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Archive for the ‘Happy things’ Category

O Happy Day

Posted by hrgarippa on 3 April, 2009

For the last couple of years I’ve known of this guy, Danny. He’s served at Mercy Street on occasion, he was present when the Watermark Chuckwagon almost blew Trey and Johnny to smithereens. Our lives have intersected for a while now, but on February 12 we had a head-on collision.

That morning I got my hair done (or did, as the kids over here say) and afterward decided to get some coffee and do a bit of work at Starbucks, as I found my place a guy says to me…”I know you, I know I know you…from where?” I’m totally surprised because this is not my neighborhood Starbucks and he was a little intense, but I quickly realize it is Danny and say, “Mercy Street” and we proceed to talk for the next 45 minutes.

I was speaking that Saturday at Mercy Street, and he asked to hear about it…was super encouraging and then as I was leaving said, “Can I get your number, I’d love to call you and see how it goes on Saturday?” I said sure. (note to any guys out there…this is how it is done, you are suppose to pursue the girl).

And I left. Little did I know that as soon as I walked out of Starbucks he put my number in his phone and marked the date and time we met…because as he says, “He just knew it was important.”

Ladies and any gentleman out there…its been important ever since.

I am SO thankful that God has brought this man into my life. This man that loves Jesus, and has the most amazing heart. This man that cares for me and prays for me. This man that wants what God wants for me…before he wants what he wants for me.  He is so kind and selfless. And in the words of a friend who endorsed him in the beginning, “he is one of the most heavenly-minded men I know.”

It is so much fun to be in a new relationship, to be learning about each other…to be learning to love each other. God is good, all the time…this we know…this we trust. I do my best to savor each moment of these days, they are so wonderful and filled with such happiness, giddiness and sheer joy.

Here is my sweet Danny….with his kind eyes and that amazing smile….oh, and there’s me…CHEESY!!!!!



Posted in Happy things, Love is life | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Bread Making

Posted by hrgarippa on 5 January, 2009

 I made bread yesterday, something I’ve always enjoyed doing but something I’m not very good at. Cooking is more of an artistic expression, baking on the other hand is more scientific. You must stick to a formula, or at least certain fundamental proportions, in order for goods to turn out. This is where baking and I conflict. I don’t like to stick to formulas….but I’m learning.


Making bread is simple and complex, much like life.


When you get to know the formulas, the basic fundamental proportions it’s a breeze and all sorts of wonderful things happen.


This isn’t to say that formulas shouldn’t be experimented with…thrown completely out the window sometimes. The hard part is knowing when and where and how…that’s when things get complex.


Did you know that if you want a light airy loaf of bread like Ciabatta you’ll want to do as little mixing or kneading as possible so that you don’t disturb the air pockets that form as the yeast works its magic. I didn’t know this until today. I love learning new things.


 Here is one of my favorite recipes, for one of my favorite kinds of bread….






2 ½ cups warm water ( 110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

½ cup honey

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon salt

8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour



  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.


Posted in Happy things, Mangia Mangia | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

I Believe

Posted by hrgarippa on 9 December, 2008

Just in case you didn’t realize, the Christmas season is upon us…and folks I’m afraid it is going to be over, technically speaking, before we know it.

I love Christmas, but I’m not a die hard. I like to listen to Christmas music all year long, and I don’t mind watching White Christmas in July. And I certainly wouldn’t mind the beauty and wonder of the Holiday season being carried throughout the year.

One of my favorite things about this season is Santa Claus. I never believed in Santa when I was a kid. I never got presents from him. I always knew he was a myth. So I’ll never forget the first time my niece, Rachel told me she received a present from Santa. I was kind of shocked that my sister was going the “we believe in Santa” route, but as Rachel’s adoring aunt I wasn’t about to blow it for her. Over the years I’ve met other families that believe in Santa and as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to believe in Santa. I’m a little bit like Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street, it’s taken me some time to believe.

So you might be wondering, what exactly do I believe in? The North Pole, the Reindeer, the flying around the world in one crazy night. No.

I believe in the generosity, the love, the spirit of ole St. Nick. I believe in the innocence of children all around the world being children and believing that Santa could do what we as silly adults know is impossible. I believe in imagination. I believe in faith. And I believe in this silly man with a crazy long beard, and big ole belly, that looks different to different kids but that unites children from all countries…all languages.

Here is my favorite commerical right now…I’d love to say these things to my niece who was recently told there is no Santa.

This commerical comes from this….

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

I had to include it all because it is so beautifully written and I can’t help but think that if she were asking, “Some of my little friends say there is no Jesus…no God” that this would be a similar response.

I am not trying to equate Santa Claus with Jesus, that I recoginize is dangerous ground. I am however saying that this Christmas we should all BELIEVE in the wonder of it all…The lights, the shiny ornaments, the food, the family time, Santa Clause and above all Jesus, God incarnate.

Posted in Happy things, Hope, Mi Familia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A Lavish Banquet

Posted by hrgarippa on 18 November, 2008

Tonight 10 sweet, loud, rambunctious middle school girls are coming over and we will sit around the table and we will eat and we will give thanks. I am so thankful for each one of these girls; Amber, Adrienne, Destiny, Jasmine, Kaylene, Triana, Summer, Mikelia, Gabby, and Octavia. Every Tuesday they come into my house and fill it with laughter, wild stories, impossible questions, hard realities and love. They challenge me and help me to see beyond just me.

As I’ve prepared the meal that we will eat…a Thanksgiving feast, I’ve been reminded of Isaiah 25.6; 

The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
         A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
         And refined, aged wine.

How sweet it is to think about what is being prepared for us. And to think that all of this here, all this sweetness, all that we encounter…is just a small taste of what waits for us at the lavish banquet that He is preparing.

I can’t wait for that party.

I mean, wine is mentioned twice in that verse…The Lord knows what’s up!!!!!

Posted in Another day in the hood, Happy things, Hope, Mangia Mangia | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Living Adventurously

Posted by hrgarippa on 8 November, 2008

****edited – picture added.



I’ve been feeling the need for adventure lately.  I think it all started with a conversation I had several months ago, in which I was asked what I see myself doing in 5 or 10 years. My answer was, “whatever God leads me to do. I’m content where I am and I just hope that I’ll be able to hear Him as He guides.” That prompted this…okay that’s great…but what do YOU hope for yourself in 5 or 10 years. “Well that’s easy, I hope to be married with kids, but obviously that isn’t up to me.”


I’ve been thinking about this attitude I have of just going wherever the Spirit moves. Wondering if I should be more proactive, not more proactive in the pursuit of marriage, but more proactive in the pursuit of life. In many ways I’ve been so scared of living life. Scared of who I am, of how God created me. Scared of wanting to getting married, scared of what that could mean. Scared of my past, scared of my future…even scared of my present.

But through that one question (and a series of events that followed) the wheels started turning and I started to remember a me that wasn’t afraid, that lived adventurously, that laughed out loud, that loved without expecting anything in return. I remembered a me that had a lot of expectations for my life, many I have fulfilled…many I have not.

I still believe that the place I’ll be in 5 to 10 years will be the place that the Lord wants me to be, but now I’m more of an active participant in getting there.

Today I got up early and drove South on I-35. I’ve lived in Texas for almost 8 years and I’ve never been to Austin, I thought it was about time I saw the city that people call “weird.” As I was looking up things to do, I saw an area just East of Austin called The Lost Pines and a State Park called Bastrop so I decided to go there too.

The Lost Pines

The Lost Pines

What a great place! There is a scenic drive that is just beautiful, and doesn’t feel very Texas to me. The sky was that perfect shade of blue and the pine needles smelled like Northern Arizona. With the air on my face and my “road trip” mix playing it was all good for my soul.

Posted in Happy things | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by hrgarippa on 5 November, 2008

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to the Lord.” Phillippians 4.6

One of the homework assignments I gave our bible study last week was to keep a Thankfulness journal. I asked the girls to write down all the things they were grateful for all during the week and then we would all report back to each other. It was so neat to hear the things the girls were grateful for.

Here is my list, in no particular order….

Talking to my Father
Friends, dear friends
In and Out Burger
Paying my Bills
My Sunglasses
Sharp Knives
Chopping Onions
Going Home
Juice Plus
New Life
My Car
A Glass of Wine, or Two or Three
Bob and Del Garippa
Baby Zoe
Baby Garippa
The Color of the Sky
For the way God made me
The moment before the sunrises
Living with my brothers
For the truth of God’s word
A roof over my head.
My snuggly robe.
A new day.
My kitchen.
My dutch oven.
My books.
My cute shoes.
Mercy Street donors
Mercy Street Mentors
Cold Weather
Snuggling with Joshua
The Beach
Getting to know new people.
The Sun.
Hot Showers
The smell of freshly cut grass
Early morning walks
My dad’s homemade Pizza
French fries
My dads homemade raviolios
Half and Half
Family Traditions

Now why don’t you keep a THANKFULNESS journal….

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Home Sweet Home

Posted by hrgarippa on 4 November, 2008


I’m home and I’m happy to be home. I had a wonderful trip filled with things I like best…

Sunshine. In and Out Burger. Snuggling with my nieces and nephews. Long talks with my sister Christy. Candy. Coffee. Sunflower Seed bagels and Cinnamon rolls at AJ’s. Mountains. Reconnecting with old friends. Shopping with my sisters. And Reading. More to come on my time away…but for now here are some pictures.

Also please check out the great news that my dear friends Jana and Michael are heading to Ethiopia in two weeks to pick up their sweet Daughter Ruthie. Praise the Lord for His great Faithfulness.

Sweet Joshua

Sweet JoshuaMaddox, Rachel, Malia, Caleb, Jonah

Candy Candy Candy
Candy Candy Candy
Rachel and Me

Rachel and Me

Caleb and Jonah

Caleb and Jonah

In and Out Burger

In and Out Burger



Justen and Caleb hanging the movie screen

Justen and Caleb hanging the movie screen

My dear friend Jenn

My dear friend Jenn

Posted in Happy things, Mi Familia | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

West Dallas in the Outback

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 October, 2008

Friday afternoon Mindy, Garrett and I loaded up two vans with 20 middle school kids and headed to Columbus, TX for a middle School retreat at Pine Cove Outback Camp. The kids we decided to bring on this retreat were the kids from our Tuesday Bible Studies, so we’ve been getting to know them a bit better over the last several months and we were very excited to spend some serious quality time with them this weekend.  The great thing about this retreat is that Pine Cove had all the logistics covered; the speaker, the program, the food, the activities all we had to do was show up and join in so that gave us great opportunity to build deeper relationships.

The weekend started with a 4 hour drive, in which I heard the song “Bleeding Love,” by Leona Lewis about 40 times…..”I keep bleeding, I keep keep bleeding love.” Garrett created a little scavenger hunt type game that was girls v. boys, they had to find horses, campaign signs, pink cars, cars that started with an “s”, banks, etc and each item was worth different points. Nothing brings out the competitive spirit like a boy v. girl game, that kept the girls occupied. They also had a little photo shoot with my camera, here are some pictures from the drive… 


The girls getting ready to roll out

The girls getting ready to roll out


Jasmine and Adrienne

Jasmine and Adrienne

Amber and the Sunset

Amber and the Sunset

We arrived safely, and after a little complaining about “there being no one” in my cabin, we settled in. One of the things you should know about this weekend is that for the first time we mixed our kids with suburban kids. We usually bring them to camps that are Urban-focused or where they will be the only group, but this time around we felt it was important and that these particular kids were ready to mix it up with the flavors of the real world. Kids from West Dallas don’t see a lot of diversity, the majority of their neighbors are black or Hispanic and are low income. I believe that if these kids are going to have a future story, if they are going to be able to hope in the future they have to understand what it means to cross racial lines, socio-economic lines and interact well with those who are not exactly like them. This was a very difficult part of the weekend to be sure. Our kids dress differently, speak differently, react differently…they are intimidating in size and volume. One of the girls is 13 and at least 6 feet tall, she towers over me. I asked her once, “Does your mom, hug you?” (Her mom by the way is about 5 feet tall.) She said no. This sweet girl doesn’t look 13, but she is, and needs to be treated that way even though she’s a giant. I hugged her to death this weekend. That is the way it is with all our kids; they might not look or act like they are 12, 13 or 14 but they are. Underneath all the loudness and posturing are hearts that need to be loved and cared for just like any other 12, 13 or 14 year old.

This weekend was mostly encouraging. Our prayer going into this was that we’d bond with the kids, maybe they’d learn to trust us a bit more and that they’d encounter Jesus in a real way. I think we saw some walls begin to be chipped away. I had some great conversations with the girls; honest questions were asked and hopefully answered in ways they can understand or begin to understand.

We had some frustrating moments, one of our boys stole a camera from another leader. The camera that he and his new bride had used on their honeymoon just 12 days earlier. The pictures not downloaded yet, they were needless to say anxious to get it back. He eventually confessed and returned the camera and there was reconciliation, it was great to see. We had girls shut down, get angry over ridiculous things…like what kind of juice they had at lunch.

The most frustrating thing…that we had to bring them home. They loved it there and wanted to stay. These kids aren’t dumb, they know what kind of life exists in their community, in their families. So many loved being free from it all…even if it was just for the weekend.

Here are some more pictures from the weekend… 

Mindy and the girls

Mindy and the girls

Garrett and some boys

Garrett and some boys

All the Girls

All the Girls

Operation Infiltration

Operation Infiltration

The meanest OI force you ever saw.

The meanest OI force you ever saw.



Posted in Happy things, WD Kiddos | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Books Books and more Books

Posted by hrgarippa on 22 September, 2008

I love this picture. I imagine myself sitting in that chair with a book from one of those shelves and the image makes me happy.

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