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31 March 2013

Crucifixion and Resurrection

O Lord,
I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate,
be crucified, dead, and buried.

The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder,
for it is empty and thou art risen;
the four-fold gospel attests it,
the living witnesses prove it,
my heart's experience knows it.

Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life,
for I wish to be as dead and buried
to sin, to selfishness, to the world;
that I might not hear the voice of the charmer,
and might be delivered from his lusts.

O Lord, there is much ill about me- crucify it,
much flesh within me- mortify it.

Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation,
the shame of being thought old-fashioned,
the desire to be cultivated or modern.

Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion,
and never feed it as a living thing.

Grant me to stand with my dying Savior,
to be content to be rejected,
to be willing to take up unpopular truths,
and to hold fast despised teachings until death.

Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.
Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.
Strengthen me for the battles ahead.
Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys.

Help me to be a holy, happy person,
free from every wrong desire,
from everything contrary to thy mind.

Grant me more and more of the resurrection life:
may it rule me,
may I walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence.

from Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. by Arthur G. Bennett


1 Corinthians 15:12-19
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified [f]against God that He raised[g]Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.


a flurry of dipping and baking and then, suddenly, I was alone in the house.
I can't even remember the last time that happened...

29 March 2013

Good Friday

1. Alas and did my savior bleed
Did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a fool as I?

Chorus: The strangeness of love,
my life in Your death
In Your brokenness
my wholeness revealed
Your bonds are my freedom,
Your sorrow my song
And by Your wounds I am healed

2. Was it for crimes that I have done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

3. But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
'Tis all that I can do.

TAG: And by Your wounds I am healed.

© Greg Thompson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Iron(ing) Woman, Elasti-Lady and their fine and friendly super assistants complete eleven dresses in one afternoon!

(what on earth were we thinking when we took materials for eleven dresses?!)


On that last Thursday,
Jesus went to the Upper Room,
washed the disciples feet,
shared the Last Supper,
prayed for his friends,
asked that this cup might be removed
and "not my will but Yours be done,"
was betrayed by Judas,
and mocked.

Not one of those actions was accidental, happenstance or coincidental. In every one of those actions, Jesus very purposely demonstrated his love for us. On that Thursday night, Jesus told his disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34) On that Thursday night, Jesus loved me, even to his death.

On this Thursday, I am humbled and grateful.


Our "Life on the Border" Lesson of the Day-
These little gems are being sold everywhere right now- everywhere from grocery stores to street corners. They are, simply, a ton of fun!

What are Cascarones ?
Cascarones are confetti filled egg shells hand painted and brightly colored.
Cascarones’ egg shell have a very small opening on one end and the inside is drained out. The empty shell is thoroughly washed and then dried. The clean shell is now filled with confetti and sealed with a tissue paper. Cascarones are brightly colored.

How did Cascarones originate?
Cascarones have an uncertain beginning, however historians have traced their birthplace back to China.
It’s believed that they were brought from Asia by Marco Polo. These original eggs were filled with a perfumed powder and the eggs were used as gifts. From Italy the tradition was carried to Spain and then to America. Carlotta, the wife of Emperor Maximillian, was so fascinated by the eggs that she brought them to Mexico during her husband’s rule in the mid 1800’s.
In Mexico people replaced the perfumed powder with confetti. It was then when Mexicans labeled the egg shells.... Cascarones... Which derives from the word "Cascara" which means shell. In Mexico Cascarones were popular at one time, but the tradition eventually faded. Only in the late 1960s and early 1970s Cascarones regained popularity in South Texas, where it has now become a family tradition. Some make very creative Cascarones' designs that sell for as much as $10 for one Cascaron.

Throughout Mexico and the American Southwest, Cascarones are used to celebrate. The fun is derived from breaking the egg over someone’s head; allowing the confetti to spill out. Prior to Easter, or during “Fiesta San Antonio” churches and schools do fund raisers by selling Cascarones. Others just enjoy cracking them over their friend's heads. Many say... the confetti shower brings good luck and good fortune ! but if anything they are lots of fun and almost addictive !!

Do Cascarones have a religious link?
It’s believed that Cascarones represent the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; the breaking of the egg symbolizes how Christ had risen from the tomb, just like a new born chick opens the shell.

27 March 2013


don't you love it when you finish studying the Civil War in the same week Lincoln is at the dollar theater?
when you pay $5 for 5 tickets, popcorn is in order, right?

25 March 2013


oh Harlingen library, how you vex me so.
I love your gardens, your sculpture, the sound of the water falling in your fountain.
But inside, it's never easy, is it?

I know, no giggling out loud, no humming the Mission Impossible theme while searching for a daughter lost in the stacks.
I'm sorry that even my flipflops sound loud when I climb the steps to the second floor non-fiction shelves.

But when I pull out my running book list, you seem to mock me. Nothing today- not one from the list.
And when I look for the shelves starting with the P authors, I find it not next to the O's and Q's, but rather, the shelf after large print T-Z's.

And then, you force me to scrounge the bottom of my bag, the bottom of my daughters' bags, for the cash to pay not only my fines, but also my kids', before I can check out a book? Before the non-offending kids can check out a book? Ahh, the challenges of five active library cards- always paying for the offenses of others...

I know, the library is a privilege. And I know, I push the envelope every single time.
Can we declare a truce? Next time, I'll do my part, I promise.
Can we all just get along?
(and could you please add some Wendell Berry to your catalog? please?)

Most sincerely,
a loyal bibliophile

24 March 2013


another day of waiting until the wind was on our side; another day of girls playing hard.


Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)

One of the sweetest times of fellowship among the body of believers must be women gathering together. How very blessed I am to know these ladies- to learn from them and laugh with them and be encouraged by them.

And so, can't stop at just one photo for this day!

23 March 2013

The Tip of the Pen

"I believe that we are all created in the image of God, and that we don't only bear is image in the way we think, in the way we act, in the emotions that we have, but in our desire to create. 

I believe that the things God impresses upon us, and the things that we are passionate about, are the things He was first passionate about. So I see this passion in me is the most intimate way I know God."
 - Jake Weidmann in "The Tip of the Pen"
(discovered in The Rabbit Room)

This video is so very much worth 4:43 of your time!

22 March 2013

TOM & one piece of the story

...I tend to prefer my food altogether flavorful and not at all fat-free. Life is too short and too challenging for drab, flavorless food; as long as I live, there will be no excuse for it. There, I said it. Polite demands for the recipe led me to believe my labor was not in vain; this brought me tremendous pleasure.
It was an experience—an involvement!...
I spent the good part of the first four days of this week in a kitchen in a clubhouse of an RV park, serving those participating in TOM- Taller Orientacion Ministerial. In English, we call it a Church Planters Assessment Center. The event brings together church planting pastors and their wives with a team of assessors, examining their call to ministry and offering resources for future training. It was four intense days of exercises and evaluation for the participants.
My role was small really, simply to feed and care for these folks' physical needs. But isn't it an expression of love, to care for people by meeting their genuine needs well? In an interview with Art House America on her book Real Love for Real Life, The Lost Art of Caring, Andi Ashworth said, 
"It must be said that a lot of caregiving work is tedious, repetitive, and wearying. Washing endless loads of laundry, a thousand trips to the grocery store, cleaning up after children, all the bits and pieces required to care for a spouse or friend who’s battling illness. But if we can keep in mind the bigger story we’re creating, it goes a long way in bringing meaning to the details."
I confess, the day after TOM finished, I am a bit weary. But I'm also thankful. I have the opportunity to be part of "an experience, an involvement!" I have the opportunity to know and serve and walk next to and learn from my brothers and sisters from Mexico. And I have the opportunity to be just a little piece of the bigger story of God's kingdom being built in northern Mexico and at the US/Mexico border, one small church at a time. That is more than pleasure; it is blessing.

March Madness

"Anybody that says they've got a perfect bracket- they're lyin' or they filled out several."
- Charles Barkley

yes, we are hoop fans.
even when my favorite team loses in the first round (oh sure, they call it the second round, but really...) again.

I didn't get my official bracket filled out in time this year, but my kids all did. Several brackets each! I had to laugh out loud when I heard Charles Barkley. So true! I'm sure that by Friday evening, my bracket would have been completely busted.

maybe I should just call it "March Sadness" from now on...

(AP Photo/George Fray)


by the end of day 2, we were singing the March Madness Blues.


I wandered out one rainy day
And heard a bird with merry joys
Cry 'wet my foot' for half the way;
I stood and wondered at the noise

- from "Quail's Nest" by John Clare

I'm sure the neighbors, sitting in their chairs on the porch across the street, wondered why I was looking up,
wondered why I wandered around the tree,
wondered why that lady was taking pictures of leaves and sky.

I'm sure that they couldn't see the nest, 
or hear the songs of spring.


getting some lessons on carne asada from my Mexican friends,
and sharing recipes, trying to translate "cobbler" into Spanish.
(no, "el zapatero" would not be the correct translation...)


Damos honor a ti, 
damos honor a ti porque no hay otro dios como tu.
Rey de reyes, 
admirable eres El, 
principio y fin,
sobrerano y sublime eres nuestro salvador.
- from Damos Honor a Ti


30 people.
4 days of meals.
More eggs than I've ever bought before.

17 March 2013


It was the kind of day where I kept repeating "O love that will not let me go..."

Thou art...

“God, my God, omnipotent King, I humbly adore thee. 
Thou art King of kings, Lord of lords. 
Thou art the Judge of every age. 
Thou art the Redeemer of souls. 
Thou art the Liberator of those who believe. 
Thou art the Hope of those who toil. 
Thou art the Comforter of those in sorrow. 
Thou art the Way to those who wander. 
Thou art Master to the nations. 
Thou art the Creator of all creatures. 
Thou art the Lover of all good. 
Thou art the Prince of all virtues. 
Thou art the joy of all Thy saints. 
Thou art life perpetual. 
Thou art joy in truth. 
Thou art the exultation in the eternal fatherland. 
Thou art the Light of light. 
Thou art the Fountain of holiness. 
Thou art the glory of God the Father in the height. 
Thou art Savior of the world. 
Thou art the plenitude of the Holy Spirit. 
Thou sittest at the right hand of God the Father on the throne, reigning for ever.” 
- St. Patrick

(photo from St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City)

16 March 2013

list 12


list 11

and some mornings, but not many,
I just turn off the alarm, and roll back over,
and start on the rest of the list later...


And by the time it was finished, I decided to call it Chicken Pot Pie in Two Really Big Foil Pans.
(and I'm praying that it will really feed 30...)

(recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, but also found here)

15 March 2013

list 10

craving- a great or eager desire; yearning.

thankfully, I'm willing to wait.

list 9

thinking on it, we pretty much only go to the beach when someone visits, not that often.
thinking on it, I wish we went to the beach more often...


Behold the simple joy of the Sharpie!


It makes me laugh, how much our little dog loves to get in the car with us. He hates it when someone gets out, as inevitably happens. But oh the joy when one of his people gets back in!


“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.” 
- John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir

13 March 2013


Trust God's Word and His power more than you trust your own feelings and experiences. Remember, your Rock is Christ, and it is the sea that ebbs and flows with the tides, not Him.
- Samuel Rutherford (in Streams in the Desert)

12 March 2013

list 8

Chocolate mousse!!
I forgot to write chocolate mousse.

One of The Best Meals I Have Ever Eaten was at The Boat Shed, on the water in Bremerton, Washington. Dear old friends came to visit, and Tim was out to sea and the twins were just little, less than 2 years old, I think. But our friends have a passel of kids and they were old enough and responsible enough and experienced enough to babysit my 5. So the adults went out to dinner. In those days, going out and talking to adults uninterrupted, THAT was rare and luxurious.

We ate and talked and looked out over the water. In truth, I don't remember what the main course I ordered that night. But I do remember, I had chocolate mousse for dessert. And I had friends that loved me well when I really needed it most.

(hmm... thinking about it, don't the greatest food memories come in the context of relationships and place?)

list 7

I don't love a purse. (for the record, I also don't love heels or lipstick. sometimes, in the sorority of womanhood, I feel on the outs. but that's rarely.)

But I don't switch out purses. I have one black leather (OK- fake leather...) purse, just in case and one fancy schmancy beaded little bag for Really Dressed Up Occasions.

My current purse is better called a bag, I think. I bought it at Academy Sports (not Dillards. Not even TJ Maxx.). Come on- you can't buy a "purse" at a sporting goods store!! Kavu made the bag, a company out of the Pacific Northwest, and it's sturdy and functional and even what I would call cute. It holds Just Enough.

And that's good enough for me.

matters of consquence

"When prayer requests deal with matters of consequence, when we learn to pray for each other about the actual struggles of our souls, when prayer aligns with God’s deepest purposes, then we simultaneously are making a huge start at becoming alert, effective counselors. For example, the Bible’s prayers are rarely about health, travel mercies, finances, doing well on a test, finding a job, or the salvation of unsaved relatives. Of course, these are legitimate things to pray for, but they are a minor emphasis in Scripture. Even so, these topics typically dominate most church and small group prayer requests. They easily miss the real action of God’s dealings with his beloved people.
In contrast, the driving focus of biblical prayer asks God to show himself, asks that we will know him, asks that we will love others. It names our troubles. It names our troublesome reactions and temptations. It names our holy desires. It names our God, his promises, and his will."

That couple of paragraphs, and the entire article, speak to my soul. O to know God better, to love others better, to name "our God, his promises, and his will." THAT is the desire of my heart.

11 March 2013

list 6

tal-ent [tal-uh nt] noun
1. a special natural ability or aptitude



I love a fair. And that's basically what the Rio Grande Livestock Show and Rodeo is.

We watched the showmanship events and walked through the exhibits. We cheered at the goofy Magic Comedy show and oooohed at the alligator show and giggled at the "historical hysterical" western gunfight. We drank lemonade and snacked on a funnelcake and licked our soft serve cones.  And maybe best of all, the midway wasn't even open so I didn't have to think about paying for the rides.

Next year, the rodeo!

Today, thanks to friends, my son started working at the Stock Show- at a game on the midway. A story our friends from the Midwest will appreciate- in the interview he was asked, "what's your previous employment?" He answered, "I've detassled corn." Turns out the guy who owns the game is from Indiana, and told my son, "Oh then, this will be a piece of cake."

See all the photos from the day at the RGV Livestock Show 2013 album on Picasa.

list 5

"Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better."
- Flannery O'Connor


A friendly, mostly friendly that is..., game of Carcassonne.
I don't play. Psheesh! I can't even say it. :-)

10 March 2013

list 4

But really?
What is an "average day"?
It seem like there is always something quirky about our days; the exception seems to be the rule.

Yet even with the exceptions, my days tend to be pretty ordinary. My comfort in that is summed up by by GK Chesterton-

“The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.”

For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little.
- Isaiah 28:10 (ESV)

and we press on.

list 3

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lordplans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)


Auntie and the cousins come to visit and we take a ride in her fancy new ride.
Is it a mirror or is it a sunglasses holder or ...?