… But Keep the Old …

According to one Web site I found, the title words, which I’m sure many of you know, are supposed to be part of a traditional Girl Scout song.  Other sites described it as a children’s song and I sang it as a child in music class as a round.

The theme being on my mind as I prepare to meet  for four days with old friends, many going back 40 years, one of them over 40 years and one, yes, we were babies together 54 years ago.

This is a group that knows one another well – shared jokes, stories, heartbreak and triumph.  Four days of good company, good food, good friends, a shared history and new memories being made.  Catching up on children, grandchildren, parents, etc, lots of stories will be told and much laughter shared.  As I’ve said repeatedly, history is important.  It tells us from whence we came and tradition is the glue that binds us together

So I’m off – fishing gear ready, a fabulous salsa and chips to contribute, and cannot forget the camera 🙂  I’ll be back with another year of memories to cherish.   Au revoir!!

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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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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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I Won’t Do It …..

No, I won’t, I will not title this nor will I think in terms of how many hours are left before I get on a plane and head for home.  I just am not ready to think about my time here with Meghan coming to an an end. 

 

So I will focus on the positive – the time we’ve had and the wonderful day we spent yesterday, full of Meghan’s favorite things about “her” city – we played outside and ate well and she just generally showed me around Columbia and all the highlilghts.

 

It’s been a wonderful trip, many memories created, lots of things to write and talk about, a zillion photos that will be so fun to go through, probably the second thing I do once I get home, the first being reacquainting my dogs with the house – they’ve been outside dogs for nine days!!!  Hopefully they will remember their manners with just a bit of prodding, not unlike when they came in the house after I came home from my first surgery.

 

Anyway – I am so thankful for the time I’ve had here – wonderful conversations that just happen when you’re spending good time together and laughs and jokes and memories.  So I’m taking the good, the very good, from this trip and still have time with Meghan before going to the airport so I am thankful, grateful, smiling, and will remain that way to the end.  Blessings!!!

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Jump Out of the Boat!!

As mentioned earlier, we attended a great church, Seacoast Church, just blocks from Meghan’s apartment, on Christmas Eve, and then a satellite campus in Mount Pleasant on the weekend.   The young preacher had a great message and I have two points scribbled in large letters on a piece of paper that were made during the message.  He preached on John 21:7 and my two notes are JUMP OUT OF THE BOAT and FEED MY SHEEP.  There’s so much meat here that will serve me well in the coming year as a life philosophy and also as a theme for this blog and Her Father’s Homestead in general.

This was such a pointed message, like all those years of sitting in front of my dad as he was preaching.  How many times did I feel like he was speaking directly to me?  Way too many times to count and the same thing happened on Sunday morning.  I was being told to jump out of the boat, move toward the Lord, like Peter did – just dive on in and then Peter was told that if he loved the Lord as he said he did he should “Feed My sheep.”  If that isn’t a goal or a direction for the Homestead, I don’t know what would qualify!!

And while I’m thinking of it, I learned a whole new meaning for Sparkles (refer to earlier posts)  Instead of Sparkles occurring in the frigid cold of northern Wisconsin snow, we discovered Sparkles in the sea foam , the bubbles left behind by the incoming and retreating waves on the beach.  This, too, will work for future messages.  What a trip this has been been – full of food for thought, soul-searching and messages!

As this faithful computer at the Richland County Public Library is telling me I have eleven minutes before lock-out, I’m going to say adieu.  I’ll be back tomorrow as I’ll reserve time here before I leave.  The people here have been fabulous, friendly, helpful, to this obvious Northerner – obvious as soon as I open my mouth 🙂  So a quick visual preview will have to suffice for spell-check and again, forgive any errors till I get home and on to my own computer again.  Blessings!!!

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Countdown 8 Days

One week and one day – I can hardly wait.  What does that mean anyway?  Of course I can wait.  How would I NOT wait?   I will do what countless women have done through the ages – clean something! In fact, I have closets, cupboards, drawers, all of which will be at least touched up before I leave on holiday.

What is it – something passed down from my own mother?  Absolutely! As a child, prior to every vacation the house was made spotless, including “wiping up the floor” on hands and knees as we made our way out the door. I haven’t done that lately, but in August of  ’07 prior to going in for a second brain surgery, I pretty much hit every closet, drawer, cupboard, you name it.  I even called in reserves to help.  My friend, Karen, gets it and answered my call for help.  Her job was to take the steamer to all the clothes in the laundry room, to make sure everything was steamed and properly put away before I went to the hospital.  Can I get an Amen here?  Surely someone can relate :).

This is a fairly literal interpretation of the Biblical putting one’s house in order,  II Samuel 17:23, which, by the way, preceded a suicide.  Short of working myself to death cleaning all these closets, drawers and cupboards pre-holiday, along with daily living, teaching, conducting business as usual plus several meetings, and participating in some Christmas socializing, I’m not intending to do myself in.  My girls would be grinning – they’ve lived through their mom’s pre-holiday/vacation ritual many times.

But action cures lots of emotional ailments and it certainly beats the heck out of sitting here nibbling on my nails.  Oh, note to self, add MANICURE to the to-do list, may as well make it mani-pedi as I’m not packing the five pairs of boots I wear out here from September through March.  These feet will be slipping into sandals or flips in just over a week now, late December, no less.

So how do I wait?  I’ll clean and organize, make a few lists, pack,  sing and dance my way through the chores, praising the Lord that in just eight days I’ll be hugging my younger daughter and maybe even tucking her in and saying prayers once or twice as we did so every often in times past.  Does it get any better?

P.S.  Check out the links for  “mani-pedi” and  “five pairs”  above – an online grammar guide and an URBAN dictionary, you gotta love it :)!              à plus tard …………..,  LeeAnn

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Countdown 9 Days, part two

So the last time we were together, the three of us, was eight months ago – EIGHT MONTHS!  There was a time that I didn’t go eight HOURS without hugging them and now it’s eight months and will be more since we shared a group – all three of us – hug.   I do not allow myself to dwell on that because I don’t believe in wallowing in the “depths of despair,” those emotional danger zones that really are not productive or good for one’s emotional health.  I have a photo on my computer desktop -one without me in it, just the girls – so I see those faces all day long and it warms my heart.  We speak on the phone often, sometimes daily and we e-mail back and forth.  We’ve moved onto a new level of relationship, one with me as a mother of adult children.  Though referred to by friends and family as “the girls” they are girls by gender, but at 23 and 24, most definitely young women.  And I am so proud of the young women they’ve become.

Sometimes they need advice – just this week, “Talk to me, mother, while I pick out a vacuum cleaner.  Which one do you think I should get?”  A new experience for me – shopping via cell phones a thousand miles apart.  Then a crate for the new dog, “he’s about up to my knee, maybe as long as ….”  That was definitely a new experience.  Can’t wait to meet the new dog and see how he fits in the crate – nine days to go 🙂

Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is a time for everything, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.  In the five years since coming to the Homestead, I’ve wept, laughed, mourned and danced.  Now, I believe, I’m coming into my time – my time on the Lord’s timeline  – not day-in-day-out mom responsible for a household, family, etc., but time to give back, time to share, time to mentor, time to utilize the gifts with which I’ve been blessed.  And I would say it is my time to dance.  Adieu….

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COUNTDOWN 9 Days part one

Countdown to …?  I’m counting down till I get on a plane and fly to a warmer climate for Christmas and  nine days of holiday.  That would be exciting any time, but most special now because I’m spending my holiday with one of my daughters.  It’s a gift from the girls together, very precious to me, yet bittersweet as this is the first Christmas in my 24 years as a mother that I will not be with BOTH of my daughters for Christmas.

This is about change, about letting go, about growing up and growing older, ideally growing wiser.  It’s about accepting life as it is, expressed so beautifully in The Serenity Prayer, about putting those we love into the loving arms of Jesus and leaving them there; it’s about trust – the opposite of worry.    It’s about what is today called the Empty Nest Syndrome – I wonder if my grandmother, raising her ten children here at Her Father’s Homestead thought about an empty nest?  I’m reasonably certain she wouldn’t have identified it as a “syndrome” of any sort, but part of the the circle of life, if anything.

last time we were together

The three of us together on my birthday eight months ago

There’s a lot of food for thought or food for writing in that brief paragraph above and we’ll be delving into those subjects as we count down the days.  For today, look at a favorite photo or two, remember the happy time and smile a thankful prayer for the memories.  Are we not uniquely  and wonderfully created?                                       à plus tard …….

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SNOW DAY!!!!

There was a time when the words Snow Day brought a great deal of excitement.  An unexpected gift, a free day, no school, put on your snow-pants – remember those? – and head outside to make snow angels, a snowman or just play in the snow.  Funny how things change as we get older …..

When my children were in school, Snow Day took on a different meaning – more of a Now What? kind of meaning.  Now I was encouraging my girls to get out and play or ice-skate in the backyard, then come in to a roaring fire and hot chocolate.  Dry the wet clothes, shovel off the deck and front sidewalk, haul in the wood and build the fire, make that hot chocolate, a bit more work than being the kid.

These days the meaning is a bit different.  Out in the country, on my own, no ice rink in the back yard right now,(though that will change as the Homestead project evolves), while undoubtedly beautiful, getting this much snow means a fair amount of work.  The mere process of getting dressed to head out there takes several minutes.  Then there’s the inevitable mess – wet boots and wet dogs need to be cleaned up after, puddles on the floor, scarves and coat snow-covered and dripping from getting hit with the snow you’re trying to blow away.

And today’s point?  There could be several, but I’ll go back to the concept of “perception is reality,” talked about in a previous post.  My perception tonight is much different than it was at noon when I had an hour to move enough snow for a student to get in the door.  When I was out just a little while ago with my dogs everything is white and beautiful.  My perception at this point in  life is much different than when I was a child in snow-pants.  The group I facilitate, Celebrate Recovery, uses a song called White as Snow (words and music by Leon Olguin), and it’s a wonderful song.  My perception these days being much different than when I was young, I so appreciate the idea that through a relationship with Jesus, I’m made white as snow – despite anything in the past, all the mistakes, all the errors in judgment, you name it, I’ve been made white as snow and you know what?  It’s BEAUTIFUL and it can happen for you, too!   Till next time ….

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