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Showing posts from September, 2018

Looking For The Light

Finding Joy in Turbulent Times
In a country that sometimes seems like it is coming apart at the seems, it is important to keep one's eyes wide open for moments of light and joy. Every day has some, if you look hard enough. Here are a few of my own from the past week.
Talking to my son or daughter on the phone and just hearing their voice. They're only 60 and 300 miles away, but I miss them like its 3000 miles.Having a church home that is literally a church in a home and a church family that is like a family.A kind word on Facebook. A week ago a friend complimented me and I've stashed the words away to call upon when I need a lift. It doesn't take much to help someone out, so be generous with kind words. Having a team of coworkers that are competent, respectful and fun to work with. It makes going into work easy A couple of friends who have two boys had their third baby this week. A girl! It's refreshing to see the outpouring of support people have had for women who …

Highest of the Highlights

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This past Tuesday we returned from our London vacation. There were simply too many good things to recount in a single or even multiple blog posts. It was phenomenal. And because I know how painful it can be to sit through other peoples' vacation pictures and stories, I thought I'd give a synopses of the high points. In no particular order, here's what I remember as moments I will never forget.
Sitting in the Quire at Westminster Abbey for Evensong.  We made it a point to get to the evensong service at 3:00 on Sunday. We were 8th or 9th in line, so when it came time to be seated, we asked if we could sit in the quire section. (They spell it funny, but it's probably more correct than choir.) The attendant said sure and seated us in the front row. We were feet from the boys and adults doing the singing. It was an absolutely spiritual experience. The music echoed off the walls of history as we sat there thinking of the possible nobles and royalty that may have sat in our sa…

Intangibles

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One of the unexpected benefits of my affair with this writing thing has been the events and the cool people I have met along the way. This includes peers, colleagues, readers, proprietors and fans. 
For example, at my reading last Wednesday, I was part of a panel that involved a good friend (Julie) and someone I'd never met (Connie). Both of these women had difficult (and, at times, unimaginably horrific) childhoods. Had I not chosen to follow my writing muse about 9 years ago, I would never have met them and my life would be that much less rich. 
Furthermore, the store proprietor, Lisa, is a great light and a beautiful person. She is all-in for promoting local and national authors. 
So, during the panel discussion, Lisa asked an interesting question of us. I can't quote it verbatim, but it was something like "What, if any, are the intangible benefits of writing your memoir?"
I started by mentioning the time a gentleman told me that he loved to go up to the Boundary W…

Fan Mail

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I had a really cool thing happen at my panel discussion/reading last night at Books and Company. At the signing portion, a woman approached me and introduced herself. She said she was a 5th grade school teacher and that as part of her English class she told the kids about the authors that were going to be at the bookstore. She told them a bit about each author and our books.

Then, she told them to write letters to each of us, which she then brought to the reading and gave to each of us. She mentioned that one girl even wanted to be my friend (according to the letter.)

I thought the whole idea was great. It was humbling and touched my heart. I then told her I would write each of them back. I also mentioned my own series of 4th grade stories that I've blogged about here before. I plan to send her the scans of those stories so maybe she can read them to her class.

It was a neat exchange and one of the many intangible benefits of being a writer. The event was a roaring success and rem…

Rage: Blinded By The Light

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Try as I might to be upbeat and positive, yesterday was not my best day ever.

I had the greatest of intentions to get a lot done, but every time I started something it was thwarted.

It started with my usual routine of going to the Public Library and trying to write and catch up with some other tasks. Well, the WiFi wasn't working - at least on my computer, or my phone - so after struggling with it for 10 minutes I packed up my laptop and headed home. Argh! My time would be better spent on chores and errands, I figured.

I had a piece of art I wanted framed, so I went to Target. Of course the size was odd and there were no frames to be found. Argh!

I know, I'll by local and help a local merchant out. So I drove to the  shop in downtown Waukesha.  Upon arriving, I found a sign on the door saying, "I'm up the street changing out some art, call me at 555-1234." Well, being in a hurry, I thought I'd check back after going to Home Despot (sic) to rent a carpet cleane…

Fortune Takes Many Forms

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I was a little too young to fight in Vietnam. I think my older brother might have had a draft card, but I can't recall for sure. I remember hearing that our neighbor a few doors down was caught at the draft office trying to burn draft cards, but again, details are sketchy.

I do remember seeing snippets of video on the nightly news. Soldiers walking through swamps with guns, Huey helicopters and battle scenes. They say it was the first war to come into peoples' living rooms...every night.

I also remember a protest march going from West to East down Summit Avenue sometime in '71 or so. I didn't understand enough to grasp what the marchers were marching for, but it seemed weird to protest something that we were supposed to be trying to "win," if that's what you call bringing a war to an end.

As the years have gone by, I've gained a deep respect for the veterans of Vietnam. These guys were put into an unjust, unwinnable war and when we withdrew from South …

Cabin Speed

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It is Labor Day weekend. I sort of love/hate those words.

This is the weekend we typically end up as a family at a cabin up in Mercer. This year, it is just the two of us with our friends Steve and Jill, hanging out in Mount Morris at another friend's rental cabin.

Things are moving at "cabin speed," as expected. The days are long and full of flip flops, good books, adult beverages and the occasional nap. Of course there is fishing, and lots of it. Lots of little Bass in the boat, and just as many lost at retrieve.

And while I'm obviously not totally off the grid, I wanted to post because this end of Summer is always hard for me. I know there are warm days ahead yet, but the cold days loom heavily as well. So I will finish off this mini-vacation the best I know. At cabin speed.

But as I am here, a couple of my extended family are at cabins of their own. My brother is up in Mercer at Pine Forest Lodge with his daughter. He is pursuing the "big one" again, th…