Monday, August 27, 2012

The School That God Built

The end of August always seems to give us warning signals.  Do you notice them?  The crisp, cool morning air.  That fresh morning air smell that reminds me a bit of the smell after a rainstorm, only this time of year there doesn't need to be a rainstorm.  These little changes in the air remind me that fall is coming and a new school year is about to begin.  I find myself with mixed emotions as this new school year has begun.

I'm excited to soon be able to unpack my favorite boots again along with the tote filled with fall clothes that provide a change in my wardrobe.  (I've always preferred my fall/winter wardrobe to my spring/summer one.)  I'm looking forward to pumpkins and mums in my front yard, pumpkin pie, and, hopefully, the return of Panera Bread's Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Don't forget that fall also marks the return of another series of Psych.  Does anyone else think they've kept us in suspense long enough?  :)

I'm not looking forward to an alarm clock that wakes me up before the sun.  I also feel a little anxious about the morning rush to catch the school bus.  Mostly, though, I'm struggling with the fact that I have a child beginning high school this year and that it will not be long until we are giving him keys to the car and then helping him choose a college.

I can't help but also feel a great sense of joy and anticipation as this upcoming school year causes me to reflect on the past few years.  Three years ago, after watching our son get more and more frustrated with school, we met with teachers and school administration to try to solve this problem. Their suggestion was to have him tested for ADD.  From my observations of him, I highly doubted that it was possible, but for the sake of helping us move on with school, I decided to get him evaluated.  We found an excellent psychologist in our area who, after several thorough tests, concluded that it wasn't ADD after all.  He was bored.  We tried to find ways to keep him challenged, but the school he attended wasn't equipped to make adjustments for him so we continued to do the best we could with the situation.  Our doctor did tell us that the best school for him would be a Magnet School that had something to do with engineering.  At that time, I wasn't really sure what that meant, but I did now that there was no such thing within 2 hours of us and I often wondered what to do.  Moving to an area with a Magnet School wasn't an easy option since I am married to a farmer.  I tried considering every possible option for our son to attend a school that would be a better fit, but there just didn't seem to be one.  Our son was frustrated and we were frustrated.  It made for an interesting, and quite stressful, couple of years.

Last fall, when our local VoTech school had an open house, we decided to take a tour and see what they had to offer.  That word "engineering" was still in the back of my mind and I was trying desperately to find it.  At a table, we found a flyer that told us there was a new school coming to the area that would be attached to this VoTech.  It was being referred to as a Magnet School.  There wasn't much information except that it was expected to open by the following school year.  We didn't know what the Magnet School would offer or if it was the right fit or not, but we knew we had to keep our eyes and ears open for any news.  News came months later and we got to attend an information night.  We learned that this would be a STEM school and it would open in time for our son to attend for his freshman year in the fall.  After attending the open house, we feel even more certain that this school is an answer to prayer.  I often call it "The School That God Built".  We didn't have to move.  My husband didn't have to find a new career.   Today is his first day.

The timing of all of this also amazes me. First of all, it was completed in time for his freshmen year. The earliest he could start.  God also proved His love and provision for me and my family in a time that I needed the reassurance that only He could give. We've had several challenges in our lives these past few years.  The struggles of three years ago have still been a struggle, and, in the meantime, more struggles piled on.  The load can get heavy after a while.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  I knew in my head that God was in control and I could trust Him but some days things were hard (or I was tired) and my faith would waver a bit.  Now I have a renewed sense of peace for the other uncertainties we face.  I know it won't always be easy but I'm learning to wait on Him. The waiting is the hard part.  Watching the pieces fall into place and knowing only God could . . . THAT is amazing.

By the way - you might like to know what STEM stands for.  It is:
Engineering <wink>,
How cool is THAT?

I don't have any photos for this blog, but I found a video on YouTube I wanted to share.  I hope it encourages you.

.Jehovah Jireh - Our Provider

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Temporary Rocker Update Improves the Whole Porch

I took a break from blogging so I could get our family ready for 10 days at our cabin at Roxbury Holiness Camp.  It was a great 10 days, but now it is back to reality and the countdown to school starting for our boys.  Depressing, huh?

While I was at the cabin, I worked on a few quick projects.  Here is one of them:

A few years ago, this rocker love seat ended up in the old cabin.  It was more comfortable than the sofa that was in there so I kept it there until someone claimed it.  A year or so later, after we rebuilt the cabin, I noticed that this rocker still smelled quite strongly of mothballs so I left it on the front porch for another year.

We still haven't had anyone claim this little rocker.  While I am definitely not a fan of the fabric, I think it is an adorable little rocker.  I struggled with giving it an update.  First of all, I still felt it belonged to someone else and someday they would miss their little rocker.  Secondly, I had examined it before and found something about this rocker that had me stumped as to how to fix it.  It bothered me, though, that it didn't fit in with the rest of the furniture on the porch.  Finally, with a little coaxing from a friend (it didn't take much), I decided I could give it a quick, temporary update so it was at least an attractive item on the porch.  I've decided that if someone claims it, they can have the new, improved one.  I think it is safe to assume that most people would be okay with a fabric update in this case.

 I started by removing the back cushion.  Easy.  Look at the beautiful, curved back.  So charming.
 Under the seat cushion, instead of a smooth seat, there was this plywood screwed into the seat.   This was the issue that I knew about and was hesitant about fixing.
 As you can see from looking at the bottom, it was covering a great big hole in the seat.  I have no idea what was there.  I'm guessing it was a caned bottom maybe?  Either way, it is the other reason I hesitated on fixing it up.  I had no idea what to do about this board.  I don't have the woodworking skills to fix it so I had been stumped on this one for about year.  On this day, however, inspiration came and I came up with my temporary solution.  Amazing what a day sipping hot tea on my porch will do for my creativity at times.

 I turned the thing upside down and began removing the skirting.  I keep a couple of screwdrivers in our utility closet at the cabin and they worked really well.
 Look at this clean rocker.  Okay.  Okay.  It needs a bit of a dusting and furniture polish, but I didn't bring the wood cleaner from home so that will have to wait.  I just wanted it to stop clashing with the porch.  Let's not get too distracted here.
 Since I had no way to fix or replace the board on the seat, I replaced the cushion.  I had no choice.  We are at camp and supplies are limited.  I do, however, have quite a supply of fabrics and curtains in a bench I keep in the cabin.  I'm not done hanging curtains so they sit in the bench until I decide on what to do and get some rods hung.
 In my treasure hunt in that bench, I came across this fabric.  It is a square tablecloth.  I'm not sure what I originally had in mind for it.  I have a tendency to grab fabric at yard sales when the price is right (usually .25) and if I find it an attractive pattern.  I used it to cover the original cushion.  This means the mothball smell is still there, I know.  But, remember, it is temporary until I can spend the time I need to on it.
So, do you want to see the end result?

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out for a quick fix.  I just grabbed a couple of neutral pillows off of the futon upstairs and the pillow in the middle was another quick project that I will share later.

 Here is a picture of how it looks with the rest of the porch furniture.  I love the way the pillows ended up pulling the colors of the shutters with it.

For a temporary fix, I was a very happy camper that week.