Booklover’s Favorite Author Giveaway: The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

Renee Ann Smith —  October 15, 2010 — 42 Comments

Emily with daughter Bella

Here at Doorkeeper, we celebrate those who are opening doors for others, either through mentoring, mothering, teaching, writing or more. From time-to-time I’ll be interviewing a faithful Doorkeeper—especially if she’s a fellow booklover—and giving away a book by her favorite author.

You’ll find giveaway details for The Thorn by Beverly Lewis at the end of this post. But first, take some time to get to know a fellow Christian fiction enthusiast!

This week’s booklover, Emily DiRenzo Steele, wanted to be a Broadway singer when she grew up, but God, it seemed, had other plans.

You won’t find Emily on a New York City stage, entertaining an adoring crowd before flitting off to sample the night life. But you just might find her driving the back roads of her quiet hometown, singing a duet of Mighty to Save

Emily and daughter Gabi

with her three-year-old daughter Bella, while fifteen-month-old Gabbi looks on. Two beautiful daughters are all the adoring crowd this young mother needs!

Emily and her husband Jon are members of First Baptist Church of Rhinebeck, New York, and together they head up the youth ministry. Emily also teaches the teen girls’ Sunday school class.

Emily’s take on church life: “Being in the Youth Ministry means that Jon and I are always busy. But it also means that my girls get to have the influence of some awesome, Godly young people. We like when the teens are in our home, eating, and hanging out. It brings all that we do together.”

True Life Romance

Emily on her wedding day

Emily first met Jon on a Word of Life Youth Mission trip to South Africa. They became fast friends, along with two others on the team. After the trip, Emily returned to high school in New York, and Jon returned to Michigan.

On a long weekend, Emily traveled to Michigan to visit her new friends. That was when she and Jon began dating.

Emily says, “I don’t know that there was one single moment where I thought he was ‘the one.’ I just knew in my heart that this young man loved the Lord. That serving God was important to Jon.”

Emily and Jon today

“And,” she adds, “I think being ten hours apart was the best part about dating. It truly made us get to know each other. I remember getting snail mail from him and smiling from ear to ear, just reading about his week. He was my best friend.”

Present Joys
Emily describes their family life as crazy—in a good way. Jon works second shift at the Dutchess County Jail (on the Corrections Emergency Response Team). So it’s an event to have him home for dinner, and a special treat for the four of them to pray together before putting the girls to bed.

Since Emily was saved at age four (cousin Tara prayed with her to receive Christ during a sleepover), she understands how vital those first years are in a child’s faith journey. She

Mom and Bella explore the world

loves when life offers an opportunity to open the “faith” door with her girls—and not just through church, AWANA, Scripture memory, or praise music. And her efforts are paying off. Recently while watching the Narnia movie, Bella exclaimed, “Aslan is like Jesus. He died and came back to life!”

One of Emily’s special joys is hosting Thanksgiving for her siblings, a job which she inherited from her grandfather. “I would sit with Poppy and memorize how he made the stuffed mushrooms and prepared the turkey. Now I make everyone’s favorites, and it literally makes my heart happy when we all sit down to eat. I love it!”

Past difficulties
Though Emily’s life is presently rosy, it hasn’t been without its thorns. (Notice the title of the book giveaway!)

Emily with girls from her youth group

During her high school years, she realized she’d gotten in with the wrong crowd and needed to flee the bad influences. The insightful teen begged her mother for a chance to attend Northern Dutchess Christian School, and Mom made it happen. Emily enrolled, blossomed, and stayed for three years before graduating.

During her adult years, Emily has also had to work through some residual issues caused by her parents’ divorce, which she sees as hugely impacting her life. Emily comments, “I know my parents love us kids so much, and I have a great relationship with both of them. Praise God that He’s been so good to us . . . The divorce has shaped me, though.”

Everyday Struggles
Emily wrote, “Last week I sang a song in church, and one of the lines said, ‘When anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord, just watch and see. It will not be, unredeemed.’”

“God is so much more capable than I am! Yet I always try to do things on my own. I am a worrier, and I am borderline obsessed with getting things done yesterday.

God uses those weaknesses to bring me to my knees often! Whether it is my shattered attempt at conquering the world, or my shattered attempt at being humble and asking forgiveness, He is always able to redeem, and always able to do it FAR beyond what I have ever imagined.”

Family vacation photo

Future Goals
“I would love to see my kids firmly rooted in the Lord! I want the same for my marriage. I don’t know that I can think of any other goals for myself. Though, opening my own hair salon and keeping my laundry from piling up would be wonderful!”

Favorite Books
The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers: “This book illustrates how the weight of our sins was removed by Christ, our Last Sin Eater. I loved Cadi, and her desire to understand God’s forgiveness. This book grabbed me with its characters.”

This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti: “I love the way that he paints a picture of the war for our souls! Incredible book!”

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury : “Covers the topic of abortion and all the healing that God can do through even our sinful choices. I read this one in two days—couldn’t put it down!”

Emily enjoying snow camp with youth group

The Centurion’s Wife & The Hidden Flame by Janette Oke & Davis Bunn: “This is the latest series I have read, and I’m so glad it’s not finished! An awesome look into the time of the disciples. It brings Scripture to life!”

ANYTHING by Beverly Lewis: “I have read everything she has written! I think she is one of the greatest authors ever. I have NEVER been disappointed.”

Book Giveaway:
In honor of Emily, I’m giving away a brand new copy of The Thorn by Beverly Lewis. If you haven’t read this, sign up today and get reading. Then you’ll be ready for the sequel, The Judgment, which will be out in April!

Steps To Enter the Giveaway:
1. Join this blog through email or Google Friend Connect. To join by email, enter your email address in the space provided on the sidebar. But you’re not done yet! Look for an email from Feedburner in your personal email account. Follow the link provided to verify your subscription.

2. Leave a comment here to let me know that you are a follower or subscriber. Be sure to put your email address in your comment. However, write it like this jenniebee [at] yahoo [dot] com and NOT like this (This helps keep your email safe from spammers!)

Confused? For blog newbies, if you’re reading this on the main page, look for the tiny words “Leave a comment” in the notes at the end of this post. If you’re on the post page, you should see a large box in which to leave a reply.

So whether you’ve known Emily a long time or just met her today, why don’t you leave a comment to encourage her? And if you’d like to view more of her photos, check out the Sidebar Photoblog. Simply click on the cover photo so view the rest of the pictures.

How about you? Do you have a list of favorite books you’d like to talk about, some family photos to share with us, a life story you’d like to tell? Maybe we’ll be reading about you here at Doorkeeper in the future!

Follow this link to view the website of author Beverly Lewis.

Follow this link to view or pre-order The Judgment by Beverly Lewis.

Follow this link to read an excerpt or to purchase a copy of The Thorn by Beverly Lewis.

If you’re new to this site, follow this link to read the inspiring true story of A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II! book summary of The Thorn:
Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. THE ROSE TRILOGY is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters on the fringes of the church, and the unforeseen discoveries that change their lives.

Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop’s foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble, too. Rose’s sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, and so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding?

Rose’s older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire–and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband’s wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?

Renee Ann Smith

Posts Twitter Facebook

I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

42 responses to Booklover’s Favorite Author Giveaway: The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

  1. Wonderful to hear about stay at home moms who are so intent on having the family do things together and see the importance of the whole family being involved in ministry. Many times we’ve seen on the mission field the parents are so involved in ministry that they leave their kids behind. I’m praying for you as you continue to raise your daughters. Always INSIST on being an active part of their lives. Thanks for sharing!

    Renee, I’m a subscriber AND a follower…thanks for what you do! Vicki [at] pandvf[at]gmail[dot]com.

  2. Thanks so much for posting about Emily! It’s great to hear how she’s doing and see the pictures of her and her beautiful family :).
    I miss hearing her beautiful voice! I am so glad she’s doing what she is doing with the Youth – I’m sure she is representing the love of Christ to the youth and her own girls!

  3. I’d love to read this, I love Beverly Lewis. bkhabel at gmail dot com

  4. Absolutely love your daughter’s baby pics! I love babies!
    I also love Beverly Lewis’ books. She was my first introduction to Amish reads and remains my favorite. Would love to win her book. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

    I follow by GFC. I just subscribed via email.

  5. a wonderful posting….thanks for sharing emily’s story.
    and thanks for the opportunity to read ‘the thorn’

  6. i’m an email subscriber 🙂

  7. God has blessed me with such a special family. Thanks for writing this Renee.

  8. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win Beverly’s latest book!
    She is certainly one of my favorite authors!
    I am a subscriber and also a follower!
    Love your blog!

  9. I’d like to enter..
    I’m a subscriber,
    kristy.nicole3712 at gmail dot com

  10. Greetings,
    Love to have this book.
    Just wanted to say I think families are wonderful. I have 7 children and 1 grandchild. So be encourged with your family.
    I’m a follower and an email subscriber.
    Wanda aka Trinity Rose
    wandaelaine at gmail dot com

  11. Hello, I am a subscriber and I felt really encouraged after reading this biography of Emily, thank you very much for your inspirational writing.
    My email address is Theblade[at]hvc[dot]rr[dot]com thanks for the opportunity to win “The Thorn.”
    It is very reassuring and encouraging to read stories about people still living their lives for God.
    Thanks so much!

  12. an email subscriber.I like Beverly Lewis’ books.
    The Thorn sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway. augustlily06(AT)aim(DOT)com.Thank you.

  13. I enjoyed reading about Emily. I love Beverly Lewis and books about the Amish. I am a follower amd an email subscriber. I would LOVE to win this book! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  14. Welcome, everyone! So glad you stopped by to read about Emily and join the contest!

  15. Hi! I’m a new follower and really like your site! Please enter me for the drawing. By the way, Carman sent me.

    latawniakintz [at] gmail [dot] com

  16. raindrops.and.smiles (at) gmail (dot) com
    Emily is an amazing woman and I am so blessed that God has put her in my life!
    Thanks for posting, I really like the way you wrote this!
    The Thorn looks like an awesome book!! 🙂

  17. New follower here under the name you_were_almost_right
    littlebearries [at] yahoo [dot] com

  18. I remember Emily when she was her girl’s ages, (I guess I’m OLD!!) such precious memories. So glad you posted this I love Beverly Lewis books too!

  19. Thanks for writing this Renee! I feel honored 🙂 To God be the glory great things HE has done…


  20. I am a follower and would love to be entered. Thanks!

  21. I’d love to win this! I’m a follower.


  22. Every time I see Emily on facebook, I have fond thoughts about the years I knew her at NDCS. She was always so open as to her faith and her goals. I am so blessed to read things on facebook that show me that she has grown in her faith. We need young Christian wives and moms like you, Emily. Emily and her siblings were and are special to me. IT is hard to think of NDCS without memories of one of the “DiRenzos”. Keep working with the youth – they need examples like you and Jon.
    God Bless you and your precious family. “Mrs. A”

  23. I’m so glad all of you stopped by!

  24. This book looks so good! This year has been awesome for so many different types of Christian fiction including Amish fiction! I would love to be entered Renee. Thank you for the opportunity. I’m a follower through GFC.

    I just “met” Emily today and I thought it was so neat that she pretty much courted her hubby through letter writing. Letter writing is a lost art and it’s a shame because I think letters are so much more personal than emails. Thanks Emily for sharing a bit about yourself. 🙂

    XOXO~ Renee

    • I feel the same about writing letters. When I was young I wrote long, long letters about everything that was happening in my life. It made me think it all out–even if I ended up not sending them!

  25. I enjoyed reading about Emily’s life story (my precious daughter). The thing my heart rejoices over is that my daughter loves and serves our Lord and Savior! She’s far from perfect, but her love for her family, siblings and friends is something I admire. She has a servants heart that puts the Lord’s command of loving others into action. Just by opening her home to others, is an example to me of how to put our faith into action. She denies herself many times, for others (Luke 9:23).

    As Renee wrote, her desire to be grounded in the Lord, is an encouragement to me. She has and continues to be a great blessing in my life. God thru his mercy and grace, has given me a daughter that makes my heart so thankful to Him.

    Thank you Renee for giving us a brief glimpse into someone who’s very special to me, and hopefully others will be inspired to give their hearts and lives in service to our Lord and Savior (Matt.6:21).

    God’s Love and Blessings, Lou

  26. I’m now a follower via GFC.
    mymadakaja at yahoo dot com

    My favorite book is Here Burns My Candle.

  27. Hey Renee!!

    I would LOVE to win this book *grin* My mom and I are trying to get our hands on copies of Beverly’s books. We both want to start reading them because we’ve heard so many wonderful things about them. Do you suggest a place to start (other than this if I win it??? *wink*)

    Nice interview! It’s kind of cool to think that you’re going to/want to start featuring more of your followers (as long as I’m understanding that correctly LOL!!). I was featured on one of my friend blogger’s blogs once this summer. It was all about travelling, which I’ve done a lot of! Lol….one of my all time favorite authors is Jodi Picoult. THough she’s not inspirational or Christain fiction, she writes books that make you think. They will hit straight to your core on tricky topics. I highly encourage you to check her out, if you’re looking for something different. She wrote one called Plain Truth that is all about the Amish. When writing that one she actually went and lived with an Amish family for so long to really learn about their culture and daily life. Dedication, eh!? Currently though, I am reading Still House Pond by Jan Watson. First I’ve read by her and it is absolutely fabulous! I’m almost done it and I’ve loved it. I’m planning on finishing it tomorrow probably then I’m not sure what I’m onto….
    Sorry for rambling so much but you asked about books!! NEVER ask ME about books because I can certainly talk your ear off *wink* Thanks for this chance, Renee!

    • Yes, I do want to feature my followers. I love to hear what others are doing or what they thought of the books and authors I’ve loved, too. I love it that you comment in detail, Hannah! Some of my friends are too shy to write on the blog. They email me “in private” instead of sharing for all of us to read!

  28. Hey Ms. Renee!
    Oh she has the cutest little girl!!!

    I like your website! I have subsribed and am a follower. I would love to read this book 1) cause I love Beverly Lewis and 2) cause it would make a great review on my friend and my’s blog! 🙂
    My favorite book is easily The Heaven’s Before by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow. 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win!


  29. Kait, I’m so glad you joined! I read what you wrote on your blog about The Heaven’s Before. I’m definitely going to check that book out!

  30. Oh! This book looks good! I just recently read a book by Beverly Lewis, so would love to check out her other books!!

    As far as my favorite books go – I have a never ending list! 😉 lol But three of my top favorites would be “Across Time, Across Tears” by Sheridan Claude, “Tahn” by L.A. Kelly, an “The Heaves Before” by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow. 😀

    Katie M

  31. Emily’s story has touched me deep in my heart. What a lovely young woman she is and one that is happy being exactly who she is. I am new to this website and I have Carmen to thank for sending me here. I am a new subscriber by email and a follower by GFC. I intend to be a visitor here often, I like what the blog is about.

    Beverly Lewis is one of my favorite authors and I’ve been wanting to read “The Thorn” for a long time. I enjoy the stories about the Amish and feel she takes the lead in authoring books about them. However, there are some newer authors who are coming up quickly behind her. I have read some of their stories and they are well written.

    At the age of 72, I’m embarking on a new path. The Lord has nudged me to write for him and tell others how he has been glorified in my life through the dramatic, traumatic and joys that I have been through. So, I’m a newbie and haven’t published a book or story yet, but am working on it. I have much to share and am praying that it will help another who is going through the same circumstances I’ve been through.

    Thank you for this giveaway, the story on Emily and the chance to win Beverly Lewis’s wonderful book. I hope I do!

    Sharing Christ’s Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  32. What an awesome blog series! It was great getting to know Emily. I love the song Mighty to Save also and This Present Darkness started my love of Christian fiction! 🙂

  33. I love this idea! It was awesome reading about Emily. I miss writing letters (so much better than e-mails). I did have a few pen pals but they all stopped writing 🙁 Makes me sad. Frank Peretti is such a neat author (one of my favorites). I have yet to read “This Present Darkness” – maybe I’ll pick it up =) Please enter me for this book! I’m a new follower and an e-mail subscriber. *Thanks*

    gracethorson at gmail dot com

  34. My husband and I wrote letters to each other the first 6 months of our courtship. He was in Haiti and I was in NC. It’s nice to hear about a young couple actually writing letters 🙂 Thank you for sharing your testimony. I, too, love all Beverly Lewis books. Many blessings to you & your family.

  35. Enjoy anything Beverly Lewis writes. Thanks for the contest. Carmen sent me.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>