My husband Elvin and I were both raised in Old Order Mennonite Families. The Old Order Mennonites are often referred to as the ‘Horse and Buggy Mennonites.’ They are the most conservative of all the Mennonites and are very similar to the Amish in many ways.
We spent our childhoods helping on the family farm, Elvin on a dairy farm in the mountains and me on a hog farm. We helped in our families’ large gardens and spend many hours under the shade tree shelling peas or shucking corn with our siblings. Many large garden harvest days found our grandparents working right alongside of our family and I have many memories of my grandma and mom working side by side in the kitchen, the garden and over the outdoor furnace. There were livestock and wild game butchering days that seemed to involve every member of our large families. There was a family milk cow that needed to be tended to before we rode our bikes to the one room school, we attended with the rest of the neighborhood children. There were workdays that were more of a community event and included entire families working and playing together until the work was done. Many hot afternoons were spent at the river, or farm pond, fishing and swimming with neighborhood friends and siblings.
In the early years of our married life our lifestyle looked very similar to that of our parents and even our grandparents because when there are church rules that keep the lifestyle simple and old-fashioned then very little changes from one generation to the next.
When we left the Mennonite church in 2007, we embraced the Modern world for a few years. We wanted to fit in to this new modern culture and we were experiencing the freedom to choose to fashion our lives in our very own way for the first time ever.
It only took a few years for us to have our fill and to start noticing the negative effects of the modern lifestyle. Many of these physical negative effects were caused by a more modern diet. The emotional and physiological effects were from screentime and media use that we had never been accustomed to.
Slowly we began embracing the lifestyle of our Mennonite ancestors again. This time we were not choosing to live this lifestyle because we wanted to fit in and be accepted by a religious group but because we want to live as economically as we can while raising our family on the healthiest food possible and give then simplest and richest childhoods as a launching board.
There are obviously some things of the modern, non-Mennonite world that we have embraced, you wouldn’t be reading these words that I wrote on my computer if we hadn’t. Our family enjoys a good NFL game or bonding over a good movie night. We much prefer turning the key in the ignition of our modern vehicles over hitching up the horse and buggy to make a trip to town. But as you follow our life on the internet you will find that our Mennonite roots run deep and many of the things, we do are influenced by the rich childhoods of self-sufficiency we experienced.