48 responses to James Cates on Serving the Amish
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    Al in Ky
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 06:07)

    Your book seems very interesting and I would like to read it. I have been an active reader of The Budget newspaper for many years. It seems like in recent years, I read more of Amish people entering nursing homes — for short term care such as rehab stays,
    and for long term care, especially for single Amish people who may not have relatives willing and/or able to provide the extensive assistance they may need with intense medical/physical needs. Do you have any information on this?

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Amish & Nursing Centers (October 27th, 2014 at 13:05)

      Amish & Nursing Centers

      A good question, and one that I believe varies dramatically. One change is the emphasis on rehabilitation post-surgery in some cases(e.g., knee replacement). It is simply easier to have a patient stay in a nursing center for twice-a-day physical therapy than pay a driver to transport, try to manage in a home with two floors, etc. In regard to care for the elderly, I still believe a nursing center placement is the exception and not the norm, although it does sometimes happen. That is particularly true if care is complex or involves difficult and demanding treatment, and often after care in the home(s) has been exhausted.

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    Mark – Holmes Co.
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 06:20)

    Very good & solid answers, Jim. I’m 100% with you on drinking & driving, both as a parent to teens and a person who uses public roads.
    I read your book and thought it was well done.

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    Char N.
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 07:31)

    I would love to read your book.

    I was wondering if you have heard any feedback professionally concerning the two young girls who were kidnapped and later returned to their home in upstate New York. I am concerned as to whether those girls will ever have any counselling or other services. I pray they are doing well.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Kidnapping in New York (October 27th, 2014 at 13:14)

      Kidnapping in New York

      My understanding from those close to the case is that the girls are actually doing well in their return home. I really do appreciate your concern for them, and I think it is justified. At the same time, I believe that we as mental health providers have helped perpetuate the belief that when someone experiences a trauma, they need to immediately seek professional help. Well…sometimes yes, sometimes no. What a person experiencing trauma may need is a return to their normal routine and life. Talking to a stranger and “reliving” the trauma won’t always help them do that. Particularly for Amish, who run the risk of talking to English strangers in an English office – an experience foreign to their community and life – resolving trauma doesn’t always happen the way we anticipate it will happen. My hope and prayer is that someday, if they do feel a need to talk about their experiences and work through the pain, there is counseling of some type available to them.

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    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 07:31)

    Very interesting! One thing I always wondered was why they didn’t openly celebrate a pregnancy since they believe children are a gift from God.

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    Karen C.
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 07:47)

    This sounds like a great a book – and great thought provoking interview questions as well. Even if I do not win, I’ll be sure to purchase it.

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    Patsy H.
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 07:51)

    I never really knew the Amish did not announce when they were expecting a child. I really enjoy reading about the Amish.

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    mb welch
    Comment on thanks (October 27th, 2014 at 07:56)


    I have read Amish novels for years as a way to see inside another culture, and in the last few years have been looking for good non-fiction about them. This sounds like great book that shows how they are now (not the history of how the “became”).

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    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 07:58)

    I also, would love to read your book. It seems that the Amish have more “special children” than the Englishers. Is that true? And is there a reason for this? Also are their “special children” treated different than we Englishers were treat ours. Special classes or help.

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Special Children (October 27th, 2014 at 13:27)

      Special Children

      I can’t really speak to whether the Amish have more children with disabilities. Part of the problem is “defining” a disability. Just one example: is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder a disability? And if so, what are the symptoms? I once had an Amish mother tell me that her child had ADHD. I was shocked, because I had known the child for several years, and never saw anything that, to me, remotely resembled ADHD. When she described the “symptoms,” among the Amish it made perfect sense. Among the English? He would never have stood out!

      Some disabilities are more obvious, and certainly there are heritable risks among the Amish because of genetics. However, I would have to ask someone who knows more than I do about medical/genetic issues to speak to that.

      That said, the management of disabilities is a cultural issue. For example, if someone in our culture has a disability that affects her/his ability to orient in space or to be coordinated, but reading skills are fine, there are plenty of potential jobs available. In the Amish community, such a disability might place that person at a more distinct disadvantage, because of the emphasis on physical labor.

      The Amish experience a normal process of grieving for a child who is disabled, but as I have mentioned in an earlier post, they have a more fatalistic view of life on earth than many of us in the mainstream. Accordingly, they welcome a disabled child and have no hesitation accepting them into their family.

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Special Children, Part 2 (October 27th, 2014 at 13:30)

      Special Children, Part 2

      I forgot to answer your question about special classes! I know some of the larger Amish settlements, such as Elkhart-LaGrange, have schools for special needs children that are Amish. In some cases children who need special education programs are sent to the public schools. A lot depends on the settlement and the family’s choice.

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    Comment on Thanks (October 27th, 2014 at 08:05)


    I appreciate a responce to my question concerning why amish don’t share early they are expecting. Another question that comes to mind is: I know some amish women who never married, I’ve been told that when they get elderly that it will be up to their neices and newphews to provide the care that they will need. Thoughts? I think that’s wonderful, I just know that in the Englishe world when someone doesn’t have children to care for them they usually will enter a nursing home when much care is needed.

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Care of Unmarried Women (October 27th, 2014 at 13:35)

      Care of Unmarried Women

      There are also Amish men who never marry, and on occasion both men and women have spouses die at a relatively early age and choose not to remarry. An elderly couple may live in a “dawdyhaus” for the time that they are able, but when they cannot care for themselves any more or one member of the couple dies, the remaining spouse may be cared for in the homes of family members.

      In general, the Amish care for family across the lifespan. As with any “rule” about cultural behavior there are exceptions, but most unmarried relatives will find a place with their family as the need arises.

      Good question!

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        Comment on From womb to tomb (October 27th, 2014 at 13:52)

        From womb to tomb

        Across the lifespan would be from the womb to the tomb!

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    William Hundley
    Comment on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 08:06)

    Serving the Amish

    I enjoy reading about the Amish, their history, their businesses, how they live, their culture and beliefs. “Serving the Amish” sounds like another book that would continue my understanding of this group.

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    Rich Stevick
    Comment on An Amish man's view on a hush-hush pregnancy (October 27th, 2014 at 08:40)

    An Amish man's view on a hush-hush pregnancy

    First, thanks, Jim Cates, and congratulations for a wonderful and useful book. It fills an important niche in the Amish canon. May we have many more 🙂

    Concerning the topic of the day, when I first began teaching a class on Amish life, I visited one of our Amish host couples and remarked in passing to the obviously pregnant host mother that “I see you are expecting another child–congratulations.” Although Emma did not respond, I knew immediately that my remark was inappropriate. When I later asked my Amish bishop/advisor/friend about it, he said that non-commenting, certainly by a man, at least, was expected. He informed me that “If you think about how a woman becomes pregnant, you know why it’s not spoken about.” I think that this taboo has in many places lessened in the past 20 years, but it is still common in the more conservative, “slower” settlements. From my observations, the entire area of sex education for their children is still unresolved for many, if not most, Amish parents–a topic for a future A A?. (I have no hard evidence for my sex-education statement, except from my conversations and observations.) Rich

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    Comment on Common sense? (October 27th, 2014 at 08:47)

    Common sense?

    The wait to announce a pregnancy is due to most miscarriages occurring during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. It’s good to make sure there is a better chance of having the child before announcing it. Where I’ve heard this I don’t remember, but I thought it was common knowledge.

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    Comment on Book (October 27th, 2014 at 08:51)


    Sounds like a very useful and interesting book that I’d like to read.

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    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 10:07)

    I’d love to read your book. I’m fascinated by the Amish, because my dream is to live very similar to how they do when I get married (I couldn’t live in an Amish community, since I’m Catholic, otherwise I’d be very tempted to join…). The best way to learn the skills needed to live like that is first-hand, and the Amish are the majority of the present-day people (or at least American people) who still preserve those skills and use them on a daily basis.

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    Kathy Rowe
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 18:25)

    Your book sounds very interesting. Would love to win a copy of it. I have gotten the Budget for the past four or five years and really enjoy reading it even though I am not Amish. Also get some of their magazines. Always love going to Holmes County for a visit. It’s so peaceful there for the most part and the folks are friendly and make you feel welcome.

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    Jim S
    Comment on Would love to read a more in-depth treatment of the Amish (October 27th, 2014 at 22:12)

    Would love to read a more in-depth treatment of the Amish

    As a life-time Ohio resident I have had years of “Amish Country”trips, and still go a few times a month to the SR39 corridor.

    I would like to win the book for one reason, most everything I have read over the decades and/or watched always feels like fluff…just skimming the surface of the culture. Tho I have a large collection of Amish & Mennonite pamphlets & books starting from the late 1800’s, a lot of the teachings don’t fit what I see today.

    And even if I don’t win, Thank You for the in depth answers, they are appreciated!

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      Rich Stevick
      Comment on Non-fluff suggestions for Amish information (October 28th, 2014 at 19:40)

      Non-fluff suggestions for Amish information

      My favorites, probably in this order, are Hurst and McConnell’s Amish Paradox, a wonderful treatment of the complexities of Holmes/Wayne/Stark Counties Amish life–and Amish life in general; Kraybill, et. al.; The Amish, by Kraybill et al., a up-to-date compendium of virtually anything Amish; The Amish Way–an in-depth look at Amish faith and relgious practices; Pauline Stevick, Beyond the Plain and Simple: A Patchwork of Amish Lives–a series of vignettes and ruminations from somebody who has observed the Amish close up. I also like the PBS film, The Amish, produced by Callie Wiser. (Truth be told, I like my newest book a lot, Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years, but have not been able to maintain anything close to objectivity about its worth.) Machs goot, Rich

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on In-Depth Treatment of the Amish (October 28th, 2014 at 22:24)

      In-Depth Treatment of the Amish

      When you are looking for an in-depth treatment of the Amish, Rich (Stevick) has some good suggestions in his comment. Also, Rich’s book (“Growing Up Amish” – an excellent read) and mine are in the Young Series, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and edited by Don Kraybill. The series is an excellent source of factual, readable information about many aspects of the Amish. Don (the Series Editor) does a good job of making sure we as authors keep the works “public-friendly.” And I would be remiss in not pointing out Erik’s own “Success Made Simple.” If you’re looking for a better understanding of Amish business practices, again – a highly readable, concise explanation.

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    Comment on Serving the Amish Questions & Giveaway (October 28th, 2014 at 13:05)

    Serving the Amish Questions & Giveaway

    Mr. Cates you’re book would be very helpful for those of us who are “newbies” in exploring the Amish-plain people. Especially, if the only “exposure” is from what one sees on TV! (Yes I know first hand.. that what is shown on TV is not reality. I was subcontracted for a show filmed here in Washington state)

    I am curious as to how Amish view “homosexuality”! My guess is obviously they support what the bible states.. and most likely have the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (kind of like a pregnancy) view & reluctance in speaking of such a topic.

    Thank you Mr. Cates for what you do! If someone has become interested in Amish/plain people, having a resource such as your book is a great start! (Besides this wonderful “Amish America” website) BTW- ALENA.. There is a PLAIN CATHOLICS community on the web! (I checked them out 😉 Cheers

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Amish and Homosexuality (October 28th, 2014 at 22:32)

      Amish and Homosexuality

      Thanks for your question. Here is the paradox, and I’m not sure how it will be resolved. My Amish friends have sometimes told me that they oppose any sex outside of marriage, and that homosexuality is a sin because it cannot take place within the bonds of marriage. I’m not sure what they will say as gay marriage creeps into more and more states. (Sexual relations for the purpose of procreation would be the hard-line view, but I’ve never heard a good explanation for what happens after menopause.) I strongly expect that the Amish will continue to define “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman, and then argue that homosexual relations, regardless of their context, defiles that union. Former Amish, or more often those who were raised in Amish families and never joined the church, are beginning to make their presence known and calling themselves variants of “Gay Amish,” but Amish is their heritage, not their current status.

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      Comment on What if you’re Amish and homosexual? (October 29th, 2014 at 13:18)

      What if you’re Amish and homosexual?


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        Jim Cates
        Comment on Amish and Homosexual (October 30th, 2014 at 01:06)

        Amish and Homosexual

        When you ask about Amish who are homosexual, one very, very rough comparison is Catholic clergy. They choose to abstain from romantic relationships in the interest of following God as they believe they are called. The difference would be that Catholic clergy abstain from what they see as a natural and God-given sexual outlet when they choose the church over a family. For someone who chooses to remain Amish over leaving the community and accepting a gay lifestyle, they believe they are abstaining from an immoral, unnatural sexual outlet. Some, I believe, choose to remain single. However, remember that same-sex to opposite-sex feelings occur on a continuum and very few people are emotionally and sexually exclusively same-sex in their interests. Therefore, some who choose to suppress their same-sex interests also choose to encourage and explore their opposite-sex interests. An excellent question, but one that is difficult to answer in a short space! Still very glad you asked.

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          Naomi Wilson
          Comment on from scripture (October 30th, 2014 at 08:05)

          from scripture

          The New Testament is the best source for understanding the Amish stance on moral issues.

          “For there are some eunichs, which were so born from their mothers’ womb: and there are some eunichs, which were made eunichs of men: and there be eunichs, which have made themselves eunichs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Matt. 19:12

          “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore also God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who exchanged the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up to vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving of themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:22-27

          For those who rest on the solid rock of absolute truth that is The Word: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” I Peter 2:9

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    Comment on Book (October 28th, 2014 at 15:57)


    This sounds very interesting and enlightening. I’d love to add this to my collection of Amish books.

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    Comment on special children (October 28th, 2014 at 18:02)

    special children

    As already mentioned by ‘Marilyn’,
    It should be interesting to know more about
    the frequency and type of genetic disorder among
    Amish people. How do the Amish cope with special
    children and are they aware of the consequences
    of a small genetic base.

    May be there already are publications concerning this,
    however i don’t know them.



  • *
    Comment on special children (October 28th, 2014 at 18:26)

    special children

    There is a video on “YouTube” that explains the genetic components of Amish SPECIAL children. One established explantion is…due to the Amish marrying close relatives and passing on genetic defects.

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    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 28th, 2014 at 18:57)

    Im looking forward to reading your book and delving further into your studies..
    I’ve often noticed that the Amish that I know say things completely differently than we would.. such as “You look familiar” whereas we would say “Have we met before?”. I cant tell you how many times this was said to me before I realized they were saying/asking more than “you look familiar” 😀 They really wanted to know who I am and that is their non-invasive way of asking. I guess Im slow.. 😉

    Or… saying the word “Oh?” at something they’ve said is an invitation for them to expound upon it.. Oh boy have I learned a lot with that one little word & the right inflection..

    I think we often run into incidences like this and dont realize how languages really DONT interpret well.. Maybe Im more aware of it because I was born and raised in a Spanish speaking region and knowing both languages and how they dont easily translate sometimes.

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      Jim Cates
      Comment on Interpreting Language (October 28th, 2014 at 22:47)

      Interpreting Language

      Okay. I’ve been good all this time with my comments, but Erik will be the first to tell you – it’s hard for me to be good for a long period of time. So ONE fun story.

      My friend Chris and I had picked up an Amish young man. We’re riding along, and the Amish man gets a call on his cell phone. He’s speaking Dutch, and to tease him I start translating what I can to Chris, who keeps quizzing me. (I took four years of German, but I am rusty, and the dialect is obviously different!) So I’m saying “There was a fire. They got it out and saved most of their belongings. A – washer? – wasn’t saved? I can’t tell for sure. I think lightning started it.” And finally, in English, our Amish friend says to his caller, “Yep, I’m riding with two idiots right now who are driving me crazy!” So you are absolutely right. Sometimes it IS hard to translate…(sorry, your comments just reminded me of having fun that day).

      • *
        Comment on Amish-Englishisms (October 29th, 2014 at 11:29)


        Nice story Jim, sounds like your passenger could dish it right back out 🙂

        Kim as someone who appreciates language, a few of my favorite Amish-Englishisms.

        “I see”
        “It spited me”
        “I’m going to let it go” (turn down an offer)
        “Don’t want to be un-handy” (inconvenient)
        “You may” instead of “You can” (eg, “You may have another piece of pie” – which I think is technically more proper, or at least once was)

        On the flipside my Amish friends do enjoy our Southernisms.

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          Mark – Holmes Co.
          Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 29th, 2014 at 11:44)

          The one I get teased about at work most is “It’s all,” which of course means something is used up or all gone, as in “Who made the coffee all?” or “Go ahead and make it all, I got all I want.” Right behind that is answering a question with “Why” as in “What time works for you?” “Why, eleven should work for me.”
          I notice we use the word “believe” more, like “I believe I got everything done.” And English people must be more certain about things: They say “I will see you Thursday” and yet you don’t know for sure will you or not. To me it sounds more reasonable to say “I hope I’ll see you Thursday.”
          The one that kind of gets to me is “It’s a really hot day.” I was taught hot is for fire, hell, bake-ovens or stove burners, coffee, etc., but a day is warm. But that might be because warm & hot are very different in the dialect.
          I better stop, or I’ll go on too long and besides my coffee is all and I want to get more because I believe there is only a little bit yet in the coffee pot.

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    Terry Berger
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 29th, 2014 at 08:50)

    Being a social worker myself I would find this book interesting.


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    Comment on thx (October 29th, 2014 at 20:07)


    Love reading your posts! The for your efforts to promote the Amish.

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    sarah c.
    Comment on sounds to be an interesting read (October 30th, 2014 at 20:00)

    sounds to be an interesting read

    When the Amish first settled in my area , we became tight friends with a family. But I must say we didn’t know much about their customs. My husband is a very open person and talks about everything. One day (at their table, having coffee) he asks about midwives (as we knew one just had a baby)the subject was quickly changed by one of them. Needless to say, the next time we were out shopping, the wife kindly asked me if I could let him know those matters were not discussed.

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    Comment on the book sounds interesting (October 30th, 2014 at 20:28)

    the book sounds interesting

    I think this book would be an interesting read.

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    Kay Garrett
    Comment on James Cates on Serving the Amish (October 30th, 2014 at 22:14)

    It is extremely interesting to me finding out answers to what to some seem like simple questions concerning the Amish beliefs and way of live. We have been able to do a small amount of traveling to some Amish communities and we never get tired of learning more. We find their values and simplicity of life something to strive for. Thanks for offering this great giveaway and all your educational posts.

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    Gayle Scheel
    Comment on :) (October 30th, 2014 at 23:16)


    I absolutely enjoy escaping into the Amish, whether it be in a ficton story or a non-fiction piece. I also like to visit the areas close to my home that are Amish. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, and giving me another ‘escape!’

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    James Frazier
    Comment on Love the Amish (October 31st, 2014 at 07:43)

    Love the Amish

    I have always been curious of the Amish lifestyle and how they cope without electricity and all. They seem to be really a happy group over all and caring of others. Your book sounds like it would be something I could really get into to find out more about them.

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    mary ellen ashenfelder
    Comment on Serving the Amish Giveaway (October 31st, 2014 at 08:58)

    Serving the Amish Giveaway

    Wonderful article. This sounds like a very interesting and informative read. I love learning about the Amish. I would be thrilled to add this book to my collection. Thank you for this giveaway.

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    Comment on Giveaway (November 1st, 2014 at 05:39)


    Okay! Friday has come and gone! Can’t wait to find out who will win the giveaway! I have enjoyed everyone’s questions and responses!! ;))

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      Comment on Book winner & excerpt post (November 1st, 2014 at 12:13)

      Book winner & excerpt post

      Hi Beverly, we actually did get the winner’s name out in a new post yesterday – but it came later in the day so didn’t make that day’s email notification, so you might not have seen it.

      Anyway, it’s all here- along with a nice excerpt from the book:


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