Amish Highly Competitive Softball Tournament

We went to the 14th Annual Community Rib Burn Off at the Christ Covenant Church in Middlefield this summer. To my surprise there were Amish everywhere. The draw was the highly competitive softball tournament. There were 24 teams and most were Amish teams. So hubby and I took our lawn chairs and sat on the men’s side of the field.  Most of the women were on one side and men were on the other, just like in their churches. Anyways I didn’t feel out of place, because there were a few women on the men’s side.

 

The teams were amazingly good and for someone who doesn’t care for ballgames, unless I personally know someone, it captured my interest. I loved hearing all the Pennsylvania Dutch around me, especially since I could understand it. Words I haven’t heard in many years came back to me and surprisingly made me feel a bit of pride, that I knew 2 languages.

 

While watching the games we noticed an Amish coach right in front of us on the other side of the fence. After winning the game, he came around the fence, looked at us and said, “Sometimes these games make my heart go crazy!” and walked away.  Normally I really can’t tell the Amish men apart, but this Amish coach had a different kind of sun glasses on. The kind that has silver lenses and are curved to form the face. So he stood out.

 

I left hubby to get a Rib dinner and as I was walking to the tent, I met my  cousin Cora, who left the Amish about 20 years ago. So she knew most of her Amish relatives. We started talking and the Amish coach came around the corner and she said, “That is one of our first cousins.”  She grabbed him, introduced me to him, but he had much more pressing responsibilities and meeting a cousin didn’t impress him.  Then she also pointed out some other first cousins. I’m sure the place was flooded with my relatives, so of course I got interested in the games? All around me were relatives, probably a lot more then I realized.

 

Then Cora with excitement in her voice said, “I have something to tell you.  A year or so ago, we went to visit one of our Amish cousins. We walked up to the front door and we could tell she was attempting to clean the house. Rugs out on the porch, cleaning supplies out and chairs stacked on the table. But we could see in through the window that she had been reading. She came to the door and apologized that the place was a mess and said. ‘I was supposed to be cleaning, but I started reading a book and I just couldn’t put it down.’  After we went in, I noticed the book that she had been reading on the end table was your book. I didn’t say anything to her about the book, but I was thrilled to see that she was reading your book.”

 

These little stories that come my way, give me a delight better than any delicious, delectable dessert could ever offer.  The rib dinner was good and tasty, but nothing satisfying like the little story I had just heard.

 

After cleaning up my messing rib licking fingers, I made my way back up to the highly competitive softball tournament. First thing I told hubby was that the Amish coach was my first cousin. It didn’t surprise or impress him. He knows I have a huge number of Amish relatives and we were right in the center of an Amish community, my home town.

 

Hubby got into watching the games and we stayed until they were all over at 10:30 p.m. I got into people watching more than watching the games.  Although I did enjoy the games very much.  My mind would wonder as I watched the players, each in their own special way putting all their energy into winning. I watched the Amish ladies cheer from the other side when a play was in their team’s favor.  I watched the Amish coach from afar. Wondering if he really knew who I was and if he also was one of my Amish cousins who read my book.  Wondering if it made a difference in my cousin who read my book. Wondering if my book has made a difference in any one of my Amish Cousin’s life. Are they here now? Wish I knew, I would find them and talk to them.  Wondering and praying , surrounded in a ball field, a field ripe for harvest.

 

 

 

 

First Amish Awareness Conference

 

April 2014 was the first Amish Awareness Conference. What a great experience! After I signed up for the conference, saying I will help were ever needed, Joe asked me to bring my books and sell them. That was a joy, because I had the opportunity to talk to many people and make many new friends.  I think there were about 150 at the conference and around 30 were former Amish.

 

I was back and forth helping prepare, set up for the meals, being at my book table and sitting in on the conference when I could. It just so happened I got in the sanctuary and was able to hear a former Amish couple tell their story of how they left the Amish religion and how Missions to Amish People helped them when they left.

 

What a joy to hear how God reveals Himself and draws His children into the light, especially when Satan has such a strong hold making them believe and preach that you cannot have assurance of salvation.  He even fools the Christians that the Amish are righteous, good people that don’t need to hear the gospel. There is a mission field right in our back yards.

 

Sometimes I think I should go on our church’s mission trips, but then I say no. God has me where I’m at for a reason and I will spend my time and energy for reaching my relatives, right in my hometown.

 

I thought of my parents so many times when I was at the conference, knowing they would be thanking God for this ministry. I guess my mother’s prayer has been answered and my passion is to serve God through Mission to Amish People.  What a joy to find this ministry. Before I heard of MAP, Mission to Amish People, I would lay in bed thinking of how we could reach the Amish for the Lord. Night after night I would toss and turn and I come up with lots of ideas never knowing that there was a ministry already in place. I prayed lots during this time about starting a ministry, but knew it was impossible alone, especially it being such a controversial subject.

 

A friend at my Christmas party a few years ago told me about MAP and said that I just had to check it out. I remember I couldn’t wait until the party was over so that I could look them up on the internet.  Well, needless to say MAP is a blessing to so many people. When you hear the stories of how MAP helps the ones who leave, it thrills my heart. Check out their website – http://www.mapministry.org/

 

Joe also asked me to give a five minute talk on my book at the conference. Trust me five minutes just isn’t long enough when you are someone who gets all excited about something.  I mostly talked about my genealogy book. I wasn’t selling my genealogy book, because no one would want that book unless you were related. I just wanted to let the people know the story on how my Amish relatives wouldn’t buy the genealogy book even though they wanted it, because of my other book “A Basketful of Broken Dishes”. If you are interested you can read the whole story on my website, “Amish Cousin Comes to The Rescue”   http://www.naomistutzman.com/2012/11/04/amish-cousin-comes-to-the-rescue/

 

So I had the genealogy book at my book table with all my other interesting Amish props. People would visit, pick up the book and glance through it. I would ask, “Are you from Middlefield?” Many would say no. Dee Yoder who was sharing my book table told me that she knew there was a couple from Middlefield who was attending the conference. Of course I wanted to meet them.

 

The former Amish couple who I mentioned at the beginning, came to my table. Dee said, “They are the ones from Middlefield.” 

 

I must have missed that part of the introduction when I came in late.  So of course I asked them if they were related to the Schmuckers.  Right away Kathy said, “John’s mother Lizzie was a Schmucker.” Then she proceeded to tell me other names and sure enough I knew them all. So we opened the big genealogy book and looked to see if they were related.   Sure enough they were in the book. John is my first cousin once removed. That means he is my first cousin’s son.  Instant family. Hugs! Love! A little glimpse of heaven! Little by little, one by one, I hear of relatives being set free. Nothing is better than that. Nothing!

 

 

Former Amish at the Amish Awareness Conference

For more information on how MAP helps the Amish or how you can help make a difference in someone’s life, go to –

http://www.mapministry.org/

 

Do Not Flinch Because The Lion Roars!

Having fun in the sun at Loganberry’s Author Alley made for a great day, but after talking to people and other authors it also came with some emotional questioning.  It’s like an annoying loud voice or should I say, like a lion roaring, saying things to discourage me. So I say a prayer and try to shrug them off, but for some reason I just couldn’t shut it out.  Sunday morning the gnawing was still lingering. As I was walking down the hall to my bedroom to get ready for church, I said to God, “I need to hear from You today.” I got myself ready and went out to feed the dogs before leaving for church. When I came inside my daughter said, “Verda wants to talk to you.” And she handed me my cell phone.

 

Verda is my sister-in-law and she said, Janet, an old friend of mine that I grew up with, was visiting at her church and wondered if I wanted to come to see her. I asked, “When does your church start?” She said, “In five minutes.” Quickly, thoughts went running through my mind. I changed my plans with going to church with my daughter and drove to my sister-in-law’s church.

 

The man who was giving the sermon was the guest speaker Bob Edinger, he was friends with Janet and her husband. They came together, from out of town, for the service.

 

The sermon was on Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  It wasn’t until the end of the service that His words quickened my spirit. I sat in quiet attention soaking in each word.  I knew I was supposed to be there to hear his final remarks.  I love how God works, He totally had me change my plans at the last minute, because He knew what I needed to hear to shut up the lion’s roar. After hearing his sermon, I knew in my heart, I’m right where God wants me. Sometimes those places are hard, especially when people say negative things.  But I am never to give up. I don’t know why I always have to be reminded of that. Maybe because I’m in an uncomfortable place and Satan is using that to discourage me to feel unworthy to serve my Lord and Savior.   Comfortable or uncomfortable I am to be content and never give up. A lesson I need to learn is to not flinch when the Lion roars!

 

I think God used Verda, Janet and Bob to encourage me. I don’t think it was Janet that I needed to see, but God used her and it was nice to reconnect.  I’m so glad I listened to God’s Gentle Whisper, “Go! Change your plans!”

 

I asked Bob if I could have a copy of his last comments of his sermon because I felt it was written just for me that day and I wanted a copy so I could read it over and over again. I also asked permission to post it, because if you are in the Lord’s work, most likely you need to be encouraged also. It is so worth the read, here it is:

 

To Every Man His Work

 

The Lord has given to every person his work. It is our business to do it, and the devil’s business to hinder us, if he can. So, sure as God gives a person a work to do, Satan will try to hinder us. He may present other things more promising; he may allure you by worldly prospect; he may assault you with slander, torment you with false accusations, set you to work defending your character, employ pious persons to lie about you, editors to assail you, and excellent men to slander you. You may have Pilate and Herod, Ananias and Caiaphas all combined against you, and Judas standing by to sell you for 30 pieces of silver. And you may wonder why all these things have come to pass. Can you not see that the whole thing is brought about through the craft of the devil, to draw you off from your work and hinder your obedience to Christ? Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars. Do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs. Do not fool around your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work; let liars lie; let sectarians quarrel; let editors publish; let the devil do his worst. But see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work God has given you. He has not sent you to make money; He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character nor has He bidden you to contradict falsehoods about yourself with Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do these things you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep about your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. Let the world brawl and bubble. You may be assaulted, wrangled, insulted, slandered, wounded, and rejected. You may be chased by foes, abused by them, forsaken by friends, despised and rejected of men, but see to it that with steadfast determination and with unfaltering zeal you pursue that great purpose of your life and the object of your being. If we make Philippians 4:13 our life verse it is limitless what we can do for God. We have no promise of an easy life as a follower of God, but if we take this verse and make it a part of our DNA God will be there for us.

A random book about the Amish turns out to be the best surprise ever…….

 

 

Writing a controversial book I knew I would hear words that would sometimes dampen my spirit, but when I get an email that cheers me on, I am delighted.

There is a range of encouraging emails. If you receive emails or letters you know what I mean. Some are; “Oh that is nice.”  To “Oh my, this is amazing!” When you do get one that is so wonderful, you just have to tell others.  I received one of those amazing emails and I just have to share. Names have been changed.

 

Subject: From a relative in TN.

 

Hi, Naomi

I have a story to tell about how I got your book and my surprise once I started reading!

 

My name is Cathy Yoder, I used to live in the Middlefield area until 3 years ago, when we sold our home and moved out of state. We left the Amish about 8 years ago when we accepted Jesus as our savior.

 

Here’s the story on how your book got into my hands. I had heard of this book called “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” through Joe Keim from Map Ministries in Ashland Ohio.  I work for a lady down here who became very interested in my story and started reading Amish books. I told her about your book. I only knew the title. She bought it and after reading it, she said I could have it!

 

Well needless to say, I was astounded to be reading my family history!! Simon, your dad would be my great uncle. You speak of people who were my aunts and you even mentioned my grandma. I was so saddened how they had treated you at the funeral you wrote about. I still remember seeing your dad there that day. I don’t recall seeing you. At that time I was still very Amish but had envy for the ones that had the courage to leave.

 

This past Jan. I was faced with how cruel the shunning practice is. My dad past away and they wanted me to stay and eat, but had to sit alone with my children. At the funeral service they made my husband, myself and all of our children sit away from the rest of the family.

 

Grieving is one thing but being looked on with scorn puts it into another level altogether. But Jesus got us through.  His Love never fails!! Cathy

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Dear Cathy,

What a blessing to receive your e-mail, I feel close to you without even knowing you and I think you know what I mean. My father would be so happy to hear about you becoming a Christian.  He had a burden to reach his family for the Lord and that burden passed down to me.

It has not been easy for me because a few negative responses, about my book, came from Middlefield, so to hear from you just made my day.  I am praising the Lord that you received Jesus as your Savior, nothing is a greater joy.

 

I would love to hear your story sometime on how you became saved and left the Amish.

Well, I don’t think you may know what a blessing it was to hear from you. Keep the faith and don’t get discouraged about the shunning.  I know it’s hard, but you have done the right thing.

If you don’t mind let’s keep in touch.

I am overjoyed with praise and thanksgiving!

Yes, His love never fails!!!

A relative with love, Naomi

__________________________________________________________________

 

Naomi,

I am over joyed that you took the time to respond to my email!! I feel a kindred spirit between us. I would love to meet you some day.

We will be up in Ohio for a wedding. Not sure if that would be a possibility but I am giving you my cell number. If you want to call you are welcome to.

 

I always wanted to meet your father and never got the chance to. We left the Amish in 2004 and started going to a Mennonite church. We are very good friends with some retired pastors there, they are like grandparents to us. They are the ones who helped clarify what Jesus did for us! Well if I would write my story here it would take a long time so maybe Lord willing we will get to talk and better yet, meet face to face! Well I hope you have a good night!! God Bless

Cathy

__________________________________________________________________

 

Cathy and I did meet in Middlefield one Saturday afternoon and we couldn’t get enough of each other. We talked non-stop.  I ended up meeting her whole family and what a treat.  Cathy also has a story that needs to be told and I encouraged her to start writing. I also wanted Cathy to write a conclusion for this blog and this is what she wrote. Thank you Cathy, you truly are a blessing to me!

__________________________________________________________________

 

A random book about the Amish turns out to be the best surprise ever…….

Almost 3 years ago my husband and I, along with our 5 children migrated to the great state of Tennessee, after suffering many heartaches from our Amish families because of shunning. Never did I realize while I was still living in Ohio that I had an amazing cousin who lived not too far away.

I started my own cleaning business about a half year after we moved here. Everybody I cleaned for I’ve told my story to, so naturally they had many questions for me. One day about a year ago I started cleaning for an older lady who was already reading Amish fiction books and was beyond excited when she found out I used to be Amish. So naturally we had many discussions about the fact and fiction that’s floating everywhere on the news, internet etc…. So I told her about a few book titles that would shed some true light into secluded Amish living and one of these titles was “A Basket Full of Broken Dishes” which I had heard from Joe Keim. Needless to say she bought the books, the next cleaning date came, she handed me one of the books and wanted me to have it as a gift. I brought it home and didn’t read it till the end of that week. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down and I was in for the ride of my life.

It wasn’t but a half dozen pages that I realized that I was literally reading history, but not just anybody’s history but mine. I couldn’t help but cry and laugh at the same time. Naomi was writing about great-uncles, great grandparents whom I have never met, but then also grandparents who I loved dearly as the story unfolded. I was so saddened by the treatment Naomi and her family had to endure, but not unlike how we ourselves where treated.

So now I had read the book and the shock wore off, I just had to get in contact with this author. I put my fear aside and emailed Naomi, She wrote back!! Than last fall in October we were in Ohio for a friend’s wedding, Naomi and I decided to meet, the best decision ever! Can anyone give God a handclap of praise, I feel He had ordained this in both our lives at exactly this time. I give all the praise to him and glory to His name!!  I love you Naomi!

A Special Angel

 

Talking to my sister Betty today she asked, “Did you remember your sister Dorothy’s birthday last week?”

 

I slowly with a guilty voice said, “No, what day was it?”

 

As she was trying to figure out which day, I had a flashback moment and said. “Hey, one day last week, I was writing my blog and got out my study Bible. I opened it and out fell a bookmark that Dorothy had given me. I read it and thought of her. Now what day was this, I know her birthday is the 20th but what day was it?”

 

I was wondering if I read the bookmark on the day of her birthday.

 

Betty was still checking when I said, “Hey I know where I can find out which day I read the bookmark. I emailed a blog out to my two daughters for them to edit, and I read the bookmark the day before I sent them the email.”

 

So I went to my sent file and found out I sent my girls the email the 21st.

 

My sister Dorothy’s birthday was Wednesday the 20th! That was the day the bookmark fell out of my Bible.

 

I didn’t remembered her birthday, but I was definitely reminded of her, on the day of her birthday!  It took talking to my sister Betty to make me realize that I had a Gentle Whisper and didn’t know it at the time.

 

Dorothy would have had her 70th birthday this year. Twelve years ago she passed away from cancer.

 

I just love these little reminders that God is all around us. We see His glory everywhere. I saw how He changed my sister’s life and took her to her heavenly home. Her life changing story is in my book “A Basketful of Broken Dishes”.

 

The book mark read: To My Sister – A SPECIAL ANGEL

 

“This is a very special angel as you can plainly see, the reason it’s so special is it’s just for you, from me. Whenever you are lonely or even feeling blue you only have to hold this angel to know I think of you. So keep this angel with you as a reminder of the joys we’ve shared and remember it’s a symbol of a loving heart that cares.”     1996 DMC

 

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

 

The heel of my boot slipped. I fell slamming my shoulder on the hard wood floor. At that moment I heard a cracking noise and knew immediately I broke my arm.  Thoughts went whirling through my mind of the stupid thing I had done.  Then I said out loud. “God, make something good come out of this!” I knew my life was about to make a big change.

 

I laid there in pain, cradling my broken right arm.   I started to feel dizzy, then slowly the air around me started to engulf me with unbearable heat. I tore the silky scarf away that was wrapped around my neck, and one handedly unzipped my high-top boots tossing them out of my way. I wanted to take my velvet jacket off, but knew that was impossible.

 

Laying there reminded me of the commercial in the past that I had made fun of. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Well, that commercial has a whole new meaning for me now. Learned my lesson; I won’t make fun of that commercial anymore. I had fallen, couldn’t get up and I was alone. I wished then, I had that thing they talk about hanging around my neck that I could push and miraculously someone would show up.

 

I tried to find a way to sit up, but got too dizzy.  So then I tried to relax hoping to fight off the sick feeling and knowing that relaxing can ease the pain. As I laid there I tried to figure out what I should do next. I felt better lying there, not moving, but I knew I couldn’t just stay there, I needed help.   Nauseated, I managed to crawl to the telephone in the kitchen. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get myself up without letting go of my broken arm, then I leaned over and laid my broken arm on the counter. I called my neighbor Sheila with my left hand.  I knew Sheila was at home, because we had gone to church together, to the first service and I had dropped her off a few minutes before.  I just arrived at home, was heading to the bedroom to change from my church clothes when I fell.  I knew my husband would not answer his cell, because he was running the sound board at church and the second service had started. You don’t mess with the sound crew when church is in session.  He wouldn’t be home for another hour or who knows when, depending on what he had to do.  I tried to sit up on the floor bracing myself against the cupboards, wondering if I could get up and walk to the front door to let Sheila in.  I was still dizzy and nauseated just sitting there so I knew I had to crawl to the front door.

 

Sheila arrived with her husband, and found me lying on the floor, peaceful, calm, protecting and cradling my arm like it was my baby. As long as I didn’t move my fingers, wrist or any part of my arm or shoulder I was fine. If I tried to sit or get up I got dizzy and nauseated.

 

I asked Sheila to get my cell and text Doyle. She wanted to call him, but I told her he wouldn’t answer, that she should just text him. I tried to tell her how to text, but she said, “I don’t know how to text, just give me his cell number.”

 

I was shocked when she started to talk to Doyle.

“Doyle, this is Sheila, Naomi broke her arm. Do you want us to take her to the emergency?”

“Is there any blood or bones protruding?” Doyle calmly asked.

“No, she’s calm and fine as long as she is lying down.”

“Then no, I will get home as soon as I can.”

My calm engineering husband arrived soon after and it was before church was over, so I knew he had to find someone to take his place. That would not have been easy, especially while the service was still in session.

 

When he came in he knelt down beside me and asked me a bunch of questions and then I asked, “What made you answer your cell phone in church? I was certain you wouldn’t answer, actually I was shocked.”

 

He said, “I knew you wouldn’t call me unless it was an emergency. I knew you needed me.”

He was off in the other room, calling places to see which hospital to take me to. It wasn’t easy but with the help of the two men I was able to get up off the floor, out in the van and off to the hospital.

I wasn’t really thrilled about going to any hospital, but we discussed the two possibilities. Doyle favored one, because when he called he found out one place didn’t have a doctor on duty and the other one did.  I’m not much for hospitals or doctors, but when you need them, you hope you make the right choice.  I went in thinking I’m not sure of this place, praying, Lord, please let this NOT be a nightmare.

 

You may be thinking, Come on it’s just a broken arm, for Pete’s sake! I guess the bad experiences I’ve had with both of my parents, my sister and husband in hospitals has branded in my memory red flags whenever I enter a hospital. I knew that I was not in control and that I rested in God’s care.

 

Doyle got me in a wheelchair and up to the front desk, explaining to the receptionist that I had a broken arm. She asked for my name and insurance and replied,

“We are full, so it may be a while before we can get you in.”

Before Doyle moved me to a safe spot so he could go out and pack the van, a doctor came out and said,

“Naomi, do you remember me?”

I looked at him, he was a handsome young man who looked familiar, but I couldn’t come up with a name.

“I’m Jonathon Keary, from church.”

Wow, you wouldn’t believe the joy I received at that moment when I realized who he was.  I had just talked to his sister and mother that morning at church, they were sitting in the pew in front of me.  Needless to say Dr. Keary took very good care of me and I was in a room before Doyle came back from parking the van.

 

While I was in the emergency room waiting for the dizziness and nausea to subside Doyle was out in the hall asking for something, when he noticed a man in the room beside me. He was from our church also. Doyle asked him if he knew that Dr. Keary was from our church. He didn’t know that. So the neat thing was Dr. Keary was just walking by, so Doyle got to introduce them to each other. I’m sure he was also happy, like I was. What a blessing it was to have a doctor we knew, be on duty that day. A coincidence? I don’t think so. I just love God’s Gentle Whispers. He’s always around us, and what a blessing when we are able to hear Him sweetly whispering in our ear. “I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you. If you look for Me, you will find me.”

 

Well, many of you wanted to know how I broke my arm, so now you know, but there is one BIG reason why I broke my arm. Vanity. It could have been avoided, it was a stupid thing to wear those boots, vain, vain, vain! They just made my outfit look perfect.  It was a new pair of boots and I had worn them two other times. Each time I slipped, but caught myself before I fell. I knew that I needed to take the boots to a shoe repair shop to get the smooth, plastic, shiny heal fixed.  The front part of the sole is skid prof, but the heal slips. That Sunday morning it was snowing and I wanted to wear the boots. It made my whole ensemble perfect. A velvet skirt, blouse and jacket, topping it off with a gorgeous hat, covering a bad hair day.  I took a final look in the mirror and though, I really shouldn’t wear these boots, but I will be very careful today, and I will make sure I take them to the repair shop before I wear them again. 

Guess what? Those boots WILL GO to the repair shop before I wear them again! That is, as soon as I can drive!

 

How can any good come from a broken arm?  Rest, relaxation, a two week vacation, mostly in sunny Florida with family.  Lots of quiet time hearing little whispers about humility, realizing that going natural was really ok, because dolling myself up with one hand was impossible. A bad hair day has become the norm and a perfect outfit is out of the question, with a sling wrapped around my body and neck.  But the one thing I treasured most was the love from my dear husband laying silently beside me, gently rubbing my broken arm.  It was like God was reminding me, “My healing hand is upon you, Naomi”.

 

I wonder how life would be if our bodies didn’t heal when they have something broken. Did you ever think of that?  Never healing! I thought of that often these past weeks.  I have become more thankful, more grateful for my great physician, reminding me of God’s great healing power.

An Amish Family in a Church Pew

 

I wanted to go the Parkside Christmas Concert on Friday night, but Doyle came home and said he had to get his trailer ready for corn shucking the next day. So we didn’t go. I thought we’d go Saturday night. All day Saturday we helped a cousin get his field corn picked. Well, we were exhausted by the time we got home, so we didn’t go to the concert that night either. On Sunday I had an annual Christmas party for 25 friends in my home and usually some stay until 7:00. We didn’t think we could go, but for some reason, this time, they all left by 5:00. So we decided to go to the concert. It was 5:45 and the concert didn’t start until 7:00, but we got there an hour early anyway. We were walking up to the front of the church, looking for some of our friends, when I couldn’t believe who I saw sitting in the pews, an Amish family – a young couple with 9 children. I didn’t say anything to them. I guess I was shocked to see an Amish family in a church pew.

We found a seat way in the back of the church and as I was sitting there, I just felt I needed to go and talk to the Amish family. Why not? I had an hour and Doyle would be saving my seat.

I introduced myself and asked them how they happened to come to the concert. I found out their neighbor brought them and they told me how nice their neighbor was and how the children loved when he came to their home. I said, “What time did you get here?” She said, “5:30” I said, “Wow, your children will have to sit for a long time.” Then she said, “Oh, this is great, these are comfortable pews, they are used to hard benches.”

We talked and found out that they knew of my parents, and one of my first cousins. The man was a nephew to my Aunt, so we had the same aunt. Well, this could get confusing; she was married to my Uncle, my father’s brother. When you are from the Amish or Mennonite background we always like to find out if we are related. While talking she realized who I was and asked, “Did you write a book, something about a basket of broken dishes?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “I read your book.” We talked a little about being a Christian. The man asked me if I talk and understand Dutch. I spoke back in Dutch. You should have seen their children look and take notice of a strange English lady talking to them in Dutch. What a moment to remember. If I would have gone home after talking to them, the drive would have been worth it, but I still had the concert to enjoy.

I love how God works; He made us busy and tired so we wouldn’t go to the concert on Friday or Saturday night. Then He cleared everyone out of our home at 5:00 and had us go early to church Sunday night. We never know what God has for us to do and say. I just wonder what it really was that He wanted me to say. I sure hope I fulfilled His plan.

Take every opportunity because you never know, moments like this might have been planned by God.

I received a blessing and I pray the sweet Amish family were also blessed.

The Christmas concert was wonderful and the Good News was spoken. The Good News is that a Savior was born and has come to save us!

Amish Cousin Comes To The Rescue!

 

There are some feelings you just can’t shake off. You know something isn’t right. You go on. Hoping, hoping when you wake up, the feelings of rejection would not be true.

 

Being busy with all the summer activities scheduled on our farm, especially with the house and garden tour, I didn’t have time to really focus on the genealogy book. Yet, it was always a nagging feeling tucked in the business of life, facing me each morning. I had to get the book published this year.

 

The manuscript was at the publishers. Actually, believe it or not the publisher I was working with was Amish. He’d ask, “Have you decided on how many copies you will be ordering?”

 

I would hesitate each time, giving a lame reason on why I hadn’t decided. Finally after the fourth contact with him, I said, “I’m not sure how my Amish relatives will respond, because I wrote a book about my family and some do not like it. I think they may shun me.”

 

He replied, “I don’t know anything about your book but, I’m sure it will not make a difference in them purchasing the genealogy book. It is a totally different kind of book.”

 

But the nagging feelings didn’t go away. I had to find out if my Amish relatives would buy the Schmucker genealogy book before ordering and spending thousands of dollars. So I got an idea to send out postcards to my 120 first cousins to see if they would preorder.

 

I found 100 addresses of my first cousins and sent out a lovely postcard, asking them to preorder and pay. I gave them a two week deadline.

 

I only receive 18 postcards back. Written on one postcard was: We will not buy this book, because of your book, “A Basketful of Broken Dishes. Short and to the point.

 

I had my answer. Didn’t like it, but that is, what it is. So now what was I to do? Compiling the Schmucker genealogy book was one big task that took years. Now what? Well, of course I prayed and I knew God was in control, but that didn’t make it any easier on me. I don’t like rejection. Who does? This was probably the hardest task and situation I have ever encountered, but I knew I just couldn’t stop. I had to do something, so I wrote this letter.

 

August 28, 2012

 

Dear Cousins,

 

It has been a privilege to work on the Schmucker Genealogy book for the past eight years. I located Carlisle Press in Sugarcreek and have worked with them to come up with a plan for publishing the book. With a family as large as Jonas Schmucker we decided to go with printing 300 books. The publisher came up with the price of $26 a book, plus shipping and taxes. The more books you buy the cheaper the books.

 

I already paid for the printing and sending out of over 100 postcards to get an idea of how many books we would need to print. Thank you to those who ordered but, to my surprise, I only received 18 postcards back and orders equaling only 56 books. So that means the price goes way up and the book no longer can be $26.

 

It is with great thought and regret that I have to cancel and put a stop to printing the genealogy book. I have decided not to pay out the thousands of dollars to print this book if there is little interest. I am a person who likes to complete a goal, but it seems that this goal for me was to only gather the information and for someone else to see it through to completion.

 

I would appreciate and suggest that a person, who can stir up more interest, would take on the responsibility to see the manuscript through publication. If you are interested please contact me and I will give you information from Carlisle Press. I will give you written permission to review, edit, figure out number of books and pricing, pay for the printing, ship/deliver books and distribute extra books for sale. It seems like a huge task, but I am sure there is someone or a group of people to take on this responsibility.

 

If you would like to have the books printed before Christmas, someone will have to contact me right away so I can connect you with Carlisle Press to get things underway.

 

For the ones who ordered, thank you for your support, I appreciated it, but unfortunately there were not enough orders. Your check is enclosed and returned because the offer is no longer available. I will keep the 18 postcard orders and give them to the person or group who will be printing the books, so they will have your order and they can contact you when they are ready.

 

I considered it a joy to meet and visit with many of you; I hope you will accept my genealogy manuscript as a labor of love.

 

Sincerely,

 

Naomi Stutzman

 

That following week an Amish first cousin called and told me he would do anything to help me. I have met and worked with him several times. He has taken on all the responsibilities and all I have to do is be the middle contact person with the publisher. I was told that the Amish would not buy the book from me. They would buy it only if an Amish person would take over. I also had to have their names added in the copyright and acknowledgments, which I had no problem in doing.

 

Did they think I would be making money on this? Trust me, with all my time and the money I have already spent on programs, gas, postcards, postage etc. I still would be losing money with the book at $50. I did this project out of love and didn’t want any money from it.

 

Some of the Amish wanted to let me know what they thought of me, but God took that difficult situation and turned it into something good for me. I don’t have to put out all that money and don’t have to do all the work I wrote about in the letter above. A blessing I am thanking God for.

 

I am still receiving negative feedback from my relatives. One last week was an Amish cousin who caught me by surprise and told me some things that almost made me speechless. To top it off she added that I should no longer sell my book “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” because it isn’t true. Then she said, “But we just have to forgive you.” I did manage to say, “I know God wanted me to write the book. I wrote the book because I wanted the Amish to know that Jesus came to set you free, and living like you do will not earn your way to heaven.” My cousin said, “We know that! We live this way because want too.”

 

In my blog – 6,334 Genealogy Entries – My Amish Relatives! January 29, 2012

 

I wrote: I have heard many different opinions from my Amish relatives, ranging from positive to accusing me of slander. If only the Schmucker genealogy book would have been delivered before my book, “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” was published, and then I wouldn’t have to face my Amish relatives if I didn’t want to.

 

I also wrote:

 

I am in great anticipation, wondering what God has planned.

 

If the Schmucker genealogy book would have been published before my book “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” then I wouldn’t see how wonderful my God continues to be. God took my situation of rejection and blessed me far better than I ever imagined.

 

Yes, there are some feelings I thought I couldn’t shake off. I knew something wasn’t right. I went go on. Hoping, hoping when I woke up, the feelings of rejection would not be true.

 

But the truth is, I have been rejected and nothing is going to change except me. I have found that I am a better person because of this trial. I can now shake it off and consider it pure joy.

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV

 

Interview for the Newspaper

I’ve been very busy and feeling a little out of control the past two months trying to get ready for the Twinsburg House and Garden Tour. I was busy taking down and packing up eight rooms, getting ready for the painter. Then cleaning, unpacking and putting all the things back in place. At the same time trying to get the flowerbeds weeded and mulched, plants in place etc. Then last week I got a call from a reporter asking if she could come on Monday for an interview. That meant I had three days to have everything in place. I thought I still had two weeks to get ready. I however had three rooms to finish. Needless to say I was franticly working, while being sick.  This is allergy season for me and working outside in the flowerbeds didn’t help and I developed bronchitis.  Somehow I made it to Monday morning, woke up early, worked three more hours and had the house in perfect order. Well, if you didn’t look real close.  

 

The Akron Beacon Journal’s reporter came right on time for the interview. What a blast! I had so much fun taking her around the house telling her all sorts of stories. She had her notepad out, writing constantly. When the photographer came, she told him, “The one picture I want you to take is Naomi by her father’s chair.” I was really surprised. I thought they would be only taking pictures of the house and garden.  Not of us. On the chair were an unfinished embroidered quilt my mother designed and the shawl that was wrapped around my sister Dorothy’s box of ashes when I brought her home to be buried by my mother. Those stories about the chair and Dorothy are in my book. I asked them if I should remove the quilt and the shawl and she said no.

 

On the unfinished quilt my mother embroidered the words to this song. When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died. My richest gain I count, and that is as far as my mother got.  If they put that picture in, then that phrase will be in the special feature home section of the newspaper this Saturday.

 

I love how God works. My friends told me many times, when we sit around and quilt, that I needed to send my book to the newspapers.  I even had friends bring me the names of the people I needed to contact. I just never took the time; I guess I’m not real good at marketing my book. A lady from the garden club did all the publicity and we landed the featured home.

 

Now to wait and see what the reporter wrote and to see what pictures they chose to put in the paper.  You never know what they will come up with. Yesterday a friend told me that I was mentioned in the Talk Of The Town section of the Twinsburg Tribune magazine.  They had information correct about my book signing, but the main information about me was incorrect. I know that writer did not read my book.

The reporter told me that she only read sections of my book, but after the interview she said, “I now want to read your whole book.” I pray she will have the right information that honors God and most of all they choose the picture which will show the words of mom’s song.

 

I so want to honor my Lord and Savior through this, because everything we have and everything we have done we owe it all to Him. To God be the glory!

 

6,334 Genealogy Entries – My Amish Relatives!

Love for my Amish relatives became more and more intense when I started to see the bondage they were in. I wondered how I could enter into the lives of my Amish relatives since my father had passed away.  I would visit my Uncle John Henry off and on, but nothing regular. I would go to Amish auctions once in awhile hoping I would see one of my relatives. I also planned once a year to have a group of friends go to my cousin’s for an Amish meal, which she would prepare in her home. I just wanted to keep somewhat connected, if that was possible, but I had no way of really associating with them.

 

Amazingly God had plans far better than I could ever come up with. My sister Betty called one day and told me a distant relative wanted someone to do a genealogy. She said, “I told them I was not going to do it, but I know who can, my little sister!” What a nice sister I have. Volunteering me for a job, but having no idea how huge it would become.

 

Betty planned a time for the meeting at her home and had delicious refreshments. That is Betty’s gift, being an excellent cook like my mother. I have a joke about our cooking. When we gather for family meals my brother Fred will say, “Oh this is delicious, Betty must have made it!”  We continue with our meal and Fred will say, “Who made this, Naomi?”  Without saying anthing more, you would know it was something that he really didn’t care for. I just love my brother.

 

The people I met that day were Carl and Sarah Mason and their son Jeff.  Sarah wanted to research her great-grandfather Daniel J. Miller’s genealogy and was trying to find a person from each of his seventeen children to help her. My grandmother, Maryanna, was one of his daughters. Sarah’s father Albert was my grandmother’s brother.  Sarah would be my second cousin. Somehow she had located Betty from my grandmother’s line and was hoping to find someone willing to take on this task.

Well, it certainly would get me back into my Amish relatives’ lives and I would have a good reason to knock on their doors.  It would be a huge undertaking, with sixteen families to hunt down. Looking back, I had no idea how big of a job it would be. That was back in 2006 and I just recently received my cousin Elmina’s information this December 30, 2011. She was the last one that I needed information from.  Now, I begin the task of getting the book ready for the printers, which alone is a huge undertaking.

 

Knocking on doors and gathering information will have to be another blog, because it covers five years of interesting happenings and stories.

 

Doyle, my husband found a free program on the internet to enter a genealogy. When I received information from families I started to enter it. Well, it was a few months before more came in and when I went to the program my entries were gone. All the information I had entered was gone. Ugh!!! So I called Sarah up and she told me they used Family Tree Maker. We purchased the program and it has been a great success.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent entering data. I have made 6,334 entries. Yes, 6,334 entries!

 

When I picked up information and or received the information in the mail, I didn’t know how I was going to keep it all in order.  Sometimes letters came in the mail and I had no idea whose family it was to be entered into. I always needed my aunt’s or uncle’s names and then I could figure it out, but many times they would leave that off.  How in the world did they think I could figure that out?  A couple of times I didn’t have the list of children from my aunts or uncles so I had to go back to Middlefield and ask for the list. There were only two aunts that were still alive, so I had to find one of my first cousins of the remaining sixteen.  I used an expandable plastic file from Creative Memories and labeled each file with my aunts’ and uncles’ names; there were only fourteen file slots so I had to combine to make it work. The file is huge and I can’t believe I’m done entering it all.

 

The other problem I had was trying to read the handwriting; it was miserable at times. That was a challenge in itself, but most of the time their hand writing was legible. Some was beautiful and perfect. I also couldn’t believe how many different ways their last names are spelled. A few weeks ago Doyle was helping me go through to correct mistakes that I made and sometimes we found the same last name spelled two or three different ways. I would go back to their original to check and sure enough, I had entered it the way they spelled it. 

 

It was a huge undertaking and sometimes I thought I would never get done with that day’s stack of letters.  Today I feel so happy that I endured. Now I am anticipating the day that I can announce the completion and distribute a beautiful book to my dear Amish relatives. 

 

It has taken me over five years of knocking on doors, writing letters, making calls, collecting information, entering data and working on publication for this genealogy book and it still has a ways to go before it is printed. All the while I found it a privilege because I know the task came from my amazing God to put me back in the lives of my Amish relatives.  The hard part for me is, I had planned to have the genealogy book done and in my Amish relative hands before my book, “A Basketful of Broken Dishes” was published. But that was not God’s plan. My book came out September 2011 and my cousin Elmina didn’t send me her information until December 30, 2011. I could not get Elmina to send her information. A relative gave me Elmina’s sister’s phone number but it was no longer in service. I finally got an address and it came back undeliverable. I would have an Amish cousin call another cousin to see if we could get information from them and I would never get a call back. Somehow, someone got through to her, but not soon enough for my plans.

 

The dilemma I now face is when the genealogy book is done and I deliver these books, to my dear Amish relatives, how will they react to me after reading my book?  At first some weren’t real sure of me and would just talk to me at their door. They did finally receive me when I visited them again, asked me to come in and showed great love.  They are so appreciative of me doing this for them.

 

Now, I have heard many different opinions from my Amish relatives, ranging from positive to accusing me of slander.  If only Elmina would have responded sooner, I then wouldn’t have to come face to face with them. The genealogy book would have been delivered before my book was published and I wouldn’t have to face them if I didn’t want to.

 

Oh, how our amazing God works. This will probably be the hardest task I will ever have to encounter. I feel like Jonah not wanting to go to Nineveh; however I also feel like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego going into the fiery furnace. They were confident that their God would help and save them.  Like Jonah I would rather not have to do this hard task, yet for some reason God wanted this order and for me to go into the fire like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego with confidence. God also placed a deep love in my heart for my Amish relatives and I pray someday they will become family.

 

I am in great anticipation, wondering what God has planned. 

 

Keep reading my blogs to find out what will be happening this year as the Schmucker Genealogy book gets published and distributed.