Magical Memoir Moments

Note every face. Can you tell that black flies were biting us? The photographer took them away electronically, but we felt their bites all evening. Can you tell who was itching to get away from them? :-)

What I Love About Portraits: The Beauty of Every Face

Almost everything I remember clearly about the past has to do with a person, often with a face. These days, granddaughter Lydia is teaching me about the early origins of love for the human face. Below is 29 seconds of a typical interaction with her at ten weeks of age. She is alert and curious,…

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At the Peterhof in St. Petersberg, Russia. A magical moment.

What Remains: The Most Lasting Images from 24 Days in the Baltic Region . . . And a New Chapter Begins

Travel brings many rewards and pleasures too obvious to mention. But it also contains a danger: too many miles covered too quickly can all blur at the beginning and fade at the end. That’s one reason to take pictures. Looking back over the entire set of 340 photos taken over 24 days of travel, some…

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Former student and student assistant Amy Houser and her mother Mary Lou.

Encountering Borders and Crossing Boundaries: Metaphorically and Literally

It was a big week in the Shenandoah Valley. An international conference. The world premiere of a play. A book talk about Mennonites and Nazism. Preparations for a 24-day trip to Scandinavia. And, of course, daily check-ins to see how baby Lydia and her parents are doing. The theme of the conference, Crossing the Line, applies,…

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The almost-smile of a newborn. The dress was made from a pillowcase and hand dyed by Kate.

Wiping Away the Tears, Embracing the Fears, Celebrating the Joy!

The birth of a new baby brings all our emotions to the surface: curiosity, fascination, elation, and joy beyond compare. There’s also terror! “Is she breathing?” “Will I let her down?” “How do I handle the responsibility for another life?” Every parent asks these questions, alternating between ecstasy and anxiety. Fortunately, others have been there…

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A Cartoon With Uncanny Accuracy: Predicting the Winding Blog Path

See how yellow this cartoon is? The darkest areas are tape that is no longer transparent after a decade. My colleague Amy clipped this image out of a newspaper ten years ago when she heard I was thinking about becoming a blogger.. For some reason, I kept it. I could not have known, then, that I…

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Grandson Owen, tree climber.

The Purpose of Memories: The Question I Am Carrying from May

The month of May zipped by so fast. It was a full month. It was a busy month. Let’s start with this man and his talk at the Family History Conference: New Arrivals in a New Land, in Lancaster, PA, on May 20. John L. Ruth, historian and storyteller, told how three ships came sailing…

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Flannery O'Connor and her friend Elizabeth. Can you guess which one she is?

A Good Man is Hard to Find: Flannery O’Connor

Having just returned from Savannah, I am taking life at a slower pace. One visit from the trip stands out: Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home.  I met one of my favorite authors again for the first time. Here, she is! She taught her chickens how to walk backward and became news reel famous in her youth. She’s…

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The Garden of Good and Evil: Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia. Magnolias, Spanish Moss, Palm Trees. Stuart and I are enjoying a beautiful week in the Old South. He is working. But this weekend we are meeting up with six other Showalters and spouses to explore the city. In the meantime, we are getting a head start on the river walk. And tonight, it’s…

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Co-hostess Melissa Frost places a flower crown on Kate. So many special touches!

A Mother Blessing: Something to Consider in Your Life?

Last Sunday I participated in an alternative to a baby shower called a Mother Blessing. I knew I would enjoy it because my fun-loving, color-loving, people-loving daughter would be the expectant mother. Not only did I enjoy this event, I was deeply moved. Everything was exquisitely beautiful. We gathered at Coterie — a woman-focused co-working…

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MJ Sharp: A “Sparkplug” Who Lived and Died for Peace

Perhaps you read about him or heard about him on the news? The young United Nations peace worker who was kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on March 12, 2017, and whose body, along with a colleague’s, was found in a shallow grave on March 26? His name was Michael Jesse Sharp. He…

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