Last week my website changed. Did you notice?

I like to think of a website as a gathering place for friends.

Even if we are old friends, you may not have noticed the change.

If we are new friends, welcome! Here’s a very short song for both of you.


Whether you’ve been here often or have just discovered Magical Memoir Moments, I’d really appreciate if you would give feedback to any or all of the questions below:

1. What is your general impression of the “look and feel” of this new site? What word(s) come to mind when you look at this page? Is the print dark enough? Do you enjoy looking at the layout, colors, photo placement?

2. How about when you click on either the cursive signature on the upper left-hand side?

3. Or browse the navigation bar on the upper right?

4. My last website launched my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, a book that will turn two years old in September. I want this one to be a place to find information about the book (reviews, bio, book trailer, photos, and how to buy) but also a place for friends to gather to think about their own memories and their own legacies. Any response to this evolving focus?

That’s it! Any feedback is valuable as I continue to search for ways to serve my friends. Thanks for your comments below.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Sharon on July 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Shirley, I have mixed feelings about these static layouts. On the positive side, I’m enthusiastic about the opportunity they offer to see a variety of topics, not just the latest. And the appearance is sleek and clean. On the whole it’s probably good, but the thought of changing my own blog to a dynamic layout is about as enticing as getting a buzz cut. Those look good on other people! But of course I can’t know if they look good on me if I don’t try. Your experiment with this new look is testimony to your continually youthful outlook. 🙂

    Beyond that, the colors and general appearance of the entry pages is lovely and pleasing. I would like to see darker text throughout — the older my eyes get, the easier it is to see with high contrast. Your gray is medium, still readable, but not optimum.

    I’m enthusiastic about your evolving focus. I consider blogs to be works in progress. How else can they avoid becoming stale? I appreciate that you plow new fields, demonstrating new crops. Bravo for being the trailblazer for many of the rest of us.

    Your sig link and nav bar work just fine.

  2. Joy Neumann Landis on July 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Nice, Shirley. The header feels a little stark/plain. I would add texture with an image to the bar across the top or something. Otherwise the opening page looks good. There’s no home button which is fine, but then maybe it should be clearer that the blog is the home. Clicking on your name brought up something different altogether. Often the name of the website is located there and when you click on the name, you go home. That is a sort of a standard convention. Seems the blog page might have social media links (follow me on Facebook, etc.). Interesting watching you navigate the social, promotional scene as I know it from a university perspective and yours is an author one. I’m learning.

    • shirleyhs on July 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Joy, Thanks so much for this great critique. Believe me, I’m learning too, and I really appreciate comments from a pro like you.

      I kept the header from the old site, and it looks a little lost here. Even more so on a smart phone. I like your idea of an image.

      Will be making these tweaks when I see James Carter, who designed and hosts the site, in a few weeks.

  3. shirleyhs on July 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I’m testing this comment box to see if it will allow me to subscribe after I submit the comment. I think I’ve lost my subscriber list in the transition.

  4. Marian Beaman on July 23, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Overall, the website looks fresh and clean, but I agree with Joy that the header feels a little stark. Also, readers would not know without prompting to click on your signature to find the “Want to leave a legacy?” page.

    Another note about the signature: when I scrolled down the page, the signature decreased in size, like a decrescendo.

    Cliff adds his two bits of critique: Increase the size of the signature to almost 200% and if you add texture and color to the header it should be subtle. He and I both think the “braided” portion of the bedspread that hangs down the side would be a nice choice for texture and with a very light tone of the plum color. Yes, we looked at your renovated former bedroom – simple and lovely. Sleeping in a room and remembering its former appearance must give you an odd/interesting sensation.

    One more thing: The font size here is larger than I’m used to seeing in comments.

    Enjoy the Conference. These fixes can wait . . . !

    • shirleyhs on July 23, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, both Marian and Cliff, with your good eye for color and design.

      I think the navigation bar needs a “home” button (the one that takes you to the Want to Leave a Legacy page). And that plum color is very attractive if we can match it.

      Stuart and I had planned to be at the World Conference, but we had a strange weekend trip to the hospital instead. All is well now, but plans had to be changed.

      Thanks so much for your support as the changes keep coming.

      • Joy Landis on July 24, 2015 at 4:16 pm

        Yes, Marian has the idea I meant when I said “texture.” Sort of a faded image probably of a close up detail that gives the homey feeling.

  5. April Yamasaki on July 23, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Hi Shirley – I like your fresh new look – layout, print, photos, etc. all look good to me. I also find that your signature gets smaller as I scroll down, and without your prompting I wouldn’t have even thought to click on it. Enjoy experimenting!

    • shirleyhs on July 23, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, April. You’ve been through many changes of your own. I am encouraged by your approval. Sometimes I enjoy experimenting, and your encouragement certainly helps.

  6. Joan Z. Rough on July 23, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I like the simplicity but like everyone else feel the header needs something. It needs your usual boldness. And for me the biggest problem is that the print does need to be darker. I like a bit more contrast. It feels timid to me. That’s not the Shirley I know.

    • shirleyhs on July 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks, Joan! I’m gathering a long list to share with James when he gets back from England.:-) I agree that this type is too light — especially here in the comment box. Come back in a few weeks and nudge me is I’m not bold enough.

  7. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on July 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    I love to gather here at your new site, as well as your old. I gather with you and friends on my computer. The photos are bright and cheery. Maybe the print could be larger to effortlessly rein me in. I love the evolving focus.

    • shirleyhs on July 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks Dolores, for coming along on all these rides. You were one of my earliest readers and are among the most faithful. Thank you!

      I couldn’t keep doing this so long if I couldn’t evolve. But you know that already. 🙂

  8. Leanne Dyck on July 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I have visited your blog before, but it was too long ago. I really like your new blog format. It is fresh and inviting. I especially like the selection of posts you offer on the home page. Well done, Shirley.

    • shirleyhs on July 27, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks, Leanne. I’m really glad the shorter posts attract you. I have enjoyed bringing two groups of readers together — blog posts and weekly emails (Magical Memoir Moment list). The migration is still a work in progress . . .

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m off to see what you’ve been up to.

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