Thursday, December 30, 2010

meet in the middle

Question: When you haven't seen a dear friend in over 2 years and you're finally on the same continent and are only a measly 10 hours apart over the holidays, what do you do?
Answer: Drive 5 hours each and meet in the middle, of course!

The middle happened to be Dallas, so my good friend Jen and I met there to spend a couple of days catching up and hanging out with our friend Stuart. Jen and I were roommates in Belfast when I was a Young Adult Volunteer there from 2004-2005, and Stuart was also a Y.A.V., in Argentina. It really did feel like no time had passed. Here are some of my glimpses of grace from the visit:

-Going to a cafe and drinking coffee for 3 1/2 hours while watching the rain bucket down outside, glad for the warm dry place to sit and the easy conversation (and the free coffee refills).

-A Methodist church with this simple, profound message displayed at their door.

-Going the the Dallas Museum of Art (another great rainy day activity) and enjoying the beautiful sculptures of The Mourners (from the court of Burgundy in the 14th and 15th centuries), a surprising Monet, African and Indian clothing and sculptures and much more. I even saw my mother's Acapulco dishes on display! When we first entered, we took this picture, thinking a mirror would be an easy way to get both of us in the picture (albeit looking in different places, but oh well). This led to an entertaining game of "find mirrors to take pictures in."

(I think we look like we're haunting this mirror.)

-Sitting in a Mexican restaurant for a "snack" of shrimp tacos, cerveza, salsa and chips and having another of those great conversations.

-Stuart bringing us coffee and donuts in the morning, along with the paper. Having just met his lovely girlfriend the night before, I remarked, "And this, Stuart, is why you have a girlfriend." Such a kind fellow. And Jen and I, as you can see, like our food and coffee.

-A gorgeous view of sun shining through clouds accompanying me on my long drive home. I know that for everyone there are moments when the presence of God is something to be questioned, but then there are moments like these, when God is as real as the sun shining on my face or a reunion with an old friend.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

light blessing the now

We had a lovely, blessed Christmas. Lots of family gathered and we enjoyed exchanging presents, eating entirely too much yummy food, going to the stirring Christmas Eve service, reminiscing about hilarious family gatherings in the past, reading books outside on the porch while listening to the rain and playing with Natalie and Gianna.

Natalie liked the purple sparkly headband Aunt Weeza gave her.

Gigi really loved ice cream (who doesn't?).

Gorgeous rain sparkling like diamonds through sunlight.

Gigi really liked the monkey I gave her as evidenced by intense shaking...

...and eating!
It was such a relaxed, fun Christmas. I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas. I'll share thoughts from the devotional I read each day. It's from and I loved their take on Christmas, written by Heidi Hagstrom.

Christmas is just this – Light blessing the now. Christmas is not the end of the Advent waiting and journeying. It is the dawn of Advent. It is Light blessing and sanctifying the journey, the waiting itself.

In the hush of Christmas we are invited to witness the gift of the Light that shines in the now. We are invited to notice and to receive the sanctifying presence within our journeys, our waiting. We are invited to sing Alleluias to Jesus who walks with us in the now – wherever and however that is.

back to nature bliss

My dad, sister and brother-in-law and I had a quick little getaway to Mac County, our family land in South Texas. It's rustic, serene, without electricity and absolute back to nature bliss. We hunted, played cards, cooked over an open fire, watched the sun rise and set, gazed at the stars and read. It was wonderful as always.

My great-grandfather made this pie safe. We still use it to keep food in.

I love Mac County.

We played cards and got a little silly.

The amazing bean pot.

Chorizo taquitos. Oh my, these are good. Chorizo is a spicy Mexican sausage.

This chair was my favorite spot.

A steaming cup of camp coffee.

Monday, December 20, 2010

a long but blessed week

-The amazing outpouring of love and support from friends and family through phone calls, texts and Facebook. On Facebook alone, I heard from over 30 friends (!) from Northern Ireland, South Africa, Germany and all across the States. How wonderful to feel so cared for.

-A wonderful service of remembrance to celebrate my Nana's life. We completed the service by singing Joy to the World. It was fitting. Natalie and Gianna being there gave such lightness and whimsy to the day that was wonderful (like Natalie shouting "Weeeezaaa!" when I got up to read scripture).

-Spending the weekend with my sista and nieces and enjoying the fun of watching Miracle on 34th Street, Titanic (for the millionth time!) and drinking lots of coffee, playing with precocious tots, and just relaxing. After one of Natalie's naps, I asked her what she dreamed of and she replied, "Angels!...and chips." Sounds like a great dream to me! It was a perfect weekend.

-Having a real, live Christmas tree up that smells and looks delightful.

-Also having the little light-up revolving tree that my Nana had in her house now in our living room. At several points over the past few days, one or all of us will just stare at it, transfixed by the brilliant colors and wonderful memories.

-Keeping up my Christmas tradition of making dark chocolate candy cane cookies. These little morsels are so tasty! I've also made dark chocolate (sense a theme?) hazelnut truffles for all of the'll see pics of those soon.

-As I blog, having an amazing toasted turkey sandwich with jalapenos and tomatoes placed beside me. Yum!