Monday, February 28, 2005


Parakeet Posted by Hello

My feeder is for wild birds, but this parakeet showed up from somebody's birdcage. Actually, my bird book says sometimes tropical bird escapees find each other and start little foreigner flocks. I remember a few years ago seeing a small flock of parrots near our church in Dallas. A couple years ago I had a strange experience with a white dove. It was hot and dry summertime, and I was out watering the yard with a hose, and suddenly there was a white dove playing in the shower. For ever such a fleeting moment, I thought it was the Holy Spirit coming to visit me in a special way! I couldn't touch it, but it was somewhat tame. It flew just a few feet away and waited until I turned the water back on. I did a little research on the internet and learned it must have been one of those semi-trained white doves that they sometimes release at weddings. They usually fly back to their owner.

Kids all seem to be doing OK. Gary had to work on his birthday, but that's OK. Thank you for the gifts and cards and phone calls.

Today we finished our income taxes. We're getting a refund which should pay for one college payment.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Teen Mania interns Posted by Hello

Last night we had these four lovely ladies come to stay with us for four days. They are interns with Teen Mania, a Christian group that sends young people out on short term mission trips. They are in Dallas this weekend for an event called Acquire the Fire which is a weekend-long event including Christian bands, speakers, and corporate worship. In a loud way.

The MKs attend most every year and several of them go on the summer trips. R. took one of these summer trips to Venezuela while she was in HS.

I wondered if our facilities were adequate for these girls, but after they told me they actually live on a tour bus, I decided our place must seem palatial. We are to provide a place for them to sleep and breakfast in the morning. Turns out they needed a washing machine and internet access too, but we've got plenty of that too.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

David's good news

David got some good news today. Looks like Baylor wants him for the Ph.D./M.D. program. He will fly there for his birthday and finalize things, including whether to defer a year or not.

Yay, David!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing Posted by Hello

I think this is only the second or third time I've seen Cedar Waxwings in my backyard. Today one got close enough to take a photo. I had watered the hibiscus bush, and the birds came to drink up the water on the deck.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Update on the kids

David phoned me at work this morning. I'd rather he call me when I am not busy and have plenty of time to chat, but I've learned to just take what I can get from him. He has picked up a habit from his older brother--"phone mom while I'm walking from A to B, since I have nothing else to do." Andrew used to often do this while hiking across Harvard. David phoned me as he was on his way to the Metro station. He was off work today, it being a holiday for government employees. He was going to the National Archives to see the
Emancipation Proclamation
which was on its last day of being exhibited to the public.

I passed on to him that one of his old girlfriends was wondering why he hadn't answered an email she wrote three weeks ago. "Oh, yeah, I was going to." Then I told him, "Rachel says, 'boys are stupid.'" "No, she's got it wrong--girls are stupid" he replied. Well, which is it?

I talked to Rachel last night which is when she told me that she had been IMming with David's old girlfriend and they had come to the conclusion that boys are stupid. But she wasn't crying when she said it, so it must have been an intellectual assessment, not an emotional one:-)

I'm still praying for her and her student teaching and I know others are too. Her student teaching is going pretty well, but at times it is overwhelming. It is making her rethink if she really wants to be a teacher. Tonight she also has a big exam in her Monday night class. I don't know if she'll have time to talk to me tonight as she will probably be exhausted.

Andrew made it back safely to Ethiopia. While in Kenya he bought some kind of Kenyan chip for his cell phone so he could use it there, then switched back to the Ethiopian one when he got back home. He asked for prayer for some decisions that Samaritan's Purse must make about working in the country.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Michael and Ebeneezer

Michael and Ebeneezer Posted by Hello

These two neighbor boys come over almost every day to play. When it is time to go home, they won't leave until I give them cookies, pretzels, and raisins. I'm such a pushover.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The First Flowers of the Season

Iris and Daffodil Posted by Hello

We had a couple very warm days last week and I guess the flowers noticed.

I've cut back the rose bushes and it looks like the yard needs to be mowed already. But Gary says, "No sooner than March 1. And that's my final offer."

It is also time for me to get my bicycle back into working order.

Slow week

Gary made it to Orlando and back safely. He keeps saying that on one of these trips he's going to go to Disney World.

We had a couple of very warm days last week, the kind that reminded me I need some new deck furniture. All the webbing has rotted away in my folding chairs. But now it has gotten chilly again, in spite of the first dafodill and first iris that popped up.

News from Andrew: the "lost" large wire transfer has now been "found," and so that step is complete for getting his new vehicle. Now he says they are having troubles getting the license plates, and they cost $1700. Sigh. He has been in Kenya this week. We may try to talk with him by phone today.

News from Rachel: She made it through another week of student teaching, but she sounded kind of discouraged when I talked with her last night. Nothing major, just a couple more examples of how she works harder than others and has less to show for it than others. Sigh. Keep praying for her. She has an especially challenging week ahead of her next week as she is supposed to be basically in charge of "Presidents' Week." She has had to do all the planning and preparation. She still needs to figure out a craft idea, and crafts are one of the hardest things for her to do.

News from David: Not a lot. He is pretty much thinking he will not get into medical school this year, which is a disappointment. He will probably try again next year. He found out that his "graduation" from the leadership training course he has been in is on exactly the same day as Rachel's collge graduation. :-(

And speaking of Rachel's graduation--put May 13-14 on your calendar. I'm hoping some grandparents can come because it looks like some brothers won't be able to.

OK, the laundry is calling my name, and I need to do some more work on the taxes too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

90 Years Young

Happy Birthday Evelyn Posted by Hello

Today I attended a birthday party for Evelyn Pike, colleague and neighbor, wife of Ken Pike. She looked as good as ever, happy and energetic, gracious and friendly. She doesn't look a day over 75.

On her 80th birthday Ken invited us to come celebrate with them and asked us to bring some kind of gift that related especially to Evelyn. Gary wrote a version of Happy Birthday in exactly 80 notes and played that for her.

Rachel has emailed me asking for prayer. She is doing well, but has too much to do and too little time to do it. She said she was feeling overwhelmed and asked if we would pray for her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gary is away

Gary left for a short trip to Orlando today. I had planned to drive him to the airport, but another colleague was on the same flight, so he got a ride with him instead. He is supposed to phone me from his hotel tonight to let me know he got there.

We have had two days of wonderful warm weather, high 70s. But tomorrow it is supposed to get cold again.

Reports from Rachel continue to be good, thank the Lord. She said Valentine's Day is a good day to be a teacher--she got several gifts from her students. She also got a dozen white roses from her little brother--now how is that for sweet??

My cousin had a single lung transplant recently, and is apparently doing pretty well. We are saddened to learn that Gary's sister has been diagnosed with a fairly rare from of cancer. All this is a reminder that life is short.

We haven't heard much from Andrew lately, but we think he is doing OK. He has had some troubles getting money transferred correctly for the vehicle SP hopes to purchase.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Gary playing piano for offertory

Gary playing offertory Posted by Hello

Today Gary played in church. His song, "I Love You, Lord" seemed to fit in just right with the holiday weekend.

But being the perfectionist that he is, he couldn't bear to perform when there were two notes obviously out of tune--he's been griping about them for several weeks. So what does he do? He brings in his tuning wrenches, skips Sunday School and tunes the wayward strings. (No, he didn't tune the whole piano, just the notes that were in the key he was playing in.)

Gary tuning piano Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A visit with old friends

Michael the Archangel Posted by Hello

Today we drove to Plano to have potluck lunch with the Encore group from our old church, Kimball Free Methodist. The meal was at the new home of John and Shirley Collier. John is getting more famous by the day since he received the commission to make a memorial sculpture for a Catholic church that was on the edge of the 9/11 disaster. After a wonderful lunch, we drove to the Biblical Arts Center where John's four large sculptures are on display this month before they get shipped to NYC. John gave us a personal tour, providing commentary about each of the four statues. After a general explanation of how he was chosen to do this work, he gave us a simplified explanation of the complicated process that an artist goes through to change his clay sculpture into plaster and then into bronze. Then he revealed some of the hidden little secrets:

  • the foundry workers who cast the bronze were allowed to write their names on the back of the board that the Joseph statue is holding;
  • the serpent that is being hacked apart by the archangel Michael has a head with ten horns, but the head originally was to go on one of the other statues and became disformed when John accidently put it on its peg too roughly;
  • Mary Magdalene is standing like John's mother used to stand;
  • Joseph has a mole on his face in the same place John's dad has a mole.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday afternoon off work

Gary consulting with Russel Cook Posted by Hello

Several days ago Gary decided to take this afternoon off work. He blocked it off in his electronic calendar, and no one asked for a meeting. We came home at noon and ate lunch, then drove to First Methodist church in Irving to attend the Winter Festival of Acoustic Music. This festival included hammered dulcimer workshops, which Gary didn't attend, but we poked our heads inside to see what one would be like. You have to bring your own dulcimer--which he has--and your own stand--which he doesn't have. He also doesn't yet have a carrying case.

We paid our $10 each and that allowed us to attend the afternoon concert and the crafts show. The crafts show was really just mom and pop booths for selling acoustic instruments and accessories. There were some cool things there, and Gary looked very carefully at all the books. After talking to him for 10-15 minutes, Gary ended up buying one book from Russell Cook who also autographed it.

We left after 5:30pm so that meant dealing with Friday afternoon traffic, but our journey wasn't long, so it wasn't too bad.

In other news of the week, all reports from Rachel seem pretty good. She had an evaluation on Wednesday and wasn't completely happy with it, but not too unhappy either. She is definitely learning a lot from student teaching, and really thinking hard if this is what she wants to do as a career. We are proud of how she has stepped up to the plate to get up early every morning, be prepared, and stay late many afternoons to finish up. She is learning that life as a Kindergarten teacher is anything but routine--something goes wrong every day that must be dealt with. One day it was snow. Another day it was spilled ranch dressing. Another day it was an absent teacher. Today it was an irate parent and a stranger trying to find a child who didn't exist.

Monday, February 07, 2005


What are you reading? Posted by Hello
We enjoyed having Rachel home this past weekend. We met up with her SNU friends at Border's Bookstore in Hulen Street Mall in Ft. Worth on Sunday afternoon so she could get a ride back to school. These sculptures were outside the bookstore, and they make pretty good advertising. (For the record, Rachel did NOT want to pose for this photo, but I did warn her it might show up in the blog.)

We attended a Superbowl Birthday Party for our friend Bob who teaches history at UTA. The men mostly watched the game and the women mostly talked about upcoming weddings. Our friends John and Shirley were there too, and we heard first hand about John's sculptures on display at the Museum of Biblical Arts until they are taken to NYC for placement at a Catholic church on the edge of the 9/11 site.

When we got home there was a message from Rachel on the answering machine that she had safely gotten back to school.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

White Kitty

White Kitty Posted by Hello
I think I figured out why all the birds have disappeared.

What little I've heard from Rachel lately is good. It seems the student teaching is going OK.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Starlings Posted by Hello
This is not a very inspiring photo, and startlings are not very inspiring birds. They are considered a nuisance by many. Yesterday I identified a new bird, a Harris sparrow, but I don't have a photo. They are similar to all the other sparrows, but a bit larger and they have a black chin. The bird book says they have a small range, just our part of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas in the winter and central Canada in the summer.

Today I started the income tax process. There are always a bunch of preparations that have to be done before filling in the forms. I'm hoping for a refund to help make another college payment.

Did you notice I got a comment all the way from Africa on the previous post? I'm happy to hear that they like Andrew :-)