(NOTE: If you're interested in the chronology of this account, you might want to scroll down a couple of posts and read them in order.)
So was that the end of my Amish journey? No way! I left Lancaster County with some unforgettable experiences in my mind and heart and with some new friends. Would I go back? In a heartbeat! I could enjoy seeing some of the same places, would definitely want to stay with Miriam again, and I am sure there are things we missed the first time around.
Amish books are not all I read, but I still read them every chance I get; there are several right now in my "to-read" stack. By the way, that first book by Beverly Lewis has led to more books by her, as well as a substantial list of other great authors of Amish stories: Wanda Brunstetter, Barbara Cameron, Mindy Starns Clark, Amy Clipston, Colleen Coble, Annalisa Daughterty, Mary Ellis, Suzzanne Woods Fisher, Kathleen Fuller, Shelley Shepard Gray, B J Hoff, Hilary Manton Lodge, Loree Lough, Marta Perry, Kim Vogel Sawyer (hers are really Mennonite stories), Beth Wiseman, Cindy Woodsmall -- I hope I didn't leave anyone out. (There have been a couple of others whose names I won't mention because I didn't particularly enjoy their writing.)
Now I enjoy the books even more. When there is mention of certain places, certain events, certain foods -- I don't have to imagine what those are like; I KNOW because I've seen and experienced them myself. And as I told Miriam before I left, I will never read another Amish novel without hearing her voice saying, "Now, you know you can't believe everything you read in those books." I know the authors do their research; many have Amish friends who read their stories to check for authenticity. So I'm not being critical of anyone's writing. I think, though, that Miriam (and probably other Amish like her) is concerned with the pre-conceived ideas or stereotypes that people may have about her kind of life and faith when they are condensed into those few words on the pages of the books.
So if you come back here from time to time, don't be surprised to find that I've spent some more time visiting my gut friends in a world which moves at a little different pace than the one where I usually live!