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30 August 2007

44 Pounds of Academic Joy...

... is that which we received in a formidable box on our front porch Thursday afternoon. Joy! It is all the books (well, almost- true to form, I forgot a couple of things, but they are now on their way also...) to complete our needs for the 2007-08 academic year. We're back to Sonlight this year- back to the oh-so-complete instructor's guide, back to literature that delights, challenges, and stimulates our thinking. Real books! The pile causes the hearts of bibliophiles in the family to skip a beat in anticipation. More than one book has been pilfered off the pile already!

We've a full syllabus in front of us. Our humanities (Bible, history, geography, language arts and reading) focus for the year ahead is a one-year survey of world history- it will be a fast and furious pace. Both the olders and the youngers will start in ancient Egypt and move forward to modern times. Our science focus is the Human Anatomy and Physiology, fine-tuned at different levels for our different levels of students. Math continues along the same path for everyone. Throw in some Spanish, logic, and keyboarding. Latin for the oldest. Music comes with piano and choir.

I'm excited! Last time we did this year-long survey I whipped T. in Trivial Pursuit at the end of the school year- honestly. Questions I surprised even myself that I knew the answers to!

We did start the discipline of getting back to school two weeks ago, but the new year starts in earnest in the week ahead. Check back for a Back to School class photo next week!

29 August 2007

Therefore, go forth...

We have kept the South Korean medical missionaries in prayer since they were taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan back on July 19.

This story causes me to sigh, deeply. Is there contradiciton in rejoicing at the release of these servants, and yet, grieving at the terms of their release?

Theologian Oswald Chambers said, "There is no conceivable situation in which it is not safe to trust God." If found in a similar position, do not negotiate with terrorists for me. Plead to the Lord. Cry out to Him for mercy. But, I ask you, do not give in to terrorist demands. Do not legitimize that evil in any way. Trust God.

I KNOW that the work of the Gospel will go forward, despite the limits that those against it try to place. I believe that messengers of the Good News must go forward, in obedience to His command. See Acts 1:8- "you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samari, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Now, in addition to the prayers for the safe release of the South Koreans (remember- not all have yet been released), and for the families of those mourning the loss of their loved ones already killed, we need to pray that Christians worldwide would be bold in both witness and obedience, going forth in a world that yet needs to hear.

28 August 2007

Without Thy sweet mercy...

At times, it takes music like this speaking to my heart to remind me to stop and contemplate on all that is true.

This hymn was written by John Stocker, in 1776. I found the 2001 version through Indelible Grace music. Isn't there some comfort that the work of Christ on the cross allows the church universal, even in 1776, even in AD 61 when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, seekers throughout time, to surrender to His mercy? Truly, "there is nothing new under the sun." (Eccl. 1:9)

Thy Mercy, My God
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
©2001 Same Old Dress Music (ASCAP).

25 August 2007

Babies need...

We celebrate a new baby in the family this week- a little boy arrived to proud and very happy parents, our niece and nephew-in-law. T's sister is a grandma?!?! :-)

Babies need onesies, of course. Aren't freshly washed onesies, especially if you use that wonderful Dreft that first time moms always do (funny how Tide does just fine for the babies down the line...), the perfect example of baby-ness, in look and smell? A few of our babies needed the bouncy seat. The later version of the battery operated vibrating bouncy seat was especially handy when we had TWO babies and I could only solace one at a time.

There's A LOT of baby "stuff" out there, to be sure. But, recently I stumbled upon the following thoughts somewhere online, and it tells so well of all that babies really need. My apologies to the author, as I didn't take note to credit her, but kudos to her, as well. She captures so well what babies need.

Babies need a mother who is present. One who is available to meet their needs and who cares enough take the time to snuggle and bond.

Babies need a mother who is wise and understanding and who is able to discern what to do in a given situation.

Babies need a mother who is loving and giving.

Babies need a mother who is in control of herself in stressful situations--and believe me when I say that with babies there are many!

Babies need a mother who enjoys laughter and lots of giggling.

Babies need a mother who is excited about their new skills and accomplishments.

Babies need a mother who is ready to teach and to train.

Buying the latest gadgets for baby is not wrong, but I am here to tell you that most of those goodies won't make mothering any easier. Mothering is a full-time job with little monetary benefit, but it does boast the most amazing dividends.

When I think back to my time with my babies, I know that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I would, however, do it with a little more life wisdom. Would I buy the cute baby gadgets? Sure, a few of them, but most of my energy would be directed toward my baby's welfare and enjoying my time with them.

Life with baby is work, and all the pink, polka dotted and frilly goodies won't go as far as a mother who is willing to lay down her own wants and needs to do what is needed in the life of her little one.

24 August 2007

But who will pay for the carbon credits...?

Admitedly, I was quite amused by this story when I first came upon it earlier in the week. I thought, though, I could pass it by, not stoop to that childish level. Until dear daughter brought me the attached art work today, completely unsolicited. And then I knew, it was meant to be.

So, for the story to accompany the illustration, check out this link: - Researchers: Moose Gas Hurting Environment - Science News Current Articles

22 August 2007

Reminder on Relationships

Through the summer I have had the opportunity to read and discuss the book Peacemaking Women by Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler. A gem! It is one of those books that you pick up, thinking, "I might be able to use this to help someone someday." And then, by the second page, you are thinking, "That someone is me!" This book reminds us not to work harder at difficult relationships and challenges to everyday peace in our own strength, but to rest and be confident in the strength of Christ and His redeeming work on the cross. It has been a practical, challenging, and yet, encouraging study.
(Thanks also to that group of early rising ladies! They are iron that sharpens iron (Prov. 27:17).)

There are plenty of pearls to string from Peacemaking Women. Here's just one good reminder that will stay with me:

Relationships provide the opportunity for God to develop in us the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Such development, however, can be extremely painful. How do we grow in patience? Is it when we are sharing fellowship with a group of lovely ladies at a women's conference? No- they are all far too gracious and enjoyable. We grow in patience when we are called to relate to annoying and frustrating people. How do we grow in gentleness? When we are treated harshly by others but don't respond in kind. We grow in faithfulness when we are abandoned and rejected by others but continue to perservere in love. God uses people to help us grow to be more like Christ.

19 August 2007

Lake Days

While in MI last week, we had opportunity to laze time away, visiting family at the where they summer. Beautiful weather for lake visits. What fun, to be out on the boats, to be in the water, to soak in the sun! We kept eye off the side of the boat for fish and for turtles. We watched the kids splash and dive and dunk and play. We adults enjoyed talk and adult beverages and doing not-too-much-at-all.

It is not so easy, for a girl that grew up in the southwest, to love a lake. Not many swim-worthy lakes in the desert climes. Years ago, when I started visiting the Great Lake State, it took some getting used to, wading the shore to swim in a lake. I still like diving into the middle of a lake, from the boat, deep enough that my feet can't touch bottom, the best.

But it's always fun to be with family at "their" lake. I'm thankful for that part of life T's family has added to mine. Or I'd still be sitting poolside and never would have known all a Lake Day had to offer.

16 August 2007

"I'm Holding Out for Grace..."

I found this little piece on Bono, lead singer for the band U2, oh, six months or so ago. I saved it with the title "Cool Bono Quote on Faith."

I was "introduced" to Bono before I met Christ. Without comparison, I'm more indebted, more grateful, more thankful for Christ. But, I sure enjoy the music from Bono. In recent years, Bono has had a lot of publicity, as he hangs out with the likes of Bill Gates and world leaders and icons. This article tells a little bit of how he also stays in front of the cross. Like Bono, I'm holding out for Grace...

Steve Beard has an article over at the BreakPoint web site, a review of French journalist Michka Assayas's Q & A style book of his conversations with the rock star activist, that is well worth the read. I was especially taken with Bono's parsing of karma and grace:

The thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "As you reap, so will you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff. . . . I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

15 August 2007


"How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince's daughter!" Song of Solomon 7:1

As part of the pre-wedding festivities, all the ladies in A's life took part in manicures and pedicures. Look at those toes!

This was all new to us! We were pampered. We sat in massage chairs, our toes in a swirling whirlpool bath with deep aqua tinted salts. Kind ladies said nothing about the state of our feet, but scraped and rubbed and clipped and painted. Oh, the colors to choose from! Lavenders and pinks and melons and irridescent whites that change in the sun. I'm the bright red. A traditionalist, I suppose.

How long does this last, now that we're back to the reality of everyday living, sandals, soccer cleats, running barefoot through late summer grass? Ahh, but it was fun for a day!

The excitement, you know...

She was in her first wedding at age 5, almost 17 years ago. She was bouncing, literally. She wore a pretty dress that she could twirl in. She stood absolutely still and was quiet when she needed to be, and after the ceremony ended, she exited the sanctuary and burst into tears. The excitement, you know. She recovered in time to run through the reception with my cousins and soccer players and drink more red punch than anyone could imagine. That was a one time only dress, lots of red punch on the front.

And then, in a blink of an eye, 17 years passes and SHE is the one getting married, to a dear man who is handsome and kind and cherishes her. She wore a beautiful dress and she stood still and quiet when she needed to, and she burst into tears before the ceremony even began. And so did all of us who love her so much. The excitement, you know. And, the memories.

I am sure I fell in love with that little blond girl with intense eyes, precocious, afraid of no stranger, long before I was sure about her dad. I expected way too much of her young years, and grew to know better, and she forgave me and loves me nonetheless. And I still love her, though now I'm pretty certain about her dad, too.

Be good to one another, A & T. Thanks for sharing the tears, and the excitement, with us. We can hardly wait to be with you both again!

08 August 2007

Transmitting a love language...

My beloved knows me. This VERY COOL weather radio was my birthday gift this year. See that little crank on the side? You don't even need batteries to run this baby. It gets AM, FM, 2 TV audio settings, and 7 weather stations (if 7 weather stations actually existed in one place, which I don't think they do...). It has a light and a flashing red light, and a siren. It has a little hole for a cell phone adaptor and one for an AC adaptor (as in electricity, not Air Conditioning, which would make this a MIRACLE radio...). The tuning dial has a fine tuning option, so you can really just barely move the dial to tune in to a station perfectly. (one of the MOST ANNOYING things about digital radio dials- no fine tuning!) It has a nifty handle on the top, and a sturdy looking carrying bag for travel. And, he ordered it in my favorite color. My beloved knows me!

I have a long love affair with radio. When I was growing up, I had an AM transitor radio that I would listen to at night, in my bed. I could get a station all the way from Denver! Right now, as I type, I am listening to the weather station. I love this! "Today, mostly cloudy, with a chance of thunderstorms... Chance of rain 70%..." What could be better- weather and a cool radio, all in one?!

Thanks, beloved!

06 August 2007

Branches or roots?

from Elizabeth Prentiss (1818 - 1878):

‘God never places us in any position in which we can not grow. We may fancy that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting, petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress.’

03 August 2007


Last night the summer swim season culminated in the City Championship meet. The H Family swimmers had high expectations going into the meet, as their team has won the City Championship for the last 3 years. And, there was extra anticipation Thursday night, as the meet was delayed a day due to storms on Wednesday. We did our part to help the team standings, taking top 6 medals in 9 of the 15 events in which our swimmers were entered. Way to swim, Team H! And, yes, just as importantly, Gallagher pool holds onto the title for one more year. Thanks, Coach Bill and Coach Judy! See you next summer!
(Doesn't this photo make you laugh? Can you tell that a couple of those girls were getting tired of mom taking pictures? :-) )

02 August 2007

"God Honored"

A prayer for today,
from Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Thoughts and Devotions:

O God,
Praise waiteth for thee,
and to render it is my noblest exercise;
This is thy due from all thy creatures,
for all thy works display thy attributes and fulfil thy designs;
The sea, dry land, winter cold, summer heat,
morning light, evening shade, are full of thee,
and thou givest me them richly to enjoy.
Thou art king of kings and lord of lords;
At thy pleasure empires rise and fall;
All thy works praise thee and thy saints bless thee;
Let me be numbered with thy holy ones,
resemble them in character and condition,
sit with them at Jesus' feet.
May my religion be always firmly rooted in thy Word,
my understanding divinely informed,
my affections holy and heavenly,
my motives simple and pure,
and my heart never wrong with thee.
Deliver me from the natural darkness of my own mind,
from the corruptions of my heart,
from the temptations to which I am exposed,
from the daily snares that attend me.

(with apologies to the author, for I cannot find how to "tab" and it doesn't read quite as nicely without them...)

01 August 2007

Mas Laredo

Here's a photo of our team from Harvest that went to serve at Igelsia La Vid in Laredo last week, along with some of our Laredo helpers.

What a great week we spent in Laredo!

We went to help continue construction on the new La Vid sanctuary, right now standing as mostly a brick shell. We helped to frame bathrooms, storage areas and a sound area inside the building, and to paint the exterior. It was hot and dirty work, but only in God's economy can such work be so rewarding.

In the evenings, we spent time with the members of La Vid, delivering Bible study invitations in member's neighborhoods, and then joining small group Bible studies. Each evening we were whole-heartedly welcomed- and always enjoyed a hearty late evening "snack" of Mexican foods, a second dinner for most of us.

Most of the adults of La Vid understand English well, but speak Spanish. Most of the young adults and youth are bilingual, speaking Spanish in the home, but English with one another. Being with La Vid was a great opportunity to use Spanish, with occassional English words slipped in when our vocabulary failed us.

The sweetest part of the week for me was being able to meet and pray with a group of prayer warrior ladies from La Vid. This faithful group meets at the church every morning from 8-8:30, reading through a chapter of Scripture, praying, and praising God. Sweet, sweet times, to be able to pray for, and be prayed for, each morning. What a comfort and encouragement, to know these hermanas are praying over the same things we ladies pray for at home, their families, their church, expanding the Kingdom.

La Vid comes from a Pentecostal background, and their worship is passionate. I loved the words of Pastor Carlos, that the church should strive to have the mind of the Presbyterians, but the heart of the Pentecostals. :-)

It was exciting to serve along side T and k. and j.! The post just below shows shots of each of us at work. There is also a photo of j. with two of his Laredo buddies.

Gloria a Dios!

Laredo Missions 2007