Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Seven Year Open-Heart Surgery Anniversary!

Seven years ago today, I was lying on a table in an operating room, with my heart (literally) in the hands of another person. Thankfully, he was a very skilled surgeon, so I got by with a mitral valve REPAIR, instead of a replacement. It was a definitely one of the scariest things I've ever had to go through in my life, but I also put my life in God's hands, and He brought me through it.I was trying to make these pictures as tasteful as possible, while still showing most of my scar. I belong to a wonderful online community, called A few years ago, someone on there, started a forum entitled "TOOTS", (The Order Of The Tawdry Shirt). They've been passing shirts around the world for everyone to take their scar pictures in, but I didn't want to wait for that. My husband has a few of his own "tawdry" shirts...which is why I took these pics in this one. I have posted them over on my heart valve site too.

You can see that the scar has faded somewhat over the years, but the one thing that's always bothered me, is that it's NOT straight, and it's NOT exactly in the middle of my chest. For that reason, I generally don't go around wearing anything very low-cut, but here it is, in all its glory.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bart The Wonder Dog just ran out of Lives

Back in January, I posted about my daughter's Corgi, Bart, miraculously surviving being hit by a car on the road. After that accident, we had kept him tied up in the yard for quite some time. But after it got nice out, and people were going in and out of the back door quite frequently, Bart would sneak out from time to time. It seemed like he had learned his lesson about chasing we kind of let him run around the yard with his buddy, our Chocolate lab/Springer mix, Jake.

That was all well and good for a while, with just one problem. You see, Welsh Corgis were originally bred to herd cows. Bart was a bit confused, and had recently taken to herding CARS instead. It was like he never wanted anyone to leave, and instead of just barking when someone came, he would bark when anyone left as well. And if he was outside when anyone was coming or going, he would run as fast as he could in circles around their vehicle. Well, on Tuesday, Ray had just come home from town, and Bart was running around the truck, as usual...but this time, unfortunately, he didn't get out of the way of the wheel. Ray felt sickened as he realized he'd just run over our grandson's dog, but Bart was still very much alive. He was limping, and not moving very well, but he wasn't bleeding or anything. We were hoping it was just the one paw. Later on that night though, he started looking worse and worse, and his breathing became very labored. Jessica gave him some pain meds that he had left over from his other accident, and sat with him in her lap. Bart's injuries were apparently much more serious than any of us realized, because within an hour or so, Bart breathed his last breath...right there on Jessica's lap.

In all honesty, I can't say as I've always been fond of Bart. Yes, he was a cute little thing, but he could be rather annoying at times. When they arrived in December, he wasn't completely house trained. And then, he was just getting pretty good at that when the first accident happened. Either it was brain damage, or the drugs he was on, but we basically had to start all over in that department, and he was once again, pottty trained. He also had some other weird little quirks...he hated the vacuum cleaner and would attack it whenever we used it, not just that, but pretty much anything used for cleaning, the broom, spray bottles, mops whatever. Anyway, he was finally starting to be a pretty good dog again, just a short time ago. My grandson CJ and my daughters, Jessica and Molly loved him very much, and Ray and I were just beginning to at least tolerate him living with us.

We had a "funeral" for Bart after Molly got home from school on Wednesday. Molly dressed in a black dress and read the eulogy she had prepared. Everyone said their goodbyes to him, including his 4 year old master, CJ. He seems to be taking it very well, even though he didn't believe that Bart was dead at first. Can you blame him? He'd been told just a few months ago that his dog was dead, (we all thought he was until Ray went out to get him), and then he was all of a sudden NOT dead again. Yesterday, CJ told me that maybe he would name his next dog "SpongeBob". We'll see. RIP Bart.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Weekend Happenings

Our Holiday weekend started out nice. Sarah called on Saturday morning, to ask if it was alright for them to come down for a visit for the weekend. They had planned on camping in Northern Minnesota, but the weather up there was not cooperating. We told her that would be just fine, we had planned on grilling and having our first campfire of the season that night anyway, so it would be great to have company for it. We invited my son Joel and Ray's other daughter, Ruth and her husband too, but unfortunately, Joel had to work and we never heard back from Ruth.

Meanwhile, while Sarah and Brad were on their way, I got Ray working on my "Honey-do" list. They were just minor little things that I wanted done, like hanging the American flag out on the front porch, putting a lock on the bathroom door, fixing my chair and attaching our bed to the headboard, so it wasn't always trying to fall on us in our sleep. He did end up getting most of that accomplished. I have one more project for him to do, but he said that one was a little more "involved" than he thought it would be. Of course, this is the same project that was left over from th last time I gave him a list of things I wanted done.

After Sarah and Brad arrived, we took them with us to the first grad party of the season. It was a beautiful day for an outdoor party, and CJ had lots of fun playing with his friends, Caleb, DJ and Charlie, who all happened to be there at the same time we were. When we got home, we made brats and hot dogs on the grill and got ready for our campfire.
Here are Jake, Molly (with Bart in her lap), Sarah, Brad, Buster, and Jess with CJ in her lap.

Here we are, enjoying the fire and roasting marshmallows for S'mores. You gotta have S'mores to make it an official holiday weekend, don't ya think?

Here is Molly, posing with Jake, Bart and Buster. We had ourselves a real "Three Dog Night"

On Sunday afternoon, we all headed out to my mom and dad's house for another "work day". Most of my siblings were there, and some of the grandkids. They were all doing odd jobs around the place that needed doing. Some of us were painting Mom and Dad's bedroom, while others were doing some painting outside. They even painted the basketball/flag pole! That's my brother Bob in the orange shirt, and the other one is my BIL, Steve. I believe my brother Mike is operating the equipment here:

While they were doing that, my sister Kathy was busy painting the old basketball backboard, too. She did a very nice job on it, but we were thinking it needed the script, "Don't even think about parking here", along with a painting of Felix the Cat playing basketball...or something like that. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if actually did that. She's one talented lady.

Monday morning, we all got up and Ray made his famous omelets for everyone. Sarah and Brad packed up and headed North around noon or so. Ray, CJ and I took a ride out to the campground that our church is going to for a weekend in July. It looks like a nice place, and is only about 20 miles from town, so even if some people didn't want to stay, they could still come out to visit for a day. The lady from the campground told Ray that he had to show me the "outhouses". I thought that was interesting. I'll post more about the campground later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #27 ~ "Apple Blossom Time"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Key Problems

My niece, Holly got married on Saturday. She and Nate had been dating for approximately seven years, and it was a beautiful wedding. I have pictures that I'll probably post later, I think my camera is in Ray's truck at the moment. I just wanted to share an interesting story. Last Thursday, I had driven Ray's truck into SC to meet him there, after he and his daughter had gone to a funeral in another town South of there. That way, Sarah was able to continue North to her home in Bemidji, without bringing her dad all the way back here.

Anyway, up until Saturday morning, I had my set of keys (with my house key on it), and the extra set of truck keys both in my purse. That is, until I was looking for something in there, and emptied most of the contents out of it, onto the table. When we were leaving for the wedding, I looked at the two sets of keys, and even though I felt a bit of a "nudge" to pick up both sets and put them back in my purse, I decided that would just make my purse heavy, and seemed stupid. Why in the world would I need the extra set of truck keys anyway, when Ray has a set himself?? I have decided over the years that when I get these little "promptings" to do something, I should obey them and just do it, as long as it's nothing that will hurt anyone. Silly me...I ignored it this time. Well, I kind of half ignored it. I did pick up my set of keys.

The wedding, reception and dance were all held at one place on Saturday. My daughter, Jessica was with us, but had driven separately. After dinner, we were sitting and chatting and I was enjoying some coffee. If you know me, you know I love my coffee. I had just received the nice coffee mug that Jess had ordered for me for Mother's day in the mail that day, so it was in the truck. I said, something to the effect that I should go out and get it, wash it out and fill it up, so I wouldn't have to keep refilling the small cup. Jessica offered to go out and get it. Ray gave her the keys to the truck, and out she went. At about 8pm, she left the wedding dance to go to Minneapolis and celebrate her best friend's birthday with her. Ray and I stayed and enjoyed watching the dancing, limbo and all sorts of other fun stuff, until approximately 11:00 PM.

We said our goodbyes to my brother Dan and his wife, Lori and also to the newlyweds, Holly and Nate. We walked out to the parking lot and Ray asked, "Where are my keys?" "Do you have my keys?" I'm pretty sure the realization hit us both, as it sunk in that we'd given the keys to Jess...and they were now with her in Minneapolis! I called her, and sure enough...that's exactly where they were. She felt terrible about it, but what could she do? It would take her a couple of hours to get them back to us, so I came up with another plan. I wondered if there was anyone there, who was planning on taking a cab home, because they'd perhaps had a bit too much to drink...this was a wedding after all. We went back in and talked to a couple of turned out that my brother Bob and his wife Rose were planning to do just that, and they were gracious enough to lend their vehicle to us to drive home. We were ready to go...after Ray figured out where all the controls were etc...we just started to roll...and there was someone pounding on the driver's door window! It was Bob. He'd left HIS keys to their house and his other vehicle on the seat of this one. They were behind me on the seat and I hadn't even seen them! It would not have been good if they'd taken a cab home, only to realize they couldn't get into their own house!!

Speaking of house keys, it was a good thing I'd grabbed the ONE set of keys and put them back in my purse, or we would have had to break into our own house! Before I went to bed, I hung the extra truck keys and my house key up by the back door. Sunday morning, I got into my brother's car to go to church, and Ray came out and got in. He asked me if I had my purse, I said "Yes, why?" He said, because then we have a key to get in the house...I just looked at him. "No, we don't. I used it to get in last night, and then hung it by the door", I told him. All through church, I was trying to figure out if there was any way we could get into our house. Did I leave the side door open? Did Molly have a key with her at her friend's house?

It turned out that she did not have a key, she said it had come off of her school bag and she THINKS it is is in her school locker...but thankfully, she had unlocked the side door earlier on Saturday...and we were able to get in, and grab the spare truck keys, so we could pick up the truck and return my brother's to him later that day! WHEW!! Thanks again, Bob and Rose!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #26 ~ Our Little "Armed Guard", Asleep on the Job!

(CJ asleep with his dart gun while listening to KidzBop)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

I had a very nice Mother's Day this year. To begin with, my husband brought me a dozen roses on Saturday. They're a very pretty yellow-orange color. He had also bought me a rechargeable battery pack and charger for my camera last week, because I told him that's what I wanted for Mother's day. Ray, Molly and I went to church on Sunday morning, where Molly and I took our turn watching the toddlers in the nursery. There were no kids in there to begin with though, so I was able to participate in most of the worship part of the service...which is my favorite part. There were also two baby dedications on Sunday. One of them was a little guy we watch in the nursery on Wednesday nights, "Little C." He's the Youth Pastor's youngest son, and is a sweetie!

(Little C, being pushed by Middle C last Wed)

After church, Jessica and CJ met us at "Shooters", which is a local bar and grill, but on this Mother's day morning, they had a special brunch set up. It was very good food, and the price wasn't bad. The cost for kids 12 and under was only $6.95, and I was afraid we'd have a hard time convincing them that my 5' 9 1/2" Molly was actually only 12 years old...but thankfully, they took my word for it.
(my 5' 9 1/2" 12 year old)

When we got home, I got a Happy Mother's Day phone message from Ruth. She was the first of the kids who don't live with us to call me. I felt bad that I missed her call and I wasn't exactly sure what number she had called from, since it had come up on my phone as "no number." Molly bought me a package of cantaloupe seeds...she's always loved cantaloupe!

My daughter, Jessica got me a gift from ebay. She hasn't received it yet, but she sent me an email of what it is. A couple of years ago, she had gotten me a blue Starbuck's travel mug that I just loved...but I lost it. She found one on ebay for me, to replace it. Everyone seems to think I collect travel coffee mugs, I really don't...I'm just always in search of the "perfect" one. The most important thing to me, is that if you happen to knock the thing over, it would be really nice if it wouldn't spill...or even slowly leak, like most of them do...even the one I got from Tupperware, but this one didn't. I can't wait to get it! After a bit, it was time to make my pasta salad and then head out to Mom and Dad's to celebrate with the rest of my family.

Jessica, Molly and CJ had driven out slightly ahead of us to my parents' house . This is what CJ was up to when we arrived. He was having a blast driving around in my nephew's battery operated "Gator." Here he is in the passenger seat with Tiegen doing the driving.

My siblings and I had all chipped in on a couple of things for my mom. We got her a large coffeemaker for when she has get-togethers, and a gift card to the nursery/greenhouse where she likes to buy her plants. Here she is opening the coffeemaker:

My mother watches my sister's two little boys, Tiegen and Grayson quite a bit, and Mom and I took a walk out to the "fort" they had made to look for something. I thought the fort was so cute, that I had to take a picture of it. The boys are 3 and 5 years of age. It looks pretty comfy, don't ya think?

While we were there, I got a call from my oldest son, Jeremy. He lives in Phoenix, AZ with his 6 year old son, Alex. He said they were doing fine, and that Alex is learning how to read and even doing some math! I was very happy to hear that. My grandson was once diagnosed as mildly it was great news! Jeremy said that they and his cousin, Tonia (who lives near him), are thinking about coming to visit us in September this year. I can hardly wait! I haven't seen Jeremy or Alex since August of 2006! It sure would be nice to get to know my grandson again.

On our way home, at approximately 10:30 PM, my son Joel gave me a call, to say Happy Mother's Day. I told him he got in "just under the wire." Joel said he'd been having car trouble, and therefore didn't come out to his grandparents' house to join the party. However, he lives in a town that is on the way out we could have picked him up if he'd called earlier. Oh well, I did get to see him a few weeks ago, and it was thoughtful of him to pick up the phone and call...even though the day was almost over.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Blog Tour Book Review & Giveaway!!

This book is written from the viewpoint of a teenage girl, it even includes a section in the front telling us moms why we shouldn't read it. I thought it was very well written, and did bring back some memories of how I felt at that age...which was quite a few years ago. Since my youngest daughter is not quite technically a teenager, some of it didn't quite fit. However, since she is over 5'9" tall and has started experimenting with make-up, and is going through that lovely "It's Wonderful Being a Girl" phase, a lot of it did fit a T. I haven't actually read the entire thing yet, but I am going to keep it handy for a quick reference when she does things I don't quite understand.

Here's the summary:
Every mom knows how communicating with a teenage girl can be difficult, even impossible at times. One-word answers. Defensive conversations. Daily arguments. How typical for teens to put up such barriers. All the while, moms truly long to know what their daughters really think.
Best-selling author Melody Carlson, whose books for women, teens, and children have sold more than three million copies, bridges this chasm with trusted insight. She speaks frankly in the voice of the teen daughters she’s written for and she tells it like it is: struggles with identity, guys, friendship, and even parents—it’s all here. The straight-talk to moms covers such things as “I need you, but you can’t make me admit it,” “I’m not as confident as I appear,” and “I have friends. I need a mother.”
Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom looks at a young woman’s heart and reveals to moms:
· how to talk to teens so they hear,
· how to connect despite the differences of perspective or years and experiences,
· and how strengthen the bond every mom and daughter ultimately wants.
The lively chapters in Dear Mom can be dipped into topically or used as a read-through tool by moms and daughters alike to understand what motivates or deflates, troubles or inspires—and just in time for Mother’s Day and all the Mother’s Days ahead.

Author Bio:
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than three million copies. Beloved for her Diary of a Teenage Girl and Notes from a Spinning Planet series, she’s also the author of the women’s novels Finding Alice (in production now for a Lifetime-TV movie), Crystal Lies, On This Day, These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking, and A Mile in My Flip-Flops. A mother of two grown sons, Melody lives in central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. She’s a full-time writer and an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.
To purchase a copy of this book or for more information about it, go to:
I also have an extra copy of "DEAR MOM" to give away to one of my lucky readers. To enter, please leave a comment after this post, about how you celebrated Mother's Day this year, and I will randomly draw the winner's name out of a hat on May 31st. This contest is open to all residents of the continental US! Good Luck!

Book: Mama’s Got A Fake I.D.

Author: Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira

Formula for identity loss:
1. Take one multifaceted, intriguing human being.
2. Bless her with a child.
3. Mix with today’s cultural assumptions.
4. Add the demands of motherhood.
5. Presto! All identity except Mom disappears.
For every woman wondering what happened to the unique combination of gifts and abilities she was known for before kids came along, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has good news: in Mama’s Got a Fake I.D., Rivedeneira helps moms reclaim their full identity as creative beings, gifted professionals and volunteers, loving friends, children of God—and mothers.

This inspiring and practical guide shows women how to break free from false guilt, learn a new language to express who they really are, and follow God’s lead in sharing their true self with others. After all, motherhood doesn’t have to mean losing one’s identity. Instead, being a mom makes it possible for a woman to discover a more complete identity as the person God made her to be.

Author Bio:
The former managing editor of Marriage Partnership and Christian Parenting Today, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivedeneira has been a trusted voice writing and speaking to women for more than a decade. Today she is the managing editor of, an online community for Christian women in leadership. Rivadeneira works from home in the Chicago suburbs, where she lives with her husband and their three children.
To purchase this book, or to learn more about it, go to and place your order.

Book: Enduring Justice I like to actually read these books before I review them, and I was looking forward to reading a novel for a change. I was not disappointed! This was a very good book from beginning to end, and was a real page turner. I did have a little trouble getting into it at first, because there are numerous characters, and the author lets you see not only through the heroine's eyes, but also writes from the perspective of her FBI agent boyfriend, and even takes you into the twisted minds of the racist terrorists that they are trying to stop. I found it to be a very entertaining read!
Here's the summary:
In Enduring Justice, Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her thoughts.

Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. And when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. When the attack turns personal, is healing still possible?

This thought-provoking novel deals with healing from sexual abuse, the balance of justice and mercy, and maintaining mixed-race friendships in the midst of racial tension. Readers who enjoy investigative thrillers by Dee Henderson, Colleen Coble, and Catherine Coulter, and who watch crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, and Without a Trace will love this book—and the entire series.

Author Bio:
Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, a homeschool mom, and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

To get more info about "Enduring Justice" go to RandomHouse.Com.

For more chances to win these three great books, visit my good friends who have joined me on this book tour: Daisy Crazy and SassyFrazz. I believe Daisy is giving away one copy of each of the above books, and Sassy is giving away a copy of the two that I'm check out their reviews and sign up for their giveaways too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Morning Has Broken ~ The View from my Front Porch

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Shower With a Chance of Freezing...babies??

As I said in my last post, I went to my niece, Jennifer's baby shower this past weekend. Very appropriately, it was sprinkling off and on outside during the shower too. It was held at the sports bar that her parents have owned for years, and where Jen also works. There were many of her friends and relatives there, so she receive a lot of very nice gifts. We played the usual baby shower games...and one rather UNusual one. Jen's sister, Chris had frozen a little plastic baby in an ice cube and suspended it from the ceiling on a string. The object was to guess what time the little plastic baby would be "born". It was pretty funny...

Here's the baby dangling above the bowl on the table. You can see it's feet starting to emerge...I guess it's coming breech!

Here's a close-up of the baby...I can't tell if it's a boy or a girl...can you?

After a while, since the ice wasn't melting as fast as anyone had predicted it might, Chris started to "induce" it by holding it in her hand to melt the ice cube.

Eventually, the tiny babe was born. People were leaving, so Chris just walked over and broke the ice...letting the little thing fall into the bowl! The time of birth was something like 3:47pm I think. I had guess 4:02...and I might have been right if it wasn't for Dr. Chris perfoming a C-section! I didn't get a length and weight on it...and I still couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl!! Oh well.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Showers Bring May Weddings ~ May Showers Bring...July Babies??

Last Saturday afternoon, I went to my niece, Holly's bridal shower. She's the daughter of my "internetaphobic" brother, Dan. I don't believe she has a problem with me posting her picture here...after all I swiped it off of her facebook page. Holly will be marrying Nate C. on May 16th. It seems like forever since we've had a wedding in our family...and this year two of my nieces are getting married. The funny thing is... they're BOTH marrying Nate. No, they aren't polygamists...both girls just happen to be engaged to guys named Nate. The other niece, Crystal is engaged to Nate B. They'll be tying the knot on September 25th.
This Saturday afternoon, I'm going to a BABY shower...for another niece, Jenny. She is due on July 2nd...but I'm thinking if she tried real hard...she could have it a couple of days early and Kathy and Bonnie and I could share our birthday with him/her too. No, they haven't found out the sex of the baby yet....because they don't want to know. We're all very curious!
It's 12:30 AM and I'm still thinking about what I'm going to put on her baby shower cake. It really WOULD help to know if it's a boy or a girl! LOL! Oh well, I'll figure something out. I'm thinking I should go to bed and "sleep on it" (no, not literally)...and get up and decorate it in the morning before the 4 year old grandson wakes up and wants to help. Goodnight.

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