Over the Holidays when we were traveling I read Nancy Sleeth's Almost Amish. I had been wanting to get my hands on this book for a while, and the long car trip home to Kentucky and back provided the perfect opportunity.
I found the book to be full of wisdom and advice for a simpler and more meaningful way of living, and especially eye-opening in terms of many of my frustrations in life. The author and I are definitely on the same page in a lot of areas and this book only confirmed why I need to work extra hard at simplifying and living to give Glory to God as the Amish do.
The Amish have always fascinated me in general, and I think many historic preservationists are drawn to them and curious about their preservation of traditional methods of work.
Some key points I gleaned from the text include the Amish's respect for God's creation, stewardship of the land and animals, their way of communal living and help for their neighbor if needed, the Amish's spirit of giving and generosity, and of course their commitment to living a simple, humble life often centered around farming. The Amish strive to not be conformed to this world as scripture commands, and they exercise restraint in using technology and things that needlessly consume our time. An especially admiring trait is their abhorrence to anything that could be prideful or an idol.
As we welcome a new year in 2013, I am trying to be extra dedicated to living the "Almost Amish" Way, as described and depicted by Sleeth. This is much easier said that done, and our lifestyle will have to encounter some very serious alterations in order to truly change and simplify for the better.
Some simple, tangible goals to live more like the Amish in 2013 include:
- dedication to gardening throughout each season, saving seeds
- dedication to homemaking skills and cooking at home (including baking bread, cheesemaking, canning and preserving, and producing as much food ourselves from scratch)
- when we purchase food or goods, purchase locally with wholesome ingredients
- when purchasing other items, purchase locally to support locally-owned family businesses
- cut down our use of technology (for mindless ways of spending time) such as scanning facebook, watching TV, browsing the internet, or watching movies by half or at least a third.
- make our entertainment home-based without costing much (we do a pretty good job of this already)
- Give more of our time and energy to serving God and helping others
- make visiting with neighbors and development relationships more of a priority
- regularly purge house and closets of unused items and donate items to charity
I encourage you to read Almost Amish and I hope you can take away some truths that I believe are critically important to simplifying and enriching our lives.