Gathering Graces 1/20/2018

*Tonight we had a wonderful time at dinner with our friends Stephanie and Andy Broaddus.  We had decided to meet up at Radio Brewing uptown, because Andy had not had the pleasure of eating there yet.  As we walked in, I saw Bill and Debbie up at the bar and went and greeted them.  Then Paul, Andy Stephanie and I had a wonderful meal and a good conversation.  These friends live in Oklahoma, but try to come to Kellogg every so often to stay in their condo and do some skiing, or biking, and enjoy their former town.  They are one of those couples that it doesn’t matter that we haven’t seen each other for a while.  When we sat down, it was as if time hadn’t passed between us, and we just enjoyed time with one another.  It was a really wonderful evening.
*I could not get motivated to get anything done in my office today.  There are things that need organized and gone through and thrown away, and filed and put away.  I went in at one point and got a few things done, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.  I guess it will be there waiting for me tomorrow.
*My knitting project, however, did get some attention.  I am knitting a little dishcloth to help me learn the stockinette stitch.  It is coming along pretty good, except at one point, I got the stitch opposite of what it was suppose to be, and knitted when I was suppose to purl, or visa versa, so the pattern changed.  Which is no big deal.  On a dishcloth, I will make it work.  This is why I am taking time to practice, so when I start working on a project that I really want to look good, I will have taken the time to work some of these things out, and get used to what things feel like and look like as I knit.
*Zoe called today, and we got her a new cell phone ordered.  Her current phone was ready for an upgrade, so she followed in her Aunt Christy and my footsteps and went with the Google Pixel.  I got it ordered online, and, when it was ready, she went and picked it up at a Verizon store in Meridian.  She was excited that it only took a few hours to get it all done.
*Paul purchased a new leash for Archie so he can take Archie for a run and have his hands free when he walks or runs.  Archie gives him quite the workout!!


Gathering Graces 1/19/2018

*Today Mom would have turned 87 years old.  But she was not here with us to celebrate.  But she was here in spirit as Bill, Christy and I spent the afternoon together celebrating Mom.  When people would ask me how it was throughout the Christmas holidays without Mom being there, I would often answer that there were some hard moments, but, overall, it wasn’t too bad because I was surrounded by my loving family members who helped the time be one of healing instead of constant.  Last week when I realized Mom’s birthday was coming up, and that it could be a hard day for all of us, I asked my siblings if they would like to have an sibling out together and go to lunch to celebrate Mom’s birthday and raise a toast in her honor.  They both agreed.  And it was a wonderful day being with my siblings, sharing stories about Mom, and being with two wonderful people who I love, and who I know love me as well.  We went to Coeur d’Alene and had lunch at The Daft Badger, an establishment owned by a friend of Bills.  Then we went to Calypso Coffee to finish our afternoon with cups of coffee and more conversation.  It was the perfect way to spend the day.
*Last week I had taken the chicken bones from the chicken I had prepared for Christy’s birthday dinner and made a chicken broth in the Crockpot that took about a week.  The broth had been sitting in the refrigerator this week, and it was time to make some chicken noodle soup.  I went to Yokes and bought some chicken breasts to cook so I could add chunks of chicken to the soup.  As I added cut up carrots, celery and onions to the broth to cook and simmer, I made some noodle dough, rolled it out, cut it up, and dropped the noodles into the soup.  I made these noodles a month or two ago, and I love how easy it is to make noodles for soup.  The soup was absolutely delicious.  Homemade broth and homemade noodles add a depth and texture to the soup that really make eating it something special.  
*I started writing Gathering Graces on January 16, 2017.  My first entry reflected on how I came up with the name, and reflected on what happened in my life on 1/15/2017.  I had no idea what a journey this daily writing would take me when I started it a year ago.  Writing my daily Gathering Graces help me look at the little things in life that make it wonderful.  It helped me work through caring for an ailing mother.  It helped me deal with grief once that ailing mother passed away.  It helped chronicle my trip to Italy.  It helped me realize that what I share, especially about caring for Mom, really helped others who are going through, or anticipate going through something similar.  But I also draw strength from the conversations, comments and messages people send me regarding what I write each day.  And, for me, it has kept me consistently writing on a daily basis.  As I look what I originally wrote as my purpose for writing my daily Gathering Graces, I believe I have fulfilled what I set out to do...
That is what I am going to attempt to do from now on to keep a track for me personally the wonderful things that happen in my life on a daily basis, and to make these things a part of my family and friends near and far who may want a glimpse into my daily life, as I similarly get a glimpse into my brother's daily life.
As I looked at the word "Grace" it fits so well with what I want to share.
As a Christian, God granted me grace by redeeming my life from sin.
We can say "Grace" before a meal to give thanks.
We say someone has grace if they have seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion.
Grace is also synonymous with mercy, kindness, and goodwill.

In Greek mythology, a Charis, or Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces.  The usual list, from youngest to oldest is Aglaea (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer).  In Roman mythology, they were known as the Gratiae, the "Graces".


Gathering Graces 1/18/2018

*I started creating a to do list of things I want to accomplish this spring.  It is turning into a very large list.  But I need something to help keep me focused.  I need something I can look to for direction.  I need something that will divert me from sitting on the couch each night as I continue to watch Friends.
*January has been an interesting month for me personally.  I have slowed my pace down. I am not as busy doing activities, but I think there is a lot going in in my life internally. I found this great quote from Rosalie Muller Wright, who was a former editor of Sunset Magazine.  As I read this quote, I could relate personally to what it is saying.
"January is the quietest month in the garden.  ...  But just because it looks quiet doesn't mean that nothing is happening.  The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants.  The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come."
I feel like this quote is describing perfectly what is going on with me right now.  Even though my life outwardly looks quieter, there is a lot going on in my mind, in my soul and in my spirit.  My “soil” is absorbing all kinds of nutrients.  My soil is being aerated by things I am reading, things I am writing, things I am meditating upon, things I am hearing.  I am preparing for a spring awakening, when these dormant seeds and bare roots will start to blossom.  Some have been dormant within me for quite a while.  I am looking forward to seeing what blooms.
*I continue enjoying working with and talking to the seniors, as they go through the process of getting ready for college.  This is such a conflicting time for many of them.  Because they are finishing up a time in their lives that is safe, secure, familiar.  Yet they are planning for a new adventure, one that is both exciting and a little scary, because it is full of unknowns.  I just try and keep them on track as much as possible as they look toward the future, and try and keep as much of the anxiety they are feeling at bay.
*Paul and I are planning a weekend get-a-way in February, and things are falling nicely into place.  I think the last time we were away together was in November 2013 when we went to Denver for the Simply Jesus Gathering.  It has been even longer since we have gone away just to get away...no conference, no other reason, but just to get away to have fun together.  I think it is about time!


Gathering Graces 1/17/2018

*Tonight it was fun hosting the January P.E.O. meeting at my house, with Christy as my co-hostess.  P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization whose mission is to promote educational opportunities for women.  Locally, our chapter raises money so we can provide two scholarships to two Kellogg High School seniors who will be attending college.  There are also other financial opportunities for women who are currently in college, or have taken a break and want to return to college.  It is a wonderful organization. Our meeting tonight was very productive with lots of good conversation.  Plus, it is always a treat to be with the other women in our local P.E.O. chapter.  Sunday is “Wear Your Pin Day”, which gives us an opportunity to share about this organization with other people.
*The program I coordinate at school, Gear Up, has a scholarship they give to seniors if they apply by March 1, submit their FAFSA by March 15, and if they will be attending an Idaho college or university.  The scholarship can be renewed up to four years, and is at least $1500 a year.  Any student who has been a part of Gear Up between 7th and 12th grade can apply for and use the scholarship.  Today I spent some time trying to message students who are not currently at KHS, but have been a part of Gear Up, so they have the opportunity to apply for the scholarship.  Hopefully I can get a few more to apply and take advantage of this scholarship money.
*I had a great conversation with a friend who leads a Bible study at her church, and it really sounds like something I would like to be a part of in the future.  I told her I didn’t want to add anything this spring, but if she was still doing it next fall, I would love to be a part of meeting with some other women and learning from the Bible, and talking to one another about our relationship with God. 


Gathering Graces 1/16/2018

*Today I experienced a little wildlife.  On the way up to the high school for our morning walk, Nikki had to slow the car down before we drove over the bridge over the river because an elk crossed the road right in front of us.  When I left the high school in the afternoon as I was going home for lunch, four big turkeys were making their way across the street.  I love experiencing the wildlife!!
*Yes, the Silver Valley is the Wild, Wild West.  Or it sure seems that way by incidents that recently happened in Mullan, a small town along Interstate 90 just before you cross into Montana.  Since December there has been someone firing shots in a residential area of the town. And this has continued for about a month. This week they finally were able to arrest this man, when they pulled him over on a traffic stop.  I am sure the people in Mullan are sleeping a little easier now that this man has been put in jail.  A very scary situation. But fortunately no one was ever harmed when these shots were fired.
*I was reminded by my friend Kellee today about the song December, 1963 (Oh What A Night) by The Four Seasons.  Every time I hear this song I think of her.  We must have really loved this song when it was released back in 1975.  She reminded me of the two of us creating a routine for our P.E. class using this song.  Ah...P.E. at Kellogg Junior High School....with the red polyester shorts and the red and white striped t-shirts.  That was our “P.E. Uniform”.  At that time, our colors were red and white, and we were the Kellogg Kittens. And, if my memory serves me correctly, you had P.E. all three years in junior high, 7th, 8th and 9th grade years, and wore those shorts and t-shirts each year.  And sometimes they were even a part of your athletic team outfit, if I am not mistaken.
*There was success on the knitting front today as I finally knocked enough cobwebs from my mind and remembered how I cast on to begin a knitting project.  Then I practiced knitting a few rows.  Next I need to add in the purl stitch, which I have never done before.  I know it is an easy thing to do, but it will probably take me a bit to master the purl stitch.


Gathering Graces 1/15/2018

*Tell someone they are fabulous!  I was told today I was fabulous, and it made my day.  My Gear Up director Jacque came up from Boise to visit some North Idaho schools, and she came to KHS and brought me a mocha, and we visited from 11 to 3 about my Gear Up Program, about life, about all kinds of things.  At one point in the conversation she talked about how much she enjoyed visiting and she told me I was fabulous.  I don’t get complimented like that too often, so it made my day. So if you have a chance....tell someone you are with today that they are fabulous!!  I am pretty sure it will make their day.
*After school I headed out to Pinehurst Elementary to work with some of the students doing some drama activities.  At one point in the conversation, we started talking about our middle names, and what our middle names were.  There are  two brothers in the group.  The older brother shared his middle name, and the younger brother shared his own middle name, which was Alden.  The older brother said, “do you know why his middle name is Alden.  It is because he is the youngest in our family, and after he was born, my parents said they were ‘All Done’!!”  Yes, I got a kick out of that story.
*When I arrived home, Paul had started dinner.  He had gone to the grocery store and bought some fish, some jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon and stuffed with seafood, and we had a kale salad that was in the fridge.  It was really good, and a nice surprise!!
*A crackling fire in the fireplace, relaxing while continuing to watch Friends, and some frustration at trying to relearn how to knit was how I spent my evening.  I know the knitting skill will return.  I will just keep plugging away at it.
*Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  We were one of the few school districts around that did have school today.  I know some of the KHS teachers did lessons on MLK today, a man who changed the course of our country’s story by the things he said and the things he did.  I love the song that James Taylor sings about MLK called Shed a Little Light.  I found a special version on You Tube:
on 7/29/15 in Columbia SC, James was joined onstage by Charleston choir Lowcountry Voices. Together, they sang “Shed a Little Light” in memory of the victims of the Charleston shooting and their families. The entire audience stood in support.
Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King....


Gathering Graces 1/14/2018

*Tonight family dinner was at Bill and Debbie’s house.   Paul, Christy, Everett and I were also joined by their neighbor and our good friend Jane McShane.  Bill put together a delicious combination of flavors as he presented a Thai dinner this evening.  The starters included a cucumber salad and a broccoli dish.  The main course was shrimp stir fried rice.  Each of these dishes also had cilantro, peanuts, peanut sauce, and two different chili sauces that could be added for flavor.  The evening was finished off with either mango sorbet or coconut-pineapple ice cream.  It was fun to be able to gather at Bill and Debbie’s house, now that their kitchen and living room renovations are complete, and eat around their table, and watch my brother work his magic serving items he has never made before.  We are all glad he spread his culinary wings and served up an array of textures, flavors and colors to give us a satisfying experience.
*Our wood supply was getting low, so we saw an ad a former student of ours put online that he was selling firewood, so we texted him letting him know we would like to buy some firewood from him.  We made arrangements for it to be delivered Sunday morning, and around 8:30 a.m., two of his buddies showed up and unloaded a cord of pine into our garage.  Paul spent the day sorting and stacking it.  We now have plenty of wood now for the rest of this winter, and probably most of next winter.
*I enjoyed church this morning, and we had a pie social during our fellowship time after church.  I enjoyed visiting with some of the people at my table.  One person asked me if I was planning another trip like I did to New York City, when we did a week long mission.  I briefly told her about my trip to Italy, and said my next dream trip would be to visit the Holy Lands.  Two of the people at my table had visited there, and they started sharing stories of their trip, which made me want to travel there even more!!  I always dreamed of visiting NYC, and didn’t know how I would get there, and have now been there two times to visit.  I always dreamed of visiting Europe, and was able to go there last summer.  So it will be fun to see how a trip to Israel comes about.