Monthly Archives: June 2016

Summer Routine

BLOG summer flowers
At last – it is officially summer according to the calendar! That means it is also time to take stock in what is going on this summer and where the time is going.  I don’t know about you, but it seems to be flying by already! So let’s do our best to make it count and make it last!

One of the best parts about summer is the break from the regular routine. Don’t get me wrong, the warm, sunny weather is wonderful, too! Okay – so maybe you are reading this from sunny Cali wondering what in the world we are talking about?!  Well – live in Minnesota for a winter, and then we’ll talk.  So back to the routine… oh, that’s right, it’s summer – so what routine?

Actually, our summer routine changes from the school year, but we still do develop into a routine it seems.  My day looks something like this:

Somewhere between 5:30-6:30AM – Rise & shine & give thanks.  Brush teeth…it may be a while before the opportunity arises again.  Start the laundry, walk the dog, and water flowers.

BLOG summer Stella walk
7AM – Enjoy some coffee and turn on the Today Show – while flipping the laundry and scanning emails in anticipation of what to expect for the day.  At some point make sure the bed is made and the kitchen is cleaned up.

8-9AM – Start the taxi service.  (Thank goodness the oldest son has taken to biking to workouts with hopes of a moped and driving one day – or the taxi service would start at 6:30AM.)  Wait – did I remember to shower for the day?

BLOG summer Stella on car ride

Remind boys of their responsibilities charts. One of their responsibilities is appropriately – “learning time,” which includes reading and workbook pages.  Not super exciting stuff but what do you expect since I can’t even remember if I showered or had time to yet?  Boys aren’t allowed to play video games before 9AM – after chores are completed of course – so they usually get tasks accomplished by then.

BLOG summer Jonah studying

You know the saying, “Summer bodies are built in the winter.”  Well, some of us may have missed that memo this year – yikes!  I share a similar saying with my boys – especially recently.  “Our school brains are built in the summer.”

9-11:59AM – School work – either on campus or at home – or in the parked car waiting as the taxi service idles.  (No grading while driving – so no worries there!)  Answer phone calls, water the flowers if I am anywhere near home and forgot to earlier, flip the laundry, attend a meeting or two or a workshop.  Attempt to accomplish something on the never-ending list.  Boys are usually in a variety of activities and are chauffeured curtesy of their private taxi service, Mom -taxi service continues.

12-1PM – Feed the army.  Okay just my kids and maybe any strays.

1-4 PM – Taxi service, online work, cleaning – maybe?, run errands, phone calls, emails, write a blog, pool time if we can get there (maybe in July?), creative writing (yeah- right), nap (okay- a girl can dream)…

BLOG summer swimming hole

4PM – 5PM Prepare for the next round in the routine… evening activities.  Snacks are a must for the kids at this point or it will get plain ugly later.

5PM – Begin evening activities including: baseball, basketball, golf, maybe a football or faith formation meeting, birthday parties, life, …

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8-9PM – Eat dinner as a family if possible.  Yes – it is late and neglectful, but it is better than nothing.  Right?

9-10PM – Attempt bedtime by guilting the boys and getting them to believe they will not grow if they stay up any later.  “No, you can’t have more food at this point.  You ate like 20 minutes ago.”

10-11PM – Usually lights are out, and it’s time to open the computer back up from the 5 hour hiatus.  Wait – are there dishes in the sink?  Did the laundry get folded?  Hmmm… what laundry?  Now that I think about it, I haven’t cleaned in what feels like forever.  Okay – finish up some work now.

11:59PM –SLEEP because it is almost time to start the routine again. Amen.

Part of the summer to-do list that I try to integrate into the routine:

Learn.  Just because the weather is warm doesn’t mean that our brains don’t want to keep learning something new.

Get active – physically and mentally.  This also helps our brains and our bodies. Move, move, move.

Get engaged in the community.  Volunteer. Participate in activities instead of just watching the kids participate.  There are opportunities to be engaged and help out all year-long so take a chance to try something new in the summer when things are more relaxed.

Relax.  With all the summer opportunities and fun, aim to schedule some time to relax in the routine so the summer routine stays enjoyable.  Sounds like a fabulous idea so I think that is next on my list….

So what is your summer routine?

Stay Calm & Summer On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

No Gawking…Take Shelter!

Blog tornado

Pipestone made the news yesterday. We had a small tornado on the west side of town and of course instead of taking shelter, I started taking pictures. I know…not the wisest thing to do.

It was raining, and I was sitting out front on our porch swing that is sheltered by the overhang above it. I was enjoying the peace of the raindrops falling around me when the town siren went off. I was wondering why as I didn’t see anything too threatening in the sky. When my neighbor drove by, I noticed she was looking to the west. So, I stood up to check out what she was looking at since our front yard tree was in my way. That’s when I saw it…the above picture shows the tornado. It was about a mile and a half away in that picture and it was heading north…away from town and from me.

I posted my few pictures on Facebook. A friend/colleague of mine commented ‘no gawking, take shelter.’ I smiled. I did not feel scared by the tornado since it was traveling north, and it wasn’t too windy and stormy outside. But, thanks Dr. Z. for your concern. 🙂


After I posted the few pictures, another friend sent me a text message. She reminded me of a story I had shared with her about my dad.

My dad worked for the REA (Rural Electric Association) and back in the 1970’s, he would have to track tornadoes so he could report back any possible power outages that the REA might possibly have to deal with.

The story he would always share with people was that anytime a tornado was outside of Pipestone, the tornado would stop, whip its tail like it was ticked off, then go around Pipestone or go back up into the clouds over Pipestone before making its way back down to the ground.

It is told that Pipestone is sacred ground. The Pipestone National Monument quarries are sacred to most of the tribe in North America. And my dad believed it! He swore by it! Because of this nature’s tornado phenomenon that he witnessed several times, he believed it to be true. He believed Pipestone was indeed sacred ground.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but…he was my dad, and he knew everything. 🙂

Thanks to my friend Carrie for sending that text message. It brought back a lovely memory of my dad and that made my day.  

Thankfully, Pipestone experienced zero damage. It is tornado season, though. A season of storms. Nature’s fury will always win a battle! So in all seriousness, if a tornado is approaching, take my good friend’s wise advice…no gawking, take shelter!


Stay Calm & Take Shelter!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

Vulnerability Does Not Equal Weakness: Dare Greatly

Blog Daring Greatly Book.jpg

When I asked middle school students to describe the key to learning, one girl gave the following reply: “There are times when you can ask questions, or challenge ideas but if you have a teacher that doesn’t like that or the kids in the class make fun of people who do that, it’s bad. I think most of us learn that it’s best to just keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your grades high.”

This sad but true excerpt is just one of many thought-provoking quotes penned by author Brené Brown (2012) in her must read book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Being vulnerable does not equal being weak. We are hardwired to being connected to other human beings. Worthiness is about love and belonging. Wholeheartedness is the way to go. Being naked is a fear for many. Shame and blame ride together in the front seat. Transformative change needs honest, constructive, engaging feedback. Our greatest critic in the arena of life—ourselves. We can become prisoners when our worth depends on what others think. Joy and gratitude walk hand-in-hand.

This book and those statements above (plus so many more) have made me stop and reflect on who I am, what I stand for, what I believe in, and what direction I’d like my life to go.

Brené Brown’s genuineness, authenticity, sense of humor, and experiences are shared throughout the book. The title of the book was taken from a famous speech given by Theodore Roosevelt called Citizenship in a Republic or better known as The Man in the Arena:

Blog Daring Greatly Roosevelt

She begins her book by telling of her invitation to speak at TEDxHouston (if you have not watched a TED talk, I highly recommend it). Her TED talk went viral (over 25 million hits as I write this blog. Whoa…it just went up a thousand). She became exposed to a global world. This made her want to crawl in a hole and hide…for the rest of her life. She became vulnerable, she dared greatly…which really means she was extremely courageous.

Brené Brown has shared her research passion through various platforms and with us in her book Daring Greatly. Want a dynamic book to start out your summer reading list? I dare you to read Daring Greatly. 

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts.

Blog Love dare greatly

Stay Calm & Dare Greatly!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

I Believe in Miracles…and Guardian Angels!

Blog Mriacles 3

I don’t know about you, but I definitely believe in miracles…and guardian angels.

Miracle #1: Sibyl, my 17 month old granddaughter, took the ride of her life a few months ago that her nanny and parents will never forget.

The nanny was getting the grandkids ready to go for a walk. In the garage, Warren got on his bike, Sibyl was given the battery-powered Mater, and the nanny’s little baby girl was placed in the stroller. In the few brief seconds that the nanny turned away, Sibyl hit the power button on Mater and plunged down the steep flight of cement garage stairs.

Her guardian angel carried her down those stairs. All she suffered was some road rash on the left side of her sweet face. No broken teeth. No broken bones. Just a little road rash. And she is just fine. 🙂

Divine intervention? Yes, I do believe so because I believe in miracles…and guardian angels. Thank you, Jesus, for watching over my precious little granddaughter that day.

Lessons learned from that tumble? Put up gates around dangerous steps.

Blog Miracles 2

Blog Miracles Sibs

“The LORD will keep you safe…” ~Proverbs 3:26

Miracle #2: While babysitting Tyus, my five month old grandson, we went out for a walk with the stroller on a beautiful, sunny, early morning. Each time we would cross a street, I would pause at the corner, look back over my left shoulder to check to see if any cars were waiting to turn onto the street that I was crossing, and then proceeded with caution.

At 2nd Street SW, I repeated the same routine and saw no cars. I stepped off the curb and pushed the stroller forward to cross the quiet street. Half way through to the other side, my phone signaled that I had a text message. I picked it up to see who was texting me, then glanced up to take notice if I was close to the curb on the other side of the road.

That’s when I saw it. A large maroon SUV right next to the stroller and right next to my side. My first ANGRY thought was why in the world would anyone do the “fake-almost hitting you-to make you smile” routine when I was pushing a baby stroller?? Then I noticed the driver’s facial expressions.





Reality punched me in the face, and gripped my heart. I stepped up onto the sidewalk that had only been a few feet from my reach, and cried.

And cried some more! And almost fainted from the horror and fear and terror that was now suffocating me.

The driver of the SUV jumped out of her vehicle, which was still in the spot that she almost hit us, and held my arm so I would not fall. She kept repeating over and over and over through her own tears… “I am so sorry, Wendy. Are you going to be okay? Please forgive me! I am so sorry! I am so sorry, Wendy. Please, PLEASE forgive me.”

The driver did not see us. She was heading east directly into the bright morning sun.

We were walking in the shadow of the trees.

She had just answered her cell phone.

I had just glanced at my cell phone.

And…she had turned too sharply and into the wrong lane.

I believe ALL of our guardian angels…hers, mine, the baby’s…stretched out their gigantic strong arms and stopped that vehicle in its tracks to keep it from hitting the sleeping baby in the stroller and from hitting me.

Divine intervention? Yes, I do believe so because I believe in miracles…and guardian angels. Thank you, Jesus, for watching over my little grandson, and that driver, and me that day.

Lessons learned from that near-fatal accident? Stay off the cell phone when crossing a street while pushing a baby stroller. Stay off the cell phone when driving. Do not cut corners when driving. Turn into the correct lane when taking a corner. Forgive!

To the driver of that vehicle, if you read this blog, I do forgive you. We were triply blessed that day with an ENORMOUS miracle.

Let’s give credit where credit is due…Praise you, Jesus!

Blog Miracles

“I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.” ~Psalm 3:5

Stay Calm & Believe in Miracles!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.