Author Archives: Sandie

About Sandie

A little background: A mother of 3, two boys and a girl. Married young to a good man. No longer young, but he is still a good man. Grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, lived several years in small town Alaska, spent a couple years in the city of Madison, currently residing not too far from down town Anchorage. Drink a crazy amount of coffee. Fiercely loyal to my friends. Truly rabid in my defense of family. Beyond thankful that my God loves me enough to allow me to doubt and question.

Those were magical years…


I spent some time tonight texting with my friend, Lisa.

Lisa lives in Anchorage and is one of those I hold closest to my heart.

We talked about parenting. And how sometimes it really, truly, sucks.

And we talked about the good times.

Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, there were some good times.

Those years in Anchorage, there was a village. Myrna, Kristine, Lee, Lisa, Sarah, Suzi, Silke …(ok, there were dads too, but I am focusing on the mamas)

We parented as a collective, a village.

On any given day some house was home to any number of kids. If one of us needed something, another one answered the call.

Our kids were not friends. They were family.

I remember one kid, saying about another kid: “oh, yeah, he/she is a little odd, but it’s all good, because we are, essentially, cousins. So we have to love each other”.

Thank the Good Lord above, they may have been talking about any one of mine.

We carpooled. We played together. We shared meals.

And sooooooo much more.

In sickness we fed each other.

In hardship we held each other.

In triumph we celebrated each other.

Through it all we loved each other.

And do to this day.

These women set the standard for friendship. It’s a high one.

My prayer is I live up and that I give my kids the tools to find their village when the time comes.


The time is NOW…


Oklahoma teachers are poised to strike.

A full-on statewide shut down the schools and take it to the capital strike.

The time is NOW

Oklahoma teachers are among the lowest paid in the country. They have not had a raise in a decade. Kids with high school diplomas make more working at our local convenience store chain than our teachers with college degrees and many years of experience make shaping our nation’s future.

(Full disclosure, I love that Quik Trip pays well, I think it is fantastic. Because, as a freaky liberal hippie, I kind of think a living wage is awesome).

Back to teachers.

There are so many reasons why Oklahoma teachers are paid nothing.

Blame it on oil. Blame it on big business. Blame it on conservatives. Blame it on liberals. There is plenty to go around.

I think it is deeper than that. Bigger than a political party, bigger than any corporation.

And much much smaller.

I KNOW I deserve the blame.

I believe YOU deserve the blame, too.

How many times have I/You heard(or uttered) some variation of the following:

“You don’t need to be a teacher. You could do so much more”. “There is no money in teaching”. “What about engineering?”

Really? More than molding the future?

Yep. There is NO money in teaching.

Sure. Engineers are pretty cool.

I am a strong believer that we need a societal shift. One that measures success not by dollars. But by joy. By a sense of worth.

Only when we stop saying “oh, you want to teach English to high schoolers? But you could make so much more money if you were a college professor”

Only when we stop saying “why would you be a nurse when you could be a doctor? You could make so much more money…”

Only when we stop saying “you are a science/math/technology teacher? Why didn’t you get an engineering degree? You could make so much more money…”

Only when we say “oh, you want to be a teacher!?!? Thank God! How can we make possible to live your passion?”

So, Oklahoma.

Fund our schools.

Pay our teachers.


Grown, growing up…


It’s all bad.

It’s all wonderful.

Kjell is home for a little bit. And I am over the moon. I love love love having all my chicks in the nest.

This afternoon, as we drove to Houston to spend the weekend with Dave, it hit me hard.

This might not happen again.

It won’t be long before Kjell is done with his first round of schooling. And then he is off. Whether he chooses to sail commercial or go active duty, he won’t have spring/winter/summer break. He will have a job. A career. He is right on the edge of his adult life. And what a life it is shaping up to be.

And it won’t be long before Broder heads off to college. He will still have spring/winter/summer break, for a few years, but the carefree days of high school are almost over. He is stepping into his future, the hard work of pursuing his passion is just about to start.

All I want is to stop time.

To keep them here with me forever.

All I can do is support them as they go.


Today I let him…


Cry cancer.

Over the last several weeks (months), Broder has been applying to colleges, and vying for scholarships.

His test scores are more than good.

His grades are rather impressive.

He volunteers. He is an athlete.

And it is NOT ENOUGH.

So, yeah, I said it: play the cancer card.

Yes, I know he is healthy.

Yes, I know he is physically strong.

Yes, I know he is emotionally stable.

And getting to this place has been hard work.

And staying in this place is not a given.

So he writes these essays.

And he talks about what his dreams were. And how those dreams were stolen from him.

He goes on to say that letting go of those dreams was incredibly painful.

He talks about how finding new dreams has been so unbelievably amazing.

My heart breaks for him.

I am so incredibly proud of him.

And I pray that someone on the committee sees that he is speaking from his heart.


  mundane, exhausting, wonderful…


It’s mid-September. Football season in in full swing, and once again our Friday nights consist of endless butt-numbing hours in the stands.(although I will say, as a cheer mom as opposed to a bench warmer mom, there is a bit more to keep my interest). 

Broder and Sunny are back in school. Thank the Good Lord!  (Routine makes this liberal hippie really really happy)

  Kjell is somewhere, but because he is earning his own money and pushing 21, apparently I don’t need to know where that is…{I am NOT bitter, nor do I feel rejected(I am so sorry, Mom, for all those times I didn’t call)}

Dave has been spending a little time here in Tulsa, a little time at our home in Texas, and a lot of time traveling. Ensuring the  world (or at least North America)is a  fully trained, safer, place.  

Our house projects continue, only 1 room lacks intact walls and ceiling. Every room awaits finishing touches.  (But it’s paid for, so…)

Leonard, our 6 month old Great Pyrenees pup has stopped sitting on our chickens, and only sniffs and licks them.  (The girls tolerate this, but I am not sure they enjoy it)

Hesed, our demon dog, (which is ironic, since her name roughly translates “God’s indescribable love”) has stopped trying to shred the chickens.  We are proud.  

I am middle aged.  I have been married a long time. I lie awake worrying about the things I didn’t check off my to do list.  My spouse struggles to maintain a wortk/life balance. My house is never as clean as it should be.

 I  have teens, and one young adult.  2 dogs, 4 chickens, 1 lizard (how?? Why??)

Perhaps it’s boring.

 Certainly it’s tiring. 

It’s nothing special. 

And yet, this life is so much more than I ever dreamed could be.  


20 years ago…


I found myself thrown into an epic tug of war battle.  It began the moment I first held him (which, thanks to a progressive OB dr, was truly  as he was born into my shaky, woefully unprepared hands). 

All I wanted to do at that moment was keep him safe, forever.  

And yet I knew my job was to, eventually, let him go. 

And for the last 20 years, my heart has been smashed to a million pieces/full to bursting. 

Those first steps, not holding my hand. 

The day he learned to open the front door and venture into the yard. 

Walking to school, in first grade. (I stayed just out of sight, the entire mile) 

Dragging his sled to the park, without me. And coming home with frost-nip

Falling out of a tree. And calling to tell me about it.

Biking to school. 

Driving to his job. 

Rear-ending a car.  And calling to tell me about it.  After he had called the police and filled out the accident form.

Watching his hand shake, just before he signed his appointment acceptance to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (18 and committing a minimum of 9 years to service) 

Waving as he goes through airport security, on his way to Indoc. 

Phone calls, from the ER, AFTER he has been discharged.  

A text.  From Djibouti.  

With each of these, my every fiber wanted to encase him in bubble wrap.  And with each one of these, I reveled in his victory.  

 From those first steps:  just inches from me, to 1\2 way across the globe, all I wanted to do was pull him close and make him promise to never leave his mother.  

From those first steps: just inches from me, to 1\2 way across the globe, I knew my job was to prepare him to truly live life.  

And for 20 years, my heart has been smashed to pieces with a mother’s fear/ bursting with the pride of a mother’s love 

Happy Birthday, Kjell. 

I love you, with my heart burst into a million pieces. 


Tradition!! And then there is our house. 


For the majority of our life together, we have lived far from family (550-4500 miles), so holidays have often looked a bit different, the big gatherings taking place in our hearts, but not at our dining table. 

I am not going to tell you this is easy, it’s not.  

We miss our loved ones and the chaos/fun that comes with a packed house full of siblings-cousins-aunts-uncles-grandparents.  

Sonetimes it’s a pinch of salt  in a wound I thought long healed when friends tell me their plans to get together with family, when my siblings text me the menu, when my mom calls to tell me that my sister-in-law came over to help her clean. I want to be the one whose kids are going to grandma’s!  I want to take a day off to dust the bookshelves, wash the china, polish the silver. 

But there is joy.  Over the years we have created our own, special, a little offbeat celebrations. 

At Thanksgiving we have frequently chosen to order our meal fully prepared from a top notch restaurant. (I cook all the time, seriously, this is a gift to myself).  We spend the day playing games and take time to talk about the countless things for which we are thankful. 

On Christmas Eve we have a humble meal of soup in homemade bread bowls.  We attend a late service, and then open, what has become as our children grow older, fewer and fewer gifts, instead taking time to reflect on the incredible blessings we take for granted. The last 2 Christmas eves being especially sweet, celebrating our Savior’s birth and Broder’s health (his cancer surgery taking place on December 23, 2013). 

Christmas Day finds us sleeping in, playing games, eating a ridiculous and elaborate meal, taking a walk to make room for pie/cake/cookies/lefse, and then snuggling in to watch a movie or 3 on the insanely big TV Dave somehow convinced me was a “good deal”. (I was very opposed, being a good pietist, the pleasures of this world often cause me great consternation).

Birthdays are a non-thing.  If lucky, we remember to get cards.  And sometime during the weeks surrounding the actual birth date, if we slow down long enough, I will make a cake.  Which we eat for breakfast.  As it should be.  

And then there is Easter.  Arguably, as a Christian, the most important day we can observe.  

So we celebrate.  We attend a service.  Preferably the most traditional we can find.  Liturgy. The telling of the Easter story.  Singing the hymns that give me goosebumps. Rejoicing in the gift of our salvation. 

And then we come home and eat a traditional Easter dinner. 

Of potstickers, fried rice, spring rolls, eggs rolls, fried wontons and cabbage salad.