Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blog Tour: Amish Proverbs (Review & Interview)

It’s been said that good things come in small packages - and that’s one way readers might describe the newest book by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life.

On the surface, the book is filled with “pithy” sayings and photography representing the Amish life. On a deeper level, it provides readers not only with an introduction to the Amish faith, but also  an introduction to proverbs that come from both the Bible and other cultures.

Fisher created Amish Proverbs after writing Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World.  For that book, she turned in a variety of extra proverbs to be included in the final manuscript, which led her editor to consider a book filed simply with proverbs. The sayings found in Amish Proverbs come from, in part, from the Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

“Every Amish person is Penn Dutch, but not every Penn Dutch person is Amish – that’s my own saying!,” jokes Fisher. “The Penn Dutch culture grew out of an Eighteenth and Nineteenth century migration period in which many Europeans of German and Swiss descent moved to Pennsylvania.

“They share the language—an oral language that is a dialect of German. That’s one of the reasons there are so many sayings—proverbs are teaching tools that grew out of an oral tradition. They’re brief, pithy, profound, and easy to remember.”

Fisher’s family – on her mother’s side – is Penn Dutch. She grew up with many, many sayings shaping her family life. Some she said, were sweet, some clever, others corny and some were “spot-on!” Many of her family sayings helped shape her book.

“Many (most) are from The Sugarcreek Budget (taken with permission) from the scribes who write weekly letters to the Amish-Mennonite newspaper,” Fisher said. “Others are from a book called Proverbs of the Pennsylvania Dutch by Edwin Miller Fogel. I also interviewed C. Richard Beam from Millersburg University, who is translating the Penn Dutch language into English.”

Setting Up The Proverbs
Fisher divides the book into a variety of themes including family, hard work, time or character. She even included a section “just for fun” to help highlight the Amish sense of humor.

She said it’s hard to pick one favorite proverb, because they fit a variety of situations.

A few of her favorites include:
    “It’s better to have your wife on your team than on your back.”
    “Blessed are they who have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it.”
    “A happy marriage is a long conversation that ends too soon.”
    “The difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in a seed catalog and what comes up.”

Many of the proverbs strike a “poignant” cord, explained Fisher.

“'The forest would be quiet if no birds sang except the best,'” Fisher said. “As a writer who struggles with self-doubt, that proverb just hits the nail on the head for me.

“Proverbs belong to everyone – even King Solomon borrowed many proverbs from the ancient Egyptians,” Fisher continued. “It’s difficult to trace the root of a proverb to the original source—if some sound familiar, it’s because they have changed and evolved through the centuries.

“Also proverbs are part of every culture – they help us to learn about what a culture valued and observed in daily life.”

Fisher said she hopes readers not only take away an appreciation for the Amish people, but also start collecting proverbs on their own.

“They’re such wonderful little reminders – for us and for our kids – to help us live a life pleasing to God,” Fisher said. “It might be fun for families to make up their own proverbs or sayings. It’s part of creating your own unique family story. Here’s a few we’ve made up: ‘Get it done before the fun,’ and ‘Compare…and despair!’”

A Special Note
Amish Proverbs contains five or six photographs which were taken by Fisher.

“I took them as I was doing research for Amish Peace. Look on page 118 to find my favorite,” Fisher said. “It’s a horse named Strawberry, who just had a colt.”

Fisher said she is very thankful for everyone who reads her books.

“A book without readers is just words on a page (that’s mine!),” Fisher said. “I enjoy connecting with readers through my website – or on Facebook or Twitter.”

Want To Find Your Own Proverbs 
Anyone can subscribe to The Budget, explained Fisher.

“I’ve learned so much from studying it – about the life of the Amish, about what thye value and hold dear. For example, stillborn babies have obituatires. The Amish love children and celebrate each one.

“A warning to non-Amish, though—the scribes’ letters can be more than a little tedious. I have had to wade through a lot of non-essential information to find small gems of essential information.

"And those newspapers come weekly! The pile stacks up quickly. I might recommend ordering just one sample copy for $4, to get an idea of what it’s all about, before subscribing. - The address is: P.O. Box 249, Sugarcreek, OH 44681.”

What I Thought 
I really like the simplicity of this book. It's a great "coffee table" book - filled with a lot of great words of wisdom and some beautiful photos. If you know someone who likes to read about the Amish, or someone who likes to read simple and awesome sayings, I think this would make a great gift!

More About Amish Proverbs
Simplify your life with Amish wisdom Through firsthand research and personal relationships, Fisher has collected more than 200 proverbs that uncover the rich heritage, folklore, faith, values, history and essence of the Plain People. 

These proverbs serve as teaching tools and maxims for practical living--but they're not just for the Amish. They're for anyone who seeks God's wisdom and truth for everyday circumstances. 

Ranging from the simple to the profound, from the serious to the humorous, these sayings will stick with you through life's joys and sorrows. 

With beautiful full-color photos throughout, Amish Proverbs is the perfect gift for any occasion.

About The Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the CBA bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, Amish Peace, and Amish Proverbs.

Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine.

Fisher is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California. Find out more about Fisher at  

Online Resources
Buy Amish Proverbs Online
Reviews of Fisher's Other Books
The Choice (Review & Interview)
Amish Peace (Review & Interview)

Enter & Win  
On This Blog: 
 Want to win your own copy of the Amish Proverbs?
Post your own family proverb or wise family advice (or even tradition) as a comment on this blog - by Sunday, Sept. 5. One winner will be chosen randomly from the entries.

But wait - there's more!
Suzanne's Amish Proverbs just hit the shelves.
To celebrate she's giving away a KINDLE and throwing a party!
Let the fun begin. See below for info and links.

Find out more about the book, Fisher and the blog tour here.  
Enter Suzanne Woods Fisher's  Simple Wisdom KINDLE Giveaway!

Simple Wisdom giveaway=

One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle preloaded with Suzanne Woods Fisher titles. The Prize Pack (valued at over $205.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, Free 3G, 6", Latest Generation
* Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher
* The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on September 1.

Sweet Kindle Giveaway 
Join Fisher for a Wrap-up Party on September 1!
Fisher will announce the winner of the Simple Wisdom KINDLE Giveaway, chat with readers, and give away copies of Amish Proverbs and The Choice!

Be sure to join her at 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at Fisher’s Author Page  

Be sure to check out the blog tour here or purchase a copy of Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life!  

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.


  1. A favorite saying of mine is: "Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere!"


  2. Hi Kaylea!

    Thanks so much for your lovely review of "Amish Proverbs!"

    So grateful to you! Warmly, Suzanne

  3. Kaylea--a motto our family adhears to is: "Work with what you've got." Simple, but keeps us grounded. We find our projects are so much more fulfilling when we get creative and sustainable when we use what we already have instead of adding to the "stuff".

    Great little blog!

  4. Kaylea, Your interview with Suzanne about this remarkable book is an educational experience. I enjoyed it and Suzanne's writings very much. Amish Proverbs is such a treasure and will make a precious heirloom for future generations. My grandmother used to say "more things are wrought thru prayer than this world dreamed of," or something quite close. When one of the kids would say something cute and wise, it was always, "Out of the mouths of babes....." Thank you for the chance to win in this giveaway. I hope I do.

    Sharing God's Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  5. I'd love to read this book. One of my favorite sayings is "Strive to be like Christ, but never glorify our Christlikeness, in place of Christ."

  6. Ok, I'm a geek, so I'll leave a post on my own blog lol...

    My dad's saying, which has become ingrained in my brain is:

    "Morning comes awfully early."

    This makes sense when you know that I grew up on a dairy farm - milking time for the cows came WAY to early, to stay up late "goofing" off.

    I'm sure the students I work with would identify this as a "kaylea-ism."

    Another proverb of sorts -
    I have three rules for the children's ministry:

    1) Love God, 2) Love One Another, 3) No Whining.

    Because if you love God and each other, there's really no room for anything else (bad-wise); and well, I truly don't want to hear your whining......

    I'm sure there is more, but I have to think about it....

  7. I would love to win. My family loves the Amish and their simple life style. Our favorite proverb is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

    avennett AT verizon DOT net


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