Monday, September 12, 2022


 We've slipped into September beautifully.  I've started working part time with the public school orchestras again to help them cover a bell schedule change.  It's a perfect fit, spending time with people and a program I love while supporting the teachers and students on their journey to make music.

To celebrate the launch of Nasa's Artemis, we splurged on some Krispy Kreme Artemis donuts.  Since the launch was scrubbed, I'm curious if the limited-edition donuts will return for the next attempt.

I love it when people feel comfortable enough to call and ask, "Could we drop by for a few minutes?"  My cousin's family popped in and gave us a beautiful opportunity to pop some apple crumble into the oven and get some baby snuggles.

As our kids continue to blossom, we see them less often.  So it was with great delight that we answered a rousing YES when Sarah asked if she could stop for a quick lunch on her way to participate in a wedding in Missouri.

And Katherine faithfully chugs along with school.  Sometimes it's lonely as the last Choate kid at home, but we call ourselves "Cello Trio" now!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

 We closed out August with "Play Music on the Porch Day"  Making beautiful music with my hubby is one of my favorite things to do.

After a year of waiting and faithfully doing the daily hidden work the Lord has given us, we're super excited that, all of a sudden, things are moving and shaking around here.  We've reached 100% of our American budget, which means Aaron can switch to a remote assignment.  Now that he can focus on translation work again, the difference in his work day is huge.  So much more joy!

And for me?  I moved forward in obedience and began my MME.  And then just before school began, the public school orchestra program asked if I could work part time to help cover a bell schedule change at one of the schools.  So in the middle of each school day, I get to spend time with some of my favorite orch dorks, which works out perfectly for our home schedule.  It feels like the Lord just handed me a big package tied with a big bow on top.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Friday Favorite Five

 -my new FitBit Charge 5.  After using the cheap generic version for more than a year and experiencing much dissatisfaction, I finally asked lots of questions and found a better quality fitness tracker.  This one fits my needs (I don't want to get texts on my watch) and is much more accurate in tracking both sleep and exercise than my old watch.  It's a win for me with the balance of quality and expense!

-Clio yogurt bars.  Especially the salted caramel minis. These are the perfect bite of sweet with an extra punch of protein.

-Eat Like a Heroine podcast.  Combines two of my favorite things -- books and food!

-Million Praying Moms. Such a great resource of praying scripture for our families.

-Native Deodorant.  Aluminum free, cruelty free, and an option for plastic free packaging.  I've used scents Oat Milk Latte and Ginger Lemonade Cupcake and Blackberry Green Tea and can't choose a favorite.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Katherine really loves playing in the Arkansas Youth Symphony Orchestra. During their first rehearsal, our former cello teacher led their sectional, and it was so sweet to think about all the years we learned underneath his tutelage.  What a fabulous opportunity for Katherine to make music this year!

While the students practiced, we enjoyed an impromptu brunch (our first time to enjoy the Root Cafe) and visit with another couple whose son is also playing in the cello section this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Field Trip


We invited some friends to kick off the school year with a field trip to the Old State House Museum and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

First, we spent some time learning about Missisippian Culture pottery in Arkansas, especially effigy/head pots.  

Then we practiced making our own.

We enjoyed our own tour guide who seemed to know everything about the building and early Arkansas history.

After a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds, we walked a few blocks to take a guided tour of the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Our guide said we were the best behaved homeschool group he's ever led (of course, he probably says that to every group!), and he allowed us to go into rooms that are normally off limits since we had a small group. 

What a beautiful way to begin our 19th year of school at home!

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Place Where the Life of God Flows

The challenge for us in the creation of good is not usually some big religious issue as we commonly think of it, but in the ordinary stuff of life - our day-to-day living in families, at work, at play.  The obviously well-kept secret of the "ordinary" is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.  
~Dallas Willard, "Life Without Lack"

August felt deliciously ordinary, like a "receptacle of the divine".  With routine settling back into place, it was easy to notice the beautiful, ordinary ways God left His fingerprints everywhere.  

-Like the bounty of the farmers market...including our favorite yellow watermelons.

-With the opportunity to see the Gebauers, precious colleagues and friends (aka superheroes), as they made a detour on a long road trip to come pick up some curriculum for one of their children.

-In gathering material and sewing supplies to send with Aaron when he travels back to the Solomons for a workshop on the Psalms in October.

-By providing a quick rest stop for our long time friends, the Conards, as they launch yet another kid into the world of college.  Working together and cheering each other on strengthens community and brings great joy!

 -Through continuing to steward our bodies well.  Three times a week, we still have "Bike and Breakfast" with three generations of my family.  The mornings are definitely getting darker.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Psalm 23

The focus of your thoughts significantly affects everything else that happens in your life and evokes the feelings that frame your world and motivate your actions. 
~Dallas Willard

I've been hanging out in Psalm 23 lately, thanks largely to this book, "Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23" by Dallas Willard.  So many beautiful ways abound to help us focus our thoughts, here are a few I've found that encourage me to meditate on Psalm 23:

-this lovely necklace based on Psalm 23:4 (and it's on sale!)
-beautifully scripted art of prayers inspired by Psalm 23.  I especially love how she phrased the first verse.
-my Psalm 23 playlist on Spotify
-one of my favorite hymn tunes, Nyland, with a paraphrase of Psalm 23.  "In Heavenly Love Abiding", which we found in an old hymn book, seems to be currently out of fashion and terribly difficult to find!

Wherever he may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He taketh, and I will walk with Him.


Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday Favorite Five

-Moodibars.  I haven't actually tasted these cuties, but I can imagine so many creative possibilities at home, the office, or in the classroom.

- the NeuroFaith podcast.  I recently discovered Dr. Curt Thompson's books.  They have given Aaron and me many topics for discussion and personal growth, and this podcast is a beautiful intersection of the science of the brain and our faith in Jesus.

- my new milk frother.  I kept buying the cheapest one, and it kept getting bumped and broken, so I purchased this one which includes a travel case.  It's sturdy and whips up a beautiful foam (with both almond milk and cow's milk) in no time.

- Roasted Root, my new favorite recipe blog.  I love her slogan, "Eat Well, Eat Often".  Real, delicious food.  I keep a stash of her various muffins made with ground oats.  In the freezer at all times.  (Right now it's the flourless oatmeal nut muffins.)

-NailAid Biotin Ultimate Strength.  This clear coat helps keep my brittle nails healthy and strong.  Because even though cellists have to keep our nails short, we still like to have pretty hands.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


 The Hebrew sense of mercy and justice is the notion that God, and we by extension, is in the business of putting all things to right....To live out this biblical calling takes a great deal of hard work and prayerful interchange with others....The apostle Paul offers us additional help in his first letter to the church at Corinth, which includes a beautiful description of what it means to live as a community of people whose highest callings are to love and be known as well as to know. 

~Curt Thompson, "Anatomy of the Soul"

Katherine started back to school at the beginning of August to give us some wiggle room for field trips and time to visit her older siblings who keep moving farther and farther away.

Our neighborhood held a banana split party as an opportunity to get to know a new family that just moved in.  We have such amazing neighbors!

And Olivia came to visit for a few days, so she got to meet the new neighbors, too.

I'm so grateful for our shared back yards and for people who value community.

Having my gym buddy back for a few days was a delight,

as was hearing more music in the house again.

Olivia's spunky personality brightened up lunch with Grandma and encouraged each of us before she drove back to JBU to begin her sophomore year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Houston, We Have No Problems


The first weekend in August, we made a quick trip to see Hannah and Benjamin to deliver some of the things they had stored at our house.

Somehow, my incredibly gifted husband managed to fit a loveseat, a deep freeze, a Christmas tree, and several boxes of games and books into the back of our van.  Katherine enjoyed her new schoolroom (yes, she wore her seatbelt).  Maybe all those years of moving back and forth have honed Aaron's packing skills.

Our first stop was to stay with Aaron's Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary, it had been almost ten years since we visited them last!  They are always so hospitable.

Then we got to meet a very special guy, Larry, who has been a part of the Lavukal ministry team for several years.  If we had come a few days later, we would have missed him, since he's moving.  What a blessing to hear his story.

Our next stop was a treat for me, one of my former (and dare I say, favorite) cello students, Karen.  I hadn't seen her beautiful face since we left Pine Bluff in 2002,

but she rummaged up some pictures from the last time we saw her.  Benjamin was a baby!  We enjoyed spending time with her, her four beautiful children, and her husband.

Then we picked up Hannah and Benjamin, drove through Chick-Fil-A, and made our way to the parking garage at the airport.  Because when one of your adopted kids is flying through and has a long layover, you show up and bring supper.

Sunday morning, we joined Hannah and Benjamin at the church where Hannah has been assigned to serve with the youth and children for the next three years as part of pursuing her Master's degree.

Time spent with these guys is rare and precious, and we're thankful for every moment!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

We recently hosted some sweet friends who were on a coast to coast road trip.

We hadn't seen Joy since she visited our village for Christmas and New Years in 2009. 

And we had never met her husband, Ryan, or their spunky daughter, Cora, although we have prayed diligently for each one of them to come into Joy's life.

We picked peaches together, 

played paper football together,

and made blackberry pies from the blackberries Katherine and I had picked just a few weeks earlier.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

More July Bounty

We have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd.  
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thanks to our dear friends, the Hibbards, Katherine participated in Praise Works for the first time.

While she was playing her cello, mine went into the shop for some major surgery.  In a few months, this old lady will sound amazing and be ready to play for another 150 years. 

We found another surprise text from another adopted son asking if we were available for lunch after church.  Of course, we were!

We're loving the plentiful zucchini this time of year, it seems to be one of the few things growing even with the lack of rain we've experienced this summer.  And zucchini still makes me laugh every time I think about my "swimming bean" blunder!

I'm still in awe at the smooth roads here and just how easy it is to go move in the mornings.  And I'm especially thankful for my hubby that goes along with me to keep me accountable.  As one of my friends reminded me, "It's a mini date every morning."

In July, I finally got to meet my cousin's new baby, sweet Lily.  Two of my cousins and my brother all had babies within weeks of each other, so we are definitely enjoying the baby bounty.