Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Cake

Turns out Gary had an early birthday cake too, this one at Doro's house during the first part of the week he was in Germany. He really enjoyed his time with her too, and we hear a rumor that she is thinking about coming to visit us again, maybe next summer.

One more day of making breakfast for visitors. Not as many have been coming the last few days, so my job has not been hard. Rachel has been getting up to help me, so that has been nice too. Gary seems to think it is nice to have coffee and cooked breakfast waiting for him--I hope he doesn't think this will continue...

Rachel still looks for a job. She applied at another day care in Duncanville today. We sure wish she would get hired soon.

A little bit of good news for the Impact Children's Library in Ethiopia. Andrew's boss was willing to carry 50 pounds of these books with him as he goes there to visit, so I shipped two boxes to him today. Pray they get there by the weekend so he can have them on time for his flight.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

An Extra Long Birthday on Two Continents

Gary's birthday started out with a bang--or at least a sparkle--with a cake served to him at one minute after midnight in Heilbronn, Germany. Our first German exchange daughter, Sandra, made Gary stay awake watching X-Files DVDs until midnight, when her mom woke up her dad, and Sandra produced a birthday cake with sparklers. They also gave him a nice leather toiletries bag for a gift.

Five hours later they drove him to Frankfurt where he got the flight home, and was on the curb waiting for me when I got there right on time this afternoon. (The flight arrived early, but I didn't know that because our stupid internet connection has been down all weekend due to rain.)

So when he got here we had another little party for him--cheesecake, books, and Starburst jelly beans for him, and the rest of the presents for us: German chocolate, German gummy bears, and a specialty call "Snowballs" that are some kind of pastry that is kind of hard to explain.

Friday, February 24, 2006

New Bird

Yesterday Rachel noticed a new bird on our feeder, and told me to look. First time to see an Eastern Bluebird there. (I stole this image from the internet.)

Our morning breakfasts continue. Today we had 8 people, including Brian Harmelink who wasn't on the list, but happened to be in the dorm and wanted to come for a visit. Today it was waffles and boiled eggs. Even though tomorrow is Saturday, they will still come at 7:15am since they are still having meetings.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Missionaries for Breakfast

My job for the next 8 days is to have breakfast ready for 0-16 people who will walk in at 7:15am (the dining hall doesn't do breakfast). Coffee is the hardest part--since I don't drink it, I hardly know how to make it. The overheard conversation (I pretend to be busy in the kitchen) is the best part--today it ranged from worms growing in the dirt floor of one's village house, to federalism, to happy herbs pizza.

David has one more exam tomorrow to make the end of another block. Rachel still has no job leads so she sent an email to childcare at the Center to volunteer 1 day/week. Today I gathered together the info for Andrew to do his taxes. And now I'm off to Bible study with the brownies I made this afternoon.

Other good news: we got a guy from church to do some repairs--between 5 and 5:45 he fixed the spring on the storm door, fixed the wall outlet, and installed a new fluorescesent light.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I've been working on income taxes. Looks like Rachel owes over $800. Looks like we will get a refund over $700.

I'm preparing breakfast for 0-16 people for the next 8 days. These are people here in Dallas, living in the dorm, here for a meeting. The Center provides lunch and dinner, but not breakfast. So if they are hungry enough they walk over for breakfast. Rachel is getting up way earlier than she wants to and is helping me.

Today Rachel got a call from Pioneer Bible Translators asking her to babysit for them during a conference the first week of March. Not much, but a little work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Answers to Prayers

Laura sent an email today saying she had been hired by SP for a 3-month project with their AIDS/HIV project. She was excited to have something to do. She was also excited about a new addition to their family--a puppy named Susana. I've requested a photo.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Downy Woodpecker

This isn't that great of a photo, but you get the idea. I've been enjoying all the feathered friends who come for lunch, including this small male Downy Woodpecker.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen--Sink

I worked in the nursery at church today. I thought this photo was too cute to resist.

We had some bad weather this weekend, including more than a 50 degree drop in temperatures since last week. What was worse was the freezing rain, sleet, mist, drizzle, and ice pellets. Thankfully, God protected us as I drove Rachel to her teacher test very early yesterday morning, and then back to pick her up at 11am. (BTW, she thinks she did OK on the test, but it will be several weeks before she knows for sure.)

I would have stayed home from church today after hearing on the radio how many crashes there were on the roads, but that would have left too many responsibilities just hanging. So after getting Zach, Scott, and Wesley to scrape the ice off the car, off we went, and God took us safely.

After I finally got out of nursery, I was upset because I couldn't locate Wesley and Scott, who had spent the weekend with us. Turns out they had left with Wesley's parents and failed to tell find me and let me know they were doing so which made me somewhat frustrated and anxious.
Rachel's choir practice and my Bible study were canceled due to the bad weather, so I'm presently just chillin' (and I wish that weren't literally true--I really dislike the cold weather).

In other news, Gary called from Bremen, Germany. He went to church twice today--the regular service and the contemporary one. Doro found someone to do simultaneous translation for him during one of the sermons. He said that after church they had been to town to see the musicians.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Interesting Statistics

For more information, check the IFOBA website (which I think is still somewhat under construction). Sometimes it is nice to see various Christian groups working together.

Worldwide Bible Translation Statistics
  • World Population—6.5 billion
  • Languages spoken in the world—6,912
  • Languages with some or all of the Bible—2,403 (26 first published in 2005)
  • Translation programs in progress in languages without adequate Scripture—1,640
  • Languages The Jesus Film has been translated into—919
  • Languages needing Bible translation work to begin—2,529 (representing approximately 272 million people)
In other news, we got an email from Germany saying Gary had safely arrived. Also, Rachel is home from taking her test, and we made it with no real problems from the icy weather.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Delayed Chaos

David emailed me today saying he might finally get paid for some engineering work he did back in 2003 in developing electronic chaos system. Scroll to the bottom of the PASCO catalog page and you'll actually see his name in the credits. Yay for delayed gratification.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Rachel had her Valentine's Day a day early since she was busy with Bible study tonight. Kenny took her out to dinner, gave her chocolates, a stuffed bear, and potted miniature red roses. I'd say she did pretty well! I think it was her first Valentine's Day to have a boyfriend. If you haven't been reading her her blog, you should check it out and see more photos.

Gary and I took a day off work for our Valentine's Day. Well, not really. Really it was to take Gary to the Low Vision Clinic to get his once-every-five-years eye check up and get the magic letter that lets him renew his driver's license. The eye appointment went well, and they said his macular degeneration had not gotten any worse, though he is now show some signs of far sightedness due to age. Then off the DMV for a two hour wait and a young lady who had no clue how to deal with the magic paper. Eventually, Gary was able to talk them into renewing his license. Yay, done with that for the next five years.

Speaking of Gary--poor guy couldn't even find anyone willing to go to the local HS basketball game with him tonight, so he went by himself (using his new driver's license). Duncanville and DeSoto have each lost only one game and they were playing each other tonight. Our boss will be there, but he's the announcer. Bobby Knight couldn't make it, but he did call to give his best wishes during practice the other day. Apparently two guys on the team are being scouted by the pros.

Gary leaves for Germany on Friday. I have to think of some gifts to send with him to our German daughters.

Pray for Rachel--she takes her last Texas Teacher exam on Saturday.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Almost 4 Months and Almost $400 Later...

We have some good news:

Hi Mom,

I got the DHL marriage license today!!, I have it sitting on my desk. I will pass it off to our lawyer on Monday and see what he can do with it. Thanks again for all your work in getting it to us.

In other news, starting in 30 minutes, we become the substitute parents for 12-year old Scott. I need to go pick him up from school. Then take him to a school activity tonight. Yep, back to the kids-in-school routines. His parents are off in Seattle "piously pillaging prosperous patrons" for 18 days.

We plan to watch to Olympics opening ceremonies tonight. I wonder how oafy they will be? Rachel plans to make soup for dinner before that--her bf has a sore mouth from getting his braces tightened.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Baby Pictures--Part 3 of 3 (David)

Isn't that about the saddest look you've ever seen? David was not an unhappy child, but at times he was, well, serious. This was actually a passport photo.

David was our quietest child. He hardly ever cried; he was what they call a "self-comforting" child which he accomplished by sucking this thumb and carrying a "tay."

He sucked this thumb all his preschool years, and then announced, at age four and a half, "when I turn five, I won't suck my thumb anymore." And he did exactly that.

David was also a very patient child, a trait fairly uncommon in kids. He would stick with something until he figured it out, long past the time other kids would have given up. I guess that is why the idea of being in college for 10+ years doesn't bother him.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cash For Brains

This is not a very good photo, but if you squint you can see it is a new 14-volume Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Gary wrote an article for this encyclopedia about the Ethnologue." Today the big payment for his effort arrived--$88.03. We were about to celebrate, then remember that he coauthored this article, so, hmmmm, make that $44.01. No one goes into academics, or missions, for the money :-)

Gary is also getting ready to go to Germany soon. He's giving a paper at University of Bielefeld. He's has already bought a rail pass so he can go visit our two German daughers, Doro in Bremen before the conference and Sandra in Heilbronn after. He's planning another big trip to Australia later in the spring, but I'll post about that later.

While I'm talking about Gary, I should also show you what I bought him for Christmas/anniversary. This is actually his second Handi-Cassette. He wore the first one out. It is just a fancy cassette player that plays specially-made tapes for the blind, and allows the listener to crank up the speed to give new meaning to the phrase "speed reading." So with this gadget and the BookPort, he is just about set for things to listen to while standing in line or reclining in bed.

In other news, yet more problems with that marriage license. This morning I got a call from DHL asking me how did I want to pay. Well, I had already paid, thank you very much. Turns out the employee at Office Max, who ran the DHL kiosk, took the payment incorrectly. Several hours and phone calls later, as well as an sending them a scan of the receipt via email, they finally agreed to send my package.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Off to Africa

It cost only $95 to send the well-authenticated marriage license to its owners in Addis Ababa by overnight DHL. ("Overnight" in this case means three days.) The woman at their office had never heard of Addis Ababa. There was no cheaper option.

I made up for it by buying shampoo for $.99. Nothing but the best for my red hair.

Other chores for the day: buying vacuum cleaner bags, editing depressing poetry and paying some bills.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Baby Pictures--Part 2 of 3 (Rachel)

Rachel's first two and a half years were spent in the Solomon Islands. (My mind is flooded with things I could say about being pregnant and giving birth in a primitive country, but I won't, because I only tell that story privately.) Even though Rachel weighed only 2690 grams, our village friends said, "She looks so healthy. She has fat papaya legs just like her mama!"

Shortly after her birth we moved to the provincial capital city and lived in a real house (with cupboards, electricity and plumbing, though no hot water). Rachel started wearing glasses at the age of one, little glasses tied on to her head with a ribbon. Though she didn't learn to walk until she was three, she had no trouble climbing. Rachel was a happy baby who hardly ever cried.

This one of my favorite photos of Rachel, because it shows her as an Early Childhood Educator (that's what they call teachers when you major in Education at college). Speaking of teachers, Rachel is still looking for a teaching job, so prayers for her are appreciated. She has had one good interview at a local Christian school, but there are no openings there at this time. She also has her second of two Texas Teacher Certification exams two weeks from today.

Even though she doesn't yet have a real job, Rachel has been keeping herself busy this past week, recently unveiling her Xanga blog and her website. I helped her put the website home page together, while she used Picasa to organize the photos. Stop by and sign one of her guestbooks if you're so inclined.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Car Repairs, Documents, Meetings

Our van has been leaking power steering fluid for quite some time. It got so bad we just had to deal with it this past week. That, and the brakes were making some kind of pulsing. And it needed an oil change too. Since we only have one car, our kind coworkers lent us their gigantic 20 year old pickup truck that gets 8 mpg. Luckily, I only had to make one trip to the grocery store before our van was repaired.

The van needed a new rack and pinion, what ever that is, and the front brake rotors turned, what ever they are. It cost less than buying a new van, and it is running well again, so I'm happy. We'd like to not have to buy a different car for at least another year or two.

Other very good news: my phone call to a certain unnamed country's embassy in Washington DC has resulting in the overnight document getting opened and returned to me one month later. Now I need to send it to Andrew along with over $400 worth of receipts for expenses it has cost me to get all the necessary stamps, signatures, stickers, impressions, certifications, authentications, verifications, translations and red tape.

My coworker and I kept busy at the office this week hosting a meeting of about 12 folks from around the world, folks from various agencies who translate or distribute the Bible. The poor guy from Sri Lanka they almost wouldn't let into the country. I put on a pathetic cereal and bagel breakfast this morning for those of the group staying in the dorm, but many didn't show up since they were still full from eating at Los Lupes last night. Providing snacks for coffee break afforded me the excuse to make some chocolate chip cookies, half of which are still in the freezer.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Baby Pictures -- Part 1 of 3 (Andrew)

A couple weeks ago Ma Hoyt gave me the idea that I would do my kids a favor by posting baby pictures of them on my blog. She is brilliant, I must say! It took me a while to gather up the courage, but here is the first post of three (that being all the kids I have), showcasing those beautiful children of mine.

Not that Andrew's baby face wasn't just adorable, but this photo is, well, uniquely Andrew. It wasn't taken when he was a baby, but presumably if it were, it would look the same. Isn't biology class fun??

When Andrew was 9 months old we went to live in a village on the island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands where they spoke To'abaita. We were so lucky to have a baby then, because he helped us to fit in. And, as you'll notice in this photo, he had no trouble fitting in himself. Can you figure out which one is Andrew? The other two are named Ebe and Meifuna. Andrew was slow to learn to walk because our friends and neighbors would never let his feet touch the ground since they all wanted to carry him. I truly believe that all the love and overt attention that was lavished upon him from so many people in these early years is what gave him his great personality.