Friday, October 10, 2014


"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity" (Simone Weil).

Fully, completely, unhurriedly, until it's all been said, not antsy to make my own point, without agenda, without multitasking, without iPhone on, without TV on, without computer on, without music blaring, without thought for the time, without worry for the traffic, or the future...paying attention.

Christian in the Arts

Here's a link to a kickstarter campaign for a young friend of ours, Allison Mattox. She is a believer and an actress in Los Angeles.

She is working hard, paying her own way -- "earning her chops" as they say -- in a tough industry in an expensive town. I'll be frank, as as mom -- aside from the fact that she comes from a creative family -- the things that recommend her to me are that she is earnest, hard working, and basically figuring this out without acting entitled. We all know that in the Mom World these things are a deal maker.

Mattox is producing a small film called Three in June based on a family account of a Southern girl on her wedding day. If you are interested in supporting Christians in the arts, please check it out and consider donating or sharing the word.

It's tempting to moan about Hollywood, millennials, the culture. But instead let's help hard-working Christian millennials get in the game, get experience, and make a difference.

Three in June


Monday, October 6, 2014

Tex Mex Recs

David loves Tex Mex so we have been getting to know a few in our town.

Cafe del Rio in Allen, off  95 at Main/McDermott street -- new in town since July. David and I waited only 10 minutes for seat on the patio at about 6 pm on a Saturday night, delicious food came out hot and speedily, yummy salsas, and a delicious "3-Gs Margarita."

Live music was a band playing Eagles and America-type covers -- guy had a good voice and sound, especially given the fact that he had been through the desert on a horse with no name. Family or date friendly, but music may be loud on patio if you are there to try and catch up with old friends or have an intimate conversation. Inside restaurant was clean and cute 50's-diner, Mexican kitsch look, sort of a less-cluttered Chuy's feel. There was even a little store to buy somberos and tchochkes. (Remember this if you find yourself in need of a neon red sombero. You can thank me later.) Free ice cream.

Downsides: you can hear 75 on the patio and the hostesses that night were helpful but lacked a bit of the old  joie de v. as Bertie Wooster might remark. That's it.

Jalapenos in Allen, on East McDermott on the northwest corner of Greenville and McDermott. A family run, non chain Tex Mex -- we thought everything we ordered was yummy.

The server was smiling and attentive with my Meg-Ryan-From-Harry-Met-Sally complicated orderers -- kids wanting to hold the tomatoes, beans on the side, extra sour cream, multiple soda refills. (I want to warn "First World Problem Alert" when we enter a restaurant!)

Food was good! Remodeling, so expected a bit of the topsy-turvy visually when were were there this summer. This place has a lot of loyal, longstanding customers, and has that comfy, local-yokel feel. We liked it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In Adam's Fall

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

I have been staying up late at night reading, and reading desperately in carpool line, and reading distractedly at gas station pumps -- the picture of the undisciplined, novel-engrossed housewife someone might have written a cautionary tale about in 1890. (Well, minus the carpool lines and gas station pumps.) Thanks a lot, David Mitchell.

Paul Simon was the only living boy in New York, and I suspect I am the only living English major to discover Mitchell just last week. It so happens I am usually the last to hear about the next big thing.

Starting with the gradual decline (and final redemption) of the shipbound Adam Ewing, the novel is a tight, satisfying story compiled of tight, satisfying stories, a walk through time and the human condition via reincarnation: racism, courage, liberation, political economy, stewardship of the earth, and, ultimately, human nature.

Reformed friends, we may reject Buddhist and hyper-feminist notions, but if you want a moving picture of both original sin and human potential, this novel is that. Consciously or unconsciously, it is also profoundly pro-life, especially the story of Sonmi. (Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is even more starkly pro-life.)

Maybe you are just interested in reading a good story? Cloud Atlas is a novel and also a collection of several stories in different genres -- the journal travelogue, the letter, the spy thriller, the humorous narrative, the sci-fi novella. His characters are full but his language is efficient.

Unlike mine. I could go on but I have to start Bone Clocks.

Zac Brown

Saw Zac Brown band at Gexa pavilion in Dallas last night. Sat on the grass. Great venue. Band draws families and old people and teens. But still, we didn't fit in. Because we don't have cowboy boots.

Here's their skilled rendition of a favorite. Not sure if you can catch it, but towards the end, Zac Brown does some great stuff with his guitar.

Devil Went Down to Georgia 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

David Mitchell Quoting Gibbon

"A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon conquered by the corruption of taste."

(quoted in Cloud Atlas p 147)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Single Moms in North Texas

I want to draw your attention to two Christian ministries people in our church are heavily involved in here in North Texas.

This is really a "genius scenario" as it turns out -- the first ministry provides counseling and assistance to women with unplanned pregnancies, and the second ministry provides shelter and career counseling for single mothers who need it. In both ministries mothers will receive not only physical help but the gospel. Living water and material sustenance and guidance to help them get on their feet and provide for themselves and their children.

Please consider finding out more about these ministries, sharing information with people who made be in need, and giving if you are led. Both are in McKinney Texas.

Hope Resource Center

Shiloh Place