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29 February 2016


My week was heavy. I heard stories of darkness and brokenness and honestly, evil. They seem bigger than I even know how to help, longer that I even know where to begin. How easily could I be Jonah, tempted to run and hide? 
But the weekend brought rest and encouragement, the sweetness of friendship, the fellowship of community, the joy of worship, the peace of prayer. A few well-pointed questions set me right for the week ahead.
Ask the Lord where He has called you and you have not obeyed. Repent of your disobedience and be forgiven. 
Consider the places and people to which He has called you and you have responded with obedience. Praise Him for His direction.  
Ask the Father where He would lead you now. Who needs to hear His message of mercy today? 
May we go in obedience and by His grace. May we have the courage to joyfully share the message of God’s salvation — a message that is just as much for the rest of the world as it is for our own souls.
If I take the wings of the morningand dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me.If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you.-Psalm 139:9-12 ESV

28 February 2016



who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places...,
"door's unlocked!,"
two handed coffee and prayer,
field of sunflowers,
Saturday cleanup,
wedding cupcakes,
leftovers for lunch,
kitchen table conversation,
a hug for the road,
kicking a pink ball with a girl in pink,
"go long!,"
lingering long after dinner,
email catchup,
promise of tomorrow.

27 February 2016


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

- Pablo Picasso


At the end of this day, it was Panda Pop and pup.


Girls basketball playoffs in our 'hood. It was the Cardinal gym tonight, but my thoughts were all Eagle. We know something about state basketball championships, don't we...

22 February 2016


A day spent with these characters (and a couple more not in the frame) painting fences, working hard, getting dirty, laughing a lot.

I needed that.

If in doubt about the future generation, be encouraged.


My friend looked at me and asked "The twins are 17? Can you believe that?"

(fast forward film reel of life- delivery room ordered chaos, pink/orange baby left-green/blue baby right, sharing bed never clothes, everything times 2, "are they twins?," "they are TWINS?," double the love, double the blessing...)

just barely.

19 February 2016


I love surprises.

17 February 2016


“Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider's web?"
"Oh, no," said Dr. Dorian. "I don't understand it. But for that matter I don't understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle."
"What's miraculous about a spider's web?" said Mrs. Arable. "I don't see why you say a web is a miracle-it's just a web."
"Ever try to spin one?" asked Dr. Dorian.” 

- E.B. White, Charlotte's Web


“The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness than the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all.” 
- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel 


So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)

13 February 2016


MOB dress possibilities-
Madame Blueberry,
Lady Grantham,
The Cruise Ship,
The Nightgown,
and others which shall not be remembered...

followed by a well-deserved reward for the consulting team at Red Mango.


12 February 2016


The best part about teaching the art class is watching the kids create.
The second best part is that I can too.


They managed to surprise their teacher, bringing an early birthday party to class today. Each of the girls had a gift to present and a sweet word to say and their teacher cried. "I knew that she would cry!" one of the girls furiously signed to the rest. "Joyce cares for us so much and she always starts to cry when we are doing well!" We laughed out loud, because it is true! And it reminded me again, how important these relationships are. The girls are learning to sew and making great progress, but to see and know such an example of love through their teacher is equally as important.

(and that candle! what a wonder! it opened and turned and played a birthday tune!)

11 February 2016


When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God."

- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

(photo from a hazy day in Aquiles. They were burning trash over at the dump and I could see the heavy smoke over the neighborhood several miles before I even crossed the border. And even so, again this day we experienced the goodness of God.)


A long day ends catching up on the computer, and I am thankful for the reminder that His grace is sufficient for me.

(screen saver from Hand Lettering Co.)

09 February 2016


The view on this day included sugar cane smoke to the north, and a bustle of activity right below me. A short-term team in for the week and no one lacks for work. A landscape architect student eager to serve means cleaning up the yard and the trees and general beautification. Maybe even in Aquiles there is room for some curb appeal?


Not so super picture of a really super crowd to hang with on a Super Bowl evening...

05 February 2016


"She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next." 
— Beverly ClearyRamona the Pest 

Life is so interesting.

I started the day with a group of homeschool moms. How did it happen that I was (at least nearly was, nah, I'm pretty sure I was...) the oldest still-homeschooling one in the room? I got to share about art and draw lines and color and create with super creative and very fun 4th-6th graders. 

I borrowed money from a friend for the toll (a friend in need is a friend indeed!) and picked up a box-full of basketball trophies and drove down the road. I crossed into Mexico. Traffic backed up immediately. I got the red light (and so did seemingly everyone crossing into Mexico today). The guy looking in my car examined every trophy, even called over a supervisor, and then told me to have a nice day. 

I dodged pedestrians and cars and dogs in the street and wound my way back to our neighborhood. I spent the afternoon translating English to Spanish (which was then translated to Mexican Sign Language) for a class of girls from the deaf school learning to sew. I crossed back over to the States after being asked to buy peanut patties and pottery and snacks and jewelry, after offers to have my windows washed, after appeals for money and more appeals for money. I dropped off friends, and drove back down the road, talking about ESL with a friend in far-away-Nebraska ready to start Bible studies with Karen people. 

I picked up cupcakes for the end-of-the-year basketball banquet and chicken for our dinner and headed home, 10 hours later. 

What is going to happen next?

04 February 2016


If I were in kindergarten, today's report card might read:
Needs help wiping nose; doesn't play well with others. 


Dillon chillin' with some tunes...

(have I mentioned, he's a patient one...)


I walked into their room and time turned back and then flew forward, all in the blink of an eye.


I recently read about a ceramic art form called kintsugi, when artists use gold dust and lacquer to attach broken pieces together. Somehow the broken pieces become useful again, and even more beautifully held together than before the piece was broken.

After years of praying and months of waiting and weeks of planning, we spent this day focused on trafficking issues on both the Mexican and US side of the border. My heart broke into pieces over and again.

Our time together today was just a start. We have few specific answers and no concrete plans. But we move forward in hope, knowing that He who calls us is faithful, knowing that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. He can make the broken beautiful again. Would you pray for us and our teammates as we, broken people, go and live and serve in this broken world, and speak and show and love in Jesus' name?

02 February 2016


I headed toward the entrance to get my bulletin and her smiling face greeted me. Even though it had been many years, I recognized her immediately, and returning the grin came easy. We exchanged greetings and hugs and started to make our way to our pews. But then they stopped me and invited us to breakfast after church.
Invited us to breakfast after church!

We are rarely, rarely, invited to join folks to eat after worship. And so, that invitation came as an unexpected grace. But even more, what a treat to share a meal with this special couple. All five of us grinned ear to ear, from sitting down and squeezing into the booth to eating and on the drive home.

Our hearts and our bellies are full. You blessed our socks off, Dottie and Charles! Welcome to south Texas!