Monday, November 16, 2015

This Most Amazing Day

 A few weeks ago, we went on a long hike in the Franklin Mountains. The weather is still nice here in the El Paso area for the most part and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. We were hiking to see old tin mines and were excited about exploring some caves. 
When we made it to the end of the trail we were on, the trail split two ways. We chose the left one and were disappointed to find that the caves were closed off. By this time, we had hiked a little over 3 miles and were getting pretty tired. My friend Cherie was visiting with us and wanted to go the other way because we had heard that there were caves open to the public. It was a steep hill and John, Jonathan, and I were just done. D.O.N.E. Cherie, however, still had energy left and didn't mind hiking down and up the steep incline to get to the old tin mine. While she hiked, the three of us scarfed down our snacks and drank more water and waited for Cherie. We sat on big rocks and enjoyed the outdoors..mustering up strength to get back down the trail to the truck. The blue dream of sky, the weather sunny with a slight breeze was pure contentment. It was a day to be outside, a day to dream, a day to simply enjoy. Here are a few photos from this most amazing day.



We thought the cactus looked like a snake!

My friend Cherie enjoyed the hike.

We had read that the hike was about 3 1/2 miles - one way. I wore my fitbit which kept track of my steps. We walked over 7 miles that day! Here's a photo of my fitbit screen.
What a day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Rest My Weary Soul

Sometimes I like to go through old hymn books and find treasures long forgotten. I cannot remember how I came to acquire these books...these with the faded covers, worn bindings, and yellowed pages. But I have kept them and I value them. When I find a hymn that catches my attention,  I am interested to know the historical background of it. Many hymns, I have found, were written by authors who at the time were suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  There are many 'outlets'  people choose to cope. Some outlets are destructive. And some, like George Matheson's poem  'O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go' (penned in 1882) was 'the fruit of that suffering'. It is not known what caused Matheson's state of mind during the writing of this. Was it his blindness from an early age? Did it stem from his broken engagement from the past? Or the fact that he never married? Whatever the emotion was, it fueled the writing of this.  Within minutes this poem-turned-hymn was written and he never again was able to write something so quickly and has said that it was an 'inward voice' that came through and it wasn't his doing at all. -- O weary soul, His love won't let you or me go. 

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
-George Matheson (1842-1906)

O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be. 

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We Remember Moments

Explorations in El Paso Continued
El Paso Missions ~ San Elizario 

During my friend Kara's visit this summer with her son Jeverett, we went all over El Paso and in parts of New Mexico exploring the area, the museums, the gardens, and the El Paso Missions. On her last day here, we took it easy and strolled through 3 different Spanish Missions. The original missions were established in the early 1800's but were destroyed by the Rio Grande flooding in 1829.  Each mission has been rebuilt and each has it's own architectural style and history of the different Indian tribes who had settled here. This mission provided protection for those traveling through the area and those wishing to establish a new settlement. The San Elizario was by far the most beautiful in it's decor. On the outside, it's just another adobe mission much like the others. The inside, however was gorgeous!

While these buildings were all beautiful, each mission had images of Christ on the cross. Each mission had images of Mary and others whom are prayed to. Each mission was steeped in religion and not the Truth that Christ is risen, that there is only One Who can answer your prayers and provide salvation from sin, and that there is only one Mediator between God and men; Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5).   Even so, we enjoyed our tours through the missions and learning about the history behind them.

After touring the missions, we went to the El Paso Connection which is a warehouse that sells local art, handmade furniture, and home decor.

I posted Kara’s last trip to Juárez a bit too early in the last post. It should have gone here. Kara and I enjoyed our reconnecting after all these years in person and had a good time exploring all over town and beyond while she and Jeverett were visiting us in the Sun City. We explored the zoo, the mountains, the desert, a massive cave, several museums, a few gardens, a bit of Mexico, and the Mission Trail. In writing these posts, it was difficult to remember what activities we did on which days! We went a lot of places! There were moments of excitement and chatter and moments of awed silence at the rugged beauty of the southwest. Like the quote in the butterfly photo above says, “We do not remember days; we remember moments”. How true that is!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Perpetual Help

 Explorations in El Paso Continued
El Paso Missions ~ Socorro Mission
 La Purísima (the Purist)

The final day of my friend Kara's visit, we spent exploring the missions on the El Paso Mission Trail. "Socorro" means "perpetual (continual) help". The Socorro Mission is the second oldest mission in Texas and was built in 1840 by the Piro, Tano, and Jemez Indians. They, like the Tigua tribe, fled New Mexico during the Pueblo Revolt. The original structure was destroyed when the Rio Grande flooded earlier in the 1800's. The Ysleta Mission as well is not the original building as it, too, was ruined.  We spent a lot of time here talking to a woman who worked at the mission in a little gift shop. She was very knowledgeable about the history of the surrounding Indian tribes.  Being a Piro Indian, she knew personally the struggle of her ancestors and shared stories that had been passed down to her through family. There are only about 87 Piro Indians left in the Socorro/El Paso, TX area. Many have settled in San Antonio, though. Her dad and his 4 brothers each received a land grant way back when. Her dad is the only one who still has all the land granted to him. Her uncles have sold off bits and pieces over the years.

There are 2 buildings on the property. The one next door to the old mission is newer and larger. It is used for various occasions for their congregation. Inside this building is a replica of a Michelangelo sculpture. Here he depicts Mary holding Jesus shortly after the Crucifixion.

Note: The Scriptures do not imply that Mary had any physical contact with Jesus after he died.

Matthew 27: 59,60 -”And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.”

Mark 15:44-46 - "And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre."

Luke 23:50-53 -"And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid."

John 19:40-42 -"Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand."

Our guide told us a fascinating account about the sculpture. When Michelangelo had made the mold (1498-1499), it was magnificent and admired by all. In town one day, he had overheard a discussion over who had created this piece. Several artists were named. Michelangelo became proud and wanted everyone to know he was the creator and carved his name on the sash of Mary. When he realized what he had done, he became repentant and sorrowful that he had done this thing. The Pietá sculpture was the only piece of work he ever signed. The original sculpture is located in the Vatican City in Italy.

Each Catholic mission, we were told, has replicas of paintings portraying the ‘Fourteen Stages of the Cross”. The Pietá was inspired by number 13.

On Wednesdays, we have our mid week church service over in Juárez. We were able to show Kara and Jeverett my dad’s work over in Tierra Nueva (new land) on our way over to our work. Here are a few photos Kara took that night. The three children belong to my dad's associate Luis and his wife Mary. 

John, our fearless driver over the border and back, was able to go in the ‘fast lane’ on the way home due to a SENTRI card we have. Only approved persons can cross in this lane.  We could have crossed in the other lanes with Kara and Jeverett, but that could have taken hours in the line of traffic. I walked with them over the border and it only took about 15 minutes. John picked us up on the other side. 

Next and Last Stop on the Mission Trail: The San Elizario Mission