Sunday, March 31, 2013


A friend was just back from Louisiana this past week.  She was gaily speaking of all that she had experienced on this trip.
One such encounter made such an impression on her that she described it as "the best part of the whole trip."

Parading through the French Quarter, they came across magnificent architecture, which they captured through the lens of their cameras.  The continuous clicking of the camera made it obvious they were indeed tourists.
Smells wafted past their noses, seducing them to the nearest food establishment.
It wasn't long and they were seated.  It was torture waiting for their taste buds to be activated as the  tantalizing dishes continually filed past their table,  heightening their anticipation of what was to come.
At last, the feast arrived.
  The five senses kicked into gear.   
The sizzling of the shrimp and the intense aroma of cajun seasonings;  their eyes were bigger than their stomaches!
The not so hot shells were picked up by hand, cracking open the delicacy inside.  Finally, the wait was over.  The salivating went into overdrive, and indulging ensued.  It was worth every second of biding their time.

With stomaches full, it was time to walk off the heavenly meal.
Not wanting to waste one bite, the white, familiar, styrofoam container was filled for a later snack.
One family member asked, "Why are you keeping it?  We are going to be walking around and it is just going to go to waste."
My friend just stated, "I can't throw it away."

Off they went, delighting in the perfect day they were having.
Not too long after the meal, a homeless man appeared.
Looking directly at the styrofoam container, seemingly knowing the contents inside, asked my friend, "maam, could I have your box?"
She immediately said, "yes" and handed over the treasure.

Tears filled my friend's eyes as she recaptured every emotion of that chance encounter.
Watching that man eating that leftover meal with his bare hands moved her.  God did not "waste" her wisdom to save the leftovers.  She simply obeyed and then the man simply asked.

Easter is like that.  Jesus died for us.  Not one of us is "wasted" or "leftovers" in His eyes.  He will give our lives purpose and meaning if we only will simply ASK.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The eagles have landed

There is new meaning to the bible verse in Isaiah chapter 40:31.."they shall mount up with wings like eagles..."

Sunday we spent the most perfect day in Wabasha.  It is the town where the movie, "Grumpy Old Men" was filmed.  More importantly, it is where the National Eagle Center is located.
We learned fascinating details about eagles.
The term "eagle eyes" is a metaphor pertaining to the eagle's eye!   They have incredible eyesight.  They have a built in shade that covers their eyes like sunglasses.  We all know how bright it can be with the sun out and the white snow.  The combination can be blinding.  The eagle is able to use that shade to be able to see 4x the magnification of the human eye.  Our eyes would have to be the size of tennis balls to compare to the eagle eye.

Female eagles are 1/3 larger than the male.  They have 7000 feathers that cover their body, have hollow bones, and weigh 10-12 pounds.

We literally counted 135 of them while eating our lunch at Reads Landing Brewing Company.  It was  the most remarkable thing I think I have ever seen in my life.  We were at the eagle center, and I happened to see an "eagle count" on a white board.  It read:
Wabasha     64
Reads Landing    205
Alma       63
Buffalo City      30
We went to the information desk and asked about the counts. " Indeed, go to Reads Landing.  That is where many of the eagles are perched because of the ice on the river.  The eagles like to fish from the ice,"  stated the employee.
Reads Landing is minutes from the Eagle Center, so off we went!

There they were in all their glory, perched in the trees, soaring above the water, swirling playfully with their playmates, showing off their brilliance to us.  We were hypnotized.  It was the most incredible show of radiance.  We were, and are still, in awe.  We started counting...1, 5, 20, we just kept saying, "there is another one, this is crazy, can you believe this?"
We just could not count all of them.  We were dumbfounded.  Still are.
I want to go again.
Binoculars are a must.  Pictures just can't do it justice.
Think of it...not 1 or 2 eagles.  We are talking 100 plus that you are gazing at all at once.  Amazing.
A few days later and I am still enchanted by the thought of it.  What a gift to use these not so eagle eyes to see such splendor, such glory, our national symbol of strength and freedom.

Go soon if you too would like to be hypnotized.  This natural show of brilliance will not be here for long.  Once the ice melts and it gets warmer, the gathering will disperse and they will soar to other areas.  It will make me look to the skies and say, "there is an eagle."  I never tire of looking at one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kayla Gail Helgeson

"Watch the girl on the far right.  Who is that?  Even if she misses a serve, she is always smiling.  I have watched her the last couple of games and she is the epitome of good sportsmanlike behavior."

I wanted to turn around while sittng there in the bleachers watching Kayla play volleyball  and say "that's my baby girl," but instead just relished in the fact that she simply is a wonderful human being...and people notice!

She has a beautiful white smile and oh the hair..yep, she has epic hair!  Long, curly, full brown hair.  She loves her hair! 

Mid morning, 23 years ago today, i became her mommy.  She came kicking and screaming, ready to live out loud.  The details will remain in my  heart as i know she is going to read this post!
Full of life she is!  She charms a room the moment she enters, much like the day she was born! 

I hated the day when she was swallowed up by the big yellow bus, knowing that was the start of letting her go.  She has big aspirations that I know will take her far from me, but right now, I love that she is here with us, finishing her degree in accounting.  We get to laugh with her..that laugh is infectious.  She has her friends over and we just stand at the top of the stairs laughing ourselves just listening to her!.... and frown at her when she leaves her stuff all over the house!  Ha Ha...she is almost perfect!   

She loves to tell her younger brother what to do...he never listens!  And she is generous with her friends and family. 
I could go on and on about this child of mine.  She is full of class, and heart, and soul, and funny, and strong willed, and determined.  I love this child with all my heart and soul. 

Happy birthday to our baby girl.          

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Garbage day

Saturdays are garbage days for us.

The process is not as simple as pushing the garbage down to the end of the driveway.  We wish it were that easy!

The kids had this propensity to conveniently be gone somewhere on Saturday mornings, getting out of the task of going to the dump!

I can't blame them.  I try not to go either, but skipping more than one week tends to make the senses go into overdrive!

The gameplan is to gather recycables and the garbage throughout the house and in the garage that has accumulated throughout the week.  Surprising how much one household can have so much in such a short week.
There are times, sadly, when a few choice words have been uttered as the garbage comes out of the kitchen can, making its way to the garage.  I tend to lose it if "someone" (NOT ME!) takes that garbage without using the whole can and it leaks creating a disgusting trail across the tile to the outside!  Ugh!  I hate that!

We have always used our van to carry out this chore, but Mark has it right now, so we "get to" use my car.  My car that we try to keep clean, inside and out.  This does not help with that system whatsoever.
Winter has its upsides on garbage days for sure.  Both here at home, and being at the dump.  We feel sorry for the person that operates the compactor on hot, sweltering days in the summer.
We load up the trash, being so careful to put lots of cardboard down in the trunk of my car, using plastic also if needed.  Carefully, we set the trash on the cardboard, making sure we don't put a hole in the plastic bag!  We do not waste time getting to the dump, which is about 10 minutes at best from our driveway.
We pull into the gated dump, where other village people have congregated to get rid of their junk too.  No verbal communication is needed.  We all see each others expressions as we willfully hurl our bags into the compactor, trying so hard not to get a drop of slop on us or anyone in close proximity to us!
Then off to the recycles!  Paper, aluminum, glass, we chuck it all!   You can't imagine our elation to be done with that weekly chore.  The first thing we do when we get back home is clean out the trunk and then go in and wash our hands!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A visit to old memories

Playing in the creek for hours is what I remember most.  I hear the sound of the water trickling over the oversized rocks of this mesmerizing spot.

Recently someone  was recounting to me the joy they had in returning to the home they had grown up in.  It obviously was quite nostalgic for them.

Not long ago, I also had the privilege of doing just that.  It was something I just felt I needed to do.
As I made the pilgrimage  to my childhood home, I made a detour to the cemetery.  That detour is for another post, but it was a healing thing for me to do.

I drove to the home, wondering if the new owners would think I was insane, or at the very least, a foolish woman!  Think about it.  A stranger knocks on your door and states "Hey, let me in.  I used to live here and would like to see my old room!"   It is, for sure, mysteriously unusual.

Scanning the yard as I drove in, it looked slight compared to the days I had to mow that seemingly mammoth ground!  There were days I just knew I would be mowing into the twilight hours.
I plodded my way to the front steps, observing that I did not trip on one particular place in the sidewalk.  Funny what our minds remember.
I was met at the front door by a young man  and a presentable little boy who kept saying, "lady, who are you?"  I respectively exchanged niceties and explained the fact that I once lived here and would it be ok to walk around the yard.
He was very gracious and asked if I wanted to take a look inside.  Would I?  Absolutely!  I tried to hide the fact that was indeed why I came!  Before entering, I asked if the wall of mirrors was still intact.  Right then he knew that I was for sure telling the truth that I had once occupied this space.  Noone would have known about those hideous mirrors!  They weren't there!  The owner stating those were the first to go!
Gone was the outdated blue carpet in the livingroom and hallway.  Traditional hardwood floors replaced it.
The little boy grabbed my hand and tugged me down the familiar hallway stating "come and see my room."
I stopped abruptly, taken back by the fact that I was standing in the doorway of my old room!
The little boy called me, "come on...see my toys."
The room looked so much smaller than I had remembered.  How could that be?  Dusting and making my bed seemed to take hours back then.
I was jolted back to reality when the father uttered, "this was your room wasn't it?"
The little boy's eyes widened with anticipation, "was it, was it really?"
"yes," I affirmed.  The father was observant to my feelings and asked if I wanted to see the rest of the house.
Touching the walls, I could hear our laughter and remember the bygone days of this meaningful place.  It is no longer ours to make memories.  That task belongs now to a little boy whose joy will fill that space with new stories.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mark Alton Helgeson

Today our sweet boy turns 20.  
Details of his childhood have been visiting my memory all week. 
His birth, (I will stay mute on those details...he may be reading this post!), camping trips, family holiday traditions, and vacations have all taken up residency in my mind. 

He has a bucket list.  I was impressed when I first saw it in his dorm room. Just hanging there, open, for all to read.   He has a knack for influencing those around him by just merely being himself.
He doesn't care much about what others think.  Never has. 

His list is vast.  From traveling to far off places such as Patagonia, to having another dog someday.  Losing his beloved dog Lucky was hard on all of us.  All a part of life's journey.  The ride is made sweeter as along the way, one by one, the dreams get to become reality.  Skydiving and climbing HalfDome have already been put in the cherished memory bank. 
With the guidance of the ultimate dream maker--God Almighty, the Great I Am--Oh The Places You'll Go!

Happy birthday sweet child of mine. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Simple Life

These road signs have been popping up all over our town in recent months.  I have been hearing about the Amish moving in to this area, and am just enamored with the thought of the simple life quite literally out my back door. 
I have been on the lookout for these charming, entrancing, bygone modes of transportation.  The signs are a constant reminder to enjoy the simple things in life. 
 One day, out of nowhere, there it was. 
I couldn't help but be fully conscious of the obvious dichotomy...A horse and buggy and a VW Jetta.   Gives new meaning to the word "horse power!"  The buggy was moving along with the family inside.  On these wintry days, I am sure they were, at the very least, chilled.  There I was toasty in my car with heated seats on full blast.  Not even on the radar for simple.  Made me think. 

I do not know much about the Amish life.  I am sure I will learn as it seems idyllic.  I value simplicity.  So much so that I am now taking one day a week and refraining from technology!  No computers, email, cellphone, TV.  One day to read, and write, have face to face conversations, bake, cook, and maybe take a walk.  Amazing what i got done with that day.  Just one day.  And it was a good day.