Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Week 25: Travels

Many comings and goings this week. Elijah spent all week having a blast at Miracle Camp. I was amused by how appropriate the t-shirt message is for this action shot.

Miracle Camp photo credit

Monday and Friday groups of Cornerstone summer campers made their way across the street to MadJax for a robotics demo. The students ran the show; Mike observed on the sideline.

Tuesday I went to see Mother and had another delightful visit. We read three more letters from the past; visited "Aunt Margaret" and had dinner with the ladies at her table. There is a new resident, a cheery little 82 year-old, already a great great great grandmother--María originally from Texas, speaks Spanish and lives across the hall from Mother!

Wednesday Michael and the Taylor U and PhyXTGears Thin Sat teams left early for a day trip to Morehead State University to visit the Earth and Space Sciences deprtment, the ones who will be testing the components (thin satellites, designed and made by TU and robotics students) to be launched for space exploration.

Morehead focuses solely on space engineering, so they have state of the art equipment such as this radio telescope.

Moriah is the robotics student graduate who is working full-time at Taylor on this project this summer, and will be attending TU in the fall and living with us.

While Mike was gone, friend Debbie helped me clean house in readiness for Saturday's Team 1720 social, "Koch-Out."
Rebecca helped  as well! Nanna was really sick so while Mommy went to work at Cornerstone summer camp, the busy little one sprayed and wiped deck furniture with me, each with a spray bottle.
Looks like she overworked and quickly lost appetite.

Thursday very early, it was my turn to travel. My neighbor, Petey, had invited me to join her on a bus tour of three Historic Indiana River Towns with Ambassadair--Aurora, Lawrenceburg, and Madison--two full days of very well-planned activities.

The first stop was an art studio, home of 32 local artist in Aurora, where we painted bird houses. Mine is in the center. Can you guess which one?

Next we went to the Great Crescent Brewery for a wonderful lunch and a beer bread baking demo.

Owner's wife gives bread demo; Owner tells history of the place; delicious samples, variations of the beer bread.

Then, happily well-fed, we were on our way to Greystone Farm for a very interesting presentation by a master beekeeper with the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association,and honey tasting.

Master beekeeper presentation; back of display pannel; marked queen bee and her adoring subjects

Back to the historic jail and Council Chambers for a tour and to hear from Dr. Jacob Ebersole, back from the dead to tell us about his life in Aurora during the Civil War.

Historian, Ray, as Dr. Ebersole; me languishing in an old jail cell; restored early 1900's fire engine.

Aurora is called the City of Spires. I tried to capture a few of them as we rode by.

Dinner was at the Hillforest Victorian House Museum.

Dessert was in the formal dining room of the Veraestau Estate. At this location we were allowed to touch things and take pictures. Of course, I took way too many. For blog story-telling purposes I will only include one--my friend donning a hat, at my insistence, in the 1810 area of the estate.

Friday, after a good night's sleep in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Lawrenceberg, we headed out on a rainy day to visit Stream Cliff Herb Farm. We were only the second event in the big old barn where we heard about the family history of the place and their many events and offerings. We then blended our own potpourri.

Lunch in the tea room was delightful. I explored the gardens, chapel, shops, and gathering places and, once again, I have way too many photos. I chose one for the heading of this blog post.

The tour bus drove us to Madison and around the historic downtown including a talk by the local tourist guide. Then we had two hours to tour the fascinating city. Many chose to stay on the bus. Petey and I ventured out in the pouring rain. A favorite stop was the Galena Garlic Company where we sampled nearly all the balsamic vinagres.

Enough about my trip, well worth the money. Thank you, Petey for inviting me!

Saturday was the big day we'd long been preparing for, the team social. Good fun, food and fellowship, great way to get to know one another better--students, mentors and families.

If you made it this far--THANK YOU for reading!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2017 Week 24: Zion's Turn

 Instead of flowers, here's a volunteer leafy veggie growing happily in one of the untended areas on the south side.

Zion (7) had his first experience away from home and siblings for several days. He attended the Art Camp at Taylor University, two hours in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. So, we had many adventures together, including going to Stephan's Monday meal where he enjoyed making an ingenious Lego vehicle. The photo does not do it justice.

Other guests at the dinner were neighbor Jazmine and Karen's parents, Dolores and Red Mounts!

After second day of art camp, Zion could not wait for the promised Ivanhoes' treat! He studied the menu a long time and chose a Crazy the Clown sundae.

Zion was a bit homesick so Daddy picked him up on the way from one of his jobs for a night at home.
He was ready to come back the next day for the last half of Art Camp, this time he brought his bike.

Looks like Rebecca had her own art camp at Nanna's! Kayla was back to work this week.

One other highlight of the week was the wedding of a young woman from our community who travelled with the Circle Tour 13 team to the Basque Country.

Happy and dry on a rainy day in the Basque Country

Ellie and Wynn Coggin
In time for Father's Day, I doscovered some interesting tidbits about my father from his 1944 Huntington College yearbook. I hadn't known that his major was English, and was surprised by the nickname--Sammy! He was so young and hardworking--a first time dad, finishing college in the summers while attending Seminary, had a job on the railroad, and pastored a small church!

Sunday  noon, the younger boys came back for a few hours while big brother Malachi was at work so Mom and Dad could take Elijah to Miracle Camp and then get away to celebrate their anniversary.

We also had special visitors, dear friends from many moons ago, the Babcocks. Our adventures together in several diffent countries go back a few decades.

After they left, the boys and I played LIFE, Zion the banker instructing us on the rules of the game, his latest favorite!

Needless to say, many other pursuits filled up our week to the max. Michael's interests and responsabilities only seem to increase. We are thankful for the health, strength and wisdom to keep up with it all, and especially grateful for the opportunities to do what we enjoy!

Monday, June 12, 2017

2017 Week 23: Another great week

Petunia and catalpa blossoms

Three last graduation open houses this week, each fun in a different way.
Asher's, Sunday evening, the last one of the PhyXTGears student graduates, was held where his family celebrates every special event--the grandparents' spread in the country. Grandpa built the house, planted a variety of trees and plants, did the beautiful landscaping himself, AND has a quaint and fascinating shop crowded with his treasures accumulated over the decades. 

The front of the shop 

My hardworking builder and maintainer has been tackling outdoor jobs such as painting areas that needed it, mowing, checking the bees, and more. All of that in addition to the ongoing goals and projects of the robotics team. Even so he makes time for cycling almost daily.

And he manages to fit in a tandem date weekly. Can you guess where we ended up this week?

Elijah was with us most of the week to enjoy the FITS (Fun in the Sun) program. Wednesday he had his cast taken off and missed "mud day" which he did not mind too much. He still has to wear a brace for a few weeks, but could ride his bike to and from the church.

Elijah and I played many games together, and I only won one! His "strategery", as I call it, is unbeatable!

The high point of the week was Malachi's celebration. As a family they came up with great ideas for the open house and all worked heartily and willingly to pull it off. Beautiful, indeed!
As usually happens when there's a major event, some projects get done that otherwise languish undetected. Now I'm inspired to clean my oven inside and out and organize all the books in the various bookshelves.

We are grateful that Kristie is progressing as well as she has since her major surgery six weeks ago.

She had not been able to keep up with the hive and was ready to give up on bee-keeping. However, Bee-man Mike came to the rescue.  Before the party, he donned his protective gear, endured the heat, checked on Kristie's bees, harvested a goodly amount of honey, and got stung only once.

Jude admiring grandpa

Enjoying the video display and visiting with friends
It's a special blessing to have a chef-uncle to cater the party who also throws in an ice sculpture!

Nacho bar and ice sculpture by Stephan Koch and cake by Patrick McDonald

We had a wonderful afternoon visiting with many friends. In the midst of our conversation we rememberd that June 10th was the six year anniversary of our housefire.
I came across this memorable photo captured by our daughter. Amidst the ashes, a reminder of Jesus' love and God's promise to be with us always. 

Two more Leah-pics from this week that I just couldn't pass up, after all every post needs a Rebecca sighting.

In 1976. when Nanna-Leah was about that age and we were living in Vienna, Austria, in a little house with a big yard and many beautiful flowers, a team came through on their way to Turkey for the summer and camped there. Among them was a young man who drew this picture of our two children.

In amazing mysterious ways, our paths crossed again this weekend. Richard Sharp and his wife Rachel were involved in Serve Together Kokomo, a county-wide service project involving 47 churches and thousands of volunteers.

We only heard about it Sunday morning from Bob Craton, an Upland friend whose ties with Operation Mobilization also go back to those adventures in Europe. We made plans to go together and picked him up after the last open house, Lexi's.

Lexi, Malachi's girlfriend of several years

We wondered how we'd find our friends amid stadium crowds. Interestingly, they sat only a few rows away in the same section, and later on our way to Culver's to visit with them, we discovered they had parked directly behind us! What are the odds???

We were so inspired hearing the stories of their One Wish encounters. They ask two questions to begin a conversation. I leave you with the first one:  "If you could have one wish from God for you today, what would that be?" They offer a simple one-sentence prayer for anyone who responds.
What came to mind when you read that question?

Monday, June 5, 2017

2017 Week 22: Moving on . . .

Starting with Memorial Day, set aside to remember and honor those who passed on in the service of our country, the week was full of memories from the past and the realities of moving on.

Tuesday, I drove up to Grace Village again to help clear out what was left in Mother's former apartment. My first stop was at the local Cracker Barrell to drop off last week's travel entertainment, Rory Feek's This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever and pick up another audio book for the trip. 

I focus on memoir or biography in an effort to learn more about how to write in that genre.
The task of processing material about my family is ongoing with new discoveries almost daily.

My mother and I look forward to our letter-reading times with each visit. I read aloud, she comments. I take notes and ask questions. On this occasion we got as far as May 18, 1946, my second birthday. We came across so many little stories of things I did or said, cute and interesting to imagine myself at that age but also to  envision my parents with a first child and in a foreign land. 

I discovered five of these  pergaminos, parchment or scroll-looking documents, full of signatures, so many names of people from that remote past. When Mother and Dad left Argentina in 1988, each of the congregations where they had served, gave them one. This one is from that fist town we were reading about, La Carlota.

I came back in the evening with another car load of stuff to deal with. Ever since, I continue to sort and give away. I am thrilled when items find the right person or purpose.
Mother didn't have room for these Peruvian paintings, so I emailed and offered them to the cousins who lived in Perú and one responded right away.

I donated a large box of miscellany to the Helping Hand store.
Among the excess was a huge stash of yarn, all types and colors. I invited a young knitting enthusiast, to pick out what she liked. And I learned that yarn is a popular item at Helping Hand. But I still keep finding things not yet allocated.

Mother's new shower curtain came in on Wednesday and she is so very happy with it, "I never thought I'd have something so pretty." she told Ivan.

A little visitor Thursday busied herself watering my plants while her Mama packed up some of the items she wanted from Grandma Hoyt's stash.

My friend Darlene and I don't see one another very often. We try, at least once a year to celebrate birthdays.

This time we went to the practice concert of The King's Brass. The young trombonist we hosted a week ago, a 2016 Taylor grad who grew up in Kenya, was also the recipient of a scholarship in memory of Darlene's husband, Dr. Fred Shulze, a long-time professor in the music department at Taylor University. Check out the tour schedule by clicking on the link and find a concert near you!

Can you believe it, Michael's engineering interests and involvements never cease, only increase! Now he's into a program connected with Near Space Launch. PhyXTGears was asked to work on one ThinSat to send up some 200 Km into space and work in cooperation with Taylor University. Two robotics students are now working full time there on the TU component.

Friday the team had a planning meeting at TU and came over after for lunch. Zip lining entertainment followed.

Readying Moriah for the launch                                                       Thar she goes!

Saturday was Malachi's BIG graduation day, our third grandchild to finish high school. Kayla graduated six years ago. A lot happens in six years. As she put it: "Now I'm married, own a home, and have the best little girl." 

As the nearly 200 graduates made their way across the stage, I sat there calculating how old I'd be when the next grands or greats reached that milestone.

Four open houses over the weekend and more to come!