Vacation Bible School

We are in the midst of Vacation Bible School this week. There are 5 very important things I have learned about life because of Vacation Bible School (so far):

5.) Always have paper airplanes, hula hoops, and balloons available if you have some “down time”–they can easily entertain you and 13 Kindergarteners for at least 10 minutes

4.) Fruit punch and nacho cheese are never a good combination–your kids will have a permanent red and orange beard for at least a day

3.) Having a cram-packed schedule to “entertain” kids (and jumping from activity to activity) is NOT always the best plan–having down time and an opportunity to just be “free” is sometimes the better option

2.) The act of innocent love from a child (whether it’s a hug or a whisper of “I love you”) is very refreshing after 3 hours of constant noise.

And the #1 lesson (at from the past 3 days):

1.) There will be NO “little” Tanners anytime soon….VBS was good enough for me!

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Today is Paul’s birthday…..we celebrated by going to Genghis Grill in Austin. Our friends, Jeff and Kyla, joined us for lunch!

at Genghis Grill

Before lunch we went to Target (b/c we got to Austin early) and I bought a new skirt and shirt….and then we went to Bath and Body works and I got soap and lotion….ALL FOR HIS BIRTHDAY! 🙂

(My excuse is that I have to look good for my man….)

After lunch we went grocery shopping at HEB (exciting, huh?)

BUT…..Paul did go to Best Buy and buy a set of new headphones for himself with a Visa gift card from my mom… he did get something on his birthday!

It was nice to celebrate his birthday and NOT be in the middle of summer camp….

Happy Birthday, Paul!

More Pictures of Hawaii

I know I went to Hawaii almost a month ago (time has gone by SO FAST) but I hadn’t seen my mom’s pictures….after I saw her pictures, I decided I needed to document some of hers since she took some different pictures than I did….

me in the pool at the graduation party on Saturday

Uncle Johnnie and Me at the party

Uncle Johnnie and Jeff at the party

Dad, Alika, and Mom

Mom before graduation

Alika walking across the stage at graduation

Marcy, Alika, and Jeff after graduation

As I mentioned in my earlier Hawaii post, my nephew, Kainoa, was glued to my side most of the time I was there. I have lots of pictures of him, but I didn’t have a lot of Kainani, my niece. Well, here are some pictures of her.

Kainani and the fish at the Hale Koa hotel

Kainani and the big banyan tree, Gus

sweet picture of her decorating her brother’s graduation sign

Dad on the lanai at the hotel

Dad and Uncle Johnnie on the Waikiki Beach

Monday night at Chili’s

Butler Boys

Just a few pictures of Drake and Grady:

Drake-12 and Grady-8
Easter 2012

Drake played Jesus in an Easter play at church

Drake and Grady jumping on the trampoline

Grady playing with chalk

Mom and Dad went to Michigan at the beginning of May for Drake’s confirmation

Dad, Drake, and Mom in Michigan for Drake’s Confirmation Day

Grady, Leslie, Drake, and Scott

Mom and Dad at Leslie’s house

Dad and Grady

Grady and “Papa” “exploring” in the woods

Drake breaking wood

The boys at the Detroit Zoo

Drake was in a play at school-“The Fiddler on the Roof”

Grady breaking wood

Scott and Grady earning their belts in karate

Hopefully I’ll get to see the boys in July when they come to Texas!!

Weekend in East Texas

This past weekend I went to East Texas (to my aunt/uncle’s house) with my Mom/Dad. My other aunt and uncle were visiting from California, so my dad’s side of the family got together to see each other, since they were in town. I had just seen them when we all went to Hawaii together, but I hadn’t seen my cousins and their kids since last summer, so it was good to visit with them….

Here are some pics:

Clint-16 (his dad, Judson, is my cousin

My Aunt Charlene and one of her granddaughters, Meagan-10

Hannah-14 and Meagan-10 (Cousins)

Uncle Tom, my dad, and Aunt Ila (siblings)

Aunt Ila and Hannah-14

Uncle Tom in his new hat!

Michelle-8, Clayton-5, Hannah-14, Meagan-10 (all siblings/cousins)

I LOVE this picture of Aunt Ila and Uncle Tom laughing–just brings joy to my heart!

Beautiful picture of my Aunt Charlene

I had a really good time visiting with everyone….. 🙂



Do you ever feel empty inside? Like maybe you’re just waiting for something to fill you up?


I think that’s how your refrigerator/freezer feels right now?! 🙂

Let me show you….

our freezer

In case you can’t tell what’s in there, I’ll give you a list:

  • a bucket of ice from the ice maker
  • a ziploc bag of frozen tortillas
  • 1 box of about 15 popsicles (plus a few out of the box)
  • 1 bag of frozen sandwich thins
  • 1 bag of 4 sandwich rolls


And, for our fridge (it looks a little better):

our fridge

In case you can’t tell what’s in there, I’ll give you a list:

  • 2 zucchini’s (in a white grocery bag)
  • a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper (for the girls tonight that are coming over)
  • 1 package of shredded cheese (in the drawer)
  • 4 DDP’s
  • a pitcher of water
  • a coffee can full of eggs from a friend at church
  • 1 bottle of water
  • Philadelphia cream cheese
  • a silver bowl with 2 eggs in it from a friend at church
  • 2 onions (in the bottom drawer)


Yep, that’s it!! I think our refrigerator/freezer is feeling empty….and deprived!!

So, what do you cook for dinner when you only have what’s in the pictures!?

French Toast, of course! We have lots of eggs and lots of bread….along with syrup, cinnamon, and sugar–we should be set!

Happy Cooking tonight!!


Sacred Days

Since moving back to Texas 4 months ago (and Paul being back on a church staff after a 3 year hiatus) the idea of sacred days has been weighing heavy on my heart.

I’m afraid that Sundays and Wednesdays are no longer sacred.

When I was younger, nothing was scheduled on Sundays or Wednesdays. Nothing. No baseball practice, no swimming lessons, no dance class, no shopping trips, no lake days…nothing.

They were sacred days on the calendar. It was understood. They were meant for church. They were meant for a day of rest.

So, why are they not anymore? Why have people stopped going to church and pursued other things?

  • There are probably many reasons, but in my opinion, I think the overarching “theme” could be that people aren’t invested in the church anymore. And by the church, I mean the congregation, the fellowship with one another (not the building). They go when it’s convenient. They go when they feel like it. They go if there’s nothing else to do. But, it’s not a top priority. It may have been once, but not anymore.
  • Church is also seen by many as just a glorified country club. A social club, if you will, with gossip, trash talking, and judgment. It’s supposed to be a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints, but for many people who are broken and hurting, they feel rejected and alone, even surrounded by so called Christians.

Many people are looking for authentic relationships yet so many church-going Christians refuse to be anything more than Sunday-morning friends. An authentic relationship takes time. Effort. Sacrifice. Being uncomfortable. Being honest. Being real. And face it, church is a place that is supposed to make you feel good, not stretch you beyond your comfort zone (or so people say).

  • There’s also a sense that, although people come together at church to worship together, unity is far from a reality.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks to the church in Corinth about unity. About a sameness. A oneness.

1 Corinthians 12:12

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:14-23

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.

1 Corinthians 12:27

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Unity in the body of Christ does not mean total conformity and uniformity. Although maintaining unity in the body is very important, it is also vital to value the unique qualities that make each of us an individual “part” of the body. Both aspects, unity and individuality, deserve emphasis and appreciation. This makes for a healthy church body, when we remember that Christ is our common denominator. He makes us one.

And despite disagreements or differing opinions, we should be unified as one. Because we love and serve a God who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, despite our imperfections and flaws. Don’t you think our fellow believers deserve the same love.

  • Another reason people may opt for a day at the lake, rather than attending church, is because they have the idea in their minds that you don’t need to be a part of a church to be a Christian.

And yes, they are right. You don’t. But in Hebrews (10:25) it says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The Bible instructs us to be in relationship with other believers. If we are part of Christ’s body, we will recognize our need to fit into the body of believers. The church is the place where we come together to encourage one another as members of Christ’s body. Together we fulfill an important purpose on the Earth.

I miss the sacred days. I miss the days where everybody came to church. I miss the days when you didn’t have to wonder where someone was on a Sunday morning. I miss certain people in my family. In my church family. I know they are members, but they’ve missed the reunions we have every Sunday. And I’ve missed them.

Maybe one day those days will be sacred once again.



Hawaii 2012-Tourist Days

After the first few days of running errands, helping my sister, and graduation, we were able to “play” a little bit…

Monday morning we went to Pokai Bay:

We made fun of my mom’s sunglasses–we told her she looked like a bug!!

my mom “stand-up paddling”

And…she fell….

my mom paddling

Kainoa on the beach

Uncle Johnie, Mom, and me at Pokai Bay

Tuesday Mom, Dad, Uncle Johnnie, Aunt Ila, and I all went to Pearl Harbor.

U.S.S. Missouri

crewman bunks

me on the U.S.S. Missouri

Dad on the Missouri

Arizona Memorial

American flag on the Memorial

me on the Arizona Memorial

Pacific Aviation Museum


Uncle Johnnie, Dad, and Aunt Ila looking at the Huey, what Uncle Johnnie flew in Vietnam

me in the Sikorsky Sea King

On Wednesday we spent the day at Marcy’s house, helping her clean and get ready to go out of town (they are coming to the mainland for about 3 weeks)….

You might’ve noticed that Kainoa is in a lot of my pictures. He was my “sidekick” for most of the week I was there. Kainani was there, too, but she wasn’t in near as many of my pictures. I’ll have to get pictures of her from my mom….

Overall, a good vacation. A little stressful at time. A little overwhelming with a lot of people and a lot of noise. A little too much traffic. A little too much chaos, but I am glad I went.

After not going to bed until 4:30AM, I slept today for 10 hours!! Now it’s back to household duties: laundry, cleaning, and unpacking…

Welcome Home!!

Hawaii 2012-Graduation

My main reason for going to Hawaii was to celebrated my nephew’s graduation from Kamehameha School. Alika joined our family in 2007 (2008) and it has been a joy to watch him grow up and mature over the past 4 years. I was blown away at how mature he acted and how well he presented himself this past weekend during all the festivities…Congrats, Alika!

Saturday afternoon at his party:

decorations at Alika’s graduation party

decorations at Alika’s party

me with the graduate

my dad and me

the cake

the Thomas/Highland Family
Jeff, Marcy, Alika, Kainoa, and Kainani

I ate musubi–spam, rice, and edible seaweed!!

Sunday morning at church:

Jeff, Alika, and Marcy

Alika and me

the Thomas/Highland clan

Sunday afternoon, getting ready for graduation:

Mom and me out on the lanai, at the hotel
Alika’s class color was purple, so we both wore purple dresses

me, outside the hotel, wearing a yellow lei my aunt bought me

Sunday night, graduation

everyone waiting in line to go into the Blaisdell Center

It rains almost everyday in Hawaii, and it started raining as everyone was waiting in line. I went under the parking garage, so my hair wouldn’t “frizz”

The class of 2012-437 students

Alika receiving his diploma

Alika hugging the headmaster who is retiring after 24 years

After a L-O-N-G graduation (about 3 hours) all the graduates file into the Exhibition Hall, across from the big arena where they graduated, and people can come see them. I promise you, there were probably between 5,000-8,000 people in that room!! It was crazy!!! (That’s more people than my entire town)….but I found him right away, and we hung out for a little while.

His graduation sign

A tradition in Hawaii is for each graduate to get “lei-d” by friends and families. So, Alika continued to receive leis throughout the time we were in the exhibit hall.

Alika and me, after he received a lei from me

This is a picture of Alika after he received ALL his leis. He got A-L-O-T of leis, but other graduates couldn’t even SEE because their stack of leis was so high….

Alika and all his leis

It was a wonderful celebration, something truly unique, that I will never experience here on the mainland. The chants and songs that were sung at graduation were beautiful (all in Hawaiian) and the ceremony itself was very distinguished and respectable.

Congrats, Alika Joseph Daniel Highland.