Friday, June 6, 2014

The Last Two Weeks, Big Emotions, Big Assignments

I asked Jan at Conari Press if she was still interested in seeing another book from me.  She was, so it was a big day to send it all off to her.  There are so many emotions engendered when you send a book off:  some level of uncertainty; some level of confidence.  Then the big question, always a good one in my case, Will other people see the worth and work that I've put forth and lived?  We'll see.  It's good to be this far along.  We wait.

Turns out, I can't live without a book going.  I took four days off,  we're talking restless hee-bee jee-bees here,  started another.  This one is about a pistol-packing mama and a librarian.  Good, huh? 

A couple of projects that take the heart:  After the first of the year, we joined some small groups at church; our job was to create projects that served our larger community and complete them.  So we did.  Some of our groups hosted a Bingo night at the VA, complete with prizes.  Another group visited Chrysalis, more about who they are in a minute, and provided Sunday night dinners for them.  My group worked with two other groups.  We've been involved with building Habitat houses for a couple of years and a family, Mom and Dad and four kids, from the Congo were shortly to move into theirs, one we helped with.  We thought about providing a kitchen shower for the family.  One of the other groups was mostly men and they wanted to provide tools.  Then a family was moving from one home to another and donated several pieces of living room furniture.  We gathered up all of that,  And last Saturday, we took four trucks loads of goods out to them.  Things like rakes and hammers, pancake pans and soup kettles, a living room couch.  Wonderful morning.  We will have saved them about a thousand bucks and took a step toward moving their house to a home.  Put six white chairs on their front porch.  Instant community.  Wanna do that again.

Now Chrysalis.  That's a group of homes in our community that provide help and assistance to women newly out of prison,  most often women with substance abuse issues.  There is no tougher road.  Their treatment program based on Christian values and teaching, which incorporates absolute truth-telling, discipline and direction,  learning who you are in God, getting a grip, besides the  psychological and social learning and support, and the science of addiction and what it requires to set yourself free.  There are lots of women who do not make it; the consequences are dire.  One gal burned out her liver before the age of 30.   But there are a few sterling gals who do, and they are making their way into our congregation.  They make up two rows in our more raucous services.  They have been embraced at our church and we are getting to know them.  Viv wanted to know what I wanted to do.   I thought about it for a weekend and decided I could come and do a home-cooked meal, teach some basic cooking skills, empower those gals so that they could learn how to provide healthy food for themselves.  I have a theory for everything, which is the way my writer's mind works and here's this one:  if you had an addictive process going on in our life, and you were hungry, lonely, lost, that would be bad juju and you would be more likely to be out finding the things that weren't good for you.  Men who would use you sexually.  Drugs and alcohol.  Breaking the law.  Finding money from those sources.  Tough.   
But if you had some power over your own life, could provide food and the other things you needed in this life through your own efforts, you might stand a better chance.  I could teach them about good food and how to make it.  My friend, Jeanette, wants to help too.  She's one of the best cooks I know; she's an ardent vegetarian and her food is a salute to great health.    Viv and I were thinking that more women might want to help.  Let me know.  I'm going to do it quarterly, I'm thinking, so there's lots of room for help.  Think about it: a whole cadre of mamas at the ready.  Men too, I'm hoping.

And last, Rick and Suzie are in town.  He's running this weekend in a big race, about seven hours of biking, swimming, and running.  There are some friends who are beyond fit, but Rick might be the bes and he's in his early 60s.  Impressive, impressive, impressive.  We had dinner with them last night in Tim and Julie's back yard along with my cousin Julie, Cheryl and Larry, and baby Bear, the new puppy.   Way fun.


  1. Happy to hear the BTC sequel is on its way to Conari!

  2. Great post! Big kudos to you that your next book is on its way! Yay!
    Wonderful idea to teach about providing food and cooking for the women at Chrysalis. All the best to you and your group!

    1. Thanks, Mary. It's a step in the right direction. Barb