Caravan Sonnet: 2017


From Hope Valley (Week 19): The Blessing of Open Communication

Throughout the last four seasons of When Calls the Heart we as viewers have been blessed by lots of different (and wonderful) advice that Abigail has given. From the very first episode of the show Abigail has not only inspired the fictional town people of Hope Valley, but also the #heartie community at large with her gentle encouragement and rich wisdom. In this seventh episode of Season 2 we are once again challenged to consider the beautiful truth that Abigail puts before us- the blessing that comes from open communication. 

I am sure, like myself, that we have all experienced walking the heartbreaking road of a relationship change. Where once conversation flowed freely, it becomes stilted and quiet due to mis-communication and mis-understandings. For a variety of different reasons conversations start to drift off and instead of diving into the deep waters of what is going on at the heart of the matter, conversation over time stops. 

I remember years ago a talk show host asking a guest about his marriage. He was asked if he believed that his marriage would last a lifetime. It seemed like a simple question, but at first the guest didn't answer and then he said that he couldn't promise a lifetime, all he could promise was for that day. When the host asked why he couldn't promise a lifetime commitment, he replied that he didn't know if he would be talking to his wife for a lifetime. At the time the audience laughed, but as I have thought about that scene years later, I realize there was incredible truth that this man was sharing. He was equating one of life's most deep relationships success rate with the fact that the conversation had to keep going or the relationship would end. 

There is such powerful truth in this that extends beyond just a marriage relationship and goes into friendships, dating relationships, co-worker relationships, and extends to each person that we interact with in our lives. The minute that we stop talking and keeping open communication is the moment that a relationship starts to end. 

See, there is a blessing of open communication that is surrounded by love the restores lost voices, by the incredible power of speaking life-affirming and redeeming words, by letting go of what is not important, and giving blessing in graceful truth to those in our lives. In this type of setting, conversation and open communication (even when it is painful) can thrive. it can set the stage for a deeper relationship that only comes with open communication. 

I am sure that there are a few of you that are reading this and thinking with brokenness, "but I tried... I tried to keep the conversation going and the relationship still died". My heart hurts for those of you in this position. Sometimes it can seem that despite our best effort to have open communication things still don't work out the way that we want, hope, or pray that they will. I had this exact same situation happen this year and it was incredibly difficult and hurtful. Despite my best efforts to continue communication a friend stopped responding to messages and without warning stopped all communication. It was incredibly hurtful and it was a painful season working through forgiveness. But in walking in forgiveness, I learned that there is a beautiful blessing that forgiveness brings to brokenness... the blessing of grace and love. Grace to realize that despite my best efforts and trying I can only be responsible for my part in relationships and love to pour out onto other friendships and relationships. Friends, instead of dwelling on our pain and loss let us move towards others with an open heart, extending grace, and living in the blessing of open communication.

Open communication is sometimes difficult, messy, and incredibly hard as we live vulnerably in the world before us. It is having the courage to know that we can trust our hearts not only with the person before us, but mostly with the Lord. It is having the strength to know when to speak and when to listen. It is having the wisdom to understand that sometimes words are just words and that what is not being said is actually the deepest part of the conversation. Open communication requires a humility to realize that it is love in action as you put others before yourself. Open communication is having the confidence and the love for another person enough to speak gentle truth and grace into difficult situations. 

Today, dear friends, let us have courage to keep the communication open, for in doing so we learn that there is a blessing that only comes from doing this... the blessing of deep relationships. 

"The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just."
-Psalm 37:30-

Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I have received several emails asking me about the books by Janette Oke that the series is based on. You may remember that I mentioned in my very first From Hope Valley Devotional post that I had read Janette Oke's series back when I was a teenager. The original book series, "The Canadian West Series" was based on Elizabeth's aunt and her adventures (she also married a Mountie). Here are the listing of the books from that series (there are six) in order:

In the last several years Janette Oke released a new series entitled, "Return to the Canadian West" which you can find listed below in order:

Janette Oke is truly one of my "writer heroes". Meeting her at the Hearties Family Reunion this past December was one of the absolute highlights for me. She was so incredibly kind and encouraging about the topic of writing to me. 

And guess what? The dates for the next Hearties Family Reunion has been announced! It will be happening in October. If you are already not a member of the When Calls the Heart Facebook group you can join HERE and find out more information. Or if you would like to see the most up-to-date information about the reunion you can do so on the website HERE. If you would like to read about my experience last year you can do so by clicking on one of the links below:

Please let me know if you have any questions about the reunion! 

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*


Emigrant Gap, California

Last year, after we had visited Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe (you can read about it HERE), we decided that we would drive back to our hotel in San Francisco on I-80, by Donner Pass. 
To be honest when we made the decision it was kind of on a whim, my traveling heart wanting to see more of California and the beautiful area that we were surrounded by, and my mom always willing to go on an adventure. I had absolutely no idea the extreme beauty that was still to meet us that day after we had experienced the awe and wonder of Emerald Bay.

It was the best decision.

I can't recommend a trip to Emigrant Gap enough. Located along I-80 in California the views just driving to Emigrant Gap are so stunning and the pictures above show just a few shots that we saw of the beautiful countryside. As we drove along we just kept saying, "oh my... absolutely gorgeous", "oh my goodness this is beautiful" and were literally speechless at the beauty before us.
When we arrived at Emigrant Gap we stood at the overlook and just were blown away by the breathtaking beauty that was before us.
Since teaching about the westward expansion in AP US History years ago, I have always wanted to see Emigrant Gap. Emigrant Gap is a ridge that is famously located along the California Trail. It is located to the west of what is now referred to and called Donner Pass. 
Emigrant Gap is famous in tales of westward expansion mostly because of the cliffs that are so steep in this area that forced the pioneers in the 1840s to lower their wagons on ropes in order to continue westward. This section of the pioneer trail was also where pioneers were emigrating from the United States to California (as California was part of Mexico at that time). 

The feat of lowering wagons on ropes was something that I honestly had not thought that much about when I was a high school student. My history teacher at the time seemed to just gloss over the fact and paint the picture that the ropes were steady and the wagons were easily lowered down. This could not have been less true.

When I was teaching this section of history I learned that was simply not the case at all. Despite all that the pioneers encountered along their journey (sickness, starvation, praire fires, bears, fights with specific Indian tribes, etc.) one of the most dangerous parts of the journey came when the pioneers encountered this section of their journey with lowering the wagons in these steep cliffs. 
Now, I will be the first one to admit that when I showed portions of Into the West to my students the scenes that depicted this section of lowering the wagons caused us to giggle a bit. The "mountain" and "cliffs" in the show looked like a tiny hill about 10-20 feet high and at one point one of the main characters was idly standing on the hill watching a wagon break loose from its ropes and head towards her (yes, eventually hitting her). After I had tried to explain the incredible thing that the pioneers had done, the bravery that they had, and the incredible task of lowering the wagons, the scene did seem to downplay the severity of this task (and may have prompted the infamous "Into the West mock video" that made us all laugh- hahahaha). 

BUT standing in that space, overlooking Emigrant Gap last year, I realized how wrong both my high school history teacher and I had been. The task was anything but easy and anything short of being incredible. As I stood staring out at the rolling mountains, one after another, with the dramatic cliffs and high peaks I was stunned at the brave, courageous, and arduous task that the pioneers encountered.
It was absolutely amazing and incredible to stand in this place of history that was not only beautiful, but incredibly inspiring. 
To think about all that the pioneers encountered along their journey and then to think about facing this section of land - so close to where they were trying to go and yet still so far- this task would have seemed daunting and overwhelming. It was completely inspiring to stand in this area and pay tribute to those courage few who accomplished this. It was also absolutely inspiring. We saw this just a few days before "courtney the portney" was placed and standing there reminded me to be courageous and face the "mountain" that was there before me. 

If you ever get the chance to drive along Interstate 80 in California and see Emigrant Gap, I can't encourage you enough to go visit. You will walk away inspired, encouraged, and in awe of not only the beauty before you, but the incredibly bravery of a generation past.
"The spring of 1845 saw the first covered wagons surmount the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They left this valley, ascended to the ridge, and turned westward to Old Emigrant Gap. The wagons were lowered by ropes to the floor of Bear Valley. Hundreds followed before, during, and after the gold rush. This was a hazardous portion of the overland emigrant trail."
-Historical Marker at Emigrant Gap, California-


Monday Inspiration and Encouragement (Volume Seven)

I shared a couple of months ago that for a while now I have had a dream of sharing some Monday inspiration and encouragement on the blog. Life is hard and I know full well that in the difficult times it can be hard to find inspiration, so a couple of months ago I shared my first post (which you can find HERE and all of the Monday inspiration posts HERE) and I plan to routinely share with y'all different things that I have found to be really inspiring and encouraging from all different genres and hope that it will encourage and inspire you for your week! 

To be honest I have come to look forward to these posts the so much throughout the week. I have realized that it makes me look and find more inspiration than could ever be shared in one post in all different areas! It is so much fun! I hope that these things continue to inspire you!
{first} It would be impossible to not share my gratitude again for the overwhelming support of the release of the 2nd edition of Praying through Lyme DiseaseAs I shared a couple of weeks ago, I am truly overwhelmed in the best possible way by your support of all of my writing, especially this book. Thank you so much!! Also... I know I said this a couple of weeks ago but If you are an aspiring author and have a dream for a niche specific book that you are having trouble getting signed to be published through traditional publishing... I can't encourage you enough to consider independent publishing. Run with your dreams and go after it. Your book and story is needed. You are the only one that can uniquely share it. 

{second} If you haven't already seen the above video be prepared to be amazed. This was from a bit ago, but seriously is so inspirational and this audition of her overcoming all that she has brought me to tears. Honestly- I have this song on repeat most days. if you are looking for an encouraging song during a tough time... Rachel Platten... thank you. You can hear the original cover here:
{third} Remember how I shared last week about watching Pride and Prejudice? Well this week I re-watched Sense and Sensibility. Y'all. Seriously. If you are looking for a girly-girl movie that will make you laugh and then make you cry happy tears. Go rent it tonight. So lovely. You can rent Sense and Sensibility on Amazon by clicking HERE.

{fourth} So last week I shared that I had been doing some research about an upcoming project and came across a listing of women who had saved people during World War II. Many of you know how much I love the history of World War II - it was definitely one of my favorite time periods to teach and I was so inspired by the women on that list. A couple of weeks ago I found this book, The Nazi Officer's Wife at a garage sale and it was a fascinating read. The Nazi Officer's Wife is the true story of a Nazi officer who fell in love with a Jewish woman and married and saved her. If you haven't read it it is a fasinating, interesting, heartbreaking, and inspiring story. You can purchase it on Amazon HERE.

If you love this time period and are looking for something inspiring to read though you must read Evidence Not Seen. It is my favorite book (probably of all time... or one of them) and it is wonderful. I re-read it every summer and it is life-changing. You can find it on Amazon HERE.
{fifth} Have Courage and Be Kind. This saying has been resonating with me this past week. I hope it inspires you as it has me. 

I hope that you are inspired and encouraged by these five things on this Monday! What about you? What is inspiring you recently? 

4 MORE Tips for Exploring Your Own City

Whenever I am planning a trip or getting ready to go see some place that I haven't yet seen, I am always excited to see and try new experiences in a new part of the world. Recently though I have thinking about this and thinking more about how I can incorporate this type of planning into exploring more of my own city and this beautiful area of the world where I live. 

I have shared my post, 10 Tips for Exploring Your Own City, (you can find it HERE) which has consistently stayed one of my top read posts. I think the reason for this is simply because we as people love to have adventures, and often want to travel to far off and exotic places but that isn't always possible. I think many times the word "adventure" is synonymous with far away travel, but maybe you don't have a ton of money to travel to far away places or maybe (like me) your health doesn't allow you to travel as much as you would like. Maybe you can't leave your job to travel. Maybe... maybe there are a 100 reasons you want to travel adventures but right now in this season you can't do that all of the time. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on adventure and lose your spirit of wanderlust. I hope that this post will inspire you to explore right where you are and see the beautiful adventure of the life you have. 

Here are 4 more tips for exploring your own city... 

1. Act Like A Tourist
If you had loved ones coming for a visit where would you take them? What are the things that you would want them to experience or the sights that surround and make up the place that you live? Research online to discover, find the history, consider visiting a state park or going to a museum. 

Several years ago when I lived outside of Atlanta I remember planning a "Saturday vacation day". I, along with some friends, planned out an entire day "pretending" that we were driving from a great distance to Atlanta and we had to fit in as many things as we could. It was SUCH a fun day. We met up early, had brunch at a upscale hotel in downtown Atlanta, saw all of the sightseeing things you could possibly imagine, took pictures everywhere, grabbed dinner at an exclusive place that overlooked the city that a friend had a connection to and then went to a live show in the city. The places we picked were things we all had never done before and it truly felt like we had traveled to another world. It was fabulous. I had never done this in another city that I had lived in, but definitely plan to again. 

2. Learn About the History of Your City
Several months ago my mom and I decided to venture to a new little town in Vermont. I was doing some research for an upcoming blog post on cute towns in Vermont and had wanted to include a town that I kept hearing about. We traveled a couple of hours and found the most adorable town, but we also received a huge lesson in history. As we drove into the town we saw lots of museums and historical markers telling and sharing that this town had played a huge part in the underground railroad, something I had never known. 

To be honest, I felt that I knew the history of my city and the surrounding area and the large part that it played in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, George Washington's ties, and mainly the War of 1812. Learning about the impact that a town had on the Underground Railroad was an eye-opening experience as I realized that there was still so much to learn about this place that I lived. 

Maybe, like me, you think that you know the history of your city, but take the time to explore and research and learn on a different level. It will definitely provide you with adventures of wanting to explore new areas and things. 

3. Accomplish a Goal
What are some clubs or unique activities in your city that are specific to your area of the world? One of the things that many people try to accomplish in this area of the world is becoming apart of the "ADK46ers" club. To obtain this goal you commit to climbing all of the 46 mountain peaks that comprise the Adirondack Mountains. A couple of dear friends accomplished this goal last year and it was so exciting! There is also a "winterADK46ers" club and lots of variations. I am confident that your city or town has lots of similar things for all different interest. There are many cities that have wine tasting clubs, bookstore clubs, etc. Think about what you love to do and set out to accomplish this goal in your city!

4. Overlook Your City
Isn't it funny that when we are traveling we often search for a place to see the city from a high vantage point but never do this in our own cities? Almost every city has a tall building and is open to visitors where you can see the city skyline. Take a trip to do this. Check out if there are any lounges or restaurants that offer a view of the city as you eat a meal. Maybe you have a friend who has an apartment or home with a rooftop that overlooks the city- ask them if you can come and take some pictures. Take the time to plan to overlook your city and it will give you a new perspective of the place that you call "home".

What are tips you have for exploring your own city? I have said this before, but never feel that exploring your own city is second to exploring other areas of the world! Remember sweet friends, your beautiful life is the adventure and no matter how near or far you can physically go, you can make life FULL of adventure and joy right where you are at! (Want to read more on my thoughts on being adventurers? Check out this post HERE!) 


15 Amazing Benefits of Eating Blackberries

One of my favorite things to eat are blackberries. Those of you who know me well know that this is one of my favorite foods and I use blackberries daily in my smoothies and as a frequent snack. As I was researching about blackberries, I was amazed at the incredible studies that have been done on the power of this little fruit that packs such an important health punch. Today I am so excited to share with y'all 15 Amazing Benefits of Eating Blackberries:

1. May Help Prevent and Slow the Growth of Cancer
Blackberries are known for their ability to work as a cancer-fighting food due to the rich antioxidants that are found in the fruit. Blackberries contain plyphenois, which is a class of antioxidants known for their cancer-fighting abilities. A study completed in 2004 showed that the extract from fresh blackberry was found to exhibit tumor-preventive effects on a line of human lung cell Cancer. A study completed in 2006 at UCLA investigated the successful effects of six different berry, including the blackberry, on the growth of prostate, oral, colon, and breast cancers. In this study they found that each of the berry extracts prohibited Cancer growth to some degree, and more research studies have been ordered to continue to see the impact that these berries have on treating cancer. 

While the causes of cancer and all chronic and terminal illnesses are complex and are unique to each individual, the mutation of DNA and healthy cells in particular is what leads to the growth of different diseases, so eating as much antioxidant rich foods as possible, such as blackberries, helps to suppress the mutation. In addition this helps the immune system and the body as a whole. 

2. Excellent Source of Vitamin K
One serving of blackberries has over a third of the daily recommended value of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is beneficial for the strength of our bodies, and also is known to play a part in helping prevent and fight prostate, colon, stomach, nasal, oral, and liver cancers. 

In addition to this Vitamin K helps to promote healthy blood clotting in the body.

3. Defense Against Endothelial Dysfunction
Endothelial Dysfunction is characterized by the abnormal functioning of inner lining of our blood vessels. In scientific studies that have been performed blackberries have shown to provide protection against endothelial dysfunction.

4. Helps Protect and Maintain Your Heart
According to a group of researchers from Policlinico Universitario in Italy, a study done in 2003 showed that the antioxidant activity of blackberry juice on vascular tissue damaged can be helped by the compound anthocyanins which is found in blackberries. It was found that the specific properties within blackberries helped protect your cardiovascular system.

5. Low Sodium Food
Looking to watch your salt intake? Blackberries are a very low sodium food that delivers lots of vitamins. 

6. Helps You Look Younger
Studies show that consumption of blackberries helps to promote healthy tightening of tissues in your body, which is a great non-surgical procedure to make skin look younger. 

7. Improves Brain, Cognitive, and Motor Function
"Nutritional Neuroscience", a medical journal claims that blackberries can help you maintain motor and cognitive skills as you grow older. The study showed that berries improved not only balance, but improved coordination over a period of time.

One of the reasons for this is the high levels of manganese that is found in blackberries. Manganese is vital to proper brain functioning and is found in the synapses of your brain. In a recent study that has been done it was shown that a manganese deficiency is linked to brain conditions like epilepsy.

8. Helps to Lower Inflammation and Intestinal Discomfort
Blackberries are a food that you should consume regularly if you are looking to help your body reduce chronic inflammation. Blackberries naturally cause a reduction in inflammation and allow your body's processes to happen as they should.

In addition to this the high tannin content in blackberries helps to reduce intestinal inflammation, alleviate hemorrhoids and even help soothe the effects of diarrhea.

9. Protects against Stomach Ulcers
One study found an 88 percent reduction in the stomach ulcers of patients who were given ellagitannins (a type of antioxidant) that is found in blackberries. Researchers concluded that this was due to the reduced inflammation of the lining of the stomach, as well as a drop in the oxidative stress that is known to be partially responsible for ulcers.

10. Helps Strengthen the Immune System

11. Helpful for Weight Loss
Blackberries are very low in sugar and help to assist healthy weight management. The fiber content in blackberries also helps to clean the bowels, which helps to remove toxins. In addition to this, blackberries are high in fiber but very low in calories, which makes them an excellent snack.

12. Beneficial for Oral Health
According to a study completed at Oregon State University, blackberries contain gallic acid, ellagic acid, and rutin which are compounds that may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Two additional studies done at the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina specifically studied the effects of blackberry extract on antibacterial properties on oral health. After testing nearly a dozen different kinds of bacteria, they concluded that blackberries had a unique ability to keep pathogens. 

13. Helps to Regulate Menstrual Health
If you struggle with PMS, one solution may be to introduce more blackberries into your diet. Vitamin K (as mentioned above) may help those with excessive bleeding and also is known to help regulate hormone function in the body. In addition to this the high levels of manganese and calcium (both found in blackberries) may help to alleviate mental and physical PMS symptoms. 

14. Helps Maintain Healthy Eyesight
Blackberries contain Lutein which is a protective pigment that is in the area behind the retina. Consumption of blackberries may help to enhance vision and also protect your eyesight from various eye diseases.

15.  Helps Maintain Beautiful Skin
Because blackberries contain so many "skin friendly" vitamins, blackberries help to maintain beautiful looking skin and even helps prevent the skin from wrinkling. In addition to this studies have shown that the Vitamin C that is present in blackberries is also responsible for the formation and strengthening of collagen structure which helps to keep the skin toned and tightened.

If you are looking for other berries that have health benefits I have also shared about the following berries on the blog:

What about you? Have you found any amazing benefits or helpful from consuming blackberries? I would love to hear how you incorporate blackberries into your daily life!

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}


From Hope Valley (Week 18): The Power of Extending Grace

In my humble opinion, one of the most powerful moments to occur in When Calls the Heart happened in the 3rd episode of Season 2. This exchange between Abigail and Clara is one of the most tender and one of the most beautiful examples of the power of extending grace to another. 

As I think back on the first few episodes from Season 2, I am struck by the level of relationship that Abigail and Clara developed despite the circumstances that connected them. Abigail was not even aware that she had a daughter-in-law when Clara came to testify at the trial. In grief, she could have even been "forgiven" for not accepting or welcoming Clare. Instead Abigail not only went in search of Clara, but gently pursued her heart by offering and extending grace in numerous situations.

This powerful scene gently reminds us what is important in life... the power of extending grace to others.

I think that there are so many beautiful things that we can take away from this scene from Abigail and Clara to our own lives. Here are just three things that I have been pondering:

First, this scene tenderly shows that grace in its truest form is not based on performance or how well we do something. For those of you that have watched this episode in season 2, you may remember that Clara had just finished her first day at Abigail's cafe. The day hadn't gone as planned as she struggled with cooking and with serving the customers as this was completely new to her. Instead of Abigail criticizing her or even saying something like, "you'll do better tomorrow", Abigail gets right to the heart of the issue and extends grace to Clara gently reminding her that she is the most important thing, not her performance. 

In our world it is so easy to feel that we must perform well or near perfection to receive praise. We should rejoice with other's accomplishments and achievements, but what if we took the time to spend a few moments offering grace in the moments that people feel that they have failed? In the moments where people feel like they are not enough? What about if we reminded them that no matter what they are family? Or to those we interact with outside our family, what if we gently reminded them that they can break all of the "dishes" they want or need in our lives? Can you imagine the impact that this would have on our families and communities?

Second, this scene and conversation reminds us that healing can come when grace is extended. Some of you may remember my second "From Hope Valley devotional" where I talked about the power of love restoring a lost voice. (You can read it HERE if you haven't read it.) I received so many emails about this post and the incredible way that my students at the time truly changed my life. This is absolutely the truth, but just as many of you remarked on the grace that the parents extended to me that year. To be honest, the older that I get it is something that amazes me more and more. 

The gift that the parents of that senior class gave me was priceless. Those parents extended extreme grace, and in doing so gave me the gift of healing so that one circumstance of brokenness would not be the definition or the foundation of the rest of my life. Those parents also taught me that when we extend grace to those in our communities, we gently teach others around us to do the same thing. In doing so grace becomes a powerful force that changes not only one life, but has a ripple effect onto others.

Third, this scene gently reminds me to let go of what my perceived "rights" are and extend grace to every situation. Can you imagine how this entire conversation and relationship between Abigail and Clara might have been different if Abigail had acted within "her rights"? So many people would say that Abigail would have been justified to have been angry or frustrated that she didn't even know her son had gotten married. So many people would have said that Abigail had a right to mourn the fact that she was not at the wedding. Abigail focuses on none of those things, but instead on gently loving the young woman before her. In doing so she continues to extend grace, which changes the entire relationship and gives Clara the freedom to not only mourn, but move forward in her life.

Sweet friends, today, let us extend grace to those around us. Let us offer the kind word instead of the harsh one. Let us remind those who are feeling like they are failing that they are important. Let us courageously look beyond our own "rights" to extend grace to the brokenhearted. For as we do so, we set in motion the beautiful rippling and powerful effect of extending grace into others lives... into our communities... and into our world.

"...grace upon grace..."
-John 1:16-

Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I have received several emails asking me about the books by Janette Oke that the series is based on. You may remember that I mentioned in my very first From Hope Valley Devotional post that I had read Janette Oke's series back when I was a teenager. The original book series, "The Canadian West Series" was based on Elizabeth's aunt and her adventures (she also married a Mountie). Here are the listing of the books from that series (there are six) in order:

In the last several years Janette Oke released a new series entitled, "Return to the Canadian West" which you can find listed below in order:

Janette Oke is truly one of my "writer heroes". Meeting her at the Hearties Family Reunion this past December was one of the absolute highlights for me. She was so incredibly kind and encouraging about the topic of writing to me. 

And guess what? The dates for the next Hearties Family Reunion has been announced! It will be happening in October. If you are already not a member of the When Calls the Heart Facebook group you can join HERE and find out more information. If you would like to read about my experience last year you can do so by clicking on one of the links below:

Please let me know if you have any questions about the reunion! 

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*


Vail Suite, Wildflower Inn (Lyndonville, Vermont)

Happy Tuesday friends! It has been such a delight to share with y'all about our stay at the Wildflower Inn over the last week (you can read more about the inn HERE and Juniper's Restaurant, the on site restaurant HERE!). Today I am so excited to share with y'all about the Vail Suite where we stayed while we were at the Wildflower Inn.
Walking up to the Vail Suite is absolutely beautiful. You can see the mountains in the distance and the red color of the building gives it a distinctive Vermont feel against the scenery. 
The Vail Suite is located in the Coach House. The main level includes a comfortable living room area, a dining table, a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and dining table. The downstairs also includes a half bath. On the 2nd floor there is a master bedroom with a queen bed and a guest room that includes a queen bed and a twin bed. The upstairs also features a full shower. Downstairs in one of the closets there was also a roll-away bed for extra sleeping. 
With all of the windows the downstairs light truly drew you in and showed you the gorgeous views of the property. We spent time just sitting downstairs, talking and laughing, and enjoying the relaxing space.
All of the extra country decor and details around the suite were perfect and added to the charm of our stay.
The upstairs rooms were quite spacious and came with ample dresser and closet space.
The views from the 2nd floor were absolutely lovely and the 2nd room on the 2nd floor provided lots of adequate sleeping for an entire family.
The rooms were comfortable and the quiet and restful atmosphere truly provided a relaxing stay. 
The views on the property that I have talked about before were stunning from our suite during the day and even at night. The first night that we stayed I got up in the middle of the night to grab a drink of water and went to look out of the window. Along the mountains you could see a flickering of small lights that dotted the mountains and provided the most coziest of views. It truly added to the ambience that surrounds the property at the Wildflower Inn. 

The cost of the Vail Suite per night ranges from approximately $442 to $560 depending on if you purchase a package or not. No matter if you purchase a package or not breakfast at Juniper's Restaurant is included in your stay. There is also an active military discount and a retired military discount that is quite a blessing if you are or have served in the military. 

There are 24 different room and suite choices at the Wildflower Inn that are all uniquely decorated with country decor. The rooms and suites are located across the property in a country village like setting. You can read all about the rooms and choices HERE and do a room search with your date of stay HERE to read about all of the different packages and specials that are available.

I truly hope that y'all have the opportunity to go and stay at the Wildflower Inn and experience the Vail Suite. Please let me know if you have any questions and I am happy to answer them!

Interested in booking a stay at the Wildflower Inn? You can connect with the Wildflower Inn and make reservations here:

Phone Number: 1-802-626-8310

Additional Posts on our Stay at Wildflower Inn:

A HUGE thank you to Wildflower Inn for the complimentary and lovely stay in the Vail Suite. All opinions in this post are my own.