Thank You Note to God

Dear God,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you. Usually we’re just talking. I don’t know how many letters you get, but since Thanksgiving is coming up it felt like a good time to say thank you in a different way. I’ll try not to make this too long because you have tons to do. As I sit back and think about it, you’ve been really busy this year.  Causing the sun to rise everyday must be exhausting, but then again you’re God so you don’t get tired.

Thank you for giving me life and for healing me from Lyme disease. Thank you for meeting me in the middle of those July nights when I felt like might burn a hole through the bed. Thank you that our goldfish (Goldie and Arthur), are still alive after one year and seven months. Thank you for all our friends who listen so still and so well, even when we’re crying and can’t get the words out. Thank you for the success of our eighteen year old friend’s stem cell transplant who’s now on the way to living out all the good plans you have for his life. Thank you for a beautiful, WILD garden this year, despite the lack of time to weed it. Thank you for all the help we receive from Super-Sod Landscaping because we don’t have time to cut the grass. Thank you for the people you’ve given me a chance to share my writing with. Thank you for the out-of-the-box creativity of my publisher, Koehler Books. Thank you for the Redbud Writer’s Guild. Thank you for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Thank you for my wondrous students and their profoundly good hearts. Thank you that I was born in the United States of America and I still live here. Thank you for Church of the Resurrection and the hope of being transformed every Sunday. Thank you that you are always doing a new thing, even when we can’t see it. Thank you for seeds, those planted and those waiting in drawers to be planted. Thank you for the chance to see baby eagles in their nest this past summer. Thank you that both of my parents and my brother are alive and for all the JOY and challenge they bring to my life. Thank you for Wydemere retirement community. Thank you for my big family and the times I’ve seen them this year. I miss my cousins. I wish could see them more often than at funerals. Thank you for the writers that you’ve used to inform my life this year, especially Luci Shaw, Richard Foster, Margaret Hasse and Mary Oliver. Thank you for our dog, Snuggles, her speed, and her hunger for adventure. Thank you for mentors who live to see their 80th birthday (C. Grissom that’s you, oh blessed OCTO!) Thank you for the colorful palette of our children’s lives. Thank you for Door County, Wisconsin, especially High Pines, Mud Lake and Toft Point. Thank you that I’m 52, can still run and sprint the finish. Thank you for my husband – so many thank yous here I could fill the page – you already know them all. Thank you for your sacrifice in giving us Jesus and the chance to get to know him.

I think that about covers it. Happy Thanksgiving God and thanks for being you!



Your Artistic Corner

Amidst falling linden leaves, I passed by and heard the sound of a Skilsaw coming from the potting shed. For about a year I’ve been hoping to catch a glimpse of the backyard artist who lives three blocks away. Wrapped in yellow paint, her windowed workshed is a tiny haven of reclaimed creativity. The corners are stacked with orchard pear and apple crates, rusty nails waiting to be extracted. On a high southern shelf her 1940’s radio serves as friendly company between searing wood cuts. “I love Chris Fabry while I’m working,” she says nodding to the familiar voice overhead. Long planks of end-of-driveway fencing are being refashioned into nativity stables. Our dogs romped the fall green lawn as we chatted about how she began this truly cottage industry. “I started making them back in 1985 for my family and then a friend offered to buy one and I realized I could make a little business out of it.” She hand fashions the nativity figures as well, starting in January.  If you are interested, here is a look at what she makes on Etsy:

Every artist needs a “room of my own” as Virginia Woolf described it.  While I don’t yet have a whole room dedicated to my version of creativity, the old Lincoln desk is where I cozy up with words. Objects in the hutch inspire with past, present and future reminders. A skull – from my San Antonio love of calaveras and their celebration on Dia de los Muertos. We are all mortal.  An ancient copy of Pilgrims Progress because we need the tangible scent of old leather and crinkling pages for connection with ancient predecessors.  My “chop,” brought back from China by a close friend. Plunging the carved dragon into blood red ink to sign my name in Chinese characters links my arms with another culture in word and symbol. The smattering of these sentimental friends extends my heart into the world while typing on green felt, at home.


Karen Cushman has her own out building – a writing studio.  A place apart from the bustle of laundry, the phone and distractions. Cats sit on her lap all morning or ball up around her feet like an angora blanket while she researches her next novel. Stephanie Hulthen, who took the portrait photos for this website, lives on a farm with a gaggle of children and geese. Her photography studio is a small barn, set apart from her zany house full of runny noses, spilled milk and broken crayons. Here she can put things together with vision, seeing them through her singular lens, taking time amidst the drying corn stalks that stand on the periphery.

Before walking my dog home, I bought one of those nativity stables as we talked over linseed oil soaking into the grain of reclaimed wood. The sawdust smell alone forced me to do it, but also the joy of seeing my neighbor putting her hands to what she loves in her shining corner of the world.  If you don’t have a room of your own, stake out a parcel and start creating. If you do, send me a photo or a comment  about what lurks there.  If you aren’t creating something now you MUST at minimum have your own cozy reading nook. See some favorite reading nooks on my pinterest page: