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Crossing back to Texas

A late afternoon crossing of the Red River into Texas via Carpenters Bluff bridge.

Thought it very fitting to have and orange truck show up!

Sorry for the delay in posting. Same old fighting nagging health problems. Cross my fingers I am feeling better and am getting around a bit better. Last series of injections in my back were slow to provide relief, but the drugs seems to have finally found the right area.

Peace out, a special blessing to all our fighting men & women providing for our freedom. Not an advocate of war, but these folks are doing work I didn’t have to do and I thank them for my safe and warm sleep…….monos en theos†††jasL


I was glad we took the dogs out for a long walk out at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge yesterday evening. Tonight we have a heavy overcast with showers about.

Had a nice sunset with the leftovers of a struggling Sunflower plant and the sky alive with Cranes and Geese.All that and a nice sunset to cap it off.

Manos en theos ††† jasL

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My wife, Susan, and I often fall into opposite sites of  corners when it comes to our favor of seasons. I fall ( no pun) into a general dislike of  things falling and fading. She is quick to remind me of my like of fall colors and of change in general, the flavor of turkey and pumpkin. The damp smells and subtle earthy color. She makes me see how it is is not so much  dying and dormancy. Rather a time of rest and hibernation. A time of rest and rebirth. Fading turns to endless warm tones of gold, brown and red.

Much like fall, change slowly overtakes me and peace filters up through the soles of my shoes and into my heart.

And so I pause. Move slowly. Take time to see, smell and feel the change. The rust tones fill me and i long for a slice of warm pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream. I also receive the addied bonus of finding that hearts  that have grown close to us come to understand the inside of us better than we see.   monos en theos……jas L

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #908 – Praise from the White Heron

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What lifts the heron leaning on the air
I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare,
a long stroke through the cumulus of trees,
a shaped thought at the sky – then gone. O rare!
Saint Francis, being happiest on his knees,
would have cried Father! Cry anything you please

But praise. By any name or none. But praise
the white original burst that lights
the heron on his two soft kissing kites.
When saints praise heaven lit by doves and rays,
I sit by pond scums till the air recites
It’s heron back. And doubt all else. But praise.

Find your praise for the day! …† jas L

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #883 – The simple pleasure of a leaf !

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“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.”      Henry David Thoreau

I am still getting used to the color green that dominates our landscape. I have just been in Denison TX for a little over a year. In that span of one year we have darn near had as much rain as I saw in 20 years of  West Texas.
 It brightened my day when I found some leaves that sported a bit of a warmer color.
 It is pouring again today. My rain gauge shows 2″ so far. Somedays I do so miss the desert.
monos en theos † james

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #870- Running the path


“When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.”
José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

giddy up…†…monos en theos…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #869- Feeling blue

141104rainday_7102Dream, when you’re feeling blue
Dream, that’s the thing to do
Just watch the smoke rings rise in the air
You’ll find your share of memories there

So dream when the day is through
Dream, and they might come true
Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream…Ella Fitzgerald

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #867- San Miguel Mission-Socorro NM

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While it is a few hundred miles west from Grayson County, New Mexico still has fond memories and a pull of travels in “The Land of Enchantment”. A lengthy read, but the Mission has a long story.

In May of 1598 Spanish explorers under the leadership of Don Juan de Onate, accompanied by two Franciscan priests came to what is now known as Socorro where they found a friendly tribe of Indians who furnished them with a generous supply of corn, of which they were in great need (as their provisions were running very low.)

While the explorers went farther North along the Rio Grande, the two priests remained to do missionary work among the Indians. Father Alfonso Benavidez was so successful in this work that he became known as: “The Apostle of Socorro”. It was he who named the village: “Nuestra Senora de Perpetuo Socorro” … meaning: “”Our Lady of Perpetual Help”, in recognition of the succor they received from the Indians. In later years the name was shortened to SOCORRO

The two priests, with the help of the Indians, built that same year a modest little church which they replaced with a larger building between the years 1615 and 1626, and which is the present church building with its massive walls and huge carved vigas and supporting corbel-arches. The work on these vigas and corbels took many months of tedious work, which can be understood readily by noting the careful and uniform carvings on beams were carved were cut and carried in from mountains many miles from Socorro. The Indians were taught to mix straw into the adobe mud to make a more substantial brick. The walls were built about five feet in width and the windows placed high to guard against attack from the unfriendly tribe of Navajo Indians.

Under the leadership of one of the priests the natural ability and craftsmanship of the Indians began to bear fruit and the interior of the Church was greatly enriched. The Spaniards knew of the rich silver deposits around Socorro and to keep the Indians busy and draw out their natural ability, much of the silver mined was used in the church. it was the priests’ desire to have this church an beautiful as those in Mexico and Spain. They made a solid silver Communion Rail, a Tabernacle, and sacred vessels used in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The mission continued to flourish until the outbreak of the rebellion in 1680 when most of the Indians joined the Spaniards in their retreat to what is now called El Paso, Texas (nearly 200 miles South). When news reached Socorro that the Northern tribes of Indians were in revolt, and Spaniards were retreating everywhere, the priests had the Indians disassemble the Communion Rail which was buried along with other valuables they could not take along on their hasty retreat. The pastor made a map of the buried treasure, feeling certain the revolt would be put down quickly and they could return.

However, it was a number of years before new settlers of Mexican and Spanish descent began to arrive in Socorro. they found the church in a very dilapidated condition, but the massive walls and huge beams were still in place. After much hard work it was restored and Divine Service again resumed and have continued daily to the present time. Several expedition shave come up from Mexico to try to find the buried treasure, but if any were successful, there is no record of it. There was a million dollar reward offered in the early 1980s to anyone who fount it and thousands of dollars have been spent looking for it.

According to some descendants of the early settlers, during a raid by Apache Indians about the year 1800, the Indians suddenly withdrew and when one of the captured Apaches was questioned about the sudden withdrawal, he claimed they saw a man with wings and a shining sword hovering over the door of the church. Shortly after this, a petition was sent to the Bishop of Durango, Mexico, under whose jurisdiction this territory was at the time to have the name of the church changed to: “San Miguel” – in honor of St. Michael, the Angelic Protector of the people. The Church has gone under the name of San Miguel since about 1800.

The main body of the church, which is the part built between 1615 and 1626, now seats about 250 people although many more attended services in the early 1880s when there were no pews and the people either stood or knelt on the floor. In 1853 another wing was built unto the church and this accommodates another 150.

There are four sub-floors under the present church under which lie the bodies of some of the prominent residents of the past. Under the Sanctuary lies the bodies of four priests who died while serving the faithful of this historic Church. In the Northeast corner of the church is the burial place of General Manuel Armijo, the last governor of New Mexico under the Mexican Regime.

San Miguel Church is the center of a Spanish Land Grant. It consists of over 17,002 acres given by the King of Spain and known as THE SOCORRO LAND GRANT. It was designated as being one Spanish league (2.64 miles) North, South, East, and West of the Church. All surveys, within this Grant, are described as running from the center of the church, in order to get the proper legal described.

As it stood in the first decade of the 17th century, San Miguel Church was of pure Pueblo style of architecture, but in restorations made after the rebellion of 1680 and through subsequent repairs, many deviations have been made from the Pueblo style.

May you find the treasure you seek!…†…monos en theos….jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #866- Autumn falls

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My Autumn Leaves

“I watch the woods for deer as if I’m armed.
I watch the woods for deer who never come.
I know the hes and shes in autumn
rendezvous in orchards stained with fallen
apples’ scent. I drive my car this way to work
so I may let the crows in corn believe
it’s me their caws are meant to warn,
and snakes who turn in warm and secret caves
they know me too. They know the boy
who lives inside me still won’t go away.
The deer are ghosts who slip between the light
through trees, so you may only hear the snap
of branches in the thicket beyond hope.
I watch the woods for deer, as if I’m armed.”
                                                                  BRUCE WEIGL
Along with the coming of November comes our first frost…
stay warm & young at heart…†…monos en theos…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #863-Southern march of the Monarchs

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One of the ruminating rituals of fall is when catching a flash of orange and black of the Southern flight of  monarch. Seeing their serpentining flitter of their constant three steps forward and two steps back journey south.

I seem to be a little east of the main concourse and really only get to see two or three a day on the migratory route. I can remember a time as a child in Odessa TX when we were in the midsts of the main stream of the flight. Monarchs roosted on most every bush and the blaze of color truly had an impact on my wayward mind. Literally thousands of the beautiful creatures gathering in mass surely for no other reason than my delight.

I was not a library kind of kiddo, but I was off to the row off big books for information. I wanting to know where they were going and why. I stared with the wow factor of an image of a man standing high in the Sierra Madres. His arms out stretched and his body entirely engulfed with butterflies. He looking to be a mummy encased in Monarch butterflies. I longed to be in that place. I have always been plagued with the curse of wanting more and thousand of butterflies on a bush in my back yard now seemed small potatoes.

Now as age has calmed just a tad of the always wanting more. I am fully content to have the pleasure of seeing just one winging his way South against the prevailing winds. It is a small gift of bewilderment that I get to catch a photo as they refuel for flight.

Yet, I still long the stand on that Mexico mountain shrouded in such a glorious gift.

monos en theos…†…jim