October 26, 2017

What makes missionaries stand it long lines? Free food, of course! The Center chose a beautiful day to serve brats and sauerkraut and the oom-pah music was playing in the back ground.

The also used the occasion to go fishing in the Auquaponics tanks and harvest some of the larger tilapia. So I got a bite of a fish that spent its life producing waste that fed the veggies!

Beyond that, I have photographic evidence of a tiny bit of color in the trees–the three trees we planted in honor of our grandkids are starting to turn color.  Be sure to click on the photos to see them better.


Health Report

October 23, 2017

We skipped our annual physicals last year–too lazy or didn’t want the expense, or whatever. But today we both had physicals for this year. The news was mostly good. We’re healthier than many folks our age, but we are showing signs of aging!

The worst news for me was the continuation of prediabetes and this time the dr. wanted me to try a low dose of metformin for 90 days. Actually, he just gave me 30 days of pills to see if I could tolerate the medicine. So I’ve already gotten the prescription filled and taken my first horse pill.  We’ll see how this goes.

The most interesting thing we learned from the dr. wasn’t medical advice, but rather medicare advice. Since we are not allowed to use the SIL doctors or clinic after age 65, we have to find a general practitioner who will take new medicare patients, and a lot of them will not do so. So Dr. Whitney (who himself has retired, works some as a volunteer ,and cannot use the clinic!) told us to go find a doctor we like and make a visit while we are age 64.  Once we do that, we are “an old” patient of the doctor, and he or she will then let you stay on as his/her patient after you turn 65 and go on medicare.  So I might go to Rachel’s former doctor and get signed up with her.

In other news, poor Andrew continues to fix his messed up wall and window and it looks like he has done a good job.  The previous owners were kind enough to leave a can of paint in the basement so he had matching paint to use on the new shingles:

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.