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28 September 2016


Tuesday blessings-
"He always gives you Himself,"
weather for my fave shoes and a long sleeve shirt,
a French press shared,
tables and chairs in place,
dinner in the crock pot,
afternoon quiet visits,
returning students,
cheerful helpers,
GIFs that make me laugh out loud,
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, 
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, 
in those who hope in His steadfast love.

27 September 2016


A rainy morning gives hope that perhaps a change of seasons might not be far behind. I arrive at the school just a few minutes late. The dirt next to the van is soft, almost but not quite mud, enough to stick to my shoes and flick on my toes. I go to the gate, and it is locked. I peer through the fence, and see a few lights but not many for this dim day. I walk the perimeter of the fence and round the corner, stepping carefully to check the second entrance. It too is secure. I can see not a soul on the property. I leave, wondering what I missed in translation.

26 September 2016


Make me like a little child, 
Of my strength and wisdom spoiled 
Seeing only in Thy light, 
Walking only in Thy might

- "Jesus Cast a Look On Me" by John Kerridge

25 September 2016


Football Saturday in South Texas-
Huskers on the radio,
corn growing in the fields.

24 September 2016


My assignment was to make a sample using the Indian embroidery technique of Kantha.
In Mexico.
I'm hooked.


The dark is just a canvas
For Your grace and brightness
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

- Rend Collective, "Joy"

(and how I love it when the playlist fits the moment...!)

22 September 2016


One girl, ten pairs of shoes, previously scattered through the house.
"Couldn't you just carry them to my room?" she asked.


21 September 2016


A day full of tasks, full of here and there and ins and outs, adding items to the list and crossing them off. But the most significant moments of the day couldn't be listed as lines on an index card. Rather, over and again, the best time was spent sitting next to people and listening to stories.

20 September 2016


I spent the afternoon in sewing class for the young ladies from the deaf school, helping to bridge the gaps in communicating from English to Spanish to Mexican Sign Language. We watch our master seamstress check the work of the girls since she has been away, measuring distance between darts and looking for the straight stitch and judging seam allowances with a critical eye. The girls wait for the critique, knowing the high standards of their teacher. We see their faces light when told "well done."

There are four brand new girls, just beginning to learn the signs for the craft and the habits of the seamstress. They move to choose fabric for their first project and feel the weight of the cloth carefully, rubbing it between their fingers, judging if it has suitable heft to be transformed into a bag. They measure, and then measure again, and perhaps again, before cutting. They check everything, and have everything checked.

Measure twice, cut once declares the old adage for carpentry. Yet, some traditions say that it was originally said measure seven times, cut once. I keep thinking, how much better off we would be to adapt the same caution in much of life, to plan and then execute, to think before speaking. I remember the correction and then thoughtful praise of the instructor with her learners, how the girls respond to her expectation of excellence.  The girls are not the only students today.

19 September 2016


"Who are we? We are pilgrims on a journey with a glorious destination assured. What have we been given? Well, the guarantee of the future grace of eternity assures us that we will have all the grace we need in the present or we would never have what we need to finish the journey."
- Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies

confession- by late afternoon, I questioned that "all the grace we need in the present" part...

18 September 2016


"God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." 
- attributed to Eric Liddell, but actually from the Chariots of Fire script

She's fast. And watching her run makes me smile in awe. But even better is watching her run as part of that group in the shadows. You have a fan club, girl, even if you never win another race ever again.


"I love the colors of Mexico," wrote my friend after seeing the photo I took on Mexican Independence Day. I smiled. Except that the picture was taken in Texas, I thought. This strange and extraordinary life I live. We began the day with breakfast in a very Mexican restaurant in Texas, huevos mexicanos and tortillas and an empanada and cafe, Spanish resonating from the many televisions, a birthday serenade of Las Mañanitas. We leave and then really do travel over the border, across the bridge, and see the long winding line of those waitingwaitingwaiting to enter the United States today. We curve along the river and past the boy look-outs and horse-drawn carts and into the neighborhood. Morning greetings of Buenos dias, ¿como estas? returned with the very correct assessment of Estamos aquí. I work on the English lessons I'll share with Spanish speakers, young and old, in the week to come. Conversation, and then prayer, spoken in the broken yet fluid rhythm of Spanish, English, Spanish, English. How has God made my mind to adapt? How has God made my heart to soften and mold to love this life of crossing borders and culture and language? ¡Viva México!, indeed.

15 September 2016


Staring at the water about to boil, I think, How is it that the same circumstance affects each of us so differently? Eggs harden while the potato softens. Some cry, some pout, and some retreat in private silence. One sees challenge to be met while the other fears defeat.

You can give yourself to love, to forgive, to confess, to confront, to trust, to persevere, even when things are hard because "he gives more grace." 
- Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies


13 September 2016


“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth."
"What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza.
"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quijote, "you don't know much about adventures.” 

― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

For most of the week just past, I looked to the absolutely open calendar of Sunday, nothing but worship and rest. Maybe I was holding that a little bit too tight.

She travels with a plastic milk crate strapped to a luggage cart by a web of bungee cords. The box is covered by a well-used blue tarp to protect it, and herself, from the ever-present sun and the occasional rains. Most everything she owns can be found in that package. I saw it parked along the hallway when I walked out of Sunday school and realized that perhaps my afternoon was about to detour from that perch on my couch.

She came into our church about a month ago, maybe a little bit more, looking for help in obtaining a driver's license. I didn't realize that she was homeless that day, but I should have. She's very self-sufficient, and living on the street has been a choice for her. Sort of. She doesn't want to stay at the local shelter, but I don't think that she sees herself as vagabond, either.

She says that she wants to work and she earnestly seeks applications. But it doesn't take much time with her to know that she wrestles with demons, and that somehow, something in her past makes her present not quite right. She wants to get a driver's license though she has no reason to believe that she will own a car. "I believe that when a person has a skill they should keep it up, to be ready when they need it," she told me. Who can argue with that?

I've rarely felt as useless to be of any help as when I am with her. I think I've decided that right now, the best good may be as simple as to treat her with the respect and dignity worthy of one created in His image. She listed off, nearly verbatim from the state manual, the skills she needed to practice, changing lanes, ability to yield to oncoming traffic, acknowledge signage and signals... I have sat in the passenger seat for 6 teens learning to drive, and now this. We drive.

We point north and soon find ourselves in the shadows of the towering turbines twirling. I smile and wonder, are we tilting at windmills too? I give up a quiet afternoon at home for a drive in the country, for a load of laundry cleaned, for a simple meal shared, for a few eccentricities and a little inconvenience. I am still learning about becoming less. I am still learning about adventure, too.