Gathering Graces 11/29/2017

*Breakfast is probably one of my most favorite meals to eat.  But I have been really bad lately getting up and eating something for breakfast.  I have a cup of coffee, but often that is it.  My friend Diana had a Pampered Chef party this last month, and one of the newer items they sell is a Ceramic Egg Cooker.  I thought this might be a way to start cooking breakfast a bit easier.  So I put two eggs in the egg cooker, shook them up about 10 times, put it in the microwave for 1 minutes, a presto, just like that I had scrambled eggs.  They were really good.  You can also add meat and cheese and vegetables to them, too.  You can make poached eggs.  You can make instant oatmeal.  So all in all, I think it was a very good purchase.  I love my Pampered Chef items.  I was a consultant for a few years, and my kitchen is full of PC items.  Yes, they may seem a bit more expensive at first, but overall they are good quality, and last a long time.
*It was very satisfying working with seniors in their Government class today, helping them get caught up on the college going process.  I am very impressed with the majority of these seniors, and how they are getting through the application process, and submitting their FAFSA, and already many have started applying for scholarships.  This all helps them work toward their goal of attending and paying for college.
*The Christmas show rehearsals are in full swing, and there are six Wallace Junior/Senior High School students, along with four Kellogg students, and five adults in this show.  I am enjoying working with the KHS students I know, and I am enjoying getting to know and work with the Wallace students, too. And a couple of the adults are new to the Sixth Street stage as well.  It is working out to be a really fun show with a great cast.

Carolers from the Sixth Street Theater serenaded bystanders during the lighting festival.
*We were pictured in the local newspaper this morning!!  Thanks to Christina, Cosette, Paul Grant and Gordan for a fun time spreading Christmas cheer last Saturday!!


Gathering Graces 11/28/2017

*I love how our pets have such different personalities.  This evening, Clark was show his strong will by not coming in after dark when called.  Oh, he would come to the back porch, then just run off.  I think he was miffed that Archie was running around in the backyard while Clark was stuck up in the neighbors tree watching.  Here and I thought Clark was doing a great job of getting Archie to run!!  After we returned home from rehearsal, Clark finally came in the house.
*Bill came over and we went over the figures for Mom’s estate settlement.  Everything looks good.  This has not been an easy task for brother Bill, but he has handled it beautifully, and done a great job as executor of the will.
*Today I was thinking of Peny Benson, a wonderful family friend who passed away on November 26th.  I don’t think I remember life without Peny.  Her son Eric and I grew up together, and her husband Wayne was my band teacher from fifth grade through ninth grade.  She was in the same nursing home as Mom, and was a source of strength and love for not only us, but for employees and residents alike.  It was no surprise she was recently named Resident of the Year.  My heart goes out to her family.  A link to her obituary is here.


Gathering Graces 11/27/2017

*It was nice to get back to walking again this morning.  Nikki and I now go up and walk the halls of Kellogg High School for about 40 minutes, and it felt good to feel well enough to walk again this morning.
*And I was back to work.  A pretty good day, with lots of catching up done. 
*I was tired once I got back home.  So I napped a little.
*Cyber Monday was today, and I did take advantage of a few online deals today.
*Paul and I picked up Jesaray and headed to the theater to begin rehearsals for the upcoming Christmas show.  It was fun to meet all the people who are in the show, and to see what it is going to me like.  Paul will be Santa Claus in this show, and I will be playing Mrs. Claus.  It is a cute little script called Ho! Ho! Ho! The Santa Claus Chronicles.
*Paul is feeling better.  Not back to 100 percent, but he is doing better!
*We got back home and had some fish for dinner, and relaxed and then headed to bed.


Gathering Graces 11/26/2017

*I don’t think God minds when I picture my Mom and Dad doing the Foxtrot in Heaven when I was listening to the song I Can Only Imagine this morning before church.  And then the tears began to flow.  How cool to say, “Alexa, play Christian praise and worship music”, and she finds a playlist of great songs to play on the Echo Dot as I prepare to go to church.  The song talks about dancing for Jesus, and the only way I can imagine Mom and Dad dancing for Jesus is doing the Foxtrot.  Pert and Mary were pretty good dancers!!
*You can tell we have been on break this past week, because the process of getting to church was a little rusty.  I got a text from Simon Miller saying Paul needed his glasses.  He was using Simon’s phone, because he also forgot to take his phone.  As I was ready to head to church, neither set of keys was hanging up.  I called Paul and he had one set.  When we got into the car, the other set was on the seat of the car, probably left there by Cosette Roberts when she drove the car the day before.  After all that, we finally made it to church.
*The afternoon was very relaxing.  We had some leftovers (do they ever go away?), and settled in for a little Sunday afternoon nap.  Then I started a fire in the fireplace and spent some time getting ready for our first rehearsal of the Christmas show, which we will have Monday evening. 
*Paul shared a YouTube video with me that he wanted me to watch, so I sat down and watched David Brooks talk about The Road to Depth: Thinking About What Character Is.  If you want to listen to a great talk that really makes you think, you can go here to see the video.


Gathering Graces 11/25/2017

*I tackled a pile of bills first thing this morning, and worked on some financial things.  I sorted mail that I had piled in the drawer in the front entryway.  It felt good to get those things sorted.
*We bid adieu to Zoe this morning as she drove back to Caldwell, via Washington and Oregon.  She hasn’t been feeling good, but she ventured out anyway.  She texted when she arrived home, and when I asked her how she was feeling, she replied “Like I never want to make that drive by myself again.  Too boring.”  I am glad she made it safely home, despite the boring drive.
*Paul received some Amazon gift cards and money for his birthday last week, so we decided to use that money and purchase an Echo Dot.  This little machine is like a search engine that you can ask questions of, and “Alexa” will answer them.  She will tell you the weather, she will play songs, she will find the BSU Bronco football game and broadcast it for you. She will find and play the latest episode of Radiolab.  She will play any audiobook in my Audible library.  Those are just a few of the things Alexa did for us today. 
*Christina showed up this afternoon to see Archie and took him for a walk.  Around the same time, Christy showed up and we went over to Noah’s Loft at Silver Mountain to walk through their Craft Fair.  What a wonderful set up.  It was fun seeing Kaylene, Lee, Amy, Terri, Christina, and Jennifer, among many others, selling some of their crafts.  I found a cute little Christmas item and card.  I also bought some Elizabeth Park honey that Thad canned from his bee hives up in Elizabeth Park.  I love buying local honey!  It was a very nice event. 
*Today Silver Mountain was hosting Kellogg’s Christmas Lighting Festival.  The Sixth Street Melodrama was asked to provide some Christmas carols at the event tonight, so Paul, Cosette, Christina and I headed over to Silver Mountain, and were joined by Grant and Gordan Turner.  We sang for about 30 minutes as people watched the Christmas light parade and waited for Santa Claus to arrive.  It was lots of fun.  Later we watched the Fireworks display out of our living room window.
*When we got back home, it was time to bid adieu to the rest of the kids, as Travis, Molly and Cosette, along with the bunnies Dumblebunz and Booker packed up their stuff and headed back to Moscow tonight.  It was a wonderful week of being together, and I am looking forward to having everyone together again for Christmas.  As the girls get older and become more established in their own lives, these times together as a family become even more special.


Gathering Graces 11/24/2017

*Today was just what I wanted it to be...very relaxed.
*Christmas card photos were on the agenda for today.  I grabbed my tripod, and set up the camera, and we sat in front of the fireplace with our college gear on, (we had one Warrior, one Yote and four Vandals), and took some photos.  We found one we liked, and I order some cards from Staples.  They are ready for pick up whenever I get to Coeur d’Alene next.
*Cosette went to lunch with a friend, then headed to watch the Coeur d’Alene Lighting festival.  Molly and Travis went to Post Falls to visit his grandparents.  Paul headed to Coeur d’ Alene to get his haircut.  Zoe and I had some very important  business to take care of here at home.  We played the Lego Harry Potter game on the Wii all afternoon.
*Christy came over to pack up some leftovers for her and Everett, and Zoe and I had a nice visit with her. 
*When everyone got back home, we watched the movie Lion.  What an incredible movie.  If you have Netflix, and haven’t watched it yet, it is on Netflix.  I highly recommend it.
*The night was topped off with a couple episodes of The Golden Girls, then off to bed. All in all, a really wonderful day.


Gathering Graces 11/23/2017

*It was a day of cooking, eating, laughing, crying, sleeping, eating, drinking, playing, thanking.
*The day started out pretty early for me.  This wasn’t by choice.  This was because I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. 
*The turkey went into the oven early, and the potatoes were peeled and boiled, and things were looking good.  Debbie arrived around 10 a.m. to fix her vegetable dish, and later cleaned up the kitchen, which was such a godsend. 
*My emotions were all over the place today.  I guess that is to be expected as you gather as a family for Thanksgiving for the first time after the loss of a loved one.
*Paul knew I was struggling and told me he loved me.  He said, “I love you when you are happy.  When you are sad.  When you are angry.  When you are laughing.  I love you.”
*Dinner was delicious.  I always love when we eat a meal prepared by many hands. After dinner, we played a game that Debbie suggested called He Said, She Said.  It was really fun, and very funny.  After Bill, Debbie, Patrick, Christy and Everett left, the rest of us played a game of Go To The Head of the Class.  Paul was the big winner of the night!!
*At the end of the day, I fell into bed and cried.  Cried for loss, for potential loss, for the many emotions I experienced throughout the day.  But despite the roller coaster of emotions I experienced, I cannot help but be thankful for all the gifts God provides us each and every day, and I never lost sight of the wonder of being together as a family.


Gathering Graces 11/22/2017

*I had one thing I wanted to get done today in preparation for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner, and that was prepare a pecan pie.  Mission accomplished.
*Bill spent a while in the kitchen this morning preparing the dressing for tomorrow’s feast.  The smells wafting from the kitchen were delicious, including fresh made cornbread and sausage and sauteed vegetables.

*Later Travis took over the kitchen, as he prepared one of the desserts that will be served.
*For breakfast, I served Carol’s Potato Dish, a recipe I created myself, that was enjoyed by Paul, Debbie, Bill and myself.  Before Bill and Debbie could sit down and eat, their contractor Shawn came over to our house to talk to them about some things.  It was nice to meet Shawn.  Bill and Debbie have been very happy working with him on this home renovation project.
*Paul is feeling better today.  He still took a good nap this afternoon, but when he was up, he was not as stuffy or head-achy, and had more energy today.
*The night before, Zoe did not feel good, and still was feeling a bit queasy throughout the day today.  But she rallied later in the afternoon, and brought up a book to read us trivia questions about many different subjects.  I like being asked questions that show I can still retrieve information from the dark recesses of my brain that have not been tapped for a while.
*Molly and Cosette headed for Spokane International Airport later in the afternoon to pick up their cousin Patrick at the airport who was flying in from Portland to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with us in Kellogg  They all arrived around 7 p.m., and we had made a dinner of baked tilapia, rice and salad.
*After dinner, Bill, Debbie and Patrick departed our home, and were able to sleep at their own home tonight, because the heat was back on, and the fumes from the varnishing of the floors was gone.
*It was early to bed for our crew.  I had gone downstairs to get a couple DVDs to watch in the bedroom, and as I sat in the living room waiting for my computer to shut down, I nodded off in the living chair.  All of a sudden I hear Coco asking my why I wasn’t going to bed.  (Plus she had to take a photo of me asleep in the chair and sent it to her sisters and friend Sidnee.)
*We made a great discovery with Archie today.  He loves those dog treats called cow hooves.  I found a couple in the bottom of Sadie’s dog toy box, and Archie grabbed onto one, and got up on the love seat and started chewing away.  Also, Archie and Clark are getting along better.  Here they are actually sitting on the same piece of furniture today.  That is a miracle in itself.

Archie and Clark.


Gathering Graces 11/21/2017

*Christy picked me up this morning and we drove to Coeur d’Alene to get some shopping done.  We stopped at Michaels, where I bought a couple small straw bales to put our Nativity Scene on out front, then to Costco for some major food shopping, and then to Safeway to finish up.  Fortunately it wasn’t too busy in any of these stores.  While in Safeway, a Starbucks employee was handing out coffee samples in the produce section.  I sampled a Holiday Spice Flat White drink, and thought it was very delicious.  On the way out of town, Christy and I went through at Starbucks drive thru and each ordered this drink.  It is not too sweet, and really hit the spot.
*While in Coeur d’Alene, I received a text from Paul.  He had gone to the doctor in the afternoon, and it was determined he has a sinus infection.  He was given some medicine to help clear it up, and told to use the Neti Pot.  I was very thankful that it was not something more serious.  Thanks to everyone for your prayers.  Keep praying for a full and speedy recovery!!
*Upon arrival at home, Cosette and Zoe helped bring the groceries inside, and I started preparing dinner for the “dinner party” we had tonight.  On the menu, Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, Italian Salami, Kalamata Olives and Stuffed Green Olives with Jalapenos.  Bill and Debbie are staying at our home a while longer, because they discovered today that their house had no heat because of the house renovations.  Tonight Jazmin Sauer and Sidnee Grubb, and her boyfriend Benjamin Thompson joined us for dinner.  It was fun to catch up with them and see how they are doing.
*We topped off the evening watching an episode of The Golden Girls.  I have been having so much fun watching this show.  Later Cosette and I were able to have another great talk. We talked about kids she went to school with, what they are doing, and how some of them have had some pretty hard things happen to them already since they all graduated from high school 4 years ago.


Gathering Graces 11/20/2017

*The morning began with my maiden voyage of walking Archie.  It was pouring rain, but I put on Archie’s leash, and we headed for the dike road along the river.  All in all, it wasn’t too bad.  There were a few times he wanted to really run, but that wasn’t happening.  But all in all, walking Archie wasn’t too bad.   Paul was unable to get out and run with Archie today, because of being sick.  He did not go to work today, and made an appointment to see a doctor tomorrow.  Continue keeping him in your prayers.  He did get a lot of rest today, which was really good.  But his breathing has become much more labored.
*I was exhausted this morning.  All morning all I wanted was just to go back to bed.  I dragged around the house.  But I had made a commitment to host a group up middle school students at the Sixth Street Theater who were coming up on a field trip. 
*And, of course, the field trip ended up being great.  Cosette and Zoe drove up to Wallace with me and we were joined by Norma Douglas, and we had a great afternoon of talking to the 14 KMS students about why we enjoy being a part of the theater and touring the theater.  Later, four KHS drama students, Drake, Stephanie, Grant and Tiffany, joined us to play some improv games with the students.  These older students also talked to the KMS students about their experiences in drama.  We also had a “photo booth” for the students where they could pick a hat and a prop and have their photo taken by the Sixth Street sign.
*Toward the end of the time together, I talked to the students about what kind of play a melodrama is, and Cosette, Zoe, Drake, Tiffany, Stephanie and Grant all acted out a couple scenes from a melodrama for the students.  They all did a fantastic job for doing a cold read.  Well, Zoe’s wasn’t quite a cold read, because she had portrayed the part of Fran Tick before, in one of our summer melodramas.
*We returned home and tried to relax.  But I think I had been going, going, going so much, my body didn’t know how to relax.  It was kind of weird.  But eventually, Zoe pulled together some food for dinner, a lasagna that Bill and Debbie had brought over, some roasted vegetables, some garlic bread, and we had a Cesar salad kit we also threw together to add to the meal.  It ended up being quite a delicious meal.
*After dinner it was game time.  Zoe asked us trivia questions from her phone for a while.  Then we played a few other games, especially enjoying Scribblish.  The evening ended with the girls enjoying a few episodes of The Golden Girls with me.


Gathering Graces 11/19/2017

*It was a slow and leisurely morning at our house today.  I made a big pot of coffee that was enjoyed by many.  At one point I cut up some ham and mini peppers and sauteed them in a pan, then cracked some eggs and added a little half and half and whisked them together, and added them to the pan.  Once the eggs were done I added what remained of some Garden Vegetable cream cheese, and let the cheese melt.  I toasted some Dave’s Killer Bread, and we had breakfast for Bill, Debbie, Paul and myself.
*It was very frosting this morning when I first took Archie outside.  But then it warmed up a bit later, and Zoe helped me cover my roses with burlap.  I still need to secure them a little better, but we made progress!
*Paul and I picked up Drake and Jesaray and headed to the theater for our last performance of Goin’ for the Gold, Settlin’ for the Silver.  We had a packed house for the final performance, and it was a great crowd.  Molly, Travis, Zoe and Cosette were all able to come to the show.  After we cleaned up theater, the cast gathered at The Pizza Factory for pizza and drinks and some nice conversation.
*Before Paul and I got home, we stopped at Bill and Debbie’s house to look in their garage and check out the cabinets that had been removed from their kitchen, to see if we wanted all of them brought over to our house the following morning.  Once Paul, Travis, Zoe and I perused the different cabinets, it was determined we would have all of them delivered to our house tomorrow morning, along with a couch and love seat.  They will be stored in our garage until we determine where they will all be located in our home. (The old cabinets will be put either in our garage or our storage area in our house to help with organization).
*We arrived home to Molly, Travis, Zoe and Cosette playing a lively game of Go To The Head of the Class
*Bill and Debbie had gone uptown to socialize at The Inland Lounge, and arrived back around 8 or so.  They joined us in the living room to help answer the questions of the lively game being played.
*It was an early night for all of us.  Paul continues to feel awful, and wonders if he has pneumonia.  He hopes to get in to see the doctor tomorrow. Continue to keep him in your prayers.  Cosette and I stayed up a little later than everyone else and had a good talk about her plans for after graduation.