Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Basking with Basques

to bask= regodearse en; deleitarse en
To expose oneself to pleasant warmth: sunshine (lit.), spotlight (fig.).

To take great pleasure or satisfaction; to enjoy, relish, savour.
A member of a people of unknown origin living in the western Pyrenees in France and Spain (Euskadi).
The language of the Basque people; of no known relation to any other language (euskara).

We are still basking in the warm afterglow of a wonderful weekend.
Our house guests--the Ybarrolas, un verdadero vasco and his esposa, otherwise known in our family as Curly Steve and his wife Lorie--were here to expose our church people to an unreached people group.
Steve was one of the young men on our team when we lived in Europe. He was especially kind to our small daughter and she gave him the nickname that described his 'big hair' at that time.
He also spent some time on the ship Doulos with us when our youngest was a baby and remembers picking him up by the straps (?) and flying him around to Sammy's great delight.

The Ybarrola relatives live in a village in Northern Spain. Steve's grandfather's ancestors go back 500 years living in the same house!

Since the time our ways parted, 30+ years ago, Steve has reconnected with his ancestry, lived 15 months in the area with his young family, revisited his people regularly, and become an anthropologist expert in the Basque culture.

We thoroughly enjoyed the renewed fellowship with Steve and immediately fell in love with Lorie. And next summer we hope to be 'aunt & uncle' or 'grandparents' to some Basque young people as our church gets involved in Impact Basque.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Banana Bran Muffins

Following my dear SiL Kim's example in her blog , I will add a recipe to Linda's Fall Into Flavor .
My culinary successes are few and far between, and therefore merit publishing!
However, the recipe I'm about to share is not mine. It came out in an upscale magazine some years ago. I clipped it and came across it recently when I had several very ripe bananas that I hated to throw away. My grandson, an extremely picky eater (I cannot emphasize that enough) LIKES/LOVES/EATS these muffins. We are all astounded and acknowledge the significance of that endorsement. So, here goes:

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c buttermilk
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 c Raisin Bran
1 c miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, bananas and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in the cereal, chocolate chips and pecans. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
Bake at 350ยบ for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

--Alyce Wyman
Pembina, North Dakota
She experimented by adding the gran cereal to a banana muffin recipe and also by replacing the chocolate chips and nuts with chopped dates.
I suspect it was the chocolate chips that won over our grandson, and every other tastee since!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Random Reflections

Mike is back from a week out West in Idaho, his yearly hunting trip with brother and nephew, and in his luggage he brought some 25 lbs. of frozen duck meat.

This was another beautiful fall day though cooler than it has been . We went for a paseo, a leisurely ride, on our tandem. First we stopped to watch our grandson Skye's last football game. The season was good for learning and growing, certainly not a winning one. (Y'all would be proud of me, I think I finally understand how the game is played!)

Our next stop took us to Payne's, a unique artsy-type custard and coffee shop. Being a local hangout one is likely to meet friends or acquaintances. And we did--a precious young couple who have seven children, among them a 3-year old is battling cancer. They were out on a date, thanks to the kindness of our own neighbor who was looking after their children. This Wednesday Isabel starts a 6-week radiation treatment.

We are grateful to live in a very supportive community. We have been here 25 years now and have worked in a variety of settings and moved in different circles. Not a day goes by without a friendly encounter or meaningful conversation. And lately, I seem to come across former students more often, and they seem happy to see me!

Circles of influence, the contexts where I have lived and worked--that is one of the themes I've been reflecting on. I started to draw a circle for each one, noticing how they overlap or affect one another. I want to think on this further to gain insights into God's ways and His purpose for my life.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

sS, vV

My weekdays, moving between three schools helping English learners, vary greatly: from Kindergarten to 8th grade; from letter recognition (little letters/big ones=lower case/capitals) and practicing finding the ones that belong to their names (Luz was lucky, only three; Ignacio had to keep looking at his crayon box) to pre-algebra concepts I never learned (or forgotten by now!); from filling out IEP's, translating forms, interpreting for non-English speaking parents to administering spelling and reading tests and English competency placement tests to just being there for a diabetic teacher whose blood-sugar-level fell suddenly.
f.l.e.x.i.b.i.l.i.t.y is the name of the game. Those are some of the things I do as a "bilingual specialist." The title is fancier than the job.
Saturdays bring even more variety: I ran Taylor's Homecoming 5K; went to grandsons games--Skye's football and Malachi's soccer; did some shopping; and dropped in on former colleague's 40th birthday open house. And here I am attempting to make sense of all the day's thoughts and post another blog. (How on earth did they/we manage to reflect/write/edit without a computer in the "good old days"? Oh, there was no blogging!)

Anyway, many questions tumble around my mind, like clothes in the dryer.
People are always asking me, "How do you like your new job?" or "How's it going on the job?" And there is so much I am still trying to figure out, not only about the new job, but about myself and life's transitions. Like, why am I thrown into new contexts and learning situations over and over again. Is it wrong to question? Am I putting on a good front most of the time or am I truly content? Are there feelings I simply push down?

As I was running today, I overheard the conversation of the group behind me (obviously they were not racing if they could still converse!) The woman speaking was talking about story vs. Story and vision vs. Vision. My story, our stories vs. God's Story. My vision, our vision vs. God's Vision. How do the struggles and successes of my life story fit into the bigger picture of God's Story and His Vision and purpose? I need not know, simply trust and follow and love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Glimpses of the Grandboys

Skye (7/29/97), Malachi (11/21/98), Elijah (1/27/05)
Lest the boys feel left out, here are a few of the many recent photo-memories.

Upland Labor Day festival purchases. (Mom isn't going to like these boy-favorites.)

Grandparents Day at Desoto Elementary--Malachi.

Malachi--Saturday Soccer

Skye making churros at Grandma's after school.

Skye--Upland Cardinals quarterback

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sweet Seventeen

Kayla, our oldest grandchild, wanted a fancy dress-up dinner to celebrate her 17th birthday. Chef-trained son Stephan offered to prepare and serve a special meal for his neice and her three VIP guests. We are hardly acquainted with the level of sophistication he provided. It was a learning experience for all of us and especially the young ladies at the birthday table.
Most family members were helping produce and present the elegant courses.

Lovely Karen, chef's wife, and Mike in the kitchen.

We started with a Tableside Caesar Salad followed by an Entree of Peanut encrusted Balantine of Chicken, Swirled Yams and Mashed Potatoes, Carmelized Onions and Peppers, and Glazed Carrots, then followed that with a Lemon Sherbet on an ice plate for a palette cleanser and finished with Strawberry Lattes Tableside.

For a complete photo story go to: http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2043438&l=1c78b&id=161503279 . What the photos are lacking is Chef Stephan's ongoing humor-filled description. This event really deserved to be on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Friendly Faces

One week into the new job and still trying to figure out what, when, where and how; feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed at times. Today, however, after days of gathering information about the ELP (English Limited Proficient) students and meeting with most of the teachers from the three schools, I had a sense that things were beginning to come together.
Everywhere I go, I meet up with people I know from church or Sunday School, dear friends and new colleagues, some former students--all kind and encouraging, a very present help in this life transition. More importantly, however, we are a significant presence, strategically placed to impact lives in the schools.