The Good, Bad, and Ugly

I've been relaxed on writing for a while - surgery, a new grandson, a daughter's wedding. Life.

But that doesn't mean I've "sat out" on learning about the Amish and those who leave nor on helping ex-Amish who come across my path.

Thin, quiet Jacob is the newest "fence jumper" who landed in my life. He asked me to teach him to drive . . . using my car. Husband refuses to ride along when ex-Amish learn that a vehicle is stronger and faster than a buggy. So Jacob and I drove alone through parking lots, back roads, practiced parking, and reviewed road rules.


Spicy Tomato Jam

It's a crisp - 68 degree - morning here in Ohio. As summer begins to cool and close down, we have an abundance of tomatoes from our tiny garden.

When we are out and about, we pick up a local publication - The Vendor - which is aimed at Amish, Mennonite, other Plain Communities, and farmers. Remember there are many individuals who live the Plain life - that doesn't mean they're Amish. But Amish do live under the Plain people umbrella.

Anyhow, in The Vendor this month is a Spicy Tomato Jam recipe my husband tried. It used some of our tomato overload. If you're in the same boat - or are curious what Amish, others, and farmers might do - give this a try:


Curiosities and Challenges about the Amish and my Book

Earlier this month an Ohio library invited me to speak and to sell and sign my book.

After I arrived and set up my book table, hung the Amish clothes, and booted up my power point, the librarian introduced me. The mixed audience leaned forward and eagerly listened while I showed authentic Amish clothes and shared my story. I detailed my experiences with the "fence jumpers" and about my book, Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish.

From the back of the room, a man shot up his hand. After I acknowledged him, he asked, "Why aren't there as many women as guys who leave and stay out?"


Stories of Shunning

It doesn't just happen in the Amish culture.

Religions around the world shun those who leave the faith, the "infidels," the "wayward" ones. I've known parents who shun a child for a behavior or decision against them.

But since there's tremendous curiosity - and misunderstanding - about Amish shunning - which is not practiced in all orders - here are a few stories from those who've personally experienced it since leaving the Amish world behind:

Esther shared:
Here's my story.... We left 13 years ago and are still being shunned by our families. I went through a grieving period for them. At this point in time they talk to us, but don't eat with us or drive with us or do business with us. Some of our family are more like a distant relative than close family. Our kids don't know most of their cousins and my parents have no relationship with our kids.


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:


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.


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,


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.