Monday, January 31, 2011

What a Week!

What a week! I can't believe it's been only eight days since our little granddaughter entered the world. In some ways it seems like just yesterday but when I look at the pictures taken since her birth I'm amazed at all the life squeezed into those eight days! Of course, I'm pretty sure I didn't feel this way when I was the one who had just given birth. So, here we are on week four of my 365 Project. Though most calendar weeks go from Sunday to Saturday, my 365 Project pictures go from Saturday to Friday, primarily because January 1 was a Saturday.

When I started week four, I was at a scrapbooking retreat. I was zipping through pictures, getting so much done. Lee Anne, pictured below, was the consultant who organized the retreat and answered my 42 gazillion questions about digital scrapbooking. She told me later that she was glad Amelia had waited until Sunday to be born so she didn't lose her spot as my picture of the day!

I learned so much at the retreat and went to bed on Saturday night with plans of finishing up a few pages of Christmas pictures in a traditional album before heading home. BUT, our little Amelia had other plans. So, I left the retreat at 2:45 AM, Sunday morning to take Amelia's mom to the hospital. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was an interruption of the very best kind.

To be on the safe side, I took this picture as a "back-up picture of the day" for Sunday just in case Erin had one of those 36 hour labors you hear about. It is a picture of the view out of Erin's hospital room. Not a bad view but I don't think Erin appreciated it as much as I did.

I was much happier to be using this picture of Amelia as my "picture of the day" on Sunday. Amelia has stolen our hearts to be sure.

Of course, Amelia made it as picture of the day on Monday, too, because, well because she's adorable, that's why! Don't you agree?

On Tuesday, it was time for my annual check-up so Tuesday's picture was of my doctor, Alice Suchomel. Dr. Alice took full advantage of my new grandma status to guilt me into a pertussis shot. Ouch! Well, getting the shot was not painful, but it took a few days for my arm to recover. It's all worth it though. I'd feel horrible if I ever gave pertussis to Amelia - or anyone else for that matter, though I have heard that some people lose weight when they have pertussis. No wait, that wouldn't be worth it.

On Wednesday it was "life as normal" again and time to get back to the workout center. My friend Mary was there who I met shortly after I moved to Minnesota over 30 years ago. These days we see each other most often either at a Rotary Club function (our husbands are both members) or at Fit on Fourth (our workout center, which coincidentally, is on 4th Street.) The limestone walls you see in the picture make it "not your average" workout center. Mary and I like to think that we solve the world's problems as we work out though on Wednesday the conversation seemed to revolve around babies; specifically, my new granddaughter. Imagine that.

Barb has been my massage therapist for over 10 years. She's simply the best! Before you go thinking I'm all spoiled, let her give you a massage first! I feel better when I leave but let me tell you, she knows JUST where to poke to make you squirm. She keeps me moving, though, so I'm grateful. We decided to have a little fun with her picture on Thursday. She's been watching me post my pictures on Facebook and was afraid it might be her turn to be the "picture of the day." She was right!

The last shot of the week was of Pastor Alan (and me.) Alan is the Youth Pastor at our church and all the kids love him! On Friday, Alan celebrated the big 4 - 0 in style by throwing a benefit birthday bash. Instead of bringing gifts for him we all made donations to an organization working to stop stop human trafficking. You may recall that in August 2009 John and I went on a mission trip to Russia. Alan was the pastor who lead the trip. We had such a blast getting to know him better and working beside him at the orphanage. He has such a huge heart and we were so honored to be part of his 40th birthday celebration.

And so, another week is already underway. One thing is for sure; life is an adventure!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Million Years Ago - Earlier this month

I realize that I haven't posted pictures yet from week three of my 365 Project (a picture a day.) And, since week four is nearly half over with, I thought I'd better hurry or I'd have to post week threefour. (It's a new word - not in the dictionary yet. Maybe next year.)

So, we ended week two with my long drive in the snow to a Women's Ministry Leadership meeting in Dassel, MN. Well, my first picture for week three was taken on the way home from that meeting. I found this church and thought the architecture was quite intriguing. An added bonus was that the sun was shining on it at just the right angle. I would have been satisfied just to see it shining, but this was like a little reward from God for not giving up the day before. Getting to the church was a bit harder than I first anticipated but I thought it was worth the trip.

On Sunday afternoon we had a baby shower for Erin and Heidi at our house. I titled this picture "Guess Who's Due First?" but I suppose, in light of my last post, (the one about becoming a Nana!) it's pretty obvious by now. O.K., I suppose it's also obvious from the picture. Perhaps I should have titled it "Comparing Bellies One Week Before Erin's Delivery." Hindsight is so very helpful.

Angelina is married to our youngest son, Scott. She went out Monday morning excited to shovel the sidewalk (bless her heart, she hasn't lived in MN very long and still considers this fun.) Part of her shoveling involved working on a snow "amphitheater." When I came out to take her picture she said, "I bet I'm more what you were expecting in a first grandchild than in a third daughter-in-law." As long as she's willing to shovel, I say, "have all the fun you want out there."

On Tuesday (1/18) I had a bittersweet lunch with my friend, Krista. On February 11, she and her family are moving to Swaziland, Africa to work as missionaries with Children's Cup. She has the biggest heart and I know she will do great things for God in Swazi BUT, I'm going to miss her so much!
If you know me at all, you know I am by no means a morning person. But when I woke up at 6:30 on Wednesday morning and saw this view out my bathroom window I just had to get a shot. I've always loved the view out the window in the early morning hours and was apparently feeling more inspired than I usually do at 6:30 AM. So, instead of going back to bed, I went in search of my camera and tripod. I think the moon's shape is a bit distorted by the glass. Perhaps I should have opened the window but it was way too early for me to think that clearly. Plus, it was -5 degrees outside!

I'm really wanting this project of mine to represent my daily life which includes people we meet along the way. Almost every week I make the trek to the health food co-op 15 miles from my house. Kathryn is one of the many kind cashiers whom I encounter there. She doesn't know this yet, but she's one of my favorites; always ready with a smile.

And before I knew it I was at the end of the week three at a scrapbooking retreat with one of my best friends - Debbie. We had so much fun working on our albums and talking, and eating, and talking and eating. But, don't think that means we didn't get anything done. We are great at multi-tasking!
All of this seems so long ago in light of the recent arrival in our family. Any guess what one of the subjects will be in this week's photos. Hint: you've already seen one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Announcing . . .

Normally, by today, I would try to have my 365 project photos here on my blog but I was gone this weekend and today there is much more exciting stuff to talk about so I’ll post those later.

I’m sure most of you who read my blog have probably already heard the news but if not, here it is. On Sunday, January 23, 2011, I became a Nana for the first time! Amelia Louise Holte was born at 7:48 PM. There is nothing like it in the world!

As it happens, I have my own “labor and delivery” story though I’m not stupid enough to think that my story was even close to as challenging as my daughter-in-law, Erin’s. She did such a great job bringing Amelia into the world. Because Paul (Amelia’s dad) is a commercial airline pilot I was on stand-by as back-up assistant to get momma to the hospital should baby decide to show up when dad was on a trip.

I was at a scrapbooking retreat this weekend so, because of my duties as back-up labor coach, I left plenty of phone numbers with the mom-to-be. I even texted on Saturday morning to check in and make sure that everything was status quo; which it was. My friend, Debbie, and I stayed up kind of late on Saturday night because, well, when you’re scrapbooking, that’s just what happens. So, when the phone rang an hour and a quarter after I’d gone to bed it took me a few minutes to figure out what was happening. You see, even though Paul had scheduled plenty of time off around the anticipated arrival date of February 8, Amelia had other plans, even though her daddy had just landed a plane in Lisbon, Portugal.

Fortunately, Paul was able to get right back on a plane for the flight home, miraculously make a tight connection in Newark, and arrived at the hospital, looking somewhat like the Prince on a white horse coming in to save the day after most of the work had been done. Erin’s mom and dad had arrived from Michigan around 9:30 that morning so we’d been tag-team coaching throughout the day. Once Paul arrived we let him take over and when it was apparent the birth was eminent we left the room and waited in the visitor’s area for the arrival; or until Diane and I got anxious, as the case may be.

We’d received news that things were getting close, and by now John had arrived and joined us in the waiting area, so Diane and I left the guys and stood outside Erin’s room to “listen.” We talked in soft whispers so as not to be found out. We heard a big clunk, which we assumed meant they were moving the bed into position, and some other indiscriminate noises, but eventually we heard the sound we were waiting for – the first cries of our granddaughter. And right after that, the crying of her very happy dad. To a Nana’s, and a mom’s ears, both were priceless.

We might be prejudiced, but we think she’s the most beautiful baby in the world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's Wrong with this Picture?

There is a restaurant about 25 miles from my house that I visit on a fairly regular basis. I have three main reasons for frequenting this restaurant. 1.) Nice atmosphere, 2.) it's close to my church and thus, a number of my friends, and 3.) they have at least two things on the menu that I can eat despite my food sensitivities. Those are all good reasons to frequent a restaurant. But, this blog isn't really about the restaurant. (It's the old "bait and switch" blog.)

It's the business across the parking lot from this restaurant that keeps drawing my attention. This is the sign above the door to this business.

My first thought, upon seeing this sign is "Wow, maybe now would be a good time for me to go back to school and get my masters or even a doctorate degree." I mean really, if I can have someone else write all of my essays, how hard could it be? And check out what it says on their window.
Guaranteed A!!! Even better! That should help my GPA.

O.K., but let's get serious. Isn't the point of going to high school, college, or graduate school to learn something? If someone else does your research for you, what will you really know when you graduate? Are there people running around with degrees, perhaps practicing medicine, or law, that didn't really do their own work? That's kind of scary.

And get this! This company has been in business since 1998. That's 13 years of people cheating on their essays! To their credit, they don't plagiarize, and they can get a paper done super fast - for an extra fee. I'm not sure who uses this essay writing service but I don't think it's your average college kid. The cost for a five page essay is $125 plus $10 more if you need it in a hurry.

I love that part of their advertising says "Essay writing can be very time consuming. The research that goes into it can be a bit overwhelming. The complexity of your assigned research paper may even discourage you from completing it." Well, we wouldn't want you to get discouraged or overwhelmed. Why should you be like ever other college student in the country? Not when you can pay someone to be discouraged and overwhelmed for you!

There are a few testimonials on their website but this one is my favorite: “My professor assigned a 10-page essay that was just too complicated for me to research. This writing company wrote a custom essay for me in 2 days!” Too complicated? Shame on that professor! What was he thinking? Was the entire class forced to dish out $25 a page in order to pass the class, or did they manage to figure it out on their own?

Let's call a spade a spade here. What this company is encouraging is called cheating. I just can't see any reason that would justify paying someone else to do your course work for you. How could you possibly feel good about graduating knowing that you'd basically cheated your way through school? At least if you copy out of the encyclopedia (which I'm not encouraging) you've taken the time to do a little bit of research.

So, I guess I won't be getting my doctorate any time soon. But, I do have days that cause me to be overwhelmed and discouraged. Maybe I could just find someone I could pay to say tidy up the paperwork, or do the laundry. I may go broke, but at least I wouldn't have compromised my integrity.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black and White Week

Here it is: week two of 365 Project - a picture a day. This week I focused on friends, mostly, and decided to go with Black and White images. Why you ask? Well, it all started when I forgot my take my camera to our Israel Trip Team reunion on Sunday night. My plan was to take a picture of the team, but without my camera I was forced to use my Blackberry so took a picture of just one teammate instead. (Yes, iPhone users, I'm sure your phones take superior pictures, but I don't have one yet.) When I got home I thought the picture of Stacy, taken with my Blackberry, looked better in Black and White (due to lighting - not Stacy), and thus, a week long tradition began - with one exception which you'll see in a minute.

As I mentioned, Stacy was part of our Israel trip team. She is an amazing young woman and God is doing great things in her life!

Dawn is a friend from my church. She has an incredible heart to serve God.

Lindsay's official title is Pastor of Leadership Development at our church. (It's a very large church.) As an added bonus she is also my friend. Monday night we had a training meeting for all the leaders and since Lindsay was in charge of the meeting I thought it appropriate that Monday's picture be of her.

I took a break from my black and white pictures on Tuesday night in order to grab a photo of our neighbor's house decorated for Christmas. They turned their lights on especially for me so I could get a picture. They are moving to Florida in a month so this is the last year for their lights. I figured I should capture the moment in case the new neighbors aren't willing to pay a tripled electric bill in December.

I had lunch with my friend, Diane on Wednesday. She always makes me laugh. I'm not even sure she knows that it's because of her I started on a very interesting journey. I should tell her sometime.

I met Jane when I first moved to MN over 30 years ago. Since that time she has been my go-to person for all things home-makey. She has quite possibly saved my life by telling me to throw out suspicious smelling food that I might otherwise have eaten. On Thursday, she helped me with a sewing project. She has more sewing gadgets than anyone I know; even more than most stores! I call her the Queen of Gadgets.

There is a bit of a story to my last picture of the week. My plan all day had been to take a picture on Friday evening at a "slumber party" I would be attending. On Saturday there was an all-day leadership team meeting scheduled to take place in Dassel, MN at the home of Carol Lund, director of Women's Ministries for the MN district of the Assemblies of God. She had invited her advisory team (of which I'm a part) to come on Friday night and have a little fun before the meeting on Saturday. I was so excited about going but about the time I left home we seemed to be in the midst of a nasty snow storm.

Well, I've had about enough of snowstorms ruining my fun so I started out. I managed to get about a quarter of the way there but the snow seemed to be getting the best of me, so I took about a two hour break and visited my daughter-in-law. Once I thought the snow had calmed down a bit (and it was no longer rush hour) I decided to venture out again. It wasn't fun, but it didn't feel particularly dangerous either. By now it was 7:30 and there was some leftover rush hour traffic still on the roads. When we were pretty much at a dead stop, I was thinking about my picture of the day. I was kind of nervous that after the stressful drive that I might forget to take it.

So, I decided that even though it wouldn't be the picture I wanted for the day, if I took one right that moment, I could at least quit worrying about missing one all together. Now, I know you're probably thinking that taking pictures and driving at the same time isn't all that safe so let me first show you this picture. Please note the speed at which I was traveling.

But, fun as that picture was, I certainly didn't want it as "the picture of the day," so I took this one to show the snow and traffic - which seemed, at that moment, to be taking the main part of my day.

Were it not for this being "Black and White" week, I might have kept that snowy picture as my "picture of the day," but I still wanted to stick with my original plan. Once I finally arrived at Carol's she had the best gift waiting for all of us - a massage therapist - waiting to give us a massage. So, I labeled the following picture as "The Gift and the Giver." Carol is on the right - she is the giver. Sherri is on the left - she was the much needed gift. Ahhh....

An thus, black and white week is over. I'm excited to see what this week has in store. I'm really enjoying this project and the way it allows me to take a picture for really no reason at all other than to capture life; the good and the not so good.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sky is Falling!

Last night I was driving home from a meeting in downtown Minneapolis. I was paying very careful attention to my speed because the speed limit changes about three times in a 500 yard stretch AND because there was a policeman in the lane to my right. I’ve found if you’re going to speed, it’s best not to do it when there is a policeman in close proximity - word to the wise. But I digress (and that so rarely happens in my blogs.)

Anyway, all of a sudden I look up and there is a huge white ball falling out of the sky. It only lasted about 15 seconds at best and there were a few seconds when I thought it was going to hit something and start a huge fire. But, just as I got ready to yell “LOOK OUT!” to the people who were clearly NOT within range of my voice, *poof* it just disappeared. I’ve seen falling stars before but it’s been a long time, and this thing was huge. My first thought was “wow, if I were on Facebook right now I could tell people about this and find out if anyone else saw it.” (I’ve taken a short hiatus from my Facebook account, however, and I’m sticking to it.)

The second thing I thought was "I just saw a very rare sight.” It may not be rare for people who look at the sky all the time, but it was rare for me. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning, turned on my computer and saw “NASA scientist confirms meteor spotted in Minn.” (Yes, they did use those very initials to abbreviate Minnesota though personally, I think MN would have looked so much nicer.) The article says “that it was a 21 inch rock with a trajectory from NE to SW with a fall zone potentially in Central or South-Central Mississippi.” Personally, I could have sworn it was heading straight for the Burger King down the street, but hey, I’m not a NASA scientist.

The article also states that it had a greenish-blue streak to it but I didn’t see that. Then again, I only had about 15 seconds and wasn’t really focused on judging its exact color scheme. One other thing in the article confirmed what I thought, “it was a pretty rare sight, those types of meteors only occur five or six times a year in the United States.”

I think God has made some pretty cool things in this world and I love it when I get to be a part of seeing some of rarities. It’s almost like He’s saying to me “Hey Nancy, watch this; it’s pretty cool.” And it was . . .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just One Word

Every year in January I always feel compelled to make resolutions, set goals, all the things they (whoever ‘they’ are) tell you should be done when a new year commences. I hate New Year’s resolutions! Why? Because they make me feel like a failure when I don’t keep them. I wrote about this last year. By the way, if you go back to read last year’s post you should know that I successfully completed Goal #1. It wasn’t all that hard to follow through on. Not one person offered me a free plane ticket – anywhere! Sad.

So, I’m done with New Year’s resolutions. I know I’ve got goals. I don’t need to write them down so they can mock me later. Call me a rebel if you must but I’m just not going to do it anymore. I’ve got a new plan. Call it my plan for people who hate goal setting; except it’s not really mine. I could probably be famous had I actually been the one to think of this.

A few days ago I was reading my friend Becca Groves’ blog. Well, we’ve never actually met, but we do consider ourselves friends. It’s a long story and not really the point of this blog but suffice it to say, she really encouraged me in her blog about One Little Word. She talks about picking one little word for the year to focus on to remind you about your priorities and choices.

Well, one word I can do. In fact, so far, I’ve found it to be much more effective than setting goals. Maybe it’s because I can remember one word much more easily than a list of 15 goals. You’ve probably guessed by now what the word is that I chose for this year (that’s the problem with being so wordy before you get to the point.) Persistence is my word for 2011.

I started by reading a list of words and writing down the ones which might apply to the things coming up in my life this year; or at least the things I’d like to see come up this year. I guess you could call them goals but, well, we’ve already talked about that. Here are some of the words I had on my short list: Imagine, Believe, Blessing, Abide, Adventure, Embrace, Fearless, Promise, Purpose, CAN, Change, Choose, Confidence Imagine (hmmm… twice on the same list), Journey, Leap, and Risk (which probably means that I thought leaping was risky business.) I set this list aside for a little bit so I could ponder my decision. When I was taking a bath later the word PERSISTENCE popped into my mind (a lot of intriguing thoughts go through my head when I’m taking a bath; I’m not sure why.)

Persistence is a great word and would perfectly apply to my life in 2011. After picking my word I did a word search to see if the word persistence was anywhere in the Bible. It is! I found this verse in Romans 2:7 “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.” I’m all about having eternal life, but not only that, I want the best that God has for me right now and I suspect that persistently seeking the dreams and ideas He’s instilled in me might be just the ticket.

The great thing about having one word is the way it pops into your mind all the time. For instance, the other day I was at the movie and really wanted a Coke to go with my popcorn. Coke, however is not on the list of prescribed “foods that will help me feel good” so I just thought to myself “Persistence Nancy,” and ordered water instead. (This could get annoying.) I’m not going to pretend that this will always work but it did that day. Baby steps.

I also found this quote on persistence from James Whitcomb Riley. It seems to sum it all up. “The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.” Isn’t that a great quote? It doesn’t say discouragement might come, it says it MUST! While I’d prefer not to ever be discouraged, I’m fairly certain that’s not going to happen.

So, this year, I’m going to be persistent in seeking God and His best for my life. I’m going to be persistent in working towards the goals that may not be written down but are most definitely in my head. I am going to be persistent!

What about you? Would you like to join me with your own word? Click here for a list of words you might want to choose from. It’s by no means exhaustive. If you do choose a word, leave me a comment and let me know what it is, and why you chose it if you’d like. Whatever it is, I pray you’ll experience God’s very best for your life in 2011.

Before I close I’d like to offer some kudos to Becca Groves. She created the little word frame at the top of this blog. That girl has a whole lot of creativity in her! Thanks Becca!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snapshots of Life

I have several blog posts roaming around inside my head and not enough time to write them all down. So, today I want to update you real quickly on a project I've decided to take on this year. It's called 365 project and I heard about it through a Facebook friend. The idea is to take a picture every day for a year. It sounded like fun to me and I've always been kind of a picture nut anyway, so it's perfect for me. I just hope I don't lose any friends over the deal. It seems some people (a few of which are related to me) really don't like having their picture taken. I remember when our son was little and it was time to take the "First Day of School" picture. He was whining about it and his older brother said, "Scott, she does this every year. Just shut up and smile so we can get going."

I didn't actually hear about the project until late in the day on January 3 but fortunately for me I actually had taken photos on January 1 and 2, which are generally pretty slow picture days at our house. The first picture that I officially took FOR this project was of my husband, because, to be honest, he was the only thing around at 7:00 at night when I got the idea. You'll see in a few minutes the quick snapshot I took of him.

If you want to keep up with my pictures every day you can go to my 365 Project page found here. Otherwise, I'll try to post them fairly regularly. Hey, it'll give me something more to blog about on those weeks when I have writer's block. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures.

The first one is of our friend's daughter, Nina, dancing with her Grandma at her wedding on 1/1/11. Better not ever forget that anniversary!

This bear is waiting for it's owner's arrival in April. Nana (that would be me) bought it so that each month he/she could get a picture with it to have a reference point for growth. We figure it'll work until he/she is at least eight years old!

I think my husband looks Russian in his hat. We were headed to his office to undo Christmas. It was bitter cold and he says fashion doesn't matter when it's cold. No explanation yet for the summer months.

I took Tuesday morning off from my "to do" list to visit my sweet friend, Betsy (and her dog, Sophie.) She is fighting ovarian cancer.
I took a photo editing class at the Apple Store on Wednesday. I love that place. The instructors are so PATIENT!

I call this my writing cave. Since Thursday was a writing day I didn't have much to take a picture of so I went with my writing area. I like to be surrounded by everything I might need when I'm writing thus my phones, Bible, glasses, pen, tea and iPad for music. I use a laptop, too, but it was on my lap, along with that blanket you can see the edge of.

Annette is my hair stylist, but more importantly, my friend. (I call her Amazing Annette.) Look at those hands fly as she puts the finishing touches on my hair. As you can see, we always have fun together. As for the true color of my hair? Only my hairdresser knows for sure. Really, even I don't know anymore.

So, there's the recap of my week. I've got one more "new" idea I've started this year so hopefully I'll be back here soon with news on that. In the meantime, if you think you might see me someday, be prepared to have your picture taken. I'll try not to be too obnoxious.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unexpected Fun

This past weekend we headed to Chicago for a friend's wedding. The original plan was to leave on Friday morning, drive to Chicago; go to the wedding on Saturday morning and drive to Stevens Point on Saturday afternoon following the reception to visit our son and daughter-in-law. And, we basically did all of that but, as has been what seems to be the norm, this past month, there was a storm brewing. A few weeks ago when we had a big blizzard the weather reports said there was a 100% chance of snow. I like that kind of confidence from the weather forecasters. Such was not the case in this impending storm. This report was more like "there's going to be rain, or freezing rain, or perhaps some snow and it's going to start on Thursday, or maybe Thursday night around 9:00, possibly not until Friday, but sooner or later, something is going to happen." We were determined to get to this wedding, probably because we've missed just one too many events in December due to weather. I was not up for being held captive in my house for one more weekend.

With this in mind, and not having a clue what the weather was going to do, we decided to head south on Thursday night after John got off of work. Granted, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where we spent
Thursday night, isn't that much further south but the weather report was for warmer weather there and we figured this had to be a good thing. We didn't get into LaCrosse until 9:00 PM but it was still 47 degrees upon our arrival (which may not sound warm to those who live in the more tropical states, but trust me, it's pretty toasty when you've been dealing with temps in the teens and 20's. )

The last time we were in LaCrosse was 13 years ago. John had heard about a light display in the riverside park there and we decided to take a little pre-Christmas getaway sans children. We had so much fun and talked about doing it again, maybe even bringing the kids along the next time. Sadly, that never happened; I'm not sure why. But, even though we hadn't originally planned to be in LaCrosse on Thursday night, we decided that since we were there we should visit the light display again.

I know that I sound like I'm five years old, but this is truly one fine light display. It's put on by the area Rotary Clubs and features over 2 MILLION lights. This year all of the lights were switched over to the LED variety, which, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of, but here (and I hate to admit this), it was beautiful.

The fact that it was warm enough to walk through the park and take it all in, added to the magic of the evening. I felt like a girl on a first date as we leaped over, stepped around, or, in some instances, walked right through the puddles created by the melting snow. (John didn't seem to share my enthusiasm for the adventure. He enjoyed the lights more than the puddles. I loved it all; maybe because my shoes weren't leaking!)

The pictures can't do it justice but still, I wanted to share some with you. This giant tree of lights is at the entrance to the park.
I'm not sure what toy soldiers have to do with Christmas, but they do always seem to show up and I think they're kind of cute. This little guy greeted us as we entered the park. He wasn't at all concerned about the huge puddle to his left.

The Rotary Lights display has expanded quite a bit since the last time we were there. This boat sits right on the edge of the Mississippi River which borders the park.

Some of the lights are in constant motion. This helicopter's blades light up one or two at a time giving the illusion that they are spinning around. It's hard, however, to capture that in a still photo. They also had "squirrels" that lit up in the trees which made it look like they were running around from tree to tree. They were even harder to catch on film because, if you know squirrels, they are very fast.

There are several small evergreen trees that line the outside of the park. I'm not sure if they are there year round or just put up for the display but they appear to be permanent fixtures. In other words, there is no evidence of a tree stand. These trees are decorated by organization through-out the area. The one here is decorated by dental hygienists. Not all of them are decorated in a manner that so obviously relates to the organization, but it's fun to see the creativity of each group.
This view is just a small section of the park.
I think the really cool part of this whole display is that if you are driving through (instead of walking) the first exhibits you see tell the story of Christ's birth. Sadly, I didn't get any pictu12res of that, primarily because since we walked through we got to that area last and just as I clicked my camera they turned the lights out on that section (it was near closing time by now.) Some nights during the display season they have a live nativity display. There is actually a whole schedule of events that takes place during the month which includes concerts, a 5k run/walk, and carriage rides. If you are interested in going some year, visit the rotary lights website here. Personally, I think it's worth the trip; maybe not if it requires you fly in, but certainly, if you live in the area.

It certainly added some unexpected fun to our weekend.