It is well…with my soul…

Found Sketch hanging out in Mack’s room this morning

The first Elms Boulevard fountain freeze of the season!

Our friend Darryl Couts led Children’s Time at church this morning. Can you find Mackenzie in this pic?

This is my friend and pastor Laura Blevins. Each week she inspires us to be better, reminds us of God’s unconditional love, and motivates us to get involved in our community.

This morning she welcomed us all to come and revisit our baptisms. It was a moment I want to remember, walking down with S. Jason to pray.

Today our church was celebrating 25 years being in our new church building

Pastor Laura just had a little pumpkin, Noah, and it was nice to see them both this morning!

The bell choir practice is underway! Our church always has something musically special being planned!

The preschool is having fun with Fall!

We went and got some pumpkins of our own.

Kitty was enjoying laying in the warmth of the sun light coming through the window

Braces

Love these kiddos

Mackenzie found an old picture she drew when she was 7 years old.

And so she updated it! (The book she is using is one she made out of old cereal boxes given to her by Gail Brown)

Thanks for following along!

A Day for Renovation

We had fun celebrating the new showroom and office space at Chuck Anderson Ford today! Then we spent the rest of the day finishing Mackenzie’s new room! Guess it was a day for renovation!

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I think the Educational foundation needs this car to get around

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Dealership owner Mike Anderson, Chamber DirectorTosha Jackson, and Chamber President and Edward Jones Financial Advisor Brian Yarbrough at Chuck Anderson’s Open House today.

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My Grandpa Ramon used to restore old antique Ford tractors just like this one. Chuck let me know that Grandpa had even worked on this one! 

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Chuck said this tractor was known as the “jubilee”.

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Everyone gathering for the ribbon cutting!

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Mike giving a few words about the renovations

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Excelsior Springs Rotary Club was there to provide lunch!

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The Anderson family

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They had some of Dad’s pictures framed and hanging in their hallway!
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As soon as we got home from the open house Mackenzie began drawing.
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Kitty stayed sleeping most of the day

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#mackaday

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After the storm cleared this was a beautiful sight22405692_1722517821094192_1489431302480016063_n
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Her new room!

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She has a nice little desk work area by a window looking down over the boulevard.

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Her dad did an amazing job on putting her new bedroom together! — with S. Jason Cole.

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She loves it 

 

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This hung in my bedroom when I was little 

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Thanks for following along!

Urban Farming 

My husband has a variety of different plants and flowers around the house. A few years ago he built raised beds for the backyard and for the past couple of years he’s grown tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, and various herbs. He also has gooseberries, raspberries, and blackberries planted. Tonight we harvested some of the blackberries from the trellis in the front yard. 


The vines aren’t producing as much as they have in the past for some reason. New chutes have sprouted, though, so hopefully future years will be more bountiful! 


Mackenzie likes to get in on the gathering action! 


Berry picker 


Blackberry vine 


I spent most of the day cleaning the house, trying to catch up from a busy week that gave me no time for my chores. This evening we ran to Liberty to go to the bank and hit up Planet Sub for dinner! 


The Crepe Myrtle is in full bloom on the front porch! 


Jason made a new Spider-Man sticker for himself and put it on his phone. 


Enjoyed this morning’s meeting with the Excelsior Springs Business Women. Our discussion stemmed around an article pointing out that in interviews, the focus for men is the return on investment that can be offered to the company, while for women being interviewed, the questions focus on the perceived risk she will be to the company. 

While women account for 40 percent of founders of US companies, they only get 2 percent of the nation’s venture capital investments. 
Our organization is working to give support to women in business and helping them to emphasize the growth potential they can bring a company with confidence.

My morning quote – 

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

Hello Weekend!

This week has kept me very busy, in meetings, and also working on some really important grants being offered through the USDA. On Monday I dropped one in the mail asking for assistance in replacing a parking lot that is often used by the community and today I finished one that will expand telemedicine services in a rural hospital, which could save hundreds of lives. Now it’s just a matter of keeping my fingers crossed! 



Mackenzie has been working on blending with her artwork.


Jason saw an owl here on the boulevard and was able to snap a pic. He continued walking toward the hotel when it swooped him and then not far after, another owl swooped him, too! Guess they’re camera shy! 



Enjoyed celebrating birthdays with my best friend Nena’s family this week at the Mexican restaurant. 


Stopped by the ESHS Athletic Hall of Fame to congratulate all the inductees. 



The 4-H Club celebrated our year anniversary with a pool party in Richmond! 


After the rain yesterday morning here on the boulevard. 


Was the speaker for Rotary this week and got to update them on all the great things happening at the educational foundation. 



Mackenzie had drama camp all week and tonight finished with a performance that she played the lead in! We are so proud of her dedication and hard work! She had all of her lines memeorized by Tuesday! 


Finished the week enjoying Second Friday’s in our downtown by hanging out at Aunt Molly’s studio. Her guest artist was Kevin Callahan, whose son is a good friend of mine. Saw lots of friends and made some new ones, too! Such a great way to end the week, for sure. 

Monday, Monday

Busy day! Lots of meetings today. First meeting was bright and early this morning in neighboring city of Liberty. Had an old friend contact me about a children’s services fund that is on the ballot this August in Clay County. It would establish a fund that would be accessible to communities in the county to support efforts for bettering children’s health. 


After this I dropped by the church to pick up Mackenzie and take her to her first day of drama camp. She was at the church because Jason was installing new projectors with our friend Charles today! Here’s a picture Mackenzie took of Charles up high on the ladder! 


This afternoon I had a meeting at the Good Samaritan Center. There are a lot of great projects we are working on at the Center. Today we discussed a way to establish a GED program there so clients would have access to getting their degree. Currently Excelsior Springs has no public site for individuals seeking this opportunity. 


After my meeting at the Center I headed to Lewis Elementary for a booster club meeting. We are still working on planning out our year and are looking forward to offering lots of great things for the students and staff this year! 


Tonight was also the school board meeting. I go every month to give them an update from the educational foundation. I enjoy the meetings. Also, hearing about what’s going on helps me understand better how I might be able to help overall. 


Now I’m home enjoying my family time. 


Jason’s self portrait for this evening! 

First Harvest

This evening was the first harvest for our little urban garden that we have growing around our house. The front porch is covered in blackberry vines, making it a favorite for all who see them, but especially get to enjoy them. We have caught an older lady stealing some recently! Jason said, “Some people have to get nets to keep out deer! Not me, I need nets to keep out old ladies!”



Jason also has a bountiful harvest of gooseberries that he grew in buckets in the backyard! We stemmed and froze them to make a gooseberry pie. (Jason’s favorite!)

Stemming gooseberries is what my husband calls "true love". 🍇

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Jason transplanted the plants he got earlier this week at the plant sale into the raised beds in the backyard. Mackenzie and the cat then came out to help while I documented everything.



Now it’s time for our weekly Sunday snack platter dinner and popcorn!

Seven Hills Art Camp

For the past four years our daughter, Mackenzie, has been attending the Seven Hills Art Camp that is held during the summer. For the first time, they expanded it to two weeks this summer. The theme for the first week was wings, with a focus on birds. Mackenzie’s favorite part was making bird kites! The camp was founded and taught by Roberta Hammer, family friend and local artist. Throughout the year, Roberta also hosts an art class weekly at the Good Samaritan Center and gives lessons on various art methods to the students of various ages.

This year, Roberta asked my husband, Jason, if he would co-teach the camps with her. He enjoyed getting to be a part of the experience in teaching the camp! Here’s a feature of some of their work together over the past two weeks:

They made a giant nest that was big enough for all of the campers to fit in!

These photos above were all taken by Dr. S. Jason Cole. :)

The second week of Art Camp was themed “Pollinators”

Jason taught all of the students how to make their own insects out of wire by bending and shaping it to look like their pollinator.

My husband Jason taught the students lessons in stop-motion animation. Here are some videos from the two weeks:

 

 

To see another feature on the Seven Hills Art Camp, click here! 

mama fox

For such a long time Mackenzie has adored foxes. When she was small we got her a stuffed fox that you can tell is a favorite now because the fur is worn down. Within the last year we found a small one that looks just like it that then became her baby. The book that follows was inspired by her own little animals. Hope you enjoy!

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Six-year-old Author/Illustrator Mackenzie Cole and her dad letting Mama Fox drink out of Mackenzie’s straw

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Summer Art Camp Fun

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Summer is the best time for camps and in Excelsior Springs, there’s no lack for getting involved! Starting this week, Mackenzie will have two weeks filled with day-long art classes, which she’s been going to for the last three or four years. The Art Camp was started by Roberta Hammer, a local artist who Mackenzie takes lessons from weekly throughout the year. She inspires the students to try different mediums and often inspire them with the nature that surrounds them here daily. Roberta is the heart and soul behind the Art Camp at the Good Samaritan Center and the ongoing Art Room that meets weekly on early-release days from school. We are so grateful to have her in our community giving her time!

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This year Jason, my husband, was asked to co-teach the camp and also help with another upcoming art camp to be held at the Good Samaritan Center. Jason has his doctorate in film and animation and has some fun projects lined up to offer the students this week. He, too, is an artist, everyday making custom signs, bags, watercolors, mobiles, or working with Mackenzie on various projects.

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There are a number of ways for students to get involved and have fun during the summer here in Excelsior Springs. Whether it’s going to the various art camps, drama camps, reading programs at the library, bible schools, activities in the parks, or swimming at the community center, there’s plenty for kids to do here at home!