Dustin is loving his classes this semester. He is taking Systematic 2, New Testament 1 and History of Christian Missions. Yesterday, he had a whopper of a test that included memorizing Mark 1:1-15, hundreds of tricky identification questions (ex: What chapters in Matthew and/or Mark do you find the story of the faith of the centurioun?) and essays over all that has been covered so far. I'm sure he did great. He has 3 papers coming up in the next 6 or so days and then a huge one pretty soon after the 3 smaller ones are knocked out, so pray for him. It has really been a blessing to see him study this semester. Due to the nature of our jobs, he is able (and so graciously choosing) to strive to get the bulk of his work/reading done while I'm at school so as to leave very little for when I'm home in the evenings so we can spend some more time together. The discipline and sacrifice has been encouraging.
With a tad more time together in the evenings than previous semesters, we've picked up a new interest and created a new verb. PUZZLING. We love to puzzle. We bought a huge 1,000 piece puzzle at Wal-Mart and set it up on our folding table in the living room. We work a little most nights after dinner before book studies, church, various activities, cleaning, grading, etc. It just helps us unwind a bit, and we get to visit while we work on it. It's basically a bunch of small, similarly-colored flowers and leaves, so it's a challenging puzzle.
Another favorite activity as of late is hanging out with our neighbors. We still do the dinner swap and we also love stopping by each other's places for quick hellos. Baby Boy Neighbor is due in mid-February. The Blairs are introducing us to the art of sushi-eating. Also, David and Leslie helped us confirm, with some analyzing of our routines, that Dustin and I are truly old souls. We like to go to bed really early, get up really early, do puzzles, go on walks, sit on the couch and listen to music, read books in bed, etc. I think it's hilarious. I've been an old soul at heart for a long time now, I think. Dustin thinks he has, too. Nothing against the elderly; we love them. In fact, we miss our grandparents a lot. My Nana is the funniest person in my life.
I'm going through Acts with my kids at school and now in my own studies as well. I'm also studying through Judges, which can be challenging indeed. Thankfully, a sermon we had by R.C. Sproul has really helped me understand the context behind the gory scenes in the pages of Judges. I've been listening to it on the way to work.
We're enjoying the cooler weather and trying to bring it in with foods like chili or soup. For example, this week, Dustin helped me choose some meals. We decided on Kristy's TX Chili and 2 new hearty soups from my soup cookbooks. Furthermore, our church is having Chili Night tonight at Family Supper before the business meeting. The funny thing is I don't think we'll get sick of chilis or soups anytime soon. We are big fans.
Joey's still in Israel, and Melodie's starting her clinicals for her nursing program. We miss our little nephews, (and all of our families), back in TX. They are growing like crazy and we're ready to see them again. We'll see them at Christmas when we fly home. For Thanksgiving, we're headed up to Pennsylvania to see the Gerlt fam. We can't wait, and the leaves should be gorgeous on the drive!
Travis, my dear cousin, is engaged. So are Jenn and Kathlyn, sweet college friends of mine. I don't know if/how I'm going to make it to all of these TX weddings, but we're working on it.
Dustin's having a lot of fun with keeping secrets since my birthday is coming up. He goes on secret missions and has secret phone calls and drops weird, unconnected (probably untrue) hints to throw me off. :) Sigh. I'm not good with surprises, though I love them.
This weekend, we're headed to Huber's Farm with some friends for some pumpkin-picking, cider-drinking and yummy-food-eating fun!
One key thing I'm learning with the kids at school is how to be an encourager to them in their school work. My words make a big impact, for better or worse. Even in disciplining or discussing LOW Math grades, it is my responsibility to be kind and speak truth in a loving, careful way. It's hard sometimes.
Simplicity has been the key around our home this semester. It helps so much. I read portions of a book called Simple Hospitality. Although some of the stuff I won't use, much of it reminded me that things don't have to be fancy or difficult. You can share sandwiches or say a prayer for someone or eat leftovers or use Clorox Wipes for quick cleaning and create a really happy home without too much fuss.
My co-workers and I will be going to a workshop in Lexington soon and while I'm not thrilled about that, I do hope to get a lunch break to go to Abuelo's to get some REAL Mexican food.
Random, random. We love and miss you!