30 June 2011

days of summer- 9

Just in case we started to forget that we are in Texas...

28 June 2011

days of summer- 8

Driving to the west, I could see a rainbow crossing the sky. Coming back, the clouds towered on the horizon.

27 June 2011

days of summer- 7

unsweetened ice tea with lemon and extra ice: $1.08.
getting the order right in the drive-through: priceless.

on discipling

"Making disciples is not an easy process. It is trying. It is messy. It is slow, tedious, even painful at times. It is all these things because it is relational. Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting the nations for his glory. He has given us people, and he has said, "Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them. Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me. In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth."
from Radical by David Platt

26 June 2011

days of summer- 6

The hammock is hung.

'til...

If to distant lands I scatter
If I sail to farthest seas
Would you find and firm and gather
'til I only dwell in Thee?

If I flee from greenest pastures
Would you leave to look for me?
Forfeit glory to come after
'Til I only dwell in Thee

If my heart has one ambition
If my soul one goal to seek
This my solitary vision 'til I only dwell in Thee
That I only dwell in Thee
'Til I only dwell in Thee
- Hymn by Brooke Fraser

25 June 2011

days of summer- 5

The Pioneer Woman says equal proportions of tomato, onion and cilantro, but I think I prefer just a little bit more tomato...

days of summer- 4

The sunset was just so pretty, but the lines and buildings were in the way. I was completely surprised and delighted when he turned the car around and pulled into an empty field a moment before it disappeared forever.

24 June 2011

five minute friday- wonder

Wonder…

Of being in awe.
A sunset painted in pastels across the sky, blue and purple and pink and orange, wispy clouds all that remain after the storms of the day.
The sparse beauty of the desert, the sage and mesquite and craggy brush, green across the canvas of brown.

Of thinking curiously.
What does tomorrow hold and how will He use me?
How does that work?

Of doubt.
To believe beyond what is logical and reasonable.

Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14.

(art credit: I wonder postcard by ChildlikeWisdom on Etsy)




As The Gypsy Mama encourages each Friday:

Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not. Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing or tweaking.

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. {And if you love us, consider turning off word verification for the day to make it easier for folks to leave you some encouragement}

23 June 2011

days of summer- 3

We're dog sitting, and everyone is quite happy.
Canine and human, both.

days of summer- 2

God thunders with His voice wondrously,
Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow He says, "Fall on the earth,'
And to the downpour and the rain, 'Be strong."
He seals the hand of every man,
That all men may know His work.
Job 37:5-7

Finally, in a place that was dry and parched, it rained.
The gutters overflowed and the power went out, and not one complaint was heard.

And maybe now we have a chance to have a lawn as green as our next door neighbors...

20 June 2011

College World Series

We were at breakfast at a restaurant on Saturday morning and on the TV it was ESPN it was All College World Series, All The Time.
Distracting.
(especially when I need 110% concentration to be part of a conversation in Spanish.)

After the final Series at Rosenblatt Stadium, the NCAA created a video documentary of the CWS in Omaha, The Long Home Run. In it, one man says, "At the end of the day, it's the memories you cannot replicate. They just happen." Indeed, after living in Omaha, it's the memories of the College World Series that create such nostalgia within me.

We were given tickets to games several times, and those are some of my favorite memories, ever.
Parking blocks and blocks away, walking to the stadium amidst a crowd, past the wafting smells of easy going tailgate parties, wandering through vendor booths along the way.
The excitement when the teams took the field, especially when the Huskers played.
Sitting along the third base line and watching that ESPN overhead camera zoom back and forth.
Taking a neighborhood kid who was ready to leave once the third inning was over.
The ASU players who came out to throw with my son's Little League team.
The electricity created during such a big annual occasion.

It's really a sporting event like no other.
Enjoy this year's Series, friends.

(photo credit- ME. :-) This was a drive-by photo of the new TD Ameritrade Park taken when we were in town in May.)

weekend

Bits from the weekend past...
We were out of town for the weekend, my husband and I, traveling to Laredo. We visited with friends, and worshipped at the church we helped to build during a couple of summer short term mission trips. It was while laboring under the Very Hot Laredo sun that the Lord prompted us to full-time missions, and this was our first trip back since. What joy, to worship in the completed nearly completed sanctuary, and to renew old friendships. (and we ate some Very Delicious food- Que sabroso!- too!) We're looking forward to returning with the entire family as a couple of teams come down in July.

(photos: the sanctuary at LaVid PCA in Laredo, and Pastor Carlos Canos and his wife, Andrea, both very dear to us.)

It was HOT in Laredo, 112 on Saturday. Sure, it was a "dry heat," but hot is hot. It's sort of like existing in a blast furnace...

We stopped by the BRIDGE bookstore, a non-profit Christian bookstore in Laredo. The DenHartog family opened the bookstore to provide Christian publications and quality literature to the Laredo community and theological material in Spanish and English to workers on both sides of the US/Mexico border,
Books
Recycled to
Instruct,
Disciple,
Guide and
Educate.
Profits also help a boys home in Jalisco, Mexico. The DenHartogs are eager to share a cup of coffee with you, and that's a pretty good combination, good books, good coffee, and good fellowship. I showed great restraint and only walked out with one new book that has been on my to-read list, Radical by David Platt. I'm looking forward to returning in July.

If you are thinking of cleaning out your bookshelves, and might have books to donate to the BRIDGE bookstore and ministry, let me know! It would be a blessing to many.

On the journey over to and back from Laredo, we traveled through the little town of Falfurrias, Texas. According to the water tower, Falfurrias is home to the Fighting Jerseys. There is something about ordinarily gentle animals turned into competitive mascots that amuses me. Our old neighborhood high school was home to the Mighty Bunnies, and you've never seen such a tough looking bunny in your life!

And, best of all, was to return home on Sunday, to a hearty welcome, a decorated house, and a freshly made chocolate Father's Day cake!
A good weekend, indeed.

17 June 2011

Home...

This week's Five Minute Friday at Gypsy Mama-
Home...

Home is comfort, and comfortable.
It is that place where you know, and you are known.
Home is where it is easy, even when it is hard.
Home is acceptance, where you are embraced just because you are.

Home is a little bit messy, not in perfect order, but never chaos.
It is good food and long talks and the place where it is ok to be quiet.
Home is shoes off, and rumpled beds, and books in stacks.
Home is familiar, and home is family.

Home is where I long to be, the place I set my eyes toward.
No more pain, no more sin.
Eternity in glory, without goodbyes.

(art credit: Surely Goodness and Love Will by artbyerinleigh at etsy.com)



To paint a verbal picture. To just write and not worry if it’s just write or not.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

16 June 2011

Nuevo Progreso

We took a purely tourist trip over the border to Nuevo Progreso this afternoon, for shopping and tacos.

Mission accomplished!

With a cup of aqua de jamaica, besides.




15 June 2011

making ready

As part of the process of becoming acclimated to the area and discerning where and how we'll be serving in the future, we're getting out into the community. We're learning about groups already working hard, and we're meeting people, and we're watching and listening. This week, we had opportunity to go out to visit a project of Proyecto Azteca, a group that seeks to assist folks with low cost quality housing in the colonias.

At this particular site, a volunteer group from Houston was demolishing a house that had burned in a fire due to faulty wiring. Their task was to completely raze the building, and make the lot ready for a pre-fab home to move in. It was encouraging to see many from the community, including the family, helping the work. It seems a bit ironic that an act of destruction can provide hope, but certainly, that was the case on this hot day for the single mom and her two kids.

This week I've learned of a hard situation in another community that we've visited, and I have been frustrated with how difficult it is to be part of positive change and action when you are not a part of that community. Increasingly, I long for the time when we will be living and earning trust among people, with opportunity to share problems and speak daily the hope and promise of the Gospel. And in the meanwhile, my constant prayer is for patience and vision and wisdom and discernment, and the opportunity to be used in and for His kingdom.


12 June 2011

Infinite riches

I came across this piece from John Calvin today, via Tullian Tchividjian. It was written as a preface to Pierre Robert Olivetan's French translation of the New Testament in 1534. Line breaks added by Justin Taylor make it much more readable.

But really, linger over those lines.
Those are the riches of the gospel, and they are available to us! To me!
No, not riches as the world knows, but instead, power beyond comprehension and peace beyond understanding. In the gospel, I am absolutely content.

Without the gospel
everything is useless and vain;

without the gospel
we are not Christians;

without the gospel
all riches is poverty,
all wisdom folly before God;
strength is weakness,
and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made
children of God,
brothers of Jesus Christ,
fellow townsmen with the saints,
citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom

the poor are made rich,
the weak strong,
the fools wise,
the sinner justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting sure,
and slaves free.

It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.
It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.

For, he was
sold, to buy us back;
captive, to deliver us;
condemned, to absolve us;

he was
made a curse for our blessing,
[a] sin offering for our righteousness;
marred that we may be made fair;

he died for our life; so that by him
fury is made gentle,
wrath appeased,
darkness turned into light,
fear reassured,
despisal despised,
debt canceled,
labor lightened,
sadness made merry,
misfortune made fortunate,
difficulty easy,
disorder ordered,
division united,
ignominy ennobled,
rebellion subjected,
intimidation intimidated,
ambush uncovered,
assaults assailed,
force forced back,
combat combated,
war warred against,
vengeance avenged,
torment tormented,
damnation damned,
the abyss sunk into the abyss,
hell transfixed,
death dead,
mortality made immortal.

In short,
mercy has swallowed up all misery,
and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.

And we are
comforted in tribulation,
joyful in sorrow,
glorying under vituperation,
abounding in poverty,
warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils,
living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.

10 June 2011

5 minute Friday- backwards

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that]for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

Some days, when I least expect or anticipate it, time seems to move backwards, and suddenly I am in a place from before, forgetting the steps forward. It takes just a word or a look or even a tone, and I forget progress made and stumble back into the pit that seemed to be left long behind.

I doubt; I question; I accuse; I want to withdrawal and surrender to disbelief.

I hate those days.

It is a constant challenge to forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead.
But oh, the promises along that road for the prize…

(art credit: Looking Forward by Shirae on Etsy)
(isn't funny how backward and forward are just a turn of perspective? because it sort of seems that girl is looking backwards, but the title of the work is Looking Forward...)

Thanks to The Gypsy Mama for the encouragement to write.
The instructions, straight from The Gypsy Mama...

Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and brave and unscripted.

Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

08 June 2011

lately...

a random list of this.
and that.

1. Back in the cold of winter, my dear friend Susie in Omaha wrote me, her excitement oozing out of my computer, that her recipe was chosen as a finalist for a Midwest Living recipe cook-off! So sweet Susie made the all expenses paid trip to a beautiful kitchen in Branson, Missouri, and baked her heart out. To know Susie is absolutely to love Susie, and even more so once you taste the delights that come out of her kitchen! Alas, she didn't win the grand prize, but her recipe and a gorgeous picture of her Kiwi Summer Limeade Pie is featured in the May 2011 issue of Midwest Living.
(photo credit: Midwest Living food photographer Andy Lyons)

2. For the last five years, I've worn a very loyal and very comfortable pair of Nike all-terrain sandals. I wore them to raft the Colorado through the Grand Canyon and I wore them to hike in Costa Rica and all kinds of places in-between. But sadly, their time has come to an end, as they lost their soul, oops, I mean SOLE, at Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica. Their replacement?
CHACOS! I am SO excited about this, because everybody I know that has Chacos loves them. I found mine at a big discount at Amazon.com, and used gift card $$ to pay for them, and they arrived today. Much rejoicing! (but look closely at the picture! notice the mosquito ON MY FOOT! Not rejoicing about the mosquito attack at dusk!!)

3. Newest addition to Thou Shalt Not: this little piece. It comes in a smaller version too. Actually, I could find a few treasures there...

4. first trip of the summer at the Texas Stop Sign. It's really rather remarkable how much a French Silk Blizzard tastes like French Silk Pie...

a few of the easiest parts of lately...

















(from the Hidalgo Pumphouse and Museum)

more Hidalgo