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She hiked herself upon the seat of the ladder-back chair and grabbed a mound of pink clay from the tub on my dining room table. Her head bowed, her red hair swishing the sides of her round cheeks, she set to work. Small hands kneaded the clay, stubborn under her touch. She worked harder. Her freckled nose twitched as she rolled it flat on the table, one side, then the other. She hunched back in her chair and inspected the results, then rolled it out again.

Finally satisfied, her narrow fingers fashioned the flattened piece into what appeared to be a container. Her work continued. Again, she reached into the tub and pulled out an orange piece. After having smoothed it, she shaped it into a circle, a process she repeated with lavender, blue, and yellow clay. Next came narrow green strips of clay she rolled into tubes; upon them she mounted the circles.

“I need a toothpick,” she said to her mother and grandmother, looking on and smiling. One emerged from the tub. With deft fingers the young artist inscribed her message, I love you, from Mary, then offered me her creation: the pink vase with summery flowers.

Such was the fruit of Mary’s industry, my six-year-old great-granddaughter who was visiting from her Minneapolis home.

Her love offering reminded me of a striking parallel found in the prophet Isaiah: “You are our Father; we are the clay, You our potter, we are all the work of Your hands.”

May we be willing to participate in this daily kneading. It’s about letting go of the kinks in our instincts and thriving.




“I write to shine a light on an otherwise dim or even pitch black corner, to provide relief for myself and others.” – the author statement of memoirist, Laura Munson, taped above the desk in the Montana farmhouse in the glacial valley she shares with her husband and two children. For twenty years, she had honed her craft, produced fourteen unpublished novels, despite efforts to seek the notice of publishers. Such practice, however, inadvertently prepared her to compose her successful memoir, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is – a Season of Unlikely Happiness, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 2010.

Stung by an unforeseen marital crisis, Laura reaches for her journal and over a five-month period, traces its escalation with humor, honesty, and simplicity. At the outset, she engages her future readers, calling them “gentle friends.” Skillful weaving of backstory textures the rich story line, set within a wealthy Chicago suburb, a Boston walk-up apartment, a Seattle first-house, and a Montana farmhouse. Graced by grandmothers practiced in creating beauty in their homes, Laura does similarly in her vegetable and flower gardens, in her response to her children’s needs and her mate’s identity crisis as husband, as provider, triggered by a failed business venture. She survives this crisis, peppered by her “evil twin sister Sheila,” – referring to her nasty inner critic – all the stronger as wife and mother and writer. Her memoir’s listing on the New York Times Best Sellers List, appearances on Oprah and the Today Show attest to the success of her author’s statement.

I highly recommend Laura Munson’s skillfully crafted memoir, a heart-stirrer.








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