Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Did Summer Go?


I'm pondering where summer went. Tomorrow I will begin the Fall session at University. This semester is overshadowed by two classes that sound quite academic. I have the Research Practicum Course, during which time I will need to conduct and evaluate my own research gathered at a local educational institution. Please pray for me on Friday, that is when I will meet with the principal and induction coordinator to decide if I can investigate their first year teachers. The other 'big' course is the History of Education (yawn). However, I am told by my advisor that the professor is one of the most brilliant minds on campus. I'm not sure if this is a comfort or makes me a bit more nervous about the expectations/work load. I am taking a third course purely out of interest and for an elective. Differentiated Education for the Exceptional do we teach all the different ability levels in the same room. This is a situation I know will occur in my classroom when I return to teaching, and I also know that any review and support in this area will help any Children of God I may have in the future. for interest and two for requirements.

I'm still wondering where summer went. It isn't just the fact that school is beginning again that leads me to ponder this question. The weather here has been a bit loopy for August. Last night it was in the LOW 50's! Some places even dropped into the 40's. I know folk talk about the lake affect here and all, but that is a bit extreme for August! The warmest day since I've returned has been in the mid-70's! I've been in long sleeves! I've even broke out my fuzzy blanket for reading in a comfy chair! Crazy. I never thought I'd wonder where those dog days of summer have gone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grandma's Apron Strings


I was a last minute addition to my Mom's group of friends at the Dakotafest Women's Brunch in Mitchell, South Dakota. The theme for the brunch and the speaker was Grandma's Apron Strings. All of the committee coordinators and ushers were wearing gorgeous vintage and home-made aprons in an array of bright colors.

The invocation for the brunch was given by our very own Sr. Valerie! She started with a great story about the first lady's struggles as homemaker...Eve as the first lady by the way. The story was a great ice breaker and soon she had all the wives, mothers, and grandmothers in the audience on her side! After the crowd stopped chuckling at her story's conclusion, she led us seamlessly through a simple prayer of blessings.

The speaker was also a South Dakota girl...she too was dressed in an apron! Jane Green shared her wonderful sense of humor and lessons she has learned through stories from key points in her life. Her hope was that the women would be refreshed in Laughter, Love, and Living Life. She encouraged all of us to write the stories of our own lives that our lessons and wisdom could be passed on.

The following 'poem' was at each woman's place at the table. A few lyrical lines about the depth that the simple apron can share in our lives. makes me want to find a trusty pattern of my own to wear.


I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The Principal use of Grandma's Apron was to protect the dress underneath, becuase she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought inot the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walking out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time-apron' that served so many purposes.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sweet Corn


The sisters had picked over 140 bushels of sweet corn! The farmer who rents our land always plants some easily accessible rows so we can gather ears for the monastery. This year the small group of sisters was enhanced by our new chaplain and possibly a student from college.

The bushels of corn were immediately enjoyed on the ear, but much of it needed to be prepared for freezing. Shucking parties were held in the afternoons. Then the gardening sisters, both Sr. Virginia and myself, were moved to the indoors to scrub the corn clean of its stringy silks. Finally, two separate evening corn cutting parties were held. It may sound surprising, but it when we gather to cut the corn we have a good time together.

It is amazing how quickly we all fall into jobs on these corn nights. Most of the sisters join the group of corn cutters. However, some choose to pack the five pound tins of corn with cling wrap and tin foil. Sr. Henrietta, one of our elders, keeps deciding year by year if she can help out and there she was this year, sealing the final tinfoil layer. Sr. Carmy came back from preparing her classroom to help carry away the empty cobs and haul them out to the field. The first night we prepared 65 pans of corn for the freezer and the second we completed 48 pans...each a was five pounds of corn! So in total we have over 565 pounds of corn for the year! Whoo-Hoo! The Benefits of Community!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Done with Time to Spare!


Here I sit at the University library with time to spare! I have uploaded all my final papers to the online drop box and made copies of those same papers so the teacher will also have hard copies. I have reorganized and stapled my research doodlings and even included my certificate from the online researcher ethics quiz we had to take. I have an hour and a half to spare : )

So, after I log off this computer, I am going to ensconce myself in one of the cozy chairs in the cool corners of the library and read...Pride and Prejudice. I brought it along just in case I was able to reward myself with free time. Tonight, all I shall have to do is pack a bag, find a few toiletries, and seek some sleep for the drive home tomorrow!

See you all soon!