HAPPY BIRTHDAY HATTIE !! 2012

Today’s post is a rerun, first posted several years ago in honor of my paternal grandmother. On top of that, it’s a day late. From what I remember of her, she would be happy to have the greetings and tardiness would be overlooked with that smile I remember so well.  Her birthday was November 10, same as Martin Luther.  This year I decided purposefully to post on November 11, and will likely continue this into the future.  One day late every year and I’m sure she’s smiling.  Ninety-five years ago, today, the day after her birthday, she gave birth to twin sons – Elmer and Alfred, my dad’s brothers.  Uncle Elm went on to marry my Auntie Arlene, spoken of often in these pages and together they raised their family here at The Homestead.

Hattie – a name you don’t hear too much anymore, in this case short for Henrietta, my Grandma Buelow who, if she was still with us, would have been 123 years old yesterday.  She passed away at age 85 and played an important role here at Her Father’s Homestead. She came as a young bride in 1907, when she married my grandfather, Henry Buelow. That’s right, Henrietta Jantz married Henry Buelow, as you can see in their wedding invitation.
 

That’s where I first saw her referred to as Hattie. She came to the Homestead and built a life here, raised ten children, seven boys and three girls, all born in this wonderful old house I call home. She lived here until she passed away, cared for in her later years by her son, my Uncle Elmer and his wife, my favorite Auntie Arlene, well known to readers of this blog.

 

We saw Grandma often, as on any given Sunday we’d drive to what my Dad called The Farm, the place he grew up along with his brothers and sisters, the children of Her Father’s Homestead, and the place we visited with those aunts, uncles and cousins, because this was where Grandma lived. So many memories… A white-haired Grandma, saying grace in German and smiling; I remember her smile just like you see in the picture in the barnyard with my Grandpa, who passed away long before I was born.

                                                                                        

 

That photo is a bit unusual for its time in that it shows what’s today called a public display of affection – Grandpa has his arm around her, she’s snuggled into him and is holding his hand and she’s smiling. In the background of that photo, you see her brother-in-law, the gentleman with the hat, and also her son, my Uncle Elmer, hatchet in hand if you look closely, whom I remember with a great smile and quick to laugh, who’d be 95, today, if he was still with us.

 

                                                                                                                        Hattie’s happy

 The last photo, again a smiling Grandma, in front of what may be the old lilac tree at the corner of the house where I live.

                                         My smiling Grandma Buelow

I said a long time ago that this old Homestead of mine would tell a story, herstory, I called it. And that it has, the story of Her Father’s Homestead told through my eyes with gratitude for the women who came before me – the great grandmother I didn’t know, Grandma Buelow, Auntie Arlene and now me. Happy belated birthday, Hattie! So many memories…

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MALALA UPDATE

Ten days ago I wrote about a 14 year-old Pakistani girl named Malala, who’d been shot in the head by a Taliban would-be assassin. Why? Apparently her activism on behalf of educating girls in her country is threatening to the Taliban.  She survived the attack and is being treated in the UK.  Not only did she survive, but she’s doing well, according to a Time NewsFeed today.  She’s walked “with a little help” and the British doctors are optimistic for minimal brain damage!  According to that same article, Malala reportedly asked for her schoolbooks so she could pick up on her studies in order to be able to take her finals.  Fourteen years old – committed, passionate, courageous – I am in awe of the power of the human spirit as exemplified by one small girl.  I encourage you again, as in the original post, to pray for her recovery and to use your voice, wherever possible, to make life better for women everywhere.  Think I’m overreacting?

Four women were murdered in my state this week, one who had recently gotten a restraining order against her husband, the alleged murderer, and four more were injured.  Brookfield, WI, is not on foreign soil, my friends, it’s only a couple hours away.

So we rejoice with Malala and her family and pray for continued recovery.  We also pray for a culture that holds the Lord’s daughters in such low regard, in whatever part of the world that exists.  Blessings to all!

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A Special Woman 2012 Update

This post is an update of the birthday post published last year in honor of my favorite Auntie Arlene, whose birthday is today.  Much of the post is not new, just made current.  I spoke with her an hour ago, wished her well, told her I loved her and we’ll get together in the next couple days.  Here is the post:

Today my Auntie Arlene turns 94.   Regular readers have heard of her and seen pictures on this site before.  What makes her so special?  For one thing, it is through her that I own the Homestead.  She married one of my dad’s brothers, Uncle Elmer ( a twin), years ago and they raised their family here at the Homestead.    I spend time with her as often as both our schedules permit.  That’s right, both our schedules. 

     Auntie Arlene has a full life, full of family and friends and as of just recently, twin great grandchildren, a boy and a girl, that she got to hold yesterday!!  The newest additions bring the grand total to 13 great grandchildren.  Arlene Buelow, daughter of a twin, wife of a twin, mother of twins, is now great grandmother of twins – how cool is that?? 

She loves pro football, especially the Packers and she knows stats, more than I do.  She challenges her mind against the contestants on certain television game shows,  remains current on civic and community events and continues to engage in lively debates;  for the two of us sharing a meal  (my lunch is her dinner and my dinner is her supper)  topics range from people to politics to religion.  She’s an encourager, a woman of strength and conviction – always ready to go to prayer over whatever the need may be.  And she lets you know she’s praying for you!

      I’m thrilled to be part of her life and to have her as part of mine.  We have a conversation or visit as close to every week as possible.  When I’m in school she’s pulling for me all the time, especially when I appear tired or frustrated; I know I’m in her prayers because she tells me so.  She knows about my health, my children, my life.  At 94 she’s seen a lot and has a beautiful, serene wisdom and grace.  She’s quick to share a chuckle and loves to show you the photographs of her expanding family.

     We’re sharing lunch/dinner in a couple days.  I’ll take some new pictures of us and maybe post one here, but regardless, to me, Auntie Arlene is perennially as young and happy as she appears in that old photograph below on the right.  The photo on the leftt was “re-staged” last summer and we had a grand time doing so  🙂  Our newest fun time together is for me to bring my laptop and we go online together.  She gets a giggle out of seeing and reading the posts, understanding that this is on the World Wide Web and anyone in the world with an Internet connection can see and read about us.  We’ve gone to FaceBook and looked at lots of photos and she knows how Internet commerce is conducted.  I just called her again to do a fact check on her dad being a twin and told her that when we’re together next week, I’ll bring my laptop and show her this post; we laughed together.

                Happy94th Birthday, Auntie Arlene,  you are so loved!!  

 

 



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A Much-Anticipated Event

I have a group of friends that I believe may be fairly unique. We have a name and we gather annually, heading to the North Woods of Wisconsin from as far away as Florida. We’re old friends, some among us go back literally 57 years, the rest anywhere from roughly 30 to 50 years. We graduated from high school together 39 years ago last week. This is the year we are 57 and our annual gathering begins in just three days. Our host is Lana, the youngest of the group; for seven years we’ve invaded the North Woods to stay at Lana’s fabulous property north of Eagle River on a chain of 22 lakes. Our name, The Gazebo Girls, comes from the fact that we spend a fair amount of time in the awesome gazebo on the property and have a group photo taken there each year by a neighbor.  This is our fourth year with a theme.  Themes began with the year of Gazebo Gangstas, due to the fact that the Dillinger movie starring Johnny Depp had recently been filmed nearby.  We dressed in 1920‘s costumes and had dinner at a restaurant famous for being the site of an actual Dillinger shootout.  That was followed by the year of the Gazebo Pirates, in which we hired a pirate ship that cruises around the chain of lakes and is great for special occasions.  Picture eleven women dressed as pirates on a big ship flying the skull and crossbones, with blaring pirate music as we cruised the chain of lakes for three hours.  That was followed by Gazebo Cowgirls – more costumes and a trail ride. There will be the traditional Saturday on the pontoon boat with sun and food and lots of laughs.  Saturday night is our big dinner, prepared by our very own chef extraordinaire; she’s never let us down.  Coffee with Redi Whip, you know, that fabulous whipped creme in a can, is another tradition.  We’ll sing old favorites, loudly perhaps, laugh a lot, share a year’s worth of photos and bring each other up-to-date.  In just a few days, we’ll gather for a Gazebo Wedding, the theme for this year.  There’s a story behind the theme, which will remain untold at this time to protect the innocent 🙂

   This year maybe somewhat bittersweet as last year at the beginning of our weekend, two of our group members lost their moms. The rest of us left the North Woods at the end of our weekend and headed home to attend funerals.  We’ve shared family rites of passage, marriages and grandbabies – supported one another through death, divorce, cancer and remission thereof and the safe return of a son serving his country. We know each other well and while this is about shared history for sure, it’s also about making new memories together.   I’m excited to get there; we’ll have a blast – incorporating a local street dance into our wedding theme and generally celebrating life and friendship.  As the childhood song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”  I’m getting ready to go; to get together and celebrate with friends as precious to me as gold!!  

Below you’ll see two photos, one with most of the group present, the other an example of Lana’s dedication to theme – a Cowgirl centerpiece on an outdoor table.  I believe Patty went home with those boots 🙂 I can’t wait to see how the Gazebo Wedding 2012 unfolds; stay tuned…

                   Ten in the Gazebo ’08                                                                                                           

                                                                                                   

                                                                    Lana’s creativity                    


                                                                                                    

                     

 

    


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A Noteworthy Day Addendum

I do not believe I’ve ever done this before, but then my mom is a fairly new blog subscriber, and that should explain what’s to come. Having located the “Noteworthy” post yesterday, she called with a few corrections, or should I say clarifications, which I asked her to email rather than just tell me over the phone.  Now, I could  list them, but why not copy/paste Mom’s email and give the voice to her?  I think that would be more fun.  Keeping in mind that I asked for this email, here goes and please note, the italics are mine:

“FYI—

We did not have the plumbing in until during the summer after we got back to WI.  We lived on the farm in the home with Grandma, Aunt Arlene, Uncle Elmer, Jane, Janice and Roger.  The twins were 11 years old.  Art Gast and his father (another story) put in the bathroom, etc.  It took us 8 days to travel to Europe on the SS America.  Dad had the church service on the boat on the way there.  Billy Graham had the service on the SS United States on the return voyage.  We did not fly all the way home, just from Frankfurt to Paris.  We spent several days in Paris.  I think that’s when you acquired your love for the city and its language (I was a precocious baby).  We took the boat train to Le Havre, then boarded the ship.  Our return trip to NY took only 4 days.  However, you were correct in saying that you were the youngest baby to fly Lufthansa after it was reorganized after WW2.”

There we have it, straight from the source.  I’m pleased to post these clarifications and make sure the information you find in these pages is accurate!  And now y’all know where my French fascination may have originated.  Big smile here, Amusez-vous avec ça!! 🙂

Is there any chance for me to pull a lesson out of today’s efforts?  Of course, you know I will find one.  The lesson is that we all make mistakes sometimes, some more public than others 🙂 However there is grace enough for any of us, as the David Crowder Band sings; just follow the link and sing along.  Au revoir…

 

 


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THE LIST of DAN!

Are you fortunate enough to have someone in your life  that you can count on no matter what?  Many of us are, but how often do we acknowledge that person?  Today the person on whom I rely is having a birthday and while I’ve featured a variety of folks on these pages,until now they’ve all been women.  This time we’re going to give a big TA DA to my cousin, Dan Meyer, who has come to the rescue in some very unusual circumstances, for events that would have been fairly stressful without the help of Dan.

I’ve told him over the years that I was keeping a list and someday I’d put it on a scroll.  That hasn’t happened, so in keeping with my philosophy of letting people know that you’re grateful for their impact in your life, I’m posting this up-to-date list of  things that Dan has done for me.  You’ll find some of the items interesting, some will make you smile and others may make you shake your head. Regardless, here is my tribute to an unsung hero, someone who has come to the rescue many times, as you will see.  Read on…

The following 19 questions all have the same answer – Dan Meyer – what a blessing!

1.  Who do you call with computer issues regularly, sometimes daily?

2.  Who do you call when you need someone to care for your pets and home  

            while you’re away?

3.  You need to fix a broken window: who supplies the extra pair of hands?

4.  Who will haul salt for the water softener into the scary basement?

5.  Who will brave the scary basement to change the furnace filter?

6.  Who will help your daughter purchase a new computer long-distance?

7.  Who will you call to find a good laptop?

8.  Who repairs your GPS and returns it to you as a birthday present?

9.  Who saves the day when your GPS finally dies and you hope to transfer   

               those valuable saved locations to a new device?

10.   Who located the new device,  just like the old one, at a very low price?

11.    Who do you call when you’ve tipped over the lawn tractor, yep,  it’s   

                literally lying on its side?

12.    You’ve run out of propane and it’s wicked cold.  Who will drive out and

                  let you sit in his car with seat heaters on high until a delivery arrives

                   and the house warms up?

13.   Who do you call when your sump pump freezes mid-winter?

14.   Who do you call when your snow-blower dies?

15.    Who do you call when the rear window on your truck falls out of its

                     frame?

16.    Who do you call when you absolutely backed through the center support

                      post of your garage, destroying the post and both doors, while

                      completely shattering the rear window on your truck?

17.     Who supplies a newly painted basketball backstop to match his rebuild

                      of your garage support post and both doors?

18.     Who always witnesses your absentee ballot?

19.     Who took it upon himself to adjust and permanently stabilize a tool shed

                      in the yard?

As I said in the beginning – there is one answer to all 19 questions.  I am so grateful to my cousin, Dan, and his very gracious wife, Susan.  Thanks to the two of them, my life here at the Homestead is manageable and much more pleasant.  So today, I say with a full heart:

 Happy Birthday, Daniel Jay Meyer!!  God bless YOU!!!      3.17.12

P.S.  And to make it an even 20, I cannot believe I forgot one of the best.  Who do you call when a bat shows up in your piano studio and the terrified student runs for the door, with me right behind?   You bet, Dan Meyer to the rescue in a fairly big way, which brings to mind yet one more!!  I had a mouse one fall and it was Dan who taught me about mousetraps and how to set them without breaking a finger.  This is so fun!!  So the list is at 21;   I hope y’all are enjoying this as much as I am!!  Here’s a link to my favorite birthday songSing along and join me in wishing birthday blessings to Dan Meyer!!

And now I will say, THE END, for real and I’m going to post before I think of something else 🙂



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Do You Know Who You Are? Conversation with Kat…

Regular readers know I favor TA DA moments and Special Days.  On a special day recently, I called my sister-in-law, Kathy, to wish her a happy birthday.  Kat’s an encourager, always one to cheer you on and she’s been solidly in my corner for quite some time.  So on her birthday, I reached out via phone and we had a marvelous conversation, which is the basis for this post.  I’m not sure how the conversation started, but pretty soon we were on one of my favorite subjects – the uplifting and encouragement of women,  these days especially younger women.  We talked  about my daughters and how I had determined early on that I was going to parent them in a way that they knew unconditionally that they were of immense value and loved, not for what they did, but for the sheer fact that God created them and put them on this earth and thankfully, into my arms. 

Kat and I had been talking about their birthdays and how I posted a blog for each of them as a Special Day post.  That led to many other things and we ended up talking about younger women in general, the choices they’re making and for what reasons.  I firmly believe that if today’s generation had a better grasp of their personal worth and value, they would make far better choices.  And not just the younger generation, though it’s much more in-your-face, if you will; this applies to women of all ages.

I ended up telling some stories from the days of  facilitating women’s recovery groups.   Those ladies heard my “speech” as they called it, regularly and every so often, one brought a woman whom she introduced by saying, “This is —-, she needs your speech.”  We’d laugh together and at the appropriate moment I’d segue into the speech that usually begins with Do you know who you are?  Do you really know?  You’ve got some guy calling you names and disrespecting you?  Do you know who you are?  And better, does that guy know with whom he’s messing? 


The answer and today’s lesson – you knew one was coming – is You Are the Daughter of a King – a princess, if you will.  But not just any king, the almighty Creator King of the universe!!  And do you know what?  That means something!

That means that you have incredible worth and value, that you are most worthy of being respected, loved, treated well!  Let that thought permeate your being, your mind, your heart and your soul.  Disrespect yourself with bad choices?  Not as likely if you have a solid sense of your value.  Accept disrespect or worse from others in your life?  Not as likely if you have a solid sense of your worth. 

Do you know who you are?  Head up high, friend, confident and comfortable, standing your ground on the Solid Rock, knowing that you are indeed unique, special, worthy and of incredible value to your loved ones and to a hurting world all around you.  You have a legacy of grace, dignity, value and you have much to give. 

Follow the Solid Rock link, turn up your speakers and sing as you dance around your kitchen with joy and peace in your heart.  Do You Know Who You Are?  You bet, no doubt about it:   Worthy, Valuable and full of Grace – go on out and make a difference in the life of a woman, young or old, that you know!  

In closing I’ll share a favorite verse that closed my Conversation with Kat,  given to me by a woman in one of those aforementioned recovery groups.  Zephaniah 3:17 says that not only does the Lord take great delight in me, He’s singing with joy about me!!  Check it out for yourself then follow the Solid Rock link above; sing out loud as you dance around your kitchen reveling in the knowledge that you are most worthy!!!

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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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Hasta la Vista, Bio!!

     Regular readers know I’m not a big movie buff, can’t sit that long; I have a few all-time favorites, though not what you might expect. First is Gone With the Wind, followed by the original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  It’s from T2 that today’s title is taken – that classic movie moment when Schwarzenegger is literally terminating the bad guy, takes off his shades and says, “Hasta la vista, baby”, which has become an iconic movie line

Within moments of completing my last biology assignment late yesterday, I was deleting, terminating, if you will, all record of having taken that course.  Usually within a day or so, I burn a CD with all the papers, essays, whatever, and it’s my record of the experience.  Not this one – I couldn’t wait to wipe away all evidence of its existence; even the textbook is already goneAnd in the process of delete, delete, delete, the words “Hasta la Vista, Bio,” popped into my mind and I laughed out loud!!  My nemesis is no more.

What was the problem?  It was a combination of the course and the instructor and I can hear some eyes rolling and see a smirk or two.  Truth is, it was absolutely the course design, vindicated by the fact that midway through, after losing several group members to dropping the course and numerous emails between instructor and remaining students, the instructor actually admitted that the course was being redesigned and would be a 16-week course in the future, not 8 weeks as I had it.  I felt from the start that the work load was excessive; that was validated.  Additionally, the tests, three and four a week, were complex, confusing and virtually impossible to complete in the allotted time.  Enough said.

It’s done, gone and once this is posted, will never be mentioned again.  I’m pretty good at accepting what is, as opposed to what I would like and am not big on whining.  So I’ve done my time, that required course is history – well, it’s still biology, but no more for me – ooh, bad joke, but that’s okay, I made one – yay for me!!

The lesson here?  You knew one was coming – persevere.  While Scripture would be appropriate here, what is coming to mind is a line from an old Stone’s tune (must be that kind of day)  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”  What I needed was to pass the course and that I have done, in the process getting the first C of this college career.  Do I like it?  You know I don’t, but I reached a point where I believed, as I told the instructor in an email, that the ROI on the course was negative.  That being said, how much more effort was I willing to expend?  The end result was expending enough effort to get that C and accepting that I do not need to be an A student.  Who cares, really, besides me and perhaps the lesson is that my ego and pride needed attention.  Gotta love the way the Lord works in our lives.  I’m not claiming to know the mind of God, but it wouldn’t surprise me if our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and what I believe to be a fantastic sense of humor, too,  put me through this to teach me a bigger lesson than biology.    Point taken, Father, lesson learned and I say with joy and laughter, HASTA LA VISTA BIO!!!   Have a beautiful day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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