Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

Tending the spiritual lives of writers and readers.

2013 Epiphany Greetings from the Jarretts!

MLK Greetings from the Jarretts!

The tree is down, thank-you cards are sent, and we’re still celebrating the rich gifts of the season—a God incarnate, a healthy family, and you, our beloved circle of friends.  Here’s a brief, belated update from our busy home.

Glorious EmilyEmily launches Wisdom Dances.
Staying true to her life’s purpose, Emily quit her job at the Minnesota Council of Churches to launch her own business teaching dance.  She’s more joyful than ever, bringing dance to older adults, using dance to reunite people with natural and agricultural cycles, and performing with the Ethnic Dance Theater—check out her upcoming show March 15-17th.  Gwyn always assumed that Emily danced for work anyway.

Elizabeth is caught in revision mania.
Yes, this is year seven working on her novel, Hannah, Delivered.  With so much experience revising, she’s making lemons into lemonade by also writing a book about revision, currently titled Seeing Anew:  Revision and the Writer’s Open Heart—not likely to be a blockbuster.  She continues supporting others as they develop their books, now teaching online and publishing a monthly blog.  Her week teaching at the Madeline Island School of the Arts is now an annual favorite.

Gwyn turns four…GB'day
The theme for her party?  Cats.  Face paint whiskers for everyone, cereal kibbles eaten from bowls on the kitchen floor, the “kitty-pokey” in the Ball Room, and a cat cake—“Exactly what I wanted!”  She’s thriving at a small Waldorf preschool in our neighborhood, making friends and crafts and play-play-playing.

…starts getting ideas…
Gwyn:  “Let’s give Mama another Harry Potter book.”
Emily:  “We already have them all.  There aren’t any more.”
Gwyn:  “Let’s write her one.”

At the Walker Art Museum:  “Mama, you put three ideas in my head.  First, draw with squiggles.  Second, make a museum in the kitchen nook.  Third, make a skating rink in the back yard.”

…teaches her introverted parents how to live with passion…
“I don’t want to die.  I want to keep talking.”
“I’m very talented at staying awake.  I like being talented.”


…and is a budding actor.
After falling obsessively in love with The Wizard of Oz, after memorizing the songs and the lines in the soundtrack, Gwyn had to be Dorothy for Halloween.  Grammy sent a thrift shop dress with matching bow for Toto.  Gwyn’s two favorite scenes are when Dorothy slaps the lion on the nose (such courage!) and when she throws water at the wicked witch.  Gwyn does a convincing “I’m melting!”

The “Back Forty” is fruitful.
We’ve been homesteading our tiny city plot in our “spare time,” with improving results.  This year we bested 183 pounds of produce, including a whopping fifty-six pounds of tomatoes, from which we canned three varieties of salsa.  If we’d bought all the ground cherries we ate, we would have spent $160!  Gwyn munches broccoli off the plant and swings from the lilac tree.  The garden nourishes our spirits and bodies.  Tune in next year to hear about chickens…

Garage ShowWe share creativity with the neighborhood.
In July we hosted a dance/theater troupe’s performance in our newly resided garage.  About 80 friends and neighbors attended three weekend performances.  Then we participated in dozens of follow-up shows starring Gwyn as the barking dog.  We also planted a Poetry House in our front yard; passers by are invited to read a poem on their walk.

Gooseberry Falls

On the road.
We took our annual family road trip to the Badlands, and were pleased when other kids scrambling over the rock formations brought out the hiker in Gwyn.  One night we camped in a buffalo grazing area and slept with the noise of heavy hooves and huffy breathing just feet from our tent.

In July we traveled with the Hughes family to Sea Ranch, CA.  Uncle Billy taught Gwyn how to feed snails to the sea anemones.

Emily did a four-day Qi Gong retreat on the North Shore in September.  Meditating at nightfall beside Lake Superior was one of her year’s highlights.  Elizabeth and Gwyn scrambled on the rocks and pretended to be seagulls.

Mare of Amallica

Love begets love.
In September we spent a week in New Mexico celebrating Elizabeth’s sister’s family union.  Marcy married Scott, they both made vows to the boys, and all four of them bound themselves to the land in beautiful Miranda Canyon south of Taos.  Gwyn was so taken, we shared the vows that created our family with her.  Gwyn also bonded so powerfully with her cousins that she and Tono now tell strangers that they’re brother and sister.

Rhia warms up.
Largely because Gwyn’s first chore has been feeding Rhia, our chronically ornery cat is growing friendlier.  New medication for hyperthyroid has helped.  It’s great to have our cat back.

The Jarretts in politics.
Gwyn and Emily went door knocking for the Vote No campaign for one hour (to reject an amendment to our constitution that would restrict marriage to one man and one woman) – with the help of snacks.  Months later, Elizabeth was surprised when Gwyn wanted to play “door knocking.”  On Election Day, Gwyn spent 2½  hours voting with us, with great results for our state.  We hope that our public institutions will get to work cooperating for the common good!

Blessings for 2013!
We invite you to join us in dreaming up a better world and living into those dreams.

Emily, Gwyn, and Elizabeth

Emily, Gwyn, Elizabeth Jarrett


  1. Elizabeth,
    Loved the letter! I get the once a year update from your mom in their Christmas letter. Always so interested to hear what you’re up to. Could you send me your email address and your real mailing address?
    My mom, unfortunately, goes in Jan 29 for a brain surgery. We hope it will return her to her former self. A fall a few years ago caused fluid on her brain and her balance is severely off.
    Anya turns 4 in two weeks. She brings so much joy and entertainment to us.

  2. LOVED this! What a charmer Gwyn is. I just read her quotes to Dave. Great photos. THANK YOU!!

  3. Wow – what wonderful lives you three are living, (alongside your amazing friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and dance/writing/religious circles). You are inspiring!! There seems to be such joy, and intention, and creativity, and artistry in all that you are and do. I am so glad to know you. May 2013 bring many blessings, unexpected good surprises, and all the things that make you glad.

    love, Julie

  4. Love you guys! Nice to read/see what you’re up to.
    Happy New Year!
    Hope to see you in the summer

  5. I know you already have this info–BUT!!
    We just got back from Chili/Argentina a little over an hour ago–Good to be home–GREAT TRIP–Wonderful to get your “Year In Review” letter–Now to face theputting away of all the Christmas decorations we left up-Leaving 12/28/12.
    Love Always,

  6. Loved the photos! Gwynn is such a beautiful and creative girl. I’m sure she is your heart’s delight! The produce from your garden is amazing and I imagine the neighbors benefit too from all the abundance.

    We were glad to see Minnesota reject the proposition to put limitations on the freedom to marry. Our only disappointment in your election was that Michelle Bachmann was not defeated. What a kook!

    We are in Florida for the month of January enjoying warm temperatures and retirement. Blessings on your family and in the year ahead.

    Love, Monty & Ginger

  7. I’m glad to read about your exciting year! Now that I’ve inspected Gwyn, it is easier to imagine the fun you are all having. We have finished cleaning up the hurricane damage and are now enjoying snow. Our son David has rigged up a rope tow for Octavia (9) and Zane (6) to ski in the side yard, preparing for the olympics. Nels just had his 85th birthday and is thinking about retiring!

  8. Christine Sikorski

    January 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Lovely letter! Great photos! Chickens?!

  9. Catherine Mora Cleary

    January 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Dear Elizabeth, Emily and Gwyn,

    It was a delight to get your MLK letter. I got to see Gwyn briefly at the New Year’s Day Sacred Circle Dance gathering; her fairy spirit was evident. I smile thinking about her energy and her sweetness. Her Dorothy costume looked SO perfect, and I hope to see her on UTube singing her way through “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”

    Your garden sounds amazing, and I’m sure the chickens will love it, too. There is a film called “Mad City Chickens,” a documentary which I found fun and informative. I hope you include lots of chicken lore in your next year’s letter.

    I enjoy hearing about how your vocations are leading you both into new and expanded areas. It was a pleasure to see you both on New Year’s Day. Hopefully, Gary and I will be in the Cities more often this coming year on second Sundays. Thank you for continuing the tradition, and leading us in “The Dance.”



  10. Elton and Emily Brown

    January 19, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Joy forwarded the link. Loved your MLK letter, pictures, hopes and dreams and encouragement for your readers. You are among the very few people we know who also grow ground cherries! Happy New Year!

  11. I keep re-reading this. Love it.

  12. Nancy Kristensen

    January 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Thanks for the letter Elizabeth, Gwyn and Emily! This is a great way to do Xmas letters! I loved the cat party and also the very cool comments Gwyn made and you shared! Thanks, nancy

  13. I finally made time to read this. I am slooooow. I love it! Thank you for having such inspiring, intentional
    lives. You make me want to be better about that. Also, your kid sounds fantastic. Someday, I will make a world tour and meet all my friends’ fabulous kids. Thanks for the update and best wishes for your projects and new enterprises! Lots of love from East TN!

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