Magical Memoir Moments

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Grandma Hershey’s Way of Peace

When I think of peacemakers, I don’t think of soldiers or guns or even the Peace Corps. I think of this verse from the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Then I think of Grandma Hershey. Grandma Hershey was soft. When I was sick,…

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The Tie that Binds: How Mennonite College Friendships Grew from Twig to Vine

I’ve just said good-bye to my three closest college friends: Mary, Tina, and Gloria. We gathered in Gloria’s home, State College, Pennsylvania, just to renew our friendship for three days. This photo was taken next to a pergola covered with trumpet vine. The story of how the vine grew over time, told by Gloria the…

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Not Quite Amish: Photos of Simplicity Rooted in a Mennonite Childhood

I like the honesty of this website name: Not Quite Amish. Here’s the explanation of the name from the home page: Maybe you’d like to be Amish…but not quite. You want more peace in your life, in your home, in your family, and in your heart. You want to try a new recipe and pick…

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On the Road Again: Coming to a City Near You?

Forty-five years ago, these two merry wanderers decided to set off on the journey of life together: We used the image of the Conestoga Wagon to dream together, having been influenced by the story that a Mennonite invented the wagon, and having read lots of Little House on the Prairie books, we somehow associated freedom,…

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Catherine R. Mumaw: A Different Kind of Mother's Day Tribute

Who mothered you in addition to or instead of or beside your biological mother? As we celebrate mothers this Sunday, I invite you to answer this question. For me, there were many such women. Women in my family; Mary Lauver, our pastor’s wife and a leader in her own right, and many others in my…

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How to Get Ready to Die: Easter Lessons from My Mennonite Mother

“Just don’t say, ‘She fell into the arms of Jesus.’” We were talking about death and funerals, fun topics for a 65-year-old woman and her 87-year-old mother. When Mother described the clichés and embellished phrases of some obituaries, we both howled in recognition, eager to reduce the serious, universal, subject of death with just enough…

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What's the Best Way to do a Book Tour? A Hybrid Approach Between Virtual and "Live"

Book tours have gotten a bad rap lately. Publishers seldom sponsor them except for their A-list authors in A-list venues in large cities. In fact, back in 2011 Anne R. Allen advised authors to celebrate their demise in a post titled  RIP the Author Book Tour.  She preferred BLOG tours and social media, which, three…

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Coverings and Bonnets, Part Three: Church of the Brethren and Quaker Stories

Back in 1966, both Charlene and I wore prayer coverings to Warwick High School. Here’s a picture from our senior yearbook showing both of us in relation to our classmates — enjoying the fun, but from a distance. Charlene is sitting closest to the windows. I am holding a paper.  Charlene’s Story Charlene was then,…

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Coverings and Bonnets, Amish, Quaker, and Mennonite Stories: Part Two

When BLUSH launched at Lititz Mennonite Church September 19, 2013, I, like any new author, was excited. But I was also a little worried, as any memoir writer with extended family in the room will be! My family’s response filled my heart with joy that night. I will always be grateful for their amazing support….

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Mennonite Bonnet and Covering Stories: Part One

All this week I’ve had coverings on my mind. Yesterday, as I was doing research about plain dress among the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites, I was joined at the library computer table by a Muslim woman in full head veiling. Yes, it’s true. There are more Muslim head veilings at Eastern Mennonite University these days than…

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