A Special Woman 2017

     Six years ago, I wrote the first post celebrating an important woman in my life, my very special Auntie Arlene. I updated the post in 2012, in honor of of her 94th birthday. Today, Auntie Arlene would be 99 years old, but she went home to Jesus in January. It feels strange, this first birthday without her in my world. I spoke to one of her daughters today, my cousin, Jane Buelow Luepke, one of the twins mentioned in the very first post. We reminisced and Jane shared a few details I had not known before. 

     My Auntie Arlene was unique in that she was the daughter of a twin, she married a twin, my dad’s brother, Elmer, and she became the mother of twins, my cousins, Jane and Janice. Additionally, she became the great grandmother of twins, which I always thought was fairly awesome! Why was this woman so special to me? It was through her that I was able to purchase the original Buelow homestead in rural Shawano county, which became my home for thirteen years. Living near her allowed our relationship to blossom and we spent a fair amount of time together, many lunches shared at the table in her apartment in town, many heartfelt conversations. We talked about everything- especially family history, much of which was recorded in her Bible. We discussed religion and politics, all those things one isn’t supposed to talk about in polite company. We didn’t always agree, but we could say anything and share a chuckle over our differences. She kept me informed about local events, and we discussed world events as well. For me, the most treasured piece of our relationship was that she was always in my corner, my biggest encourager. When I was debating grad school and ministry, she advised my to go for it, an affirmation I received gladly and gratefully. When I got my first Master’s degree in Christian ministry:pastoral counseling, I took that diploma to her and we opened it together. It was huge, much larger than the bachelor’s diplomas and we had all kinds of fun with that big diploma; it was like a scroll and I said I felt like the mayor of Oz, which caused a fair amount of laughter. She held on to one corner and I unrolled that diploma while my cousin, Jane, took pictures and joined in the fun! When I received my Master of Divinity (Mdiv) diploma this past May, I spoke with Jane and we agreed that her mom/my aunt was indeed smiling at, and cheering for, me. And while I knew she was in a better place, I missed being able to take a diploma to her one more time.

     Auntie Arlene was my faithful encourager. When I was looking for confirmation of the path I had chosen, she reminded me why I was there. And that is the reason she was so special to me. I knew without a doubt that she was praying for me during my cancer battle and throughout my grad school journey; she told me so, regularly. She was a prayer warrior for her entire family, and I was blessed to be counted among them. 

     My Auntie Arlene was an influence from my youngest years. The Buelows were a large crew and on any given Sunday, any number of aunts and uncles with all the cousins would show up to share a meal and an afternoon of socializing. She had a ready smile and always welcomed everyone to her table. 

     Enjoy the photos; I have so many it’s hard to choose. We took a selfie every week when I visited. We had a system where I’d focus my phone camera and hold it, while she reached up and pushed the button. Below  is one of my all-time favorite photos, Auntie Arlene and me, approximately 1959, on the front steps of the Buelow homestead.

Arlene and LeeAnn 1959

We re-staged that photo in August of 2011. Of course, I didn’t sit on her lap, but we had lots of fun and shared laughter, as you see. 

     Please share in my bittersweet joy as I reminisce. She lived long and she lived well. I hope that each of you has someone who supports and encourages you as unconditionally as she did for me! And as I say often in these pages, hold those you love close and tell them, regularly and often, how very much they mean to you. Be blessed †                    

                                My very special  Auntie Arlene would be 99 today.  

 

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HAPPY 63rd Anniversary, Mom and Dad !! 2017

 

 6.12.1954     Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, our family noted  my mom’s 86th birthday, which wasn’t posted as usual,  due to site updating.  

     Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 63rd wedding anniversary. Yep, 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. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they traveled  to Wisconsin and spent the summer at the Homestead 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 had similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised on the wonderful old place I used to call home, a homestead in a rural Wisconsin  county. 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 63 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 my dad’s passport. 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, before Dad accepted an invitation (known as a Call) to serve in another church, and the 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 at 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. That’s how they begin every day. A couple 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 out 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, along with 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. Last week, they did an overnight to Milwaukee, for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, Dad’s birthday gift to Mom. They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and ensembles for Mom, as well as gifts for family that they discovered 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 86 and almost 92, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together. Enjoy the photo below taken at their 60th celebration in 2014. 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.    That wraps this celebratory post, which I am thrilled to share with y’all! 

                                                           Joyeaux anniversaire de mariage!!  Je t’aime!        

Navigating life hand-in-hand!

 CELEBRATION 6.8.14

60th Anniversary celebration

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME: 2017 UPDATE!!

 

     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Eleven years ago, Easter Sunday was April 16. Visiting daughters tricked me (they lied, actually) into my truck and drove to the small local hospital. After a CT scan, the emergency room doctor delivered the findings, prefaced by the words “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everybody’s Easter dinners. Two days later, Tuesday, April 18, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he delivered the news that the tumor they had removed was malignant and I had a fairly virulent form of brain cancer. 

     Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given the information and the stats were not great; conventional medical prognosis for that cancer is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

     Those plans included handling that tumor and eleven years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I  have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last two years and the other five years ago, the day after my  survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

     I wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asking the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What is the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but in my heart of hearts, I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about eleven years ago when I was diagnosed.  

     My friends are gone, their families grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this warm April morning in South Carolina, that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God has still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

     As I say repeatedly in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you. Share with me, please, my joy that eleven years later I am alive and well!  Thank you for joining me in in giving thanks and celebration; be blessed 

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Happy Anniversary to Me!! 2016 Update

Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Ten years ago today, Easter Sunday that year, my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found.  A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the ER doc, in explaining it, said, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupted everybody’s Easter dinners and two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly aggressive form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Those plans included handling that tumor and TEN years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last six months, and the other three years ago, the day after my seven-year survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asked the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What’s the plan?  Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about ten years ago when I was diagnosed.  

So my friends are gone and their families grieve, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this beautiful April morning in South Carolina, that my heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say repeatedly  in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that ten years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN LEE, 2015!!

 

     Today we celebrate Erin Lee, my elder daughter born 31 years ago tonight, just shy of midnight, changing my world forever. I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed. When I told my obstetrician that I was embroidering her Christmas stocking and already had her name across the top, he reminded me that the odds were 50/50. When I told him that I was working on her Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin – he just shook his head. Then she was born, four days overdue, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee – I just knew. 

     She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and I was smitten. I asked that her bassinet be left with me, couldn’t imagine letting them whisk her off to a nursery. I wanted to get to know this little miracle and the journey began. What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. Though she lives far away in a city she loves, I believe we are close at heart, more alike than not, though she might not always claim that :).  I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years that there is absolutely nothing on the face of this earth that could possibly change the fact of my unconditional love for her; she will always be my Erin Lee.

AN ARTIST'S VIEW

    With her permission, I describe her as 105 pounds of pure spitfire. She’s an artist  in personality and temperament, unlike myself; I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, from little on, with totally different eyes than mine. I’ve saved samples of her art over the years; a fascinating journey through the developing eye and mind of an artist’s view of her world, always a unique perspective.  It will provide the back-story when she’s famous, having her first gallery show.  In the meantime, three of her paintings hang in my home, I wear several pieces of her jewelry and I keep a file of her work, updated often, on my phone and my PC.      

     An early reader, having completed the Laura Ingalls Wilder series at age six (a gift from her first-grade teacher during one of her many hospitalizations), she’s intelligent and articulate. I used to joke that all the time spent in an oxygen tent paid off beautifully, the silver lining to difficult days of chronic illness first manifested when she was just five months old. Erin has a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pépé Le Pew, as well as a first-rate imitation of Lady from the movie Lady and the Tramp.This was a little girl who let you know with a toss of her hair, that she knew without doubt that she was special. When Erin Lee laughs, everybody laughs, it’s positively contagious.  She’s fiercely loyal with a wicked wit. If you’re close to her, she may challenge you in ways that test your soul, but the result is always worthwhile.

      Erin Lee loves to travel. In January of 2014, she took her first solo trip – to Iceland – looking for artistic inspiration. This year began with a trip to Hawaii and included the traditional Hawaiian pineapple tattoo. HAWAIIAN_TATTOO_CROPPED

       There is a new addition in the lives of Erin Lee and Brandon.  Several weeks ago she texted a photo of what she called my “new grandogter“.  In addition to the cats, they have opened their home to Andy, short for Andromeda, fulfilling one of Erin’s dreams – a dog of her own.

     My firstborn child is 31 today, three decades under her belt. I am so very proud of the woman she is and I am a better person for being her Mumma Lee. Blessings, Erin Lee†  Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me over these 31 years. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Joyeux Anniversaire; je t’aime en pièces (translation: “I love you to pieces.”)   (1)  The parenthetical one is our long-distance hug.

         Enjoy the photos, one of Erin Lee in her historic Hawaiian hotel and the other in Seattle with Brandon.

 

                                                           ERIN_HAWAII_FAVE_edited                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGHAN LEE, 2015

Having begun what is becoming the annual birthday post in 2011, it is time for the new round of my daughters’ birthday posts. I have fun with them and hope you and the honoree do, as well.

     Thirty years ago this evening, I met my younger daughter, Meghan Lee, for the first time. Weighing in at just six pounds, she showed early signs of being her own person, struggling to be released from the hospital swaddling that her sister, a year earlier, had found so comforting.  An early reader determined to keep up with her sister, she began calling me Mother, likely based on something she read; not mom and not just to my face, but in reference to me as well.  It was very noticeable coming from this little person, so formal – Mother.  She still does, today, but I’m used to it and no longer feel like Joan Crawford. That’s Meghan Lee, no nicknames, please. Being her mother, one might accuse me of bias, but I am so very proud of the woman she has become. I am blessed to be close to her, not in proximity, but in mind and heart, the places that matter. I have watched her grow over the years, overcoming challenges and learning to soar like an eagle!!

Since I began the birthday post, each year has been one of continued growth in grace and beauty for Meghan Lee. who, in 2011, began a tradition of wearing a tiara on her birthday, even on the bike. The 2012 birthday post addressed a major life event, marriage to R. Brian Smith, known to me as FSIL. 

Three years later, they continue to grow closer and are, as I describe it, incredibly well matched.WELL-MATCHED

They have embarked on and completed  fitness challenges like the Tough  Mudder twice! They enjoy DIY home renovations. Together they are into weight training, running, and travel. A newer venture is gardening, with which I’m thrilled. I always told her it’s in the Buelow genes; we love to “play in the dirt.” For years she denied it because of spiders – my fault for making my daughters pick too many beans as children, or so they said. In typical fashion, Meghan did the research and came up with a plan for raised beds, which she and Brian built together.  More research led to plans for squirrel-proofing those beds, which she designed, they built, and now their gardens are safe from critters and they’re well into their second year of gardening

This past year brought new challenges and changes.  Making a career shift after soul-searching, and with Brian’s full support, Meghan resigned from her former position, enrolled in and successfully completed a new course of study in the IT field. Having excelled in school and enjoying the change in direction, Meghan launched her own business Meghan Smith Solutions; her work has already attracted clients in the South and in WI; she enjoys the freedom of working at home and/or wherever she happens to be.

My younger daughter turns 30 today and I couldn’t be more pleased to claim her, though I’ve learned to share her with Brian. She is intelligent, kind, loving, and generally an exceptional human being, grown now, with a family of her own –  Meghan Lee, Brian, and three cats – the Smith family.

I’m thanking the Lord for putting her in my arms and into my care – a gift to me beyond compare.   Joyeux anniversaire, Meghan Lee, je t’aime en bric, broc, our French slang for “I love you to pieces.”  Literal translation is “I love you to bits and chunks,” which makes us giggle.  Enjoy the photos – faces of Meghan Lee – and join me, please, in wishing a most wonderful new year and new decade of life to Meghan Lee Smith!

 

     MEGHAN LEE              M__BD POST_2015      MBCOURTYARD_CROPPED        

Happy 30th Birthday, Meghan Lee!! Be blessed†, my precious daughter!!         

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! 2015 EDITION

Regular readers know I favor Special Days. Often they are birthdays of people important to me.  And that is the subject of this day – the fourth edition of a birthday blog about my mom, a woman about whom I have rarely posted, other than teasing about the habits I believe I inherited from her. Today, my mom, Carola Esther Buelow (CEB), is 84.  As you can see from the picture below, taken at Meghan Lee’s wedding in 2012, she doesn’t look her age. She’s active, vibrant and works virtually full-time teaching piano, which she loves.  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 2012 post; 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, the day on which she also became engaged to my dad.

I have a harder time picturing her as a sorority gal, which she was – Alpha Delta Pi.  Between my daughters, Mom and me, there’s a joke that back in the day “Grandma smoked cigarettes and dated sailors;” that’s a fact that I post  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, many 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 farm, yes, right here at Her Father’s Homestead where, 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 parents on the East Coast.  And in Germany, far from family and friends, she gave birth to me, when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room and 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 has given new meaning to that picture.  My mom, known as Gma to my daughters and CEB in my own writing, is as hardy as the best of them.  I am most happy to share her with you.  Joyeux Anniversaire, ma mére.  I love YOU!             

CEB March '12

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!! 2015 UPDATE

 Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Nine years ago today was Easter Sunday 2006; my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found. A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the ER doc explaining it, said, “I can’t believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everyone’s Easter dinners. Two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given the word; stats were not great. But the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11)  “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling that horrible cancer and nine years  later, despite enormous odds, severe statistics (my favorite doc says a study currently under review says only 12% are still breathing five years out ), and side effect challenges, I surely do have hope and a future and am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  

Today is also bittersweet; two years ago this day, I attended the funeral of a friend who lost his five and-a-half-year battle with the same cancer I had. Yet here I am, well and most content. During my friend’s ordeal with this ugly disease, I pondered life, asking the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? Why me? What’s the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first discussed nine years ago when I was diagnosed.  

We talked about this last week around our Easter dinner table, shared grins at the memories and reminisced about events of those confusing days. Today on this beautiful, sunny morning, I am celebrating  that I am here, despite all side effects and odds, just four weeks shy of completing my first Master’s degree and that, for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here with loved ones and friends, to play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say often in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that nine years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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Christmas Countdown 2014 – Seven Days

     I began countdowns back in 2008, with the launching of this site; I kept them up for a couple years, mostly counting down to upcoming trips, holidays spent with daughters in fun places, things like that.  Then came college completion – two undergrad degrees and now grad school, one semester shy of  an MA. I still took the celebratory trips to the South and the Northeast, but the prep was usually hectic, coming at the end of a semester during which household maintenance (dusting/washing floors) was not a priority.

It became a quick blast through the house, not as thorough as it was at one time when I followed my mom’s example for leaving on vacation. That is something I’ve not outgrown, though Mom remembers it differently. Just the other day in talking about my upcoming travels, a friend said, “Oh yeah, you’re one of those women…” and we both smiled.

This week the tasks loom large.  My living room has become a repository of textbooks and reference books, sorted into stacks; some of the books will simply be re-shelved here today. Others will be boxed according to owner, mostly divided between my dad, whose vast personal library is a treasure trove and my friend/study partner, whose educational path I am following and from whom I’m able to borrow textbooks. 

 What used to be the dining table is now an expanded desk, full of papers, folders, receipts, etc., that will be addressed tonight and tomorrow. Then, to quote Rosanne Rosannadanna, from back in the day, “it’s always something.” Yep, an unexpected power outage around 11:15 this morning.  I did, however, handle all the stacks in the living room during the outage.  

     I’m back at my computer – dining table, cleaning, laundry, packing – still ahead, but all is well and I will just keep moving, counting down the days until planes have taken off and landed, hugs have been exchanged, and we  begin celebrating – seven days.  Be blessed, make it a memorable Christmas with family and friends; I sure will.  

     We will be celebrating the reason for this holiday season – Christ’s birth. Enjoy the music, dance around your kitchen; be merry and blessed †

                                                        Joyeux Noël !!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HATTIE 2014

 

          Today’s post is a rerun, first posted several years ago in honor of my paternal grandmother. The original post was a day late, and I said at the time, from what I remember of her, she would be happy to have the greetings and tardiness would be overlooked with that smile I remember so well.  Her birthday was November 10, a date shared with Martin Luther.  In 2013 I deliberately decided to post on November 11, and thought I might continue posting one day late, turning it into a tradition, which I believe would bring a smile to her face. This year the post was going to be on time, perhaps tradition stepped in and I’m once again remembering my grandmother’s birthday a day late.

       Hattie – a name you don’t hear too much anymore, in this case short for Henrietta, my Grandma Buelow who, if she was still with us, would have been 125 years old yesterday. She passed away at age 85 and played a significant role here at Her Father’s Homestead. She came as a young bride in 1907, when she married my grandfather, Henry Buelow. That’s right, Henrietta Jantz married Henry Buelow, as you can see in their wedding invitation.

Grandma's Wedding Invite

That’s where I first saw her referred to as Hattie. She came to the Homestead and built a life here, raised ten children, seven boys and three girls, all born in this wonderful old house I call home. She lived here until she passed away, cared for in her later years by her son, my Uncle Elmer and his wife, my favorite Auntie Arlene, well known to readers of this blog. In fact, today would be Elmer’s birthday along with his twin, Alfred. Yep, a day after her 28th birthday, my Grandma Buelow gave birth to twin sons.

      We saw Grandma often, as on any given Sunday we’d drive to what my Dad called The Farm, the place he grew up along with his brothers and sisters, the children of Her Father’s Homestead, and the place we visited with those aunts, uncles and cousins, because this was where Grandma lived. So many memories… A white-haired Grandma, saying grace in German and smiling; I remember her smile just like you see in the picture in the barnyard with my Grandpa, who passed away long before I was born. 

 

                                                                                                           Hattie is Happy

Henrietta and Henry

Henrietta and Henry

             

 

That photo is a bit unusual for its time in that it shows what’s today called a public display of affection – Grandpa has his arm around her, she’s snuggled into him and is holding his hand and she’s smiling. In the background of that photo, you see her brother-in-law, the gentleman with the hat, and also her son, my Uncle Elmer, hatchet in hand if you look closely, whom I remember with a great smile and a quick laugh, who’d be 97, today, if he was still with us.

 

               

      

                                             

The last photo, again a smiling Grandma, in front of what may be the old lilac tree at the corner of the house where I live.

       A Smiling Hattie  Buelow

 

  My Grandma Buelow would be 125 years  

   old and her memory is alive at well here

               at Her Father’s Homestead.

 

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