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The Gift of Life


Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger and black peppers.

After a pause, I asked the man with a deep accent on the other end of the line, "Where are you calling from?"

"Tanzania."

"What time is it there?"

"Noon," he replied.

After answering his questions as best I could, I lay back down. In my Internet-based business of selling food dehydrators, books and supplies, giving advice in the middle of the night is not all that unusual.

Then a few minutes later the phone rang again. This time, we were both convinced it had to be my son, Eric, or his wife, Shayla announcing they were on their way to the hospital, but again it was the Tanzanian devil. This time he wanted to know how to dry bananas.

Everything had been ready for weeks: the crib, high chair, blankets and most importantly lots of lots of room in our hearts for unconditional love. We had talked with other first-time grandparents about the sheer joy of an absolutely fabulous, beautiful new baby.

The responsibility of being grandparents and passing down our traditions to another generation helped Joe and I acknowledge how influential our grandparents and parents have been. We remembered the cookies, the Sunday pot roasts after church, tobogganing on fresh snow and hot chocolate, the family get-togethers, the stories, and the fishing expeditions. We talked about how going to our grandparents meant there was one safe place, when the rest of the world seemed out of control and scary. They provided the rock, the foundation, and the base that we could always count on.

Since Eric and Shayla knew they were expecting a boy, my grandson has already had an identity for quite some time and I think this has helped all of us to connect with him. The wait was all that was left. One night I dreamed of a little boy standing next to the road with two older Indian men, one on each side of him. Eric dreamed of seeing his son lying in his crib, looking up with open eyes.

Then on Wednesday, December 13th at 10:59 p.m. Hunter Evans Gehrke entered this world. At the hospital, I saw Eric and Shayla instantly bond with this little buckaroo, falling into the role of parent as naturally as one breathes. I was overwhelmed with pride watching .....
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The Post-Holiday Blues

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, January 1, 2001

I like the holiday season. In fact, I love the holidays. You get to see all your relatives. There is always more food than you can eat. Christmas music is played everywhere: in town streets, at home, on the radio, and i ..... 
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Simply to be trusted by a shy wild creature enhances one's self-respect. -Alexander Skutch

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, Decmber 25, 2000

Alexander Skutch is one of the great naturalists of our time. Almost seventy years ago, he went to Central America to study plants, but the tropical birds there quickly captured most of his attention. For ten years, he ..... 
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Bird Brains

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday,December 11, 2000

While some may beg to disagree, I believe most birds are smart, real smart. Far more intelligent, in fact, than science ever gives them credit for. Unlike many ornithologists (bird scientists) who evaluate avian though ..... 
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Escape from America

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess Im a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like its going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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Sonnenbergs Hill

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, January 1, 2001

Snow is a necessary evil here in Minnesota, but it isnt as evil as I was once led to believe. One of my earliest memories is of a snowfall. I recall running around outdoors in the late afternoon of a very gray, very ch ..... 
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Morning meditations

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

The windmill stands tall in the farm yard, the remnants of last years morning glories still clinging to its iron works

The windmill is the first thing I see when I leave the house in the morning. On some mor ..... 
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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