Saturday, November 25, 2006


Caryn and I spent Thanksgiving night with some new friends. Our friends, Ken and Miho, own the Yamagata Japanese steak house on W. 82nd. They were closed for Thanksgiving, but wanted to use the down time to decorate for Christmas. Caryn and I helped decorate, and then the 5 of us went to TGI Fridays. The 5th person with us was Ken's older brother, Richard. Richard is new to USAmerica, but is having a great time. One of our friends, Parke, helped make Richard's first night in America a much better night than it would have been. Richard was stranded at D/FW airport because he missed his flight to Lubbock. Parke took great care of him and made sure Richard got on the plane to Lubbock the next morning. Thanks Parke!
Yamagata is a regular part of our week, so Ken, Miho, and Richard have become regular friends in our week. We are thankful for our new friends, and encourage everyone in Lubbock to give Yamagata a try. The food is great and the service even better! If you stop in, tell Ken that you read about them in my blog!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day

I just wanted to tell everyone "Happy Thanksgiving." I'm settling in to watch the Cowboys beat the Bucs. Have a blessed and relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Be still and KNOW

Being still is such a hard thing to do. I mean, here I am sitting on Lake Austin, at what may be my favorite coffee shop on the planet, Mozart's, and I'm working...

I discovered Mozart's about 11 years ago by accident. Caryn and I lived here right after we got married in 1996. I was serving a small country church as the Youth & Music Minister, and coffee shops were just becoming hip. I was surfing the internet checking out the local coffee scene when I happened upon a review of Mozart's. We loaded up a van full of teenagers and came to listen to jazz music on the deck that overlooks the lake. It became a regular outting for us. Caryn and I would come here often and just sit on the deck. I would have coffee and she would get a smoothie from the health store next door. There's a funny story I always think about when I'm here. After Caryn and I moved away, we would come back to Austin and meet with former students who were now adults. One of our former students had just met a girl at the university where he was attending, and wanted us to meet her. He brought her over, and we all sat out on the deck. Right in the middle of our conversation, a bird swooped down on her and pooped in her hair! She was mortified and embarassed. We were all very comforting, assuring her that it could have happened to any of us. Her greatest fear was that we would only remember her as "the girl that got pooped on at Mozart's." Well, they didn't date long. And sure enough, when we talk about that fateful day, we don't remember her name. We just say, "Remember that girl that got pooped on at Mozart's?"

So, anyway, here I am 11 years later, and it's just like I remember it, except they have wireless internet now (which didn't exist when I first came here). I'm out on the deck, literally over the water of the lake. Ducks swim by. Birds are chirpping. A gentle breeze is blowing. I couldn't ask for a more ideal setting (other than the guy having a conference call on SKIPE next to me would hang up or move away!). The guy two tables over has his headphones on and can't hear his cell phone ringing, but everyone else can. There's seven of us on this side of the building, perhaps 20 more on the main deck. Almost to a person, there are laptops, cell phones, PDA's, Blackberries, and briefcases everywhere. I've got my headphones on listening to my Lounge Worship collection (who knew I liked lounge music? hahaha). Strangely enough, though, it's peaceful (again, accept for headset man next to me). My heart is beating somewhat slower. The breeze rolls by at just the right moment to make sure that it doesn't get hot out here. And, somehow, I feel like I can hear God better. It's weird, I know. How many of the people here are experiencing what I am? Maybe all of them. Probably not. It occurs to me that I am precious and wonderful to a God who put this lake here for His glory and my connection. It's a divine moment. Like the water, God brings life and refreshing. Like the breeze, He moves where He wants, His timing perfect. Like the birds, He creates a symphony unmatched by any other. And me? I'm like one of the speed boats over there that zips and zooms through it all oblivious because I'm moving too fast. That is, until I run out of gas. That's the real danger, I think. I think we can miss what God is doing because we are so busy and so surrounded by distractions. We miss who He is because we are so caught up in trying to be who we are. Take a moment this morning (a much needed moment I'm sure) to stop and breathe. Breathe God in. Breathe Him out. Notice Him in the world around you. Are you tired? Stop. Be still. KNOW that He is GOD. Look for Him. Those who seek Him find Him and find eternal life. In Him we live and move and breathe. And when we do find Him, He is able to use us to exalt Himself in all the world; but especially our lives. Shhh. Rest. Wait. Hope. Breathe. It's gonna be alright. Look for Him. He's here. He's waiting. He's moving. Just stop and wait.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Life on the Road

The last two years, when DNow (Disciple Now is a retreat done usually by local churches for their students) season hits I get swamped. I didn't realize last year that this year would be even more hectic. Last weekend was the only weekend I didn't have a trip scheduled (and I did take a trip rapelling in Palo Duro Canyon. You can see the pictures here: ). This weekend it was a bit different. The DNow was in town, and I had a great time. Next weekend, NOTHING! and then the next is Thanksgiving, followed by a college retreat in Birmingham, AL. Then a trip to California, and then it's just about Christmas time!
Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me as I travel. God has done some amazing things.
I leave in the morning for Austin, and a much needed break. I'm looking forward to getting to hang with some friends, eat some good ol' Austin food (Chuy's, HydePark Grill, etc.). If you are down that way, drop me a line. I'm still looking for an affordable place to sleep! Maybe I can get some Barry and Cory G. time!
Anyway, things are going well with The Journey. We're actually starting to see folks step up and take on the ministry. We're starting to multiply our efforts and God is blessing.
well, that's it for now. It's 1:30 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning, and I'm off to bed.
Peace in the East,

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And a part of me died...

Aroma's, my favorite coffee shop, changed ownership last week. The new owner seems to be a very personable lady. She's swept in and is making changes. Some of them very necessary and very good. She's working on the music system, rearranged furniture, adding live music, changing the art and decor. Business seems to be picking up. From a business standpoint, it looks very good and promising. But, I knew that some of these changes were going to be painful and difficult the first day she was "at the helm." I walked into Aroma's Therapy (the new name...) and instead of the familiar waft of coffee scent that greats my senses when I walk in, my pallet encountered the smell of berries from a strong scented candle. As I entered I noticed celaphane gift baskets on the counter. That's when it happened: my brain screamed, "the coffee shop has been feminized!" And a part of me died...