For the last two weeks our students have been taking the WASL tests. Our fifth graders took the reading, math and science tests - Eight straight days of testing! Today we finished, much to the relief of both students and teacher. Now it's time to stay focused for the remaining forty days of school.
Every spring for the last several years, Esther and I help out with the Harper Church youth retreat at Fort Flagler. We are usually very fortunate to have good weather. This year was no exception. The setting is one of the most spectacular in the Puget Sound, set on a bluff overlooking Admiralty Inlet and the Cascade Range. The well kept lawns and nearby bunkers provide a haven for young adult entertainment. The retreat was well attended with more than 50 youth. John discussed eastern religions and their contrast to Christian teaching. As usual, Dan and I slipped away during free time to look at boats in Port Townsend.
There are few things that mom enjoys as much as playing hymns on the piano. She and Ellen stayed with us a couple of nights; and it wasn't long before mom was drawn to the antique piano of Esther's grandma that I begrudgingly hauled down to Southworth last summer. She played song after song, slowly working her way through a hymnal. I was amazed at how gracefully she played each song. At home, she has a small electric keyboard, so she relished the rich sound of a seasoned piano. Her enjoyment of the instrument made me appreciate the presence of 'the beast' a little more. It was great having my sister Ellen and mom over for a few days. With two trips to SeaTac and one to Marysville yesterday, we said goodbye to mom, Ellen and Corbin. We had a surprise meeting with Bjorn and friends in Marysville as they were on their way down to Tacoma for a concert. We are having a quiet Easter at home today.
This past week, Corbin has been staying with us. He lives in Arizona now, but is spending his spring break with us. He grew up next door to us and Markus and Calvin are the closest thing to brothers that he has. He has grown a lot in the last couple of years, and it is fun to see how much he has matured.
This afternoon Esther and I drove down to Olympia to visit my sisters and mother. Ellen is on spring break and up from Sacramento, and Susan picked up mom from Lynden. We took a long walk around McClean Pond which is about a mile from Susan's house. Mom enjoyed her walk, though she had to maneuver through mud puddles and slippery boardwalks. It was great to spend time together and we are looking forward to Ellen and mom staying with us later this week.
After years of being envious of others, we finally got to experience Whistler snowboarding. We waited the first morning out because of cloudy conditons, but then had a day and a half of great weather. Though we certainly didn't hit every run on the two mountains, we at least hit all the highlights and got a good feel for what is there. Tuesday we did Blackcomb mountain, where my favorite was the seventh heaven area. Wednesday we explored Whistler mountain, of which the favorites were harmony ridge and the long 'peak to creek' run. The conditions were a lot nicer on top where it was still freezing, than near the bottom with its slush. We all had a good time and it was nice to have nephew Zach along.
It's Tuesday morning, and instead of snowboarding, we are sitting in the condo waiting for the sun to burn off the thick layer of clouds. The webcams from this morning showed very foggy slopes, but this aftenoon looks promising. We are saving our full-day passes for tomorrow, but the boys and I are doing the half-day today. Things aren't too busy around the village, but they are not dead either. Esther can do some shopping this afternoon while we are on the slopes. The condo is fairly convenient as it is on the edge of the village proper. There is a large grocery store right below us, and we can leave our van in the underground parking.
On our way to Whistler, we stopped to visit Bjorn and Jenny, as well as attend their church. Bjorn has been involved in planning and setting up services. The church is a new church that might be labeled an 'emerging church.' They are loosely connected with Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Pastor Johnny presented a practical sermon from Romans, and worship included communion, meditation and singing. The atmosphere is contemplative with lots of candles and simple articles for focus in worship. '242' comes from Acts 2:42, and 'vintage' emphasizes identification with historical christianity. We were excited to experience the service and meet the people who are important in Bjorn's ministry life.