Saturday, March 31, 2018


"Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes."  
~Charles Dickens

On March 24, we quietly celebrated twenty-eight years of holding hands by going out to a lovely little crepe place for breakfast.  Life with Aaron gets better every day.

While Aaron and I were holding hands, our delightful teenagers were enjoying God's creation with my cousins at Petit Jean State Park.

"This physical world was designed by God to be one big finger that points you to the only place where your heart will find satisfaction and rest."  ~Tedd Tripp

What a great way to finish up our Spring Break...soaking up play and rest and family and outdoors...all pointing us to our Creator where we alone find satisfaction and value.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Yellow Rock at Devil's Den

Our last day of playing together (before we returned to the world of dentist appointments and mountains of laundry) we decided to hike the Yellow Rock trail at Devil's Den.

SOOOOO many nooks and crannies to explore and scenic vistas to soak up!

We enjoyed blue skies and warmer temps,

a much appreciated change from the weather during our visit to Pea Ridge.

I'm still a little giddy that I can hold Aaron's hand in public and stand close enough to take a selfie with him.  For the last ten years, our brains have been trained not to display affection publicly as we've served in a Melanesian context.

Having Sarah home from college has been a real treat, too.  I'm getting spoiled to hearing her sweet voice singing around the house and to enjoying the goodies that spring effortlessly from her fingertips.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Our second day tromping around in northwest Arkansas, we visited Pea Ridge National Military Park.

As my friend, Ann, so eloquently wrote on her blog, I'm thankful that our family enjoys experiencing life together.  I can't imagine nicer, funnier people with whom to share life!

Can you see that straight section of road above?  It's part of the Old Wire Road, the telegraph route that led from Saint Louis to Fort Smith, and clearly visible from this beautiful overlook which was part of Pea Ridge's fabulous battlefield displays.

The Old Wire Road doubled with the stagecoach route, 

the Butterland Overland Mail trail right next to Elkhorn Tavern.  

The day was chilly and blustery, so at one point on the driving tour, Benjamin hopped out and called us on his phone.  He read the display and indicated points of interest while the rest of us stayed toasty and warm in the van.

We finished our tour of the battlefield by lying down in the eroded trenches that the Union soldiers dug in anticipation of a battle that never happened.

A day spent learning and laughing together equaled a day well invested.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pep in My Step

I think all mamas and teachers must drag a little bit after a wonderful week of playing and resting during Spring Break.  I'm finding it very difficult to muster up any "pep in my step" even after three days of being back in the routine!

So this morning, I decided to play my new favorite tunes Hymned and Hymned Again (until recently, I didn't even know that Bart Millard was the lead singer of Mercy Me).  I love the musical variations on these beloved songs.  Hymns always encourage me and help me turn my mind toward Jesus.  And that's exactly what I need to put some more pep in my step this week.

I also chose to wear my widow's mite pendant today.  Years and years ago, our amazing homeschool curriculum sent me the necklace as a thank you.  I needed the constant reminder to give my last little bit to my family and my students, even when a little bit of pep in my step is all I have to offer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

When Aaron and I took a weekend to celebrate our "proposal-versary" in January, we knew we wanted to bring the kids back to Devil's Den to enjoy God's creation in this corner of our home state.

The first day we were there, we poked our noses into every crack and crevice,

began an epic Phase 10 game,

and learned that Sarah has some mad s'mores making skills.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Wee Bit of Music

We started off Spring Break with a day trip to visit Aaron's grandmother.  She no longer drives, so we brought our instruments and gave her a little concert.

I hadn't heard Sarah sing in a while, and when she popped out with "Se tu m'ami", I was so pleased at how hard she has worked in her voice lessons this year.  Each of the kids performed a little bit, and the concert finished up with one of Benjamin's new compositions.  What a joy to share music with Gran Choate!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Wonder Twin Power

I have the best colleagues as I relearn the orchestra world.  We recently finished contest,

a brand new conducting experience for me and one of my co-teachers.  We call ourselves the "Wonder Twins" since we both have a steep learning curve this year and often show up to school in matching outfits.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ah, the wonders of technology.  When despite our busy schedules, I can feel like I'm sitting in the same room with all of my children.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Not a date

Twenty-eight years ago, Aaron and I went out to eat bar-b-cue and attended a college basketball game together.  It was not a date.

But it was the precursor to what WOULD be our first date.  When he realized I wasn't just cello competition or one of many in our circle of friends, but a girl. 

This year, we chose to celebrate as a family by going out to eat (where God provided a free meal for our family!) and attending a fabulous Arkansas Symphony concert.  Because none of our amazing kids would be here if it hadn't been for that very first "not a date".

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I love being close enough to celebrate my extended family's birthdays.  Even when we have to celebrate just a wee bit late!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

While Aaron and the younger girls were gallivanting around Dallas, I was in the middle of parent/teacher conferences and All-State Orchestra.  And in desperate need of some time with my best friend, Ann.  

Benjamin and I made a flying trip to meet up at Barnes and Noble (so thankful for gift cards!) for some brief, but sweet fellowship to fortify us for the busy week.

Monday, March 19, 2018

More Friends in Dallas

While Aaron and the girls were in Dallas, they had time to visit some of our precious friends in between activities at the missions conference.  We always love spending time with "Uncle Jan and Aunt Debbie", no matter on which side of the Pacific Ocean we find ourselves.  They even helped the girls with school while Aaron was busy with the conference.

Some more of our favorite Texans, the Cody family, hold a special place in our hearts.  They also helped the girls do school while Aaron was attending activities with the church.  I missed getting my sweet baby fix!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

One of the best things about visiting Dallas is the many friends we have in that area.  The Huntleys (Wycliffe friends) are on furlough, and we love crossing paths with them as often as possible. 

We met Ruth on the airplane to some Wycliffe training in January 2006 and loved her immediately.  Then we watched her relationship with Adam blossom while we were all students in linguistic school in Dallas.  

Now they have four lovely children.  I have to admit, I was a little bit jealous at all of the necks Aaron and the girls got to hug!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Missions Conference in Dallas

Benjamin and I held down the home fort while Aaron and the girls traipsed off to Dallas for a missions conference recently.  They left early on a Saturday morning, knowing that we wouldn't be together again for more than a week since I was headed to All-State Orchestra/Band/Choir clinic before they returned.

We were excited that the church had procured a flag from the Solomon Islands and also that Aaron got to share about Bible translation with this church that we love so much.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Have I mentioned how much I love being back in the classroom?!?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

National Merit Finalist

Remember that whirlwind trip to Australia for Benjamin to take the PSAT?  At the time, we wondered if the investment of time, money, and energy would be worth it.

It was.  We're super proud of Benjamin for navigating the culture shock of going from the village to Honiara to Brisbane in just a few days.  And we're grateful to the Lord who put every single one of the 1000 details of that puzzle together to help pay for Benjamin's college expenses this fall.