About Me

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I have discovered that walking a very narrow path leads to broad places of peace, contentment, and provision. I work as a freelance consultant in the areas of cultural heritage, public history and museums, From 2009-2016, I was the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, (now called New France - the OTHER Colonial America, an eighteenth century French colonial historic site and National Historic Landmark.) My PhD is from the University of Leicester's (United Kingdom) Department of Museum Studies. My research looked at the interpretation of diversity at the American Historic House Museum. I also developed and facilitate an inspirational program for Christian grandparents, Gathering Grandparents.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Popcorn and Parmesan Cheese with Butter & Dillweed

A recipe to temporarily forestall loneliness and other sadness is fresh popped popcorn covered with real melted butter, dill weed, salt, and Parmesan cheese...it only works until the bowl is licked clean of the butter.

Only once did emotional discomfort stop me from eating altogether. It was when the last lie shattered everything and my heart broke like a shattered plate into a million little pieces on the floor. Thank God for the friend who forced me, a week or so later, to eat some cheese. The crisis had been faced but at that particular time, no solution seemed evident...

Terry Soldan, the fictitious ex-wife of Pastor Ed, had a similar experience. Her friend was William, whose reputation as a gourmet chef was as well known as his wonderful garden. You can read about their unusual relationship in the novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife - now available for sale as a Kindle e-book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

once upon a time....

Christmas is over-rated. The current barrage of gift-driven commercials began the minute Santa Claus stepped off his sleigh at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last Thursday morning. Black Friday began before Friday started and then cyber Monday came and went. Both shopping days were disappointments according to my sources. I've never participated in either one.

Indeed, being a single mother of many children made Christmas worse especially because well-meaning individuals made assumptions that I could not afford to provide a "good" Christmas to the children so they stepped in unasked with lavish gifts that overpowered the simple ones I did wrap.

On the inside, jealousy wrestled with gratitude every year...even with grown children today I struggle with inadequacy - call me Scrooge if you must.

Christmas involved grief and cruelty for Terry Soldan too. She is the main character in my novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife. Christmas stung Terry because her ex-husband, Pastor Ed, used it as an attempt to assert his power against her, exacerbating his less than innocent ability to block her from her children and grandchildren.

If only we could each be delighted in the simple things that drop from on high feather-like unasked at our feet.

Once upon a time long ago and far away the best gift lay swaddled in a manger....I wonder....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is it really necessary to be right?

A long-time Christian moved to a new town and for about a year attended a small church without becoming a member while making relationship and contributing to the life of the congregation. Largely because of the demands of a new but necessary job, she missed several Sundays in a row. Her friends told her that the pastor's wife wondered whether this woman had "fallen out of fellowship" and that the pastor was going to visit her to find out. No one called. No one bothered to ask her before the judgments, based on arrogant assumptions, flew like gossip throughout the congregation. The woman came to me extremely wounded asking advice about how to respond. Her first instinct was never to return to the church.

Unfortunately, I have encountered this situation far too many times - sometimes being the focus of the accusations (more than once).

It was this type of spiritual pride that Terry Soldan, the fictitious ex-wife of a pastor in my novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife (available on Amazon for the Kindle, btw), banked on when she left Pastor Ed and ran to her childhood bachelor friend's home. She correctly predicted that Ed and his board of elders and every other member of his congregation would immediately assume that she and William were having an affair and that, therefore, Ed had biblical grounds for a divorce. In addition, Terry would be ex-communicated, anathema, unless she confessed her sin and repented.

Some readers have asked whether it is really plausible for Terry to live in William's house without being sexually involved with him. Other readers will understand that it makes a great deal of sense because they will have lived Terry's life and resonate with her woundedness sharing her understandings.... Unfortunately for the church, William's genuine commitment and hospitality to his traumatized friend brought Terry more normalcy and healing than anything else.

Is it really so necessary to be right? Isn't our own righteousness nothing more than a used tampon according to Isaiah? It doesn't take too long for that to stink.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Loneliness among friends

This is the end of Thanksgiving weekend for 2011 - a time that often finds us surrounded by family retelling the shared stories that make up the fabric of our lives. I did see some family on Thursday at a nursing home where a man, my former father-in-law, whom I have loved for 35 years or more, is fading away - all his concentration was spent trying to move his food from his plate to his mouth...he missed all the stories and we missed the ones he relentlessly tells every year. Most likely I unwittingly started a new story when I made a serious mistake while knitting a Christmas stocking for my son's intended...Of course this happened when I was surrounded by the other women with whom I have spent hours knitting, chatting, and chasing children over the years...it's a tradition among us (we're four generations into it) to knit Christmas stockings for the new members of the family. Windy knit the same exact pattern for each of her grandchildren. Grandmommy continued the tradition - varying the pattern a bit - so each of my children has a stocking she created. Since I have never been able to discipline myself to repeat a recipe or a design without some variation, I changed everything - knitting in the design instead of embroidering it, etc. But every stocking still needs a heel turned, a foot added, and a toe. What did I do in such a public setting to inspire a new story? I knit the heel but forgot to turn it before I picked up all the stitches on the double pointed needles all the while ignoring the little voice inside that kept saying something just did not feel right. "So, you are knitting a tube sock stocking!" was the conclusion of my sister in law who was knitting on the seat next to me. Rather than try to fix my mistake while I was still embarrassed by it - even though it was pretty funny...I put the whole thing back in the bag and ate another piece of pie. Soon I returned home which took over an hour of driving and when I got here it was a lonely finish to a melancholic but meaningful day. I've spent quite a few holidays without family since my marriage failed but I have only been shunned by one or two individuals. Terry Soldan in Pastor's Ex-Wife faced the same loneliness among friends but she was overtly shunned even by her own children. Hopefully the humor I wove throughout that novel makes a good contrast to the pain it paints.