Gathering Graces 1/30/2017

*One of the three Graces is names Thalia.  She represented youth, beauty and good cheer.  Today I am focusing a bit on Thalia as I share my one and only grace today, my memories of Sarah McFeeley,  a person full of youth, beauty and good cheer.  You see, Sarah passed away in her sleep this morning, and didn’t make it to school.  She was a 10th grade student at Kellogg High School.  She was light, and life and so much joy.  The photograph above is from right before this last Christmas.  I am so glad Paul and I took the time to get our photo taken with Sarah in the “Elf Yourself” area at KHS.  Sarah was a delight.  There were certain things she would ask me each time I saw her.  One question was “Where’s your car Mrs. Roberts?”  Another was “What’s for lunch Mrs. Roberts”.  I would often sing the Starship song  Sara, Sara to her as she walked down the hall.
Sara, Sara
Storms are brewin' in your eyes
Sara, Sara
No time is a good time for goodbyes
Paul and I spent a quiet evening at home mourning her loss.  What a gift to be able to do that tonight.  We took Mom dinner, then returned home, and were able to be with each other to comfort, but also quiet enough with our own thoughts, writings, songs, etc. to mourn and grieve as we needed.
Our daughter Molly had worked with Sarah at Kellogg Middle School.  I texted her to ask her to call me after she was done with school.  She asked me if it was worrisome.  I said not worrisome, just sad.  She asked, person or animal?  I replied, Person.  She said, Okay. Just preparing myself.  Will call you later.  It was hard to share the news with her about Sarah Bearah, (Molly’s nickname for her.)  Molly always had fun Sarah stories to share.
She was also one of Paul’s students.  He had her in Drama class last year and this year.  Drama was one of Sarah’s favorite classes.  This was a tough loss for Paul.
An outpouring of love from students and KHS staff started coming across my Facebook feed.  Everyone loved Sarah.  She was delightful. She was fun.  She was funny, and had a great sense of humor.  She was preparing to participate in the Winter Special Olympics coming up February 11th.  She was a good athlete.
This was a new experience for me.  I have never had a student pass away at school that I knew.  This is a different kind of loss.  It took me back to the summer before my senior year of high school when our classmate Mark Walkenshaw drowned up the river.  What a shock. Just like Sarah.
Sarah couldn’t have had a more wonderful group of people who worked with her at KHS, surrounding her with care and love.  From the special education staff, Erin, Tori, Julie, Lori, Deborah, Cory, and Jeanne, to her special friends in class, Brandon, Sean and Mikey, as well as her teachers this year, Paul, Rachael, Kandace and Joy.  She spent each day in a wonderful place.
My life is better for having Sarah a part of it.  My prayers are with her family, her friends, and all the people in the world touched by her life.  I knew her father a little bit, and he took such good care of Sarah.
One student asked me if it was weird that they could still hear her voice in class even when she was not there.  I said, no, that her spirit will always be with us.  And later I thought, what a special gift to be able to continue to hear Sarah’s questions, laugh and jokes.  She is probably cracking them all up in Heaven right now.
The image I have of Sarah in Heaven is from the song I Can Only Imagine, because when I asked Sarah about preparing for the Winter Special Olympics coming up, all she could talk about was the dancing involved at the party after the competition.  I think Sarah is now dancing with Jesus.
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine


Gathering Graces 1/29/2017

*Paul and I, with Simon on the drums, led worship at church this morning and shared a beautiful new song King of My Heart.  It was good for me to be reminded this morning, in the midst of  the happenings in my life, that God is Good.
“Let the King of My Heart, be the mountain where I run, the Fountain I drink from, Oh He is my song.  Let the King of My Heart, be the shadow where I hide, the ransom for my life, O He is my song.  You are good, good, Oh. You are good, good, Oh.”
*I had the luxury of taking a Sunday afternoon nap today.  Need I say more?
*I had grabbed some hamburger out of Mom’s freezer to fix something for dinner tonight.  As I looked through my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook for ground beef recipes, I found one for Meat and Potato Pie, next to the meatloaf recipe.  Basically, you mix up the meat like you were making a meatloaf.  But then you take the meat mixture and spread it in a pie pan and bake it.  Then I boiled some potatoes, made mashed potatoes, and spread it on the cooked meat.  You add a little shredded cheddar cheese on the top and Voila`, you have a delicious meat and potato pie!!


Gathering Graces 1/28/2017

*It was a lovely morning as I sat and wrote some cards and did some planning, while Paul was in the living room playing his guitar and singing songs as he prepared for our worship time on Sunday morning at church.  So beautiful and relaxing.
*With the washing machine fixed, that meant a lot of clean clothes to put away.  So I gathered all the clothes I had separated on the couch in the living room, scooped them up and went to my bedroom to put them away.  Success!!  They were all put away.
*While in my bedroom, I noticed the top of my dresser was a mess, so I scooped all the contents off the top of the dresser, put it on the bed, and proceeded to organize.  Much of this organization involved my jewelry.  It felt good to get some semblance of order within my earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pins.
*During my putting away of clothes and jewelry organization, I decided I wanted to listen to something.  On Friday, Bill had mentioned in his Three Beautiful Things post about listening to a podcast featuring Malcolm Gladwell.  I still had a couple of audio books of Gladwell’s that I hadn’t listened to, and his books are always a great thing to listen to while working on projects.  So today I began listening to  “What the Dog Saw and other adventures”.  The majority of my time was spent listening to the story of Ron Popeil.  He was the creator of Ronco products that he sold on television using infomercials.  I love Gladwell’s writing, and he always narrates his own books.  Other books of his I have listened to are “Blink”, “The Outliers” and “The Tipping Point”.  If you have never read or listened to Gladwell’s books, I encourage you to try one out. 
*Once a week we try and have a family dinner with Mom, Christy, Everett, Paul and myself.  Tonight Christy and Everett hosted at their house.  Mom was even able to navigate over to Christy’s house with her walker.  (What a blessing that walker has been!!)  We had Beef Barley Stew, Cornbread and Salad.  And they served Gew├╝rztraminer, a lovely white wine I had not had in quite a while, and it was delicious!  It was a wonderful evening to have all of us together.


Gathering Graces 1/27/2017

*The day began with this glorious sunrise I captured from my backyard.  
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
*Mom had to have some blood work done at the clinic uptown, so I picked her up, and we headed to the clinic.  So fun to say hello to Katie, Paula and Sue while I was there.  Then it was off to Yokes so Mom could pick up a prescription, and we could both do some grocery shopping.  The parking lot has been a little treacherous at Yoke’s with all the ice and snow, but today it was bare and clear, so Mom had no problem walking to the front door of Yokes behind her shopping cart.  We had success with our grocery purchases, and we headed back to Mom’s so she could finally get some breakfast after her fasting she had done for her blood draw.  As she finished up breakfast, Lisa arrived to clean Mom’s house, the mail arrived, and it was time for me to head home. 
*I had baked a chicken earlier in the week, and, after baking it, I kept the carcass and meat so I could make chicken noodle soup for dinner.  So today, I made chicken stock from scratch, throwing in the chicken carcass, onions, carrots, celery, and herbs and let it simmer for about four hours.  I texted my brother Bill to tell him he was my inspiration for making the stock.  Then I let it cool a bit, strained it in a colander, and used some of it to make Chicken Noodle Soup to take to Mom’s for dinner.  It was delicious.  The recipe I used called for making a roux to add to the soup to thicken it up.  Instead of the roux, and added coconut milk at the end.  It gave it just the right amount of sweetness and coconut flavor that wasn’t too overpowering.  I also added frozen “Reames” homestyle egg noodles to the soup, that made it even more delicious. (Thank you Keri for commenting on this in one of your posts.  I remembered, and tried them, and loved them.)   Then I whipped up some homemade Buttermilk biscuits that turned out nice and fluffy.  I grabbed some salad mix and cherry tomatoes once we got to Mom’s house to add to the meal, and dinner was a success!! 


Gathering Graces 1/26/2017

*For their Semester Test, the students in the Foods and Nutrition Class at KHS had to prepare biscuits and gravy.  Peggy Kimberling, the instructor of this class, asked staff members to be judges and critique the biscuits and gravy.  I gladly said I would be a judge, and was treated to a delightful dish.  I thought the flavor, consistency and texture of the gravy was delicious.  The only thing I marked down was the biscuits.  They could have been a little more fluffy.  But other than that, the project was very well done. 
*Molly and Travis purchased a bunny last fall, and named it Hermione.  Travis took Hermione to the vet to get spayed.  The vet called up and told Travis he should change the name of the bunny to Ron or Harry, because it a boy.  Molly texted.  She was traumatized.  I think by the end of the day, Hermione’s name had been changed to Dumblebuns.
*Zoe called asking about doing her taxes.  She didn’t like my answer.  I told her she would have to learn to do them herself this year.  We also talked about her job, and driving in the snow down in the Nampa/Meridian/Boise area, and I encouraged her to watch “Fannie Last Supper”.  It is always nice when one of the girls call and we get to catch up.


Gathering Graces 1/25/2017

*Mr. Fixit (Paul) was at it today replacing the drain pump in our washing machine.  He was so proud of himself, he even called his son-in-law Travis to brag!!  I guess it is time to tackle that enormous pile of laundry that has taken over my closet.
*January has been a time of down time.  But it is not that I have been lazy.  I have been productive, but in a different way.  A reflective way.  This month has given me a chance to think, dream, wonder, write, ponder.....things I have not done in a long time, but things I need to do to nourish my soul.  This has been a month of spiritual and soulful nourishment.
*I have been taking more bubble baths lately, and am loving the relaxing feeling of soaking in a bathtub.  I use Honey Mania Bubble Bath Melt from The Body Shop to put in the tub.  It provides wonderful bubbles, and a light, floral fragrance that is helps me relax. 
*I was also relaxed earlier in the day by getting my haircut, and Lynette at Uptown Hair Salon gave me a wonderful scalp massage as she washed my hair.  It felt so nice.  I love the feel of someone washing my hair, and then how it feels once it is cut and styled.  I like feeling pampered every once in a while!


Gathering Graces 1/24/2017

*I just enjoy sitting on the couch next to my honey Paul, enjoying a crackling fire, and, even though we don’t talk a lot to one another, it just feels good having him near.
*Last year a new restaurant opened up in Kellogg called “Best Shots”.  My friend April was feeling down because her oldest son had just left to relocate to Los Angeles, so our other friend Kellee and I joined her for dinner at Best Shots to cheer her up.  The owner is a huge Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball fan.  There are photos of the team all around the walls of the inside of this place.  So we had fun taking some photos that night, and April posted them.  Yesterday, the owner saw them and was commenting on them to April.  Then April sent Kellee and I this message:  i got this message from the manager, Kas Sims, today (these pictures were taken april 1, 2016): "So as I was typing up my original post to share these photos...I stepped out of uber and coach Few walked up and said hello...I shared ur pics with him...he got a laugh out of them...these women had a great time and really produced some awesome pics! Thanks ladies! GO ZAGS!" 
*The chicken I was going to roast for our dinner at Mom’s house was too big to cook in the amount of time I had before dinner.  So, let’s go to plan B...Waffles and Bacon.  Mom had bacon in her fridge that needed fried, and I whipped up some waffles at home and took them over, so we had Waffles and Bacon for dinner.  Sometimes it is fun to have breakfast for dinner!!


Gathering Graces 1/23/2017

*Tonight it was just Mom and I for dinner, because Paul helped at the basketball game up at the high school.  I cooked a really good pork roast with roasted carrots and potatoes, and coleslaw.  It was really delicious.  It was glazed with oil, brown sugar and garlic.  Yum!!  Mom really liked it, too.  Plus, she was in good spirits because she went to Coeur d’Alene with Christy and Everett and bought a new wig.  She was looking really good!!
*Today I started an online course that my friend April is leading called “THE ARRIVAL:travel size” with the focus on Awareness.  There are  amazing women who are a part of this course.  Some of these women I have grown up with, and others are women I have never met from all over the world!  It is wonderful to hear their stories, and see how this course is helping them tell their story.  I have always had an appreciation for my friend April, but after observing what it takes to administer a course like this, I am in awe of her ability to keep things going, comment on posts, and develop relationships with the 70 plus women who are a part of this course.  Plus, in the midst of it all, refurbish her new Italian Villa with her husband.  I am in awe.
*Sometimes being encouraged just makes your day.  Today, I got three that really stood out.  First, I was told the way I dressed made my look very “artsy”.  Second, I had a meeting with a co-worker, and she said she always enjoys our monthly meetings and the time we spend together.  The third was from a student at the high school who was showing a new student around the high school.  I was walking behind them, and she turned around, pointed to me and said, “And Mrs. Roberts is pretty awesome!”  Just some little phrases from others that made my day.


Gathering Graces 1/22/2017

*Today our pastor at church returned for his first Sunday after being deployed as an Army Chaplain to the Middle East this past year.  What an uplifting service we had welcoming him back, and moving forward as a church.
*Part of my daily routine is going over in the morning to my mom's house to make her bed, do her laundry, and get her breakfast.  She wasn't feeling good the day before, and still wasn't feeling great.  A bit of an upset stomach.  I was back in the evening to bring her dinner.  I tried to fix her something light in case she still had an upset stomach.  Mom got her appetite back, and she wolfed down the chicken salad, pears and cottage cheese, and biscuit I brought her over for dinner.  She said it was just right!!
*I am planning a trip this summer, and was in a wonderful discussion with a couple of friends about some of the plans regarding the trip, and how excited we all are.  I can tell already, it will be epic!!
*Over this past week, my daughter Molly has posted some things on Facebook, wanting to hear how people feel regarding President Trump, and their views on Saturday's Women's March.  I am so proud how she has handled these discussions, and how people have responded by respectfully stating their views and appreciating her willingness to hear their point of view.  Love you Molly J!!


Gathering Graces 1/21/2017

*Paul and I hosted the Sixth Street Melodrama Board Retreat at our home today. What a wonderful group of people we have on the board, and we had a great day of planning the upcoming year and talking about better ways to manage the theater and ways to provide more live entertainment for our community. A wonderful way to spend they day with an awesome group of caring people. But we are looking for volunteers and board members. If that sounds like something you want to do, let me know!!

*Today people from around the world participated in the Women’s March. I was there with them in spirit. If we had not had the previous commitment of the board retreat, I would have either been in Spokane or Moscow marching. I had friends across the world participating in marches, and for each and every one of them it was a positive and unifying experience. It was interesting looking at comments about the march. People puzzled at to why this is important. People upset because this was happening. People not thinking it mattered, or would do any good. I followed some very good and constructive threads where people stated their opinions without putting down others. So it really made me think why I wanted to participate in this march? You can see my answer on my blog post here. I thought it was a bit too lengthy to share in this note. God Bless You women who united and were a voice for whatever it was you were concerned about. It made a difference.

*The evening was spent watching two great movies on Netflix. The first was “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. This is a movie based on a John LeCarre novel about a British spy, played by Gary Oldman, who tries to find out of there is a mole within MI6. What I liked about the movie is what some people probably wouldn’t like about the movie. There were a lot of scenes with no dialogue. They were just characters walking or doing ordinary things, but I liked these parts of the film. And I thought Gary Oldman did a fantastic job as Mr. Smiley. He was nominated for an Academy Award for this role. Now I may have to read the book. Later I found a documentary called “Young@Heart”, which is a British documentary about a chorus of senior citizens from Massachusetts who cover songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth, and other unexpected musicians. It follows them for about 5-6 weeks as they practice for an upcoming concert in their hometown. It is a delightful film, with much laughter and much tears. But if you want to watch a feel good show about some real people who are forever young, watch this documentary. It can’t help but touch your heart.

Why I Was Marching Today in Spirit #womensmarch

I had another commitment today so I couldn't march.  But I was there in spirit. 

I think when you feel strongly about something, it is good to gather together with people who also feel that way, and make a statement.  From everything I saw reported, the marches were very positive, peaceful gatherings.  Everyone had their own reasons for marching.  That is what is great about this country, we can assemble and share what we believe.  My reasons for wanting to march are probably different from others, but that is okay.  Here is why I would have marched.

To me words that people speak are very important.  And there have been many words that have been shared by our current President regarding people that have really bothered me.  I would not be marching to be anti-Donald Trump.  But I would be marching to be there to show people who may not feel they have a voice against the words that have been publicly shared about them that I am in their corner.

I wouldn't necessarily do it for my rights.  I think as a citizen of the United State, legally I have all the rights I need, and am very grateful for them.  It would be more like the people who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. who constitutionally had the right to vote, but the local governments made them go through so many hoops and restrictions that some of them didn't get to exercise that right.

I would be marching for the women who have been looked at and treated by men as an object, as someone lesser than themselves.  I would be marching for the women who think the comments made by President Trump on that bus regarding the way he would treat women as no big deal, because that is how all the men she knows speak anyway.  That is not my experience.  In fact, I am blessed, because the men I am around the most are wonderful men who love and respect women.  But I know for others this is not the case.

I would be marching for the women, because of their circumstances, feel they have no voice because of the trauma they have received in their lives through physical, mental or sexual abuse.  For some women, this makes their voice stronger.  For others, though, their voice has been taken away.  I would be marching to help be that person's voice.

Globally, I would be marching for women who do not have the rights and freedoms I do here in America.  They are often in danger of their lives if they don't conform to the culture. 

I would march for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith, and often times killed for that Christian faith.

I would march for the men and women who are currently being used in the sex trade, and see their life as a dead end of abuse after abuse.

I would march because of the beautiful words of Micah 6:8 that says: "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

If you think this whole march was a bunch of nonsense, and a waste of time, I respect that opinion.  I may not agree with you, but I do respect that you feel that way.  All I ask is that you give me the same respect.

I want to thank all the people I know that marched in different places around the world today.  I may miss some, but here are the ones I know:

Susan, Lauren, Nancy, Kellie, Diane--Spokane, Washington
Janet, Nicole--New York City, New York
Adrienne and Sue--Washington D.C.
Kellee and Megan--Boise
Trish--Park City, Utah
Chandra--Edinburgh, Scotland
Terri and Bev--Moscow, Idaho
Callie--:Little Rock, Arkansas
Gerri--Wenatchee, Washington

My friend Beverly Wolfe wrote this poem and shared it at the Women's March in Moscow yesterday, telling the story of why she marched.  Thank you for these words....they are beautiful.

Why I March

"They ask me, “Why do you march? What are you so against?”
And I answer, “I do not march against. I march for!”
I march for my sisters around the world. 
I reach out and hold hands and we circle the globe.
I march to make public my promise. 
I will pay attention. 
I will be vigilant.
I will speak out.
I march for Human Rights. 
I will speak out when human rights are being given to some and denied to others. 
I march for the environment. 
I will speak out when I hear climate change being denied, 
or the lands belonging to ‘we, the people’ are being sold to the highest bidder
I march as an immigrant, to remind myself and those around that I, too, am part of ‘we, the people’
As immigrants, we arrive with our baggage, 
But also our talents, our hard work and our dreams.
I march as a woman, who cares for young children,
And for my sister, who cares for the elderly
That our vital work may gain the respect it deserves.
I march for peace, for in every war-ravaged place, 
women still labor to bring forth new life.
I speak because I can not be silenced.
I can not stay still, and so I march."--Beverley Wolff


Gathering Graces 1/20/2017

*Last fall I worked with 11 Kellogg High School students, helping them apply for the Horatio Alger Scholarship.  Today I found out two of the students that applied were selected to receive the Horatio Alger State Scholar Award.  They only give out six of these in the state of Idaho, and KHS received two of them.  These two students will receive $10,000, split up over their four years of college.  I am very proud of Avery Mace and Devin Hennig for receiving this award.  The rest of the students that applied still have the opportunity to be considered for the local Horatio Alger Scholarship.  I am so excited to see if any of them receive that one. 
*I watched the Inauguration of President Trump today.  If you know me, I am not a fan of President Trump.  But I am trying to keep an open mind.  I didn’t mind his speech he shared after the inauguration.  Why should it be like the speeches of the past?  One of the reason people voted for him is because he does things differently.  Why expect anything different on Inauguration Day?  We’ll see if he can make good on all he promises to do.  I hope he can be a voice for the people who have felt their concerns have not been heard.  I hope that, as some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have shared, that God has seen something more to Donald Trump that me, a mere mortal.  I have seen this verse quoted by some,   “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  The Bible verse I keep thinking of whenever I hear him speak is Luke 6:45 that says “ A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. “  Again, only time will tell.  You are in my prayers, President Trump, and I pray God gives you  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things, there is no law.
*Something I was dreading and fearful to do today ended up turning out okay.  Isn’t that how it usually is?  We think something is going to be so horrible, and we psyche ourselves up for no reason, and it ends up being okay.  Just like one of my daughters who called me the other day about calling her bank.  (all three of my daughters hate making phone calls, so this story could really be about any of them.)  She put off calling the bank since last spring I think it was, maybe longer, about being able to access her account online.  Well, she finally did it this week, and it wasn’t as bad as she imagined.  The lady who helped was very nice, and it all went very well, and she can now access her bank account online to see how much money is in her account. 


Gathering Graces 1/19/2017

Gathering Graces 1/19/2017
*Today was Mom’s 86th birthday!  Sadie and I headed over to her house in the morning, as is our regular morning ritual, and talked to brother Bill for a few moments as he called with birthday greetings, and gave Mom a haircut.  Later in the evening, Mom’s front sidewalk was free from ice, so she was able to walk to our car and come over for her birthday dinner.  The dinner menu included Pear, Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad, Broiled New York Strip Steaks, Glazed Carrots, Twice Baked Potato Casserole, Cheesy Biscuits and Mom’s neighbor Jane made her an Angel Food Cake with Lemon frosting that we enjoyed for dessert.  Mom, Paul, Christy, Everett and I enjoyed a wonderful evening together celebrating Mom’s birthday!!  Oh, and we Chromecasted Cosette’s Potato Bowl performance in the Vandal Marching Band onto the television screen so Mom could see it.
*Icy Roads, Bad Weather Conditionsk No School Day #2.  I was a bit surprised to check my phone around 5:15 a.m. and see an email from our principal saying we were not having school again today.  So I shared the good news with Paul, and we went about our slow, lazy day.  I feel like I have been graced with a bit of a Winter Sabbath these past few days, where I was quiet, and spent time watching birds in our bird feeder, took time to sit and think, and just enjoyed the quietness of the days.
*I have been pulling up some Chopped Junior episodes on You Tube these past few days, and two things came up that the contestants used that I either had just heard mentioned recently, or had never heard of in my life.  First was Shakshuka , something I had never heard of until Bill shared about making it in his Three Beautiful Things on Wednesday.  This was one of the basket ingredients that the kids were to use in their competition, and I couldn’t believe I had just read about that the day before.  The next things that one of the competitors did was create an Aquafaba sauce.  I found out you can take the juice you drain off a can of checkpeas (garbonzo beans) and use it in place of egg whites.  I was blown away. 
Aquafaba can be used to replace egg whites in many sweet and savory recipes. Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties.
If you want to find out more about Aquafaba, and what you can make with it, go to aquafaba.com.

Gathering Graces 1/18/2017

*Today was a “freezing rain, & hazardous weather/road conditions” day so there was not school throughout most of North Idaho.  I drove over to Mom’s house this morning, and it was like driving on an ice rink.  I was suppose to go to Coeur d’Alene this morning but canceled that trip.  So a quiet day at home for Paul and I.  I was suppose to have a PEO meeting at my house, but we canceled that as well.  The good new is, my house is clean!!
*Had a wonderful conversation on Facebook with some friends about being able to share and discuss with others differing views in a kind and respectful manner.  One of my friends reflected on this very thing in her blog post she published this morning.  Here are her beautiful words:  
I actually prefer and welcome the diversity. It makes me more aware, and I think more alive. It gives me the perspective I sometimes lack (of real people, who just happen to disagree on important issues). It’s what makes this life, this world, interesting. Let’s support and encourage and embrace each other, in spite of our apparent differences. Let’s be the example the world is so desperately needing right now.
These are words we all need to heed and live by, because I believe it can make our life more wonderful and full.
*Finished a book today called “Sister, One, Two Three” by Nancy Star.  It is a book I received from the Kindle First program.  This is a program through Amazon that offers customers early access to new Kindle books across popular genres from Amazon Publishing.  Prime members are automatically eligible for Kindle First.  I have received from really good books from this program.  This book was a nice, easy read that kept my interest, and the characters had an interesting family dynamic.  It was a nice way to spend my “freezing rain & hazardous weather/road conditions” day.


Gathering Graces 1/17/2017

*I spent part of the day writing two letters of recommendation for KHS seniors.  I love to “brag” about these students.  I have written quite a few letters this year, and I usually try and pick three attributes to focus on, and expand on these characteristics, painting a picture of each student.  I love that I have worked with most of these students since seventh grade, when I started working with them in the Gear Up program, and I also work with many of them in National Honor Society.
*Today a finished a short television series on Netflix called “Stephen Fry in America”. It was filmed back in 2008-2009, and Fry, a British actor and writer, made a six part series documenting him visiting all 50 states.  It was interesting to see the places he chose to visit in each state, and the stories he chose to tell.  (Idaho, unfortunately, did not get a lot of air time.)  I tried to remember what I had seen Stephen Fry in recently, then I realized he was in the series “Bones”, and he was the psychiatrist that was evaluating Seeley Booth and building a brick barbecue while he talked to him.
*On my drive to work this morning, there were two police officers guiding people by the track at Kellogg Middle School.  An elk was on the snowbank near the fence on its’ side.  Later I found out it apparently got caught in the fence trying to jump over into the track area.  We have had many elk in the area down low this winter.  A herd was even hanging out in the Kellogg City Park.  Which is very unusual.  We woke up this past week to find deer tracks through the snow in our front yard.  I put out a few frozen apples from a box on our back patio, but so far, they haven’t found them to eat them.  But I will keep trying!


Gathering Graces 1/16/2017

*I started the morning going out to coffee with my sister Christy.  We went to a local coffee shop, “The Bean”, and both enjoyed a latte and a good visit.  Even though we live in the same town, we often don’t get time for just the two of us to get away and talk, so it was a very nice outing.
*  I found a show yesterday afternoon on Netflix called “Fannie’s Last Supper” that was fascinating to watch .  The premise of the show was following the process of Chris Kimball, the founder of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, who spent more than two years  of “research, recipe testing, and intense planning” in order to host a Victorian dinner based on the recipes of Fannie Farmer, author of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, first published in 1896.  It all ended in a dinner party, complete with Victorian plate settings, and a 12-course dinner. 
* We finally put Christmas away at Mountain View Congregational Church, as Paul and I gathered with a few others to take down the trees, lights, garland, and other decorations that makes our church look festive for the Christmas season, and stored it all away until next year.     Then we all gathered together to pray before we left, leaving us uplifted and encouraged.


Gathering Graces

I am not sure when my brother Bill first posted his Three Beautiful Things, but they have become a daily ritual in my morning routine, and, since during most of the year he lives on the East Coast, while I live in the Northwest, it is nice to have a little snapshot of the beautiful things in his life on a daily basis.

Every so often I have thought of doing something similar,  but never have followed through on it.

But this  morning, I pondered this again, and did some brainstorming on what I could daily write about so I could share a snapshot with the people I love so they know on a daily basis what is going on in my life.

So I did some thinking, and looked at some books on my shelf, and it hit me....

"Gathering Graces".

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".

Marble Statue Group of the Three Graces

So, today, my daily exercise of "Gathering Graces" begins.

Gathering Graces...1/15/2017

* Sharing Southern Gospel music during church this morning as we bid farewell to Pastor Gary, who has been our interim pastor at church this past year.  I was fortunate enough to get to know Pastor Gary at the beginning of last year, as he was part of the cast of the play "Shadowlands" that I directed and acted in at the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace.  Gary, himself, is full of grace in many ways, including mercy, kindness and goodwill.

* Oldest daughter Molly surprised us with a visit this weekend, and it is always fun to have her home, even if only for a short 24 hours.  Saturday night, Paul, Molly and I watched the latest 007 movie "Spectre", ate dinner at mom's house, and then on Sunday, Molly introduced me to the series, "The Flash".  And her dog Sadie always loves having her "mommy" home as well.

*I fixed stuffed green peppers for Mom for dinner tonight, and she really enjoyed them.  Paul also changed Mom's filter in her furnace while we were there, which was a big relief to Mom.  Paul and I came home, and finished the night with another movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark".