Sunday, April 24, 2022

Monday Morning Music on the Way to Nashville

We are headed to Nashville, Tennessee this week to see our son. Due to Covid and traveling it has been about a year and a half since he was home. We are going for just a few days, but have a bunch of stuff planned in those days. He has an itinerary of places to go and things to see. 

We decided to leave the canines at our daughters for the time we are gone. We are hoping they will enjoy the change of scenery and mob of little kids to run with. Our good friends and neighbors are again stopping by and watching the house for us. And we are doing something totally different for our traveling adventures. We have rented a car with great gas mileage.

We have never left for a trip without hauling the tools needed in case of a breakdown. We have always done that and we have always needed to repair something it seems. And over the past few years, I have carried the title for the vehicle we were using…you know in case it broke beyond repair and we had to sell or junk it. I wanted to be prepared. But this time we decided since it was a short trip we were going to do it with someone else’s vehicle. No worries of breakdowns or theft of the vehicle. It is covered with the insurance from the auto rental. We can just walk away from any trouble if it comes up.

I did a lot of calculating and finally realized that with renting a fuel efficient car and not having to do any repairs, it probably will come out about even in terms of cost to drive there and back. It was kind of like a win-win to rent the car. 

I am anxious to pack my guitar and strum stick and probably a mandolin or ukulele to bring down to Nashville. My son plays guitar and he is one of my favorite people to play music with. When he was about 10, I handed him a guitar and showed him 2 or 3 chords and he took off and became a really good accomplished musician. Him being in Nashville has been fun for him to go and listen to so many musicians around town. And he has also been playing here and there with friends he has met. 

Here is a song I attempted with filling in with the mandolin, ukulele, guitar, harmonica and my newest instrument the strum stick. It is much like an upside down dulcimer. For me it is much easier to learn because it is not held in my lap and constantly sliding down to the floor. 

This song is one I heard by Josh Turner’s kids. My intention is to teach it to the grandkids to learn and play.  But for now it is just a solo Monday Morning Music.  Enjoy

As always you can listen to the song on the podcast over on the website:

RIVER OF HAPPINESS by Jennifer and Hampton Turner

There's a river way out yonder

Beyond the valley, across the plain

There's a river where I'm goin'

When my Savior calls my name

No more cryin', no more weepin'

No more sad or lonely days

'Cause on that river, I'll be smilin'

When my Savior calls my name

And we will sing sweet hallelujahs

Praises to our glorious King

Won't you come with us

To the river

The river of happiness

The river of happiness

Sunday, April 17, 2022

April Showers and My Not So Green Thumb

This week we have had the typical Minnesota weather, rain, sleet, snow, thunder, lightning and 50 mph wind gusts. If the saying that “April showers brings May flowers”, well we should be in good abundance here come May.

Each day it is getting closer and closer to planting season here in the North. Because the season is so short here in Minnesota, many of us will start plants indoors in hopes of them thriving and ready to be planted outdoors come late May or early June when the danger of frost is supposedly over. There are no guarantees that we won’t have a freeze or snow at the beginning of June, but usually it is safe to assume Summer is here.

The other day we were at Fleet Farm and I was looking at seeds and trying to figure out my garden this year. I have a raised garden that is about 4 foot wide and 20 feet long. Luckily it is down by the old chicken coop and pump where no one can see it unless they walk down there. I always try to plant the usual tomatoes, beans and onions and then will add the space consuming zucchini and squash. And it always starts out great, everything has a place and everything strategically located for the best sunlight and moisture needed. And then it happens.

I will have a beautifully growing garden, tomato plants staked, pole beans climbing the tripod poles I have made for them and zucchini and squash starting to sprawl and cover the open ground. It looks perfect. The warmth of the sun and my gentle watering gets them going perfectly. I actually begin to feel like I know what I am doing and it is going to work this time. Until we get a 2-3 day rain and I am not out there to pluck up the weeds that grow faster than the plants. By the time the rains stop and I wander out to the garden, the weeds are now embedded around all the vegetable plants and towering towards the sky. It happens just that fast. And it becomes a 4 x 20 foot jungle of tangled weeds and a few vegetable plants.

I have realized that I have not inherited the gardening gene from my parents or grandparents who could stick anything in dirt and it would grow and flourish. I remember my dad growing beautiful rose bushes when I was pretty young. He had all kinds of colored roses in the yard. And my mom, while not as much of an outdoor gardener, she could grow anything in a pot inside. She had beautiful African violets that were full thick with deep purple blossoms. She would always give me one and within a few weeks it would be dead. 

My grandma had massive flower and vegetable gardens all over her yard. In her later years when the arthritis was so hard on her back and the rest of her body, she would lie on her side with her elbow propping her head and that was how she weeded her garden. I remember the first time seeing this was when we pulled up to the backyard and grandma was sprawled out next to her strawberry patch, not really moving. It was a sky blue warm sunny day.  My first thought as I was rushing to her was , “well at least she died peacefully in her garden where she loved to be”. But then she popped up and was sitting there with a big bowl of fresh strawberries that she had picked to have with our lunch she had ready. 

But back to my gardening ability. I have none. I can’t even grow rhubarb which should come up yearly without doing anything to it. Nope, I may get one stalk from the year before planting, but it never turns into more than stalk. The rhubarb that I planted a few years ago, still only gives me one stalk. And as easy as everyone has told me asparagus is to grow, saying it will take over everything, I have tried the last 4 years to plant it. Last year I actually had some coming up that I had just planted a month or so before. But bless my little grand-daughters hearts for “weeding” the garden for me. All the weeds were still there, but they pulled up the asparagus, baby tomato plants and some radishes. This year we are alone here so it is only me and hopefully my Best Half working in the garden. I am so hoping he takes an interest in the garden because between us, he has the green thumb. It may not be a deep forest green thumb, but it is at least not the black thumb of death that I seem to have.

It is now about 6 weeks or so before we can start to safely put out some of the plants for this year’s garden. I chose Brussels Sprouts, Eggplants, Spaghetti and Zucchini Squash, Rutabaga, and of course Tomatoes, and Beans and Onions. The Sprouts and Eggplants are just popping up in a seed tray. They look spindly and like if I breathe on them they will wilt and die. So I am just leaving them alone in a warm spot by a window. We shall see if they even make it to the garden. But like every other year during gardening season, I have a Plan B…the Amish vegetable stand up North of us, and the produce department at the grocery store up town. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 15, 2022

A Huge Thank You to All

Hi this is Sue from Solid Rock Minnesota. I just wanted to give a huge thank you to all of you who either listen to the podcast, read the blog or jump onto the Solid Rock Minnesota website and follow the Podcast or Blog from there. You all are amazing! 

This morning I was looking at where all the downloads are coming from and realized that we have gone from about 6000 downloaded visitors, listeners or readers to just under 13,000! All 50 states and DC and about 45 countries have been tuning in over the past few months. That never ceases to amaze me, as I am just a retired RN, wife, mom, and grandma telling stories. Thanks you so much for your interest.

As a way of saying thanks, we will be holding a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. To make it fair and inclusive to all, you just need to go on our website at and send us a message telling us what your favorite episode either in podcast or blog form. That’s it. May 15th we will draw the name of the winner for the gift card and send you an email with the gift card email. Pretty easy and anyone can enter that listens or reads the Solid Rock Minnesota episodes.

Again, thanks for faithfully listening and feel free to spread the word to others to have a listen or a few minutes to read. 

Many Blessings,

Sue and My Best Half

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Eenie Meenie Minie Mo

The Fred Flinstone Fleet of Trusty but Rusty Minnesota Vehicles


We have an accumulation of vehicles around our place as a result of being commuters over the past few years and needing different vehicles for various jobs. For instance, while he was working over the years, my Best Half, has had a truck that he has gone up and down the road using. He needed something to haul ladders and equipment in from clinic to clinic, and so the truck was the logical tool of transportation for him. It also was big,comfortable and noticeable on the freeway when all the other crazy commuters blew past him.

We also have a minivan (Baby Blue) that I use for hauling grandkids with the seats up or my canoe or kayak with the seats down. Or for solo camping a bed fits in back comfortably to stay warm and dry. I love my minivan and the convenience it has with the stowaway middle and back seats. It is big enough to be seen and yet small enough to maneuver around pretty easily. It is such a multipurpose vehicle for us. We have owned a minivan of some sorts for the past 15 years. That’s how much I like them and find them multifunctional.

For the Minnesota snow and Spring mud, we have a Jeep Liberty (Hi Ho SIlver) that will take us pretty much anywhere without any problems of getting stuck or spinning out. It is a bit smaller but for me,I love tooling around in it. The heat and AC rock. But it is a rare beauty with all of the rust and missing pieces that have been stacked in the garage for when it gets warmer and some body work can be done on it.

And lastly, of course, we have Big Eddie that pulls the C.O.W. cross country. Big Eddie is roomy for 7 people or with the 2 dogs, it gets around well in the winter snow and mud. And has an awesome heater and warm seats for the winter. It feels like a luxury vehicle…as long as we don’t look at all the Minnesota rust over the side panels.

While all of the vehicles have met our needs the past few years, it is becoming very apparent that we no longer need 4 vehicles for the 2 of us. While none of them are even close to newer, the newest being Big Eddie, a 2007 model, they all have been kept up and all are running well. They are all full of good old Minnesota rust from the road salt in the winter,and like I said pieces have literally fallen off of all of them. So none of them are anything to look at. Sometimes I feel like my feet will fall through the floorboards and I will be traveling like Fred Flintstone with my feet running through on the road under the vehicle

But back to the dilemma we are finding ourselves in, it is time to get rid of 1 or maybe even 2 vehicles. With the price of gas and keeping a fleet of vehicles insured, it doesn’t make sense any longer. It is expensive. The dilemma…which ones do we keep? 

The other day we sat at the kitchen table looking out on the fleet of vehicles consuming our driveway and had the conversation about which one to part with first. It was a relatively heated debate as we both have reasons for wanting the vehicles we want. After discussing it and reaching no conclusion, we tried a different approach and discussed which vehicles serve our purpose best? While it wasn’t much easier, we were able to eliminate the minivan from leaving our driveway. Baby Blue is the most versatile of the 4. It holds lots of people or the canoe or kayak without hauling a trailer, and it has the least amount of rust and  body parts missing.

That left the Jeep, the Truck, and Big Eddie to remove from the driveway. After more debating and discussing and probably a sense of ``the lesser of all the other evils”, the Jeep was allowed to stay in the fleet for the time being. While it literally has the most body parts sitting in the garage waiting to get the body work done on it, it also gets the best gas mileage compared to the truck and Big Eddie. And it has 4 wheel drive for mud and snow season. So a decision was made to keep Hi Ho Silver, the Jeep. And that was about all our brains could figure out for the day. 

Today Big Eddie and the Truck sit on the sidelines of the driveway awaiting the fate of their future. While Big Eddie hauls the C.O.W. so well, the truck could also do it as well. Big Eddie looks nicer and is way easier for my short legs to get into, but it doesn’t get as good of gas mileage as the truck. A factor to figure in as gas prices are about $4/gallon. On the flip side, the truck is very big and tall. My Best Half usually sets a step stool next to the door so I can climb in a little more gracefully than reaching for the grab bars and hoisting my 5’4” self into it. That usually does not end well. Besides looking like an old woman retired from the Flying Wallenda”s trapeze show, I have lost my hand on the grab bars and wound up on the ground in mud. No safety nets to catch me when I fall.

So for right now it is pretty much a toss up on what we are going to do? Just 6 months ago gas was cheaper, and we were using all the vehicles for getting around and commuting. But now it is time to let go of one of the big rigs we have. I am feeling like those reality shows that show you 3 islands and you have to decide which one you’ll take. In our case it is which one are we going to sell and send down the road? Which one will it be? With maybe a few more kitchen table discussions, we will come to a decision, I guess. But who knows we may just do “eenie meenie minie mo, which one should we let go”…I guess time will tell.


Sunday, April 3, 2022

Monday Morning Music: Love Can Build A Bridge


The other day I was going through some of the music that the grandkids and I have done the past year. After watching the news and seeing all the sadness going on in Ukraine, I just needed a little happy time. And that usually can be found playing music with the grandkids. But it was a day when that wasn’t an option, so I dug into some of the past songs we have done together and recorded just for the fun of it. There were lots of rowdy songs and old bluegrass songs they have been taught. Some like Rocky Top, Mountain Dew, and the classic gospel ones like Amazing Grass and Nothing But the Blood of Jesus. And there are the old rock classics like, Sloop John B and Brown Eyed Girl. All done in the classic off key, rowdy guitar, ukulele, banjo grandkids’ style.

But I came across this song we did in a quiet moment when it was just a couple of the older kids singing and playing instruments. It is the old Judd’s song, “Love Can Build A Bridge”. I stopped and played it a few times, remembering that night we were together singing it and how the grandkids' voices blended together. There were the girls and then Eyasu with his adolescent changing beautiful deep sound. It got me thinking of the world today and all the bombing and destruction that is going on in Ukraine. We so need a bridge of love in Ukraine. We all need “to whisper love so loudly, so every heart will understand, that love and only love can join the tribes of man”. Here is from a special night of music with the grandkids. It is Love can Build a Bridge. Enjoy.

If you want to hear the music go to our website and scroll down to the podcast.

Love Can Build A Bridge

Songwriters: Paul Overstreet / John Jarvis / Naomi Judd

I'd gladly walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet

To share with you the last bite of bread I had to eat

I would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams

When all your hopes are sinking, let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don't you think it's time?

Don't you think it's time?

I would whisper love so loudly, every heart could understand

That love and only love can join the tribes of man

I would give my hearts' desire so that you might see

The first step is to realize that it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don't you think it's time?

Don't you think it's time?

When we stand together, it's our finest hour

We can do anything (anything)

Anything (anything)

Keep believing in the power

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don't you think it's time?

Don't you think it's time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?