Saturday, April 30, 2011

For the Love of Words

I cannot remember exactly when I began to write. I have always loved to read,  an indespensible discipline for one who writes. It is by experiencing the ebb and flow of the words and thoughts and sentences of others that I find my own rhythm.
Do writers really understand the joy and excitement and knowledge they bring to life with each carefully, or casually chosen word? Perhaps, but I know I write because I must. There is in inner compelling that I rarely understand, but follow nonetheless. Within that drive to put words on paper, I sometimes picture an audience that will be moved or changed by my words, but I must confess that often I do not take them into account at all.
Are other writers like that? Do they write for the sheer joy of the thing? Do they find the pacing, the flow, the preciseness of language, the melody of the piece, as it were, leads to the sheer fun of putting thoughts into words and putting words onto paper?
I think probably they do. There is such satisfaction in the task itself that I imagine others, too, delight in the process. Actually, I am often surprised when people read my joyfully written words and tell me they have been enriched by them. I am amazed at their comments, surprised that such effects would be the result of my words.

I love to write. I love to read what others have written. I love words and the meaning behind a collection of words. The miracle of taking the intangible and making it tangible still leaves me in awe of the raw power found in a well-written article or book. The power of the pen, indeed.
You can use your hands to pick up a pen and form words that convey a meaning. But, when you add thoughtfulness to those words you become a craftsman. And even more amazing, when you use your hands and your mind and your heart to write, then you become an artist.
It is the heart that makes the difference.
Katherine

Friday, April 29, 2011

What Are You Going To Be When You Grow Up?

I took my nurses training at Lutheran Hospital school of Nursing in St Louis, Mo. It was a three year program. The first year was mostly taking classes. We did a little work on the floor, like handing out food trays and perhaps feeding people. After we were "capped"  however, we began working on the floor as student nurses. Sometimes we worked the night shift and had classes the next day. It was grueling, but we were young and took it in stride.

After our second year we could even pick up shifts to work and get paid for them. One of my classmates worked almost every day of our senior year. If she was not scheduled she picked up a shift. She and her boyfriend wanted to get married and buy a farm after we graduated so she was saving up. Now there was a girl that knew what she wanted. (I have seem that kind of drive in some of the immigrants I have worked with over the years. One woman was  a Licensed Practical Nurse, an LPN, who had a new baby plus two other small children at home. She was going to school full time to be a Registered Nurse. Her husband worked the evening shift after she came home from school, and she then worked a night shift whenever she could fit one in. I asked her why she would follow such a grueling schedule. She looked at me in surprise and answered, "But, this is the time of great sacrifice.")

I am sorry to say I have never had that kind of a drive for nursing. I like my profession, I guess. I have done it long enough that I am good at it, but it is not the great love of my life. I did not work as a nurse when I was raising the children, but was happy to have a profession to fall back on when Paul became sick.

Probably the most fulfilling thing I did as a nurse was to lead the grief group for a number of years at a local hospital. I had gone back to the University of MN and gotten my BS degree in Family and Community Health Education (a degree I designed myself through the "University Without Walls" program there.), so I was hired to do supports groups at the hospital. I liked it because I was able to provide information and support that allowed people to put their lives back together after a devastating loss. They came in very fragile and went out much stronger.

 That is why I liked raising children, too. Roots and wings, as they say. Empowering people to succeed  is my true calling, I think.

This is the probably the last year I will work. I am on call at the present, so I rarely miss anything that is going on with the family. I don't have to ask off to go on a trip, and I am still able to contribute a bit to the family bank account. It is getting harder though. As my sister, Paula says, "Nursing is a young girl's game."

Sometimes I wonder what path my life might have taken with the choices the young women have today. Our choices seemed rather limited once we graduated from high school.. Basically, girls could go on to college to  be teachers or nurses, or they could beome secretaries, work in a store or a factory or get a job with the telephone company. In the process of elimination I became a nurse.

Where did your choices lead you?

Katherine

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Now That's a Queen


I have not paid a lot of attention to the big to do for the upcoming royal wedding in England. I think I paid more attention when Charles and Diana married, but this time around I seem to have little interest. It is a grand event for many, I know.

Perhaps I am too American. I never developed a taste for royalty. I like the idea that even though we may start at different stations in life,  no one is compelled to remain where they began. In America anyone can rise to whatever level he or she desires, as long as he or she is willing to do the things that it takes to achieve those desires. There is usually work involved, but, at least in the America in which I grew up, the sky is the limit.

I do have a two favorite stories about royalty though. They both concern Queen Victoria. She was queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901. The first story goes that when asked by a foreign prince the secret of her country's greatness, she replied, "The Bible, my Lord, is the secret of our greatness."

And it was Queen Victoria who was said to have confided in a personal friend, "Oh, how I wish the Lord would come in my lifetime."

Her friend asked why she desired such a thing.

 She replied, "Because I should so love to lay my crown at His blessed feet."

I will never have a crown to lay at Jesus feet in quite this manner, but I am looking forward to receiving a crown from Him. I am a daughter of the King, you know.

Katherine

"Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life " Revelation 2:10

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Road Trip

After my husband Paul lost his vision it was my turn to do the driving. That was a difficult time for him. Not only was was he no longer in control, not only was the less experienced driver now in charge, but he couldn't even see where I was taking him. In earlier times he almost always did the driving, while I rode herd on the kids. Not being a detail person in the first place, I paid scant attention to how we got to places. I just climbed into the car and he took us there. Once I started driving, I was pretty dependent on him telling me where to go.  He still reads most of the maps on our trips (with a magnifying glass, of course.) We call it the blind leading the vague.

One time we left our son's home in Rochester, MN heading for another son's home in Winona, MN. It wasn't until about 40 miles later, when I began to read the town names out loud, that Paul informed me we were going in the wrong direction. (It was on that same trip that we stopped to eat at a Burger King. I hopped out of the car to use the bathroom, and figurered he could find his own way in. After waiting a fair amout of time I became  alarmed when he failed to appear. Had he gotten hit by a car in the parking lot or something? As I was coming out the door to check I saw him trudging across the parking area from the Taco John's that shared the lot. He said that when he finally got a good look at the menu above the counter he expressed surprised that Burger King had added tacos. The manager helped straighten him out.

Several of my sisters have directional issues as well. Once when they were driving nearing Lansing, MI my sister, Martha, offered to take over the driving for her very sleepy husband, Paul. (Yes, another Paul. My  sister, Paula, had one brother-in-law on her husband's side who was also named Paul. Thus, her two daughters had only three uncles, and they were all named Uncle Paul!)  Anyway, Paul and Martha pulled into a gas station so they could change drivers, and let Paul get a little shut-eye. Martha moved them on nicely, except that when Paul woke up about an hour later they were passing that same gas station. Martha had driven them in a neat loop around the whole city of Lansing, and they were right back where they started.

My sister, Liz, too, was giving her husband, Tony, a well needed rest one time. I don't know where they were headed, but when he woke up they were in Peoria, IL. I don't think they had planned to go anywhere near that fair city.

Our children are getting a little nervous. The two of us are driving out to California next week. Those silly kids. What could go wrong?

Katherine

"For he will command  his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."      Psalm 91:11,12. (NIV)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

That is So like Her (Him)

A long time ago I heard a line on a television program that has haunted me over many decades. It was casually spoken by one of the characters. "We are so limited by our preferences," she said.

Some years ago my sister, Paula, took me out to eat for my birthday. We went to a  German restaurant about which she had heard many glowing reports. I ordered a hamburger. She was appalled. She did not realize how seldom I ate out in those years, and how very special it was to get to order my favorite food on my birthday. I could have ordered something more daring off that wonderfully varied menu, but I absolutely love hamburgers.

I like to think  I have an adventurous spirit, but if you ask me where in the world I would like to travel I am far more likely to say Maine or Florida, or California, than Germany, or Australia, or Argentina. I love the continental United States. I am consistently entertained and stimulated by travels throughout this vast country of  my birth.

When I shop I clearly know my preference in color and style. I look for pastel colors, and a square neck, a vee neck or crisp collars for blouses and tops. I'm sure there are some lovely tops with round necklines. They might even look nice on me, but they are not my preference, so I rarely even bother to try them on.

Have you tried one of the internet radio stations, like Pandora, that play only the music you like? They are great.  As soon as a song varies from your guidelines you whip off a "thumbs down". And you can register your approval with an equally accessable "thumbs up".

"We are so limited by our preferences."  Yes, and no. I would rather see it as  the freedom to chose my way over someone else's; the  priviledge to be the special creature God made me..... the Katherine who loves hamburgers and America, and crisp collars on her shirts.

Our choices do not limit us, they define us.

So, what would you order? Where would you go?

Katherine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Retail Therapy

My daughter, Paula, took me shopping tonight. I wanted to update my wardrobe for our trip to California. Paula loves clothes and fashion in general, so she is a good advisor. She stays up to date and knows which stores to go to.

I found it interesting that her research into the stores before we left home was to make sure we could go to them in the order that they closed. You see, she has to do all her shopping in the evening after the kids are fed and ready for the evening. Her husband, Bill, graciously agreed to put them to bed, so we could start around 6 pm. We hit the eyewear place  first (they closed the earliest) and chose frames for my new glasses, then on to the next three stores, making sure the one that closed at 9:30 pm was last. We closed the last two stores, i.e.they checked us out after the doors were already locked for the night.

I expressed surpise that we checked out late one store after the other, but she said, "Oh, I always close the stores."  I never realized how often my daughters shop at night. Sarah told me she finished her grocery shopping at 11:30 pm the other night. It is the best time to get out without the kids, so that is how they do it.

I tried to picture my mother  shopping late at night, and could not remember that happening. I don't think the stores were open after 5 pm in most cases. The closest she came was on Wednesday nights when the downtown stores were open until 8 pm. We often begged her to take us then because it seemed much more interesting. As we got a little older my friends and I loved hanging out downtown on Wednesday nights in the summer. I guess that was our version of this generation's mall.

It was fun.  My sister once saw a guy stuffing things under his baggy shirt (a real  live thief.) He saw her watching him and said to her in a low threatening voice, "You say one word and you will be sorry."

Obviously he did not know Martha (Or was it Mary. It doesn't really matter. You didn't mess with either one of them). "Hey! There's a guy over here shoplifing!" she yelled to the store clerk, pointing at the paniked thief. He dropped his stash of goods, and several of the clerks chased him out the door. I never heard if they caught him or not, but you don't mess with my sisters. Which ever one it was I think she was 14 or 15 at the time.

Nothing quite that exciting happened tonight, but it did bring back a few memories. And I am especially pleased with my new shoes. What is it about the change of seasons that calls out for new shoes? Whatever it is, I like it.

Katherine



Sunday, April 24, 2011

It Sounds Good, But ..........

Last week my father, if he were still living, would have turned 104 years old. (My mother is still living. She is 95.) I often wonder what he would make of this very different world that we now live in. He died at age 74, so that was 30 years ago. (That means that my mother has been a widow for 30 years. It is strange to think that, even though she was married for more than 45 years, she has now lived more years single than married.)

My father was a Lutheran pastor. Things were different in his adult world.  I can vividly picture him holding a cigarette in the corner of his mouth or cupping his pipe in his left hand. The majority of guys his age smoked. He was a chaplain in the army during World War II and two cartons of cigarettes a week were standard issue for the men.

I remember how he would come home from church meetings smelling strongly of smoke. Not only did he smoke at those get-togethers, most of the men attending  "lit up", too. If you ever passed by one of those meeting rooms, the air was blue with smoke. He did quit in his later years (when he could no longer breathe freely), but I wonder what he would think of all the smoking prohibitions put out by the government. I doubt if he could  have ever envisioned smokeless restaurents and bars.

Without a doubt, he would be either amused or appalled that most television news broadcasts now include an "animal story." Animals were a part of life, even an important part. But rescuing an animal, while it was undoubtably a good thing to do, would never rate as newsworthy in his book.

The nursing home where I work used to have resident cats. The idea was to make the nursing home more "homelike." Most of the residents were either indifferent, or had signs on their doors saying, "Please keep cats out of my room." This generation drowned cats if you will remember. Their cats lived outside in the barn, or in the shed. And even if they did have house pets, they did not invite other people's pets into their homes. I think that is what it felt like to them when the cats would come into their rooms. The visitors paid a lot more attention to the cats than did the residents. Of course the visitors were raised in a different time.

Here are  two seemingly small differences from my father's time to mine. Having the government regulate where one can smoke, and having the media focus on the lives of animals both seem normal in our world. But I think he would be more alarmed than bemused.

I think he would see the smoking regulations as a broader issue. He would view it as an unwarrented loss of personal freedom.  And the cat thing?  He'd think that a dangerous and insidious world view that attempts to exalt animals to the same level of importance as man.

So do I.

Katherine

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Lives!

We went to an Easter vigil service tonight. It was very solemn as befits a Holy Saturday rememberance. We processed into church with candles, portraying the furtive attitude of the disciples who were in hiding that night, not knowing what to think. Afraid, mourning, uncertain of what the future held, they were fearful and distraught.

There are many people in the world for whom life is uncertain. We can all identify to one degree ar another. Many of us have had nights like the disciples were having. Nights of uncertainty after a death in the family, or after a tornado or flood hits our town, or when caught in the ravages of war. Fear. Uncertainty. Death. Familiar words; "before Easter" words.

"But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Corinthians 15: 57

He is risen!

He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Katherine

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Strength is Made Perfect in Your Weakness

Nineteen years ago my husband, Paul, had a kidney transplant. At about that same time he lost most of his vision due to the diabetes that runs strongly through his family. He has tunnel vision, and can see fairly clearly out of one small area of one eye. After his loss of vision we went to the Society For the Blind to see if there were any services that would help him out, and they had him read an eye chart. With that little piece of vision he could read the whole thing, and I will never forget how excited they were. It put his loss in perspective for us.

I asked him one time what it was like when he first realized that his vision was not going to return. He said it bothered him for the first few days (days?!), but he was so sick with the kidney thing that by the time he felt better he had adjusted to the eyesight loss. One of his true strengths in life is his ability to adjust. He has the kind of faith that puts things in God's hands and gets on with it.

Paul was fifty-two years old when he had to resign from the ministry. He never fully regained his strength after the transplant, and with the added loss of vision it was not possible for him to continue to pastor his church. The people of our congregation were wonderful. They supported us throughout this difficult time. I was the one that gave him the kidney. (A non-related donor was a rare occurrance at the time. One of the doctors told him that for us to be a two tissue match was like winning the lottery. Paul said it was a lot better than winning the lottery, the lottery was only money!) Because I was the donor we were both out of commission for a quite a while, and those wonderful folks in the congregation brought meals to our door every day for many weeks after the surgery, not to mention their outpouring of love through prayers and gifts and cards.

The disability benefits of Paul's health plan through the church covered the cost of the health benefits for the whole family. Whenever he expressed frustration that he was unable to contibute to the finances I would remind him of those health benefits. His whole duty to the family was to "sit there and breathe."

Now the kids are all grown up, and our family feels blessed these many years later, to still have him around. (When he got sick we had no grandchildren, now we have twenty-three.) We have been on a pretty even keel until this December when he got an infection in his great toe and had to have it removed. (That was the first time he has been back into the hospital since the transplant.) Our son-in-law, Jeff (Anna's husband) told him the other day, "Just think, Paul, now you have two kidneys, one pancreas, one eye, and a toe in heaven." 

"And," I added, "except for the successful surgery he might have one foot in the grave!"

For more than twenty-five years Paul told his congregations that God's love would be sufficient for all their needs.

For the past nineteen years he has been priviledged to prove it.

Katherine

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh, Lamb of God Have Mercy

I've taken several writing classes. One was on writing for children. I enjoyed that one until they told me that I was using words that were too big. They directed me to a list of about 500 words to use when writing for kids. Since the size of one's vocabulary is said to be tied to the level of one's success, I found that I wanted to have no part in the dumbing down of America's children.

That was some time ago, and I think that idea has gone the way of all bad ideas. Still, I found that writing fiction, even if it meant writing stories for youngsters, was not where I excelled. I am leaving the creation of the next great American novel to someone else's imagination. (But let me know as soon as it comes out, because I surely want to read it.)

I do best with nonfiction, with writing devotions, or telling stories of the stuff of life, or doing a bit of philosophizing here and there. And yet, just as the artist who works best with water colors occasionally ventures into painting with oils, so, over the years I have found myself wanting to leave the comfort of prose and place words into a different medium.

Hence, in honor of Holy Week, I offer the following:


O Lamb of God, Have Mercy 

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord,
Wholly uncomplaining
Silently You suffer scorn,
Power and might disdaining.


By Your suffering and death
You satisfy the thirsty.
You make the wounded spirit cry:
“Oh, Lamb of God have mercy.”

Trembling, I seek Your Grace
My sins stand e’er before me.
I would not dare to face Your Face
Lest you came to restore me.

Holy Week 2007

Katherine

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hidden in My Heart

My classmates and I did a lot of memorizing as children. Not only did we learn the multiplication tables for math, we had memory work every morning for religion class. We learned A LOT of Bible verses! (One thing that was never stressed when we did our Bible verses for the day, was their location in the Bible. I have often wished I had learned that, especially now that I have a greater understanding of the Bible as a whole. Knowing that a verse came from Isaiah, or Daniel, or the Psalms in the Old Testament, or from Matthew, John, or Galations in the New Testament puts a whole new layer of understanding on the verse.)

Other than that shortcoming, I have been blessed by this learning. So many of those verses have come to mind just when I needed to hear them.

"I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

"Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you."

"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you."

"Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take thought of the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

"Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You."

These verses roll out of my mind freely, words of inspiration and comfort, ready to minister to any need at any moment of any day.

We learned hymns as well as Bible verses. I know a lot of hymns. (All the verses of many of them. When I find myself singing, "Feed Thy Children God Most Holy," I look at the clock and realize it is nearing suppertime.) Everything we need to know about our Christian faith is summed up in the six chief parts of Luther's Small Catechism, and we memorized all of it,  right along with Luther's explainations for each section. (This is most certainly true.)

Our children went to parochial school, too. Reciting memory work was the last thing they did before hustling out the door for school. An old saying goes, "Memorization is the key to learning." Are your children being steeped in this most important discipline? Are they hiding God's word in their hearts where it can never be taken from them? God's word my not be so freely available in times to come. Are you feeding yourselves and your children a steady diet of God's Word while you can?

Paul and I read Haley's Bible Commentary along with scripture, and when we got to his notes on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7, Haley said, "Every Christian should know the Sermon on the Mount by heart." Wow, I thought. That's a tall order. And then, as we read those three chapters, I realized that I had memorized almost every one of those verses at one time or another, just not in the order they appear in that sermon. Those of you who went to parochial school, as did I, check it out.

I think I am up to the challenge. How about it? Who wants to memorize the Sermon on the Mount with me?

I dare you.

I double dare you.


Katherine

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Artist in Me

Some days I do so little that I wonder where the day has gone, and what I have to show for it? Then the philosophical predisposition within in me asks, "Am I supposed to do something productive each day? Who decides what is productive?  Does thinking count?"

 I find that I need long periods of  "down" time. When I deny myself these spaces of suspended action, I accomplish more of the things that are measurable. I get the groceries, I cook the meals , I keep up with the laundry and the housework. I go to my job and  fulfill my duties there. In essence, I live a balanced life. I've never felt fulfilled doing that. Having a finished product to show for the day's effort has never been important to me.

I have friends who love the feeling of a job well done, no matter the task. They love to cross things off of lists. They love making lists. Strangely, I can cross off all the tasks of an enormous list and feel no satifaction, especially if the things on that list have little importance to me.

I hate errands. Paul always took care of those running around chores. He went to the bank, he grocery shopped, he went to the post office, he filled the cars with gas. He liked doing those tasks. I did not.

Those activities felt like a waste of time to me. I wanted to waste my time in a different way. I wanted to be quiescent so that I could burst on the scene of my choosing with all the energy I would need for the task at hand. I wanted to do grand things like have eight children, or have a family singing group that toured the country, or have my kids do radio and television commercials and movies, or write a book, or give my husband a kidney, or ......

I still feel guilty on days like today, where I have nothing concrete to show for my efforts. Still, I know in my heart that days like this one lead to days where the extraordinary happens. I  have to remind myself that my rhythm is the right one for me.

I am comforted to know that others with a similar artistic bent struggle with these same issues:

"When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time."  Cy Twombly

"True artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness."  Eckhart Tolle

Ah, I feel better now. 

Katherine

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet Melody


I think you could call all of our children muscians. Music has played a big part in our family. We toured for many years as the Klemp Family Singers, and recorded three record albums during that time. (That was still the day of albums and tapes. We recently had the recordings changed over to digital, but never actully cut cd's from the converted recordings). All of the kids play a musical instrumant, and as a band director, Peter plays almost all mucical instrumants.

They did a lot of musical theater, mostly as actors, but sometiomes as musicians in the pit orchestra. Sarah just turned down a chance to do a show. (It's a little tricky to fit that in with three pre-schoolers.)

All of them took piano lessons.  (We had seven kids in piano lessons at one time one year. The only thing more expensive was car insurance. We always paid more in car insurance each year than we paid for the cars themselves.) They had  variable levels of success on the piano. (Phil is a church organist, choir director and teaches music in the school.)

Most of our children play the guitar. (Matt plays an especially mean guitar). All of them played in the high school band. Phil (trumpet), Pete (drums), Matt (trombone), Steve, (alto sax and bass guitar), Paula, (flute), Marcus, (drums), Anna, (clarinet) and Sarah (bari sax), and most of them played in the jazz band (or sang in choir) as well.

The boys even had their own band, Clockwyz. They played at youth gatherings, got hired for a couple of proms, and even did one wedding dance. They could never figure out why the bars would not book them until they took a look at their picture. What a bunch of baby faces! Both Paula and Anna currently sing back up vocals in a local band, and in their chruch praise bands, and Sarah plays in her church bell choir.

There was always music in our home....and then they grew up, and left. We have a piano in the garage, several unplugged keyboards and a lot of electronics in the basement, but it is pretty quiet around here now.

I still sing a lot of hymns (a habit that goes way back to childhood), and Paul often has some classical music going in his study, but it just is not the same.

I miss the music.

Katherine

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Promise Made

Back when I was growing up,a young Lutheran's confirmation day was most often held on Palm Sunday. The Friday night before Palm Sunday was "questioning". That was the day we dreaded most. On that evening, members of the congregation,  parents and other relatives, and, unfortunately, siblings, all came to church to hear the confirmands answer questions of doctrine.

I was just as nervous for the other kids as I was for myself, especially the kids that were not known to be at the top of the class. I only remember that night vaguely, but  I actually missed a question (I was not one of those known to be at the bottom of the class) and I can still see the irritated look on my father's face when I messed up. It did not help that my father was the pastor, and he was the one who had taught me that answer.

I only remember only a few of things about my confirmation on Palm Sunday. I remember being a little hesitant to promise that I would be faithful until death. I certainly wanted that. I simply did not know what the future held. I felt it would be bad enough to find myself falling away from the faith. How much worse would it be if I stood in front of God and the congregation of believers and promised not to do such a thing. I made that promise that day only because I believed that God would be faithful; that He would hold me near, even if I could not do so myself.

Confirmation day was my first opportunity to wear high heeled shoes. I practiced wearing them every day for a week before venturing out in public. Also, I recall that John Willman, one of my classmates, was very irritated that he had to stand in front with the girls. I think he was the shortest person in the whole class.

I looked for my confirmation picture, but couldn't locate it. The group picture was memorable because Robert Mars (one of those guys I was worried about at questioning..he did fine..I messed up) was standing so precisely centered in front of one of the pots of palms that it looked like he was wearing a Zulu warrier headdress. Those palms were spread in a perfect fan-shape, and the pot was so centered on his head you were sure it was the base of the headdress. If I ever run across the photo I will post it.  Eight years later I got married in that church.

Our class song was "Take Thou My Hand and Lead Me."

My confirmation verse was:

"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the Strength of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

What was yours?

Katherine

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Moving!

I just got done talking with my son, Marcus. He called from Burbank, CA, complaining about the heat. He reported the temperature to be somewhere around 89 degrees F. I had little to no sympathy for him. Our thermometer, here in Minnesota, reads 39 F. The wind chill makes it feel at least 15 degrees colder than that. And to add insult to injury there was snow on the ground this morning; all of a piece with the terribly cold, extremely snowy winter we have just gone through.

We Minnesotans like to think of ourselves as tough, hard working, go-getters, but I heard a woman from Florida question that idea. She said she had recently moved here (from Florida) and had heard about the great Yankee striving and our get up and go. People warned her that we northerners talked and moved so quickly that a southerner like her would be left panting in the dust if she tried to keep up.

"Maybe you all still believe that, " she told me once, "but when I am out for my evening walk I pass house after house with the TV on and someone sitting in a chair in front of it. You won't find that in Florida. We are out doing stuff. Why would anyone stay at home and miss the action. We're the ones on the go!"

Ever since she made that comment, I have found myself having to agree with her. This past week I have been home in front of my computer screen more than in front of the television screen, but I see what she means. When it is so uninviting to walk out that door, it becomes extremely easy to stay inside where it is warm and cozy.

Cabin fever of our own making, I call it. I was hoping that a few warm sunny days would coax me out of my rut, but there are no warm days in the forecast for at least a week. That means I am going to have to fight this inertia on my own. I need a plan of action

Okay, I am going to clean out the car for our trip, shop for a few new clothes, get some new glasses, visit the gym to work out and then put my gym membership on hold for the summer, return the library books, get groceries for Easter, attend Holy Week services, and  take Paul to the doctor for his post op check up. There. Just my getting a list together makes me feel proactive, energized even.

I'll get to that stuff some time next week or so. Right now I have a show I want to watch.

Katherine

Friday, April 15, 2011

Be Prepared

I just read an article in which scientists at NASA are predicting that we could experience some significant solar flares in the next few years. Apparently this is a phenomonen that has happened in the past, but never at a time when we are so dependent on electronic devices. A worst case scenerio could distroy the entire electronic grid. That would mean it would disrupt everything from medical care to banking, to pumping gas. It would sever all telecommincation systems, and pretty much leave us all in the dark (literaly) for some period of time.


I was a girl scout, and so the motto "Be prepared" resonates with me. But how do you prepare for that kind of a disaster? The only real disaster I remember having to deal with in girl scouts was the time we were at a girl scout camp and one of the girls in our troop dropped her father's very expensive flashlight into the pit toilet. We could see where it was because the light was on when she dropped it. She was pretty freaked out because her dad had given her strict orders not to lose that flashlight. So, not knowing what else to do, we held on tightly to her legs (she was small enough to fit through the hole), and lowered her just enough to grab the handle and be pulled to safety.  Drastic events call for drastic measures. We were actually pretty proud of ourselves, and her.

Still, bravery alone does not suffice in every case. Perhaps we should look to the people in the northern part of Japan and learn how to face disaster from them. Is anyone taking notes? What did the people in Haiti wish they had known in advance of that massive earthquake? I know that necessity is the mother of invention, but I think it is better to give some thought as to what if....

I don't fear the future, but I am a planner. Bottled water, canned goods, a can opener, a battery powered radio, and flashlight. A first aid kit. I don't know. I think I'll just keep reading around on some of the survival websites and get a feel for this stuff. One I like is : http://www.offthegridnews.com/

"Be prepared":  I guess that's just the Girl Scout's way.

But, unafraid:  that's for sure the Christian's way!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Ps. 23: 4

Katherine

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Agnus Dei

Yesterday we went to Lenten services. Next week is holy week. My son Peter has written a beautiful song for this special season:  Agnus Dei  

Go to the link by clicking on  the title (above), then click on additional information. Toward the bottom of that drop down is a small entry that says:  Full-Length MP3. When you click on that you will hear a wonderful choir sing the whole song.

I even like to small the screen at that point and click below the picture of the sheet music where it says look inside, then I change the page view to 75% and follow along (sing along). The pages are turned by the button on the left-hand side of the control bar.

Peter is currently the band director and head of the music department at Concordia Lutheran High School. Omaha, NE. He has been writing music for many years. He wrote a lot of music for theater for children in the Twin Cities when he was in high school and college. You can also listen to his other piece at Concordia Publishing House, Veni, Sancte, Spiritus. Go to CPH.org and type in Peter Klemp to find this piece as well.

Our family sang Agnus Dei for the first time last summer and fell in love with it. (We become The Klemp Family Singers once again every summer for one Sunday. We are forty strong as a family now, and, although the babies do not sing, the rest of us do.)

Enjoy.

Katherine

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On a Clear Day.....

Yesterday I went to the optometrist to get a new prescription. For the past month or so I have been taking off my glasses so that I can see better. I began wearing glasses in fifth or sixth grade. Since then the first thing I have always done in the morning is put on my glasses (or put in my contacts)  and the last thing I have done at night has been to take them off (out), so going without my "specs" is truly unusual for me.

I wore contacts for many years. My older sister, Paula, had to do some fast talking to get our parents to agree to contacts. (My younger sisters, Mary, Martha and Elizabeth used to have a hilarious newspaper that they put out every month or so (using a " hectograph", I think). The paper was called the Hussmann Caller.  I even had high school friends who subscribed to that paper. One memorable headline read: "Boys seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses. Paula got contacts!")

Anyway, once Paula broke down the resistance it was a breeze for the rest of us to follow suit, so I had  contacts when I was a junior in high school. Those years we wore the hard lenses. If you fell asleep with them in your eyes you had better have a good friend who was not afraid to help you pry them off your eyeballs. Man, that hurt. Plus, those same friends spent a lot of time trying to locate the lens that was still in your eye but not centered where it belonged. That was torture, too. Finally coaxing it back in place was such a relief.  Other times your helpers joined you on the bathroom floor to search for a dropped lens. I hated it when one of those kind hunters found that fragile glass disk by stepping on it. (That happened more than once!)

Those of you who are over fifty know that the contact situation becomes more complicated when you wear bifocals. I did that "one contact corrected for distance and one for close-up" thing for a few years. It was amazing how my brain was able to sort that out.

The final defeat, though, came with trifocals. I haven't worn my contacts for a few years, now, so that is why glasses are so important. My daughter, Paula, is my fashion consultant, so I won't do anything until she helps me pick out some new frames, but I hope she is available soon. I want to see clearly, effortlessly again.

When I get frustrated with this whole process, I ask myself, "What did the pioneers do?" ( We had to take Nebraska History when I was in school, so I guess that is why I think in pioneer terms. We loved it because we made up our own captions for the slides. It makes me smile just to think of that class.).  And then I realize that God has granted me clear vision in two ways, both physically, with corrective lenses and spiritually with His Holy Word, and I "see" how doubly blessed  I am.

 "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people." Luke 2:30-31.

Katherine

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Becoming More

It's official. I am registered for the writing class at Concordia University, NE for the last week in May. The names of the required texts came in an email today. I had forgottten that you need to buy books with classes (it's been a long time since I have been in school).  I have always bought books for personal growth, so it is no big deal. Still, I thought the two required readings were kind of interesting. The first is called, Telling Writing, by  Ken Macrorie. That seemed a logical choice. The second is, God's No and God's Yes: The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel by C.F.W.Walther. That was the surprise. I have both ordered from Amazon.com and they shipped today, so I'm ready to get ready.

I have been a reader all my life, and I love to write, but I have had little formal training in the art. I've taken a class here and there that whetted my appetite, but, now that I am writing consistently, I find I want to know more. As you can imagine, my nursing education left much to be desired in the writing department.

I firmly believe that one can learn by doing. I am a big fan of try, fail and adjust, but I am not a fool. Reinventing the wheel is for people with something to prove (and a lot more years in their future). I just want to communicate, and if I can learn to do that more effectively from someone with a lot of knowledge in that area, so be it. I'm game.

If there are any other aspiring writers out there, come join the action. Ask me for details about the Women’s Leadership Institute’s School for Writers at Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE), May 23-27. 

After all,

 "Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead." - Gene Fowler


Katherine

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hey, Paul. Pick Up the Phone.

Every once in awhile, out of the blue, the most delightful things drop into your day and bless you beyond measure. That happened to us this evening. I answered the phone to hear the voices of my cousin Mary Ruth and her husband PJ, asking brightly, "How's Paul doing?"

It was not just knowing that people cared about our going through a tough time that was so nice. It was not just the warm feeling that we got when they let us know they were thinking specifically about us that brightened our day. It was the unexpectedness of the gift that PJ and Mary Ruth bestowed on us by taking a moment out of their lives to pour love into ours that touched our hearts.

Mary Ruth is the oldest cousin on my father's side of the family. She was already "all grown up", even married when we were kids. She wasn't in on all the cousin craziness that the rest of us experienced when we would gather at Grandma Hussmann's house in Centralia, Illinois. Her dad and mom were most often there, (her father and mine are brothers), but as a young wife and mother, she was rarely along on those trips.

Fortunately, my father's side of the family has been having family reunions every three years since 1977. Two summers ago we were in Indiana, the time before that, in Illinois, and next year we reunite in Tennessee. (Between the reunions you may take whatever vacation you like, but reunion year, for 3-4 days in July, you will come to the family gathering.) Because of these family get togethers I know all my first cousins very well, including Mary Ruth and PJ, and my kids know their second cousins nearly as well as their first on that side of the family.

And so tonight was a special night. We don't hear from these guys often. We laughed a lot. Both Mary Ruth and PJ are extremely funny. But we also experienced the blessing of family ties that bind. God placed me in a family whose members not only like one another, but also a family that extends open arms to anyone who joins their ranks.  Most importantly, though, this is a family that loves the Lord, and lives under His blessing and grace.

We'll remember this night. Thanks, for the call, cousins.

Katherine

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Visit

Remember when going to visit family on Sunday afternoon was a common event? It was not the practice in our family when I was growing up because we did not live close enough to relatives for a visit like that. But, I remember it was a lot harder to find the kids in the neighborhood to play with on Sundays because they always seemed to be at their grandpa and grandma's, or visiting their cousins. I grew up in small towns, where people tended to stay put, so I found it  interesting  to discover that people in big cities stay close to their area of birth as well. When my sister, Martha, moved to Baltimore, MD she and her husband were able to buy their home because the previous owner had an opportunity to purchase a house several  blocks closer to her mother.

Today, however, we had Sunday company. Anna called and said, "What are you doing, and if the answer is 'nothing' how about if we swing by." So she and Jeff and the four kids came over for supper and a relaxed evening. They came to check up on Paul, to see that he was doing okay. We got to catch up with their lives and enjoy the kids. It was great to see all the changes in our youngest granddaughter, nine-month-old, Juliet. Babies change quickly. So much so that if you don't see them for a few weeks you hardly recognize them.

It seems like a "Sunday go visiting"  would happen more often since we have three daughters in the area. But they are all busy with their families, and weekends always seem packed with things to do. Plus, we see one another often just by virtue of the daily events where we intersect.  For instance, I went to my 5 year old grandson, Bradley's, Tai Kwon Do performance yesterday, so I saw Sarah and family there, and again in church this morning. Paula often comes on Monday's to help me sort out the basement,  and we are all going to be at Sarah's for Easter.

Still, an old fashioned, "Let's go see Grandpa and Grandma because it is Sunday afternoon, and we feel like  visiting", well that was a real treat.

Katherine

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Doing Well

Paul had more surgery on Thursday. This time it was done as same day surgery. That doesn't mean it was a particularly light surgery (three cuts to his achilles tendon). It just means that when they are through with the procedure they send you home.

He needed this done because he has another open pressure wound on the ball of his left foot. The doctor is hoping that by lengthening the achilles tendon he will put more weight and stress on his heel and less on the area of the wound. Fortunately, our townhouse is one level (we have a basement, but Paul has no reason to go down there). We also have the wide doorways they put into many of these homes now, so I can roll him from place to place (using his seated walker) quite easily.

Since the doctor cut into the tendon to facilitate the lengthening he has a fair amount of pain. He's pretty stoic about it, and easy to care for. He doesn't get "crabby" with me and has been sleeping a lot of the time. I'm glad we had it done now, since we are still planning that trip to California.

Life brings some interesting curve balls, but the Lord provides. We see the doctor Monday morning and find out what to do next. We take it one day at a time. I'm happy to say we are both doing well, because, of course, we are not in this alone.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah."  Psalm 68: 19.

Selah!

Katherine

Friday, April 08, 2011

Test Me

We have always done our own taxes. Basically, that means our financial situation is not complicated and is fairly predictable. And that means, money is not a big part of our life. Let me state that a little differently. Big money is not a part of our life!

I have to say, the area of finance is one department where we have always had exceptional agreement. I seriously cannot remember a major fight over money.There were probably disagreements somewhere in our past, but if so, it was a long time ago. We began tithing right at the start of our marriage, so church offerings were a way of life, not a bone of contention. We lived on very little while raising our family, but it was always just enough.

 Paul handled the money and I loved that. Whenever I would ask for money he would always ask me the same question: "How much do you want?" And that is the only question he ever asked! Cool, huh?

I have to admit, we haven't been very good at investing over the years. In fact, we have undoubtedly lost more money than we made. One day we were discussing our lack of "success" in the market arena, and I mused, "Well, we were investing in our children." To which Paul answered, "And they are all gone, too."

And now we live in a nice townhouse, and drive a decent car, and are able to pay our bills, and have no debt except the mortgage, and money is not an issue. God is good. I only ever wanted to get to the point that money, or the lack thereof, did not dominate my life. I would say that we have pretty much reached that point, and I love it.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.Test me in this," says the  Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10 

As far as we're concerned, God passed with flying colors! Go ahead. Test Him!

Katherine

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Concordia

My Junior and Senior years of high school I attended boarding school.  I was delighted when my parents finally agreed to send me to Concordia High School in Seward,NE. My sister, Paula, had attended there for four years. She started at Concordia when we lived in a small town in Illinois that did not have a very good high school. But, when I was in seventh grade, we moved from that small town to Grand Island, NE .

The education circumstances had changed for the better.  The schools in Grand Island were good schools. But I had visited my sister in Seward, and had fallen in love with campus life. I wanted to go to there, too. We were not wealthy, so it was difficult to come up with the nesessary money for tuition. Miraculously, my junior year, my parents figured out a way to make my dream come true. I was going to Concordia!

Once that was obstacle was overcome, the next issue that came up was that my sister, Paula, planned to attend Concordia Junior College in Austin, Texas. My parents had promised to drive her there to check her in. That meant they would be gone when school started for me.

No problem. They simply dropped me and my possessions off in Seward a week before school started. I stayed with friends of theirs until the academic year began.  On the first day of school I dragged a trunk full of my stuff a couple of blocks to the dorm and checked myself in.

What seemed a perfectly logical arraingement to me at the time seems quite odd in retrospect. Now, as I observe  "hover" moms and dads taking their kids to school, and checking with them daily through twitter and texts, I find it amazing that my experience of living this big adventure, sans parents, appeared normal at the time. In fact, I thank my parents for granting me independence at such an early age. In my mind it meant that they believed in my ability to manage my life effectively, and it was a measure of their trust. I loved it.

I passed on what I considered that gift to many of my children. We took some of them to college, but, since all of them attended colleges "in state", many of them checked into their dorms with the help of their brothers and sisters, or their friends. (I went with them to check out the colleges, etc.,  but I liked to encourage their independence when they actually left home.)

Anyway, I loved  Concordia. My classmates became family. We literally grew up together.

All of my sisters eventually went to Concordia High School, three of us for two years, two of us for all four. One of my sisters, when she was going back for her 25th reunion unconsciously refered to it as her "family reunion" more than once. That's exactly how close we became.

So, I hereby salute my classmates and schoolmates . Once again, as we say in Minnesota, "I love you guys."

Katherine

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Yea Team

I am an introvert. Those who know me well realize that. It does not mean that I do not like being with people, it just means that I become exhausted when I am around people for long periods of time. I need a little (or a lot) of solitude in order to refuel. My husband, on the other hand, loves to be around people whenever possible. He sees every person as a treasure and every new person as newly discovered  treasure. People energize him. The extrovert (like Paul) derives energy from people who are introverts (like me).

I tend to be task oriented. He tends toward being people oriented. When we work together on a project it is a beautiful thing. My strengths of planning and vision wedded to his strengths of making things happen and dealing with the others involved. Perfect.

Being so different we have not always mixed well in our approach to life. We argue (often about the meaning of words...that's a big one), and have hurt feelings, and keep out of one anothers way during some of those head butting days. But when we get on the same page, we are awesome.

Our greatest mutual project, other than raising children, (I was the task master, he was the teddy bear) was going on tour with our singing family. I set up a possible itinerary, selected the music, designed the program, did the rehersals, packed the kids, etc. He called the churches and arranged for us to come,  drove the bus to get us there, and created good will at every church we visited with his genuine interest in people. It was fun.

Team work really does make the dream work. Maybe we should see if the kids want to give touring another whirl.

Katherine

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Labor of Love

For as long as I can remember my husband, Paul, has done the grocery shopping. Early on I worked during the day, and his schedule, as a pastor, was more flexible than mine. By the time I quit working  I was either pregnant or nursing a baby and was super tired most of the time. So, he was kind enough to continue to take that particular chore off my hands. I did all the other shopping, though. In fact one time I remember looking at him and thinking he could dress a little sharper. Then I remembered that I was the one that bought his clothes!

Anyway, later on, as the children got a little older (but there were still a lot of them) I would give him the choice of staying home and taking care of the kids while I grocery shopped, or ask if he wanted go to the store himself.  The usual answer to that, was, "Give me the list."

Then we moved to the country, and he had more reasons to go into town than I did, so he continued to buy the food. After he had to retire due to weakness after a kidney transplant, and the loss of a lot of his vision (both a result of the diabetes that runs deeply in his father's side of the family) going to the store was one of his favorite passtimes. At that point we had lived in the area for more than 25 years, so he did a lot of socializing at the store. He seemed to know everyone, and in a small town people are not so rushed. They enjoyed stopping to visit every bit as much as he did.  

I would drop him off  (Did I ever actually say how much I hate grocery shopping?) and go home and come back for him in an hour or so.  (For that first year after the transplant I was forced into grocery duty for the first time in our marriage. Someone told my sister they had seen me at the grocery store. Her astonished reply was, "What was Kath doing in at the grocery store?"  I gratefully handed that duty back as soon as Paul was able to take on this task once again.)

Now we live in a new area, about 10 minutes North of St Paul, MN. We have had to make new habits. One thing I wanted settled quickly was that food shopping thing. I still drop my husband off at the store, but it is a little too far to go home and then return for him. That's okay. We found a grocery store less than five blocks from the library.

I love grocery day.

Katherine

Monday, April 04, 2011

Do Over

As I age I understand people's desire to believe in reincarnation. I don't give the idea credence. My faith assures me a different ending to the story of life, but I can appreciate the longing. As I look back I see  I have been confronted with  many forks in the road, as it were.  It being physically impossible to follow Yogi Berra's advice, i.e. "If you see a fork in the road, take it," I have consistently made choices on which way to go. If this, than not that.

Sometimes I embraced the "road less traveled" and sometimes I wandered along deciding to go one way or the other with little thought to the consequeces. No matter what led up to the decision, I was forced to pick one path over another. That's how life works for all of us.

But now, we find ourselves in good health or bad, in happy situations or sad, feeling on top of the world or having been had. And most of the time we are exactly where our choices have taken us. Sorry, folks, but, I think people pretty much do what they want to do.

That leads to looking for someone else to undo the damage, or acting as though my current situation is someone else's fault..... or longing for a reincarnation where I am rewarded a "do over"..... a fantasy that, with another chance, perhaps I will get it right the second time around.

And into this dilemna comes good news. Martin Luther, the great 16th century church reformer, says about Baptism:

"It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever."

 A new (wo)man daily comes forth....a new day. New choices.

Another chance to get it right? I'll take it!

Katherine

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Laundry Queen

My housecleaning skills have never been more than adequate, perhaps a little subpar. Things don't get so far out of control that I cannot dig out, but I am not visual, so I don't see the clutter until the doorbell rings. It is when I see the place with "other's" eyes that I become aware  of my surroundings and think, "Oh. my."

That doesn't mean that I am not interested in the whole process. I am charmed by books of cleaning "hints". Articles about home orginazation facinate me. My husband once told me that I needed a new cleaning manuel, one that said put down this book and get busy.

On the other hand, I have always liked to do laundry. It's a good thing, too, because we had lots of wash when the kids were growing up. When he was about 9 years old, our son Matthew, the third oldest of our eight children (pictured far left), claimed  we should be eligible to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Dirty Laundry". Opening the laundry shute was dangerous business for a little kid. Clothes are heavy when a giant pile comes flying down a couple of stories and hits you in the face.

The biggest task for going on one of our singing tours was packing the necessary clothes. That meant everybody helped fold laundry.  I especially needed help matching socks. Even taking only five pairs of socks each meant 50 pairs of socks. Most everything else had at least a ten in front of it. Ten pairs of tennis shoes, ten pairs of sandels, and ten pairs of dress shoes, add the fifty pairs of socks, and we were ready to at least dress our feet. Add to that shirts, pants, dresses, shorts, underwear, swimming suits, singing clothes, sweatshirts, jackets,(each x's ten x's five) and you get the picture.

Fortunately, we traveled in a big blue bus, so once the necessary clothing was gathered, at least we had a place to stash it. We even designed our second bus to have a giant "dirty clothes box". And, because I did not like dirty laundry building up, it also meant many stops at the laundromat on that three and a half week trip every summer. Here we are when the kids were a little older (we are missing a couple of kids in this picture and that's our daughter-in -law Alyssa on the far right), but you get the idea.

Once, when we were in a laundromat in Nebraska wheat country on a rainy day with all the kids, one of the fellows who was there washing clothes asked if we were following the harvest!

It still amazes me how little laundry I now do. Which I guess is okay, but I like doing laundry

Katherine

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Spruced Up

Last summer I took this patio table and decided to redeem it.





TA-DA:

Just in time for winter!


But today, the sun is shining, and I sat on my patio and had lunch...at my lovely table.

End of story.

Katherine

Friday, April 01, 2011

Movie Time

I've actually seen a few good movies lately. I especially liked Robin Hood with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. was pretty interesting. I like movies when I finally sit down to watch them. It is not my first choice of entertainment for the most part. I have probably seen less than fifty movies on the big screen in my lifetime. It is kind of like golf. I love the game, but am rarely willing to invest the time to play. It is not that I always use my time wisely. It is like anything else in life. If this, than not that.

The kids were occasionally called in to audition for films. Those were the years when Hollywood was pushing the envelope with every film. Now they seem to get by with about anything and people simply vote with their feet. I read recently that the more swear words in a movie, the less the movie rakes in. The same is true with sex and violence whether Hollywood wants to admit it or not. The big money makers are still the family films like Toy Story, The Invincibles, Beauty and the Beast, etc.

Anyway, sometimes the kids' auditions were for some pretty awful scripts. The Hollywood casting agents loved coming to the midwest and finding these innocent types and then putting them in raunchy roles. The standing joke in our family was that the kids would ask me, "If I get this part can I go to see the movie when it's done?"

My answer was always, "Absolutely not!"

Fortunately they never had to face that situation. Anna did, however, get the part as the younger daughter in "Blue Sky" with Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange as her parents. Jessica Lange won an academy award for her role. Unfortunately, Orion went bankrupt right after the movie was finished and the film did not come out until four years later. It was released for a few short weeks, long enough for Jessica Lange to be considered for the award. By that time thirteen old Anna (on the right in the picture - Jessica Lange's left) was seventeen, so the role of "Becky", while well received, did not lead to another film. Too much time had elapsed. I see it quite often in the on demand offerings on cable, and of course it is on DVD.


It was a great experience. She and I were there the full nine weeks of the shoot. But that is a whole 'nother story.

Katherine