Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dear Winter

Dear Winter,

I just don't know quite how to say this without hurting your feelings. We have really enjoyed each other the last few months. The hushed quiet when your fresh snow is falling, your howling winds outside when I'm all cozy and warm inside the house, even the 12" of snow you graced us with last month, all were quite wonderful. But I'm afraid now, dear winter, it's time for you to move on. As much as I have admired you, I am now growing weary of your presence.

It's not you, it's me. . . . I would really like to be outside more, and to be frank, I'm getting tired of my winter coat and having to wear the big, bulky thing all the time! Oh, it was quite charming when we were anticipating your arrival in November, getting all the coats, mittens and boots together, ready for your first big blast. But now, sadly, the mittens have been mismatched, the hats have mostly been lost and the boots outgrown. We're just trying to make it through until you depart.

We are ready for warm air, going for walks without fear of frostbite, and the joy of not having to warm up the cars on those frosty mornings. We are ready for this

Early spring Crocus's popping up through the frozen ground, and the buds on the trees are just waiting to show us what they've been doing while you were here.

So, my dear winter, it is time for you to go. Don't be sad, for I know we will look forward to you arriving as the holidays are approaching. Your wind and snow will be welcome then once again. But until then we REALLY would like to wish you . . . . Farewell!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Front Porch

To anyone else it might seem just like an ordinary house out in the country. Some folks driving down the seldom traveled road might say, “ Oh look at how nicely that house is landscaped,” or " Wow, those people have a sheep pasture in front of their house.” But for myself, this place is one of the two places I call HOME.

This is my parent’s house. I didn’t grow up here, in fact it wasn’t even built until 1997 and I had already had two children by then. My childhood home is two towns away and I have really wonderful memories of growing up there in the woods, by the pond. But this is the home of my adult-hood. My mom and dad have somehow made it a special place for my brother and sisters and I along with all of our children.

Just as most homes have a gathering place, this one does also. It isn’t the kitchen as you might expect, it’s the front porch. There is plenty of room for everyone to stretch out (when it’s warm out!) and lots of seating. As I look back I can see my parents, brother sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and all kinds of neighbors gathered here for just as many different kinds of occasions. The kids flock out to the yard for pick up football games, examining the creek for frogs and snakes, or just to have a catch with the baseball. There’s a nice breeze that comes from the west and keeps it cool even on the hottest summer day and when evening comes the sunsets can take your breath away.

This is where we discuss things. Sometimes the conversations are full of teasing and laughs. The cicadas chirping are the background music to all the talking and the birds sing along as we reminisce about earlier times or joke about how goofy the kids are acting. The circle of life goes on all around us. Bees circle the flowers my mom has lovingly planted and tended, sheep quietly graze in the pastures surrounding the yard, and corn and bean crops grow as far as the eyes can see.

There are also a lot of serious conversations that happen here. Big and small decisions have been made here by all of us. We all closely listen to the wise counsel of my dad and the loving reassurance from my mom. We teach the kids about life, morals, and love in this place. We try to help them to know all the things life might bring. It somehow seems easier to do here because there is a peace surrounding this porch that we don’t find at home. There are no distractions, no tv, no computers or video games. There is just the comfort of the porch swing and nature all around, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wow! Service Learning

Are you tired of all the bad news these days? Worried about the economy? Wish you could hear something uplifting for a change? Well, here you go! This story will make your day, it did mine!

(Really pretty gift bags ready for Brownsburg Meadows)

One of the things I'm well known for around our house is telling the kids what great schools they go to and how awesome their teachers are. Really! OK, sometimes after doing 3 hours of homework in one night the occasional, "I can't take it anymore" might slip out, but on the whole I think Brownsburg has some of the finest schools, administrators, and teachers around! Well, now they've outdone themselves in my book.

For most of the year the seventh grade students of Brownsburg East Middle School, Team Pathfinders have been working on a special project. Along with their teachers, they have been busy writing a grant, planning, making lists, shopping, and putting together a whole lot of special things for some really wonderful organizations in our community. Months of work culminated in a truly heartwarming night, Feb 5 when everyone. . . parents, teachers, students, community members, really everyone, was invited to help the students and teachers wrap up the project.

The students and teachers wrote, and applied for, a grant from the State of Indiana in order to get the funding they needed - and GOT the grant - (no small feat, I'm sure). Then they got busy! The organizations they chose to help out are Sheltering Wings Center for Women, Brownsburg Meadows Senior Citizen Community, and Hendricks County Animal Control.

(Mrs. Rosebrock (right) and a parent with the handmade totebags for Sheltering Wings)

The kids went on shopping trips to buy supplies, collected donations, even did a few sewing projects like the tote bags above, all to get ready for the big night. My kids and I went to the school that night, and I didn't really know what to expect. (Anyone with a 14 year old boy will understand what great communicators they are!)

I was blown away!

The organization that all this took seems almost insurmountable to me, but they did it! There were 5 stations set up that we rotated around to complete the jobs needed to be done. We filled the handmade totebags for the Moms and women at Sheltering Wings, stuffed Gift Bags for Brownsburg Meadows, and more totebag stuffing for the Animal Shelter. There were 2 tables dedicated to the children at Sheltering wings, one for making Valentine Cards, and another with, you guessed it, really cute totebags with kid supplies!

(My own "Ice Chip", and "Cottonball" making Valentines)

My favorite activity, and a lot of others it seemed, was cutting, putting together, and tying up blankets and pillows for the kids and Moms at Sheltering Wings. This was fun! I'm telling you, there were all kinds of blankets spread out on tables, floors and even the stage, all in various states of assembly. What a sight!

(Doesn't that look like fun!)

As we left the school that night I couldn't help but be really proud of the job that these teachers and this school are doing to educate our kids! One of the other things I'm famous for saying is, "I want my kids to be "whole" children. Life is not just about grades, or sports, or achievement. It's about all those things, plus so much more!" So a great big "Thank You" and "Great Job" goes out to all those that took a little time on February 5 to help out and a special "Way to Go" too all the kids and teachers of Team Pathfinders for doing something so incredible and memorable!

To see an article about this project and more information visit this link:
Hendricks County Flyer