The Goose Looks Over Her Shoulder

Mother Goose is not the kind of person who goes around honking her own horn. I prefer to perform my good deeds and random acts of kindness with a great degree of anonymity and humility. My accomplishments come and go as swiftly as the wind, and like the wind, I remember them not.

However, I’ve been blessed with a beautiful daughter who not only has the memory of an elephant, but the heart of an angel. On the recent celebration of the birth of this goose, she gave me a gift which will last a lifetime — a love letter listing all of the goals I’ve met in 2012.

It is not my intention to brag about my achievements, but to encourage you to believe in your own selves in the coming year. When we allow hopes and dreams to grow, they bear fruit of great sweetness. If a goose such as myself can do this, that and the other thing, imagine what YOU can do? Please allow me to share excerpts with you.

From Jessi:

“You continued your blog, gaining friends, followers and support for your hilarious and inspiring stories.

You trained for months so you could run and complete a 5K race. And even after, when your ankles hurt so bad, you cared for us.

You brought new life to Blue Star Banners; bringing a very tangible symbol for people’s love and pride in their military sons and daughters.

You Mystery Shop now! And while some interactions seem small, people get a sense of purpose from helping another find the soy nog!

You were hired to tutor kids in west side schools!

You maintained amazing friendships and closeness with your friends and your family — including fostering a closer relationship with Grandpa.

AND…on top of all this, you encouraged your husband and kids to never give up, to set goals, and to always believe that the best outcome is possible.

Thank you for a truly inspiring year, Momma.”

Isn’t she a fine and loving daughter to write all of that sweetness about Mother Goose? I love her very much…

We could also spend some time today reflecting on a few of Jessi’s own 2012 achievements and accomplishments:

She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with honors!

She worked a bad job for a year so that she could pay off her credit card!

She applied to the graduate school of University of Illinois in Chicago, and was one of eleven candidates selected for their Urban Planning and Policy Program.

She spent three hours behind the scenes at the Brookfield Zoo Marine Mammals department, working as a guest trainer for the seals and the dolphins. Here are some pictures from that wonderfully amazing event this past Saturday:

There she is squatting down next to the water.  She got to KISS a dolphin!

There she is squatting down next to the water. She got to KISS a dolphin!

In the course of her Wild Encounter, Jessi interacted with a leopard seal who PAINTS as therapy for her neurological disorder.

In the course of her Wild Encounter, Jessi interacted with a leopard seal who PAINTS as therapy for her neurological disorder.

An unforgettable experience with the trainers and marine mammals at the zoo.

An unforgettable experience with the trainers and marine mammals at the zoo.

Dear readers, Mother Goose wishes you and your families a new year full of hope and dreams, joy and peace. But mostly I wish you a new year full of love. God bless you all.

The Sailor Sons Smiled

In recent weeks, Mother Goose requested a GIGANTIC favor of her readers and fans: to flood the mailbox of her sailor sons with Christmas cards from around the nation and around the globe.

We are happy to report that “Operation: Christmas Card” was an ENORMOUS success! My sons only check their mailbox a couple times a week because usually there’s nothing in there — there’s nothing more depressing than an echoing mailbox at Christmas.

But when they checked it, they found ten cards! They were happily surprised, and didn’t know a single person who sent them!

The next time they checked their mail there were twenty cards all stuffed inside!

On Christmas Day, they reported to me that they had fifty more cards in their mailbox! They laughed and smiled at the wonder of it all!

Just a few of the cards they received...

Just a few of the cards they received…

There were cards from school children with the kindest sentiments of encouragement and Christmas love. There were cards from retired Navy officers. There were gift cards and goodie boxes. There were handmade ornaments — those sweet popsicle stick creations that always bring joy on the tree.

Wherever you are, dear readers, Mother Goose is honking a delightful “thank you” in your general direction. If a goose flies over your house honking today, it’s me. If a goose is near your pond flapping her wings and honking for joy, it’s me. If you see goose tracks in the snow, that was me dancing a jig of great happiness.

With all my heart, I thank you for making a difference. My sons will never forget Christmas 2012 because of your gracious thoughtfulness and consideration to them. My sailor sons smiled on Christmas Day.

Mother Goose Surprises Her Sister

The sister of Mother Goose lives “up north” in the land of 10,000 lakes, northern Minnesota. It’s an eleven hour drive from the home of Mother Goose — unless, of course, she is speeding and getting pulled over by the Wisconsin State Patrol in which case the ride can take up to fourteen hours…

Mother Goose does not to see very much of her sister — just a couple of visits each year because of the extreme distance.

My lovely sister, Leslie, aka Bunn

Not surprisingly, we don’t like “good-byes”. It’s a trait we inherited from our mother — quite normal and natural in our goose family. However, my sister has taken that dislike to the extreme by simply avoiding the “good-bye” time altogether! She and her husband, Allen, have begun a strange new tradition of disappearing in the middle of the night to avoid the painful, tearful farewells and so longs. This in itself has become a source of great sadness and frustration for Mother Goose who, despite the hard emotional content of a good-bye, does treasure every moment spent with her beloved, long-distance family.

Hence the surprise…

Last Friday morning, Mother Goose and her three youngest goslings loaded up the Goosemobile and set the cruise control and the auto-pilot for “up north”. Eleven hours later, we arrived unexpected, uninvited and unannounced at Bunn’s doorstep. A great big round of applause for AnnaRose who filmed this surprise for us all! Grab your tissues and enjoy this video!

But this was only the beginning of a GREAT surprise weekend! You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s “up north” adventure…

Love your family and friends today! M.Goose

In Love With a Goose

Mother Goose has a feeling that this news story will make you smile. Thanks to Mark for sharing it with us. Smile. Honk.

http://www.wimp.com/gooseman/

Jessi Graduates with Honors

My amazing daughter, Jessica Leigh Stevenson, crossed the stage of the Chicago Theater yesterday with a gold tassel dangling from her graduation cap. Words escape me as I try to express my overwhelming pride and joy at this wonderful achievement.

A million memories of her childhood flood my mind as I watch her now, a true graduate of Columbia College Chicago. I’ve prayed thousands of prayers for her these past twenty-five years. My heart has always believed in her special gifts and charms. Hopes stacked upon hopes for her. I’ve dreamed of her beautiful spirit taking wing and soaring to heights far above the commonplaces where most of us live.

Like the mockingjay pin she wore on her gown, she is a sign to all of us that the odds are EVER in our favor.
If we believe in ourselves,
if we believe in the power of love,
if we believe that we can overcome every obstacle, every storm, and every form of darkness.

Blessings on you, my precious Jessi. I love you with all my heart.

The pre-commencement show was very professional — such great entertainment!

Jessi with BFF Bridget.

Who wears a mockingjay pin on their graduation gown?

My precious joyful daughter.

The Return of Mother Goose

There was heavy March snow and tears falling as Mother Goose and her entourage left Keewatin. We had such a perfect visit with our nordern Minnesoda family, and it was difficult to leave as usual. Mother Goose has lived far away for more than thirty years, and the goodbyes just never got easier. I’ve made that eleven hour trip countless times, and every time I leave and point the car/SUV/van south, a bit of my goose heart stays behind.

A huge thank you to my sissy poo for loving all of us, sharing your marshmallow bed and putting us up in your charming little cottage! And thanks to Allen for being a gracious host. Thanks, Dad, for buying us dinner at Perkins, and thanks, Loon, for treating us to dinner at Bimbo’s. Thanks to my brother, Dana, for arranging, managing and supervising an excellent adventure at the Shack.

It’s always about making memories and showing how much we love each other, isn’t it? It’s almost a contest to see who loves the most, and then we know that we are all the best lovers and the best families EVER.

The trip home was uneventful. After the week we had, uneventful is a blessing. Mother Goose DID experience some partial and temporary blindness due to “migraine vision”, but it faded quickly and for that we say, “Thank you Jesus!”

Jessi sailed us safely down the long, long road.

We discovered the miracle of "Cruise Control".

Double DS

HONK!! HONK!!

Mother Goose Takes the Family to the Zoo

The family of Mother Goose loves animals so it was not huge surprise to see us at the Brookfield Zoo last week. It was very pretty with all the Christmas lights. I must admit it was a very big surprise to learn that there were no animals on display. I guess they were all hibernating or they’d migrated south for the winter. We’ve had a mild winter, and I had expected that we’d see some wildlife. Mother Goose was right.

The family of Mother Goose WAS the wildlife at the zoo. And THAT’s a blessing!

That’s a Blessing

So often Mother Goose goes along in her little world — taking the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the sane with the mad, the depressing with the glad and the ridiculous along with the rad. I stay focused on the story, look for the rainbows and try to find the “happily ever after”. However, it has come to my attention that much of life is passing by without my conscious observation of blessings. I haven’t verbally addressed those blessings. I’ve kept my attitude of gratitude to myself.

What counts as a blessing? Well, of course, there’s the obvious: family and food, clothing and shelter, health and wealth, transportation and employment. Everybody counts those as blessings. Mostly everybody is thankful for these blessings. And Mother Goose is thankful for these blessings as well.

I just don’t say so. Not very often.

And then there are the “blessings in disguise”. The coincidence that ends up saving our lives. The injury or illness that gives us more compassion towards others who are suffering. The dreaded meeting that turns out to be so much fun. You know all about those incognito blessings. We are generally thankful for them also.

Do we say so? Do I say with my audible mouth “that’s a blessing”? Probably not enough.

And then there are the beatitudes in the Bible (Matthew 5:3-11). Those are the “way out there” blessings that we all want to be thankful for, but can hardly ever muster it. Jesus says that we are blessed (and we should be happy) about these things:

* Being poor in spirit
* Being in a state of mourning
* Being meek
* Hungering and thirsting for righteousness
* Being merciful to people
* Being pure in heart
* Being peacemakers
* Being persecuted for righteousness
* Being insulted and false accused

Those don’t sound like blessings, do they? Honk honk!

But here’s the deal, gentle reader. The Bible says that these things ARE blessings, and God’s word is truth. So for nearly twenty years, I have pondered this riddle of the beatitudes. I think I’ve found the answer…

Declare that these situations are blessings. With the words actually coming out of my mouth. Even if I don’t feel it. Even if I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about the circumstances. Simply believe.

For the past two days, I have said “That’s a blessing” so many times, it’s almost ridiculous. When Mr. Mother Goose and I had a disagreement about who would drive the car, it took me almost thirty minutes to say it, but finally I thanked him for driving and told him that it was a blessing. When my children squabbled, I said “that’s a blessing” because at least they are communicating. When my two sailor sons left this morning to return to their base in South Carolina, I declared it a blessing because they are growing into fine and responsible young men. It’s only twenty degrees here in Oak Park today, but its a blessing because the sun was shining and at least it’s not below zero.

That’s a blessing.

Please read this quote from Chuck Swindoll. My dear sister-in-law, Suzanne, has this message near her kitchen sink — I think I need it near my kitchen sink, my bathroom mirror and tattooed on my feathery wing!

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education,than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people do. It is more important than appearence, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company..a church..a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past.. we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude..I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.”

It’s an attitude really. It’s taking the circumstances that I’ve been given, and seeing the blessing in them. AND saying it out loud for my ears to hear. Do you know how powerful that is? You really must try it. Practice by yourself first if that feels safer. Say it softly. But the more you declare the blessings, the more of them you will see. Trust the goose on this one, dear reader. And listen to this quote also:

“Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take no notice. I shower not only blessings but also outright miracles on your planet.” (from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

And there’s a song on the radio too — my friend, Michelle, gave me a copy of the CD for Christmas. Here’s a youtube link if you want to listen to it.

And that’s a blessing. It really is a blessing.

Heartfelt Thanks from a Goose

As 2011 winds down, like sands through an hourglass, such are the days of our lives. Mother Goose would like to take some time today to express my sincere and humble thanks to all my wonderful readers. This was my first “real” year of blogging — I didn’t quite expect that anyone would read what I was writing much less subscribe to my stories! How nice — to be a writer with a following is a grand feeling! I’m grateful for all of your comments and words of encouragement this past year. Glad that I could make you laugh as we dissected those nursery rhymes or perhaps I brought you to tears as you recognized yourself in the person of Little Wife. Maybe you simply enjoyed the everyday ordinaries that make up my life and yours as well. Maybe you were just here to look at my borrowed pictures, and that’s OK too.

My blog went from one view per day in March (my dear sissy!) to an average of nearly fifty views per day through November and December! I’m not much into numbers or math, but that sounds like a celebration to this goose!

Thanks for the good times, 2011

So onward and upward in 2012 — hoping to post a new story everyday and I have some great ideas already rolling around in my feathered head.

May God bless your New Year with health, happiness and HOPE! All the best from Mother Goose to you!

Mother Goose Moments

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese

We have moments stacked upon moments that make up the stuff our lives. Mother Goose has so many moments piled up in her heart and in her memory, it’s difficult sometimes to just pick one. The fun of my stories is the process of picking a moment out of my metaphorical hat and turning it over and over in my hand, looking for just the perfect perspective when the moment turns into a shiny gem of a story.

This morning during my prayers, God spoke to me in a quiet moment. He reminded me that it was twenty years ago today that I surrendered my life to Him. That was a moment worth remembering! On my bony goose knees with tears streaming, I declared that I couldn’t go another day without the help of Jesus. The moment is as clear in my memory as if it happened last night, but I sure couldn’t tell you much about the rest of the day.

There is a moment that I look forward to every autumn and cherish when it happens — the moment when I spot the Sandhill Cranes flying over us, heading for southern climes. Maybe it’s because I’m an amateur naturalist, maybe because I’m a woman, or maybe it’s because I’m a goose, but that moment when first I hear them calling to me from dizzying heights is always the highlight of fall for me. People stop their cars and stare at Mother Goose when the cranes are flying overhead because she’s flapping her wings, pointing up towards heaven and squawking as though the Cubs had just won the World Series.

That moment is always repeated in the early spring, of course, when the cranes are heading back up north.

The moment when we fall in love. The moment when we first see our newborn babies. The moment when we hear the sad news that our precious loved one has passed away. The moments of mothering, the moments of celebration and those of mourning. And all of the moments of traveling — our first airplane ride, our first train ride, our first boat ride. The moment when we see the ocean, the mountains or the Mississippi River for the first time.

Growing up in northern Minnesota, one of our favorite family moments occurred every time we traveled to Grandma’s house in Nimrod! Yes, there’s really a town named Nimrod — you can google it if you’d like… We had to sit in the small car (no SUV’s or minivans in the 60’s) for hours and hours, but finally we would round the last corner of the endless highway and somebody would shout out, “First to see Nimrod!!” In my memory, it’s truly a golden moment.

Take a moment today and count your blessings! Don’t worry about the days, but gather up all the golden moments that you can. Mother Goose will be sorting through her moments and waiting for the cranes to fly over.

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 64,142 honks to date

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