“Get down in the basement,” my dad was yelling from our back yard. He saw it coming across the empty field just beyond our house. We lived in a new, but flourishing housing development. We were one of the first houses on the block. So the tornado, unbeknownst to this little girl, was enjoying open area very close to her.
“When Daddy speaks like that, we don’t fool around,” the little Ludvigson Lace Lady thought as her five year old legs carried her obediently down to basement safety.
As we gathered at the foot of the stairs, with our mom hovering over us, we waited for Dad to appear and tell us what was going on!
“There were five of us,” she remembered, “from one year old to seven.”
Daddy finally arrived. With relief. Then the siren sounded. “Interesting,” the little Lady Ludvigson surmised, “the siren came after the tornado!”
Our instructions were to gather under the laundry folding table, in the corner of the basement. With blankets to match the five young kids, we cuddled together in our newly created hut.
“A Tornado Hut,” or so it seemed to them! “And Mom served us hotdogs while we played in the hut!”
It really was a lot of fun. We had no idea about the severity of the weather. “Mom and Dad were good at that.”
So as the days, years, decades have gone by, this mommy – this Ludvigson Lace Ladygrown-up – continues to enjoy the storms.
“Similar storm hiding places were made with my four boys and myself!” This time in Arkansas. No basements are to be found in this part of the USA.
But with no basement, where were we to find cover? There was our hallway. There was the bathtub. And always a blanket, a pillow and a toy. For many storm episodes in Arkansas, we made due with just that.
“The storms were not that bad. And there were only at the most two or three little boys to hover over.”
But when a phone call warned me that this one forthcoming was quite severe, better coverage was needed to be found.
“Let’s empty these two closets and camp in them!” The younger mothering Ludvigson Lace Ladysuggested, using her playtime voice.
Believe it or not, the closet interior, became exterior. And the four boys plus Mommy made a Tornado Hut inside the closet.
“Deja vu…” she grinned. “Oh, wait! Stay here everybody! I’ll be right back!”
There were no hot dogs, (“How did my mom make hot dogs!”) but there was something else!
“I knew this would come in handy someday! “ She pulled a chair to the refrigerator, stood on top, and reached way back in the upper cupboard.
“A bucket of old Halloween candy!” She smiled. “Very minimal sugar passes the lips of these boys, but there comes a time. And that time is now!”
So with candy, pillows blankets and a batteried radio, we played the waiting game.
Many tornadoes passed through our area that day. But we were safe. In a fun way.
We may not have had the hot dogs my mom had somehow prepared, but we had all the rest. The same relief.
“Thanks, Mom.” That is to Grandma, my mom – from the next two generations, on how to enjoy a storm.
Life is Lovelier With Lace. . .
You know what I was doing last Sunday night, when a tornado invaded our neighborhood? Crocheting. Listening to the wind and the rain. Enjoying the peacefulness of the sounds of a storm!
Crocheting a CloverFields wrap! This one will be in Natural. A color quite similar to Ecru. You will love it. I know I do!
But, right in the middle of, ‘ten doubles, turn, picot, chain one double,’ the power went out!
“Oh, it will come back on in a minute,” I said, holding my needle and crochet thread in a frozen position, so as to avoid loosing my place or my count.
But that minute turned into days. And many in Longview waited for power.
The hook and thread came to a halt, as I joined the many learning how to maneuver without the electrical benefits so engrained.
Yes, I so much appreciate the efforts made to bring the power back to us city dwellers. But I also appreciate that this Ludvigson Lace Lady was able to continue to crochet on her porch, in the sunlight.
While many wondered what to do without social media!
Storms: Hot dogs. Halloween candy. Power Outages. Social media.
Life has some ‘twists’ in it many a time, bringing upheaval and routine change. But the twist of my crochet hook remains steady.
Our move to Arkansas from Minnesota was initially defined as for change of occupation. Tim had resigned from over 10 years in Sears retail and I was working for an insurance company in downtown St. Paul.
The dual occupation we endeavored together at this point was with a ministry focus. We were excited to begin using our energies to encourage The Family. Marriages, specifically. Since only wedded five years at this point, we were great candidates for FamilyLife staff: we were still in the magical newlywed mode, but we were also aware of its feisty reality.
Even before the moving truck had been loaded in St. Paul and unloaded in Little Rock, Tim and I knew part of our southern adventure would be prolife involvement, in the name of Bethany Christian Services.
Our hearts had already been prepared for passionate involvement. The combination of the heartbreaking discovery of our infertility and a first-time comprehension of abortion defined, created an energy within us to do something. We did not know what that would be, but it would be something .
That something was first of all Bethany Christian Services (BCS) foster care. And soon after that, adoption.
BCS foster care and adoption process was a wonderful experience for Tim and me. We were privileged to work with the finest of social workers. As counselors to the infertile couples and the birthmoms, they brought comfort. As advocates for the the unborn, they were resolved to see the end of abortion.
Wading through paperwork was a necessary discomfort in the application process. But truly strengthened our resolve in the pursuit. For both foster care and adoption.
The foster care program for us meant caring for each newborn baby only until the adoption process was legally completed and the baby could be delivered into the arms of the adopting parents.
We were preparing to keep each baby in our home for an average of two weeks. “That is how long it usually takes,” our BCS social worker shared with us.
After we were approved, we began to create the baby room in our little apartment home, for each and every short term love affair with each and every sweet newborn foster baby assigned to us. In the end, we had all that any baby would need! Crib. Changing table. Rocking chair. Drawers full of newborn sleepers. Onesies. Clothes in hues of pink, blue, yellow, green, purple and all the colors of the rainbow.
Also, I found – in one volume book – a library of baby information! In this large resource we had all the answers for any question regarding our babies to come!
We were ready!
At first, there was no foster care needed. More waiting. Something Tim and I had already grown accustom to. Then, the phone rang! We were to receive our first baby! We were to go directly to the hospital, and bring her home.
“Bring an outfit. She will be in a hospital gown,” our social worker informed us.
She was so tiny. “5 1/2 pounds,” the hospital staff claimed, as they laid her in our arms.
Tim and I placed her in the car seat, and cautiously drove home. Her crib awaited her. Diapers galore. Drawers of clothes…
But the rocking chair was my favorite. I rocked her, and rocked her. And then I rocked her some more. Praying for her and singing to her as the rocking chair ruts grew deep into the carpet.
“Only temporarily in my arms, sweet baby. You will be with your Forever Family soon.” I lovingly reminded both her and me. “I will give you all of my Mommy’s love until then.” And then, I followed with a silent warning to myself, “Only two weeks, Debbie.”
Two weeks turned into more. “There was a legality. It will take a bit longer. Will you continue caring for her?”
“Oh, my! I get to hold you in my arms a little longer,” I silently whispered to her. I loved her. I prayed for her. And her Forever Family. “All is in God’s Sovereign hands.”
After many, many weeks and after all legal issues were ironed out, this precious foster baby’s Adoption Ceremony was held in the BCS office, a special adoption suite. We lovingly referred to this suite as the Adoption Hospital.
“No less joy-filled pain in delivery here, than the other hospital delivery room,” Tim and I decided.
The simultaneous joy and pain in this adoption hospital was not the usual physical pain of childbirth, followed by the joy of a baby’s cry of the first breath of life outside the womb.
But it was the emotional joy and pain, mixed into one pot, which ultimately brings to a baby a loving plan of life. Somehow the birth parent, the adoptive parent, the foster parent and the social workers have been straining through a kind of labor pain, to bring this life plan to birth. And this all happened in the adoption hospital.
Tim and I were happy for the adoptive couple. And sad for the baby’s difficult transition. But happy for the baby’s ultimate Forever Family. Happy for the BCS staff for the adoptive plan fulfilled. Sad for the same staff that walked through the grief with the birthmother. Sad for the grieving we were about to experience as long term foster parents.
All in all, how very helpful to observe all the love given for the sake of one baby. And we knew all this was soon to happen again to us. With one difference: we would be acting a different role. We would be the adoptive parents.
Yes, our own adoption file had recently been activated!
One question required in the adoption application process for Tim and me to answer was, “Would you want a girl or a boy?”
No hesitation in our response! After the agony of infertility. After comprehending the injustice of abortion, the answer was simply, “Either, and/or both!
With a smile under my breath, my unstated desire was twins. I had their names picked out. But how did we know what would be best for us? “That is something only God knows.” A learning curve learned through our infertily struggle.
We knew now that any life was perfect for us! Boy! Girl! Twin boys! Twin girls! Twin boy and girl! And beyond!
And so how blessed Tim and I were to receive our own adoption call only a few months after our foster baby and her adoptive parents had received theirs!
On that wonderful day, emotional overflow, once again! Of course, exceedingly happy for ourselves! But grieving for another. Our baby boy had also been in short term foster care , and as foster parents, we knew there would be a sense of loss for them.
Most certainly we knew of grieving loss felt by the precious birthmom. And my our hearts broke for her.
This scenerio has been played out in Tim’s and my life even three more times. Exuding joy beyond imagination. But also the grieving loss felt by their birthmoms. Grief and joy, simultaneously. Bittersweet. But good.
Good, because life is always good. It’s an easy choice, really. Life. It is good.
Now for the grand finale: “Boy or girl?” asked the Bethany staff each and every time. “Either, and/or both,” our answer each time remained.
Yes, God’s choice for Tim and me, “Boy!” “Boy!” “Boy!””Boy!”
A Male Delivery each time! And yours truly has been living as Queen, in a House of Males!
Life is Lovelier with Lace. . .
How do you exist in an all – male environment? For a time, I thought I should make myself fit more into their mold. Male stuff ruled! Even in decorating my livingroom!
But I began to rethink, “No! these young men need to see the girliness of life too!”
So, I brought out my lace… and made more!
With the loveliness of lace all around them, each one has proven to man-euver quite well!
It was midmorning. April, 1989. We were enjoying balmy spring day in Minnesota. I was inside, packing for a flight back to Arkansas.
What a delightful time we had had the past week reuniting with friends and family, while helping facilitate the FamilyLife Conference in Minneapolis.
What a joy it was to have our precious 14 month old son with us! Many were able to meet him for the first time. Grandma had made herself available to babysit in the hotel room while I assisted Tim in the FamilyLife bookstore.
After the conference, we headed north to Grandpa and Grandma’s for a short visit, before returning home. We had a wonderful time! But now the packing had to get done and the flight time was on our minds. “Don’t want to miss the fight, you know!”
Grandpa was prepping the car for the trip to the airport. It would take the same amount of time to drive to the airport as to fly from Minneapolis to Little Rock. “Good time for a quick nap,” thought Tim, from the left side of the back seat, after luggage, baby and wife were all settled in the car.
Baby was in his carseat, brought from Arkansas, knowing enough car travel would merit its lugging along. The car seat was located on the right backseat of Grandpa’s car. And I sat in the middle.
So Tim rested his head on the left windowed door for a quick shut eye. I was attending to my wriggling little one. “He will soon settle down for a nap too,” I hoped.
Twenty minutes down the road. Just south of town. “Ready for the longer treck to the Cities now.” Tim is sleeping. Grandma took her seat belt off, “just for a minute – I must take my coat off; car is toasty warm now.”
“Good for her,” I thought. “I don’t even have my seat belt on. Not while riding center in the back seat!” It was a nice car, though. Brand new. Plymouth, Acclaim. Factory ordered, 1989. Blue. Mom’s and my favorite color. So happy for them.
Then, life went into slow motion for me as I watched my dad grip the steering wheel with both hands, pushing the brake seemingly through the floor and warning us, “Hold on!”
And just like that, it was over. We were sitting askew in the center of the highway. All was quiet in the car. All except my baby. I looked toward him, my right. There was a bit of blood coming out of his mouth. I could see, because he was crying. He was otherwise safely snug in his car seat.
I looked to my left. Tim was awake from that shut eye. Blood was everywhere. His head had hit the clothes hanger hook, above the left window.
My attention then turned to my mom and dad. They were both conscious. My mom had a huge goose-egg right above her right eye, which was swelling fast. Dad laid calmly behind the steering wheel. “There goes your new car, Audrey,” was the next words from his mouth.
Friendly help gathered outside the demolished vehicle, hoping to stop oncoming traffic. We waited for police and ambulance assistance.
Grateful we were alive. Grateful for baby carseats. Grateful for protection – even though Tim and I were not wearing seatbelts. We were all transported to the local hospital, for emergency care.
~A Left Turn~
It was a driver making a left turn onto the highway, blinded by a truck making a right turn off the highway, at the same intersection. And we were right behind that truck…
My dad had seen it coming, and tried as best he could to stop our vehicle. Dad had been taken by boarded stretcher. After examination, we were informed that if going any faster than we were at 40 mph, he would be quadriplegic.
My mom, because she had removed her seatbelt, ‘for just a minute’ had crashed the windshield, making a mess of her head and the windshield! Tim had stitches where the hanger hook hooked his forehead. Our baby had only just bit his tongue and was romping around wondering, ‘what in the world happened to the rest of us!’
Surprisingly, I walked away fromy the totaled vehicle with a small gash on my left leg. After examination, I was prescribed crutches.
Needless to say, we did not make our flight home. After mending at Grandma and Grandpa’s for a few days, we finally flew home, successfully.
In another month, everyone had seemingly mended. Or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, I had injured my back.
Add another 3 months, back surgery was scheduled and completed. Slowly but surely I resumed to my job as ‘mommy’and ‘wife.’
Very grateful for the ability to walk again.
After decades of years, I still cry out with a thankful heart for the same.
The following June,1990, Tim and I went shopping for his Father’s Day gift. A Lazyboy recliner! Only when we arrived at the store, he insisted I was the one to try out all the many options, to find the most suitable, for him.
‘For Tim, or for me?’ He insisted it was for him.
But I am the one using it. I have enjoyed his Lazyboy every day since the day of that purchase. It has been the most satisfying therapy for my back than anything else.
Still he never claims it as his…♡
Life is Lovelier with Lace…
Tim’s blue Lazyboy is my crochet office. It is in this chair where I have found opportunity to rest my back and to crochet. And my Crochet Counselor, namely ♡ Jesus,♡ meets with me regularly in this place, offering me comfort – body, soul and spirit.
Minnesota. Born in the Swedish Hospital, Minneapolis. That’s me. My beginnings. My family moved often while I was in grade school. But the moves were all within the Twin Cities area. Then the time came when my Dad decided it was time to make the big move that he had probably wanted to make ever since he was first married: The Farm.
Our farm was located just north of the town, Mora. A little Scandinavian town. Actually modeled after a similar small town in Sweden, by the same name.
As a small child growing up in the Twin Cities, if I did not grasp the significance of my Swedish heritage, I was sure to do so in this second half of my childhood. In this Swedish town of Mora, Minnesota!
Interestingly, my mind seemed void of making that Swedish connection during those high school years. It wasn’t until after I moved back to the Cities as a college student, that I understood this part of me.
I also soon grasped unwittingly that I was Swedish, and not Norwegian. Even though these two nationalities are grouped together with the Danish to form the Scandinavians, there is quite a rivalry between them.
There are different foods that the Swedes and Norwegians each have during the Christmas season. Pickled Herring was my dad’s favorite. A Swedish fish food. Lutefisk and Lefse are delicatessens of the Norwegian’s Christmas time. This is verified by the fact that my dad did not claim them to his liking.
I am hoping even now that I have this straight, so that my Norwegian and Swedish friends and family will not become unnerved at my inaccuracy!
Truth be told, I don’t eat any of it!
Now the way I became familiar with Lefse is through this taunting song:
Yust (Just) a Little Lefse Vill (Will ) Go a Long Vay (Way)
Yust(just) a little lefse vill(will) go a long vay;
Gives you indiyestion(indigestion) most all of the day.
Put(puut) it on the menu,
Youu’ll (you’ll) be suure (sure) to say,
Yust (just) a little lefse vill go a long vay(way).
Leif Erickson once had a boat, it vast a leaky scowl;
He said, ‘To beat Columbus, ve(we) got to leave right now!’
Da(the) boat was leaking badly as they neared the USA,
But dey(they) plugged da(the) hole –
Ya, lefse saved da(the) day!
Lefse’s goood(good) for many tings(things),
And ve(we) can give youu(you) prooof(proof),
For tiling on da(the) kitchen floor,
Or patching up de(the) rooof(roof),
Some folks even uuse(use) it as da(the) soles upon der(their) feet,
And some folks tink(think) it’s even goood(good) to eat!
If yoou(you) know vat(what) lefse is then yoou(you) can understood;
It looks and feels like plastic, and it tastes yust(just) like plyvood(plywood);
Ve(we) don’t know vat(what) invented it,
Ve(we) don’t know whoo’s(who’s) to blame,
But if you are a Norsk, yoou(you) eat it yust(just) de(the) same!
This song was introduced to me in a Norsk Duet format, and I found it most halarious!
In our earlier years of marriage, Tim and I found ourselves in the midst of a major out-of-state move. Yup. Out of Minnesota. Away from the Norske and the Svedes. Unbeknownst to us, away from Scandinavian culture. And before we knew it – only a 10 hour drive away – we were drenched into a brand new culture, The South.
I’ll skip the part about our new title, ‘The Yankees,’ or the impressions of igloo housing. Only to say, the South don’t venture upward to the North very often!
Before long we were enjoying our new jobs in Arkansas. After a few months the it was Christmas time. And we were anxious to experience a new way to celebrate the season…with no snow!
Also, the company’s Christmas party was to be quite a massive celebration! We were to begin the evening with a Progressive Dinner, going from house to house for the different courses. And we also enjoyed each staff family’s Christmas decorations, while we dined in their homes!
Coordinating the dozens of small groups going in timely sequential patterns to fill their Christmas tummies was quite an ordeal! But all went well! It was also enjoyable conversation with the different staff, who moved to Arkansas from all over the USA.
The dessert was to be held at a large banquet hall, with all the staff together. And there would be a program. The program had a special Christmas theme. This year the theme was, Christmas Around the World.
With our Minnesota ‘accent,’ it was an easy pick for the committee to have Tim and me represent the Scandinavian countries.
“Can you prepare a little something to share about Scandinavia Lands?”
It was still so fresh in my mind!
“Yust(Just) a Little Lefse!”
This is at a time before modern conveniences, like microwaves…and Google! So the words, the tune, and the guitar chords would have to come by a different-more intruding way.
Tim and I made an old fashion landline phone call to the musicman/friend behind the song, back in good ‘ole Minnesota!
In the frenzy that we must have been in, Tim and I dialed his number in the late of night. So late, that we were in bed making the call. And surely he and his wife were also.
“Can you sing the song? Can you give us the guitar chords?”
And he did. While we all lay in our beds, with miles between us, the song, ‘Just a Little Lefse’ sang its way through the telephone wires. With the added guitar chords inserted at the correct measures.
All I can do, to this day, is laugh at the gall we had to awaken this man – and his dear wife – for this request! Thanks again, to you.
So with the song and chords in hand, and a little practice, ‘Just a Little Lefse’ was ready.
Now for a show of what lefse actually looked like and what it tasted like, I thought I should make some. With an authentic recipe from a 1940’s Swedish Lutheran cookbook, I gave it a try. Cooked potatoes plus the rest on the recipe, mashed together and rolled thin, into a frying pan she went. And it went awful. Awfully smelly. My lefse looked nothing like the recipe’s pictures.
What can I say, but what Tim said:
“Don’t ever do that again.”
So, what do we do now? Lefse is a long way off. It’s a long road to Byerly’s grocery in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Then the thought entered our minds:
“But, what does lefse look like, but just a run of the mill, tortilla! Yes! And we can get that here! By the hundreds! They will never know the difference! “
So, with a mile high stack of ‘lefse/tortillas,’ We were off for that special night of Christmas celebration. First, the Progressive Dinner. Hor d’oeuvres. Second, the main entree. Then, to the banquet hall for dessert and the Christmas program.
Before we left for the evening affair, we had rehearsed this song in front of Tim’s parents. They were at our place to babysit our baby boy – their grandson.
“Sure! We’d love to hear your song!”
And so they listened and smiled a stoic swedish smile. Pure admiration for their son and his wife, ‘…about to sing in front of the whole company Christmas party tonight.’
(They had no idea that we were trying to be funny. And they weren’t laughing.) This was destined to be a flop.
‘Christmas around the World’ was fast upon us; Tim and I were a bit anxious.
The crowd was lose, though. A good sign. They are looking for something to laugh at.
When the MC introduced us the the Swedish ambassadors, we were on with song, guitar and lefse/tortillas. Tim did his famous ‘Johnny Carson style’ audience warm up. I stood beside him and laughed right along with the crowd.
He was trying to describe the ‘stoic swedish way.’ And the infamous lefse,
“…good for many tings, tiling on the kitchen floor…”
“Patching up de roof…soles upon your feet…”
“ya, some folks tink it’s even good to eat!”
The stoic Swedes sang stoicly.
Then, the mile high lefse/tortillas took the stage, as the song went,
“Yust(just) a little lefse vill(will) go a long vay…”
“Gives yoou(you) indiyestion(indigestion) most all of da(the) day;
Tim took one lefse/tortilla off the stack and flung it into the crowd.
They went wild.
Then he flung another. And another.
“It looks and feels like plastic, and it tastes yust(just) like plyvood (plywood)…”
Fling, fling, fling the circular little critters flew out to the curious audience that haven’t a clue what lefse is!
Up went their hands to catch a flying lefse saucers!
And as the stack of lefse/tortillas dwindled down to nothing, the song was finally ended,
“Yust(just) a little lefse, vill(will) go a long vay(way)!”
Off the stage we went. Laughing as we went.
“So much for authentic Scandinavian culture!”
The laughter finally died down. The other Christmas world cultures were presented. The night was done. And we went home to our baby and the Swedish grandparents. They were wondering how the song went.
“Oh, fine,” we responded in our ‘end of the evening’ stoic matter-of-speaking.
And off to bed we all went. Just another Swedish day. With just a little lefse thrown in.
Life is Lovelier With Lace. . .
It’s fun to break out of your quiet mold every once in a while and cause a little raucous. But how extra good it feels to return to your favorite introvert space and be at peace with ‘just you.’
And that is yours truly. With her hook and thread. Quietly reflecting on the events of the day. That day. The Lefse Day. Smile.