Minnesota in March

The land where I grew up is loved by few.  Harsh winters, strong and never-ceasing winds, and nothing but flatness don’t make for “beauty” in most people’s minds.  But every time I return to it, I get twinges of homesickness, and I am thankful that God put me there.  Had I grown up on the ocean or in the forest or in the foothills of a great mountain chain, I don’t know that I would be able to bask in the beauty of a flat river valley and its tiny towns, each centered around a grain elevator or a beet plant.

I see beauty in the fields of golden grain, even when it’s dead.
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I find beauty in the shelterbelts, often the only trees for miles…
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…except for the occasional mavericks.
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I find beauty in the hay bales, sometimes stacked, sometimes lined up, sometimes randomly sitting all over a field.
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I see beauty coming at me for miles in the form of a shiny(?) semi.
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I see beauty in the train track that runs from Moorhead to Detroit Lakes and slowly rises on trestles.  Very old-timey.
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I find beauty in the seed companies and beet plants, even if I don’t enjoy the smells that emanate from within.
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I see beauty in small-town camaraderie, local businesses’ signs cheering on the local high school sports teams.
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I see beauty in a main drag that looks like this (and no one thinks it’s so very bad).
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And I, of course, see beauty in the sweet baby who (for the most part) patiently endured a 5-hour car ride.
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Sunday Sunshine 03.29.09

Thriving in the Kitchen with Kids – Read this if your kids are always hanging on your legs while you cook!

This lastest post by one of my favorite blogger ladies is very sweet.  I’m going to post the comment I left on it here for my own posterity:

He picked out a rubber snake. I love that. The imagination he is developing with his (and your) rubber snakes is worth its weight in gold (far more than $3).

I give Anja old spice tins, pieces of ribbon, and plastic pill bottles with beans inside for toys. She loves them, often much moreso than the expensive Christmas or birthday gifts with lights and sounds. A little stuffed dog that was mine in college is her current favorite companion, and he receives more than his fair share of “milk” from that pill bottle. 🙂

If you’re not already praying for baby Stellan, please visit MckMama’s site.

Last weekend, just before the major flooding started, we were up at my mom’s.  I snapped a few photos in the car as we drove.  Even though it looks like we were driving by (or through) a lake, the areas pictured here are fields where crops are grown.  And this isn’t even near the river.  We found out that two days after we went home they closed both of the main roads we would have taken to get back here because they were under water.  Keep praying for all those who have had to evacuate their homes and for those who are still there, sandbagging to save them.

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She looked tasty

A couple of weeks ago, we got a packet from Compassion with an updated photo of our Compassion child, Nubia.  This time around, they also included bookmarks and wallet-size photos so you could have more than one reminder to pray for her.  We pray with Anja every day and are trying to teach her the importance of praying for others, so I gave her one of the little cards and we prayed for Nubia.  I let her keep it with vain hopes that the Holy Spirit might begin to work something in our little girl’s heart, a desire to intercede for dear Nubia.

A little later that afternoon, I found this:

Nubia Snack

She’d never eaten paper before, but apparently Nubia was yummy enough to launch a cardstock feeding frenzy. Now we find bites out of the corners of board books, teeth marks on low-lying picture frames around the house; it’s ridiculous.

However, I’m still holding out hope that my little fiber-lover will become a prayer warrior.


Do you remember when potpourri was in style?  We had little crystal dishes of it around the house.  Kind of odd, if you think about it…”Let’s pour some scented oil on pieces of bark, leaves and dried flowers, bag it up and market it to middle-aged women!”  Then again, one of my husband’s college roomies used cinnamon-scented potpourri throughout “The Guys’ House.”  No one is immune to its captivating potency!


We visited my mom this past weekend.  Thank you to those of you who have continued to ask about her health.  They re-worked her chemotherapy schedule and amount (removing the one that was giving her the most side effects from her regimen), and she has had a far easier time with it as a result.  Just nine more sessions of it after today, I think.  You can do it, Mom!

We missed weather that topped 60 degrees in the Twin Cities and had to settle for the low 40s in my hometown.  I took lots of photos of the flooded fields.  We even drove through water covering the road on our way home Sunday.

Pray for those in the Red River Valley–the flooding this year is supposed to rival, if not top, the flood of 1997, which was devastating for thousands of families.  Since I’ve had people ask why that river is so prone to flooding, I decided to explain it briefly here.  The Red River of the North is one of the few rivers that flows northward.  It empties into Lake Winnipeg up in Manitoba.  As you can imagine, all the ice and debris clogs the river, since its mouth is often still frozen as the southern parts thaw.  This creates an ice dam, causing these southern parts of the river to flood quickly.  Since the land up there is so flat, a couple of inches of extra water can spread out over a very broad area, wreaking havoc on farmland and homes alike.  There have been major sandbagging efforts going on in Fargo, ND (where we used to live), and we really feel for our friends and family there who have been through this time and time again.


Husband and I have noticed that Anja often has “growth spurts” in intelligence when we travel.  I don’t know if it’s the interaction with more people that encourages new words and comprehension, or if she just uses the hours and hours in the car to think very deeply, but we always seem to notice it when we get home.  This time was no exception.

Husband had Anja for most of the day yesterday, since I was at work and taking an evening class.   It rained a lot yesterday, and he said she was looking out the balcony doors and saying, “Snow happen?  Snow happen?  Rain wash?”  He finally interpreted that she was asking, “What happened to the snow?  Did the rain wash it?”  He attempted to explain the concept of melting, which obviously she didn’t get, but even the fact that she, at 18 mos., noticed the snow is gone and that the rain had something to do with it blew me away.


Well, I have a toddler to get down for a nap, unpacking to do, and five loads of laundry to wash, so I should probably quit here.  Thank you for all your comments and emails regarding my blogging dilemma.  I have been encouraged to go on and return to the focus I once had, as well as to blog without pressure.  Both of those sound like good options to me!

Snow Steal

This series* is from the weekend before Christmas, but I finally got it loaded and ready to go.

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Run away!

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Nowhere to go…
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*No babies were harmed in the making of this post. In fact, that was her daddy, and here he is, teaching her to make a snowball.

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See! She is quite happy!

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Her mother, however, is going to go cry into her sleeve because her baby girl has grown up so much even since December! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

How To Write Better Posts

Can you tell me?  Please?

Here’s my dilemma:

I think I’m better at commenting than I am at writing my own blog.  I read a post, find it relevant to my interests, and leave what I think is a very kind/helpful/witty comment.  Not always, but say, 50% of the time.  How often do I like the copy on my own blog?  Maybe 4% of the time.  That’s not good.

Other favorite bloggers have quit recently.  Is it just my time?  Am I better off encouraging others than trying to share a story, inspire action, or make friends using photos and recipes?