Amish Principles for Today's FamiliesTweet
Posted 5/24/13 at 7:05 PM | Suzanne Fisher |
Valerie Weaver-Zercher is the author of the newly-released Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels (Johns Hopkins Press). Valerie is a writer and editor whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Mennonite Weekly Review, and other publications. Valerie has been kind enough to answer some questions about the popularity of the sub-genre of Amish fiction.
Why is it important to know what draws readers to Amish fiction?
The sheer number of Amish-themed novels on the market made me realize that something substantive was going on in terms of readers’ desire for this particular kind of novel, and I knew it was an important part of my task to figure out what was driving readers to yearn for Amish stories. Readers of Amish fiction frequently told me that the novels provide “escape” or transport away from their daily lives. So as I began to question them about what, exactly, their daily lives consisted of, or what they were trying to “escape” for a while, I listened carefully to try to hear any common themes that might emerge. I became convinced that two main factors—hypermodernity and hypersexualization of popular culture—were at the root of Amish fiction’s appeal to its readers. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/13 at 1:46 AM | Suzanne Fisher |
"A man cannot be robbed of his learning." Amish proverb
For many children in Africa, the gift of books is a gift of hope. Revell Books partnered with the authors to provide copies of Life with Lily, a children's chapter book of a young Amish girl, for Children of Grace (CoG), a ministry operating in Uganda.
Started in 2001, CoG offers hope to Ugandan AIDS orphans through education, nutrition, healthcare and empowerment programs to enable children to have a better future. Through child sponsorship, children are provided with the opportunity to attend local Ugandan schools. CoG supplements their education in many ways, including a “Read 2 Succeed” program.
“A headmaster told me,” CoG board member Karen Jones said, “that the Ugandan culture is not a reading culture. This is evident not only in children’s homes but also in the schools. Often, it’s difficult to find books that are appropriate for the Ugandan culture.” FULL POST
Posted 4/10/13 at 12:05 PM | Suzanne Fisher |
"Conscience: that still, small voice that makes you even smaller." Amish Proverb
The school year is ending early in Bergholz, Ohio. The Bergholz Amish community decided to wrap up school a few weeks ahead of schedule so some of the children could spend more time with their parents. Five of the parents--four women and one man--are preparing to enter federal prison on Friday. They have been convicted of hate crimes in hair- and beard-cutting attacks on other Old Order Amish in Ohio.
Nine others are already serving time. Two more are expected to report to prison later. Altogether, sixteen people of that particular group have been convicted, sentenced and imprisoned in separate facilities in various states.The ringleader of the clan, Sam Mullett Sr., has been sentenced for fifteen years. His followers have been sentenced for one to seven years, depending on their involvement. FULL POST
Posted 4/3/13 at 1:05 PM | Suzanne Fisher
"Keep your words soft and sweet just in case you have to eat them." Amish Proverb
Ever wonder what the fuss is about whoopie pies? Or how it got such a silly name in the first place?
A whoopie pie is a sandwichy-treat that toggles the culinary line between a cookie and a cake. It has other names: moon pies, black-and-whites, gobs and bobs. And it’s all the rage in the dessert world. FULL POST
Posted 3/14/13 at 9:13 PM | Suzanne Fisher
"There's one sure way for a doctor to make a patient worry. Tell him he has absolutely nothing to worry about." Amish proverb
Recently, I was speaking to a book club and was asked if the Amish use modern medicine. “Of course they do,” I said, trying not to roll my eyes.
Many people mistakenly believe that the Amish live an eighteenth century life because they dress old fashioned and use a horse and buggy. (I wish this book club could see the solar panels on Amish farmhouse roof tops. Or the propane tanks that feed their kitchen appliances.)
But I did admit the Amish are open-minded to alternative medicines—chiropractors and reflexology, natural and home remedies—and often use traditional medicine as a last resort. In most Amish homes I’ve been in, I’ve noticed a well-loved, dog-eared book about home remedies tucked nearby in the kitchen. FULL POST
Posted 2/24/13 at 1:09 AM | Suzanne Fisher |
"Tackle the problem, not the person." Amish proverb
A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my dogs on my author Facebook wall. Within hours, a number of people posted indignant, belligerent comments. They assumed I was a supporter of puppy mills because I’ve written books about the Amish.
Over the years, there have been some high profile news reports of animals kept in deplorable conditions. Pennsylvania supposedly has the reputation of being the ‘puppy mill capital of the East,’ due in large part to some Amish breeders in Lancaster County.
First, I want to make it clear that I’m a dog lover. In fact, I’ve raised ten puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Secondly, I do not support puppy mills. Anybody's puppy mill. Period.
Still, there’s something disturbing to me about the way those people attacked my Facebook Wall. It was a little taste of how it might feel to be an Amish in the news--unfairly accused, painted with a broad-brush, lumped together in one-size-fits-all. FULL POST
Posted 1/16/13 at 12:45 PM | Suzanne Fisher
"Today has one thing in which all of us are equal: time. All of us drew the same salary in seconds, minutes, and hours."
Linda sat with her son in the emergency room of their local hospital, waiting to be seen by a doctor. Her son had twisted his ankle playing a game of basketball and she worried he might have caused serious damage to it.
After ten minutes, her son grew fidgety and impatient. “This is going to take forever,” he moaned.
Seated across from them was a young Amish couple. The wife had taken a spill and hurt her shoulder. They sat calmly, though Linda noticed the wife wince in pain whenever she shifted in her seat. Finally, the nurse came out and motioned to the Amish man. He jumped up to help his wife rise to her feet. Linda heard him say to her, “Now, Katie, that wasn’t too bad a wait. Only an hour.” FULL POST
Posted 1/9/13 at 12:34 AM | Suzanne Fisher
"A lot of the trouble in this world wouldn't bother people if they weren't always looking for it."
Are you one of the three million viewers who watch Discovery Channel’s Amish Mafia? I watched an episode or two and felt…baffled. It’s supposed to be a reality show about vigilantes who live within the Amish community while remaining outside the law, providing protection (though from what or from whom is never really explained), collecting debts and protecting the virtue of women. The media buzz centers on how much of it is fiction or factual. Discovery Channel posts disclaimers that scenes have been re-enacted all over its credits.
What a shame. The Amish are Americans, they are good neighbors to many of us, and there’s so much to discover about their culture and communities that can teach us to live better lives. A reality show like this won’t be teaching anybody anything. FULL POST
Posted 12/24/12 at 9:11 AM | Suzanne Fisher |
The forest would be quiet if no birds sang except the best.
The state of Ohio has important airspace. It’s part of two different flyways, Atlantic and Mississippi, which are travel routes for bird migration. Think of it as a highway in the sky with exits and overpasses and interchanges, minus the concrete and the signs. And the traffic jams.
In the spring and the fall, thousands of birds travel over Ohio on their journey from far north to far south, often stopping to rest and refuel on the shores of Lake Erie. There’s a three-mile patch of land known as Magee Marsh, where birds will gather for one, two, or three days before resuming the flight. A long boardwalk was built into the marsh to accommodate the bird watchers who come to observe the birds. “Every May, Amish families will hire vans and come to the marsh,” said Cheryl Harner, an environmental activist with a popular blog called Weedpicker’s Journal. “It’s really quite a sight. I often see Amish family groups with many children, including very small children. They are never shouting or running. They seem to be ‘culturally quiet.’ These Amish families have a great reverence and respect for nature.” FULL POST
Posted 12/15/12 at 10:45 AM | Suzanne Fisher
Yesterday's tragic school shooting in Connecticut brought up discussion of the Amish school shooting of October 2006. This is a true story about how the Amish and non-Amish Nickel Mines community supported each other during and after that experience.
"The light that shines farthest, shines brightest at home."
The little fire station in Bart, Pennsylvania, is easy to miss. It sits on a quiet street, surrounded by houses, some shops, and fields. Station 51 has one hundred volunteer firemen. Seventy-five of those are Amish. There is a siren on the side of the station to call the Amish firemen; the others have pagers.
Fire Chief Curt Woerth was raised in Bart among the Amish. “It’s not like the Amish are living on an Indian reservation,” he said. “The community is not divided into ‘us/them,’ but truly ‘we.’” FULL POST