Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Check out my Slide Show!

I couldn’t help it.  I just HAD to try out!  Wow.  Besides, I don’t have to upload 21 individual photos.  Yeah!  Enjoy our night around town.


Just for Fun…

It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, (kidding—I mean Buffalo, MN), where scrapbooking, writing, reading, and picture taking have been the focal points of the week.   In other words, CREATIVITY ABOUNDS!

Last night, Chris and I sat on the beach of Buffalo Lake and watched the sun set while debating the merits of the paper he was working on.  I still say I am right, but research proved to me last night that collegiate women athletes have a lower self esteem than non-collegiate woman athletes.  I would have thought that a woman at that level of fitness and dedication would be fairly self assured.

Anyhow, back at the ranch, we took Georgia to the lake with us to capture the essence of a peaceful weekend.  After some tweaking on picnik, here are a couple of shots.

Sunset 2-bw-focal


Sunset 1


Pumping Iron

Oh well, this one doesn’t depict the beauty of a sun setting over the lake but rather the beauty of a man always willing to make me laugh.  Can you believe that in our little cow-town of Buffalo, MN, they have workout equipment like this sitting around the park?  There’s a stairstepper which looks out over the lake and equipment for arms, legs, back, shoulders, etc.  Unique.  Progressive.  Never in this lifetime will you find me using it!  Awkward!

My Mother’s Day

A reflection on Mother’s Day:

I am 43 years old.  We had the first of our three kids when I was 20. The second child arrived 10 1/2 months after the first, and child #3 entered this world 7 years later.  Chris and I were college juniors when Adara was born and college seniors when Kory showed up.  Yup, two twenty one year old “kids” graduating from college with two kids of their own.  Needless to say, I was the only graduate that year who pulled that one off.

_DSC0221Fast, (and I mean fast) forward 23 years.  Adara and Kory  are college graduates on there own and Mikey is in 10th grade.  Where does the time go?

Since motherhood showed up on my doorstep in a blaze of fury, I have worked full time, attended graduate school, mothered 3 overly active children, and kept up a home, (I’m not looking for accolades here so please bear with me.). 

It came out in conversation with my wonderful husband a few nights ago that I won’t let myself have any downtime.  While growing up, my father made this out of the question, so once I moved on and had my own family, I, too, threw the notion of rest and relaxation under the bus.  I was supposed to keep going-like the Energizer Bunny.  Needing time to regroup only meant I was weak.

Boy, was I ever wrong.  Now, with all the baggage still hovering, I am trying with all my might to not feel guilty for resting.  My job is 1/2 time at best right now, so I am writing and learning.  But because of this 1/2 time status, I feel guilty, so I don’t write like I should; I “try” to clean the house, do laundry, etc., but mostly I just sit and spin.  I was talking to my awesome mother-in-law yesterday, and she told me to just quit even the 1/2 time gig, get a cleaning lady, and focus full time on myself and my writing.  Wow, can I keep her for another 23+ years?Yup, feet propped up and twittering

So, here’s my visual mantra: Mother’s Day 2009.   I worshiped this morning, I read from my new book club’s selection, I ate glorious food prepared and served to me by my family, and I rested.  Yes, I rested and I loved it.  Slowly, if I work hard, the guilt associated with my resting will go.  With all the love and support I get, how can I fail?

There’s Nothing Like a Baby


A baby girl was born yesterday in Loveland, Colorado.  She isn’t just any baby girl, she’s my niece, and being the good and unbiased aunt that I am, I dare say she is the most beautiful little being that God created!

 Baby Katherine (Kate) Elaine Ward

 It’s such a precious gift how a tiny little baby can make our hearts soften, put a smile on our faces, and make us talk in high voices.  Yesterday, baby Kate did just this for me at a time when I really needed it.  My world stopped; everything that was hustle and bustle came to a screeching halt as I squealed in joy when I found out she was finally here, and later as I saw her very first picture.

The lesson I learned yesterday from baby Kate was that nothing in life is so important that it should prevent us from seeing the everyday joy in our surroundings and the overall beauty in life.  Kate’s arrival filled my heart with such joy for her parents, brother Ryan, grandparents, extended family and friends, that I decided I want to feel like that every day, and every moment-not just when a beautiful baby comes into my life.

So thank you Julie & Don, for bringing baby Kate into this world!  May we all talk in high voices every day, and may we all squeal in glee at the “little things” in life. 

I already love you, baby Kate and cannot wait to meet you!

Love, Auntie Joni

Whose plan is it anyhow?

When is enough enough?  I’ve been personally wrestling with that question lately as have a couple of my co-workers, so I’ve been trying diligently to find an answer even though I know there is no one answer that applies to everyone alike and to each specific situation.

Yesterday, I caught up on a few episodes of Oprah and her “Best Life” series.  The show on spirituality touched on this subject a couple of times and one of the spiritual leaders on her panel commented that “we spend a tremendous amount of time resisting what is happening to us and we exert so much energy doing so.  This resistance causes us to lose power and our inner wisdom to go forward.”  An Episcopalian priest was also on the show and he equated crisis in our life to a crossroads.  “In every crisis,” he stated, “there  is the end of a world as we’ve known it.  Feel fine, however,” he urged,” because it’s a threshold for something much bigger in life than ever imagined.  Let the old die because the new is going to be better than ever  imagined.”

My Christian beliefs strongly tell me not to worry, (Matthew 6:11 25-34), not to be fearful, (Exodus 14:13-14), and to give everything over to God, not to make me empty, but so He can fill me to overflowing, (Mark 12:41-42).  All  of this I believe and I work hard to follow, but I can’t lie and say it’s always easy.

But with that being said, how do we know if God is telling us to move on or to stay and fight the battle a bit longer?  Here’s a current example from my life:  The company I work for has 2 1/2 employees left.  We were building a renewable energy facility that takes manure and food processing waste and converts it to natural gas.  Construction has been halted and we are in debt to our vendors and still need a lot of money to complete the facility to make gas.  We try and try and try to raise funds and/or obtain loans, but to no avail so far, and in my 9 month tenure with the company, we have done the proverbial  one-step-forward, three-steps-back routine.  Is God trying to tell us something and we’re not listening, OR is he making us fight tooth and nail for this inherently good project while teaching us many important lessons along the way? 

So how do we know what God truly wants from us?  Are we listening or are we too busy in our daily lives running hither and dither, perhaps to fill the void we created in our lives by not listening?

Whether in my career at this present time or any other situation I have encountered I hold steadfast knowing that whatever the situation is at the moment, I am not in control of it and that no matter what happens, whether it be to my immediate liking or not, that God’s decision is the right one and I will give thanks for it.  There’s not much that I know for sure at this time, but the one bit of peace and truth I do know is that I need to be a thinker and a doer while continuing to listen for what God calls me to do.