Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day Among the Amish (Guest Post)

Hello bloggers and friends. I’m Beth, from The imPerfect Housewife. Since MaryAnn has a very full plate right now with activities on the domestic front, she asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest post. I had to think about it for all of 2 seconds – YES! I’ve been a follower of hers from the beginning and look forward to every post just as much as you all do. Over time, we’ve developed a “long distance” friendship and I can’t wait until the day when we can spend the whole day together in person chatting and eating and talking about our lives (and husbands) and of course recipes.

Since A Joyful Chaos is a combination of MaryAnn’s current life and stories of her former Amish life, I had what I thought was a good tie-in post since I just visited an Amish community outside St. Louis a few weekends ago.

Do I want to BE Amish…no. I have to be honest with you – no air conditioning would make me crabby. Not to mention, the settlements with outdoor plumbing…negative. These are actually some of the reasons I don’t like camping either now that I think of it, which has nothing to do with this. I do like peace and quiet though. And I can’t help but feel bad for the kids who want to stay Amish, but also maybe want to be a doctor or nurse or something that requires higher education. That’s definitely not an option – it’s one or the other.

OK, onto my day trip to Bowling Green, Missouri…

I’m pretty sure this sign means watch out for cowboys and Amish people. Or maybe it means watch out for the Lone Ranger and the Amish.

I’ve been there before but it’s not a tourist destination by any means. Just like any group of people, some are talkers (mostly the women) and some are just answerers (mostly the men). I always like to know the little things like do the parents really NOT know who their teens are “dating” or going with, like in the books? Or how come men can have buttons and women have to use pins? Or do they “secretly” have a photo or two of family members?

According to two different moms from two different Amish communities, yes, they do know who their teens are going with. Maybe it’s not like that everywhere though. The buttons vs. pins thing – the answer is always the same…”That’s just how it is.” Photos….shhh, many have one or two stashed away.

One thing that stood out is that EVERY house I saw had these white gourd birdhouses for the purple martins. I don’t mean just one or two – but lines of them all over. It was pretty cute actually…

This picture cracks me up because I guess the horse turned just as I was taking the picture and he looks headless! And again, more gourds…

Does it look like I’m stalking this couple? OK, I was, but don’t tell them. I kept hoping they’d kiss because that would be the money shot, but nope. One lady told me in this settlement they wore the black bonnets before they got married and then the white prayer kapps after they were married.  They wear a heavier black bonnet over their prayer kapp when they need to run errands or go visiting.

  One little shop owner was quite a talker and asked where I was from and when I said St. Louis, she said, “And you came all this way by yourself?” (it’s about an hour and 20 minutes away). I told her I had and the reason was, to be perfectly honest, that my husband was getting on my nerves and I needed to get out of the house for a bit. Well she LOVED that! She thought that was hilarious. She said, “Yes, well, they do that sometimes.”

The schools were all closed up for the summer…

I came home with a few treasures from my day. All the bakery had left by the time I got there (and by bakery, I mean this lady’s back room) was some bread and pickles. OK by me. And of course I had to get a little faceless doll. I couldn’t decide which one to get because they had different colored dresses on. The lady was a hoot, she said she knew how hard it was to decide because she has a hard time deciding which color dress to wear to church each week. She said, “My husband doesn’t understand because he always just wears black and white every week, and tells me to just pick one.” Wow, men are alike all over aren’t they?
 We’re different on the outside but we sure do share more similarities on the inside than you think. I asked “Kate” (the shop owner and mother of twelve) if she thought I’d worry less about my 18 and 20 year old daughters if they were out in a horse and buggy rather than a car and she said not at all. Parents worry, she said, and we just have to pray. Well said.

Thanks to MaryAnn for letting me spend some time here and I hope you all have a good week

Friday, August 27, 2010


I missed having a garden this year and enjoying the satisfaction of harvesting delicious fresh vegetables. The children usually have a small garden of their own to care for and were disappointed when that wasn't possible this summer.

So when a neighbor called and asked for Sailor and Rosebud to come harvest her garden they were excited. Their smiles show how much they enjoy working in a garden.

We are already looking forward to growing our own vegetables next year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Post

My friend Monica kindly agreed to do a guest post for me. If you have never visited her blog I would suggest that you check it out. She is a great writer and I always enjoy my visits there.

Thanks to Maryann for selecting me as a guest-poster. I'm sincerely honored! Having had a recent experience with an errant mini pony that turned into a minor fiasco, I'd like to share this remembrance of a horse I encountered in my childhood, almost twenty years ago.

For my tenth birthday, my parents gave me an unlikely gift. Horseback riding lessons. I say this was unusual since it wasn't anything I had asked for, and I did not have any great interest in horses. I liked horses in the way that all animals intrigued me, but hadn't shown much equine interest beyond petting a horse. Besides, in the public school I attended girls talked of dance lessons and Girl Scout memberships, both things that I had asked to be part of to no avail. My parents would tell me that we didn't have the money, but more likely the truth lay closer to those things not being in sync with who we were as "a separate people". To say that my parents valued the practical would be a colossal understatement. But I didn't push for those things either, as there were more important things to lobby for such as not having to wear knee socks every day to school.

Every Saturday morning I would pull on a pair of blue jeans under my long dress and be dropped off a few miles away at some stables where a young woman named Cheryl taught me to ride horses. Actually, we started with a pony named Copper. Cheryl taught me how to saddle Copper, how to hold the reins, and how to hold my hand out flat when feeding the pony an apple so he didn't bite my fingers off. Sometimes, after the morning's lesson after my hair had become undone, Cheryl would braid my hair while I stood behind Copper braiding his tail, as he quietly slept while standing up in his stall. Yes, I came to love Copper.

During my final lessons, I graduated to riding tall, beautiful, glossy horses that appeared enormous to me in size and impossibly powerful. Cheryl and I would trot our horses through the woods on the edge of the pasture while I wondered whether horses would become a permanent part of my life. When my lessons ended, I was sad though my mother told me we could always visit Copper and bring him an apple.

Not long after my lessons, my father and I were visiting his cousin whose neighbor had some riding horses. It was a sunny, Saturday afternoon and dad thought it would be nice for us to spend the afternoon riding horses together. The neighbor's daughter saddled the horses for us and helped me on to a lovely dark Quarter horse. Things were good at first, but after only a few minutes, something in the horse's temperament changed drastically. It would not respond to my "gee" and "haw" commands and instead broke into a straight gallop. Suddenly, the horse worked up to a full run as I held tight and leaned in closer. I knew the horse was out of control, and remember looking down at the ground trying to weigh my choice of jumping off and possibly getting hurt, or staying on, and possibly getting hurt. At the back pasture, my cousin Elam (working as a hired man at the neighbor's) was kneeling on the ground mending some fence. The horse charged for him, and I looked down to see his surprised face as the horse leaped over Elam and the fence in a graceful and unexpected jump. And then, just as suddenly as my runaway horse started, he slowed to a trot and circled back stopping not far from a group of adults who had helplessly witnessed the spectacle. There is little doubt that they let out a collective exhale as I dismounted the temperamental horse. Later, dad said that I had looked like a racehorse jockey on the back of that horse, and commended me on the decision to not jump off when the horse bolted.

I did not do much horseback riding after that, finding activities such as swimming and helping the boys to build tree forts in the woods behind our house much more interesting. But years later, I was grateful that my parents had arranged for those lessons. When I went to live with my Old Order aunt and uncle, I was not in the least intimidated by the driving horses, and could confront a team of Belgian drafts with ease. Now, interaction with horses is rare for me, but I'm still fond of horses and remain vigilant for their surprise appearances in my life. They seem to remain on the periphery and then pop up at unexpected moments, the very definition of a "dark horse".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Time to choose the winner for this great little book. I had so much fun reading all of your favorite quotes. thanks so much to all who entered.

I once again turned to random generator to choose the winner, and the lucky comment was....

Number 21... Laura said.......
Good Morning!

Thank you for having this giveaway.
One of my favorite quotes is...
As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord...
Have a blessed day,
  Congratulations Laura! If you send me your address we will send you the book. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.
Thanks again to everyone who entered.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Giveaway Time

I was thrilled when I recently received the latest book from Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is one of the sweetest little books I have ever had the pleasure to read.

It is filled with over 200 pages of great "proverbs" and lots of gorgeous pictures. I found quite a few that I was familiar with that my parents and grandparents used to quote and many more that were new to me.

Suzanne has generously offered to give a book to one of my readers. All you have to do to have a chance to win one of these great little books is leave a comment sharing one of your favorite quotes.

For an additional entry post a link on your blog and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

Be sure to make that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.

I will draw the winner on Friday the 20th with Random Generator.

Friday, August 6, 2010

After The Interview

I can't remember when my tongue ever felt closer to a piece of cotton than it did yesterday afternoon in the last minute or so before my interview started with author and radio host Suzanne Woods Fisher.

She was very sweet and after my initial moments of panic I was almost able to forget I was on air and it seemed more as if I was talking to a friend. Which proved to be much friendlier for my tongue!

If you would like to to listen you can visit  and listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Several months ago I agreed to be interviewed on an hour long radio program on August 5th. And ready or not that happens to be tomorrow.

You can tune in tomorrow and listen live at 4 PM Central time here.