Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May?

Our Easter flowers are blooming nicely, but trees are still very bare.

Speaking figuatively, yes, I'm happily blooming where I'm planted.

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders.

I'm not exactly sure how to rate this because it depends on the size of the spider and whether or not someone else is available to get rid of it for me.

Tiny spiders are probably a two, big hairy ones a nine. I have been known to trap them under a bowl until they can be disposed of by someone else.

3. May is National Salad Month (who knew???)...besides lettuce, what are two must-have ingredients in your favorite salad?

Avocados and sour cream.

4. Joyce mentioned on her blog last week that her  Daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married. Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person-Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington),  Mt. Rainer (Washington) Oregon Coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington)

I would love to see all of them, but since we can choose only one I'll go with Crater Lake.

5. This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby...when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line?

Right now it feels as if we were racing towards a finish line. Trying to wrap up another year of school.

6. What is something little you love?

I love the little notes that appear on my pillow and other places where the children are sure I will find them.  I have a big box full of them, because I can never bear to think of throwing them away.

7. Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Elaborate.

I think I'm more visual, if someone shows me how something needs to be done I can comprehend, if I can read instructions I have no problems either, but if I have to simply listen to someone give instructions I feel my eyes start glazing over and I have a hard time following.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Caught Buddy trying to find himself a little bedtime snack.

Z ~ Zeugnis

At the end of the main sermon the minister who delivered it will ask the other ministers for zeugnis. They are expected to confirm what they had just heard matches with what the Bible says, and then add some of their own thoughts.  For the most part this didn't take long, a few minutes a piece and it was time for the fifteen minute closing prayer and the last hymn.

Some ministers had a problem keeping their zeugnis short. One in particular would ramble on and on and on for thirty minutes or more. The one Sunday it had been the bishop's turn to deliver the main sermon. When he asked for zeugnis this minister again kept going and going, finally at the almost 45 minute mark, the bishop leaned forward and said, "I asked for zeugnis, not a sermon." You could have heard a pin drop.

After that, the zeugnis portion of church was much better, the long winded zeugnis giver now became the shortest, barking out only the bare minimum. We didn't mind.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y ~ Yield

Of the basic things that makes an Amish church work, is the importance of knowing how to yield to those in authority and each other.
  • Yielding to the ministry with unquestioning obedience. In a world that questions everything and wants to know reasons behind things, the Amish for the most part are free of that, accepting and yielding is the only acceptable response to the rules and regulations of the church.
  • Yielding to the school board.  Next to the ministry they had the most power in the community.
  • Yielding to your neighbor. Always being more concerned about his rights than your own.
  • The worst yielding, and one that thankfully I never had to personally experience, was yielding to a team of men that would control every single penny you earned. This was reserved for those that had poor financial management. Filing bankruptcy is not an option, instead this team will step in and manage your money for you until you're debt free, they'll tell you what to work, how, when, and where. They'll give you a tiny grocery allowance to buy just the most basic of basic essentials. Anything you could possibly live without you will have to live without. Not fun for those involved, but this system did work.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X ~ eXcommunicate

In the Amish church if someone sins, or doesn't adhere to the ordnung they will be required to make a confession. There are several levels of confessions, first time offenders usually get the mildest form, repeat offenders have harsher consequences including excommunication.

In the event that the ministry decides somebody needs to be punished by excommunication they will ask members to remain seated after church while all non members are dismissed. The sinner is called out by name and his sin publicly announced. He is then asked to leave the room while everyone votes whether or not they agree that he should be excommunicated. The two ministers walk around the room pausing in front of each member so they can whisper their vote into his ear.  Choices were:
  • Yes, I agree. God's blessings wished.
  • No, I don't agree.
  • Leaving the decision up to the church. God's blessings wished.
(Voting no is a huge no no, unless you don't mind getting into trouble too)

After all the votes have been taken the ministers return to their seats and announce what the votes had been, and the offender is asked to come back inside where he sits in front of the ministers. The bishop then tells him that the church agreed to his punishment, reads 1 Corinthians 5, and then proceeds to give him over to Satan. He is then required to leave the room immediately, while the bishop talks a little more about the seriousness of what just occurred.

During the next six weeks the excommunicated person can not eat with anyone, no one is allowed to take anything from his hand, or do any business with him. They are encouraged to be kind to him though, they will fill his plate with food and serve him, he can't sit at the same table as the rest of his family, but a few inches away where he can still be included in conversation.

After those six weeks are over he is reinstated into the church, if proper repentance is evident. Most times it is, because nothing is as terrifying as the thought of dying during that time and being lost forever.

If someone leaves the Amish they excommunicate them. For most Amish churches that means unless they return to the Amish church there is no hope for them.

The community we lived in when we left was a little different, they remove the excommunication if the ex-Amish join a church they somewhat approve of. We do not believe they have power to give our soul to Satan, and never worried about what would happen if we died, but after four years we decided to move to the church they okayed, for family reasons. We are no longer excommunicated, which makes it ever so much nicer when we visit our Amish families.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W ~ Weddings

An Amish wedding is an all day affair, services begin at 9:00, and are basically  like any church service except a few different songs are sung, though still in the same slow fashion. Sermons are just as long, but they focus on weddings in the Bible, and plenty of advice thrown in about love and submission. At 12:00 the couple gets married after making the vows I shared yesterday.

After they are married there is a long prayer and the final wedding song is sung.

Then it's time to head to the reception where loads of food is served, and the afternoon is spent singing. (Contrary to popular belief, most Amish weddings do not serve celery.)

Evening arrives and it's time to eat the wedding supper, but first the youth pairs up where the boys choose which girl they want to sit with. After everyone has been paired up and they found their place to sit, it is time to sing again, this time regular songs, found in the Leidersammlung, and sung to the tunes of English hymns. After two hours of singing, the wedding supper is served. Around 10:00 everything is over and people start going home.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V ~ Vows

Amish take vows very seriously. 

The first vow made happens on the day of baptism.

There are four questions that are asked including this one:

Do you also promise before God and His church that you will support these teachings and regulations (Ordnung) with the Lord’s help, faithfully attend the services of the church and help to counsel and work in it, and not to forsake it, whether it leads you to life or to death?

It is the one vow that they keep reminding us of after we chose to leave the Amish.

For most, the next set of vows made will be on their wedding day.

Groom and bride are asked, "Can you both confess and believe that God has ordained marriage to be a union between one man and one wife, and do you also have the confidence that you are approaching marriage in accordance with the way you have been taught?"
They will answer, "Yes."
The groom, "Do you also have confidence, brother, that the Lord has provided this, our sister as a wife for you?"
He will answer, "Yes."
The bride is asked, "Do you also have the confidence, sister, that the Lord has provided this, our brother as a husband for you?"
She will answer, "Yes."
The groom is asked, "Do you also promise your wife that if she should in bodily weakness, sickness, or any similar circumstances need your help, that you will care for her as is fitting for a Christian husband?"
He will answer, "Yes."
The bride is asked, "Do you promise your husband the same thing, that if he should in bodily weakness, sickness, or any similar circumstances need your help, that you will care for him as is fitting for a Christian wife?"
She will answer, "Yes."
Both are then asked, "Do you both promise together that you will with love, forbearance, and patience live with each other, and not part from each other until our loving God will separate you by death?"
They will answer, "Yes."

Divorce does not happen as long as both are Amish. Once in a while one of them, most often the husband feels led to leave the Amish, the community does everything in their power to get the wife to break her wedding vows and stay Amish in order to not break the much more important vow she made at baptism.

They tried their best to make me see it their way when we chose to leave, thankfully it didn't work.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U ~ Underwear

This is a topic I have received questions about since almost the beginning of my blog, and for the most part I answered via email rather than addressing it on my blog because, well, because it's underwear!

Everyone knows the Amish make their own clothes, and it makes a lot of people curious, what type of underwear do they wear.

The answer isn't weird or exciting. They buy it.

Another question I get is, do they wear underwear and if they do, do they wash it because they have never seen any on Amish clotheslines.

As you can guess, yes, they do wear it, and yes, they do wash it regularly, there are ways to hide it from passersby by pinning it behind towels or other larger items.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T~ Tobacco

I don't know the percentage of Amish communities that use tobacco products, but do know that quite a few of them do.

The community we lived in it was strictly forbidden, my cousins in Lancaster smoked regularly, LV's cousins in Smicksburg all had their favorite brands, and he used to admire how his grandpa smoked a pipe.

There are many Amish in Lancaster that raise tobacco as means of supporting their family.

Back in the late 80's a new Amish community was starting in Wisconsin, my parents bought a farm there and we planned to move thinking the church would be almost a mirror copy of the one my parents had been married in. This little community had a lot of problems before it ever even really got started when a bishop moved in and decided to have more of a Lancaster style church and one of the points on the ordnung would be that the men should smoke cigars or pipes. That by doing so they were portraying a humble spirit.

My parents chose not to follow through with that move, thanks in part to tobacco.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S ~ Superstitions

Oddly enough, among the different Amish churches, the more conservative the church, the more they believe in superstitions.

My parents didn't buy into any of them, and tried to teach us to disregard them as well, but having all my friends in school believing very strongly in some of them I wasn't totally unaffected. I completely bought into the superstition that if you looked into a mirror while the clock was striking at midnight you would see what you will look like in your coffin. After peeking and seeing my reflection I was sure it meant I would die any day. I wrote a will and everything. My Mom tried talking some sense into me, and I was extremely relieved that the mirror held no power over me, no matter what time of day it was or how many clocks were striking.

Another superstition I hoped was true, was that if a girl stepped on her skirt while walking up stairs it meant she wouldn't get married that year. I was determined to never get married and for several years made it a point to step on my skirt on January 1st.

A lot believe when the chimney of an oil lamp suddenly breaks, it means someone died.

Some communities believe you can tell whether the deceased are in heaven or not by listening to the first shovel full of dirt that gets placed into the grave. If it's quiet everything is okay. If it makes a noise it's the worst.

Others believe if a dish gets broken on the day of a funeral, it means the deceased did not make it to heaven.

If it rained the day before a wedding it meant the groom would have a hard time making ends meet, rain on the day of the wedding meant that they would have all sorts of problems, the day after the wedding meant the bride was going to be a lousy housekeeper.

The first couple a newly ordained bishop marries will have a curse rather than a blessing on their married life.

January the 6th used to be one of the most fearful nights of the year, when evil roamed the land and all sorts of scary things would occur if you ventured out of the house, especially at midnight. I didn't believe it, but at the same time, I wasn't about to check it out to prove it wrong.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R ~ Remedies

Most Amish rely on remedies that have been handed down for generations, some of them really do work, while others have me running in the other direction simply hearing about them.

Of the ones I have personal experience with that actually worked:

Carrot Poultice

Puncture wounds, or deeply embedded slivers. We would grate a raw carrot and place it on the affected area, wrap it and go to sleep, in the morning slivers had been pulled out, and wounds would be well on their way to healing.

It was a cheap, easy remedy that worked wonders.

Oil of Egg

Hernias.  A dozen eggs were hardboiled, the yolks crumbled and then heated until almost a tablespoon of oil was extracted. Extremely smelly to make, but again I saw first hand the healing power of this oil. Dabbing a little oil to the hernia several times a day and it started shrinking and totally healed with no surgery required.


Any bad cuts.  Holding the wounded area in some kerosene will immediately stop the bleeding.


Ear infection. A slice of raw potato placed on the ear will relieve the pain.
A remedy that does not work:

Ear Candles

Thought to remove wax build up from ears.  To any believers I suggest you try this experiment. Light the candle, but instead of holding it in the ear hold it against your hand or some other surface. Results are exactly the same.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q ~ Quilts

The tiny hand stitched, stitching on Amish quilts always looks nice.

Contrary to popular belief, most Amish quilts are not quilted at a community quilting bee. Instead they are often single family projects where a quilt is put in the quilting frame during winter and worked on every day for several weeks until it's finished.

Every once in a while especially if the quilt is a community project, such as the families want to give the teacher a quilt as a token of their appreciation, all the mothers pitch in to help get it quilted by having a quilting bee or two.

A lot of women and older single girls often supplement income by quilting quilts for local Amish quilt shops. At fifty cents a yard you can often earn between $150 to $300 quilting a quilt. Quilts at these shops as you can guess have not been quilted at a quilting bee.

This quilt, I quilted the first winter after we were married. It took me almost a month to get it done.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P ~ Prayer

The Amish have a little black prayer book filled with centuries old prayers, if they want to pray they reach for this book and read a prayer. Praying without this book was viewed as almost sacrilegious and becoming dangerously bold.

Out of the entire book there were five prayers that were used most.

A short prayer that Daddy read every morning, a short one he read at bedtime. Sunday mornings he used to read a longer one, and several times a month he read one two paged prayer that prayed specifically for children. I always felt special when he read that prayer.

Here are the first few lines of that prayer:
Ach Herr! lieber getreuer Gott und Vater Schopfer und Erhalter aller Creaturen! gib uns doch auch die Gnade, dasz wir unsere Kinder in der Zucht und Vermahnung zum Herrn und in aller Gerechtigkeit auserziehen konnen, Du woolest auch unsern Kindern Gnaden schenken und ihnen die Gabe des heiligen Geistes erteilen. Entzunde in ihnen die wahre Furcht Gottes, welche der Weisheit Anfang ist.

Oh Lord! loving faithful God and Father creator and keeper of all creation! give us grace that we can raise our children in nurture and admonition of the Lord in all righteousness. You want to give our children grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Kindle in them the true fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom.

Then there was the prayer used at every church service that took fifteen minutes to read.

A little over half (158 pages) are prayers, and then the articles of faith, rules of a Godly life, and a few poems fill the rest of this 269 page prayer book.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O ~ Ordnung

The rules of an Amish church are called the ordnung

Ordnungs vary greatly from one community to the next. What is accepted in one community could very easily be forbidden in another.

In the community I grew up in hardwood floors were forbidden, and I always admired them when we visited my cousins in a different community. They on the other hand thought having linoleum on a floor would be great but it was against the ordnung in their community.

A few more bits of ordnung from the community I grew up in:
  • Refrigerators were not allowed in the kitchen. They were fine in a pantry, if you didn't have a pantry they often were kept on a porch.
  • Apron belts weren't allowed to be wider than an inch and a quarter.
  • Kapp strings were supposed to be 7/8" wide and had to be tied at all times.
  • Baby blankets used in church had to be black.
  • Little boys had to wear dresses until their second birthday.
  • Stoves had to be black, and refrigerators had to be painted, white was not an option.
  • Sunday evening youth hymn sings had to last two full hours, no talking was allowed during that time, at least one slow church song had to be sung, no harmonizing, and adding a chorus after each verse was forbidden.
  • Hat brims were supposed to be three inches wide.
  • Men's shirt collars were to be buttoned at all times.
This is only a very small sample of the huge stack of rules that governed almost every possible aspect of our life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N ~ Names

Popular Amish names in the community I grew up in were:

  • Albert
  • Noah
  • John
  • Simon
  • Henry
  • David
  • Mark
  • Bennie
  • Lewis
  • Menno
  • Naomi
  • Ruth
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth
  • Miriam
  • Nancy
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Martha
  • Malinda
Another interesting fact about Amish names is once a girl gets married she will be called by her husband's first name followed by her name. For example, let's pretend the first names on both lists were to get married, Naomi would now be known as Albert Naomi and if we would want to go visit them we would say we're going to visit Alberts. Adding an "s" to the husband's first name indicates we're talking about that entire family.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M ~ Mending

The day following laundry day used to be a day I dreaded. Every article of clothing had been inspected while being folded the previous day and anything that needed a little bit of mending was placed on a pile to be tackled the next day.

As a little girl I was responsible for replacing any missing buttons on the shirts and pants, while Mom hand stitched patches on the little boys pants, there seemed to never be a week that there weren't holes worn in the knees on a few pair.

The worst of the mending was darning the socks. A light bulb was inserted into the sock that was then stretched over it. A big darning needle and some yarn and we set to work weaving a patch to close the hole in the heels or toes of the socks.

It wasn't fun breaking in a newly darned sock either. The little yarn knots were annoying at the least, more often they could get quite painful depending where they were situated.

Monday, April 14, 2014

L ~ Laundry

As a child laundry day was a day to look forward to. We used to have a huge kettle outside under some trees, that had a built in firebox that we used to heat water to do the laundry. On Monday evenings my brother John and I used to use the garden hose to fill it up.

Mom would sort the weeks worth of dirty laundry and we'd put each pile into a five gallon pail and then fill the pails with water and let them soak overnight.

On Tuesday morning Daddy would get up early and start a fire in the kettle, and by the time we were done with breakfast the water would be boiling. He would fill the washing machine before he left for work.

We would hurry with the dishes and then head out to the washing machine, Mom would check the gas in the little Honda engine and start it up. She would put the Sunday clothes in first and let them wash for a few minutes and then got a long wooden stick that Daddy had made for her and lifted the clothes out and let them drop into the rinse water. She would add some more soap and turn the wringer to the side of the machine and lifted a 5 gallon pail that was filled with the soaking dirty clothes, up on a backless green chair and start feeding the clothes through the wringer into the washing machine. Once the pail was empty she would go to the rinse tub and take one piece of clothing at a time and plunge down into the water as deep as it could go and then lift it up and let the water run off a little and then plunge it in again. She would repeat this three times with each article of laundry. John and I helped with the smaller pieces. We didn't mind getting splashed as we all rinsed the clothes with energy, singing the whole time we were doing it.

 As each piece was rinsed it was put through the wringer and into a pail and then we'd head for the clothes line where we would hand the clothes to Mom, which saved her from having to bend down for every piece she hung up.

And so it continued until every batch of laundry was done, and all the clothes were flapping merrily in the breeze.

We would eat a quick lunch and then head out to check to see if the first few batches were dry already. Mom would take the clothes off and John and I would stand beside her with our arms stretched out and she would fill them with the dry clothes. We would run in and put them on the table and then run back outside to get another load.

There used to be a big mountain of clothes on the table by the time Mom got back inside. and we would all start folding. John and I got to pair the socks and fold the smaller things while Mom did the rest. She made up a little song that she sang whenever we were folding and putting everything away.

Thank you Lord for this nice day.
Bless us as we put away,
All the garments clean and bright
That were dried by wind and light.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K ~ Kapp

The kapp, a head covering, (pronounced cop) was an extremely important part of an Amish woman's wardrobe.

We honestly believed God would not hear any prayers a woman prays if she isn't wearing a kapp. In addition to the importance of wearing it while we prayed, it was also a symbol of our submission to either our husband, or father, which ever male figure was the head of the household.

Different communities have different rules of how the covering is to be made, but the purpose of wearing them remains the same.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J ~ Jobs

Growing up Amish, and a girl, my choice of a job or career was extremely limited. Especially in the community we lived in.

I essentially had five options.
  1. Get married and be a wife and mother.
  2. Become a teacher at one of the Amish schools.
  3. Work as a hired girl for mothers the first six weeks after a baby arrives.
  4. Do quilting.
  5. Have a bakery.
I used to dream of being a teacher, salary was horrible at only $11.10 per day, but that was still better than option three and being paid only $5.00 a day for being over worked often catching up on all sorts of jobs the mother didn't enjoy on top of caring for all the housework and often a lot of little children. That option did not appeal to me at all.

I hated quilting, so that was out.

I enjoyed baking, but not all the time. I knew there was no way I wanted to have a bakery.

As it turned out I fell head over heels in love and option one was the only thing I cared about.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I ~ Icy Feet

One of the things I liked the least when we were Amish was getting icy cold feet during the winter, especially on the way home from a Sunday evening hymn sing.

Sunday dress shoes weren't known for their warmth to begin with and adding freezing cold temperatures it didn't take long to feel the cold creep in. The heavy buggy robe we used to cover our laps simply didn't help our feet.

My toes used to start tingling from the cold in the first few minutes in the buggy, it kept growing more painful with every minute that passed. By the time we got home my feet used to be reduced to icy chunks, so numb with cold they didn't even want to move properly when I walked and I used to do the icy feet waddle into the house where I then stood on top of the radiator in the living room trying to get them to thaw before going to bed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H ~ Hair

From the day she is born, until the day she dies, an Amish woman never cuts her hair. To keep all of this hair under a covering we used hairpins to hold the hair in a snug bun.
I still have a handful of hairpins left over from my Amish years. They come in handy when we go to visit family and I try to wear my hair in a proper bun.
With Sunbeam being my willing model I'll try to show how I used to do my hair.
The hair is always parted down the middle.

The one side was twisted into a rope.

And then pinned and coiled clockwise to start the bun.

The next side gets twisted into a rope.

This rope was pinned and coiled counter clockwise around the first half of the bun.

Finally a hairband, often made from velvet or some type of fabric that didn't naturally try to slip, was pinned into place with several straight pins to keep wisps of hair from floating freely.  (I used a piece of ribbon for demonstration purposes.)

Now she would be ready for a covering, but I don't have one so simply take a look at the covers of my books in the side bar to see what that would look like.

Often the only thing we did with our hair, especially little girls who had their hair in braids before having been put into a bun, was combing the hair back to the bun and redoing the hairband. Saturdays hair was taken down, a weeks worth of tangles combed out of it, washed, and put back into a snug bun.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G ~ Garden

Gardening was always an important part of our life when we were Amish. Raising enough vegetables to last a year plus having extra to share with neighbors, or those in need.

I learned a lot about gardening without ever realizing I was learning something. From the time I could toddle I helped Mom. She always talked about everything she was doing.

Planting, weeding, harvesting, and canning. The garden kept us busy all summer long. As happy as I was each spring when it was time to plow the garden and start planting, I was equally as happy when the last pumpkins had been harvested in the fall and gardening was over for another year.

Monday, April 7, 2014

F ~ Frolic

To the Amish, the word frolic did not match the definition found in the dictionary.

A frolic to us was when the entire community came together to help work on building something, a barn, house, shed, school house, or what ever it was that needed to be built.

As a child frolics were a lot of fun, where we could play all day with our friends, it was a day filled with the noise of hammers, saws, and men talking and calling out directions. Women cooking and baking in order to serve a huge delicious meal at noon while catching up on all the latest news. Older girls looked after babies and toddlers.

A lot could be accomplished at a frolic. What could have taken weeks or even months to do was often achieved in a single frolic.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E ~ Elderly

The elderly are a very important part of the Amish community, often looked to as those that can offer wise counsel.

A lot of Amish homes have an attached "Dawdy haus"  consisting of a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and one or two bedrooms for grandparents to live in. Small and cozy, a Dawdy haus to me was always such a happy inviting place.

If extra care was needed in cases of Alzheimer's or being bedridden they were often moved from the Dawdy haus into the main house living room area where they had round the clock care.

Sometimes if the person being cared for is especially cantankerous or difficult, their children will take turns providing care for a month at a time.

If the elderly happened to be childless or single, nieces or nephews would step up to give them a home to stay in.

The golden years for elderly Amish are truly golden. Surrounded by loved ones and no fear of ever being put into a nursing home.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D ~ Dresses

There are two basic types of dresses that Amish girls and women wear.

For the first ten years of my life I had loose fitting dresses that buttoned down the back and aprons that were basically another dress minus the sleeves.

I was thrilled to change to grown up dresses on my tenth birthday, exchanging the buttons down the back for straight pins in the front, the comfortable loose and free dress to one that now fit snugly at the waist. Instead of the little girl apron there was now a two piece contraption, a cape that we called a "hals duch" that was worn over the dress bodice, and an apron that was pinned at the waist and covered the front of the dress skirt.

The first few weeks of wearing grown up dresses were pure misery, but thankfully I got used to wearing them and they no longer bothered me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C ~ Church

Church was held every other week, and while most Amish churches are held in homes, the Amish in Somerset County use meeting houses.
 Shutters are closed during the week, and opened Sunday mornings for services.

Unfinished wooden benches. I was always thankful for the backs, instead of the backless benches most Amish use.
  Arriving at church Mom and I went inside while Daddy and the boys went out to the barn with the rest of the menfolk until it was time for services to begin. Once everyone had filed in and was seated at their regular spot, men on the right, women on the left, boys on the first four benches in the middle and the girls on the  three remaining benches it was time for services to begin.
  Two or three slow church songs were sung (taking up to 20 minutes per song) while the ministers went into a little room to pray and discuss what ever it was they were supposed to. Next came the preaching of two sermons and a scripture reading, and then the 15 minute prayer where I tried to keep my knees from creaking.   Another slow song and church was over and we could visit with our friends until it was time to go home.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B ~ Buggies

Most of my growing up years we had three buggies. A small one seated open buggy, our regular family buggy, and what we referred to as a spring wagon which was an one seated open buggy with a long bed for hauling things. Basically the Amish version of a pickup truck.

When my brother John turned sixteen a small one seated top buggy was added to our family's mode of transportation options.

There was one type of buggy that we didn't have. An extra long, three seated top buggy, drawn by a team of horses. Large families used them. And to me, even more importantly, wedding parties used them. The bride and groom would sit on the middle seat with their 'nava hucka' sitting on the front and back seats.

As a little girl the thought of getting to ride in a buggy like that was almost enough to make me want to get married some day.

I never did get to ride in one of those buggies. When LV and I got married we opted to walk to church instead of using a buggy. Something I still kind of regret.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can't answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

I can't think of anything other than the children hiding a realistic looking toy spider in odd places to scare me.

2. What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read? Was it any good?

The latest memoir I read was, Growing Up Amish, by Ira Wagler. I really enjoyed it.

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

We love garlic. I use it all the time in many different dishes. I'm not sure I can choose a favorite. One that is always a hit is an onion, garlic pull apart bread I make occasionally.

4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person...The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts?

I'm choosing the Daffodil Festival, because I really want to visit Nantucket Island.

5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next'?

An interesting blog title is the first thing that grabs my attention. If the style of writing is engaging I'll become a regular reader. There are several different types of blogs I read regularly.
  • The subject matter interests me.
  • They make me laugh.
  • They make me think.
  • They're uplifting and happy.
There are several different things that make me not follow blogs. Music that blares as soon as I arrive. If they are constantly trying to sell me something. Having to click read more, unless the first paragraph grabbed my attention. The hated word verification thingy. But the biggest reason I never return is when the entire post is written in text talk.

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math?

I use it everyday.
7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1...choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.

Awesome. Temperature was very pleasant, a lot of yard work was done, and even a picnic was enjoyed. Spring is a delightful time of year!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

On the menu for tonight. Maryland Crab Cakes. Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A ~ Autograph Book

An important part of every Amish teenaged girl was having an autograph book.
We got our friends to sign it, carried it with us to singings when ever there were visiting youth in the community, packed it in our suitcase when ever we went traveling.
I love reading through mine and remembering all the friends I had. Most entries I can still picture and relive the events that occurred on the day they were written.
My favorite "go to" verse I used to pen into my friends' autograph books was:
When evening draws its curtain
And pins it with a star
Remember that you have a friend
No matter where you are.

Though not a common practice, I asked my Mom to be the first one to sign my book. I really treasure that entry!