Monday, December 17, 2012

Jeans very last post on Amish Stories: The goodbye

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories. 


As Christmas is coming, and this is Edward’s first in our home, we asked him how he would like it.  Michael’s first Christmas with us  was last year and we let him have a small Christmas Tree and lights in his room-which we usually don’t have in our home. We also wrapped presents in Christmas paper-something else we didn’t usually do.  We felt we should offer the same to Edward, but that’s not what he wanted. He wants to have an Old Order Mennonite Christmas as he has never seen one before.  So that is what he will get.

Already Edward, Susan and I have started making  cookies and candy.  Edward enjoys cooking and has recipes in his head that his grandmother gave him.  None of her recipe are written down-he memorized them all.  After  Christmas, he and I are going to sit down and see if we can put them on paper so I can pass them along to you.  We also have to figure sizes as she does like my Grandmother does-a pinch of this, a hand full of that.  That has to be translated into teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, etc.

We do not have Christmas Trees, Christmas lights, Santa Claus, etc.  When it gets closer to Christmas, I will put some small evergreen tree branches around, with red bows and cranberries.  On Christmas Eve and evening, we might put a candle in some of the windows.  We don’t put them in so many windows we can’t keep an eye on them.  Also we make sure the candles are out when we go to bed.

On Christmas Eve the young folks will go singing which will include Michael and Edward.  Edward sings very well, but Michael says he couldn’t carry a tune in a basket.  Anyway, they will go with other young folks to peoples homes.  We supply them with dishes or baskets of homemade breads, jams, candy and cookies to leave at each home.  At these homes the young group does not go  to our English friends, David, David Jr., Susan and I will go to and leave like gifts.  When we all get home, David will read from the Bible the part from Luke on Jesus Birth. 

Christmas morning starts out with David, Edward, Michael and myself fasting until dinner about noon.  Michael and Edward don’t have to fast until next year, but they chose to do what David and I do.  At noon, we will have our Christmas Dinner and then open our presents.  We only give one or two presents on Christmas Day.  We seem to give more presents on birthdays than we do at Christmas.  Afterwards David reads the Bible to us and we pray.  The day is spent with ourselves.  As Christmas is on Tuesday this year and not Sunday as it was last year, there won’t be meeting (church service) today.  Still we want the young ones to know the real reason for Christmas.

On Second Christmas, which is the day after Christmas, we will have a big family dinner at David’s parents house.  It will include my family, David’s family, and Martha and Joseph’s family.  Before dinner, David’s Father will read, from the Bible, Jesus Birth after which we will have prayer.  We want to keep the true meaning and reason for Christmas with us.   Dinner will be at noon after which we will exchange and open presents.  After dinner, I am sure the children will go outside to play, the men will go into the living room and talk while us ladies clean up.  

Then we will sit and talk.  We will go home in time to milking cows.  After our dinner-probably leftover from the noon dinner, we will spend the evening together.  In the evening, David will read the crucifixion  and we will pray.  It may seem unusual that David reads the crucifixion on Second Christmas, but he wants us to understand that not only did Jesus come to this earth, but He gave His life for sins.

I know I left out some things we do on Christmas, but I have most of them.  We try to keep family together during the Christmas Season.   We want Jesus to be the most important part of our Christmas. It is also my time to say goodbye on Amish Stories.  I know I gave Marilyn a hard time when she asked me if I would come on here.  Amish Stories turned out to be much different and nicer than I thought it would be.  I enjoyed being here.  

You have been with me and my family through the good times and the testing times.  I thank you all for your prayers during our fire and my operation.  Thank you also for the many prayers you have given to my family.  I thank Richard, for understanding the problems I may have given him, at times. 

 I wish him the best in his new Amish Stories.  I am not just thanking for myself and family, but for Martha and Sara, too.  We all wish Richard the best.  It is sad to leave here as I feel you are all my friends.  I wish you all God’s will.  I also wish you my closing:
Be With God,
 Home made recipes from Jean

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies
3/4 Cup butter or margarine
1     Cup sugar
2     Eggs
1     teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 Cup flour
1     teaspoon, baking powder
1     teaspoon salt
Pour sugar over butter and blend.   Add eggs and vanilla.  Add flour with baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters.  Place on cookie sheet and make in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. 

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies Frosting
2 Tablespoon, Crisco
1/4 teaspoon, salt
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sift if lumpy1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoon milk
almond or peppermint extract
Mix Crisco, salt, vanilla and about 1/2 Cup sugar.  Add milk, alternating with rest of sugar.  With mixer- mix until smooth and cream.  Divide frosting and add extract and food coloring. Frost cooked cookies.

Peanut Butter Fudge
2 Cups White sugar
1 lb. brown sugar
3/4 C. Milk
1 18 oz jar crunchy peanut better
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme    
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine white and brown sugar with milk.
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
Mix well and pour into a greased 13” by 9” pan.  Let cool and cut into squares.

My message to Jean

When I first started Amish Stories in the beginning I wanted to mainly  post image's of my own Amish community and surrounding settlements here in Pennsylvania, but after first starting this blog I quickly came to a conclusion that I wanted to at least try and become  something more. So I wanted to do something that I had not seen before on the internet, which was to have someone who was either Amish or old order Mennonite who was willing to share a slice of their lives with folks on the internet.

And I didn’t just want someone to just give me their story and then I would merely post what they had written and that would have pretty much been that, I wanted more interaction between the plain person and the folks reading their posts. Marilyn answered that call after seeing some of my comments on another web site that covers Amish culture, well after some waiting and me asking about this person I was told that Jean would try and write something for this blog.

So what was really supposed to be only  temporary had turned into  what has become over a year and a half now, and what a really beautiful experiment it was and I learned so much myself with just reading and putting together Jeans post for you guys. And I think that Jean is a very giving person with a very big heart and I would like to thank her for giving this guy from Pennsylvania her trust in publishing a glimpse of her life on this blog, and I also thank Jeans entire family for also giving me some insight and sharing with the readers here on Amish Stories about their lives. 

And I'm very glad to say that what I had started will continue with Marilyn's blog "New York State Of Mind" so Jeans readers are very fortunate that Jean is still interested in telling about her old order Mennonite lifestyle on the internet. 

And along the way I think I've made  friends with a group of people who while very different from myself,  share an understanding and trusts that  transcends  beliefs and culture. And in the end  our uniforms and egos were left at the door to try and produce something that  I hope had some meaning, and for that I am proud to have had such an opportunity.       Richard  

To follow Jean just click here- New York State of mind


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard