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 an open and affirming, biracial United Church of Christ alongside an African American pastor. I have grown children who live nearby. At the moment! I enjoy going for walks, hikes in the state or city parks, flower and herb gardening, and playing board games and card games, sharing meals or a coffee or tea with family and friends. Time is short. And precious.
The picture above is the Mississippi River. My spirit feels most at home in this river valley. Known as the Driftless Area, melting glacial waters carved the valley and the bluffs. Its many moods and seasons stimulate and soothe my soul.
A Scottish Life
But, my heart also yearns for another place.
Iona is a wee bright jewel of an island off Scotland's west coast. For two years, I lived and worked at the Abbey for the Iona Community, greeting international guests each week. 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:
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 Holmfirth, York, Durham, and stayed with other friends in Bunessan.
Through church, I traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and I spent 10 days at the Institute for Intercultural Studies & Research in San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico.
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-days friend in immunology research at Bar Harbor Island,
- rode 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 friend and explore Mesa Verde National Park,
- visited Wisconsin's Apostle Islands during a wet autumn
- attended a summer workshop on Washington Island
Did I mention I like islands?