Gathering Graces 3/30/2017

* It is official.  I am on Spring Break!!!
*I spent the day talking to juniors about SAT testing, doing their best, what kind of scores they should be aiming for, and looking ahead to their senior year. 
*I was one of many people who helped get another senior on their path toward training for a career by helping him apply for lineman school in Spokane.
*Kevin and Linda arrived this afternoon to get pieces of old KHS gym floor to take back to Nampa so they, too, can construct a dance floor for their daughter Taylor’s wedding coming up this summer.
*Zoe made a delicious dinner with citrusy chicken and coleslaw in a Pita.  We brought Mom over for dinner, and she enjoyed visiting with Kevin and Linda, too.  Paul arrived after he was done with Parent/Teacher Conferences.
*One of Paul’s drama students likes to make videos, and he edited a music video using students in Paul’s drama class.  If you would like to see Kaen’s creation, as well as see Paul play a mean heavy metal piano, go here.
*Now that my brain was no longer fried, as it was last night, I could look over Zoe’s taxes.  We made some adjustments, and it was not as bad as she thought.  In fact, she received refunds instead of having to pay.  Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!!!


Gathering Graces 3/29/2017

*I had donated a dozen home baked huckleberries muffins to our National Honor Society raffle.  One of the teachers won the muffins, and I told her I would bring them to her this morning.  So I woke up and made the muffins.  I have made these muffins many, many times, without fail.  This morning, I would not have been crowned “Star Baker” by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.  If this was a technical challenge, I would have been at the bottom.  I don’t know what went wrong, but they were all crumbly, and just didn’t look right.  So I whipped up a second batch, that turned out just fine, and brought them to Kandace, so she could enjoy her winnings!!  But the upside was, there was a dozen muffins for my family to enjoy!!
*After a busy day again working with mostly seniors, Zoe and I headed off to Pinehurst Elementary for the PASS program, and some Drama time.  There was a small group of students there this afternoon, because these students do not have class on Thursday, so some were already starting their spring break.  Zoe and I had fun helping the students perform in the some skits, along with help from Kaitlyn Wohlman, too.  Zoe and Kaitlyn graduated from KHS together, and hadn’t seen each other in quite a while.
*We arrived home, and finished dinner for Mom.  Zoe had put a pork roast in the crock pot, and it was done when we arrived home.  I took the roast out and sliced it up.  Zoe took the drippings from the crock pot, put them in a pan, reduced them, and poured it over the meat.  We cooked up some rice, and headed to Mom’s, where we also put together a green salad. 
*Arriving back home, Zoe started working on her taxes.  The end results were not good. I am going to check things again tomorrow to see if they are as bad as they seem.
*I tried to tidy up the house a bit, and do some dishes because Kevin and Linda are coming tomorrow so I thought the least I could do was tidy up a bit.
*Then it hit.  I turned into a Zombie.  After a wonderful, but very busy week of helping students, I had hit a wall.  I was done.  As I sat washing dishes at the sink, Paul finally made me go to bed.  Bed was a welcome and comfortable relief.


Gathering Graces 3/28/2017

*The work continues helping with the seniors, and getting them registering for college classes, making sure their financial aid is in order, and that they are keeping on schedule.  How can it be the end of March already?
*Zoe was a lifesaver today.  She went to Yokes and bought Paul and I Reuben sandwiches and potato chips for lunch.  It seems like I am talking to students all day long, and I can’t get away for a lunch break, so it was nice to have some lunch delivered!!
*One of the seniors wanted me to talk to their parent regarding his FAFSA, and once I got off the phone, I received the information needed, and he can move forward with his application.  Yay!!
*After school the After School Drama Program visited the Kellogg High School Drama Department as their field trip.  The students arrived and were marched down to the cafeteria, and KHS Drama Teacher Paul Roberts had them come up on the stage and sit down, and he had some of his cast of his upcoming play “The Miracle Worker” do a scene, and talk to the students.  He also showed them some lighting on the stage, and talked about how the stage was going to be set up.  Then everyone headed up to the third floor to Room 301, Mr. Roberts Drama Classroom where they got to watch the of the KHS drama students play some drama games, then they got to participate in some of the games, too.  While the activities were going on, each student got to go to the Drama Photo Booth and get their picture taken by my helpers Miss Zoe and Miss Taylor.  Fun was had by everyone!!
*It had completely slipped my mind that Scott Reed was coming to rehearse our scene we are filming on Saturday for our newest installment to the Across Bank Street series.  So once the field trip kids were on the bus, Scott and I went into my office and rehearsed our scene.  It was nice to get a little rehearsal in before we actually film the scene.
*I got to go home for a brief time, then hop in the car and head to Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pinehurst for Easter Cantata practice.  It is so uplifting to sing this music each week.  We perform the Easter Cantata at our church, Mountain View Congregational Church on Palm Sunday, Sunday, April 9th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
*Zoe and I watched the Season 3 final of The Great British Baking Show together.  I thought the most deserving baker won.  Who knows when I will get to watch Season 4?


Gathering Graces 3/27/2017

*The morning started off with a message from a high school classmate sharing some encouraging words, and a kind and generous offer.  What a nice way to begin the day.
*It felt good helping one of the seniors and their grandparent work through a problem, and get it all worked out so all will be well when he registers for college classes this weekend.
*Had another parent call me who wants to come talk about their student’s college information to help get a grasp of how much financial aid they are receiving and making sure they are understanding the whole process.  It was encouraging this parent reached out and called.
*Zoe texted around 10 a.m. and said she was getting ready to leave Nampa.  She kept me posted via text when she arrived a certain destinations, and before you knew it, she was pulling into the driveway in her new car!!  Her very nice car!!  It will be so nice to have Zoe home for a week.
*Our book discussion group was going to watch the movie Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope, but we encountered technical difficulties. The darn DVD would not play in Paul’s computer in his room.  It did play, but then it wouldn’t.  So everyone headed for home, and Paul, Zoe and I ended up watching it on our own last night at home.  What an incredible documentary about how they have scientifically proved how ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) affect the health of people, and the importance of identifying this early and helping the children with early intervention.  It was very interesting and informative, and goes right along with the books we have been studying.


Gathering Graces 3/26/2017

*Last year when we did the community Easter Cantata, one of the songs in the performance was a song called “I Am Redeemed”.  That is one song that has stuck with me all year long.  Yesterday I shared it during our praise and worship time at church.  Such a wonderful message of love and redemption.  If you want to hear the song sung by the writer Big Daddy Weave, listen here.
*Watched more March Madness today, as the Carolina teams dominated the day, with South Caroline defeating Florida, and North Carolina defeating Kentucky.  It has been fun being able to watch the games at home this year.
*As summer approaches, it means the new season for the Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater will open in July.  We have finalized our shows for the upcoming season, so I have been working on some publicity items to help get the word out about our upcoming season.
*All day long Paul and I had been expecting Zoe and her new car to appear.  She called around 3 p.m.  She would not be coming until tomorrow, because she still needed to pay for her new car and get it licensed.  She had told me all this in a text yesterday.  I seem to have missed it, but when I looked back at her texts, sure enough, there it was!!  So we look forward to her arrival tomorrow.
*The flood waters have receded in the Silver Valley.  We do have rain in the forecast all week, but hopefully no more flood warnings.  The day did start out with some beautiful sunshine, but was gone by the time we left church.  The sun was nice while it lasted. 
*The Great British Baking Show continues to take up my time as I work on various projects.  One of today’s highlights was a man who created an incredible lion sculpture out of three types of bread.  A couple times on this show they have made their own puff pastry.  Some day I hope to make my own puff pastry from scratch.  At least one time!!


Gathering Graces 3/25/2017

*Our dog Sadie has been coughing throughout the week, so she visited Dr. Cook at the vet’s office today.  She may have an upper respiratory infection, so was put on antibiotics.  Here is hoping it clears things up.
*None of our daughters took Driver’s Education (even though their father teaches it), and all got their driver’s license after they turned 18.  Zoe was the final hold out.  She got her license last summer at the age of 21.  And it was more out of necessity because of her job.  Despite the fact she was my final holdout on getting her license, she is our first daughter to purchase her own car.  And, with Zoe, it was a wonderful community effort, of taking a “village” of loving people she is surrounded with helping her through the process.  First her adopted grandpa Phil lent her money to buy a car, which she will pay back in monthly payments.  Aunt Laurie sat down and figured out her monthly budget with her, so she knew how much she could afford to spend.  Uncle David took her out to purchase the car.  And Grandma and Grandpa pitched in with some help at the end of the process.  So Zoe is now the proud owner of a 2004 Acura TSX.  And her maiden voyage will be driving up here tomorrow for her spring break. 
*Paul and I watched Gonzaga beat Xavier in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament this afternoon.  What a fun game to watch.  I got a little teary at the end as the Zags made it to the Final Four, an achievement they had never been able to reach until today.  But to me the story that stood out as well was a short interview after the game with two of the Zag’s players, Nigel Williams-Goss and Johnathan Williams.  Both have similar stories, in that they played at other schools their freshmen and sophomore years, transferred to Gonzaga, had a redshirt year last year with no play time, and both played for Gonzaga this year as two of their standouts.  I loved as they shared, showing that taking a year, becoming a stronger and better player, and having patience really paid off for both players personally, and the Gonzaga team.    In a world of instant gratification, and wanting things done right now, it was nice to see examples of two young men who were willing to wait.
*Christy used one of the recipes in the Blue Bloods Cookbook, and prepared Pot Roast for us for dinner tonight.  A nice comforting meal on a cool spring evening.  As we ate dinner, we rejoiced as we watched the Oregon Ducks defeat the Kansas Jayhawks.  We are all proud of the two teams from the West, making it to the Final Four!!!


Gathering Graces 3/24/2017

*I spent the morning getting caught up on little projects, paying bills, etc.  Felt good to get some of those things checked off the list!!
*We are getting T-Shirts for the students in the Drama program, so I went to Osburn and talked to Gordon about purchasing the t-shirts, and gave him an idea for a design.  I can’t wait to receive the proof to see what it looks like!!
*Zoe called to say she would probably be driving home Sunday for her spring break trip.  Saturday is a big day for Zoe, and I can’t wait to share her exciting news once I get all the details.
*I took off for a drive to Coeur d’Alene around 4 p.m., and it was not a fun drive.  It was raining really hard, and the water was puddling on the roadway, so it liked to pull you to one side or the other.  But I made it safe and sound.
*Once in Coeur d’Alene I headed to Shopko to make some purchases for Mom, then to Home Depot to buy filters for the refrigerator.
*Third time was a charm today!!  Each Christmas for the past 16 years, my high school girlfriends had planned a gathering to get together and exchange gifts, and enjoy one another’s company.  But because of the winter we experienced here in North Idaho, our first two tries were “no-goes”, because the Saturday in December and the Saturday in February that we planned to gather, the snow dumped on us, and none of us wanted to drive.  Well, the planets aligned, and six of us were able to gather at a new restaurant in downtown Coeur d’Alene called Sweet Lous.  Tammi, Christina, Connie, Pam and Brenda and myself enjoyed catching up on our lives and three of us brought gifts to exchange, so three of us went home with gifts!!  We missed seeing Marian (get better soon!!), Kellee and Mary, and hope they make it to our next gathering in May in Kellogg.  The food was delicious and I had some of the best fish and chips I have had in a long time!!  I love these friends, and I don’t know what I would do without them in my life!!  They are all very special!!
*The drive home was not quite so rainy, so it went a bit better.  I got home before Paul was asleep, so we got to visit for a little while before he fell asleep.  All in all, a really great day.  God is good, (all the time), Life is Good, and I am blessed.


Gathering Graces 3/23/2017

*I was a little disappointed this morning when I realized I had not got my coffee order in at school to have one of the KHS students make me coffee today.  Later in the day, I was in Room 112, where the coffee is made, and said something about my disappointment.  Bless you, Erin Schneider Stevenson, for suggesting that Aaron Stepro could make me a cup, since he doesn’t get a chance to do it because his class is later in the day.  It was nice and strong, and so delicious, just the way I like it.  What a wonderful thing for the students to do.  And I loved my quote today on the cup....May your coffee kick in before reality does.
*  Today 37 KHS students were “tapped” into National Honor Society.  They receive an invitation, and then have to turn in an application next week to be considered for membership.  I enjoy being the NHS advisor and working with these students, who exemplify Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character.
*I am currently selling geraniums for our P.E.O. chapter, and am selling more geraniums this year than ever before.  It helps that I started earlier, and reached out to more people this year.  We sell them to help fund, among other things, two scholarships we award to two KHS women graduates.  It is a very worth cause!!
*It was Drama day at Pinehurst Elementary again today.  One of my NHS students, Taylor, came to help me out today.  We had the students get into groups and perform skits again today.  One particular group stood out, the group who performed the skit “Wide Mouthed Frog”, with the help of Taylor.  Very well done!!
*I got home when the Gonzaga vs. West Virginia men’s basketball game was at half-time.  I did some playing around on my various devices, and found if I downloaded the NCAA app on my phone, put in some TV provider info, I could Chromecast the game on the television.  Isn’t technology wonderful!!  Plus, Paul called after he was done with Driver’s Ed and walking home to see what was going on with the game, and it was during the time 0ut when the refs were trying to figure out a call on a ball that went out of bounds, and there was about two minutes left in the game.  He got home just as the game got under way, and it was fun watching those last few minutes of the game together.  Plus, I was able to get my final 3,000 steps in while watching the game.  It was a good motivator!!
*Paul and I watched the beginning of the Xavier vs. Arizona game, then spent some time working on some new songs we are going to sing this Sunday at church.  I love spending time singing together...we just don’t do it as often as I wish we could.


Gathering Graces 3/22/2017

*Prayer is the breath of life to our soul. ~Mother Teresa.  I enjoy spending the first part of my morning in prayer, breathing life into my soul.
*This morning began going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned.  I had the privilege of being the first patient of the last day of work for Judy Lewis , who retires from 40 plus years of being a Dental Hygienist.  She has cleaned my teeth for over 15 years.  I wish her well as she enjoys her retirement!
*Dr. Byrd came and checked my teeth.  I knew I had to have another crown put on, which I got scheduled.  I also have a couple other teeth that are cracking, and need some help.  The joys of having a mouth full of silver fillings!!  I had a brief but wonderful conversation with Dr. Byrd about his parents time in Israel, and them taking video footage while staying in Bethlehem for five months for an online Bible Study they write.  I look forward to finding the Bible Study online.

*I enjoyed having a conversation with one of the seniors about their senior project, and how they can make it better, and make good use of their time. 
*Isn’t it odd that it can be 40 degrees and raining outside, and it doesn’t seem that cold?  That is what moving from winter into spring can be like here in Kellogg, Idaho!
*A few weeks ago, Mom had asked me to buy some fish for her at the store.  I had nabbed the fish this morning out of Mom’s freezer and told her we were having fish that night for dinner.  It was a nice change to have a piece of simple white fish baked in butter and lemon.  A few weeks ago I had purchased some Pink Himalayan salt, and sprinkled that on the fish to try it out.  It tasted really good.
*I spent some time this evening before heading to bed looking at and choosing skits for the kids in my Drama program to start practicing.  I found some pretty funny ones, and look forward to seeing them act them out tomorrow.


Gathering Graces 3/21/2017

*What a busy but wonderful day I had.  I hit the ground running with nabbing some students who had not registered for the SAT last week, and got most of them registered. 
*It was Higher Ed Day at KHS.  This is a day representatives from most of the colleges in Idaho come and talk to the junior class about their respective institutions.  It was fun talking to the three people from the University of Idaho, and sharing our Vandal Pride with one another.  One of the people remembered Cosette from Girls State.
*The College of Idaho representative was talking to students right outside my office, so I was able to visit with him some about Zoe just graduating from there last spring, and how he ended up working for College of Idaho.  It was also fun to hear him sing the praises of Gabriell Benefield, one of our seniors, who will be attending College of Idaho next fall. 
*For lunch, my P.E.O. chapter hosted a lunch in the library for all the junior girls.  We shared with them about our scholarships we offer to senior women, and Cottey College, an all’women’s college in Missouri that is sponsored by P.E.O.  For our first try at a lunch, I thought it went very well.
*In the afternoon, Shoshone Medical Center came and put on a Heath Careers Fair for students in the gym, so that gave me some time to get some work done in the office.
*After school it was off to Pinehurst Elementary for some Drama.  Today I had the students perform some short skits.  They did such a great job.  I look forward to them performing even more in the upcoming weeks.
*Well, my day wasn’t done yet.  It was off to Our Savior Lutheran Church to practice my solo for the Easter Cantata, then Cantata practice to follow.  I love singing this Easter music, which is a constant reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us by his death on the cross which reconciled us the God. 
*Ahhhh, then home.  Once home, Paul and I had a nice visit on the phone with his brother Kevin and wife Linda about some things coming up. 
*Then it was time for bed!!  As the rain was pouring outside, I laid my head to rest.


Gathering Graces 3/20/2017

*Happy Spring!!  Spring is officially here.  We had some sun for the first day of spring, which was very much welcomed!
*In my journal was this quote this morning.  “That is God’s call to us--simply to be people who are content to live close to Him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.”  Thomas Merton
*We had our book discussion after school today, talking more extensively how trauma effects the brain, and how important it is to intervene early in the lives of children to help them with the effects of the trauma, so they can deal with it throughout their lives, and become more effective learners. 
*The water is very high in our Silver Valley, and much flooding is occurring.  I live a block from the river, and thank goodness for the dikes along the river.  Many people have water in their basements (we have had some off and on), and the flood warning continues until noon on Wednesday.  We have been asked to cut back on our water usage because there is a strain on the sewer system. 
*What better way to celebrate the first day of spring than enjoy some fresh strawberries for dinner.  They were very delicious!
*I finished The Great British Baking Show, and was excited to see Season 3 is also on Netflix.  What a delightful show.
*I finished making a P.E.O. presentation for the lunch our chapter is hosting for the junior girls tomorrow to let them know some information about how P.E.O. support women in education.
*Paul talked about this E.E. Cummings poem, and sharing it with his students, and how it reminded him of his childhood with his friend Rory, and what wonderful memories it brought about.  I leave you with...
in Just
in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan          whistles


Gathering Graces 3/19/2017

Chicken and Dumplings
*It was nice to be back in church this week after missing last week because of not feeling well.   I also got a chance to wish Marie Carver a Happy Birthday.  Marie turned 90 years old!!  (She doesn’t look a day over 80).  In his sermon, Pastor Dave challenged us this week to pray about what assumptions we make about ourselves, and why those assumptions cause us not to share our faith with others.  I have been pondering this question all afternoon.
*It was a beautiful day today, and the snow is almost gone in our yard.  Paul went outside and did some yard work, and got the patio table and chairs set up.  The sunshine was so nice.
*I spent some time today working on a presentation about our P.E.O. group that we are going to share on Tuesday with the KHS Junior girls as we host a lunch for them at KHS, and share with them some college and scholarship opportunities.
*I had made some chicken broth after I had roasted a chicken last week, and there was lots of leftover chicken still on the bone, so I originally thought I would make soup, but then I thought Chicken and Dumplings sounded really good.  I think I made them before, but I had forgotten how easy they were.  I made them in my cast iron dutch oven, and, once done, took the pot over to Mom’s for dinner.  She loved it!!  My dumplings did take a little longer to cook than the recipe called for, but once done, they were yummy!!  If you want to try the Martha Stewart recipe I prepared you can find it here.  Another change I made was, I did not have green beans, but I did have some asparagus in the crisper, so I added asparagus instead of green beans, and it tasted really good.
*As I worked on some projects, I transported back to the big white tent and continued watching The Great British Baking Show.
*Molly, Cosette, Travis and Summer arrived in Kellogg at about 7 p.m. on their way back from Salt Lake City.  Summer dropped them off here, and they loaded up our car with their items, plus got their bunny Dumblebunz, and Paul drove them to Post Falls where Molly had left their car, and they made it back safe and sound to Moscow later that evening. They were really tired, but had a wonderful time at FanX17.



Gathering Graces 3/18/2017

*I watched some episodes of Chopped this morning, and watched competitors transform their basket ingredients into delicious, or not so delicious, appetizers, entrees and desserts.  I found out that baby octopus is a very hard item to cook properly.  I also learned you don’t make bread pudding unless it is extraordinary, and puff pastry rarely has time to get fully baked.
*Our car has needed serviced for quite some time, and Paul got it over to Dave Smith Motors to get the oil changed, and checked out.  It feels good to have that item checked off the list. 
*I mentioned earlier that Molly and Cosette went to Salt Lake City for FanX2017.  Molly’s husband Travis was in New Hampshire serving with the Navy Reserves and was unable to go.  But the Navy was very, very good to Travis, and, instead of flying him back to Spokane like he was scheduled, they flew him to Salt Lake City instead to he could join Molly, Cosette and their friend Summer for the last day of FanX2017.  Very cool!!
*After eating leftovers from the night before, which were delicious, I started not feeling well.  A co-worker had coined the phrase “upsetation”, and that is what I felt like....I had an “upsetation”. (And co-worker, you know who you are!!)  But by bedtime I was feeling better.
*Paul was in the other room watching the Gonzaga basketball game on his computer with his headphones on.  It was funny hearing him talk to the screen as he got upset at what was happening, and he started “coaching” the players himself.  Thank goodness they won!!
*In case I was coming down with something, I decided not to go to Mom’s house for dinner.  Paul instead went over and fixed her up some dinner, and all was good.
*I did feel good enough to meet Nancy Ellen Hanks and Scott Reed at KHS for a rehearsal for our upcoming scene in Across Bank Street:Portal to the Clockworld Part 2.  It helped us both get a handle on what Nancy is looking for in our scenes, and we will film it the evening of April 1.  My character, Pemphredo, goes a little to the dark side in this scene. But, because of her actions, there are consequences!!
*When I spoke to Zoe on the phone yesterday, she told me that one of our favorite shows, The Great British Baking Show was back on Netflix with Season 2.  So I watched the first two episodes, and enjoyed watching the bakers create their Signature Bake, Technical Bake and Showstopper Bake, and be judged  by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.  The tone of this show is much different than many of the American cooking shows I watch.  It is much friendlier.  I love that when someone goes home, they all hug, and everyone is so nice to one another, and it leaves with you with good feeling.