Another Way Archive
Helping a Struggling Family
Editor’s note: Lauree Purcell is a freelance writer and mother of two teenage daughters in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Last month, my mother and I were happy to be a part of an intricate web of community support lifting up those who are facing much greater challenges. Getting a home ready to sell, we had quite a bit of furniture that we no longer wanted. With leadership from Celia and Becky, whom I know from my church, we decided to help a mother we’ll call “Jane” and her two elementary school–aged children. When I arrived at Jane’s apartment, her belongings were in […]
Waiting is Hard: Forty Years Later
I began writing this column a year ago. Yeah, some things take a while. But it’s interesting the perspective a year brings. Forty years ago this May I was still in the Big Wait. I thought our wedding day would never come. At this time last year we had an interim pastor at our church; I’ve written some about that. Our pastor had preached a sermon on waiting—very fitting for the place we were as a congregation. She read the passage about how Jesus, after his resurrection, told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for him. But they […]
When the Regular Classroom Isn’t Working
Editor’s note: Lauree Purcell is a freelance writer and mother of two teenage daughters in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Anna Green was nervous as she played a board game with her young student with autism. For several days, she had been showing him positive ways to react when he was unable to win a game. Now she was going to win this game and see if he could use his new skills to lose without blowing up in anger. Teachers know that every child is unique, and guard against making assumptions about students. Anna was learning how to be a teacher like […]
When the Worst Happens
Have you experienced a difficult death in your family or among your friends? I mean, all deaths are sad, and we mourn the loss of a dear person—but it is very different with tragic circumstances or when children or young people die. Anyone who has lost a child or has had a child with a significant physical or intellectual challenge has heard comments and questions that leave them cold. I remember wondering where God was when a busload of wholesome young baseball players careened off an exit ramp, killing most of them—and they had prayed for safety in a circle […]
To Keep Children Sweet—Limit Their Sweets
One of the joys of being a grandparent is introducing the kid—slowly and conservatively—to forbidden sweets. He put the bite in his mouth, and you could see the rhapsody spread over his little face. Neither of my grandsons had any sweets at all until their first birthdays, when they were suddenly and ingloriously not only introduced to a nibble of cake, but also expected to paint themselves, their high chairs, and the whole dining room floor with brightly colored supersweet frosting and rich crumbs. They both sat there amazed and a little dumbfounded. What is this cake and why am […]
A Short List of Great Books on Marriage
Any weddings coming up among your family or friends? Many of us are picky about recommending books on marriage. We don’t want books that make marriage seem too easy, or too pious, that have unattainable goals and standards, or that talk down to us. But over the years, I’ve collected (and find it hard to part with some of these when I try to thin my collection) five excellent books plus two new ones worth mentioning. Because who can’t use a little help improving marriage? “If love isn’t blind, it does squint a bit. Love idealizes both of us.” —Walter […]
Women in Leadership: Who Do You Admire?
Editor’s Note: Lauree Purcell is a freelance writer and mother of two teenage daughters in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Last month at a local community college, I represented my branch of the American Association of University Women in a panel discussion on women and leadership. As I researched this topic, I learned some helpful ideas for some current models of women in leadership. As she covered the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and other major events around the globe, she influenced others toward much-needed humanitarian work in those areas. Soledad O’Brien stands out as an exceptional leader to me. As an award-winning journalist, […]
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
Over the years, the questions most asked of me as a writer or columnist are “Where do you get your ideas?” and “How do you decide what to write about?” I often must grab 10 minutes before a meeting or before going home to just write a few words or a paragraph. Recently I was asked to create a handout on this topic for a Sunday school class at our church that has been exploring the creative urges within all of us, whether art, poetry, knitting, woodworking, gardening, or whatever. I write because I live. In other words, the things […]
Vaccinate against the Gripe!
First a backstory. A sign at my pharmacy that was written in Spanish first caught my eye. Diehard fans here will know I spent a year in Spain eons ago and that I still like to practice my Spanish. Many stores today have ample signage in English and Spanish, and since my husband loves browsing in home supply stores like Lowes and Home Depot, I look at signs and practice Spanish vocabulary and usage to my heart’s content. Most of us do not mind, when given in a loving spirit, a valid gripe or careful criticism from which we can […]
Where Rigor—and Community—Helps Form Strong Young Men
In the midst of disheartening U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric, terrorist attacks all around the world, and domestic racial issues always on simmer or boiling over, I was encouraged and moved to happy tears recently. We were watching an episode of 60 Minutes showing a Catholic preparatory school in Newark, New Jersey, that is educating young men—black, brown, and white together—to be the best they can be. With amazing results. They are taught and internalize that their lives have meaning, and students urge their brothers and friends to enroll. I have not been able to watch 60 Minutes for years because […]