Archives for posts with tag: tricia goyer


Last May I was able to ride in an Amish buggy. One thing I really appreciated was that the slow pace gives you time to enjoy the scene and to look around. I especially enjoyed looking at the Amish gardens.

The Amish take pride in their gardens. They put a lot of work into them because the garden provides a large amount of food for their family throughout the year.

And, yes, I did use the word “pride” at the beginning of the last paragraph. Even though they are humble people, the Amish want their gardens to look nice … because they know their neighbors will be driving by at a slow pace! (Or at least that’s what a friend finally confessed!)Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.25.53 PM

I’m not a gardener myself, so I got help when working on my novella for An Amish Garden. My novella, Seeds of Faith, is about Heirloom Tomatoes. (Well, there is a romance in there, too, but the stars are the tomatoes!)

I know NOTHING about growing heirloom tomatoes, but thankfully my friend Melissa K. Norris does! She writes all about the Homesteading Lifestyle and … heirloom gardening.

If you’re not familiar with the term (I wasn’t!), heirloom gardening means saving this year’s seeds and using them in next year’s garden.

Most seeds used for consumer produce today are made in a lab and are sterile. This means you can’t save the seeds from the produce that you buy in the supermarket and plant them and expect the same results. Only heirloom seeds can be replanted with the same results. And my friend Melissa still uses seeds that have been passed down through her family for over 100 years! How amazing is that?

How about you? Are you a gardener? Or would like to be a gardener?

—Tricia Goyer

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For as long as I could remember, I collected memories. I have my second-grade report card, my junior high basketball schedule, my megaphone necklace from the cheerleading years, and the monogrammed napkin from my wedding. I collect small trinkets in shoeboxes, dresser drawers, and memory jars. In the 1970s and 1980s of my childhood, photographs meant having money for film and developing. Photos were only for special occasions, but trinkets could be slipped into one’s pocket and saved.


I wrote about collecting memories in my new novel, The Memory Jar, but I also realized that in addition to collecting trinkets I’ve also collected stories, prayers, and Scriptures. I’ve been journaling for twenty years. I have thoughts tucked inside spiral-bound notebooks, leather journals, and everything in between. I keep these journals in a few boxes under my bed, and I enjoy pulling them out. Many prayer requests fill their pages. I smile as I can see time and time again how God answered those prayers. Sometimes God didn’t answer like I expected, but He always had a plan—a perfect plan. Better than I could have ever figured out.

There are times I try to imagine what my children and grandchild will think when they’re reading through the pages. Inside are my questions, cries of my heart, and even confessions. There are also prayers of surrender and praises. The picture they’ll see within my words is that I was completely human with joys and struggles like anyone else. Mostly I hope they’ll see that no matter what, I turned to God. I depended on Him in all circumstances.

My journals remind me of the stones of remembrance displayed in Joshua 4:20-22,

It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.

Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’

Have you set up stones of remembrance in your walk with God? Think back to those transforming moments. Then find a journal to write down your remembrances of God’s goodness in your life. If you have any mementos, collect them in a jar. As you remember God’s work, you’ll be amazing by how much is already captured in your heart!

Amish Proverb: A happy memory never wears out.

More about The Memory Jar: Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

—Tricia Goyer

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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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Often when we think about the Amish, we think about how they separate themselves from the world. The truth is the Amish also make time to connect. They attend church and activities together. They are also neighbors. They know how to have fun and share their lives.

Here are a few things that the Amish do together. They enjoy:

  • Playing baseball
  • Shopping
  • Quilting bees
  • Baking
  • Off-Sunday visiting
  • Visiting and coffee at homes of friends
  • Work days at the homes of family members
  • Cooking food for weddings together
  • Traveling to the beach or the mountains
  • Sister days
  • Brother days
  • Camping
  • Work picnics
  • Christmas gatherings
  • Weddings
  • Christmas dinners
  • Playing volleyball
  • Fishing

Here are ways you can make time for friends:

  1. Put it on the schedule. Last week John and I met friends for dinner. It took two weeks to find a date, but we did it . . . and we had a great time!
  2. Create a regular event. For years we had a weekly small group that met at our house. Unless there was ten feet of snow or a baby being born, we met. Even though we now live a few thousand miles from those friends, we still remain close because of the time we had together and the memories we share.
  3. Join a group. When I moved to my new town, one of the first things I did was join a Bible Study. I made friends and was able to fill the void left from my move. (And I also enjoyed learning more about God!)
  4. Plan a vacation or a mission trip. Want to go on a trip? Find a few friends to join you. Not only will you enjoy the event, you’ll also enjoy the planning.
  5. Have an open heart. When I pray and ask God who I need to be a friend to today, He always puts someone on my mind. The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.

How about you? What do you do to connect?

—Tricia Goyer

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“Worry ends where faith begins.” —Amish proverb

I can’t tell you how worried I was when I sat down to write my Amish novels. I’d written many historical novels, but it’s different writing about contemporary people who are living a very unique lifestyle. Everyone has a concept of what it means to be Amish, but how true are our stereotypes? The more I met Amish friends and got to know their lifestyle and heart, I discovered stereotypes just scratch the surface.

I knew when I wrote my first Amish novel, Beside Still Waters, that I would not get everything right . . . at least right away. I interviewed Amish families and read lots of books, but my worries nagged me. That’s when I asked friends who’d grown up Amish to read my manuscript.

They caught some very obvious things. I discovered:

  1. The Amish do not pray out loud.
  2. Married couples do not show physical affection to each other, even in their home.
  3. Since Pennsylvania Dutch is a spoken—not written—language, there are various ways to “write” the same words, and they are all OK.
  4. Different communities have different rules. Some communities are more strict, others are more liberal.

The more I researched—and heard feedback—the more confident I became. I learned so much about the Amish lifestyle that my interest has led to five published Amish novels with three more Amish stories in the works and a non-fiction book, One Year of Amish Peace.


I still don’t know everything there is to know about being Amish, and since I didn’t grow up Amish, I never will, but I did learn that sometimes worrying is OK. Worrying about “getting it right” was a reflection of my respect for this people group. Worry didn’t halt my steps; instead it caused me to turn to God in prayer. I asked Him to lead me to the right people and the right information. Worry made me more diligent in my work.

I love the Amish proverb, “Worry ends where faith begins.” As I took steps of faith to find the truth, my worries faded. I trusted that if God called me to write these books, then He would help me get the answers.

Do you find God calling you to step out in a specific area but worry is keeping you back? <click to tweet> Take a step of faith, and you’ll no doubt discover something about others, about yourself, and about God.


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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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

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