Sunday, March 28, 2021

On My Knees

I was watching a news clip the other day concerning Covid and the effect it and the lockdowns and quarantines have had on the kids around the U.S. Especially the kids in the teenage  range of 13-18 years old. 

While there has been an increase in anxiety and depression in all age groups since the pandemic hit us, it is the 13-18 year old group that has been most affected. It has resembled mental health issues on steroids. The statistics report a jump in self harm to that age group, with a phenomenal  increase of anxiety and depression. 

Our kids have been facing the fear of parents losing incomes and jobs and how that will affect them. They also are feeling the strain of not being able to in person connect with friends. Friends are so important during this time in a kid’s life. Good friends teach a kid how to openly talk about stuff that is important to them. This has been missing to a certain degree. Zoom and texts are not as effective as an in person conversation.

Our kids are also missing out on so many milestones and celebrating those different things that we consider to be rites of passage...16th birthdays, prom, driver’s education, and graduation. And even some more sad and somber things like funerals for grandparents or other family members. Our kids aren’t being given the opportunity of putting closure on happy or sad life events.  So many things they've had to postpone or give up completely over the past year. SO many things have been left open ended and up in the air. It is no wonder anxiety and depression has become like a runaway train for our kids. 

I’m starting to wonder if mental health issues with our teens is going to be the Covid Longhauler problem for some of them. Like the long lasting and ongoing physical symptoms affecting some Covid survivors, will anxiety and depression have a hold on our kids long after Covid is a memory? 

While I am not here to judge how families deal with mental health issues in their families, I am asking that we all keep our kids in our DAILY thoughts and prayers that they will get through this pandemic and the effects it is causing; that they will rise up on the other side of Covid. 

Here is a song I wrote just thinking about all the problems we are facing these days with the pandemic (you can hear it over on our podcast). For me my only conclusion for some kind of peace instead of anxiety and depression, is to pray daily before I do anything else. In that prayer, I include all the kids who may be suffering mental health troubles. Peace be with each of you today, and with your families and in your future.

On My Knees

Rolled out of bed this morning, forgot to hit my knees.

The day attacked with no warning, made a fool mess of me.

I cried Jesus, can you hear me when I’m calling

I’m so broken Lord, I’m falling

Help me fall on my knees

So I knelt down for a long while, time just slipped away

About the time I got up, I could finally face the day.

I cried Jesus can you hear me now, I’m calling

When I’m broken and I’m falling

Help me fall on my knees.

Seems the day goes a whole lot better

When I can start out with a prayer

Asking my Lord and Creator

To keep me in His care

I cry Jesus can you hear me when I’m calling

When I’m broken and I’m falling

Keep me falling on my knees

Help me fall on my knees

Lord I’m falling on my knees.

Monday, March 22, 2021


Hi this is Sue from Solid Rock Minnesota. I just wanted to take a minute and thank all of the people who have encouraged us and are listening to our podcast, and now reading our blog!

When we started this journey last Fall, we never expected it to take off like it has. We now have close to 1000 listeners and readers from the podcast and blog and they represent 19 countries throughout the world! It is truly amazing.

We have heard from some of you through messaging the podcast or contacting us at our website at We would love to hear from all of you. Please feel free to hit the Follow button on the right of the screen so you won't miss any of the blogs.

Also we have a postcard campaign that is free for anyone. We would love to mail you an authentic Minnesota postcard, with a U.S.A stamp just for you. There are no strings attached, we won't ask for money or donations...we don't even keep your address unless you ask us to. It is just our way of saying hi and thank you for continuing to listen to our podcast or read our blog. 

All you need to do is send us your name and an address where you would like the postcard to go. That's it, pretty simple right? In return we will send you a postcard from Minnesota. That's all there is to it.

Have a great day and Many Blessings


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Home Alone (Revisited)

There are 10 people living in our house these days. In the upstairs it is just the 2 of us. The house is long enough and big enough, we can lose each other when we are at opposite ends of the house. My son, his wife and their 6 kids all live downstairs in a finished off walk out basement apartment. While we all like to think we are living in separate dwellings, there are only 13 steps with doors closed at each end that separate our households. We all do what we can to respect each other’s space and privacy as separate households. And for the most part it has worked well with whoever has lived downstairs over the last 10-12 years.

We also have kind of have separated the outdoor space somewhat so each family can have their space for activities and outdoor things like swings and grills and stuff like that. They use the backyard out to the cornfield and we use all the front yard down to the dirt road. The side of the yard is everyone’s land. It has the garden and pump and some more big open space with a fire pit nearby for when family and friends get together for a bonfire. It’s where our chicken coop and their duck pen with a small pond set. Oftentimes we do meet in the side yard while doing stuff outside.

While we all try and respect each other’s space, there still are 10 people living under one roof and it can be quite noticeable for all of us at times. We are not the quietest people upstairs. We are walking across hardwood floors, flushing toilets, running the dishwasher or washing machine and dryer at all hours of the day and night, and yelling from room to room when someone doesn’t have their hearing aids on. I am sure our noise can outdo the downstairs noise by quite a bit.

But there are 6 kids ages 5-16 and 2 people parenting these kids downstairs. So just by being outnumbered 4 to 1 the noise level is there. But it is the kind of noise that is welcomed here at our house. It is the sound of kids out in the backyard running and chasing each other while they play soccer. It is the low quiet conversation while they are plotting and planning an adventure in the woods. It even is the squeaking back and forth rhythm from the swingset when someone is on it pumping their legs as fast and hard as they can to “reach the sky”. It’s the sound of a mom teaching a 5 year old how to read while sitting in the sun beneath the upstairs kitchen window. It is the excited, happy yell throughout the house from everyone that “Dad’s Home”. It brings me back to all those years of raising our own kids and the constant chatter and noise. And I never tire from it. 

But, back to those 13 steps inside the house that separate our households. Several times a day I will hear the door downstairs open, the running up the steps and the little knock on our door at the top of the steps. There will be 1 or 2 or sometimes more of the grandkids stopping by to borrow something or return something that was borrowed. A lot of times though it will be just to say, “Hi Grandma, what are you doing?”. And I always will stop whatever I am doing and visit with whoever wandered upstairs. I treasure those moments to get to know each of my grandkids as an individual. Lots of times, I will pull up a chair at the kitchen table, or a stool by the counter and figure out a snack or lunch or a glass of juice so we can sit and visit. With the age range from 5 to 16 living here, I am always amazed at the different levels of conversations we can have going.

When our daughter and son-in-law and their 8 kids were living here a few years ago, it was the same thing. The best memory was every evening about 6:30 the 9 year old grandson would stop up just to say hi for a few minutes. We teased him and said he was doing his welfare check on his elderly grandparents. From then on he would tell his parents that he was going upstairs to do his “farewell check” on us. Out of the mouths of babes.

With 15 grandkids in all, it is hard to have separate time with each of them. But we always try to take them aside one at a time and see what is happening in each of their lives. I am always so amazed at each one of them and how they are growing up into great people. It makes me so proud of them and their parents for doing a great job raising them.

Last week the downstairs family decided to take a 2 week trip and I am currently home alone throughout the days, at  least monday thru friday. The house is incredibly quiet, there’s no outside voices, no squeaky swing, no one doing their school work under the kitchen window. There isn’t the evening yell that “Dad’s home”. It is just too quiet around here, being home alone. I can even hear each clock ticking in the house as I sit here. I have survived one week of an empty house, with one week to go before they get home and the chatter resumes.

Fortunately, the evenings still involve the shouting back and forth across the house to the man who took his hearing aids out. After an intensely silent day at home, I kind of have welcomed stomping my foot loudly until the floor vibrates and then shouting at him across the house. I guess I will just let him keep his hearing aids out. At least until I am no longer home alone.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Welcome All!

Welcome to our new blogspot for Solid Rock Minnesota. Our podcast has taken off and we have new listeners daily. But we had a request that somehow we get out our stories in written word for all of our friends and family in the deaf community. So starting today all podcasts will now be in written form here at the Solid Rock Minnesota Blogspot. We look forward to messages and comments here from those who will benefit from the written stories. 

Many Blessings

Solid Rock Minnesota 🤟

That Machine on the Counter in the Corner, the Instantpot

 I like to cook and make meals for people. While I’m not much of a baker, I do like to try new meals and cook up the old standbys for my family. With 24 of us in the immediate family if all are here, it is like cooking for an army. And while that doesn’t happen every week, many of us do get together frequently and eat. 

I love my crock pot for cooking stuff in. I actually had to resort to having two crockpots when the family comes. And I like my huge church roaster for when it’s all of us and it is a chili and cornbread feed or spaghetti night. I’m kind of stuck in my ways for how to cook stuff. It usually consists of chopping, slicing, dicing ,sautéing and throwing it in the crockpot or oven.

About a year ago I got an Instantpot, one of those fancy pressure cooking, sautéing, yogurt making machines that everyone was saying was the best thing since the crock pot. The Instantpot, or that machine in the corner on the counter as I called it, sat for about a year without much action. I tried rice and while it turned out just fine, it was just as easy making it in a pot on the stove.

I tried a few recipes specifically made for the Instantpot and what the picture looked like in the recipe and what actually came out of my Instantpot didn’t even come close to looking alike. While the photo of the recipe resembled a beautiful golden brown shiny glazed piece of pork nestled in a bed of fluffy rice, mine wound up looking more like something I emptied out of a colostomy bag back in my younger days as a nurse at the nursing home. Kind of like globs of mushy rice clinging to a clump of half cooked meat. It wasn’t pretty and while it tasted adequate enough, it really wasn’t pretty. .

And the process of putting it together was way more work than it was to dig out a kettle, get out the electric skillet and cook up the same meal with the results being that it would look a million times more appealing. The Instantpot, on the other hand, was supposed to make the prepping go into one lone pot and cook. Try as I might, I never can get it looking like something you’d want to eat….even our dogs gave it a stare and walked away.

But determined to become proficient at it, I muddled through a few more recipes and tried to make it work. I’d throw the stuff in the pot, set it to cook, put the pressure release thingy to pressure cook and stand back to watch. 9 times out of 10, nothing happened the first few minutes. I would hear it gurgle a little and steam would start to rise out of the release valve even though it was set to not release. So I would fiddle with the valve thing to make it stop steaming and eventually it would stop. I just recently found out it is supposed to give off a little steam before it settles down and holds the steam in. 

So after the minutes went by that was supposed to magically cook the ingredients the timer went off. Now for the scalding. I have yet to figure out how to release all that steam without scalding my hand or worse yet, steaming my cabinets and wrecking the finish on them. I have never had so much fear in cooking in my life as I do with using the Instantpot when it is time to release the pressure. So it went back to its corner on the counter for a few more months until my son showed me his airfryer. He made great stuff like fried pickles, onion rings, fries. They all tasted great and much less oil used. It had to be healthier.

I saw a youtube posting about how Instantpots now can be used as an airfryer. All that was needed was an air fryer lid for my thing that sits in the corner of the counter. I love Amazon, because if you don’t like it, you return it. So not a huge amount of money if it doesn’t work out.

I ordered the air fryer lid, it came and I have tried a few things with it so far. Chicken wings turned out good, but I could have just set them on a sheet and popped them in the oven. Onion Rings the batter came off the onions and they were mushy. I am convinced I will never find an onion ring compared to the ones I got as a kid from Porky's in St Paul. Nothing will ever compare to them. And I am continuously let down ever time I try onion rings. Air fried apple sli ces were good, but again could have made a ton more just by using a cookie sheet. It actually took more time doing it the air fryer way instead of putting them on a cookie sheet. I wound up doing 4 batches in the airfryer to get the same amount as on a cookie sheet. I haven’t found anything that the air fryer can do better than an oven and a cookie sheet. I have watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how to use the Instantpot, and how to use the air fryer part of it….and while the directions are great…mine still always looks like something from a 1940’s military rations bag. I am thinking I am just not cut out for cooking simply with the Instantpot. I would rather dig out the pots and pans and do it the old fashioned way. After all, I have a great better half that cleans up the kitchen after the tornado (as he has called me) tears through it.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Tootsie Sister on Ice

I got a message a few weeks ago from the sister of my friend, my lifelong friend, you may know from a previous podcast, as the Tootsie Sister. The message said my friend had fallen on the ice and broke the leg that she had just recently had total knee replacement on. She would be having extensive surgery and would be in the hospital for a while. With Covid restrictions, hospitals are not allowing anyone to visit patients these days. So I did the next best thing and texted her. I asked her how she was doing, when she was getting out, the usual questions. Replies would come back a little at a time. To say the least, my friend was pretty groggy and drugged up and in lots of pain. Between spell check and her on heavy pain meds it took some deciphering, but she let me know she was in pain and wanted to get the heck out of there. She wanted to get home to her husband, own house and her dog, Frank. She was there several days and finally was allowed to discharge home. She was not going to a nursing home under no circumstances and would just figure out how to get up her steps and in and out of the tub and shower with some home health assistance from a homecare service. I finally had a chance to drive down to see her recently at her house. And as always, we picked up the conversation where we left off several months earlier. She described falling in her driveway and lying on the wicked cold ground not being able to get up. All the while her best canine friend, Frank, stood guard straddled over her. A neighbor had seen her and came running over. Realizing she couldn’t get up, paramedics were called to come assist her. They came and found my friend lying in the icy driveway freezing her bottom side off. She told me they were going to give her pain meds and had started an IV. They asked her what her weight was. She told me she wouldn’t tell them because by now several neighbors were within earshot. And there was no way she was going to give out that information to her community. Not that my friend is overweight, she is really tall though and her weight would reflect that and not a normal 5’4” woman. So the paramedics kind of dosed her by guess and by golly and were able to get her transported to the hospital. Surprisingly she didn't have any frostbite from lying there so long. She has been out of the hospital a few weeks and is getting PT and assistance with her daily routines. She is on the mend doing well. Her attitude is one of glad to be home, wanting to heal up and get on with life. It is a slow process. We had a good time meeting up once again. I brought Culver's burgers, fries and shakes for lunch. We ate and chatted and then went and sat by the fire. Her in a recliner and me in a comfy overstuffed chair, with Frank sitting in front of me getting his ears rubbed and dozing off. It must have been quite a picture, two old battle scarred friends sitting side by side in front of the fire chatting about falling down, not as graceful as we did in our youth, picking ourselves up and trying to maintain that attitude of gratitude even when it’s hard to find it in things such as this. It wasn’t long until the conversation started to lull between us, both in our own thoughts gazing at the fire...until she was starting to dozing off. And to be honest, so was I. A full stomach, a warm fire and a comfortable chair was all I needed. There is such sweet comfort in having a friendship that needs no spoken words, but still can speak volumes through the silence. I left my friend to take a rest until her home care aid came to assist her, I got in the car with some music and the memories of once again a sacred friendship that has lasted for half a century. Heal up my friend and be safe. Kayaking this summer awaits us.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Getting Shot

 I had my appointment to get my Covid vaccination on March 1st. Thanks to the college I work part time at, I was able to get scheduled now instead of later Summer like was planned.

The appointment was for 10:17 (a crazy time slot, but they are doing them about every 3-5 minutes). That goal to get as many as possible vaccinated has become reality here. Yesterday on the news it was reported that Minnesota hit a record of vaccinating 70,000 people the day before. Quite an accomplishment in my opinion.

We had had some snow overnight leaving the roads a slippery mess of ice and slush. So I left at 8:45 to make the 45 mile one way trip to the makeshift clinic established at a county courthouse. As I was leaving, I received a text from the clinic telling me to hit reply on the text when I got there and they would give me further instructions. I arrived with about 10 minutes to spare. I pulled into the parking lot of the county courthouse which is about 2 big blocks in size. I hit reply and immediately the response was, “welcome, we will text you when it is your turn”. Knowing I was a little early and not sure where to go in the huge facility, I decided to walk on into the building. Right at all the doors there was a person ready to give directions to the clinic. As I got to the person with the directions, I got the text once again that it was my turn to go to the clinic. Wow, all within about 5 minutes of pulling into the parking lot and I was ready for the shot. I have to be honest and say that I had prepared for a long wait...had brought my earbuds to listen to music or read a book in  Kindle. This was happening faster than I could ever have imagines a government function going.

 I walked into the makeshift clinic and gave the person my ID and Employee badge and was pointed to take a walk to another waiting area that was empty. As I walked in, a nurse was waiting at the doorway of another room where the injections were happening. There were about 10 tables set up with nurses at each one with gloves, doses of the vaccine and a computer to enter the shot was given. And also a record card that the nurse filled out with proof of the vaccination. She led me to a free nurse at one of the tables and I sat down. We did the Minnesota weather chat and small talk for a minute and then she handed me the papers with side effects and what to do. We chatted another half a minute and then she was giving me the injection into my arm. No pain at all, no music or pomp and circumstance, just a bandaid on the site  and my record of the event handed to me. I have to admit, at the moment, I felt relieved and a little excited to think that maybe soon, we will be out of this Covid mess. And I felt like I am doing my part. I also had thoughts that after the second dose, maybe there is hope of being able to travel some this summer to see my kids out of state. I felt hope over covid for the first time in a really long time.

After the nurse gave me the shot, there was no time for the customary Minnesota goodbye. It was a quick “se ya in a month, stay safe” and I was sent to the exit process where another person checked the rest of the stuff needed in the chart. In nursing, care is about 10% and charting what you did the other 90%. The vaccination clinic had all the charting broken down into events...register, get the shot, discharge, monitor.

I was ushered into the final room where I had to sit for 15 minutes to be monitored so that I didn’t have a reaction to the vaccination. There were small tables socially distanced and they had some laminated instructions taped to them. It was instructions on how to schedule the second dose before leaving. The process took about 12 minutes and when I was done and the second dose in my calendar, I was cleared to leave.

I am completely amazed at how efficient and quick the whole process went. All of those working there were professional, efficient and extremely kind. It literally took about 10 minutes from the time I pulled into the parking lot until the vaccine was put in my arm and another 15 minutes to monitor me while I was able to schedule the next dose. After seeing so much disarray and commotion with some of the vaccination sites across the country, I am amazed and so grateful.

*Update 1

It has been several hours since receiving the vaccination earlier this morning. While I was prepared to have localized pain and possibly some side effects like fever, aches and pains or a headache, I am fine. My arm feels like when my brothers and I used to play slug bug, a little sore and bruised. But actually my brother’s caused more pain than what I have now. We shall see what overnight and tomorrow shall bring. Until, be safe and well. And think about getting your vaccination if you decide to. S the nurse had told me when discussing the side effects...better 24-48 hours of discomfort versus long term side effects from getting Covid. I do have to agree.

*Update 2

Well I made it through the night. My arm was a little bruised feeling, but nowhere near worthy of complaining about it. No fever, no aches and pains, no side effects at all. I am glad round one is over, will be glad when the second dose is done. Rumor has it that is when the side effects rear their ugly heads. But again better a day or two of that rather than full blown covid effects that can last a lifetime.