About Me

My photo
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 research for the University of Leicester (United Kingdom) is in the Department of Museum Studies and looks at the interpretation of diversity at the American Historic House Museum. I also developed and facilitate an inspirational program for Christian grandparents, Gathering Grandparents.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Birthday Musings - Second Decade

I remember being overjoyed when I turned two numbers old - ten years old. I loved thinking that it would take more than my likely life time to make another digit. It was a complicated decade starting in 1966 - we moved out of the high rises and into a row house with a postage stamp front yard adorned with a large forsythia to which we added a Japanese split maple tree. After sixth grade I left the little Lutheran school I had attended since kindergarten for a girls' preparatory school in Brooklyn and learned to navigate the daily commute via two subway trains and about a half mile walk on either end. The academics were advanced but the social life dwindled because of the distance I lived away but I fell in love with theater, started directing plays, spent two summers in Vermont where my uncle ran a summer stock theater and where I got to be the gopher, substitute stage manager and general grunt. Girl Scouting was an important part of my life and for a brief time I was on the junior editorial board of the American Girl Magazine but that never made my resume. Maybe it should have. I found myself running from the Hound of Heaven until I was 17 and an exchange student in England, engaged-not any more to an American who was about to enter seminary. Fully aware that to become a Christian in the full born-again, no turning back sense of that word, would cost me everything (and it did but it also made everything good about who I am today possible) I stumbled snotty and exhausted into His kingdom a few months before entering college in St. Louis where I gained more understanding of God and His ways thanks to classmates, a former nun, now deceased named Barbara Ann Chase, and a few amazing mentors - Bob Canfield, Kathy Woodard, Diane and Jack Binnington. Urbana '73 was pivotal - I met Elizabeth Elliott and there connected my destiny with the nations of the earth. Following that - and my passion for languages, I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Summer Institute of  Linguistics in 1975 thinking that I would join Wycliff as a Bible Translator. But that goal post moved when I got married in 1976 - six months prior to the end of my second decade.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Birthday Musings - First Decade

The birthday I remember anticipating with the most delight was 1966 when I turned two numbers old. One decade lived and now I am entering a seventh. Hence I reflect back starting with the first- including Eisenhower as president, JFK's assassination, air raid drills at my New York City elementary school, and a generally pleasant childhood with my younger sisters spent in high rise apartment buildings, black-topped play grounds, Saturday trips with my father to the butcher's and the liquor store where we got licorice and lollipops while the men visited, and frequent trips to my grand-father's dairy farm in Vermont where women and girls were not allowed in the barn but where I was allowed to help dig a sewage trench with the men. The summer before I entered kindergarten we vacationed on the beach in Maine and I was allowed to go alone only as far as the life-guard chair. After a few weeks we drove to San Francisco and I remember pulling a hair out of the ranger's horse's tail in Colorado, seeing sand dunes in a big desert, visiting a jail in a ghost town and watching my father give an Indian boy who was about my size a quarter after he did a dance. I also remember liquid yellow dramamine that tasted like what it looked like but did seem to mitigate the constant motion sickness that would not be willed away.

Perhaps the most important adults in my life in this earliest decade were my maternal grandmother who kept me many weekends at her flat in Brooklyn, and my Uncle Ted who romped with me and gave me books for birthdays and asked me to be the ring bearer at his wedding. I loved school, generally found it too easy and boring, except for third grade which I hated and apparently misbehaved routinely during class.

I wanted to be an author then or a doctor and escaped most of my free time into books - no matter the genre. I gobbled up the Nancy Drews, Cherry Ames, and Hardy Boys but hated the Borrowers and the Bobbsy Twins. For several weeks during fourth grade, I hurried home from school to get to my radio in time to hear the next section read aloud of the newly published Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I memorized a lot of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson but was terrified to finish reading Kidnapped - nearly as frightened as I was to watch The Wizard of Oz.  In fact, I did not like watching movies because the images wouldn't fade out of my mind and came back to haunt me at night. The only book that I could not comprehend when I first picked it up was Gibbons' Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. I found it on an uncle's bookshelf when it was too hot to be outside and the grown-ups obviously did not want us around whatever they were doing.

I am told that, when taken by my grandmother to Sunday School for the first time, I did not know the words to the song, "Jesus loves me," so I sang "Old MacDonald" really loudly. I seem to remember being in a dress with a puffy skirt and the scratchy netting under-skirt and sitting on a back-less bench in the first row at a church basement with lots of children I did not know next to me and in rows behind me.

If I had to wear anything with elastic at the ankles or wrists I was miserable and bit or cut the cloth to make it bearable. At the little Italian restaurant on 63rd Drive where we often ate, I remember loving the calamari. My father always took me- just me- to one day of the US Open Tennis Tournament in September and I would wear my new school clothes for the occasion and try to match his responses to the players' moves. I remember running my gloved fingers over chains and banisters around the city, watching them turn black and then sucking the soot off of them while my mother scolded me to get my hands out of my mouth.I am glad that we girls no longer have to wear white gloves and dresses to go out in public, by the way.

What is this post all about and how does it connect with who I am today as a writer and person of faith? Soon I will be entering my seventh decade which is causing me to reflect back on the first six.... Perhaps it is a selfish indulgence but it seems important to me. You can follow the next few posts if it interests you.


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Dorothy Sayers on Writing and the Trinity

My eighth grade English teacher introduced me to Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings, and essays by writers on writing. I still read them all. Currently I am enjoying a piece of non-fiction - a theological analogy by the murder mystery writer, Dorothy L. Sayers, on how the structure of a creative (author's) mind is a reflection of the Christian Trinity. She discusses the book as at one and the same time an Idea, an Energy, and a Power. The "Book as Thought" is analogous to God the Father; the "Book as Written" compares to God the Son, and the "Book as Read" is for God the Holy Spirit. Throughout the piece she uses her own experience as the author of the Peter Whimsy books to illustrate her claims. They make sense to me as an author as well. I think that this book should be the basis for the meditations of a Christian writers' retreat. I think I will try to make that happen.