More Fun and Love in the Hinterlands

Mother Goose and her goslings recently traveled to nordern Minnesota to visit the family. Let’s just say, the Hinterlands is another world away from Oak Park…

There’s something for everyone at the Frame Farm.

A little barn charm...

A little barn charm…

Chickens roosting in their coop...

Chickens roosting in their coop…

All American patriotism...

All American patriotism…

In the summer there are turkeys...

In the summer there are turkeys…

Turkey in a roasting pan...

Turkey in a roasting pan…

A friendly lap dog...

A friendly lap dog…

A very large lap dog...

A very large lap dog…

The Father of the Goose...

The Father of the Goose…

A glorious sunset...

A glorious sunset…

Mother Goose is blessed to belong to a family that just overflows with love and fun. Our journey “up north” was wonderfully filled with great times, delicious eats and much laughter. Thank you for stopping by to visit with Mother Goose today. God bless you!

Mother Goose Travels to the Hinterlands

There are times when Mother Goose hears the Call of the Wild…

At those times, she loads up the goslings into the Goosemobile, sets the autodrive button to “up north”, and hangs on for dear life as they all fly up the road to visit familiar faces and places. Last week was one of those times…

In eleven short hours, we traveled from Oak Park to Keewatin, Minnesota where the sister of a goose lives. She and her dear hubby were so happy to put us up for a couple of nights. We happily enjoyed some brisk walks along the Mesabi Trail with Bunn, Allen and their hero dog, Dusty. Along the way, they always meet up with people to visit with — either their dear friend Joe and his dog, Remmi or the village mayor or the driver of a large Caterpillar loader who was clearing away some of the snow from the trail. Everybody knows your name and is your friend in Keewatin.

The Mesabi Trail stretches from Grand Rapids all the way to Ely, Minnesota.  Thousands of hikers and bikers traverse its beautiful winding ways twelve months out of the year...

The Mesabi Trail stretches from Grand Rapids all the way to Ely, Minnesota. Thousands of hikers and bikers traverse its beautiful winding ways twelve months out of the year…

We did a lot of laughing over the course of the visit…

A sister and a goose.

A sister and a goose.

Please come back next time when Mother Goose tells you the story of the little farm in the Hinterlands…

Happy Pi Day from Mother Goose

We all know about the magnificent obsession Mother Goose has with pie…

Peach Pie

How can Mother Goose even begin to describe the joy of knowing that today is Pi Day? Please do not think that Mother Goose is ignoring her spell check when she types “pi” instead of “pie” today. Many of my dear and loyal readers will know that the date today is March 14th or 3/14. Many of my most mathematically inclined readers will also recognize this sign and this number…

National-Pi-Day

We will be enjoying Peach Pie this evening at the Perch Party Part Two. Does that make it a Perch and Peach Pie Party? Can it get anymore real than that? And is it even rational to consider that Mother Goose would rather eat pie and perch than anything else under the sun?

And by the way, Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Albert Einstein!

Albert Einstein

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

A Picture of Lawrence is Worth a Thousand Words

Our friend, Lawrence Little.

Our friend, Lawrence Little.

Lawrence has been working at Costco for two weeks now, and he’s a transformed man! He walks with a new spring in his step — he glows with a sense of purpose and pride in his accomplishments. Not only does he have a job and housing, he has a fresh hair cut, a cell phone and new clothes.

Here’s the part that went straight to the heart of Mother Goose:

He’s not just working at a Costco warehouse….he is actually working as a floor supervisor in the packing/shipping department of the company. His job is to walk amongst the assembly packing line workers and make sure that everybody is doing what they are spose to be doing and NOT PUTTING THE COMPANY’S STUFF IN THEIR POCKETS.

His boss has recognized a trustworthiness in Lawrence that Mother Goose also immediately knew to be true. He is also an outgoing people person, very likable amongst the other workers. For the first couple days at work, he had no money to buy lunch, but his new coworkers quickly came to his rescue and bought him lunch until he got his first paycheck.

He also had a nice side job over the past weekend, doing some interior painting for some people he knows.

Mother Goose could just go on and on about Lawrence — I’m just so very proud of him. Thank you all for your prayers on his behalf — God is hearing and answering them…

No longer going door to door begging for money — no longer riding the “L” all night long, sleeping with one eye open — Lawrence Little is back in mainstream society and the world is a better place because of him!!!

Mother Goose is smiling!

Happy Birthday to Bunn

image

The precious baby sister of Mother Goose went and turned fifty today!! She’s so beautiful, isn’t she? Her little hero pup, Dusty, loves to take selfies.

Mother Goose Salutes Miss Murriel

[Mother Goose does not often share stories back and forth between her two blogs, but this one was too good to NOT share...so this is from mothergoosesalutes.wordpress.com but you lucky readers can read it right here!]

Mother Goose is proud to introduce you to her friend, Miss Murriel — the beautiful woman pictured below. We have known each other for about five months, but we believe that our friendship was in place long ago. She’s just that kind of a person — Mother Goose met her and fell in love with her for life and beyond.

The reason that Mother Goose is saluting Murriel today is because she is a TRUE American hero — she’s not one of these Yankee Doodle dandies all waving the flag and singing the National Anthem but not really caring a lick for the veterans, the servicemen and women, and the families who know what true American sacrifice is all about. Murriel cares because she knows first hand what it’s like to be a Navy wife, a Navy widow, a Navy mother and as of this past Sunday, the woman who saved the life of a suicidal veteran.

Yes. She did that.

David, Husband Goose, Murriel and Kevin

David, Husband Goose, Murriel and Kevin

Murriel grew up in Cleveland County, Mississippi through the 1950’s and into the ’60’s. There were thirteen children in her family — she was the seventh of the bunch. Her family worked a farm — picking cotton by hand was still the way to make a living in those times. The summers were hot and the kids all enjoyed a dip in the pond when their work was done. Her aunties lived in town and had good plumbing for taking showers so Murriel and her sisters would go to visit them often.

She married her childhood friend, Bobby Jenkins, just before he left for Navy boot camp. When he came home on leave from southeast Asia in 1968, she presented him with his newborn son. The sailor returned to duty in Vietnam, and then tragedy came in the form of Navy officers and a chaplain at her door with the terrible news that her husband had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Murriel held her newborn daughter and her toddler son and cried.

By that time, she had moved to Chicago with other sisters and brothers. Her sailor husband was buried in the church cemetery in Cleveland County.

Life goes on, and she was able to pick up the pieces. She eventually remarried — a Navy veteran actually — and worked as a registered nurse and raised her family. She had another son, and the two sons grew up to be sailors as well. The older of the two was serving in October 2000 at the time of the suicide bombing of the USS Cole and was part of the rescue team for that horrible tragedy when seventeen American sailors lost their lives and an additional 39 were injured.

Because of the horror of that rescue operation, Murriel’s son was hospitalized in a catatonic condition in the hospital for seven months. His mother sat by his side, praying for his own healing and recovery. Today he is fine and works as an inventory manager in a large grocery store chain. Murriel is very proud of all of her children, but this one checks up on her most often, protecting her and defending her against any and all harm that may befall her.

Murriel’s heart is all about helping the veterans, and she volunteers her time at our Easter Seals office every week. She is active in her church, New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, in Chicago. She cares for heroin babies and advocates for them in the court system. She checks in on veterans who are living in church-sponsored apartments in the neighborhood.

And here’s the bottom line of this story:

This past Sunday, Murriel was checking in on one of the vets. She visits often but he seldom opens his door — many of the vets prefer to be left alone with their problems and their PTSD, but Murriel knows how important it is to keep checking on them. His door was unlocked so she walked into the apartment, searching the rooms for this troubled man.

She found him sitting in a chair in his room with the barrel of a handgun in his mouth.

“No!” she screamed and rushed at him.

Murriel walks with a cane because her knee is bad, but she still managed to get to the man and pull the loaded gun out of his mouth. The barrel was actually pointed directly at her when he finally took his finger off the trigger. She wrestled it away from the poor hopeless man, screaming the whole time. “Stop it, you gotta stop this, put that gun down NOW!”

Other people heard the commotion and came running. Somebody called 9-1-1, and the paramedics arrived. They put the straitjacket on him and took him away to the suicide watch ward of the hospital. Before they closed the door of the ambulance, Murriel got in the last word:

“When you get out of the hospital and you’re feeling better, I’m gonna kill you!”

She’s so precious to Mother Goose — that’s just the kind of friend and Hero she is…

The Perch Party

Mother Goose smiles when a small idea becomes a BIG production!

It is a fact of nature that people, plants and animals start out tiny and then grow into miraculous and wonderful living organisms, and it was a fact of life yesterday that a little plan blossomed into a wonderful and loving Perch Party.

Knowing that David (a U.S. Marine who has fallen on rough times and has no home) likes perch, the wheels in the feathery head of Mother Goose began to turn. What kind of perch is best to serve? How do I prepare it? Where will I purchase it? And can I even do this, having never cooked fishy things before except those easy and adorable fish sticks from Captain Gorton?

Enter Kevin, my comrade from Easter Seals and a lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman. His recommendation was to serve up Lake Perch as fresh as I could possibly muster. Of course, Mother Goose is NOT one to hold a fishing pole, especially in single-digit weather conditions.

However, a quick side note: Brother Goose and his dear wife have done MUCH ice fishing this winter in their really nice camper/ice house. With cousins and friends, they pull their camper out three or four miles onto some GREAT big lakes in nordern Minnesota and set up a little fishing town where they conveniently fish from the comfort of their warm rolling home and watch NASCAR races on the big screen.

But oh my gooseness, I digress…

Mother Goose happily added Kevin to the guest list, knowing that his cooking expertise would be valuable in the preparation of The Perch. And then the wheels turned a little bit more, and Mother Goose remembered her friend, Ms Murriel, who absolutely LOVES to cook for people and lives to see the happy faces of folks who have eaten more than their fill of a good dinner.

Mother Goose invited Ms Murriel who immediately offered to bake a lemon meringue pie. Everybody KNOWS how much Mother Goose loves pie…

All of the puzzle pieces for the Perch Party were in place — fish bought and breaded, spaghetti water boiling, salad tossed, pie chillin’ and we ladies chatting in the kitchen, waiting for the gentlemen to arrive when all of a sudden the phone of Mother Goose rang! I missed the call, but there was a voicemail from David saying that he was having phone problems, trying to reach Kevin, and would be on his way to meet him there.

But we didn’t know where “there” was, and we could not figure out where David was and would Kevin please find this man and please deliver him to the Perch Party SOMEHOW.

And Kevin did. Kevin always rescues somebody — he is one of my most special heroes, and you can go read more about him by clicking here…

Oh the food was delicious! If anyone ever asks, Lake Perch is about a thousand times better than ocean perch which is why Mother Goose capitalized it. And the meatballs and sauce prepared by Husband Goose — mmmmm, he’s got that recipe down just fine. And the bottle of German wine that Kevin provided was the perfect complement to the dinner. And I don’t even need to tell you how Mother Goose swooned at the first mouthful of lemon meringue pie…

But, my dear and loyal readers, what set this Perch Party apart and above and beyond all normal meals was the delightful and thought-provoking conversation and loving fellowship around the table. Sometimes the food can be tasty, the music playing softly in the background, the candles lit and glowing brightly, but the dinner falls flat because there is no love.

We enjoyed an abundance of love at our Perch Party. The Lord lavished His grace on us, and our conversations were sprinkled with the sweetest words of wisdom and kindness. There was much laughing and a little teasing and a heart-felt camaraderie amongst us.

Can a goose get anymore grateful?

Thank you for coming to The Perch Party of Mother Goose…

Brother David, Husband Goose, Ms Murriel and dear Kevin.

Brother David, Husband Goose, Ms Murriel and dear Kevin.

Tonight, It’s Perch

perch

Mother Goose had the idea — invite David to dinner. When she asked him what she should prepare, he quickly replied, “Perch.”

You will certainly remember David as being the veteran who I found out was spending the nights sitting up and sleeping at the “Dunkins”. This week, he has been staying at our mutual friend, Kevin’s place, so I also invited Kevin for perch.

What the guys don’t know is that Mother Goose has also invited our mutual friend, Murriel, who will help with the preps and serving of the perch…

This is going to be a really great dinner party for all of us — stay tuned as Mother Goose takes a chance and makes a mess of perch for her friends…

Little by Little, Lawrence’s Life is Looking Up

Mother Goose wanted to update her dearest and most caring readers on the improving life conditions of her friend, Lawrence Little. You may remember that Lawrence has been living on the streets of Chicago off and on for more than a year…sleeping on the “L” and begging door-to-door for money for food and whatever.

He has now found temporary housing in an apartment building about two miles from the Goose residence — another resident is unofficially subsidizing his rent until he gets things together a little better. THAT is very good news!

Last Thursday evening, there was a great deal of urgent knocking on our front door around about the time when Mother Goose is washing up the dishes and helping the little ones with their homework. Husband Goose answered the door to discover an extremely OVERJOYED Lawrence standing at the threshold.

“Where’s Ms Natalie? Is she here? I’ve just gotta tell her my good news!” I heard him coming down the hall towards the kitchen.

“Lawrence? Is that you?”

“Ms Natalie, I got a job! I got a job! I start tomorrow! I got a job!”

One of the most charming traits of dear Lawrence is his unspoiled and pure view of life. Despite years of hard living and imminent danger and uncertainty, he maintains a precious and hopeful outlook on life. Only the Lord knows the troubles he’s seen, and yet he literally shouts for joy when life takes a turn for the better.

As it turned out, he was indeed starting a job the next day at the Costco warehouse in the city. The only challenge was how to get there on time, and Husband Goose graciously offered to buy Lawrence a one-week bus pass so he could get to his new place of employment hassle free.

As we were driving to church on Sunday, Mother Goose spotted Lawrence walking his hip-hop step down the sidewalk in the same direction as we were going. We stopped and picked him up, and sure enough he was heading for church as well. He immediately began to tell us about an incident that had already happened to him that morning. He had seen a guy on the street who owed him money, and asked if the fellow could pay him back. Apparently the guy grabbed Lawrence around the neck and shook him like a rag doll, and swearing at him, vowed no, he wasn’t going to pay him back that morning…

Lawrence was pretty upset about that, and frustrated with himself for fighting back with the guy. But by the time we arrived at the theater for church, he seemed better. He eagerly told many of his friends there about his new job at Costco. He also began asking folks for help getting a bus pass for the second week of work as we wouldn’t be paid until he had worked for two weeks.

He sat with us for worship, and the heart of Mother Goose was broken for this man, a brother in the Lord, as he prayed and cried out to God and wept for deep thanksgiving and joy that he had found work. I passed him a hand full of tissues and hugged him with all of my feathery might, to comfort him and make him know that he is indeed loved and respected and cherished.

Later on that evening, Lawrence stopped by as we were just sitting down to a light supper. He asked for hot chocolate and in fact, drank two mugs before he left. He also enjoyed an Italian sausage, but preferred not to take any mashed taters or broccoli — of course, Mother Goose chided him a little for not eating his veggies. As he ate, he doodled and talked happily about how excited he is about his new job. He had completed orientation and would begin the actual work the next day.

Costco

He is such a joy to be around!

Please pray that this work will fill him with purpose and hope. Please pray that he will make it to work on time everyday. Please pray that we can continue to support him in whatever way the Lord would direct.

Praise God for a man like Lawrence who has taught us so much about life and love.

You Stayed WHERE Last Night?

When this man first came to our Easter Seals office last October, he had two requests for us: to help him upgrade his military discharge status and to help him draft a new resume so that he could find employment. He filled out his intake information and passed the form over to Mother Goose. He met with one of our VA specialists to discuss the DD214 form upgrade.

He walked into my office and sat down in one of my many soft chairs. We began to discuss his employment history, and Mother Goose took copious notes so as to gather as much information as possible. He spoke softly and answered all of my questions with poise and sincerity.

At some points in our meeting, he wrote down exactly what he wanted to say on the resume. Mother Goose was impressed with his eloquent capabilities and could only wonder how this veteran could NOT be employed.

And then he mentioned that he lives and sleeps in the basement of a nearby church. AND has actually been staying in that place since last March! And apparently he was OK with that most of the time…except when he’s walking through neighborhoods and could see families in homes living out their domesticity. He felt a degree of weariness at having to spend his nights in the basement of a church.

He told me how he serves as the watchman and the maintenance man and the custodian for the church. I asked how much they were paying him for his day and night services. “Oh nothing,” he answered.

Mother Goose could feel her feathers getting all ruffled at the thought of this man working for a church for eight months without any visible and monetary signs of gratitude…

Light of Liberty Church

“Does the pastor know that you are doing all of this work for the church?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” David replied.

“And?” I prompted him just a little to expound on this pastor. Could he possibly be a blind man?

“No, they haven’t paid me for my work, but that’s OK. The Lord always provides.”

Well, the weeks have come and gone. David has come into our Easter Seals office occasionally to visit a bit and use our computers. He has been working “side jobs” over the winter, and traveled to Milwaukee to help his sister move around New Year’s Eve. He was VERY sick for a couple of weeks. The pipes and plumbing froze in the church over a cold spell in January — he single-handedly cleaned up the flooded mess in the basement of the church including the very important restrooms for the congregants.

He called me last week to touch base with how things are going.

“Are you still sleeping at the church?” I asked.

“Well no,” he replied. “A woman who is important to the church family came downstairs where I was sleeping and said, ‘You’re still here? I thought you left months ago!’ so I folded up the cot, packed my things and left. I went to the Duncan.”

Mother Goose was very sad to hear this news. As a Veteran Supportive Services Specialist, I try so hard to make life better for anyone who comes to Easter Seals for help. Though I wasn’t jumping and flapping for joy to know my friend (and brother in the Lord) was sleeping and living in a basement of a church, at least he had a place to lay his head at night. Not wanting to appear ignorant, I didn’t inquire of him regarding the Duncan. But the next day at my office, I did inquire of everybody I knew.

“David is at the Duncan,” I asked. “Do you know where that is?”

One woman shook her head sadly. “Oh that’s a transient hotel. I’m not sure where it’s at.”

Another person said, “There’s a Duncan YMCA somewhere.”

Yet another joked, “It wouldn’t be Dunkin Donuts…”

When David called back on Monday, I immediately asked him, “My brother, you sounded really tired last Friday on the phone. You said you’re at the Duncan. Can you please tell me where that is?”

“It’s the Dunkins at Harlem and Circle. They let me stay there all night, but it’s difficult to get rest and sleep sitting up…”

The Dunkin Donut shop. He sleeps sitting up at the Dunkins.

“You slept WHERE last night?”

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