Countdown 57 hours – First Day of Winter

Okay not even the low number of hours till I’m hugging my Meghan can begin this post.  The feature here is, get this, minus 6° (6 below zero) air temp with a WIND CHILL of  minus 28 degrees.    That’s a wind chill factor of 28 DEGREES BELOW ZERO right now, as I’m writing.  Didn’t I use the words brutal cold yesterday?  We are there and it is indeed brutal. It even looks harsh out there and winter officially began just hours ago.

Am I heading out to church?  No, and I’m reasonably certain the Lord understands.  I will visit one of my favorite preachers online, Pastor Greg Laurie at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside California, and listen live because they stream the video during each of their services.  I can  watch/listen three times today.  In between their services I can pop over (virtually)  to Appleton Alliance Church, a wonderful place, but  difficult to travel there from here especially with blowing, drifting snow.  Pastor Dennis there was a powerful pray-er for me prior to my second brain surgery and is a gifted preacher.  I download and listen to his sermons regularly.

My own father, the most gifted preacher I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard many,  doesn’t yet have his sermons on their Web site.    I chuckled when I first moved out here and ran into some of his former parishioners.  The wife was telling me how they were out for a Sunday drive, flipping through radio stations and they heard “The Voice”  and knew immediately who it was. At 83, he’s still got it.  Having grown up with the best, I do admit to having fairly high standards for preachers.  While I certainly know that it’s supposed to be the message, not the messenger;  the messenger makes a difference.  And my father is a very powerful messenger.  Maybe he’ll get his sermons on the Web and you, too, can hear him preach.  Are you reading this, Dad?  🙂

So that’s my Sunday – I have my last transcription job of 2008 due tomorrow morning in addition to hauling out the snow-blower AGAIN and bundling up against the wind AGAIN, then more cleaning, laundry, packing, the usual pre-holiday (as in vacation) routine previously referred to .  Don’t think I’ll get to “wiping up the floor” at all  and to use one of my father’s famous lines once again – There you have it.

In 50 hours I’ll be at the airport in Green Bay, waiting to take off for Columbia, South Carolina, where my Meghan will be waiting to pick me up.  I will surely be dancing through the cleaning and packing today, amen 🙂

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Countdown 80 Hours – a New Day

One of my favorite Scriptures was given to me years ago by an adult student.  She often referred to Lamentations 3:22-23 where we’re told that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning!  There’s a thought with which to begin every day!  A whole new day and one less  until I’m hugging my daughter and being warmer.

So let’s begin true to form – a weather update.  More snow overnight, but the sparkly kind.  As sunrise isn’t for an hour-and-a-half yet, you have to look out toward the big yard light to see the sparkles, but they are there.  The dogs went out willingly and no “parts”  were brought home on the first round.  Yesterday morning in the driving wind I was trying to figure out what the “part” was  – rabbit, cat, part of a deer?  Trying to figure it out without getting too close and trying to get it into a trash bag without touching it, again, in blowing snow and driving wind, all before dawn.

The battle of the “parts” is a story in itself, to be summarized here.  I’ve done battle for months over a ribcage with an intact spine attached.  Suffice it to say that once bow season (archery hunt for deer) starts in the fall “parts” can become an issue that continues throughout the winter and once things are frozen, there’s no burying.  The humor in it, the bright side?  Last Christmas when ErinLee let one of the dogs in, he dropped the foreleg of a deer on her bare foot.  The squeals, “EUUEEEUUUEEEUUU – MOM!” brought me to investigate and there it lay on the floor of the back porch.  I’m smiling now remembering her reaction though I guarantee she’ll be rolling her eyes when she reads this.  Anyway, that’s “parts” in a nutshell and the mercies new every morning?  It’s above zero, there are sparkles and no parts came in with the first run of the day:)  Life is good and I’m one day closer to Christmas with my Meghan in a warmer climate.

So I’m into my new day – coffee with a former student home from college for Christmas,  blowing snow from the drive and the mailbox, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning – closets, drawers, etc., prep for tonight’s Celebrate Recovery, oh yeah, more cleaning, actually going to CR tonight with a snow advisory in effect and there you go, another day. Enjoy it, put on some music,  smile and dance around your kitchen!!  Adieu

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Countdown 4 days or about 96 hours!

So I started this on Friday and as so often occurs, time got away from me and this is now out-of-date.  Let’s see what can be salvaged.  I was excited about it being 4 days or 96 hours, and that is now reduced to three-and-a-half days and 84 hours – the inevitable passage of time.  Sometimes it seems to work against us, but now time is on my side, to quote an old Stones song.    In less than 90 hours I’ll be warmer and hugging my Meghan for the first time in too long. I’m focusing on how very happy that makes me, staying away from the thought that we’ll be missing one very special person, my other daughter, ErinLee, living in Seattle. Yep, opposite coasts.  Now there’s food for thought AND another post.  I know it can’t be helped that she won’t be with us and I’m grateful for the time I’m getting with one of them.  So I put a special letter in the mail to ErinLee yesterday, hoping it arrives before Christmas Day. Thankfully the mail carrier attempted to get through the pile left by the snowplow even though he had recently left me written instructions on proper access to mailboxes and  mine wasn’t quite up to par. Kind of right up there with garbage bags to the road by 6:00 a.m.

Does it sound to you like we may have gotten more snow? Sure did, several more inches along with big wind. We’re on a roll toward breaking last year’s record-breaking snowfall. As Meghan was telling me about temperatures in the 70s in South Carolina yesterday I was remembering looking out my kitchen window very early Friday morning.   The snow was coming down pretty hard and the wind – you can actually SEE the wind. Meghan and I talked about that – see the wind? Oh yes, out here in the country with large open areas, the wind moves across the front yard and the fields, picking up the snow as it rolls and blows along. You can see what looks like a wall of snow not unlike ocean waves rolling onto the beach, beautiful.

We’re above zero now – what a difference that makes – and may even stay there throughout the day though for tomorrow night they’re predicting wind chill of 25 below.  That is brutal cold and even for me, hard to find the beauty or the bright side there.  The only thing I can think of is that when it’s hitting minus 25° here I’ll be just 48 hours away from what will seem like a whole nother world.   So we’ll leave yesterday behind and go on to new thoughts in a new day –  à toute à l’heure…

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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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Time Redeemed

For a day that began with a post entitled Scattered (scroll down) it ended up being a gift, truly!  I’m sure you don’t want a blow-by-blow, but let me just make a little list:

  1. Had long overdue catch-up conversation with a good friend
  2. Learned that a favorite student was coming back after six months off
  3. Was given the opportunity to provide a very awesome gift to a student’s family.
  4. Drove to a nearby city with an old friend under a gorgeous night sky- did anyone else see that moon?
  5. Had a wonderful dinner with that old friend!
  6. Attended an amazing holiday concert by composer and pianist Jim Brickman in a great venue
  7. Was able to gift tickets to that concert to a student and her mom and see them there enjoying it!!

Not bad for a day that began in disarray!!  And I am taking it as God’s personal gift to me!!  When I do settle in for sleep I will be giving thanks for a day that was certainly redeemed from it’s rather unorganized beginning.  Who knew at 9:30 a.m. that at midnight I’d be reflecting on a day of accomplishment, satisfaction and time well spent. And it won’t go unsaid that the to-do list mentioned in the Scattered post did indeed take a couple of whacks.

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Little Sparkles part two

Wouldn’t you know it?  Having just decided on the name of my project here, Her Father’s Homestead, this morning’s message was based on The Lord’s Prayer, which begins with those words familiar to many, “Our Father…”  Affirmation, confirmation, call it what you will.  I call it Little Sparkles (scroll down to Part One for definition)  It was like a message from my Father telling me He was pleased with the project.

I listened intently to Pastor John, focusing on My Heavenly Father, while allowing the morning’s frustration to melt away and surrounding myself with the warmth of believing that that Little Sparkle was the morning’s gift to me.

No matter what our immediate circumstances, there is always hope.  There are those who will call me unrealistic, a Pollyanna, an incurable optimist.  I’ve even been called a liar for proclaiming the positive instead of embracing what some had deemed a a terrible prognosis.

But I believe in Little Sparkles and I’ve had more than my share.  When faced with a malignant brain tumor in 2006 and the resultant brain surgery, radiation, chemo, and supposed dire prognosis for this condition, I wouldn’t claim it for myself.  Now having passed the one-year mark, a milestone for this disease, then the two-year mark, a bigger milestone and now being within four months of the three-year milestone, I’m still receiving Little Sparkles along the way.

Call me what you will, it won’t change the fact that I CHOOSE to see the Sparkles that my Father sends my way rather than dwell on the dull, perhaps ugly “reality” when faced with adversity.

As a political activist having just endured yet another Presidential election, I’m familiar with the concept of “Perception is reality.”  Maybe you’ve heard that concept, too, maybe not.  But if you are feeling under the weather emotionally, a bit on the less-than-positive side of life, I so encourage you to watch for the Little Sparkles and marvel at them.  Perceive them as a little gift and your reality will be enhanced.  You may find yourself smiling, breathing a silent, “Thank you, Father,” maybe even doing a little dance around your kitchen.  (Those who know me may be grinning at that mental picture 🙂   Enjoy … and bask in the warmth of your Father’s love.   till the next time, adieu.

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