Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Few of My Favorites

My mother called the other day and was wondering why there hadn't been any blog updates. Short story; I've been busy. So finally, I'm sitting down to write a quick update.

Here's the deal; I'm no longer going to be uploading my 365 Project photos to my blog. It bores me. And, if I'm bored, there's a good bet that you, my five readers are also bored. Uploading pictures is time consuming and it's not really why I started my blog. I hope you understand.

If you are interested in seeing my daily photos you can go to my 365 project site as often as you like. The web address is Tip for my mom - mark it as a favorite and you can just click on the link each day.

But, I thought you might like to see some of the pictures that didn't make it to my 365 project. I've taken over 60o pictures in the past month or so. I'll try to narrow it down to 10 or less in this post. You're welcome.

Amelia met Charlie when she was about three months old, but I don't think she remembered. She seems to be wondering who this new kid is and if he could possibly steal a bit of Nana and Boppa's attention. No worries, baby girl, we've got plenty of love for both of you. (And many more - just saying.)

My Mom and Dad came for a visit in June. We celebrated two birthdays, their 60th wedding anniversary, Father's day and Amelia's baby dedication. It was a wild, busy, fun weekend. If I look like I'm crying in this picture it's because I was having trouble holding it together. The whole babies meeting their Great Grandparents thing had me a bit overwhelmed.

Two of my favorite guys.

Who could resist Charlie's smile? Certainly not his Boppa nor his momma, though I believe John is the bigger sucker. (Don't tell John that I posted a picture of his bald spot!)

Amelia is intent on grabbing the flowers for her baby dedication. She was moved to dad's other arm right after this picture was taken and before she could grab them and start eating; and before dad went into fits of laughter. He's famous for that.

The last weekend in June we went to a Swedish Festival with Erin and Amelia and bought Amelia her first doll - a Swedish doll. She loved it. She already has her Boppa wrapped around her baby finger. I could have told him I wanted to buy her a horse instead of a doll and he'd have said yes.

I have absolutely no idea who this little girl is but I think she is absolutely adorable. She was so proud of her doll with her same color eyes and same color hair. We met at Svenskarnas Dag - the Swedish Festival. I hear there is an Irish Festival later this summer. I suspect it's not quite as tame.

Amelia and Erin spent the 4th of July with us. We had a blast and in the evening we took Amelia out for a swim in her little pool. Let's see, a few gallons of water lovingly warmed by Boppa, changing a baby into a swimsuit, applying sunscreen, putting on the cool shades, all for 20 minutes in the pool - priceless! I titled this picture "Too Cool for the Pool." Love those legs!

Speaking of the 4th of July. The neighbors seemed to have spent a bit on fireworks this year. We thank them (although I'm not sure Erin appreciated them while she was trying to get Amelia back to sleep.)

Earlier this week, I went to a friend's cabin outside of Cumberland, Wisconsin. I love this photo of a water lily that my friend pulled out of the water while she was canoeing. Is that legal? If not, I know nothing, absolutely nothing!

O.K., I know I promised you only 10 photos but I just couldn't leave this last one out. It was my first attempt at the moon on the lake. It's not perfect, but was worth swatting the mosquitoes so that I could capture it.

As you can see, we're pretty smitten with our grand babies. Who knew it would be so much fun? As always, make some memories, take a few photos (you don't have to do 600) and enjoy the simple things in life. They are the best!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do You have the Hand Grenades?

Sleeping can be very entertaining. Well, to be honest, I guess this falls under the category of “not sleeping” or “trying to sleep” but still, when a person is in bed, and not sleeping, it’s good to have entertainment. On occasions such as last night, my husband is the entertainer.

There I was lying quietly, somewhat regretting the food I’d had earlier in the evening, when I hear a very stern, commanding voice call out “If you’re up there you’d better come out or we’re going to throw a ‘b . . . b. . . “ up there.” “What did he say?,” I wonder? Was it a Bible or a bomb? He must have been saying bomb, I reason, because a Bible doesn’t seem like much of a threat and his voice indeed indicated he was threatening someone. I suppose if the people he was threatening were say Buddhists, a Bible would have been a bit of a threat, but if someone was threatening me with a similar type book it wouldn’t cause me to throw my hands in the air and surrender.

Soon, I hear similar words being thrown out again, “o.k., if you aren’t going to come out we’re going to have to throw the bomb up.” Yes, I’m fairly certain by now that he’s saying “bomb.” At this point, I’m still wondering why in the world he’s threatening people with bombs and suddenly, my sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly husband, lifts his body up off the bed, turns to me and says “Do you have the hand grenades?” Rats, I knew I forgot something in my pre-bedtime routine!

Clearly, I need to more closely monitor the things he’s watching on television before bed. Then again, entertainment at 2:00 AM has its merits.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Well, this is the last in my series of catch up pictures; friends. Now technically, some of people in here are more acquaintances than friends, which is why I like the quote above. It reminds me of one of my favorite songs from my Girl Scout days. You all know where I'm going don't you? "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold." I apologize to you if you now have that song in your head and will struggle to think of anything but that song for the next four hours.

My first picture is of my friend, Roxanne. She had patiently been waiting for a part to come in for her water heater and had just about enough of cold showers so I invited her over to use mine. Of course, had her water heater held out until today, with our temps reaching 101° she might not have been quite so desperate, but this was taken in the end of April. I can't have my friends freezing to death!

You may have heard me talk, in other blogs, about Bridging the Gap, the women's ministry that I work with. At our conference in April I had the incredible privilege of working with Paulette Kutlzer (on the right) from Praise FM radio doing a couple of interviews with the conference speakers. The truth is that PK is FAR more qualified than I am to do interviews but we always have a blast together.

Our first interview was with author and speaker, Shaunti Feldhahn. Shaunti's newest book is The Male Factor. If you want to understand men, I'd highly recommend it. And, truly, it's not a slam on men. Turns out, they just don't think like women do. Go figure!

Saturday morning I ran into my friends, Beth and Deanna, at the conference. As we were moving to a good spot for a picture I heard them whispering and laughing behind me. Normally, that isn't something you want to hear when someone is behind you but I quickly realized that they were wondering if perhaps they would be the subjects of my picture of the day. So, of course, they were!

Anthony told me early on in this 365 project of mine that it was his goal to be a subject one day. On May 1, I thought it would be fun to include his sweet wife, Beth, and son, Park. Hopefully, next year Park won't need a winter hat on May 1. It's hard to believe this was just over a month ago!

I suppose it had to happen eventually. Paul and Erin were bound to need a sitter on a night I wasn't available. I was, however, in the area and stopped by for a picture of Amelia and her first babysitter, Emily.

These are the girls that I used to teach at the Mom's group at our church campus in Faribault, MN. Well, technically some of them are new since I was teaching. I made a surprise visit on a Wednesday morning because I knew it would be one of the last times my friend, Lisa (lower left), would be teaching before she moves to Texas. Getting a good picture of six moms and four kids is quite the challenge!

I met Pam at the Bridging the Gap conference. Something (or Someone) told me that we should connect. I happened to have a meeting in her neck of the woods just a few days after the conference so we met at Caribou and hardly had enough time to fit in all we had to say. Imagine that!

My friend, Joanne, is the pastor at a little church in Wisconsin and invited me to speak for their Mother/Daughter brunch on Mother's Day weekend. Joanne and I have been friends since 1992 when she came on staff at the church we were attending at that time. I had hoped to get a picture of Joanne with her daughter because I was a labor coach for Joanne when she was born 16 years ago! But, as it goes with teenagers, she slipped out and went home before I remembered to pull out my camera.
My daughter-in-law, Erin, had clued me into the fact that Hannah had it as her goal to be part of my 365 project. She's not always easy to find at church because she so often helps in the nursery or in one of our many kids areas. She even lovingly takes care of my little granddaughter some days. She's the best! Not only is Hannah "super-volunteer" at our church, she also works and goes to college. And, she is one fine photographer! I get exhausted just hearing about what she's doing.

Tania probably had no clue how special she is to me (until she read it on my 365 project page.) She works at the Food Co-op where I started shopping last year after finding out I have a soy and lactose intolerance. Tania was there on my first visit and not only did she not laugh at my tears (yes, there were tears) but she also found the perfect person to help me find things on the approved food list. Because of our schedules, I don't run into her very often anymore but it was fun to see her today. As it turns out, her husband is one of the band directors in our town (16 miles from the city where the co-op is) and her mother-in-law was my son, Scott's, high school German teacher.

I took this picture of our Global Project Switzerland team after our first team meeting. We are excited to be a part of the team going to Switzerland in September. Since that time the girl next to John had to drop off the team but another one has been added. And, there's another couple going on the trip, also, so John won't be the only guy. I think he's relieved by that!

I first met Jackie when we were in Russia two years ago. This picture was taken at their going away party. She and her husband, Matt, have now moved, with their three Russian born children, back to Russia to offer hope to orphans there who are "aging" out of the system. When a Russian orphan reaches the age of 15 or 16 they "graduate" from the orphanage but really have nowhere to go. Ten percent of them will commit suicide in their first year "on the streets" and another 80 percent will get involved with drugs and prostitution. Jackie and Matt plan to help more of the orphans succeed by providing a place for them to live and the opportunity to get a job or go to school. If you are interested in reading more about their hearts for the orphans or watching a powerful video go to I'm very proud of my friends.

Every year our church has a volunteer appreciation night. This year's theme was "Back to the Prom" with somewhat of an 80's theme and we were to dress accordingly, if we so desired. I desired, but didn't really manage to pull it off. My friends, Cindy and Martha, made themselves prom queens for their respective graduation years. So cute! They are pictured here with their husbands, Mark and Allan.

Laura falls into the "acquaintance" category of my friends' post but she is a girl with a big dream. Laura was one of the Rotary exchange students in Japan when the earthquake/tsunami hit there in March. Though she wanted to stay after the earthquake Rotary Club International pulled all students out once trouble arose at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Since that time Laura has made it her goal to help purchase Shelter Boxes for the people of Japan. She is pictured here inside the tent included in a typical Shelter Box. Great cause! Check it out.

I am blessed that my daughter-in-law, Erin, is not only family, but also a friend. And, it goes without saying that Amelia is always the best part of my day when I see her. She's just so kissable and lovable!

So, this catches me up to May 28. Wow, I'm already behind again. Stay tuned for further updates! In the meantime, as always, As always, keep making memories, taking pictures, and most importantly, spend time with the ones you love.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Worms from Hell

There was an article in the paper today that caught my eye. It was titled They’re ‘worms from hell’ – or close to it. Personally, I think all worms, and really anything creepy and crawly are from hell, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what the writer had in mind with this title. (Technically, I believe editors are in charge of titles, but does it really matter?) I decided to investigate further, which translates to “I’m actually going to read the article.”

It seems that scientists have found “complex, multi-celled creatures living a mile and more below the planet’s surface” in South Africa and have subsequently named them “worms from hell.” So, THAT’S where hell is located! In my mind, that would really be a more significant discovery.

I have to admit, I’m not terribly “scientific” by nature. Sure, there are plenty of scientific types of things that fascinate me, but I suffered through an entire year of Spanish in college just so I could get a B.A. instead of a B.S. and avoid any more science classes than were absolutely necessary to graduate. The fact that there even are scientists looking for “life” below the surface of the earth just baffles my brain. Do our tax dollars go towards paying for this?

Apparently, the fact that there is “life” below the surface of the earth is BIG NEWS! If I understood the article correctly (and it’s entirely possible, I didn’t), here is why finding these worms, or nematodes, as they are referred to, is important. It seems that if complex beings can be found so far below the earth’s surface, in an environment that was formally deemed uninhabitable, it has “important implications for extraterrestrial research, or astrobiology.” What? We’re looking for proof that E.T. really could exist? Borgonie (one of the scientists) said “that if life did originate on Mars and if it had sufficient time to go underground deep enough to survive worsening conditions” (atmospheric changes and harmful radiation) “then evolution of Martian life might have continued underground.”

In other words, there may well indeed be an entire underworld of Martians out there somewhere. Come on, people! Seriously? Maybe I’m missing something but how does this affect me? Wait, that could be construed as selfish; allow me to rephrase. How does that affect anyone? Are they thinking that we’ll all move underground when conditions on this planet get too dangerous? Or, is the concern that the Martians may someday emerge from their underground world and invade the Earth? Someone, please help me understand why we’re spending money on this when people are dying from starvation all over the world; real people, people we can actually see!

Like I said, I’m not the scientific type, and perhaps all of this research is going to benefit us someday, but right now it seems to me to be the stuff written about in science fiction novels. Who knows though, maybe they’ll find the cure for cancer digging around down in “hell.” I doubt it, but I guess it’s possible. Personally, I think that if they’re really that close to hell, I want to stay away; far, far away!