Saturday, February 28, 2015

Four Words That Can Change Everything...

"I AM WITH YOU." These four words
are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair. Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go.
                                 - Jesus Calling, February 18th
     
This morning I took a breath, got my cup of coffee and sat down with Jesus Calling, a book that is usually part of my morning ritual. I know where I am in this book because it has a lovely built-in, satin ribbon book marker. 

Today is Saturday, February 28th. The book marker opened to February 18th, the entry quoted above. 


My first thought was..."Figures, dang it. One of the toughest weeks in a long time and I left Him behind. Again." 

I have been so busy being scared that I left God Almighty in the dust. I have been so busy preparing and venting about the difficulties I would face, that I didn't fully trust Him with it all. Give all of it to Him.

I'd like to say I did. But I didn't. Not really.


You see I did pray. And I did, intermittently, give this
hard situation to Him. Yet truth be told I always took it back and tried to solve it on my own.

I have been  to some tough meetings in my life, but I have never dreaded a meeting more than the one this week. The details don't matter. 


When you have several people who bully you (my perception), it is disheartening. I sought lots and lots of advice from people I trust about this situation. I even asked if I should go to the meeting. The emails leading up to it, from the same email folks from before, did not encourage me that all will be well. I could not, could not imagine that there could be a happy ending. 


And once again God answered my prayers in ways I never could have expected. He was with me every moment.

I left the meeting feeling light-hearted. The resolution was one that I could never have "made" happen. I could see the hand of God in the results. Did everything change? No. Did the attitudes of all the people change? No. 

Who changed? I did.

Jesus Calling goes on to say...
"Sometimes you may feel as if you are in a free fall
when people or things you had counted on let you down. Yet as soon as you remember that 
                                   I AM WITH YOU,
your perspective changes dramatically. Instead of bemoaning your circumstances, you can look to Me
for help."

Can I hear an "Amen!"


I AM WITH YOU. Four powerful words that, when I remember them, will change everything.
                            
When I remember God's love and forgiveness and His steadfastness in my life, my heart opens up and I feel the kind of relief that comes from letting go.

Letting it all go!


The kind of relief that comes from trusting Him. Completely. Giving the situation to Him. Completely.


Today, no matter your ups and downs, may you

give your burdens to Him. He will carry them for you. He holds you in the palm of His Almighty hand. 

May we all, with His help and grace, remember His sacred promise to us...
                         I AM WITH YOU.
Yes, Lord  you are and I am so grateful!

God Bless!

Love , Linda





                                            

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When You Lose Your Mom...

She broke the bread into two pieces and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness.

              "She hath saved none for herself," 
                    grumbled the sergeant.
               "Because she is not hungry," 
                    said the soldier.
                "No," said the sergeant,
                  "because she is a mother."
                   
                                                           -Victor Hugo

February 19th is a day that at once brings me great joy and great sadness. When I wake up in the morning, and am not fully awake, my mind says with glee, "It's her birthday!"

And then when reality sets in, and I am a bit more with it, I realize, " She is gone."

I miss my Mom. Almost every day. I almost miss her more than I did when she was alive and  on the planet. We lived on opposite sides of the state of Washington and so phoning her was the usual communication channel of choice.


This February 19th the missing was almost a physical ache. The depth of the feeling frankly surprised me. I just couldn't quite fathom that she wasn't here any more. I couldn't call her. I couldn't give her a birthday card. I had a hard time remembering what her voice sounded like. I went to find the tape with her voice on it and realized it was in the storage unit, carefully tucked away after our last move.

I thought about her on and off the whole day. You see my Mom and I had a complex relationship. I was a total mystery to her. Our personalities were so different. Our relationship didn't flow easily, like I read about in some poems. She often didn't express her love in ways that I could understand.
At least not understand then. 

I get it now.

Someone once said that you will never understand the depth of your own mother's love until you become a mother yourself. 

True statement.

When I had my two daughters, this quote took on new meaning...

Making the decision to have a child is momentus.
It is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.
                                                   -Elizabeth Stone

The first three letters in the word momentus are
M O M.

Yes, becoming a Mom changes everything. It has changed me, and it changed my Mom.

What age and  wisdom has brought to me is compassion for my Mom and her parenting style.

My Mom's style of parenting and communicating was so different from my own. Her way to be a Mom was a direct result of how her Mom was with her, her own personality, and her own love language. 

My Mom's "love language" was gifts of service. She showed her love for me by helping me in countless ways. She did things to show her love. I didn't understand that then, but I do understand it now.

My love language is "words of affirmation."
Hearing she loved me meant more than her doing things for me. So often I didn't feel loved or I misunderstood her sternness or prickly ways.

For my Mom, there was always a way things "should be done." She was an in-the-box person and I was and am an out-of-the-box person. And her "should be" and my "should be" didn't always mix well.

Yet back in that day there was no book to read like "The Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman.
Note: Don't miss this great book!

"The Five Love Languages" has helped me to better understand how my own children experience love,
but the book hadn't been written then to help my Mom.

Yet what I know for sure, or at least I know it now, is that if the book had been written and she had learned it would help, she would have read it and followed what it said. She desperately wanted to be a great Mom. And she was.

What made her a great Mom to me is that she was there. She showed up. She didn't leave me or ever give up on me. She was the very best Mom she knew how to be.

 My Mom loved me with a passion that I now understand. What I feel so sad about, now that she is gone, is that I wish I could tell her again:

 "I get it now, Mom. How much you loved me and how hard you tried." 

I get it. She always felt like she wasn't enough.
She felt like she wasn't a good enough Mom.
Now I get it. Now I get it that she was a great Mom.

So what did I do when I was missing my Mom on
February 19th?

Here are a few of the things I did that helped my aching heart:

1) I wrote her a letter. I poured out my heart and cried and wrote and cried and wrote. I keep those yearly letters in a box since each year I have new learnings about who she was and what she means to me. 

2) I talked about her all day long. I told stories about how she had been there and the sacrifices she had made for me. All the times when she broke the bread and gave it all to me to eat instead of eating it herself.  Her absolute unselfishness. Her undying love for me, even when I was pretty unlovable and made it quite clear that I thought she was very irritating.


3) I told all of my friends, who still have their Moms, that the day would come when she was gone and you would give anything to tell her you love her.

                    Tell her you love her now! 

As hard as your relationship with her might be, tell her now. Write her now. Call her now. Appreciate her now, while she is still here. No matter her response, or what she might say or do, tell her now.


My Dad passed away first and almost within a year my Mom's health deteriorated. She missed my Dad with all her heart. They had been married 52 years when he died. I took care of her in my Dad's absence and every other weekend I traveled to see her. 


I was holding her on the day when she died.


I am so grateful to God that the last voice she heard was mine. Telling her I loved her. Telling her I would miss her forever. And telling her that she did such a great job being my Mom. 


My daughters brushed her hair, put lipstick on her (she was very clear that you never left the house without your "face on." )We embraced her with the kind of love that would have made her uncomfortable when I was growing up.

The girls told her that Grandpa was waiting 

for her in heaven and she would greet him looking
wonderful. 

And surrounded by love, she went home to Jesus.

I still have a relationship with my Mom. 
I find that 
I talk to her and often say... 

"You would love seeing my grandchildren, your great grandchildren, do this, Mom." I tell her how much I love her and miss her. I chuckle out loud at things that happened when I was growing up...like the duck story.

And what I know for sure is that I was right when I told her that I will miss her forever.


God bless!

Love, Linda





                  

                       

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When Speaking Out Is The Right Thing To Do...

Even to me the issue of "stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest," sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.
                            - Brene' Brown, Daring Greatly

I come from a long line of powerful women. Women who saw problems and spoke up. Women who were willing to do the right thing even though it wasn't easy.

My Grandma, Florence Stanbury, protested the Vietnam War. She felt our involvement in that war was inherently wrong and she spoke up, at great cost to herself. She got called names. She lost some friends. It wasn't easy, but she chose to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences were.

I remember a conversation I had with her when she was visiting us. I asked why she had spoken up. She paused and then said without flinching, "You speak out when it is the right thing to do."

My Mom, Dolores Stanbury McColm, worked tirelessly to get a group of drug dealers off the streets in Seattle near an apartment building we owned. She called the city. She took photographs of the drug dealers. She turned those over to the police. She started a petition of the businesses nearby. 

My Dad recalled how my Mom hid behind a tree on our property and when the drug dealers were on a public phone located on the sidewalk next door, my Mom held on to the tree with one arm and leaning precariously while holding on to a branch, she took pictures of them with her other arm. 

When I talked to my Mom about her "escapades with the drug dealers," she sounded just like my Grandma. "I did it because someone needed to speak up."

It's probably not too ironic that the name of the College Club I help to advise is called "Speak Out!" Since I was a little girl I followed the lead of my Grandma and Mom. 

When I saw things that were "just plain wrong," as my Grandma used to say, I spoke up. I used the voice God gave me to express what I saw as an injustice or a problem or simply something that was being ignored.

Now just so we are clear, there were some rules in my family about voicing your opinion. It was understood that you might pay a price. Some folks might even be so rude as to call you names or tell you that no one wants to hear what you have to say. But no matter how rudely they behaved, it was clear that

I was to voice my ideas in a clear and tactful manner.

As my Nana used to say, "just because they may be rude is not a license for you to be rude in return."


I was to approach sharing my opinion in a way that someone could listen to it. If I made someone defensive by being demanding or rude, then I, in all probability, wouldn't be listened to.

Fair enough. That lesson sunk in.


So it wasn't a stretch for me to be looking online, see something that was appalling to me, and for me to know that speaking up was the right thing to do.


More specifically, I happened to look at the online dress ads for Nordstrom. My granddaughter was looking for a spring dress, and I thought I'd see what the latest styles were. Just a casual "look see" that turned into much more.


The title of the advertisement said, "The Silhouettes 

That Matter Now." And my eyes glanced at the models, not just the dresses. 

I let out an "Oh my  goodness" as I starred at the computer screen. One of the models, who just happened to be Asian, stood out to me. I was thrilled that an Asian model, a woman of color, was modeling for Nordstrom. However, her arms were the size of wrists. She looked emaciated, at least to me.

Since I teach a unit in my Interpersonal Communication Class on the "Impact of Advertising on the Self Esteem of Men and Women," I paused and reflected. Was I just being overly sensitive given the statistics I know? Was the woman really looking as anorexic as I thought? So I called in my resident coach, my husband Bert. Without any preliminary comments that might bias his remarks, I simply showed him the ad and said "What do you think?"


Bert looked, looked again and then sighed. He used three words to describe the model...anorexic, unhealthy and emaciated. He added, "Nordstrom can surely do better."


Since my first shoes came from Nordstrom, I grew up with the Nordstrom boys in Seattle, and our family had once owned a small amount of Nordstrom stock, I felt a connection with this store. Also, some years back, they were one of the first large clothing companies to use a model in a wheelchair. When I saw that ad I called the corporate office to congratulate them on their use of diversity.


I'm like that, you know. I love to see someone doing well and compliment them. I love to challenge others to step up and do it better. And I love it when others give me feedback that will help me improve.


I'll never forget when I noticed that our local newspaper, when reporting the results of Bloomsday, a local running race, always had a huge picture of the male winner. There was a much smaller picture of the female winner and no picture of the wheelchair winner. 


I called the paper, reached an editor, and shared my views. I said I would love it if all three winners had equal coverage. I mentioned how many women read their paper. And guess what? The following year they did have close to equal coverage.


So, after seeing this ad in Nordstrom and imagining the impact it might have on young women like my granddaughter, I decided to speak out. I once again called the Nordstrom corporate office. I explained who I was and what I taught. I explained that I had called them once before to compliment them. I explained that I was about to show their ad in my classes and I wanted them to know my concerns first. 


I asked to speak to the person who was really in charge of marketing. They gave me Brian Denahey's name. I called and left a short message that expressed my concern. I asked him to please call me back.


And to his credit, he did. 


Brian and I spoke for over an hour. We looked

at the ads in question together. And then we came upon the ad that most concerned me. He looked at it and there was a long silence. 

When he finally spoke he said very quietly, "That's horrible. I wouldn't want my own daughter to see that." 

Brian said he wasn't sure if it was the model that was the problem or the angle of the picture, but that whatever the cause the ad was inappropriate. He agreed that she looked way underweight. He told me he would contact the person responsible for the ad and that some changes would be made next time they did an ad campaign.

And then he thanked me. He genuinely thanked me.

That's when I told him about the 12 year old girl, basketball, and the Dick's Sporting Goods Catalogue.

Recently a 12 year old girl from Arizona, McKenna Peterson, who plays basketball, looked at the Dick's Sporting Goods Basketball Catalogue. She was appalled  There was only one girl in the whole basketball catalogue and she was on page 6, sitting in the stands. This 12 year old shared her concerns with her Dad who was a sports announcer. Not only did this young lady write a persuasive letter to the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods, her dad made a tweet that went viral.


The young girl told the CEO that she loved basketball. In fact many young girls loved basketball and that they were not represented well in his catalogue. She told him it made her feel awful to not see even one photograph of a girl or woman playing the sport. She said his catalogue sent a message that girls belonged in the stands, sitting, instead of on the court playing. She asked the CEO to make a change.


Long story short, the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods read her letter, and no doubt saw the viral tweet heard around the world, and wrote her back an apology. Just like Brian Denahey from Nordstrom, he took responsibility for the mistake. He said it wouldn't happen again. He told her that the next basketball catalogue would have girls in it and they would be playing basketball this time, not just sitting in the stands. He thanked her for educating him and his company.


She spoke up. She spoke up tactfully and concisely.

She used  the voice God gave her, and she made a difference.

So in closing, I want to thank my Grandma and my Mom for teaching me to speak out when it is the right thing to do. I want to thank McKenna Peterson for speaking out and the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods for listening. And I especially want to thank Brain Denahey from Nordstron for listening and doing something about that ad.


Sometimes when we speak out tactfully and concisely, and it's the right thing to do, we get heard and it even makes a positive difference.


God Bless!

Love
Linda  





Friday, February 13, 2015

What Valentine's Day Is Really About...

True romance isn't Romeo and Juliet
who died together but Grandma and Grandpa who grew old together.

I can barely walk into the Safeway store without a bit of a chuckle. Valentine's day, and the romance it proclaims, has erupted a bit like Mt. St. Helens. Sort of like the hearts all over this blog design today:) 

Everywhere you look there are huge balloons and hearts, and flowers and plants and streamers and cards. All proclaiming romance and love. 

A young lady in the card aisle gave a huge sigh and said, almost to herself, "I wish I had a boyfriend who would bring me candy and a huge Valentine card. It would make my girlfriends jealous." I almost stopped and said something, but held back knowing that my words about romance and Valentine's Day might fall on deaf ears. I have a bit of an old- fashioned view of romance and it isn't about fancy cards and spending lots of money.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love getting flowers and cards, but mostly from Bert because they are an expression of his deep caring and devoted love for me. 


A bit of history here. When I first met Bert my 
heart 
was broken, shattered in small tiny pieces. I was broken. I vowed never, ever to give my heart to anyone again. I didn't think, no I knew, I would never survive another heart breaking like the one I had been through. And I was truthfully a bit cynical.

I didn't want the kind of love and romance that looked all perfect and romantic and nifty from the outside, I wanted a deep love. A passion and caring that resembled an older couple who knew and adored each other no matter what.

And then I met Bert. 


And inch by inch he started to heal my hurting heart.

Day by day he won my trust, not in hollow words that might sound good on a Hallmark card, but words of truth backed by actions that showed loyalty and caring. A no matter what... kind of love.

A love that looked less like Romeo and Juliet who died together and more like grandma and Grandpa who grew old together.


I love that saying. Grandma and Grandpa growing old together, deeply loving each oth
er, is what Valentine's Day is really about, at least it is to me.

So what is romantic to me about my relationship to Bert? Here are just a few of the things that move my heart...


Romantic to me is just holding Bert's hand when we go on a walk.  Looking in his eyes when he is sad. Hearing him laugh or snore. Seeing his face when he looks at our grandchildren. 

Romantic to me is hearing him sing next to me in church or seeing him raise his arm in worship to the God we know and love and serve.

Romantic to me is seeing what a good person Bert is and how he gives his heart so freely. I love that he loves me with every cell in his being and tells me how much I matter to him. I love that he cries at movies and isn't ashamed of his tears. I love that when I walk with him he doesn't stare at other women, but I can feel his whole focus on me.


Romantic to me is how Bert makes me feel seen and special and that he is romantic and caring and kind 365 days a year, not just on Valentine's Day. I love that getting me a card is not an obligation, but  something he does because he wants to put a smile on my face. 


Super romantic to me is that when I leave the house Bert walks out to the car and waves me off with a kiss... pointing up to the sky while saying "Praise the Lord!" I love it when I have a grandchild in the car, when he does that, and I see my grand babies of all ages roll down the car window and yell to their Boppa, "Praise the Lord, Bops!

That's true romance to me.


Romantic to me was when Bert was in the hospital, and was so ill that he might never come home again, and he held my hand and tried to comfort me when my tears would not stop falling. 

Romantic to me is when Bert vacuums the rugs on Friday, his day off, not because the rugs are so dirty, but because he knows it makes me happy. Yes, to me, vacuuming is romantic because it's an act of unselfish love. It's what Valentine's Day is really all about.

I recently heard this song, Not Even the King, by Alicia Keys. It's so simple, but the message is so profound. It's my favorite Valentine's song for Bert this year. Don't miss hearing this!

Happy Valentine's day, my sweet hubby.
This song is for you! (and the rest of you to enjoy as well.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahsFa6AYRaQ


Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!
God Bless...
Love, Linda

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Overwhelmed....

                Joy is the best makeup!
                                  -Anne Lamott

I am almost never speechless, however it's hard to put my birthday into words. I'll try to be concise. Two words.
         
                              Overwhelming JOY! 

I felt seen and loved and cared about. Bert brought a bouquet of roses to me in the middle of my first class (the women in the class all went..."Ahhhhh.") Three of the officers in the college club I help to co-advise came to my classroom to wash the walls and take out the staples. It's a long story, but it was an act of selfless love.

                               I just couldn't stop smiling. 
               I felt so blessed and cared about and overwhelmed.

At a meeting with students there was a surprise birthday celebration, complete with a birthday cake made with
Seahawk's colors. On the weekend, a wonderful dinner out with Bert and seeing the movie Unbroken. Cards and love and gift certificates. Once again, overwhelm struck me, almost like a river that is so full that the water will start to overflow the banks. It startled me to feel this way so I spent a few moments on my own thinking and praying and taking in what was going on inside me and outside me and for me. Finally I came to the conclusion that...

          The overwhelm was trying to really get that all of these
            people loved me just like I loved them!               

Hearing a male college student of mine get chocked up in talking about me...well it all just undid me. When I got home I cried and cried.

It's truly very comfortable for me to give that kind of love, the kind that embraces who someone is. It's easy to let them know how much they mean to me. However it's not as easy to let in that the feeling is reciprocated. In Mat's talk he said the students loved me with  their whole hearts. That's exactly how I feel about them. Just knowing that, hearing that and seeing that was almost more than my heart could take.

And then, on top of all that love, on Sunday my family had a brunch with grand babies and daughters and family... more love to soak in. It all had me grinning from ear-to-ear.

It reminded me how much it matters to just remember people and tell them you love them. That's the greatest birthday gift of all.

And finally, when I read my sweet hubby's card, I couldn't hold back the tears. The message so simple and from his heart. It said...

       "You are the best thing that ever happened to me."

And Bert meant it. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me, that overwhelm, that sense of what did I ever do to be so blessed?
I often feel that same feeling at church or during my prayer time when I take in how much God loves me, just as I am.
I am blessed beyond measure not because of material things, but because I am dearly loved by God and the precious people in my life.

On my birthday I felt just plain happy. Deeply satisfied and gleeful. Happy from my toes to the top of my head. Everyone kept saying, "You look so pretty today!" No wonder. As Anne Lamott says,

                      Joy is the best makeup!

God bless!
Love you to the moon and back!
Linda

         



Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blessed Beyond Measure!

              Try to be a rainbow 
               in someone's cloud!
                                       - Maya Angelou

When Bert and I were in Hawaii over Christmas time, we would often turn around, after a splattering of raindrops, and see the most gorgeous rainbows. They took our breath away. Gleaming and shining and full of life and hope and JOY, those rainbows stopped everyone in their tracks. 

You could just see God smiling in every glimmering reflection of rainbow light, every vivid stroke, painted half circles across the sky. Bert and I held hands and hugged in those moments. We were stunned by the majesty of life and God's amazing world. We felt blessed to be a witness to His splendor. 

It was as if God Almighty had sent us a personal gift, wrapped in sparkling rainbow colors.

Since I was a small girl, I have always loved rainbows. I've felt rainbows represented how I wanted to live my life. I've wanted my spirit to shine, to be a surprise that lit up someone else's life. I've wanted to be a bright spot in their day. I've wanted people, when they left my presence, to feel more loved, and seen and cherished. 

I've always wanted, as my cherished mentor Maya Angelou once said to...

                          "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud!"

 I've wanted to be:
* a day-brightener, 
* a song-maker, 
* a heart-opener, 
* a joy-giver,
* a lesson-maker, 
* a truth-teller, 
* a hug-enfolder, 
* a listening-spirit, 
* a grace-giver, 
* a soft place to fall.

And today, as I turn 68, I feel blessed beyond measure. I still want to be a rainbow for those I love and care about. I am so grateful for all my life has been and will be, each day a gift from God. 

Here are just a few things I am grateful for this morning:

I feel so grateful to be alive today. I feel so grateful to know that God loves me, just as I am. That He is here with me at every moment. That He holds me in the palm of His Almighty hand. That He sees me fully and forgives me and strengthens me in every sorrow and hard time. He is my comforter and knowing His love gives me a peace beyond all understanding

I feel so grateful to live my life with my beloved Bert, to cherish each day with him. I feel so grateful for my precious family, my daughters Jessi and Amy that I love more than words can express and my grandchildren who give me a JOY that I could never have imagined.

I feel so grateful to go through this life with cherished friends who have been there and loved me and held me and told me the truth. Dear friends like Linny and Sharon and Mindy and Mike and Scott and Barbie and Sarah and Debi and Colleen and Eileen and Mary and Gail and Vicky, and Peggy...and so many more. Each friend has enriched me and challenged me and been there for me. They are each a gift to my heart.

I feel so grateful that I am a teacher, so blessed to know and love the thousands of  amazing and wonderful students I have had. I have loved being in a classroom for all of these forty plus years, thirty eight at my career home at SCC. Students like Holly and Myia and John and Mat and Laura and Kyle have blessed and enriched my life. And the other teachers I have shared this wonderful career journey with have role modeled what being a real educator means. My mentor Lois Roach changed me forever.

I feel so grateful for all of the consulting work I have been blessed to do. I have wanted to serve and help others become self empowered. To be trusted to be a positive change-agent in organizations, 500 total, has been such a blessing to me.

I am so grateful I was born with one hand so that I might learn compassion for those who are different. I am so grateful for every hard thing that has ever happened to me, those devastating and difficult moments have been my greatest teachers.

I am so grateful to have been born into a family where I was dearly loved and wanted. Even with all of the hard times and hard family lessons, I am who I am because my parents loved me. I am so grateful that they inspired me to do well in school and to take advantage of getting a great education. I am grateful for the help they gave me that allowed me to go to college and go on to even get two wonderful Masters degrees. That education opened doors for me and taught me to love learning.

I am so grateful for all of the teachers who inspired me, especially Miss Faye my first grade teacher. She believed in me and taught me that I was smart and could make a difference in this world. When I graduated from a very large high school, 875 in my graduating class, eight out of the top ten outstanding academic seniors had had Miss Faye as a first grade teacher. All of us talked about the difference she had made in our love for learning. Amazingly, she kept in touch with all of us from first grade on with yearly postcards, encouraging us to be all we were meant to be. When she passed away, over sixty of us came from all over the country- doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, homemakers, and artists to honor the teacher who had inspired us all. To this day, I am so, so grateful for Miss Faye. I am a teacher because she was my teacher.

I am so grateful for all of the authors who shared their wisdom and whose books have inspired my life. I am a reader and I absorb everything in sight and am so enriched and challenged by what they have written. Authors like Anne Lammott, Ann Voskamp, Shauna Niequist, Bob Goff, Elizabeth Lesser, and Ed Underwood,  just to name a few, have changed how I look at the world and how I live my life and faith. 

I am so grateful to live in a country where I can be free and grateful for all those who have served to protect my freedom. I am so grateful to my Dad for his service in WWII and Bert's service to his country as an Army Paratrooper.

As I turn 68 today, I am so grateful for my health and just waking up this morning. I am grateful for the chance to say hello to everyone I meet. I am grateful for all of the folks I see at Safeway every morning as I get food to take into my classroom. Their smiles and encouragement make my day.

I am so grateful for a mind that works and a body that is strong. I am grateful for a chance to make a difference today...to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.

And for those of you who are taking the time to read this, know that I am grateful that you are here. I hope in some small way, as I sort out my life lessons, that they nourish your heart and spirit.

I am grateful that I have a chance to live today as if it was my very last!

God Bless!
Love you to the moon and back!
Linda

                             






"Just Plain Hard"...

                  Stand up straight and                   realize who you are,                   that you tower over your               ...