God moves in a mysterious ways; His wonders to perform;/ He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
My writing career began in 1962 through a remarkable chain of unplanned events, beginning with a three-hour stint one night in Alaska. I could not have dreamed how technology one day would broaden my literary outreach. It seems I may have some distance yet to go.
Occasionally I learn the God of Harvest used something I wrote to plant a seed of faith. Poet Longfellow’s archer is my guide:
I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where;/ For so swiftly it flew, the sight could not follow it in its flight./ I breathed a song into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where;/ For who has sight so keen and strong, that it can follow the flight of song?/ Long, long afterward, in an oak I found the arrow, still unbroke;/ And the song, from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend.
The Wordshed Mission
In 1986, Elsie and I took early retirement to pursue a dream. Our Alaska visits had acquainted us with quiet servants of the faith whose stories cried to be told. We put together the Wordshed Mission to achieve that goal. We would give half the books to those we wrote about, the other half to friends and relatives, leaning on interim-pastor income to fund printing and distribution.
We began our mission with one title, an anthology. But it soon became apparent one book would not begin to hold the stories we found. We settled on two small books: one about Don and Lorene Stump, pioneer Alaska missionaries; the other about Paul and Nattie Boskoffsky, a Native couple we had come to love.
The books were well received and we reprinted several times, distributing about 13,000 copies. Along the way, we turned Paul and Nattie’s story into a three-CD audio book.
Then we broadened the vision and added three more titles, then three from my memoir series. All told, the Wordshed Mission distributed 32,000 copies of eight titles, plus 1,500 audio books. From somewhere, over $100,000 came in to cover costs.
Now my book-printing days have ended. From now on, I’ll hang writings I wish to preserve on my Story Tree–www.lloydsstorytree.com.
A New Path for Words
Our retirement dream outstripped anything Elsie and I could have imagined. But as the Wordshed Mission began to run its course, a second and vastly broader outreach came along.
In late 2008, as Elsie began to fade, I began a nightly group email to keep family and close friends informed. When she died (mid-February, 2009), I continued the emails as therapy, writing during the inevitable sleepless hole each night brought. Hence, Hole News.
Readers began sharing my notes with friends, who wanted on the list. Soon, I found myself wrestling with 250 names. Jackie McBride of Sun City, Arizona followed the Hole News. She was a webmaster. “Lloyd, you’re wearing yourself out,” she wrote, and set up www.holenews.org. The web server automatically emails posts to subscribers. Today, about 400 friends at home and abroad get the blog in their Inbox. Then Facebook, exposing the Hole News to the world.
The Story Tree
Awhile back, webmaster Jackie, knowing I wanted to get out of book-printing, created a second website: www.lloydsstorytree.com. Now I hang my choicest adventures the Story Tree, including the full text of Epilogue. One day, I’ll add all the Wordshed Mission books.