Thursday, February 21, 2008

We're Here!

We have arrived in California! We are thoroughly enjoying our visit. Praise God, our trip out on Monday was pretty uneventful, as much as a flight across country can be. The girls did really well, even though neither one of them slept much at all. By the time we arrived at my mom's house and got them to bed, it was going on 10:00 (midnight their time). Then of course they woke up at 4:00 and 5:00 AM (which is their normal 6:00 and 7:00 St. Louis time). But now they're both on kind of normal schedules, so that's a blessing.

On Tuesday we just relaxed and napped a little, catching up on some sleep. I've been to two of the Bible studies I used to be involved in and the whole family went to soup and salad dinner and the Lenten service at church last night. It's been great to see our family, friends, and church family. We have a couple playdates and meals with friends planned. Don had lunch with a friend and is enjoying being able to study lots of Greek. Yesterday Hannah got to spend a couple hours with her friends at St. John's preschool. What a special experience! And of course, Noni and her girls are just soaking up every minute they can.

We're really looking forward to this weekend too. On Saturday, we'll spend the day with some of our out-of-town family members who are able to drive up for the visit, including my brother and his wife, driving in from Las Vegas (Happy Birthday Christopher!). We're praying that Don's brother Dave (whose birthday is also soon) will be able to join us, but he's been pretty sick. My grandparents and a few sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins will join us as well. Saturday night and all morning Sunday we'll attend a total of four church services. It will also be such a blessing to see and visit with many members of our church family. Sunday afternoon will be an open house for us to visit in a more casual setting. (Thanks Larry & Pam & others!)

Monday, if the weather's nice, we really want to go over to the coast. As Don put it, we want to get some sand between our land-locked St. Louis toes! And one of my favorite foods in the world is the award-winning clam chowder at Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach so a trip to California wouldn't be complete without it!

And finally, another huge blessing for us is our visit tomorrow with our dear friends, the Marmolejos. Sadly, Anissa's grandfather passed away, so they're here in Bakersfield (from Texas) for his service. Three of their four children are our godchildren and we just love their whole family, so we are really looking forward to visiting with them tomorrow.

Our visit is already going by too fast and we are enjoying every minute of it. We're praying that everyone stays safe and healthy and for a safe trip back to St. Louis on Wednesday. Oh - it's about 30-40 degrees warmer here and apparently we are missing the worst weather St. Louis has had this winter so far. There's about 2 inches of dangerous sleet, snow, and frozen rain on the ground with more to come tonight. The schools and much of the city are shut down. Our friend reported that she saw 7 accidents on her way to work - a 3.5 mile stretch of freeway! Yet another reason to be glad we're in California this week!

Blessings to all - we're so happy to be here!
Stacye, Don, Hannah, & Elizabeth

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Soundtrack of My Day

Here are some things running through my (already crowded) brain today:

All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey
I've been for a walk on a Winter's day
I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreamin' on such a Winter's day

When the wintry winds starts blowing
And the snow is starting in the fall
Then my eyes went westward knowing
That's the place that I love best of all
California I’ve been blue
California, Here I Come
Right back where I started from

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

So if you haven't guessed, we are doing laundry and packing today to fly to Bakersfield, California tomorrow! We are very excited about our first trip home since we moved to St. Louis - especially Hannah. She's been running around like a maniac all evening. Right after she woke up this morning, I asked her what she thought we should do tomorrow. She had obviously forgotten that tomorrow was "the day" and immediately decided she wanted to go to Mrs. V's class (her preschool). I started to say no, maybe something else, and she began to get very emphatic with me. Until I said, "I was thinking we should take a short trip to, oh I don't know, maybe BAKERSFIELD?!" and she got so excited. She's been on a high all day - too excited to nap even.

In other Hannah news, she's conviced that when she turns 4 she'll be a teenager. She also told me when she grows up she’ll be a real mommy and have a real baby, a baby boy. He’ll have spiky up rainbow hair and she’ll take care of him by nursing him, reading to him, giving him hugs and baths. And I can't remember if I posted these of not, so if so, I ask forgiveness for being a doting Mommy: (Who knows what conversation precipated the following comment of Don's, but Hannah's response was priceless)
D: I was a naïve nerd (in high school). I still am sometimes.
H: You’re telling me grown-up things.
D: Why don’t you say a grown-up thing.
H: Blee blee blah blah blee blee blee.

Another time, Elizabeth took a bite of food and sneezed, blowing it all out of her mouth. Hannah's response, "Bethie bless you’d all her food out!"

And Hannah “lost her finger” at school (just pretending) and told Daddy that she needed scratch tape to put it back on.

In family news, Don is officially done with Winter Quarter. He took his Greek Readings final last Thursday and is pretty sure he got an A both on the final and in the class. His Hebrew class is different though. Quarters are 10 weeks and Elementary Hebrew is 15 weeks. So he still has 5 weeks of Hebrew to go after we return. He got a huge packet of homework to do over the break and has a test the first day back. Luckily though, the professor agreed to give the guys up to a week to take the test if they need extra time. So he plans to just plug away at the packet and see how he feels once class starts again. Next quarter he'll take Hebrew, Hebrew Readings, Pastoral Ministry, Intro to Historical Theology, and Lutheran Mind. I don't know too much about "PMin" or Lutheran Mind, so I'll let Don describe those when he has a chance.

And finally, here are a few new pictures:

Here's Hannah at "Messy Play" at the Clayton Family Center.

"Freedom! Escape! So long suckers!"

Most of Hannah's preschool class at the Museum of Transportation, culminating their unit on trains.

So please pray for safe travel for us and blessings on our trip to Bakersfield. We may update the blog from there, so look for new stories and pictures soon. God's blessings!
--Stacye & the Travelin' Rays

Friday, February 8, 2008

His Amazing Grace makes national news (an update)

Praise God...just 24 hours after 6 people lost their lives in the senseless shooting in Kirkwood, Missouri, hundreds of community members gathered together in unity for Christ to shine His light and love to a darkened world...

Here's the story on

Love and blessings in Christ Jesus,
The Rays

Our hearts are heavy...our prayers continue... (revised)

Our hearts are very heavy because of a tragic shooting that took place last night at City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri.

A disgruntled man who had experienced frustration with the Kirkwood City Council in the recent past shot and killed Kirkwood Police Sgt. William Biggs on his way into last night's council meeting. He took Sgt. Biggs' service weapon, entered the council chambers, and fatally shot Kirkwood Police Officer Tom Ballman immediately upon entrance. He then shot and killed three city officials--Councilmembers Connie Karr and Michael Lynch, (both pictured in the "Kirkwood City Council" link above) and Public Works Director Ken Yost--and wounded two others, before being fatally wounded by responding Kirkwood police officers.

The two people wounded were Mayor Mike Swoboda and a journalist in attendance. The journalist was shot in the hand and is expected to fully recover. Mayor Swoboda was shot in the head and has been upgraded to serious condition but remains in ICU. Please hold Mayor Swoboda and his family in your prayers as he comes through this horrible tragedy.

You may have heard about the story already, as it has made national news. Here is the link to the full story on

Local churches will be holding vigils this afternoon and evening, to continue to bear Christ's light in this dark world, and to continue to pray for all the victims and their families. This is especially hard for the small and tight-knit Kirkwood Police Department, who just two years ago lost another officer in the line of duty.

Our hearts are very heavy for all involved and for our community. Please join us in praying for our community.

A quaint suburb of just 27,000 residents, Kirkwood is about 10 miles west/southwest of Concordia Seminary, and the home to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod international headquarters. Just four blocks away from Kirkwood City Hall is Concordia Lutheran Church, the field work church of our seminarian brother, Jerry Hays, and his family, who lost their 9-year old son in a helicopter accident in December.

We are to be Christ's light in this dark, dark world. Let us take this opportunity to express God's love and grace as we pray for all those involved and for the healing of our nation and its communities.

In Christ's love, serving Him with you--
Don, Stacye, and our girls

Saturday, February 2, 2008


We've had more snow...lots of it. We've heard that it's been years since St. Louis has had this much snow all at once. The best part is that I have an awesome husband and the first morning after it snowed, he and our neighbor went out and cleared the snow off our car and our whole parking space. And everyone in our apartment building shared in the snow-clearing duties for the stairs and walkways. So we can get to where we need to go without stomping through 7-9 inches of snow, but also when we want to go have fun in it, we can do that too.

And have fun we did! Hannah and I spent much of the day today playing outside and sledding. We had a ball. Unfortunately, Don thought maybe he was getting sick and Bethie has an ear infection, so they stayed inside. I didn't take any pictures today, but I "borrowed" these from our Seminary President's wife's blog so you all could see how pretty everything looks. Enjoy!

The Chapel

The Dining Hall

A strange specimen, foreign to us native Californians

Luther Statue

Benches outside the Chapel


A Chinese proverb Don came across recently, with an all-important twist we've added for Jesus:

If your vision is for a year, plant wheat.
If your vision is for ten years, plant trees.
If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.
If your vision is for eternity, plant Christ.

May God work in and through you to sow seeds of Christ wherever you go. We plant and water the seed, and He grows it (1 Cor. 3:5-9).

God's love and richest blessings as we continue to serve Him together,
The Rays