Posted by: christinelaennec | December 3, 2011

Amish giveaway

I know I’m not the only one who is fascinated by the Amish, because Channel 4 has made yet another series about encounters between Amish people and British teenagers.  In the first series, “Amish:  World’s Squarest Teenagers,” we watched with fascination as five Amish teenagers came to Britain during their “Rumspringa” (a time when they are free to sample the modern world, in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to commit to their church and community).  We saw them meeting their British counterparts, going out to a nightclub, and encountering the sea for the first time.  In this series, “Living with the Amish,” the tables are turned and British teens go to live with Amish families.

Why are we so fascinated by the Amish?  I think it’s probably because many of us crave peace, community, simplicity and faith.  Many of us would like to get off the materialistic merry-go-round and disappear into a nostalgic world for a bit.  I wrote about this yearning and idealisation in my story A Simple Life, which is about an American girl who realises her dream of visiting an Amish community.

I first encountered the Amish when I attended a conference in Pennsylvania.  Later when we lived in Illinois we often went to the town of Arthur, where there’s an Amish community.  Amish quilts are famous for their stunning simplicity and use of colour; the sight of a horse-drawn buggy driving along is very picturesque.  Their craftsmanship is very highly regarded by their non-Amish neighbours.  I recently read an interesting book, a conversation between an Amish woman and her non-Amish friend (Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall & Miriam Flaud).  I suppose the most interesting thing is how much the two of them have in common, rather than the reverse.

While I can’t kid myself that I would survive in an Amish world (no blog?!), I do admire the Amish for living out their principles.  Five years ago the Amish attracted worldwide attention when an unthinkable tragedy unfolded in West Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.  A gunman, Charles Carl Roberts, shot ten schoolgirls, killing five of them before shooting himself.  To me the most extraordinary thing was that almost immediately, the Amish forgave the perpetrator.  On the very day of the shooting, they visited his family to express their forgiveness in person.  Today, the gunman’s mother Terri Roberts helps to care for one of her son’s victims who has been left paralysed.  To my mind, this demonstration of Christian forgiveness is far more significant than not using buttons or electricity.

I was a little surprised to find a book of Amish proverbs here in Scotland, but I did – and I bought two, because I wanted to give one away on my blog.  It’s an interesting book with beautiful photographs, explanations of the Amish way of life and their beliefs, and of course a lot of proverbs!

Amish Proverbs by Suzanne Woods Fisher

If you’d like a copy of “Amish Proverbs,” please leave a comment. (I’m happy to post anywhere in the world.)  I will pick the winner on the 2nd of January.

Feel free to tell others about the giveaway in your blogs if you’d like.  Good luck!



  1. Oh my …. I would love to enter this give away !! I too love everything about the Amish. I have several dvd’s about them. Unfortunately we don’t have channel 4 overhere, too bad. We only see BBC 1 and 2 and that are the channels we always look every day. (we love to look bargain hunt, cash in the attic, antique roadshow and those lovely cook programs).

    The Amish have a strong community and I don’t think I could fit in for the same reason as you do (no blogging LOL), but I would love to stay and learn from them about their crafts 🙂 I think there is a lot of peace in their community and that many people could learn from them.

    I think the book you have for the give away is beautiful. Words of wisdom … who would love to read them?

  2. Oops in my last line I mean to say… who wouldn’t love to read them hihihi

  3. I was thinking? Do you also do cross stitch? Wouldn’t it be nice to stitch some of those proverbs onto a piece of fabric !

  4. There are a lot of things we can take from the Amish way of life. The forgiveness one particularly. Amazing. Humbling. If only other religions followed that one there might just be a chance for peace on earth.

  5. what a wonderful reminder of how there are pockets of peace of earth still. very encourgaging, especially at this time of year.

    i’m not aiming to begin a heated discussion on why the wee girl is not wearing any shoes but i noticed it in the picture right away. i suppose it could be as simple as she’d rather not wear any.

  6. I love the Amish, also, they are very inspiring. I also think that living ‘simply’ might not be so simple and they are to be commended for their fortitude and resilience. The book must be wonderful and a reminder to live with loving values. I will mention this on my blog. xx

  7. Oh Christine what a nice and interesting post.I think you are right about people longing for peace , simplicity and faith.Here in Holland people long back to the 50ths, 60ths and 70ths.I hear a lot of people talk about that, even the young ones….Thanks for this wise lesson…
    Your friend always…Hugs

  8. We are loving the current series. The first programme moved my daughter and me to tears. We are wondering if the British teenager who is living in a hostel at home will eventually find his place and a sense of belonging and purpose with the first family the group stayed with.

  9. I would be interested to read this

  10. Way back when I still worked in a yarn shop in Amsterdam, we used to get Amish ladies (and some plain dress Quakers too) in sometimes. The owner of the shop used to make me deal with them, because her own English wasn’t very good. I say “made me”, but really, I loved it. They were, and are, such great people.

  11. Hi, I’d love to take part in your giveaway, and thankyou for this post. As all others, as you say, I am fascinated by the Amish as well. I think that many can be attracted to the simplicity of their lifestyle, but maybe just as much to the excotic element: their culture is very different from ours, and it’s excotic. The tv shows gives us a peek into their culture. I find the forgiving nature of their religion sympathetic, but I don’t agree in the traditional pattern towards the sexes, and in a modern world it’s too bad that the women have such great limitations of behaviour. But then again, I’m far from an expert.

  12. How generous! Count me in please! I’m watching the series on 4OD, and I watched the other series too, it was fascinating. xx

  13. My husband and I visit Lancaster, PA every year for our anniversary and take in the beauty of the Amish country. They are a fascinating people and I do admire their strength of convictions…..I’ve not seen those series on TV. I’ll have to check our listing, they sound fascinating. Have you read any of the Amish series by Beverly Lewis? They are very good as well.

  14. I would love to read this. Blessed Advent!

  15. It is not surprising that we are fascinated by all things that we don’t really understand…we are humans after all. There are many groups of people on our dear little planet who live simple (and to us wonderous) lives. Some do it because Nature dictates it and others do it by choice. Whatever the reason may they all be happy and contented.
    Happy St. Nikolaus day x

  16. interested 🙂

  17. How lovely! Oh, I hope I win! (But not holding my breath, as I am not one who wins things.) When we stopped in a town on PA off the expressway on our way home from Maine one summer, we saw an Amish family in their buggy on the way to church early Sunday morning. I’d love to see the programs you mention in your post. I’ll see what I can find! Blessings to you and yours, Christine.

  18. Hi Christine! I arrived on your blog by chance, surfing the net. I like it very much! I don’t know much about the Amish, but I’m intrigued by their way of life and I’d like to learn more about them, so I take part in your giveaway and thank you for it…I keep my fingers crossed!!!


  19. Dear All,

    First of all let me make it clear that I’m not entering my own giveaway! But I wanted to say thank you all for your interest. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested, but I guess I’m not alone in my curiosity about the Amish.

    Linda, I too wonder what effect the young homeless lad’s experiences will have on him. It’s very moving, as you say.

    Mags, I’m so surprised to hear that you have Quakers and Amish in Amsterdam! Cool that you got to serve them.

    Mali, I would never do well in a society with such division of gender roles either. But they give up a number of things we consider to be signs of “freedom”.

    Lisa and Ellen, I don’t think you’ll be able to watch the online programmes from America, but I’m not sure. Lisa, I hadn’t heard of the Beverly Lewis books, thanks for the recommendation.

    Emanuela, welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

  20. Can I enter the giveaway pleeeaaase? Cos I’m your favourite Dafter?

    • Sorry, dear, you’ll have to borrow my copy. Time for bed!

  21. I would love to enter this give away, I arrived here via Erna’s ‘Scotland and Stitching’ blog. I also have a fascination with the Amish lifestyle and have several books on the subject. “A History of the Amish” by Steven M. Nolt is a fantastic book to read. One day I would love to go to PA and see some Amish settlements, shops and quilts. I am going to look at your story “A Simple Life” now. I am glad I found you blog, it is very interesting. Kind regards, Ann ~ Australia.

  22. This sounds like a fabulous book. How on earth am I going to keep my fingers crossed till January?

  23. Would love to be in with a chance of winning this book. The Amish have a lot of values we could all do with following . I am loving the new series on Channel 4 every Thursday evening 🙂

  24. I have also really been enjoying the Amish series. I dream of living a life of simplicity without much of our modern day distractions.
    What I found so moving about the Amish is their deep understanding of community and family.

  25. I would so LOVE a change of winning this book. I too am fascinated with the Amish mainly because of the steadfast way they live out their faith in simplicity and family dedication. I have not missed one episode of the new series on Channel 4 ;o)

  26. Oh yes, please enter me, I am also fascinated by these people. And feel I have a lot to learn from the way they approach Life. I came here via the lovely blog- A soulful life. Happy looking around here now.

  27. Please enter me as well. What a lovely book.

  28. I was raised Amish in Iowa. The People are very hard-working, but they can be very strict and not so easy to forgive their own. Shunning is very cold and difficult on The People.

    • Bruce, thank you very much for your comment. I was touched and pained by what you wrote. I will soon be referring to your contribution in a post on the Sabbath – which I hope to publish on Sunday, April 27th.

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