Thursday, October 8, 2015


With this busy season of travel, I really love my new doormat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hurricane Season

With Hurricane Joaquin finally dissolving in the Atlantic, we checked out some books from the library to help us understand a little bit more about hurricanes/cyclones and how they work:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Portales, New Mexico

We felt so welcome when we walked up to the door at Jason, Kayla, and Steinway's house.  It had been a few months since we saw them last.  And a couple of years since we stayed at their house.  After our adventures in the Solomon Islands together, our hearts have been cemented together.
After two days of intense financial aid meetings, a campus tour, two choir rehearsals, a world food lab, music theory class, and a meeting with a lovely family consumer science professor, we were ready for some time to laugh and play.

Jason took us to a disc golf course in the beautiful Ned Houk park in Clovis, New Mexico.

The day was absolutely gorgeous, and a cold front was pushing through giving us breeze and cooler temps.

Friday was also Aaron's birthday, so we celebrated with Mexican food at a fabulous hole-in-the-wall restaurant, then came home to make brownies for a "birthday cake".
Saturday was full of playing with Steinway,

making music together,
more playing with Steinway,

fill-up-you-heart visiting,

and lots of cooking together.

And after attending the early service at church and filling up the whole pew,

we played some hymns together,

got a few more hugs to tide us over until next time,

and hit the road with hearts full of gratitude for these friends who graciously opened their home to our family once again.  They helped us navigate the beginnings of our college/future plans search, both by their extensive knowledge and with their prayers for God's direction in our lives.

Friday, October 2, 2015

New Things

Our family is dipping its toes into the world of college visits. Exciting, a little scary, fun, and keeping us on our knees as we seek the Lord's direction and clarity for Sarah and Benjamin's futures...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apple Cake

Growing up, I could count on my mom being home when I arrived after school.  Often, she had prepared a great afternoon snack, and in the fall, apple cake made the whole house smell good.  This recipe smells like home to me and conjures up feelings of love and safety.  So, of course, I like to make it for my family, too!
Apple Cake
(serves 16)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
 1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium apples, chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 Celsius).  Spray 8x8 square pan with non-stick spray.  Cream first four ingredients, then add dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.  Taste test by licking your fingers often, but don't forget to wash your hands.  Stir in the apples and walnuts.

Spoon batter into pan and cook until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly and the house smells wonderful.  Best served outside to enjoy the gorgeous fall weather.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More from Aaron's trip to Lavukalen

Two of the Lavukal translators, Matthew and Ezekiel, and the translation committee chairman, Hiva, met with Aaron for several days on the porch of our village home.

The guys have been writing their drafts of Matthew by hand, and they decided it was finally time to learn some keyboarding skills.  So, part of the time, Aaron was teaching them to navigate the mouse and the keyboard.
They turned in their drafts of Matthew 1-4 and have begun drafting Matthew 5-12.
More of God's perfect timing - Aaron was able to attend a feast day in Leru Village.  He even got to dance again alongside our friend, Leonard.

My hubby also worked hard to finish the termite discouragement program by painting the rest of the house with used motor oil.

On his last day in the village, Aaron made a quick trip to Fly Harbour Primary School where he was pleased to find the rain tanks finally set up on the head teacher's house and the girls' dorm.

And our sweet friend, Gayly, who raised the money for the bookshelf and sent books for the school library?  Her vision is finally coming to fruition.  What you see in the picture is the Fly Harbour Primary School library, featuring books in English, Solomon Islands Pijin, and, most importantly, Lavukaleve, the kids' heart language.

Aaron's trip was full and fruitful.  Because of your prayers and support, he was able to get so many things done, covering a wide variety of areas.  We still firmly believe that the whole family living in Marulaon Village is the very best way to serve the Lavukal, but we're thankful for this quick trip that Aaron was able to make to keep the project rolling and to encourage the translators.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend Wows!

Oh, what a weekend.  Full of so many gifts.  Things like last minute decisions to add three awesome kids to our family for half the weekend.

And then getting to take seven kids to experience the county fair for the very first time.

And my generous parents made it all happen financially.

I felt like a girl in high school again, giggling on the tilt-a-whirl with this amazing guy.  And Olivia, our chaperone.

And funnel cake.  Because if you go to the fair, you must have funnel cake.

Saturday morning began with a trip to the farmers' market.  I'm always delighted by the people and the produce I find. 

Somehow, I have never bought fresh pinto beans.  Now I have!

We're looking forward to taste testing the difference between fresh and dried beans.

I felt like I was pulling off one bow after the other as the weekend continued and I opened more gifts.

Sarah finished my dining-room curtains.  I'm so excited!  I love the embroidered birds that remind me of one of my favorite books, "The Singing Tree" by Kate Seredy.

Then I got to watch my husband remind my son how to tie a tie as we got dressed up to attend the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's season opener.  After we reluctantly returned the extra kiddos to their parents, we drove to meet my parents and a sweet couple (who have served in overseas missions and now pastor a church) for supper before we enjoyed the concert.

Honestly, concerts are still bitter-sweet for me.  Although I wasn't an exceptional musician, I really enjoyed everything about that world.  It's hard to sit in the audience when my fingers are itching to bounce that bow or make that shift.  The concert was fabulous, and we even got to go down and visit with our old cello teacher.  Early every Saturday morning, I used to show up at his house for a lesson.  When Aaron and I could drive ourselves to the lessons, we would be on the road by 6:45 a.m. and I would sleep in the car during Aaron's lesson.  I picked out a handful of musicians that we still knew in the orchestra.  People who have been faithfully performing for thirty years or more.  People who have faithfully poured their lives not just into the music, but into students and young teachers like me.  May I, too, be faithful with the gifts God gives me.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hair cutting ceremony

God's perfect timing shone during Aaron's trip back to the Solomon Islands.  So many events dovetailed into his timetable.  The most exciting event was a hair cutting ceremony that marked the end of a year of grieving after a family member's death.

Our good friend, Chief Hensy, hadn't cut his hair in a year as a part of this thoughtful custom.  He was one of six relatives of the deceased, three men and three women, chosen to grow their hair.  And the ceremony was scheduled during the time Aaron was back in Marulaon Village! 
My hubby rode with several of our friends early one morning to Kiolen Village to celebrate the end of the mourning period.  He found pigs waiting to be killed and cooked up for the feasting.  Pigs are a large part of Solomon Islands' feasting, but we don't see them in our area as often other language groups do.

Abundant food sprawled across the banana leaves and roofing iron to share with the family and friends who came to celebrate.

And I think our friend cleaned up pretty well!