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30 December 2012


Just Dance.
Oh how you make us laugh!


Two teams that played hard right through overtime, which makes a win even a bit more sweet.


Maybe just a tad too much...

27 December 2012


Some days are extraordinary in that they are just so ordinary and that is wonderful.

25 December 2012

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In your heart you
know it's true
though you hold no expectation
in the deepest part of you
there's an open hesitation

but it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluya
heard it told you
think it's odd
the whole thing fraught with complication
the play begins with
baby God
and all His blessed implications

but it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluia

alleluia, alleluia

Oh it's true
kingdoms and crowns
a God who came down to find you
it's true
Angels on high
sing through the night alleluia

- It's True by Sara Groves 

This song has echoed over and over in my mind this holiday season.
Families are broken and tragedy breaks our hearts and budgets are short and expectations are high and I am never enough. If I were counting on emotion to rouse a cheerful joy, it would be neither sincere or lasting.

Thankfully, the celebration is for Christ, the babe who comes to the weary world; Jesus who saves us from our sin; Immanuel, God with us. Truly, grace is ours and it is sufficient for me. No other gift compares.

It is true. And I too sing through the night alleluia.

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Daybreak on the edge of Laredo, Texas.

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Noche de paz, noche de amor,
Todo duerme en derredor.
Entre sus astros que esparcen su luz
Bella anunciando al niñito Jesús
Brilla la estrella de paz
Brilla la estrella de paz

Noche de paz, noche de amor,
Todo duerme en derredor
Sólo velan en la oscuridad
Los pastores que en el campo están;
Y la estrella de Belén
Y la estrella de Belén
Noche de paz, noche de amor,
Todo duerme en derredor;
sobre el santo niño Jesús
Una estrella esparce su luz,
Brilla sobre el Rey
Brilla sobre el Rey.

Noche de paz, noche de amor,
Todo duerme en derredor
Fieles velando allí en Belén
Los pastores, la madre también.
Y la estrella de paz
Y la estrella de paz

-Silent Night (Spanish)

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Thankful for old friends and sweet babies and that Behold! There IS Good News of great joy that is for all people! (Luke 2:10)

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It doesn't take very long to get used to caroling when a "cold" night is in the low 60's. Even so, I was just a tad homesick with plenty of sweet memories.

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December birthday party and coloring posters and Mario cupcakes and a boy who has held our heart for every one of his 9 years.

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One glimpse of the tin and suddenly I remembered childhood and for no good reason, I felt like I should buy a fruitcake.
$27.95 for a fruitcake?

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LOOK at that price of gas! Thank you Kimberly and Krogers Rewards Points!

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"The second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:39

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Root Deer and Reinbeer

16 December 2012

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One thing that I love about my husband's Iphone- being connected to the internet on the highway when we are traveling and ready to stop for food.
Thanks to Yelp, we found Thai Delight in Buda, Texas- and enjoyed fresh green curry and pad for barely more than eating at a fast food joint.


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The daily delivery.

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5/6ths of chicks back in the nest.
Let the festivities commence.

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Girl's best friend.
Dog's best friend.

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A true picture of the day would include a thermometer, tylenol, kleenex, and the pillow.
But a poinsettia is much nicer.

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There aren't many days that call for hot chocolate and whip cream in south Texas...

10 December 2012

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That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Luke 2:8-15 (New Living Translation)

09 December 2012

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Thankful for the older women who continue to instruct me and show so tangibly how to love others well-
who mix up batch after batch of sticky Royal cement,
who oooh and aaah at gingerbread creations with layer upon layer of candy upon icing,
who truly delight in the joy of others,
who serve wholly and generously.

They blessed me and mine today, and I am grateful.

07 December 2012

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The wonder of The Nutcracker- the music which transports us so quickly back to the days of Christmas seasons past, of Saturday matinee shows all dressed up, of little girls watching the video in delight. Isn't it rather a comfort, to know exactly what happens next? Isn't it a joy, to see the little mice scampering from the soldiers and the big girls twirling and leaping across the stage?

Thanks one more time, Mr. Tchaikovsky, for that sweet bit of enchantment again this year.
(and thanks Rio Grande Valley Ballet for another great show!)

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Tally for the day:
2 girls on time to science class
1 meal delivered
Revelation study attended
1 basketball game won
1 student council meeting held
1 basketball game lost
121 miles of driving finished
Advent reading complete


(today's photo credit to Lydia, who definitely got the best shot o' the day!)

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happy birthday nannybannany!

04 December 2012

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On this afternoon, I plugged the crockpot in, which was immediately followed by a POP and a flash and a puff of smoke and a singed mark on the bottom. BUT, the Handyman disassembled it, and with some tools and a trusty mini-soldering iron, it seems to be working again.

Except, can you really trust a crockpot with potentially faulty wiring...?

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Decorated for Christmas on Jackson Street.

03 December 2012

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First thing in the morning I read in Psalm 122-
I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
And I was.
Then later in the afternoon, driving east on the expressway, I was glad again.

02 December 2012

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Tonight we joined the audience at the Centro Cultural in Reynosa, Mexico for a performance of a very well done Charlie Chaplin-esque play. And the neatest thing? The actors were kids from Isaiah 55, the school for the deaf in Reynosa. What fun to watch, and rejoice with them in a job well done! (See those hands in the air at the very bottom of the photo- that's a member of the audience "clapping" in the front row! I love aplause in sign!)

And then we ate good Mexican food with fun friends, and stopped for yogurt too! Bonus!

30 November 2012


ah yes...
this is the weather that we daydream about through the 100 degree days of summer.


The blackbirds are back.
I wonder if Hitchcock ever visited south Texas...


which turned to
which turned to
which turned to
I think.

December Photo Project- Year 3 (?)

December Photo Project 2012NOW it can officially be December! The start of the December Photo Project has arrived. This is my third year of participating (I think... hmmm... maybe I should check the archives...), after a couple of years of anonymously stalking the participants daily entries. I'm excited- and it's a great way to finish up 366 in 2012. Just one more month!

Besides the challenge of finding a photo every single day, here's another thing I love about the DPP- figuring out the seemingly random degrees of separation of the other participants. Rebecca Tredway, who hosts, is a member of a church that is a sister (daughter?) church of a church that supports our missions work (Hi Zion!), and in addition, I always "see" other people I know who are friends or relatives of others I know, and isn't it a small world after all?

Want to play along also? Go sign up RIGHT NOW- December Photo Project at

29 November 2012


Testing, testing...

and what exactly happens to the lights in those 11 months of storage that causes them NOT to work when you pull them out again? Scenes from Toy Story flash through my head- maybe Barbie and the Little People and the boxed away stuffed animals host parties at night when we're all asleep...


One of the unexpected yet nice surprises about the basketball season is visiting small towns, places I might not other wise ever find. Monday it was Granjeno, Texas- a town far enough south that we could see the border fence without squinting. Official population of Granjeno is 313, plus one dog who likes to lie in the road.


Que rico!

24 November 2012


After more than two weeks away from home, that was the day I needed.


What Child is this who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Nails and spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
- What Child Is This, written by William C. Dix, 1865

Now, yes, ready for the Advent season.


My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
- Psalm 57:7-11

(photo taken in the gardens of Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, Mexico)


Team meeting,
dear friends,
carne asada,
much giving thanks.


Nearly every morning for almost 10 years.
Gracias, mi amor.


I walked out of the grocery store to the very edges of the parking lot. At first glace I thought it was fake, the decoy a farmer might place by the field. A hawk, regal and still, talons clenched tight to the luggage rack, perched on the SUV parked across from me. I stood watching it, and a lady driving by stopped and took a photo with her cell phone.

I didn't have my camera.
So later I took a picture of the green beans.
(aren't some days like that?)


There's no place like home.

(for the end of the Spain/NYC photos, click here)


Cut off as I am, it is inevitable that I should sometimes feel like a shadow walking in a shadowy world. When this happens I ask to be taken to New York City. Always I return home weary but I have the comforting certainty that mankind is real flesh and I myself am not a dream.
 -Helen Keller

22 November 2012


Ice + Tea
(+ more ice)
(+ more ice)
= very happy American in the airport

Things I miss most when I'm away from the United States-
understanding how the toilet works.
knowing what the money means.

I love traveling.
I love coming home.

Thanks for great hospitality, Spain!

15 November 2012


The pictures do not begin to show just how beautiful the scenery surrounding Ronda is.
Even so, all the day long, I kept humming the Beach Boys...

(click here for more photos from Ronda, Spain)

14 November 2012


It was a perfect day to take a vacation from vacation.
(click here for a few more photos of Torremolinos)


Our five hour tourist visa to Tangier, Morocco sped by something akin to a non-stop thrill ride. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when culture shock hits straight on, that familiar love/hate relationship, the dance of emotion when experiencing a new and very different people and place

So many conflicts-
the thrill of new, the shock of unknown.
the sweet and savory delightful scents of spices and cooking, the sudden and unexpected putrid odor of garbage.
the charm of street vendors, the absolutely overwhelming experience of being accosted without ceasing.
the desire to buy goods and support local merchants and businesses, the frustration of bargaining and haggling and never feeling like we know what is just.
the curiosity of staircases and alleyways and turns and corners, the panic of being completely disoriented.
the tastes of native food, the wondering of what you might be eating.
the marvel towards ancient tradition, the questions of "why" lingering for those of  not familiar.
the surge of energy as the day begins, the utter exhaustion as it finishes.

All that, and still, I'd be return again in a heartbeat.

(please click here for more photos from Tangier, Morocco)

12 November 2012


Tierra de emperatrices y emperadores,
espejo de la gloria,
jardin de flores,
Sevilla hermosa,
octavia maravilla,
linda y graciosa.

(Land of empresses and emperors,
mirror of glory,
garden of flowers,
beautiful Sevilla,
eighth wonder,
pretty and gracious.)
- from sign in Sevilla

(click here for more photos of Sevilla)

11 November 2012


En Mijas con mis mijas.
I wish everyone had the opportunity to travel with their 13 year olds.

(click for More Photos of Malaga/Mijas)