Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010 Week 5

Early phone call Sunday morning: our ice-man-son wanted us to record Channel 8 Daybreak because he was being interviewed by Dick Wolfsie while carving a Colts horseshoe at Lucas Oil Stadium. That was a fun beginning to an exciting day for all of us fans.

 

 

Monday evening Sam brought his three boys to the community dinner at chef-son's to give Kristie a break. All you young mom's out there understand the luxury of a few hours alone!
Baby was surprisingly content, and Elijah very active as always. Daddy is trying to converse, eat, play Go Fish with his 5 yr.old, and glad Zion is happy.


The first online assignment was due this week, so the clean desk got some use. As many of you commented, desks have a way of soon becoming cluttered. I thought to post a Tuesday state-of-the-desk photo each week either to prove you right or as an incentive to maintain order.

 

Jessica, the college student who stayed here two or three days a week, left on Wednesday. She is moving into an apartment with other girls for the spring semester. The coffee she brought us from Indonesia reminds us every day.

 

Most nights before we turn in, I sit on the sofa, read, knit, watch TV, and Brutus feels he must sit on my lap.



I enjoy trying different arrangements with some of his unique creations. Candles here, or pens and pencils on my desk.



Some Saturday nights through Sunday afternoons, he fires up the kiln, when he has enough to fill it, like tonight.

 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Follow-up

The King's War Plans

The pondering place, though not the posture, reminds me of when and where I get many of my ideas, solutions or answers--in bed before I get up.

The one comment I remember from the art critic was that the artist intentionally gave us no details of clothing to indicate rank nor defining physical characteristics in order that anyone could relate to the parable.

Jesus' illustration was that of a king who is aware of an army coming to attack that is twice the size of his own. He doesn't have much time to ponder the situation. If he considers it possible to defeat the enemy, he will commit to warfare. But if not, his only option to avoid disaster is to seek peace before the confrontation. To delay is to default.

The context of the parable is Jesus' call to discipleship. You'd think He was trying His utmost to discourage followers by the harsh demands (hate father and mother, carry your cross) and the repetitious he cannot be my disciple. However, this section is sandwiched between parables that reveal God's true heart desire: the story about the wideness of His mercy--the banquet where the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame were brought in; and the parables of seeking the lost and the great joy in finding, even one!

The crowds followed Jesus, they were drawn to Him, but not all were His disciples, many were merely going along. He is calling for intelligent, realistic and total devotion; count the cost and consider the consequences of refusing the call.

I made that decision long ago, yet the commitment to follow is a daily experience. I am willing to lay down my life for Him, sometimes pondering what that means for me.

 I leave you with the song I came across this morning by Felipe Ortega, one of my favorites: Give Me Jesus.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Memory Monday, Or Better, Memoir Monday

Thought I'd share the main points I am learning from the online course and the questions I must answer in my writing assignment this week.

Why do I feel drawn or compelled to write family stories?

So, if this material is significant in some way, to whom? Family and friends, or a broader audience?

What type of memoir: personal, family or family history narrative?
  • Personal Memoir, not the same as autobiography
    • autobiography: the story of your entire life
    • personal memoir: specific incident, series of episodes or time period in your life
  • Family Memoir: stories and facts about family members and/or ancestors.
     To be written in first person, like the personal memoir, includes my personal insights and stories, feelings and perspectives gained after MUCH research.
  • Family History Narrative: impersonal nonfiction account about several generations narrated in the third person much as an objective reporter.
Other considerations: scope, theme, plot, structure.

So, I settled on the family memoir beginning with our grandparents, weaving the stories in a parallel to convergent sequence, using an altered chronological structure within each section. The theme or purpose--to highlight the threads or strands of grace God brings together to make the tapestry that is a family.

My assignment this week: 500 word narrative answering all of the above.

Two quotes I liked:

"The stories you tell about the past shape your future." --Eric Ransdell

Deuteronomy 4:9  “Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”

Does any of this make sense?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 Week 4

Sunday morning early we set off for Niles, MI, to watch our son compete in the Master's ice carving competition and to meet up with  the Bankers, good friends from way back. We lived and worked on the same team in Germany and Austria and ministered in Eastern Europe. We were just starting our families back then. In fact, Donna let me wear some of her maternity clothes when I was carrying Stephan, the now 'famous' ice sculptor!


Monday I became keenly aware of the mess that surrounds me, and was motivated to aggressively go about setting up a writing area upstairs. Here's the clean desk. I love it!

 
No before-photos. Believe me, the desk was buried.
I threw away a lot of teaching-stuff. It's easier to say goodbye now after a year.

Very timely, indeed, as this week I started another online writing course. These are my text books.



These are mere beginnings, but I am committed to keep on keeping on at whatever pace and for however long it takes to sort out our accumulated stuff and record our life stories.

Two very tasty new recipes this week won the approval of my hubby, but I only remembered to photograph one of them, the Chicken and Pepper Stew With Olives from the January issue of Real Simple.



What's worse, I can't even find the recipe now. It was a most delicious combination of pasta with roasted garlic and butternut squash. Very yummy!

Saturday, we celebrated Elijah's fifth birthday. I chose only three photos.

 
The birthday boy

Of course, I must be true to my blog theme and include a Meemaw Moment.



Here is Zion again later, cleaned up after a major blowout!

 

I just couldn't resist this opportunity to show off my gordito.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Follow-up

The Lost

Yes, the ninety nine twigs or branches on one side of the bridge represent the sheep that were left behind (probably in the care of a neighbor or another shepherd) in order to go search for the lone lost one. Can you see the one symbolic sheep on the other side?

I wondered at the outset whether there was a meaningful order to the stations of the Art Pilgrimage. I have not discovered any yet. This bridge marks the mid point, the turning around point when we begin to make our way back to the beginning or end, however you look at it, to reflect on the pieces posted on the other side of the path.

We already viewed a representation of the parable of the lost sheep by another artist, which emphasized the end, coming out of lostness, being found.

This graphic portrayal, however, emphasizes the value of one sinner. The shepherd left the flock to go after one lonely lost sheep.

Jesus' audience were the tax collectors and "sinners,"  the ones who gathered eagerly to hear Him. Meanwhile the Pharisees and teachers were muttering in the background about Jesus' habit of hanging out with "sinners".
In response Jesus tells a story, very common to their culture, of an average sheep herder. So happy was he to find his lost sheep that he invited his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him, further emphasizing the value of the one stray that was recovered.

7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

I love the commentators' quote: "When a sinner turns to God, heaven throws a party." No wonder Jesus hung out with them!

Of the hundreds and hundreds who walked across that very bridge at Cornerstone, I wonder how many noticed the tall white branches and reflected on their significance?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy 101 Award!



Last week my DIL at smalltownrunner awarded me this Sweet Friends recognition. I would have to say that recipe is true about our relationship. I am very grateful.

The responsibilities, or rules, that come with the recognition are:

  1. Copy the award image into a post.
  2. List 10 things that make you happy.
  3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
  4. Put in a link to their blogs.
  5. Notify the award receivers.
  6. Recipients should link back to the sender’s blog.
And now, in no particular order, some things that make me happy. Instead of nouns, I chose all action words with  ing. Hope that's okay.
  1. writing--makes me come alive
  2. arranging photos--whether online or on paper
  3. knitting--keeps me awake while we watch TV and I keep my hands busy while visiting or traveling
  4. communicating with far away friends--e-mails, letters, Facebook, the occasional phone call to childhood friends in Argentina.
  5. traveling to far away places
  6. reading out loud to others, especially to children
  7. listening to audio books--makes driving, and mindless tasks more enjoyable
  8. giving away pottery--hubby loves the creative process and I enjoy finding a home for each piece.
  9. gathering with family--whatever the occasion or the group
  10. snuggling with hubby (is that TMI?)
Ten bloggy friends that brighten my day is a little harder, not because they don't make me happy, au contraire, it is because I do not faithfully get around to reading that many other blogs.
  1. Karen, at Small Town Runner. I look forward to what she is going to tell us each day, and how she tells it. She writes about running, about getting out of debt, about food and almost always includes photos. I learn something every time. (I know I am returning the award. I hope that's okay.)
  2. Kim, at Just a Southern Girl, is also family, my SIL, and I believe she has already been awarded the Happy 101 also, but so be it, her blog brightens my every day! She writes very entertaining posts, but people, she is in Argentina, my other country, where I grew up! So it's like a daily fresh breeze. (Actually nowadays it's a gust of warm suffocating summer air ;)
  3. Tina, her daughter, my niece, at Cristina Elizabeth, is visiting her parents right now and has a new blog. She takes beautiful pictures, loves fashion and food. She recently started photojournaling and posting once a week.
  4. Elizabeth, or Lizzie, at Zizzie Happenings, is another niece who blogs daily about life in general. She also makes and sells Zizzie Cards.
  5. Sara's blog ...make music from your heart to the Lord. Eph. 5:19 is another daily inspiration to many. I have never met her in person, but already sense a growing friendship nurtured weekly through the Project 365 (a photo a day) circle which Sara graciously hosts. And that, in addition to her very busy life as pastor's wife, mother, and more.

    I somewhat randomly chose three other Project 365 participants (out of the 25 this year). We all try to get around, read and comment on every one else's week in photos.
  6. LuAnn, at Daily Blessings, lives in Wisconsin (that's where my husband's family is from). Her husband pastors a large church. She labels herself a "pathological picture taker". She is very faithful to post a photo each and every day. And blesses us with her comments every week.
  7. Esthermay, from The Heart of a Pastor's Wife, also encourages each one of us with her sweet and insightful responses. I also picked her because, like me, she hates to scrub floors!
  8. "The Bug" blogs on Bug's Eye View. She is new to our circle. Already I like her; she hates to clean floors also! 
  9. Sherrie is an author and speaker on the subject of adoption. Her blog is Sherrie Eldridge: Your Adoption Coach. I value her friendship and am looking into seeing her materials published in Spanish.
  10. Heidi at Mom's, Ministry and More blessed me so much every day during her very successful Candle in the Corner giveaway and fund raiser for missionaries. I remember that I so looked forward to a virtual visit to a different country and missionary each day.
    I checked back this week and she had posted good reliable ways that we could get involved with Relief Haiti. And Friday she is hosting  the fifth annual Blogs for Life Conference Live, the live video stream right there on her blog on January 22 from 8:30 to 11:30am.

    There you have it. Now pass on the happiness.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 Week 3: Mid January already

Two grandsons spent Saturday night with us to give mom and dad a break, and grandma Debby watched the baby.



Before and after church Malachi and Grandpa worked on a Lego model of one of the concepts for the new robot. Then, a quick lunch and they were off to Muncie to the brainstorming session. Malachi himself presented the idea to the group before rejoining his parents.

Robot build season is off to a good start. Monday Mike had to assign tasks for building prototypes. The team has a blog to inform the rest of us of the progress.

Jessica and I went to Monday Night Meal and on the way there we stopped by Chef-son's studio to see his practice piece.


The gazelle was already a week old and the horns were drooping. Anybody explain how ice can bend?
BTW, his competition piece won a second place!

At the dinner I got to see and hold Zion. He's growing so fast!



My great accomplishment for the week was to thoroughly clean and scrub the wood floor. It is among my most hated chores, along with cleaning the oven. OK, maybe a few other housekeeping tasks as well. After they're done, however, I always ask myself why I don't do them more often.

 

Brutus, the cat, enjoys the shiny spotless look and feel too.

Wednesday I visited with Dad and Mother and spent the night in Winona Lake.
Dad doesn't say much anymore, but he sure lights up when he sees me.



I spent the night and tackled another all-morning cleaning job at Mother's--the cabinets under two sinks and the fridge. I decided that going through an area, cleaning and ridding, is a good use of my time when I go up for a day. And I'm convinced it is easier to throw away someone else's things. Maybe we should do this for one another.



Mother gave me a small quilt, could be a wall hanging but I am enjoying it on the dining room table with a Klaytivity center piece.

Being a "robotics widow" is not all that bad. While he was gone all day today, I went out to lunch with my former colleague and friend. She introduced me to a new eatery in Fishers called El Bodegón that serves specialties from South America and Spain.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Follow-up

Exhibiting the Work of the Holy Spirit, or Not?
The Parable about the Loaned Money



This is one where I wish I could remember all that our guide, art critic Nancy, explained about the piece. Something from art history, the significance of the three parts and the fancy metal trimmings. She may have explained the presence of a fish and other details. But, sorry, too much time has gone by, never mind that five minutes could be too long to remember things nowadays! Next time I will take my little tape recorder along.
I do recall one comment about people, faces and clothing in these paintings being rather generic and non-specific so that anyone could relate to the message and put themselves in the picture.

The story is about a man who goes away and entrusts his servants with different amounts of money to invest while he is gone. The footnote says that a talent was the equivalent of $1,000. So to one he gives $5,000, to another $2,000, and to the third $1,000.
The first and second put their money to work and double their amount, while the other does nothing with his.
The master considered his willful neglect so serious an offence that he casts him out as no good and worthless!
His portion was given to the number one guy.

What this says to me is that if I do not put to use what God has given me, whatever that may be, I am disobedient, faithless, and deserving punishment.

The painting illustrates the two extremes.
I like my DIL's comment: "I think it's appropriate that the person pouring out the money has a heart and a joyful countenance, while the person holding on to the money looks sad and has a black hole where the heart should be. It's a reminder that hanging on tightly to money does not bring us joy, but being responsible with it (including investing and giving) does.

It's all God's money anyway."

I was reminded of a similar story I heard recently. Bloggy friend Sara and  husband started this two years ago. On Thanksgiving Day each family member receives a certain amount of money to use for a good purpose. Christmas Day is very exciting and emotional as they share their carefully kept secrets, the stories of how each one used their gift to "pay it forward."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Memory Monday: The Potter's Story

As I was wondering what memory I could write about, Mike asked me to rewrite or edit what he'd written for his Etsy store profile. Then, it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in the story behind the pottery. So here is my revision. This is what you will later find on klaytivity.com (If you English experts see any other edits, feel free to comment.)

"Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I grew up and attended school in Milwaukee and high school in Racine. After a year of working in electronics, I attended John Brown University with a major in Electrical Engineering. But two years later, I went on a "short term" missions trip to Europe and ended up staying there eleven years. In Europe, I met Rita, who grew up in Argentina. After we were married, we lived and worked in Germany and Austria. Later, with our three children, we joined the crew of the ship Doulos, yet another arm of Operation Mobilization, the mission I had joined out of college. My work there again was in electronics, computers and sound systems.
After returning to the US in 1983, I worked part time and eventually full time at Taylor University, doing repair work and maintaining the phone system. In 1986, I went to work for Ontario Systems where I remained twenty three years, until April of 2009. 
I have always tended toward design and engineering but never toward art, so I thought. A few months before retirement I started dabbling in clay and was soon hooked. Since then my interest has expanded into several areas.
After throwing about twenty earthenware pots, I had the bright idea of single firing, and thought I could do that cheaply in a sawdust kiln. In the process, I lost about half of my work.  Thinking I had simply fired too fast, I slowed down the burn the second time, and again lost all but four of some twenty pots. 
Until then I had learned everything I knew about clay through reading and watching YouTube.  After these two disasters I consulted an art teacher at the local university.  He informed me that I needed to bisque fire first. bisque--I had heard that word before but somehow missed the meaning.
Within a short time, I had acquired an electric kiln that my niece had in storage.  The first bisque firing was completely successful, as was the sawdust firing that followed!  I have since built a Raku kiln and used it for both American Raku and horsehair, with good results.  The small wood kiln I built with free brick like the sawdust kiln, has not been used yet, still waiting for warmer weather.
Our house has a two story solarium and I have been able to convert the lower level into a pottery studio, small but adequate, with a beautiful view.  Last fall I was able to show my work at the ArtsWalk in Muncie, IN, and I hope to expand in that area.
I love the versatility of clay and the seemingly infinite possibilities for creative work.  Whoever would have thought that an engineer would enjoy pottery?"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 Week 2: Beginnings...

Christmas decorations have slowly come down, the cards remain.
Wanting to savor each one, I remembered someone who, after the holidays were over, pulled one out each day to pray for that person or family and wrote them a letter! I don't know that I will accomplish all that, but for the first week I chose these:


The Mother and Child card was drawn by a son  to carry on his late father's tradition of designing their own family Christmas card each year. Two others were handmade using cuttings, two are put out by Operation Mobilization, one came from a state penitentiary, one from the Netherlands and another from my dear Uruguayan friend now in California. So many stories represented in one photo.

Time to write out ideas, plans, goals for this new year. I got out all my tools: a Bible reading plan; a special cookbook; three types of calendars.



Mike and I are reading through the Old Testament together.
The free monthly calendar was too ugly to hang so I use it to write in all the optional activities or involvements and visualize in order to narrow down the list. Both of us are finding there is way too much we would like to do.
The pad of weekly layouts I use for daily to do lists and photos ideas for Project 365.
Elogio de la cocina, literally translates In Praise of the Kitchen/Cookery. A close equivalent is Joy of Cooking, however, it is very different from any cookbook I have ever seen. My SIL thought of me because it combines stories and recipes. One of the first articles she read in Spanish was an interview with author Cristina Bajo. It is printed on glossy paper and has beautiful old illustrations.


The first paragraph reads,
Cooking has always been for me, more than an act of nutrition, it is an act of pleasure and friendship, of affection toward my kin, toward friends, and a welcome to new acquaintances. Perhaps it runs in the family: my parents were excellent hosts; my mother, a very good cook.
I was immediately convicted of a lack in my life, and inspired to become a joyful cook. 

I completed a couple writing tasks this week and continue plugging away at others. One involves the artist friend who left us Christmas Eve. I moved his painting to this little shelf alongside some other treasured items.


I tried to sneak a picture of Mike in his newly set up pottery studio.
Oops! He must've heard me.


Today we set out early for the exciting beginning of another FIRST Robotics build season--the new game BREAKAWAY was announced via simulcast to some 59 Kick Off venues in 15 time zones.


The sunrise was beautiful as we drove in to Muncie.

While the team was brainstorming, I spent a couple hours at the new coffee shop downtown--VECINOS, Spanish for 'neighbors'.



Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Follow-up

Banquet at the World's End

The joint interpretation was difficult to figure out. I need the Hayward family members' help.
So, I studied the story itself.

Characters involved:
  • owner of the house
  • servants
  • invited guests
  • alternate attendees
Act 1: The Banquet
          invitation sent out
          RSVPs returned
          feast ready
Act 2: The Excuses
          post-purchase inspection of field
          purchase of five yoke of oxen (denotes extravagant wealth)
          just married
Act 3: The Guests
          misfits
          homeless
          wrethced

Then I looked at the three sides of the Art Station to match any of the above characters, acts, excuses, guests. Again, I failed to make many meaningful connections.
One commenter mentioned 'a lot of joy'. I also saw the laden table and a lame person. Another version lists those who were brought in as the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame.
The banquet was not postponed or called off just because those invited had other last minute priorities, i.e. rejected the opportunity. Instead, the servants were ordered to find any who looked like they needed a square meal and bring them in, and do it quickly, with urgency. They were the kind of people who would not feel comfortable entering a banquet hall, so they must be forcibly persuaded. The servants are told to bring, "all you can lay hands on."
There is a strong message here: How proactive am I in reaching out to those who are truly needy?

At the beginning of this series we noted that Jesus' parables responded to a question He was asked. In this case the question was: "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" From what follows, the answer was, Yes. However, that was not surprising to His Jewish listeners. The real surprise came in who gets into the Kingdom.

One commenter questioned the significance of using doors for this project. Perhaps it was to emphasize the point of entering the Kingdom, not missing out on the Banquet at the World's End.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings

Art Pilgrimage: Station # 12

This one was multi-faceted and about feasting. We've just come through a season of enjoying food and family gatherings. We were told that the art expressions reflected here, to represent Jesus' parable of the feast, were the result of each family member responsible for one section, that included a visiting family friend.
Have you ever attempted a joint creative project like that? I thought the concept unique, inviting, and uniting. Now look at the end product, what can you learn from it?



 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Week 1: Goodbye 2009!

A few leftover Christmas notes: a close-up of the butter-bell, and a few more handcrafted items.


Leah designs and paints her own Christmas cards each year.

 

Chef-son, the Carver, made all the guys a clay key chain. I wanted a photo of all of them, but that didn't happen. So here is the one for his dad, the duck hunter.


The latest ornament on the tree, made by potter/carver/friend Gina.



We enjoy our tree till January 6th, Día de Reyes.
However, I am slowly saying goodbye to Christmas, storing away the memories, and pondering resolutions, if any, for the new year.

Monday, Elijah was with us while the others visited grandpa Sholes and showed off the new baby. Only three are allowed per visit, plus little ones up to two years of age if they are on someone's lap. (Read about David https://deathbylethalsubjection.wordpress.com/)  

It took both of us to entertain the boy!
He helped Grandpa Mike with the snow-plowing and they also went around checking for deer tracks. And they built a ship together, one of Elijah's Christmas gifts.






Elijah beat me at dominoes twice! I can't even remember all the other fun things we did.
But I do treasure in my heart something he said,
"You know what God told me, Grandma?"
"What was that?"
"To fight the people that do bad."
"You mean, like the Elijah in the Bible who had to kill the evil prophets?
"Yeah"

A few days earlier, he had mentioned how he liked to fight and destroy. Our first reaction was a negative one, then we remembered men in the Bible called to stand up for God and righteousness, even as the prophet Elijah.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was very focused on the reading and writing assignment due, the last one.
Now I am wondering, should I sign up for the next course beginning January 21?
I have no doubt about continuing to focus on writing life stories, only a question about formal training vs. personal discipline in learning and practicing the craft. Deadlines and feedback are very valuable. Don't know if I can attain the same goals on my own.

Thursdays I feel relieved to have the pressure over. And on this last day of the year, we had an exciting event to look forward to: the robotics team that Mike mentors had their second annual ball drop.

 

Would you believe, this ball is more sophisticated than the one used in New York in 2007?!
Fun facts:
The ball:
60 aluminum triangles with 15 lights each, 900 total LEDs
42" in diameter
2 miles of wiring inside!
2 computers to run it
The scrolling display below has 420 LEDs.
This year's message: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MUNCIE FROM TEAM 1720 2009-2010

I was inside selling popcorn till the last moment.



A friend took this photo, the caption "Popcorn Queen"

Happy New Year!