Plain Wisdom, by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

book coverTwo friends from different worlds – one Old Order Amish, one Englischer – share the truths that bring them together.

Most of us only know about the Amish through books and movies. ‘Witness’ was my introduction to the Amish. My first encounter with them came in August 1996. I was visiting my future husband’s home town for the first time. I had been told there was an Amish community in the area. Still, I was stunned when I stood in the town’s grocery store one day and observed a young Amish boy open the cooler in front of me and grab a Coke. The Amish drank Coke? In the 14 years since, I’ve become used to nodding a greeting to other members of the Amish community in that same store.

Not everyone lives in such a place, of course. The intention of Plain Wisdom is to show that, while there are plenty of striking differences between Amish and Englisch, our two communities do have plenty in common. Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud have been friends for over a decade. They have raised children, faced financial difficulties, experienced highs and lows, and kept their faith throughout. So what if one drives a car and the other a horse-drawn buggy?

The book is divided into seven sections, each containing several chapters. Cindy and Miriam split the writing in each chapter, writing on a common theme. That theme is expressed in the Biblical verse at the start of each chapter. Recipes from Miriam are scattered throughout. As a result, you can read as much or as little at a time as you want or are able. They write in ordinary language; there are no difficult terms that may have you re-reading sections or reaching for a dictionary. There are no mentions of differences in doctrine, which is probably as it should be given that the book is about the similarities.

If I have a problem with the book, it’s that I didn’t feel the ‘wisdom’ part of it came through clearly. Some of this, however, may be down to me not being a parent, and much of the book is about children. Nor do I have elderly parents living close by. These are my differences, though, and both writers show how married women with children from both the ‘plain’ and ‘modern’ worlds can share experiences and emotions. Which is, after all, the aim of the book.

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Pages: 240

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I received my Advanced Reading Copy of this book from Blogging for Books, by Waterbrook Multnomah, in exchange for a review of my honest thoughts.

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