Talk Wordy to Me Wednesday: The Tattered Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Book Review & Discussion

Talkwordytome

tattered_quiltThe Tattered Quilt, an Amish fiction by Wanda E. Brunstetter, finds Emma Yoder Miller teaching yet another quilting class with a new group of individuals who are all in need of ‘repair’ themselves.

Selma, Jan’s, (from the previous story), neighbor, is a grouchy busybody who thinks she knows it all about quilting. Terry, also Jan’s friend, is a rugged roofer, who takes the class because of a pretty female student, (Cheryl), who he sees entering Emma and Lamar’s house. Blaine loses a bet with Stuart, (also from the previous book), and is forced into taking the quilting class where he has a bit of competition for Cheryl’s heart with Terry. Like Blaine, young Anna is forced into taking the class by her parents. Then there is Carmen, Paul’s, (from the previous book), deceased wife’s sister who has a secret motive for taking the class.

Somehow, Emma and Lamar are able to break through to this crowd, and are able to provide them with their combined wisdom and friendship. Together, the group learn how to quilt, but they leave with much more than a quilted wall hanging. Hearts are mended, and souls are repaired. Not only the students, for Emma gets a special surprise in the end too.

I gave The Tattered Quilt 5 out of 5 Patchwork Squares because it is well written, thoughtful, and guaranteed to melt your heart!

Talk Wordy To Me 

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Discussion Questions: (Warning, Contains Spoilers!)

Purchase The Tattered Quilt: The Tattered Quilt: The Return of the Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club

At the end of the book, the author provided discussion questions to her readers. The following are my opinions on the author’s discussion questions. Feel free to add your opinions into the comments section:

Discussion Question 1: “In this story, Anna was dissatisfied with her life and wanted to leave home to try out the “English” way of life. Why do you think some teenagers (Amish or English) are anxious to leave home and strike out on their own?”

I didn’t blame Anna for wanting to leave her parent’s house… YESTERDAY. I would want to be out of that house too, ASAP! If her parent’s would have given her a tiny bit of wiggle room, Anna would have learned sooner what she learned when she left town for the afternoon without her parents permission, dressed in English clothes, and were bothered by English boys. It turned out Anna preferred the Amish way of life.

I was proud of Anna for standing up to her father, and telling him that she made a decision to move to Florida. Her father certainly wasn’t the easiest person to talk to, but it was better for Anna to have told them her plans, instead of up and leaving without a word.

Discussion Question 2: “Due to his parents’ breakup, Terry feared marriage and commitment. How can a person whose life has been affected by a breakup learn to have a meaningful relationship without fear or worry that it will happen to them?”

Unfortunately, we model our relationships based on the people around us. If I have parents who are divorced, it is most likely that I will also divorce. I will learn their problem solving skills, or lack there of and apply them to my own relationship.

However, I didn’t notice that Terry feared marriage and commitment. I totally missed that. He seemed very interested in Cheryl, and getting to know her better. But wouldn’t that just figure? Cheryl and him would get serious and he would be headed for the hills… Great. *shakes head*

Discussion Question 3: “After Carmen was asked to write an article that would shed a negative light on the Amish, she came to realize that things weren’t quite the way she thought they were. Have you ever been asked to do something you believed would please your boss or brighten your career and then realized what you’d been asked to do was wrong? How did you handle the situation?”

I’ve never been put in the situation Carmen was, fortunately. The only thing I can think of that was similar was when I was questioned by police and detectives about a situation at the hospital I worked at, and having my boss go all mental because I named names. She told me to never do that again, and to keep my mouth shut, but I did anyways because solving a crime was more important to me than patient confidentiality, (when that patient was a suspect in a rape).

Discussion Question 4: “Blaine felt uncomfortable in a group setting-especially when he was expected to do something unfamiliar to him, such as quilting. Have you ever been afraid to try something new for fear of saying or doing something foolish? How can we help ourselves or someone we know get over feeling self-conscious when trying something new?”

I hated Speech class with a passion in college, and of course it was a prerequisite to graduation so I had no choice. I tried memorizing my speeches but when I did that I sounded like a robot in front of the class, and I’m pretty sure my speech sounded like a ten minute long run-on sentence… I don’t even think I took a breath!

When I learned to relax and NOT memorize my speeches, I did much better. I would focus on several points and talk naturally to the room as if they were all my friends. I would look around the room and focus on specific people who had friendly faces. I would involve others by asking their opinions, making my speech interactive. It took practice, but eventually I felt more comfortable, and less self-conscious. The ten-fifteen minute speeches went much smoother once I utilized these tricks.

Bottom line, practice makes perfect.

Discussion Question 5: “Selma had been holding a grudge ever since her daughter left home. This compounded her fear of rejection, and lowered her self esteem, making it difficult to develop a relationship with others. Has a fear of rejection ever kept you from reaching out to others?”

I don’t reach out to others, *laughs hysterically*, they reach out to ME. I have this mother hen quality about myself that magnetizes people to me. Everyone wants to tell me their life story and have me shield them under my wing within minutes of meeting me. I’m too busy caring for and worrying about everyone else to reach out to someone myself. That’s what I pay my psychiatrist for. 😉

Discussion Question 6: “Cheryl was an only child and felt all alone growing up due to the lack of her parents’ attention. Have you ever felt that way? What are some ways we can deal with painful childhood memories or feelings of rejection from our parents?”

We can learn from our parents’ mistakes, and parent our children differently, just like they learned from their parents’ mistakes. We can forgive our parents for not always making the best decisions, and know that they tried their best with what they had/knew at the time.

And we can take lots of Zoloft… 😉

Discussion Question 7: “Was it fate or God’s intervention that kept Emma and Lamar from going to Florida too soon? Has a reverse decision ever opened a door to something unexpected in your life?”

I don’t think it was either fate or God’s intervention. Emma and Lamar had an ad out advertising their quilting class, and people slowly rolled in last minute. It wasn’t a sudden decision to hold another quilting class. Emma’s quilting classes were well known in the community. Most of the students were related in some way to the previous students in her class, and heard of her via word of mouth. It wasn’t hard for me to believe that her class would fill up.

However, it was a nice touch that it ended up working out for the better, when a certain classmate who needed further guidance had plans to go to Florida herself. That itself was fate.

Discussion Question 8: “Carmen felt that too much of the news was based on negative events. Would you rather read about tragedies, and other people’s problems, or do you prefer to read about the good things people do, or happen to them? Does hearing about other people’s problems make ours seem any less?”

The media glamorizes and sensationalizes violent stories and updates. It is what the consumers want. People don’t tune into Nancy Grace, for example, for a light story.  I am one of those people. I like news stories that touch my heart, and make me collapse to my knees-yes that has happened before.

Discussion Question 9: “Lamar tried to hide from Emma the fact that his arthritis was acting up. Do you think spouses should ever keep things about their health from each other?”

In this case, it ended up working out when he hid his arthritis flare up from his wife. Emma and Lamar were able to help a group of people who needed it, and I don’t mean by making a wall hanging. But no, I don’t think in general that spouses should hide things from each other.

As a man, I think Lamar wanted to be strong for his wife and not let on that he was in pain. He wanted his wife to be able to continue doing what she loved, without worrying about him. While he shouldn’t have hid it from her, he did it for the right reasons. He never meant any harm.

Discussion Question 10: “At times Emma felt like she was not getting through to her students or helping them with their personal problems. She didn’t want to pry, but she hoped they would feel free to share with her so she could help mentor them as she’d done with several other people who had previously come to her home to learn to quilt. What are some ways we could minister to others without prying into their personal lives?”

Being supportive and friendly and non-judgmental certainly helps someone feel comfortable enough to open up to you. If you appear busy, negative, or judgmental nobody will want to confide in you.

Emma did all the right things. She didn’t push or pry into her student’s lives. She let them slowly warm up to her. 🙂

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