Sunday, April 22, 2012

Life moves on...

Yes, it does! In fact, at a rapid pace. The week was so full that I forgot most days to capture those fleeting moments for posterity. I will try to fill in the gaps somehow. Like last week, this one culminated with a BIG day on Saturday. I could overwhelm you with photos of Saturday's event so that you will understand why the week was hectic, but I won't.

It all began with Missions Sunday. Our special speaker was Marvin Newell. I have a book he wrote, it survived the house fire. Though somewhat damaged, it remains a very inspirational read.

Here he compiled the stories of all the Moody Bible Institute graduates who have been martyred.

For lack of a photo for Monday, I will show you the finished harpist sculpture as some have asked to see it.
If you have the time you could watch a time lapse [] which condenses the 200 hours of the the process into 6".

 Tuesday, the daughter and I met up at water aerobics. She always did love the water!

Leah enjoying a swim after the session
Wednesday we received very sad news. Martin's family was hit by a van--two children died, ages 3 and 5; mother and three others hospitalized; one teenager and newborn released the next day. He is one of the Amish men who worked on our house.

In the evening I attended the monthly writer's group. Our guest was a young Taylor student who writes primarily for children (upper elementary age). She already has two books published.

It is always interesting to learn from another writer's journey.

All throughout the week Mike and I were preparing for the celebration on Saturday: washing windows, mowing the lawn, hanging pictures (Mike), among other things; cleaning floors, food purchase and prep (me), among other things. Some of those other things involved the usual, such as volunteer and exercise activities, as well the occasional, like helping dear friends.

Among the many errands Friday, I stopped to visit Viola. We shared a light lunch--a huge orange each.

Saturday Leah came over and we spent hours together preparing for the  fiesta--an open house/wedding shower for Kayla and Matt. They found a house for rent and will be moving in May. Many people wanted to bless them as they begin life on their own.

Gift Table
Opening Gifts

As you can see I enjoy going down to Mike's pottery 'store' and choosing appropriate pieces for each occasion.

The younger ones enjoyed playing outdoors most of the time.

The weather has been so beautiful. Our woods is greening and closing in on us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Arts

This week culminated with the second annual poetry and arts festival in our little town. Interestingly, it was a Koch-dominated event. More about that later.
The week began with a Koch gathering for Easter. We do so enjoy getting together and are so grateful when it happens.

The Empty Tomb
The centerpiece could have looked better had I started the grass seed early enough. The story it represents is nevertheless wonderful!

For Monday Night Dinner we tasted sourdough pancakes, something from Alaska, as once a month we make our way Cooking Through the United States.

The meal is always great, but the fun and fellowship is equally so. The children present bring a lot of joy.

Zion petting guinea pig Moe
Mike was busy with his creative challenges this week.

Teaching at the Red Barn

Mending and finishing his big project in his studio at home.

Back in December he was inspired by a harpist we saw at a concert. He couldn't wait to get his studio set up in the new house to work on this very challenging sculpture. His perseverance and endurance amaze me. As he says, "Inspiration is minimal. 90% is work." Because he believed it was a purposeful worthy project, he did not give up even though it broke many times. I know he learned a great deal in the process.
Ready for the kiln!
After two careful firings, he added the strings. And she was finally ready for display at the Arts Festival.

Son Stephan was the featured artist with one of his ice sculptures designed specially for the event. As expected, the whimsical painter slowly melted. His brush was the first to fall off.

Michael exhibited other special pieces from his collection.

Even I was asked to enter my paintings.

I wrote the following to explain and encourage, and because this was primarily a poetry event.


I.          Take an oil painting class?
Could be fun, but no time
Still recovering from house fire:
Sorting, cleaning, replacing…

On second thought, maybe…
I loved art in high school and
Someone stole my paintings.
Forty years ago, my husband
made me a palette and gave me
a set of oil paints.
Sadly, I never found the time then.

The class is only two hours a week,
But, no, every new activity
takes more time than you think.

--What do you think, Michael?
--Go for it!

So I did!
Once a week, for several months,
Margaret Gugel worked with us
And taught us the basics:
Brushes and strokes,
Colors, leaves and flowers.

II.         The phone rang.
--Enter my beginning pieces
In the Upland Art Festival?!
--Margaret recommended you.
--Are you kidding?
I’m only a beginner.
--Go for it!
So I did!

III.       And now, friend,
What have you always wanted to learn?
I say to you,
Go for it!
                                    Rita Koch

The poetry reading sessions were lots of fun as well. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break

Spring Break affected us only indirectly: our grandsons spent some time here; Mike didn't have to be at the Red Barn; and I did not have zumba nor water aerobics.
We took turns being gone. Mike did not get back from Yellowknife till the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Thursday he joined a group going back to Henryville to work. And I attended a writer's conference the last two days. Here are the photos and stories.

Sunday we had a birthday meal for Jimmy. He really enjoys shooting guns in our woods, so that was the afternoon entertainment.

The crazy Koch birthday song

Some of us tried to play Chinese checkers, and were totally frustrated, then we looked up the rules online!

We heard that our guys in Canada had done really well in the first-ever ice carving competition at that location on Great Slave Lake. Photos and specifics started rolling in Monday. Here is a photo of the finished piece and a video interview about the experience and the sculpture titled Wave Walkers

Wave Walkers
Tuesday afternoon the two younger grands came to spend the night. Zion's recognizable oft repeated vocabulary now includes: gammaw, okay, hungry, all done, puppies, skateboard, meow (over and over and over...)

Wednesday we had a lazy day catching up from the week apart. Don't you just love the 'bed-head' breakfast pic?

Of course we heard many stories from the first-time ice carver about the wonderful father-son adventure and admired his gold medal.

Thursday, Mike was off again "paying it forward" in Henryville. Go here [] for a wonderful news story reminiscent of our experience--blessing out of tragedy.

While I was gone Friday some of the landscaping work got done.
A wonderful spring surprise was to see the 'dead' hydrangea blooming beautifully. Last fall, in mid reconstruction, we were given two gorgeous plants. We did not know where to plant them or what to do with them. They were moved around many times. Finally, one was planted, the other just sat. Guess which one has more buds and shoots?

The annual ACW (American Christian Writers) conference in Fort Wayne was an excellent time to learn and be recharged through seminars and fellowship. 
Then I spent the night at my mother's in Winona Lake and got to visit Daddy Saturday morning, help feed him breakfast and sing Happy Birthday--91 on April 2nd!