The Wilderness Center – Wilmot Ohio


Do you like walking trails and finding new places to enjoy the outdoors?

Visit The Wilderness Center in Wilmot, Ohio.

Sunday we spent the all afternoon exploring The Wilderness Center in Wilmot, Ohio. Such a FUN but extremely humid day (90 degrees!). The Center has walking trails, Interpretive and Astronomy Education Buildings, picnic shelters, a VERY tall viewing tower, a lake (LOVE!) and a pond. We always enjoy spending our days outside and if you are like us this place will capture a little piece of your heart. With summer slowly slipping away anytime the outdoors call your name, GO! Old Man winter will be rearing his ugly head and if you are visiting Ohio Amish Country before that happens we suggest taking a stroll through this wonderful gem of a place. You can walk off your dinner from Amish Door which is conveniently located about five minutes from the center!

Their mission statement is: To Connect our Community with Nature, Educate People of All Ages, Conserve Natural Resources, and Practice Environmental Stewardship. Visit their website for more information.

How Slow Can You Sing? By Olivia Newport

If you’re in church on a Sunday morning, are you hoping for fast, upbeat music or something slow and thoughtful? The latest music by contemporary Christian artists or the hymns of Charles Wesley or Fanny Crosby?

How slow can you sing

My forays into writing historical Amish stories have taken me into the traditional Amish songbook—the Ausbund. Still in use in Amish congregations, many of the Ausbund hymns date back to the middle of the sixteenth century and were written by men imprisoned because they held to Anabaptist theology rather than the prevailing Roman Catholic beliefs. Words to the hymns reflect that in the century of their origin, the hymn writers were persecuted, even martyred. Other hymnals were published during that era, but the Ausbund is distinguished because it has been in continuous use all these centuries, surviving from an era of more general use to today’s Amish congregations.

The Ausbund didn’t show any notes, only the lengthy verses exhorting singers to be faithful and steadfast in times of suffering, even if suffering should lead to death. Worshipers learned the tunes traditionally used with various sets of words. In more recent years, there have been some attempts to provide notation to the traditional tunes that have been handed down through the generations for centuries.

In addition to the words being long—as many as seventeen stanzas was not unusual—the tunes are laboriously slow compared to the pace of the Christian hymns or worship songs we know today. Some of them had as many as nine notes for a single syllable! (If you’re interested in more about the history of Amish hymns, here’s an interesting link.)

I’m a hymn person, no doubt about it. Perhaps that the reason I find myself drawn to including Ausbund hymns in my historical novels.

I won’t try to give you seventeen stanzas! But here’s a flavoring of the kind of suffering and martyrdom hymns written nearly five hundred years ago. This one is by Leonhard Schiemer.

“We are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. We have left our houses and lands and have become like owls of the night, like game birds. We sneak about in the forest. Men track us down with dogs, then lead us like lambs back to town. There they put us on display and say we are the cause of an uproar. We are counted like sheep for slaughter. They call us heretics and deceivers …

“Oh Lord, no tribulation is so great that it can draw us away from you. … Glory, triumph and honour are yours from now into eternity. Your righteousness is always blessed by the people who gather in your name. You will come again to judge the earth!”

How about you? What are some of your favorite hymns or worship songs? And how fast do you like to sing them?

Olivia Newport lives in Colorado where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her Amish novels include the Valley of Choice series and four titles under the banner of Amish Turns of Times, including her latest release, Hope in the Land.

Amish by the Numbers By Olivia Newport


How about a fun quiz about the Amish? No peeking at the answers! And no Googling!

Amish by the Numbers

1. How many US states have a significant Amish population?
A. 9
B. 17
C. 30
D. 42

2. How many Amish settlements (geographic communities) are in the US?
A. 251
B. 502
C. 617
D. 713

3. How many Amish districts (congregations) are there in the US?
A. 1,107
B. 1,346
C. 1,987
D. 2,193

4. What is the total US Amish population?
A. 175,000
B. 300,000
C. 510,000
D. 625,000

5. What is the average number of people in a district in the US?
A. 137
B. 178
C. 201
D. 312

6. What percentage of US settlements have only one district?
A. 39%
B. 52%
C. 61%
D. 76%

7. Typically, how many families are in a congregation in a US district?
A. 15–25
B. 20–40
C. 35–60
D. 70–80

8. What is the combined percentage of US Amish who live in the three states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana?
A. 37%
B. 49%
C. 63%
D. 89%

How do you think you did? (Answers are below.) For more information on Amish by the numbers, check out:

“Amish Population by State/Province, 2015.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. (CLICK HERE)

“Amish Population Profile 2015.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. (CLICK HERE)

Answers: 1-C; 2-B; 3-D; 4-B; 5-A; 6-B; 7-B; 8-C

Fun news: Wonderful Lonesome  is on sale for $0.99! (Check price before purchasing) Here’s a little about the book:

wonderful-lonesome (Copy)


In a struggling Amish settlement on the harsh Colorado plain, Abbie Weaver refuses to concede defeat to hail, drought, and coyotes, even as families begin to give up and return east. The biggest challenge of all is the lack of a spiritual shepherd and regular worship. When Abbie discovers the root of a spiritual divide that runs through the settlement, she faces her own decisions about what she believes. She must choose between a quiet love in her cherished church, passion with a man determined to leave the church, or imagining her life with neither.