Shaker Sayings and a Chance to Win a Shaker Book

Ann H Gabhart One Writer's Journal 33 Comments

Shaker Meeting House

Shaker Meeting House


Today as I was exploring my new website and trying to learn how to do this or that on it, I clicked on that little spyglass at the end of the menu line and discovered a way to search through everything on my site, including all my blog posts. So I put in Shaker and came up with this blog post from the summer of 2008 in celebration of my first Shaker book, The Outsider. So since my seventh Shaker book was just released last month, I’m sharing these sayings attributed to the Shakers again. They were a very practical people in many of their ways and they believed in “putting their hands to work and giving their hearts to God.” Their work was part of their worship. So here goes.


Shaker Sayings

  • “Do your work as if you had a thousand years to live, and as if you were to die tomorrow.”
  • “He did not think when sowing those wild oats in his youth how uncomfortable the gritty oatmeal would prove to be for his aged teeth.”
  • “Never wish a thing done; do it!”
  • “It is just as much a duty to commend a person for doing well as it is to reprove him for doing ill.”
  • “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
  • “Our thoughts are character molds. They shape language and actions.”

I’ve used some of these in my Shaker books and many others as well. Some of my favorites that have appeared often in my stories are:

  • “None preaches better than the ant, and it says nothing.”
  • “Engaged in thy duty, fear no danger.”
  • “Happiness does not so much depend on circumstances as we think. Within our souls the foundations must abide.”

Chance to Win a Book

Which saying do you like best or do you remember from one of my stories? Leave a comment here about one of the Shaker sayings and I’ll

My new Shaker book

My new Shaker book

put your name in my giveaway hat to perhaps win your choice of one of my books. I’ll pick three winners on August 1st. If you’ve already entered by hunting down clues on my website, I thank you. But you can get a second entry and improve the odds of your name being one of those picked by commenting again on this post. You must be 18 to enter. Please remember to leave a way to contact you. Your e-mail address is not visible with your comments and should you be one of the winners, I need to have a way to get in touch.

You might remember that I said I was only going to post once a week here on One Writer’s Journal, but it just didn’t feel right. So maybe I’m changing my mind about that. Should I? Is two times a week too much?

Thanks for reading.

Comments 33

  1. Diana Flowers

    I try to live by this one, Ann. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I have used this one so any times for hubby, he’s probably tired of hearing it! Lol But I tell him if he would put everything in its rightful place he wouldn’t always have to look for his stuff. And you KNOW how men look for stuff! (ahem) 😀 If it isn’t too much for you two times a week is great!


    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Hi, Diana. Thanks for dropping by.

      The way my husband looks for things is that he stands in front of the closet, refrigerator, cabinet, whatever, and stares in it while complaining that it (whatever he’s looking for) is not there. Of course, it is there. Right in plain sight or perhaps just out of sight behind something, but it works better if the wife picks it up and hands it to him. Am I right? 🙂

      I wish I would live by that everything in its place. I need to do a major clear out, clean up and find new places job. Especially in my office. Too much stuff. Not enough places.

      1. Diana Flowers

        You hit the nail on the head, Ann. Wonder where that saying originated? Lol It must be a man thing. Out of necessity, I have to put everything in the same place or I definitely will forget where I put it. Not to mention I’m a neat freak, so that explains a lot. haha

  2. Britney Adams

    “Never wish a thing done; do it!”

    I really enjoy the Shaker sayings! Thank you for sharing them, Ann, and for the giveaway opportunity! Hearing from you twice a week is certainly not too much! 🙂

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks so much for that vote of blogging confidence, Britney. I do appreciate all of you who drop by here to join in the conversation and what I hope is fun at times. Thanks also for reading The Innocent and writing a review. It was good of you to offer to help spread the word about my new Shaker book. Not everybody likes to read the Shaker background books, but then some like those books the best of the ones I write.

      I like that saying about getting things done too, but that’s another I don’t always practice. 🙂 Sometimes you just want to “talk” it done.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks, Sharma, for dropping by and telling us your favorite saying. I wish I practiced that a place for everything and everything in its place a little better. Well, maybe a lot better.

  3. Bonnie Rubio

    Ann, I liked several of the Shaker sayings, but because of my dad’s training, I chose “Our thoughts are character molds. They shape language and actions.”

    Our parents were very diligent to “bring us up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”-Eph. 6:4 Dad knew it was his responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Prov. 22:6 Knowing how faithful my parents were, and how they grieved when one of their children strayed for awhile, I prayed Proverbs 22:6 for that one every day for two years until he came back.

    Dad knew what went into a child is what would come out. He fully believed: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” and “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” -Prov 23:7 and Luke 6:45

    Even during WWII, Dad wrote to Mom every night, by kerosene lantern, to remind her to be sure to read to the children every day and take them to Sunday School. My younger sister and I were not born yet, but he never wavered in teaching us Scripture and having us memorize Bible verses. I even memorized the books of the Bible at 3 years old. I thank God for the wonderful seeds planted by our parents.
    Not everyone has this kind of heritage, but they can bathe themselves in Scripture and learn to think in a way that will be pleasing to God and will shape their own language and actions.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      What wonderful parents you had, Bonnie! It is a blessing to have that strong foundation of love behind you and the teaching of the Scripture. Our world would be a different place if all parents were that faithful. Thank you for sharing some great words to live by.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      It wasn’t just a saying for the Shakers, Sylvia. It was a way of life. They had cabinets built into every nook and cranny and up in the attic they had numbered and labeled drawers with in a bank of chests to give a place for everything.

  4. Bonnie Roof

    “Happiness does not so much depend on circumstances as we think. Within our souls the foundations must abide.” Even though tough times make it harder to remain happy at all times, I truly believe happiness is a habit that one chooses and must form – there is always something to be happy about, be it large or small, if we look for it. Having faith that God is in control of one’s life and is working things to one’s good – makes it easier.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Ann!!


  5. Lisa Bragg

    None preaches better than the ant, and it says nothing.”…I love this ,it’s so true. I am reading “The Blessed” now and I just read that phrase this morning. I love your books and blogs, twice a week isn’t too much.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Lisa, you’re so nice to say that. It’s good to have reading friends like you who come over to visit here. I feel like we can just sit down and talk awhile. That’s neat that you had just read that saying in one of my books. I’ve used it several times in different books. I knew I used it in The Outsider, but I had forgotten which other books. Fun to know it was The Blessed. Sounds like something Lacey could like too.

  6. Loretta Shumpert

    I’ve learned, the hard way, that we should give people credit and compliment them for what they do right as well as point out their faults. I wish I had been better at it.

  7. Kathy Harvey

    Sometimes giving up something shows more love than trying to hold onto .

    I like this because it reminds me of Solomon. My son has Autism and I have had to show my love through letting go and letting him try new things even when I wasn’t sure he would succeed.


    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Being a parent is challenging any time and I’m guessing the challenges go up when you have a child with special needs, Kathy. Sometimes the heart hurts when we know our children are having problems. Thanks for sharing that saying. It’s one we can all learn from.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Don’t worry about it, Faye. It’s worth saying twice. And I’m so new with this blog that I’m not sure how to delete a comment. But sounds like a new chance to learn something. 🙂 Always good to hear from you, even twice.

  8. Jackie McNutt

    ” Do your work as if you have a thousand years to live, and as if you were to die tomorrow”
    thank you for sharing these, it was fun to read them

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      That is one I’ve used a lot in my Shaker stories, Jackie. So much of their society was built on work and they did their work well. I forgot to remind you to leave a way to contact you should you be one of the winners. So watch for winners here on August 2.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks you so much for reading my books, Leta. I hope you’ll enjoy the new one too. Sometimes I need to post that saying about getting things done right in front of my nose. Especially when I’m working on a difficult writing project. I forgot to remind you to leave a way to contact you. I’ll need that if you are one of the winners.

  9. Deana Dick

    “Happiness does not so much depend on circumstances as we think. Within our souls the foundations must abide.”

    It starts within us and our foundation built on God’s love. In that we find our happiness.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      I like that one too, Deana. It isn’t one that I can naturally work into my Shaker books as easily as some of the others, but I do think I’ve used it once or twice. I forgot to remind you to leave a way to contact me. If you win, I’ll try to track you down.

  10. Laurie Bergh

    I’ve always liked the saying “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I didn’t realize that was a Shaker saying.

    1. Ann H Gabhart

      I’m not sure that saying was original with the Shakers, Laurie. Sometimes they borrowed a saying from other places if it suited their ways. They were very neat and certainly applied that saying to the way they lived. They did have a place for everything and clutter was never a problem for them. They liked things simple and clean. I need to adopt some of their ways. That place for everything is a hard one for me because I struggle with clearing out the old to make way for the new things I need to store. I forgot to remind you to leave a way to contact you, but should you win when I do the drawing in August, I’ll try to track you down.

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