Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume Six

So much has happened throughout this month; it all seems to be a bit of a whirlwind.
I shall take a deep breath and slow down and attempt to recall the living that has happened over the past three weeks.
Maceo's show, Shrek The Musical, has continued and is now heading into it's final weekend.
The show has had very positive reviews and has been a great experience for Maceo.
Also, believe it or not, Maceo has auditioned for yet another show.  He auditioned for and was cast in "Into the Woods" at Marshfield Community Theatre.  He has had a cast meeting and rehearsals will begin in earnest on Monday, the day after Shrek closes.
Maceo has also continued with his youth performance troupe and the troupe had a spring showcase that he performed in.  (I have no pictures as I was unable to attend.  I was driving home from New Mexico at that time).
Maceo has also continued with his private vocal instruction.  He has increased his vocal range and control.  His instructor is encouraging him to consider a college education in vocal performance.  We will have to begin praying on this.
Bishop and I enjoyed viewing performances of Shrek.  Bishop also continued with history group and scouts.  He had a scout outing to the municipal court to observe proceedings and is currently on a campout.  He earned some service hours for scouts by volunteering at his cousins fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network.
Bishop and I began a nature study group with another family.  We have had two meetings over the last three weeks.  We went to the Japanese Stroll Garden.

The cherry blossoms were in bloom.

 The Canada Goose were nesting.

 The turtles were enjoying a beautiful day.

 We enjoyed the beautiful day as well.
There was so much to observe.
Our next nature study group meeting began at the Nature Center where ants and other insects were the primary subject of interest.
We then watched Disney's Bears together.  It was a fun experience.
Bishop and I also spent some time listening to a CD of frog and toad calls.  We are hoping to be able to identify not only the calls of birds but also the calls of frogs, toads, and insects.
Last week we made a trip to New Mexico for a funeral.  Maceo couild not go with us as he had to continue his commitment to the production of Shrek.
I cannot say all that he accomplished during this period of time but I do know that he was self-sufficient.  He prepared his own meals, cared for the animals, and arranged for transportation to all of his commitments which included Shrek performances, Into the Woods cast meeting, troupe rehearsal and performance, and vocal lessons.  I am so proud of him and his conduct during this time.
Bishop, Christian and I met Keegan in New Mexico and had lessons in meeting family that we haven't seen in many years or have never met before, helping with family projects,

saying farewell to a beloved grandmother, preparing to say farewell to a great-grandfather,
and spending time with cousins, regardless of the age difference.
In the midst of all the most important life lessons we managed to squeeze in a little down time (aka physical education and history) at Petroglyph National Monument.

Bishop has returned home to read more about petroglyphs and the Pueblo Indians and is preparing a related presentation for an upcoming academic fair.
This month has been challenging.  It has stretched us.
It has been painful at times but has also been awe-inspiring and joy-filled and satisfying.
Such is life!


Twelve days ago my first mother-in-law, Flo, passed away.

She was a stunning woman who attracted the eye of a young man, a young soldier.

They wed...
 and created a family.
They had five boys - (l to r) Calvin, Glenn, Clinton, Goulton, and the little one is Michael.

I became her daughter-in-law when I married her middle child Calvin.
Calvin and I had two children, Christian and Keegan and Flo was their remarkable grandmother.
Calvin preceded his mother in death by twenty-one years yet I remained her daughter-in-law and my next two children, Maceo and Bishop, would call her Grandma, as well.
And so we met to tell her goodbye, to share the stories of her life, to express the joys of having known her and the sorrow in not having her with us anymore.

For now we bid her a fond farewell but we look forward to the day in which we meet again.
We love you, Flo!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Visit to Petroglyph National Monument

Last week we took our show on the road as we had to travel to New Mexico for a funeral (more on that in another post).  Between familial events and obligations we visited Petroglyph National Monument which is located just west of Albuquerque.
A finger-like extension of the Chihuahuan desert runs through this area and the landscape seems a bit harsh
but there is beautiful life to be found.

Boulders of basalt formed when lava flowed through fissures many, many years ago can also be found.

Upon closer inspection you will find that there is something more, something very special about these basalt boulders...

...there are petroglyphs on them.
Images have been carved in to them.  Through the years these boulders have oxidized creating "desert varnish" over the surface of the stone.  When the surface is chipped away a lighter stone color is revealed below and leaves a noticeable and remarkable image.
Although some of the carvings can be attributed to early Spanish settlers the overwhelming majority have been carved by the Puebloan Indians.
 The locations and images chosen would have spiritual significance to either an individual or group of people.
Some images are recognizable...
...and their meaning may be deduced to a degree.
However, the significance of many of the images,
and, particularly, the meaning as intended by the artist
 will never be known.

It was a deeply moving and awe-inspiring experience.