Leaving the Range

Eight years ago, I was a newly-jobless mother of two girls, ages 1 and 3. I’d left my job as the director of communications for a sizable non-profit in exchange for more time with my progeny. I envisioned delightful outings and play dates and leisurely afternoons spent reading and cuddling and baking cookies. And sometimes, that happened. But truth be told, I was miserable. I was broke. I was lost and fumbling, unsure of my purpose or value.

So darn precious. Those days were long, but the years were short. I will not cry. I will not cry.

So I started freelancing. I picked up projects here and there, but it wasn’t enough to fulfill my need to create. So many words. So many stories. I did what every red-blooded white lady who lives out in the boonies does–I started a blog.

“Mom on the Range” was a perfect reflection for this season of my life. We lived on 80 acres in the middle of a Kansas wheatfield, and I felt isolated both in my location and in my still-new role as a mother. During these years I lost my father, and two weeks before that, I’d miscarried a baby at 11 weeks, after we’d already been assured of a strong heartbeat. Freelance work picked up, time ticked by, and we had another baby.

Daniel was the perfect addition to our family, and my baby is now nearly five years old.

Now, my “baby” (he’ll always be my baby) will be five next week. My husband’s previous job was no longer, and a company transfer meant we’d have leave the land and the life we loved. We prayed. We discussed. And we left. Almost two years ago.

And my blog? Mom on the Range? It just sat here. My work has kept me more than busy, and most days, I just simply don’t have the energy to write after banging on the keyboard all day for clients. I kept writing on my Facebook page, but I wasn’t ready to approach my blog yet. Shifting from a rural to a suburban lifestyle has been mostly good, but I miss the country. Sunsets. Open skies. Quiet nights. My garden–my glorious garden. Our chickens. Our cows. Our little piece of bucolic beauty.

I mean, who would miss that? Me. I would miss that. I do miss that. 🙁

Our life here in a small Kansas city is more tame, more mundane, more rhythmic, more predictable. And this isn’t always a bad thing. Our children are thriving in their new school, and my daughter has access to far more resources to meet her needs.

And I think…no, I know, I am here for a reason. We found a family at The Father’s House, and Pastor Quintin is friends with the Pope, and it’s all crazy and surreal and wonderful and…I’m going to have to write an entirely separate post (or book) about all that.

That’s my pastor. And that’s the Pope. And if you know my spiritual history, you’ll realize that this is all bananas. Strange, God-created, delicious bananas.

So now what? Now, I’m leaving the range behind, both in name and identity. I’m establishing myself as an author, because gosh-darn-it, I am going to make it happen. (I actually learned the term “pre-published” author at a conference and I love it.) I’ve branded my paid writing work as Testify Storytelling Services, and the name Cat Poland will once again belong only to me, not my business.

I’m querying a children’s book. I’m working toward completing a narrative nonfiction about my family’s experience with trauma and faith and hope.  I’m building my business and adding new clients. And I’m ready for this next chapter.


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