Tag Archives: friends

Making Lefse


For those of you who do not know what Lefse (lef-suh) is, let me educate you…it’s basically a Norwegian tortilla, but that’s really blasphemy.  I’m not Norwegian by blood, but by love, so when I visit my family in Wisconsin, I get the full-on Norwegian heritage experience.  I love that about my life.


There are several variations of a Lefse recipe.  Me:  What’s in this?  Just potatoes and flour?  The women:  Yes.  Later…

One of the women:  I like the Lefse made with cream.  Me:  It has cream?  Along with potato and flour?  Them:  Yes.    Still later…

One of the women:  It tastes better when we make it with butter, too.  Me:  Butter?  And cream, potatoes, and flour?  Them:  Yes.  And then I found out…all of the recipes consist of potato (real mashed, powdered, or flakes), flour, a shortening of some sort (lard, butter, Crisco-type), a liquid (cream, milk, or water), and salt.  A smidge of sugar is optional.  I guess I just needed to read a recipe.

The potatoes are made the day before.   They sit in the refrigerator to cool for at least 24 hours.  The dough is mixed by hand, adding flour to make it the correct consistency, and it is rolled really, really, really thinly on a round cloth, covered Bethany board.  A special thinly-ridged rolling pin is used, and that is covered with a sock thingie.  Then long flat sticks, sometimes decorated on one end, are used to lift the circle of Lefse, which is brought to the hot, Heritage Griddle, carefully laid across, and then cooked until it bubbles on one side, is flipped, and cooked briefly on the other.  The flat is lifted off with the Lefse turner, and laid on a cloth.  Many circles of Lefse are piled up, and later, when properly cooled, the Lefse are folded in fourths, and packed in baggies.


Lefse is a tradition.  Like Krumkake, around here, Lefse is a taste of the past.  People eat it with butter and sugar, or jam, or just plain.  Saturday, I went to the church with my sister to make Lefse.  There were eight of us…one mixer, four rollers, and three turners.  I, as a rookie, was assigned to be a turner


People will come to special church sales just to buy the Lefse.  And women in churches all over the northern midwest are gathering to make the Lefse to sell.  Some have a personal business, selling Lefse for at least $4-$6 a folded over piece.  It is a big money-maker for the churches, and a bargain for the buyers who get a baggie of 9 pieces for $15.  All aspects of the experience are bonding events for the Lefse-making women and the Lefse-buying folks.

America is a melting pot.  We are people from all the lands on earth.  We embrace our past, share our traditions, and look to a better future for all our humans.  It’s a better world with Lefse making women, or any other food-making tradition that’s practiced.  My take-away lesson?  It’s all about teamwork.  If only we could have an overflow of this practice in the real life world-at-large.


Deb’s 2017, by the numbers…



Another trip around the sun, and seven trips since I moved to North Carolina.  It seems impossible, and the years have flown.

So, by the numbers, this is my story for 2017, and not in chronological order:

Number of weeks spent in Wisconsin with my Remley family…. six.

Number of visits to long-time, dear friends, here in North Carolina…three.

Number of talks with all sisters…too many to count.

Number of pizza nights at my NC brother’s…also too many to count.

Number of overseas trips made by me…one.

Number of countries visited on above trip…four.

Number of blessings gained from above trip…still counting.

Number of visitors to my Winston-Salem home, including parents, Atlanta brother and family, former principal and friend, Australian “nephew,” Lake Sister and two mutual friends, my two WI  sisters, niece, grand-nephew, Arizona BFF and her spouse…a bunch.

Number of meaningful connections with Arizona family, former students and their parents, teaching friends, and more…lots.

Number of Flat Stanleys to travel across country and hang out…one.

Number of books read and discussed with Book Club and others…not sure.

Number of dinners with neighbors…same.Number of Canasta games played…probably eight.

Number of GOOD Canasta hands played…one.

Number of opportunities to serve others…numerous times daily.

Number of prayers requested, prayers answered, thanks given…countless. 

I wish all of you the infinite blessings of this Christmas season and the same in the New Year to come.  And so, Amen.

Friendship, Friendship, Such Perfect Friendships…


I’ve been thinking about friendships a lot lately.  Four times in my grown-up life, I have had to start all over.  That means starting by not knowing another soul of my peer group, and coming into groups of people who already had established relationships.  Four times I have put myself “out there.”  Four times I have had to leave my comfort zone, and contrary to my introverted personality, I have had to put on a happy face, stick out my hand, and hope that others would draw me into their circles.

It has been worth every single shaky social situation.  I have incredible friends, and I wouldn’t trade a single one, near or far, longtime or new, for comfort, an easy life, or security.

So, let’s go back.  My oldest friends, with whom I am still in contact, are two of my high school friends.  I love those two women who are very different, and who have picked up our friendships whenever I have re-entered their lives, embraced me for myself, and lifted me up from the depths more than once. There is my lake friend, who was my soul-sister from afar, is now much nearer, and whose generous heart pulls those she loves close and never let’s go.  I have my teaching friends who walked with me as I grew professionally, supported me, and held my hand as my marriage fell apart, and continue to rejoice with me as our lives progress.  There is my Australian daughter/sister/friend, who gives me encouragement and endless “onyas” because that is just the way she is.  And, last but never least, of course, there are my three sisters who were little girls when I entered adulthood, caught me as I free-fell into an abyss, and then danced around me as I climbed out of the hole.

That leads me to my new friends.  Making friends takes time.  People have busy-ness going on.  They have their nuclear families and their extended families.  They have long existing friendships.  Yet, my new peeps have opened their hearts to me and overlooked my social flaws.  They have brought me into their circles, and taught me their ways.

During these times of national division, let us all remember that friendship is everything.  We aren’t meant to walk alone.  We are meant for friendships.  Cherish yours.  Personally, I don’t want to even live without mine.  Ever.

Happy Father’s Day, Moms…


It is Father’s Day.  Dads are great, and we all love the good ones, but let’s face it.  Dads would be “Nowhere’sville” without the women that stand by their sides.  That’s the God’s truth, and you know it.

I have known some incredible moms.  I knew them when I taught their kids, and taught their other kids, and then taught even more of their kids.  I know them in my own family…my sister, the ones married to my brothers, my step-mom, and even my own mother.  There are the remarkable moms that are my granddaughters, cousins, and my niece.  My Australian and my Lake Friend and my Arizona BFF are phenomenal mothers.  I see good moms that are my neighbors, teacher/co-worker moms and church friends.  I know, because most of these moms have “mommed” me.  These moms are all over the place, and all you have to do is look up, and cast your eyes to the space in front of you to notice how devoted they are to their children, and their men, if the men are even in their lives.  And devoted to their friends.

Nothing gets done without a woman spearheading it.  Nothing turns out well without a woman nudging the project along, and that includes, especially, the kids.

So on this Father’s Day, I recognize the men who have “daddied.”  But Moms, you rock the world.


This is my niece, and her baby boy, Spencer, born January 2, 2016.  Spencer says his Mom and Dad are super-duper!

If Only I Were the Person My Dog Thinks I Am…


My first husband would get out of my way if I played Helen Reddy singing I Am Woman when I cleaned house.  My second husband snapped out of his delusional jealousy episodes when I played Any Day Now by Ronnie Milsap.  They knew what I hadn’t realized.  I was hanging on by the knot tied at the end of my rope.  Years passed before I even recognized it, myself.

I have been thinking a lot about how others see me differently than I see myself. My baby sister says, “You are a join-er.”  Another sister says, “Look at all you do all the other days.”  My Lake Friend says, “That’s because you have your sh*t together.”  Another friend says, “You couldn’t be any more kind.”  My dog doesn’t say anything, but she thinks I hung the moon.  Frankly, I don’t see any of it.

These are just a few observations about myself that have been shared with me the past few days, and they got me thinking about why I don’t have the full and clear picture of myself.  Most days, I feel like I am bumbling through life, and one day, I actually will have it all together enough to function as God wants me.  Ya think?

Meanwhile, it is very good to have positive feedback.  I appreciate my sisters and my friends who give me more credit than I deserve.  I need to listen to and interpret my own music choices for clearer self awareness.  And, it is very, very good to have a loyal doggie companion.

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How far is a 5K?


I walked in a 5K “race” this morning with my brother, his mother-in-law (whom I love very much), and his youngest daughter.  It is the third year I have walked this “race,” but the first time I have done so with my brother.

My first year, I fell and broke my right wrist the day before the race.  I sat in pain and grief on my brother’s front porch, and miserably watched a world of strangers pass me by.  The next year, one of my new teaching friends took me under her wing, and we have trained and walked in the same day ever since.  We laugh about that.

This year my friend was unable to attend, and I had to find my own walking friend.    Who knew that would be three of my favorite people?  We weren’t last to come over the finish line, but we were close.   We weren’t really racing, thus, the quotation marks above.  We were contributing to the support of St. Leo School through our registration fee.  We were joining our communities (neighborhood, school, and faith) by participating, and we were reconnecting with each other after many busy days.  We were getting good exercise.

Five K isn’t that far.  It is only a little over 3 miles.  Sometimes I walk that in one day just going to and from school/church and about my business.  Today it wasn’t that far, either, but it was a big distance from my former life.  It was the distance of a lifetime.

What five things would you take?


This morning, Parade Magazine had an article by Connie Schultz.  She wrote about the five things she would take with her, if she had to flee her home.  I thought of this myself.  I really, really had to think, because I am a pack rat, and I have had to leave behind my belongings twice.  Both times, I was able to bring away much…just not everything.  I still mourn the loss of my books, and work hard to release the desire for those, telling myself they are only books, and I can buy them again, nevertheless…

So when I pondered this question, I determined the following things were the ones I must always have, assuming all the living things are safe:

My grandmother’s wedding ring.  I was given this by my mother on the day we buried Grandma.  After my mother, growing up, she was the most important adult in my life.  Grandma actually saved mine.  She was my one most enduring person, who loved me unconditionally.  She taught me how to BE.  For years, I wore her ring around my neck on a chain, and if I am ever fortunate enough to find love again and marry, I want this to be my wedding ring.

My “heroes” pictures.  On the wall in my one tiny little hallway, I have the pictures of the people who were my strength and salvation when my life crumbled and I seemed to crumble, as well.  These were my confidants, my siblings, my friends.  They were the ones who called, wrote, traveled miles and cross-country to visit me, offered to travel around the world, housed and fed me, and listened to me cry, held me in their arms, and were steadfast.  They still are.  I don’t need their pictures, but it is my small way of honoring their love.

My philosophy slate.  Fifteen or more years ago, I had two moms of students who gave me an old school slate.  It has “Christmas 1914” scratched in one corner.  I have used this slate ever since I received it to chalk my current “philosophy.”  I collect sayings and quotes that appeal to me, and I try to attractively write the current one to remind me of a virtue, make me laugh, or just give me encouragement.  In Arizona, I hung the slate by the back door.  In my tiny house, I have my slate on the plate shelf that lines my kitchen.  The current philosophy is “Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet.”  More often than not, my philosophy helps me in ways I would never have guessed.

My glass teal and pink flower paperweight.  When I was seven, my mom took me with her to collect advertising for the neighborhood newspaper for which she worked.  I remember it vividly.  It was dark and we were in an antique store.  Mom told me I could pick out anything I wanted.  That’s my memory.  The fact was, she probably didn’t give me carte blanche.  I chose this paperweight, and it cost $2.50.  How I remember this, I have no idea, but I still have the paperweight, and have added several others to make a display, including the apple one Mom gave me when I began teaching.

My rosary.  I actually have several now.  I love each one.  I wish I were a better pray-er of the rosary.  I think it is something that takes time to acquire, and since I am a new Catholic, I haven’t had enough time, but it is becoming easier.  I pray with a group on Wednesdays.  There is power in numbers, both with support and in prayer.  I have seen the results.

What five things would you take?