Wednesday, July 31, 2013


While our family is enjoying a much needed "unplugged" getaway at a state park, I've got a giveaway to keep the blog busy.
After going through all of the beautiful arts and crafts we brought back from the Solomon Islands, I still have quite a few things.  I've assembled four "grab bag" giveaways similar to the picture above.  If you are interested, please leave a comment before 6 p.m. (Central time) Friday night, August 2nd. 
Thanks for all of you who have encouraged us while we've been on furlough.  Our plane leaves in four days!

Conway, Arkansas

We've spent the last couple of days hanging out with Aaron's mom and dad #2. 
The exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center was fabulous!  Getting a last little bit of art was a boost to our systems.

Katherine especially liked the "pink lady".  So I had to take a picture of the two "pink ladies".

And while we were doing things just one last time,
we had to swing by Sonic for Happy Hour's half priced drinks.

After our trip to Little Rock,

we drove out to the Arkansas River where our kids reminded themselves about living on the beach.

They had so much fun climbing on the rocks

and getting lessons on how to find the best stones for skipping.

Our day was full of sweet memories

and sweet people.

Then Katherine had to offer some comic relief.  "Look, Mama, I'm the Statue of Liberty!"

"Wait, the Statue of Liberty doesn't smile," says my wonderfully observant five-year-old.

Highland Heights Baptist Church

How do I begin to explain what this sweet church in Memphis means to our family?

They took us in as poor seminary students and loved on our family.  We often came home with fresh produce after church on Wednesday nights in the summer.  It wasn't uncommon for us to have a little bit of much needed money slipped to us.  God certainly used them to meet our needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
When Olivia was born, they threw us a great baby shower, and when we had a miscarriage, they cried along with us.  We loved serving shoulder-to-shoulder with them.
Even though our family has changed a lot,

and we live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean,

they still encourage us

and love on us.

And if God hadn't called us to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Solomon Islands,

you would most likely find us living in Memphis.

Highland Heights Baptist Church makes me feel like Paul as he wrote a letter to the church at Colosse:

"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."  Colossians 1:3-6

Thank you, sweet church, for investing in us for so many years.

We can't fathom why you guys love us so much,

but we love you right back!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Memphis, Tennessee

Saturday afternoon, we met a friend at La Baguette to continue our celebration of Sarah's birthday with some fabulous pastries.

After we devoured the yummy treats, we walked over to the Memphis Central Library.  We just can't seem to stay away from books!  Their kids' section is wonderfully big and colorful.

My observant friend noted, "Your blog posts are getting sadder and sadder."  I guess she's right.  Saying goodbye, especially in our beloved Memphis, gets harder every time we hug a neck.  But if it didn't hurt to say goodbye, something would be wrong.

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn't work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos.  ~Charles M. Schulz

Almyra, Arkansas


Friday night, we got to hang out with the fabulous folks at First Baptist Church in Almyra, Arkansas.

Hamburgers fresh off the grill and homemade french fries filled up our tummies while we reconnected with this sweet church family.

Staying with kindred spirits, oh my.  It does my heart a world of good.

How 'bout finding these beautiful luminaries waiting for you in the bathroom?  I felt so loved!

And celebrating Sarah's fourteenth birthday on Saturday gave us even more things to smile about,

as if this sweet bunch of kids wasn't enough.

Ann is a gift of friend who I can count on to pray for me and to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's nudging, even if I'm in a village on the other side of the Pacific Ocean without any way to communicate.  I will miss the frequent text messages to check in with each other, but I'm thankful for this book-loving-Jesus-following-gentle-and-quiet-spirit friend who has lasted through the years.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Holly Grove, Arkansas


We were so glad we got to go back and spend a little bit of time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins on Thursday,

especially because my uncle had triple bypass surgery only a couple of weeks ago.

While my aunt and I perused books and chatted the hours away, everybody else played hard:  on the piano,

on the zipline

on the rope swing, on the basketball court, on the badminton court,
in the imaginary world of cooking outside,

and in learning a game from Marulaon village.  Our family was sore the next day.

The Schalchlin side of my family is special, and I found a couple of quotes that sum us up quite nicely:

Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.  ~Unknown

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu