My website was first set up in 2008 to be a place to house a blog called “100 Memoirs.” When my first book Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets the Glittering World came out, I needed a different kind of website, an author’s version, to accommodate the various kinds of information prospective book buyers, reviewers, and interviewers might need. That basic version, with a few tweaks, lasted nine years, and now it is time for a new one.

Drum roll. This link takes you right there.

The color palette now is based on royal blue, to match the hue of the dress in my author photo, and orange-gold, to match the cover of the new book The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children.

The font has changed and so has the link color within the text. Behind the book cover is a pattern suggested by my co-author Marilyn: “a Celtic-type design resembling a chain-link suggesting lineage.” The design changes on my website were made by my talented, diligent nephew and website host, Clay Showalter.

The stars of the show, the three people who call me “grandma,” appear on the front page too.

Grandchildren L-R, Lydia, Owen, and Julia

Grandchildren L-R, Lydia, Owen, and Julia

I would love some feedback to the new look. Anything you see here that you like, dislike, or find confusing?

Some specific questions:

  1. How do you react to the “tagline” at the top of the page asks the question, “Want to make your life as a grandparent even better?”
  2. Should I call myself “Grandma Shirley” in the text? Does that put you off or intrigue you?
  3. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the design elements — colors, sizes, placement, font, etc.?
  4. The sign up for Magical Memoir Moments, my newsletter, now scrolls across the bottom of the book banner. Is that a good placement? BTW, if you have not signed up yet, please do! There’s a new design for that one too!

Thanks for offering your opinions!

Shirley Showalter


  1. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on February 25, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Congratulations, Grandma Shirley, from Oma Ellie! It all looks very professional. I love the bright colours! Grandma is what you are and you are proud of it, so just keep the “grandma” in the text.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 10:04 am

      Oma Ellie,

      I love your name, and I know your grandchildren love it even more. I got the name Grandma Shirley to distinguish me from Grandma Nancy, Owen and Julia’s other grandma. But the person who calls me “Grandma Shirley” most often is little Lydia who has Grammy on the other side and could therefore call me plain ole grandma. I think she uses my first name because it decreases the distance between us?? Just a guess. Do your grandchildren add the “Ellie” to your name?

      • Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on February 25, 2022 at 3:01 pm

        No, they just call me Oma, which was what my children called my mother and which I called my grandmother. Our children asked me if I was okay with that, and I was, although at first, it felt strange to be the same as my mom and my grandma. But I got used to it and now I love it. The other three grandmothers were grandma to them, so we used different names to distinguish one from the other. Sadly, one of the grandmas passed away at age 70, when her grandchildren were quite young. They planted a flower garden for her because she loved flowers and always had beautiful plants.

        • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 3:11 pm

          Each name has overtones depending on the memories we have of others who have held those titles. Despite the many new names today, very few grandma names are truly unique. You have hit on something profound here, I think. The name Grandma (or Oma or Bubbe or Nana) is proof that we are now on a new rung in the generations ladder. It takes a little time to get used to that fact. But then we come to love it!

  2. Judith Valente on February 25, 2022 at 9:58 am

    New website redesign looks great to me. Congrats again on a wonderful book.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 10:03 am

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Judith. I am so grateful to you for your beautiful endorsement and can’t wait for you to hold the hardcover copy in your hands.

      Also, Stuart and I plan to take a Road Scholar trip to the Amalfi Coast in March. Will you still be in Italy? We need to talk in email or text! I love your recent posts. Blessed Advent to you.

  3. Judy Sargent on February 25, 2022 at 10:03 am

    Tagline ~ really necessary? The vivid orange block is what draws my eye.

    Prefer your whole name over Grandma Shirley.

    Love the photos!

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, Judy. I can tell you have good instinct for design and have looked at a lot of websites. Love your honesty. Still deciding on a few of these items. The genius of the internet is that everything is “tweakable!”

  4. Linda Hoye on February 25, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Love, the new look, Shirley! It’s very bright and engaging. I’m not a fan of referring to yourself as “Grandma Shirley”, but that’s just me. Best of luck with the new book. I can’t wait to read it!

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you, Linda. You seem to be in the majority with your response to “Grandma Shirley.” I am eager for you to see the book itself. Thanks for your interest!

  5. Judith Trumbo on February 25, 2022 at 10:55 am

    Hi Shirley, Congrats on the book. I adore the tag line because it also embraces your offspring, as my dad would say.

    But “Grandma Shirley”? Not you. Besides, it’s taken:


    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:36 pm

      Ha! I would love some of Shirley’s popcorn right now. I don’t think Lititz has its own franchise yet. A business opportunity for someone.

      Thanks for the feedback, Judith. Keep on laughing!

  6. Maren C. Tirabassi on February 25, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Love the new site. Jealous, working on that myself for the new cozy mystery … that’s a stretch from before. I like all of it but Grandma Shirley does not work for me. Perhaps every once in a while dropped in as a grandchild’s comment, but not as self-identification.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:40 pm

      Maren, I seriously recommend Clay Showalter (link in the post). Not only does he work well and quickly, but he has very reasonable rates, even for authors. 🙂 You are in the majority with “Grandma Shirley.” Thanks for stopping by. And for your own powerful words in these frightening times. Your prayer for Ukraine touched me deeply. I will share it here again for the readers of this blog:

      Prayer for Ukraine under invasion
      God of plowshares, pruning hooks,
      and peace-making,
      translate such old archaic words
      into hope today in Ukraine
      that your promise to shatter
      bows and swords, spears and shields,
      may mean now
      an end of missile strikes
      and long-range artillery,
      the silencing of Kyiv’s air-raid sirens.
      We pray for those who flee the capital
      and those who shelter in place
      and in fear in Kharkiv to the east.
      We pray for troops already exhausted
      from their long watching.
      We pray for NATO land and air forces,
      knowing that means people,
      and we pray for Germany and Poland
      as they open borders to fleeing refugees.
      God, we have studied war for so long,
      let it be no more, no more.
      Teach us a new peacemaking,
      guiding the leaders of nations,
      and holding gently in your heart
      the many who live and die
      because of their decisions,
      for we pray in the name of Jesus
      who wept for our great needing
      of the things that make for peace.

  7. Carol Bodensteiner on February 25, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Overall, I like the new look, Shirley. Congrats to you and Clay. My reaction is that this design has one purpose – to promote the new book. That’s okay if, a) you don’t intend to write another book, b) you don’t want to promote your memoir more, or c) you are prepared to re-design the website again if/when you have another book. I agree with others that calling yourself Grandma Shirley doesn’t work. I can go either way on the tagline. Love the colors and including your grands. Well done!

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Carol, you are quite right about the single focus of the website for now. I have included Blush under the books tab, and I will be adding new publicity items before heading out on the road for a book tour, but the major focus is on the grandparenting book. Will there be a third book? I don’t think so, but then, I didn’t think there would be a second one either. Thanks for all the other feedback. You are one of the few PR professionals in my friends group, so your opinion counts a lot!

  8. Lois Kauffman on February 25, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    I like
    Grandma Shirley. My Grandchildren love to call me Grandma Lois… it is Grandma but still includes your first name. I tried to change it one time, and my oldest Granddaughter cried and said, ‘but you are Grandma Lois’. So it holds a very special place in my heart!!
    I like the picture, very natural looking and cozy. Affections yet natural.
    I especially like the blue color.
    I d like everything about it! Congratulations!!

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Dear Grandma Lois, I LOVE that story. Thanks for the feedback on the colors and photo. I had a more recent photo that I liked too, but it was in brown-green tones and wasn’t as relaxed. So this one from last June was the winner. You are an artist, so I especially value your opinion of the colors.

  9. Barbara Whitt on February 25, 2022 at 12:48 pm | Shirley, it’s special that you can sign copies of your and Marilyn McEntyre’s new book, The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children, forthcoming in May, at Aaron’s Books in downtown Lititz, PA. You must feel as if you have come full-circle after you talked about and sold copies of your memoir Blush at the Massanutten Regional Library in downtown Harrisonburg, VA. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about your and Marilyn’s grandparenting journeys in your new book. Via Amazon’s “Look inside” feature, I see that the book is full of wonderful material. And I love the subtitle.

    Regarding your new website, I think it’s great. That’s a great photo of you, Lydia, Owen, and Julia. I am perfectly fine with you calling yourself Grandma Shirley. (Natalie, now nine, and Caroline, now six, call us Grandpa Bill and Grandma Barb.) One thought: in your tagline, you ask, “Want to make…?” and then below that, “Want more stories…?” I suggest, as an alternative, “Do you want…?” (As the saying goes, “just saying.”)

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      Barbara, I count on you to be thorough and to remember our lovely meeting in Harrisonburg. I would love to host you if you should ever find yourself traveling to PA. Thanks for pointing out that Aaron’s books will be carrying signed copies of both books. I love when a local artist and a local bookstore work together, and Sam and Todd at Aaron’s have been wonderful.

      You have a great suggestion for the tagline and Magical Memoir Moment invitation. Thank you!

  10. Marian Beaman on February 25, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Shirley, the design “reads” well from top of bottom as it should. There is no distraction to lead the eye away from continuing with the text, a good thing. I called in the expert for graphic design opinion. Cliff too likes the design, with one suggestion: On this line above the banner, “Want to make your life as a grandparent even better?” he suggests using Bold italic sans serif because he thinks it should stand out more. (He missed seeing it at first glance.)

    That’s his two cents, and mine is, Grandma Shirley sounds fine for the website. How your grandchildren address you is up to them and you.
    Forward, ho! 😀

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, forward ho! You have worked hard on your own website, so you are a seasoned critic. And I like that suggestion on the tagline from Cliff. Please thank him for me also.

      Tell him to come back in a week or two. My next post should incorporate these tweaks.

      Mucho gracias.

  11. Marlena Fiol on February 25, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    Great colors. Punchy, grabby tagline. Lovely photos.
    I would not suggest going with Grandma Shirley, since you are so much more than that…
    Congratulations on a job well done!!! Can’t wait to hold the book in my hands!

    • Shirley Showalter on February 25, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      I can’t wait either, Marlena. Thank you so much for providing an endorsement. It helps when your professional and personal expertise come together, as in your case. It seems most of my readers want to see me retain a vestige of my own professional self even as I give myself to being Grandma Shirley to my own grands. Helpful.

  12. Melodie M Davis on February 25, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    You do books, websites, teaching, connecting well! I admire the new look and it’s cool you can use the services of your nephew to create it! Grandma Shirley at first sounded out of character for my image of you, but I agree that whatever your grands are used to calling you, should be the way to go. “We are now on a new rung in the generations ladder” rings very true for me. Losing Mom put me into still another rung, I guess. And it’s ok!

    –My thoughts.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 26, 2022 at 8:03 am

      I so appreciate your thought, Melodie. And thank you for your kind words. It is cool that I can hire Clay, who knows so much more than I do and who does it quickly and well. When we lived in Harrisonburg, he even made house calls! I still haven’t decided on the Grandma Shirley name. I had my own doubts about it, and many others above confirm them. I’m sure most people would glide right over those two words when the whole website focuses on grandparenting. For me, the important thing is that I have claimed them fully as a major part of my identity now. They don’t exclude anything else. I am still “part of all I’ve met,” but I am on a different rung. And I am with you. It’s ok!

  13. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on February 26, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Hello Shirley, I love watching you and the website evolve. I’m interested in how many people react negatively to “grandmother.” My hope is that you can find the way to show flourishing and new vision and creativity happening in what is often thought of as a time of decline.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 26, 2022 at 12:53 pm

      Dolores, thank you so much for your interest! i remember vividly eight years ago when you hosted Stuart and me on our first book tour. You are the kind of friend every author hopes to have.

      I dropped “Grandma Shirley” as the way to introduce myself because it sounded inauthentically folksy to those who know me in other phases of life. I have to agree, so I changed it above. What I don’t change, however, is the conviction that grandparenthood is not a time of decline. It is a time of growth emotionally and spiritually and even helps us physically if we do not have a handicap. I am 100 percent behind your statement!

      • Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on February 26, 2022 at 1:30 pm


  14. Laurie Buchanan on February 26, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    Shirley — Wowee, kazowee! I love your new website. Every. Single. Thing. About. It.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 26, 2022 at 12:54 pm

      Woo hoo, Laurie, thanks for the encouragement!

  15. Priscilla Ziegler on March 4, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    Grandma Shirley to the kids is who you are, keep it.
    Drop the tagline. I see you getting both sides of this; do what feels good to your intention.

  16. Priscilla Ziegler on March 4, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    Grandma Shirley to the kids is who you are, keep it.
    Drop the tagline. I see you getting both sides of this; do what feels good to your intention.
    I don’t need that to nudge me to pick up the book. Your name is the drawing card!

    • Shirley Showalter on March 4, 2022 at 8:38 pm

      You are so kind, Priscilla. Thank you. I appreciate your taking the time to look over these messages and give your feedback!

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