Monday, June 30, 2014

Return to Amish ...... What?

  Last night's episode of Return to Amish was so ridiculous that I'm still trying to decide if I want to laugh or scream. The story lines they come up with might be okay if it happened in real life, but all the stupid things they get the cast to do has ex-Amish everywhere laughing and somewhat offended at the unreal portrayal of Amish life. I can't see how the actors even maintain a straight face at some of the things they are trying to sell as reality.

   I won't bother dissecting everything, but a few were so blatantly fake that I feel like talking about it.

   In the scene where Chester, Mary, and Katie Ann were going to church to make a confession and hopefully start being accepted again was all kinds of fake. They did choose to wear their Sunday clothes, but Mary and Katie Ann didn't wear a bonnet over their prayer coverings. Amish women wouldn't even dream of going to church with out one. Second if it is cold enough to need a coat to go to church Amish women will wear a shawl, unless it's really cold and then they'll wear a coat, but still wear a shawl over it.

 They arrived at "church" and went into the house. They needed some other people there, but uh-oh they weren't wearing the clothes the Amish in Punxsutawney wear. The voices from inside the house amused me greatly. It was no where near like an Amish church service, and the "confession" part also not at all like an Amish church confession.

  The Amish never welcome people by name at a church service, confessions have the bishop informing everyone what the sin was and then the offender has to go outside while the rest of the church votes which of the three levels of confessions will have to be made. Mary was questioning if she can continue seeing her children, another sign this was not a church service. She would not have been able to say anything except repeating a certain confession after the bishop.

   I could point out more, but I'm really hoping people are realizing if they want to learn anything about the Amish, that this show has almost zero reality.

Friday, June 27, 2014


The house seems too quiet, everyone is talking in hushed tones and even moving about more quietly. After all these years I have discovered the reason behind our noisy family must be because the children have a noisy mother. You see, I have lost the ability to speak. I can whisper, but only when absolutely necessary.

I have had trouble with a growth of sorts in my throat for a long time already, but was putting off getting serious about getting help for it. Lately it has been getting much worse, so bad in fact I was having trouble swallowing food, almost every bite had to be washed down with water and sometimes that wasn't even working.

For the next month I'll be not using my voice, anyone that knows what a chatterbox I am knows how difficult this is looking to me. No talking, no singing, no laughing out loud. I never realized just how much I did of all three until that was taken from me.

I'm hoping by the end of the month things will be getting better and I won't have to do much more serious treatment. Surgery scares me, and I don't want to go that route unless I have to.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What summer activity most takes you back to your own childhood?

Working in a garden takes me back more than about any other summer activity. Summer used to be extremely busy putting up a year's supply of food.

2. What's your favorite summer smell?

Though I can't smell, I absolutely love the air here after a rain if I breathe deeply I can taste it, sweet and so refreshing.

3. It's beach season in the US of how do you feel about sand?

Sand, eh....... I actually enjoyed our visit to the beach last year, and will probably enjoy it again this year, but I would prefer other vacation destinations.

4. Sun tea, SunChips, sunflower seeds, Capri Sun, Sunny Delight, Sun-Maid raisins, sun-dried tomatoes...your favorite food or beverage with sun in its name?

Let's go through the list. Tea, no thanks. Sunflower seeds I enjoy especially when roasted like we used to while I was growing up. It's been years though since I last had any. Capri Sun and Sunny Delight, not a fan of either. Sun-Maid raisins, only if they are chocolate covered. Never had sun dried tomatoes. That leaves Sun Chips, it just happens that I love them, but only get to enjoy them when we travel.

5. What's your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?

My preferred method of cooling off on a hot day is relaxing in a nice air conditioned house with some ice cold lemonade. The children how ever would prefer to go swimming. We have friends with a nice pool that we can use when ever we like. We visited it last week, everyone was having fun until a chipmunk decided to join the activities and drowned. The speed in which the girls left the pool when that happened was almost comical.

6. Share a favorite song with the word sun or sunshine in it's title.

Walking in Sunlight

7. Tell us about a time you had an exceedingly good or truly awful customer service experience. If it was awful, did you report it? Ever go back there again?

A local business recently provided truly awful customer service, we didn't bother reporting it, mostly because it was an Amish business and we didn't want them to get in trouble for dealing with someone ex-Amish. As long as they don't recognize us, we get to do business with them, but after our last experience it might not be such a bad thing if we couldn't.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I love seeing things that grow during the summer.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Amish sermons could often be peppered with dire warnings of what happens to those who choose to leave the Amish, or awful things that happened to rebellious youth. Where these horror stories originated I have no idea, but they did what the preachers wanted them to do, strike fear into anyone that was listening.

There was a family that decided to leave the Amish, as the woman was busy packing boxes she happened to look out the window and noticed something odd in the graveyard across the road. She dropped everything and went to investigate, as she got closer she could see there were flames shooting out of a grave and a woman writhing in torment. She noticed it was the grave of a woman who had left the Amish, and now she was suffering for all eternity. After gazing horrified at the scene she went back to her house and unpacked all the boxes. She didn't want to have the same fate as the woman who no longer had a chance to repent.

Another story, and judging from how often I heard it, apparently a favorite to use as a warning to not allow pride or worldly influence into your life.

There was a rebellious young girl who decided she wants to not live according to the guidelines of the Amish church and went and painted her fingernails bright red. Her mother tearfully pleaded with her to remove the paint, but she flippantly disregarded her pleas. The next day she wanted to do the laundry and as she was filling the motor on the washing machine with gas it caught on fire and badly burned her hands and for the rest of her life she had very ugly hands all because she had chosen to allow pride in her life and painted her nails, and God had to punish her.

A man had left the Amish and allowed himself to become baptized again, but after a few years his eyes were opened and he wanted to return to the Amish. On Sundays when it was time for him to join the preachers in their meetings while the rest of the church was singing he would freeze on the bench unable to move a muscle. He had committed an unforgivable sin allowing himself to be baptized again, and now God kept him from ever being able to repent and join the Amish church again.

One of the weirdest stories involved a man growing to a stump he was sitting on and when they tried to cut the stump it bled. For the rest of his days he had to sit there. They built a shanty over him to protect him from the weather, and his wife used to bring him his food to eat. I don't remember what his sin had been, but I do remember being afraid of tree stumps for quite a while.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life with Lily

Since school is out for the summer our children have basically been devouring books. I'm always looking for more quality books to add to our home library and lately I've been adding to our kindle collection which brings me to today's news.

I'm excited that my books are on sale right now. If you have a kindle you can download the first book in the series, Life with Lily, for free, and the remaining books in the series have been reduced to 3.99. If you don't own a kindle you can do what I did and download the kindle app to your computer and you're good to go.

If you look at the sidebar of my blog you will notice links to all my books.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Since you weren't Hodgepodging last Wednesday, how did you pass the time?

Our phone and internet was off 75% of the time last week, including all day Wednesday, so I didn't really miss it. I spent my time doing some other writing and jotting things into my big book of ideas that I don't want to forget to write about someday.

2. What's the first word that comes to mind when I say marriage? Yes, one word.


3. Summer officially arrives in the Northern hemishpere later this week. Does it feel like summer where you live? Describe your idea of the perfect summer day.

It's warm and humid, so yes it feels like summer. Blah! I'm missing winter already.

My idea of a perfect summer day is being able to go about my day in a beautifully air conditioned house.

4. "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."(Sam Keen) Is laziness ever respectable? Do you have a lazy summer planned, or something semi-ambitious?

Heat saps all the energy from me and I slow down. I wouldn't necessarily label it as being lazy, more of a survival mode.

I'm looking at a summer filled with writing. My goal is hitting between 120,000 to 150,000 words so my summer is looking anything but lazy.

5. Past or present, who's your favorite television dad? Why is he a favorite? Is he anything like your own dad?

Pa Ingalls. I liked how industrious, kind, and helpful he was, and how important family seemed to him. There are a lot of similarities between him and my dad.

6. June 18th is International Picnic Day...share a favorite picnic memory.

The end of school picnic we had when I was in first grade still stands out in my mind as one of the best. Toasting marshmallows and hotdogs over a fire, enjoying all the yummy picnic foods the mothers brought, and a treasure hunt when we were done eating. The best part perhaps was when the cranky teacher was informed she would not be needed the next year.

7. The travel site Trip Advisor lists the top five islands in the world for 2014 as- Ambergris Caye in Belize CayesProvidenciales in Turks and CaicosBora Bora in French Polynesia, Marco Island Florida, and Lewis and Harris in The Outer Hebrides (Scotland). Have you been to any of these? Of those listed (and if price were not a factor) which would you most like to book for a holiday?

I have never been to any of these, but would love to visit Bora Bora someday. I'm doubtful it will ever happen, but it doesn't hurt to dream.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

 We have been getting a lot of rain, which caused our normally gurgling little creek to spill over its banks and made the waterfall thunder in its attempts to hurry the water on its way.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Do the Amish eat things that are considered, in the Old Testament, to be unclean?

Yes, they do. They are quite fond of pork and bacon makes everything better. They will eat dairy in the same meal as meat, and enjoy shellfish when ever they have an opportunity to do so.

They believe Matthew 15:17-18 applies to all food choices. To them food is food, they will thank God for it and ask Him to bless it and then proceed to enjoy it. Meals are simple, but hearty and delicious consisting mostly of foods they have raised themselves. Since they don't raise shellfish they hardly ever eat it other than when they travel and stop at restaurants to eat.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad. Life has taken us down different roads, but I will always cherish my fond memories of childhood. Closing my eyes I can almost hear you whistle as you work in your furniture shop in the basement. I miss the Sunday morning story times and hearing you sing. 

Thank-you  for always being there when I was growing up. When ever I had a problem I could count on you to help me take care of it.  When I was five you would come and chase the monsters from under my bed in the middle of the night. When I got older and was having trouble learning new math concepts you would sit with me in the evenings to help me get things figured out. You were there to teach me how to work and how to play. When I needed advice you always took time to stop and listen to what I had to say. Thank-you for knowing how to give advice. Always kind and sensible, never demanding.

Thank-you for teaching me the value of family time. That the time we spent together was much more important than what we did. Thank-you for taking us on Sunday afternoon drives, thank you for sharing your love for nature, flowers, and other beautiful things. Thank-you for all you taught me and for being my dad.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


    Every year we would traipse out to the woods to where huge amounts of peppermint tea was growing beside the creek. We would gather pails full and take it back to the house, after it was washed and all the damaged leaves removed we would spread it out on muslin fabric we had spread on our guest room bed and floor. Once it was thoroughly dried we would put it in containers and store it in the pantry to be used until the next summer when fresh peppermint would grow.

  We would watch for mallow plants growing at the edge of the garden or sprouting up beside the house. The leaves and flowers were gathered and dried, and the little cheeses nibbled on immediately as a fun treat. During the winter months if someone had a bad cold we would make tea from it and then use the tea leaves as a poultice.

  The flowers from the Heal-all plants were gathered where they grew in patches in our yard. These were dried and used to make tea to treat sore throat.

  The worst tea we gathered was bone set tea. Always kept on hand in case someone were to break a bone and would need to drink the tea to aid the healing process. When I broke my ankle, one cup of that dreadful tasting brew was all I managed to to drink, before deciding to allow it to heal at what ever pace it wanted to.

  My grandmother knew what plants to gather and what they were good for, when we went to visit her there was always an assortment of teas in various stages of drying that had to be moved before we could go to bed. Everything from horsetail, stinging nettle, comfrey, and red raspberry leaves she gathered for health reasons, to the applemint, balsam, and peppermint she gathered to drink simply because she loved tea.

  I don't go searching for tea any longer, but this summer I might since the children have expressed an interest in doing so. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heart of the Home

Over the years, especially since leaving the Amish, I have often heard people express their sympathy for Amish women. Those poor overworked, under appreciated, and "gasp" submissive creatures.

I'm not saying all Amish homes are blissfully happy places, but for the most part women are very happy to have their husband as the head of the home and treat him as such, with respect and honor. They don't feel that by doing so makes them of any less importance, in fact, wives and mother's are valued, cherished, and well cared for. The husband may be the head of the home, but the wife and mother is the heart of the home. Working together as such makes a beautiful team.

Two little sayings, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." and its close cousin, "Happy wife, happy life." meant something to us.

My mother, and later when I got married, viewed it as, since we are considered the heart of the home our moods will affect the entire family. If I stay happy, positive, and joyfully go about my life the family is a happy one. If I'm not happy it rubs off on everyone else and an entire day can be ruined with grouchiness.

It wasn't until after we had left the Amish that I realized not everyone views those two sayings the same. Someone mentioned that her husband had bought something for her that she wanted even though he didn't really think it was wise, and then quipped, "But you know, happy wife, happy life!"

It made me blink a little, up until then I hadn't thought of twisting that to make it sound as if my husband is responsible for keeping me happy in order to make his life happy.

I still choose to view those sayings as a motivation to stay cheerful even when not everything is looking like roses and sunshine, rather than using them as a threat to get what I want.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Amish Church Lunch

For the majority of Amish churches the lunch served after services consists of a special mixed peanut butter we used to refer to as church peanut butter, bread, pickles, and peppermint tea. Those were the four staples though the option was there to also serve cheese, bologna, red beets, and cookies.

Some churches though do things a little differently. My Dad used to share how the church he grew up in served a hot bread and bean soup and apple schnitz half moon pie. Big bowls of soup were set on the table and everyone was given a spoon which they used to eat directly from the bowl.

Another church had the traditional peanut butter lunch, but afternoons they poured five gallon pails full of popcorn down the middle of the tables and everyone sat around snacking and visiting. The lady of the house would spend Saturday afternoon popping all that popcorn. Something I'm glad I never had to do.

The church we lived in when we chose to leave the Amish had a system where everyone took turns bringing something specific to church for lunch. The lady of the house provided the huge casseroles and coffee while the rest of the ladies arrived with salads, cakes, and desserts.

Somerset County Amish don't serve any type of lunch at church though they often invite other families home to enjoy a meal and an afternoon of visiting.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our Day in Pictures

In celebration that our school year is officially over the children and I spent the day outside.

We found the same huge patch of flowers we visit every year and picked enough to make a pretty bouquet.

 The waterfall looks even nicer when viewed from the front porch so that it looks framed by rhododendrons.

Buddy enjoyed playing.

And resting.

And his favorite, playing in the sand.

Yard work, and then ice cream sandwiches finished out our day. I love days like this!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. I've read several posts and status updates recently describing end of year school field trips. Do you remember taking school field trips as a kid? Where did you go and do you recall a favorite? For any parents responding today, have you ever chaperoned a school field trip, and if so where?

In our school we used to have an end of year nature hike. It was the highlight of our year. Right after our morning school devotions we would hike to nearby woods where we would play all day. Grey Wolf, Hide and Seek, and a few other games were a lot of fun.

2. What's something you're tired of seeing online?

Advertisements. The ones I see the most are for Zulily, Stanley Steemer, Dominoes, and insurance. Most of the time I can ignore them quite easily, but occasionally when I see my books pop up on someone else's site it catches my attention. I know ads are based on my search history, but they really do no good. I never click on any of them.

3. June is the month for roses. Which of the following expressions would you say has most recently applied to your life-'everything's coming up roses', 'there's no rose without a thorn', 'came out smelling like a rose', or 'wearing rose-colored glasses'? 

Probably everything is coming up roses. Life is good, nothing huge, just simply enjoying life and some opportunities that appear to be knocking on our door.

4. When grilling outdoors do you prefer gas or charcoal? Who does the grilling at your house? What's the last thing you ate that was cooked on a grill?

I don't like grilled things, period. We used to have a charcoal grill, but have a gas grill now. The food never tastes good to me when prepared on either grill. I don't like outdoorsy lightly burned, or as others call it, grilled flavor. The last thing I ate that was cooked on a grill was chicken.

5. Are you afraid of the dark?

No, the dark does not bother me. It used to when I was a little girl when I imagined snakes and wolves lurking in the basement. Thankfully I grew out of that.

6. Share a favorite song with a number in it's title.

Flight Number 7.  I had almost forgotten about that song, definitely not a favorite, but it's the only thing that comes to mind that has a number in the title.

7. "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."(C.G. Jung). Do you agree? Why or why not?

I think there is a lot of truth to that. I find things that irritate me about others, when I look more closely at myself I actually have some of the same tendencies and I see it is an area in my life I should work on. This isn't always the case and instead it may be something I have to learn to be more patient or forgiving.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

The rhododendron bush by our front porch is beginning to bloom. I love it, even if it means that bumblebees seem to love it too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


A typical day at an Amish school starts with the teacher reading a chapter from the New Testament followed by everyone reciting the Lord's Prayer and then three songs are sung. Four mornings a week this is all done in English, on Wednesdays it was done in German.

First up was always penmanship, as everyone was busy doing their best handwriting the teacher would begin calling classes to the front of the room to check the math they had done the previous day and go over the lesson she assigned them for the day. We used to have to exchange our books and check each other's work as the teacher read the answers. She usually started with the eighth grade and worked her way down to third grade, first and second graders didn't have to check each others work and their classes were always much more fun to watch.

The day would continue with all our assignments given and work checked in the same manner, we did English, Geography, History, Vocabulary, Spelling, and Reading. For those that did their work fast the rest of the day was spent reading books from the small assortment provided in the school library.

The only language spoken on school property was English. Most first graders could understand and speak broken English before starting school, but there were two families that had a much harder time since they weren't ever allowed to speak English at home. It didn't take them long to catch on though and after the first few weeks in school they were happily speaking English as well.

Amish schools are quiet, speaking to each other is strictly prohibited when school is in session, whispering would result in loss of recess privileges. No one wanted to spend recess at their desk and write lines instead of getting to go out to play. There were two fifteen minute recesses and a thirty minute recess at noon.

Right after the noon recess the teacher would read a chapter or two out of a book. And a short discussion would follow before we resumed our lessons.

Teachers were allowed to spank if they thought it was necessary, but that hardly ever happened. In fact I can only remember it happening twice while I was going to school.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday's Random Bits

Today I'm pondering why Monday's seem to be the day when things pop up and don't necessarily go the direction I want them to.

I had a simple schedule in mind when I got up this morning, do the laundry, finish up some paper work, and make a phone call.

With the first load of laundry in the machine I went to make that phone call, they put me on hold for almost two hours before I finally got to speak to someone, I was beginning to think they do it on purpose in hopes their customers get discouraged and hang up and don't confront them about their bogus collection scheme. I think everything is cleared up now, but it certainly wasn't the most fun way to start my week.


I signed into my blog and was surprised at the amount of traffic I got last night, and almost all of them came looking for Amish canned meat.

I'm guessing I know why since I was among the number of people who tuned in to watch the new series Return to Amish. I don't know why I even bother watching it, it's such a convoluted mess of acting, and just why they think they have to keep carrying their jars of canned meat with them to snack on is beyond me, and utterly ridiculous!

I can almost guarantee that off camera they never do that!


I'm hoping today's rain won't put a damper on tomorrow's planned picnic. The menu has been planned and the item the children are most excited about is the batch of donuts we'll be making in the morning.