ramblin' into spring...

The new season blew softly into Austin, Texas on Saturday. We were there to celebrate our son's birthday. John Mark had arrived on just such a day as this, 37 years before. We spent the weekend telling stories about that time, long ago, and many birthday parties since then...

COMMERCIAL:  For the best tortilla in Texas, stop by Fuego Tortilla Grill, off of I- 35 in Waco. It was a return visit for us. A must. And if you go, try the El Presidente.

....We walked through inner city Austin in the morning and stopped by the Angel House Soup Kitchen on East Cesar Chavez Street. It is a non-profit ministry of the Austin Baptist Chapel. The hungry and homeless, hundreds every day, are treated as guests and are served hot meals with respect and dignity-- all in the name of Jesus (Matthew 25:35). John Mark introduced us to his friend, Jess Smith, who works there and is the son of the ministry's director. We met some of the street people, too...They had not much in the realm of possessions, but they wore smiles and demonstrated heart and an awareness of where the blessings were coming from.

For lunch, we ate from a Brazilian food truck and then did some more walking--to work it off.

...Daniela made, from scratch, John Mark's favorite dessert for that evening—Boston Cream Pie—and it was the very best I have ever had!

I have been reading a book she suggested to me: A Place for Us, a first novel by the Muslim-American author, Fatima Farheen Mirza. It's been hard to put down since I started, all about a culture I need to understand better...Saturday night we played a game they had first introduced to us over Christmas-- "Fibbage." Using our individual iPhones and a television screen, we had to guess between lies and the truth, who was telling which—all for points.

... As dusk settled in, we went for a long walk in their neighborhood. People were walking their dogs, or riding their bikes. One family had spilled out onto the sidewalk, celebrating a birthday of their own! A little girl's.

This is their first house to own, and Audrey and I had been anxious to see it.  The American Dream, I told John Mark and Daniela. It is perfect! ...

They moved in back in January and then survived the big snow/ice storm that surprised the state in February and left them without water, heat, or power for 4 frigid days and nights, praying that the pipes wouldn't burst. They survived—and so did the pipes!

...It's just a memory now and will surely be a part of their life story. I got sun-burned sitting out on their patio!

Holy Week is at the epicenter of our Christian Faith and it begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday. The Easter event of resurrection is our answer to death, and if ever there were a time to draw strength from it, it is now. So many in our church have experienced the death of a loved-one since last Easter. What to do with all that pent-up and piled-high grief? This special season reminds us that death does not get the final word here, that "death has been swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54).

...I hope you will make your reservation to be with us for in-person worship on Maundy Thursday and for one of our three Easter morning services. Space is limited still, by COVID, so sign up now to secure a spot.

Walking may be the best exercise, experts say—for heart health and also mental acuity. I've tried to be more diligent about that lately. Literally—not just with these rambling thoughts put to pen and paper. Still, I "try to be one on whom nothing is lost" as Henry James urged.

...This journal helps with that. Whether anyone else reads it or not.

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