Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Achievements and special days

Every week, cousin-Karin shares a photo of her Sunday bouquet with us. We enjoy the Tennessee beauties and her artistry. She said this one is sparse, mostly delicate irises, difficult to arrange because they are so fragile.

Monday, April 26, was Kendra's 23rd birthday. Zach was here to celebrate with her. One Copeland family tradition I found out was that Mom made each of her children their favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their birthday. Kendra said her favorite breakfast is sweet potato pancakes. 
The girls actually made time for an early celebration meal. Usually they come upstairs at the last minute, ready for their first class of the day, wearing their jackets and heavy backpacks. They might grab something to eat on the way out. 
So, it was extra special to have a fun, sit-down sharing time. Here are three favorite gifts: a Cambodian flag from Zach; a Jane Austen mug from a sibling; and a pendant enameled by Moriah. The mug is especially meaningful because of the quote that describes Kendra perfectly.
There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others.
My courage always rises at each attempt to intimidate me.

That was not the end, when we got back home from Monday Night Dinner, a group of Kendra's friends were there decorating for a surprise party. They confessed to the many lies "required" to pull it off.

, I had a special event, the fifth and final gathering of the Scripture Memory group. Tables and chairs had been replaced by couches, an abundance of candles, and flowers to create a very welcoming atmosphere. Each of the dozen or so who had committed to a memorization goal, courageously faced the group of guests with microphone in hand, and recited our portion, sometimes haltingly. It was a powerfully moving time. We called that an M&M day--Memorization and Momentum. Each of us was so blessed that we want to keep the momentum going.

Fellowship time with Elizabeth, Rebecca's piano teacher.

My page from the group scrapbook. Jane and Elizabeth recite Scripture.
In the afternoon Rebecca and I had fun drawing animals (and acting like one?).

Wednesday evening we had set aside for a last "Household Hurrah"--a fondue. I spent the afternoon chopping, cutting, preparing for this last "family" celebration before the girls leave us in a couple of weeks.

Lest we forget Michael's ever faithful and ongoing dedication to the robotics team, I captured a screen shot of the live view. I check in sometimes to see what's happening, hoping he will be coming home soon. Here, after team meeting hours, he is checking on something. What is it?

I worked on revisions of the Spanish version of chapter 5 of my book scheduled to publish Saturday, May 1.
Friday, Kendra headed to Missouri with her marathon class to the event they'd been training for all semester.
Zach drove there later after his work day. All week he kept up with his job online, including a major presentation on Thursday. 

Zach was there to support Kendra throughout the run as well as her brother and sister-in-law recently arrived from Cambodia. That was a real surprise! Well, once they took off their monkey disguises!

Back in Indiana, while she was running, I enjoyed a day with the grandsons. Elijah drove us for the first part, a stop at Chick-Fil-A, and then to his girlfriend's place in Daleville.

I drove on with the younger two.We were so close to Stephan and Karen's that we stopped and Karen gave the boys a tour of the new house in progress.
Next stop was Minnetrista for the Bob Ross Experience and his art exhibit in the Oakhurst House next door where we also learned about the George Ball family's contribution to the world in difficult times--recipes and teaching people canning and preservation methods. I was especially interested in their hobby of collecting children's books.
Then we proceeded to the main building for other exhibits and much more fun.

When I am late posting the weekly blog you know we've rolled into another very full week. Much more excitement to come!

One final NOT-so-fun note for the week: 
Wednesday, Stephan fractured his left shoulder and suffered some serious bruising when a short ladder collapsed under him. We are thankful that it was not worse, and saddened for the pain and the delay it means for the house-building project.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

God's timing

The weekly Sunday bouquet from my Tennessee-cousin is made up of blooms that have not yet arrived in our region.

However, I do believe we had a weather event they did not experience--a heavy snowfall this late in April. Did I hear it was a 100-year record? I think Mike measured a 5" accumulation by Tuesday night
Friends with blossoming fruit trees, fear a total loss, like last year.

The tree I see from my writing loft, Tuesday and Friday
The Winter-in-Spring Wonderland was wondrously beautiful. The heavy-laden branches bent over our lane created a Narnia-like effect. Each of us commented on the snowy-branch tunnel we drove through, but none of us managed to get a photo.
Later, in the car with Rebecca, as we were listening to the song "He's got the whole world in his hands," she added "And the snow!" So true. Job referred to God's control over nature, “For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’" And the Psalmist wrote "He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes."
Snow is referenced often as the ultimate white, representing flawless purity. God's amazing gift of forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice in our place, also mentions snow: 
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

Top: Tuesday night (can you see the zip line?) Bottom: Wednesday morning 

The weather delayed the cement pour on Stephan's house from Monday to Thursday. Karen tells more in her post (Un)cooperative Weather
Michael helped at various stages of the process. The most physically draining was to shovel snow off the protective tarps, lest moisture be trapped in the network of tubing.
The least strenuous and most fascinating was to watch the pumper truck and the crew of ten men pour the cement.

This week, Abuelo tried to teach us to play chess. Rebecca picked up the roles and rules quite well. And, of course, she is very good with certain cell-phone features as the following pics attest.

Kendra made a meal for us on Wednesday--gyro wrapped chicken marinated in tzatziki sauce.

Wednesday, April 21, was Uncle Dan's 103rd birthday. He is my only living uncle on Mother's side.

Top: Hirschy siblings and spouses in birth order from L to R.
Lower: Siblings in birth order from R to L: Joyce, Harlan, Daniel, Lois, Kathryn, Philip

Four of them became missionaries, two in Africa and two in South America.
Uncle Dan and Aunt Eleanor were approved to go to French Equatorial Africa (now Chad) in 1945 and left in May 1946.
Four daughters and several terms of service later, they left the girls in the US and returned to Chad a seventh and final time. Here I quote from his biographical sketch:
What was to have been a four year term turned out to be four months. The government, endeavored to go back to the old ways, to wipe out all traces of years of foreign domination. All who had never gone through their idolatrous initiation rites were ordered to do so. Government spies were in the church services to see if the pastors were complying with their orders. I believe the Lord took us back to Chad to encourage the Christians to stand true to God. In the face of great persecution, they did just that. I remember messages being preached from Daniel about the three men who were cast into the furnace and Daniel who was cast to the lions. Rather than destroying the church, the persecution cleansed and strengthened it.
Eleanor and I were placed under house arrest and given 24 hours to pack our bags for eviction from Chad. But a few hours later a government car came to get us. We were taken 75 miles to Ft. Archambault where we were detained at the Bureau of the Police. . . At midnight we were loaded with our baggage on a truck. Two guards with machine guns rode on the back of the truck with us. We men sat on top of the 55 gallon drums and the women on a pile of suitcases. Following a 400 mile trip over unpaved road we arrived at the capital tired and filthy. That night we had devotions, reading Psalm 40 and tried to get some sleep on a cement slab in front of the Bureau of Immigration. We were accused of being subversive because our teaching kept the people from obeying the government demand to submit to the initiation rites.
Monday we were sent to Paris. . . We flew to NY the week of Thanksgiving. . . and traveled by bus to Pittsburgh. . . extremely tired, but rejoicing in the Lord's tender care.
They were willing to die, if necessary, to spread the message of the Gospel. 

This week the gifts I planned to give each of our families on Resurrection Sunday finally arrived, though ordered long ago. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Good Works

Cousin Karin's Sunday bouquet

I so enjoy the signs of life that spring forth from the earth and show their beauty poking through whatever is in their way.

One of Michael's contributions to Stephan and Karen's new house was to design and install the radiant floor heating system. This was the week to install the tubing. He worked there most days. So, for Monday Night Dinner, I just drove on my own and met him there. This is what I saw when I got there.

First the vapor barrier. (Karen explains and illustrates the process so well in her blog post "Radiant Floor Heating" in Meanwhile In Indiana.

Throughout the week 2700 feet of tubing were tied down with 2400 ties to cover an approximate 1500 square feet of floor. Exhausting work, hard on the knees. He did not keep a record of the countless ups and downs.

My greatest physical exertion of the week was to walk to a bridge nearby on Tuesday. Or, was it to scrub the floor? 

Wednesday was Basics Awards Night. Rebecca appeared in the program and met her leader in person! Every week Emily called and went over the lesson with her and chatted about their life and prayed together.

I stopped by Leah's two or three times this week. Thursday I got to see Kalani as well and even steal a few kisses from him. His Mom and Dad were on an important errand and we entertained him for awhile. I was reading a very funny book about Skunks. We laughed so much with each page. Afterwards, he began to pretend-laugh hard so we'd join in!

Friday afternoon we had another "shoot" to redo a scene that had not turned out well. 
Michael was able to finish up at Stephan's in time to come watch the process for awhile. He took this picture of us, film crew and actors. Kendra, on the left, is walking us through the emotions we need to portray with each line.

During a short break, I joined Michael and tried to explain the emotional weight of my part. 

Photo credit Kendra Copeland

Fridays I pick up the local paper, The Courier. Surprise, a photo and article about last Saturday's event.

Saturday, after working at the Helping Hand store in town, I stopped by Leah's and got to see the weekend project in progress--Jimmy and his brother Tony installing a new front door, along with all the surrounding changes and repairs.

One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." I am grateful every day for those things He's prepared for me, for us.

That was week 16. What has God prepared for us in week 17?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Beauty in Progress

Cousin Karin's garden continues to provide the varied bouquets she gifts us with each week. We, here in Indiana, are also enjoying the seasonal surprises of God's creation, though somewhat delayed.

Every Monday evening at Dove's Crossing (Stephan and Karen's place), I get to see the progress on the new house-building project with my own eyes. Michael helps when he can and I see pictures on FB or in Karen's blog. Here is my own photo of the window wall. Can you see how many windows there will be?

This week, however, Michael spent more time at Leah's assembling furniture and adding some final touches to the art studio. It is beautiful! I can see my daughter and I spending time together there making art!

West wall                                                        East wall

Michael had several very long days away till midnight. The robotics team, or some of them, met three evenings and tried diligently to meet the Thursday deadline for submitting a video of the robot in action. 
Meanwhile, I spent much time alone. Kendra persuaded me to attend "Shop the Loop" event at Taylor. Moriah just happened to meet me there and we went around to all the vendors together. She introduced me to a fellow engineering major we'd heard a lot about over the years. Kevin has a very unique form of art using a 3D printer. Can you guess which item I was drawn to?

Speaking of turtles (or was I?), I was finally able to successfully wear the one Michael crafted for me last Christmas.

Saturday, I joined Team 1720 and the Lion's Club joint bottle-cap-sorting party. We spent hours going through mountains of bags-full. I was mostly picking out the paper inserts while Michael poured avalanche-like torrents of lids on our table and scoured them rapidly for non-acceptable items. I'm sure we won in two categories: fastest and messiest! It was a fun time working together with team members, parents and friends.
Any of you locals who'd like to help out, may donate all your bottle caps. These will be made into benches. 

I was reminded of an art piece I saw years ago in the Art Pilgrimage of a Cornerstone Music Festival It was made entirely of bottle caps--Living Lilies.

At Sunday dinner with the girls, we noticed that Moriah's colors perfectly matched the food served. 

Michael made the wonderful meal, we all enjoyed it, then I rushed off to a bridal shower while the girls cleaned up the kitchen. (Hmmm. . . we will miss them when they leave in a few weeks.) 

Lexi's bridal shower was lovely, as is she--Malachi's bride-to-be! Rebecca will experience another first as "flower-girl" on May 22. 

It happened to be a very full day as we hosted a TU MuKappa event called Chai Chats. Looks like they are a tight-knit group! 😄 How many bodies can you count?

The conversation was directed toward sharing their widely varying experiences growing up as MKs (Missionary Kids), TCKs (Third Culture Kids), or CCKs (Cross Culture Kids).
I realized that I was probably the only one in that crowd with a higher degree of assimilation to the culture where I grew up, in that I attended the public schools, graduated with a teacher's degree and even taught there for a short time. To this day I have deep lasting friendships, and feel "one of them."

I am currently writing about my early childhood, and publish another chapter every 1 and 15 of the month in English and Spanish. I spent a good deal of time this week on Chapter 4.

This fifteenth week of 2021, was very full and hasn't slowed down. That's my excuse for the lateness of this post. 

Keep plodding on, enjoying the beauty in progress around you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Remembering and Celebrating

More beauties from Tennessee. Our few surviving tulips (from the 100 bulbs planted then ravaged by critters--moles? deer?) have not bloomed yet.

It's fun to see the house-building progress every Monday evening when we go to Stephan and Karen's for dinner. This time I took a picture of the floor plan on the wall to help me visualize what's coming.

Michael spent more time at Leah's this week. Do you notice the progress? Father and daughter seem to be on the same page regarding every aspect of the design. 

Lest we forget Michael's ongoing work with the robotics team, here is an action shot from my visit Tuesday evening. It was taken shortly after a group of visitors stopped by from the nearby 
We are truly grateful for the donors that make possible this great learning opportunity for young people.

Filming continued Tuesday with an evening shoot in the loft, my writing area.

And again Wednesday for a daytime scene.

My final acting bit was at the clinic nearby, where I "crumpled" at the news of my adoptee's death.
That was the end of my acting career and the crew applauded. I tried and failed to get a picture of that moment. But here, for posterity, is a photo of the team squeezed into my loft.

Thursday I was privileged to meet with a friend and colleague from some thirty years ago. Such a wonderful time of reminiscing and catching up on our growing families.

Another special reunion took place Friday, April 2. In honor of what would have been Dad's 100th birthday, we met with my youngest brother Alan and his wife Raquel.

I had recently come across my sermon notes from when Dad spoke at the first missions conference of their young church on his birthday in the year 2000. Maybe you can help me draw more meaning out my scant notes. I'd love to hear it again if per chance it was recorded.

Saturday was all about preparing to welcome the entire family for dinner on Resurrection Sunday!
Here you see some of the festive outfits worn for the occasion.

Various family members left early to celebrate with their other families, so we weren't able to act out the story from Matthew 28:1-10 as planned. 

However, the two boys were prepared and performed for us the part of the guards who trembled and became like dead men when the angel appeared at Jesus' tomb.
They had also made a video of the story with narration and moving crafted characters about. 
Wish I could post it here.

What a memorable day!

BTW, a"remembering" of a different sort happened as scheduled when I published chapter 3 of my book, Christmas 1945. Next episode comes out April 15.