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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


We decided to have Logan train to be a therapy dog, so that he can go do visitations at hospitals, nursing homes, etc.. Tonight, Logan passed the first 6 weeks obedience class. Yippee!!! However, he still has issues when he is around other dogs. All of the commands that he does so wonderfully at home takes a lot of work when there are other dogs around. He has another 6 weeks obedience class that he must take and pass, and then the therapy course and then pass therapy test. Still a long road ahead, but the first step is complete. Good for Logan (and Chris who usually does most of the training. :) )

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Book Club Dinner / Chris Accident

Every year, when it is my time to host my book club, I fix a formal dinner for the ladies. I usually take a day off and spend the day cleaning/cooking/baking for the event. Today was another successful dinner -- even though a sweeper broke, the grill wouldn't start (so went from Grilled Mahi Mahi to Baked), and the garbage disposal broke. (I need my hubby home!!!) I had salad, strawberries, homemade rolls, Mahi Mahi (fixed 1/2 mango chipolte and lemon merinade for other half), aspargus with orange sauce, baked potatoes, mini strawberry cheesecakes, mini chocolate cheesecakes, and hummingbird cake.

We were ending our evening together when Kristina brought me the cell phone. It was our niece in Georgia. Both of Alison's girls (Alison is Chris's sister) go to University of Georgia, and had come to Atlanta to have dinner with their uncle since he was there on a business trip. When he showed up for dinner, he had had a wreck when cycling with some people in Atlanta after work, and his hand was in bad shape. They took him to hospital, and then I was called. He is not seriously injured (Thank you, God) but last that I talked to him, he was debating with doctor on cast versus splint. Chris is wanting to make sure he can still cycle. ;(

And then people wonder why I pray for boredom!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Afternoon with Chris Gone

Chris left for 12 days for a business trip to Atlanta, and I hope things start going better. First, Kristina messed up her PC again, and I could not fix it. I finally told her that she had to hire the teenage PC guru in the neighborhood. (Good news, he fixed it in an hour. But I admit my ego is a little bruised. :) )

Then I have a dinner party planned Thursday for my book club, so I decided to wash the couch cushion coverings. One of them had to be sewed when it came out of the dryer, and another lost its zipper. I hope that I can get the same size zipper and fix it.

If that wasn’t enough, well, since Chris is gone, I needed to take Logan to his obedience class to be a therapy dog. I started backing the van out of the driveway, and driveway was very slippery, so I ended up with van stuck in snow bank on one side of the driveway. Kristina and I started shoveling snow bank, and I managed to drive to get van unstuck, but Kristina was shouting at me. I asked her what was wrong, and she was afraid I was going to tip the van over. Since it seemed possible and I had been a little intimidated also, I left van there. Since van was not on driveway anymore but off in snow drift on side, I decided to take the car. However, since driveway was pure ice in places, I told Kristina not to get in until I made it out of the driveway. Well, I didn’t make it out. I had it in neutral, but it hit the ice and starting spinning. Thankfully, I didn’t hit the van, but I had to leave the car stuck on the ice as I don’t think that I could get it out without hitting the van.

So, Logan didn’t make it to class, and I have two vehicles stuck! UGH!!!! My neighbor said he would help me get them out in morning. I gave up on trying to be productive anymore today. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kristina with Glasses

I got back home from WY with Kristina clamoring that she had been telling me for awhile that she needed glasses, and the school tested her and that she was right. So, I took her today, and she got her first pair of glasses. I let her pick it out for herself, and here she is…

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Lander, Wyoming

On Tuesday, my mother had complications at the hospital, so I made the decision to come to Wyoming to be with her. I thought it was a 12 hour drive, but it was really 15 and ½. hours, 1023 miles. I left at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, and I arrived at the hospital at 9 AM, here in Lander, WY. I definitely feel these long over-night drives more as I get older.

My mother has a challenging road ahead of her. I expect her to be in the hospital for at least three more weeks, and then she should probably go to a rehab facility for three months. Hard decisions for her may have to be made in this next month, and my heart aches for her and other elderly people who start losing their independence for I know it has to be frustrating.

Thank God for the awesome blessing of my job. I am allowed to work from my mother’s house for the twelve days that I am in WY, so I will spend business days working from her house and be able to visit her each morning, lunch and evenings.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kristina's First 1/2 day at Wayzata East Middle School

Today, Kristina attended Wayzata East Middle School for her first day of being 1/2 home-schooled and 1/2 day at public school. She walks to/from school and is gone about four hours. She is taking American Literature, Math, Social Studies and a course in social skills. She is one very happy girl.

Here are some pictures of her with her pets before taking off to school.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Foreclosure Avoided

Thank God, Chris and I are not foreclosing on the gentleman who bought our commercial property in Enon, OH. This is such a relief to me. It was not an easy decision to foreclose on the buyer, but he was eight months behind on his payments. I tried to connect with him on his cell phone (he never would answer my calls), his business number (his associates told me always that he was not available), via email (again no response.)

Chris and I bought this property when Chris was self-employed, and we sold it about a year before we moved to MN when Chris hurt his back and the self-employment dream came crashing down.

Finally, we contacted a real estate attorney in OH. We also contacted our real estate agent to let her know that we would probably list with her again. The agent was wonderful and was able to contact with the buyer.

His story: He had a heart attack in August, and he had an associate at his business making the monthly payments. He claimed that he was not behind. He contacted the bank where he made payments and the associate had made the payments into the wrong account for six months. So, someone was getting our payment for six months – and they never called to find out why, and they SPENT it. Amazing… Our buyer then got an attorney to try to get some of the money back. And on it went.

Finally a deal was supposedly worked out, and our buyer said that he would pay us six payments out of the eight from bank deal. We never got it. After a week, we told the attorney to proceed with foreclosure this Monday (1/26/09.) I called the buyer and told him that we needed some cash by Monday or else.

Yesterday (the last day before foreclosure was to start), we got payment. Thank you, Lord.

I struggled with foreclosing on the buyer. I know that economic times are hard, but for everyone that is in foreclosure, the person or bank that they are not making payments to are now missing promised income. This promised income is hurting them, and so it goes.

The verse of forgiving someone 7 times 70 came to mind. Does this apply to money? Love is patient – was I being patient? Love is kindness – how far backwards does one bend in kindness? And the questions continued.

For some who advised me, the answer to them was simple – business is business. To me, it was not simple -- everything that I do should reveal Jesus Christ. Was I representing Jesus in all my communication to the buyer? I hope I did, but when someone calls up and says “Pay up or Foreclosure” – ugh… I still struggle with that is what Jesus would do.

Perhaps, it is as Chris suggests to me – “I think too much!” I just know that I am very, very thankful that we did not have to actually foreclose.

Thank you, God!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Privacy and Prayer

God’s timing is incredible!

This week, I was reading in the newspaper about the privacy act and churches. The article was about how ministers should not ever announce the specific illnesses publicly of someone in church without a signed release from that person or the family. For example, it is against the law to print or announce from the pulpit, “Please pray for Fred as he is in the hospital with a heart attack” unless the church has written permission to talk about the heart attack. It is OK to ask for prayer, but not what his specific problems are.

I was startled when I read this, as it never occurred to me to think about the lack of privacy for people in prayer requests. The article made excellent points on how there was really no need to announce the heart attack to get people to pray. God knows why the person is in the hospital, and the congregation just needs to pray for healing.

When Chris and I were talking about this, I was not surprised that my husband, who is a very private person, agreed with the article 100%. Being an open person, my first response was there were more important things to worry about, but after 17 years of being married to a private person, I immediately realized the importance of the article for other people.

It seems that this week God has been working on me respecting people’s privacy. Even in my blog note from yesterday, when I was typing it in, I had written my friend Debbie’s personal comment to me on the book. As I thought about it, I realized that I did not have Debbie’s permission to quote her, so I removed her comment before I published the blog.

And then….

Yesterday, my mother was admitted to the hospital. :) See, I told you God’s timing is incredible. My mother has told me frequently that she is a private person, and so with that in mind, I just ask for prayers for her. My siblings and I also need prayers for God’s wisdom in dealing with the situation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"The Love Dare"

My good friend Debbie told me about a book she was currently reading for her daily devotional called "The Love Dare", a book challenging one for 40 days to read and help build true intimacy and develop a dynamic marriage by three important daily elements: 1) each day an aspect of love is discussed. 2) A daily dare to do for your spouse, some easy and some difficult. 3) A journal to log how /what you are doing.

I mentioned the book to Chris casually and suggested that maybe we could read it together. After I bought the book yesterday and read “Day 1”, I excitedly knew that this book would be a challenging journey for me as the first day convicted and motivated me. So last night Chris and I read together Day 1 of the 40 day “Love Dare” challenge, and for the next 40 days we will be using this book to improve our marriage.

I will also be using the principles of the book to work on my relationship with Kristina. Day 1’s principle is “Love is Patient”, and I struggle with being patient with my child more that I do with my spouse. So, when I take the daily dares, I am going to try to apply the dare in some way to my relationship with Kristina.

Though Chris and I are only on Day 1 (and he liked the book/chapter too), I would recommend this book to anyone. Even if you aren’t married, all relationships would benefit by having unconditional love practiced, which is what the book is about. If you are married, esp. for several years (when the romance dies down and disappointments come) consider taking the dare along with Chris and me and making your marriage stronger!

If anyone does read it, I would love to know your opinions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Blog

I am once again falling behind in my correspondence to others. Sigh! Letter writing to me is important. It is taking the time/effort to really show that you care about that individual. I try to use letter-writing as a way to accomplish what Gregory Boyd writes: "With every person we encounter, the only question that should be on our mind is, How can I, right here and right now, affirm the unsurpassable worth of this person for whom Christ died?"

Frequently, I become determined that I will write a letter a day or some other "goal", but life always intervene with something. This week is some cold bug which leaves me sitting around and reading or watching TV in evenings as I don't feel well enough to accomplish much.

For awhile now, I have considered creating a blog so that others can (if desired) keep up what is happening in my life since my writing is always lagging behind for some.

So, I am not sure how this will turn out. Hopefully, better than my web pages that I never updated after my first month. :) This blog will be a combination of updates to my family life and my journey through life working on becoming a better follower of Christ.