Saturday, May 21, 2011

Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

Best-selling novelist Cindy Woodsmall might seem to have little in common with Miriam Flaud, a woman immersed in the culture of Old Order Amish. But with nine children and almost 60 years of marriage between them, Cindy and Miriam both have found the secrets to facing life with strength and grace. Whether enduring financial setbacks, celebrating new babies and times of prosperity, grieving the crushing losses in the deaths of family and friends, or facing disappointments with their respective communities—through it all they find guidance for each day by looking to God. 

With poignant recollections, unexpected insights, and humorous tales, the two women welcome you into their unique friendship.  You’ll also gain a rare glimpse into the traditions and ways of the Amish as Miriam recalls special occasions and shares family recipes throughout the book.
Plain Wisdom is a heartwarming celebration of God, womanhood, and the search for beauty that unites us all. So grab your cup and your quilt and settle in for a soul-comforting read with Plain Wisdom.

In this small book lies huge pieces of wisdom sprinkled among antidotes of family life and community. Cindy Woodsmall, and "Englisher", becomes close friends with Miriam Flaud of Old Order Amish. Together they share lessons they've learned through life.

As a teenager, I lived in a part of Pennsylvania where Amish buggies are as common as automobiles. I made a few friends a few Amish families, though they were not the Old Order Amish as Miriam is. In this book, Miriam tells what she has learned as a woman living in a tight-knit community. Some of her stories bring a smile; others bring tears. She shares some recipes such as "Chicken Spaghetti", "Chocolate Coffee Cake", and "Egg Custard." The instructions are simple and the ingredients easy to find. 

In each chapter, both women address a topic related to a Bible verse. Cindy shares her experiences as a wife, mother, and writer. Miriam shares her love of crafts, writing, and her family. It is a wonderful blending of two very different worlds by two not-so-very different hearts. Wonderful!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. They do not require that I write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.
Her second book, When the Morning Comes, hit numerous best-sellers lists across the US, including edging into the extended list on the New York Times, coming in at number thirty-four.
Her third book, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen, as well as making the USA Today's best-sellers list.
Cindy continues to write and release best-selling works of fiction, and she's begun work on a nonfiction piece as well.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.
Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and caped dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children.
Cindy, her husband, their three sons and two daughters-in-law reside in Georgia.

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