Friday, October 31, 2003


As the kids get older, the celebration of Halloween changes. I don't have to worry about finding costumes for all the kids for school parties and parades, or going outside to go door to door with them in the dark.

Instead I go to Walgreens with Mark (15) and Inga (17) as they scramble for last minute costumes they decide they are going to get. Mark's band is playing at a local university, so all the band members are dressing up--therefore Mark needs something as well. He settles on Buttercup, the green Power Puff cartoon character. The biggest size is 4-5 (as in preschool), but Mark buys it and makes it stretch over his t-shirt. The shoes and the hat/mask are what really make the costume. I just shake my head and remind myself that someday the kids will be out of the house and I can watch my grandkids dress up in silly costumes someday.

Inga wanted to be Morticia, but she couldn't find a wig. So, she settled for black hair dye--she has long straight brown hair. And she bought some Halloween makeup, so I'm sure she'll figure something out. The dye isn't permanent--so I hope it washes out like it says on the label.

Christina is having friends over, and Luke is "hanging out" with friends. Hopefully they will all have fun and not get sick from too much candy.

And, most important, it is my sister Lori's birthday. Her son Richard (5) is a dalmation today. Have a great day sis!

Till next time,



Thursday, October 30, 2003

Blog prints

Yesterday I printed out this past week's blogs so Tim could read them. He's not online much, so he doesn't take the time to look up my writings unless I make them accessible to him. He likes having something tangible in his hands to look at, and I guess I agree. But I like the idea of my blogs going into cyberspace where all the universe can access them and I can go back in the archives and retrieve them without digging through piles of papers.

So, Tim is my editor, my critic (in the non-blogging world). He says criticism is not always negative, there is such a thing as positive criticism. My blogs, he said, follow a certain pattern. He did not use the words "tiresome, predictable, or boring." I did. So, while he glanced as my musings during commercial breaks of Everybody Loves Raymond, he was influenced by what he was watching.

That particular episode of Raymond was about his brother Robert. Robert, a single guy, brought his latest love interest over for dinner, which Debra, Raymond's wife, prepared. A fly was buzzing around the table while Ray, Debra and Robert were in the kitchen. Angela, Robert's girlfriend, slapped the fly and it fell dead on her napkin. Ray offered to dispose of it, but Angela insisted she would be fine, so Ray continued working in the kitchen, preparing a tray of coffee mugs.

While Debra and Robert were still in the kitchen, Ray returned with the mugs to discover Angela sticking the fly in her mouth and swallowing it.

So, Tim and I decided I could write in my blog, "At least I don't eat flies." Or, "I may be a predictable blogger, but at least I don't eat worms."

After criticism, perhaps I feel like at least singing the worm song, you know, "everybody hates me, nobody loves me, guess I'll go eat worms."

But as I write that, I realize how ridiculous the whole mentality is. Tim criticizes to help me, and not to make me want to resort to insect or worm eathing. I accept his criticism like a big girl, taking what I think is valuable, and then going ahead and . . .

blogging about whatever I want.

Thanks for your help, honey. I will take it with a grain of salt, fly, or whatever. I do appreciate it, really.

Till next time,



Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Why am I downcast?

Yesterday Christina re-injured her ankle, but I didn't find out about it till she got home from her friend's house at about 6:30. She put some ice on it and rested after that (she had been playing basketball after school when she got hurt). Well, this morning she's complaining that she wants to stay home, her ankle kills, yet she's not willing to wear her air cast or use her crutches. She wants a ride to school, but on Wednesdays I don't have time to get her to school and get to my Bible study on time either.

So, we had "words" and she left upset and I am wondering again today how I am going to live through these teenage years. Then I remembered the lecture we heard in our BSF lesson last week--on the Psalms of David. Our teaching leader gave us several psalms to read depending on circumstances we are facing. Today, I read the ones on being downcast--Psalm 42 and 43. Verses that are repeated 3 times in these psalms are "why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5

Maybe someday I will not be surprised when life's circumstances are not what I want and I become downcast. Maybe I will remember in that immediate moment to turn to God, who is my rock and refuge, and seek his love and comfort. Maybe I will ask him for forgiveness immediately for the words I speak in anger, and seek forgiveness from those I wronged as well.

I guess I'm a work in process. Thank goodness we have a loving, patient and forgiving God.

Till next time,



Tuesday, October 28, 2003

A dog's delight

Today is a cold, cloudy, blustery day--with some sleet-like stuff coming down from the sky--the kind of day you hold your hand to your throat to keep your jacket closed tightly or your scarf secure. As Raven and I were walking, he seemed eager to greet every person and animal we approached--as if to say, "It's not such a gloomy day--say hello to me--I am welcoming you to this morning!"

Some people did not really appreciate his cheeriness and walked away--almost fearful of this German-shepherd mix dog, who, although he had his tail wagging, had a fierce bark and face. But one little girl, who did not really seem like a friendly candidate, responded to Raven. She was huddled on the curb, sitting waiting for the school bus, with her knit cap drawn all the way over her face. Raven approached her eagerly, sniffing her jacket and hat. She pulled up her hat and giggled, squealing as he put his cold nose next to her cheek. She was probably about 6 years old.

I hope I can find cheer as easily as my dog on this gloomy, cold day. I think I will find it during my Bible study and prayer time, as I curl up to meet God with a cup of sugar-free hot chocolate. I may not feel his wet nose on my cheek, but I'm sure I'll sense his presence in other ways.

Till next time,



Monday, October 27, 2003

Back from up north

Tim arrived safely back from the men's retreat--tired, but refreshed and renewed somehow. He was up till four or so Saturday night (when we were supposed to get an extra hour of sleep), he relished romping in the woods playing paintball and guys marked their territories on trees like dogs, he enjoyed the competition of playing board games during late night hours, and having guy talks.

This is the first time since we've been married that Tim's gone away on a men's retreat, and I think it was really good for him. The theme of the weekend was authenticity, so the guys had a chance to practice being real with each other. Maybe it was easier, somehow, to be real without women around as distractions. Maybe their realness had to do with not showering or shaving for two days. Maybe it had to do with worshiping in a loud, raucous sort of way, praising God perhaps as David did when he danced before the Lord with all his might.

But I'd like to think that, while men need men and women need women, the sexes need each other to really be complete. After being away, the men came home, showered, shaved, and enjoyed time with their wives. Tim seemed very glad to see me (and I was happy to welcome him home). Maybe women have a sort of civilizing influence on men--I know at the women's retreat, most women showered at least once during the weekend.

So, it's good for women to hang with gals, and for the guys to pal around, but when God said, "It is not good for man to be alone," he had woman in mind. It's cool how a husband and wife complete each other--complementing each other with their differences.

But I guess it's also cool to burn off some of that male energy in pursuit of games of competition and victory or defeat. Then they can come home prepared to be peacemakers after playing in the trenches.

Till next time,



Saturday, October 25, 2003

In good hands

Tim and the kids made it up north last night, safe and sound. Tim helped Luke set up the camper for the boys that are up at their friend's farm, and then he went off to the men's retreat only about 15 minutes away. Now I've got Mark and his two friends here who spent the night, and Christina who needs to spend the weekend finishing up her book for a book report.

For now, the kids are sleeping, so I'm enjoying the peace. Yesterday afternoon was a mad house of packing blankets and bedding for the camper and baking treats and snacks for the weekend.

I'm missing Tim already........but he'll be home tomorrow. I dreamed that he came home and slipped into bed just to be there and help me fall asleep.

I do have my guard dog Raven, who barks at anything that moves outside the door. So, I'm in good hands.

And I've got my God who is always with me and watches over me.

So I'm in the best hands.

Till next time,



Friday, October 24, 2003

The last dark walk for awhile?

This morning was another dark walk--but with dawn coming and the street lights still shining, I could still find my way. Raven didn't seem to mind the dark--he could pull me along by following scents with his nose alone.

Tomorrow night daylight saving time ends, so the mornings will dawn an hour earlier, but night time will also arrive earlier. Then, the days get shorter and shorter till just before Christmas. So, with the arrival of the Christmas season, not only can we celebrate the birth of our Savior and all the wonderful things that go along with Christmas, we can look forward to longer and longer days.

Snow is in the forecast for next week--perhaps preparing us for the advent of darkness and winter. I will celebrate by coming after morning walks, turning up the fireplace, grabbing a cup of sugar free hot chocolate, and blogging away.

Till next time,



Thursday, October 23, 2003

Getting ready for the weekend

It seems a mother/wife's work is never done, even when she will be staying

home for the weekend and her husband and a couple of children will be going

up north. Tim is going to a men's retreat at camp, and Luke and Inga are

going to a friend's cabin not far from camp, so they will be riding up together.

Luke and some other young men will be staying in our camper. It has needed

a new gas hose, as some hungry varmits chewed through the old one.

It has been quite a task to find a new one--first it took Tim several attempts to

remove the old one, then visits to several RV and even LP places before we

finally found a replacement at Camping World. Fortunately, it was found in

the back room, where it had been taken off the shelves not to be replaced next

season. It was a foot short, but Tim got it hooked up last night. So, the boys

won't freeze at night after all.

Before Tim can go, however, he needs to finish a couple of drywall jobs, so

today I am serving as Suzi the taper, scraping down ceilings on a remodel job

(ugh). But, in order to make sure my family gets off in time, I will put in my

time to help out without whining or even mentioning (yeah, right :) ) how

hard I work to make their fun possible.

Then I can kick back and relax as I realize I'm the only transportation all

weekend for the two kids left behind. So, I'll either be driving them all

weekend or we'll have lots of fun together at home. I vote for the latter. They

can even invite their friends over.

Monday may look pretty good.

Till next time,



Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Tim and I love brick. I think we would buy a house made solely of brick if we could afford it. But, instead, Tim has been buying "pavers"--which to me look like bricks, you just put them on the ground instead of on your house. He had our shed moved, took our swingset down (bye-bye childhood, kids) and place a nice path of pavers from our back porch to the shed. We have yet to level the ground and place them in permanently, but hopefully that will happen before we have 2 feet of snow.

Lots of houses in the neighborhood are popping up for sale. Tim's brother's house--where he and his wife lived when they were first married--is up for sale. Many homes are getting around $200,000--for just ramblers. On my walk the other day, I stopped to look at a brochure in one of those boxes outside a home for sale. I was astonished to see the asking price was $234,000--for a 2 bedroom, two bathroom house. Well, it was on the corner of a fairly quiet street--and--it was brick.

Guess that little pig knew what he was doing when he ignored his brothers who built their homes of straw and sticks. Brick must be the way to go.

Till next time,



Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Prayers for Bolivia

One of the aspects of having foreign exchange students is that once their gone, you still carry them in your heart. And those little blurbs in the newspaper world news section are no longer insignificant.

Our Bolivian daughter, Carla, lives in the capital, La Paz, where there have been riots and protests, deaths and the resignation of the president. The indigenous people and others have argued again the government proposal to send gas through Chile to the US (as one market). Many Bolivians have a long-standing grudge (understatement) against Chile for taking away their coastline in a war fought over 100 years ago.

We pray for peace for Bolivia--that the new president will have a cool head and that he can address the needs of all the people. We pray for safety and stabilization of the economy.

And we pray for our daughter Carla and her family there in La Paz.

Till next time,



Monday, October 20, 2003


Early blogging, early walk

Today I uncharacteristically jumped out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:25 am. I hurriedly got dressed, found Raven in the dark, and set out to walk under the still starry night/morning. It was kinda fun to walk before the sights and sounds of morning were apparent--the biggest challenge was cleaning up after Raven in the dark. But, we got the job done and got back home in time to wake everyone up for school and work.

Luke's truck has been acting up--sometimes shaking when it starts--so we decided it's time to get fixed. He's using my van again today (he took it up to camp this weekend), so I wanted to get up early to get his truck in before Tim goes to work, and before my 8:30 am eye appointment (I'll have to walk the 6 blocks to the eye doctor since I'm now vehicle-less).

So, I'm getting lots of walking in. Yesterday we went to a corn maze that was carved in the shape of the world. We visited 26 points along the way that described the various parts of the "world" they were located in (signs along the maze). I was glad Tim was leading the way--I'm not too bad at directions, but I have been known to get turned around without too much trouble.

Today I shouldn't get lost with no vehicle to drive around it. Guess after the eye doctor I'll be cleaning the house, doing my Bible study, or maybe even baking banana bread.

Till next time,



Saturday, October 18, 2003

Maybe it will grow on me

I pass this stucco house on my morning walks--it's on two of my three routes. It's always had bushes at the front where I walk by--about 5 feet in height, so it gave a lot of privacy to the homeowners. I noticed a sign by the bushes one day, advertising a contractor, but it was not much more than a place where Raven enjoyed doing his business as we walked by. Then, I noticed that the bushes were cut way down, so the house was now fully visible.

The house is a two story--a pink stucco. Well, not exactly pink--more a subtle pink/peach tone. Not my idea of a house color, but it wasn't an in-your-face color either. But yesterday, I noticed the stucco was being painted. And not a neutral or usual house color, but a yellow. It wasn't a nice house yellow--kinda light or earthy tone, but bright. It was a bright mustardy color or maybe a daisy yellow. It seemed to scream among the other brown, gray and white houses surrounding it.

Today, though, as the house was closer to being finished, it seemed a bit better. Maybe they will be doing something with trim or adding something to the yard........we will see.

Still, bright mustard yellow doesn't sit well with me for exterior paint. I guess I'm kinda a boring gal....

Till next time,



Friday, October 17, 2003

"Don't worry, Mom........"

Isn't it a mother's job to worry? Especially when you have teenage children--that are driving? Yet, how often I hear the refrain, "Don't worry, Mom" as my kids are heading out the door and I'm saying, when will you be home--don't be late--be home by 11, etc.

Now Luke's truck is acting up. At first I thought it was undrivable, then I found out that he's been driving with this problem for 6 months. So, he was going to try to take his brother's truck with him this weekend up to Bible camp, and have us switch the insurance on it. But it was in his grandparent's garage behind Grandpa's model A, and besides it needed to have the new plates put on it. A project for us this weekend. So, they took my van, which can accommodate five boys much more easily than Luke's pickup. And he told me the tricks of what to do when the truck acts up. Thank goodness for cell phones and AAA insurance.

Now, I need to stop worrying about vehicles and trust that God will protect them all on their trip--the last time Luke will be a camper since he's now a senior in high school. I will pray for them, not worry, putting them and all our vehicles into God's hands.

Lord, help me to trust, not worry. Worry is part of my nature some how. Faith is hard work. But you are worthy of our trust and faith. I put this day and this weekend into your hands. Amen

Till next time,



Thursday, October 16, 2003

Home home on the range

Well, here we are with more vacation days from school. It's MEA weekend--so the kids are off for two extra days. Christina had a friend over last night, the boys and Inga were out late last night at friend's houses, and I didn't jump out of bed at 6:15. Raven and I walked late (much to his dismay), and now I'm blogging late. Before I know it, it will be noon and I'll have to really accomplish something.

Tomorrow the boys are going up to camp for two days, so I'm glad about that. I hope they have a wonderful experience there--since we haven't really settled in with them in a church, they haven't been involved with youth groups or Christian activities, so I'm always glad to see them enjoy Bible camp. Maybe they can make some connections with friends there and hook into some kind of permanent gathering when they get back home.

So, we'll enjoy the little break and hope for some good spiritual growth at camp. And hope that Christina has a good time of spiritual growth home with mom over the weekend (and hopefully away from the phone for at least 15-minute intervals).

Till next time,



Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Sunshine, on my shoulder--

Raven (our dog) and I got out a little bit early today--while it was still a bit

dark. That's not too hard to do in Minnesota this time of year, when it is pitch

black till almost 7 am. It's always fun to see the sun come up, gradually

lightening up the world, awakening it from its sleepy darkness, exposing the


As we were walking west toward home, I noticed the tops of the brightly

colored trees, illuminating the orange, red, yellow and still green hues. The

lower parts of the trees remained in shadows, waiting the warm touch of the


I also viewed a passing flock of geese overhead, seeking warmer temperatures

to the south. The rising sun shone under their wings, brightening their sleek

underbodies as they soared past in formation.

In just minutes, whole trees are in the light of the sun--the world sees morning

again. I pray that as the world is illuminated in the early day, my mind can

grasp what God is teaching me and that my heart, body and life will be

affected by his light.

Till next time,



Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Red tape and run around and paper trails

I was transferred three times just to try to get our exchange student, Inga, in to see the doctor today. First I was transferred to scheduling, then to someone to take my "computer" information, then to an actual scheduler, who put me on hold. I was unable to give a social security number or even an ID number, although Inga has insurance, and very good insurance at that, and we've had foreign exchange students see at this clinic before. In fact, I've taken all of them except maybe Mai from Japan for x-rays, pink eye, sore throats, etc.

So, we'll see how her appointment goes today, and if I have to fill out mounds of paper work or not. I know students have commented on the amount of paper work required for any little thing in the US. I am hoping for a paperless society as I have stacks of the stuff lying around my house in various piles of "organization"--but even when we put stuff on the computer to store it, I like to print it out. There's something about holding the written word in your hand. It's the benefit of reading a magazine as opposed to online articles.

It's still fun to read online, but it's even more fun to print it out. Gotta give those trees who gave their lives a purpose, and what better one than to be transmitters of the written word.

Someday, if I get my palm pilot figured out, I can do away with all paper. Until then, my printer gets a good workout.

Till next time,



Monday, October 13, 2003

Hurray for marriage!

Today I wasn't sure what I would blog about:
An uneventful walk with Raven, interrupted by
my daughter's phone call informing me I forgot to give her money for pictures--today is picture day
Inga's relatively dry run/walk on Saturday
her sore muscles today along with a bad cold
Mark's raking leaves in the front yard--using an unusual method of his head as a sort of shovel while he held the bag open with both arms and knelt in the pile to put the leaves in ....
Luke's mounting stuff of graduation materials and college information items.....

Or, something really important like:
This week is marriage protection week, with the US President's mandate, and several pro-family organizations have come together to encourage Americans to call, e-mail or fax their representatives and senators to urge them to support a the Federal Marriage Amendment. In these past few months, traditional marriage has suffered a severe blow:

Sodomy is not a consitutionally protected right in the US
Gay marriages have constitutional protection in Canada
An openly gay bishop was approved for his leadership position in the Episcopal church (although he had left his wife and children for his male lover)

We who stand up for traditional marriage are not bigoted or homophobics. We have friends and in even family members who are gay. We love them although we disagree with them. What we oppose is not gay people, but the homosexual agenda which is trying to destroy traditional marriage, and thus unravel the foundation of the home and ultimately our society and our country.

US citizens, join me in contacting your congress people to encourage them to support the Federal Marriage Amendment. Pray for strong marriages and homes. Pray for those who have been harmed by divorce, including those who are divorced. Thank God for Christian leaders who are standing up to support the family.

For more information, check out Focus on the Family's website, or other pro-family organizations.

Till next time,



Saturday, October 11, 2003

Running in the rain

I think our nice summer stretch is coming to an end. This morning, it's still in the sixties, but cooling down. The cloudy skies should have been my tip off as Raven and I started out. Sporting only a sweat suit--no hat or coat, and Raven wearing even less--we started out. Soon it began to sprinkle, and then it came down harder. Not a downpour, fortunately, but enough to feel cold and uncomfortable.

Poor Inga. She is running in her first 10K here--I hope she's comfortable and doesn't get too soaked. At least it's not snowy and icy.

As for now, I suppose I should replant my iris bulbs and rake some soggy leaves. Or, I could do some work inside the house. Or, I could do some reading and have a nice cup of sugar-free hot chocolate.

Hmmm. So many choices. At least I'm not carpool mom today. Just yet.

Till next time,



Friday, October 10, 2003

Soccer mom, aka driving mom

Today is the final volleyball tournament for Christina. It's on the other side of St. Paul (we are west of Minneapolis), but it is the last one. Actually, it's been a fairly short season--basketball goes from about November through February. So, I'll enjoy being a "soccer" mom while I can--the boys were more into music than sports when they entered their middle school years, so I didn't do more than drive them to piano lessons when they were younger.

Well, I better get moving. Luke called and asked me to put his clothes in the dryer. Then Tim called for back-up drywall help, and I wanted to go to the grocery store before I pick up Christina after school. Internet time will be limited today. ;)

Driving time will be maximized. Oh, well, I like my van. And it's built for lots of kids. And stuff too.

Till next time,



Thursday, October 09, 2003

Sweating this week, next week snow

As I sit here watching the leaves fall, I know that I will have to change out of my sweats into shorts and a t-shirt if I don't want to perspire all day long. I'm resisting the temptation to turn on the air conditioner--knowing that this is Minnesota, where they say, "If you don't like the weather today, wait till tomorrow."

I heard it is supposed to snow next week. Last week we had a frost. This week we have been enjoying temperatures in the 80s.

This is really confusing the exchange students, who had resigned themselves to cold or at least cooler temperatures. Now they think spring has come.

Just wait till next week.

Till next time,



Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Got purpose?

This weekend our church will begin a 40 days of purpose study, based on Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. As we look forward to that, I’ve been thinking about my purpose.

Is my purpose to make sure my kids are up every morning and out the door in time to get to school?

Is it to have an immaculate house? (Don’t ask my husband this question.)

Is it to work full-time, or at least part-time at a job that is fulfilling to me and helps put bread on the table?

Is it to be a volunteer–have many friends–be involved in many social and community activities?

I think asking about my purpose is a good start, but it is not the real question. The real question is, who am I in Christ? My purpose in life should be to glorify him and serve him in all I do. My worth comes from being a creation in the image of God, my salvation is from him as I accepted Jesus as my Savior.

It is not what I do or who I associate with that gives me purpose. If I am a baby in the womb, I have worth. If I am an old lady in a nursing home who can do little more than pray, I have worth. If I am a stay-at-home mom with teenagers–I have purpose. My job is to seek God daily and ask him how I can serve him each day–to be a holy example to draw others to him.

A tough job? You bet. I must seek the strength of the Holy Spirit daily to help me in this task. And knowing what Christ did for me–giving his life to show how much value I have to him–makes me know I have purpose and gives me the desire to serve him.

Our purpose is to follow Christ, day by day, minute by minute, step by step. Lord, help me to fulfill this in all I do every day.

Till next time,



Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Invasion of the lady bugs

Summer has come to visit Minnesota in October. It's true, we still have falling leaves, shorter days and longer nights, cool mornings and evenings, but temperatures during the day have soared up into the 70s. After last week's freeze, it's a welcome event.

Ladybugs and box elder bugs, however, have taken the opportunity to take over our town. They cling to doorways and windows, seeking entry into warm homes and sometimes finding it--flinging themselves against light fixtures as if they were summer moths.

I guess I'll put up with a few lady bugs for a couple of days of summer again. Winter snows will be here soon enough.

Till next time,


PS I must take time to wish my wonderful sister Cheri a very happy birthday! You are a great example to me, and I hope you have a terrific day!


Monday, October 06, 2003

Dave King of IdeaJoy has been interviewing bloggers on his site--and

they generally answer questions on theirs. It's been fun to visit other

sites and get to know other bloggers, even if only in cyberspace.

Thanks Dave! Here are the questions he had for me and my attempt

to answer them:

Q: Is the Twins-Yankees series a big deal in your house?

A: I remember when the Twins were in the World Series in 1987 and

then again in 1991. Those were the days of Kent Hrbek and Kerby

Puckett. Lately, our interest in the Twins has been rekindled, and my

husband has been watching the games--either here or at his brother's

house. Our boys had some interest, but friends and band practice

took precedence over baseball viewing. I'm sure if we had gone on to

the World Series, we would have been glued to the TV--but as it was,

Tim watched the Vikings, then fell asleep during the Twins game that


Q: In hosting exchange students, what part of American culture has

been the hardest to explain?

A: This is a tough question to answer, since we've had students from

Asia, South America, and now Europe--and each has different areas

of difficulties to deal with here, but each has adapted amazingly well.

Maybe the one common element would be balance--balancing social

life with home life and school life. Some students have been home

quite a bit, others have ventured out and are not home much at all.

Most students are not used to school-centered activities like we have

here in the US--they go to clubs or other social settings for their fun.

There have also been isolated incidents of cultural quirkiness--our

Japanese girl had a hard time going to the passenger side of the car,

since in Japan they drive on the other side (something I thought was

unique to England!). She also was very annoyed when I put me feet

up on a desk near her books--very taboo in Japan! (Feet go on the

floor only, and not by personal items.) Other adjustments, but not

really cultural things, have been getting used to Minnesotan (our

Japanese student called it "American weather") seasonal changes.

Almost all of them have been sick during weather changes, especially

in the fall. The different food has been a challenge for some--again,

our Japanese girl said, "American candy is very sweet, but I'm

getting used to it!" Our Ecuadorian boy didn't care much for our

fruit--not nearly the quality of freshness he was used to. Inga, our

current student from Moldova, is gradually venturing beyond fruit

and yogurt to try bread and cereal. Our Thai boy liked noodles from

home, and Carla from Bolivia wouldn't eat cheese or drink skim


Q: Have you traveled internationally, if so where?

A: When I was a senior in high school, I went to Switzerland for a

week with Campus Life (Youth for Christ). It was over Christmas

break, and we did some skiing but mostly touring. I also spent a

summer in Ecuador working as a summer missionary at HCJB

Radio Station in Quito--I worked in the English language

department. In 1998, our church sent 11 of us to Ecuador, where we

taught Bible School and helped build a Christian school for Quechua

believers near Cayambe--way up in an isolated area of the Andes

mountains. I've also been across the border to Mexico (Nuevo

Laredo) for a day, and when I was a kid we drove through Canada

but weren't there long enough to buy more than one tank of gas.

Q: Where would you like to go and why?

A: I'd love to visit all of our exchange students--I'm hoping they'll

send plane tickets when they each get married. They live in La Paz,

Bolivia; Quito, Ecuador; Yokohama City, Japan; Bangkok,

Thailand, and Inga is from Chisnau, Moldova. I'd also like to visit

Romania--where our daughter Christina was born (she's adopted).

Her orphanage is only about 60 miles from Inga's home in Moldova.

I've always wanted to go to the UK--especially England, and since we

live so close to Canada, I'd like to head up north, eh, and at least

check out Winnipeg.

Q: What book would you recommend to help your exchange students

understand America?

A: Another tough question. Tim helped me out with this one--he

remembered looking at a book at an AFS meeting before Inga

arrived. It was put out by the US State Department, and written

especially for exchange students to help them get acquainted with

American culture. It is called "Introduction to the USA" published by:
FREEDOM Support Act Project Office
American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS
1776 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Another helpful book is: "Culture Shock! USA" Published by Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company; Portland, Oregon.
This book is in most book stores or can be ordered from Amazon.com. I got this information from Nick, one of the AFS volunteers.

Also, English dictionaries are helpful, of course. We bought a

slang dictionary for our Japanese girl, but to our dismay she was

very interested in finding out swear words--so that book is now

hidden somewhere. (or maybe she took it back to Japan.)

Till next time,


Sunday, October 05, 2003

Helpful husband

It was one of those Saturdays where everyone is going in different directions. Tim was working, Luke was recording his first CD with his band, Mark was sleeping, Christina wanted to go to her school's marathon, and I had plans to take exchange students to a parade to promote AFS.

So, I left a disappointed Christina and a sleepy Mark at home and gathered up the foreign girls and headed to the parade route. We parked and walked several blocks to our lining up place. Just before we were ready to march, my cell phone rang. It was Mark. "Mom, I have some bad news." I tried to think of how might have died or be in the hospital. "The dishwasher is making suds and water all over the kitchen floor."

Okay, this was bad, but hopefully salvagable (is that a word?). Anyway, I told him to hit the cancel button and start mopping up the floor with any towels, sheets, or whatever he could find to get the water off the floor. We have fake wood floors (like Pergo) and if they get wet for too long, they warp.

So, Mark was the hero and when I got home I ran the dishwasher on short rinse cycles and cleaned out the suds on the bottom the best I could. Turns out Tim was trying to be helpful and ran the dishwasher with the Dawn hand dishwashing soap. "Well, it was out--what was it doing sitting out by the dishwasher????"

I'm sure Tim has run the dishwasher before using the right stuff, but oh well, we all make mistakes. This one is not likely to be repeated.

Unless, of course, we have a helpful exchange student who wants to lend a hand in the kitchen and.........

Till next time,


Saturday, October 04, 2003

Missing them.........

My friend Judy and I are planning a party--a reunion of sorts. We are hoping to resurrect our Friends Indeed group, at least for one evening. Friends Indeed was a group of couples (and some singles) who gathered monthly or however often we could manage it to play games, eat, talk and basically have fun. It was a good escape from small children for us and some others who had kids the same age, but mostly good to enjoy Christian fellowship in a let-down-your-hair kind of way.

This is a group of friends from our old church which closed last year. Now, I depend on seeing people at Cub Foods mostly, or worse, funerals. I even missed a funeral--I just found out yesterday that an older member of our church died about 2 weeks ago. Guess I'm getting to the point where I should study the obituaries every day.....

I did see a good friend at a varsity girls soccer game, of all places. Inga, our exchange student, was being honored with other senior exchange students and their parents at half time (we missed the other half-time senior deal--the AFS students had a required orientation.) My friend's daughter, a sophomore, was playing varsity for her large high school (Wayzata, MN). She was the top scorer, but at this time, she was injured and not playing. It was good to catch up a bit, and I hope to see her at the Friends Indeed reunion.

And I hope we'll dwell on life, the future, our faith walks. And we'll have fun.

Till next time,


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Not broken..........we think

Well, Christina and I went to the doctor yesterday, and it looks like her ankle is sprained, although the doc wanted a radiologist to look at the x-ray to make sure there were no fractures. So, we went to school and picked up her homework and showed off her crutches to everyone. This morning I drove her to school and hauled all her books up to her locker as well as her Advil to the principal's office for dispensing at lunch time (3 tablets at each meal for pain). Tomorrow there is no school (teacher's break day or something). So, hopefully she can rest up over the weekend and be lots better by Monday.

We'll see.

Till next time,


Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Christina injured her thumb the other day in volleyball--it's jammed and a little swollen, but she's getting by, and even still playing. But last night, she just went out the door to walk the dog, when she tripped over something and claimed she heard a crack.

I let her sleep upstairs by the front door, and when I looked at her foot this morning, there was no swelling or bruising. She hasn't tried to put any weight on it yet, so we'll have to see how it goes.

Of course, this morning I have Bible study (my one important commitment during the week), but I think she'll be fine to stay home and rest and when I get home I'll see how it's going and if a doctor's visit is necessary.

I'm pretty sympathetic, because I had a hand and ankle injury a couple years ago--mine was a sprained ankle (falling out of a tree--a story for another time) and 3 weeks later I cut open my hand separating hamburger patties with a regular table knife. Eight stitches later, I was almost as good as new, but I still had my ace on my ankle. I still can't clap for a long period of time (it hurts) and as the weather has been changing this fall I can feel pain in my ankle.

Isn't nice to be a sympathetic mom?

Till next time,

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