Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Week 43: October Fun

 One more week of pleasant weather as we ease into autumn. How long will life thrive in the flower boxes?

We were late celebrating Kayla's ___ (9+8+1+9) birthday. 

She asked for a family favorite, a fondue meal. We always enjoy the chaotic family togetherness.

Enlarged dual-purpose table
I love watching the young ones play together.

All week, Kayla's dance groups wore their Halloween costume to class (except our older women's tap group!).

"Anna" and her mini-version

Tuesday was Pixel's final journey back to Madjax for its retirement to the robot museum.

Michael was grateful for the good weather to continue cutting wood and preparing the bee hives for winter.

The huge fallen branch is nearly all gone, and the honeycomb frames clean.
We had two delightful young visitors in Art Club this week--members' grands on fall break.

Family members pumpkin-fun appeared throughout the week on Facebook.

Stephan and a fellow carver at Austin Landing

Top: Leah's painted pumpkins
Bottom: Sam and boys' carved ones

Finally, Saturday, we had a brief but wonderful reunion with friends from long ago. Almost every year, Fred and Karen Perry drive through between visits to family in Bloomington and Michigan. Sometimes they are able to stop. So many stories to share, it would take an eternity to tell.

This time Bob Craton (another OMer who lives here) was able to join us as well.

Any exciting encounters in your week?

Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Week 42: Art and more art

Mother's most recent acrylic painting

Sunday afternoon, even after arriving that morning from Louisville, I drove up to Grace Village for the annual ARTcare with Grace exhibit and fundraiser. I wanted to see what the residents have produced and learn from the teacher about the process, how he helps them achieve such excellence.

Mother's 2018 art 

Prints are for sale and also sets of cards. If you are interested, let me know.

A dear lady who often visits the residents, stopped by to see Mother. Becky went to Grace college around the time I was there. She has been a widow for some time. After sharing an exciting encounter with an Argentine lady who had served in Africa, she paused to pray for Mother. It was so sweet, I couldn't resist capturing the moment.

Becky Dick praying for Mother

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Matt and Kayla were celebrating his graduation from millwright in training to full-fledged journeyman millwright.

Zion sent us a picture of what he'd made for grandparents' day, but we missed because he was home sick. 
"So glad you are back in school, Zion, and proud of your 30-point reading award!"

Another photo I'm borrowing from Facebook, is Leah's painted gourds and pumpkin. So cute!

Franken Gourd and Count Gourdula
And I love how she brightened up my stained slippers.

This week's art club project was to decorate small gourd bowls.

Stephan was at the Milwaukee zoo carving pumpkins with a fellow-carver.

King of the Coral

I helped a friend hang her wildlife photography at the local cafe, The Bridge. Do you have a favorite?

I so enjoy turning my little watercolor-lessons into cards for notes of encouragement. This week I was surprised at how many had gone out.

I decided to give away of an assortment of my other cards to those who leave comments this week.

What did Michael do all week? A little bit of everything keeps him going all the time. He feeds the bees and the birds, cuts wood for the winter, maintains the cars and house, makes me breatkfast and often other meals, researches a variety of interests online, listens to podcasts, but his main focus is robotics. We are grateful for new and younger mentors who now help carry the load.
Saturday was the last competition of the year--CAGE. Team 1720 made it to semifinals despite a few robot failures. I watched all of PhyXTGear's qualifying matches (5 wins, 1 loss), alliance selection (#3 seed moved up to #2), and the semifinal (after the long power outage).
Strong winds knocked the power out briefly a few times here, but in Indianapolis for nearly an hour and a half.

Alliance selection
What do you do when there's no electricity?
The competition was called off only seconds or minutes before the lights went back on. So the event proceeded but with single eliminations only.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 Week 41: Breaks, trips, celebrations

Several family members were on fall break--Karen (teacher Burris Middle School); Elijah (Delta 8th grade); Zion and Jude (Royerton, 3rd and K); Kayla (dance instructor Cornerstone for the Arts).
Kayla and Matt took off for a vacation in Tennessee. Aunt Jeannie and Nana took turns watching Rebecca, and abuela (that's me) provided transportation to and from pre-school three days, and together with abuelo, to Basics Jr. family night.

Playing a game at Basics Jr.                                                            Ready to go to Kiddie Kampus

We almost didn't make it to Basics, however--suddenly our vehicles were stuck when the garage door spring broke. We made a few calls, and after a while Jimmy and Skye left work and came to the rescue to help lift the heavy door. Thank you, guys!

Monday was Jude's birthday and we remembered the day he joined our family six years ago.

The two younger grandboys were with us Wednesday night, their parents had to work. So Thursday, they joined in our art club activity of the week--painting pumpkins from Leah's prolific volunteer vine.

I'd promised an Ivanhoe's visit afterward. 

Proof of promise kept 

Stephan, in Holland, MI, was also having fun with pumpkins, cutting them up. Notice the titles he gives each piece: 
"I towed you so!" "Great blue orange heron" "No need to be Koi, Roi" "Catch n' flies" "Jeff Gourd-on gets squashed in turn 1"
 (He's such a cut-up!)

Meanwhile, we were on a mini vacation in Louisville, Kentucky. Can you guess what we were doing by the shoes we invested in?

Looks scary, but it was a very friendly and happy place. We joined our friends Don and Shirley Hunt (our former country line dance teacher) at an annual event they attend on the way back to their Arizona home.

Memories of a year ago kept coming back all weekend long--my sister-in-law Sharon's passing and her memorial service. Here is my favorite photo during the last years of her struggle. We had gone for a walk/romp with one of the dogs. Sharon loved her animals. They brought her much joy and she made great friends at the dog park.

Still more to share. Come back next week.

Monday, October 8, 2018

2018 Week 40: Memories, old and new

 I can't get enough of the beautiful Indiana sunsets and fascinating cloud formations.

This fall, however, we tire of the acorns that fall like rain. Michael goes out sometimes twice a day to blow them off our long driveway.

Elijah (#40 orange shoes) wrapped up his soccer season this week. Monday we watched his team play Burris, where Karen teaches. Thursday I went to his last one, a home game against Yorktown.

Tuesday was my left eye surgery. So far so good, still reading and functioning without glasses!

While I was in slow recovery-mode, Michael was very busy welcoming visitors and giving tours at Madjax.

Unfortunately he pulled a muscle and is still dealing with lower back pain. He took the inversion table out of storage. Moriah helped him set it up, and had to try it out, of course.

Strange student postures
We met for Art club again Thursday and painted rocks this time. Our favorite one, reminded us of "Birds of a feather flock together." We are the art-birds.

Due to a N Muncie power outage, Delta's schedule was rearranged, so fall band concert was right after the games. One third of the band members are involved in sports and were allowed to wear their team jerseys or dress casually.

Elijah messing around before the concert
The next morning was grandparents day at Royerton, Jude's first time to welcome us and show us around. We are so impressed with the well-organized program every year.
Unfortunately, Zion was absent, not feeling well.

Saturday we went in different directions--Michael to Lafayette for robotics forums, and I Winona Lake to visit Mother and attend the Grace Homecoming 50+ reunion dinner.

Mother had a photo to give me, the one taken at the summer picnic.

We had a nice video visit with Ivan and Kim, and then went to see Aunt Margaret, and even joined the ladies painting pumpkins in the activity room.

The big surprise of the evening was seeing an old friend who came to the Grace Homecoming from Ohio.
During my adolescent years growing up in Don Bosco, Argentina, there were two young women, nurses in training at the Brittish Hospital in Buenos Aires. They were from our churches in the interior of the country and enjoyed spending their days-off with us and attending our church. I looked up to these wonderful beautiful girls, listened to their stories and thought that surely I wanted to become a nurse.
One of them had a patient, Ray Davis in the Brittish Merchant Marine, who somehow landed in the hospital when his ship was in port. Was it love at first sight?  I don't know. He was smitten and won her over. She brought him around to visit us. This month they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Raymond Davis, Grace College and Seminary alum, retired pastor
Ray and Hebe should hurry up and write their fascinating life story!
I am trying to write about my early years in Argentina and time is slipping away.

Monday, October 1, 2018

2018 Week 39: Highlights

No new flower centerpiece to open my blog post this week so I chose one of the many watercolor exercises. The yellow wild flowers and the cup of tea seemed fall-appropriate. 

 A reading list also seems fitting as we enter cooler seasons. Perhaps that thought led Lisa to ask during Stephan's dinner Monday, "Karen, what are your favorite books for young readers?" Can any of  you comment on the list we compiled?

Social media has become a primary time-consuming source of entertainment, communication, and information, which takes away from from book reading. I tell myself that I use the internet as a tool, but also realize that it robs me of precious minutes.

Most of us have grown conditioned to respond to notifications and are likely to check Facebook first thing in the morning.  Tuesday I was especially blessed to read Sam's post, although the accompanying photo is so very sad:

 18 years ago today the Lord delivered Kristie and I from a life of bondage, depravity, hopelessness, and pain. Often times when I share my story people try and give me credit for changing my life. The truth is I have no power on my own to do anything righteous. And every year that passes I become more aware of that reality. The only action I can take is to surrender to Jesus! He is my only hope. I am so grateful for the life I now have living life without drugs, without being dopesick everyday, without seeking drugs everyday, without wanting to die. I am so blessed to have Kristie by my side through it all sharing in the hope, the trials, and the victories. I am also so blessed to have 4 amazing sons that love Jesus! Life isn’t easy but it is good today, very, very good!
That very evening Sam and Kristie were invited to share their story at a chapter of Brianna's Hope.
I went to hear them and see what this recovery outreach is doing. I was so impressed by the welcoming spirit and the caring volunteers. 
A good group gathered in a circle for prayer before the meal. Many do not stay for the program--music and a recovery testimony. Most who remain have been affected by addiction personally or in the life of a loved one. 
Laurie (top left) is an artist and writer, the mother of a recovering addict. She uses her talents to bless and reach out to those who come. She sits at a table with her pastels and squares of tar paper and does art with anyone so inclined. During the opening songs, I noticed she had taken her art materials and sat next to a visitor off by himself. Then I saw she was working on his portrait (top right in the red t-shirt).
Every time I hear Sam and Kristie's story, which is not often, I am struck by the progression that led to depravity, hopelessness and despair, but even more so by God's power to deliver and transform lives.
The pastor and his wife ended with a beautiful song which speaks to their story--they lost a son to drugs. 

Wednesday was the first night of our church's outreach to the children of the community. I took Rebecca to . . .

. . .and when I picked her up later, she exclaimed, "I had fun!"

The highlight Thursday was Grandparents' Day at Kiddie Kampus--the preschool Rebecca attends four days a week. 
There are some 30  four-year-olds in her class, so you can imagine how many grandparents where there. Rebecca alone had four grandparents there--"Nana" and "Grandma Cheryl", "abuela" (my own special designation as great grandma) , and "Papa" Jimmy too!
The new facility is huge and well furnished. We had a tour, snacks, photos, crafts, a music program by the little ones, a book fair, and a bikathon.

The final highlight of the week was the last robotics competition of the year--RAGE (Robotics All Girls Event) on Saturday. It appeared that Pixel the robot, acted his age, old and worn out. Nevertheless, the girls got to experience the excitement of being on the drive team.

And now we look forward to a new month, another cataract surgery (left eye) and the many good things God has prepared for us. (Ephesians 2:10)