“Star of Hope, A Season of Waiting”

Christmas from Stock exchange

Christmas from Stock exchange

Star of Hope, A Season of waiting.

Prepare, Watch, Behold and Rejoice.  These are the words on our banner at our local country church. Each week a new strip has be added and hung each Sunday through the season of Advent.  Tonight is when we celebrate our Saviors birth. Have you been preparing? It seems we have for the entire month with decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping and card sending to our loved ones. It’s done. It is now time to watch, behold and rejoice. A time to celebrate the Prince of Peace who has come gently into the “far-from-peaceful” world.  What a gift it is to rest in the joy of his coming to bring Hope to every soul who seeks Him.

”Star of Hope” was a service held for a local Hospice House. A time for families to come together to remember and reminisce about the loved ones they have lost this year. A time to remember when families spent time together with their loved one caring for them. A time to share the life they led and thank them for all they did for each one of us.  A sad time but a time when we could reassure them that we loved them and were grateful for them. The service gave those present the feeling of hope.

Life is a Journey.  It is about everyday struggles of lives and how people can move on stronger than ever after a conflict has happened to them. My father was in this “Star of Hope” Season this year. We siblings cared for him, in his home. With the help of a local Hospice Care unit we managed to keep dad’s wishes and cared for him. What a Blessing it was for me. Tough days mixed with rewarding days. The journey ended January 18, 2012 after many years of battling cancer.

It is time to behold and rejoice. As you celebrate this Christmas Season with your family remember the “Reason for this Season”.  Jesus came that we may have everlasting life.  We need to rest in the assurance that we will rejoice at the end of our earthly life. Today I am wondering what Christmas will be like in Heaven for my dad this year. He will be rejoicing with other loved ones, celebrating the Christmas Season with the heavenly angels for the first time.

Be prepared, keep watching, behold our Savior, and rejoice with your families with Christmas Joy.

“It is in darkness that one finds the Light….”   Keep looking. Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Merry Christmas Dad and all my loved ones.



“Playing the Game of Life”

I love playing games. It can be a board game of “Life” or Monopoly, card game such as 500, Kings in the corner or going to or watching a Minnesota “TWINS” baseball game. I’ll play any game with anyone except Scrabble.  I don’t do Scrabble.

We all have adjustment and situations that we must deal with as we play our game of life. How many of you feel that you were dealt the “Lucky” hand for your game of life? How many of you are still looking for the “Full House” to play your game of Life? My life is no different than anyone else as I was dealt a hand for my game of life. However, with all sorts of adjustments, lots of medical attention and expense early in my life, it has been a successful life and I feel I was dealt a lucky hand. With bushels baskets full of love, much support, many caring hands and a very strong will to be “Normal” when I play my game of “Life” I have found many positive ways to make me the person I am today.

Since I was a child, I have worked extremely hard to be “Normal”. Being normal is being like everyone else.  I wear glasses like lots of other people so I can see better.  I have a stylish hair cut to enhance my appearance and I wear a smile on my face.  These things are the same as many people. You will also notice things that are different from everyone else. I use a cane to help with my mobility, I wear a long leg brace, under my pants, on my left leg to support my leg while walking and I have a distinctive limp to the left, my weaker side. These things make me different. How does one adjust to all these situations?

“Courage” and “Faith” are my strongest assets. When my life changed at the age of 6 1/2 months old, I was not able to understand what was happening to me. Through all the love, support and caring hands and my very strong will to be “Normal” I was able to adjust. The definition of Courage is “it is not the absence of fear”. “It is doing what it will take despite ones fear.” I have spent the last several months speaking to fourth through sixth grade children telling them the importance of treating some else that may be different, NOT differently. The #1 individual that is bullied has a physical limitation.  I am very differently abled and have learned to make my way in this world by doing everything that anyone else can do and do it the best that I can with lots of time and patience. Poliomyelitis, a highly contagious virus, has changed the way I play my “game of Life”. My Grand daughter, Emma (age 13), asks me almost ever time she is around me “Grandma, are you a perfectionist?”  No, but I have learned that doing something right is the right way to do anything.  With lots of Faith, Hope and Trust I make it through every day doing the best I can in whatever I am doing.

Linda at St. Mary's 18 months old

Linda at St. Mary’s 18 months old

Polio is three generations back from today.  You may have a parent who is living with the effects of polio. You may have a grand parent that lived with polio. Some of you reading this may not know what polio is.  Please read past Blogs to find out how a polio survivor can make their way with lots of Courage, and how I have over come a “Challenging dealt hand”.  My book “All the Steps I have Taken” was a dream I had my entire life.  It went live with Inspiring Voices in August 2012. When I retired from a successful career, as a Registered Dental Assistant, I took the time to write my memoir. This little book has lead me to find many polio survivors and we all have handled our dealt hand the same way with persistence and courage. Only with a strong faith could we have done this.  “Truly he is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62: 6-8)  Gods blessing to you all.

Community – Ties That Bind us together

We all belong to a community. It can be a family unit, co-workers, service organization, Church, Political parties, sports teams, volunteer groups, and many more ways of tying together. Some of these you joined to be an active supportive member.  Your family unit you became a part just by being born.  Whatever community you are a part of you have something in common and it binds you together. Lots of glue holds people together. That Glue is Love, Respect and caring.

I am going to pick just a few of these communities to share with you.  Family, especially our siblings, is our first and oldest community. They knew us as we grew into who we are now. Family communities might be delightful or difficult or both. Family builds deep and complex bonds.  Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, become part of this community. It will last a lifetime. My heart swells as I think of all my siblings and I have been through as a family.  Some delightful days, and some that we might struggle with.  However, the bond that ties will always be there to hold us together.

The Church is a distinctive community, unlike any other. It is not based on us at all. It is the stirring of the Holy Spirit, who calls us, gathers us and enlightens us. Our little country church, Red Oak Grove, has a mission statement that says, “Gathering in Grace, Growing in Faith and going forth to Service.”  What a blessing it is for me to be part of this family. For me being part of my church enables me to be quilting with the ladies for local and world missions, being apart of the Women’s organization that does so much for the church and allows me to grow my faith. We recently celebrated our 150th Anniversary of “Celebrating God…Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. May it continue to grow for another 150 years in God’s Grace.

Next,  I will pick two, as they fit together, Service Organizations and Sports Team.  Our little town just won the Boys Basketball Sub-Section Seat and will play for the section title this Thursday. This has not happened in over 40 years.  This draws a community together to support the team. Our  school is one of 80 schools in the United States with a one-of-a-kind nickname “Awesome Blossoms“. Our name was just in “most unusual mascot competition sponsored by USA Today. Unfortunately we lost to a much larger community by votes. Lots of votes were cast and we tried very hard but still came up short.  I live in a small community that cares about the people who live here.  While the Boys Basketball team brings lots of excitement and joy to our community a house fire, one day ago, brought sadness to a family and the entire community will rally around them to pray, support, comfort and help them anyway that

Boys Basket Ball "Blossoms" Team

Boys Basket Ball “Blossoms” Team

we can.  When you live in a small town people truly care about one another and show it. This small community supports a Chamber, Education Foundation, Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance, Cancer Group, Lions, PTO,  Semcac,  Scouts, Knights of Columbus, VFW-Legion and Auxiliary, Women of Today, Ministerial Assoc. and Local Boys and Girls Club that all work together to make this a wonderful community. Which organization are you a part of?  I am so proud to be a “Blossom” and live where I can count on my neighbors if and when I should need their leaning hand.

Whether you like it or not you are part of a community.  Being a part of a community has been God’s design for human life. Our lives will be better for being a part of a community and it will give us purpose.  Communities help us enjoy life, contribute to the well-being of our neighbors.  It helps us to learn new things and maybe we will live longer.  Let’s celebrate Community.

“Do it”

“Do It.”

just my dad

My Dad

It is time to make sure that your New Years resolution is in place and you’re not going to let the year go by without following it through. It is almost the end of January 2013 and have you taken action yet? Have you put the foot forward to begun to work your plan? If not, now is the time to “Do it”.

I am a great fan of Dr. Peale and he always encouraged people to take action 365 days of the year. It was his idea that consisted of just these two words “Do it”. “These two words can generate enormous energy” he said.

I have some words that mean a lot to me. Integrity: it means completeness; to be sound. Competitive: it means rivalry in business. Hardworking: it means energetic, effort exerted to do or make something. These are words that describe my dad. He was laid to rest this week, after a long battle with cancer. His children of four took care of him for about 10 weeks 24/7. He was proud of his kids as he would talk to the hospice nurses and say “I wouldn’t be here at home, if it weren’t for my kids”. They thought it so cute since we are all in our 50’s and 60’s and still considered us his kids. I guess “Kids” has no age limit. As the pastor described him these words were used. He was always stepping ahead to “Do it”. Taking a risk to improve upon what he had for himself and his family.

Dad and me

Dad and me

I was only six months old when I contracted polio and from that day forward I just had to “Do it”. It would be necessary for me to gain courage from my parents, since I was so young, to learn to “Do it”. I doubt that I or my parents every thought of it as a New Years’ resolution. I think I just learned that to get ahead and be normal I would just plain and simply have to learn to dig in hard and “Do it”. I know it was a great financial burden to have my health to take care of. I never heard a grumble. I know I caused worry with all the surgeries I needed to improve my mobility. I never heard a grumble. Now as people read my book “All the Steps I Have Taken” I am hearing comments like “from what I know of him from Linda’s book, he was a man of faith, a man who shouldered work and responsibility, a man who loved his family and friends, and a man who put service above self.”

My dad told me he could never read my book. It had too many reminders of things he didn’t want to remember. I responded “that at age 87 all you have are loads of memories”. He said he could see who I was each and every day. He didn’t need to read it in a book. He carried many secrets with him that he just couldn’t express. He will be missed and I will thank him for making me the person I am today. He “Did it”.

The secret is to just tell the people that you love that you love them. Just “Do It”.

12 Days of Christmas-Epiphany

12 Days of Christmas – Epiphany

The loveliness of the season has been more than beautiful as all the trees have been covered with hoarfrost on these winter mornings. The temperatures have been just low enough to cause freezing of the dew or vapor causing the most wonderful visible horizon. Are you thankful for such beauty? Were you too busy to notice this gorgeousness with all the Christmas celebrating? I hope not.

Winter Morning

Winter Morning

Now that Advent has passed we enter in the next season of the Church. Epiphany is always January 6th. It isn’t often that we can celebrate Epiphany, on a Sunday, right on the 12th day after Christmas. Today, in our Sunday Church Worship, our Pastor Lindsay Stolen, had a well planned service for us to partake in the blessing of our homes this Epiphany season. By choice we could take a kit and mark our homes with the blessing. “20 + CMB + 13”. Christ is welcome in our homes. 20 stands for 2000, + is for Christ, bless this house, CMB stands for the names of the Magi Casper, Melchoir, and Balthasar. 2nd + for Christ to remain with us throughout the New Year, 13 stands for year thirteen.

Every Hymn we sang referenced the “Star” that led the Magi to Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. We opened with “Shine, Jesus Shine”, one of my favorites. It was followed by “Bright and Glorious Is the Sky”.

                                                 Bright and glorious is the sky,
                                                Radiant are the heavens high,
                                                Where the golden stars were shining,
                                                and their rays to earth inclining.
                                                Beckoning us to heaven above,
                                                beckoning us to heaven above.

In Minnesota let us enjoy the winter season with shorter days and thank God for this time for relaxing and resting our mind, body and soul. As we enter 2013 let’s be reminded of the Scottish folk song “Auld Long Syne”, which means “days gone by” and move into the new year with God’s Love being our inspiration, his wisdom our guide, his truth be our light. And his peace is our comfort. Amen

Christmas Time

Evening of Christmas Day - Sky Lantern

Evening of Christmas Day – Sky Lantern

                                                                               Christmas Time

 It seems Christmas comes more rapidly ever year.  Why is that? Because things are more essential to me as I get older? Do I find more happiness in everything I do? My family is so important to me? Could it be all of the above? The answer is, yes, yes and yes.

 Getting older makes me recognize that I may not have the time to make a difference in someone else’s life. I gave each of my Grandchildren an item with this saying on it: “I can’t promise that I will be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise I will Love you for the rest of mine”. The days turn into years so rapidly. My Grandchildren are becoming their own unique person, each of them.  I love who they are becoming.

 It is not hard for me to have a good day.  I can usually come up with a way to try and make my day very pleasant.  It can be spending time with Grandchildren, family, friends, doing something at church or doing something for someone. The schedule can hold wrestling matches, basketball games, dance recitals, school programs.

 At the present time I am spending some time with my siblings.  Our father is in hospice care at his home and we are doing our very best to make each day as pleasant as we can for him.   As we each have our own families, it is harder to spend time together. We are getting some reminiscing done and it is fun to talk about some remembered events. We recently had our family Christmas and our dad couldn’t be with us.  Each member of the family makes visits to his home when they can.

 For our Christmas Eve, I and my husband enjoyed the most wonderful time.  It started with evening Church, supper with those available to join us at our daughters’ home, Christmas light viewing and games. It was a magnificent time and elegantly completed. Christmas day our entire family joined us, at our home, for food, games and gifts. The night ended with a sky lantern being lifted off in honor of dad. Now our concerns turn to 2013.  May you each find Joy and Peace in the New Year.

 We want to Wish Blessings to you all.

The Brace Shop

“The Brace Shop”
It happens every once in a while that I need to take time to have an adjustment to my long  left brace. It becomes a part of me everyday as I get dressed and plan my day activities. It matters what brace I wear for the amount of activity I will be doing. The choice is always mine as to what brace I will wear. One will allow me to be very busy and give me the support I will need to address that tasks that I plan. The other will wait for another day to help me with less strenuous tasks. I am fortunate that Prosthetic Laboratories, my brace shop, is in Rochester, Minnesota only 45 miles away. They take care of all my needs.

Linda Age 10braces and crutches

Linda Age 10
braces and crutches

God knows that I always need strength, courage, endurance and creativity to navigate through my day. He helps me start everyday as I enjoy my cup of coffee and prayer.

Strength: Physical strength is important because my upper body helps my lower body. My arms, at the end of the day, are extremely tired from all they have to do.

Courage: “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is what we do despite our fear.” It takes a lot of bravery for me to put that brace on everyday to support my left leg that was paralyzed by poliomyelitis in 1948. But, without it in place, I would be unable to walk unassisted without my crutches.

Endurance: For 64 years I have had to use all the strength and courage I have to make my day a better day. I was only 6 months old when I contracted the polio virus that made my life more challenging. It has been a way of life for my entire life. I never walked a step without a limp and have worn braces for all but 20 years of my life. From age 16 to 36 I was brace free. At age 36 my left knee could not support me because of lack of muscle and tendon strength.

Creativity: There isn’t anything I can not accomplish. It always takes me longer, but the task will be completed. I just have to figure out the best way to accomplish the undertaking. It might take 3 trips to transport groceries into the house instead of one. It may mean I have to take a break after I vacuum for half and hour. I simply revolve tasks until the day is done and I feel convinced that I did the unsurpassed I could do for that day.

All this and more are detailed in my recent book “All the Steps I Have Taken”. It is my journey through life with polio. Enjoy a short read and be inspired.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The first snow has arrived and the beauty of winter was evident this moring in Minnesota. It will get us all in the Spirit of Christmas. Remember that Jesus is the true reason for this blessed

Christmas from Stock exchange

Christmas from Stock exchange

season. God provides HOPE and PROMISE in the gift of his only Son, Jesus, who comes to us at Christmastime offering eternal life to all who believe.

This past week-end my husbnad and I enjoyed a “Candlelight Christmas Festival” at the North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa. It consisted of the Area Children’s Choir, River City Chorus, North Iowa Choral Society, Jubilee Bell Ringers, NIACC Choir and all Choirs conbined. It was an amazing show of talent and very enjoyable. It was an extrordinary way to start our Christmas Season.

The evening was shared with two couple that have been very dear friends for many years. The kind of friends you don’t want to be without. They are the kind of friends that will always be there for you when you need them most. They are the kinds of friends that you Thank God for everyday.

We have enjoyed breakfast with Santa, supporting our local Boys and Girls Club. A safe place for the children in our small community. Grnadchildrens programs that we have enjoyed so far are “The Gift of the Season”, “Holiday Concert”, “Jesus, God’s Son”, “Christmas Magic. We have a couple more to enjoy.

I am so proud of our two daughters and daughter-in-law for all their time and talents in helping the children prepare for their church Christmas Programs. It takes a lot of time and patience helping the children prepare for these.

As you continue celebrating the birth of our Savior, we want to wish youall a very Merry Christmas, We hope you enjoy all the time your can with family and friends this season.