About Me

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I have discovered that walking a very narrow path leads to broad places of peace, contentment, and provision. Besides being a serious writer (writing is my retirement income plan), I currently work with Glorious Praise World Outreach to promote its Christian Eden Haus Retreat in Millersville, Missouri. Previously I was the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, an eighteenth century French colonial historic site and National Historic Landmark.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Birthday Musings - Seventh Decade

Seven, shabbat in Hebrew, time for rest. Something I know very little about through personal experience. How does one rest without becoming restless? I am determined to find out. The beginning of this seventh decade of my life finds me relocated and set aside to help establish a Christian retreat center, Eden Haus Retreat, that is devoted to worship and prayer. This is a perfect resting place for me and a quiet haven for me to finish my PhD dissertation. I plan to finish many other writing projects while I am resting here, as well. So far today I have unloaded a trailer of wood for the wood stove we use to heat the retreat house, made pancakes and bacon, talked to the cat, booked a retreat for a weekend in April, not succeeded in downloading a much needed printer driver, watched six geese take off from the pond, seen multiple red cardinals and purple finches at the bird feeder, and drunk three cups of coffee. That is in addition to letting the music from the chapel waft over my thirsty soul like some fragrant incense.... I promised an essay connecting hermeneutic theory to my research project within two weeks to my PhD supervisor yesterday and over the weekend, I plan to continue working on the next meditation on hymns and carols - "Beautiful Savior" and to give some thought to a book project that intrigues me about the mystical aspects of my walk with God that I am calling "Fresh Wonder" - but it is supposed to be warmer and sunny tomorrow so this may be postponed a day or two.... Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Birthday Musings - Sixth Decade

My youngest son went off to college and I moved to Ste. Genevieve, the first town in Missouri, where for the next more than six years I served as the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum, an 18th century French colonial historic site. My role was to "make this place sustainable for the next 50 years." So I turned over the tables and looked under the rugs and wrote exhibits and led a transformation from a traditional historic house museum to New France, the OTHER Colonial America with double the campus - paid in full, enough money in the bank to transition a former bank building to the gate and contextual museum, with gains in the mailing list, and the donor list, and a majority of grants requested funded. A job well done.

At the same time I started a PhD in Museum Studies through the University of Leicester in England (think Richard III). This has been a desire since my early twenties and I am thrilled to be most of the way through it now even though I do not have a clear goal for where it leads.

Three years into this process the years of juggling multiple balls at the same time took its toll and for the first time resilience failed and I began to experience a degree of burn out that was unprecedented.

Prayer being my default mode of living, I appealed to the Most High for His will and way through the narrow place and found myself repositioned beside still waters at a Christian Retreat Center in rural Missouri that you can find on FaceBook - Eden Haus Retreat.

At the end of the sixth decade that I have walked this earth, I resigned my position at the museum, moved to Eden Haus (a place of new beginnings) to help make this place thrive for its intended vision for His glory - it is the headquarters and retreat center of Glorious Praise World Outreach. There I have the unusual combination of autonomy and community, a place to finish my doctoral dissertation and to write the books that are in my heart and that I also hope will become a passive income for my later years but God has always been the One who gives my daily bread and my daily income and He who has ever been faithful to me will not change.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Birthday Musings - Fifth Decade

During the fifth decade everything changed. I acknowledged that there was a mismatch between my situation and my potential. Thanks to a very involved friend who promised and then kept the promise to "walk with me through the pain" that I did not even know I was experiencing, I made it through a very narrow path in what felt like a jungle, passing the yellow eyes burning hungrily at me in the dark and through some invisible but impermeable barrier to a resting place, a beach if you will. A place to wait and allow a retooling of my emotions and mind-sets, a place to raise the children, now as a single mother, with a new definition of what is normal, and to find surprising doors in places where there should have been no doors. I taught music (not one music class on any transcript after ninth grade!) in the St. Louis Public Schools. Have you read my novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife? That story includes lots of anecdotes taken from this experience.  I obtained a master's degree in teaching and realized that my old goal of earning a PhD was still very alive in my want-to. I started writing grants and doing strategic planning consultation for smaller, newer, transitioning and often faith-based nonprofit organizations. I compiled John F. Barker's collection of H-O Scale model trains that illustrates the history of rail in St. Louis from 1900 to 1990 and then I negotiated its acceptance as part of the collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library. I wrote the book, St. Louis Gateway Rail - the 1970's based on John's photographs of trains on the tracks in St. Louis from which he customized his models. It was published and is for sale by Arcadia. I continued a daily, hourly pursuit of the Most High by pushing into deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ, working in prayer mostly. I started a chapter of Aglow International in south St. Louis City and we conducted a weekly Bible study and prayer outreach from the Living Waters Laundromat off of Spring St. west of Grand and Itaska. I wrote a guidebook for praying tourists who visited St. Louis. The kids graduated and started leaving home with confidence and success in their future.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Birthday Musings - 4th Decade

This was the decade of pregnancy and diapers. Audrey was born, hated when anyone laughed, and had a personal mission to scale the mantel in the fraction of a minute my back would be turned. Next came Lottie - with nearly continuous ear infections and an imperial nature that refused to be separated from her bottle after Colin was born. He didn't walk until just weeks before Alice was born 18 months his junior. The whole time I was pregnant with her I struggled before the Lord: "I know I have room in my heart for another child but I don't think I have room in my hands....." She was born with allergies, a jaw that would not stay in place, and struggled to grow. I hemorrhaged and had a difficult time recovering from that birth. She could not nurse and three months later as I spent multiple mornings throwing up I said to the Lord - "I sure hope I have the flu" knowing it was Roger and I perceived Him - the Lord- replying in a verse: "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in my eyes." I could believe the first part of the verse but the second - that was the challenge of the pregnancy - it was NOT "marvelous" in my eyes. But, all along, since that first failed pregnancy in late 1976 until I conceived Roger, I knew that we did not have everyone yet. It was the only answer to the many people, friends who had invitation to criticize me and strangers who took it upon themselves to judge without any invitation, who assumed that we were being careless, thoughtless, and unfair to the children we already had to get another and another and I would not trade any of them for anything! And how do you do it? Well, they are not all three years old at the same time. There is grace and it takes work and total commitment..... And we moved to St. Louis to a large house on a large lot in Dogtown and I homeschooled, barefoot and pregnant, producing a massive garden with so many Oriental poppies followed by iris and peonies interspersed with vegetables and berries and I was miserable in a marriage that had failed at its inception but continued and the garden was a place of peace and prayer and the first verse the babies learned was "God says, 'No, No. Stay OUT of the garden!". God saw that Leah was unloved so He opened her womb. But I didn't recognize emotional pain any better than I could tell when I was in true labor and you would have thought I would have had that down pat.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Birthday Musings - Third Decade

Perhaps everyone has to learn to navigate disappointment, dashed dreams, and ruined hopes. This was the decade of discontent tempered by a deepening consecration and awareness of the One who does not disappoint. The decade opened with me finishing my junior year at Washington University in St. Louis where I majored in sociology - was doing a major independent study on changes in the role of the individual in Japan following World War II as it manifested in changes in the Japanese educational system. I was also taking Japanese, French, and Spanish. And then I got engaged and married in August. One miscarriage later I was pregnant with Esther and bed-ridden for the last six weeks until she was born at home attended by a neighbor not by design but because the doctor did not believe I was in true labor and did not arrive as planned. We lived in Hillsboro, attended and found a spiritual community at a small unaccredited Bible school and my degree was postponed for four years until after we returned to Missouri after spending time not achieving our goal in southern California. By the end of the decade, three miscarriages later, Nancy was born in Danville, Illinois, which is where I had my first significant job serving a nonprofit organization as the children's program coordinator for a battered woman's shelter. In that role I also traveled the state as the chairman of the children's committee of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to conduct the first survey of children's program standards in state funded women's shelters. This job is where I learned that very dark Mary Kay foundation turns white arms brown but does not easily wash away - a key experience that I used with the main character in my novel,  Pastor's Ex-Wife - available for too little money right now on Amazon Kindle. The job ended when premature labor threatened to end this pregnancy and once again I was put to bed. Nancy was born during the 1984 Summer Olympics in the Danville hospital- thankfully our friends took Esther and forced their father to stop watching whatever competition was on at the moment.