Dear Randy…

Hi sweetie. Happy Anniversary. Today would have been our 26th wedding anniversary, and it’s the second one I’ve recognized without you by my side. This year has been rather low key, and not as emotional as last years was, but then, you had only been gone for a little over four months last year, and it was our silver anniversary.

I’ve been in Iowa since the end of January helping Mom and Dad. Daddy is holding steady at this point, but he will likely be joining you in the next life in not too long. My gift to you for our anniversary is giving you a heads up that he may be there soon.

I miss you every day-but the missing you doesn’t seem quite so brutally heavy to bear. Most days, that’s a blessing. But some days, like today, our anniversary, it feels like I’m somehow not sad enough, that me being in a good place is somehow betraying you. So I thought I would tell you how I came to be in this good place.

I’ve met some good friends, fellow widows, who came alongside me when you died, and continue to walk this path with me. And I’ve met other new friends who also walked with me this past 16 months since you died. You know and loved the friends who were with me that day: Cathy, Regina, Gale, and Barb, from long distance. The four of them helped me find my footing, helped me remember to breathe, to rest, to drink my water-basically to keep living even when I thought my life was over. You never got to meet Marge-I met her at your memorial shindig, and she and I have become very good friends as she helped counsel me through that first year. And Cathy introduced me to Karen who connected me with a wonderful FB support group for widows of sudden loss. Karen knew exactly what I was going through, knew how to help me see to the next moment when I couldn’t see anything past my grief. And then there is my GriefShare widow women and facilitators: Anja, Jolene, Martha, Barb, Karol and Leanna. These women formed my new core tribe as I continue to walk this widow path.

The boys have helped me, too, Randy. You would be proud of them, I know. Nick and I are continuing to rebuild our relationship, and he’s been so very helpful along the way. He has his hands full with Ezra and Emmett, and is a great daddy-something he learned from you, babe. And Zack is going to be a daddy! He and Alexis are expecting a little girl on April 1-happens to be Easter this year, and I think it would be perfect to welcome little Emilynn to the family on that day. Ian has finally found full time work, and is hoping to make the move to Lawrence at some point soon. He’s ready to fly.

Randy, do you remember AJ’s brother Dave? We met him about 9 years ago at Covenant. He’s a big teddy bear of a guy, as boisterous as his brother, a fun loving kinda guy. Well, Dave checked in on me from time to time that first year after you died, and last October, we started messaging back and forth on a pretty regular basis. After we exchanged phone numbers, we talked almost every day. I went to see him in Seattle at the beginning of December, so that he and I could figure out whether our friendship was more than a friendship, and we found out it is much more. I didn’t expect to have another chance to love someone after I lost you, Randy, this was so very unexpected. And you know what? He understands, sometimes even better than I do, that I still love you and miss you at the same time that I love him. He gets it, isn’t trying to take your place and isn’t jealous of what you and I shared. Dave seems to know that he and I have this chance at love again BECAUSE of what you and I shared!

The two of you are very different, but the thing that made me fall in love with you is also what allowed me to fall in love with Dave: you were both able to bring joy and laughter to my life at a time when I thought I would never smile again.  And I know that Dave will walk through the next years with me, as a partner, and the last love of my life. Dave is good for me-he helps me to stay in the moment and not get so carried away with planning the next hundred steps. And he is helping me to choose joy, to choose life, every day, even when sadness seems to be overwhelming.  Especially when the sadness is overwhelming.

Randy, I miss you every day. But I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart, every day. And I hope it is ok that I carry Dave’s heart there as well. I love you both-always and forever.

@deadorcs at GenCon50

I’ll be carrying on the tradition of going to GenCon in Indianapolis in mid August. Randy and I missed last year because we decided that buying a house finally was more important than going to the convention-we didn’t have funds for both. We closed on the house the day after Randy had been released from the hospital after his first collapse-which will be the first day of the convention this year.

I’ve ordered buttons to give out to friends and fans of @deadorcs, Randy, who had developed quite a following in the Role Playing Game (RPG) community with the articles he wrote and the podcasts on which he was a contributing voice. I’ve found a small R shaped blank book that I’ll ask people to write in at the convention, sharing with me their memories and stories of Randy, for me to keep with his ashes, and other memorabilia that I’ve collected and have displayed in a place of honor-his game room.

I know that this trip is necessary-a completion of the changes in our lives from last year. I know it is going to be more difficult than I can imagine, but I know I need to do this for Randy. Whether or not I continue the journey in coming years remains to be seen. But for this year, I go for Randy, to bring him back, in a way, to a place and people he loved.

Because I carry his heart, I carry it in my heart.

GEN CON 50! Classes Schedule

GenCon50 is rapidly approaching, and I’m beginning to take inventory of the supplies I’ll need to get to put together 160 class kits! If you’ll be attending the convention in Indy in August, there are still spots left in all 8 of my needle felting classes and I would LOVE to show you how to Stab Things Into Existence!

THURSDAY 10am and 2pm: Create A Creature

FRIDAY 10am: Create a Creature

FRIDAY 2pm: Coat of Arms Banner

SATURDAY 10am: Create a Creature

SATURDAY 2pm: Coat of Arms Banner

SUNDAY 10am: Create a Creature

SUNDAY 2pm: “Paint” a Mini Masterpiece

BONUS: While each scheduled time is for a specific class, you CAN do an alternate class instead if your schedule doesn’t allow for you to take the specific class at the time scheduled. For instance: You want to take the “Paint” a Mini Masterpiece class, but will be leaving on Sunday-get a ticket for one of the other classes and email me your intention so that I can have the “Paint” kit for you. While I will spend the majority of the time working with the students taking the scheduled class, I WILL give you assistance for the “paint” kit. Likewise, if you have Saturday at 2pm open and want to take a class, but don’t want to do a Coat of Arms Banner, get a ticket and email me your intention to do a Create a Creature project so that I can have the appropriate kit for you.


Felting is beginning…and classes are coming!

Hi friends, it’s been awhile since I posted. Life continues to go one, one day at a time, and I have begun to come out of my grief hibernation, a little more each day. I’ve connected with an amazing business owner, Alicia Vanwalleghem, of Leaping Llamas Artisan Shop in downtown Topeka, and have scheduled classes through the end of the year:

Leaping Llamas Artisan Shop

I am looking forward to our felting projects for the year, and hope that you will stop by the shop, sign up for one, or more, felting classes and come join the fun. Here’s the schedule of classes:

Saturday, May 27, 2017-Cobweb Felted Scarf (wet felting)-9am to Noon

Thursday, June 1, 2017-Geode Earrings-6pm to 8pm

Saturday, June 10, 2017-Felting with a Resist-Small Vessel/Bag (wet felting)-1pm to 4pm

Thursday, July 6, 2017-Create A Creature-6pm to 8pm

Saturday, July 15, 2017-Felting with a Resist-Felted Hat (wet felting)-1pm to 4pm

Thursday, August 3, 2017-Felted Flowers (rose, tiger lily, calla lily) (wet felting)-6pm to 8pm

Saturday, August 5, 2017-Felt a Cat (or small dog) Cave (wet felting)-Noon to 5pm

Thursday, September 7, 2017-Felt-N-Zip pins-6pm to 8pm

Thursday, October 5, 2017-Felted Dreadlocks/Cords (wet felting)-6pm to 8pm

Thursday, November 2, 2017-Felted Phone Case-6pm to 8pm

Thursday, December 7, 2017-Felted Snowmen (or women, or creature…)-6pm to 8pm

Watch for updates with class samples and for pictures after the classes! We have great fun Stabbing Things Into Existence (c) with needle felting, and Thwacking Things Into Existence (c) with wet felting. Most classes are beginner friendly, especially the Thursday evening classes. The classes on Saturdays over the summer build upon the previous class, and do require more attention to detail, as well as more ability to work with your upper body. Wet felting is quite the workout!

Check in with Alicia at the shop for more details and to RSVP your space with prepayment. All supplies are included for these classes! For the wet felting classes, you’ll want to bring an old towel to transport your creation home. I hope to see you in class!


New Year

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog. Those of you who know me personally, know that the past 5 months have seen a lot of changes for me and my family. There have been things to celebrate: reuniting with our oldest son and his family, meeting our newest grandson, buying our first house. I have to be grateful for those blessings, and so many, many more as I lost my husband, Randy, after an intense two months of illness. Even now, three months after he died, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he isn’t at home, sitting on the chaise with our mini dachshund, Schatsie, by his side. But that is the reality I’m learning to live with. Some days are better than others, but I carry on, because that is what you do.

Randy and his love of gaming brought so many people into our lives, people I now consider family. And we would gather each year at GenCon to catch up in person. I have Randy to thank for these wonderful people being my friends, for helping me through this dark time in my life. Some were with me at Randy’s “Shindig” ; still others came to celebrate his life on the Thanksgiving week that would have been Randy’s 50th birthday. Many more help buoy my spirits when I’m having a particularly difficult day, and I love them for looking out for me.

I am going to GenCon this year, in great part, because I need to hug and thank many people for the generosity and caring they’ve shown me and my family. I will be teaching a few needle felting classes, but only 2 classes each day to leave room for me to connect with the friends and family of RAMDU around the gaming tables, at the food trucks, and at basement con.

This is a new year-a new life-and I’m getting back to creating, slowly but surely. And I keep Randy with me every step of the way.



I had a post from a new blog that I’ve decided to follow, and it resonates with me right now. I have actually put this into practice, yet again, over the past month: when I discovered from my sister that my oldest beloved son, from whom I have been estranged for well over a year now, and his wife welcomed their second child, my second grandchild, to the world, I had a heartbreaking cry. And then I got up, put on my big girl panties, and said NO to myself:

NO, I will not allow these behaviors hurt me any more.

NO, I will not continue to wish things were different with our relationship.

NO, I will not grieve the missed milestones of birthdays, kindergarten graduation, holding my hours old grandson.

NO, I will not wait for a response from my child who has chosen to continue his life without me being allowed to be part of the joys, the laughter and the love.

NO, I will not do that to myself.

I will continue to love my son, his wife and my grandsons from where I am, even if I am never allowed to penetrate the walls they have erected between them and me.

I will wish them all happiness and joy and health and light and love.

I will pray for them every time I think of them.

I will be grateful for the occasional glimpses of them from infrequent and random pictures posted.

But I have to say NO for now. For now, I need to focus forward, on the things that I can change and the responses I have to things changing. Because life doesn’t grow if you don’t tend to it-and looking backwards isn’t how you tend to things in front of you.

So I’m tending to the here and now. The “what-ifs” have no place in my life. NO.

(To read the post that started my thoughts here, check out this link: )

Buying a house-new grandchild-too many feels

We are in the middle of the process towards closing on August 17th, and the packing has barely begun. Hubby is dealing with some undetermined physical issues that make it difficult for him to do anything in the evenings but recover from his day at work. The 20-somethings have been working like madmen at their jobs, which leaves me holding up the larger end of the packing. And I’m falling behind.

It will get done-probably hitting very heavy on the remaining weekends  to get major packing done, and focus my evenings on smaller areas that can be completed in the shorter time. Hoping to have the upstairs ready to go by the end of the weekend, and that’s no small matter.

Found out Monday evening that our son and his wife welcomed the newest member of the family to the world that morning. Emmett Lee and his mama are doing well, and I’m sure that big brother Ezra is equal parts amazed and befuddled. But he’s the big brother, and it will be up to him to show Emmett that Everything is Awesome-especially his big brother! Nick, Dena, Ezra and Emmett, you are loved so very much, and Granddad and Granna wish you nothing but happiness and joy.

New beginnings abound-too many feels to describe it all, so just focusing on what I can do and what I can control. The rest? I’m blessing and releasing.


Loving a new diversion!

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I’ve taken a bit of a break from felting. Not sure why, but until I feel the still small inner voice say to me “It’s time, Anna”, I’ve been allowing myself the luxury of taking up something old and something new.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll find progress pictures of some free form crochet motifs destined to be a neckpiece for my bestie. You would also have seen some pictures of my jump into circle weaving. (Find me on Facebook under Anna Walker in Topeka, KS and on Twitter and Instagram as @feltit.)

My friend Linda was happy to see me weaving the other day, and quite frankly, I didn’t realize just how much I would enjoy weaving, though my efforts are a far cry from Linda and her master weaving. I mean, she has a weaving studio in her home with several looms warped on any given day!

But there is something meditative about adding layer after layer of threads, yarns, fiber, and fabrics, that is pleasing, soothing, and grounding.

Another friend, Laura, is in the midst of a meditation ‘retreat’ of unknown duration. I’m beginning to understand the allure of ‘retreat’ in this crazy, busy, hate filled and anxious world in which we live.

And I’m grateful for the inspiration to play with these circle weaves.

Mixed Emotions re: GenCon 2016

Many of you know that for the past several years, come August, I would be teaching classes at GenCon in Indianapolis. Those classes are so much fun, and I look forward to seeing students from previous years attend new classes.

But not this year.

My husband and I had every intention to attend GenCon 2016 this year, but then something amazing occurred: we realized that if we did NOT attend the Con, we would have a full down payment and would be ready to get pre-approved for buying a house.

And the decision was made.

So, to my students and potential students who are ready to select their GenCon 2016 events when the event window opens this weekend, I am sad to say that you will not find any Felt THIS! classes listed in the SPA events, and I’m sorry to miss hanging out with you, stabbing things into existence. Please forgive, and look for the classes next year, for GenCon50. I promise to have some amazing NEW classes for you in addition to the always popular Create a Creature class.

Do me a favor?

Send me pics of you at GenCon2016 enjoying yourself at other classes and events-hopefully while you are having a great Con, hubby and I will be going to open houses on the quest to find our house! And, when we get settled into that new house, you’re all invited to our housewarming party!