Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas week

Today has been a quiet Christmas, but that isn't how the week was. My brother Bob and his wife Marie were here Monday through Wednesday for the first Christmas together for several years. It was very enjoyable. We had ham instead of turkey by my brother's choice, scalloped potatoes and all the trimmings.

Bob had given Marie a Kindle for Christmas, plus a $50 gift certificate and we installed it and ordered her first book. In the first sitting she was well into the book and already in love with her new Kindle. We have the same taste in books so often she will take a book I have home with her, now I won't be able to do that when I visit them.

It is rather strange not to have any of our children here for Christmas but with their work schedule and school, they find that difficult to do. Plus, Michelle has her family over for Christmas Eve and that is a tradition in their family. I do believe if Ardmore was a traveler we would be there too, but he isn't. Brian and James and Ashley went to friend's for Christmas.

This is James and Ashley's last Christmas in the United States for at least a couple of years, I think. By this time next Saturday, they will  be in Hong Kong and then on to Ashley's parent's in Taiwan for several days. James will then leave Ashley there and head to Australia for six months of train for Cathay Pacific Air Lines. Perhaps the day will come when I will climb on a plane and head to Australia for a vacation or perhaps China. That would be an adventure!

This year I am most thankful for the internet and Skype. It makes it possible to talk face to face with our children and to attend a Christmas Eve celebration even though we are 2,000 miles away.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This and That

After having Brian here, even though he was busy most of the time, was great! It was interesting to see him present the Makeover Workshops. He really knows what he is doing and I walked out so much more knowledgeable myself. The time at a workshop goes by too fast and very enjoyable.

Ardmore took him to the airport this afternoon. I spent the time working on our Christmas letter, baking some cookies, and preparing for a speech I am giving on Tuesday at our Toastmaster's Christmas  Party. Don't ask me how I ended up getting involved in doing that, I wasn't there when they assigned it to me. I will do my best with what time I have to prepare.

Today is James' 32 birthday. Time goes by way too fast. I well remember his birthing process still, although the remembrance of pain is fleeting. I can't remember the last time I saw him on his birthday, must be the year he graduated or the next winter perhaps as he was NDSU then and the following year he was serving his mission. From that time on, we have not been together for his birthday.One of the hazards of having children move away from home.

I am excited for him. He has until December 30th and will then be on his way to Hong Kong. He and Ashley will spend the next ten days together in Taiwan and then he will go back to Hong Kong and on to Australia for about 6 months of pilot training with Cathy Pacific.   As much as I know our future visits will be far and few between, I am excited for this opportunity for them. I hope they take advantage of the flying privileges and travel to some interesting places. That may be difficult when they have children but who knows.

I have been using a card table to sew on and decided to purchase a sewing table for myself for Christmas. I hope I am making the right decision on the one I am purchasing. It is $800 and I think I see one just like it for only $549 on line. I hope that is not the case as I am going to be very disappointed if it is.I hope to pick it up tomorrow.

Time to go to bed and get prepared for another work week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

LA Temple

One of the wonderful advantages of having a son in LA is the opportunity to visit the temple. After a late night on Friday, everyone was tired and slept in late. . . but me. I went to the temple at 7:30 am.

The serenity always gives me a sense of peace and lessens the thought of the day. On Saturday, it was on different. As I was sitting checking out who I was doing the work for, I thought of the many hours the person had put in doing the genealogy; then checked the work that had been done for the woman and realized that I was doing the last ordinance! The woman sitting next to me was also completing a woman whose history had been researched by our genealogist partner. What joy there must have been for these two women who work was finally completed and for the woman who had gathered their information. Her last name was Robinson. It was the end of a perfect temple session.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving and a Makeover Workshop

Thanksgiving was great! I flew to LA, no hubby didn't go, he was concerned about water pipes freezing on the farm.I turn off the water when we go but that doesn't give him any consolation. We had a friend who left on a two-week vacation one winter and while they were gone a pipe on the second level of their home cracked and the water ran until they returned. What a nightmare that was!I think it put fear in my husband.

Back to Thanksgiving. Our grown children and spouses arrived on Thursday. Michelle has a heavy schedule at the California University at Stanislaus and had lots of homework so she and Dave headed back to Modesto on Friday. We did have some time to do a little shopping for the great-grand kids at The Children's Place in LA though. They always have the best sales on Black Friday; I spend $104 on about $250 of children's clothes, Great Fun! Dave stayed back at the house where the guys and Ashley played Monopoly. They were down to two players, Brian and Ashley when we arrived home and that evening, Brian won. James said he had never played a whole game where someone actually won. That evening, Brian and I did some some sight seeing at The Grove, joining James and Ashley later. We didn't do much shopping, just a little at Crate and Barrell.

It really puts one in the mood when you go to The Grove during Christmas. The beautiful tree and all the decorations and music. They do a water show at the fountain with the music. I remember last Christmas there was snow coming out of an upper winder and I was like, "What is this? I didn't come here to get cold, I want warm weather." No snow at Thanksgiving, I guess it must be way to warm.

Brian is coming home in about ten days to do some Makeover Workshops in Roseau. I am going to invite him to tell you all about it on my blog. He is a makeup and hair artist in LA and does stars like Mariah Carey, Betty White, and catalogs and magazines like Victoria's Secret and the Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Makeover Workshop is his business, where he teaches how to apply makeup and do your hair.

Time for a few photos from last week.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving. I wish all those who read our blog a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to be with family or friends. Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday.

According to the U. S. government Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) website "The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ­destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year. And although heavy media attention focuses on crowded airports and bus and train stations on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, when personal vehicle trips are added to the mix the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that Thanksgiving Day is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday."

I flew to LA yesterday, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Brian is housing me and hosting Michelle and Dave, and James and Ashley, and Brian's friend Frank. My two married "children" arrived. It is disappointing not to have Ardmore but he does not like to travel. It is also too bad that our grandchildren could not be here.

The trip from Fargo to LA was wonderful although about an hour longer than usual due to 150 m/p/h head winds. We arrived to rain which was disappointing but by the time we picked up our luggage and walked out of the building the rain had stopped and everything was dry. Welcome to LA!

I would like to ask one question. What kind of problems do you run into when you rent a car? The last car I had had two flat tires during the time I drove it. This was annoying as I had to take it to a nearby rental place and switch cars one time and I called the company the second time and it took about an hour for someone to show up and they couldn't repair the tire, of course, just pump it up so I could take in it in.  This happened the first day I drove it. I wonder if the party who rented it before me had problems and perhaps didn't report it or the company didn't check the tire after they did. I was also charged an extra $10 for having them come and fix their OWN tire. Tell me your car rental issues in my comments!

Yesterday morning I decided to check my checking account to see if any recent checks had come through. There were debits on the account; they just weren't my purchases! Three to be exact for about $205 from my cash card. They were dated yesterday from St. Paul. Now I didn't remember paying $70+ for gas at two places on one day. Has this ever happened to you? I called the bank immediately and it was taken care right.I hope that it was a rude shock to the person who thought they would be able to use that card a few more times and I hope they were caught. How do they get another person's card numbers and forge a card to use?
Although we have had our cards changed by our bank a couple of times due to fraud, our cards were never violated . . .until yesterday.

So what does Thanksgiving mean to me?
  1. A loving husband and great children and grandchildren.
  2. The gratitude of knowing that at some time a group of people decided they wanted religious freedom. We have that.
  3. The wonderful freedom we enjoy. After all, I am visiting our family 2000 miles away and although I did get "the Treatment" due to having the hip and knee replacement, it was a quick and easy trip, and also was for our children. No armed vehicles traveling along our roads, no check points, just a drivers license, and the money to pay for the flight or gas.
  4. The ability to purchase almost anything, either online or in a store.
  5. The safety of the small town where we live.
  6. The abundance of food. We eat way too much!
  7. A job that I love and wonderful people to work with
  8. Great Friends
I will post some photos online later tonight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday

Tomorrow I fly out of Fargo for a Thanksgiving visit with our children in Los Angeles. I am looking forward to getting out the snow and the cold. It is suppose to be 0 F in the morning. My plane will leave Fargo at 8 pm so I have all day to travel. Fargo was suppose to get about 12 inches of snow today. I don't know if it did, travel will be treacherous if the roads are not taken care of. Packing is almost complete so it's just me and the car and the roads to contend with.

Today the Ya Ya had the Relay of Life fund raiser. There was so many things to look at and many baskets to put a ticket in for the drawings. There was a beautiful quilt and Melissa Lee Rudebusch won it. I think it is a queen and very attractive. Which reminds me, if I plan to get Breanne's quilt completed by Christmas I will need to get cracking.

I started a wall hanging for James and Ashley for Christmas. That went very fast and I am almost done. I think I can finish it in one more sitting. I'll see. I would like to make a few little gifts.

Museum staff have been working on an ABC book with the library, well, mostly Britt. The committee has had such great ideas. I am getting very excited to see the completed result. It will include a combination of words beginning with each letter, poetry to go with the art work which will be done by various artists, and a little chipmunk will run from page to page. Very clever work. Britt is so talented, she will do a great job.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Rabbit

 Yesterday winter arrived with vengeance. The temperature was a mild 32 F at midnight Friday morning, so nice one considered not wearing a heavy jacket because  there was no wind to speak of but by 7 o'clock am that had all changed as the temperature began to drop and the wind started blowing the snow that had arrived on Thursday evening around.  The snow had a little crisp cover from the rain and the roads were icy. It had started to really cool down and by the time I headed home from work at 6 it was about 12 above and ferociously windy.This morning it was just below 0, and thankfully the wind had died down.

It was perfect weather for ham soup. I spent a couple of hours getting that on the stove. We had ordered new tires for my car, so I headed into town to have the tires installed and then on the Quilt S' More to discuss a quilt project. After a little shopping it was time to head home and fix some dinner for hubby. It was then that hubby told me about the rabbit.

We have had rabbits come into our yard for years. We even had a male and female take up residence one summer and have little ones. Today, Ardmore noticed this rabbit trying to dig near one of the shops. From what Ardmore could see later, he had tried to dig three holes. Ardmore was busy and didn't pay much attention to the rabbit but when he came into the house he noticed the rabbit was laying by our fuel tanks about 6 or 7 feet away from where he had been digging. He had apparently died. Was he sick or was from exposure? Could it be that the sudden turn in weather, took the animals by surprise, especially this little rabbit? We have had a very mild fall and no snow and no real cold weather until yesterday. Was there no place this poor rabbit could find to burrow due to the lack of snow? Are there other animals that found themselves in this same situation?

Shelter is such an important commodity. It makes one wonder how the homeless handle weather like this. Do we have enough shelters when it gets this cold? With our economy in such poor condition many people have lost their jobs and homes plus other possessions. Let us all pray for those who are suffering at such a time and remember our local food banks. Donations of food and money is such an important thing all year round, but especially during the holidays. As we gather together with friends and family, it would be a good time to pool a little money and pull out a few can goods and bring them to the food shelf.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Open House and Potluck Supper

Last night we had our annual Holiday Open House and Potluck Supper. It is always one of my favorite programs and last night was even better as Britt and I and the board members did not have to clean up after the dinner, the Roseau Honor Society did the serving and cleanup. I am very impressed with their commitment and what a great job they did. It was the first time,we really were able to totally enjoy an evening without cleaning up everything. At the end of the evening, several men and women pitched in to put away the tables and chairs and all Britt had to see was completed in the morning was to sweep up and turn in the mics and keys. My hat goes off to those wonderful young women and those individuals who helped us after the meeting.

We had a little different program than usually too. Two of the Star of the North Toastmasters Club members presented speeches, one was on Goals and the other was on George Mallory's climb to the top of Mount Everest. The Highway 11 Ramblers entertained and Phil Sallberg and Barb Roseen sang three duet numbers. They ended with Winter Wonderland. Our MC was Lou Hermansen who did a great job of bringing history into the program with a few questions and, of course, plenty of joking. One can't go wrong when they have a "retired" minister as the MC, especially when it is Pastor Hermansen.

This year, even though we called it a Holiday Open House, we didn't do it as a Christmas open house. Our theme for dinner included place mats, cups and napkins in an autumn theme. It had misted off and on all day and I was concerned about how many people would show up. No need, even though there was a free concert at one of the local churches, we still had over 60 at the program, and they came from across the whole county. I will post some photos tomorrow. Britt took a video of the program so if I can put some of it out and put it into a video, I will.

I have been a little lax at writing and have missed many days of "30 Days of Honesty" so will play a little catch up.

Day 3 ::   Something you have to forgive yourself for:
There is so many things that I have trouble nailing this one down. I guess I will have to leave it up to the Lord to help me remember and forgive and forget the many things I have done that I need to forgive myself for.

Day 4:: Something you have to forgive someone for
Too personal!

Day 5:: Something you hope to do in your life
I have had a full life. Looking back on what I have done to date makes it hard to think of what I hope to do in "this" life. I guess I would like to just climb in my car about the first of May and have enough money to travel the whole United States from east to west, and north to south. As a history buff, I see myself spending days at the Smithsonian, along the Revolutionary and Civil War trails, the Alamo, looking out at New York City from the tallest building there, visiting Central Park and Rockefeller Center. Yes, the list goes on and on.

Day 6:: Something you hope you will never have to do
Die after one of my children or grandchildren.

Day 7:: Someone who has made your life worth living for
My husband, he will laugh if he reads this. I have done many things due to having to be independent when he went to the farm and then living on the farm. I believe all of this and many other things have added measure beyond words to my life.

Day 8:: Someone who made your life like hell, or treated you like shit
This is something that is too personal to share.

Day 9:: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted
I had a young love once that I really would have given everything to be married to but decided that we were not to be and let it drift apart.

Time to quit. More of this at another time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Catch Up Time

James flew back to the US from Australia via Hong Kong on Friday after two weeks of what he said was a wonderful trip of flight grading. He decided to take the train trip one day and headed to Elizabeth. Said next time he would head the other direction as he found out it wasn't exactly where he would have gone if he had know what it was like.

On the train this guy had two bottles, one of orange juice and one of vodka. He poured the orange juice onto his hands and rubbed it into his hair. Everyone on the train was a bit bewildered. Then the vodka came out and he drank the orange juice and the vodka. I think he poured it out so he could some of his vodka into his orange juice bottle, although James and I  thought he wanted his hair to have some "gel" in it.  Yup, people can be very strange.

All in all, he was felt his flight grading went well and has high expectations on being hired for the six month training. I am sure Ashley was happy to have him home.

Some of the quilting items are coming in. Britt put a few up today. What a talented person she is. It is great to see her able to use the talents the way she does. Instead of a tree, we decided to use one of the quilts with this large tree on it by our door. We talked about putting some gifts under it. I think we need the large doll we have, the Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and some the other things that hang out on the shelves in the bay storage room. We will have to see if we can climb up there and get some of the boxes down.

Brian is holding Makeover Workshops in Roseau on December 10th and 11th. I am going to take the class. Perhaps I will be able to apply my make up as professionally as when he does my makeup.

I am not consistent when I comes to keeping up my blog and discovered that I had not written yesterday on the 30 Days of Honesty so here goes:

Day 2: Something you love about yourself
Humm, this will take some doing. I guess I like the fact that I keep getting ideas for exhibits and that some exhibits just happen to come along that I know will be enjoyable for our visitors. New exhibits that I think people will enjoy include the Museum on Main Street Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit we will open next November, New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music. It is going to be work, lots of work, but it is going to be very good.  I also think people will enjoy the Holiday Quilting exhibit, the Century Farm exhibit, and the upcoming North Dakota Museum of Art exhibit, Marking the Land, a Jim Dow photographic exhibit that will be displayed in February.

That's is enough. I need to go to sleep!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of Honesty

There are several blogs that I follow whenever I find time to check them out. Tonight one of these had started the "30 Days of Honesty" project. I had to check out the hyperlinks she had to Snarky Pants to discover what it entailed. It was pretty impressive and one of her answers gave me thought so here is my participator area.

Thirty Days of Honesty
 Day 1 ::   Something you hate about yourself
I am a procrastinator. My intentions are always good but I get so wrapped up in what I am doing in the moment that things don't get done early enough sometimes. This past two weeks was a good example of how that can affect what goes on. We have a Holiday Open House on November 14. This has been scheduled for months. About four weeks ago, I began to plan for it. I send off the newspaper announcements about two weeks ago but then we had the New Harmonies workshop in St. Paul. My email would not go out and I had some additional computer problems which meant some of the things I thought were being sent did not get sent in time. Then we came back to Roseau and I worked last Friday like mad trying to catch up. You know how that is, gone four day and it takes twice as long to catch up. I finally got the poster completed but than ran out of time and people to put them up. I  think I may have lucked out today though, as it was Diva Days at the city center and I had put up a huge twenty-three by twenty-eight inch poster in the lobby. Hopefully it had lots of attention and will bring us success. Now I need to send an email reminding everyone of the upcoming event. 
I need to pray that Heavenly Father helps me with this area of my life, if I don't procrastinate in my praying. :<

Family things: 
Brian is coming to Roseau to do Make Over Workshops on December 10th and 11th. I am excited for him as he now is broadening his focus. He gave a workshop in LA today.

James was to fly into LA tonight and will stay with Brian. I believe plans are to go out to dinner. I am jealous.

Michelle gave her final university recital last night. This saddens me as I have not been to one of her recitals. I wonder if her teacher has these taped? I think I will have her find out.

Enough for now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Election and recovery

First things first, the Republican's are back in power in the House  of Representatives, Minnesota has a unsettled governor election and a  Republican Minnesota House and Senate. The big news is that my brother was re-elected to the Hoyt Lakes City Council.

This has been a very busy week, especially after being gone for four days last week. We have out Holiday Open House on November 14th so there is lots to do with that. We put out our newsletter today and I completed the poster and put it up on a large stand in the lobby. This weekend is the opening weekend of deer hunting season so Diva Days is on Saturday so there  will be a lot of traffic in the lobby coming and going into the city center community rooms. Hopefully is attracts attention

Tomorrow three of us from the museum are going to Sevlin for  a workshop for the consortium. We always have a great time getting together and visiting and training for one thing or another. About twenty of us had a photos and archive workshop in at the Roseau museum two weeks ago. Had a great time and ate well, I'm sure this will be the same.

Here are some photos from the workshop:

Consortium President Dean Vikan and Secretary\Treasurer Tamara Edevold

Cindy Adams - Kittson County Historical Society Director

Lunch in the Roseau City Council room

Tamara discussing the care of large photos

Cindy discussing the proper care of books in the archive.
It was an excellent day to mentor and learn from one another. Tomorrow will be another day of the same sort with the focus on textiles and other collection items.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music training

Early Monday morning, two staff members and one volunteer from Roseau County headed south to St.Paul for training on a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street New Harmonies exhibit we are hosting at the Roseau Co. Museum beginning November 12. This will be our third MOMS exhibit in 4 years. We are very excited about hosting this exhibit as it is all about music and almost everyone is interested in music.

Group sessions like this for training are always excellent.Ideas flow, creative juices mix, and we work with one another to make it the best exhibit each of us has presented.

Minnesota Humanities Center

Roseau County Historical Society crew
Rlou Specher,  Britt Dahl, and Charleen Haugen

Smithsonian and MN Humanities trainers
David Gabitske - Minnesota Historical Society, right
Nicollet County Historical Society

Drummers at the Anishinaabe Cultural Center

Dining out in Minneapolis

One of my favorite folk singers - Charlie Maguire entertaining us.

Rlou relaxing in the common area at the humanities center

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Church Employment Specialist

About a year ago I received the calling as our employment specialist at church. It has been a challenge and I keep working on trying to get the hang of the position and seek areas that I can help those who are unemployed in our branch. At the present time I am working on an upcoming Career Workshop that I will be presenting as soon as I receive some posters that were purchased through the church distribution center in Salt Lake City.

I use the Internet to become more familiar with this calling. Today I happened to connect with the Linked In site for Church Employment Specialists. This is just what I was looking for! I was able to register and received a quick reply accepting my request to join and was send an excellent website link. After a quick glance through the site, I pounced on an area called Sticky Ideas, which are for church bulletins. One of the ideas struck me immediately. Often people will say "No problem" when someone gives them a work assignment. I never  thought of this as negative until I read this Sticky Idea,
Career guidance – Don’t introduce negatives, if someone asks you for additional information; respond that “It would be your pleasure” or “I would be happy to”, do not respond with “no problem”. No problem raises the question of “I didn’t know there was a problem, is there a problem?”How true that is. No problem could indicate there was a problem but I will do it anyway.

There were many more of these Sticky Ideas which I plan to use in our church bulletin. Now I have to get back to studying for the upcoming workshop.

I read an online blog   almost daily. I believe the person who authors this blog gives great thought to scriptural meaning. Today the blog was on charity and I had to refer back to their last Saturday blog due to a reference to it. A comment by the author was:
 "Thus, the truly charitable are the people who are most likely to be open to being taught by those with whom others reactively disagree - since they are the ones most likely to seek for ways to understand without judgment and reflexive rejection.How often does someone bring up a point and others reactive in disagreement with their suggestion relating to a scripture? I have never considered that perhaps ONLY charity believeth all things, but I really like the way my mind is being led."

I have seen this happen every once in a while and will now look at the comment the person makes without reaction and hopefully with a more open mind.The main focus in the blogger interpretation was that we must be open minded to gospel teaching and only then will we be able to recognize what is truly of God and what is of Satan. I hope I am open minded enough to understand this concept and to recognize truth for what it is.

Six things I am thankful for this week:
  1. A wonderful sunny day
  2. Completing a grant so it can be checked by MHS
  3. Meeting with my companion to organize next Friday's archive workshop.
  4. How beautiful my outside geraniums still look.
  5. Finding time to read something enjoyable each day.
  6. Knowing that Heavenly Father answers my prayers in ways that I recognize only He could.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile miners recued

Today is a memorable day for 33 miners and the country of Chile. For 69 days, thirty-three miners were trapped in an underground mine in the San Jose Mine in Chile after a cave in. For seventeen days the men rationed their food and finally the world learned of their survival. Through the efforts of their foreman, the men managed to keep themselves sane and eventually even spoke to family members. One man became a father and another discovered he was going to be a father for the first time. Tonight after a 22 hour rescue the men are all out of the confinement and in a local hospital undergoing tests. It took 12 countries including the US to come together to assist in this miraculous feat. The NASA assisted the Chilean army in preparing a capsule to bring the miners out. A Pennsylvanian drill bit company assisted by supply special drilling to reach the men who were 2,000 feet below ground. A 36 inch hole was drilled down to the men and the capsule lower and brought back to the surface. A medic and five other men went down in the capsule to assist in the rescue.These men have been in the prayers on people across the world as we were periodically kept up to date on what was going on down below and on top regarding the rescue attempt. Now they can sing praises to a merciful Father who gave them and their country hope and in the end happiness.

I have been busy working on a grant for lights and UV filters in the museum. Today I spent many hours writing and working through the grant form. I have the bid quotes and all I have to do is submit it now. I am almost ready to write the final report on the Oral History grant Aaron Nelson and I received. Lots to do and not much time to accomplish it. I will look for someone to do our publicity.

At home we have been completing the farm work. The geraniums look the nicest they have for months. It is too bad that within a week and a half we will be down to 15 above F if the forecast is correct.

Well I need to do some studying for the upcoming employment class, I'm teaching at church. I will need lots of prayers as I teach this class so if you are praying, pray for me!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Come listen to a Prophet's voice

This morning we had two excellent talks in sacrament on prophets, especially the blessing of having a living prophet on earth in these latter days. Knowing there is a prophet who has direct revelation from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is such a blessing in our lives.

Last week during our church general conference we had the opportunity to listen to the prophet, Thomas S. Monson on the BYU television channel. In his Sunday morning talk he spoke about the Divine Gift of Gratitude. Using  Luke chapter 17, he reminded us of what gratitude is and is not.
“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
“And as he entered into a certain village, there [he met] ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”2

He went on to say, "Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.

"My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."

We live in a country  of plenty, a country that meets our every need. Another story our prophet told was "an account of one family which was able to find blessings in the midst of serious challenges. This is an account I read many years ago and have kept because of the message it conveys. It was written by Gordon Green and appeared in an American magazine over 50 years ago.
"Gordon tells how he grew up on a farm in Canada, where he and his siblings had to hurry home from school while the other children played ball and went swimming. Their father, however, had the capacity to help them understand that their work amounted to something. This was especially true after harvest time when the family celebrated Thanksgiving, for on that day their father gave them a great gift. He took an inventory of everything they had.

"On Thanksgiving morning he would take them to the cellar with its barrels of apples, bins of beets, carrots packed in sand, and mountains of sacked potatoes as well as peas, corn, string beans, jellies, strawberries, and other preserves which filled their shelves. He had the children count everything carefully. Then they went out to the barn and figured how many tons of hay there were and how many bushels of grain in the granary. They counted the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and geese. Their father said he wanted to see how they stood, but they knew he really wanted them to realize on that feast day how richly God had blessed them and had smiled upon all their hours of work. Finally, when they sat down to the feast their mother had prepared, the blessings were something they felt.

"Gordon indicated, however, that the Thanksgiving he remembered most thankfully was the year they seemed to have nothing for which to be grateful.

"The year started off well: they had leftover hay, lots of seed, four litters of pigs, and their father had a little money set aside so that someday he could afford to buy a hay loader—a wonderful machine most farmers just dreamed of owning. It was also the year that electricity came to their town—although not to them because they couldn’t afford it.

"One night when Gordon’s mother was doing her big wash, his father stepped in and took his turn over the washboard and asked his wife to rest and do her knitting. He said, “You spend more time doing the wash than sleeping. Do you think we should break down and get electricity?” Although elated at the prospect, she shed a tear or two as she thought of the hay loader that wouldn’t be bought.

"So the electrical line went up their lane that year. Although it was nothing fancy, they acquired a washing machine that worked all day by itself and brilliant light bulbs that dangled from each ceiling. There were no more lamps to fill with oil, no more wicks to cut, no more sooty chimneys to wash. The lamps went quietly off to the attic.

"Then it was Thanksgiving again. Their mother said, “Maybe we’d better forget it this year. We haven’t even got a goose left.”

"On Thanksgiving morning, however, Gordon’s father showed up with a jackrabbit and asked his wife to cook it. Grudgingly she started the job, indicating it would take a long time to cook that tough old thing. When it was finally on the table with some of the turnips that had survived, the children refused to eat. Gordon’s mother cried, and then his father did a strange thing. He went up to the attic, got an oil lamp, took it back to the table, and lighted it. He told the children to turn out the electric lights. When there was only the lamp again, they could hardly believe that it had been that dark before. They wondered how they had ever seen anything without the bright lights made possible by electricity.

"The food was blessed, and everyone ate. When dinner was over, they all sat quietly. Wrote Gordon:
'In the humble dimness of the old lamp we were beginning to see clearly again. . . .
'It [was] a lovely meal. The jack rabbit tasted like turkey and the turnips were the mildest we could recall. . . .
' . . . [Our] home . . . , for all its want, was so rich [to] us.”13

President Monson reiterated, "My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

I know I don't express enough gratitude for all that is so precious in life. Our warm home, electricity 24 and 7, the ability to  call our children and talk to them face to face on the computer or at any time and anywhere on the cell phone or just to climb on a plane without much hassle or drive a car across country to visit them. Wonderful friends who add joy to my life. My wonderful companion who has supply our home with so many wonderful not so necessary "things." Our young people who so willingly step to the plate without a draft to protect our country, often even giving life or limb to do so and their parents who are aware of the sacrifices these young people make each day.

Yes, I need to have an attitude of gratitude at all times.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Harvest

Fall has many meanings. It comes at the end of summer with vibrant colors on the trees, rusty gold, amber, scarlet,  and brilliant orange. It means harvest to the farmer and gardener; leaves to rake, the end of mowing the lawn, flowers in their last glory, and Indian Summer.

We are in the midst of harvest.

Unloading soybeans

The mixture of the wind noise and the tractor noise is overwhelming.

From the truck to the bin
We have had fabulous weather since last Friday and our harvest is fast coming to an end. Hubby started chisel plowing this morning and is now about ready to head out to combine again.

One of the other things harvest brings to our farm is a crop of small apples that are not crabs from a tree in our back yard. Our apple tree stands as a sentinel to three oaks in the back yard. It now stands bare with only a few apples clinging to the branches that are too high to reach. When Brian was home, he pulled out the ladder and headed out with a pail and filled it full of apples.

Remains of the apples

 The ones that Brian picked are now made into a delicious apple filling for pies and apple crisp. It’s a recipe I received from my friend Becca.

Apple Pie Mix
4 ½ cups sugar
10 cups water
1 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp lemon juice (Real works)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Mix together and cook until thick and then cool
2 gallons of apples
If you use small apples just remove the seeds, slice in a food processor. No not cook apples.
Mix the apples and the mixture and fill large peanut butter jars, if you use the real large one you will make a 9/13 pan or a pie, the next size down makes an 8/8 pan. Be sure to make sure you use the amount of mixture necessary for the apples.
Freeze and thaw as needed.

Completed jar of apple mixture for 8/8 pan
For a 9/13 inch pan use the following recipe, use 2/3 of recipe for 8/8 pan

Apple Crisp Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup cold butter
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix
Spay 9/13 inch pan with Pam, add the large jar of thawed apples to the pan and spread evenly.
Top with topping and spread evenly. Bake 350 for 1 hour.

It is so tasty with pecan ice cream!

Oh, so tasty!
I think I will have to get a larger ladder and pick the rest of the apples so when winter is here we will enjoy this recipe even more. Thanks Becca for sharing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This day in history - Jack Kennedy

This morning while surfing the net, I decided to visit the Library of Congress memory page and checking into "This Day in History". It included a thank you letter sent by Lieutenant Kennedy to Clare Booth Luce for a gold coin she had sent him and he had attached to his ID tag.  I could hear that familiar New England twang that Kennedy had as I read that letter. Those of us who who were fortunate to live during the time he was President can probably relate to this. Known as the days of Camelot, we thought we lived in a golden age when there was no war. Needless to say that was about to end as we entered the Vietnam War era some short years later.The letter was an endearing reminder of a President that encouraged us to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" and the beginning of true service to humanity.

Today I head back to work. I had thought I would do so yesterday but decided my jaw was much to sore then I laid down to take a nap in the afternoon at 1 and didn't wake up until 4:30, so I guess what I really needed to to finally get caught up of the sleep I had missed when I was in such pain. Right now I still can only open my mouth about half way. Has anyone else ever had this experience when having a back molar removed?

Sunny today, it looks like we are in for a grand day! Perhaps harvest will soon happen with those soybeans that are standing ripe in the field. DRY UP FIELDS, dry up!

Soybean field July 21, 2010
Soybean field - September 23, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

A forced time to relax

July 21

September 23
July 21

September 23
  I have been sort of forced to relax these past three days. Friday night I noticed that the right side of my face was getting sore. By Saturday afternoon I could hardly open my mouth and realized I might have an abscess tooth and started popping pain pills. It was abscessed so this morning our family dentist decided it was better to pull it than to repair it. I went home with antibiotics and one less tooth, and also less pain, mostly due to the pain pills. I am so glad I live during this time.

I remember the first time I had toothache, I was in fifth grade. My grandmother insisted that she take me to her dentist and he filled the cavity. The thing I remember most is the awful taste of the medication he smeared on my gum area prior to the Novocaine shot. The taste still is not the greatest, but definitely not like it was 63 years ago. I remember when I took my children to the dentist, I couldn't stay, the memory was not good and I knew that what I was doing was for their health. I would cry just knowing they had to go through what I did.  Then a few years later we received dental care through hubby's work and we found a better dentist. Then they had braces and all the things that make for a happy smile and a life of good dental health.

I finished reading Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. This book deserves 5 stars. I haven't been this moved by a book in a long time. I really enjoy historical fiction and both The Help and Winter Garden were historical fiction. Winter Garden is the story of the relationship between a mother and her two daughters and the secret she has kept from them,using "fairy tales" as a means to share the secret. When I had finished, I was so grateful to live in the United States, we have not experienced war as so many other countries in the world have. Just the thought that when there is war, the men go off and leave their families, the wife, the children and their aged parents to struggle through what happens in their communities. How fortunate we are to not have had to bear this trial. If you want to read a great book, head for Winter Garden. You will not be disappointed.

One of my dear friends has recently shared the sad news that her son was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Although I will not put his name on my blog, please pray for him, our Heavenly Father knows who he is.

It is sure quiet at our home now that our son Brian has gone home.

Relaxing and watching a little TV

Brian watching a little TV

Friday, September 24, 2010

A week with Brian home

It is always great to have family come home and this week was special as Brian has been here since Saturday. We haven't done anything special, as there really isn't anything special to do in our little town except eat out, visit friends and go to the movie on the weekend. To top it off this week has been one of the rainiest weeds we have had in along time. Yesterday it rained over three inches. We did a lot of reading and relaxing during the week. Today he is out having lunch with friends.
On Tuesday, Brian styled my hair taken care of and a makeup application done, needless to say, it was very noticeable when we had our RCHS board meeting that evening. No matter how much he tries to teach me how to style my hair, it never turns out like he does it. I guess that is what happens when one has an LA pro style you. It was such fun!
We did something very different last Saturday afternoon. We went to a political barbecue for our local Democratic Party. As Republican as we are, we do favor U.S. Senator Collin Peterson and Leroy Stumpf. We were invited by a friend of Brian's and were on our way back to Roseau from Fargo so stopped at the 2 Fools Winery for a bit. It was enjoyable visiting with the individuals who were there and believe it or not, not talking politics!
Last night, while Brian was busy with some things, I went to help the Ya Yas setup their rummage sale which includes some Relay for Life rummage sale items. With the help we had we put everything out in about two and a half hours. As always, when one gets together with "the girls" it is always enjoyable.
Brian leaves for LA tomorrow and Monday will be back to work again. It has been restful and enjoyable.
I finished ready "The Help" on Wednesday. The review from the New York Times says it all. I highly recommend this fiction book about southern living during the sixties.
Brilliant sun now, and in the 50s. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wonderful harvesting weather

Last week, I took three days off from work for harvesting. I usually drive the truck and unload grain. We were able to get off all of our wheat off and took the canola off on Saturday. During that time, the days were warm, often hot, and dry. This was very apparent as one watched the combines leaving a trail of dust high into the air and across the field as they traversed up and down gobbling the grain in front of the header. Now that we have completed those two crops, hubby is busy chisel plowing and waiting for the soybeans to ripen.

I have been reading The Story of Edgar Sawtell over the past week. This is the first novel by Wisconsinite David Wroblewski and is a wonderful story about a mute boy, his family, and the dogs they raise, and especially one special dog. It hit the NY Times best seller list last year. A wonderful story of human frailty, family love, and heartache, it pulls at the heart with the raw human emotions the family feels during their life struggles.An Oprah recommend, it is a good book for a book club discussion.

Along with all the dry weather come the spiders, who are finally able to design a web that isn't destroyed by the rain storms we've had this summer. I know that spiderwebs are tough but when the bushes and trees they cling to at tossed to and fro by the wind and rain, it would be amazing if they could stay intact.

Here is a Barn Funnel spider's web that I found in the cedar bushes in front of our house. This spider arrived with the immigrants from Europe and is pretty native to Minnesota now. I love to see the beautiful intricate work they do as they weave their webs. Sometimes during a dry seasons one can see these webs all over the yard. The spider hides deep in the base of the funnel and comes out only for prey. I would say it is a good way for them to catch a drink of water when it is dewy in the morning also. It is not a dangerous spider but hides in dark places; especially in the corners and crevices of the home.

Just one more of God's magnificent creations.