Monday, August 29, 2011

‘Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher – Book Review

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One of my favorite authors that I’ve discovered since I’ve been reviewing and blogging is Suzanne Woods Fisher, who focuses on the Amish community, both in the fiction and non-fiction genres. Her latest title is ‘Amish Values for Your Family: What We Can Learn from the Simple Life.’

Here is the synopsis of this book:

When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories, you’ll discover how to:
·         slow down
·         safeguard family time
·         raise children who stand strong in their faith
·         prioritize what’s truly important
Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy – without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

Here is the biography of this author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs, as well as the Lancaster County Secrets novels. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom. Her other titles include For the Love of Dogs, Copper Star, Copper Fire, The Choice, The Waiting, and The Search. She lives in California.

Here is an excerpt from the Oasis Audiobook version of this book:

In the Introduction, Suzanne shares this information regarding the Amish community:

Few people are aware that the Amish are the fastest-growing population in the United States. In 1900, there were five thousand Old Order Amish in America. Yet by 2008, according to Donald B. Kraybill, Senior Fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, there were 233,000 Old Order Amish. And half the population is under eighteen. The growth is coming from large families, with an 85 to 90 percent retention rate as children become baptized into the church as young people.
The Amish seem to be doing something right.
So should we all “go Amish”? Of course not! However there is much we can learn from these gentle people about raising our families well; to help prioritize what’s truly important, to simplify decision making, to slow down as a family, to safeguard time together, and when age-appropriate, to let go. Amish Values for Your Family invites you into Amish farmhouses for a hearty meal, to explore the topic of rearing children who are “in the world but not of it.”
So grab a cup of hot coffee, put up your feet, and come inside the Amish world with me. (pp. 12-13)

I will focus on one aspect of this book – and that is forgiveness. The Amish are wonderful exemplars for how we are to forgive those who have wronged us. Suzanne focuses on this topic in the chapter entitled ‘Seventy Times Seven.’ Here she shows us that the Amish forgive, although it is just as difficult for them as it is for us ‘English:’

True forgiveness is never easy, and the Amish struggle with the same emotions of anger and retribution that we all do. But they choose to forgive – with no strings attached – in spite of those feelings. Forgiving is woven deep into their culture. It is not a choice; it is an expectation. The Amish forgive because they believe God’s way is the best way to live. They believe forgiveness is intended for our own good. How does that concept help you?
Is there someone you are struggling to forgive today? Having an intention of forgiveness can help to change your feelings about forgiving someone who has wronged you. Try to pray, each day, for that individual. If you have trouble with that, ask someone who understand the situation to pray for you. Don’t give up if you don’t feel anything. It might take time – but the intention to forgive remains steadfast. (pp. 133-134)

This reminder is coming at the perfect time for me. My husband, Fred, and I will be visiting a family member next week, and I still harbor some bitterness over something this person did over four years ago. I am quite sure it is doing more harm to me than it is to the other person. So I need to put this expectation of forgiveness into practice – and soon! I pray that the Lord will precede me and be there as I interact with this person. And I thank the Amish – and Mrs. Fisher – for reminding me of this – “for such a time as this.”

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Revell Books and provided by the LitFuse Group for review purposes.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Hi Andrea! Just popping by to thank you for your lovely blog post about Amish Values...and I so appreciated your honest reflection about how hard forgiving someone can be. So very true! Forgiving intentionally, more than any other Amish example, really touches me. Sorry it took me a while to stop by... I was traveling and had very sketchy internet service for a while. Glad you were on the blog tour, Andrea! Thanks for your support. Warmly, Suzanne

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