Welcome to Kitchen Table Stories! I learned a lot at the kitchen table when I was a girl – I wasn’t doing homework, but listening to the grandmothers, aunts, or neighbors who might stop by on an errand and stay for a chat. The cups would come out, the coffee would flow (mine had extra cream and sugar – I was only 5!), and the stories would begin. There was always a lot to take in: good recipes, opinions about laundry soap, juicy gossip about a neighbor, or someone’s symptoms or medical test results. Sometimes I’d hear worried updates to the ongoing stories of friends who stayed with their husband, even though he drank or wouldn’t work or beat them. It was a lot for a five year old to process! But if you stay at that kitchen table long enough there’s much to learn. I’m a trophy grandma now. I’ve been collecting stories for a long time and it feels like time to start writing them down. I serve it all up every other week at my kitchen table in Lone Star, Kansas. Pull up a chair. I’m a dreamer, a clown, a crone, a mystic, but most of all an encourager. Life is beautiful, you know, and it’s quickly slipping by. Care for a cup of tea or a good laugh or cry? Stop by. I’m here for you. We’re all in this thing together – even if it is for a limited time only.

Read “Why I Write (and Why I’m Doing This Blog)” to learn more.

When I attended the 50th reunion of my 8th grade class, an old teacher remarked, “Lorel! You were such a dreamer.” I was shocked and kind of hurt – aren’t dreamers right up there with “wool gatherers” and other lightweight human beings? But time and life have taught me the truth of that remark. I am a dreamer. I am a storyteller. I favor the happy ending but have learned that “happy” can shift and “normal” truly is just a setting on your dryer. I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and have recently added “widow” to my resume. I worked as a high school English teacher until a midlife epiphany about how much I love construction paper led me back to KU to add elementary ed to my certificate. I loved my 20 year run as “Mrs. Lewis,” but along the way also worked in a flower shop, a bookstore, taught cooking classes, managed the books for my husband’s business and learned how to make very good scones. But no matter where I worked, I listened to the stories.

Stop by my kitchen table sometime! There’s a story and a chair waiting for you.

“In every life, no matter how full or empty one’s purse, there is tragedy. It is the one promise life always fulfills. Thus, happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes, and to add to other people’s store of it.” ~ Charles Dickens from Nicholas Nickleby