Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Back to Work

We got home from south Texas in less than 10 hours Sunday night. The neighbors were kind to host a party, more or less in David's honor, a couple hours after we arrived. Gary and I attended for a few minutes, but I was too fried from driving, so we didn't stay long. Besides, all those young kids make me feel old. :-)

On Monday, Rachel and Gary and I went back to work. Rachel is resuming the scanning work that she did last summer. There is probably enough work to keep her busy for her holiday break. The office is very quiet because most people aren't working this week.

David had two days to just do nothing and hang out with his friends. He played some frisbee and last night went to a Mavericks' game with a friend. We got up at 5:30 this morning to take him to DFW and he phoned to say he got back to DC safely.

Tomorrow Laura flies to Ethiopia. We will be in prayer for her and Andrew.

Unfortunately, I've caught a cold, the first one I've had in a long time. I hope it doesn't make me feel too miserable for the project we have planned for the weekend: repainting the bedroom that Rachel wants to move into after she comes home from college. This will be an experience: I keep saying it will be a lot of work and she keeps telling me about a real cool episode of Trading Spaces or While You Were Out. We've been doing some research on and if we make it through the buying-the-paint process, we should be able to do the rest.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary me! Gary gave me just what I wanted for my anniversary/Christmas: a coupon for "twenty hours of true love." Rachel read that and immediately started raising her eyebrows with innuendo, as only an embarrassed daughter can do. I quickly kicked her and said, "No, not that. He's promising to clean up his office! Yay!"

We looked out the window at midnight and what to our wondering eyes should appear? Snow and ice! It was so pretty when we woke up this morning. We had to go take photos before it melted. This is the first time in 100 years they've had a white Christmas, so they say.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Married with Children

I'm on vacation now, so my mind is not thinking about work. I'm at my mom's house, in a setting that is reminding me that sometimes I'm not the mom--sometimes I'm the child. At the same time, I have 2 out of 3 of my almost-grown children here with me. Further, my heart is sad because this is the first Christmas without my grandmother. And on top of all of that, tomorrow I will have been married for 29 years. So I'm thinking about family today.

I am so lucky (though I know believers really shouldn't use that word) to have a happy marriage. So many people of my age have married and divorced, some more than once. And if we are to believe the statistics, the chances of my three children all having happy marriages are not good.

I was 22 years old when I got married. Two of my children are already older than that.

One of my kids does have a significant other and I think is heading toward marriage in the not-too-distant future. Odd thing about that is that, although this child is the most social and socially well-adjusted of all my kids, this is his first ever real girlfriend. He did like a certain girl as a teenager, but she never really reciprocated, though they were always close friends and remain so today. She broke his heart, but he hid it well until years later he finally told me how much he had liked her and how badly he hurt when she rejected him. Sigh. There are some obstacles to overcome with his current relationship, but he is madly in love, and has a can-do attitude about life, so he will actively pursue her without doubt and without hesitation until she says either "yes" or "no."

Another one of my kids has "always" had a significant other, though at this present moment he doesn't. He has the kind of personality that girls find attractive--extremely self-confident, quiet, and capable of doing just about anything. He has had at least three different girlfriends in his short life and I liked all three of them. I know he wants to get married some day, but he is choosing a life of lots of education, so maybe it is good that he isn't dating anyone now so he can pursue his education singlemindedly for a little while.

The last of my children really wants to get married and is now at the point in her life where she could be free to marry. She has had two boyfriends and a number of other "crushes" during her life, but no current prospects. She is at that stage in life where she is nearly finished with her education and her nesting instincts are kicking in. I feel kind of sorry for her, because in our society it seems like it really isn't OK for a young woman to feel that way. Society is telling her to be strong, get a job, make money, be independent, etc. But she wants a husband and a home and kids to take care of. I myself am at a loss as to how to advise her. I certainly acknowledge her feelings as legitimate, and indeed I felt exactly the same needs at an even younger age. I try to tell her to trust God to bring the right man to her at the right time, someone who will love her without doubt and without hesitation. It isn't easy to wait, but I don't see how she has any choice. [She did ask me what I thought about going to one of those Christian match-maker sites on the internet. I told her I'm not against the idea entirely, but I think it is too early for that.]

OK, these are the thoughts that are running in my idle mind today. I think I am going to click the "No comments allowed" button on this post, because I don't want anyone telling me how stupid this post is. I guess if anyone wants to say anything to me on this topic, they will need to find my email address.

Lord, I love you. I thank you for a good husband and a long, happy marriage. I thank you for three wonderful kids. I am a blessed woman. Lord, you've heard me ask this before, but I will ask it again: please bring each of my children into happy marriages. Bring them the right person at the right time, someone they will love and someone who will love them without doubt and without hesitation.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christamas Vacation has Begun

We arrived safely at mom's house at 5pm yesterday. We had terrible weather for the first two hours of driving down from Dallas--heavy, cold rain and, since it was still dark, it was quite miserable to drive. We stopped in Austin for a 30 minute break when David phoned one of his HS friends who goes to school in Austin and she joined us for hot chocolate at at place that called itself "Not Starbucks."

We went out to Mexican food for dinner (they know how to do Mexican here :-) and mom had a cherry pie at home for dessert. We aren't going to starve while here. .

We started the annual 1000 piece puzzle. It is of a painting, not a photograph, so it is on the easier side. Rachel seems taken with it this year.

Today we are basically doing nothing. We are reading old magazines, studying the user manuals for my camera and Rachel's phone, watching TV, listening to Elvis Christmas followed by Handel's Messiah*, eating, being lazy. Oh, and Gary is doing rocket science on his laptop when he isn't trying to put puzzle pieces in with his magnifying glass.

We are happy to be here, but sad for those who are missing this year: greatgrandma and Andrew.

*Overheard during the overture of the Messiah: "This is better than Elvis."

Monday, December 20, 2004

A Good Day

I've had a good day today. At staff meeting this morning we prayed for God's help in solving a problem. I won't bother with all the details here, but God ended up solving the problem in a way completely different than I had planned, using people I hadn't even imagined.

I was able to schedule a doctor's appointment--"How about in an hour?" instead of, "Sorry, no openings until..."

Three boxes of Christmas gifts arrived for us.

The tickets I ordered for David's Christmas arrived.

A check for nearly $4000 arrived for Andrew--his loan repayment application was approved (this covers 6 months of payments).

I put a printer in the trash. I spent too much time trying to make an old printer work with a new computer, and the software just wasn't cooperating. Somehow it was freeing to just chuck it.

The only bad thing that happened today was at dinner. My normally concilitory husband, who generally isn't a picky eater, rebelled against the idea of eating baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese sauce. He doesn't like baked potatoes to start with, and he hates "liquid cheese," as he calls it. So he decided to eat fruitcake for dinner instead. I say "Yuck!" to that. What does one do with a single lonely baked potato?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Yay for Rachel!

Yesterday was a good day for Rachel. She found out that she passed the third of three teacher certification tests for Oklahoma and is now eligible to apply for a teaching license, though she won't actually do that until she has done some student teaching next semester. We are so proud of her. Thanks to everyone who prayed for her, it has made a big difference.

She decided that she needed to have a new hairdo that would suit a teacher. No more hair falling down in her face and getting in her way. So last yesterday she got it cut. Here are the before and after photos.

And I think she finished her Christmas shopping, thanks to a friend who was willing to take her shopping.

Another thing we did today affects Rachel too--we gave away her bed. A friend of mine wanted a loft for her son, so we decided he needed it more than Rachel did. With our boys out of the house (except for the stuff they have packed up in boxes), we've got empty bedrooms galore, so Rachel will probably move to a different room with a different bed. In fact, she wants us to paint one of the empty bedrooms sometime during her Christmas break. We'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I Hate Driving

But I love Rachel, and she couldn't find a ride home so I ended up driving up here today to get her. Well, she did find a freshman who lived near Longview and offered her a possible ride, but the girl couldn't even say for sure whether she drove through Dallas on her way home, nor did she know the names of any of the roads. That made me nervous enough to drive up here myself :-(

Rachel's last exam got over at 6pm and I've been helping her do laundry and clean and pack since then. I'm so proud of her finishing another semester--Way to go, girl!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My Boy, the Chef

Our older son, Andrew, worked in a genetics lab at Texas A&M, sequencing DNA the summer after his junior year of college. He called me one day that summer to ask what "simmer" meant.

Yesterday I got a call from the younger son, David, who works at the National Cancer Institute programming electron microscopes. He called last night to ask what "broil" meant.

Somehow, I have failed these boys! (But they both know how to scrub a toilet :-)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Wicked Sense of Humor

There were two funny things at church yesterday. I hope I can tell the story so it is funny, but it might turn out to be one of those cases where "you had to be there."

First, my husband went to get some coffee before Sunday School. The guy in line ahead of him was a cheerful black man who was stirring creamer into his coffee. He made the remark to Gary, "How do you take your coffee?" and Gary replied, "Don't you know Black is Beautiful?" At which point I was about to clobber him, but our friend just laughed and said, "Yes, but not for coffee."

Then in SS class we had another laugh. Bob, our leader, has a daughter who is soon to marry the son of Alan, a class member. Bob got up and said, "We thank the Lord that we are soon to become grandparents. Our son, David and his wife..." at which point Alan blurts out, "Whew!" After a few seconds we all got the joke and had a good laugh.

And on a different topic, if anyone wants to see a few photos of the visit last weekend of our older son's girlfriend, you can see them on my personal website. The son in the photos is our younger son who was home for the day (the older one being in Africa).

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Christmas Gifts

It is that time of year to think about Christmas gifts. There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to gift giving. There is the "hand me your list" way of thinking and there is the "don't ask, don't tell" school of thought.

I grew up in a family that was very open about Christmas gifts. When asked the famous question: "What do you want for Christmas?" these are some typical answers you would hear:
  • "I don't know. I don't really need anything."

  • "About time you asked. Here's my list, written in my best handwriting."

  • "Why don't you just give me money, then I can buy what I want."

  • "Go in with your sister and brother and just buy me a vacuum."

  • "I really need plastic shoe rack."

  • "The same thing you got me last year--new underwear."

My husband's family, on the other hand, does not discuss gift giving. One should be able to think of a good gift. This doesn't always happen, but over the years there have been some nice surprises.

As for me, whenever I'm asked what I want for Christmas, these are the kinds of answers I give:
  • "I don't know. I don't really need anything."

  • "You can't afford what I want."

  • "A gift of your time--clean your office. You can do it all at once, but I'm also willing to accept two hours per month on the installment plan."

  • "The same thing you got me last year--new underwear."

  • "All I want is good kids."

Friday, December 10, 2004


If someone lies to you, then admits they lied and apologizes, you should forgive them. No hard feelings. I understand that. But should you trust them to not lie to you again? Is that what it means to really forgive someone--to assume they won't lie again?

When we sin against God, then admit it and apologize, God forgives us. No hard feelings. But does he then assume we will not sin again?

Thursday, December 09, 2004


I've only been up for 30 minutes and I'm already having a bad day.

First, I nearly stepped on a hairball that the cat coughed up and deposited right outside my bedroom door.

Then I got an email from a friend, someone who had asked me for help with a personal problem, telling me he* has been lying to me. I'm sad because he felt the need to lie to me and I'm sad because he apparently has not been helped by my prayers and efforts on his behalf. (Am I just plain stupid to assume people are telling the truth? I'm so trusting and naive that I just assume people speak the truth when they talk to me. It doesn't even occur to me to question them.)

I know I cannot assume responsibility for the sins of others, but it still makes me sad.

*please remember that in English, the male pronoun can at times refer to persons of either gender.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Nice to See Rachel

Well, we survived our busy weekend, but just barely. All went well during the drive home from Oklahoma last night until we were 4-5 miles from home. Some guy decided he wanted the part of the freeway that we were occupying more than we did. I had to swerve over into another lane (at 65 mph) to avoid hitting him. Gary said, "Nice save," as my adreneline surged.

It ws nice to see Rachel. We arrived late Saturday night and dropped Laura at Rachel's room and then spent the night at a minus five star motel. Next morning we bought cinnamon rolls and ate them in the dorm lounge before going to her BIG church for the morning service. After that it was Taco Bueno (Laura's choice) then we hung out a little before taking Laura to the airport. Gary decided to pass the time by getting sick. So we snuck him into Rachel's room ("Man on the floor!") and he slept for a couple hours. I spent the time reading and commenting on Rachel's big paper that is due on Tuesday. It will be over 20 pages. At 6pm was Rachel's last college concert. There were 4-5 anthems followed by Mozarts's Coronation Mass which we enjoyed very much. Then the long drive home in the dark.

All went well with Laura here. She and David picked out and put up the Christmas tree on Saturday afternoon with help from the two little African boys from next door. It looks great and it was nice to have some help with it. Laura and Rachel stayed up late Saturday night with girl talk, which they seemed to enjoy. I got some good photos which I will have to organize one of these days, but I'm too busy at the moment.

Andrew is expecting a full written report about Laura's visit, but I told him I need a day or two for reflection first. But we did have a good time with her :-)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Nice to See David

Our younger son is here visiting for less than 24 hours. He got off the plane at 10pm last night in a suit that he had bought all by himself! He had five separate interviews at Baylor Medical Center, three for the PhD program and two for the medical school program. He says he thought the PhD ones went better than the medical ones; I guess now we just wait and see if they liked him.

We also have another visitor here, but I'll talk about that later. Right now she and David have gone to buy a Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pray for David's Interviews Tomorrow

David called me at work this morning from the DC airport, just to say he was on his way to Houston for his medical school interviews tomorrow. It turns out that someone from his lab knows someone who is on the admissions committee for the PhD program, so David was given phone numbers, etc. and told to go meet him. That sounds like a helpful coincidence :-) He is being hosted at Rice U. tonight by a girl he knew in HS who has a friend with a couch he can sleep on.

Then Andrew called about 30 seconds later to ask me what the difference was between earrings that had a post and ones that were shaped like a hook. (He was buying Christmas presents.) Only Andrew would call from the other side of the world to ask a question like that.* He also told me to enjoy my visit with his g/f tomorrow. He's is flying to Kenya tomorrow for a few days of meetings.

*That reminds me of when he was working at a genetics lab at A&M University one summer, sequencing DNA. He called me to ask what "simmer" meant.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

First Christmas Party of the Season

Last evening our boss invited us and the rest of the office staff, with spouses, to his house for an early Christmas party. Lots of nice desserts, of course, but lots of good stories too. The question asked was, "What was your most memorable Christmas?" Whenever longtime missionaries get together and get asked a question like this, the answers are very entertaining. The stories ranged from
"We spent 36 miserable hours cramped up in a 2nd class berth on a sooty train to go pick up our kids from boarding school. When the train slowed down, we looked outside and we were just yards away from the Taj Mahal."

"It was our first term in Indonesia. We had just arrived with four kids and had only our suitcases. We decided to make do the best we could. We got a tree but there were no decorations on it. Then our first of 23 barrels arrived from Wewak. It was the one with the Christmas stuff in it."

"Our most interesting Christmas is just about to happen. In two weeks we will fly for 36 hours, then immediately get on a train for 8 hours, then be picked up by a taxi for 5 hour ride to the foothills of the Himalayas."

My Christmas story: we got married on Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Checking People Out

A young lady is coming to our house this weekend for the express purpose of meeting me and my husband. When I said to a friend, "She sure is brave, to come here by herself and be put under the microscope," my friend replied, "Maybe it's you who's going to be under the microscope."

Monday, November 29, 2004

More Credit Card Theft

Ugh! Those nice guys in Italy are at it again. Over the weekend there was a $400 charge on our debit card from a gas station in Italy. This time in was using a different debit card number than the last time, and this is a card I've only used for a couple months. Three additional charges, totaling over $10,000 from a travel agency in Italy, did not go through. So the credit card company contacted me right away, and then cancelled the card, but it is a nuisance to set up automatic payments again, etc. At least the credit card company is doing a good job noticing these things.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Homework, Housework, Shopping

I didn't sleep so well last night, and I woke up too early. That gave me time to start the housework before Rachel woke up and wanted me to help her with the homework. So I made turkey soup, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned my bathroom. Then my neighbor phoned and asked me to go walking with her. Rachel got up and had soup for breakfast (I need to buy some milk!) then we started working on an assignment for her Early Childhood Curriculum class. She had to make up six age-appropriate self-directed educational activities around an insect theme, and they had to be such that they could all be attached to a folding board that could be set up in a classroom.

She came up with six pretty good ideas for the activities, but she needed some help implementing them. So I helped cut and glue and apply contact paper. Due to her birth defect, she is very slow with those kinds of skills, which is unfortunate for a kindergarten teacher. She has thought about this handicap though, and has a brilliant plan for coping: "I'll just get the parents to help me!" And knowing her, she will do just that. Rachel is never lacking in optimism, she's always willing to try, and always willing to ask for help.

So by one o'clock that project was finished. We had some lunch and cleaned up the mess we had made and at 3pm went shoe shopping. At the third store we finally found her a pair of short black boots to replace her old ones with holes in them. I hate shopping and I was getting grouchy, but then I realized that there was really nothing to be grouchy about. Poor Rachel, she loves to shop, but not me.

And then we came home, had some more soup, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned the other bathroom, vacuumed the floors.

The only other exciting thing that happened today was lending our van to some resourceful MKs who went street shopping and found a couch. No, that is not the same thing as dumpster diving.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

50 Things I'm Thankful For

As the day goes by, I'm going to make a list of 50 things I'm thankful for. I just woke up, so I'll get started:
  1. that I got to sleep in this morning
  2. that I woke up beside my favorite person
  3. that I had some nice emails in my inbox this morning
  4. that my friend is putting a turkey in the oven about now and I get to eat some of it later
  5. that my other friend's son stayed up late to bake pumpkin and apple pies, and since I lent him some pie pans, I bet I'll get them back full instead of empty
  6. I just ate my first meal of the day--I'm thankful I can have green salad for breakfast.
  7. that a friend just called me to say Happy Thanksgiving and to ask: should I give the turkey giblets to the cat raw or should I cook them first?
  8. that my daughter woke up in a good mood
  9. that my husband is practicing Christmas music on the piano
  10. that he is also practicing Beethoven
  11. for my first cup of tea of the day
  12. for a washing machine. And bleach.
  13. that I can read pretty well (according the the paper I'm editing, 44 million Americans cannot).
  14. that there are books on tape for people who either cannot see well enough to read or who have reading disabilities.
  15. OK, it is almost time to leave for our friends' house, but I'm thankful the neighbor boy showed up with pumpkin pie. Don't tell--I snuck a little piece already--mmmmm!
  16. that the sun has come out so we have cool but sunny weather.
  17. I'm thankful for global telecommunications. We just called Andrew in Ethiopia. It is cool to get the globe out during the conversation and observe how far away he is, but it sounds like he is just next door.
  18. I'm thankful for Andrew's job in Ethiopia.
  19. I'm thankful that Andrew likes his job.
  20. I'm thankful that he seems to be doing a good job--his main job is to schmooze (in the nicest sense of the word). He is a networker, a global thinker, and he knows how to apologize when appropriate.
  21. I'm thankful that Rachel knows how to make green bean casserole.
  22. I'm thankful that my attempt to make a child's puzzle using a color printer and a photocopier worked on the first try.
  23. OK, we're back from Thanksgiving dinner. I'm thankful for good food.
  24. I'm thankful I didn't have to cook it all.
  25. I'm thankful for good friends. We live far away from family, but friends are a good substitute.
  26. I'm thankful for some new online friends I've made this past year too, even if I've never met them.
  27. I'm thankful for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
  28. I'm thankful for a digital camera to borrow.
  29. some new photos for my website.
  30. the chance to talk to David today. He declined all invitations to Tgiving dinner and ate Campbell's vegetable soup instead. :-/
  31. a good job
  32. a meaningful job
  33. a job with lots of flexibility
  34. a good boss
  35. great coworkers
  36. another cup of tea
  37. a safe neighborhood to live in
  38. a house that is paid for
  39. friends to walk with
  40. friends to talk with
  41. I'm down to the last 10, three more hours of Thanksgiving left. I'm thankful for yet another cup of tea. This one prepared and served by my best friend.
  42. I'm thankful for God's love.
  43. for God's love shown to me by family
  44. for God's love shown to me by friends
  45. for God's love declared to me in the Bible which I can read in my mother tongue
  46. for a great group of financial supporters who have kept food on our table for over 25 years
  47. for a great group of prayer supporters who have kept us going for over 25 years
  48. for an old Bible study group where I am helped
  49. for a new Bible study group where I can help
  50. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

More pre-Thanksgiving

I worked today, made BLTs for lunch, then spent an hour talking over one of Rachel's school projects with her. Then we went to the library and found 12 children's books illustrated (not written) by Janet Stevens. Then to the bank and the school teacher store. Rachel is really getting into the teaching thing--she wanted to buy something from every aisle. But since she had to use her own money she restricted her purchases to just a few insect-themed items. The checkout lady gave her the teacher discount without asking. Rachel felt obliged to confess that she wasn't actually a teacher yet, but she hoped to be in one more semester. The lady smiled and said, "Too late."

We have an easy day tomorrow--all I have to provide for Thanksgiving dinner is olives, pickles, and pepperoncinis. Rachel is going to make the one and possibly only thing she knows how to make, green bean casserole. I'm thankful for long-time friends who make us feel like family.

And my husband is thankful too--he won his first Ebay bid.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I'm thankful for lots of things. I'm thankful at least one of my kids gets to be home with us for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am awaiting her imminent arrival. She found a ride home with a girl who lives nearby. We were expecting them at about 6pm. At 6:15 the phone rang--they were stuck in bad traffic in north Dallas. There had been a storm early this afternoon that closed part of the route they were coming on. Every 30 minutes the phone rang again. They were getting closer, but not here yet. Then it rang again, "We missed the exit and now we're at the corner of Wheatland and Cockerell Hill. Which way do we go?" "Go west on Wheatland." "Which was is west? Hey, quit laughing at me!" And this girl wonders why we haven't given her a car to drive to school...

Anyway, it is 8pm and she just got here. It is a joy to have her home for a few days. She had hoped to not have homework, but there will probably be some. She has worked very hard the past two weeks with projects and a big exam, and she deserves a break.

Lord, thank you for bringing her safely home.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


My husband is funny. Tonight he is bidding in his first Ebay auction, and he's so excited. He didn't have an Ebay name or password, so I gave him mine. Well, I've never used it either--I got my name when David was underage and begged me to let him bid on something. (I think he bought something really nice, like a pair of leopard print boxer shorts, or something like that...)

Anyway, he is trying really hard to get a certain song book. He first tried to buy it on, but it is out of print. So he looked on Ebay and found one copy. So he is bidding on it and he's acting like a kid at Christmas. (Wait, I told him if he gets it I'm wrapping it up and giving it to him for Christmas.)

No, I'm not going to tell you the name of the song book. I don't want you going and bidding the price up! But I will tell you he is practing piano songs for the upcoming holiday, trying to copy the style of George Winston and David Huntsinger.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Homemade bread

Mmmm, I love that smell. No better comfort food.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Boutique

Today was the big Boutique Christmas give-away. The Boutique is one of my favorite stores--it's free. Of course, you can't get in without a nametag, even if the stuff is free. And they have more security at the Boutique, where everything is given away for free, than at any other office with thousands and thousands of dollars' worth of computer equipment--but I digress.

Anyway, I went shopping. I found a nice stash of children's books that will go to my favorite aspiring teacher. Also found a photo album, a blank journal, some size 5.5 shoes, and a Dallas Maverick's cap. All brand new. Then I picked up some Christmas ribbon and these little gizzies that you put on drinking glasses to make them look fancy. I don't know what they are called.

I went to my favorite restaurant today for lunch--Ton's. When my husband is away I like to get together with my lady friends: Martha for Tuesday lunch, Kaye for Tuesday dinner, Sharla for Thursday lunch. Gary comes back tomorrow. When he gets here we go to Taco Bueno. Another friend, Shari, asked me to walk with her in the afternoons. That is probably a good thing after going out all these times.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Philosophical question

Following a sober discussion with my daughter, I have the following question:

Is a caterpillar an insect?

Well--is it?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Do angels read blogs?

I wouldn't have thought so, and if they did, I wouldn't expect them to leave comments. And if they did leave comments, I wouldn't expect them to later erase their comments.

It is weird. Back in September I posted a blog entry about my chickadee in Ethiopia. Someone I didn't know, named Mark, left a comment on that entry with information about where to use a credit card in Addis Ababa, and other information specific to life in Addis that turned out to be helpful to my chickadee (who thought I was being stalked :-). The next day I added a blog comment, thanking Mark, whoever he was. Well, yesterday I went back to find those two comments and they are GONE. All other comments seem to be there. What's up with that?

Another comment I left disappeared too, on someone else's blog. But I guess the answer to that is that the blogger just deleted it (as well as his post that prompted my comment). I guess he didn't like what I said.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

There's nothing wrong

...but I feel lonely and a little down. Today feels like an empty nest day, one of those days for which I started this blog. The gray weather doesn't help. Actually, I am alone today--the kids are all in their respective places, and G. is also gone on a 9-day trip. My house guest left a few hours ago, so it is just me and the cat. Lots of times I actually like being alone because then I have no responsibilities to keep anyone else happy, and I can use my time as I like. But sometimes if no one is around I lose my focus: I can't decide what to do, I know I should do certain things but I don't feel like it, etc. For instance, I should go shopping, but the thought of doing that repels me, so I decide I can wait another day. I am doing the laundry and getting winter clothes out of storage.

Maybe it is because I just talked to my mom and she can't come for Christmas, Andrew can't come for Christmas, David says he might not come for Christmas. I'm thinking we might just skip Christmas this year. I read a book by that title a couple years ago, and it was actually a good book. I hear then made it into a movie, I wonder if it is any good?

Yeah, it is one of those days where I can't even find any topics on my favorite online forum that I feel like commenting on. It might be one of those days where I eat popcorn and drink diet coke all day long. Why cook if there's no one here to eat it?

No, there's nothing wrong, I just feel a little down. A friend did give me a science fiction book a couple days ago called Ender's Game. I've started it and it is good, so maybe I'll go read. Unfortunately, reading lightweight books in the middle of the day makes me feel guilty for wasting my time--that's pretty stupid, huh? Earlier today I started teaching myself about Powerpoint, but had to stop because I knew I would end up doing Rachel's homework for her if I kept it up, and that's not good.

No, there's nothing wrong...and that's good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


I can't think of a clever title, nor do I have anything earth shattering to post.

We are proud of D. who has gotten his first invitation to interview for medical school, at Baylor in Houston. And he also got a second invitation to interview for the accompanying Ph.D. program. He's bought his ticket to fly to Houston and will stop by Dallas for less than one day to visit us on his way back home. Speaking of D., he had a little cyst or something surgically removed from near his eye socket last Monday. He had to drive himself to the hospital and back, mommy wasn't there to take him. :-( He was grouchy and groggy after the surgery (done with local anesthetic), but next day he was back to his cheerful self. :-)

R. is in the midst of probably the hardest part of the semester, with a huge project due tomorrow, a draft of a 20-page paper due next Tuesday, and her big standardized test the Saturday after that. But, this time she seems to be handling the stress pretty well, and we are proud of her persistence to keep going. I continue to ask God to help her, and seek my friends to pray for her also.

News from Ethiopia seems good too. A. got his official Ethiopia drivers license, and now he just has to get something to drive. He is off on a trip south tomorrow to Awassa where he hopes to secure the permissions needed to start one of his projects. He got some official papers in the mail recently, one signed by Colin Powell, that he needs for some reason or another. He's learning about paperwork in the third world.

G. is off tomorrow for nine days. We leave for DFW at 4:30am--ugh. First he goes to Fresno, then to Phoenix. This is a business trip, but we have a supporter in Fresno whom he will also see, and his parents live in Sun City, near Phoenix, so he'll see them too.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A stack of Bibles

No, I didn't swear on them. (I did wonder if one could swear on a stack of Bibles written in foreign languages.) Today there was a stack of four Bibles on my boss's desk. These were Bibles published sometime during the past six months.
  • A medium-sized one with a hardback green cover. It was a diglot New Testament translation in Limos Kalinga and Ilokano from the Philippines. Population = 20,000

  • A big black one with a plastic cover and red edges. This one was a full Bible in a language of Mexico called Nahuatl de la Huasteca Occidental. Population = 400,000

  • A black one in an exotic script, non-roman. This one is a whole Bible in the Northern Khmer language of Thailand. Population = 1,000,000

  • A small black compact book with gilt edges and thumbcuts to mark the different books. I recognized the word "Allah" on the cover. This is a diglot New Testament in the Abun and Bahasa Indonesia languages of Indonesia. Population = 3,000

1,423,000 more people have scriptures in their mother tongue.

Friday, November 05, 2004

If God so leads you, please

Our daughter, Rachel, is in her last year of college. If you read this blog and are a believer, please lift Rachel up to our Lord. She has two big school projects due before Thanksgiving and will be taking the third of three standardized tests on November 20 to secure her elementary teacher certification. School and tests are not easy for her, so pray
  • that she will be able to concentrate and finish her work,
  • that she will not get discouraged,
  • that she will indeed pass the standardized test on Nov. 20

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Identity Theft

Apparently my husband has been off to Italy buying things on our credit card. Over $700 of charges were made, but thankfully the credit card company observed that the charges didn't look right and contacted us. A new card is being issued.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Scottie, the 11-year old politician

This is Scott's third day with us. Last night I could hardly get him to go to bed because he was engrossed in a political show on PBS. He wouldn't go to bed until I agreed to set the VCR going.

Today on the way home from picking him up from school he told me he wants to become a politician when he grows up. Then he proceeded to grill me about for whom I voted, but I told him it wasn't polite to ask that question.

Then during dinner he told us he wanted to be the governor of Washington state. We suggested maybe he start with the school board or local mayor first. And I suppose moving to Washington might help too.

I'm recording this in my blog in case he becomes president someday. I'll let him stay up a little late tonight so he can watch the election returns.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Not empty

This week my nest is not empty. We are babysitting 11-year old Scott while his parents are away raising money.* I now remember how I don't like driving kids to school and back, but I do like having someone around to cook for. I noticing that Scott gets his homework done by "Asking Jeeves." Scott also informed us of his political views, a la Shawn Hannity. (Isn't he too young for that?)

*Other names for this process:
- raising support
- doing deputation
- partnership development
- pious pillaging of prosperous patrons
- begging

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Halloween doesn't amount to much in our neighborhood. We used to have a few children come by for candy, but now all the local churches have big parties for the kids. So I buy candy (chocolate) just in case anyone comes, then eat the leftovers myself :-)

I decided to post some photos of Halloweens past to remind myself of my cute little kids who aren't little anymore. (I'll be lucky if I see more than one of them for Christmas, let alone Thanksgiving or Halloween.)

First we have scary Halloween (well, maybe not that scary):

Next, we have Bible Halloween (Pharoah, church mouse, and Moses):

Last, we have Pacific Islands Halloween (I carried R. in that laplap as a newborn):

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I always feel happy

...when someone says thank you.

The other two recipients also said thank you in emails. Maybe I should go bake some more cookies.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Farewell, blue car

As soon as D. left home, we decided to get rid of the blue car. We had a family from church that was in need so we gave it to them. They, unlike us, are a family that knows how to fix cars, so when the blue car would hiccup, they knew what to do. Just last Sunday we were walking across the church parking lot and R. said, "Oh look, there's our car!" To which we said, "Yes, that actually is our car. Or was our car. Yay, it is still working well enough that they drove it to church." Sadly, when their teenage daughter was driving home from church Sunday night (in the rain), she hit another car and wrecked it. Only minor human injuries, but it is doubtful if the blue car will be drivable again.

When R. gets her own car, we'd like to find one that has as good of visibility as this blue car (a 1989 Plymouth Reliant K). We had to put a block on the accelerator so her short legs could reach, but it was an easy car to look out of and get a good view.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Moon gazing

At the moment, a total lunar eclipse has just begun. It was raining earlier today, but when the eclipse began at 8:14pm, the clouds had pretty much cleared, and stayed away for the most part until now, 9:23pm. I tried to get someone to watch with me, but without success. G. is legally blind, so he can't see much of the moon so far away. I talked with R. on the phone and sent her outside to look, but it was cloudy in OKC. So the cat and I watched it. I used G.'s binoculars and monocular, and got a pretty good look. I tried several live webcasts on the internet, but they were all clogged up with traffic and I couldn't get through. G. told me that they showed a TV shot of it at from St. Louis where the Red Sox are trying to sweep the Cards in the 4th game of the World Series.

Believe it or not, there was a time in my young life when I wanted to be an astronomer. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I remember one Christmas my parents bought me some kind of kit to build a cardboard telescope, but one crucial piece was missing. 40+ years later I still remember the disappointment of that. (Time to get over it, huh?)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Two more jobs?

I talked to child #3 yesterday and he said he was going to try to get a paid tutoring job since he was bored and didn't have anything to do in the evenings. That and he might join a community band, and he's tutoring an 8th grader up on Capitol Hill, and Bible study on Wednesdays, ...

Then today he said he got the 2nd job and might take a 3rd. Seasonal help at Best Buy would give him something to do on the weekends. And some more cash. And maybe an employee discount? I wonder.

So I said, "You need some friends to hang out with. What about the guys you live with?" He replied, "Well, they are cool and all, but they're so old--like 24 or 25." Do you see my eyes rolling??

I hope he likes the cookies I sent. I hope R. likes the cookies I sent. I hope one of the M.O.C.K.ees likes the cookies I sent.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Crisis averted

When child #3 called last night and asked me to send cookies, what could I say? So today I went to find my favorite cookie recipe and IT WAS MISSING! I nearly panicked until my neighbor invited me over for a cup of tea and dug the recipe out of her box--which she had gotten from me some years ago. So now cookies are baking and starving child #3 will soon get his package.

And while I'm on a kitchen theme, here are some little known facts about kitchen colors:

  • Split green peas will fade to yellow if left in the sunlight.
  • Cut green apples turn brown slower than cut red apples.
  • The bleach stain on my apron is not a color nor a stain.
  • White meat starts brown and ends up white.
  • Red meat starts red and ends up brown.
  • No food should be gray.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow...

Last night we went to the local theater's production of Annie, and now I've got that song stuck in my head. It was lots of fun. They did a professional job, the little girl who played Annie was great, and it was especially fun because a number of folks in the cast are from our church. G. took us out to eat at a great Mexican restaurant just before the performance, so that was nice too.

We had a good weekend with R. home. She got a bunch of homework done and some other things too: haircut, trip to the bank, unsuccessful shoe-shopping trip, and she voted. We had a laugh before voting because she said she was tempted to write in a friend's name* for president. She planned to do this until she learned that you could only put in declared write-in candidates.

We and R. have begun a discussion of where she might live next year. Of course, that is likely to depend on where she ends up getting a job. But one plan is that she would move back in with us, and take over the apartment end of our house (for a price, of course :-) A friend of mine, who has been a teacher herself, reminded me that the first year of teaching is very hard, and it is good to have some friendly ear at home to "dump" on when you get home from teaching each day. If R. got an apartment by herself, that would be difficult. If she had a roommate, it might work, but my friend thought for her first year, living at home might be the least stress to add to the first year of teaching. Of course, that all assumes that she would come back to Texas instead of staying in Oklahoma, which isn't a given. We will just have to see what doors the Lord opens as we carry on a discussion on the topic.

In the meantime, the song says, "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you're always a day away."

*I'm not sure he's presidential material. He's more the dictator type.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Full nest for a few days

We've had visitors this week, a couple the age of our parents, who have loved and supported us for many years. Every time they come they fix something in my house (which is nice since my husband, capable in so many ways, isn't much for fixing things). This time they did some caulking in one of the bathrooms and fixed a wobbling towel rack. It is always nice to have them come, and it would be nice to have them come even if they didn't fix things for us.

And last night our daughter came home from college for her short fall break. We had to drive 20 miles to pick her up from a town south of Dallas, but at least we didn't have to drive 200 miles to pick her up from a town north of Dallas. Unfortunately, it won't be much of a break for her since she has school projects to work on. Sigh. The girl works so hard, but gets discouraged at times because school is not particularly easy for her. We keep reminding each other that she has only one and a half semesters left (out of ten) to graduate. (And my husband and I keep reminding ourselves that we only have one and a half more semesters to pay for!) Anyway, I may take the day off work so I can be with her, take her to get a haircut, maybe we'll go to the HS football game tonight, etc.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"I have a word from the Lord for you"

Someone told that to me a week ago. I get nervous when people say they've received a direct revelation from the Lord, but I listened anyway. His word to me turned out to be simple enough, and biblical enough too: "You need to calm down and trust the Lord."

Indeed. The situation that prompted my latest round of worry has come and gone, and surely the Lord is taking care of all those involved. We thank God for his gracious love to us, his work in our lives and the lives of our children, and his patience with me when I would rather worry about things than trust him.

Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers. Continue to work in all our lives.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Fortune cookies

We have visitors staying with us this week, always nice to see them. And a special treat is they always take us out to eat. Tonight we went to my favorite restaurant, Ton's Mongonlian BBQ. This kind of food is not at all related to the meat and potatoes that I grew up on in rural Michign, but I love it. First, there is the bowl of Hot and Sour soup that always gives me a temporary case of the hiccups because it is so spicy. Then, you can't go wrong when you can choose your own ingredients in any amount from a spread of raw meats and vegetables. Ladle on a scoop of hot oil, sesame oil, sugar water, cooking cherry [sic], garlic, salt water, lemon juice and oyster sauce. Then watch your meal be cooked right in front of your very eyes in about two minutes, along with six others on this giant grill heated to a thousand degrees (or however many). Top it off with sesame seeds and enjoy with rice on the side.

On the way out there are forture cookies after you pay your bill. Here are the two best from tonight:

"The dictionary is the only place where success comes from work." Whoops, did we loose something in the translation here?

And speaking of translation, the other fortune was bilingual: "Antes de que puedes anotar, tu tienes que tener un gol." (Before you can score yo must first have a goal.) This is Texas, after all.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Computer conversations

I got home after dark last night from a two-day visit to R.'s dorm room. We had a good visit, but I won't post about our conversations. Instead, I'll mention the talks I've had recently with my computers.

Computer: Your computer is running dangerously low on resources.
Me: Ok, then live dangerously. I do it all the time.

Computer: Low on memory.
Me: I can't remember when that last happened.

Computer: SP2 did not install properly. Your system is unstable.
Me: Unstable? Who's unstable?

Computer: Runtime error. Would you like to debug?
Me: Of course. I debug all the time.

Computer: There is a problem. Would you like to send a report to Microsoft?
Me: Sure, why not? I bet I'm the only person they've heard from this week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Do I have a great husband, or what?

If anyone reading this blog actually knows me IRL, you probably have recently heard me asking for prayer for our older son. He lives in Ethiopia and works for a Christian relief agency. He is the most social of anyone in our family, and has been kind of lonely since starting this new job. He has always had tons of friends who were girls, has never been the least bit shy around girls, but also has never had a serious gf. Well, now he has become interested in a young lady and has been seeking our advice about his relationship with her. Today I read this email which my husband sent to him. I'm lucky to be married to someone so insightful.

While I'm here let me share some thoughts that about your relationship with *****. Actually, what I'm doing here is repeating what I said to Mom the first time she told me about your interest in *****. She was expressing concern about the fact that she was Catholic, and my response to her was something like, "Well, being Catholic per se doesn't worry me so much--more to the point is whether she is a Mother Teresa or an Imelda Marcos." You obviously know all about Mother Teresa as an example of a Catholic woman who really loved the Lord and obeyed his command to minister to the poorest of the poor. At the other extreme is Imelda Marcos, a Catholic woman who was notorious for her glamorous extravagance. Do you know about her? She was big news during your Acton days. She was Miss Manila in the 1950s and married Ferdinand Marcos who became the dictator of the Philippines for a couple decades. She is most famous for her shoes. When Marcos was run out of the country by a popular uprising in 1986 (after siphoning off billions of dollars into his own bank accounts), they found 1200 pairs of shoes abandoned in her closet. The total collection was thought to be upwards of 3,000 pairs--almost all of them expensive imports. So today "Imelda's shoes" has entered the language as an idiom for wanton extravagance.

I don't mean to imply that ***** is like that since I clearly don't know her yet. But there is a reason Imelda's shoes popped into my mind when Mom was telling me the story. If I have the facts right, ***** has grown up in a well-to-do family and is currently living in a much higher economic bracket than your family has ever occupied. People say that how to spend money is what couples fight about the most, and it is also said (though I haven't tried to verify it) that there is more teaching in the Gospels about money and materialism than about any other topic. Thus I think you'd be wise to pay special attention to where her heart is--not only spiritually, but also materially.

Especially in light of the call you have felt on your life to minister to the world's poor, I trust that you'll be able to find a life partner who can share that with you. When I was in my courting days, I was looking not just for someone who would share my faith, but also someone who would share in my call to ministry. I had a few serious girl friends along the way who met the faith criterion, but weren't ready to go with me to the ends of the earth. One was P. (in Missouri who we have stayed with on the way to Taylor); her passion was to be a dental hygienist, and she wasn't ready to give that up. And there was V. who couldn't imagine leaving the comforts of home, so she stuck with her plan to become a music teacher. But then there was L. who did share my passion for Bible translation. In the final analysis, it shouldn't be about how someone rates on the proverbial ten-point scale, but on how well they share your vision of how you should live your life. And that's why my answer for Mom about your situation was that I wouldn't be worried if she was like Mother Teresa, but would be if she was more like Imelda Marcos.

I hope you don't feel like I'm preaching at you--I'm just trying to share from the heart. We know that you have a good head on your shoulders and won't do anything foolish.

Lord, give them your guidance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Way to go, D.!

D. got his MCAT scores today and did very well, 97th percentile. Now he waits to see if he gets asked to any interviews for the MD/Ph.D programs he is applying to. He also got his first paycheck today (from NIH). So he is having a doubly good day. Now he should celebrate--luckily he's still underage! (Not that he would celebrate that way, anyway... :-)

Monday, October 11, 2004


I'm reasonably happy with my life, so perhaps regret is too strong a word to describe things I would change if I could live life over again. Here they are:

  • not getting more education - I guess I really didn't have much choice here. I'm from a generation that didn't assume one would go to college and from a family that was uneducated. It was enough, it seemed at the time, to attend Bible institute followed by specialized missionary training. But in HS I was a good student, the top math and science student in my class, but I never studied math or hard science after that. I regret that.
  • aggravating my children - I have a good relationship with my three kids, I love each of them more than life itself. I would do anything for them (and sometimes I do). And my kids all love me too, for which I thank the Lord. But now that my nest is empty and I have time to reflect on my child rearing, I think there were too many times when I disobeyed Colossians 3:21 and irritated or provoked my children when I didn't need to. I regret that.
  • not learning to dance - I grew up in a strict Christian environment that said, "Don't smoke, don't chew, don't go with girls that do." It also said don't drink, don't go to movies, don't dance, and don't listen to rock music. I don't regret not smoking, I don't regret not drinking, I don't even regret not going to movies (I was already married before I attended my first movie in a theater), and I suppose I heard enough rock music along the way to become inoculated to it. But I do wish I had learned how to dance--square, ballroom, line, salsa--whatever. I regret that.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The YellowJacket

Woo hoo! I got a package in the mail today. You thought the mothers (that means Mothers of College Kids, for those not in the know) only sent packages, not received them, huh? What was in my package? The last two issues of the LeTourneau University's student newspaper, The YellowJacket. Why am I so privledged to get this in the mail? No, I did not write the guest editorial--I just have an inside track with the editor.

It looks like a nice little newspaper. I don't know that much about LU, having never actually been there. I hear quite a bit about it, however, since a lot of my colleagues send their kids there. I got to know the editor, Charley, a couple years ago when he lived with our family for a summer. (p.s. to Charley--I think you are wise to skip the barcode tatoo. If you wait until you start to go bald, you can have comb-over that looks like a barcode:-)

I hear complaints about LU sometimes, usually about meals. I don't know whether to consider them seriously or just assume they come from typical college kids who miss mom's cooking. I mean, I sent my three kids to other Christian colleges, and they complained the same way.

Sometimes I've heard complaints from LU students about chapel. I assume chapel attendance is required, otherwise they wouldn't be complaining about it. Maybe LU should consider making these changes to chapel, and see if things improve:
  • Chapel is voluntary, not required.
  • Chapel speakers and musicians are of high quality.
  • Chapel is when campus announcements are made.
  • The library, post office, and snack bar are all closed during chapel hour so staff can attend chapel.
These policies were in practice at the Christian college my boys attended, and there was never enough seating for everyone to get into the auditorium for chapel.

Hmm, maybe I should ask the YellowJacket editor if I can write a guest editorial for the next issue.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

"The Politics of God"

I don't really know that much about politics, but it is the political season and I did watch the VP debate last night. Today I read an article entitled "The Politics of God." It was kind of interesting, a little summary of how religion affects how Americans vote. (This article came from the Kennedy School of Government Bulletin, but when I last checked that URL, it was not the latest issue. This magazine arrived in my mailbox because our older son is a recent graduate of the KSG and Ethiopia is too far away to mail it. And even though they, no doubt, expect me to cower in respect, I did find a copyediting error in the article, a missing closing double quote. "So there!" I say smugly.)

The article talks mostly about voting patterns since the Kennedy election in 1960. According to the author, 82% of American Catholics voted for JFK.
Twenty years later, the once-burning "Catholic issue" was forgotten, replaced by the "Christian Right" question. After voting for Jimmy Carter in 1976, the nation's white evangelicals overwhelmingly opted for Ronald Reagan in 1980.... Urged on by fundamentalist preachers like Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority and then by Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition, those voters dropped the Democratic Party by the millions for wholehearted embrace of the GOP.

The article goes on to point out how Americans are much more religious than Europeans, and they vote according to their religious values. But it is too simplistic to say religious Americans vote Republican and secular ones vote Democrat. Rather, the author says Americans divide up along these religious percentages:

25% Catholic
25% white evangelical or fundamentalist
25% mainline Protestant
10% black Protestant
2% Jewish
2% Mormon
1% Muslim
10% secular

and then vote thus: white evangelicals and Mormons will vote Republican, black protestants and Jews will vote Democrat. Therefore, the election is in the hands of Catholics and mainline protestants.

Hmm, maybe I should have posted this entry on my favorite
online forum, but then all those twenty-somethings would think I'm interested in politics.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Risk taking

Once a month my boss sends out a newsletter to all the people who work in our section. I found this paragraph from his newsletter kind of interesting:

We are in a better position to take risks than non-believers. For one thing,our identity isn't tied up in our accomplishments. Our identity comes from who we are in Christ. And we know that the Lord is sovereign and will accomplish His purposes both through our successes AND failures.

I don't really see myself as a big risk taker (although I have stuck my neck out in a few cases that involved relationships with people). I think it is his second sentence that caught my attention: our identity is not tied up in our accomplishments. You know, if that is true, it is a very freeing concept. Who I am is not a sum of all the things I've done (or not), or all the money I've earned (or not), or all the pats on the back I've gotten (or not). If my identity comes from who I am in Christ, and if yours does too, then you and I are petty much equals, just different parts of the same Body.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Top ten ways you know your nest is empty

10. You rediscover the color of the carpet in your kids' bedrooms, and find silverware that has been missing for months.

9. You make a car-sized space in the garage and when you come home from work, the space is still there.

8. Your telephone is free, but silent, since your friends gave up months ago trying to get through.

6. You run the dishwasher once every two days instead of twice in one day.

5. You go to the grocery store once a week instead of once a day.

4. You go out to eat at Chili's instead of McDonalds.

3. You clean the house and it stays clean.

2. Your husband says he wants to have more kids so you will at least cook dinner

And the number one reason you know your nest is empty,

**has been censored** ;-)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Rat poop

That isn't a very nice title for a blog post, is it? But that's what I dealt with this morning. Fortunately, I do not have a photo. Also fortunately, it wasn't at my house. But unfortunately, it was in the church nursery. If the size of the rodents was equal to the size of the traps they put out for them, then I'm glad the traps were empty! Besides the rat droppings, there were cockroach droppings too. It was church workday, and cleaning up after the vermin was my job.

A couple sweet Hispanic teens came in to help me, so I set them washing all the toys and highchairs with disinfectant. Is it eavesdropping when you don't tell someone you understand their language? I mean, I look about as gringo as anyone could look. But really, my Spanish isn't as good as it was earlier in my life, so I guess I didn't overhear all that much.

After the droppings were collected, I moved on to washing the window blinds. My teenage helpers moved to a different room and the silence was a good time to think about dirt. Some dirt is obvious and revolting, like rat poop. Other dirt is much more subtle, like the even-colored grime on the window blinds. And then there's the dirt on the windows, that doesn't show up at all until the sun shines. That made me think about sin, but I'll let you draw your own analogies.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Baseball and football

Sorry to say, the Texas Rangers are now out of the running for a spot in the playoffs. My rabid-fan son, who bought playoff tickets from Ethiopia, will have to try to get his money back. The tickets came in the mail just today:

I will certainly be following the playoffs and the World Series, but it won't be as fun without the home team there.

I suppose that means it is now time for football. But I don't like football very much. I came to the conclusion some years ago that I was just too stupid to like football (but when I look at some of the people who play it, I'm not so sure I'm the stupid one). I mean with baseball the action is pretty much linear. You just follow the action where the ball is. But football! Everybody is doing everything at once--how am I supposed to keep track of what is going on? It would also be easier if they color-coded the defense and the offense or something like that. There are just too many people doing too many things at once and WAY too many rules to learn about whether they did it right or not. No, baseball is a much more sensible game.

Sorry, Rangers. Better luck next year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Top 10 places my cat likes to sleep

I suppose there comes a time in the life of every blogger when he (or in my case, she), writes a blog entry about his or her pets. With my nest being empty these days, my cat is getting more than her fair share of attention. Her reaction to all this fussing over by me: sleep.

  1. Inside the dresser drawers - if you leave it open, she will come
  2. On top of the dining room table - Bad cat!
  3. On the telephone stand
  4. In the car - one day I found the cat in the car when I returned from a meeting in the hot summer. We nearly had cooked cat for dinner.
  5. On the bed
  6. Inside the bathroom sink - this is when she's waiting for you to turn the water on so she can get a drink of fresh water
  7. Inside the bathroom cupboard - snuggled behind the pile of clean towels
  8. Inside the dryer
  9. Inside a cardboard box
  10. On top of one's laptop, near the polar bears

Monday, September 27, 2004

Fixing up my blog

I spent some time over the weekend remodeling my blog. I wanted to keep the images from the original site, but I didn't like the double commenting system and I wasn't clever enough to remove one of them. So I thought I'd try a new look. I don't know very much about HTML, but by slowly trying to figure it out, and getting a little help from G., I was able to add my images into the new template. Then today I decided to get even more clever and add a counter. This counter lets you customize it a little, so I chose for it NOT to count any of my own visits to my website. And I changed it from black to red. Whoo-hoo. Now to wait and see how long it takes to get to 2.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


A few posts ago I told how I didn't like to waste things. One thing I don't like to waste is all the organic matter in my kitchen that we don't eat. You know, all the potato peelings and dead lettuce and apple cores. Several years ago we started a compost pile, and now it is a dandy. I make daily deposits of vegetable matter but I also include meat scraps and bones. Some people object to animal products in the compost, but I once heard a compost expert say that you could put anything in the compost pile that was once alive. As a side benefit, I've found that by not putting previously-alive things in the garbage, I only have to set the garbage can out once every two weeks or less for pickup, and it never smells bad.

Today was a good day to harvest the compost pile, and it's also a good way for me to get some exercize. So I took the wheelbarrow and shovel and got to work sifting the compost. I shoveled scoop after scoop of raw compost onto the compost sifter which sits on top of the wheelbarrow. This clever gadget was hand made for me by my dear husband for Mother's Day one year--isn't he romantic?? My work was made easier by the nocturnal visitor who has been coming for the last couple weeks--an armadillo who seems to like the compost pile almost as much as I do. He (or she?) has been digging around out there with its very strong and sharp snout, breaking up the clods and saving me the trouble. The pile is full of yummy grubs.

I almost gave up before my job was finished because I ran into the mother of all fire ant nests on one side of the compost pile. They came after me with a vengence for disturbing their massive array of tunnels. The gound was undulating with swarms of angry ants, each one trying to carry a white egg sack to safety. Luckily, I only got bitten two or three times.

The five wheelbarrows full of sifted, rich brown dirt were deposited on top of the flower garden by the front door. (This area is also the cat's favorite "box.") Times like this I ask myself why I don't have a vegetable garden. But I know why. Except for the dirt that comes from my compost pile, the rest of the ground here is made of white chalk.

Friday, September 24, 2004

"A triumph for globalization and the internet"

That is what A.'s email to me today said. I quote: "Are you having any luck with Rangers playoff tickets? I am in the virtual waiting room in another window on my internet browser now, hoping to get some. Wouldn't that be a triumph for globalization and the internet, if I could get playoff tickets in the virtual waiting room from Ethiopia!"

And then another email dated an hour later:

"Hi mom and dad,

The triumph of the internet is complete. I got eight tickets for the first Rangers home playoff game. They are in the third deck on the second row, two thirds of the way down the third base side. I really wish I was home to go to the game.

Why don't you invite *** and see if *** wants any of the tickets. I know he is a real fan. Maybe *** is/could be around and would want to go. You can use the tickets however you want. If there seems to be no one interested there is always eBay."

This child is crazy. He is a real fan. Anybody need tickets to the Rangers' playoff game 1? Wait, do we even know if the Rangers' are in the playoffs yet?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Bible

Today my 80+ year old former coworker came to my office and told me to get myself over to the museum before the Bible exhibit closed. I'm glad I did. It was cool. The display, (completely unguarded and I admit it was hard not to touch*) included a cuneiform tablet, a snatch of scripture on papyrus, an OT leather scroll, a sheepskin parchment, an early Hebrew codex, individual leaves from the Gutenburg, Tyndale, Coverdale, and Geneva bibles, and a complete KJV from the early printings. There was also a working replica Gutenberg press.

Here's a little blurb about it:

The exhibit, entitled “His Enduring Word,”
contains numerous other biblical artifacts. An
actual first page from the first book printed
with movable type, the 1450 Gutenberg Bible, will
be on view. Manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek,
Ethioptic, and Latin, including early Christian
papyrus (AD 250-450), and a complete Jewish Torah
will be available for examination.

“Steps in the Story,” a collection of leaves
(pages) from actual biblical publications by
reformers such as Martin Luther, William Tyndale,
John Rogers, Miles Coverdale, and John Calvin,
will be displayed. The exhibit also contains
leaves from the first Bibles produced by the
English Catholic exiles at Rheims and Douay.

“Many people, including Bible scholars, do not
know the basic story of how we got the Bible,”
explains F. J. “Rusty” Maisel, exhibit curator.
“But, seeing it laid out and explained as a
simple narrative has helped many people gain a
better understanding of the book they have been
reading for years. They say that what they have
learned from the exhibit also helps them respond
when friends ask about the Scriptures.”

Maisel is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University
and pursued graduate study in ancient history and
archeology at the Center for the Study of Early
Christianity (now University of the Holy Land) at
Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

A recognized authority on the authentication of
rare Bibles, Maisel says that, for most of his
life, he has had questions about “The Book.” His
search for answers has led to over 25 years of
studying and collecting original documents
throughout America, Europe, and Israel.

“The Bible itself tells us that God will preserve
his Word. To say I believe that is still an
expression of faith. But the years I’ve
experienced investigating that subject have only
strengthened my belief in the validity of the
scriptural texts,” states Maisel.

*I guess they think Bible translators respect both the form and the meaning when it comes to Bibles.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bloggers in Pajamas

The TIME magazine that arrived today did not have obscene art on its cover. But it did have an editorial about how blogging is changing the mainstream media. Rather thought provoking. I guess bloggers will make the professional journalists a little more careful.

Of course, my blog isn't likely to challenge much of anything since I neither express many political thoughts nor explore many revolutionary ideas. No, I just talk to myself because my nest is empty.

p.s. It seems like should update its spelling dictionary to include the word blog and its deriviatives. Is that a revolutionary idea?

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Most Powerful Woman in America

is Condoleeza Rice. (At least that was the answer to the question given to the top five Miss America contestants last Saturday night.) D. called on Sunday to say he shook hands with her after church on Sunday. (And also with Bill Frist.) His impression of Ms. Rice: "She's pretty short."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

My Chickadee in Ethiopia

We recently got letter from A. in Ethiopia. He enclosed his new business card:

Cool, huh?

I don't think the email address shown on the card actually works yet, but the phone number does. But it can cost up to $1 a minute. I did find a cheaper phone card for about $.21 per minute. He does have email access from some internet cafes for $10/hour and I think it is dial-up, so pretty slow. He said there is not one ATM machine in the whole country, and no place to use a credit card.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Back Home

I made it safely back from OKC. Thanks to anyone who prayed for me. I did get pretty drowsy after the first 50 miles, so I stopped to buy some lime diet coke. I got back on the road, took one drink, and proceeded to knock the rest of it over on the floor of my car. I guess the shock kept me awake until I got home.

G. was mowing the driveway when I drove in. That is his way of raking up the leaves. He stopped and gave me a sweaty kiss and then went back to mowing.

My time with R. was pretty good. A couple little disagreements, but not too serious. She is working very hard on her project, and over the time I was there she finished three-quarters of the part that has to be turned in Sept. 23. I helped her find stuff in the 25 books we had, then I photocopied them. After she read them and highlighted them, and summarized them in a written document. I punched holes in them and put them in a binder. We both worked on the bibliography which has to be in APA style.

R. has a nice little printer which cost less than $100 last fall. Not only does it make b/w and color copies, it also scans and, best of all, it makes b/w or color copies. So all those 25 books we were able to photocopy right there in her room. I was able to refill the ink cartridge, too, so that made it fast and cheap to make the necessary copies. And she has a nice, heavy-duty 3-hole punch (thank you, K :-) which served us well in getting the copies into the required binder. I also reformatted her flash drive and made backup copies of her working files, so now she is set. She still has a lot to do on the project, but not so much to do before next Thursday.

Looks like she may try in late November to take the last of 3 standardized tests toward her teacher certification. If she fails, there would be time to retake it in February so that she could begin job hunting during spring break. Yikes! that sounds soon! Lord, guide her clearly and give her wisdom about the choices surrounding future employment.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Dorm life

I spent last night in R.'s dorm room. This year, her 5th and Lord willing her last, she has a private room. So that means there is an empty bed where I can sleep. Sure beats trying to sleep on the floor like I've done in years past.

I've been trying out the dining hall food too. Way too many choices, IMHO. And way too expensive and wasteful. They have a decent salad bar, which I like.

I'm helping R. with a project for her Contemporary Social Issues class. She chose a good topic for an Education major: literacy. Really, it should be called illiteracy. I was able to bring a bunch of books to her from our library at work. I'm also doing motherly things like her laundry, vacuuming her floors, changing the sheets, and giving her advice about all the cute boys.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Diving to OKC

If anyone reads this today, please pray for my safe travel to Oklahoma City. I'm driving back home Saturday evening. I don't like driving by myself, but, alas.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I'm a Conservative (take 2)

I bet you thought I meant a political conservative. What I really meant is more like "I'm a conserver." I don't like to throw things away. No, I'm not a pack rat. I don't like to throw things away if they can be reused, or better yet, repurposed. I don't like to waste things

My favorite cookbook has a section in it called "Gather up the fragments." This, of course, refers to Jesus feeding the 5000. He didn't want to waste things either.

Here is a list of things I do or have done to not waste things. Can you add others?
  • My son wanted to throw away a hooded sweatshirt that he had torn. I washed it, repaired it, and will add it to the winter coat drive when the weather gets cold.
  • The boys in this house are too lazy to use their coins, so I counted them and put them in rolls, and deposited $22.50 into R's account "for free."
  • I save the broken tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag, then use them to top Mexican casserole.
  • If I accidently take too many napkins from McDonald's, I bring them home and use them.
  • I aways tear the dryer sheets in half so a box lasts twice as long.
  • A few years ago, I found a discarded evening gown so I remodelled it into a prom dress for my daughter.
  • Today I spent the afternoon refilling ink jet printer cartridges.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Done with my editing

Finally I finished my second set of pages to edit. I found it went faster by wearing one of G.'s pairs of glasses over top of my own. Then it was both in focus and big enough to read. G. is in his office doing statistical comparisons of how many errors were found per page per editor. Each page was independently read by two different editors, and amazingly the overlap in mistakes found by the two different editors was not very great. This does not inspire confidence in how error-free the final product will be. But the nature of this book is one of tiny detail, which comes from many different sources at many different times, compiled by many different people. It is no small task to make it error free in either content or presentation.

I learned five new words while editing:

  • swidden
  • massif
  • canton
  • riverine
  • transhumance

Friday, September 10, 2004

Editing continues

Today was the due date for the 30 or so people to turn in their editing assignments. I got my 33 pages done by 10am. Lots of people did turn them in, but not everyone has yet. And one person gave up on it, so now I have 20 more pages to do :-( That is NOT what I wanted to be doing this weekend. But G. has been working like a dog on this, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

Son D. phoned this morning from DC with good news/bad news. The good news: he gets a pay raise before his first week of work is over. Apparently he gets $2,700 per year more than they told him because he has good grades. "'Bout time those A's did you some good," I told him. The bad news: "I don't get my first paycheck until October 10. Can you send me some $$?"

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Yay! Copy Editors!

They came. Lots of them. G. was so happy because many colleagues responded to his plea for copy editors. We may get this thing done by Friday yet. I myself haven't gotten very far on my section, but I will keep plugging away. All 32 sections were claimed. Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The evocative nature of music

I'm thinking particularity of church music here, but of course any kind of music can cause one to be reminded of an event in the past, a feeling, a happiness or a sadness. Two Sundays ago I wrote in my blog about a song that was sung at church that evokes lots of bad memories for me. Today it was different. The music was "Shout to the Lord." The song is kind of worn out from overuse, but really this song almost always makes me cry because the first time I heard it my girl was standing in front of our little church, doing sign language to this song. That may not sound like such a big deal, but it was for her: she was never that good at performing in front of others, and she was never any good with things that involved physical movement. But she was beautiful and graceful in this performance and it blessed me when she signed and sang this song. I will always remember that feeling of pride and joy in her and feel drawn to the Lord whenever I hear that song.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Copy editors needed

I keep mentioning personnel needs for my husband on the off chance that somebody reading this will decide to become a missionary when they grow up. Or, failing that, at least give a few spare hours to the cause.

Today he's looking for copy editors. Well, proofreaders, really. Lots of them. He has 558 pages of minutia that needs to be close to perfect by Friday Sept 10. Not just read once, but read twice (that is, each page needs to be edited independently by two different people. This is for the Ethnologue, our flagship publication that comes out every four years. It is a detailed listing of the 6,911 languages that exist in this world. And it is easy to make tiny mistakes when telling all the details about these languages. So we need help to get it right.

He is passing it out by geographical area, finding a colleague who worked in Colombia and begging them to take the Colombia section. We have a friend from Indonesia whom he's trying to get me to call and beg. I guess he thinks that as long as he doesn't have a life, so one else should do anything fun over the long holiday weekend either.

Well, I've taken the first 33 pages of the Africa section, so I'd better get started.

Update! I had barely pushed the "Publish" button when the phone rang. Somebody came and took 34 more pages of the Americas section. Yay!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


One tow truck--$50
One new battery--$100
One new alternator--$200
labor to put them in--$200
learning to turn the headlights off--priceless

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The fog is lifting

I think I'm about over my week of sadness. I guess one of the worst parts about the kids leaving is the anticipation of them leaving. Once the stressful time leading up their departure is over, and then I know they have safely arrived at their destination, then I start feeling better. It did make me feel better to reorganize some of the house; a friend told me that psychologists sometimes prescribe closet cleaning as a way to restore order to your life and by analogy, to your mind. I'm grateful for friends to talk to also, for the nice weather, and especially for God's love that never fails me.

D. should arrive in DC later tonight. He will have one day to organize himself, then his job at the National Cancer Institute starts on Thursday with a departmental retreat in the Shenandoah National Park. That sounds like a nice way to start a job, huh?

Lord, bless them all as they start new jobs, new school year. Help them to find the friends that they need and to find opportunities to grow in your grace.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I talked to all my kids today

A.'s friend found a cheap* calling card to use to call Ethiopia which I finally got to work today after four tries. It was good to hear from him, he's doing well. He was all excited because he got to meet Joseph Stiglitz and had him sign his copy of Globalization and its Discontents . Stiglitz is the 2001 Nobel prize winner in economics and was at some conference that A. managed to get invited to. On top of this, we said he is trying to wrangle an invitation to some other thing tomorrow so he can meet the US ambassador to Ethiopia.

*I say cheap, but it is still like $.16 per minute. I talked until the $10 card ran out. He's still not clear where he will live, whether Addis or Awassa, but he said he's tired of living in a hotel.

R. called too. I've been trying not to talk to her much. But she wanted to talk because she was sick. She confessed to staying up too late and that probably got her off schedule, then she got a migraine headache for two days with vomiting, etc. I trust she will soon learn her limits and be willing to live by them so she doesn't get sick and does go to class.

D. is on the road today, sleeping at Taylor to visit his old friends in the dorm. Tomorrow a long drive to DC.

As for myself, I'm starting to compile, with help from my friends, a Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Your Nest Is Empty list. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Perl programmer needed

Now G. says he needs a Perl programmer. D. had been doing it over the summer, but now he is gone. As D. was getting in his car and leaving for DC yesterday morning he confessed to his dad that he had taken his Perl book. G. reminded him that this particular copy was an autographed gift copy from Larry Wall himself, so plan to give it back. (Larry and G. were schoolmates at Seattle Pacific College. In fact, G. gave Larry his first programming job in the records office of the college. G. also talked Larry into attending SIL where he studied a semester of linguistics. Larry claims that the study of linguistics somehow lead to his creation of Perl, and he wrote a nice note to that effect in the front of this copy of the Perl book that D. stole.)

So anybody know a Perl programmer who wants to work for missionary wages? The pay is bad, but the fringe benefits are great :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Just the cat

is left for me to fuss over. And this particular cat plays the part well. It won't even drink water from a bowl, it only drinks from a running faucet. This cat has me trained to wake up when it scratches on the door or the window from outside. And it needs fresh food, not food from hours ago, it its bowl. I draw the line on letting it sleep in our room because it will nuzzle up against you and then act offended if you roll over.

Well, D. left minutes ago. If I had a digital camera I would post a picture of him driving off in the rain. I did take a photo, but it is the old-fashioned film kind.

For the next few days I will clean and pack and sort and repack as empty nest therapy. I'll probably make two empty bedrooms over into guest rooms. The third empty bedroom we'll keep for R., for at least one more year. Sometimes it is nice to have guest rooms, but there is also the possiblilty of turning one end of our house into an apartment to rent to students, and then we could get some income from it. It has been several years since we did that, so it would take some effort to move my stuff out and return it to rentable condition. But maybe it would be a way to help pay for R.'s last year at college. We'll have to give that some thought.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A week of tears

This has been a hard week for me. A week ago tonight I cried at a wedding, and not just for the reasons that women cry at weddings. Then I cried during the stress of packing up one child and then I cried from the sadness of her leaving. Then I cried during the stress of packing the other kid up and then I cried from the sadness of him leaving. And don't forget crying from the sadness of having the other kid thousands of miles away. (And then there's the crying from feeling stupid and selfish for crying.)

Yes, all the kids leaving makes me sad. But other things make me sad too. In fact, I feel like I have a long list lof things making me sad right now. One of the is the feeling that I am invisible, like no one* really cares about the sadness I feel.

And really, why should they? I'm the steady person who helps others, not the person whom others help. I'm the person who serves others, not the person whom others serve.

I really shouldn't post this. It is truely stupid to wallow in self-pity, but that is indeed how I feel at the moment. I feel sad and invisible.

*I am lucky, I realize, to have a husband who tolerates all this crying and self pity of mine. He doesn't exactly empathize, but neither does he criticize. He listenes to me complain and doesn't, for the most part, get upset. He'll never get an award for World's Best Family Counselor, but at least he doesn't reject me and he takes my grievences seriously, while pointing out the other person's side of the story. I am blessed to have his steady agape love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A perfect mother

would know the perfect balance between being involved and leaving alone--according to the need of each child (for indeed this illusive perfect balance is different for each child). And a perfect mother would have the will power to put that knowledge into practice.

I am not a perfect mother.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

R.'s last year of college

is about to begin. D. and I will drive her to OKC tomorrow, leaving at 6am. I am feeling kind of sad. Not just about her leaving, but also because in another 2-3 days D. will also be leaving. But then, this is the Empty Nest blog.

R. has had a good summer for the most part. She is feeling pretty good about facing her last year of college. It will be a challenge with student teaching in the spring and one more standardized test to get her teaching certificate. It is probably too early to worry about it yet, but finishing college means getting a job, and if she were to actually get a teaching job for next year, those applications would need to be made during the spring too. She has to think through where she wants to locate, if she wants to move back to Texas and try to get a Texas certificate after having an Oklahoma one. We have to decide whether we would want her to live with us after she graduates. Turning the end of our house into a separate apartment again is a possibility. We don't need to think too hard about these matters at the moment, but they are in the back of our minds.

And for her, she has to emotionally be ready to take another step of independence. She has fears of living alone but where she lives will have a lot to do with where she gets a job.

Lord, these are concerns on my heart. Take care of R. Help her in the immediate days to transition into a new living situation without a roommate, with new classes. Help her to find a job that suits her. Help her to find the friends that she needs, even though many of her classmates have already graduated or changed schools. Help her to trust you about having or not having a boyfriend. I know she is at the age and place in life that she wants to get married and have a home of her own. Many of her friends will be getting engaged or married. Help her to trust you with this aspect of her life. Bring the right man to her at the right time--may he think of her as a precious gift from you and love her without hesitation.

Lord, help me too. I'm feeling sad. I'm happy that my kids are all doing so well, that they all love you. But I'm sad because I miss them and I have to let them go. Help me to trust you for their well-being.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Victory in Jesus

I hate that song. I refuse to sing it. They sang it in church this morning, so I just stood there and remembered all the bad things associated in my mind with that song. How I trusted him, how I listened to him, how I did what he said because he was my pastor. How he would play that song on his accordion.

He failed me. He failed his wife. He failed God most of all. That's why I hate that song.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Cats and Dogs

Someone I know is like a puppy dog:
not worried about what people think
too eager to please

Someone else I know is like a cat:
counting the cost
secretly enjoying the attention

Cats and dogs can't get along together, can they?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Linda, this is God talking

I love her more than you do. I will take care of her. I will take care of her better than you can. I actually know what is best for her, I know better than you. You need to trust me on this one.

Love, God

p.s. I love you, too.

And further down

I did go shopping with R. on Wednesday and survived. By some miracle we found a pair of jeans that fit in a record amount of time, as well as a pair of khakis. We didn't stay as long as she wanted and she dropped her shopping list somewhere on aisle 9, so we need to go again. Maybe Saturday? Lord, help her has she emotionally and mentally prepares for a transition back to school. Strengthen her, help her to trust you in all areas of her life, fill her with your joy. Thank you for a good summer for her.

D. is starting to get ready to leave too, but he doesn't want much help. He put new speakers in "his" "new" car, and blue lights inside. Now that the MCAT is over he is reading things like journal articles called "Three-Dimensional Electron Microscopy at Molecular Resolution." He's supposed to be doing some programming for G., but I think his car speakers are drawing him away. Lord, help him as he prepares to leave home and start a career. Help him to trust you in all areas of his life, to love you, and to love others.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Summer winding down

We are starting to think about and work toward the fall moves for R. and D. R. is finally doing the homework she was supposed to do all summer, and she's begging me to take her shopping (I hate shopping). She's had a good summer, with 2-3 notable bad times, but good for the most part. She hasn't been too stressed and she's made some new friends and she's had some new experiences. She heads back to her last year at college, with its set of challenges, next Wednesday.

We've made some decisions about D.'s move to DC. He decided to drive the "new" car. They have all but finalized his approval to live in the Presbyterian house. He will leave Aug. 29 or 30. He will move in on Sept 1, and his job starts Sept. 2. Lots of changes in store for him. The Time magazine that arrived yesterday had a picture of a colorful fat molecule on it--"That's what I'm going to be doing at my new job--making these kinds of pictures with an electron microscope."

Lord, help me as we start another time of transition. Help me to know how and when to be involved, and how and when to back off. Take care of them as they leave again. Draw them close to yourself as they start the next phase. Help me to cope with my empty nest.


I wonder if I spelled that correctly? We will visit the medical vampire this morning. Until then, no food, just water.

We usually do physicals every year, but I think we skipped last year. Mostly it is the same report: you should eat less, exercise more, but other than that you are in good health. We'll see what they say this year. I'm a little bit concerned because it seems like I've been noticing my heart beating in recent months. Yeah, I know, it beats all the time. But I don't usually notice or feel it beating. My mom has had heart problems--both my mom and her mom have pacemakers. Hmm...I guess I'm ready to die (though I did want to see my grandkids first...). But I can't get morbid yet. Today is only the blood-letting; the physicals are three or four weeks away.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Emaciated? I don't think so.

College Bible study

Last night was the final meeting of our summer college Bible study. It lasted for 8 weeks, on Friday nights. We studied the Gospel of John, and "read" the text via a movie made from the TEV version of the gospel. G. lead the study for all weeks except I did it once when he was away. His approach was to study the major themes presented in John and show how these were manifested in the OT. The themes for the eight weeks were Christ is :

  1. The Word
  2. Living Water
  3. Bread of LIfe
  4. Light of the world
  5. Lamb of God/Good Shepherd
  6. Truth
  7. Unity
  8. The King

The whole idea of having this study was mine, but I was happy that G. liked the idea and was willing to put in the time of study and preparation each week. He did a good job.

After the study, there was a time of games and food and socializing. I used this as a time to observe how twenty-something young people iinteract with each other. It seems this group had more than its share of intelligent introverts. They like to socialize too, at least a little, as long as someone else initiates the interaction.

All in all, it was a good time. If I had it to do over again, I'd do a couple things differently. One thing, I would not worry about how big the house was and open it to all post-HS kids. I think some kids got left out who would have liked to come.