Power Outage!

Early morning storms and those who know me know that I love BIG weather; that’s what began just before dawn. My dogs, however, hate storms, in fact, Shadow actually moves a chair to get behind and under it, where he whines incessantly.  Soleil, not the brightest dog on the planet, seems lately to take his cue from Shadow and now whines as well.  Maybe there’s a blessing in my hearing being less than its pre-surgery state.  How’s that for a positive spin?  We all know I love spin 🙂

Back to the subject at hand.  Being here at the Homestead, I often think of how things were, as my daughters say, “back in the day.”  My first thought when the power went out was whether a power line was laying somewhere, like between my truck and me or on the roof.    My second thought was no Internet, meaning no PC or laptop.  But I was still connected, as long as my cell phone battery held out.  No lights, no running water, affecting bathroom functions as well.  You bet, with a well and an electric pump, no power means not much water available.  I believe that’s enough said, but cell phone in hand, I was able to text my dilemma to my Meghan and post on facebook.  ErinLee will hear about it later; even now, it’s only 10 a.m. in her time zone and I know better than potentially waking sleeping daughters.

Back in the day, and I’ll have to ask my  favorite Auntie Arlene, how where things at the Homestead when the power went out? Did they light candles, perhaps an oil or kerosene lamp?  I’m fairly certain they weren’t concerned about an Internet connection and didn’t have a weather radio connected to NOAA or 24/7 meteorologists on TV.  Maybe they sang together,  played a game or read a book, maybe the Bible and prayed; I’m sure I’ll hear from cousins offering information.  

So I was out of touch, but thanks to the cell, able to post on Facebook and make a few jokes about passing the time singing the blues, accompanying myself on the piano.  There’s that spin again, but to be honest, I soon tired of bad blues and fell back to my standby, not rock’nroll, fan that I am; my first thought was not the old REO anthem, Riding the Storm Out.  A favorite that seemed appropriate during this morning’s big weather was the hymn, Jesus Savior Pilot Me with the familiar lyrics, “Unknown waves before me roll.”  That old seafarer’s hymn goes on to praise the Lord for piloting us through dangerous waters and storms.

Despite all our technology, there’s a raw power to the natural world that isn’t held at bay by anything humans can create.  When the power goes out, you best believe that there is a Power beyond anything on earth and cling to that life-preserver of hope.  Being me, ya’ll knew there was a message coming and here it is.  My faith is anchored on the One who has and will continue to get me through the biggest waves and the most fearsome storms.  My hope is that you already have or find your way to this lifeline as well. 

Be blessed and make it a fabulous day, despite anything going on in your life!

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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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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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It’s All Relative!

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said those words since returning from my Christmas trip to ErinLee’s. In fact, I used the phrase fairly often out there, too! When we were all bundled up to take the ferry across Puget Sound or wrapped in hats, scarves and gloves to walk into the city, we laughed about how cold is cold. Cold to Seattle residents meant temperature in the low 40s. Cold out here at the Homestead means temperatures south of zero and even south of -30 degrees as they’re predicting for later this week. Then there’s cold where my Meghan lives. She calls to let me know she took her car to work instead of her motorcycle because it’s only 50 degrees. Only…

Our circumstances truly are relative. Things could always be more challenging, people more frustrating, you get the picture. So what makes the difference? Faithful readers know what’s coming – you bet, another discourse on positive attitude! I swear, I will never tire of promoting the positive. Do I ever complain? Do I ever whine? My study partner might tell you she’s heard something close to a whine. My girls might be rolling their eyes, but the point is where do you dwell? We all may venture into the negative from time-to-time, but it’s a choice to remain or move out. I choose to move out.

It truly is all relative. I’m looking at two fairly challenging classes, probably the most intense so far. Relatively speaking, I can do this; compared to facing brain surgery and serious illness, at least my neurosurgeon was the best and there were no “oops’s”. I have all my faculties intact and it’s actually therapeutic for this brain of mine to be challenged by studies. How’s that? Relative to living with the side effects of an “oops” during surgery, I live with a few side effects that do not prevent me from living out the plan! It is truly relative – have a fabulous week!

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Guess what, ErinLee? It’s Christmas!!

Sitting at ErinLee’s kitchen table looking out big windows over Lake Union and beyond the Space Needle to the Olympic mountains, snow-capped and beautiful against a hazy, but not rainy, sky and guess what? It is Christmas Day 2010; life is very good. Re the title of today’s post, I must have said those words to ErinLee a dozen times yesterday, though she said more like forty times! The trip went well, the only glitch being that my seatmate on the long leg of the flight spilled most of her apple juice on me. But, it’s Christmas and the flight attendant acted quickly and with numerous blankets, the juice was absorbed and I was virtually dry upon landing. Quick break here to hit the floor with a yoga program while ErinLee runs (literally) to a a nearby store. Later, friends…

A great workout and some of the stiffness from yesterday’s long sit and hauling baggage is released. Now a cool glass of ice water with lemon and I”m refreshed. Back to my seatmate – once she got past the mortification of spilling on me, we had great conversation – she’s a 25 year-old Chinese woman here studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University, an only child from Beijing. She was fascinated by my brain challenge story and had lots of questions. We also talked a lot about recovery issues and she had more questions about my working in recovery from a Christian aspect. All in all a very pleasant and informative way to pass the hours on the plane and guess what? It’s Christmas!!

We took the train back to ErinLee’s apartment, dropped off the luggage and headed out for dinner. Two things of note before going on. I packed like a genius this year – my checked bag was just under 40 pounds for nine days!! Compare that to last year when I was over 50 pounds, kept removing and weighing and ended up with a pile that my dad shipped to me; also my computer bag wasn’t overstuffed so actually was carried onto the plane and not left outside the plane on the “too big” cart. I was definitely impressed with myself! The other thing to note is that my ErinLee is not just vegetarian, but vegan. And that segues beautifully into our dinner.

Being a resident here for three years now and knowing her way around, we walked to dinner at a nearby neighborhood place called In the Bowl, a Vegetarian Noodle Bistro. The place was packed, deliveries going out and take-out being picked up in addition to the diners in the restaurant itself. Huge amounts of food all around us all in various-sized bowls. I had something wonderful – noodles and veggies in a delicious sauce. The carrots were thinly sliced and had adorably-cut edges; they looked like little orange gears in among the noodles. And another thing – pasta is for Italian food, noodles for Asian, which sounds weird to me. Anyway, carrots and other veggies plus the noodles covered in a yummy sauce and I had plenty, with leftovers for breakfast. They’re big on soup here, too, and ErinLee had some kind of soup with rice and big chunky veggies, enough for her breakfast as well.

I can tell already that with all the walking we’ll do and eating the way we’ll eat, that I am going to have a great time and not become sluggish from overeating and not enough exercise. We snuggled up and watched a favorite movie and I slept like the proverbial rock – totally worn out from the last week. Woke to a text from Meghan, followed by a half-hour conversation with Meghan and now a Christmas Day with ErinLee and we’ve decided to do a Chinese restaurant she favors for dinner tonight.

I’m excited about exploring this city in the next week; absorbing the different cultures is one of the beauties of travel. This is an old city with lots of water – lakes, the Pacific and Puget Sound so there’s lots to do and see and I’m rested and relaxed and guess what? It is indeed Christmas! May the blessings of this season be yours. More from Seattle as I ponder the wonders of the Greatest Gift ever, celebrated at Christmas!

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Another TA DA for Me!

It’s nearly 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and I am NOT studying, NOT rushing to beat a deadline, NOT frantically looking for one more resource to beef up a reference list. I AM having a ball here in my special kitchen, just me, some great music – Transiberian Orchestra turned up loud – a couple phone conversations, plans to visit my favorite Auntie Arlene in a few hours and NO deadlines for the next several days at least. I AM a happy woman. This is in stark contrast to the last two weeks. I had talked to Auntie Arlene and told her I’d visit in two weeks and probably not call before then either. What a great niece 🙂

The fall term ended last night at 10:59 pm CST – with six minutes to spare, literally, I was submitting my final exam – too close for comfort! Two exams last night – went okay, As, but not 100s; results of the last two weeks’ papers still out, but I’m done! I told my brother, Steve,this morning that I can breathe; the heavy weight is off my chest. And I can dance around my kitchen, having a blast with my own self. God is good.

Less than five days till I’m hugging my ErinLee – counting down and so looking forward to holding her and burying my face in her hair!! Now I’ll do some laundry, begin to pack the bags, clean the house, all those weird /”>going away things I inherited from my mom, though she denies it:)

As the French say, tu connais la musique – translated you know the deal (literally, you know the music) I do know the music and I’ll be doing my thing today, thankful to have completed the term, happy to feel so much lighter and off for a day of visits and errands and life is very good!

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Another birthday!! Bless you, ErinLee!!

My ErinLee, elder daughter by 363 days turned 26 today!  I texted her at 12:05 a.m., PDT, her time, which, and yes, I was up, was 2:05 a.m., here in Wisconsin.  I was working and reminiscing about the birth of my first child, 26 years ago.  She was so tiny, just 5lb, 13 oz, at birth and  5 lb, 8 oz, when we left the hospital. It was absolutely love beyond compare.  Who knew?  Y’all who are mothers reading this would know, but I was rocked by the depth of emotion.

I knew she was going to be Erin Lee – she changed the spelling and I like it, but I knew way before she was born.  In fact, I embroidered her name in gold floss on the Christmas stocking I started in the summer.  I also sewed her first Christmas dress, red velvet and white satin, again, before she was born and those were the days before we had whatever the test is that tells the baby’s sex, unless you had a difficult pregnancy, which I did not.  My doctor kept telling me there was a 50/50 chance and you should have seen his face when I showed him her Christmas stocking.  I knew.

She’s a joy, talented, funny, beautiful and I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, through artist’s eyes, so unlike myself.  I began this post hours ago, thinking about my child,  took a break for  a special lunch with my 11 yr-old niece, Reno; we called ErinLee.  Then ErinLee called me and we had a wonderful hour-long visit; now I’m back to choosing some photos to insert here along with the birthday song.  So my darlin’ daughter, and yes, she does speak French, réalisez vos rêves.

Quintessential ErinLee playing in the leaves!

ErinLee and MummaLee at Bagley Rapids 10.09

City Kid ErinLee at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago '09

Joyeux anniversaire!!!         Je t’aime, votre, maman!

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Choices !!

Don’t you love choices??  Today, after a really tough week, is turning out beautifully and it’s not yet noon.  Today is my Meghan Lee’s 25th birthday.  We spoke early, I waited for her call – I’m learning, didn’t want to wake her too early on her birthday.  I sang to her, not the traditional melody, but the Beatle’s rendition favored by my sis, Joanne.  I cannot hear that song without thinking of Jo, nor can my daughters.  Meghan and I shared a laugh and she went off to work.  I went to the Internet, knowing I’d find the song out there somewhere.   Here it is, shared with you – crank it up and sing along!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztoSUhbNntQ Wasn’t that fun?

About those choices – having completed the research papers, I’ve got another song in mind, my next choice.  Enjoy this one, too, and picture me singing along with Daltrey and the London Symphony Orchestra 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4zufwCudU0&feature=related

Do you get that I’m having a ball, all by myself, sun shining in every window, my newly seeded indoor garden sprouting in the southern exposure?  Life is good and I am so blessed; thank you, Lord, for this marvelous day!!

On to the next item, two finals by Friday as this term ends.  After those papers, let me tell you, two finals, while not exactly a walk in the park, will be almost a walk in the park.  So here we go – enjoy the day, celebrate the victories and tell the people  you love that you love them and sing and dance in the sunshine – that’s what I’ll be doing!  Au revoir and the happiest of birthdays to my precious Meghan Lee!!



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A Special Letter

I just wrote a special letter, a letter to my younger daughter, Meghan Lee.  I didn’t really have time for this today as I’m under the proverbial gun to finish major school work in time to join a group of friends tomorrow.  We’ll see….

The letter had to be written and will be taken to the post office in the next couple hours – has to be today and has to be from the Post Office.  What’s so special?  My girls have birthdays next week, Meghan first and she is 25 on Monday, a postal holiday.  So the letter’s written and ready to go.  Being a writer, as is Meghan, it was important to put my feelings on paper for her. At some point I may post it here, but not without her permission, so maybe next week.  Anyway, back to the research papers. Then it’ll be on to ErinLee, birthday girl on Wednesday – 26 this year and that’s planned as my next blog post.

For today, Joyeux Anniversaire, Meghan Lee, you’re one of the reasons I write!

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It’s a Mom Thing…

Not everybody would get this, but if you’re a mom, I’m fairly certain you will.  Everybody knows my Meghan Lee was here for eight days.  She’s gone, four days already.  It’s harder than I’d have believed.  I should be used to it; my daughters live on opposite coasts, I’m in the middle and this is a pretty big country.  I’m proud of them, proud that they have the skills and the confidence to head out into the world, to follow their dreams, to create interesting and rewarding lives. But the “missing” doesn’t go away just because I understand how things are.

Being a mom, I have ways  🙂   This one is simple.  Before her visit, I’d prepared her room, had help, even, from my cousin, Susan.  The bedding was washed and hung on the line to dry – the way Meghan likes it.  Now that she’s back in her own home, I’m not doing the typical post-guest clean-up.  Im not pulling her bed apart and washing all the linen.  It’s staying just as it is and when I’m in need of a Meghan fix, I’ll lie down on her bed and bury my face in her pillow.  Heck, I may throw back the comforter and crawl right in.

That’s the part that moms will understand.  Being me, I won’t dwell on the “missing” piece.  I spent part of this morning organizing and editing the 62 best photos of our days together, posted a couple on Facebook, started a new album.  Had a couple e-mail conversations with Meghan, sent her two favorite photos.  In true Meghan fashion, she sent me back a humorous list she’s creating for work.

Life goes on.  There’s school, work, acres of lawn that should be mowed ahead of tomorrow’s predicted rain.  A 10-page paper on a book I’ve yet to finish is due in four days and there’s a test to take before Sunday.  A family birthday celebration is on the calendar yet this week and a fundraiser dinner, which is just going to have to be axed.   The French have a saying, Tu connaît la musique.  Literally translates to: You know the music; used conversationally, it’s you know the deal, the routine, and that’s what keeps us all moving despite how we may feel at any given moment.

I do, indeed, know the music – I’m savoring the memories, making a collage, organizing the photos, cherishing the time and tucking it away into this mother’s heart.  And that, my friends, is a mom thing.    Enjoy the photo and smile with me.

Meghan and Mom, a fave

A mom and a daughter


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