Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Monday, June 23, 2008

In My Arms

OK, so I don't have a baby, and even if I did I doubt it will have blue eyes or curly hair. HOWEVER, I love this song and just had to share it with ya:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hope mom doesn't see this . . .

or else she'll insist we never use cell phones again!

Granted, it's a hoax, but I don't think that would matter to her!

It's been a year

And it didn't hit me until I hugged my friend Elaine's grandpa tonight.

We had taken a group picture just moments before and I heard him telling David, Elaine's army boyfriend, that the two service men needed to stand together. I was immediately reminded of my grandpa. So, when I hugged him I couldn't help but think, I can't remember the last time I hugged my grandpa. It's been exactly one year since his burial.

And just a few weeks later, my other grandpa died.

I barely held the tears in while saying goodbye to Elaine's grandmother. I'm sure she noticed. But when I sat back down on the couch Elaine immediately noticed something was wrong. All I could manage to say was hugging her grandpa made me very emotional, and she immediately knew why. What a dear friend.

Even though he wasn't very vocal the last few years, it was still a comfort to know he was there; that he had always been there. As a young adult I remember imagining that I could take my future husband to meet him; he would share his war stories, perhaps we'd even drive him to Snider for the WWII 36th Infantry reunion. Those reunions don't happen anymore. We have only our memories of his memories to help us remember.

And may we never stop remembering . . .

Below is what I read beside his casket a year ago tonight. It was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. I haven't looked at it since.

Growing up, if my brothers and I weren't with my parents, we were with our grandparents; their home has always been our home. Memories of those times flash through my head: cold, sweet watermelon on a hot summer day; lazy Sunday afternoon naps on that fuzzy brown couch; grandpa fixing my covers after I kicked them off in my sleep; bologna sandwiches with fritos after school; Little Debbie snacks and Wrigley's Chewing Gum always in abundance; listening to him whisper the names of his children and grandchildren as he laid in bed praying for them at night.

Throughout his whole life my grandpa loved and served God, his family, his friends, his neighbor, and his country. He was a humble man who loved wholeheartedly. He may not have always expressed his love with eloquent words, but he displayed his love through the work of his hands. And he allowed God to use him to touch people's lives. He carried out the commandment that Jesus gave Simon Peter in John 21:15-17:
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

My grandpa fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, clothed the unclothed; he took people groceries, gave children candy, mowed neighbors' lawns. He constantly gave out of his own need. He lived with a purpose, fulfilling his calling. He spent his life “storing up treasures in heaven” because his life was not his own; his life was hidden in Christ.

There is a poem by George Herbert, a 17th century poet and parson, that reminds me of my grandpa. It's entitled Colossians 3:3, a verse which states Our life is hid with Christ in God.

My words and thoughts do both express this notion,
That Life hath with the sun a double motion.
The first Is straight, and our [daily] friend,
The other Hid, and doth obliquely bend.
One life is wrapt In flesh, and tends to earth.
The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth
Taught me to live here so, That still one eye
Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high:
Quitting with daily labor all My pleasure,
To gain at harvest an eternal Treasure.
[My Life Is Hid In Him, That Is My Treasure]

As Herbert describes in this poem, my grandpa had two lives: a physical one here on earth that we all experienced and enjoyed; and a spiritual one, that was cultivated as he loved and served others.

So as we grieve and bid farewell, let us also rejoice and take comfort, because at this very moment Mariano Miranda is experiencing that which he never fully experienced here in this world: He is basking in the glory of God. He is savoring his Father's delight. He is overwhelmed, and probably a bit embarrassed, with the abundance of his treasures. And we, as part of his living inheritance, must carry on his legacy. We must love our neighbors as ourselves and give them that which they lack, knowing that when we meet Grandpa in heaven again he will be bursting with pride on our behalves.

What's that, you ask?

Why, that's what happens when lightning strikes your house!

Or it could've happened when the whole flippin' transformer box blew.

How it happened doesn't matter to me anymore. All that matters is for the time being there's no oven, no washer, no dryer, no downstairs air conditioner, no front right sprinklers, and no water heater (although that last one really had nothing to do with the fried breakers). I'm sure tomorrow we'll discover something new that's not working.

Goodbye 1/3 of my England savings . . .

Friday, June 20, 2008


I was unable to be thankful yesterday, on Thankful Thursday, because the cable and internet were down when I got home from work. That's right, folks -- another outage! A storm blew through, and although I'm thankful it watered the half of the lawn that's dying from the malfunctioning water sprinklers, I was NOT thankful I could not log onto Blogger and be thankful. Of course, after the week we've had it might've been hard to be thankful anyway. So my thankfulness shall have to wait for another day since school starts in 8 minutes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What a week!

Here's a week-in-review:

Sunday: Power outage that only affected seven houses. They thought it was just a fuse, but realized around 10 p.m. they'd have to replace the whole transformer box. Five hours later they successfully replaced the box and packed up their floodlights and crane. If it wasn't 3 a.m. and I had more than two more hours for sleep available I would have ran out there and given those Center Point service men a hug!

Monday: Something happened; I can't remember what . . . Oh yeah! We found out our sprinklers on the right side of the house aren't working properly. So half of our lawn and flower beds are relatively green and the other half is brown and dying in this 95+ degree heat. We didn't notice before because they don't come on until 3 a.m.

Tuesday: Late at night the water went out. Apparently even the water company can have power outages.
On the work front, we heard a rumor that we might not get paid the first four working days of summer school since our regular year contract dates overlapped with the start of summer school. We had already turned in and completed time sheets. No, we weren't informed beforehand.

Wednesday: Water came back but the water heater was out. Our nice neighbor, Victor, came over to help us out. Apparently his water heater also went out. He actually came to help us before he worked on his own. He couldn't fix it at first, though, but came back later and he and Dad were able to work it out. Our other neighbor, Jim, also came over to try to help us with the sprinklers, but they weren't able to fix that one.
Oh, and I also noticed it was unusually warm in the house by the time we got home around 6:30 p.m. Dad was focused on fixing the water heater and didn't have time to look at the air conditioner. It's still around 83 degrees downstairs. Thankfully the upstairs air conditioner is still working! Hopefully there's nothing majorly wrong with the air con -- it's less than a year old anyway, so still under warranty.
Also, the rumor at work turned out to be fact. We were given new time sheets to fill out sans the first four working days. None of us turned it in yet. We've all banded together and plan to plead our case tomorrow afternoon. That is if our principal doesn't skip out like she did today! She probably sensed we were coming. Surely HISD funded her to pay teachers the full 20 days. So what's going to happen to the $750 each teacher loses out on? Hmm???

What does Thursday bring? Only time will tell. But prayers will be much appreciated!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday!

1. Teaching summer school is so chill.

2. The beach is so relaxing.

3. The HEB brand sun block is so worth it.

4. Ted Dekker's Black can be so confusing at first.

5. Ted Dekker's Black can also be so addictive.

6. Leaving work by 4:00 is so nice!

7. The HOV lane is so worth waking up and leaving 15 minutes early.

8. I'm so ready for the weekend!

9. God is so good!

10. I'm so ready for bed!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

1. I survived the school year!!!!!!!! Now I just need to survive summer school . . .

2. The aforementioned summer school will pay up to $25/hr. Which translates to a couple of months of living in Bedford. So I suppose it's worth the sacrifice.

3. I'm packing my bag for the family weekend at the beach. Yay!!!

4. I have a stack of books ready to read while on the beach; including, but not limited to Ted Dekker's Black, Khaled Hossein's The Kite Runner, and Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Hmm . . . none of them are light reading, are they? Oh, and if you click the link I wouldn't read everything or else it might ruin story lines for ya.

5. I heart the HOV lane. A coworker who lives only 5 minutes away has started carpooling with us for summer school, and that means we can zip past the thousands of cars sitting on the I-10 main lanes. My life will never be the same!

6. I also heart the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. I've read of people being annoyed by the Prince Caspian/Susan kiss at the end. Um, HELLO?! Did you see the movie?! I SO would have done the same as Susan! Ok, maybe not really. But I'd like to think I would . . .

7. At the end of the Spring Program our principal announced to the whole staff that I'm leaving to do mission work overseas. She actually had a few nice things to say. Almost made me cry. And ever since I've had people coming up to me on a daily basis asking what I'll be doing, offering to keep me in their prayers and wishing me well. It's actually quite touching. And I never realized that so many people know who I am.

8. Two plants I received from students (nearly a month ago!) are still alive and well and show no signs of dying. One is a Begonia that's thriving; the other had no identification. Is anyone able to help?

I've been too busy (and lazy when I'm not busy) to look it up.

9. My wonderful coworkers who have been helping me finish packing my classroom since summer school started. I don't know what I would do without them!

10. It's SUMMERTIME!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars

Apparently, that's my price.

That's the amount I'll get paid for working summer school for 20 days.


You see, what had happened was, I went to offer my services as a sub.

Twenty minutes later I left scratching my head, wondering how in the world they got me to agree to teach the full term.

Those wily co-lead teachers of mine who call themselves my friends!

But I figured since I'm not going back to work at the beginning of August I'll have a bit more time to recover.

I'm actually not all that tired.

Perhaps it's the 12+ hrs of sleep I got every night last weekend.

So, yeah, I'm teaching summer school.

All those brilliant and insightful blog posts I have rolling around in my head will just have to wait a wee bit longer before finding their release.

And I'm thankful I'll have a couple thousand more to add to my England Fund.

I just wish the dollar wasn't so weak up against the GB pound!

Monday, June 02, 2008

I emerge . . .

as Jan Brady!

You Are Jan Brady

Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.

And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

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