Disclaimer: I received Plain Wisdom through the publisher’s Blogging for Books program. I received no other compensation and attest that the following review is my personal opinion of this work.

Do you need a recommendation for a great Mother’s Day gift … or a meditative read for yourself? Look no further than Plain Wisdom: an invitation into an Amish home and the hearts of two women. Co-authored by Englischer Cindy Woodsmall and Old Order Amish woman Miriam Flaud, this book will have you laughing, crying and re-thinking your priorities.

I’ve always held a slight fascination for the Amish … simple, other-worldly ways that ignore technology, and fads and new fashions and focus on God’s natural gifts. The Amish celebrate home, family and friends every day … but they mostly celebrate God. Their lives are so different than ours, but do they have a message for those of us who revel in technology and fads and fashions?

According to Plain Wisdom, the answer is a resounding YES!. This book is a written conversation, back and forth, between an Old Order Amish woman — a woman with children, grandchildren and a husband all living the Amish way — and an “Englischer” — a woman with children, grandchildren and a husband all living the Christian-Protestant way. It’s such an interesting juxtaposition of two different but similar lives, lives that try to focus on God while living day to day.

The turn of phrase, the story told, and the similarities (or differences) of life experiences between these two women makes for a fascinating, uplifting read. There is great wisdom in this little book:

      being successful isn’t just about hoeing your own row but also about slowing down enough to help your brother hoe his row until he is caught up, then hoeing the rest of the field together
      The Amish may not know the saying ‘Pay it forward,’ but they live the lifestyle.
      I had not lost a son. His life was no longer under my roof, but it was in the same place I’d put it when he was born: in the hands of God.

There is also great laughter and fellowship and sorrows — all shared between these two friends who are from such different worlds. Would the Englischer want to become Amish and live the way of her friend? Woodsmall says not, that she loves her life and where God has placed her. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things about the Amish way of life that attract her, things she can embrace and do within her own life that will strengthen her love of God, her family and friends, and enrich everyone’s lives. This is the message of this book — that although we’re different, we all have the same Father in Heaven and can learn from each other.

As an added bonus, scattered throughout this meditative book are amazing Amish recipes — tried and true recipes for classics like friendship bread, Christmas salad, green bean and ham casserole, and zucchini bread. Each of these fits with the story or plain wisdom just read … meaning that when I make these dishes, I’ll remember the story behind the recipe, the comment that struck me, the book.

I highly recommend this one … it’d be a GREAT mother’s day gift!

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