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?


Monroe - Chapter 5 of my book - Update

Monroe was tall, slender, blue-eyed, and oh so young when we first met. He was Amish. And our initial meeting was at his married sister's home when I was trying to help her get a birth certificate.


Dramatic Update on Sarah - Chapter 4 of my book

She chose to leave her Swartzenuber Order late one Thursday night.
No transportation, job, or birth certificate.
No education beyond 8th grade.
Little cash.
A small sack of English clothes.
Hopes of finding a home for the night.
We became that home.
I wrote about picking her up at WalMart, how I helped Sarah launch her new life in our "forbidden" world, and her first steps on the journey in being ex-Amish. Sarah is Chapter 4 of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets.

As a Swartzentruber female she was forbidden from shaving any body hair - remember that part in my book? She needed teeth. Her order avoids licensed dentists. A settlement dentist puls a tooth with a cavity rather than repair. The white kapp represents submission, and in her settlement, signified she was an unmarried - but of marriageable  age - female.

And since the publication of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets, . . . here's an amazing update:


Update on Josh - Chapter 3 of my book

Amish Jonas, Chap 3 in my book
He's come a long way from his Swartzentruber Amish days, where Jonas was the settlement's buggy repairman.

And since writing my Beyond Buggies and Bonnets book, ex-Amish Jonas (now known as Josh) has experienced several more changes! He...
  • moved out of his apartment
  • married Sarah (she's Chapter 4)
  • started a new business
  • learned to run Power Point at his church and
  • plans to move to Colorado this month!
We "adopted" Josh as our nephew because he's the cousin of our son-in-law Harvey. And I'm thankful we keep in touch. He's shown great independence, maturity, and spiritual growth. 

He's also retained his quick wit and sense of humor. Remember, that part of Chapter 3 where he bought the BB gun at an auction?


Why do Amish leave? Ex-Amish answers

In my last post I answered a common question, "Why do Amish leave?"

As promised then, here are answers culled from "the horses' mouth" - the ex-Amish themselves. Some may surprise you.

  • Male - it may be because of the non-stop rules to conform . . . or be shunned by the community. For me it was because of a disagreement about doctrine. I was asked to take a hike, but not all were in agreement about that, I found out later.


Why Do Amish Leave? My answer

"Why do some Amish leave?" is a question I'm asked when on speaking engagements.

While time doesn't permit a detailed answer, this is the condensed version I give:

In my experiences with former and current Amish, I’ve learned there are three main reasons they leave: 


Update on ex-Amish Harvey

He's chapter 2 of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish. And he's my son-in love!

Since the publication of the book, readers want to know how and what Harvey is doing. He's been "out" of the uber strict Swartzentruber Order of Amish for six years now.

He can be stoic and serious (Amish breeding). And he has a terrific sense of humor. Here he is as a Duck Dynasty character!

This summer our family vacationed on Kelly's Island in Lake Erie, Ohio and Harvey - like most Amish - loves to fish.


Update on ex-Amish Mosie

He's chapter 1 of Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish. Many readers have asked me how he's doing . . .

Well, here's his life changing update!


Love your blog but . . .

She emailed me, "I love your blog but I have questions."

Great! I love curiosity.

She wanted to learn about the young men who leave the Amish. Since it's common for Amish women to do the cooking and home care she asked, "How hard is it for these young men that leave learn how to cook?"

The answer varies among particular families - but those I've met from the Swartzentruber order knew nearly nothing about food preparation to sustain their appetites.


The Colorful Amish Buggies

Love learning about the Amish culture? Want to know "everything" Amish?

This post might be your fave.

Have you always thought Amish buggies are black? Here's a surprise!

 The Old School - also called Nebraska Amish - have white-topped buggies! Any exterior lights or reflectors are considered vain "ornaments." I'd think a white-topped buggy would be easier to see on the road at night. Interestingly, this is one of the few orders that prohibit women from wearing a bonnet!

Nebraska Amish were named for Yost B. Yoder, an Amish bishop from Nebraska, who helped start this group.

Ready for more?


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."