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True, it was 73 degrees yesterday. The day ended with lightning. And high winds. A thunderstorm came, followed by hail and rain. We woke up to snow. But yesterday?

“It’s a gorgeous day!” Liz said, her face exuding the beauty of a truly spectacular February day in Wisconsin. It was our day together, Liz, Ann and me.

It was Tuesday! Instead of catching up on life at City Market or a place with outside seating, it was someone’s great idea to meet at the park.

Our time together was spectacular, I can hardly keep up with my pen. Where do I begin?

Instead of finding a bench, Liz wanted to walk so I said I’d hide my heavy water bottle in the bushes. Ann said there was a place for it on Liz’s wheelchair. Just as we hold a place for each other on Tuesdays. Just as the park is a perfect place for a walk. Accessible, mostly.

And just as we all have our inner engines that get us going each day, Liz has two. One for her heart and one for the road!

Just last week, she was on the road to a conference where, for me, she demonstrated the passion and commitment of what it means to live on point. With purpose. And to many others she demonstrated that as well.

Her presentation was so powerful she was invited back to the next conference, and her current presentation is being shared with educators around the state who want to grow in building awareness, understanding and advocacy for students with special needs.

To Liz, most important, is sharing the great need to learn to be an advocate for oneself. Oh, she inspires me! Liz is extraordinarily special in meeting the needs of others.

And on this particular Tuesday, as we walked and talked, Liz also reminded me of the secret to being a good teacher: we often learn more from our students than they do from us.

Each student is like a tree filled with sap waiting to be tapped. Our job as teacher is to “tap”!

As we talked, I remembered how at one point in my life, before life happened hard and fast, I had discovered the joy, healing and strength dance provided and couldn’t wait to share it. With (naive) confidence, I began teaching children and adults.

You only have to be one chapter ahead of your students,” my friend, Katherine, said recently when I was feeling doubt over my ability to help someone in crisis during my recent trauma healing training.

I decided to speak up and admit to Liz and Ann that a few people had asked me if I’d be interested in teaching a writing workshop at church.

“Oh! I would take it!” Liz said all excited. “What would you teach?” I loved the order of those two sentences.

“Well, something that motivates me is the importance of sharing stories about people in our lives who paved the way for us, including God, and who transform our lives.”

When she didn’t respond right away, I added, “A friend of mine wrote a book on leading a writing group. I’ll read it and get some more ideas!”

Suddenly, I was excited about sharing things I’ve learned since I began seriously writing ten years ago. It’s been an amazing and completely unexpected journey. God is always doing amazing things and making old things new. Don’t you see it? Now it springs up!

We went back up the same way we came down Lincoln Memorial Drive because Liz’s chair was one inch too wide to make it through the cement barricades that have made “Snake Hill” a walkway instead of a thoroughfare for cars.

With all the insane driving at the Lakefront lately, the deaths and terrible accidents that have landed more than one dear friend in Froedert Hospital for months, we’re glad about this.

But I won’t end our walk on that note. Instead, I’ll end this story with a little story inside the story. When Liz’s chair didn’t fit through the cement barricades at the foot of Snake Hill, she motored around to a space where she noticed the curb was missing and drove right up and through it.

While Ann checked out the ground for a smooth ride, Liz made it to the other side of the cement blocks. But like my Mini on some roads where I scratch bottom, the curb was too tall on the other side for her chair to make it down. Ann said it could break her wheels.

Well, Liz wasn’t at all happy about that, honestly, not at all. And this is where I noticed our true sisterhood. Don’t tell us we can’t do something. It will only drive us forward!

We’ll be back, hopefully next Tuesday or Wednesday, with a new story. In the meantime, I’ll let the Friends of Lake Park know we need a plank to make Snake Hill truly Accessible. Or we’ll bring our own 2 x 4!

Fellow writers at work


And one for the road:

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43: 18-19 (The Message) I love Eugene Peterson’s interpretation: “making rivers in the badlands”. Let’s do it!

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