Top 10 Reasons I Love March 8

Top 10 Reasons I Love March 8

For more than 40 years, March 8 has been a favorite days of the year. Here's why.10. The pre-March Madness gives everyone something to talk about other than this year’s debacle of a presidential race.

9.  The sun’s up in time for an early morning walk.

8.  Plus this March 8th predicted high is 61°.

7.  No ice storm is predicted to follow the beautiful weather…as happened in 1990 that left most of the town without electricity and our family (the Man of Steel, a 1 1/2-year-old and a 7-year-old) moved in with friends for almost a week.

6. Easter is only 19 days away which means only 19 days to continue this year’s no snacks Lenten fast, which has thus far been an epic fail.

5.  Every teacher friend has a twinkle in the eye in anticipation of spring break.

4.  Nineteen years ago, my mom, siblings, and I were amazed by how many people remembered Dad and came to his funeral.

3.  Nineteen years ago, the Man of Steel agreed to share his birthday with Dad’s funeral, so in future years  its anniversary wouldn’t fall on the anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding day.

2.  Every March 8, I get to ask the Man of Steel if he remembers that his twin is celebrating a birthday. That joke never gets old…at least for 1 of us.

1.  March 8 is the Man of Steel’s birthday, which means our family gets to celebrate the birth of the best man I’ve ever know. Happy #60, Hiram!

What do you like about March 8? Leave a comment.

The Shadow Valley Guitar: Recycled

The Shadow Valley Guitar: Recycled

With a book deadline breathing down my neck, this summer has required some difficult choices. The hardest was the decision not to attend the July Family Camp at Shadow Valley in Idaho. Another, not nearly so difficult, was to cut back on blogging. Today’s post combines the two decisions by taking a peek back at a historic moment at last year’s Family Camp.


Yesterday, this view was the backdrop for Sunday morning worship at family camp.

IMG 2642 1024x682 The Shadow Valley Guitar: First You Cut Down a TreeBeautiful guitar music accompanied the singing.

IMG 2626 682x1024 The Shadow Valley Guitar: First You Cut Down a TreeThe beautiful guitar was made from wood cut from a tree that grew only yards away from where we gathered to worship.

Hiram guitar 1024x682 The Shadow Valley Guitar: First You Cut Down a TreeThe only missing link was Hiram, the man who made the guitar, unable to be present because of limited vacation time. But everyone in attendance was thinking of him and grateful for his gift to Shadow Valley Camp, the gift of music to a family who loves to sing.

To learn more about how the guitar was made, the story is online at First You Cut Down a Tree. As wife of the guitar maker I may be biased, but the process is fascinating. So take a look and if you like what you see, leave a comment at either blog or both. Both the guitar maker and his wife would love to hear what you think!

P.S. Our grandson is so fascinated by his Papoo who makes guitars that we are using the photos of the process to make a picture book for his birthday. He’s gonna love it!

Top 10 Uses for Spring-Loaded Clothespins

Top 10 Uses for Spring-Loaded Clothespins

clothespin cell phone stand

The versatile spring-loaded clothespin doesn’t get enough media attention. To rectify the situation, today’s top ten list pays tribute to the tiny wooden wonder.

10.  Let’s start with the obvious answer: hang clothes on an outdoor line. And the benefits of the obvious use: money saved on the electric bill, fresh smelling sheets, and a healthy tan.

9.   In a pinch (no pun intended) clothespins and a wire hanger make excellent skirt and trouser hangers.

8.   Readers of Little Women know that clothespins can be used to reshape one’s nose. However the process tends to be painful. Don’t ask how I know this.

7.   Two or three clothespins can be used to fasten shut a half-eaten bag of chips.

6.   They double as clamps on small objects being glued together.

5.   Clothespins are an essential component of refrigerator magnet clip projects made by kids at school, Scouts, Sunday school, and the like.

4.   Ditto for Christmas tree ornaments.

3.   They are effective pinching weapons in sibling wars Don’t ask how I know this, either.

2.   Barbie and Ken place their trust in clothespins that fasten them to a zipline.

1.   Four clothespins in the hands of the man of steel morph into a handy-dandy cell phone stand when using the speaker phone feature. It really, really works!

What’s missing from the list? Leave a comment of uses you’ve found for the lowly spring-loaded clothespin.

Top Ten 36-Years-of-Marriage Perks

Top Ten 36-Years-of-Marriage Perks

Hiram and Jo Photo booth

By 2:00 this afternoon, Hiram and I will have been married for 36 years. Here are the top ten perks of our long partnership:

10.  We’ve both come to prefer water at meals. How easy is that?

9.   36 years later, he’s as handsome as he was when we met at the college freshman orientation dance in September of 1974.

8.   When we’re on vacation and he says, “Jolene, take a picture of __________________,” I now know we’ll both be happier if I hand over the camera so he can capture the essence of whatever he sees, and I don’t.

7.   We both agree Panera’s is the best place to stop for a quick meal on the road.

6.   He’s an eternal pessimist. I’m an eternal optimist. Somewhere between our two points of view, we usually find reality.

5.   He learned to love wilted lettuce. I learned to prepare and love his mom’s turkey hash. We agree both are delicious.

4.   He knows I don’t like tramping in the wild woods, I know he doesn’t like big crowds, and we’ve quit trying to change one another.

3.   Our shared memories of people and events are interpreted from differing points of view, but we’re learning to be happy to have memories to share.

2.   We agree that watching our children become the adults God created them to be has been the most rewarding, terrifying, satisfying, and fascinating work we’ve ever done.

1.   Shared faith brought us together, kept us together, and continues to mold us into the people we didn’t know we wanted to become when we wed on July 9, 1977.


36 Years Ago Today…

36 Years Ago Today…

Hiram and Jo Kodiak

36 years ago today, Hiram and I were…

Sitting on the second raft at the Le Mars sandpit cultivating sunburns,
Hangin’ with Hiram’s twin brother, his wife, and their baby son,
Shucking sweet corn for wedding rehearsal supper at Mom’s,
Practicing our vows and getting ready to begin our marriage,
Grateful God brought us.

Today, we are…

Toting umbrellas and wearing raincoats and sweaters to explore Kodiak, Alaska,
Hanging with Hiram’s twin brother and his wife, sharing pictures of our grandkids,
Fixing salmon for our final meal together on the island,
Ready to honor our vows for however many more years God grants to us,
More grateful than ever to have met at college all those years ago.