"Plain and Simple"

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This past week I had the chance to go to the 'big' library!! I picked up a book I had read before, but wanted to read again called "Plain and Simple" by Sue Bender. This career minded, city woman, becomes enamoured of the Amish. Through a series of events she is able to go live with two differnt Amish families. Her life is changed forever by her experiences. This is a good book and there were a couple of quotes that made me really think...

The women in the family have canned some peas, and Sue comments on this: "No one rushed. Each Step was done with care. The women moved through the day unhurried. There was no rushing to finish so they could get on to the important things. For them it was all important"

I want to tell you that this sentence when I first read it several years ago changed my whole life!!! So much of each day is taken up with the normal, mundane parts of life. So many people rush through these everyday parts of life so they can get on to the more excitng things. But life is occurring as we speak. Learn to appreciate each small moment, life will change for you. You will be content.

Another quote I caught this time around, Sue is talking about the Amish mother (10 children) and mid-wife she stayed with the second time around: "There was a stillness around Becky, a quiet certainty that struck me immediately. I didn't know exactly what it was, but she seemed different than other Amish women I had met. Something in her quiet way led me to believe she knew a great deal and it would take a great deal to ruffle her....She looked not young or old but like someone who was used to being in charge and doesn't need to do much talking"

YES, that is how I want to be. Quiet confidence. Gliding through life facing problems head on with assurance. Calm. Collected. Knowing you are in the place you belong. A goal I will work on to be sure.

-- Melissa (cmnorris@1st.net), October 27, 2001


I liked the quotes, Melissa. I'd hate to romanticize Amish life for any woman, though. Theirs is a terrible lot. All one need do is look at how an Amish family of mother, father, son & daughter ride in a buggy on the road. The daughter is nearest the center line, then the mother, next the son with the father nearest the ditch. Why? Because the center line position is the most dangerous and the seating positions show how the lives are valued. The daughter is most expendable, then the mother. The son is valued second only to the father. Sorry to be such a downer here on this brisk Saturday AM, but this is a sore spot with me.

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), October 27, 2001.

Hi Gary! I wasn't really looking at the Amish aspect of the book, but more at the way you can change your life by the attitude you have and the way you approcah your life. I agree that many things they do don't make sense, but I apprecaite the values they hold. I am friendly with many Amish families and the husbands seem to hold their wives very dear. They spend a lot of time together, laughing and joking and seem to really care a great deal for each other. To my way of seeing it, they don't have that bad of a life. One of my friends often goes to visit her family, leaving all bu the yougest with her husband for a few days, she alwayss has money for what she needs, her husband is an excellent worker, with a great sense of humor and treats her with a lot of respect. You can really sense the happiness and love in their home. I'm sure it is the same as with other families and religions, you have the good and the bad.

-- Melissa (me@home.net), October 27, 2001.

I have noticed the driving to be a little different. Generally the man who is driving will be towards the center line, to drive the horse better, with women and small children in the front and other children in the back, usually rather helter, skelter! Around here many women drive too. Also due to the largeness of the area, most use a driver to buy groceries, and go to work. I don't think it is a safe way to travel on a busy highway, period. However on the country roads it is rather pleasant, but a little loud. You can really see the flowers and the scenery as you drive slowly past.

-- Melissa (me@home.net), October 27, 2001.

There are many Amish families that live around here and work in our community-I shop at the nursery owned by a Amish Family, and my husband sometimes uses a Amish Hardware store-its in the next county so its kind of a drive, but he likes it because they stock a lot of things the chain stores don't-like well casings. Anyway, my experience has been that they are pretty much like everyone else-the nursery family are happy, delightful people-the husband makes jokes with costomers, the wife is generous with her plant knowledge and I always learn something new when I go there, and they have a way of doing nice things-she knew I wanted some Roma Tomatos one year and she saved me a flat even though she had sold completly out of the rest of them, and several times I've come home and found an extra herb that I hadn't asked for tucked in with the other seedlings, free of charge. Another family, however is rather cold and stern-I can feel thier disapproval, and in that family the wife always hangs back and never speaks-but I've seen plenty of non-Amish families with that dynamic.

-- Kelly in Ky (ksaderholm@yahoo.com), October 27, 2001.

I agree that there are all types of families. You can not just lump them all under one experience. I know that in regualar society, there are plenty of bad examples too.

-- notnow (notnow05@yahoo.com), October 27, 2001.

Gary, VERY interesteing info. there!!!

-- DW (djwallace@ctos.com), October 27, 2001.

Melissa-back to the book-(I got distracted earlier and had to leave) I love the book, I have a copy. I love books like that, that show the spirital side or sacredness of everyday life. Sometimes I get alittle overwhelmed or plain out tired of day to day chores-sometimes it seems like other people are doing work more important and nessasary or something. Some other books on that same theme that I like are "Laural's Kitchen"-(especially the first edition) "Chop Wood, Carry water"- though this one is not Christain, really it has the same ideas. "The More with less Cookbook," and "Living more with less" and to some degree, "Simple Abundance" Does anyone else have any favorites along this line?

-- Kelly in Ky (ksaderholm@yahoo.com), October 27, 2001.

I mentioned this one before, but I like "The Busy Mom's Guide to Simple Living" which deals with frugality, budgeting, saving, homesteading, etc., from a Christian perspective. It also raises questions with regards to eating habits and your health, lessons which the author learned from her own experience.

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), October 27, 2001.

I also have a copy of Plain and Simple, it is also one of my favorite books. Another one I would like to add to the list is The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs.

-- Roxanne (Roxanne143@webtv.net), October 27, 2001.

I have the Busy Mom's Guide too, I may re-read it soon. I remember it was pretty informative.

-- Melissa (me@home.net), October 28, 2001.

Melissa: Oh how I know what you mean by being in a hurry to go nowhere...The one person I have met that is always in a big hurry and has so much to do is ......YOUR MOTHER.. Over the years I have noticed that she always has so many irons in the fire and there is never enough time....Thanks

-- Bob (se ohio) (snuffy@1st.net), October 28, 2001.

Hi Bob! I know what you mean about my Mom. She is anything but calm!

Sometimes when we go through life in a whirlwind, we forget about the important parts of life. That is one of the reasons why I liked this book, slowing down, appreciating the small things in life, taking time to enjoy the moment.

All worthy goals whatever your faith or creed in life!

-- Melissa (me@home.net), October 28, 2001.

As many of you already know, I had my own medical practice in Strasburg, PA for many years with all Old Order Amish patients. 99% of our friends were Amish. We have been to their weddings and funerals and births and suppers and holiday meals, etc. etc....They even gave us the ultimate compliment of asking us to join their church. It is a story which continues to make the Amish rounds...I told them that we could not become Amish because #1 I would bleed to death trying to keep my dress on with all those stick pins..#2 the bishops would be at out home constantly to admonish the both of us from having a smoke out behind the barn#3..we are afraid of horses....oh how they would laugh at these answers.....I cannot count the number of farms I visited over several years..I find the Amish to be identical to every fundamentalist Christian whom I have ever met. They begin their day asking God to lead them in their activities and they end their day thanking God for His blessings and asking Him to forgive their failings. What more is there? They are folks who work hard and play harder. They are gracious and accepting and inquisitive as well as hard-headed and stubborn! The men do have the final say about everything and the women have zero problem with that. In their community, they have sexual molesters, wife-beaters, liars, thieves and gossipers just like any other group of humans. The difference is in the way they handle things. I admire them for their sense of community and their dedication to their children. I shake my head in frustration when their children die from illnesses which are 100% preventable and when they (IMHO) mistreat their animals. They are a complex society with nothing truly "simple" about them. For the most part, I admire them because they try a little harder than most folks to become men and women after God's own heart.

-- lesley (martchas@bellsouth.net), October 28, 2001.

Go see "The People's Place", & Good Books. Someday, Amish women shall rise up also, maybe. Now, children in Spanish & Chinese languages inflicted NYPL are TOO NOISY ; so cannot write much mo'. NB also, Plain Friends YM; & Bowne House; & Flushing Friends Meeting [NY]. Save our family farms, & inc. France. Mercy buckets.

-- Wendy Smith, e.g. (ReverendWendy@yahoo.com), September 12, 2002.

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