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I’ve written numerous novels about the Amish. I first became interested after meeting a couple in Montana. My daughter introduce me to them! They grew up Amish and lost two daughters in a horse-and-buggy and semi accident. As I learned more about their lives, I found great stories for novels. And as I learned more about the Amish while researching books, then I gathered all that wisdom and compiled it together in the One Year Book of Amish Peace. I have loved getting to know more about the Amish. I was really inspired by their Anabaptist history. As I learned about their fight for religious freedom I realized what I’d taken for granted.

By researching the Amish I realized I was trying to do too much—filling my life with too much. And I started to focus more on what mattered. Some things I focus on are family dinners, quiet time with God, and connecting within my community. I say no to a lot of thing so I can focus on what’s most important. Yes, it is hard saying “no” to things. We have six kids, and four of them are at home, but for this season we are doing NO extracurricular activities. For me it’s more important to have dinners around the table together.

I love making dinner . . . that’s similar to the Amish! And I love gathering around as a family. Our son is married, and he, his wife, and two little babies are over at our house two to three times a week for dinner. I love that!

John and I decided it was more important for our kids to know each other and us—and especially God—than it was to be busy all the time. I am going to let them do some outside activities as they get older . . . but just being around family is building a foundation for life!

The Amish are usually surrounded by family: moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. They “do life” together. They also share the load with their neighbors. Everyone’s load is lighter when they have help!

I also train my kids to share the load of the family. Here is one of the Amish proverbs from my book: “A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.”

Researching and talking to the Amish also made me realize how similar we are as God’s children. The Biblical people, the Amish people, me and you as modern people all have the same inner issues and struggles . . . and God is the answer to them all!

I loved being able to dig into the Amish foundations and beliefs. I honestly think I know more about some of their heritage than most of them do. I also really focused on the balance of law versus grace. Any of us can get so focused on “being a certain way” that we forget that God’s grace covers everything. It’s true for the Amish and for any of us!

—Tricia Goyer

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Recently John and I were driving around “Amish Country” in Missouri. How do you figure out where the Amish live in any community? Look up the address to the Amish school! Since children usually have to walk to school, homes of Amish families are nearby.

Here are photos of the homes and countryside. Beautiful!

While we were driving we saw a sign that said, “Hickory Rockers.” Of course we had to stop!

We followed the driveway and saw a simple Amish house and shop. Two dogs greeted us. (We had to drive slowly because they didn’t seem realize that our car could hurt them.)

A toddler in Amish dress was playing on the porch, but she quickly ran inside when she saw us.

Inside the shop was an Amish man and his son who looked about fourteen years old. They were busy at work on some hickory rockers. They showed us their tools—all of which they turned by hand. He also told us about his brother-in-law’s shop a mile up the road; his brother also had a wordworking shop with all the tools powered by bicycle. (We wish we could have seen that!) They allowed us to take photos of their shop.

Of course, we had to buy a hickory rocker for Alyssa! She loved it.

You never know what you’ll come home with when you go out for a drive!

~Tricia Goyer