Archives for category: Amish Tips



Recently I was able to make a quick trip to Pennsylvania to see my Amish friend Ruth (fictional name to protect her privacy). I first met Ruth when I was researching A Gift of Grace, the first in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.

Ruth lives on a dairy farm and has seven children. Our first encounter consisted with sitting in her kitchen for two hours and talking, and I found that she was soft-spoken, warm, and patient person I’d ever met. She never lost her patience with her children. And, since she has seven children, I was impressed. I have two boys, and I find myself constantly raising my voice. I knew when I met Ruth that I could learn to be a better person by following her example.

My friendship with Ruth has grown tremendously during the past five years. We’ve moved from occasional phone calls and visits to more regular calls. She and one of her daughters read my manuscripts and help me with the details and accuracy of my books.

During my most recent visit, Ruth invited me to come to a dinner that she was hosting in her home. Some Amish women host dinners for Englishers (non-Amish) as a way to make extra income. It gives Englishers an opportunity to experience an Amish home and meal. While I had visited Ruth many times, I had never had the opportunity to attend a meal like this.

There are approximately two dozen visitors who attended the meal. Ruth had a small table and also one long table set up in her kitchen. She invited the guests to come into the kitchen, and she asked me to sit at the head of the long table. Before the meal began, she said a prayer, thanking God for the beautiful day and the opportunity to host her new friends in her home.

She then began to serve the meal. Normally, Ruth hires two fifteen-year-old girls to help her since her daughters are busy working and her sons help with the farm. This evening her helpers were busy, so I did what I could assist her with her meal, which included fruit salad, barbecue meatloaf, green beans from her garden, and homemade chicken and noodles. The meal was serve family style. For dessert, we served coffee, chocolate, and coffee flavored pudding. The food was delicious!

After we ate, Ruth sat on a stool and asked the group where they were from. There were visitors from as close by as New Jersey and as far away as Europe. Ruth answered questions about the Amish culture, and she and her youngest daughter sang a beautiful song for us. She then led us in a verse of Amazing Grace.

I stayed after the guests had left and helped her wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. We talked about our families while we worked.

It was a blessing and an honor to experience a meal in Ruth’s home. I look forward to visiting Ruth again soon.

If you are able to visit Amish Country, I highly recommend that you have a meal in an Amish home. I’m certain you’ll have a wonderful time!


Amy Clipston


Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. Readers can find Amy at, as well as on Facebook at: and on Twitter: @AmyClipston.


This week I had the thrill of finding out that my new book, A Mother’s Secret, made it to the ECPA bestseller list.  It has been quite a while since one my books have made it to this list, so I’m positively over the moon!




I’m so thrilled by all of the interest in A Mother’s Secret and excited to share a little preview of the next book in the series, A Dream of Home, which is coming in December. I recently finished the editing process for this book and I’d love to share a sneak peek!  Click here to view the cover and a few pages.

Thank you for reading!




Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Baker  series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats




Amy Clipston’s new book, A Mother’s Secret, debuted in June. To celebrate with Amy, enter to win a copy of the book and also a Kindle Fire! Enter to win here: #giveaway


What is A Mother’s Secret about?

My new book, A Mother’s Secret, is the second in my Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series. In this book, Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s nephew. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family—and the unconditional love—she’s longed for?

I think readers will enjoy seeing Joshua Glick in this book since he was a minor character in book 1, A Hopeful Heart. Readers will also have the opportunity to find out what happened to Hannah, the main character in the first book.


Where did you find your inspiration for writing A Mother’s Secret?

The Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series was inspired during the Amish Country Holiday Book Tour in November 2011. Alicia Mey, Senior Marketing Director at Zondervan, suggested I create a series about Amish women who work in an upscale hotel. She was intrigued with the idea of the Amish and “English” (non-Amish) clashing in such a unique environment. A Mother’s Secret was inspired while I was writing the first book in the series, A Hopeful Heart. I felt Joshua Glick needed his own story. This book is dedicated to my amazing editor and dear friend, Becky Philpott.


What inspired you to write Amish fiction?

While my ancestors weren’t Amish, my father was a German immigrant, who came to the United States along with his parents and siblings in 1929. He once told me the Amish speak a dialect that is similar his German relatives. That connection resonated with me, and after visiting Lancaster County as a child, I felt that loose connection strengthen. I love the culture and the people.


How do you research your Amish books?

I have a dear Amish friend who helps me with my novels. She reads my manuscripts before they are published, and she also answers my questions.


Why do you think Amish fiction continues to be popular?

Our modern world is full of distractions. Each day our time is ruled by cellular phones and email messages. Most of us rush off to work in the morning and find ourselves trapped in traffic jams. When we get home at night, we again hurry through the motions of the daily routine before going to bed. Many of us are not able to spend much time with our families due to the demands of our careers.

I believe most of us secretly crave the romanticized view we have of the Amish life since their lives are focused on their families and faith. They chose to live simply and without the conveniences that have taken over our modern lives. The Amish have more time to spend with their families, and their lives revolve around their children, not stressful jobs. The Amish novels are an escape from our crazy lives, and the stories transport us to a simpler way of life. By reading about the Amish, we feel a closer connection to God and we refocus our lives toward what really matters.


When will the next book in the series debut?

Dream of Home, which is the third book in the series, will debut in December 2014.


Where can readers find you online?

Readers can find me on my website at, as well as on Facebook at: and on Twitter: @AmyClipston.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I am an advocate for organ and blood donation since I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband, Joe, received a second kidney transplant. My husband and matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. My memoir, A Gift of Love, details our journey with Joe’s kidney disease and his two kidney transplants.   You can find my memoir here:



Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery  series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

shipshe 1-3, rev and webAmish, Quilt and Retreats

There are many things to admire about the Amish way of life. One of the things that I am fascinated by is their quilting skill. Amish ladies seem to raise this to an art level. And to think they do it by hand or with a treadle machine is pretty amazing. I know women have been quilting by hand for many, many years – but in our day and age it’s become a rare thing. I admire the humble way Amish women will show you their quilts, how they pass this skill down to the next generation, and how quilts are used to raise money for benefit auctions.

My Shipshewana Series is set in a quilt shop called Lolly’s in Shipshewana. It only took one trip to Lolly’s and I was hooked. I bought a few kits, thinking that I could borrow my mom’s machine–which I did. But soon I was wanting my own sewing machine. Quilting is like that. It becomes something that you enjoy doing and want to do more of. I found a simple little Brothers Machine at my local Walmart for under $100. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a great machine for a beginner like myself.

photo-17     photo-18   photo-19

This past week I attended my first quilting retreat. What fun! It reminded me of the Amish sew-ins, where women gather to work on a quilt. In this case, we were all working on different projects, but it was a lot of fun to sew in a room with 20 other women. Everyone was a lot of help too. If you had a question or needed a certain color fabric, people pitched right in. The first quilt I made had rather large blocks. Remember, I’m a beginner. I love the bright colors though. The second quilt I made was a rag quilt. I liked this idea because it was very easy to “quilt” each block on my little machine. The  third quilt I made was the hardest, but I like the way it came together. I especially like that there was someone there to teach me how to get those little blocks to line up correctly.

Not everyone enjoys sewing, but whether you do or you don’t there are still many things about the Amish life that we can respect and emulate in our own lives–their focus on family, the way they live their faith out day-to-day, and the strong community bond between families. My prayer is that as you read Amish fiction, you will be blessed and find ways to incorporate these things into your life.



On March 5, I traveled to South Bend, Indiana, for a live television interview on The Harvest Show to launch my memoir, A Gift of Love. My literary agent, Susan Brower, drove to South Bend and met me at the airport, and we had a wonderful time visiting together. I had never traveled to South Bend, and I didn’t realize we were staying right by Notre Dame. Sue and I took a windshield tour of the campus, enjoying the beautiful architecture, along with the piles of snow.


Sue and I had dinner at Legends, a restaurant located on the Notre Dame campus. Above is a photo of Sue posing outside of the restaurant.


The restaurant was decorated with Fighting Irish sports memorabilia, and the food was delicious. Sue and I shared a delectable piece of carrot cake as a special treat for dessert. Above is a photo of me with examples of the memorabilia in the background.

On Thursday, March 6, Sue and I had breakfast in the hotel and then took a shuffle to the Harvest Show studio. I was nervous, but I felt at ease when I met the friendly members of the Harvest Show staff. My interview was scheduled for 9:17, and I waited on the set until my time came to join the host and hostess. I quickly felt comfortable and enjoyed discussing my book with them.

Here is a link to my interview.

After the interview, Sue and I traveled back to the hotel, and we packed up our things. Sue took me to the airport, and I started my journey home to Charlotte. I hope to have the opportunity to travel back to South Bend sometime soon.

Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. In addition to her passion for writing, Amy is incredibly passionate about blood and organ donation. Her memoir, A Gift of Love, which details her journey as a kidney donor, released in March 2014. She and her family live in North Carolina and are so grateful for their health and time together as a family. 

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We live in the land of opportunity. If I want to make Thai food for dinner, I can Google a recipe, stop at the store for all the ingredients, and whip something up. Just in my local community I can sign up for Chinese classes, painting classes, and violin. I had dozens and dozens of stores that woo me with the latest styles.

There is nothing wrong with cooking something new, starting a new hobby, or trying to dress fashionable. But all these things take time. Just because you can expand your horizons doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In fact, simple living comes down to one thing: simplicity.

I’m a mom of six children but also an author. I discovered this truth about simplifying when researching for my Amish novels and my Amish devotional book, The One Year Book® of Amish Peace. The Amish are simple, plain. But they also are effective.

The Amish wear the same type of clothing every day. They don’t fill their lives with media entertainment. They cook the same recipes their parents and grandparents cooked, which means they don’t waste time trying new things. It takes time to make choices, to try new things, and to follow the latest fads. The Amish get a lot of basic stuff done each day because they stick to the basics.

Simplify your wardrobe. I’m drawn in by sale signs. Who isn’t excited about 80% off? Yet too often I find myself buying one clothing item that doesn’t go with anything else, which means I spend time hunting around for something to match. Can you relate? To save time, pick fashion based on function rather than fads. Also choose a few favorite stores. As “unhip” as it may be, I do 90% of my clothes shopping at Old Navy and JC Penny. I know I can find simple items for me that fit and that last.

Simplify your meals. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy trying new recipes, but it takes time to try something new and hunt down all the ingredients. I use my 20 top recipes 80% of the time. I keep my pantry and freezer stocked. I have what I need to get the job done at a moment’s notice. It just saves times!

Simplify your routine. Every morning I wake up, drink a glass of water, gather my Bible and Bible study, and sit down to connect with God. I write a blog, then shower, dress, and get the kids dressed and fed. I drive my daughter to school, return home, get started on chores, spend time with the littlest kids, and then I answer emails. During nap time I work on bigger writing projects. It may seem like a boring routine, but it works. I know what I need to do and what must be accomplished to have everything done. There are lots of places I’d like to go and lots of things I’d like to do, but if I get too scattered nothing gets done.

We live in a land of opportunity and I continually have to remind myself that I have chosen what’s most important . . . and what’s most important is to stick to that!

—Tricia Goyer

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central Texas

central Texas

Gardens Among the Amish

I think that most of us are ready for spring. My friends to the north have had enough snow to last them several winters. Here in Texas, the temperatures have bee extraordinarily cold, then warm, then cold again — pretty standard. The one thing we’re missing is RAIN. Other states are experiencing drought as well–California, for instance. Please pray for us, that God will send us rain to fill the streams, replenish the lakes, and water our gardens.

As I watch for signs of spring, I start thinking about my garden. When is it time to plant? Can I be sure it won’t frost again? What new things do I want to try this year? We have a problem with deer in our area as you can see from the top picture. Generally they find a way to eat anything I plant. But this year, my husband has built a fence around the patio, and we also have a homemade “greenhouse” that we hope to grow some things in. I love fresh vegetables and herbs!

Growing up, we always had a garden, but as I got older and had a family of my own–I became too busy. Or I thought I was too busy. Then I started writing Amish stories and visiting Amish homes. If you’ve been to Amish country, you know that their gardens are a site to behold. There are flowers alongside vegetables. Sunflowers for birdseed, and even objects to add art and whimsy, like the propane tank in the picture above.

shipshewana, INSo what did I learn from my visits to Amish and their gardens?

  1. Growing a garden is hard work, but it’s also quite satisfying.
  2. All the family can help–we saw everyone from the young children to grandma and grandpa helping.
  3. Gardening has a spiritual aspect. When we’re in “the garden” it’s easier to focus on our Lord.
  4. Gardening is healthy. It produces healthy food. It gives us exercise and time in the sun, and it’s a balm for our spirit.
  5. Homegrown produce tastes better. That’s not a scientific fact, but it sure seems to be true. Perhaps it’s the hours you’ve put in caring for your garden. Maybe it’s the way you’ve watched the tomatoes ripen, waiting for the moment you can pick one. I can’t explain this, but it seems that homegrown does taste better.

Garden webWhen I was asked to write a novella for the collection, An Amish Garden, the first thing I did was go back through my pictures of my time visiting the Amish in Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Oklahoma. These places are all different, with different types of communities, buggies, dress, and even styles of farming. but one thing they had in common was the family garden.

I plan to expand my garden this year. And hopefully, this time, the deer won’t reap the rewards of my labor.