New Parish Free for Two Days!!!

New Parish is the kind of place when you go there, you want to know more, stay a while longer, and meet more people. No, it’s not perfect, but it is a little piece of heaven…

Hope you enjoy the free book, and the journey to New Parish!

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com – Ebook free Sunday the 16th and Monday the 17th !

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington  

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001   

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

 

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New Parish Match Making Advice

From days gone by there have been many different ways for a girl to get married. I think of Fiddler on the Roof and the Matchmaker who seems to be a busy body who gets into everyone’s business and does some gossiping, to the Native Americans and Islanders who got a horse, a cow, or whatever was available for the privilege of letting a man marry their daughter. There were of course large monetary dowries given in the high parts of our world… All through out history there have been arranged marriages, some as children, or before the children were born, some to merge families, or properties, or titles.

Now days we seem to have just one system for a girl to get married. Well, one that’s predominant – dating. In New Parish, Sarah gets very frustrated with that system and decides to try something old… As she begins to explore this old system she get some sage advice from the Church leader.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 4 – Girl Talk

“Brother Michael cleared his throat and said, “I wanted to take a few minutes before you go, to talk seriously with you about the decision you’re thinking about.”

            Sarah nodded and sipped her hot chocolate waiting for him to continue.

            “As you’ve seen here plural marriage can be done successfully, but I want you to know that there can, and have been problems in the system. This is a very serious commitment for a person to make whether that person is a man or a woman. Everyone in a man’s family have to be willing to accept each other, as is, without thinking they have the right to change the other people involved. I’ve had to work with lots of women, over the years, who think it’s their right or responsibility to “help another wife” to change into what that wife thinks the other wife should be. You have to go into this willing to accept everyone, as is. Please think about that and give it some serious thought.”

            “Okay,” Sarah said as he paused.

            “Next I want you to spend some time thinking about the process of match making and guidance that we do here. For this to work you need to be committed to working with the church leaders and doing a lot of your own prayer and soul searching. This is not the easy thing that some might think it is. We want to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, so we put all the effort into it that this process requires of us all. We don’t have a list of men who have paid us to get them a wife, nor do we even listen to them if they come to us with admonitions to give them a wife. This is done with and through the woman’s permission and choice. We guide, she chooses, if we get an impression that maybe this man would be a good husband for her and she doesn’t agree, the process continues until everyone is in agreement. The other church leaders and I will do the work for this to happen for you, if you will agree to do the work with us.”

            Sarah nodded again, listening intently to what Brother Michael was saying.

            “The last thing I want to suggest to you is to take some time to ponder and pray about this decision. This is your life. Is this really what you want for your life? This lifestyle has many blessings but it can also be considered a curse to those who don’t have the capacity to accept it in all its varied and sometimes complicated components. I want you to understand that I only want the best for you. If this is truly what you want to do, then I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen for you. But, if you have doubts about it, then take the time to find the answers you need to put those doubts to rest, before you make your decision. Okay?”

            Still nodding Sarah said, “Yes, and thanks for helping me, and for letting me come out here and stay in your home, with your family.”

            “You’re very welcome,” Brother Michael said with a smile and a wink, “I’ve got nothing to hide… really.””

 

There’s a special going on now, so, if you buy the paperback you can get the ebook for free.

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001  

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

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New Parish Going Places

Have you ever looked off into the distance and wondered what was out there? Or have you ever seen an airplane flying far up in the sky and wondered where it was going and what things would be like when it got there? I have… I look at the distant mountains, vast prairies, the infinite sky, and wonder… I think that’s how New Parish was born. The main character, (Sarah), in New Parish not only has this wonder, but is also driven by her desires for a life that fulfills her completely.

Sarah travels to the distant mountains, over the vast prairies, and into the infinite sky to discover what’s there. Along the way she finds lifelong friends, cowboys, and eventually a way for all her dreams to come true…

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 2 Undecided

“The frustration of it all boiled over in Sarah’s mind so she decided to go for a walk to try and clear her head.

            The cool air and busy sidewalks were almost enough to distract her mind from the pervading thoughts of how much this plural marriage thing could go wrong. She wanted to believe that things could be as wonderful as Mary said they were, but she knew how people could be, especially men… Her thoughts went to, “Maybe I should just drop the whole thing.” Then the idea of dating again entered her thoughts, which almost made her nauseous. Then the thought of giving up on her dream of having kids and a family came to her mind. A tear rolled down her face, which she quickly brushed away, that thought was the saddest one she’d ever had…

            Sarah looked up at the sky and saw a plane flying west, she knew she would be on one soon… flying west. She breathed out a sigh and with a new resolve, walked back to her apartment.”

Chapter 7 The Flight

“The plane entered the air without a bump. Sarah was immediately in awe at the scene below her. The inner wows were boiling up for Sarah, the breathtaking vistas as the plane turned, almost made her lose her resolve to stay calm in the presence of the cowboy.       

Brother Michael played tour guide, telling them about the areas below, and what they were called by the locals, “Okay we’ll get a good look at New Parish, then go over the Ridge and the Gap so we can show our new friends the area.”

 

 

 

Do you want to find out for yourself what happens to Sarah in New Parish? New Parish is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and barnesandnoble.com  

Simply search New Parish by Julie Worthington or follow the links below…

Amazon.com – Buy the paperback and get the ebook for free!

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530209993&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001

New Parish is really going places too! It’s available at Bee’s (in Centennial Park) and Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ –  coming soon to many new bookstores!

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New Parish Anywhere…

New Parish is now available in ebook! All the great adventures, discoveries, and sitcom moments are ready to go with you wherever you want to take them.

Over the past couple of years, writing New Parish, the characters have become my friends. So now being able to share this amazing journey with everyone is a wonderful dream come true…  I’m writing again, the third book is well underway and has loads of surprises, a few tears, and of course sitcom moments. The edits for book two are coming along nicely as well, the book cover is in the planning stages – it’s going to be beautiful, stunning, and quite insightful. Hopefully next year will bring “Return to New Parish” to everyone…   

But until then…

Do you want New Parish in paperback? Do you want New Parish on ebook? Either way I hope you enjoy your visit…  

 

There’s a special going on now, so, if you buy the paperback you can get the ebook for free.

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

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Family…

Family means many different things to many different people. Some people think of groups of friends they belong to as family, others think of simply those they have a blood relationship with as family. Families come in all shapes and sizes, whether they are created by blood or other bonds… Families can have a single parent or many parents. Either way, family is always the place we call home, family is the place we find shelter from the storms of life, and family always include the people we love and who will be there for us. I think of it as an unwritten code – they don’t have to help you or be supportive… they just do.

My book New Parish is all about family… Sarah grows up in one kind of family, and decides to enter into another kind of family. This change creates a whole new dynamic for her old family and her new family… in the end they do what families do… they just do.

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 6 – The Return (Sarah and her parents arriving in New Parish)

“Laden with luggage they all entered Brother Michael’s house, “Sarah! Oh it’s so good to see you again, Sweetie!” Susan came running up and gave her a big hug. Then shouted, “Sarah’s here!” toward the hallway in front of the entry.

            It looked like the house had began to ooze people, they poured in from every direction. Sarah was busy getting and giving hugs when she noticed her mom’s expression, it was one of sheer terror.

            Sarah suppressed a giggle and said, “Everyone, this is my mom and dad.”

“Here,” Brother Michael said placing the bags he had on the floor and taking charge, “Let me introduce you to my wives and you’ll catch the kids names eventually. This is Marla, Michelle, Lisa, Karen, Susan, Sharon, and Ann. Ladies this is David and Samantha Nichols.”

            Sarah almost burst out laughing when she looked at her dad’s expression, he was at another cross, this one was a cross between amusement and disbelief. Her mom looked even more traumatized, but graciously shook hands with each of Brother Michael’s wives as she was introduced.

            They were given a tour of the house, and shown the bedroom where Sarah would be sharing with Mary. All the while Sarah was suppressing giggles, her mom’s look of shock and her dad’s look of amusement was totally entertaining her. After the tour her dad was taken outside to see the huge pond where Brother Michael was encouraging wild geese and other migratory birds to stop over – and Sarah’s mom went up to her bedroom to help unpack her things.

When Mary stepped out for a moment to go get something Samantha said, “I honestly thought you were joking about him having that many wives.” She looked at Sarah with uncertainty in her expression and continued, “I could just pinch your father! He thinks it’s all uniquely charming. He’d better not get any ideas!””

Chapter 12 – Home (Part of the Thanksgiving gathering for both of Sarah’s families)

            “The next morning Sarah was up early so she could make her grandmother’s cinnamon rolls with Hannah and so she could get a hot shower before everyone got up and pilfered all the hot water. The kitchen was quiet when she entered but Hannah arrived soon after, they started the Christmas playlist – which always had to be playing when the family was preparing Thanksgiving food.  Then they began rolling out the yeast rolls and preparing them for the sprinkling of yummy stuff.

            “So I met this guy,” Hannah smiled slyly at Sarah. “He’s got promise, I think.”

            “Awesome! Tell me all about him!” Sarah demanded.

             Hannah giggled and said, “He’s a returned missionary, attending BYU like me, and he’s taking some programming classes with me. He’s really smart, and gets almost as good of grades as I do.”

            “He sounds okay,” Sarah smiled, “What’s he like? You know, sense of humor, common sense, financially responsible? That sort of thing, oh yeah and is he gorgeous?”

            “He’s very gorgeous!” Hannah smiled. “He’s got a good sense of humor sometimes he thinks he’s funnier than he is, but it’s good though, he’s cute and can pull it off.” She shrugged and continued, “I don’t know about common sense or finances yet, I only met him a couple of months ago.”

            “Ah, still in the early stages huh? Well make sure you be careful,” Sarah said in a big sisterly way.

            “Of course,” Hannah smiled and intentionally bumped Sarah’s arm to make her spill the cinnamon, “You too.”

            They both laughed and continued to sprinkle the rolled out yeast rolls with sugar and cinnamon. Not long after the cinnamon rolls were in the oven, there was a trickle of family invading the kitchen, the trickle soon turned into a flood with everyone present. The aroma of the cinnamon rolls had emanated from the kitchen and called the family together. As they began indulging in the wonderful treats, they were given their assignments for the day. There was so much food to be prepared for tomorrow’s feast that it would keep everyone busy, all day.

            The work began even before the cinnamon rolls were eaten. Most of the workers were holding a cinnamon roll in one hand, (or in their mouth), and doing the food prep single handedly. As the day went on they all were snacking on the food they were working on, so there was no reason to make lunch. It was a just grab something and keep working sort of thing, which was their usual for this day.

            Sarah noticed her mom enjoying the fact that there were thirteen more kids calling her, Grandma. She thought that maybe her mom was beginning to soften on the plural marriage situation, maybe. She decided to test the waters by asking, “So, how do you like being grandma to a bunch more kids?”

            Samantha smiled, “Oh its nice.” She paused letting the thick syrup she was pouring over the sweet potatoes drizzle into some areas that were not as drenched with the stuff then continued, “They’re really sweet kids, and so beautiful.” She looked at Sarah and asked, “How do you like being a mom?”

            “I’m loving it!” Sarah replied enthusiastically.

            “Are you still wanting to have a baby?” her mom inquired.

            “Yes,” Sarah answered reluctantly. “It just hasn’t happened yet.”

            “Oh,” Samantha looked concerned. “I didn’t know you were already trying.”

            Sarah shrugged, not really wanting to talk about this bit of sore frustration in her life.

            “Sometimes these things take time,” her mom consoled. “It’s easier to make a baby by accident than to plan on it.”

            Sarah smiled and admitted, “Max said I should try to chill about it. But I really want a baby. I’m a bit frustrated over it, and can’t really find a way to chill.”

            “It’ll happen,” her mom smiled at her.”  

Do you want to find out for yourself what happens next? New Parish is now available on Amazon.com

Simply search New Parish by Julie Worthington or follow the link below…

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530209993&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

 

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

As humans we plan and scheme and work towards our goals. We want things to work out the way we have them planned… because that’s what we think is best. Yes, we plan, but our plans can get derailed… There are reasons that our plans can get derailed, a metaphorical brick wall can emerge, someone new and different comes into our lives, or even divine intervention can happen… and our plans change. Sometimes when we least expect it an idea that’s completely outside the box comes into play, something very different than what we had planned.

In my book New Parish Sarah planned on getting married during or right after college. Then she planned on having a baby very soon after. Her plan was to have as many children as she could and be the ultimate soccer mom. At twenty-seven she couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong with her plan. She was way behind schedule and not able to find a decent guy to marry. She had dated all through college, and after. There were plenty of guys, they were all into themselves, jerks, or otherwise eew…

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “Around lunch time she headed out to the children’s center. As she walked down the busy Atlanta sidewalks she looked around at the horde of people on their way to their next destination. She thought about when she’d first moved to Atlanta and how excited she’d been to be living in a big city with so much going on. She’d lost that excitement: it had turned into a tired frustration. The city hadn’t contributed to her dreams at all, her experiences there had diminished them. Her thoughts went to how much her goals and dreams had fragmented over the last few years. Her career was great, but she’d planned on being married and having at least three children by the age of twenty-seven. She sighed thinking, “I have neither a husband or children.” Her frustration on this was starting to grow beyond the normal parameters. Her thoughts turned to her job, “Right out of college, I got this great job, doing what I love, being a graphic artist for children’s books. I’ve worked hard, and now I’m the top artist in the company. I chose this career so I could be a stay at home mom. Sheesh! What’s a girl gotta do to make her dreams come true?”

            Extremely loud sirens jolted Sarah out of her thoughts, she jumped and looked to see what was happening. “Oh, it’s just the cops,” she thought and walked on. No one else seemed to notice. Sighing she thought, “Growing up in Savannah didn’t really prepare me for living in the big city of Atlanta, or the daily adventure each time I leave my apartment.”

            She continued down the sidewalk a few more blocks and entering the children’s center, went to the front desk to sign in. She quickly scanned the sign-in sheet to see if Mary was already there. She was.

            “I can’t believe I’m actually going to ask her about this plural marriage thing,” Sarah thought to herself. “Am I really that desperate?””

Do you want to find out for yourself what happens next? New Parish is now available on Amazon.com

Simply search New Parish by Julie Worthington or follow the link below…

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530209993&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

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Books

For those of you who’ve read New Parish and have expressed that I should hurry up with getting Return to New Parish ready and out to you… I have a couple of suggestions for you to read till I can get Return to New Parish ready.

When Calls the Heart: Canadian West

https://www.amazon.com/When-Calls-Heart-Canadian-West/dp/076421229X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1533226155&sr=8-1&dpID=51uHyk%252BgZzL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

I love Janette Oke’s writing. You can’t go wrong with any of her books. There are actually six books in this series. You’ll find them clean (without bad language and other stuff), well written, and full of the sweet romance I fuse into New Parish. Janette Oke’s books also have an eastern girl who goes west, back in the early days of the Canadian Mounties – not too different from the southern girl who goes west in New Parish…

Sackett’s Land

If you’re up for a bit of high adventure I’d recommend Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour

https://www.amazon.com/Sacketts-Land-Louis-LAmour-Collection/dp/0553062123/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1533257719&sr=8-1&dpID=51txj%252Bi8N-L&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

Louis L’Amour is one of my all time favorite writers. In my opinion this is his very best book. In it he tells the thrilling tale of the first Sackett who came to America. It has some swashbuckling adventures, romance, and living free in the way we can only dream of today.

But don’t worry I am busy getting Return to New Parish ready. I’ll give updates as things progress… Also watch out for some very exciting news on Brigham Tea Magazine! The western experience in all its flavors will be in there and available soon…

If you haven’t already gotten your copy of New Parish you can get it here:

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533258389&sr=1-2&keywords=new+parish

A sweat romantic comedy with sassy southern girls, cowboys, and a unique polygamous twist!

 

 

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Circle of Life…

Have you ever watched a dog chasing its tail? It’s hilarious, until the dog actually catches its tail… then, if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s even funnier. The dog will look around in shock wondering who it was that bite him. I can’t help myself every time I see this happen I laugh, not that I don’t have the greatest sympathies for the animal, but we humans do the same thing. We run around in circles and when we finally reach our goal we look around to see who smacked us with it. We simply want what we want, and think getting what we want will make us happy. Sometimes we have to chase our tails many times to get to what we want… each time the trail ends with, at least, a bit of disappointment.

It’s only when we decide to do something different that we are finally able to achieve something different. In my book New Parish, Sarah spent her early twenties chasing here tail, dating guys that were all disappointments. Then she decided to do something different and got a very different outcome…

First couple of pages from New Parish:

“Chapter 1

Bad Date

            Sarah slammed the door to her apartment as she entered, then slowly let out a growl, she’d held the anger, embarrassment, and hurt in until she got home. She took a deep breath to calm herself. “Men!” she whisper shouted so her neighbors wouldn’t hear her aggravation. 

            The evening had been another dating disaster. Sarah always thought, or hoped with each new guy that there might be potential for the future, but each time she’d been completely disappointed. This evening she’d been out with an absolutely handsome guy, who was very sweet. She’d known him for only a few weeks. They’d met when he’d started volunteering at the same children’s center, where Sarah had been volunteering for several years – since she’d moved to Atlanta. When she saw him working and interacting with the kids there, he seemed very nice and obviously loved kids – that was a win-win, to Sarah. So, when he’d asked her out she’d immediately agreed, with a big smile, and great expectations. He wasn’t like the last guy she’d gone out with, all macho and Neanderthal, she’d sworn off that type of man forever. This guy was very nice, and she was naturally very excited to get to know him better.

            They met at the restaurant he’d suggested, and things were going really well. The ambience of the restaurant, the conversation, the food – everything that evening was just about perfect, perfect, until a well coiffed young man came to their table and started shouting at her date for cheating on him… The very loud accusations included information that Sarah really didn’t want to know about the guy that she’d wanted to think of as being nice, and exciting, and having potential. The man shouting at her date revealed that he and her date had made commitments, and he took those commitments very seriously. Things went downhill from there. Her date tried to explain to his “friend” that he wasn’t really cheating on him because Sarah, as he pointed out, was a girl. That didn’t float for either his friend or Sarah. Instead of staying in her seat and waiting for the drama to unfold even further, Sarah stood, and gracefully left the restaurant detaching herself from the episode…  she never looked back. The embarrassment of that date would live with her for a very long time.

“How am I supposed to know which guys to go out with and which ones to not go out with?” she groaned within herself.

            She pulled her long brown hair back into a ponytail and looked at herself in the mirror as she pulled on her pajamas. She scanned her bangs hanging over her forehead while some of the layered strands fell loosely around her face. The events of the evening were flashing through her mind like an old movie, as she thought to herself, “I’m not ugly… why can’t I find a good man? I have curves in all the right places, with ample endowments.” This had been a source of a pride with her as a girl and more especially as she got a little older. Sarah thought it was fun how boys would stutter and stammer at times if she wore a low cut blouse. Her five foot seven, somewhat athletic frame carried her very well, she thought, as she scanned for flaws. She looked at her face to check out what others would see when they looked at her. She had always thought her nose was a bit small but it looked okay, her brown eyes were a little big but they were okay too. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked aloud in frustration. 

            Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona. Sarah had known her for a few months. Mary was only going to be there for a while longer, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

Sarah thought about the day she’d been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her, when Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from, the people did plural marriages. So, any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Mary’s descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

New Parish Available Now!!!

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530921759&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

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Status…

Status seems to be something we’re all concerned with, (and sometimes obsessed with) these days. Whether it’s our own status or the status of others, whether it’s social media, at work, at school, or in our families. Status has become the word we use to measure our own worth in many ways. We stress over it, we try to improve it, we even get insecurities over it.

In relationships, status, can be a complicated issue, and sometimes confusing. We can wonder if we’re just dating, or is this an exclusive relationship? Even after marriage the status of the relationship can still be complicated. Insecurities can arise and we can wonder how strong our relationships are, or if they will last. In New Parish Sarah finds insecurities and wonders about her status in her marriage and if maybe her marriage is a lesser marriage…

 Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah gave words to her insecurities and fears and asked, “Do you love me as much as you love them? Am I a lesser wife to you because we haven’t been married very long or that we haven’t had children together yet?”

            Max softly and gently answered with his charming cowboy drawl, “No, my darling, you’re not a lesser wife, the feelings of love I have for you and Myra and Del are within me, those feelings are the same for each of you. My love for you is for eternity… Each of the days of our lives is part of eternity so each of the days you are in my life I will love you. I will tell you I love you, and I will show you I love you, that’s how eternal marriage works. It’s an everyday thing not an every now and then thing, you’re my wife, every day, and for everyday from now on through eternity. Even if you never have any children you wouldn’t be a lesser wife. Nor would I love you less for that or any other reason like how long we’ve been married. I’m fully and completely committed to our marriage and our future, my heart is full of love for you.”

            Sarah smiled as Max gently wiped a tear off her cheek, “I love you so much.””

Do you want to find out for yourself what happens next? New Parish is now available on Amazon.com

Simply search New Parish by Julie Worthington or follow the link below…

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530209993&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington

 

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Life’s Journey

Life’s journey takes us to many places… some are happy places that we completely enjoy, while others are places we’d rather not have gone to. On life’s journey, even when it’s those rather not places, we learn things that make each of us a better person, a stronger person, and a wiser person. Sometimes we find out that what we thought was, wasn’t. We discover new truths that change how we see things, and what we want.

In Sarah’s journey to New Parish she had a moment when what she thought was, wasn’t… she was sure Max was a self centered jerk, but life’s journey took her to a place that definitely gave her a very different perspective.  

Excerpt from New Parish:

 “Sarah stepped carefully into the barn watching out for what she had heard Uncle Alex refer to as horse apples – she smiled a little thinking of his wording. He’d used it in a very negative way toward Albert, “Why am I thinking of that?” she thought to herself then sidestepped some of those apples and smiled again. She suddenly realized she heard crying and looked up from the floor, watching to see what was going on.

            Max emerged from Princess’ stall and put his arms around Leah, “She’s just in some pain baby,” he said, with the most kindness and gentleness Sarah had ever heard in anyone’s voice.

            “Dad,” Leah said through sobs, “Is she going to be okay?”

            “I’m going to do my very best to help her,” Max reassured her, then he hugged her close and whispered something in her ear that Sarah couldn’t hear.

            Sarah remembered the conversation at the dinner table about Princess and how much Leah wanted to be with the mare when she gave birth. Her thoughts lingered over that conversation and that night.

            She walked a little closer – Max and Leah returned inside the stall, she could see Leah kneel down at Princess’ head and begin stroking her gently as the horse repeatedly gave labored grunts. Sarah could see tears escaping Leah’s eyes, and her heart felt like it would break for the little girl she had only met a couple of nights ago.

            “Dad!” Johnny shouted.

            “It’s okay, just talk to her real gentle like and rub her back,” Max spoke gently to his son from somewhere inside the stall.

            Sarah inched around further into the barn so she could get a better look. The grunting of the mare was almost rhythmic now. Sarah could see that not just Alex, Johnny, and Leah were in there with Max and the mare, there was also Joseph, Jake, and Sam. Alex was back near Max who was removing wet blankets and replacing them with dry ones. The floor of the stall had a very thick layer of straw which the mare was laying on, they were using the blankets to absorb the wet and keep the area clean and dry for the foal.

            Princess gave a loud whinny and jerked, Max spoke to her, “Easy girl, easy, it’s gonna be okay.” He stroked her haunches and began to sing to her.

            Sarah saw him nod to his boys and they began to sing with him, Sarah knew the song, it was the one he’d sang on the hay ride. She watched him stroke the mare and listened to his smooth voice, it was the most calming thing she’d ever experienced in her life. The mare returned to her rhythmic grunting and Sarah saw two small hooves emerging from her.

            Sarah had to make herself stop biting her bottom lip, she didn’t know she was doing it until it became quite painful. Her mind was totally captured by what was happening in that stall. She saw Max take hold of the little hooves when the mare tensed up, he pulled as she pushed. Sarah’s eyes went to Leah, the tears were still streaming down her face but she was singing along with her brothers and stroking the mare lovingly. Sarah could see the beads of sweat forming on Max’s forehead, his dark curly hair was disheveled, but he looked as though he were as calm as a summer’s morning.

            “How could he be?” Sarah thought to herself. “He had proven yesterday that he was a hot head, easily stressed, frustrated, and angered. How could he be this calm and gentle today?” After what she had seen yesterday this didn’t fit. Then what Mary said after the park altercation started returning to her thoughts:

“I know you don’t understand but we just don’t date or anything like it here, Albert knows that, but he’s been sort of taking advantage of you because you’re new here. Dad and Uncle Alex and some of the other church leaders have talked to Albert and told him to stop, when he continued. Max went to talk with him and told him to just back off until you’d decided. But he wouldn’t stop, I guess it got on Max’s last nerve…”

            Sarah’s thoughts were returned to the stall when the mare gave another loud whinney. She could see the contraction happening and once again the mare pushed and Max pulled. The little hooves had grown into little blonde legs. Sarah watched breathless as the process was repeated over and over, Princess pushed, Max pulled, the kids sang to her and stroked her gently. She saw Max patiently help the mare and encourage his children, her brain started to piece together the events that had happened since she first met this cowboy. His words started to enter her mind, she could hear his voice talking to her just as if he were standing next to her.

The time when she and Mary had listened in on a conversation between him and Brother Michael came to her mind first:

“Oh, dear,” Max had said when Brother Michael had first told him about the match…“I’m afraid she doesn’t like me too much…This could be a real problem…” then near the end of that conversation she remembered him saying, “Yes, I’m willing to do what it takes and to love her. I’ll do all I can to make this work out.”

Then when they were on the Ridge the other day his words reached the depths of her soul:

“I know you’re struggling with everything that’s happening. I want you to know that whatever you decide to do, I’ll do what I can to help and make things work out for you.”

Next she heard what he said when he walked her to her car after dinner the other night:

“I hope you’ll think about what the church leaders have suggested and pray about this… I know you think you might not be happy married to me, but I promise you I’ll do everything in my power to make sure you are.”

            The memories of Brother Michael teasing her about being attracted to Max came next, she inadvertently put her hand to her face remembering she had blushed. Then her mind went to the night Brother Michael had asked her to pray about the name the church leaders had received before he would tell her who it was. She remembered the complete peace she’d felt…

            Another loud whinney jarred her from her thoughts and memories, she looked to see the head of the foal emerging from the mare, more labored breathing, more singing, more pushing, more pulling and the foal finally slid out. Princess looked as though she completely collapsed, Leah wept openly as she stroked the mare’s head. Max was working quickly to wipe down the foal then handed it off to Alex and Johnny to finish the cleanup. Max moved over the abdomen of the mare massaging and pushing and the rest of the stuff that needed to be expelled emerged from her. He used the blankets to soak up the stuff and cleaned the area, he was in the process of putting the blankets in a large basin when Sam shouted, “She’s not breathing!”

            Sarah jumped, everything had been very quiet for the last little while and the shout had pierced the barn like a lightening strike.

            Max went to the head of the mare and knelt down putting his face very near her nose, “She’s breathing,” he sighed. “She’s just plain worn out,” he explained to his children. He stroked her gently, “She worked hard, now she’ll need to rest. Why don’t you boys go in and tell your moms that that little fella’s here?”

            Sarah saw them begin to smile, they ran out of the stall, waved hi to her, then ran on to the house. Leah stayed near Princess, still stroking her gently as Alex and Johnny gently played with the baby. Max stood and came to the door of the stall where there was a bucket of water and some hand sanitizing soap, he bent over the bucket quickly washing his hands and arms.

Sarah realized that he didn’t know she was there, she also realized that the reason she was there no longer existed, that was a strange feeling. She thought, “Maybe I can just sneak out so he won’t see me,” but at that moment, he turned to get a towel to dry his hands, and their eyes met, he looked somewhat like he’d seen a ghost.

            “Oh,” he said quietly. “Do we need to talk?”

            “No,” Sarah replied. “Excuse me, I need to go talk to Brother Michael.””

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