Gathering Graces 11/29/2018

*Christy is doing better, but the process of doing better is not fun.  Infections drain.  Infections hurt.  Infections need cleaned.  Infections have dressings that need changed.  And all this is very painful.  But, unfortunately, it is part of the process.  The good news is she was much more alert and her vitals seem to be better.  She has decided to postpone her knee surgery, which I think came as a relief.  But she has a long recovery ahead, so continue to prayers and good thoughts!!  She appreciates them all!!
*Paul left this morning for State Drama competition in Twin Falls.  He got to spend all day riding a packed charter bus.  And there was a delay in the departure time, so they didn’t arrive in Twin Falls until about 10:30 p.m.  He has one student, Harley Duce, who is competing in Original Solo.  The piece she is doing was written by our good friend and one of Paul’s former drama students Ryan Griffin.  I watched her piece last Tuesday when I was up at KHS, and she does a good job.
*Last night when I went down to my classroom to start preparing for tomorrow’s classes, I grabbed a stuffed snake that I use as a prop, and it had holes in it.  It was stuffed with some kind of seeds.  My only conclusion was that a mouse had found the snake and gnawed on it, and made the holes.  Because I had used the snake yesterday and there were no holes at all.  So then I started looking around, and everything on the floor looked like a mouse dropping!!  So I moved my classroom upstairs to my office so I can spend some time over the weekend cleaning up the room downstairs.  I let Clark our cat loose in the basement, but he didn’t look like he sensed any prey in the area.  Let’s hope we find the culprit and culprits, and get rid of them soon!!


Gathering Graces 11/28/2018

*My day started out getting some bad new on two fronts.  One of the stories is not mine to tell.  The other wants her story to be told.  The second story involves my sister Christy Woolum.  Christy has been having some pain in her backside since Sunday.  This morning, it was too much to handle so she called me around 6:30 a.m. and said she was taking herself to the Emergency Room at Shoshone Medical Center to get checked out.  She was put through a battery of tests, and it was determined she has cellulitis, and will need to be hospitalized here in Kellogg at Shoshone Medical Center until the infection is cleared up.  And this is actually good news.  Because if the infection had developed into an abscess, she would have had to probably be taken to a larger hospital to have it treated.  We are glad she is able to be treated here in Kellogg.  She got to her own room around noon, and was pumped full of antibiotics and pain killers.  She will be in the hospital until the infection is gone.  She really would like you to pray for her.  The infection is still very painful.  Also, she is scheduled to have her second knee replacement surgery on December 18th, and needs to have this cleared up so she can have that surgery.  If you live in the area, she would love to have visitors at the hospital.  If you want to send a card and don’t have her address, send me a personal message and I will share it with you.  Thanks so much for your love, care and concern.
*After returning home from the hospital I spent a while making a video to be posted on VIPKID.  Well, after editing a pretty darn good video, it does not show up in my video folder on my phone, so I can’t use it, because you have to upload it from the app on your phone.  Ugh!!  So know I have to do a “live” video today and hope for the best.
*Disaster averted!!  Bill was heading to Wallace for dinner and thought he may have left a pan on the stove with the burner still on.  He called to ask if I could go and check on it.  When I arrived at his house, everything was fine.  The corgis were calm, the stove burner was turned off, and I could text Bill and let him know all was well.
*Sleep eluded me today as I tried to lay down for a nap, because my mind was reeling with too many thoughts, so no extra sleep for me today.  Instead, it was an early night.


Gathering Graces 11/27/2018

*The pottery pieces I have been working on were ready to glaze.  It was fun looking at the colors I had chosen for each piece, and starting the glazing process.  I got some of them glazed, and they should be fired and ready by next week.  I am so excited to see how they turn out.
*Nikki and I started off the morning walking around KHS.  I am so glad we have a safe place to walk in the mornings when the sidewalks start getting icy outside.
*I worked on a sibling assignment about my Grandma Woolum today.  What a wonderful assignment, and what wonderful feelings the memories of my grandma evoked.  I never felt anything but love from my Grandma Woolum.


Gathering Graces 11/26/2018

*Today was just what I needed.  A day to stay at home, take advantage of some Cyber Monday shopping for Christmas, and work around the house.
*I can’t remember the last time I made a roast.  I love beef roast, but I haven’t prepared one in a long time.  So I got out my Betty Crocker Cookbook and prepared a roast “New England Pot Roast” style.  I got out my cast iron Dutch Oven, put some olive oil in the bottom, and heated it up.  I browned all the side of the roast.  Then I put salt and pepper on all sides of the roast, and slathered it with horseradish.  Then I put a cup of water in the Dutch Oven, brought it to a boil, and reduced the heat, and let it cook on the top of the stove for a couple of hours.  It was a very delicious and tender roast, served with some roasted acorn squash and some steamed broccoli.
*Our morning walk was a bit treacherous.  Because of the falling temperatures, the roads and sidewalks were icy in spots and snow covered in other spots.  So we decided this would be our last outdoor walk for a while.  We will start walking indoors at KHS starting tomorrow.
*Today I have been making my way through The Final Table, the newest cooking show I have been watching on Netflix.  The chefs in the competition have cooked food from Mexico, Spain, Brazil, India and the United States.  It is a very interesting format they use.  I enjoy seeing all the different styles of cooking that come from these chefs as they get their assignments. 


Gathering Graces 11/25/2018

*I am still trying to figure out my teaching schedule, and when too much is too much, and when I need to make sure I get some rest.  After having company and traveling this past week, I hadn’t got as much rest as I am used to.  So it caught up with me this morning.  Paul suggested I stay home and nap this morning instead of going to church.  I agreed.  So I stayed home, went back to bed, and took a nap for a couple of hours.  It was some much needed catch up rest from a very busy week.  Then I had a bit of a lazy day....which was wonderful!!
*Our book group book for November was The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson.  I didn’t get a chance to read it, but everyone in book group who read it really liked it.  So today I was able to read a few chapters and make some headway in finishing the book.
*I had suggested to Paul that today would be a good day to get the Christmas lights up on our house.  So we took down the Halloween/Thanksgiving lights outside, brought the scarecrow and fall flowers in from the front porch, and hung the white lights on the eaves of the house, and set up Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus on some hay bales under the front window.  I did need to buy some night lights to light up Baby Jesus.  It wouldn’t be right if Baby Jesus, the “Light of the World”, was not lit up!!
*Around 6 p.m. Paul and I headed over to Bill’s house to enjoy family dinner with Bill, Christy and Everett.  Bill served some Turkey Noodle Soup with Dumplings, or you could also have leftover Chili if you preferred.  Bill also made some sweet potato corn muffins which were delicious, and a MidEastern-type salad made up of apples, toasted almonds, cranberries, bulgar, cilantro, yogurt and a touch of cinnamon. 
*Once we returned home, I started getting ready for bed.  2 a.m. will come early, with my first class beginning at 2:30 a.m. 


Gathering Graces 11/24/2018

*After teaching some classes this morning, Paul and I packed up our things and departed Laurie’s house around 9 a.m. We wanted a book to listen to on the way home, so I looked through my Audible books library on my Kindle, and found Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue.  It is an interesting book of McHargue’s journey from being a Christian, to being an Atheist, then returning to his Christian faith once more, but in a whole different way.  We still have about four more chapters to finish.  I like this guy’s story.  We all have our own story of our Christian faith, and his is very intriguing.
*After Idaho got hit with snow Friday night, we were fortunate to have pretty good roads as we drove up Highway 55 today.  We stopped outside of Lewiston at the Nez Perce Historical Park Visitor’s Center and Museum, that sits on the Spalding Site where the Spalding Mission was built in 1837.  It felt good to stretch our legs and walk through the museum.  I loved seeing the recovered Nez Perce canoe they have on display in the lobby area.
*Our next stop was in Moscow to pick up Sadie.  She spent the last two nights with Molly and Travis at their apartment.  She had a great time on her  “sleepover”.  But it was nice to see her, and she traveled well in the car back to Kellogg.
*It was nice to return to Kellogg, and it looked beautiful with the blanket of snow covering everything.  It was nice to see our cats, Toby, Benjamin and Clark.  I think they missed us!!
*We arrived home around 4:30 p.m.  This gave me some time to unpack, eat some dinner, and prepare for my classes for the evening.  Then I was ready for bed!!


Gathering Graces 11/23/2018

*Zoe arrive around 9 a.m., and Paul, Zoe and I headed to downtown Meridian to shop for some furniture for Zoe’s apartment.  We were not disappointed.  I would say purchasing a loveseat, coffee table and end table for $24 is a very successful shopping trip.  Love Black Friday thrift store shopping.
*After we took the furniture to Zoe’s apartment, we went to thrift stores in Nampa.  She found a Baker’s Rack shelf for $3.  Later her and Paul found some window blinds at Lowe’s for $3 each.  Zoe’s place is starting to look like home!!
*I left the shopping to meet up with my friend April Kiebert for lunch at Cafe d’Coco in Nampa, a wonderful little gift and tea shop.  We enjoyed lunch, conversation and a little shopping in the gift shop.  I always find cool things in the gift shop.
*It was another evening of playing “Favorites” tonight, with Tammy McMorrow joining in the fun.  But after one round of the game, I was ready for bed!


Gathering Graces 11/22/2018

*Happy Thanksgiving.  What a wonderful day of thanks it has been.
*I had four classes this morning, then crawled back into bed for a little more rest.  Paul and I got up to go find some coffee.  We usually get out coffee at Black Rock Coffee, but it was closed.  Oh yeah....it is Thanksgiving.  I guess some coffee places may not be open.  We made our way into Meridian and found a Dutch Bros open, so we stopped there and got some coffee.  We had a very friendly barista we visited with who is a BSU student, and was talking about how most of her friends had left town for the holidays.  Her family had moved here from some south about 14 years ago, and we talked about the large growth spurt of the area, and how we had lived here from 1991 to 2000, and how much things have changed since we moved away.
*It was a nice relaxing morning.  Zoe arrived around 9 or so to visit and do some laundry. 
*Around 12:30 or so, Laurie and I drove to Kevin and Linda’s house.  They were hosting this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.  We had a wonderful group of people gathered around the table, including Kevin, Linda, Karlie, Daniel, Laurie, Paul, Zoe, Joanne, Lowell, Burton, Patricia and myself.  It was a delicious meal prepared by many loving hands, including turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, rolls, carrots and relish tray.  Later we topped it off with pie....pecan, pumpkin and gooseberry.
*Our Kellogg family gathered around the table at Christy and Everett’s house with Bill, Molly, Travis, and Cosette.  We did a video chat with them, and had some laughs together as we heard how their Thanksgiving afternoon went.
*After dinner and dessert a group of us took a walk.  It felt good to get out and move after that wonderful meal.

Post dinner walking group.
*When we returned from our walk, we all played Catch Phrase and a game of Favorites
*What a wonderful day with family.  A very blessed day of Thanksgiving.


Gathering Graces 11/21/2018

*The morning began with a beautiful sunrise this morning.  I am glad I got out and captured this beautiful sky.
*I taught classes this morning, finished up some things that needed done, then Paul, Zoe and I packed up the car and drove to the Nampa/Meridian area for Thanksgiving.  I took over the backseat, because I knew I wanted to sleep most of the way.  And I did!!  It was nice to get caught up on my sleep, and sleeping always makes traveling go much faster.
*Our first stop was dropping Zoe off, and getting to see her new apartment.  It is just perfect for her!!  We are going to go do some shopping for furnishings on Friday....our Black Friday Thrift Store shopping!!
*Then Zoe, Paul and I met Jason at Jalapeno’s in Nampa to have dinner and catch up.  It was fun to see him before he heads to Utah to be with his family for Thanksgiving.
*Our home for the few days we are here is the Laurie Roberts Inn, and, after we unpacked our things, my first order of business was to set up my classroom in her back room so I can use it for the next few mornings.  I had purchased a 100 foot Ethernet cable so I could be hardwired, and two ring lights to put on my computer to give me light.  I got a small table, a stool and a chair to hold everything I need. 


Gathering Graces 11/20/2018

*I needed to clean up some of my ceramic projects today at KHS so they could go in the bisque fire at the end of the week.  I also looked at colors I want to glaze all my projects.  I can’t wait to go back next week and start glazing!!
*Molly, Zoe and I went to the new business Lisa’s Gems of the Silver Valley to check it out today.  Christy met us there as well.  There are a lot of nice items for sale, and I found a few things to take home and give as gifts.  What a nice showcase for local talented artists and crafters to sell their merchandise.  It was also nice to see you too Lisa Ann Beaman.  Good luck with your new business!!
*Christy said she would treat us to a coffee drink at The Bean, so we all drove down and enjoyed a nice warm beverage and had a good visit with Christy.
*When I got home, and I put a butternut squash in the oven to roast so I could make the Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup again.  Bill arrived while I was making the soup, so he could get his instructions on taking care of our pets while we are gone.  Molly and Travis will take care of them for a few days, then Bill will take over for a few days.  We are so grateful we have people who can watch our furry family members.
*When I was making the soup, after it had cooked a bit, I needed to put it in the blender to puree the soup.  Mixing hot soup and a cold blender sometimes can be disastrous, as was the case in my kitchen tonight.  Once it started blending, before I knew it there was squash soup all over the walls, the utensils, the blender....pretty much whatever was on the counter got covered in squash soup.  So, I took a bit of time to clean up the soup mess, and then served dinner,  Zoe made some Naan bread to go with the soup.  It was a great meal.  we asked Bill if he would join us for dinner, and he said yes.
*After cleaning up after dinner, I was tired and ready for bed.  So I went to bed early and will pack and get ready to leave for our trip tomorrow in the morning.


Gathering Graces 11/19/2018

*Zoe and I watched the finale of The Great British Bake Show together.  I had already seen it, but it was fun to watch it with Zoe, too.  And my friend Jennifer, another fan of this show, recommended I watch another show called The Great British Menu, also on NetflixThis is a television series in which top British chefs compete for the chance to cook one course of a four course banquet.  It looks like fun!
*In the Salt Fat Acid Heat show, Travis and I watched the episode about Acid.  We were both transported to Mexico, where we learned all about making salsas, and unique kinds of honey (honey is actually considered an acid), and the different kinds of fruit used in adding the acid to Mexican cooking.  Everything looked so delicious.
*Last spring I helped write the grant for the Kellogg School District to get a third Gear Up grant.  We were successful, and my friend Matt Langer is now the new Gear Up Site Coordinator.  He spent a couple days in Boise last week getting a crash course in all thing Gear Up Idaho.  Today we spent a couple of hours going over things so get him started with the program.  It was fun to talk to him, see his enthusiasm, and help get this third grant program off the ground!!  He is going to do great!!  He will start working with seventh graders at Kellogg Middle School this year.  It is a wonderful program, and I am glad it will continue in the school district.
*My friend Lisa helped start a new shop uptown, and we planned to go check it out today.  But, alas, it is closed on Mondays.  So tomorrow afternoon we will go visit Lisa’s Gems of the Silver Valley, located in the former Bitterroot building.   The west part of the building is reserved for the products of the owners, which are handcrafted soaps by Beaman and handcrafted chocolates by Jackson. The east side of the building and loft are filled with various creations from local vendors.  I can’t wait to visit this afternoon and see what people are selling!!
*Once Paul arrived after a day of parent/teacher conferences at Kellogg High School, Paul, Zoe, Travis, Molly and I played a rousing game of Catch Phrase Decades. With this version of Catch Phrase, you can choose which decade you want the clues to be from, anywhere from the 1970’s to the 2010’s.  I think the 70’s were the easiest decade for all of us!!


Gathering Graces 11/18/2018

*Happy 59th Birthday Paul!!  We had a wonderful celebration from the time we got up, to the time we went to bed.
*Paul, Zoe, Molly, Travis and I enjoyed having a birthday brunch of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, bacon and muffins.  It was nice to all gather around the table.
*Cosette and Taylor arrived around 12:30 or so, and, unfortunately, Taylor had caught a flu bug, and was not feeling well at all.  So he stayed home and rested, and Molly, Travis, Zoe, Cosette and I all piled into the car and drove to Wallace to the Sixth Street Theater to see the birthday boy Paul perform in his final performance of Men on Ice.  The performance did not disappoint.  Paul, Ken Bartle and Gordon Turner did an amazing job potraying three Wisconsin ice fishermen in an ice shanty on a lake in Wisconsin.  Joy Persoon provided the accompaniment for the show, and Cherri Bartle was the director.  The show was funny and heart warming at times and the guys sung their hearts out. 
*After the show, it was Christmas card photo session on the stage.  We used the backdrop of the ice shanty as our backdrop for our Christmas card photo this year.  It is always fun to mix it up and try different things for our Christmas card photos.
*Around 5:30 p.m., Christy, Everett and Bill joined the rest of us at our house for a birthday celebration.  We gathered in the living room so Paul could open his presents, then we moved into the dining room, and we served up Taco Soup, Salad, Chips, Homemade Guacamole, and Salsa.  For dessert we had birthday pie with whipped cream topping.  We served a strawberry pie and a Keto Pecan Pie.  They were both delicious.  This warmed up Zoe and I for our pie baking spree later this week, as we prepare some pies for our Thanksgiving dinner in Nampa this week.
*Bill, Travis and I had an after dinner talk about the literature Travis has been reading in his Literature Class, and how much he has been enjoying it.  We talked about Dante’s Inferno, Homer’s Odysseus, and teaching Bible text as literature, to name a few of the topics.  It was an enjoyable conversation.
*Cosette and Taylor departed because Taylor was still not feeling well, so they drove back to Moscow.  We will see them sometime next month. 
*While the rest of the family gathered around the dining room table to play Tripoly, I went to the basement to get my classes ready for tomorrow, and then off to bed.  What a joy to have the whole family gathered together together to help celebrate Paul’s birthday.  That is all Paul wanted for his birthday, was to have us all gathered together.


Gathering Graces 11/17/2018

*I drove to the Spokane airport this morning to pick up Zoe.  She is spending a few days with us and she will drive back to her home in Nampa on Wednesday with us, and we travel south to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our Meridian/Nampa family.
*Zoe’s flight arrived on time, and we stopped at the Spokane Valley Mall to do some shopping.  Then we headed home, and relaxed throughout the afternoon.  Zoe watched  The Great British Baking Show so she could get caught up until the finale.  Then we will watch it together (even though I have watched it and know the outcome). 
*Tomorrow is Paul’s birthday, and Paul would rather have a birthday pie than a birthday cake.  While I was teaching my classes tonight, Zoe started making a strawberry pie.  When I came up, I made a Keto Friendly Pecan Pie.  I am excited to see what the Pecan Pie tastes like.  If people seem to like it at Paul’s birthday dinner tomorrow, I will make one for our Thanksgiving Dinner in Meridian.  Don’t worry Meridian family, there will be plenty of regular pies to share as well!!
*I watched the second episode in the Netflix show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. This episode was about salt.  Most of the episode was filmed in Japan, and part of the story was how salt is made in Japan, and how you get different flavors from the thousands of different salts they make.  They also showed a woman who made her own Miso, and a man who handcrafts Soy Sauce.  It all looked delightful and delicious!!


Gathering Graces 11/16/2018

*Over the years when I worked full time for the school district, I remember mornings when I would look at my cats and dogs lounging on the floor, or a piece of furniture, or on the bed, and wish I could stay home with them.  Well, now my job is at home, so now I can be at home with them.  This morning I was able to put a fire in the fireplace, it warmed me right up,and I was able to lounge.   It was a very productive, and a very relaxing morning as well being at home.  Yes, I think I made the right decision to work from home. 
*This afternoon I gathered with my Huckleberry Book Club in Kingston at Mary Gail’s house.  Gathering with these women is always a highlight of my month.  We read The Tenth Gift as our book selection.  I still need to read it, but those who did read it love it!!  We had a delicious spread of food for lunch, with homemade Tomato Basil Soup, Beer Bread, lettuce rolls, a carrot salad, baby potatoes, I provided a cheese plate, and a delicious Pumpkin Cheese Cake.  Plus a few hours of conversation where we made our monthly connections with one another. 
*Before I went to book club I had put some spices and sauce on some beef short ribs, put them in a pan, covered them with foil, and put them on a low temperature in the oven and let them cook all afternoon.  By the time I took them out of the over, about four or so hours later, the meat was done, and was falling off the bone, as it should be with any kind of rib.
*Paul headed off to perform in Men On Ice, and I headed to my classroom to teach four students this evening.  One of the students, named Allen, I had taught during my morning session, and had him this evening.  For me, there was a day full of activity in between the classes.  For him, he had slept the night away, and it was a brand new day for him.
*I really am a thankful and grateful person, but I keep forgetting to share what I am thankful for each day.  So here is a recap:
Saturday: Today I am thankful for a day I could stay home and get some work done around the house.
Sunday:  Today I am thankful for a church that honors the veteran’s in our community.
Monday: Today I am thankful for Chris Schonewald Meyer, and her vision to being Real Women of the Silver Valley.  What a blessing to myself and many others.
Tuesday: Today I am thankful for people who try to be kind in all situations.
Wednesday:  Today I am thankful for Simon, Frank and Grace for spearheading the Innovation Collective of the Silver Valley, and how this group of people can come together and help make things happen in the Silver Valley.
Thursday: Today I am thankful for having Cosette and Taylor around this week.  Even thought we don’t see a lot of them, it is nice to have them in the house.
Friday: Today I am thankful for my friends in book group.  It has been 17 years of meeting with most of these women, and talking about books, talking about life, gathering around a table of great food and drink, and I am blessed to have these women in my life.