Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 Week 17: Joys of Friendship

As the weather improved this week, training increased. 
Mike tries to get out regularly for longer rides with friends or on his own. 
Time is running out. In little less than five weeks we will be leaving for Spain with a group. 
Half will be riding their bikes, circling the seven provinces of the Basque Country. 
The rest of us will follow in a van, visiting each of the capital cities.

Sunday afternoon ride

As we drive by the Taylor campus every day, 
we take in the steady progress in the construction of the new residence hall. 
This is the best I could do while driving.

If you read my blog you will recognize the name Sara from make music from your heart to the Lord
And you may remember that their son is a student at nearby Anderson University. 
That is why they occasionally stay with us when they travel all the way from Arkansas to see him. 
The Bowyers arrived Tuesday evening and left Friday.We had many delightful moments together.
They taught us a new game. Can you guess which one?

Thursday evening we all attended a wonderful concert at Anderson University. Jared plays the French horn.

Friday I opened a new blog, Doulos Days, to begin sorting and recording the memories of nearly five years spent on a missionary ship with our young children. Thirty years ago this summer we left that life and settled in small town Upland, home of Taylor University. 
Though we no longer work for the university we love being part of the community and are privileged to participate as fans and friends of students and faculty. We especially enjoy music events and theater performances. Friday night was opening night of The Curious Savage. The delightful characters kept us smiling the entire time.

Saturday was exceptionally beautiful, compared to most of the week, 
perfect for the beautiful wedding of our friends' daughter. 
Yes, Deborah Banker is now Mrs. Scott Ewers! At last! 
Their first date was October 13th seven years ago! 
And the wedding was held in the same place of the first date, 
also where they were engaged October 13th, 2012. 
However, they decided not to put off the wedding till October!

Scott and his lovely bride  Deborah. The last father-daughter wedding dance.

Dennis and Donna Banker
Some 43 years ago when we were living in Germany and expecting our first, 
Dennis and Donna came with their two little girls and the third on the way. 
We lived and worked on the same team for years and shared many life adventures together. 
The bonds of friendship are strong and sweet.

We were so honored and blessed to be with these dear friends on their special day and see the entire family, all four children married now and seven beautiful grandchildren.

Tante (German for 'aunt') Debbie loves her  nephews and nieces. 
All seven preceded the bride up the aisle. The oldest pulled the wagon carrying the babies, 
the girls walked behind each holding hands with one of the younger boys. 

The Babymobile
I think Selah reached up and touched Deslin's nose. Sweet cousins.

The wedding was like a reunion with other friends as well. Precious times.

Arlene Weber
This dear friend, also from years ago in Germany and Austria, 
is leaving in a week to visit her daughter and family in Uganda. 

Friendships whether new or from long ago are a gift from God.
These precious times of sharing here on earth are a taste of eternity in heaven!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daddy and Music

The Hoyt Brothers: Bud, Garner, Solon, Lowell

Music played a major role in Dad's life. There are many photos of him and his brothers playing instruments. 
I think he could pick up most any brass instrument (also called labrosones, literally meaning "lip-vibrated instruments", Wikipedia) and coax a beautiful tune from it. He was most expert with the baritone and trombone, however.

Dad also had a beautiful singing voice. After last week's post about the Christmas break revival meetings in Iowa, Mother wished I could have found a photo of the quartet. She was certain he had contributed musically to those services. Indeed he did use his musical gifts and skills throughout their ministry. 

Lowell and Solon (fifty years after the Christmas break revival meeting)

I remember that in the early 80's, when he would have been in his 60s, we were serving on the missionary ship M/V Doulos. During our stay in Rosario, Argentina, where my parents were ministering at the time, I arranged for Dad to sing at one of our ship morning devotions. I had to beg Dad to cooperate. He said his voice just wasn't what it used to be. I was grateful when he accepted and was blessed by his singing. However, it came with a cost. They had a very stressful time fighting traffic on the way to the port and even had an accident.

Mother and Dad enjoyed playing music together most evenings. Both played in church as long as that was possible. With Mother's assistance Dad continued playing along with the hymns much longer than expected. And Mother at 91 still plays the organ in her church every Sunday!

Last week when we heard that George Beverly Shea had passed away, a YouTube video of him singing at age 103 in 2011 resurfaced on Facebook. April 17th I shared it on my timeline with the added words:

"Imagining Daddy and George Beverly Shea singing together in heaven."

Several readers responded, grateful for the memories of Dad's music and the thoughts of heaven. Some said that George Beverly Shea's singing reminded them of Dad in his style and expression. One commented that Dad's voice or tone had a warmer velvety feel. 

Hmmm...I wonder if we could find a recording of Daddy singing. 
However, our heavenly reunion is drawing near. 
Then we will experience music like never before, and Daddy will be involved!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Week 16: Winter still?

Heard someone say yesterday, "Isn't this a great winter we're having this spring?"

Well, that sums it up--cold temperatures, high winds and persistent rain most of the week. Other areas of the country under snow. We, however, had an unheard-of school closing due to flooding. The Chronicle-Tribune, our county newspaper, had an article today about the worst natural disaster in our area--the flood of 1913.

Even so the buds, on the tree I look out on as I write, grow steadily each day.

Two grandkid-sightings brightened my days. On Monday, Skye hopped over to my car after my exercise class. It was good to see him, first time since his injury. Crutches and all he gave me two hugs!

Tuesday, Kayla stopped by. Anybody who comes is free to help themselves to a bouquet from the hundreds of daffodils.

During one of the breaks in the weather we planted the rosebush the Bible study group gave in memory of my father. I think we found the perfect spot. We will wait and see.

A new bird visited us, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

In his spare time Michael has been studying about and experimenting with casting, his newest hobby.
He began practicing with one of his more expendable sculptures.

Making a silicone mold
Other non-photographed events or accomplishments: two monthly meetings (mission board and American Christian Writers), and two writing deadlines for me; robotics parent-team meeting, two Red Barn pottery sessions and two work days at son Sam's place for Michael.

Friday I took Mother to Fort Wayne to pick up hearing aid ear pieces and have them fitted. Then I stayed overnight. She made a wonderful breakfast to prepar me for a group work-day to help one of our pastor's fix up a rental he owns in Goshen. Mike and some friends came by for me on the way.

We've decided it is so much more fun to tackle overwhelming projects with a group of friends.

As the tragedies of this week unfolded in Boston, we were reminded of the frailty of life and the extent of evil in the human heart.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dad--Christmas 1941

If I try to reconstruct Dad's story with absolute chronological accuracy, I will never get anywhere. So, as often as possible, hopefully weekly, I will continue to add a few notes.

A letter came to my attention yesterday, a story that included Dad before he was married.
I wondered what he looked like that Christmas of 1941. Three old pictures stood out as possibilities.

In the first he's being silly, but it is summer.

The second, I discovered, is his high school senior picture.

In the third, he's wearing the same tie, so may have been taken at the same time.

An elderly lady (soon to be 87) from Decatur, Iowa, wrote the following:

"Christmas vacation of 1941 this couple and three others [Dad and his brother Lowell among them] came to Leon, Iowa, for a revival meeting.

In August of 1941 my parents moved from nine miles out in the country to Leon, Iowa, and rented a house just across the street and 3rd house north of the church.

My parents did not go to church so consequently I had only been to Sunday School twice before that....

By the time we moved to Leon, Dad's aunt came to town and lived in our upstairs. She was a wonderful Christian lady and they had both attended the Brethren church for many years.

So my sisters and I all began attending the church, Sunday School and church morning and evening as well as Christian Endeavor...

I was saved during this revival meeting. I believe it was December 30, 1941.

My husband died ten years ago. We attended the Leon Brethren Church all the years of our marriage, except five or six when we lived in another county. We were married in that church in June of 1945 and had our 50th wedding anniversary celebration there...

Thanks so much for that team that came to the Leon Brethren Church over their Christmas vacation. They will never know the results of their service until we see them in heaven."

Perhaps Dad does know. He may have already met Mr. Luce.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2013 Week 15: Flowers, Clouds, Friends and Poetry

Flowers began to pop up from hidden and forgotten spots.

And one day there was an explosion of yellow daffodils everywhere.

 However, gray clouds turned into serious thunderstorms and hail that beat down the delicate beauties.
Wonderfully resilient, they dried off and continue to provide lovely bouquets.

Gray weather persisted throughout the week'
perhaps to help me stay focused and sit many hours at the computer and plod through many tasks.

Every day was punctuated with bright moments with friends.
There are no photos of these daily encounters, only notes in my journal.

A package from Spain brought a token of friendship--a flower I can wear and will not fade.

 Highlights of the week were two annual events:

1.  The 9th Richard A. Seaman Memorial Chapel, followed by a luncheon for family and friends

Notice the $2 bill we each received to keep before us and remember the ways Rick inspired us to live.
He started a tradition at Taylor University, where he was a well-loved professor in the business department.
Every student received a one-dollar bill.
At graduation they gave back the $1 and received a $2 to keep before them and give back the next year in an effort to bless the school that invested in them, double their giving each year and hopefully learn about compound interest.

2.  The 3rd Barton Rees Pogue Poetry and Arts Festival

The organizer encouraged me to participate. Friday I read poems by a friend in Uruguay which I had translated. The next day there was an article in the local newspaper.

Saturday I entered a couple contests: original poem and interpretive reading. This poem won 3rd place in the former--$15 certificate to a favorite eatery, Payne's!

When we came out of the closing ceremony, the week-long clouds had begun to part, foretelling a change in the weather perhaps?

Drama in the skies
Michael has had a break from robotics, went back to work on the house son Sam is remodeling, and is back on the bike (53 miles yesterday).

Today, Sunday, we look forward to celebrating our Sunday School teacher's birthday. There is an informal gathering at their home every Sunday evening for the college class (and the oldies that attend to provide intergenerational interaction). Last week we had fun watching two of the curly-headed members get their hair straightened, just to see what it would look like. Crazy funny!

"If you have it, go for it!"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 Week 14: Easter and Signs of Spring

We celebrated Resurrection Sunday as a family. Everyone contributed something to the meal and the decor, including creatively decorated eggs.

Notice the 'family egg' on the left. Can you tell who the different stick figures represent?

Leah's Koch-family Egg
I think baby Jude liked the eggs too.

My favorite part was retelling the Easter story with the help of the Resurrection Eggs.

And also the opportunity for a family photo. The Krazy Koch-photo is always a must, kinda like the crazy birthday song.

Other major events of the week were the death of a pet and the FIRST robotics competition.

Kayla watched and mourned Moe's death on Wednesday and buried her guinea pig on Thursday in the family pet cemetary in our corral.

Mike left way before dawn to meet the team and make their way to a new-to-them competition venue, Rose Hulman in Terre Haute, some three hours away. For three days he was extremely busy guiding the students through the experience and mostly working on GreenGo the robot, making necessary adjustments for better performance. Notice his look of consternation, or is it concentration?

GreenGo, Team 1720, and Mentor Mike
 As the saying goes, "When the cat's away, the mice will play." I stayed busy while he was gone: two friend's birthday celebrations and a T-shirt quilting retreat.

Here is one lady's James Dean quilt in-progress. We were helping her decide the placement of her squares.

It was fun to do this creative activity with other women and a very good instructor. I may show you my quilt when it is finished.

We've been waiting for warmer weather and signs of spring. Yesterday I picked the first bouquet of daffodils.

As you can see, this week I also enjoyed making collages using a photo editor called picmonkey.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Daddy's Birthday

Today would have been my Dad's 92nd birthday. Almost six weeks ago he was set free from the earthly boundaries of time and space and the extreme limitations of his frail body and was born into an unfathomable eternal reality.
As we reflected on his long life well lived we were inspired to imitate him in the ways that he served and followed Christ. I decided to look back on his life and write about him this year. What I discover and remember as we stir up memories and uncover records, I trust will encourage us all in our life journey.

I wish I could learn more about Dad's childhood. He was number nine in a family of eleven siblings. There are no baby pictures. The only one I have is of the firstborn child, a baby boy that lived only a few months and whose death surely marked the matrimony of Clarence and Anna deeply.

There is so much we do not know, and there is no one to ask.
So much I want to write and so little time.
But before this significant day is over I want to merely begin, crack the door open to much reminiscing to come.

I will close with a tribute posted on Facebook today by one who from age three watched our family closely and felt a part of us.

SOLON W. HOYT: Nació el 02/04/1921 
Mi recuerdo pleno de amor, agradecimiento, reconocimiento a quien me llevó al conocimiento de Cristo Jesús, por Quien soy salva por Su Gracia. Hoy, Solon Hoyt hubiera cumplido 92 años... pero el Padre Celestial dispuso, hace 40 días, llevarlo con
Él al Gozo Eterno en Sus Mansiones. 
Gracias a que El Señor lo pusiera en este mundo un día como hoy, es que pudo cumplir un Gran Ministerio de Evangelización en Argentina y otros países, llevando Su Palabra con profundo Amor por Él, gran dedicación, servicio y completa entrega a Su Voluntad, siempre acompañado por su amada esposa Kathryn... sirviendo al Señor de igual manera!.
Solon, Kathryn, Rita, Lynn, Aldo, Ivan, Alan siempre, siempre en mi corazón!.
Con Amor en Cristo, Graciela.

SOLON W. HOYT: Born on 02/04/1921
My memory full of love, gratefulness, and recognition to the one who led me to the knowledge of Jesus Christ through Whom I am saved by His Grace. Today, Solon Hoyt would have completed 92 years . . . however the Heavenly Father willed to take him 40 days ago to be with Him in the Eternal Joy of His Mansions.
Thanks to the Lord who placed him in this world on a day like this, he was able to fulfill a Great Ministry of Evangelization in Argentina and other countries, carrying His Word with deep Love for God, great dedication, service, and complete yieldedness to His Will, always accompanied by his beloved wife Kathryn. . . who served the Lord in like manner.
Solon, Kathryn, Rita, Lynn, Aldo, Ivan, Alan, always, always in my heart!
With love in Christ, Graciela