Finding Rhythm, Autumn, and a Giveaway

Update: This giveaway is over. The winner is Therese. Congratulations, Therese, you have won an autographed copy of Plain Wisdom and a copy of The Esh Family Cookbook!

This week’s blog has a couple of vignettes from Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. It’s my only nonfiction book, and I wrote it with Miriam Flaud, a dear Old Order Amish friend. I’m giving away  a copy of Plain Wisdom and a copy of Miriam’s latest family cookbook (just released!), The Esh Family Cookbook. When the summer heat fades and summer gardens are done or almost done, we often long to turn once again to new recipes and hearty meals! Along with the recipes you’ll find in The Esh Family Cookbook, you’ll find poems, interesting insights, family stories, and more.

Finding Rhythm

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.
And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

—Genesis 1:5, nasb

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From Miriam

Nature gives us the unexpected, but it also gives us rhythm. When God created the world, He designed the sun to rise in the east and set in the west at basically the same times each day, allowing for the seasonal changes. We can depend on our Creator for this rhythm day after day, week after week, year after year, as it has been since the beginning of time.

I look forward to each new season. When I grow weary of snow and cold, I am encouraged by knowing an end is in sight. Winter fades and spring begins. During those first few weeks of spring, I love the feel of the sun on my back and the warmth of garden dirt under my feet as I plant fresh seeds in the ground. In summer I enjoy having my children around more, even as the temperatures rise to scorching and the hot sun dries up the ground. By the time fall rolls around, my desire for warm weather and gardening has been fulfilled. Having plowed, planted, weeded, and harvested through spring, summer, and into late fall, I look forward again to the quieter indoor season of winter.

Knowing and trusting in God’s rhythm helps me in many ways, and I use His rhythm to create my own. The rhythm of the day. The rhythm of the season. The rhythm of life.

pumpkin

From Cindy

The first time I entered the Amish world as an adult, I had traveled for eighteen hours by train, my son and I spending the night in a sleeper car. I couldn’t sleep, so I pulled out my laptop and worked, glancing up every so often to take in the beauty of distant lights shining amid the dark towns.

Train Tracks

I’d spent years honing the skill of multitasking, so working when I couldn’t sleep made perfect sense. My life’s goal seemed to be sharpening my ability to juggle more tasks using less time.

But when I stepped into my friend’s Old Order Amish world, I found something I hadn’t known I was missing: a sense of morning, noon, and night.

At home my mornings consisted of the same things as my middays, late afternoons, and evenings: the computer, e-mails, phone calls, writing, editing. The family chores had no boundary between morning and evening. I could move a load of clothes into the dryer just as easily at ten o’clock at night as I could at ten in the morning. E-mails were sent just as naturally before daylight as before bedtime. I woke each morning to the call of busyness, but I had lost the rhythm of the day—the tempo of sunshine filtering into my soul, listening to the birds wake, and breathing in the aroma of a day’s fresh start.

In Miriam’s world the uniqueness of morning, noon, and evening is too strong to miss. Laundry has to be washed and hung out early. Cows and horses need to be tended to before breakfast. Without electricity, navigating the home after the sun goes down brings a sense of closure to the day.

During my visit that week, I felt the rhythm and nuances of a day as the sun moved across the sky from east to west, and I began to mourn the years I’d been too busy to truly notice. I certainly knew when morning arrived each day, and I had a long list of morning things to accomplish, but electricity and natural gas provided me with an unnoticed shield. Beyond the protection it had given me against the harshness of winter and summer, that shield had also blocked my senses and my soul from the beauty of feeling a day slide across the sky. Sipping a cup of coffee on the front porch each day couldn’t solve the problem because it went deeper than how I spent a few minutes here and there. I’ve become so involved in doing life that I’ve acquired a type of tunnel vision in experiencing the days, months, and seasons.

As the Amish need to step inside our world from time to time to meet their needs—using a Realtor, seeing a specialist, or borrowing money from a bank—I want to find a way to step into theirs, to feel the pulse of each day even while living in my world.

Book Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is for a copy of Plain Wisdom coauthored by Miriam Flaud and me, and a copy of Miriam’s latest edition of The Esh Family Cookbook. To enter, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

If you are reading about this giveaway anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website by clicking here: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2013/10/01/finding_rhythm/ and then leave a comment at the bottom of the post under the words “Leave a Reply.”

Plain Wisdom

Esh Family Cookbook

Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway.

The deadline for this contest is Tuesday October 8, at noon Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.

As always, please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. Please visit my giveaway rules and FAQ page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

Helpful info for first time commenters:

  • For your protection against web crawlers gathering your e-mail address for purposes of spamming, please do not put your e-mail address into the body of your comment. Only write it in the field provided. That way only I can see it. Your e-mail address will ONLY be used to contact you if you win.
  • When you leave a comment, you may see a note that says your comment has gone to “moderation.” That means it is in a holding place until either my daughter-in-law or I can approve it. That keeps spammers from being able to post a comment. If you comment while we’re away from our computers, we may not get to it until the next day.
  • The commenter form asks for your name, feel free to only give your first name.
  • Please be sure to type in the correct e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.
  • The third field states: Got a website? This is simply a question. You may leave that field blank. If I could, I’d remove that field, but this is a WordPress comment form, and I can’t hone it to my liking.
  • If you’ve been notified that you’ve won and you’re unsure about giving your postal address by replying to an e-mail, I welcome you to send the name of the item you won and your postal address through the Contact Cindy page of this website: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/contact/ We keep good records, so we’ll be able to verify your information and get the item in the mail as soon as possible.
  • Please be aware that I aim to get the items sent as quickly as possible, but at really busy times it can take up to six weeks. (I don’t have a staff. But I do have two daughters-in-law who help when they can. But they each have a life and professions not connected to my writing and giveaways. What?! <big grin>)

The winner of the blog post titled “Author Kim Vogel Sawyer’s Favorite Color” is Ellen M. Lopes. Congratulation, Ellen! You’ve won a copy of Kim Vogel Sawyer’s book What Once Was Lost!

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