Challenge #20 [May 26-June 1]

challenge titleChallenge #20: Collect 5 items for a nature journal spread.

It’s the time of year when nature is going full steam ahead, so it should be easy to find your supplies! Snag some leaves on a walk (try doing a leaf rubbing!), pick up twigs, pluck some grass going to seed… find 5 items to paste, draw, paint, or otherwise include on a spread in your journal.

Good luck!


More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting [book review]

More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting (book review on Hello Neverland)

A book on Amish parenting–awesomely excellent

I have to admit, when I first read the title of this book I was a little put off. I knew nothing about the Amish, and I assumed their parenting style would involve a lot of over-the-top rules and hard manual labor. I suppose you could say that it does, but this book elaborates on the ideas and philosophies that govern Amish life and influence their children–most of which make total sense to me.

Each section of the book is loosely centered on a broad aspect of Amish life: family, community, discipline, work ethic, technology, and faith. There’s also a final section titled “What’s an Englisch parent to do?” that basically says kids don’t become people of value by accident and we need to take responsibility and parent with intention (amen, sista). In each section, chapters examine different “pieces” of the overall theme. For example, the “family” section included chapters on marriage (SO GOOD), divorce, extended family relationships, eating together, gender roles, and motherhood. The author presents the views of the Amish (which she’s learned by being close friends with many Amish families) in each chapter (it’s very non-threatening and non-preachy) and concludes each section with a few thoughts recapping the basic ideas and helping Englisch parents hone in on what to incorporate in their own family. There were times I thought that concluding bit needed beefed up (see my comments further on in this post), but I got a lot out of almost every chapter.

(By the way, “Englisch” is the term the Amish use for non-Amish people.)

Obviously, the Amish aren’t perfect. And there are things I disagree with. But I’ve rarely come across a parenting philosophy that has resonated with me even half as well as the one detailed in this book (if you can really call it a “parenting philosophy”–it’s much more just a natural result of their lifestyle). The pages of this book are covered in ink–I underlined passages and wrote notes in the margins on nearly every page. In many ways, reading this book felt like finding “my people” in parenthood.

“Raising children of value also does not happen by accident or by constantly gauging parental popularity. It takes getting control of one’s life and family by making wise choices–sometimes very hard choices–instead of having our lives dictated by media or abdicating our responsibilities out of fatigue or fear. Intentional parenting means having the courage to make choices that are right for our families instead of merely doing what is easy.”

Of course, it’s not perfect

Aside from the excellence of the Amish parenting (and life in general) wisdom, I did have a few issues with Miller’s writing. She tends to get a little rambling and disjointed, taking the long way around to make her point. There were times that I felt she never quite got back around to tying it all together. Also, the role of her “co-author” feels awkward–she quotes him a lot and he seems to have given her a lot of input on the content, but I don’t believe he actually wrote any part of this book (it’s all Miller’s first-person voice).

My biggest complaint, though, is that I wish that Miller had given more specific examples of how the Amish apply various principles and teach their kids certain ideas. There are a few specifics in here, but overall I wanted more. Of course, the book is already 323 pages long, so I know that such additions might have made it pretty beefy. But, in my opinion, it would have been worth it.

But it’s full of value

All of that aside, there is so much wisdom here. If everyone read this book and really took it to heart, the world would change in a drastic, positive way. I’d love to gather half a dozen women together and do in-depth book club discussions for weeks and weeks on this book, dissecting every concept and coming up with ideas for applying it. I think it’ll be included in any and every baby shower gift I ever give from here on out. And I plan to reread it myself. Again and again and again.

Want to read “More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting” for yourself? Get a copy here!

More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting (book review on Hello Neverland)

Blog Vacation

B3KGCPF50YHi all! I’m just popping in quick today for a bit of housekeeping. As the title of the post suggests, one of the items on my list is letting y’all know that the blog will be on vacation next week. As May really kicks into gear I know many people are so busy they can hardly see straight, much less make time for their favorite internet haunts. Seems like an excellent time to take a short break, don’t you think? I’ll be out all next week and will return Monday, May 23.

Second, thank you to all who entered the recent giveaways! Both are now closed and the winner have been notified.

Finally–and this is completely off the wall, I know–if you haven’t been watching The Voice this season, I’d like to beg you to tune in on Monday. Hannah Huston is from my city, and she’s singing in the top 8 this week. I’d love, love, love to sort of share this little bright spot from Nebraska with y’all–so go watch her! And then, if you love her as much as I do, vote her through to the finals. Pretty please with sugar on top? :)

Anyway, that’ll all for today–short and simple! I hope you have a wonderful week next week, and I’ll see you back here on the 23rd. As I’ve recently taught Little Rabbit to say: peace out, homie!


Challenge #19 [May 12-18]

challenge titleChallenge #19: Draw your house.

I don’t really know why, but I love seeing sketches of houses and city skylines and interesting buildings. It just makes me smile. So this week’s challenge is to draw your own! Don’t worry about making it look accurate–go full-on Picasso if you want. Just draw!

Good luck!