Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 54 Basketball

February 28
Day 54

The Twin Valley Basket Ball League had championships today. Jesse's team, coached by three gifted men, were the champions. They won every game. There is one scrappy player on that team that gets in there, grabs the ball and heads down the court often swishing a basket. He is also an excellent team player. This year Jesse's coaches were tough on him. I loved that.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 53 Genius

February 26, 2015
Day 53

Every student is gifted and every student has special needs. Every student deserves a plan just for them based just on them. Every student has a unique bent that is only theirs. Tonight there was Elizabeth with her book and poetry, Zach with his marble roller he constructed himself. Reagan had her animation and stop motion project and Hayley had her stop motion movie. Mallory had her new youtube channel featured and Zach Peterson had his super human drawings. Nathan had his stop motion lego movie while Amanda had her book binding projects. Chris had his sketch up projects and Anna had her photography. Jesse had his mock tree house and the plans and Josiah had his wooden knives. Grace had her tie-dye while Ben had his quadcopters computer program and Lydia had her beginnings of a novel. Stella had her fabric she had designed and her dress she made while Cassie had her two short stories. Gabrielle had her choreographed ballet dance while Abby had her baked goods where she learned the science behind it. Nicky Sue had her silk screen projects and Hannah had Ansel Adams featured. Anna had her lavender projects and Sydney had her goat milk. Cayden had his game design and Taylor had her paper hot air balloon.  Daniel had his superconductor information.

Tonight was remarkable. To have a view into the interest of these students was a privilege!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 51 The Band of Sisters

February 25, 2015
Day 51

Tonight I was at Christa's home in Spring City. Heather, Amy, Lori, Saige, Erin,  Dale and I spent the evening together in her Pottery Barn home. We spoke of deep things, personal things, things that would not qualify as surface-y. We shared, we laughed, we cried, we cringed, we smiled and we prayed. The bond was as real as each other, we could almost see it. The bond was based on a man's death and resurrection thousands of years ago. Only Jesus can pull a room together in unity.  We don't even know each other well enough to know our commonalities or our diversities. However, we do know one thing. God is moving and He is calling us together as sisters in the Body of Christ.

Where any of us go from here we do not know. However, we loved each other tonight and our hugs were sister hugs. Maybe you wish you were there. Do not worry, you are part of us! The love of Jesus pulls all of us into the vortex, none of us are left as outsiders. If you find yourself in situations where you feel you have to work to "fit in." Stop working and understand that you need to find those who desire to actually "walk in the Spirit." But be gentle with those who are not there yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 50 The Deceitful Heart Metrics

February 24, 2015
Day 50

The heart is so deceitful.
So deceitful is the heart.
The deceitful heart is so.

I look like a christian.
Like a christian I look.
A christian I look like.

The metrics used are wrong.
Wrong are the metrics used.
The wrong metrics are used.

He knows the metrics' beat.
The metrics' beat He knows.
Knows He the metrics' beat.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 49 Time Travel

(Jesse and Joseph)
February 23, 2015
Day 49

Tonight I traveled back in time. I did. In fact, not only did I travel back in time but I was in space (it just was not outer). I went to CA tonight and will go back tomorrow. My buddy Joey and I spoke as we traveled through time and distance. It was so easy.  Oh, Google, you are something.

Tomorrow, I will bring eleven students with me to CA for a tour of the Masten Space Systems where Joseph Oberholtzer works as an engineer. I have known this man since he was a baby. Watching him grow has been pure pleasure. Having my son grow up along with him and his family has been an honor. Oh, the stories and oh, the fun! His mom and I did not let much stop us even with all the kids we had to drag along. I needed someone who did not mind adventure or getting dirty. Janet, Joe's mom, was up for all of it.

Tomorrow is a field trip of a lifetime and so easy. There will be no jetlag, no worry over losing students, no worry about getting back in time. All we need to do is answer a call and soak in interesting information.

We are studying robotics and these students will be able to see up close and personal robots in action, at work.  My high interest in this subject is not matched by my experience, my skill set, or my math proficiency. But that has never stopped me and it certainly will not now.

Students, where are we going with Robotics? You seem mighty interested.  And I would have to wonder if you were not!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 48 Genius Hour

February 22, 2015
Day 48

Genius Hour is scheduled into the Wider Student's day. The students determine a project of what they want to do, what they want to learn about, or what they want to know. Then we have a Genius Hour night. They stand at their booth and communicate their projects via display and conversation.  It might not fall under an academic subject or it might, its their decision and we honor that. For our inaugural Wider School year, we instituted Genius Hour based on John and Lori Spahr's suggestion. It proved successful. The projects were inspiring and as unique as each individual. Young people are amazing.

This year we incorporated it again into our school year. Nicole is silk screening, everything. I am so looking forward to her project. She is self-motivated so there is no cajoling her, hands off for me. Today she did her last minute shopping for this coming Friday.

Jesse, on the other hand, much like his parents (though I am not like this anymore and I will not speak for Lynn) has procrastinated. So today, both he and his father were finishing his project. He is doing a prototype of the treehouse he would like to build in our stately maple tree in the backyard. Projects are wonderful and the Genius Hour is genius.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 47 Art, The Man

February 21, 2015
Day 47

Today, walking out of Walmart, I said to myself, "Stop, look, and listen." These were direct words from Art Rogers, from a long time ago. It was in Canada at a mission station where he and his wife and children were missionaries. I was probably nine or ten and I think he was chastising my brother Doug who needed a bit of direction. I remember at first not appreciating his tone. I was protective of my little brother and was kind of a spitfire from birth when it came to authority. But his words made an indelible impression.

Fast forward to today, age fifty-two, and I am walking towards my car in Walmart's parking lot. Art is speaking to me again. "Stop, look, and listen." So, I looked both ways. Oh, Mr. Rogers, you have helped me in The Neighborhood for all these many years. Your words have spared me from danger.

Art also taught me how to swim, NOT. Instead, he gave me reason to swim. I was probably five years old and both our families were at LeTournea Christian camp on Canadaigua Lake. I loved this place. So many wonderful memories and this would have been one of my first. I was fretting like a little five year old whether or not to jump in or not. What if I would never come up again? What if I couldn't climb up the ladder? Just little five year old thoughts.

Art settled my wandering, fretful thoughts.  He lifted me off my feet and dropped me in. I had on a lifejacket and yet the drop was enough to push me down under and pop me up again. However, it felt like I was underwater for an eternity. As I was going down I remember thinking, "Did he just do that?" I answered myself, "Yeah, he did just do that! Why?!! That was not nice!"

Being introduced to swimming by a lift and a drop was exactly what this little girl, too big for her britches, needed. From little on I have not needed a coaxer but a shover. Did Art know that? I don't know but it was a moment I will never forget.

So, Art Rogers, though the years have grown up our families on very different and not so different paths, I think you need to know that you still talk to me and I have always attributed my love for the water to your drop. You trusted me that I would be fine. I crave trust. Thank you for helping to shape who I am.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 46 The Land of Nod

February 20, 2015
Day 46

Celebrating a fiftieth birthday with friends over dinner while listening to great jazz was a winning combination. My son Chris and his friend Brendan were the musicians. Now, I sit on the couch in front of the coal stove. My scarf is high up on my face as I sit and type. I am also nodding off to sleep. My sentences just might become incoherent if I do not make the trek to bed.  I can not tell you how many times I have wandered off to sleep since that last sentence.

So, goodnight.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 45 Robot and Frank

February 20, 2015
Day 45

After Lynn and I came home from watching a riveting basketball game where Jesse's team won, Jesse and I unwound in front of the television. We watched "Robot and Frank." Frank is a retired cat burglar. I will not suggest this movie to my students as we are exploring the subject of robots, but boy I sure did enjoy it.

As I watched this movie with my son I thought of this: a world where robots no longer exist only in science fiction, where drones populate the lower level air space, where cars drive themselves is HERE. This is Jesse's world. He will be thinking of the ethical nature, the theological implications, and the place robots should play in his everyday life.  I might be too tired for that.

The robot had to convince Frank that the he was just a robot, not a live person. Frank's refusal at first of the need for the robot, by the end, turned into a friendship. However, the robot was not a friend but a slave. Much to dwell on.

"Jesse, what do you think about this film?" I asked him.

He does not want to say anything. He is too tired. I am going to get him to bed. However, Jesse does have one thing to say. He wants you to pray for him, he is not feeling the best. Yes, it is late and yes, Jesse should be in bed, and yes, Jesse is my sixth child and yes, that is not a good excuse. No excuse.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 44 Phone Etiquette-I Don't Have

February 18, 2015
Day 44

"Carry the *!*! phone with ya!" so says Lynn.

I forgot it in the car tonight.

"But no news is good news, right?" I reply.

"No, you say that but it is not totally true." Lynn volleys back.

"How so?" I question.

"If you are running into a problem I would rather have you call me about it than wait for the emergency crew to pick you up off the road." Lynn retorts.

"How can I call you before an accident, like you're suggesting?" is my silly reply, trying to joke a bit here. It's get real serious, real quick, when we discuss my lack of phone etiquette. He doesn't think I'm funny.

"The biggest thing for me is to get in touch with you if I know conditions are potentially a problem and you are running late," Lynn says.

"I appreciate that, Lynn! I do love you and am thankful that I have one person who is waiting for me, what an honor," I say to him.

"You have somebody who cares enough to call to see if everything is ok,"  He responds.

"Yes, I just said that!" I reply back.

"If you get five calls when you are out be thankful that we can keep in touch and get answers when we need them." He says, again.

"You are right, I will keep my phone with me at all times," I promise.

"Thank you," he says.

"Make choices to be aware of your phone," he tells me.

"What allows you to always know where your phone is?" I query.

"Choices, I choose to be aware of it." He responds.

"Oh, yeah, I gotta remember that, make choices of awareness," I reply.

Note to self - remember!  It's gonna be tough.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 43 Library of Compassion

February 16
Day 43

Jesus is a complete mush. He is someone you want to keep shoving along. He stops, all the time. He cares, too much. And it gets to you. C'mon keep moving.

"I'm really hungry. Can we just go to the next town?"

"Lynne, let's feed these people."

"Jesus, this is impossible?"

"I know, for you. Not for Me. You can do this."


"Believe who I say I AM."

Jesus goes the extra mile and it gets to you after a while.  When is He going to crumble? When will His inconsistencies surface? How can He keep this up? And where the heck does He go? He just leaves. But His mark as a human is indelible and His effect on the world as God irreversible.

The Library of Congress becomes a minuscule drop to what they say about the amount of books that could have been filled with all that Jesus did. The Bible is a pitiful leaflet (poor comparison) compared to the fact that "...were every one (of the many things Jesus did) to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that could be written." Jn. 21:21. The Library of Congress would become the Library of Compassion.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 42 A Haunting Taunt or A Call?

February 16, 2015
Day 42










Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 41 Valentine's Day

My son, Christopher, gave me a music gift for Christmas. He purchased tickets to see Gregory Porter, live, on Valentine's Day. Yesterday, despite the threat of a white out blizzard hitting the city, Christopher and I hit the road and headed to Manhattan. The need to hear the jazz, to hear the bass, the piano, the trumpet, the saxophone, the drums and the voice pushed back the very real fear, for me (not for Chris). Gregory Porter, only introduced to us before Christmas, beckoned us to make the wintry drive.

Four or five solid blankets, two heavy duty boots purchased from Red Lake Canada, mittens, and snacks, stuffed the car. This was all in preparation for a worse case scenario. Lynn and I have always been and always will be cautious. Chris, though he appreciated the thought, might not have had the car as well stocked.

To be with Chris is always fun and fiesty. We are constantly spatting about driving. I remind him I'm good without having to read, SO UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, all the license plates. He would tell you I am exaggerating. You decide. Heading out of the city at 11:30 pm was a blast. Try chasing your tail, that sounds easier than using signs to find the Lincoln Tunnel. Chris wanted me to use my stupid smart phone's GPS. I told him he needed to rely more on signs. Gonna use GPS the next go around.

Chris and I are geared similar. We LOVE people. We could make friends with the city in one night and be ready to do another city the next day. We love clerks, bus drivers, waiters, waitresses, you name it, we are talking and discovering. This is why we love red stop lights in the city, just to watch people. As I headed my way back from the bathroom after the concert he informed me that I missed meeting Gregory Porter. Of course he would make his way to him. Oh well, maybe the next time.

After Chris parked the car we checked out the restaurant right next to The Town Hall. We are not foodies, not picky, and we were hungry so we decided to just eat there. After our delicious meal and good conversation, we had a half hour and decided to spare it in The Town Hall. Again, more opportunity to watch people.

There was a seat finder that was excellent, running up and down the stairs, you could tell she loved her job.  And then there was the seat finder who seemed lost, kinda like, "do you want to show me where your seat is?" Watching him direct people, or not, to their seats was so distracting. "Give me that stub! I know I can find these seats in half the time!" Just, let it go, Lynne! Geesh!

Last night, I was with my "people".  I am a black white woman. I chatter, grunt, groan and amen, sometimes all at the same time. I never clap to the beat, it's always off.  While sitting, my seat did not restrain my body from dancing, swaying or moving. HOW COULD ANYONE REMAIN STILL? The music transported me. This was a night to remember. Oh, the smooth jazz, the jazz that moves mountains in percussive style. My whole inner self was transfixed, transformed and translated into "give me more of that!"

We left the music hall and the snow was certainly not a white out. However, after having found the Lincoln Tunnel (a really fun game) we soon found ourselves in snow. It was slow jazz on the highway. Four in the morning Chris pulled in our driveway, Fergie meeting his mommy at the door (dear, dear puppy).

Thank you Chris for such a great evening. It will live on!

"Hey, Laura, it's me.
Sorry, but I have to
ring your doorbell
so late."

Butter, pure butter, so smooth.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 40 Go Figure

February 14, 2015
Day 40

I know it happens to you as well. You lose something. You look for it everywhere. You cave. You purchase more of what you lost. For me it is usually "reading glasses". You come home. You find the lost pair. Just like that!

It's almost magical, like clock work, predictable and weird! Today it happened again. I sprang out of bed scaring Lynn! I was making breakfast for a friend who was coming at 8am. I knew what I wanted to make and it was going to take at least a half hour. I had not set the alarm, just the mental one before I hit the pillow last night. But all that to say I woke up in a rush and misplaced, "misplaced!," my reading glasses. I never lose anything.

I looked for them everywhere. I am on my last one (of a million). Nowhere. So, I do what I know I need to do. I went to Walmart. But the conversation in the brain was, "I really do not want to spend money on something I know will not be necessary when I come home and find the misplaced pair. I have no desire to go into Walmart when I should be home getting ready to head into Manhattan!" (woot, woot, woot!)

God took that as a cry. He's good like that. He knows how to turn my thoughts into prayers without me knowing it. That's mercy.

Fast forward to Walmart parking lot. I am about to head into the very store I frequent daily. I *sigh*. But I have to go in, it is the only way to recover the misplaced glasses at home. I look down at the passenger floor. Weird, why did I look there? Say what, say what?! The glasses are on the floor.

Wait? What?!!!! From where? When? How? Who? Unbelievable. Really??? And not only that these are, THE ONES! They are not the glasses I misplaced this morning. They are THE glasses, the ones I have loved, and misplaced a while ago! These are the reading glasses I will try to replicate when purchasing prescription glasses. Just laying on the floor. Unbelievable!  I was only looking for the cheapies.  SUPERNATURAL, really!

Had they been on the floor last night, both Lynn and I would have known. We would have picked up squashed, crushed glasses.

There's other stories like that. I will save that for another day! Or you can ask me.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 39 Fun Day

February 13, 2015
Day 39

This day was loaded with fun. Arrived at 7:55 am-ish at Robyn's for the Wider High School. Spent time with Amanda and Anna (the others were not there) breezing first through the newspapers then moving on to goal setting. Drove to Melissa's to pick up Anna and Amanda's papers involving the Feminist theory using a book of their choice. Blasted off with some Wider Middle School  students to Tel Hai to hear a park ranger speak about the 1777 - 1778 encampment at Valley Forge park. The speakers that Frank Cymbolo arrange have been quite interesting, and the park ranger did not disappoint. Went shopping at Walmart to send a care package to one of our Wider Middle School students in CT where her grandmother is critically ill. The package was packed with well wishes from her classmates on Tuesday. I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and enjoyed chatting with one of my favorites in life, Brian Licitra. I sat for a while and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon sun playing in my living/dining room. Robyn called and put a shout out for Theo saying that he might enjoy a visit from some new faces. Jesse and I hopped in the car to kill two birds with one stone. Jesse goes to Action on Friday and so we went to drop him off first. Tonight he was going to have a go at drums for worship. Stopped by Theo's house where his Auntie Nicky had been all day. Theo had fallen asleep. Nicky transferred the little boy to me and he continued to sleep. I then left to go out to dinner with Lynn. We had been given gift cards to Ruby Tuesdays. This is a restaurant we do not frequent. But will now! The food was fabulous! Had a fun visit with Matt and Mary Burke who were at Ruby Tuesday as well. Came home picked up Jesse at Action, picked up Nicky at Theo's. Nicky and I then went to Walmart and came home to a room full of Geoff's buds. Great day!