Sunday, September 14, 2014

College Bound

I sent my first child to college this fall.  For those of you that have done it, you know what a big event this is not only in your child’s life but in yours.

I spent most of my summer analyzing what it would be like. As the day grew closer, I was not sleeping well. Is she ready? Did I raise her right? How would move in day go with all the traffic? How could we possible get all her stuff into that small dorm room?  Would she like her roommate? Would she be home sick or would I not hear from her until Thanksgiving? My mind would not shut off.

When I boiled it all down, it was more about me and my identity as a parent. Not only was this a reality check that my life was moving by at what I consider a high rate of speed, but what does parenting look like when they move out? As a parent we are given no handbook, no instructions, and no guidelines when those bundles of miracles are placed in our arms for the first time. They hook us in with their smiles and their amazing personalities and just when we kind of get them figured out they are gone.

This is what I know:
 I am thankful I still have two amazing boys at home waiting for me most nights.
I need my work and purpose in life.
Sydney still needs her mom, not for all the little things but for the things that matter.
I love the reduce laundry load that has occurred since she has left.
I am enjoying more free time.
I am so glad she is having the time of her life!

Jill B

Friday, August 29, 2014


It’s mid summer; 2014 is flying by.  I can’t help but take notice of some milestones that have occurred so far in 2014; both professionally and personally.  A few that top the list are:

  • I celebrated my 25th year work anniversary with LSB in April.  It’s gone by in a blink of an eye. When I look back at all the technology changes and how much the bank has grown, I start to feel the years.  I absolutely love coming to work every day and am very grateful for the opportunity to work at LSB.
  • We’ve just completed our 1st week in our new Keota location!  This takes me to the above paragraph.  When I started in 1989, LSB had assets of 25 million and 8 employees.  With the Keota acquisition, we are above 300 million in assets and close to 50 employees.     Libertyville was the only location then, and now we are happy to be in and support 5 communities.  We are thrilled to be a part of the Keota community! 

  • It’s been a year since my diagnosis of Sjogrens Syndrome.  It is impossible for me to put into words what the last year has been like for me both mentally and physically regarding this diagnosis.  I know I am a better person today because of it.  It has made me stronger, more determined, better educated, healthier, and so much more.  I am doing great. J   

  • My nephew Wyatt, 10 years old, showed pigs for the first time at the Jefferson County Fair.  Although he had great success with his pigs, it wasn’t about the color of ribbons won.  Anyone who knows Wyatt’s story of his premature birth knows that he is a miracle worthy of its own blue ribbon.  He was probably embarrassed by the fan club of grandparents, aunts and uncles watching, but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world and couldn’t have been more proud.    

Here’s to the rest of 2014 and the milestones to come!

Lori Mitchell

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Devil is in the Details

I consider myself to be a “big picture” guy. Given enough time, I can usually come up with a viable solution to a problem. My shortcomings lie in the 238 intricate steps and processes that lie between finding the problem and actually getting it resolved. That’s right, I’m talking about the details.

After several years of self evaluation in this realm, I’ve come to the conclusion that patience or rather the lack thereof, is part of my problem. I want my tractor fixed now and I don’t want to waste a lot of time on the phone with the dealer, waiting on parts, tearing the tractor apart or putting it back together. I just have no patience for those things. But a lack of patience is just a part of my problem.

In a lot of cases, I’m just not particular enough. “Close enough for me” and “that’s fine for now” are big parts of my vocabulary. For example, on the rare occasions when I wash my truck, if I notice I’ve missed a spot or two it’s no big deal. I can live with a little dirt. I didn’t get it all but I got “close enough”. If I’ve already put the lawn mower away and I notice a spot I missed, I can guaranty you “it’s fine for now”. You certainly wouldn’t want me performing surgery on ya.

My daughter Audrey is the polar opposite of me when it comes to the details. Audrey will stick with a project until it’s perfect and I really admire her for that. Let me give you an example of how she and I differ on the details.

Just last week, Audrey entered a dozen of her home raised eggs in the egg judging contest at our county fair. She didn’t just grab any old egg out from under the hen either, no sir. She started saving those eggs three weeks before the fair. She selected them for size, shape and uniformity. She weighed them on our egg scale and I swear there wasn’t a gram difference in the whole dozen. The only problem was, she’d only come up eleven perfect eggs by show time. I was in charge of getting the eggs from the house to the fair grounds on the day of the show. I opened the carton marked “DO NOT EAT” and noticed she was one egg short. I called her and was very surprised to hear her say “just grab one out of another dozen and bring them”. I found what I thought was the perfect specimen (the first one I grabbed). I quickly put it and one of the originals on the scale. The one I chose was “close enough” in weight to the others and away I went.

On the way to the fair, I decided I’d pull a fast one on Audrey. I marked where I’d put my egg in the dozen. I popped the carton open and asked her if she could point out the one I’d picked out of that dozen. I knew I had her. All white eggs look alike, right? Wrong. It took her less than 10 seconds to pull it out and hand it to me. Once I regained my composure, I asked her how she knew? Evidently the one I’d picked out was slightly more “pointed” than all the others… Details!

Anyway, Audrey brought home a great trophy for her grand champion eggs, all because she paid attention to the details. Just scramble mine please, and if you get a little shell in them don’t worry, it’s good enough for me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Father’s Day Without Dad

Yesterday was Father’s Day and it was the first time we celebrated it without my Dad. We tried to have a meal that he would have liked and actually he probably would have done the cooking.  We bought a cake that was decorated in John Deere colors and a John Deere hat.  We gathered at the farm that he loved and which he  tirelessly kept looking pristine.  Somehow this didn’t fill the void of him not being there with us.  

Unfortunately two other employees of the bank lost their father’s this year, so I wanted to share this poem as my blog.

 A death has occurred and everything is changed by this event.

We are painfully aware that life can never be the same again

That yesterday is over, that relationships, once rich, have ended

But there is another way to look upon this truth.

If life went on the same without the presence of the one who has died,

We could only conclude that the life we here remember made no contribution,

Filled no space, meant nothing.

The fact that this individual left behind a place that cannot be filled is a high

Tribute to this individual.

Life can be the same after a trinket has been lost, but NEVER after the loss of a treasure.

Paul Irion

So, just a reminder, please cherish your treasures.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Make a child’s day and mine too.

This spring I went to Drakesville to the Southeast Iowa Produce Auction.  If you haven’t been there, it is a fun outing if you like auctions. The local growers bring their produce and plants there to sale; most of them are from the Amish community.  You have to buy in large quantities, so a lot of the buyers are from local stores.
I have several flower beds for spring flowers and fall mums. Fall is my favorite.  The first time I went, I came home with 150 pumpkins.  Randy was so happy with me.  I always take the pick-up and this wagon that is the same size.  Last fall I went a little crazy.  I had to call Randy at work to help me haul mums and pumpkins home.  That’s half of the fun, trying to make it fit. That wasn’t the first auction I have ever had to call him from.

It is a coop association so there are people around that will help you load your purchases at the end of the day.  This spring I was done before the auction was over.  I was rounding up the things that I had purchased and here came two little guys.  They were about five, they had their little hats and jackets on without shoes, and they were so darn cute. They came up, looked at each other trying to decide which one was going to do the talking. I spoke to them, and then one said “Shall we help you?”  I told them that would be great. I had already loaded most of my stuff.  They moved eight flower pots to the edge of the dock for me. I think the pots were about as heavy as they were.  I didn’t have any smaller bill to give them a little tip until after I paid. I told them I would be back. I don’t think they thought I would be back by the look of disappointment I went and paid my tab and returned to find the boys. I gave them each a couple bucks, I turned to walk away, and I couldn’t help but look back.  They were comparing to see if they got the same amount. Their little eyes were the size of golf balls and they are grinning from ear to ear. It was so darn cute.  I was visiting with some friends, and when I went to leave I didn’t see them any more.  They must have earned all they needed for the day.

I can’t wait until fall is here to go again, and I’m sure Randy will be looking forward to it also.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Office Monkeys

Most people that know me, realize that I have a fascination with monkeys.  My IPad screen saver is a chimpanzee, I have monkey t-shirts, and I even say “monkeys” when I feel the need to say a profane word. 

Last year, right after Thanksgiving, I had an anonymous surprise on my desk.  It was a set of office monkeys, complete with office scenery.  Office monkeys are little plastic monkey figurines that are about three inches tall and are wearing business suits.  Some are on computers, a banana phone or taking a smoke break.  They currently sit on the corner of my desk and are a conversation piece for everyone that sees them.  They don’t always sit in their office scenario and quite frankly haven’t been there for a long time.  I tend to change what they are doing to suit the holidays or events that are happening.

During the holidays, two of them were dressed as Santa and an elf and the others were standing in line to see Santa.  They were carolers around a Christmas tree, re-created the nativity scene, and even wore ugly sweaters when the bank employees had an ugly sweater contest.  They have tried to escape on a Friday down the telephone cord hole in my desk and all held up signs depicting “Hump Day”.    They have even worn shamrock hats, wooed the female monkey with candy for Valentine’s Day, and dressed up like Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Sam for President’s Day. 

Most recently, they have been depicting the construction that is happening to the parking lot at the bank, including Hot Wheels cars courtesy of my husband and another LSB employee.  With the onset of the Memorial Day weekend, the monkeys are ringing in the summer by lounging in a pool and riding bicycles. 

Kids love to play with them and move them around.  Adults like to comment on what they are doing.  I enjoy the smiles that everyone gets when we talk about them.  I even have requests from vendors to send pictures of them when they change activities. 

Sometimes when my day gets a little stressful, I just need to “monkey around” to realize that I shouldn’t take it all so seriously. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Color The Earth Run

Have you ever read a quote and thought about what it really means to you?  Well, the other day I read a quote that said, “Hard, is a mindset.”  As I reflected back on that quote I thought, “Wow that is so true”! How many times have I thought something was going to be hard and after doing it, it really wasn’t, but my mind thought it was going to be.  At the beginning of 2014 my sister asked me to join her in the Color Run in Des Moines this year.  I agreed and then days after accepting thought, “This is going to be so hard I will never make it”.  So, in Fairfield, in April, there is a similar run called Color the Earth run.  I signed up thinking this would be great practice for me to see how bad a 5k really is.  For weeks I have been walking and trying to prep myself for the day.  Well, April 12, 2014 came and still the morning of the run I was nervous and not sure if I was going to be able to do it.  53 minutes later I was finishing my first 5k! Granted, I did walk it but by July I will be able to run it!  It wasn’t hard after all, but my mind wanted me to think it was going to be.  “In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining who we are.”  Max Depree -  another great quote that proved to me that I need to overcome my fears of something new and try it.  I didn’t want to remain the person who had never tried to do a 5k.  I challenge each of you reading this to stop and think about something that you think is too hard and try to overcome it this year! 

Here is a photo of me at the end of the Color the Earth run.  What a great time!