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31 October 2015


Pretty good for a bunch of kids who couldn't care less what day it is.


I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

- Psalm 27:13-14


Earlier in the day I was reminded to give thanks in all circumstances.
I confess, I lost that perspective right after the box of uniform jerseys without numbers arrived...

30 October 2015


Here is something we can share with all the people in the world. They cannot all be brilliant or rich or beautiful. They cannot all even dream beautiful dreams like God gives some of us. They cannot all enjoy music. Their hearts do not all burn with love. But everybody can learn to hold God by the hand and rest. And when God is ready to speak the fresh thoughts of heaven will flow in like a crystal spring. Everybody rests at the end of the day, what a world gain if everybody could rest in the waiting arms of the Father, and listen until he whispers. 
-Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank C. Laubach, 1937.

29 October 2015


We native speakers don't ever think about how much there is to remember when forming a grammatically correct sentence, subject and pronoun agreement and singular and plural verbs and word order and accent marks that aren't even written down. Yet these women persevere and make mistakes and receive correction gracefully and continue on with diligence. They encourage me in my own language-learning journey, and they exhort me in my walk with Christ, reminding me of His steadfast love and faithfulness to us. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy...


Golden birthday: The ‘Golden Birthday’ is the day where a human being turns the same age as the date to which they were born (Example, turning Twelve on the 12th of October). 
- Urban Dictionary (just ignore the stuff about Big Bangs and Magic Wizards and infinite levels of Power... what?!?)

We were late to this Golden Birthday idea (sorry Susannah! sorry James!), but better late than never, right? Then Keilah finds a birthday twin to celebrate alongside and turns a birthday into a birthweek. May all your year be all joy and all your birthdays be golden, Keilah.

(and the rest of us, we are thinking a Golden Birthday do-over...)

28 October 2015


The night that Alfredo surprised us all with mole de pollo and homemade rice and a fresh squeezed limeade and a tall stack of fresh tortillas. The night I smiled all the way home.


For a good many years we lived just up the street from a QT. We were regulars- regulars as in the people that walk in and the counter help greets with familiarity. And I'm not talking the usual "hi-welcome-to-QT," but more of a "hey guys! Ready for your slushes?" Or even, "Aren't you a bit early today?" That kind of regular.

In those same years, I carried my kids around on a lot of missions. We walked alongside a lot of folks in those years. We experienced and shared situations and lives that were messy and beautiful and crazy and broken and sad and sweet and beautiful. I imagine it all as one crazy mosaic pattern.

My kids were patient. And generous. They flexed. They played with kids that weren't always easy friends. They often waited beyond when they should have waited. They helped when they would rather have been doing something else. Maybe part of that was the promise of slushees. But they still help today. No slushees. I am grateful. Maybe that when they are old they won't depart from it really is a promise.

(photo from a DFW area QT- sadly, none in the Rio Grande Valley; but then again, we do have the Laredo Taco Company...)


The King of Love my Shepherd is, 
Whose goodness faileth never; 
I nothing lack if I am His 
And He is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow 
My ransomed soul He leadeth, 
And, where the verdant pastures grow, 
With food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, 
But yet in love He sought me; 
And on His shoulder gently laid, 
And home, rejoicing brought me.
In death’s dark vale, I fear no ill 
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me; 
Thy rod and staff my comfort still, 
Thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spread’st a table in my sight; 
Thine unction grace bestoweth; 
And O what transport of delight 
From Thy pure chalice floweth.
And so through all the length of days, 
Thy goodness faileth never; 
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise 
Within Thy house forever.


Slow morning, long breakfast,
me and him,
wandering Trader Joe's,
squash soup and fresh brewed tea,
a cookie,
another cookie,
10 amazing Half Price Book minutes,
For the Nations,
new friends,
Isaiah 31:33-34,
familia, confianza, animo.

24 October 2015


"These fights to defend Austin's soul from development have been going on since before the invention of the garage band. Or, as Josh wrote, "For some Austinites, the only satisfactory historical account of the city's weirdness would begin some time before the Paleozoic era, where no doubt the first tattooed multicellular hipster emerged from Barton Springs riding atop a salamander, slowing his ambling gait only to ask for directions to the nearest free concert."
I'm not sure Stephen F. Austin would be so impressed... 


And then there are days when chicken pot pie is just the thing.


There is in the universe a higher kind of beauty. It is the beauty of sacrifice, of giving up for others, of suffering for others... The beauty of sacrifice is the final word in beauty.
- Frank C. Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic (written in 1937)

20 October 2015


We can hear their noise and call before we can see them. And even when we do see the darkened forms, we do not see them clearly, hindered by the juxtaposition of dark and glare of the incoming storm. But quick darts here and there confirm- the parrots are back. We keep our eyes up. Lots of birds come through the Rio Grande Valley this time of year. More parrots, less grackles, say we.

14 October 2015


25 years.
300 months.
1300 weeks.
9125 days. 
3 jobs.
13 cities.
14 homes.
6 kids.
3 grandkids.
one very faithful God able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.

Today proves exceedingly ordinary- driving girls to class and practice, finishing routine chores, sending ministry reports, teaching English class. I confess, I probably didn’t expect this 25 years ago. Oh, I knew life wouldn’t be all glamour, but I maybe hoped that a 25th anniversary day would have a destination involved, maybe some new bling…

Instead of a candlelit dinner in a faraway place, tonight will find me and my groom in separate places. He wakes up early on Wednesdays, so he’ll probably go to bed before I’m home from a late meeting. I’ll step lightly up the stairs, ready for sleep in the dark, and slip in bed next to him. I know just where my arm will notch under his and how my head on the pillow will fit next to his. That’s the comfort of 25 years. 

It sometimes surprises me, how much we know about each other. At this point, I have learned the certain phrases that come as predictable response. We correctly anticipate the other’s reaction to much of what we do and say. Yet, we find ourselves startled at the most unexpected moments. We stumble into offense and humble ourselves, repentant. We are the ever more the same and yet always different. We walk together in the constant ebb and flow of living out grace.

We promised as long as we both shall live just barely beginning to understand how hard some days of adversity, sickness and sorrow might be. 9125 ordinary days firm an extraordinary covenant. No matter the candles nor sparkly gems. This being known and being loved may be the sweetest reflection of the gospel we will know. We love because He first loved us. 

13 October 2015


“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” 
― Annie DillardPilgrim at Tinker Creek

12 October 2015


Tall towers.
Sweetly mischievious little boys who destroy with glee.
Little girls caring for little girls who are caring for little girls.
Animal crackers in paper cups.
Counting books read outloud.
Clean up before the last hymn finishes.

Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
- Psalm 127:3 (MSG)

11 October 2015


Two handed coffee at dawn, a long lunch at noon, football play by play through the end of the afternoon, dinner around a full table at dusk, and waiting for a homecoming to end the day.

10 October 2015


“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

09 October 2015


“Think of the self that God has given as an acorn. It is a marvelous little thing, a perfect shape, perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional. Think of the grand glory of an oak tree. God’s intention when He made the acorn was the oak tree. His intention for us is ‘… the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting-goes. When you look at the oak tree, you don’t feel that the loss’ of the acorn is a very great loss. The more you perceive God’s purpose in your life, the less terrible the losses seem.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot


emergency rations.

07 October 2015


The best of evenings- blue skies, wisp clouds, good friends, sweet community, friendly competition, celebrating a terrific young man's birthday.
And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Thanks Ben!

06 October 2015


Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily following,
Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering;
Type of the modern—emblem of motion and power—pulse of the continent...

- from "To a Locomotive in Winter," in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1881)

04 October 2015


It is good to give thanks to the Lord, 
to sing praises to  your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, 
and your faithfulness by night...
- Psalm 92:1-2 (ESV)

That steadfast word- His checed- His lovingkindness and benevolence and mercy towards us...
in His presence, I am awed.

03 October 2015


"Jesus, please help us understand how our suffering can be understood as participating in your sufferings. Your death on the cross was a once-and-for-all suffering—perfectly securing the salvation of your people. However, you’re not a distant, disconnected, dispassionate Savior. You are presently making all things new, and this involves showing up in the messes and madness of life.
Where there is injustice, disease, brokenness, and suffering, you are right there. How do we join you there, joyfully  and enter into the costly and redemptive fellowship of the suffering? (Phil. 3:10) Grant us grace for this calling, Lord."


today I cleaned my room.
and that sounds like not-such-a-big-deal.
except I'm thinking that now I might not ever leave...

01 October 2015


and another season begins.


"Go, dogs. Go!" The light is green now.
- Go, Dog. Go! by Dr. Seuss

Silly dog, taking the girls to school.