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28 February 2015


Very warm hospitality on a very cold day 
(ok, ok, "cold" is all relative, right?)- 
isn't celebrating one of the sweetest parts of life together? (aren't Really Good Sugar Cookies one of the sweetest parts of life together?)


Thankful for this bunch of girls and the coaches who lead them.
Congratulations on a great season, Lady Tigers.


I find it a wonder- these vivid yellow-bright greens of spring, brand new and clean, the contrast to the dusky, dusty, deep emeralds of winter.
Who says south Texas doesn't have a change of seasons?

25 February 2015


We have a house guest this week.
He has a few aliases.

(He also has four legs and an incredible amount of energy. Fun to have a pup around again!)

23 February 2015


Everyone, as in even the dog, wants to get a look.
The first zebra finch egg hatched, and we can just barely see the fuzzy and very tiny chick.


It is such a delight to be the object of such sweet hospitality. 
(I really did need that bit of cafecito and the galleta was a bonus.)
Muchisimas gracias, hermana Marilyn!


No shame- it was for me.


16 years and 21 weeks ago, the ultrasound technician spoke the words to cause me to sit up as straight as a 17 week pregnant lady possibly could.
"Well your husband is going to be awfully surprised when you tell him that you are having twins."
Yes. Yes, my husband was surprised.

And from that day on (but really, in all the days before, as well), our God provided. Most significantly, He provided by surrounding us with a community of people to love and care for us, often when we could barely care for ourselves.

Today I posted a picture of these two birthday girls on Facebook, and a flood of well-wishers sent greetings to us. Those names and those notes bring so many faces and so many memories to mind.

The names from those first three years of twinning- the families that were our lifeline to survival when the submarine schedules were as regular as the tide. The girls who are now ladies, married with kids of their own. The church family that celebrated with us and gave us respite and loved us Very Well during a time when we were Very Needy. Friends from childhood- the families who watched them grow and provided playmates and prayed with us over and over again. Our neighbors at five different homes. Friends from homeschool activities. Friends from sports. Friends from travels. Family far away.

One of my friends commented on those photos, "You were blessed with them." Yes we were. And we've been blessed with an extraordinary community of friends besides.
Exceedingly abundantly so.

19 February 2015


So maybe, just maybe, I did gasp audibly when Sam's Club ran out of Stacy's Pita Chips last week.
And maybe, just maybe, I was tempted to buy 2 bags this week, just in case.


17 February 2015


How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives.
- Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


Several times during the day, I remembered, "I am somewhere different." There was the pickup truck in front of us on the road, not only kids sitting in the open bed but also the sheep traveling with them. There was the family waiting to cross the street, dressed in ordinary everyday clothes, except for the dad who was wearing clown makeup. There was the church service at least three times longer than the average American Sunday worship gathering. There was the waiting and waiting for the tacos to arrive. When the guys were finally arrived, there was the watching in surprise as they wheeled their own propane stove into the kitchen. There was "Bistek o trompo? Con todos?"

And in all of that, there was the joy of reunion, and much celebration, and the good kind of tired that comes after a very full day. There was the peace of contentment, knowing that there is no place else I would rather be.

15 February 2015


God is a safe place to hide,
    ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
    courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
    the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
 River fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city,
    this sacred haunt of the Most High.
God lives here, the streets are safe,
    God at your service from crack of dawn.
Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten,
    but Earth does anything he says.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
    He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
    breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.”
 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
Psalm 46 (The Message)

14 February 2015


While waiting on dinner to finish cooking, I checked and saw that my friend's Facebook status was updated. I took a deep breath and clicked, and read, 
At about noon today, Cathie finished her race and went to be with her Lord Jesus Christ, and we rejoice that she is now exulting in His presence.

Oh how my heart hurts. She sent me a note just a week before, sharing her son's new disc and talking about a visit to Texas later in the year. But on Tuesday, they made the previously unthinkable decision to move her into hospice care. I sent a note to the family. I remembered. I share it so that others can know how very much one woman made a difference in the life of another. 

Hello my dear friend.

I read on facebook via Jonathan and follow from so-very-far-away that you are fighting stupid calcium levels. I hardly ever say stupid, but it’s the most polite word I can think of. I miss your prayer updates.
I keep thinking, I wish I could visit. I wish I could sit with you. 
I wish I could fix this.

I’m trying to remember back to how we met, to when our God allowed our paths to intersect. I think that it was at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Groton, probably around June 1992. Tim and Ashley and I came to church, sent that way by the folks at Hope Church in Ballston Spa. At that time, Covenant was meeting at a hotel on Sunday mornings (was it Holiday Inn?)- worship in a conference room, adult Sunday school in the bar. Ashley was pretty darn impressed we were going to a church with a pool out front! Ashley ran around with Jonathan and Caroline and Jesse. But wait! In my memory, I vaguely remember a school, too, and John moving chairs around… Where was that? Oh what 20 years and 14 moves can do to a mind!?

Nonetheless, somehow through the wonder of Navy orders and God’s grace, we ended up at Mare Island with you and yours a year or so later. And you blessed my soul, over and again. Tim dropped me off in a new place, very pregnant, and then left to sail with the Baton Rouge through the Panama Canal and to the California coast and then to the shipyard. You and John and the kids welcomed me in like family, and got me across two bridges to worship, and gave me fresh lemons and avocados besides. Keilah arrived and you introduced me to the sanity saving idea that we could have a pattern, a rhythm, to our days. Did you give me a choice that I would participate in the ladies Bible study at the chapel? Or that I would take part in the SOWC activities? Probably not. :-) But I was better for it.

I remember parties at that amazing Admiral’s Row home. The kids running and biking and skating and scootering up and down the walk. Sitting on the porch. Washing dishes after the OCF Bible study. Spaghetti, no cheese, for Jesse (or was it Joshua?) because it made a red itchy ring around his mouth. Legos in the attic. Piano music. Caroline dressing up. Singing. Tiny baby Joel, his foot as big as my big toe, fearfully and wonderfully made.

And then, another year later, and Tim crossed the pier to join John on the Los Angeles and we skipped halfway across the Pacific to Pearl Harbor. We spent those first weeks in paradise at the pool and on the beach. Japanese tourists would take pictures of our blonde wide-eyed kids. We ate Every Single Item on the Koko Cafe menu. Maybe twice. Remember when a stray shrimp showed up on my dessert plate? I hate it when that happens! :-) We went to the Kodak Hula show and I was pregnant and overheated and I have never had a Lemon Ice taste that miraculously good ever again. We welcomed two James. It didn’t seem quite right that the CO’s wife and a JO’s wife could be such friends. I have to confess, you were rarely “the CO’s wife” to me. You were always friend. Sister. Mentor.

I think leaving Pearl Harbor and the Boulden family and you might have been one of the saddest days of my life. But how thankful I am that you never lost me. When you and John hauled the kids up to Washington to see us when the twins were babies and Tim was out to sea- oh how did you minister to me then?! We left the kids, 11 in all by then (was Ashley there? maybe 12?), and you and John and I went to eat at the Boat Shed, on the water in Bremerton. I was starved for adult conversation and you two fed me. I remember a glass of wine and chocolate mousse for dessert, but mostly I remember how good it was to be with you again, how very, very sweet. On some cross-country travel, you all made a detour to Nebraska and again filled our house with Bouldens and we were blessed yet again. I am thankful for a much too quick day with my family and you and your James in DC when we were raising support to head to the mission field. You gave us a whirlwind tour of the monuments and the Air and Space Museum and we caught up on the years in a matter of hours. That must be a characteristic of the best friends, to be apart for years at a time, and yet pick up in a matter of minutes. Thinking about that, the time until we catch up again shouldn’t be too long. 

I’ve told you before, but I don’t want it left unsaid now- you taught this new believer so very much. I so badly needed teaching and you poured into me. You taught me how to study the Bible, how to check Scripture against the words of man, how to hide His word in my heart. You taught me how to pray, specifically and expectantly, for my family and for others. You taught me the beauty of hymns, and the sweet gentle lullabies of Michael Card for my babies. You taught me how important it is to invest in younger women, to share my walk and my family and everyday struggles and everyday joys. I remember those hard hard days with the Los Angeles, when all I could do was sit with you and listen and cry. It never seemed enough, but I think maybe it was. You taught me that sometimes to sit and listen and cry can be enough. Those are the lessons that I carry with me even today.

I confess, I have long hated the cancer that has stalked you for many too many years. But I have seen your fight, your interminable spirit, your very faithful thankfulness to God and His steadfast love to you, and that has been an incredible witness, encouragement  and inspiration to me. It was my great joy that you persevered through a late afternoon cloudburst thunderstorm to meet me in DC this last spring. We sat in that fancy hotel lobby until much too late in the evening, and I heard you making plans for the future, but I also knew that you were very content with the plans God has for you. It is my comfort to know this with great assurance- you are His. I have prayed that He will heal your body completely, that He will give you comfort and peace. I pray that knowing that it is His will and it will be done, if not now, then soon, in eternity. 

We learn in Revelation 21:4-5, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Even as you suffer the physical limitations of this broken world, I remember that “we do not grieve as those who have no hope.” When your days on this earth are complete, I will grieve and I will mourn along with the many, many others that you have loved so well, but I will also rejoice. Because of the work of Christ on the cross, because of His resurrection from the dead, and because your faith in Him, you will be made new. WOW, friend! What a thought! You will soon be running and singing and absolutely giving praise and worshipping in His glory, in the presence of the King!

I am thankful that our God allowed us these 20-some years of friendship, Cathie. You are always precious to me, and I love you much, friend.


As is my practice, I pressed on in memorizing Romans 12 this week, finding myself at verse 15- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Someday the hurts of this world will all make sense.


“An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.”
– Oscar Wilde

13 February 2015


bigBigBIG sale on the way, and SO much stuff piling up to get rid of.

Every time these sales come around, my thoughts return to
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV)

Every time. 
(I'm a lousy salesperson.)


hello, afternoon coffee break.

10 February 2015


I love Mondays.

(really. I do. I keep my calendar free- not one single place where I have to be. Crossed off nearly an entire list of to-do's today. I love Mondays.)

09 February 2015


First steps.

Tonight was the first meeting of a Spanish Bible study, a study that we are praying and planning will someday, not so long from now, lead to a new church plant in the Rio Grande Valley.

We guessed who would come, and they mostly did. However, one family that we expected to be there was not. To our surprise and delight, they confused the time and arrived just as everyone was leaving. They should be with us in the future.

What a sweet couple of hours, of laughing and learning and prayer and fellowship, likeminded in our pursuit of Christ and his kingdom. I think we're all excited and encouraged, and eager to see all that is ahead.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Gama and for Grace and the Pozos family, for those attending the study as we work through El Dios Prodigo by Tim Keller, and that more and more would join us and trust and believe in the Gospel of Christ in the weeks to come.

08 February 2015


"Today you are You, that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive who is Youer than You." 
— Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

Happy birthday to our favorite newest 13 year old! What a great group to celebrate with.

06 February 2015


Friday blessings-
Delight yourself in the Lord...,
smiles over cracked eggs,
shopping with my girls,
the best surprise gift in a Long Time,
chocolate chip M&M cookies warm from the oven,
praying without ceasing,
covenant families,
"some enchanted evening...,"
and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4 ESV)


These two- they had no choice but to take us, I think. What a leap of faith that was! They sharpen us, encourage us, and love us well. We are thankful that they are our teammates, friends and really, family.

Praying for your weekend and travels (& not coveting your sweet rental ride, not one bit...), Dan and Becky.

04 February 2015


At lunch we went out for tacos, my husband and I. I was still thinking about the 92 year old man who stopped me while I was running this morning. He had no idea where he was and no idea how to get home.

"What is the name of your street?" I asked. "Oh I don't remember that," he told me.
"Is it an old house or a newer house?" Yes, I think so."
"Do you think we should go that way?" and I pointed down the street. "Well it's north of here. Or maybe south."
"Can you tell me your wife's name?" "Why do you want to know?"
We wandered around the neighborhood for a while until thankfully, a neighbor saw him, named his street and pointed us in the right direction.

I took him home and he invited me in to meet his wife. "Oh thank you for bringing him home!" she told me. "I told him not to go past where he would remember."

How do we know where we start to forget, the point where we no longer remember? Someday I will likely be the one who confuses which city I'm living in, the name of my street, all the past moves blending into today or some place in between. But my biggest fear? That I'll start cussin'. Hopefully then my family will say, "She did an awfully good job of holding it back all those years."


Oh rain
I love you so,
especially because
you are not snow.

02 February 2015


I am as empty and full as a glass of water on a cleared desk. I want a cup not so full with the booming of my own life. I want it to be full of hush to sip from. Maybe that’s what holiness is, that hush, when all of our sacred words have been said and the silence follows.
- from "Seamless" by Jessie van Eerden in The Other Journal, May 28, 2009

01 February 2015


Super Bowl Sunday
or as we like to call it,
Annual Velveeta Day.


  • May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.
    -Irish Proverb