Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing out the old . . .

This will be my last post of  2014. I've been reflecting on this past year and have to say the most meaningful event for me was the birth of Corinne, my 8th grandchild. I got to see her when she was just 10 days old. She was so tiny—very similar to the birth size of Heidi. Memories of my youngest filled my heart as I held this new little angel.

When my kids were born, I was so busy creating a home, trying to be a good role model for the young mothers at our church, and attending many church functions. Because of Steve's position in the church, that's what I thought I was supposed to do. Many times it left me frazzled, and not doing the best job at being a good mom.

As I visited Heidi shortly after Corinne was born, I relished holding this sweet little girl, knowing she will most likely be my last grandchild.

On another note, we had some sadness this past year when my Uncle Allan passed away. He was my last uncle, and I loved him very much. Our family gathered in June at the cemetery in Lake Crystal for his burial. It was good to be with my Aunt Ginny and my cousins for this sacred time.

During the summer my sister was in a car accident that gave her broken bones and laid her up for several weeks. Thankfully, she has healed pretty well and has gotten a new car. During her recovery, my brother bought a new, single-level home for them and arranged for the move. They are settled now and really like their new place.

Then in September our family gathered again for the wedding of our cousin Lorna to Nick. It was a joy to be with our aunt and cousins.

My job continues to be fulfilling. Just this last fall, a new company bought our building and that brought on much remodeling. The construction is nearly completed now and I am in a new office! I think I'll stay awhile longer.

I'm looking forward to what 2015 has in store. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My camera died

About a week ago, my camera from 2006 died. I tried and tried to turn it on, but to no avail. This camera had been really good for me. I bought it the day before my first flight to Japan – a trip to see my son and his family and brand new baby, Annika. It was a digital Canon with 5 pixels—not great, but good enough. I suppose I have taken thousands of photos on it.

What to do? I want to continue writing on this blog and adding photos is a big part of that. I do have a camera on my iphone, but I don't really like the results I get with it. Perhaps I could work on getting better, but instead  I decided to check out the options with a new digital camera. Voila! I was able to get a new one with more pixels at a third of the cost of my old one. So I ordered it and got it Friday.

Here is my first photo taken on my new camera. There's a story that goes along with it. We were on an Alaskan cruise in 2008. There were 19 of us that went. My sister, daughter and I were shopping in a store in Skagway when I spotted these adorable Alaskan nativity sets. I commented "I would give my eye teeth for one of these sets." Heidi overheard me and stepped back to another aisle in the store and phoned her husband who was in another store. She told him "I just found Mom's Christmas present! It's in 'such and such' store. In about 15 minutes, will you come to this store to buy it?" That was in August. Christmas came that year and I opened my package to find this. I was thrilled!

Alaska nativity set

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Choir Christmas Concert 2014

Two weekends ago we had our Christmas concerts at my church. At the Saturday night concert, my daughter-in-law Rachel's parents and two aunts and two uncles attended. I was fortunate to have dinner with them before the performance.

Our guest this year were the Stoneback Sisters (identical triplets) and their father, and a newly formed group of three tenors. The husband of one of our choir members is an excellent photographer and each year he takes hundreds of photos before and during the concerts. I'm sharing a few of them here.

My friends Joanne, Nancy, Lysa, and  Mischelle getting ready to enter the sanctuary.

Our formal Christmas at Wooddale 2014 photo

"O Come, All Ye Faithful"

Full choir
Guests: The Stoneback Brass - identical triplets and their father
The Sounds of Praise kids' choir

Guests: the three tenors. They were awesome!

Monday, December 22, 2014


After having a beautiful dinner at my friend Laurey's , I drove home in pouring rain. A mile from my house, the sky light up brightly. I thought it was lightning, but it must have been a transformer exploding as my entire neighborhood was pitch black! I couldn't put my car in the garage—first time I have left it out. Getting to the entryway, I fumbled to find the lock on our outside door. Once inside the lobby, I had to feel my way to my doorway - making sure I didn't bang my head on the stairway. My next concern, after groping for the keyhole to my place, was to keep Nels from tearing out into the dark hallway. How would I ever find him? THANKFULLY, he stayed in—I felt him once I had my door closed. Next step: feel my way to my bedroom where I knew I had a flashlight. Once I located it and turned it on, I felt a bit better.
After getting my coat off, I got a candle and some matches and had a little votive burning in my bathroom. Talk about weird! I quickly got ready for bed and read my devotions with the aid of the flashlight. I prayed that God would keep Nels from knocking the votive onto the floor during the night.

At 10:14 pm, my bedside lamp turned on and woke me. The power had returned! I heard the furnace kick in and I got up to blow out the candle. I'm grateful the power was off only an hour and a half. I'm thankful I could get up this morning to a warm house, electricity to see to get ready, and to cook my oatmeal.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Our Company Christmas Party

From what I hear, many companies no longer give Christmas parties to their employees. Thankfully, ours still goes overboard in providing a very nice evening for us. Last night we met at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, the Rock Bottom Brewery. We had a choice of entrees, and I chose the maple bourbon steak which was accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and a variety of vegetables. Oh, my! It was delicious! And then the dessert—perfect crème brûléethe best I have ever eaten. I was seated at a table with some of my dear friends. Here are some photos:

L to R: Sharon and Julie

Dave and Nancy

My guest Nancy and yours truly

After the dinner, we walked across the street to the beautiful Pantages Theater where we watched the play All Is Calm. This fabulous work is performed by Cantus, a chorus of 12 men with incredible voices. It is the reenactment of the WWI soldiers from England, Scotland and Ireland who are within feet of the German soldiers in December 1914. The dialogue is based on historical facts and the songs are period pieces This drama includes the famous truce. It was just wonderful!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Office Open House

I have been working at my current job just under 14 years. In that time, my office space has been a cubicle. It worked out fine most of the time, but there were days when I wished I could have closed my door so I could concentrate on my report or other assignment.

With the big remodeling done in our office, an interior office with a door and a window was assigned to me. I could hardly believe it, but when the painter finished patching and painting the walls, I began to move my things in.

Today I invited my colleagues to an Open House in celebration of my new space. I had been thinking about doing this for the past few weeks. How fun it was when 3 o'clock arrived and people started congregating around my door.

And now it's official, I have a new office home. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Annual Knitting Club Swedish Smorgasbord

Our church knitting club held our annual Swedish smorgasbord today and it was so much fun. Barb opened up her beautiful home and she and Pat had it wonderfully decorated.

Bella, Barb, and Mallory

Pat is lighting the candles.

One of three beautiful tables

Open-faced sandwiches

My favorite part: the cookies!

Throughout the year the members knit prayer shawls which are donated to those who are ill. At our monthly meetings we pray for those for whom we may be knitting, praying that God will bring comfort and healing to the recipient. At our party this year, we prayed a blessing on these shawls that are yet to be given away.  It's always fun to see the finished shawls in various colors and patterns.

Our sweet gathering. I love these ladies.

Friday, December 05, 2014

I have moved

Yesterday morning my new office walls were painted and it is so fresh and clean. 

In the afternoon I began moving in. It was a big job, so I continued the process this afternoon and pretty much got settled. I have some papers to sort through and a couple of boxes to unpack, but on Monday I am looking forward to going in and sitting in my chair and seeing just how I like it.

I brought in one of my nativity scenes. This one was made by a Christian man from Zambia. I love their bright patterned clothes and the way everyone is raising their hands to the heavens. Double click on a photo to enlarge it.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bethany House

In 1945, five families had an idea that would allow them to give money to missionaries. They decided to sell their individual homes and all move into one large house where the husbands would continue to work at their jobs and the wives would do the various tasks needed to keep a household running. Any extra money would go to missionaries. They bought a big house in south Minneapolis, not far from the American Swedish Institute. After a few years, they learned of a small farm for sale in Bloomington, a newer suburb south of Minneapolis. So they sold this house and made the move.

My friend Sharon's family was one of the five. After touring the Swedish Institute today, we drove past the house and I suggested we get out to take a few pictures. I have heard this story many times, but never knew where this original house was.

Sharon, on the front steps

This driveway leads to the garage in the back, which is now an apartment. 

The backyard is this tiny spot. Sharon said when they lived here she recalls only a few of the kids were allowed to go outside at one time due to the noise they made. I'm really glad we got to do this!

American Swedish Institute at Christmas Time

Today I went back to the American Swedish Institute with my friend Sharon and her two daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca. The former Turnblad home was fully decorated for Christmas. I am 1/8th Swedish, so I guess that's why I'm drawn to this home and the decorations. I have many of the same straw ornaments that decorate this tree, but have not put it out since Nels came to live with me. I hate to think of the destruction he would do to it.

Jennifer, Sharon and Rebecca
This table was really neat! I love the dishes.

Notice the felt mitten with the knife and fork tucked inside. These would be easy to make. 

I loved this tree skirt and the Swedish gift wrapping on these packages. 

This room has one of the 18 ceramic stoves. Each one is different and very pretty. All of us loved this room. Years ago I cross-stitched an advent calendar similar to the royal blue wall hanging to the right of the stove. I need to look for it.  

I love this stacking set of felt bowls. 

After touring the mansion, we ate lunch in the fabulous Swedish restaurant adjacent to the museum. Again I had the meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingonberries, mustard sauce with an accent of cucumbers. It was delicious!

My friend Sharon

Sharon is one of my dear friends. She is an amazing woman whom I really admire. Not long ago she had her kitchen, dining room and living room remodeled/redecorated. This morning I drove to her house to meet up with her and her two daughters for a trip to south Minneapolis to tour the American Swedish Institute. Since I got there a little early, she invited me in to see her Christmas decorations. These pictures tell it better than I can. For more detail, double click on the photos.

I love her choice of cabinets, counter tops, flooring, and accessories. I told her this home should be in a magazine!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


My list will always start with my kids and their kids. I feel so blessed to have three wonderful adult children. I love their spouses and their children—my precious grandchildren.

I am so thankful for my brother who has always been there for me. He is one of the kindest people I know, and he has a servant heart. This past year he has had some health issues, but he rose to the challenge and has been making better choices. I'm happy to report he is feeling so much better.

My sister is a blessing to me, too. She is a friend and a good listener, and always makes me feel welcome. This past summer she was in a car crash and had to have surgery on her ankle. After much rest and physical therapy, she is doing quite well. I'm thankful both she and my brother have a new, single level home, making life so much easier for them.

God has blessed me with extended family members, too. Many of us gathered this past spring for the funeral of my oldest cousin, Beulah. In June we gathered in Lake Crystal to bury the ashes of my dear Uncle Allan. Then in September many of us were privileged to witness the wedding of our cousin Lorna to Nick. Each of these times were precious.

I am blessed with dear, dear friends. If I started to name them, it would be quite a long list. We have fun and encourage one another. I'm thankful for each and every one of them.

My job continues to bless me. In spite of the big remodeling going on in our office the past few months, I have gotten to meet some very fine people: our new landlords and the people working for them, the project manager, the carpenters and even the carpet installer. I never would have met them had our building not been sold.

I'm thankful for Nels, my cat. He's always glad to see me when I come home and he loves snuggling with me when I'm off in dreamland.

It's amazing how many things go on our list when we just sit for awhile and think about it. God is so good. My list would not be complete without thanking Him for making all of this possible. Thank You, Lord.