HAPPY 63rd Anniversary, Mom and Dad !! 2017

 

 6.12.1954     Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, our family noted  my mom’s 86th birthday, which wasn’t posted as usual,  due to site updating.  

     Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 63rd wedding anniversary. Yep, one week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they traveled  to Wisconsin and spent the summer at the Homestead with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children. The city girl was visiting the country for the second time; in her absence Grandma Buelow had  hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition. They came from different backgrounds, but had similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised on the wonderful old place I used to call home, a homestead in a rural Wisconsin  county. Mom was an only child from the East, a city girl.  Their love and commitment have sustained them all these years.

          After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad. Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan; they went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which is a treasured possession of mine.  In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 63 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind. 

     When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days; Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris might have been when I developed my love of all things French :).  An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II; it even made the papers. And in those days all three of us traveled on my dad’s passport. They settled in Shawano, WI, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.  

     They had three more children, all boys, before Dad accepted an invitation (known as a Call) to serve in another church, and the family  moved to Green Bay in 1965, where Mom and Dad remain to this day.  Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad. Faith and church are still central  in their lives. They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad at the church they planted in 2013. They have a piece of woods on their property and an added four-seasons room, where they share their meals, morning devotions, host family gatherings, and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows. 

     They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two and they eat together when she’s through. When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares; together they clean up.  It’s actually amusing to spend time there; after meals, I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm. Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg, slices my grapefruit into sections and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions. That’s how they begin every day. A couple years ago, faced with extensive repairs on Mom’s vehicle, they spent a few days away at a favorite place and on their return, purchased a new Buick, having decided to become a one-car couple, and it’s working out well. They are truly a team. 

     They travel frequently, taking a major road trip at least once a year, along with frequent trips to visit family in Kentucky, along with whatever other opportunities present themselves. Mom schedules and books the trips, on which, Dad drives and Mom navigates. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater, and fine dining. Last week, they did an overnight to Milwaukee, for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, Dad’s birthday gift to Mom. They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and ensembles for Mom, as well as gifts for family that they discovered along the way. My dad has a penchant for choosing absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures; she says the cards, themselves, are gifts. They’re patient with one another and at 86 and almost 92, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together. Enjoy the photo below taken at their 60th celebration in 2014. In February, ’17, Meghan Lee, Brian, and I met them in Atlanta where we walked the entire Atlanta Aquarium, billed as the world’s largest indoor aquarium. I walked behind them for the fun of watching them wander hand-in-hand; always connected, a photo of which is below, also.    That wraps this celebratory post, which I am thrilled to share with y’all! 

                                                           Joyeaux anniversaire de mariage!!  Je t’aime!        

Navigating life hand-in-hand!

 CELEBRATION 6.8.14

60th Anniversary celebration

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME: 2017 UPDATE!!

 

     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Eleven 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 by 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, 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 information and the stats were not great; conventional medical prognosis for that cancer is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

     Those plans included handling that tumor and eleven 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  have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last two years and the other five years ago, the day after my  survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

     I wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, 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 durations 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, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about eleven years ago when I was diagnosed.  

     My friends are gone, their families grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this warm April morning in South Carolina, that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God has still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and 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, my joy that eleven years later I am alive and well!  Thank you for joining me in in giving thanks and celebration; be blessed 

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Happy Anniversary to Me!! 2016 Update

Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Ten years ago today, Easter Sunday that year, my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found.  A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the ER doc, in explaining it, said, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupted everybody’s Easter dinners and two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly aggressive form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Those plans included handling that tumor and TEN years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last six months, and the other three years ago, the day after my seven-year survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asked 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 durations than others? What’s the plan?  Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about ten years ago when I was diagnosed.  

So my friends are gone and their families grieve, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this beautiful April morning in South Carolina, that my heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and 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 and share with me, please, my joy that ten years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGHAN LEE, 2015

Having begun what is becoming the annual birthday post in 2011, it is time for the new round of my daughters’ birthday posts. I have fun with them and hope you and the honoree do, as well.

     Thirty years ago this evening, I met my younger daughter, Meghan Lee, for the first time. Weighing in at just six pounds, she showed early signs of being her own person, struggling to be released from the hospital swaddling that her sister, a year earlier, had found so comforting.  An early reader determined to keep up with her sister, she began calling me Mother, likely based on something she read; not mom and not just to my face, but in reference to me as well.  It was very noticeable coming from this little person, so formal – Mother.  She still does, today, but I’m used to it and no longer feel like Joan Crawford. That’s Meghan Lee, no nicknames, please. Being her mother, one might accuse me of bias, but I am so very proud of the woman she has become. I am blessed to be close to her, not in proximity, but in mind and heart, the places that matter. I have watched her grow over the years, overcoming challenges and learning to soar like an eagle!!

Since I began the birthday post, each year has been one of continued growth in grace and beauty for Meghan Lee. who, in 2011, began a tradition of wearing a tiara on her birthday, even on the bike. The 2012 birthday post addressed a major life event, marriage to R. Brian Smith, known to me as FSIL. 

Three years later, they continue to grow closer and are, as I describe it, incredibly well matched.WELL-MATCHED

They have embarked on and completed  fitness challenges like the Tough  Mudder twice! They enjoy DIY home renovations. Together they are into weight training, running, and travel. A newer venture is gardening, with which I’m thrilled. I always told her it’s in the Buelow genes; we love to “play in the dirt.” For years she denied it because of spiders – my fault for making my daughters pick too many beans as children, or so they said. In typical fashion, Meghan did the research and came up with a plan for raised beds, which she and Brian built together.  More research led to plans for squirrel-proofing those beds, which she designed, they built, and now their gardens are safe from critters and they’re well into their second year of gardening

This past year brought new challenges and changes.  Making a career shift after soul-searching, and with Brian’s full support, Meghan resigned from her former position, enrolled in and successfully completed a new course of study in the IT field. Having excelled in school and enjoying the change in direction, Meghan launched her own business Meghan Smith Solutions; her work has already attracted clients in the South and in WI; she enjoys the freedom of working at home and/or wherever she happens to be.

My younger daughter turns 30 today and I couldn’t be more pleased to claim her, though I’ve learned to share her with Brian. She is intelligent, kind, loving, and generally an exceptional human being, grown now, with a family of her own –  Meghan Lee, Brian, and three cats – the Smith family.

I’m thanking the Lord for putting her in my arms and into my care – a gift to me beyond compare.   Joyeux anniversaire, Meghan Lee, je t’aime en bric, broc, our French slang for “I love you to pieces.”  Literal translation is “I love you to bits and chunks,” which makes us giggle.  Enjoy the photos – faces of Meghan Lee – and join me, please, in wishing a most wonderful new year and new decade of life to Meghan Lee Smith!

 

     MEGHAN LEE              M__BD POST_2015      MBCOURTYARD_CROPPED        

Happy 30th Birthday, Meghan Lee!! Be blessed†, my precious daughter!!         

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!! 2015 UPDATE

 Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Nine years ago today was Easter Sunday 2006; my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found. A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the ER doc explaining it, said, “I can’t believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everyone’s Easter dinners. Two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given the word; stats were not great. But the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11)  “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling that horrible cancer and nine years  later, despite enormous odds, severe statistics (my favorite doc says a study currently under review says only 12% are still breathing five years out ), and side effect challenges, I surely do have hope and a future and am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  

Today is also bittersweet; two years ago this day, I attended the funeral of a friend who lost his five and-a-half-year battle with the same cancer I had. Yet here I am, well and most content. During my friend’s ordeal with this ugly disease, I pondered life, 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 durations than others? Why me? What’s the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first discussed nine years ago when I was diagnosed.  

We talked about this last week around our Easter dinner table, shared grins at the memories and reminisced about events of those confusing days. Today on this beautiful, sunny morning, I am celebrating  that I am here, despite all side effects and odds, just four weeks shy of completing my first Master’s degree and that, for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here with loved ones and friends, to play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say often in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that nine years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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Bunnies With No Heads – A Tale of Hope and Encouragement – 2014 Edition

Tonight’s post is a rerun and  a favorite Easter story of ours.  We shared it with a new group of friends today; told by Meghan Lee and me together, it was even funnier and our audience seemed to enjoy hearing it almost as much as we enjoyed telling and reliving it with much laughter

Do not be dismayed by the title,  this post will give you hope and encouragement,  I promise :)  As is often mentioned in these pages, I’m a traditionalist;  I believe tradition is the glue that binds us together.  Today I’ll tell a quick story about a mother who used to buy solid chocolate Easter bunnies, the big ones, $16 each, back in the day, the best for her daughters, year after year.  Tradition was that early Easter morning, the mother would hide the colored eggs and then the baskets.  While the girls were hunting for eggs and baskets, the mother was cooking a special breakfast, one for each of her daughters as they had different favorites.

This particular year, the night before Easter as the mother was preparing the baskets, the temptation of those fabulous bunnies overcame her.  Just one little nibble, the mother thought, who’ll notice?  Y’all know how this goes – the edges had to be evened out and smooth so one nibble followed another and all of a sudden one ear was gone – Horror!  What could the mother do?  She had to do the same to the other bunny; it would never work to give one daughter an intact bunny and the other, one with a missing ear.  On with the “evening-up” process.  Now two bunnies without ears, very uneven, more work to do;

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

All of a sudden – horrified screams!!  The girls had discovered their headless bunnies in their otherwise beautiful baskets.  And they had no doubt as to the culprit.  Good thing they were of the age to know that the Easter Bunny really was the mother.  The thing that I remember most clearly was Meghan Lee’s absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in her bunny – eeeuuuu!! To use FDR’s words spoken years ago, this was a day that ” will live in infamy.”  And it has; brought up every Easter and shared as it was today, with love and much laughter.

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

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

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my PARENTS!

MY PARENT'S  WEDDING   6.12.1954Regular readers know I celebrate special days.  Last week we celebrated my mom’s 82nd birthday. Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 59th wedding anniversary. Yep, one week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County.  After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they came to Wisconsin and spent the summer here at the Homestead with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children.  The city girl was vising the country for the second time, during which my Grandma Buelow hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition.  They came from different backgrounds, but had similar values: faith and family.  Dad was one of ten children born and raised in this house I call home; Mom was an only child from out East.  Yet they had a lot in common and it has sustained them all these years.

After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad.  Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way.   I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan – remember, they went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which has a featured spot on my back porch.  In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 59 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind.

When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days; Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris may have been when I developed my love of all things French 🙂  An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II.  And in those days all three of us traveled on one passport – my dad’s. They settled in Shawano, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.  

They had three more children, all boys and answering a Call, moved to Green Bay in 1965, where they remain to this day. Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad, within walking distance of their church.  Faith and church are still central and foundational to their lives.  They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad.   They have a piece of woods on their property and a few years ago added a four-seasons room, where they share their meals, host family gatherings and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows. 

They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two and they eat together when she’s through.  When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares.  Together they clean up.  It’s actually amusing; I have occasion to spend the evening/night there fairly often and I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm.  Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions.  That’s how they begin every day. 

They travel, taking several trips each year.  Mom books reservations at their favorite places and on road trips, at least two annually, Dad drives and Mom navigates.  They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater and fine dining.  They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and outfits for Mom. My dad has a penchant for picking absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures. They’re patient with one another and at 82 and almost 88, they’ve spent considerably more than half their lives together.  

4.26.13  After my birthday dinner.

4.26.13 After my birthday dinner.

 

Today, June 12, 2013, please join me in congratulating my parents on 59 years of marriage – Joyeux 59e Anniversaire de mariage!!  I love you  so very much!  

 

 

 

                                                                                          

 

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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…

 

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Happy Anniversary to ME!! 2013 Edition

Yes, indeed, I’m one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Seven years ago today, Easter Sunday that year, my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found.  A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the doc, in explaining it, said, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupted everybody’s Easter dinners and two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and  a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly aggressive form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His Book, (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Those plans included handling that tumor and seven years  later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is most bittersweet today because in in a couple hours I will head to the funeral of a friend who lost his five and-a-half-year battle with the same cancer I had, just a week ago. Yet here I am well and  most content

I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friend’s ordeal, asked 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 durations than others? What’s the plan?  Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about seven years ago when I was diagnosed.  

So my friend is gone and his family mourns. Yet I know on this cold, gloomy, April morning that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite another family’s loss, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life.  In a few hours I’ll attend the funeral, but in this pre-dawn moment and later in conversations with friends and family, I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here with loved ones and to play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say often in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that seven years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed….

 

 

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Bunnies With no Heads? 2013 Edition

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

Do not be dismayed, this post will give you hope and encouragement,  I promise :) As is often mentioned in these pages, I’m a traditionalist;  I believe tradition is the glue that binds us together.  Today I’ll tell a quick story about a mother who used to buy solid chocolate Easter bunnies, the big ones, $16 each, the best for her daughters, year after year.  Tradition was that early Easter morning, the mother would hide the colored eggs and then the baskets.  While the girls were hunting for eggs and baskets, the mother was cooking a special breakfast, one for each of her daughters as they had different favorites.

This particular year, the night before Easter as the mother was preparing the baskets, the temptation of those fabulous bunnies overcame her.  Just one little nibble, the mother thought, who’ll notice?  Y’all know how this goes – the edges had to be evened out and smooth so one nibble followed another and all of a sudden one ear was gone – Horror!  What could the mother do?  She had to do the same to the other bunny; it would never work to give one daughter an intact bunny and the other, one with a missing ear.  On with the “evening-up” process.  Now two bunnies without ears, very uneven, more work to do;

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

All of a sudden – horrified screams.  The girls had discovered their headless bunnies in their otherwise beautiful baskets.  And they had no doubt as to the culprit.  Good thing they were of the age to know that the Easter Bunny really was the mother.  The thing that I remember most clearly was Meghan’s absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in her bunny – eeeuuuu!! To use FDR’s words spoken years ago, this was a day that ” will live in infamy.”  And it has; brought up every Easter and shared with love and much laughter.

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

Easter is a special day, not a present-giving holiday, at least not in our home, but without it, we would all be hopeless.  Remember, because of what occurred on that first Easter morning, there is abundant hope and grace for all of us.  I hope you’ve found or find yours in our risen Lord.  All the blessings of Easter to each and every one of you!

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