Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 Week 17: Remembering

Flowers of the week
 Sadly there were very few lilac blooms this year and their life-span was all too brief.

Reminders of the brevity of life are ever present, urging us to make the most of each day.
Wise care of our earthly bodies and stewardship of our time and resources becomes more important.
Michael is a great role model. He occupies well, does not waste time, and somehow manages to exercise regularly (just got back from a 19 mile bicycle ride).

So I try to fit in exercise, preferably with others. Monday was a beautiful day, our group was invited to go outdoors to one member's back yard.

Tuesday afternoon at Ivy Tech we tried class outside for awhile, but it was too warm and bright.
I guess we are spoiled by the indoor comforts and conveniences.

I really liked the reflection of our group in the windows and the studious expression of one class member.

April 26th was the tenth anniversary of the Taylor University van accident that took five young lives. The story of the two mistakenly identified was reported and revisited on the national news. The girl buried and believed to be dead for five weeks before her true identity became known, is seen here speaking at her alma mater in Wednesday's commemorative chapel.
Her father was our kids' youth pastor when they were teenagers. She was very young when the family moved to Michigan.

Whitney Cerak Wheeler [Photo and link to the chapel service found on youtube]
Published on Apr 27, 2016
Whitney (Cerak '09) Wheeler was raised by a loving, Christian family in Gaylord, Michigan. She was active in high school and that continued over into her years at Taylor University. She lived in Olson Hall, met amazing people at TU and majored in Psychology. Since college she lived in Kenya for 2 years with her sister and married Matt Wheeler who is in the Army. They are currently living at Fort Bragg, NC and have 3 beautiful children - Zachary, Rebecca and Samantha.

I enjoyed listening to both commemorative chapels and then went on to a few others, including the one in which my second cousin was the visiting speaker. 
Published on Apr 13, 2016
Originally from Berne, Indiana, Karen Muselman Thomas earned degrees in communications and piano from Taylor University in 1987. Upon graduation, she worked for five years in the admissions office at Taylor directing travel recruitment. In 1995, she completed her Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminary, where she has served on their Board of Trustees for over twenty years. Karen has held pastoral and leadership positions in several churches and regularly teaches the Bible in a multitude of venues. Karen has joyfully served as a member of Taylor University Board of Trustees since 2007. Karen resides in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband David and serves as chief chauffeur for their three active kids Luke (15), JP (14) and Mary Esther (11).
  • Speaking of relations, my sister-in-law's niece visited us Wednesday evening. She had to check out the famous sculptured tree and, of course, I had to sneak a photo.

 A couple squirrels were photo-worthy as well. This one was so absorbed in munching what the birds dropped from the feeders above that it seemed unaware of my presence.

This one doesn't seem to mind my watchful turtle on the window sill.

Friday Mike was sleeping off the effects of a wisdom-tooth extraction, Stephan was in the woods loading up some logs he cut for the timber-frame house he plans to build, and I wandered about admiring the views.

Fungus amongus; Heavy log-loading process; View of the house from the lane
No weekly blog post is complete without an appearance of our great granddaughter. This was my favorite of the almost daily photos Leah posts on Facebook.

Saturday was cool and rainy. Sunday, started out beautiful and sunny.
We visited the Mount Pleasant Community Church in Daleville where Stephan and Karen have been attending since they moved to that neighborhood. He was the guest speaker. His talk--"Remembering Missionary Days"--about growing up in different countries and cultures and life on a missionary ship, was fascinating, even to us who lived it with him! He has such a good memory!

We had at least four different events we could attend in the afternoon, but chose to stick with the family-related. 
Kayla led her many groups of little dancers in their spring recital at Cornerstone Center for the Arts--adorable little ballerinas, teeny tiny tappers, cute hip hoppers, and more.

A family member's van totaled early this morning and a life spared, remind us again of the value of each day we are allowed with one another.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 Week 16: Busy Bees

The robin looked at me and said, "Spring is definitely here!"

I picked the last of the daffodil/jonquil/narcissus, all the late-bloomers in that family, and enjoyed them all week.

Monday night Mike pulled an all-nighter to rendezvous in Illinois at midnight with the shipment of bees he had ordered from California. They had been delayed in Nebraska due to snow.

So Tuesday morning he was busy installing them in their new home.

 He's been closely monitoring their adjustment and progress.

Mike delivered Sam and Kristie's bees that same day and guided that transfer. Their busy bees have a lot more native wild flowers to feed on.

Robotics has slowed down considerably. Perhaps the beesiness busyness helps overcome the disappointment of not going to World Championships this year.
But it's just like Michael to keep active and exercise as much as possible.

And with warmer weather comes mowing season.

 Mommy Kayla and Nanna Leah stay busy running after a 20 month-old who thinks she's in the "terrible twos" (smile).

In time-out
 My life hasn't slowed down yet either. Saturday was an interesting day. You might say I keep the Sabbath. It seems that's usually the day I do something very different and forget about teaching, the house, and the usual.
The night before I decided to sign up for a race and join Debby, my consuegra, Kristie, and Elijah who was running his very first 5K. The day was so beautiful, my time was surprisingly okay for not having run in many months, and we had a lot of fun together. We agreed that we'd like to find more opportunities like this.

It was a color run. Elijah especially insisted on covering himself with every color possible.

Then I got a surprise phone call. A friend from our time in Europe, even from before we were married, said they were on their way to Taylor University for a granddaughter's recital that very evening!!! So we were delighted to get cleaned up and meet them there. So many fond memories of 40 or 50 years ago...
Actually our Stephan was named after her first husband who passed away 25 years ago already. We enjoyed hearing the story of how Diane and Cliff met a couple years after their spouses died, and also meeting members of her new family of 22 years now.

Amazing how many of our friends from the past make their way through our little town.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

2016 Week 15: Fun Times

Winter is over and the damage left behind evident everywhere.
Weather has warmed noticeably throughout the week.

Soup and warm golden loaves awaited us at Stephan's last cool Monday evening. Yummmm. . .

Michael has been preparing to become a beekeeper.

Thursday, after making sure the hive was well secured, Michael left for the 2016 Indiana FRC State Championship! The drive team and the programmers spent all the hours they were allowed to continue improving Sir Plus' performance, and getting set up for the big competition.

After classes and a long day, I finally was able to meet a family connection (my SIL's niece) who's been at Taylor U for an entire semester. We were both quite hungry so enjoyed a great Ivanhoes' meal.

My Friday routine includes two fun gatherings: 

--a lunch hour with fellow writers. One of the friends always hands out special "fortune" chocolates.

--a coffee hour with my neighbor. To help decision-making I'm trying to go through the list.

The three youngest grandsons spent the night so we could go to the Saturday morning performance of School House Rock LIVE at Eastbrook High School.

It is delightful to watch the boys grow and learn. Zion is learning to read and write and, like me, is happier when he has pen and paper. He followed each song and recorded start and finish with stars.
Jude responded when the cast came down and invited anyone to join them and dance in the aisle.
Wish I had gotten a picture, he was so cute.

Speaking of cute photos, an old one of my younger brothers resurfaced on Facebook and reminded me of the two little grandsons--both pairs are such great buddies.

Jude and Zion                                                                   Alan and Ivan

When I finally got home, I caught up on the robotics competition and watched all the matches Sir Plus was in. Some of the improvements did not work out as they'd hoped. Even so they made it to quarter finals and are ranked 13th in the state, not quite high enough to qualify for worlds, however.

A few screen shots I captured:

Conferring and being presented before the matches (above)
One attempt to climb the tower; alliance selection (below)

At the end of the day, I discovered through Facebook that other family members also had a wonderful day. I loved the photos so much I couldn't resist borrowing a few to show you all.

Nanna, Pops, and Mom took Rebecca to the Chrildren's Museum for the first time
Rebecca is one funny little girl and is growing up so fast!

Children are a gift from the Lord. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

2016 Week 14: More Surprises

A week ago we were commenting on surprise spring weather.
It happened again. We woke up to snow yesterday.

Monday morning our dear friends stopped by for a goodbye get-even game of Hand and Foot and then made their way back to sunny Arizona.

That same day we had surprise visitors from afar. Son Stephan called to say his friend Otieno, from Moody Bible Institute days, was passing through with his family on a visit to Taylor University.

The Oduor kids posing                                                Joined by parents
Otieno is from Kenya, Barbie grew up in France. So we had a lot of fun talking about language and culture. I learned the word Muzungu. Who does it apply to in these photos?

Yet another gathering, and food, on the same day. Monday Night Meal, of course. This time the delicious food was enhanced by spring flowers  and especially the lively conversation of many more guests than usual, including Kristie and the boys!

Tuesday afternoon Spanish class was very privileged to have Ignacio Aguirre visit and give a fabulous presentation about his beautiful country--Chile. He has been involved in tourism most of his life and is the co-founder and director of ChileDTour. He is endorsed as one of the best tour guides ever. We fell in love with Chile.

Sorry, these are the only two photos I captured, mostly for the different varieties and names of their fish and seafood.

Wednesday I dropped off some personalized coloring pages for Leah. This is her current favorite hobby. The back story is that she has been so tempted to color her dress!

Coloring page in the making
The rocks Leah paints come to life when Rebecca is there.

Friday evening was the kick-off of the Barton Reese Pogue Poetry and Arts festival with a workshop led by Shari Wagner, the current Indiana poet laureate and poetry readings around the theme of "Love is in the Air."

In other years I was involved in the planning and participated more. This time I only helped judge the adult original poetry and interpretive readings on Saturday morning.
Our church was transformed for the occasion with art displays throughout, various sessions, and the closing ceremony in the sanctuary.

Top left--winning youth art piece; Musical entertainment by Victoria Markum; Love is in the Air; High School ceramics

Michael had another very full week with robot workdays and another promotional luncheon midweek. Even so, he took off several hours to go with me to the Latin Night season finale of the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra--¡Viva la música! My students and I were offered complimentary tickets. Only two were able to make it. ¡Qué lástima! The others missed out on a wonderful evening.

Pam and Victor Fancher, and Sarah Ramos-Torres

Sadly, Michael had to go all the way back to Muncie to finish off the evening with the PhyXTGear-faithfuls who continue to do necessary repairs and improve the performance of Sir Plus in preparation for the upcoming State competition, April 14-16, in Kokomo. He didn't get home till 2:30 a.m.!

Can you believe we are retired???

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Week 13: Spring Surprises

I finally completed what Rebecca started last Sunday. It is, in fact, my first adult coloring project. I learned about Lorien Atwood's art through this blog post. I purchased a license to print 10 for our family Easter celebration and later sent for her coloring book called Meditations.

It was a regular week for the most part, as far as Monday Night dinner, teaching and robotics routines. . . and Michael was able to sleep normally every night!

We read in our textbook about ropa tradicional in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, so Tuesday I showed them my huipil, a very special gift from a friend in Yucatán. I did not model it for the students. This is a photo our hosts took after they had us girls dress up and they adorned us with flowers and accessories.

Then, as usual, there were the extras--appointments, surprises and special events.

Michael attended two luncheons, Tuesday and Wednesday, with Sir Plus and his team to promote the robotics program. They gratefully received enough monies to pay their dues to attend the State competition next week--April 14-16.

Sir Plus--the prettiest robot!
Wednesday, not picture-worthy, I went to an oral surgeon for a consult regarding a molar with deep decay, and ended up having it extracted then and there! Ugh!

Our friends, the Bowyers arrived that same evening.What do we do when we're together? Yep, play Hand and Foot and conversate.

Let the fun begin!
They spent one night here before their whole family gathered in Anderson to celebrate Jared's up-coming graduation. He preferred they all come to his senior recital rather than the commencement.

Friday evening we were so honored to be included with the family at an Olive Garden dinner. That's when we met the members we'd only heard about, especially the grandbaby, who of course is always the center of attention!

Coincidentally, Sam and Kristie had invited us to a movie screening at Anderson University that very night, so we had to eat and run--Brennan  (movie trailer).
We were very impacted by the story of Brennan Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, and the backstory and presentation by the director producer and main actor in the Brennan movie. Two very broken people whom God loved relentlessly, even furiously. The message of their lives repeated over and over: "God loves us just as we are not as we should be, because none of us is as we should be."

Saturday was Jared's big day. It was a regular robotics workday for Michael, but I was able to attend the superb performance. (Thanks, Sara, for the photos.)

The proud family surrounding the relieved performer!
Very strong gusts of wind, accompanied by sudden showers, snow or hail, made me quite nervous as I was driving on the highway both going and coming. I experienced a near white-out near my exit.

Upon arriving home                                                                An hour later
The next morning
Everyone was lamenting the fallen daffodils. However, I went out and gathered three beautiful bouquets.

Indiana weather is full of surprises. Such is life.