Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Employing Zummies!

The ingenuity and creativity of curious children is simply astounding! I wish I possessed half the creativity of my children. So, just what do children plagued with curiosity do?
Well, I had put the gifts out of reach, but with the help of their Zummies they had a lot of fun. In all honesty, however, they were not being naughty. They were not really getting into the packages just having fun seeing Mama's response at their innovative endeavors. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More on the Amish and Lancaster PA

It is amazing to see the Amish buggies out and about rain or shine, night or day. It was really fun to see the Amish children walking along in groups on school days or with their families on the weekend.
Cooking and sewing are an important part of the Amish life, so I have posted pictures of an Amish kitchen and sewing area as well.

More on the Amish and Lancaster PA

Here is some more rambling about my fascination with Amish country......I guess you have to be somewhat like me if you are still with me on all of this Amish talk. :) Anyway, the buggies are amazing! They build them to last for around twenty years. Compare that with how quickly we turn in our cars for new ones. They also seat a large group. I am guessing maybe eight to ten people. I was surprised with how many people they can fit. We have to buy a cargo van to fit our crew and yet they efficiently seat a large family in one buggy.
They do use very old fashioned washers and then hang their clothes out to dry on long clotheslines. Some of the lines were on a cable system so that the clothes would go up quite high in the air. It is a pretty sight to see all their black and jewel toned attire hanging out to dry. In the community we visited Monday was the wash day, so everywhere you looked you saw clothes adorning the beautiful farmlands.
The one room school houses are incredibly sweet! School is usually taught by a young, unmarried girl, and the grades are first through eighth grade. They stop formal education after eighth grade and then move into farming, homemaking, and cottage industries. Some work at local stores and businesses as well. The children are taught German, which they speak in church services, PA Dutch, and English. They do not use calculators or computers in school so the children have to learn to THINK. :)
I LOVED visiting Reihler's Quilt Shop. It had a huge array of assorted handiwork. Everything from quilts, quillows, pot holders, dolls, baby blankets, clocks, bird houses........etc. I could have spent hours but had to hurry as we were on a tour. We did make a second stop there but again we were in a hurry. We purchased some pot holders, quillows, and little Amish dolls along with some locally made jellies. AWWWW, I wish I could go back!

A Dream Come True

For a long time I have been fascinated with the simple life of the Amish community. It all started when I began reading novels about the Amish many years ago. I found many elements of life that I relate to in the stories. I love the fact that men are trained to be men and women are trained to be ladies. I love the simplicity of their lifestyle. I love the focus and priority of family. I also love the beautiful handiwork they produce whether it be skillfully crafted furniture or lovely quilt pieces. There is a quaintness and peacefulness that our fast paced world has lost. So, over time I have grown in my fascination of this group of people and dreamed of one day visiting and seeing it all for myself. This is where my wonderful husband comes into the story. He knows I have always dreamed of taking a vacation to Amish country and suggested we go in celebration of our twelfth anniversary. We began planning the trip and anticipating some time away together. We first attended our second Family Life Weekend to Remember conference in King of Prussia, PA. By the way, if you have not been to a Family Life Weekend to Remember conference I highly recommend it. It is an edifying time away to focus on God and your marriage. After the conference we went to a bed and breakfast near Amish country. We stayed there for three nights and toured as much as we could of Lancaster County. I have to say I was totally in love with this beautiful, quaint little world and was saddened to have to leave. We enjoyed trying some of their foods such as shoofly pie and whoopee pies. They are big on good home cooking although they do use lots of lard and starches. It is good but not so healthy. We enjoyed a tour of a typical one room Amish school house and Amish house. We also had a 20 minute buggy ride driven by a real Amish man. We enjoyed talking to him about his life, faith and family. The rolling farmlands were picturesque. These people are hard workers and keep their beautiful farms in very tidy order. They are industrious, creative, and successful people. We saw many different sects of the "plain" people living and working amongst each other. For example we saw Old Order Amish, the strictest group, alongside of Mennonite people. Then you have the Beachy Amish who drive cars and are not as strict. It did seem that there was a lot of unity amongst the different groups within the "plain" people. I truly loved the community and hope to visit again one day. One thing I learned that disappoints me is that the Old Order Amish do not allow any musical instruments. They like music, but they do not allow their people to use instruments. Nonetheless they have a very peaceful and special way of life. It was so fun to go and experience a dream come true with my dear husband.

Monday is washday, and you can see clotheslines at every farm.

We saw several of these one room schoolhouses, and the children will usually wave to people passing by.

This is what a teenage girl's room might look like. The amish cover their windows with the green shades, but teenagers get a little more liberty during their rumspringa years before they officially join the church. That is why this room has curtains and not just the green shades. Also, the white aprons would be worn by the girls to church and the black for everyday. That would be the case at least in this particular community. My understanding is that different communities have differing distinguishing marks in style of dress, color of buggies, etc.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thoughts on Christmas

Merry Christmas, All! I thought I would share a few links that really grabbed my attention. This first one distresses me so much. What ever happened to good old fashioned baby dolls? When did girls start wanting to be divas instead of ladies?

The next link has some profound things to say about preparing our hearts for Christmas. This blog is written by Ann Voskamp, author of "One Thousand Gifts" By the way, if you have not read that book you need to! Her book has REALLLY challenged me; it is so good I am reading it through a second time. Anyway, I think you will be touched by this post.

(Well, the link is not coming up so just go to this address and read Ann's post on how to prepare for Christmas)

We are having a sick week at our home. Our three youngest girls have been EXTREMELY ill. Abbie Joy ended up in the emergency room late Sunday night. It was the croup, and she is breathing better now. There has been a lot of fussing, crying, coughing and gagging going on. We are praying that all will be well by Christmas. Annagrace told me this morning that she hopes she is well by Christmas or she won't get to eat our traditional cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I love it that she is thinking ahead to our traditions. I love family traditions! Merry Christmas!