We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…

I’m fairly certain many of you recognize today’s  title as words spoken by Dorothy in the legendary film, The Wizard of Oz. Nothing like travel to take you outside yourself.  In the last 24 hours I’ve been in Green Bay and had breakfast made for me by my dad, shared morning devotions with both parents, flew into Minneapolis and wandered the airport, much larger than GB’s, flew four more hours in a very large, every-seat-booked plane replete with sick people coughing away, babies crying and a very engaging seat mate, to arrive in an even larger airport, EARLY, no less – yep air travel at its holiday best – no delays, no missed connections, to finally look across a huge baggage claim with multiple carousels, to see the fabulous smile of my Erin Lee, coming toward me arms outstretched for a hug.  I’m spending Christmas with a beloved daughter and I am definitely not in Kansas anymore.

To keep the theme going, hauling a 44-pound suitcase plus computer bag, bundled in gloves, scarves and hats, we boarded a train full of commuters speaking a plethora of languages with the ever-present, eerie, scifi, computer-generated voice announcing stops and warnings, giving you the feeling someone is watching your every move.   Don’t recall doing that in Green Bay lately, let alone in Shawano!  From there, we waited at a bus stop after which I experienced being hollered at by a bus driver with a dramatic accent for the first time in a long time! This is urban life in 21st century America. The bus ride was similar to the train, but with a real, human driver who did not find it humorous that I was trying to stuff my two dollar bills into the slot where my quarter should go.  Very embarrassing  with Erin, lugging the heavy bag, behind on the sidewalk, waiting to board.  That’s when the driver hollered and realizing my error, I started laughing, my big out-loud laugh, while Erin giggled.  It WAS funny, but apparently the driver has his own sense of humor because he was not laughing.  Public transportation, a metro experience extraordinaire…   and one lived by many people every day across this country and around the world.  Guess I’m pretty insulated in my rural day-to-day living where I never see a bus, no commuter train either, but large slow-moving farm equipment is de rigeur.

Finally arriving at Erin’s; she’s moved since my visit last year, so this is all new.  New roommates, too, more culture for me.  The roommates in this house are Esra and Gigo, with their fairly large dog, Reine.  Esra is from Turkey, Gigo from Argentina, both of them bike messengers, again, when’s the last time you saw one of those in Shawano or Green Bay?  Additionally, Gigo, builds custom bicycles, in fact Gigo just stopped in to say hi on his way to work, Argentine accent and all 🙂  

We shared a quick dinner at home, then snuggled in to watch a movie and I just reveled in cuddling with my firstborn for the first time in a year.  My first evening of Christmas holiday is history and I’m definitely not in Kansas any more. 

I love traveling, seeing new places, tasting, literally and figuratively, other cultures.  Life is so very different here from my daily life, urban versus rural and both have their virtues and both have their drawbacks.  For now, I’m going to go exploring,while Erin Lee works a few hours.  We’ll meet for dinner at a place we wanted to get to last year, but didn’t, so tonight’s the night!!  More fun and adventures on this Christmas holiday.  Stay tuned…


Encourager, Encourage Yourself

Today’s title is a spin on the old proverb, “Physician, Heal Thyself,” words Jesus quoted in Luke 4:23According to Wikipedia, the moral of the proverb is to attend to your own defects before attending to others.  And knee-deep in defective thinking is exactly where I found myself for about 12 hours, beginning last night and ending in the last half hour or so.

I’ll not relate the litany of events that led to this sorry state.  Late last night I poured out the pitiful tale to one of three people I can call after 11pm.  We actually commented that it was very unlike me to be so morose.  That may be, but you wouldn’t have known it if you were on the other end of that midnight phone call.  So now I conduct personal therapy, putting my thoughts on paper (figuratively speaking).

Why publish the story?  In the interest of transparency, I’d say; I know transparency is a buzz word, but I like it.  Everyone has their moments; it’s how you address them that matters.  Being known among friends and family for speaking positively, applying a positive spin where it can be applied and admonishing others to do the same, it’s only fair to admit to missing the mark from time-to-time.  Besides, then I get to say that all those little truisms I toss off to you all were used on myself last night and early this morning when I awoke still in the depths.  Oh, yuck; bad enough to end the day in the depths, but start today that way, too?  This would not do. 

Buck up, baby!! Yes indeed, those were my words to myself before 6 a.m., and while not instant, with the help of determined thinking and the counting of blessings, aided by lively music and reaching out to share a positive story with a family member, I started coming around.

What’s changed?  All the things that led up to yesterday are still real – hassles, disappointments, frustrations; they haven’t been miraculously fixed or removed, but my attitude has been adjusted.  I still have to deal with the messes, but whining or crying won’t help.  As was mentioned in that late-night conversation, what are these challenges compared to a malignant brain tumor; get over yourself, hon 🙂  Just  letting you know I try to hold myself to the standards I have for others 🙂

Follow the links; listen to two of my favorite pick-me-ups:  He Reigns and Blessed Be Your Name!  Sing along, dance around your kitchen. Make it a fabulous day remembering two last things:  God’s mercies are new every morning and we will rise up like eagles!    BE ENCOURAGED!!