Serendipity

We thought we had it all finally worked out – we would rent a car when we arrived in Washington DC and drive to New York City for the show. But that was before we had to get off of the airplane TWICE before it was concluded that new aircraft was needed from our departure city of Minneapolis. Hours had passed. The reality of getting to the show in time to see Trevor Noah do his stand-up routine, the whole reason for this crazy overnight in the city for Robert’s birthday, seemed to fading.

We are very fortunate that because my step-daughter Lauren works for Delta, we can fly standby for free. It often works out brilliantly; it sometimes goes disastrously wrong. It’s all part of the fun, of course, but less so when tickets to an event you are really looking forward to have been purchased. But as an exercise in holding events philosophically loosely, it can’t be beat.

We had planned to leave Saturday morning from Kansas City. A direct flight! Time for a lovely bite to eat before the show at Radio City Music Hall! Instead, when checking the numbers for that flight and seeing they had taken a bad turn, we packed in ten minutes and left on Friday night for Minneapolis (temperature upon arrival minus nine degrees). We stayed at an airport hotel and even had time to eat our complimentary breakfast (hello, make your own waffle) before our morning flight to La Guardia. Just prior to boarding that flight, it was cancelled, hence our scramble to be willing to drive from DC.

When we finally sat in our seats to DC (for the third time) on a new larger plane, I sat down in the middle seat next to man in the window seat. Here’s where the serendipity comes in. Robert was in the aisle seat and as a frequent flyer, he makes it a point to address who he’s sitting with, if only to say hello. The man on my right said hi and then didn’t stop talking.

A former Marine for twenty years, he’s now a Delta pilot who was flying standby home after a five-day work trip. He told us about a shuttle flight that we didn’t know about to NYC and even put us on it. He said the drive we had planned could easily take six hours. I  almost cried with joy when I realized we would make it. He also told us about being a Marine, his sense of duty and service and as he was talking, I realized that he took it as his mission to get us to where we wanted to go. He spends his free time with his non-profit that identifies sunken aircraft in the Pacific with MIA soldiers from World War II. I don’t have much interaction with the military and this man, whose name I don’t know, really impressed me. Here he is checking to make sure we found the gate for the shuttle flight…

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Here’s the delicious food we ate while standing in line in the freezing cold to get in to the theater…

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Here’s Trevor Noah – squint really hard! He was awesome!

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But there was more! I recognized this actor (Peter Gerety – he’s been in so much, but The Wire is my favorite) in the La Guardia airport and we were on the same flight to Atlanta. He was charming and talkative and Robert even had the next flight with him to Albuquerque after I went to Kansas City. A copy of my memoir Float On is now in his possession and he talked to Robert about the first few chapters that he read on the plane!

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Merriam Webster defines serendipity as the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. But, as I am reminded from this adventure, to find it you need to both be in motion and be looking for the unexpected. May you find a moment of unintended pleasure and may all of our eyes be open to it.

Love, Molly

 

 

Something I can do and a recipe.

At the risk of bragging, something I can do is make a cookie. As a pastry chef I whisked trays of chocolate chip cookies from the oven to pass to guests while they were still warm; I spread tuile batter paper-thin to shape in to cones for a crisp garnish; I developed a shortbread recipe with a twist for our cookbook. I don’t make cookies often now that I am out of the kitchen but I plan to for an event I’m organizing – Cookie Grab 2018.

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(My favorite cookie cookbook and the Krause cookbook.)

Last year this event raised almost $5,000 for Planned Parenthood. It was held on the inauguration day of our current president in an effort to redirect energy towards how we can be of service to others. In the past year even more attention has been given to what hands have grabbed that they shouldn’t have. If we can’t simply have an open palm to receive, or outstretched fingers to offer, if we must grab something, may it be the cookie.

If you are in the area please stop in – Friday January 19th from 5 – 8pm at Essential Goods, 933 Massachusetts Street. For a suggested donation of $50 (cash or check only), receive a box of delectables from some of Lawrence’s finest eateries – Ladybird Diner, The Levee Cafe, Hank, The Roost, Culinaria, Bon Bon, The Merc, Decade, Alchemy, Eileen’s Colossal Cookies, Southern Accent and more! Complimentary wine and coffee, 20% off in-store goodies –  thank you Essential Goods!

Do you support the Planned Parenthood of the Great Plains Mission Statement? Uphold the standard for providing high quality sexual and reproductive health care. Provide education that promotes informed proud and authentic sexuality. Change the culture through proactive advocacy to ensure equality in reproductive and sexual decision-making.

Regardless if you can or want to attend the Cookie Grab, I hope that you will ask yourself some of the questions I’ve asked myself: What are the values I support? What do I know how to do? What can I actually do to be of service?

I wish I could somehow include a cookie with this post. Instead, here’s the savory shortbread recipe from The Cook’s Book of Intense Flavors that I wrote with Robert. I hope you can insert some sweet and service into your day today.

Love, Molly

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Hello 2018

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Like many of you, I like to use the New Year to evaluate last year and focus on the next one. I have been geeking out with my new planner but have also paused to reflect. 2017 saw the realization of a goal of publishing my memoir Float On, something I’ve been working on for years. My daughters both now drive and have part-time jobs; we even got through their first (only, I hope) car accident without injury. Robert continues to grow our business interests in New Mexico and Palm Springs. I am healthy and grateful as I look to the future.

Strength and Flexibility in Mind and Body are my words for 2018. To focus on being strong in my mind helps me to be thoughtful and decisive, to be continually learning and engaged, and to use it in different ways like meditation. The idea of gaining strength in my body makes me snicker a bit; I’m forty-six now and realize that I am not going to be as physically strong as I have been in the past. So my definition now allows for me to not think of being stronger but to pursue strength, and in ways that doesn’t aggravate my arthritic big toe 🙂

Being flexible in my mind urges me to be more empathetic and to consider the other side of the story that I’m not hearing/experiencing. One thing I know for sure is that 2018 will bring events that I cannot imagine right now; being flexible in mind helps me hold the future loosely. Flexibility in body gets me to yoga or ballet class and reminds me that a healthy body is not just about muscle or numbers on a scale.

I’ll leave you with a quote that speaks to a lot of my feelings around this time of year – “Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem

Love, Molly

 

 

 

Memoir Intensive Begins February 1st!

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Part of my new year’s reflections include how grateful I am to be teaching. Because of that I developed this new class, which I am really excited to share. Please check it out and share with your friends!

What’s your story? This new class offering is for all writers, from beginners to advanced. Let’s meet weekly for eight weeks, Thursday nights from 6:30 – 8:30pm. We’ll read excerpts from examples such as The Glass Castle, The Liars Club, Out of Africa, The Tender Bar  and more in order to explore techniques to tell our own stories. Expect weekly writing prompts and a supportive environment to share your work. You’ve got something to write about;  let’s come together and practice ways to put it in to words. Class size very limited, register by contacting Molly at mmk1213@gmail.com.

Start date: Feb. 1st

End date: March 22nd

Location: TBA

Cost: $180, includes signed copy of Molly’s memoir Float On. Register by January 10th for $160.

Happy New Year friends! I hope that you have the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate all that you have in your life right now, all that you have persisted in, and all that you you dream about.

Love, Molly

PS – If you have read my new memoir Float On, would you consider writing a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads?

Location or Proximity?

For the first time our family is going to wake up on Christmas morning not at home in Kansas, but away in sunny California. We like to travel during Christmas break, but our tradition has been to leave town on Christmas Day. It’s fun to open gifts, eat homemade cinnamon rolls and then hit the road for an adventure.

But this year we wanted to maximize our time soaking up some vitamin D which forced me to be flexible with my notions of tradition. When I initially bristled at the idea of change, I had to ask myself what was really important – location or proximity? Did the place have more significance than the people I was sharing the same room with? In the blink of an eye our girls will be off creating their adult lives and I will have less influence on where they spend their holidays (please may I still have some). I may as well practice holding plans and traditions loosely, adapting to what arises. These little girls have already grown into young women I’m so proud of; I don’t want to miss the adventure of new traditions to come.

 

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Gifts I’ve been appreciating: the freedom to travel, time with my loved ones, the fragrance of the candle burning as I write this, a cup of coffee in my favorite mug, the inspiration of future creative work, and you, the readers who I share life with.

Happy Holidays and lots of love, Molly

There Are No Accidents

My new friend in Palm Springs died recently. I wrote about him last summer when I answered a sign looking for someone to walk his dog Toby. Roger was terminally ill, so it wasn’t a surprise, but he was a man I immediately connected with and felt quite fond of. I had this photo printed to give to Roger the last time I saw him.

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He took this photo in his hands and smiled as he looked at it. Then he brought it to his lips, kissed it, and lay it on his heart. Do you see what I mean?

Roger has been gone for over a month now, but last week I found out some things about his past that have me seeing the world as a mysterious and beautiful place.

Roger had been a Episcopal priest, married with two kids, when he had an affair with a man. His marriage fell apart and his adult children disowned him. He moved to Palm Springs and started over in what he saw as a more welcoming community. Shortly before he passed, his former wife called to show love and forgiveness to him, but his kids and grandkids never did.

I recognized at the time that Roger’s kindness felt paternal to me, but what I didn’t know is that it likely felt that way to him as well. Me – who had a father in some ways much like him, yet never capable to express himself with the tenderness of Roger. Him – who had daughter-figure waltz in his door to see to his needs at his end. My daughter came to meet him too, a fact I am so grateful for now – a stand in grandchild even.

Roger’s apartment was full of religious books about the God he had served his entire adult life. It pains me to think of his own kids rejecting him to his very end. But I like to think that our brief relationship was an answer to some prayer about healing and reconciliation for both of us.

I am reminded to be open and looking, ready to see and act on an opportunity that stirs my heart. Because I don’t know the weight of my actions on others, but I do know that they can elevate my own life and maybe be a form of an answered prayer somewhere.

Love, Molly

PS – I’ve had a few readers reach out who couldn’t attend my memoir book launch about getting a copy. You can order it by clicking this link.

 

 

A Launch in Photos

This is how my book launch party felt…

Wrapped in love.

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(With my longtime friend and co-worker Cat Gates.)

Surrounded by family.

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(With my aunt Mary Margaret aka Mimi.)

Signing books.

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(With Stella Comparato – I copied her hairstyle.)

Laughing with longtime friends.

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(With the Potwin Elementary crew – Beth, Nina, Kelly & Alexa)

Attempting new creations with Robert.

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(Trying not to curse as we burn our fingers in molten sugar for the croquembouche.)

It was a beautiful night! Thank you to so many people who made this possible, but especially to Thea Rademacher at Flint Hills Publishing, my husband Robert, my friends Paige & Nina who kept the bubbly flowing, everyone at Van Go Mobile Arts, and to my family for telling me how proud they are of me. My heart could burst.

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Float On has appeared as an Amazon Hot New Release and as a Best Seller in a couple of categories! Here’s a link to order a copy of Float On . 

Coming up…

I’ll be at Great Writers Right Here this Saturday Dec. 9th from 1-4pm in Topeka at the Public Library selling and signing books. Stop by and say hi!

Leading a Writing Workshop to De-stress on Monday Dec. 11th from 6-7pm at Point B Dance. Come for just the workshop ($10) or stay for an hour of yoga after (only $14 for both).

Much love to you and yours, Molly