Spending time…

“Time is money…” “Spending time…” “Wasting time.” Somewhere along the way, we began to equate time and money. Maybe it’s because we’re paid by the hour? Or maybe we realize how valuable time really is?

“Days of Our Lives” is still a soap opera and it must have enough followers to continue to produce shows. Although I haven’t watched it in many years, I’m sure some of the same characters are still there. I could probably pick it up and be able to follow along despite a 20 year break. “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” Who would have known a TV show opening lines would have so much meaning? Time slipping away like grains of sand in the hourglass. I can picture the grains as events… moments… good or bad, happy or sad, all slowly moving to the other side. We don’t know how many we have. Each person’s is different.

Only God knows how many days we have. Some hourglasses are small and some are large. For many years, I couldn’t picture myself growing old. It worried me. “Did this mean I would die young?” I wondered if it was a premonition. It bothered me that I couldn’t envision a 95 year old me. That was probably around the same time I thought 47 seemed super old though. I’m not sure. Now I find it fun to think about the what if’s. Twenty five years ago, I didn’t imagine my life today. Marriage (grain of sand), two sons (grains of sand), 3 main jobs (grains of sand), 4 different houses (grains of sand), published author, cottage food baker… it wasn’t all on my list. How have I spent my time? Did I wisely use my grains of sand? Either way, I don’t get them back.

Tonight I spent some time with our youngest son, who is learning to drive. I spent time with him at the bowling alley. I spent some time with the cat. I spent some time talking to our oldest son, as he prepares to move to Montana next week. I spent some time making supper and dessert (spent time=saved money). Spending time seems like it has a positive spin. We also waste time too. Sometimes the wasted time adds grains of regret or guilt. These too, we cannot get back.

The passage of time has been on my heart a lot lately. Not only because of our son moving away, but seeing my great nieces and nephews change, seeing my parents age, seeing my grey hairs become more plentiful… all reminders of the passage of time. It can seem so fast and so slow all at once. I know there are some moms who will be missing their kids and others who can’t wait for summer break to be over. It’s ok. It’s ok to not have the answers. It’s ok to feel “all the feels.” It’s ok to spend your time however you want. Your journey is yours. Embrace it.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. (And if you want to spend some of your time reading a good book, I still have some for sale! )

The village changes…

Shopping at Target, I walked by the cute little newborn onesies & mini dinosaur socks on my way to the dorm room supplies. Instead of sippy cups, I’m looking for water filter pitchers. The mental list is a long one, so I try to write random notes when I think about it… extra forks & spoons, ibuprofen, scissors, Kleenex etc. There is a Target in Bozeman. I’m not sending him out into the wilderness alone. He is fully capable of getting anything he needs. This isn’t an episode of Survivor.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think your village must shift around this stage of life. The village changes to support the moms. I cannot speak for the dads, I feel like many of them don’t talk about this stuff. I’ve seen my village shift over the last 8 months. From supporting me while I looked through senior pics, to helping get ready for graduation open house, and now as I navigate the “last 16 days”””… it’s my friends and family who have picked me up. My village is changing.

  • A friend reminding me to journal out my feelings and (safely) burn the paper…
  • My sister sending an encouraging card…
  • A friend helping me navigate trying to get residency for a new state …
  • A friend listening to me wonder out loud about financial aid and logistics…
  • My sister sending a text to let me know she’s thinking of me…
  • Encouraging words from a friend who has been there…
  • A hug…
  • My husband’s patience as I order another “must have” from Amazon or Target, based on the Bobcat parent group or the ‘Grown and Flown’ group…

I feel like I’m prepared for this some days and other days I read an article about time flying and my eyes get misty. It’s so confusing to feel excited for him, nervous, sad, guilty and happy all at once. It’s strange because we didn’t have a senior year of “lasts” since he was enrolled at the tech school at the same time. It seems like the summer has flown and now I’m starting to use my packing list. I did pick up some extra Kleenex today and a really cool fan came to the door step from Costco.

The past 7 years, I’ve learned to ask for help (more than before). I’ve built a support system and had it shift and change. I’ve tried to prepare him to be out in his own, and he’s made me proud so many times. My village is changing and that’s ok. I’m thankful for those who have stuck with me and continue to support my roller coaster ride.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. If your village is changing, that’s ok… and if your new college momma is randomly teary, let her tears flow. Next time she will be sharing about the fun college adventures of her new adult.

This was a lot…

This was a lot… a lot of preparation, a lot of planning, a lot of moving things & painting things, a lot of pulling weeds, a lot of mowing, a lot of baking cupcakes, a lot of pictures, a lot of lists, a lot of folding chairs. It was also a lot of friends & family helping out, a lot people showing up and a lot of memories made. We celebrated our son’s graduations from Tech School for welding and from high school this past weekend. We had a nice stream of people, a few sprinkles of rain, and a calm evening. Two of his high school buddies from his old school came for the weekend. The smile on Dallas’ face was worth all of the preparation. To hear him tell welding stories to the party guests and show off his certification welds made me happy.

I know he loves it. I know he will love Montana. I know he will make more friends and new memories… memories that I won’t be a part of. Seeing all of the pictures from when he was little made me nostalgic. Not sad, just nostalgic. I’m not sad that he is growing up. I’m not sad that he’s moving away. I will miss him for sure. I just wish I could have a little more time with that little boy farming on my carpet. I wish I could get back the year that I had cancer because it seemed like a blur. I wish I would have had the words to calm worries and mend broken hearts.

But I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of conversations at bed time, a lot of cookies made and eaten, a lot of side hugs when my hands were full of something else. I don’t tell him how proud I am of him because I want him to be proud of himself… to seek that pride on his own instead of looking for someone else to fill it. But I am proud of him. I’m proud of how he came back from failing classes to accepting help. I’m proud that he can carry on a conversation with adults. I’m proud that he can be his own advocate. I’m proud he found a unique skill and learned how to improve on it. I could go on, but you get the idea. Is the kid perfect? Nope. And I don’t expect him to be. I’m proud nonetheless.

So I sat by the fire on Sunday night, reflecting on the week. There were a lot of emotions from the book launch, to graduation prep, to the party and the cleanup. There were a lot of cupcakes left over and a lot of things to put away. I’m thankful for it all.

I feel like summer can begin now. We were able to go tubing down the river with my sister and nieces and Dallas’ friend. The weather was perfect and it was a great way to top off the weekend. The quiet time by the fire was what I needed to. It may have been a lot, but it was also just enough.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Excuse me while I go make notes for a party four years from now….

Doors, roses and dancing…

We traveled back “home” for the graduation of our son’s former classmates on Sunday. He went alone on Friday to see some more kids and attend a few extra open houses. As we drove up to the school in the middle of nowhere, I knew the day would be almost as emotional for me as it was for the moms of the kids on stage. I forgot Kleenex in the car, but I managed to hold it together.

I held back tears as I talked to other moms before the ceremony. Parents who my son grew up with. Field trips and birthday parties, Halloween around the neighborhood on scooters… now young adults stood before us, eager for their next steps. Pomp and Circumstance played and the lump in my throat got larger. Where would he have been? Who would he walk in with and sit by? What stories would be told of his high school years if we had stayed? Then the choir sang, “I Hope You Dance,” and I leaned over and told my senior that I should have brought tissues. He looked shocked. “What for?!” It’s a touching song. Through all the struggles of raising kids, moving and changing schools, I still always want the best for them. I know it won’t always be easy, and that’s ok. The seniors handed roses to their parents and I’m sure I would have lost it. I would have tried to take 100 pictures so I wouldn’t miss a thing.

When he walked across the stage for his tech school graduation (before high school finished), I wasn’t even able to be there. When he walks across the stage this Friday, I will be there in person, but it’s just not the same. 322 kids instead of 43. Very few he has connected with, and since he was mainly at the tech school, he wasn’t involved in many activities with them either. He is so ready to move on. I can relate to that part. I vividly remember being ready to graduate. I didn’t move as far away, but it was a change. It’s the independence that I longed for. He’s ready for that independence also. I hope we’ve given him the skills to do well, and I hope he will dance.

The words give me chills. Here is a reminder. LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”…

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance… I hope you dance…I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance,
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some Hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.)I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.) I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone.)

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Moving may have closed a door, but it opened a different opportunity & many friends remained. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens for you too.


862. It’s 862 miles from our house to Montana State University in Bozeman. Our oldest son got accepted to MSU for this coming fall. He will graduate high school in June and have his welding certificate this summer from the Tech school. This fall, he will move 862 miles away to pursue an Ag education degree to become an Ag teacher and hopefully an FFA advisor.

This is not a piece of cake. He isn’t a 4.0 kid. He will have to work hard, ask for help and really get to know the tutoring department… but I know he can do it. We haven’t been saving for this since he was a baby, like is often suggested. The amount the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) suggested we should contribute is ridiculous. Why am I not stressed about this? It will work out. He will apply for scholarships, take out loans and get a side job welding or at a sporting goods store. It’s where is heart wants to go, and to have him settle for less because it is more convenient, cheaper or closer to me wouldn’t be fair. His one year of school will cost what almost 4 years cost when I went. The thought of moving to Norway did cross my mind. (Just joking – kind of).

He will be ok. He will have a high school diploma and a tech degree/certification and a 4 year degree. Since some of his tech classes will transfer, it should be less than 4 years. He has something that is difficult to teach…. communication skills. He isn’t afraid to talk to people. He is his father’s son. He’s getting better at asking for help and has seen the value in tutoring. He will be able to relate to the kids who have trouble focusing and who prefer hands-on learning. He can share his love of nature, outdoors, agriculture, welding and wildlife.

From Jaguar to Cardinal and now Bobcat, I’ll cheer him on wherever he goes. Part of my heart will move 862 miles away, but I’m so excited for his adventures. His journey is just beginning and there is so much more to his story. How does this relate to you? Don’t settle. Don’t sell yourself short. It’s not entitlement. It’s about knowing what you want and knowing what will bring you joy.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May you find what brings you joy, even if it is 862 miles from home.


No, not adultery… adulting: “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” Our son just turned 18, so he is officially an adult. He could legally get a tattoo, vote and apply to be an auctioneer. I’m not sure he will be doing any of those things very soon. Instead, he’s fishing, welding and applying for scholarships.

18. I know… I’ve written about this more than I thought I would. You might be sick of hearing about my senior. When I look back at the pictures of my little boy, I can’t believe how fast it went. I will let him read this before I publish it, but here are my 18 things I want him to know.

  • 1. I will always love you. Not in a cliche way or something that moms “should” say… I really love you. If you have kids some day, you’ll understand.
  • 2. Always be humble and kind. Listen to the song if you need to, but this is important. Kindness will get you further in life than being a jerk or being “cool.”
  • 3. Have fun but be responsible. Your teen and college years should be fun. It’s one time in your life where people will assume you’ll have lots of fun, but please know your boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
  • 4. You really do need to eat some fruits and vegetables. It won’t make you less popular. It’s good for your body. Unlimited ice cream is fun, but seriously, have a pear every now and then.
  • 5. Keep music in your life. Dance, tap your toes or sing along in your car. Music lifts your vibration and is good for your soul.
  • 6. Stay grounded. Connect with nature and don’t absorb any negative energy around you. Sit on the grass and watch the geese and ducks, stand in the water while you fish.
  • 7. Your college friends are more likely to be your life long friends. You get to choose who you hang out with even more after high school. Choose wisely.
  • 8. Don’t smoke. Don’t smoke anything, just don’t. Your grandpa had open heart surgery in his early 40’s because he smoked. It’s not worth it. It’s really not. Plus you’ll save money.
  • 9. You don’t need to spend everything in your pocket. I’ve failed at being a good example of money managing and letting you learn about it. It’s ok to save some. The fishing lures will still be there next time.
  • 10. You will always have a place here. I hope you always feel like being with us is like “home,” regardless of where we are. A year from now, I might be sitting in your room, wishing for a messy floor.
  • 11. I hope we taught you the value of hard work. It’s ok to go the extra mile. It’s ok to get up early or stay later. People will notice this, even when you think they aren’t paying attention… they are.
  • 12. Look someone in the eye and shake their hand (once COVID is over). I think you do this well. You had a good example by watching your dad. Don’t forget this.
  • 13. Brush. Your. Teeth. I’m not even joking. You have a beautiful smile. We spent a lot on orthodontics. Don’t mess it up.
  • 14. Look for a partner to share your time with. They are not “less than”… they aren’t your maid or cook. You will be a team. Make sure you give and receive respect.
  • 15. It’s ok to change your mind. You already have, but it won’t be the last time. It’s ok. You can do more than one thing with your life.
  • 16. Always do the extra credit. ALWAYS. Ask for help before you get stuck. It’s ok to fail, but you need certain grades for scholarships.
  • 17. Crappy jobs will add to your character. Have a job (at least once) where you have to serve someone so you know how difficult it is. Don’t look down on another profession.
  • 18. I’m so ridiculously thankful to be your mom. That won’t ever change. I can’t wait to see what the world has to offer you.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. 18 years have flown by, and I am looking forward to cheering you on for the rest of your journey. Oh, and to quote your dad, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Ready. Not ready. Ready.

Normally, in MN, we start school after Labor Day. That is still true, but our oldest son started PSEO (Post Secondary Education Option) at the Technical College. He had orientation last week Monday. He is a senior in high school, but he will be 100% at the Technical College for welding.

He is ready. He is ready to be welding. He is ready to be a senior. He is ready to explore. He is ready to set his own schedule.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready for a different senior year. I’m not ready to take senior pictures. I’m not ready for planning a graduation party. I’m not ready to have him move out. I’m not ready to watch him drive away or bring him to college. I’m not ready for an empty room.

But it’s not the end. 18 years is just 1/5th of your lifetime if you live to be 90. What will be other 4/5th of his life bring? Will he remember what he learned at home? Will he have good manners, clean up after himself and be able to cook? What will he miss or fondly remember about his childhood? How often will he return? Will he find someone to share his time? Where will his life path take him?

I’m ready. I’m ready for him to walk across the stage at graduation. I’m ready to hear about his adventures. I’m ready to listen to more hunting and fishing stories. I’m ready for the excitement in his voice when he finds the perfect fishing spot. I’m ready to bake his favorite brownies when he comes home on the weekend.

I could worry about it or I could embrace it. I had to make my own mistakes. I had to fall and pick myself up. He will have to do the same. I have to release control. I have to trust. I will continue to cover him in prayer. I will float between “ready” and “not ready” for the rest of this year… maybe longer. There is a lot I wasn’t prepared for in motherhood. Letting go is one of them.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. To all you moms of seniors, cheers to a great senior year. To any seniors reading, give your mommas some grace and patience. We want the best for you, but we still see that cute little kindergartener when we look in your eyes. And we love you more than you will ever know. (Unless you have kids of your own… and then you will realize the depths of our love for you.) And some day, you too may be ready, not ready, ready.

So many journeys…

Graduations and weddings… the season for both has begun. While some colleges graduate in May, many high schools in this area are just graduating now. I’m 2 years away from having a high school graduate. I feel like I will be prepared in a logistical/planning sense for a graduation party. I’m sure there will be lists involved, a spreadsheet or two, and a “honey-do” of projects to complete before we have a house full of grad party guests. I guess it doesn’t happen everywhere, but in the upper Midwest, high school graduation parties are a big deal. People paint their houses, remodel parts of their kitchen, spend hours cleaning and organizing and get enough food ready for hundreds of guests. Most of these people won’t be familiar with my house, so they won’t know if I repainted or fixed something up. Quite frankly, if they are there to judge my house, they shouldn’t have come. I hope they will be there to support our son or be there for us. I want to make sure he’s ready for his journey and has people who truly care about him and support him. When I graduated high school, almost everyone in my class went to college. It was just what you were “supposed” to do. It is far more common now to have high school graduates going to a trade school or into the military or right into the work force. Everyone’s journey is different & we need all kinds of skills and trades.

Wedding season has also begun (at least up here where it gets super cold in the winter). I spent part of the weekend with my oldest niece, who is getting married at the end of June. She will start her journey of marriage and moving to a new state. We had a little bachelorette party to celebrate with her. What advice would I give her? I’m not sure I listened to much wedding advice before I was married, but there are some things I’ve held onto over the last (almost) 24 years of marriage:

  • Never go to bed angry. This is difficult some days, but I do think it’s important.
  • Be on the same page about the “big” things in your life… values, family, religion, etc.
  • Respect each other.
  • Laugh together.
  • Spend time together & really get to know each other.
  • Love each other – say it and show it.
  • Take the trips. Big or small, you will not regret taking trips together.
  • Enjoy the journey.

One day, you will wake up and 24 years will have flown by. You’ll both have grey hair (his will look distinguished and yours might be hidden by some color). Your size and shape won’t be what it used to be. Your 2-3 tiny humans will be as tall as you. Hopefully, your love will remain strong and you can think back to these days before your wedding and remember how madly in love you were. And you’ll smile because you would still chose each other all over again.

If you’re graduating, having a graduate, getting married or having kids getting married, I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May you enjoy your journey, soak up the experiences and laugh along the way.


I recently traveled to CA for my niece’s graduation. She is the last niece on my side (of 6 nieces and nephews), and my Godchild. To get from MSP to San Jose, CA, I flew through Denver. I had a layover and then they said there was an hour delay. They changed the gate 5 different times and then moved up the departure time so it was only 10 minutes late instead of an hour. While on the plane, and waiting in the airport, I had time to finish a book. #IMOMSOHARD is a book from 2 moms who also have a YouTube and Instagram page dedicated to telling it like it is… messy and tiring and sometimes requiring wine. I’m not much of a drinker anymore. I think I took care of that in my younger years. I did take Southwest up on their free drink coupon though.

On one leg of the flight, the WiFi wasn’t working, so I read some more and rested a little. I also sponged though. (It’s kind of a nicer term for eavesdropping) The flight from Denver to MSP was full. A couple in their 60’s boarded after me. They took aisle seats across from each other. A lady who was traveling alone asked if she could sit in the middle seat. She made sure the wife didn’t want to sit by the husband. They both prefer aisles. She said to him, “You two are the cutest couple. Are you newlyweds?” He chuckled. “Yes, we are,” he said with a grin. “We’ve been married only 38 years.” Without having to say a word, I learned the woman next to me had 4 boys and a girl, all grown. The man had two sons, a doctor and lawyer in New York.

The last few minutes was the only time I talked. She commented on all of the water/lakes. I told her that MN is the land of 10,000 lakes. She was surprised by how flat it was. She said Carson Wentz is her favorite player (after I told her I was from ND originally). It’s ironic to me that I write a blog anyone can read, yet I avoid making small talk on a plane. Introverted. Text book introvert.

Before graduation, we cleaned, made food, did landscaping, set everything up, ran errands, decorated and arranged flowers. We got the chocolate fountain ready and had food options for everyone. At the graduation party, I made sure the food was refilled, the drinks were chilled, the chocolate fountain had plenty of berries & treats to dip, and the garbages were emptied. When the guests had all gone home, my sister said she felt bad that I had spent all my time in the kitchen. My niece said, “Oh no, that’s where she prefers to be.” And she was right. I didn’t have to do much small talk. I was able to be helpful and let my sister and nieces visit with their guests. Yep, it’s totally where I want to be. This is the 5th of 6 graduation parties I have helped with (along with a wedding, bridal shower, baptism etc). I’d much rather be the one making sure things run smoothly, (quietly refilling the chips) than being the center of attention. #introvert.

I’m so glad I made the trip. I’m glad my husband took care of things at home. I’m glad my sister let me help (and give honest opinions). I’m glad her cat was excited to see me. I’m glad my niece had a great party. And, I’m glad I’m an introvert, because that’s part of my journey and it makes me enough. I don’t have to be outgoing or social or vibrant. I can be behind the scenes, and it’s helpful enough. Whatever your skill is, embrace it. Whatever you love to do, do more of that. Those who love you will still love you and those who don’t aren’t worth your time.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you have your very own gluten-free funfetti bundt cake to make you feel extra special… because you are.

(Photo of my niece, Emily on her high school graduation day)

I don’t want to blink …

I don’t want to blink. I don’t want to miss any more of this. The last year feels like a blur, and I feel like I wasn’t fully present for my life, for my family. I was selfish and said no to volunteering, social functions & life in general some days. I needed to, in order to just get by. Sometimes I feel like I should have done more, since I had an “easier/stage 1″ cancer. I missed out though, I closed my eyes too much. Now my oldest son is 2” taller than me and my youngest one can finally say breakfast instead of “brefkist.”

Today, and this weekend, is graduation for many. In 5 short years, I’ll be doing the same. I don’t want to blink. I don’t want to miss it. Today, my boys played with foam swords and horsed around on the water. They laughed and chased each other, and I literally had tears in my eyes. I know this won’t last. I know that there will be summer jobs, and girls and camps etc, and my time with them will slip through my fingers.

I think I know why the youngest in the family is usually spoiled. (I’m the youngest so I can comment on this – ha ha) It’s because that’s when it sinks in for the parents – this is the last. The last little one. The last tooth fairy and Santa. The last Kindergarten program and science fair. So we try to hold on, soak it in and make it last a little longer. (Plus sometimes we are just more tired, so we give in)  We may have been in such a sleep-deprived zombie state with our first kids to fully realize this. Now it starts to sink in. So we say “yes” to a few more things… staying up later, an extra treat, etc.

For those of you with graduates today, take it all in. I hope the day goes well. I hope you realize that it doesn’t matter what kind of food you have or how many decorations there are. If your kids are happy, that is enough. For those graduating today, remember your parents love you… probably more than you can comprehend  right now. Enjoy the next stage in your life. Have some fun, learn something new & have some amazing adventures. To your parents, you are enough.  Peace be with you today. I’ll be the one with my eyes wide open, trying not to blink.