Thursday, November 29, 2012

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Thursday, November 29
Outside my window...a strong south wind and lots of sunshine.  Warming up beautifully into the 70s, so it doesn't really feel like the end of November
I am hearing...the dryer, kids practicing their choir music, the hum of a house finally recovering from a big road trip
Around the house...a Fire King bowl (love that Kimberly pattern) filled with peanut butter M&Ms
I am creating...some Christmas presents and finishing up our Advent calendar.  An emergency run to JoAnn fabric & craft store this afternoon, I think.
A heart of thankfulness...for the new computer provided by an offering from First United Methodist Church in Minneola, Kansas.  God's timing is always so perfect.
From the kitchen...carrot-raisin muffins from "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook"
Noticing that...I'm really looking forward to Advent & Christmas.  Let the anticipation and celebration of the gift of Christ begin!
Something I want to remember for later...the first words I heard out of Benjamin's mouth on Thanksgiving morning.  "Happy Thanksgiving, Mom.  I'm so thankful for you!"
From the learning rooms...Eli Whitney, Edward Jenner, Noah Webster (just found a great picture book, "Noah Webster & His Words" by Jeri Chase Ferris); Sarah is studying powers & exponents in algebra, Benjamin just began a big unit on fractions, Olivia is reviewing multiplying & dividing by tens, hundreds or thousands, and Katherine is learning about number bonds
One of my favorite things...catching up with people I haven't seen in years
A few plans for the rest of the week...the week is almost over.  It's just flown by, but tonight the kids have a Southwest Children's Chorus rehearsal, and tomorrow we are attending The Nutcracker Ballet before we drive to Houston for the weekend
A peek into my corner of the world...our simple little Advent calendar

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving finale

What a grand finale!  After Thanksgiving, we spent the weekend fellowshipping with friends from our sending church, Highland Heights Baptist Church in Memphis.  Thanks to a dear friend who opened his home to us, we were able to stay at the "Brewer Bed and Breakfast".  Moments after I took the picture above, Katherine was sound asleep and stayed in Granddaddy's lap for over an hour.

Another sweet friend from church provided supper for us.  What a blessing (thanks, Barbara!) to have a yummy meal waiting.  Once again, good food and fellowship to nourish the body and the soul.

Another perk to staying in the Brewer Bed and Breakfast?  The lovely quilts made years and years ago.

Look at those tiny stitches making every little scrap of material blossom into a beautiful work of art!

Saturday, we got to spend time with so many amazing people!  Even though we would love to have hours and hours to spend together, we're grateful for the little snippets of smiles we can enjoy.

Our first stop was a friend who let us intrude on her family's Thanksgiving gathering.  Even though she had a house full, she still gave us her time (and coffee!).  What generous friends we have.

For lunch, we dined at Café Palladio with another friend surrounded by antiques and served beautiful and delicious food

From there we drove over to Barnes and Noble to meet a friend from seminary days.

And we finished up the day with overflowing hearts because of God's fabulous timing (as always!).  Sarah has a friend who just happened to be celebrating her birthday this weekend.  We didn't make the decision to stay in Memphis after Thanksgiving until just a few days before we left Dallas.


What a treat to celebrate fourteen years of life with a group of beautiful young ladies at Spaghetti Warehouse.

 Sunday morning, we headed off to worship with our church family, not realizing what lay in store.  In Aaron's words, we're just "pieces of the puzzle", and we got moved into position of leading the worship service while playing the guitar (Aaron) and playing the piano (me).  The stomach flu had hit the musicians in the church, leaving a big gap.  Our gracious church didn't mind that I missed notes, we just all worshipped together.

I love the beautiful stained glass windows at church, and I love the beautiful people, too. 
Sunday afternoon, traffic on Interstate 40 doubled our drive time.  We pulled in exhausted, hungry, and sad that our already short time with my side of the family had been cut even shorter.  But my thoughtful mother maximized our time together by making s'mores!

 My brother helped with the cooking, and my sister-in-law joined in the fun, too, even though her husband had to stay in Maine.

We spent less than fourteen hours with my side of the family (including sleep!) and didn't get to see any of my grandparents.  But Christmas is just around the corner, and we'll enjoy some slower time together then. 
Our trip back to Dallas Monday went smoothly.  The kids traveled well and got lots of school done, and we didn't get stuck in traffic.  Now it's time to catch up on laundry and reflect on all of God's good gifts we've just experienced.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The loss of her
Departed leaves

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The Year is old,
The birds are flown.

 And yet the world,
Displays a certain
from "A Child's Calendar" by John Updike
illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman

This just in...

Aaron just found out he passed his comprehensive exams and can now claim another Masters degree under his belt!  Thanks for all of your prayers.  He'll walk and receive his diploma in June just before we leave Texas.

Thanksgiving Books

We are finding all sorts of wonderful pictures books now that we have libraries and book stores aplenty.  One of our new favorite Thanksgiving finds is "The Memory Cupboard" by Charlotte Herman.  This book is a sweet lesson in grace.
Another book that was published while we lived overseas and has caught our fancy is "Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade" by Melissa Sweet.  Our kids got to watch a little bit of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time last week, and we liked how this book introduced our kids to a little slice of American culture and history.
Almost time to break out the Christmas books.  Advent is just around the corner!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving in Memphis

We couldn't have asked for more beautiful autumn weather!  Over and over again we kept hearing that this was the most beautiful autumn in Memphis is years.  Personally, I feel like God did it just for us!

This was the good-looking crew with whom we celebrated Thanksgiving this year:  Aaron's dad and step-mom, grandparents, sister, brother-in-law, niece,  & nephew.  We had so many things for which to thank God:

-Cousins playing together

-Enjoying the Christmas lights at the Memphis Zoo

-Ice skating for the first time

-Not falling down too many times on the ice

-Riding the Ferris wheel

-Watching the others go around on the Ferris wheel

-Snuggling close on the Ferris wheel


-Bedtime stories read by a great-grandmother


-Four generations of Choate men watching football games together

-Sixty-four years of marrige

-Beautiful leaf garlands

 -A creative teenager

-Good kitchen help

-Family dishes with good things inside

-Turkey legs reserved for growing boys

-Working together to decorate for Christmas after the big meal
-a patient great-grandfather placing hooks on ornaments and handing them to great-grandchildren 

-Ornaments from around the world and a grandmother who doesn't mind if the grandchildren hang the fragile ornaments

-the generous hostess and host

-Father and son playing, I mean working together to set up the train

-And the reason we have any good things for which to say thank you


Thanksgiving Road Trip

Last Tuesday, we began our Thanksgiving travels in Arkansas with Aaron's mom and step-dad.  We're so grateful they were willing to let us make a very quick trip, arriving at supper time and leaving just after breakfast.

Aaron's mom has several lovely Christmas cactus that are blooming like crazy.  We decided the plants didn't know that Christmas wasn't here yet!

What a sweet way to begin our time with family and friends, we don't take that time for granted.