Monday, April 27, 2009


We rented a movie over the weekend and watched in on a laptop in bed. Still with no TVs in the house and happy with that decision, we do love our laptops.

We watched "Doubt," which is a film about suspicion about a priest within the Catholic Church that takes place around the Vatican II changes. Interesting flick - I think perhaps the first one where I actually enjoyed Meryl Streep.

After we closed the laptop, I had a hard time falling asleep. Perhaps too much coffee on a cold and rainy Sunday. Perhaps too much to do in the weeks ahead and way too little time to get it all done. Perhaps a movie that got the wheels turning. Regardless, I got to thinking about my own doubt. Or to state it more accurately - my lack of it. Remarkably, I don't second guess much. Curiosity - yes, plenty to go around. But true doubt? Eh, not so much of that. I can honestly say that yes, I know God will provide. How much and how rewarding to me at the time is up for debate, but I take great comfort in knowing that he will always provide enough.

When I decided to go to the client side this past year - nonprofit - church at that! - I just had a feeling of peace and faith that it would be ok. Much like I felt when I realized I'd fallen in love. Much like when we found out twins! I wonder if it doesn't somehow go back to my rationality and system of logic in my daily life. No matter what, I will always have a roof over my head and food in my belly. If ever a situation led to such dire straights that the house wouldn't be my own, there are enough good people in this world who would lend a hand.

Even amidst the calamities of evil-doers you hear about in the news, I believe in the greater good of humanity. It feels good to be good, and the majority of us truly want to be good and do good. Sure, everyone gets caught up in the not-so-nice from time to time, but in the big picture, we want to be kind. And for that kind of certainty, I am thankful.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Brilliant Business Idea

No one has ever accused me of being original or unique, but that's ok. Here in our new town, there are only two coffee shops with drivethrus. McDonalds doesn't count. I'm talking real, yummy coffee, as in Starbucks/Caribou. There are two main problems: 1. There are only 2 drivethrus for the community population of nearly 200,000. 2. They are located in the crappiest places where the traffic is ALWAYS congested...places I avoid at all costs because it's such a waste of time.

I'm trying to convince my darling of a husband to consider opening up some coffee huts, like the Northstar or Mountain Mudd fame in Fargo. I don't know how much profit they post, but it must have been something or they wouldn't have stayed in business all these years. He could build little fishhouse hut himself and invest in a couple of good espresso machines and some beans and hit the ground running.

Anyone know anything about this? Can you imagine living in a community with no drivethrus? I'm dying to toss my money at baristas, but darn, they're so inconvenient around here that I often have my first cup at work instead of on the way to work - and the office stuff is icky bitter Folgers. What do you think? Am I just insane? I welcome all feedback on this topic.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who I'm praying for today

I always keep a running list of people I'm praying for. The list grows, because I never feel like I should stop praying for someone once I've started - I mean really, who is more worthy than others?

In looking at my list in my little notepad, today I've topped more than 500 people who I pray for each day by name. Some of them, I've never even met. Some never even lived outside a womb. Some are in a worse place than when I first started praying for them and many others are much better.

Over the weekend, I spent two full days with some of the dearest women in my life - a handful of the Mothers of Multiples from the Fargo area. I learned that the fairness in fertility blessings is all out of whack and that I need to open my heart much more to those who face conception hardships. It can run a lot deeper than simply having to invest in some expensive medical help. I've added a few to my list, for whom I'm praying for peace.

I've begun saying a "freestyle" bedtime prayer with our twins before bed, starting with, "Dear God, thank you for this beautiful day. We ask for your special blessings upon..." The girls LOVE it and we often cover some of the people already on my list. I've said the "Now I lay me" prayer, but now they ask for the God prayer right afterward.

Today, we prayed twice for my Auntie Boonie, who had surgery to eliminate her breast cancer today. We prayed for her doctors, as well as her husband and sons. When we listed Alec and Jake, Breanna hopped off my lap and ran to the refrigerator, yanked off pictures of the boys and brought them back to us. Without prompting, she held them to her heart and of course, tears dripped off my eyes, right onto Lillian's head.

They get it. They're so little and still can't sleep through the night without wetting the bed, and yet their pure and tiny hearts are so capable and willing to love and to pray. I really couldn't be more blessed. Isn't this truly what it's all about?

I invite you to please join us in praying for my family. We've been bombarded with cancer this winter and it's cruel stuff. I also encourage you to start a list. I hope you are filled with as much peace as I am when I walk through my list each night.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's in the air

We all have a little spring fever these days, although for the twins, it began long before it was above freezing outside. I have learned I need to hide their "twimming tuits" if I don't want them to come home from daycare every day and quick toss on their suits before I even get my shoes and coat off. They wear them every chance they get. In fact, they've mentioned swimming in our pond now that the ice is out, but thankfully, we have them convinced that the pond is only a bathtub for the animals and that they'd chase us out and bite our butts if we tried to go swimming there. Thankfully, they believe us.

The kids and I took the wagon to our neighborhood park this afternoon and had the most relaxing visit there. What a joy to be outside again!

Monday, April 13, 2009

As the twins approach three

These girls of ours are growing to be more and more different each day. Their voices. Their hair fullness. Their tastebuds. Their approach to eating. Their preference in colors. Their styles of shoes. Their linguistics.

Breanna is the bolder of the two when it comes to people, and it appears Grant is following in those footsteps. She's friendly and truly pleased to meet new people. Solid and determined, she's very confident. She likes bold prints and bright colors and fistfuls of food. When she talks, which is nonstop, she describes with lots of adjectives, including her senses and memories. She demands answers instead of asking questions. She boldly takes anything that interests her, often pulling it apart as quickly as possible and putting it into her mouth. She's the last one to bed and the first one up with the biggest smile and loves to share coffee with anyone who offers. She writes in big loops and long lines, always picking the brightest colors she can find. She cannot make it through a book without trying to grab it away, but loves to help read along with the ones she's read before. Always making noise; if she's not gabbing, she's singing fast, zippy little tunes.

Lillian, on the other hand, is a softer being. She prefers clean white clothes, dainty little shoes, eating one pea at a time after she's lined them up in a row and counted them. She doesn't talk much unless Breanna's away, and when the floodgates open, look out. She bubbles out questions nonstop. Her memory is impeccible, especially when it comes to how people feel about things, "That makes Auntie Lissy so happy when I rock with her at Auntie Lissy's house" after having not been there for months and months. Quick to fall asleep and very slow to wake up, she quietly whines and whimpers when she's tired. When Breanna swipes a toy or snack from her, Lillian finds a grownup and pleas for them to get it back. She won't fight back no matter how many times we tell her to. She loves to build tall towers with blocks and boxes, and then send them crashing down once they hit their peak. When she writes, she makes polka dots, yellow and pink and other soft colors. She cuddles and rocks and loves to be sung to (her favorite is Rockabye Baby), perhaps more than she loves to read - off by herself. She likes to read a book at least twice in a row, often more. Such an intense student in every area of life, it's almost like she's memorizing every detail around her.

Strangers often ask how we can tell them apart. I respond, "How could we not?" They are still so tiring, but so wonderful. Their wonderful differences just make each one that much more lovable. I just thank God every day for giving us an easy son after these two little turkeys. The hopping continues.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Nice and Shiny

On a light note, our twins had minor urinary tract infections a couple weeks ago, so we went to the doctor. Last week, Breanna told our daycare lady that she'd been to the doctor and he looked at her butt.

Barb simply asked, "Yeah? And what did he see?"

Breanna replied, "He said, 'Looks good, nice and shiny.'"

(For the record, he said nothing whatsoever about shininess.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Fog is Lifting

I'm all out of tears after my recent visit to the Fargo/Moorhead area. But I'm coming away hopeful, as the wonderful leaders and residents in the community appear to have found a way to outsmart Mother Nature, who seems to have a deep and nasty grudge against the area.

After being glued to the AM radio coverage I had live streaming round the clock, I felt I needed to get up to F/M and pitch in. It was consuming me, I wasn't able to concentrate on work, and in the big picture, they were desperate for help. I have plenty of vacation time, and frankly, rebuilding a website or sprucing up the TV Mass atmosphere could wait.

I sent out an email last Tuesday, inviting my colleagues to join me in the trek to the valley. To my dismay, I heard from a small handful of folks who mentioned they'd like to go, but they had meetings scheduled, etc. The rest didn't even acknowledge the email. Not even to say they'd say a prayer or anything. To say I was disappointed is an understatement to say the least. I work for the church, after all.

Wednesday afternoon, I tearily began to prepare for being out of the office, when one of my colleagues who had shown some interest stopped in to offer her support. As we talked a little bit, my tears spilled. Normally Little Miss Self Control, I was embarrassed and surprised at my inability to contain myself. My kind colleague gave me a tight hug and left. When she returned about 20 minutes later, she dropped a fat wad of cash on my desk. It was from her department. They asked if I would put the money toward whatever was needed most up there. I cried some more. About 10 minutes later, she walked in with another pile of dollars. And a few minutes after that, she arrived with even more. This kind soul went around to all the offices and rabble-roused enough to get folks to see that even some prayer would be helpful at that point.

The next morning, I used funds to buy granola bars, bags of nuts, and bottled waters. And then I stopped at Fleet Farm to buy some knee-high rubber boots, which proved to be the best investment of the year for me.

I left a beautiful sunny Saint Cloud and headed up I-94 early in the morning. About 75 miles outside of Moorhead, I hit an insta-blizzard. Traffic was about 40 mph the rest of the way in, with little visibility, except for a clear image of all the ice on the roads beneath me.

As I drove into Moorhead, I was glued to the news radio and quickly realized that I'd better stay on the Minnesota side. If I crossed into ND, I might not make it back out. I drove into the north end of the city - cars lined the sides of the roads for miles, meaning volunteers were all over the place. The driveable roadway was narrowing quickly as water was coming onto the road. The whipping wind and snow were certainly not helpful.

Each time I saw a large gathering of workers, I stopped and handed off boxes of granola bars. A few people mentioned that they were starving - hadn't daring to take a moment to look for something to eat. The Red Cross has been fantastic with supplying meals to the folks working on the main dike that's intended to save Fargo/Moorhead proper or in the FargoDome filling sandbags, but they haven't been able to be everywhere. In the development where I was working, many of the people in the area had been working through the night. Many had tears of appreciation and exhaustion in their eyes. I watched one couple in their 50s as they left their home, throwing in the towel as the water surpassed their sandbag wall and consumed their home. Absolutely heartbreaking.

I made my way to the house of a friend of mine. I'd never been there before, but I know I enjoyed her friendship when I was in the Mothers of Multiples club in Fargo. Like me, she has three little ones, twin toddler girls and a baby boy. She was evacuating the kids so she could get back and sandbag. I worked with her husband and her father-in-law to get their belongings up as high as possible. To get to her house, I had to wade through a driveway of knee-high ice and water. I had to walk slowly so the water didn't come over the top of my boots - there was about an inch clearance. As the water continued to rise, I decided I needed to leave to ensure I could get back home to pick up my kids. The road I left on was fully submerged and was closed by the authorities about 10 minutes after I left. Closer to Highway 10, I stopped and helped sandbag at the home of some strangers for about two hours, and then headed home. I wanted to get out of the blizzard before dark. On my way back, I saw numerous military convoys heading to Fargo.

My friends went to their in-laws' house in South Fargo after being asked to evacuate that night, only to be woken in the middle of the night to be evacuated from there, as well. Now that the first crest occurred - and much lower than predicted - we are celebrating! But the drama is not over, and this community is still dependent on those dikes holding all that water back.

I ask you to please spend as much free time as you have these upcoming days and weeks keeping these folks in your prayers. Also please remember to thank God for providing most of us with a safe, comfortable place. To those who have been praying already, thank you so much.

My sister and her family are still there, along with hundreds of our friends, relatives, colleagues and clients. All are physically safe as far as we know, but they are facing a lot of devastation via property loss, revenue loss, business loss, etc.

I hadn't realized that I consider F/M to be my hometown, but this confirmed it. In the town where I grew up, I know maybe a dozen people still, if that. Our family left over a decade ago and I really haven't spent any time there since. Fargo's where it's at folks. God bless the whole community.

Here are a couple of links to see some of the pictures.