Everything I needed to know I learned - scratch that -I'm learning - from the Amish.
See, I live near the Amish.
Not in an - if I drive 45 minutes I can do a bunch of touristy Amish things in Lancaster- way (though that IS true).
But more in the manner of:
There are several Amish families that live on my street.
They go fishing in my pond and pick cherries from my trees.
There is manure in the road.
At times I am late to an appointment b/c I get stuck behind a buggy.
I once had to turn around and take a different route b/c there was an Amish buggy and a dead horse in the road.
So yeah. Like I said, I live near the Amish.
And I've learned a few things from them.
1) Never underestimate the value of servicing your vehicle (see above).
2) Keep a clean porch and front yard.
In my mind? My porch is one sweep away from elegant, timeless, inviting. In reality? Granny Clampett is sitting in a rocker with a shotgun in her lap and a spitoon at her feet.
3) There's always time to bake pies.
4) Slow down. God gave us enough daylight to get all our work done.
5) Kids will be kids, no matter how biblically-mannered their parents are. Don't fret it.
6) Even the Plain Folk give way to vanity at times. We're all human.
7) Don't worry about fashion and what's in style. If you're kind? You'll always be beautiful no matter what (or who) you're wearing.
8) You will never be sorry you put in an honest day's work.
9) Always make time to be with friends and family. Face to face.
10) Keep your heart open to more kids.
I have six kids. But if I were pitted against my Amish neighbors in a 'Big Family' contest? I would lose.
11) And those kids? Treat 'em kindly.
I know the Amish get a bad rap for being child abusing slave drivers, but I can tell you from what I've seen it's just not true. I have witnessed nothing but love, kindness, gentleness, and respect passed back and forth from parent to child. The way it should be.
12) Treating them kindly does NOT mean coddling them. Expect them to contribute to the family.
I know people who have teenagers that have no chores. None. They do not wash the dishes, they do not take out the trash, they do not wash any laundry. Nothing. This is not the way of a family.
13) No need to get all organic Nazi about it, but let the bulk of the food you eat come from ingredients that were produced naturally and locally.
14) Give thanks for the basics.
Granted, their idea of the basics and mine will be vastly different. My Amish neighbors have probably not given thanks to the Lord for disposable diapers. Or Diet Coke on ice. Or Kotex overnights. Or deodorant. Or Tivo. Or my laptop. Or earphones for my teenagers. Oh stop me now. This could go on all day.
Their list might include candles. Corn. Sturdy buckets. A good hoe. Clothespins. A basket full of turnips.
Nevertheless, give thanks for what you have.
What would you add to this list?
There's one thing I didn't learn from the Amish; I had to figure it out on my own:
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I'm gonna throw this PS in here again today:
1) I am new to advertising on my blog. I realize there are ads for adoption being run on my blog right now, and that is not my intent. I am trying to figure out how to customize the ads, but I haven't gotten it figured out yet. Not that I'm not all about finding homes for kids, but I don't like that the ads for these businesses seem very money-driven. Kinda grosses me out. So patience, please, and bear with me. Also, advice/instruction welcome!
2) Thanks, everyone, for the nice response I got over at Scary Mommy! A lot of folks read my piece I am My Mother, And...., a lot of folks commented and shared. I also got record traffic on my blog, and picked up a few new followers in the process. What a fun process. Jill Smokler, if you're reading this, a huge heart-felt thanks for the opportunity!