We Interrupt your Regularly Scheduled Program to Bring you—another Kathy?

Hi, I’m Kathy (a Kathy, I should say).

I may not live on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but what I lack in geography I hope to make up for in name.

As regular readers of “Lake Superior Spirit” know, the Kathy we all love is attending a destination wedding in a yet-undisclosed location, and I’m a pathetic stand-in for that Kathy—the one we’d all prefer to be hearing from.

That Kathy—that real Kathy—the pioneering-in-the-wilderness Kathy—“suggested” I fill in for her while she was gone and seize the opportunity to hijack her audience for a few, glorious-for-me, (potentially) sad-for-you days. She thought I might share a bit about what’s goes on over at my blog, outline what we have in common, and suggest why my site might be the next-best blog to visit in her absence.

(Admittedly, it may not have happened exactly that way. But that’s the story we’re going with.)

Granted, a lot of you might be better suited for this gig. After all, I’m a relative new-comer to the little house in the Big Woods. Like you, however, once I visited “Lake Superior Spirit” a few months ago, I was sold. Like you, I love Kathy’s humor, her photography and spirituality—and, most recently, the peeks she’s been giving us at her past.

However, I’m supposed to be telling you about my own blog, giving you a place to go and posts to read in Kathy’s absence. I’m supposed to tell you what my blog and Kathy’s have in common (besides a “Kathy” as host) and tell you a bit about myself.

Essentially, I’m a writer, artist, and former university instructor, who lived in Vietnam during 2009 and Haiti in 2010, where my partner Sara directed earthquake recovery for a major international NGO.

Kathy in Vietnam

Basically, my blog, “Reinventing the Event Horizon,” documents my encounters with what, for metaphoric reasons, I call event horizons. As you might know an event horizon is the edge of a black hole, the point of no return. And for all intents and purposes my blog documents my encounters on that edge and argues on the basis of my own experience, that one can indeed return from what seem like dead ends, the things we think will do us in. I believe event horizons can, indeed, be reinvented, that return and recovery from the dark places is possible.

I’ve lived an unusual life, to say the least—encountered a lot of edges, you could say. I grew up in an organized crime family. I later developed bipolar disorder. I’m partnered with an international aid worker who does disaster response.

It’s been and continues to be a whirlwind life—one my blog documents with posts both about the current craziness Sara and I live in places like Vietnam and Haiti, and posts about my past.

Yes, I’ve known a lot of edgy places. I’ve walked often in the dark, but only to discover light.

However, I’m here at Kathy’s blog more to share what our sites have in common, why Kathy’s readers might enjoy my blog and why my readers (who in the spirit of reciprocity are being directed here, as well) will surely fall in love with “Lake Superior Spirit.”Essentially, I’m a writer, artist, and former university instructor, who lived in Vietnam during 2009 and Haiti in 2010, where my partner Sara directed earthquake recovery for a major international NGO.

Art

Often Kathy shares her photographs, amazing all of us by her eye’s ability focus on the beauty that surrounds her, its windowing a world we can only visit through her camera and reminding us that we, too, can witness loveliness unwind before our very ordinary eyes—reminding us that we, too, have the profound ability to simply see—sometimes even with our eyes closed, we realize our fundamental human responsibility to witness the world and record the beauty it reveals.

My blog, also, explores art’s ability to communicate beauty. My partner Sara has begun a “Photo-a-Day Project” for 2012—witnessing the patterns of loveliness that unfold from mere snapshots of daily life—more glory in the ordinary. At the same time, I, as a visual artist, post the drawings, collages, and mixed media assemblages that I create—often from found objects—things others might consider trash. I like to explore ways we can make beauty from the potential garbage of our lives—transforming not only the ordinary into art—but also the ugly and discarded. I believe that there is beauty in the broken—a sacred center to sacrifice. I believe that often the things that hurt us make us whole, make us better, make us more.

Mixed-Media Collage on recycled board

Mixed-media collage, incorporating junk mail and cat food can labels

Mixed-media collage, incorporating artificial sweetener packets

Spirituality

Many of us are also attracted to Lake Superior Spirit because Kathy shares her soul with readers. She opens her heart and lets us in. She uses images of trees and sky, water and grass, to ground us in the sacred stuff of nature, the face of God that’s growing all around us.

My blog manages something similar, not by focusing on nature, but by sharing stories of the poor.

Since my partner Sara and I have lived in Vietnam and post-earthquake Haiti, we have met, in those places, the planet’s poorest of poor and shared their stories of hope, and sometimes, in places like Port-au-Prince, a national narrative that mirrors, not only terrible and troubling truths about the human experience, but also a personal willingness to fight for what’s right, to demand dignity, to dream of a better life.

In these places, Sara and I have seen, in the eyes and hearts of hurting people, both the hideous and holy face of God—another example of glory emerging from the ordinary grit and grime of life.

A mother doing laundry for her 7 children in Haiti

The same mother's "stove"--

Her home--

Memory

Most recently, however, Kathy began to share her past with readers, stories about her early life with Barry in the Upper Peninsula—how they met, married, had kids—lived happily.

I do something similar. I’m blogging my way to a memoir—sharing stories about my father’s life-long mafia involvement, what it was like to grow up in a house frequently raided by the FBI, to have my dad indicted by a number of grand juries, convicted of conspiracy. What it was like to later develop bipolar disorder in early adulthood, to face more psychiatric hospitalizations than I can count, to ultimately find the medication cocktail that manages my symptoms and allows me to live a normal life—(the notion of normal being relative, of course). I suppose my life is anything but “normal” these days, but at least I live it, for the most part, symptom-free.

I meditate often on the nature of memory—how it’s messy, unkind and unfair, how it more often than not, fails us. I explore how we remember less than we forget, how memory is more about what’s missing than what’s there, and how memoirs are, not only about accepting that unknown, but also about our ability to participate in the redemptive and healing experience of telling our own stories.

And, perhaps, that’s ultimately what my blog has in common with Kathy’s, and Kathy’s with mine—the notion that sharing our stories, our art, our hearts, is what blogging is all about. It’s about community—posting and commenting, giving and getting, helping and being helped.

Thanks to all of Kathy’s readers and mine for participating in today’s exchange—for your kindness and good will. Thanks to Kathy for the invitation, for our growing friendship, for the sacred self she shares with all of us. She helps make the blogosphere the helping, healing place it is.

I’m thrilled to share her space today, to write, as she does, about the magic of being human and the blessing that is life—to write about the same love, the same light, to tell the same redemptive story.

Peace to all of you.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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51 Responses to We Interrupt your Regularly Scheduled Program to Bring you—another Kathy?

  1. Pingback: Get a Grip: Well-Worth the Click! | reinventing the event horizon

  2. Jeffstroud says:

    Wow, thank you Kathy for sharing your self on our friend Kathy’s blog… I read through the whole blog, giving it my attention, and completely understanding why Kathy would have you step in for her. Great choice.

    You have captured with words the essence of who Kathy is and what her blog is all about beautifully while intergrating your own spirit and art…

    I look forward to visiting your blog as well.

    Thank you so much!

  3. Kathy,

    Thank you for bringing me over here to Kathy’s blog. I needed to find this one today.

    Lisa

  4. Gosh, thanks so much for your kind comment. Finding Kathy’s blog has is some ways given me a blogging home away from home. Maybe that’s what I love most about Kathy–the feeling that I’ve come home.

    I appreciate your reading and hope to see you over at my place sometime soon. I’ll have your beverage of choice ready and waiting.

    Kathy

  5. Sybil says:

    Dear Kathy-too,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. The world is a richer place because you and Sara are in it.

    Thank you too for widening my little world.

    Sybil in Nova Scotia

  6. It’s wonderful the way that Kathy has guest bloggers. Thank you for sharing so openly about your life – how fascinating has been your journey so far, with intriguing bends and twists in the road up ahead! All the best!

  7. Susan D. says:

    Wow! Hi, Kathy! Your offering to us today is a plethora of tantalizing material, rich with experiences and adventure. I enjoyed every word and look forward to reading more! Thank you for sharing your “magic of being human,” including being the daughter of a mafia dad, and your having bipolar disorder. (We have a history of it in our own family, and I was married to a genius who had it). Your art is whimsical and wonderful, springing from what others might consider “trash.” I’m captivated by your words and energy. Much appreciation to you for “subbing” for Kathy today. I will visit your blog with anticipation!

    • Hi Susan. How fun to hear from you this morning. So glad to hear my story interests you. It’s a pleasure to fill in for Kathy. Isn’t she a dear soul? Hope you have a blog I can visit, as well.
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  8. Ditto, Jeff. The entire read was mesmerizing. As a retired university Diversity Officer from the poorest place in the United States, the Mississippi Delta, I felt a kindred spirit as I read. Only recently did I find Kathy, and what a find!

    I will certainly race (more like slowly stroll these days) on over. My beverage of choice is green tea :)!

    • Kindred spirit, indeed! The Mississippi Delta is certainly a place that faces poverty–in an extreme form. I can’t wait to visit your blog, as well. But I will head home first and put the teapot on to boil. Green tea it is!
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  9. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy!
    What a pleasure it has been reading your words today. Our friend, Kathy did indeed choose wisely. Your life sounds so rich in experiencing the many facets of life….the good, the bad, the ugly and the joy, the love, the compassion. I love how you spoke about sharing because that is such a big part of what happens here. And I think it is gift beyond measure.
    Thank you for sharing with us today. I am anxious to read more of your writing here and on your blog.
    I can’t help but smile as I think of Kathy planning ahead to help us with our “Kathy of the northwoods withdrawal” 🙂
    Have a glorious day Kathy!

    • I know. Isn’t she sweet to have thought of this? She did all the way back in December, so this has been in the works for a while.

      I can’t wait to read your blog, also. What a great day to meet so many potential new friends! Hope you have a glorious day, as well. You have made me feel so welcome. Thanks for that!

      Hugs,
      Kathy

  10. Reggie says:

    Hello The-Other-Kathy! I love how you shared a bit of your story with us. I will pop in on your blog too. Bye for now!

  11. Fountainpen says:

    Hey, Kathy-too and Sara,
    What LARGE experiences you both have had and will continue having…..I am grateful you have shared some words around such experiences.

    Thank you.

    Fountainpen

  12. Kathy – This was a great two cuppa tea post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading my way through slowly, savoring the links you delicious sprinkled throughout.

    • Hi Laurie. I have the tea pot on, if you’d like a cup. By the time I get back over there the water should be boiling and the tea brewing soon.

      Thanks for reading. I’d love to visit you, as well. Hope you have a great day!

      Hugs,
      Kathy

  13. Colleen says:

    Hello Kathy, it’s such a pleasure to meet you! I appreciate very much what you share here and look forward to reading more.

  14. Celeste says:

    Good morning, Kathy! Wow, you pack a punch (in a good way). You forgot to also describe yourself as “beautiful” which must have been pure oversight on your part.

    Looking forward to reading your blog and sharing it with my sister who is currently facing an “event horizon” herself. Be well!

    • Thanks for reading, Celeste. Your comment is certainly beautiful to me I would love you to share my blog with your sister. Sorry to hear she is struggling. It’s great to meet you. I hope to see you over at my place sometime soon. The tea is still hot!
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  15. Hello Kathy and thank you to the other Kathy for inviting you here 🙂 I loved reading your post and all you shared with us. Some words touched me particularly :
    “I believe that often the things that hurt us make us whole, make us better, make us more”. Indeed they do. All these experiences, good or less so, make us the person we are today. Travelling, working in places so different from our own homeplace can only “make us more”. Thanks to you, Kathy, I will visit you and wish you and Sara the best.

    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You have helped make me feel most welcome. You are right–pain helps us grow, helps us become more than what we might otherwise have been. Hope to see you sometime soon.
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  16. Hi Kathy, what an amazing life story you have shared! I love the idea of event horizons and am very much looking forward to visiting your blog.

    You mentioned the nature of memory – it seems to me the perceptions of our memories change as we go through life and start reviewing them with the different lenses we have acquired along the way…

    It was nice to meet you!

    • Great to hear from you, Barbara. I hadn’t thought of it myself, but you are so correct that our understanding and experience of memory changes with time. Wonderful insight! I hadn’t thought of it before you said this, but maybe memory is something that evolves.

      Thanks for this thought.

      Hope to see you over at my place sometime soon. I’ll fix you the beverage of your choice. I may even feed you!

      Hugs,
      Kathy

  17. Tori Nelson says:

    For the love of Kathy, Kathy. This was a great post. Love seeing your artwork!

  18. Thank you so much, Kathy, for sharing some of your life story with us!! It’s nice to be able to get to know you a little bit! 😉

  19. Heather says:

    Hi Kathy! What a great introduction. I’m glad you and Kathy coordinated this meeting of the minds and sharing of the blogs. I’ll head over shortly – I look forward to growing a bit more with your experiences near event horizons.

    • Hi Heather. Great to have you read my post today. Isn’t it lovely of Kathy to set this us? Remember the teapot is still hot, so come on over whenever you like. I can make coffee, as well.
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  20. Dana says:

    Kathy couldn’t have picked a better sub during her absence, Kathy! I love reading both of your blogs already, so having them mixed into one delightful confection this morning was heaven! 🙂

    Looking forward to more of your posts on everything that makes you ‘YOU’. You’re a wonderful spirit, Kathy– so glad that the blogosphere connected us in community and support. Cheers!

    • I’m so glad to hear that you and Kathy are enjoying one another’s blogs, Dana. I, too, am delighted that we are part of the same blogging community. Hope Sara and I get to meet you and Marty one of these days! Hugs——————-

  21. kiwidutch says:

    Hi Kathy, (and waving Hello at Kathy far away … enjoy the wedding, and the sunshine!!!)
    Cool to see you guest blogging here. My blog is curently on it’s way to taking you to see Christchurch New Zealand, my home town, a city that knows only too well the awful aftermath of earthquakes and the long long haul back to normality as the aftershocks are still coming even today…

    …hats off to your partners work in Haiti, the social structure, the poorer building code, the lack of infrastructure, the enormous loss of life and homelessness, it’s so much worse there than in NZ, but as usual the “News” moves on after a few days and the hard graft of recovery happens well out of world view.

    Rooibos tea for me if you have the kettle on LOL, it’s nice to sit and read and learn how other people’s lives tick…

    • How great to hear from you today. You all really have seen the devastation of earthquake, haven’t you? So sad. But you are right what building code there was in Haiti was not enforced, so, of course, buildings collapsed like houses of cards.

      I will look forward to checking out your blog, as well. I have that tea ready for you, if you’d like to stop by. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

  22. ceceliafutch says:

    Kathy! I popped over to read Kathy’s post, and here you are! What a nice surprise. 😀 Enjoyed your post immensely, as always, and hope, too, that Kathy is enjoying her time away. Have a glorious day. 🙂

  23. Nice to meet you, Kathy!
    Your blog sounds like a VERY interesting one! Will bookmark it and check it out when I get a chance 🙂

  24. Deanna says:

    Hi Kathy,
    See? I follow you everywhere. Thanks for the introduction to the other Kathy, I will check out her blog. In the meantime, have a great weekend!
    Deanna

  25. Robin says:

    Wonderful guest post. It’s wonderful to see the two Kathys who inspire me together on one blog. 🙂

  26. Dawn says:

    I’m late but wanted to say “WOW!” What a life you have squeezed into your life so far! Seems to be a book should be in your future. So nice to meet you. I agree Kathy’s blog makes a person feel at home, which is why I stop by so frequently. I’ll pop over to your blog too!

    • Thanks for reading, Dawn. I apologize that it has taken me several days to find your comment. However, I am thrilled to hear from you. And I look forward to visiting your blog, as well.
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  27. Kathy says:

    Thank you again–a hundred thanks yous plus one more–for agreeing to be a guest blogger. You were loved and appreciated! I hope you get many more visitors to your own wonderful blog. Love, the Other Kathy

    • The privilege was ALL MINE! What an honor it’s been to meet your fine readers, Kathy–both through their visits to my blog and mine to theirs. I appreciate this opportunity more than I know how to adequately express. Thank you, my friend.
      Hugs,
      Kathy

  28. What a fascinating life you’ve lived! You have a wonderful way with words. It’s obvious why Michigan-Kathy asked you to guest post. Headed over to your side of the blogosphere to read more.

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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