Grace Leads Me Home, by Marlene C Miller

While I was in Ohio at my sister’s place I read this book: “Grace Leads Me Home” by Marlene C Miller. I knew Marlene ever since I was about ten years old, as she was married to my aunt’s husband’s brother. But I never knew her story; instead I just assumed I knew it. 
Johnny, her husband was a wild Amish boy, that fell in love with an English girl and after they were married for a few years he repented and so they joined the Amish. I thought this was the way it was because this is the way it normally is, at least the few times a wife of an ex-Amish guy joins the Amish.
But Marlene’s story blew my mind; it blew my preconceived thinking all to pieces. She did not join the Amish against her will, nor because Johnny talked her into going Amish because he wanted to return to his people. But instead God reached down and granted her to be born-again and deep in her heart God prompted her to go Amish. It was her desire to join the Amish, not Johnny putting the pressure on.   And so began Johnny’s journey back to his people, to the Amish and Marlene followed him gladly.
I think all people that look with longing the simplicity of the Amish and their lifestyle should read Marlene’s book. Marlene writes from her own experiences of joining the Amish and living the life. She did not live the life of ease, of glamour, of a sparkling life. No, she lived the life of sweat, toil, of dirty diapers and smelly pigs. But she also lived with peace in her heart, knowing she is where God wants her to be. And this is the ultimate desire of each heart, to be at peace with God.
Marlene is one of the few that joined the Amish for the sole purpose of pleasing God. This is where God wanted her to be. But then there are many Amish born people that leave for the very same reason Marlene joined the Amish. I am one of those. God would not save me until I renounced the lifestyle and all that goes with it, because I had thought I have to be Amish to please God and go to heaven. I guess reading Marlene’s book makes me realize not to judge people. It is not up to me to decide if it is right or wrong for someone to leave or join the Amish. If we truly seek after the things of God, He specifically shows what He wants us to do and where He wants us to be.
This book; “Grace Leads Me Home” is not on the Internet. At her book signing I bought the book for $14.99. I am assuming there is a postage fee that goes with the book, unless you can pick it up at a local bookstore. For a copy order it from Marlene. Her contact address is:
Marlene C Miller
9082 Cement Bridge Rd
Dundee OH 44624
Phone: 866 -660-2332

Ghost Town Activities

This is the time of the year Pinecraft reverts into a Ghost Town. Every summer it happens and to be honest the year round resident's do like it, at least for a while. It gives us a time to breathe normally and rest up after a busy winter season. Most evenings when it cools off I go out for another bike ride. Sometimes it appears like I am about the only person at the park. If there is just one other stranger or two at the park, I usually high-tail out of the park because I don't want to take unnecessary risks.

But on Tuesday night the park was busy. Parents were there with little children, two shuffleboard games were going. A few were playing basketball and a lively Volley Ball game was in progress.

This photo was taken with my new camera at dusk. I am well pleased how clear the shot is without using the flash.

Growing Up Amish, A Memoir By Ira Wagler

I never realized the torment and torture a person lives with who leaves the Amish, believing they will go straight to hell until I read “Growing Up Amish” A Memoir By Ira Wagler.  I always thought Ira was born and raised in a good Amish home and I still think he was, at least to a certain degree. Ira was born and raised in Aylmer Ontario, the best of Amish communities, as Ira stated on page 10-11; “The Aylmer community considered itself an example for the lesser elements, the perfect church. The shining city on a hill, from which would come noble directives about how people should live.”  Ira was born and raised in this setting until his early teenage years. He had the best of what the Amish had to offer. He moved from Aylmer with his family in late 1976, whereas I moved to Aylmer in May of 1977, and so both of us lived in the same community but not at the same time.

A few years after moving to Aylmer I was hearing the bad, rebellious stuff he was in and doing. All the things we were hearing was relished, taken apart, gossiped about, judged and condemned. I don’t remember taking part in the gossip and judgment but I clearly remember approving of it.

I apologize for liking and approving the judgment and condemnation Ira received. I never knew until reading his book that he never belonged. He really never was one of them and not by any choice he made. This is just the way it was. Back then I thought all such youth are rebels and they still are but there is a reason.    

Ira’s life as he wrote it represents the over-all mindset of being born and raised Amish. You are not supposed to think for yourself, nor ask any questions, just listen, obey and do as your leaders tell you to do. If you are a child, then obey your parents, if you are a parent then obey the preachers. The most common tool of teaching that is used is: “If you ever leave the Amish, you will burn in hell. There is no chance or way you will get to heaven.”  Living with this fear of hell fire and brimstone is what keeps most Amish people Amish.  

We cannot “just decide to do what is right” or “just straighten up and settle down”. These two phrases are never ever mentioned in the Gospels as part of God’s salvation. But I was one that just decided to do what is right because of the fear of hell fire and brimstone. I was never, even going to leave the Amish. I was one of the best Amish people. I never deliberately did anything wrong. I never chose to break Amish church rules. For thirty years I was trusting in the Amish way to save me. But God refused to save me until I renounced the Plain Peoples’ Lifestyle.

The only difference between Ira leaving the Amish and me leaving is, I knew before I left that lifestyle and culture is just lifestyle & culture, nothing more and nothing less, whereas Ira didn’t know that truth. So he lived many years in fear and trembling of hell fire, in deception, in being swayed to and fro. Finally after years of struggles God reached down and showed both of us the truth about salvation.
Ira's book can be purchased from Amazon.

Infant Children of Mose P & Susanna Troyer

This post is for my Troyer cousins. Here are the tombstones we have been puzzling and wondering about for years. For some reason our parents almost never talked about their stillborn siblings. I don't remember Dad ever talking about them, although I remember prying a bit of information out of Grandma Troyer. For some reason the four stillborns or else died only hours after birth are not listed in family records. It sort of seems Grandma was living in denial or wanting to forget she gave birth to these babies. Bit by bit 70 years later her grandchildren are trying to piece the story together. Cousin Esther Lehman Miller who took us to the cemetery said Grandma had at least one nervous breakdown during her marriage, maybe even more. My Mom always said these four babies were squeezed to death during birth as Grandma was diabetic and gave birth to big babies. But cousin Esther said that beings they didn't have the medication for Grandma because of her diabetes, these babies were born with paper thin transparent skin and couldn't have survived. So this is about the limit of what we can gather or know.

I tried to make these tombstones as readable as possible. I think if you click on each photo it will enlarge.

This tombstone is is that of Mose Jr. He was born with a heart defect and when he was about 5 years old Grandma found him dead in bed one morning. The time I pried Grandma with questions she said she always wondered how it will be with Mose Jr when he starts school with his heart condition, but her pondering were answered. I do know my grandparents took extra good care of little Mose Jr.

At times I try to imagine how life was back then. My Grandparents gave away their first two children because I was told they were too poor to provide for them. So Uncle Eli was given to Grandma's brother Emanuel & Sadie. They had no children of their own, so they gladly took Eli age 3, at least in the beginning of Eli's childhood.

My Dad was the second child and at the age of 5, he lived with his Grandma until he was 16. At the age of 16 he was too much for his Grandma and so he moved back to his parents. Aunt Katie came next, then Abe and Aden. Aden had polio but he recovered except for a slight limp. After Aden came Mose Jr with his heart condition and then the four still born babies. No wonder Grandma had a nervous breakdown.

The following pictures Diane Schlabach took.

There is just something (emotions) hard to express when wandering through an old family cemetery. Under everyone of the tombstones history is buried... 

Good-bye Ohio, Welcome Pinecraft

This is my last shot before leaving Ohio. I got on the Pioneer Trails bus at German Village in Berlin and took this photo of the Swartzentruber double seated from the window after I was on the bus. Most of the Swartzentruber Amish live in Wayne County, so I was surprised to see this in Berlin, but so be it.

And the first picture I took was of the Welcome Home banner my neighbor Erma tacked on my porch railing. I think she had a lonely six weeks while her neighbors on both sides of her left within a few days the beginning of June and they all returned home this week. So life should go back to normal for all of us.
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Mattie and I

This is my cousin Mattie and I in the early 1960's. I really don't remember when this picture was taken by my Brother Henry and I had never seen it until last week.

Mattie was an only child and I come from a family of twelve children. She longed for brothers and sisters, while I enviously looked into her huge toy box and her stacks of coloring books and boxes of crayons. I would of gladly traded places, at least for a while. Mattie married and became the mother of four children and is now a grandmother with grandchildren. She has her family and her grandchildren also have a great-grandfather, because her Dad is still living, the only one of that generation. She has always been Amish, has always lived in the very same neighborhood her ancestors did for five generations. Her world has always been small, but that is her world and she is happy and content, at least I think she is.

Whereas I have always been on the go. During my childhood years we moved from one rent place to the next on the average of once a year. The longest we ever stayed at one place was five years. During those five years my parents managed to save $1,000 and so they decided they can afford to buy a farm and they did and so they stayed put. But not me, I moved to Aylmer Ontario, to Cookeville Tennessee, to Bainbridge New York, to Honduras for a winter, to NC, to TN, to Florida, back to Ohio for a year to stay with Dad and back down to Florida.

But every now Mattie and I meet again. I never tell her much about my life basically because she is a talker and I listen.



Obviously my great nieces and nephew know all about feet-washing. Maybe they don't have the definitions all straight because, well there was a bit of squabbling now and then.

My Uncle

The backside of my last living uncle, age 80 years old. Last week I or we stopped in at their yard sale and bought the old hickory rocker that Mom used to rock her baby brother when their parents were in the barn milking the cows. This morning we returned to pick up an old hutch and watched for an opportunity to get at least a picture of him unaware.

Here he is taking the wheelbarrow down the "Barn Yard Hill". Barn Yard Hill is a literal translation from the German we speak, which is the hill or sloop that goes from the second story of the barn down to the lower level.

I find it such a pleasure to visit with him and I could feel his love and appreciation last week and also today  when we stopped in.

Red Hair & Freckles

Yesterday was our Troyer Family Reunion. This is the splitting image of my Mom, which is her great grandmother. There are many children in the third generation with the red hair but none with both the red hair and big splashing freckles, just like her great grandma. She is Brother Henry's grand daughter.

Juanita Weaver

I love observing and interacting with my great-niece Juanita. And of course I take pictures of her doings when she is at her grandparents' place, which is just up the hill and down the drive from where she lives with her parents and siblings.

She is helping her Mom returned the borrowed tiller by pulling the wagon. Maybe more like controlling the wagon.

And she has learned how to write her name. Never mind that some of the letters are every which way. Her grandchildren will love seeing this.

And she is combing her great-aunt Edna's hair. She also tried to make braids but that was a bit beyond her ability.
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Two Generations Ago

This is the Hickory Rocker my Grandparents had. On Tuesday evening my Sister Clara bought it at a yard sale and so it continues to stay in the family. The rocker is almost a hundred years old. My grandparents' great-grandson is on the rocker.

Years later long after grandpa died Grandma decided she needs a more comfortable rocker and so she bought this one in the late 1960's. She had this rocker at the window where she could rock and watch the traffic on the County Road, which was just a few buggies and cars now and then. Even so she knew every horse and buggy that went down the road. She always wondered where it is going and what it wants...

This is a portion of her five year diary. Click on to enlarge. She wrote about going to Big Church which was her way of saying Communion Services. The reason we called it Big Church was because it lasted all day long.
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