Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sweet Sabbath

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and for his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."  
Psalm 107:8-9

Thanking Him for His wonderful deeds this weekend:

-for the Fataleka language in the Solomon Islands who recently finished checking the book of Luke (and for our friends and colleagues who assisted them)

-for the chance to spend a Friday evening at a Wycliffe Dessert Night with amazing people seeking God's direction as to where they can best serve to further Bible translation around the world

-for rain over the weekend, the coolness that came along with the rain, and cancelled plans that meant we stayed home

-for homemade pumpkin spice lattes to share with my kids

-for the testimony of a dear colleague of ours in the Solomon Islands who impacted this woman's life

"She told me that she could read English but she didn't understand what she was reading as it was in a language that she doesn't speak and doesn't really understand! She told me that Owa is her language and she has spoken Owa all her life but no one had taught her how to read her own language! She said that she had to wait until she was at church for the Pastor to read from the English Bible and then "chew it up" and explain it in Owa language for her to understand and feed from God's Word! She told me with great joy that she is so thankful that I came and taught her and others how to read her own language as now any time and any day she is now able to read her Owa New Testament and feed from God's word herself!! This is why I love doing what I do here! Praying this dear lady continues to read and feed from the living Word of God and may God change her and make her more like Jesus!"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another reason I'm thankful we get to educate our children at home?  Drinking coffee outside while enjoying the beautiful sunshine and breeze...

reviewing for a science test...

and observing the thought processes of these amazing students.  I love watching their brains work.  I love learning alongside them.  I have the best job in the world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Wrinkles should merely indicated where smiles have been." 
 ~Mark Twain

We were honored last night to help celebrate a friend's birthday with lots of smiles and pumpkin cheesecake.  Getting wrinkles is worth all of the smiles!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Hurricanes can strike us all, one way or another.  Even those who are outside the natural hurricane belt may be subject to hurricanes of the spirit, the heart.  And there is only one way to meet any kind of hurricane:  batten down, ride it out, face it with courage."  
~Gladys Taber from Stillmeadow Sampler

We experienced a hurricane day at our house earlier this week.  Lots of tears, angry words, stolen bikes, hard hearts and bad attitudes.  So we did "batten down, ride it out, face it with courage", but we didn't have to face it alone.  Prayer strengthened us, extra snuggles soothed us, and an early bedtime fortified us.  In the light of the next day, the aftermath of our hurricane didn't look so bad.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness....The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him..."  Lamentations 3:22, 23, 25


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

See You at the Pole

 We're so thankful that Sarah was able to participate with other home school students at 7:00 this morning as they prayed for the schools and homes in our community.  Our youth pastor offered the youth building as a place for these students to meet for See You at the Pole, since they have no school building.  

Of course, any early morning brightens considerably with the French Breakfast Muffins that Sarah made to share with the other students.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, September 24

Outside my window...the windchimes are going crazy in this wind, and it still feels like summer with our mid-90s

I am thinking...about sin.  Not a pretty topic.  But last week's sermon in Arkansas, this week's sermon in Texas, and my weekly Bible study have all dealt with recognizing sin in our life and dealing with it.  

 A heart of thanksgiving...for my precious five-year-old daughter.  We celebrate her birth today!
  This is her first time she's enjoyed a birthday in America.  Her first birthday we celebrated in Papua New Guinea, her second we were in Marulaon Village in the Solomons, her third we were in Brisbane, Australia, last year we were in Honiara, Solomon Islands.  

Katherine only a few days old

I am wearing...a denim skort and a red t-shirt, and a little garnet and freshwater pearl pendant that Aaron gave me for our first Christmas as a married couple

Some of my favorite things...Cinnamon Roast Almonds, Via Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee, and Pumpkin Spice Scripture Tea.  Even though it still feels like summer outside, inside our house, it feels like fall!

From the kitchen...hummingbird cake for Katherine's birthday.

In the learning rooms...Benjamin begins Teaching Textbooks 7 for math this week, and he is so excited!  

Noticing that...birthdays are more fun with friends and family to help you celebrate

Something I want to remember for later...Olivia trying to convince me that she needed to buy Katherine two books instead of one, even though I kept telling her that two books meant twice as much money.  Olivia's response?  "But I like Katherine!"

A few plans for the rest of the week...taking my mom to the airport this afternoon, the kids have choir rehearsal tonight, so Aaron and I (and our five-year-old chaperone) will have our planning date for the week, tomorrow night I have Bible study at the church, Wednesday night is normal activities at church, Thursday we have company coming to celebrate a birthday, Friday we get to help out with a Wycliffe dessert night focused on the Pacific (if you are in the area join us!), and Saturday the kids have a Southwest Children's Chorus get-together

A peek into my corner of the world...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ice Cream Cones

Yesterday was the birthday of the ice cream cone, and we never pass up the opportunity to celebrate with ice cream.  We read some of our favorite books:

And celebrated with some of our favorite people!  My mom is in town for the weekend, and we snagged some friends from church  (also Wycliffe Associates) who happened to walk by just as we were ordering our ice cream.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Love Loud

We joined our church family this morning to serve in Love Loud.

I love the idea of taking the gifts that God has given each one of us and finding a way to plug those gifts in to serve the community.

Olivia, Benjamin, Aaron, and Katherine held up signs to show people where to go.

Sarah used her creativity to paint faces.

And I got to read books to sweet little ones who went home with a bag of books, a New Testament, and a handmade bookshelf.  What a great way to spend the morning!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last Day of Summer

How do we celebrate the last day of summer?

We go to the pool!  Aaron met us late this afternoon for a fun time of playing together as a family.  We have so many reasons to celebrate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

 Maybe my sense of humor is a little bit odd, but didn't anybody think that Katherine's version of maroon was funny?  I had to stifle my laughter after she named that beautiful color "Camaroon".

This morning, the kids and I were just starting out for our morning exercise when we noticed a different kind of bird flying overhead.  We looked up and saw five or six of these beautiful green "parrots" had settled in the tree on the edge of the church parking lot to enjoy the berries.  We felt like we were back in Marulaon!  Anybody know what kind of birds they are?

Love Loud is almost here!  Our family walked over to the church this afternoon to help stick labels on water bottles.  Saturday, Aaron and the younger kids will be passing out bottles to thirsty visitors while Sarah and I work with visiting children.  If you live in the area, come on over and help us.  The more, the  merrier!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Katherine's new favorite color is a deep, dark red...a color she calls "Camaroon".

Monday, September 17, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

This is what popped out of the Choate kitchen this afternoon.  Perfect for a cool, breezy day!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

For the Bars:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
one 12-ounce jar strawberry jam, or your favorite flavor

For the Glaze (which we didn't make):
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp hot water, or as needed

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over two opposite edges of the pan.

To make the bars:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, both sugars, and peanut butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Turn the speed down to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.  The dough will resemble cookie dough.

Press two-thirds of the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough.  Distribute small dollops of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.  The edges will be firm and the center should be set.  Remove the bars from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze:  Mix the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and hot water together in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add more water if necessary to reach the consistency of a glaze.

Drizzle the bars with the vanilla glaze, then cut into squares.  The squares will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Texas Woman's Daybook

For today...Monday, September 17

Outside my window...drizzly and a little cool (whoohoo!)

I am hearing...Philip Glass' Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, the washing machine spinning (I never get over the awe of how easy it is to do laundry here!)

I am thinking...about Mondays.  They always seem to be a day of catching up from a busy weekend and a day full of errands.  Katherine, my little helper, keeps me company and gives me encouragement as I try to check things off my list before I run out of steam at the end of the day

I am praying...for two families flying across the ocean right now on their way to new lives in the Solomon Islands.  Welcome to the team!

A heart of thanksgiving...that Benjamin's viola finally came.  That boy has been waiting so long, and I'm so excited for him to have the opportunity to make music this way.

I am wearing...exercise clothes in preparation for PE this morning

I am creating...nothing.  But if I were, it would be these cute loyalty and kindness necklaces.

From the kitchen...Indian Chicken in the crockpot to help us with a quick and early exit for Southwest Children's Choir rehearsal tonight.  Love my crockpot!

In the learning rooms...early 1700's, so we're listening to a lot of Bach and Handel

Around the house...a pair of beautiful pillowcases that my aunt embroidered for our wedding present.  They were special then, but they become more precious every day.

Noticing that...the scale is going the right direction!  Ten pounds down, forty to go to help me be healthy and strong before we return to the Solomons next summer.

Pondering these words..."The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in is heart; his feet do not slip."  Psalm 37:30-31

A few plans for the rest of the week...children's choir tonight, then just "normal" life until my mom comes on Friday

A peek into my corner of the world...our family visited First Baptist Church in Genoa, Arkansas for a fast and furious trip.  We got to catch up with some friends from seminary and share about Bible translation.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We each have a list of things that we want to do to help us "fill back up" while we are back in America.  For Aaron and me, going on dates again and attending symphony concerts are two of the things on our lists.  Last night, we were able to do both!

We love sitting in the choral terrace in the Meyerson Symphony Center.  

Since Aaron and I had both played three of the four pieces on the program, we knew where to look and when to listen for different instruments.  I had a hard time sitting still.  Oh my. Pines of Rome ended the concert with a terrific bang!  I wanted to play at this level again so badly that tears streamed down my face, but right now I'm content to practice on my own and to sound like I'm in high school again.  What a gift to be able to enjoy music this way again.

Friday, September 14, 2012


 Different people are refreshed by different things.  Last night, our family was refreshed by this encouraging couple as they joined us for supper.

This morning, we are feeling refreshment from the cooler temperatures.  Our bodies' tropical thermostats think winter has come, even though the highs will be in the upper 70's today.  Though these temperatures won't last, we are delighting in the coolness and anticipating the changes that Autumn brings.

"They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."  Psalm 145:7

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One of our colleagues wrote an article about some of the unique challenges translators face in the Solomon Islands.  Would you be willing to pray today for these men and women who trust God to provide everything they need to get the Bible translated into their heart language?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."  Mark 12:30