Hello and welcome to my blog, “The Swedish Farmer’s Daughter”! I chose this name because I am the third generation to be born on our family’s century old farm in Swede Grove County, Minnesota. Yes, I have much Swedish ancestry and spent the first 19 years of my life helping on the farm.
I am also a two-time survivor of cancer who has been cancer free from thyroid cancer for twenty-seven years. I was just thirty years old with a nine-year-old son and a 14-month-old daughter when I was diagnosed. Then, four years ago the bones in my spine began to break just doing normal everyday activities like flossing my teeth. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. I have now been in remission for over 18 months following a stem cell transplant. I am totally disabled from the extensive damage to my spin. After all I have been through battling this cancer, all things considered, I feel pretty great and very blessed.
I have been married for over 38 years. It takes quite a guy to be total caregiver and still love you when you are bald and bedridden for over three years as you fight cancer. My husband is the best. We have two children. Our son is a senior research scientist at Mayo Clinic, he works in the field of newborn testing. His research has saved many babies lives. Our daughter has just finished her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and will be also doing medical research. We have a wonderful grandson and two dogs…Truman (white German Shepherd) and Oliver.
I have spent most of my professional career working in communications, event planning and politics. I spent over a decade working at the Minnesota State Capitol for both Republican and Democratic elected officials. First as a aide to a Republican senator, then as a Committee Administrator at legislature in the House of Representatives. As manager for the committee of Government Operations and Veteran’s Affairs, I was responsible for policy and fiscal legislation for several state agencies. Millions of dollars of funding for government programs passed through my committee.
After working in the legislature for many years I was hired as a Management Analyst for the Minnesota Department of Veterans affairs. My father is a retired/disabled veteran and of all of my jobs I loved this one the most. Working to improve the lives of veterans and their families was so very rewarding.
While working at that agency, I was assigned the task of being the project manager for the state dedication ceremony for Minnesota’s new World War II veterans memorial. I had only three months to plan and raise funds for this statewide event. We met our fundraising goal of almost $100,000 and provided a wonderful day for the over 5,000 World War II veterans that attended. Over 25,000 people attended the event held on our State Capitol Mall and we organized the largest flyover of WWII aircraft in Minnesota since the war. One of the pilots was actually a World War II veteran. He had passed his pilot’s physical, but I did ask that he not fly directly over the crowd.
After the event, The Minnesota House of Representatives honored me on the floor of the chamber and my name was read into the official record. I have been a caregiver on several World War II Honorflights where we fly veterans for free to Washington D.C. to see their memorial. I still hang out with my World War II veteran friends. They still need visits and homemade cookies.
My last job at the Capitol, before I became disabled from my cancer battle, was as the assistant communications director and press secretary for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (DFL). Yes, I was there for the Franken-Coleman recount. The result of that recount would determine which party would be in control of our nation’s Senate. There was a lot of interest in that story and the director and I worked long hours fielding media calls from all over our nation and the world. That’s right, there were only two of us to set up daily press conferences and briefings, prepare news releases, answer all of those media calls and help the building maintenance staff with the technical challenges. There were many technical challenges such as running cables from a building built over a hundred years ago to high tech network trucks parked outside in a -25 below zero Minnesota winter. Yes, pipes in the building did freeze once.
I also spent many years as a Republican Party of Minnesota volunteer and served in a variety of leadership and campaign positions such as being the deputy vice chair for the Republican Party in Senate District 52 (Michele Bachmann’s district). I also served on several state committees including the State Executive Committee and State Nominating Committee.
When I blog about how government and politics function it is from personal experience. Yes, I have seen how that sausage is made. Oh, the stories I could tell!
Most importantly, I am a Christian who has spent my entire adult life teaching and sharing the love of God and the message of the gospel. I hope that my family, friends and work colleagues experienced my love of Christ through my actions towards them and others.
My hobbies include oil and watercolor painting, reading about politics and history and cooking. I am a great baker! I still love trying new recipes and have a lot of experience sharing new and well-tried family recipes. Prior to working at the Capitol, I was the recipe editor and columnist for ECM Publishers Forest Lake Times, North Branch Post Review and St. Croix Valley Peach editions. Our paper’s circulation was well over 50,000 households.
Christ Calming the Storm (Oil) Custer the Rooster (Watercolor)
I hope you enjoy reading my posts about my many life experiences and interests.
God bless you all.