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

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

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


A Conversation With Kat Revisited


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

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

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 “To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

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

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

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

and a time to build up;

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

And a time to dance;

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

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

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

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

and a time to speak;

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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


BUNNIES WITH NO HEADS: A tale of hope and encouragement


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

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

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

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

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

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



     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Thirteen years ago, Easter Sunday was April 16. Visiting daughters tricked me (they lied, actually) into my truck and drove to the small local hospital. After a CT scan, the emergency room doctor delivered the findings, prefaced with the words, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.” I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everybody’s Easter dinners. Two days later, Tuesday, April 18, 2006, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he delivered the news that the tumor they had removed was malignant and I had a fairly virulent form of brain cancer.

     Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given the word. The stats were fairly grim; conventional prognosis for a glio blastoma is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a game-changer. My Heavenly Father had plans that are not bound by conventional medicine.

     He handled that tumor and thirteen years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy! This is also a bittersweet day because I’ve lost two friends to the same disease, the first one within five years of my diagnosis. Yet I’m still here.

     I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud – asking the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter duration than others? What is the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but in my heart of hearts, I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, who authored the story before time began.

     My friends are gone, their families have grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know, on this partly sunny April morning in the Carolina Midlands, that God has the plan firmly in hand. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, my Father still keeps me on my feet. I am most grateful to be alive, to have family and friends with whom to share this post. I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity. 

     As I say repeatedly in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you. Share with me, please, the joy and thanksgiving that thirteen years later, I am alive and well!  Blessings †


Rainy Day Reflections

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

Courtyard Azalea

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


A Very Special Woman Would be 100 Today

   It’s been a few years since I wrote the first post celebrating an important woman in my life – my very special Auntie Arlene Buelow. I’ve updated the post over the years, noting birthdays and special occasions as they occurred. Today marks the second birthday without her physical presence in my world; she went home to Jesus on January 12, 2017. On this day, Auntie Arlene would be 100 years old, and the empty space is palpable,even a year-and-a-half later. 

     Auntie Arlene was unique on multiple levels. She was the daughter of a twin, and she married a twin, my dad’s brother, Elmer. She became the mother of twins, my cousins, Jane and Janice. Even more, she became the great grandmother of twins, which I always thought was fairly awesome! On another level, I saw her dressed in what she called her “barn clothes” complete with bandanna, overalls, and workboots because she worked the farm side-by-side with my my Uncle Elm. She maintained a “kitchen garden” as well as many of my grandmother’s plants. She’d come in from outside, get “washed up” and dress for company, putting on an apron to prepare plenty of food for a crowd. Auntie Arlene was a multi-faceted woman for sure.

     Why was she so special to me? It was through her that I was able to purchase the original Buelow homestead in rural Shawano county, which became my home for thirteen years. Living near her allowed our relationship to blossom and we spent a fair amount of time together, many meals shared at the table in her apartment in town, many heartfelt conversations. We talked about everything- especially family history, much of which was recorded in her Bible. We discussed religion – theology and doctrine – as well as politics, all those things one isn’t supposed to speak of  in polite company. We didn’t always agree, but we could say anything and even share a chuckle over our differences. She kept me informed about local events – people we knew and who knew our family. We discussed world and sociopolitical events as well. She kept her mind busy, and for a long time, was an avid Packers fan; she could tell you names and stats. 

     For me, the most treasured piece of our relationship was that she was always in my corner, my biggest encourager. When I was debating grad school and ministry, she advised my to go for it, an affirmation I received gladly and gratefully. When I got my first Master’s degree in Christian ministry:pastoral counseling, I took that diploma to her and we opened it together. It was huge, much larger than the bachelor’s diplomas and we had all kinds of fun with that. It was like a scroll; I said I felt like the mayor of Oz, which caused a fair amount of laughter. She held one corner and I unrolled that diploma while my cousin, Jane, took pictures and joined in the fun! When I received my Master of Divinity (Mdiv) diploma in May of last year, I spoke with Jane and we agreed that her mom/my aunt was indeed smiling at, and cheering for, me. And while I knew she was in a better place, I missed being able to take a diploma to her one more time.

     Auntie Arlene was my faithful encourager. When I was looking for confirmation of the path I had chosen, she reminded me why I was on it in the first place, another reason she was so special to me. I knew without a doubt that she was praying for me during my cancer battle and throughout my grad school journey; she told me so, regularly. She was a prayer warrior for her entire family, and I was blessed to be counted among them. 

     My Auntie Arlene was an influence from my youngest years. The Buelows were a large crew and on any given Sunday, any number of aunts and uncles with all the cousins would show up to share a meal and an afternoon of socializing. She had a beautiful, ready smile and everyone was welcome at her table. 

     My precious Auntie Arlene would be 100 today. Enjoy the photos; I have so many it’s hard to choose. We took a selfie every week when I visited. Our system was that I’d focus my phone camera and hold it, while she reached up and pushed the button. Below  is one of my all-time favorite photos, Auntie Arlene and me, approximately 1959, on the front steps of the Buelow homestead. We re-staged that photo in August, 2011, without me sitting on her lap, of course. As you see, there was lots of love and laughter shared that day! Thank you for allowing me to reminisce  Grace and peace, y’all!! 




     Today’s brief post is to honor my dad on this 2018 Father’s Day. Regular readers know my father is a a pastor, who has been ministering for nearly 63 years. I am the oldest and only female of his four children. My father is a wordsmith (wordie); I might well have inherited my love of languages and books from him. The photo below of my dad, Leonard P. Buelow, and me, was taken over a half-century ago, on the farm where he grew up,and on which I lived for 13 years. Dad inspired me in numerous ways, and I love that when I, his only daughter, was in the seminary, he mentored and assisted, More than once I called him “saying, Dad, I need a verse.” And I got a verse. I raided his extensive religion/theology library, and bounced questions and ideas off him regularly during the seminary years. Happy Father’s Day, I love you!!

     That completes this brief celebratory post. Enjoy the treasured photo :

 LeeAnn and Dad at the Farm, circa 1958.