Thursday, November 30, 2006

THURSDAY THIRTEEN- THOUGHTS ON HOPE!!



One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the rekindling of HOPE in people's hearts..that childlike hope that reminds us that we have much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. I pass along this Thursday Thirteen List in the "hope" that it may renew your own HOPE!!

1)Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

2)God makes a promise- faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly awaits it.

3)If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose the courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of it all. And so today, I still have a dream! - Martin Luther King Jr.

4) Children, at Christmas time, teach us all about hope!

5) Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. - Vaclav Havel

6)There is a crack in everything, that's how the light of hope gets in - Leonard Cohen

7) Just when I started to lose hope, you told me you loved me and I could believe in life again.

8) Faith and hope were ignited the day I learned that God loves me!

9)The word which God has written on the brow of every person is Hope. -Victor Hugo

10)Christmas is all about hope, God's hope for the world and our hope in the goodness of people. -Billy Graham

11) Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.

12)Hope is the anchor of the soul, the stimulus to action, and the incentive to achievement.

13) The best bridge between despair and hope is sometimes a good night's sleep!

So..in this magical time of Christmas, my prayer for each of you is that you will see life through the eyes of a child and that your HOPE will be renewed! God Bless! Linda

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A NEW VICTORY....THE EARLY MORNING WALK!!!

I NEVER imagined that I would be injured and just walking would become a luxury. I've always been the "tough as nails" kind of person who would just "guts" her way through aches and pains. However, this summer, I shattered my left ankle, wore a cast for four months, and only recently started intense physical therapy (four hours per week!). Walking briskly took on a whole new meaning. I found myself, as I read blogs of people running and walking, yearning to get out there and put some pavement under my feet and go at a quick clip! Like my dear friend Eileen Thompson, who has also suffered a life-changing injury, I had a new view of how precious walking is. Suddenly, I appreciated as never before, the feet God had given me that had carried me without complaint for almost sixty years. I appreciated the ankles that had loyally bent and twisted however I had wanted. I knew that I had, once again, taken important parts of my body for granted! While it may not seem like a big deal compared to those who do miles and miles of running, it has been a true JOY to start taking early morning walks in my neighborhood. Often I do it in the dark. Today I did it as the light was coming up! I bundled up in my fleece :) jacket, put on a warm vest and scarf, and took off at what is now a good pace for me. Years ago, without much training, I ran Bloomsday in one hour and twenty minutes. I felt really proud and even cocky about the shape I was in. Today I walked THREE blocks and there isn't a cocky bone in my body! I am only GRATEFUL beyond words! As I left the driveway, and my way was lit by the thousands of small white lights I've put on our trees, I told God how sorry I was that I have often taken my sacred body for granted, and that I am so happy to walk again! Those three blocks were a VICTORY for me!!! God Bless! Love, Linda

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

THE MAGIC OF THE HOLIDAYS!


Since I was a little girl, I have anticipated the holiday season all year long! I remember in June of the year I was seven, counting the days until Christmas! I grew up with so many magical holiday traditions. We always went to see Santa in the downtown window of Frederick and Nelson department store. Afterwards, we had frango ice cream with real silver spoons and beautiful white cloth napkins in their beautiful dining room. It smelled of real pine boughs and had a red Christmas carpet, put out just for that season. My Mom and I saw the Nutcracker Ballet every year, and I never tired of seeing the gorgeous ballerinas and the snow fall on the stage. The music of the Nutcracker filled our home for weeks before we went so we'd be in just the right mood! My Dad, Mom and I went to the same Christmas tree lot every year and spent lots of time and conversation on picking the perfect tree. I remember the fresh smell of pine after my Dad sawed off a fresh piece of the bottom of the tree so the water could be easily absorbed up into the branches. It was my job to crawl like a soldier under the branches to keep fresh water in the container. My Dad played Santa every year to help raise money for Children's Orthopedic Hospital, so we took him in our car to neighboring houses (like the Nordstroms :)) and got a sizeable donation for the kids at the hospital. Mom and I drilled Dad on the reindeer and their names so there would be no slip ups. We always watched the movie White Christmas and since there were no DVDs, we had to wait until it was on tv! I knew all the songs by heart and thought Rosemary Clooney (George's aunt) was the most beautiful woman! In my home growing up, the holiday season started before Thanksgiving and went through the New Year. The focus was always on two things- embracing the magic and joy of life and giving to others. Those holiday memories float in magically each year as Thanksgiving approaches.
Years later, I find that I LOVE reviving old traditions and creating my own new holiday traditions and memories. Long before Thanksgiving, I start to string small, delicate white Christmas lights from the myriad of tree branches in our yard! At night, we look like a fairyland :) Weeks before Christmas, I get paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs and plant them with the grandkids. They each are growing their own plants (secret gifts for their parents) in our sunroom. This year Emma is growing a pink amaryllis and Jacob's is red! The smell of flowers is delicious in there! Other fun and meaningful traditions with grandchildren include getting turkeys for the food bank and decorating ornaments for their Christmas trees. In the early fall, I count the weeks until the Nutcracker ballet tickets go on sale (usually in mid September) and anticipate where we'll eat lunch and what fun Christmas outfit I'll wear. This year I'm going with Emma and Jessi..and I can hardly wait! I love putting out our Nativity and telling the story of Christmas..that the real reason for the season is that it is the birthday of Jesus! I love that Amy and her family make a birthday cake for Jesus! I draw my own Christmas card most years and love working on it for weeks to get it just right! In my prayer time I ask God to help me appreciate all that I've been given and to help me see life through the eyes of a child..that same little girl who sat on Santa's knee so many Christmas years ago. And Christmas now, as then, is still about loving the magic of life, celebrating God's gift of His Son, and giving to others! May God bless each of you and may you relish this wonderful time of year and each of your traditions! Love, Linda

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"MEMORY MAKERS" FROM THIS LAST WEEK!

As I approach sixty, I've become very aware of savoring every moment. I relish those moments where time almost stands still and a precious memory is being made. Here are some of my delightful "memory makers" from this past week. I am so grateful for all of them: Christmas shopping with Emma, having dinner with Jessi and Emma Thursday night and having a meaningful heart-to-heart talk with Jessi, going with Amy to her OBGYN appointment on Friday and having time there with Zac, Kayla, and Jacob, hearing Jacob read an ENTIRE book to me and reading every word correctly :), watching Bert take a nap and holding his hand while he slept, fixing a poached salmon dinner for my sweetie, going to SCC early Saturday morning to grade papers in the peace and quiet, taking Madison, Zac, Kayla, and Jacob to see Santa Claus 3, going to church today with Bert and singing my lungs out with the gospel choir, having a perfect cup of hot chocolate with pepermint sprinkles, hearing that Kayla had accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior, taking a three block walk in the early morning dark and having my ankle hold out, getting a wonderful and personal email from Kathi Best that helped me realize how alike we are, talking for an hour long distance to my friend Sharon Hartnett...the list goes on and on. In this busy holiday season, I want to be ever mindful of each blessing! I will carry these "memory maker moments" in my heart!

Friday, November 17, 2006

FRIDAY's FAVORITE QUOTE! (a new tradition)

Since I LOVE meaningful quotations...I'm starting a new tradition on my blog :) Each Friday I'll be sharing one of my favorite quotations...words to live by that inspire me and move my soul. My hope is that these "Friday Favorites" also have some meaning for you! Love Linda

FRIDAY FAVORITE for November 17, 2006

all i know is...
...you can get there from here.
you can.
you can walk through the fear.
travel past what is gone before.
wake up!
wake up and get up on the other side.
dare to become that of your dreams.
dare!
.........dare to believe in your own possibility!

maryanne radamacher-hershey 1996

Thursday, November 16, 2006

WE ARE BLESSED!!

Thank you to all of you who have expressed concern about Bert's health. A quick update: he is slowly improving and with the help of medication his balance is getting better. However, I came home from teaching yesterday (one day after his being in the hospital) to find that he had gone to work. YIKES! When I saw him later and asked why he had done that (against medical
advice) he said, " You can't keep this guy down for long!!!" He HATES to sit around and was ready to get his life back in order. Personally, I think our pastor's visit and all the prayers coming his way have really helped his healing right along :) (Also, Bert credits Amy's homemade lasagna that she and Jacob brought over after he got out of the hospital :)) so..a BIG thank you to Jessi and Eileen for your phone calls and prayers and to all the rest of you for your "blog messages" of love and support! We are truly blessed!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ANOTHER LEARNING...about my hubby : )


Today, Tuesday November 14th, started out like any other day. I was up at 3:30 am and making coffee at 4 am..almost ready to head to school. Bert usually sleeps in until 6 or 6:30, but I heard him bump into something. He came downstairs, looked white as a bedsheet, complained about being very, very dizzy, tingling in his neck and arms and said, "I think I need to go to the hospital." I called 911, and in an instant we had a fire truck and two medic cars and my sweetie was hooked up to a monitor. Gary and Nancy Gosett, our dear neighbors and Ryan's parents, were there to pray for Bert and offer support. (Thank you both!) It turns out that Bert has a severe infection and it goes into his inner ear. As we were in one of the ER cubicles I leaned a great deal about my dear husband of almost 23 years! First, and not a surprise, I cannot imagine my life without him. He is my very best friend and the love of my life! We laughed and joked at the ER and even in tough moments he cares about me. As I watched him at our house, hooked up and surrounded by medics...I could barely breathe. But I know that Jessi and Amy will be proud of how calm I was on the exterior. I tell Bert every day that he means the world to me. I have a "clean slate" with him each day. I try each day to focus on everything that is so wonderful about him, and I let go of things that foolishly irritate me about him. I know that someday one of us will be called "home" and leave our earthly home here! I'm just so grateful that it isn't today!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Little History!


I grew up in Seattle, Washington as an only child and my parents, Mark and Dolores McColm, were from the "old school ". They believed deeply in hard work, earning your own way, and having impeccable manners! My Dad was an extroverted salesman who came from a difficult and damaged family background. His persistence and perseverance against great odds fueled his life. He was a self-starter and what you see is what you get kind of guy! He didn't have a birthday cake until he was thirty, when my Mom made him one. One of my fondest memories of my Dad was when he washed my face after a meal and joked with me saying "What's going to happen?" And I would giggle until I almost peed in my pants! My Mom, who was much more introverted, loved me without measure. She loved to make us Mother-Daughter outfits for almost every occasion. While my journey with my parents had some ups and downs, they gave me a GREAT gift. I always knew that I was deeply loved. They had my back. They showed up in my life. I knew I could count on them. One of my life lessons, as I approach 60: I want those that I love to feel that same way about me. There is no gift that equals knowing that you are treasured and adored for who you really are.

Go For It With Gusto!


As far back as I can remember, I've always LOVED life! (and that really is in capital letters) Even being born with one hand, I remember never feeling afraid to be visible, to smile, and to embrace life. I've had faith in people, in their innate goodness, and thrown myself into being a participant in all life has to offer. Looking back, I have memories of a tap dancing little girl, riding horses at full speed, and laughing endlessly. Later on, I have memories of skiing when I was 7-months-pregnant with Jessi, skinny dipping in Lake Union in Seattle at 40, and jet skiing at Diamond Lake with my clothes on at 50. Along the way, I've also always brought home stray dogs, children, and students who seemed lost and homeless. The hardest part of having a broken ankle this last summer was harnessing my zest to swim, walk, play at the lake, and be active. I had to find new places to put my energy! I remember in high school when Mr. Hanberg, our student government advisor, told me, "Linda, You can't keep going like this! You'll burn out by 30!" Well, as 60 approaches and I still have two full time jobs, family activities with children and grandchildren, church and school activities, and more... I find a short nap from time to time helps to recharge my batteries :) At 60 and beyond, I STILL want to live every day as if it was my last! Full bore... All out... Go for it with gusto!!

What Really Matters!


I feel grateful that God loves me. Every day that I am alive is a true blessing.

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog and my reflections, lessons, joys, challenges, blessings, and learnings in life. February 5th, 2007 I will turn 60. So as days, weeks, and months lead up to celebrating 60 years on the planet, I find myself growing, changing, and challenging myself even more... as I lean into who I am now and what I want to learn. I invite you to share this journey and look forward to your comments, learnings, and sharings.

Love, Linda

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