Thursday, December 15, 2011

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.

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