Carla’s mother Sue Burt is moving to our farm — and bringing her TV!


COOPER, Iowa, May 25, 2018 — Big news at our Simple Serenity Farm: We are getting a television!

It will be the first television in our home since 2004 when we moved here.   Before that, since 1996, we had one in the “spare” room for emergency watching of politics or sporting events.

You read that right.  For nearly 25 years, we Offenburgers haven’t been television users.  Think of how much money we’ve saved from cable or “dish” charges!

Why now?

The television is coming with my mother.

You read that right, too.  My mother Sue Burt, currently of Des Moines, will be joining us at Simple Serenity Farm as a permanent resident next week.

Chuck and I are still debating which will be more entertaining – my mother, or what we might watch on her television.

It’s been a long family discussion with my two sisters, Tammie Amsbaugh and Chris Woods, both of Des Moines.  Mom’s sister Karen Wiles, also of Des Moines, has been involved in the discussions, too.  Everyone involved is now comfortable with the move.  We are all a bit nervous, as well.

Burt girls with Suesy and her stocking.JPG

Sue Burt with her daughters last Christmas.  In back are Tammie Amsbaugh on the left and Chris Woods on the right, and that’s Carla Offenburger in front with Sue.

A change for Mom has been on our radar for some time, and this has worked out to be the best option.

Honestly, I’ve been praying about this for years – and campaigning with my mother – to make the move.  Finally, both Mom and God got together and said yes!

Mom just celebrated her 83rd birthday.  She has been living on her own since my father Carl Burt passed away in 1996.

For the past 10 years she has been in a 55+ senior apartment complex in Windsor Heights, a Des Moines suburb.  She’s done well there.   But recent memory issues are starting to take a toll on her and we’ve all been getting more concerned about her being on her own.  For the past year or so, we’ve had a “Home Instead” worker come in twice a week to help her out and provide some consistent fun and companionship.

Other than that, Mom is self-sufficient, active, engaging and just plain fun.

All of us believe she might just blossom here and become more active, more engaging and more fun when she has 24/7 companionship.

Walking the driveway.JPG

Carla Offenburger and Sue Burt walking the farm driveway when Sue was visiting recently.

She’s made it clear that, while she is excited to join us Offenburgers in some of our adventures, she isn’t planning on “doing everything you and Chuck do.”  But I’m confident you’ll be seeing Mom with us quite a bit from here on out.

Mom likes a lot of things:

–She likes to read and go to the library, so we’ll be getting her a Jefferson Public Library card immediately.

–She loves baseball.  And while the Detroit Tigers are her favorite team, she was a long-time season ticket holder with the Iowa Cubs.  We’ll be introducing her to Greene County High School Rams baseball in the coming weeks.

–She loves flowers and gardening.  You can bet I have plenty for her to do when it comes to flowers and gardening.

–She loves to read the Des Moines Register and drink her morning coffee.  We’ve got rockers on the front porch, and Chuck makes a great cup of Greene Bean Coffee.

–She’s a jigsaw puzzle do-er. There are plenty of those in this house.

–She’s inquisitive and interested in all kinds of things.

All of the above fit nicely into the lifestyle Chuck and I lead.  It should be a good fit.

We’ve hired Justin Towers, of Towers Construction in Jefferson, to add a sleeping room and private bath on to the back side of the house.  The new room is connected to a “bonus room,” as we call it, that he constructed for us in 2014.  The bonus room will serve has Mom’s living room.  That’s where the television will be.

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Justin Towers (right) and his dad Tim Towers, at work on the new bedroom and private bathroom.

I anticipate that many of you are asking how this all fits in with my cancer diagnosis.  Good question.

Wouldn’t you want your mom close to you during such a journey?  Me too.  Chuck says Mom and I will help each other live longer.  Good point.

Ironically, Mom moves in on Thursday, May 31 and I have my regularly-scheduled 90-day scan happening on Friday, June 1.  I see my oncologist Dr. Matthew Hill on June 5.  I have had a healthy 90 days leading up to this appointment, and I’m hoping for another 90 days of good news.

Chuck and I have discussed the possibilities of what is to come, and we are comfortable with our decision.  We’ll do whatever is necessary to make Mom healthy, happy and comfortable.  And we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep me healthy, happy and comfortable too.

No doubt, there will be good days and rough days ahead as we all adjust to these new dynamics.  I am hoping and praying for more good days.

Regardless, there will be a whole lot more reading, baseball, gardening, porch-sitting, coffee drinking, puzzle-doing and, well, television too at Simple Serenity Farm for the days, months and years to come.

Happy workers on new room.jpg

We’ve had a whole lot of fun getting to know the drywall crew that Justin Towers contracted to work on our new addition.  Shown here as they were getting ready to start one day are, left to right, Daniel McKeehan, Joe Ratliff and Jaime Coronado — the three happiest workers you’ll find anywhere. They joke and laugh all day long. “You have to do that when you’re doing drywall,” said Ratliff.  It’s hard to believe how much work they get done in a day, too.

Exterior view.jpg

The view of the new addition from the back yard.

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6 thoughts on “Carla’s mother Sue Burt is moving to our farm — and bringing her TV!

  1. This will be great for Sue and great for you and Chuck to have your mother living there with you! I like the idea that she will have her own “living space” with her own bathroom and bedroom attached. Many memories will be made! Jerry and I don’t watch much TV here at our house. Catching the weather in the morning is a daily occurance, and we do enjoy the “Big Bang Theory” at 6:30. Last week, our TV viewing increased as we watched Maddie Poppe on “American Idol.” What fun to see a gal from small-town Iowa win!

    Sue Green, Cedar Falls IA

  2. What a blessing it will be for both of you! Nothing like the companionship of your mom. It is time you can treasure! I’m so happy that this worked out and pray that you get an awesome report!

    Lisa Cherry Oja, Des Moines

  3. Carla and Chuck, thank you for having your mom live with you. I have worried a bit about her being on her own. You two are such a blessing to so many. I have a special stepping stone for her and we will arrange a time to bring that to your home. We hold you all close in our heart and prayers!

    Jan and John Williams, Des Moines

  4. What a wonderful thing you are doing. I really miss my mom and wish we could have done something like this.

    Lois Kauffman, Audubon IA

  5. I’m happy for all of you that your mom and her TV are coming to live with you on your farm! Your family history and your history with televisions is similar to mine. IF my Mom could come to Iowa (she is 93) she would need to bring her TV with her too — and her cat! And I too would be glad to have them all! Maybe because of my age? or maybe it is simply taking time to reflect on life that I’ve recently begun reflecting on the enormous influence good parents (in this case mothers) have on the outcomes of their children’s lives. The effect is so encompassing it is nearly impossible to delineate. I’m thankful for you Carla, that you have had such a mother. And I’m thankful she gets to live in your house now. God’s blessings on all of you.

    Lou Blanchfield, Churdan IA

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