Leanna Mast, model for the cover of Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman's Ties to Two Worlds

Small groups like the Mennonites and Amish, which only surface in most people’s awareness when the national media pay attention, can confuse people.

Especially when both these small groups contain a myriad of varieties.

So it’s not surprising that MennoMedia’s Third-Way Cafe has become the go-to place online for people who ask: What’s the difference between Mennonites and Amish?

Another way to answer that question is to look at individual stories.

Saloma Miller Furlong, the author of Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir
and the soon-to-be-released Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds, has reviewed my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. She stresses the importance of authentic individual voices and lived experience when trying to explain the values of a group.

So hurry to this link for her blog About Amish if you want to be entered in her contest. She will select a lucky comment after Sunday, Oct. 27. The winner will receive a copy of Blush.

Saloma and I have become friends, having engaged in many lively conversations about writing, community, faith, simplicity, and questions both of us get from readers.

Some day we would like to give book talks together.

What would make our talks valuable to you? What could we offer that you would most like to know? Inspiration through honest dialogue, stories of struggle and stories of grace, would be the goal.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Harvey Yoder on October 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I appreciate your comments and links on this subject. As an ex-Amish myself, I wrote a frequently viewed piece on my own blog about Saloma Miller Furlong’s recent visit to EMU, for whatever they’re worth.

    • shirleyhs on October 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

      They’re worth a lot, Harvey. Thanks so much for your contribution to the stories we are beginning to tell. I left a comment on your blog and hope we can continue reflecting on what we have to share as individuals and how our culture might be calling us at this moment to contemplate what it means to be “plain” inside and how we might help others in their quest for saner, simpler lives. There is wisdom to contemplate from our own childhoods. A lot of suffering goes into peace. Our best elders knew that and lived that.

  2. Amish Upbringing Inspires New Novel on November 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

    […] difference between Amish and Mennonites. My publisher answers this question every day, and I have blogged about it. Of course, misconceptions are really opportunities in disguise. I love to talk about my […]

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