Church A Day


With the kids off to camp, I was planning to visit a church a day. I was driving solo to the art workshops that I’m attending with my dad, his lady friend and my sister over the next three days.

I drove by this Vermont church. It looked like a good solid church. I could begin my church visits there, I thought. Yes, I could be born again. I could pray.

No, I couldn’t. The church door was locked. I tried the side door. Also locked.

Blogging — Going A Different Way

On Faith

I love how easy it is to change directions on WordPress. I changed the name of A Church A Day blog to My Rules when I realized visiting a church a day was too much of a commitment. (Although I just won a journalism award for that blog, so I will probably go back to A Church A Day when the kids go to camp this summer.) I also want to stick to My Rules because I want to be accountable to the 7 life rules I made up for myself.

On Fitness

I changed the focus of my running blog to health when I found out I had basal cell cardinoma. But I still love the idea and name of Running Aground. I am logging, blogging, slogging my way to fitness.

On Writing

I changed this blog to The Connected Life — a much better title than Getting My Essays Published. At first, this blog had a private setting because I wanted to keep track of where I was sending my essays and where they were, or were not, getting published. It seemed a personal and boring endeavor, the pursuit of publication. But then I wanted to comment on so many things about social media. I’m not really in love with this blog’s URL or the name. It’s kinda meh.


My favorite of my blog titles is My Beautiful New York. This is the only title I haven’t changed since I started almost two years ago. I still love the name My Beautiful New York.

The title says what a blog title should say: Here’s something delicious. Here’s what I’m passionate about — or at least musing on. For a few months My Beautiful New York was mostly pictures downloaded from my phone.

When I post and want to refer back to an earlier post, I sometimes wonder Which blog did I write that for? Then I Google MBCoudal and a tag. 

And then there are times I wonder which blog to post on — should I post my musings on My Beautiful New York or My Rules? Like those several posts about the sidewalk art. They seemed like quintessential New York stories, but ultimately, I decided they had more to do with an epiphany or synchronicity. And that jibes more with My Rules.

Also there is this questing of PostADay2011, posting every day of 2011. The tag PostADay2011 is getting too big in my clouds. It’s dwarfing my other tags, so I’m going to have to untag PostADay2011.

I’d do it now, but I’m going to watch a movie with my kids. I love my kids even more than I love blogging. I do love blogging, especially because you can change their names. Kids? Not so much.

Studying Writing with Madeleine L'Engle

Our first assignment was: pick any character from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and write a story from that person’s view.

My story was literal and dramatic (that seemed to be the tone of the bible and I write what I believe is assigned). But Madeleine fulfilled the assignment with an imaginative and funny story. We both wrote about the woman in the window at the edge of town.

I remember thinking, “That is NOT the way the story goes, lady. But you’re Madeleine L’Engle, so you can change the bible any which way you want.”

I got in her class because I’d been going to All Angels’ Church — I loved the warmth and elegance of the worship, but was less in love with its evangelic and literal zeal. I wrote about this church when I started my Church A Day visits, the post was called: A Beer, A Bra, Then Church: at:

Back to getting in Madeleine’s class, when I worshiped at All Angels’ the pastor, Rev. Goode, invited any regular church goers to sign up for her class.

About a dozen of us met in her home, for a couple of summer months. She lived in a big rambling Upper West Side apartment which I loved and felt I could easily move into — she wouldn’t even know. She seemed to have a lot of guests coming and going.

She was getting old — still classy yet pixie. She held court from a big easy chair.

She liked talking about writing and listening to writing. I remember she liked my work. I felt we were kindred spirits, not only as writers, but because we were both married to actors, which gives a marriage a certain gypsy charm.

Another assignment: Write about a recent ethical dilemma and how as Christians we answered that dilemma.

I vividly remember one young man’s story. He was riding a night train in Europe. After the conductor collected tickets, a man who had been hiding, crawled from beneath the young man’s seat. The stowaway asked not to be given up and hid again beneath the seat. The conductor returned, asking, “Have you seen anyone else in this compartment?”

Should my classmate tell about the man hiding beneath his seat? Would you? It was a scary, true story. And the young man said he tried to think, “What would Jesus do?” I don’t remember how he answered. I only remember that my classmate was still plagued by this dilemma, believing he’d done the wrong thing.

Her class allowed us to admit we might be wrong. We had to be honest and imaginative.

I have to get to work now.

I have no idea why I woke up this morning thinking about Madeleine L’Engle and her writing class. That class was probably 16 years ago.

Maybe it was simply a Wrinkle in Time.

Or maybe I thought of Madeleine because yesterday I wrote about another aging mentor, writer and friend, Bel.