Guest Post--Ben Smucker--1. Responses to Previous Post; 2. Ten Ways Being an Instructor is Like Being a Pastor
Life In The Shoe Blog
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2w ago
Ben points out the eagles' nest along the Back Way, by the sugar beets The following guest post by Ben is the final installment of the Smuckers' April Blogging Challenge. You can catch up with Emily's posts here and Phoebe's posts here. If you haven't read Ben's previous post, this one will make substantially more sense if you read it first. You can find the link here. Hitting “send” or “submit” on a piece of writing sometimes feels like the spin of a roulette wheel (or at least, what I imagine spinning a roulette feels like). You’re never quite sure how it is going to land wit ..read more
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Aunt Dorcas Advises: When Your Mennonite Child Wants to Go to College
Life In The Shoe Blog
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3w ago
No one asked this specifically, but Aunt Dorcas decided to dispense some advice. It seemed appropriate after her son Ben's guest post from April 18, which you might want to read now. Ben's post--22 Miles Down Peoria Road Ben with his Doctorate Traditionally, Mennonite young people finish eight, ten, or maybe 12 grades of school, then follow their parents into a construction trade or farming, or maybe pursue teaching. Many women work in retail or teaching before taking on marriage and homemaking. College has been less forbidden than unnecessary. Why get an education when you can earn ..read more
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Guest Post-- 22 miles down Peoria Road: The challenge of living in disconnected worlds--by Ben Smucker
Life In The Shoe Blog
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1M ago
  Ben Smucker It seems strange to think of a stoplight as a portal between two worlds. Yet for the last decade of my life, the stoplight at Peoria Road and Highway 34 has been the invisible border between my Mennonite world and my academic world.  From the small farming town of Harrisburg, Peoria Road runs 22 miles until it tees into Highway 34 just outside Corvallis, a college town of about 60,000 people and home to Oregon State University. The road itself is a beautiful drive. It gently weaves its way between fields, occasionally giving glimpses of the Willamette River, b ..read more
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Ask Aunt Dorcas: When Birth is Traumatic and It's Not Ok to Say So
Life In The Shoe Blog
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1M ago
  Aunt Dorcas, Amy, and Ben--1993 in the hospital, soon after Ben was born. Dear Aunt Dorcas,   I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy about two years ago. Prior to his birth, I heard many women share their birth stories both online and in person. Their comments about the pain level ranged from "I would describe it more as pressure than pain" and "It was intense but definitely manageable" to the occasional "Labor was incredibly painful." I averaged all these comments and decided that the birth process must be fairly painful but not terrible.   I found labor to be shockin ..read more
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Guest Post--Notes on Poetry Workshop--Hudson Kropf
Life In The Shoe Blog
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1M ago
[Hudson Kropf is a young poet and writer whose workshop on poetry received lots of positive feedback at the Western Anabaptist Writing Conference in February. I asked him if I could share his handout and he said yes.  So here it is. I love his poetry selections, including one he wrote himself.] Here's Hudson leading singing at the conference. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship (ποίημα poiema poy’-ay-mah), created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. I. Rhymed and Bound verse. (Has a specific rhythm and rhyme ..read more
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ABC Post 3--Amy's Update from Thailand
Life In The Shoe Blog
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1M ago
 [Our oldest daughter Amy teaches English in Mae Sariang, Thailand, and is home for a visit. She gave me permission to share her recent update as a guest post. If you want to be on her mailing list, please contact her at jamy.ane@gmail.com . You can follow her on Instagram at @amysmucker] [Her roommate, Lori, writes at https://insearchofabrook.wordpress.com/] March 23, 2024 Hello, everyone! Almost 4 weeks ago I sat down and started to write an update, since February was almost over and according to the schedule I’d planned, I’m supposed to send an update in February. I wrote about 1 ..read more
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Belize--Touches of Familiar in a Foreign Place
Life In The Shoe Blog
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1M ago
 [We are once again doing the Smucker April Blogging Challenge. Expect a post every other day from Emily, me, or a number of guests.] On a warm Sunday morning in January, at the Greendale Mennonite Church in Spanish Lookout, Belize, I settled into my seat beside my friend Darlene, looked around, and had a sudden sense of being back in the little Beachy Amish church in Minnesota that I attended growing up. It certainly wasn’t the very modern padded chair I sat on that awoke the memories, as we always sat on hard 100-year-old wooden pews. But men and women sat on separate sides of the chu ..read more
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Guest Post: What Mennonite Readers Want From Mennonite Writers
Life In The Shoe Blog
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2M ago
At our recent writing conference, Rose Miller led a discussion on what's missing in Anabaptist writing, then summarized it all and sent it to me. You can read it below. What do you think of when you think of Mennonite writing? Some of us have visions of poorly designed covers and stories that followed a prescribed path. Mother always smiled gently, Father chuckled softly, and Peter and Rachel learned their life lessons with diligence. We also think of writers that combined compelling characters and realistic lives into an unforgettable story. For me, one of those writers was Christmas Carol ..read more
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The Writing Conference: The Wild Idea That Actually Happened
Life In The Shoe Blog
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2M ago
WAWC 2024 was an idea that grew into something much bigger than we imagined. In a way, it began with the first writers’ dinner some fifteen years ago. Writing is by definition a lonely occupation, just you and your pen or computer, almost impossible to do in the company of others.  Anabaptist writers in the West are especially alone. It’s not uncommon to be the only writer in your congregation or, depending where you live, the only Mennonite author within a hundred miles. Sometimes you feel like Elijah: "I, even I only, am left." Depending what controversial subjects you choose to wr ..read more
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Review and Giveaway: Once Upon a Bedtime in a Faraway Land
Life In The Shoe Blog
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5M ago
If you're an Anabaptist and a creator, you've probably wondered if you have what it takes to succeed outside your cultural bubble. We have been hindered, I think, by an unspoken belief that we're not good enough. When I was a little girl in a little Amish school, the teacher [my dad] reminded me at times not to get too full of myself when schoolwork came easily for me and I finished my arithmetic long before Robert Byler did, because if I went to public school, oh my. . . I would very soon find out that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I fancied myself. Then we moved to Minnesota when I was ten ..read more
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