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30 May 2016


As if just a night at the diamond wasn't satisfying enough, few experiences amuse like a night at a minor league ballpark. It's all about entertainment. We went on Planet of the Ape Night, which meant the Bananamobile showed up. (Banana Gorilla fans, anyone?) And the grounds crew? Dressed in banana and gorilla suits, of course.

The mascots were terrific! Crash the River Rascal out danced Roxy, and moved his belly with style. And poor Franky the Swimming Pig- because naming a pig Franky (with the official number 8 OZ.) is the most unfortunate mascot name ever.

The Between-Inning-Entertainment? It was raining monkeys when they threw out blow-up mini-apes. There was the Appliance Race sponsored by the local gas company, when little kids in the oven, washing machine, and water heater boxes raced to the thermostat. There were the guys shooting arrows at the guy in the balloons suit, and the quote of the night, "Not THOSE balloons!!" (yes! NO! yikes!!) There were the young ladies from the bachlorette party in the Dizzy Bat Race. (so sorry that we laughed when you fell over. So sorry!) There were the Bumper Balls, the folks rolling around in the human gerbil balls. There were cute kids everywhere.

And the Special Appearances! For one night only- Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard and Team Ghost Riders- "three of the best sheep dog riding monkeys in the business!" Yes, monkeys riding border collies to herd the goats in the outfield, right around the guys warming up for the top of the 5th. You can't make this stuff up!

We sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the 7th inning stretch. We ate cotton candy and ice cream.  We had a Huge beer (that was what it was called. honest!) Our team won! The evening finally finished with fireworks, complete with grand finale.

Thanks West Michigan Whitecaps! We had a great night out!

28 May 2016


Wonder is an appropriate response to all things because all things are wonderfully made.

We set the alarm and set out at the beginning of the day; this time adventure was in walking distance from home. The lady at the desk seemed surprised when we knocked on the door and wanted to pay, but the price seemed like a pretty good bargain compared to beauty we soaked in. 

(photo from the Meadow at Blanford Nature Center, Grand Rapids, MI)


The joy of standing on the shore of the lake that seems as wide as the ocean, next to people you cherish with love deeper than the sea...


“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” 
― Frederick Buechner

27 May 2016


My favorite part of culture- food.
We've not consumed tacos in 17 days.
But we have had burgers and root beer in Denton.
Curry and pho and good midwestern fresh vegetables and stone fruits.
Rhubarb pie and rhubarb cake and rhubarb crisp and rhubarb pastries. (Rhubarb! We mourn the absence of rhubarb in south Texas...)
Pickled baloney and aged cheese and Vernor's ginger ale.
Ice cream! Cinnamon at Ted & Wally's and lemon soft-serve at Charley's & Traverse Cherry at Kilwin's...

And even so, ready for tacos in a few more days!

26 May 2016


Possessions are only the traveling luggage of time; they are not the stuff of eternity. It would be sensible therefore to travel light
—John Stott


“…[G]rown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
- GK Chesterton, as quoted in "Remembering What We Mean," by Doug McKelvey

The day was full. Prayer and worship and lunch and party and party and party. But our hearts are full too. I am grateful for friends who are tremendous examples of checed, in the everyday ordinary walking through life, in easy-but-yet-so-generous hospitality, in mundane faithfulness, with extraordinary "do it again" vitality, even in the hard things. Our time together was much too brief and passed in a blink of the eye. Ah, but for the expectation of eternity and the end of good-byes!


She called to tell me that she needed another 45 minutes, so I dawdled for an hour. I stopped for a really good cup of coffee and maybe grieved just a bit that we didn't have this stop in the 'hood back then. Or in my current 'hood either. A phone chat set me straight to finish well. I found my way to her new home. And realized that the best thing I could do is spring for a slushee and pray.


So Spirit, come, put strength in ev'ry stride,
Give grace for ev'ry hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory.

- "O Church Arise," by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend


There is a holy discontentment. It is not a nail-biting uncertainty about our standing with God. It is the increased appetite of those who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2–3). It is the pursuit of those who have been pursued and captured by the strong arms of love. “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12).

-John Piper in “The Danger of Drifting Away,” Desiring God blog


We spent the day sharing about the kingdom work on the US/Mexico border, and being encouraged by those who have faithfully partnered with us in prayer and in finances and in short-term visits. Over and again this week, we marvel at how our God has worked out such wonderful timing, gatherings with people at events we could never have planned or hoped for on our own.


How can you really explain the wonder of a day at the zoo? We oohed and aahed as if it were all new for the first time. The technicolor plumage of tropical birds. The regal lions and tigers. The sleepy bears in the sun. The elephants, still acclimating to their new home, wander slowly. A 900 pound polar bear floats effortlessly. The monkeys charm. (The gorillas, eek! Privacy, please!) The jellyfish mesmerize. We duck bats in the jungle. We watch the giant sea turtle pursue the scuba-clad diver like a pup wanting his back scratched. And bonus, all with the companionship of old friends willing to change their plans for a day to meet us. Truly, it's all happening at the zoo.


I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.
- Sadako Sasaki, in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes


The day was clear and cool and we quickly realized that we are altogether acclimated to south Texas heat. My temperature finger was numb the entire day. Thanks to a steaming bowl of Pho to work the magic of warming us up.


Would that be New Old House or Old New House? What delight to squint and imagine all the possibilities that the future might hold while adding new stories for these old walls to tell...

13 May 2016


The road unfurled before us through the entire day of travel.
Isn't it a wonder how wide-open spaces look so different from place to place?


Dear written word,
I owe you an apology.
I confess, I have been much too easily distracted.
Yes, I have allowed nonsense electronics to come between us.
I have spent much too much mindless time with Panda Pop and such.
It hasn't been restful and it certainly is not edifying.
Please forgive me.

brown girl dreaming reminded me that I have loved words and stories and books, the page turning of books, for as long as I can remember.
Then I picked up Gold after a long winter's rest on my bedside shelf and didn't want to be distracted until I knew exactly how it would end.
A bit of time for browsing through the musty aisles turned up two new finds to add to my travel collection.

I'm back.
We need to spend more time together; I know we do.
Can we still be friends?

Yours truly,


Prematurely daylight turns to dark.
Lightning flashes.
The rain comes in waves.
We begin to remember what severe thunderstorm season looks like.


Already there are stories 
in my head. Already color and sound and words.
Already I'm
drawing circles on the glass, humming 
myself someplace far away from here.
- brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson 

a pass through the car wash and making ready for the road ahead.

10 May 2016


Blessed to spend the day with these three who call me mom.

08 May 2016


slow morning,
slow run,
flowers in bloom,
fields full and growing,
dogs who run with me,
dogs who don't bite,
a drive down the road,
friends who are role models,
girls who sit next to me,
rejoicing with those who rejoice,
a snickerdoodle and tea with lemon,
laughing, hard,
moments to catch up, even in the street,
a really good calzone,
a really good book,
the promise of worship tomorrow.

07 May 2016


Worked up a sweat on the Gravity Ropes.
Assassinated by my own daughter in Laser Tag.
Utterly inept at Dance Dance Revolution.
Marginally average on the Alpine Race slopes.
And yet, somehow managed to own the 10 pin lane!


The Italian beef? Pretty much a disaster. (This happens. Google "can you eat the thing under meat in packaging"...)
But the French Silk Pie? THAT made up for all other wrongs!

05 May 2016


The day breaks full of promise at 6:50, when it's just you and your sneaks and the 'hood getting started on the day. But it didn't seem to take long before I felt nearly done in. We went to watch Jesse Owens run in the theater and then much too soon after faced the frustrating reality of race conversation in my own world. I splurged on a rare pedicure but waited clueless when I didn't know the Asian dialect of the salon or the customs of the service. I later sat next to a friend and translated the reasons for laughter and stumbled across lines of language and culture over and again. It was a day where I never really felt fully anywhere- another day in the "already and the not yet" kingdom.

03 May 2016


Oh how we love these people! This evening we finished another semester of Conversational English classes at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Over the last nine months, we have had the opportunity to meet 50 different people who all came in the doors hoping to improve their English skills. We have had the opportunity to teach English. We have had the opportunity to know our neighbors. We have had the opportunity to learn about one another and share joys and trials and sorrows and to pray for one another. And we have had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ, to share the reason for our hope. They thank us, but really the blessing is ours. Well done, friends!


Roadside gawkers on the morning run...


after the (toddler induced) earthquake...


Turning one,
just begun,
happy first birthday to our favorite little monkey!


Oh April-
You were One Very Full Month,
full of rejoicing and mourning all the way through,
full of busyness and calendars marked up and places to be and things to do,
full of people and meetings and parties and appointments...

Paul David Tripp writes, "It's at the intersection between sadness and celebration that the true love of our hearts is exposed."

Today I find myself thankful that He who redeems my life from the pit also crowns me with steadfast love and mercy.

(and I am thankful for girls not-too-old for bouncy field trips, singing in the car, a quick book stop, fresh brewed ice tea, and just-right evenings)

01 May 2016


He was only interested in me because I had a handful of Chocolately Cats.