Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Christmas

We had our family Christmas celebration Friday night.  I love Christmas.  I love everything about it; buying, making and giving gifts, the great food and yummy cookies, the tree and the lights, stockings, the story of Jesus' birth.  But, most of all, I love being together with my family!

We're a fun family...a little bit loud and a little bit goofy...but tons of fun!  We laugh and joke, play games, hug and snuggle.  We bring our favorite snacks and someone always breaks out the wine, beer, etc.  The kids are part of the fun and it's wonderful to see how they grow and change with each passing year.

Bubba got everything he wanted: Monopoly Deal, money for Amazon and Target, a T-shirt and a couple of cool new games that he already loves to play.  I got everything I wanted as well; a Kindle gift card, a massage, a covered cake pan, Catch Phrase, some earrings and money for Target.  Oh...Bubba also got squirrel underwear, but that's another blog.

It was a wonderful night.  My number one daughter was there...the most precious gift of all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Auntie Carrie...again!

Welcome to the world, Baby Zoe!  I'm so happy to finally meet you.  I'm looking forward to many years of snuggling, playing, shopping and having "girl time".
Congratulations to my baby sister for bringing another beautiful baby into our family!

And a big high-five to the boys!

All my love, Baby Zoe.  May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Summer is coming to an end here in Northern Minnesota and, though I love the season beyond words, there is one thing about summer I will not miss.

Tourons.  A touron is a tourist/moron who comes into your town on vacation and proceeds to lose all of his or her manners, common sense, ability to operate a motor vehicle or understand common street signs, and suffers from delusions of grandeur.

These tourons tend to flock to my place of employment each and every day during the lunch and dinner hours.  They are a difficult species.  They are rude, demanding, mess-making folk who act on their feelings of superiority with gusto and leave destruction and frustration in their wake.

To all the tourons out there:  Your time is short!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Tonight I'm going to update my reading list.  I promise.   And I'm going to blog, as well.  Tonight.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Summer in my small town is just about the best thing on earth.  My only wish is for more time to enjoy it...

Monday, July 26, 2010

So Tired

Don't you just hate it when you're completely exhausted, but the moment your head touches the pillow your mind kicks into gear.  You spend the next few hours thinking about anything and everything because you just can't TURN IT OFF!!!

If only my thoughts were fixated on solving the problems of the world, curing cancer or feeding the hungry.  Alas, this is not the case.  I think about my grocery list, what book to read next, work schedules and when I should do the laundry.

Does this mean that deep down inside I'm just shallow???

Friday, June 25, 2010


I don’t care what other people think. Sometimes this comes across as me simply not caring about people. Not true…I care about others very much.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Random Facts...

If I could go back in time and do it all over again there are very few things I would change. However, the things I would change are significant.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lazy Days...

There's something to be said for laziness.  After a day spent doing next to nothing, a stellar nap and a full, good night's sleep, I woke up the next morning feeling incredible.  I scrubbed, cleaned, washed, aired out, swept, mopped, dusted, vacuumed, and freshened.  Who knew that one day of good laziness would result in a power surge?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Debate

The Health Care Debate is obviously consuming much of the attention of our nation. Only thing is, it isn’t a health care debate, it's a government debate, dealing primarily with how much individual freedom and liberty the American people are willing to surrender in exchange for more government control and intervention.
As we lose our freedoms I can only mourn for all who stood tall to protect them for this long.  Thank you to my brothers, my brother-in-law, my friends and my family. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Mother...and God

"You're going to get a ticket..."
"I don't understand why you feel the need to drive so fast."
"If you get pulled over..."

All of the above direct quotes from my mother this past weekend as we drove down to the cities and back.  She commented on my speed countless times and I replied with the following:

"I will not get a ticket.  I don't get tickets.  I will never get a ticket."

You should know that my mother is a praying woman.  She has a direct line to the Creator and prays for her children ceaselessly.  I have little doubt that her prayers last night went something like this...

"Dear Lord,
I love my daughter, Carrie Lynn, with all that I do You, Lord.  But that girl drives way too fast and needs to be taught a lesson.  So, Lord, if it be your will, teach her that lesson tomorrow on her way home from work. 

Well, Mom, with my foot in my mouth I can still say...

Prayers answered.  Lesson learned.  God is good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chinese Tonight

My son and I had Chinese takeout tonight from a local restaurant.  General Tao Chicken with Fried Rice and Crab Rangoon.  Mmmmmm.  I eat with chopsticks, the son eats with a fork...chopsticks don't shovel the food in fast enough for him.  This isn't exactly what it looked like, but you get the idea.

The restaurant only serves Chinese on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Ironically, I usually crave it on Wednesdays.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Eelpout Weekend

Another Eelpout Festival has come and gone in my small town.  Thousands of people came up to eat, drink, play and fish for the elusive 'pout.  I worked the whole weekend and reaped the benefits of some serious cash...and sore feet.
By the end of the weekend I had witnessed some guy walking down the sidewalk, stopping to puke on the deck of the restaurant I was working at, and then continuing on his stroll downtown; several people falling off of their chairs; odd items left under tables and in bathrooms; and many requests for pictures with random drunk people. 
As crazy as it was, it was also a blast.  I work with some great people and we made the weekend the funnest time ever!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things I Can't Do...

I can't eat with chopsticks while I'm driving.'s nearly impossible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Bully

I was in junior high, probably seventh grade, when it happened.  School had just ended for the day and I was getting ready to board the bus for the long ride home.  In between my bus and the next stood a young girl whose eyes were overflowing with tears.  Her face was red and she was clearly terrified.  A much, much bigger girl was standing on the young girl's lunchbox, refusing to give it to her.  The lunchbox (they were metal in those days) was crumpling under the weight of the bully, the young girl was shaking with fear, and the bully was sporting a nasty, I'm-bigger-than-you-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it grin.

I'm sure the little girl was thinking that she would get beat up, her lunchbox would be ruined, her mom would be angry with her or any number of panic-stricken worries.  As I came by, she looked up at me with an expression of defeat...and a little bit of hope.  I can still see her face to this day...clear as a bell.

Here's the part where I tell you that I laid into that bully.  Told her how nasty she was and warned her never again to pick on someone smaller than her.  Comforted that little girl and swore to protect her from any and all big people.

I didn't do anything.  I walked right by and got on the bus.

I remember very little from my younger days.  But, I remember her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Want...

I have everything in life I could possibly need.  I have food, shelter, clothing, love, respect, happiness, a job, a car, life, faith, hope, joy and peace.

However, there are some things that I just WANT.
  • I want a new front bumper for my car.  I cracked the one I have last winter when I slid into a truck.
  • I want a computer for my son.
  • I want a house for my sister...preferrably one in Minnesota (yes, Courtney, in Minnesota!)
  • I want the girls in my youth group NOT to have dads in treatment, moms in jail and houses without heat or water.
  • I want my students NOT to live in houses where parties go on 24/7.
  • I want my nephew to be healthy...all the time.
  • I want my brothers to be happy, successful and God fearing.
  • I want my parents to know that I love them.
  • I want my kids to know that I'm proud of them.
  • I want some strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries and real whipped cream.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day Off

I had the day off today.  If you live in Northern MN you know why. 

I woke up this morning at 6:30, ready to eat, shower, get dressed and head to school for the first day of the new semester.  I was excited about starting new classes and having new students.  As Beau and I were eating breakfast I thought I'd turn on the news just in case school was delayed because of the icy roads.  Lo and Behold my school was closed for the day!  As I jumped for joy in my living room we waited for the scroll at the bottom of the TV screen to get to Beau's school................nope.  I had the day off and he did not.

At 7:30 I drove Beau over to his school and came back home.  Guess what I did?  Yep!  I crawled right back into my nice, warm, cozy bed and grabbed two more hours of sleep.

Thank you Lord for simple pleasures!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I just heard that my Grandpa is in the hospital tonight.  I think he'll be okay...he has some dizzyness, pain, etc.  My Grandpa is pretty tough, nearly indestructable and build to last forever.

When I think of him I don't ever see him as an "old man".  In my eyes he will never be frail, weak or less than heroic.  He will always be a giant of a man.

Memories of my Grandpa include times at the cabin, shopping trips, promises of ponies and trips to Disneyworld (they never came true, but it didn't matter to me).  Grandpa would sing to us, speak Finnish and always tell us how much we were loved. 

Over the years Grandpa told so many stories.  Stories of when he was growing up, stories of his days in the war, stories of operating the crane and stories of driving the school bus.  He loves everything he does and takes joy in the blessings God gives him.  And he loves us. 

One Christmas, Grandpa recited Psalm 23 in his native language.  I wish I had recorded it so I could listen to it again. 

I love my Grandpa so very much.  He truly will live forever...this I know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthday Girl

In three more days I will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the birth of my first child.

She is beautiful, amazing, talented, intelligent, loving and hilarious.

Molly was born beautiful. She brightened the whole world with her smile. Her eyes would light up and everyone else would feel they had to smile was contagious. I remember when she would get in trouble and would look up at me with those big eyes wide open, a little pouting grin on her face, and say, "But, Mom, don't you looooove me?" She still got her spanking...but I loved her even more.

Molly and I would dance on the coffee table with the music turned up loud. We danced in the car too...and sang really loud. I would put her hair in curlers, add a little eye shadow and lipstick and we would have a photo shoot. We made a cardboard box into a boat and she paddled it through the living room with a wooden spoon. She made up songs and sang them to me…”Boom-boom mommy-mommy and a grape-a grape-a”.

I have pictures of her hugging the Christmas tree...for about five Christmases in a row. Also pictures of her imitating a cat, picking her nose, running around naked and making an endless parade of funny and weird faces. At times she would laugh so hard at herself I would make her put her head down between her knees until she got herself under control. She would make up funny stories and jokes and could literally entertain me for hours.

Whenever we were out and about Molly would hold my hand; not because she was scared of getting lost, but because she just wanted to be next to me. She was a truly loving daughter. Even as a teenager she would snuggle with me at night, give me hugs and kisses and tell me how much she loved me.

We went to the movies together...I remember she and her friend hiding under the theater seats because they were too scared to watch the movie. We read books, watched TV, played games and just hung out.

Molly has now ventured out to experience her own life. I miss her every day. I love her even more than I did on the day she was born. She was my greatest adventure and is my greatest accomplishment. Words cannot express what she means to me and how so very, very much I love her.

Happy Birthday Molly

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book of Eli

I went to see The Book of Eli tonight.  It was an incredible movie.  Full of what I like...danger, fighting, shooting, disaster, etc.  But also full of what I love...redemption, love, the power of God and the strength and courage of the man who follows Him.

The movie was great, but the feeling inside of me when the movie was over was even better.  It was a reminder of what is important; of the Purpose we have; of the call to live that Purpose no matter what.

God is good.  All the time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Can I Have a Snack?

My son has an addiction.  He must eat.  Alot.  All the time.  When I feed him (which I do so very often) he consumes his food like he's a dying man.  Ten minutes later this is what I hear..."Mom, I'm hungry.  Can I have a snack?"

I say to him, "You cannot possibly be hungry.  You just ate an entire meal."


"That's not possible, Honey."

"Mom.  Please.  I need more food."

Another thing.  Let's talk about the definition of snack.  I, like most of the world, define a snack as a small helping of food to stave off hunger pains until the next mealtime.  Something like a piece of fruit, a granola bar, a small dish of pudding, etc. are all acceptable in my definition of snack.  Not so with the son.  I say, "Would you like a chocolate chip muffin?"  He says, "Can I have three?"

It's 9:00 as I write this post and I've just told him to put his book away and go to bed.  Guess what he said.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Forward, Not Back

There's always a way forward, but there's no way back. To dwell in the past is to wallow in the unchangeable. The past is for memories; it’s a place to visit with fondness and to leave behind with joy.

No, this is not a famous quote…I came up with it all by myself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Life is good.  In spite of (or maybe because of) the twists, turns and troubles, I am increasingly happy with my place in this world.  I have everything I need...and many of the things I just want.  My life is full of love, joy, faith, peace and hope.  Love for and from my family and my friends; joy in the simple things each day brings; faith in what God has in store; peace of heart and mind; and hope for the things yet to come.

Today was an especially trying day.  I had to resolve issues that were far from pleasant.  Tomorrow will be difficult as well, as I complete the process.  But, through it all, I hold on to the knowledge that my life is very, very good.

Resolution #3: The LIST

Resolution #3 is to live my life in such a way that I am constantly moving toward my goals.  For example, I want to get married again (someday).  If that's my goal, then why would I waste my time dating men who just don't fit the bill?  How do I know if they fit the may ask?  Well...I have a LIST.

Yes, I have a LIST of the Ten Things I Require in a Husband (you may be thinking to yourself that it's possible I'm a teeny bit controlling, uptight and/or anal.  Think what you may...I still have my list).

Here it is:
  • He makes me laugh.
  • He has a stable career and his own home.
  • He likes my kids and they like him.
  • He is confident enough to do and say what he wants without worrying about what other people think.
  • He is well read.  I can share books with him.
  • He is intelligent and capable of conversing on any topic.
  • He follows, trusts and depends on the same God as I do.
  • He loves me more than he loves himself.
  • If the world fell apart, I would want him to be my partner.
  • He doesn't need me...but he loves me.
At times in my life I have dated men who meet most of these requirements, but never all of them.  My sister tells me I'm too picky.  She thinks I need to lower my standards.  I think I should never settle for less than exactly what I want.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


This year I've made a few resolutions.  I'm trying to be realistic about what I choose to resolve.  For instance, becoming a millionaire and looking like a super model are not on my list. 

One resolution was to create a blog.  Ta Da!!! I did it!  I actually started it in 2009 but it took me awhile to figure out how to make it work just right.  I was inspired by my sister who started a blog some time ago to keep family members updated on what was going on in her life...and...since my life is so interesting and full of intrigue and adventure, I thought it only fair that I share it with the world.  My mom is blogging now too and I love reading her posts.  And one of my students shared with me her blog...nice job, Kayla!

Resolution number two is to keep track of all the books I read this year.  I read like crazy.  I'm posting my list here...let me know if you have any suggestions.

Resolution number three is to live my life in such a way that I am constantly moving toward my goals.  More on that later...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


It's the little things.  A student told me today that I am the only teacher she can talk to.  The other ones don't listen to her and just brush her off because they're too busy, she says.  Too busy?  Too busy to listen to one of the people whose life you will be molding and shaping?  Too busy to find out what's going on in the life of a young person who relies on you to impart wisdom, stability and a good example?  Too busy to do the job you chose?  Hmmm...

My teenage students don't seek me out very often, but when they do you can bet I'm listening.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom

I was reminded tonight of the Serenity Prayer...

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

As I explained the meaning of this prayer to my son I realized the meaning it has for me.  My life isn't perfect.  In fact, it's flawed in ways too numerous to count.  But I don't look back.  I don't worry about the "what ifs", the "if onlys" or the "should have beens".  To quote my mother, "It is what it is."  I can't change the past.  What's done is done.  However, I can change how I handle it, what I learned from it, and where I'm going from here.

Lord, give me the peace of accepting those things that cannot be changed.  Give me the strength of spirit to change what I can.  And, Lord, fill me with Your wisdom, that I may know Your plan for me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold Feet

My son came home from his dad's today.  He was gone for six days.  It's insane how much I love that boy.  When he's gone I don't really know what to do with myself.  Weird...I know.

He came home with frostbite on both feet.  His toes and the soles of his feet have white spots on them and he says they hurt really bad.  No blisters or bruising...yet.  It's hard for him to walk because it hurts when his toes touch his shoes.  I'm not sure what we're going to do yet since we both have to go back to school tomorrow. 

He's happy to be home.  He's tired and a little bit cranky, but he's also very snuggly and lovey (which I LOVE!!!)  I'm going to slather his feet with Eucerin and tuck him into bed.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


31 degrees below zero when I woke up this morning.  Brrrrr.  I couldn't get my car started.  It's a 2002 Mazda and it was parked in the garage.  My sister's car is a 1998 Mazda and it was parked started.  My sister named her car.  She talks to it all the time and says nice things.  Maybe that's why it started.  Maybe she has appealed to it's sensitive side?  Maybe I need to name my car and whisper sweet nothings to it when it's cold outside.

I had a car with a name once.  It was a black Grand Am.  She was pretty and she was fast.  Her name was Wendy.  Wendy was the name I used when I went out dancing with my friends.  We would meet boys and they would ask me what my name was.  It was usually better to keep details like that to myself.  One day this boy gets my number from one of my friends and calls my parent's house and asks for Wendy.  I hear my mom saying that he has the wrong number.  I said, "Is he asking for Wendy?"  My mom says, "Yes", and I tell her that it's for me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year...New You?

2009 has come and gone and I have gracefully stepped into 2010.  This is usually the time I make all sorts of promises (i.e. resolutions) to myself that, if followed, will result in a brand new ME.

This year I've decided I'm perfectly happy with the old me.