Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gaylord Opryland in Nashville

Daniel and I took off last Wed. evening for our trip to Nashville. Daniel was attending his annual Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Employers conference. Our first stop was at the Grimaldo's home. Wow!! I wish I had a picture of those girls, they have grown into fine young ladies. They were so easy to catch up with with all of their activities having moved to Kellar recently. We enjoyed a great meal cooked by Lisa, and Jose was the perfect host. Could not have asked for a better night!!

We drove out the next morning very early and it took us 12 hours to get to Nashville. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is 59 acres of resort under one roof. The Christmas season was bursting from the seams in every corner. There are four sections to the hotel and you have a main "street" that you stay on as you walk through each. As you get off the main "street" there are many Christmas trees, water falls, poinsettias, a boat ride like the San Antonio river walk, many places to sit and eat or drink some coffee. There are performers to your left and right (singing and dancing), a huge fireplace in the section we stayed in and so many paths off the main street you get lost. Out in front of the hotel was a huge nativity scene, complete with Luke 2 being read over loud speakers. Check out the pictures, hard to describe all that this hotel presented to our eyes!! We were most thankful for a company that spoke the Word of the Lord so boldly through the scriptures. Hard to take it all in!!! I did leave the hotel a few times and did get lost, but always seemed to find my way back to home base. Daniel had MANY long hours of meetings, but we were able to have dinner a couple of times together in the hotel.

We were able to have dinner with our long time friends, Mark and Amy Phillips. What JOY, we laughed and talked for a couple of hours.

On Sunday morning we headed over to Shelbyville, TN, to have a time of great loving on and fellowship with the Fairlane church of Christ. This congregation supports Alison, Justin, Cailyn and Corban while they are in Lima. You are not going to find a more loving, caring group than these folks. There were so many we spoke to and they really love our kids. It was an humbling time and also a time of God's graciousness shown to us. Thank you, Lord Jesus!!

On the left is Patti and Geoff Geisman, the preacher and his wife, and then Pat and Juan, the Spanish congregation preacher and wife. On the right is Buddy and Mary Ellen Koonce, their grand daughters and son, Doug, at the end of the table. Buddy and Doug came to the weekend retreat held for the Lima team, families, and supporters at the A&M church before they moved overseas.

We left Nashville on Wed. morning and got home about 11:00pm last night, after 15 hours on the road. We did stopp for an hour to get out of the car and eat dinner in Mt. Pleasant. Great trip, but our beds felt SO WONDERFUL last night!! We are here until early Fri. morning and then we head to College Station to visit a few friends and on to Jaime and Elizabeth's Wedding in Houston. We will, Lord willing, see my brother, Mitchell and his family, Alisa, Storie and Lindsey and then travel through Bastrop to see Daniel's parents on our trip back home!! What a worldwind trip, but we love to see family and don't get down to Houston or Bastrop as often as we would like.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Daniel and I have truly had our eyes opened as we watch what God has planned for our family when it comes to young men (and their families) that will join our girls on their journey here on earth!! Justin brought with him - Teri and Andy, Allie and Preston. You can see us all as we enjoyed Christmas 2008 in Costa Rica last year. We have been so blessed to enjoy many Thanksgivings and Christmas Day meals with them while living in College Station. We especially enjoyed Christmas of 2004 when Alison and Justin exchanged their marriage vows. What JOY!!

Now we introduce the other family God has brought us through Jason's love for Hannah!! Phil and Patti Grassie, Jason and his sister, Lauren and Andy Simons. (pray for Andy as he serves our country in the military in Afghanistan). The Grassies joined us in Abilene this year for Thanksgiving. You can read what Hannah thought about the weekend on her site. Our hearts were full as we enjoyed much conversation and laughter, singing and praying together.

We will be able to share some of this family excitement as Hannah and Jason join Daniel and I on a flight to Lima coming up soon. We will have a day that laps over Teri, Andy, Allie and Preston's visit. We love the extended families that God has gifted us with!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hay Day 2009

Today we attended a tradition that is part of one of our Hope families. Hay Day consisted of a ride out in the country to about a 600 acre farm, a big barn set up for dinner and a kitchen to serve food from. We had singing on a stage as well as some banjo and bass playing!! The event also included a hay ride behind a tractor. I got to sit by a senior ACU student and had wonderful conversation!! One more activity to bond us together as a community!! We played a game where a person was timed while they put on jeans, boots and suspenders and then ran out to find the two plastic cows in the pasture. It was a reenactment of the farmer who is called in the middle of the night to come get his cows off the road and back on the other side of the fence. Much laughter and hospitality!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

There Is a Hole in My Sidewalk, By Portia Nelson

I was first introduced to this poem last year and I had really forgotten about it and then it came to my ears two days in a row this week....I want to share. What do you think??? Watch out for holes!!!

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep whole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit…but,
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately,

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kake and Karaoke

You can always know the house will be packed for these Saturday nights when the Hope Church of Christ mixes dessert with performing. We have experienced Talent and Pie and this past weekend we had three hours of Kake and Karaoke. Wow, we laughed so hard!! One of the comments was "there is no shame!!" I will leave a few pictures to tell some of the story, but i will tell you these pictures don't even begin to explain the laughter we enjoyed!! I have no idea how many cakes there were, but I was number 39 when I entered "Grandma Hawkins' Apple Cake" in the mix.

In the first picture, the three girls are Rebecca, Maddie and Allie, singing You Are So Beautiful to Me. Daniel sang Mona Lisa, Wow, did I say he is my wonderful husband and that he has the most romantic voice!!

The mother-daughter duo is waiting for Play That Funky Music White Boy to come on. It was so much fun to have all of the generations laugh and play together. Of course some of us just performed at our seats. Mitzi and Debbie sat behind me and laughed the entire time!!! Debbie thinks we need to do this once a month and is convinced we might have to tear down the walls to get all of us in the place!!

One of our young married wives is quite embarrassed as her new husband performs with shoes off to Billie Jean. There were many times as he sang that she just covered her eyes. Debbie is sure this performance had to have been practiced at home!! We will never know!!

The person who STOLE the show on many occasions was Damon Parker, our preacher. He even had a hard time getting back up on the stage to preach on Sunday evening. He had memories of the night before with a completely different context!! He sang rock and roll, he sang Love Shack with the girls, he sang rap with the guys (boy he knew the words and has the moves!!) and last and most importantly he sang to his life partner, wife, and mother of their five children Lady in Red!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wonderful Women in the Lord

This week God gifted me with three opportunities to see young women He is growing for His kingdom. I know that He wants them for Himself and they each are yielding in their own ways. My faith is encouraged as I experience strong young faith that will carry on the next generation.

Kasey Smith - wow, she and I met through two avenues at the same time. No doubt God wanted us to cross paths. She was attending the Hope church of Christ congregation when I came to Abilene. I had seen her there but not really met her yet. Then I attended a mentoring event last Fall and she and I got matched up as mentor/mentoree. She is a junior at ACU. She was a resident manager in the girl's dorms last year and this year. She is great at talking with others and so helpful as an example. She has great leadership skills. She has worked with Leadership Camps for ACU for several summers and was over all of the counselors this past summer. We were so fond of her and impressed that when Daniel had a chance to choose a student leader for his U100 class that he teaches she chose her!!! (that is a class all freshman take) She is very responsible. Part of the mentoring program is that she and I get to hang out on some kind of regular basis. We went to lunch this past week and enjoyed catching up.

Shannon Buchanan - First off, this young lady was a friend of Hannah but it was a friendship they didn't get to really develop. Their friends were in the same circle and so when I mentioned to Hannah how fond we were of Shannon; Hannah raved and raved about how wonderful of a person Shannon was. This young lady is the one who shows up on Wednesday night with a baked pie for someone special at Bible study, she is the one who is ready to use the drill when we were repairing the new bldg. for Hope, she is the one who is co-in charge of the 9 dinner teams at Hope who provide dinner each Sunday night, do you get the idea. Along with this servant action is a heart that loves people and wants to learn more and more about God. She and her boyfriend, Brandon were able to have dinner with us this week. What a JOY!! We talked about how it feels to be parents and let go of your children, how children need to grow in the Lord and how it doesn't always look the same as their parents. Shannon is another one who works with the students in the dorms. She is actually over both girls dorms. Those freshmen are in good care!!

Elizabeth Fike - It happened that we were sitting across the table from Elizabeth last fall eating a meal with people who attend Hope church of Christ. She mentioned that she had actually gone out on a real date the night before. I ask her about it and she mentioned the young man's name(Jaime) and where he worked. It sounded very familiar to me and so I ask if his room mate was Jason Grassie (Hannah's boyfriend)and she said yes!! Well, my brain started rolling because I knew Jason and Jaime were planning on going to Brazil together in the spring and that they were good friends. Small world!!! Well, the year has gone and Elizabeth and Jaime are to marry in Dec. and Hannah's now fiancee will be the best man!! Today we enjoyed a bridal shower here at the house. Elizabeth is sweet, sweet, has experienced truly a physical healing from the Lord and such a tender heart. She sat and visited with us today telling us how humbled she felt as she hears how her home congregation is all pitching in to make her wedding date a beautiful one. She and Jaime will live in San Antonio after their marriage in Dec. We will miss her!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gathering Up Rocks

We had a beautiful Saturday in Abilene last week. We decided, well Daniel talked me into going with him to pick out some rocks for our flower beds. Now we didn't go down to a rock store or Lowe's or anything. We headed about 12-15 miles out of town to our friend's house, the Istre Family. Wonderful family who lives off the land and raises animals for food, makes great homemade bread, and just totally enjoys being a family of God. They have 29 acres and they built their home on the land. They had told us that there were some rocks on their land that we could have when they heard we were wanting some for our flower beds.

We headed out on the 4-wheeler. Boy, it was fun and the younger boy in Daniel came out and really wanted to drive a bit faster than I wanted to go.

We were successful after climbing down into a dry creek or two and shoveling up some rocks. Some we could only see the tops and would dig and have no idea how big they were until they were uncovered. We like them so much that we may have to go back for some more.

We love all of the adventures God is giving us in Abilene!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calling All Cooks

I have a new recipe that I tried recently. I would love to hear from you if you try it and would love to get some more tried and true recipes for the upcoming season!! Don't shy away if you do not like cranberry, I'm telling ya, this is great!!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Pie
It’s a little bit cheesecake, a little bit cranberry crunch,
and a whole lot delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
(NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven 425°.
Bake pie crust 6 minutes; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in EAGLE BRAND until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pie crust.
In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cornstarch; mix well. Stir in cranberry sauce. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
In medium bowl, cut butter into flour and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Cool. Serve at room temperature or chill thoroughly. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Tip: I cooked it for about 25 minutes and then i spread out the mixture on top so it wasn't so clumpy. This is a keeper!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Being gone for 5 weeks to Lima, Peru, can no longer be my excuse for not posting more, but I think I have gone through a period of needing less people time. Posting is people time to me. Not sure where that is coming from but I'm pushing myself to engage since coming back. I feel a bit behind with my community because ACU started while I was gone and the students/friends I get with are deep into a schedule already. I feel it has passed me by. Although, I am totally embracing this time, trying to find the balance of down time and active time, trying to allow this time to do it's work in me. Maybe it is the Spirit wanting me to rest a bit. Haley Edmiston and I were talking last week and she reminded me that I am one who "goes after, values, enjoys" peace. We weren't talking about peace with man, although I do value that too. She was reminding me of the times I enjoy and set aside for quiet. I do love music but I have enjoyed silent times, reading time, reflecting and journaling time as she noticed when she lived with us. So, I am wanting to yield to what I feel it best but also not allow myself to drop off. How do you measure your people time? Is it something you are aware of?

I have begun a new study since getting back to Abilene. Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. It is a workbook that while I have not stayed up with all of the lessons, I have totally enjoyed the pace that God is taking me on.
Some highlights from the study I have enjoyed are remembering that the first mission David performed as King was to bring back the ark, and the ark represented the presence of God. We should each day make ourselves God conscious or God aware. We also have enjoyed looking up the word "establish".
Romans 16:25
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past..
Ephesians 3:17
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
Col 1:23
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
II Peter 1:12
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have..

We have been reminded in this study that we are sustained by God and positioned for a purpose. We are each like David, "For David, after serving his own generation in God's plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed. We are still living out our "serving our own generation". We are where we are for a purpose, for a kingdom purpose.

Exodus 33:15 Lord, if Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from this place."

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Gift from God

When God called us to Abilene, we knew there would be work He had planned for us before we moved here. It would be waiting and we were excited. We feel we are on a mission, learning new lessons about ourselves, meeting new people, and getting out of our comfort zone we had in College Station for 28 years.

When I came home from Lima, I had really missed worshiping in my own language and all of the relationships that God had given me. I have found myself a bit tearful out of JOY as I commune with my church family at Hope. Last weekend was our last Sunday in the Hwy 351 location, the building I have always known as the location of gathering for Hope. We moved out and are now at a new bldg. (to us) on Judge Ely. (very close to ACU campus) There has been lots of work at the new bldg. -- painting, pulling carpet up, replacing trim, scraping of the floors, new walls, updating lots of details.

The ones who organize our worship time put together a wonderful time for all on our last gathering time on Hwy 351. One of the things they did was ask the congregation to put on cards what Hope -- the community of Hope - meant to them. Below are the messages that came. We are a group of about 125. Enjoy and know this is what it means to "...sharing with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God.."

Hope is an amazing place. I will forever be grateful that I am part of this group of people. May the Lord continue to bless this body.

Hope is a supportive community of believers and seekers that aim to serve God and those around them.

How do I express how I feel about HOPE in just one note card? I’m not sure I could do it if you gave me the whole pack of note cards! I love how we’re all different—and in our diversity and difference, we find strength instead of weakness. I love how we pray and pray. And then pray again, followed by prayer… and then lift each other in prayer while we’re separately from each other. I love how HOPE changed my heart! I’ve come to LOVE the word “hope.”

My experience at Hope has expanded my understanding of the freedom in Christ and a new appreciation for the role of shepherds.

Hope means just that—HOPE! (Too many ways to list here.) It means an opportunity for Mike & me to be free to grow as God directs.

Hope is my welcoming family when I visit home.

Hope is my family and place of safety.

Hope is a place where the broken people of God come together and stand as one in the strength of our Savior! For when we are week, then we are strong!

Hope has freed me from viewing my faith as a set of rules and led me to a deeper intimacy with Christ.

Hope means community, love, & acceptance.

I love the singing and preaching because it’s what we have left of New Life.

To me, HOPE means renewal. It means freedom from sin and from the past—a new beginning. It means joy, fellowship in community, encouragement and exhortation. It means purpose and direction, allowing Christ to change the world and use me in the process. HOPE is the body of Christ as it was meant to be.

My awesome new family! Loving, sweet! :)

Hope has grown up my family, Alison, Justin, & Cailyn; Hannah; now us. Praise the Lord.

Hope church has been a place of joyful uplifting worship of sincere believers & convicting sermons.

Hope has allowed me to see the most unlikely heroes, and to be led by those who scarcely knew they were leading.

Hope means to me a community that loves each other & serves their neighbors & takes care of the needs without question.

Hope has been my lifeline in many ways. I feel like the people here are my spiritual family, and I am grateful God has placed me here.

Hope, my family, a group I share my joys & sorrows with.

Hope is: *a place where prayer is taken seriously *a place where sinners aren’t shunned * a place where the weak receive help *a place where our praises to the Father can be freely unleashed *A GODSEND.

I am so overwhelmed by the Spirit that is here at Hope—from the leaders all the way through the congregation.

HOPE is healing to the broken and strength when nothing seems to go right. It brings people out of the darkness and gives them courage, strength, perseverance, and peace.

Hope is family style meals—family in the times of joy and trouble, prayer and service.

HOPE to me means family.

Hope means family to me. It means open, honest, and safe community that calls each other to a higher standard for the name of Christ. It means being broken with one another and allowing others to help carry our burdens for a time when they get too heavy. Being a part of Hope means responding to needs and finding ways to extend our faith past the doors of a building. Being a part of Hope means that we won’t get everything right but we are willing to acknowledge it and try again, keeping loving others as a priority.

The Hope Congregation has been great for Allene and I. At our age the time of services the Elders (wonder why) along with the good people of the congregation mean a lot to us. However, First and foremost it is a place to worship God. Now, i would like for all to know that my vision has degenerated to the point thait i may not recognize within the building even if you are standing close by. So, please don’t think I am being unfriendly if i fail to greet you. Massingill.

Hope is family.

Hope is a place that feels like home.

I am forever changed because of HOPE. I have experienced grace and mercy, I have witnessed mutual submission, I have seen the power of transparency, I have experienced healing, I have seen Jesus.

Hope has been a warm and welcoming place of worship. A place where everyone is excepted no matter where they find themselves in life, and no matter how broken they feel. A place where people are loved and supported. Being at Hope has allowed opportunities for me to serve in ways that I haven't before, and it's provided challenges that have resulted in great personal and spiritual growth. Hope has been a faith building and life transforming experience for me.

All the wonderful people make HOPE a truly wonder place. Damon is the best preacher I have ever heard.

As I sat there, I heard God say, "I have so much more for you here, more than you have experienced in the first year". I look forward to all that I get to experience with my family of Hope. If you do not have a place of belonging with a community of believers, do not give up, continue to pray and ask, continue to look and explore, it is God's will that we do life together.

This is the dinner team we are on. We were in charge of the first meal at the new bldg. It was given great success by the Lord!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Kite!!

A prayer I prayed back in 2006 was, Lord, please let Alison meet the love of Hannah's life before she leaves on her mission journey." The girls have always been close. Alison was so welcoming to Hannah in high school, letting her be a part of all group activities. There was never any of this, you are the little sister, you are not our age, I just want to be with MY friends without you. When Alison ended up at ACU there was no question Hannah wanted to go to ACU because her sister was there and she even wanted to graduate from high school early. And so she did. There was also the day in 2005 Alison called and ask what do you think of Hannah living with Justin and I for the summer? I didn't feel it was a good idea, Alison and Justin had just married. This would be their first summer as a married couple. Alison ask for a pros and con list, I never made it. The next time we talked about it, Alison just said, Hannah is going to live with us. And for the most part I think the summer went just fine. So to think of Alison leaving the states and not really getting to know who Hannah would marry while she was gone to live in Lima was a thought I wanted to talk to God about. Ask of my Heavenly Father about my desire.....

Hannah and Jason Grassie started dating in July of 2008 at about the same time Alison and Justin moved to TN. (Daniel and I had a great time getting to know Jason from July - Dec of 2008 since God had moved us to Abilene.) But Alison and Justin didn't have a visit planed back to Abilene so we didn't think of them meeting Jason. Almost immediately after starting to date, Hannah headed off to Zambia for several weeks in July, 2008, and she was going to fly back into TX on July 27th. Daniel jumped at the chance to visit with Jason and so he asked Jason if he would like to drive from Abilene to Houston with him to pick Hannah up from the airport. Jason took him up on it. After picking up Hannah, the 3 of them (Daniel, Jason and Hannah) joined us at Sean and Rachel (Hudgens)Landolt's wedding. Alison (without Cailyn or Justin) flew into CS from TN for the wedding. We all spent the night at Ray and Phyllis Powell's house. We had about an hour to visit after the wedding and before we all hit the bed. Alison flew out the next morning around 6:30am. That was the last night Jason saw Alison until May 2009 when Alison, Justin and Cailyn came home for furlough in Abilene. We spent some brief time that weekend and Hannah and Jason had to get back to OK. (Yes, in the meantime Hannah had moved to Tulsa for graduate school and Jason moved from Abilene to Norman, OK to work and live with his sister)

The meeting was brief but the prayer was answered still.....(1) Alison did get to meet the love of Hannah's life BEFORE she moved overseas, and (2)Yes, Hannah and Jason are engaged!!! Thank you, Lord for answered prayer!!

Oh, the title, A Kite. Hannah enjoyed a great kite flying experience with an engagement ring attached at the National Mall in DC. What were they doing in DC??? That's a whole other prayer answered for another day!!

Charlie W. Sneed says, "Marriage is not so much finding the right person as it is being the right person!"

God has lots of adventures planned for these two!!

Easter Morning in Tulsa (it was cold and drizzling)

Right before Jason moved to DC in Aug. (acting silly, of course what else do we expect out of them!!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What My Eyes See

My time in Lima is almost over and I wanted to post some things that are common here. Our days start out and we hear salsa music as early as 7:00am that comes from a class being taught near by. We play with Cailyn outside in their backyard which is really a luxury because most homes do not have backyards. When we head anywhere we go through the front door and on to an outer door. The front yard is between these two doors and it is all private. Our two guards are out front. Yes, every street has a guard with a guard house. No guns or anything, not real sure what they would do if there were any problems. We have enjoyed watching Cailyn socializing with Pedro and Jose, our street guards. We head down to the end of the street, take a right and then a left and we are at the main road where we usually get a taxi to go ALL places. We have seen much of Lima through the taxi window.

We have enjoyed going to the grocery store and seeing how things are here in Lima. I have joked about all of the types of milk. There seems to be whole aisles that are milk. The silver and red bag (that is the milk) - in order to get 2 gallons of milk you have to purchase 8 of these bags. You then pour the milk in a larger pitcher when you get home. Water comes in only those large bottles and you buy 6 at a time, again you pour that into a smaller pitcher when you get home. There is only about 3 rows of canned goods. Most of the fruit and veggies come fresh. The avacados are huge. We like that!! I am a big fan of animal crackers or graham crackers. When you purchase crackers of this sort, they come in a package with 9 "snack packets". All portions are very small. I keep thinking i want a WHOLE box of crackers not 10-12 crackers!! Alison did a wonderful job of planning her meals and it has been a pleasant part of our day. Justin runs to the corner for bread and that is another thing -- so many bakeries!!!

You will also notice little stands that sell fruit, veggies, candy, soda, nuts, bread.....People sell all kinds of things on the street. Very few are just beggars. Lots of people, many of them young, sell nuts, cigarettes, magazines, or tupperware while you are sitting at a light. They also juggle, do acrobatics and wash your windows, all for money. When you park at Starbucks they are there to wash your car while you are gone. These are just some of the glimpses I have of Lima. Cleaning is another thing you notice - you will notice a lady at the park washing the inside of the trash can. They have very pretty parks and workers are constantly sweeping up dirt, trash and leaves from their area. They are constantly washing their house windows and sweeping off the area in front of their stores.

Most importantly I wanted to be with Alison and Justin and share in their second child being born. It has been a JOY and a birth I will not forget. So very different from Cailyn and how fun to have a new story. If you really want the "mother details" read them on alison/justin's blog. There is just something about "mom's view" of the whole birth event!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A blog I follow says it all for today. Thoughts whirl for me today, family in the states and a new baby in Lima presents much to lay in the Father's hands.

The book I brought to help walk me through my time in Lima, Praying God's Names, has been a joy to me and a steady dose of guiding me each day to remind myself of who God is and how He loves me.

I depend on Daniel for many things in my daily life but i really depend on him when we travel and especially when I fly. Flying isn't something I enjoy or haven't enjoyed up to this point. I guess as God presents life to me these days, I better get to likin' it!! Erika Pourrajabi and Lynn Spivey drove me down to the airport in Houston to catch my flight out of Houston to Lima. I chose Houston because it is the only direct flight. There is only one flight to step on, get use to and land. No connections. As I stepped out of the car I'm thinking," do I have my passport, money, my purse" (oh, no I don't have a purse) Daniel was trying to help and decided he would make things simpler and take my cards out and my money out and put in a neat coin purse and he would put my purse in the suitcase but somehow it didn't get into my suitcase. oh, well. I have used one of alison's the whole time I have been here. As i realize i had everything out of the car I stepped up to ask for a cart to get my bags up to the desk. A young man comes with a cart and loads everything, he takes me in and ask if I have weighed the bags. Oh, yes, we have weighed them til we are blue in the face. They are both as close to 50 lbs as they can be and my carry on is close to 35lbs. I also had a book bag for my journals, my Bible, my reading glasses, my passport and coin purse.

As i walked on the outside of the airport, entering in and beginning this task of flying by myself God gave me a picture that I literally smiled about. It was me and Jesus arm and arm, I wasn't without a companion. The best person on earth would have been Daniel but God knew he was not with me and so Jesus showed up to walk me in. It was what I have learned this summer as God's "mercy of confirmation". God confirming to me, you are not alone, and you are in my will. Confidence comes with knowing you are in the will of the Father. I absolutely smiled and enjoyed my stroll with Jesus. The second time I received this message of God as my husband, Ish in the Hebrew, Hosea 2:16, was on Sunday morning. We attended a congregation worship time and the praise singing was of course all in a language I didn't know but that didn't stop my heart from being able to worship God. Alison told me bits and piece of what was being sang but I also recognized words I am familiar with. One of the women who sang was one of the many in the world suffering from cancer. She had a fashionable scarf on and Alison had pointed her out the week before. She sang such words of praise and we did too that were about God being all we wait for and all we need as we walk on earth. As I was enjoying the praise music I realized I had fullness of JOY, and again God comforted me as I stood without Daniel. My ish saying, I am all you need, I have given you a wonderful earthly husband but I will always be your spiritual husband and you are never alone. I bring to you all that you need. Isaiah and Jeremiah describe God as the husband of his people Israel and in the NT Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is his bride.

These experiences God has given me do not downplay my love for Daniel at all. I miss Daniel even now as I experience these first days with Corban-- especially all of our talk time and how he helps me work through verbally and emotionally with all of my thoughts.

God always shows Himself when we most need Him. I know He is always there but am not always as aware of His presence how I was in these two experiences. Blessings to all you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Corban Luke Thompson

It all started at 2:55 at home, headed to the hospital 6:30pm and Corban Luke at 8:30pm!!!

well, i have tried to link alison and justin's blog from here twice and it just doesn't want to work. i will just list it here and see if you can get to it.

alison has written some of the details. I will just post a couple of the pictures i got and write the details later. I am back home and mark clancy (single guy on the lima team) is spending the night. he stayed with cailyn while we were at the hospital and wes yoakum (another dad on the lima team) walked me home from the hospital. what a blessing for the hospital to be so close.

Well here he is....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

30 years

I"m a day late b/c my day in lima seemed to go so fast yesterday. i hope daniel will be able to scan a picture of our wedding and post it here. this is a dual project that i haven't told him about yet!! He is so good at doing "my" projects and enjoying them as if they were his!!

We got married after my four yrs. of college and him spending two yrs. at Blinn College and three yrs. in the Navy. We enjoyed his 4th year in the military as young marrieds in San Diego. What a 9 month honeymoon!! Our memories are so wonderful with the exception of us having some personality adventures to get thru our first year. For those of you who know us well, know that our strong personalities have needed much prayer and working out with one another.

Our wedding took place at the chapel on the University of Houston campus. It was a nice neutral place for our beginning to take place. Beautiful chapel with lots of stained glass windows. I loved it. I actually had to take a UH course in order to get married there. I took a parenting class and remember enjoying it.

My sweet Daniel has so many qualities that I didn't really know when we married. I knew he was kind to his mom, but not how that kindness would spread out through all of these years toward me. His tenderness during my parents' journey to death was remarkable. He really should write a book about it. He was there for me and for my parents in so many ways. I know his actions spoke love to my dad. (my mom died in 2000 and my dad in 2002). In so many ways he did for me things i didn't even know i needed. I always say Daniel would have sat for hours listening to me work through my grief, but that was a time that i realized all of the emotional pain and grieving was even better dealt with by lying down at night and knowing God understood without all of the talking. Although we did have many conversations over the nearly 15 years of Mom's cancer , we had talked much out as her final days came.

I didn't realize what a character he would be with children either. Our girls have so enjoyed his sense of humor and silliness when they were little-- well, even still. The singing was another thing. Daniel loves to sing and that came in quite handy with the raising of children. He didn't mind bathing the girls and reading each night. He was willing to lay down with them and rub their backs as they both enjoyed each night.

Daniel has always desired to lead our family and be our spiritual guide. He is great at protecting too. I have even gotten frustrated with his over protective spirit at times. He calls and checks up on me many times in the day and will go to the store for me at most any hour.

We have so enjoyed our empty nesting days. It has been 5 years since Hannah left our home in CS and we enjoy lazy days at the house and we also enjoy dinner and a movie. Our adventure to move to Abilene has been a JOY and we have been able to lean on one another in ways that all of those friends in CS may have provided for us but without them we have become closer. God's plan for marriage - what a complex thought and yet it is all about LOVE, looking out after another as a gift from God.

I love daniel and will be forever indebted to God for the mercy He has shown me in marriage.

Daniel's thoughts
The idea of being 53 is cause enough to realize that life is flying by. Add to that being married for 30 years, then you realize how this journey is near impossible without the grace of God.

Cathie's kind words above are evidence of God's grace in each other's lives. The book I could write would better highlight the bonehead things I thought and did, the mistakes or wrong paths I led us on, the harsh and unkind words I spoke. But, because of love, Cathie lifts me up as our families spiritual leader, encouraged me in this area and walked beside me, pushed from behind at times, and modeled to our girls that this was the pattern we were going to follow. part of my joy was being a part of the wonderful ideas Cathie has had for many of our family activities and events. A couple of those activities include:
  • Moms and Girls Purity weekend - Cathie took this idea and made it an event that many of our friends were able to be a part of. It just seemed natural to help with the supplies and cooking. I remember watching and listening to their lessons and their interactions and thinking how fortunate my girls are to have a mom that reminded them to not put her in a box, because she easily lived outside the boundaries.
  • Camp Iron Springs - for over a decade we did this as a family. Teaching together started in our first couple of months working on the Joy Bus, so it was natural to do this at camp. It was a great vacation for our family. Some of the young kids we met there are now our adult friends.

    Cathie is my wife of noble character gift from God. She is my example of prayer without ceasing. Her example, actions, words, and life have made me the husband, father, granddad, and friend that I am.
    Our journey has been impacted by the counsel of so many friends (special thanks to Ray&Phyllis Powell). The early foundation of our Chula Vista church family (especially Bob&Betty Covington), the nearly 28 years of being mentored in Aggieland (too many to list), and now our new journey in Abilene (especially the Mills and Popes) all speak to the grace afforded us.

    I love Cathie dearly, more so than what I naively thought when we were first married. Both of our families have greatly supported and loved us. Our friends have encourage us and walked with us through thick and thin. I can only imagine what the next 30 years will be like.

    If you are ever through Abilene, please stop by. Sit with us on our front porch rockers or back yard chairs and let's share together the grace of our Lord.
  • Sunday, August 16, 2009

    As i continue to read about the names of God and pray thru who He really is I have enjoyed some new thoughts that may seem old to some of you but it is like i've never thought about the concepts in this way.

    Bearing the image of God -- what does that mean to you? how do you put that into your daily life? Alison and I had a bite to eat with Tara Davidson (another wife on the Lima Team) and one of the things we talked about was bearing out the image of God in their neighborhoods. There are men who are guards right outside each of their front doors, and they stay there for hours. There are two on Alison and Justin's street. Pedro and Jose. Tonight as we came in Alison ask Pedro if he would like to have some coffee. He said of course!! It only took him a few minutes to finish and ring the door bell. That is bearing the image of God. God is such a gracious host. As we get to know God better it will be easier to bear His image.

    Every human life is sacred -- do you really think that when someone seems so different than you? I am with so many people in Abilene and now in Lima that i do not know. I'm unfamiliar with what are all of their needs, which one of them does He want me to touch? I have to realize He will direct me. It takes me listening to know what He wants me to do and how i am suppose to be used in each of these sacred creations of God. The Lima Team is at this point as they begin their ministry, their hospitality of the Lord. They are having a special time of prayer as they begin to met many new people who are search for our God.

    God gives us the capacity to love -- Why do people love, how do they have the ability to love, what makes them want to love, what if people don't even believe in God yet they are people who love, how does this happen?? I feel this goes back to us being formed in the image of God. Even when we do not believe that doesn't change the fact that we are sacred and were created in the image of God.

    God is perfect, not needing to have anything added to or subtracted from him to improve on his nature!! This is the God we serve, Elohim!!

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Tea Party and Pool Time

    Each day it is fun to look into my suitcase and see a treat to give to Cailyn and then play with it. We had a totally wonderful tea party yesterday morning. Hannah gave Cailyn the tea pot and cups for her birthday and i brought her felt food. Wonderful treat sewn by Angela Robinson!! We ordered the peanut butter/jelly sandwich and a ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato sandwich with a chocolate treat, and chips, and four donuts with icing and sprinkles on them!!

    We also have enjoyed swimming lessons with our Lima Team friends, Kellan and Parker. She is very good with Justin in the water, going under the water and enjoying picking items up from the floor of the pool.

    A cute phrase that Cailyn says everytime we head out toward a taxi is "people's flowers". That means, those are flowers that belong to other people and she knows not to pick them. Today I told her i wanted a picture of her and the "people's flowers."

    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    First Days in Lima!!

    These are the faces of two of Cailyn's friends from Arequipa, Peru. Their parents are missionaries also. They were actually staying with Alison and Justin when I arrived. It was great to see some of the families who will be partners in Peru for Christ. I have been following their websites. They are working on a neat library book project.

    We have gone thru about 20 plus loads of clothes. Well, not quite that many but we have kept the washer and dryer going with all of the container items. We have all of the baby items ready and in drawers. Of course we still have a neat stack of specific boys and girls items.

    Cailyn and i have had some great reading time and lots of time of talking. Her eyes are very expressive and she doesn't need words at times. She loves her guards which are stationed right out in front of the house. Jose and Pedro are their names. She always wants to greet them as we leave the house. She really embraces the culture in ways that would be harder for us as adults. She gets excited to share the tunnel experience she enjoys traveling through as she goes to different places and she wants to be the person to hand the taxi driver the money and says Gracias everytime we are getting out of the taxi.

    At home the boxes have taken up lots of room and time but we are beginning to see the entry way and living room. Each room is being filled with bits and pieces from so many in the states. Baby blankets from Susan Whitton and friends from Fairland church of Christ, recipes books from Lanette Schulte, diaper bag from Rachel Landolt, goodbye book and beautiful picture from Hope church of Christ are just a few.

    Cailyn goes to school on MWF mornings. A Peruvian teacher (Teacher Lilly) teaches a few students at each of the student's homes and the moms get to be the teacher's aide. They rotate each week. Alison will wait until the baby is here for several weeks before the classroom comes her direction. She comes home very tired and takes a nap and then has swimming lessons on MW. I'm excited to be a part of each of these experiences. Parker and Kellen Davidson are part of this routine too so it is nice to see a familiar face. They are actually the only 3 in the swim class so far!!

    You can see Kellen, Parker and Cailyn really enjoying some play time in the Davidson's front yard. We encouraged one another with a time of worship and praise last night at the Davidson's house. My friend Chelsa Istre in Abilene gave me a recipe for communion bread and it was a hit!! After our time in the Word we all headed for pizza at the best playground around.

    Alison and i have much more to do so i best end here but do pray for her. She is experiencing the pains of a sciatic nerve on the right side.