Good
books and movies are common modes of transportation to other times
and places. What isn’t so common, at least for me, is dressing up
and imagining myself physically inhabiting those other worlds. Not
like actors, cosplayers, historical reenactors, and others who do it
just for fun.



But
last week friends gave me the opportunity to wear costumes in a
beautiful park with a waterfall, streams, pathways, woods, cliffs,
hills, and a ruined castle while they snapped photos and wove stories
to help create the portraits we were aiming for. With each different
outfit, I felt like I became a different person.




This
first costume was inspired by Astrid from How to Train Your
Dragon
. My talented friends
crafted the fur, leather, and metal parts of the outfit. I imagined
that I was one of my Swedish ancestors, a Viking woman defending her
homeland while the men were away.









This second one is actually my martial arts uniform. This didn’t
require much imagination since I’m so used to wearing it, but it
was great fun to try out different weapons by a waterfall that could
be in China or Japan.










Costume number three is my gown patterned after the Titanic period
(around 1912). Here I was in early twentieth-century England, dreaming about my favorite
books while enjoying an excursion into nature.










This Scottish highlander dress brought me to another of my favorite
countries as I romped around on trails, up hillsides, by the water,
and even along a castle wall.









Lastly,
this gown, which we nicknamed the Arwen dress (from
Lord of
the Rings
), brought me into the
realm of fairy tales, Middle Earth, and Arthurian legends.










My friend Hannah also participated in the role-playing portraits.
Here she’s a feisty Spanish Western ranch owner challenging a
trespasser on her property.










And here she’s an exotic African queen who may or may not be an
actual leopardess.







By the time our picture taking was done, we joked that we’d
traveled the globe—Scandinavia, China or Japan, England, Scotland,
Middle Earth, the American West, and Africa—and all within a mile
of each other in the same park in Oklahoma!






Have
you ever dressed up in clothes of different eras?

Life has been chock full of interesting experiences for me lately. Let’s see if I can cover them all in one blog post today!


At the end of June, I spent about a week in Nebraska with some dear friends. I experienced several firsts—first time milking goats (my hands got so tired!), first time helping with calf branding (probably the hardest work I’ve ever done), first time actually directing a horse while I was riding him instead of just sitting back and following a trail. These real-life, out-of-the-ordinary-for-me experiences really enriched me. The time in the unfilled countryside was so refreshing, and the close fellowship with my friends was so sweet.





Nebraska is for the most part wide open country. Southwestern Nebraska, my location, was full of steep hills that gave intrigue to the landscape and made up for the general deficiency in trees. Where trees did take root, however, they were thick and healthy. Mostly there were cattle, horses, corn fields, and wheat fields, but there were also houses, small towns, and wildlife. I was fascinated by the homes built into hillsides, the descendants of Little House on the Prairie-style dugouts. It seems I can’t go anywhere without being reminded of a book or an author; Nebraska is the state of Willa Cather, whose book My Antonia made a big impression on me several years ago. Her books had a big presence at the used bookstore I visited, as did the books by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, a woman who wrote about her homesteading life nearby in Wyoming.


The second week of July, I had a precious friend come stay with me for a bit, and we drove up to be staff members at a Bible camp in Oklahoma. I’ve gone to this camp for eleven years now, and every year is an incredible spiritual event in my life. This time was no exception. I love getting to serve here now that I’m older, but I’m always out-blessed.


When I got back from that camp, it was time to get fully prepared for a local music day camp that took place the first week of August. It was fun putting different creative muscles to work—planning crafts, doing a collage board, choreographing a dance, researching history, writing discussion outlines, and of course listening to music. The kids were fun to teach and interact with, and the other teachers were such gracious and talented people. Our theme was 1950s and ’60s music…talk about catchy songs! They’re still taking turns whirling in my head.

Using clothes as a teaching tool was fun – 1950s
1960s!

Interspersed with all this, plus working and teaching karate, I’ve been developing my proofreading business. I’ve had almost nonstop projects since June, praise God. Fitting creative writing into that has been a challenge, but I’m still feeling my way forward and hope it will all slide into place once I get comfortable with the schedule and new routine.


So now you know how my summer has been! How about yours? Busier or slower than normal? What new experiences have you had?