I’m always surprised by fireflies. Every year, they appear slowly, quietly. I think there is a glint of light on my windscreen, or I see a flash of light out of the corner of my eye when I get out of my car in the evening. It takes me about a week to realize that it is time, that the fireflies are here.
A month, and then another go by. They keep appearing. They keep lighting up the dusk sky with their lazy mating dance.
And then they aren’t there. One day finally comes when I realize that I’ve not seen a firefly in weeks. I’d not noticed them leave. Just as quietly as they came, they are gone.
Sometimes people are like fireflies. They are there, and then suddenly they aren’t. Their light illuminates my life for a brief time. I think they’ll always be around. And then they aren’t.

Steve Heydel, who I knew as Edmund Cavendish, is one such person.

This isn’t a close friend, one I’ve known well. I didn’t even know he was sick. He was in my medieval reenactment household. We camped together. We spent weekends in the woods, wearing medieval clothing. His always looked better than mine because he bought it.
He was a realtor, and sold me my house. More than most realtors, he helped me move by lending the use of his trailer that he used for events.  He was also an actor.  Later in life he started working for Rodale, a skin cream company.
He died October 18th, at 67, and it is hard to believe.

From IMDB – Steve Heydel is an actor, known for Ashes 2 Ashes (2014), Left Behind or Led Astray?: Examining the Origins of the Secret Pre-Tribulation Rapture (2015) and Held Up at Work(2011). He has been married to Vikki King since April 28, 1995. Height, 5’11”.

The funeral was at 10 a.m. on Thurs Oct 20,2016  at the First United Methodist, Lebanon TN, at at 415 W. Main St. in Lebanon.

From his obituary  –

Mr. Heydel passed away peacefully Oct. 18, 2016 at the age of 67, surrounded by loved ones in Nashville. Steve is survived by his loving wife of 21 years, Vikki King-Heydel, of Lebanon.

He is preceded in death by his mother, June Love Heydel, of Lebanon.

Steve is also lovingly remembered by his father, William David Heydel; brother, Richard David (Sally) Heydel; daughters, Wendy Heydel (Shane) Lynn, Chrissa Heydel (Jim) Gatton; stepson, Aaron Hester; grandsons, Mason Lynn, Connor Lynn, Ethan Lynn, Jacob Gatton, Caleb Gatton; and granddaughters, Bailey Hester, Shyann Hester; and numerous loved ones and dear friends.

Steve was born Nov. 26, 1948 in Rockwood. He graduated from Lebanon High School in 1966 and went on to earn a bachelor of arts in economics from Cumberland University and the University of Tennessee in 1970. He also attended the University of Tennessee Law School in 1971.

Steve’s passion was acting in local Lebanon community theaters and did several commercial and short film acting roles in the Middle Tennessee area. He also had an avid interest in British and European history, and was a member of the Society of Creative Anacronisms, affectionately known amongst his SCA friends as Edmund Cavendish.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here are other pictures of him.

…and more recent ones, showing his illness.  He’d had a bone marrow transplant in May, and it had started to fail in October.


According to his Facebook page, he liked to read John Sanford and listen to Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, the Kingston Trio, Connie Laine, Tick Bryan.  For films, Hav Faith, Star Wars, Anne of the Thousand Days, Arn, Wyatt Earp, Ashes to Ashes, the Terminator, Indiana Jones.

I didn’t know know all this about him.   I suspect there is a lot that I’ll never know. I know that he loved to watch local football, and had a room in his house that was perfect for it.  His home was unique – there was a great hall that looked like a hall in a medieval castle.  He had a booth in his kitchen so he and his wife could sit as if they were eating out.





I’ve always been fascinated by these tiny alleyways, but not known that they had a special name. In Britain, where they are common, they are called ginnels. They are pathways between rowhouses. According to Wikipedia it is “A narrow passageway or alley often between terraced houses.”  They are known as this especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A terraced house is defined as one that shares both side walls with other houses, which is “typical of Victorian and Edwardian housing in English cities”. 


To me, they look secret and mysterious. I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with empty spaces and absences. This is negative space, not positive.  It isn’t a destination, but a way to get to it.  But to me, it is intriguing as it is.

My Mom told me about playing in the one that was part of her building complex while she was growing up.  This was primarily when it rained.


They look forbidding and inviting all at the same time.  Do they lead to courtyards like this?



From an image search, I found several that aren’t enclosed on the top.  I don’t know if those are still considered ginnels, or if they are just alleys.  To me, they need to be enclosed to fit my idea of them, but then again I just learned this word.

(All photos are copyright of their respective owners and are used for educational purposes.)

An Autumn Wander

Did you know that you can go on a Wander without even leaving your home?  Wandering is something that is internal, not external.  Plenty of people go on walks that aren’t Wanders.   They go to get somewhere, or something.  They walk just for exercise, or to catch the bus for school or work, or to visit a friend who lives up the street.  But Wanders are different.


You Wander when you don’t have a particular place to go, or even a direction.


Your heart leads you – not a map or a compass.


Turning and returning is the same.  You aren’t in a hurry.  You don’t need to rush.


Slowing down, we can take the time to really see what is there – not what we think is there.


Slowing down, we can feel with all our senses.  We can smell the leaves. We can touch the flowers.  We can delight in the many colors our eyes notice.  We can hear all that is around us.


Perhaps more importantly, when we slow down, we can finally hear all that is within us.


“Solvitur Ambulando” – “It is solved by walking.” – said Diogenes. Thoreau repeated it.  Walking solves a lot of things that concern us – inside and out.


But be sure to walk slowly.  Savor.  Saunter.  Amble.  Mosey.  Don’t be in a hurry, or you’ll miss the whole point of the walk.


Just go.  Trust.  Be out in the wilderness of your heart.  Know that you are safe, wherever you are.  Listen to the still small voice inside.  It will never lead you astray.


So many of us have forgotten the sound of our own voice. So many of us have forgotten who we are.


There is hope!   You aren’t lost.  Your voice is quietly waiting for you to seek it again.


On your Wander, you can practice being You again – the You that got forgotten, or ignored, or pushed aside for the rest of the world.


On a Wander, you finally have the time and space to be the person you’ve always wanted to be – Yourself.


(All photos are from Pinterest, and are copyright to their respective owners.)

Poem – Lost mothers, daughters


We all

are daughters

searching for our mothers.

We all

are mothers

searching for our daughters.

We all

are lost,

and have lost.


Sometimes our arms

have to wrap around the shoulders

of someone else, someone

we are not related to

to comfort ourselves

and to comfort them.


Sometimes we have to be

for each other

what we don’t have

for ourselves.

Possessed by drugs

If you get caught with drugs, you are charged with possession. But I believe it would be more accurate to say that you should be diagnosed with possession. You are possessed.

You don’t do drugs. Drugs do you. They act upon you quietly and insidiously. They end up taking over your life. They don’t enhance it – they take away from it.

Perhaps if we saw drug use as possession we would be able to actually treat it for a change. We would no longer see it as a lack of willpower but as a dangerous force that takes up residence inside you and makes you do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

It is important to understand that this doesn’t start off as a passive action. You, sober, make the first move. You, sober, are the one who first starts using drugs. They don’t have a hold of you at that point. So you have control at the beginning.

This is the same as with possession.  You have to allow that demon into your soul for it to harm you.  Once you do, you are in big trouble.  Just like with drugs, you’re in over your head very fast.

Begin again

When we are raised with abusive or neglectful parents, we learn maladaptive coping mechanisms. When we grow up, we often unconsciously continue those habits, reflexively acting, mindlessly being. With the new life that is offered to us through Jesus, we can begin again, with a new Parent in God, who loves us unconditionally and without measure. We can learn how to act in new healthy ways, rather than being stuck in our old mindless habits. Jesus calls us to a new life of being awake and fully alive and present in every moment. This is the promise of new life in Jesus – a slate wiped clean, a chance to start again. No longer are we slaves to our past. No longer are we consigned to repeat our actions, over and over, flinching from blows that no longer come.

Prayer to the heart of Mary

Sacred Heart of Mary, holy heart of Mary, listen to my plea.
I ask for your love and your guidance and your strength in this time of loss and brokenness.
I ask for your help, your assistance, and your strength in this time of confusion.

You were called to serve God by harboring and nurturing an innocent child. For so much of your life you took care of him, and it was through your example that he was able to heal the world.

Help me guide others in the way that you guided Jesus.
Help me to see and nurture the light of God that is within them.

I am unable to do this for myself. I ask for your divine guidance and love. Please help me to see the many examples of mercy and glory that appear in tiny ways before me. They remind me of God’s eternal presence.

Help me to nourish, support, and nurture others in the same way that St. Monica prayed for her son St. Augustine.

I pray to be able to help others reach their full potential, to grow into God’s light, to be able to take care of themselves and take care of others, to know the glory that is being connected to God.

To do this, help me to reconnect and recommit to the Sacred Heart of your son, Jesus, the heart that is exposed for all the world to see. It is a reminder to trust in being vulnerable. It is a reminder to not be afraid of being open.