Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 Week 43: Cold is here!

I got the plants in and found a place for them just in time for the weather change.
Will they survive/thrive indoors? We'll see.

Last Sunday was still nice out. We got together for a belated birthday celebration. The kids played outdoors and almost everyone went down the zipline, including little Rebecca!!!

Krazy Koch birthday song moment
I pulled out Kayla's photos closest to Rebecca's age. 

Which one reminds you most of Rebecca?

Do you agree with Rebecca?

Three of us met Tuesday to do watercolor even though our teachers were gone for Fall break. I don't think we were as productive without Jason and Kari.

Wednesday we had fun with our friends at the Senior Activities Center. Which one is the real bee keeper?

In the evening I took Rebecca to the Fall Festival at our church. She didn't want to leave!

A little unicorn before we went, a tiger-corn when we came back.
I had a nice visit with Mother on Thursday. Again we were so entertained reading old letters, that I failed to take any pictures. I was almost home when this deer stared me down giving me plenty of time for a snapshot.

Michael continued to work hard at clearing our yard--chopping wood, removing logs.

Friday he was able to take a load to Stephan's--two logs that totaled a ton.

Two exciting PhyXTGears related items this week:

--The battery tester was enthusiastically approved by the robot parts distribution business and should be available for sale as of December 1st!  It is a small tool the team designed and worked on this past year.
Battery Tester (2"x2")
--The Muncie Journal published an excellent article about the team's involvement in the satellite program--"Muncie-Delaware FIRST Robotics Team To Launch Their Own Satellite Into Space."

The reporter visited several times and wrote an in-depth and accurate article, a great piece of journalism.

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017 Week 42: Goodbyes

 Last Sunday, the 17th of October, was a day of love and tears. There were two family gatherings and two goodbyes.

There was an early breakfast at Grace Village. My four brothers were together with Mother, probably for the last time. Lynn (69), in the later stages of liver disease and other complications, got his desire to see Mother one more time. His children were driving the parents from Pennsylvania to Nevada, at least a four-day journey. 

Mother and Lynn in front; Ivan, Alan, and Aldo in back
Aldo and Alice flew in the day before from Denver for Sharon's memorial in the afternoon.  
I don't know who to credit for these photos, but am so grateful for a glimpse into that rare and precious reunion.

Philip, Kathy, Mary, Lynn, Mother in front. Aldo, Alice, Kim, Ivan and Alan in back
We drove up in the afternoon. Kayla and Rebecca  rode with us. 

A short siesta while we wait for Mother to get back from church.
The rest of Leah's family arrived soon after. It was so comforting to have most of our family there. 
Sharon was a favorite aunt. 
Stephan arrived straight from Michigan where he'd been carving pumpkins. Sam's family came in time for the service at 4:00. But this was the only family grouping I managed to capture.

Jimmy, Leah, Skye, Kayla, Rebecca
It was a long day for Rebecca, but she was so good. 

Top right: "Come play with me, abuela."
Bottom right: "I'm bored." (Photo credit Leah)
Abuelo trying his hand at a fancy do. Rebecca and Pearl being so patient.
I love this memory of Mother, Alan, and Pablo. 
Alan was alone. Sharon's boys and siblings somehow shied away from the front row reserved for closest family. Mother made her way to the front and joined her youngest son. He was the one who spent the most years at home as an "only child."
Pablo Coria plays beautifully, like his father before him--all dear friends from Argentina. Michael said that in his mind he was hearing the words of the hymns as from Sharon's perpective.

Waiting to hear from Sharon while listening to beautiful piano music.
We gathered to say goodbye to Sharon, but it was she who spoke to us. When the end was near, Sharon asked to speak with the pastor in private and told him what she wanted to say to those she knew would be at her memorial. He recorded the conversation and then included her words verbatim in his talk. Sharon loved animals. She spoke directly to her dear friends from the dog park who would never have stepped foot in a church. She told them how much she loved them and longed to see them in eternity. She wanted to go ahead and help prepare a place for them in heaven. 

During the meal after, we got to meet and talk to many. I love seeing these cousins together.

Jimmy, Skye, Malachi.

Lovely mother-daughter and handsome photo-bomber, Elijah 

The Western-bound travelers posted photos each day of their progress. They made it safely Tuesday!

Now for the rest of our week.
Monday mornings are a bit rough for me: get up early; 40 minute drive; on my feet teaching for four hours. After that I am hungry and tired. It is a treat when friend Julia (Moriah's mom) meets me for lunch right after. Not long ago she had an accident. As she put it, she prayed for God to redeem the situation. Here she is showing off her new wheels.

After a refreshing nap, I went to watch Rebecca in her dance class. It was Halloween costume dress-up day.

In our third watercolor class: we learned about the color wheel; how the colors interact with each other; we practiced layering "washes"; and we made cards.

 ALL week Michael was working on cutting wood. He chopped, moved and stacked. The weather was beautiful, perfect.

 He felled a couple more dead trees, one was huge.

Stephan came  and hauled away as many logs as the trailer could bear. He has two or three more loads to pick up. These are destined to become part of the timber-frame home he is working toward.

Friday after a long week, we went for perhaps our last tandem date of the season. The mild weather cannot last much longer.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017 Week 41: Earthly Farewells

The week was overshadowed by two earthly losses/heaven's gain.

In memory of Viola

Yet our earthly pilgrimage must go on as usual: teaching, grading, writing, tap class, for me; robotics, pottery, and so much more for Michael.
Our resident student had a visit from her best friend and is now on Fall break after surviving seven weeks of a grueling schedule.

Water color class is going well. This week we transfered a child's drawing and then practiced the techniques Jason is trying to teach us.
Jason's water colors using his kids'art

Then we worked on a still life. I realized that I am too realistic, not artsy. We have such a good time together, enjoying the process as well as the results.
Leah's, Stephan's, Kari's, and my pumpkins

Speaking of pumpkins. . . Stephan has been very busy carving and shaping them into the most unusual rearrangements.

Tractor; Pumpkin Pele doing a bicycle kick; Lighted Pumpkin Clock; . . .

Thursday morning my brother Alan shared this tribute to his beloved wife:
Early in the morning of October 12, 1492, a sailor on board the Pinta sighted land, beginning a new era of European exploration and expansion. The next day, the ninety crew members of Columbus’ three-ship fleet ventured onto the Bahamian island that he named San Salvador (now Watling Island, and then called Guanahaní by the natives), ending a voyage begun nearly ten weeks earlier in Palos, Spain."
Early in the morning of October 12, 2017, Sharon Lynn Hoyt, my shipmate for nearly 35 years sighted land, beginning our new era of exploration. Here is her last text to me: "First you have to build the wooden sailboat, then we’ll go on a long cruise". To the very end her thoughts and dreams were for and about me and her boys. Her words to me over the last couple of days were about preparing a place for me. She asked me to never forget Romans 8:8-23

Today she discovered freedom, everlasting love, the reality of the truth we all crave to touch and see.

Sharon's journey with cancer lasted five torturous years of multiple surgeries and every treatment available. She fought with courage and grace and never lost hope.

In 2013 when Dad passed away she was already going through chemo.

Top: With Mother, four brothers and spouses;
Bottom left: my favorite photo of Alan and Sharon. Bottom right: The last time I saw Sharon, Mother's 96th birthday in July.

A very timely memory popped up the next day, a painting I was drawn to when we visited the Art Prize several years ago. It speaks to me now, of the grief journey ahead for Alan and the two boys, Nicolas (28), Daniel (almost 27). I especially love the reminder of Who is there for them, and of the promise in Luke 21:19 (The Voice)

Friday we celebrated the life of my dear friend Viola Fights (86).
As a tall beautiful 18 year old she was headed to college and a promising future when she contracted polio and her life was altered forever. The disease did not hold her back. She married and raised six children and more that ended up in her care. She was not one to complain, though trapped in a body with increasing limitations. When we met thirty three years ago she could still walk with leg braces and crutches and almost daily walked by our house in the neighborhood. Post polio took its toll over the years. Then for years she got around town on her scooter until gradually she became totally bedridden.

Senior picture from her high school yearbook. A "walk" together on her 80th birthday with her beloved dog Patches.

As the family gathered photos for the memorial, they lacked one of Mary her caregiver for 13 years. I happened to have the only one. This was my gift to Mary and the family.

The angel who cared for my friend

Michael had gotten up very early to work on a presentation for a FIRST robotics forum and was busy all day. He also made a Venison Chili Mac for a chili cookout at Victory Acres, our local CSA farm.

Mike's special Venison Chili Mac

The weather was perfect. They had planned a wonderful fall festival. One activity was photo treasure hunt. This was my shot at the photo booth.


We had a lovely relaxing evening with good food and friends.

Michael left very early Saturday for Purdue in West Lafayette. His presentation, "Basic Electricity and Electronics for FRC", was well attended. He had a long day away. I had a long day at home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 Week 40: Love and Grace

Love has many meanings and degrees.  
For example, on a scale of 1 to 5:
1-like something
2-really like something
3-care about a person/s
4-be committed to someone
5-adore, reverence God. 
What number would I assign our Sunday evening Open House at Pastor Dan's getting to know the college students?  

Can you guess what we're roasting over the open fire

How would I rate the pie Mike baked this week? 

Our first watercolor class was so much fun. Jason and Kari Diller led us in several activities to practice a few techniques with washes and masking. The game at the end, a good learning exercise, resulted in some very strange creatures.

Our town experienced a police emergency that night, Tuesday, and into the next morning, until the two armed robbers were apprehended a half a mile from us. Taylor U was locked down and cancelled classes till noon the next day and Eastbrook Schools closed all day.

After tap class Wednesday we celebrated Kayla's 26th birthday with lunch at The Bridge.

Cousin Rosie sent me a couple old photos, just in time for Throwback Thursday. I "love #2" this one of my youngest brothers. They were best buds growing up and now, years later, work together at HP Home Rescue

Grandpa Mike was able to spend some time with Zion and Jude at Royerton School Grandparents Day. These two are also best buddies. Zion is in second grade and Jude in pre-school.

I missed the abuela-fun and traded it for alumna-fun at Grace homecming. I sat with Malachi in  Chapel, ate lunch with Mother at Grace Village, and then enjoyed the Grace and Winona Lake History bus tour (my fourth time!) with author and guide Terry White. He wrote the book: Winona at 100 Third Wave Rising. My neighbor friends joined us for the tour and the special treat after--a guided walk-through of the Billy Sunday Home.

In the Museum I was drawn to an old tandem bicycle, wouldn't ya' know. And, simply amazed by the global impact of this hub.

Sunday we celebrated Jude, an exuberant five-year-old who has brought so much joy since the day he was born.

How would you guess-rate all my "loves"?

I think a lot about # 4 as my youngest sibling faces the reality of the promise "till death do us part." I pray for strength, peace, a precious farewell, and a smooth transition.