If you know me personally, you may know that I believe in signs. Signs from the universe, signs from God, signs from angels, signs from our passed loved ones… I believe they show up to guide us. We just aren’t always looking.

Cardinals are often associated with signs from loved ones. They also like pine trees. Since we are surrounded by a hundred or so, we see a pair of cardinals every year. This year, they decided to nest right in the tree/bush right by our front window (I’m not sure what it is- it’s either a cedar or an arborvitae). I noticed them flying back and forth and when I looked last week, there were 4 eggs. This week, two have hatched. I like to listen to the momma bird as she chirps and chatters. New baby birds are pretty ugly, but it will be interesting to see these little ones turn into beautiful red birds.

What a blessing to be a host to 4 more “signs” to guide someone else. This week has been busy with work, gardening and track meets. I started three different blog posts and never got around to publishing. Then these little ones started hatching. I took it as a sign that they wanted the attention and to be a vehicle to remind others to look. Look for the signs. When you start paying attention, you will see more than you realize. Every trip we go on, we find pennies or dimes (my grandparents and aunt) and even quarters (my mother-in-law wanted to be unique so we’d know it’s from her). A friend used to see eagles, which were a sign from her husband. She has passed on now too and her friends will see eagles and think of her. Some people find feathers or other animals. One friend gets skunks as a sign (I think I’d request a new one!!)

My point is, be aware. Be looking. What can it hurt? Noticing a sign can give hope, encouragement or help you remember someone you love. Maybe they remind us to slow down. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you pause to look for signs as we go into the weekend and the new moon. You are enough, and your loved ones and guides are here to cheer you on and help you realize it.

(Side note, our school mascot is also a Cardinal!)

They’re looking for you…

That’s our son, Myles, on the 40 yard line waving to us in the stands. We had a home track meet last week, so we went to cheer them on. He ran the mile (his fastest time this season), and the 4×400 relay. We weren’t there for the whole meet, but we did get to see both of his events. Even though it was a home meet, the stands were not full. The parking lot was – there were ball games and soccer at the same time.

He spotted us in the stands and grinned or nodded. This time he saw me taking pics and gave a wave. He looks for us to be there. I’m not sure if he’d admit that he likes having us there or not, but we try to go to the events. Each time, he scans the stands to see if we are there. We sit through rain, wind, heat and cold… if he is running, we try to be there. We aren’t perfect parents. Nobody is. We try to show up because it’s important to him. He’s looking for us.

I saw a quote recently that said, “Your job won’t remember the nights you worked late, but your kids will.” I know sometimes it seems necessary to work late, and sometimes it is. Often times though, things could wait until tomorrow. If family is important to you, try your best to be there for them. They’re looking for you in the stands. They are also looking to us as examples. They look at how we spend our time. Do our priorities match with our allocation of time? Could we rearrange something to make it work?

Time slips through our fingers, and before we know it, there won’t be track meets to cheer at. We may not remember the score of an event or the time he ran a certain race, but we will remember being there. Hopefully he will too. My older sisters still remember my dad being at the track meet in a snowmobile suit (snow flurries!) I remember the hot cocoa. That was many years ago.

Go to the meet, the game, the match, the run, the concert, the performance, the musical, the play… all of the things. If you cannot go, let them know why and ask questions about it later. Kids don’t always want to let their parents know what’s important to them. They might not want to say the words, “I’m looking for you,” or “I’d like you to be there.” They may not even acknowledge your presence….but I’m willing to bet they smile a little when they see you (even if it’s just in their head).

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Don’t “mom guilt” yourself if you cannot be there – I just want you to be aware that they might be looking for you.

(Last choir concert was tonight, since he’s not in it next year and tomorrow is the last track meet of the year. I’ll be there!)

May’s basket is full…

May is a full month! It was difficult to fit all of the things in the basket. These are just a few of the events and things for May. It will go by quickly. Nurse and teacher appreciation weeks hit home for me – I have several of both in my family. These people care for/about and nurture others. They are often taken for granted and tend to put others before themselves. Thank you, nurses and teachers!

May brings us the winding down of the school year, and graduation prep for some. For those moms/parents of graduates, I understand how quickly this month will go. I understand how much you want to soak up these “lasts” with your child. Hang in there. Everyone is looking forward to the nicer weather. We often forget that not everyone is looking forward to summer break. For some, this means food insecurity, lack of a loving/stable/safe home and a lot of uncertainty. I’m fortunate that my summers growing up were spent at the pool or working. I looked forward to the break.

I skipped writing last week due to some personal issues. Since May is also Mental Health month, I’ll share a little of what is going on. I wasn’t doing well last week. My son was struggling and I couldn’t do anything to help/fix it. My work status was in limbo and it was out of my control. I felt sad and frustrated and scared. I wasn’t ready to write about that. We tend to share the shiny /happy moments with others and this wasn’t either of those. This week, I realized that we need to share these “not so shiny” moments also. I’m not alone in my struggles. While I tend to minimize these things in my mind, I listened to a podcast where someone talked about trauma being trauma, regardless of the size of it. That really hit home for me. It’s really what sparked the name of my blog… I felt like my cancer wasn’t bad enough and I frequently felt not good enough. It’s not a competition and it shouldn’t be a comparison. It’s OK to not be OK and this last week, I really wasn’t.

May also has Mother’s Day. I vividly recall a pastor who gave a sermon about Mother’s Day not being a happy day for everyone. I couldn’t understand why when I was young. As I grew older, I realized not everyone has a great mom, not everyone has a mom who is still here, and not everyone who wants to be a mom is able to be. I spent several Mother’s Days in tears… wondering why it wasn’t working for me. Why wasn’t I a mom yet. Since then, I have two wonderful boys who are now young men. I’m grateful and thankful to be their mom. I really am #blessed. For this Mother’s Day, I’ll be missing my oldest son. My other son had me on his podcast, which was cool. It will be coming out soon under the “Be Unspecified” Podcast. One thing I forgot to mention in the interview is how proud I am of him. He has come so far in the last year and I know he will continue to do great things.

So whatever your May brings you, I hope you take some time to take a breath…a deep, cleansing breath. (Hopefully the pollen won’t make you sneeze!) Peace be with you on your journey of enough. You are enough, just as you are.

A different perspective…

This photo is from a recent evening, right in my front yard. I heard there would be auroras visible, so we went outside. At first, it just seemed like lighter cloud streaks in the sky. Then I took my phone out to take a picture, and the magic dancing lights appeared. I’ve tried to take pictures of the moon before and those rarely turn out. For some reason, the northern lights like to have their picture taken. The greens and purples showed up on my phone just like I remembered them.

My husband and I started dating the summer after my freshman year in college. I was home for the summer near Fargo, ND and we started dating after a 4-H conference. When fall came, I went back to college in Grand Forks (80 miles north). I was a resident assistant my sophomore year. We continued dating, but that meant quite a few trips back and forth for both of us. Some of those trips back to Grand Forks were pretty late at night. It was common to see the auroras dancing across the sky as I drove back to my dorm. The greens and purples would ebb and flow like waves across the night sky. There was no city lights to get in the way.

The reason why the aurora looked brighter on my phone than in real life recently, is because the human eye cannot see faint colors at night. So last year, when my sister and I were driving all over trying to see them, we might have been able to if we took out our phones. It’s a different perspective. It got me thinking about how sometimes we need to change our perspective in our lives also. Taking a step back and looking at things through a different lens might reveal something beautiful.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May your “different perspective” bring you clarity and beauty.

Evening fears…

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I awake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” This hung in my room when I was little. I said the prayer every night, but was always scared of dying in my sleep. It wasn’t until we had our first son that I learned of an alternate ending. Instead of dying, the stuffed bunny he got for a baby gift said, “The angels watch me through the night until I wake in morning light.” That sure was as a much better ending! This isn’t an isolated thing though. Several nursery rhymes and children’s stories are actually about death or something you probably wouldn’t want your baby or child to go through.

I tried to research why they are so dark, but couldn’t find one common answer. It ranged from “wanting to keep children compliant,” to “hidden meaning tied to historical events.” If fear was one of the reasons, they were successful, at least for me. I feel like fear is either a motivator or it’s something that causes you to grind to a halt. Kind of like cilantro or beets – one way or the other. (I’ve never met someone who kind of likes either of those things… either you like them, or you think cilantro tastes like soap and beets taste like dirt.)

It got me thinking about fear, and how many times I’ve been stuck in a loop. Usually, fear of failure is a recurring one for me. I’m not sure why. I’m sure a few therapy sessions might uncover that, but I know I’m not alone. Fear of failure has kept me from moving forward many times. I have pushed through fear and done things anyway, so you would think that would show me I can do hard things. I survived cancer (scary), I’ve moved my family to a new city & state (also scary), I’ve been published in a book… I’m sure there are more examples of things I’ve done that were wrapped in fear.

I’m not a medical professional or psychiatrist, so perhaps this is just a pep talk for myself as I embark on something scary. I graduate from my evening copywriting class next week. It’s a new skill in my toolbox, but it’s scary. As someone who is sensitive to rejection, there is an additional layer of fear associated with this new thing. “May your faith be bigger than your fear,” although I’m not sure I believe it’s a matter of size of faith that squashes fear. You’ve probably seen the motivational saying, “But what if you fly?” Instead of worrying about the fear of failure, I’m going to welcome in the paradise of possibility. Maybe I’ll move that unicorn over to joy.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I encourage you to listen to Francesca Battistelli’s song, “The Breakup Song.” She breaks up with fear. It’s a good one.

The City that Never Sleeps?

NYC from Staten Island Ferry

I took last week off from writing since we were traveling. What started out as a request to go to Scranton, PA (due to The Office TV show) turned into a trip to NYC. I’m not sure the city never sleeps, but they are pretty quiet before 6am. We went to MSP early due to snow & ice storms. We got delayed due to weather going out there, but we made it. Luckily I didn’t have reservations for anything the day we arrived. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel near Times Square (thanks to IHG points!) It was a great location & allowed us to walk to most of the things we wanted to see. Our two Broadway shows happened to be next to & across the street from the hotel.

I chronicled our trip on Facebook. I felt a little bad about posting so many pics, but I knew my family would want to see what we were up to. Turns out that a friend from NYC liked to see it from a tourist perspective. One friend liked to see what tips we had for their upcoming trip. And, some liked to see it since they hadn’t been there before. Of course there are always comments of, “You sure do take a lot of trips,” but I’ve learned to not let that bother me as much. Time with kids at home goes quickly and it’s something you don’t get back. The trip was relatively inexpensive and we packed a TON of stuff into the time we were there.

Highlight of the trip? It’s hard to narrow down. Being on the Today show plaza, seeing the Tonight Show and Late Night in person, spending an afternoon in Chinatown & Little Italy with friends, doing a day trip to see all of the places referenced in The Office, freezing on the top deck of the bus tour, Broadway shows, and of course the food… hard to pick a favorite. My most favorite of all was getting to spend the time together. We navigated subways, taxis, Times Square, the Ferry and more. We went to a lighthouse museum and got a (long) personal tour from the light house museum guy. We didn’t get mugged or see rats (ha ha). It was cooler temps than we had planned, but we made it work. My husband, who is not a fan of musicals, was a good sport when we ended up in the FRONT ROW of the Chicago musical. We did a lot of walking, but I’m so glad we didn’t rent a car (other than the day trip to PA). I would not have liked to drive in the city and parking is expensive and tight. Plus, 20k steps per day burns off NYC cheesecake!

Since our youngest son modeled his show partly after Jimmy Fallon, it was cool to get to see it in person. The tickets to the shows are free, but they don’t release them until the month before. It’s quite a process of waiting to find out if you got tickets, then waiting to get checked in & waiting in the Peacock lounge before the show. Of course there are no pictures allowed in the studios, but they were much smaller in person than they seem on TV.

SNL tickets are more difficult to get, so we didn’t see it this time.

We (Cam) found the bridge from the movie Elf where they have a snowball fight in Central Park.

We didn’t take a horse/carriage ride, see the FAO toy store, the Intrepid or Botanical Gardens, but we did get to a lot of things on our list. It had been over 30 years since I was in NYC, and this was the first time for my husband & son. I was a little reluctant to go back, but I’m so glad we did. My feet were sore but my heart was full.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Life is short, I took the trip & will continue to do so.

Lights, camera, action!

This is our youngest son, Myles, as he prepared for his live show last Saturday. He started his YouTube show, “The Unspecified Show,” about a year ago. He wanted to do a live show with an audience for the one year anniversary. Of course he has help with some logistics, but he organized most of it on his own. My 16 year old son put on a comedy/variety show for around 120 people.

He wrote the jokes, planned the games, found the trivia, got the cast/crew he needed, promoted the event, ordered merchandise and more. To say I’m proud is an understatement. The show flowed smoothly. He even did a live call to wish his grandma a happy birthday. He modified “My Way,” and sang a finale song. He was hoping for a larger audience, but those who showed up had a good time. Some people in the audience were loud towards the end of the show, but kept his composure.

Some day he will look back at this event and say, “Remember when I did a live show?” He has big dreams. (I certainly wasn’t following my dreams at 16 years old.) Will he be the next Fallon? Who knows, but it’s not impossible. We are going to NYC soon, and hope to get in the audience of a few late shows. It will be neat to see how they run. We also will take in some Broadway shows and try to be on the Today show plaza (with Unspecified Show gear on!)

I’m thankful for the people who have encouraged and believed in him. I’m thankful to the people who helped with the show – before/during/after. I’m thankful for the people who watch the YouTube shows or listen to the podcasts. Having someone (other than mom) believe in you is powerful. I’ve had many people tell me that he will do great things. I agree. He already has, and that’s just the start.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Never underestimate the power of believing in someone. Never underestimate what kids can do. Check out his YouTube channel “The Unspecified Show,” and the podcast on Spotify, “Be Unspecified” podcast. His YouTube channel has a replay of his live show. Enjoy!


28 years ago, on a rainy March evening, Cam proposed. Have I told the story already? Maybe. We were still in college, I was just 21. He was working overnight and morning show on the radio station and finishing college. I was working at Red Lobster while going to school. He borrowed a tandem bike and surprised me with the bike and proposal (after I grumbled about going for a bike ride when it was misting/raining.) We skipped the actual bike ride, instead we went for a limo ride to my parents’ place and out for supper. We went to the same restaurant as our first date, TGIFridays. At the time, they had amazing thin onion rings and broccoli cheese soup. Perhaps this wasn’t the best “date food,” but it was tasty.

In 1995, we didn’t have social media or instant proposal announcements. I called (from my landline phone) everyone I could get ahold of, but several people weren’t home. I got to tell the proposal story on the radio show the next morning. We started planning an August wedding. Here we are, 28 years later – still together.

There are some things I’d like to tell my 21 year old self… not all related to marriage. Some of these I think or do, and some I wish I would/would have done.

  • You’re not fat. Seriously.
  • Yes, you should travel.
  • Actually have date nights, even when you get older.
  • You’ll be a good mom. Stop stressing.
  • Self care is not selfish, it’s important.
  • You won’t feel like a great wife, but you will make it work.
  • Your “Rice a Roni days” will give you an interesting perspective. You’ll get through it.
  • Vegas is a good idea.
  • Let your spouse make you laugh.
  • Your kids will be very different from each other, but you’ll love them endlessly.
  • You don’t need to justify your choices to anyone else.
  • Get chickens sooner, they will bring joy.
  • Trust your intuition.
  • Keep reading stories.
  • Go for more walks & runs. Take in the scenery.
  • Forgive others, but also forgive yourself.
  • You’re stronger than you think.

We’ve been through a lot in the last 28 years. Hopefully we will have many more adventures together. Thanks for being with me on this journey, Mr.Frueh. Love you.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Puppy dog eyes…

Meet Penny. Our oldest son is home from Montana for a few days, and Penny came with. Since he is fishing with his buddy/buddies and dad, I’m dog-sitting. I’m not sure how to say “no” to actual puppy dog eyes.

I grew up on a farm on the edge of a small town. (Like literally on the edge – town was on one side of the road, and our farm was on the other). We had a few cattle and sheep, lots of “barn cats,” and one dog. He was a black and white Border Collie who was supposed to help with working livestock. We even took him to obedience school. Despite his breed and training, we had to put the dog away when we worked livestock. He was not helpful. He was a pet, but he didn’t spend time inside. This is my first experience with a dog in the house.

You may also know that we have a cat. The cat, Toothless, and the dog, Penny are not friends. If we keep them in separate areas, they are kind of ok. Until the cat forgets he’s not alone and starts meowing at the door, then the dog is on full alert. They think the other one’s food is much better and they are both used to being the only (& most important) pet.

Cat hiding under the tractor in the garage

So, Penny hung out with me today. She alerted me to the squirrels, the birds and the deer that were surely invading our yard. She cleaned up any crumbs on my kitchen floor, and she played a mean game of tug-of-war. Aside from working and making meals and treats for the guys, I made some homemade dog treats for Penny also. She approved.

It’s been a few years since I had little toddler eyes looking at me for treats. For a few days, I’ll have actual puppy dog eyes asking for treats. And in grandma fashion, I’ll probably say yes.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I’d better go work on my arm strength for more tug-of-war with the doggo.

The Speed of Life…

I’ve been trying to write on Wednesdays, but the “speed of life” has been pretty rapid lately. I finally realized it was Thursday already, and decided to write a quick post. (well, maybe not quick)

I remember (when I was a kid), the school year seemed like it would take forever. I remember thinking my kids would have never sleep through the night when they were little. Some points in our lives it feels like things are moving in slow motion. Then I blinked, and one boy is 20 and the other is 16. There are men in the photos that used to have little boy grins and buzz cut hairstyles. As nostalgic as I can be for the past, and how quickly it has gone, I’m excited for the future. I’m excited to see where life takes them. I’m their biggest fan (in my opinion), and I’ll be cheering them on through every stage of life.

We don’t see the playbook or the plan. We don’t know the twists and turns ahead… for them or for ourselves. I’ve often said that I’m not a fan of “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” because I never thought I’d be where I am. I also didn’t think our son would be in Montana and the other one would have a You Tube show. I’m so proud of them, and even though I have some regrets about my past, I’m excited for our future.

Last week, we went to Fargo for an improv comedy show. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time. Right after that, our youngest went to the State DECA competition, where he was in the final round. He’s planning out classes for next year, all while starting track, thinking of a summer job, and planning his live show yet this month.

To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think it depends on why it seems like it’s going fast – is it exciting? Is it stressful? Are you overwhelmed or just trying to add a bunch of things into your calendar? Can we be busy and happy, or is it one or the other? I think that’s up to you to decide.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Whatever speed your life is at right now, may you be happy and blessed.