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Category Archives: Reflections

It’s Only Twelve Weeks Long…

Here in Minnesota we celebrate summer after the long winter.  The problem is how to pack as much as you can into the summer.  It was a few years ago when our kids were graduating from high school that we came to the realization that the summer is only 12 weeks long and everyone tries to pack everything into those 12 weekends.

It starts with Memorial Day weekend with the parades and local remembrance services and directly into the graduation parties for the recent graduates.  Now in a small town of 400 no one wants to miss each others parties so the last of the parties may well be into July.  Spring and summer are traditionally wedding seasons here as the brides hope for the perfect spring or summer day.

July brings the Fourth of July activities with parades and local town celebrations.  We are surrounded by several other small towns each having their own celebration and then our town celebration of Heritage Days is the second weekend of August each summer.  This year is the biggie, 100 years since our town was incorporated.

Summer is the traditional time for vacations and camping when the kids are out of school so those of us who don’t have kids in school or our kids are grown work while others take their vacation with their kids.  Its okay with me because I prefer to duck out of town in the middle of winter for a little warm weather elsewhere.

Before we know it the back to school shopping season is upon us and Labor Day.  The boats are off the lakes and put away and everyone wonders what happened to summer.

My response lately is that summer is only 12 weeks long.

That being said we have already packed so much into the spring/summer season already it feels like it should be done but I am delighted to realize that we are not half way through yet.

We’ve been up north to Two Harbors to work on my brother’s new land he purchased to develop into a rustic retreat.  We’ve been to San Francisco to celebrate our nephew’s wedding.  We’ve attended several graduation parties and helped host a family reunion for my mom’s family from all over the United States.

Our most exciting news is welcoming our first granddaughter to the family.  We’ve welcomed two more grandsons to the mix since I last blogged and will be adding a daughter-in-law to the family in January.  Life is good…but short…celebrate accordingly.

 

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Serenity

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Today was one of those days.  You know the one.  It’s the one that at the end of it every thing just feels right.

It wasn’t a day of vacation.  It was a normal work day for me doing the normal bookkeeping stuff, visiting with customers, answering phone calls and cleaning up cars.  It wasn’t extraordinary in any particular way but it felt right.

After work I took the top off the Corvette and drove a half hour through beautiful countryside to meet friends for dinner.  Wires must have been crossed because when I got there no one was there that I was supposed to meet but it was okay because it was a beautiful evening for a ride.

When I got home I stood outside taking clothes in off the clothesline and just listened.  In the distance I could hear the kids singing from the local bible camp across the road, loons calling in the distance, and an occasional fish jumping in the water.

I watched the changing colors across the lake as the sun was setting and a bat swooping down to the surface collecting bugs for its dinner.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to appreciate all that surrounds me.  It’s beautiful and serene.

 
 

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Time Aware

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It’s soon approaching the two year anniversary of my ruptured brain aneurysm on October 19, 2012. If there is one thing I could say that would describe my life since then is my overwhelming sense of time.

I’ve always heard people older than me often commenting how fast time is moving. Perhaps now I’m just one of those people that are in that category because I am older now. I turned 54 in January.

Since my aneurysm I feel a certain urgency about completing tasks that I’ve started in the past and a reluctance to start anything new for fear that it will be yet another unfinished task in a pile that is too high already.

Last October our oldest daughter got married and they are expecting their first child on Thanksgiving. Our youngest daughter is getting married this October. These are exciting times in our home with the anticipation of these events.

Last month my husband and I went on a short term mission trip to a boys orphanage in Kingston, Jamaica. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but life was busy with our own family so we could never seem to find the right time to go. I left part of my heart in Kingston. We are planning a return trip for this July.

I am more aware of time these days as I watch both my parents and my husband’s parents approaching 80 years old. We are blessed that they are all in good health and able to live each day independently but I realize at any time that can change and with that change there will be change.

My mind wanders from the present to the future as I ponder what regrets I will feel about my life if there are things I don’t accomplish or pursue and whether they really are important in the scheme of things.

Each day I get up and go to work as I did before the aneurysm, knowing that I need to work or we need to change our lifestyle so we don’t need to work as much. I still wonder what my perfect job or life would be when I grow up.

I told my husband this past week that I finally decided on my new career. I told him that I’ve decided to be a stay at home Mom. He looked at me puzzled. He said “Don’t you have to have kids at home to be a stay at home Mom?” I said ” I don’t think so after all I am a Mom and I am perfectly capable of staying at home. I don’t think they have to happen at the same time to meet the definition. What could be more perfect.”

 
 

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Good Morning Sunshine

 

 

 

When I went to bed Friday evening I was excited to wake up Saturday morning for the sunrise.  I woke up several times during the night because I was sleeping away from home from unusual sounds like a train whistle in the middle of the night and sirens.

I woke up well before sunrise.  I got showered, dressed and camera in hand to sit by the lake waiting for the sunrise.  I was excited because where I live I don’t see sunrises over the lake because of the terrain around the lake and our home.

While I was sitting on the shore I watched as the ducks on the lake were swimming past and diving below the surface to feed.  They were busy for over half an hour in front of me.  I loved watching them disappear below and trying to predict where they would surface.  In the distance I could hear gun shots.  The ducks by me seemed oblivious to the fact that there were duck hunters at the other end of the lake.

It was a beautiful unseasonably warm sunny weekend.  Perfect for walking, sitting and just being outdoors. Hope your weekend was as delightful as mine.

 
 

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Dad at His Best

Today is my Dad’s 76th birthday. This picture was taken this past summer on Big Birch Lake.  For as long as I can remember sailboats have been a part of my life. The first sailboat I remember was one that Mom gave Dad for a Christmas present and he built-in the dining room during the winter months after Christmas. They had to do some remodeling in the kitchen to get the boat out in the spring.

Next it was a bit larger version that he rebuilt in the backyard. It was an old wooden boat that needed much TLC. There were many trips to Johnson Boat Works that summer.  Dad had this boat when I was learning how to drive so I learned how to back the boat behind a large van down the boat ramp and into the water.  It’s a skill that my husband has come to appreciate over the years as we’ve launched our speedboat at the public access on our lake.

This sailboat we pulled on a trailer from Minnesota all the way to the South Padre Islands in Texas in the middle of winter so Dad could try sailing in the Gulf of Mexico.

After that it was the more adventurous stage in sailing when he bought a catamaran sailboat,  There were many wild rides on that boat. One ride in particular I remember well because it was the Fourth of July and we tipped the boat over and were bobbing in the lake for a while as boats passed us on all sides including the sheriff.

His current boat is the one in the picture. The past few years I haven’t gone sailing much but made a point to go one afternoon with Mom and Dad. Mom packed wine and cheese and crackers for our afternoon. A pleasant afternoon with many pleasant memories of past sailing adventures.

Happy Birthday Dad!

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Family, Reflections, Sailing

 

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Ballet Shoes

As a child I remember wanting to take dance lessons. My best friend had dance lessons every Saturday morning. Some Saturdays I would go with and watch while she and the other girls danced. I attended their recitals and watched as the danced in their pretty costumes to the music.

My parents bought a piano and I learned how to play it, not well but I can pick up a not too complicated piece of music and it will sound recognizable to the untrained ear. I find playing the piano relaxing at times when I need a break from bookkeeping or other mundane tasks. I think that my parents made the wiser choice given the fact that I have an overall dislike of physical exercise. Playing the piano is more of a life skill for me. One that I can put down and pick up over time.

This morning I took my camera down to the lake to capture a pink sunrise. The sky had a pink glow to it and I thought it might lend itself well to some interesting pictures.

Saturday evening the winds blew so strong out of the north that the windows were making noises and we could hear the tree branches all night long. When we woke up Sunday morning the ice that had starting forming around the edges of the lake were gone because of the strong winds.

This morning I found branches along the shore of the lake with icicles hanging from them but my favorite find was the above picture that looks like ballet shoes. I love how the icicles formed evenly to look like a pair of shoes hanging from ribbons.

Sometimes when you are searching for one thing, like a beautiful sunrise, you find something better.

It pays to look a little closer.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Nature, Photography, Reflections

 

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Clinging

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.I’ve enjoyed reading all my favorite blogs each day even though I haven’t had much time for commenting or new posts.

I’ve been busy with getting ready for winter in Minnesota. We’ve been raking leaves, putting away lawn furniture. taking out the boat and boat lift from the lake and winterizing all of our toys against the cold Minnesota winter.

Yesterday when I was mulching leaves with the lawnmower so I wouldn’t have to rake and pick up any more leaves I noticed this apple. It was the lone apple left on my tree. It was too high to pick from the ground, too high for the deer to munch from the ground and it had stubbornly clung to the branch on the tree after all the leaves had flown away in the cold winds.

I am very much like this apple in the fall. I try to hang on to anything and everything that reminds me of the summer and the fall that I love so much not wanting to give into winter. There is always the hope that there will be just one more nice day for a motorcycle ride or a ride in the car with the top down. The chances are not that great for most of my favorite activities. There is snow forecast for tomorrow evening in our area.

Today I filled my bird feeders with sunflower seeds not wanting my feathered friends to have to search beneath snow for their meals. They give so much entertainment during the long winters that I enjoy enticing them with the choicest seeds. Only their favorites.

The hardest part of this season for me is the darkness. I get up and go to work when it is dark and it is dark when I return to my home. My favorite part of my day is when I can take a long enough lunch time to drive the four miles home and see my surroundings while it is still light. I don’t think that I would mind the cold as much if only it weren’t so dark so much of the time.

Each winter I try to find some new interest to learn about or a new hobby to take up some of the long winter evenings instead of just watching television. I am open to any suggestions for favorite books others have read or new hobbies you are exploring. Last winter I spent learning about my new camera and the Photoshop program. The winter really did seem to go faster and I actually learned something worthwhile by the end of it.

I would love to know what some of you do to pass the winter days and evenings.

 

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Lessons From Grandma

Today would have been my grandma’s 110th birthday if she were still living and even though she is gone she is still teaching me about life through how she lived her life.

1. Family is important. She was a mother of nine children and was the least stressed person that I know. She loved being surrounded by the ones she loved.

2. Nothing beats a home cooked meal especially when it includes home-made bread. She baked homemade bread almost daily when her family was young and then weekly. The meal was always eaten at the table not in front of the television. It was always the kids job to set the table properly and it was where we learned good table manners

3. Go with the flow. Whatever life sends your way make the most of it. She was widowed at the age of 59 and lived into her 90’s. I never heard a pity party come from her mouth.

4. Focus on what is truly important and don’t let the other stuff bother you. Once while talking to one of her daughters on the phone she kept talking while a bat circled her head. She just continued talking and took a swat at the bat every so often as it circled. She wasn’t going to let a small thing like a bat interrupt her time with her daughter who lived out-of-state.

5. Make time for play. Grandma loved to play cards. It was a big deal when you were old enough as a grandchild to join in with the adults playing cards. Oh the stories that were told around the table were some of the best first person history lessons.

6. Make time to laugh. Grandma loved a good story. I can still picture her with tears running down her face from laughter.

7. Make gifts personal. I still have a small cookbook that my grandma hand wrote her favorite recipes. Over the years she made several homemade gifts for each grandchild. I have a large granny square afghan that she crocheted for me, hand embroidered kitchen towel, one for each day of the week, and hand embroidered pillow cases for my bed.

8. Love those around you. When her children were young and her neighbor was quarantined because of some childhood disease in their neighborhood. Grandma would sneak over to her friend’s home to spend time helping her care for her children who were sick. Grandma was always willing to share. If she knew someone needed something, she was always ready to share.

9. Faith is important. Grandma always went to church and encouraged others to go as well. Her bible was always handy.

 
 

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I’m Guilty, I Confess

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bicycle Gang and Childhood Destinations

This morning as I was looking for another photo I ran across this one. I took it a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning out my office window. At first it was only the two boys on the far right and they were quickly joined by the other five. They waited patiently as the one boy added air to his tire and then they were off as quickly as they came.

I was transported back to the 70’s when as a girl of 11 my friends and I would gather at one of my friends homes or mine just as the boys had done that Saturday morning.

We had important things to do. A trip to the mall was our destination. Now you may think that a trip to the mall was no big deal but it was. There weren’t many malls back then. In fact in our area of Minneapolis, this was the first. The mall was a mile and a half from our homes. We headed off with instructions from our Moms and Dads about safety along the busy roads with our bikes. There was no talk about being wary of strangers, it was a different time for sure.

We would head out first thing in the morning. The mall would open at 10 am. This was a whole day adventure. We didn’t plan on buying much, mostly looking but lunch was definitely part of the deal. Each of us would bring our hard-earned babysitting money or allowance if we got one. Saturday morning chores were done before we could go.

I still remember the wind blowing through my hair as we pedaled our bikes down the road. I loved then and still do now looking at all the different types of homes along the way and how the yards were landscaped. Once at the mall all the displays caught my eye which of course they were meant to do. As I look back now perhaps there was a different occupation other than teaching that I should have pursued, architecture or some type of design.

There is no mall for the boys to explore in our small town of 400. I imagine there are places just as exciting for a boy’s bicycle gang to explore in Tom Sawyer fashion with a small river and lakes nearby.

 

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