Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Prayer for the Start of School

Though Avalyn started school two and a half weeks ago, I recognize many schools across the country are starting back now, or in the near future.  This year has made it very interesting to plan for a prayer for the start of school, because this year is so abnormal.  Some schools are going back though modified, some are starting virtually first, then planning to go back, others still are planning for both, not knowing exactly yet what they plan to do.  

It's in this environment I would like to offer a prayer for this 2020-2021 school year.  For the students, the parents, and the faculty involved.


Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to you in a time of uncertainty and stress.  Facing a year that has already tested us and an upcoming school year which we are not prepared for.  A time in which we desperately want things to get back to normal, but recognize that it may not be for a long time yet.

It's in this environment in which we pray for, above all else, grace and mercy this year.

Lord may we find your grace, amazing grace, upon us.  May you protect us and guide us through this school year.  May you watch over all the students and keep them healthy and safe.  May you lead them to be kind to each other.  If nothing else, may they be kind.  May they wear their masks, may they learn to wash their hands well.  May they find a way to be friends and friendly even through social distancing.  May they listen to and help their teachers, not adding any additional stresses.  May their innocence and youth guide us through this difficult time.

May you watch over the teachers and grant them wisdom and patience.  May you give them grace in their interactions with their students. With parents who may not agree with the school's precautions.  With other faculty who might make things more challenging.  May they find joy, even in this chaos.  May they find the ability to give themselves grace when this year does not go as planned.  When everything changes on a daily basis.  May they give themselves permission to relax and let go.

May you watch over the parents who are trying to balance it all.  Praying that school continues to go forward, praying they don't have to work from home, make sure the kids are doing their school online and also try to get everything done around the house.  May they find grace in their interactions with teachers, recognizing they too are trying to figure out how to navigate this crazy time.  

May we all grant each other the grace to recognize that we're all trying our best in a very challenging situation.

May we be agents of grace in making someone else's day better, brighter in some small way.

May we be agents of your grace in finding the good, even now.

May we be merciful.

When school goes back to virtual after being open.

When the school gets its first case of COVID-19.

When it's just gotten to be too much.

May we be merciful.

And let us find you.

Let us find you in the ability for kids to play together for the first time.

Let us find you in the new resemblance of a routine.

Let us find you in a Zoom call.

At the dinner table after school is out.

In the pickup and drop off line.

Let us see you more clearly in this time.

For that is how we will get through it.

We thank you for all you have brought us through and we pray for your wisdom for this year.

In your most precious name,


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

That's Enough 2020

You know, we've handled the quarantine.  We've handled masks.  We've handled social distancing and work from home.  This may be a step too far.

Dr. Pepper is having a shortage.

Dr. Pepper is my coffee.  I've never really developed a taste for hot beverages, coffee even less so.  For a dose of caffeine, the Dr. is my drug.

I'm working on drinking far less of it and trying to limit it to the weekends at most, but this week is a semi-staycation and with the big birthday coming up, it's been a little more regular in our house.  

It's my addiction.  Not a good one, as if there are any good addictions, but at times a necessary one.  It keeps me awake on long road trips.  It helps combat the grogginess after a long night.  

It's the perfect pair for a hamburger, or pizza.

It's a taste of Texas in our new home.

It's making this pandemic bearable.

At this point, can we go back to the toilet paper shortage.

Seriously, it's time to go stock up.   

So, again, enough 2020.  No more.

Let's turn this around and move on to happier things.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

National Spider-man Day

Today is national Spider-man Day, celebrating 58 years of the amazing, spectacular wall-crawler.  First appearing in Amazing Fantasy 15, August 1962, everyone’s neighborhood friendly Spider-man has since become an international icon. 

“With great power, there must also come great responsibility.”  More than anything, the years of Spider-man material have served to remind us of the characters great motto. A variation of the promise that “to whom much is given, much is demanded.”  That we are responsible for how we live our lives. What we do with what we are given. How we improve the world around us. And how we care for those around us. 

That we have a responsibility that extends beyond ourselves.  And in this current environment, I cannot think of a better reminder for us. A reminder that we have all been entrusted with some amount of power. And it is our responsibility to wield it well. That it is in our power to protect our neighbor, to help prevent the spread of this virus. And we have the responsibility to do so. That we have the power to make others’ lives better during this crisis. The power to help provide meals, provide aid, provide support, provide an ear. And we have the responsibility to do so. 

That we have the power to be kind, and we have a responsibility to do so. 

There’s a meme that goes around that says “always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.”  Let’s change that. Batman is a little extreme, and potentially a little psychotic depending on the writer. Spider-man is a lot more balanced and teaches us a more valuable lesson. 

Let’s be Spider-man. 

Excelsior, true believers!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school here in Indiana.  They've gone to a schedule that allows a little more flexibility in the year, so we start really early, but get three two week break periods throughout the school year and get done before Memorial Day. 

Avalyn is going to 1st grade and is attending Elementary school here. They are meeting in person with accommodations and it went well for today. 

Avalyn is looking forward to school. She’s ready to make more friends. Jamie and I have commented how it’s so weird her being the first one to leave the house on a regular basis. It’s an adjustment but we’ll get used to it. 

Hopefully this is the start of a great, though very different school year. We’ll keep you posted on her progress and how we are dealing with this crazy year as well.                                

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Olivia de Havilland

By studio - Flickr, Public Domain,

Award winning actress Dame Olivia de Havilland passed away Saturday, July 25, 2020.  She was 104 year old.  Over her career, she appeared in 49 films and was one of the leading actresses of her time.  That career spanned 74 years, up to narrating a documentary in 2009 at the age of 93, and included such well remembered films as The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Gone With the Wind.  de Havilland was the last surviving cast member of Gone With the Wind.  

She was also famous for her long-running feud with her sister Joan Fontaine, one that had its roots in their childhood.  This feud first came to a head in 1942, when de Havilland and Fontaine were both nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress‍—‌de Havilland for Hold Back the Dawn and Fontaine for Suspicion. When Fontaine's name was revealed as the winner, de Havilland reacted graciously, saying "We've got it!"  Fontaine rejected de Havilland's attempts to congratulate her, leaving the other offended and embarrassed.  The reverse would happen in 1947 when de Havilland accepted her first offer.  The feud would reach a fever pitch in 1975 over disagreements with their mother's cancer treatment and would continue until Fontaine's death in 2013.

She will be most remembered in Hollywood as the woman who took on the studio system and won.  Growing dissatisfied with the types of roles that she was being offered by Warner Brothers, her contracted studio, de Havilland longed for the more dramatic roles offered her in films like Gone with the Wind and Hold Back the Dawn, she began refusing certain roles offered to her.  In 1943, she announced that her seven year contract with Warner Bros. was up.  Warner Brothers responded that there was six months remaining because of her refusal on certain roles.  de Havilland decided to fight back arguing that Warner Bros. was violating labor laws.  She won in a decision that would be dubbed the de Havilland Law, making her a free agent.  It was the start of other stars breaking away and doing the same.  In short, she won where Bette Davis and James Cagney had lost before.

"She was tough and she stayed with it, and as a result she brought the studios to their knees.  Other actresses have won Academy Awards. Other stars have been as famous. But few had as far-reaching an impact as de Havilland did.”  Jeanine Bassinger, Chair of Film Studies at Wesleyan University

Rest in Peace, Olivia de Havilland

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mitchuation: Tested

A little delay in posting a bit.  We've fought off a little bit of sickness around the house.  Last week, Avalyn and Jude got sick with cold like symptoms. Avalyn ran a fever for about a day and a half and had a bit of congestion.  Jude had a nose that ran like a faucet, with a wet cough.  They got sick early in the week, so of course by the week's end, it moved to Jamie and I.  

Jamie just had a day of a sore throat, and recovered completely otherwise.  I started with a sore throat on Thursday and then had a light continuous headache with lightheadedness over three days of the weekend.  Not too fun.  

So by day three of headache and lightheadedness, I went to the clinic to get checked out.  And part of that included a lovely COVID-19 test.  I could feel them tickle my brain.  Thankfully I only had to get one nostril done.  I don't know if I would have been able to sit still through the second.

Thankfully, the results came back negative Tuesday.  A likely viral infection, but not that one.  Still out of an abundance of caution, because of the possibilities of a false negative, I've been sequestered inside.  That should end soon.

Generally, I've just been tired this week.  So, I've let a few things slip.  Like more regular posts.

Things will be picking up again now.  Work is definitely increasing with a several projects moving up in the timeline, requiring a few different machines running at the same time to keep it all going forward.  Avalyn is getting ready to start school.  She's gotten to see the building and found out who her teacher will be.   So, we have that transition to look forward to.

We're now under a state wide mask mandate.   Again, it will not really change how we have been operating outside of the house.  Hopefully, it will help curb some of the future spread, especially as schools start again.

We have seen our plans change a bit though.  We had looked forward to a get away in the Smokies with Jamie's family.  It had been planned since last year and was going to be almost a family reunion.  Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Tennessee and the ability of the resort to adapt, that will no longer be happening.  

We do have a silver lining with this though.  A lot of Jamie's immediate family will be coming up to spend the week with us.  We are very much looking forward to this.  We're ready to show them around to the extent we can, let them try the foods we've come to love, and give them a bit of a taste of the place we call home.  Capped off by a pretty big celebration.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks ahead.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Good Trouble

"Do not get lost in a sea of despair.  Do not become bitter or hostile.  Be hopeful, be optimistic.  Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.  We will find a way to make a way out of no way."
Rep. John Lewis

Representative John Lewis passed away Friday at the age of 80.  Civil rights icon, representative for over 30 years, comic book graphic novel author.  Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Lincoln Medal recipient, John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Lifetime Achievement award recipient, Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize recipient.  In his lifetime, he achieved more for civil rights, more for his constituency could imagine.  

We need more people today willing to get into his good and necessary trouble.  We need people willing to risk it all for the advancement of society.  Willing to push for civil rights for all, to recognize that making a way where there is none is trying, tedious work.  That it takes a lifetime, but it is what makes a life truly matter.  

Here's to good trouble.

Rest in Peace, sir.  Your work is appreciated, perhaps now more than ever.