I was trolling Pinterest the other day, looking for simple living ideas from other folks. I came across this picture and nearly dropped dead from joy at the cover of this book:
The full title is Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life. Nancy Sleeth wrote it, and although I’d never heard of her until that minute I was already a fan. I peeked into Amazon and took a look at the first few pages, then bought it sight unseen.
This almost never happens. I only buy books I already know I love.
Turns out it was money well spent.
Nancy writes with something I cannot overstate: rock-solid common sense. You might have zero interest in the Amish, and you’re still going to be convinced that you need to trade in your minivan for a buggy by the end of this book.
Or at least for a Prius.
Because horses are not the most convenient option, frankly.
Anyway, on to the point. The Amish are long known for their simple approach to life, pretty much ignoring whatever the fools in the outside world are doing. Their faith is strong, their families and communities are solid, their finances are often stable, and they don’t spend their lives mucked up in buying things or impressing people.
While the Sleeth family isn’t any more Amish than you or I, they have made purposeful choices just like the Amish. For example, they raised their children to play outside and use their imaginations, instead of filling them with video games and trips to the mall.
They often invite friends and family to their home to share simple meals. (Recipes included!)
They care for the environment, own the aforementioned Prius, and often ride bikes or walk whenever possible.
And this, my favorite, jaw-dropping choice they made– Nancy’s husband quit his job as a physician and director of the local ER so he could “spend the rest of his life trying to serve God and save the planet, even if he never earned another cent.” (p. xiii)
Yes, yes. Read that again. He quit his job as a doctor to be a not-doctor.
And Nancy didn’t even have a heart attack or a panic attack or anything. At least, not for long. She embraced the change and focused on these two words found many, many times in the Bible: Fear Not.
Well, okay. I should probably try that, too.
Without setting the Amish on some sort of idolatrous pedestal, the book takes their excellent example and then translates their choices into ideas we can incorporate into our own lives. We can also strengthen our families and communities. We can shop locally to support our neighbors. We can own fewer things and enjoy our people more.
Just like the Amish.
But without the burden of buying horse feed.
I’m in, are you? What’s the one thing you admire most about the Amish? Do you ever drive to the nearest community and just pray you’ll get to see a girl riding on a bike with her bonnet strings blowing in the wind?