From My Heart
For specific topics, please see Blog Subjects in the sidebar.
i am engaged
FIFTY YEARS AGO, flu had been going around the small Southern Baptist college I attended. I was ill, running a temperature; nonetheless, I’d been dragged off to church. Sunday night. Halloween. Full moon. Service finally over, the man I’d reluctantly been dating turned off Camelback Road of Phoenix, Arizona, onto the college campus. But instead of driving straight on and taking the road that ran out to the girls’ dormitory, Norris made an immediate right and came to a stop outside the library—a hunkered down building of stone that sat square on its haunches to stare through blank windows onto a circular fountain eerily stark and empty. Water turned off for winter.
“What are you doing?”
Meet Narcissa: Chap1, Scene A
I had mixed feelings about the affair...
She Could Out Pray and Out Preach White Patriarchy
Born a slave in 1797 on the estate of Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh Jr. - a Revolutionary War hero and wealthy landowner 95 miles north of New York City - Isabella (Belle) was born child #9 to James Baumfree and Elizabeth Bett. She carried no memory of her older siblings; the Colonel had a habit of selling them off. Nor did she remember the Colonel. She was a toddler when he died in 1799.
She did remember his son...
Fugitive Slave Law, Last Straw
Justice and Silence. An Unintentional Lesson.
“Why did you make Santa’s nose that color?” Jerry jeered.
My six-year-old self stiffened, helpless against the red-headed, freckle-faced boy who sat in the desk ahead of me. Daddy had told me Jerry taunted because he liked me. A terrible worry. If boys made fun of you when they liked you, what did they do if they didn’t? I stared at the cherry red crayon in my hand, fire in my cheeks.
“Santa’s nose isn’t cherry!” he sneered. I instantly felt everyone turn to stare and fell to my usual frantic prayer: Jesus, open a hole so I can fall in.
Invisible, no one could hurt me.
An Unheard of Journey for a Woman
A LONG TIME AGO, "The Oregon" of North America’s mid-Pacific Coastline was a far-away region jointly accupied by England and America. England’s Hudson’s Bay Company had been there forever and over the years various American companies arrived, all vying for furs provided by native tribes. To The Oregon, then, is where Narcissa headed in 1836 to be a missionary, traveliing with her new husband and, unexpextedly, her old nemesis—bitter because Narcissa had once refused his hand. Awkward...
Grace and Grit
GRACE AND GRIT MIGHT WELL HAVE BEEN THE NAMES of these two Van Buren sisters. My guess is you've never heard of Augusta and Adeline - Gussie and Addie as they preferred to be called.
We want to.
The Lone Woman of San Nicholas
She was born on San Nicholas Island off the coast of Santa Barbara’s Channel Islands in the early 1800s, a small outcropping of sandstone and sea mist, home to the Nicoleño for millennia. In 1835, the Catholic Church rounded up those who remained, but she got left behind. Subsequent searches found no trace of her. She was given up for dead and became the legendary Lone Woman.... Until found in 1853.
Why I Wrote Taming the Dragons
I’m excited about the resurrection of my 1992 book Taming the Dragons: Powerful Choices for Women in Conflict and Pain. July 2020, it’s back in print but with some changes:
2) more stories,
3) journaling pages, and
4) questions designed for self-reflection that can also be used in group discussions.
Taming the Dragons is a book for women in conflict and pain, but also for anyone going through a rough patch, in transition, or just down on their luck. I name six choices we can all make when up against the dragons in our way, depending on what they are. I partner six women from the Bible with the Wizard of Oz, perhaps the most endearing fairy tale of our day, to illustrate what these choices are and how they work. I then tell ten short stories of women who have made these choices to better their lives and the lives of those around them. But why did I write the book?
To answer that question, I’d like to tell you a story from my childhood.
First Chapter: Taming the Dragons
A Virulent Scourge and the Death of George Floyd
TAMING THE DRAGONS: Lucy, Uncle Tom's Cabin
TAMING THE DRAGONS: Mary, 1989
Taming the Dragons: Mary, Mother of Jesus
WAS MARY, fiance of Joseph, at the well in Nazareth when the stranger approached? Or was she washing butter, packing it into earthen vessels? What was she doing when a man she’d never seen before said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
I wonder, did the bucket fall from her hand, warm water splash across her hot and dusty feet? Did she drop her bowl? Did it break? Did she hasten to gather the precious butter coated now in dust and dirt? Kneeling, scooping, heart beating fast?
Taming the Dragons: Christine Wilbee
MY COUSINS WERE ALMOST HOME, pushing their bikes up the last of the hill. It was a winter evening early in the new year of 1974, and a slight drizzle hurried them along: Patty, thirteen, Christine, eleven. Lights from the kitchen window could be seen through the trees. Suddenly, a car driven by a young man blinded by the setting sun came gunning up over the ridge. Patty ran the half block home screaming. Uncle Stan, the town doctor, was paged. Christine had been in an accident.
Taming the Dragons: He Can't Hurt Me Anymore
Taming the Dragons: Bathsheba
Taming the Dragons, Sojourner Truth
When ISABEL "SOJOURNER TRUTH" was born a slave in 1797 in Hurley, NY, it was against the law to sell a slave South. Yet when a former master sold her five-year-old son Peter to a Dr. Gedney (who in turn sold him to his brother Solomon), it didn’t stop Solomon Gedney from selling the little boy to his sister’s brother, an Alabama planter. Outraged and grief-stricken, Sojourner Truth confronted Solomon Gedney’s wife. When she got no satisfaction, she appealed to Mrs. Gedney the matron, mother of the man who’d illegally sold her son.
“Ugh!” said Mrs. Gedney. “A fine fuss to make about a little nigger!
Anne Hutchinson, Colonial America
Louisa May Alcott: 10 Fun, Little Known Facts
In February, I visited the Orchard House in Concord, MA, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in 1868: The same year my great-grandmother Isabella Stewart was born in Denholm, Scotland, clear across the ocean. Such different lives! Granny lived in the heart of the Scottish borderlands—daughter of a poor agricultural laborer on Hall Rule Farm, where barefooted she hoed onions to help support the family. Louisa May Alcott was already an established writer by the time Isabella came along, and although she didn’t hoe onions to support her family’s crippling poverty, her prolific writing made her the primary bread winner.