Would Your Children Enjoy Cooking More?

September 25, 2015 Melodie Davis

When did you start learning to cook? Did boys and girls both have the opportunity to try their hand in your family? How does she get her homework done, cook, and manage a hectic schedule during her cross-country and musical seasons? Recently I’ve been blown away by interviewing and watching a 12-year-old kitchen foodie, Lizzy. In celebration of Family Day in the United States (the last Monday in September), I’m again writing about the value and importance of families eating together. In Canada, a similar emphasis comes the third Monday of February (or the second Monday in British Columbia). I […]

Making peace practical

September 25, 2015 Thirdway

By guest writer Anna Vogt In Colombia, Mennonites demonstrate every day that being a peace church means taking concrete actions to stop violence. Colombia has been in armed conflict for over 50 years. Seven million people have been victims of the resulting violence. This violence has been supported in part by Plan Colombia, a multi-billion-dollar military aid package from the United States to Colombia. Three years ago, the Colombian state and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, began a peace process. Colombian churches, while applauding the talks, urge the two parties to stop active fighting immediately, out of respect for life. […]

Elections and matters of the heart

September 18, 2015 Thirdway

By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst for MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office. (originally posted on Ottawa Notebook, ) Canada’s federal election takes place on October 19, 2015. As I was drafting this post, the global refugee/forced migration crisis – an issue very close to my heart – FINALLY captured the full attention of media outlets around the world. It also finally made its way into the Canadian federal election campaign. It’s incredible how one heart-breaking story can capture the attention of so many people, even though a full year ago the UNHCR reported that the scale of people forcefully displaced around the world […]

The Much-Maligned Mother-in-Law

September 18, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

(Editor’s Note: Michelle Sinclair is the daughter of columnist Melodie Davis; she is married and works in Washington, D.C. She and her husband have a toddler son.) Three weeks of just you, your mother-in-law, and a toddler. Sound doable? Grandchildren really can be the great equalizer. There’s something connective about seeing your mother-in-law love your child too—even at 3 a.m., when the toddler has woken upset for the fourth time that night. My husband’s work took him away for part of this summer, and since I’m pregnant with our second child, I had the good fortune to have my retired […]

A Walk in the Woods

September 18, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Perhaps it’s because baby boomers like to reshape every age demographic they enter, but there seem to be more and more movies featuring the 60+ set. Broadening Hollywood’s standards of who can carry a compelling story and make money at it can only be a good thing. A Walk in the Woods is the latest entry into that category, a “road trip” type film starring actors whose heydays coincided with the Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan years. Even if some parts of this based-on-a-true-story film were rearranged, fictionalized or altered completely, this is a movie, not a documentary, and the […]

Mistress America

September 11, 2015 Vic Thiessen

Mistress America is another quirky, witty, honest, and thought-provoking independent comedy drama from writer/director Noah Baumbach. His previous films include Greenberg, The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha, and While We’re Young, all of which contain a lot of social commentary and all of which I enjoyed very much. Since I also have trouble enjoying films with unsympathetic characters, my appreciation for Baumbach’s films must be grounded in the strong element of hope that I find in his films. Baumbach grew up in New York City and had a difficult childhood, which is reflected in the dark edge that is […]

Seeing Persons with Disabilities through New Eyes

September 11, 2015 Melodie Davis

All of us know persons with varying degrees of intellectual or physical challenges. In the Shenandoah Valley, we are blessed to have an innovative program serving needs of individuals with various intellectual and physical disabilities and their families: Pleasant View, Inc. This faith-based organization offers an assortment of living arrangements ranging from institutional care, where needed, to apartment living (aided by part-time assistance from staff or volunteers) to day programs for those who live with their families. If we believe all people are created in the image of God, that includes those with intellectual or other disabilities. Dave Gullman is […]

“The bombs kept following us”

September 10, 2015 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach A photo of a Syrian three-year-old boy, who drowned trying to flee to Greece, captured global attention last week. But sadly, he and his family represent just a fraction of the millions of Syrians whose lives have been devastated by the civil war that has now been raging for more than four years. In June I met some of these refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. The stories they told were heartbreaking. One family was from Damascus, Syria. When the war forced them to leave their home, they moved first to several other parts of Syria, but “the […]

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

September 4, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

I slipped into the seat early—like normal—and watched the stream of trailers. Almost every trailer noted its film was based on a true story, or was “the” true story, or that it revealed the hidden true story.  Watch, have some laughs, enjoy the ending, and forget it by tomorrow. I watched three minutes of climbers trying to survive a trip down Everest, 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile, and the secret soldiers of Benghazi, who apparently rescued the Americans at the embassy. Being based on a true story seemingly validates the expenditure of making a movie and should […]

Building Up the Temple—Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

September 4, 2015 Melodie Davis

My mother enjoys reading to persons in the healthcare area of her retirement home complex. It may be more accurate to say she thrives on it—volunteering, having something special to do, connecting with people. She’s a very social 91-year-old. When we don’t feel like singing (or doing whatever) because of illness, grief, or getting older, just start in and maybe we’ll cheer up and find a new way of looking at whatever confronts us. A woman she’d read to once a week for a number of years died in the last year. So she was without someone to read to—a […]