Friday, March 15, 2019


On any given morning, as our coffee brews, I can glance at my husband and see him standing on one foot, the other foot slightly raised, a look of concentration on his face. He’s working on balance. It’s a quiet practice, but important. If I join him and take the tree pose I’ve learned in yoga, he’ll snort to suggest I’m a show off, and he’ll continue his work.  Balance requires work.

Evidence of balance is all around us. Day turns to night, night turns to day. We breathe in and out, in and out. The seasons turn warm, then cold. Don’t forget your checkbook! Balance is of utmost importance.

We find beauty in balance. Consider the ballet a dancer, the scales of justice, or the flavors of a savory stew. These all depend on balance. 

Yet even though we see examples of balance all around us, and even though we admire it, balance is really tricky. We can’t just achieve balance. It requires constant tending.

I am not in perfect balance. My faith helps me see that I need help with that.  Every day I need recalibrating, practice, and reliance on God.  The best I can do is offer you my own recipe, which turned into an open ended list… please add your own gifts.

Recipe for Balance
Put God first
Begin with Prayer:
   Praising God, Confessing, Thanking, and Asking God’s help
Accept a big dose of Forgiveness
Forgive others
Hope for the best
Be Courageous
Always Search for Truth
Open your heart and mind
Read for inspiration and direction
Find People to love and challenge you
Work at something that brings you joy
Seek beauty
Enjoy nature
Throw all the above in the air and practice keeping them off the floor!
Be at peace even when you fail

Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, I wish you peace, joy, and hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Happy Pi Day

Happy Pi Day, everyone! Here is my offering, to the tune of Clementine...
In an oven
In a kitchen
Waiting for the bell to chime
Bakes a pastry
Oh so tasty
It's a favorite of mine
Flaky crust and
Fluted edges
And a filling that divine
Whether cherry or blueberry
It's a favorite of mine
Some are spicy
Some are creamy
Some have slices in a line
Some are topped with froth that's dreamy
They're all favorites of mine
Boston cream or
Lemon custard
Even minced meat or key lime
Nothing beats pie
You need not try
Just eat yours, do not touch mine!
©Karen Eastlund 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2019

January 1928

Jan 1 – New Year’s Day – 1 below zero
Pretty cold, but we all went over to Raymonds and ate turkey and chicken. Ervin and Alice Young were there. Anita & Elmer came home about 3:30 & Doris & Emil & kids & I stayed until after supper & Raymond brought us home. It was a lovely moonlight night & we didn’t get cold either. Both Margarette & baby were very restless all night.

Jan 2 – Monday - 20 below
The coldest morning we have had. I washed all of Doris’ & kids’ clothes. Emil walked to Burr Oak and went home. It was a bright nice day but cold. Margarette has more cold.

Jan 3 – Tuesday – 8 below
Bright and nice. We hustled around and packed up & Elmer took us to B. O. & Emil met us & we got to Spring Grove about noon. They were cleaning up and getting ready for a big feed for they had the baby baptized at 5:30 and named her Marion Doris. We had a swell feed and was tired enough when bed time came.  Doris, baby, Margarette & I slept downstairs in one room.

Jan 4 – Wednesday
Warmer again but snowing a little.  We got up a little after six & got started a little before nine, had a flat tired at La Crescent & he fixed it and we got to Red Wing about 2 & Olga made us stop for lunch & we got to Minneapolis at 5 & stayed at John Newhouse and the night was a regular nightmare for Margarette was to sleep with Doris and I and she kicked so that we couldn’t sleep and the baby wouldn’t sleep in the crib so we changed them around and slept from 2 until morning.

Jan 5 – Thursday
Nice & warm. We didn’t get up until after 8 so didn’t get started until nearly 10 but got home at 2.  It was lovely riding but we were glad when we got here & got something ready to eat & the house cleaned up.

Jan 6 – Friday – In Isle
A lovely warm day. I washed & didn’t get through until about 12, after dinner I mopped both floors. Doris cleaned up the rooms & took care of the kids & put things away.  Emil took Margarette for a ride on Mildred Church’s sled.

Jan 7 – Saturday – Isle
Just as nice as yesterday. We got up pretty late but we did the ironing & some cleaning & went for a little ride up north. Emil took Margarette with him up town & up to school house. Miss Bede was here a while to see the baby. Doris & Emil walked up town in evening. I got a letter from Anita & a whole bundle of cards & letters.

Jan 8 – Sunday – Isle
Cloudy & foggy all day but warm. We were home all day and no one came but Mildred Church was over twice to see if Margarette couldn’t go out & play. But she was asleep. I wanted Emil & Doris to go to movie in evening but Doris wouldn’t go. Margarette was sick all night. I guess she ate too much chicken. We cooked two that Luella gave us.

Jan 9 – Monday – Isle
A beautiful day. I washed. Margarette didn’t feel very good all day, her teeth are hurting her. In afternoon Doris cleaned her bedroom & Mrs. Baeck and old Mrs. Baeck were here. Doris served lunch. They went home about 4:30. Emil took Margarette up town just before supper.

Jan 10 – Tuesday – Isle
Another lovely day. I ironed and made cookies and Doris cleaned up the house.

Jan 11 – Wednesday – Isle
Very nice day, the warmest one yet. We had Margarette take a good long sleep in forenoon & Emil got the car out for us at noon & we went over to Halla’s (?) & had a very good visit & she served lunch for us. The baby had colic until nearly midnight.

Jan 12 – Thursday – Isle
Nice again. We just did the housework & Doris washed a suit of Emil’s & cleaned my bedroom. After school we drove over to Wakkon for Castoria for the baby but she had colic worse than ever until 10:30.

Jan 13 – Friday – Isle
Cloudy and a little colder. I washed. Nellie Haggberg was here in afternoon & we served lunch & then Emil, Doris & Margarette went up town. I got letters from Anita, Hazel, Mrs. Hanson & Vere. Emil went to community meeting at schoolhouse & then played basketball with the town team so didn’t get home until 12 o’clock.

Jan 14 – Saturday – Isle
Rainy in morning & turned to snow. We were very busy all day as four of the teachers were here to supper… they came at 5 & stayed until 8.  Doris & Emil went to a show & I stayed with the kids.

Jan 15 – Sunday, 4 below – Isle
Cloudy & colder. Mr. & Mrs. Barsness & two kids were here to dinner & until 5 o’clock. Mrs. Church & Mildred came over & asked us over to supper so we went & got home at 8.

Jan 16 – Monday – Isle
A dark day & sort of sleety in morning but wind turned to west. I did a big washing, after dinner I went up town and then over to Halla’s & Mrs. H. & I went over on the lake to a cottage they have on an Island. I was very tired & went to bed at 8:30 with Margarette.  Emil went to basketball practice. The baby was very fretful until 12.

Jan 17 – Tuesday – Isle
A lovely day & thawed. I ironed & took Margarette for a ride on the sled after dinner. The man came & put a telephone in. We weighed the baby & she weighs 10 ½ lbs & will be six weeks tomorrow.

Jan 18 – Wednesday – Isle
A lovely day but colder than yesterday, very frosty in morning. I washed again & brought the clothes in toward night. Emil, Doris & Margarette went up town about 5 & we made ice cream for supper. He went to basketball practice. I didn’t get to sleep until after 12. It snowed a little.

Jan 19 – Thursday – Isle
I got up at 5 & fixed lunch for me & we went up to bus station at 20 to 7 & the bus was ready to go. Emil carried my suitcase for me. I got in Minneapolis at 10:45 & left at 11:30 on the train but got on the train about 11. It got very stormy & blizzardy & when I changed at LaCross it was fierce. They thought the train would not get through. I got off at Prosper & the agent told me Luella had called & said for me to go to Canton & stay as it was too bad to come after me.  Ezra Reed carried my suitcase to Frank’s or I would have had to asked some one as I could not have got there alone. I was quite cold & chilled after riding in the warm cars.

Jan 20 – Friday
Quite cold this morning but the wind isn’t so bad today. I stayed to Frank’s for dinner & Elmer came just after noon so we got home before three & I was glad to get here.
Paul & Myrtle Luell had a baby boy born today. LuVerne came over  stayed all night while they went to a dance.

Jan 21 – Saturday – Prosper
Very nice today. Elmer went to Burr Oak & LuVerne rode home with him.  Anita & I went to sleep in afternoon. We went to bed quite early.

Jan 22 – Sunday
Very nice but a cold wind. We went over to Raymonds with a buggy & it broke down with us so we had to bring Raymond’s buggy home. Anita was sick half the night & threw up three or four times. Connie Ward went back to the hospital this afternoon.

Jan 23 – Monday
Nice but a cold wind. Elmer went to Canton after coal. I sewed all day. I got a letter from Doris & they had the blizzard there too.

Jan 24 – Tuesday
Nice day but terribly windy. Elmer went to Burr Oak, took 8 ½ doz eggs and got 30cts per doz. I got a letter from Hazel today. Vere & Dorothy Kelly went home with LuVerne & stayed all night. I talked to Mrs. Price today & she said Lillie was getting along as well as could be expected.

Jan 25 – Wednesday
Nice in morning but clouded over & was pretty cold afternoon. Anita & I went over to Raymonds when Elmer went to help saw. We got home at 2:30. The wind was a fright before night.

January 26 –Thursday
Not so windy as yesterday but quite cold. Elmer went to B.O. and brought the car home & took a calf to Canton. Eda Wade rode down with him and went home about 4. Got a letter from Doris.

January 27 – Friday
Very cold day. We were going to Decorah but it was too cold. I washed the colored clothes & we ironed. We didn’t do anything but shiver & shake & try to keep warm.

Jan 28 – Saturday – 10 below
Pretty cold, but the wind didn’t blow. Elmer went to B.O. in afternoon & Amelia rode home with him. I should have gone over to Allie’s but thought it was too cold.

Jan 29 – Sunday
Some warmer & the sun shone nice all day. We made ice cream & I ate so much of everything for dinner so had stomach ache all evening. Anita popped some corn & that helped some.

Jan 30 – Nice day & Elmer & I went to Decorah about 10 o-clock. I paid $75 on notes & the int(erest)… so altogether it amounted to $103.  Went down to see Lilly & was there about 2 hours. They haven’t anyone there to do the work.

Jan 31 – Tuesday
Not a very nice day. Elmer went to Burr Oak & Anita sent a pie & some potatoes to the Wolfenbergers as the Club Girls have to help keep them. We washed but didn’t hang the clothes out.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Intro to GP Diary

Welcome to Grandma Pierce’s diary!   Born in 1875, Grace E. Masters Pierce was my maternal grandmother. Along with her other commitments, she was devoted to recording her life in Burr Oak, Iowa.  I remember her as soft spoken, her thin gray hair pulled back in a tiny bun, wire rim glasses on her nose, an apron over her dress.  She made the clearest and most flavorful chicken broth and tenderest homemade noodles I have ever eaten. 

Her diary offers us a glimpse into the past. I’m struck by the many chores that she accomplished, the strong sense of community, the breadth of experience and ingenuity, the active social life, and much more. Her diaries are a treasure to me. I hope you will enjoy them also.

Additions to this diary will come online as I have time.  So far I am working on 1928.  More to come.