I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish. I suppose some of that stems from my love of the Little House on the Prairie books as a young child. I often fancied myself as Laura Ingalls, running barefoot across the prairie, playing with toys fashioned from wood instead of those made out of plastic. What fun it would be to live, in many ways, like they had in the 1800’s…or like the Amish do today.
With that in mind, it really came as no surprise when I decided to merge my writing world with my interest in the Amish. Now, every time I begin the plotting phase of a book, I take a trip to Lancaster County, PA. Sure, I could do my research via the internet, but I choose not to—partly because I want my Amish Mysteries to be authentic, and partly because I’ll take any opportunity I can to spend time in Amish country.
Interestingly enough, I came home from my most recent research trip with more than just ideas for my next book. I also came home with a new plan for my life.
You see, while I was there, I was keenly aware of what could best be described as an inner peace—a quiet happiness that made everything about my day seem lighter. Yet, when I left, things changed. Life became more rushed, more go, go, go. So I pulled out the pictures I’d taken during my visit to Lancaster County and tried to put a finger on what I was missing. A few pictures in, the reasons became crystal clear…
When we drive during the course of our day, we’re focused on where we’re going and what we’re doing. We hurry here, and we hurry there. For the Amish, it’s different. Just their very mode of transportation allows them to enjoy the beauty of the world in which they live.
When the Amish do a household chore—like laundry, instead of robotically bending between a washer and dryer and worrying about settings and temperatures (go, go, go), they’re outside, pinning clothes on a clothes line in the fresh air. And the children are nearby—not on devices and couches, but, rather, playing hide and seek or chasing a barn cat.
When we have a yard sale, we watch everyone and everything (go, go, go) to make sure our possessions are safe. In Lancaster County, the Amish often display homemade items in a roadside stand. As for payment should you want to purchase something? The Amish leave a money box behind, innately believing in the good of mankind. Empowering concept, isn’t it?
I realize our world is different than that of the Amish. But just because we do things differently doesn’t mean we can’t strive for some of their cornerstones, yes? That’s why, when January 1st rolled around a few months ago, I didn’t make resolutions in the traditional sense. Instead, I looked to the Amish to start making changes in my life. Now, instead of the standard weight loss and exercise goals that are typical of new starts, I’m looking to simplify, restore, and play.
My trip to Lancaster County’s Amish country taught me that and I am forever grateful.
While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.
Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries. Suspendered Sentence, the fourth book in the series released in March. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends.
Purchase Laura’s books here.
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