Yep, my friends, another Christmas is history, ready to be packed away until next year. Is that how you really feel? Dare I say, “Not me”? In my world, now is the time to keep that Christmas spirit front-and-center, with the light of Jesus still shining in all its beauty and glory. It’s inside of you, at least it can be.  Do you remember that old favorite song from childhood ? I challenge you to sing it out loud and not feel joy, deep in your soul, and try, just try, to keep a smile off your face.

     As we move into the part of winter that seems to go on forever, early darkness, cold, cloudy skies, it’s fairly easy to become as gloomy as the weather. Here in the Midlands, January and February are the rainy months. Some folks experience a seasonal depression. I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to dwell in darkness. You, too, can have  a relationship with the Light of the World, as Jesus calls Himself in John 8:12. Friends know that I generally don’t speak of being happy. Happiness comes and goes, depending on what is happening around you. I prefer joy, that deep-down sense of well-being that allows me to have peace, regardless of circumstances, because my life and hope are built on the rock of faith in Jesus Christ. 

     This is available to all, free for the asking. Reach out, take hold of Jesus. If you want assistance or more information, use the contact form, I’m here to encourage you, to help you find that relationship or strengthen the one you have.  JOY TO THE WORLD!! Keep it going every day. Grace, joy, and peace, y’all!!


A Conversation With Kat Revisited


The original Conversation with Kat took place years ago. It was a birthday conversation and very meaningful for both of us. Today there was another one. Yes, we’ve spoken many times since that original conversation, but today’s conversation was impactful, and served as the genesis of this post. This time Kat called me, and what began as a catch-up, “how’s things?” kind of conversation turned into a great call that benefited us both.

As we talked, we moved from one subject to another and ended up in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, a favorite biblical spot of mine. King Solomon writes about seasons, which I like to interpret as periods of time along the paths of life. Just as they occur in the natural world, life seasons change and pass, not remaining the same forever. I apply this teaching to human relationships, too. Sometimes friendships are intense and short-lived, but they serve a valuable and necessary purpose for a particular season. Digging deeper, I believe our Heavenly Father, places people in our lives, or places us in someone else’s life, for strategic purposes, often to assist in weathering a storm.

To help clarify, I shared the true story of two women who became fast friends and confidantes at a time when one of them was experiencing a deeply personal and painful family challenge. The friendship lived for months, culminating in a death, and the fallout from that death. With the passing of time, and a change in geography for one of the women, the intensity waned and the friendship continued in the form of acknowledging birthdays and/or an occasional reaction to a Facebook post. That was a seasonal friendship, valuable in its time, and though contact is now infrequent, that meaningful, helpful, seasonal, friendship retains fond memories and is no longer actively missed. Each of the two women has moved forward along life’s trail, and both were blessed because of the season they shared. Our Heavenly Father certainly knows our needs, and knows how best to meet those needs. Grace, joy, and peace, y’all!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 “To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down,

and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn,

And a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

7 A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence,

and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace. (NKJV)



     We’ve all had them, right? Just when things seem to be rolling along, something happens to bring an abrupt halt, maybe even backward motion. That is the subject for today, a personal setback and how I’m dealing with it. Hopefully, there will be some insight for ya’ll.

     A number of years ago, I experienced a broken femur. Leave it to you-know-who to break the largest bone in the human body. Family and friends know that post-surgery, I began in a wheelchair, then progressed to a walker, then a cane, and ultimately, no assistance. Since that time, I walk, walk, walk – over to the Community Center and back, on the forest trail, and also around the neighborhood using Arborgate Circle. I have a goal, and worked toward it virtually every day that it wasn’t raining. The once-broken leg was getting stronger every day, heading toward that goal.

     Two days ago, out of nowhere, BAM, setback time. Having returned from the Community Center on the trail with my friend, Karen, something flipped and I started gathering speed, going out-of-control, literally spinning in circles like a psycho-ballerina. It was very scary, and I was helpless to stop. Long story shortened, I fell, and the hand of my Heavenly Father had protected me on two levels. First, the out-of-control spinning took me across the street, which happened to be free from traffic in either direction. Second, when I fell, I didn’t slam my head on the street or the curb. Yes, I messed up my face a bit, one knee bruised and bleeding, and my formerly broken leg was re-injured – cut and bleeding, with a massive bruise swelling larger than my fist. Karen muscled me to my feet, and we hobbled to my house, where she set to work cleaning up my face, and tending to my legs.

     The next morning was painful, but manageable. I was able to shuffle around the house, with only moderate pain. I was on-the-mend, or so I thought 😊 This morning, Day Two, was a different story. Not necessarily excruciating pain, but a whole lot more than anticipated – pain, everywhere – legs, arms shoulders, ribs. Sitting down and getting up takes several minutes each, and a lot of discomfort. Walking is hesitant; I’m certainly not ready to head out the door.

     After all the work I had put in since the initial femur break and surgical repair, I’m barely moving, and my goal is pushed into the future. Now what? I’ve been giving thanks that my head was spared a fourth TBI, for sure!! Cuts and bruises will heal, and I’ll be walking outside, beginning with up and down the driveway, then around the cul-de-sac, and in no time at all, I’ll hit the trails to the Community Center again. One might say this is a fairly large bummer, but look at the positive – no head injury, no broken bones – that’s huge!!

     This recovery is not beginning in a wheelchair, so I’m ahead of the game, have been here before, and know I can come back. Was this my choice? Not on your life, but I didn’t write the story before the world began. That’s my Heavenly Father’s arena. I have every confidence that His plan has a purpose, so I’ll grit my teeth and get to it, giving thanks all the while, beginning tomorrow morning.  Grace, joy, and peace, y’all; this is me saying G’night.  



Happy 65th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!


 Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, June 5, 2019, the special day was for my mom, Carola’s, 88th birthday. Today features both my parents as they celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.

     One week after Carola’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, Leonard, 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, an 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 Rhode Island, 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 family behind. News of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 65 years, through the trials and tribulations common to human beings everywhere.

     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 at a favorite getaway, 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. Several weeks ago, they drove to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the 65th reunion of my dad’s seminary class. The day after my mom’s birthday, they went down to Milwaukee for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, something they do annually. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, board games, theater, and fine dining.

     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 88 and nearly 94, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together. And on this date in 2019, they celebrate 65 years of married life. They, and we, are very blessed!!

Enjoy the photos – their wedding, 60th anniversary, and most recent, at Dad’s seminary reunion.  Grace and peace, y’all!

Leonard and Carola are married




60th Anniversary

60th Anniversary





     G’mornin’ y’all. Close friends know that I’m a history buff. I wholeheartedly agree with Spanish-American philosopher and author, George (Jorge) Santayana. The relevant quote for me is “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

     I get a daily email from, and regularly share what I call a “history bit” with my daughters. For them, it is often music-related. Today, however, I shared two somber bits, that I’ll share with you here. One hundred years ago on this date, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. That’s right, folks, after 243 years of being a nation, or to use more contemporary language, after 243 years of being disenfranchised, women were finally “granted” the right to vote. Even that wasn’t immediate. The Amendment was then sent to the states for ratification, which took another year (8.18.1920). Our rights, in general, were hard-won, and I urge everyone not to take any of them for granted.

     The second history bit is that today is the anniversary of the massacre in Beijing, China’s,  Tiananmen Square (1989). I remember this almost as vividly as I remember the American Freedom Riders in the 60s. The Chinese government opened fire on pro-democracy citizens – mostly students and workers – protesting in the streets. Thousands were either arrested or gunned down, making world news at the time.

     I will close this with only a bit of admonition. Our rights, as previously stated, matter, and most important for me, are the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution. There are many places in this mixed-up world where citizens do not even have the basic right to practice their religious beliefs, or to defend themselves against intrusive government actions. And this, my friends, is only one reason why knowing history is important. Please take this as it is intended – food for thought, and have a joyful day. Grace and peace, y’all!!


I’m a Winner!!

I don’t believe that regular readers know this about me – I don’t win things, from the potted geranium on the luncheon table, to any raffle, ever; my name is just not chosen. Y’all ready? wait for it…

You bet, I won something this morning, and simple and silly as it might seem, I’m grinning and having a ball here at my computer, looking out into the forest under partly sunny skies

What did I win? A book, not to keep, but it’s a win and I’ll take it.  A member of my book club – Harbison Readers – had his hands on the only hard copy of the current book, out of all the members in our group and he was raffling it off. To be honest, I didn’t even know the title, I’m a bit behind this month. I submitted my name, and voila, I WON!!  Not being known for winning stuff, I took a chance that my local library had a copy. Sure enough, it’s available through our system, and I put a hold on it, and became first in queue. Knowing that I will get the book in time to read it, I passed my win to the second person, hopefully making them smile!

Silly? Maybe. Fun? If you’re me. This win is big, big, big –a triple win: it made me smile, reminded me to get moving and locate the book in case I didn’t win, and as I was dancing around, celebrating my win, the title for this blog post came to mind. Not bad for a Saturday morning 😊 

How about you – are you a winner? You surely can be, and it doesn’t require a raffle or game of chance. I’m a winner from way back, without ever winning in a temporal game. How does that work?  I became one the day I accepted Jesus’ invitation and opened the door of my heart to Him (Rev. 3:20). The faith relationship I have is the foundation for my hope and my joy, regardless of current circumstances, and it is available to you, too.  Now, if I can locate my phone for another win…  Grace and peace, y’all!



BUNNIES WITH NO HEADS: A tale of hope and encouragement


      Despite the unusual title, I promise this post will give you hope and encouragement 🙂 As is often mentioned in these pages, I’m a traditionalist. I believe tradition is the glue that binds us together. Today I’ll tell a quick story about a mother who used to buy solid chocolate Easter bunnies, the big ones, $16 each, only the best for her daughters, year after year. Tradition was that early Easter morning; the mother would hide colored eggs and two baskets. While the daughters were hunting for eggs and baskets, she was cooking a special breakfast, one for each of her daughters as they had different favorites.

     This particular year, the night before Easter as the mother was preparing the baskets, the temptation of those fabulous bunnies overcame her. Just one little nibble, she  thought, who’ll notice? Y’all know how this goes – the edges had to be evened out and smooth so one nibble followed another and all of a sudden one ear was gone, Horror! What could the mother do? She had to do the same to the other bunny; it was not possible to give one daughter an intact bunny and the other, one with a missing ear. On with the “evening-up” process. Now two bunnies without ears, very uneven, more work to do.

     What next? May as well even things up, you know, neaten it up a bit. One head gone, on to the next – gotta be fair. Enough already. It’s Saturday night, Easter eve, no replacing these special bunnies. The mother then tucked each bunny back into its little bag and replaced the original ribbons, pink and purple. Early Easter morning, the mother went about her business, then woke the daughters to begin their hunt, during which, she went into the kitchen to begin cooking those special breakfasts, didn’t miss a beat….

          Suddenly – horrified screams! The girls had discovered headless bunnies in their otherwise beautiful baskets – no doubt as to the culprit. Good thing they were old enough to know that the Easter Bunny really was their mother. The thing that I remember most vividly – yes, I’m the mother – was the absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in the bunnies!! To use FDR’s words spoken long ago, this was a day that will live in infamy.”  And it has – brought up every Easter and shared with love and much laughter.

      I promised encouragement? You bet. My friends, regardless what you might be thinking about your shortcomings, faults, or misses, remember the mother who ate the heads of fabulous chocolate bunnies and laugh!  You haven’t done that yet, have you?  There is HOPE and there is GRACE.  My daughters love me, forgave me, and we share another precious memory.

          Easter is a special day, not a present-giving holiday in our home, but without it, we would all be hopeless. Remember, because of what occurred that first Easter morning, there is abundant hope and grace for all of us.  I hope you’ve found, or find, yours in the risen Savior. My prayer is that all the blessings of Easter – life, forgiveness, grace and joy – live within each and every one of you!  Be blessed…



     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Thirteen 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 with 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, 2006, 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 word. The stats were fairly grim; conventional prognosis for a glio blastoma is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a game-changer. My Heavenly Father had plans that are not bound by conventional medicine.

     He handled that tumor and thirteen 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’ve lost two friends to the same disease, the first one within five years of my diagnosis. Yet I’m still here.

     I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud – 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 duration 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, who authored the story before time began.

     My friends are gone, their families have grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know, on this partly sunny April morning in the Carolina Midlands, that God has the plan firmly in hand. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, my Father still keeps me on my feet. I am most grateful to be alive, to have family and friends with whom to share this post. 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, the joy and thanksgiving that thirteen years later, I am alive and well!  Blessings †


Rainy Day Reflections

It feels like it’s been raining for days, and actually, it has been. If the proverbial April showers really bring May flowers, then next month should be overflowing with blooms; the courtyard azalea is already gorgeous.

Courtyard Azalea

   Being me, I looked for appropriate music to accompany this post. Gene Kelly sang and danced in the rain, Dylan and Waylon sang about women and rain. Electric Light Orchestra believed it was “raining all over the world,” and children sing about an old man snoring.

What do you do when it’s gloomy and wet, and you don’t belong outside, unless you’re a duck? I love storms, big weather, for certain, but this drip, drip, drip and grey skies? If you were my elder daughter, you’d go outside and dance in the rain in your underwear, and lock yourself out of the house in the process, creating a lifetime story 😊. I put on music and danced my way through the house, gotta get my steps in somehow.

There’s plenty to do; having finished unpacking after my move in March, there are two items yet to be found. I could continue the somewhat arduous process of handling every unpacked file, folder, and drawer, in search of precious and vital documents, along with a delicate, blue – glass wind-chime that carries a fair bit of sentimental value. I could continue messing with my fitness watch, trying to make it functional again; I’ve already tried multiple new batteries. It just might be more complex.

From my desk, I can see into the forest – lush, varying shades of green and the dark, almost black, appearance of sodden tree trunks. It is beautiful in its own way, just like each of us.  Really, comparing us to sodden tree trunks and wet leaves? You bet. As faithful daughters of the Creator King, we are, indeed, beautiful, reflecting the beauty and grace of our spirits to a world in need.

I’m thinking of ways to spread joy this morning. I’ve got it in me, regardless of what’s happening around me, joy that is independent of circumstances. Regular readers know the source of my joy, and that I believe it’s available to all. Even on this cloudy, gloomy day, I’ve got sunshine and smiles to spare. How about you?

I’ll be singing and dancing my way through this soggy day, and I’ll maybe even come across the missing items. These are my thoughts on a rainy day. Grace and peace, y’all!



Back in 2009, I wrote a post with this same title, borrowing from David Bowie’s classic song. This post will be different, because in 2019, a decade later, the changes are different. How do you handle change? Do you embrace it, roll with it, try to avoid it, perhaps ignore it? There are myriad ways human beings react to change. Some are healthy, others, less so. Regular readers know that my worldview is distinctly Christian. I believe the words written long ago, by King Solomon. In Ecclesiastes, chapter three, King Solomon wrote that there is a season for everything. We go through seasons of joy and seasons of mourning, times when we dance, and times we sit and ponder silently.

This is a new season for me. Having lived a half-mile from my Meghan Lee and her husband, Brian, for the last three years, since moving to South Carolina, 1300 miles now separate us – BIG changes. I knew it was part of the long-range plan when I moved here. But knowing something and living it out can be two distinctly different things. Their move to Texas resulted in me moving, too – from the townhome complex where I’d been, to a house, the house that Meghan bought when she was a twenty-something young woman, and in which Brian joined her after their marriage seven years ago.

They are off on a new adventure, one that could prove most interesting and rewarding. I’m in a new home, in a neighborhood, instead of a complex. Meghan returned from Texas for ten days to facilitate my move, and we’ve already received a dinner invitation from a neighbor.

I’m in the same community, still with access to 12 miles of paved trails through the forest, access to the community center with its varied programs and activities, even a book club. It’s a somewhat longer walk through the forest to get to the community center, but that’s a good thing – more steps three times a week when I usually go to the pool. There’s a new challenge in learning the route to the pool/community center from here. Twelve miles provides a lot of space in which to get turned around, so we’ve resolved to walk it repeatedly while Meghan is still here. I’ll get it, I have every confidence that I will adapt to the changes necessary to get where I want to be, without the security blanket of Meghan being nearby to receive an SOS text.

Ch-ch-ch-changes, part of life, providing new opportunity for personal/spiritual growth. I’ll be stretched, no doubt, but not fearful, never hopeless. A favorite old hymn says, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous seas.” I’ve got a Lifeguard who walks on water (not an original thought), so I’m facing the changes and claiming a new adventure for myself, as well. It might just be time to write that book I’ve had on hold for awhile now, time to get real serious about my physical rehab, and time to step out further and share more of the good news, the life-changing faith that gives me hope, joy, and the grace and peace I speak of often.

This is me embracing change, looking forward with hope and joy, for Meghan Lee and Brian on their new adventure, and for myself on mine. All is, and will continue to be, well. It can be for you, too, if you have the solid foundation on which to build. Any questions, please ask them; there is so much more to the story. Grace and peace, y’all!!