Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thanks for great friends, a grandbaby on the way & no more mice November 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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I created this Thanksgiving display in a stoneware bowl. My sister-in-law Rena created the Thanksgiving card.

I created this Thanksgiving display in a stoneware bowl. My sister-in-law Rena crafted the Thanksgiving card.

DURING THIS THANKSGIVING WEEK, thoughts naturally turn to, well, thankfulness.

Life has presented numerous challenges in recent years. But I still have many reasons to give thanks. Like most of you, the obvious food and shelter cannot be omitted from my list of blessings along with my family, my dear dear family.

The extended Kletscher family poses for a photo on the Fourth of July. Seven are missing.

The extended Kletscher family poses for a photo on the Fourth of July 2015. Seven are missing. My nephew’s wife, in the purple-and-white striped shirt, gave birth to a daughter in August. Hattie joins two other great nieces, Sierra and Evelyn, born this year. What a blessing to have all of these new babies on both sides of the family. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

In five more months, my immediate family will grow in size as my eldest daughter and her husband welcome their first baby, my first grandbaby. Excited? Yes, you betcha.

I just know that my husband, Randy, will be a wonderful grandpa. He’s not the most demonstrative with words or emotions. But when it comes right down to it, he’s as good as they come. He works hard. He’s loyal and strong and smart. And funny. He makes me laugh. That is a blessing. Plus, he’s great with kids. Our 2 1/2-year-old nephew Landon, who moved a year ago to rural Faribault with his family, considers Randy one of his “papas” (aka grandpas).

And then there are those close friends… Honestly, these are the people who are here for me through the ups and downs of life. They don’t judge. They don’t criticize. Rather they listen and encourage. They pray and support and show care and compassion. Life would be a lot harder without them.

A snippet of the stained glass window in the balcony.

One of my favorite depictions of Christ, this one in a stained glass window at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Which brings me to my faith. Thank God for God.

This photo from March shows the basement project in progress. We removed Styrofoam insulation and paneling from the clay tile walls. I then painted walls white. We also removed Styrofoam sheets from the ceiling and I painted the ceiling boards white. Later, we also removed the rest of the paneling from the stairway and surrounding area, replacing it with sheetrock. That, too, was painted white.

This photo from March shows the basement project in progress. We removed Styrofoam insulation and paneling from the clay tile foundation walls. We brushed and scraped loose concrete and paint from walls before washing with Borax and painting white. We also removed Styrofoam sheets from the ceiling. I painted the ceiling boards white. Later, we also removed the rest of the paneling from the stairway and surrounding area, replacing it with sheetrock. That, too, was painted white. Floors are now covered with carpet tile. We installed a Beaver waterproofing system and a sump pump. (Yes, eventually I’ll post more about this project.)

And thank God we finally finished our basement project after more than a year. (OK, the steps aren’t carpeted yet, but I’m still calling the project done.) We now have a waterproofed basement with white walls and ceiling. The clean industrial look. Gone are the mold, dark paneling and red carpet. Totes are now neatly organized on a corner shelving unit. But the best part of all—the absence of mice after we uncovered, and sealed, their entry point. Everyone knows the arrival of cold weather in Minnesota brings mice inside.

Given my love of words, I created this Thanksgiving display with thrift store art purchases and Scrabble letters.

Given my love of words, I created this Thanksgiving display in my dining room with thrift store art and Scrabble letters.

I’m not particularly fond of Minnesota’s cold and snowy months. But I am thankful to live in a state that embraces and supports the arts. In the past year, I’ve participated in three poetry readings, been published in two anthologies (poetry and creative nonfiction) and penned poems for a joint photo-poetry exhibit. All of these opportunities connect me to other writers. Minnesota truly is a great place to engage in all facets of the arts.

That's my post, labeled "Barn Memories," featured today on Freshly Pressed.

That’s my post, labeled “Barn Memories,” featured on November 30, 2013, on Freshly Pressed. Daily, WordPress editors highlight the best content from WordPress sites in a section now tagged “Discover.” My work has been showcased thrice on Freshly Pressed. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2013.

I also count this blog as a major blessing. Through my writing and photography, I’ve connected with some pretty fantastic people both in person and online. And, as a blogging bonus, I’ve also sold photo rights to clients ranging from creative agencies to authors to an Austrian musician to a local funeral home and more. I’ve had an especially good year in photo sales, just at a time when the extra income is especially needed. (If you’re interested in buying rights to my photos, email me at audrey at mnprairieroots.com.)

Yes, I am thankful for you, dear readers. You are the best. Happy Thanksgiving!

I purchased this vintage turkey candle several years ago in a Redwood Falls thrift store. The candle has never been lit and never will be.

I purchased this vintage turkey candle several years ago in a Redwood Falls thrift store. The candle has never been lit and never will be.

Read a related story on NPR about gratitude being good for the heart and soul. Click here.

This concludes my three-part “blessings” series.  Click here to read my first blessings post and then click here to read my second.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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38 Responses to “Thanks for great friends, a grandbaby on the way & no more mice”

  1. Marneymae Says:

    Beautiful displays, Audrey.
    So creative
    Wishing you & your family & surrounding community a very happy thanksgiving!

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    Every holiday, we hear at least a couple of people grumble about getting together with family. There is always the crazy uncle, the bratty kids, the perfectionist sister and the brother who starts to celebrate too early. Whenever I hear these things, I think of this line from Robert Frost’s The Death of the Hired Man.

    ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
    They have to take you in.’

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Audrey. You do have a lot of blessings, not the least of which is that coming grandbaby. I know you must be thrilled. Can’t wait to hear more about the basement. Sounds like a ton of work, with a good result.

  4. Deb Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I read each post, don’t always comment but I am still here. Also Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first grandchild and keeping you all in my prayers for a safe pregnancy and good health for Mama.

  5. Christine Danielson Burian Says:

    Each day, when I read your writings, I am thankful for this blog. I am a Minnesota native, living in Northeastern Illinois.I miss my home so much! My grandparents and other ancestors in Minnesota were all farmers in Hennepin and Carver counties and feel that, I too, am connected to the land. I am a little older than you but can relate to your observations and life events. I especially enjoy the events that you share from the church basements – they bring back such fond memories. When you have that first grandchild, you will wonder why you didn’t just have the grandchildren first! They make life worthwhile. Thank you – you have been a blessing to me!

  6. Jackie Says:

    SO Many things to be thankful for…. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of blessings!

  7. Congratulations on the new arrivals and the expected one as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you Audrey and all of the Kletscher Klan.

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    Ah yes, dear Friends (yes, FriendS). I am thankful for YOU!!!! We all can find reasons to feel a bit “blue” on this day when we choose to view our world “horizontally”. On those special days, especially, we struggle with such. It is a choice that oft times needs help from above to change our perspective to the Vertical. Wishing you, prayerfully, a Blessed of Thanksgivings and many hugs to you both……………………..

    • Thank you, Doreen. Randy and I are blessed to call you and Tom our friends.

      I like your image of vertical perspective.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        That perspective finds itself challenged at every turn……..especially today (Black Friday) throughout the coming frenzied shopping days (at least, that’s what the merchants and media will be promoting…..spending frenzy!!!). He is our Peace!

      • I agree, 100 percent. That said, Randy stopped at Target this morning on his way to work. We need a new TV. Ours is a 1990s hulk requiring a converter box and is no longer working correctly. Target had one on sale for $99. None on the shelves this morning; I expect he would have needed to be there on Thanksgiving. We refuse to shop on Thanksgiving, though. And we’ve never shopped on Black Friday prior to Randy’s stop today. No crowds at Target this morning, just like an ordinary day, Randy reported. He was fortunate enough to purchase Egyptian cotton sheets at a Black Friday price. We also needed them as our current sheets went into the rag bag. I’ve heard too many horror stories about Black Friday shopping to want to be any part of it. And that includes shopping on Thanksgiving Day, which I do not support.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Yes, this shopping (which I dislike any time!!) has gotten out of hand! Sorry that Randy came up empty handed. We bought from Walmart (not my fave at all!!) a couple years ago ($200) that is updated enough to not require converter, etc. Awesome picture and now we let our DSL/cable go, too, and are using a omni-directional roof-top antenna (Menards). Good channel coverage (several PBS channels), saving $$$$ each month!!!! Nothing on much anyhow!!!

      • Can you email me with info on the brand of TV you bought and that roof-top antenna? We’ve never gotten our TV reception from anything but a roof-top. I refuse to pay for cable. But I do need to be able to watch PBS and we can no longer get that.

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    I love that you shared some of your personal life with us today… I kind of feel like “family” knowing more intimate parts of your life – people you love, home, and personal thoughts. You certainly are blessed with a large family. Have a wonderful holiday, my friend!! Love to you!!!

  10. Thread crazy Says:

    Happy thanksgiving Audrey – I so enjoy your posts and learning about your family and all the fascinating places in Minnesota. While we may never meet in person, I consider you a friend an wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season..

  11. Beautiful Post – How EXCITING – a grandchild on the way – Congrats & Blessings:) Happy Day – Enjoy!

  12. Don Says:

    Great post, lots to be thankful for, lots to look forward to!

  13. Don Says:

    FOR SURE! I am very Thankful!

  14. Congratulations. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving

  15. hotlyspiced Says:

    A lovely post, Audrey. That turkey candle is gorgeous and no, you can never light it. How fabulous to have your basement finished, even if the stairs still need carpeting. What a sense of achievement you must have felt completing the project! I’m sure you will be as good a grandmother as Randy is a grandfather. It’s lovely how you honoured him in this post. I love that image of Jesus in the stained glass window xx

  16. Lovely, Audrey,
    Yes, thank God for GOD! xxx love from Duluth.

  17. Sue Ready Says:

    Once again your sincerity,faith and gratitude for those things in life which are so important being family,friends and God’s blessings come forth in your postings and are heartwarming to read. A new baby on the way is much to be thankful for as well as those appreciative shout outs you send to Randy from time to time in your posts.It is no wonder you connect so readily with your audience of readers.


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