Sometimes…

I am no Wonder Woman, but sometimes a girl needs to feel like Wonder Woman to face the challenge in front of her. For me, that challenge is DBS surgery tomorrow.

What is the secret behind Wonder Woman’s power and fearlessness. It is FAITH, FRIENDS, and FAMILY.

I will wake up tomorrow morning at 6:00 am and the show will begin knowing that I have so many dear people praying for me. That prayer power is the source of my strength.

Am I scared? I feel like I am standing at the end of a high diving board counting to 10 just knowing I have to stop overthinking it and just do it.

Faith, friends, and family are lifting me up, but

Sometimes….. a girl also needs the gold go go boots on clearance at Kohls to complete her powers.

Sometimes…..

Here we go. It is almost showtime!

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Good Good Father

I gave a talk at a women’s retreat this weekend and we sang a song called Good Good Father. It is easy to know that your Father God is good when your Earthly father is nothing but kind and loving. I am thankful for and admire men who are the reflection of the Good Good Father– men who keep their vows and commitments, love their wives and children, pay their child support, keep their visitation dates with their kids……. but most of all who choose to follow the Good Good Father who created us all.

I have no excuse to be anything but kind and loving because of the love poured out to me by the men in my life.
An Uncle
A brother-in-law
A father-in-law
Family friends
And especially my husband and my own good good father.

I was surrounded by so many broken hearts this weekend– broken relationships. We are all broken people. What I learned was that fathers have the power to change the world, not perfect fathers, but fathers who are present in their children’s lives. Fathers who show up.

Mothers are so important. I am one. I know my role is important. It is so much easier for a girl to know she has worth when the father in her life treats her like a precious gem.

Thirty minutes before I gave my talk at this retreat, my precious mom whom I adore handed me a necklace from my father– an act of love that tells me I have worth. I am forever grateful for my earthly Good Good Father.

To all: you have a Good Good Father
He created you and loves you. You just have to believe it.

Psalm 139:13-14
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thank you for my necklace, Dad! I love you!
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For Kim – How to Keep Your Goldfish Alive

A much anticipated Zionsville Indiana Community yearly event in September is what is known as the Fall Festival. With carnival rides, food venders, local merchant booths, parade, it is a celebration of early fall that for me was always another marker of the passing years with my boys. The rides, the cheap stuffed animal prizes, the elephant ears, were part of the experience, but, oh, to win a goldfish. When I read a Facebook post from a mom asking advice on how to keep a goldfish alive, I remembered Goldy and the many others. You may not want to read the rest of this because if you follow my simple instructions you will be a slave to your fall festival fishy for years. I can kill a plant in minutes, but give me a goldfish and I am cursed or blessed with a “gold thumb.” With all the carnival noises playing in the background I would cringe each time I saw that ping pong ball plop in that little fish bowl and think here we go again as we would leave the fall festival with kettle corn in one hand and and at least one fish being sloshed around in its temporary tiny house – plastic bag.
There were many casualties and toilet bowl funeral flushings over the years. Some just simply don’t survive the hardship of carnival life. Then there was Goldy lovingly adored by my oldest son for about 24 hours after the thrill of the win and painstakingly kept alive for 7 years by me because I cannot kill even a bug. Goldy would probably still be alive today if I hadn’t made the fatal mistake of filling the bowl up almost to the brim once. To my horror Goldy came to a tragic end when I walked in my son’s room to find him not monotonously swimming around in that bowl as usual but partially dried out gasping on the carpeted floor. I scooped him up and quickly rescued him to his watery home where he bravely fought and lived three more days. No tears were shed for Goldy, but my heart ached a little as I watched my middle school aged son run out the door and I alone flushed Goldy to heaven- another marker of time. That is what Goldy and the others were to me- markers of time raising three boys that passed too quickly. Yes, I know the secret to keeping a goldfish alive. My advice- stop reading here and go out and just get a puppy. But if you insist on knowing, here is the secret.

1. Get a plain wide mouthed bowl. No tank with filter. The key is the wide opening at the top.
2. Take an empty gallon milk jug and fill with tap water. Let that water sit with no lid on it for a week. Use that water to replace the old water. The key is to let the tap water sit open for a few days.
3. Change the water about weekly.
4. Remember to feed it.
5. When you go on vacation, there are these dissolving self feeders.
6. That’s it!

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Alan

His name is Alan Roy Scott. He has irritated me. He has made me cry. He has made me laugh. He has encouraged me. He has challenged me. Except through Skype, I have never been in his presence, but he is my friend. You may not know his name, but if you have listened to songs sung by Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, The Allman Brothers, Sheena Easton, The Neville Brothers, Pat Benatar, Patti LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield and Johnny Mathis, then you have been touched by his creativity. If you have seen the First Wives Club, Top Gun, Coming To America, Karate Kid II, Fame (TV show), Rags To Riches, Santa Barbara, As The World Turns and Beverly Hills 90210 then you have heard his music as you watched. Alan Roy Scott is an acclaimed songwriter.

I started this crazy lyric writing about a year into my Parkinson’s diagnosis. I discovered I have what I call a rhyming disorder. (Don’t look it up. I made up the term.) It just means I like to rhyme. Why did I start doing this? That is another story for later. What I like about the challenge of writing songs is that for me it is like a timed sudoku puzzle with words. You have about 3.5 minutes to tell a complete story with part of the story repeating 3 times, and it has to rhyme, make sense, and be catchy enough to move the audience emotionally in some way. Whew! Alan Roy Scott has drilled me on this over the past few months through an online song evaluation service called Song U. When I get an A+ from Alan on a song critique, it is not like getting a participation trophy. He is a straight shooter and he means what he says. I work for those A pluses from Alan. Lol. Alan and I wrote a song together for an organization I belong to called Rock Steady Boxing. I did pay to write with him. Well, he is Alan Roy Scott, and I’m no Celine Dion. It was worth every penny to work and learn from this tell-it-like-it-is, compassionate man.

Parkinson’s, I hate you, but you have brought such music to my life in so many ways. You have brought people into my life who I would never have met without you. Parkinson’s, I want you to go away, but you have taught me to listen deep inside. There is beautiful music playing in my life all around me that I would not have noticed without you. Parkinson’s, I have a hard time saying this because I hate you, but thank you. Alan Roy Scott, let’s write another one in 2017!

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The Birthday People

I call them “Birthday People” –people who stop in the middle of the day that commemorates one’s birth and take the time to simply say Happy Birthday!

Social media may have many negatives, but when the “Birthday People” do their thing, I am reminded of how powerful the simple gesture of acknowledgement is. The Birthday People take a few seconds of their day to say — you matter.

Yesterday was my day and I have to say I was
overwhelmed and touched by how much that simple gesture meant.

Thank you, Birthday People! Those of you who posted, tweeted, texted, emailed me to acknowledge #57 yesterday made my day brighter. There is a good
force in social media. I call them the Birthday People.
Many thanks again to you all!

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1865

“Are you the couple that now live in Jean Apple’s house?” That is the question that my husband and I have answered over and over the past couple weeks. It is the question asked by such lovely and friendly new neighbors curious as to who owns the little house built in 1865 –the little house so loved by their neighbor, Jean Apple. Jean has moved out of state and has entrusted this little piece of history to the Cox family.

While Searching for places to store our stuff, we found this antique hidden behind the walls of the house. I can imagine Mrs. Higgens sitting on the stool spinning yarn on this “thing.” The Higgins family are recorded to have built this house in 1865. That antique makes you think 1865 was a simpler time.

Was it? What was happening in our country in 1865?
-The American Civil War ended
– Lincoln was inaugurated as second term as president
– Lincoln was assassinated
– The 13th amendment was ratified banning slavery
– In the Ku Klux Klan begin its movement

— All in 1865, The same year that this little house that I now live in was built.

Have we learned much since then as a nation? Have we not learned that all life is sacred? Have we not learned to look past our differences, get to know people and not merely tolerate them, but to appreciate them and love them.

My heart aches for a country that has not learned its lessons of the past and can’t see beyond a statue that will be dust over the course of time.

A statue will crumble just like hatred and indifference can make our country crumble, but the attitudes and ideals of compassion, kindness, acceptance, appreciating others can be passed on through centuries and never be torn down.

As I put another load of laundry in my modern day washer, I think of Mrs. Higgins as she probably sat spinning that thing to make clothes for her family. I’m not sure what she thought about the events going on around her in the same year her little house was built, but I clearly know what I think and believe.

Today an American flag will be hung outside the little house on Maple street built in 1865– for all who have fought and given their lives for the ideals of this country. All lives matter, all people matter–liberty and justice for all!

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Coach

Coach

My family celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday this weekend in Nashville, TN. It was my mom’s idea because my mom is fun. She is a grandma of 4 grandsons. She is the mom of two daughters. She is the wife of one husband.

My mom is a fairly private person about her own childhood. That is because it was not picture perfect. What I will share are the words I would use to describe her mother (my grandma) — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I do not have any words for her father. I do not know him. From what I hear, he was not a nice man. I call my mom and her two siblings silent survivors because all three emerged from a childhood of tension to become people who are loving and kind. I have always admired my mom for her lack of bitterness towards her own father. I’m sure she would tell me it is her Heavenly Father who fills that gap. My mom is a woman of strong faith in Jesus.

If you look at my mom’s high school and college year books you will see pictures of her as a cheerleader — a role she carried on into her adult life as she married a man who for decades was a high school basketball coach. Most people think of her as that cheerleader sitting in that basketball gym in the stands, and in many ways that is how I see her — an encourager in the stands of my life always cheering me on.

But I’m sure my dad would agree with me, my mom ain’t sitting on no sidelines just cheering us on. (My mom was a high school grammar teacher. That is going to make her cringe! Lol) My mom IS our coach.

I would call her my life coach. She wore the whistle in our family. My mom is the best of any good coach who pushes her players and tries to get the best out of them. My dad and sister I know would agree with me, we are who we are today because of our mom. Words to describe my mom are the same ones that I used to describe her mother — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I can only hope that someone will say those words about me some day. I am fortunate to have been coached by the best.

Connie Milhollland, you are dearly loved by this family. Every day you cheer us on, we want you to know we are grateful for you, Coach!

Love you always,
Your Team

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