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:Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth

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. Almost Amish finances

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?


9 Comments on Almost Amish: The Book That Will Make You Long for a Buggy and a Bonnet

  1. lardavbern
    September 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm (3 years ago)

    I think she is long lost sister.
    Fear not – yes, I like that. It’s not in our hands.

  2. Jessie Clemence
    September 12, 2014 at 9:43 am (3 years ago)

    So true! I think it’s all up to me to make it perfect, but really I just need to CHILL OUT.

  3. lardavbern
    September 12, 2014 at 9:46 am (3 years ago)

    I believe we are supposed to put in our efforts and then recognize that ultimately G-d will decide how things will occur and it’s always for the best.

  4. David
    September 13, 2014 at 8:44 am (3 years ago)

    I want to quit my job. How did the Sleeths pay their mortgage, etc.?

  5. Jessie Clemence
    September 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Um, well. First of all, he does a fair amount of speaking and has written at least one book. And he was a carpenter back in the day, before he became a doctor. I think he does some of that on the side. But I have a feeling they had significant assets they sold off and probably a hefty savings account. Just a guess.

  6. David
    September 14, 2014 at 3:48 am (3 years ago)

    Oh well. Looks as if work is forever then!

  7. Gail
    September 17, 2014 at 4:51 am (3 years ago)

    I plan to become a nun, and the thinking behind it is very similar to that of the Amish – living simply and humbly. Lack of possessions, so that you can focus on God, and loving others.

  8. Gabrielle
    September 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm (3 years ago)

    I have recently set out to learn more about the Amish and why they are so different. The more I learn about them, the more I admire them. Almost everything they do is to draw them closer to God. The commitment and discipline they exhibit in choosing their lifestyle makes me feel like a lazy, sluggish, greedy, idolatrous, gluttonous hoarder. And while I don’t desire to live Amish, I respect and admire them and hope to learn from their example.

  9. Jessie Clemence
    September 19, 2014 at 8:30 am (3 years ago)

    Wow, Gabrielle! That’s quite a load of shame to carry around. But I completely understand what you mean.