Upper Mississippi River Valley
Hi! I'm glad you're here. The photo above is the Mississippi River Valley where I feel most at home. Known as the Driftless Area, melting glacial waters carved the valley and the bluffs. Its many moods and seasons stimulate and soothe my soul.
I write in two categories. My women's fiction is about a Twin Cities millennialist with a bi-racial family and her East Prussian great-Tante, a World War II refugee. As young adults, the two women each deal with violence against a family member and the subsequent hushing up of what happened to their loved one--and the effect of this on their family and on their souls.
I also write spiritual non-fiction. I'm currently at work on daily devotions for the month of November (or May for the Southern Hemisphere). I love November's neutral palette, its barren and blustery days. But there are some people who experience difficulty transitioning from autumn's vibrant beauty to winter's cold austerity. These daily devotions will offer words of encouragement and thanksgiving during the ever darkening days.
My first published book, Disturbing Complacency: Preparing for Christmas, contains daily devotions for the season of Advent.
I'm a pastor serving in the United Church of Christ along the river! (surprise, surprise!). From 2013-2019, I served an open and affirming church alongside an African American pastor. I have grown children who live nearby. I enjoy walks, hikes in state or city parks, flower and herb gardening, playing board games (Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, Carcassonne) and card games, sharing meals or a coffee and tea with family and friends. Time is short and life is precious.
A Scottish Life
For two years, I lived and worked at the Abbey for the Iona Community, greeting international guests each week.
Iona is a wee bright jewel of an island off Scotland's west coast and it's an amazing journey to get there:
from Glasgow, ride a train or bus into the Highlands
from the coastal village of Oban, sail on the big ferry
from Craignure on the Isle of Mull, catch a coach for the 45-minute ride on a one-track road
to the wee village of Fionnphort (fin-ne-furt) where you make your way to the small foot ferry for the 10-minute ride to Iona.
Other journeys, far-flung and nearby:
While I lived across the pond, I explored Scotland--Nethybridge and Blair Atholl, Glasgow and Edinburgh; England--York and Keswick (kez ik), Fountains Abbey and Chatsworth House (of Pride and Prejudice film fame); Northern Ireland--Belfast, Carrickfergus, the Giant's Causeway, and the Corrymeela Community; and for New Years, I visited a co-worker's home in Berlin, Germany to watch the fireworks.
Back Stateside, I've visited a friend in Toronto, traveling with her to Ottawa for the Berlin friend's wedding. In 2014, I returned to Scotland and traveled with a Shape-Note singing friend to northern England—Holmfirth, York, Durham—and stayed with other friends in Bunessan on the Isle of Mull.
Through church I traveled:
to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and
to San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico and studied 10 days at the Institute for Intercultural Studies & Research, which included visits to nearby sites—historical and justice-oriented.
In the U.S., I traveled through mostly the Midwest (HUGE extended family) States. But my kids and I also:
flew to Maine to visit a college friend in immunology research at Bar Harbor Island,
rode the Amtrak train to Washington and toured Seattle, Redmond, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Olympic National Park, and Ocean Shores,
drove to Colorado to visit family in Colorado Springs, check out Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, then drove to Durango to visit a high school friend and explore Mesa Verde National Park,
visited Wisconsin's Apostle Islands and stayed at Madeline Island during a wet autumn and attended a summer workshop on Washington Island.
Did I mention I like islands?