Strings attached

Josie with her guitar
Josie with her guitar

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson offers a program called “Strings Attached” which offers students guitar lessons and the chance to earn a guitar if they stick with the program.

A spot finally opened up for Josie this year and she has worked hard. Like her older sisters, Josie often doesn’t want to practice, but she has pushed through, and performed in her first concert.

Here’s a video of Josie in action:

Josie's guitar concert from Josh Renaud on Vimeo.

Dozens of monarchs

Today we released 20 monarch butterflies that emerged from their chrysalises.

The season started off seemingly slow. We weren’t finding caterpillars like we had at the same time last year. I guess they just got a late start, because eventually they started rolling in.

Altogether, we’ve probably released 50 or more butterflies so far this year.

Pie in the face

Our kids attend AWANA at Grace Church. AWANA emphasizes memorizing Bible verses so that the kids can hide God’s word in their hearts.

One of their teachers, Mr. Rich, has a very unusual way to motivate the kids in the Sparks club to memorize verses.

He willingly lets the kids who complete the most book sections throw a pie in his face! He has done this for many years.

Our little Josie has long wanted to throw a pie in Mr. Rich’s face. So this year she worked hard — and she won!

And boy did she make the most of her opportunity!

See for yourself:

Josie Throws A Pie In Mr. Rich's Face from Josh Renaud on Vimeo.

Thank you, Mr. Rich, for being such a good sport.

Chess Club: Grandmasters

What a big week we had. On Friday, Jadzia and fellow members of Vogt Elementary’s chess club were visited by grandmasters … and a ton of media. Here is her account of the day:

Jadzia plays chess against grandmaster Jennifer Shahade
Jadzia plays chess against grandmaster Jennifer Shahade

Once upon a time, Jadzia and some of her classmates went to the library. But, this was no ordinary library day. Two (well, more, but you’ll find out later) grandmasters were going to come. Cameras would cram each and every corner and spot, flashing on and off!

It was Grandmaster Friday.

Continue reading “Chess Club: Grandmasters”

Ferguson’s children: Our voice

Jadzia and her Vogt classmates pose for a photo in the bandshell at January-Wabash Park after the concert.
Jadzia and her Vogt schoolmates pose for a photo in the bandshell at January-Wabash Park after the concert.

Drums. Singing. Shakespeare. MLK.

What a great afternoon we had enjoying the artistry of Jadzia and other Ferguson kids!

The event was designed as a response to recent events in Ferguson and throughout St. Louis. Students from across the Ferguson-Florissant school district and neighboring districts sang, acted, and spoke in order to bring peace, joy and love through the arts.

Jadzia and a number of her Vogt schoolmates participated. Here is a video I made of some of the highlights:

Video: Meet Muncher, our baby Monarch caterpillar

A monarch butterfly sits on one of our milkweed plants. Photo by Jadzia.
A monarch butterfly sits on one of our milkweed plants. Photo by Jadzia.

(The following story and video are by Yoli)

Our milkweeds have attracted a lot of butterflies. It’s given a lot of joy to my kids, especially Jadzia. But a few days ago she found a dead Monarch butterfly. She was devastated. I had never performed a butterfly funeral or prayed for them, but it comforted my daughter’s tender heart.

Enter Muncher. Wednesday morning, Jadzia found a Monarch caterpillar. She had been looking forward to finding some. We looked for more caterpillars, or perhaps eggs, but found only this one. She named it Muncher.

Continue reading “Video: Meet Muncher, our baby Monarch caterpillar”