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31 March 2014


"Here we taste how potent, and personal, is fellowship as a means of grace. As partners under God’s word, and in prayer, a brother who knows me as me, and not generic humanity, speaks the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) into my life, and gives me a word “such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29)."
- from "Learn to Fly in the Fellowship," by David Mathis at the Desiring God blog, March 12, 2014


a field trip, and a reminder that this place that sometimes seems so dry is truly very beautiful.


a gaming afternoon.
(and didn't someone tell mom never to grocery shop when she is hungry?)

27 March 2014


The plan is to take the tan van, man.


Another licensed driver!
And perhaps equally as celebration-worthy, a new improved photo on my own license.


Win-win: a couple of hours with him and carrying home unexpected treats for my girls.

24 March 2014


... a toda criatura.

Marcos 16:15 (RVR 1960)

(taken at Iglesia Principe de Paz, Matamoros, Tamaulipas, MX)


A new-to-me song that continued playing in my head to bless me through the remainder of the day...

Brothers, let us come together 
Walking in the Spirit, there's much to be done...
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love...

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us...
We will come reaching, with a song of healing...
And they will know us by our love!

The time is now
Come Church arise...
Love with His hands
See with His eyes...
Bind it around you,
Let it never leave you,
And they will know us by our love...

Children, You are hope for justice,
Stand firm in the Truth now, set your hearts above
You will be reaching, long after we’re gone,
And they will know you by your love! 

Written by Christy Nockels
© 2009 Songs / sixsteps Music (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing) (ASCAP)


If only.

I had spent the last day and a half listening and learning about the most difficult of issues- human trafficking and addiction and prison ministry and cross-cultural ministry issues and immigration issues and how to help refugees and finding resources and space and volunteers and...

Nothing seems simple or uncomplicated.

In his message to conference attendees, those of us looking for glimpse of hope in the midst of the labors of serving, Pastor Doug Logan of Epiphany Church (PCA) in Camden, New Jersey reminded us that Jesus IS enough. "His efficient, proficient, sufficient ability" again and again supplies more than enough. "He turns our mess into His message," Logan preached, and we respond with a hearty Amen.

And that one thing, an undeserved gift from our God who proves himself merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6), is the most delightfully simple thing of all. 

23 March 2014


When all corners of the world come to your door, what can you do?
Love them well.
Teach them English.
Speak the Word.
Live the Gospel.

(ESL Teacher Training, College Park, MD)


travel day

18 March 2014


Her name means "white, fair" and according to, it is trending up this week. Trends aside, all we know is that our Fiona is absolutely beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made, and dearly loved, just as her two brothers before her, just as her mom before that. She entered this world on St. Patrick's day. St. Patrick's breastplate prayer is the same that we pray for our Fiona-

Christ with you, Christ before you, Christ behind you, Christ in you,
Christ beneath you, Christ above you,
Christ on your right, Christ on your left,
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of you,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of you,
Christ in every eye that sees you,
Christ in every ear that hears you.

(photo credit to Ashley and Tom, Tom I'm guessing. We're grateful for them and for the technology that allows us to see them even when the geograpic distance seems enormous!)

17 March 2014


Heading north but looking south, we stopped to get a photo of the roadside wildflowers, but in the end, it was the clouds that won.

I do love a road trip, even when it means delivering our boy back to school, but this day, I was glad for the trip to be finished. We weren't the only ones leaving the Rio Grande Valley after spring break. Traffic was heavy, and occasionally dangerous. At one point, we went off the road to avoid a car changing lanes and then stopping abruptly in front of us. After much thanks for safety and a few pushes to get out of the soft median dirt, we were back on the road.

I am admittedly becoming a more anxious passenger. I remember my grandma and her shouts of "JIM!" to my grandpa while driving. I try not to watch the traffic.

There are a lot of wildflowers, pink and yellow and red and purple, roadside in south Texas this time of year...

15 March 2014


pizza night


a night at the Rio Grande Livestock Show and Rodeo-
and plenty more photos to see in a Picasa album.


Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
- Lady Bird Johnson

12 March 2014


... and then she fell off the wagon.
Thankfully, one was enough.

Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies, gluten-free for those of you who need that- as my Costa Rican friends would say, ¡Que rico!

11 March 2014


You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
- Zig Ziglar

10 March 2014


Spring break for an architecture major...


But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”

- C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

07 March 2014


There was this, pastoral and serene and "yes! I'm outside and it's lovely!"
And then just a moment later, there was the pit bull barking convincingly and following me menacingly until a car came down the road to provide a barrier and distance.
Followed by the shuffle pulling up

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God's hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful to me

Thankful, and confident of His faithfulness.
Even so, not running that way again tomorrow.

(lyrics from "He's Always Been Faithful," by Sara Groves)

road trip eats

Yelp has yet to lead us astray.

If passing through San Marcos, Texas, wander just a little bit off the highway and into town and down the road to The Hitch, a lot filled with food trucks. Once there, wander over to the front corner and to St. Pita's for the Falafel Pita.

And a bottle of Topo Chico.

And then sit in the sun and enjoy your company, especially if it's one of your girls, and the good eats.


At the most basic level that a child can understand, to forgive is simply to keep your promise. If you tell a person you forgive him, then you have obligated yourself to never raise the matter again. And as for the struggle you may feel now and then when you are tempted to mention the forgiven acts, it is the debt that you agreed to take on. You suck it up yourself, between you and God, because Jesus did that for you, too. It is the dying to self that Jesus expected of any follower when he said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
- "A remembrance of a forgiveness," by Andree Seu Peterson, WORLD magazine blog, March 3, 2014

(photo from an underpass in Austin, TX. Isn't art in unexpected places one of the joys of life?)


8 is great.


Dear Trader Joe,

I know that we don't meet often, but I want you to know we think of you often, and stop by when we are in the neighborhood. Too bad that neighborhood is 256 miles away...

You are so kind to us when we walk in- those pretty succulents in the entry, the little balls of chocolate sample goodness at the door, bright flowers to say hi.

And then your treats- plantain chips and Ginger Cats and wasabi peas and green pea snacks...
(green pea snacks can be tasty? mmm.)

Thank you, Trader Joe.
See you next trip.
Far-away Fans

05 March 2014


Coming soon, to a stock show near you...


We are not in south Texas.


How beautiful the feet that carry 
This gospel of peace 
To the fields of injustice 
And the valleys of need— 
To be a voice of hope and healing, 
To answer the cries 
Of the hungry and helpless 
With the mercy of Christ. 

Blessed and encouraged by a weekend spent sharing and hearing of all our God is doing in and through His people. Thankful for the steadfast love and mercy of our Lord. Grateful for the generosity, faithfulness, and hospitality of the folks at Christ Community Church in Frisco.

03 March 2014


"It is the American story- an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs; that everyone deserves a change; that no insignificant person was ever born..."

- President George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, January 28, 2001

(at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Dallas, TX)


I was grumpy, and we weren't leaving on time, and just getting out the door and on the road seemed muchmuch harder than it should be. But the mystery of being on the open road, the sun shining, heading north... Thai dinner with our boy, no unexpected traffic, and all ended well.

(mural from Austin, Texas)


you just never know...