A Visit to the Mother

At times, even a Mermaid of the Plains needs to visit the Mother. It had been too long since I felt her salty kisses, listened to her deep, rhythmic voice, and felt her presence wrap around me, pulling me into her great womb. She scolded me for not coming to visit more often. She scattered my whispered prayers upon her seas and embedded my confessions upon her shores. She filled me up so I might continue my journey, then gently let me go.

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke


Behind the Light

This past July, I wrote a piece about women being light bearers, the brandishers of flames whom we follow and emulate. But lately I’ve been given pause to think and try to understand what might be hiding behind a few of these beautiful torches.

Late September, we lost another incredible woman within our circle of friends and community. A wild, bold bearer of light, her memory now seared upon the broken hearts of many. Angela Mallory was smart, savvy, brash, passionate, and quick to turn strangers to friends. Her eulogy, a patchwork of memories and love penned by family and friends, captured the women we all knew and loved, a woman who approached everything she did with childlike abandon. Angie laughed loudly, cursed heartily, hugged ferociously, loved passionately, danced wildly, and gave of herself fearlessly.

And yet, unbeknownst to many, she was hiding behind her light, fearful something or someone was attempting to douse her flame, and instead of asking for help with her burden, she extinguished her beautiful light. She was hurting and her quiet suffering remained unseen by many who were unable or not wanting to see beyond her glorious blaze. The pain of her loss is deep and aching, felt in the bones and the recesses of our hearts, and partly because we cannot help but feel we failed her. How did we fail to see those hints of darkness piercing through her radiance?

I wonder how many others feel the need, the urgency to hide behind their flames. Do we place so much pressure on others to always be as the women (or men) we believe and want them to be, so much so they feel they cannot appear otherwise? When others revel in your joy of life, how can you possibly show them your sorrow of self. The stigma of being considered as damaged or weak pushes many to hide their feelings of sadness, self-doubt, fear, or hopelessness and yet, we all, at one time or another, have experienced one, if not all of these emotions. Everyone wants to be liked, to be accepted, and to be loved. No one should ever feel shunned, betrayed or unwanted. For none of us are perfect. Not one of us. We all have our faults, we all have our sins, whether spoken or unspoken, we are all imperfect, and that is what makes us all so incredible and believe it or not, so lovable.

There will always be unresolved questions, but I hope we fight to find answers for those who still struggle and will struggle. A woman whose flame we are drawn, should never feel she cannot set down her torch and ask for help. There is no shame in saying aloud that our heart is hurting, our soul is crying, and we can’t and don’t want to keep walking the path. There is great strength in knowing when we need someone to hold our hand or rest roadside with us. Every woman should know there are others readily available to carry her torch and should her light dim ever so slightly, know we will still find warmth beneath its glow.

Angie’s light will never be extinguished; she will forever guide us with her colorful fire. While she may have veiled her pain behind her splendid light, the torchbearer we will forever remember is a sensitive soul given over to compassion and unconditional love. She will continue to illuminate our lives, the shadow of her magnificent hat dancing along the path beside us in times of joy and in times of sadness. She has become our teacher, urging us to recognize a quivering flame or a muted glow, not only in others but in ourselves, and to understand when and how to reach out in times of need, not only to others, but for others. As torchbearers, we must illuminate the dark of depression and eliminate the shadows of suicide.

Angela Mallory-beautiful soul (photo by Paula Love Moore)

Angela Mallory-beautiful soul (photo by Paula Love Moore)


It’s been two weeks since our whirlwind weekend of back-to-back concerts and I am still stirred by each of the performances. While we hadn’t planned to travel from Wichita to Kansas City on a Friday, then travel from Kansas City to Salina on Saturday (I bought the tickets thinking the concerts were a week a part, not realizing they were 24 hours apart until about three weeks prior), it was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. The combined performances, the venues, the company, even the travel, made for one memorable weekend. And, while the acts could not have been more different musically, I was slightly surprised by their similarities.

On Friday, we were treated to Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings at The Folly Theater. If you get the opportunity, you should experience a show at the Folly, a beautifully renovated venue whose history began in 1900 and included such acts as the Marx Brothers and the Gypsy Rose Lee. Currently, they feature a Chamber Music series, a Discovery Series featuring young talent, and they have a Folly Jazz Series that is tempting our immediate return. We first saw Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings at Wichita’s own historic theater, The Orpheum, in 2011. As she has not released any new music and announced they “are not really on tour, so there’s no set list,” the show seemed impromptu with the two of them deciding songs between sips of water and tuning guitars. The set up was simple, their performance captivating, and I was moved to tears when their third song of the evening was The Way It Will Be, a song which seems to haunt its way into my dreams and linger as backdrop music for days and days. Rawlings was remarkable, at times shooting notes machine gun-like into the audience while Welch lulled us into their stories. Mike Warren with The Pitch does an excellent job of describing the evening, so I won’t go into much more detail but, as is every time I listen to Gillian Welch, I hear the creak of footsteps on an overused wood porch, taste the tartness of loneliness, smell the warmth of whiskey breath, and sense the long days and dark nights of dust-smattered hope. I thought they were brilliant. Friday night came to a close with late night conversations over beer with my brother and sister-in-law in the comfort of their living room in Overland Park. Success.

Round Two: Rodrigo and Gabriela at The Stiefel Theater in Salina, Kansas. I have been waiting to see this duo since we discovered their live show with the Cuban orchestra, C.U.B.A, on Palladia one Friday night. I was immediately drawn in by their intensity, an intensity most likely drawn from their heavy metal background. Yes, heavy metal. As Rodrigo stated during one of their breaks, “when you think of two Mexican acoustic guitar players, you think traditional, flamenco, maybe mariachi, not…rock band.” But, that is exactly who they are. A rock band. Their style is unique and while many describe their music as Nuevo-flamenco-folk-rock-instrumental, I’m not sure it can be clearly labeled, other than Jose Feliciano meets Metallica. They are concise, melodic, quick-fingered, energetic, aggressive, and a hell of a lot of fun. When Rodrigo inquired if there were any metal heads in the audience, I knew we were in for a hip-swaying-head-banging evening. Again, with no set list, they took requests from the audience, playing Metallica’s Orion and segueing into Battery. Within a lengthier solo, they tucked in refrains of Stairway to Heaven, and Rodrigo even performed and sang Radiohead’s Creep, again, at the request of an audience member. Soon, the audience was standing, dancing, throwing the goat, head banging, clapping, and completely fueled by their frenetic playing on stage. (Performing Hanuman in 2010)

When it was her turn to engage the audience while Rodrigo took a break, Gabriela spoke truth when she said she was “the drummer of the band.” Throughout the night, I was mesmerized by the shapeshifting of her hand beating against the body of the guitar, her hand  at times appearing deformed or fingerless beneath the red hue of the lights. I recalled reading an article about how they’d had to take a hiatus due to stress fractures in her hand and the how and why of that hiatus became evident. She utilized every part of her guitar, swinging her long black hair over the frets, reminiscent of adolescent boys at a Megadeth concert. She blew me away. Their long relationship and musical partnership was evident in how they read one another as they played, with one look or quick movement they would shift into a different song, stop, or turn up the intensity. Simpatico. They are an act you hope never leaves the stage. True to their hard rock influence, they exited as ACDC’s For Those About to Rock blasted through the speakers.

As we stepped out into the humid night, still reeling from the show, I thought about the similarities between the two concerts. Two couples, two guitars. Simple stage set up. No tour. No set lists. Familiarity. A shared secret of rhythm and song between each couple. Musically different, captivatingly the same. There was even dancing. Gillian Welch performed a little hambone/clogging during Six White Horses. And, while it wasn’t Rodrigo Y Gabriela, their opening act, a local Kansas City band Making Movies, featured their percussionist dancing a traditional sones de tarima, where a dancer performs atop a wooden pallet or crate, amplifying the sounds of their feet. The dance pushes itself into the beating of your heart, increasing the pulse of the music, which was definitely experienced in both performances.

Two nights, two cities, two couples, two guitars, and two old theaters. A weekend long to remember.

No Place Like Local

I was a little ambitious when I thought I would post on a semi-daily basis regarding all Wichita has to offer when it comes to local businesses. My excuse is that I was so busy experiencing this abundance of goodness, I didn’t have time to write! But, since I’ve promised many family, friends, and even my staff, that I would direct them to local establishments, I thought I should make good on those ICT promises.

In the past two weeks, my husband and I have put our hard-earned dollars back into our community by shopping for groceries at the Kansas Grown Farmers Market, The Spice Merchant, and the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop. Plus, we’ve enjoyed a few on-the-go meals at favorites like TJ’s Burger House, The Anchor, Picasso’s Pizza, Hungry Heart and T.O.P.S. And, I’ve kicked off a few mornings with a delicious sugar rush from Juarez Bakery and The Donut Whole. As for local watering holes, we’ve enjoyed the recently opened Hopping Gnome and were fortunate to attend a soft opening for Central Standard Brewing Company.

The choices we Wichitans have when it comes to dining out or meeting for a few drinks is nothing short of amazing. There is no reliance on big chains for sustenance and conversation over ales, not with the bounty of local businesses offering unique, tasty, and somewhat addictive fare. Since I could dedicate an entire post to each of the establishments listed above, I decided to break it down in a simple, descriptive paragraph for a few. If you need more, click on the name, as I’ve provided a link to either their website or Facebook page. Then, do yourself a favor and share in the dream.

Kansas Grown Farmers Market: Kansas grown. Need I say more? From farm fresh eggs and blood-red tomatoes to bowls of purple radishes and sweet corn from Gaeddert Farms in Buhler, KS. Open from April to early October.

The Spice Merchant: A Wichita landmark brimming with tubs of coffee beans ready for purchase, an entire room to entice tea drinkers, oodles of kitchen accessories, hard to find spices, snarky magnets and birthday cards. Oh, and incense. Warning: do not plan a brief trip to The Spice Merchant. You will need time to get lost in the aisles and corners. Plan accordingly.

Douglas Avenue Chop Shop: Schane Gross expands her reign as the Matriarch of Multiple Businesses (Hell Bomb Tattoo, The Anchor, Fork & Fennel, and the DACS) with this butcher shop featuring Kansas raised meats and locally grown produce. Currently, we are addicted to the Red Wattle pork chops and bacon wrapped tenderloin. Laid back atmosphere, knowledgeable staff. My favorite Saturday afternoon consists of errands completed, a rewarding beer or two at The Anchor, and meat and cheese from the Chop Shop to take home for a home cooked meal.

Hopping Gnome: “Brewed for the Locals.” Located in the Douglas Design District and owned by Torrey and Stacy Lattin, their ICT tribute craft beers are brewed on the premises in served in full pints or samplers. Front window seating is great for people watching. But, probably avoid if you have a phobia of gnomes. My heart belongs to the barrel-hopping gnome logo and the Earl of ESB.

TJ’s Burger House: Delano District. While I’m not a fan of the 1950s décor, the burgers are scrumptious. Big, beefy, ruin-the-red-and-white-sandwich-paper-they-came-in greasy and messy. Cheeseburgers are my weakness. My last meal better be the mushroom Swiss burger from TJ’s.

TJs burgerhouse

T.O.P.S (Taste of Philadelphia Style) Steaks and Hoagies: Owned by local general contractor, Bernard Knowles, and located in a small plaza just west of Grove and 21st Street, T.O.P.S is a must-visit. I do not profess to know what makes a cheesesteak an original or Philadelphia style, but I do know a great sandwich when I taste one. Cooked on a grill located behind the storefront window, you watch as the meat is skillfully browned along with the peppers and onions, the white cheese added, then piled into a hoagie bun that perfectly retains the drippings. The place is very small, but the sandwiches, wrapped carefully in sandwich paper, foil and bagged, travel well to their destination.

The Donut Whole: Cool, inventive, and resourceful Kansas proud owners; creatively, quirky and delectable donuts; an adult space to enjoy live music, poetry readings, retro films, and celebrate turning in your thesis (okay, that last one might be solely me, but I remember the afternoon very well and maple bacon donuts can spur the memory with one bite). Oh, and the wildest, entertainiest, funnest, birthday bashes, ever. I enjoy their birthday bazzazzle so much, I made up a word to describe it. The Donut Whole does that to you.

Juarez Bakery: Go. Delight in the wall of breads and pastries. Grab a pink tray and silver tongs and pile to your heart’s content. Their conchas are the closest to my mother’s homemade Mexican sweet bread I can find. One bite and I’m a little girl sitting at the kitchen table dunking pieces of my bread into Mexican hot chocolate, the sugary topping crumbling into the cocoa, the sopping bread melting on my tongue like a communion wafer.

Wow. Where was I? Oh yes, local establishments. Those are just a few of what Wichita has to offer. I will warn you, so many choices make for sometimes strenuous decision-making on where to dine or stop for a cold beer. But, I’d rather fuss for a few minutes over whether to grab a large slice of The Kansan or The Kitchen Sink at Picasso’s Pizzeria or salmon sliders at The Hungry Heart then not have any local choices, at all.

Thank you, local ICT business owners. You make it easy to advocate for this hometown of mine.

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#ShineICT: My Final Post as Blogger of the Month for KSWB

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity as Blogger of the Month for Kansas Women Bloggers. I close the month of July with my final post about my hometown, Wichita. As is stated in my bio, I’m an advocate for this growing city and its people. The ICT (as it is affectionately known thanks to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) code for our airport), has much to offer her native Wichitans and transplants. But, I want to focus on the faces and places who reflect the most light in our city, those I believe generate the greatest shine in our community – small business owners.

Okay, so I’m a little biased, since my husband joined this courageous group in 2008 when he combined his years of work experience and his passion for art and launched Concrete Colorscapes. But, even prior to his stepping out on the small business ledge, we were always supporters of local. It’s in our blood. Wichita has a long legacy of people and their businesses started on a dime and a dream. We are rooted in a city that pulses with inventiveness, creativity, and the willingness to take a risk.

Local business owners are entwined with their community: they are familiar with the mainstays and aware of trends, understand its geographical limitations, and have lived its history. But more importantly, small business owners know the people of their community. For me, small business owners are like an aunt with a scrumptious recipe or cousin with a great idea who want to share so we might all partake in its awesomeness. From the perfect cup of coffee or delicious work-of-art donut to a sturdy, handmade coffee table or an intriguingly creative bouquet of flowers, Wichita business owners share the dream.

This weekend, I visited Veritá Coffee Company. Finally, the west side has a coffeehouse to call its own! Jon and Ivy are energetic and consummate small business owners, learning the names of every customer and passionately educating new patrons on the beauty of their espresso, as well as a menu which includes a root beer latte. There is such care in the preparation of each cup, such patience, precision, and enjoyment in doing so, something you definitely don’t get from a chain. And, it is contagious. I left Veritá wanting to know more about coffee and, of course, drink more coffee. Sure, this is their livelihood and they are aware of the stress, the gamble, and yet, their manner of voice and their genuine smiles express it’s all worth it. That and their incredible coffee will keep people lined up at the coffee bar. Plus, they were spinning vinyl Saturday morning. How you could not want to visit this place?

Owning your own business is definitely not for sissies. Small business owners work 24/7, with no real paid time off or extended holidays or anyone matching 5% to their retirement fund. Their bonuses come in the form of repeat customers and word of mouth. And, their true success doesn’t come in expansions or buy outs, but in longevity and consistency and the creation of family. Just look at The Artichoke Sandwich Bar, Connie’s Mexico Café, and The Spice Merchant for examples of Wichita family and mainstays.

The rich fabric of our ICT community is further enhanced with each new storefront, neon sign, or tinkle-clink of a bell against a door. Beautiful Day Café is a shining example of this beautification. Located at the corner of Central and Green Street, they provide healthy meals for their neighbors, from farm to table. Their food is fresh, delectable, and pleasing. But, it is the atmosphere of comfort that gets me, every time. Walking into their café is like walking into the kitchen of a neighbor or a relative. I keep waiting for my Aunt Becka to appear, rollers tucked under an opaque scarf, and serve me a plate of eggs. Their dream was built on a vision of community and family, and you can feel it wrap around you like a soft serape when you sit at a table.

While Wichita definitely has its own quality of brightness, it also shines in its ability to distinguish itself as a place to build dreams, both big and small. As I said earlier, it’s in our blood to create, to invent, to dare to build a dream upon the purchase of an abandoned warehouse, a commercial grade vertical stand mixer, a pro-pack of engraving tools, or a Slayer espresso machine. And, it’s in our character to support those who take such risk, as they are a reflection of ourselves, as we pursue our own dreams. Thomas Watson, Sr. once said, “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” My business and heart is in Wichita, just as her business and heart is in each one of us. Let’s continue to #ShineICT.

Thank you for following my journey this month at Kansas Women Bloggers. Please visit me here, at Mermaid of the Plains, as I will be listing my favorite local businesses throughout the week. And thank you to our small business owners of the ICT, especially Verita Coffee Company and Beautiful Day Café, for allowing me to take photos and ask questions.

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Kansas Shine – at Kansas Women Bloggers

My third post at Kansas Women Bloggers focuses on our sometimes learned love of this state we call home, Kansas.

There is something about Kansas and Kansans. Kansas skies can be endless blues of possibility, lowered grays of frost-tipped resilience, or furrowed blacks of trepidation. And at night, well, there is no description worthy of a Kansas sky filled with stars. Some say Kansas is too flat and boring. I say Kansas is vast, its horizon unrestrained, and this is never more apparent than at sunrise and sunset.
Kansas Sunset

The Light Bearers

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to the future generations. – George Bernard Shaw

I believe it is up to us , each in our own way, to illuminate the paths of others, because only then will our own splendid torch find its purpose.

Read the rest of my post at Kansas Women Bloggers as the Blogger of the Month for July.

Let it shine.


Kansas Women Bloggers – This Little Light of Mine

Throughout the month of July, I will be the featured blogger for Kansas Women Bloggers. KSWB’s mission is to Gather, Grow, and Connect women throughout the state of Kansas. I truly appreciate organizations and individuals who promote the creativity of women in our community, especially with the intent to strengthen and empower.

I’m truly excited and honored to be their Blogger of the Month.

Please join me at Kansas Women Bloggers and share in their vision, as well as follow my thoughts and musings on the theme of the month, Shine.

My Adventure into the Great Unsewn

Becoming the consummate housewife was never a priority. Never in my life have I felt the urge to channel June Cleaver or buy a subscription to Good Housekeeping or Better Homes and Gardens. I’m not negating the significance of the domesticated Goddess,  as mother and/or female head of household, I’m just stating a true fact about myself. I am not a picture of domestication.

I didn’t learn to cook anything beyond scrambled eggs or microwavable chicken patties until I was 30. Hey, as long as I had a working coffee pot, toaster, and microwave, I could survive. And, I was in my mid-30s before I was asked to bring more than just the beer and ice to holiday gatherings. My flames of desire to cook were not stoked until I married my husband (at the age of 33) and soon after came to the realization that my sister need not carry the torch of my mother’s recipes all alone. But, while I’ve learned and now love to cook, as it allows me to create, rekindle childhood memories, plus it can be inexpensive type of therapy, I’ve yet to yearn to sew.

My sister is the mad seamstress of the family, creating wool capes and flimsy halter tops back in her 20s, even the white dress she wore as a candidate for Tournament Queen, to decades of Halloween costumes for her family.

I can’t even sew on a button properly. My attempts at mending a pair of pants or coat by replacing one button have resulted in crooked, gaping closures, where the button is sewn too far to the left or right of the buttonhole, or the article of clothing jettisons the button just moments later. And, don’t ask me to hem pants. Once, I took three pairs of pants to a neighbor lady to have them hemmed and she charged me a pittance, I’m sure out of pity. What grown woman cannot hem a pair of pants? That would be me.

I recognized the sewing gig was not for me during Home Economics class while I was in middle school. The only two things I vividly remember from that class are scrambled eggs and an ugly, brown tote bag. Each of us needed to cook a meal as an assignment, so breakfast seemed easy enough. My partner and I followed the directions for “Perfect Scramble Eggs” and melted a few slices of cheese over the finished product, completing the presentation with two slices of toast. A+. Those scrambled eggs with cheese became a staple of my twenties, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The creating of the tote bag, however, did not supply me with any domestic survival skills. It was the exact opposite, as I swore to never thread a needle or sew again after failing to keep the fabric taut, quickly learning fast acceleration is not the same with a sewing machine, and having to use the seam ripper after every attempt. The seams were crooked, the two handles of slightly different lengths, and the red and white mushroom transfer (hey, it was the seventies) was slightly crinkled. I received my first “C” on the finished product, although it functioned well enough for me to cram notebooks and various single sheets of notebook paper into it on the last day of school and lug it all home. After its one and only job, I’m not sure what happened to the bag, possibly it is still hidden away in my parent’s basement amidst other firsts, like my kindergarten watercolor painting and the wooden race car I painstakingly smoothed to a fine finish during Shop class.

So, why in the world at 49 years of age would I think I could take on the task of sewing curtains and cushions for our 1968 Shasta camper? Where did this moment of weakness come from? I’m willing to pay people to sew on buttons and other minimal alterations, even willing to buy a new coat rather than replace buttons, so when I stated I was going to create the cool curtains and equally cool cushions for our camper, no one was more surprised than me. It might have been the fact I “made the call” on Facebook, you know, the status where you inquire who has the best deals on vintage camper accessories, where to go for the best sushi, who is the best seamstress in town. Comments were made by friends and family sharing of their own experiences creating curtains for children’s bedrooms, campers, etc. So, when the comments turned to suggestions that I could easily make the curtains and cushions for our camper, I found myself inspired by the notion of venturing into the unknown and tackling that old nemesis, sewing.

I borrowed a Dressmaker sewing machine from friends who are camping enthusiasts and whom bought said machine specifically for their own camper creations. I downloaded Sewing for Dummies, made a list of the recommended sewing tools and waded through torrential rain to fill my blue basket at Hobby Lobby. And have spent this rainy Memorial Day weekend watching Sewing for Beginners, How to Thread a Sewing Machine, and How to Load a Bobbin, videos on YouTube. This morning, I spent an hour reviewing the funny, pink toy-like machine, figuring out how to set the tension, where to replace the needle, and how to load a front load bobbin.

Am I ready? Well, I’m not sure. I know what lies ahead are a few hours of practice on scrap fabric, some nervous tension as I begin the actual project, and a whole lot of cursing followed by a beer break, or two. I thought it might help if I blogged about the task, since writing helps me analyze situations and serves as creative arts therapy during difficult times. This is definitely going to be one of those difficult times, but I’m hopeful I will conquer my sewing fears and find some enjoyment in learning a new avenue of creativity. Plus, I’ve got my eye on a pattern for a really cool wool cape when autumn approaches. Forever the optimist.

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Leaving the City of Comfort

At the end of a commencement speech given at Connecticut College in 1980, Alan Alda said, “At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

I like the city of comfort. It’s familiar, somewhat structured, fairly reasonable, and yet, at times, frustrating. Possibly, the frustration lies within the walls of the city, built by the hands of convenience and formed by the expectation of others. Perhaps, we find ourselves one day standing at those walls and looking over into the endless fields of possibilities, the forests of should haves, and the oceans of mysteries. Fear keeps us behind those walls. Self-doubt convinces us to stop peering over those walls. But, what if one day our intuition draws us to the top of the wall, to sit and contemplate, to urge us to dream, to dare us to leave those confines of comfort.

My intuition tells me there is change on my horizon. I don’t know what it is, just that it is coming. It could be great or it could be small, but my inner Natalie is telling me to prepare. While I do not sense danger or tragedy, I am still a little fearful because change is always daunting. And, while I feel change is approaching, I also know I will have to meet change halfway by leaving these walls I so readily constructed. And, while I’ve never been one to refrain from hard work, I confess risk has not been in my vocabulary these past few years. Just when we believe we have our lives all figured out, something whispers in our ear to ready ourselves, to be prepared to scale the walls and run head long into the forests of our dreams.

Like waiting for a Kansas storm to arrive, anticipating either a deluge of long-awaited rain or the violent crack and tremor of a thunderstorm. How appropriate.