A Very Vernal Equinox To You

Every year on March 20, the father of Mother Goose calls her up.

“Did you get your egg to stand on end this morning?” he asks in his low, gruff voice.

According to Dad, this is the only day of the whole year when an egg will pose by itself for pictures, standing up unaided by human hands. Most years we forget to try this amazing science stunt, but this morning Mother Goose remembered! And dear AnnaRose was the skilled eggologist who was able to balance the egg on its end.

SPRING! We welcome you today!

And, dear readers, may all of your days be vernal and full of equinox, but especially today!

An egg posing with bananas and an avocado which will never stand alone on the Vernal Equinox

An egg posing with bananas and an avocado which will never stand alone even on the Vernal Equinox

Signs of Spring in the Garden

Mother Goose smiled broadly when she rose up this morning and looked out the back window.

Lovely Lake Cramer in the springtime... Yes, that's our patio table and chairs out there in the middle of the lake...

Lovely Lake Cramer in the springtime… Yes, that’s our patio table and chairs out there in the middle of the lake…

Though it looks like a lost cause, I smile because all of this water can’t get into our basement thanks to the Wall of China which dear Husband Goose built four years ago. It’s a great feat of engineering and perhaps one of the eight wonders of the world — giant sequoia timbers from the Great Northwest, cement blocks from the Great Pyramid in Egypt, and all filled with seven truckloads of really geat South American sand. No small ordeal to build this urban breakwater, believe you me!

The Great Wall and some  patient flower pots and the rose bush which will soon be pink and green...

The Great Wall and some patient flower pots and the rose bush which will soon be pink and green…

So we smile at the water, knowing that it will soak into the ground and nourish our lovely corkscrew willow tree. And in the meantime, the seagulls fly over looking for dead fish on the shore.

I’m waiting for a Great Blue Heron to begin his patrol. This morning I spotted a Cooper Hawk in the top of the ancient oak tree — he would be happy to scoop up a rabbit floundering in the lake.

Maybe we will get a pair of Bald Eagles too — they could build a homey nest up above the lake and raise their family. We’d put a camera in the nest to watch them hatch and grow just like they do out there in Iowa.

Omigooseness I do digress…

Besides the yearly spring flooding, Mother Goose has spied another sign of spring.

The daffodils are shooting out of the ground!

The daffodils are shooting out of the ground!

Wherever you are in the world today, I hope that you are smiling with Mother Goose.

Not Nervous At All

The young and beautiful sister of Mother Goose is celebrating a birthday today! My oh my gooseness how the time flies…

Though it was 1964, it seems like yesterday that Dad drove my brother and me to the parking lot of the hospital in Bemidji, Minnesota, pointed up at a window on the fourth floor and said, “That’s where your mother and your new baby sister are. They’ll be home in a few days.” Dana and I looked at that window and then at each other in wonder — as in “I wonder how THAT happened?”

And in fact, it was just yesterday that our dear sister was back in the hospital though not being born this time. She arrived at the Bigfork Valley Hospital bright and early to participate in her very own Radiofrequency Neurotomy procedure.

They got a little snow the day before...

They got a little snow the day before…

Bunn has been waiting and preparing for this procedure for months. For many years, she has suffered acute and chronic back pain as a result of a crazy life and arthritis. She had tried many of the traditional conservative treatments options to no avail. Physical therapists, chiropractors, and various medical practitioners had all done what they could to help her pain, but the arthritis grew worse and the pain became excruciating. No amount of physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications could ease her suffering. Would she need back surgery? Was that the only option left to my sister?

Thankfully, the answer was no.

She became acquainted with the very promising work Dr. Paul Olson at Bigfork Valley. She has been diligently working with a biofeedback technician named Marlene who has helped her with relaxation methods and introduced her to the wonders of Alpha-Stim, a very interesting therapy for depression, anxiety, chronic pain and PTSD. Bunn has also benefited from self-hypnosis and finding her “happy place”.

Mother Goose would like to ask her all of her faithful readers, “Where is YOUR happy place? Where do you go in your mind when you need to relax and delve into the peaceful places of your heart?”

Anyway, back to my long and winding story…

So, Bunn was not nervous at all as she walked through the friendly doors of the medical facility yesterday. She was well-informed about the procedure and confident in the good doctor’s skills. She was well-medicated, and easily persuaded of the compassion of the nurses. She was covered in prayer and psychologically armed with this important conviction:

“The needles will slide into your skin as easily as butter.”

Mother Goose is not entirely knowledgeable or educated about the basic procedure of rhizotomy, which uses radio signals to cauterize the nerves bundled around the arthritic joints in the spine. I have only been told several times that the doctor would insert several large needles into her back bone area where the pain from years of trouble have taken their toll on her joints.

By noon, she was released from the hospital and happily reunited with her dear husband, Allen and special pup, Dusty.

She is miraculously pain-free!

And today, we celebrate her birth and the first forty-nine years of her life!

Mother Goose is convinced that this special sister will thoroughly enjoy her next fifty years and beyond now that the pain in her back is gone. She can actually stand up, walk, sit, lie down, cook and LIVE without that chronic and acute pain.

I hope that if you know somebody who suffers from serious back pain (or other types of pain!), you’ll remember this story from Mother Goose and share the good news that there is always hope, always a healthy solution — there can be real healing!

We say “Thank you Jesus” and “Thank You Dr. Olson” for giving Bunn back her life.

The beautiful sister of Mother Goose.

The beautiful sister of Mother Goose.

Mother Goose and Mitch — Part Two

Many aspects of Mitch McVicker’s life have changed over the years.

Though he used to tour with an ensemble of live human beings in the traveling van, these days he mostly does solo concerts. When my dear friend, Linda, and I first began to follow his music career and drive sometimes hundreds of miles to see him in concert (seriously!), he performed mostly with two young men named Cobra Joe Curet and Brad Layher. Both of these excellent musicians have moved on down the road and support their families with real jobs now, but I have to wonder whether they miss the days of traveling with Mitch.

Brad, Mitch and Cobra Joe.  Courtesy of Suzan Mason, keeper extraordinaire of the fan club.

Brad, Mitch and Cobra Joe. Photo courtesy of Suzan Mason, Keeper Extraordinaire of the Fan Club.

In fact, Mitch himself is now a husband and dad! He speaks fondly, wistfully and lovingly of his family and misses them very much when he’s touring.

Nowadays on stage, he miraculously creates his own backup percussion sounds and harmonies with a digital phrase-sampling/looping device. My technical singer/songwriter readers will most certainly be fully knowledgeable of this recording tool. It’s quite impressive to witness!

He bangs on things like a hubcap, a Lysol can, a Hershey’s syrup bottle, a plastic flamingo and also employs the sounds of various children’s toys, bells and whistles. It can be comical at times to watch him perform these acts of percussion, but the end result is joyful, pleasing and wonderful.

He also plays some really great guitars, a banjo, a ukelele, many harmonicas and even a kazoo.

Mitch McVicker at Elburn Hill Church, March 1st, 2013.  Photo courtesy of Mark Cramer.

Mitch McVicker at Elburn Hill Church, March 1st, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mark Cramer.

Mitch tours about nine months out of every year, criss-crossing the country several times and chasing horizons that would quickly dull the senses of Mother Goose. He can be found in churches, festivals, camps, school auditoriums, village halls, picnic grounds, college campuses and parks. The man is a modern day minstrel with scheduled stops in all fifty states, Europe and even Asia.

When he’s not wandering the highways and byways, he’s in the recording studio with friends and family.

To date, Mitch has recorded and released an incredible amount of Christian music — eight complete and beautifully original projects in fifteen years. His website is open and the CD’s are for sale anytime, day or night, for your shopping convenience. In fact, as soon as Mother Goose finishes this story, she’s going over there to replace the CD’s that have worn out over the years.

February 22, 2013 marked the latest release date for Mitch’s new project which he has titled Underneath. On the evening we spent with him in Elburn, he played many of the songs from that CD, and once again, Mother Goose was reminded of how far this gifted singer and songwriter has come in his career and his ministry.

In fact, when Mitch tells his stories between songs, we are inspired by the love of Jesus blooming in his heart. The kingdom of God might be invisible to the naked eye and hidden underneath all of the stuff in our lives, but the kingdom is more real than anything else, and the King is gloriously accessible to us.

Mother Goose has found over the years that Mitch always has time to visit with his fans and friends after a concert. He has listened patiently to so many of my stories and signed so many autographs and posed for so many photos. Did I mention that he’s also really really funny? 😀

Mitch McVicker lives out the true definition of love…patient and kind.

Mitch listens patiently to one of my long stories...

Mitch listens patiently to one of my long stories…

Mitch McVicker and Mother Goose — Part One

Well, surprise, surprise! Mother Goose had another grand adventure last night! We were blessed beyond measure in seeing Mitch McVicker in concert at the Elburn Hill Church way out there in Elburn, Illinois. A forty mile drive during Friday rush hour was a small price to pay for a musical evening with this dear old friend.

Not that my friend is old…

Mitch has been touring the country for close to twenty years — our friendship began about fifteen years ago when he was still recovering from injuries he suffered as a result of a tragic car accident which took the life of his friend, Rich Mullins. Rich flew away that night on a dark Illinois highway, but the Lord left Mitch here with us, though for the longest time, he couldn’t answer the question of “why?”

Why would God take a man who is on the top of his career, with songs and albums all over the Christian Top 40 charts, making millions of dollars from royalties and giving it all away to charitable causes and Native American children? It didn’t make sense to Mitch then just as it didn’t make sense to so many other people in September 1997 and since that time.

“But the faithfulness of Jesus persists.”

After nearly a year of physical therapy and hard work, Mitch recovered his voice, his vision, his mobility and his love of life. He rises each day full of hope and faith and love — he gladly shares his story of healing. And God gladly uses Mitch’s story to bring hope and healing to others.

Others includes Mother Goose.

It was the hot summer of 2002 and the place was Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was Lifest, a family-friendly festival of Christian music and Mitch McVicker was on the agenda of performing artists. Of course, Mother Goose was in the audience with her family. Though she was always glad to see her friend up on the stage, on this day the tears rolled down her feathery cheeks.

She was feeling overwhelmed and confused — she had recently received the news that she would be having another baby. Baby number six at the age of forty-four.

In the heat and humidity of that outdoor concert, Mother Goose could only bow her head and pray that she and the baby would be healthy, that the family would be accepting of this new and exciting yet completely unexpected and soon-to-arrive gift from above. Mother Goose had feelings of inadequacy, feelings of loneliness, feelings of confusion, but mostly feelings of fear.

What if the baby wasn’t healthy? What if being in the “expectant way” triggered an MS flare up? What if her husband couldn’t provide for this growing family in an unstable economy? How could she manage all the needs of the older children and still meet the demands of a new baby? What in the world was God thinking?

I do not think that Mitch could see or read my face from up there on the stage, but he began to introduce a new song that he had just written. It was called “Don’t Let Your Heart Be Troubled”. He explained in his homey way how he doesn’t like to write songs from God’s perspective because he doesn’t feel qualified to put words in God’s mouth. And yet, here he was doing just that. The words he sang came straight from the Gospel of John, straight from the lips of Jesus. And they were headed straight for the heart of Mother Goose.

This is Jesus speaking:

Even in your roughest times you won’t be overcome.
So when that ache bites your heart feel my love.

If you are wondering if I’m around
I have never left your side.
You are never by yourself.
You are not alone tonight.

Chorus
So now don’t you let your heart be troubled.
The peace I bring to you is not of this world.
I set your mind at ease, I quiet down your soul.
I give you peace, don’t let your heart be troubled.

I can dry your tear filled eyes.

I can hear your heavy heart.
So don’t you be afraid tonight.
My light is shining through your dark.

If you’re wondering where I’m at now,
In your despair I’m gonna be your hope.
I am always there, you’re never ever by yourself.
You are not alone.

Chorus

I can still your swirling soul.
In your darkness my light grows.
Don’t let your heart be troubled,
I give you peace

Ten years later, here’s the “gift from above” with Mitch and yours truly, Mother Goose.

Mitch, AR and me

The faithfulness of Jesus persists…

A Slip and a Fall for Mother Goose

Mother Goose was actually glad that it happened today. It’s always good to get it over with, and then you don’t have to worry about it for another year. Kind of like a gynecological examination.

We’ve been having winter weather this past week — various cocktail mixes of snow, sleet, rain, freezing drizzle, dreezing frizzle, and cloud cover. It’s not entirely unusual weather for our part of the world, but tiresome as it has arrived so late in the winter season.

Fresh snow and sleet will eventually freeze to the sidewalk and be covered with another dusting of snow.  This is called Frosted Black Ice, and it can be hazardous to your health.

Fresh snow and sleet will eventually freeze to the sidewalk and be covered with another dusting of snow. This is called Frosted Black Ice, and it can be hazardous to your health.

It would have been nice if March had come in like a lamb and gone out like a lion — that’s what my dear family in nordern Minnesota is experiencing today — lamb-like weather. They’ve had days, maybe even weeks of sunshine and balmy temps.

But not Mother Goose…

And the cabin fever sets in, you know. Days of sitting in doors, looking out the window, pacing the floor, checking the window, glancing at the clock again, until you have a crick in your neck. How much of an indoor sedentary lifestyle can I take? Not much…

So this morning, despite the freshly fallen snow blanketing the unflavored but frozen slushy sidewalks and the blustery winds, Mother Goose bundled up and harnessed her Good Dog Fran. And out we went to meet whatever may befall us.

We had reached the halfway mark of our Walkie Around the Blockie when suddenly the horizon tilted upward for Mother Goose. I always keep my eyes open when I fall so that I know where I’m going, and this time my vision shifted sharply up, up up as I went backwards and down, down, down.

I saw the end of the block, the gray-draped sky over the houses, the skeletal tree tops and then more sky without even trying.

I felt my backside slamming into the ice-covered walk, my back hitting next, followed by my fur-capped head. Bam. Bam. Bam.

Isn’t it funny when you feel like you are falling in slow motion? I always get a chuckle about that perspective of an accident…

Mother Goose smiles.

So there I was laying on the ice with my Good Dog Fran beside me. She was laughing at me which reminded me that maybe someone else may have witnessed my classic slip and fall.

A quick glance assured me that if I had been observed, it was behind lace curtains. If they were also laughing at me, I wouldn’t hear them which is a good thing. If they were at all concerned, they didn’t show it.

Now it was time to perform a rapid inventory to see if we are okay. And by we, I’m referring to Mother Goose, herself and she.

My primitive goose brain shoots an email to all parts of my immediate body (legs, back, neck, shoulders, elbows, cranial region, wrists) to see if they respond in a timely manner. Happily, everybody replied back with smiley-faced emoticons! I gave my good dog Fran a little pet to assure her that we could continue on towards home.

Mother Goose climbed awkwardly to her feet, testing the ice. Yes, sure enough, it WAS slippery. But I kept my big, rubbery feet underneath of me, and cautiously step by step we arrived safely home.

I gave an immediate report of my accident to my dear husband who rose from his chair to embrace the fallen goose. “Are you OK?” he kindly asked. And then the crushing blow… “You know, we aren’t spring chickens anymore.”

“Honk! Honk! I am!” shouted Mother Goose with much indignation. “I am a spring chicken and I shall remain forever so.”

It’s the positive thinking of a goose that matters after all, doesn’t it?

Do you sometimes smile when you are outside on a snowy, icy wintry day and you see lots of old people out driving and walking around? They’ve gone out to see just how slippery it is out there. And that’s how it will always be for Mother Goose…

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 78,282 honks to date

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