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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Anything But Simple

"Books opened my eyes to a broader world, gave me a safe place to explore that did not threaten my own existence. Lost in pages, I lived the lives and dreamed the dreams of a thousand people in a thousand times. I ruined my eyes but saved my mind with books. "

This is one of my favorite quotes from Anything But Simple by Lucinda J. Miller because is exemplifies the very reason why I have loved reading books since I was old enough to read. It is the one thing that stands out in my dad's mind when he recalls my childhood. In this book, Lucinda J. Miller tells readers what it is like living as a Mennonite, the differences between being Amish and Mennonite and her own personal struggles with the guidelines that the church establishes for those living in the community in rural Wisconsin.

"I used to wonder, when I was young, what it would be like if the whole world were Mennonite. What if you'd past a gas station and see Mennonites there, pumping gas? And what if you'd go into the grocery store and there were only Mennonite families doing the shopping? The dads in the lead, smiling in a friendly sort of way and wearing long-sleeved dress shirts like the men wore to church, the wives in their dresses and head coverings pushing heaped carts down the aisles, children gathered around them in bundles.

What if you never had to worry about anyone stealing from you or doing bad things, because everyone obeyed Jesus? (As, in my childish mind, I assumed Mennonites always did.) And what if everywhere you went - to the ocean, to the park, to California - it was as if you were meeting family, because everyone was just like you?"

I guess it is something most of us forget when we look at the Amish and Mennonites is how very different they are compared to us. But what about putting the shoe on the other foot and wonder how difficult it must be for them to live among the English world and the ways that are far different from their own. Anything But Simple conveys what it is like for one young woman growing up and seeing so many things changing around her as the established ways that set Mennonites and Amish apart are now trying to hold on to their faith while living in a world quite different from their own. I really enjoyed the stories that Lucinda shares in her book about her dreams of wanting to be a writer but stuck in a sense dealing with being very different and trying to share her own personal legacy with readers in this book. I applaud them in their efforts much like as Christians, we understand how vastly different the world is around us, trying to hold on to our faith in a growing hostile world.

I received Anything But Simple by Lucinda J. Miller compliments of Herald Press. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free andments were received, unless specified otherwise. "But if you try for simplicity, is it simple anymore?" Lucinda compares some of the complex code of laws, both written and unwritten, as exists within her denomination, as the Pharisees of Jesus' day might be an excellent comparison. In the Mennonite world everything matters, clothes matter because they define you as separate in society and they define you in Mennonite circles as part of a certain fellowship or conference, a certain level of liberal or conservative. But then again something as insignificant as whether or not a man's top shirt button is closed during church service can become an important issue in certain church groups. In their world, every decision is given excruciating examination in light of the Bible and the church. This is a wonderful insightful book for anyone who really wants to know the truth about living life as a Mennonite and for that reason I give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Anything But Simple, Lucinda J. Miller, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Lucinda J. Miller on Facebook to stay up to date on all her books.

To read more reviews of Anything But Simple, please visit Herald Press' website. 


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