Close to Your Heart

Someone close to me lost someone close to her over the weekend.  Totally unexpected while on a trip ten years in the making.  In an instant a father, husband and best friend of 28 years, is gone and a wife is alone in the woods with her husband’s body, trying desperately to save him with CPR.  Two mornings later, 5:00 a.m., my daughter calls to say she’s at the airport, checked in and ready to fly to NYC for a fabulous six days with a special aunt!  And what does someone say to me?  Didn’t you hear about the terrorist threat in New York?  Sure I did.  I don’t go there, don’t allow myself to think that way.  Any one of us could be gone in an instant, like my friend’s loved one.  Do we stop living, stop traveling, cower in our homes against something “bad” happening?  No we don’t, we can’t.  What do we do?  We love with all our hearts, hold our loved ones close in our hearts, never hesitate to tell someone you love them and how precious they are to you.

Having survived a potentially terminal illness,  an abusive marriage and two brain surgeries and having my beloved daughters on opposite coasts, you learn to walk in faith and trust and to tuck those conversations and memories deep into your heart, to treasure them.  You don’t hang up the phone in anger and you always make a point of letting the other person know how much they mean to you, how special they are!

Because we’re afraid?  No way.  Because it’s important to speak the words.  My daughter in NYC for the next week, my older daughter in Seattle all the time, my brother and his family in the rolling hills of Kentucky, my loved ones within 40 miles, friends literally around the globe – all are special, all are precious – you’re loved and treasured and I’ll be making a point to let you know next time we talk, if I haven’t already.

Say the words and hold the memories, voices, smiles, tucked away close to your heart.  That would be the lesson to take  from my friend’s loss.  Don’t dwell; act and move forward with love and joy in your heart and spoken out of your mouth.

à bientôt …….

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Lazy Saturday Morning?

Okay, it sounds good, but not happening here and not likely to for a while.  So I’m at my computer in my jammies, not yet 7 a.m., playing one of my standard  fire-me-up songs in the background as I review my plan for the day – attack algebra once again, then on to my Old Testament homework, but first a quick run to the farmer’s market, a favorite place, more so today, having received a beautiful new field guide from my bookseller daughter, Meghan.  A couple errands in town, and hopefully at least a few swipes around part of the yard on the lawn tractor in a beautiful September sun – note the optimism 🙂  Could it get too hot today?  Not for me.  Eighty degrees?  I’m lovin’ it – we didn’t have it most of the so-called summer in the Northwoods, so I’ll take every degree of it with a grin and I won’t be cold!!  Probably not seeing the cousins today, did last week and visited my favorite Auntie Arlene on Thursday, so up until 5:45 when I leave for Celebrate Recovery, the group I facilitate on Saturday nights, I’ll be moving, but feeling great, loving life, living and growing throughout the day.  Lazy? No, but sounds like a wonderful Saturday for me.  I’m off …..

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Don’t Tell Me …

So I’m thinking about limits today.  I have a time limit in which to finish this first semester, looming large at the end of this week.  Twitter limits the number of characters you can post; there are speed limits with some fairly large consequences – found that out recently, too.  Sometimes we limit ourselves through our actions, thoughts or words, there’s one to avoid.

The old saying is “The sky’s the limit.”  Google the phrase and you don’t find who originally said it; apparently at some time it was a song title and even the title of a piece of art. Must be one of those public domain things, but I came across a great response:  Don’t tell me the sky is the limit – there are footprints on the moon!!! And that is actually found in a song, whether it’s original, I don’t know, but it’s out there.

Shorten it up and it’s got a great beat – say it out loud, put it in 4/4 time – Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit; there’s footprints on the moon.  You could march to that one and have fun doing it 🙂

And there’s a thought to carry me through the rest of the day; you, too, perhaps.  Beats the daylights out of limiting ourselves in thought, word or deed.  Are you marching?                     Be well….



T

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Second Chances Part Two

Where does the time go? So many things happening every day.  An incredible second chance for beloved family members – a second chance at creating the best possible family together in a place that they love.  For me, confirmation again of victory over illness, a second chance for sure.  And back to school, not the season, but for me, for real.  I’m in college again and lovin’ it!  It’s exciting, totally challenging and just plain good for me.  Talk about a second chance!!!

Life is good, even when it’s crazy busy.  If we always remember from whence we came ( couldn’t find who said that)  we can only be grateful, even at the craziest times.  As I said to someone lately, do we or do we not serve the God of second chances.  Yes we do and I’m living proof!!

How many chances have you had?  And what are you doing with them?  Be well…


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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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A Time to Mourn … Part One

Note:  I began drafting this post a few days after the passing of another of the Homestead’s children, my aunt/godmother.   I’d like to expand on it now and honor her memory.

A time to mourn and a time to dance;  that’s the complete phrase.  Not an original title by any means, but so appropriate.  Another of the ten children born in this old house, the Buelow homestead, has passed on.  My Aunt Henrietta, named after her mother, my Grandma Buelow, was taken home – fairly unexpectedly.   She was my the youngest of the ten children in my father’s family and I hate to say it, this leaves him as the sole survivor of that family, the last living person who was born in this old house.

Back to my Aunt Henrietta, the unexpected passing of a woman loved by many – her husband, children, grandchildren, nieces,nephews and her last remaining sibling, my father.  Another reminder that there is indeed a time.

Mourning is different depending on the relationship.  I’d never claim my loss as being close to that of her children.  For me it’s more about the passing of time, the passing into history of someone I knew and loved.  I’m a traditionalist – history and tradition are important to me.  History  reminds me where we’ve been and the rich heritage  and hardy stock from  which  I come.  Tradition, as I tell my daughters, is the glue that binds us together.

And we’ll continue these thoughts in Part Two.

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Smiling at this Lenten Memory

Who knew when deciding to embark on the next 30 days to leaving the Shoulds and an Illegitimate Ruler behind that it would coincide beautifully with Lent?  Well, Someone knew and ya gotta love how these things work out 🙂  So my Lenten journey it will be.

I’ve never been one to “give something up for Lent.”  Why?  Because I was raised in a traditional Protestant denomination and we didn’t do that.  As an adult I did, however, observe Lent in some way.  The one that sticks out  in my mind ALWAYS was the year I decided to switch to a Lent focus for our breakfast devotional time, more than a decade ago.

Those were still the days of getting children out the door to school each morning.  They were growing up, though, not little girls any more – both freshman that year (longer story) – two different schools, different start times, one requiring me to drive  12+ miles one way.   But we continued breakfast together every day – cereal, oatmeal, french toast, whatever, served on the breakfast counter with juice and supplements and a quick devotional to send us all out the out the door wrapped in peace and love against a cruel world.

The year in question I chose to switch to a Lent focus by reading portions of one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.  Max has great books for everything but my favorites for Lent are  Six Hours One Friday, No Wonder They Call Him Savior, He Still Moves Stones, Applause of Heaven.  My thought was to use a small portion of one of the books each morning, but that was not so well received.  One of my daughters began to protest about the extra time it would take, and we all know time in the morning can be at a premium.    One thing led to another and in short order our morning sharing time was not so pretty.  I was hanging on to my right as the mother to insist.  My daughter was hanging on to her position as a young teenage girl.  So sparks began to fly, with the other daughter caught in the crossfire.  So much for sending my children out into the cruel world wrapped in peace and love each morning.

My good friend, Marlee, veteran Bible study partner and (at that time) mom of teenage daughters a few years ahead of mine, was a great resource.  So I went to her with my dilemma and lo and behold, the advice was not what I was anticipating.  She was supposed to tell me that I was absolutely right in my right to insist and that I should stand firm.  Didn’t happen.  What I got was the advice that perhaps the time had come to release my daughter’s relationship with the Lord to my daughter and the Lord.  What??  I’m her mother!!  It’s not time yet and I’ll decide!!  Think maybe I had challenges with the “Shoulds” way back then 🙂

I had to do something and gave sincere thought to Marlee’s suggestion, took it in prayer, and went to separate breakfast times and back to the original plan of a brief teen-centric devotion and less strain in the morning.  I don’t remember how long we continued the routine of devotion in the morning, but I believe through most of high school.  One of those rites of passage, but a treasured memory in this mother’s heart.  AND I just took a moment from writing this post and called Marlee.  We had a brief conversation, chuckled together at the memories and made arrangements to get together soon.  And Lent 2009 begins in a few days….

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The Tyranny of Should

You should go …  You shouldn’t ….  I should… I should have ….  A loaded word, one syllable, indicates that the subject of the sentence has some obligation to execute the sentence predicate.  So the subject, in this case moi, has an obligation to do whatever follows the should.  How does that work?  Who’s deciding that I have an obligation and how do they have that right?  Did I hand it over? And failing to fulfill the obligation am I then supposed to feel guilty?

Say it’s me who’s deciding I should ….  Why?  According to whom? So many questions from a single word – did I say I love words ?  🙂  I have a challenge with this “should” thing.  A dear friend, one of my brothers, actually, called me on it AGAIN in the last day or so.  He said, “LeeAnn,  you have GOT to let this go.” One more of many conversations we’ve had over life challenges – mostly mine. I know he’s right;  I regularly struggle with  “should” thinking.   That said, then we know what follows – the guilt thing.  And that is what he’s referring to as having to get out of my life – false guilt.  Done, over, the price paid, victory won.  The guilt carried to the cross on my behalf and who am I to pick up again?

I really like one of the origins of the word tyranny: The word derives from Latin tyrannus meaning “illegitimate ruler.”  Illegitimate ruler – how’s that for a description of should and it’s baggage in my life?  As we can have only one Ruler in our lives, the shoulds and the accompanying illegitimate guilt have no home in my heart and life.  So while Her Father’s Homestead is about home, not everyone is welcome, nor every thing.  In this home it’s all around wholeness,emotional and spiritual health and wellness, no illegitimate rulers here.

So my campaign of improving my outlook over the next 30 days is to rid myself of the tyranny of should.  I Can, I May, I Will, even I will not, but no I should.  What a lighter world I’ll be dwelling in, wrapped in grace.  I extend it to others, now I accept it for myself.  I look forward to the progress I will make in the coming month – being kinder and more grace-filled to myself, remembering that Amazing Grace has been granted me.  Reminds me of one of my newer favorite songs, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) Stay tuned as I move forward with my purpose to let go of an illegitimate ruler and fill the space with  amazing grace.  Amen!

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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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