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29 September 2012


Close shots and a tough loss.
But I'm so thankful she can be over it by the time we get home.


      "... to 'do justice' means to go to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric, and repair it. This happens when we concentrate on and meet the needs of the poor.
     How can we do that? The only way to reweave and strengthen the fabric is by weaving yourself into it. Human beings are like those threads thrown together on a table. If we keep our money, time, and power to ourselves, for ourselves, instead of sending them out into our neighbors' lives, then we may be literally on top of one another, but we are not interwoven socially, relationally, financially, and emotionally. Reweaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace, and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others."

I had never been to Matamoros.

I cross the US/Mexico border pretty much every week. I am accustomed to it. I don't get anxious about red and green lights at the bridge. I am used to la policia at the end of the bridge, with their automatic weapons ready. I am used to the traffic, the merging and accelerating and quick stops. I am used to the signs, and to the stores. I am used to the differences I can barely put words to, but those things that are distinctly different than just one mile across, on the other side of the river.

But I hope that I am never comfortable with poverty.
Not just material poverty, though that stands out to my comfortable American eyes.
No, I also hope that I am never complacent in the face of spiritual poverty, in the places where the most vulnerable need justice and grace and the promise of hope only the Savior who died on the Cross can bring.

This week we visited a neighborhood, a rough neighborhood, but certainly not the poorest neighborhood in Matamoros, not by far. The roads were mostly paved. Homes are connected to the city sewage system. Nearly every home has electrical connections. But this neighborhood falls far from the relatively comfortable standards of even most poverty you might see in the US. The homes are cinder block, typically not painted or "finished." The floors are cement. The roof is probably tin. The windows are few. The "yard" is non-existent on the postage stamp lot.

We stopped at a property where Sunday school is being held, but there are no chairs, so adults and kids crowd under a roof to escape the midday sun. When we visited, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, the neighbors were all home; men leaned against the wall across the street. Women pushed infants in strollers. Dogs lie lazy on the sidewalk. The cart and horse of the basuero are in the empty lot. There are not many jobs. The next door neighbors have chickens for cockfighting. The older lady across the street quietly thanks us for bringing her a new-to-her pair of shoes, a pair that might be more comfortable for her.

A teen girl, stopping by before heading to the afternoon session of school, told us her grandmother was not well, suffering. She has high blood pressure, and can't afford the medication prescribed to help her. We stopped to visit, and found her in a small room, fan blowing. She spends the day on a mattress, tv on, sister nearby. We prayed with her, and she thanked us for it.

We visited a family that hosts a neighborhood church on their property. They meet in the "driveway," but would like to extend the roof to cover farther. They need more chairs- theirs were taken when a pastor left for another church. But where will the funds come from? They show us gracious hospitality, quick to bring us cold drinks and push chairs under the shade for us.

As we drive the road to another bridge, farther west down the border, to cross back over to the US, we hear stories. Children go to school hungry and despise the weekend because they won't have that one certain daily meal. Kids are bringing their friends to church. The narcos run the neighborhood, but for now they will protect. Neighbors watch out for one another and know who is hurting and who is sick. There was a shoot out over on that corner there last week. I can barely keep it all straight. Like Job, I wonder, “Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness..."?

In all this, what can I possibly do? What is my part? It all seems so big and I'm just one person and what is even possible?

How quickly I forget! The psalmist reminds me,
"If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
and the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You."

I breathe deeply and purpose once again, only in His strength. To weave shalom. To weave ourselves.  To live sacrificially and intentionally. To speak truth and love well and live grace. To pray without ceasing. To do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with my God
We will continue to go to those places.


Calzone night!


glad we cleared that up!


There was no place to sit, so he knelt to help her try on the shoes.

25 September 2012


magnifying glass

Small grains
In a stone
Grow edges
That twinkle;

The smooth
Moth's wing
Sprouts feathers
Like shingles;

My thumb
Is wrapped
In rich
Satin wrinkles.

(from all the small poems and fourteen more by Valerie Worth)

24 September 2012


Senior year.

He has played t-ball, baseball, , basketball, flag football, swim team, even the "table tennis club." (& add soccer and volleyball for the girls)
You might think I'd be better at the cheer by now...

Go gray!

(ps- can't write any sports spectating posts without thinking of my O bleacher buddies!)


Yes, this is good,
but I'm so very thankful that Sundays are yet so much more.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name,
For the Lord is good
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100 (NLT)

22 September 2012




Silly skinny snakes,
so sneaky,
super stuffed,
supposedly simple,
certainly sublime.


It is really good to have friends with chickens...


as long as the amp isn't maxed...

19 September 2012


I spent the afternoon weeding and thinning plants in my front yard. It was good to be outside, even when it started raining, even when the air turned like a greenhouse out of doors. I haven't had dirt under my fingernails for a long while, maybe not since we left our house in Omaha more than two years ago. We don't even have the right tools, and I had to call she-who-usually-has-that-which-I-do-not to borrow a rake and a hand shovel and the skinny tool that gets between the cracks in the sidewalk to pull out weeds.

That solitary discipline of pulling out the dead and the overgrown and that which doesn't belong provides time for pondering. Back in the beginning when it all was good, and "God planted a garden in Eden, in the east," and He "made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat," (Genesis 2:8, MSG) did weeds exist? Surely not. Were there ant hills in unexpected places? Or maybe they just didn't bother any one? Maybe those ants didn't bite?

And those weeds in the sidewalk cracks, they are little, but oh their roots are deep. The tentacles creep under the bricks and require a firm tug to pull out without snapping and leaving parts behind. What good is it, if you pull the plant but leave the root? I think of the "weeds" in my life, and what good is it, for me to behave nicely if the same idol is yet lodged firmly in my heart...

Once finished for the afternoon, I wondered if anyone would even notice I had been there? It wasn't different, really, just cleaned up, ready for new plants, needing more work later. But it was nice, after an afternoon of labor, to whisper, "it is good."

17 September 2012


“It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God's Grace and all the members of the family feel it, even those whose hearts have grown cold. Pray always.”

~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

I want to be that person, the one who truly prays.

16 September 2012


First game of the season starts with a win and a goal.
(and a lot of sun and mosquito and ant bites on the cheering section, but hey! Go Green!)


self-portrait in the fun house mirror.
(man- why didn't I choose the tall and skinny view...? ha!)


September fruit-
some people pick apples;
others squeeze limes.
LOTS of limes...

14 September 2012


The view when you end up behind the crowd lining up for the homecoming parade...


Will we know when fall arrives at the beach?


This is what arrived at our front door on Tuesday evening.

Yes, we home school.
No, we are not yet at 100%, and yes, that is all my fault.
We've been doing this for about 13 years now. And you might think that I would have figured out that ordering the bulk of our curriculum the weekend before Labor Day isn't conducive to starting school on time.
But life...

The benefits of starting late-
the students are REALLY excited about these books!
The teacher is REALLY excited about these books!
Thank you Sonlight! Let the school year REALLY begin.

11 September 2012

what the last picture didn't show...

Ok Alert Reader Joetta-
Admittedly, I'm a city girl, but I know my cows and bulls. :-)
(all those years of my grandma walking us through the 4H barns at the New Mexico State Fair weren't for naught!)

Maybe the bulls live next field over...
I'll keep an eye out!

10 September 2012


I think about stopping to take pictures at this field every single time I pass it. Today the light and the cows wouldn't cooperate.
I'll be back.


I woke up to thunder and rain. What a welcome visitor! Even if a cold front in south Texas means a mere 91 degrees...


Touchdown Nebraska. Still one of our favorite Saturday pastimes.

08 September 2012


Yes, I would love to buy one of these guys, and his buddy El Luchador, for Harper and Corbin! :-)


Walking into the rink transported me to open skate at Skate Ranch, except they never played Disco Duck.

(ABQ friends- Check out Ghosts of Albuquerque Past for time travel back to the 70's and 80's! Talk about memories!!)


Happy Hour!

04 September 2012


Class photo, 2012-13.
(yeah, the furry guy, he's home-schooled too...)


not bad for leftovers...
(thanks Pioneer Woman Cooks!)


See that little guy, that little lizard sitting on the sign? He is FAST! He took up residence in the back of the bear just a couple of days after we moved in. And I've been trying to take his picture ever since.

Today, I almost did it.


It was one of those days when, after we had been out for a bit, we were perfectly ready to be back inside.

01 September 2012


We left, and to the west, the sun set in a perfect ball of fire. And to the east, the moon rose in a perfect circle of light.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever...
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and the stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever...
Psalm 136:3, 8-9 (ESV)


from A Prayer about a Third Kind of Prodigal Son by Scotty Smith

Because the gospel is true, I bring you my busy, not-very-well-focused, somewhat meandering heart. I feel like a third son right now. I’m not struggling with the extremes of either of the sons in Luke 15. I’m not acting out in destructive “fleshy” ways, and I’m not presently throwing myself a self-righteous pity party. I’m just somewhere in between. I still hear and love the wonderful music of the gospel, but I just don’t feel like dancing right now.

So, Father, as I come to you today, I take great comfort in knowing that I’ll always find you filled with compassion for me, even when my feelings are not fully engaged with you. As I saunter toward you, you’re always running toward me in Jesus. As I’m glad to see you, you see me from afar and are thrilled at the sighting. I believe this, help my unbelief.