Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

I will never, ever forget this day. I was a senior at Brainerd High School, looking toward graduation and starting college. It was the start of Orchestra class, the period after lunch, and one of my classmates had somehow heard the news that the shuttle exploded. He was known to be a jokester, so we were skeptical; but when our teacher came into the classroom with tears streaming down her face, we knew it was the truth. I don’t remember anything else about that period. Fifth period was Contemporary Issues class, and the teacher already had a TV set up tuned to the news. I spent the next hour with my eyes fixed on the screen, slowly realizing this was real and not some Hollywood blockbuster movie.

This mission was supposed to be a special one, the start of the Teacher in Space Program. My Girl Scout leader had applied to the program and had awaited this launch with excitement. As a prospective teacher,I had dreamed of one day following in Christa McAuliffe’s footsteps. The TISP was eliminated after the disaster and replaced in 1998 with the Educator Astronaut Program, which allowed teachers to retire as classroom educators and train as mission specialist astronauts to teach from space. I never applied, but I did get to attend Space Academy for Educators at the NASA Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville in 1994.

For my brother and sister and parents, the Kennedy assassination was their historical touchpoint: the event which separated their lives until “before” and “after.” For those of us in Generation X, it was the Challenger disaster that shaped us [until 9-11 replaced it for pretty much all generations].

Astronauts, we salute your bravery and mourn your passing, now and forever.

Francis R. Scobee, Commander
Michael J. Smith, Pilot
Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher

December [Daily] is Finally Finished!

After multiple stops and starts and enduring the heartbreaking losses of 2 family members and 1 friend included in this album, my December Daily is complete. I will add just a few more elements (recipe for the Nutella Truffles which you can find here, and a note on the final page), but I couldn’t wait to share the project on the blog. I would love to receive your feedback, especially since this is my first foray into this type of book. All photos came from my Instagram account, and most of the handmade elements were created at holiday crop classes through the years and saved for this album. Please enjoy!

Sunday Prayers, May 17, 2020 (by Nadia Bolz-Weber)

I do not know when we can gather together again in worship, Lord.

So, for now I just ask that:

When I sing along in my kitchen to each song on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life Album, that it be counted as praise. [Happy 70th birthday, SW!]

And that when I read the news and my heart tightens in my chest, may it be counted as a Kyrie.

And that when my eyes brighten in a smile behind my mask as I thank the cashier may it be counted as passing the peace.

And that when I water my plants and wash my dishes and take a shower may it be counted as remembering my baptism.

And that when the tears come and my shoulders shake and my breathing falters, may it be counted as prayer.

And that when I stumble upon a Tabitha Brown video and hear her grace and love of you may it be counted as a hearing a homily.

And that as I sit at that table in my apartment, and eat one more homemade meal, slowly, joyfully, with nothing else demanding my time or attention, may it be counted as communion.


Finding Inspiration

Sometimes, it’s hard to get inspired: for scrapbooking, for work, or even for life in general. Right now, as we are in the middle of a pandemic, I’m taking inspiration wherever I can find it. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I have always been about the inspirational quotes and sayings — on posters, notebooks, plaques, rubber stamps, planners — so here are some of my current ones helping me through this strange landscape of COVID-19.