The Great Light Fight

December 7, 2017

Did you see that show on TV last Monday? Someone from Cedar Hill, just down the road from us, won the competition with a display of almost all blue and white lights. A colleague attends a church not far from this location and told us the address, so we took a trip down there tonight and got some photos.  The two huge oak trees covered in blue lights were the most impressive.



Misunderstandings–Usually Bad, but Sometimes Funny

December 4, 2017

I’ve shared before about how my Sunday School kids sometimes misunderstand what I’m talking about. You know, like when I say “Samson” and they hear “Samsung.”

Yesterday there was another. I said “Advent” and they heard “air vent.”

Anyway, here’s a cute 3-minute video from YouTube that takes that idea into the Christmas season.

New Kitchen Light

December 2, 2017

There comes a time when the annoying, mostly burned out, 8-foot fluorescent light can no longer be tolerated.  We decided to change out the fixture, even though we really didn’t know what we were doing.  Turns out that LEDs are now the choice instead of florescents–uses less energy,  no bulbs to change, and way lighter fixture.  A little bit more expensive, but not bad.

Ya know, it ain’t easy to install things when you need an extra hand to hold the magnifier!  We also had never seen these types of wire connectors.  Thanks to Google and a phone call to David, we got it figured out, and Yay, it worked and we didn’t burn the house down.

Of course, now the kitchen really needs a new paint job, but that will be a project for another day.

In other news, Sarah gave Micah a cool haircut:

And I made a wreath out of a coat hanger and some free Christmas tree scraps from Home Depot.

Angel Tree Gifts

November 28, 2017

Rachel doesn’t have her own children to buy Christmas gifts for, so she really enjoys buying gifts for her Angel Tree pick. I hope Valeria, age 4,  likes these choices! (And now there is one thing we can check off the Christmas to-do list.)

Thanksgiving 2017

November 26, 2017

Gary, Rachel, and I flew to LaGuardia on Tuesday so we could spend the holiday with Andrew’s family. Second year in a row to do that. Our tickets were pretty cheap which made the $115 taxi ride to their house not quite so unbearable!!

We didn’t do quite as many touristy things this year as last because we wanted to give Andrew a hand with some house projects. It seems his big house is already needing some repairs, so we spent some time analyzing what needed to be done and how we could help. His biggest project was scraping, priming, and repainting many of the wood shingles on the outside of the house.  You’ll see from the photos how big of a job that is.  He and Gary worked on painting quite a bit, but it still wasn’t done by the time we left.

I did some work on doors and door locks, installing an electronic lock that was leftover from Rachel’s townhouse (that would have gone faster if I’d had the correct manual), and helped Andrew make plans to change out some of the double-sided deadbolts for safer deadbolts with thumb-turn levers on the inside.  You know, in case there is a fire and you can’t find the key to let yourself out!

And of course we did a ton of cooking and baking and eating–see the photos.

On Saturday morning we used their membership pass to spend a few hours at the Bronx Zoo while Andrew continued the painting.

This morning we got up at 3:45am Eastern and Andrew drove us to the airport–not hard to do at that hour on a Sunday morning!  We were back home in Dallas, unpacked with a load of laundry started in time to watch our church via their live-stream.

Click here to view the online album I made of photos from our trip.  Click a photo to make it larger, and then you can find a right arrow to move to the next photo.  If you see a little i in a circle, click on it to read the captions which I put on some of the photos.  Photos taken by me and by Rachel.



November 15, 2017

Yesterday Gary and I had hearing tests. When the Dr. asked me why I was there, I answered, “Well, my husband and I are having the ‘You’re mumbling! No, You’re deaf!’ argument, so we are both having exams today.”

Well it turns out that we have scientific proof that I do have mild hearing loss. He said I could do hearing aids, but that they are so expensive that I probably won’t want to at this stage. True.

And we only have anecdotal evidence that Gary mumbles–not sure there is a test for that, but I do know I’m NOT the only person to ever have mentioned it!!

So, no problems solved with this effort! 🙂

In other news, David is in New Orleans for a conference and said he was not having Pepsi and donuts for breakfast but rather beignets and chicory coffee.  He also sent this famous photo, but I don’t actually know what it is a photo of!

Rachel and I made 48 mini pumpkin cake cupcakes for her to take to one of her jobs tomorrow where they are having a Thanksgiving meal of sorts. (Does turkey lunchmeat count as turkey??)

Gary is off to University of North Texas tomorrow to give a couple lectures.  He’s got a ride there, but I’ll drive up to Denton to fetch him Saturday morning.

Guess that is the news for today.  My next chore:  sort through the mountain of junk mail that has been collecting on the countertop–this time of year it really stacks up!  After that, off to church to help kids practice for the Christmas play.


November 13, 2017

The weather finally cooled down a bit–last week we had the A/C and the furnace on at different times. Our second cucumber plant is still producing.

I spent a chunk of time helping teacher Rachel get ready for November–brought to you by the letters G and H and the number 4. We made 12 baskets out of lunch bags so the kids could help Jesus’ disciples pick up the leftover fish and bread. Now that she’s been given some real responsibility, she’s really getting into this.

On Saturday Gary and I went with the old people to Encore–the remnant of folks from Kimball Free Methodist church who get together once a month. And yes, we do feel young while there as the program is led by a 100 year old and her 91 year old little sister. These photos are for the boys: Maude, Edith, and Mary all want to know how you are doing.

Yesterday Rachel and I delivered a cake for a baby shower. The colors were black and white. Black icing is tricky but can be made by starting with chocolate frosting made with Special Dark Cocoa Powder and then add black food coloring.

I also sent out a newsletter this past week–if you didn’t get a copy in your email, please contact me (if you want a copy, that is 🙂 ).

Academic Achievements

November 4, 2017

The president of our sister organization sent Gary an email with this photo which I’ve stolen. Gary let me know that his speech yesterday at Gordon College’s Academic Convocation went very well. He read his speech, entitled “Scholarship as Spiritual Service,” from large-print sheets and said he only stumbled 3-4 times–you know, hard to get the intonation right when you can’t see much more than one word at at time. He said the place was full, and the college president sent him a thank you email and asked for a copy of the speech. (And YOU TOO can have a free copy of the speech by sending me an email request!)

Our next academic achievement to notice comes from Andrew, who just got a paper published in a journal called Environmental Economics and Management.  If you want to read this paper, entitled “Using unobtrusive sensors to measure and minimize Hawthorne effects:  Evidence from cookstoves,” it is available for free download for a few more days–click here.  Efficient cookstoves in Africa is an interesting topic in its own right, but so is the Hawthorne Effect–whether using new cookstoves or raising children, people act differently when they know they are being observed.  (Hmm, this should have a lesser effect in Christians who know God is always watching. 😉 )

And last, but certainly not least, we have Micah’s award for reading, given this week by his 1st grade teacher.

And that reminds me of my very favorite video of Micah teaching Emma the alphabet over two years ago.  So I’c better post it so you can enjoy it again too.  🙂

Very Close Call

November 2, 2017

Around dusk last ast night I was driving myself to choir practice at church (Gary is in MA for a few days). As I was going south on Clark Road I was thinking, “I wonder how much worse these cataracts have to get before they do something?” when suddenly there was a car perpendicular to mine. He/she was trying to make a left turn out of Walmart and I guess got impatient and decided not to wait for the traffic to clear. I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could and screeched to a halt enough to miss him by about a foot.

My cataracts had nothing to do with him failing to yield the right of way but it did remind me of God’s protection in the case of other bad drivers.

In happier news, Gary got to Danvers, MA safely. I phoned him to tell him about my close call and woke him up in the middle of Game 7. Go Astros!

Sarah posted this photo of Emma and Micah in their Halloween costumes–princess and pirate.

I visited Rachel’s new class this week (since she forgot her lunch) and got this photo:

Rachel herself was dressed as an understated pumpkin, with a new orange shirt that we bought for $6 from the men’s section and then I remodeled it to fit her.

Last Halloween photos:

Some Family Photos

October 28, 2017

I contacted Teresa for an update.  She went to visit her daughter in Knoxville and got to see her grandkids Oz and Zeke,


then a visit to Wendell and Judy which produced this selfie:

I’ve also gotten a few photos of Isabella lately, including her fundraising pitch.  Click on the triangle to watch her 35-second video.  Click here if you want to make an online donation to her school through Razoo.

It looks like Princess Leia is still popular!  I’ve also got a photo of Emma dressed like that for Micah’s 5th birthday party.

I also got this family selfie from Micah, David, Sarah, Emma that was taken at Micah’s school carnival:

The only other family photo I have to share is this one of Rachel and our lazy family picnic last Thursday.  The weather was perfect but no time to pack a picnic, so we called upon Mr. Jim to provide and made a last minute trip to the park.

In other news, my mom had her pacemaker battery replaced this week, thank you to my sister for driving her to Lansing and going back the next day to get her.     Gary pushed the “on” button on his newest project, a website for The Pike Center, but I’ll blog about that at another time.  He is also busily getting ready for a trip to Massachusetts on Wednesday to give some talks at Gordon College.  More on that later too.  And Andrew had a paper published, but more on that later.

As for me, I’m having a Halloween themed Sunday School lesson tomorrow, which might be kinda odd, but we are just coming up on the story of Saul and the Witch of Endor.  And these kids already hear enough about the occult that I will touch on what the Bible says about the topic.  Speaking of my SS class, last week I got an unusual reaction to the story of Hannah leaving Samuel at the temple with the priest.  One child pronounced that story “all messed up,” so I had some ‘splanin’ to do. (Background:  this reaction isn’t so hard to understand when your mother has abandoned you.)