COUNTDOWN 9 Days part one

Countdown to …?  I’m counting down till I get on a plane and fly to a warmer climate for Christmas and  nine days of holiday.  That would be exciting any time, but most special now because I’m spending my holiday with one of my daughters.  It’s a gift from the girls together, very precious to me, yet bittersweet as this is the first Christmas in my 24 years as a mother that I will not be with BOTH of my daughters for Christmas.

This is about change, about letting go, about growing up and growing older, ideally growing wiser.  It’s about accepting life as it is, expressed so beautifully in The Serenity Prayer, about putting those we love into the loving arms of Jesus and leaving them there; it’s about trust – the opposite of worry.    It’s about what is today called the Empty Nest Syndrome – I wonder if my grandmother, raising her ten children here at Her Father’s Homestead thought about an empty nest?  I’m reasonably certain she wouldn’t have identified it as a “syndrome” of any sort, but part of the the circle of life, if anything.

last time we were together

The three of us together on my birthday eight months ago

There’s a lot of food for thought or food for writing in that brief paragraph above and we’ll be delving into those subjects as we count down the days.  For today, look at a favorite photo or two, remember the happy time and smile a thankful prayer for the memories.  Are we not uniquely  and wonderfully created?                                       à plus tard …….

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Time Redeemed

For a day that began with a post entitled Scattered (scroll down) it ended up being a gift, truly!  I’m sure you don’t want a blow-by-blow, but let me just make a little list:

  1. Had long overdue catch-up conversation with a good friend
  2. Learned that a favorite student was coming back after six months off
  3. Was given the opportunity to provide a very awesome gift to a student’s family.
  4. Drove to a nearby city with an old friend under a gorgeous night sky- did anyone else see that moon?
  5. Had a wonderful dinner with that old friend!
  6. Attended an amazing holiday concert by composer and pianist Jim Brickman in a great venue
  7. Was able to gift tickets to that concert to a student and her mom and see them there enjoying it!!

Not bad for a day that began in disarray!!  And I am taking it as God’s personal gift to me!!  When I do settle in for sleep I will be giving thanks for a day that was certainly redeemed from it’s rather unorganized beginning.  Who knew at 9:30 a.m. that at midnight I’d be reflecting on a day of accomplishment, satisfaction and time well spent. And it won’t go unsaid that the to-do list mentioned in the Scattered post did indeed take a couple of whacks.

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Scattered

It’s already 9:30 a.m. and not much accomplished yet. I spent the requisite time bundling up to head out and unload my truck, left full and outside upon last night’s tired arrival home. I’ve gone online and looked at today’s offering in my French Advent calendar, read all the email from yesterday – what happens when you’re away from the computer for only eight hours – , corresponded with my Meghan, checked the bank balance  and voila, now it’s 10:00 and half the morning’s gone.  Is it the cold, a not uncommon topic for me these days?  Maybe I’m frozen and therefore not moving quickly?  Hard to say – at minus 22 degrees when I went out there the first time, anything’s possible, right?  Maybe I’m more reptilian than I think.  Now there’s one for you – reptilian, like a snake, not a pretty comparison and not a way in which I generally think of myself.  Just what I need – more tangents on which to take off.

So here’s the plan – pull myself together, get out the to-do list and start whacking things off.  With some appropriate music to encourage movement, I’ll really haul for an hour then reevaluate.             àplus tard…..

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SNOW DAY!!!!

There was a time when the words Snow Day brought a great deal of excitement.  An unexpected gift, a free day, no school, put on your snow-pants – remember those? – and head outside to make snow angels, a snowman or just play in the snow.  Funny how things change as we get older …..

When my children were in school, Snow Day took on a different meaning – more of a Now What? kind of meaning.  Now I was encouraging my girls to get out and play or ice-skate in the backyard, then come in to a roaring fire and hot chocolate.  Dry the wet clothes, shovel off the deck and front sidewalk, haul in the wood and build the fire, make that hot chocolate, a bit more work than being the kid.

These days the meaning is a bit different.  Out in the country, on my own, no ice rink in the back yard right now,(though that will change as the Homestead project evolves), while undoubtedly beautiful, getting this much snow means a fair amount of work.  The mere process of getting dressed to head out there takes several minutes.  Then there’s the inevitable mess – wet boots and wet dogs need to be cleaned up after, puddles on the floor, scarves and coat snow-covered and dripping from getting hit with the snow you’re trying to blow away.

And today’s point?  There could be several, but I’ll go back to the concept of “perception is reality,” talked about in a previous post.  My perception tonight is much different than it was at noon when I had an hour to move enough snow for a student to get in the door.  When I was out just a little while ago with my dogs everything is white and beautiful.  My perception at this point in  life is much different than when I was a child in snow-pants.  The group I facilitate, Celebrate Recovery, uses a song called White as Snow (words and music by Leon Olguin), and it’s a wonderful song.  My perception these days being much different than when I was young, I so appreciate the idea that through a relationship with Jesus, I’m made white as snow – despite anything in the past, all the mistakes, all the errors in judgment, you name it, I’ve been made white as snow and you know what?  It’s BEAUTIFUL and it can happen for you, too!   Till next time ….

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Little Sparkles part two

Wouldn’t you know it?  Having just decided on the name of my project here, Her Father’s Homestead, this morning’s message was based on The Lord’s Prayer, which begins with those words familiar to many, “Our Father…”  Affirmation, confirmation, call it what you will.  I call it Little Sparkles (scroll down to Part One for definition)  It was like a message from my Father telling me He was pleased with the project.

I listened intently to Pastor John, focusing on My Heavenly Father, while allowing the morning’s frustration to melt away and surrounding myself with the warmth of believing that that Little Sparkle was the morning’s gift to me.

No matter what our immediate circumstances, there is always hope.  There are those who will call me unrealistic, a Pollyanna, an incurable optimist.  I’ve even been called a liar for proclaiming the positive instead of embracing what some had deemed a a terrible prognosis.

But I believe in Little Sparkles and I’ve had more than my share.  When faced with a malignant brain tumor in 2006 and the resultant brain surgery, radiation, chemo, and supposed dire prognosis for this condition, I wouldn’t claim it for myself.  Now having passed the one-year mark, a milestone for this disease, then the two-year mark, a bigger milestone and now being within four months of the three-year milestone, I’m still receiving Little Sparkles along the way.

Call me what you will, it won’t change the fact that I CHOOSE to see the Sparkles that my Father sends my way rather than dwell on the dull, perhaps ugly “reality” when faced with adversity.

As a political activist having just endured yet another Presidential election, I’m familiar with the concept of “Perception is reality.”  Maybe you’ve heard that concept, too, maybe not.  But if you are feeling under the weather emotionally, a bit on the less-than-positive side of life, I so encourage you to watch for the Little Sparkles and marvel at them.  Perceive them as a little gift and your reality will be enhanced.  You may find yourself smiling, breathing a silent, “Thank you, Father,” maybe even doing a little dance around your kitchen.  (Those who know me may be grinning at that mental picture 🙂   Enjoy … and bask in the warmth of your Father’s love.   till the next time, adieu.

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AFFIRMATIONS aka LITTLE SPARKLES Part One

If you live where I do, known by several names, among them Lake Country or the Northwoods, you may know what I mean by Little Sparkles.  When it’s really cold as it is today, minus four degrees this morning, thankfully no wind, the snow becomes  drier and it appears that someone shook glitter over it.  If the sky is bright and blue sometimes it is so cold that the very air seems to sparkle, again like glitter, or like being in a real-life snow globe.  Those are special moments partly because they come at a time when many of us are downright uncomfortable – we’re COLD!!  Isn’t that just like our Father, to send us little sparkles of beauty to remind us that even in the midst of discomfort He’s with us, aware of our situation and urging us to look beyond our current circumstances.

I received Little Sparkles this morning in the nick of time.  As I said already it’s cold here, “Too early,” said the neighboring farmer, “don’t bode well for the rest of the winter.”  Why on earth was I outside talking to him?  Because my truck needed to be warmed up before going to church and he happened to be in the barnyard (called the feedlot) that he rents from me and where he keeps pregnant cows.  More on all that later.  Anyway, didn’t want to go out, wasn’t in the mood for people, a little cranky, in fact, frustrated with other things, oh, and did I say cold?  Okay, even encouragers have their moments – it’s what you do with them that counts.

But I’ve learned that when I don’t want to is probably the time I most need to head down the road to my church out here in the country, aptly named, Hope Community Church.  So off I went, bundled in 4 layers plus my warmest coat, hat, boots, gloves, pre-warmed truck, I know how to do this.  STAY TUNED….for Part Two.

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