Hi, I’m Kathy, an essayist and visual artist, who has lived with my wife Sara, an international aid worker, in both Vietnam and Haiti.  We currently call Cuenca, Ecuador home.

In Ecuador, Sara and I were both nominated recently for the “Governor’s Humanitarian Award” and co-founded a center called idiomART Studio, which serves authors and artists in the city.  Our studio was named “The Best Community Center in Cuenca” for 2018.

My writing explores the “event horizons” I’ve lived.  It documents my encounters on the edge: living in underdeveloped countries; living with the challenges of bipolar disorder (an illness I was diagnosed with more than 20 years ago); and living as a child in an organized crime family—in a home that was repeated raided by the FBI.  Even the visual art I create straddles a virtual divide, where trash becomes craft and junk becomes joy.

I’ve taught in the writing program at the University of Kentucky, where I founded a service-learning program called Writers without Borders and won the “Teacher of the Year Award” in 2009.

Most recently I’ve been writing a memoir whose working title is Kids Make the Best Bookies.  



92 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Kathy,

    I found your blog through the comment you left on Laurie’s “Holessence” blog.

    I’d love to “couch surf” and I cannot imagine what it would be like in Haiti. You give some very interesting food for thought.

    Thank you, I look forward to reading your blog posts.


  2. I pray for your safety and admire your courage in your efforts in Haiti. I organized and performed in a fundraiser for SIRIP(Somali Intervention Radio Instruction Program)because of a tip from a friend who works for Horn of Africa. Haiti and Somalia are among the places she frequents on a regular basis. The concert brought in about 1,000 Euros(held in Germany), enough money to purchase countless radios and school supplies for the education of the children in war ridden areas of Somalia. I have not yet been to Somalia, but I have seen the joy on the faces of children in Senegal and Cuba when I simply give pencils, a bar of soap, or toothpaste. I will be back to your site again. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Oh wow, I find this fascinating! I’m going to subscribe to your blog, as these types of topics interest me greatly. I think it’s wonderful that you have the chance to push your comfort boundaries, experience the world in all its might, and still remain at your partner’s side.

    I never got the chance to thank you for visiting my blog and reading my post, “My Jewish Cat and the Art of Guilt.” I apologize I just now got around to visiting your site; however, I had more than 100 comments to sift through while still working full-time! I do hope maybe you’ll keep up and visit again sometime soon; I just published a new post, “Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism.”

    Do stay in touch,
    Shari Lopatin

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you were able to stop by! I can’t imagine what it must be like to have so many comments to respond to–but, gosh, congratulations! I can’t wait to look at your new post! Again, thanks for reading. I’m thrilled you want to subscribe!


  4. Hi Kathy:

    Just got a chance to stop by your blog…like the first post I read about cabin fever…enjoy your writing style!

    My parents travelled to Haiti on a trip with their church back in the late 1960’s (my dad was a Methodist minister at the time)…I believe they were only there for a week or two, but it was a life-changing experience for a couple from smalltown Ohio. They spent a lot of time at Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince and were shocked at what they saw. I still have the slides my mom took.

    I have subscribed…looking forward to reading more!



  5. Hi Kathy,

    I found your blog from a comment you posted on “Culture Lesson #7: Yet Another Culture Lesson Learned the Hard Way”. It’s interesting to read about your experiences in Haiti. We have a mom on our blog posting about her move to East Timor on Tuesday. If you’re ever interested in joining a collaborative international mothers blog, come check out World Moms Blog. You can find us at http://www.worldmomsblog.com.

    I always enjoy meeting new people with different experiences through blogging. 🙂

    Veronica Samuels


    • Thanks for stopping by, Veronica. Your blog looks interesting–especially like the logo. I’m not a mother, unless parenting my dogs Ralph and Lucy counts, but the international nature of your blog does in intrigue me. Thanks for stopping by–hope you’ll come back.


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  7. Hello Kathryn. Stopping by to check out who commented on my Ceramic Squirrel Family post on Keep or Pitch Blog. So glad I did.
    I will subscribe to your blog to be reminded how unnecessary all the burdensome possessions have become!


  8. That is excellent. You are living a life that many people in the west would covet. I hope that you are able to remain safe bust still enjoy the edge. Thank you for doing the work you are doing.


    • Thanks so much for visiting. We are home from Haiti now and waiting for Sara’s next assignment. But in the meantime I’m memoiring my way through this hiatus–cause soon we’ll be off again. Hope you’ll come back again. It was great having you————-


  9. Your blog looks fascinating! As someone who knows first-hand and has family who have dealt with emotional/mental issues, I know that writing is my main therapy. I look forward to reading more from you. And thanks for visiting my blog today!


    • I’m sorry to hear your family has struggled with these kinds of issues! But writing is the best kind of therapy!

      Thanks so much for stopping by here, as well! I know this must be a busy, comment-filled day for you! Hope you’ll come back by!


  10. Nice to “meet” you Kathy. I also went through a hard time with severe Postpartum Depression after the birth of my first child. i’ve finally written about it after six long years. I luckily recovered very soon but it was very difficult and traumatic. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Your blog sounds fascinating!


    • Great to “meet” you, as well! Sorry to hear you struggled with depression. Thank God you recovered. By the way–I loved your post today! Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading—————–


    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Jacqueline. It’s been an interesting life, for sure, but I am so happy you want to read more. Hope to hear from you again soon. I’m going to run over to your blog now and take a peak!


  11. Kathy, I found you via the.writer.says. What a wonderful blog. Your international living assignments sound wonderful; is your partner a coordinator or more technical for the NGO?
    I only ask as international development, disaster relief is an area that really interests me…
    Great to find you.


    • Hi, Holly. Great to hear from you. Actually Sara has was a senior director on her last job with the organization and a national director in the position before that. So glad to know you enjoyed my blog. I hope you will come back again soon. Thanks for reading.


  12. Hi Kathy, I love your blog too- hence why I subscribed. I thank you for your comment, but I will probably not approve it. You gave me a password in it, and I figured that since it’s a password, I should probably keep it from the public. Let me know if that’s okay with you. Otherwise, I’d be more than happy to show it.

    Thank you again for stopping by,



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  14. Hello Kathryn,

    You have a nice blog. I’m enjoying my visit so far. 🙂 I noticed that you write to share things that inspire people, especially about life of people from the developing countries. We have one thing in common then, I do too. 🙂 In fact, I’m working on a memoir on that and I’m planning to write stories from people all around the world.
    Perhaps you may be interested in reading some of my Flash Fiction and Reflection:
    “The Scholar and the Boatman: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-scholar-and-the-boatman/
    “Two Rupiah Notes”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/two-rupiah-notes/
    “Becoming Human”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/becoming-human/
    “Chinese Bamboo and Paulo Coelho”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/chinese-bamboo-and-paulo-coelho/

    And my poetry:
    “Dance, Dance Under the Rain!”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/dance-dance-under-the-rain/
    “Whirling Towards the Divinity”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/whirling-towards-the-divinity-2/
    “She Surrendered to the Transcend”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/she-surrendered-to-the-transcend/
    “Love is the Water of Life”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/love-is-the-water-of-life/
    “A Hug from My Heart”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/pantun-sz-012012/
    “Millions of Candles”: http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/279/

    Thank you and I do hope you enjoy what I have in store for you!

    Warm regards from Down Under,

    Subhan Zein


  15. Hey Kathy, came across your blog… somehow. Maybe you left a comment on FP today? Anyway, “Haiti” caught my eye once here… I have a small arts partnership (paperturtle.com)–papier-mache, profit-sharing, community building, all that good stuff. Small, but “something”. Was interested in your experience there. Too bad you are gone. I’m planning on returning in October. Anyway, nice writing & blogging & work that you do.. If you want to check out anything from my trip to Haiti last October, just search that word, or travel, or Jacmel. cheers! Laura


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  17. Not to intrude or be self-serving, but I was wondering if you would be willing to do link swap, (http://manicdepressiveblog.wordpress.com) I have your blog on my blogroll and I have been reading it everyday. Also I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a guest post on my blog?

    I hope you are doing well and I look forward to reading more of your amazing posts,



    • I will defintely stop by your blog again once this FP stuff settles down. I’m only allowing myself do one guest post a month, so it could be that I could do a guest post sometime this summer. Hope you will get back to me in a couple of months. So happy to see you posting again! I love your blog!


  18. thanks and I will definitely follow up in a few months. And, it does feel good to be blogging/writing again, not being able to for so long made my depression worse. But progress has been made and all we can do is move forward.



  19. Hi Kathy!
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such kind comments. I must say your travels with your partner are far more exotic than mine, so I am excited about reading through your archives for a virtual visit to your past destinations.
    Thanks again for stopping by FWW. I look forward to getting to know you in the blogging community! 🙂


    • I actually think the where of travel is less important than the excitement of discovering new places–so I suspect you’re travel is pretty darn cool. Plus, what a great opporutnity to see more of your own country. I imagine it would give one a better sense of what it means to be an American–assuming you are. I’m looking forward to your stuff, as well!


  20. Hi Kathy, I thought I would swing by your blog after seeing your comments on a lot of the regular blogs I frequent. You have some interesting topics on here and am looking forward to reading more. You sound like you have lead an interesting life. I love to travel, but have never lived in another country (I”m an Aussie) and it must be amazing to do so – Judy.


    • How fun to hear from you, Judy. I truly appreciate your stopping by. I have had an interesting life–true. You may not have visited another country, but I have never been to Australia either–and I would love to one day! Hope you’ll come by again soon.


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  22. I came across your blog when browsing through those that had undertaken the weekly challenge on colours. Its like one of Oprah’s ah ha moments when I began reading your about page and was inspired immediately, your words connected with me, your fighting and kind spirit shines through. Look forward to reading more of your words.
    Peace, Love and Happiness 😮


    • Thank you so much for your comment. It’s great to hear from you. I’m delighted my story inspires you. And I SO hope you’ll come back. Sorry it’s taken me a day to respond to your comment. It’s been a crazy week.


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  26. hey this is so wonderful…I love these types of blogs its a great way to meet like minded people…world travelers have so much in common despite the obvious differences we all have, its something in being able to pick up and leave everything in your country that exudes itself in the character of most people I meet abroad..bless your soul Kathryn…


    • Thank so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. It’s wonderful to hear from you. I’m so happy to hear you’ll come back. I will definitely visit your blog again, as well. I loved it! Enjoy your weekend, Brandy.


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  28. Awesome to connect. I love following your adventures and look forward to your posts. Congratulations on the publications you have had. Looking forward to finding out more about the memoir. What a fabulous title!


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