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31 October 2016


Dios era omnipotente y ya reina 
(Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya, aleluya) 

- Handel's Messiah (Spanish)

Thank you Grace Reformation Chorus for a wonderful evening of music and fellowship.
Our God reigns!


How can I say thanks enough, this gratitude for the blessing of community?
for corporate communion and prayer.
for the ones who are available when you are not.
for abiding trust.
for rejoicing and mourning together.
for cheering.
for sharing meals and sharing music and sharing books and sharing...
for iron that sharpens iron.
for deep from the gut laughing.
for everyday, mundane, extraordinary, ya-can't-make-this-stuff-up, life.


I don't have a designated space where I work. I'm a desk nomad, wandering from space to space, inching in here or there until the rightful tenant returns. I do have some favored spaces, though; places where the seat is whole and some bare desk shows through the piles. But, this desk isn't one of them. I often wonder, if I push something to the side too quickly will it self-destruct?

Who would have figured that a missionary role could be to create a better light bulb?

28 October 2016


"Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
- Michael Jordan

26 October 2016


The day that I joined the 21st century and checked out a library book electronically (and then lost two hours in a blink of the eye, completely absorbed in my new read... yikes!).


You have been treated generously, so live generously.
“Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment...
Matthew 10:8-10 (The Message)
Tuesday nights with these people is all joy.


The learning curve is huge.
I didn't know that there is a United Nations Day, but that sure explains the parade of flags and kids in non-native garb.
5th and 6th graders in class together? Not such a good idea, especially when a couple of boys are bent on disruption.
Do you take the candy offered by the cute little guy at recess or decline?

All of that, and then four girls come over and sit next to me on the sidewalk during break and start to share little bits about themselves.

I'll keep climbing.

23 October 2016


    • Often I listen to my wandering friend talk and I think, I am not patient enough. I am not smart enough. I am not enough.

      I am reminded again, He is enough.

      End of day and I'm still turning over the hymn from worship-

      Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love.

      Leading onward, leading homeward, to Thy glorious rest above.
      - "O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"


(794-1185 BC)
Believe it or not, shaved ice as we know it today, dates back several centuries ago to the Heian Period of Japan. Ice was collected from the mountains in the winter time and stored in a special room. This may sound odd but ice itself was considered rare during this time, so shaved ice was really a luxury reserved for royalty.

Later, thousands of Japanese immigrants came to the Hawaiian islands to work on the sugar plantations, bringing with them the first iterations of shaved ice. Using Japanese swords, they would shave large blocks of ice and then flavor the shaved ice with local fruit juices.

- "A Taste of Shaved Ice History"

Thanks Kona Ice for your generosity and for a little taste trip back to the Islands...

20 October 2016


How then we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
- Annie Dillard

spending time together,
(and if you are furry,


the guy buying coffee ahead of me who is retiring in 4 days,
whip cream on top,
our Spanish teacher,
and her little guy who shares his video with me,
prayers of the saints,
everyday crazy,
shared smiles,
laughing out loud,
"even so, it is well with my soul"

19 October 2016


But in the flood of life between the breakfast table and the pillow, we can forget what it means to be blessed. Is blessing wealth, success, and acclaim? It sure seems like it. We are inclined to spend our days striving for the sparkly, sumptuous blessings of the world. But the world has an upside down way of looking at life, and sometimes we have to squint, turn on our heads, and let our hair brush the ground to see it for what it is.
- from SheReadsTruth, "Announcing: The Beatitudes" 


Right now, a walk through the bodega at I-55 feels a little bit like visiting Santa's workshop- Christmas tree stands, wooden gingerbread houses and ornaments all at various stages of work in progress; our vocational ministry students and workers busy working hard. Christmas is coming! (hard as it is to believe when the daily temp at the US/MX border is still in the high 90's!)


Snippets while playing Would You Rather?...

Would you rather be the tag on the back of the car seat or the driver?
The tag.
No, that's wrong. Would you like to choose again?
Would you rather have no nose or no ears?
No ears.
Because if I had no nose, I couldn't pick it. 

Aren't four-year-olds the best?!


So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. 
Romans 12:1 (The Message)

A good day to remember the benefits and blessings of the Rule of Life, of discipline, of abiding in and living for Him who rules all things.

13 October 2016


26 years ago, we stood together in front of family and friends and our Lord, dressed in puffy sleeves and sharp Navy dress whites, and said, "I will." We had a hint of the story that might yet be before us, but not a clue of how chapters would be added and the plot would change along the way.
We don't have spectacular plans to celebrate this year. Last week my mom suggested, "you celebrate marriage every day."
Um. Well. Yes, we should. But, the truth is- we don't.
The truth is, that of all the people in the world, I have no doubt, we love one another the most. And truth is, that at times, we probably treat one another the most poorly.
I'm tremendously sorry for that and I know that he is too.
Again, can we mention that grace that humbles us, and surprises us, and propels us forward, again and again?
Tonight we will sneak out and share a meal together and remember to love one another well. (He does still take my breath away.)
I'm thankful that we continue to say "I will."

12 October 2016


I think about Tuesdays and sigh with contentment.
How thankful I am that the most full day of my week is mostly full of my favorites.


The morning flag ceremony came midday, under bright sun, and the third graders were extra wiggly. But the fifth grade knows how to parade the flag. The "YA!" on the corner turns couldn't have been shouted with more gusto.


Back when I was in college, a good friend used my car to get her driver's license. We went out a few times before the exam for her to practice. It was always an adventure- she was a crazy driver. Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer was at the top of the charts back then and always seemed to be on the radio when we were out. What an appropriate soundtrack that turned out to be! I didn't know that she had never driven before. She 'fessed up after she passed the test and had license in hand.

Lately on Sunday afternoons, I've been taking my wandering friend out, so she can practice driving in preparation for the driver's license test. Sometimes I have to smile, thinking about how unlikely, really, how crazy, it all seems. We practice parallel parking and she gets out to check the distance from the tire to the curb. We try again. I try not to distract her with talking while we drive. My friend, she can really talk, and then, she can lose track of what's around her. But she always remembers, almost spontaneously and often unexpectedly, to pray before we start out. 29 years and counting, I am yet living on a prayer.

09 October 2016


What a lovely day-
quiet early, a psalm to focus my heart, the wind while I run,
unhurried coffee with my man,
a trip to the store, new pair of shorts, a good cup of tea,
preparations for next week made,
a call that all is well,
celebrating with friends, really good food, laughing around the table, the hullabaloo of happy kids...

(and then I remembered what I forgot. Grocery shopping for the week ahead. Alas.)

08 October 2016


Running into Norma at the bodega workshop brings a guaranteed smile. I always look for her when I enter the property. One of the hardest working people I know, Norma works in the Isaiah 55 vocational ministry. She can do almost anything. Earlier in the week, she was assembling Christmas tree stands. On my way to sewing class on Friday, I stopped to take her picture while she was working on gingerbread houses. Norma is deaf but has little problem getting her point across, even though I hardly know sign language. I missed one of the guys in the first shot of this picture. She made it clear I needed to take it again and include all three at the table. Again, I walk away so thankful for where the Lord has us.

06 October 2016


I started running about 3 years ago. In honesty, "running" probably isn't the correct word- really, it's more like a shuffle, faster than a walk but almost anyone will lap me eventually. I always loved the idea of running, but never suffered long with the reality. But a few years ago, a friend suggested a 5K and I thought "why not?" and as such, a runner was born.

I didn't run much this summer. I got off track (ha!) after our Epic Trip North and then spent a good many days in Mexico and can't really run there, and well, you know, it's Just Plain HOT here in the summer. But in August, I started up again, with my handy 10K app as my personal trainer, with renewed determination.

Earlier this week, a friend and I laughed over a meme that read, "If you see me collapse, pause my watch." I confess, I laughed a little bit nervously. Running accentuates the very worst of my OCD qualitites. When I run, I clip on my little shuffle for music. I strap on the watch that tells me how far and how slow fast I move. I make sure to pocket my phone for the 10K app and to count my steps and to make a call if I collapse. Finding one of those devices uncharged..., that could be a deal breaker.

When I go out in the morning to run, I first walk to the corner of my street. I tuck in my ear buds. I wait for my watch to find a signal. I fire up the app. Then I do a crazy series of taps and clicks, trying to get the music, the watch, the app started all in sync. I have a mental debate with myself- do I time the "walk" portion of the 10K app, because that will change my average speed...? What about when I have to stop for crawling traffic to cross the street at the school zone...? At the end of the run, I find it impossible to stop in the middle of a song, or at an odd increment of mileage or an odd amount of time. I make an extra loop around my cul-de-sac and wonder if the neighbors see me out the window and think, really? I fully realize how inconsequential and how irrational it all is. I am a 48 year old shuffler! This doesn't matter! And yet...

And yet, despite all that craziness, despite hobbling up the stairs after arriving home because I don't trust my left knee, despite melting to the floor of my room to just lie under the fan and breathe... I love running. I love that I CAN run. I love being out. I love when my most loved songs come on my already favorite playlist. I love the random dogs that follow me and seem to love running too. (I don't love the pit bull that scared the bejeebers out of me this morning, but thankfully, that's rare...) I love the world awakening at dawn. I love noticing the change in seasons and the glory of the sunrise.

'Cause I will run and not grow weary 'til I'm face to face sings one of my favorite running tunes.
I'm gonna run.

04 October 2016


In September I started teaching English in the elementary school located in the Mexican neighborhood where we serve. I'm in the school once a week for a morning, rotating through three classes of 3rd through 6th graders. As would be expected, they look at me with mix of amusement and curiosity, this odd gringa lady who comes in speaking English. Slowly very slowly, we repeat basic vocabulary over and again. I see them laugh, and know that they are laughing at themselves and they are laughing at me. That's ok. I'm teaching as a volunteer; my primary motivation is to know these kids, to build relationships, to be familiar in the neighborhood where we serve. I want to show them Jesus over and again, on repeat just as much as those simple English words.

This week during the morning break time, what would be called recess back in the day, I sat outside the classroom, sitting on the sidewalk in the morning sun, reading my book. A sweet young girl accompanied by two friends, dressed in the white shirt-white skirt-black shoes-uniform of the day, from my first class comes over and holds out a can of apple juice, and says to me in Spanish, "This is for you." "No thank you," I tell her, "I am fine. I have my water." "No," she answers, "It's from him." She nods her head towards the little boy standing down the sidewalk. "OH!" I said, beginning to understand. "Well, thank you." She turns and says to the boy, "GRACIAS, ALEJANDRO!" I too look over, hold up the can, grin at him, and repeat, "Gracias, Alejandro!" He looks up, flicks his head in a non-verbal "de nada" and runs across the cement. The girls giggle and turn and leave me to my morning juice break.

I am still smiling.
Maybe this is progress.

03 October 2016


You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)

01 October 2016


Good morning.
Good morning sleeping house.
Good morning 68 degrees.
Good morning green squawking parrots on the wire.
Good morning October.


A squabble in the car on the way to work.
Text messages about the rest of the day plans.
Making arrangements across national borders.
Knowing you will get home too late.
Some days are wanting to be here and wanting to be there all at the same time.


Who decides it is National Coffee Day? Isn't every day coffee day?
A first thing in the morning trip through get to work and school traffic and we arrive to the waiting room just on time. The vending machine gives two choices.
Always choose sparkling.