Thursday, January 31, 2013

We get to work with some amazing people, and Tuesday our stateside "boss" and his wife came over for a couple of hours.  What a joy to finally get to meet them and to hear a little bit of their story!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exciting Times!

The Solomon Island Translation Advisory Team has added a couple of new translation teams since we've been on furlough.  We are so excited that one team has recently been assigned to the Duke language in the Western province and the other team has been assigned to the Malango language on the island of Guadalcanal.  What an answer to prayer!  It's never too late to sign up for the Bibleless People Prayer Project (BPPP) and make a difference around the world.  The Lavukal have been recipients of prayer through this program since 1992, and we have no doubts about the impact of prayer on Bible translation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, January 28
Outside my window...cloudy and warm.  Feels like Spring!  We love having the windows open day and night.
One of my favorite things...when people accept last minute invitations.  We enjoyed great fellowship yesterday after church because a family from our Sunday School class was willing to come over after church and share a simple lunch with us.
From the kitchen...Sarah made a blackberry skillet cake this weekend using the last of the blackberries we picked in May.  Such sweet memories!

A heart of thankfulness...for the four Lavukal translators, Simon, Matthew, Albert, and Ezekiel, and their willingness to sacrifice so that their friends and families can have God's Word in their own language.  Please pray for these men and their families.
On my bookshelf...just started reading "Abraham's Well" by Sharon Ewell Foster.  I don't usually read much historical fiction, but I found it in our library and the book fits in with our history studies.  We'll see if I make it through the whole book!
Pondering these words..."It is kind of the Lord to demolish our confidence in our own strength, abilities, and cherished methods....Yes, it is a kindness when he strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of his sustaining grace....It is only when we are finally freed from those oh-so-constricting straight jackets of self-righteousness that we are able to experience the true comfort and warmth of the robes of his righteousness."  ~Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
From the learning rooms...we love Sonlight's history programs.
And adding the Story of the World Activity Book has given us some fun times, like pretending we are Texas Rangers and outlaws.

Santa Anna's crushing victory at the Alamo happened only a few years before Chopin wrote one of my favorite pieces, his cello sonata in g minor.  At the same, David Livingstone was finishing up his medical studies and preparing to go to Africa.
Learning about history around the world has never been so exciting!

A few plans for the rest of the week...taking a meal to a family tonight because the mom is out of town and dad recently had knee surgery, our state-side "boss" and his wife are coming over tomorrow to share lunch with us and my mom is coming tomorrow evening.  We'll keep her busy with a trip to the Dallas Zoo and a trip to Canton for First Monday Trade Days.  Friday night, I've been asked to bring a short devotional (along with several other women) at our church's Night of Devotion.  This is way out of my comfort zone, so I would appreciate prayers!  Saturday, a former student and his family are coming to eat lunch and play games.  Looking like a great week ahead!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


 One of the best things about not living in this country all of the time is that "normal" events feel like treats to our family.  After living overseas, I think we more readily recognize them as gifts from God's hand instead of taking them for granted.  For three days in a row, we have basked in some big treats!

Thursday night, we took the whole family out to eat (thanks to some gifts cards from Oma and Opa!)


and then drove into Dallas to attend an all Mozart concert.  The kids are still pretending to conduct and play different instruments!

Friday night, Sarah attended her first "lock-out", an all night event sponsored by our church youth group.  The theme of the evening was the 1950s, and a sweet lady from church loaned Sarah a vintage circle skirt for the evening.

The skirt twirled beautifully!

Then, this morning, the three big kids bowled to raise money for their trip to Canada with the Southwest Children's Chorus in June.

Aaron and I had fun watching them try out different techniques, and all the way home the kids kept talking about how much fun they had learning to bowl.  Just feels like God keeps giving us more and more gifts, and we're so thankful!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I have a friend, Joy, who always manages to write down exactly what I'm feeling.  Since she also serves cross-culturally, her thoughts often mirror mine.  Today she posted in  "Living in Three Places":
"How do I fully live in California when everyone knows I have one foot out the door?...I am never going to feel totally at home in one place here on earth.  My life has given me opportunities to leave parts of my heart all over the globe.  Each time I leave somewhere, my heart is different....And despite the emotional challenges, the headaches and the tears, I wouldn't have my world any other way."
Words for me to ponder as I pack a box full of material for my friends like Ofoaen, Kiko & her sister Grace in Marulaon Village.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Outside my window...the sky this morning certainly sang for joy.  Yesterday when we were exercising, the brilliant blue was broken only by the jets coming and going from DFW with their bright white plumes.  This morning, I got out a few minutes earlier and got to watch the difference clouds make as the sun came up.  Glorious oranges and reds and purples and golds!
One of my favorite things...acorns.  Something I used to take for granted before we moved to the Solomon Islands.
From the learning rooms...the Alamo, Nat Turner's revolt, David Livingstone; Katherine - addition & subtraction; Olivia - dividing a fraction by a whole number, wind & weather; Benjamin - decimals; Sarah - functions & equations; the Five Kingdom system
Noticing that...I love it when people just drop by (like a friend did yesterday morning).  Even when the house is a mess.
A heart of thankfulness...that the kids did great last week having their blood drawn and getting their shots!
We finish up the meds for our Typhoid vaccination this afternoon (four pills taken on an empty stomach, one every other day), then we'll be down to "normal" pediatric shots and one more dose of Hepatitis A in July.
From the kitchen...apricot carrot muffins and turkey sausagefor breakfast, eating leftovers to clean out the fridge for lunch, and tonight hot and spicy tortilla soup
Pondering these words..."The remembrance of Christ's intercession, our Father's love for us, and our desperation are the fuel we need to build the fire of fervent prayer in our hearts."  ~Elyse Fitpatick
A few plans for the rest of the week...the kids choir rehearsal got cancelled tonight, so everybody gets to enjoy some coffee at the White Rhino and a quick trip to the library.  Tomorrow night is normal church activities, but Thursday night we are taking the whole family for a night out on the town.  Using some great gift cards we received at Christmas to go out for supper at a restaurant with tablecloths, then driving into Dallas to attend the Dallas Symphony Orchestra!  Friday night, the youth at church have a "Lock Out", so Sarah will attend.  Saturday morning, the Southwest Children's Chorus is sponsoring a bowl-a-thon to help the kids raise money for their tour to Canada in June.  Every little penny helps!

A peek into my corner of the playing multi-generational games.
Especially when it's more than okay for the cutest four year old little girl you've ever seen to run the ball in for a touchdown.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sweet Sabbath

 "All the gifts which we possess have been bestowed by God and entrusted to us on condition that they be distributed for our neighbors' benefit."  ~John Calvin
Just a few of the ways others have recently distributed God's good gifts to me:

-berry blintzes made by my husband so I could get some extra rest and time with the Lord Saturday morning

-a special daddy/daughter ball sponsored by our church, a blessing to many families

-celebrating six years of life with a good friend

-being included as extended family and observing the precious gift of dandelions from a little boy to his mama

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Days

Tuesday morning, Aaron and I woke up to sleet hitting the window.  Soon, snow replaced the sleet, and we woke up the kids a little early so they could watch. 

We got enough snow to make this tiny snowman (I thought it looked like a snow duck with a carrot beak). 
We had already been pretending it was snowy inside.

Katherine liked writing her spelling words in shaving cream "snow".

Every year we have fun making our own snow with these delicious snowballs.

In addition to our old favorites, we've found some new books on my mom's bookshelf and at the library that help us celebrate the cold.

Books like "The Missing Mitten Mystery" by Steven Kellogg, "Axle Annie" by Robin Pulver, and especially the sweet "Now It Is Winter" by Eileen Spinelli may have to find their way into our crate headed back to the Solomon Islands.

Lemon Snowballs
Cookie Dough:
2 sticks butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp Kool-Aid lemonade
(mix these together in a bowl)

Cream butter, sugar and flavorings.  Add flour and mix until a dough forms.  Roll into 1" balls and bake 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  They will not be brown on top.  While cookies are warm, toss them in the lemon powdered sugar mixture and place them on a plate to cool. 
Makes about three dozen cookies.
Note from a bloggy friend, where I originally found this recipe years ago:
I place the cookies on a cookie rack after they've been tossed in the sugar mix.  I then use a sifter to cover them once or twice more with the sugar mix.  It makes them a little more "snowy." :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bibliophile friends

In July of 2006, we met a new friend at Barnes and Noble storytime as she read books to a bunch of wiggly preschoolers.  Cathy has stayed in touch over the years, and we're so thankful that she joined us for lunch today.  It's so much fun to talk about books with somebody who loves them as much as we do!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, January 14
Outside my window...just saw a little sparrow on our bird feeder.  We finally moved the feeder around to the front porch because we weren't attracting birds in the back yard by the church's parking lot.
Hearing...Schumann's Cello Concerto as the kids work.  I love the time period in history we are about to enter.  So much in the world of music and art!
Pondering these words..."We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasure on earth and in eternity.  Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible.  It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again." 
~A.W. Tozer
Praying for...lots of people hurting and overwhelmed.  Friends flying back across the ocean from the Solomon Islands, another friend who just suffered a miscarriage, a Solomon family who have just lost a child, friends at church who are just spent, the list seems endless.  Looking for ways I can be a Hurt Healer.
A heart of thankfulness...for our 16th "proposal-versary" yesterday (complete with rocky road ice cream)

and a husband who still writes me love notes (it says "I heart J").

From the kitchen...warm comfort food for a cold day.  Puffy apple omelet for breakfast,

 cream of broccoli soup for lunch, and veggie lasagna for an early supper before the kids go to choir practice
Creating...a little project with Sarah on the bulletin board.  Going to be the silhouette of a tree with Bible verses around it.  We'll add leaves and more verses as spring and Easter get closer.  Just an idea germinating right now.
In the learning rooms...Frederick Douglas, Simon Bolivar, Robert & Clara Schumann; working towards the President's Fitness Challenge with sit ups and the mile run; a little snow unit that I think will be fun for all of us

A few plans for the rest of the eye appointment today for me this afternoon & choir rehearsal for the kids tonight, company Tuesday, blood work and shots on Wednesday, company Thursday, Daddy/Daughter banquet at church on Friday, and Sarah heads to a friend's birthday party on Saturday
A peek into my corner of the world...

We enjoyed some refreshing time with a family from church who joined us for lunch yesterday.  It was one of those afternoons when we all looked at the clock and said, "Oh!  It's already time to go back to church!" because we had been visiting so long.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Race Day

 We joined some friends for another fun morning of racing at the Jiggle Butt Run.  As funny as the name sounds, this race for women and children benefitted Safe Haven of Tarrant County and New Missions in Haiti, and we were happy to run for a good cause.

We even added our own international flair by making signs in different languages.  Sarah is holding one that says "Run!" in Lavuklave.

 Katherine's sign was in English,

but this one is in Solomon Island's Pijin.  It says something like, "The Solomon team is number one!"

We're so thankful for this amazing family and the races we've gotten to enjoy together over the years.

The race finished just in time for the wind and rain to pick up as a cold front began to blow in.  Now, I'm listening to the rain pound and wishing we had rain tanks here to save all of this wonderful water...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rainy Days

Yesterday, the Dallas area got several inches of much needed rain.  Not only are the downspouts overflowing, but my heart is overflowing with thankfulness.  The cool wet weather has been perfect for...

-steaming bowls of chili

-a coffee date at the White Rhino to catch up with a Solomon Island/Texas friend

-learning more about DNA structure

and having fun while learning

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This morning while I was reading my Bible, I came across a passage familiar to many of us from a Sunday School song:  "The wise man built his house upon the rock..."
But this time I noticed the beginning of the passage: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matthew 7:24).  What words of Jesus?  How had I NEVER noticed that this story comes right at the end of the Sermon on the Mount?!?

What a "coincidence" that our pastor is preaching through the book of Matthew and just reached the Beatitudes last Sunday.  So I grabbed Aaron's parallel Bible to give me a fresh perspective on a familiar passage and jumped in...
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule."  Matthew 5:3 MSG
This is going to be exactly what I needed. Of course, the Lord knew I needed to be here today.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well, it's that time again.  We have begun the doctors' visits leading to our return to the Solomon Islands this summer, which also means school in the waiting room.  So thankful for the amazing staff who give their time and energy toward the ILC clinic!  Not only do we enjoy enjoy the staff's sweet smiles and knowledge of life overseas, but they also do their best to give us fabulous medical care as inexpensively as possible.  I think we need to take some banana bread when we go back next week to begin our shots...

Monday, January 7, 2013


Math has never been so much fun to learn.

Even if it was a little loud,

many hands made Katherine's lesson in subtraction memorable.