Tag Archives: stories

Farmhouse Christmases Past


Several years ago, we stopped celebrating Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s farmhouse because they moved “to town” where they could have more help. The memories thirty Christmases before that are etched deeply in my memories. (OK, to be honest, I probably don’t actually remember the first two.)
When we drove through their tiny town and followed the curving highway out the other side, we would look across the empty fields to see the white barn. As kids, we always tried to be the first to shout, “I see the barn!” We would drive down the long gravel drive to park near the end of the sidewalk that led to the back door. As we unloaded food and gifts to carry them up the sidewalk, Grandpa would come out the door wearing his puffy warm vest over his work overalls and greet us with a loud “Merry Christmas!” and hugs at the top of the stairs. Sometimes we arrived and stayed several days before Christmas and some years we went only for the day, but the greeting was always the same.

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Filed under celebrations, photos, stories

A Blu-ish Christmas & Happy New Year

Blu-ish Christmas

Ever since our last day of school on December 19, I have been on an unplanned hiatus from blogging and most social media. I caught a cold before school ended for the break but thought I was getting better. The first two nights of our Christmas trip to visit Brian’s side of the family in Tulsa, I spiked a moderate fever. On Monday, I went to an urgent care center and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. Even with three prescriptions, it took me nearly a week to feel remotely normal again. I still have a cough but have much more energy and no longer sound like a frog when I talk.

Christmas Eve Bows

Off My Game

Once on antibiotics, I was not contagious so I still joined in on game night, dinners, and other gatherings with friends and family. Much of the week was fun but I felt mentally and physically fuzzy. I slept in, took naps, and sat around watching Doctor Who. If I saw you in the few days before Christmas and seemed sad or cranky, I just did not feel well and struggled to think straight. I was so out of sorts, I didn’t even drink coffee for two or three days because the taste was completely unappetizing.


On Christmas Eve morning, we found out my mom had the flu. Since she and Dad did not want to get anyone sick, especially my elderly grandparents or two-year-old nephew, they decided to stay home for Christmas. On Christmas Day, Brian and I had breakfast and stockings with his parents his sister, Shanna, and then drove to my aunt & uncle’s house three hours away. In Ottawa, we celebrated with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, five siblings (counting the ones who married in), and a nephew.

Christmas Day Prep
Christmas Day Eli

Since it was on our way, Brian and I picked up Dad and Mom’s gifts for everyone else and dropped off the gifts to them on our way back to Tulsa at the end of the day. We also Facetimed with them so they could see and chat with everyone during gift-opening time. We intended to stay with my parents from Christmas Day until Monday but they suggested we visit another time, when they are less contagious. Brian and I (and Cola) came home on the 26th and have spent several relaxing days at home, resting and recuperating. It has been very nice!

Cola sleeps with her new toy

Happy New Year!

By New Year’s Eve, Brian and I were feeling much better. We rang in 2015 by playing board games with a few college students who were in town. We taught them how to play our version of Golf-the-card-game, played a Battle of the Sexes card game, and then split into groups to play either Settlers of Catan or Life.

How were your Christmas and New Year holidays?



Filed under celebrations, photos, Travel

Midweek Memphis Update

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know we arrived safely in inner city Memphis and are hard (and often humorously) at work on Bible club and other work projects. I apologize for any typos or weird formatting on this post. I am composing on my phone and have limited wifi availability for uploading all the photos I want to include! 

On Monday, we visited a nursing home and enjoyed our conversations with the residents. Our men seemed to be popular with the elderly ladies who loved attention from younger men. At one point, Julia and I walked into a lobby and found Conner surrounded six to eight ladies who were enthralled by him and his guitar. I met two particular ladies who loved to talk about “the Lawd an’ His blessins'”. One of them used to be a pastor’s wife and sang in a choir. When she found out I do not have kids, she advised me to have a boy first. 

Monday’s Bible club was a bit chaotic for us and the eighteen kids who came. Part of the craziness was caused by our team trying to figure out what worked and what did not, the rest was due to delays from walking teams arriving with kids. We broke into pairs and walk prearranged routes to invite and pick up kids for club, but some of the residents informed us that kids would get home around 3:30 or 4:00… And we originally planned to be back at our site to start at 3:15! We heard later that the change in school release times was unknown to the StreetReach staff and had affected all the club sites running this week. 

For Tuesday’s Bible club, the start time was adjusted to be later so we could include more kids. At our site, we had thirty-four kids! 

On Tuesday morning, our project was cleaning the little-used section of a local church, where a large team will sleep when they come to work with StreetReach next week. 

Please continue praying for us this week! In our team devotional times, we have been praying for patience, unity, and opportunities to encourage and help our teammates as well as the StreetReach staff. 

A spontaneous dance party broke out after dinner on Monday!


Fun times setting up for Bible club!


Men who know how to clean well!20140318-210248.jpg


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