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31 August 2010

91 days of summer- 71

Lunch at Soda Katie.
Picadillo de vainicas, papas, arroz, y empananda de frijoles.
And Canada Dry.

(note- it is very frustrating to type Spanish words and not know how to find a tilde or accent mark!)

91 days of summer- 70

View of the school campus,
rain moving in.

29 August 2010

Sunday morning in Isaiah 6

I see the Lord, seated on the throne,exalted.
And the train of His robe fills the temple with glory.
And the whole earth is filled,
And the whole earth is filled,
And the whole earth is filled,
With His glory.

Holy. Holy. Holy. Holy.
Holy is the Lord.
Holy. Holy. Holy. Holy.
Holy is the Lord of Lords.

I See the Lord by Chris Falson, 1993
(from Isaiah 6)

I arrived at Isaiah 6 this morning, and immediately I am brought to worship. I fall to the ground next to Isaiah, trembling and calling out, “Woe is me!” I know only a glimpse of His glory, and it is enough.

You see, I woke up this morning, and before even opening my eyes, I remembered, I’m not at home.
I won’t go strolling into church this morning and be greeted by friends.
I won’t sing familiar songs and hymns, and I won’t close my eyes and know the voices around me.
I won’t repeat the creeds and prayers by memory.
I don’t know what to expect. My kids are grumpy, because they don’t know what to expect, either.
It would be easier to stay home.

But my eyes have seen; my ears have heard; my heart has been changed by the glory of the King.
I am called to worship.

At verse 8 in Isaiah 6, the Lord asks, “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” We have heard that question, and like Isaiah, we have answered, “Here am I. Send me!” But then, in the next verse, the Lord commands Isaiah, and me, to “Go, and tell this people…”
And I remember, that is why we are here- to learn Spanish; to be able to tell the people the very Good News of the Gospel.

We go. We shuffle, late, into a service already begun. And even though the tongue is not familiar, we worship.
We sing.
We pray.
We are prayed for.
We are even blessed to recognize a few familiar faces.
The Lord is exceedingly good to us.

And the whole earth is filled with His glory.

(art credit to Mark Lawrence, He Covered His Face)

Multitudes (296- 361)

I haven’t listed the many thanks I have to give for several months.
That’s not because I haven’t had so very much to give thanks for, of course.
I think it was mostly being lazy, which is the worst admission of all.

Back to the discipline of giving thanks…

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Thy wonders.
I will be glad and exult in Thee;
I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

296.  Hospitality all along the way.
297.  The fellowship of like-minded believers.
298.  The freedom that the Statue represents
299.  God’s palette of people
300.  Ethnic food
301.  Safe travel
302.  Free wi-fi that works
303.  Check lists complete
304.  Closed doors open again
305.  Provision
306.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Ps. 150)
307.  Hospitality even still
308.  Testimonies and precious memories
309.  A charge
310.  Prayer over it all
311.  Car rides with friends
312.  Tears and hugs
313.  Sweet notes in a new hymnal
314.  A new game
315.  Early morning coffee
316.  Fish tacos for two
317.  Last dinners
318.  Wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. (Ecc. 2:13)
319.  The first view of the Rockies
320.  Green chile enchiladas
321.  Sopapillas with honey
322.  Huevos rancheros
323.  Early morning breakfast that lasts longer than expected
324.  Being recognized and welcomed after 6 months away
325.  The wonder of His creation
326.  The vast openness in the landscape ahead
327.  Mini Oreo Blizzard on a scorching hot day
328.  Time with family
329.  First greetings
330.  The ease of friends
331.  Laughinglaughinglaughing
332.  Dinner at the Rainbow Cafe
333.  New friends
334.  A new lens cap
335.  Mochas and conversation, uninterrupted
336.  “God does not leave us as we are.”
337.  A familiar voice praying
338.  Ready the day before
339.  Selfless service, even when it requires a lot of miles
340.  “YOU DO!”
341.  Final warnings to have fun
342.  No hassles in security
343.  Real time maps
344.  A new book
345.  Phone calls before leaving
346.  Safe arrivals
347.  The kindness of strangers
348.  Sheets on the bed
349.  Therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lords. (Rom 14:8)
350.  Fresh pineapple
351.  Good coffee
352.  Kind teachers
353.  Umbrellas
354.  “I am pursued and harassed by the words of Jesus…”
355.  Email from friends
356.  Praise in any language
357.  Familiar faces for my kids
358.  Internet at home
359.  School supplies
360.  A cheap taxi ride when it is pouring
361.  The phone seems to work!

91 days of summer- 69

We went to a store for school supplies today.  I felt like I was at Pinatas R Us. 
There were a few with the local beer brand.  Do adults really do pinatas?

91 days of summer- 68

rainy afternoons

91 days of summer- 67

out to dry

91 days of summer- 66

around our 'hood

91 days of summer- 65

the view from my back porch
(early in the morning, before it starts raining...)

91 days of summer- 64

front porch neighbor

23 August 2010

91 days of summer- 63

el aeropuerto,
Atlanta, GA

91 days of summer- 62

San Antonio, TX

91 days of summer- 61

blowin' in the hot wind.
Harlingen, TX

on hospitality

"Elrond’s house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all ... All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes."
JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

What an image of hospitality! And, what a familiar image of hospitality!
We have stayed at Elrond’s house, oh, 3 or 4 or 5 times.

Since moving out of our house on June 15, we have been abundantly blessed by folks just like Elrond. We have visited family, friends, and friends of friends. We have stayed with folks in 7 states. In those two months of travel, we have only had to pay for 5 nights of hotel rooms. A couple of times, others paid for a hotel room for us. We have eaten wonderfully prepared meals, and we have been treated to many meals in tasty places. We have been entertained. We have heard stories, and we have sung. Sometimes we were just left alone. And we have rested.

We have been blessed.

And soon, our travels end, at least for this season.
Today we hop on a jet plane and journey south to San Jose, Costa Rica, where we’ll learn Spanish for the next eight months.
Suddenly, the path that has sometimes seemed so very long and winding is taking us to where we hoped to be all along. We are excited for the next stops along the way to serving at the US/Mexico border.

We have been blessed.

21 August 2010

91 days of summer-60

McAllen, TX

I took only 2 pictures Friday.  But when I went to look at them, there were 36 pictures on the card.  We had a wonderful dinner at friends' house, and I was completely engaged in good conversation. Not at all did I pay attention to who was using my camera until dusk turned to dark and I began to see the tell-tale momentary brights of the flash.  This picture was taken by LiddyBug, who perhaps should be re-nicknamed "LiddyShutterBug."  Good job, Lid!

20 August 2010

91 days of summer- 59

supper at the Rainbow Cafe,
Harlingen, TX

Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.

O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;
Make Your way straight before me.
There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You.

But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name may exult in You.
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5

I arrived at Psalm 5 yesterday morning.  I stayed there today. 
I sing the first stanza, verses 1 through 3 in my head, the tune comfortably familiar.
I dwell in the last stanza, verses 11 and 12, as promise and hope.
Sometimes the fog of morning is heavy, and I look around for glimmers. 
Psalm 5 calls out as a place of refuge.

19 August 2010

91 days of summer- 58

Cotton fields,
south Texas

Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
John 4:35

18 August 2010

Simple- August 18, 2010

FOR TODAY, Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The LORD preserves the simple;I was brought low, and He saved me. Psalm 116:6
Been a while since Simple... 
Thanks, B, for the reminder!

Outside my window...  a hotel parking lot, a Cracker Barrel sign, our van taking up space

I am thinking...  of how far we have traveled this summer, of getting near to the end of this part of the journey

I am thankful for...  visits with family, visits with friends, safety, provision, fellowship, my family.

From the kitchen...  well, not MY kitchen, but... Holiday Inn Express cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  mmm.

I am wearing... long white shorts (if they are "long" are they still "shorts"?), blue t-shirt, my new cross, flip flops  

I am creating...  order.  you might think it would be easier when your belongings have been distilled to a duffel bag and a backpack...

I am going...  south, to Harlingen, TX today.  (big smile!  been waitin' on that a while!)

I am reading...  Ecclesiastes, Romans, Psalms, but other that my morning reading- NOTHING!!  Must. Fix. That. SOON!

I am hoping...  that we don't leave anything here, that the car stays healthy, that there is a glass of ice tea in my very immediate future...

I am hearing...  the hum of the bathroom fan, my husband zippering bags, my son turn the sports section of the newspaper  (my girls are in another room, or I would MOST certainly be hearing them!  my girls are in another room and thankfully I am not hearing them!)

Around the house...  no house!  around the room... bags packed, beds half made.

One of my favorite things... drinking a cup of coffee with my buddy Estellita.  Tomorrow.  maybe tonight.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  hanging out in Harlingen.  Being still.  Getting ready to leave the country on Monday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... from window shopping in Fredricksburg, TX yesterday

For more Simple, please go visit the Simple Woman's Daybook.

17 August 2010

16 August 2010

91 days of summer- 56

Carlsbad Caverns National Park,
Carlsbad, NM

Carlsbad Caverns ranks at the top of My List of Favorite National Parks.  But man!  That's a tough place to take a picture! 

I first went to Carlsbad Caverns when I was about 9 or 10.  It was my birthday.  To this day, my best memory of that trip has nothing to do with the Caverns and everything to do with eating too much Mexican food and Baskin Robbins ice cream, and laughing hysterically at a Pepto Bismol commercial with my sister.  This week I told my sister that my family was going to the Caverns, and she immediately exclaimed, "Pepto BISMOL!"  But I digress...

I traveled to the caverns again in middle school with my Girl Scout troop, a wonderful very non-traditional and fun group of scouts, and remember having a great time.  And we did today, too.  It is spectacular, Carlsbad Caverns.  It's out of the way, but well-worth the trip.

But maybe, buy a few postcards at the end, just to make sure you have a few good photos...   

15 August 2010

On service. And suffering.

Some years ago I was preparing a message on commitment while traveling in the West. Within the space of a few days, three people told me how they or someone close to them had left a group or a person because of problems. One had left an unhappy marriage; another, a church; another, an organization. Each person described his leaving as a merciful release from suffering. But I could not help asking myself whether, in each of these cases, the Christian thing to do would have been to stay and suffer.  from "To Serve is to Suffer," by Ajith Fernando.

A week ago, we left the place, the people, that has been our home for the last 8 years.
A week from now, we will board an airplane, and 8 hours later, land in San Jose, Costa Rica, to learn Spanish for 8 months.

Leaving is the next step in preparation to serve at the US/Mexico border with MTW
Our church family sent us out with an amazingly beautiful commissioning service.
We were surrounded by friends and community.
We were exhorted by a charge to continue to serve, and we were loved by the sweet words of those we have served alongside for all that time.

But there were many that we have known over the years who were not there.
Some have moved.  Some have changed churches.
Some, well some, we have no idea where they are.  Or what they are doing. 
Some came into our lives in a blink, and left just as quickly.
We had hoped we would see some that we did not.  We had hoped we would have opportunity to say goodbye. 

Today I read an article that reminded me of what we experienced over the last 8 years, just a bit.  Sri Lankan pastor and evangelist Ajith Fernando writes, "Sticking with people is frustrating. Taking hours to listen to an angry or hurt person seems inefficient. Why should we waste time on that when professionals could do it? So people have counselors to do what friends should be doing."
Sometimes serving is hard.
It probably would have been easier not to.
And that will probably be true in the future, too.
But our family, we're going to press on.

We have no promise of the measures of Western success, of a large church, of numbers of converts, of safety or cleanliness or wealth.  But our hope is eternal fruit, of giving glory for Christ's kingdom.  And if suffering is part of God's plan for us, we'll thank Him for it.  Because we've known just a taste of that bittersweet, and we know Him more for it.  And we know that suffering is inexplicably linked with joy.  We will consider it all joy.

Do read the entire article

(credit to Tara Barthel at Considerable Grace for the link to the article.  Thanks!)

Sunday drive

We started with worship.

And then we drove east, and south.
Wide open spaces.
Through Roswell.

(I confess, I don't understand, not a bit, all that UFO hype.  It didn't exist at all when I was growing up in NM.  At first, driving into Roswell, I was amused.  There were UFO's at the Sam's Club gas station, aliens at the entrance to KFC.  By the end of town, I was mostly annoyed...)

And onto Artesia.

(That is The Rustler.  Kudos to Artesia for great public art!)

It was a pretty nice Sunday drive.

91 days of summer- 55

Bennie's Boot and Western Wear,
Artesia, NM

91 days of summer- 54

Afternoon tea.
Albuquerque, NM

91 days of summer- 53

Sandia Peak Tramway,
Albuquerque, NM

14 August 2010

91 days of summer- 52

Hesperaloe parviflore,
Red flowered false yucca
Albuquerque, NM

12 August 2010

91 days of summer- 51

north of Las Vegas, New Mexico

Toy Story 3

Well it took two months, but my family finally saw Toy Story 3 today. 
And if your family is yet even more behind the times than mine, really, go see it. 

It must be a crazy time, to hang out with those folks at Pixar who write Toy Story.  The toys find themselves in situations completely improbable, and yet, you root for them as if they are human characters on the edge of survival.  They deliver lines ever so true to the characters that they are.  And we laugh the entire way through.  Until...

Woody and Buzz and those kooky toys of Andy's, they are as old as my kids. My kids have grown up just like Andy has. And if you don't cry as Andy goes off to college, I need to know why.

Towards the end Andy tells a little friend, "Now Woody, he's been my pal for as long as I can remember. He's brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he'll never give up on you... ever. He'll be there for you, no matter what."

Not to mention, the Gipsy Kings version of You've Got a Friend In Me in Spanish cannot be missed!
It is not too late for you either.
Go see Toy Story 3.

(photo credit:  Woody peeking at us from a billboard just as we crossed over the George Washington Bridge in New York City in June.)

11 August 2010

91 days of summer- 50

Public art on the 16th Street Mall,
Denver, Colorado

91 days of summer- 49

Duffel dog?
Omaha, NE

91 days of summer- 48

Sunday evening at Harvest,
Omaha, NE

08 August 2010

06 August 2010

91 days of summer- 45

Bellevue, Nebraska

I never get tired of that view...

91 days of summer- 44

omaha, nebraska

91 days of summer- 43

91 days of summer- 42

Trader Joe's
Ann Arbor, Michigan

01 August 2010

91 days of summer- 41

chicken on the grill.
corn on the cob.
fresh fruit.
chocolate cake.