Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Addition to the Family...

No, it’s not a new grandchild yet, but if either one of our kids are reading this you know your mom likes to shop, and that would give her a valid reason that I couldn’t argue with.  You know how when you’re young and just married everyone tells you that getting a dog is good practice for when you have kids?  Well, I think there’s some truth to that.  I’ve had dogs my whole life.  From the time I could walk until now.  They’ve been some of the best companions a person could ever ask for.  Over the last 30 years I’ve been partial to German Shorthair Pointers.  I enjoy pheasant and quail hunting and these dogs have always served the need extremely well.  Not only are they excellent hunters and retrievers but they are extremely family oriented pets.  They love being part of the family.

 Last summer, “Lucy,” my 14-year-old shorthair passed away, leaving her son, “Jake,” as our only dog.  My son, Davis, had recently purchased “Bella” a 3-year-old shorthair.  He said, “Dad, why don’t we breed Bella with Jake, therefore carrying on the legacy of both Lucy and Jake.”  Sounded like a good idea to me.  Of course, I knew I would have to keep one, but had I really thought this through?
 
So, we penned the two dogs up for a week, played romantic music, and treated them to a couple of candlelight dinners to set the mood and it must have worked because Bella began to show signs of Jake’s handy work about 4-5 weeks later.  Off to the vet to confirm what we thought and yes, she was pregnant and expecting 8-10 puppies. (Yea!)

The puppies were born April 4th.  All 10 of them!  As usual there are generally a couple of runts in the bunch, but Davis was diligent about making sure that each puppy had its feeding time.  In the end, we ended up with 10 healthy pups and Davis was able to find great homes for all of them.  Included in that list of homes was ours.  Now it’s been awhile since we’ve had a puppy, let alone a puppy in the house.  Welcome “Boomer.”  My wife and I had been getting used to this “empty nest” thing and I’ll say, it’s all right.  Quiet time to relax.  Want to go somewhere, you just go.  Projects to do outside, you have time to get it done.  All in all, a pretty good gig.  My how things change when you bring a 10-week-old puppy into the equation. 
 
Now, back to my earlier comment about having a dog being good practice for kids.  The first night we had Boomer we were up about every 2 hours to let him out. Sound familiar with a newborn?  My mornings used to be a quiet cup of coffee, now it’s a cup of coffee with puppy breath and tug of war.  With just the two of us at home these days, it’s relatively easy to keep the house picked up.  Since Boomer arrived (a/k/a “the terrorist”) our house looks like a war zone.  Any shoe, sandal, piece of clothing, boot, magazine, or other physical tangible item is fair game to drag out and chew on.  

So, those of you wanting to get an idea of what it’s like having children, I’d suggest giving a puppy a try.  Obviously, it’s not exactly the same, but you get the idea.  I sure wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Oh, did I forget to mention about the potted plants??  I think the picture speaks for itself.   J

- Greg Lowenberg

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Paying at the Pump

What is the safest way to pay for fuel at the pump?  We recommend that you ALWAYS run your debit card as a “credit” when paying at the pump.  There are a couple important reasons for this recommendation.
First, when you run your debit card as a “debit” the gas station can pre-authorize $50 - $100 on your account to ensure that funds are available to pay for the fuel that you are about to pump. These pre-authorizations can be held for up to 3 business days on your account. If instead you run your debit card as a “credit” the gas station will only pre-authorize $1 on your account. 
Second, and most importantly, these machines are not monitored 24/7. If you select “debit” you are using your pin to pay at the pump. Someone could have put a skimming device or a camera on the pump which could not only obtain your debit card number, but your pin number as well. With that information, they can then create a fake duplicate card. The fake card could be used to withdraw cash at an ATM or make purchases on your account.
As always, Libertyville Savings Bank highly encourages our customers to utilize LSB Guardian debit card protection.  To sign up visit www.lsbia.bank. Go to the Menu drop down in the top right corner, and select LSB Guardian. From there just follow the prompts.  LSB Guardian is easy to obtain, FREE and a great source of fraud protection!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Change


“Your life doesn’t get better by chance; it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn
            Change is something most people fear. I, on the other hand, have always embraced change. I have always wanted to see if I could help make things better, faster, cheaper, etc.

When I was a kid, I modified my family’s golf cart to be the fastest cart on the course. Through high school, I worked for my father’s company as a surveyor. He encouraged me to find ways to work quicker and get more done. He’d always say, “You have to crack an egg to get an omelet!” Sometimes, I would find ways to get the job done faster just to go home sooner. Today, I spend my time finding or tweaking products and processes to make sure that we are meeting our company goals.
I love efficiencies. I love looking at a process and trying to figure out how we can make it better. As a person who loves change, I am often taken aback by those around me who fear or avoid it. I remember being a young 20 something kid, fresh out of school, standing in a meeting and repeatedly hearing: “well that’s how we have always done it.” That drove me crazy. One day I had more than enough and blurted out, “well, that doesn’t mean it’s right!”
Nothing good is ever easy; change isn’t always easy. You just need to take the leap and know that you are doing things for the better. Advancing a process or procedure, making someone’s life a little easier, whatever the case may be.

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end” – Robin Sharma
By: Ryan Troutman

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Adoption

As many of you know, I have had my share of dogs over the years.  When I was a little girl, I think I asked for a puppy every year for Christmas. Finally, after what seemed like years and years, my wish came true.  There he was. A Blue Merle Collie that I named Duffy.  He was my companion on the farm growing up.  A friend that I have never forgotten. 
Since that first friend, there has been very little time that my family has not had a dog.  When I got married I gave my husband a Black Lab for Christmas one year. We have had more than one Lab over the years.  They are great dogs.
One of the best dogs we ever had was a Blue Heeler (Angus) that we got my daughter as a puppy for Christmas when she was around 6 years old.  He was with us all the time.  He went with us when we went horseback riding, 4wheeler riding, mushroom hunting, you name it he was there. He never let you out of his site and was as loyal as they come.  As he aged he became diabetic.   His vision became weak and he had arthritis.  For a few years, it was insulin shots twice a day and pain medication and a soft bed on the back porch.   Despite his condition he always wanted to try and come along, whatever we were doing.  We lost Angus a year and a half ago, tough day.
I wasn’t sure we needed another dog or had the time for a puppy with all its energy and the training it would require. My daughter kept showing me pictures on Facebook of all the cute Blue Heelers and was certain we needed another.  She showed me an Australian Cattle dog rescue from Illinois, and we started following their page on Facebook.  They had dogs for adoption daily.  It was amazing how many dogs needed homes.  Months passed and I watch dog after dog on their page come up for adoption and be adopted.
One day last September there was a dog on the page named Bolt.  He was a young male, approximately a year old, a stray from Oklahoma and quite the looker!   Against my better judgement I filled out adoption papers and sent them in.  Not as easy as you might think.  There were a lot of questions and specific requirements and a day later I got denied. Shocked, I called the rescue and asked why.  They require that these dogs be a part of your family, that means they live with you in the house. They felt very strongly that since they were being given a second chance, they wanted it to be with someone who wanted them to be a full-time part of the family.  There was one question that they did not like the answer to and once I clarified what I meant they agreed to approve my request to adopt Bolt.
The Rescue held meet and greets almost weekly in Chicago at a Petco or you can go to the rescue. It worked best for us to go to Chicago. So early one Saturday morning my husband, son Miles and I headed to meet Bolt.  He was a beautiful, energetic and athletic young guy. He rode home very well and to my amazement settled in nicely.  He was basically house broke and had received some training as he knew some basic commands. Six months later he is a special member of our family.  He is still full of energy and needs his exercise daily, but is full of love and makes us laugh. He often thinks he is a lap dog and has his place on the couch. 
For anyone who doesn’t think they are up to a puppy and what comes with those cute littles guys, I would highly recommend adopting a little bit older dog from a rescue. It was a great experience, and saved a very special dog that was just lost and wanted to be loved.      

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Surviving My First Year Of College

In my last blog, I talked about Zach deciding where he was going to go to college, scheduling college visits and how I was feeling about that whole process.  Now a year has flown by and he is home for the summer after his first year of college.  It is hard for me to believe that this school year is over already. It seems like just yesterday we were dropping him off in Iowa City.  I remember that day vividly as I was dreading leaving my oldest son to begin his future.
 
The first few months were very challenging for me. Although Zach seemed to have adjusted rather quickly.  I found myself texting him just to check in to see how his days were going and usually I would get a one word reply, which was fine, because then I knew that he was alive.  I did make it through the first semester without any major breakdowns and got used to not worrying about him being out until God knows when.  Then came the month-long Christmas break.  I was so looking forward to him being home.  Funny how you forget in just four months all the extras that accompanied him being home.  (Extra laundry, extra food, extra worrying about him being out late with friends.)  Sending Zach back to school in January was much easier than I thought it would be.  I could see that he was excited to get back into his routine.

 The second semester went by way faster than the first semester.  Zach was definitely at home at Iowa, making new friends and deciding to rush a fraternity.  When I first heard this news, I had a small panic attack, as I remembered the movie “Animal House”.  My husband, Jeff, was quick to calm my nerves, stating that not all college fraternities are like the movies.  He made it through being a pledge and will be inducted into fraternity the first week of school this fall.

 He is now home for the summer and working part time at LSB.  I can tell that his first year away from home was a good experience as he has grown up and not afraid to share his opinions (especially concerning his younger brother and sister).  All in all, I would say our first year of college was a success and I am looking forward to his accomplishments in his second year. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

What brightens your day?


     Have you recently thought about the many things in life that brighten your day?  How often do you think about your daily routine and what brings excitement to your otherwise ho-hum world?  Well, maybe you don’t ever have a ho-hum world, but if you do, what are the things you enjoy in life that re-charge your batteries?  Sharing time with family and friends is a common thread in all of us that is unbeatable.  So what do we all share with family and friends in day to day life that makes it special?  Maybe you like to go fishing, hunting, biking, golfing, gardening, farming, attend spectator events, cultural events, listen or play music, go on vacation, volunteer to help others, eat, sleep, aggravate someone, and the list goes on and on.  If you re-read the previous sentence, you will find some things that are toward the top of the list for me.  Of those that I enjoy, it’s kind of a toss-up on what is the greatest, or maybe not.
 
     One of my favorites is golf.  Everyone knows that the golf game is not exactly a great sport to keep you in shape.  I ride in a golf cart even though walking would be a better way to get exercise.  My heart doctor would praise me if I would walk.  The problem is, if I walk, I can’t play nearly as many holes in an afternoon as when riding the cart.  Case closed.  As a practical matter, golf does not do much for society other than keep us golfers pre-occupied.  When in high school, my aunt and uncle purchased a membership to the local club for our family to enjoy.  Before swinging a club for the first time, I thought golf was the worst, most boring sport in the world.  After playing on the high school golf team my senior year, it started to grow on me.  I quit the game while attending college, then picked up the clubs after graduation and never looked back.  The golf game has allowed me to meet so many great people along the way, which has been a never-ending opportunity to connect with others.

     Anyone that has been around me knows I have a tremendous weakness for chicken wings.  I have two brother-in-laws that raise cattle on the farm and they both snarl when I say chicken wings are the best.  A rib-eye steak on the grill during golf season is truly hard to beat, but a basket full of chicken wings are really, really good.  The wings need to have honey barbeque sauce coating to be the best (very messy to eat).  If you too are a chicken wing lover, I am one of those people you get mad at when eating at the Pizza Ranch, because I take more than my fair share of wings at the buffet line.  Anyway, there is no sign on the buffet line that says you are limited to one wing per customer.  So now, I ask you, where do you find the tastiest of all wings that make you feel like you are in wing heaven?  It isn’t Pizza Ranch, Buffalo Wild Wings, or Applebee’s.  I’ll give you a hint.  It rhymes with scooters.
 
     And then there is music.  Since grade school, singing and playing the trombone have been a constant for the past 53 years.  As a youngster, I never could have imagined the amount of fun music could be.  In high school, I struggled with playing the trombone, but teachers and parents kept me motivated.  I kept playing and singing while in college so it really became a fun way to meet people and share music.  The phrase to share music is my favorite, because, without others to play music with, or others to make music for, the passion to create music fades.  When sharing music, you see others are tapping their toes, or dancing to the tune, that’s when music is really fun.  I play and sing with two musical groups, sharing music with residents in care facilities all around the Keota area.  We play old songs that help bring fun memories to the listeners.  That makes the experience of sharing music as good as it gets.
     We all have things that we love to do.  For me, it helps change a ho-hum day into a day to remember.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Clues From Cash


KnowBe4
 
KnowBe4 Security Tips - Unexpected Emails
 
When you receive an email from an online service or business partner that you are not expecting, proceed with caution.
For example, if you receive an email from eBay stating that you have just won an online auction, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself.
  • Are you a member of eBay? (This goes for online banking as well. If you receive an email from a bank you do not have an account with, do not click any links)
  • Did you bid on any auctions recently? (If you did not bid, you cannot have won)
 
This does not apply to eBay alone. The bad guys can use any online service such as banking, shopping and social networking to try and trick you.

Remember to Stop, Look, and Think before clicking on any email links.
When in doubt, open a web browser and visit the company website of the person who sent you the email. From there you can log in to your account to verify any activity that has taken place.
Do not click a link in the email to visit the site... Open a browser and type in the address of the company.


Stop Look Think - Don't be fooled
The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com