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.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Birthday and sleep-over weekend

Last night our family gathered to celebrate the birthdays of Sarah and Peder who were born 364 days apart. One day a year they are the same age. This year we went to Outback Steak House, which was a first for me.

The kids were so good and each ordered a kid's meal. I have learned that Felix will smile for me for a picture if I let him know he can then take some pictures.

I didn't realize he had food in his mouth when I asked him to smile. He took the rest of these photos:

Aurelia and yours truly

Rosy-cheeked Leo

Happy Birthday, Peder!

Sarah with her brother, Ryan

Shown here is Aurelia helping to mix up the cookie dough.

Don't these look good?

For lunch we had pigs in a blanket (pictured above) and macaroni and cheese.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We're Getting There

Well, there's been some progress in our remodeling of our office. The kitchen dinnerware and other things for the kitchen have been put away.

Where will we put everything?

Things are pretty much in their place.

Reception desk before
We're getting there. These cabinets were installed yesterday and plans are in the works for a new desk.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Driving in blizzard conditions . . .

This morning I drove down to Owatonna to have lunch with my brother and sister and to celebrate my brother's birthday (his birthday is tomorrow). There was a prediction of snow, but it was for only 1 to 2 inches for the twin cities and up to 4 inches for southern Minnesota. There was a small amount of snow on my way down, but coming home was AWFUL!

This is not my photo, but I searched online for one that resembled the road conditions I experienced today. This captures it. Roads were slippery and cars were pretty much sticking to the right hand lane and at times we were moving only 35 mph — all this on I-35. I saw many cars in the ditch. One was at least 50 feet out in a corn field.

I came upon a pick-up truck stopped on the left shoulder with an SUV stopped on the right shoulder. Clearly, the SUV had been side swiped, and its front fender was bent out into my lane. I couldn't move over because there was a car passing me on the left, so I slowed down and put on my 4-way flashers. Seconds later, I watched a fast moving SUV come up behind me on the shoulder, passing the car directly in back of me. He maneuvered between us, barely missing the back of my car, sailing into the left hand lane, forcing a pick-up truck in that lane to move to the left shoulder. How these two vehicles escaped a crash is beyond me, but God was with us and protected us and kept me safe all the way home. It was a tense drive and I was so thankful to be in my house again. That may be my last road trip for quite awhile. Winter driving stinks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday, Marshall!

Today Marshall turns 6 years old. I want to wish him a very special day, full of laughter and fun!

♫ ♪Happy Birthday to you! ♫ ♪♫ Happy Birthday to you!  ♫ ♪♫ Happy Birthday, dear Marshall,  ♫ ♪♫ Happy Birthday to you!  ♫ ♪♫
I love you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday I reported the mess at the new reception desk. By mid-morning today, it was much improved.



From what I've been told, this is our temporary reception desk. There is another one in the works.

My Two Favorite Veterans

In this top photo, my brother is holding my son, Hans. I believe this was summer 1972 at O'Hare airport where we were saying farewell to Jerry as he was leaving for his next assignment—a ship based in Italy. Hans has always looked up to him—so much so that when it was time for him to leave home, he joined the US Navy. Twenty six years later, Jerry is enjoying retirement and Hans is the Commanding Officer of one of our nation's finest guided missile destroyers. I am extremely proud of both of these men! Happy Veterans' Day!

My son Hans

Monday, November 10, 2014

Reception Desk

When we talked about our new reception desk and lobby area a while back, I had it pictured looking professional and welcoming. Well, for now, ours leaves a lot to be desired. After the quick move on Friday, this is what we ended up with and what I saw when I walked into our office this morning:

Not very attractive, is it? When one of our Vice Presidents came to work today, he made it known this was not acceptable. It wasn't long before he and two other VP's began moving things around and bringing back part of the systems furniture we used to have. In the process, I tripped over these many cords and fell on hands and knees. Ouch! I now have two bruised knees.

The new kitchen is also in a state of chaos. Check this out:

Part of the problem is the wrong upper cabinets were delivered and so we cannot put anything away until the new ones arrive. When will that be? Heaven only knows.

One more thing—we were forecast to get a lot of snow today, but thankfully the track of the storm moved north, and we only got just under two inches, but we also had rain and now we're dealing with a lot of ice. All of us had to chip it off our cars tonight. It's going to be a long winter . . .

Friday, November 07, 2014

Remodeling update number 1,548, or so it seems!

I have been posting a lot about the remodeling in our office. I guess that is because the whole process has been overwhelming for me—the noise, dust, packing, lifting, explaining where things are, etc. I really don't know how my son Hans has been enduring the process of updating his ship which has been in dry dock for a long time now. The noise and dirt, plus the disruptions for him and his crew have to be a thousand times worse than our situation.

Yesterday we got the word that we had to be completely out of our old kitchen, pantry and large conference room by the end of today. For a few of us, that meant stopping everything we were doing and begin packing, tossing, and then cleaning the vacated areas. I spent 3 hours yesterday afternoon scrubbing out all of the cupboards in this kitchen (in photos below). I went home very tired.

Then this morning I was given no notice to begin vacating our temporary reception area immediately. Many, many co-workers came down to help move the furniture we had put there in the interim. All of this had to be taken over to our new dining room, reception room, and into our new resource library. This meant more lifting and packing. Today I came home exhausted! Plans for tomorrow: NONE.

Our temporary reception room a couple of weeks ago

Dismantling the furnishing
Jeff wheeling out one of the chairs for our reception room

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


In 2008 I purchased new windows for my home. What a difference they made! No longer did I need to have plastic coverings on the insides to keep out the cold air. And in summer, I could tell that my home stayed cooler. I have been very pleased, and have referred the window company to two friends. Well, in September, one friend—her home is right next door to mine—had new windows installed on her home and as a thank you, the company sent me a gift card to a local restaurant.

Coming home the day after my neighbor's installation, I stopped to admire her windows and then compared them to mine. Mine looked different than hers. Studying them, I figured it out. Mine were missing the outside trim. So I phoned the company and reported it. The owner called me back and said he had paid the installers for wrapping my windows and asked me to send a photo of them to him. A couple of days later, he called me to say he would send out someone out to install it. That was 4 weeks ago. Today they returned and installed the wrap. My windows look so nice now!

Stephanie's windows are on the left; mine (without wrap) are on the right.

My window, without the outside wrap.

Now my windows are wrapped and they look so nice.