Magical Memoir Moments

Shirley Temple

What kind of Mennonite Mother Would Name Her Daughter for Shirley Temple?

You would think I would have prepared for February 10, 2014, the day Shirley Temple Black died. A few years ago I had wanted to interview her but learned that she was in ill health and not responding to requests. The news of her death broke while I was traveling back from Los Cabos, Mexico….

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Staring Death in the Face: How I Became a Gutsy Mennonite Memoirist

Are Mennonites “gutsy”? How about memoirists? My guess is that you may have had more problem answering “yes” to the first question than to the second. So here’s a Mennonite confession. I’ve always admired gutsy-ness. If you read to the very end of this post, you’ll understand why. First, let me introduce you to a…

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How Writing Helps Us Peel Back Meaning and Purpose One Layer at a Time

My publisher, Herald Press, asked me to do a guest blog on their MennoBytes site. Having written lots of guest posts, I decided to answer a different question, one I get a lot when I talk to groups about my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World “How does this childhood story relate…

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My Cousin, My Friend: How Memoir Photos Connect Us

If I had to pick the best friend of my childhood, the winner would have to be my cousin Mary Ann. She appears in both photos and stories in Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. She’s there in the very beginning of my life, having preceded me in life by nine months, a…

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Another Winner: Elfrieda Schroeder's New Beginnings Keep on Going and Going

For 100 Days Elfrieda Schroeder woke me up in the morning. She never forgot to write her New Beginning entry into the 100 Day Challenge Contest. I missed her after the days were over, and I want you to meet her. She wins the prize for internalizing the idea of that challenge. She inspires me….

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Amish and Mennonite: What's the Difference?

Small groups like the Mennonites and Amish, which only surface in most people’s awareness when the national media pay attention, can confuse people. Especially when both these small groups contain a myriad of varieties. So it’s not surprising that MennoMedia’s Third-Way Cafe has become the go-to place online for people who ask: What’s the difference…

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Serendipity: Introducing Mary Lou Weaver Houser, Another Lancaster County Mennonite Woman With Her Own Story

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve often felt like a bride, or perhaps a wedding planner, but with about a dozen weddings to organize instead of just one! I’ve been to five states and talked to more than 700 people, signing more than 330 books along the way. Thrilling! The best part…

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A Fancy Review from a Former Plain Girl: And a Book Giveaway

The heading for Marian Beaman’s blog. She wore a larger covering than I did. Every writer hopes for a finely-tuned reader who will inspire her to place the best words on the page and who will challenge her to keep listening for even fairer music. As we write, we call upon our Muses as the…

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The Day Before Launch: Going Home to Lititz During Harvest.

Who says you can’t go home again? Reporter Sarah Chain certainly disagrees. The official launch will be held tomorrow night at Lititz Mennonite Church, 165 Front Street, Lititz, Pennsylvania. 7 p.m. If you live close by, please join us! We’ll have a party, and we’ll relive a little Lancaster Conference Mennonite Church history in the…

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The Longhouse Project at the Hans Herr House: A Good Beginning

Like many Mennonites whose roots go back to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I am a descendent of Hans Herr. The 1719 Hans Herr House, built in that year by Christian and Anna Herr, is the oldest surviving house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the Western Hemisphere. I…

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