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.


Gathering Graces 3/17/2017

*The day started off by going down to The Bean Coffee Shop here in Kellogg and visiting with one of my cherished friends Stephanie Bauman Broaddus.  Her and her family used to live here in Kellogg until they relocated to the state of Oklahoma a few years ago.  But she continues to return to visit every so often, so we get to get together every few months or so, which is such a delight. 
*After getting coffee, I needed to go pick up a prescription from Kohal Pharmacy here in Kellogg, and had the most wonderful exchange with Yanhua Beier about her son Wolfgang who is in the Gear Up program, as well as National Honor Society.  I shared with her how much I enjoy her son, and we talked about his future plans, and about helping and encouraging him as he moves forward.  I love having talks like that with the parents of the students I works with, because each and every one of the students I works with has something unique about them, and has potential to do great things!!
*When I got home, it was very nice outside so I walked around the yard and took photos of what flowers were coming up, what bushes had buds, and the leftover signs of Georgia the Moose.  (I also researched a bit about moose droppings, and found out we can put them in the compost bin to use in the garden!!) It was around 50 degrees, which seemed really warm after the type of weather we have been having.  The snow is melting away, and it is starting to feel like spring is coming.  On Monday, March 20th, spring is officially here!!
*My afternoon was spent grocery shopping and preparing our St. Patrick’s Day Family Dinner.  I had purchased a package of Corned Beef a few weeks ago when I had gone to Costco, so I just needed to get some potatoes, carrots onions and cabbage.  I put these vegetables (except the cabbage) in the crockpot, put the meat on top, and rubbed the seasoning into the beef.  Then I poured a bottle of Irish Death dark, smooth ale over the meat and vegetables, and added a little thyme onto the top, and let it cook away.  About an hour before dinner was to be served, I added the cabbage to the crockpot. You can find the recipe here.  I also made Irish Soda Bread, which required basting the outside every 15 minutes while it was baking with a combination of melted butter and buttermilk.  It was delicious. The bread recipe is here.  I have been watching the cooking show Chopped, and one of the go to desserts many contestants make is bread pudding, and every time they make I think to myself that I should make bread pudding more often.  So I found a wonder recipe (which is here) for Irish Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce.  It was yummy, yummy, yummy!!!  A perfect ending to our St. Patrick’s Day feast!!
*Dinner was a little later than usual because Christy worked at the library and Paul taught Driver’s Ed until about 7.  So before dinner Christy made some Irish-themed green cocktails and I had purchased some Kerrygold Dubliner and Kerrygold Skellig cheese and crackers to munch on while we waited for dinner to be ready.  The cocktail was delicious, and the cheeses where slightly sweet.  I love when our local Yoke’s grocery store has some special treats like this cheese that we can easily purchase.


Gathering Graces 3/16/2017

*Today was spent at school getting juniors registered for their upcoming SAT test on Tuesday, April 11.  The state of Idaho pays for them to take the test. 
*I also talked to them about some upcoming opportunities, such as a field trip to Fairchild Air Force Base, a luncheon my Chapter M P.E.O. group will be hosting for the junior girls next Tuesday, and our Gear Up Youth Summit this summer.  Ms. Johnson, our counselor, talked to the boys about Idaho Boys State.  Lots of opportunities coming up for these students to take advantage of at KHS.
*We have Secret Pals at school, and today my secret pal gave me a fun St. Patrick’s Day headband and light up necklace.  Since I wasn’t going to be at school on Friday, I wore it all day, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day eve.

*After school, Paul and I drove to Wallace and opened up the Sixth Street Melodrama so the afterschool Drama Program could come and tour the theater.  They arrived a little before 4:30, and we split the students up, and I took the K-2nd graders upstairs and showed them all the rooms and explained about what was in them, and Paul stayed downstairs on the stage and showed them things on the stage and some fun lighting.  Then we switched.  Then the students were back on the bus by 5 p.m, and on their way back to the school.  It was a fun time sharing the theater with the students.
*Molly and Cosette, and their friend Summer packed up and headed down to Salt Lake City for a few days for a Comic Con FanX event where they get to meet and have photos taken with Stan Lee, the guys from Psyche, and from Charmed.  And hopefully experience some spring-like weather!!
*Also got a call from middle daughter Zoe who wanted to share with us some interesting things she has been reading and learning about, and it was fun to talk to her.


Gathering Graces 3/15/2017

National Honor Society Members

*Paul and I help advise the National Honor Society chapter at Kellogg High School.  The members have been selling raffle tickets and gathering lots of different prizes for the raffle.  Today at our monthly meeting we had the drawing for all the prizes.  We gave out 18 different prizes!!  I even won an Extra Value Meal card from McDonalds.
*After school I went to the Uptown Hair Salon so Lynette could do her magic on my hair.  I got some new color...chocolate, vanilla and plum.  I really like the way it turned out!!
*I came home for a dinner break before heading off to a meeting, and wondered what I could have for dinner.  Fortunately, my lovely daughters Molly and Cosette had decided to order Wah Hing for lunch and had lots of leftovers, so my dinner dilemma solved.  Sesame chicken, Potstickers and Crab Puffs were on the menu for my dinner tonight.
*Then it was time to go to my P.E.O. meeting.  We were suppose to have it out in Rose Lake, but, because of the flood warning in the area, we changed the location to here in town.  I was thankful for that change.
*After I arrived home from P.E.O., Coco and I sat down, and she did her taxes.  Fortunately her payment to federal and state was not as bad as we anticipated.  We are very thankful for all the scholarships she receives to attend the University of Idaho, but they do count as income, and she has had to pay taxes each year because of them.


Gathering Graces 3/14/2017

*I was back to myself today, and went for a walk with Nikki at KHS in the early morning hours, and felt great the rest of the day!
*It was a busy day of talking to seniors, and making sure I knew their plans and what they are doing, and still needing to do, and it was a very productive day.  I feel I have a better grasp of the KHS Class of 2017 and their plans for the future after graduation.
*Cosette came to KHS with me today and was in class to talk to senior about college.  Then she went to Pinehurst Elementary with me to help with the Drama Program.  It was fun having her there as my helper, and the kids loved Miss Coco.  She helped me talk to the students about creating characters through talking, walking and movement.
*I had a little breather after returning home from Drama.  Molly and Coco headed over to Mom’s for dinner, with Aunt Christy preparing the meal.  I ate a leftover pork chop and rice, and then it was time to drive up to KHS for our monthly Sixth Street Melodrama board meeting.  Usually we meet at the theater, but with Paul teaching Driver’s Ed today, it worked better to have the meeting at KHS up in Paul’s classroom.  I love our board members, and we had a great meeting, and should have our 2017-2018 season ready to announce soon!!


Gathering Graces 3/13/2017

*Even though I stayed in bed most of the day Sunday, and slept good on Sunday night, I was still wiped out Monday morning.  So I took my first sick day of the year and stayed home.
*By around 10 or 11, I was starting to feel better, and actually had a rather productive day getting caught up on some things I had been putting off.  I had a stack of yellow sticky “to-do” notes that I made my way through and got all the business on the notes taken care of, which felt really good.
*Mom had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I went over and got her into the car (in the pouring rain), and we made it up to the clinic.  This was a follow up appointment with her Primary Care Physician after she had seen her Cardiologist.  Overall the appointment went well, and Mom is doing pretty good.
*Before I went and picked up Mom for her appointment, I had put some potatoes, celery, carrots and onions in the bottom of my stoneware bundt pan, and then put a roasting chicken over the middle portion of the bundt pan, and put it in the oven to roast.  I seasoned the chicken with lemons, lemon zest, lemon juice and herbs.  When it was done, I headed over to Mom’s to share the chicken and vegetables with her for dinner.  It was very delicious.  Paul arrive a while later after he was done with Driver’s Education.