This piece is from Rev. Terri Stewart’s blog, “Clocked Monk.” It’s an acknowledgement of someone who is involved in doing some rather controversial work regarding civil rights and the justice system. J.D.
This evening we get to share some wonderful news with you.
- We have a new and exciting collaborator, our Resident Story Teller, Naomi Baltuck, and
- We are pleased to announce that our Chaplain and Site Co-Administrator, Terri Stewart, was just awarded a Master’s in Divinity from Seattle University.
“I was raised in a family blessed with good stories to tell. Mom told hers over the kitchen table, while Grandma Rose spun her yarns with a kid on each knee. After college I packed my diploma into the saddlebag of my bike and headed west to see what adventures my own story held in store. I taught canoeing in King’s Canyon, worked at the Bar 717 Ranch in the Trinity Alps, and waited tables in the Tetons.
In Seattle, I became a teacher, a professional puppeteer, and a Wet Apple Clogger. It was there that I discovered storytelling, first as a teaching tool, then as a profession. That was almost thirty years ago. I met my husband and raised my family in this silver city by the sea, writing books and telling stories all the while.”
Since storytelling is one of Naomi’s major interests and special gifts in life, it’s not surprising to know that she charms us each week with a story in photographs on her blog, Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. There she shares life and travel adventures. Among her published books are: six books including several on the art and practice of storytelling. Her Amazon page is HERE.
Naomi, an award-winning writer and story-teller, has been a contributing writer here in the past. We love her posts: they are perfectly executed works of art: careful and caring, symmetrical and clear. Lest you think we are her only admirers, here is what others are saying:
Baltuck is a master storyteller. Story time is a very special time when Baltuck does the telling. As she talks she is part mime, part actor, part singer… –The Seattle Times
Perhaps the quality that makes Naomi Baltuck such a fine storyteller is her affinity for and ability to communicate the beauty in life. — The Palo Alto Tribune
Storyteller Naomi Baltuck weaves magic with words…Yakima schoolchildren were treated to a taste of virtuoso storytelling as the West Coast’s best tale-spinner visited Yakima. — The Yakima Herald Tribune
Storyteller Naomi Baltuck makes sense of the world. — Pacific Northwest Magazine
With song and pantomime and the lilting cadence of her speech, Baltuck seemed to have no trouble sweeping her audience away to a world where the myths of the Pacific Northwest came alive. — The Bellingham Herald
Please join us in a warm and grateful welcome to Naomi …
…. and a proud “Congratulations” to Terri who says,
“An MDIV is a four-year general theology degree. I was terrified when I went back to school. I came from a scientific writing background and landed in territory where you are supposed to use personal pronouns in your papers and in your expression! Whoa!
After the first set of classes, I figured it out and also re-discovered my inner poet and artist. I began writing poetry again, doing art, and stepping into contemplative photography. I took to the more spiritual classes with such a passion that I decided to add on a certificate in Spiritual Direction.
I finished the two courses in 5 years except for one silly class that I had dropped earlier and had to take this last January-Medieval Church History. Now there’s a fun topic! In fact, it was a blast. My major papers were on the Court Beguines of the Flemish territory and on Christine de Pizan. I learned so much about women, spirituality, and what real community is by spending time with the Beguines and with Christine. It was amazing. I was also struck by the similarities in our current times and the time directly prior to the Renaissance. Polarization. Duality. The big lie. Denigration of education and intellect. Whisper campaigns. I spent half this particular class going, “Holy moley, batman!”
Anyway, my diploma says that I have rights and privileges earned with this degree. I’m not quite sure what those things are other than I have a student loan to pay back! But I am taking the education that I received and using it in two ways. One, working with incarcerated youth. Two, encouraging people to develop diverse spiritual practices.
I am blessed and privileged to have been able to travel this path. I look forward to the next rabbit trail! (Is that a PhD calling?)”
Terri has been fabulous, actively involved in Bardo from day one. She has a fine sense of timing and is a collaborator in every sense. We are more grateful for her presence here than we can say and know everyone is enjoying her wise, wonderful, and often witty posts.