Archive for the 'Jessica' Category

So many, many wonderful things

I haven’t blogged in way too long, and there are, as usual many blog posts in my head that have never gotten written, and probably never will be. This is sad.

However, the reason no blogging has occurred recently is that we have had many other wonderful things going on, the most momentous of which was Matthias and Jessica’s MARRIAGE on August 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here are some bullet points of my own unforgettables, so that if I or someone else ever reads this in the years to come, these events from mid-July to late August, 2016 will be remembered.

~ Jessica arrived on July 14, and there was much rejoicing! Scott, Josiah, Andrew, and I were at the airport to meet her, and hugging, smiles, and tears were involved.

~ Our house was appraised. This in order to facilitate our receipt of a home equity line of credit, and although Scott was somewhat disappointed at the appraisal amount, I was pretty impressed that it was 60% higher than what we had paid for it 20 years ago.

~ We registered Andrew for school. He’s attending Branson High School for 11th grade. The building is massive, and his class has 370 other juniors – as opposed to six other sophomores at TCA last year.

~ Many meetings, appointments, hang-outs, and wedding planning discussions occurred. The days leading up to Jessica’s wedding were full;  on our family wall calendar, one day in late July had 10 scheduled events.

~ Jessica preached at Lone Star Church (her wedding ceremony venue) on July 24. The small building was packed, and the congregation gave her an amazingly enormous offering!

~ Matthias arrived from Hong Kong! He greeted me with a hug and called me “Mom.” I was smitten. What a wonderful husband God has given Jessica. . . and we now get the blessing of a third son – with someone else having done all the parenting work for us.  = )

~ We camped at Buffalo Point for two nights. For old time’s sake, you know. Katie and Josiah were not with us (sadness), but a good time was had by all. Matthias likes kielbasa.

~ We discovered that mermaids cannot sit down in wedding dresses; thankfully a functional workaround for our local mermaid was developed.

~ Jessica made a truly insane amount of Chex Mix and an equally crazy number of Buffalo Chips. For thems as cares, the full reception menu was Meat (ham, summer sausage, smoked salmon) and  Cheese (cheddar, co-jack, Swiss) on Crackers (Club Multi-Grain, Flip Sides), Veggie Trays with Dips, Fruit Salad (cantaloupe and peaches from McKenna’s, green grapes, strawberries), Chex Mix, Cheesecake (only for the bride and groom), Cookies of Many Types for everyone else, lemonade, sweet tea (which Pastor Barb forgot to make!), and water.

~ People arrived from absolutely all over to celebrate and to help in many ways. Here are some of them.

Matt and Nikki from Pennsylvania

Grandma R, Kristy, Milt, Becky, Ian, Rachelle, Amanda, and Isabel from North Carolina

Josiah from Missouri

Lee from Hong Kong

Susie and Jon from Florida

Bettina from Switzerland

Jorge and Kristi from Kansas

Hannah from California

Kenny, Jennifer, Letitia, Natalie, and Shannon from Australia

Kevin, Elsa, and John from Texas

Grandma and Grandpa V from Arkansas

Katie from Virginia

~ Ah, Katie. Katie was the detail person. With the click of a mouse, she could tell you what time Lee would arrive, who was picking him up, and where he would sleep; the estimated cost of summer sausage to feed 100; who would do Jessica’s hair and makeup at 5:30 AM; call times for each round of pre-wedding pictures; and at any point in time, what still had to be done and by whom to make Matthias and Jessica’s entire wedding experience as wonderful as possible. Her spreadsheets were truly works of art, and we (I!) simply couldn’t have done this wedding without her calm expertise. And I won’t go into any detail about a certain bridesmaid dress. . .  = )

– The 3:00 PM rehearsal in a church with no AC was quite. . . well, warm, but we did it, and the cookout rehearsal dinner was fun. Matthias is exceedingly fond of cornhole, but even fonder of Jessica.

– The morning of the wedding was cloudy (perfect for pictures!) and significantly cooler than the 90+ degree temperatures we’d been having. The forecast rain did not occur; only a few light sprinkles as pictures were being completed.

– The 10 AM wedding ceremony was glorious in every way. Jessica was exquisitely lovely, and Matthias’ was incredibly handsome (kudos to Andrew on M’s hair), the worship was powerful, Pastor Barb said just the right things, their vows were perfect (I think nearly everyone cried happy tears along with the bride and groom!), and the married couple exited with joy to SCC’s “The Great Adventure.” It could not have been better.

– The reception was relaxed and delicious. Thank you, LaShell, Cheryl, and our exceptionally fine crew of church helpers.

– The Roberts and Varner contingents had a family cookout after the young marrieds departed, but I think all who were in attendance would agree that four hours is simply an insufficient amount of time to re-connect meaningfully with 19 other members of one’s extended family.

– Young bears visited the honeymoon cabin. . . twice! I’m sure Jess and Matthias will remember that for a while.  = )

I also want to note here some of the many amazing ways God provided for Matthias, Jessica, and our family in connection with this wedding. Scott’s job had ended in April, and since he is focusing on missions work, we have had no regular income since then. Jessica and Matthias paid many of the wedding expense themselves, other friends and family contributed time, money, expertise and willingness, and Scott and I covered the rest of it. That said with great appreciation, please REJOICE with us in the following:

– There was no charge for our use of Lone Star Church for the wedding ceremony. And the pastor invited Jessica to minister there, and the church gave her a HUGE offering.

– There was no charge for using our home church for the reception.

– The photographer donated her services as a wedding gift.

– Nikki and Bettina, with Matt, Lee, and others, did all the decorating, set-up, tear-down, and clean-up;at no cost to us.

– LaShell coordinated the food service for the reception and let us use lots of her “stuff” for serving and decorating, all at no charge.

– My pastor wanted to help me personally. She came to our house two days before the wedding, did a week’s worth of ironing for me, and cleaned two truly scuzzy bathrooms! She is always an enormous blessing.

– Jessica was absolutely gorgeous in her wedding dress. She had ordered it online in Hong Kong, and it cost. . . are you ready? . . .  $30. Yes, you read that correctly, thirty U.S. dollars!!!

Of course, it helped that Jessica’s priorities for her wedding were that it be fun, delicious, and stress-free. She didn’t want or care about elaborate clothing, decorations, flowers, music, or other wedding-y things, and that helped keep the cost manageable, but I was absolutely thrilled when she texted me while they were honeymooning to say that her wedding had been “perfect, just the way I wanted it.”

That made me smile and, as any good mother of the bride, cry, but my tears were tears of joy!

“Driver, when you’re clear”

Sometimes people – chief among them, people in my very own family = ) – do things that really impress me, and such an event has yea and verily occurred.  I learned this week that Jessica is now the proud possessor of a Hong Kong driver’s license, meaning that she can and does legally drive in Hong Kong.

Now, driving is not in and of itself all that impressive.  Jessica has been driving for some seven years and has never been in an accident, and to her credit she several years ago also mastered driving a manual transmission.  (This did involve quite a few stints on the access road featuring that infamous “starting-from-a-stop-on-the-uphill-without-stalling-or-giving-yourself-whiplash” manuever.) Personally, I think driving a stick is to driving an automatic as playing an organ is to playing a piano, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that Jessica is now driving on the left side of the road in a car that has the steering wheel on the right!!!  Even though she tells me that she occasionally turns on her wipers when trying to apply the turn signal, and that she generally hugs the left lane for security, I am still ROYALLY impressed!  I think driving in a British setting would be kind of like skating backwards; totally counter-intuitive, but probably lots of fun once you get used to it.

What a charming chauffeur our Jessica must be!

The Peacock has landed

Katie told me that Jessica told her that she landed in Hong Kong with her bags!  Yay!  It was probably around 11 PM local time, and her plans were to email someone about some ministry business, take a shower, and go to bed – in that order.

The good and bad of splitting a trip

Jessica emailed Scott from Tokyo.  She said it was a “good flight, nice and short,” but she wished she didn’t have another five-hour flight ahead of her.  I guess when you do a lot of international travel, short is an extremely relative term.

I can’t figure out how to figure out the actual length of her Dallas to Tokyo flight.  Her itinerary says (and the times given therein are normally local) she was to leave Dallas at 1:20 PM Tues July 23 and arrive Tokyo at 4:15 PM Tues July 23.  My world clock indicates that Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of us, so if anyone brilliant can do those calculations, that number of actual hours constitutes a “nice, short” flight in Jessica’s mind.  The tough part is that, instead of having one killer long flight, this time she has two killer short ones.

Jessica’s in the States!

I got home from our choir concert tonight, and there was a chat window from Jessica!  She’s in Chicago and says she’ll have a lot of stories to tell us.  We expect to see her face-to-face on Monday.  That will be a happy day.  Don’t anyone tell her that most of her bathroom ceiling has gone AWOL. . .

Surprise call

After Jessica moved to Hong Kong, we “gave” Andrew my old cell phone and her SIM card.  The phone is not for general, all-day use, but only when he is gone somewhere and needs to be able to call us to arrange transportation.  With play practice four or five nights a week, beginning at either 6 PM or 7 PM and ending whenever they happen to get done, and with his Friday homeschool classes and his Tuesday choir and drama classes, he has the phone a lot.

So this morning, while I was doing some preliminary desk work – and while I noted that Andrew had overslept – my phone rang and the screen said “Jessica.”  I figured that it was Andrew’s phone calling me for some reason.  Maybe he had set a reminder or something.  I knew he was in his room and I wondered A) why he didn’t just come talk to me, and B) why he had the phone in his room when it’s supposed to stay on the charger in the office when it’s not in use.

I answered the phone, pretty much expecting Andrew to say something, but imagine my delight when it really was Jessica!  Calling me!!!  It was 10:45 PM for her, and there was a lot of background noise.  Turns out she had gone to a life group (they call it house church) associated with the church she’s now attending, and it’s a good 45 minutes away, and she was just getting on the subway to head home.  We talked about whatever for maybe 15 minutes.  It was great to hear her voice.  I miss her and wish I could hug her.

Next time I will remember that when my phone says Jessica, it really is.   = )

12 hours down!

Yesterday, Jessica received notification that she passed her English Composition CLEP test with flying colors!  That one was good for three hours’ credit, the American Government one was good for three hours, and the American History one was good for six hours, so for a total cost of about $330, she already has 12 hours (a light semester’s worth) in the can!

And there was MUCH rejoicing!

2nd day of school

I think I forgot to mention that last week, Jessica had her first day of school – and I didn’t even take a picture.

She’s auditing a Chinese 2 class at MSU on Wednesdays, and as she headed out the door that day, I realized with a start, “Oh my, this will be her first day of school!”  With all the incredible places she’s gone and things she’s done, until last Wednesday, she had never sat in a traditional classroom in her life.

It’s a small class of about a dozen, and I think she held her own.  She’s behind the other students in not knowing characters, but she’s ahead of them in verbal understanding, vocabulary, and pronunciation.   She’s studying and practicing characters on her own, and that seems to be a successful approach for Our Fair Peacock; after last Wednesday’s Chinese class she took and passed her American Government CLEP with flying colors!  She devised her own study plan, collected her own materials, and disciplined herself to do it four hours a day.  All that work paid off, as she now has two college classes out of the way, with more on the horizon.

I think she’ll do extremely well in school.  = )

Jessica’s grand achievements!

On Tuesday, February 15, Jessica took the American History (pre-Civil War) CLEP test and scored a whopping 69!!!  The scoring is hard to figure out, but she passed with a very high score and will receive college credit for that class.  Yee-hah!

Actually, today she and I did some high-level figuring on the refrigerator and determined the following:

The test had 120 questions.

80 is a perfect score, meaning you answered all 120 questions correctly.

You have to score 54 (out of 80) to pass GO and collect college credit.

Although it’s evident that neither of us can successfully divide 6480 by 80, we did eventually figure out that you have to get 81 of the 120 questions (a mere 67%) correct in order to pass.  However, our heroine’s “69” indicates that she  got 103 of them correct for a score of 86%.  Not too shabby, especially considering that (A) it had been a long time – maybe three years? – since she’d studied American History, (B) she only studied a month for the test, and (C) she put together her own study plan – four hours a day! – and did it all without any help or input for anyone.  GO JESSICA!

As if all that weren’t enough to make a homeschool mom beam, in today’s mail, Jessica received notice from MSU that she was awarded the Provost Scholarship!!!  That’s the scholarship for which she met all the qualifications, but for which she was late in applying, and for which she submitted letters and had an interview requesting a deadline exemption.  It will provide $2500 per year her freshman year and is renewable for three more years, assuming she completes 30 hours of courses at MSU per year and maintains a 3.40 GPA.

We were squealing with delight!  I am so happy for Jessica and so proud of these accomplishments!!!


One of the really nice things I am remembering about Jessica- now that she’s home for a while – is that she notices things and comments positively on them.  She noticed that I organized the recipes, and she thanked me!  She saw a gift I had made for someone and commented, “Oh, Mom, it’s BEAUTIFUL!”

Now, it’s not that the guys aren’t nice.  They are.  Very nice, actually.  but it’s just different having a fellow female in the house.

Thanks, for coming home, Jessica.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.