Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pause

I've been facing the possibility of surgery for quite awhile. Recently I was forced to admit that I could put it off no longer, so despite all the hustle and bustle and demands of the season, last Wednesday I underwent surgery instead and hit an instant "pause" on all of the season's activities. What this means for me this year is no Christmas baking, no Christmas cleaning, and no flurry of activities. What this means for me is rest, rest, and more rest.

At first I was frustrated and upset about it, truth be told. I love all the rush of the season. Decorating the house, listening to Christmas music, baking special treats, giving gifts, and spending time with friends are true delights of mine. In the end, though, I learned that my agenda didn't matter as much as my health. In the clearing of all the activities, I've rediscovered time for personal bible studying, napping, knitting, and reading.

Advent has always been a favorite liturgical season of mine. The season of waiting, which is so out of fashion these days, is filled with silence, worship, and anticipation. Reflective not only of the baby Christ's expected arrival in Bethlehem, but also of His second coming in power and might, Advent reminds me to stay vigilant. It reminds me that God is always in control, and it reminds me that the best is yet to come. Typically our family celebrates Advent by lighting candles in our Advent wreath and reading passages from the bible, but this year I've streamlined it to simply reading sections of scripture for personal reflection. I did pick up some German Advent calendars for the kids that have pieces of chocolate behind the windows. From their earliest days I used the chocolate as a tangible reminder that God's words are sweet on the tongue. It's a wonderful tradition I look forward to continuing.

In addition to Advent study, I have rediscovered a love for napping. I haven't enjoyed a nap in years, but lately (I blame all the pain medicines) I can't seem to make it more than three hours without having one. Normally this would make me feel guilty, but not this year! As I rest, I know my body is working on healing itself. It's a gift I'm giving to myself that in turn is a gift to my family in that it will help me return to full health much more quickly.

Last year during this time I participated in a mystery knit-along put on by Laura Aylor. This year she's repeating the fun, and I've had such a delightful time taking part. It's a Christmas gift to myself as I set apart approximately one hour a day to work on her clue.
These are a few of my favorite things:  Kringler (as made by my son), Miss Babs K2 yarn, the third clue in the mystery knit, and a savory cup of cinnamon tea.
The knit-along will culminate in the final clue distributed on Christmas Eve. Normally I would wear whatever I create to the Christmas Eve church services, but I don't know if I'll be able to attend them yet. I'm not going to stress over it now. If all else fails, I'll be able to live stream the services, although I love celebrating Christ's arrival with the body of believers. It is such an intimate, special time. As it stands, I'm choosing to enjoy each day, each clue, and each challenge as it presents itself, with no worries for tomorrow.
Day two of the clues!
When I'm not studying, napping, or knitting, I'm reading. It's been forever since I've indulged in a book just for fun. I think it's just how things are when you teach literature to others. There's just no time. This year I'm making time and enjoying every bit of it! Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Scarlet Pimpernel will still be there when I'm done with my fun book, and I'll pick the threads up and continue on. In the meantime, I shall enjoy a divergence.

This season is certainly different. It is still a blessing and a gift. I give thanks to God, the creator and definer of Sabbath rest for this gift to me. I pray I learn to hit the pause button a little more frequently in the future. Merry Christmas. May peace and grace be your gifts this year!

P.S. If, while reading this entry, you encounter any spelling or grammar errors, I blame the Percoset. ;-D

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thorny

I've been putting it off. I've been busy, it's true, but in the end I had to face it. My front rose garden was a mess! Since today was a lighter school day, I pulled out my rose gauntlets and bravely began to beat back the thorns.
Weeds and thorns! Yuck!
With trick-or-treat night right around the corner, I hacked away at thorns that threatened to catch on young costumed children. I pulled weeds. I pulled branches. I pulled muscles. After two sweaty hours of work, I had managed to collect two heavy duty trash bags of trimmed branches and weeds. I even managed to plant some freshly sprouted cone flower that I had grown from seeds collected from my mother's plants. I capped it all off with a hefty dose of fertilizer.

Here's the after picture:

The roses were not in the best shape. I should have taken better care of them. It made me wonder what they would look like now if I had given them the care they really needed. As much as I hope the trimming and the fertilizer work their magic, they can't replace regular nurturing care.

Thus it is with our relationships. If we want to have healthy ones, we must take the time to nurture and care for those relationships. A brief "prune" job and "fertilizing" won't do the trick. The more time and effort we put into caring for those we love, the healthier our relationships will be. The happier we all will be. Additionally, there will be no need for a "rescue" session like I had to spend today.

Hopefully my rosebushes will survive me. I'm in a season in life right now where planted material is way down the list of my priorities. Instead I'm focusing on growing up children and caring for my husband. The time will come, though, and is coming where the children will be grown up and on their own. Maybe by then I'll have that enviable garden.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sweetness

Fourteen years have flown. Fourteen wonderful, hurly-burly heavenly years! Today, sigh, is your fourteenth birthday. It went by blindingly fast, and I'm still catching my breath.

My precious girl, you fill me with delight, pride, and gratitude. I'm so happy to be one of the blessed to shepherd you through your life. May God bless you as you grow in Him. While this is your birthday, it is also mine. It is a day that I will always cherish. Be blessed, my darling.
Slumber party fun with friends! 
Carmen Giménez Smith wrote a poem that I love. You can hear it read at the Poetryfoundation.org. The text is below:


We said she was a negative image of me because of her lightness.
She's light and also passage, the glory in my cortex.
Daughter, where did you get all that goddess?
Her eyes are Neruda's two dark pools at twilight.
Sometimes she's a stranger in my home because I hadn't imagined her.
Who will her daughter be?
She and I are the gradual ebb of my mother's darkness.
I unfurl the ribbon of her life, and it's a smooth long hallway, doors flung open.
Her surface is a deflection is why.
Harm on her, harm on us all.
Inside her, my grit and timbre, my reckless.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recovery

It's been a busy fall. Evidence for that fact is that I haven't had much time for blogging. I miss it, too. Blogging, for me, is a way of organizing my thoughts and sorting through them. I find that I observe life better and am more grateful. I had a special opportunity today, though, to get away from it all in the middle of the week, and I seized it.

Our family welcomed back my daughter's sweet friend into our home this week. She moved away to Indiana with her family this past spring, and we have missed them all terribly. It's been with great anticipation that we've been looking forward to her visit. One of the things she wanted to do while back in Florida is visit the beach, so we loaded up this morning with a beach blanket and baggies for treasures and headed out to Mickler's Beach, our family's favorite spot!

The beach was quiet. There had been a few onshore showers which had kept most of the residents at home, but when we arrived the sun was mostly shining and the waves were crashing. The girls immediately took off for a long walk, and I sat down on my blanket and enjoyed the quiet.

I pulled out my knitting. I'm starting a hat for the folks at Tom Bihn. I cast on 79 stitches and started.

As I knit, I felt the tension dissolve from my shoulders. The soothing sound of the waves was much-needed balm. I could have stayed there all day. 

A special treat was a visit from a tiny crab, no bigger than the tip of my pinkie finger. 
He seemed a little unsure of himself on the wide expanse of the blanket and scuttled off as stealthily as he could. I managed to capture a photo of him just off the edges of the blanket. I think he felt he was camouflaged enough that he could rest in security.

I didn't get much knitting done. Only an hour later it was time to head back home to tackle more "to-dos," but it was okay. I had rested, regrouped, and recommitted myself to some knitting. All was well.

I hope it won't be long before I can head back!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Flagler-ing

College visits continue apace. So far, the oldest has applied to five schools and been accepted to two (both with nice scholarships- yay!). This past week, we visited one of the schools he has applied to and the one closest to home- Flagler College. Flagler is situated in the gorgeous ancient city of St. Augustine, Florida and is only five minutes from where he is currently dual enrolled. A top-ranked regional college, it sits along the edge of Matanzas Bay in the city of Old St. Augustine.It was established in 1968 and is situated on a small campus made up of Henry Flagler's Hotel Ponce de Leon, a luxury hotel from the late 1800s.

The college has gorgeous Spanish architecture and features Louis Comfort Tiffany for the interior designs and the mosaics and stained glass. Even the dining hall chairs are Tiffany!

A small college, Flagler only offers twenty-nine majors and thirty-four minors. It is strictly for undergraduate studies, but by being highly focused it is able to leverage its finances and be an affordable option for private school.

We had previously attended an architectural tour of the school, but it was especially nice to be able to delve a little deeper into the campus and see how it actually operates as a school.
Outside the lobby of the hotel (now college).
 The interior of the old lobby is beautiful. If you walk up the steps you enter the dining room.
The golden dome of the old lobby.

Entering the dining room

The ceiling of the dining room

Another view

Leaving the dining room
I had to capture a photo of the chairs. Like I said, some of them are the original Tiffany chairs, although some have been copied. I'm not certain I remember this correctly, but I seem to recall each original was valued at approximately $16,000.
My Cafe Bag resting on a chair


The college was very kind and gave us all a pass to dine in the hall. They had several options, but I settled on a freshly grilled "burrito bowl," while the boys opted for pizza. And soda. And cookies. They're kids, so it was the perfect sort of lunch!

We spent the morning learning more about the college and touring the small campus. While much of it was housed in gorgeous old buildings, there was a brand new building we toured that had classes and a quick cafeteria, complete with Chicfil-a and Starbucks, plus a game room area. All of the buildings were within a few minutes' walk of each other.

Before we knew it, the morning was gone. Jacob had an afternoon class that he needed to attend, so we headed back home. It was a really neat experience, and I'm glad we took the time to investigate a school closer to home. I don't know if it will be where he ultimately ends up; at this point he has a stronger interest in another school, but he is not ruling it out.
Here are a few more photos taken from our tour... Enjoy!


The student green space


This Tiffany stained glass is almost as tall as I am. It was in a breezeway.

Going up the steps into the dining hall

The library. Love the gorgeous green floors!


A poor photo, but it is a mosaic of the city of St. Augustine. It's outside the Admissions building.
Even though the time was close, I managed to sneak into a new yarn shop just down Cordova Street from the college. Called Agape Yarn and Imports, it's been open only about a month. I love discovering new yarn shops! I picked up a single skein of sock yarn, and when I knit it, I'll remember this special day!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Memoria

The day is here again. September 11. Each time the world whirls around the sun to this point in time, I return to that day, fourteen years ago. A rush of memories and sensations washes over me, and I'm back there again. I remember the sonic booms of the military aircraft racing in the air above me as I resolutely pushed my almost two-year-old in our backyard swing set. I was pregnant. My belly was huge; my due date was the next month. The baby jumped in my womb at the explosive sound. My heart stuttered within me.

Later, when I went back inside the house I banished the television until the children were in bed. When the house was silent, my husband and I couldn't resist. We turned it on and watched in horror, and I cried. Doomed planes, toppling towers, falling ashes dominated the television for months afterward. We realized in that time that our world would never be the same again, and our children would grow up in what remained.

The years have since slowly passed. "Normal" life has resumed. At times it's easy to forget what it was like "before." This morning when I greeted my oldest son he remarked that his very first memory was of September 11, 2001. It was his first day of 3-day preschool, and class was cut short because of the tragedy that unfolded that day. He was four years old. I compared his first memory to my own first, receiving a doll buggy on Christmas morning. I felt so excited to put my own real baby sister in it and push her around! The contrast was sobering.

Yet it is good to remember, for by remembering we honor those who sacrificed everything that day. By remembering we continue to be vigilant. By remembering we love more deeply. I pray we always remember and carry those memories with us, sacred ashes to enrich the soil of our unwavering country. I pray we never forget.
"Remember the things of old:  for I am God and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me..." Isaiah 46:9 NKV

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Learning the Latin Language

My love for grammar was late blooming. Truth be told, I didn't see much use in all those funky bracket looking things that had words dangling from various and sundry locations. Diagramming was a bore. It all magically came together, though, when I enrolled in an honor's Latin course at the University of Kansas. Because it's an inflected language, suddenly all those parts of speech had supreme significance. Objects of the preposition? Genetive case? Verb tense? It all mattered, and I thanked God I had paid attention to all that grammar mumbo jumbo in grade school.

That was a lifetime ago, but I carried my strengthened appreciation for grammar forward in my homeschooling and cheerfully doled out sentences filled with complex diagramming. The kids learned all about concepts like predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives, main clauses, verbals, and prepositions. They groaned. Repeatedly. But now, my middle guy is starting to see what all the hubbub is all about. You see, he enrolled in Florida Virtual's Latin I!

I didn't expect this, honestly. My oldest wanted to study German, and we had a dickens of a time finding a program that would be accepted by the schools he wanted to apply to for college. Eventually we found Oklahoma State's German Online. It was a perfect solution, but I decided to encourage my younger boy to choose a language that would have Florida Virtual support to make it easier to use for college applications. I thought his only choices would be French and Spanish. I still had nightmares from the 2.5 weeks I spent in French back in my university days, so his options seemed limited to only Spanish. We logged on to select the course and were surprised to discover Latin was also available.

I put the question to him, and he immediately asked to study Latin. When I asked him why, he asserted that it would help him with vocabulary building for the SAT. He's right. It will. So we duly clicked the selection and he's off and running. It's not an easy class, but we have found that making flashcards helps immensely. We started a set for him over at Quizlet. It has also been helpful that the course focuses on the Classical pronunciation of the vocabulary, so I can help him with it. I would be lost in the Ecclesiastical pronunciations.

While my middle guy is working hard at Latin I, my youngest is also getting her fair exposure. I've incorporated English From the Roots Up in the essay and literature class I'm teaching at co-op, and she is really enjoying all the root study. While it's not a formal Latin or Greek course, it is packed full with wonderful roots and derivatives based on those roots. We are tackling three roots a week, and by the end of the year will have covered one hundred. I taught this to my oldest when he was the ripe old age of eight, but it works for all ages; you just have to adjust it according to a child's level.
It's refreshing to get back to the study of Latin. It's a language that I have grown to appreciate, and I know that students who study it faithfully have much larger vocabularies. If your child needs to study a foreign language in order to be able to enter a certain college or university, don't shy away from it. It can be a lot of fun to learn and will bless you with better comprehension and an appreciation for the logic of it. Go for it!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Journeying

I came to my profession accidentally on purpose. By declaring it a profession, I realize that indicates I am paid for it, and I am, albeit poorly in pecuniary matters. If, however, you define it as payment in accomplished students of all stripes and abilities, then I am richly rewarded.

Way back when I was in college, I briefly considered a double major in English and Education. Even then, though, I realized that what I wanted to do wouldn't fit within the mainstream model of education. I wanted wiggle room. Freedom to respond to my students. To meet them where they were and bring them along further in their journey of self-education. And I wanted to be able to choose my own means and materials to accomplish that. The English degree won out, and the Education degree was forgotten. This was 1990. I had just begun to hear of homeschooling.

Fast forward now to 1997. My husband and I welcomed our first child into the world in Dayton, OH. Almost immediately I began to picture his future and what I would like it to look like. Homeschooling sounded like an attractive idea. I began to devour books by John Taylor Gatto, Raymond and Dorothy Moore, and Ruth Beechick. Mary Hood's book, The Joyful Homeschooler, became dogeared with frequent use. I haunted The Elijah Catalog* and combed it's pages of useful articles. We began to homeschool.

Homeschooling my tiny family of three was my entire focus for many years. I learned quickly that one child in a family does not necessarily indicate how the following children will behave or learn, and I adapted. I learned about gifted education, special needs, and especially dyslexia. The journey was oftentimes challenging and painful, but through it all I persevered. And our family also persevered. Slowly, by degrees too slight to measure, the kids grew and blossomed.

Now that I have older children, I have had leisure to share the bits and bobs that I've learned along the way. Much has been gathered by the school of hard knocks, and I am known to joke with my kids about how they are my "mulligans." I am now tutoring outside the home, teaching literature and writing classes in a local co-op, critiquing and advising students remotely, and designing my own classes. It's exhilarating! My students range anywhere in age from nine to eighteen years old, and they have a wide range of abilities. Each one is a joy and a delight.

The road from where I started to where I am presently is filled with switchbacks, bumps, and valleys with a few mountain top moments to keep me motivated. It hasn't been easy. In truth, I will admit there were long periods of doubt, especially when my daughter and I were addressing her severe dyslexia early on. That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, though, and I can see the finish line. When my own kids are on their own journey after homeschooling, I am excited to consider I can continue sharing my gleanings, my excitement, and my time with future students. My training in education has been a process defined through many years of hard work and prayer. You might call it nontraditional, but it has been the adventure of a lifetime, and I'm so glad I had the courage to take the first step. It has made all the difference.

* The Elijah Catalog is sadly no more, although many of the wonderful articles Chris Davis wrote for it were included in one volume called I Saw the Angel in the Marble. A further volume, I Carved the Angel in the Marble, is also available.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sharks Teeth or Seacapes?

The other morning my husband and I spent special time together at the beach. It was just the two of us. The weather was perfect-- shining sun, slight breeze, and somnolent waves. Peaceful. While he enjoyed the ocean I relished the shore, mostly by reading The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks. When he tired of surfing, though, he would come in and together we would walk.

The beach we love best is a renowned spot for finding shark's teeth. It seems all in the family except me are super sleuths in locating these tiny treasures. As we meandered slowly along, I was pleased that I actually found one, the first success I'd experienced in quite awhile.

My contribution our of all these? One!

I typically blame my lack of ability in finding these teeth on my lack of sharp vision and my tired, aching back, but as I searched, I reflected. I realized it's not really that at all. As we were walking along, my eyes kept being drawn to the horizon, the ocean, and the life around me.
I simply could not focus on the tiny limited scene beneath my feet. Instead, My eyes would invariably rise up, and I would begin to muse on the bigger picture. The shore life, the surf, the sounds all competed for my attention. The bigger picture won out.

I realize this is a regular challenge for me in life. Daily I war with the details that compete with the overall objectives to my day, my week, my year. Recognizing I need accountability and structure, I struggle to put in place processes that allow me to accomplish my goals. Struggle is the key word here. I'm an expert procrastinator, a clever obfuscator, a creative task assignor. I begin to work on a detailed lesson plan only to be derailed by the larger question. How should the year look? What should I focus on? What will it look like? How will it prepare my children and students? And then I sit stewing over whether I had the correct approach to begin with. After awhile of this, I turn to shuffling piles from my office floor to the dining room table, or checking up on the latest Facebook posts. The lesson plan remains unfinished.

I have learned, for the most part, how to navigate this quirky side of me. I write lists, assign regular "office hours," and commit to deadlines. And somehow, I get my work done. Usually.

Today I happily finished updating the kids' portfolios. It's taken me awhile. Now that I have two in high school, once of whom is a senior, it is more and more critical I get these small tasks completed. Soon enough we will be filling out college applications, and that portfolio will be needed. Next up? Navigating FAFSA and the Common Application, but I've got a little time before that deadline begins to encroach. Hey, maybe I've got some time for a little knitting now! Now where did I stash that project?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Breathe

In the middle of living my typical wife/mother life the other day in the middle of my typical wife/mother routine I suddenly I heard my mother's voice. A half-remembered memory, perhaps, fleeting, but very real pervaded my thoughts. I was arrested in the moment. Suspended, I stood, frozen. It was perhaps only a second or two, but for me time stopped. Then, tears came.The last time I actually heard my mother's sweet voice was almost three years ago after her surgery, which ultimately ended her life.

Grief is a funny thing. You move through the stages haltingly, hesitatingly. At times the darkness threatens to devour you, but eventually you move out of the fog of loss to a place where you collect your bearings, count your blessings, and cherish your memories as you pick up the threads of life and move on. Color again appears and your heart again begins to beat. You live and love and remember. But grief, although softened, and worn, like a polished river stone in your pocket will always be a part of you, and although you may forget for awhile, unconsciously at times you'll slip your hand in that pocket and suddenly remember, and feel, and mourn. And that's okay.


One of the Bible verses our family selected for Mom's funeral was Revelation 21:4. It says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Those words are incredibly comforting to me, for I know that these light and momentary troubles won't last forever. This place, as beautiful and wonderful and difficult and dark as it is, is not my forever home.

My tears were sweet that day. In the middle of my regular day, I remembered a much-loved voice. Yes, there was pain, but mostly there was gratitude and love and sweet remembrance for this precious lady. I am blessed by remembering and loving, and I will take my mother's love into my daily life and carry it with me as I love and care for my own children. And my mother's love will live on through me.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Blink

It's a stealth move, you know, your kids growing up. One moment you're hunched over, grasping their tiny hands as they precariously navigate their first steps, and the next you know they're traipsing around college campuses, discussing the merits of a large school over a smaller one. It takes my breath away.

 I have no regrets. Sure, there were (and continue to be) plenty of things I am doing wrong. I second guess myself at least once a day, and I realize he still has a lot of growing to do, but after this final year, the bulk of it will happen away from me. Realizing my time with him in my home full time is nearly over, I decided to spend some of it college hunting Kansas style!

I grew up in the great state of Kansas. It is still, to this day, the prettiest state in the Union to me, with its waving fields of wheat, inspiring horizons, and blazing sunflowers. I love it!


A Kansas farm pond

 So, in the early, early morning, my son and I loaded up and headed out to Kansas, to Grandpa, and to new possibilities.
He's faking it. He's not awake.

 The alarm startled me awake at 3:30 A.M., and 30 minutes later we headed to the airport. By 10:00 in the morning we had landed at the new airport in Wichita, Kansas, and Grandpa was ready and waiting for us. We caught lunch in Yoder, a small Amish community. The tempting scent of home-cooked food made our stomachs rumble uncomfortably as we waited for our meal to be delivered. I gobbled up a hot roast beef sandwich that reminded me of my younger days.
After a satisfying lunch!

 All that sustenance was needed, though, because we had a full schedule of activities that began first thing in the morning with a visit to Bethany College. Bethany is a small Lutheran liberal arts college situated nicely in my hometown of Lindsborg, KS. Back in the day when I was a high school student, Bethany wasn't even on my radar for two reasons:  1. We couldn't afford it, and 2. It was exactly two blocks away from my childhood home. I wanted to spread my wings and fly away, and that's exactly what I did when I decided to attend The University of Kansas (tour stop number 2).
Before the tour
Bethany pulled out all the stops, and my son loved the experience! He especially enjoyed visiting with Dr. Melody Steed, Assistant Academic Dean for the college about the things he particularly cares about- books and World War II!

Jacob enjoyed the campus, but he especially loved feeling like his presence mattered. He appreciated the care and time put into his tour and how it was personalized just for him. I enjoyed seeing Bethany through different, younger eyes. Rather than seeing it as a small, limited, and claustrophobic college, I saw it for what it really is, an opportunity to live and learn in a small town that values its Swedish heritage, its rich history of art and music, and its quality education.

Day two brought college tour number two and a dramatically different experience, for this time we traveled east to tour my and my husband's alma mater, the fabulous University of Kansas.

Lawrence, Kansas is located all the way over on the eastern side of the state, and to get there we drove on I-70 through the Konza Prairie and the Flint Hills. The prairie is maintained by Kansas State University. To me this is some of the loveliest land in the nation with its rolling hills, expansive skies, and stunning sunsets. Seeing it again made me positively giddy, and I couldn't help but imagine a stately Indian topping a ridge on horseback. Time hasn't changed the land.

Time has certainly changed Lawrence, though! The campus was undergoing a lot of renovation. My dorm, McCollum Hall, is slated for demolition later this fall. Jayhawk Boulevard is torn up, and scaffolding obscures the view of many stately old buildings. Nevertheless, it remains one of my favorite places on earth!

Here's a view of my old hangout, Watson Library, complete with construction!

Wescoe Hall, the sight of many of my larger survey classes, still ugly as always.

Strong Hall, venerable and stately.
The Burning Bush as photographed from inside the library of Smith Hall,
where I had many classes in Religion.


McCollum Hall. My room was the one directly above the trailer.
Library table in the
stacks where I
studied.

And library table on the floor where I studied.

Memorial Drive, overlooking Marvin Grove and the Campanile Bell Tower


 The highlight of the day was without a doubt visiting with my instructor from my own college days, Dr. Mary Klayder! This wonderful woman is who ignited my passion for English, and because of her I switched from being a psychology major to English and never looked back. She was one of my instructors for my British Summer Institute Experience (1990) as well. I love her still!
Such a treasure to share Mary with Jacob! It's a dream come true!
We met Mary in the Student Union. As busy as she was, she took time out of her schedule to do lunch. She and Jacob chatted novels as we reminisced about the days when we were each younger. It was a special interlude for me, and Jacob really enjoyed it as well, as he feels he has come to know Mary as a friend by the way I have talked about her through the years.

All too soon it was time to leave. A final hug and wave good-bye and we were back in the truck and exploring the town. I found my old apartment and snapped a shot of it.
It was the basement one. Yeah, it's ugly. That's student
apartment living for you.

 We drove past Joe's Doughnuts. We didn't stop. We made it to Mass Street and to Mecca- the Yarn Barn of Kansas! This store was there when I was a student on campus, but I wasn't a knitter. In the time since I picked the craft up, I've been dreaming of visiting, so of course we made time for it!
Spinning wheels, spinning wheels...

And more spinning wheels!

And of course lots of yarn!

 It was almost too much for me! In the end, I picked up three skeins of a locally dyed merino that I will likely knit into a shawl. When I wear it, I'll think of our special day together.

Soon enough it was time to head for home. We were both tired, but the day had been a beautiful one.

So where will Jacob end up? It's too early to tell, but I think he's leaning towards a smaller school experience. He had favorable impressions of both schools, and I know he would do well in either place. He's got time to decide. I say, it's a special time- enjoy the journey!