The World Just Keeps on Turning…

With 30 minutes to official sunrise, I’ve been watching the moon make its journey across the sky for hours.  Wide awake since 3a.m., with bright moonlight streaming through the window, I’m thinking of two people in these early morning hours. Last night brought word that my favorite Auntie Arlene, spoken of often in these pages, is spending the night in the local hospital.  She’s 93 and I’m wondering what she’s thinking about and how she’s feeling in these predawn hours; it’s too early to call and the world just keeps on turning…

I’ve mentally run through my to-do list, with wedding prep and school prep on deck for the day. My excitement is building at the prospect of a joyful gathering in just ten days to celebrate with Meghan and Brian and the added bonus of having Erin Lee home – the three of us together – this mother’s heart is full. 

Forty miles away, another mother is waking up, if she slept at all, on what would normally be a day of celebrating her daughter’s birthday.  The world just keeps on turning, even though her daughter passed away last June at age 29 and this is the first birthday without her.  

Watching the moon move past my window, I’m reminded that the moon wasn’t moving at all and that what appears to be happening is not real.   There are  laws of nature at work here and as King Solomon said long ago, there is a time for everything, time to weep or laugh and dance or mourn.  The world just keeps on turning and what does that mean for us?  Y’all have heard this before, but I believe we can never hear it too often.  Cherish the special moments, create them, and hold those you love close to heart; let them know regularly and repeatedly that they are special to you. 

I had dinner with Auntie Arlene Friday night – we shared a great fish fry and for the first time in her 93 years, she experienced  the world of the Internet.  Through the marvel of technology, I was able to take her online and we went shopping!!  We laughed, she was amazed and I was so happy to share that time with her

The sun is up and it’s time for me to move away from this desk; I’ve already emailed my friend, acknowledging her daughter’s birthday and her loss.  I’ll call the hospital shortly, get the trash up to the road and leave here in an hour to attend a Lent service nearby and hopefully share a smile with two nieces and a nephew.  Then it’s back to work and a walk with the dogs later in what’s supposed to be a beautiful 74-degree day here,

Love and be loved and find  comfort and hope  in knowing that the world just keeps on turning because a loving Heavenly Father has everything under control!!

Blessings…

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What’s One Degree?

That depends on the subject. I can tell you, having just gotten unbundled, when it comes to outside temperature, one degree is pretty darn cold, but it is north of zero, which makes a difference, at least psychologically. I took the time to go through the dress-for-cold routine this morning before heading out with dogs, trash and recycling; it’s one of those things that makes winter in the country more work.  I walked around the kitchen last night looking for a spot to move the coat rack in from the back porch so when I go for my outside clothes they’d at least be as warm as the kitchen, including my ski bibs (can’t bring myself to call them snow pants) and despite the enormity of this old farmhouse kitchen, I’m not seeing a spot that will work for a coat tree loaded with water-proof gear, two ski jackets, bibs, the Ugly Coat, you bet, that one has a name of its own and is loaded with family humor.  Accompanying the coat tree are the baskets of mittens, hats and scarves, including that fun face-mask hat, you know, the kind bank robbers wear.  Then there are the serious boots, which along with the Ugly Coat, do not go into town; maybe the boots on occasion, but the coat, not one time in the eight years I’ve lived out here; its name is most accurate, but it has its place in life here at the Homestead.

  Yes, folks, mid-January and we’re finally entering what’s supposed to be a cold spell.  It might be that temperature is relative at times – what’s cold for me in church has other women fanning with their bulletins and men shrugging off their jackets. When my South Carolina daughter complains about cold, we’re talking about 50 degrees – absolutely balmy compared to this.  

Back to one degree; looking at the night sky through my telescope, a one-degree correction isn’t necessarily all that much.  Ask a ship captain and a one-degree course correction might just prevent a mishap, though I’m not a sailor so that’s speculation. 

Just as in life, sometimes it’s a small thing – a low number, that will sink us if we let it. One degree above zero is unpleasant, but manageable and there is a positive; it’s not 30 below and the sun is shining bright and skies are beautifully blue.  It is more work, everything seems more challenging, but look around.  I had luncheon plans for today and woke up dreading having to get dogs out and trash up to the road early, and then thought about what I was going to wear to my lunch so I wouldn’t freeze.  Lunch is cancelled because my friend’s father, confined to a nursing home, is causing concern and she was heading to see him.  So I’m spared from going back out, which I don’t mind at all, but I’m missing time with a special friend and know my friend is traveling a couple hours in vicious cold to see an ailing parent.  Kind of puts my complaint of one degree into perspective, doesn’t it?

Be blessed and when feeling challenged, try to bless others – you will feel better for reaching outside yourself, I promise.  And with what regular readers will recognize as a theme comes the admonishment to please, let those you love know for sure you love them, speak it often, cherish the times and memories as you never know when just one degree in time or space could change your world for a lifetime.  Be blessed, stay warm!!

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Encourager, Encourage Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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Another Countdown

I like countdowns; they help me remain organized in the process of leaving on a trip and generally are the source of good memories – preparing for the numerous road trips taken with my girls.  I’ve posted others, counting down to leaving on holiday, going to spend time with a daughter for Christmas, memories from childhood of my mom before vacation and the quirky habits I have now, for which I swear my mother is responsible, though she remembers differently 🙂

This countdown?  One week from today I have to be ready to leave for the rolling hills of Kentucky and a week with my youngest brother and his family – an amazing wife and two very special boys.  We’re spending Easter together, having been apart since August, when they moved away.  So having just started a new trimester of school, I have much work to complete before I go as you never know the reliability of the Internet once you’re gone.  The goal is to complete the first two week’s assignments and be partially through the third week before I leave.

Add that on top of the cleaning, laundry, packing, arrangements for pet care, banking, mail, etc.  I know what I need to do, and it’ll all happen, it’s just a lot to remember 🙂  So KENTUCKY COUNTDOWN is on!!  I’m excited and looking forward to a very effusive group hug upon arrival and many more throughout the week I’m there.  Forgot to mention that we’ll celebrate my brother’s birthday together, too.  It just gets better!!!

I’m off – the to-do list is calling and it’s now almost 8:00 a.m.  No music in this post, but not for lack of looking.  There are lists of songs about Kentucky and songs about travel, but remaining focused is the focus so no time to search YouTube today.  Blessings to all and send prayers this way for clear thought processes 🙂  Those who know me will be smiling….   Adieu!



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This, too, shall pass…

A quick google of today’s title finds it defined as a proverb; not a quote from the Bible – you gotta love a phrase that has its own wiki 🙂  It may be based on the oft-repeated phrase,  “And it came to pass,” first used in Genesis chapter four and depending on your source and version, anywhere from 120 to 630 times in the Old and/or New Testament.  One of my favorite authors,  Barbara Johnson, no longer with us, used to say that it’s important to note that the Bible never said, “And it came to stay.”  And like many of us, Barbara knew of what she spoke!

Does it help?  Well, those who know me know that I believe words matter;  when it comes to unpleasantness, discomfort, pain – physical or emotional – you have a choice – dwell or pass through it.  Personally, unless it comes covered in milk chocolate, I believe in letting it pass or passing through it. And while we’re at it, let’s look quickly at the word dwell, a favorite.  It sounds so much nicer to suggest that someone not dwell in or “stay focused” on their perceived misery, than to suggest that they’re wallowing 🙂  I’ve come a long way from the days of being famous for saying something like, “Oh for Pete’s sake, buck up, buddy!”  Now I strive to be nicer, so I use gentler words like dwell.

But when it came down to it, when the walk met the talk, it really was a matter of speaking the result.  I spoke healing and more healing, to myself, my daughters, my extended family.  Fear was not an option, not ever, not allowed and it truly comes down to that.  Cancer, two brain surgeries, chemo, radiation, all came to pass.  Did not come to stay, but came to pass!!

As we move toward Easter 2010,  four years from that fateful day of brain tumor discovery, it came to pass and pass it did, an event in my history that has been handled by my Father in heaven.  And I encourage you, no matter what the situation or challenge you face, it, too, shall pass.  And that can be a most comforting place to dwell as you go through the passing of your challenge.  Be encouraged and be blessed!!

Bénédictions!


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No Good Deed Goes …?

Surely some of you know the rest of that aphorism.  Because of my belief in the power of words, often stated here – words matter – I won’t be finishing the statement;  in fact today we’ll  do a test run on a new ending, give it a new spin. And I do love spin 🙂

So if I say No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded, what do you think?    The question becomes unrewarded by whom. It doesn’t matter. Since I operate under the belief system that says you don’t work your way to your final resting place, the reward for a good deed is internal.  You saw something, you addressed it, and you know in your heart that you did a good thing.

The person or persons for whom you did this good thing may or may not even realize it.  Doesn’t matter. Let me clarify, it doesn’t matter on an outward level.  Here we go again, semantics.  You bet, I love it 🙂 So where does it matter? Inside, inside you and that’s what counts in this discussion.

Every time you take the opportunity to  do a “good deed” however small, it matters in you.  Note I say IN you, not to you.  We grow every time we take an opportunity to make a difference, something as small as smiling at the elderly man for whom you hold the door, every time you offer an encouraging word or turn aside an angry retort.  It matters IN you and that’s why I’m pretty comfortable saying that No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded.

The reward is the growth that comes inside because you stepped out and did it.  That’s what matters.  Keep doing it and you will keep doing it.  It’s a mindset, a way of looking at the world, a philosophy, if you will. Go on out and have a fabulous day and when you have the chance (not IF, WHEN) take it.  Look for these opportunities – they’re everywhere.  Here’s to growing as we go …..

À plus tard

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I’m here!!

An uneventful flight; actually, travel was very good.  This Delta/Northwest merger has resulted in a very classy airline.  The service was excellent, personnel very professional, very helpful. Compared to some of the service we’ve experienced in the last year, this rates very well!

A year ago on Dec. 23, I was sitting at O’Hare, full of folks who’d been stranded for up to two days by Midwest weather on a busy holiday.  This year I changed two things:   I’m traveling earlier, December 20th instead of the 23rd and I avoided Chicago.  The plane change in Detroit was a walk in the park and we arrived in Columbia EARLY!  That’s a nice change of pace for air travel.

I’m comfy at the Barnes & Noble where Meghan works part-time, a stack of cookbooks on Southern cooking at my side.  This is about as good as it gets, my child within reach, bright blue skies, people wearing light jackets as opposed to the four layers I had on when arriving.  The only thing better would be having my ErinLee here as well, but I’m thankful for what I’ve got.

We’ve been to Meghan’s house, so I’ve finally seen her new home.  I teased her that not only is she a homeowner, she has landscaping, something called monkey grass, ivy and a flowering plant I’ll have to investigate.  We’ve already identified a couple projects to do together and I offered to put her new rake to good use when she’s at work.  I’ll need the exercise as we’ve already eaten well and are planning our next meal 🙂

It doesn’t look like Christmas outside, but there’s Christmas music in the air and decorations all around.  While it’s weird not to have snow, this is pretty awesome.


So it’s almost Christmas.  I hope you’re all where you want to be, with those you love and who love you.  I’ll be back in a bit.


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BLIZZARD PART II

It got ugly out there.  I have a friend who’d call it “wicked cold.”  She’s from the East and apparently that’s a colloquialism and her adjective of choice.    I call it BRUTAL and realize all-caps equals shouting in cyber-English, but that’s my way of letting you know that it did indeed get ugly.  As so often happens, along with the ugly, we get a flash of awesome!!  Reference my posts last year about Sparkles, here in Wisconsin and on the beach in South Carolina.

What I got the other day was much more than a sparkle – it was a most spectacular opportunity!   I saw the wind. Yep, I said that I saw the wind, first time ever, and I’ve seen lots of weather in lots of places.  This was a most beautiful upside of a most ugly weather day.

It was so cool, so awesome, breath-taking actually.  I wish I’d been able to photograph it, but my memory  will have to serve.  I was watching the weather out a window, facing north, snow  blowing like crazy.  All of a sudden what appeared to be a huge wave of snow, came around the corner of the big shed.  As I described it to my daughters, it was bigger than anything we’ve seen live in the ocean,  like those huge waves you see on television in the surfing competitions.

I swear, this wave of snow came around that building and moved  across my yard, into the field.  It was incredible, taller than the shed and wide, so very wide.  I watched this wave moving along and I was stunned by the force that could do that and hope I’m even close to portraying the sight.

Those who know me well will understand, knowing my fascination with “big” weather 🙂    This spoke volumes to me.  Two days later as I write this, I’m still thrilled to have been watching at the right time.

Were there other gusts of wind?  I’m sure there were seeing as that’s one of the criteria for blizzard. But I choose to believe that this was a gift to me, a reminder of this amazing creation  in which we live and even more, of the gift to me of this place, this homestead that means so very much to me.

The lesson here – you know there’s got to be one – is thankfulness.  In the darkest of times, there is always something for which I’m thankful.  This has been a week of blessings despite the weather and I’m going to close here, a very thankful woman.

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