This book was just what I needed to remind myself to slow down and focus on the good things in each day!
Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman is a great read that reinforces the beauty of slowing down in order to really appreciate what is most important in life. Julie, a stay-at-home mom who is harried by the daily demands of raising her children, maintaining her household, cooking healthy dinners, and all that life brings. When her sister-in-law, Susan, a domestic goddess, gets the opportunity to participate in a reality show about living an Almost Amish lifestyle for three months, Julie jumps in just for a change of pace.
As part of this experiment, Julie brings her two teenage kids, Whitney and Brian, and Susan brings her teen, Angie, and they head to a small farmhouse, far away from society in Tennessee. While Julie’s focus is to slow down, appreciate the “simpler” aspects of her Amish-esque lifestlyle, reconnect with her children, and find her God-given gifts, Susan is striving for perfection, realizing that if she fails in this reality-show, and is not well received by audiences, her chances of being successful as a cookbook author and television personality will vanish. As the women learn to do everything from bake with a wood stove, plant a garden, dress in modest garb, and raise farm animals, Julie comes to appreciate this life that is not easier, but more intentional, yet Susan feels just as hectic as ever (refusing to stop cleaning and cooking in order to appreciate the moment). With Kendra, a rude and commanding producer, putting increasing demands on the family, both Julie and Susan are pushed to face the challenges of their Almost Amish experience while also learning new things about themselves, and their children. The honesty of the characters is endearing – Susan is struggling with a recent divorce and Julie is having a hard time dealing with the expectations that others place upon her. Additionally, the teenagers gain a new appreciation for modern conveniences, and develop deeper relationships with their parents and each other.
With an underlying focus on faith, and approachable dialogue, this is a great read that is refreshing and a wonderful reminder to slow down. There are a few moments which are a bit predictable, but overall, this is well worth a read!