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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Bunnies With no Heads? 2013 Edition

Today’s post is a rerun and  a favorite story of ours.  It’s all  true; absolutely, I really did the deed. So without further ado, here you go – enjoy and be blessed!

Do not be dismayed, this post will give you hope and encouragement,  I promise :) 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, the best for her daughters, year after year.  Tradition was that early Easter morning, the mother would hide the colored eggs and then the baskets.  While the girls were hunting for eggs and baskets, the mother 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, the mother 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 would never work 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;

Holy cats, what now?  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.  So the mother tucked each bunny back into its little bag and tied them shut with the original ribbons, pink and purple.  It’s Saturday night, Easter eve, no replacing these special bunnies.  Early Easter morning, the mother went about her business, then woke the daughters to begin their hunt, while the mother went into the kitchen to begin cooking those special breakfasts, didn’t miss a beat….

All of a sudden – horrified screams.  The girls had discovered their headless bunnies in their otherwise beautiful baskets.  And they had no doubt as to the culprit.  Good thing they were of the age to know that the Easter Bunny really was the mother.  The thing that I remember most clearly was Meghan’s absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in her bunny – eeeuuuu!! To use FDR’s words spoken years 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 may be thinking about your shortcomings, faults or misses, remember the mother who ate the heads off the 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, at least not in our home, but without it, we would all be hopeless.  Remember, because of what occurred on that first Easter morning, there is abundant hope and grace for all of us.  I hope you’ve found or find yours in our risen Lord.  All the blessings of Easter to each and every one of you!

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MALALA UPDATE

Ten days ago I wrote about a 14 year-old Pakistani girl named Malala, who’d been shot in the head by a Taliban would-be assassin. Why? Apparently her activism on behalf of educating girls in her country is threatening to the Taliban.  She survived the attack and is being treated in the UK.  Not only did she survive, but she’s doing well, according to a Time NewsFeed today.  She’s walked “with a little help” and the British doctors are optimistic for minimal brain damage!  According to that same article, Malala reportedly asked for her schoolbooks so she could pick up on her studies in order to be able to take her finals.  Fourteen years old – committed, passionate, courageous – I am in awe of the power of the human spirit as exemplified by one small girl.  I encourage you again, as in the original post, to pray for her recovery and to use your voice, wherever possible, to make life better for women everywhere.  Think I’m overreacting?

Four women were murdered in my state this week, one who had recently gotten a restraining order against her husband, the alleged murderer, and four more were injured.  Brookfield, WI, is not on foreign soil, my friends, it’s only a couple hours away.

So we rejoice with Malala and her family and pray for continued recovery.  We also pray for a culture that holds the Lord’s daughters in such low regard, in whatever part of the world that exists.  Blessings to all!

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The World Just Keeps on Turning…

With 30 minutes to official sunrise, I’ve been watching the moon make its journey across the sky for hours.  Wide awake since 3a.m., with bright moonlight streaming through the window, I’m thinking of two people in these early morning hours. Last night brought word that my favorite Auntie Arlene, spoken of often in these pages, is spending the night in the local hospital.  She’s 93 and I’m wondering what she’s thinking about and how she’s feeling in these predawn hours; it’s too early to call and the world just keeps on turning…

I’ve mentally run through my to-do list, with wedding prep and school prep on deck for the day. My excitement is building at the prospect of a joyful gathering in just ten days to celebrate with Meghan and Brian and the added bonus of having Erin Lee home – the three of us together – this mother’s heart is full. 

Forty miles away, another mother is waking up, if she slept at all, on what would normally be a day of celebrating her daughter’s birthday.  The world just keeps on turning, even though her daughter passed away last June at age 29 and this is the first birthday without her.  

Watching the moon move past my window, I’m reminded that the moon wasn’t moving at all and that what appears to be happening is not real.   There are  laws of nature at work here and as King Solomon said long ago, there is a time for everything, time to weep or laugh and dance or mourn.  The world just keeps on turning and what does that mean for us?  Y’all have heard this before, but I believe we can never hear it too often.  Cherish the special moments, create them, and hold those you love close to heart; let them know regularly and repeatedly that they are special to you. 

I had dinner with Auntie Arlene Friday night – we shared a great fish fry and for the first time in her 93 years, she experienced  the world of the Internet.  Through the marvel of technology, I was able to take her online and we went shopping!!  We laughed, she was amazed and I was so happy to share that time with her

The sun is up and it’s time for me to move away from this desk; I’ve already emailed my friend, acknowledging her daughter’s birthday and her loss.  I’ll call the hospital shortly, get the trash up to the road and leave here in an hour to attend a Lent service nearby and hopefully share a smile with two nieces and a nephew.  Then it’s back to work and a walk with the dogs later in what’s supposed to be a beautiful 74-degree day here,

Love and be loved and find  comfort and hope  in knowing that the world just keeps on turning because a loving Heavenly Father has everything under control!!

Blessings…

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Do You Know Who You Are? Conversation with Kat…

Regular readers know I favor TA DA moments and Special Days.  On a special day recently, I called my sister-in-law, Kathy, to wish her a happy birthday.  Kat’s an encourager, always one to cheer you on and she’s been solidly in my corner for quite some time.  So on her birthday, I reached out via phone and we had a marvelous conversation, which is the basis for this post.  I’m not sure how the conversation started, but pretty soon we were on one of my favorite subjects – the uplifting and encouragement of women,  these days especially younger women.  We talked  about my daughters and how I had determined early on that I was going to parent them in a way that they knew unconditionally that they were of immense value and loved, not for what they did, but for the sheer fact that God created them and put them on this earth and thankfully, into my arms. 

Kat and I had been talking about their birthdays and how I posted a blog for each of them as a Special Day post.  That led to many other things and we ended up talking about younger women in general, the choices they’re making and for what reasons.  I firmly believe that if today’s generation had a better grasp of their personal worth and value, they would make far better choices.  And not just the younger generation, though it’s much more in-your-face, if you will; this applies to women of all ages.

I ended up telling some stories from the days of  facilitating women’s recovery groups.   Those ladies heard my “speech” as they called it, regularly and every so often, one brought a woman whom she introduced by saying, “This is —-, she needs your speech.”  We’d laugh together and at the appropriate moment I’d segue into the speech that usually begins with Do you know who you are?  Do you really know?  You’ve got some guy calling you names and disrespecting you?  Do you know who you are?  And better, does that guy know with whom he’s messing? 


The answer and today’s lesson – you knew one was coming – is You Are the Daughter of a King – a princess, if you will.  But not just any king, the almighty Creator King of the universe!!  And do you know what?  That means something!

That means that you have incredible worth and value, that you are most worthy of being respected, loved, treated well!  Let that thought permeate your being, your mind, your heart and your soul.  Disrespect yourself with bad choices?  Not as likely if you have a solid sense of your value.  Accept disrespect or worse from others in your life?  Not as likely if you have a solid sense of your worth. 

Do you know who you are?  Head up high, friend, confident and comfortable, standing your ground on the Solid Rock, knowing that you are indeed unique, special, worthy and of incredible value to your loved ones and to a hurting world all around you.  You have a legacy of grace, dignity, value and you have much to give. 

Follow the Solid Rock link, turn up your speakers and sing as you dance around your kitchen with joy and peace in your heart.  Do You Know Who You Are?  You bet, no doubt about it:   Worthy, Valuable and full of Grace – go on out and make a difference in the life of a woman, young or old, that you know!  

In closing I’ll share a favorite verse that closed my Conversation with Kat,  given to me by a woman in one of those aforementioned recovery groups.  Zephaniah 3:17 says that not only does the Lord take great delight in me, He’s singing with joy about me!!  Check it out for yourself then follow the Solid Rock link above; sing out loud as you dance around your kitchen reveling in the knowledge that you are most worthy!!!

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Hasta la Vista, Bio!!

     Regular readers know I’m not a big movie buff, can’t sit that long; I have a few all-time favorites, though not what you might expect. First is Gone With the Wind, followed by the original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  It’s from T2 that today’s title is taken – that classic movie moment when Schwarzenegger is literally terminating the bad guy, takes off his shades and says, “Hasta la vista, baby”, which has become an iconic movie line

Within moments of completing my last biology assignment late yesterday, I was deleting, terminating, if you will, all record of having taken that course.  Usually within a day or so, I burn a CD with all the papers, essays, whatever, and it’s my record of the experience.  Not this one – I couldn’t wait to wipe away all evidence of its existence; even the textbook is already goneAnd in the process of delete, delete, delete, the words “Hasta la Vista, Bio,” popped into my mind and I laughed out loud!!  My nemesis is no more.

What was the problem?  It was a combination of the course and the instructor and I can hear some eyes rolling and see a smirk or two.  Truth is, it was absolutely the course design, vindicated by the fact that midway through, after losing several group members to dropping the course and numerous emails between instructor and remaining students, the instructor actually admitted that the course was being redesigned and would be a 16-week course in the future, not 8 weeks as I had it.  I felt from the start that the work load was excessive; that was validated.  Additionally, the tests, three and four a week, were complex, confusing and virtually impossible to complete in the allotted time.  Enough said.

It’s done, gone and once this is posted, will never be mentioned again.  I’m pretty good at accepting what is, as opposed to what I would like and am not big on whining.  So I’ve done my time, that required course is history – well, it’s still biology, but no more for me – ooh, bad joke, but that’s okay, I made one – yay for me!!

The lesson here?  You knew one was coming – persevere.  While Scripture would be appropriate here, what is coming to mind is a line from an old Stone’s tune (must be that kind of day)  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”  What I needed was to pass the course and that I have done, in the process getting the first C of this college career.  Do I like it?  You know I don’t, but I reached a point where I believed, as I told the instructor in an email, that the ROI on the course was negative.  That being said, how much more effort was I willing to expend?  The end result was expending enough effort to get that C and accepting that I do not need to be an A student.  Who cares, really, besides me and perhaps the lesson is that my ego and pride needed attention.  Gotta love the way the Lord works in our lives.  I’m not claiming to know the mind of God, but it wouldn’t surprise me if our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and what I believe to be a fantastic sense of humor, too,  put me through this to teach me a bigger lesson than biology.    Point taken, Father, lesson learned and I say with joy and laughter, HASTA LA VISTA BIO!!!   Have a beautiful day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TWO DAYS!!

I’ve posted countdowns over the years, usually counting the days till I’m spending time with one of my daughters; that is the case today.  In approximately two days and and three hours, I will be hugging my Meghan.  She’s bringing her boyfriend for his first visit to WI.  Yep, meet the grandparents, my favorite Auntie Arlene, referred to often in this blog, as well as several cousins and a favorite aunt on her dad’s side, a woman we called Auntie Mama, and other special people in our lives who haven’t seen her in a year and never met the boyfriend.

Two days, what does that mean?  It means I’m busy, working my way through multiple lists and checking things off.  Some of you will get this, others will question my sanity, but regular readers know this is an inherited characteristic, one I’ve written about before, the things this woman goes through in preparation for guests or a trip of my own.  In fact, just had a call from my friend, Karen, who understands and has helped on occasion.  A number of years back, before my second brain surgery, Karen came out here, went through the clothes in my laundry room, steamed everything and reorganized and colorized my upstairs closets.  Again, I believe I got it from my mom, though she denies it.

So, all guest-room linen has been washed and line-dried outside, just the way Meghan loves it.  The bathroom cupboards, drawers and closet are in order, all the little storage bins washed, dried and reorganized.  The front porch is halfway there, there, my main desk is done – found lots of great stuff I’d forgotten about, everything now organized by event/date in zip-lock bags and two drawers of photos!  The living room is almost done, bookshelves dusted, vacuumed and straightened.

As usual, when you’re in a hurry or on limited time, things happen.  Couldn’t be more true of today.  Two days ago, something happened to my forearm; it swelled up, was red, very warm and very itchy, but this morning it was dramatically worse – moving up and around my arm.  Called my nurse practitioner, unavailable, and her nurse wanted me to go to the E.R. – not likely to happen so they sent me to a nearby clinic.  Two hours out of this busy day and no resolution yet.  Someone said long ago, “It’s always something” 🙂  Back home again and back at it. 

In two days Meghan will be here and all will be ready.  We’ll meet in Green Bay,  have six glorious days; lots of fun things planned, memories will be made.  This mother may not have chosen to have daughters living on opposite coasts, but regular readers know I deal in what IS, not necessarily what I would like.  It’s the only way I know how to do things – no worries, no fear, live the best you can in the moments you’re given.  Reach out to those around you, make certain your loved ones know they’re loved & cherished.

Two days and I’ll be hugging my Meghan, burying my face in her hair and reveling in the scent of my daughter.  Forty-eight hours and much to do; good thing finishing the mowing is on my list – another blessing – I get to head outside into a fabulous day, hop on the mower and soak up the warmth and sunshine, then time to turn up the music and dance my way through the rest of my lists! 

God is so good to us and I’m very thankful in advance for the blessings of the coming week; I’m sure by tomorrow my arm will be better and in two days…!

As the French say, c’est la vie...  🙂

 


 

 


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CARRY THE NEWS!

Readers know that I came of age in the late ’60s and early ’70s and that while my beliefs have matured, I still love rock’n’roll, now in the “oldies” category. One song written by Bowie and released by Mott the Hoople in ’72 called for All the Young Dudes to Carry the News. I didn’t start this cold, but sunny Saturday morning with the intent to put up another post. However, one of the habits I have yet to break is morning news. One of the features on the show I watch resulted in this change of plan. I will not grace this post with the name of the offending retailer, will not give them credence by mentioning their name. You can Google the topic and find out for yourself. The purpose here is not to call for rebellion or a boycott as I may have in my younger days. The point here is simple and direct – a message for moms, grandmothers, aunties (men, too, but I believe most of my readers are women) – carry the news to your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, girls of all ages within your sphere of influence.

What is the news? First, the news is that the eight year-old girls in your lives do not need the latest – a push-up swimsuit top to give the illusion of assets not yet developed. That’s what got my attention – the latest trend being marketed to hit the beach in 2011 is a padded, push-up bikini top, aimed at the eight-year-old market. Not 18, not teenagers or adolescents, but little girls, pushing sexuality on innocence.

The concern for me here at the Homestead is the message that as women of all ages, child to aged, you’re not okay, you’re not good enough the way you are. It’s about how you look, how you present yourself and it better be sexy and attention -getting or you’re just not good enough for this culture.

The message is awful, but the NEWS to embed in young women of all ages, wherever you encounter them, is YES YOU ARE! You are good enough, you are valuable and you have great worth!! It’s not about how the world perceives you, what the boys in your class may talk about, what you see in the media at-large – it’s about you, a female of whatever age, and your immense worth and value!

Readers also know my worldview and belief system as distinctly Christian. You don’t come back here often if expressions of God offend you. The concept is central to the subject at hand. Among the women with whom I work, I’m famous for the question – Do you know who you are?? Answer? You are the daughter of a king, not just any king, but the mighty Creator King of the universe – He is your Father and you are His treasured daughter and that, my friends, means something!

Carry the news, repeat it often, loud and proud – You ARE Worthy and of IMMENSE VALUE. Hold this deep in your heart, believe it and share it with those you love. I believe that women of all ages would make better choices if they were grounded in the belief of their innate value to an all-wise and loving Creator Father. Thanks for listening and have a beautiful day!

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How Long O Lord?

Say it with the prophet Habakkuk! Believing as I do that our Lord has a sense of humor among His many attributes, I believe He’ll get my use of the title phrase. Sitting here home-bound by 18.9 inches of snow on March 23rd, I think it’s a fair question, don’t you? Not to mention that after the last “big storm” of the season, on February 20th, the starter motor of my fabulous, work-horse of a snowblower – electric start, self-propelled – burned out, dead, done, no start. Being so late in the season, I passed on replacing the motor till off-season. Big mistake as here I am facing a fairly large amount of snow, along with counties throughout the state, armed with nothing more than a shovel.

The photo shows what stands between me and getting my truck out of the garage. To be honest, I have help with that – usually – but back to that sense of humor. As things happen, the farmers that plow are having challenges with equipment and it’ll be awhile before they get everything cleaned up. Meanwhile claustrophobic woman, as many readers may remember, is sitting telling here herself not to be silly. Of course I can breathe and it’s all in my head so get over it 🙂 At least those who know me well will hear that I don’t coddle myself any more than I do anyone else so there you have it, as my father is famous for saying.
Being the positive person I try to be, I’ll tell you that the sun is shining brightly, the sky is a gorgeous blue and the temperature is twenty degrees north of zero – all a plus. But I will still ask how long and I still believe that the Lord is smiling right now and is certainly big enough to handle all my wonderings and I’m in good company. Besides the prophet Habakkuk, the Psalmist, David, asked a similar question.

I leave you for today with the thought that no matter what – a zillion inches of snow, brain tumors, family sorrows – no matter what, feel free to ask the questions and search for comfort! Have a fabulous day!

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WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?

I certainly have heard that question lately and I will admit to being MIA these last eight weeks, more specifically the last three weeks. Where have I been? Finishing the first eight weeks of the sixteen-week spring semester, then last week a break before beginning the final eight weeks of this semester today. Between working and school and life I was staying under the radar, even missed church for a few weeks. I figured the Lord would understand as I was deeply involved in the study of Revelation/Daniel (by whose infinite wisdom do those two books make one course anyway?) and the Book of Acts in the other course.

Folks who know me get that on a good day I’m not big on phones or checking voice-mail, for that matter. Send me a text or an email, but when time is tight, I’m not likely to answer the phone unless you’re one of my daughters, in which case I would know you by your very special ring-tone and definitely answer if at all able. Hey, I’m a mom and some things will always take precedence. I managed to continue teaching and to stay in touch with and share lunch with my special Auntie Arlene now and then, a priority for me. Lots of things have taken place in the last eight weeks.

There have been two major world events and and an ongoing piece of Wisconsin political gamesmanship – enough said there. The point is, I’ve been absent from a lot of daily events, but the world and life kept spinning as it should and always will. Family and friends had birthdays and vacations, ups-and-downs of all kinds. In the world -at-large, there’s been a disaster in Japan and it appears we’ve become embroiled in another war or an act thereof. Those things make me and my life challenges seem fairly small. As I wrote recently in a post titled It’s All Relative, it really is. My stressors seem minimal compared to earthquakes and tsunamis and pending radioactivity.

Where’ve I been? Flying low and taking care of business, thankful for continued health and the approaching five-year anniversary of my life-changing experience. Life is good and I’ve resurfaced successfully – having just received final grades in those last two classes and yes, folks, my withdrawal from the world paid off.
New adventures are ahead; two more classes before taking the summer off, a special trip to celebrate Easter, my birthday and being cancer-free for five years!! New endeavors on the business front and leaving an old one behind. Where’ve I been? Right where I’m supposed to be, I believe. The Lord’s leading, opening the doors and I’m moving through them. What a wonderful place to be! Blessings!! Continue reading »

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