Archives for posts with tag: Simple Living


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.


It’s finally warming up in Charlotte, NC, and I’m relishing the first days of spring. It’s such a beautiful time of year as we enjoy hearing the birds sing again, and the earth is renewed. I always look forward to seeing the daffodils sprout up in our yard. Daffodils are special to me since they remind me of the huge backyard behind the house where I grew up in New Jersey. My father once told me that the squirrels moved the daffodil bulbs, explaining why the flowers would poke up in random locations throughout the yard.

This year spring is even more special because the next book in my Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel series is set to release June 3. A Mother’s Secret is my favorite book in the series. Carolyn Lapp, the heroine of the book, is different from the other Amish women I’ve featured in my previous books. Due to her painful past, she’s more outspoken and less traditional than any other Amish character I have created. I also enjoyed giving Joshua Glick his own story since he had his heart broken in A Hopeful Heart.




Readers can pre-order the e-book version of A Mother’s Secret for $4.99 until June 2. Just follow this link to pre-order the book. Below is more information about the book.

Book Description

In A Mother’s Secret Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? 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. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. 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 brother. 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?

The Making of A Mother’s Secret

A Mother’s Secret was inspired while I was writing A Hopeful Heart. I felt Joshua Glick needed his own story. This book is dedicated to my amazing editor and dear friend, Becky Philpott.

I plan to give away advance copies of A Mother’s Secret beginning in May. You can check my Facebook page for contests.

I hope readers enjoy A Mother’s Secret. Book three in the series, A Dream of Home, will follow in December.



Too often we rush through life. We speed through our neighborhoods and cities without truly seeing what we’re passing. We don’t have time for friends, and because of that when we truly need a friend no one is around. In the Amish community, travel is done at the speed of a buggy. They attend church with those who live closest to them. They help a neighbor, knowing they will have a day when help is needed. And because of that, peace comes. It’s peaceful to wave at a friend as your buggy travels past her home. It’s even more peaceful knowing that your friend has your back.

What inspiration can we get from the Amish to live a slower and more peaceful life?

Decide what’s important.

Make a list of three things important to your family, your job, and in your life. Years ago my husband and I decided to make dinnertime a priority. We gather our children (and sometimes friends) around the dinner table nearly every night. We protect our evenings. We don’t sign up our kids for many activities because knowing the people around the dinner table is more important. What is important to you? Too often we fill our days with too much and because of this we are always in a hurry. When you focus on the most important things you’ll give up much busyness.

Do less each day (yet invite others to join you).

Efficiency and accomplishment are prized in our society, but crossing off a to-do list isn’t as meaningful as connecting with others. The Amish appreciate family farms because they’re able to work side-by-side with their children. Even preschoolers are taught how to work and have responsibilities. Mothers don’t hurry through a chore. They do it at child-speed, knowing that their child’s help will someday lighten their load. The Amish also gather for tasks, such as canning, cooking, and quilting. They focus on one big thing and do it together. This brings peace to their schedule and their hearts.

Simplify your choices.

The Amish wear the same type of clothing. They don’t fill their lives with media entertainment. They cook the same recipes that 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. Instead, pick fashion based on function rather than fads. Make a small list of favorite recipes. Spend time with a few favorite books. You’ll be surprised by how much time you’ll find!

Be thankful.

Instead of being busy trying to get more things — or feeling anxious by what we don’t have — thankfulness brings an inner joy. Today try a new phrase, “I have all I need, and I thank God for that.” God has given us so much, and when we take time to thank Him peace comes.

—Tricia Goyer

See the original post here.


Have you ever wished you were Amish? You could spend time baking with your daughters, going to a quilting circle, or spending a Saturday afternoon on a picnic with your husband. There have been times in my life when cooking anything beyond frozen chicken strips seemed impossible, but instead of abandoning our modern way of life (and our electricity, phones, computers, and cars), I decided to do a better job at balancing my life so I could make time for cooking, and family, and times of togetherness.

Balance—it’s a not place you arrive at and pound in your stake. It’s an ebb and flow that takes looking at your schedule and making constant adjustments. Four years ago I balanced pre-teens and teenagers in the house. Now I have a married son (and daughter-in-law and grandson), two college students, and a toddler daughter. Things haven’t slowed down one bit! (So if you’re think things will slow down next week, next month, or next year, I wouldn’t count on that.)

Balance is setting your focus on the things that matter most, and not giving your attention to things that aren’t as important. These help me to balance well:

1. Quiet time in the morning. I usually wake up 1-1/2 hours before everyone else. I exercise, read my Bible, pray, and journal. If Mama gets this “quiet” time, the rest of the day goes 100% better. This makes sense because the best place we can center our attention is on Jesus. Jesus isn’t just around to make our life better. He is our life. He isn’t around to help us be good, Jesus should be the source of everything we do. Our love and service to those around us should be an outpouring of His love and service. Life is not about making a commitment to Him. It’s surrendering to Him, realizing we have nothing to offer, yet with Christ-in-us we have everything to give.

2. Weekly date nights with my spouse. We NEED this. We need time to foster our relationship and fall in love again every week. Every strong home has one thing in common—a good foundation. Without unity and mutual commitment, a house will start to crumble. More than that, my husband centers my attention. I tend to get caught up in the daily little things, and John is great about reminding me, “Do you really need to be worrying about that?” John also is the one who gives me a reality check and reminds me that I can’t do everything—no one can. Also, our commitment to each other is one of the best examples we can be living out for our children.

3. Daily prayer and Scripture reading with my husband. Again our marriage relationship is the foundation of the home, and we strive to build our relationship around God. When we take time to read God’s Word together before John goes to work, it’s placing our attention on Who really is the head of our home. God’s Word also nestles in our heart, which makes it easy to refer to it during the day when the challenges of life come (as they always do).

4. Family trips. There are two reasons why the Amish still use buggies. First, it’s that they do not want to conform to the world. Second, they don’t want their family members racing every-which-way in a hurried pace. Those are both worthwhile concerns. With two working adults and young adults who both work and go to college, it seems the only way we get quality time together is to leave town. We travel together as a family three or four times a year, including vacations and weekend trips. It’s a time to leave work and school behind and enjoy one another. A few weeks ago we went to Branson, Missouri, together where we explored a cave, went to a dinner show, and raced around Silver Dollar City (which is like stepping back into a slower-paced time). Once we got home, work and school started up again, but for two days we were together making memories.

5. Dinners together. With the Amish, gathering the family around the dinner table is a daily occurrence. People have been living that way for generations, and it’s only been in the last twenty years that folks seem to think that organized sports or other extracurricular pursuits are more important that family time and breaking bread together. I decided thirteen years ago that I’d rather have my kids’ best memories be of us around the table, chatting about our day, than doing sprints at basketball practice. (Not that I’m against basketball or any sport, it’s just that I limit it to one extracurricular activity per child, per year.) And even though making dinner takes planning and time, I’ve discovered my husband can easily overlook a messy house and a screaming toddler if a good meal is on the table. Now because dinner together is such a habit, my children refuse to eat if Dad’s still at work. They’d rather eat a tepid, re-heated meal than miss that time around the table.

So while you won’t find me trading my iPod for a bonnet anytime soon, I do try to balance my life by focusing on the most important parts first. Like the Amish show us, making time to feed, care for, and seek God with our and family is something that should be a priority. Something we’ll never regret.


pin for amish living post on simplicity


For the past couple of years I’ve been seeking a simpler life. Never would I have thought trying to be more “simple” would be so hard. Through my research of the Amish, I’ve seen a variety of ways to live simply. Yet it’s a constant struggle. But I have accomplished a few goals I’ve set out to do, and I wanted to share my progress with you.

One key thing I needed to learn was to “unbusy” myself. I totally made up that word, but it’s the best way to describe paring down my schedule, activities, even the busyness of worrying about the future. Matthew 6:27 states “Can any one of you by worrying add a single day to your life?” How many times have we—I—heard this verse, and yet I still worry? I’m slowly learning that stripping away the worries—the extra activities that I do out of guilt and not out of calling or desire, the stress about working, dealing with my health, etc.—has had a profoundly positive effect. Knowing that I only have ten instead of a hundred things to do makes me look forward to the next day, instead of cringing at the thought of what that day holds.

Another step in simplifying is to get organized. I’m a Pinterest addict, and I’ve found so many helpful ideas on that for just about everything. I have an Organization board, and I’ve pinned a variety of organizational techniques and ideas that I want to try. I’ve already incorporated some of those into my life. The biggest one is tackling the closet. Now I don’t have to trip on things (which I’ve done) and I can find stuff. I’ve also pared down and given away clothes I don’t wear or need.

Maybe these things come naturally to you. I know some people who have such pure trust in God, which I aspire to, that they don’t worry about a million things. I also know people who are extremely organized. These are areas I need to work on, along with many others. Yet I’m determined to continue to try to live simply.

In what ways are you simplifying your life?