You Might be Ex-Amish if . . .

Ready for a laugh?

Most of my former Amish pals have a sense of humor. Quick witted. Get a gag. Love to banter. Some have a biting playfulness.

I often remind Josh that I love his witticisms. After all he's gone through so far, he still sees whimsy in life.

Several months ago, Rosa put out a challenge to members of my former Amish group, "You might be ex-Amish if . . ."
Many were too eager to complete this sentence.
Hope these replies give you the giggles or help you understand the life they left.
Monroe who left at age 17
  • "You use English n Dutch in the same sentence."  ~Laura
  • "The first thing you do when you leave is buy a cowboy hat."  ~Ed 
  • "You can't dance."  ~Steve
  • "Your ears hurt in the winter because you're used to having them covered with a scarf."  ~Emma
  • "You wear an awkward large belt buckle and have extremely tight jeans."  ~John 
near my front door 
  • "You look over your shoulder to see if the bishop sees you drinking a beer." ~Rebecca
  • "You're a diehard fan of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Walker Texas Ranger."  ~Paul
  • "You only wear dark color clothes and still grow a beard!"  ~Al
  • "You hide your collection of colored socks."  ~Dora
  • "You see a van load pull into Wal-mart and you think, 'Glad I don't have to do that anymore!'"  ~Esther
  • "Instead of saying 'yes' you say 'ya.'"  ~Rachel
  • "You realize the Amish don't necessarily go by the Bible."  ~Jonathan
  • "You don't have any baby pictures of yourself..."  ~Rebecca
  • "Someone says they got a new dishwasher and you instantly think, baby girl." ~Rebecca
  • "You realize the word 'forenoon' isn't proper English."  ~Esther
  • "When flipping a light switch fascinates you."   ~Jon
  • "You still have coffee soup for breakfast on Sunday."  ~John
  • "You make toast in a frying pan!"  ~Minerva
  • "Discover English women can cook as good or better than some Amish women."  ~David 
Did you get the cultural nuances in their sentence?
After helping many Amish assimilate to life outside their settlement, I can so relate to these comments.
I've lived through Mosie and Monroe sporting a cowboy hat, western shirt, and boots. The roar and rumble of a diesel truck. Blaring country music. Guns and hunting. No offense to those who appreciate these things but, I was raised in the city . . . you get the paradox.

hang on Mosie
Mosie scared the beejeebies out of my husband and me when he and cousin, Levi, took bullriding lessons!

Then it was their crazy hair trials - buzz cut, a mohawk, a mullet, long, short & spiked, blond, brown . . . all in the first year! My husband and I laughed when Monroe snooped in our bathroom and experimented with hair dye . . . on his eyebrows!

Bottom line: they're new to our English world. When they bolt out of the Amish, they run into choices. They experience decision-making for the first time. They buck and run wild because nobody tells them what to think and how to live.

Marvin was unfamiliar with his own likes and dislikes. He tried different clothing styles before settling down to his comfort level.

Some of their first-time decisions are crazy but harmless. Some are dangerous and have lifetime consequences. 

Learn something? Leave your comments below.

(C)Copyright, 2015, Brenda Nixon.


  1. Our hearts go out to these brave young people who have taken such giant steps forward to live life in more functional and satisfying ways. Brenda, your humor helps to make your points very clear and realistic. Best is that I can't help thinking that growing up in general follows a similar path. As we all learn, face problems, and experience life in new and different ways, we also take our own major leaps forward. Easy? No, not at all. However, very worthwhile. Positive changes, no matter how difficult they were to make, always bring with them great rewards. In addition, they often provide the willingness to peek around the corner and think about taking that next higher climb. Thank you Brenda for continuing to bring us such motivating stories.

    1. I had to laugh at the "Forenoon" comment! That is a real word in German but spoken in English does not work so well. Amish seems to be a combination of German, English and as in "Forenoon", Englished versions of German words. I grew up german and I still sometimes say " Close the lights".... I have read many Amish also say this.

    2. Interesting Angelika, you help explain the language behind the language. The first time I hear one of "my" guys say "Forenoon" I thought I had misunderstood - expecting the usual "before noon" combination. "Close the lights" I've yet to hear but our son-in-love Harvey will say, "I don't care to" when he means, "I don't care if . . . "

    3. Hello from England. "Forenoon" is a perfectly respectable English word, though sadly under-used here this last 150 yrs or so. I've been known to use it myself when I've been on an 18th century reading jag.
      Also, many English people nowadays say "ya" though if pressed to write it down they'd write "yeah". I think it's a widespread adoption of what was once an upper-class liguistic trait.
      Maybe we English English sound a little more Amish than our American English cousins?
      (We don't "close" the lights though.)

    4. Thank you Anonymous from England for your comments.

  2. Brenda, As usual, I love this post like the rest. You help me think beyond the Amish romance fiction. I see more of the struggles ex-Amish face. God bless your work, friend.

    1. Thank you Cathy. You are an encouragement and have a beautiful way with words.

  3. Got me a good chuckle! Brenda, I would love to see some of the hairstyles on the boys (LOL) did you take photos? are they willing to share................... I love your blog always look forward to the next blog, much love and God Bless Diane Horton

    1. Glad you had a chuckle. About the hairstyles the guys have experimented with . . . I don't know if I could share those in public. But I will confess that we urged, nagged, and plead with Josh to stop wearing his mullet. It was 2012 after all!

  4. Wonderful post.

    "Some of their first-time decisions are crazy but harmless. Some are dangerous and have lifetime consequences." -- I think this is true of anyone who wasn't given a latitude to make choices for themselves.

    What's interesting is that there is so much writing about the Amish because they have an impressive lifestyle, and it's a competing alternative to modern lifestyles (even if most people would probably leave even the liberal orders after a few weeks).

    "Forenoon" is an interesting word. it does take regional culture, as in any part of the world, to create "non-standard" variety.

    1. I agree with your first observation that any child in an uber restrictive, controlled upbringing will have crippled decision-making skills.
      And, yes, there's quite the crave of Amish-related information. And knowing what I know and have experienced, most wannabes would leave after a few weeks. Hey, I know ex-Amish who went back but, left again after a few days!
      Thanks for reading and for your comments.

  5. I pray for all of the Amish people all over! You are in a cult run by the devil! Foolish Foolish laws and black is for Satan! Get out and find the real Jesus! Doing things in secret and behind closed doors is the devil! Good luck to those who have left . May others follow before it s too late!