Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Weekend

Noel's family (Noel, Janice, Mark and father-in-law, Bailey) arrived on Christmas Eve. We all ate dinner together at Mom's apartment and then went to the Christmas Eve Service at her church. First Baptist was beautiful!!! There were gold and glass lighted candlelabaras in the front of the church as well as in the aisle. There was a huge lighted tree on the stage and wreaths hung on the walls. I think everyone was in awe. The service itself was very dignified and consisted of instrumental/choral music and readings.

Christmas Day, Bill and I spent the morning cooking a ham dinner with all of the trimmings. At 1:00 p.m. Noel's family, Mom, Uncle Johnnie, Ian, Phyllis and her mother arrived. There were 11 adults. I set up an additional table so that we could all sit together.

After dinner, we retired to the family room. There were plenty of gifts for everyone and we enjoyed watching them being opened. Bill had wanted a dancing Christmas tree and bought Ian one as well. Mark loved our rapping rodent and learned the lyrics. He kept saying, "It's your birthday, it's your birthday!" I thought it was cute! I gave Bill some cash in a card, and surprised him with a cashmere blue robe. (He's finally domesticated enough to wear one. ) He gave me my usual jewelry and a certificate to buy clothes. Bill had given me diamond earrings a few years ago. This year, I got a necklace to match. He always teases me and tells me they are investments.

Keri called about 20 minutes ago. Her brood has reached the Stroud Exit. They have Kelli with them and will stay 5 days. Keri and Kevin just bought a Chrysler Town and Country mini van and this is the first trip. I'm glad they aren't flying. They might be stuck somewhere! Keri hasn't been to Oklahoma for 3 years so we are excited. The grandkids think we live at the cottage in Michigan or at the airport in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Musical Address/Observations

This is the address for the New Beginnings Church Musical:

Bill is the director, and I am standing on the end of the first row, near the reader.

The video was taken by Chuck Edwards who is a storm chaser and works for FEMA. If you would like to see some tornado videos, you can click onto those.

We have a new teacher at our school who is very pretty, but intensely negative and uses language that is not suitable for anyone. I have gotten to know her in the past few weeks, and have come to realize that she has had a lot of pain in her life. Most of our teachers are born again believers and just naturally care about each other. This particular lady has never worked in such an environment and has expressed her appreciation to us over and over. I have noticed a real change in her. It has become obvious to me that the people who have the greatest emotional pain in their lives choose one of two roads - to become bitter and turn away from God, or they get closer to God and become one of the sweetest people on earth. It's really important for us who know Christ to continue loving those hurting people.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Friday evening, The Language Company had a Christmas party for students and teachers together. We had an international potluck, a sing-a-long (led by Bill and myself) and a game of Dirty Santa. It was hilarious! Also, our director gave all of the teachers gifts from himself for Christmas that were very nice. Movie certificates for the men, and pedicure certificates for the women. We were surprised because we had received Christmas bonuses from the company already.

Saturday morning, we had a two hour choir practice at the church. Bill and I had planned to go to Wal-Mart in the afternoon, but changed our minds when we saw the line of traffic. We ate lunch at Denny's and then went grocery shopping at FireLake.

Saturday evening I called Mom to check on her. She said she was dizzy and couldn't keep her balance when walking. I insisted on picking her up and taking her to ER at Unity Hospital at 6:30 p.m. Upon arrival, her blood pressure was 210 over 103. I didn't know that was possible! Stroke signs. She was given medication and every test possible. By 11:30 p.m. her pressure had dropped significantly and she was given the choice of staying for observation or going home with me. She chose to go home, but not to my home! This morning, she called and told me that she was feeling fine and was planning to teach her Sunday School class. I was not pleased, but have learned not to fight her. I just turn her over to God I will call her again in another hour.

This morning, we sang our Christmas musical. It will be on the internet tomorrow. We'll watch it before giving our friends the address to be sure it is worth listening to. We were very pleased with the live performance. Even better, was the fact that 4 of our Muslim students came to church for the first time. Also, my friend, Sam, who manages Granny's Convenience Store attended. Sam is my Muslim friend from Pakistan who always talks to me when I pay cash for my gasoline. Sam loved the music, and said he would come back to my Bible Study class. After our concert, Pastor Larry gave an invitation. One thing he said stood out in my mind. He said, "Jesus paid the price for our sin, and made a way for us to go to heaven. If anyone knows a better way and is sure of it, they should be advertising it to the world." Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can go to the Father, but by me." I believe He had the authority to say that, and was not a liar. Please watch for the internet address.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Holiday Fun

Last Sunday, we had a low attendance in Bible Study because many people stayed home to prepare for the big Christmas dinner which was held after worship. The church furnished ham and turkey. I counted 6 tables of vegetables and salads, and 4 tables of desserts. I baked macadamia white chocolate cookies. During the service, our 16 voice choir sang, "Come, Let Us Adore" from our musical which will be sung next week. That particular number is Black Gospel style, and makes us all want to dance!

Today, we had a birthday party for all of our students and teachers with birthdays in December. It is especially nice because we have a large population of Saudi Arabian students who have never celebrated their birthday before. We enjoy showing them how Americans celebrate life! The "cake" was a snowman made from 24 cupcakes. He was soooo cute!

I have been teaching reading and writing in the morning, and in the afternoon. Our classes have been stretched from 50 minutes to 1 hour each so that we can take off the week after Christmas with pay.

Last night, I chatted with Kelli. Her university doesn't have snow days, and she has to keep the media working everyday. I'm glad she loves her job!

There have been more Christmas cards in the mailbox this year. I'm surprised! They are beautiful and I really enjoy them! Thanks!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Fun!

This morning, I was so glad that it was Saturday! I slept until 7:00 a.m. and then cooked scrambled eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Then, I baked macadamia white choco cookies for the church Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Yesterday, I taught my four classes, and then drove home quickly to make a taco casserole and punch and coffee for the choir potluck and practice at our house. Fifteen people were able to attend. We have some very talented strong singers! I wondered if our neighbors were enjoying the music as much as we were. Bill was pleased with the practice!

Tony, the director of our language school, asked me to arrange another Christmas party for the teachers at Gliori's Italian Restaurant. Last Tuesday night, Ian and Phyllis opened the restaurant just for 12 of us. It was decorated so pretty for Christmas! We exchanged gifts, and I came away with a large bag of potpouri, and Bill received a mixture of Hershey's chocolates. When we left, snow was coming down and the car was covered. Tecumseh is an old small town that has been given a facelift. It looked just like a quaint movie set!

On Christmas Day, I just learned that Uncle Johnny will be joining us for dinner. Mom, Noel, Janice, Mark and Bailey (Janice's Dad) will also be with us. Yeah! Keri's family and Kelli still plan to drive from Chicago and Grand Rapids in time for New Year's. The kids are practicing their songs to perform for the family party.

Looking ahead, Bill made plane reservations this morning for us to fly to California in February. God just keeps blessing me! I don't have to imagine what life would be like without Christmas. I lived it in Japan. Many Americans have no idea what our country would be like without God and his Son, Jesus. No Christmas carols, no lights, no spirit of giving etc. etc. I never want to forget, and I want to appreciate Christmas!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Activities

I always enjoy the holiday season because I don't have time to think about my problems. All of my time is taken with thinking about what I am going to do for someone else. It's fun to shop for others! (That's one reason why I still teach.) Saturday morning, I got my nails done, and then Bill and I went to the mall. We found some really cute stuff for the grandkids which I will keep a secret until after Christmas. Then, Bill insisted on taking me to a jewelry store to look at some items. He is more than generous to me at this time of year.

After shopping, we saw the movie, "Morning Glory". I have always liked Harrison Ford, and the movie is just plain fun. We also saw the movie, "Evan Almighty" on TV. What a message! Morgan Freeman was great!

Yesterday, we had 14 for Bible Study. We studied Isaiah 61. You can't read that chapter and feel depressed. It is full of hope and pure joy. We also had a full choir rehearsal for the Christmas musical following the worship service. The members amaze me with their dedication and desire to sing for God. It was late after choir practice, so we went to Santa Fe Cattle Co. for lunch. I ordered a half slab of ribs. It was too much, and I brought some home.

Today, I begin a new session at school. Again, I was begged to teach more than just mornings. They tried a new teacher last session who had no idea what she was doing when it came to teaching beginners how to write. So, I'm teaching from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00p.m. That's not too bad because we get a week off for Christmas. Yeah! I'm so glad I live in a country that still recognizes Christmas. That was not the case in Japan! Not even on the calendar!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving Thanks

It has been a while since I posted a blog because we were gone to Springfield for the Thanksgiving Holidays, and Bill had to use both computers to catch up on the class he teaches for GCU when we returned.

We took Mom with us to Springfield last Thursday morning. It had rained during the night, but was sunny and beautiful as we drove. When we reached the Springfield city limits we noticed cars driving toward us that were covered with snow. Soon, we also were driving in light snow. We enjoyed the snow falling for a few hours.

When it was time to go out for dinner, Noel said he didn't feel well enough to go, but insisted that we continue with our plans while he stayed home to sleep. Mom said she would stay with him. So, Galen, Sondra, Janice, Mark, Bill and I went to Golden Corral. However, when we arrived we noticed that the parking lot was completely filled and there was a line going out the door. We all agreed that we were NOT interested in joining the crowd. It didn't take long to decide to go to Applebee's which was across the road. There was no waiting there! We had chcken, steaks, appetizers, salads and much more. We didn't miss the turkey at all. That evening, we ate pies that Sondra had made and opened some Christmas gifts. Noel was feeling better by then.

On Friday, Galen and Sondra left to go back to Jason's in Oklahoma. In the afternoon, Bill drove the rest of us in Noel's mini van to Branson. We checked into the Ramada Inn which was across the street from Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. We had reserved tickets for the Christmas Show. Again, Noel did not feel like going and stayed at the hotel. The rest of us went to the show which featured a huge chicken dinner that you eat with your hands. Mark hated that and tried to use two toothpicks which didn't work! The Dixie Stampede Christmas show must be one of the best in Branson! It was our second time to go, and both times there were one thousand people. It is a mix of Las Vegas and Hollywood and is extremely well organized!!! We thought the live nativity was fantastic. It was so beautiful, regal, and done with dignity. I saw many people wiping away tears.

We drove back to Springfield on Saturday morning, and went to the Battlefield Mall in the afternoon. We got excited when we noticed The Body Shop. They had a special, so we stocked up!

On Sunday, Bill and I took Mark with us to the Ridgecrest Baptist Church on Republic Avenue. It is relatively close to Noel and Janice's home. That church has it together! Wow! We loved the orchestra, the duet, the quartet, the congregational singing and the message. We were so impressed with the presentation. I felt like I was at Glorieta. I was reminded that I have so much to be grateful for. I have a great family, and more blessings than I deserve! Thank you, Lord! The problems of this past year are nothing compared to what I have in Christ.