Another Way Archive
Stories for Christmas—Part 2: A Real Family?
Note from Melodie Davis: The writer of this week’s column is Susanne Coalson Donoghue, an author, poet, blogger, spiritual director, mother, and grandmother. This is an excerpt from her book, Meditations for Single Moms, originally written when she was in the thick of single motherhood—a situation so many young women through the centuries have faced. Here’s a story Susanne remembers from one hurtful interchange with her young daughter at Christmas. Excerpt used by permission of Herald Press. ****** A Real Family? by Susanne Coalson Donoghue “Mom,” my eight-year-old daughter said to me one Christmas morning, “we aren’t a real family.” […]
Christmas Story from a Hutterite Colony
The serious countdown until Christmas is on. It is always hard for pastors and columnists to find or write new material for big special days as they roll around. But there are stories that grab us and stop us in our tracks to say, yes, yes, this is what Christmas is truly about. But when he said his line, he simply could never get it right. The first story comes from a present-day Hutterite colony. Yes, people still live in communities where they share possessions based on the practice of the early Christians in Acts 2: “All those who had […]
How to Reach Out to Families of Inmates
Editor’s Note: Lauree Purcell is a freelance writer and mother of two teenagers in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Each November, I have brought a Christmas gift to my church for the child of a prison inmate, as well as some toothpaste and pencils for the inmates themselves. Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach here in Harrisonburg, Virginia, collects and distributes these items to inmates and their families. Who is helping prison inmates in your community? Are reentry programs available for soon-to-be-released prisoners? All the recent news about drug sentencing reform has made me more sensitive to the needs of incarcerated individuals. So I […]
Four Weeks, Four Church Services: What I Learned
I’ve had an unusual four weeks this fall, sort of an accidental learning tour and congregational sampling that’s been fascinating. In fact, it’s been eons since I’ve been away from my home congregation for any extended period. I newly love the way the folding chairs in my own church form a semicircle where we can hear and see each other sing, smile, dab tears—and see who’s there! This happened because I was on the pastor nominating committee, searching for a new pastor. While it has been an intensely stretching experience, and a big time commitment, it is one I’m glad […]
Can a Guy Learn to Cook at 93?
10EasiestRecipesSamplerOn my blog and in my newspaper column back in September, I shared the cooking adventures of 12-year-old Lizzy, who cooks almost every weeknight for her family. And loves it. “Do you have something to suggest for a beginning cook—when a partner of an aged person can no longer function as cook, and the other one has to take over?” But I never expected to receive a letter like this in response: Your column on Lizzy gave me courage to ask whether I could begin to learn to cook. . . . This is very late for a 93-year-old [man] to be […]
A “Rejoice!” Breakfast (or Evening Reflection)
What, you may wonder, is a Rejoice! breakfast? The discipline of noting gratitude is actually shaping their attitudes about life. That is pretty remarkable! Most days I try to begin my morning the very same way my parents did when I was growing up—reading Rejoice! devotional magazine. Or perhaps the standard Mennonite devotional guide had a different name back then, but whatever it was, my father and mother would take turns reading it every morning, even if we were running behind getting on the school bus. We would snicker and smile through some of Dad’s pronunciations of Old Testament names, […]
How Do You See the Face of God?
Stefan Waligur is a Christian contemplative in the 21st century who composes, sings, and leads musical meetings or retreats with Taizé-type music and sensibility. When he starts a song, he calls out a line and the group is asked to sing it back in response, and then keeps it running and running and running—in a very good way—until he senses it is time to wrap it up. He has a beautiful voice and a self-deprecating sense of humor that engages and hooks a congregation or group almost without their knowing it. Kind of like a pied piper. I see pain, […]
Angels in the Outer Banks
Editor’s Note: Jodi Nisly Hertzler writes occasionally for Another Way and is a college counselor and tutor. Jodi and her husband have three children. Twenty years ago, I married my college sweetheart. Four days later I nearly lost him. I worried about whether he was okay but kept telling myself that he was a good swimmer and would be fine. We’d gone to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for our honeymoon, and were staying in an area that was fairly remote. Beautiful, undeveloped beaches. No lifeguards. We were a cliché: young and in love, blissfully spending our days on the beach and […]
Is Your Faith Wild?
This season of the year always brings to mind one of the most frightful Halloween nights my children ever experienced. I have to confess that the idea of a “wild” or “untamed God” is a little unnerving. We traveled to New York City so I could attend a conference for syndicated columnists, and my husband gamely went along to take our children to see the sights, even though the two oldest were only ages five and a half and three and a half. (Since our youngest was only 9 months old, we left her with a wonderful couple from our […]
As the Tables Turn, Again
I realized the tables were again turning as I asked a daughter who was home for the weekend, “Have you girls started having conversations about things you worry about as your father and I get older?” That’s when it helps to remember that none of us—neither parent, grandparent, child, sibling—are perfect. We all have blind spots. I remember the time when I had gone to my parents’ home for a few days and recognized the challenges the passage of time was presenting in my parents’ lives. A man who had been renting their basement apartment had given them cause for […]