Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jess' first grade class on the playground!

"No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true educator should be to unlock that treasure." - Emma Golman

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless." ~ Mother Teresa

"The work can wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work." ~ Patricia Clafford

These are some quotes that Jess had on her blog today that echo her philosophy of teaching. They were followed with some poignant, rich, soul-deep comments of her own. To say she is a "born teacher" doesn't even begin to describe the gifts she brings to her chosen profession. I take heart in the knowlege that she is using her passion for creativity and her compassionate heart to their fullest use as she attempts to bring out the inherent treasures that dwell in each of her students. I hope their parents know how blessed they are to have this young woman in their lives!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

..."All the Worlds Thy Hands Have Made"....

I have visited several underground caves and caverns back east, in particular Luray in VA and Mammoth in KY, but they pale in comparison to the Cueva de los Cristales which is featured in the November issue of National Geographic. This cave was discovered in 2000, it's 1,000 ft. underground where the mean temperature hovers around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It's located in northern Mexico near Chihuahua.

My mind can scarcely grasp the enormity of these crystals! Can you see the "tiny" people crawling over them? No, this is not digitally enhanced, nor is it the scene of a sci-fi movie. Those are real, life-sized people! This is too fascinating to behold!

We will never completely plumb the depths of God's mysteries and creations!

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Almost" Dog #2

Our neighbor, Jeanne, called yesterday and wanted to know if Palmer could come over and show us his new toy! Who's Palmer? He's their dog...we sort of share Palmer! Sadly, our lives aren't conducive to dog ownership (we are gone for 9+ hours a day, Mon.-Fri.), but Jeanne has always graciously shared her pets with us. Palmer joined their family about 2 years ago as a wee pup full of energy. He's still a wee pup inside and still full of energy. We babysit him occasionally and whenever he gets the chance to "escape" from his house, he makes a beeline to our front door and when let in, immediately goes to his "toy box" to find whatever treat he can grab. Then he and Wally wrestle over it--Palmer thinks Wally is another dog!

So Palmer came over and showed us his new Dracula toy, which says "I vant to suck your blood" whenever Palmer clamps down on his mid-section...too funny.

I love it that God continues to give me the desires of my heart by bringing dogs into my life in such creative ways!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm using the last ripe summer tomato today :( This is the end of truly fresh vegies for us until late April. Since we don't have a yard situated in a manner conducive to growing our own vegies, I have become a faithful devotee of Joe's Garden which just happens to be right down the street from the high school where I work. During the school year I can grab my handy dandy shopping bag, throw it over my shoulder and take a short, pleasant walk on a path through the woods, imagining that I'm walking the hills in Tuscany. This path drops me right between the fields at Joe's which are full of luscious, healthy lettuce, carrots, chard, broccoli, potatoes, leeks, etc.
Joe Bertero grew up in Genoa, Italy, but moved to America during the First World War. In 1933 Joe and Ann Bertero bought the property which became Joe's Garden which was then and still is organic. It was a well-kept secret for locals until word-of-mouth made it famous. Joe farmed it along with a steady stream of faithful helpers well into his 80's. In 1959 teenager Carl Weston began working for Joe. Ann and Joe had no children of their own, but Carl quickly became the son they never had and Joe and Ann eventually turned the farm over to him and his wife, Carol. Now Carl is in the process of turning the farm over to his adult children who are continuing the tradition of farming the very best food in the very best way.

When Jess was little one of Joe's traditions was to pass out a free carrot to every child that came to the farm stand. That doesn't sound very exciting, but you've never had one of Joe's carrots...sweeter than candy!

Thanks, Ann and Joe, for a little touch of paradise here in B'ham!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My New Favorite Book

Weighing in at about 600 pages., this is no weekend read. I was intimidated by the length since I was using a public library copy with a 3 week checkout limit and no hope of renewing it--too many waiting in line. It is well worth the time invested to make your way through it. Not since THIS HOUSE OF SKY, Ivan Doig’s first book, have I caught myself rereading whole paragraphs or even chapters just for the sheer joy of relishing the elegant language. Not only is this book crafted superbly; it is also a great story well told.

The main character is a young mute boy living on a Wisconsin farm that for generations has attempted to breed a superior dog, colloquially known as the “Sawtelle” dog. The bond between Edgar and his dog, Almondine, is palatably visceral and reminds me so much of my relationship with Sambo (see earlier post). I loved experiencing Edgar's world: the farm, the countryside, the characters that inhabited it and especially the dogs. Wroblewski has penned a perfect description of the bond between human and animal that defies what we understand to be the “natural order of things”. I’m loathe to read anything else for awhile, such is the hold this book has on me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Priceless View....

In the wake of the past few weeks' stock market frenzy, our pastor had this to say in his weekly comments in our bulletin:

"This has been a rough financial week. I have even heard people using the word 'crash' in reference to Wall Street. They do so timidly, fearful of sparking a panic, but there is no denying the reality.

Personally, I don't think we'll see much of a rebound until after the election. Even then, a resurgence will likely depend on which candidate gains the Presidency.

As believers in Christ we are not insulated from these disasters. However, we do have a Rock, a Foundation which will never fail. Tough economic times call for greater reliance on the Lord. Thankfully, fluctuations in the stock market or the political landscape have no impact on the resources which are ours in Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Pastor Timothy and said: 'Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17)

One of those riches is salvation itself, which Paul spoke of in his letter to the Ephesian saints: In Him (Christ Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us (Eph. 1:7-8a)

Then in the next chapter he assures us that the vast wealth of his grace will never diminish for all eternity: But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-7)"

As that great hymn so eloquently put it, "on Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand....all other ground is sinking sand...." Amen!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tag....You're It!

My dear friend, Sherry, tagged me, so here's my take. Sherry and I love these things...go figure! :)

A: Attached or Single? Attached, but with single car garage!
B. Best Friend? I am blessed to have too many to list.
C: Cake or pie? The chocolate cakes which "magically" showed up every time we visited Betty and Wayne in Yakima...they were made by one of Betty's dear friends who obviously had ESP!
D: Day of choice? Saturdays, I get up early and have the luxury of reading (and being able to stay awake!) for several hours before the bearded one arises!
E: Essential Item? Wally
F: Favorite color? (s) Yes!! All of them....what a luxury to have color in our world!
G: Gummy bears or worms? Neither...stick to my teeth, how annoying!
H: Hometown? Hmmm, born in Havre de Grace, MD, then lived in Towson, MD, then Westfield, NJ, then Cazenovia, NY, then Lexington, VA, then Denver, CO, then Wichita, KS, then Bellingham, WA, so can't decide.
I: Favorite indulgence? Debby Gavette's homemade apple pie a la mode with hot caramel sauce...oh yeah!
J: January or July? July...summer in the Pacific Northwest can't be topped
K: Kids? One kiddle, a complete and TOTAL answer to prayer
L: Life isn’t complete without? critters!
M: Marriage date? 5-1-82
N: Number of brothers and sisters? one brother, two sisters
O: Oranges or apples? both, plus berries, melons, and the king of all...MANGOES!!
P: Phobias? getting up in front of people
Q: Quotes? "Dance like there's no one watching."
R: Reasons to Smile? Every new day
S: Season of choice? Summer and fall...except that winter comes after it, eeww
T: Tag 5 People: Lynn, Eileen, Paula, Leigh, anyone else???
U: Unknown fact? I briefly played the drums
V: Vegetable? bring them all on, LOVE them
W: Worst habit? cracking gum when I chew it, Jess won't let me have any!
X: X-ray or Ultrasound? whatever works
Y: Your favorite food? salad of almost any kind...see V above!
Z: Zodiac Sign? Gemini

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still.....

a cabbage! Isn't it lovely that He has given us plants that only like cold, damp weather! Hats off to the lovely ornamental kale.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apple Of My Eye

More than 15 years ago, Derek and Debbie Gavette bought an old abandoned potato farm, complete with rat-infested barn, in Everson, WA, with the dream of resurrecting it as a working apple orchard and a place to raise their family. Farming, they thought, would provide the perfect opportunity to teach their kids responsibility through hard work and cooperation. They soon added Elizabeth, Abby and Lamont to their family...and later Juan and Zane (adopted from Guatemala). It was such a successfull endeavor that they decided it would be a wonderful ministry to families if they could open their farm to the public and provide a place for parents and children to come and spend a day. Thus began the annual Stoney Ridge Apple Farm extravaganza that occurs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the whole month of October.

They started small, selling a variety of homegrown apples and pumpkins from the huge pick-ur-own pumpkin field and a small cafe where one could relish Debbie's homemade apple pies complete with ice cream and hot caramel sauce. It was a smashing success, particularly after they were written up in Sunset Magazine. As a result the numbers of visitors grew exponentially, and so did Stoney Ridge. Each year Derek and Debbie have added more and more things for families to enjoy: the hot dog cafe and huge pit bonfire where families can sit and visit, the petting zoo, the corn maze, the wagon rides, the train rides and of course the apple pie...which is still homemade every week by Debbie and a faithful crew of helpers.

Our family began going every year shortly after they began this endeavor. In those days you could park right in the driveway! Nowadays, you have to park in the giant lot across the street, complete with parking attendants. Derek and Debbie got tired of seeing us loitering around the place for hours on end, so this year they put us to work at the entrance as the PR people! This past Saturday was our first day. The morning started out great, it was overcast, but mild. about 2:30 pm a storm BLEW in with gusts up to 40 mph, the temperature dropped and a pretty heavy rain began to fall. People were not deterred, however, and we were still admitting folks at 4:15 pm in the driving rain, with only 45 mins. until closing time! Such is the magical lure of Stoney Ridge.....irresistible!
Yes, Leslie, that's Dillon and Tiffany, telling us about the "amended" proposal! :)

There are "picture postcard" snapshots everywhere you look, it takes them weeks of work to prepare for this, truly a labor of love!

And of course the "critters" for me!!
So...if this is an apple farm, where are all the apples? They are two weeks behind this year, cold spring, late arriving summer...but they are coming...stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It's homecoming week at Sehome High! Each day kids (and some whacky staff ) dress up for a different theme. Today is "fictional character" day and my friend Jill went all out! Jill LOVES Disneyworld, makes a visit at least once a year with her grandkids and she probably owns every Micky/Minnie trinket ever made! Jill is very special to me, she is one of the few staff members who meet once a week at 6:30 am to pray with me for our school which is undergoing some trials and tribulations.

The kids are not deterred, however! They went all out decorating the main hall and student lounge area. The senior class won hands down for their depiction of the jungle theme. We have some really creative students!