Home Away from Home

After driving to Mississippi last weekend for Jenna’s graduation, we drove to Mississippi and back today (just under 15 hours) to drop Lauren off at camp where she is working as a counselor all summer.

And yesterday, Jenna accepted a job in Nacogdoches Texas to teach at Regents Academy. She’ll be teaching 7th and 8th grade grammar and composition and an 8th grade Literature/History block. So she really will be away(s) from home, but she’ll be close to much of our Texas family, and we are excited for this new stage in her life, even though we will miss her—14 hours is a lot further than 8. But we are glad that we’ll have her home with us most of the summer.

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End of Another School Year

Rebekah and I finished up another year of Classical Conversations on Tuesday. Here’s the before and after. Hopefully we all learned a few things.

Rebekah still has a little math and biology to finish up, but it’ll be nice to have our Tuesdays back for a few months. Next year will be the first year I will tutor without one of my own children. That might feel a little weird.

We’ve enjoyed having everyone home for a few days, but Friday will come all to quickly.

I did something this morning that I haven’t done in several years: mowed the yard before lunch. At the old house, the grass was too thick and the dew was always too heavy to even attempt it. Here, up on our little hill, the dew is less heavy and the grass is less thick, and so an early morning mowing while it is still plenty cool is rather nice. On the other hand, there is something in this yard that wasn’t in the other that I am allergic to, and I sneeze through most of the mowing.

The tomatoes and peppers we planted before leaving town last week are doing well and the okra seeds have sprouted. As always we are looking forward to midsummer.

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Graduation Part II

A few more pre-graduation pictures, including the building that houses the English Department.

The fountain and student center in the background.

And the sisters all together.

But she did actually graduate! Summa cum laude and an honors fellow.

She will move out of the house she’s been living in for the last nine months and be home tomorrow! And then for less than a week, they’ll all be home before we take Lauren to camp on Friday, where she will spend the summer working as a counselor.

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Graduation

We’re excited about tomorrow for this one:

In the meantime, we got to hear Jenna and several of her classmates give readings from their capstone projects this afternoon. Jenna’s was in creative non-fiction and the piece she read today was called “Mountain Sight” about several mountain top experiences she has had.

In the past, all of our Jackson trips have been to drop her off and then turn around and head back home. It’s good to be able to stay for a few days and enjoy spending time with Jenna.

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April Update

Spring has sprung; I think we are finished with the wood stove for the year! Though I probably shouldn’t speak too soon, it can freeze around here until the beginning of May. All but the tops of the mountains are green now; flowers are still blooming; and, of course, the yard needs mowing regularly.

We enjoyed an evening in Knoxville with Rebekah’s class. We ate at the Lonesome Dove Bistro and went to the symphony to see Beethoven’s 9th. It was an enjoyable evening. And, as always, the kids were wonderful. We only have two more Tuesdays together. It has been a good year. It looks like next year I will have a much smaller class, somewhere from five to seven.

Rebekah finished her last debate a couple of weeks ago. As always, she did a great job. Next year, she’s going to do half CC and half dual enrollment, and won’t be taking the debate class—for which she is thankful even though she does really well at it. In fact, overall, this has been my best class for debate out of the 7 years I have done this. They all rose to the occasion.

And with the school year coming to a close that almost means we are finished with my least favorite part of the year: dissections. Next week is the sheep heart, and after that, I don’t have to mess with it again until February of 2020.

Today is Jenna’s last day of college work. She defends are final capstone project this morning that she worked on all semester: 98 pages. Earlier this week she was in Texas interviewing for a teaching position in Nacogdoches. She has a phone interview today with a school out near Greensboro, NC. And she made a new friend this week.

We get Lauren back on Tuesday, spend a long weekend with Jenna starting Thursday in Jackson, and then take Lauren to camp the following Friday. The day after that, I get to speak at the homeschool graduation. Lots of fun celebrations ahead.

And we have a pink dogwood in the yard.

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March: Come and Gone

March was a full month for us. Jenna and Lauren were home two different weeks for their spring break. Thankfully they overlapped a weekend. Jenna brought home one of her housemates, and we had an enjoyable week together. Rebekah and I have moved past the two-thirds mark of the semester and the end is in sight. Dana has continued to stay busy babysitting and tutoring. And we are finally drying out a little after the wettest winter we’ve had here. We’ve probably seen the sun more in the last couple of weeks than in the last couple of months. Dana and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. And our church got a new piano.

The old pastor of our church got a call a few weeks ago from a lady who had loaned us her piano about 13 years ago (she was an art student of a former member who has since moved away). She wanted to start playing again and wanted to know if she could have it back. I’m good friends with a pastor of a small baptist church in the area, and he said they had a piano that they seldom used, and the church voted to let us have it. So last Friday, she came to get hers, and we moved in the new one. Our pianist says the new one actually sounds better than the old one. This is just another example of the kindness of churches toward other churches in this area. We are thankful.

Every summer we put on a day camp for the kids our church helps tutor during the school year. The camp we use is pretty limited in bunk space for our youth group who spend the night there all week. Last weekend, several folks from our church built a new bunk house on their property.

Things we are looking forward to: going to the symphony with Rebekah’s class in the middle of April; going to Jenna’s college graduation at the beginning of May; having the girls all home again in early May (though it will only be brief as Lauren is working at camp all summer); being finished with another school year; spring time and gardening and warmer days.

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Surprises

Buying a house often comes with a few surprises. Usually people mean negative things when they talk about surprises after buying a house. We had a surprise with our new house, but this surprise was pleasant. We have lots of daffodils coming up in various places in the yard and along our driveway. We like those kinds of surprises.

Lauren gets home this weekend for spring break, and Jenna will be home the following weekend for hers. It will be good to have everyone home again.

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