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31 October 2013


“Always work hard, never give up, and fight until the end because it’s never really over until the whistle blows.”
- Alex Morgan, forward, US National Women's Soccer Team


Baby Blues Cartoon for Oct/31/2013
I don't know why my kids snickered when they read the comics this morning... 


The patchwork that is America!

(taken somewhere over Illinois)


A Sunday evening hymn that sticks with me still...
(and a photo of the Minnesota countryside at late afternoon)

For All The Saints (written by William Washam How, 1864)

For all the saints, 
who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith
before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus,
be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

Thou wast their rock,
their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain
in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness
drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Allelu...

O may Thy soldiers, 
faithful, true and bold, 
Fight as the saints
who nobly fought of old,
And win with them
the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Allelu...

The golden evening
brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful
warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm
of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

But lo! There breaks 
a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant
rise in bright array;
The King of glory
passes on his way,
Alleluia, Allelu...

From earth's wide bounds, 
from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl
streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia, Alleluia!


We spent the day going from meal to meal, and we were abundantly blessed. We shared and exchanged stories and needs, praises and petitions, hopes and dreams. We delight in the fellowship of believers! I marveled again the unlikely path that brought us to this call and the privilege of serving the Most Sovereign God.

30 October 2013


Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
  And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
  See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
  And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
  The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
  Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
  Fires in the fall!

- Robert Louis Stevenson (in A Child's Garden of Verses)


Walked outside to 42 windy degrees, and couldn't have been happier to put my hands into my pockets and realize that I left my gloves there!

23 October 2013


“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”

― Tasha Tudor

Really, I put down homemaker.
And I'm thankful for it.



She woke before the sun. She heard the still
Small sounds which whisper when the night is gone.
Though all the curtains of her room were drawn,
She saw the gray light creep across the sill.
This was her day. How would it help fulfil
Her destiny? She looked out at the dawn
Stepping across the velvet of the lawn,
She saw the purple of a distant hill.

In cloak and slippers, she glided through the halls
Softly- she would disturb none still asleep-
Then looked through the maple branches to the sky;
Her small heart beating against its delicate walls,
The marvel of ten years too much to keep.
“What is this lovely world, and who am I?”

(tenth times 2)


What is it about a few stems of flowers that make Monday morning a little bit more gentle?


Sunday habit.

20 October 2013


"So George doesn't mold."
Of course!
(oh how I love the mind of a 9 year old!)


“One of the advantages bowling has over golf is that you seldom lose a bowling ball.” 
- Don Carter


They flutter around our yard. I tried to duck them while driving on the expressway- don't swerve for butterflies? Butterfly migration season has arrived in the Rio Grande Valley and we remain in awe.

I've watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!---not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !

- "To a Butterfly (2)" by William Wordsworth


Great things about homeschooling that you might not think about:

flexibility in the day,
sitting outside to read when the "cold front" arrives,
homemade pizza for lunch.

That applies to the teacher AND the students...

17 October 2013

"Thy Divine Will"

Help me to pray in faith and so find thy will,
by leaning hard on thy rich free mercy,
by believing thou wilt give what thou has promised;

Strengthen me to pray with the conviction

that whatever I receive is thy gift,
so that I may pray until prayer be granted;

Teach me to believe that all degrees of mercy arise
from several degrees of prayer,
that when faith is begun it is imperfect and must grow,
as chapped ground opens wider and wider until rain comes.

So shall I wait thy will, pray for it to be done,
and by thy grace become fully obedient.

from "Thy Divine Will," The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers

16 October 2013


the latest chapter in the Stopped by the Train Chronicles...
while we were waiting for the train to go forwards,
very slowly,
and backwards,
very slowly,
three cars pulled out of the line of traffic and turned around.
Where do they go to get around the train? It can not be faster than just sitting and waiting...?

And then I remember the many ways I attempt to force things along, making u-turns when really I should sit and wait with patience.
Hello train,
backwards and forwards once again.

15 October 2013


Thanks for visiting, Stanley.
You are one adventurous guy!

14 October 2013


"My good performance does not make me right with God, nor does my bad performance make me any more lost and hopeless. All stand equally lost and equally able to be saved.

A Christian, when he or she has just experienced a success, should say: But this success does not increase Christ’s love for me. In fact it is only 
because of His love for me that this happened, not the other way around! 

And a Christian, when he or she has just experienced a failure, should say: If I had not failed in this way, that would not make me any more loved and accepted by God than I am at this moment! My performance is irrelevant. In fact, God is always working for my good (Romans 8:28) – He has allowed this to happen because He loves me, not because He doesn’t. What a radical principle!"
- Tim Keller, Galatians for You 

Sunday blessings:
sunrise walk 
good coffee
fellowship of the saints
sun on my face breeze in my hair
soccer families
mango sorbet
long awaited roadside photo stop
fresh broccoli and mushrooms
my own pillow


"The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys." 
- Madeleine L'Engle, Two Part Invention: The Story of Marriage

On this day, exactly 23 years after saying "I will" on an bright October Saturday, the road was straight, not a hill in sight. 

We took a drive for an overnight 2 hours north- "we" meaning me and him and four girls that we didn't even know to dream about 23 years ago; "we" because the primary purpose was not an anniversary get-away but one girl's girls' soccer game.  On this day, we took two cars, mostly because the one that fits us all has a lousy alternator and we don't dare venture two hours from home in it right now. But taking two cars gave us, me and him, an excuse to drive in one, sending the girls in the other.

There's no one I want to take a road trip with more than that guy. We've traveled together on many roads, over many hills and several deep valleys, through these years. I'm thankful that we're still traveling together. And enjoy the journey. And like each other. 

But even more than that, I'm thankful for how we see God's covenant grace in our marriage. It seems no ordinary wonder that this marriage between two sinners continues to be sustained. I think about Paul's exhortation in Colossians 3:12-17. Maybe we know more about putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience than we once did. We certainly know more about bearing with one another and forgiving. Without question, 23 years after taking those sacred vows, we continue to learn about the growth of love and about thankfulness.

So on this October Saturday, we intertwined fingers and talked and laughed at ourselves and even sat in the comfortable quiet only 23 years allows. Even on this straight piece of open road, we know the hills and the valleys are never far away. Yet we also know Him who navigates us down that road. Our confidence in His grace is sure. I'm eager to see what the journey together has yet to show us.

11 October 2013


Walk down the street in Nuevo Progreso and you will be offered a root canal, a chance to fill your prescription, and a seat to have your shoes polished. On the street you can buy the latest movie, your name on a piece of rice, Mexican-made cowboy hats, paper flowers, and nopales. The shops alongside the street sell tattoos and tequila, pottery, clothing and jewelry.

Somebody asks you to buy something every single step along the way. Kids who seem old enough to be in school, even little boys and girls that might not yet be school-aged, ask you to buy their wares- woven bracelets and candy and gum. Ladies sitting on the sidewalk, toddlers and nursing babies at their sides, ask for change.

Your senses can be quickly overwhelmed in this little Mexican border town, by just a block or two south of the international bridge. I know exactly where I'm going on the main street in Nuevo Progreso. I'm no longer surprised when I look around me and up and down the street. I even mostly understand the language. Again I'm reminded, this world is not our home...

All that, and yet, man, you'd be hard pressed to find better street tacos...


I got back into the driveway after dropping them off at class, and I sat in a sunbeam and took a little nap...
until I was discovered
about 5 minutes later.

10 October 2013


"What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza.
"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quijote, "you don't know much about adventures." 

— Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)


Without a doubt, two of my favorite hours of the week.

Or as my enthusiastic learners would say,
I like it.
I like it a lot.
I like it very much!

08 October 2013


thanks O!
lOve yOu.


Oh my.

Coffee with my Bible reading.
my favorite breakfast with one of my all-time favorite breakfast companions.
very hard situations; very faithful God.
waves from across the sanctuary.
eyes closed, hearing oh so familiar voices.
'tis a heavens of heaven to me.
prayer and a blessing.
smiles and hugs and pats and greetings.
chicken and mashed potatoes and corn and salad and TIRAMISU.
stories and laughter.
stories and tears.
Red Mango.
a silly dog curled up under the pillow.
time for even a little bit more the next day.

exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever ask or think.


ESL training in Omaha- wouldn't have spent the day any other way.
Thank you, Harvest.


October colors- you never cease to surprise and amaze me!

03 October 2013


an exercise in patience,
and a bit of disappointment as well.


wise advice from a friend...
turns out that a chocolate shake has medicinal qualities.


Finally time for the pumpkins.


Thanks Chevrolet- great job at the Chevy Youth Soccer Clinic and great work, supporting the One World Futbol Project.