55 responses to Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2
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    Jo Ann Betts
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 07:39)

    Do the Amish vote and how do they feel about pres. Obama? How many Amish are leaving for New York and how are they doing there? Are they accepted?

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 07:57)

    Excellent article, providing insightful information. I learned a lot by Rich’s answers, so I know I need to read the book!

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    Osiah Horst
    Comment on Growing up Amish (June 20th, 2014 at 08:19)

    Growing up Amish

    I do look forward to reading the new version of this book. Typically, plain people do not vote but when Richard Nixon and John f. Kennedy were running against each other, many were so opposed to the idea of a Catholic president that they did vote in larger than normal numbers. I find it ironic that they chose to vote for Nixon who has been called the worst president ever in order to oppose Kennedy who many consider the best president ever. I would suppose that experience helped again in strengthening the non-voting position.

    There are many different Amish communities in New York state so there are also various experiences. For a good picture of what has been happening in New York, read Karen Johnson-Weiner’s book “New York Amish”. In talking with border crossing guards in Northern New York, it appears the Amish are well accepted in that area although many locals are still curious about the differing practices of the various Amish and Mennonite groups. While being checked out at the border, an Old Order Amish friend and I had the opportunity to explain a few basic differences to an inquisitive guard.

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      Comment on New York Amish questions (June 20th, 2014 at 08:58)

      New York Amish questions

      Just to tack on to Osiah’s comment regarding NY, here are links to a 2-part interview with Karen Johnson-Weiner on the book New York Amish:



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    Juanita Cook
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 08:28)

    Learning a lot by reading all the comments on here. I would love to read this book.

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    Diane Paulson
    Comment on Smart Phones? (June 20th, 2014 at 09:01)

    Smart Phones?

    I don’t understand, with the Amish commitment to staying unconnected by electricity etc., how they allow cell phones. As I understand it, cell phone activity can be traced, and this connects to the world. What do bishops say about this, or are they even aware?

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 09:02)

    Another great article. Thanks Rich and Eric.

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    Mark – Holmes Co.
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 09:08)

    There are many Amish people who are aware and very concerned about cell-phone use. Our group allows a cell phone for business but requires the phone not be internet capable and the phone needs to stay at work or on the work vehicle in the case of carpenters and so on. In my lifetime I don’t remember any issue that caused so much discussion with our people as this one.

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    Debbie Halcomb
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 09:33)

    Great insightful article. I have learned more about Amish in today’s society from reading it. Look forward to reading the book.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 10:12)

    I’ve read the first edition of Rich’s book, and I’m very interested to read the revised edition as well–technology seems to be changing so much.

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      Comment on New edition of GUA (June 20th, 2014 at 10:33)

      New edition of GUA

      I read the first edition as well–and a while back Rich let me read a draft of some excerpts from the new edition.

      In what I read he raised some really compelling questions, particularly pertaining to social media and mobile/internet technologies and their possible long-term effects on Amish individuals and the church.

      I agree with Rich above that it would be worthwhile for Amish parents to even read at least those sections. For that matter it would probably be good for English parents as well.

      I’ve got the new edition on my desk and am eager to rediscover an updated version of a book I very much enjoyed last time around.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on Thanks! (June 20th, 2014 at 10:39)


    Thank-you so much, Rich, for taking the time to answer my questions about drug abuse in such depth. I do not have direct personal contacts within the Amish community (despite having lived in Indiana’s Amish country my whole life), but certainly I have heard the rumors about meth, and in past years there have been some major “busts” among young people from Amish families. However, there has for some time been a serious meth problem in our area among non-Amish (this year, for example, a gas station owner in Goshen was busted for allegedly dealing meth out of their convenience store), so it would not be surprising for it to affect the Amish as well. The rumspringa years can be a time of more contact with the “world,” and the world can be a scary place sometimes.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and detailed responses to the various parts of my question.

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    Jean Junkin
    Comment on Amish Youth (June 20th, 2014 at 11:02)

    Amish Youth

    Rick, I believe the Amish have some of the same problems with their youth that we have. They just don’t talk about it, or keep it in the family. Plastering it all over Facebook is not what a parent or youth should do. I also would love to read your books.

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    Patsy Houston
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 11:03)

    I love reading anything Amish!

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    Joseph Toth
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 11:30)

    I have such a respect and love for the Amish. Great group of people!

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    Comment on Online Amish class (June 20th, 2014 at 11:45)

    Online Amish class

    I have so enjoyed reading your interview and responses to the questions. I enjoy going to Amish country in TN on a fairly regular basis. It is so nice to see such a simple and unhurried pace that does not exist even in the small towns in English country! My question is are you aware of any online Amish study classes? I do not live close enough to attend a college which offers any classes on the Amish, but would so like to learn more.

    Thank you for all of the good information!

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      Richard Stevick
      Comment on Not aware of any Amish culture on-line courses (June 20th, 2014 at 20:31)

      Not aware of any Amish culture on-line courses

      . . . and despite my recent research focus on Amish youth and the Internet, the computer is not my strong suit. If I were less technologically challenged, I might have actually considered teaching such a class. But I suspect that I will spend the productive years I have left in teaching and learning in traditional ways. Besides, an on-line course on Amish life seems to be anything but plain and simple. Machs goot, Susan.

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 14:58)

    Thank you, Rich, for answering so many questions. I know it’s not the only focus of your book, but I really appreciate the discussion about cell phone and internet usage, including the input from Holmes County Mark and Belle Center Mark. I would be delighted to win a copy of your book.

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    Loretta Shumpert
    Comment on Thanks (June 20th, 2014 at 15:42)


    I appreciate your in-depth answer to my question about counselors.

    Many people ask about the cell phones, I was reading in either a book or an article about a bishop was questioning a couple young boys about whether they had a cell phone. They denied it. As they stood there talking one of the boy’s cell phone rang. 🙂

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      Richard Stevick
      Comment on Maybe an Amish cell phone legend--maybe not (June 20th, 2014 at 20:23)

      Maybe an Amish cell phone legend--maybe not

      I’ve heard several versions of the cell phone ringing story. I suspect that some, at least, have really happened, although I have not met anybody who claims to have first-hand experience. A couple times in Amish church, I realized that I had my phone with me and had not turned it off. Fortunately, I get few calls on a Sunday morning, so I escaped 🙂 Rich

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    Comment on addictive behavior (June 20th, 2014 at 15:52)

    addictive behavior

    Addictive behavior is addictive behavior. While some of the youth may be able to give up their cell phones once they join the church, I think it is likely that some other addictive behavior may replace it. With the drug use, that’s creating a dependency that would require some professional help to overcome (if at all). Just my opinion. The social media tools and rampant drug availability are pushing all these sheltered kids way beyond the forbidden transistor radio of 40 or so years ago.

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      Comment on Important distinctions... (June 20th, 2014 at 16:51)

      Important distinctions...

      Carol, I totally agree with you about addictive behavior (in general) — what is suppressed (without properly dealing with it) in one area is all-too-often found to sprout its head somewhere else. But we must remember when considering this type of thing that there is a significant difference between something that is is genuinely addictive in nature and something that is only a habit. For example, porn (due to the very design/nature of human sexual drive) is often very addictive as it ties into the desire cycle — or worse, into one’s deep-seated and often misguided needs (felt or real). But the use of cellphone (non-smart, not-internet-capable), well, I could be proven wrong but I dare to think that that is more in the category of something that is habit more than addiction. As such, I wouldn’t expect the emerging of an alternate form of that habit to necessarily be the norm.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 15:57)

    Thank you Rich. I have learned much from reading your responses to these questions and am really looking forward to reading your book.

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    Ann K.
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 17:47)

    Hi Rich,
    There was a Swartzentruber Amish settlement north of me in Ebensburg, Pa that failed last year. I had thought that they were working out the problems they had with the local goverment but they moved (to N.Y. I think) anyway. Now I’m wondering if the ramping up of the local drug problem contributed to them going. Have you heard anything about this?

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      Richard Stevick
      Comment on Swartzentruber drug problems? (June 20th, 2014 at 20:42)

      Swartzentruber drug problems?

      Ann, I don’t know the Swartzentruber Amish nearly as well as I do Amish life in the big three settlements. However, I do have some good relationships with Swartz individuals, and I am not aware of any serious problems being reported on youthful drug use. One reason is that most of their youth have traditionally been seriously sheltered by parents and community from mainstream society and even from other Amish. Second, they are more likely to live in less populated areas, among each other, and on the farm. These help to isolate them. A factor which I personally attribute to their lack of drug experience is the Swartzentrubers relatively low incomes. Drugs follow the money, and for reasons beyond the scope of this answer, Swartzentrubers tend to be much poorer than mainstream Amish. Hope this helps. Rich P.S. Karen Johnson-Weiner from Potsdam University in New York State is the person to ask.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 19:17)

    I appreciated reading these questions and answers here, giving a better knowledge of life among the Amish. Thanks so much!

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    Dawn L. Martinez
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 20:17)

    I have been reading Amish books since Beverly Lewis started writing them. I would love to read your books…hoping I can win one. They sound very interesting!

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    Garrett Kozlowski
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 20th, 2014 at 20:20)

    I have a great respect for the Amish, I love to read anything on them.

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    Comment on Technology (June 20th, 2014 at 20:37)


    You mentioned hundreds of Amish are leaving Lancaster County for other, cheaper areas. My question is, if you have tracked it, how successful are the “transplanted” Amish families at becoming financially solvent in their new community? Are they just being pushed further and further away from their communities because they can’t afford the land?

    ps I would like to be entered in the contest to win a copy of your book(s). I am an avid Amish fan usually just reading Amish fiction.

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      Richard Stevick
      Comment on Economic success of families who move away (June 20th, 2014 at 20:51)

      Economic success of families who move away

      My sense is that if couples or families move to an established settlement, they do fine financially. On the other hand, if the new settlement leaders have failed to check out the many variables that lead to success, e.g., slatey soil, lack of reliable water, an unwelcoming surrounding population (very rare), or the diversity of settlements contributing families to the new settlement, all of the migrants may do poorly, and the settlement may not succeed. Normally, however, the Amish come with a sterling work ethic, a sense of their competency and agency, and families large enough to provide needed hands and labor. Hope this helps.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 21st, 2014 at 00:47)

    This was a very interesting read. I’ll have to go bakc and read part 1. But not tonight. Its too late. 🙂

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    Tom Geist
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 21st, 2014 at 13:57)

    Hi Rich,

    Swiss Amish…. I too want to know more about them. I live in Nebraska, and down in Seymour Missouri there is a group. In fact, Seymour was getting too small so a group moved to Parsons Kansas. 69 families there. Two families last name are Schrock, all of the rest are Schwartz! I only had a chance to meet 3 of the families in Parsons, all nice people. I need to go back someday soon. I almost never stopped at this settlement because they didn’t list themselves in the Amish directory that others do. (they do have their own little directory that you can buy once in town)

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    Tom Geist
    Comment on Hard Core Subject--Amish Suicide (June 21st, 2014 at 14:04)

    Hard Core Subject--Amish Suicide

    Hey Rich,

    It’s hard to research many details about Amish as is, but I wonder about Amish suicides. What are the reasons why one might commit suicide in a community were one assumes is so peaceful and content, and how the family/Amish community handle this.

    Thanks for any light you can bring to this.

    Tom in Lincoln


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    Tom Geist
    Comment on Cameras (June 21st, 2014 at 14:14)


    (sorry for 3 posts in a row…but these are separate issues)

    Hi Rich,

    I know that most Amish shy away from cameras. Today with cameras in most stores, on street corners and just everywhere, how do the Amish that hide from having their pictures taken deal with it?

    On another note, I was surprised to find that some Amish are OK with having pictures.

    Tom in Lincoln

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    Donna Clendaniel
    Comment on Bewildered (June 21st, 2014 at 21:37)


    We moved to “Lanchester” County 9 months ago and have noticed a big difference in Amish personalities. While many Amish are friendly, they usually don’t speak to you unless you speak to them first. They also avoid eye contact. I shop at Dutchway Farm Market in Gap and so do quite a few Amish. When I go down the same aisles they seem to not even see that you are there. Do Amish look down on us “Englishers” because we are outsiders and I guess bigger(?) sinners? The Amish children seem much more friendly, they always are smiling and wave hello. They are just adorable in their Amish clothing.

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      Richard Stevick
      Comment on Amish reactions to us "outsiders" (June 21st, 2014 at 23:17)

      Amish reactions to us "outsiders"

      Our experiences in moving into Lancaster County 45 years ago was much like yours–feeling distanced or ignored. Now I think close to 12 million tourists come to Lancaster County each year, many of whom are drawn by the Amish. You can see how such overwhelming numbers could easily pose a problem for Amish who are task-oriented, whether at work or shopping. The best way to meet Amish is on their own turf: stop at an Amish bake shop or roadside stand. Buy eggs or root beer (Sometimes in the early years, I would come home with a dozen eggs from each of four farms.) If one is pleasant and not pushy and returns to patronize the business, the Amish workers will likely warm up. Markets, such as Reading Terminal in Philadelphia or Central Market in Lancaster are good places to meet Amish if you come at a time that is not too busy, e.g., after their stand is set up and ready to go but before the 9:30 crowds begin descending. Shrewsbury Market on Rt 83 just north of the PA/MD line is generally a congenial place to chat with Amish standholders. Some places are known for their friendliness, such as Sam and Susie Riehl’s Quilts on Eby Road in Lancaster County. The same principle should apply in other locations. Again, if a person is patient, genuinely friendly, and not too “bold,” as the Amish call it, I believe that he or she can discover amiable people and conversations. I hope this helps. Rich

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 23rd, 2014 at 04:13)

    I have always been interested in the Amish. We visited Lancaster County and surrounding areas and I found is fascinating and read most everything about them that I can lay my hands on.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 23rd, 2014 at 14:41)

    I noticed some people are questioning why cell phones would even be desired when there is so much about it that connects you to the outside world. I think it’s a complicated question but directly ties to the shunning aspect. There are many Amish who do not feel as strongly about the technology and separation from the world issue as the standard party line would indicate. In fact they may not feel strongly about many of the Amish ‘rules.’ But because leaving is so difficult and requires so much sacrifice in many areas, family, occupation, friends, etc. it is much easier to just ignore the rules you don’t like and stay Amish.
    The problem with this is that the church retains members which may look good on the books but in reality it dilutes the ‘purity’ of the church because many actually don’t agree with the application of central tenets of the faith. The smart phone happens to be both very useful in many ways and also super easy to keep hidden. It’s not like having a TV or a computer or a car. Also, since it doesn’t need to be hooked up to cable or a phone line it comes in handy for those who like to have internet access. In fact the smart phone seems nearly tailor made for the Amish. It doesn’t require electricity (except for charging), it helps with keeping in touch when the phone is supposed to be kept in a shanty, it allows internet access in a very discreet manner.

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 24th, 2014 at 07:46)

      I think I’d disagree with you, Rachel. I’m Old Order Amish and I do have strong views on the smart-phone. I belong to the main Amish group and I and my family could leave our church for a Mennonite church or similar without being shunned. In fact we do have family members & friends who have taken that step. In the simple act of giving up Old Order Amish membership for such a membership, I would have free will to get a car, computer (at home — use one at work daily), smart or cell phone, electricity, TV (in many Mennonite churches), and basically whatever else goes with the non-Amish life. Not only do we have friends & family who did this, about half of my non-Amish coworkers have done this. We work together & hang out together and see each other as friends, relatives, or coworkers… so that is why I disagree. I have chosen this way of life and strongly believe in that.
      It might be groups like Swartzentrubers & Dan Amish have it different, but for us, in the biggest Amish community, it’s not that way.
      I’m not trying to argue or anything, just saying what it’s like for many of us.

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        Comment on The Bann in Holmes County (June 24th, 2014 at 09:14)

        The Bann in Holmes County

        Mark this is very interesting. I am just curious–in your main Old Order Holmes County group, is there any period of the Bann at all, or is it lifted after a certain period of time and/or joining a Mennonite or similar church?

        And do you know is there any scope for the Bann being eased in the Dan church? I understand that they fellowship with Lancaster at least in part because of stricter approach to shunning. However I have heard that at least in more progressive parts of Lancaster the practice of shunning is not as severe as in others.

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          Mark – Holmes Co.
          Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 24th, 2014 at 10:08)

          Erik, I’m not aware of any change in Dan Gmay attitude toward shunning. In fact it seems to me it might be even a bit stricter than it was maybe 20 years ago, and I’m saying that based on two certain cases here in our neighborhood.
          A couple might be placed in Bann for leaving the Old Order but that is lifted as soon as they become members in another church. In fiction the Bann is slapped on someone right away but in real life it might be months or a year after leaving. Since the people who left could be members elsewhere, I know of times it never was used at all or put on then lifted soon after.

          • That is interesting, thank you Mark. I don’t get out to Holmes County as often as I’d like, so it’s nice to hear a voice from the area here.

            I think many people don’t realize there are different approaches to shunning.

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            Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 25th, 2014 at 12:22)

            Mark, I think it’s great that things are that casual in Holmes when it comes to shunning. I grew up Amish in Lancaster and I can assure you that what I wrote is completely correct in respect to Lancaster.

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              Mark – Holmes Co.
              Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 25th, 2014 at 12:31)

              It’s interesting, Rachel, to know you grew up Amish. We have friends in Lancaster and have visited there and we see a huge difference, and not just in Ordnung. It’s like they are much more intense or something and they don’t seem to take the time for relaxing or however you’d say. They have a whole different outlook on church life and those that choose not to stay Amish.
              In the last few years there have been a few families from PA who moved here to Holmes Co. and it has been really interesting to see how they fit in and what they see as the biggest differences. It sounds like the biggest difference (outside of Ordnung) is in PA there is a strong push to conform and be always concerned with how other people see you. I guess in Holmes Co. we are more laid back or something. 🙂 Though Lanc. people would probably say we are “lass.” (Don’t know what that would be in English. Sorry.)

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        Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 24th, 2014 at 20:17)

        Hi, Mark!
        Interesting to see you on here. 🙂
        I tend to agree with you, but understand the angle of people following ordnung, but not really having their heart in it (which may be what Rachel is referring to). But the other aspect is that Anabaptist people are taught from little up to be honest. So someone who may actually desire a smart phone will probably not have one hidden, because that would be living a lie.
        So most Plain People will abide by the “rules,” with not a lot of “sneaking around,” but that doesnt mean their heart is in what they are doing.
        Anyways, I am commenting mostly to get my name in the pot for the free book. LOL

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    Gayle Grabowski
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 23rd, 2014 at 18:39)

    Thank you, Rich for answering our questions and Erik for providing such a wonderful forum! The feedback from those of the Amish community has been especially informative, and I appreciate the honesty. I cannot wait to read this book, as I am sure I will find useful information I can apply as I face similar challenges in raising my sons.

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    Comment on Cell phone charging (June 23rd, 2014 at 20:17)

    Cell phone charging

    Where do Amish go to charge their cell phones? Seems like it would be difficult to make all the trips necessary to keep them charged. But maybe they ration their usage and don’t find it essential to recharge them on a daily basis.

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    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (June 24th, 2014 at 05:58)

    Congratulations, Rich, on the completion of your book project! And thank you for your time in answering questions, for writing in everyday language we can understand, and sharing your personal experiences. Please enter my name for an opportunity to win a copy of Growing Up Amish! The less people that enter, the better the chances!

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    Sharon Lewis
    Comment on Sounds like a good book! (June 24th, 2014 at 20:22)

    Sounds like a good book!

    I would love to have this book! It sounds very interesting. Thanks for having the contest!

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    Comment on Great Interview (June 24th, 2014 at 21:44)

    Great Interview

    Great interview with informative questions and answers!

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    Comment on Entering the Amish Lifestyle (June 24th, 2014 at 22:07)

    Entering the Amish Lifestyle

    How hard or easy would it be to actually live amongst the Amish and learn and live their way of life. It seems like such a peaceful, less stressful way of life. Also not growing up Amish I would imagine it would be quite difficult to learn how to work as hard as they do at such a late time in life.

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    sarah Lynch
    Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (July 28th, 2014 at 08:31)

    Thank you for this interview & all the intersting information you’ve provided. I wonder if the small percentage of alcohol & drug addictions has to do with genetics considering their narrow gene pool going back tpo before they emmigrated? Just a rhetorical thought.

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    Susan Schafer
    Comment on winners??? (July 28th, 2014 at 18:35)


    Where are the winners announced? Thank you!

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      Tom Geist
      Comment on Growing Up Amish 3-Book Giveaway & Interview Part 2 (July 29th, 2014 at 06:14)

      Hi Susan S,

      Winners were announced in a different section.


      “Growing Up Amish Winners

      Using random.org, I’ve drawn three random winners from your entries:

      #56, Sarah Lynch

      #119, Margaret (comment #2 on this post)

      #12, Tom Geist”

      I didn’t think the one winner was very deserving…but they gave HIM a copy anyway. =)

      Tom Geist

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    Comment on I love this! (November 19th, 2014 at 09:14)

    I love this!


    I consider myself more than fortunate that I discovered your site. I am studying Amish culture and your site has offered a wealth of information in addition to a source of inspiration. Your book reviews have guided me to building a library full of valuable reads!

    Thanks so much to you, and all the authors you introduce!

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