What I have learned from the Amish by Mary Ellis
With the release of the first of my New Beginnings series, I realize I have learned much during my travels for research. Living in Harmony is set in Maine, where their Old Order districts differ greatly from those in Lancaster, PA or Ohio, where I live. One cannot study another person’s culture without her own life being influenced. After interviewing and then writing about the Amish in nine novels, I’ve found my life has changed. Here are five things I’ve learned from these quiet, unassuming people:
Slow down. Whether driving, talking or eating my dinner, a person enjoys the event much more if they take it easy. I once thought if I didn’t rush, I would never finish everything I needed to in a given day. That’s not true. Whoever said “haste makes waste” knew what she was talking about.
Make do with less. An Amish woman’s entire wardrobe hangs on hooks in her bedroom or can be folded neatly into one or two dresser drawers. Do I really need another pair of black heels or another summer dress? Women often buy because it’s “too good a bargain to pass up.” What a waste. I now shop with a list such as “new underwear” and won’t buy anything else, no matter how great the sale price.
Don’t compare myself to others. There is little competition in the Amish world. We will always find someone smarter/prettier/richer/more talented than us. If we dwell on them, we’ll not only make ourselves crazy, but we won’t rise to our own personal best.
Don’t over-plan life. The best opportunities come up spur-of-the-moment. If we map out our entire future (or at least try to) we’ll miss the valuable chances God drops in our path.
Trust God in all matters. As a Christian, I have witnessed His awesome power to change lives. The Amish demonstrate their faith and trust in Him each day. Although I might not be willing to give up health insurance, I’m ready to put God in charge of my life’s direction and stop swimming upstream.
- Living in Harmony can be purchased at CBD: http://www.christianbook.com/living-in-harmony-new-beginnings/mary-ellis/
- or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0736938664/
- or B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/living-in-harmony-mary-ellis/1107956927
Drop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. 10 copies of Living in Harmony will be given away August 15th. www.maryellis.net
Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carols. Connect with her at:
Mary will be giving away TWO copies of Living in Harmony to two lucky readers of this blog. All you need to do is leave your contact information in the comment section, along with your answer to Mary’s discussion question:
What lesson have you recently learned from a work of fiction?
Giveaway is open to all US and and Canada residents. Ends Saturday, July 14. Two winners will be chosen randomly on Sunday via Random.org.
Thanks, Mary, for once again being a part of BookBites.