Friday, March 27, 2020


It's time to explain my absence from blogging.

 A week ago today, we laid our mother's tired body to rest.
We had said our goodbyes a week earlier.
Soon after the Grace Village Health Care Center was closed to visitors, we were informed that due to Mother's rapid decline we'd be allowed to spend time with her (after being checked and wearing masks, of course).
My brother Alan and I arrived there as soon as we could. From all appearances she did not have long. Like I had done with Dad in his last moments, I began to sing Psalm 23 and broke down after a few lines. I managed to finish the song. But Mother lingered long. We called our faraway siblings and together sang many songs and hymns from our growing up years in Argentina. With the phone close to her ear Ivan said his goodbyes. At that moment we saw the first response. She opened her one good eye and smiled as big as she could under the oxygen mask. Then we called Aldo and again she smiled. Alan was especially moved and grateful when Mother looked at him in recognition, no longer the glassy eyed look. Raquel was on the phone singing to her also. We treasure those moments of recognition and response. There were no more after that. Did her spirit depart at that time, we wonder? Her body took much longer to shut down.
We spent the night and the next day with her but there was no response. Slowly, so gradually her breathing slowed. We went home Sunday night and got the call Monday morning from the nurse who held her hand as Mother's breath faded away.
We rushed to her side again. It was time to call people, make plans for funeral and burial, and pack what was left of Mother's things. Death is NOT pretty. We focused on images of Mother's new reality--the joyous welcoming party in heaven and her release from all the frustrating limitations and infirmities. No longer would she mouth the words, "I can't walk; I can't talk."

Alan and I met with the overwhelmed funeral director--three funerals by noon, a record day! Even so, he was extremely helpful in sorting out the details and complex options of our times. Meanwhile phone calls and messages crisscrossed the country in an effort to put together a meaningful celebration of life service.

Obituary for Kathryn Ruth Hoyt

Aldo (sibling #3) and Alice were able to make flight arrangements from Denver, Colorado, and arrived Wednesday night. We had a day together to work on the program and enjoy their fellowship including a visit to meet our second great grandchild born on the same day as Mother's passing.
I've dubbed March 16 as K-K day - Kathryn went to her heavenly home, and Kalani entered his earthly family. There is another sweet connection between Skye and his great grandmother, they have the same birthday- July 29.

Meeting Kalani for the first time!
Kathryn Ruth Hirschy Hoyt's memorial service, Friday March 20th was unusual and memorable, the last public funeral for a while anyway. It was held in Alan (sibling #5)'s church in order to live stream for all those who could not be there. As it was we had only sixteen attendees, mostly family.
Each of us shared memories. As the oldest, I was first and spoke more about the beginning of her life and ministry. Ivan (sibling #4) and Kim shared via video.
My youngest brother, almost nineteen years difference, came along when I was about to leave for college. He told of difficult and stressful times in my parents' life.

We shared stories from different periods and perspectives, so many that the service had to be interrupted in order to proceed with the scheduled burial in a timely fashion (and avoid a stiff fine!)

The family pall bearers made up almost half the congregation! Pastor Aldo handled the committal service beautifully.
Pastor Aldo Hoyt
And we headed back to the church to continue the program. No problem, we had plenty of time before the meal, except that the sound and video guys had to leave, so we do not have a recording of the last part--Aldo's memories woven into his pastoral message.

We had talked a lot about the music Mother would have wanted. We had great plans and ideas, but in the end they all fell through. I had found among my parents many papers, fifteen copies of Until Then and took them along. Perfect, just enough for everyone there so we sang together with Alice accompanying us on the piano. What a great message to carry us through until we rejoin our family members who've gone ahead.

We are so grateful for the way everything came together to honor our mother and learn from her life of faithfulness. Alice mentioned that as she was studying Proverbs 31 with a friend, she realized that all the qualities applied to Mom. And in keeping with verse 28, we all rose up and called her blessed!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Robots and much more

Monday, I visited Mother. In the last month or two she has declined noticeably. I wanted to join her in the ArtCare Studio which she's enjoyed so much since being in the Grace Village Health Center. Sadly, she no longer finds her way there on her own and seldom participates. I took her there to see the latest art pieces. 

Mother's last complete painting
 Michael Conley, who so faithfully and graciously leads the program, commented that recently Mother has been more able to color than paint. He pointed out her last completed painting. I commented on the light and shadow. He said she did that totally on her own. Her most recent attempt and incomplete painting shows signs of confusion.
Mother's final attempt
Next we went to the Monday Hymn Sing and joined the large table surrounded by dear elderly residents in varying stages of cognitive and physical ability, but all united in a love for the old hymns whether or not they could still sing.
My former professor, later president of Grace Schools, Dr. Homer Kent, is seated next to Mother.


I have been enjoying an organic produce delivery program. These are my Misfits for the week.

For me the week was a series of appointments and commitments. 

For Team 1720 it was a race to the finish, to have a working robot and drive team ready for the first district competition Saturday and Sunday. Michael was at the shop most days and survived several late nights. Then Friday afternoon he trudged off on his way to Bloomington with the trailer carrying PhyXTGears' 2020 robot, Infinite Horse Power, along with all the tools and pit equipment.

Saturday was a very exciting day of qualifying matches for Team 1720 as they climbed from the bottom third to #1! Students, mentors, parents watched from the stands. Some of us who couldn't be there were home glued to the livestream.

Teams, fans, and playing field
Others spent a great part of the time in the pits, either repairing the robot or helping other teams with their problems. 
One of the strong points of the FIRST program is their emphasis on cooperation and gracious professionalism. An example of this occurred over the weekend when a team which had lost their funding could only send the coach and one student to the competition. Other teams rallied around them to make up the drive team and work on their robot.
In the pit

After watching the last match of the day, I went to Kayla's house for Destiny's little birthday celebration--a game night.

From this photo, you may not be able to tell that her baby is due in five days! But I have a photo of Destiny and her "Kalani" bump on the job at Ivanhoes.

Instead of getting involved in the big people's game, I enjoyed time with Rebecca. Here she is with the blanket I knit for her as a baby. I think she has a Mona Lisa smile. Which pose do you prefer? 

Sunday Moriah and I had dinner at the Taylor University dining commons then came home to a very exciting afternoon of watching the playoffs with PhyXTGears on the #1 alliance winning all six games!

Sam, Kristie and the boys were there for the amazing finale.
This is my favorite photo from the weekend.

Grandpa explaining the robot to Zion and Jude

The winning alliance

There are two Kochs on the team. Can you find them?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Marching on

We've had several days of beautiful winter snow, but none that really hindered us much as the lane and roads melted it quickly and did not become icy, for the most part.

Mrs. Cardinal hiding. Mr. C flew away.
 Nor did the weather interrupt Stephan's sap gathering process from some 61 trees. Of course not, winter is his favorite season!

The syrup boiling continues even now with the amazing contraption he put together. (Don't miss the link to the interesting video.)  Here's a sample of the results.

We get updated reports every week. Speaking of Monday Night Dinner, here's an after-dinner Jiu-Jitsu move Jasmine is trying to show Stephan. She will soon be teaching self-defense classes and missing our dinners.

A  Memory Monday pic of the week goes back some 47 years to 1974 in Austria, a team excursion to Hohe Wand for some rock climbing. And there was little Leah in her stroller and big brother Stephan intent on something (?).

Perfect segway to talk about Leah's next health journey procedure Thursday--an exploration of the entire GI tract. This is the only photo she allowed. I think her little purse is so cute.

Leah did not feel a thing, except anxiety before the event, and went home with plenty of photos, not suitable for this blog ;-) Everything okay, only a couple areas that require further attention.

Meanwhile, the members of PhyXTGears are very attentive and busy preparing for competition, finishing and perfecting their robot.

Are they listening to one of Mentor Mike lecture on pneumatics or electronics, or watching a recent district match?

Mentors from a neighboring town came to observe our newly named Horsepower. Team 447 only has six students so they are working closely with our team #1720.  

You may have noticed that for lack of photos (only four I took), I borrowed a good many for this post. But let me close with one of my own--the calendar I put together for the family (that hangs in the beautiful frame Stephan made) now indicates the passage into a new month!

We have much to look forward to in March! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Presents and Presentations

Baby shower decor

For Memory Monday, I chose to remember a former professor and family friend who passed away this month--Dr. John C. Whitcomb

How I remember him

This week also marks the seventh anniversary of Daddy's passing. How sweet to imagine them sharing stories together in heaven.

Monday was also the day Kristie received her board certification, even completing the challenging exams a week early. Congratulations! (Effects added for emphasis.)

Tuesday, my new sister-in-law, Raquel, and I had a sweet visit with Mother. We also had an appointment with the same Elara Caring Hospice representative I'd met with some months earlier. Mother's decline is noticeable and this time around they had sufficient documentation to prove eligibility.
Raquel showing Mother photos on her cell phone; Mother re-reading Dr. Whitcomb's obituary
Every time I visit there is some significant change. The surprise this week was that Mother is now eating in a different dining room with aids that help the residents by feeding or cuing. Mother has lost interest in food and/or her brain/swallowing muscle connection is failing.

I greatly missed sharing the mealtime with her former table mates: Margaret, fellow-missionary in Argentina; Bev, long time missionary in Africa; and Vi. The last time I was there we had so much language fun--Bev teaching me phrases in Sango, Margaret saying things in Spanish. The papers that wrap napkin and cutlery are useful for little notes. "Aunt Margaret" has always amazed us with her prolific correspondence. And lately as her friend Kathryn could no longer use her voice, she'd write notes and shove them across the table.
Margaret's note; Bev's Sango lesson
January Taylor University Lighthouse mission trips gave their reports this week in Chapel and individual presentations in the evening. I was able to attend Thursday when Moriah and her team shared about their time in Central Asia.

 The culminating event of the week was to host a baby shower here Saturday for our second great grandchild--Kalani, Skye and Destiny's baby boy due in a couple of weeks.

Little shoes, booties, and a beanie
 For weeks now I've been having fun combining yarn scraps with interesting results. This creative outlet all began trying to knit items for the baby. This activity keeps my hands occupied late evenings when we finally sit down together to unwind and watch something before bedtime.


As competition season draws near, Michael spends more and more time at the shop. Saturdays are always very long work days. 
After the baby shower and everyone had left, Moriah helped get the house back in order. I think she took pity on me knowing I still had many alone hours ahead. We went for a walk together in the woods, and later she even took me to a very popular concert at Taylor--Nostalgia Night. Thank you, Moriah!

This was the exciting day when all the robot parts came together and they were able to produce a video for Robot Reveal. Teams all over send in 90"clips of their progress in anticipation of the competitions. 

Can you detect any resemblance to an animal?

Sunday afternoon we went to another presentation. Hannah, a Ball State student and PhyXTGears alum, needed an audience to witness her talk "Antibiotic Resistance"in order to pass a class. So, her good friend Moriah, arranged for that to happen in the Euler Science building (Moriah's second home!).
We had to show Hannah the unique features of Euler--the huge rotating mirror that lights up the mosaic four floors below.

And, of course, we had to take our visitor to Ivanhoes!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Love Week

Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal
For Memory Monday, a timely and appropriate old photo--Nick Roseberry and our son Sam. They were best friends. Nick passed away January 31st. At the viewing Monday, among the many photos, this was the only one of them together. Sam says they did not like to have pictures taken and would usually hide behind their skateboards.

Sam says that he asked him to be his best man, but Nick was too shy to stand up with him. His brother Nils took his place. Here they are twenty plus years later, mourning a deep loss.

Sam and Nils
Sam spent a lot of time with the family during the difficult days of letting Nick go and crafted a very special skateboard in his memory.

Wednesday, Michael surprised me with an early Valentine's gift--a dozen roses! And we joke, "It pays to stay married for 50 years!"

That evening, Rebecca and I stopped at Leah's after Basics Jr. and got to see the crib ready and waiting for baby Kalani, due a month from now.

Valentine's Day we awoke to the beauty of fresh snow . . . and the need to plow.

In the evening, three grandsons came to spend a couple days with us while Sam and Kristie had a work and study related Valentine's getaway. Sam had found a great deal on windows for their house remodeling project in Ohio and Kristie needed to study on the trip for her certification exam coming up.
The boys and I went to the Eastbrook High School basketball game to watch Rebecca in her first cheer leading performance at half time.

The cousins
Saturday we took Elijah to his soccer game in Muncie, and then to robotics on the way back.

At the shop we not only ate lunch with the team, we also got to observe the many different activities.
One kind mentor gave the young boys a lesson on leverage as they tried out the new structure on the playing field.
Somehow, our resident engineering student found time to help out like old times.

Moriah and her brother Caleb working, Elijah watching

We were also very privileged to be there for the presentation of the State House of Representatives Resolution honoring the team. 

Back at home, the younguns enjoyed playing with grandpa's Segway, taking turns riding it or running alongside.

That night, as we waited for members of our household involved in robotics, we watched them via the YouTube Live view cast on our TV screen. Michael's white head and Moriah's reddish hair were easy to spot.

Both mornings Zion chose to prepare his own breakfast eggs. Apparently he enjoys cooking. Perhaps he should apprentice with Uncle Stephan.

Sam and Kristie arrived back Sunday afternoon, and we said goodbye to the boys after three fun-filled days.

Now we are recovering! That's our privilege as grandparents--enjoy them for a while, then send them back home.