Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oklahoma City: Race Day

Sunday morning dawned rainy, windy, and COLD! Aaron left early for his race, while the kids and I prepared for the Kids' Marathon. By the time the races began, the rain had subsided, but the wind was still bitterly cold. Thankfully, our friends loaned us some extra jackets.
I was so proud of my crew as they joined 2500 other kids in the race. I wish I had taken the camera, but with no strollers allowed and Katherine on my hip I'm not sure I could have taken pictures anyway. I was in awe as we came to the bottom of the hill and looked up - all we could see were runners! What an amazing feeling to be part of something so big. Aaron said there were about 16,000 adults participating. I can't describe how proud I am of my husband for honoring God with his body, tackling such a monumental task, and finishing the race.
After some sweet fellowship with our friends, we headed home that afternoon with a tired and somewhat cranky bunch. My sweet Benjamin came to the rescue by singing to and playing with Katherine. She would scream until he sang to her, then she would calm down and listen. Benjamin was certainly in his element!

Thanks for your prayers as we sought to "love the Lord our God with all our strength" last weekend!

Things that last

Yesterday coming home from the grocery store, our van rolled over 100,000 miles just past a cow pasture on FM 1382 in Cedar Hill, Texas. I meant to pull over on the side of the road and take a picture of the momentous occassion, but I left the camera at home. We're so thankful that our van has lasted seven years, and yet we know that it won't last forever.
Ann's blog once again got me to thinking about things that last like our words that we invest into our children and sow into the "seed bed" of their lives. Too often my words are harsh instead of the Proverbs 16:24 words like honeycomb.
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever" Isaiah 40:8

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oklahoma City Part 2

Saturday, our family visited the memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing which occurred April 19, 1995. In the children's section, tiles made by children around the country lined the wall. And chalk board rectangles begging to be drawn upon lined the ground. Above is a picture of Sarah's contribution.

Benjamin's gift of words:

The nine rows, large chairs for the adults and small chairs for the children who perished in the blast:

The survivor tree:

We met some friends at the national park. Shawn ran the half-marathon (he encouraged Aaron to participate) and the kids ran the kids' marathon, too. While we were there, a park ranger gave the kids an opportunity to become junior rangers by learning about the memorial. Here they are being sworn in before they get their badges.

After we finished at the bombing site, we drove over to the zoo and enjoyed the beautiful day! Our friends' foreign exchange student (who also ran in the half-marathon) became an instant buddy for our kids.

Oklahoma City Part 1

Our great weekend in OKC began by spending time with my college roommate and her husband.

Aaron and Sean warmed up for the big race by driving go-carts and playing putt-putt.

Aunt Amy practiced on Katherine to get ready for the little one coming this fall!

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Weekend

Happy Arbor Day! We won't be celebrating much about trees today because we're about to leave for the Oklahoma City Marathon. Our family has been training for months to prepare for this race - Aaron is running the half marathon, and the kids are completing their marathon. Katherine and I just get to run alongside the kids for the last 1.2 miles. We will meet several friends while we are in OKC, and we are looking forward to the sweet fellowship.

Other noteworthy topics of the day:
First license plates - 1901: New York began requiring license plates on automobiles, the first state to do so

Maud Hart Lovelace birth anniversary - 1892: One of our favorite authors (Betsy-Tacy series)

Tim Duncan's birthday - 1976: One of our favorite basketball players (close behind David Robinson)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nature Walk

"How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24

We've enjoyed having some extra company from Memphis this week.

Our friends hiked the trails with us today and admired God's creativity!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thanks, Poppa!

My dad came down for a busy weekend to help out while Aaron and I played our cellos in "Savior", a joint performance with our church and a church in north Dallas. The kids enjoyed some extra hugs and kisses, and Aaron and I enjoyed being stand partners again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What is it?

Once again, it's time to play "What is it?" with things we've found around the Choate household. We discovered this growing on our bread today, and we've never seen this color before. Anybody know what it is?

Outside, the trees are covered in these little lime looking things. They come in all sizes.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Learning Tok Pisin

One of the things we would like to do before we leave the country is to learn a little Tok Pisin (the trade language of Papua New Guinea). Learning some language before we get to our Pacific Orientation Course will give us a head start, so we are playing number bingo and concentration games using animals and foods like those below.


sweet potato-kaukau

If you want to try and pronounce some of the words, remember that the orthography follows the International Phonetic Alphabet. So 'a' says 'ah', 'i' says 'ee', 'u' says 'oo', etc. For more information about Tok Pisin you can check out:

Radio Australia – Tok Pisin Service

Thomas H. Slone's Homepage

Robert Eklund's Tok Pisin Homepage

Tok Pisin


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why am I allowed two?

"Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands,
And the great world around me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?"
G.K. Chesterton

For the birds

We are enjoying learning to recognize some birds by sight and sound. God was so creative when he made animals! For snacks so far this week, we've made "worms and dirt" and "birds' nests" to immerse ourselves in bird study. Our days have been warm, so the window and doors are open allowing the bird song to drift through the house (although it is frequently drowned out by the sweet cacophony of children!). I find myself listening more to distinguish the sounds of the birds and encouraging the kids to do the same.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


"Hear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God;
save your servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."
Psalm 86:1-4
This prayer of David echoes the way I have felt during the last eight weeks of class. The Lord has been so faithful for the strength, energy, and grace I needed each day. He placed a team around our family: some people stepped in to watch our kids while Aaron and I were in class, some taught us in the classroom each day, some e-mailed or called with encouraging words, some people helped from on their knees from different states (or countries). Thank you to each one of you who have been a part of our team during the last few weeks while we were being equipped to share the Bible in the Solomon Islands.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Week Ahead

Here's a look at the special days ahead:

Monday, April 7 - No Housework Day

Tuesday, April 8 - Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman's birthday (1939) She has illustrated many of Jean Fritz's books and many fairy tales as well -one of our favorite illustrators and a good excuse to check out lots of her books!

Wednesday, April 9 - Paul Bustill Robeson's birthday (1898) We will read the book "Paul Robeson: A Voice to Remember" by Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack.

Thursday, April 10 - Safety Pin patented (1849)

Friday, April 11 - Edward Everett's birthday (1794) Who was Edward Everett you ask? It was Edward Everett who delivered the main address at the dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery, Nov. 19, 1863. President Abramham Lincoln also spoke at the dedication, and his brief speech (less than two minutes) is remembered while Everett's is not. Read "Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln" by Jean Fritz to find out more.

Saturday, April 12 - Author Beverly Cleary's birthday (1916)

Sunday, April 13 - Alfred M. Butts' birthday (1899) Alfred Butts was a jobless architect in the Depression when he invented the board game Scrabble. The game was just a fad for Butt's friends until a Macy's executive saw the game being played at a resort in 1952 and the world's largest store began carrying it. Manufacturing of the game was turned over to Selchow & Righter when 35 workers were producting 6,000 sets a week. Butts received three cents per set for years. He said, "One-third went to taxes. I gave one-third away, and the other third enabled me to have an enjoyable life." (information from "The Teacher's Calendar")

Friday, April 4, 2008

Celebration Campout!

To help celebrate the end of this class session, we all ate ice cream and Aaron set up the tent for the big kids to camp out. I wish you could have heard all of the sweet giggles and seen the kids bouncing off the walls in anticipation.
The girls were tickled to find that their hair responded to the static electricity in the tent!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Keeping up with the Solomons

If you are interested in learning culture along with us, check out the Solomon Star - one of the Solomon Islands' newspapers that is online. Here is an article about the Year of the Bible - 2008. Once a week, a Bible page is printed in Melanesian Pidgin, the first language we will learn when we move to the Solomons. We use this resource (and others like it) to give us a head start in language and culture learning. There are lots of online resources to learn more about the culture and language where we will be serving. If you are interested in finding out more, please let us know.
Tomorrow is my last language learning demo and my last day of class is next Tuesday! Aaron begins his last round of classes next Thursday. Thanks for all of your prayers during this stretching time for our family. Our focus will now turn to all of the paperwork and preparations needed to get our family overseas in August. I'm looking forward to being able to give my family my best again!