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26 July 2011

days of summer- 36

We ate and laughed and I think cobbler is my new favorite Texas food.

25 July 2011

days of summer- 35

The book I wanted was right where it was supposed to be. And that is much more important that the article that was missing halfway through.

days of summer- 34

Me: "I want to take a picture of the rooster outside of HEB."
Son: "wow! they sell roosters outside of HEB?"
Me: "Yeah. I know. Who buys roosters?"
Son: "Seriously. Roosters? That's something funny to sell in the middle of the city."
Son: (sees rooster) "oh. they're fake."

what you can't tell is that that rooster is about 4 feet tall.
who buys roosters?

24 July 2011

Lord's Day Morning

O Maker and Upholder of all things,

Day and night are thine; they are also mine from thee-
the night to ride me of the cares of the day,
to refresh my weary body,
to renew my natural strength;

the day to summon me to new activities,
to give me opportunity to glorify thee,
to serve my generation,
to acquire knowledge, holiness, eternal life.

But one day above all days is made especially
for thy honor and my improvement;
The sabbath reminds me of they rest from creation,
of the resurrection of my savior,
of his entering into repose,

Thy house is mine,
but I am unworthy to meet thee there,
and am unfit for spiritual service.

When I enter it I come before thee as a sinner,
condemned by conscience and thy Word,
For I am still in the body and in the wilderness,
ignorant, weak, in danger,
and in need of thine aid.
But encouraged by thy all-sufficient grace
let me go to thy house with a lively hope of meeting thee,
knowing that there thou wilt come to me and give me peace.

My soul is drawn out to thee in longing desires
for they presence in the sanctuary, at the table,
where all are entertained on a feast of good things;
Let me before the broken elements, emblems of they dying love,
cry to thee with broken heart for grace and forgiveness.

I long for that blissful communion of thy people
in thy eternal house in the perfect kingdom;
These are they that follow the Lamb;
May I be of their company!

- "Lord's Day Morning," The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett

(photo from The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, taken last July)

23 July 2011

days of summer- 33

I have spotted this Great Kiskadee in my tree time and again, and finally got a picture of him today. These are the times when I long for a super zoom lens!
The same bird lived in my yard in Costa Rica, but there it is commonly called the Pecho Amarillo or the Bienteveo (the "I see you well") because of its bright yellow chest. I have heard first-hand stories of parrot sightings in McAllen- I'm on the lookout for that!

22 July 2011

In Laredo- Westminster PCA, Lancaster, PA

A resounding muchas gracias goes out to the terrific team from Westminster PCA in Lancaster, PA who came down to serve with BEAMM in Laredo this last week. These folks did a tremendous work, and we're thankful for them!
They served the Laredo community, helping to feed the homeless and street people of Laredo for three evenings. What a joy to see these young people eagerly participating, graciously serving, and taking time to pray with the folks they met along the way.

They also worked hard at Laredo Stepping Stone, building the structure for container gardens that we hope will be used to further the vision of starting a community garden for Las Penitas in the months and years to come. They also helped to complete a long to-do list at Stepping Stone, including improvements in the buildings and out.
They served Iglesia La Vid, helping to replace a section of roof badly in need of repair. They also renovated the room below the damaged section of roof, making an unusable place into an area that can be used for multiple purposes in the future.
Another part of the team tore off and replaced siding at the bottom of the church building which had been damaged after years of south Texas storms and heat.
They loved the people at La Vid well, taking time to get to know the kids they served during Vacation Bible School.
(and this sweet girl took time to ask me to give my testimony and how the Lord called me into missions- the first time that has happened! Thank you!)
What an encouragement to the folks at La Vid and for those of us in BEAMM, to work alongside the team from Westminster. It is pure joy, to see the new building at La Vid come to completion. It is pure joy, to see brothers and sisters working together in fellowship and unity.
So thanks, Westminster, for giving your all for Stepping Stone, for La Vid, and for the Lord. From our family, thanks for your hard work, for your cheerful willingness, for lending a shoulder (literally!) to our sleepy daughter, for including our kids and making them welcome among you. We look forward to serving alongside you again in the future!

(for a view of the week from their perspective, check out the Westminster team blog!)

days of summer- 32

some feel more at home at Target than others...

days of summer- 31


21 July 2011

days of summer- 30

This couple who is so dear to me, who welcome me and mine as family, who love generously and serve zealously...
they remind me to set my eyes ever forward.

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Psalm 92:12-15

20 July 2011

on the streets of Laredo

Some you notice, some you probably never see. Some hold signs and ask for money, and others just sit and watch as you pass by. We all have thoughts and opinions, but rarely do we know exactly how to act or what to say. They are in your city, and they are in mine. And one night this week, I had the privilege of taking a meal and a bottle of water (or Pepsi, or Mountain Dew...) to the homeless and street people of Laredo, Texas.

I went out with Randy Leyendecker, a giant of a man with a shock of white hair; an exceedingly generous man with a very soft heart for the homeless. Only in the last few years did he even start to notice the homeless on the streets of Laredo, only after he learned that his sweetheart was homeless herself as a child, and that during that time, she only remembers wishing that someone would be nice to her family. Randy goes out 3 times a week in the evening, and searches out those on the street, in need of a meal and a cold drink. Sometimes he has extras. This night we had a case of peanuts that had been donated. He tries to have socks to give out. And he has a stack of little Bibles if anyone asks.

The smell on the bus was slight, but I recognized it quickly, that same smell we became familiar with after years of delivering meals to the elderly and shut in, that institutional food smell. That smell that makes you thankful for a home cooked meal. We gave out a Styrofoam box filled with a little meal, one that would not sustain you for very long. We introduced ourselves and looked folks in the eye and asked their name. And we asked, "can I pray for you?" We heard requests for jobs, and for friends that are in jail, and for health concerns, and for family situations. There are a lot of layers to most stories. Addiction, broken relationships and mental illness are common among folks on the street, though of course, not exclusive to the homeless.

Of course, the delight and sometimes the surprise is in meeting the people and we met some memorable characters. We met several who would barely muttered answers to "would you like a meal?" We met man with a shy smile, and a large "thank you." We met folks who live under a bridge and in a parking lot. We met Spanish speakers and English speakers both. We met folks from south of the border and from south of the Mason Dixon line. We met both young and old, those pierced and tattooed, one bald, one with a mohawk, some clean and well kept, others in need of a shower. Frankly, we were all in need of a shower on a hot and dusty summer evening

Being with those living on the street reminded that me that I am prone to forget to count my blessings, and I am much too quick to grumble. I was reminded that some consequences of life choices turn out much more serious than others. I was reminded that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and that it really is such a simple thing, to show kindness to those who perhaps don't experience it often.

And I was reminded that all kinds of folks like having their picture taken...
To see more of the faces of the streets of the Laredo, visit the Picasa album Streets of Laredo.

19 July 2011

days of summer- 29

The very sweet faces are what stick with me.

days of summer- 28

We gave a box dinner to this man who lives on the streets of Laredo.
After I took the picture, he asked if it broke my camera.
"No sir," I said with a grin, "it seems to be working fine."

days of summer- 27

along the Rio Grande,
looking across to Nuevo Laredo,
and a man fishing with a net,
and a train crossing,
southward bound.

days of summer- 26

103 degrees in the shade...
is still 103 degrees.

16 July 2011

In Laredo- Redeemer PCA, San Antonio

This week my family is over in Laredo, Texas with BEAMM, working with a couple of short-term missions teams that are down to serve the local church, Iglesia La Vid, and the community.

Thanks to the youth from Redeemer PCA in San Antonio, Texas, who put in a hard week's work, and welcomed my kids onto their team, besides. These guys were out in the Laredo sun doing landscaping at the church for a few days. They did projects around Laredo Stepping Stone, including cleaning, property maintenance and painting. They passed out hot meals for homeless folks in Laredo one evening. And they completed a couple projects for a disabled neighbor, fixing a hole in his trailer floor and constructing a shelter for his water pump.

The team also had a great time in fellowship with the youth from La Vid who joined them every day, and in activities in the evening, including a couple of intense games of "water polo."

We waved goodbye this morning, and this evening a new group arrives. We're eager to see what the Lord has in store for us in the week ahead!

days of summer- 25

It didn't take long to realize that I am not nearly as competitive as those guys are!

15 July 2011

days of summer- 24

At the end of the day, the only thing I wanted to do was sit and watch the sky change colors.

days of summer- 23

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see a cart pulled by a horse coming down the road.
But I was.

Five Minute Friday- loss

This week I heard two stories of babies dying, and I grieve.
I don't understand, but I trust the Creator who has a purpose and a plan.
And yet, I don't understand.

This week I am in the desert, and I look at the unforgiving terrain and think about those who have trekked across, those who tried but didn't make it.
I wonder.
And I don't understand.

How do we rightly mourn with those who are mourning?
How do we grieve that which is not ours?

These are the times when I long for eternity, to reach the not-yet from the here-now.
These are the times when I long for the forevermore in the Thy will be done.
Without suffering,
without pain,

12 July 2011

days of summer- 22

On the way home we had to stop and watch the train go by. That's a good thing. I'm thankful to not be in a hurry.

days of summer- 21

The very first thing that she notice was a nest in the tree. I was impressed- with the nest AND the sighting!

10 July 2011

days of summer- 20

No prayer is ever lost, or any prayer ever breathed in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things we see as refusals or denials are simply delays.
Horatius Bonar, from Streams in the Desert, July 10.

09 July 2011

days of summer- 19

It was a day for girls- starting with a shower for a beautiful bride, a craft project completed in the afternoon, and Princess Monopoly to finish the evening.

Snow White rules.

08 July 2011

days of summer- 18

We think that the target audience for the concert was a different demographic, but the company was good and a Blizzard can only help, right?

Five Minute Friday- Grateful

deeply thankful.
not understanding that idea for so long, until coming, perhaps, to see the end of me,
and knowing that all is grace.

for provision, for call, for place.
for prayer and quiet and stillness.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

for community, for unexpected calls,
for time together, for sharing heart desires,
for little girls that still climb on laps.

for a future and a hope.
for the smallest things and the most grand majesty of all.
(art credit: Grateful by NejellaPhotoArt on Etsy)

And grateful to The Gypsy Mama for 5 Minute Friday-

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my right side bar}
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

days of summer- 17

I really don't want to live in a house where these guys aren't coming out to wave every once in a while...

06 July 2011

days of summer- 16

I'm good with sharing the burger.
But not the chocolate shake...

05 July 2011

days of summer- 15

It was a day to get caught up...

days of summer- 14

in truth, after experiencing the 4th of July in Omaha, the choice was a bit anti-climatic...

days of summer- 13

a couple of hours playing games was just perfect for a hot and lazy afternoon.