Saturday, June 30, 2012

Young Companion ~ Giveaway

My parents have subscribed to all three of the Pathway Publishing magazines ever since I can remember. As a little girl I used to love the Family Life magazine and would search for their children's section as well as any recipes and puzzles leaving the other family type stories for my mother to enjoy.

 But as I grew older my favorite became the Young Companion. It focused much more on courtship, teens, and everything else involved with "rumspringa"*

Today I am giving away a one year subscription to Young Companion.  If you would like to have a chance to win leave a comment telling me what one of your favorite summer time activities were as a child.

I will be drawing a winner using the random generator on Tuesday July 3rd.

*Unlike the popular myth, rumspringa is not a time when Amish teens are free to choose whether or not to be Amish. It is a time when youth get to spend more time with each other socializing and also courtship. Parents and other Amish families take turns hosting Sunday evening hymn singings for the youth. There may be weekly volley ball games and working bees for them as well. Rumspringa does not end when you become a member of the church. It ends when you get married.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What do the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does it head in the direction of doing what you please?

My mind goes in the direction of not being persecuted for our beliefs and having the liberty to follow Jesus.

I think it's partly because of our heritage and even though it has been several hundred years since our ancestors were persecuted for their beliefs the fact that we heard about it so often in church, in Amish school curriculum, in books on home library shelves that it was ingrained in us to never take the freedom of worship for granted.

2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and almost 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?

Since I don't care for ketchup or mustard I prefer to eat my hotdogs without anything except a bun or maybe a dollop of sour cream.

3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?

The very thought of entering an eating contest almost makes me feel sick. There is one thing though that I have never eaten to my hearts content and that is chocolate.

4. Do you run your house more as a dictatorship or a democracy?

I would say more like a democracy.

5. Where was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?

Almost anywhere that involved shade and a good book.

6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?

No, we don't have a guest room. When ever we have overnight guests Sailor generously gives up his room and sleeps on a blanket nest in our storage room.

I think part of the reason he likes sleeping there so well is from all the shelves filled with books and other interesting things. I'm pretty sure he enjoys reading before he goes to sleep when ever he sleeps in that room.

7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? If you live outside the USA when and how does your country celebrate its own patriotic holiday?

We don't have any special plans made for the 4th.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Last evening Sunbeam announced that there is a raccoon on our back door steps. I quickly grabbed the camera to take a picture of it.

It seemed a little too tame to us when after I took a picture of it, it stood on its hind legs to watch us instead of scurrying away.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Lessons


There seems there is an awfully lot of pressure on Christian women to serve, serve, serve. Teach Sunday school classes, have Bible studies, host this, do that. Do, do, serve, serve, witness, witness. For after all the work of church and Christ is the most important thing you can do.

Recently God took an instance that really opened my eyes to how I can really serve Him. It was late one evening, my husband and I had the evening devotions with the children and tucked them into bed. Like usual we stay up a little later to catch up on each others day, unwind, and relax before heading to bed as well.

It wasn't long before we heard the footsteps of one of the children come down the stairs, "I just wanted to say how much I love you" came the sweet proclamation as little arms were thrown around our necks. She then turned and went back to bed. A little later we could hear footsteps again. This time when I went to investigate she was washing the mirror in the bathroom. "Look how nice and clean I'm making it." she announced cheerfully. I acknowledged it and then told her it really is time to go to bed. A few minutes later I could hear her again, this time dusting some furniture. I told her she is not to get out of bed again. "But I wanted to make you happy." was her reply.

I told her that while those things were good things to do. I wanted for her to stay in bed and go to sleep. It would make me much happier if she would be obedient.

A light bulb seemed to go off in my head and a little voice seemed to whisper. I have been trying to tell you the same thing. "Your calling, what I want you to do is be a keeper at home. Take care of your husband and children. You know that all these other good things are making that you are not doing the best job that you could of being a wife and mother a keeper at home.

"Yes, Lord." Came my answer and I thanked Him for once again using one of my children to teach me a valuable lesson.

For this season of my life I will remain contentedly at home. I don't have to go to every good cause or to every church event. If it is causing me to neglect my keeper at home status I am really no longer obedient to what God wants me to be doing and no amount of other good things will make up for that.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Eight years ago when we moved half way across the country to an area that felt like the middle of nowhere to us, we had no idea how many challenges we would face and how many things we would miss.

We lived there long enough to feel at home, we made many great friends, and found a church we loved. But every once in a while we would miss things we had grown up with. Simple things but knowing they weren't available seemed to make us crave them more. Things like the soda; Kutztown Birch Beer or the only cheese curls that we liked, the sandwiches from Sheetz and a whole host of other things. But there was one thing we had never had until we moved there and that was Krispy Kreme donuts. It was love at first bite.

After we moved back two years ago we revelled in all the things we used to have and life was great except for one little thing. There were no Krispy Kremes.

Yesterday LV happened to drop his cell phone and shattered the screen so last night we went to get it replaced and decided to do our weekly grocery run in the same trip making it more fun since it wasn't in the same town we do most of our shopping.

As I pushed the cart around the corner of the dairy aisle my breath caught at the beautiful sight in front of me. A stand loaded with real Krispy Kreme donuts. After two years since I had one I simply had to get a box full of my favorites. After we got home I slowly ate one and I finally felt complete.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Favorite Spots

LV used to have his favorite spots to visit while he was single and after we got married my brothers would often come over on Sundays we didn't have church and they would either ride their horses or go hiking.

This past weekend when my brother David and his wife and son were here it didn't take them long to start talking about how much they used to enjoy those Sunday afternoons and decide to go visit those favorite spots again.

I stayed at home with the children and eagerly awaited the pictures they brought back. My favorite type of exploring is done in the comfort of the house and admiring pictures others have taken. So I now invite you to come with me as I look at a few of my favorites.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bubblegum Trees

The past few days were filled to the brim when one of my brothers and his wife and their six year old son came to visit.

Among the many things we did I think one of my favorite moments was when my nephew came to inform me that he wants to plant a bubblegum tree for us with his wad of chewed gum. He dug a hole under kitty's careful supervision and planted it. He watered it regularly for their entire stay.

 I didn't have the heart to tell him it would never grow. He was so excited about the prospect of having us be able to go outside and pick all the bubblegum we want. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


Thank-you so much for all the kind words we received via comments and personal emails on the previous post.

The question was asked after someone saw the latest episode of Amish: Out of Order on Nat Geo where Mose was saying that the Amish don't talk about the deceased after the funeral and they wondered why the Amish would react that way.

I had never even heard of something like that before. When my Grandpa passed away we still enjoyed the memories he left behind. As the first year anniversary of his passing approached all his children and grand children contributed to a little project where we each wrote some of our favorite memories of him on little pieces of paper and put them in a gallon jar that we had hand painted and labeled; Jar of Memories. We presented it to Grandma on that anniversary day. We all enjoyed reading each other's memories and talking about the special man he was.

While we didn't always create a jar of memories we certainly didn't shy away from talking about anyone who was no longer with us. For those that had been faithful to the Amish the focus was on good and happy memories. Unfortunately for those who had left, they were often held as examples in church where ministers would warn against making foolish choices and squandering the chance of grace and repentance.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cousin Emanuel

I have ninety-seven cousins. To a lot of Amish that isn't an impressive number. LV has that many on his father's side of the family alone. Among that number there is a small handful that have left the Amish.

My twenty year old cousin Emanuel left some time ago. He was aware of the heart break he would cause when he left but needed to make a decision for himself and his life. He had hopes and dreams and was pursuing them. There was so much he wanted to do and experience.

Yesterday we received a phone call telling us the news we weren't ready to hear. Emanuel has died and his funeral is today. He had been on Lake Cayuga with his older brother enjoying an evening of swimming and boating. No one really knows how or why, but somehow he drowned even with his brother doing his best to rescue him.

They had an Amish funeral for him and those of us who had left the Amish spent a lot of time calling and talking to each other since we couldn't be at the funeral having had such short notice.

There is so much going through my mind right now but I'm finding it difficult to express it in writing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Weekend

My week end seemed to start a day early when two of my cousins arrived on Friday. We all really enjoyed their visit!
They are part of the New Order Amish in Ohio and since they brought their camera along I assumed, correctly, that they would not mind being in front of my camera.

On Saturday we attended the wedding reception of one of our friends. I didn't get very many pictures of the event since Buddy was being a super Mr. Cranky Pants. Sailor offered to take pictures and while there isn't a single one with the bride and groom, he took plenty of others.

A few pigeons on the roof above us before it grew dark and they flew away. I like their shadows!

Sunbeam enjoyed the bubbles after we were done eating. She is getting quite good at being left handed but we all look forward to next week when the cast comes off her right arm. I don't think she will be trying to fly off our front porch again.

Friday, June 8, 2012

10 Things I've Learned About the Amish ~ Guest Post

My name is Beth from The imPerfect Housewife, and I'm excited to do a guest post on Mary Ann's blog today. It's fun to talk "Amish" with others who share the same interest! She and I have gotten to know each other over the past couple years and yet have never met in person. However, I do consider her one of my dearest friends. Thanks to the gift of modern technology (e-mail, Facebook, snail mail, etc.) we have become psychologists, cheerleaders, comforters, and teachers to one another. "Why do the Amish..." is something she's heard a million times, and even though there is no standard answer that encompasses all Amish, she gives examples of how things were where she was from and what she knows of other Amish out there. She's never told me, "Enough already!" when out of the blue I'll ask a weird question that I just never thought about before like, 'So do the Amish wear deodorant?' and she's had to learn about all kinds of little intricacies of life being "English" as well. (And yes, they did wear deodorant where she was from - don't tell me you weren't curious. :)

We have an Old Order Amish community about an hour and twenty minutes from my home in St. Louis, in Bowling Green, Missouri, and that's where my husband I go for little weekend getaways. The community is right outside town and they keep pretty much to themselves - no Amish restaurants, Bed & Breakfasts, or that kind of thing. It's close enough to St. Louis and yet far enough away that it's still a vacation but completely out in the country. My husband's friend from work and his wife bought a former Amish home up there that they're converting little by little. So far, just electricity and running water, but no indoor plumbing. It's a beautiful home and they keep inviting us to stay there but I told them I'm pretty sure I'm busy every day until they get bathrooms inside, oh and probably air conditioning.

The Amish community recently had their annual auction to raise money for their schools there and that is the most fun an Amish-obsessed person with a camera can have. I can't speak for all areas, but here they don't like people in their faces and don't like to pose (I think that's pretty universal, Amish or not) but they don't mind pictures from a distance or when someone's not looking - and I've got a great zoom for a cheap camera. And yes, they like to see the pictures to see if they know anyone, which is a crack up to me. That being said, some of these pics are from the auction and some are from other times we've been there and here's what I've learned about these Amish:
1. The price of hats. I never gave it much thought. Straw in the summer, wool in the winter. Well, we were in a shop there that sells hats and this was a little surprise:

Wool hats - $83.99! Whoa horsey. I asked how much the straw ones were...$9.99. 
2. They have a great sense of humor. Saw this sign in the same shop as the hats:

3. They like their pies to be cute and they know how to sell. We've seen this in other areas as well and let's face it, who wouldn't rather buy a cute pie?! I would.

4. They don't all play with faceless dolls.
The woman at the shop (Clara), whom we've come to know from going there several times, loves to talk and she's a mom who's been through it all with 12 kids (or is it 13?). Her daughter helped us one time and when I saw Clara later I told her her daughter helped us (we'll call her Hannah - that's not for anonymity but because I have no idea what her name is). Clara said, "Oh she hates to help out in the shop and I just tell her, 'Too bad'." Hmm, I can relate. I would've given her a high five if it wouldn't have been too weird. Anyway, she sells these faceless dolls and I asked her if Amish little girls really only play with faceless dolls? Nope, not there anyway. She said they played with whatever was there and had some of both.

5. Buttons vs. Pins on little girls.
  I know that little girls can have buttons until a certain age but then need to switch to pins. To me, an outsider, it's one of those 'I don't get it' rules - buttons are OK for men and children but not women. Of course I had to ask why can't women have buttons and my answer was, "I don't know." Well, okee dokee, good enough for me.

6. They're sentimental.
This is on the porch of the former Amish home our friends bought. I'd say the Eichers lived there. That's a big name in Bowling Green - Eicher. This just warms my heart and they wanted their baby's prints in the concrete. CUTE!

7. Teen guys love to look cool in their shades.
When you got it, you got it.

8. The older generation will always impart their wisdom.

9. Child care is share and share alike - at least on auction day.

10. Everyone needs a best friend.

And one to grow on...I learned that in all those Amish fiction books that take place in Berlin, Ohio, it's pronounced BERlin, not BerLIN, like in Germany.

As the Amish themselves always say, they're just like everybody else, and in so many ways they are. It's also fun to see the little ways that they're different as well though. Thanks to Mary Ann for having me post today ~ it's fun to share with new readers! Have a great day ~

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. How many students were in your high school graduating class? Did you know most, if not all of them?
There were only three of us when I graduated from school and yes, I knew all of them. :)
2. What was the last thing you photographed?

A windmill blade passing our house. They're huge!

3. Pickles-love 'em or loathe 'em? If its love what's something you eat that needs a pickle?

I both love and loathe them.  Dill pickles give me the shivers and I try to avoid them at all costs. I love sweet pickles and cinnamon pickles are my all time favorite with lime and turmeric both coming in at second place.
4. What's a stereotype you seem to perpetuate without meaning to?

I'm drawing a blank on this one.

5. Ever been horse back riding? If so is it something you enjoy? If not, do you have any interest? Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Will you be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown this weekend?

The only horse back riding I ever did was perching on top of our buggy horse and hanging onto the harness for dear life while Daddy led him slowly to the barn. I loved it even if it doesn't qualify as being called horse back riding.

I don't really have any interest in riding now. We did not watch the Kentucky Derby and probably won't be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown either.

6. What's your favorite 'wedding' movie?

I was thinking I have never seen a wedding movie but then I happened to think of a DVD someone had given to us. A musical, The Princess and the Pea. We watched it once and then it found a new home. I wouldn't call it a favorite.
7. What is one 'tourist attraction' in the USA that you'd like to see in person?

There are so many but next on our list to visit is a toss up between the Grand Canyon or Acadia. It all depends on whether we decide to travel east or west.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We are still waiting to have Buddy's last name corrected on his birth certificate. I'm getting tired of waiting to have them fix it and can't help but wonder how it can possibly take so long.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I always enjoy opening my email and finding mail from my readers. A question that has often been asked of me is: Do the Amish recycle?

I can not speak for every Amish family or community but what I can do is share our personal experiences of being Amish.

We were raised with this saying:

Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without.

The garbage truck did not make regular stops at our house. Once a year was usually all that was necessary to pick up a bag of garbage which usually consisted of any dishes that had been broken, worn out wicks for the oil stove, and a few empty tin cans from pineapples.

The few newspapers we received were saved. They were used for several different things before we discarded them. Spreading them in a guest bedroom and then covering them with tea leaves to dry. Twisted into newspaper logs to use for fire starters in our stove. Wetting them and placing them under tomato plants to keep moisture there for the plants and reduce weeds.

Plastic grocery bags were saved. Some to be used again as a bag when ever we needed one but most were cut in half and given to my aunt Emma. She had a rug loom and made hundreds of rugs to sell. We especially liked the ones she made with grocery bags to use on our porch or in the basement where muddy shoes and boots were used.

Since we raised and canned most of our own food, tin cans were rare but the ones we did get got used until they were ugly before we put them into the garbage. A little kerosene in the bottom and dropping potato bugs into them. A container to hold earthworms to go fishing. Molds to make silos out of sand in the sandbox. And yes, even potty training.

Old clothes were torn into strips and used to make rugs. Fabric scraps were saved to make quilts. Food scraps were fed to pigs or other animals.

We never took things to a recycling center, but I would still say we did our fair share of recycling.