Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018 Week 45


Michael's pottery--baby shower raffle prize
Sunday as we walked in to take a seat, our mouths fell open in surprise to see former pastors from many years ago! After the service, the guys told stories of past adventures.

(Lower) Jim Mathis & Newell Cerak
 Like the time on the Florida youth group trip when the bus broke down and they were so grateful for someone who could go under the bus, actually figure out what was wrong and then go and get help, make the Swiss shop owner happy to hear German-spoken and thus get the needed parts.
And the J-term Taylor students they took camping in the snow!

I continued what we'd started when Terry and Sandy were here--sorting through the family photos, letters, and mementos on the Koch side. Among the various discoveries, I was especially drawn to this treasured document--my mother-in-law's certificate of baptism and what she wrote on the envelope.


Michael spent several days taking down dead trees and cutting wood for the fire. Five of the logs he contributed to Stephan's timber frame house-in-progress.


The pleasant-for-outdoor-work weather held out most of the week. Thursday, Stephan made two trips with truck, trailor and tractor to pick up and transport the logs.

Meanwhile, the art club members were enjoying their weekly hour or two exploring, experimenting with various designs, paints, techniques.
Leah usually draws her own designs. This time she chose one of the patterns available and skillfully used her acrylic paints to add color.


Another member focused on the tonsured baseball centerpiece! Our neighbor's little boys found it in our woods.

 Michael enlarged and photographed the moss. Wow! It's a jungle in there!


After art club, the plastic-covered table was useful for Moriah's design and decorative project. She painted parallel opposite-direction arrows on two t-shirts--partner costumes for the Saturday Broom Ball pick-a-date event.


 A couple weeks ago she wanted to dress up for her volunteer role at the church's Fun Fest on Halloween. I offered my dirndl, which Mike gave me shortly after Stephan was born, i.e. some 47 years ago! However, she could barely breathe in it, so decided it would be difficult to play games with the kids while trying to appear like a German peasant woman!

Another reminder of the passing of time--Samuel, our youngest, turned 40 this week! They celebrated as a family with a meal and a play at Grace College enjoying Malachi's acting role as ........... & ............ Hmmm, I guess we'll find out next Saturday!

Malachi, the lowliest or humblest of them all!

Local craft fairs abound this time of year. Our friend Georgia, also an art club member, displayed her delicately painted shell pendants, beautiful photo-cards and a few pieces of Mike's pottery at the Matthew Marketplace Bazaar.


Nana-Leah, Rebecca and I went to show our support. So many vendor friends and I want to buy from each one! Little cutie gets whatever she admires given to her!

The Three Marketeers

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018 Week 44: Siblings

Leaves carpet the driveway. Fall is here.


Two brothers and their spouses visited us in the same week!

My brother and sister-in-law flew into Indianapolis on Monday and stopped for a short visit on their way to the Warsaw/Winona Lake area.

Alice and Aldo

Mother enjoyed their daily visits! I love this photo!


Tuesday we were eagerly preparing for Mike's brother Terry's arrival early afternoon. Michael prepared a great meal. Somehow, there are no photos, which proves we were deep in conversation, sharing, catching up, enjoying one another. 
At the end of the day, everyone checked their devices one last time before turning in for the night. 


Wednesdays we go to the Senior Activities Center for a good meal and fun time with community folk. Terry and Sandy were happy to go along, and were great sports to even join in the silly Halloween games.


Kayla brought Rebecca "trick-or-treating" to our house first because we had plans to take Diane out to dinner. She was so excited to see big brother Terry back in Indiana for a visit.



Thursday after a leisurely breakfast as we continued to sort through  many old photos, the brothers still had unanswered questions about their early childhood. So we decided to call their sister in  Wisconsin. We had such a good conversation, for me one of the highlights of the visit. We were able to put together a few more pieces of the life puzzle. We have a better idea when, how, why the brothers ended up living with a different parent.

Photos, questions, and intense phone conversation with Nan

We never did finish the card game begun the night before, but we filled Terry and Sandy's last day with activities. A tour of Taylor University for Terry. Mid afternoon, the obligatory visit to Ivanhoe's to coincide with Aldo and Alice's second brief visit on their return trip to the airport.


In the evening, after Mike left for his regular mentoring duties with the robotics team, the three of us went to see Stephan's ice centerpiece at The Amazing Taste, an annual event at Ball State University.  We also  walked around and tasted foods from many countries.


The last new experience of the day was a tour of Madjax--Team 1720's headquarters. As is his custom, if there is a student available, Mike asks them to explain the robot. Caleb, Moriah's brother, was the "victim" this time and he did a great job. 


Friday we said goodbye, grateful and honored by Terry and Sandy's extended visit.


Several photos of Jude enjoying his late birthday gift, made me happy to know he finally received our present.

Busy buddies

I hope the Comment window is fixed this week, and look forward to hearing from you about your highlight moments.

Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Week 43: October Fun

 One more week of pleasant weather as we ease into autumn. How long will life thrive in the flower boxes?


We were late celebrating Kayla's ___ (9+8+1+9) birthday. 


She asked for a family favorite, a fondue meal. We always enjoy the chaotic family togetherness.

Enlarged dual-purpose table
I love watching the young ones play together.


All week, Kayla's dance groups wore their Halloween costume to class (except our older women's tap group!).

"Anna" and her mini-version

Tuesday was Pixel's final journey back to Madjax for its retirement to the robot museum.


Michael was grateful for the good weather to continue cutting wood and preparing the bee hives for winter.

The huge fallen branch is nearly all gone, and the honeycomb frames clean.
We had two delightful young visitors in Art Club this week--members' grands on fall break.


Family members pumpkin-fun appeared throughout the week on Facebook.

Stephan and a fellow carver at Austin Landing

Top: Leah's painted pumpkins
Bottom: Sam and boys' carved ones

Finally, Saturday, we had a brief but wonderful reunion with friends from long ago. Almost every year, Fred and Karen Perry drive through between visits to family in Bloomington and Michigan. Sometimes they are able to stop. So many stories to share, it would take an eternity to tell.


This time Bob Craton (another OMer who lives here) was able to join us as well.


Any exciting encounters in your week?

Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Week 42: Art and more art

Mother's most recent acrylic painting

Sunday afternoon, even after arriving that morning from Louisville, I drove up to Grace Village for the annual ARTcare with Grace exhibit and fundraiser. I wanted to see what the residents have produced and learn from the teacher about the process, how he helps them achieve such excellence.

Mother's 2018 art 

Prints are for sale and also sets of cards. If you are interested, let me know.

A dear lady who often visits the residents, stopped by to see Mother. Becky went to Grace college around the time I was there. She has been a widow for some time. After sharing an exciting encounter with an Argentine lady who had served in Africa, she paused to pray for Mother. It was so sweet, I couldn't resist capturing the moment.

Becky Dick praying for Mother

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Matt and Kayla were celebrating his graduation from millwright in training to full-fledged journeyman millwright.


Zion sent us a picture of what he'd made for grandparents' day, but we missed because he was home sick. 
"So glad you are back in school, Zion, and proud of your 30-point reading award!"


Another photo I'm borrowing from Facebook, is Leah's painted gourds and pumpkin. So cute!

Franken Gourd and Count Gourdula
And I love how she brightened up my stained slippers.




This week's art club project was to decorate small gourd bowls.


Stephan was at the Milwaukee zoo carving pumpkins with a fellow-carver.

King of the Coral

I helped a friend hang her wildlife photography at the local cafe, The Bridge. Do you have a favorite?




I so enjoy turning my little watercolor-lessons into cards for notes of encouragement. This week I was surprised at how many had gone out.


I decided to give away of an assortment of my other cards to those who leave comments this week.

What did Michael do all week? A little bit of everything keeps him going all the time. He feeds the bees and the birds, cuts wood for the winter, maintains the cars and house, makes me breatkfast and often other meals, researches a variety of interests online, listens to podcasts, but his main focus is robotics. We are grateful for new and younger mentors who now help carry the load.
Saturday was the last competition of the year--CAGE. Team 1720 made it to semifinals despite a few robot failures. I watched all of PhyXTGear's qualifying matches (5 wins, 1 loss), alliance selection (#3 seed moved up to #2), and the semifinal (after the long power outage).
Strong winds knocked the power out briefly a few times here, but in Indianapolis for nearly an hour and a half.

Alliance selection
What do you do when there's no electricity?
The competition was called off only seconds or minutes before the lights went back on. So the event proceeded but with single eliminations only.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 Week 41: Breaks, trips, celebrations


Several family members were on fall break--Karen (teacher Burris Middle School); Elijah (Delta 8th grade); Zion and Jude (Royerton, 3rd and K); Kayla (dance instructor Cornerstone for the Arts).
Kayla and Matt took off for a vacation in Tennessee. Aunt Jeannie and Nana took turns watching Rebecca, and abuela (that's me) provided transportation to and from pre-school three days, and together with abuelo, to Basics Jr. family night.

Playing a game at Basics Jr.                                                            Ready to go to Kiddie Kampus

We almost didn't make it to Basics, however--suddenly our vehicles were stuck when the garage door spring broke. We made a few calls, and after a while Jimmy and Skye left work and came to the rescue to help lift the heavy door. Thank you, guys!


Monday was Jude's birthday and we remembered the day he joined our family six years ago.


The two younger grandboys were with us Wednesday night, their parents had to work. So Thursday, they joined in our art club activity of the week--painting pumpkins from Leah's prolific volunteer vine.


I'd promised an Ivanhoe's visit afterward. 

Proof of promise kept 

Stephan, in Holland, MI, was also having fun with pumpkins, cutting them up. Notice the titles he gives each piece: 
"I towed you so!" "Great blue orange heron" "No need to be Koi, Roi" "Catch n' flies" "Jeff Gourd-on gets squashed in turn 1"
 (He's such a cut-up!)



Meanwhile, we were on a mini vacation in Louisville, Kentucky. Can you guess what we were doing by the shoes we invested in?


Looks scary, but it was a very friendly and happy place. We joined our friends Don and Shirley Hunt (our former country line dance teacher) at an annual event they attend on the way back to their Arizona home.


Memories of a year ago kept coming back all weekend long--my sister-in-law Sharon's passing and her memorial service. Here is my favorite photo during the last years of her struggle. We had gone for a walk/romp with one of the dogs. Sharon loved her animals. They brought her much joy and she made great friends at the dog park.



Still more to share. Come back next week.