Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

mother of the groom survival kit

“From diapers to drivers licenses to weddings! wow!  We’ve been through it all together.  Just want you to know – I still got your back girlfriend!  This little something is a “Mother of the groom” kit.   (for more on my dear friend Julie – click here)

As we were getting ready to leave to  spend a week with our son before his wedding, my dear friend Julie dropped off a bag.  She had specific instructions.  1. Do not forget to put this in the van.  (She wanted to do it herself but the van was having an oil change.)  2. Open said package upon arrival and not before.

Only God knew that this trip would take eleven and a half hours.  Normally it is a five and a half  hour trip.  We were pulling a trailer filled with furniture for Chris and Galina, rain was forecast  and the tarp was giving Curt fits.  Enough said —

By the time we arrived at our destination for the week, my nerves were raw and I was exhausted.   Then the package was brought in.

Inside was the card that started with the quote above.

The bag was filled.

As I began to pull out items, laughter took over.  What a wonderful release from all the stress of the aforementioned journey.

She added a few notes to some of the items.  Things like stain stick was pretty self-explanatory.  Hm, what is she saying?   Yes, she knows me!

Here are some close ups.

Gum – “Gum will sometimes help words from coming out.”

Lotion for – “before the receiving line.”

Germx for – “after the receiving line.”

Lavender room deodorizer.

Dove chocolate –” just because!!”  Mmmm so good.

Trail mix – “Energy snack!

Fiber one – “Stay regular – It’s important!”

super glue – Chris actually asked me if I had some.  It came in handy!!  How did she know?

Beeswax lip balm – “You may have to kiss some toes! 🙂 or bit your lip a couple times!” Hmm, kind of scary when someone knows you that well!!

Also a packet of sticky notes, 3 little notepads and a fine tip pen.  There was also a sewing kit – that I did need to use.

Just in case, take 2 and text Julie”  on a bottle of ibuprofen – one of my favorite  things!

(The day I was going to the meeting at the nursing home for my mother, I did text Julie.   She was on break and was able to talk for a moment – long enough to share what God had shown her that morning.  It was just what I needed.  Yes, God is in control!)

One cannot have too many kleenex when your baby boy is getting married to a wonderful girl.  I cry at weddings anyway.  So of course tears of joy were  on the agenda!

Also in the kit was a 3 pack of Certs, and a 3 pack of Tums (yes, those are mostly gone).  Lastly,  a small black purse was used to house some of the items.  Again how did she know that I did not have a purse to take to the wedding that was small and would look great?  I  hadn’t mentioned that to her.    My regular purse is green and pretty big.   This small black one was just perfect!

Well, there you have it.  The mother of the groom survival kit!  I don’t think I have left anything out.   It was absolutely the best!!  I highly recommend putting one together for your friend.

Thanks Julie!!!

til next time

May 23, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


I have a daughter!   I am way excited that it is official.  She actually became my daughter (in my heart) months ago.

Top left is the best man (Chris’ twin) and the maid of honor (Galina’s sister)

Bottom right is  me and my baby boy.  We had a nice long walk to the front.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

Curt was honored to perform the ceremony.  It isn’t every day that you get to address the groom as ‘Son’.  It also isn’t every day that you get to be the first to introduce Mr and Mrs.

A picture perfect day!!

The brothers!!

The beauty of nature provided a wonderful background for pictures.

A most fitting cake topper.

All in all, it was a great day.  My sister was able to pick my mother up from the rehab center.  Mom is doing better and will be released this next week.  She still needs 24 supervision and I haven’t a clue what we are going to do.  I wish that I would not have had to deal with any of that during this most special week but we don’t live in a perfect world.    I’d love to say that I stayed on my food plan and continued to abstain from all forms of soda, but only in  a perfect world.

It is what it is!!!!

til next time

May 20, 2010 Posted by | dementia, relationships, twins, weight loss | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

something has to change

Any of these sound familiar?

Something has got to change!

I don’t know how much longer I can do this?

All I do is work, work, work.

How much more of this can I take?

I don’t have time for me.

Or maybe something a bit more spiritual –

God does not call  His children to burn out.

This is not the abundant life the Bible talks about.

I must be doing something right cuz the devil won’t leave me alone.

Ok, so I have said all of the above at one time or another.  

Long about last April hubby found me starting to use the phrase “Something has got to change”  quite a bit. 

I am all about getting into the solution not wallowing in the problem.  Yet I hadn’t a clue what that solution was, so I found myself wallowing.   Some days were much more difficult than others – pretty much that is how life is.  Good days – not so good days.

I chalked it up to pre-menopausal issues.  It was a viable excuse.  Yet I have heard that this (menopause) can go on for years.  I certainly did not want to  battle such emotional days – at least not in the ineffective way that I found myself dealing with them. 

I began to look at peace very closely.  During my menopausal days it was my peace that was out of whack.  Stress level high – peace level low.

A few months back I begin to entertain the idea of going part-time at work.  It would open up some much needed time.  Yet I didn’t want to give up sick time, holiday pay, etc.   I couldn’t see past the NEED for my income so I brushed it off, gave myself a good pep talk and carried on.

One day at work (happened to be working on my day off)  it was like God removed the blinders to my problem and clarity landed.  Looking back I think He was trying to do that all along, but it didn’t make sense to me and so I would brush it off.   

Finally it became crystal clear that I was working too much.  I am older now (ugh I never thought I’d use such a sentence) but it is true.  So with age should come maturity. You’d think with all this maturity I would remember that God does things His way.

It still did not make sense to me – oh it was clear alright just didn’t work out  on paper.  In fact, it made even less sense because Curt’s salary has been drastically reduced the last 3 months.  My income is needed now more than ever.  Yet, it was crystal clear to me.  A weight had been lifted.   I would talk with doctor about going part-time.

In making that decision many other issues were also settled.  It was kind of like a domino effect.   It can be easy to get out of balance.  For me it is always in the area of ‘doing too much’.    It is true, by the way, God does not want His kids to burn out.

I had my review last week.  It was amazing.   All I can say is that God showed up and handled it.  (I am grateful that I work for a boss who also loves God).  He did ask me to give him one more week as full-time.  That was a hard week because I wanted to shout it from the rafters, but I knew that he needed to be the one to tell my supervisor. 

Today I go to work and he has indeed talked with my supervisor so now it is official.  My first week as a part timer.  Yes, I have been doing a happy dance. 

How will the budget work out?  I don’t know, but I know God and He will make a way.  I guess this is my next step of faith in the journey of life.

til next time

January 25, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

blessed to be a blessing

Here I sit in my warm house with the sound of my 20 gallon fish tank in the back ground.  –Fish have been directly linked to reducing stress  —  It works for me until I have to clean the tank.  Ugh!

–It sure seems the older I get the easier it is for me to get side tracked.  This blog isn’t about my fish —

Ummm “Honey the computer just went down and the fish tank isn’t making noise?”

Curt was changing the light switch in our bedroom — happy sigh — but  somehow the power went out in the dining room.   ??  Imagine my surprise  when I rebooted the computer and everything was still up – facebook, wordpress and the first two paragraphs of this blog post had  saved.  Weird.

How appropriate though.  Here I am typing away in my warm house that is filled with expressions of love from my friends.   The electricity works (once Curt turned the power back on *~*).  I am blessed!

I am able to  go into the kitchen or one of my two bathrooms and get fresh water.  I did two loads of laundry without ever having to get dressed.   I am blessed beyond measure.

Tomorrow our church is taking an offering to send to Convoy of Hope to help them in their efforts to minister to the people of Haiti.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through.  The pictures look like something from a bad movie scene.

Yet it isn’t a bad movie scene.  It is real life drama unfolding in the lives of hurting men and women.  I can’t hardly think about the children.

I can do something.  I can make a difference.   You can do something.  You can make a difference.   It is a group effort.  Convoy of Hope was already there before the quake.  They were already feeding 7,000 children every day.    As we send our monetary gifts they will take that gift and be our hands extended to the hurting.  It will make a difference.

Oh, I know that money is tight.  Most everyone has been affected one way or another by our shifting economy.  We’ve taken a cut in pay the last 3 months.  It isn’t easy trying to adjust the budget.

Yet people still go out to eat and purchase things that are not a true necessity. (the whole need vs want — Oy don’t even get me started on the ways I have learned that lesson)  Yet I, for one, still  love to eat out.   My favorite place these days is Quiznos — they have a great Beef, Bacon, and Cheddar torpedo for $4.00.   Funny it doesn’t hardly seem like a budget cut either – but it is.  A meal at Quiznos or a meal at Red Robin??  You do the math.   Again I digress.

So tomorrow I am cutting into that portion of our budget so that others will be able to eat.   I am blessed to be a blessing!  God will take care of us.  He always does.

Matt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.

I’ve included a video of  Hal Donaldson from the Convoy of Hope.  Reach into your pockets and make a difference.  It is indeed more blessed to give than receive.

til next time

January 16, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Here it is Christmas!  This year has been a year of change.  Some good and some not so good.

Chris and Galina got engaged!  We are blessed to have such a wonderful daughter to add to our family.  When we were shopping during Black Friday I asked her a couple of times, “Are you sure you aren’t my daughter?”  Well truth is she will be officially on May 14th!!  Unofficially she already is.

Another big change is that Andrew moved to Minnesota.   He is in a cabin on a lake.  It is beautiful.  He didn’t wait but a day or two before getting the latest addition to our family.  Jasmine was just barely able to leave momma when he brought her home to the cabin.  She is adorable.  

He is still looking for a ‘good’ job.  It has been an adjustment for him.  It has been an even bigger adjustment for us.  I am not a fan of empty nesting.

Curt and I were able to take a few motorcycle trips this past year.  Most of them were just really long day trips.  It just continues to amaze me the beauty of creation and the joy that comes from being so close to nature.  We love to ride!

I am grateful that Andrew was able to make it home for Christmas.  It was a long night for us and an even longer night for him.  He left after work (10:00 p.m.), took Chris back to his apartment (2 hours away) and then continued on down.  He would call his dad every couple hours or so to see what was ahead weather/road wise.  It didn’t look good at times.  However, by the time he reached the section that was iffy it had improved.  He pulled in around 9:30 a.m.  One very tired man and one even more tired puppy.

If the weather cooperates Chris and Galina will get to come home also.  It has been a long time since they have been here.  (Ok 7 months but that is a really really long time)  I am so looking forward to spending some time with them.

Well there were sad things that happened this past year but my timer went off and that means supper is ready.   Besides my new motto is “IT IS WHAT IT IS”  — just trying to stay in the truth and focus on the positive.

Christmas Eve – family traditions.  Let the festivities begin.

From my computer to yours  Merry Christmas!!!  

til next time

December 24, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Empty nesting is all I thought it would be and so much more.  If  I stopped right there …  maybe I should just stop right there? 

My mother keeps telling me every time I talk to her, “You wouldn’t want them lying around all day doing nothing.”    She is right, but there is a difference between moving out — say to an apartment in the next town — and moving 6 hours (Chris) or 8 hours (Andrew) away. 

We had the opportunity to take some of Andrew’s things (motorcycle, car, food, etc) up to him this past week.  I have decided that I am NOT driving through Minneapolis, during anything remotely close to rush hour traffic, ever again. 

andrew's cabin 064

What I can’t ignore is the biggest grin on my son’s face.  Here he is in his element. 

Yes, this is the latest addition to our family.  I am now a ‘grandma’ 🙂   Jasmine is just a little over 9 weeks old.

  andrew's cabin 013

andrew's cabin 012

The view is just gorgeous -even though it rained most of the time we were there.   I certainly can see the attraction of a cabin on a lake.

andrew's cabin 037

Chris and Galina were able to come up for the week-end.  I am blessed to have her as my daughter.  Ok the wedding isn’t until May but as far as I am concerned she is my daughter.  🙂

Having us all together was great!  

This is the beginning of a new season of life.   i.i.w.i.i is my new slogan.  It is what it is.  A big part of frustration is not accepting truth or trying to make it be something it isn’t.   i.i.w.i.i. brings me back to reality.  It stops me from spinning around in the circles.  It reminds me that God is in control.

Many people have hinted at our moving to MN now that our kids are both there.   While I would love to be close to them, I really have no desire to live in MN.  It is cold too much of the year and way more snow than I like.

Chris and Galina are talking about Florida in a couple years. Andrew has not abandoned the possibility of border patrol.   Only God knows what the future holds.  As for Curt and I, when God is ready to move us He will let us know.  

So for all of you that are wondering — Yes, my heart aches.   I miss my boys. I miss being a part of their daily lives.   This is uncharted territory for me.  Some days I handle it better than others.    Yet I do know that one day my heart and my head will be on the same page.  In the meantime God’s grace is sufficient as our fish bowl changes.

til next time

November 6, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

moving day

saying goodbye 015

Moving day — excitement and sadness all mixed up together. 

It was harder than I imagined and I had expected it to be quite difficult. 

I am so grateful that I didn’t face this alone.  I thought of my mother and how she had to face my move by herself  (my father had died just 3 short months before my move.) 


The morning of Andrew’s move we met for breakfast with our long time family friends.  Our kids have grown up together and are pretty much like siblings.  Megan is the closest thing to a sister the boys have. 

When we moved to Iowa, I met Julie at my first job.  It was one of those God moments.  Some people walk into our lives and we are forever changed.  I told Megan the other day that everyone should have a ‘Julie’ in their life. 

saying goodbye 019When we all got together before Chris moved Andrew had to work and so he couldn’t be there.  This time Chris couldn’t be there.   Times are changing.

So many memories – so many different things to laugh about and all the inside jokes. 

cave 12  Here is one of my favorite photos of the four of them.  It was at Meg’s graduation. 

I miss those days.  I still find myself forgetting to turn the kitchen light off when I go to bed.  (Last one in shut the kitchen light off and turned the night light on – usually that ended up being Andrew.)

I’ve been given much grief over the years about my apron strings.   Truth is that our boys had a lot of freedom growing up.   Apron strings — not so much.  Involved and taking an active role in their lives as they grew up — yes very much guilty of that.

It could have been harder.  Since they are twins they both could have left at the same time.  I am grateful that did not happen.  God does know what we can handle.

I know that it is a good thing and this is the way it is meant to be.  I know that this is part of life.  Yet what I know and what I feel just can’t seem to get on the same page. 

 til next time

October 15, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, twins | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

letting go

How a church treats a minister’s children speaks so very loudly to the minister.   Surrounded by friends I made it through this day.    I am so grateful for the love and support that was evident this moring.   Curt and I are blessed. 

When I woke up this morning a part of me certainly wanted to just stay in bed.  Another part of me wanted to capture every moment.  Today was the church’s send off party for Andrew.  By this time next week he will be in Minnesota and our lives will have turned a corner.     

There are so many emotions that I struggle with and am not doing a good job of  dealing with.  Talk about emotional overload.  In less than a week we will be empty nesters.  We haven’t heard about Curt’s ct test.  Then add to this  that I haven’t fully dealt with the realization of my mom’s health issues.  Furthermore, my body can’t decide if it is menopausal or just worn out. 

 There were times during worship this morning where I just stood there with my eyes closed listening to my son sing.  I can’t imagine what next week will be like when he is not there.  Oh, I am trying to get a grip and maintain some semblance of sanity.  My head and my heart are just not in tune with each other. 

It was a full Sunday.    Rangers

There was an award’s ceremony for the Rangers.  

Andrew was given a plaque for his years of service as commander. 


susan and Hannah singingSusan and Hannah sang “Find Your Wings” by Mark Harris.   

Susan, I know that this was not an easy thing for you to do but it meant more than words can say.  

Hannah I am so glad that you sang with her.  I may have cried through the whole thing but I will always remember it.  curt preaching

Curt preached a powerful message on “Having Enough – enough time, resources, energy etc to accomplish God’s plan for our lives.   

The problem comes in when we attempt to do things in our own strength, when we step out of the will of God, when we are trying to do more than what God intends for us to do, when we aren’t content with what we have,  when better, bigger, more is our focus and not God…..

Need vs want was addressed.  This is a key element to living within your means.    Great message honey.  Don’t always want to hear it but am so grateful to not be drowning in debt.

DAd and AW 

Two peas in a pod.

Like father like son. 




humoring me


Here is Andrew humoring me.  I love pics 🙂 






harley cake


Andrew told us that if we bought him a Harley he would not move.  So we did just that.  Here is his Harley!   While  he does acknowledge that it is a very detailed model, the answer was still no.  LOL


“How am I doing?”  I’m trying to stay positive.   I am holding on tightly to my trust in God that He will guide my children and see Curt and I through this household change. 

til next time

October 4, 2009 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

relax? there’s work to be done

The other day I took a 2 back yard 09 much needed break and went outside with a book.  I love my swing. 

The problem is once I am out there a short while I begin to notice the abundance of  weeds that could use my attention.

 I do love to play in the dirt.  I find it satisfying when I have a mound of weeds to gather up, but there are times I just want to swing.   Yet it is hard for me to relax when there is work to be done.  I have found that I am spending less and less time swinging. 

When I was a kid growing up I watched my mom come home from work and then proceed to work around the house until going to bed.   I attribute my love for eating out to the fact that when mom, dad, and I would go out to eat there was no work that needed to be done.  It was down time.  Otherwise, at home, when all the work was done then and only then would she sit down. 

I was determined to not do that to my children. It wasn’t easy though.  The condition of my house would stress me out more than it should have.  Yet I would be sure to schedule in bike rides, going to the park, playing games, doing things together.  They had my attention.   

Since the boys graduated I have noticed a change.  I seem to have morphed into my mother.  I can’t remember the last time I rode my bike.  (I happen to love to bike ride).   Curt helps around the house or I would really have a problem. 

It seems that my to do list is always screaming for my attention.  Learning to be able to ignore things must be an art that I have not mastered.   Truth is there is always work that can be done but that doesn’t mean it must be done right now.gloves I say that but my upbringing wins out almost everytime.

Maybe I should move the gloves?  I noticed after I took the picture that my yard gloves are right in my line of vision when I sit on the swing.

Now some people may need to have reminders right in front of them.  For some it is too easy to ignore things that should be done.  That is not the area that I struggle in.

Taking some down time each day is my goal.  Learning to be able to be in my house and stop working is harder than it sounds.  This may be why on our day off you won’t find us at home. 

til next time

August 29, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

looking back but not living there

A glimpse into the past can be an eye opening experience.  My husband’s family all got together recently and went out to see the old farmstead.  It is fun to watch what others are drawn to.  For me, I got caught up in the thoughts of what it must have been like to see children running and playing (there were 10 of them).  Then there was the thought of what is that ladder doing on the roof?

the old farmstead

New beginnings

Starting over in a new country



Hard work

Acres and acres of land – now just an empty shell overgrown with weeds.

                checking it out   still standing

the pumpOn one side of the house there was an old pump.  I am told that it was the water source for the house. 

I really really like indoor plumbing. 

When I was a child we had a pump out back.  I enjoyed getting a cool drink from it when I was out playing.   However, that was not our only water source. 

Again, I am grateful for indoor plumbing!!

Would this old pump still work? 


curt giving it a try

I really didn’t think it would.  How long had it been since it was last used?  Would the handle even move.  These things can get all rusty and lock up.

Well Curt was going to find out. 


water from the pumpYes water did flow from this pump. 

The pump was installed to bring forth water and many many years later it is still doing what it was designed to do.

Lesson 1 from the pump   — Do what you are designed (gifted) to do.  

Lesson 2 – Be the real deal.  Don’t pretend to be something that you aren’t.  

Lesson 3 – Be refreshing —  surprise people with how freely the “Living water” flows through you.

In looking at the old house I am reminded that this house and our house were built in the same era.   Lesson 4 – Things left unattended will deteriorate.  Take care of those things that belong to you. 

lonely flowerThere was  a few more lessons for me during this venture.  Here is a lonely flower in the middle of the weeds. 

Lesson 5 is a reminder to bloom where I am planted.  Discontentment is a heavy load to needlessly carry. 

Lesson 6 is one I didn’t think I needed to relearn.  *heavy sigh*  Stay out of tall grass as this is where ticks love to live!!!  One tick is too many, but two of them on me was almost over the top.  Had I thought about it I would have never ventured out of the van.  Maybe that is the real lesson here — Don’t sweat the little things.  Could that really be a reference to ticks?   😛   Up until the tick was spotted on my clothing I was having a grand time traipsing all over the area.  Maybe that is the real Lesson 6 – Don’t let fear of big or little things keep you from experiencing life.

the fam

A glimpse into the past – remembering what was.  (Grandpa we sure do miss you)  Yet a sense of excitement about what the future holds all while remembering to  live in the moment. 

til next time

August 7, 2009 Posted by | life lessons, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments