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:
One thing I’ve learned from the Amish is that it’s perfectly ok to take the time to garden. I’m not that busy! Sometimes I feel too busy, but then when I take the time to go outside and putter around, my soul and my heart and my mind all feel better! It’s amazing what a few minutes in the garden can do. Below are a few pictures.
This is a trumpet vine. It provides good shade and the hummingbirds love it. Not really gardening, I know … but I wanted to share the blooms with you!
Impatiens that I kept in the “greenhouse” – converted dog shed – all winter. They’re happy to be out in the sun!
My tomato plant, and if you look very close, you’ll see a green bean plant popping through the ground.
I’d love to know – are you gardening? Have you ever gardened? What was your favorite thing to grow?
Resolutions that Affect Your Health
So we’ve been talking resolutions. January is a good time to do that, right? Last week we talked about budgets. If you missed the post, folks chimed in with some good ideas. You can read about them here.
But of course finances aren’t the only types of resolutions we make. How about health resolutions? I’m not talking about dieting–that Continue reading
Financial Budgets in 2015
Now I wonder why most of us cringe when we hear the word budget. I know that I do! It just doesn’t sound fun. It sounds like the opposite of fun. The Amish folks I’ve met are pretty frugal with their money–sort of like this photo to the right. They don’t have a lot of different clothes or a super fancy buggy. They live plainly, and that’s Continue reading
Today I wanted to write to you about GRACE and how we can extend it to our families. I don’t mean the kind of grace like you say before a meal, though those are good too! I’m talking about offering something special to your family this holiday season.
Wikipedia defines grace as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.” That’s an awesome definition. I’ve always thought of grace as “unmerited favor.” You don’t earn it. You receive it. And you can offer it to others.
Have you ever noticed that some people get tense if you even mention the holidays? I’ve seen people groan, roll their eyes, change the subject, even reach for more chocolate. I’ve been guilty of a few of those things! I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but the primary one is that life is complicated. Right? Kids grow up, move to different places, have various obligations. Not to mention the pressure to have the “perfect meal” or “perfect day” is incredible.
So how about we offer each other GRACE instead? We can say and believe that “it’s okay.” Can’t make it for dinner? Not a problem–because we know you love us. Have other obligations? Not a problem! Burned the turkey? Heat up a pizza!!!!
Part of the reason we respect the Amish is they are able to keep these things in perspective. This holiday season, we could step back, take a deep breath and thank the Lord for our blessings, and then we perhaps we can find the courage to offer one another GRACE. And if you really enjoy making the traditional dinner, and are worried your family can’t come, then ask folks at your church. Be a special blessing to someone else.
ps – the winner of the cancer wall hanging and book was RUTH SMITH. All of your comments really touched my heart. A big thank you to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more give-aways!
Fall in Amish Country
I thought for the month of October we’d talk about FALL in Amish country. We don’t have a lot of fall in Texas. We have hot, hotter, less hot. That’s pretty much it. So when I’m able to visit Amish country, especially in the fall, it’s a real treat.
I took this photo outside the Bluegate Restaurant in Shipshewana, IN. Have you been there? Though they still had bright flowers, you can see the trees are beginning to turn colors.
It does seem for the Amish that fall is a busy time (harvest and auctions and school), but it’s also a time when things begin to slow down. Once the crops are in, they set about preparing for winter. So what do you think? Where’s your favorite fall spot?
SIMPLE Ways to Deal With Stress
There’s nothing simple about stress. It can rob you of sleep and steal your joy. While stress may be a normal part of life, there are things we can Continue reading
Amish Beliefs, Part 2
Last week we talked about Amish beliefs in relation to specific spiritual teachings. Today I thought we’d talk about the role of family members. Remember, the comments below are what I have observed, but each community is Continue reading
All Things Amish, Holiday Cheer
How is everyone this week? How was your Christmas? And are you resting or exhausted?
This is a short blog today, as I’m taking a few days to rest and enjoy my family. But I did want to remind you that the Amish way is simpler, quieter, slower. It’s okay to choose the simple dinner for dinner. Need some peace and quiet? Turn off the television–even go for a short walk if your weather allows. And as far as slower–well I’m giving myself full permission to stop rushing this week, and who knows … maybe even into the new year.
I’d love to hear how your Christmas holiday was. Leave me a comment if you have a few moments.
blessings upon blessings to you and yours,
All Things Amish – Christmas with Annie
Today I thought I’d share a scene from the Christmas Quilt. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’m not giving away any secrets, but if you have I think you’ll enjoy looking back at Annie’s Christmas celebration.
Annie laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck, burrowing into his embrace.
“I missed you.” When the tears began to fall, she didn’t try to explain them, didn’t attempt to stop them, but rather allowed herself a moment of complete openness.
Instead of questioning her, Samuel unpinned her kapp, placed it beside the quilt and ran his fingers through her hair, loosening the curls. It seemed to Annie, as he brushed out her braid with his fingers, he also brushed away the last of the tension—the final fragments of worry she’d held inside. For a moment, she could rest and allow Samuel to care for her.
She must have fallen asleep, because she woke later in her bed, the smell of dinner coming up the stairs.
It was a simple meal. She’d started the stew earlier in the day, and Samuel had baked cornbread to go with it. Not fancy at all, but that dinner did more to heal her heart than a feast could have. Though they’d been back for two weeks, the eve- ning healed the bruised places from her time away. A part of her mind realized she was exhausted and she’d be better very soon. Another part kept turning over the idea this was their last Christmas Eve alone. Next year it would be three at their table, and God willing perhaps more in coming years.
For this evening, with the candlelight in the window, her husband sitting across from her, and Leah’s finished quilt upstairs, ready to give, Annie knew the peace of Christmas.
And that is what I pray for you, today and throughout the Christmas week – may you be filled with the peace of Christ.
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