This is MY STORY…
My story begins in The Village of Wurtemburg, located in rural western Pennsylvania. I was born on August 27, 1943. I am “Friday’s Child” and born under the Blueberry Moon. My destiny was to be an artist and writer. The images of my art and stories and poems are nestled deeply inside of me. I unearth them in the solitude of my studio.
Like many American children born during this time, I felt the unsettling images that my mother and I experienced during the 2 years of my father’s absence when he was drafted into the Army and had to leave us alone while he fought with troops in Europe. Those images and feelings stay with me, deep inside, and they come to the surface at solitary times when I make art and write.
Ida Matilda Kiesling Kirker holds her granddaughter, Lynda Jeanne McKinney, in the 1940s. During the years of WW II, we lived with my Aunt Jeanne Hess because both my mother and her sister, Jeanne had husbands who were in the Army and were in Europe for 2 years.
We lived in the same village near my grandparents, Ida and James Kirker.
I am fortunate because I come from a strong Christian heritage.
I grew up knowing I was loved. from the day of my birth, I was surrounded by my maternal family members. In my earliest memories, I was cherished by grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and people I knew from the area where we lived.
Close ties to family and our culture deposit inside of us a world view that is solid and that we carry with us into our adult life. We develop a core that is steady and enduring.
Today, I still live in the village where my ancestors lived. I have traveled and worked in a number of European countries during my academic and teaching career.
Photo (right) by Lynda McKinney Lambert
View of Venice, Italy, where I visited every summer with my students. We attended a Vivaldi concert every year in Venice, as part of my course. Heavenly. My teaching career took me to Europe every summer and to speak at conferences across the United States.
We lived in a small village in Austria, Grödig, and we traveled to Prague; Venice; Munich;. and other historic places during our month-long studies together. I wrote and made art every day during those months. In fact, my first book is
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2003.
and I created my book from the writings I did during the summer travels.
Photo: Mirabel Palace Gardens, Salzburg, Austria
I hold deep roots to The Village of Wurtemburg, in Pennsylvania, and I love the rural landscape that formed me into who I am today in my senior years.
Photo: by Lynda McKinney Lambert. This is the view from my back yard.
My husband, Bob, and I raised our 5 children in this 200 year-old village that sits beside the rugged, winding 50-mile-long Connoquenessing Creek.
Our children graduated from the same high school that we went to in the late 1950s and early 60s.
We have watched children and grand children graduating from our high school. We have seen 3 generations of family members in concerts, plays and musicals on the stage at Lincoln High School. It feels good to know that some of our family remains here from the ancestors who arrived in Philadelphia in 1730 on a ship that departed from Liverpool, England. It is a feeling of stability and pride of our family heritage that is absent and displaced in so many families in the twenty-first century.
This is truly the land where our ancestors dreamed of living when they made enormous sacrifices to be here. I live in gratitude to them for giving up everything they knew and had, just to be where I am today.
My stories and poems grow out of my experiences and I share this life with my readers and with the people who view my art works in exhibitions. This little spot of heaven-on-earth to me is the core of who I am as a writer and artist. My creative writing and art has an international audience and I am most grateful for this blessing.
The most frequent comment that readers give me is, ” I felt so sad when I came to the end of your book.” When I first heard this, I immediately asked, “Why were you sad?” The response is “Because it came to an end. I didn’t want the book to ever end. I wanted to stay there in your stories.” “I can’t put this book down. I just keep wanting to read more and more.” “Oh, your book is so wonderful.”
When this happens, It is not unusual for someone to tell me that my art work and my stories and poems have a feeling of being in a dream.
I create “dreamscapes”
I earned a BFA in Painting and a MA in English from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
I was selected for a full scholarship at West Virginia University where I earned the MFA in Painting degree. While there, I was the teaching assistant (aka TA) in the Advanced painting course. My future path would be a continuation of my dream that led to a position on the faculty at Geneva College. Over a 9-year period I had earned 3 degrees while working at part-time art teaching jobs at a community college and at an art gallery. I was forty-two years old when my academic training started and I was fifty when I landed my dream position. My hard work and dedication to a dream brought me to a place of celebration, at last. How would I celebrate my achievements?
After I finished the MFA degree I gave myself 2 gifts for achieving my goals.
First, I bought a car that was mine alone.
_a sporty, fast, 2-seater – Nissan 300 ZX, with a removable T-top, in a vibrant silvery-blue shade that shimmered in the evening light and appeared to be violet. I purchased this car with my own earnings from teaching. What an accomplishment this was for me.
Driving became my passion and I was thrilled with this car and the 5-speed shifting it required.
My other “gift-to-ME” was
_ my first trip to Europe.
I signed up for a course that a friend was teaching. We lived in Salzburg, Austria for a month, where I spent every day writing and drawing in my sketchbook. While I was in Austria, I observed 2 elderly women sitting on the patio of our hotel. They were there every day, and I inquired about them. I was told
“They are sisters who come here every summer together.”
At that moment, I decided in my heart, “I will order my life in such a way that I will be able to live in Austria every summer, too.” I had no idea at that time how that could ever be – but in a few years, I was there in Austria every summer, too.
My dream job was to be a professor. In the fall of 1996, just 5 years after I made my silent pledge to be in Austria every summer, I was there with my students because I was teaching at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. I created a course called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg,” and taught there for a month every summer until I retired.
I believe in Dreaming Prayers. And that was the beginning of a life of dreams coming to pass for I had left them in God’s hands through my prayers. This is how I live my life every day. I give my deepest dreams to God and I leave them in His hands.
It is my intention that my writing and art work be a celebration of life and all the blessings we all have to enjoy. I want to leave you with a smile and a feeling that you are worthy of a beautiful life and that you are loved.
Please SHARE this blog post with your FRIENDS.
I love you for that!
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable. ~ Helen Keller
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin
Lynda McKinney Lambert lost much of her sight in the fall of 2007, cue to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. She retired from teaching full-time a year later. Despite sight loss, she leads an active life.
She writes and makes mixed-media fiber art full-time. She uses adaptive technologies for the blind to do her award-winning work. Lynda was determined to return to a creative life-style after her sudden sight loss. She went to live in a residency program for the blind for 3 months of intensive training. She attended the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services program in Pittsburgh, PA. in the spring of 2008. For More information on BVRS click here
Lynda enjoys daily walks with her husband and their 2 rescued dogs. They also have 2 cats and the couple care for a variety of feral cats that find food and a safe haven at their home.
Lynda loves to knit with her local group of friends.
She walks in the meadow and looks down at the ripples in the creek; talks to the crows that circle above the tree tops; sings to the woods as she walks on the pathway; dances beneath the Ginkgo tree when it sheds all of its leaves spontaneously in the autumn; watches over her Magic Gardens every summer; and is in awe of the first snowfall of the winter season.
3 Photos :
The Ginkgo tree that Lynda planted 50 years ago.
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
John 1: 14