What’s in a Number?

Stats, ugh, I’m so not a numbers person, witness my go-round with algebra in the last year.  Those who know me know this, and know also that I believe health issues are a private matter, to be shared if so desired, but definitely not anyone’s business if you choose to keep it to yourself.  As my brother, Steve, says regularly, there’s a reason for health privacy laws.

Close family and friends also know I’m the survivor of a health challenge over the last four years, sometimes kept private and sometimes shared.  So why now and why here?  In an early-morning phone conversation with a dear friend, I was encouraged to share some health news because, as she said, share the hope!  That is the intent here.

Yesterday, during a routine MRI/check-up, my favorite doc (I have a team) gave me a number for the very first time.  After confirming my continued healing and recovery, he shared a stat with me, a statistic, and I was surprised.  I knew, statistically speaking, the initial odds were not great, but had no idea that the point I’m at now is one that, statistically speaking, only 14 out of 100 people with this challenge would reach after four years! That’s what he said – only 14% are still breathing, let alone living well, happy and fulfilled and I’m here.

It was a moment of celebration, hugs all around – my doc, his nurses, the office staff, the friend who accompanies me to all medical appointments, everybody hugging and grinning and laughing out loud – it was a time, let me tell you!!

So here I am, a statistic – feels weird, actually, and I’m not sure I fully grasp the reality, the numbers thing, you know.    Will I dwell on it?  That’s not me, but share the joy?  You bet, for the reason of encouraging others.  I’m still standing through more than one life challenge and my belief system tells me there’s a reason – a greater purpose for this life of mine and I’m here to pursue the dream, the goal, the opportunity to bless others as I have been so richly blessed!

There is hope; there is always hope, just as there is always faith and trust.  This is a great place to be on this beautiful Tuesday morning – a regular day in a regular woman’s life – could be me, could be you or your neighbor or your friend, but a regular person just trying to live my best life on all levels.  And a big AMEN to that!

Ayez un jour béni!!

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This isn’t a problem; it’s a feature …

As my dad says, “There you have it,”   My title for the day – a statement I heard from an unnamed source.  I just love it; in fact, it gets better.  The speaker went on to say it was a  “feature” strategically placed to help the listeners learn a lesson. I cannot wait to actually say that to someone and see the expression.  Hope I can do it without laughing 🙂 Don’t you just love words?? I’ve got to take a break and find some music to go with this one; I’ll be back…

Kind of a futile effort so because it’s Friday and I’m feeling the challenge, I mean, feature, of daytime sleepiness with no time for a nap, we’re going to fall back on one of my all-time favorite pick-me-ups, a rousing rendition of Tom Petty’s, I Won’t Back Down. It kind of fits the theme of the day, don’t you think?  So moving forward, here it is.  Sing it with me and let it stand you up.  Nothing like a little feature to brighten your day:)

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Second Chances Part I

This will be quick, just to throw the thought out there – how many second chances does a person get?  I’ve sure been blessed with my share.  It’s kind of like a cosmic Do-Over though I choose to believe that they come from a very specific place, Person, if you will.  I believe in the God of second chances and I am living proof, quite literally.

As I have to go out the door in a moment, that’s it for now.  But work this around in your brain and heart and we’ll talk again.

How many second chances have you had?  Do you recognize them for what they are?  How have you used them?  How will you use them?

Stay Tuned as we dig into this thought.                                             au revoir




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Short’n’Sweet

Another week has flown by.  The weekend with old friends is already a week in the past and  the first week of a new adventure is now history!  As my Meghan would say, “Holy cats!!”

The four days up north were wonderful.  Good friends, lots of laughs, fun in the sun and GREAT food.  We do know how to eat very well – as in good for you and just plain good.

I came home and started school.  You bet, after over 30 years I’ve returned to school – college  – online no less.  Last time I went off to college with an electric typewriter and that was high tech.  This time I’m not even physically going anywhere thanks to the Internet.  It’s been a fantastic, fun, challenging and funny week.  I’ve written two essays, taken four quizzes and one exam. Had to e-mail professors with numerous questions, mostly tech-related and then negotiated my way through a Help Desk and “met” all kinds of new classmates from all walks of life.  All without ever seeing a human being and often in the comfort of my jammies 🙂

Moving into Week Two and my first major paper.  I have much of it in my head, but getting it into a Word document, properly formatted, now that will take time out of each of the next several days.   So true to the title, this is short and sweet because at 1:30  a.m. I do need to get some sleep.  Bonne nuit….

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What’s in a Word?

A quick peruse of Roget’s online Thesaurus gives many synonyms for the word hopeful.  My favorite? There are several, but blithe and buoyant just kind of roll off the tongue.  I love words and languages, and words, as I am known for saying,  matter. And frankly, I’ve been witnessing some challenges with words.  Are the challenges with words alone –  improper usage, negative, harsh words –  or with life situations or attitudes, the deeper issues?    All of those apply and they’re all valid to some extent. Ask my girls –  “Mom, I’m sick,”  was likely to draw the response, “Keep saying that and you probably will be.”  A student who makes the mistake of saying, “I can’t do that,” is likely to hear, “Keep telling yourself that you can’t and it’ll probably be true.”  I love having an eight-year-old tell me, “Miss LeeAnn, I’m having a challenge with this music.”

I can almost hear the eyes rolling 🙂  Here we go again, the mind over matter speech, the positive thinking approach.  You bet.  It matters.  After I titled this post I downloaded the video for my current Bible study, and sure enough, there’s one of my favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore, talking about hope, being hopeful, and using words that DO matter.  One of those little Sparkles of confirmation.  And sure enough, my ErinLee called and said, Mom, “I’m getting sick, I mean, I’m fighting off an illness.”  Words matter.  How much better to be fighting off illness than to be sick or worse yet, feeling “awful”.  Say the words, hear them.  Much better to be fending off than succumbing to or worse.

Even more important when challenged by an emotion like fear.  Do not, for one second, give fear a foothold in your mind.  For sure never, ever give it a voice!  I am NOT afraid, fear not, I will fear no evil, on and on.  Better yet, leave the word- fear- out completely.  Try:  I am feeling strong; I am trusting the Lord to protect me.  I have EVERY confidence.  Get the picture?

Who cares?  I do.  There are a variety of books on the subject, among them, The Tongue, a Creative Force by Charles Capps.  There have been many teachings and there are many people  who believe in the power of words.

Try it – make it a game in your family until it becomes habit in your life.  Choose your words carefully – to encourage a positive attitude, to change a less-than-happy mood, to drive out fear and/or negativity, to overcome challenges, to accomplish great things,  fulfill your heart’s desire.

Words matter and I’m most hopeful that you’ll agree with me and give it your best shot 🙂          à plus tard….

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Welcome Home, so they say, anyway…

An eventful weekend.  First of all, I didn’t leave South Carolina Friday night on my scheduled flight.  There was an airline issue and my choices were stay with Meghan and leave Saturday morning or leave Friday night later, miss my connection to Green Bay and spend the night at O’Hare.  Hmmm, wonder what I chose?

So I had a whole extra day with Meghan.  She had taken a 1/2 day off work so we could go out for lunch and hang out before going to the airport.  Now we could hang out for the afternoon and the evening!!  Didn’t someone once say the Lord works in mysterious ways?  Sure worked for me to have a canceled flight and extra time with Meg.

My arrival home here in the country was another story.  Back into the cold, literally, as I had a furnace issue and the house temperature was hovering right about 40°.  And my truck refused to start – not the battery, that was working.  Something else was wrong.  Yippee.  Now I’m home and freezing and stranded and it’s late Saturday afternoon.  Try finding emergency services on a weekend, after hours.

Long story short, $800 later, the house was beginning to warm up.  By 2:30 a.m. it was 62°.  I kept throwing blankets in the dryer, then wrapping up in them to keep from shivering.    Sleepless night, no unpacking, no working on the photos, just a frantic effort to be warm.

The UPside?  No burst pipes – one frozen one, successfully thawed in a relatively short time and no major damage. Could things have been worse?  Lots and I’m thankful for what WAS, not what could have been.

I also have a confession to make – last night and this morning were rough.  I was on the verge of discouraged – sad and feeling defeated.  Back in the cold, and it’s bitter here, brutal, pick your word,  with an overnight glaze of 1/4″ thick ice over everything, my truck not starting, no groceries other than a some bread and a couple oranges.  For the first time EVER I questioned whether I was on the right path as I have believed for so long.  Thank the Lord for people in my life who help me stay on the path.  I expressed my concern out loud to my cousin, Dan.  He’s one of the people  I can call for everything and HAVE !!

Bat in the house?  Call Dan.  Sump pump running non-stop?  Call Dan.  Computer issues?  Call cousin Dan.   Well, he came and parked his car outside so I could sit and be warm for the couple hours it took to get someone out here and then for them to do their thing.  He has a great car with SEAT HEATERS and he sat and let  me be warm and didn’t leave till the challenges were on the way to over.

So that’s the tale here and I’m no longer sad, discouraged or questioning.  Dan reminded me that it’s not defeat, it’s testing and that can be powerful conffirmation that one is, indeed, on the right path.  So I had to pull myself up by my boot straps – the 15-year old white Sorrels, stop questioning, despairing, whining, whatever.     That had to stop and I’ll talk about how in the next post.  Just goes to show that even  Encouragers sometimes need encouragement.  That was me late in the night and in the dark of the  early morning and for the sake of honesty I’ll share my technics in the next post.  I am now smiling in the face of adversity and if this is a test, I’m going to pass with flying colors.  Adieu…..

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Countdown 9 Days, part two

So the last time we were together, the three of us, was eight months ago – EIGHT MONTHS!  There was a time that I didn’t go eight HOURS without hugging them and now it’s eight months and will be more since we shared a group – all three of us – hug.   I do not allow myself to dwell on that because I don’t believe in wallowing in the “depths of despair,” those emotional danger zones that really are not productive or good for one’s emotional health.  I have a photo on my computer desktop -one without me in it, just the girls – so I see those faces all day long and it warms my heart.  We speak on the phone often, sometimes daily and we e-mail back and forth.  We’ve moved onto a new level of relationship, one with me as a mother of adult children.  Though referred to by friends and family as “the girls” they are girls by gender, but at 23 and 24, most definitely young women.  And I am so proud of the young women they’ve become.

Sometimes they need advice – just this week, “Talk to me, mother, while I pick out a vacuum cleaner.  Which one do you think I should get?”  A new experience for me – shopping via cell phones a thousand miles apart.  Then a crate for the new dog, “he’s about up to my knee, maybe as long as ….”  That was definitely a new experience.  Can’t wait to meet the new dog and see how he fits in the crate – nine days to go 🙂

Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is a time for everything, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.  In the five years since coming to the Homestead, I’ve wept, laughed, mourned and danced.  Now, I believe, I’m coming into my time – my time on the Lord’s timeline  – not day-in-day-out mom responsible for a household, family, etc., but time to give back, time to share, time to mentor, time to utilize the gifts with which I’ve been blessed.  And I would say it is my time to dance.  Adieu….

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AFFIRMATIONS aka LITTLE SPARKLES Part One

If you live where I do, known by several names, among them Lake Country or the Northwoods, you may know what I mean by Little Sparkles.  When it’s really cold as it is today, minus four degrees this morning, thankfully no wind, the snow becomes  drier and it appears that someone shook glitter over it.  If the sky is bright and blue sometimes it is so cold that the very air seems to sparkle, again like glitter, or like being in a real-life snow globe.  Those are special moments partly because they come at a time when many of us are downright uncomfortable – we’re COLD!!  Isn’t that just like our Father, to send us little sparkles of beauty to remind us that even in the midst of discomfort He’s with us, aware of our situation and urging us to look beyond our current circumstances.

I received Little Sparkles this morning in the nick of time.  As I said already it’s cold here, “Too early,” said the neighboring farmer, “don’t bode well for the rest of the winter.”  Why on earth was I outside talking to him?  Because my truck needed to be warmed up before going to church and he happened to be in the barnyard (called the feedlot) that he rents from me and where he keeps pregnant cows.  More on all that later.  Anyway, didn’t want to go out, wasn’t in the mood for people, a little cranky, in fact, frustrated with other things, oh, and did I say cold?  Okay, even encouragers have their moments – it’s what you do with them that counts.

But I’ve learned that when I don’t want to is probably the time I most need to head down the road to my church out here in the country, aptly named, Hope Community Church.  So off I went, bundled in 4 layers plus my warmest coat, hat, boots, gloves, pre-warmed truck, I know how to do this.  STAY TUNED….for Part Two.

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