Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mythic Orbits: Review Of An Anthology That Includes One of My Stories!



Guys, I have a short story published! And I'm so excited to share it with you all!

It's included in an anthology collection of Christian Speculative fiction, most of which is science fiction, with some fantasy. My story is the only fairytale in the book.

You can buy the book here: Mythic Orbits Volume 2

LIVING HISTORY: (Sci-Fi) In which humans are at the bottom of the classes and Sam must find a job to survive.
I always have a hard time wrapping my head around sci-fi and alien type stories, but I think many others will love this story.

HER MAJESTY'S GUARDIAN: (Fantasy) The queen has turned everything yellow and her guardian is forced to do something about it.
I really loved this one!

DRAGON MOON: (Fantasy) Darla's little brother has cancer, but she is determined she can keep him alive with his dreams, and so she becomes the dragon he wants.
Such a sad, beautiful story! I was surprised I liked it considering I don't like tattoos at all. 

THE OTHER EDGE: (Sci-Fi horror) An alien ship enter's Earth Orbit and Varik is determined he'll take the next "small step for mankind". But are they prepared for what awaits?
I was surprised by this story, and I think that's why I liked it. Or maybe I just like horrific endings? 

SEEKING WHAT'S LOST: (Sci-fi) J'Nia creates reality video games amidst her regrets of not being able to save her murdered children. Her next video game is determined to open up all her wounds and put her back in the past . . .

RECALLED FROM RED PLANET: (Sci-fi) A sci-fi alternative rapture story set on Mars.

THE WORKSHOP AT THE END OF THE WORLD: (Fantasy) Children no longer appreciate nor want the same sort of gifts that Nicholas makes. Will he have to shut down his workshop?

THEY STOOD STILL: (Sci-Fi horror) War veteran, Samuel Tamaki, forgets his wheelchair and reality by submerging himself in his video games — until the moment all of that is taken away and he's forced into a reality of his own making.
I didn't think I'd like this story until I got a ways into it. Once I did I couldn't stop reading it. 

THE MEMORY DANCE: (Fantasy) A father and daughter find themselves stranded in a blizzard and following a strange old man, learning an important life lesson on their way.
This story gave me vibes of "Beauty and the Beast" meets "The Snow Queen". I loved how unique it was! 



UNERELLA: (Fairytale) 
MY STORY, SO YES I LOVE IT ;D
What about all the other girls that attended Cinderella's ball? Is there not a happily ever after for every deserving girl?

MARK THE DAYS: (Sci-fi) Denver marks off every day in calendar with a little x. But one morning he wakes up to find out that he didn't mark the previous day off — and he has no recollection of that day, either. He soon discovers that he can place his pen on any day and live that day out of order from the rest. But something is keeping his from reliving the day he forgot . . .
Wow, I loved this one so very much. It hooked me and though it was clear how it would end, the ending was still so moving. I also loved how Christianity wasn't presented as cheesy in this story. Very well written!


Content: They Stood Still and Mark the Days has some language, the first had a couple instances of  d***, and the other was mostly crude language. They Stood Still also had some graphic violence (a lady's head splits open). Many of the stories deal with death. Over all, I think this book would be appropriate for all ages, excepting the story They Stood Still. That one might be more suitable for ages 15+.


AUTHORS:
Steve Rzasa
Donald S. Crankshaw
Linda Burklin
C. W. Briar
Cindy Koepp
C. O. Bonham
Kristin Janz
William Bontrager 
A. K. Meek
Keturah Lamb
Kat Heckenbach


BLOG TOUR:

October 7th — C.O. Bonham (kick-off)
October 8th — Kristin Janz (spotlight)
October 8th — Travis Perry (Empathy, Or Lack thereof in Mythic Orbits)
October 9thNAF Josh Smith (review)
October 10th—L. Jagi Lamplighter (guest post: C. Koepp)
October 10th —Julia Menard (interviews/spotlight)
October 11th — Sherry Rossman (guest post: C. O. Bonham)
October 11th — Laura A Grace (interview: C. O. Bonham)
October 12th — NAF Kristen Stieffel (guest post: C. Koepp)
October 13th — Linda Burklin (anthology review)
October 14th — Laura Storm Hancock (spotlight)
October 15th — Mysterion (interview: Travis Perry)
October 16th — Hillary Koenig (interview: Keturah Lamb)
October 16th — NAF Josh Smith (interview T. Perry)
October 17th — Keturah Lamb (review)
October 17th — H.L.Burke (spotlight)
October 18th — Travis Perry (guest post: C. O. Bonham)
October 19th — Donald Crankshaw (review)
October 20th — Joshua Young (MO2 review)


So, do any of these stories catch your attention? Do you love short stories or anthologies? If you ever get a hold of this book I'd love to know what you think of my story, Unerella

Saturday, October 13, 2018

ACFW: "I Want What God Wants, But I Really Want to be Published"

I have written dozens of short stories.
I have around ten novellas. 
And I have written three novels, two of which I feel are ready to be published. 

Yes, I know I'm probably not ready, but these last few months I finally feel like I'm ready to be published. I've always wanted to be published. But I've always known that I must write a ton, receive piles of rejections, and keep writing for a time first.

And then suddenly these last few months things have felt different for some reason.

So I looked around for a conference I thought might suit my writing. Through recommendations from Stephanie Morrill I finally decided upon ACFW.  And then for months I prepare by writing, editing, researching, and WRITING.

A huge highlight was meeting Frank Peretti, and hearing him speak. I laughed so much in his class. 


My goal? To be published. I didn't have to sign a contract or anything, I just wanted affirmation that this is in my future. An agent or editor? Some sort of word from some person that says my writing has a place in the market?

I didn't feel at all nervous.

I had to much to do with writing and getting proposals in order and cleaning houses.

In fact I looked forward to what would happen. I knew only good could result, though I had no idea what that good might be.

And then the time came to leave home and attend the conference.

"You'll have so much fun," one of my friends told me. "And make tons of friends."

"I'm not here to make friends," I replied. "I'm here to be published." 

My friend laughed at me, probably thinking me crazy for suggesting the fact that I might not make friends. That's just not me ;D

One thing I loved about the conference was dressing up professionally, every day! And I wore heals almost the entire time! Yes, my feet needed chopped off by the final day. 


Yes, I'm an extrovert, but I have a horrible sense of direction. So the first evening I spent trying to find my bearings (and helping others once I knew where I was). I planned to go to bed early, but I met a lovely young lady and then some people came around gathering first time attendees and took her and I out to Mexican to talk to us about writing.

That is when reality hit and "depression" struck. I no longer felt confident. I was told all of these things and suddenly I realized my writing wouldn't make it. I was inadequate. I had someone look at my the first page of one of my books. "It's pretty, like Charles Dickens. But why keep reading?"

Wow.

"Why did I come? This conference is going to be terrible."

I messaged some friends and poured out my misery, then slept soundly. (Yes, I sleep good no matter my mood).

The next morning I woke refreshed and decided to make the best of things.

In the first session, we had worship and one of the women speaking said, "You may have come for one reason, but maybe God has you here for another reason."

I didn't want to accept the fact that I might never publish. But I realized — why worry? I'll let God lead me to whatever path he might have. I simply must trust. Part of me also thought, "I can't waste my time writing so much, though, if it doesn't eventually pay off."

But then, it's not really about the money, is it?

I love it. I can't imagine a time where I didn't write. Why should I stop just because I can't make a career of it?

But the most encouraging thing came next from the keynote speaker, Debbie MaComber. She had piles of rejections. And books people called trash. And someone told her, "Every rejection slip is a book waiting to find a home."

My wonderful roommates ;D 

She took that advice seriously, and has published every novel she's written, many of them becoming bestsellers.

And, so that's what I decided to do. I'd trust God. Learn what He had for me to learn at this conference. And see if the home for my books was here . . . if not, I'd keep writing as I look elsewhere.

I had three appointments, two with agents and one with an editor. I decided to put all of myself into these three appointments. I researched all three women. I prayed. I attended all sessions that I thought might make me better prepared than I already felt. Of course by this time, I didn't feel very prepared at all. Especially when I discovered the whole marketing section of my proposals was pretty much garbage and that I didn't even understand what comparable (comp) titles were. Always something to learn, they say ;0

The evening before appointments, the conference had people stationed so you could go practice your pitch. I half considered going, but then decided not to. I wanted to be real and natural, and for me practicing would have stilted my personality, I feel.

I'm so glad I didn't practice.

Before my first appointment, I sat by a really nice woman. We talked about what we were about to pitch. I told her I was still deciding between two of my novels, and would just feel it out once I reached the room.

"Why don't you just ask the agent which she wants pitched to her?"

That there was some of the best advice I heard at the conference!

I asked the agent that question, and she replied, "Show me both."

I did. My words flowed. Anxiety forgot me. I didn't feel like my stories were as old classics are garbage. I allowed myself to be me, to be excited about my stories, and accept whatever the agent might say about them.

"I love both of your ideas." 

Wow. So I wasn't expecting that.

She kept my proposals. Wanted blog stats. Asked a few questions. Then my fifteen minutes were up. I know she may not end up actually liking my novels but just the fast that she liked them is enough to fuel me toward finding an agent. It could be months before I know one way or another. But for now this is enough.

One evening was free, so I went around and found a bunch of people I liked, and we walked through Nashville ;D 

The next agent I was slightly scared of. She seems a lot like me, to-the-point-blunt. And normally I love people like that. But I was already a bit on edge.

I prepared myself for her words next, knowing she could very well say, "No, this book is stupid. Try again."

Instead she said, "I love this. Send me your full manuscript."

Again, months may pass before I hear from her and when I do it could very well be a rejection.

In all probability, I will most likely receive two rejections in the coming months. But that doesn't matter. I can deal with rejections. That two agents told me they liked my ideas is enough for me to make those ideas GREAT. 

Yes, I found friends ;p


My third appointment was with Revell. The editor told me she really liked Fur Slipper, but they don't publish that sort of fiction. So, a dead end, but not a discouraging one.

As for the rest of the conference?

It was amazing. Despite my words, I made tons of amazing friends. They sprouted up all over the place as usual! But this conference seemed to have some especially nice people :)

Dressed like princesses for the banquet!


After the conference I spent some much needed time with two of my best friends, Esther and Rashida.

A mirror selfie for my cleaning page, as we were cleaning Esther's house
And I had fun with Esther's beautiful hair!
Eating and enjoying each other's company. I think we were both a bit tired as she was in the middle of moving houses. 

Met the two current Ruby Girls, Kayla and Morgan. But didn't have the time to get to know them as well as I'd have liked ;/ 

Visited with some other great friends!


I caught up with my friend Shelby, and held her baby, Ivan!



Rashida hates mayo, and Jack (her husband) bought a bunch, so we packed his lunch of nothing but containers full of mayo!

Rashida and I ready to strip and paint a dresser. We thought we looked like terrorists (comically so). 

Rashida is a great photographer, and this picture proves it, because even though I was covered from head to toe so no mosquito could find me, the picture looks pretty great ;) 

Rashida and I almost forgot to get a 'decent' selfie before I left ;0


And Rashida's two girlies are so cute and well behaved! Ezzie (the oldest) and I had fun with a bug shell ;D



 I almost didn't write this post, but decided to do it last minute today. Several reasons for my hesitations: First, I still don't know the end results of the conference — will I be published or not? — and second, my blogging schedule is so full today.

But there were so many things I learned. And even if I'm rejected, I had an amazing experience with both agents. And I met so many friends even after telling my friend, "I have too many friends, please, I just want to be published!"

But why do I want to be published?

Because I want to touch the lives of
people. 

You can't ever have too many friends, because all people matter and that's why I write — to encourage, edify, and entertain people. 

P.S. Under my name on my name badge, I have my three writing words. At one of the sessions, a woman spoke on one of her favorite words: edify. She said how it was an underused word, but such a great word. Of course, I agreed and had to show her my badge after the session. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ender's Shadow: Of Audio Books and Political Inclinations

I was first introduced to Ender's Game through the movie at my friend, Mary's place.

It's hard to not fall in love with the plot. It's combined emotions and facts into this perfect mush of confusion. What would you have done? How would you have felt? What was really right?

I loved the movie even as I hated it for so many reasons. Because I understood the "bad guys". They did they right thing. They weren't really bad. They were thinking long term: "Save the world, prevent the Formics from every trying to destroy Earth again."

So I understand a lot of people have told me that the movie wasn't nearly as good as the books. So I may not have as full of an understanding of the Formics as I could. But here are my thoughts about the movie and the Ender's Shadow audio books.

Though one blogger did say she preferred the movie for various reasons, one being there was less inappropriate content in the movie.

Also, be warned, I'm not holding back spoilers in this post for the sake of tearing apart the ideas I want to address. 

Ender's Game Movie:
The movie was amazing. Full of everything I love: character driven, strong plot, great concepts, politics, conflicting emotions.
Plus the movie was super well made.

But the ending message . . . I saw this movie over a year ago and I still think about it a lot.

The government of the story have taken the best of the smart children of the world, training them for one day when they will all be grown up and able to destroy the Formics, and alien type creature that I think of as large ants.

A hundred years before the Formics had come and started plowing Earth so that they could live there. Of course humanity didn't just roll over and die, but fought the Formics and won.

And ever since humanity has been watching the Formics, preparing an army to completely wipe them out. Put your enemy out before they can touch you and you've won without a sweat, is the thought.

And so the government trains the best minds.

But what they children don't know is the video games they are playing aren't just video games. They are real battles.

At the end of the movie, when all of the Formics are destroying, Ender is shattered. He just . . . killed an entire species. And he sacrificed men thinking they weren't real. Yes, he won. But he killed.

As it turns out the aliens probably wouldn't have attacked again. Also, they may not have been simply large ants, but sentient, communicating telepathically.

So, what did I have a problem with? 
The emotions were real. I could understand them. I would have felt the exact same as Ender. Imagine killing so many people. Just imagine finding out the video game you had just played was real. Real blood. Real life.

Real death.

I, too, would have been devastated.

But . . . that doesn't mean the government did wrong.

They didn't know the Formics were sentient. All actions had proved the Formics to be beastly and wanting to kill humanity. If you had a chance to wipe out all mosquitoes, wouldn't you? Why let them kill you first?

War isn't about being fair. It's about winning. There's no room for sentiment or feelings. You have to be calculated, cold, exacting.

Die or win.

It was clever what they did. Using kids who were smart and young and unbiased to win a war. It was wise to wipe out any possible threat. It is not murder to kill animals (at least if you believe in the Bible rather than new-age beliefs). It is good to save humanity.

But their mistake came when they told the children.

Why break the innocence? Why put that burden on twelve-year olds? War is cruel, children are innocent. Yes, it was clever to use them, but his was horrible to inform them.

Many think the government were in the wrong. They should have tried harder to communicate with the Formics, some say. They shouldn't have made children fight in a war. War shouldn't even have been an option.

And while I understand those arguments, I also know they are naive.

We live in a terrible, sinful world. And war is a part of it. And there is nothing wrong with protecting your own against threats. It's as simple as that.

Ender's Shadow Books:
I heard that Ender's Shadow were from the perspective of Ender's friend, Bean. And I also heard that Bean had been aware that the government was using them and that the video games were real, but that Bean had remained silent because he knew they were doing what was right.

So when I heard that I decided to read the books.

I ended up listening to the audios instead as I cleaned houses. This was actually a new experience for me - I had never listened to an audio before, but I was getting tired of listening to only music as I cleaned. I really, REALLY love audios now.

Book One Review
Book Two Review
Book Three Review

My sister listened to book #2  and #3 with me - so that kinda shows there that each book in itself if it's own story. Yet, it does help reading them in order. We are still working through the last couple audio books - I think there are like five or six books in the series?

I loved these books so much. Bean is an amazing, unique character. Super smart, especially when it comes to insulting people.

What I didn't like about these books was the inappropriate content. Wow, there's a lot. When my sister and I listened to the last one we made sure kids weren't ever in hearing distance, because it's just so . . . cringy.

I definitely got a wider perspective listening to the audios.

Though Bean agreed with what the government was doing he also hated them. Because they were selfish and greedy. Or at least most of them were.

And I think that really shows up with how they treated the kids in telling them the truth.

Overall
I really love this world Orson Scott Card created. Or more like, I love the characters and love the concepts they face. You can't leave one of the stories without experiencing conflicting thoughts of, "What would I have done in their shoes? What is right?"

I think the only way to be able to truly know is to have deep beliefs in what is right stemmed from God's word.

Because your worldview is really going to influence what side you sympathize most with when you are done reading, watching, or listening.


Have you read any of the Ender or Shadow books? Watched the movie? Tell me your thoughts! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Why I Wrote The Lawrence Children

Selfie at the Norris cemetery... I went to look for inspiration for last names. And... found one for the "bad guys" ;D 


When I was in my early teens my mom hired an Amish friend, Rebecca Yoder, to teach us. We would walk, ride our bikes, or drive a pony cart a couple miles to a small mobile home where we had school. Though there were only about seven of us we had a name for our school . . . Acorn Melody.

It was an experience, to be sure. We were used to homeschooling. All at once we had a strict schedule, sat at desks, and had specific lessons and assignments.

I loved going to school and I loved our teacher. I loved learning. And I loved reading so many interesting Amish books! I only attended one year as I graduated eighth grade, but it is a year in which I will always look back in with fondness.

Though I loved school, I didn't enjoy all of my subjects equally. I've never liked spelling much... probably because I wasn't very good at it. But there was a lot of spelling for me to do (or so it felt like).

I normally had fifteen – twenty spelling words. And I had to write a coherent sentence for every single word. Wow. So... I wrote a story.

The Lawrence Children.

My grandma had given me a stack of Boxcar Children books, which I devoured and loved. Rebecca Yoder introduced me to a lovely series by Arleta Richardson called The Orphan's Journey. Needless to say I was fascinated with orphans. Plus... that was one of my spelling words.

My family had just gone to Montana for the first time a few months back. Something told me to set it there... so I did. But it wasn't until I moved here years later that I actually decided to set it in the town I live in: Norris. The original draft was set sometime in the 1930's – 1940's.

There were six lessons that formed the original draft of the Lawrence Children.

Here are the words that made this story find life:
Lesson one: anxiety, sorrow, assured, retire, insurance, thoughtful, motive, graduate, sadness, salesman, worthy, co-operate, issued, premium, utter, despair, differ, interviews, orphans.
Lesson two: compel, apartment, crimson, anniversary, fourteenth, childish, unimportant, beloved, folio, costumes, masquerades, brood, groan, sober, hockey, leased, economy.
Lesson three: apology, bashful, enthusiastic, personality, proceed, cultivate, detail, selection, topic, vocabulary, response, informal, introduction, composed, correspondent, assembled.
Lesson four: organized, glimpse, reveal, conscious, grief, mournful, humorous, compliment, congratulate, sympathize, affectionate, communicates, scribble, indented, margins, corrections, affection, gossiped, truthful, formal.
Lesson five: merit, correspondence, rumor, scandal, essential, acquainted, communications, condensed, application, courteous, recommended, phrases, inquiry, excessive, complaint, recommendation, requested, conclusion, confirmation, clause.
Lesson six: tremble, elegant, imitate, congratulations, utmost, edition, freshman, cemetery, heartily, vivid, signature, distinguish, essay, fiction, novel, glory, horror, ridiculous, rejoice, saluted.

And I will add, I tried my very hardest to use all these words in the final draft of this story. Just to honor the Lawrence Children’s origin, and Rebecca Yoder’s encouragement of my story.

Back when I first started this story I knew I wanted to write. And I tried. But... I hadn't learned very much about writing at the time. I didn't know the secret: just write your story. And so, though I loved my Lawrence orphans and loved how my teacher appeared to love them, I never was able to actually finish the story or the mystery.

That is until years later when I had written many stories and realized I still loved the Lawrence Children. Life had changed. And with it came a determination to write this story and to do it correctly!

I talked to many friends in Norris to get the historical aspects just right. A neighbor of ours first told me about Alex Norris, thus the mystery of the story was truly born. She had heard he was murdered, robbed for what he had in his pocket and left to die along the Bozeman railway. But then another woman told me that he hadn't died, but had been sent away to a mental institution, and no one knew why. I read as much local history as I could find on the town of Norris and the man that founded the town, but found nothing on the matter of Alex Norris' death. So I used writing liberties.

I originally planned to have a black couple in my story as friends, but sadly realized that just wasn't realistic.

As one guy in Norris told me, "When I was a little boy my mother told me a story of when she was a little girl and didn't want to wash her arms before going to Bozeman for shopping, but wear long sleeves instead. 'You must wash before we go to town,' my grandmother told my mother. She washed up and then they went to town. My mother had never seen a black person before, but in town she saw this little black boy, and she whispered to my grandmother, 'Mother, why didn't he have to wash his arms?'"

I realized I had to cut that couple out of my story, which I was very sad about.

Besides talking to many people, I also visited our local cemetery for further inspiration, and to find the perfect last name for my "bad guys". I really enjoyed that, despite how dismal that may sound. There is a lot of history there.

I want to thank a couple people, for without them I would have not had near as much inspiration and motivation for writing this story. First, of course, I want to thank Rebecca Yoder, and amazing teacher who read my story when it was still in its ugly stage yet "raved" about it in her notes. I still love the little notes she made on my early "manuscript". Jolene Brush and Deannie Jackson for answering so many or my questions and giving my my initial inspiration about Alex Norris. Alfred Hokanson for sharing Norris history and facts with me. Lauren Grinder, Esther Allison, and Bethany Doran-Smith for being the most amazing beta readers and helping me with edits before making the story live on the blog.

I hope you all enjoyed this story of mine. I am so glad to finally have it told and shared... for it had been kept inside much too long.





Norris cemetery plaque 


Norris cemetery... the place that proves history lived 



Did you enjoy the Lawrence Children's story... and the history behind it? Who was your favorite character? What was your favorite part? Or least favorite anything... I want to hear your thoughts! 

Also, I'm thinking of doing another serial. I have two prospective ideas. 

  • The eighth Narnia book, What happened to Susan Pevensie after everyone died on the train? Will she believe in Narnia again? And is she going crazy... for every time she looks into a mirror she sees Lucy's face. And hears her voice... "Susan! Why don't you believe anymore?"
  • The sequel to the Boxcar Children, All the boxcar children are grown. Henry and Jessie are married with children. Violet is getting married, and everyone is wedding spirits! Which means the cousins get to spend a week with Uncle Benny... the funny, nice uncle who writes stories and collects old books and loves to visit a certain restaurant where a certain available woman cooks the most amazing food... the cousins decide it is their time to solve mysteries and when one of Uncle Benny's most valuable books disappear. And also, he needs help proposing to the woman who has touched Uncle Benny's heart... and stomach. 

You choose . . . which serial do you want to see on the blog next? And I'll start writing! 


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Living Like The Amish: Interviews With Three "English" Families PART III

First read:
Part I
Part II

Current Richards family photo. Back row, left to right: JJ, Tammy, Caleb, Brandon. Front row: Gideon, Iris, Hope, and Faith. 

Did you have many friends among the Amish?

Rebekah: I found that most all the ladies were friendly. A couple in particular I really felt like were friends. One was Freida. Another was Annie. I remember driving by her place and recognizing it from my childhood, getting out and saying, "Do you know me?!"

TammyI had a couple Amish I considered friends, and I still exchange letters with them.

ErinOh yes! So close that to me we feel as if we are one of their family members. I just went to an Amish funeral for the woman that was like my Amish mother. The men don't hug women, but her husband hugged me five minutes, bawling his eyes out.
Every time I return I feel tempted to live like the Amish again– my husband calls it Amish-meningitis. But he doesn't want to return—he likes me looking pretty, curling and highlighting my hair and dressing classy.

AlexaWe had a few. Our landlord’s family, the family we bought chicken feed from, the family that we bought milk from, an older lady who hired me to help at her greenhouse for the summer, and an older couple that we helped with all sorts of things and they helped us with some stuff too.

JerushahThey were all friendly kids and their parents, too. But one of the leaders was afraid that we were too much like them and we might convert their kids. In some ways we were stricter than they were. They always talked to us, but it didn't seem like I had any real friends.

JosiahI don't think so.

Bekah JoThere were a few girls my age who I'd play with and we'd write letters, but we didn't see them often. 

JonnyYes, I had many friends. The Miller boys especially were my friends. 

JesseI had one or two friends that were Amish. 

JoashI don't think so. 

KeturahI considered every girl my age my friend, and we got along very well. Though there were some I liked better than others. I had the most in common with Alexa though, as we could talk freely about our interests and for awhile, she and I would work together for an Amish lady that owned a greenhouse.


Alexa and I on  Alexa's wedding day. 

What was the best thing about living among the Amish?

Rebekah: The best things were when my husband was home. Cooking a meal. Eating at the table. He could keep everything running so smoothly. Life changed from hard to easy. The vehicle would run. The pump would work.

TammyThe best thing about living that lifestyle was the physical labor required. And the freedom from electronics.

ErinThe beauty of living in a community and working together for the greater good

AlexaThe slower pace was nice, and not having all the electronics.

JerushahI like the produce. My two brothers and I could saddle or hitch the horses or pony to the carts or buck board and go almost anywhere we wanted. We picked up stuff, produce, milk, or hay. Sometimes we picked up soda cans all day alongside the road to make money.

JosiahNo electricity. 

Bekah JoThe best thing about living with the Amish was that we lived away from the road so it was easier to have animals and there was lots of fun stuff to do on our piece of  property. Also, because we didn't have electricity and running water we had to learn new ways to get what we needed. We started fires for heat and hauled buckets of water from the neighbors. I thought it was a lot of fun.

JonnyMy favorite thing was learning to use and work with horses.

JesseThe best thing about living there was that it was in the middle of the country. 


JoashMy Amish hat. 

KeturahI loved all the space. I loved having goats. I loved having shelves for my books. I loved being surrounded by people I liked. I got along (surfacely) well with everyone and that made me happy. I loved learning so much about the Amish and reading all their books and I began to learn Pennsylvania Dutch and High German (the latter which I'm still learning). 


Keturah Lamb, age thirteen or fourteen. 

What was the worst thing?
Rebekah: The worst thing was burying our baby. 'English' people had warned me that I was working too hard. At about six months pregnant I became so exhausted I could not keep up. I quit farmer's market and baking. And then realized he wasn't moving. Our tenth child is buried in the Amish cemetery. I also regret that my children had to pick up so much slack in the days following and then through my next pregnancy.

TammyThe worst thing was the heat. We had the cook stove for baking and during summer the house got really hot. Especially the day my daughter had the stove well over 500 degrees and it was 100 degrees outside. Also having always had a refrigerator, adjusting to using a freezer with ice in it to keep things cold took some effort. A lot of food was wasted because things don't keep as well that way.

ErinThat everyone knows your business, and there can be a lot of drama. And people might talk bad about you, or you might talk about them. It's inevitable that you get annoyed when you live close to people — I never got annoyed, I loved everyone. But people did with me. And people had pulled away from us.

AlexaNo fridge.

JerushahWhen your water pump breaks and you have to haul water from the neighbors.

JosiahThe basement.

Bekah JoThe worst thing was sometimes we didn't have a way to fix something. Our car would break down. Our generator would stop working, and it'd take a lot of work to try to fix everything, haul all that water, and keep the house warm.

JonnyThe worst thing  was that we weren't Amish.

JesseThe Amish were like a big club. If you weren't part of them they wouldn't let you do very much with them.

JoashNo electric.

KeturahThe worst thing was feeling like I couldn't have any real conversations with the girls my age and knowing that their religion was rooted in hypocrisy, according to my studies. I remember attending school and Rebecca reading devotions to us from a bible story book, which I thought horrid as it tried to water down the stories for kids. I often rose my hand in school and corrected the stories. One such time she told the story of Samson and his "wife" Delilah. I raised my hand, "Delilah wasn't his wife, but a concubine."
She didn't seem too happy.
I remember at times it felt so dark there. Eventually that feeling grew so heavy I wanted to leave so badly.
Also, our Dad was away a lot roofing in Montana, 2500 miles away. Often times he'd be gone for months at a time and everything would break — our vehicles would quit running, our water pump wouldn't work, and our pipes would freeze. The Amish would sometimes help us, but not always. And sometimes it would take weeks even though they knew.
Our Amish landlord rarely helped, but only added stress to our lives, raising our rent during one of our hardest times.

Current Harrison family photo.
Left to right, Mark jr, Miles, Erin, Mark, Megan, Michael, and Molly.

What was something that you learned from your experience?
Rebekah: My faith in God was severely tested. I can't do life on my own.

TammyI learned a lot from our time there. I learned I don't mind doing laundry by hand. I learned it is not too bad having no electricity. I learned that I do enjoy hard work and being tired at the end of the day is nice. I learned the quiet of a non-electric house is a blessing! I learned to use the cook stove and made sure that our house now has one that I use all winter. I found new ways to do things that seemed easy in everyday living with electricity. I learned that the lifestyle would be much easier with a husband at home and not gone to work every day.

ErinMillions of things. But the most profound thing I learned was how to exist in independently in a community setting; how to be self-sufficient while learning to work together. 


AlexaGardening, canning, using a wood stove, and different ways of doing laundry, keeping things cool, and getting used to hard work.

JerushahI learned how to work with a horse, use a wringer washer, and start a fire and keep it going.

JosiahHow to climb a tree.

Bekah JoOne thing I learned was that we have so much and we never even realize it. We have water, heat, light, air conditioning, a stove, shower, bathroom that works well instead of using an outhouse, and a lot more.

JonnyI learned some garden tricks, a lot about horses, and a tiny, tiny bit of Dutch.

JesseThat I don't believe something just because of tradition.

JoashNothing.

Keturah
  •  Never romanticize anyone or anything. You will be sure to be disappointed if you do. 
  • A ton of Anabaptist history. 
  • German. 
  • Household skills and skills of how to survive without modern conveniences. 
  • How to raise goats. 
Jonny Lamb, age fourteen.

Would you ever go back to that sort of lifestyle?
Rebekah: I would never choose it under the same circumstances . . . yet the simplicity and family togetherness are still things I desire.

TammyI would definitely go back to the lifestyle. But also using the things I learned. I would want my husband to be at home working, not away. I still do many of the things I did there, though we have electricity and use our air conditioning in the summer. I still line-dry clothes in all but winter, garden, dry and can things, do all dishes by hand and use the cook stove for cooking in cold weather seasons.

ErinI would in a heartbeat if I could, but my husband doesn't want to so I can't. But I have the most amazing community with the Campbells. I feel I have the best of both worlds right now.
God has given me community when I didn't think I could find it among “English” people.

If I could, I would give up all technology. I hate cell phones. Even adults get sucked into phones. I can't stand conversing with someone and their stupid phone blaring with notifications. I keep my notifications off. Phones distract you from doing what the Lord has for you in the moment. 
I told my husband I want my farm back. Days are too idle, we still have a milk cow, but not enough chores. Homesteading brings the family together.

AlexaProbably not, maybe a simpler lifestyle, but I’m rather fond of some modern conveniences.

JerushahYes, I loved it. But I would change some things.

JosiahNever. 

Bekah JoYes, I would go back to that sort of lifestyle.

JonnyHonestly, it would be very easy for me to go back, or at least I wouldn't mind it. But I don't think I could become Amish to do that. But to live simpler would be awesome!

JesseProbably not. 

Joash: Yes and no. I would if there was electric. 

KeturahYes, as long as the Amish weren't a part of the environment. I'd like to live in a self-reliant setting without the drama and stress of a burdening denomination. I'd want real friends around me.


Harrison family: Amish days. 
Would you recommend this experience to anyone else? Why or why not?
Rebekah: Hmmm . . . It depends on you.

TammyI would not recommend the lifestyle to just anyone. Most people who live off grid have solar or generator to give them power in order to have the modern conveniences. I guess we could have done something like that and been even more comfortable. It is not an easy life, though I think growing up in it would make it so much easier. My background was nothing even close to living that way, so it was, at times, a struggle.

ErinNO! Because it's usually not going to work out. It's nice to learn the skills, but you can learn them from YouTube. I wouldn't recommend people living among the Amish because they are going to be disappointed, and have their heart torn out. Sure, you'll learn a lot, but you won't be able to stay.  You won't be accepted. You could join a new order Amish or Mennonites that drive vehicles. But it wouldn't be the same.
You can try to join the Amish community, but it's really tough. You can do everything perfectly but they still most likely won't let you join. We considered it off and on while we lived with them. They would have had to put us on probation for five years. And after those years we'd be under their scrutiny for a long time. It just wasn't worth it.


AlexaIf they do their research first. It’s hard, but it is a bit easier if you know a little bit about how to do it.

JerushahYes, I would. Even if you don't end up liking it you really appreciate a house with electricity. And it teaches you how to do stuff differently. Also when you go without movies and video games you find out how much time you have.

JosiahIt depends if they want to live without electricity.

Bekah JoYes, I would recommend this experience to other people because it teaches people how to live on hardly anything instead of depending on things that can stop working.

JonnyI would definitely recommend it. I personally think it is good to do without a lot of our conveniences, not necessarily all the time, but more of the time. Especially things such as movies and social media, which you really can't have when you don't have electricity.

JesseYes, I would to all the people who have never shot a gun and who have never worked in a field and to all of the city slickers.

JoashYes and no.

KeturahAbsolutely, but not necessarily with the Amish, though that would be a good eye-opener for many. I believe everyone should have some sort of experience like this because it shapes you in many good ways. It toughens you up to reality giving you life skills all at once. I think it would be good for a lot of my younger siblings to relive the experience as many of them were babies when we left.

Lamb girls: Amish days. 

As I've put these interviews together so many memories have surfaced, good and bad. Many of my siblings' short sentences resulted in HUGE stories I wish there was space to elaborate on. 

Living with the Amish wasn't glamorous. 

But neither was it a total nightmare.

It was one of the hardest times of our lives, but possibly one of the best? 

Of course I can say the same thing about many other experiences. But this one was truly unique.

Have you ever dreamed of living like this? (Or have you lived like this?) 
Above all, what have you learned from these interviews, if anything? 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Living Like The Amish: Interviews With Three "English" Families PART II

Part I
Part III
Harrison children: Amish days. 

Describe where you lived — the land, house, and some of your “conveniences”.
Rebekah: I remember when I first came to look at the house. The kids and I bought milk and got directions. An old white farmhouse with windows that had been boarded up because kids had vandalized the place and broken the windows. On the border of their community, the Amish wanted someone in this house I think to keep it from being vandalized. Its location also helped to keep us separate from them.There were a couple of skeletons of birds that were in the closet. Dusty . . . It needed cleaned . . . But all we saw was potential. When we moved in it was winter. It took hours for our little wood stoves to heat themselves up and get the house toasty . . . Although at first we had doors and rooms shut off so we were just heating the living room and kitchen. We covered the broken windows with blankets and tucked the little ones in blankets on stacks of twin size mattresses which we would sleep on later but now served as couches. I remember loving the soft romantic glow of the gas lanterns. The togetherness of us all. I hated the cold outhouse!! We went on a trip to Montana very shortly after moving in and it was spring when we got home!! We had no stove at first, but cooked on a propane 'fish fryer'. I loved using the wringer washer, because I could get all my laundry done in one day! At first, it was all new. Just happy. Fun.

TammyWe had a very large house. The main bedroom was on the main floor, along with the bathroom, sewing room, living room, dining room, kitchen and large back entry room. Upstairs there were three bedrooms. There was a full basement with a large area that had a wood stove and another area for canned goods and two freezers for keeping food cold with ice. We had a shop building that housed the water tank upstairs and laundry area with a wood stove. The barn was large and had many animal stalls. We had a chicken coop and yard and a goat pen. We had a 100 foot by 100 foot garden plot as well as many grape vines and an orchard. There were fields and some more outbuildings that we did not need so they continued to be used by the Amish. There was an outhouse, pump house and nice clothesline. We had indoor plumbing and thanks to a special hookup with our wood cook stove we had hot running water. We were able to use propane lights (a tank with a pole and a lantern set up at the top). This we borrowed from an Amish friend. We also used oil lamps. I set up a two-burner propane camp stove for hot days when we didn't want the cook stove running.

ErinWe had an old farm house without electricity. Gas pipes came out of our walls—we'd find the torch end with a flashlight, then light it with a match. It would be brighter than a light bulb once lit. We had this for the kitchen and the living room. We didn't have a gas lights in the bathroom unless we were taking a shower, but normally used a candle or two. We used no lights during the day, but kept our windows open. 

We had a propane refrigerator and freezer. The Amish had a community freezer at an Amish man's place—they had diesel generator run their milk pumps, and so also connected it to a large semi-trailer converted into a freezer. The semi was divided into stalls with names that people rented out for their food. You could keep whatever you wanted in your stalls—we kept strawberries once. But we also canned a lot: meats, broths, vegetables, jams, pie fillings, extra milk. Our root cellar didn't have the correct ratio of humidity and moisture so we had to can our potatoes or they'd go bad.
Laundry was a big deal. Most used a gas-powered wringer washer, but we used a solar panel converter for ours. In the winter, at first, we'd hang our laundry out and let it freeze dry, but a woman quickly taught me how to hang it in the house. We went to the dollar store and bought chains and hangers. We hung our laundry by our coal stove putting socks and underwear on a rack over the stove, and hanging our dresses and shirts on hangers on the chain. The dresses were made out of a polyester that didn't last long, so the Amish women taught me how to wash it properly and only put it through the wringer once. I'd conserve the water, and do the soiled laundry last, everything in small loads. 

I was disabled when we lived there and could not stand on my feet, but was in a wheelchair most of the time. When people say the life is too hard I tell them I did it disabled. There's a lot you can do with your hands, even if you sit down, whether butchering chickens or washing laundry.
All men who had tool shops had solar power converters and could plug in their devices. 


AlexaWhen you pulled into the driveway the garden was to your right. The plot was about ten feet by ten feet, then there were fruit trees and grapevines as well. On the left was the house. It was a three-story house, counting the basement, with a covered porch along the whole front of the house. We kept the ‘fridge’ (a small chest freezer with extra insulation and chunks of ice) in the basement because it was cooler; we also had a freezer, but it was kept in a shed at a neighbor‘s house that had electricity. The kitchen, living room, pantry, bathroom, school room, and Dad and Mom’s room were on the first floor; the girls’ and boys’ rooms were on the third floor. Next to the house was the two-story shop where the water tank was stored on the second floor. The first floor was mostly one big room, but it had a smaller room in the back for laundry. We also used it for raising chicks and kept a baby opossum in there for a little while. After the shop there was a smaller building that was used for storage, then the barn. The barn was also two story, with the second story used for storing hay. The main floor was in two parts, one big open area with sliding doors on both sides of the building to pull wagons through. The other half was two rows of stalls with a walkway between. We used a few of the ones on the right side for our three goats, the landlord used the others for horses or cows sometimes. Halfway down the outside of the barn is the end of the driveway, there was a big gate into the barnyard. When you went through it there was another gate to the right about twenty feet into a smaller pen with a shed. We used it for ducks, guineas, and the goats. Straight ahead from the main gate was a small pen with a small building where we kept chickens.

JerushahWe lived on eleven acres. Had a pond, ice house, barn, wash house where we did laundry, and had an extra tub in there also, goat shed, pig shed, a regular shed, and a pole barn.

JosiahI lived in an Amish house. We had an ice house, three sheds, a barn, a shop, and a wash house.

Bekah JoWe lived on about ten acres. It had a pond where we fished a lot. There was a huge field with woods beside it. There was a huge yard, some animal pasture, and a pear tree, a few peach trees and a couple other kinds of trees.

JonnyWe lived right at the end of a right off a gravel road a couple miles from the main road. We lived in a big white farmhouse with no electricity. We had a propane oven for cooking and two wood stoves for heat.
We had no refrigerator, but we had an ice house where we could put some of our food to keep it cold. Every winter the ice house had to be restocked, but otherwise it lasted all summer.
We had propane lanterns for lights and for water we had a gasoline engine that pumped water into a tank in the top of our house where it could free flow down. We had a toilet and a couple of sinks and one tub. Any hot water we wanted we had to boil.
We had several outside buildings — a barn, a shop — and a nice sized garden area about fifty by a hundred feet.
We also had a pond at the end of the place.

JesseWe lived in a big white house three stories high. It had five bedrooms. We had ten acres, some trees, and a pond. We had a barn and a shop and some sheds.

JoashWe had a pond. We had five bedrooms. We had an ice house. Now I like to build all of this on Minecraft.

KeturahTotally spacious! Wood floors and high ceilings! I really loved my room, though the walls hadn't been finished. I would duct tape cardboard over holes my siblings liked to spy through. My room had a single window that looked out to our pond and my room consisted of my bed, my hope chest, and my book shelves. I owned a lot of books!
Out back there was also a small goat shed where I cared for my goats.
Behind that we had our animal graveyard, intact with gravestones to remember our favorite pets.

Lamb family, left to right: Jonah, Joash, John, Jacob, Keturah, Rebekah, Jerushah, Josiah, Bekah Jo, Jesse, and Jonathan. 


What were your chores during this time?
Rebekah: When we got back from our trip to Montana, the plans had been to start our new life there, together. John had agreed to drive the Amish to the egg hatchery. But, as things often happen, life didn't go as planned. He ended up going back to Montana for work. I, with his blessing, decided to drive the Amish to the hatchery. One of the Amish men would go along to help load and unload. I'd take a couple of my kids, too. I asked one Amish family if I could get a girl to help take care of my kids while I was gone. They would have, but referred me to another family who had more daughters. This family said they'd get back with me. The answer was no. They were afraid we'd cause their children to go astray. I was pregnant with our tenth child. I also started baking for the farmers market . . . often staying up at night. I had previously always 'babied' myself when pregnant. I told myself that this time I would be strong like the Amish women . . . I was going to be the perfect wife and mother. I was going to build a business so my husband would be able to be home for work. (None of which he asked me to do . . . but allowed because I wanted to).

TammyMy children were ages one to fifteen at the time, so I ended up doing many of the chores. I did the laundry. At first I used wash tubs and a plunger and hand-wrung the clothes. Later I obtained a wringer washer and the Amish helped us convert it to use with a gas motor. Sure made laundry easier. To do it by hand, I would heat the water on the cook stove and carry it out to the yard. I had to change the water at least four times, so there was a lot of hauling. I did the majority of the cooking. I cleaned house, homeschooled, gardened, mowed, fed animals, hauled and stacked wood, did the shopping, harvested. Always teaching someone how to do something. I also sewed my girls' dresses by hand.

ErinMy oldest son did the cow milking. We are germophobic so we'd start the generator, wash the utters, then attach a belly milker to extract the milk. He'd bring it in and dump it in jars and wash his pails, then the girls would make the butter and yogurt and other dairy products.

The little boys did the chickens, gathered the eggs and washed them and put them in cartons, pulled weeds in the garden, and watered the pigs.
When we canned or butchered everyone would be around the table helping. My kids knew how to do everything. 
At ten and eleven my girls could sew their own dresses with a treadle machine. One of them crocheted and the other knitted and we used our own wool. They made scarves and hats for the winter.
I made the boys' pants and jackets, lining the jackets thickly.
I basically did everything and my children helped.

AlexaWashing dishes, school, helping with the garden, helping with the animals, helping with laundry, and helping cook.

Jerushah: I did the dishes (wash, dry, and put away), fed chickens, milked the cow with my brother, I dumped garbage. Later on I did the pantry, too.

JosiahCleaning my room. 

Bekah JoMy chores were drying dishes, clearing the table, sometimes cleaning the bathroom, and helping a couple of the other kids wash floors.

JonnyI took care of the horses, started the engine to pump water into our house most mornings, and helped in the garden. 

JesseMy chores were mostly to clean the yard and milk the cow when we had one.

JoashPick up toys.

KeturahI did a lot of the laundry, though I was always behind on that and when it got really bad we'd go to the laundromat. I loved doing laundry in the summer, but the water was so cold in the winter.
I also had to keep the pantry clean and make lunch and supper.
I loved getting stuck in a routine. Unless someone forced me to make something else, I made beans with corn or tomatoes for lunch with a side of sweet cornbread and for supper I often made eggnog and popcorn.
I also baked all of our bread.
I did a lot of other cleaning, too. I felt as if I were always working. My mom remembers it as I was always running off. My sister remembers it as she and I both running off in separate directions, but she actually escaped and I was found to do more work. ;) Of course, our Mom doesn't remember it like that.

Richards family (mother not pictured), back row: Caleb (blue shirt), Brandon, Alexa, JJ, Iris.
Front row: Hope, Gideon, and Faith.


What did you do for fun?

Rebekah: Honestly, it was a lot of hard work. I don't remember much fun.

TammyFun for me was doing chores — especially the outside chores. I enjoyed learning new things and coming up with creative ways to do things. We took walks almost every day.

Erin
We went on joy rides; in the buggy in the summer and on the sleigh in the winter. The community would level out a field and spray it with water and we have skatings in the winter.

One Friday every month they had an ice cream supper, and we'd take turns having it at everyone's homes. Whoever's home it was at furnished the food. I'd make several big casseroles and three-four gallons of homemade ice cream when it was my turn. Those were fun and full of visiting, laughing, but a lot of gossip — we'd talk about people and what they're doing or what you don't like about them. We never talked of God. We'd joke or share news or tell of what we were doing.

AlexaPlayed outside, crafts, visited neighbors, and reading.

JerushahI went fishing with my two brothers. We got the horses and ponies out and rode them or hitched them to the carts. We played with legos, cars, and action figures. I played with my younger sister with Polly Pockets, or dolls. Sometimes we would read, or have mud fights. One winter we built a huge snow fort.

JosiahPlay outside, fishing, and water fights.

Bekah JoFor fun I fished, built hideouts in the woods or barn, rode our ponies, and played board games or other games we made up.

JonnyWe would go fishing in our pond or ride my favorite pony, Blaze.

JesseWe rode horses, went fishing, and we sword-fought a lot.

JoashPlaying with legos and other toys.

KeturahWhen I was younger I didn't really like the outdoors. And I was addicted to schoolwork. Once I forgot my bread and it burnt all the way through because I'd lost myself in my math book.
I loved to read. For awhile I was obsessed with encyclopedias.
I loved to embroider.
I did some writing, though I never showed any of it to anyone.
I painted a lot — at the time I thought I wanted to grow up to illustrate books.
I also loved my goats and liked to plant flowers.
I always had something to do with my hands once my chores were done.
When Alexa came over I often put her to work with me, which I look back on now in humor and horror. I'd have her help me plant flowers or help me organize my books by alphabetical order only to reorganize them the following day by genre. She and I also liked to watch Homesteader videos together on a small laptop. (I didn't realize until half way through this interview that those videos were made by Erin Harrison).

Current Lamb family selfie.


What did a typical day look like?
Rebekah: Each day was different. Egg hatchery day, we'd get up early. Drive to the different farms, pick up eggs, drive to the hatchery, run errands for some of the Amish or myself, then home. Other days we'd be baking. Or going to farmer's market. One time the kids and I flyered up and down a bunch of small towns for farmer's market. And we got what we were looking for! Lots of customers for the market!

TammyA typical day was long. I would get up before everyone else and get the fire going (if it was cold). I would start water boiling on the camp stove to make coffee in the the French press. JJ would get up and head to work. Once I read my Bible, I would get everyone up to start the day. We would eat breakfast and then I would load the little ones into a wagon and we would all go to visit and feed the animals. Then we would get the dishes done and get some schooling in before lunch. I would read out loud during nap time. At some point we would take a walk. Then chores — garden or whatever needed done. JJ would get home and we would eat supper, do dishes and read or color til bedtime. Sometimes there were chores for JJ to help with so we would all do those.

ErinWe'd get up in the morning and my husband would go outside and fill up the air tanks so we'd have water pressure for showers and dishes. We had a 500-gallon propane tank which had to be manually turned on. I'd start preparing breakfast while the boys went to the barn. The girls helped me. We'd usually have eggs and homemade toasted bread. We had a huge ugly 100 foot extension cord that connected to the generator in the wash house and I'd connect my Vitamix to that and make kefir smoothies. We all had breakfast together. 

Mondays we would be doing laundry for about three hours. The other Amish would send their kids to school, but we didn't have that luxury so I had to do both laundry and homeschooling. I'd wake extra early on Mondays around 5-6am and get the laundry started, sorting it the day before. The girls would run out and hang it on the line while I did dishes after breakfast.
We started school about 9am, so there was time for chores beforehand. For school we used the same books as the Amish. If we could live just as they did, they promised us that they would let our kids go to their school. Even though we did everything exactly right they didn't keep their promise.
They didn't think I'd be able to do it, especially as I was disabled.
I proved them wrong and it made them upset.

After lunch we'd do sewing projects, or we might bike to the Amish market, or bake bread and cookies, or make noodles. 
The Amish bought a lot of junk food. For breakfast they'd eat sugary cereal and crumble cake or cookies into it. We ate healthier than the Amish — I rationed our cookies to one a day, making the one batch last all week.  It would be a special treat for after dinner. I used honey and whole wheat so even our cookies were healthy.
For playtime the children would go play outside, in the woods, and build forts. The kids weren't well received among the Amish children. The girls would go upstairs and hide because others would make fun of them. We loved the people, but we should have started ten years earlier to fit in better. We left because of how our children were treated.

AlexaWake up, have breakfast, wash dishes, help with animals, help in the garden, do school, have lunch, wash dishes, finish school or do any extra work for the day, free time, have dinner, wash dishes, reading time, go to bed.


JerushahIn the summer we could do whatever we wanted to do after chores were done. In the winter we went to an Amish lady who taught us school.

JosiahGet up, school, then clean up, then free time. 

Bekah JoWhen we went to school we'd get up at around 6am and do our chores early. We'd get home around 5-6pm. We'd clean again, then listen to Odyssey and Unshackled. When we didn't do school we'd do our chores then play.

JonnyI would usually get up early and get some of my chores done before breakfast. Afterwards I'd do whatever our mom would have for me. After lunch we got some time off. Sometimes I would go run errands for my mom in our cart or buckboard to one of our Amish neighbors. 
On school days we had an Amish tutor. We would either walk, ride our bikes, or take our pony cart (the pony cart was the best way, of course) to school. Our schoolhouse was almost right next to the Amish school house (which we didn't go to because we weren't Amish). Our school hours were 9am - 3:30pm. 

JesseThe sun went up and the sun went down. 

JoashJust a regular day. 

KeturahWinter: Get up early, prepare our school lunches and go to school. I preferred to leave early enough to walk, so I could memorize something our Amish tutor had assigned me. (We weren't allowed to attend the Amish school, so we hired a teacher who taught us in a mobile home close to her house. We named our school Acorn Melody). The first winter I went as a student. I did as much school as I could and went through three grades that year, graduating from the eighth grade. So the next year I went as Rebecca Yoder's assistant. 
Summer: Get up and take care of my goats, eat breakfast (oatmeal) and then do chores and sewing and embroidery throughout the day. I also cooked the meals a lot of the time and did extra school.


How have you enjoyed the interviews so far? Return Wednesday for the final installment and don't forget to share your thoughts!
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