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My good friend Liz Engstrom has a way with words. An author, an educator, she also has a way with yarn. She made me this felt bowl last year in what seemed like no time at all, and I keep hats, gloves, neck gator, etc. in it close to the front door. Every time I see it, I both smile and marvel.

Some people seem to come pre-loaded with talent. But even as I write this, I know that Liz is all about the work. She puts in the effort at whatever she does. And because she seems to have a propensity for organization, many many things get accomplished. Her garden, for example. Beautiful, lush, productive.

She’s written multiple novels, mostly in the horror genre. If you want to lay awake at night twitching at every odd house-settling sound, read Black Ambrosia. One of her novels Candyland, was made into a movie so she also has a listing on IMDB.

She’s taught many writing courses in many venues over the course of her career and threads that tricky needle of providing useful feedback while not dimming the hopes and aspirations of neophyte writers.

You could also consider Liz an itinerant minister, not connected with a specific faith tradition but deeply spiritual. Her master’s degree in applied theology and certificate in pastoral care from Marylhurst University inform her approach to the day. Love and mercy. So, yes, a complicated soul. Great laugh, generous heart. I’m honored to call her my friend.

Why am I writing about her today? It’s my new year commitment to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary people in my life.