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28 July 2012


In the midst of running errands, unexpected beauty in a parking lot planter encourages me to keep my eyes open to what is around me...

26 July 2012


"And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
Mark 1:17 (NASB)

working on the church bulletin board...


monster cookie makings.

25 July 2012



we turned in eight overdue library books and I didn't have enough cash to pay the fine. And that was a huge bummer because I still had about 100 pages left of one of the books and they wouldn't let me renew it...

My relationship with the library-
mostly love, occassionally strong-dislike, generally all my fault!


text exchange tells it all-

"awfully fine out on the island today! we are blessed!"
"Amen sister! Enjoy!"


The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body... Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength.
Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, 1856

23 July 2012

Streets of Laredo- summer 2012

We all notice the guys who stand at the highway off-ramp, with the "Please Help" sign. We ignore them and look away, or maybe give them a little smile and nod, but really, we don't know what to do. It's easy to miss many of the people on the streets, until you start looking. One night last week our job was to look. For the second year, we helped to distribute food to the homeless and indigent of Laredo, Texas.

We went out with Randy Leyendecker, giving meals and water or a soda, offering new and clean t-shirts to folks on the street. We met all kinds of people. There were guys that work at a tire shop, who live outside out back. There were people who live under the highway overpass, laundry hanging on fences. There was a lady who hopped several lanes of evening traffic to get to our bus.

There were characters- the 88 year old man who insisted on lying down and touching his feet over his back for us. There was a sweet old lady who wanted to give me a dollar for taking her picture. (we refused, of course!) There was a man in a hurry to get somewhere, but who took the meal with a smile and kept on. There was the man who buttoned up his shirt and with a sparkle in his eye, put on his best pose for the camera.

And there were people hurting. There was the group of young men, full of bravado and swagger. But individually, two came back to the bus, crying, asking for prayer. They told us of being tired of life on the street, tired of the pull of addiction. One man didn't want his picture taken. "Not today," he told me, "I'm not feeling good."

I met a mom and adult son, whose house recently was destroyed in an electrical fire. They are sleeping in their car in the driveway. I asked the son, "do you know Jesus?" "No, I don't know that man," he told me. "Ahh, but he knows you," I reminded him.
He asked why I took pictures, refusing to have his own taken.

That's a good question.
I take the pictures because every single one of those faces has a story.
I take the pictures because we need to be reminded. It's easy for us to drive by and think "Man that guy has problems" and figure he doesn't really want to change and judge how pathetic is that life under the bridge.
And yet, every single one of those people was created in the image of God.

Ann Voskamp recently wrote, "Who isn’t nothing but a skeleton in the valley of the dry bones — unless they actually pull some skin onto the Word and let suffering make your valleys into sheltered places to light a match and see the face of God."

Randy started offering a meal to the homeless in Laredo because his wife told him a story. She had been homeless as a child, living on the streets. She couldn't remember anyone being nice to her. That story broke Randy's heart. "We'll go be nice to people," he told her. He is. And I'm thankful we had the opportunity to join him again this year.

Once you start looking, you might see similar faces in your own community. We know that throughout the entire world, there is suffering and hurting. The reality of living in this fallen world takes my breath away. Yet, I believe that one person beginning to act in just small ways can make a difference, can be the hands and feet and face of Christ. Voskamp gives some ideas in this article- 10 Real Ways You Could Really Be The Change In The World.

For a full gallery of the faces we met that night in Laredo, go to the web album Streets of Laredo 2012.

22 July 2012


I drove about 8 hours, half with passengers, half all by myself. But those last 4 hours passed quickly, especially once I found the weekend edition of All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, and the Spice Man Music Show.


“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"
..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”

- CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

21 July 2012


I was so glad when my friend asked to stop and take a photo of this little capilla because I had been thinking of doing that every single time I passed by...


He and a couple others re-screened the outdoor porch.
Too bad there were no doors on the room...


Psalm 100 (The Message)
A Thanksgiving Psalm

1-2 On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn't make him.
We're his people, his well-tended sheep.

4 Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.


We took the youth from St. Louis to try aquas frescas.
I'm so glad that aquas frescas are a normal part of my life!

17 July 2012


Good Mexican food for lunch.
And a trip to downtown Laredo.

(and, go figure, a group of tourists walking around the town plaza on Sunday afternoon attracts a few looks...)


Vacation Bible School prep.
My specialty- cutting and pasting.
See, turns out first grade was helpful... :-)


Jesus answered, "If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."
John 4:10 (The Message)

(the photo shows a portion of gate being created by deaf welding students at Isaiah 55 Deaf Ministries in Reynosa, Mexico)

16 July 2012


The soccer- very good.
The ants- not good at all.


Maybe it was irony, because really, there wasn't much "wow" going on that day.

11 July 2012


... or "Flat Tire on Tuesday"

It turned out that the earnest people waving and motioning and pointing at my car were trying to tell me that the back tire was flat. It took less than an hour to be able to count the blessings in the sequence of events-
that I was prompted to take heed and stop to check why those drivers were so interested in my van;
that that gas station man came out to tell us that the power was out;
that the same man had a phone number for the tire repair shop;
that it happened there, right by the gas station, not on the highway, not on the bridge;
that we could contact the people we were meeting and tell them that we wouldn't be there;
that I had a spare, and a tire man came to put it on (because I had not a clue where to begin);
that I had a friend to share the adventure with and that she knows flat tire words in Spanish...

Even still, standing in the shade and warm breeze, smelling the rubber and musty grit, hearing the clanks and whirls of the shop, watching the wounded tire in an old bathtub, looking for the tell-tale bubbles to float from the yet hidden gash,  I confess I then thought, "but why, Lord?" Oh I am fickle, and ungrateful! Those two conflicting responses, recognizing blessing and questioning circumstance, clash so resoundingly. I am thankful, and yet in situations like this, doubt, at the very least- question, God's sovereignty.

Dr. Dan Allender defines ambivalence as "the emotional battle with two (or more) minds, wills, and desires.  It is not being double-minded in the sense of being duplicitous or two-faced; rather, it is feeling two contrary energies moving us in opposite directions, being caught in the bind of opposing desires, feeling divided and torn. Yet, I am certain of He who desires good for those who are called according to His purpose. Not because of my merit. Not because of anything I have done or will ever do. Simply because of Christ. My sinful doubts and my trust in Christ both lead me to value the Gospel even more.

Today I replaced the spare, ready for the next trip.
And today I affirm, not at all hesitant, that "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see." (Hebrews 11:1, The Message) That is certain blessing.


There in the mist of the sprinkler in the late afternoon sun, the rainbow hung. I needed that reminder of the promise, the sign everlasting.


I sat on the back porch and listened, to the hum of the bugs, to the chirp of the birds, to a stray bark here and there. And I was completely quiet, thinking of the message of the morning, "by grace you have been saved."

07 July 2012


We went down to Market Days, just to get out of the house, just to look around. Folks under tents sold plants and old stuff and crafty stuff. Bands played on the street corners. Vendors hawk kettle corn and BBQ and raspas. And, there were people we know! The benefits of living in a small town- seeing familiar faces even when you are the new kid on the block.


And then, all of the sudden, I realized why I my eyes itch and I am sneezing so much...

06 July 2012


by the end of the day, the bear is the only thing around not looking or feeling wilted...


Patriotism ought not to be a prideful touting of our country’s greatness but rather a joyful exclamation of it. My parade going and grilled-meat eating are not hypocritical. They are expressions of thankfulness. I am thankful.
- Barnabas Piper, "Thankful and humble to be an American,", 07/03/2012

Thankful for
the opportunity to know two cultures in one day,
for heart-felt greetings,
for sitting on the curb with my kids,
for the grand finale to the William Tell Overture.

05 July 2012

"The power of the story IS the story."

I'm at the halfway point of reading through the Bible this year. I've been doing that for only about 5 or six years now. I wish I had not waited so long to start that habit. I don't do it because it wins me favor with God or because it's the right thing for a Christian to do. I do it because I desperately need the examples of history; I desperately need to be reminded; I desperately need to see Christ in the Word every day. This week Tim Challies from commented on his own discipline of reading through the Bible in "Saturated with Christ", writing,

"Certain themes are apparent when reading large quantities of the Old Testament books. What becomes clear about God’s relationship to his people is this: they are very sinful and they are very much loved."

Then this morning, I also read "Teach Children the Bible is Not About Them,"  an article by Sally Lloyd Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible. She talks about how we often want to make the Bible about us, what we should be doing, how we should behave, what lesson we should learn. Lloyd Jones then reminds me,

"That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That — in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him — God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

The Sunday School answer IS the answer- Jesus!
In the "Washed with Tears" (from Mark 14, Luke 7, & John 12), Lloyd Jones tells the story of a sinful woman forgiven.

"This woman knows she's a sinner," Jesus told them, "She knows she'll never be good enough. She knows she needs me to rescue her. That's why she loves me so much."

And that is why I will keep reading, gratefully.

03 July 2012


I like the cones and fountains best, not the bottle rockets, not the heavy artillery.


buy one get one free frappucinos,
half price sneakers,
funny tv show-

reminder to run the race well,
surprise letter in the in-box,
unexpected call from a most dear friend-

01 July 2012


Today- worship, lunch, worship, dinner.
And full.


I love naan.
I love that my girls love naan.
I love that my girls love to make naan for me.