Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 Week 33: Rearranging

 Just like our flower centerpiece is rearranged from week to week, so our lives keep changing.

Rebecca's birthday celebration with abuela was rearranged. We met at our local eatery, The Bridge Cafe, for her favorite grilled cheese kid's meal. And she opened gifts, we read a couple books, and put together a few wooden puzzles. :-) A fun time to make up for forgetting her big birthday party when we planned our vacation. :-(

That evening at Stephan's, we enjoyed seeing friend Gina again and meeting her grandchilren. Her life and family are experiencing changes.

The focus of the week was to rearrange our things and be ready for our robotics-friend-TU-college-freshman Moriah to move in next week. She came over twice, once with her father to bring some of her things. This is what her room looks like now.

Michael accomplished many things this week. Can you tell what one of his projects was?

Saturday was a big day for our family. Malachi went off to college, to my alma mater!
We volunteered to look after the younger boys while they settled big brother into his dorm room.
We went to a park and had quite an adventure.

Zion Ninja Warrior
Yet another adventure, a visit with great grandma Hoyt. It was hard to remember when they may have seen her last and she needed help recalling their names.

The day ended with a meal outside my old dorm, and the opportunity to meet Malachi's roommate, Jimmy. He's a city boy from Chicago who has six siblings, so wasn't phased at all when the whole family walked into their room.

The farewell (Photo credit Kristie and Sam)
I remember when we dropped Stephan off at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, I cried on the way home. Life will certainly be different for them now, but very good too. Our hearts are full.

Sunday we had friends over for one last summer fling, two families with four kids each. Everyone tried the zip line. Lots of fun, food, and fellowship.

Yes, summer freedom is over. School and robotics begin again!
I thought I was done teaching, then the phone call. "We need someone to teach Spanish 101 in Muncie, a four-hour class one day a week beginning Monday at 8:00 a.m." I slept on it and decided to say no, unless they'd exhausted all other options. The week went by. Friday, a pleading phone call: "All my possibles have failed." I knew then that I was meant to do this. I'll let you know next week how it's going.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 Vacation Day 1

I fell in love with Madison back in June when my friend and I went on a bus tour of three historic river cities.  So I suggested it be our vacation destination. Clifty Falls State Park is only 5 miles from there, perfect for camping  (Michael thinks staying in a hotel is boring), AND venturing into the town. So after a leisurely morning we set off on the tandem to explore the town. 

We stopped at Clifty Falls Inn to see what they had to offer, or what we were missing.
From there we could see the landmark smoke stacks.

We noticed the decorated pig and learned that there was a contest going on leading up to their famous festival the Ribberfest coming up August 18-19. We saw many more dressed up pigs in our wanderings.

The first stop was the Visitors' Center where we saw a video and picked up informational brochures.

Lunch at the Madison Lighthouse Restaurant on the Ohio River provided great food and a beautiful view of the ducks and passing barges.

Next we ventured on a bicycle tour around Madison stopping at historic markers.

The first was St. Michael the Archangel Church, second oldest Catholic church, also known as the Irish Church, built in 1837-1839. It is one of the many National Historic Landmarks in Madison.

We headed back to the campsite after the the interesting tour, but just had to check out the power plant just beyond the camp entrance. The size was surprisingly enormous!

We knew that a very long and challenging climb awaited us at the South Gate. We did our best but had to walk maybe one third of the way up.

What a beautiful day. Perfect weather. 14.82 mi of tandem sycronicity. A wonderful first day.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 Week 32: Vacation

 Just a brief summary of our week away.

Monday we packed. The worst part of vacation is the packing and unpacking!
Ah, but a lovely meal at Stephan's was our first stop--a special celebration for Karen's 42nd.

Sushi, ahi & rice cakes, carrot cake

Spent the night in Indy. Wandered around the state fair tasting various $2 Tuesday specials and ventured on the new Skyride.

Next we drove to Clifty Falls State Park and set up our base for the week.

Supper and breakfast

The first full day we rode the tandem into the nearby town of Madison.

Thursday we drove to Hanover College and cycled that bike trail.

That evening we hung out in the Clifty Inn lounge to listen to former colleague Win Corduan's music on streetjelly.com. A selfie was in order to show off our matching t-shirts, a daily vacation tradition.

Rain was in the forecast for Friday so we didn't attempt a tandem outing but rather chose a walking tour of historic Madison and ended up at a fun concert in the park.

The weather was perfect, the atmosphere very friendly and pleasant. We sat on the hillside and played a 2-person version of Spades.

Mike was perfecting the rules, and I wanted so badly to learn and beat him so back at the campsite we played till midnight by lamplight and warding off insects with an espiral. That smoke reminds me of childhood summer nights.

Saturday we disassembled our campsite just in time for the 2 p.m. deadline. Last week when we hurriedly made our vacation plans, I totally forgot that  Rebecca's 3rd birthday party was planned for that very day. Oh, no! Mike had already made all the reservations when I remembered.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 Week 31: Slowing down

New  bloom on the block

As I sit down to reflect over the past week, I notice a little critter staring at me, and underneath a notebook open to "Writing Goals."

I look back over the few representative photos for this week and it feels rather soon to be posting again considering last week's Meemaw Moments came out on Tuesday. However, it's good to get back into a timely rythm.

Wednesday, my work was finished in record time. Michael was going to go for a bike ride. I begged to go along. Can you guess where we ended up?

The two afternoons Michael was at robotics, I paid Leah a short visit. Thursday we decided to go for a walk and invited Kayla. Little Rebecca warned us, "It's s'pposed to rain." We went anyway. By the time we reached the park where Skye was shooting baskets with a couple friends, the clouds look ominous and the wind was picking up.

We nearly ran all the way back to safety, just in time!  

Later Kayla posted this photo of Rebecca reading to Oreo the cat, a book I had just given her. 
(Does Oreo understand Spanish?)

Stephan posted this amazing after-storm scene looking out the front of his house.

Friday and Saturday, Karen and I attended an excellent writer's conference at Taylor University. 
It was her birthday outing.
Friend Rachael Phillips after her humor writing workshop 
I am so privileged to be in a local critique group. However, to whom much is given much is required. Will I put in the hard work to follow through with what I learned and the advice I was given for the next steps in my writing project?

This week I scanned  a group of old photos found among my parents things. One bunch related to my brother Lynn and his family. Among them many cute photos like this one.

First day of school
I gathered the photos in an album on Facebook and soon learned that Lynn's health had sadly deteriorated. The very next day he was in the ER. The diagnosis is grim--final stages of a liver disease.

We are cast upon God's unfailing love.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Week 30: Farewells and Birthdays

One of my favorite promises--a great reminder to carry with us through uncertain times.

We always look forward to Monday evening meal surprises at Stephan & Karen's--the guests, the conversation, the food, and often the dessert.


Michael continues to ride regularly, aiming for longer distances, but has been hit again this week
with leg pain part way into each ride.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are satellite and robotics 10-hour+ work days.  When the Ustream is working, I can sometimes catch glimpses of action.

In this screenshot Mike and Moriah are rewinding the wire that sprung loose from the ThinSat.

Sometimes I can reach him during those long hours. Like when I sent a picture of the squirrel attempting a bird-feeder break-in.

Squirrel antics

Everyday responsabilities and hosting duties kept me entertained at home. The Basque students had their big Cedar Point outing on Wednesday. They left early and returned late, so Unai, Sam & Kristie's boy, stayed here overnight before and after. Looks like they felt very much at home.

Thursday, I took Jon to another of our local eateries that serves great healthy food made from "farm to table" ingredients--The Bridge Cafe.

Friday was the big despedida. We bad farewel to our six visiting estudiantes vascos after a wonderful month with them.

The Upland-based Basque students; Jon, the monitor, our guest; Jon is very popular with all the little children. 

Saturday we celebrated Mother, still radiant at 96!

Photo credit Kimbery Hoyt

We met at a nice restaurant with my two youngest brothers and their lovelies. I was so grateful that Michael was able to go with me.

The waiter, who kindly took our picture, asked if we wanted to do a silly or crazy pose. We really weren't inclined to do that and instead suggested an old time pic where no one smiles. Mother, however, didn't get the message.

We realized later that this pose is closer to the current realities of family life. Two, actually three members, are struggling with serious health conditions. Add to that the struggles of starting a new business and keeping the old one going. Then there are family issues.
Yet we can trust, be thankful, and smile, the last chapter has not been written yet. (Read the promise at the top again.)

The same day was Skye's birthday, but we celebrated on Sunday with a campfire cookout.

This tender-hearted young man has had a couple rough years, but hung in there and is moving forward working full time now in the heating and cooling business. We are proud of him.

Trying to decipher the birthday code. Ah! Happy 9+3+8=20 birthday!