Monday, March 07, 2011

Book review - Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

Plain Wisdom, an Invitation into an Amish home and the Hearts of Two Women by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

This book is a collaborative effort between Cindy Woodsmall, an Englisher author and Miriam Flaud, her Old Order Amish friend.

If you’re looking for an expose on the Amish lifestyle, you won’t find it here. This is an encouraging, uplifting narrative of how friends can have very different lifestyles and circumstances but still have a deep friendship based on mutual respect and a shared love of God. The authors show us their many similarities amongst their differences. They both have a deep love of family, love of God, and both women have a wonderful sense of humor. Some of their entries had me chuckling out loud.

Each chapter begins with an applicable scripture and then each woman shares her thoughts on a specific topic.

There is plenty of insight into the common practices of the Amish way of life while always being very respectful of their desire for privacy. I unreasonably expected more details and maybe some of the less attractive aspects of the Amish lifestyle, but after reading this book, I realize how that would be dishonoring to them.

As I was reading this, I recognized many of the experiences show up in several of Cindy’s novels. These real life accounts lend authenticity to her writing.

Both women share happy times, heartaches, uncertainties, doubts, sadness and deep faith.

Cindy talks about her “nevertheless principle” that says “Nevertheless......God”: Whatever happens we can say, nevertheless God is my strength, yesterday, today and tomorrow. : Nevertheless says, “I don’t have to understand; I believe anyway.” I love that!

Miriam sums up the Amish lifestyle like this “...following God’s principles always yields good crops. Eventually.” Persistence and patience is evident in the Amish lifestyle.

There are also several Amish recipes interspersed throughout the book – yummy!

This book is a very pleasant read and flows easily from one chapter to the next. It is a book that you can easily put down and come back to later. There aren’t any deep doctrinal issues to struggle with, you are simply listening to two friends talking about their lives.

The thought provoking discussion questions in the back are included for reading groups or book studies.

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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