Fall 2013

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What I am MOST thankful for is that I have survived the last 2 days. Ok, I know that sounds slightly dramatic... However, there has been a lot riding on this trip. Part of the requirements for my training are 2 trips to the University of Alabama - Birmingham (UAB) for onsite testing and workshops. This trip included a standardized patient examination that is consistent with what is required for medical students and is "pass/fail." The outcome determines one's eligibility to begin residency training next semester. I completed my exam and written paperwork yesterday, but didn't get my results until today and yes, I passed! Thank you to all of my friends and family who prayed for me - I know God was listening. The stress associated with this was huge and I am really just "fried" tonight - feel like my brain is absolute mush. I think I will allow myself a little time to relax before starting to study for Tuesday's exam.

It was wonderful to see the friends/fellow students who are in this program with me. I met many of them last November when I was in Birmingham for the first time. Having the opportunity to visit reinforced that we are all feeling stressed and overwhelmed with school. We were able to offer each other some much needed moral support before saying farewell this afternoon.

I've stayed in the same bed and breakfast both trips and I am thankful for the comfort and hospitality at Cobb Lane B&B. I stayed in the Periwinkle Room this time and it really was a haven for me at the end of the day.

I'm looking forward to flying back to Minnesota tomorrow morning - haven't seen my hubby and kitties since Monday night. Besides, a girl with hair as straight and fine as mine is just doesn't do well in this southern humidity - lol!! Even maximum hold hairspray was no help!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Just a quick note - I have finished the first part of my standardized patient exam and passed - whew!! I am so appreciative of all your thoughts and prayers - I know they helped! Will find out how I did on the second part tomorrow. It was a nerve-wracking afternoon, but I can breathe a little easier now. I'll post more soon.

Melanie in AL

Melanie is in Alabama for school now. She has a big test coming up and is very nervous about it. I know she will do fine, but she is asking for your prayers on this one.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

flyin meeting

Tonight I had a meeting for our Fly-in. (our fly-in is when we have people fly their small airplane to the Cherry Grove Air Park). On a good year we get about 800 people and more than 80 small airplanes and ultralights. We gave people the duties they will have this year and I will be telling people where to park their planes. After the meeting I got to fly for a while. I had a great time. It was only my second time flying this year. You can see the web site at http://www.theflyin.com/

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sweet Saturday and some pics

It has been a really nice day! Mark and I had planned to go to the cabin, but I was really feeling like I had too much to do at home. I had an appointment this morning that I didn't feel like I could cancel so we decided we will go next weekend.

As we sat in the hot tub, about 6 blue jays flew into the back yard. I've never seen that many together at once. Here is a female sitting on top of the bird feeder on our deck.

This afternoon, we drove to Harmony, Minnesota to look for some furniture to replace a few items we lost a couple of years ago during the flooding. I wanted to go to an Amish furniture store that I like and Mark wanted to visit an Amish furniture maker who made some beautiful pieces for our family room. We spent a lazy afternoon, enjoying the time together, trying to decide what we wanted. The photo below is the "sofa table" that we came home with - if you look closely, you can see Vivien hiding behind the African violet on the right.

As I was downloading the pics from my camera to the computer, I came across a couple others to share with you. The first is Mark as the "World's Largest Munchkin and Proud Member of the Lollipop Guild." You may remember this from the Wizard of Oz. Mark won "Best Costume" at our town's annual Festival in the Park Belly Flop Contest last year. Life with parents like us will not be boring or mundane, that's for sure!

And here's a picture of our motorhome. It spends summers at the cabin so that we have a hot shower and guest house for anyone that would like to visit. We love to have company!!

So... my day was not very productive. I'm trying to get ready to leave for Birmingham, AL on Tuesday morning (a big part of my reason for hesitating to go to the cabin) and have a lot of studying that I need to get done in the meantime. My intent was to stay home and be productive today. Oh, well. Instead, I had a wonderful time with my terrific hubby! I'll be more disciplined tomorrow - lol!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday

A couple things came to mind today as I was considering what to post about.

1. My SIL - Cheryl who recently came to visit. This is Bob's sister and we have remained close. She lives in California and just spent a couple weeks back here in Minnesota. It was nice to spend some time with her.

2. My clinical site - I wrapped up my second semester of NP clinical hours this week. I have been working with several physicians in Fairmont (about 2 hours from here). Perry is the "mid-level" (NP/PA) supervisor and he coordinates my clinical time. When I first contacted him last year he said, "Yes, we can work with you and you will be amazed by how flexible we are." It was so encouraging to hear those words! The nurses that I work with are AWESOME, especially Caroline, Donna, Judy, Monica, and Stephanie - they have allowed me to get to know them and become part of the team. The providers that I work with have also been great. One in particular is a wonderful educator and mentor. He challenges me to learn and think while reminding me of the importance of developing relationships with the patient/family. I know that I will be a better NP because of the time that I have spent working with the whole group. I am very thankful for their willingness to precept a "green" student!

3. The chance to adopt - What more can I say about that? Mark and I are appreciative of this journey that we are on - and look forward to the day we will become parents. It is a privilege to have this opportunity.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just a quick note

Things have been so hectic over the last couple weeks and it doesn't seem like they will slow down in the next couple either. Sometimes I long for a quiet, calm life. However, the truth is that some part of me tends to thrive on chaos. Oh, well.

Recently, I posted about my wonderful co-worker Sara whose husband has been battling cancer and asked for your prayers. Today, DJ lost that battle. My heart is aching for Sara and their 4 children. I would not wish this journey on ANYONE! I ask again for your prayers as this young family faces life without their husband and father.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working behind the scenes

I've blogged before about how God works behind the scenes and sees the big picture even when we can't possibly know what it's all about. Here is a story that will touch your hearts and remind you that He is in control! I know that our adoption is in His hands even as we hold our little one only in our hearts right now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friendly Friday (one day late)

Ok this is a day late, but Friendly Friday is here. I would like to say Brad Strain is on my list of great friends. He was my best man for our wedding. I have been friends with Brad for 30 years. Brad will also be doing an interview on our behalf for the adoption .

For Melanie she would like to say Denise and Guy Whipple are on the her long list of best friends. I have known them for about 4 years. Denise was one of the first people to be at Melanie's side when Bob had his accident. They will also be talking with Becky for us.

Update, I was told by Melanie that the Freemans are also talking with Becky for us. We has dinner with them on Sunday night. The Freemans are great freinds. If you are friends with them you know they can cheer you up after the worst day just by the way they look at life.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Weeding - Ok, truth be told... I'm really not thankful for weeding, but more for what it represents. This morning after my walk, I wandered out into our backyard to pick some raspberries. Along the back of our yard, we have a bed that eventually will be filled with strawberry plants. Right now, it is FULL of weeds (thanks to some great "compost" from my dad's cattle). I decided I was going to start cleaning out the weed bed. There were dandelions, stinging nettle, thistles, and an endless variety of others. As I was working, it occurred to me that "weeding" is much like how God works in us. Unkind thoughts and actions are like the nettle, stinging those that reach out to touch them. Thistles can be the anger, resentment, jealousy that we harbor inside while presenting the flower to the world. The weeds become a tangle in our hearts and take over our entire being. If you have ever pulled weeds, you know that you have to take your time and pull out the entire root or they will just regrow. It is a ongoing process, even when we think that there are no more weeds, new growth pops up. It's easy to become discouraged and give up. Thankfully, God patiently untangles our hearts and souls, reaching out to the root of our hurts to heal them, cleaning our "weed bed" clean so that He can plant beauty there instead. He nourishes us and provides the "Sonshine" to help us grow - perhaps so that we can share that beauty with the world around us. He never gives up, but is diligently working within our hearts. This is probably not a novel concept and others have perhaps written very similar thoughts, but I am thankful that God put this in my heart this morning. I am even more touched that He loves me enough to be committed to that continous "weeding" of my heart and soul.

2. The fair - Our county fair is going on this week. This morning's walk took me past the fairgrounds and the smells from the cattle and horse barns brought back many wonderful memories. Growing up on a dairy farm, my childhood was filled with 4-H and FFA activities. I showed cattle in many arenas throughout the state. I loved visiting with the people who wandered through the barns, showing off my treasured pets (hmmm - may have to look for a picture to post), and of course, the yummy fair food. Another one of my fair favorites is the demolition derby (yes, I know... a testament to my redneck side)! So, I am looking forward to Saturday when I can enjoy some cheese curds, perhaps a milkshake, and choose the best car to cheer on in the dd (I bet you didn't know that I have a pretty good track record in picking the winner - lol)!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This Friday we have a meeting with Becky again as part of our home study. We will let you know how it turns out. I have no doubt Melanie will offset any bad stuff I have to say.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I want to start by saying I have the best wife ever. Well she got me a new pick-up a few years ago (ok it was new to me and very used and somewhat in rough shape.) It was a $500 birthday gift. When we got this it had some minor suspension problems. The shocks were shot, and it had a bad leaf spring on the back left. Today I finally got that fixed. It doubled the value of my pickup. I still love that pile of junk, it runs well and I don't need to worry about scratching or denting it. Now that it is fixed it is just what I want.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Please pray

On Tuesday, I posted about several people I care about who are going through major life stress. At that time, this was not even on my radar screen but today my heart is breaking for one of my co-workers who is one of the sweetest people I know.

Sara's husband DJ has been battling cancer for about 2 years now. He has been undergoing chemo and radiation, fighting bravely but just found out that it is not working - he has been given a prognosis of about 2 weeks. They have 4 young children who will be without their daddy and a very special woman will be without her cherished husband.

Throughout DJ's battle with cancer, I have never seen Sara be anything but compassionate and kind towards others. Please pray for this family as they face a situation that is unfathomable for most of us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Yep - it's that time again!

1. First of all this week, I am thankful for Mark. Yes, I know I am thankful for him almost every week. My reasons to be thankful for him change, though. As I listen to others interact with their spouses or complain about how their spouse treats them - I know that I have much to be thankful for. I have never felt belittled or disrespected by my wonderful husband, I think we really value each other as people. Even when there are things that we have differing opinions about, he encourages me to share my opinions and takes them into consideration. We almost always come to a compromise we can both agree on. He is considerate of my feelings - even though he is a "guy" and doesn't quite get the "emotional" component of being a female. Bottom line - I think he is terrific!

2. Next, I am thankful for my co-worker and friend, Jo. She actually deserves dual listing on Thankful Thursday and Fabulous Friend Friday, but since Thursday comes first... she is here today. Jo and I share an office (actually, it's more of a closet) and she makes coming to work fun. She listens when I need to vent, encourages me, shares joys and sorrow. She is a tender hearted, compassionate person who is the epitome of caring - not only to humans, but animals as well. Jo has a beautiful laugh and a beautiful soul and I am glad she is part of my life.

3. I'm also thankful for getaways. As Mark posted about earlier this week, we spend last weekend in northern Minnesota with Betsy (Mark's sister) and Tim (Betsy's boyfriend). The weather was beautiful, we got to ride the 4-wheelers a little bit, enjoy nature (although I could have skipped the bugs), and watch some great fireworks. Plus, we were able to stay in a beautiful log home. It was a nice trip - in spite of the tire issues on the way home which reminds me...

4. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers and God's protection. The first time that our trailer tire blew, we were just past an exit ramp so Mark was able to back up and get off the road easily. When it blew for the second time, he was able to pull off the highway on a county road. A sheriff's deputy stopped to check if we were all right. Because of everything we had on the trailer (4-wheelers, dirt bike, generator), we knew we couldn't leave the trailer sit where it was overnight. So, we got everything moved to a nearby farm where they were kind enough to let our things sit until Mark could get a new tire Monday morning. It was much appreciated! With all the holiday traffic on our way home, both incidents could have resulted in an unsafe situation. So, I am thankful that God kept us safe!

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let us love one another, for love is of God

A while ago, a wonderful friend and mentor reminded me of the importance of caring about others and looking beyond the surface. It is summed up in a great quote from Plato, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Life is not always sunshine and flowers. Some days are hard, others may be even harder. As we interact with others, they may not be comfortable sharing their stress, sorrow, heartaches, etc. with us. Depending on circumstances, our initial impression may be a negative one and we may rush to judgement about that person. Next time you are in that situation, slow down for a minute and stop to consider... The angry, cold, impatient (feel free to fill in the blank) person that you see may: have a loved one diagnosed with a life altering medical condition, find themselves being abused by someone that promised to love and cherish them, have lost their job (or home, spouse, child, parent, you name it), whatever the circumstance are that make getting through the day nearly impossible.

It's easy to pray for someone we know and care about. But, I believe God challenges us to pray and reach out past our comfort zone as well. Compassion is something we can all practice. I'm often guilty of that knee-jerk reaction to someone else's "rudeness," without considering that they may have more on their plate than they can possibly handle. My challenge is to respond in kindness instead of "in-kind." Maybe I can ease someone's burden just a little bit by showing them that someone cares. Will you join me in this challenge?

Several people I know are dealing with some major life stress right now. Because I respect their privacy, I can only ask that you include them in your prayers in a generic manner. God will know who they are!

On a more upbeat note, one of my co-workers brought her 4 day old baby boy (and 2 proud older sisters) to visit us today. Holding this little one was so sweet! I am looking forward to the day when Mark and I are able to hold our precious child for the first time. What a wonderful gift that will be!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The 4th of July weekend

Well the weekend started good, we got some stuff done around the house before going up north to my sisters boyfriends cabin. We got there around 5:30 or 6pm. We had a great time 4wheeling and visiting with Betsy (my sister) and Gavin (her son) Tim and John who would be her boyfriend and son. along with some of Tims family and friends. Tim got some great fireworks and set them off on Saturday night.

We came home Sunday morning. On the way home we had a tire blow out on the 4wheeler trailer. We got a new tire from Fleet Farm in Lino Lakes (40 miles from the trailer). We needed an 8 ply tire but they only had a 3 ply tire. We took it anyway, I thought it would get us home. Well I was wrong, the tire went out about 30 miles from home. The trailer and 4wheelers are in a farmers yard tonight and I will go get a good tire in the morning and fix it.

Posted by Mark

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Grandparents - The above picture is of us with Mark's family including Grandma Hansen on her 96th birthday (2 years ago). Mark is holding his nephew Gavin, his younger sister Betsy is on the left, older sister Sandy is on the right. Growing up I was quite close to my maternal grandparents. They were a strong influence in my life and I think that my passion for working with the elderly is a direct result of the time that I spent with them. My grandparents have been gone for quite a while now. When I joined Mark's family, I was blessed to gain 2 grandmothers - both beautiful, strong women. From what I've heard about Mark's grandfathers, they were also amazing men. Grandma Paulson passed away a couple of years ago, but Grandma Hansen is still with us. I'm hopeful that our child will be able to meet her. I'm thankful that our child(ren) will be blessed with terrific grandparents as well.
2. Consignment Stores - I am a bargain shopper. Paying full price for clothes and purses is something I avoid if possible. I want to look good and I like quality clothes, so why not take advantage of cheaper prices to afford better items (and more of them)? In addition, I can consign the things I don't want anymore. Then, I receive a check or credit to spend at the store. There is a plus size consignment store that I like to frequent. I dropped off some clothes this morning and picked up a couple "new to me" outfits as well.
3. Progress - Mark had his individual visit with our social worker on Monday. My visit was today. We talked about childhood, what activities we were involved in, what our upbringing was like, things we appreciated, things we want to do differently, values we want to teach our child. I can see where it is important for Becky (SW) to get to know us better and have a good idea of who we are and where we came from. Next, we meet as a couple again to talk about "us." We are making progress as we travel on this journey to build our family.
4. A break - I am off work this week. Due to the holiday, no clinicals either. It has been a wonderful, much needed breather for me! I've still had school and homework, but I've also been able to relax and enjoy time with my sweet hubby. I feel a little bit refreshed and rejuvinated - and very thankful for this time!!
What are you thankful for this Thursday? Those of you out there reading my blog are thankful for something, aren't you? I'd love to hear what it is!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Did you accept the challenge?

Today is the day!! Remember, I was challenging myself to give away all 10 of the cards I had printed out... I was excited to get my morning started, so here's how it went.

My first stop was at our local library where I donated a bag of books that I had already read. I put card #1 in the middle of one of the books. They were having a book sale today so it was perfect timing.

Next stop was our wonderful bakery, Otto's - I couldn't wait to get there. Last time I had stopped, Anne (the owner) had told me about a little IOU board she had for people who didn't have cash to pay for their goodies (Otto's doesn't accept debit cards). I had planned to pay for one of those IOU's and leave a card in it's place to give to that person when they came back to pay their bill. Unfortunately, they didn't have ANY IOU's today. So, I settled for buying a dozen donuts which Mark took to the local sheriff's office along with card #2. I know he wasn't thrilled about doing that so I really appreciated him being a good sport!

I headed for Mickey D's to pay for the person behind me. Murphy's Law - it's 11am and NO ONE is going through the drive through. I circled the parking lot twice before I noticed someone headed that way - quick got in line ahead of them. When I paid for my order and the person behind me, I asked the cashier to give them card #3. While I waited for my lemonade, it was fun to watch them looking at my car, trying to figure out if they knew me. And I was getting more pumped up about my challenge!

Our local dollar store was the next destination. My plan was to pick up balloon bouquets. As I was checking out, the cashier asked if I wanted to purchase a toy to donate to "Kids in Crisis" - a program that allows law enforcement to provide a stuffed animal to a child as part of their interaction in difficult situations. I requested that card #4 go with the toy and the cashier readily agreed!

On to deliver my balloon bouquets at the pediatric unit of our hospital. I explained my challenge to the unit secretary and asked that the 2 bouquets (and cards #5 and #6) be given to whichever children they thought most appropriate. She was thrilled to be part of the surprise and also loved the cards! While I was there, I left a bag of candy for the staff along with card #7 and thanked them for everything that they do in caring for sick children.

Oh, I was having fun! Being at the hospital triggered my next act. One of the staffing people I interact with recently found out that she was losing her job this month. Carol is such a nice person and has a beautiful soul. Well, she works from a location at the hospital so while I was there, I stopped at the gift shop - bought her a little thank you card and chocolate - leaving it on her desk to find with card #8.

After this, I needed to make a stop at the bookstore. As I was looking for a parking place, I saw 2 young adults on the corner - singing and playing guitar. Hmmm - another opportunity! They were packing up by the time I parked and walked up to them, but I still handed them a few dollars with card #9. They were so appreciative!

I had parked at the opposite end of the block from the bookstore for my last random act. Although I wasn't able to use card #10, I got out a handful of quarters (hoping I had enough)and walked down the block plugging change into all the parking meters that a car was setting at. Not surprisingly, I still had 3 quarters left at the end of the block. God always provides for our needs, doesn't He?

I spent very little money, but had the opportunity to touch quite a few people around me. It was a privilege for me to perform these Random Acts of Kindness and share them with you! I hope this will be a small step towards making these types of gestures part of my daily life. Now, I want to hear all about your random acts!!