When I was growing up in Iowa, simple black Amish buggies pulled by one or two horses were a common sight along rural roads. As a kid, I was intrigued. As an adult, I’m most impressed. While I’m too partial to modern conveniences to adapt the Amish lifestyle, I’ve learned a lot about living well from this simple, community-oriented culture.
Wanda Brunstetter, an award-winning novelist, offers a satisfying glimpse into the Amish way of life through her books. Her simple living suggestions, based on what she’s learned from the Amish community, are the basis of any good life. I’ll paraphrase a few of my favorites here.
1. Turn off the TV and sit quietly or go outside and enjoy the sounds of nature.
2. Hang laundry outside to dry.
3. Eat out less and fix more home-cooked meals.
4. Make handmade gift items for friends and family members.
5. Grow a garden. (The Mother Earth News Vegetable Garden Planner is a great way to get started.)
6. Turn off the lights and eat a meal by candlelight.
7. Get together with friends or family to do yard or household chores.
8. Devote more time to volunteer activities that involve helping people in need.
9. Buy fewer clothes and unnecessary material things.
10. Set aside time every day for devotions--even just a few minutes of prayer or meditation. (This doesn't have to be religious.)