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Fall Update

Well, here it is October, and I have not posted since August!  It is definitely not because there is nothing blog-worthy happening.  In fact, it is just the opposite:  things have been so crazy that I can barely keep my head above water!  And, to top it all off, I lost my old, faithful camera, and that put me out of the picture business for a few weeks.  But, there is one perk to losing a camera–I got a new one!  And it is a doosie, as you can see from the quality of the pictures for this entry!  I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it yet, but I sure have liked the few pictures that I have gotten with it so far!  So, I am now re-armed with my camera, and blog posts should be more forthcoming.

School is going pretty well.  We are already finished with our first nine-weeks grading period.  The kids have had lots of papers, projects, etc., and that isn’t going to change any time soon.  Brock and Cosette are in the early stages of this year’s science projects, so there is lots of fun just around the corner…..

John is having quite a busy senior year of high school.  He has applied to a few colleges, and has been accepted everywhere he has applied–and offered academic scholarships at each one as well.  He is getting this major decision narrowed down, and hopefully soon we’ll be able to start heading in a specific direction for next fall.  He also participated in a piano competition a couple of weeks ago, and got a 1 rating!  This qualifies him to go to a state-level competition in Topeka the first weekend of November.  Pretty cool stuff!

Like I said earlier, I have been running like a crazy person for the last several weeks.  Since school started, I have gained 4 more music lesson students, so that alone has kept me pretty busy.  But, on top of that, I have been going to the local Christian school to help the kids there put on a Christmas musical.  This has been a wonderful blessing!  I am working with kids from pre-school through 6th grade, and have 3 different classes with about 50 students total.  We are doing a brand new show called David’s Dynasty with grades 1-6, and a very cute preschool program called My Best Friend with the preschool and kindergarten.  I have rewritten quite a bit of the scripts for both shows, so they are definitely going to be a personalized program for this school.  The kids have been amazing–and they are very talented.  It has been very precious to see how God has led in this direction and is guiding each step.  I can’t wait to see the end results, and will do my best to get some pictures to post here along the way.

We’re also still working on the reader’s theater script for the library and the melodrama for the barbershop chorus, so for whatever reason, my days sure are filled with music and drama!

Oh, and speaking of music, on December 3, O’Brien Keys and Strings is going to provide Christmas music for the Booked for Lunch program at our local library!  That is very exciting!  It’s a pretty nice event that we have attended in the past, and we are delighted to get to perform for it this year!  So, we have been busy practicing all kinds of Christmas music, and our problem is definitely not going to be having enough music.  No, if anything we’ll have to cut out songs to keep within the time limit–which is always a hard decision to make!

So, welcome to the crazy house!  Our lives are very lively, and hopefully now that I am back in the picture business, I will be able to bring you all along on our adventures in the coming weeks!

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We have been back in the school routine for a couple of weeks, and it really is going very well.  In fact, if it can just keep going like it is now, we’ll have a fantastic year!

John has officially made it to his senior year.  He is very excited about graduating and beginning college next year.  Everyone asks what his plans are, and he’s still in the process of getting that narrowed down.  He has his options narrowed down to 2-3 schools and is interested in studying physics, math, music or a combination of those subjects.  He has a pretty good line-up of senior classes and is really enjoying A Beka Academy speech class.  I almost wish we hadn’t have waited until his senior year for this class because it is so full of good, practical information for life, but I don’t really know when else we could have fit it into his schedule either.  It is only a semester, so to fill the other semester he is going to take a family consumer science course–which we will all enjoy because there are lots of food labs!  :)

Brock is a sophomore and is really enjoying his Spanish class.  I am thankful for that–John didn’t enjoy it so much.  He is looking forward to being a junior next year when he will be old enough to participate in some of the college music classes like John has done.

Cosette is in 8th grade this year, and Luke is in 7th grade.  They just keep plugging away at the A Beka Academy curriculum–not much new to report there.  They are both enjoying their music lessons and are looking forward to participating in the college musical (hopefully) again.

Kara is in 5th grade, and she is very happy to have a “new” desk.  She had used one of our little desks for so long–she really needed something different last year, but we didn’t do anything about it.  This year, she is using the desk that I had when I was growing up, and she really enjoys having a bigger work area!  She is still working on the trumpet every day and enjoys playing the piano.

So, life keeps us busy!  And, there are several outside-of-school things going on for us this year as well.  John, Brock, and I (and maybe Cosette?) are going to write another library readers’ theater script, but this year we are going to start completely from scratch.  I know:  that’s kind of scarey!  I am also helping to rewrite and lead a melodrama play that will be part of this year’s barbershop concert in the early spring.  The barbershop director wants people not in the chorus to do the acting, so that cuts out John, Brock, Luke, and Dan.  I am planning parts for Cosette and Kara, so they will enjoy that.

A big new project for me this year will be helping with our local Christian School’s Christmas program.  This will be an exciting adventure, to say the least, but I am sure that it will be a good, rewarding experience.  As my own kids grow up and leave home, I’ve always considered helping with music at this school, so this will be a small way to get started with that.  Right now I am looking through scripts trying to find just the “right” one.  Once the program is selected, I’ll need to get back with the school to arrange practices.

My new saying is this:  Life sure is lively!  I am thankful for every opportunity, though.  It is a blessing to be busy in meaningful, purposeful pursuits!

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2-6 Old Film Collection

Note:  the pictures for this entry were provided by the Prairie Museum of Art and History of Colby, Kansas, and are used with their gracious permission.

A highlight of the end of our summer break was the 2014 Night at the Museum Camp that was hosted by the Prairie Museum of Art and History.  This was the museum’s third annual event like this during which volunteers from the community select an artifact from the museum, research a person associated with that artifact, and then portray that person telling about his/her life for a public performance at the end of the week. Last year was the Prairie Family’s first year to be involved, with John, Brock, and Cosette all assuming historical roles.

John and Brock both had summer jobs that kept them pretty busy this year, so Cosette went back for her second year joined by Luke and Kara.  The camp week was packed with research, games, and rehearsals.  It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in five days!  Cosette wasn’t even sure who her character would be on Monday, but by the end of the week, she was all decked out in a pilot’s costume ready to tell her person’s story.  Luke and Kara decided to team up, which proved to be both a good thing and a challenging thing.  Luke missed the first two days of the camp because he was on a canoe trip, so Kara jumped in to do quite a bit of research on her own.  She was sure relieved when her partner was able to join her!  They were both a little nervous that they wouldn’t be able to pull it all together in such a short period of time, but they did great!

The week gave us lots of opportunities here at home to talk about acting, history, costumes, etc.  Probably the best discussions we had centered on how each person that is portrayed at this event had an interesting life and accomplished something meaningful.  I challenged all of the kids to live such a life.  It is easy in today’s world to be so distracted by all of the “stuff” that we diddle away our time selfishly entertaining ourselves. Instead, we all need to find what God has called us to do, and do it wholeheartedly for His glory.  That, and only that, will give our lives true meaning.

My next entries will tell a little bit about the characters that my kids chose to portray this year.  In the meantime, here is a slideshow of some of the behind-the-scenes activities that took place at the Night at the Museum Camp 2014:

 

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Final Rehearsals

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The final week of musical rehearsals is stressful, but full of wonderful memories.  The intense practice schedule really gives the cast a chance to bond and make lasting friendships–and this year that was particularly true for the Prairie Family.

It’s amazing how shows pull the pieces together in that last week. Lines are cemented (hopefully!), scenes become tighter, and the show starts resembling a real musical.  It’s an amazing transformation to observe!  There are lots of funny moments as well when props malfunction, people miss entrances, lines are ad libbed, etc., but those moments turn into precious memories.

Once that last rehearsal is finished, it’s time to give the performances to the Lord, and ask for His blessing on them.  And He did bless!  More to come…..

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This Saturday, the barbershop group that the Prairie Family guys have joined is having their big concert for this season.  The concert is entitled “Harmony in Conflict: Civil War” and will feature several barbershop groups performing traditional barbershop songs and Civil War-era songs.  There are two performances, so they will be busy most of the day, but they enjoy it, and they certainly have learned a lot about singing, harmonizing, and blending through their work with this group.

John’s Civil War hat has an interesting story.  When the group’s hats came in, all of them were teeny tiny little hats.  The hats fit Luke pretty well, but are tight on Dan and Brock, and WAY too small for John.  His crazy hat looked so silly sitting on top of his head–he almost needed a string to tie it on!  :)  I was talking about it with a lady from our church, and she said that she thought she might be able to make it work better.  I told her if she could, she would be a very-much-appreciated miracle worker!  She took the hat home with John’s head measurement, and after having it only for a few hours, she had that hat fixed so it fits!  Yes, indeed:  a much-appreciated miracle worker!  I know I have mentioned this several times recently, but I must say it again:  we are truly blessed with wonderful friends.  I don’t know what we would do without them!

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Joni Eareckson Tada has been a life-long inspiration to me.  This beautiful song that she recorded for the movie “Alone, Yet Not Alone”  has just been nominated for an Oscar.

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