Brewing Tea, Recycling Specs, and Feeling Happy

Brewing Tea, Recycling Specs, and Feeling Happy

At Christmas, I got a special gift from my sister Jean: Mennotea, a present guaranteed to warm my heart and recall my Mennonite childhood. Grandma Longenecker's mint tea in china cups and Mother's gallon jugs of summertime tea instantly came to mind.   Intrigued...

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Old Farmer’s Almanac and Carolyn’s Word Gift

Old Farmer’s Almanac and Carolyn’s Word Gift

Did you notice? Even before 2023 rolled around, ads for weight loss appeared on TV. Many made resolutions for the new year even before the ball dropped in Times Square. Maybe you did too. New Year’s resolutions are certainly not a new thing. Even in the early 1900s,...

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See, Hear, and Taste: Marian’s Memoir 2

See, Hear, and Taste: Marian’s Memoir 2

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! In December 2022, I recorded a podcast with interviewer Dr. Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes, author, speaker, podcaster, and much more, including serving as an elementary school principal and publishing devotionals for women. She also has coordinated...

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Serving Stone Soup at Christmas

Serving Stone Soup at Christmas

Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. The tale serves to illustrate the value of sharing. In varying traditions, the stone...

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Ode to Socks

Ode to Socks

Did you know that socks are the most sought after item of clothing in a homeless shelter? Apparently, socks are a desirable commodity worldwide.  According to one source: "The global socks market is expected to reach USD 44.8 billion in 2022." Socks are a thoughtful...

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It began with a “Bam!” Dani’s Marriage Memoir

It began with a “Bam!” Dani’s Marriage Memoir

“Bam! I start, the dogs leap up. The windows rattle. The whole house shakes.” As Dani Shapiro's memoir begins, the author, warm and toasty in her office spies her husband “in the dead of winter, in the driveway wearing nothing but a white terry-cloth bathrobe, his...

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Erica Makes Mom’s Yummy Pumpkin Pie

Erica Makes Mom’s Yummy Pumpkin Pie

  The Rentzel family lived next door to my childhood home on Anchor Road. If you’ve read my first memoir, Mennonite Daughter, you may remember the shenanigans that happened under their roof. After I left home to explore the wider world, another family moved into...

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East Meets West: Blend or Clash?

East Meets West: Blend or Clash?

  Yumiko Sekine, author of Simplicity at Home, grew up in northern Japan, learning traditional crafts and quilting from her mother and grandmother. Just as I did growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Yumiko appreciated quilting and hand-crafts. She still does, and so...

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Marriage Memoir, An Update

Marriage Memoir, An Update

“Go home and finish writing your new book. I want to read it!" Barbara and I are leaving our Monday morning Bible study. She is only half-kidding when she delivers this quip. Barbara has read Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl. She is looking forward to the...

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Fall in Florida, Autumn Everywhere Else

Fall in Florida, Autumn Everywhere Else

    The Fantasy of Fall in Florida Somehow “autumn” does not seem properly used in Florida. There is a connotation in the word of flaming color, of sharp change, of hoar frost heavy on cornfields, of all of northern harvest. The sub-tropical fall is so...

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Six Reasons to Visit Cross Creek, Florida

Six Reasons to Visit Cross Creek, Florida

Cranes, roosters, snakes and an antique yellow Olds! These are among the attractions (or distractions) in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, the home of the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Yearling, made into a movie by the same title. In late...

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Cover Reveal! My Checkered Life

Cover Reveal! My Checkered Life

Take an intimate look into one couple’s fifty-plus-year marriage in author Marian Beaman’s My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir. Using a quilt motif, the author stitches together stories that make up the fabric of their daily lives: the clash of cultures, crisis in a...

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How to Swing Ahead

How to Swing Ahead

Do you remember being pushed as a kid on a swing? Maybe your Mom or Dad, or a big brother or sister gave you a big push. And then another. And another. After a while, your legs started pumping on their own.  Sitting on my mother's lap, I heard the cadence of a...

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How Do You Handle Plan B?

How Do You Handle Plan B?

Life is All About How You Handle Plan B In 2013, the year I began blogging, my southern friend Carolyn gave me a clever memo pad for my July birthday. I haven’t used many of the chartreuse-colored sheets because I want the packet of pages to stay plump, so I can stand...

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