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25 February 2017

55/365

The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him.
-Eugene Peterson

We tromped down the street in mini-mass, from one side of the alley to the other and through the brick doorway to the back. I think that the best dreams are shared in community, with people who see past the cracks and the dirt and the trash (and the raccoon pelt on the counter...?) and cast a vision for what can be. 

We gathered in circle and prayed, that the wind of the Spirit would blow fresh across this place, that the light of the Gospel would shine bright in the darkness, that our Father will provide and sustain in all the time to come. He is faithful.

54/365

I sat next to my friend and drove. And listened. What is there about even a mini-road trip, an hour drive down the highway, that allows us to cross ordinary hurdles and speak from the heart? We both still thought of the lesson from the teaching at church the night before, and recounted how it spoke to us in very different ways. We are at different places in life, my friend and I. Not many of her daily challenges and problems resemble mine. And yet, we share the same hope, and that is a strong bond.

I drop her off, and smile, grateful for our time together. I wonder, what will 30 more years bring? Who will drive me and help me to learn the latest technology? Who will listen to my fears during an afternoon trip? Who will be challenging me to abound in hope? I have lots of ideas, and plenty of hope, and I am eager to see.

(and strawberry shortcake in February? Certainly all is well when there is whipped cream on top, right?)

23 February 2017

53/365

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
it.
i'm not at the bottom,
i'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
Anywhere!
It's somewhere else
Instead!

- "Halfway Down" by A.A. Milne

22 February 2017

52/365

“Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
- John Muir

A morning trek, me and her. We tromp down scruffy dirt paths, dust kicking up beneath our feet. We pass a cactus graveyard, spindly, spiked skeletons in shades of bleached gray green. We remark and wonder out loud, just how many shades of green has our God created? More than the crayon box shows us, we are certain. We stop to take pictures of dried wood signs and the needles of the cactus, and wait for the slow magic of Polaroid to develop before our eyes. The quickly dissipating dew reveals the crochet web homes of spiders, woven between branches. You like webs, she tells me. I do. The red orange yellow blooms of the lantana stand out bright. Tiny pink blossoms of springtime growth light up against the clear blue sky. We hear the high notes of birds and the clicking of bugs. We stop to watch the slow flow of resaca waters. Too soon it seems, we look at the clock and realize that it is time to return to the day's regular activities. But we are refreshed, I think, and cheered for the time together. Everybody needs beauty.

21 February 2017

51/365

It was uncharacteristically quiet on the schoolyard for recess time, less than a handful of kids running around, but I never presume to understand what is normal. I walked over to the corner classroom as usual, and the teacher greeted me.
"Not many students today," she tells me in Spanish. "Maybe because of the rain?"

"Not many students" was an understatement. Four students. Only four students in the entire school on this wet Monday morning. I drove 2 hours to spend just over an hour with four students?
Completely worth it!

As you might imagine, those four students really wanted to be at school. They didn't stay home. And so, in our one-room escuelita with a first, third, fourth and fifth grader, we learned the names of furniture and played pictionary and did a word search and practiced English pronunciation over and over and over. They each gave me a hug when I left and told me, "see you next week." I cheerfully tiptoed through the mud to get back to my car.

Once home, I sat at the table with my peeps and let them school me at Dutch Blitz. Those cut-throats!  They don't even give grace to the newbie who has to go to the bathroom and forgets to count her cards and report her points first. Psheesh. Girls bounce on the trampoline until all but their feet leave my viewfinder window. Chickens scurry at my feet in the afternoon sun.

In the evening I get to take my favorite not-quite-11-year-old-girl to tumbling class. I have to pull up my chair close to the viewing window so I can follow the action. I knew that the girls on the other side were talking about me, too close to the pane. That's ok. I'm past the age of being concerned about what the girls on the other side of the window are saying. I just focus on my gymnast, going through her paces, exclaiming a mostly silent "YES!" when she sticks the landing.

These are the days of back and forth, of small and ordinary things, of seeking after that difficult practice of being all there.

19 February 2017

49/365

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
― Dr. SeussHappy Birthday to You!


Perhaps no one would wrestle in believing "there is no one alive who is Youer than You," like twins would. They have always been together- Baby A and Baby B, on the left and on the right, ROY and GBIV, in the same bed, in the same room, in the same car. And yet these two show us every day how unique, how fearfully and wonderfully made, they are. 

From the moment the active duty Navy ultrasound tech announced to me, "Well your husband will be awfully surprised to find out that you are having twins," these two girls have been the best surprise we could ever dream up; two girls who would break the traditional birth order rules for the last born. They have provided us with joy and amusement, comfort and occasional chaos alike. These two have stretched themselves beyond comfortable to serve their family and others. They are seasoned adventurers and excellent travelers. It is our joy to see them love others and love our God. It has been such fun to celebrate a new year with them! We are excited to see all that the year ahead will hold for these two.

Happy birthday, twinsies. We love you both.

18 February 2017

48/365

"For what you see and hear depend a good deal on where  you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are."
- C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

47/365

Fifty cents to cross.
PiƱatas in bright colors.
Concha sugar crumbs.

16 February 2017

46/365

Some mornings are
a run through the 'hood in the cool morning air,
a cup of hot coffee,
quiet at my desk,
laundry folded,
a book finished.

Some afternoons are
an easy midday visit,
a few bounces on the trampoline,
a grilled cheese sandwich with melted Velveeta,
making the ball light up for a favorite little guy,
a long conversation with a far-away friend,
wondering what on earth that message meant.

Some evenings are
cheesy noodle casserole,
split a piece of chocolate cake,
closed eyes singing,
but it is not as though the word of God failed,
a spot against the wall on the floor to pray.