Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016 Week 47: Thanksgiving and Birthdays

This year we hosted the family Thanksgiving. Michael installed a lighted shelf above the dining room window and I put out simple and meaningful decorations out of reach of little hands.

I enjoy Leah's miniature clay figures every year.

The feast was delightful but best of all the family fellowship.

Zion read the Thanksgiving story. I commented on the adversities the pilgrims faced and read Jesus Calling meditation for the day. Our thankfulness activity for this year was to look back and think of the hardest thing, the greatest adversity, and give thanks, thus allowing God to transform our outlook and redeem our experiences. No one shared openly, but some immediately knew what it was they were to be thankful for. A good exercise for all of us this year: In everything give thanks.

This was also a big birthday week.
We celebrated Zion's seventh Sunday afternoon at the YMCA. He wanted to be able to play in the water.

Rebecca was eager to get in the water at first, but then quickly chickened out when Mommy didn't go in with her. It was just not the same with big cousin Elijah helping.

Swim suit beauty.                                           Silly face.                                        "Look what I can do."

Monday, several robotics team members went to another auction and purchased a whole lot of needed equipment. In the process of unloading somthing heavy, Michael, on the receiving end, fell down and badly twisted his right foot.
The next day he had it Xrayed. Thankfully there was no break. Tuesday evening at their regular robotics work meeting, someone took a picture of the two leg-impaired members.

Mentor Mike and Jessica ready to do the Riverdance
Wednesday I was deep into preparations for Thanksgiving, so Mike went to pick up Diane who always likes to spend a couple days with us over the holidays. She and I were fascinated by this squirrel and wondered what kept its attention for so long.

Wednesday was also Malachi's 18th birthday! 

We celebrated him as a family Thursday evening. After the meal, we played card games and waited for Samuel and Kristie to return from the ER where they went to have Sam's swollen hurting hand checked out. Again we are grateful there were no broken bones. They did run a few other tests as he was feeling faint. His work schedule has been so very strenuous. We are hoping he can get a few days of rest before he must travel again and endure ongoing sleep deprivation.

NO Black Friday shopping for us! It was more of a catch-up or recovery day. My big accomplishment was to put together the year-end newsletter to go with our Christmas cards. Would you like to read it? Leave a comment.

Michael posted this photo Saturday.

"This is what it looks like to cycle in Indiana in November...
and you thought I was just a pretty face."
He is very grateful to still be able to ride outdoors! And, by the way, his foot is much better.

Let Christmas preparations begin now! Let us lean into this period of anticipation, of waiting--the Advent season.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016 Week 46: Friends, Family, Fun

No more fresh flower bouquets to share, but only ones I colored on my weekly page.
The saying is fitting for our week--beautiful weather, fun times with friends and family.

We enjoyed gorgeous sunshine and record high temperatures for November, until the weekend.
I wanted to see how our real live birds were faring then, and capture the flurrying snow.

We enjoyed two musicals: one Sunday afternoon at Taylor University Theatre, and another at Delta High School Friday evening.

A view of Taylor campus during intermission
Otherwise the week was full of routine chores and necessary seasonal tasks.

Bi-weekly  recycle bin return                                                                               Annual winterizing vent closure
Michael's load is continually heavy with the responsabilities he carries for the robotics team, and increasingly so this week with the upcoming BIG move.
Even so, he planned a day off. In the morning we picked up the Cratons and met other OM friends from long ago, the Bankers, at Pokagon State Park. We planned to eat at the Potawatomi Inn. Upon arrival we saw the parking lots full of cars, we wondered whether we should have called ahead. There was a conference going on with 200 attendees. No problem, enough food and space for us too.

We had a wonderful time catching up, reminiscing, laughing, telling stories and could have gone on all afternoon.

Dennis and Donna Banker, the Kochs, Linda and Bob Craton
(Some hairdos seem wind-proof, not mine!)

We had to get home for the next big event--Malachi's and Lexi's performance in Fiddler on the Roof!

Hodel and Perchik                                                                                  The Edens
What a great surprise to reconnect with a couple from our country line-dance circles from years ago! Ya'akov was a professor in the dance and theatre department for 40 years!
I first met him when, in my very early days of teaching as a graduate assistant at Ball State, one of my students invited me to her performance and took me back stage to meet him.
Always a beloved teacher, now in retirement, he helped the Delta Troupers not only with the choreography but also with understanding of his own Jewish culture. He spoke highly of them, "They're great kids. They were like sponges taking it all in. Tell them once and they do it."
Several mentioned their gratitude in their program notes.
Malachi: "Thank you Mr. Eden for giving us so many helpful tips and support."
Ya'akov told us that the thank you card this large cast (55) wrote him moved them both deeply.

Saturday--the BIG MOVE began, from the shop at Morrison Mock to the new shop at MadJax, nearly three times bigger.
These are photos from last week when they were moving in the auction purchases. So I imagined them on this blustery day wearing jackets, maybe wool hats and gloves,

So ends a good week.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, y'all!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 Week 45: Change is Coming

Milder weather has lingered longer this fall than ever. but we finally got freezing temperatures this weekend.
I've enjoyed these cheery Klaytivity ceramic pieces on our table all week . . .

. . . also one last bouquet of impatiens on my little desk in the solarium. Yes, I finally pulled the plants from the window boxes.

Grandson Skye and his friend put in their final days of work splitting and stacking wood. Looks like we have enough for several winters.

Rebecca was our major entertainment in tap class. Even so, we did try to work hard on the two dances we hope to perform for the residents of the Upland University Nursing Center.

More grandkid pics for my Meemaw Moments: Sam's two youngest posing in their costumes for a goodbye picture with Daddy who was leaving for a longer work trip. (Thanks, Kristie)

I found the message of the page I worked on Thursday evening, while listening to friend Win Corduan's music gig on, rather amusing, especially considering the ongoing diatribe surrounding the election.

Michael has been weighed down with many concerns to do with PhyXTGears' move to the new shop in the MadJax makers' space. If the move-in date were postponed again, it would be impossible for the team to be ready for build season beginning in January. Even more importantly, could the different entities be able to come to an agreement. After several meetings, finally a workable plan was achieved and they hope to begin moving in next weekend! That is huge!

Another big blessing came Saturday when they found an auction where they loaded up with many furnishings and equipment for the new place at incredible prices.

I stopped by the Christmas craft sale where other years we had a table selling Klaytivity unique thrown pottery. Serendipitously, our walking foursome from a year ago was reunited! I was thrilled to see that Georgia had a display and was selling her beautiful photography.

That evening we had a game night at our house. A new friend brought her two boys. They wanted to learn to play chess. 
Then Leah and family came and they had Rebecca with them. Fun evening. 
We'll have to try that again!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Week 44: Memorable Events

One last bouquet of impatiens. I suppose fussy gardeners have already done away with their summer annuals. Mine were still blooming pretty, so I let them go. Today they were mostly buried by the falling leaves.

We've had such beautiful fall weather and unusual temperatures for this time of year. Michael has enjoyed riding his bicycle almost every day!

November 1st was Kayla and Matt's 5th anniversary!

Kayla & Matt's new mugs

That was also a historic day for the Chicago Cubs after 108 years trying, hoping, waiting to win the World Series. I am generally not interested in baseball. However, this week I stayed up late several nights to watch the games to the end. Michael was kind enough to explain the rules and answer all my dumb questions. We were all very excited to see Billy Sunday's team (formerly the White Stockings) become champions at last.

Friends from the robotics team, a mother and daughter, were headed to Winona Lake to check out Grace College. They invited me to ride with them and they'd drop me off at Grace Villge so I could spend time with my mother. Initially I said no because we had a big event coming up Saturday, but Mike encouraged me, and I was happy to run away for a day and forget all the work.

It is always good to have more prolonged unrushed visits with Mother. 

Thursday evening Ivan and Kim brought dinner and lingered for a game of UNO. Great food and good fun!

I planned to take a picture of the group later, but totally forgot.

I did get a photo of Mother the next day. After her regular Friday hair appointment we ate in the Grace Village dining room.

Mamita bonita

I didn't feel very motivated to do any of the work I'd brought along other than color my weekly page.

Being productive, making the best use of time is so engrained in us that we often chide ourselves for "wasting" time on lesser pursuits. Mother, for example, has enjoyed putting together the puzzles Kim brings her, but says, "I hope she doesnt' spend more money on those puzzles because I waste too much time." Even Aunt Margaret, another 95 year-old down the hall (former missionary to Argentina), was lamenting the half hour spent searching for just one puzzle piece.

Our mother-daughter time was relaxed and enjoyable. Hopefully I can do this once a month.

Julia, Moriah and I got back home around 6 pm Friday.

Surprisingly, with only one day to prepare for the PhyXTGears Kochout, everything came together in time and we had a great turnout (50?), and a wonderful time. As usual there was way too much food,
Here's a sample--Gary's Special. He uses special knives to carve this beautiful pineapple display.

For more check out my Facebook album Fall Kochout.

Today, November 6th, I am remembering the day 38 years ago when I gave birth to our youngest, Samuel Dale.

I came across a letter written months later.

"For those who haven't heard yet: Samuel Dale Koch was born on the planned date, November 6, 1978, weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz.  Daddy was present and it was a difficult yet very wonderful experience for both. Grandma Hoyt spent 10 days with us. Baby had to stay two more days in hospital after Rita was out. The first three days he was in an isolette receiving oxygen until his breathing was regular, then he was slightly jaundiced. How very thankful we are for a beautiful, healthy baby. Now at five months he's trying to crawl; he gets up on hands and knees, rocks back and forth and then launches forward.

The last days in Wisconsin were wonderfully wearing, the climax of a year of building relationships. Friends helped pack, clean, tie up loose ends. The church had a farewell service and meal for us, and their timely offering shall never be forgotten. Dear friends held a farewell open house for us and invited many other dear people we had come to know. On Thanksgiving Day we left in a very full Suburban. Rita and baby went as afar as Warsaw, Indiana, where Grandpa and Grandma Hoyt took very good care of them for three days. Michael and the other two children travelled on to Virginia where the ship Doulos was spending its last days in the US. Rita flew in a day later."

 Ah, long ago memories . . . I wonder how much Stephan and Leah remember of that trip and initiation to life on the M/V Doulos.

Looks like baby Sammy enjoyed his early days at sea.

We are so grateful for the son God gave us 38 years ago and proud of the man he's become.

Happy Birthday, SAMuel!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 Week 43: Crises and Counting Blessings

I confess this week has had more than one disconcerting crisis, but I am choosing to count the daily blessings.

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed seeing son Samuel, back from his intense work-related travels and with his whole family to watch Elijah play soccer.

Mondays, for me, are dedicated to teaching--prepare all morning, class all afternoon--which makes dinner at Stephan's such a treat. This time there was the added surprise of seeing Sam and three of the boys again.

Tuesday, Mike was dealing with heavy ongoing concerns regarding Team 1720's new location in the Madjax building. The move-in date has been postponed several times which could make it impossible to function during build-season. Other weighty matters keep him awake, like where will the money come from. Sponsors are not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the team continues to add new students and mentors, the Saturday EV3 (LEGO Robotics) Level 1 Workshop was well attended and staffed.

Wednesday, Michael went to the dentist and got the bad news of a root canal gone bad. Arghhh . . .

Leah, on the other hand, had a very successful visit Thursday. In a month, hopefully, her long road of dental repairs will be over for now anyway.

Friday and Saturday, Karen and I attended a writers' conference at Anderson University. She lives quite close, so the first day, I drove to their lovely place and then rode with Karen.
I enjoyed seeing their fall-colored landscape, the variety of chickens roaming about, and the three stages of rabbits--babies, toddlers and teenagers.

Mama rabbit with "toddlers"; Stephan's favorite "teenager"
That evening several robotics friends gathered at our home to play card games. Some had just experienced a 24@Taylor. Moriah also got her first lesson on using the pottery wheel.

On my way back to the conference Saturday, I was blessed by the sun rising above the Indiana corn fields.

Three grandsons came to spend 24 hours at our house. Mike took Elijah to watch a soccer game at Taylor. I played with the younger two.

Jude ran ahead of me exploring new paths. I discovered the other side of the huge fallen tree that Skye and his friend worked on several days.

Sunday afternoon, while Mike was out riding his bike, the boys rode his other vehicle around.

The day wrapped up with a celebration of Sam's birthday coming up next Sunday, November 6th, when he is gone on another work trip.