O what a wonderful time we had.

Three days in a row of joyful frolic.

Mother celebrated her 90 years with more than 100 of her closest friends and family.

Mother with her great grandchildren, March 4, 2017.

Mother with her great grandchildren, March 4, 2017.

Our immediate family booked the entire Forgotten Seasons Bed and Breakfast.

Kathy and Jay Wenger set a lovely table for us on Sunday morning.

Here we are before the baby shower.

Looks like one of us is ready for breakfast!

March 5, 2017. Which two are the hungriest?


Gloria, Tina, Mary, and me --four friends of 50 years. Our first gathering of 2017.

Gloria, Tina, Mary, and me –four friends of 50 years. Our first gathering of 2017. March 6.

After the three parties ended, Stuart and I flew south like snow birds.

The beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

The beautiful Atlantic Ocean. March 7, 2017

It’s time to take another break from blogging, friends.

Thank you so much for your support to our whole family in this time of many transitions.

Many blessings on your own families, work, and play.

I need to rest, play, pray, and reflect on the deep, rich blessings of this last week and prepare to walk more quietly now as Lent continues.

What will you be doing in the next six weeks? If you share your plans, I’ll hold them in my heart until we meet again.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Laurie Buchanan on March 7, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Shirley – Thank you for sharing such joy-filled photos. It’s clear that a grand time was had by all!

    Enjoy your time away.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 10:04 am

      You’re so welcome, Laurie. Joy is always better when shared. I took a page out of your book and didn’t say where I was at first. 🙂

  2. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on March 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Oh, Shirley, that sounds like such a wonderful family celebration. And to be able to go south after that is like icing on the cake! Where did you go? Our family has some wonderful memories of holidays at the Atlantic coast on the African side

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Elfrieda, we are in a hotel along Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami, FL, enjoying five beautiful nights and six days of long walks, historical tours, and lots of sleep.

      It is amazing, isn’t it, to think of the ways oceans connect the whole world, even though the miles are far. Hope you get to enjoy an ocean walk sometime soon yourself.

  3. Richard Gilbert on March 7, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Glad you had such a full sendoff, Shirley.

    I’m teaching, writing, reading, meditating! First new blog post in a while by tomorrow . . .

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 10:08 am

      I missed you, Richard. Always enjoy your posts. I hope you write about meditating. I didn’t know that about you.

  4. Merril Smith on March 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Such wonderful photos, Shirley! And what a wonderful time of celebration–family, friends, and life memories.
    Enjoy your break–and your beach vacation. I’ll be reading, writing, editing, and this weekend, I’ll be baking Hamantaschen for Purim. 🙂

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Thank you, Merril. You know all about family celebrations. I’m so glad you keep the food rituals of Jewish life and share them with the rest of us. I have learned a lot from you and hope to continue doing so. Wish I could taste your posts. 🙂

      • Merril Smith on March 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks, Shirley.
        Wouldn’t pot-luck posts be fun? We could share everyone’s birthday cakes and holiday dinners–and have international dinners! 🙂

        • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm

          Great idea! Enjoying Cuban and Haitian meals here in Miami. Yum! Mojitos are great too. 🙂

  5. Linda Gartz on March 8, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Hi Shirley,
    How fabulous for your 90-year-old mother to be surrounded by generations of loved ones and for you to reconnect with friends of half a century! I have many friends for that long as well, and they are treasures to hold onto. I hope your mom has many more healthy, engaged years.
    I’ll be focused on building up connections to share content and lessons learned from my 1960’s racially changing neighborhood in anticipation of my book’s publication next April (2018) with She Writes Press. Lots of work ahead including a final honing of the book. Enjoy your “down time,” of reflection-well deserved!

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      So glad to have the update on your book plans, Linda. Your story is more relevant, and needed, now than ever. I look forward to buying your book. I remember well how arduous the editing/marketing stages of book production were. May all go well for you!

      Thanks also for your good wishes to Mother and our family. Same to you and yours.

  6. Sharon Kraybill on March 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Shirley, I resonate with your phrase “recovering from joy.” These photos beautifully reflect a strong commitment to your concentric circles of relationships. It “warms the cockles of my heart” to see that you, Gloria, Tina, and Mary are still intentional about connecting after all these years!Thanks for your insightful and spirited blogging. Blessed Lent.

  7. June Alspaugh on March 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Looks like it was a wonderful celebration. I love the picture of your Mom with her grandchildren gathered around her. Enjoy your rest from blogging, enjoy your rest, play and pray.
    I haven’t made plans for lent. . . .

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks, June. You can imagine, I’m sure, how hard it was to corral those squiggly babies unto laps, but we did it. Ai yai yai. 🙂

      Thanks for your good wishes. I return them to you.

  8. susan scott on March 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Such a happy occasion Shirley thank you for sharing them with us! Enjoy your well-deserved break – it looks and sounds idyllic!

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks, Susan. Will see you on the other side.

  9. Audrey Denecke on March 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Shirley, how kind of you to share pictures of your mothers 90th. I love the one with her and all her grandchildren. Hope your trip south with Stuart is all you need it to be.
    Thank you for asking about our next six weeks. Today, I’m interviewing with my current PT employer for a special new talent development delivery offering. Please keép me in your thoughts and prayers. And, I’m finally making some headway with my memoir. Looking forward to when Spring brings consistently warm weather and new spring buds as well.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Audrey, I will indeed keep you in thought and prayer. And all good wishes with your writing. Enjoy the coming of spring to the heartland.

  10. Joan on March 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’m so happy that your birthday party plans came out so beautifully. Have a wonderful time retreating into quiet and peace. I’ll be working on poetry, reading, and spring gardens.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      I am always impressed by your fountain of creative outlets, Joan. Poetry, painting, memoir, blogging, gardening, theater, walking, . . .on and on you go! Here’s hoping that something beautiful and surprising springs from your garden.

  11. Elaine Mansfield on March 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    What a party! Yes, until we meet again. In six weeks, my CA son and his love will move here and we’ll figure out what happens next. Time to rock my solitary boat. We have big plans for the future with a small place for me on the property, but you know how plans are. Maybe it will work. Maybe there will be growing gardens, chickens, more dogs, and kids. Or maybe this is a temporary transition into something we can’t imagine. I’m resisting the part of me that likes all the ducks in a row so I can let life in. Have a wonderful trip.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Oh those duckies, they like rows! Or is it that we have a fetish for certainty? You, Elaine, have no such fetish. I see festivity instead. A quiet but deep evolution of family and landscape. Can’t wait to come back and read all about it.

  12. Kathleen Pooler on March 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    What a beautiful family celebration, Shirley. The photo of your mother surrounded by her progeny is priceless. Indeed , she is the Queen Mother! Thank you for sharing and enjoy your time of reflection and renewal.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Kathy, you would have loved her party, as I am sure you love celebrating with your own Queen Mum.

      Thanks for your good wishes. I know you will find your own ways to reflect and renew.

  13. Marian Beaman on March 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Remember the Sunday School song “Running Over, Running Over, My Cup is Full and Running Over . . . .?” This post is full of joyful abundance.

    Your mom is such a stylish lady and must have felt properly feted. She is probably taking the week off to rest too. 🙂

    Which two people are the hungriest, you ask. I’d guess that one of them is invisible. You must be so excited about the imminent arrival of that long-awaited third grandchild.

    You also asked what your readers will be doing the next six weeks. I will continue my monthly trips to PA, now through June. After that, I hope to escape for a rest, but it won’t be Miami!

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      My sister Sue and her husband Tom are taking Mother and another friend to Florida for the next five days! Can’t wait to do my usual Sunday phone call and see how that has gone. Mother says she’s ready to leave Landis Homes for a while. Even a lovely place like that can feel a little claustrophobic, evidently. That’s why giving up driving is so hard for the elderly.

      Ha ha. Yes, the really hungry one is in utero, doubling her weight every few weeks.

      Ha ha. Miami will not be a retreat for a Floridian like you, especially in June. It’s a great place to visit for us snow birds, however. Fabulous tour of the Art Deco preservation district this morning. Will end up at the Hemingway House in Key West.

  14. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on March 8, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I love seeing your celebration photos and the intergenerational gathering.

    For Lent, I’m memorizing Isaiah 55, and I am accompanying 3 directees during the Busy Persons Retreat, and I look forward to a week with my sister, Elaine, who will come west from Lynchburg, VA. Also, as Godly Play teacher on Sunday mornings, I get to tell Lenten stories to small groups of children. I am continuing, with a small online group of dancing monk-women, to dream of the sea, guided by Sharon Blackie’s version of “The Selkie’s New Skin.”

    Blessings on your playing-praying-resting and reflecting.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 8, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Dolores, you have so many amazing adventures ahead. I wish I could see you in any of those activities.

      May your week with your sister Elaine be one of building on memories of the past and building new memories together.

      And the retreat, and the dancing monk-women, sound wonderful too. Hope you share more with us eventually.

  15. Jeannette Uibel on March 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Lived at the Forgotten Seasons in the 1950s with Paul and Sue Hershey Sue was a wonderful woman many good memories.

    • Shirley Showalter on March 9, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Jeannette, are you part of the Henry family? I remember visiting Grandma and Grandpa Hershey and seeing the Henrys. I also remember a tiny mimosa tree they were trying to grown in the flower garden. Funny what we remember. So glad you have happy memories from that place and those long ago days. Thanks for leaving this comment.

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