Such an exciting day! It’s finally here…August 5, 2014…Release Day for Caroline’s Secret!
Caroline’s Secret is the first book in my new series set in Wells Landing!
For more info, check out my page dedicated to Caroline’s Secret.
I think it’s time to share my lovely, lovely cover for Courting Emily. (Mainly because the publishing house posted it on amazon <g>) Courting Emily is the story of Emily Ebersol, the bishop’s daughter. I can’t tell you a lot about this story yet, but I will say that the look on “Cover Emily’s” face is perfect. So Emily–a little bit innocent, a little bit mischievous, a whole lot of spunk. I love it! What do you think?
Often admired. Misunderstood. Mysterious. I’m learning volumes deep inside the Amish from the many formers I know. Most left the Swartzentruber Order – the strictest and most punitive. Predominantly guys but a few gals have come through our home.
One thing that isn’t too different from us is that the Amish creatively push the envelope on the rules. Many see what they can get away with before the line is crossed – a rule broken – and the Bishop or Preacher comes a calling.
Sometimes the stories are funny. Sometimes they are sad.
Our “son” from the Amish – Mosie – chuckled as he told me of homes where the no electricity rule didn’t apply to the barn. Out there some Amish enjoyed lights and power tools.
Our son-in-law Harvey – also from the Swartzentruber Order – explained that buggy windshields were verboten. He grinned in glee when related the time he invented a windshield by wrapping his black buggy with clear plastic wrap.
“It was winter and I was cold going to work and back,” Harvey reasoned. “So I made a windshield. I left early in the morning while it was still dark and came home at night, so my dad couldn’t see my buggy. Then a guy saw my windshield and told Dad.”
Harvey’s dad is a bishop. He made Harvey remove the invention.
“I was walking home one day and found a bike in a farmer’s trash pile.” Harvey claimed the worldly prize, walked it over two miles home, and while his parents were away, hid the thing in his father’s workshop. He explained how he tinkered with it. Made repairs. Then he took his new “worldly” device over a hill and down in a deep culvert to keep in seclusion. “I told some of my friends,” he said. So they could all share in the community “sin.” Harvey added, “But, we rode at night so we wouldn’t get caught.”
Now, I think Harvey is clever to repair something he’s never owned. Like many Amish, he demonstrates a visual learning style. He looks at, watches, and pays attention to detail to educate himself.
I’ve met Swartzentruber Amish who’ve purchased homes from English – with indoor plumbing – but kept promising the Bishop they’d remove that “worldly” convenience. And those who promise to build a room addition without electric and plumbing. Somehow that room addition is never built.
Mosie likes to tease. I can imagine he was ornery growing up.
Others have boasted of their ingenuity in getting around the rigid rules. I recently saw a picture of . . . well, I can hardly describe it. Not a car. Truck. Motorcycle. Nor a four-wheeler. It was a mismatched combination of those parts. Therefore the Amish driver wasn’t breaking a rule or committing a “sin” by driving the combined contraction. He wasn’t driving a car, truck, motorcycle or a four-wheeler. I guess his settlement hadn’t made a rule against using a collective vehicle.
The teens hide radios and cell phones in the woods, inside the barn, or up in the attic. Some girls buy underwear at Victoria’s Secret because, after all, nobody will SEE their “worldly” undergarment. The Swartzentruber Ordnung – rule book – prohibits English underwear; rather, they are to make their own.
Not unlike teens of any culture, most Amish youth push the envelope. I know some who keep a “worldly” automobile tucked away in the woods. They ride their buggies into the protection of the trees where they tie up the horse, change into English clothes, hop in the car, and cruise around town. Without a driver’s license! In the wee early-morning hours, they sneak the vehicle back to the designated hide out, change into their strict, plain Amish clothing, climb into the buggy, and trot home before morning. Hoping to avoid detection.
Our second “son” from the Amish – Monroe – hid his cell phone in his loose Amish pants pocket. When he was at home, he would watch movies on his DVD player. Where’d he get that? He bought a DVD player at Walmart, and then hooked it up to a battery. Monroe and his sister, Sarah, would tiptoe up the steps of their home at night carrying the DVD player to their bedroom. There, they’d watch movies into the night. I can visualize a soft blue glow emanating from the upstairs of a darkened Amish home.
Monroe told me of his friends who’d take pictures with their cell phones – during prayer in church!
We read books and see TV programs about the Amish. But I’m learning of a very human dimension. Most have a God-given inquisitiveness. Apprentices in life. Unfortunately, it’s that freelancing curiosity and resourcefulness that can get their teens in trouble. And it’s often those with imagination, goals, and aspirations that don’t fit the conformity – the solidarity – of the Amish who leave for the “outside” life.
If you’d like to learn more about Swartzentruber Amish and Brenda’s “kids” from that culture, check out her blog:
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Thank you for sharing your stories, Brenda! You’re welcome to comeback anytime.
We here all love the Amish. At least I assume you do or else you wouldn’t be reading this. But each of us has something special they love most of all about these conservative and inspirational people.
I can remember the first time I heard about the Amish. I was young–still young enough to be living at home–though I can’t remember my exact age. I thought the person who was telling me about the Amish was not telling me the truth. How could these people live without electricity? Wear old-fashioned clothes and drive horse and buggies? In the 20th century even. How was this even possible? But I started reading up on the Amish and found out what I could, which wasn’t a lot. (Keep in mind here this is before the internet and the world was a much larger place.) But I found out one very important thing–the Amish were real.
I still have that same awe about them now–one that makes me nearly tongue-tied whenever I have the opportunity to talk with them. (I know, right? Me speechless!) But to me they are that special, frozen in time. And yet not. They see the world around them , but they (for the most part) choose not to live in that manner. Instead they carve out their life in an old fashion way that is both commendable and charming.
So I’ve asked myself why I find the Amish so intriguing and each day my answer is different. But the gist of it is always the same. Community. I love the fact that they live together, depend on themselves, each other and God for almost all that they need. How much better a place the entire world would be if we paid more attention to community instead of just ourselves.
What is it about the Amish that intrigues you?
Seven weeks in and I’m still not sure about the the TLC show Breaking Amish. I have to admit that it’s not about all the wonderful things that I admire in the Amish. It’s not…charming. I’ll go one further and admit that most Amish fiction is heavy on the charm. But that’s what I love about writing it and reading it. The Amish offer me a real escape from my own reality. A place filled with God fearing neighbor-loving people who are taking life at their own pace.
But what about shows like Breaking Amish? I find it like a train wreck, I know I shouldn’t stare, but I can’t take my eyes off of it. Even if it lacks the charm of my fiction of choice.
Have you watched the show? Do you love it? Hate it? Or like me, does it male you want to dig out your copy of The Shunning to watch again?
I’ve said it before, I think that Amish fiction is so popular because it gives us hope that the world could move a little slower and be a little less complicated.
Well, if you’re among those of us who wish for a more simple way of life, we have a new blog for you.
Come visit Not Quite Amish where several authors of Amish fiction gather to talk to fans about more simple, everyday English living. There’s also an Amish convert and a ex-Amish woman for many different views on the simple life.
So come join me and some fabulous authors at Not Quite Amish. You’ll be glad you did!
I’ll admit that I spend a great deal of time thinking about the Amish. Even when I’m not writing. And naturally the question comes to mind, “Could I make it in the Amish world?” Could I live without electricity computers and all the other modern conveniences that we have today. My honest answer is a definite maybe. LOL
After the ice storm of ’07 when my family lived without electricity for seven–yes, that’s *seven*–days, I know I can survive without electricity. Not having a phone in the house could be tolerated. I could even give up my cell phone. I don’t watch television all that much and I know I would miss the internet. I love nail polish and shoes, but what would be the hardest thing for me to give up? Books. That is to say being able to read whatever I wanted when I wanted. Losing that freedom would be very hard for me.
What’s the one thing it would be the hardest to give up if you were to join the Amish faith?