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My LifeSong

May the words I say And the things I do Make my lifesong sing Bring a smile to you. Casting Crowns

Updated: 2018-03-06T08:38:25.061-08:00


Photos of Colorado, last year


Chris took us to Red Rock Amphitheater. Lots of climbing stairs, but breathtaking scenery!This is us before the climb!Beginning the climb....still climbing....Seating view from the bottom near the stage....Still climbing to the top....View from the top, looking down on the stage.Overlooking the landscape.Looking up from the visitor centerWe also went hiking @ LairBear Park, walking paths, bike trails, rock climbing.Also passed a castle on the path.A running stream followed along the path, too.Earl decided to climb a rock in the creek.Hanging out over the creek.  we ate lunch in Morrison outside.We also tried out Cactus Jack's in downtown Evergreen.  Chuck and Chris came with us, but Chuck got sick the next day.  He had ordered his hamburger med rare, and we think he got food poisoning from it.While we were there, we attended Allison's music concert @ Colorado State, in Fort Collins, and met her BF, AustinI really liked Fort Collins...beautiful city with views of the mountains.[...]

Our Colorado Trip


We had fair weather on our trip out to Colorado, taking two days to get there.  We stopped in Valentine, NE. as a half way point. It had been windy, and rainy off and on across South Dakota, so we were glad to stop.  Nice room @ the Super 8.  We booked reservations for the way back while we were there. We arrived @ Chris & Chuck's about 3:30 pm, with Chris there to greet us, and show us their home.  View of their driveway, and pond out front, with daily visitors of mule deer.Duck in PondView of back from deck looking out living room windowChris, Mitch, and TannerTheir house is beautiful, and spectacular views.  While we were there, it rained, snowed, was warm and sunny, windy, other words, a little of everything.Chuck shoveling the deck in shorts after a  snowy morning.Snow lasted only briefly, then melted.Kind of pretty with the snow falling.Earl and I decided to hike @ Three Sisters Park.  The weather was cool, then changed to snowshowers, but we got a good hour of hiking in, even if it was hard to catch your breath in this altitude.[...]

April Highlights!


Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your heartsand your minds in Christ Jesus.           Philippians 4:6-7The beginning of April began with a day spent with Lorrie, and Alaina to the Clara City spring craft show.I hadn't been to that craft show in years, I think maybe the last time I went was with Lorrie.Mostly, we looked at all the crafts, wishing we could afford to buy some well-made things, but resisting the urge to splurge, and settled on some small things.  Then, we found a cafe in town, and had lunch, and a caramel latte.  Alaina is in to all kinds of crafts.  I love that she is interested in them.We looked at a display of wooden frames that had many of the latest names, and Lorrie was trying to decide what she liked for girl's names, as her baby she is carrying is a girl.  Lorrie looks great, and is feeling great as she carries this little one.Monday, I met with my retired friends from work.  We try to meet the first monday of each month @ McMillian's.  It's nice to catch up with each other's lives, esp. after the funerals we all attended.Earl and I found out our hospice patient was admitted to the hospital, so we stopped by and visited her.Then, Earl was off to a K of C meeting, and I went to the Oakes for Bev Marcus's retirement party from the hospital.  It was a fun time, seeing some of my former co-workers, watching Bev open her gifts, some of them, gag gifts(I made up different gift certificates), and listening to Diane and Becky sing her a song they made up.I joined a bible study group @ church.  We discuss the Sunday readings each week on wednesdays,  I talked Earl into joining us, too.  We both enjoy it. We also attended the Carmelite meeting in Willmar as we are still considered visitors, til we decide to make a more formal committment.  We went to a Hospice appreciation dinner @ Bethel church, which is always very nice.Sadly, Ron Cramlet passed away, so I made a supper meal for Sharon and family, and dropped it off  for them after the wake.  He had been sick for a long time, and Earl was his hospice volunteer.  They enjoyed their time spent together.  Also, this month, several teen suicides occurred.  The community has been devastated by them, and have been trying to meet and discuss ways to prevent them.Warm days finally came in April.  We cleaned out flower beds, raked lawn, and began getting ready for Spring!  We got the deck swept up, and the patio furniture cleaned.  Ah, come spring.  my tulips are coming up too.  Still waiting for the trees to bud out with leaves.  Getting out and walking with the dogs, too.We visited Ella Mae again, and sadly, found out she died the next day, peacefully.  Earl had taken care of her husband  three years ago, and she had requested him when she got ill.  It was so nice to get to know her.Easter is upon us, and Earl and I attended Vigil Mass @ St. Mary's, and again, on Easter Sunday, @ Our Lady of the Lakes Mass, where I sang in the choir.  It was awesome!  Earl carried up the Easter candle both @ the vigil, and @ the Mass on Sunday.  Then, since we were not getting together as a family for Easter, we made reservations @ the Oakes, and had dinner there.  Afterwards, we took a long walk with the dogs.The next day, with a lot of help from Earl, we got the front yard raked, and I gave the dogs a bath.  We saw Jonnie's last concert, where he plays the bass with the fourth grade.The next day, we left for Colorado to visit Chris, Chuck, and family. the dogs were put in the kennel, and we stayed for a week.[...]

Happenings in March!


Friends over for small Superbowl Party!                                          We attended Alaina's Band Concert.  She plays the cello beautifully with nimble fingers.  I think she likes playing.    Each time we see her and the class play, they get better and better.  Keep it up, 'Lainie.We also went to our old church, St. Patrick's for their annual Ham Dinner with Lorrie, Jon, and family.Always enough food, and we got plenty of ham.  Fr. John, their new priest, enjoyed the day dressed for the occasion.  Only complaint-they always stop the children's games, and face-painting too soon.  The boys didn't get a chance to have their face painted.Then, just as it warmed a bit, and started melting the snow off the roof, and we could see a little ground, we had a turn in the weater, and got hit with a foot of heavy, wet snow again!!Please Come, Spring!Sigh...I may whine about the weather, but I am so blessed with a home, food, clothing.  I say this as I see the photos of Japan, who experienced the strongest earthquake they ever had-8.9, with a devastating tsunami to follow.  10,000 people are missing, and so many have nothing left of their homes.  No electricity, cold, no food, nuclear plants near meltdowns, living in shelters.  Dear God, may we all come together, and give them a helping hand.March is also Food Shelf Month.  Let us all give enough so none go hungry in this nation, and world.I've attended two friend's spouses funerals in three weeks, and one friend's retirement party.  I take each day as it comes, and am thankful for what God gives me.  It is good to be here.  May I return His love by reaching out to others around me, and extending that love to all.  And keep my twin granddaughters safe.  They have had their share of accidents-2 concussions, and cut leg, playing their sports. And may everyone stay well...enough with the pneumonia, and strep throats, and influenza.  OK?[...]



Who do we think we are?  Who are we?  Have you ever asked yourself that question?  And why are we here?  What am I suppose to do with my life?
 Lent is a time to reflect on these things...a time to slow down, and quiet oneself.  How did our world get so hectic, and instant messaging related?  It is a time of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.  Fasting for what? For penance, for a hunger to empty ourselves, for discipline to think about others, and not just ourselves.  Prayer for connecting to Our Lord, and Mary, his mother, and all the people who need our prayers and petitions, and Alms for those struggling for the basics, the hungry, the jobless, the less fortunate.  But I feel, we need to do this all year long.  Our needs, and petitions are on-going.  Why did God make know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and be happy with him in the next.  I think, sometimes, we forget this....with our hectic schedules, family activities, work, so maybe it is good to have a special time each year-Lent.  Jesus tried to show us when he came down to this earth, how to live, by his actions, and his words.  Listen, and you will hear him speak to you.  He came as a servant, not searching for power, wealth, accolades, ambition, yet we are richer beyond measure by his love for us, and forgiveness of our sins.
 Who are we?  We are the body of Christ, and in so being, a community of sinners, who need to live in peace, love, and service to others.  May we all come to see that in our lives, and make a stand for what is right in God's eyes.

My Life of Faith.


Life is a journey, a journey of faith. For me, it has been first, an acknowledgement of a higher being, God, and then, an ongoing study of who He is, what He wants me to be, and how to attain a loving relationship with Him.  My journey started when I was conceived.  God formed me in His likeness, and loved me.  My parents, then, believed in the importance of Baptism, and had me blessed with sacramental graces, and wiped clean of original sin as I began my formation in the Catholic faith.  When I was seven, I received the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  I felt so pretty, dressed all in white-white veil, white fancy dress, white shoes and socks.  I processed into church with my whole class, boys and girls alike in white.  I don't think I really understood the meaning of receiving the body and blood of Christ that day, but I knew in my heart, it was something very special, and I wanted to be a part of it. There was a reverence for going up to the altar rail, kneeling down, and opening your mouth to receive the host changed to Christ's body, and drinking the wine, changed to Christ's blood.  I still to this day, feel in awe of receiving the Holy Eucharist, and desire to do it as often as I can.  I also made my First Confession, now called Reconciliation.  I liked the fact that you could go into a darkened confessional, say what you did wrong, and nobody knew it was you, so I thought.  God knew!I started Catholic school in the third grade, and continued til the eighth grade.  In the fourth grade, I made my Confirmation.  I received the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  I believe my faith was a gift, given to me by God, and He expected me to carry on in that faith my whole life.  It has always been important to me, a sinner, to try to follow the doctrines of my faith, even when I doubted some of the Church's teachings on birth control.  More about that later.When I was 21, I received the Sacrament of Matrimony.  "Through sickness, and health, through good times and bad,  I committed myself to this man I chose as my husband.  I found out how challenging life can be, but  I never gave up, and gave in to dispair when things got rough.  I guess you could say, I got tough.  But I didn't do this alone.  I knew I had to rely on God and my faith to get through the bad times...difficult relationships, accidents, sickness, death of loved ones, and He made me stronger.  By the time I had my third child, though, I wanted to have a break from pregnancy.  I talked to a priest about what I could do to prevent another pregnancy, and he said to pray...ask God to help me.  Well, I thought, that wasn't the answer I wanted to hear, but I did pray to God, half-heartedly, now that I think back about it.  I didn't really trust God with this matter.  Sure enough, I got pregnant soon after.  I cried, and cried, felt betrayed by God..didn't He hear my prayers?  This isn't what I wanted now!  But I know realize it never is about what I want, or feel, or desire, it's what God wants and plans for me and all of us.  What seemed devastating at the time, turned out of be a wonderful delightful child, who grew into a glowing, happy woman who I love dearly.But, at the time, I decided to take birth control matters into my own hands.  In the early seventies, there was a movement in the Church, that started to question Church teachings.  I was part of a Church group, called "Genesis", which met in each others' homes, and explored our feelings about ourselves, and our faith.  From those sessions, I came out of that, that it was OK to not always follow the Church's laws, as long as we followed the doctrines, and decrees of our faith.  So I convinced myself that it was alright to use some form of birth control.  I[...]

So how are those goals Going?


Each day is a day that God has given us,and each moment of that day is in His hands.Roy LessinPhysically, I'm feeling great, but am hit and miss on daily exercise, I mean, the kind that goes to the Y, and works out at least 30"daily.  I just can't seem to motivate myself to incorporate it as part of everyday planning.  My eating habits are also hit and miss, most of the time healthy, but those extra sweets keep creeping into my diet, and my weight is not going downward.  So I've decided to follow the South Beach Diet plan for awhile, and see if I can stick with a eating plan that helps me lose some of this weight I'm carrying around.  In phase 1, I'll be cutting out all bread, fruit, and high glycemic foods.  Then, after 2 weeks, in Phase 2, I can slowly add some of these back in, but not all at once.  I'll let you know if this works for me.Spiritually, Earl and I have been attending Mass almost daily.  We start the morning reading the scripture readings, and the liturgy of the hours.  I find this is a very good way to start the day, helping me to focus on how to live, and thinking of God throughout the day. I have also kept a prayer journal daily, and it helps me focus on what I'm ever thankful for. I belong to the church's choir, and I love it.  I have hymns singing in my head each day..  Our music director makes our practices exciting and lots of fun.  This saturday, I'm driving 5 of us to a Music Ministry workshop, to discover what changes will occur in the Mass this fall.  I'm also trying to increase my devotion to our mother, Mary, by saying the rosary each evening.  There are so many things, and people to pray for.  Earl and I were also invited to visit a parishioner we met @ her home near Belgrade.  So we went there for lunch one day in January.  Her husband was a neurosurgeaon, who passed away, last year, and she lives on a 260 acre place with a hermitage on it, which she runs, with the help of friends.  While serving lunch, we got to know each other, and she explained how she belongs to a lay Discalced Carmelite order, and asked us if we would like to join, too.  We were given the literature on it, and have read it over, and am praying about it.  It is a 3-5 year process, and would help draw us closer to our Lord, and Mary.  We also are getting more involved in church activites.  We both bring communion to the shut-ins @ Glen Oaks assisted living, and independent living facilites, the first Sunday of the month.  I signed up to be a reader, and Earl, a eucharist minister.  I also got involved in the planning of a "Mystery Tour" for our women's group.Once a week, I volunteer to help a mother of quadruples plus a 4 yr old son, with taking care of the babies, and helping with laundry.  There are 3 boys, and one girl.  It's fun to see them growing, and I enjoy it.After much debate, we decided not to replace the camper right now, if ever. Gas prices are increasing, we're not comfortable driving with it, and not sure how much we'd use it.  So we got new tires on the Envoy, and are ready to travel in the car.  Last week, after being sick of cold, below freezing temps, record snow falls, and being couped up in the house, we decided to go down to our resort in Spirit Lake, Ia, and enjoy some time away from home.  They had a "retired or not" retreat for four days, so we took part in it.  We met new people, played games, learned new card games, swam, and took the dogs for walks daily,  Nice and relaxing!  Earl has had a yen for Chinese food, so for Valentine's Day, we found a place in Spirit Lake, called Asian Palace, and had a wonderful dinner, and conversation.  My favorite phrase on love is: Love always protects, always trusts, always hope,always preserves.And now three remain[...]

Welcome, 2011!


Lord, help me to stay on the journey in search of you.
Help me when I am tired
Help me when I've lost my way.
Help me when the destination is not clear.
Help me when discouraging voices crowd out my hopes.
Lord, help me to stay on the journey with the sure knowledge
that you wait for me and are my final destination.  Amen

A new year!  A new start!  But isn't each day we are given a beginning?  Looking back over the past year,  there were many highs and lows, joys and sorrows, peace and turmoil.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  I have been given this day, and this day only.  I don't know the future, only now.  I leave my future in God's hands, as only He knows what His plans are for me. 
As many of us do each year, these are my resolutions:
Physically:  be healthy by good eating habits, exercise, losing 10% of my body weight
Spiritually:  start a prayer journal, daily readings of scripture, daily Mass, daily rosary
Financially:  To be completely out of debt this year, except for house                       
Goals:  To do all things with joy, even routine chores, to think of others before me, to enjoy travels with Earl, keep in touch with all my children, try to get all birthday gifts out on time, to always
be grateful for each day I am given, for family, and friends.

Noel, Noel!


Teach Us to Be PeacemakersGod of all creation, bring justice and peace to our world.Teach us to be peacemakers, Guide us in our pursuit of justice and the common good.Inspire us to welcome all, forgive all, and love all.Direct us as we walk in the shadow of Jesus;the way, the Truth, and the Life.Inspire us to percrive the world through your eyes,that we might find hope and joy each day.  AmenWe celebrated Christmas with half of the family this year, as the out-of-staters couldn't be with us physically, but always here in spirit.  Our theme this year was "Pajama Party".  I wanted a relaxed, fun, comfortable gathering, and if some of the ones could come next year, we'll do a country theme then.So, we all wore our pajamas, or comfort clothes, served appetizers, wings, turkey sandwiches, creme-filled cupcakes, cookies, rice krispie wreaths, fudge, punch.  Of course, there were games to be played, movies to watch, with popcorn, presents to be opened, and sleep overs.  Here are some photos:The stockings were hung by the fireplace with careThe Christmas tree was decorated, and the manger was displayedSanta arrived with gifts for the GortsNevie and Aidan are excited to see the many presentsFinally getting to open the presentsFamily gathering around the food in the kitchenThe Swansons, Lorrie announced she was carrying #4 at Thanksgiving, and is due July 14th.Grandchildren eating on the sunporch, all in their pj's.Liam enjoying his food, too.Courtney and Cassidy, part of the Viking cheerleadersSharyn, with Raquel, and CoryOpening giftsThe Pajama LeBonsLove the Gorts PJ'sGrandpa with spiderman sawyertrying to get a group picture of grandchildren, This is only half of them.The Swansons in their pj'sI love this picture of Nevie.Sharyn, and girlsGod created us as a family to be in relationship and communion with you and with one another.Help us to always reflect in our lives the same love that united the Holy Family.Teach us respect and appreciation for our dfferences, and make us one in you.  Amen.[...]

Fall & thanksgiving, 2010


You've blessed me with friendsand laughter and funWith rain that's as softas the light from the sun-You've blessed me with the starsto brighter each nightYou've given me helpto know wrong from rightYou've given me so muchplease, Lord, give me tooa heart that is alwaysGrateful to you.   Irish BlessingWe gathered here with the Swansons, Gorts, and Stutelbergs in spirit.  Sharyn ended up with tire problems, and couldn't make it to our house.  Actually, it was a nice size, instead of an overabundance of people.  I'm not complainning about that, but as our family increases, our house is getting smaller and smaller.right before Thanksgiving, we got to see Jonnie in his first orchestra concert.  He plays the base fiddle.  It's bigger than him.We also went to the dome twice to watch Courtney and Cassidy in play-offs for State Champions of soccer.They played hard, won the play offs, and now it was down to the last game for Champs.YES, They claimed the State Championship for the Elks Royals Hight School.  Cassidy paid a price for it,, though, by being hit in the upper stomach, defending the goal area, and ended up at Hennepin Co. Hospital by ambulance.  They thought she may have internal bleeding.  Thankfully, after doing an ultrasound, she didn't have any bleeding or broken bones, but a bruised liver, which was very painful. Good to see Raquel there with bf, Joe.Before Fall ended, I went up North to Nisswa with Ruth and Terri for a girlfriend weekend.  We stayed at Ruth's sister's cottage on Round Lake.  Beautiful views of the lake, shopping, relaxing, playing Farkle, drinking wine, and margiritas.  Ah, nice!Liam helped me get ready for all the company for Thanksgiving.Liam had a ball exploring the house, up and down the stairs, hundreds of times.  Poor Mom!Alaina helping by stuffing the celery.The Cousins!Ready to eat!Thanksgiving dinner![...]

Maryland Vacation, Sept-Oct., 2010


We were home for about a month when we packed up, this time with our camper, and two dogs, and headed back to Maryland.  Earl had his navy ship reunion in Alexandria, Va the end of September.  Sandie and Jim wanted to celebrate their anniversary by the ocean, but now with the children in their custody, they had a dilemna about who would take care of them.  Since we were coming out, I offered to come early in the month, and stay @ their place while they were gone.  It gave us a chance to get aquainted with my niece and nephew.  While there, we watched Mara ice-skate, for her lessons.  She is doing amazingly well, so much more than the last time we saw her in January.Mama Julie and Rose @ the rink.We had a picnic lunch after skating in the park nearby.We went the first saturday there, to Hampstead, with Kyle and Becky, to watch Analese, and Mara play soccer.  It was so cute watching them play.  Greg is an  assistant coach for the team. Taking a snack break.  It was a little cool but sunny that day.Rose is such a happy little clown,  she was such a delight to be around.Rose showing us her biking skills Mara playing in yardThey enjoyed being in the camper, and watching movies with us, and  reading books.Julie and I took Mara and Rose to the Baltimore Zoo, one day.  We had a picnic lunch, and walked around seeing the animals.A week after being there, we went to Alexandria for Earl's navy reunion.  We stayed at the Crown Plaza Hotel there, and had a beautiful view of the Potomac River from our room.  We met up with two couples we have made friends with over the last few reunions, and we enjoyed our time together.  Sandie and Jim gave us their Prius to use, instead of the truck, and with the GPS it was a breeze to find our way around Washington, DC and back.  The guys went to the Naval Museum in Washington via the subway, while the gals walked around Old Town Alexandria, visiting a farmer's market, and many shops there. It is a very nice area, with colonial style townhouses, and everyone walks around with their dogs, even into the stores.We then were back with the Bernhardts for another week, visiting my sister, Barb, and having lunch with siss, Sandie, Barb, and Ellen at our favorite lunch place in Eldersburg.  Barb and I also visited Mom and Dad's grave site, which is near there.Here is some photos of the fall colors we saw in Wisconsin on the way home:This is one trip we will always remember, not because of what we did in Maryland, but because of what happened on the way there, and on the return trip.  This was our first long trip with the camper, but we've gone 2 1/2 hrs. at a time, camping in Iowa, and up north in Minnesota.  Well it didn't bode well for us this time.  Our first mishap occurred on I-80 about an hour west of Chicago.  We blew the right back tire of the camper.  I mean really blew it.  Earl was driving, and pulled over quickly.  What we discovered is that it also blew a hole in the bottom of the camper, in the bathroom area, and did some damage to the pipes there.    Thankfully, we had a spare, and thought, glad it was on the passenger side, away from traffic.  Well, we got going again, and weren't but 50 miles down the road, when the left back camper tire blew.  No way Earl was going to attempt changing that tire, even if we had another spare, which we didn't.  It was 4:00 pm in the afternoon, outside of Chicago.  Traffic was horrific.  We ended up calling 911 for help.  Shortly, thereafter, a state trooper showed up.  After discussing it over with Earl, he decided to direct us off the interstate, to the nearest discount tire place.  Luckily, we w[...]

August and end of Summer, 2010


I start this blog on a very sad, and tragic note.  On Aug. 6th, my brother, Tom, died of a massive heart attack.He was the oldest of my four brothers, and ten years younger than me.  Two years prior, he had a heart attack, and was hospitalized for it, but walked out of the hospital before they could tests to determine how extensive it was.  He refused to go back for any check-ups, and had been experiencing symptoms of chest pain, and numbness down his left arm for weeks before the attack.  What was so tragic is that his son, Kyle, was with him in his garage when he collapsed.  Kyle is 16.  It is a memory he will always keep with him.  Tom and his ex-wife Cindy, are divorced, and since May, Tom has been awarded custody of his children, Kyle, and Becky-10.  The question was, who would take the children now?  Cindy has some mental issues, and an unhealthy life-style for the children.  Tom had been in court numerous times with Cindy over the children, and their care.  My sister, Sandie, had recently been helping Tom with court appearances, and such, and after talking it over with her husband, Jim, decided to take them in, and apply for temporary custody of them.So, a week later, Earl and I drove out to Maryland, where my brother, and siblings live, to attend his funeral.  We stayed @ my sis, Sandie's home.  We, along with my other three sisters, Barb, Ellen, and Deb, organized photos of Tom on pegboards, and Sandie and I agreed to speak about him @ the service.  Besides the talk, I sang a song for him accopella.  My nieces's husband also sang a song on his guitar.  My heart swelled with all the people who crowded in to the funeral home for the service.  Itt was nice for Kyle and Becky too, to see all his friends there.  His remains were cremated, and his older son, Justin, took them.That Sunday, Kyle turned 1, so Sandie had all the family over to celebrate it.  Before we left for home, my brother, Jim and Linda, had the family over for crabs.  Earl was in his glory!Brother, Mark and Mary    Sister, Ellen     Nephew, Sean Granddaughter, Rose               Sister, Deb [...]

The Summer of 2010, July


This is a wonderful summer here in MN.  getting lots of use of our pool, swimming each day, in the evening.  Birthdays seem to be increasing in this family as it grows.  Allison, -18. Nevie-5, Rose-2, Liam-1, Earl-66, Chris-40.  I can't keep up with them, as much as I try.  Our gardens are growing with flowers, and vegetables, and look pretty good this year.  I got to spend some one on one time with Alaina, thanks to her mom, by signing us up for a community ed class together.  We had a "Spa Day" together.  We painted our nails, made some facial stuff for our faces, made some bath crystals, tried hand lotions, and massaged them, and made a sign for our own retreat for do not disturb time.  We both had a good time together.  I loved it. Nevie is FIVE!I also was busy finishing another quilt for fellow retiree, Barb Prow, who worked on our floor for 35 yrs.  We share birthdays only a day apart.  No one was going to give her a quilt, as they couldn't find anyone willing to put  one together.  I felt she deserved one, too, so I volunteered.  Each co-worker made a square, with the theme of camping, and cats.  Joanne Versteeg offered to have a party @her home, so we all brought food, and had a nice time together.Funny thing is  she doesn't particularly like cats, and the quilt was full of them.  Oops!She also got fishing equipment from the staff.[...]

Ah, here comes June!


The end of school, warm breezes, smell of summer, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, visitors, trips.Let's start with Allison's graduation, from Willlmar Sr. High:The party started out drizzling, so all the festivities were held inside.  I gave her the quilt I made.  I think she likes it.Father's day was just beautiful, esp. with the arrival of the Bernhardt Family from Maryland.  Julie is celebrating her 20th H S reunion.  Where did the time go?  Life has a way of getting away from you.  So many changes, but such growth of our family.  I just smile, and thank God for blessing us with wonderful children, and awesome grandchildren.  We enjoyed the outdoors, kids running through the sprinklers, painting finger and toenails, and getting re-aquainted with their cousins.While they were here, we traveled to Walnut Grove, MN to see hwo Laura Ingalls family lived.  The girls have been reading  the Little House of the Prairie books, so were very interested in the site. We all had a great time, visiting the sod house, exploring the buildings, dressing up, seeing all the photos, and displays of the Ingalls family. The girls got prairie hats as mementos of their trip.While they were here, we roasted marshmellows on night @ the firepit in the backyard.We also spent a day @ the Spicer park, letting the girls play on the gym equipment.It was very hot in the sun.  The girls found a cooling mist to run through.They also went fishing at the lake, with Grandpa, and Daddy's help.Mara and her sister both caught may fish.  Jonnie, and Alaina, also came, and were lucky too.These are my favorite photos of their stay.Everytime I see this photo of the girls in their prairie hats, I crack up when I look @ Rose.Then, there's Earl!The end of June brought Birthday celebrations!  Alaina turned 12, and Sawyer turned 4.  Also, my niece, Kaylyn had her 2nd daughter, Emmaline, on June 28th.Nice to have three of the sisters together.Rose loved the lake, and all the kids had a ball swimming, play in the sand, and eating.  Games Lake is the perfect place for a gathering.  So peaceful, and not too crowded.  The day ended with rest, and sleep after a very busy day. [...]

Continuing in May. 2010


After our trip, I buckled down to finish a full sized quilt for our #2 granddaughter, Allison, who is graduating from high school next month.  During this month, she and two of her friends performed a piano concert @ Vinje Church in Willmar, and Earl and I, and Lorrie, represented the family, and listened to her performance.  What a wonderful talent she has, and we were so proud of her recital.   It was so enjoyable.  We stayed for cookies, and punch afterwards, and met her piano teacher.  Chries's sister-in-law, Lynn, recorded it for the family back in Colorado.Mother's Day with Lorrie.The end of May, Chris and the family arrived in Minnesota, to plan, and prepare for Alli's graduation.  They stayed @ Chuck's sister's home in Willmar.  That's also where the graduation party would be.  Memorial Day we got together with the family, and their friends, the Gundersons @ Green Lake in Spicer, for a picnic, and swimming.[...]

April-May, 2010


The end of April took Earl and I traveling south. First, we planned a weekend in Brandon, Mo. for the annual wine festival, they have.  We were invited to go with Steve and Kory, and stay @ their time-share condo.  We decided to take our time, so stayed overnight in Kansas City @ a motel for one night before arriving in Brandon.The Wine Festival was held @ The Chateau Hotel, on a hill, overlooking a lake.  It had a waterfall, and huge tree in the middle of the lounge area.  We were given complimentary wine glasses to keep, and used them to taste all kinds of wines from different wineries.  They also had beer tasting, too.  It was also Veterans weekend, and many disabled vets were @ the festival.  Earl make some friends there, and enjoyed talking with many of them.  Also, Andy Williams made a appearance, promoting his new book, "Wine and Roses."We all had a goood time tasting, and tasting and tasting, and snacking.Then, we visited downtown Branson.There is all kinds of shops to browse in, and a beautiful fountain, and flower arrangements to view.  We got caught in a brief rainshower while thereWe then decided to go visit a local winery in town, that gave tours of how their wine is made, so we headed there, and tasted some more wine. While on the way there, a storm came up, and this rainbow, followed.Fun @ the Winery!We were getting along so well, that we decided to continue our trip by going down to Arizona.Earl and Steve took turns driving thru Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and finally Arizona.Some of the views we saw on the way!These are the condos we stayed @ in Sedona, AZ.  The views were breathtaking.Our condos were beautiful.  We each had our own bedroom with shower and whirlpool tubs, a shared living room, and dining area, and kitdhen, washer and dryer, and two patios off our bedrooms.  There was a community pool and spa, and many walking paths, which we used to see the area.  The weather was great, in the 70's, and sunny most days.  We also visited downtown Sedona, and an old mining town up in the elevation of 5200 fr. called Jerome.We started to feel some tension while @ the condosos, some of it our fault, some theirs, but we shugged it off as different ways of doing things.  Also, we had some financial issues, and for a while, were short of cash, which added to the tension.  I esp. felt so bad for Earl, when he had planned to treat his brother to dinner, and we found out there wasn't sufficient funds to cover it.  How humiliating.  It took a few days to get that straightened out.  We tried to make up for it by paying for groceries, and gas.  The problem seemed to grow as the trip ended, because there was no communication between us as to what was the problem.                     Sedona was truly a beautiful place.We stayed a week, heard about dust storms so bad north of us that the highways were closed briefly.  We decided to head up thru Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota home.As we were going through Colrado, we called Chris, and asked her if she could meet us for lunch, as it would be too far, and too late to drive to her house.  We found a place just outside of Denver, where we met, along with Mitch, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch.  It was so great to see them.We ended our trip with Steve and Kory on a sour note.  He was angry with us about ??who knows, for sure, 'cause he never spoke to us the rest of the way home, not even to say good-bye.  What a way to end a wonder[...]

Retirement Party


This was funny!  I'm at the YMCA working out, and ran into a former co-worker, Shannon Behm, who congratulated me on retiring, and says to me, I'm sorry I wont be able to be at your retirment party tonight.  I say to her, What party?  She says, Your party...didn't you know about it?  Me, NO.  her, Well, I'm sure it's tonight @ the Green Mill,  Me, What time?  5:00 pm.  Well nobody called and told me.  Good thing I ran into you.  So I ran home, dressed, and drove into Willmar, right past the Green Mill, without thinking, heading for the former Blue Heron( we had other parties there). I pulled into the parking lot, which is empty, thinking, I'm the first one here, or no one is coming to my party.  I sit in the car for a minute or two, then realize I'm at the wrong restaurant, and proceed to Green Mill.  I arrive, my friends are waiting, and I tell them about how I found out about the party.  We all laughed about it.  It turned out Diane Johnson forgot to call me and confirm the date and location with me.Above is Joanne Versteeg, Bev Marcus, and Becky ReiterMore of my former co-workers, and some previous retireesVi Ceske, and Char AdamsBarb Miller, Vicki Anderson, Gayle RehnsPat Radabaugh, Jan Maxfield, Vonnie Feistner, Betsy JasperI only had one glass of wine!On the left the quilt made by the staff, and on the right, the one Carolyn Fiskness madewhich I thought was the staff quilt.  I was totally surprised by having two quilts.Jan and Carolyn holding up one of the quiltsI received many nice gifts, and really enjoyed the party.[...]

Easter, 2010


Lorrie and Danielle with their families came here to celebrate Easter togetherThey filled the eggs with candy and color-coded them for each child to find their own colored egg.That worked out perfectly.  Luckily, we had a nice warm day.Caught Liam smiling!Nevie, Liam, AidanWhile the grandchildren looked for eggs, Liam examined a leaf in the grass.Nevie looking for pink eggsSawyer finding his orange eggThe hunt is on!The CousinsJon, Sawyer, and AlainaTrying to get a good family photo of the GortsJon and Earl enjoying the egg hunt with the children[...]

Winter to Spring


After returning home from Maryland, we embraced the indoors, and the bitter cold again.  Couldn't wait for winter to be over.  Then one day I decided to go to a talk about Heart Health, and meet the new cardiologist in Willmar who was speaking @ St Mary's Church.  This was in the middle of February.  He was very personable, and towards the end of his speech, opened it up to questions.  I decided to tell him about the symptoms I was experiencing since December.  I had three episodes of heartburn, and jaw pain with it.  He approached me afterwards, and said he would like to see me as soon as possible, and have a stress test done.  So two days later, I had the test done.  It was abnormal, and he suggested I have another cardiac catherization done .  So the following week, on Feb. 26, I was up in St. Cloud Hospital, with a overnight bag packed just in case , and had the catherization done.  Yes, I stayed overnight, due to the fact that I had two stents put in.  One was at the same location as my first stent(less than 2 yrs. ago), which was clotting off, and another below that, which was 80% blocked.  Following this, I started cardiac rehab for 18 sessions, did well, and was determined to change my eating and exercise habits.  Much of what has happened is genetic, but I feel better doing what I am able to control for myself. [...]

Beginning A New Year-2010!


As soon as our Christmas guests left for home, we also hurried home to pack for our surprise trip to Maryland, to get there in time for the McArthur Churistmas party @ my brother Jim's house on Saturday, Jan 3rd.  So here it was the Wednesday before.  We packed, sent Mahlee to the kennel, closed up the house, took Mac with us and drove two days to get to my sister Ellen's house the day before the party.  Here, then, are some highlights of our trip. Everyone was totally surprised that Earl and I were there.  It was so nice to see the family, esp. the granddaughters.  I had a really great time with all.We spent a few days with Ellen, then visited Julie and family.We played many games, and read many stories.  They loved to have Grandpa read to them.We also watched Analese ice-skating.  She's a natural.Of course, Mara also wanted to learn to skate.  Here she is for her 1st lesson.It didn't take long, with a little help @ first from Daddy, for Mara to skate on her own. Another natural!Here's some photos of Rose:  Opening her stocking, and seeing her Irish ornamentRose with her Irish blanketPlaying with her kitchen setWe also were there to celebrate Mara's 4th birthday before we had to leave for home.We also went to my sister Barb's house, for an overnight party with sisters Ellen, and Sandie, nieces Kara, and Sarah, and nephew Travis, and played board games, and laughed, and ate.  We stayed for a few days in their family room.  Earl helped set up their new 42" LCD TV, and enjoyed watching TV.  Finally, after celebrating for 3 weeks, it was time to leave for home.  We really lucked out with fairly good weather both going and coming home, before the Marylanders got 3 feet of snow, and another 2 ft. later.  It was in the 40-50's while we were there.  It was a great retirement trip.  Unfortunately, we had the bitter cold temps return to Minnesota after we got home.  All my plants survived, as did Mahlee.[...]

Our Irish Christmas


Our Christmas in Photos:Christmas morn with Luci waking up and ready to open her gifts.  Later, she is all dressed upLuci opening stocking, Grandmas made for herLuci opening giftsThe Cousins eating together.  The Menu:  Ham, Turkey, Potato-Crab Chowder, Irish Soda Bread, sweet potatoes, Corn, Lime Sherbert Punch.  Irish cookies.Everyone enjoyed the meal.Ashley opening Irish ornament given to each grandchild                                                          Chris fixing punchJon, Phil, Allison, ChuckLuci with Jonnie & MitchPlaying "Hot Potato"                                The "Hulk" Sawyer helping with punch                                                  Nevie with her gift                                                                                                                              Luci with Irish FluteAll gathered in family room to watch home videosAidan loves the fluteCassidy and Courtney opening their giftsDanielle opening Liam's giftsTanner, Cassidy, Courtney[...]

December, 2009


As you can see, I'm waaaay behind on my blogging.  So here goes December:  It began with work, work, work, as I tried to finish getting all my shifts in before retiring...What, you say!  Yes, I'm retiring!!!  After much comtemplation, I decided this was the time to do it.  Exact date was originally the first weekend in December, but later I felt it would be better to continue to work til the middle of the month, to make paychecks through the end of the year, and have my pension start in January.  So on December 15th, I worked my last shift on OB with my co-workers of 28 yrs. with a pizza party to celebrate it.  Earl happened to be working too as a patient sitter, so we got to go home together that night.  Of course, it was emotional, and despite my efforts, the tears flowed freely as I walked to my locker for the last time.Two days later, my hospital retirement party was scheduled, and all  the hospital personnel came to wish me good luck, along with snacking on Special K bars, coffee, and punch.  Charlene Adams, and Carolyn Fiskness, two special friends, who had already retired, came to help serve, along with Wendy and Jan, our unit managers.  I received many wonderful gifts, hugs, and good wishes, laughs, and tears. My husband, Earl, my daughter Lorrie, and grandson Sawyer were able to be there, too.  Of course, the day wouldn't have been complete without some incident occuring...Sawyer ran off, and we had the whole hospital looking for him.  Happily, he was found upstairs, running around without a care in the world.  Unfortunately, many of the staff couldn't be down to see me, as OB was very hectic @ the time.  My favorite gift was a quilt that Carolyn made with prints of nurses on was beautiful.  As I was packing everything up, I noticed a Norwood Pine tree, decorated with tiny Christmas balls, sitting on the table with the gifts.  I left it there, thinking it was just a table decoration provided by the hospital.  The next day I got a call from the hospital, asking me when I would be picking up that pine tree.  I guess it was a gift given to me, but by whom???   The following day it was major house-cleaning, as we were hosting Christmas, and all the children and grandchildren would be here, except for my daughter Julie from Maryland.  I also had to make plans for our theme of an Irish Christmas, and decide on food, and customs, with the help of my daughters, and get last minute gifts, and baking done.  The following Wednesday, Earl and I drove to the cities to pick up our son, Adam, his wife Maja, and their little daughter, Luci.  It was wonderful to see them, and have them stay with us for a week.  Luci was such a delight, and such a little talker, once she warmed up to us.  We all went to Christmas Eve Mass, as I was singing in the choir, and afterwards, showed Luci the nativity set behind the altar.  We had lasagna for dinner, then tried to get Luci to sleep.  We had borrowed a port-a-crib from my friend, Ruth, who out of the goodness of her heart, had driven to her office to pick it up.  At first Luci wanted to sleep in it, then, she cried to sleep in the big boy's bed, which is the bottom bunk bed in the bedroom, but finally she settled down in the crib.  Adam and Maja then got busy wrapping up her gifts, while I got ready for Christmas the next day. So begins Christmas Day:[...]

The Holidays and Wrap-Up of 2009


What a whirlwind of activity November and December was.  So much celebrations, so much change. It's taken me til now to sit and absorb it all, and try to write down what all took place.  Let's start with photos, OK?Raquel brought Joe to celebrateGals checking out their photos .Sweet Cassidy and Courtney!Liam is such a happy, contented baby! What a joy to see Raquel!  Thanksgiving @ our home. [...]



Best weather we've had all summer!  Earl and I even got some biking in, and camping the end of August up north to Cass Lake with some friends.  It was the perfect week!  And beautiful campground!What a perfect week, and we'd go there again in a minute! We celebrated Jonnie's 9th Birthday @ his house.  Lorrie made his cake.(Legos)  So clever!First time seeing Allison, after she moved back to Willmar to complete her senior year here.Sawyer helping Jonnie open gifts.[...]

Seasons come and go!


Time for blogging again.  The summer came and went,  what summer, you ask? did you do anything this summer of 2009?  Not the best summer weather, only few really warm hot days, kind of a bummer.  But always a busy one, where days fly by, and you wonder where it went, and you're looking @ fall, and know that will soon be over.  and you ask, where did that go?A wrap-up of summer  then:  My annual physical showed no surprises, all is well, no new symptoms of heart disease, acc. to my cardiologist.  I met several times with fellow nurses who are retired for coffee, and caught up with all their lives, spent one day with Terri and Ruth, for lunch and shopping spree in St. Cloud, visiting a new place "The Depot", which has some very neat stuff in it.  Reminds me of the Cracker Barrels store.  Celebrated Alaina's birthday @ Games Lake, @ a pavillion, and let the little ones swim.  I remember it was a beautiful evening. Earl worked thru the summer @ Walmart, and was glad to leave it behind in August. He had his 65th birthday this year, and so sorry to say, but there was no celebration done. The 26th of July, our 17th grandchild was born to Danielle and Shawn.  Liam Sidney Gort was 7lbs. 8ozs, and 19 3/4" long. We visited them right before our trip to Baltimore, on their back porch, among the grape vines, and apple trees.  What a precious baby boy.  Our trip to Baltimore followed that week, for Earl's ship re-union.  We met up with our navy friends from previous reunions, and took the train into the harbor, and Lexington Market, and had the best crabcake sandwiches made.  Then we arrived @ Julie and Greg's to celebrate all the girls birthdays @ a park, near their home.  Many family and friends were there.  It was hot, but thankfully, we had some shade and breezes to make it bearable.  We spent one day with my sister Ellen, and another, with Sandie, swam, played volleyball in the pool, and admired her new kitchen.  The week flew by.  Speaking of kitchens, we have been working on ours, a little at a time, as time and money have been available.  I'm so proud of having a husband who can do so many things around the house, and we have done all the work so far ourselves.Here's some photos of our summer:[...]