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29 June 2013


potential photo opportunities-
a mini shopping trip,
lunch out,
delivery to the airport,
Sonic happy hour,
game afternoon,
evening ballet,
frozen yogurt...

but at the end of the day, it was the doodles that won.


There are few things more humbling than to meet and hear from people who tell us, "We are praying for you." We respond with "we are thankful." But, truthfully, that is never enough.
We are grateful.

We travel back and forth from Texas to Mexico at least weekly and sometimes even more. It is not a Big Deal to us, and yet, we are cognizant that we are small and God is big. Even that sentence sounds pretty trite. Occasionally we are reminded of those ideas, that we are ever reliant on His steadfast lovingkindness and mercy, in specific ways. And such happened this week.

We traveled across on this day with several purposes in mind. We volunteered to bring over a visiting pastor from Haiti to see some of the work in Mexico. (note- there are few things more humbling than spending time with a pastor who grew up on the street in Haiti, who now lives and serves orphans in that country, and pastors and plants thriving churches in some of the most impoverished areas of his community. Our needs are very very few.) We needed to check on a few things for our upcoming teams at the end of July. We had my dad visiting from out of town along too, to show him where my son is serving this summer and where we spend time.

All was on track, until it wasn't, of course. Ready to leave the school and get back into the comfort of air conditioning and onto lunch, the van would not start. We were parked in front of the school where we will be serving at later in the summer, but it was midday on a hot June afternoon, and not many people were around. We didn't have jumper cables. The caretaker of the school didn't have a car. We didn't have a Mexican phone. I prayed for His provision.

We asked at the corner store if anyone had cables, and indeed, one man from the neighborhood did. But remember- gringos in the neighborhood? Why are you here, he asked me. I was so very grateful that I could quickly and honestly answer, we are missionaries and we will be helping at the school later in the July; we want to serve this neighborhood. And our battery is dead. He had cables, but no car. We met the girl who lives across the street from the school. No car, but she was excited to speak English to me.

It was at just the right moment that the front loader turns down the street. Yes, we got a jump from the front loader. It was quite the event. Both my family and the girl across the street took pictures, which were posted on Facebook and Instagram within minutes of having a wifi connection. But much more importantly, yes, those prayers, for safety and for provision and for opportunities to meet people and share the faithfulness of our God, all those prayers were recognized as answered on that hot afternoon in a sunny northern Mexico border neighborhood.

Please continue to pray. We are grateful.


game of the week- Chicken Coop.
sort of like Mexican Train, but with a chicken clucking song when you place doubles, just to remind the other players.
sort of.

26 June 2013


"Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider's web?"
"Oh, no," said Dr. Dorian. "I don't understand it. But for that matter I don't understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle."
"What's miraculous about a spider's web?" said Mrs. Arable. "I don't see why you say a web is a miracle-it's just a web."
"Ever try to spin one?" asked Dr. Dorian." 

- E.B. White, Charlotte's Web


Comida Corrida-
Milanesa pollo,


I always smile at that moment I am again in the midst of mountains.


Waves crashing,
tide rolling,
toddlers running,
teens lounging,
dog walkers,
ice chests,
pop up canopies,

Latino music,
tubes and boogie boards and kites and floats,
bags of ice,
watermelons bought from the side of the road,
cut-off jeans,
straw hats,
rainbow umbrellas,
castles in the sand.

Frisbees flying,
beach balls bouncing,
the smell of lotion
and salt
and BBQ smoke,
sand on everything,
in everything,
sun in your eyes.

25 June 2013




travel- yes.
travelling these days- not so much.


South Carolina
A source of endless fascination for students of barbecue, the state of South Carolina is home to four distinct 'cue traditions, with Columbia's mustard-based "Carolina Gold" sauce perhaps the best-known variation.


...with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
Revelation 14:6 (ESV)

17 June 2013


"I'm pretty sure I know why it's named Greenville," said the person who lives down the road from Brownsville.

(that said, let it be known that there is a stretch of road between San Benito and Brownsville that is one of my favorite views in the world!)


The travel itself was an exercise in patience and perseverance. But what delight that the second half of the day completely redeemed the first!

15 June 2013


On Friday evening I had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony for Edinbug Theological Seminary. Enjoying these girls sing was the highlight, besides seeing friends graduate, of course!

(please forgive the quality of the video, but enjoy the little guy dancing in the aisle! In honesty, recording was an after-thought. I have never used the video on my camera before this week, so we join the girls mid-song...)


Meet Bob, an Australian Shepherd mix who lives in Mexico.
(and the variety of those three facts causes me to smile.)

13 June 2013


Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm rising from a heart deeply and firmly established in God.
- Henry Drummond (19th century Scottish evangelist), in Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman, ed. by Jim Reimann

12 June 2013


it was over before I went back out,
but (I heard) it was epic.
the best part- the carnage was rubber pieces and cleaned up in a moment, and the warriors were content.


a walk in the rain-
flowers are so much prettier than puddles.

10 June 2013


The Breath of God, the Promised One
Filled their mouths and loosed their tongues
To sing the praise of the risen Son
The mighty works that God has done
The breath of God on daughters, sons
He is poured out on old and young
To sing the praise of the risen Son
The mighty works that God has done
O breath of God, O Spirit come
Fill our mouths, And loose our tongues
To sing the praise of the risen son
The mighty works that God has done
In these last days Everyone
Who calls the name Of the Risen Son
They shall be saved by His precious blood
Oh mighty work that God has done!
- "Breath of God," words by Caroline Cobb, from Acts 1 and 2
lyrics from The Blood + The Breath, new music from Caroline Cobb. I adore this disc, the music and the lyrics both rich. A three song sampler is on Noisetrade, but it's fully worth buying the entire work!

09 June 2013

Lord's Day Morning

O Maker and Upholder of All Things,

Day and night are thine; they are also mine from thee-
the night to rid me of the cares of the day,
to refresh my weary body,
to renew my natural strength;

the day to summon me to new activities,
to give me opportunity to glorify thee,
to serve my generation,
to acquire knowledge, holiness, eternal life.

But one day above all days is made especially
for thy honor and my improvement;
The sabbath reminds me of thy rest from creation,
of the resurrection of my savior,
of his entering into repose.

Thy house is mine,
but I am unworthy to meet thee there,
and am unfit for spiritual service.
When I enter it I come before thee as a sinner,
condemned by conscience and thy Word.
For I am still in the body and in the wilderness,
ignorant, weak, in danger,
and in need of thine aid.

But encouraged by thy all-sufficient grace
let me go to thy house with a lively hope of meeting thee,
knowing that there thou wilt come to me and give me peace.

My soul is drawn out to thee in longing desires
for thy presence in the sanctuary, at the table,
where all are entertained on a feast of good things;
Let me before the broken elements, emblems of thy dying love,
cry to thee with broken heart for grace and forgiveness.

I long for that blissful communion of thy people
in thy eternal house in the perfect kingdom;
These are they that follow the Lamb;
May I be of their company!

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

08 June 2013


Recipe for tamales 
(as transcribed during the process- thank you Mary!)

Boil meat- keep broth.
Shred meat- using fingers to get it to really small pieces, no chunks.
Simmer shredded meat with portion of reserved broth (add enough broth to keep meat moist).
Add chile- to color the meat a rusty orange color.
Add salt- to taste.
Add garlic powder- to taste.
Add cumin- to taste.
Simmer until spices meld.

Add more reserved broth to masa (mix with hands to blend), a little bit at a time.
Add spices, salt and chile powder, to the color of light orange.
Add lard, giant spoonfuls at a time, until the dough is the consistency of moist playdough.
If wad of dough does not stick to your fingers, it's probably right. There should be a sheen to the dough.
Continue to mash dough through fingers until smooth and the right consistency.
Taste for salty-ness.

Spread masa on cornhusks that have been soaked in water (right side smooth, wrong side rough).
Spread a thin layer, not too thick, not too thin.
Start with a large spoonful in the middle, and push dough downwards and sidewards, to the very edges of the oja.
Be sure to leave a gap of empty husk at the top for folding over.

Place meat down the center of the tamal.
Fold left side to center; fold right side to center;
fold top back and down.

Cook in steamer for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on amount of tamales in the pot and their size.
Steaming is The Best Way to cook tamales.
Load tamales in pot folded side down, in layers, campfire tepee style.
When checking to see if the tamale is cooked, if you see light spots on the bottom of the husk, the tamale is probably not completely cooked.

Tamales can be frozen, before or after cooking. But in reheating, it is best to steam.

note: it is probably best to make tamales with a dear lady who is an expert, who is eager to teach, who is patient and kind with beginners who know absolutely nothing about the process except that they love to eat tamales. You should definitely gather together three other ladies who don't mind running their fingers through meat and masa, who won't be squeamish in the presence of lard, and most importantly, who aren't afraid to laugh at themselves. Tell lots of stories in the process and marvel at how good the Lord is to provide such sweet fellowship. It isn't a bad idea to also have at least nine kids hanging around at the house at same time, playing games, even trying to teach the dog to jump on the trampoline, and who might need peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the middle of the process and popsicles when no water balloons can be found. Be sure to invite husbands to ooh and aah at how tasty the final product turns out before retreating to watch Saturday afternoon golf on a tiny tv in the next room. Once tamales are bagged and boxed and frozen, and many pots and pans are washed and dried and stored, and all counters are de-masa-ed and de-greased, and the kitchen is in order once again, retreat to chair and ottoman with feet up and wait until dinner is ready- preferably more tamales. And maybe, a salad.


The storm rolled in and even though it wasn't even dusk, the streetlights came on. The lightning made us blink and the thunder rattled the windows and we sat together and ate ice cream and laughed.

06 June 2013


!!Mirad cuán bueno y cuán delicioso es
    Habitar los hermanos juntos en armonía!!

- Salmos 133:1 (RVR 1960)

(Thursday evening worship at Mision Emmanuel, Matamoros, Tamaulipas, MX)


Commissariat Camels
           We haven't a camelty tune of our own
           To help us trollop along,
           But every neck is a hair-trombone
           (Rtt-ta-ta-ta! is a hair-trombone! )
           And this is our marching-song:                  
           Can't! Don't! Shan't! Won't!
           Pass it along the line!
           Somebody's pack has slid from his back,
           'Wish it were only mine!
           Somebody's load has tipped off in the road--
           Cheer for a halt and a row!
           Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
           Somebody's catching it now!

- from Parade-Song of the Camp-Animals 
by Rudyard Kipling 

04 June 2013


Another reason I love where I live...
Put in $1.25 and you get not only a 20 pound bag of ice, but also Ice Ice Baby to dance to while you wait.


I always thought a yard was three feet,
then I started mowing the lawn.

-  C.E. Cowman


Three years ago, almost exactly, we were in the process of moving out of our home, in the midst of transition. It was graduation season. After a long day of packing, in the early evening on a late spring day, I headed over to dear family friends to celebrate at their son's graduation party.

I cried all the way there. And the tears barely stopped once inside. I knew most all the people gathered and overflowing from that house well. They would have been the same people that would attend our graduations and showers and weddings in the years to come. Yet I knew that would never happen.  I grieved that loss.

I was a lousy and selfish friend that day. I left after just a short time. And then, more than ever before, I prayed for community. I prayed specifically that my kids would have friends in the new places ahead of us and that our family would know such fellowship once again in the future.

It didn't take long before the Lord began to show us answers to those prayers. That very summer, my kids spent time with other missionary kids also in transition from old established homes to new places on the field. We all made friendships that quickly moved beyond surface greetings and small talk to sharing joys and concerns and deeper heart issues. We moved to Costa Rica and we found community, dear friends to worship and to pray and to study and to play alongside. Yet still, we were in transition.

Now we've been at the US/Mexico border for two years, and we've moved from one town to another even during that time. We are keenly aware that we don't know the people we desire to serve alongside well, not as well as we hope to some day. Many scenarios remind us that, often, we're still very much the outsiders, no matter in Texas or in Tamaulipas. People are always kind. But building relationships and earning trust in a different culture can be a slow process.

On Wednesday evenings at church over the last few weeks we have been studying Psalm 23, and I have been reminded over and over, that surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. On this day, I recognized God's steadfast lovingkindness pursuing us once again. We shared in hosting a graduation celebration with another family for our son and their daughter. Again I realized that despite the moves and despite the transitions, God has blessed us with community- people to share life and celebrate alongside.

At one point, I looked out, and tried to count the faces and there were too many to do so. We shared the moment with friends we have made in just a short time, folks from churches and school and sports. There were friends of my kids, and parents we have come to know, and people that we know have prayed for us along the way. Our surrogate family was there- those people who we live and work and serve alongside of, those who we trust the most. Yes, how I dearly miss those faces from far away not present. Nonetheless, I am confident and assured that in another demonstration of His wonderful grace, God is ever He who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think... And we are blessed.

03 June 2013


file under "things I really just don't understand"...


83% of the chicks in one nest tonight.
((contented sigh))