Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plain Wisdom

So I just read this book, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women, and I think I liked it.  The authors are Miriam Flaud, an Amish woman, and Cindy Woodsmall, an Englischer (aka someone who isn't Amish).  The book is a collection of anecdotes: stories from the women's lives and truths that they've learned through their experiences.  Each of the authors writes, from her perspective, on a connecting theme, with scripture to tie it all together.  The stories are actually a lot like the experiences and insights I share on my blog.

I say I think I liked it, because I didn't, at first.  I don't think I quite "got it": it wasn't quite what I expected, but, after a few chapters, I just devoured the book.  Really.  I read it in 2 days (which is really saying something considering I've got a busy family to care for).  It's a very quick read--the chapters are, at most, 3-4 pages long, so it really is something that you can just pick up and read for 5 minutes and come to a good stopping place, and for that reason I would say it's a good summer vacation read.

One of the stories that really resonated with me from the book is from the chapter entitled "The Flip Side."  Cindy was talking about a time when she was upset with her husband.  She wrote, "if he were always right, [I'd] be the only one in the relationship who was ever wrong."  Think about that, ladies: what would it really be like to live with a perfect husband?  Because we all know that we are far from perfect and in need of some grace and understanding from time to time!  Each of the chapters contains nuggets of insight like that.

I loved the little peek into the Amish lifestyle that Miriam provided, as well as the recipes she shared, including (you guessed it) Amish Friendship Bread (it is no longer true that the Amish are the only ones who know how to make the starter!)  What's really remarkable to me is that, while these two women, on the surface, appear to have nothing in common, through their writings we learn just how similar they are, and actually how much we all, as women, as humans, have in common.

Near the end of the book, Cindy shares, "we simply wanted to tell our experiences--the tough, fun, encouraging, disappointing, and embarrassing moments--so they might instill a sense of hope, victory, and humor into our readers' days."  And that's exactly what Cindy and Miriam have accomplished in Plain Wisdom.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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