Friday, December 10, 2010

The American Express “Season of Surprises” Promotion

The American Express “Season of Surprises” Promotion

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Voted

I have to admit I had hoped the world would skip past this day and pretend it never existed. I was so in denial that I just wanted to put my fingers in my ears and not listen to anything about it. I am so discouraged by the state of our government and health care and all the other issues out there that make the platforms of our politicians. I even told someone I may not vote because is voting for the lesser of two (or three or four, etc.) evils better than not voting. I don't know.

But I got up today and took a drive through the country for about two miles to reach the Green Isle Town Hall. It is a little building off of the side of a farmer's property. As I got out of the car I was greeted by the scent of wood smoke. This building, as I recall, used to house the schoolchildren back in the day. It is a rectangular building with wood plank flooring and a working wood stove in the center to keep us voters warm. It's a quiet place with the judges sitting around discussing the goings on in the community. I don't know what it's used for in addition to election day. I received my ballot and was given the choice of one of four booths. Three of them are the usual stand up and color in the circle booths while the fourth is a modern scanner type machine that you just press on the screen to indicate your choice. I chose the modern machine as it was close and open and I could sit down. So I put my ballot in and made my choices while this machine made loud noises in the very quiet building.

In the end I did not pretend this day away. I did my civic duty in an old schoolhouse with a modern voting machine. And even though I am still discouraged by the state of our government, I remember The One who is in control and can "make all all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose." He is not discouraged and He is still on the throne.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

. * 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 birthday digital camera monogrammed gifts adirondack chairs Wednesday, September 22, 2010 HABA Dolls Carry Cot Re

HABA Dolls Carry Cot Review + Giveaway

This would make one two-year-old in our house very, very happy. She is quickly becoming in love with Barbies and setting them up in chairs by a table.



I love chicken. It's my most favorite meat. I would love to win this giveway from for some Tyson Any'tizers - THREE vouchers 10/18 from

I can taste them now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I'm going to come right out and say that this post may offend people and may make me appear judgmental. If it does, my intent is to protect children who aren't allowed to make their own choices or can't because they have not been born yet.

This video (can someone please teach me how to embed a link?) hits a very hot nerve that I have. I wonder if a mom is not willing to make the sacrifice of not drinking during pregnancy, what other areas might she not want to make a sacrifice once the child's born. I know that's a judgment statement but this is an innocent child we're talking about. Who protects it? Drinking during pregnancy causes brain damage. There is no question about it. The frequency of drinking and timeframe during pregnancy may differ the brain damage but it's still there. I am not out to bash moms. I'm out to protect children.

I have parented a child with suspected FASD and it is hard. I am an acquaintance of a mom who is parenting two children with FASD and her world has become so volatile she had to make her blog private. It is a sad day when parents cannot have a support system in place when parenting their child with FASD and believe me that her blog is a support system for families.

I realize the list is long of things to avoid during pregnancy but alcohol impairs the brain which is why we have drunk driving laws. Therefore if one or two drinks impair the brain of the adult to the point that they can't drive, what does it do when all that alcohol crosses the placenta and gets to a baby's tiny brain.

I have a friend who fostered a teen who drank all the time. She would go out on weekends and get riproaring drunk. She ended up giving birth to a baby who was missing body parts and ended up dying within minutes. Who was protecting that child?

The argument could be said that just like abortion, it's a mom's right to make her own choices. But when her choices affect someone else like an unborn child then that child needs to have a say in the matter. I've had an opinion about smoking around children that I've kept to myself as I have friends who have children and smoke. But I firmly believe that smoking in an enclosed area (car, home) where children are present should not be tolerated. Not all children are allowed to say that they want to step out of the car or leave the house if the parent is smoking. Again it's not intended for judgment on the part of the parent, just protection for the child. We've already decided to tell the parents how they may carry their kids in their cars? How is telling them not to smoke any different?

I'm very passionate about speaking for the rights of children. And I'm not talking rights to have a cellphone or some petty right like that. I'm talking the right to clean air. The right to a brain with all cells present at birth.

I'm sorry if my words offended anyone but I am not sorry that I said them. And now we'll see how many friends I have left after this post. So I better step down off my soapbox.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Going on With Jesus

Below you will find the devotional entry that birthed this blog. It is from My Utmost For His Highest. The thought that struck me was "It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations." It caused me to think of shucking off my worries and fears and the things I'm holding onto that won't matter in eternity. Such as, worrying that I don't spend enough time with Lilyana because I have to work, will that absence affect her in a way that will cause her emotional turbulance? The fear of not having enough money to keep our house. What do we do about the foreclosure notice? What is our next step? And am I holding onto this house because of the fear of the unknown and/or the fear of what people might say?

I need to figure out how to make the time I spend with Lilyana as worry free and fear free as possible so that she's getting all of me at that time and knowing she is my focus.

I need to seek God's guidance for the answer to the house circumstance. How is/will He enginer our house circumstance and I best be ready to go on with Jesus no matter what.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scrapbook, the Bible and my pantry

I finally finished (I think) the scrapbook for Lilyana's first year. If you're not my friend on FB here's a link to the finished product Hopefully there aren't any typos. Order is due by Tuesday. I wonder how many times I can proof it before I order it.

I've also decided to do the Bible in 90 days ( I need you to hold me accountable on this. Ask me every day how I'm doing. I've never read the Bible through cover to cover. I'm guessing in all my 44 plus years I've probably read most every verse at least once between Sunday School, VBS, BSF, Bible School and church services. I start with Genesis 1:1 through 16:16 tonight as soon as I finish listening to the weekly message.

Tuesday I start work on the pantry. My goal for Tuesday is to get it all emptied into an organized fashion. Then next weekend (Labor Day weekend) will wipe it clean, paint it, put some flooring material in and put some misc. shelving material up. The idea is to use materials that are available at our house right now so it won't be an expense for us. Wish me luck.

Have a good night and hopefully your week is blessed and positive.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nothing Will Separate Me From My Nap

Well, today didn't really go according to plan. The Plan was to get up around 9, get ready and head to Walmart in Hutch where there was a Dora the Explorer birthday bash with free cupcakes and pictures. Since I need to do more errands in Hutch I figured we could take advantage of that occasion even though I had images of children everywhere like ants crawling all over the place.

Well the first part of The Plan went awry when we slept until almost 10. After a very huge disappointment, breakfast, shower, finishing up lists, etc. we were headed off. The next part of The Altered Plan was when we were halfway to Glencoe and discovered we didn't have the diaper bag. So we turned around, picked up the diaper bag and headed back out. Finally we reached Hutch.

After walking through the store we found a stand where apparently the Dora occasion had been. No people only napkins, coupons for free photos and merchandise. We picked up a coupon and decided it was okay since Lilyana doesn't really know who Dora is so she wasn't disappointed. Because I was disorganized we walked back and forth across the store several times to get the things on my list. We finished our shopping and went to the checkout. When all was said and done we got more than $30 of merchandise for $.40 which doesn't include the mail-in rebates I have to send in.

Then we stopped at Subway for lunch. I usually get my sandwich with only bread, meat, cheese, lettuce and sauce. I decided to get a footlong to share with Lilyana and load up on vegetables since she will eat almost any vegetable. Dan was waiting my body to convulse watching them load up my sandwiches with veggies. We ate lunch and decided to change the diaper before we left. I went to take off with Lilyana while Dan cleaned up our lunch. But she wasn't having any of that. She's been very clingy since Dan's been back (all of 24 hours). Even when in Walmart she didn't want us to separate.

So we cleaned up lunch, discovered she had leaked and walked to the back of the store to use the family restroom all the time Dan carrying her with her wet shorts. Changing her diaper in a public restroom is a torturous experience. For some reason and from my knowledge no experience, she doesn't like the changing tables hanging off the wall. She will scream and grip to keep from having to lay on them. So it took both of us to change her. And we left Walmart.

We went to Menards, purchased $60 on merchandise with $30 in rebates and a grape sucker for Lilyana. (Yes, I know it's store credit but that's where we get our softener salt among other house repair items so it's just like cash anyway.) We were leaving Hutch about 2:30 (90 minutes past the beginning of nap time). Lilyana lasted until about 3 miles from home before she nodded off. We had thought that we could pull her out the van and and lay her down. She cried after Dan laid her down and we laid down for a little bit before deciding that she wasn't going to settle down. We finally put her in bed with us but she never did settle down.

So now we're up, relaxing a little and letting it cool down before doing some outside chores. Maybe when we're done watching Lyle the Kindly Viking (I know it should probably be underlined but I couldn't find the underline button).

If you've made it this far, congratulations, you really do love me to have read all that.

Oh, and the title, nothing will separate me from my nap tomorrow. I am very protective of nap time for both me and Lilyana. Since I didn't get one today I need one tomorrow since I have to work Monday.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Middle of the night thoughts

For some reason I can't sleep tonight. Maybe I don't want to sleep because I know in about 12 hours or so I'll be saying goodbye to my precious little girl for another week. I am sad about that even though I know she's in good hands. I will miss her terribly. Maybe I can't sleep because I'm not sure if I'll see my precious older daughter and grandson tomorrow. And if I do it won't be for long. Or maybe I can't sleep because of the unknown decision that will be made for our son.

Sometimes I feel like a failure as a parent. I have a daughter and grandson I don't get to see very often and wonder if I could have done things differently so that she would want to live closer than she does. I have a son, although not legally mine anymore, who is going through some trials right now and I cannot be there for him. And I have a toddler who I feel sad for sometimes that we are her parents. We are old and tired and wish that we could give her a better life.

It's going to be a long, lonely week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Fair and Fruity People

Lilyana and I made the maiden voyage for us to the Sibley County Fair. Today is the first day and they had rides for $1 tonight. It was nothing to write home about. I grew up in a small town with a county fair that was small but this gave small a new definition. As I walked around I looked to find a ride suitable for a toddler out of the six that were there. I saw the Kiddie Coaster and the rest seemed too fast for her. The lady at the ticket booth suggested she might be able to go on the swings. I firmly said no. I get sick on the swings. So after looking at all the animals I bought two tickets and she rode the Kiddie Coaster. She had a blast. The good thing was that we went early and so there was hardly anyone there. But the second time she went on the ride alone. We were ready to leave after about an hour.

After we left the fair we went to the store and I got about 8 pounds of grapes. We both love grapes and if we get sick of them we'll freeze them. We have quite a bit of fruit here in the house now. My mom sent a bunch of peaches back with me and I bought bananas earlier in the week. So we are fruity people.

By the way, I have plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes if anyone wants any. Just let me know.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Custody Weekend and Pickle Recipe

Dan left for California last Sunday and will be there for about a month helping his brother with his house. While he's gone I still have to go to work so my parents have been watching Lilyana on the days I work. I jokingly refer to the time I have her on the weekends as my custody time because we have to arrange pick up and drop off locations for her.

So I worked last week Tuesday through Friday. My parents were scheduled to bring her home on Saturday morning. I was in bed on Saturday when I heard the doorbell ring. Even though we have a doorbell, rarely does anyone ring it. They just knock and in our house, unless we're in the kitchen, we don' t hear knocking. So I was surprised and wondered if it was my parents or a friend of Dan's who does ring it. I deduced that it wasn't his friend based on the rhythm and as I was climbing the stairs I saw the time was 7:30 am so I knew it wasn't my parents. I get to the door, dressed only in a long t-shirt, and a man is standing there. I open the door a crack and he says that one of our barn cats has a jar on its head. So I thank him and go back and put pants on and go out and pull the cat out of the peanut butter container. The cat is fine and it's not the first time one of our cats has gotten something stuck on its head while trying to lick the last remnants out of a jar or can. We just don't have very smart cats.

My parents arrived about 10:45 am and we spent the day pulling weeds, picking vegetables and getting green beans ready for canning. Calsey arrived about 6:00 pm giving my parents about 30 minutes to visit with her. By the time everyone left and it was just Lilyana and me I was exhausted.

Tomorrow (Monday) I will meet my parents in New Prague and hand Lilyana off to them for another four days, thus ending my custody weekend.

Here's the pickle recipe from my mom with which I am preserving my tons of cucumbers.

6 cups cucumbers
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons salt

Mix the sugar, vinegar and salt together until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers. Pour into jars. They will keep for 9-12 months.

Friday, July 2, 2010


On our way to Zumbrota we stopped in New Prague for Dan to discuss some work with a potential client. He dropped Lilyana and I off at the park. As I looked around I realized I am a fish out of water. All I saw were latte drinking, cellphone toting, sun worshipping moms with kids dressed to the nines in playclothes. It got me realizing that I don't really fit into any group. I'm about 15 years old than most moms with toddlers. The moms my age have teenagers in youth group and I am no longer a youth group mom. And I am about 15 years younger than your average grandma. I guess I'll start a new group. Lazy moms who let their kids out of the house with their shirt on inside out. And, yes, I put the shirt on.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I had exactly 80 minutes of solitude tonight. We drove five hours from home to Bemidji, MN to attend part of the Oak Hills alumni weekend and visit my father-in-law. Lilyana was not a happy traveler this time. We were all ready to exit the van and not return to it until tomorrow morning. After checking in and eating Dan proceeded to the chapel and Lilyana to the nursery. I found my way back to our dorm room to work in solitude. I might actually get more work done in the next two days than I do at home. Dan brought Lilyana back at 8:20 and then left to reminisce with his fellow alumni (is that the plural?). So as I finished working, Lilyana is watching a Veggie Tales sing-a-long trying to follow with her finger the pea that is bouncing above the words.

Tomorrow morning I'll get another bout of solitude as Dan and Lilyana travel with Dan's brother, Floyd and their Uncle Lee to visit his dad in the assisted living facility he's currently in. Tomorrow afternoon is an open house to celebrate the retirement of Dan's mentor, Ken Wold, and then hopefully a little lake time for Lilyana before we head home.

And before I got, Lilyana has decided to try climbing up to the top bunk in our room. And she is doing a fine job as she always does with climbing. She managed to make it to the top by herself. I think some wading in the lake is in order.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Farewell to Chickens

Dan started a fire under a pot of water. My parents and niece Maria came to visit. All for the purpose of thinning our flock of chickens. We had 8 broilers that we nice and plump. So about 10:30 began the thinning. Dan and my dad played the part of executioners which mom and I dismembered. We were done with the cutting and first two washings by 12:30. Just in time for lunch of .... beef (hamburgers), potato wedges, fruit salad. After lunch was the final washing and sorting. We have 16 each of breasts, thighs and legs in the freezer. We have about 6-8 quarts of broth for soups, gravy, casseroles, etc. It felt good to get that done and have some chicken variety in our supplies.

After they left we decided to go for a walk. For some reason Lilyana will not go near the road without one of us holding her. So we came back and Dan finished up a bike he was working on for someone. Lilyana got bored watching him so she sat down in a puddle and started playing. Since she needed a bath I decided to let her. I did draw the line at her drinking out of the puddle. We finally went in and did the bath. She is now clean.

All in all a very good day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day 2010 was a working holiday. I worked midnight to about 5 am. I've gotten the strawberries weeded and even though they were transplanted just this spring there are small strawberries on them. I finished cleaning the kitchen and on to the dining room tonight. Dan tilled in between the plants in the garden.

We had a week reprieve from wiping Lilyana's nose and now it's at it again. Not sure what's going on with her. She also has a cough. But she's not lethargic, doesn't have a fever, doesn't have diarrhea and is eating and drinking as usual. So I don't really think there's anything to be done but wait it out.

I really need to get the pictures that we took on Saturday off the camera. I have one more day off of work and then I work two days and am off three after that. Next week is back to normal for working and wondering when the next round of layoffs will come. They seem to happen about once a month. There aren't too many people left to lay off.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

12 hours on a Saturday

In 12 hours on this Saturday we:

1. Drove into three states (only a few more miles and it would have been 4)
2. Drove past a sign for George 12 (hi dad)
3. Drove past the highest elevation point in Iowa at 1670 feet (it still seemed flat to me)
4. (I) had my first experience at being a road kill leaver (not a deer but some smaller animal -- hope it wasn't someone's dog, that would be horrible)
5. Met our grandson for the first time!!!

We had a great day even though we got a late start because Lilyana and I slept till 10 and got woken up by Dan. We only stopped once on each direction of the trip. Calsey looks great (within 5 pounds of her prepregnancy weight -- who does that???). She is a great mom, very attentive, protective and caring. We've seen real growth in her these last nine months and we are looking forward to seeing it continue as she nurtures Ayden.

We met her biological mom and her boyfriend and young son. They showed us some great hospitality and kindness. We are very grateful that Calsey has a great support system there especially as Tuan (Ayden's dad) gets ready to go through training this summer and deployment in November. The only thing better would be for her to live in MN.

We arrived home at 2 am because I wanted to spend as much time with Calsey and Ayden as I could knowing that leaving at 10 pm would be me driving as that is my time of the day. We'll see if we make it to church in 8 hours. Calsey was successful in giving me directions to the highway, something that didn't always happen in the past. YAY, Calsey!

Calsey, we love you, we miss you and we are so glad we were able to see you. You are doing a great job and you have great instincts. Listen to all the advice and use what you can and leave what you can't. I hope that you'll get a chance to visit soon as Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa need to see Ayden and there are oodles and oodles of other people who want to see you and him too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Reading

In case there's anyone out there near a Half Priced Books or Borders I just wanted to let you know about their summer reading programs.

Half Price Books is jumping on the summer reading program bandwagon with their Feed Your Brain program that runs from June 1-July 31.

Kids age 14 and under can earn a $3 Half Price Books shopping card for each week they read at least 15 minutes a day for 5 days. Just get a reading log at Half Price Books for each child or download and print your own.

At Borders kids ages 12 and under can get a free book this summer through the Borders Summer Reading Double-Dog Dare Program. Just have your child read 10 books of his/her choice and list the titles on the reading program form.

Barnes & Noble is hosting their summer reading program again this year. Kids grades 1-6 who read 8 books over the summer will be able to choose a free book from a select list of titles provided by Barnes & Noble.

I am fanatical about reading and wish there was a summer reading program for me. I will still read and read to Lilyana and participate in these programs for her even though it means a trip to the cities.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My new title

On Tuesday, May 18 at 6:13 I began a new chapter in my life giving me a new title: Grandma. Calsey gave birth to Ayden Jackson Minh Tran weighing 7.2 lbs and 19 inches long. He has a head of dark hair like his Vietnamese dad. Mom and baby are home and doing well. He has already gained 9 oz since coming home on Thursday. We plan to go down this weekend to see them. Anyone may call me Grandma as they wish and I will take that as a compliment and blessing.

Other items of note: Thursday, Friday and Saturday I struggled with migraines off and on. Finally on Sunday morning at 3 am I decided to go to the ER. It was that or have Dan drill a hole in my temple. So I drove myself to the ER and they gave me Toradol which didn't completely get rid of all the pain. I was also told that I could get a dose of Demerel but would need a ride home. I called Dan at least 50 times hoping that one of the rings would make it into his subconciousness. But that didn't happen. I then called a friend from work/church who lives in the same town and she graciously said she would come and get me. She said she had woken up at 3 am and not been able to get back to sleep and had just been wandering around her house wondering why she was awake. It was so that she would be awake at 4:30 to answer the phone and come and get me. What a great friend! I ended taking off the last half of day of work today because I was so tired I could barely stay awake. That many migraines in that few days plus drugs takes some time to recover.

There's not much else of note going on. We plodding on and plugging away.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Illusion or Delusion

Even though it's quite windy outside we spent quite a bit of time there. I decided to dust off my bike and the bike trailer to give Lilyana a ride. After hooking it up and airing up the tires, we were off down the road. As I was cranking through all the gears and really not doing a lot of work I was very impressed with how much better shape I was in this year than last. It was really easy going down the road. That self-admiration lasted about 60 seconds when two realizations came to me: 1. The wind was at my back and about 15 seconds later realization number two: it's going to be a rough ride back. So I rode to the end of the road (about 3/4 mile from home) turned around and began the ride home. When I realized I would probably be spinning in place and not going anywhere I gave up and walked the bike and toddler home.

Ahh, yes, thus begins my summer.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Years

When I woke up on this day two years ago I had no idea I would be meeting my baby daughter for the first time that day. I went in for my weekly ultrasound and doctor appointment at what I thought was 35 week and found myself checked into the hospital and hearing the doctor tell me "we're cutting at 5:00." At 5:10 pm he pulled a white, skinny, screaming baby from my abdomen. I got to touch her before she was whisked off to the heat lamp to be checked out by the pediatrician. After she was taken upstairs while I waited in recovery we discovered that she was about 7 weeks early, weighing in at 3 lb 12 oz. But as has been a consistent pattern with her, she needed less special treatment in the nursery than some of the other babies even though she was half their size. She spent five days in the hospital for observation and we took her home weighing 3 lb 14 oz. Since that day she has never been to the doctor because she was sick, having only a few colds along the way. She has been the light of our lives, brightener of our day and lover of life. She is the reason we get out of bed. God has blessed us with a miracle and we are grateful every day. Happy Birthday Lilyana. We love you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The week

I made it through another week of work, probably my last working Wednesday thru Saturday. I've changed my preferred schedule to work Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday but have not seen a schedule with those days yet.

Tomorrow I hope to take advantage of my day off and spend it wisely. I will spend as much of it as I can with Lilyana and the rest doing work outside if the weather permits. Monday morning after I head to work, Dan and Lilyana will head to my parents' to help them gather more wood for next winter. They should return on Tuesday night so that they're home Wednesday when I'm off again. Then I work Thursday and Friday to finish off my four days.

Next Saturday we celebrate the two years of life we've been blessed with so far with Lilyana. She is my joy and my heart burst with love for you to the point of tears. I am thankful to God for giving her to us at the right time when we needed a reason to get up in the morning.

Sometimes I feel sad for her that she was born to us for her parents. I feel like we are tired, old, worn out people and she deserves better than that. But I trust God's plan and believe that she is ours for this time to bring peace and joy back into our lives after many years of trauma and darkness.

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Weekend

Well, my weekend is almost over. Back to work tomorrow for another week. I'm not really looking forward to next week as my days off are Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. I will miss the last week of Bible study.

We've had quite a busy "weekend." We spent a lot of time outside as the weather has been exceptional for April. Dan got the garden tilled; may not be the last tilling. We received some strawberries and onion sets from a friend so tomorrow he has to clean out the perennial bed for those to add to the rhubarb and chives.

Lilyana took a face plant last night while I was at Bible study. The spring horse finally snapped and she landed face first on the floor. Dan called me and said her nose and mouth were bleeding so I met him at the ER and got her checked out. She's fine. Just a scare for all of us. It has been her pacifier when she's tired or crabby. I guess we'll have to find a new one just like we did when we put away the swing and the exersaucer (or whatever it's called). Maybe the sit and spin can become her new pacifier. She never really got into the habit of a real pacifier. Probably because she likes to talk.

Have a blessed week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thistles, Earthworms and Obedience

Our church meets in an elementary school. So of course there is a playground on the property. We took Lilyana to the playground after church for fun. She climbed to the top of two big slides but wasn't brave enough to go down either one. When we decided to leave, she cried all the way to the van because she just wasn't ready to go yet.

After our nap we went outside. I decided it was time to dig up the thistles in the garden. So while Dan dug them out I took the dirt of and threw them in a wagon. Apparently having 20 cats does have a positive side. The dirt was full of worms. I picked a couple up and showed them to Lilyana and she took them from me, inspected them and placed them gently back on the ground. Hopefully we'll have a nice healthy garden this year.

On our property we have a back shed and a chicken house, among other buildings. These two buildings each have one corner that almost meet with about a two foot space in between. One night a few weeks ago Lilyana and Dan went through that space to the back pasture. Well, today she decided she wanted to do that again but we were busy in the garden. After several attempts to verbally keep her from going back there I decided to try the consequence thing. So I asked her if she wanted to go in the house. She said, "no." So I told her that if she went through there I would take her in the house. After teetering on the edge she successfully obeyed and moved away from that area. I was quite excited to have had probably the first successful "discipline/consequence" parenting experience with her. It sure brought back memories of the failed one with our other two kids.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Rich Family in Church

I saw this story on my friend Claudia's blog and wanted to share it here.

By Eddie Ogan

I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12,and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.

We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.

We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.

We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed--I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

Read more about Eddie at:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Good Sunday

After not sleeping at all last night we decided to go to early service today. Normally that is not something we do since it is very difficult for me to get up before 8 am and Lilyana normally doesn't wake up until 9 am. But we were all awake and went to early service.

After church we headed to Mankato as I wanted to go to a few places where I could practice my couponing. We stopped first at Michaels. I didn't get anything there, just did some browsing. Oh, I take that back. I bought a princess disney paddle ball for Lilyana for .54. Then we went on to Walgreens. I spent about $10 which included $4 in coupons. Next was Aldi where I purchased a pineapple and two bags of salad greens for under $3. Next on to Walmart. I got Calsey some mascara (free) and a Banquet family sized entree (free after rebate). Dan was the big spender with oil. Last but not least was Target. We had a $10 gift card from transferring a prescription and spent all but .30. That transaction included free toothpaste for Lilyana.

For a special treat we stopped at the merry go round in the mall. I went on it with Lilyana while Dan took pictures. She didn't want to hold on to the pole so she hung onto my fingers with a death grip. But she had a good time. We finally arrived home around 3:30 and Dan put her in bed as she had fallen asleep home.

On the ride home we drove by a levi keeping the water off the road. We saw where the water was above the road to LeSueur. We were going the opposite direction so it didn't keep us from our route. That was an alternate route for us since we couldn't go through Henderson which is at the bottom of the valley and has two roads flooded.

After we got home it was work, dinner, play outside. All in all it was a very nice Sunday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


So one of Lilyana's new bathtime games is laying on her stomach and drinking the water ... with or without soap, she is not picky. We gave her a bath tonight and she started by taking every toy, one at a time, out of the toy bucket and putting it in the tub. Then it was time to get undressed and put in the tub. As Dan was washing her hair she decided to stand up and stomp her feet to splash water. That is new and was not very much for Dan as he was getting water in his eyes. Then she picked up her cup to pour water but the toy she pours water into (it's a small plastic "amusement park" for small plastic animals where you can pour water into a cup and it will turn the wheel) isn't in the tub. She stands up, looks around and spots it. She then points to it and we get it and suction it to the tub wall for her. Now her bath is complete and ready to enjoy.

I wanted to get a picture but couldn't find the camera. It seems it's used to take pictures of engine parts, etc. as much as it is to take pictures of Lilyana.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching up

Well, it looks like it's been a while since I wrote anything. There hasn't been much of anything to write lately. We went to Zumbrota for the weekend and came back to a "lake" on the field to the north and a wet basement. The sump pump is acting up.

I went to Bible Study last night. I was pretty tired and angry. I had been with Lilyana all day alone and just needed a break. Then I got the van stuck. But the Bible study was about joy and remembering what God has done for us and finding joy in that. Perspective.

Calsey was home for a week. It was great to have her here even though we didn't see her much. She seemed happy to be here and our relationship seems to be really good.

I'm sorry this isn't very interesting. I'll try to get back into the groove and hopefully post something more interesting.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Something New

So my goal is to post something each day that I did or happened to us just to keep a running journal of every day from here on of Lilyana's life. I wish I'd started this from the day she was born. But at least she'll have this.

She and I did pretty much nothing today. Dan came home for lunch and I laid down for a nap before Lilyana. Dan had guitar lesson at 5:15 but he didn't come in in time for me to take a shower for Bible study at 7 so I took one when he got home about 6:25. Needless to say I was late for Bible study. I didn't get home until 10:30 because I sat in the van and chatted with my friend Deb. Lilyana was already in bed but I think I must have woken her up when I came in the house. She started fussing and I went and picked her up. She was up until 11:30.

Nothing really exciting happened but at least this way I hope not to miss when something exciting happens. My uncle has always kept a record of things that happened every day so if someone wants to know the date of when something happened, we could always ask him.

Good night.

Title Explanation

I thought I'd explain how the title came to be. Right now in my life I feel like I am just hanging on by my fingernails. I have dug them in to keep me from falling and it is very painful. But I endure the pain for Lilyana. I will hang on as long as I can so that she has what she needs to be a successful adult. Sometimes a nail starts to break and I figure another way to keep it on. But there could come a day when I will not be able to endure the pain anymore and I will fall. I hope it is not at a point where she needs me most but I cannot predict it. Maybe at some point someone will come along and see me there and pull me up. But for right now I am hanging on ....

Tribute to Mothers

I wrote this post one morning when I was thinking about the roles of Calsey's moms in her life.

One of the definitions of mother according to is "something or someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over something else." How many people can say they have three women that meet that definition? Well, Calsey can. Let me tell you about her three mothers.

Cari is Calsey's biological mother. Cari gave Calsey the greatest gift ever -- LIFE. I think that meets the definition of exercising protection. Cari also taught Calsey to love children and learn how to take care of them as Calsey looked after her younger brothers and sister. Cari also taught Calsey to like many fruits and vegetables. Calsey is less picky about vegetables than I am. Thank you, Cari, for giving Calsey life and the things you taught her when she was in your care.

Shelley is Calsey's foster mom. She took Calsey in during the time when workers were looking for an adoptive home. Shelley treated Calsey like one of her own with love and chores. Shelley taught Calsey the beginnings of how to trust when Calsey divulged her deepest, darkest secret. Shelley grieved with her and comforted her. And Shelley was with Calsey when she had to tell others, encouraging her and helping her. Shelley was part of another greatest gift ever in Calsey's life -- NEW LIFE. Calsey gave her life to Jesus while in Shelley's care. Shelley bought Calsey a flute and Calsey has become a wonderful flutist. Shelley continued to encourage Calsey's love of children in her three year old daughter Kelsey and her houseful of day care kids. Shelley also showed Calsey what severe Reactive Attachment Disorder looks like in the form a foster daughter whose behavior was beyond out of control. Thank you, Shelley, for taking Calsey to church so she could find Jesus and for letting her take her flute with her when she moved out of your home.

I am Calsey's adoptive mom. In my care Calsey continued her relationship with Jesus by attending Sunday School, quizzing and youth group events. Calsey continued her flute playing and learned to play piano. She is very musically talented. Calsey also learned tap and jazz dance where she is also so very talented. Calsey learned that reading is fun and honed her swimming strokes. Calsey has experienced loss and handled it with grace.

During this time while Calsey is on her way to becoming a mother I wanted to help her by giving her some mothering definitions. Calsey is very blessed to have three mothers who love her and want her to succeed. She is a very special girl and God has some very special plans for her.

Calsey, your mothers love you and will be there for whenever you need us. We will always want the very best for you and your baby. I hope you can take the best of all your mothers and implement them in your mothering.

Thoughts on my first blog

Well, this is my first blog post and it's 2 am. We'll see how this turns out.

Thoughts on my mind include: financial struggle, sleepiness, getting along with my husband and the bible study I need to work on for Monday night.

I have been working really hard with doctors to figure out why I'm tired during the day and awake at night. So far the diagnosis has been depression after many bloods tests and scans to rule out other things. So even though I'm still sleepy during the day I have to go back to work full time this week. I work Wed thru Sat 10:30 am to 9 pm. Most of that is during my bad time. So prayers would be appreciated that I can gt this figured out. I'm considering taking Melatonin.

My husband and I have had disagreements lately about different things. They are very petty but one or the other of us has been in a mood to not be very tolerant of things said or done.

I have a bible study to attend Monday night but another pair of reading glasses bit the dust. Now I have to find the last one so I am able to finish doing the study. If I try it without the glasses I will have a headache.

That's about it for now. Gradually I will add posts that cover more about our lives and what has brought us to the point we're at now.