Sunday, July 28, 2013

2013 Week 30: The Big Move

It is safe to say that the dominant event of the week was Sam's family's move into their new home. We tried to give as much time as we could squeeze in to help get the house ready for the move. The photos will reflect that and more.

Sunday we stayed around here and had a very full day of our own. It was the college-age Sunday School class' turn to serve coffee between services, or rather those who help out with that age group.
Later that evening we joined the young folk for a cookout and college-age fun.

College-age Sunday School picnic by Taylor Lake

Definitely a busy day for our college Sunday School teacher and family. There was a shower in the afternoon to welcome their new baby, Caroline, number 3. Notice the unique shower theme and treats.

Also that afternoon daughter Leah called us to come over and tour the house they are moving into in the coming week/s. I suspect that will be the focus of our next week.

Leah excited about a new home and garden

Monday Karen and helpers cooked for Monday Night Dinner. Stephan was already in Columbus, OH, at the State Fair for several days of sand sculpturing. He posted this photo, one of several pieces.

Tuesday Mike and I spent the day at Sam's. Always a treat to enjoy the grandchildren.

Los preciosos--Zion and Jude
The move-in deadline was close: still no kitchen cabinets, no carpet for a couple bedrooms, bathrooms unfinished. They were prepared to live for a while with no kitchen, if necessary.
On July 13 Sam wrote on Facebook, "God's timing and provision are perfect." I wondered what he meant specifically. Nothing, only a reminder that God is faithful.

A few days later, an entire set of cabinets became available for an incredible price! 
Every day thereafter brought wonderful provision and noticeable change.

Kitchen before and after
Michael was able to be there some each day.
I, however, had registered long ago for a three-day writer's conference, and only popped in a couple times.
I worried about not being available to help at such a critical time, but over time received confirmation that I was where I was supposed to be.
The list of ways the Midwest Writers Workshop benefited me is long and ongoing. We were privileged to attend sessions with award-winning authors and network with writers at varying stages of their journey.
Here, 40 year reporter for 7NEWS Boston and award winning mystery author, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and a new writer friend with whom I connected on a variety of life experiences.
On a humorous note: I chose the half-face photo because she taught me the trick for finding your best side! Cover one half at a time and compare. you will discover your best side!

Keynote speaker and new friend.
I bought three books and felt rather extravagant. I comfort myself with the thought that I am blessing the authors and that these copies will be passed on and enjoyed by many. From left to right:
--Colleen Coble's hit the New York Best Seller list the very day I was attending her workshop.
--The co-authors faith and hope through their journey with MS, reminded me of two friends.
--The advice I received from Holly Miller to focus and leave out some details, led me to the third book.

Today, I opened Colleen's book and read her note which confirmed all I had been hearing, basically--Focus and Git r done!

These are only a few of the highlights and lessons from the MWW. Hope to cull many more in the days to come as I go over notes, read books, and write!
After the conference ended Saturday evening, I drove over to Sam's to observe firsthand the progress of the move. As I walked in I heard Kristie singing. She was working in her new kitchen! Then the warm scene of a recently used dining table and furnished living room greeted me.

Michael was there quietly working as he had many days before. I think he also enjoyed some grandpa moments.
Can you see where he'd been most of the day? He's still wearing the official t-shirt of volunteer for the Great Greenway Tour.

Today, Sunday, we said goodbye to the two Basque girls who visited our community this month. It was a tearful goodbye. I'm thinking about them as they travel, and looking forward to seeing them next year in their country, Lord willing.

Ana, Rita, María

Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 Week 29: Heat Wave

Temperatures soared in the 90's this week, more conducive to staying indoors.

That didn't stop Mike on Monday as he joined friends for part of their annual bicycle trip all the way up to Goshen. He only went 72 miles and had no problems this time.

Meanwhile I completed another blog post about our Circle Tour of the Basque Country: on to St. Jean Pied-de-Port.

Tuesday I joined Michael to work at Sam's and spent the day cleaning up the construction debris left on all the floors.

Lookin' good!
The added treat was to get to see the grandkids a few times and then at lunchtime! Baby Jude hasn't been around me very much. I was especially blessed by his many smiles!

Speaking of food...I haven't mentioned that Mike was persuaded to change his food intake following a paleo concept that he heard about from several cyclist friends. In a very short time he lost 10 lbs. which he had been unable to do over months of trying. He prepares the meals now and I benefit doubly--from the food and the time!
For breakfast we have eggs, bacon or some kind of meat, vegetables, and fruit sometimes.

Stuffed tomatoes, eggs, pepper
I've been surprised at all I can accomplish with that extra time. (Of course, I do the clean-up which often takes more time than it used to ;-)  Anyway, I was able to process another leg of the journey: on to Mauleon.

Friday, several family members met at the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana to celebrate Mother's upcoming 92nd birthday. We saw Half-Stitched: The Musical and enjoyed it very much.
I drove Mother and her neighbor friend from Grace Village to the theater 50 minutes away (Aunt Margaret to me).
"Aunt Margaret" (what I called her from when we lived next door to them in Argentina when I was four or five) enjoyed the ride more than Mother and commented on the corn fields all along the way, growing so thick and tall.

Niece Tina lives not too far so we stopped to see her new house.

A small sampling of  pics.
Which current guest room is my favorite? Which room will soon be the baby's room?

Kyle took this picture of the four lovely ladies.

Margaret, Rita, Tina, Kathryn
Saturday I packed food and stuffs to make a meal for Sam's family. I had fun cooking with the grandkids' help to find things and do little jobs. While waiting for the meal to be ready, Sam sat down at the computer and began searching for trucks to buy, maybe sell. As a busy dad he has to multitask. Zion is fascinated by trucks, so looks at all the photos online with Daddy keeps him very entertained with a running commentary.

Where did the week go? Go to Momma Frans' for more P365s.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Circle tour 13: on to Mauleon

We noticed the stream running past the hotel had swollen overnight reminding us of our theme verse, Habakkuk 2:14.

Another gray day, rain off and on. Group meeting was shorter, with promise of more that evening in another town. Then the cyclists took off and one of the vans left to pick up two new members joining us from Illinois.

The rest of us left for Mauleon (Maule Lextarre).

My view from the back seat
The landscape speeding by was beautiful though a bit hazy.

We arrived in Mauleon around noon just as church was letting out on First-Communion Sunday.

After the crowd dispersed, some of us walked into the church. I was especially interested in the well-worn prayer books in three languages: French, Basque, Latin.

Check-in time was not till after 3 p.m., so we walked around the town, exploring, enjoying.

Again the rushing water interested me.

However I did not walk up to the old fort.

It is sobering to see the many names of the enfants--the children/sons the town lost in the World War.

These details fascinated me.

After checking into the Hostellerie (built in 1810 and added onto many times thereafter), and after seeing what our accomodation looked like, next--find a spot for internet access!

Before too long Charlie's van arrived and the cyclists followed.

Another welcome arrival--Micky and M.C.--the couple we'd heard so much about.

To our surprise, the hotel people prepared and served us a lovely dinner that we all enjoyed together.

Would our new members be able to ride in the morning after their loooooong trip?
...or even stay awake for our special Sunday evening meeting?

Our friendly hotel staff provided bread and wine for our communion service...
and a torch to light the candles!

A perfect way to end the Lord's Day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Circle Tour 13: on to St. Jean Pied-de-Port

Was this the wettest, coldest, most miserable day? Yes, but also joy filled.
It began with the arrival of our friends from Hondarribia. They phoned us while we were having our group meeting. We jumped up and ran down to meet Amaia's parents, Alberto and Edurne.  To our surprise two other friends had come along, Gonzalo and Imanol. All these guys had done La Pyrenéenne together in 2010, and climbed the Col du Tourmalet on the one hundredth anniversary of its inclusion in the Tour de France.

It was so exciting to see these friends that there was no time for photos. The camera came out later in the day, however.

So, we left the lovely hotel with shepherd theme art in the lobby and traveled to sheep country in France.

After seeing the cyclists off, Laurie and I rode with Edurne, grateful for the opportunity to visit with her.

We passed our cyclists and worried about them on this cold rainy day.

Top left: waiting for more cyclists to arrive, Tate already there.
Right top: Basque Adventure van; middle: Keith, smiling as he struggles up hill.
Bottom row: Sara, Edurne, Gonzalo, Iker, Dane, Gonzalo, Imanol
Our visiting cyclists were not quite prepared for this weather and were freezing. After 30 miles when they reached the first meeting point, the historic Roncesvalles, they decided to put dry clothes on and ride in the van the rest of the way.

Viki and Iker (lower middle photo) have a business called Basque Adventure. They joined us for the day and later wrote about the experience in their blog with a link to the video they shot that day--Americans in Euskal Herria. Viki also rode the first 30 miles and later wrote about our group: "they don´t easily get daunted by weather conditions and are constantly joyous."

Smiling in the rain: Alison and Ellie
A couple of us ventured out to see the famous historic landmarks of Roncesvalles.

We crossed into French Navarre to our destination St. Jean Pied-de-Port, Donibane Garazi in Basque.

Barb and I, the two oldest on the trip, often together, decided to get some tea and a bite to eat and sit a spell. After all it was already mid afternoon and we'd had no lunch. Besides we are not most eager shoppers.

Our accomodation for the night was in a lovely village setting some miles from town.

The cyclists arrived before we did. We, the walkers, must have dilly-dallied too long in town.
Our visiting friends helped work out the hotel accommodation for each one using their French language skills.
And then it was time to bid farewell and See you soon!

¡Adiós, amigos! ¡Hasta pronto!
We drove back into town for dinner.

Meals tended to be lengthy events and fun times together. The food always superb!

Surprise! Beds in France are actually double instead of the two side by side we'd been seeing all along in Spain.

France, Spain

Good night, sleep well!