Share with others

31 January 2015


Time for another graduate?
Thankful to share community and celebrate with these young people and their families.

30 January 2015


"Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you're supposed to." 
— Susan CainQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

29 January 2015


One day late on National Chocolate Cake Day, but
chocolate cake with mocha frosting?

Better late than never.

27 January 2015


Today, the world stood still―right here before me―for an instant. For a lifetime. I offer you this gift of blue upon blue within blue beyond our ken . . . beyond our broken hearts, beyond our fixing. Look up. It is well; all is well with your soul.
- from "Blue Upon Blue" by Judith Dupree in Ruminate Magazine blog, 27 January 2015


ultimate compliment-
plays like a girl.


what is something that made you smile today?
gathering with the saints for Sunday prayer,
a beautiful chandeleir,
the surprise of our afternoon guest,
an afternoon walk with my love,
fresh pico de gallo,
Downton text banter.

what is something that made you cry today?
(note: I didn't actually cry today but...)
a friend missing from worship,
prayer updates that remind me how temporal are our bodies, is this world,
a broken bottle.

what is something you learned today?
"vanities of vanities," a vapor, fleeting, ephemeral,
how many chaperones are needed,
don't delay on taking out the trash.

(photo: First National Ballroom, Mercedes, TX)

24 January 2015


"You are to gather up the joys and sorrows, the struggles, the beauty, love, dreams and hopes of every hour that they may be consecrated at the altar of daily life." 
- Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels


Our first stop was at the corner convenience store to buy the soda to sell.
Our second stop was one block later, at the corner convenience store, to buy breakfast tacos and coffee.

Some days convenience stores are especially convenient.

22 January 2015


sweet ending to a "some days are like that" day.

21 January 2015


Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, 
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come. 
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light, 
Jesus, I come to Thee. 
Out of my sickness into Thy health, 
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth, 
Out of my sin and into Thyself, 
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failure and loss, 
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come. 
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross, 
Jesus, I come to Thee. 
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm, 
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm, 
Out of distress into jubilant psalm, 
Jesus, I come to Thee.
- "Out of My Bondage," written by WT Sleeper (1887)


Sonic told us that it was Best Friend Day so we celebrated with 50 cent corn dogs.
(because what better way to celebrate a Best Friend than with a corn dog, right?!)

Just now I googled "Best Friend Day," and it looks like it is designated for June 8th. Who decides these things, anyway?

Sonic also reminded us to celebrate Groundhogs Day with half-price footlongs- I might pass on that one. What I'm wondering is what will we get to celebrate with discounted cherry cokes?

19 January 2015


Thank you Matthew Smith and band (and everyone at Divine Providence) for taking the extra 4 1/2 hours to make it down to the border and bless us with a musical feast of reimagined hymns. It was a rare and special treat for us.

And thank you for your commitment to Compassion International kids. 10 kids from around the globe gained sponsors tonight, and soon will also gain access to medical checkups, nutritious food, educational assistance and mentoring opportunities. Just as importantly, these kids will be involved in church-based ministries where they'll learn about Jesus Christ and see his disciples live out the Gospel. We've had Compassion kids for over 15 years now, and it's always a blessing to see new kids gain sponsors.

(the photo is lousy. alas. the evening was not.)

18 January 2015


O great Creator, mighty Protector, gracious Preserver,  thou dost load me with loving kindnesses,  
and hast made me thy purchased possession,  
and redeemed me from all guilt;
I praise and bless thee for my sabbath rest, my calm conscience,  my peace of heart.
- "Lord's Day Evening," from The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett

17 January 2015


Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 
- Psalm 90:14

Saturday blessings-
morning clear and bright,
"come on in!",
girls who hustle,
a saw to cut the palm branches,
fresh-mowed lawn,
sun on my face,
the wonder of a new baby boy,
the delight of family,
fresh squeezed key lime pie.


... because when you live in Very South Texas you wear your cowboy boots after finishing your basketball game.

15 January 2015


Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance,
Everybody thinks it's true.

- Paul Simon, "Train in the Distance"

But the sound of the train in front of you? Maybe not quite so much...


Even in laughter the heart may ache,
    and the end of joy may be grief.

Proverbs 14:13

14 January 2015


I confessed to being anxious about the night ahead, and then the silliness turned to pure blessing in the return text, a written prayer to remind me of what is true and of in who I find peace.

The evening went well, new students, unexpected help, peace through it all and indeed, His grace abounds all the more.

13 January 2015


Hello dear sunshine!
We have missed you and the blue skies you illuminate so vividly, your bright rays warming our faces. Thanks for coming to visit again for a couple of days. Please return soon, and feel free to stay longer, ok?

Spoiled in South Texas


Mirad, pues, con diligencia cómo andéis, no como necios sino como sabios, aprovechando bien el tiempo, porque los días son malos. Por tanto, no seáis insensatos, sino entendidos de cuál sea la voluntad del Señor.  No os embriaguéis con vino, en lo cual hay disolución; antes bien sed llenos del Espíritu, hablando entre vosotros con salmos, con himnos y cánticos espirituales, cantando y alabando al Señor en vuestros corazones; dando siempre gracias por todo al Dios y Padre, en el nombre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo.
Thankful to be a witness to how God continues to grow His kingdom.

11 January 2015


Dogs, goldfish, beta fish, hamsters, hamster babies, hermit crabs, and now, zebra finches.

Not so easy, getting these birds into their new home. In a blink of an eye and a "what just happened?" moment, the first male escaped in a parking lot drama gone very bad. Two weeks later, after waiting for a suitable pair to arrive, the new couple seems to be acclimating nicely, their little meep-meeps a cheerful chatter to our background soundtrack.

Now, if only the terrier would settle down...


January at the US/Mexico border:
cool, overcast, rain, no heat, gray hazy days of winter BUT,
it is grapefruit season...

09 January 2015


I know that other places are SIGNIFICANTLY colder than my clime, but nonetheless, our cool, cloudy, gusty weather was a pretty good motivation to hold onto this cup for a bit.

(and thumbs up on the Flat White- "strong and smooth" and who cares about pretentious, anyway?!)

07 January 2015


Monopoly and the contents of an 11 year old's pockets- guaranteed to bring a smile.


A second pot kind of day.


For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

I did several things in the last year that fall into the category "if I did it, ANYONE can do it," things that I didn't think I could really do. I started running. I started running for 2 minutes, walking and gasping for air for two minutes, but I got to the point of running for 20 minutes and the gasping wasn't quite as desperate and I hardly ever had to walk anymore. I lost some weight. Basically, I paid attention to what I was putting in my mouth. And if I wanted to put more in my mouth, I had to run more. 

The most significant habit I began last year, however, was memorizing Scripture. Two verses at a time, repeated back week after week to a faithful friend on the same journey. Before long, we committed Romans 1 to memory. And then Romans 8. Now we are in Romans 12. 

Why memorize the Bible?
Tim Challies summarizes the reasons John Piper gives, and I agree:

  1. Conformity to Christ - Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.
  2. Daily Triumph over Sin - As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.
  3. Daily Triumph over Satan - When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight.
  4. Comfort and Counsel for People You Love - When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.
  5. Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers - Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn.
  6. Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways - The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live a life that reflects the value of these attributes.
Each of these reasons has been true in my life over the past year, and so I will continue on.

Two things have been most helpful in the discipline of memorizing big chunks of Scripture. One has been to use ScriptureTyper, a typing program that allows you to "type over" verses, first every word, then every other word, then alternate words and then with nothing but screen. It gives you "hints," short phrases, when you forget what's next. It keeps track of your progress and reminds you the verses that need review. And second, to do this with a friend for accountability has been priceless. I am sure that I would have given up long ago if not for the reminder, "Romans this week?" We have been amazed at how these truths have proven so very applicable in this year, how God's word never returns empty. 

And so, as I traveled along the road on Monday and gazed at falling sun rays and popcorn clouds, that sky so large across the south Texas horizon, I could find those verses hidden in my heart in the last month and find assurance that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Blessed assurance indeed.


whatever happened to fortunes, anyway?


04 January 2015


Sometimes the best present is presence.


Rainy, overcast, and a tad gloomy, with occasional bursts of color and certainty of hope.


O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
Except the days are passed in thy presence,
In thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour
that I may not be a moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love
advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, as my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy call,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.
"New Year," from The Valley of Vision, ed. by Arthur Bennett


These girls, five beautifully different personalities, fearfully and wonderfully made. Go out into the world, ladies, and share your gifts passionately.
Serve others zealously.
Do what you love with sheer delight, but don't get stuck on yourself.
And so, love one another and also love those God brings into the adventure of your life.
And know, your dad and I love you more than words say well.

01 January 2015


Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7 (ESV)


homemade playdough and caterpillars and snakes and if only it could go on and on.