Ruins, Spices, and Mysteries

You can travel to faraway lands
and find mysteries unsolved:
some are hidden under tree roots,
stone temples,
hardened soil,
hardened hearts;
behind deep clouds of smoke,
and weak smiles,
and men whose legs are no more,
“an anti-human mine” 
they’d say.

You can travel to faraway lands
and find new flavors and smells.
Sweet fragrances that transport you
To places you thought
Could only exist in your dreams.
Lemongrass and cinnamon,
Galangal and taro,
Sweet Basil and tamarind,
The children’s dreams,
The women’s pain,
The shame of men,
All mixed under the heat of the sun.
and the humidity in the air.

You can travel to faraway lands
And find how unanswered pleas
Are strangely mixed in the air with smoke.
A magic land indeed.
Black smoke.
It is incense burning here and there,
I tear up.
It is incense offered to gods who can not
I am crying.
The smoke is heavy.
Black. Magic?
How can they see?
How can they breath?
Who will tell them?
A child covers her nose,
I tear up again.

And the woman is there again,
In this faraway land,
Day after day at the feet of her god
In the temple,
Selling to all passing men
The flowers and the food,
The charms and the incense,
The spices.
I watch and
See ruins all around me.
Mysteries unsolved in this woman’s heart.
I murmur a prayer,
That she may see
Through the smoke.
Through her pain.
Through her years
The One and True God
With One face
Who needs no more
I pray through the smoke,
And offer her my smile.
Smoke again.

You can travel to faraway lands to hear
Of a prince who left his palace,
All his riches,
All his comfort,
To see and try to understand
The suffering of men.
And, yet, with his four faces:
This Prince could not see
Cannot see
The emptiness in his
follower’s faces.
Smoke again.

This prince left it all
And cannot give anything back.
This prince with the many hands
Cannot carry the burdens,
The sins,
The deepest pains.
His chest is empty.
Smoke surrounds him.
Again and again.

I stare at the prince’s faceless figure,
“The robbers,” they say,
“They cut his head.”
And the incense burns,
And the women,
And the men,
And the children,
All bow down,
Again and again.
And their life remains in ruins.
Smoke again.

That they may have eyes to see
Through the smoke,
Trough the ruins,
Through the silence,
Through the mysteries,
The Prince of Peace,
Jesus Christ.

Eyes to see the one face of the
King who left his palace,
Left it all
And became like us,
Suffered like us.
This Prince didn’t fail.
His one face has
Eyes to see,
Ears to hear,
Mouth to speak life.
Come to Him!
Come to Jesus Christ!
Breath in life,
Not smoke.

Jesus the King
Has two arms,
That hung from the cross.
His chest is not empty,
His heart was pierced
For the ruined temples,
For all the ruined lives,
The broken,
The blind,
The deaf,
The ones with empty hearts,
For us.

You don’t have to travel to faraway lands,
To see find this King.
The Prince of Peace
Sees through the hardened hearts of men,
Breaks them in pieces,
And makes them whole again.
He turns ruins into palaces
For his glory to shine through.
He loves broken vessels,
And picks them up,
And makes them new.

You don’t have to travel to faraway lands
To offer your prayers to a strange god
In hopes to be heard.
The King of kings, Jesus of Nazareth,
Rose again from the death
And He, the True God,
Hears the prayers of men.
Huge stones,
Hardened soil,
Could not hold Him back
In the grave.
He welcomes the broken men.
Offer your life as incense
To Him.
He hears the weary,
He bends the brokenhearted.
No more darkness.
No more smoke.
No more silence.

Come to Him,
To Jesus Christ,
The Prince who left
His home,
His heavenly palace,
And Became like us,
And died that we may die,
And rose again, and
Now lives so that we may live.

You don’t have to travel to faraway lands
To find life,
Jesus is the Way to Life.
He is Life.
Through darkness and smoke,
His Light shines through.
And welcomes the
Needy the poor in spirit,
The hungry he feeds,
And the thirsty he refreshes
With everlasting water.

Hear Him, Jesus Christ,
The Prince of Peace,
Calling your name,
In this land,
In this time,
In this ruined moment.
No more darkness.
No more smoke.
No more silence.


Salt, Light, and the Fulfillment of the Law

@Shiloh Photography

Yesterday was a long traveling day for us which was rewarded with lots of hugs at the airport, and a delicious dinner with our friends in NC. I am sure we’ll be flooded with many opportunities to give thanks to God this week as we enjoy the fellowship with our brothers and sisters here.

Yesterday I also learned how long traveling days, and long lines at the immigration post in Miami (2hrs of line) are perfect to catch up with your memorization project. So no complaints here.

Meditating on what it means to be salt of the world and light of the world has been good and challenging. Leslie has shared on her blog some thoughts that are important to consider on how salt can lose its taste and what it means to be trampled under people’s feet.

“[W]e Christians lose our saltiness when we bind ourselves to sin, when we sacrifice our purity and potency on the altar of pleasure and worldly pursuits.”


“I suppose the good news is that we are not trampled under God’s feet. Though worthless salt, we are still salt. But we are trampled under people’s feet when they see us caught in sin.”

The verses 17-18 of Matthew 5 are wonderful. As I repeat them and learn them, I am drawn, every time, to give thanks to Jesus for fulfilling the law. It is so powerful to understand all that is encompassed there! You can read a few articles from the Table Talk magazine to help you understand
this: here and here and here.

My friends, may God be glorified in us as we salt the earth and give light to those around us (starting at home) this week as we’ll have lots of opportunities to interact with our extended family and friends.  And let us be drawn to give thanks for the work of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.


Saying Grace

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” –G. K. Chesterton

#1442- 1464

I say grace when…

We are welcomed at the airport by wonderful friends.

When I hug my son and see his eyes.

When I see my children hugging each other, and friends smiling and joy is overflowing.

When I see the wonderful family of God that loves us and welcomes us with a warm heart; what a gift!

When an honorable young man gives me my lost cell-phone (I dropped it on the snow-covered street, and did not notice until few hours later!)

When two little girls play for hours, and hours and hours.

When we feel at home at our friends’ home.

When we have apple-puffed pancake for breakfast.

When it snows, and I am feeling my son’s embrace.

When brothers meet and laughter is present.

Our oldest is standing on a hill, they are about the same height (a note to those who know them personally)

I give thanks when snow seems to be falling only for us.


I give thanks when snow falls and the girls play and forget to eat (and remember how hungry they are when they start making “ice-cream” with the snow)

When I hear the bagpipes…

Ad visit our friends in their farm: Oh, how much they teach us!

When yummy bread is out of the oven, ready to serve as potato soup bowl.

I give thanks for a dear friend that is an inspiration.

I give grace for great food, great company, great friends.

Isn’t this beautiful? Helping hands, little chefs, willing to help, ready to serve. I give thanks for them.

I give thanks when we are granted moments that turn into beautiful memories.

When we find a place on the table to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family in Spokane, WA.

I give thanks when I hear laughter in the kitchen over “mid-night snacks”

I give thanks for all of my friends who are praying through The Valley of Vision with me.

I give thanks when I miss my Beloved Husband and I count the days to be in his arms again (less than three days!)

I give thanks when is late at night and I go to bed and think to myself: God is good indeed!

May we abound in thanksgiving and singing; may we learn to give thanks in all.


Thanks to my daughter for letting me use some of her pictures for this post.

Interrupting this Temporal Silence

Dear friends,

Many of you know that our family has been traveling for the last two weeks and will still be away for the next two; we have been visiting old friends, making new ones, hugging long and crying even more. We  also left our oldest son in College; and now my girls and I are visiting my sister and her family. A gift from above indeed!

My pictures are still in my camera, but I promise to share some with you soon. I am sure you will love them.

I am not sure when I will be back to posting regularly (maybe not so soon!), but meanwhile I hope you are enjoying the last weeks of your summer and that no matter where you are now, you may see His wonderful Hand at work in your life.

I thought you might be blessed by this wonderful hymn sung at the NSA Convocation 2011

Coram Deo


>I am Grateful for Temporal Blessings

>The days we spent on the beach last week were a blessing; just sitting early every morning by the ocean listening it roar, and seeing the skies proclaiming God’s glory was enough to want to stay just one more day…

While being there we read in our family devotions what Ezekiel Hopkins said about temporal blessings:

“Spiritual things are our greatest need, but God also allows us temporal blessings. We enjoy them as we might enjoy a visit to an inn. We refresh ourselves with the comforts there, but we must not remain there or seek our true rest from it. We are strangers and pilgrims upon earth; heaven is our country, and to there we are traveling. We are thankful for the world’s provisions during our journey, and we enjoy the bread we pray for a support in our passage home.  Our Saviour, in his providence, gives us heavenly blessings as a happy addition to the earthly blessings he daily bestows upon us… Whatever you enjoy is from his free bounty. He spreads your table and fills your cup. He is your health and strength, and he loads you daily with benefits. Do you have riches, honour friends, joy, and comfort? It is God who fills you with these good things. He is the great Lord and proprietor who brings forth abundantly from all his stores for the use and service man.”

Voices from the Past page 179

#1282- 1300

Today I am grateful for the earthly blessings that our Father has bestowed upon us…

A home away from home

Crashing waves that made me think of the might power of God.

One bucket, sand and shovels… time to build castles.

All different blues in the sky

Birds flying and singing out loud

Palm trees

Strong winds and beautiful storms

Wonderful food.

A night date with my Beloved.

Time to think

Boys playing in the waves.

Finding a lost kitten and looking for a safe place for it.

Taking time to look closely all kind of beautiful insects.

Early coffee with a majestic view.

My daughter’s photography eye

My companion through the Psalms this summer.

The epistle of James: A book to live.

A safe travel back home

More friends coming in today.

And you, what are those temporal blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you? What are you grateful for this day?

Praising God with you today.


>How to Make Online Friends in a Real World


You write emails and messages, and facebook statuses all year long. You have prayed over long distance friends, and shared your heart with them even though you have never seen into their eyes before. You have met these friends online, and now you love them and truly care for them. How can this be?
We met many of our online friends through an online school (the best, I dare to say) almost five years ago. And every year we go to the famous End of the Year Gathering where we all meet for a week to share laughs, words, hugs, tears. To look into our eyes, and gaze into the beauty of godly fellowship. 
Some of my closest friends are there, and some others, like Elizabeth, one of my best friends, I have met through the blogging world. How could this happen? Haven’t we been told that online friends are not real? That they do not belong to the real world?
We are now in a time where we can’t ignore the online world. It is part of us and we are part of it. My dearest sister and best friend lives in Canada while I live in Mexico, and yet we are in contact almost daily through all the new technologies that allow us to share those little things that make up our days.
Few of the things I have learned along with my children in this new world, new era, where online relationships do happen are these:
1. Know that there is a REAL person behind the screen. When I teach online, when I blog, when I send a facebook message, when I write or read an email; I know there is someone breathing on the other side. A person, a real one, with virtues and flaws. With good days and bad days. With a beautiful home that sometimes gets messy as mine. We are real people,  we are not “a thing” behind a screen.
2. Be YOU at all times. Be sincere, be real. When my dear friend Elizabeth and I sat on the same table to have lunch, for the first time after almost two years of being “online friends”, I was very happy to find “the Elizabeth” I knew I would find. We knew each other; we were not any different than the person that we show online. 
I have taught my children not to post ANYTHING that they would not say in person. When they started to learn how to relate in an online world, I would read their statuses and profiles, to make sure that they were being real. This is a very important thing to do at all times. As Christians, we are to be true to our faith on the family table, the mall, the farm, the school, facebook, etc. We cannot be double-minded. We must be always blameless children of God. 
3. Make it happen. This is the hardest part, but the most rewarding one: Go beyond the screen! Get the phone (or Skype which is cheaper if you have loved friends who live in the UK or Brussels). Listen to their voices, to their laugh, take the time to make it happen! Set a time, just as if you would go to a Starbucks to meet with your friend. It seems simple but it makes a world of a difference.
Now, try to meet them in person! This is what we must long for, to be with our online friends at a table, sharing the bread, and looking into their eyes.
This past week, as more than 400 people gathered in Lancaster, PA to celebrate the End of the Year Gathering, I kept my eyes open to see that true godly relationships can be built online where the Lord reigns among His people and His statutes are honored.  As one of our friend has said, “that week with these people was absolutely worth any pain that the good-byes may have wrought.”
I pray that God will help us live in this era of online relationships, true to our calling, honoring Him in all we do and say, praising Him with every word we write or read. 
Much love to you today, my dear friend!
The picture above is of my little girl and her friends. Their lives have been brought together because of online friendships. This is the fourth year in a row that they get together to share laughs and songs!  My daughter cried when she said good-bye to them.