Sunday, December 31, 2006


I dug out my old yearbooks and discovered I was off by a year. I don't actually know the month this photo was taken, but it was sometime during the 1972-73 school year that Gerry Ford was having dinner with us.

I wonder what other mistakes I should try to correct during these waning moments of 2006?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gerald R. Ford, 1913-2006

I think it was the fall of 1973 when Congressman Gerald Ford came to my college (Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music, which has since merged with Cornerstone University) for dinner. I didn't get to sit at his table, only the student council did, but he was right there at the next table, eating the same greasy food as us. It wasn't long after that that his life got a bit more interesting.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Isn't it nice when science confirms common knowledge?

On the other hand, sometimes science surprises us. Who knew house work would be so good for us?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nice Rice

Tonight Rachel tried out her rice cooker on our behalf. She insisted on rinsing the rice first ("Kenny taught me how to make rice and he says you have to rinse it") and it turned out great. Except for the rice she poured down the drain while rinsing it. There must be a simpler way.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Thirty-one years ago tonight we were married by this man. He and his wife invited us over for tea a day or two ago.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Reason for the Season

Rachel won't especially like me using this photo, as she doesn't like it, but I think it does capture the reason for Christ's birth.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shopping, Not Shoplifting

Gary took mom and me dress shopping today for our Christmas gifts--imagine! Actually, he went to Barnes and Noble while we went to the dress stores. In the end, we both got something, but when I got mine home and looked at my skirt, we discovered they clerk had failed to remove the store's security tag on it. So I found instructions on the internet on how to remove it using a hacksaw. (Turns out it wasn't the type that has ink in it.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Psst! Ya Wanna See What's In My Van?


Yesterday the van had vegetables. I got a couple nice avocados. Today it was donuts. I got a couple of those too.

You never know what's going to be given away in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

God Bless This House

Tonight our home group from church enjoyed a lasagna dinner at the lovely home of one of our members. Right after that we piled into a couple vans and drove over to an apartment complex where a couple single women live we've been trying to get to come to church. We caroled for them, and boy were they surprised.

Right after that we went over to a house in town that another one of our members just closed on today. But between the time she made an offer and today some people had broken the back door in and had a party (and I don't mean the kind of party us church folks have!). We stood around our friend and laid hands on her and blessed her house. I only had enough faith to ask God to help her get the door jamb repaired and new locks installed quickly; some others of us asked God to chase out any demons left behind from previous occupants.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two Funerals and a Wedding

Nathan and Marsha both lost their spouses about a year and a half ago. Today they were married with their children as the beautiful attendants. A lovely day for an outdoor wedding, even if it is December 17.

My favorite part of the ceremony was the congregational singing of this song. It brought tears to my eyes. When we got home Gary asked me if I remembered that we sang that same song at Nathan's first wife's funeral.

David Ruis





Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bridal Shower

A lot of nice gifts.

Including a toaster.

Jessie will be married in less than a month.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Packages Mailed

I hope it's not too tacky to send the Christmas gifts in a toilet paper box. And I hope they get there since I'm kind of late getting them out.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More Cookies

I get infected with this bug every Christmas--I just have to spend way too much time making way too many goodies for people who weigh way too much already! Alas!

I finished the sugar cookies this afternoon, and as soon as they are dry, I will pack up a bunch to go into the Christmas packages that are headed for Michigan, Oregon, and Arizona.

I also have made three other kinds of goodies, and I've started the dark chocolate truffles. I promise, after I finish the truffles, NO MORE! Some years I've done caramel corn but I'll skip that this year.

Oh, and I had to try a a batch of peppermint bark that was selling for $24/lb at Sonoma-Williams just so I could say that I made it every bit as good and it only cost about $2/lb!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I don't really know why I keep making Christmas cookies, but each year I make a few standbys and then try a couple new ones too. This year we have butterscotch candies turning into stained glass cookies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Eating

After two Christmas parties in less than 24 hours, I'm starting to feel like Mrs. Claus--fat and happy!

These two ornaments were a gift from a young couple who were working with the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands when we lived there about 100 years ago. Most of the ornaments on our tree are of the homemade variety which makes for bringing back lots of good memories, if not producing a tree that would work for Better Homes and Gardens. The majority of my ornaments are ones crocheted by my grandma. She died a few years ago, and I still miss her.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A couple days ago we received this thank you card from friends who had stayed with us. They seem to have picked a card that is right up our alley.

Open it up, and here's the inside:

Inside the card was a nice little check that paid 3/4ths of the bill to get Rachel's car fixed today. I guess we should be thanking them, and we will.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I've Hit a New Low

I went to Taco Bueno twice today.

The lady there asked why we hadn't been there for so long, to which I replied that we were still working on the turkey leftovers.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Almost Advent

Tomorrow begins the season of advent, a time of waiting and anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Saviour. I didn't grow up in a liturgical church, but the traditions I've learned surrounding Advent have become important to me, a way to keep one's perspective during a time of year that can be hectic for many people. The first candle will be lit tomorrow, the candle of hope or prophesy.

The previous two years I was able to send someone else out to buy the Christmas tree, but this year I had to do it myself. We've got it in the stand, but the decoration will have to wait another day or two. Our church Bible study group is having a Christmas dinner at our house on Thursday, so I need to have it decorated by then.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Old Day

I'm feeling old today.

Maybe it is the hip joint pain. Or maybe it is the lack of energy.

In some ways, I should be feeling young. Today at work we celebrated the work of someone who is retiring at age 75 and who has worked here for 51 years. She plans to spend more time with her kids. And her grandkids. And her greatgrandkids.

If I live to be 75, it is not likely I will have greatgrandkids.

If I live to be 55, it is not likely I will have grandkids.

But I do have kids, even at my age.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good Kids

We had a mostly pleasant, busy Thanksgiving week that was topped off with a 14 hour visit by Andrew, half of which he (and we) spent sleeping. Andrew was passing through Dallas on his way to Ethiopia for a few days. David was already here visiting for Thanksgiving, so we had a rare occasion for a photo with all three kids.

The time was spent teasing me about my suburb fashion sense, taking care of some financial details, preparing another suitcase of books for the Impact Library (e are now down to just two boxes left in my storeroom) and eating. Oh, and there was also some time for calling people oafs.

. Every Christmas my standard answer to "What do you want for Christmas?" is "Good Kids." I'm fortunate to get what I want.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for Computers

Now that we've got Gary's new laptop organized and the wireless router working, he's having fun computing all over the house. I also introduced him to wireless radio, so he can have baroque music anytime he wants.

David seems to have found a novel way to use his computer too.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Testing, Testing (web photo album)

I keep thinking I need to redo my website. I kind of gave up on it a while back because I ran out of disk space on my Comcast site. And the way I did the photos was a bunch of work. So I'm now experimenting with a new way of doing photos using the Web Photo album feature of Picasa. If it works in a blog, maybe it would work in a website too.

I suppose if you are reading this and only have dialup, it could be not worth it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Within thirty minutes of coming to our house, Sarah was dissecting a tick. What is her mother going to think??
(Be sure to click on the photo to get a closer look.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Conversation Piece

There has been a lawnmower sitting in our living room for over two weeks. Most visitors are too kind to ask the obvious, so it just sits there in its corner until we feel obliged to explain how this is our third lawnmower and there really is only room for two in the shed.

But today the nice man from church came took one of the two half-broken ones away. We hope he can fix it and then give it to someone who might need it. Now there's room for the newcomer in the shed. But if we move it, what will we have to talk about?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm So Young and Beautiful

...that I got carded at Home Depot today for trying to buy this. The computer would not let me buy it until I told it my DOB. *eye roll*

Thursday, November 16, 2006


You know the holidays are just around the corner when the fruitcake arrives from Collin Street Bakery. This is an annual gift from my mom to Gary--I don't touch the stuff myself (except to steal a pecan off the top).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Find The Way

Where is Grace and Purity?

Just down the way from Hope and Purity.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Two Possible Interpretations

1. These people know a good thing when they see it.
2. These people are stuck in a rut.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Short Trip to Austin

Gary and I went to Austin on Thursday and stayed in a lovely motel. I-35 splits at that point, not to the east and west, but up and down, into two layers. This feature means you get twice the highway noise per mile than your ordinary freeway. Besides that, the toilet didn't flush, the temperature was either too hot or too cold, and one of the wall circuits didn't work. But it did have high-speed internet access, and after all, isn't that what's important these days for the saavy traveler?

(If you want to see the surprise I got while there, check my other blog.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Do We Ever Really Know Our Kids?

First I have to read his blog to find out he's having his broken heart checked out.

Then I have to read his myspace to see all the girls flirting with him.

Now I discover on the internet, of all places, that's he's been hiding secrets about neutrinos!

I wonder what else I'm missing??

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unique Names, Please

I have nothing at all against Andrew or Rachel as people, but I am somewhat glad that my two as-yet-unmarried children are no longer dating people with those names. Just too confusing.

At one point, shortly after Laura joined the family, David was dating someone named Lori. I told Rachel she absolutely could NOT date anyone named Larry. Just too confusing.

I do know a man who married someone with the same first name as his mother. That led to two closely related women with the same first and last name. Just too confusing.

That reminds me of a favorite linguistics story in our family. (If you don't understand linguistics, you might not think this is funny.) We were living in Papua New Guinea and we went to market one Saturday morning. There were dozens of different kinds of bananas for sale (have you noticed we only get one or maybe two varieties here in the States?). So we asked someone, "Well, how do you tell all the different kinds of bananas apart?" To which they responded, "It's easy--they all have different names."

Saturday, October 28, 2006


When I first started blogging I thought it was so cool to get comments on my posts. It felt like someone actually was acknowledging me as a person, and a person they cared enough about to converse with. Or, if not that, at least acknowledging I'd said some something worthwhile, or funny, or .... I kind of gave up on that idea by rereading the tag line on my blog and reminding myself that I'm just talking to myself, so if I want comments, I should just leave comments for myself.

I was talking to someone else about comments on blogs. She felt sad that no one commented on her blog. I then asked her, "Well, how often do you comment on the blogs of others?"

Then there are the people, usually my age or older, who think if they leave a comment someone will steal their identity and they'll end up in the poor house due to credit card fraud.

Over the two plus years I've been blogging, I've had a number of comments deleted that I've put on other people's blogs. I can think of about five or six times this has happened. Only once did the person explain to me in an email why they deleted my comments. I suppose if I were to express a touch of cynicism inside of me, I'd say people mostly want flattering or sympathetic comments, your basic feel-good stuff. I guess if I'm going to play the commenting game, I'd better brush up on my interpersonal skills.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Large Print Labor of Love

Gary really likes this CD of Christmas music. He's been trying to copy the lovely version of Silent Night from the CD for a couple years now. And he could probably do so if it were just in the key of C. No, this song is written with 6 flats! So in order to learn it he had to get the music. But then he couldn't read it because it was too small. So I enlarged it on the photocopier, taped it all back together, mounted it on giant pieces of cardboard, and stuck it on the piano. As soon as he finds it he will probably start trying to learn it. If he hurries, he'll have it memorized in time for the holiday season.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Promotion?

Today Gary got a letter congratulating him on his appointment as Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics. We think that is a promotion from his previous appointment of Adjunct Associate Professor. However, just so there is no confusion, the next paragraph read: This appointment is unsalaried and non-tenure-earning.

Fortunately, we did not join up because it was going to make us rich!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dryer Lint

Just when you thought I could come up with no more useless things to post about, today I'm talking about dryer lint.

And apparently I'm not the only one. If you google "dryer lint" you will find such things as an official dryer lint webpage, ideas for using lint in craft projects, a website that looks like a science fair project on dryer lint, and even dryer lint pets.

But today the point is to thank the Lord for protecting us from a dryer fire. We did have a small dryer fire a few years ago, so since then I have tried to be more careful about cleaning out the dryer vent hose. Today I decided to try venting the warm, humid air into the house while I dried the clothes (don't try this if you have a gas dryer). When I disattached the hose I jiggled loose a large amount of dryer lint that was apparently being held inside the dryer with a bunch of toothpicks (these must come from Gary's clothes, since he carries them around). I was amazed at home much lint blew out of the dryer and I realized that it could have easily caught on fire.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


My job was pack up a china closet. It contained everything from delicate china that grandma had used for tea parties with her granddaughters to a brittle bird's nest. Also, broken music boxes, faded photographs, and a cross made out of burnt matches--a VBS project, I suspect.

My nose is full of dust and my heart is full of sympathy for Mrs. B who has to make decisions about the stuff she's collected over 30+ years. It might be tempting to be critical of her for never throwing anything away, but on the other hand, I surely feel sorry for her now, having to make a mountain of tiny decisions all at once. That is emotionally exhausting. One thing that makes it hard is that many of these items are gifts from her six kids, all of whom are now grown, and all of whom still love her.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


It has been a while since I've posted a photo from my Bugs and Creatures collection. This one was taken a couple days ago from inside my bedroom looking out. In other words, we're looking at the underneath of it through the window glass.

That saves me from having to post about my recent baking disaster where I forgot to put in the flour. Aaarg!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Exploding Baby Carrot Myths

After finding this exploded baby carrot today, I was forced to search the internet high and low (well, actually it took 0.21 seconds) to figure out where baby carrots came from anyway. It's a conspiracy--we've all been misled.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Blind Leading the Blind - Part 2

I'm getting old, and I bet one day I'm going to die of Alzheimer's. By then I won't remember what a horrible disease it is. Nor will I remember how clever Google is (or is it Firefox doing this??) to keep a history of all the things I type in. For instance, today I thought I'd be cute and post a photo of Gary helping our blind friend--only to discover via the search history that I'd already had that cute idea before!

This isn't the first time this has happened. Recently I was watching an episode of LOST and was trying to figure out if the actor who plays Desmond on LOST was the same actor who played Jesus in The Gospel of John, The Movie. When I typed in all those hints into Google, the history popped up informing me that I had already asked myself this question earlier and answered myself as well. (Yes, they are the same actor, Ian Cusick.)

I must be losing my mind, and a mind is a terrible thing to lose. Maybe this blog will be all that's left of me before long.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Last Voices From Heaven"

Ma isn't the only one who's gotten a CD in the mail this week. I actually paid money for this CD, which I had to order from Amazon UK since it isn't carried on Amazon USA.

I thought I was going to be getting some interesting, reasonably authentic native music from Melanesia. But what it turned out to be is a little bit of authentic music with a lot of western beat and electric guitar polish slapped all over it. It still is interesting music, but for all the missionary-bashing and glorifying of the pagan way of life in the album booklet, I was expecting something less commercialized.

Here's a link where you can listen to a few snatches of the songs on this album. Apparently there was a film documentary made about the process of collecting this music, shown at least in Australia.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Memorial Service

This morning I left work early to attend a memorial service at church. I didn't know the deceased, but I do know her daughter and her daughter's family, so I attended to lend support to them. Her death was from Alzheimer's. I don't know that much about the disease, but I do know that it is a hard way to die, if not for the person, then at least for the family.

It was pretty heart-wrenching to hear stories of her slow demise from a vibrant school librarian to a thin and frail shell who finally stopped breathing. It was sad to hear the regret that some family members expressed at not "being there" for her enough in her last years.

May God give them all grace as they grieve and move on.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Liastris sp.

We've had a long, hot, and very dry summer, but at the state park I still found a couple wild flowers ignoring the hostile environment and blooming beautifully anyway. (Maybe this species likes it hot and dry, but even the cacti seemed to be shriveling up from lack of water.) According to my wildflower books and the internet, this is a species of Liastris, with a common name of Gay Feather.

One of these days I'm going to make an album of my best wildflower photos.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Moon Shadows

Last night we slept in our tent at the nearby state park. When we got situated in our sleeping bag I looked up and noticed the full moon trying to shine on me. So I got up and removed the tent's rain roof, and then I was bathed in moonbeams all night long.

Maybe I'm a lunatic.

(For some daylight photos, you can check my other blog.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Son Now Has a Blog

He has finally joined the 21st century.

But is this how I should find out that he's wearing a heart monitor and thinks his middle name is a girl's??

(Ma Hoyt might have something to say about both of these items: she knows all about bad hearts and men named "Loren.")

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy News!

Rachel got a call from a family friend today with news of her engagment and upcoming marriage in January. Congratulations to Jessica and John!

We also got sad news, the death of a friend's mother this morning.

And more news of pregnancies and births.

Life goes on.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Cotton Slip

Every old lady missionary needs a sturdy cotton slip to take to the field. In the steaming jungles of South America it is way too hot and humid for a nylon slip under those long frumpy skirts. But do you think an old lady missionary could possibly find a cotton slip in the entire Dallas-Ft.Worth metroplex? No. So I made her one. No, I made her two--one with free cotton fabric from the missionary barrel and the other with eyelet that I bought at Walmart for a few dollars.

My friend is off to Guyana to see about taking the place of these folks.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The White Dove

I know it is just a bird, and I don't believe in omens, but almost every day when I walk to work I look up into a small tree on campus and there is a white dove. Sometimes I see her on top of one of the buildings, but usually she is in this tree For some reason it seems like she is watching over my place of work, which of course, can't be true, but she gives me the feeling of being watched over.

We can all use the Lord watching over us and protecting us. Tonight we got news of two singles from church in a 5-car accident on I-20. Three of the five cars were totaled, yet everyone walked away from the accident.