2010-2019

The end of the year is a reflective time for me. I’ve seen other people summarize their decade succinctly – that’s not me. One word? Uff. But thanks to this very blog, it wasn’t hard to see what the last decade has been like for me.

2010

  • I started this blog! Walkietalkiebookclub.com was started in February of 2010 as a place to plan book club and discuss books. It started very bookish.
  • I started my yearly Ferragosto Vacation!
  • I started Cosmo Girls (conceived at the initial Ferragosto!)
  • What a creative year!

2011

  • I was released from my job as a school social worker after 18 years.
  • The last Harry Potter movie was released.
  • I began with readalongs and book blogging in earnest.
  • I read “Anna Karenina”
  • I saw Bruce Springsteen for the first time.
  • Our family traveled to Denver together

2012

  • I started working at Mayo Clinic on 1/30/12 – my reading game suffered greatly due to the increased need for brainpower!
  • I traveled to NYC – twice! In June and October! Broadway was calling!
  • I saw “Once” for the first and second times.
  • I started driving a 2-door Honda Civic – not my favorite
  • I saw Bruce Springsteen for the second time.

2013

  • Marissa got her bachelor’s degree and started her master’s degree, moving to Minneapolis!
  • I read “Gone with the Wind”!
  • I met Chris on 7/1/13 and we had many epic dates.
  • I traveled to NYC for my birthday again! Jimmy Fallon show!

2014

  • I went to NYC in January with Koni – walking tours and Broadway shows!
  • I got engaged on 7/7/14 and married on 10/1/14 – in NYC! #woohoowedo2014!
  • Marriage brought three stepchildren and our first grandgirl!

2015

  • Emma – our second grandgirl is born!
  • I became a MINI Cooper owner in March and we drove it all over Colorado in July – including up Pike’s Peak!
  • August is born in September!
  • Our birthdayversary is spent in the metro area and includes staying on a boat (Covington Inn) in St. Paul.
  • We saw “Once” – my THIRD time!

2016

  • We got passports – the world is open to us!
  • We went to Canada – twice! Once for an hour and once for a few days.
  • Marissa got engaged and Chris had jury duty
  • We took a road trip to New England (through Canada) and saw fall foliage and spent a few nights in NYC!
  • Mom and dad are both retired and move to Rochester

2017

  • We traveled to NH in a blizzard – our flight is cancelled so we rent a car and drive – so that we can honor Granny at her funeral.
  • Marissa and Adam are married in Cancun on Cinco de Mayo! Much celebration ahead of the wedding with a great week of family togetherness after!
  • Dad is diagnosed with cancer and receives treatments
  • Our birthdayversary is a train trip to Chicago to see Hamilton!
  • We bought our house together in June! Become landlords of the townhouse.

2018

  • We have a MILESTONE vacation with the family to celebrate 50th anniversary, 50th birthday, teenagers, 30 year old, and general awesomeness.
  • Marissa celebrates her 30th birthday in Disney! They announce that grandbaby #4 is on the way!
  • Juniper is born in October!
  • Mini Takes the States 2018 takes us on a 5900 mile road trip! We visit some family along the way and enjoy most of the minutes we are together in the car.
  • I turned 50 and threw a fiesta! We saw Hamilton in Minneapolis!
  • Deadra and I celebrated our birthdays and friendship with a Pack Up and Go trip to Seattle!

2019

  • I had cataract surgery
  • Chris changed jobs – twice!
  • We took two road trips – up-north in Wisconsin and up-north in Minnesota.
  • Cosmo Girls celebrated 10 years with a trip to Las Vegas! Very epic!
  • The townhouse is sold and we made our home cozy and welcoming for guests –
  • We hosted Chris’s dad and his friend Carol for a week in June! So fun…
  • We bought a Jeep! Snow tires or Topless – I love to drive it!

Some Things Change…

  • I’m married!
  • I have grandchildren!
  • I moved from a townhouse to a house!
  • I changed my job!
  • I rarely blog anymore!

Some Things are the Same…

  • I still love books and reading and book club!
  • I keep track of my books (you can see previous lists on the blog!)
  • I still love movies and keep track of what I see and love.
  • I still love theatre and musicals – It is a constant in every year!
  • I still love to travel – NYC is a favorite but seeing all parts of the country is wonderful. Looking forward to putting my passport to use!
  • I still love music and seeing live music – Every year brings great music into my life!
  • I still love being with my family and can’t get enough!
  • Ferragosto and Cosmo Girls are still going strong! To think that they started at the beginning of this decade…

Live music I saw in the 2010s…

Bruce Springsteen (x2) * Jeremy Messersmith (x2 or 3?) * Taylor Swift * Billy Joel * Paul McCartney * Glen Hanserd (x3) * Barenaked Ladies * Dwight Yokum * Sheryl Crow * Dan Chouinard * The Skivvies * The Swell Season * Needtobreathe * Trans Siberian Orchestra * Bon Jovi * Rick Springfield * I’m sure I forgot some… remind me!

The Stage – Broadway and beyond in the 2010s…

Once (x3) * Priscilla Queen of the Desert * Nice Work If you Can Get It * Peter and the Starcatcher (x2) * Newsies * Avenue Q * Forbidden Broadway * Cinderella (x2) * Matilda (x2) * A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder * Beautiful * It’s Only a Play * Fiddler on the Roof * If/Then * The Band’s Visit * Phantom of the Opera (x2) * Hamilton (x2) * Waitress * Almost Maine * Blood Brothers * Philadelphia Story * Don’t Hug Me * Bring It On * Our Town * The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee * Billy Elliot * On the Town * Book of Mormon! * I’m sure I forgot some… remind me!

Authors I’ve Met…

I love to meet an author and listen to them talk about writing. Here are a few authors I met in the last decade… Ann Bancroft * Lian Dolan * Jenna Blum * Paula McLain * Lorna Landvik * Liz Dolan and Sheila Dolan * Julie Kramer * Elizabeth Berg

What will the next 10 years bring???

Our 2019 in Song

A brief synopsis of our 2019, as told through our Spotify Playlist (Our 2019 in Song). 

I had cataract surgery on both eyes in March and April 2019, so I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW! It was the first time in my life I had an IV (age 50!), which was the freakiest part for me.  Otherwise it was uneventful and successful! 

Chris started a job search in earnest in 2019 and was hired in August for a regular 9 TO 5 job at the factory that makes Vanicream… it was nice to have him on a Monday-Friday schedule, but it was less than stimulating, so he kept looking. ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER and in mid-October he took a job at a truck sales and service company in Rochester and is working 4-midnight as a service advisor! He loves it and feels that all his life experience has led him here, so how cool is that? 

I still work at Mayo Clinic in the Emergency Department – it will be 8 years of WORKIN’ DAY AND NIGHT in January! I lead a supervision group for social workers working on their clinical licensure and enjoy that immensely. I also love my colleagues and this year a few of us on our team applied for Individual Achievement Awards through the Department of Nursing, acknowledging our involvement and expertise, and we were awarded with a beautiful night at the Mayowood Mansion with social work and nursing leadership. It was a great and memorable night. 

Our trips this year were mostly of the ROAD TRIPPIN’ variety. In June we travelled Up North from MINNESOTA, WI via a lot of backroads on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. We drove the 4Runner on ATV trails, stayed on Lake Superior in Ashland, WI and visited MADELINE ISLAND and Bayfield. The end of July, Chris’s dad and his friend Carol flew to Minnesota and we explored a bit of Minnesota with them!  We didn’t see THE BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE IN MINNESOTA, but many other sites – including the Eagle Center, the SPAM Museum, Lark Toys, French Lake and a paddleboat on the Mississippi!  Labor Day weekend we flew to Colorado for a wedding and we rented a fancy car and drove many roads in the ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time! In August we bought a new Jeep Wrangler for my winter travels – it is pretty luxurious! THINGS IN MY JEEP include heated steering wheel and seats and SXM radio! For our 5th Birthdayversary, we drove the Jeep Up North in Minnesota and stayed at Bluefin Resort on Lake Superior a few nights and explored the backroads with and without tour guides. We saw moose in our travels in Minnesota and Colorado this year (THE PLURAL OF MOOSE IS MOOSE)! 

I continue to be involved in BOOK CLUB and read more books in 2019 than I have in a long time.  I may have joined a second book club at the end of the year and continue to promote book club type reading at work! The Cosmo Girls are celebrating 10 years of monthly meetings this year and we celebrated in a big way with a trip to Las Vegas in October (VIVA LAS VEGAS!). We had an amazing time together and I cherish the friendships I’ve made with these wonderful women! We enjoyed the warm sunshine poolside, spent hours laughing and dancing and singing (TRUTH HURTS – but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!). 

We no longer get DEAR LANDLORD letters, as we sold the townhome last summer! Thankfully being a LANDLORD was relatively painless, but it was still a relief to have one less mortgage in our name. Consequently, we were able to make our CASTLE ON THE HILL a little more cozy and inviting for guests. We would love to have you come visit us in our HOME

Our KIDS and grandkids continue to bring us joy. We always enjoy family time – gotta KEEP THE FAMILY CLOSE, you know! Marissa, Adam, August (4) and Juniper (1) live in St. Louis Park and are busy busy busy! It’s hard to keep up with them – I wish you could bottle their energy! Sierra, Kaydee (8) and Emma (4) now spend most of their time in Austin with Sierra’s significant other, Zach, but still attend school in Rochester so we see them when we can. Sierra is expecting a new bundle of joy in February so we can’t wait to meet her! Kevin (21) loves to travel and do work on computers and Tyler and his wife are expecting their first any minute! For August’s birthday we went to CIRCUS Absynnia at the Children’s Theatre and for Kaydee’s birthday we saw CINDERELLA. What a treat to bring the kids to these events! 

THE SEASON’S UPON US when we gather with our families and revel in the season. The attached photos show the joy that we get from being with each other, from being with our family and friends, and from our travels. We hope that this letter finds you well, that you were SATISFIED with 2019, and that 2020 brings us all continued joy and happiness!

One Day More!

This January I challenged myself to two things: Yoga with Adrienne’s daily Dedicate practice and sober January. One more day and I’ve successfully completed both!

I must say, I am most surprised that I was able to do yoga daily but I just proved that it’s possible, even with my crazy work schedule! It just takes planning. Who knew? One day I was able to get up bright and early (4:30AM) to do yoga before going in for my 6:30AM shift, but all other early days I did yoga when I got home (after 7PM). Granted, as you can see by the calendar, her practice varies from 15 to 30 minutes, with tomorrow’s final Dedicate practice the longest of the month, but still. I did it.

And I printed off a February calendar where she gives suggestions of videos already available on YouTube to build a practice of Love. I’ll keep going and see if I can continue to work on this daily practice! Woot!

As for sober or dry January, no big deal. I think there was a grand total of two days that I wished for a glass of wine but I just made some yummy herbal tea or had sparkling water and moved on. It certainly saves money at restaurants if you don’t add the $7 wine or $10 cocktail to the receipt at the end!

What will February bring? Not binge drinking, certainly, but a few new cocktail lounges opened late 2018 that I can’t wait to try! Do you have any monthly challenges for February?

Blogging via Instagram

This blog has practically gone dormant in 2018! But I have been blogging weekly (or daily while on vacation!) through Instagram! It was my goal at the start of 2018 to create a weekly post of photos – up to 10 – with commentary about the week. There were daily posts during Mini Takes the States and other trips in 2018.

I’m not giving up on this blog… I have ideas, so I just need to create the time (aka get rid of some phone apps). More to come… img_20181127_192434

Turning 50

I typed “turning 50” into a search bar and got all kinds of results. Cutesy t-shirts and over-the-hill items from Amazon, celebrities turning 50 in 2018, and many magazine articles, including: “You’re right, turning 50 sucks;” “Good things about turning 50;” “10 things you need to do after you turn 50;” The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about turning 50,” and on and on and on.

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Today is my half birthday – April Fools Day.  So in a mere 6 months that milestone birthday will be mine. I have been spending time thinking about how I want to spend the last few months of my 40s, as well as the theme for my 50s.  Before I turned 40 I created a list of “40 things to do before 40” and that gave it a structure and brought a lot of joy. I have done lists since that big 4-0 list, but have no big list for this big birthday. Yet.  Some possibilities are:

  • 50 things I’ve learned so far
  • 50 things to do in my 50s
  • Top Ten Memories so far (written down)
  • 50 things to leave behind
  • 10 new habits to create

I may do all of these in some form (I think writing down memories, especially big Top Ten Life Memories, is important for posterity!). I’ll keep you posted!

Do you have ideas on how to celebrate this big milestone?

Do you have advice for turning 50 with grace?

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My Movie Love Letter 2017

That’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I haven’t seen as many movies in the theatre as in years past, but every time I do there’s something I love… Here is a list of films I’ve seen in chronological order:

  1. Moana – love the Lin Manuel Miranda musical score!
  2. LaLaLand – love the music and dancing! also love the Oscar blooper where it was briefly named Best Picture!
  3. Rogue One: Star Wars – not too memorable… hmmm
  4. Hidden Figures – loved that I saw this on Martin Luther King Day with a teen girl who loves math!
  5. Singing in the Rain – love that this was brought back onto the big screen for a few showings in 2017!
  6. Dous Iozurri (Two Lottery Tickets) – love that the Wehrenberg has a foreign film festival every year – cute pic about losing winning lottery tickets!
  7. Gifted – love movie night with the girls!
  8. Wonder Woman – love the girl power in this pic!
  9. The Big Sick – love this story based on his true life – heart wrenching at times but so good!
  10. The Glass Castle – loved seeing this with social worker friends and discussing the differences between the book and the movie!
  11. Victoria & Abdul – love this pic about the curmudgeonly Queen Victoria! Makes me want to know more!
  12. Bad Mom’s Christmas – again, love movie nights with the girls! Big Laughs!
  13. Wonder – loved the sweetness of this movie!
  14. Lady Bird – loved everything about this movie – great characters!
  15. Murder on the Orient Express – loved the beauty and the actors in this film.
  16. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – loved seeing Carrie Fischer again… good stuff.
  17. Pitch Perfect 3 – love a movie with singing (although it really pales to the first)
  18. The Greatest Showman – absolutely loved this and hope to see it again!
  19. Ferdinand – love the story and loved taking the girls!
  20. Jumanji – love the laughs and the premise – but had to look through my hands a few times!  I’m a wimp!

On Netflix I have watched a bunch of Christmas cheer, a few action flicks, and the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. Some series I have loved…

  1. Master of None – love the feel to season 2!
  2. Last Chance U – love the reality of this!
  3. Grace & Frankie – love those two
  4. The Great British Baking Show – love watching those Brits make things I’ve never heard of!
  5. The Good Place – caught up so I could watch season 2 – which is sooo weird!

On Amazon Prime we LOVED The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – highly recommend!

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Blog pages

I added a new page to the blog – the list of books I read in 2017 – here it is!

Books I Read in 2017

As I look at this list of books from 2017, it is notable that most of them are for book club!  We made an intention in 2016 to meet monthly NO MATTER WHAT and so we have been more organized and planful. I have also read a few books for a work book club, listened to a few audiobooks, and picked up a few kindle books for quick reads.

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By Jenny Colgan

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by Luke Sullivan (Book Club)

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By John Tiffany and Jace Thorne

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By Liane Moriarty (book club)

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By Sara Bereilles (audio)

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By Don Miguel Ruiz

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By M. L Stedman (book club)

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By Lily King (book club)

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By Edward Kelsey Moore (book club)

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By Paul Kalanithi (work book club)

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By Jennifer Weiner

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By Clara Beaudoux (blog)

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By Gretchen Rubin (audio)

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By Jane Healey

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By Fredrik Backman

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By Liane Moriarty

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By Stephanie Powell Watts

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By Jenny Colgan

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By Jennifer Ryan (book club)

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By Adriana Trigiani

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By Brene Brown

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By Gabrielle Zevin (book club)

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By Amor Towles (book club)

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By Sandhya Menon

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By Lorna Landvik – did not finish

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By Jane Hamilton – did not finish

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By Gretchen Rubin – reading monthly

 

#2017inReview

We (@netty1001 and @realbigtweezy) still have the same cars and the same jobs but otherwise it has been an eventful year with big changes!  Here are a few highlights of the year …

#NewEnglandBlizzard – Chris’s granny, Eva Walsh, passed away in February of this year and we travelled to Newton Centre, MA for her funeral. There was a blizzard in progress, so our flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, NH was cancelled and we rented a car and drove the rest of the way. What should have been an almost 6 hour drive took us about 10. We arrived safely and in time for the celebration of Granny’s long life. I only got to meet her once, during our birthdayversary road trip last October, but it was fun to be with family and hear stories of her life.  The cemetery where she is buried was incredible – so much history out there in New England. I also experienced Candlepin bowling for the first time with Chris’s family – that was a fun night – and we got to meet Chris’s first grand-niece, Aurora!!

#BrandLoyal – Chris and I both celebrated 5 years of employment at our respective employers in 2017!  Chris started at Land O’Lakes in October 2012 and I started at Mayo in January 2012. I completed a 40 hour group supervision training for social workers so I can now lead small groups of social workers towards clinical licensure and may try my hand at that in 2018. Chris continues to be one of four people who dry the cheese powder for Cheetos!

#MermaidInLove and #CincoDeWedding – Marissa and Adam were married in Cancun on Cinco de Mayo! There were three showers, some great parties, and about 30 mother-of- the-bride dresses tried on prior to getting to Mexico.  The bachelorette party was an all-day multigenerational affair with a mermaid theme!  What a blast.  Before we walked down the “aisle” to the beach, Marissa and Icried and she said this was the wedding of her dreams. She was a beautiful bride and it was fun to be with everyone in Mexico for one week. Lots of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Mom and Dad even went parasailing!

#TeamGrandpaDanTough – Right before we went to Mexico my dad was diagnosed with laryngeal small cell carcinoma. He began treatments the day after we returned from Mexico (all the more reason why it was meaningful to be together down there), and it was a grueling course of 7 rounds of chemotherapy and 35 daily doses of radiation to his throat. In September his PET scan was all clear and he is getting stronger and is back out in the woods hunting this autumn. So glad to have them in Rochester!

#OnlyInMinnesota – We have enjoyed the many things life in Minnesota has to offer. We enjoyed outdoor festivals and outdoor music, my 30th class reunion was in July, we hosted and attended outdoor campfires, we spent time at our cabin at the Lake (which we now are part-owners of!), we went to the Great Minnesota Get-Together (State Fair) twice and I went to a Minnesota Twins game. Chris is ready for the Minnesota winter with his supreme snow blower and we have been enjoying watching the Minnesota Vikings play football and all the hype that is leading up the the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis in early 2018.

#Birthdayversary2017 – For our 3rd anniversary, we took a train to Chicago for a few days with the main event seeing “Hamilton.” It is as amazing as everyone says it is, truly. We also ate good food, walked a lot, and went on a double decker bus tour. The weather was beautiful  After Chicago we spent a few days at the Dells celebrating August’s birthday with family, and spent one night in a lovely hotel in LaCrosse.  Chris thinks train travel is the way to go!

#49isDivine – 2018 means a big birthday is coming up for me, so I will be finding cause for lots of celebration leading up to it!  Marissa has a big birthday coming up as well, turning 30 in February. In 2017 Tyler turned 25, Sierra turned 21, and Kevin turned 19.  We have been enjoying time with the grandchildren; Kaydee just turned 6 in December, Emma will be 3 in January, and August turned 2 in September. Lots of chitter-chatter and laughter with them! Also lots of quality time with the nieces and nephews, much of it courtside.

#2SellOrNot2Sell – Last winter into spring we started thinking about whether we should remodel the townhouse or look for our “forever house.”  We really wanted a gas stove, which is what started all of the looking.  We spent many weekends going to open houses, wandering around tile and kitchen stores, and talking with realtors and contractors.  We wrote lists and dreamed big dreams.  Ultimately, we found and bought a new home, moving in right before Chris’s birthday in June, so it’s time to update your address books! Message me for the new address!    We gained no square footage but we now have a one level home with a big garage, a little shed, and a huge driveway (the reason Chris needed a supreme snow blower!).

I knew I missed having a sunny spot to sit outside and read, but I didn’t know how much I would LOVE having a fireplace!  We didn’t sell the townhouse, so Chris is now a landlord – so far so good.  We love our new house and it’s fun to get back to hosting again! We hosted Thanksgiving here (22 people!) as well as book club, Cosmo Girls, a housewarming / birthday party, a catch-up night with the girls, marshmallow roasting sessions over the new firepit, and hopefully we will be hosting you sometime soon!  Just call and let us know when you’re coming!

#MerryandBright – We hope that your Christmas season is filled with all things good and wonderful – family, friends, peace and love. Merry Christmas to you and a very happy 2018!

After the funeral at Granny’s home – Chris’s sister, Jen, and dad, Rob and his friend Carol.

Candlepin bowling in NH

Smiles and squishes

US Wedding

Mermaid party!

Park fun!

Last night in Mexico

Just a few ER visits

Graduation #2 for this Grimsrud clan

Graduation #4 for the Turner clan!

Moving fun!

His birthday matches the highway!

He never stopped smiling…

The last Radiation Treatment! A milestone worth celebrating!

Summer 2017 at French

Birthday hugs

Cousin time!

#OnlyinMN – The Great Minnesota Get-together!

21st birthday!

Photobomb!

The Minnesota Twins!

Beautiful day for a fire….

Train station!

Chicago!

Pre-Hamilton!

August is 2!

Halloween 2017

Our cozy home…

First lost tooth!

Santa visit 2017

Our outdoor Christmas tree!

 

The Gift of Stories

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Last year for Christmas I bought my parents each a subscription to StoryWorth – a year of story starter questions, sent by email, for their response. The responses are sent to each of us kids as they answer and at the end of the year (soon!) they will be compiled into a book.  Photos can be attached to the emails and they will be included.  The questions can be chosen from a list of several hundred in different categories – early life, parenting, work life, school, marriage, and more – and you can put them in any order you want or even write your own questions.  The questions can even be recorded on a voicemail and transcribed (for a fee or by a family member) for those who are less than tech savvy, although it really is as simple as replying to an email.

We haven’t received the books yet, but the responses we have read so far are gift enough!  Stories of their parents, of their school years, of their vacations and their first cars and first jobs, of their wedding day, and their advice for their grandchildren – all of it is priceless.  There have been funny stories and touching stories and really sweet and meaningful stories.  I have cried while reading them and shared them aloud with friends.  I am impressed with the wisdom they have shared and I can’t wait to see it bound in a book!

If you need ideas for a Christmas gift for anyone wise and wonderful in your life, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend StoryWorth. They are a sponsor for the Satellite Sisters podcast, which is how I learned of it last year, and they have a promo code (sisters) for $20 off a subscription.

I’m receiving no compensation for this post and review.  I should work for them, but this is my unsolicited gift idea and one that I have been raving about all year long!  StoryWorth is sooooooooo great!

https://www.storyworth.com/

My history with 7/7

10 years ago on 7/7/7, Marissa and I thought it would be fun to stay at the lake and head to the casino to try our luck (7s are lucky, right?). We headed there with her friend, Ashley, and we found that the water at the lake was murky and green and stinky.  We decided to take out the boat – something I’d never done on my own – and we got instructions about how to do that.  We took the boat to the middle of the lake where the water was clearer, the girls could swim, and we could breathe in the air.  We brought the boat back up to the dock to make lunch and when we next looked, the boat was sitting on the bottom of the lake (which is less than 3′ deep at that spot) filled with that green stinky murky water.  The plug had fallen out somewhere during our ride and the boat filled with water.  Family back home was chuckling while we were buckling down to put in a new plug, bail the water out and then hose down and bleach out the boat.  And remember, the lake water is murky and stinky and green.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I haven’t taken the boat out by myself since – and really have no desire to!  7/7/07 was not a lucky day for us!

And 3 years ago on this day, Chris and I got engaged (7/7/14 – 7+7=14!)!  We drove to Cabela’s and sold some of his guns for cash and then went ring shopping.  The ring I’m currently wearing is the one that I first tried on.  We looked in a few other stores but I was always looking for this ring.

Today we are both going to work after another week off – a week filled with more organizing and settling in our new house, with family time at the lake, and our first dinner guests. Looking forward to more continued goodness!

Happy July!