Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spring Cycles

Last week a strain of flu hit our little town so hard that the elementary school was closed for two days. In our home we've experienced sickness for over a week. First it hit Michael quite hard, the full-blown sinus head cold and cough. Several days later I succumbed to a head cold that kept me in this weekend.
First blooms of spring

As memories of years gone by popped up on Facebook, I recognized the recurrence of illness this time of year.

Other occurrences are cyclical. This is robotics competition season. Team 1720, the PhyXTGears out of Muncie, participated in its second district event and ended up in second place!
Our cute little robot performed its role consistently, placing hatch panels, loading cargo, and especially climbing to the third level during the end game. (See game animation: Destination : Deep Space.)

Space Walrus
Michael, heavily invested in the process, was well enough by then to participate fully. I had planned to join him at the Tippecanoe event, but those were the worst two days of my bout with the spring cold, so I watched the live stream, kept score, and yelled or cheered at the right times. (If no one can hear, does that still count?)

Left:Fans in the stands; the pit.                                         Right: Lead mentor being interviewed
Can you find 5 Kochs in the stands???

A different view of success was offered in a note by the winning team:
In the after the ending of the semi-finals matches, our team was ecstatic to be going to the finals at our FIRST ever competition. We continued to enter into our first match, place two hatches, then the right side of our drive failed, we were dead in the water. We won the match off a red card which is in no way the way I want to win a match. At the end of said match we called our timeout, we assumed it was a small problem but the E-clip and flanged bearing on AM toughbox mini broke. So we thought we could fix it in time for the second match. We were wrong. The second match ended and then because of 1720, 461, and 6498’s gracious professionalism they called a timeout for us to finish the repairs. We went on to win the third match and thus the event. These 3 teams demonstrated the great aspects of FIRST and we cannot appreciate it more. I would be more than happy to work with any of these teams in the future. Thank you once more.
Between matches I was immersed in reading letters and taking notes (blowing my nose and drinking water). I may have come to a gap in the archival resources--no correspondence for years 1947-1949. Hmmmmm. . . What next?

Meanwhile I came upon a treasure from 50 years later. March 1, 1996, my parents began to write daily notes in a fancy diary somone must have gifted them. The quote at the bottom of each page says:
Without anything special but write it down is better than with something special but never write it down. Sweet and tender memories are also the trace of past time. 
The entries remained faithful for over a year and even covered a return trip to Argentina in December of 1997, Dad and Mother's last time back. I was privileged to go along with Ivan's family.
I do look forward to continue gleaning from this diary. But for now, in the early March entries, I learned (or was reminded) that Dad had his heart check-up almost two years after a heart attack in June 1994.

Another event this week that brought Argentina-memories to the forefront--the arrival of M/V LOGOS HOPE in Bahía Blanca on the 19th. Feel the excitement of the crowds waiting on the quayside in this video, and notice the strong wind, common in ports. Many of them, like us, would have memories of when the M/V Doulos was there.

Wednesday, the 20th, was my friend Femia's birthday. I call her my Mayan twin. I met her for the first time fourteen years ago when I traveled to Yucatán with The King's Academy on their Servant Safari trip. (Can you find us in the group photo?)
I was privileged to go back to her village, Xocenpich,  four more times. The last time was to attend her son Ted's wedding. A couple weeks ago he called to say that his family was moving to Argentina!

Mid week I needed to visit Mother, attend a care plan conference and accompany her to the dermatologist. I prayed that I would be well enough and not have to postpone the appointments, so I was grateful indeed to be there. Wish I had captured her first big surprised-to-see-me smile.
All reports are good. They appreciate her sweet spirit, her smile, and wish there were more Kathryns! She remains active, involved in whatever they have going on there as well as faithfully going to the Art Studio.

The bonus that day was the Spring Fling, a musical program for the residents featuring "The Singing Cowboy"-- John Bahler, the son-in-law of our very good friends the Cratons! What a delightful time listening to old music so skillfully performed.

Those are my week's memories and memorable moments. What about your week?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March Memories

This post highlights moments of the week more than memories from the past.
Each day counts. The things we experience add up. Daily incremental steps toward a set goal become a beautiful whole in time.

I am reminded of the value of dailyness by the calendar my neighbor friends gave me. I enjoy the challenge of locating and correctly placing the stickers for each day. So much so that I decided to make that my reward for accomplishing a writing goal for the day.

The gift was inspired by a large sticker-replica of a Van Gogh they saw hanging in a doctor's office.

Daughter Leah and I enjoyed a Coffee and Canvas event in our local coffee shop. Her paintings are always more intense, fanciful and rich in texture. Mine tend to be flat. What do you think mine lacks--a bug, a butterfly, greater contrast . . . ?

Photo credit: Laura Smith--Painting with Laura

The best part of the experience was the togetherness. We hadn't seen one another in a while. She has not been able to attend our weekly art club in some time.

Leah and her Coffee and Canvas acrylic (top)
My Coffee & Canvas painting, and art club watercolor exercise--"Surreal Mountains"
My, how the years go by! Son Stephan, our oldest, completed (as they say in Spanish) 48 years on March 12!

A memory from Stephan's 40th celebration

Sunday we celebrated March birthdays.

Stephan (48 on the 12th ), Jimmy (45 on the 26th), Destiny, Skye's girlfriend (18 on the 7th)
Family times are always fun. Jokes and laughter abound. Rebecca as the only little one around, entertained us in various ways. Her presence is still felt every time I come upstairs to the loft, my writing area, and see the arrangement of items on and around the ark.

Sam's family was missing. He had surgery earlier this month--sinus repair and tonsilectomy. Interestingly, the worst pain hits a week later.
I stopped by a couple days after the procedure to drop off some honey to soothe the throat. Malachi was still home on spring break. He is really into board games and was sharing his latest find--Splendor.

 Recently I've been reminded of a favorite author I was privileged to meet years ago. In her 80's, widowed, and healing from a broken leg, she is still writing and winning awards! I dug out her book of life stories to remember her secret. It is something that stood out when I read that first chapter long ago. I wish I had heeded her example at that time. Early on she determined to write, write, write, every. single. day, and not be distracted by the many recommended opportunities--conferences, critique groups, etc. It worked for her!

I am blessed to meet every week with a wonderful group of writer friends. But I also recognize that for too long I've been a wannabee, attending conferences, taking courses, etc. and putting off the most important. These were all very good. However, now I am encouraged to keep on plodding through the letters and the memories, pulling out pertinent quotes and information, and arranging them into the narrative about my life in Argentina, and to write, write, write.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Robins have been seen even on snowy days, promising warmer weather. Indiana, however, is known for frequent climate changes.

Like the weather, my writing project does not spring forward as steadily as I would like. However, signs of hope pop up like the robins. My writers' critique group reviewed the chapter I rewrote and had very helpful and encouraging comments. I am so grateful for their feedback.

I keep finding old photos that now mean so much more as I connect them with the letters I am going through. Here is the kitchen my parents put together in our first home in La Carlota. Dad made all the cabinets from the crates that contained their belongings. One container was lost for months. They had nearly despaired of ever recovering it, and were thrilled when it was found and brought to Argentina by a returning missionary. 
The arrival of the famous box was like an early Christmas. Many of my toys were there, pieces of fabric for Mother to make our dresses, and Dad's valuable study books. The high chair Daddy made before leaving the US was in it, as well as the handles for the cabinets. 

An interesting note about that kitchen: Mother commented that some said theirs looked like ones you saw in the magazines, "It’s not quite that but it is nicer than most of the missionaries have and it didn’t cost as much."

The mother who made all my clothes and was so good at decorating each home is now, at age 97, still making lovely art. I visited her this week and saw two recent pieces displayed at the entrance of the Health Center.

I chose that day, March 7, to combine my visit with a birthday celebration for my youngest brother - Alan (56). His sons prepared the meal, I brought the cake. I so appreciated catching up on their lives. We'll have to do that more often!

One of my siblings wanted to know more about our Hoyt grandparents. As I searched my files, I was reminded that Grandma Hoyt's birthday was also in March, the 10th. She would have been 135. 

Anna Leola Dorsey Hoyt
I also found handwritten notes about the grandmother I never really knew. Photos and people tell me I look like her, probably true, both short, round faced, not slim. I have very sparse memories of her. She lived with us some when my parents were in seminary and cared for me while Mother was in class. However, I was only an infant. One photo of grandma reflects her joy as she holds me, her very first granddaughter after ten grandsons. I have a memory of playing with treasures in her lower drawer--buttons and trinkets. On our first furlough, when I was seven or eight, we visited her in her little house in Tennessee.
I do remember my father's sadness when his mother passed away at age 73 in December 1957. I was in eighth grade. We were on furlough living with our Hirschy grandparents in Evans City, Pennsylvania. Daddy was the only one who attended her funeral in Indiana. Mother was only a few weeks away from giving birth to Ivan, child number four.

I came across another bit of "Hoyt history" as I searched the archives. It happened in 1939. The family moved from Ashland, Ohio, to Winona Lake, Indiana. Grandpa Hoyt had already abandoned them. They were following Herman, the oldest, now the acting head of the family. The younger four boys made the trip on bicycles, sleeping in cornfields at night. Nowadays biking is a popular sport or leisure activity. What would it have been like back then? What kind of bikes did they have? How long could it have taken them? So many questions and no one to ask, all four--Garner, Lowell, Solon, Bud--are gone.

Memorable moments of the week:

Rebecca invited me to her tea party! And, of course she had to show me her clean room, introduce me to all her Barbies and horses, model her dinosaur feet and head piece (accompanied by a dinosaurish roar), and read library books including How do dinosaurs learn to read, by Jane Yolen.
Don't you just love all her expressions?!

The big event of the week was Team 1720's first competition. Michael was gone Friday through Sunday. I didn't go to this one, but followed them closely from afar. They had a great start and remained number one the first day. As often happens, the robot lost some functionality and they dropped to third place, which was still amazing. In the playoffs they lost to alliance #7 who went on to beat #1. 

Elijah performing scouting duty; mechanic mentor Mike operating on the Space Walrus

So proud of the two Kochs on the team!

Monday, March 4, 2019

On Frozen Pond

 Frozen in place. That's how I have felt the last two weeks since I lost the chapter I was working on. Stuck. Not moving forward.
The pond at the back of our land
Not that I was inactive, doing nothing, paralyzed. Just not making progress, not moving forward. And the road ahead loomed circuitous and unattainable.
I saw the perfect visual representation this weekend as the youngest grandsons and I explored our woods. We came across ancient gigantic vines. The boys tried to be like Jack and the Beanstalk and climb up to the sky--an impossible challenge, fun nonetheless.
Does anyone want to venture a guess as to how old these vines could be?

Six year-old Jude modeled for me the persistance it takes to make progress. When he came Friday evening, he saw my knitting project laying on the couch and asked to learn. So we got out needles and yarn for him to practice. His little hands had to practice several skills to control the needles, the tension of the thread and go through the steps for each stitch: down in, wrap, pull through, off. Wow! He did not give up!

That kid really loves learning. Next he wanted a piano lesson! But we ran out of time.

February ran out all too soon as well.

An Argentine acquaintance wrote about this on March 1st! And I translated from the Spanish:
I fell into the abyss between February and March.
I’ve banged my head against the wall of dead hours on the corner of two stolen days.I've got injured stellar ribs, calendar fractures, dreams to be observed, some splintered laughs, painful absences, and a moonless insomnia that makes the night infinitely long.In the shadowy hallways a dog barks at nothing.
Vilma Novick
 P.S.: The sun came out. 
I shall go for a walk on the golden sidewalks of March.
I am frankly improved.

It is March. After feeling "stuck" for the last two weeks, I am determined to move forward, march on!

And so it was, that after a fun time with the grands at the Muncie Children's Museum . . .
"Marsh" cashier, Rebecca; reader Kayla in the Book Nook; Jude punching poor Ronald McDonald
. . . and while Michael and the team persistently worked on the robot (he has spent untold hours there this week) . . . 

. . . I grabbed a cup of tea (to wake me up after the busy Meemaw-weekend) and spent five hours rewriting chapter 8!  Thank you, God!

We are grateful that 14-year-old grandson Elijah has made good friends in the PhyXTGears community as well as learning a whole bunch in the mechanical area. 

Elijah, the week's featured student; working on the robot; watching matches to learn scouting skills 
 Memorable Dates:

Six years ago Daddy's body  was laid to rest.

February 24, 2013, the viewing (Photo credit niece Tina Herschberger)

February 25, 2013, the family after the memorial service (Photo credit cousin Stan Hoyt)
Since then, two more family members have joined Dad in heaven. Time is running out. We wait.