Monday, September 23, 2013

Saying 'So Long' To An Old Friend

Many years ago (4th grade to be exact), I met Mr. Rausch for the first time.  He came to our church / school to be the music director / teacher.  I very vividly remember sitting at the piano in the Fellowship Hall at our church "auditioning" for the music department.  Having taken piano lessons for a few years, I was familiar with music, so he grilled me pretty hard.  He also told me the Lord had given me a lot of musical talent and encouraged me to use my talents to serve and praise the Lord.

Any and all love I have for music, I attribute to his ministry. He not only educated us and challenged us to play and sing better, he bounced around (literally) with the joy of the Lord exuding from every part of his body -- giving us a living example to follow!  Music moves me in a way I can hardly describe.  As a teen, I remember countless times going to the piano and playing to lift my spirit.  To this day, music is my quick "go-to" for encouragement, and the Lord often speaks to my heart through music.  The Lord still uses my musical abilities -- I play piano and sing at church in choir and in a ladies trio.  Sometime I can't keep from singing along while playing for the congregation.  I'm not sure if there is a protocol as to whether that is acceptable or not, but I can't help it!  And to think I was only one of thousands that he influenced in his lifetime.

Many happy memories from my childhood revolve around music.  I played clarinet in band (elementary band through high school band) and in a woodwind ensemble as well as clarinet duets with Mr. Rausch.  If I remember correctly, lessons were $4 a week.  Even in the late 80s and early 90s, that was cheap!  He just loved music and to teach students.  Even as elementary students, he made us feel important and special.  He would pick songs like John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever", assign parts to each band - elementary, junior high and high school -- and have us play it together at a school assembly.  Talk about feeling like a big shot as a little 4th grader playing with the seniors in high school!!  A real self-confidence booster.  I also sang in elementary and junior high choir.  He asked me to sing tenor in our high school choir.  Our choir placing first in state competition singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" (and a cappella on occasion), and singing at the state capital rotunda on the National Day of Prayer were real highlights for me.  Talk about awesome acoustics!!  As much as I love a full choir, I have a special place in my heart for ladies groups.  He assembled a ladies' ensemble and wrote arrangements for us to sing.  My favorites were "At Calvary" and "God Makes No Mistakes."  When my friend was stricken with cancer a couple years ago, some of us girls from the ensemble gathered from OH, PA and NY to sing "God Makes No Mistakes" one last time.

Mr. Paul A. Rausch passed away Sunday evening after a short bout with an unexplained illness.  His passing has caused me to reflect more deeply on the many memories while under his tutelage.  The Rausch's had a great impact on my life as teachers throughout junior high and high school.  (Mrs. Rausch taught 8th grade homeroom and English as well as a couple years of Home Ec -- skills I still use today).  They are two of a few influences for which I am most incredibly grateful.

A humble, Godly man who no doubt has already assembled a choir of angels or saints in heaven and is bouncing on his toes as he leads them in the hymns of the faith!  "So long" to a friend who, as he signed all the music he wrote / arranged, showed through his life . . . "God Be Praised!"

Please be in prayer for the Rausch family in the difficult days ahead.  If it makes it easier to remember, pray for "Wifey" (aka. Mrs. Rausch) as a huge void has been left in her life.  You always knew where Mr. Rausch was because he could not be silent -- always singing or humming wherever he went.

Here's a song he led at the church I grew up in during their 50th anniversary service.  If I ever get my hands on the VHS tapes my parents have from my band and duet days, I'd love to transfer them and post them here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

We interrupt the regularly scheduled vacation posts to bring you . . . Baseball!

If you haven't heard, the Pittsburgh Pirates are having a record breaking season.  (The Steelers are too, but not in a good way. But I digress.) The Knight's boss gave him four tickets to a Pirates game.  Since Daddy is more interested in baseball and he rarely gets to take the kids on adventures, we decided Mommy would be left at home.  All alone.  With a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  And peace and quiet.  {I'm not seeing a downside here.}

The Knight had to work part of a day before the 12:35 pm game, so we all met up in a parking lot at a central location.

Psyched and ready to go in the Pirates gear I found at the thrift store this week!

I asked the kids to take some pictures.  Wasn't sure what I'd get, but I was pleasantly surprised with some of them and forced to laugh at others.  Apparently this picture takes a thousand words to describe, but in short . . . Bud was shielding his eyes from the sun, the Knight was teasing Bud saying he'd knock his lights out or something to that effect and Butterfly wasn't happy that her sister was taking her picture.

This one cracked me up too.  I mentioned I'd like a picture with all of them in it.  Suggested the Knight try to take a picture of everyone (since he has the longest arms), or they ask someone to take their picture.  This is what I got.  Literally the only one with all of them in it.  Priceless.

They had awesome seats!  Almost directly behind home plate.  It was a gorgeous day.  Perfect weather especially since we just went though a cold snap.  (The Pittsburgh skyline pictured in the background for you out-of-towners.)

A couple days before the game, I told the kids about the pierogi race that takes place during the Pirates games.  Sounds like this was one of the highlights for them.  These two pictures are from bing images, but they'll give you an idea of what the race is like.  "Pierogies" come out onto the field and race each other.  It's a comical routine.  I've seen them trip each other or high-five someone in the bleachers.  Today's winner . . . Cheese Chester.

The kids only made it to the 7th inning, and that was after a snack break in the 4th inning.  Apparently the hidden pictures and coloring books I put in Bud's bag weren't enough to occupy everyone the whole game.  The Pirates scored 3 more runs in the 7th inning and 1 more in the 8th inning for a final score of 1 to 10.  We won!

Pretty sure today's experience was one of the best times in their lives!  The rest of the evening was filled with baseball games inside and out, talks of more games tomorrow, and I lost count how many times I heard the song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vacation - Day 2

We started Day 2 off in the pool.  Mornings seemed to be the best time to go since no one was around then.  The kids also enjoyed the glass elevator (once Butterfly was convinced the cables were strong enough to hold us).

Excited to get into the pool!
Then off we went to COSI -- Columbus' science center.  Our science center membership got us in for free.  We did have to pay for the Mythbusters exhibit though.  I'd say it was worth it seeing as we spent half our time in that area.

For the Mythbusters fan, this was awesome!  They had actual items from the show on display.  If you've watched the show, you'll recognize some of these . . .

Sparkle pulled the tablecloth out from under the dishes without them crashing to the ground! (The same cannot be done with the silky gold table cloth in the background.)

This was the live show they did while we were there -- can you dodge a bullet (paint ball)?  They asked us to volunteer, but some of us chickened out and wouldn't do it. I won't mention names to protect the innocent.
A little message from Adam.  Was hoping they would have a "Do I still have my eyebrows?" t-shirt.

This display allowed you to see how fast you could move out of the way of a speeding bullet.  The Knight was the fastest in our family.

Not sure what this was, but we thought it was cool -- even our toenail polish glowed!

One of the Knight's and my favorite episodes, the rocket water heater!

Bud would have stayed here for hours.  He was racing a plane and a car.  By turning the dials, you could control the speed of both and lift the plane off the ground.  When we asked the kids what their favorite part of the science center was, this was his favorite.  I love his look of deep concentration.

Testing toast landing butter side or butter side down.

A science center is a science center, so I won't show too many photos.  I loved this photo though, so I had to share it.  We were in the 'Progressive' section.  There were two sets of the same stores/restaurants/etc. One from the horse and buggy days, and one updated to the 50's or 60's, I can't remember.  This picture was taken in the merchandise store.  The kids were fascinated with the phone.

As we were walking to the last exhibit, this man started putting on a "science show" about liquid nitrogen.  That always fascinates me -- and apparently, my children.

Because the penny is no longer made of only copper, he was able to "freeze" them and break them into pieces! Wow!
Then outside we went for the last few activities.  Think you could lift a car? Two weeks after appendix surgery?  Well, this contraption makes it possible.  Had to remind hubby it was probably a bit too soon to be using his core muscles that much.

This echo well was great fun until a certain 6-yr old boy started saying silly things like, "I have stinky toots."  Thankful we were the only people outside at the time!

This cement ball could be pushed and would roll in place all because of the water flowing underneath it.

Looks like they had a great time!

We ended our day at Cici's Pizza.  All the Cici's in our area have closed, so we enjoyed a special treat that night. The kids love the pizza and the arcade.  The Knight loves the chicken alfredo pizza.  I love the spinach alfredo pizza (or "grass pizza" as my kids like to call it) & the flip pizza.  It's a win-win!