A Much-Anticipated Event 2013

 

Today I’m updating what is becoming an annual post.  It’s time for the gathering of cherished friends, a group that I believe may be fairly unique. We have a name and each year we migrate to the North Woods of Wisconsin from as far away as Florida. We’re old friends, some among us go back literally 58 years, the rest anywhere from roughly 30 to 50 years. We graduated from high school together 40 years ago last week. This is the year we are 58 and our annual gathering begins in just two days. Our host is Lana, the youngest of the group; for eight 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 as seen below. 

Ten G's in a G

Ten G’s in a G

This is our fifth 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. Last year we staged a Gazebo Wedding and that is enough said.  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, Mary B; she always amazes us.  Coffee with, you know, that fabulous whipped creme in a can, is another tradition, as is Patti’s creation of a signature drink to complement our theme.  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 two days, we’ll gather for West High Story, the theme for this year, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of our graduation from Green Bay West High School.

   Two years ago at the beginning of our weekend, two of our group members lost their moms. A third old friend’s 29 year-old daughter passed away.  When the rest of us left the North Woods, we 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 our 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 getting excited to get there; we’ll have a blast – celebrating life and friendship.  As the childhood song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”   

12 Gazebos in 2012

12 Gazebos in 2012

 

 

This group of old friends is as precious to me as gold and I’m looking forward to another great gathering!

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A Long Strange Trip…

Today’s post takes its title from an old Grateful Dead tune; many of you will recognize the phrase.  This past week has been an emotional roller coaster.  From the terror event at the Boston Marathon through its conclusion late yesterday and a horrific explosion in West, Texas, the national scene has been intense.  On a personal level, one of my dogs passed away, a favorite aunt is hospitalized and I’m struggling to get my head around the subject of my current research paper, due in two days.  Thanks to my dad I have the introduction handled, but just cannot get to the heart of my subject’s theology.  Additionally, the footnote function on both my computers doesn’t function.  Must be lost in cyberspace or something, but how strange? to have it fail on two computers…  Another thanks here to my niece, Marissa Rae, who’s saved my technical behind more than once; in a late-night phone session she came up with a backdoor way to create footnotes.  I get the whole idea of protecting “intellectual property” and I agree.  What I don’t get is the need to have to numerous styles of formatting, one for the sciences,  another for humanities and it all seems like so much process for the sake of process or rules for the sake of rules, of which we all know I am not a fan.  

More to the strange trip of this past week – my Shadow died, Soleil is lonely and confused, there’s mud absolutely everywhere and huge tracks through the yard from a semi trying to back in.  It’s still snowing randomly and not very warm.  Most of the yard is like quicksand and shows very little signs of Spring life.  I sound whiny, don’t I?  Having read theTough Mudder pledge earlier today, one of the pledge points is about not whining – little kids whine.  

You might ask why I’d be reading the Tough Mudder Pledge – at this very moment one of my daughters is participating in the event.  I was fine until I actually read some of the obstacles. Now I’m not a worrier, don’t believe in it as a rule, but sliding on her belly beneath live electrical wires?  pulling herself through narrow pipes filled with mud?  Still not worrying; I prefer to think of the enormous challenge and am filled with admiration at the magnitude of the undertaking. Besides, as was said in a conversation with my cousin, Jane, this morning worrying doesn’t do a thing, changes nothing.  So I put her and her husband in God’s hands – I’m thinking He’s proud of His children’s use of their physical prowess, a gift.  

Yet another strange feeling for this mother is to have her daughters flying in separate directions this weekend.  One already noted, the other off to a fun weekend with friends – confident and capable to grab life and participate.  All the same, another piece of the long, strange trip – we are so very far apart (physically)  and I’m not convinced that I like it…

That said, world events – tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, an earthquake in China, personal setbacks small in comparison, and I’m still feeling like this has been a strange trip of a week, one not over till that research paper is submitted and two tests are taken.  By then daughters will back in their respective cities, texts will have been exchanged letting this mother know that all is well in our sphere of the world and life goes on…

The words of the Grateful Dead resonate with me right now, but I’ve gotta believe that there’s a plan and all things will be used to fulfill it, one way or another and it does not have to make sense to us now.  For those of you who may not share my worldview, think if we knew the future, knew how our lives would unfold.  Would that be helpful?  I’m not certain any of us would be happy with that foreknowledge.   I’m content to leave it in my Father’s hands and trust that the grand design has been written by a greater Mind than mine. 

In the end, the weeks ahead will return to normal, everything in its time, and the world will keep turning.  Strange may become a tool for personal growth and we may develop a new normal.  Either way, we’re here for the duration and I’m thankful for all of you in my life!  Be blessed…

 

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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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The World Just Keeps on Turning…

With 30 minutes to official sunrise, I’ve been watching the moon make its journey across the sky for hours.  Wide awake since 3a.m., with bright moonlight streaming through the window, I’m thinking of two people in these early morning hours. Last night brought word that my favorite Auntie Arlene, spoken of often in these pages, is spending the night in the local hospital.  She’s 93 and I’m wondering what she’s thinking about and how she’s feeling in these predawn hours; it’s too early to call and the world just keeps on turning…

I’ve mentally run through my to-do list, with wedding prep and school prep on deck for the day. My excitement is building at the prospect of a joyful gathering in just ten days to celebrate with Meghan and Brian and the added bonus of having Erin Lee home – the three of us together – this mother’s heart is full. 

Forty miles away, another mother is waking up, if she slept at all, on what would normally be a day of celebrating her daughter’s birthday.  The world just keeps on turning, even though her daughter passed away last June at age 29 and this is the first birthday without her.  

Watching the moon move past my window, I’m reminded that the moon wasn’t moving at all and that what appears to be happening is not real.   There are  laws of nature at work here and as King Solomon said long ago, there is a time for everything, time to weep or laugh and dance or mourn.  The world just keeps on turning and what does that mean for us?  Y’all have heard this before, but I believe we can never hear it too often.  Cherish the special moments, create them, and hold those you love close to heart; let them know regularly and repeatedly that they are special to you. 

I had dinner with Auntie Arlene Friday night – we shared a great fish fry and for the first time in her 93 years, she experienced  the world of the Internet.  Through the marvel of technology, I was able to take her online and we went shopping!!  We laughed, she was amazed and I was so happy to share that time with her

The sun is up and it’s time for me to move away from this desk; I’ve already emailed my friend, acknowledging her daughter’s birthday and her loss.  I’ll call the hospital shortly, get the trash up to the road and leave here in an hour to attend a Lent service nearby and hopefully share a smile with two nieces and a nephew.  Then it’s back to work and a walk with the dogs later in what’s supposed to be a beautiful 74-degree day here,

Love and be loved and find  comfort and hope  in knowing that the world just keeps on turning because a loving Heavenly Father has everything under control!!

Blessings…

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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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Post-Thanksgiving 2011

I didn’t do the usual O Give Thanks essay last night and in the bright sunlight of the day after Thanksgiving, it seems inappropriate.  So a new direction for this day.  Am I out shopping?  Not on your life; I have never done the Black Friday thing and Lord help me, I have no intention of starting any year in the future.  So if you’re easily offended, you may want to tune this one out because I’m about to speak my mind.  Why? Because I can; this is my site. 

I will venture out today, but no further than the hardware store and only to pick up pellets for the water softener so my cousin, Dan, can add them when he comes by later to change the furnace filter, which I’ve determined may be the cause of my allergy challenges these last couple of weeks.  I’ll say right out of the gate, I do not get this mad frenzy to camp out in parking lots in the cold, to battle other folks to get a “deal.”  Not only do I not get it, I’m fairly appalled by the whole idea.  This year it’s even worse.  Stores that used to open at 5:00 a.m. on Friday were open ALL DAY on Thanksgiving so folks can be grabby and pushy and rude  in pursuit of  stuff to show how much they love others!  I do not get it.

Why do I care?  Why not just quietly not participate?  Because I don’t have to be quiet; this is the place I can speak my truth.  It hurts my heart to see and hear the level of greed and want to which this nation has fallen.  Late last night, while knitting a Christmas gift for someone special, yep, I said knitting, a good old-fashioned hand-made gift, I turned on the BBC news on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT).  That’s a clue – I don’t have cable.  A guest in the US was asked his opinion of what he was seeing.  His comments were enlightening – first he was shocked that people were in tents with small children to be first in line at an electronics store. It actually got funny as his amazement continued.  It was Thanksgiving, an American holiday, and he didn’t see a whole lot of giving thanks; he saw a whole lot of scrambling for stuff, stuff that doesn’t make a bit of difference in the big picture and I don’t mean televisions. 

On the other hand, I spent a fair amount of time yesterday on the phone with a very special 15-1/2 year old who doesn’t have a place to live, no home, right here in Shawano County on Thanksgiving Day 2011, because of an abusive, alcoholic parent, a mother, no less!  It breaks my heart.  This young woman, a former student of mine, is very intelligent, motivated, an A student involved in lots of activities.  Additionally, she is musical, funny, loves to read and had just begun her first job to save money for a car so she could continue to get to work and not be at the mercy of her mother’s sobriety or lack thereof.  

We spent a good deal of time trying to come up with a plan, nothing big or grandiose, just a plan that would get her through the next six months, allow her to finish the school year and get that driver’s license in safety and some semblance of sanity without the constant stress jeopardizing her ability to continue to do well.  Thanksgiving?  She initially wasn’t very thankful – she’s angry, understandably so.  Two parents and no parental stability or guidance; one not very available and the other physically, emotionally and spiritually very ill, resulting in a barrage of venom, hateful name-calling and constant battering of this 15-1/2 year old spirit.  

What does this young woman want for Christmas?  Not another gadget, that’s for sure.  She wants her mother to be sober and to quit calling her names and provide a home.  Is that too much to ask?  Is this all true, you might wonder.  Yes, it is.  I’ve seen this mother in action going back five+ years.  I’ve had this young woman sit down on the piano bench and when I asked the standard, “How was your week?” have her burst into tears because of a ruined 13th birthday party. 

I’ve seen this coming, observing her recent comments on Facebook and receiving a plea for help via Facebook message in the last two weeks.  Yesterday we talked about the reality of her life, what IS, not what she dreams. We brainstormed practical solutions and a six-month plan.  We talked about alcoholism,  rehab and relapse and the odds of her Christmas wish coming true in the next four weeks and how to persevere through broken dreams.  O Give Thanks, I thought to myself and sighed a prayer that my Lord remembers this young woman, which I believe He does. 

Our conversation ended with a shared chuckle.  I haven’t mentioned that she loves to write.  I told her to think about the story she’s got inside and being able to tell it to the benefit of others.  She laughed that wonderful laugh of hers at the thought of being a published author someday and speaking from a stage to a group of young people.  We hung up the phone with a bit of hope for better days to come.  This young woman is a survivor and I believe she will triumph, and in the scheme of things, that big picture, again, there’s not enough stuff on the planet to fill the holes in our souls. 

Going into this  Christmas season, look around, find a way to share yourself and your blessings with someone in need.  They’re everywhere and I believe the best way to lift your own spirits is to help or encourage someone else.  Lets truly be thankful during this season and demonstrate the sentiment by sharing it!  Happy Thanksgiving and looking ahead, Merry Christmas, too, and yes, it is Christmas with a capital C!

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Another Special Day

     What a blessed woman I am – two special days in one week.  Today we celebrate my firstborn child, Erin Lee, born 27 years ago tonight, just just shy of midnight, changing my world forever.   I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed or taken; it wasn’t that common then.  When I told my obstetrician that I was embroidering her Christmas stocking and already had her name across the top; he reminded me that the odds were 50/50.  When I told him that I was working on her first Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin –  he just shook his head.  And then she was born, four days overdue, in typical fashion, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee –  I just knew. 

     She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and it truly was love at first sight.  I asked for her bassinette to be left in my room, not all that common then, but I couldn’t imagine them just whisking her off to a nursery.  I wanted to get to know this little miracle and that we did – gently dancing around the hospital room to the taped music I had brought along, forging an unbreakable bond.

     What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. We were talking about that just last week in a fun conversation about her impending birthday and nearing the age of 30, close to my age at her birth.  As I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years, there is absolutely nothing on the face of this earth that could possibly change the fact of my unconditional love for her; she was and always will be my Erin Lee. 

With her permission, I describe her as 105 pounds of pure spitfire, a force of nature.  She’s an artist in personality and temperament, unlike myself;  I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, from little on, with totally different eyes than mine.  I’ve saved samples of her art over the years; a fascinating  journey through the developing eye and mind of an artist’s view of her world, always a unique perspective.  It will provide the back-story when she’s famous, having her first gallery show.  In the meantime, three of her paintings hang in my home and I wear several pieces of her jewelry.

  An early reader, having completed the Laura Ingalls Wilder series at age six (a gift from her first-grade teacher during one of her many hospitalizations), she’s intelligent and articulate.  I used to joke that all the time spent in an oxygen tent paid off beautifully, the silver lining to the difficult days of chronic illness first manifested at five months.  With a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pepe Le Pew, the French-speaking cartoon character and a first-rate imitation of Lady, star of the movie Lady and the Tramp, this was a little girl who let you know, with a toss of her hair,  that she knew she was special and that is for certain.   When Erin Lee laughs, everybody laughs, it’s positively contagious.  She’s fiercely loyal with a wicked wit.  If you’re close to her, she may challenge you in ways that test your soul, but the result is always worthwhile; I’m smiling as I reminisce in these early-morning hours  

  My firstborn child is 27 today.  I am so very proud of the woman she has become and I am a better person for being her MummaLee.  Blessings, Erin Lee and thank you for the joy and sheer pleasure you’ve brought me over these 27 years.  I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.                                                                 

Erin Lee today          

 

 

Erin Lee by Erin Lee

       Joyeux Anniversaire,

                     Erin Lee

                     J’adore!!!

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Another TA DA!!

Readers know I’m a fan of TA DA moments, have written about them here before, but just what does it mean?  I think it’s something I picked up from a nephew, Colby, years ago.  When Col was young, he was fascinated by magic and eager to show anyone and everyone his latest trick.  He had put together a show complete with magician’s hat and cape and a very fun routine.  At the end of each trick, he’d say, “Ta da;”  it was too cute.  I don’t remember ever using the words before then, but since then I’ve made them mine.  A TA DA moment can be anything from a fabulous sunset to getting a well-deserved A in a tough class, to something that just absolutely makes you smile or laugh out loud. 

Yesterday was such a day.  I’ve been out here at the Homestead now for just about eight years and in that time I’ve become closer to a special woman y’all have heard about, my favorite Auntie Arlene.  I wrote about her most recently in July, commemorating her 93rd birthday.  I posted one of my all-time favorite photos, Auntie Arlene and me on the front steps of the Homestead, taken approximately 54 years ago. 

We’ve talked, she and I, about re-staging that old photo and one day recently at a get-together with her daughters, she said, “Should we do it today?”  That didn’t work out, but yesterday, a beautiful, sunny day, my cousin, Janice, called, said she was in town at her mom’s and how about we take that picture.  What a fabulous idea and within a couple hours, Janice, her twin sister, Jane, and Auntie Arlene, all 93 years of her, were here.  And TA DA time had begun. 

Below you’ll see  that old photo, taken when I was about two, along with a brand-new one taken yesterday!  I didn’t sit on her lap, for obvious reasons, but we did choose the same spot and amid all kinds of laughter, we took that photo.

 We  shared hugs and smiles and just reveled in the relationship.  And that, my friends, is a quintessential TA DA.   Is it important in the scheme of world events?  You bet it is in my world. I’ve said it before and will likely say it again – where we come from is important and tradition is the glue that binds us together.  And survivor that I am, the oft -repeated message here is cherish your loved ones and never miss the opportunity to let them know they are loved and cherishedLook for  those TA DA moments, create them whenever you’re able and tuck them deep into your heart!!   Blessings!!

Arlene and LeeAnn 54 years ago

Auntie Arlene & LeeAnn today

Auntie Arlene & LeeAnn today

 

 

 

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TWO DAYS!!

I’ve posted countdowns over the years, usually counting the days till I’m spending time with one of my daughters; that is the case today.  In approximately two days and and three hours, I will be hugging my Meghan.  She’s bringing her boyfriend for his first visit to WI.  Yep, meet the grandparents, my favorite Auntie Arlene, referred to often in this blog, as well as several cousins and a favorite aunt on her dad’s side, a woman we called Auntie Mama, and other special people in our lives who haven’t seen her in a year and never met the boyfriend.

Two days, what does that mean?  It means I’m busy, working my way through multiple lists and checking things off.  Some of you will get this, others will question my sanity, but regular readers know this is an inherited characteristic, one I’ve written about before, the things this woman goes through in preparation for guests or a trip of my own.  In fact, just had a call from my friend, Karen, who understands and has helped on occasion.  A number of years back, before my second brain surgery, Karen came out here, went through the clothes in my laundry room, steamed everything and reorganized and colorized my upstairs closets.  Again, I believe I got it from my mom, though she denies it.

So, all guest-room linen has been washed and line-dried outside, just the way Meghan loves it.  The bathroom cupboards, drawers and closet are in order, all the little storage bins washed, dried and reorganized.  The front porch is halfway there, there, my main desk is done – found lots of great stuff I’d forgotten about, everything now organized by event/date in zip-lock bags and two drawers of photos!  The living room is almost done, bookshelves dusted, vacuumed and straightened.

As usual, when you’re in a hurry or on limited time, things happen.  Couldn’t be more true of today.  Two days ago, something happened to my forearm; it swelled up, was red, very warm and very itchy, but this morning it was dramatically worse – moving up and around my arm.  Called my nurse practitioner, unavailable, and her nurse wanted me to go to the E.R. – not likely to happen so they sent me to a nearby clinic.  Two hours out of this busy day and no resolution yet.  Someone said long ago, “It’s always something” 🙂  Back home again and back at it. 

In two days Meghan will be here and all will be ready.  We’ll meet in Green Bay,  have six glorious days; lots of fun things planned, memories will be made.  This mother may not have chosen to have daughters living on opposite coasts, but regular readers know I deal in what IS, not necessarily what I would like.  It’s the only way I know how to do things – no worries, no fear, live the best you can in the moments you’re given.  Reach out to those around you, make certain your loved ones know they’re loved & cherished.

Two days and I’ll be hugging my Meghan, burying my face in her hair and reveling in the scent of my daughter.  Forty-eight hours and much to do; good thing finishing the mowing is on my list – another blessing – I get to head outside into a fabulous day, hop on the mower and soak up the warmth and sunshine, then time to turn up the music and dance my way through the rest of my lists! 

God is so good to us and I’m very thankful in advance for the blessings of the coming week; I’m sure by tomorrow my arm will be better and in two days…!

As the French say, c’est la vie...  🙂

 


 

 


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