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.

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The Impossible Dream

Mother Goose is pondering the “impossible” today. I have a bloggish friend who frequently reminds his readers that if they aren’t reaching for the impossible, they are probably not reaching high enough. He deals in life balance issues: work, health, spiritual, organization and how we think of ourselves.

You may say, “Mother Goose, there is so much that is impossible for me. How can I set an impossible goal and then achieve it?” It sounds like an irony or maybe even an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

The community of humankind has been achieving the impossible ever since the dawn of Creation. Once upon a time, sailing around the world and flying in an airplane was impossible. Walking on the moon used to be impossible. Climbing Mt. Everest was impossible. Finding the beautiful ship Titanic on the bottom of the vast Atlantic Ocean was impossible. You know what I mean, right?

But if we carefully redefine “impossible” as an activity, a habit, a goal, an experience or an objective which UP UNTIL THIS TIME in MY life has been impossible,, then we are opening up the window of opportunity and letting all the fresh air of hope blow into our lives.

Mother Goose has been pondering the “impossible” events in her own life — of course, they are too numerous to even count! Birthing and raising a large flock of goslings, writing an almost daily blog with a growing viewership, finishing a 5K marathon, speaking in front of groups of Marine families about Blue Star Banners, overcoming the challenges of a chronic neurological disorder, and finding forgiveness from our loving heavenly Father. These things all seemed impossible at some point in my life.

And then the question: What’s next, Mother Goose?

Here’s a short list of my next impossible dreams:

Visit my Compassion sponsored child in Madurai, India.
Write a book.
Run another marathon.
Obtain a paying gig as a military family/veteran family advocate.

I hope that by writing down these dreams and putting them in a public arena, I don’t minimize their impossibility. It’s also my hope that you, dear reader, will also consider your own impossible dreams. Maybe they are as potentially achievable and attainable as the impossible dreams of Mother Goose.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

[“The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” is a popular song composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion. It was written for the 1965 musical Man of La Mancha. It is the main song from the musical and became its most popular hit.]

“Sleep is Over-rated,” said the Goose

I’m sure you remember that old saying, “She slept like a baby.” Mother Goose never understood that phrase, because none of her babies ever slept. Whilst most of my friends had their newborns trained to sleep through the night by nine days out of the womb, none of the babies of Mother Goose slept through the night until they were about nine years old.

In our family, sleep in an unnecessary commodity. Perhaps a luxury we could never afford. Maybe just plain over-rated.

So our babies would rather hang out with Mother Goose and snuggle in the rocking chair and drink sweet milkie than go to sleep in their beds. And to this very day, Mother Goose still does not sleep much at night. I doze deeply between 9 p.m. and midnight — after midnight, it’s mostly just a series of naps until the alarm gently nudges me at 5:30 or the dog cries to go outside or the birdies sing their pre-dawn finch reveille.

Of course, the husband of Mother Goose sleeps VERY well. He spends the night in a many-hued land of dreams — he alternates between snoring and chuckling in his sleep. We sleep at opposite ends of the bed to accommodate my claustrophobia and need for fresh nightly air. His toes wiggle just twelve inches from the face of Mother Goose, whilst my large rubbery goose feet stretch to infinity and beyond in our “California King-sized bed”. Sometimes just having some air and a nice stretch is all I need — who really needs sleep anyway…

To each his own, as my dear mother would say…

Perhaps it is a case of screwy genetics. Mom never slept much at night either — she did some of her best baking between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. We’d often awake to the aroma of bread, steaming berry pies and chocolate cakes — is there anything better to sniff from the comfort of your warm cozy bed?

The dad of the goose also sleeps very lightly during the night. Of course, he’s awake and worried about stuff, and not in the kitchen with an apron on.

The brother of the goose seems to be following the same path — watching a good movie in the middle of the night with his pup is good family time for them. He’s just a small little pup who loves to cuddle with his pa and ma, just like a little baby really.

Snuggle time…

The sister of Mother Goose has had such trouble sleeping that she recently made a reservation at a sleep clinic to try to determine the reason for her nightly insomnia. They hooked her up to so many monitors with wires and suction cups. They placed a face mask over her nose and mouth. They told her “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” and then left the room and watched her toss back and forth for hours. They would not allow her to get up and drink a cup of coffee to relax — they refused her a midnight smoke break. Apparently, it was a very tiring experience for her…

Are you relaxed and comfortable yet, Bunn?

Last night, Mother Goose spent hours considering the clouds moving past the moon — seen through my sky-light window, the moon travels at a quick pace of two inches per hour. I listened as police sirens screamed through the still night air, praying for the people in need of a cop and an ambulance. I pondered the cost of my daughter’s schooling to acquire her Master’s Degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I tried to figure out Aunt Charlotte getting thyroid cancer and her inability to swallow or breathe and wondered how her night was going… I prayed for the safety of my sailor sons in New York. I begged God’s provision to the people who’ve lost so much in the hurricane. I remembered all the other people who were awake at such an ungodly hour of the day, and wished them a good night.

And as I was gently going off to slumberland, the alarm on my phone sang me a happy song announcing that it was morning at last.

And that’s [yawn….] why Mother Goose [yawn….] thinks that sleep is [yawn….] so over-rated.

Crossing the Finish Line

Faithful reader, what are your dreams, your hopes, your goals, your aspirations? What is the desire of your heart? Do you hold a secret wish in your soul?

You’re a blogger with a book stuck inside of you. Some people I know want to lose a few pounds — others would like to quit smoking or lay off the bottle for awhile. Other friends want to be physically fit. Some people have financial troubles and would like to implement spending and savings plans in order to better budget their expenses and income.

Maybe there’s that broken relationship that must be restored before you can have peace.

Or maybe just like Mother Goose, you just want to prove to yourself that you can do something IMPOSSIBLE! Do you know how impossible this race was for me? Impossibly impossible. Incredulously impossible. Eternally impossible. Infinitely impossible. As impossible as it gets.

I’m not athletic. Sometimes I ride my bike in a recreational sort of way. But two weeks ago, after a training session for this race, I sat at the kitchen table cooling down from my flappy exertions. Mr. Mother Goose looked at me and exclaimed, “Ha! You look like an athlete!” I guess I had a colorful face with beads of perspiration drops running down into my feathers, hair tied up in a knot, breathing a little bit more than usual. Just like an athlete…

Quietly I said to myself, “Maybe I AM an athlete..”

Maybe you don’t look like it yet, but maybe pretty soon, your dreams and wishes for yourself are going to come leaking out of you and you’ll start to look like the YOU inside. And that leakage will fuel more and more of your achievements until you cross that FINISH line with your hands in the air and a ridiculously big smile on your face.

Friend, maybe you ARE an athlete! Maybe you ARE a non-smoker, or a recovered alcoholic or whatever! Maybe you ARE a wise financial planner! Maybe your fences are mended and your bridges are unburned because you care enough about those relationships to do what it takes to nourish them and fix and forgive.

For too many years, Mother Goose listened to the creepy voices in her head. You know those voices, don’t you? The creepers who say, “No, of course, it’ll never happen. You’ll never do it. You’re not good enough. You’re not brave enough. You’re too young, you’re too old, you’re too fat, you’re too far gone. You’re just a goose, and it just doesn’t matter.” Everybody hears them, the creepy voices…

Mother Goose heard the voice of a neurologist twelve years ago saying, “Well, I wouldn’t want you to go out and commit suicide or anything, but the results of the spinal tap procedure show very definitely that you have multiple sclerosis.”

With as much fervor and flutter as I could gather, I answered him, “No. I have to go home and make dinner for my family.”

I walked out of his office and never looked back. I never took his advice to get on an interferon medication (daily shots of steroids to reduce the risk of future MS flare ups). I believed that God would help me with whatever came along, and He has been faithful to that promise.

Yes, some people do need to take medication. Some people are seriously ill, and they can’t help it. Some people have a viable excuse. Maybe you’ve had some failure in the past, and don’t want to risk the pain anymore. Maybe you’ve fallen and you can’t get up! And I know that some people don’t have enough faith to believe in themselves, let alone a powerful and loving God.

But what about you?

Look in the mirror today, and say to yourself, “You’re beautiful! Let’s do this thing!”

If Mother Goose can cross the Finish Line, anyone can. ANYONE CAN.

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