What I’m Reading: An Appalachian Summer

I worked in a day care once. I was a semester away from earning my early childhood education certificate when I got the job. I love to teach, and I always enjoyed teaching Sunday school classes, at VBS, and at a local youth camp in the summers. I thought teaching Pre-K children would be perfect for me.

It wasn’t. Maybe if I’d been employed in a different facility under different leadership, I’d have stuck with it longer. My experience was that money coming in was the only thing that mattered, and good teachers weren’t supported in trying to make their classes as good as possible for the children and families. Clock in. Don’t rock the boat. Clock out. Come back tomorrow.

Even if I’d had a better experience, looking back I realize it would have simply delayed the inevitable. Teaching a Pre-K class was not and is not my calling. It wasn’t God’s plan for me, and it took a willingness to step out of my familiar and onto a new path for me to realize it was not the one for me.

Somtimes, it takes breaking away from what you know to find out who and what you’re supposed to be (or in my case, what you’re not supposed to be!). You simply have to be brave enough to take that step.

Piper Danson, the main character in Ann H. Gabhart’s book, An Appalachian Summer, isn’t sure she has that kind of bravery. Facing marriage to the perfect suitor, Piper can’t help the feeling there is something missing. She’s not sure who she is or what she wants, but she’s pretty sure from the start it isn’t Braxton Crandall. He can give her the life she’s used to, but is it really the life she wants?

The opportunity to serve as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains seems like the perfect chance to find out. Though her parents don’t truly support her, Piper volunteers her summer to help the nurses but she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. The work is difficult, and the way of life for the people they are serving is completely foreign to her.

Through the work, Piper grows in her understanding of what is important in life. She learns about herself and the kind of life she wants to lead. In learning about who she is, she also finds out who she wants to share her life with.

And it all started because Piper was brave enough to get off the path set before her and allow God to show her the path He has for her to follow. An Appalachian Summer is a beautifully told story that reminds readers to do the same in their own lives.

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