Of the fourteen grandchildren, two couldn't make it to the gathering- one due to illness and other was too far away.
Enter tool #1: One granddaughter's dad set up a Skype, so she could hear and see everything. She could also offer her remembrance. The mom of the other granddaughter called her on the cell phone, and the phone was passed around the circle so she too could hear the memories of her grandpa. The Skype took some figuring to set up as we were outside. The phone was easy. I was amazed at the ingenuity of the parents of these girls to figure out how to include them in our circle. Even though they weren't there in person, having them a step closer and connected was heartwarming for us all.
Tool #2: In our circle there were several elders who were hard of hearing. As we were outside and had no microphone I was a little worried about everybody being able to hear. I thought about it a bit and realized that I couldn't tell who could hear and who couldn't. We needed a way to communicate when the speaker wasn't talking loud enough. I suggested that when a person couldn't hear, he/she would put her thumb up and the speaker would know to talk louder. This simple tool worked wonderfully well and most people were able to hear all that was said.
Our circle tools and practices grow with our various situations. Technology and a specific need allowed these new (to me) tools to emerge and helped to make our circle an even more satisfying experience.