Monday, January 14, 2013

A letter to my children on living out Amish Simplicity

I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day, and something stuck me deeply. She spoke about the lack of peace she used to have, white-knuckling every decisions every day. Big decisions bring stress, and if you make them daily, you will have no peace or simplicity of mind…Hmmm. She was talking about my husband and me!  And then I thought of Suzanne Woods Fishers’ book, Amish Peace. The lacks of choices, Suzanne says, make the Amish not deprived, but free to not have to make so many decisions.

To understand this, I’d like to share a letter to my four adult “kids” to help them recognize that they inherited a white-knuckle mind from their father and yours truly.

 Dear kids,

Dad and I have been talking lately about what we learned from and the Amish, Suzanne Woods Fishers book, Amish Peace, and Joyce Meyer. We both tend to make life changing decisions daily, and know that it’s brought stress into our lives, and for me, unsettling dreams. Just over the past week, we talked about the following:

Should we go on vacation this year or not?

Should we get a Lab, a poodle or a Labradoodle?

Should we keep savings in dollars or invest in assets?

Should we buy the little house for sale down the road (an asset) to rent out as an investment?

Should we start another business? We can buy Amish rockers off of Roman at wholesale and sale online? It would help Roman and is a tax right-off.

Should I go to Costa Rica with dad on business trips, and if so, should I go out into impoverished areas and blog about poverty? Should I blog for Compassion?

We’re both making this the “Year of Health and Fitness”. Should we buy a rowing machine? Join Weight Watchers online or go into town for meetings?

So many people are hurting and I can’t keep up with making prayer shawls. Should I start a knitting circle, since more hands make light work?

Should we join a small group Bible study in our church?

Should we start a small group Bible study in our house?

Should we build a little cabin in our woods in Smicksburg, or get a retro trailer off Craigslist? If we build a tiny house cabin on wheels we pay no taxes and give employment to Melvin and Levi, our Amish friends.

Should we go to visit family in Italy this year, and if so, should I write about my awesome Italian grandma as a memoir?

Should we get a goat this year or expand our herd of chickens? Or get a cow? If we get a cow, we’ll need a pole barn, and that means employment for Amish friends.

We got a letter asking if they could do fragging on our fifteen acres in Smicksburg, which is on the Marcellus Shale. I threw the letter in the garbage, since it would upset the Amish who border our property. No, it bothers me that they’d would go in and cut down virgin trees. Am I anti-fragging or not? Do I want this country energy sufficient? Am I helping the Saudi’s?   

These aren’t even all the things we discussed, as some are private.

So, over the past weekend, we went out for our 32nd wedding anniversary, and when we caught ourselves making “big decisions” we laughed and changed the subject. I cannot believe the peace this action produced. As you know, Dad and I love the Amish and are drawn to their culture, but is it the lack of decisions they have to make every day that we envy, in a good way? Time will tell, as we’ve decided to take time once a week or month to talk about big or troubling decisions. We suggest you all do the same... 

Love you more,


 Readers, I highly recommend Suzanne Woods Fishers book, Amish Peace, and Joyce Meyers’ Battlefield of the Mind to understand all I’m trying to say here. You can find them wherever books are sold. Oh, but they both have radio shows to listen to. Should you listen to their radio shows or buy their books? If you listen to the radio it’s free, leaving you money to invest, but not in dollars, as inflation is kicking in. LOL.

Please leave advice in the comments section if you’re looking to have more Amish simplicity of mind, and how you do it. For Tim and myself, we go often to Smicksburg, to detox from a busy world with too many choices. Lydia's living room, pictured below, according to blog stats, has had the most views than any other picture! Why do you think this picture draws so much attention world-wide?




  1. Well Karen Anna Vogel I am trying my best to live a simpler life. However this weekend in the middle of both my computers dying on me- I found myself in a total panic. A) I wasnt sure if the books I was working on could be pulled back up I wasnt sure what I was going to do about a deadline on a contract. So for awhile anyway the weekend was very stressful for me.

    1. We all have weekends of making stressful decisions, but Tim and I made it a hobby! One we're not doing anymore LOL

  2. I definately need to simplify my life and mind.Thanks for the post.Going to make some most needed changes.

  3. I need to make our lives simpler. Need to take time to enjoy being together with family more often, working to have a nice veggie & flower garden and a few other things as well.

  4. I find it best to ask there a need? Do I really think this will better myself,my family or someone else? Is this in God's plan for me? To any other question I ask myself..I asked these questions first! Goes for any decision I may be having to make as well. While my life is simple...I don't have much money....not a lot of stuff (weeding through what I do have)....I don't travel,though I would like to some,but not a lot still I don't have the money to do so. All that being said...I don't find my life to complicated,which I see as a huge blessing...while others may find me poor and underprivileged....I find having less ...brings more peace. I have learn to be content to live with my needs being met and not always wanting for more. I hope this makes a little sense...what I am trying to relay here :)

    I do so admire the Amish...for their faithfulness to God...their commitment to live as they believe God's will is for them. Their willingness to help in their community as well as outside their faith. Their wonderful work ethics. That they choose to live a life of simplicity which does lack many choices we outside their faith have. I believe they have chosen the best thing....I hope to do the same in my own lifestyle.....blessings

  5. Hi Karen -

    Joyce Meyer is a favorite of mine.

    I often think back to when I was growing up. There were less demands on our time and energy. The Internet and Social Media didn't exist. We hung clothes on a line in the backyard, and sat on the back porch to catch a cool breeze on a sultry summer night.

    In some ways I miss those times. The pace was slower even if we didn't have many of the conveniences we now enjoy.

    While I wouldn't want to go back to those days, I'm aware of the need to edit my activities.

    Susan :)

  6. Hi Karen, I'm new to your website but love the things that I've read so far. I love to weave and find it so peaceful. I live in the Adirondacks of NY with my husband and granddaughter. Just recently my daughter and 2 younger grandchildren came to live with us. Finding peace had been a struggle because my work load has doubled. I'm so thankful that the Lord has given me the strength to be content in all walks of life.
    Thank you,

  7. HI, I am new to your website and new reader of Amish fiction, although I have always loved the Amish and their simple life.the picture of the living room draws so much attention is the beauty of the wood floors, the natural lighting and all the looks just so peaceful and a place you could spend your whole day in. love your blog and I too am from New York up along Lake Ontario,between Rochester and Syracuse.little town in Wayne County called Sodus.