Our Fascination with the Amish

Our Fascination with the Amish

 

Life in our culture moves fast.  We have fast cars, fast food, and fast computers.

Life in our culture is busy.  We have busy husbands, busy children and busy friends.

Life in our culture is full.  We have full bellies, full closets and full calendars.

But sometimes, even with life so very full –we feel…

empty.

And we wonder what it would be like to have a life that was not so fast paced, not so busy and not so full.

I started reading some “minimalist” bloggers in 2013.  These were new bloggers to me and I read and read and read.  They fascinated me and  I am convinced that my “stuff” is bogging me down in life. Which is where the Amish come to mind.

A place my kids and I like to visit monthly is Books-A-Million.  My kids do reading charts. Based on how many minutes they read, they can earn money towards new books.  So every month – off to the bookstore we go.  First we go to the kids section, then we always take a stroll through the Christian section and *BAM* –there’s this HUGE section of Amish Fiction novels!

What is our fascination with the Amish?

Maybe it’s their pace of life.  It appears they have a more simple life.

But I am quite sure that just because they go without electricity and cook everything from scratch that their life is not necessarily “more simple”.  Washing clothes without a washing machine or raising chickens for eggs –is NOT simple.  Sewing their own clothes and homemaking their bread…nope, those are not more simple either.  Taking care of the horses and buggy, that take them to the store in the middle of these frigid Ohio temperatures, -nope that’s not easier either.

So what is it about the Amish that so captivates us?

Maybe it’s that they can live pleasant lives without their iPhones and Facebook…or television…or that they fear God and have strong family values.  Maybe it’s that they have managed to escaped the pressure of having their kids in every activity under the sun or the need for college.

I personally think the draw to Amish fiction is to escape.

We just wish we could escape and stop the crazy train that is filling our calendars full while emptying us of all our joy.  The Amish appear to have found something we seek after – they have found joy in God, their families and their home.

We can’t escape and all become minimalists or Amish.   And good news! We don’t have to – praise the Lord. Lol!  BUT we can change our space.

I’ve been pondering this verse from Ecclesiastes a lot lately:

“Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

~Ecclesiastes 4:6

It seems our world tells us we need to have two handfuls in order to find true happiness.  But I’ve been letting stuff go, and saying “no”, and cutting back and throwing away and guess what is on the other side of one handful = tranquility!

God’s word is true.  We need only to read it and obey it and let it transform our lives.

**Chime In:  Tell me – do you read Amish Fiction or enjoy going to Amish towns ?  I took the photo above 20 minutes from my home and we had our wedding reception at an Amish Restaurant.  What is it that fascinates you about the Amish?

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 Need encouragement in simplifying.  Pick up a copy of my book:  ”Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.”

And join this 8 week journey as we seek to find joy in God, your man, your kids and your home.

Comments

  1. Stacey Aspenberg says:

    Hi Country! I really enjoy your blog posts!! Thank you for pouring into all of us. It’s such a blessing for me and I know others as well. We live in NJ and the last couple of years my husband and I have been able to sneak away to Amish Country (Lancaster Pa) for our anniversary 12 years this Feb. so thankful God blessed us with these years! All that being said the amish have been on my mind so much lastly as we get ready to go again. I went through a stage where all the books i read were amish fiction. Light hearted easy captivating reads. We all crave the simple life. I think there are many things we as “Modern Housewives and Mommy’s” we can take from them and very practical things we can incorporate to make our lives more simple! Thank you for this post!! Blessings, Stacey

  2. I live in western Wisconsin and we have several Amish and Mennonite families near. I love shopping at their local grocery store because the store clerks are so friendly & helpful. Even when I see them shopping in stores like Walmart they are very polite, even the kids! I think the biggest thing is they have a quiet faith, they aren’t like what I grew up with in the Baptist & Pentecostal churches.

  3. I don’t read Amish fiction but I have always been fascinated by the Amish … the simpleness of their lives … able to remain pretty much the same and not conform to the pressures of this world … I was raised in a farming community in Maryland where many of my ancestors were Pennsylvania German … we weren’t Amish … but a lot of our foods and the way we did things were much like theirs.

    But since we were transferred to a long time ago to a more urban environment in northern Florida … the thing I wish we had that the Amish has is that strong sense of community. The churches in our denomination here in our area are mostly mega churches … and although “small” groups are encouraged … they really aren’t that small … my SS class has over 50 people in it! To some back north that would be the size of a small church! Our community in Maryland was very tight knit so living here all these years without that has really created a void.

    I applaud you for choosing a simpler life … I have, too, but doing so has isolated me a bit from my peers here as they do not understand that … for them its all about name brand this and that … big houses … nice cars … status and success … so not me … The more life changes the more I long to be able to separate myself from the world.

  4. I think some of the admirable qualities is that the Amish focus on relationships,community, and whole hearted dedication to the Lord. Without all of the distractions that we face daily, technology, worrying about our outer appearance,.They seem to place more value on heart attitudes, and meekness as a woman;s beauty.We spent time with a Mennonite couple at a homeschool conference, and they were an encouragement sharing their family’s boundaries for courtship. Their advice was more strict than most families we know. But their children really seemed to honor their parents, and happy. I think that was the most fascinating thing!

  5. Abby from Belgium says:

    Dear Courtney,

    I love Amish culture, since I was a young girl (don’t know why, cause Belgium’s history is so different).
    I also love to read Amish fiction and non-fiction books especially Beverly Lewis. I am currently reading A Lancastar County Christmas (Suzanne Woods Fisher), Almost Amish (Nancy Sleeth) and the brand new 1 year devotional book by Tricia Goyer: Amish Peace. I also ordered and already received lots of books on living simple, living like the Amish etc…. Can you tell I am into books (lol). Oh, I also love the movies ! (An easy way of transporting myself to the USA).

    Now, I have to put them aside, cause I will be joining your book study and GMG’s Intentionally Focused bible study. Yep, it is going to be a very busy time reading, learning, praying ….

    Have a nice weekend !

    As always: many blessings x

    Abby

  6. Lisa from IN says:

    I’m fascinated by the Amish, one of the reasons is living in northeast Indiana we have a large Amish population. Actually the fun thing is they drive by my house every day on their way to the store in their horse and buggy. Also in the summer one of my favorite things is going to Shipsewana.

  7. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

    We have lots of Amish people in our area. They have their farmhouses on the land in the rural areas in the township. Gotta watch out for their buggies. I’ve assisted in deliveries of their babies at work too! So precious!! And they’re so grateful. They make wonderful baked goods as well! I’ve read some Amish fiction. I find their lifestyle fascinating.

  8. I loved this post! I live in England and love the Amish! They really have their priorities straight – God first, then family, community and honest work is what is at the core of the way they live. When your priorities are in the correct God ordained order, then you reap the blessings that God intended for you to have. So often the crazy busyness of the world robs us of ordering our lives upon God’s ‘advice’ and we loose peace, humility, kindness, gentleness and love – all the things that I personally desire to be .
    Blessings in Christ
    Shirley

  9. Joan Brodbeck says:

    I read many amish fiction books on my Kindle. I think your are right. It is the simple slower pace they have and their family ideas that draw me in. I have thought many times maybe it would be ok to back to minimal things and no electricity, and I see how the Internet has affected my oldest. I long for my famiky, with four children to be as close, but I fear that we drift fyrther each day.

    Thank you for this post.
    Joan

  10. Hi Courtney,
    I am so glad I’m reading this post. I think in my own little world, you are the only one that shares the exact views about the Amish world as I do :). I own so many Amish fiction books and I enjoy reading them because, somehow, reading these types of books gives me a sense of peace. I get into the books and escape from the world of chaos we live in. Although I’ve never visited an Amish community before, I’m very curious about visiting the one in Lancaster, PA. Why am I so fascinated about the Amish? Their unity, their simplicity, the way they make God the center of everything they do AND their elicious recipes they make from scratch. I need to learn how to do that lol. All in all, I have subscribed to alot of Amish blogs where I grasp a better understanding on their way of life and also to learn how to recreate recipes or even learn how to make certain things they do from scratch.

  11. Who doesn’t want to get away from the chaos of the world sometimes? I can definitely see why some are drawn to these people – our lives are too full and too fast and we don’t have enough time for relationships anymore. We see the Amish living lives that are surrounded by people, who work hard and stay focused on their priorities. They aren’t distracted by time-sucking technology.

    I recommend Barbara Cameron and Amy Clipston. Both are authors of Amish fiction. Their books are simple and easy to read. The drama is kept to a minimum and since the books in their series follow the same characters of the towns, you end up feeling less like you’re reading a book and more like you’re catching up with friends.

  12. I believe that its the sense if ‘Community’ that draws us to the Amish.
    They live and work together with ‘all things in common’.
    I belong to a church in England that follows the principals of the apostles in Acts. We have many large community houses where all age groups and families live with ‘all things in common’ principles. Check out our website jesus.org.uk
    Bless you for the Christian wisdom and fellowship that you extend to women worldwide

  13. My husband & I are fascinated with the Amish as well. We visit Holmes County Ohio several times a year (same place that I think Courtney took the picture?) I don’t read fiction Amish, but have really
    enjoyed the books from Suzanne Woods Fisher titled “Amish Values for Your Family”, “Amish Proverbs”, & “Amish Peace”. She has fiction books, but I normally don’t find myself reading fiction. She also has a series out for the younger readers “The Adventures of Lily Lapp” which my 9 year old granddaughter has enjoyed! I think the simple, no need for things we deem “necessary”, is what draws me to the Amish lifestyle. They do have their problems & struggles just as we all do, but there is something about observing them that brings me peace.

  14. Michelle Nehrig says:

    I’m interested in knowing which Amish or simplistic bloggers you are reading/following.

  15. Hi Courtney,
    I think the fascination is moreso an interest in the lifestyles of people whose lives are very different from our own. I too have read stories through books of the Amish. As I recall although their lives seem to be rather simple they are very strictly regulated. I wonder if they fantasize about life on other side. The grass does appear to be greener on the other side.(-:

  16. I didn’t grow up near any Amish, and what I knew of them was from what my mom experienced on Women’s Retreats to Shipshewana and Nappanee, IN. Now that I live in Indiana and I’m relatively close to the Amish communities, we enjoy going for the day or an extended weekend. My husband and I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast last May for our anniversary. I think part of the draw for me is that it’s just different. I think you’re right- our hearts long for simple. Or what we think is simple. And it seems that the Amish ways have stood the test of time and we’re drawn in by that. The crazy thing is that they aren’t really like what we all think. The first time I went into an Amish home and saw that they have Amish fiction books on their bookshelf and a granite countertop in their bathroom, my mind was blown. The first time I saw an Amish guy buying a loaf of bread at the store, I felt a little betrayed. I think the truth in it is that things are ever what we build them up to be in our minds. That’s why comparison is dangerous on any level, unless you’re measuring ourselves up to the word of God.

  17. Hi Courtney,
    Great insight into the fascination with the Amish-craze that seems to be going on these days. I grew up in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, PA and have several Amish friends. The farm next to where my mom grew up had 11 kids and they were her playmates. Now their kids are my friends! Some of them even came to our wedding, I used to drive them around as a side job, go for rides in their buggy, they helped me learn how to quilt, and they are my family’s friends! I don’t get to see my Amish friends much anymore since I am a missionary overseas with my husband, but my parents continue to spend time with our friends and reach out to them. God is doing something amazing in the Amish community in Lancaster, PA…. Most Amish believe it is by works you are saved and through the Amish church. But God is awakening many Amish to realize their need for Jesus. My mom teaches a Bible study for women and several Amish women “secretly” come to the Bible study…they are HUNGRY for God’s Word and have trusted in Jesus as their Savior. God is working! I tease my mom sometimes that she is a missionary to the Amish in our community :) The important thing to remember is simplicity in life is good, like the Amish, but it doesn’t make you any more holy if you aren’t living for and seeking Jesus.

    • Thanks so much for posting this, Rebecca. I agree that the Amish have many admirable practical qualities that I can (and do) appreciate. However, I was so hoping that someone would make this very important clarification about the spiritual aspect of what the Amish community believes, as you have done.

    • Thank you Rebecca! I have read TONS of Amish books and always feel a little sad about all their old order rules and such and that they don’t even read their Bibles or pray to God. I DO admire their slower pace of life and that they are family and community oriented – but always felt that they lack true relationships with Jesus, which is more important than anything else.

  18. I’m blessed to have close Amish neighbors and friends! Living just outside of LaGrange County, Indiana has afforded me the unique opportunity to peer into the lives of my Amish peers in a way that most people do not have. One thing I’ve discovered: Amish fiction is exactly that — Fiction. So much depends on the church they belong to and who is in charge. It makes all the difference to see Amish as a religion instead of a lifestyle. Our neighbors see “Amish” as a way of life while Christ is their religion. That’s not the case for all of them. Believe it or not, there are almost “denominations” of Amish. And the pressure of “Keeping up with the Joneses” affects my close friends more than they’re allowed to openly share among each other. There are good sides and bad to sides to any denomination. I respect my Amish neighbors and friends a great deal. Whenever we need help they immediately drop whatever they are doing and help us, and I know that I’m welcome whenever I drop in for a few minutes. I’m no Amish expert, but I’ve noticed that the novels I’ve read are sensationalized beyond what should be taken as plausible.

  19. I haven’t read much Amish fiction, but I am fascinated with the Amish. We’ve taken several trips to Lancaster County, PA, and the people are so welcoming and kind. I, too, am drawn to their simplicity (even as I continue to load up my family’s calendar) and faith.

  20. Elizabeth Carpenter says:

    I LOVE that scripture! It’s just what I needed to hear at this time in my life. My husband and I recently went from a two-income family to just one and it has been a big struggle deciding what is a NEED versus what is a WANT.

    As far as the Amish question goes – I really enjoy reading Amish fiction books. It’s refreshing to read about a culture that puts God and family first while still having SO much that they have to do on any given day (that doesn’t include any modern-day conveniences). It helps to remind me of where my focus should be when I get way off track. Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Good reminder. I have to admit, I’m often fascinated with the Amish, but you’re right — they are still very busy and active people. I think it’s the community that is really the key with the Amish. They do things TOGETHER when we do everything by ourselves. Good post!

  22. Good morning,
    My grandmother was Amish but left the faith to marry an Englisher. I never met her, but I heard she was an awesome cook! I have been interested in the Amish ever since I found this out. Sometimes I long for their simplicity and family values. Although, their lives are not perfect by no means. I live in Amish Country and you would be surprised at what goes on…lol. But, they are wonderful, God-fearing people that I am proud to share a heritage with.

  23. Donna Godfrey says:

    I read very little of Amish fiction. I grew up Mennonite with my grandma having the Amish roots. I can see why some feel this is a “perfect” community but it really is not. Shunning causes pain that ripples out and touches so many. I know because family had that happen. Than you must look at the fear factor……I grew up with some of that….you do not wear your covering or a cape dress you are sinning. It is complicated.
    I so appreciate my heritage in many ways. It is who I am often. I do not like to raise my voice because I have been taught to live peaceably with all…..I believe in peace at all costs. Community is great and I miss that. But I also believe we need to share Jesus and Salvation with all we meet and we cannot do that when we live in community always. I do so appreciate how they take care of each other. I have many stories I could share things I lived in that area.
    Mary DeMuth wrote an article that touches a subject we often dismiss…..but it is real in the Amish community……Again I could write stories about the sexual abuse in the community.
    http://www.marydemuth.com/bonnets-buggies-and-sexual-abuse/
    I also follow this blog…..there is real balance here.
    http://aboutamish.blogspot.com/
    I think we have to take the good out of the Amish Church and learn from it but it is not “our” reality.
    I hope you all receive this with all the love I have for the Amish people.

  24. Heather Shaw says:

    I have always been fascinated with the Amish. Not exactly sure what the pinpoint reason is, other than pure Joy that they have and demonstrate in their lives. We never see an Amish person complaining about their husbad/home/ hard day etc on social media because they don’t have it in the first place. It’s doesn’t consume their lives!They find the happiness in the life the way God intended, I believe. I long to live a “simple” life….. I think PURE is the more appropriate word:) I have such mixed feelings about technology, I truly believe there are blogs, such as yours, that help encourage and refocus people. Some things that you blog about are so relatable yet many ladies don’t talk about it, but we need to! We need to have that one on one accountability partner!!
    As far as reading Amish Fiction, I never have but would love to begin…… Any suggestions on any “must reads” ?!
    Thank you so much for loving words and obedience to The Lord .
    With love , Heather :)

  25. Hi, I have read numerous Amish fiction! My favorite is Beverly Lewis! When I married, we spent the weekend in Lancaster, PA visiting the Amish Country. It’s absolutely beautiful! I was on the hunt for a ‘handmade quilt’ as a wedding present for our home. After I made my selection, the owner of the store told me that a young Amish woman had made it and it was her first quilt. The young Amish woman was feeling somewhat discouraged because her quilt had not sold yet. I’m so glad that I picked and bought her quilt!

  26. I have always loved the Amish. My family is from small towns in Ohio that are mostly Amish. You may even know where they are Courtney, Bloomfield and Mesopotamia. When I was little I wanted to be Amish with all of my heart. I wanted to wear the Kapp and ride in the buggy. I loved the dresses and their food. Have you ever been to one of their yard/bake sales???? Amazing.

  27. I randomly picked up a book one time that had a good story line on it, and that is what started my love with Amish Fiction! I guess it is more of a vacation away from our busy lives into the eyes of a simiplier life. It is a good way to escape a busy life and draw inspiration into my own life to encourage me to try to simplify life. It helps that each Amish Fiction book normally contains a recipe in the back! I love how they can each such rich foods, but they make up with it with all the manual labor that their daily lives require. We really have it alot easier and need to appreciate all the simplier ways we have it! I love Beth Wiseman! She really uses her stories to encourage and I always receive a blessing from each book!

  28. I’ve always been fascinated as well and for me it is about living a “Simple” life without the complications and fast pace of our world. Living off the land, wearing simple clothing, being so close to family. I recognize that it is not simple to live as they do, it’s a lot of HARD work too. But for me it’s that aspect that draws me in.

  29. As with the fascination of the Amish, my fascination is also with the “simpler” times of the 1800′s. I live in MA and my favorite place to visit is Old Sturbridge Village. After passing through the visitors center and into the village I can physically feel all the stress rise off of my shoulders. It brings me a great sense of peace and I feel I can breathe easier! Too bad it wasn’t in my own backyard, I would visit everyday! The people during that time certainly did not live easier. Everyday tasks were all about daily survival and planning for winter survival. It was hard work every day of their lives. God came first in seemingly everyone’s life and the family was an incredibly strong unit. I believe what brings me to look at all that with longing is what we see as slipping away from the world. Values and the most basic of needs to survive. Sadly, we Christians, are becoming more and more the minority of our culture. And ‘whole’ families are become scarce. The absence of God and family is rocking our world. We absolutely should be fascinated with the Amish, imagine how tough it is for them to keep up their lives when even we find it so difficult. Our lives, although made much simpler with all that we have, comes at a price. How many of us could truly live off the land if we were suddenly forced to do so tomorrow? Because of our luxurious lives we lack all basic knowledge of survival. That scares me and yet it when I think of the Amish or ‘go back in time’ to the 1800′s their lives give us a sense of hope and a sense of peace…the ‘simpler’ life is really in all of us…we just need to find it and try to live it.

  30. Having grown up Amish, there are probably as many different types of Amish as there are other religions! There’s a lot of good ones that actually believe in Jesus etc but also think living a simple lifestyle is good. And there is also a dark side, however most of the Amish are very little or nothing like the books or tv shows that are available today! I appreciate their work ethics very very much and want to pass that on to my kids as well. Yes they do a lot of things the hard way, but the biggest difference is, the whole family is working together. They don’t have all the electronics and social media stealing their time and their kids!
    Having said all that, I would still never chose to return and join the Amish. I believe with Gods help we can teach our kids a lot of the valuable principles without driving a horse and buggy :)

    • Thank you for sharing! I appreciate hearing real stories like yours. It seems whenever something becomes popular, it always becomes sensationalized.

  31. Beautifully written post!

    I know a few friends who have chosen to live very basic lifestyles; basic clothes, homes, furniture, cars, no tv. For many years and are very happy doing so. Not quite to the level of the Amish though (they do have electricity.)
    Friends have been influenced by them and actually wanted to live like them so have given up there comfy lifestyles. Not sure how long they’ll last though. Lol. No seriously though
    I don’t think God sees anything wrong in us wanting/having nice things. I think it’s where your focus is/ should be; God wants to bless the work of our hands Deuteronomy 2 V 7. So if he’s given us/our hubs good jobs to provide us with little luxuries its recogognizing where this gift has come from. And of ourselves getting the right balance.
    I know on the other hand of some who have been forced to give everything up, there lovely homes and possessions due to personal circumstances. This is so painful for them!
    I have paid thought to it before and applied it personally what would my reaction be? Very challenging thoughts! Im excited about Heaven I’m going to have a Mansion in Glory with streets paved in gold!
    My nice home here it seems so insignificant when I think of it that way!
    Our pastor said to hold everything with a loose hand, and I like Corrie ten Boom’s quote “Hold everything in your hands lightly otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open!”

  32. I had the chance to visit Lancaster County, PA, last summer–what an amazing experience. Later, in the fall, my family and I had the chance to visit, meet/speak to and shop from Amish families in TN.
    What a blessing…what a calm sence of peace they give. You can watch a documenatry via YouTube on the Amish life here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtNXvE_rLoE It’s about an hour long–but a great watch! Thanks Courntney! :)

  33. My friends and I have spoke about being on a pendulum. Swinging from one side to the other. One side being Amish and one side being worldly. We can’t seem to get off the pendulum and find a happy medium. I’m not sure where on the pendulum God wants me to be but I’m pretty sure it’s far from worldly and closer to Amish. However we, in my house, seem to be unable to do the Amish. I can get rid of things, however, that seem to weigh me and my family down. But that may entail getting rid of the computer at well! It’s really something to think about. I’m sure a lot of people simply have too much. Too much makes for a mess. The mess makes for a grouchy mom that wants something different. That in turn makes for kids who get their feelings hurt or act out like Mommy. Things have got to change here. Thanks for the post. We don’t currently read Amish fiction, but it sounds like a good option for when my kids are ready to read novels.

  34. Having grown up Amish and no longer living as a part of the Amish community, I agree with previous commentors who said that the Amish religion truly varies from one community to another. And while I truly value and love the work ethic and family values I learned as a member of the Amish community, I can say unequivocally that my experience in the Amish church did nothing so much as damage and distort my view of God. Many Amish communities (not all, but most) have very strict rules, completely unrelated to a walk with God, that include harsh punishments if broken(such as public confession and sometimes a 2-3 week shunning period). Thankfully, my parents taught us that God is a loving Father. And, having many family members who are still Amish, I know that there are many Amish who are growing and branching out in their walk with God and reading/studying the Bible on their own. I have seen much growth in my grandmother’s heart and I pray that she will continue seeking God and know him for the gracious, holy Father he is.

    I do understand the fascination with the Amish way of life. Having been out of the Amish community for almost 11 years, I sometimes look at my life with my electricity (yay for washers and dryers!!! lol), computers, phones, vehicles, etc., and long for more simplicity. So, I completely understand it. And Courtney, I could not agree more-that fascination is usually a sign that we are longing for simplicity in our own lives, and the Amish-outwardly at least-appear to have it.

    I have never commented before, but I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and I thank you for being a light for Jesus. I have learned a lot from you about being a Godly wife and mother. Thank you so much.

  35. What you said is so true! I find myself “needing” more and more time alone trying to capture “the simple” time but unless I am stopping to seek God, it is all for not. I haven’t commented before but I have been checking in for about 9 months. I am planning on doing the book study with you and I am looking forward to it. Thank you for standing up for the things God has called women to do. :)

  36. My grandparents were raised Amish and later in their life joined the Mennonite group, which my family is currently a part of. The sense of community, vision for missions, and a good work ethic is something that I do not want to take for granted and I want to pass that on to my children.

    I agree with Leah that the current Amish novels and tv shows are very little like the real Amish – so keep that in mind when you read or watch the shows. :-) I have read several Amish novels and catch myself thinking, “this is not how it’s done, etc.” or when watching an ‘amish’ movie, “this is not the way they comb their hair, dress, etc”. Sometimes the lady on the book cover does not match up with the area portrayed in the book. There are so many groups that come under the name of Amish and it can vary from community and/or state. Do not expect the Amish from Indiana to look the same as the Amish in Lancaster, PA.

    Rebecca, I had heard a little about what is happening in the Amish communities in the Lancaster area. How exciting that they are hungry for God’s word and truth in their lives! I want to encourage your mother to keep having those Bible studies for the ladies!

    In reading over the comments, I appreciate the respectful tone when referring to the Amish. They live their life differently than most of us and sometimes have been the brunt of criticism, mockery, etc. I’m sure we all realize that doesn’t feel good. I know there are some very sad things that happen within the plain groups. All of us are in need of a Savior, regardless where we came from.

    Ms Courtney, I really appreciate your blog and have read it for quite some time. This is one of my favorite places to visit and to be encouraged. Your pretty smile and enthusiasm for Christian living is contagious and uplifting. Thank you for the time you invest in womenlivingwell.org.

  37. Great article. I, too, live near the Amish and Mennonites in Southeastern, PA. In fact, I love to purchase my spring flowers from a nearby home. The children usually help me and are incredibly friendly and kind. The simplicity also reminds me of one of the Testimonies of the Quaker (NOT related to the Amish – a common misconception) faith. It is Simplicity. A frequent quote made among Friends is: “Live simply so that others may simply live.” I got to be a part of that at a retreat house called Pendle Hill when I became new staff at that Quaker (Friends) School, where I eventually worked for 10 years prior to the birth of my children. It was an incredible escape and so enriching to live life so simply for three days, as well as experience real Quaker worship. We ate from what was grown on the land, prepared it together and ate as a large family. We learned of the Quaker faith and practiced communing with God. In our free time we were encouraged to enjoy the beauty of the grounds. It’s crazy to have driven there and seen Villanova University and other places SO close, yet be in a completely different environment.

  38. Jennifer Chatman says:

    I love reading books about the Amish! I have so many fun adventures in my books, it’s almost as I live there. I have read many books by Beverly Lewis and Wanda E. Brunsteter. In fact in reading a book, well it’s three books in one by Beverly Lewis and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. The one I’m reading right now has the books The Postcard, The Crossroad, and Sanctuary in it. If you haven’t already read any of those, they are very good. I had the chance to visit Amish country in Lancaster, PA with my family when I was in college and I loved it there. I would love to back sometime, it was just a beautiful calming place. Thanks for sharing with all of us, I always enjoy reading your post and I’m looking forward to the book study. God bless!
    In Christ,
    Jennifer Chatman

  39. Courtney,
    I so enjoy reading your blogs and I thank you for all that you do! I used to live in upstate NY and when I was younger we would often take trips through the close part of PA an see the Amish in their environment. It was breathtaking and inspiring at the same time. At the time I was too young to capture the significance of who thy were and how they lived. Now that I am older, and right now as I type, prepping our current home to be put up for sale in order to buy the farmhouse we have been praying for, I realize the importance of simplicity! We (my husband and I) want to take our family back. When I say that I mean back in time, when things were easier and simpler. We want to be self-sufficient by the way of the land with our farm. We want to be away from the noise and the crowds and the hussle and bussle of earthly things. I want my children at the hem of my skirt listening to bible stories being read, canning for the winter, no noise from car radios driving by, I don’t want to be able to hear my neighbors conversation when I stand on the front porch. We want our children to know what it is like to get their hands dirty and see the fruits of their labor. We want them to know what it is like to raise a calf from birth an the process that goes into using that for meat, tilling the garden and going out to get eggs from the chickens! I wish sometimes that I would’ve never picked up a cell phone or watched a television. It does something to your brain when you constantly try to “keep up with the jones’s”. When did people stop being satisfied with what they had? It’s sad to me that it has taken me so long to realize these things but glad that I still have time to change it for my children!

  40. sheila payne says:

    Guilty. I do enjoy the Amish escape. Sometimes the story line is a little weak but the simplicity is appealing. I watch WAY too much TV. I love that they are.not encumbered by the news which is scary or the entertainment industry which can be addictive. How do you handle TV in your life?

  41. We love to visit Lancaster, PA. Living in PA, it’s not that far, and we visit at least once a year. I think I’ve always enjoyed the calm. However, after reading about some of the Amish ideas, I would have to say I disagree with their way of thinking on quite a few things. I do enjoy reading Amish Fiction though and have read many of the Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter books. As you say, it is a way to escape for a while.

  42. I think that the pull of the Amish is the sense of community they have. I grew up in rural Louisiana where I also had a real sense of community. I was related to literally everyone on my road expect two families. Most of my neighbors were my great aunts and uncles. They always made me feel welcome and loved.

    I now live in a big city. I would never have guessed that my kids would be city kids, but they are. While living in an apartment we didn’t know ANY of our neighbors. I complained to God about the lack of community and He told me to make my community where I am. I have to make the effort to get to know others. I have to be the one to reach out and start friendships.

    We bought our own home two months ago and we are making a point to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. We are even hosting a neighborhood party next week. Everyone that I have met in my neighborhood has been so nice. It is worth the effort.

    Marie-Anne

  43. I read every fiction Christian Amish book I can find! I think I’m fascinated by how much everyone in their families seem to really love and care for each other. I also like how are the neighbors come together and help each other out to complete tasks.

  44. I think simplicity is more a state of mind than anything else.

    A woman could choose to have no phone, no activities for her children, no t.v, ect., but still be either emotionally disorganized or extremely lonely. What has she then accomplished?

    The true key to simplicity is perspective. If you have the a healthy perspective on anything in life things will naturally feel less chaotic.

    Another key is people. Interaction. Women need other women. And not on FB, Twitter, blogging, but real interactions. For some strange reason, in the way God designed us, we need each other. We are healthier when we fellowship.

    All your posts get me thinking on things that matter. Thank you for writing.

  45. Hey Courtney, i was so thrilled to see a post on the amish. I LOVE them! I really would live just like them, i know people say that and then when push comes to shove they wouldnt or theyd struggle and give up but i wouldnt. I read anything amish i can, ive yet to get any novels but i get email alerts when Amish are mentioned on google and i repin so many pins and heart them on pintrest as well as add loads to my boards. I make myself get up early now to study scriptures, im trying to make more dresses for me and my girls i even wear wide headbands for headcoverings as I agree with the command from Paul to cover in 1Corinthians 11:1-16 i dont see it as a cultural thing of the time and un applicable to now , but thats me.
    Less to no technology, more interaction with like minded people, true community love and spirit and forgiveness. Boy do we need that, I need that! They and you are my inspiration and i love to follow you both.
    Zoe, from the UK.x

  46. I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA and relocated to Lancaster County, PA almost 10 years ago. I have lived in an Amish rural community here and have even made some Amish friends and some whom were from the Old Order. I am learning alot about the culture here and it fascinates me.

  47. Existing on Empty says:

    I used to read the Amish themed books. However, they all started to be the same basic story line, regardless of the author. Also, even though the authors claimed extensive research, it just seemed weak. Maybe it’s an Amish thing, or just a good way to sell books, or both– They all had a nice, sappy happy ending. Right.

    The other thing I didn’t like about it was the rules that didn’t seem Biblical, but “it’s the way we’ve always done it”. I come from Lutheran background and that’s very similar among the older churches. (“We’ve done it that way since Great-Grandpappy laid the first brick.”) I currently have issues with the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the hierarchy with it. I rarely go to church anymore because I don’t care for where my husband is going and we only have one car. (It’s the church he grew up in and the people and pastors are nice, but lack of faith and it not being “my” church and that it’s an ELCA church. I’m digressing.)

  48. Thank you so much for this post, Courtney! It blessed me! Especially the verse ! I’ve been stepping away from a lot as well. I made a big decision to step away from my photography business after a full year of prayer and thinking about it. Once I started homeschooling this year it made the decision much easier. I couldn’t keep up with everything. :-) Love how God speaks through you in your posts! Praying your are encouraged and strengthened today!

  49. My husband and I lived in an Amish neighborhood for almost 10 years. We rented a farmhouse from an Amish couple. My good Amish friend always says that “people are people Amish or not”. Amish have no fewer problems than non-Amish, often more. They don’t study the Bible at home, but learn what they need to know from what their Bishop teaches at church & allows. I have cooked with them, attended funerals with them, and shared meals with Amish friends. They are generally friendly, always helpful, and polite. Most tend to be shrewd businessmen and spend wisely. Just as we are diverse in our personalities and habits so are they. The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. Their lifestyle shouldn’t be romanticized. Years ago there was less of a gap between their lifestyle and ours, but as time moves ahead their lifestyle becomes harder to maintain. Don’t get me wrong I have many good Amish friends, but if we live relatively simple, responsible Christian lives then we probably live an easier life than they do.

  50. Woo, I am doing a huge sigh of relief. I thought I was the only one who loved to read and study about the Amish! For me I enjoy all the aspects of their life. As a farm wife I appreciate all the hard work that Amish wives do and how they help their families in many roles. A great number of those roles are unseen to those outside. It also reminds me that I am too connected to my “stuff” and so are my children. We have been slowly trying to whittle down the amount of things we have in our home. I believe if more people would put their faith fully in God as the Amish have instead of letting the world set their pace we would all be much better off.

  51. I use to read Amish fiction all the time, but lately, I have been reading Christian historical novels of the Old West. I think that some where in the back of our minds, we know that even though there was more physical labor involved in their way of life, what they did counted for something. In the place of iPhones, there was family time, where they actually looked at each other and paid attention to what was being said. In place of the internet, there was respect. They could actually see the fruit of their labor and even though it was more physically demanding, it was a more fulfilling way to live.

  52. Like you say it;s a fiction. i truly do believe the amish are busy too. It’s what are you used to in life.

    It depend on can you say no. I mean, your planner is full with appointments? Why? Life will go on if we are not there where other people hope can will. God comments us to take time for Him, that doesnt mean time, with our planner in the back of our head. God tells us to enjoy life, not running after your planner.

    I agree with you mam, i love the amish fiction books. But isn’t the grass not always better at the other side of the fance?

    Stay in Him, the one who saved us,

    Eveline

    PS: i hope you’ll understand my english, i’m dutch so it hard to express right :)

  53. Please be careful… as I read these comments I see many who indeed would seem to be fascinated and possibly, like I used to, uplift the Amish and their culture.
    The Amish have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as much as the typical worldly person has! They are still wicked sinners in a wicked world like you and I. They cling firmly to their old practices and traditions which include MANY forms of witchcraft. They do not use the Bible as their guide to life. Remember, please, simple does not mean more righteous. Look at the heart and reach out to them with the gospel.

  54. Katherine J says:

    The Amish used to fascinate me until my brother and his wife lived in a heavily populated Amish location in northern Indiana. He saw so many things that totally took the shine off of their culture for me. I got rid of all my Amish stuff as a result.

  55. Wendy K says:

    I don’t have a fascination with the Amish. The Amish and puppy mills go hand-in-hand Missouri may be the puppy mill capital of the U.S., but certain Amish and Mennonite people of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania wrote the book on abuse and cruelty to animals when it comes to puppy mills.

  56. Misty L says:

    I live in a small county in Indiana where there is an Amish community. I have always been facinated by their way of life, but found myself digging deeper once I became a mother. Life is so busy, expectations weigh me down, priorities can become jumbled up, and the increased pressure of worldly views versus my personal convictions can leave me feeling stressed. I often wonder what my family’s life would be like if we just went back to the basics. Unplug and turn off the TV!!
    I also enjoy reading the Amish fiction books. It is a way to escape from our “English” world :)

  57. I was in Ukraine also read novels about the Amish. Thanks to your post, they switched from books to life. It touched and thrilled. I am just in search of spiritual strength and wisdom for the device home and family.)

I love hearing what is on your heart.

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