Tag Archives: pottery

Hanging on for Dear Life!

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And then in the midst of it all, life keeps rolling on…

A never-slowing train, speeding down the track.

As we hold on tightly, trying to enjoy the scenic vistas as they fly past.

Rusty now makes child #4 in the “gainfully employed club” at Patchwork Farm. He has joined Braden as an ice cream scooper at Handel’s and is loving the experience. The increased cash flow, coupled by the free sweet treats, has made this a dream job for our gentle giant.

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With 4 children employed, and Ozzie currently residing at a residential facility, we have found ourselves left with only Tyler home a lot of the time. It is so weird to look around and have only one child lounging in the living room, instead of six. The experience has given us an sneak peek into life in the future when Tyler will be the last child at home. I think he is feeling a bit lost in it all, but I keep telling him we just need to hang in there for a few more years and once we can kick everyone out we will be able to have some awesome adventures with the extra disposable income that will result from a decreased family food budget! 😉

Ozzie has been transferred from the acute facility where he was being stabilized to the long-term facility where he will be for the next 6-12 months for more intensive, in-patient trauma therapy. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to get him admitted to the same RTF where he was so successful prior. Located in Erie, Harborcreek Youth Services provided an amazing blend of physical, emotional and spiritual care that allowed Ozzie to safely face the traumas of his past that are so destructive to his current relationships and result in poor choices and dangerous behaviors.

The sheer quantity and variety of therapeutic work that can be offered in a week-long period (family therapy, trauma therapy, EMDR therapy, group sessions, anger management, art therapy, animal therapy, trauma releasing yoga and music therapy) gives Ozzie a highly submersible experience that yields amazing results for him.

We hate that he has to be sent away to get the help he needs, but we are so grateful for the loving care he receives from amazing staff who act as interim parents in our absence, supporting Ozzie as he focuses on his own healing journey.

Gracie just finished out another semester of school and one of the art electives she chose to take this past semester was a pottery class. Beginning with basic pinch pots and working up to creating pieces on the wheel, Grace had the opportunity to design, create, paint and fire a variety of pottery pieces. This week she brought home her finished creations. Some of her finished pieces include:

A large flower vase that she made as a gift for her Momma:

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A model of our school bus turned RV:

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A wall vase to hang on the wall of her room and fill with fresh flowers:

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And a set of mugs that she creatively designed with a pocket to hold the used tea bag when making a cup of tea:

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This is just a sampling of the completed projects she brought home. She loved the class and we loved being the benefactors of her talent and generosity!

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With the conclusion of May comes many end of the year/graduation celebrations for Miss Molly. The first acknowledgement that this was really happening and that our little girls were all grown up occurred at our end of the year co-op picnic. We joined with other co-op families to celebrate another successful year of teaching our children at home. As part of our picnic, Miss Lana brought a celebratory cake for our four graduating seniors.

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I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that four women stand before me where four little girls with mismatched socks once stood.

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Four sweet girls! Caleigh’s curlers are in preparation for that night’s performance of “Little Women” at Mohawk High School.

On the heels of one graduation celebration came another. On Sunday we celebrated Molly’s graduation from seminary, a scripture study course offered to the high school students of our church. For the last four years she has chosen to add an additional 60 minutes of work to her weekday schedule to study the teachings of Christ and apply those teachings to her life as a disciple of Christ. We are so glad she chose to participate, as we have seen first hand the great growth that happens when our children are actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ through daily prayer and scripture study.

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As part of the graduation ceremony, we heard from a few of the graduating seniors and then enjoyed a beautiful musical number as Hailey and Heather sang “Be Still my Soul” while Molly interpreted the song through American Sign Language.

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Following the ceremony there was a reception in the cultural hall where guests could enjoy desserts while strolling around, reading the graduation posters, and signing their well wishes to all the graduating seniors.

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So proud of you, Miss Molly!

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Another celebration of Molly’s upcoming graduation from high school came in the form of a senior trip. Molly and Tatum were invited by Irvin and his family to stay at their home in Gettysburg for two days.

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After years of friendship, Irvin wanted to have the girls come and visit his home town and meet his parents. The family set up their pottery studio/store as a B & B for the girls, spoiling them rotten with homemade meals, story telling, chocolates on their pillows, site seeing around Gettysburg and even gifted them with one of their handcrafted mugs as a parting gift of hospitality.

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On Friday, the girls joined Irvin for a trip to Knoebels, the amusement park that was chosen as the site for this year’s senior day. There they met up with other 21st Century seniors and teachers for a day of riding rides and having fun…

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Ending the day with ice cream.

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It was a fun adventure for Molly and Tatum to share before they get pulled into the vortex of college life…

And it was all made possible thanks to the kindness and hospitality of the Young family.

It is an exciting time for Miss Molly and we couldn’t be happier for our walking ray of sunshine!

The Transforming Power of Heat

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 It has been a rare treat to have an entire week to connect and make memories with just one of my five children. The last time Grace and I had this much uninterrupted bonding was 18 years ago in the days leading up to Molly’s birth. It has been a rare gift, one that I will probably never have again, so we are making the most of it and are filling our memory banks with a bundle of special experiences.

Our next adventure was to Kolor-N-Kiln, a paint your own pottery studio at Robinson Mall, that I discovered when we were there for the Sign-A-Thon in May. I was thrilled to stumble across this creative gem after losing our favorite “paint your own pottery” shop in Cranberry. When the older kids were young we frequented that studio often, enjoying the experience of creating permanent and treasured works of art with Grace, Molly and Rusty. We were all disappointed when it went out of business, so when I discovered Kolor-N-Kiln I knew it must be one of our girls’ week activities.

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Grace and I arrived at the mall early.

We were greeted by a sweet gal who walked us through the creative process…

Step 1: Choose your pottery piece. There were dozens of options including mugs, plates, piggy banks, cookie jars, etc.

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Grace decided on a vase with the thought being that it could be used and enjoyed in her room now but then also be used for decades to come in her future homes.

I decided on a butter dish, having recently lost mine to an enthusiastic and energetic “dish washer.”

Once we had picked our pieces and paid for them it was time for the next step.

Step 2: Wipe down the pottery with wet sponges, removing all dust.

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Step 3: Pick out you paint colors. This was by far the most challenging step as the choices were abundant and the colors were all beautiful. Grace and I both finally settled on  Jungle Gems; paints that contained metallic flecks that burst into spots of color in the heat of the kiln, creating a mosaic look.

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Step 4: Begin painting.

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The interesting thing about the paint Grace and  I both chose is that what you paint on your piece looks nothing like what the finished product will be. Gracie’s chalky and grainy green paint will transform into a marbled jade in the heat of the kiln. My dark grey paint will become a mosaic masterpiece of creams, browns and robin egg blue when exposed to the intense temperatures of the kiln. As a result there is a certain level of faith needed as you continue painting what seems a mess, trusting that the mess before you will transform into something beautiful when exposed to heat.

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I couldn’t help but take note of how much the process resembles our own mortal journey. Here we stand, unfinished and raw works of art. Messy and grainy, certainly not “mantle worthy.” But if we trust the potter and submit to His vision, despite the fact that the process seems messy and grainy, His process will transform us. He will take that mess and create a masterpiece.

But to do so heat is always needed.

It is within the intense fire of the kiln that we, the clay, are strengthened.

It is within the intensity of the kiln that the mess transforms into something beautiful.

That sort of transformation never takes place in the cool, comfortable seasons of our life…

Only in the seasons of fiery testing.

As Grace and I finished our projects and stepped away from the finished mess,

Surrendering our finished works to the master of the kiln,

Trusting that the added heat might turn our mess beautiful,

It was a powerful and poignant reminder of the greater purpose of each of our “kiln seasons” of life. They are hard seasons to live through, and we are grateful when the furnace cools, but no season of life is:

More transforming,

More affecting,

More essential,

Than the “kiln seasons” of mortality…

When we humbly submit and surrender our mess to Him and let Him transform the broken into the beautiful.

The finished projects:

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