Gathering Graces 10/21/2017

*Today was everything I hoped it would be, regarding getting projects done.  What a blessing to have a day like today.
*Paul and I told my siblings that we would arrive at Bill’s house around 9 a.m. for “furniture moving day”.  We borrowed Everett’s pickup truck and first loaded it with a dresser, a bed and a few other smaller items.  We also loaded our car with some things to go to our house as well.  Paul and I drove over to our house, unloaded our vehicles, and then headed back to Bill and Debbie’s house to move a desk over to Christy’s house.  Mission accomplished.
*Paul then loaded up the pickup for a “Dump Run”. First he went and got rid of the cardboard at the recycling receptacles.  Bill had also given us some of their recycling.  In the meantime, Bill swung by our house, and picked up some items to be donated to St. Vinnies in Osburn.  Paul ended up making two dump runs, but got it all accomplished.
*Later in the afternoon, Bill had started emptying the storage closets upstairs in his house.  This was full of odds and ends, and Christmas decorations.  So I went over and got some more archival items, some Christmas items, and a few other things, and brought them home to be put away.  Paul also loaded up the pickup, once again, with some of the lawn furniture from the backyard, which now of a new home in our backyard.
*In the midst of all this, Paul gathered all my flower pots and put them under the benches of our beech tree so I could pull out the flowers and empty the pots to store them for the winter.  It was so sad pulling up the pots this year, as many of the  flowers were still blooming beautifully.  But the top of our compost pile looks lovely!!
*After getting all the pots emptied and stored, my worked turned toward my raised beds. This involved pulling up all the plants still growing in the beds, and emptying a bag of potting soil and a bag of manure in each of the five beds and stirring it in to the existing soil so it rests over the winter, and will be ready to use for planting in the fall.
*I was amazed at the harvest I got today from my garden.  I picked one small zucchini, some Swiss Chard, a few tiny carrots, one small red potato, some tomatoes, a sunflower, and a small bowl of raspberries.  I took all but the sunflower and raspberries and cut them up and stir fried them in olive oil.  I added some salt and pepper and garam masala seasoning, giving it a bit of an exotic Indian flavor.  At the end I added a dash of red wine vinegar to the veggies.  In another pan, I fried some cut up Andouille sausages.  I dished up the vegetables in two bowls, added the sausage on top, and it was one delicious “final harvest” meal. 
*After dinner, Paul suggested we go downstairs and tackle a couple of the boxes we had brought over today of Mom’s things.  So we unpacked and put away some dishes.  We added boxes of photographs and papers to the “Woolum family archives”, a closet in our house now dedicated to anything related to family history.  And I went through a box of coffee mugs and sorted which ones I wanted to keep to put up in our basement kitchen area by the Keurig machine.  The others will be donated.  Again, a very productive evening.
*We got all our outside work done before the rains came, and the rains came and didn’t stop.  Paul had chopped up a bunch of wood, and made a fire.  It felt good to sit by the fire, and listen to each daughter share about their day, and to feel the warmth of the fire on our achy muscles. 
*On so many levels, this was a really good day.  As I write these words, the words from one of my favorite songs from the musical Godspell keeps going through my mind.  It is the song All Good Gifts Around Us. The lyrics are below, and you can listen to the song here.
All Good Gifts Around Us
We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand..
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain...
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain...
All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love...
We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts
But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!
All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above..
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love..
I really wanna thank you Lord!


Gathering Graces 10/20/2017

*Today was one of “those days”.
*It started out innocent enough.  I wrote on my blog, and got paperwork together and filled out so I could drive to Wallace, our county seat, and get the title on Mom’s car transferred to Paul and myself.  First, I needed to go by Bill’s house and sign some papers and get Mom’s death certificate.
*So that ended up being fine, and I drove to Wallace.  I found out from the very cheerful and helpful clerk for the Shoshone County DMV that some of the papers I had filled out online were not needed, but I did need Bill to sign the title as Mom’s legal representative, and that I needed to bring the certified letter that proves this, so they could make a copy.  So I headed back to Kellogg.
*In the meantime, I had received an urgent message from Paul who needed his Idaho teaching certification turned in to the District Office today. 
*I stopped by Bill’s house and had him sign the items he needed to sign, and got a copy of the certified letter needed.  I left his house, and when I arrived home, I realized I had left my purse at Bill’s house.  Back to Bill’s house to grab my purse.
*Upon arriving back at my house, I cut up some vegetables to roast that I would be taking to book group.  I started looking for the big envelope Paul’s papers were in.  The last time I remember seeing them, they were in his office on his desk, in a very specific place.  But they were there no more. I looked, and went through piles, and I could not find this big envelope.  “Ok Lord, help me find this envelope!!”  I decided, what the heck, let’s look on my desk in my office.  Well, after going through items in a pile, there it was.  Whew!!
*My vegetables were roasted, put into a dish, and put in the backseat of the car.  I stopped by the district office on my way out of town to drop the very important papers off, and they were closed!!  They are never closed.  But today all district office employees were gone.  I assume they had a special lunch together somewhere.
*As I left the district office, and turned to get onto the highway, and heard a sound, looked in the backseat, and there were roasted vegetables on the backseat, because some had spilled out of the dish.  I pulled over to the side of the off ramp, and scooped up what had spilled out.  Now my hands were very oily from scooping vegetables.  So, I drove to the Smelterville exit, took the exit, got back on the highway, headed back to Kellogg, got back home.  Cleaned up the mess in the backseat.  Salvaged the vegetables that were unharmed in this mess, and headed back to Kingston for book group. 
*Fortunately, book group was lovely.  As always, we had a wonderful spread of food on the table, great conversation about the book we read, Hillbilly Elegy, and about life in general.  As we sat at Mary Gail’s table, four white tail deer came traipsing into her yard.  Debbie shooed them off, know the damage they would do to Mary Gail’s plants in her yard if they were allowed to stay.
*So, back in the car and back to Kellogg, where I dropped off the papers to Cindy at the District Office, and talked to Terry about some Gear Up business.  Then I traveled back to Wallace and took in my papers to the DMV clerk, and, mission accomplished.  The car is now in our name, plus it is registered with new licence plates and we are good to go!!
*I returned home, and shared with Paul about my day.  I told him he should call our insurance agent to get this car on our insurance.  He did, and around 5 p.m. she was knocking at our door, handing us our proof of liability paper to have in the car, and also noticing our new roof, which means we get a discount on our home owners insurance, which she will put in the works on Monday.
*After sharing about my day with the girls, Zoe commented, “once you spill roasted vegetables on the back seat of the car, it is pretty much your car now.”  How true...how true!!
*One highlight of the day was the fact, amidst the flying back and forth around the valley, that I could look at the beautiful fall colors throughout Shoshone County.  As I was heading home at the end of the day, I pulled into the Silver Mountain parking lot and took the photograph you see up above.  I am always in awe of the beauty of the fall colors in my little town.


Gathering Graces 10/19/2017

*Lately the temperature has been in the high 30’s when Nikki and I have walked in the morning.  This morning, it felt like we were having a heat wave.  It was in the high 40’s, and it seemed very warm.  Amazing what 10 degrees warmer can feel like. 
*It was nice having a morning that didn’t seem so rushed, since I didn’t have to be to school to meet with anyone early.
*During homeroom I met with the NHS officers to prepare for our NHS meeting on Monday.  Monday we are drawing tickets for the raffle prize winners, and also starting our poinsettia sale.
* A couple nights ago Zoe posed a question to Paul and I about why we let her as a child watch the movie Poltergeist, and not Titanic.  My only defense was....”I don’t know....we were just weird.”
*It was coffee day at KHS today.  Some of the students have started preparing coffee and delivering it during homeroom on Thursday.  This is the first day I have been able to participate.  It was fun seeing Austin’s smiling face at my office door as he came to deliver coffee.
*I loved the fact I could come home and make a meatloaf sandwich for lunch today.  Bread, some brown mustard and meatloaf.  One of my most favorite sandwiches in the world!!
*After sixth period I had a one on one talk with a senior, and hopefully it helped a bit get his future plans clarified.
*Paul grilled some steaks for dinner, with some bleu cheese on top.  Yummy!!
*And we were off to Wallace for rehearsal.  We picked up Jesaray at her house uptown, and off we went.  We were able to make it through all the songs tonight.  It was really fun, except there were a couple times I kind of forgot I was suppose to be singing a verse on a song.  Oops!!  Good thing we still have two weeks until opening night.
*I came home and spent some time writing thank you notes to send to people, and called it a night.


Gathering Graces 10/18/2017

*Today was a day full of pleasant surprises, that included breakfast, conversations, home project completion and a surprise package in the mail.
*The morning began with a breakfast at KHS for all coaches and advisers.  I enjoyed some hashbrowns, bacon and scrambled eggs.  What a great way to start the day visiting and enjoying the company of my co-workers.
*And the visiting continued throughout the morning.  I had a chance to visit with some different people throughout the morning that I don’t normally talk to, and it was so uplifting.  Visiting with others made it a really great morning.
*At the end of first hour, Paul saw me in the hall, and asked if I was busy.  I said I had a little time this morning.  Well through a scheduling mix up, the guys who were to install our gutters on our house arrived this morning, and Paul needed to go talk to them.  So I covered his second hour class for a bit.  It was actually a good mix up.  We got the old gutters removed for free, and the new dark brown gutters were installed in about four hours.  They look great!!
*When I got back and started putting together the information for the after school program students to come and do some activities outside.  But, when we set up this activity, we said we would cancel if it was raining too hard.  When I left to go home for lunch, it was kind of drizzling, and I thought, we could do the activity if it continues lightly raining like this.  But, as I headed back to my car after lunch, the rain was starting to really pour down, and I thought to myself, we don’t want to be outside in this.  When I returned back to school, I had received a call that the field trip had been cancelled.  Good call!!
*In the morning I had received a text from my friend Anita saying she had sent me a package and it would be arriving either today or tomorrow.  When I arrived home for lunch, the package was there.  What a wonderful surprise to receive.  In it was a wonderful letter, card for me, cards for my siblings, some books, a calendar and a sweater for Paul and a shawl for me.  I was beyond touched by these thoughtful gifts.  Here is what she shared about the sweater and shawl:  For Paul, Grandpa’s green sweater.  For you, Grandma’s red shawl.  I got the idea from a prayer shawl a friend made me.  When I wrap it around me, I feel the prayers that went into it.  With these, I hope you and Paul can wrap yourself in them, feeling not only my prayers and love, but the big hugs I know Grandpa and Grandma would love to give you.  Spirit hugs from them to you.

Paul in Grandpa Evert's sweater.

Lovely gifts and Grandma Martha's shawl.
*I had finally got smart the night before and took some meat out of the freezer so I would have some thawed to prepare something for dinner.  I had some steaks, and some hamburger.  I was going to make meatballs, but couldn’t figure out what to make with them, so meatloaf won over.  I made four little mini meatloaves, and some baked potatoes and green beans.  The perfect comfort meal for this rainy evening.  We even sat down and ate together at the table, which I hope to make more of a habit in the future. 
*The day ended with rehearsal at the theater, a bowl of popcorn, and then bedtime.  What a wonderful, wonderful day.  Here is a quote that is from the Gratitude book Anita sent me:
Everybody likes to find a letter in the mail, but it doesn’t happen as often as it used to.  Remember, a phone call is nice, but a letter is forever.  Make someone’s day!
Thanks Anita....you made my day!!


Gathering Graces 10/17/2017

*It was a whirlwind of a morning.  I go to work at 7:30 a.m. to meet with a student, and he was a no show.  I don’t think he was at school today, either.  I had two more meetings with students during first period.  I am getting close to getting all my one on one times with the seniors complete. 
*Students continue to work on scholarships during homeroom, which is great.  So far, this class seems very motivated to fill out scholarship applications.  I am doing my best to help them with the process.
*The wind really started picking up this afternoon.  As A.A. Milne would put it, “it was a rather blustery day.”
*I stopped at the new Kellogg Middle School (formerly Sunnyside Elementary) to pick up some water testing kits, and it was fun seeing Carolyn Wozny and her KMS Cross Country Team getting ready to load a bus and head off to the district cross country meet.  Her daughter Shaye gave me a big hug, which made my day!!  Carolyn is one of the warmest, most positive people I know.  She is always encouraging people and cheering them on, and she is just really wonderful person.  Those kids are very fortunate to have her as their coach.
*I also received a wonderful hug from Cindy Absec, who hadn’t been able to give me one since Mom passed away.  Again, a wonderful short visit to KMS, full of love, warmth and good cheer. 
*I made it back to school for another meeting with a student.  Then I took some time to get my office organized before leaving for the day.  Whew!!
*The wind continued to blow when I got home.  I liked the wind whipping around.  At one point I went out in the backyard with Sadie and I saw some papers flapping on our bench that surrounds our beach tree.  I went over and realized it was a clipboard that Nancy used on Sunday during the filming in the backyard.  Fortunately, I was heading to Wallace for rehearsal tonight, and I could stop by her house and return it to her.
*It was fun seeing the transformation of the stage, since I wasn’t at rehearsal the night before.  It is really coming together.  It was a great rehearsal, and we got a lot of songs worked out.
*After school I saw our art teacher Rachael putting up items her ceramics students have been creating in class, and it gave me the desire to start doing some pottery again.  I need to figure out a time when that will work, and start making things again.  I also had a brief conversation with her about going into her Advanced Art class and sharing some of the photos from my trip to Italy.  That will happen in January.  I am very excited!!


Gathering Graces 10/16/2017

*Sometimes when the alarm goes off at 5:10 a.m., I really want to stay in bed.  But once I get outside, I love the quietness of Kellogg at 5:50 a.m., and I love going on my walk through town.
*I had a nice surprise visit this morning from Gabriell Benefield at school this morning, along with her sister Cassie and Cassie’s new baby boy Roman.  Gabriell graduated from KHS last year, and attend College of Idaho down in Caldwell.  It was so great visiting with her, and learning about her first few weeks of college.
*Lot of students were working on scholarship information today that kept me hopping!!  It is fun to see these students motivated to take the time to work on these scholarship applications.
*I took a little longer lunch today and was able to sit out on the patio in the sun and read my book and enjoy the sun beating down on me as I ate lunch.  It felt so good outside.  It was another beautiful day.
*Tonight some parents and students gathered in the media center at KHS so Elana, Warren and I could help them with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) process.  It was great working with these parents and students and getting one more thing checked off their list of things to do to help their students get into college.  And we really try and get out KHS seniors to submit the FAFSA, because they receive a $1500 GEAR UP scholarship if they attend an Idaho college, but they must apply and submit the FAFSA in order to receive that scholarship. 
*I finished up the book Idaho.  It was a good read.  I was hoping some of the loose ends would have been explained better, but then I realized, once I was done, that was not the point of the story. 
*Christmas is right around the corner, and I am directing the Christmas show at the Sixth Street Theater.  I spend some time tonight perusing and ordering scripts for the show.  I think it should be pretty cute!!
*Paul and I enjoyed ending out day listening to each of the girls tell us about their days, we shared about our day, and then it was time for bed.


Gathering Graces 10/15/2017

*What an absolutely gorgeous day today in Kellogg.  It was one of those sunny autumn days, with a clear blue sky that accentuates all the colors of fall. 
*It was wonderful to have all the worship team back at church this morning playing and singing together. 
*We left church a little early so we could get home and prepare for some filming being done in our backyard.  A scene from Portal to the Clockworld was filmed in out backyard.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The scene involved Gabe and Grant fighting and rolling around on the ground, so thankfully the ground had dried out by the time filming had begun.
*Joni and I watched the filming from my kitchen window, and had a wonderful conversation on a variety of topics, including politics, religion, insurance and gun control.  By the time our conversation was done, our conclusion was.....if people spent time being more like Jesus, kind and good and loving, we wouldn’t have as many problems in the world.  Kind of a simple solution, but I really think it might work!
*It was fun watching KHS Senior Riley Fisher in action as one of the cameraman during this film shoot.  Riley is doing film production for his Senior Project, and was able to get some hours and experience for his project today.  Nancy is a great mentor for any student to work with when it comes to filming.
*Grant was also able to get some community service hours today for National Honor Society by volunteering his time to be in the film today.
*The filming was wrapped up by about 2:30 p.m., and everyone packed up and went on their way.  It was so fun to host this filming in our house.  Especially with such wonderful people helping out. 
*I relaxed for a couple of hours, reading Idaho some more, and then Paul and I headed over to Bill and Debbie’s house for dinner with Christy and Everett.  They made a delicious chicken and rice dinner with roasted brussel sprouts and carrots.  We had some great visiting time and Debbie brought out her guitar and showed Paul some things he can work on learning on the guitar, and it was a very good evening.  Paul and I came home, and I emptied out two dresser drawers that were full of Mom’s things and put most of them away.  Most of it went into the “family archives”.  Then I read some more, and got ready for bed.
*What a beautiful, full, creative, relaxing and comforting day.