Sunday, September 30, 2007

Love my Jersey Boys!

Miranda and I just saw JERSEY BOYS!!! Oh my gosh!!
I had this huge grin on my face the whole night! We both cried and cried at the end! We were just so happy.
LOVED the music! Every single song just took me back and made me want to get up and dance!
I have always loved Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons since I was in high school in the 70's. Check this out and listen to their hits! You'll be hooked! Miranda has had the Jersey Boys soundtrack for over a year and could hardly wait to take me to see it with her.

All I gotta say is "Oh what a night! Late September back in... '07, we saw the Jersey Boys!"
Look, it's late, I'm tired and we take off to WI in the morning. Lots to do.
Good night and I will be posting along the way.

Friday, September 28, 2007

30 years ago today...

I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona!!

I was a 20 years old farm girl from Wisconsin and looking for adventure!
My friend Linda and I sang at our little Lutheran church the morning that we embarked upon this journey of faith. We hugged our family and friends and then took off on the adventure of a lifetime! I loved traveling. I enjoyed every single mile... the breathtaking scenery AND the music on board. Linda had brought along 2 cassettes... 2nd Chapter of Acts and Keith Green. I had never heard such music! It would change my life.

I made our matching patchwork denim outfits from old blue jeans.
Even though I had become a Christian in high school while watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV... I had grown little in my faith. But I always had a deep longing to totally live for Him in everything I did. SO when my friend Linda started talking to me about going out to Phoenix for a year... well, I literally thought... OK, I will deny myself, take up my cross and follow HIM to Phx. I would learn and grow and become equipped to come back and make a difference in my community! I also had no idea where in the heck Phx was! So a couple weeks before we left, I was looking at the weather map on the news and was shocked to discover that Arizona was way, WAY out West... like touching California out WEST! Oh my gosh.
But in all my planning, in all the good byes, I was at total peace... knowing I was doing the right thing. I had never felt more sure about anything in my entire life! God's plan was unfolding and I was along for the ride! I was expecting GREAT things to happen! And they did.

Upon arriving in Phx, Linda stopped at Coco's, where she had worked the year before, to get on the schedule. I was bubbling over with excitement, anxious to tell ANYONE that I was new in town! So I turned to the guy sitting at the counter next to me and told him I had just moved here from WI! He asked where in WI... I said between Black River Falls and Eau Claire... and he said HE was from Black River Falls! I went wild! He even knew my cousins! Right then and there I knew I was right where the Lord wanted me to be. This big city didn't seem quite so big and scary after all. This was my home.

We immediately found a fully-furnished apartment. The next day we bought new guitars from a nice man at a music store... who, unbeknownst to us, would be our record producer 6 months later. Then while trying to find this place called Hand in Hand, we ended up at another Sat. night concert venue where we met this guy who was a concert promoter... and we sang for him two days later... and he booked us to open for Barry Maguire. It was at that concert months later that this other guy who does the auditioning for Hand in Hand came up to us and said he'd put us on the schedule... and it was at THAT VERY FIRST Hand in Hand concert that I met Randy! Yes, he scheduled us to open for Randy Thompson! Hello!! Are you getting all this??!!

That FIRST WEEK IN PHOENIX literally set the stage... pardon the pun, but LITERALLY SET THE STAGE for me to meet my future husband at that Hand in Hand concert 6 months later! Still gives me goose-bumps after all these years!!

And the only reason Randy asked for my phone number that night was because Linda and I were in the studio recording and he wanted to call us and get some studio info. So when he called, he sorta accidently asked me out. Oh, and did I happen to mention that Linda and I had the same first and last name... so that when he called, thank God he asked for the Linda Larson that was not engaged... cuz yes, I would still be wondering if he got the right one!

So there you have it... 30 years ago today I set out on a journey that forever changed my life!
And how ironic that I'd be heading BACK to Wisconsin 30 years later on a vacation with that handsome, 12 string guitarist named Randy!

Monday, September 24, 2007

aprons & buttons & totes, oh my

Thank you sooo much for your sweet comments to our exciting news! We are so blessed and excited and grateful as we anticipate our new role as grandparents. We don't take it lightly... knowing the influence we can have on this little one. OK, I'm getting all teary again.
But hey, check out my latest apron. Are those puppies cute or what! (only a measly 50 cents!)

One week from today, Randy and I will be on the road to Wisconsin!! Yes, you heard me right! Wisconsin in October!!! The fall colors, the Packers (3-0!), corn picking, Door County, gourds and pumpkins, church bazaars, apple picking, making soups & stews with my Mom, bon fires in the back forty, crafting with my sister, yard saling with my brother, roadtrip with my Mom & Dad along the bluffs of the Mississippi River... oh, I could go on and on!
I'll be keeping you posted as our adventures unfolds. You don't want to miss a moment!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Our son Shawn and his wife Nicole are going to have a baby!! Which means we're going to be grandparents!! Which means we are SOOO happy!! You guys, a baby... a little, bitty baby is growing inside Nicole! Makes me cry everytime I think about it! It's a miracle... every single time a baby is born is a miracle. And our little miracle arrives in April!

This is how they told us... they gave Randy his birthday present... and it's a T-shirt. Well, Randy saw what that T-shirt said before I did. And as you can see, he had this stunned look on his face.

Then I saw what he saw... and I burst into tears! And I cried and cried! I was SOOO happy! and SOOO surprised! I'm going to be a Grandma!

Hugging my sweet daughter-in-law... the mommy-to-be!

The proud Grandparents! I was beaming like this for days!

Monday, September 17, 2007

life's better on the deck

Got out of the triple digit temps over the weekend and took a road trip with friends to a cabin north of Prescott... so we could enjoy life sitting out on a porch... or in this case, a deck. Saw this sign at a Starbucks drive-thru as we were leaving the city.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time with dear friends relaxing out on the deck of the Dodd's cabin. Does it get any better than good friends, good coffee, good food, good wine and good story times. We are so blessed to know these friends now for almost thirty years! We share so much history together... kids growing up together, doing ministry together, growing old together. We are rich in friendships.

We woke up Saturday morning to this...

... then we needed this to stay awake.

Men, food and fires... oh my.

Love the color of these wine bottles.

Nancy, Carol, Don, me, Randy and Terry feasting on perfect steaks, the Nelsen's famous caesar salad and the best garlic bread ever! We sat at the table for hours telling stories, laughing and sharing our hearts.
Sure love doing life with these friends.

Be sure to check out Nancy's blog for more weekend pics!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

pink & aqua pyrex

I love the berries and leaves on this pink refrigerator pyrex dish. I am so grateful to have started my pyrex collection many years ago... before Martha did a story in her magazine several years ago that changed everything. Now I rarely ever see them in thrift stores. I paid anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar for most of my pieces. Check out my previous pyrex posts here and here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

still life

Randy is convinced that my new craft room has one purpose and that is for me to decorate by displaying my collections so I can spend hours dabbling in still life photography. And he's sorta right. It's like the ultimate room for me to play around with my various collections and set up photo shoots. I am continually putting together vignettes, mixing colors and textures and themes till I like what I see. Unfortunately the natural light in my room is rather poor, so I can only shoot in the mornings. But it is so gratifying when I finally get a decent shot... more like a miracle because I am a complete novice.
So yesterday before I left for church, my camera & tripod (they are inseparable) and I stood at the window of my craft room taking several pictures of this hummingbird that kept coming back to my feeder. I never did get what I wanted, but instead got some shots of my window sill.

Maybe it's just me, but I love pictures of buttons. So I noticed that I had this aqua bowl of strung buttons along with a container of button sewing pins and I had to take a quick pic. Come on, who wouldn't want these pastel button pins to adorn your favorite pin cushion? Clic the pic and see the creamy colors.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

glorious gingham

It all started with that orange gingham apron. Remember that post here? Then a few weeks later I came home with another one. It seems every time I would visit my little thrift store I would find a different color gingham apron. You had to wonder if the same lady had made all of them at one time many years ago. And I wondered, what was I going to do with them all? (only paid a dollar for each)

The detailed handiwork on these aprons are simply awe inspiring. Works of art. I knew I couldn't just fold and tuck them away. They had to be out for all to see and enjoy every single day! So I had already bought that IKEA wire/clippy thingy in "as is" several months ago, so we finally put it up where the closet folding doors use to be and hung my gingham apron collection. I am thrilled with the results and so is Mrs. McGillicutty! Do you see that garden hat she is sporting? Found that cute "collapsible" garden hat at Goodwill for a dollar. Yes, it folds up. Yes, way cute. And yes, I can borrow it anytime.

Friday, September 07, 2007

happy day honey

I was telling my daughter the other day that before this man came into my life it was hard for me to receive compliments, affirmation, hugs... to trust others. I was guarded... unable to feel ok about being me. This wonderful, kind and loving man changed all that. I began to see myself as Christ sees me. Because Randy loved my smile, I stopped covering my mouth when I smiled. I rarely ever cried before I met Randy. But because he accepted me and loved me unconditionally, I was free to feel... to cry... to express emotion. I could let go of some of the baggage that I brought into my adult life. I could take off the masks that I wore so as to appear to have it all together. I could be ok with not having it all together. I could begin the process of living out of who God says I am.
Thank you Randy, for being my safe place, for hearing my heart, for showing me Christ's love, for being the best husband and most loving father to Shawn, Miranda and Tyler.
Thank you for your faithfulness in serving the Lord through your gifts and talents, your strength of character and your powerful music that has changed many lives!
We are forever grateful that you were born, and we celebrate you today.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

the NordicTrack

No, that's not me. But that is what you are suppose to do with a NordicTrack. And we were well aware of that when we bought it in the mid 90's and had every intention of actually using it for that very purpose. And we did... for a time... a very short time. And then something happened. We folded it up and leaned it against the wall in our bedroom and... well, it sorta became a very expensive piece of equipment in which to hang stuff... you know, purses, tote bags, backpacks, jackets, belts. And then before we knew it- outa sight, outa mind. Ok, so occasionally I would be overcome with guilt, and vow to use it again. And I did a couple years ago, while training for our hike down the Grand Canyon. And I knew it would come through for me. I'm stubborn like that. No way was I going to admit that we had made a dumb purchase and sell it at our next yard sale. No way. Not me. Cuz I knew that one day I would get that urge and it would be there for me, buried under all that stuff, waiting for me, proving to me that it still had what I needed. Well, to make a long story even longer. I got the urge, got it out, got started and... let's just say... I'm liking it. Not loving it. But I know it's what I need to be doing to feel better. It's time I get serious and get moving. So, me and my 'vintage' Nordic are slowly getting reacquainted. I don't want to get too attached and all. I mean, the urge could leave at any time. And let's face it, we're both getting on in years. So for now I have been burning 200 calories by walking 2 miles in 22 minutes while watching TV, every day, since Saturday. And yes, it came with one of those computers that tells you things like that. That helps.
So there you have it... my NordicTrack, drinking lots of water, no food after 7 PM and healthy eating. I don't want it to be any more complicated than that. Cuz the older I get, I'm all about keeping things simple. Not that it won't be hard... cuz it is. But I'm in for the long haul. Well, actually a month to be exact, when we leave for our two week trip to Wisconsin. And then hopefully by then, it will have become a lifestyle, a habit, something I dare say, I will come to love and enjoy? Oh, I can only hope.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


This morning I found this pink Bunco game at my little thrift store. Not because I want to gather a group of gals together and start playing Bunco every week. But because I love the pink and green and black dice that came with the game. I have a thing for dice and have picked up odd looking dice here and there over the years and thought these would really add to my collection. I suppose the way I feel about dice is the same as I feel about buttons and marbles. I just like holding them, spilling them through my fingers, scooping them up and the sound as I roll them around in the palm of my hand. I actually have vivid memories as a little girl, playing with my Mom's buttons, scooping up a handful of marbles, shaking several dice... oooh, I just thought of another... playing jacks! I loved playing jacks! I loved the sounds that went along with playing jacks. The shaking, throwing, bouncing, scooping... umm, where is that bag of jacks? As I recall, I was rather good...