Give Me the Simple Life: Plain & Simple

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After studying the Amish so intensively , I know there’s a lot more that separates us than it might seem on the surface. It’s easy to get distracted by the bonnets and the beards. And . . . with the Amish (unlike the Dunkards and most Mennonites), add in the buggies.

But I have a tremendous admiration for these dedicated people. They are living out their faith in the best way they know how . . . and their simple lifestyle is a choice they make as an adult.

They don’t just accept every new bell and whistle as a good thing, but they give it very serious consideration and ask the question: where it will lead?

Things like . . . video games. And gigantic houses. And credit card debt. And dependency (on foreign oil, on grocery stores for food, on public utilities).

Their goal is to live “plain and simple.” They grow their own food. They dress “plain” to avoid temptations of modern fashions.

The Old Order Amish take it even farther . . . they reject cars, telephones in the home (they see it as interrupting family time, which they cherish) and create their own independent sources of energy, avoiding the public utility grid.

There’s another layer to the Anabaptist onion . . . they live the way they do because they take very seriously Jesus’ words in The Sermon on the Mount (“blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven”) and in The Lord’s Prayer (“forgive as you have been forgiven”).

When I hear news about the stock market and economic outlook for our country . . . well, it makes me wonder if we all will be living more like the Plain people in the future.

Living with less.

Prioritizing what’s truly important.

Caring for the earth with an awareness of limited resources.

And, hopefully, living as an example to others of what our faith means to us.

Simpler might be better.

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Do you ask yourself, Where will this lead? when something new comes along? How do you choose to simplify in a world that is always looking for more? Share in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of Amish Values for Your Family! Winner will be announced next Tuesday.

Speaking of winners … the winner of last week’s giveaway is ARLENE MEWS. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. I chose to simplify by reusing a lot of things like plastic zip lock bags. I wash them and reuse. Save a lot of money like that. My son in law laughs at me for doing this.
    I do have a phone and kindle fire like most of us do. Unfortunately I’m dependant on gas and electricity. I do try to save where I can. I try to fix a good meal from scratch instead of buying frozen meals. Of coarse I’m retired now so have more time to do all this.
    I could simplify more at Christmas time. I put up 3 trees last year. This year I have cut back to 2 . Sadly to say that unless I get help from the family next year will only be putting up a 4ft. Tree. Feeling the need to simplify in this area because physically I can no longer do what I used to.
    Blessings
    Shirley

    • Shirley–You must love the Christmas season! Bet everyone wants to be in your home for the holidays. I’d love to see a pix of your trees! XO Suzanne

      • It’s a 7 footer and it takes a day for me to fluff out all the branches. By the time I get to the top my back hurts so much that I have to sit down for a spell. Then there’s the decorating. It took me 2 days to do that. I used to be able to do a tree in one day. Not anymore. But now that it’s done I love to sit and look at it. Beautiful! Worth all the back aches to put it up.
        Shirley

  2. Patty Tolliver says:

    I have often wondered why we embrace all of this so automatically. It hasn’t done us much good. We are in debt, people are hungry, many don’t have homes etc. I wish I could find a way to live more simply. One thing have been doing for the last six months is to drive my car less, walk or take the bus when I need to go somewhere. It’s hard but it’s worth it. Now if I could just make that happen more in my life.

    • Patty–That’s an interesting question: Why do we embrace the “new and improved” so quickly? Without thinking about the consequences…to our budgets, our time, etc. Great insight! Thanks for your feedback. Warmly, Suzane

  3. Deanna S says:

    I agree, simpler is better. I don’t follow fads or have to update my house every other year. I wear clothes I like not designer. Then make quilts out of clothes we no longer use.. I enjoyed the blog today 🙂
    dkstevensne AT outlook DotcoM

  4. Jackie McNutt says:

    I have been simplifying my life a little at a time over the past few months.
    I cook from scratch and buy my staples from a close by Amish run bulk store instead of trips to the grocery store as often as I can, saving time and money.
    I try to limit my electric consumption by turning off unnecessary lights etc and I recently cut back on t v and internet use to spend more time doing things I like and with family.
    I have along way to go but I am tired of the self induced stress and plan on seeking other ways to simplify.
    Thank you for interesting post.
    mcnuttjem0(At )gmail(Dot)com

    • Hi Jackie–I enjoyed reading about the steps you’ve taken toward a simpler life. Inspiring! I try to combine errands, to save on gas and time. You brought up a great point, too–that reducing time on electrical “toys” allows more time for family. Thanks, Jackie! Merry Christmas to you. Warmly, Suzanne

  5. Janet Martin says:

    we live out in the country in a trailer that is 43years old an ya can tell its old from the outside and inside the walls are peeling we can’t afford another home or repairs but we keep warm in winter time we have a big wood stove in living room keeps us warm as toast sure we have electric power but i love cookin on our wood stove the food taste so much better cookin slowly on it 🙂 so in todays world cept for havin computer we are about as simple as we are gonna be, and from readin the Amish stories i have learned a lot about the simple ways of life i never lived before and a lot of the recipes for cookin on wood stove lol oh an please don’t think i’m complainin of our trailer bein so old i love it and love our way of life 🙂

    • Oh Janet, I loved your story! And your gratitude, too. Blessings to you during this holy season and into the new year. Would love to hear more about cooking on a woodstove, too. XO Suzanne

  6. Faith Posten says:

    Yes, I think that a lot of people enjoy reading about a simple life; but I also think that most of us, definitely including myself here, really prefer a life with gadgets in it and technical toys such Smartphones/IPhones. But we like reading about how other people live even if we don’t want to live that way ourselves. Unfortunately, we may all find out in the future with the way things are going these days with our power grids in this country. I pray it doesn’t happen in my life time. I’m a senior citizen, so I’m hopeful. LOL Thank you for sharing another life style with us! May God make His face shine upon you and give you peace!

    • Faith, you bring up such an excellent, excellent point. So glad you left that comment! I see it in myself, too–love the idea of a “simpler life,” but I love my comforts and technology, too. Very thought provoking…
      Merry Christmas to you! Warmly, Suzanne

  7. This is a great reminder! It’s easy for me to see the things I do simplify (like not having a iPhone) because – truthfully – it makes me feel self-righteous. But I have trouble seeing the places I need to simplify more, like spending time on the computer. Your book sounds interesting!