One of the most frequent questions I get is: How do the Amish celebrate holidays?
The short answer is “it depends.” Different communities celebrate different ways. Each family has their own traditions. But there are some common things that you’ll find in an Amish home if you were to stop by on Thanksgiving:
- The meal will be a potluck. Remember Amish families are quite large, so one woman wouldn’t try to cook the entire thing.
- Families do get together. They usually live close to one another, see each other often, and eat together for holiday meals.
- There will be lots of youngsters. I mean a lot. The average Amish family has 8-10 children, and each of those grow up and marry and have 8-10 children. One sweet Amish woman I met told me she had 42 grandchildren!
- There will be games. The Amish love to play games–everything from Checkers to Dutch Blitz to Jenga to board games.
- Amish folks like to be outside, so you’re likely to see them playing baseball or jumping on the trampoline. It’s also common to find them fishing and hunting when they have a day off.
- And remember, there’s no television. Chances are you won’t find men sitting around watching a football game, though you still might find them asleep in their recliner.
One of the reasons that I like to write about the Amish is that it reminds me to simplify my life, to pay more attention to the people around me, and to focus on my faith. I hope that this holiday season you are able to do the same.
Announcements for this week:
- Quite a few of my books are currently on sale in both paperback and ebook. You can visit my author page at Amazon, B&N, and CBD for details.
- I’ve put out a call for my 2017 Street Team. If you missed the announcement in my newsletter, you can access the form to apply here.
- I’m giving away 5 Christmas packages. Interested? Check out the details here.
- An Amish Harvest once again earned a place on the ECPA bestseller list. This is the 3rd month in a row, and I so appreciate my co-authors and the work they put into this collection of stories.
I’m often asked if the Amish cast a vote in local and national elections. Since I wasn’t sure, I asked some Amish folk when I was visiting northern Indiana. Their answer was typically brief, “Some do.”
When I pressed the point, the person told me that largely it will depend on the community that you live in. Some bishops encourage participation. Others suggest that they remain apart and not involve themselves in politics. It is never forbidden to vote.
What impressed me was when an Amish woman admitted, “We may vote, but we don’t sit around and watch the news or read the paper worrying over the outcome. We leave that to God.”
I don’t know about you, but I could do with a little less news watching myself.
Announcements for this week:
My newest release, Sarah’s Orphans, is about a young Amish girl who is abandoned by her mother, left to raise her siblings, and then finds two homeless children. Today I thought I’d share the “story behind the story.”
- I started out with this question. As Christians, are we still responsible for caring for orphans? I mean there are a lot more government/charity programs than there were in Jesus’s day. Orphanages in the US are rare, and there are long waiting lists for parents seeking children to adopt.
- I spent a lot of time on the national and state websites for adoption. One thing I learned is that currently there are 400,000 children living in the U.S. without permanent families. Of those 100,000 are eligible for adoption.
- Of course we can’t all adopt a child right now, for various reasons–health, economics, etc. So how can we help?
- I also learned that the Amish have adopted in the past. Here is a great story of adoption within their faith, and here is another describing adoption outside of their religion in the past.
- Of course I visited Cody’s Creak (which is actually Chouteau, Oklahoma), and had a wonderful time talking to the Amish and taking pictures.
The children in this story really won my heart! Of course it’s not an easy path to blend two families together, but my goal was to show that God can use each of us in a special way, and we can all find a small way to minister to others.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any questions about Sarah’s Orphans?
Announcements for this week:
- Anna’s Healing, the first full length book in the series and a Christy Award finalist, is still on sale for $2.99 at Amazon (ebook).
- Anna’s Healing will soon be available in large print. So if you prefer large print books, pass this along to your local library and ask them to purchase it.
- Deep Shadows is now available in print and ebook. **Amazon ** B&N ** CBD. And the price has stayed below $9 for most vendors, so get your copy today! CBD is offering the print book for 47% off — only $7.99
- I will be at the Jewett Quilt show next weekend. If you’re in the Waco, Texas area, stop by and say hello. I’ll also have autographed copies of all of my newest releases for sale.
- Also, my Fall Rafflecopter giveaway will be live tomorrow, and I think you’re going to love this month’s Prize Package. Details and entry form will be on my main webpage tomorrow, so stop by and check us out!
Bicycling in Shipshe
Amish home, Middlebury, IN
Amish mom and child
Out and about
I’m so excited about the release of my new collection: Plain and Simple Miracles. These stories are very near and dear to me. Brian’s Choice (a novella) is already available, and Anna’s Healing (a full length novel) will begin shipping in a few weeks. So I thought now would be a good time to DEBUNK some of the myths surrounding the Amish.
My first Amish book released in 2010. I’ve visited communities in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma since then. I’ve walked through barns, shared meals, and visited schoolhouses. Here are a few of the myths I’ve learned are not true–at least not in the places I’ve been.
- Amish only walk or ride in buggies. Nope. I’ve seen Amish folk on bicycles and scooters. And of course they ride in cars when they’re traveling farther than a few miles.
- Amish quilt but they don’t do any other handiwork. Wrong! I’ve seen Amish women knit and crochet as well as do some embroidery work for wedding gifts.
- Amish homes are like a log cabin. I don’t know why I thought this! In fact, the homes I’ve been in look very similar to mine–minus carpet, curtains and electricity. Many now have modern bathrooms although the water flows slowly without an electric pump.
- Amish don’t read. Ha! The Amish men, women, and children I’ve met love to read. Many Amish visit their local library, and they love to receive books as gifts. It’s true they stop public school at the 8th grade, but they continue learning long after that.
- Amish are very serious, somber people. I’m sure some Amish are serious, but I’ve met many who were downright friendly, quite a few who like to tell jokes, and one or two who are real chatter-boxes.
That’s just a few of the myths I’ve found are not true. What about you? Do you have a question about the Amish? Or do you have a myth that you can bust? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
I love Psalm Sunday and Easter and everything about spring. It’s really one of my favorite times of year. I can feel my mood lifting as the wildflowers sprout and the trees bud.
More importantly, the seasons of Lent and Easter remind me of the sacrifice that Christ made for you and for me. Some days it’s difficult to grasp Continue reading
4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health, Part 1
I thought for the month of August that I would share some things I have observed while visiting the Amish–things that I think would improve our health. I’m not a nutritionist, but I am a mom and a wife and I like to think that I’m a fairly healthy person.
One thing I notice when I’m at an Amish home is that the women are very busy. It sort of wears me out to watch them. It’s not that they’re rushing around taking kids to soccer, etc. But they do Continue reading
I’m sometimes asked if the Amish knit and crochet. The answer is yes! The Amish do knit and crochet. It’s not uncommon to see women working on a project as they sit in a booth at a produce stand or while waiting at an auction. They’re likely to make things such as socks, Continue reading
Jelly Rolls, Patterns, and Quilting the Amish Way
So what IS a jelly roll? (Hint–it’s not jelly in a roll.) Today we are continuing our focus on Amish crafts. As we all know, Amish women are wonderful quilters. I very much doubt that they use jelly-rolls, which are pre-cut fabric in long strips. Whenever I’ve seen Amish or Mennonite Continue reading
Amish quilt at Lolly’s Fabrics
Quilting, An Amish Craft
For the month of May we’re going to focus on Amish crafts. This will be a lot of fun, as I know that many of you are “crafty” too. If you’re not, this might be a good chance to start – OR, you could just enjoy the pretty pictures.
The Amish are well-known for their quilting. Here’s a few things I’ve Continue reading
Amish Beliefs, Part 3
This month we have been looking at Amish beliefs. The first week we discussed What Amish Believe, especially in regard to their faith. The second week we focused on Family Roles. Today I thought we would talk about the Amish and their attitude toward Englisch (non-Amish folk) and technology. These are 2 questions I receive often when speaking to groups. As before, remember Continue reading