A Bizarre Occurrence at the Coffee Shop

Jennifer joined Mother Goose at the East Gate Cafe this morning. We had met only once before at a meeting of mom entrepreneurs who wanted to do a little networking. We didn’t talk too much at the first meeting, but Jennifer invited me to meet her so we could discuss my big ideas and her projects. Mother Goose was very excited to have a new friend with professional experience.

The scene of the bizarre occurrence -- we were sitting in the corner.

The scene of the bizarre occurrence — we were sitting in the corner.

I was already working my way through a bowl of cappuccino when Jennifer sat down. We had a preliminary weather discussion and then got down to some serious chit chat about working on our own businesses. She has had some great opportunities and had learned many things over the years and she was very willing to share her knowledge with Mother Goose.

We also got to talking about our families, of course. My large group of children and her only son, Andy — seemingly very different family situations. She and her husband Paul had adopted their son when he was a tiny fellow — they had lived in the city and Andy had attended some fine schools before they had moved to Oak Park.

In the middle school years, he had experienced some bullying by some really nasty kids. They had teased him for being of Asian descent — heartbreaking stuff for kids and their moms, of course.

She told me that Andy was doing well in high school, although he still wasn’t very involved in extracurricular activities. He’s interested in computer science and looking forward to college.

Suddenly Mother Goose had a weird sort of epiphany.

“Is your son a senior?” I asked.

“Yes,” Jennifer replied.

“And you called him Andy?” I asked.

“Yes,” she answered again with a quizzical look on her pretty face.

“Well,” I continued, “I was just wondering because my son is a senior also and his best friend is an Asian guy named Andrew.”

Her mouth dropped open and her eyes got rounder than my bowl of cappuccino.

“My son’s name is Ben,” I explained.

And then all of the halogen lights went on inside our heads. We simultaneously reached the bizarre conclusion that our sons were indeed best friends!

I’m still shaking my feathery old goose head at this amazing situation. As you know, Mother Goose does not believe in coincidences, accidents or acts of chance. I believe that every single activity and meeting under heaven’s stars has a real meaning in the general cosmic state of affairs. And this was just one more proof of that fact — our loving God is totally in charge of every moment in our lives and loves to arrange the most interesting combinations of people. There is no shortage of mysteries in life and He is the grand author of them all, including this one.

Jennifer and I had been chatting for over an hour before the great bizarre situation was revealed to us. Oh, we laughed and hugged and almost cried. We shook our heads and looked at each other with brand new eyes of understanding and compassion.

Suddenly everything made perfect sense!

We will never forget that moment and surely we will be friends forever after this day. Don’t you just love those times when the universe suddenly opens up, love pours down on us and great joy is real and wonderful?

Mother Goose just loves times like these. God bless you today!

Mother Goose Meets an Angel

One of the most fun activities that our family enjoyed last weekend when my sister was in town was the traditional Mother’s Day visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. We were slightly delayed in our arrival at the zoo, taking a very important detour to a world-famous hotdog stand in River Grove. The place was packed with hungry moms and their families — we laughed to see people having tailgate parties in the parking lot. And then we decided it was a great idea!

Spontaneous tailgate party at Gene and Jude’s. FUN!

With our bellies full of Chicago-style hotdogs and greasy fries, we hopped back in the cars and hightailed it to the zoo. Our information was that the zoo would be open until 6:00 so we sped along at top-notch speed so as not to miss a single exhibit. We arrived at the zoo, full of anticipation to see the Red Panda, the miniature wild boar, the ostriches, the polar bear and the silver-back mountain gorillas.

But first, Mother Goose needed to get to the ladies’ room…of course. We dashed into the Lion House and down the stairs, followed the signage to the rest area and made the necessary pit stop. Mother Goose set her brand-spanking-new smart phone on top of the toilet paper holder…

We regrouped upstairs, looked quickly at the various forms of wild feline and then headed straight for the Red Pandas — the most important animal for us to see! Within steps of the exhibit, Mother Goose reached into her pocket for her phone to take a picture of the rare panda, the cutest little panda who actually looks more like a racoon than a panda. The phone was not in the pocket of Mother Goose…

She reached into her enormous bag, fumbling through all the wallets, notebooks, change purses — the eyes on the ends of her fingers searching and searching for the phone. All in vain.

Mother Goose gasped in horror. The phone had been left behind in the ladies’ bathroom. Honkly madly, flapping like a crazed goose, she spun on her heel and ran back to the Lion House.

Omigooseness! Where’s my phone?

Fortunately, she is a trained marathon runner so she quickly achieved the maximum heartrate and accelerated her pace. Dodging little children and knocking over some elderly zoo visitors, Mother Goose reached the stairs leading down to the bathrooms. She flew down the stairs with a worried expression on her feathery face, and an insane focus in her eyes. Frantic face and focus…

She reached the stall specifically assigned and designed for geese.

She looked into the empty stall.

Her countenance fell as she looked at the top of the toilet paper holder — the really brand-spanking-new smart phone was not there.

Turning around, she quickly scanned the countertops and floor around the area. The crowds of ladies stared at this distressed goose as she searched high and low in the vicinity of the disappearance. When her daughters arrived on the bathroom scene, Mother Goose sadly shook her head. No phone.

We slowly started up the stairs to tell the family that all hope of finding the phone was gone. The day was surely ruined. The best we could hope for was a mountain of regret at the silly forgetfulness of the goose.

Suddenly there appeared on the stairway, a woman of hispanic heritage with a halo of compassion over her head. “Did you lose something?” she asked Mother Goose quietly with the slightest bit of an accent.

I nodded sadly.

She had a knowing look on her kind face. “What did you lose?” she asked.

With eyes brimming with salty tears, I replied, “My phone…”

“Is this it?” She held up my LG Thrill phone with a smile that wouldn’t quit.

“Omigosh, YES,” said the goose. “God bless you, God bless you.”

“We saw you running. We knew it was your phone,” she explained as she handed me the phone which once was lost, but now was found.

The Spanish angel put her arm around me. She put her head next to my goose head as we climbed up the stairway. The only thing I could say, over and over, was “God bless you, God bless you.”

Will you be an angel to some silly and forgetful goose today? God bless you. God bless you.

Green Hope

Mother Goose is celebrating Spring and all things green and pink. These pretty pictures were all taken in my yard, and it’s a real blessing to share them with you.

Bleeding hearts seem to come up overnight like mushrooms!

I love the two-toned beauty of our Plum Tree.

Our Weeping Crab tree has tiny white blossoms.

Peonies and Sedum are on their way.

New leaves on the grapevine. Who could ever forget the failed jelly of Mother Goose last autumn?

My special Clematis which transplanted miraculously from Carol Stream in 2010 will bloom purple in a month.

The waxy and pink magnolia blooms are bigger than the rubbery foot of Mother Goose.

So much GREEN!

Mother Goose could expound on the beauties and miracles of springtime. I could talk for hours about hope and rebirth and all things pink and green. But I think the Scriptures say it best:

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” [from Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 15, The Message]

Mother Goose Gets a New Friend

Happy Birthday to Miss Benny Kiruba! Benny is my new sponsored child in India, and today she turns SEVEN years old. I am very happy for her and wish I could give her a big birthday hug in person. Look at how sweet she is!

Happy happy Birthday Benny

Mother Goose has been a child sponsor with Compassion Int’l for more than ten years, and it has been a true blessing. My first child in the program was Annet Kagoya, my daughter in Uganda who recently finished her studies as a nursing aide, found work in a pharmacy and then lo! and behold! became a momma to a little fellow. I got a letter from her last week, probably my last since she is now out of the child sponsorship program, and she expressed her gratitude to me for supporting her over these many years. It sounds like she is doing well — Annet and her baby boy. And does this make Mother Goose a granny?

I also sponsored a little fellow in northern India for awhile, but he had to drop out of the Compassion program and go to work in the tea fields near his home. It made me sad to think of a child only nine years old having to pick tea leaves instead of going to school and learning about Jesus.

So now my heart sails around the world to the southern tip of India to a little girl who lives with her mother who is employed as a laborer. Her father passed away due to jaundice. She likes to play hide and seek with her friends — she likes to draw pictures, and she’s in second grade, just a little younger than my dear AnnaRose.

I’m just honking with delight to have a new little girl in my life, and I’ll be praying for her. I hope that in years to come, she will grow into a fine young woman who loves and knows that she is a precious person in God’s world. Here’s what Compassion Int’l says about that: “Children in poverty are susceptible to believing its darkest message, that they don’t matter.” It is my hope that Miss Benny Kiruba hears the true message today that she is loved and so very valuable.

Be blessed today with your friends.

Grace and Mercy

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

These were Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and teachers of the law in ancient Israel. They had brought to Him a woman caught in the very act of adultery, indeed, a crime worthy of capital punishment at that time. Electrocution and lethal injection hadn’t caught on yet — they were gathering stones. Rocks. Boulders, if possible.

Rumor has it that they had set up the woman intentionally. It’s all ancient politics, of course, but they were actually trying to trap Jesus Himself into breaking one of their many laws by whichever answer He gave them regarding her execution. In an interesting side note, their law required the execution of both parties of the adultery, not just the woman….but oh well, they weren’t really interested in maintaining the purity of the law anyway….

So they asked Jesus, “Well, she’s broken the Law. We actually caught her in the act. Moses said that we should stone such women. Now what do you say?”

The Bible says that Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. I wonder what He was writing… maybe the names and sins of the men before Him… maybe all the laws that would have to be changed because of God’s love… maybe He was remembering and recording the day when each of these men would themselves pass away into eternity. We just don’t know what Jesus was writing, but His wisdom remains in His words to the accusers.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

One by one, the men walked away from the scene. The older ones left first. They wouldn’t get their blood satisfaction today. Finally only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there. He stood up from His writing and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

God’s mercy.

His mercy is shocking. It was scandalous two thousand years ago, and it is still scandalous today. He was such a controversial figure in His culture that the religious leaders of His time strangely found Him guilty of blasphemy and had Him executed just to get Him out of the way, to silence Him, to prevent Him from leading a revolution, an insurrection against the Roman government. The religious leaders had no idea that His Kingdom is not of this world, and that His followers would soon be spreading His good news all around the world. He was convicted in a mock trial and sentenced to death via torture on the Roman cross. Capital punishment for a sinless man. Sinless man. He never even had a sinful thought! The death penalty for the son of God who knew no sin EVER.

And yet, here’s what they didn’t have a clue about: He took our sins with Him to the cross. He was executed in our place. We deserved the death penalty for our sins against a holy God, but Love stepped in and saved us from that eternal horror.

God’s grace.

How do I feel about the death penalty? I hate it. It has no place in our country or in our world today.

But I’m eternally thankful for the cross.

Update on my friend, Paul


Just got an email this afternoon from friend, Becki, who says that Paul’s kidneys have begun to function again!  We claim God’s Word in Roman 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

The procedure Becki described in her email reminded me so much of the one which brought Mom back to life in 2001.  Mom’s doctors called it “jump starting” her kidneys and though I didn’t get much more detail than that, I would guess that Paul’s doctors have done something quite similar.

We praise God for His great healing power and love, and we thank you for your faithful prayers for our friend, Paul.  Blessings to you always!



What is He doing right now?

Inspired by The Message this morning, Eugene Petersen’s translation of the New Testament in everyday language —

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6)

Look around and see what God is doing today.

He’s healing Paul, Dale, Lorraine, Erik, Kim and even my annoying bronchial cough.

He’s there in the powerful storms and the cleanup all around the Chicago area.

He is bringing comfort to Jo whose dear kitty passed away on Monday.

He is in the sweet smell of roses and freshly mown grass and bacon frying in the pan.

He even created jellyfish!

Listen to Him in the bird songs and children’s laughter.

Taste His goodness in blueberries and fresh tomatoes and basil.

And when you feel afraid, know that He is with you always with His strong, loving arms holding you close.

An update on Paul

Thanks so much for praying for my friend’s husband, Paul, who had been placed in ICU with life-threatening symptoms last week.  Paul is now out of intensive care, and is being seen by a very amazing liver specialist out of Northwestern University Hospital.  They are trying to determine the source of these symptoms he’s having, but we can jump up and down for joy that he’s still on Planet Earth with his wife and kids!  Again, THANK YOU for praying for him!

One Strong Belief

The writing prompt today from Ralph Waldo E was to explain a belief that I am passionate about that is not readily shared by my closest family and friends.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

It would be easy to give a flippant answer to the question.  Afterall as a domestic strategist, I place a great value being organized, frugal and keeping the house tidy.  I could mention how others in my immediate circle are not passionate about picking up their dirty socks, wet towels and undies.  I could rant about the value of dealing with paperwork in a timely manner and filing away the very important documents.  And I could go on and on about the niceness of putting the toilet seat down.  These are some things that I am passionate about.

Somehow, however, I’m thinking that Ralph Waldo E was talking about heavier opinions and thoughts….

I believe passionately that we are made in the image of a loving and creative God.  There are many in my family who would rank us as just a level above the ape world, only a genetic difference or two away from our beloved pets.  Evolution is empty and tasteless to me, not to mention unproved.  We are so much more than the animals of the field and the creatures of the jungle.  We have SOULS for heaven’s sake.  And I mean, for heaven’s sake.

So we don’t sit around arguing about it, for it has been hashed out in years gone by.  I guess I hang onto this belief with the “sweetness of independent solitude” — cherishing the truth in my heart for now.  And someday when all things are brought out into the light, THEN I will say “I told you so!”

Sweetest blessings on you today.  Peace.

Please pray for Paul

I found out this morning that my friend’s dear husband has been admitted to the hospital and is in ICU with some sort of systemic infection, kidneys are not functioning, potassium and creatinine levels are too high.  This is definitely a life-threatening situation.

Paul is a pancreatic cancer survivor.  Please pray that our precious and all powerful Lord God will heal him once again!  Thanks so much!

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