How are we like the Amish?
I love visiting Amish communities. Before I became an author, I visited communities in Indiana and Ohio often for the wonderful food, craft demonstrations, and to learn about their traditions and lifestyle.
When Mary Sue Seymour from the Seymour Agency met with me and suggested I write Amish, I loved the idea. I had no idea how much I’d enjoy writing Amish stories or what they would teach me.
The Amish want to live the simple life and not be enticed by the outside world to depend on things like electricity, jewelry, fancy clothes, cars, or world news. They believe in God and work hard to earn money to live.
I’m not Amish, but I respect what they are trying to do. And I have worked hard at my past jobs. I also believe and trust in God.
Now . . . I am guilty of buying that cute pair of shoes or outfit! And yes, I do love to shop. But since writing Amish, I’m more conscious that sometimes I need to spend this money helping someone in need.
Amish have to deal with problems the same as us. I like to show we’re similar in those ways. For instance, in HANNAH’S COURAGE, Hannah is the voice of wisdom for her friends. They consider her the most balanced and mature friend. But when she’s faced with procrastinating and taking for granted Timothy will always be there when she’s ready to commit to a future, she learns a hard lesson. And her friends realize she needs them to give her sound advice and encourage her.
When I’ve approached Amish women, they stop speaking Pennsylvania Dutch and switch to English. I’ve been fortunate they’ve been open and willing to answer my questions. Leah shares her recipes and offered me baked goods. Delicious ginger cookies! And Rachael showed me a beautiful basket she handcrafted. Toby answered a lot of my questions about the Amish lifestyle while taking my husband, Ed, and I on a buggy ride.
I try to go to an Amish community at least once a year for a long weekend. I’ve never been disappointed. There’s always something new to learn from them on their home tours, a new recipe book, or making a new friend. Take a farmhouse tour and dine at one of their restaurants. I highly recommend Mt. Hope, Sugarcreek, Berlin, and more in Ohio. Shipshewana and Nappanee are my favorites in Indiana!