Sunday, December 28, 2008

Costa Rica, Dec 2008

Orozco-Thompson-Wenzel families and Orozco-Thompson-Clancy families

Very early on Christmas eve, Cathie, Hannah, and I began our journey together that brought us to San Jose, Costa Rica, to visit Justin, Alison, and Cailyn for a week. After a smooth flight (yeah for Cathie!), we arrived and survived an exciting van ride for the 40 minutes to their home. Justin's family (Teri, Andy, Preston, and Allie) were here already, so we were all able to spend 2 days together. On Christmas day we followed the Costa Rican tradition of having a late dinner. Joining us were Mark Clancy and his parents, Danny and Susan, and another young couple our Lima Team has befriended, Jason, Lindsey, and Shelby Cleaver (also going to Lima, Peru). What a feast!

On Christmas eve we spent time opening gifts and of course the main attraction was Cailyn's activity. Lot's of pictures and laughs for all of us.

Our daily routine has been to hang out around the house, play with Cailyn, play games, nap, and take day trips by bus, taxi, and walking. Cailyn likes to yell for a taxi whenever we get to the main road, whether we need one or not. Cathie and I decided that our night time routine would include bath time with Honey (Cathie) and then singing time with DaddyO and Honey before going to bed. It has been the real treasure of the trip to have Cailyn get on the bed, lay down and wait for us to lay down with her. Tonight, she and Cathie were on the bed and I was putting something in the living room. Cailyn yelled out, "Da'O, Da'O" because I wasn't in the bed fast enough for her. With the lights out, Cathie and I sing random praise songs while Cailyn lays there and falls asleep. As I said earlier, this is the real treasure for us.
. We covet your prayers.

May the Lord's blessings be evident to you

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caroling, College Station Friends

As many of you know we leave in less than 48 hours for Costa Rica. The kids left on August 20th so we are ready to hug them and play with Cailyn!!! But in the middle of thinking of this, we have enjoyed many other events. Our tradition of caroling continued here in Abilene. We were excited to have some College Station friends here to join with us this year. We went to University Place and enjoyed a time with Grams, a friend of Hannah, Lynn Spivey and Janet Jergins' mom, and the Brooms (missionaries of long ago). We headed to see two families that Hannah met while here in Abilene, the Lakey and the Riggs families. We ended with visiting Jacque, Mitzi Mills' mom. Refreshments and the reading of The Night Before Christmas waited on us back home.

On Sunday, Mike, Kathy, Jayden and Scott came to spend the day with us. Of course Mike brought his guitar. We enjoyed much singing. Jayden and Hannah especially. An another highlight was Hannah's boyfriend, Jason Grassie, showcased his yodeling abilities, a new insight for all of us!! We got to share our Hope church family with the Holts and then enjoyed a new game, The Last Word.

Continuing on with visits, Erin and Travis Bodeker were in Abilene visiting family and we had them for lunch today. They are living in Chicago now while Travis is in medical school. What a JOY to remember our sweet times in College Station, and make new memories in Abilene.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What do you want me to do for you?

That is the question Jesus asked Bartimaeus in Luke 18:35-43. I have such memories of reading this story to the girls out of the Read A-loud Bible Story book. Moms and Grandmoms, check out this resource. There are a couple of volumes, and I'm sure there have been additions since my girls were little.

As I worked back through a chapter in the book, Sacred Rhythms, I read this story again. Shanna French, a young wife who is earnestly seeking the Lord, has asked for us to share about this book, chapter by chapter, over email. Isn't technology great!!! She is in Houston and I'm in Abilene and yet we can walk with each other as we journey.

When I ask myself this question, it takes time of silence to really come up with an answer. Do I know myself well enough to answer? I must be still and let the sediment settle. How blessed I am that in the Christmas season God allows me to have time to sit and be quiet. I love that things are as they are in my life at this point. Our move has awakened "what do I really want and what does God really want" in our lives. I mean, we know that our lives are about a ministry of reconciliation, II Corinthians 5:18-20 -- yielding ourselves and begging others on behalf of Christ to reconcile to God, but how that plays out each day is a mystery. I really love to walk into each day and see what He brings me. Soon, I need to share with you the ones He has introduced us to here in Abilene.

Bartimaeus asked for his sight, a physical need. I love it that it was physical because sometimes we think that physical needs don't really matter, it is only the spiritual needs we need to ask about. I don't believe that. Daniel laughs at me because I find myself asking for things like parking spaces, productivity of the day or that someone will answer their phone. I do get to the deeper things, but i don't see a limit to what I ask my Father about. All that said, when all is thought about ....

My answer is: I want myself and my family now and for generations to come to be deeply in love with God, to be intent on searching Him out, to be passionately in love with their Heavenly Father, to have deep relationship with their creator. To Trust.

Listen to Jesus asking you, What do you want me to do for you?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December 4 update on house building

Well, we are about 4 weeks from final inspection and move in. Cathie and I are extremely excited. A major obstacle was overcome today when we found out that the floor tile we ordered 6 weeks ago was not going to be shipped into the country, but we got the word that a sufficient amount was located to complete our project. This is a key victory, since we used the stone color to influence the other colors of the house. today our 2 gates were installed. Both sides and the back of our property already have fence, so we just needed to put in the gates. We will work on the grass for the front and finish about 5-8 rows in the backyard on the weekend of Dec 12-14. Enjoy these few pics.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Women of Faith

Hannah and Alyson (a friend in the speech path. program at U. Tulsa) invited myself and Alyson's mom to attend WOF with them in Oklahoma City earlier in Nov. We met up on Thurs. evening and enjoyed a visit in a hotel about 15 min. from the Ford Center. Friday from 9-3:30 we attended the pre-conference. The whole theme was "I Second That Emotion". Patsy Clairmont was one of the speakers along with Anita Renfroe. You may have seen Anita sing on you tube about what moms say each day, to the tune of William Tell Overture. Anita had the funniest video while she sang. It was about thinking before you eat. It was hilarious. Hannah and I both had wished we had Alison with us. She loves to laugh so much.

The main thought i brought home was the idea that we have an emotion that is usually our default emotion. We pull it out in most situations we are in. It was very introspective. This emotions is what colors our glasses as we look at situations and since emotions can't be trusted, deception may come in. The importance of staying in the Word and seeking out wise counsel was suggested. We laughed and cried quite a bit. There was a portion that we were encouraged to think about and even thank the women we have been taught by, mentored by, encouraged as we journey this time on earth. My mom was of course my first thought but then many women in College Station came to mind. I cried, of course, but they were good tears. I know God puts them in a bottle. Ps. 56:8.

Sandi Patti and Nicole C. Mullins were both there to sing. They are both very different singers but I loved them as they presented their talent from God. If you have the opportunity to attend the Women of Faith Conferences, I suggest taking the time and go with a friend. Thank you, Penny Jackson and Kathy Holt for introducing this conference to me and encouraging me to attend all those years ago. Peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

1st Thanksgiving in Abilene

We are immensely thankful! Abundantly thankful! Blessed! Today Cathie, Hannah, and I hosted 15 friends from Abilene, College Station, Dallas, Lubbock, Orlando, and Madagascar. We had great fellowship and fun. Shortly afterwards, Hannah and Jason began their 5 hour trip to Dexter, NM, to spend a couple of days with Jason's family. Tonight, Steve Smith (t-sip) is coming over to watch the Aggie-Longhorn game.

Just before dark, Cathie and I put up our star that her dad, Sam, made for the girls 21 years ago. Enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Always a new book

When we lived in CS I loved going to the Hard Back Coffee Cafe at Hastings. This was the place of many evenings with aggie girls. (Shanna French, Nicole Oberle, Haley Edmiston, Hillary Cunningham....) What good memories I have!!! Here in "A" town the Hard Back Coffee Cafe at Hastings in on the other side of town and so we had never ventured into it. As Daniel and I were on the road doing errands last week, I ask if we could go in and get coffee, mainly to just remember my times. Yes, I do miss CS!! I miss my connections with all of the great people!! As we entered through the first double doors there were books on rolling shelves on both sides of the wall. The sign said 5 Books for $5.00. Of course, I could not pass this opportunity up. Would I find all 5 or would I have to let Daniel get a few for himself. As we left that evening our receipt said we had saved something like $136.45!!! Wow, doesn't that make you feel good!! We did get 5 books that night.

A Little Pot of Oil, Jill Briscoe, was one of my choices. All 86 pages are refreshing. Very practical and brings you to II Kings 4:1-7 about the widow and the prophet. The main theme is running out of the will to run on.

The titles of the chapters are:
1. The Holy Who? "Getting to Know the One who Fills our Emptiness"
2. Poured out and Filled Up "The Story of the Little Pot of Oil"
3. The Pot of All "Secrets of Filled-Up living"
There is an introduction entitled Hope for When You're Running Low. Check it out. Great book for $1.00.

And oh, I didn't get coffee. I got too distracted!!

What do you know about this book??? Let me know! Eat This Book, Eugene Peterson

Friday, November 14, 2008

Scripture Writers

Just a few pics from our Scripture Writing morning, November 8, 2008.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Grove

Last night we were invited to hear the events of the last 10 months in the lives of Lara Jane and Marshall Coffey. For those of you who remember the Bridgwater family - Lara Jane is number 3 of the 5 girls. They have been planting a church in Waco. As I talked with Lara Jane before the presentation she explained how her two yr. old was praying in a relational way so much faster and deeper than the others did and how she looks back through the rear view mirror and watches her little ones praise God with arms up and eyes closed. Their family is growing through the experience of meeting others and teaching Jesus. They are finding themselves choosing to make friends with the unchurched and working through all that involves. Living very intentional and depending on God for all of the resources needed to walk this journey. They are planning events that would connect them with other families and then making some follow-up. While on this path they see God's finger and timing that looks quite different than what they would plan. As i heard Marshall describe this life, i wondered, isn't this the way we are all suppose to live? It was a challenge to me and a time of questioning. How have I handled my time as I have moved to Abilene? If I want to see God work in my life, I must be a risk taker for Him. There were times in the presentation I could feel tears coming but i suppressed them, and I have had to wonder what was that feeling? Am I touched in how God can and does change lives. Yes. Do I feel I am making the most of the opportunity that God has given me in a new town? Not sure. Am I impatient with myself or with a plan from God? I feel each day I meet people, and events come that i didn't expect but are open to and I ask what was I suppose to learn, or to enjoy as a blessing? I turned to the book, Prayer by Richard Foster I looked at the table of contents and wondered, questioned where am I, what chapter would I best benefit from? I chose the chapter entitled, The Prayer of Examen. After only a few pages I knew I had picked the perfect one.
Psalms 139:1, "Yahweh, you examine me and know me."
I Chronicles 28:9, "The Lord searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought.
I Corinthians 2:10, "the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God"

Richard Foster took me into two different ways to examen.
1. Examen of consciousness - the discovery of God's presence in my day and how I respond to Him.
2. Examen of conscience - the uncovering the areas that need to be cleansed and purified and healed.

The first was what I experienced as I went to the presentation last night. God's power of changing lives was part of what I heard and I responded with suppressed tears and smiles. I was excited to hear what I know but need to be reminded of.

The second is what I began to do as I left and still am doing. I want God to walk with me as I search and I allow Him to search my heart. Foster reminds us that God will show us what we need to see when we need to see it. Yes, this part can be painful but as we remind ourselves of the presence of God's love in our lives we will be glad to have this "purifying fire and welcome it's cleansing."

Check the blog out and support them if you are able. Check out Richard Foster and his book, Prayer. Let God in your mind and heart and let Him help you search your heart. Peace.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eternal Threads

God opens all kinds of avenues for each of us. Ladies Chapel on Thurs. 11:00am is one of the opportunities I have each week. This is a chapel that is student led and we meet in the bride's room in the Bible bldg. for about 30 minutes. It is a great time for all. We sing and pray together and then we enjoy whatever the Lord brings to us each week as a way of encouragement. Last Thurs. the speaker we had was Linda Egle from Eternal Threads.This ministry is dedicated to improving the lives of women in poverty by giving them work, marketing their handmade goods and returning the profits to their communities. Linda spoke to us about how God opened up this ministry to her and how He has blessed them with a new warehouse location here in Abilene, 101 Walnut St. It is on the corner of Walnut and N. 1st. They need volunteers daily. I was going to see if the ladies at the A&M church of Christ would champion a date of viewing the goods and then i opened up my inbox and saw that the AFC girls were already on top of things. I'm so excited to know that Eternal Threads has made it down to College Station. All you Aggies out there go and support Eternal Threads. It's exciting.

Thursday night, November 13th, 7pm in the A&M church of Christ parlor.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Clean Up

Ok, so this part is not really that fun, except that Cathie and I spend a lot of time together moaning, groaning, grunting, aching, and being sore. I think we have spent close to 10 hours each at the construction site picking up trash and scrap building materials only to return a few days later to do it again. Yes, we are bonding. Yes, we are glad to be spending this much time together. But, whistling while we work? Not hardly. We do laugh alot as we kick up dirt and dust and pile lumber and trash into a trailer to haul down to the dumpster. Oh, they are moving right along with the building. Here you see both tubs, the electrical wiring and recessed lights, and other plumbing almost complete. On Tuesday, Nov 4, they will pour our driveway and sidewalk. We have been given a short respite by our builder and dont have to cleanup the rest of this week! WHOOP! Enjoy the pics.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'd hammer in the morning.

It is Friday, Oct 31, on the weekend we go back to standard time, which of course gives us more daylight in the morning when we dont want it and less in the evenings when we need it. Nevertheless, Cathie and I will be up early on Sat, Nov 1, to go work at the home site. Right now, things seem to be moving fast, so it is really exciting to see the work progress. We have chosen to clean the worksite rather than paying to have it cleaned. WOW! What a chore. Enjoy the pics below showing more of the process.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

If I had a hammer . . .

After taking part in ACU's homecoming activities and watching the Wildcats win 37-17 to go 8-0 for the season, we headed out to the house site to check things out. Early on this past Thursday morning, Cathie and I met the crews pouring the foundation at 7:30am with the temp at 37 degrees. All the workers kept saying how this was the best weather to pour a foundation, so there you have it! The framers worked Friday and part of Saturday to really put a this is starting to look like a house look. (see pics below) Again, being able to see all this happen has really been a blessing for Cathie and I.

In the morning, Sunday, we are going to go to the worksite and have a devo together. We will write some scriptures in the front doorway frame and the 4 corners. Afterwards, we are going to begin picking up scrapes of wood, rebar, and trash to try to keep pace with the construction. We hope this will help us save some $ to not have a crew come clean up the site.

We plan to have a gathering with our Abilene family/friends in the next couple of weeks to have them write scripture on the framing. If any of you want, send us a favorite scripture and we will write it on the framing.

We covet your fervent prayers.
Daniel and Cathie