Something Old, Something New…

Redesigning a website is like entering into a marriage. You’ve come to a crossroad and things change. You stop and reevaluate, reconfigure, and wiggle around the bits and differences until pieces fit together, the old and the new.

This photo from Ocean City is part of the old. I couldn’t part with it. Now it’s the first shot in the new slider. I like the crossroad of land and sky and water. There’s an old couple who struggled together up the dune to look. They, too, are at a crossroad. I like to imagine they have come to the ocean for years on vacation and played in the surf. Now they stand and remember.

The second photo in the slider, Prairie Nights, is from our family farm. My husband and I live in a crossroad city, Kansas City, and travel to Ocean City, where my husband spent much of his childhood, and to the farm, where I spent much of mine.

The old blog posts are still here in a new format, but the sidebar is gone, so readers will need to scroll down to the bottom banner which has links to the categories. Another old/new is the Publication Page with old images but in a new and updated style.

I’ve often stood at a crossroad. My crossroads usually read STOP on the side I can see, but the destination is written on the reverse side in ink fated to remain invisible for an unknown span of time. I stop, reconfigure, and head off somewhere, not knowing where or why I’m going, but trusting I’ll eventually understand.

Sort of like now. I’m at the crossroad between finishing a memoir and finding an agent to walk with it and me into publishing. That’ll be new—I expect I’ll keep you posted. While there is no end to advice or lists to finding an agent, the bottom line, as in all the arts professions, is who you know. So if you know or have an agent who might like a woman who wanders, let me know.

The completely new and figuring-out-how-it-works on this site are the pages for Workshops and Services. Two years ago, a stop sign ended twenty years of adjunct college teaching. Now I’m teaching through Workshops. I like teaching and I’m glad it’s evolved.

A year ago, a stop sign left us without a place to hold church services, but the Services page will offer us as presiders at weddings and memorial services. I’ve been a Spiritual Mentor/Counselor for more than twenty years. It was time to make it more public.

Please wander around in the new site. Let me know if you like it or if something doesn’t work for you. At base, we’re all in this together.

One last piece of new: in this new design, I’m working with Jen Wewers who has a great eye and knows social media. If it’s time for you to reconfigure, I highly recommend her.

 

Yes, You Can Go Home Again

The Koester House Marysville, Kansas
The Koester House
Marysville, Kansas

As a child, when I passed the Koester House, either walking or riding in the car, I’d long to enter the grounds and the house and see what was there, to feel like a lady in a white Victorian mansion. But I didn’t. The house had a Never Land quality to it, a magical place with flowers and trees and small statues of animals scattered across the lawn. A three-foot tall brick and cement wall circled the property with a cement sty, steps leading up to a white gate and over into the magical land.

I never went through that gate. I only looked at the house and dreamed. Ah, the dreams with which we build our lives.

I lived seventeen miles outside of town in a farmhouse built by Grandpa Albert’s father sometime in the late 1800s, about the same time as the Koester House was built in town. Our front porch we called the East Porch to differentiate it from the South Porch. The East Porch held crates of fresh eggs and the milk separator and muddy boots while the South Porch held an extra bed, the large chest freezer, and stuff there was no room for in the house. Not exactly wrap around elegant porches with carved grills. The outside of our farm house had tar paper shingles as many old farm houses did in those days.

I suppose we were poor, but then no farm family with six kids was exactly rich. We had what counted: food, clothing, shoes, school supplies, the books we wanted, and my favorite, a full set of The Child’s Book of Knowledge. But no elephant statues in the yard. No magic lands, except in our imaginations, and places in the timber that held swings made of vines and a huge fallen tree we called our elephant as we clambered up the side to straddled it and ride into far-away lands.

Last Thursday evening, I gave a reading at the Koester House and for one evening the house was mine. It was odd, stepping up those steps of the sty and over into the yard. Almost like a rite of passage into a new and different world. Last week, the lawn was filled with snow, but the fountain in front and the little, white-painted animals were still there, and the antler-shaped edging along the paths, while capped with snow, lined my journey to the front door. For that brief journey from outer sidewalk to the front door, I felt like a child.

So many things change in sixty years. Our farmhouse is gone although the farm remains. Marysville has grown into a prosperous town. I’m certainly older. But the little girl inside the lady smiled as she opened the front door.

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Time to……….?

What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know. If I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not. My soul is on fire to know this most intricate enigma.                                  St. Augustine of Hippo

After more than a full year of Big Projects layered onto Big Project, I woke the last two mornings with my head empty,

“I thought your head was always empty,” younger son said via phone which made it safe to say.

Addle-headed is not the same as empty-headed.

I had no trip to organize (we’d had three over the past year), no pressing detail work, no painting or fixing, no editing or marketing. No renovations. All of which required Big Projects over the past year, usually more than one at a time.

The last two Big Projects are in: final galley edits on the poetry book went in Friday with all the dots, tiddles, M-dashes, misspelled words and commas marked and corrected. On Monday, taxes followed the trail to the post office, complete with K Schedule and A Schedule and forms with various numbers – several beginning with 88-somethings, and a second packet with the Missouri taxes and its several pages.

Both projects filled themselves with a multitude of numbers and fine details and checking and rechecking which filled my head the first thing upon waking. Big Projects, of whatever kind, do that.

What’s a girl to do with no Big Projects? With time on her hands and an empty head?

I’ve never been a big television watcher. A farm childhood and years of international living and travel took care of that piece of American culture. I missed most of the 80s decade all together. Actually, I missed a lot of the 70s too. What I remember from the 1980s is living in New Orleans, New York, St. Lucia, Mexico, and Washington D.C. – where I owned a television for the first time in years. The same television now lives in our bedroom.

It’s too cold and rainy to walk although my body could certainly use a long walk. A recent bout with amnesia and high blood pressure (fancy that!) precludes work with weights above my head. Yoga requires too many head down poses to spend much time with that.

So I stare out the window at a muddy yard, remember last summer’s drought. The oak has stubbornly refused to leaf out. It obviously knew something the rest of us only guessed at. Its time is not the calendar’s time. Its time is its own.

As is mine.

Time, that most elusive and unknowable task-master, stretching.

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It’s April – and we are glad it’s so

I apologize for being so absent for so long with these blog posts. Like many of you, the first three months were pretty rocky around here. I’m grateful for the hopeful earth that continues to push up green shoots even in the troublesome times.

At the beginning of Lent, I began a daily series of inspirational posts at my other site, Community of the Incarnation. They were mostly related to the season of Lent, but I’ve decided to continue with less of an emphasis on the church year and more of an emphasis on simply living with a conscious intent.

The posts are short, less than two hundred words, and focused on one idea.

One of the things that happened to me in March was landing in the hospital for two days with something called Transient Global Amnesia, an interesting title and an interesting experience. In short, I’m fine, my brain is fine (well, sometimes that debatable) as is my heart. I simply shorted out.

So I’m in catch-up mode. And careful mode. And really focusing on what’s important. In other words, simplifying.

I’ll still post on this site, but less often, and probably more related to my writing projects. Or something.

Life, as is so often said, is a process.

I hope you’ll find me on the Incarnation site and join me for a few moments each day sitting still and re-collecting. I certainly need it. Maybe we all do.

Thanks!

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