Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's Been Happening--KLCC and ISC

I'm not sure it's good for introverted writers to speak on the radio.  We do best with a chance to edit, sleep on it, and rewrite before our words get splattered on the world.

On live radio, you have to think fast, ad lib, answer quickly, change directions right in the moment, and other such terrifying challenges.  Worst, your words go flying away from you out into the airwaves and YOU CAN'T GET THEM BACK TO EDIT THEM.

It's best not to think about this, after the fact.

Nonetheless, I agreed to do a 1-hour radio show on KLCC, the local NPR/OPB station, because Pete LaVelle asked, and I had just written an article about saying Yes to new experiences.  I was to share the music of my culture and background.

You can survive anything with a pretty notebook and a thermos of tea, I always say.
So the Eugene community heard lots of John Schmid and Antrim Mennonite Choir.

I had fun and learned a lot, but folks, if you can't give yourself grace for making mistakes, you don't belong in radio.  I handed Pete the host the wrong CD at one point, and got distracted when he asked a question, and so on, but most of the evening went really well and, as I said, I had fun and learned a lot.

Emily went with me and also Kayla Kuepfer, who taught at a church school at Sheridan, Oregon, this past year and sometimes came down for weekends.

They had lots of fun.

KLCC doesn't archive their programs so I can't give you a link.  I confess that's a relief.

Then it was time for ISC.

So Paul has been a school teacher and principal in the ACE system for years and years.  ACE stands for Accelerated Christian Education, and it's a curriculum that is all individualized.  Students learn on their own via booklets called PACES.  The teacher supervises the process and helps individual students as needed.

It's not a perfect system but it works well for small schools with only a handful of students in each grade, where hiring teachers to teach every subject for every grade would be out of reach practically and financially.

Every year, ACE organizes a number of regional conventions for their schools and students.  For example, kids from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and northern California attend a convention in Newberg, Oregon, every March.

Competition is a big part of convention.  The kids can enter some 160 events including all kinds of track and field, music, speaking, needlework, science exhibits, metal- and wood-working, and much more.

The winners at the regional convention can compete at the International Student Convention.

This year it was at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri, and attended by over 2000 students from all over the world.  Paul and I took nine students, stayed in the dorms with them, and had a great time.

First things first: a selfie on the plane.
We flew in the day before and had a few hours free, so we took the kids to Worlds of Fun.  Well...I say "we."  Personally, if I ever swindle the elderly or poison someone's well you can take me here to punish me.  Maybe have them hurtle me down a metal track or spin me around 150 feet in the air.

Since I hadn't earned such punishment, I stayed at the motel across the street.  I could still hear the tortured screams of the unfortunate people over there.

 The next day, we went on to Warrensburg.

There were lots of fun activities while we registered.

And there were people there from many different countries.

The Kenyans wore their traditional clothes for a day.
I enjoyed eating lunch with Rachel, one of the Kenyan sponsors, who helps run
a homeschool co-op in Nairobi and says the number of homeschoolers in Kenya is
increasing fast--50 families joined their co-op in the last year.
I judged quilts, knitting, crochet, and afghans.  All the work was impressive and some was just stunning.

Aubrey ran the 200 meter run.

Jenny recited "The Unbarred Door" in front of the judges.

The students did a lot of mingling and meeting outside in the warm evenings.  Here our girls are getting to know the South Africans.
  The fifth and final day consisted of the awards ceremony.  I was unbelievably proud of Jenny for winning first place in poetry writing out of 76 who entered.

Here's the big screen as Jenny got her medal.

Happily, each girl got a medal--Aubrey and Ashley in photography, Mikala in dressmaking, Janane in web design, and Jenny in poetry writing.
Then we all got back in our borrowed van and headed for Kansas City to the airport, over an hour away.  The sky was looking ominous but the weather wasn't too bad, but then suddenly the kids' phones lit up with weather warnings--Tornadoes! Flash floods!

Oregon kids are not used to wild weather and had no context for this. Except to be very afraid.

We spent about 45 minutes at the Steamboat Arabia museum, wishing it could have been 2 hours more, and then a staff member told us that the Kansas City airport had just been evacuated and everyone sent to the basement because of tornadoes in the area.

The Oregon kids' eyes got really big.

Paul thought we should just go charging on to the airport, because the van's owner was going to be there waiting for us, and because this is how he deals with scary situations.

The kids were not ok with this.

Finally we had a prayer meeting in the museum parking lot.  The worst thing was that it was so hard to just get information--where were these tornadoes going on, exactly?

We started driving.  Soon the sky dropped down further and got 4 shades darker, the wind kicked up, and the kids' eyes got bigger yet.

We stopped at a gas station for gas and snacks.  As we walked toward the station I saw a large yellow-vested employee standing off to the side, hands in his pockets, watching the world go by.

"What do you know about the weather?" I hollered at him, above the wind.

"Weellll, they say there's tornadoes," he drawled calmly, all relaxed and easy.

"So, what do we DO?" I chattered frantically as everything blew sideways.

"Mehh, just keep watchin' it I guess," he shrugged, comfortably.

We holed up in the gas station while the worst of the storm whipped around outside, then we dashed back to the van and went to the airport.

All was well.

Paul and most of the kids flew back to Oregon.  Paul got part of a night's sleep, turned around, and flew with Ben, Steven, and Emily to Chicago the next day.

Jenny and I flew to Chicago, rented a car, spent the night, and went on to Indiana the next day.

Because: WEDDING!!

That story tomorrow.


  1. Goodness gracious, you certainly gather no moss, do you?

  2. The ACE convention looks so FUN! How cool to meet home schoolers from all over the world.

  3. I agree that the ACE convention "looks so FUN!" My top reasons for wishing I could have been
    there would be to see and hear Jenny recite "The Unbarred Door", and to examine those stunning quilts. Oh, and to clap when those local winners got their medals!

  4. Crystal: your guess is very very correct.
    Lucinda: I think meeting other people is just about the most fun thing about convention.
    Ruby: I would've loved to have you there, hearing, examining, and clapping!