Saturday, June 30, 2012

We met with another friend at the Memphis Botanical Garden on Friday morning.

I thought this chrysalis swing was so creative!

Sarah finally saw the pollen sacs on the bee's legs.  She was so excited!

This sculpture of a huge earthworm made me smile.

A swan was swimming along with all of the ducks and fish hoping for a free meal.

So, we made their day and gave 'em some food.

After we finished admiring God's creation, we drove over to the Memphis Central Library.

Oh, my, it's a bibliophile's dream.  I could have spent hours in just the children's section.  My kids had fun riding on the glass elevator.  Any library that needs mulitple floors is my kind of library.

This library also has a second hand bookstore.  We each picked out a book or two to take home, but the find of the day was Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow Sampler.  Can you believe it, the book store had two?!?  One for the friend with us and one for me!  Both copies are 1959 editions with dust jackets.

The library made us hungry and thirsty, so we decided to walk across the parking lot to La Baguette, a cozy little French sandwich and pastry shop.

We refueled with some coffee and some of the delicious pastries, as well as the great company!

Friends are such a gift!

What a week!

We have soooo enjoyed this week, every packed minute of it.  What a treat to be able to catch up on the last four years of life in Memphis and also be able to share about our lives in the Solomon Islands.

Monday found us at a funeral, but it was still nice to see lots of old friends despite the circumstances.

Monday night, we stayed cool in this triple digit heat by hitting the pool with some friends.

Tuesday, the kids delighted in Tootsie, a therapy dog who also does tricks,

 and we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by a friend (who also happens to be the wife of HHBC's Cambodian congregation's pastor).

Wednesday morning we met a friend from seminary for an early morning cup of coffee.

We celebrated six Choate July birthdays (Aaron's dad wasn't in the picture) on Thursday at lunch,

and Thursday evening we splurged at an ice cream social.

The precious woman who hosted the ice cream social is the widow of the man whose memorial gifts funded most of the 2,000 gallon rain tank now attached to the church in Marulaon village.

This post is getting too long...Friday and Saturday activities coming up in another post.
Katherine just rolled out of bed (after more than 12 hours, I knew our family was tired!), and the first thing she said to me was, "Could I eat this cookie?"  Last night, she made some teeny tiny cookies from the dough that was in our fridge. 

These cookies were for her dolls, Christina and Flowerdy, that she made from notebook paper. 

notice each of Christina's teeth is drawn in detail

So, I asked her if she slept with the cookie.  Her answer:  "No, it was in the fridge."  She meant the doll's fridge, a section of her room that she had designated. 

my bed-head girl and her "fridge"

My next question for her:  "Don't you want to share your cookie with Christina and Flowerdy?"  She responded, "Nope, they're still asleep!" 

Christina & Flowerdy and their toilet paper beds

Oh, how I love my four-year-old girl.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More about the Festival of Pacific Arts

From our SITAG colleagues Lee and Robin concerning the Festival of Pacific Arts, being held in Honiara July 1-14:

"It's technically "winter" now in the Southern Hemisphere, but temperatures in the Solomons will still be sizzling in the 90s while Lee and his [Discovery] team are there. Part of the team will be leading workshops during the Festival of Pacific Arts. The workshops will teach Pacific church leaders and artists how to use their cultural arts to worship God. One young man will conduct interviews with the festival performers, trainers and the audience and create radio spots promoting God’s Word. These radio spots will be put onto DVDs so that they can be sent back to the visiting countries to be used there. The other team members will focus on language work, collecting language data that will be used in translation work. These young men and women come from all over the U.S. and are interested in pursuing missions in the future. This is their opportunity to "check out life on the mission field" while working alongside missionaries and nationals. 

Please pray for Lee as he coordinates the logistics and looks after the team. Pray for the team participants as they seek God’s will for their lives and as they minister. Pray for those who will be impacted by the training, language work and radio broadcasts, that they would develop a personal relationship with our Savior. Pray that God will be glorified through all of it."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mama's chocolate chip cookie recipe

This recipe was the standby cookie recipe of my childhood.  Originally given to us by Reba Dame, a precious woman from our church, I've never tasted any cookie quite like these.  To be honest, there is a bowl of dough in our fridge right now.

Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 8-10 dozen

1 cup margarine or butter
1 cup Criscco
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp water
4 eggs
6 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped pecans
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cream margarine or butter, shortening, oil, sugars, vanilla, water.  Beat in eggs.  Sugar should be essentially dissoved, mixture creamy.  Mix flour, soda, salt well.  Fold into creamed mixture.  Gently stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Cool, store in sealed container.  Dough will keep in fridge 3-4 weeks.  Cookies also freeze well.  (But at our house, neither the dough or the cookies last very long!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Highland Heights Baptist Church

Highland Heights Baptist Church in Memphis, our church home from 2002 through 2006, continues to capture our hearts even though we've been gone so long.

Even though many of our friends are no longer part of this particular church, we have enjoyed reconnecting with so many people and saying thank you to this precious church who has supported and encouraged us during our first term in the Solomon Islands.  These are just a few of the amazing people we grew to love during those few years...


"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus

and of the love you have for all the saints --

the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven

and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. 

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing,

just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it

and understood God's grace in all its truth."  Col. 1:3-6

Monday, June 25, 2012

For today...Monday, June 25

Outside my window...the sun is shining and promising to push us into triple digits today.  So thankful that the humidity is low!

I am thinking...and praying for my parents who will be flying to Ukraine this week for their annual summer mission trip.

From the learning rooms...only a tiny bit of school this week with all of the wonderful people we get to see.  We'll be reading about the riches of Spain (from South America) and King Philip II, and the kids will be doing a little bit of math.

I am thankful for...grandparents who babysit on short notice.  Thanks, Oma and Opa!  What a gift to be close to grandparents again.

From the kitchen...I haven't been cooking much, and I miss it!  We're headed over to a pool party tonight, so we'll be enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers with all of the fixings.  Our contribution is just a plate of chocolate chip cookies (my mom's recipe, and as far as I'm concerned, the best recipe in the world)

I am wearing...clothes for a funeral.  One of our friends from HHBC died a few days ago at the age of 93, and the funeral is this afternoon.

I am reading..."Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman.  Found it marked 90% off and couldn't resist buying it.  And I'm keeping tissues handy.

Pondering these words..."People need to know that Christian leaders, singers, preachers, writers, whoever, are as cracked and broken as the next person.  Maybe more so.  Hopefully they are in positions of leadership, though, because they are serious about following Christ, and so people can see that real success in the kingdom of God is not about being strong and looking good and knowing all the right answers.  It's about continually yielding oneself to Jesus and determing to take purposeful lttle steps of obedience, and the ragged reality that it's all about God and His grace at work in us."    ~Mary Beth Chapman "Choosing to SEE"

I am hoping...that because we spending a little extra time in Memphis, the many hellos and goodbyes won't be quite so hard

I am creating...absolutely nothing.  But that's okay.  I'm enjoying the life God has given me just for today.

I am hearing...giggles and humming and the general hum of a family of six as we get ready to leave the house for the day's activities.

Around the house...the chessboard has stayed out constantly.  If we are home, I can almost always find two of my kids playing a game of chess.

One of my favorite oh so patient husband.  He beats Job any day.

A few plans for the rest of the week...more sharing about our work in the Solomons with friends and supporters.

Here is a picture I am sharing with you...these amazing ladies came over from their own churches to hear Aaron preach yesterday.  These were my choir buddies when we attended HHBC, and I sat in front of them on purpose during church so I could hear them sing together.  I hope I'm as spunky as they are whenever I qualify for "senior saint"!

Blueberry Picking

When we began to plan our travels for the summer, we intentionally scheduled around blueberry picking in Nesbit, Mississippi.

Picking these sweet and juicy fruits was a yearly tradition when we lived in Mississippi, and every chance we get we come back and meet up with some dear friends we originally met at library story time when I was pregnant with Olivia.

The picking season started extra early this year, but we still found three buckets worth of ripe berries.

We also discovered a nest with baby birds hidden in one of the blueberrry bushes.

This is what a successful morning of picking berries looks like - purple fingers (and purple tongues, too!).

After picking blueberries, we headed back over to our friends' home where the kids played and the grownups caught up on four years worth of life.  Sarah also made a print using light sensitive paper and leaves.  My friend, Christine, is a fabulous artist, and she always has cool art supplies lying around the house.

After we reluctantly left their house, we headed to the grocery store for vanilla ice cream to complement the blueberry cobbler we were about to make.  We took the dessert over to spend some time with more friends in Memphis.  As often happens, I got to talking and forgot to take any pictures. 

Something funny happened while we were visiting on the front porch of their cute little old house.  Aaron looked up the temperature in Memphis at 8:15 in the evening:  90 degrees, 42% humidity.  In Honiara at the very same time (4:15 in the morning):  88 degrees, 94% humidity.  Yep, that's why you won't find us cranking up the air conditioning or complaining about the heat.  Feels like home.