Guest Posts

Guest post by Jolina Petersheim and Giveaway

Passing On My Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage

Jolina Petersheim

In childhood, my mother used words that I didn’t know were foreign until my friend overheard one and whispered during church, “What did she just say?”

I shrugged. “She told me to stop rutching.”

My friend raised an eyebrow, still confused.

“Ya know.” I wiggled on the pew. “Moving around.”

“‘Rutching’ is not a word,” she said.

“Yes it is!”

Later, it took some time for my mother to convince me that “rutching” was actually Pennsylvania Dutch and not English at all—along with words that found their way into our day-to-day vocabulary but that those around us in middle Tennessee didn’t understand.

These included naw minst (now mind), brutzing (fussing), ferhoodled (confused), strubbley (messy—usually in reference to my hair needing combed), and bocky (bad).

I also had no idea that many of our meals and customs weren’t standard for the region.

For instance, we ate sweet ham loaf instead of salty country ham.

We had pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day instead of the Southern tradition of beans and cornbread. (We didn’t even eat cornbread.)

We pickled our vegetables instead of frying them.

We drank meadow tea—which my brother and I gathered from the woods and my mother boiled on the stove, filling the house with the scent of mint—rather than sweet tea.

We were transplants from Lancaster who lived in small town Tennessee without a blood relative to our Miller last name. Therefore, we attended events that made us feel at home, though “home” was fourteen hours away.

At one farm machinery auction in Kentucky, we met an Old Order Mennonite woman in kapp and cape dress who invited our family back to meet her entire family.

My parents, as outgoing as they are adventurous, took her up on it, and a few weeks later we traveled to their house. I met the girls in the community, and though their accents were sure different from mine (I was already obtaining the quintessential Southern drawl), we used many of the same words and shared many of the same customs.

When I was fifteen, my father took our family to meet a community of ex-Amish and Mennonites who lived in Tennessee near the Alabama border. It was there—at church—that I met Randy Petersheim, and we wed seven years later, conjoining not only our lives but also our customs.

This past week, my Miller and Petersheim parents came to our house for a belated Fourth of July celebration. In the afternoon, we sat on the front porch and watched our toddler splashing in the Rubbermaid container she uses like a pool.

Scooping the water with a cup, she brought it to her lips and swallowed.

“No!” my mother cried. “That’s bocky!” Then she looked over at me and smiled. “She probably doesn’t even know what that means. Does she?”

“Yes, she does,” I said. And my daughter began parroting the word to prove that she understood.

For now, my daughter believes that these words are as common as the day is long. Later, though, I will teach her—just as my parents taught me—that our Pennsylvania Dutch heritage is unique and should be passed down from generation to generation so nothing is lost.

Thank you so much for this wonderful post Jolina! Readers would you like to win Jolina’s new book The Midwife? She is graciously giving away a copy to one of you! To enter leave a comment below. If you would like an EXTRA chance share this link on Facebook or Twitter. Remember to leave another comment if you did.

Contest starts today Wednesday, July 16th and ends on Wednesday, July 23rd.



 Jolina Petersheim is the award-winning author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal gave a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. The Outcast also became anECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller, a 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best Finalist and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, World Magazine’s Notable Books, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and The Tennessean. She and her husband’s unique Amish and Mennonite heritage originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Whenever she’s not busy chasing this adorable toddler, Jolina is hard at work on her next novel. Visit Jolina at: ,Facebook ,Twitter, and Goodreads


144 thoughts on “Guest post by Jolina Petersheim and Giveaway

  1. I grew up around Amish in Indiana and love love the books I can read learning all about them I love riding down the road and all the Amish r so friendly waving as I pass by I really look up to all the friends with the Amish I would love a free book thank u so much

  2. How wonderful it was to read this! I enjoy reading your books “Outcast” was wonderful!! And thank you for giving us insight to you the person. And for a chance to win your book “Midwife” which I’ve not read yet. I am sharing this on Facebook as well Blessings Jolina!!

  3. Love your life story. Would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win. Will share on Facebook 🙂

  4. I so enjoyed the “lesson” you gave us above with the words some
    I had not heard before. I have seen this book on the shelf
    at W-Mart but to be honest could not buy it. So would love
    to win it. And will pass it on to some one else when done and
    request they do the same thing. God bless Patti in VA

  5. How wonderful that you are teaching your daughter the same Pa. dutch and customs that your mother taught you. I bet when you told your mother that your daughter knew what the word bocky meant she felt proud. Thank you for sharing and a chance to win a copy of your book. ~ Blessings ~

  6. I enjoyed your blog post. I love hearing about the history of the authors I read. Look forward to reading The Midwife as well.

  7. I would absolutely love to win this book! I have always been fascinated with the Amish since I live in Pa and have seen them out and about! Thank you for te chance!

  8. Iam excited for the possibility to read this book, it would be even better to win it…I loved the Outcast, looking forward to this one.

  9. I love Jolina’s work, and am one of her biggest fans! And what a great story of passing on Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and language! Thanks for sharing & for this giveaway – really hope I can win! God bless!

    P.S. I shared this on Facebook!

  10. It was wonderful to read this interview and I would love a chance to win Jolina’s book. We had relatives in southwest Tennessee and often visited both Mennonite and Amish farms, buying some of their products. I am anxious o read Jolina’s books.
    Thank you,

  11. I am an avid Sarah Price fan so if she recommends it I’m sold! So, yes, I would absolutely love to read your book. Thanks for this opportunity to win it.

  12. Thank you for giving your fans this opportunity to win your book. I love to read any book about the Amish and I read myself to sleep every night. I would love to be your winner !

  13. Great post about Pennsylvania Dutch customs. Your new novel sounds wonderful. Gilda Weisskopf in Grinnell, Iowa

  14. I just finished the Midwife a few days ago and it is fabulous! I want to read The Outcast now! Would love to win a copy of either one to share with my mom!

  15. I would love to win a copy of “The Midwife”. It looks good thus far! 🙂 Thank you for a chance to win.

  16. Yes I would love to win this book. Love books about the Amish. Funny comments! I too am learning the “strange” language of the Amish in my readings. Thanks for this opportunity.

  17. Would love to read this book. Sarah Price has got. Me hooked on Amish stories. And am sure this one will be just as good a read. Excited to read it.

  18. Over the past year I have read well over 100 Amish books, I believe and I have loved every minute of it ! Years ago I lived in Coshocton, Ohio. we were close to Amish country, Sugarcreek, I believe it was, and enjoyed riding out and seeing the rolling hills, with farms spotting about. We loved shopping in the Amish village and eating there. I have such fond memories of the Amish people and seeing their buggies on the roads. I have really enjoyed reading stories about their lives and learning more about their beliefs and customs. I would love the opportunity to receive and read your book,Jolina. Appreciatively, Sandra

  19. I bought “The Outcast” and appreciate the chance to win “The Midwife”. This is one book I definitely look forward to reading.

  20. My heritage is Mennonite from PA, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, and Juniata counties, the Wert family. Our annual family reunions are a taste of heaven as we lift our voices in acapella praise to our God. I grew up hearing all these Pennsylvania Dutch words and they are firmly rootedin our vocabulary even our grandkids. I’m a “retired” RN, spent my last 21 years as a Labor and delivery nurse at Fort Knox Army Hospital here in KY. Anything about birthing babies excites me.

  21. ida would love to add this book to her other Amish books. she cant wait to meet you next month. Sarah you is all she has talk about to everyone. Norman Davis

  22. Would love to read your book. Love to read about the Amish and their customs. Admire their lifestyle and devotion to Godly living.

  23. I enjoy your books! Right now during the summer I am a SAHM and during the school year I am a substitute so money is tight during the summer especially. Our library is small and doesn’t have many of your books. I would love to read The Midwife! Thank you for the opportunity.

  24. Would love to Read This Book… I love how the Authors write about the Amish Families and their way of Life, their Faith, their jobs/work and how they all work together to get household and Farm chores done..
    I read every book I can get my hands on at the local libraries..
    Thank you for offering this Book ….

  25. Yup, I’m a guy who admits to enjoying Amish theme books. I guess it is because I enjoy reading about relationships and life (which some romance books cover) without the focus on getting into bed. Nor am I a fan of gratuitous violence.

    As to why I’d enjoy your book, my wife is a medical provider. Anything about medicine or babies is sure to be a hit with me. Jon

    PS Your story about the tub-pool reminds me of the discovery that there were so many rules (“don’t drink the bath water”) that I as a new parent never realized I would actually have to teach a child. Loved those years when the kids were young and miss them.

  26. As my grandchildren would probably say (opposite of) ~ that book sounds so bocky! lol… It really sounds & looks like a very GOOD book. Enjoyed the interview! 🙂

  27. I haven’t read any of your books, but I will be looking them up and purchasing them. I understand what you mean about the language. I’n not Amish but I grew up around a lot of Amish and Mennonites. My dad (who died 2 years ago today), was a large animal vet and had a lot of Amish/Mennonite clients. We grew up using PA dutch and German words. When I moved north to where I live now, people thought I was nuts when I used some of the vocabulary I did, and they had never heard of chicken corn soup, sweet hamloaf, peach kuchen, lemon sponge pie, yamesetta, shoofly pie, pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s, etc. Love stories about the Amish. Can’t wait to find your books and read them. Blessings for a good evening! 🙂

    1. I just LOVE chicken corn soup with rivvels. One of my favorite comfort foods ever. And who can go wrong with a sliver of shoofly pie with warm milk? 😉 Thank you for visiting, Rhinda; your childhood sounds like it was fascinating!

  28. A new author to read…..awesome. I love amish fiction. Thank you for a chance to win “The Midwife”

  29. Ik hou van mijn vriendin ! I have such good and found memories myself of the words my mother spoke to me and that her grandmother Fisher spoke to her ! I have longed to learn new words and to read it more so. Your daughter is a Siessherz just as your next one shall be ! As all Kinnah are a blessing from the Lord !


  30. Would love to read The Midwife, love your books. It would be a great book to read and add to my growing Amish book collection. Thank you for the opportunity.

  31. I would enjoy the opportunity to become acquainted with a new (to me) Author. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the GiveAway.

  32. Would love the chance to win and read a book by someone another amish author. After reading these books I feel inspired to try to make my life plainer and see the beauty in what is before me. I do find it difficult in our age of plug-in instant everything. since reading the whoopie pie sisters books I have planted a small garden with veggies and love the fact that every morning when I go out to look at it, it’s all a little greener and bigger. what a sense of achievement

    Enjoy your day.


  33. Thank you for sharing your story!! I’m looking forward to reading your book The Midwife!

  34. My mother’s family is from Croatia so I grew up hearing the language spoken. Imagine my surprise in 2ed grade when the teacher had us all tell our favorite vegetable and none of the kids had ever had ‘salata’ . I went home in stock and told my mother that those poor kids had never eaten it and was surprised to find out it was a Croatian word meaning salad!

  35. Hello Sarah. Thanks for hosting Jolina. I would love to know some Amish as friends. Jolina I have been wanting this book so much. Thanks for a chance to win it.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  36. Hello Sarah and Jolina. I shared this on my Facebook page for my family and friends to see. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  37. This was one of the greatest interviews that I have read. It was so descriptive and joyfully written that you feel like you really get an insight as to how the author was raised and who she is.
    This book is on my wish list and I would to have it. Thanks for doing this.

  38. I would love to win this book to give to my church library.
    Thanks for the opportunity to do so.

  39. I’m new to the Amish romance. I started reading Sarah Price recommended by my sister in law. Love Sarah. I live in beautiful Lancaster County, born and raised and love living here. Now that I got this e-mail on your books I am so looking forward to trying your books Jolina and will look for the Outcast. Will be sharing this on Facebook for the opportunity to win your book.
    Thank you

  40. I would love to win your book Midwife . I love to read Amish books . Thanks for the chance .

  41. Thanks for welcoming Jolina to my blog everyone! The winner of a copy of The Midwife is LeAnn Mooneyham. Congratulations LeAnn 🙂

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