Happy summer solstice!!

Today is the first day of summer, 2018. I’m singing one of three favorite summer songs. Summertime was composed by American icon, George Gershwin, in 1934. It’s supposedly been covered multiple thousands of times – everyone from Billie Holiday (1936), to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1958), even Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968.  

     This is the season of fresh food – luscious tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, peas in the pod, with brats and burgers, coleslaw and potato salad, gardens coming into their full beauty, as well as perfect beach days, awesome summer night skies, and big, booming thunderstorms! King Solomon wrote that there is a season for everything, (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and this is, with all its glorious 90° days, a season to celebrate!! Grace and peace, y’all.




     Today’s brief post is to honor my dad on this 2018 Father’s Day. Regular readers know my father is a a pastor, who has been ministering for nearly 63 years. I am the oldest and only female of his four children. My father is a wordsmith (wordie); I might well have inherited my love of languages and books from him. The photo below of my dad, Leonard P. Buelow, and me, was taken over a half-century ago, on the farm where he grew up,and on which I lived for 13 years. Dad inspired me in numerous ways, and I love that when I, his only daughter, was in the seminary, he mentored and assisted, More than once I called him “saying, Dad, I need a verse.” And I got a verse. I raided his extensive religion/theology library, and bounced questions and ideas off him regularly during the seminary years. Happy Father’s Day, I love you!!

     That completes this brief celebratory post. Enjoy the treasured photo :

 LeeAnn and Dad at the Farm, circa 1958.



Happy 64th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!

     Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, June 5, 2018, the special day was my mom’s 87th birthday. Today’s feature is both my parents as they celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.

     One week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County, WI. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they traveled to Wisconsin and spent the summer at The Farm with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children. The city girl was visiting the country for the second time; in her absence Grandma Buelow had hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition. They came from different backgrounds, but shared similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised on that wonderful old place I used to call home. Mom was an only child from the East, a city girl. Their love and commitment have sustained them all these years.

     After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad. Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan. They went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which is a treasured possession of mine.  In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 64 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind.

     When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days. Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris might have been when I developed my love of all things French :).  An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II; it even made the papers! And in those days all three of us traveled on one passport – my dad’s. They settled in Shawano, WI, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.

     They had three more children, all boys, then Dad accepted an invitation (known as a Call) to serve in another church, and our family moved to Green Bay in 1965, where Mom and Dad remain to this day.  Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad. Faith and church are still central in their lives. They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad in the church they planted in 2013. They have a piece of woods on their property and an added four-seasons room, where they share their meals, morning devotions, host family gatherings, and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows.

     They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two, and they eat together when she’s through. When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares; together they clean up.  It’s actually amusing to spend time there; after meals, I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm. Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg, slices my grapefruit into sections and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions and prayers. That’s how they begin every day. Several years ago, faced with extensive repairs on Mom’s vehicle, they spent a few days away at a favorite place and on their return, purchased a new Buick, having decided to become a one-car couple, and it’s working well. They are truly a team.

     They travel frequently, taking a major road trip at least once a year, along with frequent trips to visit family in Kentucky, as well as whatever other opportunities present themselves. Mom schedules and books the trips, on which, Dad drives and Mom navigates. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater, and fine dining. In a few weeks, they will do an overnight trip to Milwaukee, for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, something they do annually.

     They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, ensembles for Mom, along with gifts for family that they discover along the way. My dad has a penchant for choosing absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures; she says the cards, themselves, are gifts. They’re patient with one another and at 87 and nearly 93, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together.  In February, ’17, Meghan Lee, Brian, and I met them in Atlanta where we walked the entire Atlanta Aquarium, billed as the world’s largest indoor aquarium. I walked behind them for the fun of watching them wander hand-in-hand; always connected, a photo of which is below, also. The last photo shows my folks at home, earlier this year. That wraps this celebratory post, which I am thrilled to share with y’all!     


Leonard & Carola Lovin’ Life Together!


Navigating life hand-in-hand



Folks at Home 2018



          Today’s post is about a special person, my mom. On this day, Carola Esther Buelow (CEB), is 87 years old. As you can see from the photo below, she looks fabulous. I believe that’s because she is active, vibrant, and completely engaged in life, doing the things about which she is most passionate. Mom teaches piano nearly full-time, as she has since I was young, interacting with, and impacting, multiple families each week. She also works side-by-side and hand-in-hand with my dad in the church they planted in 2013.

          I called Mom to get some background for the original birthday post in 2012; I rediscovered and learned some interesting facts. I’ve always known her to be an intelligent woman, graduating summa cum laude from University of Rhode Island as a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an academic fraternity, on June 8, 1953. That was also the day on which she became engaged to my dad. I have a harder time picturing her as a sorority gal, which she was – Alpha Delta Pi.  Among my daughters, Mom, and me, there’s a joke that back in the day “Grandma smoked cigarettes and dated sailors.” I share this joke with her permission; it makes us all giggle, probably shared for the first time on one of our ten annual four-day weekends in Chicago, trips that hold many special memories. Just look at her photo below, see the twinkle in her eyes.

          This is a woman who has taught dozens of people, young and old, to make music; I know many of her students and those families cherish their relationship with her, any number of them multigenerational.  She’s a teacher at heart, even taught French at the Lutheran elementary school my brothers and I attended.

     This is a woman ahead of her time.  After marrying my dad, she moved with him halfway across the country and spent the summer on the Buelow family farm (Her Father’s Homestead), a place dear to my heart, as many of you know. It was her second visit to The Farm, as my family called it.  As a wedding gift, Grandma Buelow had installed indoor plumbing. The city girl, an only child, lived at The Homestead, filled with family, for three months before traveling by steamer across the ocean to Germany in a day when cross-country and transoceanic travel were not common, leaving her family on the East Coast.  In Germany, far from family and friends, she gave birth to me, in an era when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room, though she was in a foreign country with limited knowledge of the language.

     I’ve told my daughters often, usually referring to the Buelow side of our family, that we come from hardy stock.  Writing these words gives new meaning to that picture.  My mom, known as Gma to my daughters is as hardy as the best of them.  I am most happy to share her with you.  Joyeux Anniversaire, ma mére.  I love YOU! 

      A vibrant woman!