In Which I Am Reminded of Something

After yesterday’s intense knitting classes, I knew there would be some kids that needed more help. So I put out the word that I’d come to Park Day today and would be available to any kids who needed help with his or her knitting.

I had five takers, most of whom had such tangles that I had to pull their work out and cast on again. At least a couple of them I think really caught on and made some headway on their first row. And it struck me again today (as it did yesterday despite the craziness) just how much I love kids. Most of my teaching is aimed at teenagers, whom I adore. I love almost everything about teens. But of course that doesn’t mean I can’t like younger kids too! So getting to hang out with younger kids yesterday and today was just so much fun, because kids are amazing. So full of life and hope and smiles and hugs. I’m so glad I agreed to do the knitting classes.

I also finally got outside and did some weeding and pruning. Lots more ahead of me!

This afternoon I drove out to the bookstore and dropped off four books. I left with only three, so it’s still a win, right? I also got a cut of tea and took flowers to the barista, whose birthday was today. I took her some hydrangeas from our yard because they are gorgeous this year:

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I also took her some of my chai mix, in case she might like to offer it at some point.

My effort to walk in the gym came to naught because it closed early today. Someone apparently didn’t show up for his or her work shift. So I went to Walmart and got some stuff for Jasper’s camping trip that I don’t think Aldi will have. And I made a cake for him to take because this trip is his birthday bash.

New Knitters

Whew! What a day! Today was the first time for my two knitting classes to meet. Because I had so many interested kids, I asked Lina to help me and boy was I glad to have her! The first class was a more manageable size, but the second class was very large and it was pretty intense. The kids were all adorable—even the teenagers. Both classes had very little time to start on actual knitting because it took a while for everyone to get their stitches cast on. I didn’t get a precise head count but I know we had at least 20 kids altogether.

I took Jasper to youth group for the last time until fall. I think they are planning some special activities during the summer, but not regular meetings.

I also finally got things set up for Jasper’s birthday camping trip this weekend. His birthday was in April but this coming weekend was the first one available for a camping trip with his buddies. The lake we had planned as the location didn’t work out—I couldn’t get the campsite to answer the phone and in fact I have reason to believe the whole place might be underwater. So I came up with a new plan and found them a campsite that is actually quite a bit closer to home, which means less driving for me.

Today was my first day back in the gym since returning from our trip. The gym was closed on Monday and yesterday I had my meetings. I like going to the gym in summer because I usually have the track to myself. The downside is that the gym closes at 8:00 so I have to make a real point of getting there in time to finish my walk!

Diving Back In

Today didn’t go quite as planned, but when does a day EVER go as planned? Jasper actually got up at 5:00 and skateboarded to work by 6:00—but was home shortly after 8:00. Apparently his boss wasn’t aware of all the paperwork that had to be completed. Jasper went back after lunch to fill out more forms but can’t return to work until they do a background check—so he most likely won’t start working for “real” until Monday.

Lina went to Nacogdoches and committed to renting an apartment there starting July. She is eager to have her own place again!

Lucy started her summer class and also continued working in the library.

Walter went back to work and found it rather stressful after two weeks away. There’s always a price to pay when you take time off!

And I was very busy all day preparing for our critique group and writers’ meeting tonight, and working on preparations for tomorrow’s knitting classes also. Jasper helped me shoot some instructional videos which my students will be able to watch if they get “stuck” between classes. I also made some reference cards and got them all laminated. And I set up a Facebook group for the class.

Then I rushed off to my meeting without remembering that I should have got a devotion ready! So we just started with a prayer. We had an informal discussion around the table with our speaker, my friend who owns The Bookstore in Kilgore. The subject was writing in the first person, which I’ve only done once.

I came home to a welcome mug of tea and more card laminating. SO MUCH to do before my knitting students come tomorrow!

A Holiday Birthday

Yesterday morning our plans to go to church changed when we heard that Spencer’s friend Britton and his wife Kaylee and daughter Ember would be stopping by during the morning. We had a lovely visit with them and Ember entertained us all.

Later in the day we went to our small group meeting for the first time in what seems like months! It was good to see the others after missing the last couple of get-togethers.

Thirty-three years ago today, I became a mother for the first time. I had secretly hoped for a daughter, and I got one! It has been quite a while since Lina was home for a birthday. This morning her plan was to go to the gym and then come back for a special breakfast, instead of starting off with breakfast in bed.

As it turned out, the gym was closed so I speeded up my preparations and we watched an episode of Father Brown while Lina ate her birthday breakfast. Meanwhile, Walter was out in the driveway washing and polishing all three vehicles!

I have a very lengthy to-do list, so I spent the day working through it and doing as many things as I could. I made keto ice cream because Spencer and Jade were planning to come for supper. I calculated grades. I made keto fake potato salad (with cauliflower) and sliced a lot of strawberries and sent a bunch of emails. I also made “real” ice cream for those who are still able to enjoy it.

Walter finished with the cars and then mowed both yards and did some other yardwork. Then, for a birthday/Memorial Day treat, he and Lina and Jasper all went up to the gourmet snowcone place that is so popular here.

Spencer and Jade came over for supper—not lavish at all but there was plenty of food for both keto and non-keto people. Lucy has gone one step further and is currently following a carnivore approach. Nothing but meat!

We finished our last day of holiday by watching a movie. The next few days will be very busy for all of us, I think. Jasper starts his job in the morning, Walter goes back to work, Lucy will continue to work and also start a summer class, and Lina will be going to Nacogdoches again! I have about five days’ worth of work to do in the next two days. . . .

No, Not One

No, Not One

Johnson Oatman, Jr.

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain

Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain

Did ever saint find this friend forsake him?
No, not one! No, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain

Was ever a gift like the Savior given?
No, not one! No, not one!
Will He refuse us a home in Heaven?
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain

Back to Work

Well, we are finally up to date! Yesterday we didn’t get up specially early because it was a short travel day. After the thrill of getting my flash drive back during the car-loading phase, the hours on the road seemed somehow more bearable. I no longer had to think frantically of ways to try and recover at least some small portions of my files.

We arrived home shortly after 3:00 p.m. to discover that Lucy has a big new tattoo and Jasper has a new job! He will be working on campus in the grounds department, just like his dad used to do. (Lina also spent a summer doing this.) He starts at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Getting up at 5:00 will no doubt be a challenge for him at first.

I had to go on a supply run to Walmart almost immediately after getting into town. We heated up some food for supper and enjoyed a quiet evening in.

This morning it was back to the old routine. Walter and Jasper had their yard jobs to do. I had a jillion errands to run (9 stops total on 3 separate trips), emails to read and send, planning to do, etc. I had hoped for a nap but didn’t have time for one.

Some statistics on our trip:

—We drove through eleven states in thirteen days

—We drove 2,770 miles

—We visited all three of our living parents, two siblings, an aunt, a daughter and son-in-law, many friends, and two graves

—We attended the wedding of a young man we dearly love and enjoyed visiting with three generations of his family

—We were entertained by some adorable babies and toddlers

—We enjoyed art in the form of botanical gardens and quilts

—We slept in six different homes and were treated like royalty by all our hosts

—We came home so grateful for our friends and family

Catch Up Post: Thursday, May 23

It’s a good thing we went to bed early on Wednesday night, because we got up at 5:30 in the morning on Thursday! We wanted to be on the road by 6:00 and we were only a few minutes later. This time we were driving down off the Cumberland Plateau, through Nashville, and on to Memphis.

We were anxious to get to Memphis before noon, because we wanted to see Mary, who was leaving on a trip of her own early in the afternoon. She had a lovely lunch prepared for us, and also a pot of tea. It was good to get to visit with her until she had to leave, bound for New York City with her friend Sarah.

After she left, Walter helped Jordan replace a headlight on his car—something he recently had to do for our car too. Then Jordan took us to the university where he teaches, and gave us a little tour. We saw a classroom that he uses, and also his office. It is a compact campus, but very pretty.

From there we went to the Memphis Crosstown Concourse, a multi-purpose mall that is the second act of a former Sears distribution center. There were two free quilt shows going on there, both of which I enjoyed (although the ones that were for sale had jaw-dropping prices—often over $20,000!)

We checked out all the quilts and looked around a little more before we ended up at a burger place in the concourse, where Jordan treated us to supper. I splurged on a burger on lettuce with lots of keto toppings.

It wasn’t until we returned to Mary and Jordan’s apartment afterward that the true magnitude of my situation hit. Ruth hadn’t found my flash drive at her house, and neither had my friend Sonya in Atlanta. But I still thought that it would all be safely saved on Carbonite. So I logged into my Carbonite account, and that’s when I discovered that none of the lost files were there.

Well. That was hard. The loss was so staggering I hardly knew how to respond. I went up to the guest room and just lay there praying and staring at the pictures on the wall. Thank goodness you all now know the story has a happy ending!

Parting Shot:

One of my favorite quilts at the quilt show.

Catch Up Post: Wednesday, May 22

We were up early and had an easy job loading the car because Paul had insisted that Walter park it in the garage, which is adjacent to the basement where we slept. We spent a little time visiting with Betty Lou and Bobbi, but didn’t get to see Paul as he had already gone to sit in on a Bible class.

By midmorning we were driving through the Smoky Mountains on the Cherohala Skyway, a highway with breathtaking views.

We reached my parents’ house by midafternoon and sat enjoying tea with them and my aunt Lori, until we all went to a Chinese restaurant for supper. It was a short visit, but I’ll be seeing them again in a couple of weeks. We finished the evening watching car shows with my dad on my aunt’s big-screen TV.

Catch Up Post: Tuesday, May 21

Now that my heart is beating again and I have backed up my vital files, I am ready to resume my vacation reporting. Please don’t feel obligated to read these posts—they are for my own benefit!

On Tuesday morning I got up and climbed the stairs to hang out with Paul and Betty Lou for a while. Then I worked on writing blog entries, which is when I realized my flash drive was missing. At that point I wasn’t worried at all, because I was sure I must have somehow left it at my sister-in-law’s house, and she would easily find it and send it to me. My intrepid husband took off on a lengthy hike to see if he could get cell reception up on the mountain and text his sister about the flash drive. (He succeeded.)

Our friends made a big hot meal for lunch and I kept everyone company while they ate it. When I told Betty Lou that I don’t eat lunch, she said, “Well, the joke’s on you—we don’t eat supper!”

In the afternoon I went for a walk down to the “shop,” which was still being built the first time we visited all those years ago. I deeply regretted my failure to bring walking shoes on this trip. Walking in loose gravel with flip-flops is not fun or easy. But it was a beautiful sunny day and everything was so green, unlike when we usually visit in March during spring break.

Of course, there was plenty of food for supper and no one went hungry. We enjoyed a little more visiting before going to bed early. Because we are old.

Parting Shot:

Paul & Betty Lou

Found!

Quick update for those of you who didn’t see the news on Facebook:

After a miserable night, I got up this morning with one thought on my mind—my life’s work was gone, vanished into the air. I cried and prayed through my shower. Then while Walter and Jordan were loading the car, they found a flash drive lying loose in the trunk. THE flash drive with my whole life on it. I’m sure you can imagine my profound relief.

I have no idea how it somehow climbed out of my zippered-shut computer backpack. I am just SO GLAD that we didn’t leave it behind somewhere and that I can get to work on preparing for my summer classes! And yes, of course I am backing it up in multiple places as soon as I post this!