Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Advent and Christmas Resources

Ann Voskamp, author of "One Thousand Gifts," "The Greatest Gift," and "Unwrapping The Greatest Gift," has many free printables for Advent and Christmas. Her blog is wonderful, though sometimes a little long! And I highly recommend all of her books. The most recent is for the family, "Unwrapping The Greatest Gift." Both the "Greatest Gift" books use the Jesse Tree tradition. In her free printables she has provided the Jesse Tree ornaments. I plan to do the Jesse Tree this year. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Three Days of No Power

Monday night we had a sudden strong storm hit our city. Very strong winds, especially in the west and southwest areas. That is our neighborhood. 


At 11:25 pm we awoke to a loud wind and the house shaking. First we ran to check the view from the kitchen deck window.
Oh my, I had forgotten to put down our one umbrella and it was a twisted, bent over mess, with the fabric and the ribs hanging over the side of the deck.

Next we checked the front view outside our dining room window. Oh my, there were huge branches leaning on our house. At that point we weren't sure if we had much of a tree yet. This is our 19-year old maple tree. In the morning this is what we found.
And of course the electricity was out from 11:30 pm the night before. There were 14,000 homes without power in Columbia. Suffice it to say it took many crews, from other towns around as well as ours, to get us all up and running. We did not get power back until Thursday evening. By last night the city was restored.

We were lucky in that our church was only without electricity for 16 hours. Paul got to get back to the office and AC Tuesday afternoon. I went to our daughter and son-in-law's condo which had power during the afternoons. We slept at our house because it was relatively cool and low humidity, so open windows at night brought the house temp down to 73. During the days without power our interior temp only got to 78. We have good insulation!

I am exceedingly grateful we did not have worse damage. There were several homes destroyed when large trees fell on them. Others had holes in roofs or storage sheds were damaged. As we drive around our area, there are so many trees down, some from the base, and many large branches.

During this time I also gave thanks to God that we didn't have the destruction of a tornado. I imagined getting out of our home and having nothing left, and our neighborhood being demolished. The few days of no power was nothing compared to other kinds of destruction or living conditions (think war-torn countries, etc.).

So now I have to get organized and do cleaning and organizational projects I was going to do during the days we were in the dark! And I'm thankful I have such tasks to accomplish.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BibleGateway.com: A searchable online Bible in over 100 versions and 50 languages.

BibleGateway.com: A searchable online Bible in over 100 versions and 50 languages.:

'via Blog this'

I highly recommend this site, BibleGateway.com. I just heard (audio available) and read along the book of Ephesians. This combination helped keep my focus.

BibleGateway.com now has a free membership so that you can highlight passages, mark as favorites other passages, take notes, etc. and it is all saved for you! Plus they have 100 translations /versions of the Bible in 50 languages, commentaries, etc. I've used it for years to search for passages, or themes, or words. This new version just offers so much more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My World Rocked

We were at a wedding rehearsal dinner Friday night when the groom's mother came up to me and asked if I had taught at Smithton Middle School? And if I had directed musicals? Yes, I said. Then she told me her middle son had performed in "Oliver" (I co-directed) and "Annie Jr." (my first big solo production). She reported he had really enjoyed being in the musicals. Then she introduced us, or reintroduced us! As I looked at P.C. in his bearded, adult, married state, yes, he rang a bell. His 7th grade face began to come into view. 

When we got home that evening, I rushed downstairs to look through some files for the program of that long-ago (2002) musical. I've been cleaning and sorting such things so I was afraid I wouldn't have it, but sure enough I did. It was in an easy-to-find spot, like it wanted to be found. Then I opened the bright red folder and (drums please) there was an 8 by 10 glossy photo of a young P.C. as Bert Healey, the radio show guy in the musical. Yes, the P.C. of today still had some of that young face.

All this excited me, and yes, rocked my world! To hear appreciation and happiness about something long ago that 73 other kids were in, from a successful man, wow. How cool is that?!

I pulled out the program, fliers, posters, more photos, and the old VHS tape of the show. Gee, I designed that set (had a great art teacher that executed it with volunteers---kids and parents), I put together those fliers (printed professionally by some parents who owned the printing company), I sent out the press release, I organized parent volunteers, and recruited fantastic help in the assistant director (worked with the choreographer--we did pay her an honorarium) plus the tech director (another teacher colleague I put into action). I did all that! And we had sold-out houses for two evening performances and one matinee!

Are you getting that this was a sudden, very happy memory, reminding me I did make a difference in many kids' lives, and especially in the ones in my musicals. After 7 years of teaching and directing musicals, I left for another school and position. That middle school has not done a musical since. Sort of sad. 

Every now and again I do hear from a student or a parent regarding the impact I had. After a tough, sad last year of teaching, these encounters mean so much to me.  Yes, they do rock my world!