30th Anniversary Trip

Well, it wasn’t Hawaii or Europe, but we had a great time anyway on our long weekend trip to Austin and San Antonio.

A big snowstorm hit the night before. Made things pretty, but it was icy and un-drivable for a while.

Snowy view out front window

Snowy view out front window


Happily, the ice melted by lunchtime and we were able to set out for central Texas.

The State Capitol was quite impressive, as befits a state as grand as Texas.

Inside the 4-story rotunda at the State Capitol

Inside the 4-story rotunda at the State Capitol

Old fashioned love seat facilitates conversation

Old fashioned love seat facilitates conversation

The Alamo was very cool but crowded with what seemed to be half of Texas. After reading a few signs and legends, we realized that by sheer happenstance, we were there on Battle of the Alamo Day – March 6! No wonder the whole world was there! But we still had fun. And here, in probably the most important historical site in the state, Texas pride was on full display.


The most fun was the next day at Natural Bridges Caverns, and Natural Bridges Wildlife Ranch. Kind of like Lion Country Safari they used to have in Orange County, but without the predators. Had quite a few large gazelles, bison and ostrich eat out of our hands.


Gazelle with head in car

The Sicilian donkeys were a hoot.

Sicilian Donkeys

Sicilian Donkeys

Just because they were herbivores doesn’t mean they  were small.

Big honking bison - this guy ate out of my hand

Big honking bison – this guy ate out of my hand

And they had a whole BUNCH of giraffes.


We had brunch at Mi Tierra on the last day and were serenaded by these fun mariachis.


It was a fabulous trip with my wonderful honey!

And since it was our anniversary, we should include a photo of us together, though it’s not from that trip. We went to the Dallas Zoo just this last weekend:

Bronze elephant, Dallas Zoo

Bronze elephant, Dallas Zoo

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Hail and Hawaii

We had a wonderful time on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Special thanks to Sherry and Dale for providing the great accommodations, up on the hill overlooking Honolulu.

The night before we were to leave, there was a HUGE hailstorm, with quail-egg sized hailstones:















The next morning, we looked out our front door and saw our front yard and street littered with flowers from our tree. We had to stop and clean it all up. Thank goodness for my gas blower:


We just found out that the storm wrecked our roof, and we’ll be out the couple thousand deductible for replacement. Ugh.

Actually, the Hawaii pictures are not posted here, but this link to them on Google Drive:


There are a modest 17 photos, 6 of which are from Lisa and Ryan’s wedding. I couldn’t figure out how to caption the photos, so I made the titles somewhat descriptive.

If you sort them by Title, they will appear in correct chronological order. Enjoy!

Dan and Pat

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Re-post: The Holy Spirit Filter

Re-posting this from a couple of years ago because it is an actual blog entry, as opposed to my “just news” posts. Enjoy!


I grew up in a family of intelligent, witty people. With them and my neighborhood friends, I became proficient at the jab, the tease, and the put-down (subtle or otherwise).

My college roommates (all Christians) and I used to sit at the dinner table and trade barbs and witticisms. We didn’t say REALLY bad things, and we did not mean to hurt each other. It was all in fun.

But it eventually struck me that we were literally training ourselves to speak evil. So my roomies and I decided together to start “taming our tongues” (James 3).

About this time, I noticed something interesting. Every so often, an insult or other negative words would come out of my mouth, but the person didn’t hear it, and asked me to repeat.

In that brief moment, I realized that I shouldn’t have said it anyway. I figured that God mercifully caused the person not to hear it, like a filter in the air between my mouth and his ears. So I would say, “Never mind — Holy Spirit Filter.” My friends soon came to know what that meant.

As time went on, I would start to say something negative, then stop. It was as if the Holy Spirit Filter had moved, from the air between my mouth and someone’s ears, to inside my mouth! I would still say, “Holy Spirit Filter.”

More time passed, and that filter kept moving, right into my brain. I still slip on occasion, but most of the time those insults and jabs don’t even enter my mind. I rarely utter the words “Holy Spirit Filter” any more, and by His grace I am known as an encourager and someone who uses words to heal, not harm. All glory to God!

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We Have Found a Church!

After living in TX for 4 months, we finally chose a church! I (Dan) had been hoping to find one closer to our neighborhood (to make it easier to invite neighbors). But this one, Providence Church, is 15 minutes away, which is not too bad. The pastor is an Iranian guy who became a Christian at a young age out of a Muslim background. The preaching is really good, the worship is good, and they have plenty of small groups near our house.

So we will look for a group to join and start building those personal relationships that are so important, and also see where and how the Lord would have us serve. Of course, our niche has most recently been worship team (Dan playing instruments, Pat running video from the back), but we are both open to whatever opportunities arise.

Thanks to those who prayed that we would find a church. We’re very happy that we’ll be settling down after visiting 8 or 9 different churches.

In other “getting settled” news, we installed kind of a fun “coat rack” on our wall. Hopefully our guests will feel even more welcome when they visit. Maybe YOU will be one of them!

Welcome Coat Hooks

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Winter Wonderland – Little Elm

Outside our home in early December, it looked like a winter wonderland. But it was ice, not snow. We bundled up for a quick stroll outside, and this is what we saw.

Our house and tree were covered in ice. The driveway was treacherous.

Our house and tree were covered in ice. The driveway was treacherous.

DSC_9287 copy

The entire street was covered in several inches of ice. Driving was out of the question.

The entire street was covered in several inches of ice. Driving was out of the question.

We were so glad both our cars were in the garage and would not have to be defrosted!

We were so glad both our cars were in the garage and would not have to be defrosted!


All the ice had melted by the time Eric came at Christmas. He used his newfound purchasing power (along with Katie and Robby) to buy Dan a really cool cordless tool set


We were greeted by a friendly gator at the Dallas World Aquarium.

We were greeted by a friendly gator at the Dallas World Aquarium.

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Christmas Update 2013

Here’s our 190-word, bullet-pointed, pithy update on our family, especially for those who haven’t kept up with us all year.


Blessings, Dan and Pat

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Photos – GMO Office and House

We’ve been in Texas just over a week now. After spending most of last week getting moved in, we reported full-time to the office this week.

Here we are outside the GMO office in Plano, in an area with many office buildings (in sort of an extra downtown, 15 miles north of downtown Dallas). There is a bit of traffic, but it looks like most days the drive in will take about 20 minutes.



Inside the office, Dan works across from Pat and a couple of cubes down. He stands up most of the day and can see the back of Pat’s head! Our desks are adjustable, so Dan can lower his desk and sit for a while if he gets tired of standing. About 20 people work here at the GMO office, with a few more coming soon.



And here we are outside our house on Foxwood Lane. We are so glad the houses around here are brick and will not need painting! We’ll take some inside photos soon, after we finish unpacking and get rid of all the boxes.



Pray with us that we can make an impact on our neighborhood. We’ve already met both sets of next-door neighbors and a family across the street. So far everyone is very friendly and welcoming.

We appreciate you so much! Thank you for your friendship and prayers as we continue this transition.

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