She’s ALIVE!

Today’s Laugh: A long-lost friend emailed me recently after a long, long time of being disconnected. She started her email with, “I know you’re alive because I Googled you and didn’t find an online obituary…”

Whew! Good to know!

Today’s Encouragement: Yes, I have been “missing in action” for a time. After DaMama’s passing, life took a wonderful turn–I returned to school to get my master’s degree. This was a dream I’d harbored for most of my adult life and the time was right. And DaMama, who returned to school in her 50′s to get her GED and some business training, was my inspiration!

My encouragement to you today is two-fold: First, don’t wait to pursue your dreams. As the saying goes, “It’s never too late to become who you were meant to be!” Go for it!

And, oh yeah, don’t neglect your friends to the point where they have to Google you to find out if you’re still alive!

I’m glad to be back with you and I look forward to reconnecting in the coming weeks!

Spring Thaw

TODAY’S LAUGH: Those of us in snow country know what the spring thaw brings. Piles of dirty snow melting away revealing…um, piles of dirty junk we forgot to put away last fall.

I watch in awe as the huge snow piles shrink. “Hey, there’s the rake! And I see the wheelbarrow!” Later I called my friend to confess, “I’m so embarrassed. I thought we’d lost a lawn chair last fall, but it emerged from the snow today. And so did our cooler.”

“That’s nothing,” she said. “Our barbecue grill reappeared today, and it still had burgers on it.”

This is why she and I are friends.

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: Why are we so happy that it’s finally spring? Think about it. Spring means we can add a hundred outside-the-house tasks to the list of a hundred inside-the-house tasks.

I was just about to complain when I came across this quote: “I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.” (Nancie J. Carmody)

Ah. Perspective. I’m thankful, too, to have a home and yes, even thankful for the list. So I’ll clean up the junk and wash the windows. While I’m at it, I’ll take a swipe at the mental cobwebs that have been growing through the winter. Grumbling. Fear. Bitterness. I’ll let in the fresh air of gratitude, hope and forgiveness.

I hear the season echoing the words of the Creator. “The old has gone; the new has come.”New season. Fresh start. Welcome, Spring!

May you be blessed with a fresh start today, and may you be a blessing to everyone you meet.

P.S. Waukesha, WI friends: Come laugh with me at PajamaRama at Ascension Lutheran on Friday, April 1st. Hope to see you there!

“YAAHOOHOOHOOEEE!”

TODAY’S LAUGH: I’ve always loved school, but this is school on steroids. This is school times a gazillion. This is school to the max for my old brain. This is an adventure.

I feel like Goofy in “The Art of Skiing.” Well, the part where Goofy goes flying off the ski jump, “YAAHOOHOOHOOEEE!”

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: Reinhold Messner writes in Free Spirit, “Adventure is not made up of distant lands and mountaintops. Rather it lies in one’s readiness to exchange the domestic hearth for an uncertain resting place.” 

The domestic hearth is comfortable, warm and predictable. Exchanging all that for the unknown can be scary. Safety is staying where we are; adventure is stepping away from that. (I told DaHusband I’d found my “uncertain resting place.” He said, “You’re just down the highway. It’s not really that uncertain.”)

Okay, so I didn’t go that far in physical distance, but I’m traveling at warp speed right now, toward a future that’s new and exciting. It’s an adventure and all I can say is, “YAAHOOHOOHOOEEE!”

How about you? Do you hear the call of something new for yourself? Maybe it’s a new career path, or changing an old habit. Maybe it’s a new, healthier lifestyle, or a new field of study. Maybe it’s clearing out the clutter and making room for new things in your life and in your heart. Whatever it is, heed the call. Adventure awaits. How exciting!

Mom Jeans and All-Bran

TODAY’S LAUGH: This grad school adventure is the first time I’ve “gone away to school.” I share a house a couple days a week with four undergrads. I was a little nervous about the whole deal till my daughter reassured me. “You’ll be fine, Mom. You don’t have to worry about your roommates wanting to borrow your clothes. Especially your jeans. Or your shoes. And…”

“I get the picture,” I said. Then she added, “And your All Bran cereal will be safe, too!”

Thanks. I think.

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: Turns out my roommates are supportive, encouraging and kind, as are my classmates. So is the faculty. (Hmm. I seem to be the only one concerned with my age. Note to that voice in my head reminding me how old I am: STOP IT!)

I’ve heard that “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” It’s true. I’ve heard from several of you who have started over, restarted over again later, or finally finished what you started years ago. You give me great hope.

I believe it’s “never too late” and that each day is a new start, offering new adventures and challenges. And I’m learning I can do all kinds of things if I take them one step at a time.

One step at a time, one class, one chapter, one test at a time, I’ll get there. (And I hear echoes of DaMama’s advice: “The trick is to remain upright and don’t stop moving.”)

So I’ll keep moving forward. Slowly, steadily, I’ll get there. In my uncool jeans and eating my All Bran, I’ll get there.

How about you? Is there something “unfinished” in your life? A dream you always dreamed? A new adventure or challenge you long to pursue? Wherever you’re going, you’ll get there…one step at a time.

Decide today what your first step will be. (Note to that “it’s too late” voice in your head: STOP IT!) Take that first step and just keep moving!

May you be blessed and be a blessing to others as you move forward today.


The Generation Gap Revisited

TODAY’S LAUGH: When I decided to tackle grad school, I figured the generation gap would be painfully obvious. It is. When did college students get so young? I realized the other day that I’ve been married–for the second time–longer than most of my classmates have been breathing. It’s not just that I’m older than they are– I’m older than most of their parents!

And the other day I heard some classmates discussing what happened during the season finale of some TV show I never heard of. I felt totally out of it, but then I thought, So what. They don’t know who shot JR–so there!

But now I’m wondering, who the heck did shoot JR? I forget.

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: It’s good for us older folks to hang out with younger folks. Did I say “good”? I meant exhausting. And challenging.  And I love it!

I’ve realized how much I prefer to spend time with people like me. People my age. People who share my culture, my faith, my values, my TV shows. I like to be comfortable. How about you? When’s the last time you connected with someone “different”?

It can be mighty uncomfortable “out of our element,” but the rewards are great. We learn. We grow. Understanding, insight, compassion and respect increase. We change for the better. The world changes for the better.

How could you change things up in your life? Check out a new group. Attend a different place of worship. Volunteer at a school. Visit a nursing home. Dive into the generation gap, the culture gap, whatever gap you can find. You never know how someone new will impact your life, or what good you might be bringing to them!

I may not watch the same TV programs as my classmates. I sure don’t know their music, any more than my parents knew mine. But I’m confident we’ll bridge the generation gap is subtle ways. We’ll find a balance. They have energy; I have experience. They have pressure; I have perspective. They love coffee; I love coffee.

We’ll get along fine, just as long as nobody tries to help me cross the street.

May you be blessed as you mix and mingle with someone new this week!

When Worlds Collide

TODAY’S LAUGH: We were in the drive-thru at a Burger King–the ultimate in modern convenience–when I looked across the street and saw this unexpected sight. Worlds were colliding, right there before us, and I just had to get a picture.

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: World collisions often bring delightful surprises our way. We laugh. We celebrate. We take pictures.

Other surprises are not so delightful. Maybe worlds are colliding in unexpected ways for you today. Maybe you expected a world of “happily ever after” and wound up alone.  Maybe you expected a world where “everything’s fine,” and heard a scary diagnosis instead. Maybe you expected a world of light and joy and find yourself in the depths of dark despair instead.

Whatever is going on in your world, take heart. There IS hope. There IS a future out there. There IS a plan to take you there, if you will just trust in the One who holds that future.

Today just trust. Today just wait. Today just breathe. Today reach out for the comfort and help you need. Tomorrow’s world will be a better place. That’s a promise!

The Goofy Stuff of Life

TODAY’S LAUGH: Three-year-old grandson Charlie showed me his new crayons the other day. “I got these at Mommy’s office,” he said.

Actually, he’d gotten them the day before when we took him to the hospital to visit his mommy and his new baby sister.

I had to wonder, what does it mean when the kids start thinking the delivery room is your office? Just another of those “You know you’re a mom when…” moments.

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: Kids say the goofiest things, don’t they? They’re always giving us opportunities to smile. Pay attention. Write stuff down. (Trust me Mommy–or Grandma–you won’t remember if you don’t!)

No matter what else is going on, we can find something to smile about if we just look for it. So count your blessings. Look for the funny little stuff. Celebrate what’s good and right and positive in your world.

What do you have to smile about today? Go ahead and smile!

May you be blessed as you share a smile with somebody else today.