Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Today, we are celebrating Memorial Day in the modern way: sleeping in, lounging around, cooking out, watching the Memorial Day concert from D.C. from the comfort of our own couch.

We also remember, though. We honor the memory of those who have fallen in the service of our country and those who have served honorably.

My grandfather, Wilbur Copeland, served in the army during World War II. He was a hospital administrator in Guam.

My uncle, Stan, was a medic in Vietnam and an army chaplain for many years. In fact, he was overjoyed to be called back into service recently. He's now an army counselor stationed in Germany.

My dad served in the army during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Georgia and sang in the Third Army Chorus, tongue-in-cheekily called "The Pink Berets."

(I just made up that phrase "tongue-in-cheekily." Yeah, I'm pretty much a modern Shakespeare.)

My brother-in-law, Joel, served in Afghanistan as a doctor.

I have three first cousins who serve/served in the Army and several more distant cousins who serve in the armed forces.

I am proud to claim kinship with these soldiers and appreciate their service.

Thank you to the soldiers, past and present, who have served and who have died in that service so that I can enjoy freedom. I'm sorry that I take them for granted sometimes.

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Winston Churchill

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

...I was in London!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Violin Recital

Last week, William played in a violin recital with nine other students. William has taken 3 1/2 years of violin. He is not the most diligent student when it comes to practicing, but he is making good progress. This is Wm's most common "pose" for pictures now. I hope it's a phase.
Here are Micah and Sam waiting for the recital to start. Apparently, Sam had been imbibing of the punch already.
Here's the beautiful girl in the family.
William did fine. He performed it better at home without an audience, but he did fine.

We sure are proud of his hard work and improvements.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh, the Drama!

Last night, Micah's class performed "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for a crowd of adoring parents and grandparents (and exhausted teachers). This performance was absolutely their best effort and a great success. An audience transformed these 22 children from a bunch of easily-distracted-goof-offs to performers.

There were certain lines from the script that I had given up on ever hearing again. I thought they had the gist of the line and the play still made sense so I wouldn't make a big deal about it anymore. Well, last night, these same lines miraculously re-appeared, as though they were lurking in the backs of the actor's heads, waiting for an audience to draw them forth.

Titania was queenly as she never had been before. Puck was lively and mischievous as he never had been before. Francis Flute/Thisby was over the top as he usually is. Bottom was more ridiculous than ever. Lysander looked around with a pleased grin when the audience laughed at his lines and this spurred him on to even more enthusiastic delivery of his lines. The entire cast was injected with new energy and excitement.

Without all of the practice this performance would not have been possible. Equally, without the appreciative audience this performance would not have been possible. Seems rather unfair.

But the process has been fun in and of itself, as well. I have enjoyed getting to know the students and the teachers and I have enjoyed delving into Shakespeare at least once a week. I have not enjoyed the minor dramas over casting and costumes! But those go with the territory as well.

Finally, I must mention the outstanding performance of Micah. Micah shared the role of Puck with another student and both did very well last night. But as Micah's doting mama, I must say that I am so proud of how Micah did. He had fun and it showed.

So, another show we may consider a success. Next year? Hmmm. Not ready to discuss that yet!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I have had the blessing of knowing and being loved by many extraordinary women in my life. My beautiful and talented mother, Louise. For thirty-seven years she has comforted and encouraged me, taught me how to pick my battles, how to recover -and even learn - from defeats, how to love myself enough to love those around me, where to find my true value, the importance of making others feel valuable, how essential a kind word and a genuine smile can be, how to keep going when I think I can't, how to use humor without belittling others, how to bend without breaking.

Even as a teen-ager I didn't think it would be such a bad thing to be like my mother and now I fervently hope that I am.

Somehow I've failed to pick up on much of her patience, but I'm still working on it.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me my mother. You picked well.

Besides my mom, I have had the privilege of knowing both of my grandmothers: Arvilla Copeland and Ida Edgar. Both were immensely talented, amazing, God-fearing women and I cannot overstate the effect they have had on my life.

Grandma C. was an English teacher (among other subjects) and loved literature. She loved her family and was the only person I've ever known who loved me without seeming to notice my faults. I need a lot more people in my life who know my faults and encourage me to get rid of them! But it was a blessing to have one person who always thought I was the best at whatever I did, even if it was just being a girl.

Grandma E. was a pastor's wife extraordinaire. She had a gift and a flair for hospitality. I love to use her china because she loved to use it. She gathered whoever she could - from visiting pastors to Harold Giles, the farmer down the road who kept potatoes in his pockets to ward off the rheumatism - and made them welcome at her table. She was not a fancy cook, but made delicious, "plain" food, served with so much love her guests never missed the bouillabaisse.

These women continue to be a blessing to me even now and I thank God for them.

My mother-in-law, Mary, is another extraordinary woman the Lord has been kind enough to put in my life. So many people have funny and not-so-funny horror stories to tell about their mothers-in-law and I must say that I feel robbed in that department! Mary is a loving mother and grandmother, always willing to help in whatever ways she can and I thank the Lord for her in my life.

Besides these four, I have Pat, Katie, Carla, Joy, Jody, Joyce, Beverly, Shirley and I know there are some I'm forgetting at the moment.

The Lord knew that I needed all of these women in my life - I need all of the examples and encouragement I can get! Now that I look at the list, I am humbled by how far short I fall of the examples I have had. These women have shown and continue to show me Christ and I thank them for that and pray that some day I may be such an example to other women.

For now, I'll do what they have shown me to do: do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God.

The Merry Month of May

The month of May has been its usual busy self so far this year. This coming week will really be the height of the action-packed month with final rehearsals and performances of the 4th and 5th grade drama, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

As always, we're having lots of fun with practices, but it's always a little more fun when the students suddenly realize just how close the performance really is. This little shot of fear is a great motivator. We had a dismal dress rehearsal Friday afternoon, but I anticipate the rate of improvement to accelerate rapidly this week and we will pull off a creditable performance on Thursday night. Still, a good dose of prayer would not be amiss, if you know what I'm sayin.'

At the beginning of May, I also added babysitting two days a week into the lively mix of games, practices, lessons, errands, meetings, play dates, etc. in our lives.

A little more than twelve years ago, when William was about a month old, I started babysitting a baby who was just a month older than my own baby. This arrangement was a total disaster from my perspective. I was so new to motherhood; I had little idea of what I was doing with my own baby, let alone someone else's. I had to nurse and bottle-feed at the same time, or as was more often the case, listen to one scream while I fed the other. I was so relieved when we moved to Dayton and I could stop this job. I swore that I would never babysit again.

But, three babies and much experience later, I felt ready to tackle the challenge again. I know I went back on a promise to myself (and to John. He wasn't a fan of "psycho-wife."), but it's okay this time. I am really enjoying little Joseph. He is two months old and very sweet.

I'm pretty sure it helps that my own "baby" is now four years old and potty-trained.

And my hormones are not recovering from pregnancy.

And I usually get 7-8 hours of solid sleep every night.

Those things might make a little bit of a difference.

So, we've thrown these things into the mix of our usual mayhem. And that is this month's excuse for why I haven't kept up my blog better.