Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fall Fun

 We are experiencing a most beautiful fall season. I am trying to soak in the gorgeous colors before all the leaves are gone--the view out my window, the countryside on longer drives, walks on our road.

Fallen leaves provide great entertainment for the young'uns and exercise for the adults. I spent nearly an hour Sunday, after a very windy Saturday, clearing the driveway of leaves and sticks.

Uncle Skye and Rebecca
And it's pumpkin-carving season. 

"Look at the faces we designed. Any favorite?"
Recently, I enjoyed a memory that surfaced and the story represented--young David and gigantic Goliath, BUT GOD! 
Any giants in your life?

Stephan carved this some years ago

This is the last picture of Michael at the Matthews shop Tuesday, the day before he and Stephan took off for a duck-hunting trip out west with nephew Jeff and his son Cody in the wilds of Idaho.

Yes, he worked practically non-stop till the last minute and then slept through two flights and a five-hour drive to their destination. 

The first day the weather was beautiful, great for enjoying the scenery but not so good for upland bird hunting.

On the homefront, Wednesday was a full day with a fun visitor all afternoon. Rebecca and I played games, walked in the woods, delivered a meal to a family with a newborn, colored together, and went to Basics Jr. at church.
Here she is showing off the little panda "Beary" that great great grandma Hoyt purchased for her with her Bingo Bucks because it reminded her of panda bear I used to have as a little girl.

Rebecca likes to swing Beary on my exercise pulley.
Thursday I visited Mother again on Bingo Store day but mostly because it was the Fall Festival where the residents welcome the community families for an evening of trick or treating. Mother had fun handing out treats, and I tricking the kids with the strange-eyed Victorian mask.

Saturday morning treats from Deluxe Donuts appeared on our counter. Moriah thought of us even while out partying Friday night! I just had to take a bite while they were fresh, then I put them in the freezer to enjoy together with Michael when he returns. I hope that works.

How is fall treating you?

The BIG family news of the week:
Skye and Destiny found out that their baby due in March is a BOY! Skye is very excited!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Week 42

Fall is in full swing! I am enjoying the welcome decor that came together. 
Ha, notice the reflections in the photo. Smile. 

The lovely tree sculpture Stephan carved is gradually deteriorating, but still draws the attention of all who stop by. This week alone I handed out two pamphlets--a trifold with original photos and an explanation of all the icons that tell the story of our lives.

Taylor University's fall break was over the long weekend. Moriah went home for four days. 
Five international students, who'd remained on campus, came with us to Stephan's meal. It was fun to have a larger crowd.

Michael puts in long hours daily at the Matthews future robotics shop. His undivided focus (I suppose that is the definition of focus) reminds me of the three years he spent building our house before we could even move in. He said NO! to any and every other commitment other than his job and the house project.

One evening a few team students from the Indiana Academy came and helped hang studs and cut wood inserts.

The studs go up first, next spacers are fitted between them mid wall (notice on right of photo below). 
The metal sheets are attached above and screwed into each board for stability.

The various necessary cutouts take the most time.

Michael is working very steadily because he leaves next week on a hunting trip out west.

His work is paying off. It's looking good!

Wednesday night was Family Night at Basics, so I got to walk around and observe Rebecca's participation in the program. 
Moriah, no longer sick, was there for the first time this semester.

Saturday morning was the opening/dedication ceremony for the new Upland trail. It was a beautiful day. 
Lot of people came out to celebrate and try out this wonderful addition to our community.

This was a very exciting week for two of our friends from the Writers' Bloc--Dan's book came out and Tamara's play debuted! 

Although we'd read and critiqued some of Dan's chapters in our group meetings, to read the novel straight through as a whole, is far better. 
It is hard to put down!

I was so glad to be able to attend the final performance of Tamara's play--well written and directed and with a strong message. I certainly hope it is not the last time it sees the stage.

I celebrate both of my writer-friends. They inspire me to work steadily on my story. 
Michael models the focus and dedication I need to bring it to completion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Week 41

Lovely fall weather held out for most of the week, and again I enjoyed several half hour walks. When possible I'd catch a ride in the morning with either Moriah or Michael to the corner of the campus and then take a different route home each time.

The university president's house in the background
Moriah told me about the gift given to the university this year by the graduating class of 1969 to celebrate their 50th anniversary--a fountain symbolizing the servant leader concept exemplified by the towel each graduate receives.

I also noticed last year's class gift, an enhancement of the area surrounding the bell tower with plaques explaining the guiding concepts of the institution.

Michael gets his exercise working long days at the Matthews shop. Even so he tries to go out for a bicycle ride when time and weather allow. 
I enjoy sharing a lunch with him there most days. Occasionally visitors stop in. Kayla surprised us one day, and Leah joined us the next day for lunch. Most often one or more of the other mentors drop by to help in some way. 

Gradually the old building of 100 lives, is taking on a new identity. If the walls could talk there'd be so many stories to tell. These are remnants from the past. Do you recognize the flag?
A sweet memory this week was when Jude was born June 8 seven years ago. I was so privileged to be there. The blanket I knit for him was one he treasured and carried around till it fell apart!

And here is the finished structure Sam built for his boys motivated by Jude's birthday.

It was the week of fall break, so the family took off for Kentucky (minus Malachi, the college student) combining a visit to Kristie's grandparents' grave and relatives in the area, and some beautiful recreation sites.

Saturday I took Diane and a couple of college students to America's largest War of 1812 living history event at the Mississinewa Battlefield, Marion, Indiana--like taking a step back in time.
We enjoyed interacting with the vendors and participants dressed in period costumes, playing tunes from the late 18th century and Thomas the storyteller who regaled us with the history, culture, and customs of the Native Americans.

We were not prepared, however, for the cold wind. The weather had changed so drastically during the night, that even the sunshine was not enough to take the chill off. The two girls from India have not adapted to our Indiana climate yet, so we shared one coat, mittens, and headband around among us.

My favorite 1812er and her dolly Goldilocks
Sunday, after early church, I headed up to Grace Village to attend the annual open house of the ARTcare with Grace studio. It was very special to have my brother Alan and his son,visiting from Portland, OR, join us for dinner with Mother. 

In the studio we spread out all of Mother's paintings and could hardly believe how many there were. She picked out her favorite. I have since framed it to hang in her room.

There you have it, another full week, and only 11 more to go in 2019!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


 Loving the early morning walks this fall.

Enjoying the few seasonal decorations.

Ivan (Hoyt sibling #4) and Kim's Indiana business trip allowed for several visits with Mother.  Monday morning, the last time, they joined her in the ARTcare studio.

In the afternoon, on the way to the airport to head back to Las Vegas, they had enough time to drop by for a visit and even stop at the shop where Mike spends every day plugging away at the huge restoration project.
I go every day, for a short visit, with a lunch to share, and to see and document the progress on the building. Michael looks very tired, but doggedly determined to persevere to the end. Occasionally a friend comes by to help.

Friday was Grandparents' Day for Royerton Elementary. Jude is in 1st grade and Zion in 4th. Sadly, Zion was sick and couldn't be there. Strangely enough, the same thing happened last year. Pobrecito.
And, poor Jude also! Grandma (that would be me) wrote down the wrong time, and didn't make it in time for the planned classroom activity and tour of the school. He had been so excited anticipating my visit. So sad.
I did, however, arrive in time for the entire first grade program in the auditorium. He must not have seen me make my grand entrance across to the left side and wave to him. He looked so sad throughout, like he didn't care about any one else in the audience.

After their music performance, the classes were dismissed. I followed Jude's line closely all around the school, trying to catch up with him. He was up front close to the teacher. As I was approaching, I heard him say, "I wonder why my grandma didn't come." Just then I caught up with him and said, "Because your grandma made a mistake." 
The kind teacher allowed me in the classroom and we completed the fun activity with questions such as, "What was your favorite lunch when you were in elementary school?" I had to explain that we did not have lunch at school in Argentina, we either went to school all morning or all afternoon. Then I got to take home this sweet note.

For Kayla's 28th birthday, October 5, she asked that we have a Friday evening Waffle and Game Night. I made a high protein waffle mix (1 cup cottage cheese, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup flour . . .), Leah prepared bacon, and we had a grand variety of fruit, jam and syrup toppings. The The waffles were a big hit, especially with peaches.

Kayla brought some favorite games. A long Monopoly session took precedence. Unfortunately, the birthday-girl was the first one out. Matt, her brilliant husband, won.

Rebecca and I went for a walk through a path in the woods, and Winnie the Pooch, our neighbors' dog, followed us back.

Saturday I attended two Homecoming events: bright and early, the 5K at Taylor; and later the Golden Gathering at Grace.

Immediately after the last physical therapy session, I returned to the year-long InVitATION (Inspiring Vitality and Transformation in our Neighborhood) program which I'd begun in January and discontinued temporarily after the accident. 
One of the goals I'd been working on was to build in more movement into my schedule, and increased intensity. Specifically, I had wanted to challenge myself to participate in a 5K race once a month. That has not worked out as I hoped, but I just couldn't miss the one opportunity so very close to home and on a beautiful day. I was the only female in my age category so I received a First Place medal.

However, the best part of the experience was that a former student recognized me and I got to meet his family! He was a Freshman in my Spanish class at Taylor.
Carter, J.R., Bennett, Megan Briggs
After lunch I set off for Winona Lake, visited with Mother and Aunt Margaret for a bit, and then at 4:30 joined a few dozen Grace alums from 45 years ago or more. 
Apart from the great meal and learning about the latest developments in the story of Grace College and Seminary, the best part was meeting up with a couple who were missionaries in the Phillippines with whom we had stayed in touch for many years a long time ago. So much to talk about.

Jake and Lillian (Thiessen '64) Leyenaar
Michael worked all day with a few other members of the robotics team to clear everything out of Madjax. Sadly, it meant a lot of heavy lifting, not enough help, and the task is not finished.

Jude's 7th birthday is coming up, October 8. Sam and Elijah worked three days on an-impossible-to-keep "surprise."

And Saturday afternoon there was a birthday celebration for family and friends, but we could not be everywhere.

Enough excitement for one week! How was your week?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

September's final full week

The hydrangeas in our front yard are drying up, losing their bright white, taking on pink and green tones, not exactly like the one watercolor tutorial I attempted this week.

It was my last week of physical therapy. I rode along with Moriah to the Taylor campus, across from the clinic, just another way to get some extra steps in. We saw people looking into the sky. Oh, a beautiful rainbow! There were other sightings that day. A beautiful reminder of God's covenant love, and promise, Genesis 9:8-16.

On the walk home I explored more of the Taylor University campus. The center building, English Hall, is the one that has taken Moriah, a commuter, into their community.

I enjoy sharing a lunch with Michael as often as possible while he tackles the enormous project of turning a 19th century building into the new robotics team shop. So far he has spent most of his time at the top of the scissors lift--to replace missing dry wall and tape, tear down the variety of old stuff (pipes, lights, wires), apply primer and three coats of paint. He was having a lot of trouble with the sprayer nozzle clogging. He went to the paint shop, but they didn't have the right kind or size. A painter standing nearby overheard the conversation and offered to look in his truck. He came back with the perfect item and size needed!

Another God-encounter happened Monday when I parked at the court house at noon for jury summons appointment. I saw a couple of friends who currently reside in North Carolina. I jumped out of the car, ran up to them and exclaimed, "What are you doing here?" They were in the area and needed to pick up a copy of their marriage license. We agreed to meet with them and a couple other friends at Ivanhoe's (where else?!) on Wednesday. Instead of the popular photo by Garfield, they later posed by the famous Koch tree sculpture.

Jon and Carol Shaneyfelt
 Skye's girlfriend was working then and brought me a fresh coffee.

This was also the day I looked forward to reading Sam and Kristie's annual celebration testimony of God's amazing grace.

What a gift to be free from the chains of addiction and to be given hope and freedom. 19 years ago today God rescued Kristie and I from the living nightmare of addiction. Only an addict will understand the depravity that comes along with addiction, so much shame, pain, isolation, and darkness. I never thought back then that getting clean would have been possible, but God had other plans for our lives. If you are struggling from addiction please know there is hope, and that hope can bridge the gap between bondage and freedom. Please reach out to someone and ask for help if you’re not sure what to do or how to get out of the trap of addiction. I’m happy to help in any way I can.

Kristie: Today I celebrate 19 years of recovery and God's deliverance from a life of destruction. While engaged with the Bible today, this verse was included in my reading. It is a promise God's Spirit spoke to me 10 years ago through that Still Small Voice, prior to all my health diagnoses, when I was very frightened. The baby in my womb was being evaluated for a heart defect. I had just left an obstetrician appointment where the midwife seemed more concerned than she could conceal. I went home and cried out to Jesus for help for my baby, and I heard over and over the words "Isaiah 46:3". I eventually got off my knees and went and got my Bible. I did not have the verse memorized. I wasn't even sure if I had read it before. Yet after reading it, all my fears were calmed. Later my baby, Zion, was found to have no issues with his heart at the neonatal cardiologist's appointment. Since then, He reminds me of this verse frequently. I can rest in His arms. Not only does He promise to carry me and my children, but also He carries all those who call on His Name, who are Children of God. He has carried me through so much and promises to continue to carry me all my life. Praise Him!
Isaiah 46: 3-4
“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.

Friday I was happily able to go to our local Farmers' Market again! I enjoy purchasing goodies from each of the vendors. I spent the most time talking with this couple, the Zapfs. He is a wood carver with vast experience and many stories. He even brought some samples, photo albums, and a book that features his sandstone sculptures on each side of the Indiana State Museum.

Meanwhile, son Stephan was at his first woodcarvers event in Kewanna, Indiana. Here he explains and shows what he made--an owl called Flurry.

He had carved a piece to take and hopefully sell at the auction--a bench, or is it a bridge?

Would you be scared of the troll under the bridge?

Speaking of bridges. . . here is the bridge Moriah and her J-term Lighthouse team put together as a bonding experience this weekend. Looks like a happy crossing. But, of course, there were no trolls.

Another full week has flown by, and the month of September is also closing out.
Isn't life wonderful?