How To Live A Simple Life Without Becoming Amish

make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands

I Thessalonians 4:11

I stood, staring out the window for an hour—one solid hour.  Between the sun setting over the hills to the west and the Amish woman working the field below, I was mesmerized. I could not stop watching her in her plain dress and scarf, leading a team of six sturdy work horses back and forth across the field. She worked long past sunset.

Pennsylvania Amish Country

Part two of our bucket list trip was to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  I had been with some friends several years ago but my husband had never been.  I was eager to show him around Amish country.

We stayed at a hotel on one of the major thoroughfares in a town called Bird-In-Hand.  It was a good, centralized location for touring the Amish country.  Our room was very nice; comfy bed, sofa, large flat-screen television and a fabulous bathroom.  The best feature of the room was the large window over-looking the Amish farmland.  We had a front-row seat to the Amish farms and the roads criss-crossing the hills.  It wasn’t unusual to glance up and see a horse and buggy moving along the distant roads.

Farm

It was interesting, the front of the hotel faced a busy, two-lane road with a steady stream of semi-trucks, cars with drivers in a hurry to get somewhere and Amish horse and buggies while the back faced bucolic farmland—twenty-first century in the front, nineteenth in the back.  Stress out front, peacefulness in back. 

Our hotel had a replica of a typical Amish schoolhouse and home so we learned a little about Amish customs before we ventured out. We enjoyed driving around the area, looking at the farms and homes of the Amish.  It wasn’t unusual to see men and women out working in the fields with horses or long clotheslines with colorful shirts and dresses and black pants flapping in the breeze. We visited some shops full of handcrafts and a grocery store where a horse pulling a buggy patiently waited in a parking spot. We savored the most delicious home-made pretzels, lemonade and root beer.  Between the pretzels, breakfasts and home-style dinners, we gained a pound or two. 

I loved, the peaceful, slower pace.  For a moment, I was a little envious of them.  No emails to go through, no telephone solicitors, no blaring televisions, none of the trappings of modern life to stress them out.  They don’t even have to figure out what to wear or take time to put on make-up.  No boxes and boxes of photos to put into albums — they don’t do photos! Sigh.

Of course, I would miss my phone and computer because that’s my connection to my children.  But, if we were Amish, they would be living close by, unless they enjoyed their rumspringa too much and didn’t join the community. 

Even though the Amish live a slower-paced life, it doesn’t mean it’s an easier life.  Remember the young woman I saw earlier?  She started working in the field as the sun was setting and was out there for at least an hour.  There’s no telling what she had been doing all day.  They seem to be a hard-working group.

We spent a couple of days in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, then drove back to the mountains of North Carolina.  We enjoyed a pleasant, quiet week before going home to Florida. 

Ways to Enjoy a Simple Life

As we relaxed in our mountain cabin, I thought about how I could enjoy a simple life without going to the extreme of becoming Amish. Here’s a few ideas.

  • Enjoy the quiet. We are so quick to turn on the television or music on our phones.  Leave them off and enjoy the stillness. Maybe you’ll be able to hear yourself think.
  • Get into nature.  Eat outside under the trees (ok, this may not work in Florida).  Have your first cup of coffee or tea on your porch as you listen to the birds wake up.
  • Take time to get into God’s Word, pray or meditate.
  • Drive on the back roads if you can.  That’s one of our favorite things to do in the mountains.  We’ve seen some beautiful scenery just by getting off the beaten path.  It’s definitely better than the interstates, which most drivers seem to think are their personal Nascar race tracks.
  • Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.  We spent a delightful half-hour with a couple at the Lancaster Market after they invited us to share their table.  There are still some nice people out there.

No, you don’t have to become Amish, or anything else to live a simple life.  You may have to step away from some of the trappings of modern, twenty-first century life but that may not be a bad thing.  What about you? Do you crave a simpler life? What are some of the things you do or would like to do to live more simply? I’d love to hear.


10 thoughts on “How To Live A Simple Life Without Becoming Amish

  1. I think I could live like an Amish girl..for about 2 days..maybe 4 tops…BUT, I’d no doubt benefit from infusing my days with a few more moments of Amish quietness and simplicity.

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    1. It was nice except for one thing. The farm smells! Lol. I’m not a farm girl, or a city one. I guess I would be considered a suburban girl. The “Eau de bovine” was a little thick in the air!

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  2. This is just the article I was looking for. As a mid 40’s mother with adult and young children, I have had time to experience the chaos of this world. It is such a distraction from what is truly important. God, family spending time together, learning together, depending on one another are all things that we essentially give up these days, to fit into the worlds plan. Christian’s know how the story ends, so why do we so often seek to be “of the world? Why do our standards align so closely with that if the “world”? It is increasingly difficult to find real, feed not sprayed, or animals mistreated and fed food they were never intended to eat, and then we eat them. I have to drive 2.5 hours away to Amish country to find real food. Our priorities are so out of line with the Word. If my dream came true, we would sell our big suburb home and move to a smallish farm, cut out most technology (internet mainly) and grow our own food, raise our own animals and raise our children in a self-sufficient yet God driven way. The quiet, nature, time with the Lord and one another would be the best life. I dont want myself or my children caught up in the chaotic world full of temptation, greed, deception and destruction. But alas, that is easier said than actually done. I pray that more of us will rediscover the old ways and remove ourselves from the madness of the world.

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    1. Thanks for your comment! I long for more simplicity as well. At the same time, I’m thankful for the technology that allows me to keep in touch with my children who live in different states. I just try not to get too drawn into all of it. I just now quit working on a jigsaw puzzle to type up this week’s blog.

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  3. If we could practice the simple life such as hang out our clothes to dry in lieu of an electric clothes dryer. Use more battery operated equipment such battery operated weed wackers, lawn mowers, and blowers. Just learn to be good stewards of God`s world. Put God first and he will lead.

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