Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quilting Bee #25

Wow Y'all!!! Twenty five quilting bees!! I am thrilled and pleased that you are all still coming back to visit!! Thank you! So I was thinking that we need something warm a cozy to eat this morning!! How about some Belgian waffles, with strawberries and whip cream? Or maybe warm maple syrup..the real stuff!! Yummmy. So you name your topping and I bet I can dig it up for ya!! We have some delicious mixed berry yogurt and granola with almonds and honey this morning also. Of course...Kona coffee, chai and hot tea of any kind!! I keep a big stock of that! I have racked a beautiful Amish quilt this morning! Thank you for joining me today, please pull up a chair!!

I love all things Amish. I have for years. When "Witness" came out in 87 I was hooked! I researched with a passion. It's funny the things we are drawn to and why. I'm guessing you are scratching your head about now - Sarah...Amish...not so much. I am a pretty modern gal. I am good with the computer and most technology, prefer a my washing machine to hand wash and honestly being told I can't do something because of my gender really rubs me the wrong way. So why the Amish passion?

In the midst of financial craziness I think alot of us have gotten back to the idea of "living simple". Cutting back on many of the luxuries we have gotten used to over the wealthier years of late. Simple living has always appealed to me. A goal I have always strived for. Not always achieved. But the years that I have lived in simple ways honestly have left me feeling fulfilled and satisfied.

The summer at Girl Scout camp was pretty simple. Latrines, tents, shower houses, communal eating and work. There was a gentle rhythm to it. The ins and outs of days, ebbing and flowing. Calm, peaceful, predictable, my role was simple and straight forward. Closeness to nature and feeling the earth and water daily. I thrived there.

Likewise our cabin on 40 acres in Athol..very basic living. Indoor plumbing this time though. But life there had a pace, a consistency, simple, straight forward with the season's work. I love that..having things follow with the seasons, planting, harvesting, celebrating, resting. I knew my roll every was the same. I was clear on who I was and where I fit.

I am also without a doubt a farm girl. From the age of ten when our family moved to TN..that is all she girl I was, farm girl I will always be. I yearn to turn the soil and raise my own food. So the simple life, the Amish way of life appeals to me. Their roles are clear, no wondering what tomorrow will bring, they are pretty clear on the flow of the seasons and the roles of each member. Here in the modern world it's a toss up where I will land each day..what will my role be, what stress will be offered up today.

Of course..the reality is I would make a horrid Amish woman. I am not willing to submit or follow female roles as I would be expected to. I am VERY outspoken and stubborn when it comes to well...pretty much anything I feel passionate about. Am thinking that would not go over really well there. I would be happy canning and quilting, but I would want equal time on the plow driving the horses. I'm honestly not sure I could live without a computer...I really love my computer. I love all the learning and tech.that goes along with it. I love the fact that I can be whoever, believe whatever, care about whomever, create whatever, love whomever I choose my world. So..I would not be suited to the roll of an Amish woman.

So what can I do to find a nice middle ground? Maybe let go of some of the chaos in my life. Be more organized and more grounded in my daily needs and wants. That my wants be less unharnessed. Not to always do without..but to remember the goal of simple living. Do I really need it? Why do I want it? What purpose does this want have? Being more simple and present in my daily, hourly life. To get back to the way of living that turns with the seasons, a flowing life where I can wake up with every morning and feel joy and bliss in the living of it. So maybe not Amish..but to take what I admire about them and try to blend it into mine just a little bit.
What do you want your life to look like? Do you thrive on the complicated modern world or do you long for a simpler lifestyle? Please share your thoughts with us!!

I think I will have some serious waffles with strawberries and whip cream and a chai today please. What can I get for you? Thank you for joining me today..I so love having you come by!! Namaste, Sarah


Holly said...

Having grown up in the eastern states and not far from Lancaster PA that has a vast number of Amish, I can relate to your interest in them and the lifestyle. I have to say that what appeals to me most about them is the sense of community and caring. Until the end of your days you know that friends, family, neighbors will see you through the hard and good times.

I agree, it's the knowing who you are, and what is expected. It's understanding what you do and how. It's the having the recipe for success as it were.

But, as to the Amish women? Oh, they are not so subservient and they run their parts of the world with efficiency and dominion. It's definitely a partnership of working together.

I agree with you about the computer and some other basic necessities, though. So perhaps you and I should consider being Mennonites. Yeah, that might be better for us.

Thanks for the lovely breakfast; be careful out amongst them English, here?

spottedwolf said...

farm girl Sarah ?? That I can see....Amish farm girl ?!? Nope. Can't see that....too much re-volutionary hippie in the mix for such a woman. You'd strangle.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sarah: I love starting off my Monday mornings with you. You are so hospitable and offer much wisdom with your banquet of breakfast goodies!

What wise words - a simpler life. We probably actually LIVE more of our life when it is simple.

The Buddhists talke about "the middle way", and that sounds like exactly what you are doing. Finding what calls to you and then insteading of turning your life upsidedown - you incorporate what suits you into what you already treasure. Now that is wisdom!!

My in-laws lived near a Mennonite community in Ontario and when we would visit - their highways had a special gravel lane at the side of the pavement for the horses and carriages that look exactly like your last image. It brought back a lot of memories!! Thanks.

Waffles and coffee were delish!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I too have always had an odd, "romantic nostalgia" or yearning for the simpler Amish or Shaker lifestyle, when in reality living that way would actually drive me nuts. Hmmmm. I think your analysis is right. I also think I'll watch "Witness" again tonight! I love the barn raising scene.

Emmy said...

I too have thought it would be fun to live back in simpler times.. but then when it really comes down to it, I would only want to live in the past if my family had lots of money and we lived in a big beautiful Victorian house ;)

But you are right, life is so much more enjoyable when we simplify it.

Sheila said...

Some friends and I had a discussion just yesterday that got me to thinking similarly of the Amish. Our discussion involved banking and the vulnerability of direct deposit, ATM and debit card use and such and how easily we could be cut off from our financial resources. The Amish don't have such vulnerability with their stern practice of being unconnected to the outside world - shunning telephone, electricity, gas and water lines, etc. Years ago after reading Sue Bender's 'Plain and Simple' I became fascinated with the Amish and visited the northern Indiana communities in Shipshewanna and Nippanassee and felt 'hugged' by the beauty of simplicity and serenity so blanketing the area. I researched further and was astounded to find they are so 'disciplined' and rigid even the order of their kitchen cupboards and pantry is dictated. Now, that was just TOO MUCH for me! But I soon discovered that while militaristic and uniform to the point of being stifling in my mind - there is good reasoning. I had taken a turn amongst the women of my church in providing care to a young mother in our fellowship with 3 little ones and one on the way who had been ordered to full bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. She had requested on my day with her fam that I please bring in some ripe zucchini from her garden and fry it southern style for supper. She was sleeping and I didn't want to disturb her & the little ones were of no use when I couldn't find some simple thing needed in her kitchen. It occurred to me in an Amish community her kitchen would be JUST like mine and it would have been like being in my own home to prepare a meal it it!

Sheila said...

oops, correction - that's Nappanee or something like that in Indiana. Nippanawassee is here in Cali. (stuck between my midwest and west coast worlds this morning, I guess)

Snap said...

Way back when sounds good, but we are all spoiled! Don't know what I'd do without my computer. I can turn off the tv, but I like my radio! Simpler times, simpler life ... no keeping up with the Jones' ...

Suzie said...

We live a little over an hour's drive from the Nappanee-Shipshewana-Middlebury area where there is a huge thriving Amish community. We often go to the Farmer's markets, and shop for antiques and fabrics, etc.

BUT, my one in-road to the Amish life, is my hubby Ed. His Mother was born and raised in the Nappanee Amish community, and was Shunned when she married a Mennonite. Her family didn't talk to her at all until Ed's Dad died of pneumonia, 10 years later, when Ed was 7 years old.

Ed's Grandfather was a stern disciplinarian that didn't hesitate to beat his children or grandchildren, nor did he allow them to have toys, or to play. Even the smallest child had to help with the work from the time they got up, until bedtime. That was the reason that Ed's Mom, with only a 6th grade education, chose to raise her two children by herself, babysitting, and taking in laundry. Both Ed and his sister graduated from College with honors.

The Amish that live near us are not of the Old Order, and their Ordnung is more liberal. They use battery power to run their washing machines, although they still hang clothes to dry, even in the winter when the snow is flying. They use battery power to run their lawn mowers, log splitters and chainsaws. They started using batteries to light their lanterns and tail lights on their buggies.

While they don't have phones or computers in their homes, they are now popping up with more frequency in businesses, such as their furniture stores. And you will see young Amish with cell phones. They often go to their "English" neighbors to use their telephones, or to get rides to shop, or to appointments. They do find ways around their Ordnung, when it suits their purpose, and if enough find that particular way to be of use, they will approach the Fathers, to have the Ordnung amended.

As for individual families, it is as Ed has said. .if a husband is kind and loving, he will respect and love his wife and children, often pampering them as much as he can within his Ordnung, but if a man is cruel, then his wife and family are at his mercy.

The Amish, for the most part, view every other living thing as a commodity to be used by them, for whatever suits their purpose. Forests are removed for their farmland, animals are not pets, but food or pests to be rid of. Their whole purpose is to work.

For the most part, women have their defined roles within the community, but oftentimes it includes doing business too. They are not regarded as subserviant, but equal in their contributions to their home and community.

There are a number of books that have been published in the past few years that give a complete adverse slant to Amish life. But if you want to know more, there are two books that I would recommend, that give a more balanced view. One is Plain Secrets by Joe Mackall. The other is Rumspringa by Tom Shachtman.

Sarah, I too admire their sense of community, that they use organic gardening practices, and have the ability to grow gorgeous fruits and veggies out of the poorest soils, and their craftsmanship is astonishing.

But as far as getting in touch with the rhythms of the earth, and all living things, Sarah, my dear, just as you are, right now, you are light years ahead of the Amish. You are SO in touch with who you are, and where you are fitting into the grand scheme of things.

To be striving towards something is grand. It is sad when humans become stagnant in their beliefs, closing out opportunities to grow. As for the Amish, the young are stretching at those boundaries that have held for so long, slowly touching and bringing in the new, while holding onto most of the "old". Sort of a meeting at the conservative side of the middle, with the middle fluxuating.

As for you, my dear, we love you just as you are! Always growing and learning, both by experience and introspection, and by continually searching for your future path.

Daria said...

Simple living is good but not sure I'd like the Amish way.

To be honest ... I look around at all my stuff and wonder why I thought I needed it all. I'm constantly downsizing these days.

Sharon said...

Very thoughtful post. Sharon

A Palmer said...

I look fondly back on those times when I had a huge garden, froze and canned my own food, baked bread and even tried making butter - that was ridiculous. I've never used a store-bought pie crust in my life! And I worry that younger generations who are so used to boxed and frozen everything may not continue on with the skills and traditions we learned and love. So I think we should each adopt a young woman, take her under our wing and teach her "the old ways." Now that would be fun.

Renee said...

Yes Sarah any chaos that can be dropped should be dropped like a hot potato and not picked up again.

I love the Amish wagon.

Love Renee xoxo

prim country farms said...

Hey Sarah hop on over to my blog and pick up your award.
Prim Blessings

Dreamwriter said...

I have always been more towards the Roaring 20's!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

After living in both worlds from the haves and the have nots, I can tell you that the most rewarding is the simple lifestyle. One begins to understand what is truly important in life and it doesn't come with big houses, fancy cars, or a plethora of things that we don't really need or use. Whenever I have my eye on something that I "think" I want to purchase, I make myself wait for a week before doing so. Funny thing, by day tow, I realize that it really wasn't that important. The best part of the Amish community to me is the "one big community". Always supportive and always there for you. I'm not so sure I could lead that kind of life, but I do love the simplicity of the everyday flow of life. The DH was a graphic designer and his motto has been and will always be "Simple is better'. I totally agree ;)