Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Tuesday, April 30
Outside my window...the morning was so absolutely gorgeous.  A beetle moving the grass caught my eye...

and as the sun crept higher, it caught several horizontal spider webs clinging to the wet grass.

The pecan trees are doing their best to produce a bumper crop.

One last royal iris bravely blooms next door in the yard of the church's other mission home.  

And it looks like one of the peach trees escaped the late frost.  Baby peaches!

On my bookshelf... "The Green Glass Sea" by Ellen Klages.  Thanks to my friend, Grace, I've got a great book to read along with our studies in the 1940's.
Noticing that...my morning glories are finally coming up!

A heart of thankfulness...for people who know what they're doing when we don't have a clue.  I really appreciate others sharing their wisdom with us.

I am hearing...Katherine playing the piano.  That girl has tons of music in her!

Pondering these words... "In seeking the Best we soon find that our enemy is our good things not our bad.  The things that keep us back from God's best are not sin and imperfection, but the things that are right and good and noble from the natural standpoint....Very few us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good."  ~Oswald Chambers

From the kitchen...broccoli rice quiche tonight, just because I already have the ingredients in the house.  Headed to the grocery store tomorrow.
Around the house...lots of boxes for the crate headed out the door in just a few minutes.  Hope we didn't forget anything.

From the learning rooms...the 1940's, Benjamin finishes his math book this week, Aaron Copland, Katherine is learning about American money.
A few plans for the rest of the week...the kids have an extra choir rehearsal and we have an extra handbell rehearsal, both on Thursday night.  This weekend will be busy with extra family coming, the kids' choir concert Saturday night, handbells playing Sunday morning, and Aaron baptizing both Olivia and Katherine!
A peek into my corner of the world...we love these two and enjoyed our front row seat last night. Looking forward to watching God use them as a husband/wife team!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekends (and every day) are for church family

We've always loved our church family.  In every state, God has given us an amazing body of believers to come alongside us.  But until we began to attempt to worship in a different language and a different country, we never truly appreciated what church can be.

This weekend, we enjoyed a big, wonderful dose of time with some of our church staff.  Somehow our pastor and his sweet wife made time to come share a meal with us.

Then, after church yesterday, we got to celebrate a birthday!  We love this precious, transparent staff wife.

And her family, too!

We always find ourselves nodding in agreement as we delve into deep conversations and listen to each other's hearts.

 Last night, our church presented another Acts 1:8 night as we sent out this young family to serve overseas.  Our missions pastor opened with the video of "How Great is Our God (World Version)".   I had never seen or heard that particular version, and I sat in the pew with tears running down my face as each different language was sung.  This video showed exactly what I feel in reverse.  I've been able to come back to my home country and worship and fellowship in my heart language. 
I needed this time of furlough.  I needed the time to hear God's Word in English and to sing in English.  I am so grateful the Body of Christ, and I think every day is a great day to spend time together!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Going out with a bang!

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them."  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  Psalm 126:2-3
We've got eight weeks left in Texas.  And so begins the series of goodbyes and last times.  Last night, we attended our last Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert and experienced a sweet time of laughter and fellowship in addition to some fabulous chamber music.  The Lord has certainly done great things for us by providing us with new friends and allowing us to dive into the world of music again.  Our tanks are overflowing as we prepare to go back to the Solomon Islands and pour ourselves out again...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kids, not grass

One of my favorite Family Circus cartoons shows the dad in the yard in a variety of scenarios with his children.

In each scene, the children are having a blast, and the grass gets more worn and torn up.

The last frame of the cartoon shows a neighbor leaning over the fence and telling the dad that his grass would look better if he'd quit playing outside with his kids.

I love the reply, "We're not raising grass, we're raising children."

This duo of dads played hard with their kids this afternoon.  Amid the shrieks of laughter and the happy flushed cheeks,

I was reminded of how these dads are intentionally raising great kids and investing their time and energy in things that will have an eternal impact.  Not grass.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

 Eleanor Roosevelt's Pink Cloud on Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake
1 cup cake flour (sift before measuring)
1 1/4 cups egg whites (10 or 12)
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Sift flour at least twice.  Bat egg whites with beater until foamy; add cream of tartar and 1 cup of sugar gradually.  Continue beating until egg whites stand up in peaks.  Add almond flavoring. 
Sift remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with salt and flour, and very carefully fold into egg whites.  Bake in tube pan in 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

 Whipped Cream and Strawberries (Pink Clouds)
1 pint strawberries
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
1/2 cup sugar

Crush berries with sugar.  Let sand 30 minutes.  Carefully fold berries into whipped cream.  Spoon on top of angel food cake.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Texas Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Tuesday, April 23
Outside my window...the temperature continues to drop and the wind is howling.  We're supposed to be down in the 30's tonight, so we brought the herbs inside.
On my bookshelf... "Franklin and Eleanor:  An Extraordinary Marriage" by Hazel Rowley.  I like to find "grown up" books to follow along with our kids in school.  Helps keep my mind growing, too.  Following my love for mysteries, I also found a series written by Elliot Roosevelt (one of FDR and Eleanor's sons) featuring his mother as the heroine.  Just finished "Murder at the Palace" and hoping that the others are good, too.
Noticing that...even in this country, care packages make me giddy.  Thanks, Gayly!
A heart of thankfulness...for my Olivia finally letting go.  For more than two years, she has kicked against submitting to Jesus' love and grace.  May 5, Aaron will get to baptize both Katherine and Olivia. 
I am hearing...the quietness of a house asleep for the night.  Earlier, Charles Ives' string quartets were playing as we fixed supper, then we enjoyed the cacophony of kids running around and playing after supper, but now it's just sleepy and quiet.
Pondering these words... "What becomes important is not that I manage time; but that I let God manage me."  ~David W. Henderson
From the kitchen...the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls.  I've loved this blog since before we left to go overseas.  Returning from the Solomon Islands and finding that the Pioneer Woman had rocketed into foodie stardom shocked and pleased me!  Sarah started them yesterday afternoon, and Aaron and I finished putting them together this morning.  You know that everything around here is a team effort.
Around the house...the crate shipment has been postponed to May 1st.  So, now we're trying to put together gift bags for SITAG's Conference in September.  Our circle of friends rose to the challenge two years ago to encourage the missionaries in the Solomon Islands.  Anyone interested again?
From the learning rooms...we've entered the depression and the dust bowl.  What a joy to have libraries and bookstores at our fingertips!  "Wingwalker" by Rosemary Wells, "My Heart Will Not Sit Down" by Mara Rockliff, "Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie" by Gloria Whelan, "Picking Peas for a Penny" by Angela Shelf Medearis, "Saving Strawberry Farm" by Deborah Hopkinson, "The Babe and I" by David A. Adler, "Dust for Dinner" by Ann Turner, "Potato:  A Tale from the Great Depression" by Kate Lied, "Eleanor" by Barbara Cooney, "When Marian Sang" by Pam Munoz Ryan, "Eleanor, Quiet No More" by Doreen Rappaport, "A Boy Named FDR" by Kathleen Krull, "What Charlie Heard" by Mordicai Gerstein, "Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride" by Pam Munoz Ryan
A few plans for the rest of the week...the week picks up steam as it goes along.  We're looking forward to a double date to the Dallas Symphony on Friday night and hosting some of our church staff at our house this weekend.  Our staff is always pouring themselves out for everybody else, and we are so thankful for them.
A peek into my corner of the world...sweet friends who evacuated from Central African Republic and came to roost in Dallas for a few months.  We had never met their boys, and tonight was a great time of reconnecting after almost five years!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Olivia handed me a letter this morning...

Dear Jesus,

I admit that I am a sinner.  I am rude and mean and I lie, too.  I know that I also feel guilty about that.  So I want to ask your forgiveness for every sinful thing I've done.  I know you will.

I believe (have faith) that you will save me, that you will say, "You reached your goal".  And "You are mine" or "I love you."  You can do anything, and it's time to believe.

And last I will share this with my family and friends.  I am so happy now I believe and admit to you.  This is a happy prayer.  Lord, thank you for saving me, a sinner.  Amen.

by Olivia Choate
April 21, 9:19 p.m

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."  ~Mother Teresa

The last few days have been full of opportunities to celebrate and give back just a tiny bit to families who serve the Lord through Bible translation in the Pacific:

-celebrating the defense of a Master's Thesis for our friend, Ryan, (and his family) and the completion of a Masters of Arts in Linguistics for both of these great guys

-giving driving lessons to the sixteen-year-old son of colleagues who have returned to the Solomon Islands

-sharing a meal and celebrating the Kwaio New Testament typesetting that continues to progress at blazing speed.  Our friends got a taste of how it feels to play our cellos, then we all sang a few hymns together.  Including "Great Is Thy Faithfulness", very appropriate for all that God is doing for this language in the Solomon Islands

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Introvert? Extrovert? Ambivert?

Thanks to a bloggy friend, we have discovered an intriguing new book, "Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain.

I gave it to Aaron to read first, since I already have a few books waiting on the shelf, and he is devouring this book!  At breakfast a few days ago, he administered the quiz found at the beginning of the book.  No surprise to us, our family (minus Katherine) breaks down like this:
Aaron - extreme introvert
Sarah - moderate introvert
Joanna - ambivert
Olivia - moderate extrovert
Benjamin - extreme extrovert
Each morning at breakfast, we look forward to the discussion this fascinating book creates around our table.  Sometimes, we're even late for chores.
Where do each of you fall in this range, and how do you feel about the high value our world places on extroverts?

Friday, April 19, 2013

 The bright flashes of lightning and the booms of thunder woke us up yesterday a little before five o'clock, and soon I had a sweet five-year-old girl snuggling in bed with me.  Aaron and I decided to go ahead and start the day since we had a full day ahead and the alarm was about to go off anyway.

I love the flexibility of homeschool, and our kids work so diligently so that we have the flexibility to do other things in addition to school.  On this rainy and cold Thursday, we got to babysit three precious kids so their parents could do some packing in preparation for their move overseas.

We had a blast hanging out with this bunch.  Olivia took a special interest in the baby and kept him happy almost the whole morning. 

However, I got to hold him while I read books to the girls snuggled up on the couch, and he slowly drooped in my arms until this was my view: a sweet sleeping baby for almost an hour.

Inevitably, on rainy days, Sarah pipes up with, "It's raining!  We should make Rainy Day Squares!"  So we did.

We found the recipe in Usborne's Farmyard Tales Children's Cookbook when Sarah and Benjamin were tiny, and obviously the recipe is still a hit!

 Brown sugar tastes better when you lick it off your fingers.  You should try it sometime.

While the "Rainy Day Squares" were baking, we mixed up a batch of green play dough.  I ran out of salt, or we would have mixed up a rainbow of colors.

I love to watch creativity come shining out, and play dough never disappoints.  This crew made a little colony of mama and baby birds and nests.

So thankful we got some time to fellowship when the parents joined us for a quick lunch before they all went home for naps and more packing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Seems like there is almost always a reason to celebrate!  A few days ago, we gathered with friends from church to celebrate a birthday we missed while we were in New Mexico.

We're so thankful for these friends who have stayed in touch even while we've been on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

 Sarah made a fabulous cinnamon cheesecake as a substitute birthday cake.

We finished our evening together as the dads and kids played football and the ladies sat on the patio and cheered (and dodged several errant footballs).  Sweet times with sweet people!