When I was a child, growing up in the middle of the Iowa prairie, my father read poetry to me before bedtime. He taught me a love for well-written words and literature, the rhythm and the beauty of it all.  When I learned to read myself, I devoured The Little House on the prairie books until they were dog-eared, and then moved on to Willa Cather’s O Pioneer and My Antonia. I majored in literature in college, and earned an MA in journalism. Then I moved to the big city, leaving my prairie roots behind. I’m still ambivalent about that choice. I long for the quiet peace of the country, the green, the sky, the people. But the city is now my home.

I’ve been writing, moving words around on a page to make a living, for all of my adult life. I recently wrote a book about what it really means to live an abundant life, which chronicles four excruciatingly difficult years of unemployment, infertility, a failed adoption, and other sundry events, and ultimately asks the question, “What does it mean to live an abundant life?” I’m not sure I have all of the answers (well, I am sure I don’t have the answers), but I have found peace. My life is not perfect, but the tiny glimpses of God give me hope, and keep me moving forward throughout the chaos.

I do know these things:

I know I am rich, even when my bank account says I’m poor.

God is often found where we least expect to find him (we’re looking in the wrong places!)

My husband loves me, even when I hide the New Yorker magazine from him so I can read it first.

Writing is hard, but very fulfilling.

Parenting is hard, but good.

I will never be the writer I want to be, but I will keep trying.

I am a woman on a long journey with a conclusion that is uncertain…. but I will not lose hope.

“I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” — Red, at the end of Shawshank Redemption.