Oprah's Inspiration page -- A Thought on Lessons Learned
"Listening to the whispers of my soul really stretched my heart, and I had more to give to my husband."
— Sue Bender, who took a retreat from her marriage to live with the Amish
If you have not read Sue Bender's book about her experience living with an Amish family, it's a lovely read. The title says it all Plain and Simple: A Woman's Journey to the Amish
"Modern-day career woman and homemaker Bender tells of the compulsion--for Amish dolls and quilts that seemed to evoke a simpler life--that took her from New York State to Iowa and Ohio, where she lived with sympathetic Amish families and began the journey of self-discovery here described." Publisher's Weekly
I read it in the 1990s when I was hectically working as a psychologist, but made time each month to meet with my quilt guild. I was collecting quilts by then and this was where I found my relaxation and exercise- shopping is hard work you know, all that walking and stooping down to pick up a wad of cloth from the corner of an antique shop. So often at that time, quilts were unappreciated and just heaped somewhere. Ah, the good ole days.
Anyway, the point is, I related to the author as I imagine many of you reading this will. Her book is about her experience inside of herself resulting from her experiences living with the Amish. I found reading the book to be an opportunity to relax, as it was a relaxing read, not difficult or mentally demanding. When I wanted to take a break from my busy life, I could ponder what Bender's writing was about. From this perspective I eventually rearranged some things in my mind and in my life, so to increase my joy of what life was bringing me.
Since then Bender has written a journal to guide you on your personal journey to your self based on Plain and Simple. Next she wrote the book, In Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home telling us how she applied the Amish experience to her demanding life when she returned home.
In a review "Bender speaks to our longing to make each day truly count. She chronicles her struggle to bring the joyful wisdom and simplicity she experienced in her sojourn with the Amish back to her hectic, too-much-to-do days at home. Bender discovers for herself, and in the process shows us, that small miracles can be found everywhere in our homes, in our daily activities and, hardest to see, in ourselves." And she wrote a reader's Journal to accompany this book too.