Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review: Gathering of Sisters by Darla Weaver

Gathering of Sisters
By Darla Weaver
Herald Press, 2018


Spend a day with sisters.

Once a week Darla Weaver bundles her children into the buggy, hitches up her spirited mare, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters, Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.

The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes “A Day in the Life of the Author” and the author’s answers to FAQs about the Amish and Mennonites.

My thoughts

Often, it’s in the seemingly ordinary that the truest gems are found, as is the case with Darla Weaver’s Gathering of Sisters. This “only child” reveled in Weaver’s extended family and their Tuesdays together. I always longed for a sister and suspect there’s a lot of truth in this thought … “Sisters are some of God’s best gifts, a happy reason not to go life solo.” And to all who delight in Amish fiction, Weaver’s non-fiction work gives realistic insight into the heart of Amish life.

The years have been kind for the most part, if relentless; and what we’ve lost of the bright merriment of youth has been amply replaced by the settled contentment of these full, ripe, mellow years lived alongside the ones who grew up with us and whose lives are forever entwined in the memories of yesterday.  (Darla Weaver)

Those words reflect the beautiful heart of Gathering of Sisters. As I read of these month-by-month experiences – fun activities based on the season, sewing, baking, laughter, reading, chatting – the phrase “stop and smell the roses” came to mind. Not just a brief, pleasurable experience, but one of finding contentment in everyday living. It was fun to read about the room at the farmhouse set aside for books and other reading material, and to be reminded how similar we all are in the things we enjoy.

Baking (a few recipes are included) and sewing are huge activities. I laughed along with the sisters when their Mom shared a list of reasons to buy fabric. Here’s just a few …

     -- It insulates the closet where it is kept.
     -- It is less expensive and more fun than psychiatric care.
     -- Because it’s on sale.
     -- It keeps without refrigeration, you don’t have to cook it to enjoy it, and you never have to feed it, change it, wipe its nose, or walk it.
     -- Buy it now, before your husband retires and goes with you on all your shopping expeditions.

Gathering of Sisters … fifteen years of Tuesdays, where Darla, Regina, Ida Mae, Emily and Amanda can simply be sisters, daughters, and friends. I enjoyed all that they had to share and the spiritual insight gleaned as they lived out their faith.


I received a copy of this book from I Read with Audra and Herald Press. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windows and Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.

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