Sunday, June 17, 2018

Missing the Man we lost on Fathers Day.

Some people that come into our lives with a character that is so big their life follows you around long after they are gone. My father in law was one of those people; I shouldn’t say was, because he is still with me. Many of the memories of him are of him lumbering across the front yard at the cabin. The beautiful summer home set back from the waters of Duck Lake in northern Minnesota. I remember the first weekend my husband brought me to the cabin, the one bathroom, sleep where you can find a spot piece of heaven on earth. The place where family gathered, played games, roasted marshmallows and caught fish.  The lake where the kids learned to water ski and how to build a good campfire, the place where the adult beverages could be creative. The place where my father in law found the project of the week. Where he taught my step son to turn a boat house into a guest cabin. Where he taught our nieces and nephews how to fish and my sister in laws and I how put new shingles on the cabin.
When we went to the cabin, we took turns cooking meals, telling stories and sometimes had contests of who could go the longest without showering. We were delightfully isolated. Cell phones didn’t work, we would drive to the top of the hill if we desperately needed to make a call, and typically we didn’t. After a few years my in-laws built on a big addition, we celebrated a cold Christmas there. Friends and extended family visited.  
Memorial Day weekend welcomed the entire family. Our kids would not so patiently await the temp reaching 70 degrees that is when grandma gave them the go-ahead to jump in the freezing lake, sometimes the ice would have been off for a few short weeks.
When you go knee deep in a project my father in law would listen intently, wait for other responses, then say, “I am not going to tell you what to do, but if it was me…” We laugh now of his passive aggressive way of giving advice. We learned to wait for it, anticipating his answer. Dave passed away 11 years ago on fathers day. We all miss him. We miss his infectious smile, his playful banter with the grand kids, but mostly we miss him NOT telling us what to do. Happy Fathers day Dave!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Table No One Wants to Sit At

It is the table no one ever wants to sit at. This table is a large wooden piece, so Iarge one has to wonder how they even got it in this room. There are 6 of us at the table; it could easily accommodate 8, off to the side 5 others sit, there for support but not to interfere. They are our spouses, the four brother-in-law’s and my sister-in-law. One person missing from the big table, his body is on another table in another part of the huge old house, now a mortuary. The missing person is my dad. He passed this morning and we are sitting at the table no one ever wants to sit at, except maybe the undertaker.
It is obvious many tears are shed at this table, the Kleenex boxes are abundant. The conversation is stoic, led by the man at the head of the table. I look at my mother sitting next to this man and see emptiness, she has lost her soul mate and now she must prepare to bury him.
My sister offers to write the obituary, she is a Teacher by trade, she wants it to be perfect, Charlene reports, “This is the last thing I will do for my dad”.
My older sister says, “There has to be music, lots of music!” My younger sister sobs quietly; she is not capable of sharing right now. This morning her hero took his last breath.
The undertaker leaves after we makes suggestions, says he will be back in a few minutes with the ideas we have shared written up. What we don’t know is that he is preparing an invoice of sorts. This is what it will cost to have the service you want to honor your dad, to lay him in his final resting place.
When he returns he hands out the paperwork. I look at it thinking, really, what am I supposed to do with this. Do we have to think about what this will cost? No one thinks about that until they have to prepare for a funeral.
My brother, the only boy in the family carefully folds up the paper, puts it in his breast pocket, pushes away from the large table and says as he stands, “Thank you very much, we are just getting prices today. We will get back to you soon.”

The intense sadness is replaced with raucous laughter, the tension is cut and we are all reminded with what our dad left us, the ability to laugh. We are filled with gratitude at the table no one ever wants to sit at. 

Side note: This writing came from a prompt to write about a table, many things happen around the table in life, eating, laughing, storytelling, memories are made at tables around the world. This large table came to my head as one of the most difficult moments in life. And no, we were not just getting prices that day.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Firsts

In life we often mark milestones calling them the first, this is especially true with babies,
the first smile, the first tooth, a baby step. We are watching our son Andrew and his
fiance’ Holli experience this with our youngest Granddaughter
Charlett. Her beautiful smile lights up my snapchat almost daily and I love it.

Our first Granddaughter was born 19 years ago today. She came into the
world succinctly at 5:18 on 5/18. Our beautiful Mariah May. Today on her 19th
birthday we celebrate her. This beautiful, funloving, sweet and sassy girl.

Last year I was lucky enough to take her to the ocean for her first visit. She fell in
love with it, even after learning there was a small shark (5 ft) swimming between
her and the beach. This spunky girl taught us how to be grandparents, all 14
between Mariah and Charlett, have a little piece of their grandparents heart.

Happy Birthday Mariah! We are so excited to see what great things you do in your
life with your spunk! XXXOOO

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Big Reset

Today I feel like I need a big reset button. There are so many areas of my life
that feel as if they are spinning out of control. This morning I went for a 5 mile
run after drinking bullet coffee. Do you know what bullet coffee is? Two cups of coffee,
butter, cream and MCT powder. This was after I had my first cup of coffee.

I should explain, I took the winter off from running, I just got started again three weeks
ago. I do a heart rate based training I learned from the Another Mother Runner. When
you drink three cups of coffee and are not in very good cardio shape, carrying 15-20
extra pounds and are getting closer to 60, it is not easy keeping your heart rate down
under 140 beats per minute. This is just one of many poor decisions I seem to be
making lately, but this is also one of those times that will teach you to slow down and walk.
There is no shame in slowing down in life. If you are a type A like me, you know
that is hard. I equate relaxation with laziness, this is simply a bad idea. All of us
need a reset at times.

My goal for today is to take things as they come and reset, relax and enjoy.
Do what I love and love what I do. Be kind to myself and others.

Today I wish you peace.

Friday, April 27, 2018


This year I set some goals to make changes in my life; work on some priorities that I have not
spent anytime focusing on in the last few years. All goals revolved around
working on a focus for a book, a podcast, and upping my game on the blog. I have been
plugging away at the goals, accomplishing a few, moving backwards on the organizational
goals I set, and starting the process to accomplish some long time goals of mine. It has all
been very unpredictable. Which is the name of my new podcast.

This week I went back to running, which got me back to my podcast listening, which
inspired me to dive in a little deeper.
My goals are the same, but with a new sharper focus. Thus the name change of my blog.
This will now sync up with the new podcast. (the first two practice episodes
are up with my nieces Sara and Katie) Unpredictable is the stories of this crazy,
twisting and turning unpredictable life we live.

Follow along and if you have a story you would share I would love to hear from you.
By the way, there is no story to crazy or unbelievable or unpredictable. They may not
be crazy or unbelievable, but they are real. I hope you enjoy the unpredictable ride.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Never Ending Winter in South Dakota

It is the middle of April, typically we would be enjoying semi warm spring days. We would
have enjoyed some outdoor bike rides, walks/runs by now. Instead we are getting yet another
blizzard. This is the winter that won’t go away. This morning I read a post my niece
Katie shared. I cried. Katie was asking for prayers for farmers and ranchers in
South Dakota as they continue the spring calving/lambing season. One farmer
posted they were giving up, it was simply too dangerous to continue looking for new
born calves in the blizzard conditions. Most of these farmers care deeply about the
animals they raise, yes, it is their source of revenue, but there is a real connection
with nature when you are a cattleman/woman.

I was reminded of a particularly difficult winter when I was a young girl. I remember
my dad bundling up to walk to our “Other Place”, another acreage my parents owned
that was 5 miles away by road. As Mom wrapped a scarf around his face to protect
from the stinging wind we all watched, wondering what he would find. I remembered
being worried, but really unsure of the danger of what he was about encounter. Likely
we played a board game to keep our minds off of our dad being out there. I don’t recall
if we had electricity, but probably did not. When we received a phone call from the
Anderson’s we knew he made it there. He and Joe would go to help other neighbors
with their cattle. Several farmers lost countless stock cows and calves when the storm
was finally over.

Several things come to mind with this event. One the selfless act of helping each other
in a time of difficulty, even when it was personally life threatening. The sense of neighbor
helping neighbor was stronger than personal comfort and safety. And of course the love
and of stewardship for the animals. The entire community was saddened by the loss these
farmers felt for their herds. It was never easy.
As we wrap up the never ending winter of 2018, say a prayer for these families. The
work they do is hard, they feed us and help keep us clothed. They should be appreciated.
They are looking forward to the sunshine and joy will warmer temperatures bring them,
this year more than ever.

Wishing you safety and sunshine!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Q1 Done

Today marks the end of the first quarter of 2018. Remember on January 1st and
through the first week of January how you planned your strategy to navigate through
2018. You had goals and dreams. Today as we close out the first quarter of the year
let’s reflect on how you have done.

Did you stick to the goals you set? Did are you disappointed in the results? Does
it really matter? The time is gone, we can’t go back to change it, to achieve our
goals of days past. But you know what you can do, you can move forward. You
can set new goals if that is what you makes you happy. Or maybe today you reflect
on the changes you did make, the days that delighted you, the memories you made,
the lives you touched and those that touched you.
Let’s wrap up the first quarter embracing life as it is. Let’s look back with fondness,
but no regrets. As I often say, “It is what it is” Time to move on. What does quarter 2
look like for you. Take a minute to think about what it will take to have a good quarter
this quarter. How will you feel on June 30th. Sit for a minute and quietly think about
your future. What do you want to change, what CAN you change, what can you
spend 15 minutes a day on that will get you to that goal?

Today, on this last day of the first quarter and on this Easter weekend,
I wish you peace!

Missing the Man we lost on Fathers Day.

Some people that come into our lives with a character that is so big their life follows you around long after they are gone.  My father i...