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!!



     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.  




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!!


Happy summer solstice!!

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

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


A Long Strange Trip…

Today’s post takes its title from an old Grateful Dead tune; many of you will recognize the phrase.  This past week has been an emotional roller coaster.  From the terror event at the Boston Marathon through its conclusion late yesterday and a horrific explosion in West, Texas, the national scene has been intense.  On a personal level, one of my dogs passed away, a favorite aunt is hospitalized and I’m struggling to get my head around the subject of my current research paper, due in two days.  Thanks to my dad I have the introduction handled, but just cannot get to the heart of my subject’s theology.  Additionally, the footnote function on both my computers doesn’t function.  Must be lost in cyberspace or something, but how strange? to have it fail on two computers…  Another thanks here to my niece, Marissa Rae, who’s saved my technical behind more than once; in a late-night phone session she came up with a backdoor way to create footnotes.  I get the whole idea of protecting “intellectual property” and I agree.  What I don’t get is the need to have to numerous styles of formatting, one for the sciences,  another for humanities and it all seems like so much process for the sake of process or rules for the sake of rules, of which we all know I am not a fan.  

More to the strange trip of this past week – my Shadow died, Soleil is lonely and confused, there’s mud absolutely everywhere and huge tracks through the yard from a semi trying to back in.  It’s still snowing randomly and not very warm.  Most of the yard is like quicksand and shows very little signs of Spring life.  I sound whiny, don’t I?  Having read theTough Mudder pledge earlier today, one of the pledge points is about not whining – little kids whine.  

You might ask why I’d be reading the Tough Mudder Pledge – at this very moment one of my daughters is participating in the event.  I was fine until I actually read some of the obstacles. Now I’m not a worrier, don’t believe in it as a rule, but sliding on her belly beneath live electrical wires?  pulling herself through narrow pipes filled with mud?  Still not worrying; I prefer to think of the enormous challenge and am filled with admiration at the magnitude of the undertaking. Besides, as was said in a conversation with my cousin, Jane, this morning worrying doesn’t do a thing, changes nothing.  So I put her and her husband in God’s hands – I’m thinking He’s proud of His children’s use of their physical prowess, a gift.  

Yet another strange feeling for this mother is to have her daughters flying in separate directions this weekend.  One already noted, the other off to a fun weekend with friends – confident and capable to grab life and participate.  All the same, another piece of the long, strange trip – we are so very far apart (physically)  and I’m not convinced that I like it…

That said, world events – tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, an earthquake in China, personal setbacks small in comparison, and I’m still feeling like this has been a strange trip of a week, one not over till that research paper is submitted and two tests are taken.  By then daughters will back in their respective cities, texts will have been exchanged letting this mother know that all is well in our sphere of the world and life goes on…

The words of the Grateful Dead resonate with me right now, but I’ve gotta believe that there’s a plan and all things will be used to fulfill it, one way or another and it does not have to make sense to us now.  For those of you who may not share my worldview, think if we knew the future, knew how our lives would unfold.  Would that be helpful?  I’m not certain any of us would be happy with that foreknowledge.   I’m content to leave it in my Father’s hands and trust that the grand design has been written by a greater Mind than mine. 

In the end, the weeks ahead will return to normal, everything in its time, and the world will keep turning.  Strange may become a tool for personal growth and we may develop a new normal.  Either way, we’re here for the duration and I’m thankful for all of you in my life!  Be blessed…



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!!



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!!!


Encourager, Encourage Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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



Post-Thanksgiving 2011

I didn’t do the usual O Give Thanks essay last night and in the bright sunlight of the day after Thanksgiving, it seems inappropriate.  So a new direction for this day.  Am I out shopping?  Not on your life; I have never done the Black Friday thing and Lord help me, I have no intention of starting any year in the future.  So if you’re easily offended, you may want to tune this one out because I’m about to speak my mind.  Why? Because I can; this is my site. 

I will venture out today, but no further than the hardware store and only to pick up pellets for the water softener so my cousin, Dan, can add them when he comes by later to change the furnace filter, which I’ve determined may be the cause of my allergy challenges these last couple of weeks.  I’ll say right out of the gate, I do not get this mad frenzy to camp out in parking lots in the cold, to battle other folks to get a “deal.”  Not only do I not get it, I’m fairly appalled by the whole idea.  This year it’s even worse.  Stores that used to open at 5:00 a.m. on Friday were open ALL DAY on Thanksgiving so folks can be grabby and pushy and rude  in pursuit of  stuff to show how much they love others!  I do not get it.

Why do I care?  Why not just quietly not participate?  Because I don’t have to be quiet; this is the place I can speak my truth.  It hurts my heart to see and hear the level of greed and want to which this nation has fallen.  Late last night, while knitting a Christmas gift for someone special, yep, I said knitting, a good old-fashioned hand-made gift, I turned on the BBC news on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT).  That’s a clue – I don’t have cable.  A guest in the US was asked his opinion of what he was seeing.  His comments were enlightening – first he was shocked that people were in tents with small children to be first in line at an electronics store. It actually got funny as his amazement continued.  It was Thanksgiving, an American holiday, and he didn’t see a whole lot of giving thanks; he saw a whole lot of scrambling for stuff, stuff that doesn’t make a bit of difference in the big picture and I don’t mean televisions. 

On the other hand, I spent a fair amount of time yesterday on the phone with a very special 15-1/2 year old who doesn’t have a place to live, no home, right here in Shawano County on Thanksgiving Day 2011, because of an abusive, alcoholic parent, a mother, no less!  It breaks my heart.  This young woman, a former student of mine, is very intelligent, motivated, an A student involved in lots of activities.  Additionally, she is musical, funny, loves to read and had just begun her first job to save money for a car so she could continue to get to work and not be at the mercy of her mother’s sobriety or lack thereof.  

We spent a good deal of time trying to come up with a plan, nothing big or grandiose, just a plan that would get her through the next six months, allow her to finish the school year and get that driver’s license in safety and some semblance of sanity without the constant stress jeopardizing her ability to continue to do well.  Thanksgiving?  She initially wasn’t very thankful – she’s angry, understandably so.  Two parents and no parental stability or guidance; one not very available and the other physically, emotionally and spiritually very ill, resulting in a barrage of venom, hateful name-calling and constant battering of this 15-1/2 year old spirit.  

What does this young woman want for Christmas?  Not another gadget, that’s for sure.  She wants her mother to be sober and to quit calling her names and provide a home.  Is that too much to ask?  Is this all true, you might wonder.  Yes, it is.  I’ve seen this mother in action going back five+ years.  I’ve had this young woman sit down on the piano bench and when I asked the standard, “How was your week?” have her burst into tears because of a ruined 13th birthday party. 

I’ve seen this coming, observing her recent comments on Facebook and receiving a plea for help via Facebook message in the last two weeks.  Yesterday we talked about the reality of her life, what IS, not what she dreams. We brainstormed practical solutions and a six-month plan.  We talked about alcoholism,  rehab and relapse and the odds of her Christmas wish coming true in the next four weeks and how to persevere through broken dreams.  O Give Thanks, I thought to myself and sighed a prayer that my Lord remembers this young woman, which I believe He does. 

Our conversation ended with a shared chuckle.  I haven’t mentioned that she loves to write.  I told her to think about the story she’s got inside and being able to tell it to the benefit of others.  She laughed that wonderful laugh of hers at the thought of being a published author someday and speaking from a stage to a group of young people.  We hung up the phone with a bit of hope for better days to come.  This young woman is a survivor and I believe she will triumph, and in the scheme of things, that big picture, again, there’s not enough stuff on the planet to fill the holes in our souls. 

Going into this  Christmas season, look around, find a way to share yourself and your blessings with someone in need.  They’re everywhere and I believe the best way to lift your own spirits is to help or encourage someone else.  Lets truly be thankful during this season and demonstrate the sentiment by sharing it!  Happy Thanksgiving and looking ahead, Merry Christmas, too, and yes, it is Christmas with a capital C!



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...  🙂