Thursday, May 26, 2016

Quick Update

Bill has finished putting poly on the wood floor in the living room!  This wood floor turned out to be more work than we originally thought but it turned out beautiful thanks to the many talents of my husband!
As I was downsizing, I realized that I REALLY like sheets and blankets...and this was kind of a surprise to me!  We have 2 beds and I had about 10 sets of sheets and way too many blankets and quilts.  I have taken like 6 garbage bags of bedding to Goodwill and I still have plenty.  I am happy to have kept the quilts that have meaning, several of which were made by my talented mother. :-)
The packing up is starting to get real as the stack of boxes in my house grows.  Very handy to work at Wolters Kluwer where there are usually nice paper boxes to grab on my way out of work.  I am hoping that we can pack, take over, unpack, and reuse many of these boxes but we will see how this goes.

I would like to get the bedroom floor painted this weekend and am hoping we can start moving some of the furniture for the living room over if the floor is ready/dry.  We have to decide which furniture is going and which is not so we will see what fits well in the new smaller house...although this could meaning moving furniture and then finding out it does not work out there.

Bill is excited to have a garden again and is making good progress on getting this planted.  We have discovered that raised beds need to be watered pretty much every day so we will see how that goes since we sometimes start stuff but struggle to keep up with maintenance (like watering every day). 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Off on a New Adventure

Well, it has been 5 years since Bill and I had our big adventure helping at the resort in Northern Minnesota and while that was challenging, we learned a lot and are thankful we had that opportunity.  We are now on to a new adventure with downsizing and starting a new ministry.  We have an opportunity to partner with Central Minnesota Youth For Christ on this adventure.  We have been thinking for some time that our house is too large now that the kids are all gone and, as most of you know, we love cooking and serving food! 

YFC happens to own a house next to their building that was vacant and is the perfect size for 2 empty nesters!  We are current rehabbing the house as we have been documenting on Facebook.  We have found that this work takes more of a toll on our bodies than it did 18 years ago when we rehabbed our current house but we love doing these types of projects together.  They just go a little slower these days!!

We had a great opportunity to sell our house to our next door neighbors who love our neighborhood but need a bigger house for themselves and their 3 kids.  They are working on getting their house ready to sell and we ask for positive thoughts and prayers of support that this venture in selling and moving continues to go well for all of us.

We are hoping to get moved in the next couple of weeks and keep moving on this next stage in our life journey.  I am doing better at downsizing than Bill is but he also is less of a planner and more of a fly by the seat of your pants person than I am.  His downsizing will happen when it needs to happen...right when we are moving!  After all of these years together, I am learning to let things happen at a different pace than I prefer but one that works for both of us.

We are working out the details of what a food ministry will look like at YFC and we believe it will involve helping kids learn food from seed to serving.  We are planting a small garden this year but have options to expand that in future years into possibly a community garden...we will see where we are lead on that! 

Bill has been working with YFC for a while now to build a small café in the YFC building and he will continue to work on that and we hope to have the ministry and possibly the café launched by later this year. We are leaving the timing in God's hands...with some encouragement from me as that is what I do even as I learn a new pace. :-)

Not sure how often I will be updating this blog but since I am awake at 3:00 am this morning, this seemed like a good time to get started since I have been thinking about the blog for a  while now but struggle to find time.  I hope that the updates do not continue to occur in the middle of the night!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Final Blog Update - Back to St. Cloud

I know it has been forever since I have updated the blog and that has been because we have been busy running back and forth between Northome and St. Cloud!  As of October 1st, I am officially back to work in the office full time and we are moved back home.

As we were winding down on our time up north, I realized that I probably never posted pictures of the cabin and bunkhouse/office so here are some pics of the cabin, the bunkhouse/office, the outhouse (with the door open), and the storage shed/work area.

One of the last work efforts up north was to clean up some old wood piles.  Haley, remember helping me to make all of these woods piles a couple of years ago??  Here are before and after pics and it is SO nice to have this mess finally cleaned up!

And, of course, the weather and leaves were absolutely beautiful on our last days:
Our friend, K, finished her last radiation treatments shortly after we moved home but the work load was low enough and she felt good enough to keep up on the resort work.  We miss seeing both K and D on a regular basis but look forward to going up there next weekend and participating in a "farewell" potluck at church.

It was an incredibly complex experience to spend the 5 months living up north and helping at the resort.  There were some truly wonderful moments and some truly difficult moments but we are still thankful to God that we had the opportunity to do this to help our friends.   We have decided that running a resort is not something that we would want to do full time nor will we retire fully to this area.  We will plan to spend summers at our cabin after retirement but will continue to have a main home in a larger metro area like St. Cloud.

Thank you to everyone who followed this blog and who supported us with your thoughts and prayers during this big adventure!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Long time no update...

 I know it has been forever since I posted an update so this will be a long one!!

We had a really nice dinner with my aunt and uncle last time we were in St. Cloud.  It was kind of funny to have them making us dinner in our house!!  It was really special to have an evening to spend with them.  They left us a wonderful basket of goodies as  a thank you for the use of our house.  We were just glad that it worked out for them to stay and have a place to relax while they were in Minnesota.

We had a great dinner and visit with Mary and Jerry on Tuesday evening.  Jerry made a turkey so that Bill could have the carcass as he loves to make soup!  We took Minnow along when we met Bill’s mom and his brother for supper in Princeton on Wednesday night.  We had not seen Lorraine (Bill's Mom) since we moved up north so it was great to catch up with her and Lanny (Bill’s brother) on family news.   

We headed back up north on Thursday night and Mom and Dad came up on Friday afternoon.  I had not gotten to spend any extended one-on-one time with Mom and Dad in a long time and it was great to be able to do that over the weekend.  We went into Blackduck to a fabric shop.   Mom is going to make the banner for the Marriage Encounter Conference next summer and we had fun picking out the fabric for that.  I also found a quilt kit with fall leaves and colors that I loved so I bought it to make this winter.  I am looking forward to working on it with Mom.   Bill and Dad went fishing on Saturday afternoon so Mom and I got to spend a couple of hours just talking and reconnecting.  I have missed doing that and it was great to spend time with Mom.  
We were back in St. Cloud for a couple of days last week and had a bunch of people from our church over on Wednesday evening for dinner.  A friend of ours from church was part of the band (The Receders) that was playing at Lake George that evening so we had a Preceders party at our house!  It was great fun to see everyone and catch up a little.

We headed back up north on Friday and got to take Minnow back with us.  Since I had Friday off work, we decided to meander our way up north and we did that really well!  We picked up Minnow at 9 AM and arrived at the cabin at 5 PM!!  Needless to say, we stopped at a lot of garage sales, second hand shops, etc. on the way.  On Saturday morning, we stopped over at the resort and saw the first bear that was brought in (as bear hunting season opened on Sept 1).   Minnow was not too excited about touching the bear!

Haley (youngest daughter) and her friend, Katha (from Germany) came up on Saturday.  Katha had explained that they make "bread on a stick" rather than roast marshmallows so we gave that a try and it was very good.  Here are some pics of this.  Here is a link to a site with the recipe (  We didn't have dried milk and we were not carrying the mix into a camp site so we just added enough milk to make it doughy.
After church on Sunday (where Bill sang again!), we headed over to a friennd's place to ride horses.  Katha had never ridden before and everyone had a blast!  After everyone rode the horses, the kids got to paint the horses.  Haley and Katha had a blast painting Big Bill with USA/Germany messages and hand prints.  

In late afternoon on Sunday, we tried our hand at fishing.  We did not have much luck at the dock at the resort so we dropped Bill off at the cabin and went over to the nearby bridge.  Katha managed to catch a northern and Haley caught a perch so they were both happy with that success!!

In the evening, we made bread on a stick (again!) and smores!  On Monday morning, we did a quick walk through the Lost Forty before Haley and Katha had to head back (as Haley had to work on Monday afternoon).  Bill, Minnow, and I headed for Princeton where we had a fish fry with his family.  We had not seen many of them for quite a while so it was great to see everyone and eat some good food!

We are now back in St. Cloud for a couple of days.  While Bill's birthday is on Thursday, we are celebrating tomorrow night with the kids (as that works best for their schedules).   As things are going well at the resort and with K's radiation, we are starting to transition back to life in St. Cloud.  I will be going back to full time work on October 1st (rather than November 1st) as the resort schedule is fairly light in October and K is able to do more things as time goes on.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Janet & Ashlee Visit and Bill's Singing Debut!!

It was a great week with the kids from Rochester.  The smaller group size and age spread made it less hectic and the evening devotions around the campfire were very moving.  This group had some kids that loved to bake and on various days, they made banana bread, banana muffins, monster cookies, peanut butter cookies, and peach cobbler.  It was heartbreaking to hear some of the kids talk about not having any food in their homes to cook/bake with but it was great that they had the opportunity while they were at camp.  And we did not mind sampling their treats either...they were very good!

Our friend, Janet, and her daughter, Ashlee, came up Friday to celebrate Janet's birthday and hang out with us for the weekend.  We had a great time together!!  Ashlee had never fished before but she brought along her fishing pole and K got her all set up while we got things unpacked at the cabin.  Ashlee fished from the dock and she caught a bunch of perch and even a couple of northerns!  She was so excited and even was able to put on her own minnows by Saturday afternoon.  Bill came down to fish also but Ashlee had the hot spot and caught more fish and bigger fish than he did!  Needless to say, she enjoyed this immensely!  Here is one of the bigger perch and some of the fish caught (by Ashlee and Bill!) on Saturday.

We also went to the Lost Forty on Saturday morning as everyone who visits us gets to experience this part of the area!  We always love to take this walk and see the huge red and white pines.

On Saturday evening, we went over to have Ashlee see horses.  Our friend was not around so we didn't get to ride but Bill did get to see his favorite horse, Big Bill, again.  Supposedly there is a picture of Bill on Big Bill that I am still trying to get for posting!  We all enjoyed seeing and petting the horses.  After we got back, we had a campfire and smores.  I had never made smores with the giant thick chocolate bars but I have to tell you that although it does not melt as much, it is pretty darn good to have that much more chocolate in the smore!  We enjoyed hanging out and visiting while we had the smores and watched the fire.

There have been lots of butterflies flying around and while we were hanging out at the cabin, we saw this butterfly on the hummingbird feeder.  I was amazed it stayed long enough and let me get close enough to get a decent picture.

Janet and Ashlee got to see and hear Bill's singing debut at church today!!  He sang "Blessed be Your name" at our church up here this morning and did a great job!  While he has played guitar and bass many times, he had never sung before in public so he was pretty darn nervous.  However, he did a wonderful job and is already signed up to do another song next week and maybe lead all the singing for a service in a few weeks.   He has been talking about doing this for several years and  I am glad and proud that he took this opportunity to step outside his comfort zone and give this a try.

It was a really nice day today, so we spent this afternoon driving around and looking for places for Bill to take pictures of butterflies and me to read books!  He found a couple of spots and we stopped in and checked out Little American Falls (up by Effie) again and were surprised that the falls were quite a bit lower (since the lakes are still really high).

We are headed back to St. Cloud tomorrow to say good bye to my aunt and uncle as they are heading back to Kentucky on Tuesday and we have an all day strategic planning meeting for church on Tuesday.  It is a slow week at the resort and K is able to do so much more that so we may hang around a couple of days so that we get to spend some time with our family and friends.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My hard times are a comin'

I have come to realize that while K struggled to let go of her work and tasks and let me take them on, I am now struggling to let go of them and give them back!!  I am a "doer" and I have discovered that it is difficult for me to stop "doing" for K and ler her to take back the things that she is able to do.  For those of you who know me well, this is probably not a surprise!   However, since I have never been in this sort of situation before, this is a growth challenge for me and it will be an interesting next couple of weeks.  I told K that she will need to be direct about what she wants to do and make it clear that I need to back off and let her do the work/tasks.  I have also asked her to be patient as I adjust to this new role.  Wow...God provides some very interesting growth experiences on this path!

Just my random thoughts for today.  Off to the resort to make a spaghetti supper for the youth camp group!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Youth Camp and New Life Plans

Thanks to my sister, Susan, for sending the blonde brownie recipe as I needed to make bars for a memorial service on Saturday.  It is always interesting to bake in a stove that does not have a temperature setting!  As you can see in the pic below, Bill continues to love to cook with cast iron!!
The memorial service was for a guy from our church up here that died of cancer.  It was a very nice service and the potluck afterwards brought back memories.  I had not seen a jello salad with carrots for quite some time and had some calico beans that were out of this world.  I am working on getting that recipe and will try to remember to share it.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed into Bemidji to do some shopping and stop at the Beltrami County Fair.  I simply love the people watching at county fairs!  Bill and I were both impressed that you would win Redneck Bingo easier at the Benton County Fair than at this one!  And, yes, I guess that does make us sound like snobs, doesn't it?  Of course, we did have to partake in some fair food.  I particularly enjoyed the Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake on a Stick and Bill enjoyed the Onion Rings.  We listened to a family group (Mom, Did, 3 girls, 2 boys) do some gospel and bluegrass music.  It was amazing the number of instruments that they could play between all of the family members!! 

We also checked out the horse barn since Bill helped with the horse rides last week with the kids camp and fell in love with Big Bill (and not even because of his name!).   Big Bill is a big old friendly Belgian horse that Bill got to lead around for the kid camps.  We saw some monstrous Percheron horses at the fair that barely fit in the stalls.  Simply amazing animals.

There was a glorious full moon on the way home but unfortunately my camera batteries were dead and then I forgot to take it along to the resort yesterday. I am hoping to get a good picture tonight while we are over at the resort. 

The current group is from Rochester and has recruited Bill to help sing songs around the campfire.  The group is only 15 kids and 5 adults so it is much less hectic than last week's group.  These kids are also older...junior and senior high I would guess.  We had a great devotion and sharing time last night with K telling her story and how God has helped her through this whole ordeal with cancer.  We talked about being able to ask and accept help from God and others and how really difficult this can be as we like to think that we can do things on our own!  K has experienced leg pain with the past 2 chemos and is very thankful that there is only one more to get through.  She starts radiation on Monday, August 29, and has to drive 55 miles one way for a 15 minute treatment and she will need to make this trip every day for 5 weeks.  Please continue to keep her and D in your prayers as they start the final leg of this treatment journey.

We have been busy checking out options for catering training for Bill.  Yes, it is time to stop being a telephone man and follow his heart! :-)  Since he really already knows how to cook pretty darn good for large (and small) groups, we are considering an on line option.  We would appreciate any input from those who have done on line courses.  We know that you only get out of it what you put into it (like any class) and that you need to be dedicated to moving forward in the courses.  Any other words of wisdom or experience to share?  He will also be looking for anyone in catering who could use an assistnace to get some direct experience (when we get back to St. Cloud) so please let us know if anyone has suggestions or ideas.   Keep us in your prayers as we work on this transition in our lives!