Best-selling novelist Cindy Woodsmall might seem to have little in common with Miriam Flaud, a woman immersed in the culture of Old Order Amish. Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Mar 2011
From the book
In 2001 Miriam and I lived seven hundred miles apart geographically—but a century apart by customs. Miriam is an Old Order Amish woman trying to keep the Old Ways and avoid modernization. I am a typical American woman trying to keep up with the constant changes in technology while meeting the expectations of society, church, parents, and peers. We didn’t know each other, but we had a mutual friend, and because of her, Miriam and I talked on the phone occasionally and shared letters regularly.
When Miriam invited me to visit her in 2002, I had no way of knowing how much we’d have in common. As our friendship grew, we began to realize that we’ve had many of the same life experiences, and we have approached them in faith and with some trepidation. Between us, we’ve given birth to nine babies—four we’ve ushered into adulthood; the others are now older teens or preteens. And both of us are still standing. Our cultural differences are vast; the more time I spend with Miriam, the more I realize just how different. Yet our methods for emotionally and spiritually dealing with life and work are remarkably similar.
In the visits since 2002, as we sat together, hedged in by her lilac bushes and sipping on coffee, a dream began to grow inside us. We wanted to share with other women our victories and defeats, what had and hadn’t worked for us, and to encourage them by being real and vulnerable. Our friendship has shown us that whatever culture we live in, successes are possible…and failures are inevitable, but they’re never final when placed in His hands.
As women we easily believe in the worth of a newborn, who can give nothing and takes much. We hold fast to hope for our children’s future, even for those teens who fight us every step of the way. We can see our friends’ lives through the eyes of faith. Yet when we think of ourselves, we often wallow in unforgiveness, self-loathing, and feelings of inadequacy. Our desire is to help you embrace the beauty of the life God has given you. We wrote Plain Wisdom to encourage you to accept yourself, forgive yourself, challenge yourself, laugh at yourself, and, most important, see yourself through God’s eyes of love. For when you do, you will find the freedom to truly enjoy your life.
Plain Wisdom is a collection of events in our lives—from early childhood to just a few months ago—and lessons we’ve learned, insights we’ve discovered, words of wisdom, Amish recipes, pictures of the Amish culture, and even a touch of Amish and “Englischer,” or English (non-Amish), humor. In some cases we draw the lessons from our stories; at other times we’ll let the events speak for themselves, allowing the Holy Spirit to whisper to readers’ hearts through the details. Our hope and prayer are that these memories will encourage and strengthen you as you create memories within your friend and family circles.
Meet Miriam and Cindy
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. — Acts 10:3 4–35
In the early eighteenth century, my ancestors crossed the Atlantic Ocean, traveling from Switzerland to America to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. As an Old Order Amish woman, I call myself the “Plain” part of Plain Wisdom. (Perhaps that makes Cindy the “Wisdom” part.) I was born in St. Mary’s...
Praise for Plain Wisdom
"A treasure chest, for sure... The wisdom in these stories is time-tested and true--plain and simple." - Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Unlocked and Shades of Blue<
"A fascinating comparison between two starkly different ways of life." - Donald B. Kraybill, author of The Riddle of Amish Culture
"A beautiful weaving of the lives of two very different women drawn together through their bond of faith and love of family. Their intertwining stories offer both timeless wisdom and sincere encouragement to inspire all women to learn from one another's experiences. You will enjoy their honesty, their humor, and their life lessons as well as some of their delicious recipes! Cindy and Miriam bring us back to the place where our hearts long to go--a place of simplicity and truth." - Karol Ladd, author of The Power of a Positive Woman
"Plain Wisdom provides a beautiful glimpse into the lives of my longtime friend Cindy Woodsmall and her Amish friend Miriam Flaud. Though separated by the modern world and Old Order Amish customs, they have a living faith that bonds them and invites us to embrace our experiences with greater hope, delight, and laughter." - Dr. Alan Weatherly, senior pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, Madison, Alabama
"Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud have the unique ability to marry two very different lifestyles in a masterful way by focusing on their similarities in faith and in daily life. Their chapters are easily digested in short pages designed for busy women--be they Amish or English. I loved savoring the wisdom in this book as well as the mouth-watering recipes. Written with the true insight of women who have been there, Plain Wisdom is a serious guide to life that doesn't take itself too seriously...and offers something for every woman." - Ellie Kay, author of The 60-Minute Money Workout