Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friday Fun

NC Spring Break Trip continued...

My friend Lorrie came over Friday morning and we had a delightful day catching up, sharing memories and enjoying a tour of the beautiful area.

In the evening we had a wonderful meal at the Iron Horse Restaurant.

As we were leaving a local string band came in and set up, so we stayed to enjoy their blue grass tunes for a while.
Hope you enjoy a taste of our evening fun, and for more about our little vacation here is a photo album.


Have you ever heard of such an -ology?

SIL mentioned the giveaway in yesterday's blog.

I just looked at it, and even though it is very last minute, I just couldn't pass it up.

For Christmas my granddaughter and I made aprons for every member of the family, and more.

Just recently I noticed that my husband changed his profile photo on Facebook to the one of us photographing ourselves in our new aprons. (See February 21st post.)

So, hurry up and go to Calamity Kim's Apron Celebration because the drawing is near--tomorrow! (And that is no April Fool's joke.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

God is our Leader

This lamp symbolizes two things for me:
--it will always remind me of the dear friend I visited this weekend, a favorite touch in her house
--the lamp of God's Word that sheds light on our path

Well, I said I would join Rachele's praise project every Thursday, and this was to be the first, but I was traveling in North Carolina and unable to connect to the internet. I wrote a paragraph anyway and here it is.

When the Israelites were traveling and camping for 40 years, they had God leading them in a very obvious and visible way. There was no doubt about the next move or the length of their stay in one campsite.
I was asking God for clear guidance regarding two questions, one more long term than the other:
What to do this week of spring break and whether to retire this year or keep working.
Circumstances, voices, leadings added up day by day and here I am in NC with granddaughter K, after a nine hour drive, in response to a persistent desire to visit a dear friend from 40+ years ago.
Before I left home, I was pressed by a phone call from Social Security to state my intent before the week was over, the decision became clear to both of us.
The future lies open with changes ahead and God our leader goes before us. Even if not by cloud or fire, He will show the way.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rainy Saturday in Madison County

Granddaughter Kayla and I are visiting my friend of 40+ years in beautiful North Carolina. The weather is rather dismal but our spirits are not. We are enjoying every minute of fellowship, eating, shopping, eating, viewing, eating, sharing, relaxing, eating, sleeping, walking in the rain...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday's Three Things (a me-me)

Tres cosas/Three Things

Three Names I go by
1. RiTa ('t' as in 'tea') preferred
2. Rita ('t' as in 'meter')
3. Mrs. Koch (pronounced 'cook')

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. high school and college teacher
2. secretary
3. waitress

Three Places I have lived
1. A ship--M/V Doulos (5 years)
2. Madrid, Spain (1 year)
3. Argentina (19 years)

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. 24
2. American Idol
3. The Mentalist

Three places I have been
1. Istanbul, Turkey
2. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
3. Lake of the Woods, Canada

People that e-mail me regularly
1. Family members
2. Argentine friends
3. Knee-Mail network

Three of my favorite foods
1. Dark Chocolate
2. Asado
3. Avocado

Three things I would like to do
1. Visit friends and family in Argentina
2. Tour famous places: cataratas del Iguazú, Bariloche, Patagonia...
3. Write life stories, our own and others

Three friends I think will respond
1. LS
2. KH
3. DB

Three things I am looking forward to
1. Spring break travels
2. 'Fogata 'n Fun' with LAH and students and families
3. Daffodils, jonquils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips...all spring growth!

Three things I hate
1. arrogance
2. hypocrisy
3. A lifestyle of lying

Three favorite sounds
1. Early morning bird songs in Xocenpich
2. All laughter
3. My new piano

Three favorite movies
1. The Sound of Music (first one I saw in a theatre)
2. Evita (so true to the Argentine history I experienced)
3. The Mission

Three places I would/could never go
1. Antarctica
2. the moon
3. Hell--Jesus paid for my rescue!

Three things I will never be
1. A nurse (I once thought I could :)
2. A sales person
3. A marathon runner

Three things I like to do
1. Travel to visit people & places
2. Take digital images/photographs
3. Interact with grandchildren

Three things I would change if I could
1. addiction problems
2. the wellfare system
3. prison population situation

Three people I admire and respect
1. my husband
2. my wheelchair-bound friend
3. teachers in public schools
...and soooooo many others I could list by name, who have influenced my life. Thank you!

I was tagged on Facebook and thought I could use it twice!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Week 12: Project 365


Isn't it amazing how new life pushes through all that rubble?

I got out and wogged three days in a row!
That's husband Michael, one and only, leading the way.

Fun Saturday walk in the woods.
The grandmonkeys enjoyed climbing the thick vines.

Work days also brought joys:
Jesús is so excited about entering an essay contest.

I so enjoyed reading the life of St.Patrick with my various reading levels.
There is so much more to it than green, leprechauns and trebol (shamrock)!

Friday, our first day of spring break, my three colleagues and I attended an ESL conference in the convention center across from this view.

Thanks, again Sara for motivating me to blog at least once a week through Project 365!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Midweek Meditation

God does not leave us comfortless...

A memorial service Monday, Daddy's failing health; death anniversaries of very dear relatives and family members coming up this week; reports of others in their last days...

All these reminded me of the pain of letting go and bring me to a poem I heard recently:

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

--Jane Kenyon (died of leukemia, 1995, age 48)

Evening has its own beauty: glowing sunset, fading light, rising moon; respite from the hastles of the day; conversation with loved ones...

Evening brings change, transition--whatever that may be.

Let evening come. It may lead into something so much brighter, richer, higher!

Meanwhile, "God does not leave us comfortless."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Week 11: Project 365

Artistic Expressions:
More and more pieces of pottery appear daily.
Creativity abounds.
I am very drawn to this poster and its message.
I see it at one of the schools I visit weekly.

I also see this decorative figure at one of the schools.
Lately it reminds me that spring break is almost here--a time for well-earned recreation.

Last week I wrote about Ice Art Alaska.
Here is Stephan's team's masterpiece: a sperm whale attacking a squid.

Today we celebrated his birthday and heard all about the exciting Alaska adventure.

Then we went out for a walk in the woods to admire God's handiwork.
The granddogs, Gryffin and Gracie, love coming to Grandma's.
They start yelping their excitement as soon as the car turns on our road.
See them rolling in the leaves; this is after they swam in the pond.

Yet another artistic pleasure: our friend Chris playing the piano.

Now check out other artistic expressions at Sara's, our Project 365 hostess.
And don't forget to live out your worship this week--that is true art.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stephan Alan

It was a dark and snowy night...

The time had come.

We made our way to the little hospital in the next village.

Our doctor is out of town?
Do you have anyone who speaks English?

There is a midwife but you are out of her area.

A phone call later, Frau Härtl came into our lives, ministered comfort, determined that a Caesarian was imperative, found the best surgeon, stayed with us throughout AND saved our lives. Her training did not include spanking the baby to make it cry, however this little one needed that extra nudge. She was called back later, I was in crisis, hemorrhaging. Again she had to be firm, raise her voice, bring me back: YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY.
They also gave me blood, German blood that gave me a ruddy complexion for a while!

We are so grateful for the life of our firstborn and the years of joy, laughter and amazement.

Happy Birthday, Stephan!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week 10: Competition Week

What a big week for two of our family members: the competitions they've been diligently preparing for all year!
Son Steph was in Fairbanks, Alaska, participating in the World Ice Art Championships This link takes you to the daily photos. In the group picture, he is in the lower right. Each team of four sculptors, worked 50,000 lbs of ice into amazing pieces of art. Tour the whole ice park online and be amazed!
DIL Karen joined him part way through the week and kept us updated as well. She was privileged to witness the final challenge when the crane lifted them in a basket to attach the last piece. In her word: "Watching Stephan and Stan fuse the last tentacle on 28' in the air was amazing and a little scary. I know I'm biased, but I do think theirs was one of the most stunning pieces in the competition due to its height, delicacy, and use of negative space."
The other big event was the granddaughter's dance competition. She had two solo entries, ballet and lyrical. Not many choose the most challenging--on pointe. Last time K entered, she was the only one we saw on pointe and due to the level of difficulty only earned a bronze. This year it was a gold!
My camera arrived back just in time, that is why my Project 365 collection feature our ballerina almost exclusively. Proud Grandma had to bend the rules of the game this week.

Cameras were not allowed in the Ballroom, so no action photos only shots of the nervous moments prepping and waiting.

After, with proud Grandpa.
Other memories of this week pale in comparison. I think I'll save the routine photos for next week. See ya' then!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Norman Alan

Today is my little brother's birthday. In his honor, a couple vignettes--old photos and memories of 1963.

It was the year of the tranvías--street cars free to whoever would haul them away. Dad had a great idea: why not put two together, join and remodel them into a church-like meeting place for the seedling congregations in other towns? So he shared the vision and just enough money came in to cover the considerable costs of cranes and and huge trucks.

Dad and his 'boys', the young men of the church, worked on refurbishing the used-to-be public transportation. They soon realized someone had to be there 24/7 to prevent vandalism.

All this to say that Alan arrived during this hectic time. Dad was able to get Mother to the hospital in downtown Buenos Aires, but he could not stay awake for the big event!

I found these cute photos to share. The one where he's playing with cars and trucks was especially interesting because he now owns Global Auto!

Hmmmm...do you suppose he was born into the transportation-repair-as-a- means-to-reach-people mindset?

Happy birthday 'little' brother!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Phone Photos

The camera was sent away to be repaired, so I was forced to learn how to use my new cell phone for taking photos, sending, uploading, and all that stuff. That's why I'm late posting (if anyone happened to miss me).

I will try to show the week's goings and comings.

The first Saturday I enjoyed being with grandson Elijah. I hadn't been there for a while, so he had to show me all his new things: new bunk bed with desk and newly arranged room; almost all his toys, including a baby doll named Twinkle Star; his books and DVD's. I had a great time being brought up to speed on this little guy's world.

My work week takes me to four schools. One of them is like my base where I have a whole classroom and a computer, and spend two to three hours there every day. Here's a glimpse of a small little treasured spot I see on my desk every day.

When I look up, in the back of the room I see the Argentine flag and it brings back many memories.
Most of the students that come to me for help have a Mexican background and are not very aware of the Hispanic world beyond their borders. I am educating them by displaying the map of Argentina and many items from around the world.
One student decided to wear the gaucho hat while testing, for good luck perhaps?

The second weekend, I spent with Mother and we visited Dad several times, always at meal times.

Dad is frail and failing in many ways, but still has a good appetite and a great sense of humor. Here are some of his comebacks:
Nurse: Could I have your arm, please?
--But I need it.
Someone else: How are you?
--I'm on a sit-down strike.
--Did you sleep well?
--I didn't stay awake long enough to find out.

Mother wanted me to play the piano for Dad and the other Healthcare residents during their evening meal. Several thanked me, but the best part was Dad's concentration with head bowed enjoying the music.
Though his voice is feeble, his faith remains strong.
Hear his heartfelt prayer:
"Thank you, Lord, for Thy wonderful goodness.
Help us to be more appreciative day after day."
If you think of us, pray for the decisions we have to make regarding his long-term care.