Sunday, August 26, 2012


This year's odd weather continues in Iowa. We had cool temps during the Iowa State Fair, and now we're starting to catch up on our rain shortage. It's a nice change from the 100+ temps we had in June and July, but I'm hoping it doesn't signal an early start to winter. We were very spoiled last year, so a bad winter this year would be an unwelcome difference, at least for me.

One month ago today, a friend of mine from CHAMP Camp, Jordan Stephens, passed away after a long struggle with Pulmonary Hypertension. Jordan was like me in that his mind was fully functional, but his body gave him limitations. He did have full use of his arms though, which allowed him to do his own cares and live completely on his own for a while. The last year we were both counselors at camp several people kept calling him Joel, so we switched name tags for a day. Every time we rolled by each other we would greet with our new identity. I don't think anyone else noticed, but it was another fun thing that happened during the week.

In the 19 years I've been involved with CHAMP Camp, both as a camper and a counselor, we have lost several of "our kids" as we say. I was closer to some than others, but it isn't anything unexpected when living with a major disability. Jordan's passing wasn't unexpected either, but I guess the part that got me most was that it wasn't known. I found out about his death from a fellow counselor on Facebook four days later. I was then able to find his information online and get it to the people in charge of contacting all counselors.

That email went out two days after I sent the information, and the day of his visitation. That meant that for those that didn't know until receiving the email would had to have literally leave the minute they got the message to be present at the visitation. I'm sure this was the not case for most people that knew Jordan, but it just didn't seem right to me for some reason. When my time comes, I would hope that my friends through camp would be informed with plenty of time in advance. I guess it won't make any difference to me, but it's still the thought that counts.

In other news, I finally let the learning temptation take hold and I purchased the Spanish learning software. I've had for a little over a week now and I've been progressing well. I made an Excel spreadsheet that allows me to average my percentage on the lessons and I'm staying around 95%. When I'm doing the different activities, it goes well, but I don't know that I could produce much just on my own. It is somewhat fun, but I'm wondering if I'll ever get to use it much. During my hospital stay in February, I did have one sitter who spoke Spanish, but that was it. Maybe I can incorporate it into VMT somehow, but I will just need to see if God has a plan for this skill He is giving me as well.

Next week Monday is the unofficial end to summer, so enjoy this week everyone!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Fun

There hasn't been much to report in the quad life, it has been pretty much business as usual. One change has been Iowa's weather, the heat has broken for much more seasonable temperatures and some rain!

One thing in Iowa in August is the Iowa State Fair. It's the last big event before kids return to school and is an event I always love going to. I can't exactly put my stick on why I like it, but I do. Getting to see much of the state's farm influence, animals and farm equipment, and just a day out of doors I guess. It's often too hot out to stay all day, but this year looks to be pretty nice. Hopefully I will report this year's fair findings on my next entry.

With the cooler weather, I'm also looking forward to another rail fanning trip this weekend. I haven't been up to the UP in quite a while, so that is my plan this time.

In other news, I finally broke down and got the Spanish learning software. I'm excited to get working on it, but I don't know that I'll get to use it much. Maybe I'll get to use it for work some, but I'm praying that learning will go well.

Until next time!