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10 June 2017


If you have a key to the house and permission to enter, it doesn't count as stealing, even if it sure feels like it, right?
That boom box? Flashback gold.
And those girls? Making me laugh since 1999...


Usually the end of vacation finds me ready to be home, but not this time. Two days was not nearly enough. I felt the acedia coming on. Leaving the beach and friends leaving and a dear saint departed to glory, and I resist that heaviness of the urge to flee. I creep on to normal, to obeying the calendar, to making a giant salad and driving down the road to gather. The plodding pays off; the reward comes sitting around the table with close ones who make no demands and community that is easy. Again, more grace than I deserve.

02 June 2017


Sunrise walk barefoot and hot coffee and slow reading and slow moving.
Turtles with prostheses and turtles crawling and turtles waving hello during underwater ballet.
Pistachio frozen yogurt with mini chocolate chips.
Salad and salsa and crispy pita chips.
Sand and sun and reapply and reapply.
A fat green tube and bobbing and bopping over and under and through the waves.
Conjunto tunes and children running and bright umbrellas and seagulls stalking.
Crispy around the edges.
Grilled shrimp and grilled fish and creamy slaw and tangy sauce.
Quiet in the near dark.
Slide in and still between clean cool sheets.


At the Sea-Side

When I was down beside the sea 
A wooden spade they gave to me 
To dig the sandy shore. 
My holes were empty like a cup. 
In every hole the sea came up 
Till it could come no more.
-Robert Louis Stevenson, 1947

31 May 2017


Here's the truth-
Their work involves hooking up wires and a multimeter and calculations that I really don't understand.
But these two curious minds finish guitar class and skip soccer to sit with my favorite geek and a light bulb and I'm pretty impressed.


A secret can be a hard thing to keep.
I blew it with one daughter, in a "did I really just say that out loud?" moment.
In an instant, in a case of Very Bad Timing, another one saw incriminating email and the gig was up.
But despite my general inability to lie well, another, although justifiably extremely suspicious, really did not know until the very end. (Who could have guessed that the plane arriving in Harlingen originated in Omaha? And our friends from Omaha? Well, they actually flew out of Kansas City...?)

Do you remember your childhood best friends? That family who lived down the street? Those kids who crisscrossed your yard and were in and out of your house? The ones who manned the corner lemonade stands with you and swam at the neighborhood pool with you and survived the most awkward memories of your youth with you?

Those are the girls who came to visit mine today.   And all of our hearts swell in gratitude. Welcome back to the Holliday house, Lucy and Maddie!


An Saturday afternoon in south Texas.
One chore after another filled my day-
picking up and cleaning counters and mopping floors. Making lists and running errands and grocery shopping.
But stop.

Look at that wide open sky.
South Texas.


They walked down the aisle, clad in traditional cap and gown. We waved our hands in mad applause. Waved our hands? These proud students claim their status as the first Mexican secundaria equivalency graduates of Instituto Isaias 55, the first deaf school in Reynosa. My teammates tell me stories about when one of these boys started school, kicking and screaming, really- kicking staff in the shins. But over time, they have learned to communicate using Mexican sign language, and they have learned the skills necessary to operate in the real world, and they have learned about Jesus. So this day, we celebrate the students. We celebrate their families and the school staff that labored alongside of them, and we dream of even bigger victories in the years to come.

(To see a news story about the graduation on the local news, here's a link... Vallevision- I55)


Sunrise certainly ranks as my primary motivation for getting out of the house early. I can wake up before dawn, no problem. I'm a go to my desk, read, pray, drink coffee alone, quiet before anyone else is awake, kind of girl. Some days, I see the shadowy pastels of morning and know that I missed it, and I really can barely think about lacing my shoes. Seeing the orange on the horizon, that's the money.

26 May 2017


God, all nature sings thy glory,
and thy works proclaim thy might;
ordered vastness in the heavens,
ordered course of day and night;
beauty in the changing seasons,
beauty in the storming sea;
all the changing moods of nature
praise the changeless Trinity,

Clearer still we see thy hand
in man whom thou hast made for thee;
ruler of creation's glory,
image of thy majesty.
Music, art, the fruitful garden,
all the labor of his days,
are the calling of his Maker
to the harvest feast of praise.

But our sins have spoiled thine image,
nature, conscience only serve
as unceasing, grim reminders
of the wrath which we deserve.
Yet thy grace and saving mercy
in thy Word of truth revealed
claim the praise of all who know thee,
in the blood of Jesus sealed.

God of glory, power, mercy,
all creation praises thee;
we, thy creatures, would adore thee
now and through eternity.
Saved to magnify thy goodness,
grant us strength to do thy will;
with our acts as with our voices 

thy commandments to fulfill.

- "God, All Nature Sings Thy Glory," David Clowny (1960) (to the tune to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy")

24 May 2017


True friends are hard to find. 
They stick closer than family, and often know you better. They pray bigger things for you than you pray for yourself. They believe with you when your faith is weak. They make space for you when life falls apart, and they rejoice with you when all is well. Most importantly, true friends remind you in every encounter who and what is most important.
We sit across from the table from one another at the no frills Mexican restaurant on the edge of my 'hood. We no longer need to look at the menu- the order is always the same, always tacos, juevos and tocino, tostado for me, and  juevos, tocino, papas y queso, tostado for her. We cover the eggs with warm salsa, spooned from a plastic cup. We start with coffee and then accept refills about 4 times, the last one reluctantly, before we recognize that one more cup may lead to all-day tremors. We have a list, because time passes way too quickly and we are easily distracted and there are things that have to be spoken out-loud, too complicated for text and the quick crossings of life during our normal week.

About an hour into the early morning rendezvous, she receives a text from home.
Where are you?
She sends a picture of me holding coffee.
A smiley emoji comes as a reply, and a moment later,
Good for you.
And then the dot-dot-dot of activity on the other side of screen. At the ding of a new text, my friend shows me her screen and Proverbs 27:17-
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

And with that, both of us take a deep breath of profound thankfulness. 

23 May 2017


A tornado struck Sunday evening, and although that event happened 150 miles to the west of us, we felt the effects even the next day. The twister twisted the high tension power line towers in Nuevo Laredo almost like a child's Erector set, and as such, electricity flickered in and out all day along the Mexican side of the border. I showed up to the neighborhood elementary school to find the gates locked up and kids playing in the streets. In these still muggy days, the hardest part of no power is definitely no air conditioning, no fans. Somehow, the lights came back on in time for the evening activities, and the kids were ready to go. 'Tis definitely the season para paraguas at the border.

22 May 2017


Dear A Dog's Purpose-

I wept.
Flat out, ugly cry, gasping out loud for air, sobbed.

I thought I knew what I was getting into. I thought I was ready for a dog movie. Maybe it was the combination of the kids growing up and the dog growing old and my own kids growing up and my own dog getting old. Maybe it was the very familiar voice of the dog, one with words similar to those we imagine our own pup speaking. No matter, the cinema experience this afternoon was something akin to ripping out my heart and stomping on it, four times.

Then we came home and told our old man Dillon what a good dog he is. Yes, he has fulfilled his purpose.

No more dog movies for a while, okay?


Really, who wouldn't want their ball to come back through the gator's mouth? How is it that playing under the lights and aquatic life is somehow that much more cool than the ordinary bowling alley? And bowling balls with fish and hunting dogs and alligator eye balls? It somehow makes up for a very sub-par game, salvaged only by a semi-miraculous tenth frame that pushed my score across the 100 point threshold. Playing with this alley-full is nothing but laughs.


And then there were none.
We graduated our last high school students on Friday evening. Five graduation in five years.

It has been a rich journey, traveling this road of homeschooling. Our primary inspiriation for the very intentional decision to keep our kids home for school came from Scripture, from passages such as
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-8

We began to homeschool not as a statement against anything, only as a means to teach our kids about the Lord our God throughout our day, in our coming in and going out. In addition, we were an active-duty military family in those days, and we knew that we would face frequent moves. Homeschooling allowed us to keep that one thing constant even in the midst of change.

Over the years, we found deep community and sweet fellowship among fellow homeschoolers. Our kids have never lacked for friendships, for opportunities to socialize. They have participated in extracurricular activities and athletics. They have been challenged by other teachers and students in learning opportunities outside the walls of our home. They have read 30-50 books a year as part of their history and literature curriculum. They went searching for rocks and dissected crawdads and fish and frogs and mixed up chemicals in science labs. They are fairly well-rounded students, college-ready by the highest state standard.

But perhaps even more importantly, through the flexibility of homeschooling, we were allowed opportunity for service, and to spend parts of our days looking outside our family. For years, we delivered meals to homebound seniors and invalids. We could be the last minute drop-in care for friends needing a place to send their kids. We could serve the church and her body, together. We met many characters and we have written many stories, together.

After nearly twenty years of raising up these young people, I well know that there is no perfect educational scenario. There were many times when I thought, maybe there's another, a better, option. Yes- we missed some things- no choir or band where we live, no opportunity for varsity sport competition. Quite likely, my kids would have had higher test scores with a better and more diligent math teacher. Homeschooling is not an 8-4 job. Perhaps one of the hardest part of homeschooling is that to make an opportunity, you sometimes have to make it yourself. We found others who wanted a prom, who would participate in student council, who joined us for commencement.

And yet, I feel certain that the words and the love of the Lord are written on my kids' hearts, and for that, I have no greater joy. I know, that is not my work but all the generous grace of our God. I am grateful for these 20 years, and eager to see what the next chapter holds for all of us.