Those trees looks small from the house, but when you're working from a ladder with a sixteen inch chainsaw, they're pretty intimidating. Add the anxiety of them possibly falling the wrong way and landing on the ferry terminal generator, and you have a nervous lumberjack. Esther helped me by making sure the beach was clear and clipping blackberries. We tied a rope to a couple of them for a false sense of security. Despite fighting the wind, all five trees landed exactly as planned, except the last one, which went the opposite way. The weather was great. It feels like a successful day, with a much nicer view of Seattle from our living room.
Just a couple of years ago, I remember sitting at a big table with grading sheets spread out and my pen carefully entering grades and writing comments. The white out bottle was handy and ready to come to the rescue. Today, I sit in my recliner with only my iBook. The report card is accessed online and all my grades are in another window. The comments can easily be changed and grades modified with a quick click. The time consumption is more than cut in half. Report cards were due today, but I actually had them in a day early!
I grew up with the impression that wrestling was a 'pagan' sport. Neither Lynden Christian nor Calvin College ever had a wrestling program. The rationale was never explained to me, and I just presumed that it was an 'unChristian' thing to do. I later learned that such a spiritual giant as Jim Eliot was a wrestling standout for Wheaton, and wrestling certainly has a biblical precedence as a sport. I even married a high school 'mat maid.' However, a childhood moral conscience is hard to break and I never encouraged my sons to consider the sport. But a few years ago, while my guard was down, our youngest started softly expressing interest in the barbaric sport. I tried very hard to stuff my biases and instead supported any athletic ambition in my progeny. Going to matches, I felt like an incompetent supporter, as I didn't know the first thing to yell, beside "Go Calvin". These last three wrestling seasons have been a learning experince for me. It has been a good experience for Calvin as well. He ventured off into uncharted territory for a Bulthuis, developed lots of valuable friendships and learned a bunch of things about himself and the techniques of effective wrestling. The district tournament today was probably Calvin's final match as he does not plan to continue in high school. He pushed the Bulthuis' wrestling genetics to the limit and won one match and avoided pins in two others. Calvin, you did a wonderful job in wrestling and taught all of us a thing or two.
On our way up to an Eide Partner's stockholders meeting in Marysville, we decided to detour I-5 traffic and tour our old stomping grounds in Pinehurst. As we approached our familiar driveway, we noticed that something was very different. The cursed trees and the familar parsonage were gone. Cyclone fencing guarded the entire property. We thought maybe it was ground zero! We drove to the back of the JW church for a closer look. As we were surmising the fate of our once beloved abode, Esther spotted a familar ugly brown in the corner of her eye. Behold - the pathetic structure had been hoisted on steel beams and hauled over to a neighboring alley for a new lease on life. (Check out more pics by clicking the picture) We drove around to a new vantage point and reminisced of life in the fishbowl with three young boys.
Friday we went to SPU for a tour and some appointments with admissions and financial aid. Markus has been accepted and is considering SPU. Esther and I needed to talk to financial aid to help us get over 'sticker shock' With Markus' academic scholarship and some 'need based' grant money, the out of pocket comes down a little, but is still pricey compared to other options. I was once again impressed with facilities and strong academic program at SPU. It's hard to imagine that I spent over a year in graduate studies at this school. One very 'coincidental' experience was that in my efforts to set up appointments I was helped one of Bjorn's friends - 'Boone'. After graduating from Trinity last year, he worked in Portland for several months before recently taking a job with SPU. It was good to touch basis with him as we share flickr photos.
As part of the requirements for maintaining a teaching certificate, I took a class this weekend on 'Child Abuse Issues for Educators.' It is quite disturbing to be made aware of the realities of child abuse in our society. Some of the stories are horrific. As educators, we are considered 'Mandatory Reporters' which means we are required by law to report to CPS any reasonable suspicion of child neglect or abuse. Fortunately, we have a very good interventionist in our school, to whom we can refer any 'red flags.' In the ten years or so that I have taught, there have been about half a dozen cases from our classroom where reports have been filed. It is a difficult judgment call to file a report as I feel strongly that parents should be approached openly and honestly. However, there are times when the confrontation can add fuel to the fire, and put the child in more danger. I was reminded of Jesus' words in Luke 17: "It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little one to sin."
Of all the rites of passage that a teenager goes through, none seems as monumental as learning to drive. This is now my third experience of teaching a son the responsibilties and skills of controlling a 2000 lb. vehicle at varying speeds and situations. Calvin is doing a great job. However, I am reminded again of how much knowledge and judgement is needed to drive effectively and safely. There are just so many little things that an experienced driver does automatically, but a neophyte has no awareness of. This task of driver's training is one that both Esther and the boys are glad that I take responsility for :)
I haven't blogged for over a week and I'm feeling delinquent. Last weekend I spent much of the time painting our dinning room and front entry. After a weekend in a condo at Big White with wild warm colors, we were inspired to go ahead with some warm colors that we had been considering. It is a lot different, and it helps warm up an area of the house that has felt cold.