Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Sunday started out like any other day...well, sort of...

Bert and I live in a prime location on the south hill where thousands of cars go by daily (the Ray/ Thor corridor). Our town house overlooks the city and our view is that the traffic is just part of urban life. But because we are so visible to so many, we began to make HUGE Obama signs to put on our property. They are average size campaign signs, except that there is only one letter per sign. So, 5 signs spell out OBAMA. Smaller signs say...Obama 08 and Obama, Yes We can!!

We painted the background of each sign either bright red or blue and I cut out huge white foam core letters. We got patriotic balloons and set up the signs. We held the smaller ones and waved to the people going by. It was sunny, we had lots of laughs and some solemn moments at the reactions of those passing by.. some honking, some thumbs up, some thumbs down, some horrible comments, and some fingers pointed in an ill mannered form. The racist comments (by only a few) were the hardest to hear and see, as were the snubs from people going to a near-by church.

To counteract the negativity...I went back inside and made a new sign which said.."GOD BLESS YOU...no matter who you are voting for!"

I knew that feelings run strong in this election and that the reaction might be mixed, but I was pleased to do what I could for our candidate.

Since I had other errands to run, I brought the signs in (we were told by a friend they would be gone in a flash)...and headed to the store. Bert went to church, and I was about to settle down with coffee to get caught up on grading.

While in the car and headed home, I noticed a voicemail message. The voice wasn't familiar. He said he was Steve, Jessi's friend from TriFusion (her triathlon club) and that he didn't want to alarm me, but that Jessi was in an ambulance headed to the trauma unit at Sacred Heart Hospital after a cycling accident. While cycling at about 25 mph with her TriFusion friends, a deer veered out in front of Jessi and she hit it or swerved to avoid it, the details were unclear.

My Mommy heart stopped beating as I heard this message. I felt like I couldn't breathe. Truth be told, I still, feel that way.

I raced to Sacred Heart, praying aloud in the car, to trauma room 3. There was Jessi in a neck brace with huge abrasions down her back and they were checking to see if she could move her limbs. Thank God she could. Her TriFusion buddies from the cycling event were there, as was her Dad, Tim. Rog was in Arizona where he had been doing a triathlon race and people were trying to reach him.

I'll let Jessi tell the trauma room story when she is able (complete with pictures). There were some funny TriFusion antics that kept her laughing. While I was grateful for the levity, my heart was in my throat.

On the up side, Jessi's CT scans showed no broken bones or huge skull injury. On the down side she sustained a serious concussion from hitting her head as she flew off of her bike. Can you say...thank God she was wearing a helmet, which cracked in the process...

She is very, very, VERY sore and it will be awhile until we know the full extent of her injuries. But she is one tough cookie and in time will get there.

As Tim (her Dad), Amy (her sister) and I sat alone with her and held her hands and stroked her hair I was so grateful that our family (the old family unit we once were)was together and supporting each other. We are all totally comfortable being together and we all still love each other...and post-divorce that is a HUGE blessing. Tim and I have new families now, but our "old" family unit can still rally when needed!!

Today I am missing school to go be with Jessi. She needs to have someone to prepare meals and help with doses of medication. Amy was there yesterday with Jenna and today I'll be there in the am and Tiffany will be there in the afternoon. Just being there with her will be a blessing.
It brings back memories of when she was sick or hurt when she was little and I made her chicken soup, sang to her, and held her hand.

Life can change in a moment. Please put my precious daughter Jessi in your prayers for a full recovery. I am SO grateful to God that she is still alive!
God Bless!
Love Linda

Saturday, October 25, 2008

LET'S HEAR IT FOR..."High School Musical 3"!!!

A quote From Emma about High School Musical 3!:

"Hi! I'm Emma! and I went to High School Musical 3 with my Grandma. It was very fun. We went to Nordstoms for dinner and I had Mac and Chesse. We also had ice cream at the movie. I stayed overnight with my Grandma which was fun! I keep tickling her...It was silly. We have laughed all morning! It was funny. She calls me Babushka because my hair is all over. We laugh some more! and we laughed some more!!...all morning! At the movie theater I got a little dalmatian puppy names Dao. Love Emma"

When I saw the adverstisement on television that "High School Musical 3" was coming and that you might want to get your tickets early...I could smell an adventure in the air. My precious granddaughter Emma has loved the other two movie productions so I wanted to plan a "Nana and Emma Adventure!"

I invited Emma to go and then to have an overnight with us as well. She was ecstatic about the idea and bubbled over with enthusiasm in her cell phone call to me.
Amy helped me get the tickets online (thanks Aim!) and Boppa and I picked up the tickets early on Friday.

I picked Emma up after work, did some fun hanging out at Fred Meyer where we got Dao a dalmatian puppy, and then headed downtown for dinner at Nordies! Emma has impecable manners and is SO fun to do things with. Then it was almost time for the movie to start so we had fun making cell phone calls to family to let them know where we were and what we were doing!! We got our movie treats and then settled in for some amazing singing and dancing!!!

We loved this movie, but even more we loved our time together. After the movie Emma wanted to have a slumber party in our living room so she camped out on the sofa. Since she wanted me close, I was on the upholstered ottoman (formerly a coffee table) next to her. Wish we had a picture of that one.! :) We watched another Barbie movie before drifting off to sleep.

The bottom line of this story is the total JOY it is for me to just be with my grandchildren! Doing the simplest thing makes me smile. Emma is a pistol, a bright light, and a mini-me of what her Momma Jessi was like as a little girl. I smile and chuckle when I am with Emma partly because it reminds me of all the fun I had with Jess Jess!

When someone asks me what my weekend was like, I may just break out in song and start dancing!! I wouldn't have missed this adventure with Emma for anything!!

Love you peaches, my little babushka!! You rock!
Love always! xoxoxoxoxoxox your Nana

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LIFE IS A VERB- 37 Days To Wake up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally!

I love new books. I ESPECIALLY love new books that fall into my lap at just the right time. Those are the kind of books that speak to my heart and soul and are so engrossing that I get up at 2am to sip my coffee, sit by the fire, and soak up the gifts that book brings to me. Perfect timing, perfect tidbits of wisdom.

I like books that challenge me to do more and be more than I currently am. I like books that inspire me to grow. I like books that are so relevant that I find myself talking outloud and almost having a conversation with the author while I am reading her musings.

One of the books that has captured me of late is "life is a verb" by Patti Dign.

In the book's prologue, Patti has a quote that really hit home for me:

Time only seems to matter when it is running out

-Peter Strup

She explains that on October 24th, 2003 her beloved step father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died just thirty-seven days later. Patti helped him live, and helped him die, and afterwards she was left with this question:

What would I be doing today if I had only thirty-seven days to live?

This question has been on my heart. I recently have been to several funerals for several dear friends, both of whom died of breast cancer. Another dear friend I have known since high school, whose name is also Linda, is gravely ill and fighting for her life. My dear friend Lorie has cancer and just got back some positive scan results. I literally broke into sobs when I read her email to me. I felt like my heart would break if there was bad news for this mother of four precious children. I was so grateful to God that she had a step in a positive direction. Life is tenuous, life is precious. But it is easy to get caught up in the furious activity of life and forget the value of every day. Life is short and I want to live it fully!

But deep inside, truth be told, I know that we are all dying. Each day passes so quickly! The weeks fly by. Another fall is here and the gorgeous leaves are starting to drift quietly to the ground. I am 61. How many falls do I have left?

I recently went to a church conference with my beloved daughter Amy. I had an awesome time at the conference and even had a massage before we went. But when I looked at the picture of myself from the conference, I saw that even in all the fun and learnings...I looked weary.

It has been an emotional fall on many levels...visits from family, friends being ill, wonderful students, but an exhauting schedule. The word busy seems to come up in my daily conversations as a way to describe everything. Hmmmm...I wonder if my life is a bit unbalanced...again? :)

I want to hit the pause button of my life.

Tomorrow is October 24th, 2008. I will begin Patti Dign's challenge to take 37 days to explore and try on six practices:
intensity, inclusion, intimacy, intuition, and intention.

This book tells dynamic stories and has action challenges. It feels like the right book...for the right time in my life! It fits with the quote I love by by H.H. Williams that says...

"Furious activity is no substitute for understanding".

It's time to slow down the furious activity in my own life, take a breath, and grow in some new and challenging ways. I'll keep you posted on my learnings over the next 37 days!

God Bless!
Love Linda

Sunday, October 19, 2008

TODAY'S LIFE LESSON: Don't Underestimate the Children of Today...a "Must See" For Every Teacher and Parent!

Theresa Waco is one of my former students and we have stayed connected since she left SCC. She graduated from Gonzaga, got her Masters degree there, and she has been a special education teacher at Hamblin Elementary School for a number of years. Theresa is not just a former student, she is also my good friend.

She recently sent me this video clip, along with a personal message for me as her teacher. Both the clip and her message to me brought me to tears.This video clip, in my opinion, is a "must see" for every teacher, parent, grandparent, pastor...anyone who knows or works with children.

Children are insightful. They have messages we ALL need to hear. They are courageous and truth tellers! Hang on to your hats as you listen to one amazing young man who talked to the ENTIRE Dallas school district at their orientation! This made my day, my week, and my year!
THIS is why I am a teacher!

God Bless!
Love Linda


Friday, October 10, 2008

Wonderful Moments to Relish...Counting 13 Blessings!

In times that are volatile and the stock market is going crazy, I love to sit by the fire and think about the constants in my life. These are blessings that bring me great joy, no matter what the outside world has going on.

Here are 13 blessings I am reminded of today:

1) Having Jacob overnight and making "real lemonade" from the lemons we grew in my sunroom. Jacob and Boppa now have a secret receipe that rivals any lemonade you can find in the country!

2) Going to Emma's soccer game and seeing her score 5, that's right 5 goals! She buzzed around the soccer field like a happy bee and made goal-making look easy. The grin on her beautiful face was priceless.!

3) Going to one of Zac's football games, or Kayla's soccer games, and see them play a sport that they love!

4) Seeing my new students get to really know each other and have fun in my class!

5) Holding Bert's hand as we walk anywhere that we are together. I adore that man!

6) Appreciating my healthy body. I have lost two friends to cancer in the last two weeks and I am going to a funeral tomorrow. I am so sad to lose Audrey and Dee and so blessed to have my health!

7) Loving my country and looking forward to casting my ballot in this election!

8) Going to the BBQ at Jacob's school and hearing him recite all the states in the union in less than 20 seconds!

9) Hearing the gospel choir at my church belt out the most amazing songs!

10) Hearing Amy or Jessi's voice on the telephone!

11) Having someone I care about comment on my blog!

12) Remembering that God loves me...no matter what!

May you count your blessings today!

God Bless!
Love linda

Saturday, October 04, 2008

LOVE LIFE: Love Today, Even When It Is Confusing!

"Here I am,
Where I ought to be."

-Louise Erdrich

This last week was wonderful and at the same time confusing. It seemed to be full of life lessons that came back for a "re-visit". My level of frustration was something I prayed about all week long. "Lord, give me patience"..."Hi! It's me again! :) ...please give me more patience." I often had a hard time rolling with the punches, some of the potholes in the road, changes in schedule, and unexpected events. I felt taken aback by some recent communication with people I care about and wondered.."What just happened here?" Why the bite in their tone with me? Was it me? Was it them?

While my "exterior, presented self" may have looked calm and collected, my "interior, real self" was in a fair amount of turmoil.

It's time to take stock of what happened this week. I literally ran all week. It's Saturday morning and I almost feel breathless.

Almost every day I got up at 3:00am to grade papers, and still couldn't get it all done quite the way I would have wanted. I ran to teaching , I ran to consulting, I just ran and ran. And while the week was full of blessings, growth and positives...there was an undercurrent of unrest and dis-ease.

I'm not sure if the floundering and sinking stock market, a "bailout" for large corporations who had poor money management, or listening to the Vice Presidential debate set the tone for the last few days. People at school reported having a somber attitude or were worried about if they would actually get to retire. Politics seemed at an all time low, and I felt if I saw another negative Dino Rossi commercial (or billboard) ...I would scream

I'm an independent voter and a political activist. I take voting very seriously. At 61 I have waited my whole life for a viable, smart, articulate female candidate, hopefully for President, but Vice President would work too. Having the current Republican candidate for Vice President be the chosen female voice is almost more than I can stand. This is someone who wanted to ban a book without reading it. This is someone who when asked about her running mate's credentials said, "I'll research that and get back to you." This is someone who, when well coached, can get through a debate, but chooses to answer only the questions she wants to answer. This is someone who, when talking off the cuff and isn't rehearsed , thinks "We might just have to go to war with Russia." This is someone who wants to continue the Iraq war until we have victory, no matter what it costs the American people. This is someone who is gutsy, true, but at the same time, in my opinion, not all that smart.

I wish my Mom, who was my role model for being a political activist, was alive so we could talk politics together and I could get her take on all of this.

I plan to vote for Senator Obama and Senator Biden, but I'd love to be voting for a smart female candidate too. They are out there and I hope their time comes during my lifetime.

When confusing and frustrating weeks happen, and like everyone else I have them, I try to get up early on a Saturday, fix myself a cup of coffee, sit in the quiet, have prayer time, and seek God's guidance. I then read my book called "Love Life!"

My quote for today is:

Here I am
Where I ought to be.

Darn it! I'm supposed to be where I am, learning these hard lessons. There is no escaping the truth. The life lessons fall as much during frustrating and confusing weeks as they do when things feel like smooth sailing...maybe even more. Every bump and pothole in the road, that jars me, is a chance to learn about flexibility, giving up control, trusting God, letting go of perfection, forgiving myself, forgiving others...the list is endless.

So for today ...I will take a deep breath, really taste this coffee, absorb the lessons, and let the week go. I will "let go and let God." I may even, on this rainy Saturday, take a nap by the fire!

And I'll trust that good week or confusing week... where I am is where I ought to be!

God Bless!
Love Linda

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