Jon’s Blueberry Pie

365 Project: Day 22 My husband doesn’t cook much anymore, but it’s not that he can’t. He’s a very good cook actually. This is how it went: Many years ago, before we were even married, he began teaching me everything I need to know about cooking, baking, and survival in the kitchen. And then… out of nowhere, he up and handed me the reigns. Hmmm. That was tricky of him, wasn’t it? I know, I married a brilliant man. One of only a few things he makes nowadays is blueberry pie. It’s completely from scratch—filling, crust, and all. It’s the absolute BEST. Even better than you can imagine. He was up past 11 p.m. last night making it for our Christmas with the kids today. Everyone who has ever had it looks forward to Jon’s blueberry pie. We can live off that fresh blueberry, not-too-sweet, syrupy goodness and melt-in-your-mouth flaky crust all year. It’s sooooo worth the wait. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of...

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BNSF

365 Project: Day 21 Jon and I got stuck at the railroad tracks yesterday, waiting for a long, graffiti-fied train to pass through in Elk River on our way to Menards, and as we sat there, Jon randomly asks (already knowing the answer), “So, what does ‘BNSF’ stand for?” Without even giving it a thought, I blurted out, “Burlington Northern San Francisco! Duh… who doesn’t know that?!” Then Jon proceeded to have a laugh attack for like two straight minutes. What made it funnier was that I was so confident. I couldn’t help but join in and laugh at me too.  He said he’s adding that one to the all-time best list, along with “krumkake” (pronounced ‘kroom-kah-kah’), when I unknowingly pronounced it crumb-cake MANY years ago. (Krumkake is a Norwegian waffle cookie, and yes… I’m Norwegian.) Hey, you can’t know EVERYTHING. 🙂 And if you didn’t know that BNSF stands for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, now you do. Proverbs 29:23 ~ Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings...

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Cobwebs

365 Project: Day 20 My husband has been blowing the dust off many of his power tools lately. Our bathroom shower project has gotten him back to using many of them that have been shelved for awhile. He rolled out his table saw from the garage wall yesterday, ran some wood through it, and on the back, the sawdust was built up and accumulated on this web. I thought it looked cool, and even though I’m sure a fancier camera would capture it better, it’s still cool, right?...

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Gifts Fit for the King – part 2

365 Project: Day 19 On Monday, Renee and I, and my youngest daughter Hannah, arrived at the The Healing House to deliver what was collected from two of our women’s groups at church, Life After Work & HomeMakers, last week… and to get a tour of the building. If you didn’t read part 1 of the story, you can read it here. In short, as I mentioned previously, the Healing House is a drug treatment center in Minneapolis where women receive treatment, attend classes on site, and live for 12-18 months. Women who come here are often appointed by the court system, although that isn’t always the case. One of the things that makes the Healing House unique is that the women can have their children live there with them during treatment. Our friend Kay, who we know from church, buzzed us in as we approached the door. But before I tell you anything about the time we spent there, I should tell you a little about Kay. She started out by volunteering at the Healing House, and only on her third time of coming in to volunteer, they offered her a job. I think that speaks volumes of the kind of person Kay is. Anyone who knows her will tell you the same thing… she is loving, kind, compassionate, and has a big heart to help people. It’s that same big, generous heart, found in Renee Burt, who leads 200 women at church every week, and who dreamed up and set in motion a plan for all of us to reach out to this organization in the first place.   Kay introduced us to the staff, and then we got started on the tour.  This is the Chapel. The Healing House is a Christian organization, so it makes sense that they would provide a room for the residents to have church services. I loved this room. It was so warm, and I couldn’t help thinking about how many people have been in here and heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, possibly for the first time… and learned that no matter what they do–or have done–Jesus will ALWAYS love them and won’t ever leave them… and if they were the only person on this earth, He would have still died on the cross for them. As I stood in the doorway, my mind began to wander, and I wondered how many people have felt the presence of God in this room… been delivered from their addictions… or felt for the first time that they are truly forgiven for things they’ve done. Coming from a drug-addicted background myself, it was easy for me to relate to how someone might find themselves here. It was kind of one of those private and humbling moments for me. I just like to think about things like that, especially since it was at my church where I came–broken and hurting on the inside–and experienced a hope I never knew before. Hope is a tangible gift that we, as the body of Christ, can give people. This organization does this every day because the love of Christ is the foundation for everything they do.   Back to the tour. Next stop was the laundry room. There are four or five washers and dryers, and all the residents who live here do their own laundry.   This is the food storage room/ pantry. Everything is supplied by donations. Sometimes they have only the basics, and occasionally they get luxuries (like the pop shown here), but they never know what’s going to be donated. Kay told us that sometimes they even run out of things like paper towels, and have to make due until more are donated. They’ve been close to running out of toilet paper, but thankfully haven’t yet had to go without that.   This is the dining room. Many of the chairs stacked along the wall are on their “last leg”, but they do the job, and allow the women and children to sit down and eat their meals together.   All of our brand new, donated items from the HomeMakers will actually be wrapped up (by Kay) and given directly to the residents as gifts for Christmas, but this is the room where all of the donated clothing, diapers, shampoos, shoes, etc. are sorted and stored. These sweet ladies were sorting, folding, and organizing this room all morning, and told us it was a good thing we didn’t come sooner because it was a MESS. 🙂   Places like this couldn’t function without the help of behind-the-scenes people like this woman. Hard at work and sorting shoes, she stopped long enough to let us take a picture.   Here...

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Demo’s done!

365 Project: Day 18 I was falling asleep last night, and somewhere around 11:30 p.m., I gasped as my eyes popped open, remembering that I hadn’t taken a picture yet. Criminy! My all-or-nothing personality forced me out of bed in a matter of seconds. This is what I came up with. I posted recently about our bathroom shower being in desperate need of repair, and also mentioned how I love doing demo. I have pictures of what the shower looked like earlier on, as we smashed the tiles off the floor and the walls a day or two before, but those were too embarrassing to post. It was really gross, so I just couldn’t do it. (This one is icky too, but… oh well.) Jon got the demo started, then I put on my eye protection, he handed me the sledgehammer, and I got to work. Oh man… was that ever fun. I tore it all down to its bareness—leaving only the studs, insulation, and pipes. I am woman. Hear me roar. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :)) Good thing Jon made me put on safety glasses. Shards of tile flew up, and I even got a cut on my chin and everything. It was totally worth it. I know Hannah REALLY wants us to get this done quickly also, so we can evacuate “her” bathroom downstairs. Now that the demo is done, Jon has the reigns again. He put in a new plywood floor today, and he continues to make progress. I can’t wait to see it when it’s done. It’s just SO hard to be patient sometimes. [ sigh ] Psalm 37:7 ~ Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon...

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A Schroeder/ Olson Christmas

365 Project: Day 17 We celebrated Christmas with my side at my mom and stepdad’s house on Saturday. Food, gifts, stories, laughter, tears, and everything in between. Good times. Great memories. Loudness seems to be a dominant trait among the Schroeder/ Olson clan. Everything is loud. We talk loud or yell to be heard, even when we’re all in the same room. We’re loud laughers too. I don’t know why, but we are. It’s all I’ve ever known. I hope it’s not too stressful for those who have married into the family, but we always pray it doesn’t take them too long to acclimate. Well, my husband and kids are still catching on, I think. 🙂  When my sisters and brother and I were growing up, my parents always encouraged us to not keep our emotions bottled up or hold stuff in. As much as I have tried, even still today, I never have been very good at keeping things inside. We usually have the full gamut of emotions come into play at our family get-togethers, and Saturday was no different. We’ve always been that kind of family. We are all strong personalities and passionate people… with tender hearts. An interesting combination, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! I love my family so much. We aren’t perfect, and I’m glad. We love each other. That’s what really matters. God has blessed me with a beautiful and loving family, each one a gift in my life.  What a blessed Christmas celebration it was, with lots of memories, as usual!  1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is...

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