Amish Book Celebration, Signings, & Sales

Yes! After years of helping Amish runaways with a safe home, unconditional love and necessary needs, or mentoring in faith and friendship, I put my stories to paper.

Intimate conversations, details, and facts about the ultra conservative Amish orders are found in my new book Beyond Buggies and BonnetsAnd it's cited in The Washington Post.

One reader exclaimed, "I loved reading this book! I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants the 'TRUE' accounts of former Amish individuals...I found myself smiling, laughing, crying and in shock at some of the things that happened to these Amish people and to Brenda!"

"Not only will you gain insight into the ways of the Swartzentruber sect, but you will also be reminded of the freedom of worship we of the 'English world' often take for granted," says one review.
"But wait..." you say. "Amish are religious and free to worship."

Read the book! Then you tell me.

"I have learned so much of the daily lives, rules and rituals," reviewed another.

Even if you love Amish fiction (I've fiction author friends) or want to know everything Amish, Beyond Buggies and Bonnets gives a new dimension to this complex culture and explains why some leave. 

A former librarian raved on LibraryThing
"'Beyond Buggies and Bonnets' is a must-read for those who love Amish fiction but don't really have an understanding of the culture as it exists for so many in the most conservative orders."


Do You Know the Amish?

Usually I pen posts about the Swartzentruber or conservative Old Order Amish. This time, I want to ask how well do you know the Amish in general?

Some of these statements may be easy to you, some a challenge.


1) The Amish Culture is 600-years-old:

2) Amish share similar beliefs and behaviors:

3) Amish and Mennonites are nearly the same in behavior:

4) Mennonites came out of the Amish:

5) Only married Amish men grow beards and mustaches:

6) Amish send their children to school only through the 8th grade:

Let's see how you did. Here are the answers:


Guess this Amish Buggy

Know what this is?

Not an Amish convertible.

The picture was taken at an Ohio auction.

It is not a Swartzentruber buggy. Notice the yellow SMV triangle and small red reflector - or maybe that's a turn signal. Both are verboten to the uber strict Swartzentruber Order.

Gotta guess? Here's why it's used and it's name.


That ruffles my feathers!

"Please be careful in judging an entire belief system on one or two disgruntled folks," was her ridiculous, sweeping, and prejudicial statement.

Boy that ruffles my feathers!
First, she's insulting my precious ex-Amish son-in-law, two "adopted" sons, numerous other family and friends from out of the Amish by calling them disgruntled. How'd she come to her judgmental conclusion without ever talking to any of them?

I can assure you that the aforementioned family and friends are NOT disgruntled. Maybe emotionally injured. Have sad memories. Feel ostracized. But not mad. Not spiteful. In fact, they often sit around my table laughing and telling stories - comparing childhood behaviors and rules.

What a sweeping statement from someone who is assuming that all former-Amish are "disgruntled."


Amish Wedding Song

Many have asked me about the Amish wedding.
  • How long does it last? 
  • Do the bride and groom go on a honeymoon? 
  • What type wedding gifts are given?
The diversity among Amish makes each wedding different with some similarities. One tradition is the


Amish Parents' Rules

No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

When I was speaking about my experiences with the Swartzentruber Amish - and their runaways - an audience member asked about the family financial practices.

"Do Amish parents keep their children's income," she inquired.

Interesting curiosity. I can't answer for other orders but, within the strict Swartzentruber Amish - the answer is . . .


Amish Church

Early in the beginning of this blog, I posted about Gma - also known as church.

Each Amish order is different. Some have church every Sunday, some in homes, and some higher orders use a designated church building.

The Swartzentruber Order of Amish attend church every other Sunday morning - in a settlement home. They rotate homes used. Prior to the Sunday a home is appointed for Gma, the women of the settlement gather to jointly clean the house. And clean they do! Every nook and cranny is scrubbed spotless.

In fact, the hostess is practically neurotic that the other women will find and criticize the dust around her home! I've heard many former-Amish women say they dreaded the weekend of Gma because of the scrutiny from the other women.

Meanwhile, a large wagon is loaded with the wooden, backless Gma benches and hauls them to the designed home . . . or barn.

Want to know more? Since I've so many new readers and subscribers to my blog, I'll refer you the detailed explanation of Gma posted earlier. Read it for a real peek inside Amish Church.

Like compelling, compassionate stories? These will touch your heart!

If you're curious how I help those who have left their Amish life, how Amish choose spiritual leaders, what a wedding is like, how they date, buggy rules, or dental practices then get my new book Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish, available at Amazon or get Autographed Copies at my blog www.BrendaNixonOnAmish.blogspot.com.

Thanks for reading! Got a comment?

(C)Copyright, 2015. Brenda Nixon


5 Things You Won't See in an Amish Church

Most Amish go to church every other Sunday.

Most Amish go to a member's home - or barn - for church service.

Most Amish rotate members' property for church service.

Now, let focus on the uber strict Swartzentruber Amish church service. In Deutch, it's called Gma (Gmaay).

Here's are 5 things you won't see in their Gma:


Amish Hit Songs

Ready to chuckle? If you've read many of my posts, you know they can be serious. Deep. Heavy. Informative. Even shocking! But this one is silly.

Most of my former-Amish family and friends have a quick wit and enjoy humor. They tell jokes and see the funny side of life. Josh loves to be quirky. Yah, there's one former-Amish I know who is solemn - lacks levity - but he's not the norm.

Today I share a humorous and hypothetical post that one of my ex-Amish pals posed in a group.


Rumspringa - a Perpetual Spring Break

Last week I answered curious question about the Amish - including Rumspringa - reminding readers that "my" Swartzentruber family and friends never heard the word until they left Amish. They did practice a "rite of adolescence" with more freedom, dating, smoking, and group sings but, they neither used the word nor left their settlement for a year of "running around."

This week I'm honored to host my friend Richard Stevick, former Messiah College psychology professor and avid researcher of Amish youth, in particular Rumspringa. His fascinating book is devoted to this famous - or infamous - period of Amish adolescence within higher orders.

Here's Richard  . . .  

Before the widely publicized 1998 drug bust in Lancaster County, PA, of young Amish men, virtually nobody but scholars (and some Amish) knew the word Rumspringa.

The word is electric. The publicized, stereotypical Rumspringa shows a perpetual spring breaklaced with hedonismrebellion, and license.
And some youth do follow this “fast track.”


Researching Rumspringa

A college student, preparing a paper about the Amish, read my blog and emailed me with questions. Thought I'd share some of her curiosity with you.

Her Question: What are the main types of Amish? From what I gather, there's the new order & the old order. Are the Old Order more traditional & the New Order more progressive? The Swartzentruber Amish (who u focus on in your blogs) are from the Old Order & are very conservative. Are they the biggest group? It's all very confusing to me. 

My Answer: There are more than 40 documented orders of Amish. Each with their own Ordnung and Bishop. Amish refer to their orders as "higher" to "lower" depending upon the strictness of rules. The Swartzentruber order is the lowest order - very punitive. Swartzentrubers are lower than OOA (old order Amish).

That led her to reiterating the rumspringa question . . .