What Will Your Death Illustrate?
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
2M ago
He was the most powerful congressman in America during the Civil War. He helped unknown hundreds escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. All pictures of him show a man of determination, a man who knew suffering, a man who eased the sufferings of others. His name was Thaddeus Stevens, and he represented Lancaster County, PA, in Congress. If people remember him today, it is because of his influence on the Emancipation Proclamation and also on the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution. Steven Spielberg’s depiction of him in the movie Lincoln (2012) brought his story to ..read more
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My Friend Elliott
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
4M ago
Did you realize that among the 20,000 young individuals transitioning out of foster care annually upon reaching the age of eighteen, a staggering 40% will grapple with homelessness within just three years? This stark reality casts a shadow over the lives of individuals like Elliott Glover, who narrowly escaped the same fate. However, homelessness is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Tragically, this vulnerable group also faces disproportionately high rates of pregnancy, substance abuse, exploitation through sex trafficking, incarceration, and even premature death. Elliott entered my life ..read more
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What’s Good About Aging?
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
11M ago
I turned 75 years old on July 30.  This is the first birthday that seems undeniably like the beginning of old age — three quarters of the way to 100. Six years away from the average American female life expectancy of 81. No matter my fate, I am beginning to see the horizon and the setting sun behind it. Sunset behind the Allegheny Mountains The past stretches out behind me like a vast Icelandic landscape. Thingvellir National Park, Iceland What makes me feel more aware of age now? reading about aging. A lot of demographers often use three categories: young-old (65-74), middle-old (75 ..read more
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Grandmas For Love
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
It started with a sidewalk conversation just after we moved to Lititz. I was admiring the artwork of my neighbor, Margaret Thorn, and trading stories about the Warwick High School Class of 1966 with her husband, my WHS classmate, Art Thorn. Margaret told me she had spoken at the local school board meeting. A former teacher and world traveler, she appreciates the complex histories of the many cultures that constitute America. She believes all students benefit from learning about cultures other than their own and about their nation’s history, both the good and the bad of it. She shared her exper ..read more
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Ukrainian Grandma Star
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
The war in Ukraine has touched the hearts of millions around the world. Many people have found ways to show their concern. For two years in a row, a group of friends in our community has made comforters to ship to Ukraine. But one reader has a more personal connection. Let me introduce you to Lisa Cohn, a Portland-based award-winning writer whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Mothering, Yahoo! Parenting, Brain, Child: The Magazine For Thinking Mothers and other publications. Lisa tells the story of how a Ukrainian woman joined her family. Vera and h ..read more
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The Grandsandwich Generation
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
Last Sunday after church, I brought my daughter, granddaughter, Mother, and a bowl of cookie batter to my sister Doris’ house. We joined her and her daughter, two granddaughters, and my niece Joyous and her daughter. We had lunch together and then decorated Easter cookies and made chocolate peanut butter eggs. Doris, Kate, Mother, Joyous, Abby after the sugar cookies were baked. (Great Grandma Herr’s Sugar Cakes, p. 261, BLUSH) Another way to describe our time together would be that we are making a “grand sandwich” a new name for four-generation families — grandparents squeezed between grand ..read more
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Love and Its Relation to Death
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
“Death destroys a man. But the idea of death saves him.” –E. F. Forster We are traveling the pilgrim’s path between love and death. Our home is filling up with emblems of beauty, hope, and care from thoughtful people who have chosen to come on pilgrimage with us. Our neighbors, family, and friends near and far have picked up the pilgrim’s staff and are traveling with us. Our pastor’s visit and prayer this past Monday, the day before surgery, enveloped us in all your love and the peace that passes understanding. The journey started in November with Stuart’s diagnosis of malignant melanoma. Now ..read more
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An Antidote to GrandSlump: Those Simple Little Pleasures
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
Perhaps you have seen this neologism from my friend Kerry Byrne: If you have grandchildren, and were lucky enough to have them all together, or even in stages, over the holidays, you know how grandslump feels. I do. After the children and grandchildren gather up their luggage and head for the car, and we have stood there blowing kisses on the porch, I come back into the house and start vacuuming. It’s a habit I started twelve years ago when we had our first Christmas in Virginia with baby Owen, his parents, and his Aunt and Uncle. I may have have wanted the vacuum noise for droning company, i ..read more
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“YOU Do Not Have Cancer. WE Have Cancer.”
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
He found a lump near his ear when he was shaving. He went to the doctor right away and was referred for tests and then to an ENT specialist/surgeon. The doctors said most of these tumors are benign. But to be sure, the surgeon ordered a deep needle biopsy. On Nov. 22 we received the report: malignant melanoma. A few days later, in a Sunday School class poetry workshop, two weeks after we joined Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, I wrote these words on a blank labyrinth page: I named the poem “Magnificat” because I identified with Mary in a new way. Here is the poem written in an easier-to read v ..read more
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My Husband’s Project: Biographical Geneaology
Shirley Hershey Showalter Blog
by Shirley Showalter
1y ago
What do retired people do all day long? Stuart at “work,” holding his grandpa mug Stuart and I have been answering that question a little differently every year for the last eighteen years. Stuart retired from Goshen College in 2004. I left my last full-time position in 2010. For 28 years we both worked at Goshen College, changing jobs (I had nine offices in 28 years) but not institution. What is the through-line for us? Faith, family, and friends are our anchors. Reading and writing, learning and teaching are our callings, our gifts to give and receive. Our shared office. We spend at least ..read more
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