Will you make a plan of your choosing for the care of your minor children?
Will you ensure that someone you trust helps with health care and financial choices?
Will you leave an organized estate plan upon your death to assist your loved ones with administration?
Gordon and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this summer! Our oldest, Cameron, graduated from MSU-Moorhead last spring and is now working as a portfolio monitoring analyst with US Bank in downtown Minneapolis and recently moved to south Minneapolis. Erik is a senior at NDSU, majoring in mechanical engineering, and has an internship in Devil’s Lake, ND this summer. Tori is a junior at UofM-Crookston, majoring in Ag Business, and will return home this summer with her two horses for an internship with CentraSota as a field scout.
I’ve worked as a solo practice attorney for about 20 years, focusing in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law. I enjoy working in the Buffalo community, which allows me to meet with and assist many friends, neighbors and fellow Zion members. I office together with Gordon’s financial advising business, so, other than hunting season, we are together 24/7 – and yet we will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary! We enjoy a lot of travel together, especially road trips. He drives and I tell him where to go! In 2016, we were finally able to travel to Hawaii and take a road trip to Alaska. On the way home from Alaska, we drove through Idaho which was our 50th state to travel to together.
Many people have exciting testimonials of overcoming impossible odds and hardships on their path to finding Jesus – I don’t! For as long as I can remember, I was a believer and, more and more, I so appreciate that my parents provided me this gift. My parents have an unwavering faith that they taught to my brother, sister and me, and now their grandchildren also, by word, example, and action. My dad inspired me with his knowledge of the Bible, his quiet leadership and strength. My mom is the best model of selfless giving, love and humility that I’ve ever met.
We were members of a small, country church in western Minnesota, where we were related to almost everyone. Almost daily, I saw examples of caring for neighbors as the whole church would work together to help anyone in need. I appreciate our family’s personal involvement as it taught me that church is not only an hour on Sunday morning, but a way of life.
When we moved to Buffalo in 1994, I wanted to find a similar, small church environment like where I had grown up, but the only ELCA church in Buffalo was Zion. We soon met Pastors John and Ed, and joined, and ironically I now believe Zion’s large size is one of its best attributes. It allows for so many more programs and opportunities for people to connect than are available in a smaller church.
My favorite Bible verse since childhood has been Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, but a gift of God.
This verse so powerfully summarizes the very core of my beliefs, that my salvation is given to me as a believer, even though I could never earn it by my works. What an amazing gift … this gift of grace! That God cares for each of us and sent His son to die for every one of us in order that we have that everlasting life is more than any of us could ever deserve. I was just reading in the section, “Who was Martin Luther?” of the Martin Luther Lenten devotional, that Martin Luther finally found peace when he realized that the selling of indulgences to avoid the “clutches of Satan” was not necessary because of this gift of grace we have been given, through faith.
My favorite hymn is “Amazing Grace,” as the lyrics speak of how powerful this gift of grace is.
Pastor Ted invited Gordon and me to the Foundation spring event last year. As he introduced Brenda Moore as a fellow Concordia graduate, I was thinking that she and I must have attended Concordia about the same time. I started peering at her more closely to see if I knew her and it hit me – could it possibly be my old friend, Brenda Peterson, who I first met in 4-H during high school, then reconnected with at Concordia? No, it couldn’t be her, but then when Brenda spoke, she mentioned where she grew up … maybe it is Brenda! By then I was kicking Gordon under the table telling him, “I think I know her!” Of course by then I was totally missing her talk due to my distracted thoughts but I caught her maiden name when she spoke of her parents’ legacy – it WAS Brenda! What a fun little reunion we had afterwards!
Now, being invited to speak at the Zion Foundation’s spring event this year I am really wishing I would have listened to Brenda more attentively last spring! But it has provided us with more excuses to have lunch together for planning. The area I most enjoy about my job is counseling and teaching others about the estate planning arena. There are many misconceptions (having a will triggers probate, not having a will causes my estate to go to the state, probate is evil – OK, maybe that’s a bit strong!) and other misunderstandings and since every individual or couple’s situation varies, I love to personally discuss this and answer questions and explain options available to reach a person’s objectives. So, speaking at this event provides me with an opportunity to help people understand the estate planning process and encourage thoughtful, planned giving that may be of interest to them.