Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Conference time

It's conference week...parent teacher conferences were yesterday. It was the day that never ended--staff meeting in the morning, flu shot day, conferences starting at 2:30 and not getting home until after 8. Thankfully, the conferences went pretty well, but I was ready to get home at 8 and have some "me" time.

Today, I'm at another conference, this time at Essdack in Hutch. The SPED director has nominated me to be the "go to" trainer for technology in the county. So, today I'm at one of what will become many trainings on assistive technology. So far it has been a pretty productive day, and I hope it continues to be. It has been a long week though, and I'm eager to have my day off on Friday. I'll head straight from Symphony practice tomorrow nigh and go to Hesston for the night. Then Friday morning we'll head to NE and to the farm for a relaxing long weekend.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another fall weekend

The weather here in Kansas can't decide whether to be freezing cold, or nice and warm. Yesterday (Sat.), Dad and I froze our butts off at the Tabor homecoming game. We won, but since I don't really understand FB it doesn't mean anything to me. Someone will have to explain it to me sometime, until then though, FB games are purely social events. Since the weather was bad though, I didn't see as many college friends as I had expected. Mom went and hit all the hot Hillsboro shopping spots...Alco and Dollar General...and then spent the afternoon holed up in the car. After the game, they took me out to supper in McPherson--good Mexican food, something I don't get a chance to eat much in the small town of Marion.

This morning was church--sang in the choir and had a solo. Then taught toddler Sunday School, since the regular teacher, Debbie, was on a trip this weekend. Tonight was the church hayrack ride, and Denise's girls wanted to go. Denise had made other plans for today with her mom, so the girls stayed with me after church and until abou 7:30. We ate lunch together and watched a few movies. I introduced them to "The Point"--trying to brainwash them early! ;) They loved it. At 4:30 we were at the church, trying to claim the "best" seats on the hayrack--the back ones, so that you can go backwards everywhere. Whatever makes them happy.... We drove through town, and out into the country before coming back to Case's house for a hotdog roast. The girls had a great time collecting small shells and things, playing in the deer feed, and getting dirty. Pretty sure Denise will be unhappy with me...the girls were filthy by the time she picked them up. Oh well...that's what being a kid is about.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend in the Woods

This last weekend was church retreat weekend. For me, it was a much needed chance to relax and enjoy the company of the people who make up the congregation here in Marion at the same time. The weather was beautiful--warm sun, light breezes that musically shook the fall leaves, the smells of fall (dirt, grass, and leaves just beginning their descent into decay...), and today the beginning drops of cool rain. There were plenty of chances to hike, play games, sing, or to just sit and enjoy God's awesome creation. What a perfect weekend!
This morning we spent cleaning up the camp to get ready to leave. We also had a Sunday service at the Outdoor Sanctuary. Jeremiah spoke about Psalm 104 and told a story about how close to nature we are in a place like camp or even Marion...but how difficult it is in the larger places to find God's creation. Jeremiah made the point that while we can find beauty in those things and places that are man-made, places that are God-made surpass the beauty that humans can create. Over this weekend I have had many flashbacks to my own youth camping experiences. Watching Tim, Griff, Will and also little Sadie, and the joy they had here this weekend reminded me of the importance these God-made places have had in my life and many others. Jeremiah asked us for memories about Westminster Woods and how it has changed our lives. Although I really couldn't contribute any memories or stories about W.W., I had several stories I could have told about Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. There was one specifically that came to mind. It happened during one of the Senior High camps I attended. All week we had studied the communication between ourselves and the Lord. We had talked about the different forms of prayer, and how art, music, etc... can also be forms of prayer. The final service was held in the chapel on Friday night. It was a very cool and absolutely calm evening with no wind at all. We had built a roaring fire in the fireplace and after an extra long singing/gathering time, we focused and spent the evening in prayer. At one point we were all holding hands, and people would share a prayer when they felt led...all at once, a huge wind came up, and down the chimney. It felt like the wind circled the room. It sent sparks flying all over the chapel and the fire almost went out. Right before this happened, a person had asked that the Lord be with us that night as we finished our time together, and guide us as we went home the next day. We all looked at each other and knew that God was showing us that he was there with us then, and he would be with us as we went home and away from the group. When I meet with my camp friends and start telling stories, this is one of the stories that we can all remember, and it frequently comes up in our conversations.
This weekend at Westminster Woods definitely reminded me that camp is an important part of my life and one that has shaped who I am. I didn't realize how much I have really missed the yearly pilgrimages made to Rocky, and how much that place has influenced me. Watching the kids and their exuberance this weekend made me think about how much church camps change people, and how many people have been touched by them. These kids are just starting out on their paths, but already camp has touched them.

The Woods in Pictures

The Group

Happy 33rd Anniversary, Paula and Mike!

Bill and Seth build a fortress to keep the frogs in!

Pastor Jeremiah

Seth getting ready to go boating.

Grif enjoying the warm afternoon.

Debbie at the Deer pond.

Dani and Sadie

Reflection in Deer Pond.

Luke, the fisherman

Bill and Tim sharing stories on a hike.

Debbie enjoying the warm afternoon by relaxing and reading.

Bill trying out the rope swing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

End of fall

This morning brought the cooler weather, and drizzle that come with the end of fall and beginning of winter. The last couple of weeks have been a wonderful break between the heat and humidity that defines Kansas summers, and the unpredictable weather that comes with winter. I've enjoyed watching the leaves turn brilliant colors from day to day, and have made many trips on my walks past "my" tree at our former South Cedar street home. The bright yellow colors in the tree bring happy memories of tree climbing when I was a little girl. The crunch, crunch of leaves under foot also remind me of the many leaf raking family day's at Grandma's. Fall is the best time of year!

Mom, Dad, and I spent the evening on Sunday out at the reservoir, for what will most likely be the last picnic of the year. Dad grilled some fantastic hamburgers, and Mom made some yummy salads. I had found some concord grapes on my shopping expedition on Sat. and shared those. They tasted exactly how I remembered from when I was a little girl stealing them off of the vines in the backyard, or snitching them out of the refrigerator when mom wasn't looking. Cool, crisp, and so sweet.

Last night I went to my first yoga class. It was wonderful! Carolann McFarland is offering classes every Monday evening for 8 weeks. Each hour-long session is $5.00, everyone is welcome. Bring a mat or blanket to use and wear comfortable clothes. Carolann is the massage therapy instructor from Butler, and also goes to the Presbyterian church with me. It was good to see her, as I hadn't really seen her since my classes got canceled.