Tag Archives: nature

Minnesota is the Place for Me

I am a true-blue Minnesotan, born and raised here, and I have lived here all my life. I absolutely love the changing of the seasons.

Yes, I agree that sometimes the winters can be hard, with temperatures sometimes reaching the sub-zero mark winterand the wind chills dipping to 30 and 40 degrees below zero. What do we do on those days? We have learned that piling on layers of clothing works best. It’s definitely a life style that we have learned to live with. And drinking hot liquids such as hot chocolate and snuggling underneath quilts do help, that’s for sure. But then again, watching the big fluffy snowflakes fall gently from the skies above is quite a sight to see, and it’s a sight that I would truly miss if I lived somewhere that didn’t receive snow. I think I would definitely miss that lovely sight.

spring timeAnd then there’s the spring time, when all the snow finally melts away, and the green buds peek their heads above ground and begin to bloom – the daffodils, tulips, and iris. That’s when you know that spring has finally arrived. It’s truly such a joyful time. The birds finally come home and begin to sing their happy bird song high in their nests in the trees. The squirrels are scampering in the branches above us, fighting over their nuts once again. And at our house, we know that spring has finally arrived when the apple tree which hangs over our deck blossoms, just in time for Mother’s Day. Who doesn’t love the spring time?

The spring gives way to summer, with her warmer days and summer picnights. We celebrate those days with family picnics, days on the beach, fishing and camping trips, hikes, family get-togethers at my sister’s lake home at Mille Lacs Lake, lazy days on our deck, and just being together outside. Granted, we do have our share of summer storms and some tornado warnings, but we place those in the “excitement” category, and we’re used to it.  It just means another trip to the basement, as far as we’re concerned. Besides, I don’t mind a good summer storm every now and then, as long as my family is safe while the lightning flashes and the thunder booms.

autumnAnd then comes my favorite season of all – autumn. I absolutely love autumn. I love the way that Mother Nature paints the leaves on the trees with splashes of red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, and tan. It’s such a beautiful sight. And I love the way that the autumn air smells – crisp and bold to the nostrils. And I love the sound of autumn. I love the way the autumn leaves sound as you walk through them with their crunch and crinkle beneath your feet. And to me, autumn is the perfect temperature. All you need to wear is just a light jacket. Yes, I love the feel of the light autumn breeze on my face. Sometimes I wish that autumn would go on forever because it’s so beautiful. I’m always a bit sad when the first snowfall comes and I have to say good-bye to autumn.

So you see, there’s really no other place that I’d rather be than Minnesota. There’s no beach, no mountain, no forest, no island, no place else that can compare. Just Minnesota for me. Give me Minnesota and I will be happy. Only Minnesota for me. Minnesota. That’s my home.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  ”

I grew up in Minnesota and everyone is so nice there. It’s like Fargo. Everyone’s so chipper and you make friends just grocery shopping. We kill each other with kindness.”  ~ Seann William Scott

 

 

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My Best Event

Summer Delights

I live in Minnesota, the “land of 10,000 lakes.” This means that we have four seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer; and believe me, when the Summer Solstice arrives, marking the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it is indeed a cause for celebration for us. After all, most of the time, we Minnesotans are just bouncing back after coming through what has usually been a long, cold winter with dark, short days, and the thought of  a summer filled with warmer, brighter, longer days is very appealing right about now. Trust me, I absolutely take full advantage of summer while it is here; and while I love Minnesota because of the four seasons, as far as I’m concerned, summer is not long enough.

I love the earlier sunrises that summer brings. Many people might complain about this, but not me. I love to rise early, make my morning cup of tea, and take it with me out to my back yard deck. The early morning is the best time of the day to have a bit of peace and quiet, when all that surrounds me is the nature in my garden. I enjoy listening to the cheerful morning song of the birds and the busy chatter of the squirrels in the trees. It’s such a wonderful way to begin my day.

I spend a lot of time on my deck during the summer. My husband built our deck ten years ago, and it was the best addition we’ve ever made to our home because we use it constantly from May to October, or from the time the weather becomes warm enough until the time the weather becomes too cold. As long as I have plenty of mosquito repellent, I’m good to go. Yes, that is the only downside to Minnesota summers – the mosquitoes. And for some reason, they absolutely love me as a host, even more so than my husband. So I have my own personal bottle of mosquito repellent. I spend my days on our deck writing, reading, listening to music, talking on the phone, playing games on my phone, watching movies and shows on my laptop, and even napping. And my little dog Lucy loves it because it means she gets to romp around in the back yard chasing the squirrels and the birds. Of course, she never catches them, but she loves trying! We’ve also spent many happy hours with our children having barbecues, playing games, and just sitting around talking. I just love it when they come over to visit and we spend a summer day together on our deck.

I take advantage of the long summer days as much as I can because I know that in what seems like a blink of an eye, winter will be here once more, with its darker, shorter days. But then again, I probably wouldn’t appreciate the summer if I didn’t have the winter. And that’s why I like having four seasons – it gives you so much more appreciation of what God was thinking about when He put nature together.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  ~ Unknown

Autumn Leaves

Autumn 
leaves, in colors
of ever-changing hues,
are truly a feast for the eyes.
As they dance gaily through the crisp breezes,
they serve to remind everyone
that in their wake will fall
the gentle white
snowflakes.

A Fresh Start

Today marks the first day of May, and although March 20th, the spring equinox, was the official first day of spring, here in Minnesota, the first of May feels like the first day of spring more often than not.

At least in my back yard this statement is true. The leaf buds on the trees are beginning to open. As a matter of fact, we have an apple tree that hangs over our deck, and the apple blossoms are starting to bloom. The birds are in full voice as they chatter and sing well before the break of dawn—loud enough so that my husband will wake with them, complaining, “Why can’t they be just a little bit quieter?” The tulips and daffodils are blooming, adding a dash of color to my garden; and even the lilies have pushed their way up through the earth, reaching toward the sun, waiting for their time to open later in the summer. It seems that most living things experience a new beginning around this time, and this year I can rejoice because my sister Janice has had a new beginning, too.

Jan is the youngest of the seven children in our family. Being the baby of the family, we’ve often thought that she’s had the easiest life. You know how it goes: it seems the older children in the family always “pave the way” for the younger children, and therefore the younger children don’t always have to work as hard to earn the same privileges. However true this may or may not be, I believe that Jan has more than paid her dues for this in later life.

You see, Jan has been suffering from severe and intractable chronic pain caused by both partial and total bowel obstructions for more years than I can count. She’s had innumerable hospitalizations and surgeries to correct those medical conditions and their subsequent complications, but to no avail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to comfort her as she shed tears over the agonizing pain she was suffering. Then there were the times when she would call me, sobbing because she’d been to the emergency room to get some relief from her pain, only to have an emergency room physician accuse her of being a drug addict.

Besides the constant, never-ending, and sometimes unbearable pain that she’s had to endure, her medical conditions have caused her stress, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, loss of employment, loss of self-esteem, problems with family relationships, and depression, among other debilitating symptoms.

Chronic pain is very different from acute pain. Acute pain happens at the time of injury, and goes away when the injury heals. Chronic pain sticks around longer than it should, offering little to no relief. If you’ve never had chronic pain, it will probably be difficult for you to understand it.

I understand because I’m a chronic pain sufferer myself. Ever since I ruptured a herniated disc in my cervical spine several years ago, I’ve had one medical condition after another present itself, including that of fibromyalgia.  So I’m no stranger to what it feels like to go through this kind of disruption in your life.

But I’m glad to say that there’s hope for people like my sister Jan. A few weeks ago she had a spinal cord stimulator implant placed during surgery. This is a device that is used to exert pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord to control chronic pain.

After going through a successful trial with the device four to six weeks ago, a permanent device was then implanted.  I am now overjoyed to say that my baby sister is happy and pain-free at long last.

No longer will I receive those tearful phone calls with her being in the depths of despair and feeling like there will never be any hope for herself. No longer will she dread waking up in the morning to face another day filled with constant and oftentimes agonizing pain. No longer will she miss family functions because she’s being hospitalized for pain control management. No longer will she need to shed those precious tears.

Thanks to modern medicine, she can actually look forward to each day instead of wondering when her next trip to the emergency room will be. Thanks to modern medicine, she can make plans for the future and not have to worry about how being in pain might impact that same future. Thanks to modern medicine she can spend more time with her family instead of trying to find ways to cope with her pain. Thanks to modern medicine, she can be the person she was always meant to be.

My sister Janice

So you see—there are so many reasons why I think that this first day in May is truly the first day of spring for my sister Jan; and as a matter of fact, it may indeed be the first true day of spring that she’s had in many years. Now that’s something that our entire family can rejoice in.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, happiness would not be so welcome.”  ~ Anne Broadstreet ~