Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Celebration at Encino Park

Wow...what a day! Christmas at Encino Park Elementary School was a major production! The staff went all out to make it a special day for the kids...beginning first thing in the morning when Chris Meyers met them as they entered the door, dressed in one of his many costumes.
We had a shortened schedule during the day, leaving time right after lunch for the good stuff! They started with an all school assembly, which with over a thousand children is a huge group. The teachers presented "The Twelve Days at Encino Park" set to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". We each had a part to play and the kids got a kick out of it! Then we had an old fashion sing-a-long...I had volunteered to lead it, not knowing they sang Hanukah songs as well as songs in Spanish!

After the sing-a-long, the parties began. It was fun seeing the kinders as well as the fifth graders having a great time. I can't wait until next year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Busy Sunday...

Sunday started out clear and sunny but much colder than we've seen it so far. Larry started serving in "Host Ministries" where he drives a twelve passenger cart out to the far reaches of the parking lot to shuttle families into the church. He loves doing it, but this was the first time since we've lived here that I've seen him complain about the was actually only 32 degrees, but it did seem much colder...maybe our blood is starting to thin out. We'll find out next week when we go back to Illinois for Christmas.

In my Sunday School class, we celebrated Jesus' birthday with a birthday party, complete with cupcakes that symbolized the message of salvation. Although I've done it for years, it was new to these families, so it was a special time for the kids. We also had a mini live nativity and drama for the younger children...what a special time that was!

In the evening we had our life group over for our Christmas Party. Like "real" San Antonio people, we served tacos and tamales with all the trimmings! We had invited the family that we had chosen to shop for this Christmas, and gave them their gifts. Then we ended with a white elephant gift exchange for the rest of was a lot of fun!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Awesome Evening...

Tonight we had another Christmas Party for our Sunday School Class (which takes place on Saturday after church...does that make it "Saturday School"?). Anyway, it was after the 5pm service and held at Dennis and Cindy Mean's home. They have a beautiful home, but it had been transformed into a "Winter Wonderland"! Cindy is an artist and her work can be seen throughout the house. The yard is gorgeous with a pool and outdoor patio, complete with a fireplace. It was too cold outside for most folks, but Larry and I along with some other transplanted midwesterners ate our wonderful BBQ pork roast and trimmings outside on the veranda. In spite of the fact that I'm missing home, God is blessing me with unique memories of our first Christmas in Texas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Amazing Sight!

We were invited to dinner tonight by our good friends the Raymers. We had a wonderful time talking and sharing during our meal at a Cajun restaraunt and then went for a drive to see some of San Antonio at Christmas time. We had planned on going down to the Riverwalk and taking a carriage ride around to see the tree at the Alamo, but because of the rain, we changed our plans. Instead, Tom took us to see the live Nativity put on at one of the local was quite a sight! When you enter the gate, they give you a CD which brings it all to life, complete with dialog from the characters. You get to see Gabriel appearing to Mary as a young girl, as well as King Herod with the setting just as it was in Bible Times. There are people in costumes wandering the streets, as well as Roman soldiers on horseback. The soldiers even approach your car and check out your passengers. You are given a gold coin, which you must pay to the guard at the gate before you enter the city. You get to see village people selling their wares on the street as well as the three wise men travelling to see the newborn King. At the very end, you see the stable complete with Mary, Joseph and the Baby as well as angels rejoicing up in the sky! The entire ride takes about a half hour and all characters are real...complete with live animals of every kind. The skies even cleared during dinner so we could see the event as it was meant to be seen. It was truly an amazing production and I wish I had taken my camera with me!

Monday, December 10, 2007

T'was Three Weeks Before Christmas...

Well, except for the weather, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Until today, it's been in the 80's, but everyone still seems in the Spirit. I guess those who reside in San Antonio are used to this weather during the holidays. Today a cold front came through and it was cold enough for coats...that made me happy!

This weekend was the Christmas Party for HEB. Since they hadn't had one for several years, Larry decided to have it at our house. It was a lot of work getting ready for it, but it was also a lot of fun. We had over thirty people and served various finger foods. Larry grilled Shrimp Kabobs, Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Beef Tenderloin, while I prepared the other appetizers in the kitchen. I think people enjoyed getting together to celebrate the holidays.

Sunday night we were invited by our favorite new neighbors to the Christmas program at their church. Wow...were we in for a big surprise! It's a really old Baptist Church just a few blocks from the Alamo downtown and was a gorgeous building! The decorations were fabulous and the music set the tone for a celebration worthy of our Saviour! It will be one of my favorite Christmas memories of this first Christmas in San Antonio, I'm sure!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another Cold Day...

Stacey didn't have to leave until the afternoon, so we decided to go out to breakfast at The Guenther House downtown. There was a long wait this morning and they were short handed, but it still is a very impressive restaurant. It's the original grounds for the Pioneer Flour Mills (which is still in operation), and the restaurant is the original home built in the 1800's. In one of the rooms they had displayed this years Christmas Gingerbread House. It is an exact replica of the house and the details were incredible, as well as "edible"! There was furniture inside and the whole house was decorated for the holidays, down to the food on the table...all things made with Pioneer Baking mixes!

After breakfast, Larry took Stacey to see the HEB Corporate Headquarters. It's located at the old Arsenal down the street from the Alamo and has been completely restored. Everytime I go there I see something new...this time he showed us the arsenal "magazine," where all the ammunition was kept during the Civil War. Mr. Butt (the owner of HEB) lives in a restored house right down the street and has an underground walkway to the arsenal. The history here is incredible!

Christmas Kick-off...

We had a fabulous last day with Stacey today! We started out the day at Krispy Kreme Donuts and did a little Christmas shopping, then headed up north to a little town in the hill country. It was surprisingly cold the 40's, but it at least it seemed more like the holidays to me. We shopped for a while in Fredricksburg and decided to have lunch there and while we were waiting for our table, I looked up and saw somebody I recognized! It was one of our old pastors from Hope, Eric Hoehn and his wife, Caren. They moved to Austin earlier this year and we were so surprised to see them. Caren's folks were with them and we know them too...Diane was our realtor in Illinois, so it was really fun to see them all.

Later in the afternoon, we were headed home and decided to stop in a little town called Boerne. They have a Dickens Christmas celebration each weekend now until December 25th. It was so much fun...Christmas shopping, carolers, street venders, horse drawn carriages and of course, St. Nicholas! They even had snow making was the perfect "Christmas Kick-off" Day!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...Texas style!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving Day, in spite of being so far away from family and old friends. We spent the day with some very special friends in their beautiful home, where they shared not only their hospitality, but also their wonderful family! Becky had prepared the most wonderful dinner and the house was decorated to look like a layout for a Thanksgiving magazine.

Randy's brother, who is a doctor, had just returned from a missions trip to India and brought pictures on his laptop. Wow, that was a totally eye opening experience...really makes you thankful for our country and our culture!

One really nice surprise was that the temperature dropped overnight and today was really cold...for San Antonio, anyway. I think God knew I needed this weather to make me feel less homesick.

We also enjoyed having a two year old for the day...Madison was SO good and kept us entertained with her delightful giggle! It was fun sharing the day with a child close to Lydia's age...makes me anxious for Christmas!
The men spent the afternoon watching football...the Dallas Cowboys, of course! We had some other good friends from our Life Group join us for made me realize how thankful I am for the rich friendships God has blessed us with here. His Love and Faithfullness are never ending!

Stacey's Week in San Antonio

We started out our week by visiting a little town called Gruene (pronounced "Green"), which is an OLD Texas western town. They have the oldest dance hall around which is still in use. People like Hank Williams got their start there along with many others who have their pictures posted on the walls of the building. They still use it today and many movies are filmed there. They also have lots of little shops for the many tourists that visit.
On Tuesday, Stacey and I went to San Marcus, which is a shoppers "Paradise"! They have miles and miles of outlet type shops and restaurants. We did our share of shopping and had lunch at a restaurant which had a stray kitten that waited for food as people came out the door. We, of course, shared the remainder of my tuna from my tuna melt.
Wednesday, we went to visit Larry's plant, where we got to wear lovely gowns and hairnets and tasted chips hot off the line!

On Thanksgiving Eve we visited the River Walk and walked down to the River City Mall. San Antonio is a beautiful city and the people don't seem like "city" people...more like small town folks.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Early Christmas Present!

Today my Christmas officially begins! I know Thanksgiving is not even here yet, but Stacey arrived today so I wanted the whole house decorated for her! She arrived late due to problems with her connecting flight which caused her to be two and a half hours later than expected. She was starving after her delayed flight, so Larry barbequed steak and we had her favorite meal...yummm! Tomorrow we start showing her around San Antonio right after church. I've been looking so forward to this week, and now it's finally here...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Food and Friends "Extraordinaire"!

We had an unbelievable evening tonight when we joined all our friends from our Life Group at the beautiful home of Dan and Joan Beasley for a six course meal prepared by "Chef Dan"! Dan's daily job is with the military, but tonight he impressed everyone with his culinary skills. We enjoyed such fine delicacies as "Scallop Provencial, Autumn Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup, Stuffed Roasted Salmon in a Croissant and Profiteroles" among other delights!

Not only was the food a delight, but the atmosphere as we ate out by the pool was incredible. Joan collects dishes, most of which she has purchased in Germany during their travels. The tables were set beautifully and the weather cooperated by being better than we had anticipated.

Joan and Dan were outstanding hosts for the evening and all of us were so blessed to be included in this celebration of all God's gifts that He grants to us!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat Day

Well, I didn't really know what to expect this year on Halloween because of all the changes this past year. I knew it was going to be different being away from my kids and being in a new school. Actually, it was a pretty good day, in spite of some things that were VERY different! This district doesn't celebrate Halloween because of complaints of families who oppose it. For another thing, Texas doesn't allow candy to be given to students in public schools at all. Tonight we were watching the national news and there was a segment which focused on this very thing. They were discussing the controversy this is creating among parents. It did make it difficult considering all the teachers brought candy and gifts for each other!

Trick or Treating in our neighborhood took place all evening, rather than just for a couple of hours like in Illinois. The kids started coming about 6:30 and we just had a few more at a little before 9pm. It's been fun though because I know all the kids who come to our house from school.

The one thing that was the same was our traditional dinner of Halloween stew and least Larry was happy about that!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I don't think the word "fallerizing" exists in the English language, however that's what Larry's been doing this weekend! Up north we always winterized the house in November, but since we aren't anticipating a true "winter" down here in Texas, we're preparing the gardens for fall. Larry's car is in the shop repairing the damage that occured in the accident a couple of weeks ago, so he has his "dream truck" for a couple of weeks. Yesterday, he trimmed all the trees and bushes and hauled everything to the dump. Today he went and picked up mulch for the flower beds and next week we hope to get some new fall flowers. The weather here has been the 70's most days. If this is what winter is like, I think I'm going to like it!

Less than two months till Christmas!

Oak Hills Church does a shoebox ministry that is different from "Operation Christmas Child", but it was really neat. Each of the Sunday School classes meet outside the sanctuary at the beginning of the service. They show a short video about the ministry, and then the children file in holding their gifts and hand them to pastors in the front of the church. Then they sing a song in Spanish that we have been practicing in Sunday School for the last month. Max comes up and prays for the children who will receive the gifts and then we file out as the congregation sings. It was a really special time and you could see the joy and compassion on each child's face as brought their gifts in.

When we returned to the classrooms, we made cards for the families. The gifts will be taken down to Mexico by our Children's Ministries staff and given to needy children in the area where we have missionaries serving.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reagan Football Game

Tonight Larry and I went out to get something to eat and he mentioned a local football game that was going on tonight. I said "Oh, that's the one everybody at school was talking about". So on the spur of the moment we decided to go and see what all the excitement was about. Wow...were we impressed! First when we got there and found out it was $7.50 a person to get in, I was about to go back home, but then I found out I got in for free because I teach in this district. That was kinda cool, but then we went in and realized it was more like a college game than what we were expecting. My favorite part of course was half time...the band was amazing! I couldn't believe the number of people involved...they looked professional!

As we were leaving, I couldn't resist taking a picture of the band's transport vehicle...kind of different from what we were used to in Rockton/Roscoe! The one thing that was the same were the kids...we sat in the band parent's section right next to the band and I watched the kids. Teenagers are the same wherever they live!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cute Picture

We saw this when we were driving up in the Hill Country and I just had to take a picture. This couple was driving down the road with a little boxer in their cart. He had a little vest on that matched theirs, and he looked so content in his little seat, watching the world go by!

Another Adventure

Today was our last day with Aunt Edna and Uncle Dave, but it was a day of wonderful memories. Since I had to teach Sunday School this morning, they went out to breakfast and we met for the second service. After church, we went up to Gruene (pronounced "Green"), where they were having a Fall Festival. We went out to a late lunch at the "Gristmill", where we enjoyed both the food and the time together.

After we returned this evening from Gruene, we went down to the Riverwalk, where we met Kristi Meck, who was down here visiting her brother. It was an unexpected surprise, but a good one as it's always good to see our friends from up north!

Revisiting the Past

Yesterday day we decided to drive up to Austin and explore that area. We started at Lyndon B. Johnson's presidential library and ended up spending the day revisiting his life. The entire area is devoted to him, since he grew up there in the Hill Country. We went to lunch at a little place out in the country called "The Nutty Brown Cafe", which was neat because it was very "Texas", complete with guitars used by the people who had performed there and a parrot that wasn't very friendly!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Aunt Edna and Uncle Dave

Well, we've had a busy week! Aunt Edna and Uncle Dave arrived REALLY late on Monday night, after a long delay in Houston, but we are glad to have them here. Although Larry and I have not been able to take time off from our jobs, we have been able to spend time together in the evenings. We went to church on Wednesday, and have been playing an ongoing game of train dominoes. Yesterday was Larry's 51st birthday, and it was so special to have his aunt and uncle here for that. Now that Saturday is here, we hope to do some more exploring of our Texas home!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

29th Anniversary

Today was our 29th anniversary and we spent most of the weekend celebrating. It began on Friday evening when Larry called to say he wanted to take me out to a restaurant he had discovered. When he hadn't arrived home by 7pm, I started to get worried. He did finally call to tell me his car had been hit by a pick-up truck while he was sitting in traffic. Although he wasn't hurt, his car was pretty banged up...great start to the weekend! Anyway, he made a few phone calls (insurance, etc.) and then we did go out for dinner at La Hacienda. It turned out to be a wonderful restaurant...we sat out on their huge patio listening to guitar music and eating a wonderful sampler platter...the Mexican food was fabulous! A great way to wind down after a stressfull day.

The next morning we drove up to the Hill Country to explore, but not before Larry gave me a gift I absolutely love. It's from the James Avery studio...a sterling silver bracelet with a Bible verse on it..."I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Tonight we had dinner with friends from Life
Group at their house. It was a weekend to remember!