Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kim's Wedding in April

On April 18th, my brother Jim's oldest daughter, Kimberly, got married in Cody, Wyoming. It was a sweet, charming wedding, and it had been a while since I have seen two people so starry-eyed in love.

When it came time for her to throw the bouquet, a call went out for "all single girls who wants to get married." Kristina joined the group, and she caught her first bouquet at age 15. She said no one really tried so she just reached out and grabbed it. She really prizes that bouquet. Picture above is of her and Kim with it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter - My Idea of a Perfect Day

Easter 2009 was my ideal perfect day!

We attended a lively church service for Easter. Then Chris, Kristina and I took a leisurely drive down the scenic route following the Mississippi River for about an hour. We stopped at Red Wing, MN (yes, this is where Red Wing shoes are made) for a delightful Easter brunch, and on the way back, we crossed the river and came back via the Wisconsin side for awhile. Beautiful, beautiful area, and it was made more enjoyable that tourist season hasn't hit yet so traffic was light.

I love this leisurely Sunday drives. When Kristina is on her own, Chris and I will probably do it on a motorcycle, but for now, we make it a family excursion. We make sure that we stop at a local restaurant, usually a hole in the wall in a small town to get a flavor of the area.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Car Payments

My personal finance philosophy is that if you are over 30 years old, you should not buy a car and finance it --- if you can’t afford to pay cash, the car is too expensive for you. (This is my general rule, and I do think there are a few exceptions.) There are financial gurus out there who will tell you similar rules. Dave Ramsey says no car payment ever, whereas I believe in your 20s the payments can help you with credit ratings.

Anyway, Chris’s 1990 Honda Accord was having some ball bearing issues and with his back problems, he could not fix easily, so we decided to sell and upgrade. We spent the last month or so going over options. With the purchase of a snowmobile last winter and a new time-trial bike for Chris, cash for a new Honda was no longer possible. We pondered whether it was it time for an exception to the rule as the financing was so low it was almost like paying cash. We looked at cheap cars that Chris could do work on and we would pass to Kristina soon and continue saving for new car next year, medium-priced cars that we would deplete our car fund, etc..

Yesterday, we paid cash for a 2000 Acura. It was the best deal that we found for cash price that we wanted to pay this year. And once I saw the heated seats and felt the warmth, all other choices for cash went out the window. Oh, how I love those heated seats! :)

Then just a few minutes ago, I saw where GM is now going to offer to make car payments for anyone who is laid off. GM will pay payment up to $500 for nine months. I was very irate. GM is virtually bankrupt, and the taxpayers will be paying these payments. Though my heart goes out for anyone who loses their job, everyone should be prepared for losing their jobs. Every financial adviser out there should tell you to have 3 - 6 months of expenses set aside, etc..

Living above one’s means is what got the US in this financial mess. I am now more convinced that if you can’t pay cash for the car, it is too expensive for you!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In Lander, Wyoming Again! And Chris Accident, Again!

Last weekend, I made another trek to Lander, Wyoming to spend a week with my mother. She is doing well living at home, but I felt that she needed someone living staying with her for another week. She is slowly recovering some strength in her leg and will be able to live alone (with some assistance) fine. My sister did a great job the week that she was here helping Mom get adjusted to living with a disability. My brother Terry did work on her house for handicap, and my sister-in-law Judith cooked food for Mom several times a week.

My sister jinxed me on trip though. I had told her that I had set my cruise control at 81 for last trip during SD and WY, and about two hours before I got to Mom's, my sister called me and told me that when she was here the previous week, she got a ticket by listening to my advice as she was going 80. Thankfully, I put my speed down to 75 then as I was on state highway, and 15 minutes later I got pulled over. UGH! Thankfully, I got a warning.

Also, I was 1/2 way through SD, when I called Chris's cell. He sounded awful. I remarked about how bad he sounded, and he said that he wasn't feeling the greatest, and he would call me later. Three hours later Kristina called me but I really couldn't understand what she was saying. She kept saying he was all right now. Come to find out when I had called him before, he was in emergency room, and he knew that I would have turned around and went home so he didn't tell me and told Kristina not to tell me until I got to Mom's house. He had hit his head outside a bike shop (I'm becoming convinced that cycling is not good for my hubby!!) and was bleeding and hurt seriously enough that EMTs were called. He was taken to ER, where he got stitches across his forehead. The doctors are not sure how badly scarred he will be. I am just glad that he is OK now.

So, though part of me wants to pray for boredom, but God has been dealing with me about being content with life that I have been given. So, life and its drama continues.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Minnesota Winter

60 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Minnesota plant gardens.

50 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Duluth sunbathe.

40 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.

32 above zero:
Distilled water freezes.
The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero:
Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold.

People in Miami all die.
Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero:
Californians fly away to Mexico.
People in Minnesota get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Minnesota let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Minnesotans get upset because they can't start the Mini-Van.

460 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.)
People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold 'nuff fer ya?"

500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February Book Recommendations

As most of you know, I am a voracious reader. This year, I am going to try to make each month have a different category for the books that I read, and then I will recommend the best books for that category.

I read a wide variety of books as I believe that all Christians should be well-versed in modern culture (as long as not sinful) so that we can relate to people. Paul was well-versed in the many places that he went so that he could talk to all people and compare/contrast their beliefs with Christ.

This month's theme was: Teen Age Fiction. I have been enjoying it more than I dreamed as there are many thought-provoking books out there for young people. So, if looking for an enjoyable read, here are the two that I highly enjoyed this month.

"The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary E Pearson
I loved this book. It is a story of a 17 year old girl who has just awoken from a year-long coma. There were many sentences that just grapped me as there were so much truth in them. Jenna's social skills are non-existant, and she does many inappropriate social actions, but her heart is so appropriate.
"I am an oaf. My timing is off. But I had to get it out. Some things you have to tell, no matter how stupid they may sound. Some things you can't save for later. There might not be a later."

"Life as We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This book has won many awards, which it justly deserves. It is a story of when a meteor hits the moon, and the results on earth are told by a high school girl's diary.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eventful Day

My mother got out of the hospital yesterday. My sister Laverna, who is a hospice nurse, had went to Wyoming to stay with Mom the first week that Mom is home. We were uncertain that Mom was really ready to go home, but Laverna says Mom was doing well there. Mom will have therapy at home five days a week, home health care coming in, meals on wheels, etc.. Though she has a “lifeline”, we still feel it is best that Mom not be alone for a few weeks, so I will probably be going to Wyoming for another week and work from Mom’s house.

Also, my beloved hubby made it home yesterday. Twelve days is a long time to be separate! His left hand is healing, though he can not use his left hand for a lot of activities. He broke his ring finger and sprained the other three fingers on that hand. He can’t drive his car as it is a manual, and if it snows, he can’t shovel snow! Sigh!

I had thought spring was here as on Tuesday it was 40 degrees. Within 36 hours, it had dropped 56 degrees, counting windchill (-16). I love living in MN except it seems like February will never end.

And to make yesterday even more special, my dear friend from my teens, Jeanne Eck, stopped by last evening. Jeanne and five of her children, who live in Kansas, were going to Wisconsin for a winter weekend. We had a great time visiting, and Kristina always immensely enjoys the children. Pictures of her and Alea doing their “monkey” face – and with some of Jeanne’s children.