Friday, March 31, 2006

Rachel Signed a Contract

Yay! Today Rachel had another interview with the principal, got a tour of the school, got all her questions answered, and then signed her contract. She is getting excited about starting, but she won't start until August. But she's got lots to do in the mean time, including books to read to get another certification, this one for teaching at Christian schools.

We also got a car to test drive over the weekend, an older Subaru, but with low miles. We'll decide if we keep it by Monday.

And we had a party for Auntie Carol's birthday--lots of fun, and a trip to Ton's before that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's Still Unofficial, But...

Looks like Rachel has a job. Praise the Lord! This job would be teaching 2nd grade at a local Christian school starting in August. She has the contract, but hasn't signed it yet, because she's still reading through the faculty handbook. It will be a challenge, but it is fun to see her excited and focused on what it all will mean.

More details later, after the contract is signed. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

We Heard From Gary

He got to Melbourne safely, was picked up on time at the airport, and rushed off to a presentation. He phoned from his temporary office on the 6th floor of a University office. He said he got plenty of sleep on the airplane.

It was hard to talk, since our phone was still bad, so I didn't get more details. But , now the phone has been repaired--they guy came this afternoon and fixed it.

Rachel has some very good news, but I'll write more about that tomorrow.

Auntie Carol has arrived and will be staying with me and Rachel until Saturday. Her birthday is Friday, so I'll be baking a cake, maybe an Italian cream cake, or maybe cheesecake.

The first wildflowers of spring have come out. Due to the bad drought this past winter, we're not expecting such a good crop of flowers this year.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What is a Hoedown, Anyway?

Apparently, a hoedown is a square dance or similar and comes from "putting one's hoe down" after working in the fields, and finding an opportunity to sing and dance.

I don't know how many people at our church have been gardening this past week, but we had a hoedown today anyway in the church parking lot. I think it was mainly an excuse for us to eat Bro Dave's BBQ brisket and for Bro Dave himself to do some singin' and some pickin'.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gary is Off

We got a little worried on Thursday afternoon when we learned that Gary needed a visa to go to Australia--he couldn't just get one in the airplane like in many countries. Then we also learned that he actually needed a business visa, not a visitor visa. Once we learned this, Gary said, "You look on your computer and I'll look on mine and we'll see what we can figure out." So nice to have all the computers in the house hooked up to high-speed internet. So we were able to go to the Australian immigration website and buy a short-term business visa for $20. Problem solved. This isn't the kind of visa they stamp in your passport; rather, they just verify it when you check in at the airport.

His first flight is to LA, then a three hour layover. Then a 16-hour flight to Melbourne. That is too long to sit in one place! He will be staying in the home of the parents of the man he will be working with. He assumed he could do laundry so only took one week's worth of underwear. But he did take a big suitcase, half of which was books and papers.

Rachel is off at a church singles' game night tonight. They are having a game night a Julie's house to cheer Julie up after her 27-pound cat died suddenly this week.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Details are sketchy, but it looks like Andrew and Laura will move to Honduras in May. That will be quite a change for them. Andrew tried to call us today but we were out. And it would hardly work for him, or anyone, to call because our dumb phone line has been almost unusable since last weekend with a loud buzz on the line.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Brown-Headed Cowbird, female

If you know what brown-headed cowbirds look like, you know they don't look like this. Well, at least the males don't. It is amazing how in some birds the males and females are very similar and it others they look totally different.

Not much for news here. We had lots of rain but no damage since we live on a hill. Some places in Dallas got badly flooded.

Gary is getting things wrapped up to leave for Australia on Saturday. He has a direct flight to Melbourne--that is a lot of hours to be cooped up in a plane!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Rachel is still feeling kind of sick, but she went to church anyway since it was her turn to teach children's church. The poor kids were stuck in adult chairs today because their nice kids' room is being repainted.

When David was home last weekend he got out some of Andrew's power tools--Andrew, I hope that was OK :-) He really didn't know what to do with them, but he had the sense to wear goggles. Gary helped him cut some boards to make a TV stand. I know it doesn't look like much of a stand, but the idea was to make the TV fit into the spot where the fireplace used to be. Who needs a fireplace in Houston, anyway?

We got an email from Andrew and Laura earlier this week saying it looks likely that they will leave Ethiopia and move to Honduras! That's quite a change! There are lots of details to be negotiated as to the timing, but it looks like it could happen sooner rather than later. We need to pray for them and their supervisors as they plan this transition.

Friday, March 17, 2006

More Sick

Rachel now appears to have the sickness that I had 10 days ago. She feels pretty miserable and is sleeping a lot. Yesterday she had to cancel her babysitting job and today she canceled her childcare volunteer time. We've gotten some videos from the library to watch, and she's watching a bit of March Madness.

She's gotten an official rejection on the Sylvan job; next week, after spring break, she hopes to phone the Christian schools she has been in contact with in hopes for a job.

I've had a reasonably boring week, but one high point was finding the $50 that was unbalanced in my checkbook. And cleaning two bathrooms.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Red-winged Blackbird, female

I stole this image from the internet, but there were nine of these on my feeder last weekend. I searched the bird book and decided it must be a female red-winged blackbird, but why so many of them with no males? After further research I learned that juvenile birds look like females and also that the birds segregate such that the juveniles and females forage together and the males forage together, explaining why they all looked like females on the feeder.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dead Roses

A hope for new growth via replanting.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy Birthday David!

David came home for the weekend so we could celebrate with him. We took him to Ton's and we took him to Beauty and the Beast and made cheesecake and Italian Cream Cake.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rachel's Week

..ended better than it began. On Tuesday she had a job interview that she felt went well, but she hasn't heard anything yet. Wednesday through Friday she had full days of teaching these four kids whose parents were attending a conference. I was truely amazed at how well she organized all the activities, and how much the kids seemed to enjoy it.

14-year old Jeremy was a big help too.

Today she took them on a nature walk.

Then made puzzles from a group photo.

Then made empanadas.

Then after she dragged herself home she looked up on the internet and found out that she had passed the last Texas teacher test--yay! I had been saving this gift for her till she passed--a set of stamps about children's books and the books to go with the stamps.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dr. Simons

All the academics at SIL are trying to get their professional websites updated. The webmistress was complaining that Gary's didn't have a photo, and Gary was complaining that all the photos we did have looked bad. So at lunch I told him to stop complaining and go put a shirt and tie on and we'd make our own "professional" photo. It isn't all that great, but it is the best out of the 20 we took. Ain't monopoly film great??

I'm thinking it might be time to shave the top of his head. What do you think?

In other news, Rachel's boyfriend broke up with her Monday night. We're all kind of sad about that--I think even he is. Perhaps by God's grace, this week has been the busiest for her since college. Today she worked 14 hours. She also did a job interview at Sylvan Learning Centers on Tuesday. A job for her is still a big prayer request, and also next week she will probably start feeling sad about her loss.

David decided to come home for his birthday on Saturday, and we're planning to attend the Beauty and the Beast musical Saturday night.

Monday, March 06, 2006

We're not quite sure why Gary got these for his birthday. Supposedly a certain sheriff is famous, and apparently he likes pink underwear. But his website is "coming soon," so we have been unable to learn anything about him. Hopefully Grandma Simons will enlighten us. (If she uses the comment button below, then we'll all know.)

I spent some time this past weekend adding two new sets of photos to my website--one of Gary's recent trip to Bremen, Germany and the other of David's trip to Ethiopia last Christmas. Unfortunately, the space I am allotted for my website on Comcast is full, so every time I want to add new photos, I have to take off some of the older ones. Anyway, in case you have forgotten, here is the link to my website. Once there, find the photos link, then find the two sets of photos on the top of the list. I also update a few things on David's page.

Rachel has a 3-day job this week taking care of 4 kids whose parents are at the center for a conference. She is busy, busy preparing lesson plans, craft projects, and a fun nature hike. The pay is pretty good, but it is taking her hours of preparation ahead of time, so that makes up for it. Tomorrow she will volunteer at the Center childcare too, then lead the lesson on James at her singles' group, so she has lots to do this week. We are still praying for her to find a real job.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I've not been feeling all that great this week with a sore throat, achy muscles, and a stuffy head (I hate when I can't breathe through my nose). I wondered if it were allergies, which I've never had, but which people who live in Dallas seem to get overnight, even at an advanced age such as mine. But then I had a fever yesterday, so I guess it must be a cold or the flu. But wait, didn't I get a flu shot??

If I'm not feeling better by tomorrow, Gary will have to take my turn in the nursery, which he kind of enjoys doing, even though he never volunteers.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

10 Commandments in Court

Remember all that fuss a while ago about having the 10 Commandments displayed in a courtroom? Well, if they want to get rid of them in Bremen, Germany, they will have to tear the whole building down. At the bottom of the wall there is a carving of Moses with the tablets.

Not too much going on here. I'm done making breakfasts. Gary is trying to catch up on his work from being gone a week.

Rachel has applied for two more positions. One is at a childcare in town that advertised an opening in the local paper. The other was a completely unexpected phone call from the elementary principal at a Christian school asking her to send in her resume. She has no idea how he got her name. That, IMHO, would be an ideal job for Rachel. Please continue to pray that something will open up.

In the mean time, she continues to pick up a few small childcare jobs and she has agreed to volunteer two days a week at the Center childcare until she finds a paying job. This gives her a chance to play with the babies, and gives her a reason to get up in the morning. She will work there Tues and Friday, 7:45am-12:45pm. She's also helping Andrew send out tickets that he resells, and is still helping the folks with organizing their book of poetry. And she is teaching children's church once a month and working in the church nursery once a month, and singing in an upcoming Easter production. So she has a few things to keep her busy, but not all of them generate income.

Speaking of income, we've been happy with the way Rachel has saved nearly every penny she has made at these odd jobs in order to save for a car. So we will try to give her some funds to add with what she has so she can buy a car soon. We really feel like she needs to be practicing her driving again, so we are hoping to find a car sooner rather than later. That is a prayer request too.