I think it takes a special person to be an author...and to me, fiction and non-fiction are two entirely different animals. But Cindy Woodsmall has bridged that gap and written a wonderfully engaging book with her Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. I love Ms. Woodsmall's fiction, but every once in a while I want to step back from my TBR pile and read something comforting - something I don't have to work hard to review or dissect. This is actually the second time I've read Plain Wisdom, and I enjoyed it even more this time around. These ladies are candid and genuine. Their memories and applications are often self-effacing, but always helpful to me as a mom/wife/daughter/soon-to-be-grandma. Somehow a talented fiction writer and a Plain housewife with an 8th grade education have managed to weave together a great compilation of spiritual tips to encourage women. They are so transparent and "hospitable" on paper. I would recommend this read to anyone interested in the Amish and the calmness of their old-fashioned lifestyle. As the cover states, it truly is an invitation into their hearts and homes.
I think that all topics they wrote about are good material for a women's group discussion or for women's retreat. Every area they talked about was interesting and applicable to the lives of families of today. I enjoyed it very much.
I really enjoyed reading through Plain Wisdom by: Cindy Woodsmall & Miriam Flaud. It was especially neat to read how these two women from totally different lifestyles were able to come together and become friends and learn from each other. This book is loaded with practical wisdom on being a mother to many or a few children as well as so many other things. There are several Amish recipes mixed in as well that look pretty good. There are a few I'm going to try someday, hopefully! :) One of my favorite quotes from this book is:
Finding peace with our imperfect world and its imperfect people isn't always easy, but if we don't find a way to let go of our stringent ideals of how things should be, we'll never be free to enjoy the greatest gifts life gives us. ~ Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy is a novel writer (written many other books), wife and mother, Miriam is an Old Order Amish wife & mother. In this book they share stories from their lives - their own childhoods, raising their children, homemaking, farming (for Miriam), and being wives. They bring their stories back to the scriptures many times and share the things they learned from the things they did or didn't do. I loved the easy read and it was a blessing to learn from this book.
Several months ago, I got an advanced copy of the book Plain Wisdom through Blogging for Books. This book was like siting on a porch with an older mother gaining insight and advice. I have gleaned so many great ideas from this book. Some of the ideas are inspirational, some were practical, and I even got some gift ideas! I highly recommend this book, even if you're not an Amish Fiction reader. This is not fiction, but just what the title says, "Plain Wisdom."
I received an advanced copy of Plain Wisdom through the Bloggin for Books program.
I have long been fascinated by the Amish culture. Their lack of conformity to the general American population intrigues me. Some of this fascination and intrigue has come from living close to a Mennonite community (think "liberal Amish," if you can) and some of it is a result of a report I wrote on the Amish community for my Cultural Anthropology class my senior year in high school.
It's written in "partnership" style; within each chapter, you will find an anecdote or moral from Cindy, an "Englischer" (the Amish term for a non-Amish person), and from Miriam, an Amish woman. It's neat to see how often they have learned similar lessons through very different circumstances. God is sovereign over all! And remember - I typically shy away from fiction books, so real life anecdotes keep my attention much longer. It was like sitting down to coffee/tea with two new friends.
My favorite aspect of this book was the recipes! Many Amish favorites are spread throughout the book, and I can't wait to try them! Overnight Blueberry French Toast made me especially hungry when I read it.
As I read through the book, I desired to be discerning. There were only two instances that I definitely disagreed with what was said (both times written by Cindy). On page 182, Cindy writes, "The problem with lies is that there's always a smidgen of truth inside them. Our challenge is to disbelieve the lies, and if we can't do that, we must choose to believe God more than we believe the lies." I disagree, because Satan is the father of lies and God is Truth. You cannot walk the line between the two; you must choose one or the other. The other statement I disagreed with was on page 195: "Parents are simply grown-up children." While this may be true of some (0r even "many"), it is not God's plan. Childhood should end and adulthood begin. "Grown-up children" is an often-heard lie the world believes and propagates.
All in all though, I enjoyed the book. I recommend it to you, if this is anywhere near your preferred style of reading. On a scale of 5 stars, I'd give it 4.
In the garden of life, being successful isn't just about hoeing your own row but also about slowing down enough to help your brother hoe his row until he is caught up, then hoeing the rest of the field together. -Miriam (p. 22)
I received this book for free via WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The perspectives above (not quoted from the book) are entirely mine.