Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author

Some of the people who read this blog are authors and bloggers.

Other people who read this blog have a closeted desire to write. They need a little push.

So, here’s a perfect opportunity for both kinds of people.

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, an author friend, started a blog a year in advance of her next novel Bittersweet being published.

Bittersweet is about two friends, Mabel and Ev, and, among other things, examines how their friendship shapes and marks them. So Miranda created a website called FriendStories. She wants to help stimulate and collect stories about friends- specifically girlhood friends.

Cover of Bittersweet

I’ve written a story and have sent it to Miranda. It’s about my cousin Mary Ann. I rewrote an excerpt from my book Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World to fit Miranda’s theme.

Did you have a best friend as a girl? Or maybe you had more than one, or maybe you only knew her for one summer. Whatever your story about this friend may be, consider publishing your own FriendStory by following the prompts here. And you can always email Miranda at friendstoriessubmission@gmail.com with any questions.

Here are the guidelines:

  • less than 1000 words; it can be an essay, poem, or any other piece of nonfiction (even a comic!)
  • about a girlhood friend (or friends- you can write more than one!)
  • you can write about a moment in the friendship or about the friendship as a whole- the prompts page can help with this.

a friend sticks with you through thick, thin, . . and braces!

Here’s a final thought to remember:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Feel free to leave a comment below. I always love hearing from you. And have a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

Hope you remember some FriendStories,  tell them tomorrow, and WRITE them for Miranda’s blog.

I’m grateful for all of you!


Shirley Showalter


  1. Laurie Buchanan on November 27, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Oh how FUN! Thank you for sharing the links with your readers.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Same to you, Laurie. My guess is that you have lots of FriendStories. And you always tell them well.

  2. Kelly DuMar on November 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Shirley, I sent a poem about my sisters and my love of playing all night with my cousin, Debbie, who sparked our imagination in the most joyous ways. Perhaps because of her chronic illness which took her from us far too soon (she had cystic fibrosis) she made every moment with us count for something that would last.

    I look forward to reading your story!

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Wow, Kelly, you were ready for this one!

      Your story sounds wonderful. Nothing helps us recognize the gift of life better than a friend who will not be with us long enough.

      Thanks for both submitting and letting me know.

  3. Tina Barbour on November 27, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for providing the info and links for this! I will ponder this. My best friends growing up were twins. Other people couldn’t tell the difference between them, but I always could.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family!

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Tina, you must have keener than usual observation and empathy. I sense that is true about you just from the way you write. Maybe your twin friends helped you to go deeper into these gifts? Grateful for you and your thoughts here.

  4. Kathleen Pooler on November 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Shirley, Thanks for featuring Miranda and her creative, fun project on Friend Stories. I submitted a story as well and am looking forward to reading everyone else’s stories.

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Kathy, I am eager to see all of these also! Thanks for participating. Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Dan Blank on November 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks Shirley!

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      My pleasure.

  6. Kenneth Cressman on November 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I just finished reading BLUSH and found that circumstances in Ontario were not drastically different from Lancaster. I will not go in to detail as I do not know if my computer will send this message. If it does, I might comment more on the comparisons.

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Hello Kenneth, you have reached me! I’d love to hear more of your impressions after reading Blush. I hope to hear more about Ontario. I also hope to do a Canadian book tour one of these days. Do you think that would be a good idea?

  7. Miranda on November 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks so much for featuring FriendStories.com, Shirley. So excited to read everyone’s submissions!

    • shirleyhs on November 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Wonderful, Miranda. I think you can tell your idea strikes a chord with many readers. Wasn’t it great that so many people have shared already. And on the day before a holiday too!

      Must be time to be grateful . 🙂 I am for and with you!

  8. Kenneth Cressman on November 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Ken Cressman again:

    I would indeed think that a Canadian book tour would be a good idea. I would suggest that you wait a bit before you attempt to do it. In Ontario, the Mennonite Central Committee has built a new building. In addition to MCC, it has the offices of most organizations related to the Mennonite Church in Ontario including Menno Media which markets your book. However, the process is still in the early stages and the dust has not fully settled. I visited Menno Media this morning and the person in charge is going in several directions at once with some kind of an open hourse coming up tomorrow I believe.

    When things have quieted down, then indeed it would be good to come for the a promotion of your book. Menno Media is on the second floor but I would suggest that you should be set up on the main floor some place where the traffic is heavier.

    There was some criticism of building such a costly establishment but in time with so many organizations under one roof, it should prove its worth. It certainly saves a lot of time to have these organizations in proximity to each other.

    I would suggest that you concentrate on Ontario as that is where most of the Mennonites are located that were part of the former Mennonite General Assembly. We related to Goshen, Hesston and EMU plus the Mennonite Board of Missions in Elkhart and the Mennonite Publishing House in Scottdale. Now the Mennonite Church Canada is heavily oriented to the former General Conference Mennonites and our headquarters is in Winnipeg. As you know they will not be as tuned in to the struggles that we faced in nonconformity which was indeed the issue that caused problems for you as you grew up in the Lancaster Conference. The Canadian General Conference Mennonites generally have their roots Russia and earlier the Netherlands and they dealt with a different set of cultural issues such as the use of German in their churches, something that didn’t begin to disappear until relatively recent times.

    You might have ties to some of the Mennonites in western Canada which would enable you to have your foot in the door there. But from my perspective, Ontario should be point of beginning. Besides it is closer to Virginia than is Winnipeg. Even for us, Winnipeg is removed from us by considerable distance including the vast Canadian Shield that covers northern Ontario.

    As for the issues in your book I will attempt to comment on them when I have more time to think them over. We certainly had many of those issues especially in the community where I live and it caused a parting of the ways in the late 1950s. I must give that aspect further thought before I write about it.

  9. Kenneth Cressman on November 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Ken Cressman again:

    By the way, Happy Thanksgiving. I am not quite tuned in to the idea of Thanksgiving so late in the fall. We had our event the second Monday in October and currently have experienced a modified blast of winter.

    One question I do have is when I comment on the comparisons of your experiences in the Lancaster Conference and what I experience in Ontario, do I write it here or is there some other avenue to express some rather lengthy topics. I am rather amazed at the length of my comments above which only deals with marketing of BLUSH.

    • shirleyhs on December 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Ken, I will contact you via email. Thanks again for your interest!

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