Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Summer Read-a-Long Continues

"A happy home is more than a roof over your head, it's a foundation under your feet." ~ Amish Proverb

Hello!  Thanks for joining me on the summer read, Amish Values for Your Family, by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  How do you like the book so far?  I just love reading the short stories about a lifestyle that is different from my own and discovering that we are not as shockingly different as I at first thought.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did grow up in Pennsylvania; York County to be specific.  We didn't know any Amish or Mennonite families, but there were Mennonite families in the area.  Lancaster, where many Amish farms & communities are, was only a short drive away.  And I know that my great grandmothers did many things the way the Amish do them, sharing many of the same family values, work ethic, and child rearing philosophies.  These have filtered down and watered down through my family over the years, but I have to admit, in my heart of hearts I yearn for a less cluttered life.  And I don't mean less busy or easier or void of all modern conveniences.  I think what's coming to light for me is a desire for a more focused & satisfied life - whatever that means or whatever that looks like!  I'd imagine it's not the same as my Amish counterpart.  Happily, I think most days I am heading in the right direction.

What story or idea spoke to you?  It's difficult for me to choose just one... I think it's the overall ideas of child rearing that speak the loudest to me.  Here are some things that caught my attention from Section One:

*  Children are important and need to be involved in all aspects of family life from a young age.  However, the family (and the world) should not revolve around a child or the children.  I really like this because when children are involved in family life from a young age, their love for helping, doing, and learning comes to light.  And 'work' and 'learning' aren't dreadful things, they are just a natural part of life.

*  Sometimes it's not about the money spent or saved.  Taking longer to do something because it's a learning experience and an opportunity to bond with your child is always worth the extra time and money!  The story about the rabbit hutch (page 19) is a perfect example of this.  We've had a similar story taking place in our own backyard this summer.  We purchased a new cedar play structure for our youngest daughter and decided to put it together ourselves.  It's hard work, complicated, and slow going but it has been an opportunity for my husband and son to build something together.

*  Don't get frazzled when things don't go as planned or expected or hoped.  This one is easier said than done, but worth it's weight in gold!

*  The Amish do not yell at their children!  Children are generally quiet, even when playing, as compared to English children.  I think there is a direct correlation here.  :)

*  And the children learn chores, manners, social norms and how to behave from their parents, older siblings, and grandparents.  While I don't think children should be sheltered from outside influences, it's nice not to have to fight the media on a child's expectations of what is 'normal'.

*  The Amish have a strong connection to nature.  I share this value with my children, too.  When there's a strong connection to nature, it fosters caring, nurturing, and understanding for others, for the planet, and for those who cannot speak for themselves (animals & plants).  Raising and/or caring for animals or planting and tending a garden offers endless opportunities for growth and understanding about ourselves and the world around us.  No game, book, movie, or classroom can equal the lessons learned through experiences with nature!

I'd love to hear what is coming to light for you!  How are you like the Amish?  Are you incorporating any ideas from the book into your life?  Do you have a favorite Amish Proverb?  I can't wait to hear all about it in the Comment section!!!

One way I have had the pleasure of bringing some Amish life into my own is through Amish Friendship Bread.  If you don't know what it is, ask me in the Comments and I'll explain it more, but here I'll skip right to the good part.  I currently have many loaves in my freezer, along with 8 starters and 12 batches of batter!  My freezers are overflowing with Amish Friendship Bread!!  But through this  abundance I have discovered a wonderful website, Friendship Bread Kitchen!  It is filled with delicious recipes so I will never run out of things to make with my batter.  My latest creations, Root Beer AFB & AFB Chocolate Chip Pancakes (aka Monster Cakes because we make them huge) are big hits with my family!  And she writes novels, too!  More books to put on my must-read list!
If you would like a bag of batter, let me know in the Comment section and I'll get it to you!  Either way, check out the website!  You will want some!!

Wishing you all a lovely week.  And remember, "The forest would be quiet if no birds sang except the best." ~ Amish Proverb

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Summer Read-A-Long!

"The kind of ancestors you have is not as important as the ones your children have."  ~ Amish Proverb

Welcome Back!  Oh, how I have missed you!  Thanks for joining me on the summer read-a-long.  I am very excited to get started on Amish Values for Your Family.

The month of June was so busy for my family it will be a welcome respite to delve into a book about slowing down and keeping family close.  Over the next four weeks we'll take a peek into the Amish and Mennonite (Anabaptist) lifestyles and how we can embrace some aspects of the simple life.  Our author, Suzanne Woods Fisher, writes both fiction and non-fiction books, has a website click here to go to her site, and hosts a blog click here.  She and her family also raise puppies for Guide Dogs!  Her website & blog are wonderfully inspiring.  You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter!  Kind of ironic considering she writes about a lifestyle that avoids or limits modern influences :)  But, I am glad she is so connected and accessible!  I hope you will visit her sites or follow her, if you are on Facebook or Twitter, and read some of her novels.  And be sure to Comment about what you're reading!  I'd love to hear about her other works.

Each of the four sections has a theme and is filled with short stories (3-4 pages) around that theme, starts with an Amish Proverb (my personal favorite), includes some advice on how we can incorporate an Amish value into our busy lives, and ends with "In their own words...", quotes from The Budget, a weekly newspaper for the Amish-Mennonite community.  It's a quick, easy read that will enlighten and inspire - perfect for summer reading!

The first section, Children Are Loved but Not Adored, includes memories of Amish childhood and what made it so special.  Being inspired by that, please share in the comments something that made your childhood special.  It might be a particular family tradition, a one-time summer trip, or quiet time with family.  To take it one step further, ask your children what favorite memory they have from their childhood.  Whether they are still in their childhood or grown, you just may be surprised at their most beloved memories!

I look forward to reading your special childhood memories!

"The best things in life are not things."  ~ Amish Proverb

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24