After I met Tim on that fateful airplane flight and he asked me to marry him, the most exciting thing (other than being married to him) was the fact that we were moving to Minneapolis. I'd always lived in Reno, a small town, and honestly I was scared to death, but moving with someone like Tim gave me some comfort and confidence that I would be ok.

When we'd tell people we were moving to Minneapolis, they'd share in the joy and excitement. People who had been to this city before were giddy when they talked about the grocery stores with chandeliers and carpet. (I think this is what people mentioned first!) Then, everyone said it was a very clean and safe downtown . . . they described it as a mini-New York, very cosmopolitan in feel, with great food and restaurants. There was a description of these "skyways" and I tried to visualize how that might work. Most people always mentioned there was "great shopping" and an amazing department store called Dayton's. It had beautiful store-front windows, an 8th floor auditorium with theme displays, also a wonderful top floor restaurant, a fabulous trim-the-tree shop at Christmastime, a tunnel underneath with a food court, and a main floor cosmetic area with red carpet and beautiful women spraying perfume on you in every aisle. Most importantly, there was a special women's area called The Oval Room, and everyone said it was a MUST, that it had the best designer clothes in the midwest. Sure, it was cold, but you learned how to dress for it, get around (in the skyways), and you would have to have a car that was good in the snow. I'd never heard of a snow parade, but sure enough, it was called The Holidazzle Parade, and it was a winter tradition, not to miss (who would ever imagine I'd be the snow queen/grand master one day!?). The music scene was fabulous and the two orchestras were the finest in the country. And the State Fair? Ha! I couldn't even picture it.

I was excited. I couldn't wait to take in all these amazing things.

The wonderful city of Minneapolis.

A city I would love.

Sure enough, Minneapolis did not disappoint. Tim and I made our way to see EVERYTHING and experience it all. What a wonderful, wonderful place. For probably 25 years, everything was "golden." (We've lived here 34 years.)

Today . . . I am saddened to say that Minneapolis has changed and it is not the place it used to be. Some places you would not even recognize. With all the riots, over 300 neighborhood businesses have been burned to the ground (almost a year ago). Damages are estimated at $500 million dollars and there is still no plan to help rebuild these small businesses. With the lockdown order in affect for a year now, over 100 restaurants have permanently closed (many of them were our favorites . . . Vincent's, Goodfellows, Lucia's to name a few). There are no longer any beautiful downtown stores . . . over the years Neiman Marcus closed, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE closed, and Dayton's became a Macy's, which became an office space . . . which to this day I do not think has a single tenant. And our downtown (week-long) Lorie Line Christmas show was moved out to many of the surrounding suburbs. 

Downtown used to be so fun. It was such a happening place! What Minneapolis used to be is now just a memory, a great memory.

And it is hard to know what to do.

Many people are moving . . . to Florida, Texas and Tennessee (we just updated our data base and there were over 3000 changes of addresses). So, in January Tim and I got in our car and drove to Florida. We took three weeks to think about where we might want to live. Our first stop was in Nashville. We just so happened to be there on a Sunday so we popped into Brentwood Baptist Church. I knew since we were in Nashville the music would be good, but wow, I don't think I've ever heard anything like this before. (I am still singing "Graves Into Gardens"). We then headed (for fun) down to Laurel, Mississippi where the famous HGTV HOME TOWN show is filmed with Ben and Erin. (We had a ball stopping in their stores and Ben's shop.) Laurel is charming . . .  but probably not a hot bed for a musician like me. So, onward we drove to Florida (where we have spent quite a bit of time touring). Our best meal was in Tampa. The weather was mid-70's all week. No rain. Spectacular. We then went to Sarasota where our son now lives, then to Orlando to celebrate Tim's mother's 80th birthday. We saw it all. It was such a nice break.

But not a break-through for us.

I'm not sure why. I guess it's because Minnesota means so much to me . . . it's where I got my start, established my name, my career. Tim and I first started our marriage here (day one) and the memories of raising two children will forever be . . . Minnesota.

In the three weeks, we drove 4000 miles. We were so excited to drive back home that we made the trip in just two days. (Vacations make you love leaving, and love coming back.

Snow was on the ground and everything was so beautiful when we arrived and drove into our driveway.

The first thing we did was shovel. The second thing we did was go to Costco to stock our empty refrigerator. I did not mind either task . . . in fact the older I get, the more I love the four seasons of Minnesota (I can't believe I am saying this) and my favorite place to shop is Costco (I can't believe I am saying this).

So . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I guess we aren't moving anywhere for now. I love my farmer and rancher fans in this part of the world who come to see me every year. And all my piano-playing friends. I love opening my home for The Living Room Series and entertaining fans who love me. I love my schedule, my employees and the musicians I work with, I love my church, my friends, my gardens, living and boating on Lake Minnetonka, and yes, the four seasons.

And even shoveling. 

As we approach the upcoming George Floyd trials in our city (March 8th), please pray that our leaders will make good decisions and keep us safe. 

Hopefully we will someday rebuild and revitalize our downtown city once again. 

Only He can turn graves into gardens.

The wonderful city of Minneapolis.

A city that I will always love. 

Lyrics to Graves Into Gardens

"You turn mourning to dancing. You give beauty for ashes. You turn shame into glory. You're the only one who can.

You turn graves into gardens. You turn bones into armies. You turn seas into highways. You're the only one who can.

Oh, there's nothing better than You, there's nothing better than You, Lord, there's nothing, nothing better than You." 


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