Monday, April 29, 2019

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples.  I will sing praises to you among the nations.  For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth.  Psalm 57:9-11


"In the midst of difficulty, the Holy Spirit delights to bring us into this settled place of contentment: as long as God is exalted, all is well.  As long as he is known and lifted up and honored, my own welfare need not worry me too much....This is why David begins this psalm by asking for personal mercy but ends it by asking for divine glory."  ~Devotional Psalter

Winter Storm Xyler changed Sarah's travel plans this weekend.  We began getting texts and phone calls from her Saturday afternoon when she landed in Chicago after two eight hour flights.  Thankfully, Aaron's aunt and uncle responded quickly and generously by opening their home and providing taxi service so Sarah didn't get stranded in Houston when she missed her connecting flight to Little Rock. The end result:  we didn't get to see Sarah until Sunday morning, and she added an extra shot of espresso to her caramel Frappuccino to help combat jet lag .  So thankful for he unexpected gift of hugging her neck again.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Happy Birthday, Papa

Papa celebrated eighty-one years of life this week, 

and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in celebration of a life well lived.

We discovered "The Game of Things" for Papa's birthday present, and we look forward to laughing and making even more memories together.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Concert for Gran

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained in the way of righteousness."  
Proverbs 16:31

Earlier this week, we hit the road to say goodbye to Aaron's ninety-two year old grandmother. I really, REALLY don't like the goodbye part of moving back overseas.

Gran Choate is always so gracious to give us her afternoon and to allow our kids to perform on their instruments for her.  I have vivid memories of my mom taking me to visit my great-grandmothers, and I'm so grateful for the time I spent with them.  

My kids have been blessed to know most of their great-grandparents, and as long as we have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with them, we will!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Day

Having extras in our house again meant that our home is full of singing and laughter and life.  So appropriate for Easter weekend, when we celebrate the eternal life that Jesus' death and resurrection brings us.

After church, our family joined my sister-in-law's side of the family for lunch at her parents' beautiful home.

Our families have known each for four generations, and we love spending time together!

After lots of ham and coconut cake, we watched the kids hunt for eggs.  Then we ventured into the American cultural tradition of taking family pictures.  The first crazy light check got a veto.

But the second crazy light check got a thumbs up.

My brother and I are the bookends of the family.  He told me recently that when I got married (he was six years old) he was upset because our initials no longer matched.

I'm soaking up all of the opportunities to spend time with family.

After lunch, we came home with full bellies and full hearts.

I didn't think the day could get any better, but it did.

In the form of my cousin dropping by and an impromptu juggling school breaking out in the backyard!

Laughter rang out and echoed off the houses and bounced giddily right into my heart.

Then, the activity turned to stunts.  Hannah has been a cheerleader for years, so she knows lots of fun tricks.  

She and Benjamin are taking a stage combat class this semester, so bits and pieces of that instruction found their way into the afternoon, as well.

So much joy and laughter!  Finally, as it began to get dark, we loaded up the three who weren't spending the night with us, gave them lots of coconut cake and chocolate pudding, and sent them on their separate ways with prayers for safe travels.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sad Saturday

We continued our tradition of making Resurrection Cookies (minus the hair and beaters incident).  Our Saturday had been full of cooking, even more than we had anticipated.  Since Sarah isn't here (she's still studying abroad in Uganda and recently wrote an article for the school newspaper), Olivia was making her very first cake.

No small undertaking, Olivia tackled our family's traditional coconut cake with gusto.  The only tricky part was that she was using five screen shots of the ingredients and the directions.  So when it came time to add the coconut milk (which should have been 1/2 cup) to the batter, Olivia added both cans without realizing her mistake.  After she inserted the cake pans into the oven, I heard a very distressed "OH NO!!!" as she checked the recipe for the next step and realized what she had done.

We quickly figured that the amount of coconut milk was seven times what she actually needed, so while Aaron went to the store to buy more ingredients, Olivia and I set about making more batter.  She ended up dividing forty-two eggs.  Since this cake only uses egg whites, I made a huge vat of chocolate pudding with half of the egg yolks.  (The pudding is delicious with the coconut cake and strawberries from the farmer's market - in case you were wondering.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Good Friday Adventures

One of the most worshipful places we know is Mt. Nebo State Park.

So it should come as no surprise that we chose to spend our Good Friday afternoon traipsing around the trails 

and soaking up God's incredible creation that is bursting out in Spring right now.

Benjamin and his girlfriend didn't have classes on Good Friday, so they drove and met us on top of the mountain.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity, and Thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Preparing for Easter with Pretzels

One of the more fun ways we prepared our hearts for Easter this year was by making pretzels.

Cooking is always more fun with friends.  We rolled and swung and shaped the dough.

I had forgotten how much fun a spunky preschooler can be!

Watching the kids work together and help each other made my heart happy.

Talking about the shape of the pretzel and how it represents our folded arms and hands in prayers gave us something to think about while we pummeled the dough into submission.

And when the pretzels finally came out of the oven, and the house smelled like a bakery,

we listened to a sweet voice offered up in thanks for pretzels 

and living out "in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Phil. 4:6)