Another Way Archive
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 […]
New Life: An Easter Pep Talk
Editor’s Note: Lauree Purcell is a freelance writer and mother of two teenagers in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As I live out my 50th year, I am going through some exciting challenges that are stretching my thinking and helping me grow. My father passed away last year, so I’m helping my mother clear out the home where they raised me. Going through all the letters, papers, photographs, and all our accumulated possessions brings back both happy and sad memories. Mom and I have been having some painful discussions, but we are also having a lot of fun doing new things she wasn’t […]
When It’s Raining a Glorious Candy Mess!
I’ve never met Marianne Jantzi, but after laboring with her for about eight months to bring her first book into the world, I feel like I could be its grandmother. The effects are long lasting. We all feel bright and refreshed and go at our work and play with more vigor. Marianne has four children and is about the age of my own middle daughter. She has been writing stories of their life together as an Amish family in a monthly column in The Connection, a paper read mostly by plain Mennonites and Amish. Marianne’s forthcoming Herald Press book (March 29 […]
When You’re Wound Up like a Rope
How do you experience stress? Do you get hyper? Depressed? Blocked by too much to do? Do you nibble constantly, or maybe you don’t feel like eating at all? Become aware of how your body is feeling—and loosen up those shoulders, wrists, and ankles. When I am overly busy and stressed, I feel tension in my neck and shoulders—sometimes with a headache. Back in January, stress was loading up because of a mix of both happy and stressful events. At home, my husband and I faced a looming deadline for a decision; some important factors related to our decision concerned […]
When Baby Makes Four
I was standing in line at a bagel shop, behind a mother with two children; she had one propped on her hip with a pacifier, while also hanging onto the hand of her toddler. I suddenly recalled myself as a new mother of two and how overwhelming everything, even simple errands, felt at times. I felt busier yes, and more harried than ever—but also more into the family thing. My thoughts turned to the evening before, as I was privileged to help one grandson get acquainted with his new little brother at the hospital, after a routine but very quick […]
Clumps of Trees Holding Hands
We enjoy visiting the churches our daughters are a part of when we get the chance to spend a Sunday or weekend in their community. Not only does it give us a taste of the spiritual nourishment they are getting and the people they see and pray with every week, but participating in their worship also offers us a chance to sample sermons from different pastors. It’s better than just being a straight-up cold-call visitor (so to speak) in a church you’ve never visited before and will likely never visit again—where the attachments and connections are nil. Pederson talked about […]
Dogs, Sin, Shame, and Me
I’m sure most readers have seen the hilarious videos on YouTube of dogs being shamed by their owners for chewing up a pen, taking apart the new dog cushion they so lovingly provided, snacking on their slippers, and so on. While I would never shame a dog just to make a video, I’m always amused—even if angry—when I have to shame our one-year-old overgrown pup, Velvet. Will she never learn? So, afresh, I got to see her turn her head, put on the sad face, and suffer my glare. They know your wrath is coming even as they mischievously enjoy […]
The Language of Human Need
As a college student I spent my junior year in Barcelona, Spain, in the early ’70s. One incident still stands out in my mind, offering a reminder for me even today. Between the three of us, we did not share a common language, except the language of human need and desire to help. On our Christmas break, I traveled with two other friends by bus to Germany and then to Austria. I ended up sitting by myself but landed a tall friendly Spanish guy, Juan, as a seatmate. Juan spoke his native Catalan (the birth language spoken by most natives […]