she tore off two strips of paper towel so she could pat her face clean. In the bakery’s kitchen, she put her apron on and washed her hands. Looking at the day’s orders, she started with the snickerdoodles.