Before Doing the Next Thing

“Just do the thing in front of you” Elisabeth Elliot said, and I have always believed that statement to be true, but now I am on a different place and I’m seeing things from a different angle. Yes, doing the next thing God calls us to do is mandatory, but sitting still for a while before moving towards the next thing is as important as moving forward. Finding a quiet time is, many times the next thing we ought to do. Especially for those of us who are prone to move.

Our second son just got married, and we are very grateful for the new daughter that we now have. We love her deeply. We are grateful for the many, many prayers we have prayed before our Father who hears us for our son and this wife; we are grateful for the gift of seeing them start their new family with prayer, anchored in the Word. I am truly grateful and very happy. But it is still a hard thing to let your son go. Doing the next thing for me now looks like slowing down and reading my Bible more and making more room for prayer.

My dear friend and I had this conversation a few days ago, that made me think more on what it means to feel this void in the heart that is very hard to explain because, paradoxically, my heart is more full now. She said that when we marry a child we finish a job, and finishing a job is always something solemn and sober that calls for reflection. How I agree with her!

You know, Friend, turning the page quickly to the new chapter of your life sometimes cannot be done quickly. Sometimes it is good and important to take the time to reflect and pray before doing the next thing. To recall the many prayers you have prayed, the answers God has given, the promises that have sustained you is a good thing to do. Morbid introspection has no place here. It is not about us, remember, it is about God’s glory and His promises, it is about His perfect and sovereign plan and us becoming more like Christ. Doing the next thing many times is not necessarily moving forward, but  slowing down and praying more, asking God to give you a promise that you can hold unto in the days and months to come.

Some days and life events should look more like your favorite book: you finish a chapter and you love it so much that instead of not wanting to put your book down to see what comes next, you close it and want to linger on it a bit more. It is so good, so rich, that moving quickly to the next chapter is not a good idea. You need to let the story sink down. And then, when you turn the page, you understand the story better and love it even more.

We are so quick to move, to do the next thing right away that we end up living an unexamined life, and Socrates got it right, an unexamined life is not worth living.

So yes, let’s do the next thing, but first let’s take time to slow down and consider Christ and the work of His Spirit in our own lives.

Under His sun and by His grace,


Thankful on my 42th Birthday

Waking up to a new day is always good, and waking up to a new year is such an incredible blessing. I am so very grateful!

My heart bursts as I meditate in the many ways God has blessed my life, and again I can only say with a grateful and humble heart, “Why me, God?”

Today I am grateful for….

The lessons He has taught me, the sweet and the bitter ones.

For the many times He has drawn me to repentance and has forgiven my trespasses.

I am grateful for the friends He has given me, each one different, yet everyone very special, hand-tailored to help me grow in Christ.

Having friends that are much wiser than I am, friends who have taught me through their example -and have encouraged me- to hold my tongue, to pray more, to be humble, to be quiet, to persevere, to speak the truth in love, to stand firm in the Truth when the easiest way would be to do otherwise. I am grateful for each friend who has been there to teach me, to mentor me, to help me become the woman I am now. Thank you for living your lives as open books that I can read and from whom I learn so much. I love you, each one of you.

I am grateful for the years I have been given to serve breakfast, and lunch, and dinner to my 4 children. But even more, I am grateful that God gave me His Word to nourish their souls each day.

Now two more of my children are leaving to college and I am so grateful to see them ready to embrace what lies ahead. I am grateful for every hug, every kiss, every tear, every conversation, every song sang, and every melody played. As I hold them tight and I swallow hard, and tears fall I am more than anything else, grateful. So grateful for each moment shared together.

I am so grateful that when they were little ones God delivered me from the two words that kill the beautiful moments: “Hurry up!” Oh, how grateful I am that by his Grace, we learned to slow down. In a sense, it does feels that Time did fly by rapidly, but I am grateful it didn’t escape from our hands. We have lived fully and that is a blessing.

When I think of the many ways I have failed to fully trust and obey God, of the times I ignored the warnings He clearly showed me, I can only be grateful for the way He disciplined me and forgave me, and  held me. Oh how grateful I am that His sovereign hand never ceases to direct our ways even through our shortcomings!

That God is Sovereign overall, that He is in charge of my children’s stories, that I can rest assured that He will finish the work He has begun in them makes me burst in gratitude.

I am so grateful for my Man. For the way he has loved me and chose me day after day. I am blessed to be his and to know that he is mine.

I am grateful for the times of waiting. For the times of quiet. How much they have helped me grow!

For friends that pray.

For songs in the night.

For my little one that looks up to me with a smile and holds me tight. How much I love her and how much we still have to share! I am grateful for each moment that awaits for us and for the grace to live fully each day and every opportunity we’ll be given to make memories.

For the Church of Christ that knows no boundaries.

For bread in the oven and wine in the glasses, and friends and family to share it with.

God is good and His faithfulness endures forever.

To God be the glory!


The Two Objects Needed to Make a Home


Peasant Family at the Dinner Table by Jozef Israëls

What a great a read is Bed and Board: Plain talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon. I am absolutely loving this book. I posted some quotes from the first four chapters here, and today I want to share with you a few more quotes from chapters 5 and 6.

“I usually say that you need only two things, two pieces of matter, to make a home: a bed and a table. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s a good one…For Bed and Board are the fundamental geographical divisions of the family; they are the chief places, and it is in them and around them that we dance the parts we are given.”

“He who perished by a tree is saved by a tree. He who died by an apple is restored by eating the flesh of his Saviour. Our lust is to be healed by being brought down to one bed, our savagery tamed by the exchanges around a lifelong table. Bed, Board, rooftree and doorway become the choice places of our healing, the delimitations of our freedom. By setting us boundaries, they hold us in; but they trammel the void as well. By confining, they keep track of us -they leave us free to be found, and to find ourselves. The vow of lifelong fidelity to one bed, one woman, becomes the wall at the edge of the cliff that leaves the children free to play a little, rather than be lost at large. Marriage gives us somewhere to be.”

“The bed is the heart of the home, the arena of love, the seedbed of life, and the one constant point of meeting. It is the place where, night by night, forgiveness and fair speech return that the sun go not down upon our wrath; where the perfunctory kiss and the entire ceremonial pat on the backside become unction and grace. It is the oldest, friendliest thing, in anybody’s marriage, the first used and the last left, and no one can praise it enough.”

“We were meant to meet, to sustain and to ease each other, and in the marriage bed we lie down to do just that. It is an island in a sea of troubles, where there is nothing else to do but rest and refresh. Yet how resourceful we are, with our turned backs and stubborns silences, or with our interminable pouts and dreadful debates about What’s Wrong With Us.”

“People admit is hard to pray. Yet they think it’s easy to make love. What nonsense. Neither is worth much when it is only the outcropping of intermittent enthusiasm. Both need to be done without ceasing…”

“The table can make us or break us. It has its own laws and will not change. Food and litter will lie upon it; fair speech and venom will pour across it; it will be the scene of manners and meanness, the place of charity or the wall of division, depending. Depending on what is done with it, at it and about it. But whatever is done, however it enters, it will allow only the possible, not the ideal. No one has ever created the Board by fiat. God himself spread his table, but Judas sat down at it. There is no use in thinking that we all have to do is wish for a certain style of family life, and wait for it to happen. The Board is a union of thing and persons; what it becomes depends on how the thing is dealt with by the persons.”

“The Board will always give birth to liturgy.”

“[I]t is precisely the absence of visible liturgy that nowadays makes the common life less obvious to common men.”

“Few of us have very many great things to care about, but we all have plenty of small ones; and that’s enough for the dance. It is precisely through the things we put on the table, and the liturgies we form around it, that the city is built; caring is more than half the work.”

Under His sun and by His grace,


Beauty for Beauty’s Sake

“Beauty is God’s inspiration to delight in Him. Wonder and awe whisper to us that there is something beyond, something more.”    Steve DeWitt, Eyes Wide Open


Image credits: Photograph by Andrew Osokin at Peta Pixel (Amazing!)


It always amazes me
 that God creates beauty for beauty’s sake.
So, I take my pencils and trace,
just for the sake of trying to make
something beautiful.
I choose the right colors for my home,
and flowers for the table,
and arrange them beautifully in a vase.
The Christmas ornaments,
all chosen carefully;
we want it to be beautiful.
The food on the table,
the wine,
the candles,
the music.
we sigh.
The books on the shelves,
filled with beautiful words,
and beautiful art.
The smiles,
the tears.
All beautiful.
I am always surrounded by beauty.
Art made in heaven.
All glorious.
This is certainly a beautiful world.
And I give thanks
The Creator
of all things.



Make sure you go see the whole photography series of snowflakes by Andrew Osokin. It is breathtaking!

A Few More Quotes from Joy at the End of the Tether and a Winner

Annie Pliego Photography

Yes, I am very excited to announce who the winner is of the book Joy at the End of the Tether: The Inscrutable Wisdom of Ecclesiastes by Douglas Wilson. But before you jump to end of the post to find out if it was you… I would like to share with you a few more quotes.

Read Eccl.7:16-22 and then come back… Now:

“What does it mean to overly righteous?… Clearly Solomon here is not addressing genuine pity, righteousness, or wisdom. He is speaking of what too often passes for it. So what does it mean? Not to point a fine point on it, it means… Nice Christian, Priggish Christian, Sanctimonious Christian. Tight-shoes Christian, Pursed lips Christian, Stickler Christian. Insufferable Christian. Prudish Christian. Doctrinally correct Christian. Know-it-all Christian. Ostentatious Christian. Quiet-time-everyday-or-I’ll-go-to-Hell Christian. Conceited Christian. Orthodox Christian. UnChristian Christian.”


“What men like in religion is not necessarily what God likes. What men admire is not necessarily what God admires.”


“The antidote to this religiosity is the fear of God and not a pagan moderation. If a man fears God sincerely, then he will not fall into religious foolishness (v.18). True wisdom is strength, while the desire to appear wise is suicide.”

Now read Ecc. 8:16-9:3

“The wise know how to identify what cannot be known. Solomon is is not referring to the actions of God on the other side of the universe (which, of course, no one thinks we could know), but rather His governance of our lives here and now. He sets the limitation upon any man (v.17) and not just upon himself and his own endeavors. Look around as you please, you do not know hat is happening.

Wisdom does not seek to explain this sovereignty of God.”


“Always remember that Ecclesiastes is at war with the folly of self-sufficiency. The key to wisdom is coming to understand what we do not know.”

You will have to get this book to fully enjoy it. I am sure this is the perfect kind of book to read around the family table with our grown-up children along with a nice dinnerbecause this is what the wise do, they enjoy nice dinners with bacon and wine.- I promise you will find in this little book much to consider and talk about… and even laugh.

Well, now the announcement. The winner is Jessica! Yay! Congratulations, friend! And just because books are also a gift from God, and I am happy, and I love my friends… I will give you not only this book but also the other one I am loving… This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. I will contact you soon, Jessica!

Much love to you all and once again, thanks for taking the time to read.


40 + 1

Annie Pliego Photography

Yes, today is my birthday and I am very grateful to God for giving me one more year of life under the sun and by His grace.  He is good. All goodness is found in Him and it comes from Him.

40 + 1 is a good number to celebrate and today is a good day to share 40 + 1 things I have learned so far, and a few others that are among my favorite things in this God-given life -all are listed in no particular order- :

1. Never cease to see life as a gift from God. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every breath. All is a gift from His hand.

2. Sitting in a stool in your friend’s kitchen waiting for a pie to come out of the oven is priceless.

3. Take time to see the beauty in the vegetables you are slicing. Make a pretty salad.

4. Red wine, coffee, and chocolate are pure goodness.

5. I absolutely love being the wife of my Man.

6.  Being a mom is one of my greatest joys. Nothing to compare with.

7. It is not easy to have a disciplined prayer life. Once you start don’t break the habit. Not one day. Not once.

8. I believe in magic. I read books.

9. Having friends over and a full table are two of my favorite things on earth.

10. Traveling is always welcome. (note to self: when are you going to learn how to pack lightly?)

11. Relationships are not always easy, but they all are necessary. Every person the Lord brings into our life is there for a purpose. Open your eyes.

12. If you don’t want to say something, cover your mouth with your hand -literally-. It does help.

13. Don’t stop singing aloud in the car, in the kitchen, in the shower.

14. Cry.

15. Laugh.

16. Death is always in God’s hands.

17. We don’t need to have all the answers, we are not God. It’s OK not to understand all things.

18. Read books you would normally not choose to read. You will be surprised.

19. Don’t just think about helping others, or blessing them, or writing notes and letters. Do it.

20. A day without prayer is a day in which I cry to God, “I don’t need you, I can do this on my own.”

21. Never, never, never, never neglect reading, meditating and memorizing God’s Word.

22. When I feel that God is far, the first question I must ask to myself is, “How much time did I spend in prayer and in God’s Word today? What about this week?”

23. Read aloud to your children. No matter how old they are.

24. Always listen to the rain and the wind through the leaves.

25. Learn new beautiful words like mistpouffer, adoxagraphy, gumusservi, phosphenes, and petrichor.

26. Write.

27. Don’t forget that hearts are very fragile.

28. God is the only one than can fully restore a broken heart.

29. Don’t miss the moment your children become adults. Be ready for the change.

30. Embrace the seasons. God has appointed a time for everything under the sun, there is nothing I can do to change His timing.

31. Keeping friendships is hard work. Invest in those you don’t want to lose.

32. Believe that people can change. God is in the business of changing our hearts.

33. Kiss tears.

34. Call a friend, no matter if its long distance.

35. Hug those you love.

36. Pray God’s Word.

37. Keep a commonplace notebook.

38. Have a drawing notebook and a nice box of colored pencils at hand.

39. Don’t stop baking muffins on Saturdays while everyone is still asleep.

40. Fight the sin you love.

41. Live.

Thank you for being part of my life. All my love to you, dear friends.