I always wanted to live on a farm and have a huge family, and take care of horses, and goats, and cows, and pigs. Maybe it's because I watched Little House on the Prairie as a kid. Maybe it's because I'm a hopeless romantic who thinks it would be an exciting adventure each day to "live off the land." But this girl from New Jersey would love to own several acres of land out in Pennsylvania, own a farm, grow my own vegetables, milk my own cows, ride my own horse, and own a Bed and Breakfast which would take in weary travelers whom I could dote on and fuss over and take bake some delicious home made cinnamon bread.
Perhaps that's why the Amish culture in Pennsylvania really intrigues me. John and I took a mini vacation in Pennsylvania when Julia was about 7 1/2 months old and we stayed in Lancaster for a few days and then drove to Cape May. While in Lancaster we found out a lot about the Amish, their devotion to God, their devotion to each other, and how they live completely opposite the way we do. They don't use modern conveniences like cars or phones and they don't watch t.v. They dress differently, covering most of their body, and they cover their heads with kapps for the women or hats for the men. They typically have larger families than the average American, and they are devoted to their family and community. Parents and children work right alongside each other in the fields and it just amazes me how they live right with society but live so completely different.
John and I both said we would love to be Amish after we learned all about how they lived, but I don't think I would do to well without my hair dryer and computer, and my cell phone. Not that I'm attached to material things (well maybe a tad) but I just can't imagine living without all the modern conveniences we have. They even speak Pennsylvanian Dutch which if you become Amish, obviously you have to learn.
Last year I finished all my Karen Kingsbury books, the Baxter series was my favorite and when Karen finished the last book, I was so sad to say goodbye to the family I had grown to love. So I went looking for another good Christian author I could read while my kids took a nap or I happened to have some down time. And I came across Shelley Shepherd Gray, she is a Christian author who writes a series about a community of Amish people in Sugarcreek, Ohio. I've read 6 of her novels so far and truly love the way she writes. Recently, I responded to a book give away contest where you had to write about a character from the Sugarcreek series and share why you liked the character and what they learned in the book....and I won a free copy of her Christmas book: Grace! It was the first time I ever won a book like that and it was so neat to get the book this week wrapped in a Christmas bow and signed by Shelley!!!
So, if you are looking for a good book to read, or you want to learn more about the Amish, check out Shelley Shepherd Gray's website and grab a copy of one of her books, I really liked Wanted, Hidden, Forgiven (Sisters of the Heart Series)...and thoroughly enjoyed Autumn's Promise, Springs Renewal, Winter's Awakening. I love how the characters learn more about the Lord and themselves and even though they may be struggling with family relationships, somehow, with God's help they learn to pull through.
I may not become Amish any time soon, but I'd like to think I'm Amish at heart. My faith, family, and friends, mean more to me than any worldly thing.