Gathering Graces 11/13/2018

*Last night I wrote out the schedule for my day.  It was the first day I had finally done a schedule.  By the end of the day, I had accomplished all but one of the items on my list.  I didn’t get around to reading my book for my book group that meets on Friday.  So now I will add that to tomorrow’s list as a top priority!!  I knew having a written down, visual reminder would help keep me on track.
*If it works out that Nikki and I are unable to walk in the morning, I wanted to find a shoulder stretching and strengthening video to do on my off days.  I found a great 20 minute video that I tried today that stretches and strengthens the shoulders.  My shoulders have become very tight with my new routine.  The video was great, and I want to try to do it as many days as possible throughout the week to keep my shoulders and neck area loose.
*With VIPKID you can be certified to teach different levels of students.  When I was originally hired, I was certified to teach levels 2 and 3, which are typically 6-10 year olds.  Last week I became certified to teach Level 4 students.  These are more 9-12 year old students who know much more English and you do a lot more talking back and forth with these students.  Kevin was my first Level 4 student this morning.  He is 11 years old.  The lesson was on Landforms, and the landforms we talked about were Mountains and Valley, so I brought up some photos of Kellogg on my Kindle to show him that I live in the mountains, and in a valley. We also talked about some animals that live in the mountains, such as bear, fox and deer.  A few years ago I captured a photo of a deer in our front yard, so I was able to show him the photo of the deer in my yard.  What a fun way to connect with Kevin!!
*Some of my favorite verses in the Bible are in Galatians 5 when it talks about the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I have studied these words many times and I really want to study them again, and allow God’s spirit to work through me, and have these fruits more prominent in my life.  It isn’t something I muster up in my life.  It is something God changes in my life, and transforms in my life.  It is supernatural.  So I am ready to be transformed, and to have these fruits play a bigger part in my life as I interact with those around me.
*I headed up to KHS this afternoon and worked with a student on making a list of scholarships she can apply for, and helped her with her FAFSA as well.  Then I went up to continue working on some pottery pieces.  I can’t wait until the pieces are fired next week and I get to start choosing glazes.  Woo Hoo!!
*Even though I got a short nap in today, by 8 p.m. I was ready for bed.  I tried to read my book before bed, but I was just too tired!!  I am really trying to make sure I get enough sleep so I don’t get run down and catch a bug!!  I can only hope Benjamin Franklin’s adage will be true to me....”early to bed, early to rise....makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”


Gathering Graces 11/12/2018

*Today I tackled working on a weekly schedule.  I made some progress.  At the end of the day, I had a schedule for Tuesday.  Baby steps!  Baby steps!
*I was looking through some boxes of “stuff” in our storage room to use for one of my classes tomorrow, and I came across some vintage Kellogg High School and Kellogg Junior High School buttons that I had saved.  I think some of these hearken back to the late 60’s and early 70’s when my siblings were students!!
*I keep being remindedShow important it is to be kind.  My niece Jennifer recently posted about going to her four children’s conferences, and how each of her children, from elementary age to high school age was complimented about their kindness.  What a proud moment for those parents to know they are raising kind children.  Imagine what our schools would be like if the first response to any situation was to be kind....by both students and staff?  I think school would have a whole different atmosphere if this were the case.
*Last night was the second month I gathered with other women from the Silver Valley for “Real Women”.  It was another uplifting evening to be encouraged by our speaker Debbie Holland and organizer Chris Schonewald Meyer.  The thing I got most out of the evening was the message that what we do here on earth is important, and we need to let God’s Spirit guide us so we can love others supernaturally.  And be a light in our world of darkness.  It was a message I have heard many times, but it is always great to be reminded what our purpose is here on earth.  Jesus calls it the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-40.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I mentioned about the atmosphere in the schools changing if all staff and students focused on being kind.  Imagine what would happen if all people who say they are Christians followed the greatest commandment?  What if we truly allowed ourselves to let God’s love flow through us, and we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Imagine what a different atmosphere our world would have if even the percentage of us who say we are Christians decided to love?  I think it would be a world changer!!


Gathering Graces 11/11/2018

*With it being Veteran’s Day today, our church service was dedicated to honoring our past and present veterans.  People could purchase a flag in memory of a veteran, and these flags were displayed this morning.  The whole service was in honor of those who have served and continue to serve our country.  Once of those people is our Pastor Dave.  He is not only the pastor of our church, but is also a Chaplain in the U.S. Army and serves soldiers in that capacity.  We are very blessed to have a Pastor who is able to minister to not only his congregation here in Kellogg, but to soldiers and veteran’s who are in need of help as well. 
*The closest relative that served in the military was someone I didn’t know.  It was my dad’s brother, William Woolum.  “Uncle Bill” was in the Navy during World War II, and his ship was bombed somewhere in the Pacific Theater.  His Navy uniforms hang in a closet in our house.  His photograph hangs as part of a collage of photographs honoring soldiers who were Kellogg High School graduates in the main hallway at KHS.  The thing I remember most was that my Grandma Woolum was a Gold Star Mother.  This is an organization of American Mothers who lost their son or daughter in service of the United States Armed Forces.  I know my grandma’s heart was broken when she got the news about her son being lost at sea.  And I believe the Gold Star Mothers organization was a good support system to help her through that loss.
*I was very excited when Zoe told me that there was a new season of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Yes, Jennifer Kroos Haemmerle, I was excited to have another way to binge watch seeing Paul Hollywood in action!!!  There are some very colorful characters this season.  And some of the baking challenges have been quite challenging and unique.  There are certain jobs I see people perform on television, and I tell myself that it would be so fun to have that job.  I would love to be in the role of host that Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc originated on this show, and now  Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig  have taken over.  They have fun.  They get to encourage the contestants.  The only downside to their job is having to announce who “leaves the tent” each week and has to go home.  But even that is done in a way that makes the contestants feel good.....they all get a group hug!!
*We bid adieu to the two corgis and returned them to Bill’s house on our way to family dinner next door at Christy and Everett’s house.  Christy fixed a wonderful chicken dinner that hit the spot!!  It was nice to have Bill back in town after his  trip to Oregon to be with some friends.  Christy and Everett’s living room was very comfy and cozy on a crisp autumn evening.  We started off the evening with a wonderful new drink Christy tried using her favorite Peppermint Twist Vodka, cranberry juice and ginger ale.  It was very tasty.
*Coco and Taylor were finishing up a painting job in Coeur d’Alene today, and arrived after I had gone to bed.  They are heading back to Coeur d’Alene to begin another painting job they will be working on this week. 


Gathering Graces 11/10/2018

*There was still snow on the ground, but my Christmas cactuses don’t care.  I think they should be called Thanksgiving Cactuses, because they usually bloom sometime right before Thanksgiving.  I think they might do this because they are outside all summer, and then the shock of being back indoors causes it to bloom.  It will bloom a few more times as well before they go back outside for the summer.  I love these plants. It is always nice to have these cheery blooms as the days start getting darker and grayer. For years my Christmas cactus did not grow and did not bloom.  Now I can’t stop them!!
*I had a couple of online VIPKID workshops today, and do some other VIPKID stuff.  I am always learning something new with this job.  Paul was commenting to me how proud he was of me being able to get up every day in the wee hours of the morning.  I realized that part of what helps me maintain my energy each morning is the way the classes are delivered. It is like I am putting on five or six mini performances each day.  It is like I am a performer in a kid’s television show.  And that is what helps me keep my energy up. 
*After lunch it was off to nap....I have to get my naps in during the day!!
*Our schedules were tied a bit to our cat Toby today.  Toby is diabetic and every so often we have to check his glucose levels over a 12 hour period, and poor Toby was subjected to being pricked on the ear every two hours so we could check his glucose levels.  He was quite the trooper!!
*Paul continues to work on the basement bedrooms.  He put new flooring down, and painting has been done, ceilings scraped, and new wall board put up.  It is fun to see the transformation of these two bedrooms, and the downstairs bathroom is being painted as well.


Gathering Graces 11/9/2018

*These are the things I have been thankful for this past week.
Monday:  I was thankful for light at the end of my early morning walk.  Thank you Daylight Savings Time.
Tuesday:  Today I was thankful for being at KHS to help students, working on some pottery, and voting in the election.
Wednesday:  I am thankful today for being a part of P.E.O. and working alongside women who help support other women who want to further their higher education. 
Thursday:  Today I was thankful for a beautiful, sunny afternoon where I could hop on my bike and ride along the river and take in the beauty of the place I call home.
Friday:  I was thankful today for the first snowfall.  I love how everything looks covered in a white blanket of snow.  And I am thankful that I decided not to drive to Coeur d’Alene today.  I did not want to drive on the roads during the first snowfall of the year!!
*My plan was to go to Coeur d’Alene today.  But I napped in the morning, and by the time I had woken up and had lunch, I noticed there was snow in the forecast around the time I would be driving home.  I opted out of driving in snow today.  So I stayed home and got all the rest of my plants covered and ready for winter (just in time)!!!, and worked on some home projects as well.
*I enjoyed watching the first snowfall from the comfort of my home.  I had been sitting on the couch in the living room reading a book when I started to watch the snowflakes fall.  It is so beautiful!!  But as beautiful as it is, I have to admit I am glad I was not in the snow driving back from Coeur d’Alene!!!
*After Paul headed off to perform in Guys On Ice, and I want to the basement to teach some classes. Helloooooo China!!!


Gathering Graces 11/8/2018

*What an unexpected sunny afternoon today.  After I ate lunch, I was planning on going to Coeur d’Alene to run some errands.  But I went outside, and realized how beautiful it was, and realized I needed to take advantage of this day!!
*The first order of business was covering up some of my plants.  I got my roses covered with burlap and some of my newly planted bushes and perennials covered with a good amount of mulch to help them through the winter.

Sleep well little roses.
*After I got all the outdoor chores done, it was time for some fun.  I decided to hop on my bike, and take a ride to Elizabeth Park and back, and enjoy this beautiful sunny afternoon, and take some pictures of the beautiful place I live.
*There were many reasons I chose to retire from the school district and work from home.  And today was one of those reasons.  If it is sunny outside, and I want to take a bike ride on a beautiful fall afternoon, nothing is stopping me!!  I create my own schedule, and my own schedule can often be changed.  Which is what I did today.  And my soul and spirit were much better for it as I drank in the beauty of my surroundings on my bike ride.

The South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, just east of Kellogg.
*When Paul got home, I suggested we have a “Date Night” and go out for dinner.  We had not had a date in quite some time, and it was time to remedy that.  We decided to go eat at the Hill Street Depot, and it proved to be a great choice.  I had some pork street tacos and chips, salsa and cheese sauce.  Paul enjoyed a tri-tip burrito.  We both enjoyed the smokey flavor of the meat they smoke in-house.  I am not much of a beer drinker, but there is one I do enjoy every so often, and they had it on tap tonight.  It is a dark beer called “Irish Death”.  It went great with my tacos. 

Date Night at Hill Street Depot.


Gathering Graces 11/7/2018

*I have started reading the Dr. Seuss classic Fox in Socks to some of my online Chinese students in the morning.  They are loving it!!
*This morning I spent preparing a program for my P.E.O. meeting tonight. We are talking about the many projects we support through P.E.O., to help women obtain an education.  These include loans, scholarship and grant opportunities!!
*Bill came by to pick up the Corgis, and I got to see he new smile, after spending all day on Tuesday at the dentist office getting a bazillion crowns put in his mouth.  He shared a quote from, Liz, was helped with Mom through Hospice in her final weeks.  She would say, “Working with people who are dying is not for the feint of heart.”  Bill felt the same way today.  Spending all day at the dentist office and getting a mouth full of crowns is also not for the feint of heart.
*Our P.E.O. dinner and meeting went really well tonight.  Christy was part of the social committee that helped organize this event.  We invited members from the P.E.O. chapter in Wallace, and it was fun sitting with some of the at dinner and visiting, and they were very interested in my experience with VIPKID, and how I teach Chinese students.  It was fun to share with them about it.  And they talked about Wallace already getting some snow on the ground.
*Brrrrr!  The temperature dropped this evening, and it was a bit nippy as I was packing up my stuff after the meeting.  It was nice to return to my comfy, cozy, warm home.