Showing posts from May, 2022

"That's Our Substitute!"

As the public schools put the wraps on the 2021-22 school year, administrators, teachers and students prepare for summer break. My wife, Monique, has been substituting the last nine years since her retirement in 2013. She signaled her intent to keep on reporting to duty as she registered to substitute at her beloved Sherman Elementary School (SES) that first fall semester after retirement. When she was asked by family and friends how she liked retirement, she immediately replied, “I like it just fine now that I am back teaching!” She has continued to repeat this mantra every year since! Reporting for P.E. Duty!! Recently, after school on her last day to teach, the Principal greeted her with an encouraging, “Mrs. Keppler, you are finished for this year!” Monique responded, “Great! If I’m still alive and in my right mind, you’ll see me next year!” (She had just turned in her substitute application that day!) He responded, “Of course you will! You are one of our best subs! We couldn’t do

A Jillion Silver Maples!

We are blessed to have a few mature trees on our .55-acres of property. There is a beautiful, tall, and stately pin oak tree and an equally sized and healthy silver maple that define the backyard. During spring, the oak produces catkins or tassels that collect on the driveway like manna during the time of Moses! These are messy, quite fragile, and crumbly pollen structures that fertilize the female flowers. While these “mossy gatherings” require about a week of daily sweeping, they are relatively easy to rake or sweep into piles that can be gathered into the yard waste container before they get tracked into the house. From Seed to Maple Sapling! The silver maple produces the entertaining “helicopters” or “whirlybirds” These seeds, with fin-like wings, take flight in the wind and scatter into the yard becoming a food source for squirrels that are waiting for more substantial seeds and nuts later in the fall. Their scattering destinations include flower beds, box garden areas, guttering

Seek God First!

During springtime, mid-April to early May, in the wooded areas of Illinois, you will find a search underway for the much-treasured morel mushrooms. The timing for this quest is dependent upon the warming temperatures and amount of rainfall.   Individuals of all ages can be seen carefully combing undisturbed acres of shady timber and moist leafy places for the emerging signs of these delectable varieties of edible fungus. Morels as large as your palm and as small as an inch or two can be found in colors that often blend into the terrain – golden yellows, reddish rusts, and shiny blacks. My Sis, Bren's Find This ritual hunt has become a rite of passage for many a young person. The only equipment recommended, aside from a light step and keen eye, is a walking stick and of course, a bag to contain the harvest! My grandchildren and their daddy didn’t have to walk far from their house in our suburban village to find enough morels to share with the grandparents. This batch of morels was s

"I Got It! I Got It!"

It’s baseball season for our three Hartman grandsons! We moved beyond practices this week to actual games. It has been fun for Mimi and Poppi to throw the lawn chairs into the car and head out to the ballparks in Athens and Williamsville to watch them. Danny, our fifth grader, has been playing for three years now and is the most experienced. He made us proud during his game by making two great catches defensively and laying down a ground ball on the third-base line for a single and an RBI. Charlie, third grade, has only played one official game and that was last season just before his family went to New Mexico for vacation. He is showing great promise during practices this season and is very eager to build upon last summer’s brief experience. He did a nice job of hitting a strong single during the game this week that resulted in a much-needed RBI for his team. "Awww! I don't got it!!" The youngest brother in the trio is Dawson Michael who is just wrapping up his kinderg

Dr. KG: Spirit-Animated!

  Dr. Kevin B. Gibson March 20, 1965 to April 25, 2022   I am mourning the loss of my close friend, Kevin Gibson, who passed away suddenly while recovering from a recent heart procedure. I was privileged to be his pastor more than thirty years ago as we served the same church together. We became instant friends. Kevin was a valued colleague. While shocked and dealing with my own grief, I was humbled to be asked by Christy, his beloved wife, to share the message at his funeral on April 30. I had been the officiant at their wedding nearly twenty-eight years ago. I wrote these next few paragraphs of remembrance for the service and excerpt them so that you can feel a little of the grief and loss we all feel at Kevin's untimely passing...   "Kevin Brent Gibson grew up in a pastor’s home. Ed and Ida likely introduced him to the faith early on and it stuck! He answered the call to ministry and prepared well. Kevin and Christy met in January 1992. I wrote these reflections into thei