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Archive for September, 2007

Pancake Party

I spent this morning flipping pancakes for Mason's 2nd grade class. I felt just like a Food Network star! You'll see me at my post and you'll also see his teacher, Mrs. Figari, reading Nate the Great's Pancake Adventure in the pix that follow. This was the special occasion that brought us together. A good time was had by all from eating (or should I say devouring) the pancakes to a rousing game of pancake-themed Jeopardy that followed.

I enjoyed meeting some of the other parents, and Mason was thrilled for me to be there. I dropped him off like I always do and while he went to class, I parked the van and carried my pancake paraphernalia to his classroom. When I arrived, he bombarded me with hugs and shouts of joy. Why are children so excited when their parents show up at school? I'm pretty sure it really has little to do with me, but I enjoy the adulation just the same.

 

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You know, leaving Springfield has really rocked our world. My brain is still trying to take in the reality that we don't live there anymore. Whenever I see a palm tree, I think some vacation hormone kicks in and I can't quite grasp the fact that this is home.

One of the hardest parts of leaving is being away from the people I love so dearly…my family and lots of friends. I  met one of those especially dear friends years ago at Kinkos. Yes, I know it's an unlikely place to strike up a long-term friendship, but even God visits Kinkos from time to time. I'm sure He was there the night I met Charla. It's been over seven years, and I've loved the way our friendship has grown.

One of the first things you figure out as you get to know Charla is that this is one talented gal. Well, I am at the receiving end of her talents as I sit here enjoying some pictures she took of my children just before we moved away. She spent a day and half with Maddie and Mason and captured some unbelievably precious photos. I can't tell you how fortunate I feel to have these…Look on and you'll see what I mean. Thank you my dear friend for the pictures and even more for your sweet friendship. You've taken up a special place of residence in my heart, and I'm especially glad for these because they remind me of you and the incredible gifts God has given.

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Sabbathing with Books

One of my greatest loves is great reading. Right now, I'm working on four books. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliott, How to Read a Book by Mortimer C. Adler, Mapping Inner Space by Nancy Margulies and a vocabulary building book. Oh yeah, and I'm also listening to 1776 by David McCullough on my iPod. That one has been on my waiting list for way too long. I enjoy this revolving door kind of reading and tend to make it my habit. Doing so lets me reflect on a number of thoughts and sometimes the synergy that happens in the overlap is remarkable. Some people might think it too distracting or lacking focus. Maybe so, but I sill like it that way.

We normally make Barnes and Noble our reading hangout, but today it was Borders. We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen after church and then decided to see what was happening at  the bookstore just around the corner. Spending the afternoon at the bookstore would be restful and would also contribute to the 100 minutes Mason needs to read for school each week. The choice of the day for him was a Boxcar Children mystery. Maddie and I spent a good bit of time looking for a specific edition of The Three Musketeers (to no avail) that they will be covering soon in literature class. Gerry and I opted for a stack of magazines, which require little attention and allow for lots of interruptions…both good options when sharing our bookstore expeditions with the kids. I spent most of a day at Barnes and Noble one day last week and it was sheer pleasure. Today it's a sabbath afternoon with my family surrounded by stacks of books. Now that's what I call a day of rest.

Here are a few pictures of our afternoon well spent. I'm the one behind the camera all the while hoping to pass my love for reading along.

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.” –Mark Twain

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Welcome Weekend

This weekend is the first since we've been here that hasn't been crammed full, so we took advantage of the white space in our lives. Gerry and I went downtown yesterday while the kids were at school. We passed by the Alamo, which always makes my heart leap, wandered aimlessly for a while, visited La Villita, a little artist's village, shopped, ate lunch on the Riverwalk, and found the world's most amazing grocery store. I know that last part sounds a little offbeat, and I guess it is, but I do get excited about aisles full of new foodie treasures. This store was can I say, AMAZING. It's called Central Market, and it greets you with the largest produce department you'll ever find. The store specializes in specialty and does it all very well. We sauntered by more cheese than I've seen anywhere except maybe Harrod's in London, but this place definitely wins the prize for the biggest blocks of cheese I've ever laid eyes on…you'll see Gerry standing next to a couple of them in the picture below. Of course, the highlight for Gerry was the bakery, and I can now say as a firsthand witness that they have the best eclairs outside of France. Ooo La Lah! Love this place and will visit occasionally…it's not at all close to where we live, but it's something like an attraction and is filled with goodies that can't be found anywhere else. We had a wonderful day together, and it was long overdue.

We began our Saturday by visiting a local nature center, which at first appeared to be a disappointment as we walked through paths of tall grass that seemed more like a maze that meandered through an open field than a real nature center. Well, first impressions are not always accurate, and I can admit it, I was wrong. The seemingly pointless path led us to the Cibolo River which is a lovely tree lined escape along which runs a somewhat shaky path. But the path isn't really necessary because it's much more fun to walk through the clear running stream. We had an abbreviated visit because Gerry needed to go the church to prepare for the Saturday evening service, but I'm sure we'll be back to visit very soon. We spent the rest of the day at home and at the pool. I even made dinner. Wonderful. Restful. And very welcome.

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School Lunch

I went to the school to have lunch with Maddie and Mason today. I've been wanting to go but thought I'd give them a little time to get into their groove. Mason's favorite after lunch activity of late is playing basketball. And I was amazed at how good those little boys actually were. Maddie and her friends pretty much just enjoy hanging out and talking…like any group of 6th grade girls. So, here's a little peek inside their school day.

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Heroes

I saw two heroes today.  The first was during church this morning. As I took my seat, I noticed a young man and his wife sitting in the next section over. He easily stood out from the crowd. His head was covered with a tight fitting stocking cap. One eye was covered with a patch. Each of his limbs was heavily wrapped in ace bandages, and on his hands he wore something that looked like oven mitts. I wondered what terrible thing might have happened to him. About midway through the service, the man on stage began to tell about a ministry of our church called Hometown Heroes, and he asked the bandaged young man and his wife to stand. The terrible thing that had happened was that he had been injured in Iraq. Tears welled in my eyes and I felt the fullness of a heart overflowing with gratitude and awe. It was then that I noticed that his left ear was missing. The crowd of 1,800+ stood to honor them. It seemed so momentous, yet so small relative to what this man suffered for freedom's sake…for my sake.

The evening service was hosted by a woman who I consider to be a hero as well. Joni Eareckson Tada. I read her book, Joni, when I was a girl. And a few years ago, I was transfixed as I read her memoirs, The God I Love. Both books captured my attention and marked my heart with a deeper understanding of what life is really about. Joni told us tonight about the hardship of quadraplegia. That's unmistakable and undeniable. Unimaginable to my way of thinking. She's spent 40 years in that wheelchair. She said that her heart needed to be healed far more than her body. She wondered aloud at why we waste our sufferings when they are the only thing that really draws us closer to God. She is humble, sincere, and lives up to what I'd look for in a hero.

Two heroes. A single common thread of uncommon courage on bold display.

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Sweets from the Sweet

Thank you to all of you who sent your generous birthday wishes. I have to share the “sweetest” greeting I received. Maddie made my birthday cake…chocolate with dark chocolate ganache…so good. Here's the pic. She is proud, and my heart is full.

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