life on the funny farm

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Everything I Needed To Know

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.

For example....

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!


  1. I lived outside Philadelphia for ten years, I know the buggy thing. Actually here in central Kentucky we've also got Amish (or are they Mennonite? I don't know cause I see them at Walmart with the caps on their heads but rarely see horses in the parking lot. SO I'm not really sure which they are.) Every time I go take my dog to the kennel - which is even farther out in the country - I pass by several Amish houses. It's kind of neat seeing the buggies out front, and yes everything is always so clean and organized, it makes me feel like a shmuck in my air conditioned car as I drive by.

    They are fascinating people. I've always wanted to ask them questions but I don't want to be offensive in my genuine curiosity.

  2. I ask questions of the Amish woman I get my milk from, and she seems glad to answer, but maybe they're each different about that, Idk. I get the sense they're very proud of their culture and their religion and are more than happy to share.

  3. I am so happy that my teacher had this on our list of blogs to read. I am very interested in the amish folks and how they live. I thought your blog was beautifuly written and I truely enjoyed reading it.#jteng111. st

  4. The amish are amazing people. #jteng111

  5. I love what you wrote and listed about the Amish and I think we should apply those same principals in everyday life. I honestly can't think of anything else to add, you said it all:) I love visiting Lancaster PA and have done so several times with a horse and buggy ride through the countryside. It makes me thankful every time I go there and reminds me of God's many blessings! #jteng111

  6. Your post shows the importance of family, and what really matters in our daily lives. Not fashion, or having the latest electronics. It's a nice reminder that our loved ones can give us all the happiness we need. Many people should take your advice, and work on being less materialistic. #jteng111

  7. To Eddie and Anon and Anon and Britany: thanks guys, glad to have you stop by!

  8. I love what you said about the importance of family and that having materialistic things are no where as important as our loved ones. #jteng111

  9. What's more important, after all, right?

  10. My parents live in an Amish-heavy area, and my mom works closely with them. I've always loved how open they are and how willing they are to work and share with others.

  11. @Nest: true dat!
    @Kayla: yes, I love how they seem very non-judgemental. Not many extreme religious groups can claim that.

  12. How fun! Where we live there is a plain group that still drives horse and buggys and no electric, that type of thing. They are not Amish though, actually they split from our church a 100 years ago or so.
    My question is, a lot of plain people/Amish do not like photos, I take it that this group is ok with that?

    1. Actually, the Amish here are the same way about having their picture taken. All of these pics I got off the internet, except the one of the man plowing. I took that one with my phone as we were driving by, but we were far enough away that I knew he wouldn't notice, plus his face wouldn't be in it.

      Thanks for coming by!

  13. I love reading about the Amish, & even though I'm in Australia, I have to say I've learnt a thing or two from them as well.
    really enjoyed stopping by - thanks to my first TALU, Sharm

    1. We can definitely learn from them, very true!

      Thanks for coming by, Sharmayne!



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