Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 Week 12: Spring Breaks

These shy primroses break through the ground in early spring. They never look up, perhaps afraid of what is to come.

Monday us siblings wanted to attend Mother's care conference at Grace Village, so that is the day I chose to visit. It was good to see Ivan and Kim. They are facing difficult life uncertainties. Kim explains in her post A Holding Pattern.

Kim and Ivan                                                 Aunt Margaret and Mother
Mother and I look forward to our reading times. She always asks, "Did you bring some letters?" I had brought a lost treasure I found last week--14 handwritten pages my brother Lynn wrote when he visited for a couple days in 2012.

He wanted to know how my memoir was coming. I had asked him long before to help me with his amazing memory. He must have realized that my part was not progressing, so he decided to work on his contribution. I can still see him sitting at our counter, diligently writing. Then he entrusted me with the 14 pages titled "What I remember."

In preparation for Lynn's memorial service last November I searched and hoped to find his writings. But, alas, they did not show up till now.

I knew Aunt Margaret would love to hear Lynn's memories, so we paid her a visit and enjoyed them together. I laughed so hard at some parts. Others made me sad. His memory for details amazed us.

Tuesday evening I attended a ladies fellowship to hear Bekah Shaffer's talk entitled "Your Story Matters." Her passion to journal and record her life story so resonates with me. For lack of paper I had to take notes on the decorative spring-theme napkins.

However, spring weather was not willing to show up on its official opening day.
The first I knew of the Wednesday snow storm was when I opened Facebook and saw a photo posted by our neighbor ". . . we wake up to 4". Oh, Indiana!"
Then I looked out and saw this:

Later at Leah's, even her cat Delilah was complaining: "First day of spring, meow? You've got to be kidding, meow!"

Thursday, only three of us got together to practice watercolor art, and with no teacher, so we played around with an idea Leah found on YouTube - Q-tip painting.

Creative projects are ongoing at Nanna Leah's house. Rebecca designed this creature and Leah put it together. What is it?

Far away in "Canadia" (as Stephan refers to our neighbor), in distant and sparsely populated Northwest Territory, an exciting winter festival was in progress. A stray, icy-cold mallard came in for a brief landing. It was "Touch-n-Go." The ice-artist himself looks ready to take off.

Saturday, in snow-buried Plainfield, the robotics team was more worried about the indoor challenges of playing a strategically complicated game - Power-Up.

I had chosen not to drive Saturday due to the heavy snow forecast, however the storm never came north of Muncie. Even so, I followed the matches online, cheering and yelling in an empty home.

Shortly after the last one, Sam called, "Mom, you have to go right now to Fort Wayne. Malachi is in ICU at Parkview hopistal and we are in ER with Elijah who broke his leg skateboarding." !!! Panic ensued, I mean LOUD PRAYING!!!

I had no idea what I would find. The three day journey that began Saturday is becoming a story of God's care in the midst of unbelievable circumstances and merits a post of its own, if time allows. Meanwhile I put together the photos in a FB album--Spring BreakS.

Day 1                                                                                  Day 2                                                     Day 3

And here is today's summary update:

Saturday 13 year old Elijah broke his leg in a skateboarding accident and was taken to the ER. While at the ER with him, their 19 year old son Malachi Koch was in a terrible head on collision at 60mph (not his fault). He was intubated and lifelined by helicopter to The hospital. He has been in ICU and underwent surgeries yesterday. Elijah also had surgery for his broken leg yesterday.
Kristie and Sam have been at the hospital with both sons while the two youngest boys ages 5 and 8 have been with family. Today Kristie had to go to the ER herself for dehydration and Influenza. She is now home caring for Elijah and is sick herself. Sam is at the hospital with Malachi who is now coming around but still very groggy and suffering a good deal of pain with movement. Little boys are being cared for by all of us in the family.
The two young ones just arrived for a couple days with us on their spring break!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 Week 11: Life Mixes

This week we've had an intermittent mix of snow, ice and sunshine. Along with the mixed up weather came a mix of celebration, fun, work and news of hardship and sadness.

Morning ice-glazed view
Stephan wanted to go to Fogo de Chao for his birthday. It is an upscale Brazilian steakhouse in Indianapolis. So Sunday we picked up Diane and joined Stephan and Karen for the exquisite culinary experience. 

Monday was Stephan's actual birthday and he wrote the following on Facebook (smile) 
By this time of the day 47 years ago I was born. I was born in a hospital so as to be near my mother who had just traveled through a blizzard to get there. When I came into the world it was too much to take so I decided not to breath. The midwife knew enough to beat it out of me and then I decided breathing was probably a good idea after all and have been doing it ever since. Having done both the not-breathing and the breathing I have to say that breathing is probably the way to go. Being 47 allows me to be thankful for a few things so much life experience has given me:
A) I'm thankful I am no longer carded for alchohol, lighter fluid, and dry ice.
2) I'm thankful for the new water softener and pressure tank,
C) I'm thankful that I bought Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover 10 years ago for $10. (It has since saved me over $100,000+).
IV) I'm thankful for my lovely wife of 17+ years,
Five) And also but not lastly I'm thankful for my kind and talented parents who keep helping and teaching by example.

Just think all of this has been possible because I was beaten as a child. True story.

We didn't join the small celebration at Monday Night Dinner because we attended Elijah's school spring concert to hear his trumpet solo. We couldn't see him from where we sat, but thankfully someone was able to take photos of him in action.

Tuesday was a strange and beautiful day, with off and on heavy snowfalls throughout. Stephan took it as an extra birthday gift. Can you see the huge fluffy flakes?

Speaking of snowflakes, I was grateful to learn a technique to add some to my finished watercolors in our art club this week. Can you see them?

The friend who took the photos I copied joined our group Thursday
She also gave me a new turtle for my collection and made arrangements for us to have our nails done together afterwards at a new business in town called Polished. She tried her best to persuade me to go bold. "Skin Color" was the best I could handle. Maybe next time.
New turtle members meet; new nails for the month
While a few of us were having art fun, Michael and Moriah were helping Dash (the 3-ball robot) learn to write. Thursday afternoons from 3:00 - 4:00 she teaches a robotics class in a neighboring town to ten elementary school children.

Writing lesson
Earlier this week Moriah contributed to Pixel's wardrobe by sewing the bumper covers for this year's PhyXTGears' robot, even though she is no longer on the team. 

We are grateful she found the time to help and was able to figure out how to use my sewing machine. Most of the time she is gone studying and doing homework with other engineering students.

Friday evening, however, she got away for a few hours to attend the team fundraiser, Quartermania

Our winnings!
Michael's week was intense--late robotics nights, and early mornings designing the satellite. And next week the first competition. So stay tuned!

I mentioned bad news hit our extended family this week--a death, and a difficult diagnosis. So we pray.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Week 10: A few highlights

Sunday evening we went to Pastor Dan's Open House. He teaches the Sunday School class we attend. The Blossers enjoy having the college students over whenever possible. And we love joining in.

Son Johnny (8 or 9?) had displayed his unique art work. He opens up cereal boxes, reassembles them inside out, textures a design and then fills it in with watercolor paints. I was so impressed. The flowers were my favorite and the bright tones of the sailboat my second choice.

What a fun evening playing the drawing and guessing game--Telestrations.

Monday afternoons, when I remember, I like to stop by for a few minutes and watch Rebecca at the dance studio before I go to my old people's exercise class.

Waiting for class to start
Tuesday I was able to visit Mother again. I've been trying to put up pictures on her bulletin board from different periods or aspects of her life. I love her high school senior picture--a drop-dead gorgeous red head!

The first attempt before I changed it.
Kim came for a short visit. Soooo good to see her after the many weeks she was sick.

Two or three mornings we had snow on the ground.

View out front door
Those who could make it met here Thursday for art club. A friend who would've liked to have come was visiting her mother walking around the farm where she grew up and sent these photos.
A couple of us tried to paint one of the scenes.

I'm sure the flower was not a current photo. It was snowing and cold as she wandered the old haunts.
I tried to replicate the snow flakes with grains of salt, a technique we had learned earlier. Can you see them?

My attempt to do the barn
Friday was the opening of the second movie based on Madeleine L'Engle's bestseller. I read it so long ago, knew it had made an impression on me, but could not remember it. So I wasn't sure if the film would bring it back and do it justice. However, it was a great excuse for a date. I'm still not sure about the movie. Have any of you seen it?

I've also been listening to a totally different kind of bestseller. It kept me very interested and focused on my cleaning goal for Saturday--to spring-clean our bedroom. I'm embarrassed to think how long it's been.

In the process I had to empty the vacumm cleaner and couldn't put it back together. I called for help from our resident engineer. It took us much longer than we care to admit. Surely it has to do with the poor design. Nevertheless, it was a good fun bonding experience.

Michael, the expert engineer was not home, of course. Saturdays are all-day robotics hours. The drive team was busy practicing, gaining experience for the upcoming competitions. The robot design, strengths and weaknesses are constantly being tested and tweeked as well.

Others on the team are working hard on many other aspects to keep "the well-oiled gears of PhyXTGears working best together." The next big event is a fund raiser Quartermania, a type of auction. (Click on the link and read about it.) $4000 worth of prizes to win. (Click the link and watch the video.)
Then come out March 16th, bring all your quarters and have a blast!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 Week 9: Tell me more . . .

Look what sprung up this week? A hint of much more to come.

Last Sunday we tried a new game. Diane has been talking about it ever since. She especially referred to the question about a bad habit you'd like to overcome and decided hers was sleeping too much during the day.

We enjoyed learning more about one another and hearing what others guessed about us.

I stopped by Monday to take a peek at Rebecca's dance class.

Ready for the routine to start :-)

Strangely, that evening both Michael and I felt chilled and achy all over. 
I had intended to go visit Mother on Tuesday, but instead slept a lot. Michael was feeling well enough by late morning to go in to robotics. Thankfully whatever it was, passed and we were able to keep up the rest of our weekly commitments.

Thankfully Moriah has not succumbed to any ailments even though extremely sleep deprived.
Ha! Looks like Michael has not slept much either. I was trying to capture the scene Thursday night when the three of us were going over the paper she had asked us to read.

Friday we had a make-up tap class with a special little visitor. Rebecca surprised and entertained us with how well she followed and imitated her mom. Here you can watch the video of Rebecca's first attempt, and our umpteenth!

With all the comings and goings I was unable to watch Billy Graham's memorial service live on Friday, only some highlights later.
Saturday morning I went back and watched the replayof the entire service--enthralled, blessed, and so grateful for the technology that allowed all of us in on Billy Graham's funeral.

A comment was made that "everyone has a Billy Graham story." An old letter from November 1962, confirmed my vague recollection that I had attended one of his crusades. In fact, three times even during a busy school week. According to this article it was his largest crusade to date.

Do you have a Billy Graham story?