Sunday, January 3, 2010

welcome to the garden! introductions, please...

It’s a New Year, a time of beginnings and introductions, which makes this an ideal time to institute a feature I’ve wanted to include on Peace Garden Mama for quite a while now. While I can only write from my experiences and hope that in some way my words will connect with you and your experiences, I receive something valuable when I hear from you. So whether you’re a regular reader or someone who just happened to bump into the garden by mistake, I’d love to learn a little about you. If you’d kindly introduce yourself, I’d be obliged, and if you’ve enjoyed your stay, I hope you’ll come back another day. This will be a regular feature accessible to anyone who comes by from here on out. I look forward to hearing from you!

You can introduce yourself however you’d like, but I’ll throw out a few questions for you to ponder and answer for starters. Feel free to add your own thoughts as well:

1. Tell me a bit about yourself – age, where you’re from, and at least one of your life’s passions.

2. Peace Garden Mama is a blend of parenting (Mondays), writing (Wednesdays) and faith (Fridays). Which of those topics would be most likely to hold your interest and why? (Choose more than one if you’d like.)

3. What is a book you’ve read that has greatly impacted you?

4. What piece of wisdom have you learned in your life so far that you don't mind sharing?

5. If you have a blog, please share the URL, what you blog about, and how long you’ve been blogging.

Thanks for adding your splash of color to the garden!


erick said...

My name is Erick d. 24, and I am fluent in English and Spanish. My passions are: family,friends,music and life itself!
I like your blog's topics because of being as unique as varied.
I have learned two things: Working hard to master the English language in order to succeed in life (besides high school 6 yrs ago) and to be myself at all times.
My blog, has a variety of issues I talk about, in both languages as well.
Yeah, last year and 1-2 of blogging,officially.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hello, my friend! You know me fairly well by now, but many of these questions are new territory.

I'm 41 *big sob* and live in Montana, very close to Glacier National Park. It is stunningly beautiful here.

I love everything you've ever posted. Your blog is original, surprising, beautiful, and fun simultaneously. It's one of my favorites.

Whew! There are so many... Philip Yancey always impacts me, but my favorite is The Jesus I Never Knew. It is one of my all-time favorite books. Others (these are all grown-up books, not my beloved children's books) include:
Into the Nevernight (Anne De Graaf)
A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah)
The Mark of the Lion Trilogy (Francine Rivers)
Everyday Grace (Marianne Williamson)
The Shack (William P. Young)

I've learned that
*few things are really as they seem, so we need to see with better eyes.
*the greatest earthly blessing is parenthood
*things seldom happen WHEN we want them to

Jen J said...

Hey Roxanne!

It's been a while since I commented, but here we go...

I'm Jennifer. I'm 37 (yikes) originally from a St. Paul suburb but now live in Superior, WI with my husband Jim. I love, love, love living on the shores of Lake Superior!

Well, since my husband and I are struggling with Infertility I think that the topic that pertains the most to me is Faith Fridays, but I always enjoy everything that you write - I just sometimes forget to float over here...

The two books that I read the last year that had the greatest impact on me were The Shack & The Art of Racing in the Rain. The Shack really helped me work through some unanswered questions in my faith life - and I think that the fictional aspect of the story helped more than just reading the writer's theories on faith (does that make sense?). The Art of Racing in the Rain uses the dog (Enzo) as the narrator and it was such a unique way to tell the story that I'm constantly wondering what my dog would say if he could tell a story.

The advice that I've learned in the last year...
* Just because you think that you know someone well (friends or family) doesn't mean that they dont' let you down - and sometimes in a big, big way.
* You never really and truly know who your friends are until you walk through hell. Even people you thought were your closest friends abandon you from time to time
*At the end of the day all that really matters is your family and being able to say that you did the best you could to live life according to God's plan
* No matter what you think should happen - we are not the ones in control.

My blog is a private blog about Infertility and our failed "adoption" attempt this summer. The blog address is It's private because my husband is a teacher & a coach and doesn't want his students/players getting access to all details of our personal lives.

WHEW! did I answer everything?

Marie said...

My name is Marie and I'm 29 years old. I have lived in many cities in ND and MN, was born in Detroit Lakes, MN and currently reside in Moorhead. I'm married to the the love of my life and am a very proud and blessed mother of one, a two year old boy.

I enjoy writing and working on my writing skills (I have a lot to learn); reading is also passion of mine (I tend to read anything and everything). I enjoy the outdoors when it's above forty degrees, playing and teaching piano, and most importantly being a wife and mother. I love animals and have two golden retrievers and one very large cat. I also love a fabulous glass of wine paired with a fantastic entree and great conversation.

My favorite posts on Peace Garden are, as Eric stated, all of them, but Monday, Wednesday and Fridays are my favorite posts.

I agree with Jen - there are so many books that have impacted me, including The Shack and The Art of Racing in the Rain (I was pleased to read that someone else has read it - fantastic book). I've recently finished for the second time a book called "The View From Mount Joy" and loved it. There are so many messages; though it's fiction, it's very touching.

What have I recently learned in my life? Hard question to answer. I strive to learn new lessons each and every day. One of those lessons that has most impacted me is that grief is a long process, but if you have faith in God, and let Jesus wrap his arms around you daily, you will survive. One more thing that my beloved late mother taught me: "Find something to be joyful about every single day."

My blog is:

I blog a bit about everything, but lean towards parenting and faith. I use my blog to share, vent,laugh, cry, communicate and to enhance my writing skills.

Thanks, Roxane, for this opportunity. What a wonderful way to connect with each other!

LutherLiz said...

Hey Roxane,

Though we've not met in person I feel like I know you pretty well already. I'm 30 and in the Twin Cities in MN though I am originally from WI. I have lots of passions that are rarely definable by one topic but blend and weave together in a jumble: motherhood, teaching, reading, writing, and the church being among them.

I love all your posts but often feel sense your true voice when you write about your kids, but that is no surprise I suppose.

I love so many books that it is hard to narrow them down but I always come back to the Chronicles of Narnia as some of the stories that stay with me and call me back to them.

I think the best piece of wisdom I have is to recognize that I don't know all that much and there is much to be gained from asking questions and being open to learning new things.

Finally, I blog over at Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek, and blog about whatever moves me, most often it is my son these days but it is not limited to that or anything else. I also have a church blog with my church at

Natalie said...

Hi Roxane,

I feel like I kind of know you already but I think you should answer these questions too (or at least 1, 3, and 4) because these are things we don't discuss much. Here are my answers:

1. I'm 29 and I live in the Northwest with my husband and 3 children under 5. I started writing 2 1/2 years ago and now I think I can safely say it is one of my passions.

2. All three topics are interesting to me. :)

3. A couple off the top of my head are THE BOOK THEIF and A TALE OF TWO CITIES

4. All you need is love, and if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all.

5. I started my blog in September right before I signed with my agent. I blog about writing (and, inadvertently, about life and motherhood too).

Prairie Woman said...

Hi, PGM, it's me, Prairie Woman. I am 41 years old and live in Fargo, ND. I have lived in Fargo for 23 years.

Of your topics, I try not to miss Writing Tuesday because it's one thing that we have in common. However, the parenting one is entertaining for me most of the time because it causes me to laugh a little about all the things that have happened to me as a parent in the past. Not all your parenting ones are funny and I can respect that too.

A book I have read recently that has had a significant impact on me and how I view things is "Night Flying Woman: An Ojibwe Narrative" by Ignatia Broker. It gives me a deepened sense of understanding the Native American Nations from Minnesota.

I don't mind sharing that if you want something or need something nobody is going to give it to you; you have to work for it and in some cases fight for it.

The name of my blog is Country Woman / City Woman. I've been blogging on this site since November of 2005.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Okay, I've been called to the task to answer my own questions -- at least some of them. Most you know a lot of this, but for the record, I'm 41 at this writing; live in Fargo, ND, currently; am formerly of Poplar, Montana (hometown); Moorhead, Minnesota (college); and Washington state (post-college until birth of firstborn compelled us back to the Midwest). Most of my passions are fairly obvious from my blog subjects, but singing/music would be another important element of my life that I don't often discuss here. I am a cantor at my parish and love how singing keeps me always drawing near to God. I am thankful for this gift -- it's what brought my husband, Troy, and I together back in 1987 during concert choir in college. My dream is to have a musical family ensemble like the Osmonds, Jacksons or Von Trapps, but that might be just a pipe dream; we'll see.

A book that has greatly impacted me...there are many, but as I glance upon my shelf right now, I am seeing "From Where You Dream," a really interesting book on the writing process that has changed the way I view the craft/process. I also loved "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" by Sherman Alexie and "Bud, Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis. "Out of the Dust" by Karen Hesse is another. These are children's books that have turned me giddy over the past couple years but there are many others. I love nonfiction, memoir in particular. "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography" by Kathleen Norris rocked my world at a time when I was really missing the Dakotas. "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See is quite memorable in term of fiction pieces. I adore Lenore Look's children's "Alivn Ho" series, and anything by her. She's not only a wonderful author but a darling person as well -- I'm fortunate to call her friend. (Okay, I'd better stop, but that is only the start...)

I've learned that love conquers all; that if people truly feel loved and fully understand that they are a beloved child of God, anything is possible. I feel inspired to help instill this knowledge in the hearts of those with whom I come into contact who don't yet have this beautiful knowledge at their disposal. I seek friendships with those who do understand it, because we need one another in the journey. I hope to bring this message in some small way to others through my various forms of writing and communicating.

No wonder I didn't answer before. Talk about long-winded!

Am loving your introductions all. Thank you so very much for giving me a fuller picture of who you are. I look forward to the rest that are sure to appear in the coming days, weeks and months! Thanks for being a part of Peace Garden Mama!


P.S. In order to keep this to introductions only, I will automatically delete any return comments, and I will refrain from commenting on each comment (hard to hold back, but I really want this mainly to be about YOU...). Feel free to contact me through email, Facebook or through comments in another post, though!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Roxane, My Name is Connie and I am 58..doesn't that seem impossible? How did I get so fast? I live in the boonies of Central Minnesota, with my husband of forty years..and our faithful companion and best friend a Border Collie named Chance. I have two daughters ages 37 and 34, five grands ages 8 to the dreaded 13!!

I love your posts about your children and family.
My favorite book is A Sand County Almanac.. it impacts me everyday of my life.
I am a bit of a flowerbug and a picture taker..and what you see is what you get kind of person. I have been blogging for two years now..and I still enjoy it everyday. Sometimes I even make some people smile..I blog for my grands..but I also write for me..cause I ain't getting any younger. I have lots of stories to tell..:)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Hi Roxane, You gave us much to answer! Of course, you know me so well, but this will help others know us. I'm the Mary in Minnesota who provided a safe island storm-home for Roxane and the five Salonen offspring during the Flood of '09. The time of the fastest disappearing banana bread on the planet, large pot of spaghetti, and snowmen covered in leaves.

I'm a year older than Roxane.

I have four sons, almost 16, 12, and twins who are 9.

I blog at about my passions - my children, words, music, art, faith. My latest blog was about a book I truly loved - still feeling connected to the characters!

One of the books that really gave me perspective on my faith, people, and myself as a creative spirit is Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.

I can connect to almost all your blogging topics, Roxane.

The biggest life lesson that I've discoverd is that it is better to live in the light and speak your truth than to work so hard on a false front. True friends don't abandon you during hard times, and family doesn't always mean blood relations.

Love you, love your words!

justme_fromhere said...

Hi there PGM! (1)It's Abra, age 49, born & raised in central MN; currently living slightly south of there. My passions lie with my family, my work: early childhood & social justice issues (mainly child abuse & domestic violence prevention, poverty issues, etc.), and my hobbies of writing & genealogy. (2)I enjoy all your topics--I relate to all & they often speak to my own passions in various ways. (3)My favorite lifetime book is "Where the Wild Things Are"-- the reasons & my analysis are too lengthy to go into here...suffice it to say I've read it hundreds of times! (4)Piece of many to choose from! Do unto others as you would have done unto you/try to walk a mile in someone elses's shoes/I live mainly by these words: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." (5)My blog, Keeping An Open Mind, is looking toward its second birthday! You can find me in two places, though I don't always post everything to the blogspot site: or
I write mostly about life happenings--family, social justice, events, people, or moments that inspire me, observations from my little corner of the world, or whatever strikes my fancy, always striving to keep an open mind about the people and events around me. Thanks for allowing me to walk in your garden with you--the flowers here are beautiful!

Lindsay Schlegel said...

Hi Roxane. I hope you'll remember me. We met at the Dakotas SCBWI conference in April 2010. We had some great conversation about family, faith, and writing. I don't think I told you at the time, but I was expecting my first son, Jacob, then. Jacob is now a happy, healthy sixteen-month-old, whom we love to pieces. I'm writing now because I came across your writing again, and know it is not by chance. Just after Thanksgiving, my husband and I learned we were expecting our second child. I felt that it was another boy. About a week and a half ago, we found out, at a routine ultrasound, that we'd had a miscarriage. I went online the next few days and looked for the experiences of other Catholic mothers. I came across your story on Catholic Mom. Last night, I came across it again in the book AFTER MISCARRIAGE. I realized the story was the same, but it took me reading the footnote to realize that I know you! Your story was the first one that comforted me, and I am so grateful for it. I know that Ethan Karl is with God, and I am trying to use this experience as an opportunity to grow closer to Him, with the great hope of seeing my little one face to face at His side.

As for your questions, I am in my mid-twenties, and I'm from New Jersey but I live in Brooklyn. I love storytelling--in books, movies, and good conversation.

My blog is a similar blend, although with less of an explicit focus on writing. I started it to make myself accountable to writing on a regular basis, but now it is a chronicle of my life as a mother, and my sons' lives on heaven and earth.

GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson is my favorite book of all time: masterful writing of a story that spans miles and generations to show that a good life is as simple as love and forgiveness.

Wisdom, hmm. Trust in God; His will be done. You can't go wrong from there!

My blog is at I've been blogging for almost two years, and I love it. It's especially therapeutic for me right now.

Hope all is well with you, Roxane, and I'd love to hear from you.

Barbara said...

1.Hi Roxane!!! yes, I'm blogging again, or trying to start, anyway. :) I'm 43, from Minneapolis but went to college in Boston, and a grad student in theology at st. Kate's over in St. Paul. I'm hoping to be a hospice chaplain when I'm done. and I want to be a writer as well, but I've never had the nerve to do more than blog and write for The Basilica Magazine.

2. Writing and Faith are the two blogs that I read. It's too painful to read the Parenting blog, when our adoption process is totally up in the air.

3.A book I read recently, by Henri Nouwen, "The Return of the Prodigal Son", has had a huge impact on me. It's about the enormity of God's love for us, as communicated by Jesus.

4. That grace is everywhere! And that you can never love too much.

5. My blog has just be renamed "The Little Things" but URL is still http//
and I blog about finding grace in everyday things and faith in general. And my life. I've been blogging since...2006?

So now we are formally introduced!