WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?

I certainly have heard that question lately and I will admit to being MIA these last eight weeks, more specifically the last three weeks. Where have I been? Finishing the first eight weeks of the sixteen-week spring semester, then last week a break before beginning the final eight weeks of this semester today. Between working and school and life I was staying under the radar, even missed church for a few weeks. I figured the Lord would understand as I was deeply involved in the study of Revelation/Daniel (by whose infinite wisdom do those two books make one course anyway?) and the Book of Acts in the other course.

Folks who know me get that on a good day I’m not big on phones or checking voice-mail, for that matter. Send me a text or an email, but when time is tight, I’m not likely to answer the phone unless you’re one of my daughters, in which case I would know you by your very special ring-tone and definitely answer if at all able. Hey, I’m a mom and some things will always take precedence. I managed to continue teaching and to stay in touch with and share lunch with my special Auntie Arlene now and then, a priority for me. Lots of things have taken place in the last eight weeks.

There have been two major world events and and an ongoing piece of Wisconsin political gamesmanship – enough said there. The point is, I’ve been absent from a lot of daily events, but the world and life kept spinning as it should and always will. Family and friends had birthdays and vacations, ups-and-downs of all kinds. In the world -at-large, there’s been a disaster in Japan and it appears we’ve become embroiled in another war or an act thereof. Those things make me and my life challenges seem fairly small. As I wrote recently in a post titled It’s All Relative, it really is. My stressors seem minimal compared to earthquakes and tsunamis and pending radioactivity.

Where’ve I been? Flying low and taking care of business, thankful for continued health and the approaching five-year anniversary of my life-changing experience. Life is good and I’ve resurfaced successfully – having just received final grades in those last two classes and yes, folks, my withdrawal from the world paid off.
New adventures are ahead; two more classes before taking the summer off, a special trip to celebrate Easter, my birthday and being cancer-free for five years!! New endeavors on the business front and leaving an old one behind. Where’ve I been? Right where I’m supposed to be, I believe. The Lord’s leading, opening the doors and I’m moving through them. What a wonderful place to be! Blessings!! Continue reading »

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How much farther, ErinLee?

This is a bit of a change-up, as we noted laughingly earlier this evening. For the nth time in the last four days, I’ve asked that question or another – Are we there yet, ErinLee? Reminiscent of days gone by, only the daughters were asking the questions then 🙂 As I admitted to her, I had had ample opportunity to prepare; I was warned, but as tight as time got leading up to my trip, I didn’t do the incline work I should have. And I am telling you, as much as these folks out here are into food, they’re also into walking and there are hills everywhere. Now we could have taken the train or bus more than we have, but I lean toward the proverbial “When in Rome…” So I’ve been eating and walking with the best of them, but today was definitely a challenge. Are we there yet, ErinLee? Almost. Really? “Only seven more blocks,” Does that mean seven more hills? Good thing I ate so much today – all vegan, healthy and delicious – or these hills would do me in.

So we laugh and keep moving and talk about our next meal as we’re climbing those hills. I did get some great photos along the way as well, maybe to provide photographic evidence that I really did all this. Tomorrow morning I’ll likely be feeling the effects of today’s efforts, but we’ll head out again, going downtown to the Seattle Art Museum for the Picasso exhibit – a fairly big local event! As for food, we’ll start fresh, having given my fabulous leftovers from dinner to a homeless man; I walked by the first one, carrying my take-home tray like a pro, but I couldn’t pass the next one. I asked ErinLee if she’d mind and then asked the guy if he wanted some dinner. We shook hands and I wished him Merry Christmas and handed over that fabulous falafel and went on our way feeling lighter and better. Good thing, too, to lighten the load for the rest of the walk home.

So the day is coming to a close and I’m ready to put these tired feet up and won’t have to ask How much farther until tomorrow, when I’ll take her arm and she’ll pull me along and we’ll laugh and keep moving because there’s so much for her to show me yet! Stay tuned …

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Guess what, ErinLee? It’s Christmas!!

Sitting at ErinLee’s kitchen table looking out big windows over Lake Union and beyond the Space Needle to the Olympic mountains, snow-capped and beautiful against a hazy, but not rainy, sky and guess what? It is Christmas Day 2010; life is very good. Re the title of today’s post, I must have said those words to ErinLee a dozen times yesterday, though she said more like forty times! The trip went well, the only glitch being that my seatmate on the long leg of the flight spilled most of her apple juice on me. But, it’s Christmas and the flight attendant acted quickly and with numerous blankets, the juice was absorbed and I was virtually dry upon landing. Quick break here to hit the floor with a yoga program while ErinLee runs (literally) to a a nearby store. Later, friends…

A great workout and some of the stiffness from yesterday’s long sit and hauling baggage is released. Now a cool glass of ice water with lemon and I”m refreshed. Back to my seatmate – once she got past the mortification of spilling on me, we had great conversation – she’s a 25 year-old Chinese woman here studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University, an only child from Beijing. She was fascinated by my brain challenge story and had lots of questions. We also talked a lot about recovery issues and she had more questions about my working in recovery from a Christian aspect. All in all a very pleasant and informative way to pass the hours on the plane and guess what? It’s Christmas!!

We took the train back to ErinLee’s apartment, dropped off the luggage and headed out for dinner. Two things of note before going on. I packed like a genius this year – my checked bag was just under 40 pounds for nine days!! Compare that to last year when I was over 50 pounds, kept removing and weighing and ended up with a pile that my dad shipped to me; also my computer bag wasn’t overstuffed so actually was carried onto the plane and not left outside the plane on the “too big” cart. I was definitely impressed with myself! The other thing to note is that my ErinLee is not just vegetarian, but vegan. And that segues beautifully into our dinner.

Being a resident here for three years now and knowing her way around, we walked to dinner at a nearby neighborhood place called In the Bowl, a Vegetarian Noodle Bistro. The place was packed, deliveries going out and take-out being picked up in addition to the diners in the restaurant itself. Huge amounts of food all around us all in various-sized bowls. I had something wonderful – noodles and veggies in a delicious sauce. The carrots were thinly sliced and had adorably-cut edges; they looked like little orange gears in among the noodles. And another thing – pasta is for Italian food, noodles for Asian, which sounds weird to me. Anyway, carrots and other veggies plus the noodles covered in a yummy sauce and I had plenty, with leftovers for breakfast. They’re big on soup here, too, and ErinLee had some kind of soup with rice and big chunky veggies, enough for her breakfast as well.

I can tell already that with all the walking we’ll do and eating the way we’ll eat, that I am going to have a great time and not become sluggish from overeating and not enough exercise. We snuggled up and watched a favorite movie and I slept like the proverbial rock – totally worn out from the last week. Woke to a text from Meghan, followed by a half-hour conversation with Meghan and now a Christmas Day with ErinLee and we’ve decided to do a Chinese restaurant she favors for dinner tonight.

I’m excited about exploring this city in the next week; absorbing the different cultures is one of the beauties of travel. This is an old city with lots of water – lakes, the Pacific and Puget Sound so there’s lots to do and see and I’m rested and relaxed and guess what? It is indeed Christmas! May the blessings of this season be yours. More from Seattle as I ponder the wonders of the Greatest Gift ever, celebrated at Christmas!

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Another TA DA for Me!

It’s nearly 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and I am NOT studying, NOT rushing to beat a deadline, NOT frantically looking for one more resource to beef up a reference list. I AM having a ball here in my special kitchen, just me, some great music – Transiberian Orchestra turned up loud – a couple phone conversations, plans to visit my favorite Auntie Arlene in a few hours and NO deadlines for the next several days at least. I AM a happy woman. This is in stark contrast to the last two weeks. I had talked to Auntie Arlene and told her I’d visit in two weeks and probably not call before then either. What a great niece 🙂

The fall term ended last night at 10:59 pm CST – with six minutes to spare, literally, I was submitting my final exam – too close for comfort! Two exams last night – went okay, As, but not 100s; results of the last two weeks’ papers still out, but I’m done! I told my brother, Steve,this morning that I can breathe; the heavy weight is off my chest. And I can dance around my kitchen, having a blast with my own self. God is good.

Less than five days till I’m hugging my ErinLee – counting down and so looking forward to holding her and burying my face in her hair!! Now I’ll do some laundry, begin to pack the bags, clean the house, all those weird /”>going away things I inherited from my mom, though she denies it:)

As the French say, tu connais la musique – translated you know the deal (literally, you know the music) I do know the music and I’ll be doing my thing today, thankful to have completed the term, happy to feel so much lighter and off for a day of visits and errands and life is very good!

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A Special Letter

I just wrote a special letter, a letter to my younger daughter, Meghan Lee.  I didn’t really have time for this today as I’m under the proverbial gun to finish major school work in time to join a group of friends tomorrow.  We’ll see….

The letter had to be written and will be taken to the post office in the next couple hours – has to be today and has to be from the Post Office.  What’s so special?  My girls have birthdays next week, Meghan first and she is 25 on Monday, a postal holiday.  So the letter’s written and ready to go.  Being a writer, as is Meghan, it was important to put my feelings on paper for her. At some point I may post it here, but not without her permission, so maybe next week.  Anyway, back to the research papers. Then it’ll be on to ErinLee, birthday girl on Wednesday – 26 this year and that’s planned as my next blog post.

For today, Joyeux Anniversaire, Meghan Lee, you’re one of the reasons I write!

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It’s a Mom Thing…

Not everybody would get this, but if you’re a mom, I’m fairly certain you will.  Everybody knows my Meghan Lee was here for eight days.  She’s gone, four days already.  It’s harder than I’d have believed.  I should be used to it; my daughters live on opposite coasts, I’m in the middle and this is a pretty big country.  I’m proud of them, proud that they have the skills and the confidence to head out into the world, to follow their dreams, to create interesting and rewarding lives. But the “missing” doesn’t go away just because I understand how things are.

Being a mom, I have ways  🙂   This one is simple.  Before her visit, I’d prepared her room, had help, even, from my cousin, Susan.  The bedding was washed and hung on the line to dry – the way Meghan likes it.  Now that she’s back in her own home, I’m not doing the typical post-guest clean-up.  Im not pulling her bed apart and washing all the linen.  It’s staying just as it is and when I’m in need of a Meghan fix, I’ll lie down on her bed and bury my face in her pillow.  Heck, I may throw back the comforter and crawl right in.

That’s the part that moms will understand.  Being me, I won’t dwell on the “missing” piece.  I spent part of this morning organizing and editing the 62 best photos of our days together, posted a couple on Facebook, started a new album.  Had a couple e-mail conversations with Meghan, sent her two favorite photos.  In true Meghan fashion, she sent me back a humorous list she’s creating for work.

Life goes on.  There’s school, work, acres of lawn that should be mowed ahead of tomorrow’s predicted rain.  A 10-page paper on a book I’ve yet to finish is due in four days and there’s a test to take before Sunday.  A family birthday celebration is on the calendar yet this week and a fundraiser dinner, which is just going to have to be axed.   The French have a saying, Tu connaît la musique.  Literally translates to: You know the music; used conversationally, it’s you know the deal, the routine, and that’s what keeps us all moving despite how we may feel at any given moment.

I do, indeed, know the music – I’m savoring the memories, making a collage, organizing the photos, cherishing the time and tucking it away into this mother’s heart.  And that, my friends, is a mom thing.    Enjoy the photo and smile with me.

Meghan and Mom, a fave

A mom and a daughter


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Worth the Wait

Just six hours now and I’ll be at the GB airport, waiting for my beloved Meghan to walk through the door!!  We’ve been counting down together, sending little texts each day with the tally and now it’s here.  I’ve been working hard to be ready – not that she is demanding or critical.  It’s me, Mother, as she’s always called me, wanting everything to be just the way I know she likes it.  All her bedding was washed and line dried, so will have that wonderful fresh scent.  Her room has been cleaned – dusted and vacuumed top to bottom, thanks to my cousin, Susan, who lent a hand and a couple hours on Labor Day!!  We have plans for a special luncheon on Saturday with our favorite Auntie Arlene and close cousins.  Hotel and dinner reservations made in Chicago for one night – two days in one of our favorite cities – Michigan Avenue here we come!!  Dinner and a night spent with Meghan’s  Auntie Mumma, a story there, too 🙂  And that’s just for starters.  We will have a TIME, let me tell you!

It’s been too long since we were together, but you can bet that I’m not dwelling there and am most thankful for for the time ahead of us.  Counting my blessings sitting here in the sunshine, taking a break from my homework and pretty soon I’ll be counting the minutes and there you have it!!   Bénédictions … and don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me during the next eight days!!

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TA DA …

My last post of 2009 from my home.  In 12 hours I’ll be arriving in Green Bay to catch a bit of sleep before flying out  at 6:30 a.m.  And in 28 hours I will be hugging my beloved Meghan and seeing her new home for the first time.  Am I excited?  You have no idea!!!  As my cousin Jane reminded me, this will give me the energy I need to get everything done.

So what’s the TA DA for?  I have completed another term in school.  I have done battle with algebra and am still standing.  More logical than ever?  I’m too tired to say right now, but I’ve done it, it’s history.  Will I dance around my kitchen as mentioned in a post back in August?  Very likely as I’ve got to keep moving through this day, checking off the list.    Sounds like time for a song, one that contains two of my all-time favorite song lines – check it out and sing with me.

Quickly, what are the two lines?   “Just remember this my girl, if you look up in the sky you can  see the stars and still not see the light.”  Amen to that.  The other is, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”   It’s time for me to get on my feet.

Blessings to you all in these last pre-Christmas days.  And while I’m anxiously awaiting the gift of time with my Meghan, I’m mindful of the reason behind this celebration – the best Gift ever.  Hope you have it in your life.

Merry Christmas, 2009.  Cherish your friends and family; reach out to those in need.  Coming to you next from the warmth of  South Carolina …

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part I

Some of you know I’m a musician.  That affects how I remember things and how I learn.  No to mention that I’m a child of the 60s and 70s so it should be no surprise to find music throughout these pages.  Today we borrow from Bowie – David the musician, as opposed to Jim, of knife fame.
I’ve been thinking about change a lot these days.  Its been a  subject of discussion in my humanities class, which I’m loving, by the way 🙂 I had to respond to a statement by my professor as to how people view and  respond to change.

Coupled with the letters I sent my girls for St. Nick’s and the memories that brought up, change has indeed, been on my mind.  As I wrote for my class: change is life and life is change.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Pain-free, stress-free, just like change itself.

Not so?  I look at how my life has changed and how I’ve dealt with it; how my girls have changed – independent young women now, living far away from me and each other, yet remaining close thanks to technology.  Ch-ch-ch-changes.

And while I speak easily about my girls being so far away, much of the time  I do not like it one bit!!!  St. Nick comes tomorrow and I didn’t unpack the Christmas stockings, two years running now.  Those stockings I made – love and anticipation sewn into every stitch.  I didn’t grow up with St. Nick, but my girls discovered him the year ErinLee came home from preschool in tears because St. Nick didn’t like her.  He only skips the children who’ve been bad, she said.   So St. Nick became part of our lives.

Talked to ErinLee moments ago – we laughed about how  very often I got it wrong.  St. Nick came a day early or a day late; for whatever reason I struggled with that one.  When they were of an age to understand, we shared many laughs over St. Nick.  But it was always special because that’s when the stockings came out.  We’ll talk about those another time.

In the meantime, in this  pre-Christmas season, give some thought to the many changes and the many benefits you’ve reaped because of them.  Change isn’t always comfortable, but it often precedes dramatic growth. Ch-ch-ch-changes.                                                    Later…

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Thinking About Eagles

I saw one again today, not that uncommon out here;  I saw one yesterday, too.  But they sure are fascinating.  I’ve always loved birds, little birds that come to feed in your yard, big birds, birds of prey – hawks, owls, osprey, eagles.  This morning’s message delivered by a guest preacher referenced eagles, too, one of my favorite Scripture references in fact – Isaiah 40:31, but he went on to remind us how eagles learn to fly and that took us to another favorite, not so much a favorite verse as it contains words we don’t use – like pinions – but a favorite image.  An eaglet learning to fly, having been coaxed out of the nest, then the parent flies beneath and protects the trainee, ready to uplift when needed.  Have you ever seen it?  I have, just recently.

There’s a nesting pair on the west end of the nearby lake and eagles do “flight training” all around here.  It is so majestic to watch.  An eagle up close is a fierce-looking creature.  To think of the bird – that beak, those talons, yet a nurturing instinct – teaching its young to fly is very cool.  I’m sure there are multiple lessons here, but for me, for tonight, I’m heading to the comfy zone.  With the message of Isaiah – go ahead, read it – on my mind, I’m closing down for this day. Night, night.

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