The Ugly Coat Came Out Today!!

That’s right, this coat has a name and few people have ever seen it; I can think of five including myself, Erin Lee, Meghan Lee, the original owner and her daughter, who is no longer with us.  It is ugly, which is one of the reasons it ended up with me 🙂  An old friend who dislikes brutal cold even more than I do had purchased it years ago, then was forbidden by her daughter  to wear it in public.  When I moved out here to the Homestead, my friend gifted it to me figuring that living in Shawano Country, it probably didn’t matter how ugly the coat is, it may well come in handy.  My daughters rolled their eyes, and the coat became an annual joke.  I comment every year when the coat comes out; it’s my temperature gauge and for it to come out means it’s fairly cold.  I should keep track of the date each year.like an almanac of cold; haven’t done it so far, but today it’s going in the planner, to be transferred on New Year’s Day to the 2014 planner for future reference 🙂  

How ugly is it, you might ask?  I’ll try to explain in words and a visual just what it’s all about.

Faded purple, puffy everything, hood, even an emblem of something on the sleeve

Faded purple, puffy everything, hood, even an emblem of something on the sleeve

 

 It is big, HUGE, puffy, doesn’t all fit in a single photo and full-length   That’s right, no short little thing that leaves your behind exposed.  This comes right down to the top of my boots, even has a hood and large sleeves that allow for several layers.  It’s so heavy that it has to go in a closet on a double hanger.  I tried hanging it with the  others on the back porch coat tree, but it tips the whole thing over. I”m one who collects jackets and coats, the fact that this one item outweighs all the others combined should give you some idea 🙂  

Thinking about that, I could wear it around the house for exercise, maybe it would act as a full body weight instead of the girlie wrist and ankle weights I use; perhaps it could be like a personal sweat coat.  Who knew that it could be multipurpose, all the while in the house where no one but Soleil can observe and he promised never to tell:)  As far as I know there are no photos of this coat being worn because even here in the country, I’d be hard pressed to wear this into town.  It has not yet been that cold, even in Wisconsin and I do have a fur that is much more attractive.  Either way, the outfit is completed with my ancient white Sorels – big, insulated, waterproof, you know the kind that last forever, you just update the liner occasionally and yes, they are very white.  I bought new gloves a few weeks ago, supposed to be guaranteed to keep hands warm and dry to  -30º, we’ll see :).  Now that The Ugly Coat has been taken out of storage, I’m ready for for whatever.  

And there’s one more thing – the ice cleats that go on your boots.  Used to have a pair, lost one and found out the hard way last winter that one is generally insufficient to keep a person upright.  In the interest of staying on my feet and avoiding another concussion, when the back steps were slippery yesterday morning, I went on the hunt for a PAIR of cleats, which I found and now own.  That said, now I may be ready for whatever.  

As good ol’ King Solomon said back in the day, every season has its time.  I’m not so sure I’ll ever agree that there’s a time for brutal cold, or even just regular cold, but I am as ready as I can be now that The Ugly Coat has shown up again.  Stay warm, be blessed!!

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Cows on the Loose and a Mouse in the House

cows-centre-crop1How’s that for just another Sunday afternoon on the farm?  All I was trying to do was get a head-start on the trimester of school that begins tomorrow.  Way too simple a plan for the day apparently.  The mouse was and still is more unpleasant than the cows – smaller, but more intimidating.  Who wants to deal with that?

So I do what I always do in times of distress on the farm  – call my Cousin Dan.  And to the rescue, as always, Dan appears.  We baited a mousetrap and placed it strategically – actually Dan did the placing, I applied  peanut butter, crunchy, all natural, by the way, to entice the intruder to its demise.    Now I have to stay away so the intruder takes the bait.  That’s what Dan said when I asked about getting the soon-to-be-deceased out of the house.  I’m supposed to stay away until tomorrow;  stay out of my piano studio and pretend I’m not waiting to hear a !SNAP! for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

The cows?  We’ve had this before, even posted about it before.  A call to the neighbor got them here to corral their animals, not before there were some in the road, which drew spectators, some fearful to keep driving, and two local sheriff’s deputies in squad cars.  Thankfully no lights and sirens – could have caused a stampede 🙂

Isn’t that the way things go?  Your plans get turned upside down by a rodent and some bovine escapees.  I’m sure there’s a lesson here – haven’t figured it out yet.  I’m thinking there has to be some appropriate music as well, but I cannot imagine what, besides Old MacDonald or Hickory Dickory Dock and that won’t do.  So I’m off to salvage what’s left of the day and perhaps to ponder that potential lesson I mentioned.  If anyone has an idea, you know how to reach me through this site.  Bénédictions …


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Catch-Up?

Playing catch-up? Very often these days, I seem to be in catch-up mode; tonight is no exception.  With algebra going fairly well, but still time-consuming, and daily life with all that entails, things are good though the pace is frenetic. What keeps me grounded?  My faith, for sure, and the things I’m looking forward to – elder daughter will be with me in a month; I cannot wait to hug that child, though at almost 25, young woman is more appropriate.  Her sister, almost 24, is in the midst of a fairly large life event -buying a  first home; lots of excited phone calls back and forth.

With  these young women on opposite coasts and us all trying to stay involved in one another’s  lives, the time between hugs seems far too long.  My solace is that I must have done something right along the way to have two beautiful, intelligent, articulate, independent, successful young women who still count their mom as confidante and advisor.  I am so blessed and in no time at all I’ll be hugging my ErinLee and enjoying her laughter, and two months after that I’ll be hugging my Meghan Lee and hopefully visiting in her new home.  Great thoughts to keep me moving forward.

A fabulous Amma massage today certainly helped me relax and my return to a regular yoga class to readjust my form and move back toward the top of my game – all great things on the road to taking the best care of me so I can take the best care of all with which I’ve been entrusted. Be well and live on the upside of life, no matter how things appear.   Off to algebra for me.  À bientôt…

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An Angry Man

I was screamed at, flipped off – with both hands, no less – and called a name I really hate!!  All  by a guy with at least three small children watching him and in front of a store employee!   Mentioned the incident to my ErinLee and sure enough, a similar thing happened to her the same day in a grocery store across the country.  Did I provoke?  No, I motioned for him to move his truck so I could get around him and be on my way and the three vehicles behind me as well.

I haven’t even said that he hopped out of his truck and was moving toward mine while  flipping me off and growling obscenities.   My mind flew back in time and I was ready.  I quickly hit the door lock, checked my window – how far was it open – and calculated, “He’s coming at an angle.”  In those few seconds I figured if he kept coming I could use my truck to back him up and give him a little vehicular hug if he chose not to back off with me moving toward him.

I hurt for those children, knowing the stats on boys raised in abusive homes;  not just the boys, but their future spouses as well.  And his daughter, if one of those children was a girl – what would she look for in a husband someday?

An angry man setting the stage for generations to come.  It’s everywhere;  if you pay attention in your daily encounters you’ll see lots of anger.  Road rage, ErinLee hollered at in the grocery store, name-calling, scowling faces.  It’s all around us.  It is said that  anger flows from hurt. If so, why are we in so much pain?

How are you?


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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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Gaining Ground

I’m still playing catch-up from the weekend misfortunes, but at least I’m playing.  I definitely had an attitude challenge going and thankfully,  have moved through it.  My house is almost normal, though my ears are tuned to the on/off cycles of the furnace and I”m less than completely unpacked.  But my truck is running and I was able to get groceries and sand from the pile kept by the city for ice emergencies such as we had.  Hard to imagine that clearing away ice is a topic of local news, but it is.  I heard that cities nearby are going to begin sending out workers to chop/scrape ice from the sidewalks and homeowners will be charged $80 for the service.  That’s winter where I live.

I don’t have sidewalks.  I have a fairly long driveway that empties into a circle around which the house, garage, shed, barn, etc, are grouped, a fairly large area to attack with traditional methods like sidewalk salt and/or sand and a manual ice chipper.  So I mixed salt into the 32-gallon trash barrel full of sand and spread it strategically, hoping that a slight rise in temperature would facilitate some melting.  The weatherman said it wouldn’t happen today, but how often is the guy right?  Today, of course, when I have to make sure that my students and their parents can get in and out of the driveway and the house safely.

Being a generally positive positive person and no longer dwelling in self-pity, I looked for the humor.   Today that was visualizing myself trying to carry a bucket of salt/sand from back steps to garage – remember it’s an out-building -while utilizing ski poles to stay upright – how many hands did I say I have?  But at least the ski poles were handy, already out on the back porch as part of seasonal decor and they did, indeed, aid in keeping me on my feet and a brown salt/sand path now runs from the house to the garage making safe passage  more likely.

As for getting the truck started, thanks to the wood stove out in the garage and numerous trips to stoke it with kindling and all the paper I’ve been meaning to burn, bundled and booted against negative wind chills,  I produced enough heat to thaw the lines of the truck and on one of those trips to stoke the fire I decided to just give it another try.  Singing like a child at the top of my lungs – another reason to live in the country fairly far removed from neighbors – “I am trusting Thee to guide me, Thou alone shalt lead, every day and hour supplying all my need,”   I turned the key in the ignition and, voilà, the truck started.

To quote my father once again, “There you have it.”  When feeling sad, defeated, low, I resort to music and prayer, sometimes together via old favorite hymns, or playing my piano.   Try it, sing like no one can hear you, unless you have a beautiful voice – then sing so everyone can.

And remember, you cannot – it’s not physically possible – you cannot be singing  praises out loud and dwelling in despair in your mind.    The brain doesn’t work that way – we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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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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