4/18/16

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.

Ready?

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

2) Amish share similar beliefs and behaviors:
    True
    False

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

4) Mennonites came out of the Amish:
   True
   False

5) Only married Amish men grow beards and mustaches:
   True
   False

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

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

4/4/16

Amish on the Internet

Last year my pal and author colleague Janet Perez Eckles invited me as a guest on her internet radio show"Brenda please share about the Amish and what you're learning by helping those who leave," she urged.

How could I turn down an opportunity to share discoveries about the Amish with the world? Janet's producer set up the connection and she and I chatted comfortably for an hour - I from my home - the marvels of technology! "Wow, I never knew that," she frequently exclaimed throughout the interview.

Two things I declined to discuss . . . at least not on air; Amish underwear and dating practicesGuess you'll have to read my book to find out about those. I count it a privilege to answer questions and educate the public amid fun and laughs. A few moments of silence passed when new truths stunned her. Janet admitted she looked at the Amish from the outside and entertained the simplistic image.

Since last year she's discontinued her radio show. I wish it were still available to help listeners get an ear full of news about the Amish. Even if you can't hear this radio interview, I'd love it if you'd leave your comments or questions below.

Talk to ya next week. ~Brenda
(C)Copyright, 2016, Brenda Nixon.

3/21/16

Amish Voting Behavior

Those of us who know/assist those who've left the Amish use descriptive names:
ex-Amish, Former Amish, New English, Fence Jumpers.

Even "they" use these names! So in light of that - plus it being an election year - I had to share this . . .

One popular myth is that Amish don't vote - truth is,
some do,
some don't.

Typically, the lower the order the less they participate in "Englisch" government. The uber strict Swartzentruber do not vote. It was my privilege when helping Mosie adapt to our life, (he's Chapter 1 of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish) to help him register as a voter. It was my later pleasure to take him to the polls and watch him vote for his very first time!

Your turn. Have questions about other popular myths? Leave 'em below & I'll answer.

(c)Copyright 2016, Brenda Nixon.

3/11/16

Is Rumspringa a worry to Amish parents?

Thank You
for reading my blog posts and to those who leave comments! Speaking of . . . here's one I received recently,
I just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog and have
learned a lot from your stories. Thank you for opening my eyes to how  
diverse Amish culture actually is.

I stumbled across it as I was doing a bit of research on various coming of  
age traditions for a fantasy story I'm writing at the moment (of all  
things!), and got sidetracked by Rumspringa. I'm so glad that I fell down  
that rabbit hole, I feel that I've learned a lot.

2/29/16

Her World In and Out of the Amish

Today, I share Saloma's Story. She grew up Amish and left as a young married adult. The former Amish who I've had most experiences with are teens or those in their early twenties. Saloma, however, left after marriage and children. Here's her touching story . . .
 Down Memory Lane
    "Hi, my name is Saloma and I'm the oldest child in my family. I have two brothers and two sisters. I was born in 1977 into a very conservative Old Order Amish family in Fredonia, PA.

    My parents bought a dairy farm when I was seven years old. We didn’t have much of any toys and what we had we usually made ourselves. We made stilts out of two-by-fours and chased each other around in the barn. Our heads would almost touch the barn ceiling.

2/12/16

The Hidden World of Amish Gangs

Are you serious? Amish gangs? Are they like violent Mafia-type groups?

Naw. No TV hype here, just insider trivia.

In most cases Amish gangs are teen cliques with mutual interests. Some of the gangs are wilder than others, and some gangs pretty much hold to the Amish ways. 

Below some of my ex-Amish pals tell it like it is...gang names and activities. (boy, this'd make a good book...

One online pal remembers one of the gangs was called the Sparkies.

2/1/16

What Happened to My Life as Amish

Jesey has had an exciting, tumultuous journey unlike any other person I know. Here's her story in her own words . . .

"Do I ever regret my experience? No. 

Does it sometimes feel like it was a surreal dream and other times more real than my life today? Most assuredly. 

Would I recommend it? Only to a very, very select few.

I am the oldest of 10 in a Catholic family from upstate NY. When I was about 11 we started the journey to becoming Amish. We met a newlywed Old Order Amish couple (Dan and Ruth) on a train as we were heading back to NY for the family holidays. Dad was intrigued. He struck up a conversation with the couple and the rest is history.

For the next ten years my family lived the Amish lifestyle while trying to find a group Dad felt was "the one." This took us thru several different old order Mennonite and Amish groups as well as Charity and Hutterites, sometimes several simultaneously (as in, we were living according to the rules of one Amish group but on an off Sunday we might go to a Mennonite church). I must step back here a little and explain, Our trip home for holidays to New York became a longer one when my parents

1/21/16

Curiosities, Confessions, and FREE e-book

Whether it's a speaking venue, media interview, or booksigning, I'm frequently asked these common questions.
Where do you live? Are you married? Do you have a family?

We live in Ohio – home to the largest number of Amish settlements nationwide. My husband and I have raised two daughters but, along through the years, God has asked me to temporarily “parent” other children. 
For a year, we took in a homeless twelve-year-old and helped her feel safe and secure, while tending to her formal education and medical care until she was able to join her father.
Another summer, I sensed a divine urge to house a French exchange student. We did that two separate summers.

1/12/16

Speaking the first half of 2016

IT'S FUN, UNEXPECTED and WELCOMED. . .

I'm asked to write guest blogs, sign my book, and answer questions in media interviews.



12/23/15

Suspendergate = Amish Rules on Suspender Use

Amazing! Did you know about Suspendergate?

There are different rules on suspender-use among the Amish, just as there are rules on hats, shoes, and ladies' bonnets.

This post provides you some insight into the varied and complex Amish world. One cannot say, "All Amish" do this or that. 

My learning curve about the culture and its confines began in 2009 when the "Ex-Men" [a group of former Swartzentrubers] graced my life. Then Mosie, our first "adopted" ex-Amish son moved into our home.

12/4/15

Unbelievable Update on Marvin - Chapter 7 of my book

He left his PA Old Order Amish settlement. Then he went back. Left again.

The second time he left his Amish life, the ex-Amish guy who picked him up in a car and brought him to Ohio, stopped in our home and introduced us to Marvin. At 18-years-young, he looked so naive. He'd left behind his Amish appearance -- English clothes, clean-shaven, short hair.

I wrote in detail about our relationship with Marvin, his near-death car accident and making me his medical POA during the delicate body repair surgery.

What's he doing since my book came out?

11/25/15

Update on ex-Amish Verna - Chapter 6 of my book

Chapter 6 of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish describes an Old Order Amish girl. Her upbringing and family life was NOT what you'd read in any Amish fiction book.

But it was her truth.

Verna grew up in Ohio - home to the largest number of Amish settlements nationwide. She left the Amish at a young age, later met and married Dave. He also had left the Amish. They began building a life together.

Most of chapter 6 takes place in Dave and Verna's home, where she nurtured her first child. What's the exciting news since the book release?