Stones in the Sacred Spaces

Christmas week had been exceptionally busy at our house. As we finished our holiday baking and gift-wrapping, I was studying and taking a test that I prayed would lead to a new job. And finally, we all came down with a stubborn cold that left us feeling exhausted.

On this last Sunday of the year, John suggested that we take a break and drive to the San Antonio Missions Trail.   We visited Mission Espada and Mission San Juan Capistrano. All four of the eighteenth-century missions are active parishes, and we were blessed to hear singing from inside the church as we stood outside Mission Espada.

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“For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?” Job 8:8-10 (ESV)

As we quietly strolled the grounds, we drank in the stillness of the Sunday morning, broken only by the voices singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Sunshine broke through the overcast sky as I reflected on the anxieties as well as blessings of the past week.

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It had been a long, discouraging search for a job. As the sun poured through breaks in the ancient walls of Mission Espada, I thanked God for the rays of hope that poured in when I learned that I had passed the test and could begin working. I gave thanks that my husband was healing from a May spinal surgery, and that my mom and I had enjoyed yet another Christmas decorating season.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was our second stop. We walked through more archways and walls until we found this view of the church.

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When I walk through a historical site, I tend to feel a close connection with those who went before us. The stones in these mission walls hold the histories and stories of those who labored to build the missions, and those who keep these sacred spaces alive in the twenty-first century. We felt especially blessed to be here during this Christmas season, as we give thanks and look forward to the new year.

“Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

Multitude Monday: 164-170


After two weeks on the road and visiting friends in Arizona, I am refreshed and ready to write! Many thanks to Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience for hosting Multitudes on Mondays.

164. A wonderful two-week vacation with my husband John, touring Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The scenery, such as Arizona’s painted cliffs, was like nowhere else on earth.

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165. Visiting friends in Flagstaff, Arizona more than four years after I moved to San Antonio, Texas. Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks come into view on Highway 40:

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166. My Arizona friends — who are family to me — finally met my husband! John and I especially enjoyed attending the annual banquet for the women’s shelter where I worked and lived.

167. Peace and quiet at our rented cabin in Sedona, Arizona, where the only sound was the rushing waters of Oak Creek. We had a chance to relax, take pictures of the scenery, and adjust to the altitude!

Sedona cabin

168. Thundershower our last night in Sedona filled the canyon with clean, fresh post-rain air.

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169. A scenic trip home through Las Cruces New Mexico. Stunning views of the San Andres Mountains from our hotel, and a stunning sunrise:

Las Cruces Sunrise

170. A safe arrival home to San Antonio!

Monday Skies

It all started with a simple trip to the store to pick up a few groceries. As we were putting the groceries in the car, a gentle but steady rain refreshed us. When John started the ignition and the sun started to shine through the drops, I wondered out loud if we’d see a rainbow.

Good thing I had my phone camera…

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About an hour after we got home, blue skies broke through the clouds. This time, I had my trusty Nikon D5100, so I was able to practice taking some HDR shots.

Good reminder to keeping looking up!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6


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The sun and clouds will be trading places in the sky all day today so I’ll have plenty of chances to take more pictures. Love that sky!

Photography: Practicing Low-Key

I’m still learning about my new camera, especially with the effects dial. This afternoon, my husband John and I practiced taking “low key” images, which created a silhouettes in these pictures.

Here’s the picture I took of John, with a little post-editing…



…and here’s the one John took of me!

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Hope you’ll visit John’s blog, Photo-News — John Evans Photography, Poetry and Travels.

As for me, I’m just beginning to understand the creative possibilities of digital photography…fun!

Bamberger Park Nature Trails

We picked up our cameras and went for a walk this afternoon. Bamberger Park, which has nature trails on 70 acres of land, is a short drive from our home.

Needed peace and nature’s quiet today. Soothe our souls, Lord, and bring us back to the beauty of the present.


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In spite of the heat and humidity, we enjoyed this chance to take a deep breath and slow down. To come back to ourselves.

Amazing how distant our struggles seem, how refreshed we feel, when we pay attention.

As John always tells me, “Stay creative!”

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