Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Busy Week

October 17, 2017

We’ve had a busy week with lots going on around here. Today Rachel started teaching her own class of 5 two-year-olds at Mother’s Day Out. She got a start of decorating her room but wants to do more.  (No, it’s not your eyes–I blurred out the kids’ faces.)

Gary was busy in meetings last week, and a few more this week.  He also (along with a co-author) submitted an article to Christianity Today about the history of SIL and WBT.  We’ll see where that goes.  Today he had lunch with someone from the American Bible Society’s Nida Institute.  Tomorrow it is meetings about Scripture Engagement.  And his annual review with his boss.  I wonder if he’ll get a raise–ha, ha!

Today I decorated a thank-you cake for the lady who did a ton of work to organize the bi-annual Bible Translation Conference.  They end the conference with a fancy dinner at a local hotel, and this cake will be served at the organizer’s table.

But perhaps the biggest news of the day is that Micah lost his first tooth!  (Thank you, David, for sending the photo.)



October 12, 2017

Time for a family update: (Don’t forget you can click on a photo to make it larger and get a better look.)

Andrew is learning the joys of home ownership:  termites and dry rot.  The silver lining here is that he gets to make lots of trips to Home Depot and buy tools and a new ladder.  Here are some photos.  Last I checked he hadn’t been able to actually finish the project due to several days of rain.  And now he is off to Alabama on a business trip so he won’t get it finished this weekend either.

I also talked to David recently.  He was cleaning and refinishing the deck off their bedroom when I called.  That deck is a never-ending job as the trees just keep dropping stuff.  He says he is liking his job and Micah is liking first grade.

Rachel has had to step up a little this week with her various jobs, as the lead teachers have left her in charge when they had to be out.  She is off to her church’s women’s retreat tomorrow evening.

We’re having our first guests in the guest room that we repainted ages ago.  There are many folks here at the Center to attend a large conference on Bible Translation, and they ran out of housing, so we are taking a couple single women in.  Rachel and I will be making some cupcakes or muffins to send for coffee break for one of the days of this conference.  And we also have to make a small thank-you cake for the conference organizer–but don’t tell, it’s a secret!!

Gary is super busy this week and next with meetings, pre-meetings, dinner meetings, retreat meetings, and post-meetings.  Lots of people organize meetings that are juxtaposed to the Bible translation conference.

As for me, I made 30 grilled cheese sandwiches last night at church to feed the youth group and their leaders.

You know, even the pickiest eaters will eat grilled cheese.  I had a batch of homemade brownies in the freezer, so I pulled those out as well.  My other accomplishment for the week was discovering this collection of salt and pepper packets from airlines around the world–more material for “the book I’m going to write” called Only At My Place of Work.


Fall Camping trip

October 7, 2017

But it sure didn’t feel like fall. It was still up to 90 degrees during the afternoons. 15 degrees cooler would have made the camping a bit more enjoyable, but we coped by coming back to the house for the hottest part of the day! I guess we can do that since we only live 5 miles away from the park.  Rachel ended up with a number of other things to do, so she didn’t sleep at the state park with us, but she did make it for one meal.

The birding wasn’t that great–summer birds have gone and winter birds have not yet arrived–but we did see a total of 28 species over the three days.  Most unusal was a V of White-faced Ibis that flew right over our campsite as they were migrating south.

Click here to see some photos:


October 1, 2017

Well, Rachel and I kinda, sorta launched our little home business yesterday. We made a bunch of goodies for the MK bake sale and gave them away for free. BUT, we included a note soliciting business.

My original label said “Simonses’ Sweets” but Gary said I was being pedantic, if correct.  So we compromised on a non-real-word branding.

As I mentioned before, the requirements in Texas are not that many to start a home food business.  I have no desire for this to turn into a big deal, since we already have jobs.  But it is something we kinda enjoy doing together and people seem to like the end result.  So, we’ll see…


Rachel’s Latest Art

September 23, 2017

Rachel’s church has held a couple of those learn-to-paint parties where everyone paints the same thing with the help of an instructor. She is always the last person to finish, but that has not made her enjoy it any less. She has bought a few painting supplies (watercolors and acrylics) and has made a few items on her own.  Her latest started with this photo that I took in June:

We cropped it, printed it out with various computer modifications, added a grid, copied the outline onto the canvas tiles with carbon paper, added color with acrylics and markers. Then the 9 tiles were mounted inside a square wooden box which she had stained using whatever was in the shed.

I really like the finished product.

Creature Report

September 21, 2017

Last night as Rachel was headed for bed she found this visitor at the top of the doorway. Yikes! We had an impromptu family meeting to discuss possible ways to remove him. Broom? Wasp spray? In the end Gary stood on a stool and flicked it into a 5-gallon bucket with the lid nearby, then took it outside and laid the bucket on its side so he could look elsewhere for a mate.


Texas Brown Tarantulas are only a little bit poisonous, but they sure look scary!

We also are buzzing with hummingbirds as they migrate southward. At least four of them were fighting over the feeders this morning.

In other news, I’m not feeling so great. I went to the clinic today and now am taking antibiotics for a sinus infection. And only 3 hours after starting the meds, I’m experiencing the drug’s most common side effect–but I spare you the details.

Baby David Has a Job!

September 19, 2017

(Photo stolen from their website.)

I talked to David today and heard about his first week at work. (He has Tuesdays off, so that’s why he answered his phone.) He is still in orientation, still learning their system, but he plans to do his first surgery tomorrow.

Here is the link he sent from his clinic’s website. Click and read all about it! 🙂  Be sure to click the “Learn More” link to see the full story.

Trip to Michigan

September 14, 2017

Gary and I just got back from a short trip to Michigan. I hadn’t seen my mom and sister for over a year, so that was the “main” reason for going, but Gary managed to add in visits with three different work-related people, so he did some business on the trip too.

I’ve made a Google photo album which you see by clicking here. (Now remember, if you get this blog via an email subscription, you may need go to the actual blog website to make the photos show up.)  The album has lots of wildflowers.

Gary and I attended mom’s Crystal school reunion–a reunion for all who attended the school in Crystal before it was no longer used. We saw senior photos of both my mom and my grandma Shinabargar hanging on the wall. Now Gary can say he’s been at a school reunion.  A few photos of this.

Mom and I went to Meijer Garden’s while Gary was doing some business in Grand Rapids. Quite an impressive botanical garden and sculpture garden.  Lots of sculpture photos were taken while we toured on the tram.  The above photo is mom “in Michigan” taken at the Children’s Garden, a water play area modeled after a map of the Great Lakes.

We stayed overnight in Holland, MI and did some birding the next morning at Holland State Park. We got in free since it was past Labor day. It was a lovely park.

On the way to the airport we visited Ken Pike’s middle daughter Barbara to tell her about a project Gary is working on. She made us a nice sack meal to take on the plane home.

We had an uneventful trip home and it was nice to see Rachel and nice to sleep in our own bed.

Rachel is Now Qualified to Handle Food

September 6, 2017

Today Rachel completed an online course to learn how to safely handle food.  It was a nice kind of course in that you don’t have to pay for the course until you pass the test–nice business model.  The course was a bit over an hour long, and would have gone faster if their website was a bit more cooperative.  I actually took the course too, including the 40-question test at the end (we scored 100%), but only one of us could get the certificate at at time.  So I’ll have to “take” it again, answer the test questions, and pay a separate $7.99.

Why are we doing this? you ask.  Well, in case we get asked to make a bunch more cakes for folks beyond what we would call “family and friends,” then I want to be able to meet the minimum requirements for the Texas Cottage Food Law  and sell them at a commercial rate. I’ve reviewed that website, and it seems the laws for making and selling cakes out of one’s home are pretty lenient, so it would be easy to start a cake business as far as the legalities go.  Taking the above course was one of the few requirements.

Not that I’m really planning to start a business, but some weeks Rachel and I do seem to have some free time and we’ve worked out a system of working on the cakes together, giving us both something productive to do.  Anyway, today’s efforts were a step in that direction.

In other news, the last grand-chickadee has finally returned to school.  Today was Isabella’s first day of 4th grade.



September 5, 2017

The deck scrubbing continues. We’ve made progress, but there is a lot of deck out there. After cleaning we have to go pound the nails, too. Many of the nails have worked themselves out by about 1/8th inch and that hurts your feet to walk barefoot.

Rachel and I did some cooking on Monday–two homemade pizzas and some homemade spring rolls. We used to make two big pizzas often when we had a houseful of teenagers. Now this much pizza is going to last a while!

In other news, the hummingbirds are migrating and we have lots of them hanging around.  Here is one sitting in the Emma tree in the front yard.

I managed to get Rachel to go swimming last night, but 94 degrees is just getting a bit too chilly for her so she declared that would be her last swim of the season!

On the work front, Gary is about to kinda, sorta finish another book, but this time it is the Spanish translation of a book he and Paul Lewis wrote called “Sustaining Languages Use.”  Paul is in Thailand for a few months while editing this book in Spanish.  It is a small world, ya know.

Speaking of the Spanish world, we are watching the weather reports and worrying that Hurricane Irma will do so much damage in the Caribbean.  Miguelina is in NY visiting her daughters, so she will miss it herself, but I’m sure she is concerned.  Rachel is concerned too–some days she comes away from watching the news feeling like the world is going to end in a fire or a flood or in nuclear war or by global trouble du jour.  Maybe we need to quit watching the news. 😦