Here we are at the middle of the week already and Naomi King, author of Abby Finds Her Calling: Home at Cedar Creek is stopping by with a great guest post for us. Abby Finds Her Calling is book one in an Amish series and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I love to read Amish fiction. Again, I just don’t have enough time to read all the books I’d really like to. Nonetheless this sounds like a series I’d like to start on myself. The Amish way of life fascinates me as do the stories – such a calm and simple way to live. I need that! Naomi is joining us today to talk about her fascination with the Amish…
To celebrate the arrival of ABBY FINDS HER CALLING, the first book of my Home at Cedar Creek Amish series, I’ve compiled some tidbits about Amish life from my travels and research in Plain communities of Missouri. The Amish fascinate me! We so often think of them as somber and stoic, dressed in their dark colors, yet while in a furniture store in Jamesport, Missouri I found out up-close-and-personal that these folks can be pranksters, too: the very demure young woman who was minding the store asked me with a perfectly straight face if I’d like to see inside one of the little hand-carved houses for sale on the checkout counter. So I pulled on the tiny doorknob . . . and out popped a spring-loaded mouse! After I let out a squawk, I was laughing as loudly as my hostess was. And I had to wonder how many other clueless tourists had been taken in by her little joke. I’ve gathered a lot of other fun facts as I’ve written these books, too:
Did you know . . . that many Amish buggies and carriages are pulled by retired race horses? When I remarked about the beautiful horses I saw, I learned that the Amish in Missouri buy race horses which have been retired from the track–still young, but not good for racing anymore. Amishmen are excellent horse trainers and soon convert these thoroughbreds to pull their family vehicles. While Plain folks are to avoid pride, it’s no sin to save a fine, beautiful animal for a useful purpose!
Did you know . . . that Plain folks were into social networking long before computers and the Internet? Their weekly newspaper, The Budget, features articles from scribes who live in every Amish and Mennonite settlement in the U.S. and even in colonies in Ukraine, Belize, Israel, and other international locales! Scribes chronicle the daily goings-on of local families, including births, deaths, trips, injuries/illnesses, and whose home will host church services next week! You’ll also see a recipe column, an information exchange column, and a “shower” column, where card showers for birthdays and money showers for folks with large medical expenses generate a LOT of cheer and donations. The Amish don’t believe in insurance, so it’s not uncommon for a money shower to bring in more than $75k.
Did you know . . . that the biggest “threat” to the Amish way of life is the lunch bucket!? Amish folks work close enough to home that—except for kids in school—they can gather around their own table for meals. This sort of togetherness, along with often having elderly parents, married couples, and children all under the same roof is the bedrock of the Amish culture. Faith and family are their highest priorities.
Did you know . . . that the largest Old Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River is in Jamesport, Missouri? Nearly 50 Amish and Mennonite settlements are scattered throughout rural Missouri, because farmland is less expensive and nearby towns provide a place to sell Amish products and services.
Did you know . . . that you can tell where an Amish woman lives by the cut of her prayer kapp? Plain women in Missouri wear the pleated style that comes partway over their ears, whereas the Amish in Lancaster County, PA are known for their heart-shaped head coverings. Other details in clothing differ from place to place, too. And while Old Order Amish women only make their dresses from solid colors, Mennonite ladies use the same dress patterns but often wear wild, colorful prints! You can also tell about a person’s age or position in the community by the color of kapps or aprons they wear (black vs. white), the width of a hat brim, and other details non-Amish folks often don’t distinguish.
Did you know . . . that the average Amish family in Missouri supports itself on 30-85 acres of land? Bigger is not better, where Plain folks are concerned, because larger farms mean more debt—and they require more hired help and machinery to keep them productive. If an Amish family runs a business, like a dry goods store, harness-making shop, furniture factory, pie shop, etc. their business is on their own property rather than “in town”. You need a local map so you don’t miss any turns as you drive through the countryside to find these places! Unlike the main roads through Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, the rural routes through Missouri settlements are usually free of traffic jams—and not always paved!
So much for Missouri Amish trivia! Please check out my new books and read excerpts, try out recipes, and sign up for my newsletter at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com.
About Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King (from Naomi’s website)
The first in a warm-hearted new series featuring two Amish families and their community in Cedar Creek, Missouri.
The Lambright family’s eldest daughter, Abby, runs her own sewing shop. There, she mends the town’s clothes and their torn relationships. But the town maidel has sworn off any suitors of her own because of her unrequited love for James Graber, who is about to marry her younger sister, Zanna…
On the wedding day, Zanna is nowhere to be found, breaking James’ heart. Zanna has brought shame to her family, but there’s more in store for them when they discover how far she has fallen. Long-buried secrets come to light, and they test the bonds of the Cedar Creek community. Abby is at the center of it all, trying to maintain everyone’s happiness. But will she ever find her own?
Read an excerpt
About Naomi King (from Naomi’s website)
I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my new Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my new Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.
I’d love to hear from you! Email me from here on my new site, or write to me at Charlotte Hubbard/Naomi King, P.O. Box 18731, West St. Paul MN 55118. I hope you enjoy reading my new Amish books as much as I love writing them!
I have 2 copies of Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King up for giveaway to my US readers only. To enter…
- For 1 entry simply leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do just let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway!
- For 4 entries, follow me on Networked Blogs. You can find it on the right hand column of my blog at the bottom and you can hit follow there or you can just click here and be taken right there. Sign into your Facebook account and follow. Thanks!
This giveaway is open to US residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winners on Saturday, March 31/12. Good luck!